The stereotype of bookish people being homebodies always seemed true, except that after a year with nearly 10 months worth of home-bodying what really strikes me when typing this list are the visceral memories I have of the places (not at home) that I read the first seven or so books of 2020: Now, Now, Louison at The Commons Chelsea – drinking a latte from a mug, indoors in a tiny cafe around the corner from work on a break. How Should a Person Be? in a mostly-empty afternoon pub on a day I got off early after working an event late early in the week, where I stopped for lunch on the way to my studio. The food was bad but the bartender was nice. Say Nothing sitting or standing in the subway, drawing me in so much that I hardly noticed packed and noisy train cars on my commute.
Little Woman was a book I read (and loved) multiple times in elementary school but hadn’t read since. Like many others, I re-visited it in advance of Greta Gerwig’s film retelling which I then went to see/cry through by myself in a movie theater at a matinee showing, which was the last time I was in a movie theater at this point. (Little Women bonus content: this podcast episode, and this one built around theseessays)
In the peak of early spring anxiety and non-stop sirens outside, I turned to poetry when my attention span couldn’t handle more than a line at a time – Mary Oliver, paying attention as liturgy – and novels or memoirs written staccato-like with short chapters or shorter paragraphs that kept things moving briskly along (Dept. of Speculation, Ongoingness). Scriptorium was my favorite poetry collection I read this year.
I was a little nervous about recording my studio tour for Bushwick Open Studios a couple weeks ago, but ended up really enjoying myself! Keeping the camera facing the artwork allowed me to simply focus on discussing what I was seeing, as if I was walking a friend through the studio. (In fact, I sort of was – friends and family were able to tune in virtually who do not live in NYC and wouldn’t have been able to attend an in-person event.)
This studio tour touches upon several key elements of my creative practice for the past year or so: intuitive composition, focus on repeated and overlapping patterns, and daily writing practice. This conversational way of moving through the studio felt helpful because it allowed me to point out connections between different processes as they arose: similar composition processes for paintings and drawings even though they look very different, looping line drawings which mirror cursive handwriting, etc.
The video tour, saved below, runs about eight minutes in length. I hope you enjoy!
Earlier this week, I posted some small sketches as an end of year studio sale and fundraiser for Bed-Stuy Strong and ISCP and wanted to share a little more about my connection to these two groups.
Bed-Stuy Strong is a neighborhood mutual aid network I have participated in since March thanks to a flyer posted outside a subway station. I’ve been donating, making some deliveries, and, lately, making calls to connect neighbors with groceries thanks to Bed-Stuy Strong’s organizers over the past eight months of the coronavirus crisis. I’m consistently amazed and moved by the love and support of my neighbors in this community.
ISCP (International Studio & Curatorial Program) is an arts org in Brooklyn which provides residencies for artists and curators from around the world as well as hosting exhibitions and public programs. It’s what brought me to New York in 2016 for a summer internship after finishing my BFA! Since then, I’ve stayed connected through volunteering at events and attending open studio nights.
To keep it simple everything is listed for $30 ($20 donated per sketch). Let me know if you have questions, or click here to read more. My big (!) goal is to raise $300 for each organization by the end of the year, and I’ll continue adding some more sketches to the sale page.