With Altitude

 

 

I am a teenager
for the first time,
again
Out here —
a ripe mango
in the wild


I left on a Friday
By Saturday I was pumped full
With altitude
With air
With a delirious appetite


I imagined myself
floating above him
Like I did when we first met
in his truck, at the lake
On the roadside
At the ocean
Wild


My hair licking him clean
His hands,
two hands,
both hands —
All hands
on my hips


Before he knew it was my weakness
my undoing
I ached for him
like
a teenager
Again
with visions of movies
and stars
to hang my lust upon


We moved like music
all waves and electricity
The outside of him
inside
me.

 

 

Studio Lessons

 
No one can build you the bridge on which you, and only you, must cross the river of life
— Friedrich Nietzsche

Back in the studio with the latest Brain Pickings blog on my mind. The timing of those emails, I swear…

I’ve been working hard lately, behind a giant curtain, to reconcile my art and chocolate making so that it might make sense from the outside.

But what kind of bridge am I building?

Or, is the real question, what kind of river am I crossing?

Worth nothing, I recently discovered the word “specious.” So close to spacious. Also bears a dangerous resemblance to suspicious.

But maybe that just means I’m not building a strong enough bridge?

Myopic

  Grateful AF    OIL, WAX + COPPER LEAF ON PANEL  24 X 24 X 1.5 IN

Grateful AF

OIL, WAX + COPPER LEAF ON PANEL

24 X 24 X 1.5 IN

 

 

Artist Statement

 

 

My drawings and paintings explore a real and persistent preoccupation with ritual, order, learning and growth.

 

 

Building upon two decades in illustration and design, my newest body of work, “Myopic,” abandons a reliance on ones and zeros in pursuit of tangible artifacts that are both timely and timeless.

I invite the viewer to join my conversation via the shimmer of metal leaf, the sensuousness of wax, iconic words and symbols and interactive magnifiers.

Rejecting the ethereal nature of a virtual world, I attempt to transform myself into the kind of human I want to be through the rigors of making. To be patient, I make work that requires patience. Preciousness to become gentle. Boldness to embolden.

My studio is a meritocracy where growth and work are rewarded over safety and luck. In this space where “Command-Z” no longer exists, I am slowly learning to yield control.

Making

It’s 4:30 am and I’m in my studio. These quiet hours before the sun raises itself over the hill outside my window are magic-filled.

I light a candle, smoke and embers, and dream of old masters layering burnt umber on linen beneath a flickering flame. I wonder, what would be on their canvas this pre-dawn morning?


I try to imagine all the kindred souls pulled from the arms of a warm lover into the darkness to create, create, create...


Why did it take me so long to get here?

I guess I used to save it up, waiting for the right time. For the thoughts worth giving voice to, the ideas worth painting. To have something worth saying while I gathered the skills to say it.

But on these mornings I’m no longer distracted by a struggle to divine something novel and new. Instead, my studio has filled with drawings and paintings that simply trace the arc of my years. They are easy and honest, replete with the lucid, precious things I have seen and felt and learned.

BATCH-ForeverFoil.jpg

As the glow outside my window grows, I know this time will not be forever, so I cherish the making while I can.

Into and out of the darkness, no mornings or candles left unspent.

Why I Quit Being Social

Lately I’ve been sharing a lot of dreamy things — our extended trip through Europe... an epic hike around the Alps... the upcoming release of an inspired collection of art and chocolate… 

And while it’s been marvelous broadcasting any and all of these endeavors, there’s one adventure I wasn’t able to share until now.


I fired myself from my company.


The decision was a few years in the making but the conversations, negotiations and legalese that made the separation official were completed just before I stepped onto a plane bound for Portugal. And while being on another continent was a welcome distraction for almost two months, I knew I’d have to tell the world once we returned. 

Fortunately, breaking the news went so smoothly that, looking back, there was no reason for a self-respecting, C-level, type-A personality like me to have Googled “How to Write a Farewell Letter When Leaving a Job” in the first place. 

Though I didn’t include warm and fuzzy gems like “I’ve enjoyed my tenure here,” or “Thanks for your support during my time at ABC company,” I’m proud to report that the top-shelf folks in my life eagerly embraced the announcement.

It was, ironically, the dialog with myself that ended up being the most difficult. 

After working tirelessly for more than 13 years to build my utopian version of a design studio, Social was the most stable, capable and creative iteration I have known. Not to mention, I was finally entering a time in my career when I could exit worker bee mode to guide the next generation of talented folks that shared my vision.

So WTF?

In short, being at the helm of Social no longer makes sense for me.

While I am proud of the collaborator, mentor and business owner that Social helped me become, I regret to admit that the years of hustling to fulfill the dreams and demands of others has left me incapable of tending to my own. It would seem I got so caught up in being Social that I forgot how to be my own person.


I crave the freedom to experiment with new ways of making, including the pressure to perform and the potential to fail, uninhibited by feeling responsible for others.


Rather than alter the trajectory of our work by bending projects to my will or redirecting the energy of our team, I learned to finally accept that I would travel this path alone. Of course, “alone” is relative when you exorcise your demons on a blog so I decided to share this here because, who knows, maybe you’re grappling with a major life decision too? (You’re not alone either, but you already knew that, didn’t you?) 

With time, I’ve come to trust that what appears to be a selfish, impetuous decision on the surface is, ultimately, best for everyone. In the event that someone should start a rumor about me entering early retirement (thanks a lot, Dad), know that I remain as curious, insatiable and obstinate as ever and I’m thrilled to be redirecting my creative energy full time into Batch.

So here’s to sometimes quitting in order to never give up. As always, I welcome you to join in the adventure.

Making Anew

One Year, 12 Pastas

As I write this last entry in our pasta series, on the eve of a new year, it seems a fitting space for reflection. While the reasons for this past year of pasta making (yes, that’s your clue to click and start from the beginning) were varied, at it’s heart, the practice represented our journey of trying to lead a more creative, deliberate life.

Batch-Tortellini.jpg

Since January, Zan and I have worked hard to avoid comfort zones trying new doughs, shapes and ingredients each month. We crafted rolled pastasstuffed pastaspotato pastaspasta nests and even quasi-extruded pastas. In time, we even developed preferences — the suppleness of simple “flour, water, salt” doughs over egg-based recipes, semolina over durum flour...

But through it all, I continued to question our most basic motivations. Was it pasta making that we were so enthralled with or rather the idea of what it represented? What if we were being seduced by the type of people we thought it would make us?

As we formed December’s Mushroom Cheese Tortellini,  I considered the parallel to our making with Batch. At a time when celebrated artisans are being exposed, it calls into question the authenticity of our predilection toward beautiful things made honestly, simply and by hand.


What if we’re just hipsters with too much time to ourselves?


Yet, somewhere amidst the mixing and kneading, rolling and shaping, I drew strength from a long line of strong, determined women who, without much fuss, were capable of truly amazing things.

Though the world did not stop to celebrate my mother, my mother’s mother and her’s before her (at top) for their homemade breads and pastas or fresh canned vegetables, I have grown to understand the love and hard work that goes into caring for yourself, and those around you, through the intimacy of making.

Neither easy or glamorous, it is always rewarding and I’m proud to say that I will venture into the new year unshaken. Together, Zan and I remain ever inspired that our making will always be guided by honesty, simplicity and love.