Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Past and future

The scarab represents renewal, regeneration, and growth. Literally interpreted as the
"divine manifestation of the early morning sun." Also represents spontaneous creation and is
associated with the Egyptian sun god Khepri (resurrection.)

The above is an Egyptian scarab on papyrus (not mine, I found it online to use for an image reference.) I started working on another piece involving a scarab this week, but it's nowhere near photographing yet.

I've been researching various art grants for a few weeks now, and am starting to get the paperwork and applications together in the hope that I may convince someone to give me money to continue doing what I'm doing - making art. I've found a few that I'm currently working on, all for visual art where I will send slides or digital copies of my paintings and answer questions and provide references and whatever else they ask for. Even though I've been doing this for years, I still feel very much like a beginner, like I should be much further along than I am so far.

I was always working, dealing with whatever life issues I happened to have at the moment - there were a few shows here and there, and often times periods of prolific creation were stunted by long months of zero inspiration and little productivity. It took me awhile after Burning Man and quitting my job to allow myself to experiment and really get excited about this whole thing again. That's why going to art school was so amazing - you're encouraged to experiment and given time to develop your body of work. Once I started putting myself mentally "in my studio", I was much more comfortable starting and stopping projects, letting myself become inspired to make work like I used to, with passion fueling my fire and an uncontrollable desire to create, except with out the inevitably harsh crit come Monday morning.

I didn't paint very much during college. At MICA I learned very quickly that if you were going to be painting, you had to be some kind of prodigy art star to impress anyone. "Painting's been done," they said. So to spare the small amount of self esteem I still had left, I did the best thing I could in that environment - experiment.

I took tons of photography, sound and video classes, and a few "painting" classes that I never painted in. I would make videos instead - they were my paintings. I was just painting with another medium. I made costumes too - usually dresses constructed out of strange materials like plastic bags and shower curtains (sometimes poorly, but that wasn't the point.) That project ended up being part of my thesis. I just last year managed to get it up on YouTube - here it is:

The Trouble With Progress, 2005

Watch it sometime if you haven't already. I made the costumes, the video projected behind it, figured out the choreography and edited the video (I had help shooting the event since I was backstage with my models) - and enlisted tons of help from my friends with everything from crab-walking backwards down the runway to composing the soundtrack. And THIS, ladies and gentlemen, is the background to why I love doing what I have the past few years in the performance genres with Simplafire and Scorch - I get to be part of putting on a show, a spectacle. Somewhere along the line I got the courage to get up in front of an audience (and this makes no sense, I was terribly cripplingly shy as a kid.) AND I WANT TO DO IT AGAIN. (See below : a clip from the debut Scorch performance from PEX Summer Festival this year...)

Scorch Debut Clip from lauren raske on Vimeo.

I've come across a few grant foundations so far that are geared more toward video, media and performing arts. While I'm still going to apply (with enthusiasm) to all the applicable visual art grants I can find, the gears are turning... most of the issues I've run across putting on these shows is lack of commitment from performers and lack of money. I'm almost positive the former would significantly change if we had funding and were able to make it a worthwhile investment for everyone involved. I'm not the best fire spinner out there - and hell like I claim to be - but it's still an amazing talent to the rest of the population and incredible fun. If I could figure out how to apply Part A with Part B - I think that's got a ton of potential to be something really spectacular - and if someone could give us money to do it, even better.

Hopefully this next year will be just as prolific as I am envisioning. It helps to have an almost completely open schedule (and to not have a terrible, oppressive corporate job to kill my soul a little every day), and for the most part I've managed to stay positive and have faith in my decisions. (Reflection of the day c/o Alex: "I'd rather be broke and happy than flush and sad.")

Anyway, this may be my last post before 2011 - and I promise the next one will have new pictures of work in progress and other fun things - so everyone please enjoy the rest of 2010 and have a happy and safe NYE.

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