It’s been about a year since we sold our house, leaving my old studio and city behind, and we still haven’t found a new place to live.
And it’s been over a year since being becoming vastly underemployed, partially unemployed, and a beaten-down depressed chronic job seeker with no prospect in site and more rejections (or just silence) than a sane person can handle.
For the first six months I was generally stunned, then I started this blog to force myself to organize my projects and to start writing again – an act that grad school pretty much killed well over a dozen years ago. My graduate degree is a practical/professional one and though it has led to wonderfully interesting jobs dealing with other people’s art and historic things, I’ve long been thinking of going for a MFA. I have a BFA in studio arts, and I’m a little hesitant to tell you that it’s in photography, specifically darkroom photography. And I’m reluctant to say so because I still can’t get the hang of or love for this digital thing and I’m struggling with an aging cheap-ass point and shoot that goes to absolute shite in less than bright light, and chooses its own color schemes for life… I think that is the whole white balance thing… so don’t judge me based on my blog pics (and I’m talking to you DSLR fairy). But back to the school question – last fall I visited some grad school open houses and felt a bit stunned again. I thought I wanted to keep pursuing photography (and that’s where my portfolio is strongest) but the “studios” were windowless offices with computers. Sure, they had a few darkrooms but they didn’t seem to be used, and the professors’ work didn’t appear to be wet… I felt very old and sad. On a whim, I checked out the fiber arts studios and whoopie! I felt so much better but I don’t have much of a portfolio of fiber “art.” And herein lies the rub and the shreds and threads of my thoughts:
I like photography partly because of the extra semi-nonthinking processes involved – you could always print when you hit a slump just like with fiber you can always spin/cut up something/trim/baste/back/dye/card, etc.
My original beloved medium of wet/darkroom photography has nearly gone the way of the Dodo, and yet I’m still attracted to aging/ancient practices that have no footing in “technology.” (Maybe I need to start a group for Paleo artists!)
A MFA won’t necessarily aid in securing employment but would compliment my other degree and open up teaching opportunities (yeah, like those aren’t scarce too… yeah, yeah).
And oh, by the way the only way I could afford it is if I got some sort of fellowship/scholarship/TA position, so I should just stop thinking about this now.
And art schools specifically don’t want unemployed people in them who are choosing this time to go back since they can’t get hired.
But the only themes I keep circling around for developing a portfolio deal with unemployment, so I need to either portray myself as making a statement about others, or embrace it and own it and make it big and mine.
But fiber art is still not considered an art (but a craft) by some (which is also a bit of a problem with photography as well).
Fiber art is still largely considered a feminine practice and that carries various implications, many financial.
Art school has a huge population of those stinking to high hell of bullsh*t.
I would have to be earnest and appear to struggle with some existential/feminist/socialist/inter-planetary/scientific/somethingistic ennui that is reflected in my work lest I be considered just a bored housewife dabbling with a hobby.
And if I don’t get the legitimacy of a terminal degree behind me and just stick with my own thing, won’t I always be stuck in the darkening hole of selling more affordable, practical, crafty things at shows and online?
Craft is now all over the place and exciting and annoying and everything in between, but turning more and more annoying, really annoying – commercial and saccharine and too much group think and fan clubby.
So many “crafters” are making amazing art and some “artists” are making crappy craft, where is the line?
And fiber crafters have a large conservative population who can get their panties in a bunch over a quilt that says “fuck.” Really? Good god, there are some many horrid things in this world that your politicians and corporations are doing and you deem a quilt offensive?
And Etsy etc. has really f*cked up the independent crafter/artist.
Technology has been a mixed f*ckery as well – I hate social media yet it is required these days and can really get you out there, yet an “artist” can’t look too approachable lest she seem more of a “crafter?”
And don’t get me started about the f*ckery of images being stolen from artists on the web – I’ve been following this blog about an artist who got massively f*cked by online image theft, or of clothing companies blatantly stealing indie designer’s work.
So these days artists have even more opportunity to get f*cked (unless they can already afford to be one through independent means and then are you an artist or just a rich kid with a paintbrush?).
And then art museums are full of fat-cat f*ckers and funded and run by people I generally despise.
And ultimately I just got majorly f*cked by the museum world so why would I want to skate so close to it again?
Yeah, everything is just a little bit f*cked up right now.
(But it could be worse, much, much worse so I can’t complain toooo much….)
*Title courtesy of N’s late salty old grandfather who used the term in noun form when the grandchildren weren’t doing anything productive as in, “Quit playing fiddlyf*ck.”
And I keep using the * in “bad” words in an effort to deflect censorship/filters, etc. – does that even work and/or is it even necessary…?