Saturday, February 24, 2007

Hiding Out In The Big City Blinking

The In The Attic show from last week is being shown on Towser TV for a while. I'm watching it now. It's a strange feeling to watch a show I attended. And downright surreal to see my little head up in the corner of the booth, illuminated by the tiny light of my lamp. You won't be able to see it, but I can, starting with the Amos Lee set. I know where I was; I'm in this film.

Hmm--Memory's a strange thing. According to the instant replay, it was Amos Lee and Pete that had the exchange I wrote about the other day. Jeremy and I were talking a little while ago about what I miss when I'm focused on my drawing. I guess it's true that sometimes details get lost in the blur of paying attention to the details. Seems I hear things and they don't register exactly because my eye is busy trying to figure out where the line of the cheek intersects with the bridge of a nose or maybe I'm trying to gauge how far above the eye the brow is and what the angle of the shadow between them is.

Recently I've been working on a project that I'll talk more about next week, but it's forced me to think about the way I process or connect with the information in the room. Drawing has always been a sort of escape for me, a thing I could do to simultaneously disconnect from the world around me and process my emotions, feel in a safe environment, be present and removed at the same time.

The other day I was leaving a rehearsal and the choreographer came to me and asked my opinion about a moment in the final sequence of the dance and I had no reaction. Now, this was partly because it was the morning after the In The Attic show, a day which saw me do 10 complete drawings--of a rehearsal and two shows--which has got to be some sort of personal record. I was tired and I was drained and all I really wanted as I left the room was to sleep a bit. But my blank stare also had to do with what I pay attention to when I'm drawing.

Joan always tells me that she sees me as a scholar as well as an artist, a thinker as well as a reactor. But, that hasn't been entirely true. I certainly have had that potential, but, to be honest, I haven't really lived up to it. I haven't had to. I've been blessed and spoiled. I've been a back-seat driver. I've gotten to be present in some extraordinary situations with the only demand being that I draw something. But no one ever really has any expectations about it. I come and go as I please and I draw things or I don't and people either want them or not and it hasn't really mattered to me either way.

Which is not to say that I haven't taken what I do very seriously; I do to an obsessive degree. For many years now, I've been teaching myself to draw, refining my style and learning to trust the interaction between ink and an empty space; but, I have been an observer and not a participant.

That's about to change.

(photo by Kimberlee Hewitt)


Blogger Mike S said...

Nice work!

6:19 PM  
Blogger Michael Arthur said...

Thanks--and thanks for dropping in . . .

7:23 PM  

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