It’s Saturday and I’m relaxing. I have one week left of school for this term. I have been very busy, and have gotten past a big hump. All that remain are a photography project, a short paper, and preparing the term’s work for faculty critique and marking on Friday. I’ll certainly have a few late nights ahead of me, but I feel like the worst is over.
This past week I finished two final projects for my ceramics class. Ceramics has been a lot of time-consuming work, but I enjoy the medium and am glad to have had this dabble. I like the idea of collecting primary human skills. Gareth Lichty taught me to weave, himself learning from a Maori master weaver. Now I have pottery skills. These two technologies are among the earliest of human industries. I guess I should make stone tools next.
One of the projects in ceramics was to make a human figure of some kind. I made a large coil vessel in the style of Andean clay jugs. I was referencing one in particular, featuring a shaman holding cactus, his face in shamanic trance as he has visions. Precolumbian Andean spirituality revolved around ritual consumption of mescaline-containing psychedelic cactus. In the contemporary North American context, psychedelic drugs are used primarily recreationally by young people wanting to get high. The potential to be a powerful spiritual tool is still there, and surely many use them as such, but this is mostly ignored in favour of tripping out.
So my clay jug depicts a college kid eating acid, framing psychedelic drug use in North America as cultural appropriation. It’s a work in progress. I’m not super great with clay, and as it dried, certain parts began to crack. It’s in the kiln right now, so hopefully it survives. I took lots of iphone photos as I finished. The logo on his hoodie is that of Aphex Twin, a popular musician in the psychedelic community.
There’s also a new Diaspora page up, and I’ve gone back and edited a few things on previous pages. If you can guess what I changed: good for you! You win nothing.
I’ve been going to art events. I recently did a talk about my work along with other emerging and mid-career artists for CAFKA (Contemporary Art Forum Kitchener + Area) and it was a great exercise is gathering my thoughts about my work. As usual, being a cartoonist had me as the odd man out, just like school, where I often have to try to justify what I’m doing in the fine art context. The talks were led by artist Rebecca Belmore, who gave a lecture for CAFKA a few days later at Kitchener City Hall. Afterward we all went for drinks and as I was gathering my things to leave I told her I really enjoyed her talk, and she told me she enjoyed mine too days earlier. She also told me I should quit art school, which I took as a huge vote of confidence. Too bad I’m seeing this stupid ordeal (school) through to the end.
I’ve been going to friends’ events too. I have great one-on-one friendships but have yet to find any kind of group context where I don’t feel horribly out of place. I wish being in a funk was actually like funk music. That would be awesome. Once the constant insanity of the school workload ends (this week) I will probably lose my mind. See you then!