Sunday, December 14, 2008

Second Tuesday

This post is about making connections with other people in the art world -- which is kind of what this blog is all about! Along that line, I'm delighted to see that people are responding and/or participating in the comments section (right below this post, guys -- easy to do! Exercise for the little grey cells as well as the fingers!). Also, housekeeping-wise, I'm reminding folks that I keep an email list of people who want to be informed about new posts. I am trying to post once a week, though sometimes I get lazy or over-excited. The email I send out gives you a taste of what's on the blog, but is a special little communication all on its own. Short, really. You can email me to ask to be put on the list. Go to my website, and click on Contact.

Here's a photo of the people in my Art Group at my studio this past Tuesday. We meet on the second Tuesday of each month, discussing and sharing our own work and ongoing issues in the arts. Sometimes we come to my studio in the winter or in mud season, since it’s in town and not on a back road, where most of us live. We were a small group this month – left to right, Alex Bottinelli, Liz Nelson, Lynn Newcomb (who told us she just got a Pollock-Krasner Fellowship!), and Maggie Neale. Five other members of the group were absent for various reasons.

I’ve been meeting with this group for over ten years. I started when I still had my studio in St. Johnsbury (maybe in 1996?). The members of the group have changed a bit over the years, though it has actually stayed remarkably stable. We’re all women. We’ve invited men to come, but we never found any who were interested. The most valuable thing to me about the group is that it gives me a historical look at other people’s work, seeing the trajectory of their practice, how things have changed or remained the same. And each of these people is also a witness to how my work has morphed, and what has engaged me over the years.

Making art is a curious thing to do, and having others who have the same proclivity is comfortable and creates a bit of community in a profession that is quite solitary. The visual arts (unlike theater, music, and dance) are not practiced ensemble, but singly, one by one.

I gave Liz one of the painted political lawn signs I’d made for an outdoor installation in Johnson this summer. She took it home and has been doing her own installation project with it – putting it in various outdoor locations around her house and then photographing it. Here’s one she took at night with a flash.

So what would you like to talk about? What do you do that creates community, fellowship, fellow-feeling, fellow-traveling? Do you get enough, too much?


Maggie Neale said...

Hey Janet, great shot of your studio...all the activity within. Always intriguing to see what you have going. Like the shot by Liz of your circles in the dark and snow. Would love to find a whole entering of comments here when i come around again.

janetvanfleet said...

Yah, me too! We'll see what conversation happens. I love Liz's project with the lawn sign (which she calls a banner). And I think our group looks pretty great. Sorry you had your eyes closed -- in BOTH photos I took.

Sherrie said...

Where are you in the picture? ;)

I'm a writer, so I know all about solitary creation.

I am getting into crochet, so a little crochet group would be great to be part of. Might have to pull one together myself one of these days.

janetvanfleet said...

I'm not in the picture because I am taking it!

Yes, writers are in the same boat as visual artists. Do you belong to a writer's group?

jafabrit said...

how wonderful that you have had your group for 10 years. Hi there, this is jafabrit (ps I sent birdie yesterday). Your studio looks wonderful. I am part of a group called the jafagirls but we don't meet regularly. You can see our website here.
I hope you don't mind if I add you to my blog roll :) Nice to have found your blog.