As I prepare for my May 5th show (please come! the opening is 5-7pm at the Mary Boone Gallery in midtown, at 745 Fifth Ave.), I find that everything non-essential has dropped from my life. I have always built my life around convenience, trying to live within feet of subway stops. For years I lived within three blocks of the 1,2,3,L, F,M,A,C,E,B & D so I could waste less time. I work at home as close to the kitchen as possible to save on footsteps. I don’t care about clothes as long as I look ok, and will buy a generic wardrobe for a season in an hour at one store. I tell hairdressers to just make me look normal. My life has been designed to eliminate distraction.
I am currently finishing a painting of the last night of the Yamato, a Japanese battleship that went on a suicide mission in 1945. The painting began in my head five years ago while listening to a Dolly Parton song of all things. I researched exact battleship plans and drew out the interior on a thin piece of paper. You can see a hundred feet deep into the ship, and I have all the rooms to scale, receding into space. In this painting I wanted to speculate about the different things people might do when faced with certain doom. I knew where to dig for historical details, and how to make the painting make sense. I built a filing system to deal with my thousands of pieces of information. I looked over my past successes and failures at painting to pick approaches to materials that work. I covered the ferrules of my brushes with tape so reflected light wouldn’t disrupt my vision. I made mini-palettes out of plastic lids and taped them to my painting and taped folded bounty paper towel to myself to wipe my brushes on so I wouldn’t distract myself with movement. My goal was to be smart about the process so all my efforts would directly make the painting more pleasurable for the viewer.
|taping brushes to reduce glare|
The truth is, the past year and a half of work on this painting has been a disaster, as always. I drew the plans small, then changed the shape of panel so I had to tape extra pieces of paper to the drawing. There were so many perspective guidelines, I couldn’t see what I was doing and had to color things in with markers to visualize the space.
|muse as avatar|
So what do I love about deadlines? My friends who believe in me and send their love and support to me as I sit diligently watching my painting unfold. I don’t even have to explain to them how I feel because we all go through this. I can’t be the artist I would like to be, but maybe this experience is what I signed up for when I devoted my life to painting.
Yours very truly,