Saturday, December 24, 2011

on mobility and making

It's been almost 8 months since I began my experiment in a mobile lifestyle.  Last Spring, I made a pact with myself to reduce my sum total of belongings to what could easily be stored in a couple of boxes, and my necessities to maintain a healthy lifestyle to what could fit in a pack and a small bag.  This was supposed to make a transition to living in close quarters on a bus with five from The Fuhrl collective more natural.

Even in my most optimistic moments before the big day when I handed the landlord my keys, I imagined I would struggle more with such a dramatic shift away from the material possessions, privacy, and personal nest to which I had always been accustomed.  But somehow, even tacking on the extra four months we waited for the bus to come out of the shop (which, so it seems, it HAS!), I am happy.  Happy with my backpack and a half, with the generous community I've been living among.

The only explanation I can muster for this sense of fulfillment is that it must result from the ways I spend my energy when I don't have the following options:

a) hiding in my room with my computer
b)spending money on entertainment or unnecessary food
c)buying new art supplies
d)NOT making art

options B and D are simply not in my budget.  the lack of option A is an interesting situation...because it marks an actual reversal of the average stable lifestyle most of us exist in: as a mobile person, or transient if you like, being indoors means being with people.  If I want solitude, I go outside.  And that, in combination with all the others, I think is what has caused so much growth in the past eight months.  When I am indoors, I am actively participating in a community (satisfying a, I think, human need for a sense of home and groundedness). 

My studio practice has mushroomed since I left my apartment.  In my sketchbook, I've had a lot of time to feel out new concepts, textures, and compositions.  This was a practice sorely lacking through school, when I had money to spend in my free-time:

Somehow, when I am limited to my sketchbook, a few pens, and whatever materials I can find lying around, a compulsiveness to problem-solve, innovate takes hold.  Ideas flow, I'm more motivated to follow through, and my process is strengthened by the input and collaboration from the people that are almost always around me while I work.  Actually, I think I've gained a lot of artistic fodder observing other peoples aesthetics as they manifest in their living spaces.  At this point, the idea of returning to the habit of regular art-supply runs or convenient working surfaces (pre-stretched canvas or fine papers) does not appeal.  It's much more fun to respond to the challenge of the recycling bin or a pile of scrap wood from a construction dumpster, or the plywood and house paint in my parent's basement, and maybe a page torn from an old dictionary:

P.S.  I think (crossing fingers/knock on wood) we are taking the bus to inspection this week!