I went to EIU two weeks ago for my artists lecture, demo, and grad crits. It was so good to be home. Billie brought a van load of graduate students from the U of I down to Charleston for my lecture on Wednesday night and there were numerous EIU students in attendance I had a great turn out and they actually had to bring extra chairs in since there were so many people. I was honored to have so many former faculty there for the lecture. My family and Jill's family attended as well and it was a great opportunity to share my lecture with them, as I don't believe they have ever heard me speak about my work before. The show looked great thanks to Mike and the crew at the Tarble Arts Center. I was so stoked to see all of the work in one place. During Thursday and Friday I did grad critiques at Burl Ives Studio and a demo that covered a bit of digital tech and sand casting on Thursday afternoon in Matthew Boonstra's Sculpture course. It was great to see what Matthew has done with the Sculpture facilities. It was cool to do a crits with some awesome grads and to have the opportunity to set foot in my old studio (it brought back a lot of memories of teaching myself how to machine and how to work steadily).
I really enjoyed seeing Dave each day and hanging out for coffee and lunch. I have such great respect for him has a teacher and person. I know he is also a great father and I think that is rare in the world of narcissistic artists. He really has his priorities straight and I admire that. I sometimes think that I am not doing such a great job in this category as I feel pressure to keep doing more and more at work and be present for more and more things that are not of my choosing. Being home has made me analyze my priorities and question my motivation for doing things. It's also made me realize that there are people in this world that have balance who are still successful. I have to admit that I was sad to leave Charleston.
Jill and I had several conversations with each other and with Noah and Maya on the way home. We talked a lot about our collective future dreams and aspirations and I find myself running these conversations through my head each day since. I'm so thankful for the grounded childhood that I had growing up and I want to be able to provided the same for my children. I have the best family possible in Jill and the Kids and I am so thankful for their support. I've come to the realization that I still have a lot to accomplish but that I need to start doing these things on my terms and under the conditions in which I think I will be best for my family. This exhibition and many other opportunities that have happened in the last year have shown me that I can pave a way for myself and for my family that is different then those of my colleagues and that I do not need to worry about fitting a certain academic mold. Too often were taught the institutionalized and prescribed way in which to be successful and we all just end up following each other until we realize that no matter how much "Kool-Aid" we drink there's a possibility that the "Spaceship" may not show up and we loose our individuality in the process. Even worse we start feeding the system by citing the same garbage we were fed. I just can't do that. It reminds me of the former professor who worked at the BMW shop as a mechanic and parts guy when I was in grad school (that sure was perplexing to me at the time and now each day it gets more and more clear) or Deitmar Winkler and his "selecting a school and buying into a system" talk.
Right now, I feel the most empowered I have ever felt as a result of the work I have completed in the last three years. I thank God for my family, the opportunities that I have had, and the people I have met as a result of this work thus far and I look forward to the years ahead as things unfold.
Sorry for the rant; check out the show if you happen to be around Charleston, IL.