A Slower Art Year For Me, Yet Still Busy

Lets Fix the Earth_Lyn Risling

Well, to begin with, the image above is not my own artwork. It is a really cool piece titled Chimi nupíkyaam ithívthaneen (Let’s Fix the Earth) by Lyn Risling (Karuk/Yurok/Hupa) that she made for Fixing the Earth: NOW! back in 2013 at the Goudi’ni Native American Gallery at Humboldt State University. I share it because the show has been remounted again this year at the Maidu Museum in Roseville, California, so I am guessing that Lyn will be showing this piece once again. The four drawings I made for the show originally are also back on display. Two of them had gone to another artist who had work in the first show and the other two were living with me at home in our bedroom, but they are together again for a time. I had hoped to go down to California for the opening, but work and life kept me in Seattle this time.

I had been thinking I should update my blog (and artist website too, really) for a while now. However, the thing that got me to post wasn’t my own work, but my reaction to someone else’s. I’m glad I saw the post about Scott Erickson’s work and ended up falling down that rabbit hole, because it got me thinking a lot again about Native art, in addition to my own artwork. But more on those musings later. I also realized that I hadn’t posted since the spring when I had gone to Crow’s Shadow for a workshop! So here’s what I’ve been up to…

Personally, life has been pretty good. Bryn and I celebrated our ninth year together this October, and we also chose our anniversary of the day we met to create another anniversary. We got married! It was a pretty small ceremony with us and two other couples. Nothing big, but it was a lovely celebration and then we spent a couple nights up in the San Juan Islands as a mini honeymoon.

Professionally, I’ve taken on more responsibility at my “day” job, which has kept me from devoting as much time to my artwork. I went from working four days a week to five, and also have a new role I’m transitioning into that, while challenging, is also exciting. I’m definitely gaining new skills, which is always a plus. Of course, I also really miss having more free time to devote to my interests (that I’m realizing I didn’t use as productively as I could have).

But, even if I haven’t been creating new art or doing much to keep my website and blog up-to-date, I’ve still managed to have a few things going on from the momentum of past years. So, here’s what has been going on with my artwork since my last post when I came home from Crow’s Shadow. I realized I never even posted any images of the work I did there since I hadn’t photographed any of it beyond terrible pictures on my phone! I’ll have to get on that.

RAW Seattle: Spectrum – I showed a selection of past prints from 2010 and 2011 at this group event in Seattle at Showbox at the Market in April. They do these events on a regular basis and I did have to pay/sell tickets to be able to participate, which I wasn’t overly thrilled about. But, I figured I would try something new! I did have fun and a good group of friends and coworkers came to support me. I don’t know that I would do another RAW event again, it just didn’t really feel like an outlet I want for my work. However, I had a great time and it was worth the experience!

Chief Seattle Club – At the beginning of May I was the featured artist (again) at Chief Seattle Club’s art walk event. I really enjoy sharing my work at this venue because of what this organization does to advocate for homeless and urban Natives in my city, and because of the people I get to meet while I’m there. Attendance was lighter this time due to some protest or another that was also going on that night and snarled traffic all over the city, but I still had a good turnout of friends show up and got to debut my new prints I had just made at Crow’s Shadow. I also bought a couple small pieces from some of the members who were also showing work that night.

Futurewife Slash Fiction EP

Haute Haus – A friend at work also is a DJ and does a night at a local club called Kremwerk on a regular basis. In the middle of May I showed a small selection of five of my new prints I had made the month prior at Crow’s Shadow. It was a fun night! Oh, and I had also let one of the other DJs playing that night (Futurewife) use an image of one of my previous paintings for a single he had done (Slash Fiction EP). The event that night was also a release party for the single and it was cool to have my past work used for something new in addition to showing prints.

Mount Shasta Retreat – I don’t even know if I’ve mentioned anything previously on my blog, but at the beginning of the year I ended up taking a workshop on Bainbridge Island about shamanic journeying that I really enjoyed. I took a second workshop by another instructor a few months later in Seattle, and then also ended up going down to Mount Shasta for a weekend workshop she was leading there shortly after. I’m not really going to go into much detail about all of that, but it was significant making the trip down to northern California, not only for the purpose of the workshop, but to connect with the landscape there. I had hoped to be able to get a lot closer to Karuk ancestral territory on my way home, but ended up realizing I was trying to do too much, so I just stopped at the Klamath River where it crosses I-5 on the drive back and spent a little time there. Significant stuff.

PNCA: Reflections on the Columbia Plateau – This was a collection of work by about thirty artists who have participated in the PNCA Crow’s Shadow workshops over the years. I mailed four prints down for the show, although I don’t know if all (or any?) of them actually ended up in the show as I wasn’t able to make it for the opening at the beginning of October. I didn’t see my work in any of the photos posted of the show, but there weren’t too many, and they were more photos of people at the opening than of the work itself. Still, I didn’t get my work mailed back to me, so I assume some of it is on display! This show will be at PNCA in Portland, Oregon through the end of October and then will go to Pendleton, Oregon next February.

Fixing the Earth: NOW! – The opening is actually tonight (well yesterday, as of when this post will be published), and as I already mentioned earlier, I have my same four drawings as last time in this show again. I had hoped to make something new for this new reworking of the show, but ended up not having the bandwidth to develop and make any new art in August or September. Anyhow, it feels right to have my four drawings back together again. Kind of cyclical, like the drawings themselves.

Potlatch Fund Gala – I rarely donate artwork to auctions as I feel that the practice of art auctions in general is harmful to artists. However, I will donate work to a few select organizations and Potlatch Fund is one that I am always happy to support. I’ve got two framed prints from 2010 that I’ve donated to their Silent Auction that takes place on November 1st. It looks like tickets to the Gala are already sold out, so I hope they end up raising a lot of money for their grant programs!

ᑭᒥᐊᐧᐣ kimiwan ‘zine, Issue 8: Indigenous Futurisms – Not sure when the new issue will be published, but I had been contacted to submit some Robohontas images for kimiwan’s next issue. Can’t wait to see how that turns out! I think the new issue will be out in December?

It was nice to realize that I’m at a point where I’ve been invited to participate in opportunities to share my work with others that I haven’t had to seek out myself. I do still need to put more effort into creating some new art and maintaining my network and contacts to keep the momentum going! There are a couple of grants I really want to apply for that are coming up. I had applied for the Artist Leadership Program through NMAI in late spring, and did find out my project wasn’t selected, but it was still a good experience of putting the application together and organizing a project proposal. And I can try again next year.

Work will keep me pretty busy for the next few weeks at least as there is a lot of planning I’m involved in at the moment. But with my wedding complete, that frees up some energy to put back into thinking about, writing about, and creating art. I may not have created as much new work this year, but I’ve still managed to rack up some stuff for my artist resume. Luckily, I don’t rely on my artwork to pay any bills!

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