all I wanna do is make some stuff
I've got a feeling I'm not the only one
Special Friday edition of the newsletter, folks! Wednesday came and went (and Thursday, too) but with my house art show happening tomorrow I didn’t want to wait until next week to share an update. I’ll be back next week with pics of the opening event. In the meantime…
The show is on! I mentioned in last week’s update that I was pulling together a group show in the house we were renting since we have some time leftover on the lease we’re not able to get out of early. The one-time event will be tomorrow, Saturday, December 9th, at 2-5 pm. Email me for the address if you’re local and would like to stop by!
As I mentioned last week, I will be joined by friend and artist Lisa Jonas Taylor. Lisa and I met while working at CCA, not long after she’d received her MFA. I loved working with Lisa and sharing the ups and downs of juggling a creative studio practice with a full time job and that’s really where the idea for my Artists in Offices podcast was born. Lisa was one of the artists I interviewed back in 2018-19. Her collection of small and medium paintings is on view in what was my daughter’s bedroom for 7 months.
I first encountered Meredith Steele’s work when KQED Arts shared what Bay Area residents did to get through the first year of the pandemic. Then she made a book of her paintings and sold them during an event in Oakland’s Rockridge neighborhood. I met her briefly then and bought a book. When she had a show earlier this year at The Compound Gallery in Emeryville, my kids and I stopped by to check out her paintings in person plus all the cool stuff Compound has to offer. She’s showing prints of her work (that you can buy if you stop by!).
And finally, Ellen Lake is an artist I started following through her work at Kala Art Institute in Berkeley. I’ve been a huge fan of the work that comes out of Kala since my Achenbach Graphic Arts Council days (first day job out of undergrad). When I discovered Ellen is an artist, too, I started following her and really love in particular the work she made at a residency in Vermont last summer. She’ll be showing both 2D and 3D work in the living area of the house.
What will I be showing, you ask? This body of work, at long last. After I mostly wrapped up this project in early summer 2022, I submitted it to a couple of local project spaces, but was rejected from one and ghosted by the other. Showing this body of work was really the impetus for this house art show idea and I’m pretty happy with how it looks, even if the bedroom I slept in for 7 months is a little different than the space I had in mind as I was wrapping up this work. I haven’t made a lot of work since finishing this project because life has been busier than usual, but now that we’ve moved back into our house I think this show will give this body of work the closure I need to move on to the next project, which is related, but also different.
Other than the above art on display, I’ve put together a little reading nook and will have music playing via my newish record player and my tiny but mighty record collection. There may be some karaoke, if the mood seems right. All of this is a little way to manifest my dream job, which is to own and run a cafe/gallery/reading room one day.
Finally, in lieu of the typical art show fare, we’ll be serving pancakes. Yes, pancakes! This is somewhat inspired by the créme brûlée cart guy, who famously served pancakes in his SF neighborhood during the pandemic, but I actually had the idea after reading Felicia Day’s memoir years ago (wrote about it here and tweeted about the idea on National Pancake Day in 2021, almost exactly a year before the créme brûlée cart guy announced his pancake party). I reached out to him to see if he’d be interested in crossing the bay to make pancakes as part of my event, but he never responded. So we’ll be making pancakes in the kitchen (one benefit of having an art show in a house).
Incidentally, I listened to this NPR Life Kit episode about loneliness earlier this week. It’s really about the power of art to combat loneliness and all week long I’ve been thinking about the key takeaways of that episode in the context of this show. Here they are:
Takeaway 1: be curious and take risks. It feels risky - and kinda stressful - to try to organize something like this. For a few days I thought it might just be my work in one room of an otherwise empty house.
Takeaway 2: make something! “Make something that puts your thoughts and feelings and vision about who you are and what matters into a tangible artifact that then can express those thoughts and feelings to others.” I’ve made the work and now I’m “making” the show.
Takeaway 3: have conversations. I’ve had so many awesome conversations with people about this show over the last two weeks, including the artists showing work, a few artists that couldn’t participate, folks who want to know more and come to the opening, etc.
Takeaway 4: community. Find like-minded people. What I’m enjoying most about this process is bringing some of my online community into my real life. I hope this takeaway builds even more tomorrow and, who knows, over time.
Takeaway 5: be kind. For me, this one is really tied to #1 because it feels risky to reach out on the hope and belief that maybe other people want to show their work in an unconventional way, too.
And that’s that for this week. Again, if you’re local and you’re free between 2-5 tomorrow, come thru, as the kids say. Reach out for the address if you need it and maybe we can break a stack of pancakes (?) together.