these texts are an archive of my life in the San Francisco Bay Area from march 2007 - march 2015. it stands as a record of close to a decade of my life, charting the struggles i faced as an artist, daughter, and lover. messy and chaotic at times, eloquent and poetic at others, these texts are an index i am proud of. it was here in this electric box that i learned how to be honest about my experiences and the person i needed to become. it was here that i first learned the truism that words make the world and how to trust such a beautiful, rife, hard fact.

thank you for meeting me here in such tall grass.

my artist website is here.

Mar 3, 2010

The Struggle!

good morning, sunshine! where are you? tucked away behind these heavy clouds, lost behind the puddles. it's okay. stay in bed a little while longer if you must. take another sick-day. i am happy even without a bright, warm morning.

i know i've been repeating myself lately about how good it feels to be working with such ferocity again but it DOES! it really, really does! and i see myself circling back toward ideas i was working with 2 years ago before the big bad depression hit. i'm going back to old ground. higher ground. but all the better now for having struggled. 2 years. geez. i still can't see the entire depth of it but i can see the difference in a normal day NOW vs. a normal day this time last year. all the financial worries heaved on top and what a horrible, depleting fight i was in. but if not for that fight i might not have this current clarity and focus. i definitely don't want to repeat the experience any time soon (it slowed my practice to a trickle) but i'm thankful for the experience and insight it gave me. i'm thankful to have been polished by it in such a way that i become more passionately involved with my practice, that i see the power of images and know how strong, how forceful they are (or can be). the financial difficulties are still a factor but i've learned now to not look at them with such a dire, frenzied eye. the student loan will not break me apart.

as i plod through "of the refrain" (we covered another 6 pages last night before our brains leaked out our ears) and focus on my current drawings, i also have been taking the time to look back at the work i did when i was first dealing with these ideas: fractured identities, the fragments of a personality or history, the splintering, the redaction, the erasure of a person... the idea that LOSS is a major component in identity construction. that we are as much defined or formed by what we do not have, what we've lost, what we've never had, as what we possess. this is not entirely negative or morbid. not at all. i am currently wrestling with the sadder side of these ideas but i also see how these sad things can be translated (or composed/organized/viewed) in such a way as to make an individual more compassionate, more knowledgeable, more engaged with the world as a result of having had the experience of loss. finding a way to translate that experience, to find a means of expressing it in a thoughtful way that, not only, expands what art is or how it can be made or thought about or DO, but also establishes a site of hope, is important. at least it's important to me. and this thoughtfulness about The Image, about Art, about Expressiveness is not necessarily pretty or nice or even angry or shocking. there are so many routes to thoughtfulness and i think, for me, the route to take is a path that is inclusive of not only THEORY but of POETRY... of real-life concerns paired with philosophy and thoughts about justice and beauty. this is the struggle and the challenge i welcome.

my practice wants to be more than just an "i like to draw" mentality. i'm not bashing that mentality but, in a very direct way, that mentality is one that refutes and refuses to accept responsibility for the manufacture and presentation of images. it denies, in a somewhat snide way, that images have power. if images didn't have power there would be no controversy whatsoever over things like pornography or burning crosses or even stomping on a flag. no one would blink an eye if these Images didn't have power, if they didn't carry real-world concerns and connotations and possess the ability to destroy what we value as a culture and as human beings. Religion is, at its most basic level, an IMAGE of how life should be percieved and practiced. and just look at how powerful that image is, in particular. so...

this is why my practice aspires to be more, much much more, than the "i just like to draw" mentality. my practice beats me over the head and screams in my face "EITHER GET ENGAGED OR GO HOME!" i'm not saying every artist needs to think this way or proceed this way. not at all. i'm recognizing a desire and drive and need within myself to at least TRY to participate in that arena. there is a fearlessness in work that comes from that particular stance that i admire. all the artists and writers whose work has ripped out my heart, stitched it back together, and then reinserted it into my body, possess that fearlessness; that belief that Art, that Words, that the Image has relevance and power... and enough power to alter the way we view the world and practice our lives. i know that i have been changed AT MY CORE by the work of certain writers and artists. being exposed to their images and words gave me a new perspective and a new hope. it isn't all cerebral. some of it is emotional. some of it is psychological. some of it is in the body.

somewhere along the line inside my big bad depression, i became fearful of going this route. i was in such a weakened state that i did not trust myself, my instincts, my motives, or even my interests. i didn't trust them because i had somehow convinced myself that they might be wrong and bad and i was AFRAID of the repercussions.

i'm admitting to this because i think a lot of artists struggle this way. i think a lot of us deal with moments when our courage falters, if not altogether dries up and disappears.

i still somehow managed to make images i cared about during that time. i still managed to take some risks. but now, i'm ready to stand my ground again and say "THIS MATTERS" and take whatever consequences may result. in fact, i'm not even thinking of the consequences. i'm not thinking about where a painting may end up once it leaves my home. right now, all i'm thinking of is THE WORK. that is where my allegiance lies. that is where my practice needs to be.

the art i am most attracted to, the work that captivates me and spins me around and makes me dizzy, sometimes to the point of elation, sometimes to the point of nausea, is work that trusts itself- work that is fearless and doesn't shy away from how it might be received by The Outside. it is persistent. it doesn't back down after one angry word. it doesn't go away if a person might be dismissive of it. it stands its ground. it plants its flag. it stakes out a territory. it trusts that there is an audience, a community, or at least listeners, out there.

and so i'm sweeping up the fragments and the splinters and seeing what kind of assemblage results. what kind of lines can be drawn. and i choose to trust this process, this way of thinking and responding to the world. i'm choosing to trust my instincts and to not second-guess them. self-doubt is a nasty motherfucker that must be put to sleep... if not put to death. ;)


Christine said...

My God, I'm working on my personal statement for MFA school about why I write and what I think about it, and I know I'll never write it this good!

angela simione said...

hey christine! THANKS! DANG! you've given me hope that one day i'll get in to an MFA program too. :) i haven't even started thinking about it in a real, concrete way yet, i just know i want to go because art school is fun and exciting and infuriating and magical.

p.s. i'm SURE your statement is a stunner!

The Kid said...

"self-doubt is a nasty motherfucker that must be put to sleep... if not put to death"

I conquered and killed my own self doubt with some help from Goku. Yes he is a fictional character from the Dragalball series, somehow I feel I became Goku and suddenly became the most powerful fighter in the whole world...

angela simione said...

inspiration for this particular battle is totally necessary. i don't know much about Dragonball but i'm all for harnessing the character of a super-hero and using it to defeat such a horrible foe. ;) i'm glad you've killed it.

Elisabeth said...

My latest thought as a sort of guide for my writing comes with the words: 'when a book knows what it is'.

When a book knows what it is then it's ready. I've yet to get there but it's helpful to follow my writing process just a you have done here for your art work and so eloquently. Thanks, Angela.

Lulu LaBonne said...

This is an inspiring piece - I leave here all fired up

angela simione said...

elisabeth, i LIKE that! i'll keep that in the front of my mind, if that's okay with you.... when painting knows what it is... and to just move forward with trust and faith. thank you! :)

angela simione said...

hi lulu! nice to meet you! and i'm glad you're all fired up too! yay for me and you! and also, i really like that gerhard richter quote on your blog. it made me smile wide and think "yeah, me too." ha! thank you! :)

Marta Sanchez said...

Wow. Wow. My boyfriend will ask isn't she sexy to you? Or isn't he sexy to you? And he just doesn't get that a person's passion is what makes me hot. Your partner is one lucky person!

angela simione said...

hahahaha! thanks marta! i know exactly what you mean- a person's excitement is what makes them excitING! i've never been a sucker for a pretty face, but a great personality just makes me melt. putty in the hand, for sure.