Skip to main content

Making Manifesto #1 (pasta)

I wish I could boil it all down to a few core ideas that I’d like to run with in my art-making, or a raison d’etre that winds through all my creative activities. Sure, themes show up, things that I am particularly intrigued by and have to process through creative means. But boiling it down is tough—I spend my days dancing with and dodging ideas that throw themselves at me like I’m some sort of artistic Tiger Beat heartthrob. They’ll be new ideas, ideas about previous ideas, or developments on a slight idea detour I took about last week’s thrilling idea. This isn’t to say that I don’t get things done; somehow, I manage to sift through the slurry of ideas and extract the ones that feel especially exciting and plausible, and I make them happen. Even then, I’m a generous extractor and still end up with heaps of ideas piled on my plate. It’s sort of like my ideas are fresh dough (gluten free—I have an allergy) and I’m running them through a hand-cranked pasta-making machine (I absolutely love pasta). I feed the fresh dough ideas into my pasta machine and they crank out in a different shape every time. For days, months, even years, I’m cranking out mostly sheets intended for tagliatelle or ravioli and then I get sick of it, and switch to an old favorite—maybe farfalle or fettucine. I still love ravioli and will probably revisit the taste and texture later, but I need a break (how blessed am I to be so well-fed?!).

Like with pasta and ideas, when it comes to different art forms, I don’t discriminate. Sometimes a well-researched documentary feels like the best channel for cranking out an idea. Sometimes experimental, non-linear film seems more fitting. At other times, ideas burst out of me through songs or poems (sometimes it feels better to have words reverberate in your mouth and chest as music, sometimes quietly on your lips as spoken word). I make cut-out collages, write and perform original music, paint portraits with blood, write politically-oriented essays with accompanying photos, conduct interviews with interesting culture-bearers, craft fictional letters to my social media followers, design websites and newsletters, organize community arts showcases, and maintain several different thematic journals. My work is often about racial tension in the South, the relationship between arts-driven economic development and gentrification, feminine experiences, sexuality, love, and belonging.

It would be so delightfully convenient if I could tell it to you in one fell swoop. But I’m early in my career, freshly twenty-five years old and up to my neck in figuring out what I want to do with myself. I believe the industry term is “emerging artist.” I do feel that that’s the best descriptive word for it—emerging—coming up out of the waters, making waves. Trying to stay afloat. Neil Gaiman, a favorite maker of mine, considers this a very precious time in an artist’s life, when we don’t quite know the rules yet. He hopes we don’t learn them, that we make rules for ourselves and question those that exist. I like particularly when he pointed out in a commencement speech that, before you find your own voice, you spend time sounding like a lot of other people.

I have hopes to explore the digital humanities by creating a website that acts an interactive platform to explore and document public art and social change in communities. I want to make podcasts and maybe a short TV show where I interview folks. I want to document the experience of different communities, through all previously mentioned means and oral histories. I want to co-lead cutting-edge arts events that make safe and engaging spaces to challenge visitors’ social mores and encourage catharsis and bonding. I’m not entirely sure how I’ll do these things yet, but I have a lot of intrinsic motivation, and a hell of a lot of ideas.

So, I’m trying to enjoy this emerging process, be mindful, be patient with myself. I’m trying not to try—how?! Breathe. Relax. Make a friend. Make a piece, whatever it looks like, just make it feel right. I have all these ideas, all the skills, and a strong urge to make positive impacts in the world. And although I get scared sometimes, making my own rules, I believe anything is pasta-ble. J


Popular posts from this blog

Best Movies/TV from 2020

BEST MOVIES/TV (I'VE SEEN) IN 2020 I don't know about you, but for me this wacked out year has resulted in lots of homebound free time. Besides the lack of social interactions, 2020 also saw me unemployed, out of school, and without a car most of the time. This gave me a LOT of time to watch movies and television and   I love  visual storytelling, so this year I've kept a list of my favorites! And I'm challenging myself to tell you why I love them in 3 sentences or less (spoiler: I don't succeed).  There aren't any overt STORY spoilers as I can tell, but I do mention major themes/concepts in each of the pieces, so be aware. I was fortunate to have access to streaming services through friends and family, with most of my viewing being through Netflix and Amazon Prime Video. **Hot tax tip that I really hope I'm right about: If you have a media production business (film, photo, audio, music, etc.) you can write off subscriptions on your taxes. Keep that in mind

Angry Fling Letter

To whom it probably doesn't concern, I wanted to address this most recent news because it seems to me like you're kind of confused. As a preface, the topic is not  about you it's signed 'yours truly,' concerns what I need to do. When I decide to move on from this relationship b/c it is no longer feeding who I am and/or I have forgotten how to feed myself, You, like so many other men before you, have the gall to tell me that surely I must have committed some unspoken infidelitous act to be convinced that I have room to grow. Yes, it seems you think that my body, like clay molded by unscrupulous potters has been pulled in another direction, kneading me until I need them. Yes, please, be my guest blame my libido when I tell you I need to know that I can stand by myself. Like the only drive in my life that could influence me to leave you is a sexual one. No, my friend, I didn't need to dip my toe into the sea of empty relations to

Thoughts and Images from the Greenville, NC "Send Her Back" Trump Rally

Tuesday July 23, 2019 I don’t recall any specific faces or themes, but I know I had a stressful dream the night before the Trump rally that shocked the world with the “Send her back” chants. In the many hours leading up to the event, when I knew Greenville citizens and out-of-town travelers alike were already lining up outside of ECU’s Minges Coliseum, I worried for my town. Part of me really didn’t want to witness any of it (in addition to warnings of oppressive 90-something degree heat), but I convinced myself that this was an important day in history and that it may be useful, indeed illuminating, to document it. I was tense as I readied my lens, poised to capture anything, preparing myself for violence, even. But to be honest, I’ve felt more threatened in a Walmart parking lot. This latter half of the rally had the energy of a heavily attended church barbecue, not a political event. I was terribly curious about the people in my region who support Trump—I wante

Flower Buds on Finger Tips

I loved her in the the lonely way that the earth begs for warmth a hope for spring and bursting. I offered her flower buds on my finger tips ripe with waiting for kiss to bloom. I folded and unfolded my petals, slick with morning dew eager for her gaze please, look inside me. I carved out a space into which we both could grow I prayed for harvest and hid daydreams in the hollows of my neck.

Reigniting your flame

I've been burning out. How do I reignite my flame? I remember how I was taught to build a fire... Oxygen, fuel, and care, he said Oxygen, fuel, and care... Oxygen as the breath of life Deep, appreciative respiration Recycling energy Release what doesn't feed you Bring in wisdom and growth. Fuel being things that the body consumes Or that consume the body Vigor and wellness in the physical world Satisfying the primal appetites A positive charge of chemicals. Building a fire takes time It calls for patience and vigilance Always tending to the flame Nurturing sparks into brilliant heat There is no spontaneous combustion. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Oxygen is the primarily mental and metaphysical component Fuel is the bodily component Care is the temporal component You are part of everything Be in yourself Let go.