News & Writing

Being Resourceful

We are all hunkering down – making the best of social distancing, of being at home (the privilege of those of us that can work from home … or find themselves now out of work).

We are reading, making art, caring for and educating children, caring for friends and others at a distance, going for walks, venturing out as little as possible otherwise … life, in silos.

Those of us facing down this strange time in human history by removing ourselves from the community (or being removed through unemployment) are where we need to be right now, for the protection of everyone, not just ourselves.

So it’s a ‘social good’ – but the varying degrees of lockdown across the country also mean that people with precarious incomes – like artists – have seen the income from their practices all but disappear, and the gig work they do to make ends meet has evaporated.

It’s still not clear (to me at least) where people that had ‘potential’ income that has dried up will fit into federal and provincial relief programs … hopefully that information will be forthcoming soon.

So – WE HAVE TO BE PREPARED.

Yes, that’s right … just when you hoped to avoid paperwork for a a while, since the deadline for tax filing has been deferred … you need to keep track of ALL the income you have lost.

It’s ain’t sexy or glamorous – and might be a bit depressing – but it is SO NECESSARY right now. By tracking our losses, we can provide an accurate picture of the financial impact of the pandemic for workers who don’t “fit” into the regular systems of income-generation and accounting.

There are many of us – so it’s vital that we have the facts to hand, so the case can be made.

Here are some tools & other resources to help:

Stay safe, take care of your self and each other. And do your paperwork! :)

Dancing in the Light

Every day that brings sunshine that warms the skin and clear pavement to walk is a gift.

Being able to stretch, feel muscles move under skin; a little more awake and alive with every step under the spring-blue sky.

Fitting then, that I came across video of this mesmerizing sculpture:

For all the dancers I know. Thank you.

A Talk, Upcoming

Very happy to say that I will be presenting a talk with John Waldron about our cross-disciplinary work on the Boundary|Time|Surface project next week.

If you are in the Wolfville, Nova Scotia area, the talk is being presented at Acadia University – details in the image above.

Looking forward to sharing this project with students from both Visual Arts and Earth Science!

This String of Moments

I’ve been thinking a good bit over the last few months about self-care, and in particular the need for conscious self-care on the part of artists.

In part these thoughts come from my own understanding of what I need – starting with saying ‘no’ more often – and honouring the fact that I need LOTS of recharge time on my own to be good to and for others and for the community I wish to support and serve. That means fewer opportunities sometimes – which has its own sort of stress. But for me right now, that’s necessary. These thoughts also stem from many conversations (truth to tell, too many) with other artists over the last couple of years about the reality of their lives, and about exhaustion and burnout.

How incredibly focussed and dedicated my colleagues are – and how tired. Juggling jobs (two? three? more???) some of them, to keep head above water in a gig economy. OR, finally landing “THE job” – the one that pays enough to forego the side gigs – just to see time and energy eaten week after week by the needs and demands of the work at hand, because there aren’t enough hands to do the work, or hours in the day … and they are responsible people, who care about their colleagues and the work they do.

And these bright, talented people ask themselves (and have admitted to me): “I wonder if I am still an artist? Can I even call myself that anymore?

That’s a hard thing to hear, especially given that it’s evident how much talent they have and how much they have to offer the world and their community, on all kinds of levels.

SO – why on earth am I talking about this, and interspersing these observations with pictures of autumn leaves, and glancing sunlight, and panorama photos of coastlines and sky?

Because I have the privilege of being able to take some time for myself just now; I have joked that I have “run away” temporarily … but I haven’t really. Not at all.

If anything, I have gone away to be more totally present. I had the opportunity to get away from my home city and all that is familiar, and to spend some time in another part of the country. I jumped at it. I knew I needed the break very badly, and was (and continue to be) incredibly grateful for the good fortune that has allowed me to do this.

To just be for a little while.

To figure a little bit more out – what next, why, what are the limits, how far and hard to push, and in what direction.

What is healthy (for me) … what is healthy for each of us? It can’t be the grind that I see so many people inside, in all walks of life. Is it any wonder so many of us are angry? Sad? Feeling desperate?

Do I have the solutions or answers or tools to help? I have no idea. But I do know that not having the opportunity to just STOP for a little bit, every so often, absolutely precludes the opportunity to consider these questions – and to seek the answers that are right for oneself.

May the world shift in favour of more humane ways of being for all of us.

Tomorrow is another day, and perhaps it will be a good one, for more of us.

Off Again …

Just about to leave for Vancouver for the CARFAC National Conference and AGM!

Looking forward to seeing my colleagues from right across the country, and sharing ideas and practical tools to assist artists.

I am particularly happy that there will be a panel on Indigenous Intellectual & Cultural Property Rights. This is an area of artists’ rights I need and want to learn more about!

I am also really excited to hear updates on two different projects to help artists protect their copyright and earn more for their creative work:

The Prescient Blockchain Project, and the Image Bank and Licensing Platform from Copyright Visual Arts!

It’s going to be a busy few days … but it’s going to be really informative and fun too!

A Talk September 14th

Now that the dust has settled from the Opening of Boundary|time|Surface, I am happy to say that Dr. John Waldron and I will be presenting a talk on the project, and the ideas behind our collaboration!

This Saturday, September 14, at 2pm – if you’re in the area, please join us at the Art Gallery of St. Albert for our discussion:

“Boundary|Time|Surface:

Art and Geology in Dialogue”

Just a Few More hours …

Well.

Here we are – a few hours from the opening reception to Boundary|Time|Surface.

This still point in the process always feels a little surreal. So much goes into the making of an exhibition. In this case, 5 years from the original project to now; at least a solid year of research and work in the studio; lots of challenges, changes, and rewards along the way.

Am I nervous? Yes, to be honest. I feel far too close to the work to be able to assess its merits at this point … one tends to dwell on the things that only hindsight reveals. But here we are.

It’s all process anyway – every work and every exhibition speaks to what is next, and new ways of doing.

At any rate, if you are around in the area, please join us tonight. It would be lovely to see you.

Countdown begins … Today

It’s officially one week from today that Boundary|Time|Surface opens at the Art Gallery of St. Albert! Not quite sure how the time flew by so fast (well, actually yes, I am – in the studio!) – but regardless – I find there’s always a sense of time speeding up just before a show.

And it’s been busy on a number of fronts: the not-glamourous jobs an artist does to make the stuff all happen the way it should for an exhibition.

Case in point (sorry of the awful sort-of pun):

Packing. Ah yes, making work is one thing – packing it is another entirely! Fortunately, I didn’t have to build crates for the work this time, as we can transport it ourselves – but the work still needs protection. And list -making becomes part of this process too, of course. Making sure that all the bits and bobs of hardware and tools and just-in-case things are sorted and packed and there when we need them for install.

And then there’s the transport part of it too:

Spent a couple of hours playing ‘car tetris’ with the bins and boxes and other stuff … and in a little while, we’ll be getting this all unloaded and dropped off at the Gallery.

HOLY MOLY. Here we go!

Another New Thing …

There’s more to the upcoming exhibition of Boundary|Time|Surface – another labour of love attached to the work that I will be launching into the world on September 5th.

To accompany the exhibition, we will be launching a limited-edition book!

Boundary|Time|Surface – a record of change gathers essays that examine the work on exhibition and the ideas informing its creation from several distinct perspectives. A critical essay from Melinda Pinfold, PhD opens the book, and offers an insightful reading of the project as a whole, and the dialogue between art & science informing the project. John Waldron’s essay explores the history of geology as a science, and how his understanding of time and place is informed by a lifetime of practice within the discipline. And I spend a few pages in both prose and poetry trying my best convey what the original project – and the several years of work coming out of that original ephemeral installation – have taught me.

Boundary|Time|Surface – a record of change also functions as an artwork; we have selected a range of images from the time lapse stills we shot of the creation and dissolution of the installation at Green Point, and presented them in sequence in the style of a flip-book.

This is a limited-edition of 200, signed and numbered. For the duration of the exhibition, the book will be available exclusively through the Art Gallery of St. Albert.