I’ve said this phrase over and over in the recent months. Life is crazy. By this I mean, it’s unexpected, it’s magical, it’s twisty and sometimes it throws something at you that makes you stop in your tracks and re-evaluate everything. All this to say I’m happy to announce I’m back in California. After seeing some beautiful places and learning many new things, I’m back in a place that is somehow both familiar and new.
At the half way mark of the year I feel the need to take stock of the good that has happened so far. This year I had my artwork collected by the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. I created new images for a grant and exhibition in New York through the En Foco Organization. I visited many new places, the ruins in Copan, Honduras, the hillsides and beaches of El Salvador and I hiked my first volcano. However, what has made the biggest impact on me is the incredible love, generosity and kindness of my friends and family. It is a kindness that has surprised and humbled me over and again.
I have a lot to be grateful for and it feels good to remember that.
What I’ve realized is: just because life is crazy, doesn’t mean it’s not good.
En Foco grant exhibition at Longwood Gallery
New work: Contemplating Loss, 24×24″ Archival Pigment Print
The Ruins in Copan, Honduras
View from the top of Volcano Llamatepec, El Salvador
I believe in signs, directional markers and I believe that when you find something meaningful on your path it means that you are where you are supposed to be. This is why I collect, to gather moments or meaning.
I am sitting in my new garden, surrounded by butterflies, the sounds of birds and magnificent clouds overhead.
I recently left my home for a new land, and one of the meaningful things I left behind (besides an amazing group of friends and family that I already miss greatly) was a bonsai tree I had cared for for many years. As sad as this was for me to leave, in my new garden I found that the same type of little tree was growing against a wall. It’s blooming with the same white layered flowers as I had nurtured many miles away. It’s a small sign that makes me feel like I am right here in this moment exactly where I am intended to be and that brings a calm and peacefulness to this new experience.
I cannot believe it is March. Somehow, the winter passed and the birds are singing again. The trees all have tiny flower buds. I am trying to soak in the seasons, to notice every little change, the feeling of the air, the smells and sounds. In a few months I’ll be relocating to a place where it’s generally 90 degrees year round, I’m not at all complaining but I know it will be different and I’m trying to sear this all into my memory.
In facing some big changes, I’ve been thinking a lot about living in the present. I’ve been thinking about not getting all wrapped up in details but instead walking and enjoying wherever you might be. Not to say that I don’t have dreams of going places and ways to get there but right now I’m very much enjoying the journey. When I was in my first year of undergrad, I took one of those really broad – can’t even scratch the surface in this amount of time – art history classes. However, while in that dimly lit auditorium with the hum of the slide projector I found two places I knew I had to see one day. One is the Mosque at Córdoba and the other is The Scrovegni Chapel in Padua. These two places felt familiar, as if I needed to go back to them and knew that I would see them again.
It’s strange what triggers memory, but I started thinking about Giotto’s frescoes in the Scrovegni Chapel on Friday as I looked up at the ceiling of the bar I was in. It had these painted ceiling tiles that felt like the ceiling of a church/mission/cathedral. It reminded me of the amazing places I have yet to see and at the same time how much I can enjoy where I am right now.
The picture is below is the ceiling, along with some others I have on a tumblr at www.myguardianindian.tumblr.com. I hope you enjoy them, the dreams of places you to go and wherever you might be at this moment.
I’ve taken 5 flights in the past two weeks. In fact I’m on a plane right now traveling 562 miles per hour at 37,343 feet above the sea somewhere over Kansas. The year is coming to a close and it’s been a blur, a beautiful, full and exciting blur. This year I’ve become much more nomadic, I’ve moved twice, travelled across the country six times, packed and re-packed suitcases, and begun planning for a move to El Salvador sometime around June. However, what’s really fun about all this motion is the ability to stop and re-connect with friends and family along the way. Distance is narrowed by email and Facebook but nothing beats catching up over dinner or drinks face to face. I’ve realized over the past year just how important it is for me to be a part of a pack, a tribe. So thank you all for the smiles, the laughs, the conversation, the inspiration and for all of your generosity. Happy New Year!
Last weekend I was in New Mexico visiting family while the Balloon Fiesta was happening. I didn’t plan the trip around this event, it just coincided with our visit. Figuring it was worth seeing, we dragged ourselves out of bed at 4:30am and headed out to the field where it all happens.
Arriving just before dawn, we watched the first balloons being softly illuminated by their propane burners. There was an immediate sense of excitement and awe, it was like watching fireworks inside paper lanterns. You could get close enough to feel the hot air yet the field was so large you could watch the mass ascent of balloons at all stages. It was absolutely entrancing to watch these large delicate masses of fabric transform into shapes capable of flying.
They fly because of a strange dichotomy of forces, lightness and weight, hot and cool, stillness and breeze — dependent reciprocal relationships. It was so beautiful to watch the gracefulness and serenity of their balanced movement.
One week from today I will start preparations for my own flight — I will find out where in the world I’ll be living for the next two years. It’s a complicated process with complicated answers but it’s the end to a state of flux that I’ve existed in for the past few months, perhaps years.
I hope that I can fly to some new land with the same grace and ease that I witnessed last week. With deep breaths in and deep breaths out, I hope to keep a balance of new and familiar, fear and comfort, lightness and weight, hot and cool, stillness and breeze and fly in graceful, balanced movement.
I just spent the month at an artist residency at the Vermont Studio Center. I went there without a specific project in mind, just some film, feathers, black & white darkroom paper, cinnamon and a fuji instax camera (think rectangular polaroid).
On the first day I walked into a bare white studio with one goal — to fill the room in the upcoming month. I walked along the river collecting rocks and pieces of broken dishes, smoothed by the water. I went to flea markets and thrift stores looking for treasures. I found bones and rusty nails in the ground while gardening — I found shiny things to put in my crow’s nest of cinnamon bark. But in the end, what was truly powerful about the experience was finding connection — being part of a group of talented, intelligent, inspiring artists — community. Connecting with another person cannot be replaced by things no matter how hard you try and these intersections, meeting points are worth noting, with hope that your trajectory might allow for some future crossing. Standing out looking at the Milky Way I think we all put a tack on the map in our collective coordinate log, and I hope to see these stargazers again. And most of all I hope I brought a little star dust back with me in my pockets.
I had forgotten what it feels like to float down a river of melted snow — staring at a blue sky through tall trees — hearing the sound of the water and nothing else — it’s magic —
Having the time to think about my work – having the space to make it – it’s an incredibly free feeling and I feel very grateful to be where I am at this moment.