Recently, I decided to name my new-to-me old house Grey Gardens. Surprisingly, I find the reference comforting. It makes me laugh, sometimes out of sheer desperation. Our house will never be a mansion in conventional terms, but the new name reminds me of her potential.
I understand now why home renovation blogs, magazines, and tv shows are so popular. With each new problem that surfaces (does it ever stop?) the need to find someone, anyone, who is in a similar situation becomes increasingly compelling. Somehow, even if the walls are crumbling and your caster based cabinet is eerily rolling across the room from an incompatibility of gravity and aging hardwood floors, it all seems more manageable if you know there are others facing the same challenges.
We all need the support and connection of a community, this is especially true for artists. Thankfully, the ease of communication online allows me to stay connected to friends and colleagues across the globe. I value their (your) continued presence and input. In part, that is why I’ve been pushing myself to share more of my individual studio practice online. But still, most online communities are more about crafting an image while sharing successes, and less about creating a platform to collaborate on shared dilemmas. As much as I love them, social networking sites and blogs can’t completely replace the energy and discourse of a studio full of working artists.
One of the biggest challenges in moving to a new area as an artist is trying to find your people, to build a new circle in your personal artistic community. You have to find the people that share some sense of your purpose, that can support you and also challenge you when needed. This isn’t always easy, especially when you find yourself living in a smaller town or rural area.
Happily, this week I have been busy meeting local artists and making some new friends. I’ve been walking through town collecting visual bits for a series of new works. In the interest of Camp, I walked to the ATOM: Aluminum Tree & Aesthetically Challenged Seasonal Ornament Museum and Research Center exhibition (disappointing). I visited Tiny E’s: The World’s Smallest Elvis Museum (amazing) and devoured an extra large serving of Pad Basil (delicious) from the Little Bee Thai food truck at the Oskar Blues Brevardaversary party. Tonight, I am looking forward to hearing The Steep Canyon Rangers in concert. Tomorrow, a tour of artist’s studios.
I moved here, I bought into this place, with a few artistic goals in mind. I’m currently trying to solidify my vision of those goals, and some days I suffer from buyer’s remorse. This week, however, I’m feeling rather positive about it all. I see the potential for me here.
Things are happening here in the mountains. Things are happening.