This week, I am on vacation in Paris, my first time visiting the city, and today is day five of ten on my trip. I wanted to share my inspiration et mon voyage so far. Generally, the city itself is very beautiful and I've found it to be inspiring: the architecture and style of boutiques, cafes, bakeries. The people and culture is constantly buzzing and vibrant, and it has been great fun to practice my French which I learned in college. I have enjoyed seeing art and my visits to museums both large and small.
On Sunday, I visited the Centre Pompidou and the Cartier Foundation and have found wonderful inspiration. I went to see an exhibit at the Cartier Foundation, which made me feel like a local. The exhibit titled "Southern Geometries: Art from Mexico to Patagonia" was interesting to experience geometric art in a variety of styles and mediums from Latin America, some inspired by Indigenous cultural traditions, and spanning ancient times to recent work of today.
After this show, I went to the Centre Pompidou to see the massive modern art collection housed there. It was amazing to see many canonical paintings in person, many of the. colors still vibrant, as if the works were still brand new. I made sure to get as close as possible to these works by artists such as Kandinsky, Picasso, Matisse, and Braque to see the technique and absorb all of the detail and nuance of these Fine Art masters. After the visit, I had a lovely dinner at Georges Restaurant, a rooftop bistro with amazing large scale sculptures and views of the glittering Eiffel Tower.
One inspiring visit of note, yesterday I visited an Atelier of a Parisian designer from Milan in Le Marais. The shop is called Atelier Nucci and the designer makes beautiful, unique pieces, which are tailor made by artisans in Italy. I had a meaningful exchange and purchased a beautiful mustard colored duster sweater from her shop. She was sewing pillow cases out of fine velvet while I browsed, we chatted and I lingered for a while. When I went to purchase, she made me a pouch right on the spot from the fine-velvet fabric to take my purchase home in. It was a special experience I will never forget.
I'm so grateful for my friends who participated and to those who attended. This last open studios was the right kick in the pants that I needed to motivate me to continue producing work. I realize that it has been THREE YEARS since I have stepped foot in the darkroom. 😱
I can't believe how much time slipped by.
I got some really great responses to the work at this past open studios and I see how giving these colorful works surrounding space on the white wall is crucial to their power.
I also feel like these pieces have the right amount of spontinaeity in the process and the right amount of polish on the surface in contrast to some of the work I've made in the past; they are mysterious and illusory. I love that people are experiencing that tension when they see the work. I received one comment that they felt trompe l'oeil, which felt like a win.
I always enjoy pushing the process though. How can I continue to develop this work? For now it seems it is simply a matter of production; I need to keep with this process and continue to produce at this moment. I'm excited to get back to work on the Chemigram Series.
The tension between analog and digital excites me, the play between the physical and intangible. I enjoy breathing new life into a fading medium--the world of film photography--and revive it as an electric dream.
I made this piece last year when I was just returning to painting. I took a two year hiatus having just finished grad school. I was shifting focus, working tirelessly to pivot my career into Graphic Design. It took some time and I struggled to find and shift into a career path that incorporated my creative passions yet provided me with a comfortable lifestyle.
I made this work shown above in my one-bedroom apartment, feeling like I was working in a vacuum having just moved back to L.A. after living in the Bay Area for seven years. Much of my art community was rooted in the Bay Area, and when I was in school I used to working in a spacious studio, surrounded by other working artists.
I had a lot of doubts about continuing with art, I was nearly resolved to abandon it entirely after the struggle I had been through with my career. Being an artist requires a lot of resources, time, and energy (both physical and emotional), that I just wasn’t sure I could muster. Art for art’s sake started to seem less compelling, I didn't feel like I had anything significant to make work about. What was the point?
At the same time, I couldn't stay away from art world either. Being an artist often means seeing and thinking differently, and the art world is its own very distinct reality. It has its own language, creative process, and has its own reference points that I am very familiar with having studied it for so many years. The art world can be welcoming and open-minded. It is, at times, utopian. I still felt a part of it. It was still very much ingrained in my identity: at my core, I am an artist.
But something shifted in 2018, around the time of my 27th birthday, that set these desires in motion and brought me some success. I was craving spontaneity and adventure beyond the routine, some way to bring back wonder and awe into my life. And then suddenly the chance to share a studio space with friends came to me, I had to make a choice quickly of whether to take it or not, and decided to make the leap.
This set in motion my journey back into the art world and into the new L.A. art landscape. So much has developed this year with good luck and hard work. I now make it to openings and have made connections with other artists, curators, and advisors. I’ve rekindled my past connections with former mentors and colleagues. I have made new work and deepened my art practice, having more space to go inward (outside of the pressure cooker environment of grad school). I share a studio with friends and participated in two open studios. I recently sold and shipped out a large piece to a design firm in Chicago. I just participated in an empowering group show hosted by Maiden LA, an organization that aims to dissolve hierarchies within the art world.
Many of these opportunities came about through serendipity and chance, things falling into place and life just flowing. What I’ve learned from all this is: commit to your art, believe in yourself, envision your desires, pay attention to the signs, and take every opportunity.
Here's what I've taken with me:
Your work has value.
Make the work without judgement.
Don't overthink it.
Trust the process.
Make a mess.
Keep your eyes open.
Support other artists.
Own your power.
Be grateful, humble, open.
Things will manifest and surprise you. ✨
Recommended reading: The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success