My analog year

It was a little odd for me to not be recording some of my biggest projects in 2014 on the web.

analog stack

I made a few references to Sketchbook Skool on twitter, but didn’t blog about it. Instead, I put my energy into making things with my hands that didn’t later show up online. No special project websites, no flickr album, just three full sketchbooks. Each and every page, full, even the inside covers. The advice to keep drawing and move on — no ripping out pages — really helped.

I took all three semesters (Beginning, Seeing, and Storytelling) at SBS because once I got started, I didn’t want to stop. I have been telling myself for years that I wanted to draw and then doing absolutely nothing about it. Until Danny Gregory and crew were around week after week to nudge and encourage me, I was stuck. Stuck in believing I couldn’t draw, that I couldn’t learn to draw, and that my monkey would never shut up enough for me to try.

Going from zero drawing to filling 372 pages feels like a big deal. Committing to ongoing creativity is a big deal. It feels great.

The other book I filled in 2014 was my logbook; it was the second year in a row I stole Austin Kleon’s idea.

I used up several pens, discovered watercolor, played around with permanent and water soluble pens, and developed a crush on watercolor pencils. I took my sketchbooks out in public — years of carrying around cameras helped that feel less conspicuous; if you want the image, you’ll do what you need to in order to try and get it.

Lots of pages, not many posts in 2014. I am okay with that. This year, though, I’d like to see how I can manage both.

Birds on a wire and otherwise

This is photo is of Emily Belknap’s installation “Flight Zones”:

Flight Zones by Emily Belknap

Flight initiation distance measures how close you can get to wildlife before you trigger an animal’s need to escape. Belknap hasn’t so much visualized this distance as made the zone palpable: if you were to step into the circle you’d disturb the dirt and become aware you were crossing a boundary.

It’s commonly called flight initiation distance (or FID, because people seem to love inscrutable to outsiders acronyms) even though it applies to wildlife in general, not just birds. I think it applies to animals in general, meaning us peopley animals, too. I wonder what our FIDs might look like.

two small birds on a wire consider flight

What about now?

Some email subject lines, like some return addresses on envelopes, create an
excitement and anxious anticipation I can feel in my chest. This afternoon’s “Cell Phone Show Jury Results” was that kind of email.

It contained good news: four of my photographs were selected for inclusion in Stonecrop Gallery’s “Can You Hear Me Now?” group exhibition of cell phone photography.

When I see calls for entry I often think of responding, but something usually gets in the way. Sometimes it is what I consider a questionable entry fee, but most of the time it boils down to not wanting to take the risk. Reframing so it isn’t about rejection (who wants to sign up for that?) but about hey, I created this stuff, and one of the reasons I did that was to share it (so why not try and see what happens?) means I actually submitted this time. Yeah, it feels good to be picked. It feels great to be willing.