And so, the past few days have been frustrating ones in my studio. A process I’ve used for years, I just seem to get it to perform how I want (perhaps an old friend is showing me something new?). I’ve spent lots of time trying to coax out the right colors and what-not, but damn, just doesn’t seem to want to happen.
Frustrated and bored, sitting over a batch of prints today, I took some pictures of my studio walls. There are interesting histories in these pictures. Off to the right, the first drum I ever owed. Just above that, a newspaper photograph I bought off of ebay showing the eruption of a volcano in Java. To the left, a gravure print made from Karl Blossfeldt photographs, and below a Woodbury and Page albumen print of a tea plantation in Java. The large photograph was made by a former student, one who performed piercing (and other illicit activities) to fund his work in college; this particular photograph was made after using a scalpel to open an ear lob for larger plugs. Below that, a drawing my daughter made of the two us walking a beach in Bali. And then on the far left, on top a collage made by a former student now working in the Peace Corps in Ghana, and an early piece of mine.
I’ve always liked this early piece; I think of it showing birth, life, and death. The three photographs – a picture of my 10 month old son, a nude study, and a graveyard in Paris.
In this second photograph, reels and beakers, some photographs of my kids, thank you notes and postcards from former students, and a couple of photographs given to me by Wima Ambala Bayang.
I surround myself with the detritus of what I’ve done and who I’ve known, it hopes to get a better sense of what I am and what I want to be.