Week 46: Memories

Often times I like to work from my own memories.  Comparing past places to what they look like in the present, bitter-sweetness which comes with the passing of time, and loss.  I think it’s pretty safe to say that a lot of my work conveys messages such as these.  Sometimes, however, I like to work at examining other’s memories, and a little exploring will do just the trick for that.

So, you know, finals went ok, but not super great.  My digital photography class was one of my problem classes, sadly.  I had a great idea of working at the beach, with a model, and capturing some really whimsical and charming images….but my model canceled on me.  Sad, but I understand — she was busy with finals as well.  It still sucked having to start from square one with only about a week before my project was due.  So back to the drawing board.

I started thinking about things that I liked, or that I’ve always wanted to do.  A good suggestion from my professor, particularly for someone like me who has been getting pretty stumped lately.  So going with that, “something I’ve always wanted to do”, at least for a while now, were those beach pictures.  Scratch that.  So what do I like to do?  Well, one thing that I’ve been missing were my little excursions to some abandoned buildings.  So, with my friend in tow, I set out to find an interesting place that we could sneak in to.

Going in to these places, I’m always trying to do more than take some interesting, yet arbitrary, pictures.  I’ve always found it interesting when one of two things happens to these buildings.  If the building is taken over by nature, with vines, and trees, and flowers completely engulfing it, I find it so interesting, and a bit ironic, that we’ve taken from nature to build this structure, only for it to be discarded, materials wasted, and for nature to reclaim it.  The other interesting scenario is when I can find little “artifacts”, as I like to call them, of who may have been in this space before.  I’m sure just about everyone passes by a building or space which has just been left to decay on a regular basis.  Do you ever stop to wonder what that place was, what it could have meant to someone, or what they may have used it for?  Or do you ever wonder who the person or persons were that used to inhabit this space, and what happened to them?  Did they just give up?  Move on, or even pass on?  It’s so mysterious when you stop to think about it.  I’m sure with some research, answers may be found in some cases, but what’s the true story?  That’s what I like to look for.

So while driving around, we headed towards the southern part of Maryland.  We passed by an old favorite of mine, but it had been blocked off, and you could see that the area was starting to change a bit.  So further off the grid we went, and we started to get to some pretty interesting farm land areas.  Farm land?  Yeah, we’ve got a lot of that around here once you get to a certain area.  With that comes some of those dilapidated barns filled with interesting things.  We had to pass a few by, because you can’t just park on the side of a busy road and mosey on in these places, but finally found the perfect spot; a place a little off the road, and a long driveway which wound around the barn.

So here are the images from that trip.  It seems like it was a little storage barn for a farm, but also for a farmer’s market.  Quite cute in it’s heyday, I’m sure, but very sad and decaying now.   The light was beautiful on what was another unseasonably warm day for the area.  I’m happy to have used that to my advantage in a lot of these shots.  Though I feel I know a little more about this space, I’m still wondering just what happened to this farmer.  What do you think?  Enjoy!

 

 

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“Well, Welcome to This One.”

I love it when people have just the right things to say.  I also like it when something gets me right in the feels, for lack of a better word, and catches me off guard when they do.  I got that from one of my professors the other day, so I’d thought I’d share a little more about it with you.

It’s been a crazy few weeks since starting school, as I’m sure you’re well aware by my constant reminders.  But even with all the craziness, it’s been filled with some pretty great moments.  First off, everyone thinks that I’m 21…max!  I’m even being mistaken for a teenager, which makes me question some things, but I’ll still take it as a great compliment.  I’m finally starting to feel a little more comfortable, and that I may be someone who is on-par with this “art world” that I’ve flung myself in to.  Yes, I know I made it in to MICA, and that should be reassurance enough, but it isn’t.  “They”, the powers that be at MICA, even send out emails, or did at least, to new students telling them just that — “don’t be scarred/intimidated/depressed/stressed/etc…you made it here, and that means a lot!”  When coming from the world of strict business attire,where the only creativity being expressed was that of craftily written procedure or performance review, it’s hard to see yourself amounting to anything creative.  No matter how bad I want to succeed at this, I’m essentially terrified.

When I think about where I came from, the life of banking, management, stress, abuse, and all things wrong in a corporate environment, I have two feelings that have stuck around: abandonment, and escape.  Pretty conflicting thoughts, don’t you think?  As if my feelings towards them weren’t complicated enough, they still continue to be, even almost a year and a half leaving.  I suppose some of the emotions you could equate to this would be depression, anxiety, PTSD, failure,….freedom and relief?  Like I said, it’s complicated.  I whole heartedly gave over 10 years of my life to this company, only to be targeted, bullied, and attacked.  And when I fell ill as a result of this, they didn’t care at all, and wanted nothing more to do with me.  Don’t get it twisted though, no matter how it may sound, I played the hand I was dealt the best I could, and ended up resigning.  Some what reluctantly, but still, it was my choice to leave — at least they didn’t get that satisfaction.  Either way, it was a heartbreaking change, even though at the same time I wanted to do something different with my  life.  I wanted to make it better, but I was terrified of failing.

But like I said, you have to play the cards you’re dealt, and my game had just changed.  So I decided, why not, apply for this school that I’ve been wanting to go to forever.  I was just about to finish up my associates degree, because I could only handle baby steps, and didn’t see myself making it this far.  Going to school, an art school, to get a Bachelor’s degree seemed unobtainable for me.  After getting in, it was then the financial aspects that had me burdened, because let’s face it, you can’t pay for the “ivy league of art schools” on a non-existent salary.  No one was excited about the news except a few, literally few, friends, so in trying to be realistic about it, I didn’t let myself get excited about it, or celebrate.  I’m 30, and just got my first college acceptance letter in the mail, I should be excited.  Oh, wait, except for the fact that I’ll be 30….in college…with teenagers — another issue of concern.  I convinced myself I was too old, and just needed to buckle down and get a “real job”.  Oh, and back to the no job thing, I had to move out of my apartment, my safe haven, my home….my life was falling apart when it should have been on the up and up.

So I decided not to go, and things got dark, really dark, and fast.  I started looking for banking jobs, admin jobs, anything office job like, and to no avail.  What was the end of an already incredibly depressed year, I was even worse for the wear.  Then a friend hired me to bake a cake and photograph her wedding, and another friend asked me to photograph her baby, and it felt great doing things that were artistic, and that I got paid for!  Imagine that.  I figured, as the deadline for the deposit was fast approaching, I’ll just take this money to pay for the deposit.  As irresponsible as it may be, and even though it’s most likely only delaying the inevitable, I’ll have a little more time to pretend that this is still an option.

In the mean while, I still looked for “normal” jobs, but also worked on art, this blog (yay), craft fairs, and school stuff — scheduling, talking to advisors, financial aid, and so on.  I had it all figured out, except how to pay for just a little bit of it.  So annoying.  With all the work I did, this little percentage of tuition that I couldn’t come up with was going to hold me back.  I begged family to help, co-sign, anything, but they resisted, insisting that I needed to get off this vacation mode and get my life back together.  I have to say, my family has an interesting perspective of what vacation is if my life was the model for it.  Then, out of the blue, my parents, though they were very clear that they disapproved of my idea/plan/decisions/everything, that they wanted me to be happy.  What?  Seriously?  I was dumbfounded, but took their help as quickly as possible.  Though I have to hear about it all the time now, I’m thankful that I’ve had the opportunity to give this a go, even if the future of it seems uncertain.

So then I’m finally there!  Orientation.  Oh my God….can I say that it was exponentially worse than I expected?  The school and facilities seemed nice, but the people — some of the other students are down right…..just, immature, and not good people, and incredibly filled with entitlement, and unappreciative.  It’s a little astounding, and overwhelming.  I felt like crying, and leaving, and never coming back, but I knew I couldn’t let these people, who really didn’t do anything to me except make my age difference become even more apparent, control what was going to be my outcome of going here.  So I did what I knew I would do, what I always do.  I worked.

It felt great to finally have something consume my life again.  While it was nice being away from work, it was pretty boring at times, even with all my little projects that I tried to fill my time with.  Not only that, but I actually started working again, and not at some terrible place that was irrelevant to what my goals were.  I’m busy again, and it’s a great feeling.  I’m successful in this busyness, which is even a better feeling.

Even though the feedback from some of these professors has been minimal, I have enough information to come to the conclusion that I have an A in each of my six, count ’em, six classes.  I would say yay, but I worked my ass off, and there is no yay for me when it comes to grades.  I either get all A’s and am contempt with it because it’s the only acceptable outcome, or I flirt with the line between A and B, and I’m really mad about it.  It’s about half way through the semester now, and I’ve received a couple of mid-term reviews, and hope to have a couple more.  They’ve been informal, and though email, so it’s nice to have the feed back, because not having it drives me crazy, but it’s also a little impersonal.  Lucky for me, I have one professor, my sculpture professor, who is very profession, and a great communicator.  He set up mid-term review meetings with each of us, and actually sat us down to talk about our progress, grades, and future expectations.  Now that gets a yay 🙂

So in that meeting, I heard some great things — I have an A+, something that he only gives out like once or twice a year.  How unexpected.  What else was unexpected was that he told me that I took to sculpture like “a fish to water”.  I have to say, out of all the classes I signed up for this semester, this was the one I was most apprehensive about.  I never work three-dimensionally, so this was all new for me, and in having such high expectations for my self and my grades, this was going to be a challenge.  We chatted a little more, and he got the point of saying that he could tell that I was very dedicated.  Of course — do you have any idea of what I had to go through to get here?! Of course not, I’m being irrational, and joking.  I did say, however, that yes, I’m incredibly dedicated to being here.  I went through hell with the life that I had before, and I’m never going back to that world.  And then he said it…”Well, welcome to this one”.  He went on to say, many more positive things, what expectations he had for me, and that he saw me doing great things, but that little sentence stuck out to me even more than that.  I know that with the grades I’m getting in the school that I’m now attending that I should have more confidence in my work.  It’s amazing to hear that he views me as an A+ student, a natural at this art, and that he, and incredibly successful artist in his own right, sees me being successful as well.  But that welcome, as silly as it may seem, hit me hard.  I’m here, I’m still in one piece, and I’m doing the thing that I’ve always wanted to do.  I’m doing the thing that I pushed out of my mind for the last 15 years of my life.  I’m doing something that will change my life.  It’s hard to believe, but I am.  I’m doing it.  It’s crazy.  Crazy good.  I don’t ever have to go back to that life now, not if I don’t want to.

At the end of all my rambling, I’ve included some photos of things that I’ve been working on for various classes – sculpture, digital photo, studio lighting, and EMAC, which is like a sampling of all this electronic and digital in the art making world. I didn’t include anything from my art history classes, cause I figured you probably wouldn’t appreciate having papers shoved in your face to read.  And it’s ok if you think some of these are a little wacky, cause to be honest, I do too, but I like them 🙂   And what I like even more, is that this is just the beginning of a change so grand that I can’t even imaging how great things will be when I finish.  I imagine a very tear-filled graduation on my part, but only happy tears.  So thanks for the welcome, and just so you know, there will never be a goodbye.

Week 31: Superhero

I’m certainly going to have to think out of the box for this one.  “Superhero” is an interesting topic.  Don’t worry, I haven’t forgotten about the self-portrait assignment from last week.  I have plans for that tomorrow.  You know it’s not something I’m particularly looking forward to, so there may be an increased (and by increased I mean extreme) amount of procrastination with that.  Anyways, back to the subject at hand — Superheros!

Of course, the first things that come to mind are all of the comics, like X-Men and Batman and such, but I’m not a huge fan of all that.  I mean, I have seen all the X-Men movies, and am a pretty big Huge Jackman fan (yeah, you know you wanna, just go ahead and click on the link and enjoy the pics 🙂 ).  I’m not, however, about to do a comic book themed shoot, or any type of ode to Huge Jackman.  Sorry.

So when starting to think of the word “superhero” in its alternative meanings, I’m still getting stumped.  I don’t have any “idols”, per sey, so there really isn’t any subject in that respect that I could capture.  I’ve admired people, and have wanted to have certain traits or talents that famous people have, as they are often idolized.  Yet, I’ve never been the type of person to say, “I want to be just like (insert any famous person’s name here) when I grow up”, so that type of superhero definition is not something I can relate to.

Sure, I have people who I love and respect greatly, but I wouldn’t consider them a superhero.  Family and friends who have been there for me and who I can rely on are precious to me, but I wouldn’t use that word as a descriptor.  Besides, when I think of the word “heroine” or “superheroine”, I think of the obvious, and not so great, (almost) double entendre of that word, but also of this darling little essay that my brother wrote in elementary school about our grandmother.  With that clouding my mind (the essay, not the drug), I suppose I could go the route of a family member, but it doesn’t sound that enticing to me….no disrespect.

Another interesting definition I stumbled across mentioned a superhero being a person who is extremely successful or skillful.  Now, with my recent bittered experience with the corporate world, thinking of people with high success levels does not bring to mind imagery of any type of superhero.  Super villains, perhaps, but most certainly not heroes.  That option is definitely out.

There’s also that common depiction of the everyday superhero.  The single mother working three jobs to provide for her children.  Volunteer workers putting themselves in harm’s way, or at least in very difficult situations, to provide aid to those in need.  The firemen and first responders running in to burning and collapsing buildings to save others, when they themselves may not make it out.  Some incredible heroic acts there.  Though they are noble, it’s not something I can see myself working on this week.

I suppose “superhero” is something that is just not a part of my life.  I never use the word in a way other than to describe a cartoon or movie character, so I’m going to have a hard time finding something that resonates with me.  The only instance I can think of that word being applied in a way I can relate to is my dad talking about my dog.  “Lucky the Wonder Pup!”, he would often yell either as my dog was doing something crazy, or now, in memory of his crazier days.  Lucky has just celebrated his 16th birthday, which equals 112 human years, so he’s not acting too crazy anymore.  Don’t worry though, the dog that used to take a running start to jump off the porch and tear around the yard still has some spark in him.  He’s a little clumsy now, and has that grumpy old man type attitude a lot of the time, but he’s still happy, so I’m hoping he’ll be around for many more years.

So as I’m off to think about some “super” ideas (see what I did there?), I’ll leave you with a picture of The Wonder Pup.  Forever the camera-shy dog, he’s a tough one to get a good picture of.  As soon as he sees you with a camera or phone, he’s either turning his back on you, or growling.  Never smiling nice, silly dog.  “Shy” most definitely isn’t the word for it — Lucky is pretty annoyed at the whole photography idea.  Sorry, Lucky, you may be subjected to some more pictures this week.  I hope for your sake that your superpower of evasiveness doesn’t let up now.

Parts of Me

Don’t you hate it when your phone runs out of memory?  I sure do. But the one good thing from that is I’m forced to do a clean up — deleting old apps, messages, and cleaning up my photos. Once I got started on my phone, I ended up organizing and cleaning up really old pictures from previous cell phones when I realized how many little memories I had captured and totally forgotten about.

People often say that it’s the little things that count in life, or that make the biggest impact or difference. With the convenience of technology, it’s becoming increasingly easier to snap away, and not really pay attention to the moment you’re in. Going through all these little memories has me thinking about that, while at the same time I’m grateful that I have them, because apparently, my memory is terrible. When I sit back and reflect on the past year, which I have been doing more often than not lately, I often come to the result that I haven’t done anything with my time, and feel a little sad and guilty. Sure, I went to school, and started this blog, and have been working on my photography, but it feels a little empty still. I’m happy to have these little reminders that there have been many funny, happy “little things” which have occurred over the year. So check out these little part of me, the part of my whole, for this week’s theme, and remember to enjoy the little moments. They are, after all, what life is made of.

Week 21: Humanize

Often times, when faced with a set of closely outlined directions, and told to make something creative from it, I get stuck.  I can’t get away from what I’m told and just think creatively.  This was one of those weeks.

With the task “humanize”, and the suggestion to find faces in inanimate objects, and make things come to life, I spent the whole week (and then some) trying to look at things from a different perspective and find faces.  Now, two points – 1, I’ve always found faces in weird things, wood grain, fabric patterns, food, whatever…. and point 2 – it’s always been just by chance.  So while I set out looking for faces this past week, I was incredibly unsuccessful.  So after much thinking, another idea finally arrived.

To humanize something doesn’t necessarily have to mean that you can see a face in it.  It can mean to give something a more human like quality, to see a person when you look at something, or to perceive something to have more human characteristics than it actually does.  Now, that’s something I can work with.  As someone who is deeply sentimental, I have been mistaken to have too much love for material items when in actuality, I’ve attached a different meaning to certain items other than them being “just something nice to have”.

Personally, I think I do this in two ways.  The first, is just that — something meant something to someone who I loved, or it was from someone I loved who is gone, so I’ve attached this unrealistic feeling to it.  There are certain items in my life which I have obtained through these means, and I would be crushed if anything ever happened to them.  Not because of their value, or cost, or because they’re nice.  Simply because I’ve attached a memory of a person or place to these objects, and removing them would be like removing that person or place from my life all over again, well, at least a little bit.

The second way in which I attach too much meaning is with places.  When I was growing up, my family had a little vacation trailer just outside of Bethany Beach, Delaware.  We would go there every summer, sometimes more than once, sometimes with friends, sometimes with my grandparents, and it truly felt like home to me.  Once we could no longer manage it, we sold it, and that truly saddened me.  Thinking that we had abandoned this place that we have loved for so long made me feel guilty that I couldn’t do anything to keep it for us to have for years and memories to come.  So, every so often, while at the beach during the summer, I would drive through the old neighborhood to check on the trailer.  Someone had fixed it up, and it seemed to be doing well, until one summer.  It was gone.  The place where I felt I practically grew up was gone, just like that.  I would picture the little trailer being so sad, as I was.  Seriously though, I know it’s silly, it’s just a trailer, but it was The Trailer.  The guilt that I had when we gave it up was nothing like I felt when it was gone.  Someone just tore down something that meant so much to so many people in my life.

Now, I know that I have mentioned that I’ve moved several times in my life, so don’t worry, I don’t have a crisis ever time I have to go, but there are some places which stick with me.  The trailer was one of them, so was a few of my apartments, including the one I’m currently living in, which I’m preparing to move out of and mourn shortly.  The other was my house.  I was 23 when I bought my house with my ex.  Just think about that….we felt like it was such an achievement, I was only 23, and had done something some people only dream of.  After a ridiculous amount of hardship, some caused by the house itself, others caused by work and relationships, we had to part ways, and leave the house.  Now, this little place wich we lovingly called home stands abandoned, just wondering what is going to happen to it next.  There was only one previous owner, who actually built the home with her husband, and lived there until we bought it.  Again, I’ve attached this persona to the house, imagining it feeling saddened and betrayed that we would treat it in this manner when the previous owner didn’t want to give it up.  Again, guilt.  Again, regret, but there was nothing that I could do.  Not many people understand that, or the circumstances of why the house now stands vacant.  Since I technically still own it, and can access it, I’m prone to the same behaviors as before, checking in on it from time to time, but in this instance, I’m actually able to go in and look around.  If you’re as sentimental as I am, I don’t recommend it, but what can I say, I suppose I’m a glutton for punishment.  Looking around, remembering how things used to look, I feel like the house has this anger towards me, spite, misunderstanding.  I remember the things that we did, were going to do, and the fun that we had.  If these walls could talk.  A saying often referencing gossip, really has multiple uses.  I think I have a pretty good understanding of what that statement could stand to mean — I could imagine my house saying a lot to me.

Domo Arigato, Mr. Roboto

So I know I mentioned that I may be doing something sentimental for the collage project this week, but I suppose I did something more along the lines of sentimental-ish.  I chose my cute little robot to take pictures of 🙂  Let me give you the back story….even though I don’t have the complete story myself.  I’m pretty sure that this used to belong to either my mom or my aunt, though I could be totally wrong, I know it had to have belonged to someone else before I got it.  Regardless, I can remember this little robot from when I was really little, so in my mind, it’s like the first toy I ever got.  Though I know that’s not true also, it’s the definitely the oldest one that I still have, and one of the earliest memories from my childhood.  It doesn’t hurt that he’s super cute, too.  So here’s a playful little collage of my dear little robot, that I’ve had forever, and who has survived many a move and managed to remain in one piece, and still work!  I had fun creating this homage to my little robot friend.  Wish I could have gotten closer with the details, but I guess he’ll just have to hang in there until I can get a macro lens, or until I figure out some other creative way to magnify things.  And a big thanks to collage.com for making things easy for me — if you’re ever looking to make a quick collage, that’s the way to go, especially since some of the other, more well-known sites that I tried, didn’t work/were a pain.

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