Learning by Doing: Summer Edition

The best way to describe my life right now is dense. Busy doesn’t quite capture the feeling, but dense. Different projects at different stages. I’m doing the types of things that fulfill me and sometimes over-fill me, things that I wish I had more time and space to think about more deeply and properly process. But the original definition of the word, “studio,” is to “learn by doing,” and so perhaps that is what we need to do, when we do not have space in between or surrounding the actions that make up our lives.

So here’s what I’ve done in the process of learning by doing.


Moments from the exhibit I curated at Promega, working with artists Yeonhee Cheong, Nirmal Raja, Kristen Bartel, and Rina Yoon. It’s been a wonderful experience. The theme of the show is our relationship with the environment, as we shape it and as it shapes us. In case you missed the opening, you can watch Rina and Yeonhee’s thought-provoking presentations online.

The show is up until September 4th for anyone who hasn’t gotten a chance to see it. Yeonhee Cheong and I will be leading a gallery talk on August 21st.

Shout-out to Daniel Swadener, Stephanie Shea, and Promega for inviting me to do this, and for being great to work with!!

Closeup of “Memento Mori Sewol,” by Yeonhee Cheong. For purchase inquiries, email here@jenie.org.
“earth: between in and yeon,” by Rina Yoon. For purchase inquiries, email here@jenie.org.
Rina Yoon presenting during the symposium of “Intertwined.”
Nirmal Raja brings artist’s books to share during her gallery talk.
Artist Rhea Ewing interacts with Nirmal Raja‘s piece, “The Tongue of the Hand.” One of my favorite artworks (and two of my favorite people!).

My newest series of artwork in 2017, Not Everything is Seen and The Globe Weavers. You can view images from this series on my website and see the originals on display at Urban Ecology Center until August 30th.

“Nothing is Hidden, but Not Everything is Seen.” Ink on paper, 11 x 14 inches, 18 x 22 inches framed. Original available.
“Movements,” Ink on Paper, 11 x 14 inches, 18 x 22 inches framed, original sold. Limited edition prints available.
“Angels and Harpies: A Civil War Begins,” Ink on paper, 20 x 30 inches, 27 x 39 inches framed. Original available.
“Angels and Harpies: A Civil War Begins,” detail shot.

Sneak peek of the preliminary design for a mural I’m doing in Milwaukee. News to come. :)

Mural design preview.

Mural-in-progress with the students of Goodman Community Center. We worked with the youth to create the design last winter and in July started painting. The image was inspired by a quote that one of the students shared: “The walls we build to keep out the sadness also keep out the joy.”

The mural will go in Goodman’s new teen center upon its completion.

Teaching woodcut workshops with the library. Spreading the love for woodcut and all things print.

As of last week, I’m officially the owner of this beautiful combination press. We’re moving it into the studio tomorrow. (!!!)

Dickerson/C Combination Press. Still needs a name. :)

I did manage to fit in a vacation in July as well (thank goodness) which helped reenergize me for the second leg of the summer. My boyfriend has been on his own business-building adventure and we nearly canceled our trip on account of being so stressed and busy, but I’m glad we didn’t. Best thing about South Dakota, Wyoming, and Montana (besides mountains and nature, of course): no data on my phone.

Drawing near our campsite, with a view of the Grand Tetons.
Grand Prismatic in Yellowstone. These colors and textures absolutely need to make it into my future works. All travel is research when you’re a creative. As Amanda Palmer once wrote, all creativity is collecting dots and connecting dots.

I am approaching the 3-year mark since I quit my corporate job and have passed the one-year mark since my business turned a profit. I’m learning a ton about what it means to build a business around the arts and around the causes one cares about, the good and the bad. I need to build in more time to reflect and evaluate each thing that I’ve done. It’s undeniable that I’m growing. But I get overwhelmed. I get exasperated. There are many 12-hour days and very few weekends. I go on a rollercoaster between feeling unstoppable in what I can do and doubtful about whether I’m truly up to the tasks and visions I set before myself. I worry about overbooking myself, and about the detriment that busyness can have on quality and mastery in one’s work. I worry about doing shallow work or achieving shallow results.

The growing pains can be terrible at times.

But they can also be pretty great.

Badlands.
Badasses.

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