Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Sometimes my studio space can be a good walk

After feeling tired from packing and plannig the final details for my Santa Barbara excursion, I decided what I needed most was a good walk. I put a pencil in my pocket and with thoughts of perch building and collage making, I took a evening stroll around the Chelsea galleries. A lot of the galleries leave their lights on and shows can be peeked at throught the windows, it's a walk-by type of gallery going, which on a cool evening, can be reinvigorating. Even the galleries are closed, I was able to a quick survey of some of the current shows.

I meandered from window to lit up window and then walked home. I made some notes, arranged some drawings in the basement laundry room on the table and went to bed.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Show Space

I'm blogging my press release tonight at 526 w. 26th Street, in the little closet. Soon to be in Santa Barbara, for
Austin Thomas, A-Framed Social Space at the Santa Barbara Contemporary Arts Forum

November 11, 2006-January 7, 2007

This November, Santa Barbra Contemporary Arts Forum (CAF) will presentthe third installment of the Salon project series—Austin Thomas, A-Framed Social Space. Over the past several years Thomas has created architectural structures specifically suited for gathering and interaction. Called "perches,” these sites are functional and artful spaces set-off from the everyday. For Salon, Thomas will transform CAF’s Norton gallery into an A-frame vacation home, complete with screen door and parlor. In this new perch, the artist will hold host a series of free public events—origami classes, book readings, storytelling, potlucks and more. Daily tea will also be served at 3PM to gallery visitors. When Thomas is not there to play hostess, visitors can enjoy and relax within this indoor retreat space.

Austin Thomas’ perches include people and place as an integral aspect and are not complete until they draw people into them. Rather than functioning as static objects or sculptural displays, Thomas understands the perches as event pieces that galvanize people. For A-Framed Social Space, Thomas promotes contemplation and interaction of all kinds, and offers a new point of view from which to take in one’s surroundings. From the perspective of Thomas’s perch, CAF is re-imagined as a place for observation, contemplation and consumption.

This is the third exhibition in the series of artist projects entitled Salon. Begun in April 2006, Salon artists transform CAF’s Norton Gallery into a moveable feast of programs, interventions, and opportunities for public engagement, as it launches a new series of artist projects entitled Salon. Artists are invited to create participatory work that blurs the boundaries between gallery, visitor, and artist. CAF has asked artists to address the tradition, begun in the living rooms of the 18th Century French women, to employ the interaction of a diverse group of literary, artistic and cultural figures to foster an open, transitory, and discursive space.

Santa Barbara Contemporary Arts Forum is non-profit, non-collecting alternative art space dedicated to the exhibition, education, and cultivation of the arts of our time. Celebrating its 30th Anniversary in 2006-2007, CAF is the premier venue for contemporary art between Los Angeles and San Francisco, presenting 15-18 exhibitions annually. A-Framed Social Space reflects our mission to sustain and encourage contemporary art and artists ensuring that creative expression and appreciation flourishes in and beyond our community.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Not in my basement

Working in a different basement today. I'm down in my sister-in-law's basement. I've made an area and am working away on mandalas. I was starting a pattern of weekends at 60 Wall St., and am sorry to interrupt it, but at least the work isn't being interrupted too much. It's hard to find time and more difficult to find space while visiting family, but it does make everything more enjoyable if you can slip away and go down to the basement and work.

I packed up some files before I left hoping that I could get a little done. After being inspired by Anne Ellegood's show at the Hirshhorn Museum,
The Uncertainty of Objects and Ideas: Recent Sculpture, it is nice to sit and think of issues of space in a totally new space-uncertain space, perhaps. The Hirshhorn and this basement are two totally different spaces and filled with totally different things and as a result my head hurts a little.

Visiting Washington, D.C., always gives me a headache for there's a lot of contradiction here, everywhere. There are great museums, lots of government buildings, the metro with it's nerdy passengers and their laptops out (one would never do that on a New York subway), and crowded suburbs with traffic jams surrounding shopping malls bordering a small district filled with monuments. Mandala-like possibilities present themselves on this small map of D.C., but thinking about it makes me want to lay down and I have to go work.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Washington, DC Space

Last night at the opening of The Uncertainty of Objects and Ideas: Recent Sculpture at the Hirshhorn Museum, the Under Secretary of Art, Ned Rifkin said he was crazy about my drawings and asked, where's your studio? To which I had to reply, to the Under Secretary of Art, "I don't have a studio, I have a post-studio, itinerant practice, where I work on different drawings on different days, at different places." And he responed by saying, "Cool, I like them even better now!" Thanks, Ned!!

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Pimp my Portability

I got a free hairut today and while getting chopped there was a lot of discussion of the artist's studio. Silvia, who cuts my hair, had just worked with Todd Eberle photographing artists for Vanity Fair's artist issue coming out in December. The issue will feature big artists in big studios, which made me think about big portability and that reminded me of my El Camino Perch. A sweet ride, no doubt big.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Build Drawings in the Basement

I am always ready to go work. That's one of my mottos for "free space" is to be ready to go. So I always have a tool bag and a project case handy. (pictured above)

I worked in the basement tonight and it was like a party down there. I guess a lot of people do laundry Monday night. It was fun to work and talk, lend quarters, talk about my upcoming project in Santa Barbara, trade stain removal advice, etc. I even did a couple of loads myself, which I don't usually do while drawing, but I needed some clean clothes.

One thing I've noticed is that my work practice seems less static than it did when I had a studio. I'm not afraid make changes in the "free Space." I'm always trying, hopefully to make better work, not just convenient or easy work. When I had a studio I remember being reluctant to rearrangement and change as often as I do now.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

The Floor is Really Fine

Sometimes I send the husband out and I watch a movie I've seen before or watch a documentary that requires too much attention that to not really watch it is fine, and I work. Tonight it's "Lost in Translation," and work to be done on the "folds project," which seems to all make sense. I'm sitting, folding and watching nonsense. Perfect.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

60 Wall Street and Lobi's Space

I worked at 60 Wall today and was called away to Lobi's Space. Lobi and her husband, my upstairs neighbors, needed a pinch hitter baby sitter, so after their kids fell asleep, I went up to their apartment and set up a temporary studio. I actually got a lot done, or something at least. It was a good change of space to work in their apartment, and they are very supportive "free space." I was going to work in the laundry room if they hadn't called and needed an artist/baby sitter.

They came home from dinner and we were all appreciated the time to work and the evening out, and they liked the mandala collage I completed. I work on 5 different types of drawings in "Free Space;" mandalas, something I call "fill-ins" (collages about space), "folds" (an origami-like method), "builds" (sculptural, blah, blah..), and unstraight drawing with crooked rulers.

Thursday, October 19, 2006


These are my first pictures with my new-to-me, on-loan camera from a "free space" sponsor. So what do I do with the camera? Shoot the washer machine in my favorite "free space," the laundry room! I have also included a picture of my work table.

Over the past few days I have been finalizing details for the Santa Barbara project, soon to be my new "free space" for the month of November. The show is up through the 7th of January, so in the month of December I'm trying to have other people come out to Santa Barbara (for free) and host events in my living room-sized installation.

Hendrik Gerrit has agreed to come out, at the encouragement of LMCC's Director Tom Healy and present a lecture/workshop on temporary space for artists, titled "Free Swing." Maybe we'll end up with a new Santa Barbara residency program?

I have lots of questions to answer over the next few months of "free spacing;" like where does free meet need, and how does motherhood intersect with art-making, and when does work happen, and what is the resulting object or is there a specific one related to "free space?" And is one ever satisfied with the time given and the space provided? I will search out answers in the "free space."

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

No nap, no time, but I'm gone now!

Grant didn't nap today, so I had no time to email Lowell Pettit and tell him, "hey great seeing you in the NYT on Sunday!" And no time to email Jerry Saltz and say, "Thanks for calling my blog...very smart and provocative and freeing and moving and heartfelt!"

But now the daddy has come home to relieve me after watching Grant for the past 39 hours, so I'm gone to the basement to work out a wall drawing and be with my artistic identity!

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Sorting Storage

I had intended to work in the laundry room tonight, but I got distracted in the storage area next to the laundry...Working there instead of next to the dryers.

Lately I feel like my two favorite "free spaces" are 60 Wall Street and the laundry room of my building, I might be content just working in those two spots, and I think that will be my plan until I leave for Santa Barbara.

The good news is that one of my "free space" sponsors has loaned me their digital camera. FREE CAMERA...Until I manage to get a new one, so I'll try and use it instead of my phone, even though the phone camera sometimes suits the situation.

A "free space" speculation: I think when you have a regular studio that you go to, you are reminded of your artistic identity when in that space, but when working in irregular places and different spaces you have to think of other types of reminders. What holds one's artistic idenity when it's not a designated full-time space?

Saturday, October 14, 2006

The Sidewalk, 60 Wall St., and 526 w. 26th

I "free spaced" on the sidewalk today! I needed the address of Rivington Arms so I sat on a stoop and pulled out my computer, was instantly connected to the internet, and found the address. Now I am working at 60 Wall Street, which is supposed to be wireless, but I can never get it to work? The guards here were very helpful to me today, moving a table so that I would be next to an outlet for my low battery computing. So I'm charging up, but not connected, so Im' going to close my computer, snap a few pictures with my phone, then review my notes for the Santa Barbara show preparations and then sketch something. Check out the palm trees!

Feeling brave...I'm finishing up things this evening at 526 w.26th Street, the storage closet, working on a collage for the Visual AIDS's annual benefit: Postcards from the Edge. Pictured, is a very blurry image of the completed collage, I really need to get a digital camera...

Friday, October 13, 2006

Using the living room floor

I'm drawing on the floor in the living room today while Grant naps, for I'm going to some openings tonight in Williamsburg. I'm sorting through all my collages and drawings in order to decide what to take to Santa Barbara. I'm planning on creating 5 "exploding" idea boards, cork boards that will take a mandala form and be culled from my drawing practice.

The mandala which is a shape I use a lot-a focusing tool, with a relational aesthetics force emanating from that center...What? Essentially I'm trying to shape a form around my thoughts using the cork board mandalas as a foundation.

Just finished watching Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Prices, the Wal-Mart movie. Eeek, those workers almost work for free, not good, no Wal-Mart for me!

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Artist in Residence

There's been so much moving in and out of my apartment building that even for me my uncomfort-level has been raised, so I've taken to calling myself the building's artist in resident whenever anyone even puts a small load in the washer. I've had to assert a certain authority. I'm claiming a space, a free space.

And speaking of free, I turned in my Joan Mitchell Foundation grant application today. Keep your fingers crossed!

3 Chairs, 2006, ipe wood and MDF, pictured here at the Abingdon Art Center. Even though this is my work, I didn't have a picture of it from this exhibition. I took this photo from on of my favorite art blog, one that covers primarily Philadelphia's art scene, roberta fallon and libby rosof's art blog.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Open Studio

So many artists, so many open studios. I'm glad I don't have to do that again in my post studio practice. Posting a few photos of work here to open things ups.

I am really thinking about the evolution of space, and my plan to expand the "free space" project in a couple different directions. First, I think I can use my friend's "free space." Ironically, he has free office space, which is sort of a barter situation, always a good thing. I am also cultivating a free idea dispersal project, for we could all use a good idea and sometimes a little free help. Ask me.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

No More Studio

I've decided I don't like working at 526 w. 26th street. I think I would rather work in the more slightly public realm, push myself, go back to the basement and establish my status as my apartment building's artist-in-residence or work at 60 Wall Street with the birds and the homeless (harmless folk). I also feel like I need to expand the scope of available free spaces. And I also feel like this desire to work within the public realm will help prepare me for my Santa Barbara project where I'll be "in" my piece every day interacting with the public.

I don't think private studio space is not helping my process move forward. The building of space, thinking about space, making drawings of space has to happen in a more active place, and not the private studio. I also really want to get rid of my art storage space at 526 w. 26th, too much baggage. I really need to purge. In an effort to purge, I just put more artwork up on the Fine Art Adoption Network site, including the piece pictured. I plan to add even more artwork.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

The building part is done

I went back to 526 w. 26th Street just to sort of organize myself after a week of building out in Greenpoint. Jeremy and I completed the building part of the Santa Barbara piece and now it is time to fill it with a social structure, make a social sculpture.

Transitioning from the building back to the portable studio just takes a little shift of the papers, pens and pencils. I visited my little art storage and dusted off my bags and now it's time to really prepare a "freespace" for Santa Barbara.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Chair Space

We finished making the benches today and tomorrow it's cork board time. The piece is like a living, a "free space," to hang out in and have tea, look at a little art (hanging on a cork board wall), and listen to music, read a book or attend a lecture.

It's good to be building in this procactive way, even if it's not entirely free-in my expanding sense of the word. I have a project budget from CAF and am fixing on it. I think this piece will influence other free spaces in the future.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Supervising from the Shop Floor

Today it's build the space! Here's a picture of Jeremy Jones, fabricator extraordinarie. I'm building an A-framed inspired space for the Santa Barbara Contemporary Arts Center and today Jeremy and I began with the windows! If you can't build for free it's better to be proactive and we are going to get everything done by Friday!

Monday, October 02, 2006

Prepping the Space to Build

For the next few days I will be building my piece for the the Santa Barbara Contemporary Arts Forum (CAF), which means renting a wood shop and hiring some one to help me. The whole project should be straightforward and pictures of the process will be posted here.

My ideal spot to build my projects is out in Ohio at my father-in-law's house, for he's got a wood shop and it becomes a real family project and has a strong "perch" (defined as elaborate community-feel here) feel. The pictures above are from my last perch project build in Ohio.

The space in Ohio is also FREE. Plus, Grant gets to see his grandparents, Don (Papa) and his wife Cindy. We all share in child care and in the creative process, it's an ideal working environment. We all had a good time last time and I would really like to expand this "free space."

But for now it's Brooklyn and we'll see how it goes.