For me, BlueSky Project has been an opportunity to return to my studio practice in earnest. My residency here has been the high mark of a year-long transition and has allowed me to reconnect with my creative expression. Indeed, the collaborative nature of this program has also taught me a lot about my practice and the way in which I work.
After spending many years as an administrator and an educator, I realized that I had moved far away from the intensity of working out ideas and concepts through a regular creative practice. It is through this practice that I manage to stay connected with myself and also with the world around me. In my professional life, I was not healthy nor was I happy so last year, I decided to devote myself to just being an artist and I have re-immersed myself in the creativity which has come to mean so much in my life.
The simple idea of being able to work in my studio without competitive commitments has been unique and working in a collaboration with others has made for a rich and productive eight weeks. I will admit that it was difficult to open up my studio practice for others because there is “stuff” that happens in the studio that no one typically gets to be a part of or see. Having seven people staring back at you when some of that “stuff” happens took some getting used to but most of the time, those seven people were interested and supportive–and sometimes critical–of my ideas as they were developing. That vulnerability took some getting used to but also created an avenue for thoughts and ideas to flow. Most importantly, I really made an effort for this to not be a classroom situation and I allowed myself to “let my hair down” in as a way of keeping things fun and fresh and energized. I did a lot of things I never would have done as a teacher but felt that I stayed true to the manner in which I work and maintained the attitude of the work as well. We did a lot of work over the past two months but I think that my studio was as fun for my team as it was for me.
If I were to sum up my experience here at BlueSky Project, I would say that I learned a lot about my studio practice and the way I work. This was made possible having the microscope place squarely on me and what I was doing, while also seeing how my team reacted under different circumstances. We had good days and bad days and that was okay because it was all part of the process. But, coming out of this experience with a better sensitivity to how I work was unexpected. My student artist and my youth participants allowed me to look at my work through their eyes and that is a gift that will stay with me for a very long time. Thanks Moondrain Zombies…you guys were awesome. Now let’s dance!