Greetings from Ohio!
I’m more accustomed to the month or shorter residency and I realized today that I still have more time here than has already gone by. This is a good thing. It’s been nice to have some extra time to settle in and make the requisite bad art before getting to the better stuff.
Cleveland! Gritty, interesting, diverse, tough, friendly, complicated. As I have mentioned before, this place has a depth and breadth of arts organizations and facilities that I find astonishing. Everyone has been friendly. Everyone has been helpful. Every artist and arts professional I’ve interacted with has been gracious and open. This, my friends, is not something a person finds everyplace when passing through the world as an artist. I wish it was.
And Zygote Press! It has been such a great relief to be back in a print shop, interacting with and sharing information with other printmakers. I have learned a ton already, new materials, new processes, new approaches – and I am happy to be among my tribe. The shop is huge and generously equipped, lived- in and functional, and I like that they serve a wide variety of different needs that artists and printers have. As I suspected, these folks know how to have a good time in addition to making good art. It’s been such a pleasure. If you haven’t checked in on Zygote, do so.
Now there was the small matter of the blazing dumpster outside my bedroom window at 2 am on day #3, but that seems far in the rear-view mirror. Interesting reintroduction for Country Mouse to city life. (“Is this normal?”) Gentrification is a distance from this neighborhood, and wandering at night is definitely out, but I like it nonetheless.
And yes, I was here for the great basketball victory. I did not press up into the crowds lining the parade route though I did walk downtown in the middle of a stream of happy humanity, then quickly beat a retreat before the parade started. It was all quite a thing to behold.
It has been a very productive stretch of time. My apartment is right above the print shop, and I am taking full advantage of the easy commute. The fact that I needed new work for a show that opens July 8 has lit a good fire – nothing if not deadline-responsive, this artist! – and the pressure made me get down to business right away. I’ve been working on woodcut prints and both larger and small collage pieces. The nice thing about this calendar is that once the show goes up, I have plenty of time to experiment and try some new things with the freedom to fail. I’m looking forward to some useful disasters.
Should you happen to be in the area, Zygote is located at 1410 East 30th, and the gallery will have a reception the evening of July 8. I’ll be showing in the good company of Elizabeth Emery and Amy Casey, two Cleveland artists who went to Homer and had residencies at Bunnell Street Arts Center in previous years on the Alaska end of this exchange. Homer artist Michael Walsh’s film that he made here last year will also be screened at the opening. It should be a fun evening.
Aside from working and doing my good diligence in visiting museums and galleries, I’ve been traversing the city on bike and foot, well-fueled by Mitchell’s Ice Cream to my west and Presti’s Bakery to the east. Amazing how many things I can find to do that result in passing these places. I miss home but am enjoying the conveniences, culture, and challenges that I find here – and that’s what I wanted.
Huge thanks to Zygote and the Rasmuson Foundation for making this all possible!
(And, of course, to Brandon who is running the Alaskan compound solo while I luxuriate in the world of indoor plumbing, few chores, and no herd of geriatric dogs. I will owe big.)