all my fantasies have been realized

I'm done! Well, about 99.9% done as of 8:30 last night. By the time I got home, showered, had a bite to eat, and watched ANTM I was too tired to blog about my day and turns out I have plenty of time to catch up this morning.

I spent a little time yesterday morning working on my statement. With edits from Neal and one of my advisers, I'm feeling pretty good about it. Even with the late start, though, I ended up spending about ten hours in the gallery yesterday, getting there around 10:30 in the morning. I spent the first hour installing my contribution to another artist's show (which was annoyingly tedious, but my fault for buying a very complicated shelf system for it). Later in the day I was walking through his space and noticed that someone had eaten some of the M&Ms. Hello?! It's art - you're not supposed to touch it, let alone eat it! I'll have to top it off today before the opening, and I'll be sure to snap a couple photos while I'm at it.

Anyway, after that I got to work in my space, tweaked my measurements a bit, laid out my columns, started securing them to the floor. After I finished that part around 2 p.m. the rest of the work went pretty quickly. Setting up the centerpiece, so to speak, and the take-away cards was like putting the icing on the cake, or adding the cherry to the sundae, or however that expression goes.

But then time seemed to slow. Lighting took me a couple of hours, mostly because there was no one to move me around in the Genie lift, so I had to go up and down on my own about a million times. The first couple of wobbly rides on that thing were a little nerve-wracking but after two or three lights were positioned and aimed, I was kind of enjoying it. So I guess maybe doing the lighting was actually the icing on the cake...

For the last couple of hours I was there I installed and painted the shelf that will hold extra postcards and my statement, and applied my name lettering to the wall (maybe that was the cherry on the sundae...there are apparently many layers to this thesis trifle). I walked around and looked at my installation a lot during that time, while I waited for layers of paint to dry. I felt better by the end of the night, but initially, once it was all done and lit, I felt incredibly insecure about it, exposed. It's exciting to finally see something that's been in my head for the past few months, and I'm pretty happy with it overall, but there are moments when I worry that it's just downright chintzy. A little bit of chintz is part of the piece, but I don't want it to look like it was made by a class of kindergarteners. No offense to five-year-olds, but this is my thesis project, after all.

As for today, well, I've got that statement to polish off and print, and a binder of various information to add it to. There's this whole photo opportunity that will happen tonight in conjunction with the opening reception that I've yet to fully think through, so I guess I should work on that a bit. I have a couple of tentative outfits planned, but I might take a quick jaunt to the mall, just in case the perfect thesis show opening reception outfit is there, waiting for me to buy it. I might just have time for that yoga routine I fantasized about earlier in the week. And then it's off to the show this afternoon. The photo above is a teaser to tide you over until tomorrow (or the weekend, at the latest), when I'll post more photos of the installation and the opening reception. I'm already getting butterflies...


thesis show installation: day 2

Two down, two to go. Well, maybe just one to go, if I'm lucky. It doesn't look like much but today I finished attaching the hardware that will secure the tubes to the floor, wrapped the paper strips around the tubes, and made some initial measurements that will help with layout tomorrow. I'm stiff and sore all over and my knees are bright pink from kneeling on the hardwood floor for the first fourteen tubes until the gal setting up in the downstairs gallery offered some of the extra cotton batting she had to use as makeshift knee pads. That was an enormous improvement and I got the last eleven tubes wrapped in just about an hour (compared to the nearly three hours it took me during the morning shift). I'm determined to finish my statement tonight so I can put in a solid twelve hours in the gallery tomorrow. So far - other than the statement, that is - I'm slightly ahead of schedule. More to follow.


neither here nor there: the show

Boy, was I looking forward to Thanksgiving this year and I was not disappointed. Earlier in the semester I wasn't even sure I'd be able to get away, the holiday weekend being the last before installation would begin for my thesis show. But as the holiday approached I had more and more accomplished so that by the time Thursday rolled around, I was actually able to relax and do little more than eat every couple of hours for two full days. My sister-in-law did most of the cooking and she really outdid herself. Two different kinds of stuffing, two vegetable casseroles, possibly the creamiest mashed potatoes I've ever had, about half-a-dozen desserts, chocolate lollipops that looked like turkeys on our plates, and even a blob of butter fashioned into the likeness of the turkey we were about to devour.

I even had the weekend to finish up some lingering details and rent a truck that ended up being way too big for my 25 tubes, five or six rolls of painted paper, and a couple of boxes of other stuff.

But at least I got everything there this morning and helped a fellow artist with some of her installation materials. Day one was short since I had my last class this afternoon, but so far, so good. Just dropping stuff off and getting comfortable in my space felt pretty great.

Surreal at first, since I've been to most of the eight or so thesis shows in the Tufts galleries over the last two and a half years. Anyway, all I did today was lay out my paper, spread out my tubes, and start in on the hardware.

I'll be there again all day tomorrow and from 9 in the morning 'til 9 in the evening on Wednesday (and I'll try to keep up the daily updates leading up to the opening on Thursday). We have a few hours on Thursday as well, before the opening reception begins at 5:30, but right now I have this fantasy that I'll be finished by Wednesday night so that on Thursday I can sleep in, maybe do a little yoga, take my time getting ready, and finalize my artist statement, which I've yet to begin. In a related fantasy I steal an undergrad's statement I read sometime last semester, which went a little something like this: "It is what it is. And what it isn't, it probably will be someday." Somehow, I don't think that'll fly for this show.

Oh, and by the way, the title has actually evolved over the last couple of months from the title of this series of blog posts to the following phrase I pulled from my various thesis-related readings: what lies between here and there. I was concerned that the expression "neither here nor there" would suggest a nonchalance I don't feel is terribly justified, after spending the last six months working almost exclusively on this project. As one of my thesis advisers cautioned, "You should care." And I do.



After a really productive long weekend, this week I've succumbed to bouts of time-wasting distraction and avoidance. I'm not sure why. Things are going well and I don't feel panicked at all. In fact, some days I feel like I have a little extra time on my hands, but I think my brain is so consumed by this thesis that I can't really focus on anything else.

There are a couple of websites, in particular, that have provided me with hours of entertaining diversions. I'm a little late to the LOL Cats internet craze, apparently (it took Neal explaining a LOL Cat-like comment on a friend's Flickr image); I almost couldn't pull myself away from this site. I was laughing so hard my stomach hurt and I cried real tears. I'm still not completely sure why pictures of cats with poor spelling are so damn funny. Some are funnier than others. The image currently at the top of the page is pretty funny. I like the ones with cats in stuff doing something.

And then there's this post, which Neal forwarded to me from some foodie blog, about this guy's Domino's experiment. I enjoyed the post so much I read it twice and then spent about an hour browsing the entire blog. I aspire to write as well about equally or maybe even more ridiculous and funny things one day.

Finally, of course, let's not forget the beauty of television. Television is such a comfort to me right now. It gets me through the long days of roll-painting strip after strip of paper. I'm a couch potato for some portion of just about every night but oddly find myself watching fewer and fewer shows. I can't handle new characters or story lines on a new show like Chuck, for example, or the early disappointment of a lackluster new season of Heroes. No time for that (that's what winter break is for). I need entertainment and I need it fast.

I was bummed last week (or was that two weeks ago?) when ANTM aired the wrap-up episode, but overall, I think I'm actually enjoying this season a little more than the last two or three cycles. Some of the photo shoots have actually been pretty decent and Tyra is not nearly as obnoxious as I feared. Well, okay, there was that whole music video thing (oh, the subtle differences between hoochie and high fashion). I was really pretty sad to see Sarah go, but this week I had it in for Heather. I don't know why but she's been getting on my nerves the last week or so. She's pretty good in front of the camera and she's likeable enough but she's way more confidant than she puts on and that's just annoying. I don't know...I feel like her Asperger's Syndrome is the new plus size conundrum. Like, I doubt she'll win, but maybe she'll pave the way for future model hopefuls with the condition, and each cycle the gal with AS will go a little further in the competition. It seems like there's always one girl who gets the public vote (literally, week after week on the show and in reviews, etc.) for reasons that are fairly inconsistent with the theme of the show. I think there are a fair number of people who despise the entire modeling industry but still feel motivated to watch the show. Anyway, if Heather can pull off the public speaking, runway walking, and continue the good photo-taking, then I'd be happy if she wins, but otherwise, I say she needs to go. I don't care what syndrome she has.

Anyway, enough with the negativity. I think my new fave, although she doesn't get the most screen time, is Jenah, but my prediction for who might actually win is Saleisha. I can see the show's prize sponsors already working their influence and she seems like a pretty safe bet. We'll see how they hold up in China.


comfort food

You might have noticed I haven't been blogging much about the thesis...or much else, for that matter. I'm usually pretty open with my process and imagery, but for some reason I feel like the installation I'm working on for my thesis show is a brand new magic trick that has to remain as cryptic as possible until it's unveiled on the 29th. There have been some changes since my recipe post, however. For example, there are only 22 tubes now, no owl figurines (although I have a feeling they'll make their way into a future side project), not nearly as much screenprinting ink as I'd anticipated, some additional lumber and hardware I wasn't originally counting on...Oh, and make that six weeks of second-guessing, another week or so of brainstorming, and only about three and a half weeks of frantic production.

Fortunately, for the next couple of weeks my schedule is so light I'm almost embarrassed to admit it. Between now and November 26th, the first day of installation, I have one dinner engagement, one-half day of class, one doctor's appointment, and one Thanksgiving holiday. And much of the work is done, including my general postcard to advertise the show. Rather than try to photograph some element of the installation, I went with a floorplan approach, which will hopefully function with the installation in a slightly more interesting way than a simple advertisement would.

In fact, I'm suddenly feeling so relaxed about the whole thing that I'm even contributing to the group effort that will make up the thesis exhibition of a fellow artist. There's a lot of back-story to the piece that this image will soon become. In other words, there is a reason the image is made up of M&M's in custom colors as close as I could find to cyan, magenta, yellow, and black, and there's a reason this image will be screenprinted in the 4-color separation process (think "meta"). The real M&M's may or may not be included in the final piece. I'm not sure yet. I guess it will somewhat depend on whether or not I can keep from eating them over the course of the next couple of weeks. With the stress of my impending thesis show, I've been seeking comfort in the obvious (food, like my favorite candies shown here, and t.v.) and the not so obvious (frequent, spontaneous trips to the mall and switching occasionally from NPR to soft rock radio stations while I'm driving in my car).