My wife recently got a promotion – something I discovered as soon as I came back from New Zealand this past summer. As a result, it required us to make a big decision to move down to North Bethesda, Maryland. I’m very proud of her and hope she continues finding the career path that she wants in life. Working in the wine business, as she does, definitely has its perks.
As a result of the move, it’s made some dramatic changes in our life – much faster than we planned. I figured after we moved into our first home together many years ago that we cannot plan more than three years out. Two years would be a reasonable to plan your life as, chances are, it would be doable. That same formula hit us in the face starting my third year in my MFA program at RIT. Luckily, we have a streak of being successful in our decisions and it’s only made our marriage stronger. I’m just hoping that the next two years in the DC area will prove to be an amazing adventure that the McBe’s love to continue pursuing. We did leave a good community that we just started to feel comfortable in, but we knew it wouldn’t be forever… Though the friends we met and made will last a lifetime. We’ll especially miss the company of Will and Katie (my brother and sister-in-law); we couldn’t have been luckier to live the past two years near them.
The move has also dramatically reduced my ability to work on my thesis which is unfortunate, but is life. I’m looking at a lot of work before me and am still in the planning/production phase as this process of creating sculptural zoetropes is a lot more difficult than perceived originally. The biggest frustration is that “Oh Right” moment I continually have which is when the technical (and financial) limitations of my decisions and designs inhibit the potential film I’d like to create. This said, I’ve been fishing for ideas and motifs to put into these creations… I’m leaning completely abstract as it’ll allow for the lack of character build up needed for traditional stories. Maybe I should focus on new story making…? Not sure, just thinking out-loud – mostly frustrated with my inability to find these ideas and motifs.
Speaking of finding ideas, I recently tapped into a resource that’s always been less than two feet from my ear: Music. Once Corinn and I restored order to our new home, I was able to turn up the music and listen to my past in an apartment on the top floor of a 16th building – I have a fear of heights by the way. The point being that I’m sitting on concrete slabs that allow me to explore the music at a reasonable level while working in different parts of our home, at the most ridiculous hours of the night. I couldn’t have asked for a better situation as creativity pours out at the most inconvenient times – for me it’s been night time for whatever reasons.
I find that listening to music of the past few decades brings back many memories and feelings that are very helpful in rekindling mementos or nuggets of ideas that’ll seed my story and make it more personal. That’s probably the most difficult part of doing a biography of your childhood sometimes… My memories don’t come by so easily anymore as I fill my brain up with new/current stories, ideas and information. My memories feel like they are being rewritten at times… or maybe locked away. Music happens to be that key that unlocks those feelings I forgot. Sometimes it does bizarre things like brings back smells from my kid/teen years. The human brain is something interesting, isn’t it?
So I’ve been listening to iTunes’ Radio station on my computer and just sitting and thinking. I joked with my faculty advisor that people for the first part of their thesis probably sit around and eat bon-bons. I don’t have bon-bons, but I have been sitting a lot, staring blankly at white walls lately – much like my cat – and thinking about how the story should evolve and what the animation will look like. I just basically got back into work mode after about five weeks of getting life moved to these parts, so I’m hoping that this process goes by quickly and that the time I have remains to be long. I’d like to finish by April, but with this year, it may require my time needed to complete to be about a year from today.
What I have been doing in the meantime is doing more research into at least some printing options. My opportunities at RIT to print are probably still available, but it also feels like the trail’s gone dry. As a result, I’ve been seriously considering using a professional service which has it’s many benefits, however, will be a lot more expensive – but that is something I know a lot about after many years working in IT and you tend to get what you pay for. So part of my research was to order a materials kit and I received some from www.shapeways.com. Their prices appear to be reasonable and their staff is easy to get a hold of it appears. They have an amazing community of 3D-print designers already trying to make their debuts in the market with publicly available designs you can print straight through the company and have it delivered to your door. I hope that this group continues to do well in their business. There are days where I want to go off topic and just create stuff to print, but that’ll have to wait until I’m done my thesis… Which is great that I have this opportunity, but it does wear down on you after a period of time, hitting your head against a wall.
As a result, I’ve been reading a book called “Art & Fear” which feels like a security blanket for an artist wannabe like me. It starts of having you come to terms that your probably not, nor will ever be, a Mozart considering you purchased and read this book. However, it does at least give you that feeling that the artist community that you are a part of can relate to the processes and artist goes through to realize and technically execute their ideas. I guess this is why I started really understanding that my thesis should be more of a personal story as I may not have this time for a while once I’m back in the field of a full-time job in whatever industry I may a work in.
The best thing about this book is reading it on the Amazon Kindle. Never did I think I would ever own one of these devices, but once my wife started to use it after it was given to us as a gift, I started to get curious. I bought the book for the Kindle and my favorite uses of the Kindle is the dictionary and highlighting features during reading. It’s an evolution of convenience and enjoyment I never imagined being exposed to. And what’s really awesome is its designed VERY well to read in bed, at night, and your eyes are not being fried by back lighting. It’s comfortable and designed well. Best yet, I can also read this on my computer and pull out the highlights and notes very easily. Can I just say that it’s designed well one more time? Can I also mention that it’s awesome? Yes, makes me happy to read again in a new way. Rejuvenated.
To this point, you’ll probably see more blog posts from me simply outlining some awesome quotes from this book. This said, I’ll leave off this blog post with one of my favorite reminders from the book:
Look at your work and it tells you how it is when you hold back or when you embrace. When you are lazy, your art is lazy; when you hold back, it holds back; when you hesitate, it stands there staring, hands in its pockets. But when you commit, it comes on like blazes.