The following is the only blog post with no precursor (of over three hundred eventual posts before I retired my original blog), written on February 7, 2013. At that point, I was just twelve months into the artistic change of direction mentioned below. Little did I know that three years after hitting the “Publish” button on that date, my metaphorically safe “learning to run” phrase would mean literally walking away from my job in order to (back to metaphor) run faster and longer.
A year ago, in February of 2012, I made a literal break from the commercial work that I had made for the previous fourteen years, and began making art after a two-decade hiatus. Without wanting to rewrite my artistic journey, I should clear up the seeming 14 year/2 decade discrepancy. For the first seven years after “shelving art” in my early 20’s I really had no interest in, or more than a few fleeting thoughts of returning to, making art, a fact that was probably quite evident to the students I taught at the Bemis School of Art in my mid-twenties. Young as I was, I was a burn-out.
In my late 20’s, however, a resumption of something akin to art began when I started a business, called Artworks (what else?), and started building custom props, film and video sets, signage, cabinetry, and basically whatever else people might hire me for. Yet making stuff not only on commission but to another’s general or specific directions is an activity quite different than making self-directed work, especially at the head and heart level, and so for the next fourteen years, while keeping my hands busy, my head/heart would, on occasion, mull over the possibility of making a return to art some day. The timing of the moment when possibility became probability, a year ago, while unexpected on one level, made absolute sense on another, and so here I sit reflecting on what has transpired at the one year milestone.
In short, it’s already been quite a change, like going from crawling to walking, and it feels like I’ve only just started to take my first steps. To extend the analogy (while leaving room for interpretation), I’m excited about learning how to run.
photo credit: Scott Johnson