Thursday, April 30, 2009

April:: Moving

This month I decided to try something radically new for me. I decided to begin planning to move to a different country. I will leave at the very the end of June to spend a month in Hong Kong and the remaining 10 months in Beijing.

My last semester before graduation my interest was sparked in Chinese Contemporary Fine Art. That summer I studied Mandarin language and even worked a temporary position at a NYC Chinese Contemporary art gallery. I’ve spent quite a few months exploring jobs that would earn me experience towards my interests in curatorial work, gallery administration, and artist residency. Unfortunately, the Fine Arts industry has been hit just as hard, maybe harder than most.

Over a serious of events, I built a relationship with a well-established Beijing art gallery called Red Gate. The gallery is parent to a non-profit artist residency and is in need of a Residency Program Coordinator. We both decided that I would be a good fit for this position. So now I embark on last minute planning to head for Beijing to volunteer work my dream job and stay at their free apartments. Just one more year of eating ramen...

At the gallery it will be my responsibility to meet local artists and connect with the local art scene as well as host the international artists that fly in from around the world to spend time studying and working at Red Gate Residency. I’m told I will even get some gallery and curatorial experience. The residency serves as a sort of retreat for working artists to be able to focus totally on the body of work they are creating, or collaborate with other artists in residency, or learn techniques and practices from the local art environment. Its intention is to nurture and encourage the creative process.

This an adventure to s
ay the least. My language skills need a great deal of work and Ive never previously set foot in China. But as a whole, I can confidently say that my past travel adventures, jobs and experiences have prepared me as best as they can for this step from my adventures in Orlando, Fl to those I am about to experience in Beijing, China.

Ill buy you a bowl of noodles and give you a free place to stay if you visit me. Start swimming now! Wo xi huan nimen - I love you all!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

March:: Polocrosse

Polocrosse with Megan Smith, 3/25

One of my favorite persons in the world happens to be Megan Smith. Aside from her charm, good looks, and generous spirit, Megan is an incredible dressage instructor. When Megan first explained to me what dressage was she said it was basically like choreographed dancing for horses. I am still trying to convince here how awesome it would be if she could get them to learn how to break dance.

Ive done some design help for Megan Smith Dressage Instruction, in return Megs let me tag along on a long day of horse time. I set up a chair by the stables, read some Rumi, and listened to some classical music with the horses while Megan gave her first lesson. Next we were off to another farm… even further out, where she gets paid to give the horses lessons, which mostly just looks like riding them a bunch. We packed up and headed off almost to Ocala to a huge farm where a bunch of trailers were arriving for weekly polocrosse practice. I quickly recognized how completely out of place I was in my thrift store boots and denim, watching Megan convince the owner she could ride both Western and English and that she could certainly hold her own in a game of polocrosse.
Here are the BASICS:
Polocrosse is like a less pretensions version of polo. Its polo mixed with lacrosse actually… not that I have any idea how to play either. The objective is to throw the ball between your goal posts. There are two teams, each with three players, and each player has their own section of the field. The three players in each section play the position of a No. 1, attack, a No. 2, midfield (a combination of defense and offence), or a No. 3, defense.

The 1’s get to enter the opposition’s goal scoring area and the center area. The 2’s can only be in the center area, and the 3’s can defend their goal scoring area and enter the center area.

To score, the ball must be thrown by the No. 1 from outside an 11-yard semi-circle in front of the goal. Players can pick up the ball from the ground, catch it in their racquet, and ride with it. They throw it to other players until the No.1 has possession in the goal scoring area. A player cannot carry the ball over the penalty line, but must bounce it so that they do not have possession of it while actually crossing the line. It can also be passed to a player over the line. There’s a few other little things, like the keeping the stick on one side of the horse only, and everything being underhand for the most part, but those are the basics. Oh, and you can knock the ball from your opponents racket as long as you knock it up, not down.
Average COSTS:

I don’t even know where to start… the horse, the farm, the saddle, the helmet, the field, the racquets, leg wraps for the horse, a helmet. Yeah.
It turns out it was quite a good thing I didn’t get my own horse to play. I had no idea how aggressive the game would be! Megan insists that I would have fallen off, an experience I will gladly forgo. I did however get to practice a little, with the ball, and the stick and the horse and all.

- I do not like being aggressive with animals, even when they have taken off with me full speed on their back heading straight for a pasture of grazing cattle
- horses are really fast
- you can get really messed up in polocrosse, just ask my new friend with the broken foot who explained to me the rules to the game while we sat on the sideline together

Coming up... dark room photography, bee keeping, surfing, and something asian*

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

February:: Welding

Welding with Paul Romine, 2/25

There are few people I have met that get a similar joy from talking about all things fine art as I do. Adrienne Romine is definitely one of those people in my life. In total support of my exploring mediums for art making and learning new crafts and skills, Adrienne selflessly volunteered her brother Paul to teach us how to weld.
Here are the BASICS:

First, there are a few different types of welding… I did MIG welding, MIG being an acronym for “metal inert gas”. Basically you have a trigger (the MIG gun) with a cord that feeds metal wire, which itself melts while melting the metal pieces you are welding. The metal from the wire, and the piece you are working on all mix in a “puddle” and harden as one cohesive piece. This makes it super strong, the same way as if you were to melt three pieces of ice and refreeze them. The gas in the acronym refers to the gas that’s pumped out with the wire which shields the weld puddle of metal you just created from the atmosphere, its actually not an inert gas nowadays, mostly just carbon dioxide, that’s why some people call it arc welding now.

I realized that I have no I know even less than I thought about science when Paul explained to our blank stares that unless you connected a clamp to some part of the metal you were welding the electrical circuit would not be complete and no chemical reaction would take place. Mhmmm… okay. So apparently welding is not just really hot torch making things hot and melting them together, welding steel involves an electric current.
Average COSTS:

$400-500 for a good machine. A couple bucks for silverware at a local thrift shop or junk steel.
Our welding session quickly became a family affair. Paul showed us how to weld without masks, what speed we should set the wire feed and how high we should set the machine. Adrienne practiced with her scrap metal and I carefully crafted little pendant charms from the silverware I had picked up from the thrift store that morning in Brevard. Adrienne’s little brother came in later and showed us all up by cutting, bending and welding together a silverware sculpture of a figure complete with wings and a base on which it stood. Mr. Romine took some photos and scolded Paul for having taught us how to weld without masks. We ended the wonderful evening with a dinner “experiment,” one of Mrs. Romine’s Pillsbury million dollar bake-off recipe practices. All in the name of science.


- you cant just weld any metals together, they usually have to be the same
- since mig welders feed wire, you have to make sure you have the right wire to match your metal
- you probably need to look into brazing if you want to make a cool bracelet our of your brass ladle you found, brass is a soft metal and thus really just needs heat
- because metal is such a rapid conductor of heat, the heat also leaves the metal quickly
Also... i wanna learn how to fly a plane, holler if you know a pilot!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

January:: Glassblowing

Glassblowing with Robert Bucknor, 1/28
content coming soon...

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Preface:: New Years Resolution 2009

2009 will be the first year since I was 4 years old that I am not a student in the academic sense. In order to engage my passion for learning I have set the goal for my self to learn at least one new skill or craft every month. Here’s the vision:

- learn from someone who is actively engaged (or has been) in this skill or craft and is passionate about sharing it with me
- something that I have never tried or really known a lot about prior

Its not so much that I master at these experiences, more that I have been introduced, and now at the very least have a deeper appreciation for this skill or craft.

Suggestions? Here’s a few from the list:
- cross stitching
- whittling/woodcarving
- start a fire without flint
- dark room photo developing
- taxidermy
- fencing
- curing meat/canning fruit
- doing my own taxes
- making wine/moonshine/bartending skills
- gardening
- weaving