Friday, February 20, 2009

in preparation for Kodiak

I am currently preparing for a residency at Kodiak Island. Part of the program is working with high schools students and the staff; I complete workshops and presentations and as the guest artist this is also a time to reflect on my own work and expressions. I will be documenting the student's progresses and processes and hope to video some interesting dialogs and exchanges. In my studio I am doing some wall studies call studio vignettes. They are assemblages of bones, drawings and paintings and mixed media objects. I consider these light studies and prep work;I get to add a bit here and there, listen to NPR, reflect on other work that I intend to complete when I have more ample blocks of studio time too. I will take these arrangements and continue expanding this concept in Kodiak.

Monday, February 16, 2009

shore studio

Above is my studio in our backyard. I am fortunate to have a separate place to work in Anchorage because finding room to create artworks can be difficult in this city. But, we stumbled across this find; an extra place to fit haunts, memories, desires and so many expectations I have devised for myself are cramped into this space of making. When I lived in Los Angeles, I lived with my artwork; woke up to it and faced the problems of the unexpected insights, joys, and artist angst. Presently in Anchorage, I walk to my studio; bring materials and tools; some days tramping back and forth processing my thoughts and actions too.

I just finished the book Revolutionary Road by Richard Yates. It takes place in the 50's; a young couple who fights with the banality of suburban living - the house, two kids and tiresome job revolves around this premise. The author's writing style was a bit too bland for my taste and it reminded me of Fitzgerald in tune, while bringing me to comment on the death of John Updike, who was the epitome of eloquence and prose so vast in delicious human sensibilities.

Saturday, February 14, 2009


I use to downhill ski back east, but nothing compares to the skate skiing that I have taken up in Alaska. They have magnificent trails all around the city. Each year, I try to expand on the trail system that I know and I try go a bit further; find other ways and other networks, climbs that challenge my workout. There are the straightforward trails like Westchester Lagoon where you can go for miles along the inlet. Presently, I am working on the Hillside trails; rigorous climbs and unassuming trails that seem to go on forever and you can get quickly lost and put off. Years ago, I started working every day on this craft; a feat of balance and propelling your body forward and if you fail to move, you go no where. It is a conscientious and continuous stream of cardio exercise. In theory, I love it, but once I am out, I am confronted with the serious labor ahead of me. And, the mystery about it all, is that sometimes you just flow and glide, you go and float through a wonderland of dusted trees of white and an air of fabulous scent that you could almost eat.

Sunday, February 8, 2009


As much as I travel around and see other places, distant countries and cultures, I feel like I live in a remote part of the world which can be considered a paradise in itself. Alaska, for all it's quirks (and being from Palin land), has redeemed itself to me onto another plane. The skiing is superb; fabulous trails that go on for miles without seeing another person in sight. (And it is all free!) The recreation in Anchorage, my home at the moment, is endless. Also, the Native Alaskan mentality is rich and plenty; it takes some time getting to know and understand it. I have made a home here. I use to complain that the art was thin in places; it is, but I can get out and see other countries and places and bring back memories from afar and still create a rich cultural experience. As an entrepreneur - an artist and educator, I get ample time in the studio to work, contemplate, ski, cook, read, do thorough research; among other luxuries, the list goes on. Alaska has made me spoiled AND I have to watch that I don't get too comfortable because being comfortable always makes me suspicious. Who knows, maybe I have been missing out on this reality or never thought I deserved it.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

so called comfort at Sagada - 12/15/08

The bus ride to Sagada was an exercise in meditation. You cannot read anything; there is too much bouncing around but I enjoy the frequent bathroom stops every few hours, one in particular at the local Comfort Room. This facility was very raw. I never sit on the toilet seat; squatting and peeing as fast as I can insures me a good isometric workout. Afterwards, I dip one of the old plastic jugs into a drum of water and flush my waste out. There are several women around, all doing the same; wanting to be liberated from this ridiculous act. The bus ride is long and winding and the small breaks; seeing the town folk, the farmers, the old wrinkled sun drenched women and men coming toward our bus, each with their fruits of labor to sell for small change, beautiful foods, plenty of green all stirs me and engulfs me. It is breathtaking and at the same time painful experiencing this landscape. Some of the small shacks that I see, their homes would not be imaginable to live in and the wretched poverty upsets me. I see a group of laughing young girls mount the stairs of our bus to catch a local ride and one teenager was missing her two front teeth. This stirs an anxiousness in me, a weird disconnect and I keep trying to reassure myself with nagging questioning if this is all okay with me.