Sunday, August 7, 2011

Life on a Budget: Art shows, berry foraging, and taking in the view

Long-lost Blog,
I'm back from Eastern Europe and I have plenty to show and tell you!  While I have many pics to post of my Bosnian adventure, sandwiching my travels were weeks of stagnant unemployment that I would like to post, too.  The good news is that I secured a job at CCA starting last week, but the months of zero income over the summer have made for lazy but creative attempts at a culture-filled existence.

Recently I made several discoveries about what truly makes me American.  Some of the most obvious of my inherited philosophies were my prescribed entitlement and my constant, unnecessary purchasing.  Hitting the brakes on my student loans, I truly had never thought much about my spending habits.  Money is the last thing you want to be worried about while you are trying to gain ultimate mastery of your art practice.  However, that way of thinking, I discovered, (or, rather, came to terms with), is problematic in itself, and quite pretentious.  Graduate school is two years of being selfishly unaware of the problems lying just outside in the real world.  I was purposely ignorant of how my artist's lifestyle had to change in order to eat.

To trim the fat, I discovered that there are several things to do with one's time that require little-to-no money.  First up: gallery openings!  Free admission and the added bonus of refreshments make this a no-brainer, and also an important part of my artist's "job".  How else to quell boredom?  Exploring my habitat on foot for free or taking drives for a little gas money are pretty good options, too.  Thirdly, socializing often comes with spending money, but "just looking" shopping is one sad option, and kind friends' pity coffees, beers, and hamburgers are another.

Here are a bunch of ways I managed to overcome my insatiable American habits and still entertain myself.

Before I left for Bosnia, I spent a completely lovely and totally free day looking at galleries.  I saw Stephanie Syjuco's solo show, "Raiders", at Catherine Clark, which consisted of digitally downloaded and printed facades of priceless Asian  art from the entire collection of an unnamed Asian art museum.  The result was beautiful, jarring, and hilarious.
Also at Catherine Clark were some industrially fabricated street signs with antagonistic slogans by Anthony Discenza.
Next door I checked out the show by Castaneda/Reiman at Baer Ridgway, whose installations were part construction, part landscape, and possibly too conceptual for me to willingly understand.
I also discovered a sweet bonus of my recent graduation:  my student ID card still granted me free access to the SF MoMA, where I perused the roof-top sculpture garden and paid for my Blue Bottle coffee with coins in my pocket from my change jar.
On another day I took a trip up to Oakland's Tilden Park, where I enjoyed another perk of recent graduation: everyone else was still at work or school while I explored Lake Anza and some trails I had never been on.

One day my friend, Natasha, and I took our restless legs up to Stinson Beach, where the sun was promising but the wind was like being inside some sort of sand tunnel.  We had fun anyway, but our snacks were pretty gritty.  Later we stopped in Sausalito where local artisan ceramics are beautifully crafted and sold at Heath Ceramics.
On another art adventure, some friends and I went to Ratio 3 to catch Mission School artist, Margaret Kilgallen's, posthumous exhibition, "Summer/Selections."  It should have been titled,  "They Raided My Sketchbooks and Remnants."  While her linework is superior and I love to see any female artist in a predominantly male circle like the SF Mission School, the work was hung badly with visible screws and cheap frames, and altogether not flattering to the artist's memory.
Work by Margaret Kilgallen
I stopped by the vintage store, La Rosa, on Haight Street with a friend who is a regular there.  The store was quite entertaining to peruse, but the prices are insanely expensive.  While I found some great treasures like a woven karate robe and several Nudie-esque western jackets, the triple digit price tags coupled with the pain of walking down super-gross Haight Street made it a once-a-year sort of place for me.
Lucky for me, many of my friends are also neighbors, and we had a relaxing summer BBQ  potluck, providing a long-needed CCA reunion as well as good food for cheap $.  Imagine the luck of me bringing a peach and apple crisp and Julie bringing homemade brown sugar ice cream!
My friend, Rachel, and I explored our Oakland neighborhood as two poor ladies on the prowl for blackberry bushes in the nearby rose garden.
I tried one more trip to Stinson Beach solo, where the weather said 75 and it was more like 60.  Still, the sound of waves crashing and the soft sand beneath your feet are a necessity for the occasional regrouping.
I made it to the opening of Marx and Zavattero's current 10th anniversary show, "Sea Change Part II", the day after I came back from Europe.  Several favorite artists were on view from their roster, including Libby Black and Taravat Talepasand.
A little painting by Libby Black in the back room
A Taravat Talepasand drawing with some unexpected color
A very clean Patrick Wilson painting
In the back room- Libby Black, her partner Jen, and their son, Jasper, who took me out for burgers afterwards.  Yes!
What else is free?  Oh yeah, making art, as long as I have supplies already.  Duh!