You are the universe experiencing itself.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

End of MFA

So here's a thing, last Sunday I graduated from the San Francisco Art Institute with a Masters in Fine Arts. That same weekend was the public opening of Edge Effect, SFAI's MFA show at Fort Mason. Unfortunately the show closed on Sunday so the opportunity to see it has passed, but the good news is I took some photos to document my installation. So before anything else, here's that.

It was pretty awesome having the show at Fort Mason with some many other great artists from the program, but the downside was that it was so short lived. Deinstalling on Monday was quite somber, I think because only then did it really feel like the end. Though I still have to move out of my studio space. While I don't like to speak for everyone, I do also believe there is a certain unspoken anxiety that has to do with life after MFA, where statistics speak for themselves about how many graduates actually continue to make art afterwards. I know that for myself it will be very hard to keep it going. But anyway this is a whole topic in itself and I did not intend to really bring it up here.

What I did mean to come up with for this update was some sort of statement attempting to summarize this moment of conclusion, this benchmark. Yes, I reached the end of my two years at the SFAI program and left with my MFA, but this "closing bracket"–if you will–represents the completion of my entire formal education. Of course this is assuming I will never go back for any other degrees or dog-forbid a doctorate in art (I've heard many rumours of such a thing), but I can say with near certainty that I don't expect I ever will. So here I am already two weeks after my last class of my last semester ever, after two years of grad school, two years for my bachelors, with three years of community college before that, 4 years of high school, 3 for middle school, and 6 of elementary including kindergarten. So I guess there's a lot of reflection occurring for my part right now, and it feels like I should have some sort of meaningful insight but I'm coming up short. It doesn't help that, with the MFA show and everything, it all happened so quick that you forget its the end until it's too late and it's already over. I think with that in mind I'd say it feels a little bit like Wile E. Coyote in the moment after running off a cliff, hanging in the air as the realization sinks in before the fall. But maybe I'm just being melodramatic. Actually, no. I think this image does summarize it well:

"Here's your tote-bag, good-luck!"

And it's not like this isn't a time for celebration, but it feels very bittersweet, very.

The other thing I wanted to mention as it relates to all this reflection stuff, was about this kind of "journey" of mine in photography. It was pretty much exactly 9 years ago at the end of my senior year of highschool when I began to really commit to photography. Right from the beginning my mom fully supported me, buying me a DSLR and sending me off on a photo safari/workshop in Alaska that summer. So first of all, without her I could never have accomplished anything. But there are also countless people who I have learned from over the years; teachers, peers, friends, and so on. Every single person along the way has had a role in my development as the photographer, artist, and person I am today. There are far too many people for me to name, but chances are if you are reading this you are one of them and I am grateful.

Well, I guess that's I really wanted to get out there. Thank you for everyone who came out to the MFA show. Until next time...

Monday, March 9, 2015

Artist Statement

I figured it would be worth throwing up my recently revised artist statement on here. I am quite happy with this new version and with a lot of thanks to my wonderful girlfriend Naomi, who helped me through long hours to bring it from mediocre to something I really feel quite proud of. She has a great Tumblr of writing and cartoons called All My Friends Are Employed, among many other projects she works on. I'm really lucky to have someone so smart and skilled in so many ways looking out for me.

Anyway, here is my statement:

A photograph is often considered to be a singular, frozen moment of time. However, within every photograph lies a duration of time, since scientifically, time is understood as infinitely divisible and can never be reduced to a single point.
I am no scientist, but I think that as an artist I am in the same business of understanding the world, and I use the camera as both a tool of artistic expression and an instrument of scientific observation. My curiosity is focused on space, time, and the cosmos; I am interested in how we experience and perceive them, and am fueled by a desire to understand our place within it. However, unlike a scientist, I neither seek nor offer any answers, only thoughts, meditations, and ruminations.
Time, space, light, and matter are the principal subjects of my work. They are the foundations of our experiences, yet most of us are content to hold only simple notions of them. I want my audience to wonder about the relativity of space and time, and the infinite existence of matter. I want them to consider the vast distance traveled by light from a star, which may be older than our own Earth or may be from a star that is no longer there. 
Human existence in this universe is thought of as isolated, indifferent, and insignificant, but the timeless matter that forms our bodies was once dispersed from the death of a star. Even if we choose ignorance the fact remains that we are participants in the Cosmos. Day or night, the stars never disappear.