Searching for a Sustainable Studio Practice ~ Part 3
Kenny Jensen Blog Post # 10
Going the Long Way. Learning the Hard Way.
I ended up taking the long, slow way around. After many years, with help from my dear family and friends I found my own way and started to make real progress in piecing together a rewarding and exciting practice of remaking the world with found and repurposed curiosities from the natural and forgotten manmade environment around me until it ultimately became personally unsustainable. Last year, without a sustainable practice to fall back on I again found myself unable to move, stuck, buried by the weight of everything, All of my ideas about what I should be making and doing paralyzed me. While at the same time my life and employment circumstances made it even more difficult to find the time and energy to create – especially large one-off projects. This was especially the case after my work was rejected from several shows and opportunities that I worked so hard to be apart of including Skyway. It unfortunately really crushed me. All of those factors made me question the validity and value of what I had been pouring my life into. It was time to take a big step back and reevaluate if what I was actually doing lined up with my short term and longterm goals for my vocation as a professional artist and for my ultimate life/family goals.
I am a painter
For several years now I have longed to paint again, but the weight of expectation that I attach to what a finished painting should be (in order to be successful and have value), combined with the crippling struggle to narrow down my many ideas and concepts that I earnestly want to explore and share, have up till now prevented me from committing to the practice. Seen from a certain perspective, painting is at once too vast and too small. It can be a window into anything and everything, while at the same time fail to contain the true essence of the most common natural phenomena. The most common and expected art form also has the potential to be the most transcendent and affecting both for the maker and the viewer.
One of the best things that came out of working last year at the The Museum of Fine Arts as a preparator was getting to work directly with the wide ranging collection of paintings. Having unlimited up close access to these masterworks from the entire history of painting was exciting, therapeutic and inspiring. I am grateful for the opportunity. I fell in love with painting again.
In the months leading up to the Professional Artist Grant, I began to conceptually ‘justify’ being a painter as a viable a means to an end. I was really excited about the images and ideas I could explore, while also being able to create an accessible product that could be much easier to sell. However during the course of the grant period as I actually stated painting I also started to remember the satisfaction and joy of the act of painting itself. I have started to follow inspiration and intuition in the moment and rely on the practice itself to get me to the direction I want to be going.
I have several friends who make paintings that have been very helpful, encouraging, and inspiring to me. I would especially like to mention and thank Jon Seals, Nathan Beard, Ryan Foster, Jason Hackenworth.
All of the images used in this blog were taken be me while working at The Museum of Fine Arts.