New Studio, Updated Brain

Sound the trumpets, I made the big girl artist move and got a studio! It is too romantic for me to presently perceive as real. It is a 12 minute walk from my apartment. There is a coffee shop at it’s entrance. A cat named Garfield lives in the hall and visits me. One wall is old window panes with a view of the above ground subway trains. I sanded/painted the walls and deep cleaned the floors. Joe bought me an easel for my birthday/studio warming gift that is beautiful, sturdy and smells good. After I settled my stuff in there today, the first thing I did was place canvases and assemble stretcher bars on the walls to configure shapes and dimensions for my series. It felt like playing, yet doing something necessary and long over due.

My studio before I moved in, after sanding/painting the walls

An interview by Alice Neel in her later years talking about how making art is a privileged way to live, and that she feels guilty about it, is echoing in my head. She lived in Harlem and painted her friends, neighbors, and black visionaries of the time. I feel guilty for renting a studio to play around with paint and dimensions all day and create things that don’t already exist, and don’t contribute to the physical well being of my community…

Abdul Rahman, 1964. He was a local taxi driver, whom Neel painted several times.

The driver of my cab ride over to transport my studio stuff was an African immigrant. He thought the cardboard box that held my easel was a giant flat screen TV. He talked about how important it was to his brother back in Africa to send him money for a big tv, so he and his friends could gather and watch Soccer, which is their ultimate past time. My painting doesn’t even provide a release from the world! It re-contextualizes its problems through a blinding lens of romanticism, so the viewer can feel smart for connecting to. Is that what all art does, though?

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