"Turn my pain into glitter.", 2011 by Joey Veltkamp
Someone recently remarked to me that it was good to see me out again. I didn't realize I had been that bad about getting out but when I think back, I have been pretty dang reclusive in 2011. Especially in comparison to the whirlwind year of 201o. While there's always a high level of guilt in withdrawing, it can be the best thing for us at times. There are uncountable perks to being an artist but it can also be an odd life. While many partners might be understanding of lots of late hours due to a launch at work, fewer are willing to give the same degree of latitude to an artist preparing for a show. So in some ways, depending on your studio practice, the life of an artist naturally leans towards isolation. I'm okay with that. I couldn't stand to be alone for about the first 20 years of my life and sometimes I wonder if I might have overdosed on socialization.
Anyway, my 7 months of isolation haven't been in vain. I've been fighting in the studio. As a pretty new artist, it was the first long-term struggle I've had. And if you look around the studio, the fight's been epic. Lots of paint smeared walls, broken canvases, and empty beer cans. I'll be honest - paint was really winning the battle the first couple of months but about a month or two, things started turning around in my favor. Here's one of the early completed paintings. I'll write about these once things start to resolve but for now, here's an excerpt from an essay by Matt Offenbacher about them for an upcoming SOIL book.
When we think of an enthusiast these days, we think of someone who “loves too much”, or who refuses to “face up to reality.” However, enthusiasts like Joey (like me!) know that enthusiasm is really pragmatic and ethical. It comes from trying to reconcile what is inside with what is outside, in a manner that brings the most good into the world.