Sunday, April 30, 2006

OVER, and my back is jacked

Ay. Internet was down for a while and my family was in town (sis is still downstairs @ 3rd Coast having bfast w/a Wellesley friend who goes to U of C now). The opening went well, I think. Hard to say, since I was inside of my structure the ENTIRE four hours, drawing comics for an enormous line of people that didn't end until 9pm. My mom and sis got there around 5:15 or 5:30, and stayed about 45 min. I was horrified b/c even though I told people to introduce themselves to my family (since I'd obviously be unable to do intros as I'd be trapped inside, performing all night), NO ONE did. So they didn't get to meet anyone, and ended up leaving after asking the security guard where to go shopping. They walked up to the top of the loop and stopped at Starbucks and were cold from the wind, and then WAITED for me until 9pm!! Then I met them at Oysy for a late, late, sushi dinner. I felt badly that I couldn't equip them w/better shoes, clothes, and a tour guide.

So these pictures are from BEFORE I had my big accident (this one is w/Oscar peeking in)--near the end of my shift, one of the ceiling beams fell down. YES, AGAIN! omg. The best part was that it f***ing fell on my back, hit the wall, and then the floor. After that, I was like, someone cut the line off b/c I am SO done. I had to draw for almost ten more people before I could jump out and have everything else cave in on me. I was really pissed off the whole night b/c everyone and their aunt thought it would be a good idea to 1. touch my wall 2. bump into my wall 3. throw themselves against my wall 4. step on/into my wall 5. kick my wall ... and the list goes on. Even though I told people specifically not to do that, for their own safety. Of course, all that jiggling only causes the wall to put more stress on the beams, which are only held up w/shims, which then fall down on the artist.

Sorry for ranting so much. I'm just unbearably exhausted, stressed about all the other things on my plate (getting a job, figuring my loan repayments, getting my already late for delivery website going, using the studio before I graduate, moving....), and: last night, I started getting awful sharp pains in my back. I had hoped it was from lifting my mom's bag of my stuff to bring back to NY, but after inspecting where the paint marks on my dress from Friday were, it looks like the 55" 2x2 falling 14' down onto my back probably hurt me. I couldn't sleep b/c of the pain and now am afraid I'll have to skip yoga tomorrow so I can go to student health. OW. And I was hoping the wall would hurt the audience, not ME! Cranky cranky.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Install: end of Day 4

I need a face mask, pronto. Ew. Feeling gross from rolling around on the floor getting more photos taken of my piece. Everything installation-wise is pretty much taken care of. Lighting for the rest of the show is done, so no more dark gallery (too bad, since it makes my stuff look better). I was so used to working in a cave. haha! Now I have to figure out my costume and performance exactly. Oh, and directions for everyone. It'll be confusing. I seem to always require a lot from my poor audience. I had moments installing where I felt like crying. I think from just feeling like I'm doing exactly what I should be doing, even though it's really hard. And I am REALLY glad that my family is flying in tomorrow to see it. I wish I could get my dad to come, but oh well. Time to head home and hopefully get good sleep sans nightmares.

Install: Day 4

Oh, drama drama. Yesterday was more drama. They left out the comma in my title and I went into fits of rage. So bad that I had dreams of fighting w/people. It scares me, how my anger is a poison that burns away at me. I decided I had to do a full meditation this a.m. and I accessed overwhelming sadness. Not sure what it's about, but maybe the anger is a cover for that. Not enough sleep. Clif said I look REALLY tired today. I'm posting pics of the work-in-progress - the ladders obviously will be gone.

I thought it might be helpful for people to understand the piece better by posting my artist statement:

Aimee Lee
Hunk, & Dora

Nothing in the entire universe is hidden
--Zen Master Dogen

I grew up hating self-portraits. They seemed to condemn my physical flaws and defects in my creative process. I didn’t understand why it was so hard to draw my face, but so easy to draw a bottle opener. As an overachiever, I was frustrated by how long it took to complete self-portraits; I fell behind for the first time in art class while struggling with one.

This is a self-portrait.

I grew up in brick structures: my home, my schools, places I don’t even recall anymore. I still draw brick walls the way I did as a child, in a running bond. After using covered bricks as weights in bookbinding and reading George Herriman’s Krazy Kat comics about a mouse who throws a brick at a cat’s head, I knew that the brick would be the ideal unit for constructing a physical wall that represented my internal defenses.

To display an interior landscape and mythology, I turned to paper versions of original bricks. They resemble each other: ubiquitous and unassuming, yet extremely labor intensive to lay. Those similarities coupled with their obvious differences help me sit with the fact that what I try to hide is often exactly what I want to expose.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Install: Days 2 & 3

I lost my connection last night so I couldn't post. Plus I had gone out for a drink (oh, and crispy potatoes [that would be w/cheese, bacon, ranch, and scallions] and an amazing AMAZING brownie sundae [where the brownie is heated up!! I LOVE seeing the steam rise off of it in the sea of ice cream.] so I was tired. To bed at about 2:30am, up at 8am w/a call from Anne. Yesterday's install was DRAMA. I was screaming up on the high ladder, yo. Cursing and very loud and requiring a lot of attention. Why? well, the goddamn thing was falling down. My ceiling supports are just 2x2s (sorry, not 1x1s...I'm a lumber idiot) wedged in and one fell down. I saw it in the a.m. and almost binged on a mountain of chocolate but the stores weren't open. Instead, I had to get two more 2x2s (of course, Ace had only one, but Aaron saved me w/his one in his studio pile) and wedge them up. Zeke was my amazing studio bitch yesterday and helped w/all that, plus calming me down from all my freak outs.

AJ and Nathalie have been crazy amazing troopers for me, too. Insane! I can't believe they've been so good to me (I generally can't believe when anyone is any kind of good to me). I should be installing now but wanted to post quickly before I started. Yesterday, I shored up the ceiling supports, the wall lost another foot off the ground b/c it fell down that much, I sewed up and velcroed a bunch of holes, eased tension on bricks that were being smashed or ripped open, and anchored both sides to the wall. Today: the door, plugging up the top, and deciding if I should pave the interior w/bricks. I had an idea in the shower this a.m. for the performance, so I'm feeling fresh and ready to go even though I'm wearing the same overalls three days in a row.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Install: Day 1

So the way it works is that I'm hanging this whole sucker, so this is me tweaking it as I hang more and more pieces. They're glued in sections of a foot tall and 4-6 bricks wide, and then interlock sideways w/velcro and attach top and bottom w/velcro. Then there's monofilament running through each section, usually two lines, where I've had to pierce as straight as possible, glue tyvek onto to reinforce, re-pierce, and thread through and anchor on both ends w/buttons.

Then there's me being a HUGE ladder hog. I had the 14' one in the morning but had to move it out after we got six canisters in the track, b/c otherwise we'd never get it out once I kept building down. I kept that outside of the wall so I could work on it from outside, and then dragged the 12' one inside. Then the tiny 6' one just for shorter things and for balancing against things. And Melissa got me her 8' gold-painted one that is hanging out in the space but not in the photo.

Okay, I was going to post more but now I'm so tired I could die. My feet are killing me from so much ladder work. I put in almost a 14-hr day. Thank god for my helpers: Robert, AJ, and Nathalie. They were really good about me being really bad at delegating. The whole thing is up (except the part I took down and will re-do) and now I'm tweaking. Much more to do...stay tuned!

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Not a moment of peace

I can't stop thinking about thesis. It's awful. Before I sleep, when I wake up, when I meditate, all the time. I don't WANT to, and thinking about how I'm going to rig things when I'm not physically even able to BE on site is useless. I'll be so glad when this one-tracked thinking ends. This is me measuring the space between concrete beams in the ceiling so I can chop appropriately-sized 1x1s.

This would be me having my second lunch break of the day yesterday (thank GOD the building happened to be open for an extra film event, so we got to stay until 9pm instead of getting booted at 6pm. SAVED my life. Also caused me to procrastinate longer). I got Italian seasoned chicken breast sandwiches, baked potato chips, celery, and fig newtons for Ami and me. I was full for the rest of the day.

This is blurry b/c the lighting in the gallery was for shit, but I think it's HILARIOUS b/c it looks more like martial arts training than installing an art piece. I was stirring paint and then using the gook on the end of the stick to paint the rest of it - this is for the 2nd coat. Thanks to Elizabeth for donating her leftover lumber to us and to Bill for earmarking them for me.

And you never thought you'd see me w/a DeWalt miter saw! I'm chopping down more shingles (again, thanks to Elizabeth!) that I've painted white that then get wedged up next to the 1x1s up in the ceiling. The theory is that they get stuck up in between the beams, and the long pieces don't fall down b/c the wedges keep them from doing so. I had one fall down as I was installing, but tested all of them w/my body weight (well, as much as I would give up w/o falling off the 14' ladder), and Bill thinks they'll be fine and I'm just paranoid.

This is as much as I got done yesterday. Which is decent for working solo. Everyone asked where my helpers were and I was like, none today! B/c I wanted to make sure the ceiling beams worked first. And the tricky thing w/this install, is that no one can really be helpful (except when I forget crap on the floor and I'm 14' up w/o a hammer...but even then, I have to climb down to be able to reach them) if they're not at the same height as me. And getting the 12' ladder up next to the 14' one seems kinda silly. Scaffolding would be ideal.