Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Final Report: What I planned to do, did and didn't do.

So, my grant year officially ended on 12/31/12.  The whole reason for starting a blog was to share what went on, behind the scenes, during my year as the Piscataqua Region Artist Advancement Grant recipient.  Here's the final report.  As usual, I thought I could accomplish way more than I was capable of, but hey...  there's always 2013!  

What happened?

Proposal 1 - Reduce My Teaching  In order to free up more studio time.

Accomplishment:  I reduced my teaching schedule significantly, though not totally.  The two teaching opportunities I decided to keep were ones where I had already made a commitment prior to receiving the grant and a few teaching opportunities that kept my visibility as an artist high.  
My Maine Coast Encaustic Workshop Retreat is officially an annual event.  

Proposal 2 - Take A Physic Course – I will enroll in a college physics course this year, so I could understand the theory behind the kinetic work that I’m creating.

Accomplishment:  I found that in order to enroll in most college physics courses a pre-requisite of trigonometry was required.  Ugh!  As an alternative to a structured course I began an intensive self-designed course of study which included:  MIT OpenCourseWare online learning, reading physics text books, books like Art & Physics by Leonard Shlain, For the Love of Physics by Walter Lewin and conducting further independent research when a specific area of physics required.  I continue to build my physics library and just ordered How the Hippies Saved Physics by David Kaiser.  Understanding physics will be a lifetime endeavor.  
Coming soon to a mailbox near me.  

Proposal 3 - Interactive Kinetic Sculpture - I have an idea for series of coin operated kinetic sculptures.  I will buy the equipment to experiment with and seek mechanical advice in order to get these projects going.

Accomplishment:  Though I did buy a gumball machine to take apart, this project has been placed on the back burner.  I did however create 4 kinetic sculptures:  

One that incorporated gear motors, 

one that used a wave machine, 

one that used the pendulum wave theory and formula 

and one that simply invited the viewer to engage its motion. 

Proposal 4 - Harmonograph - I will take the time to build and experiment with the mechanical apparatus that employs pendulums to create geometric images with the intention of creating an interactive kinetic sculpture. 

Accomplishment:  I created two harmonographs in 2012.  One by following someone else’s design, to understand the mechanics, and one of my own design.  The harmonograph was include in 3 solo exhibits.  

Proposal 5 - Cymatics - I will explore the use of sound waves (made visible) and research wave phenomena with the intention of creating an interactive sculpture that the viewer can alter with sound.

Accomplishment:  My project turned out not to be interactive but rather a static installation inspired by sound waves.  In total, I have created two installations inspired by cymatics, one of which exhibited this summer in Biddeford, ME and was on exhibit in North Carolina and is now headed to an exhibit in South Carolina.  The second of which was exhibited at my exhibit In Motion at Discover Portsmouth.  Next, I'll be creating a permanent installation of Wave Phenomena for the Green Lotus Yoga Studio in Dover, NH.  

Wave Phenomena II

Proposal 5 - Time Lapse Video - I received a small grant from the Maine Arts Commission to purchase a camera with an intervalometer for time lapse video, but I have barely had time to use it.  With more time available, I will experiment with compressing real-time, allowing me to study patterns of motion.

Accomplishment: I have used my camera and intervalometer and begun to know its functions better. I have also enrolled in a Digital Photography Intensive at MECA in February.

Proposal 6 - Body Sensor Networks (BSN's) - I have been in touch with a professor in the Media Lab at MIT, who specializes in BSN’s, who I’d like to work with in the use of BSN’s to collect data from my own movement, which I will then use to generate and inform new work.

Accomplishment:  I did not accomplish this.  My goals for 2012 were a bit over-ambitious, but this is still of great interest to me! 

Proposal 6 - NYC - During each month of the grant year I will go to NYC for 2-3 days where I will visit museums and galleries.

Accomplishment:  I made 5 trips to NYC in January, February, March, May and December.  In March I spent a week in Greece.  In April I had an opportunity to teach in Chicago where I also explored museums and galleries.  In June I attended a conference in Provincetown and visited all of the galleries.  In October I spent 2 weeks in Provence and Paris, France.  Here are some local pigments from Provence.   

Pigments from Provence

Proposal 6 - Maximize Exposure & Give Back - As the AAG recipient I will offer exhibits, artist talks, interviews, open studios and presentations that will share the work that I am doing with the public.

  • I was a visiting artist at Bowdoin College, MECA, Southern Maine Community College, the Hyde School and Tenacre School, where I presented my work and gave an artist talk.  
  • I participated on the UNH public art selection committee.
  • I served as juror for a York Art Association exhibit.
  • I curated an exhibit The Power of Ten at Discover Portsmouth. 
  • I held an open studio.
  • I had 4 solo exhibits at Boston Sculptors Gallery, The Engine, Biddeford, ME, The Tenacre School, Wellesley, MA, and Discover Portsmouth Center, Portsmouth, NH, each of which included public artist talks.
  • I participated in several group invitational’s including one in St. Petersburg, FL, Tryon, NC, Provincetown, MA and Lowell, MA. 
  • I started a blog to write about how my grant year has progressed and interview former AAG recipients.  

What did you learn?

I learned that it’s critical for me to have a clear and well articulated direction that I want my work to develop.  I also learned that when unexpected opportunities present themselves, it’s important to be flexible.  I learned that I expected I could do way more than was realistic, but there’s always next year.  I learned, in relationship to physics, that I am far more interested in how things move than the formulas and theories behind them and that you don’t always have to understand how something works to be inspired by it.  I learned, or rather reminded, that body movement holds a lot of potential as inspiration and I’m still interested to explore this in my work.  I learned that my work is lacking a spiritual/philosophical component that I intend to reflect on and develop.       


I strongly believe the AAG is meeting the objectives of the program as a whole!  Beyond the funding, which opened up so much time for me, the exposure I received from being the recipient was one of the most beneficial components of the grant.  Having this exposure has drawn attention to the work that I’m doing and opened the door to many opportunities that may not have opened up otherwise.  The vote of confidence I received from the AAG review panel boosted my confidence in my work and the direction my work is headed.  The funding also allowed me to create work without the concern as to whether or not it was marketable.  Being the AAG recipient has also encouraged me to apply for other grants and continue on my trajectory.    

What happens next?

  • Finish a commission that's nearly complete. 
  • Create a permanent Wave Phenomena installation for the Green Lotus Yoga Studio. 
  • Work with some new pigments I brought back from France and incorporate gestural strokes and mark making into some 2-D work.
  • Take a Digital Photography Intensive at MECA in February. 
  • Continue my self-designed physics study. 
  • I intend to focus my work on the place where art, physics and eastern philosophy collide. I have enrolled in an Ashtanga yoga training intensive. This will most likely lead to some work involving the body and spirituality.
  • Apply for more grants!