It Begins.

Some of you may remember this post, in which I detailed working travel plans for August.

Well, it’s started.  The Kickstarter page is up.

If you like what you’ve seen here and have a few shekles to spare, feel free to click through and donate.

The process of setting the Kickstarter up was simple from a technical standpoint, but for someone who is not totally comfortable with self-promotion, it was a strange and uncomfortable experience.  I also have to say that being videoed was probably one of the more difficult things I’ve had to do in the process of working on a project.  Hell, I’m not even really comfortable with still photography… the video was intensely uncomfortable.

However, it’s a thing that had to be done in order to get the project moving, and so I did it.

I am very excited and also pretty nervous.  This is how this sort of thing always goes, usually up until the point at which the plane lands.  I fret and worry and make lists up until the point at which it’s actually already happening.  I think this is a holdover from vacationing with my father, who had document wallets and plans and schedules and such, and who implied that all hell would break loose should we deviate, and chaos would be unleashed upon the world.

I know everything is going to be fine.  Rationally, I know this.

But it doesn’t stop my fretting.

It’s a strange feeling to be dead broke and planning a trip.  I’m very glad that Kickstarter, along with other crowd-funding websites, are able to provide a platform through which artists can fund projects.  It’s a necessary piece of infrastructure if we are to combine the information age and the gift-based economic model, and I see it as a way to remove the middle man from the artist’s relationship with the consumer.

I’m very excited to go, though, because getting away from my usual and accustomed places allows for a change in creative direction.  It allows me the mental freedom to work on a totally different project without the nagging obligation of all of the other things that I have going on.  It also helps me to switch gears; new vistas help to limber the creative mind.  I’m very excited to go somewhere that I haven’t been before, and to see a manmade spectacle of disastrous proportions.

I’m looking forward to focusing on short pieces, which are much less imposing than larger projects.  The short essay format, which is what I’ll be working on during the trip, provides a lot of freedom and versatility.  There is no need to maintain perspective or a particular voice, because the pieces are short and individual, and do not need to rely on one another.  There is no pressure to construct and sustain one particular narrative, and one can work on multiple pieces at once, as the mood strikes.  This helps to prevent fatigue of the mind, and in my opinion, will produce better results overall.  In addition, the thought of pairing this work with some of Phil’s photography, which I’ve admired for as long as I’ve known the man, honestly thrills me.

Practice on the Wacom.
Practice on the Wacom.

It’s also going to be really great for me to have the opportunity to set aside a little bit of time each day to draw.  I know that I mostly talk about writing here, and as a result most of you probably know me as a writer.  I am also an “artist,” or as I prefer to think of it, someone who tries to draw pretty pictures and succeeds about ten percent of the time.  Of course, I’ve been devoting a lot of time to the manuscript lately, and to the blog (of course), but since I have an art show coming up in late 2013, getting into the habit of making time to draw will be very very good for me.

The images that I hope to produce from the Salton Sea trip will be pen and ink, mostly because pens and ink are very inexpensive when compared to other mediums… particularly any in which multiple colors are needed.  For this, all I will need to take is paper, ink, pens, nibs, and a brush.  Well, and a pencil.

Since the temperatures will likely be exceeding a hundred and twenty degrees Fahrenheit, I’ll probably be doing some brief pencil sketches when in the presence of the subject, and taking a lot of photos.  I’d like to say that I’m tough enough to sit out in a hundred and twenty degree heat and complete a drawing, but that’s not likely the case and I pride myself on pragmatism.  I’ve been limbering up with some digital drawing on my old Wacom tablet, and it feels good.  It feels really good.  One of the things I love about digital drawing is that you can erase or undo anything… it allows me to approach with a looser hand, to take more risks and not worry about it… some advice I saw Ralph Steadman give on video once that stuck with me, and that I’ve been pursuing ever since, with varying degrees of success.

Finally, while this is not going to be a vacation, I am very much looking forward to getting back out into the desert; into the silence and sparseness and strangeness of it.  The desert is not somewhere that I would want to live, but even when I’m drifting into an alcohol induced stupor, it is a place that I always long to visit.  Maybe it’s that the place is so alien to me that nothing in it reminds me of my home and obligations.  Or maybe it’s that it gives me the mental space to think things that I don’t always have time for day-to-day.  Maybe it’s even just that it’s such a lonely place that I feel more comfortable with being Allison.  Either way, it’s going to be an adventure, a lot of hard work, and a welcome break, all at the same time.

 

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Author: adrennan

An artist and writer in Bellingham, Washington.

2 thoughts on “It Begins.”

  1. This is great and pragmatism isn’t the only reason to use pen and ink, I think. The sparseness and contrast will suit the desert if this deer is anything to go by.

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