Fish wearing scarves, and other gems

Awhile ago I decided that I needed a mini portfolio of sorts. Something that the viewer could hold in their hands, emphasizing the intimacy of my small drawings and containing information about my work that didn't sound like text I'd been forced to write for a grant application. So I’ve created 8x5 inch folios that have prints and various statements about my art, completely ripping off drawing inspiration from Edward Gorey's Twelve Terrors of Christmas and my own scrawled 'artist statements on a coaster' I'd created last year. Fish Wearing Scarf - Dana Jeri MaierStatements About Art - Dana Jeri Maier

This project, which I thought I’d complete in a weekend, took lots and lots of drafts, statements I abandoned for sounding too whiney or defensive, and two trips to the Paper Source, which is one of those Ikea-esque establishments that you look forward to visiting, but prompt you go just a little insane upon stepping inside. But I'm happy to report that I am now on the homestretch, and pleased with the results.

I’m also working on these two pieces side by side, (one is 3 feet by 4 feet, the other 16x20 inches) which I like, though like much of my work, both are stuck in an infinite loop. They are the sort of drawings that will never, ever feel done, I can tell; the kind that make me feel grateful for deadlines when the work is forced to come to some sort of conclusion. For now though, I'm enjoying the ride:

Work in Progress - Dana Jeri MaierWork in Progress - Dana Jeri Maier

Drinking and drawing

There’s a Tim Carman article in this week’s City Paper about drinking that beautifully articulates what makes alcohol so great (much like Esquire did with its brilliant homage a few years back, which I still recall each time I pour myself a vodka tonic). Excellent read, though I challenge anyone who thinks America has a drinking problem to spend a Saturday night in Oxford, England (and this is Oxford, by the way--y’know, dignity incarnate) and witness the debauchery that goes on there, as it makes Adams Morgan look like a Temperance Society church picnic. The relationship between artists and alcohol is often a fascinating one. After all, there’s no doubt drinking is “a tool to unlock a deeper appreciation of immediate surroundings” as Carman points out, though I’m wary of anyone who needs to drink to become creative. (Granted, there’s no place I’d rather draw than a darkly-lit bar, but that’s another story.) I’ve found that drinking best compliments artistic discussions more than output, however. Explaining the artistic choices you’re making, or lack of them; ranting about the things that annoy you, (always a fun conversation to have in the bar, particularly after receiving grant rejection letters); or pinning down any other question that never has a satisfying answer--unless you've had a few, these conversations can be awkward and stilting.

Applications galore

I heard it's considered bad form to write about all the things you're applying to because then you're stuck blogging with your tail between your legs when you don't get accepted; but God-dammit, I spent the last two weeks working on a grant and a show application, and I want to kvetch about how exhausting it was.  And there's another deadline July 23! Good God. On the plus side, I've always been the sort of person who likes carry all of the groceries to the door at once, rather than break it up into shorter, lighter trips. Might as well cram all of the Artist Statements / Proposals / JPEG burning into a reduced timeframe, and then get on with the real art-making.Maier.Dana.7.CoversationsSeries2 On the plus side, I found time to start the Conversation Series (pictured), which I've been mulling over for awhile. And it looks better than how I imagined it would. I worked on the first batch on a pleasant Sunday afternoon in the Portrait Gallery atrium, listening to Harry Potter and two tourists discussing the atrocious cost of their cafe brownie. I'd say, "good times" but honestly, that doesn't even begin to describe how glorious an afternoon it was.