Thursday, January 15, 2009

Jamestown's Blizzard of Art

I have returned to Jamestown, North Dakota as I was once again selected as the artist in residence at the Jamestown Art Center. Part of my responsibilities includes teaching art to elementary and middle school students. On my very first day teaching in 2009, school was cancelled due to a blizzard, thus I had a snow day (which still gives me goosebumps, since most of my minnesotan childhood was spent trying to will 'snow days'). For those few who live in warmer climates 'snow days' are the glorious events in which the weather is too cold, the ground is too dangerous to drive on, or the snow has accumulated beyond the ability to function beyond your household. It is rare, and quite awesome. 'Snow days' transform early schoolwork, to sleeping in, snowmen and sledding (watch the simpson's:snow day for a perfect example).

I am still making the Jamestown adjustment. Some people question what adjustment is there from freezing -20 degree Minneapolis, for only slightly colder -25 degree Jamestown and weather aside, I tell them there is a BIG difference. Minneapolis is constantly moving, even at 2 or 3 a.m. in the morning, stores are open, bikers in scarves are peddling down busy and icy streets and I live less than a block from the Wedge, Minneapolis' famed health food store (the best one I've ever seen, and I've been to Portland). Jamestown features early store closing times, random plowing schedules, and only one legitimately decent grocer (unless you count walmart- which most residents do). Jamestown finds a way, no matter how prepared I am, to surprise me: the pacing is so different. Lucky for me, my girlfriend, Kelsey is with me; which makes the transition 1000 times more pleasant. The fact that we brought our box turtle, cat, and 2 birds with us is even more comforting. Yet, I still find myself up at all hours trying to work on art projects, writing blogs or doing my taxes. My 6th visit to Jamestown and I am still adjusting. The reverse effect happens when I return to Minneapolis, I struggle to keep up with the fast pace and it takes me days to get back on track.

I figured I would stop mulling over my thoughts about this adjusting phenomenon and instead give some insight into the next 5 months of my life. I return to teach 5 months of art to a crowd of familiar faces. My first project is creating a 3-d snowman, which the kids really love. I am also teaching in the middle school for the first time, which allows me to get to continue teaching a couple of my all-time favorite art students. I spend my time there creating art games, codes, comic art, and watercolor illustration. While my car hates the -20 degree temperatures, I happen to enjoy the stinging breeze on my way in and out of all the elementary schools. I love mounds of pure white snow, and seeing huge bursts of my breath filling the air in front of me. My only real issue is the three holes in my boots, caused mostly from the sledding art battle on January 3rd.

During this most recent move I have also been once again confronted with the pack rat inside of me. I have lifted boxes and boxes of old drawings, papers, half used art materials, and random supplies up and down too many steps to count. As I get older I am seeming to have more things than I do space, and I need to start getting rid of things. I am trying to convince people to buy some of my piles of art, which I am selling on my etsy account. Although, as I take pictures to upload, I shiver at the thought of packing and sending all of the work to buyers, especially at discount prices. I am thinking about making boxes of a dozen original works and selling them like artist grab bags.

As the thought of original art grab bags lingers, I buckle down to work on a number of projects that are more concrete. The most recent concept includes my "Canvas Killer Live" concept, in which I will be creating a new work of art live on webcam in five consecutive saturdays, and give each painting a 35 day period to sell. If the painting does not sell to anyone, I will reappear on web cam to 'kill' that orphan painting. I plan to start this project in late February. The promo video and project description should be out in the next few weeks. The web cam viewing will be free on my website. Tell your friends.

After such an exciting 2008, I cannot wait to experience 2009 from Jamestown and conjure my future from here. I hope you can come along for the ride.

1 comment:

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