Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Last night I watched a documentary called Fame High. The movie followed the lives of four students who attended the prestigious (performing) arts high school, Los Angeles County High School for the Arts (LACHSA).  One of the students, a dancer named Grace Song, said near the end of the documentary about needing to commit to one’s art (and craft) everyday. This statement felt very profound to me because it encapsulated in a few words, much of what I’ve been trying to do over the past several years via my studio practice, but haven’t been able to articulate in such a succinct way.

Each morning I arrive to my studio very early, and begin my day. It’s quiet. I like the quietness. It allows me to center to myself so that I can move forward doing the tasks that I’ve assigned myself. It’s not always commercially related, but personal projects as well. I’ve wondered many times over the reasons why I continue to work on these self-initiated pieces instead of just taking the time off to do other things that I like such as going to the gym, exploring the city, and seeing friends; I mean, these personal projects of mine don’t result in any sort of tangible return, they don’t necessarily elevate my professional practice in an immediate way, there’s oftentimes no audience, nor do they inspire any kind of reward that would directly boost my career. For the most part, my personal projects allow me to manifest those ideas that I have floating around in my head; to give shape and form to my content. However, after watching the documentary I realized something new: that my decision to work, when there’s no work, to draw when nobody is telling me to draw, to sew when there is no reason for me to sew is because it encourages me to re-commit myself to my art and to my craft of making things.

To re-commit doesn’t mean that I’ve fallen out of love with what I’ve done and need to proclaim my reconnection to it, rather re-committing simply means that I continue to love what I do, and through this love helps me to see the importance and neccessity of the work (which is oftentimes repetitive in nature) and the discipline that is required if I want to continue to make this (art) a long and fruitful part of life. I know how easily it can be to become lazy and bored of drawing. I know how easy it can be to feel like giving up, to find excuses to see the worthlessness in wanting to create something that will undoubtedly be judged by others (for better or for worse); and if it’s for the worse, then why bother? I understand how challenging it can be to stay motivated. But I realize that going into my studio each day, and leaving each night is a form of the commitment that I’ve made to the art that I create. I tell myself all the time, that talent can fade; that this talent can leave me if I refuse to nourish it – the creative process that I experience everyday is really a creative ritual of commitment that I choose to practice every time I step inside my studio.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Talk at the Apple Store, Grand Central Terminal
I'll be giving at an hour long talk at the Apple Store, Grand Central Terminal tonight at 7:00pm. It's free and open to the public! Hope to see you there! www.apple.com/grandcentral

Saturday, May 4, 2013

"Nature Boy," for Runner's World magazine

I’d forgotten how many memories are held within my muscles; that after years of having not done a certain type of movement or walked along a certain type of terrain, how my body remembers, and then I wonder if it aches for these things as well.
This morning I went for a run at 6:30am. It wasn’t planned; I just woke up and decided to go.  My neighbourhood looks different in the morning -- there’s a sleepiness about it that I enjoy.  During the day, it’s cramped and loud and at times very aggressive, but at this hour the blocks that surround my apartment exist within a kind of in-between : dusk and dawn, slumber and wakefulness, even the air that touches my skin feels like a blend of both cool and warmth. I don’t run outside very often, much of my running is done on a treadmill and although I think a lot about many things while I’m doing this, today felt different because today I was remembering.
I reached the track about 2 miles from my apartment and decided to run a few laps around it to increase my distance. I have an app on my phone that records the details of my run; traveling from my apartment to the track, and then around it four times, and back home equates to about five miles. The track circles a soccer field, and especially in the spring and summer time it livens with people playing sports, exercising, or sitting on the grassy areas nearby. When I ran along it this morning, I remember what it was like running on a similar track as a child.
It’s a strange sensation when present experiences recall past ones that can make those memories seem almost tangible. When I stepped onto the track, I felt a rush throughout my body, like I had set foot into a brand new world. I could feel the rubber track of the surface push against the soles of my shoes into the bottoms of my feet and then surge upwards into the rest of my body.  I began running faster and felt my posture change slightly, as I rounded back my shoulders and glided forward.  My breath pulsed out from between my lips and  I saw the bands of white on the surface to the left of my feet, and so I ran as close to it as possible without stepping over the line. As I rounded the corners, I tilted sideways slightly, and felt the muscles in my ankles and thighs engage, and strengthen.
I ran faster.
The last time I ran on a track like this was when I was fourteen years old, and competing in a relay race. I was the third runner in my leg of the race, and our team was competing against the other schools within our district. We spent hours after school practicing for this moment; building each other's spirits, learning the rules of the course, how to run more efficiently, and ways to pass the baton seamlessly to one another to sustain the team’s rhythm. We wore our school uniforms, which were blue, white and silver, and I competed on a huge track in the middle of a stadium surrounded by student competitors from other schools. I remember the feeling of exhilaration as I stood on my mark, waiting for that moment until I felt the cold piece of metal in my hand. And when I did, I launched forward into infinite, and I don’t think that I thought about anything else at that moment except for running.