occupying

it's wonderful how things fall into place. 

the coming winter has been sitting heavy in my mind - not knowing where i am going to live and afraid of a cold mesa rv winter, but a plan has arose and i am relieved.  justin comes home in a month or so, and nearly immediately following his return i will be moving into my friend allan's house to housesit for him during the winter, while he is on tour with his band 'all them witches'.  along with letting me live rent free (but not without responsibility), allan is also going to let me drive his truck while he is gone.  this gives me time to save money and find the perfect truck, rather than buying the first thing i can afford. 

this past month or so, rather this summer, has been a wild change from my life in the honey and my life in arizona and my life on the mesa this past winter and spring. working in restaurants again has given me a platform for both (some) monitory security and a space to make friends and be apart of a community.  i am starting to feel apart of something again, which is good for my mental health.  i have discovered i need a strange combination of solitude and community.

not only are my new friends kind, but they are creative and radical thinkers.  before a few of my friends made their way back east (hopefully for only a lil while) we had an epic party.  here are some photos i took of our time together that day: 

the crew
the crew2
magic crew
magic crew2

i also had an art opening last month!  my beautiful friend, jesse, has an awesome shop stone fruit and my paintings have adorned her place for the last month.  we had a surprising lil party that was a lot of fun!  talking about art, making friends, sharing parts of myself, drinking on the street.  here we are at the beginning of the night:

opening

i bought some tattoo supplies and felt like i needed to poke myself for a while in an attempt to heal.  it worked.  these are forget me nots below another tattoo i did about a year ago, forgiving and (not) forgetting:

forget me not

while art making has been on the back burner, it is still in my constant thoughts.  working jobs and creating community is important too.  i am trying to save money like crazy so i can build a place that really allows for making art.  i have been looking at land, researching what is the best structure to build.  this is a plan i have right now of the space, simple but a start:

a plan

i am not sure i could live here forever full time, however, the mesa has proved to be the best creative space for me and it is an attainable goal to buy land and build here. the other night i watched two different skies within the same sky, on one side there was a gnarly thunderstorm and next to it was the pink sky of a sunset, neither disturbing one another.  how amazing is that?  if you know anything about my work, that example of duality is powerful for me.  it is going to take some time and work to build this, but i feel committed and also supported.  

i guess we will see how this whole thing will unfold.  until then, it's a mixture of jobs, friends, research, and painting.  as always, i will try to keep updating.  been listening to a lot of the wingnut dishwashers union/pat the bunny.  i love how songs can reignite ideas.  i suggest listening to some.  jesus does the dishes has been my fave this week:

listening to these songs reminded why i moved into the honey, why living rent-free is important to me.  it has inspired me to remember why activism and radical thinking is important and how my art making practice is apart of that.  it is calling me to have discourse and take action.  i am thinking about joining the volunteer fire fighters here, i think i would want to do EMT work with them.  "the anarchists have started filling potholes and collecting garbage to prove we don't need government to do these things"

it is looking good here.  an upswing always comes around. 

the void

i am starting to feel so full that i am empty.  i guess i live here now, or at least for now.  i have no idea what i am doing.  i had a long conversation last week with a person (someone i have strong feelings for) and in this conversation i confessed that i had nothing, he responded by saying i have chosen the nothing.  and i guess this is true but it is haunting me.  

i am still at taos haos.  i have no idea how much longer i can be here.  justin has yet to give me an answer about when he will be home or if land is still an option for me buy.  i don't know what comes next.  the honey is no longer insured and i feel like i need a different driving situation anyway (a truck and a trailer i think would be more versatile).  i dream of building a studio on the mesa and setting up the honey as a stationary dwelling, places i can come back to, a home base.  it is summer now, but winter feels real even though it is months away.  what will i do then?  i need to buy a truck, i have to start to plan exit routes, you never know when you just have to leave it all.    

i met someone that i have fallen for but he will leave soon, he wants to on his own and while i respect that... i have to be honest about how badly i want to be wild with this person, these adventures are starting to feel lonely alone.  i feel estranged from most everything, cast out and unknown and only partly wanted.  the nothingness is so close all the time.  i wonder what my future will look like.  i have spent so many years alone, is this my sentence?

"i can do it myself" has been a mantra my whole life and its because i have had to, but i am tired.  i would love for someone to carry me for a moment.  does that make me weak?  some days i wonder how much longer i can carry this load alone.  

don't get me wrong, i know what's working in my favor right now.  i have a job and am making money, i have (new and old) friends who know me some and seem to care, i have painting always, i have love from those dogs (there are two now - and the love from dogs is unlike any other love i have known, it is pure and unwavering and loyal loyal loyal).  

on friday, i am having art show at my friend jesse's shop.  i should be painting right now but instead i am writing the blog entry as though it was my diary.  

i confess.  

is that art? 


me
partyyy



developing

i am writing this late in the night by kerosene lamp.  i am still living in what i have deemed taos haos, my wonderful friend justin's house on the mesa near taos new mexico.  i arrived the first week of february and it is now the last day of may.  i have had a lot of time to make art, process some big things, make friends, and create some roots.  i have a job now, a good one at that.  i just got off work, there was a show at the brewery so i stayed late, and even later to talk, share, and listen with co-workers. 

i wish i could include so many photos of things i have been working on, but i have been doing a lot of working at a job, adjusting to this new schedule of having to work (since i have been lucky to live so cheaply off my savings for so long), building friendships, and my forms of (current) self care (sleeping in late and netflix).

i am having a show at the end of june which i will finish several new pieces for.  i work well under pressure, sometimes more diligent and prolific.  so... stay tune... i guess. 

other news, i have been taking photographs - for the first time in a long time.  it's just a disposable film camera, but i am excited for the results.  it's for a person who i recently met and like a lot... and i want to show him my world.  i may share some here, i may not. 

my friend, tanner, compiled a series of interviews and created a zine.  i did the cover and was interviewed.  he just finished it and put it out.  i received my copy in the mail earlier in the week.  he chose a gold cover, which i loved.  

zine

i have been thinking a lot about what happens next.  i feel committed to this plan i have right now.  the plan is to buy some land (waiting to hear back from my friend, i did scope out  a 1/2 acre early this week for sale but the neighbors were way to close - i do think it would be rad to be neighbors with justin)., as soon as i buy the land i want to build a studio... i have been thinking a lot about what kind of structure.  i want it to be about 15'x20', maybe cob or stick frame, or adobe... i am not sure and want input from others.  i'd love to have it basically together by winter so i can live in it, because honey will be way too cold.  it would be nice not to have to rent in the meantime.  next summer i want to build the tiny house on wheels.  create a home here.  have the honey be available for guests, share my studio with my artists friends, create a desert oasis, invite friends, have community, and a garden and chickens and maybe goats.  i want to make - key word make, really make - a home for myself and my friends.  

adjusting to this life

i'm alone in taos haos for the first time in a while.  i am drinking red wine, listening to crickets, and watching the sunset.  these past few weeks have been packed with work, partying, getting to know new folks, allowing bonds to form, expressing love, and building relationships.  

i have started severing/bartending at the local brewery.  i am so excited to make some money - so i can begin to build this vision i have - and to meet people.  work has been great - though an adjustment, since it has been some time since i have had a 'real' job.  i have met so many great people because of this job.  it has helped me build a community.  i am thankful at the moment for this place, and that's a nice feeling to have about a job. 

i didn't get the teaching job in tucson.  and while i am sad in someways, i am excited that now i have other goals to conquer.  i have decided that for the time being,  i am going to stay in taos, buy some land, and build a tiny house on a trailer flat bed.  i just need to save some serious money and then i can start making something that can sustain me for a long time - again, finally thankful to work.

i have some other exciting things on the horizon.  at the end of june i am having a show at stone fruit, a vintage store in taos (check out the link to their instagram). i am going to show a series of paintings i have been making of the mesa and i am also selling zines of the paintings/dairy entries. i have a lot of work to do for the show, but like most creative people - i work well under pressure/deadlines. 

here are some photos of stone fruit (and the link to their fb): 

stone fruit
stone fruit zines

i haven't made a lot of work these past few weeks, i have been busy working (and adjusting to this new world) and making friends.  i am coming off an almost week long party with some amazing folks - people i work with and a couple folks who were traveling through (who happen to know my east coast homies).  we all had so much fun and i found myself creating serious bonds with people who live here and some (especially someone) who live far away.  i also realized i rarely take photos when i am spending time and having fun with folks.  i want to change this. 

this is the only evidence of our longterm hang/party:

bb guns

my next post will be full of new and updated paintings.  

other exciting news consists of my parents visiting santa fe, and a quick visit with my old friend, casandra.  

rooting

these past few weeks have been packed with good things.  painting has been present, though has not been my primary focus.  

tire progress

my amazing friend, cassie, came for a visit from tempe, az.  we had a really joyous few days of exploring santa fe and taos.  on saturday, i had a cookout at taos haos with a few friends from town and cassie, then we went to see devandra banhart play at the brewery down the road from me.  it was such a dreamy day.  

cassie

on friday, i received a package from my friend cole.  it contained so many treats and the beginning of our project 'dosed', a comic we are working on together which i am illustrating.  

comic package

despite not painting daily these past few weeks, i have been very productive - going to the dump, keeping up with house chores, going on some good adventures and seeing beautiful things.  

san francisco de asis
big horn sheep

some really promising things seem to be lining up: i got a job at the brewery i mention earlier, i am really making friends, i think that i have a 1/2 acre with my name on it near taos haos, the comic cole and i are working on is really exciting, there is a great shop in taos that seems like i am making a work relationship/friendship with.   and i am making paintings.  i've decided, these paintings of the mesa i have been working on are going to become a color zine along with some confessionals.  allergy season 2, a zine my work is featured in, is coming out later in may.  

in progress

becoming local

coming down from the friended-bender of last week was hard.  there was definitely a few days of adjustment: i cleaned the house, organized the studio, ran some important errands.  scout and jess's visit did inspire me to be more outgoing, try and make some friends.  and it is working, it seems as though i have created some new friendships with a few folks.  some of these connections are proving to be quite fruitful, i got a job doing architectural drawings for someone here on the mesa.  i made friends with a somewhat aloof neighbor who invited me to dinner with some of his friends (an older hippie gentleman, his partner - a really cool woman, and a younger punk lady).  carin (the older lady) offered a gardening job (which i need to follow through with).  my new mesa friend also took me out shooting (at bottles).  i had never shot a gun before and he taught me a lot, plus it was fun.  

i did make some work:

22" x 30" acrylic on gessoed paper 

22" x 30" acrylic on gessoed paper 

and got really inspired and had a lot of ideas: 

ideas for nine new pieces.  get ready!

ideas for nine new pieces.  get ready!

my friends' visit has added more fuel to my 'homesickness' fire.  i found myself really missing my friends back in western mass, a sprinkling of great friends elsewhere in the world, my sweetie in arizona.  

i still am unsure what happens after taos haos.  though, it does not seem important to know exactly what will happen.  i am alright with the uncertainty right now.  arizona looks sweeter and sweeter.  i am still crossing my fingers for the job i applied for in tucson.  until then, i feel inspired and supported, so i will make work.  as much as i can.  

friender-bender on the mesa

this week i didn't make any drawings.  my friends, scout & jess, came and saved me from my solitude for a few days.  they just packed and up left, so i am writing this in a haze of good feelings combined with sadness for their departure.  

scout is one of the best cooks i know, and so our time together was metered with good food and outside adventures.  we went on a few hikes, checked out some hot springs, ate so much food, listened to loud music, drank, laughed, cried, documenting all of it.  

on the night of the blood moon, we hiked down into the rio grande gorge at 11 pm and then sat naked in hot springs while we watched the stars and full moon.  

here is some photo evidence of our time:

hard style on the mesa.  i'm gonna make this into a painting for scout

hard style on the mesa.  i'm gonna make this into a painting for scout

target practice
scout and jess

scout and jess

me and jess wore the same outfit pretty much everyday 

me and jess wore the same outfit pretty much everyday 

black flag sausage and grilled donuts

black flag sausage and grilled donuts

there is so much to say about their lovely trip.  i needed it.  the loneliness of being here is really tolerable and can be great and while i have met a few people here... but i needed my people, i needed to be with other queer punks.  it felt like home. i needed to laugh with people who know me and understand me.  i needed to open up and share some things with people i trust.  i needed someone to fix my haircut.  

last night, we (scout) made an awesome dinner and then we projected a movie, a documentary about the mesa, it was strange to watch a film about the place we are inhabiting.  

there are parts of me, large parts, that don't want to leave the mesa... i just need my homies to come buy land too.  lets ditch the grid and just hang out in the desert forever. 

deep into month 2 : taos haos

it's been a while since i have posted.  i wanted to get more work done on the triptych before i updated y'all.  then i, honestly, just got a little lazy and in a funk.  being insecure of the work i am making, made me put off writing.  then i called my best friend, anne marie, and she reminded me of something i already knew, but i needed to hear again.  the creative process is not perfect - nothing is perfect.  and aren't you tired of those blogs about art, or fashion, or life were everything is effortless and so beautiful?  I am.  and it's not real, but still end up feeling bad about myself because of them.  and i don't want this to be like that.  i want to be honest.  always.  

so it's messy.  i have been preoccupied with a few things, that has made work slow.  but then it picks up, here and there.  here are some things i am making:    

i'm going to shoot beer cans with my bb gun using this as a backdrop.  

i'm going to shoot beer cans with my bb gun using this as a backdrop.  

this lil painting thinking about the energies around us, our differences, our separation, all that which still connects us.  it is a love poem. 

this lil painting thinking about the energies around us, our differences, our separation, all that which still connects us.  it is a love poem. 

the above paintings are three 22"x30" watercolors.  they still need work, but i am taking a break from them for a while. 

working on some collaborative pieces with tb for an upcoming zine "allergy season 2" and hopefully more zines in the future.  

working on some collaborative pieces with tb for an upcoming zine "allergy season 2" and hopefully more zines in the future.  

i have been preoccupied with applying for some jobs.  fingers crossed on a few.  

i have been preoccupied with some adventures.  i am amazed how i have been welcomed by this community.  and i have met some really cool people who have been so generous.  

i have been preoccupied with feelings.  all kinds, happy, sad, excited, lonely, hurt, in love, confused, mad.

in other news, i cut off all my hair.  well, not all, but a lot.  it makes hygiene easy for being here, my hair was fried and dreading and had to be brushed everyday.  and while it was the right thing, i miss it and can't wait for it grow back. 

my friend, scout, is coming tomorrow.  i am excited to see friends and to have company.  hopefully we are going on some backpacking adventures.  my friend, cassie, is coming out here later in april, which will be so great!  loneliness has been a very real feeling out here, and it's a relief to have some temporary cures.  though, i am getting use to being alone and really appreciate it a lot of the time.  this experience is really precious and rare in a lot ways.  and it becomes not only an opportunity to work on my art but also on my spirit and who i am a person.   

i am trying, not hard enough, to find a job in taos.  my money situation is has an end in sight and also, i just need to get outta the house and meet folks.  

i am going to try to write more, and keep this true to its name - a diary.  until then. 

taos house : week 4

a month has passed since i first arrived in Taos.  It hasn't felt that long honestly.  i look at the work i have made and while i am working everyday i am not ecstatic about the progress.  the portraits are fun and good practice but don't feel serious.  the landscapes feel like studies. the studio space is great for small water based work, but i am itching to make really large work.  i'm being pessimistic.  i should stop now.  this week has been wrought with anxiety, to be honest - not to worry, i've conquered worse.  

this is what happened in the studio: 

locke in watercolor, for meghan and nick

locke in watercolor, for meghan and nick

hot dog maggie, for meghan 

hot dog maggie, for meghan 

hung in the window, in progress Triptych, middle panel, 22 x 30" 

hung in the window, in progress Triptych, middle panel, 22 x 30" 

hung in the window, in progress triptych, right panel, 22 x 30"

hung in the window, in progress triptych, right panel, 22 x 30"

test paper

test paper

i think that cabin fever amplified anxiety for me this week.  still no truck.  i will contact the guy this week to see what the deal is.  i don't feel comfortable taking honey out on the muddy roads.  hopefully the truck will be fixed soon, or i can find ways to bum rids from my neighbor, or it'll get nice out and i can ride my bike.  

i'm really missing being around people.  the loneliness is actually not that hard, i keep myself good company.  i just miss being the presence of others.  i'm trying though, trying to stay connected, even if i am a lil bad at it.  right now i am staying connect by listening to my lovely friend noel'le's band mallory and i am grateful to know people who make such beautiful music and it inspires me to make beautiful things too. 

this week in the studio was really hard.  i was also working on some other things.  i am excited the triptych i started and i think this next week will be really productive.  

week 3 : taos haos

another week passes, a few minor adventures take place, lots of snow falls, and pigment is spread across paper. 

wednesday, the truck breaks down again.  luckily, i now have my neighbor's phone number, so i call him for a tow.  that night it began to snow and it hasn't stopped.  i have a little bit of cabin fever, but these paintings have kept me good company:

gouache on paper 22" x 30"

gouache on paper 22" x 30"

watercolor on paper 30" x 22"

watercolor on paper 30" x 22"

watercolor on paper 26" x 22"

watercolor on paper 26" x 22"

watercolor and glitter on paper 30" x 22" (sorry to ruin the surprise cassie, happy late bday)

watercolor and glitter on paper 30" x 22" (sorry to ruin the surprise cassie, happy late bday)

Before my beautiful, borrowed truck broke down, i made it to the brewery for food and beer and social interaction.  i took a seat at the bar between two old men.  the man on my right starts talking to me and we have the best conversation.  he's an amazing 70 year old navajo man and we talk about art, and books, and colonialism, and what it means to be brave, and what it is like to be a person in the world.  i picked the best seat in the house that evening.  

other meaningful interactions this week: when my neighbor came and gave me a tow, i told him i was just going out for a pack of smokes and he gave me a pack! moon dog and i had our three year anniversary.  my sister is coming to visit today (sans children).  i have texted and messaged with several lovelies, who i miss dearly.  

here are some other smaller drawings that took place this week - i've been thinking a lot about printmaking and really wanting to screen print again:

lil moon
feeeels
hard honey
feeling
self care

that last one, radical self care, is a lil prayer i have been chanting for a couple of years now.  every once and a while it slips from my lips and i forget about it.  but i want to be like franny, and be able to pray without ceasing, these words, radical self care.  

being in the studio everyday is awesome, but also hard.  somedays, i don't really want to but i do it anyway.  i figure if i can do it everyday while i am here, i will be able to maintain momentum when i get back on the road.    i remembered an exercise i had to do in grad drawing, my professor (who was amazing, hanyln davies) had us make lists of what we think the work is about, or what we want it to evoke.  i made this list and it's helping clear some stuff up:

list

what else?  well... i'm doing alright.  lonely some, cabin fever: yes, happy half the time, sad only a lil.  

i am still dwelling on my next move.  at least now, i am able to multitask and can make work and worry at the same time.  progress.  i have thought about it a lot and as much as i love new england and asheville, i am thinking about keeping west for a while.  i can now say i've lived in the midwest, east coast, and southwest.  i haven't been to the west coast in a loooooooooong time, so that seems like a good adventure.  contact me with any contacts/leads/aide on good communities, parking spots, jobs, open rooms in cool houses, or anything else you think of.  

i've been dreaming of the ocean.  and of drinking 30 racks with friends.  and of laughing until i pee myself.  and of kissing a certain someone.  and of riding my bike without hands through deserted streets in the wee hours of the morning.  and of dance parties.  please make my dreams come true someday soon.

week 2 : taos haos

this has been a strange week.  tuesday, i went to the post office, because i had been tracking the package cassie sent me and it said it was in taos.  so, i head into town that morning.  i pick up a hitchhiker about a 1/4 mile from house, he was a hippy dude, he'S really nice and my neighbor down a ways.  we get a mile or two, still on the dirt roads of the mesa, and the truck breaks down.  it was a good thing that i picked up jon because he helped me push it to the side and gives me the contact of his mechanic.  i really want that package, so i decide to hitch with him into town.  one of his friends pick us up WHILE WE ARE STILL ON THE MESA and i get dropped off at the post office.  i get my package and a lovely letter from judy.  i walk back towards 64 and the gorge bridge and stop at the taos diner to have lunch.  while i am eating, justin messages me - psychic connection since i was about to tell him about his truck.  he tells me to take it to the guy across the main road from the house, so basically a neighbor.  i eat lunch.  i get a ride back to the mesa from a really nice person from maine, so we talk east coast nostalgia.  i get to the truck and it starts, but idles really high and i get about a mile from the house and it dies again, this time being aware, i veer it to the side.  as i begin to abandon the truck to walk home, the mechanic the hitchhiker hooked me up with calls me back.  i tell him i only need a tow and he says he'll be there in hour and half.  i wait two hours and then bail.  as i'm walking, this red truck pulls up, mind you most people stopped by to see if i needed help, and he says 'is that justin's truck?'.  i say yep and he tells me he's my neighbor who works on justin's truck and he'll give me a tow and fix it for me.  now it's late in the afternoon, so he drops me back at the house after we tow it to his and he tells me he'll BRING IT BY tomorrow.  wednesday afternoon, he comes over with truck in working order and charges me $20 and a ride home.  

needless to say tuesday was not a studio day.  but the rest of the week have yielded some drawings:  

8.5" x 6" graphite on paper

8.5" x 6" graphite on paper

5.5" x 6" micron pen and watercolor on paper

5.5" x 6" micron pen and watercolor on paper

30" x 22" graphite on paper

30" x 22" graphite on paper

detail

detail

i have also started several portraits and have been working in the sketchbook building ideas for some larger works.  

i was writing out how i spend most my days here and it was boring, so i made this diagram:

diagram

*note i think IN REAL LIFE studio time might be a lil bigger and netflix and lil smaller but ya know, it gets dark eventually and then it's hard to make work here with weak led lights.  

I'VE BEEN IN A FAIRLY DECENT DAILY ROUTINE.  FEELING GOOD ABOUT WORKING OUT EVERYDAY, FEELING OKAY ABOUT THE WORK I'M MAKING (REALLY EXCITED FOR WHAT'S TO COME WITH MY WORK), WORRYING A LOT ABOUT WHAT TO DO NEXT, AFTER TAOS.  SUCH A HUGE PART OF THE MISSION OF LIVING IN HONEY IS CULMINATING HERE IN TAOS.  I AM NOT WORKING, I AM ISOLATED, I HAVE RESOURCES, I HAVE TIME, I HAVE HAD RECENT ADVENTURES AND HEARTBREAK AND LOSS AND TRIALS AND tribulations, I HAVE ALL THE INGREDIENTS TO RESTART MY PRACTICE AS AN ARTIST, TO MAKE A NEW BODY OF WORK, TO DISCOVER A STRONGER VOICE. 

AND I AM DOING THOSE THINGS, BUT SOMETIMES IT FEELS AT A CRAWL.  AND IT HARD TO CLEAR YOUR MIND FROM WORRY AND DISTRACTIONS SO YOU CAN FOCUS ON THIS TASK OF GROWTH.  THE GROWTH IS IN CLEARING YOUR MIND. 

THE BIGGEST CONCERN IS WHAT COMES NEXT.  I HAVE LOOKED AT SOME TEACHING JOBS, RESEARCHED residencies, LOOKED AT ILLUSTRATORS AND eTSY SHOPS, BRAINSTORMED, SOUL SEARCHED.  HERE'S WHERE I AM AT, I THINK:  I DON'T WANT TO TEACH FULL TIME.  YES TO TEACHING: OCCASIONAL ADJUNCT WORK, WORKSHOPS, SKILL SHARES, COMMUNITY CENTERS, AND OTHER SPACES THAT NEED OUTREACH.  I WANT TO MAKE WORK EVERYDAY.  I WANT TO DRAW EVERYDAY.  AND IF I can JUST PUT CONCERNS OF THE FUTURE TO the SIDE, I CAN MAKE A LOT OF WORK EVERYDAY, RIGHT NOW.  

I'M WORKING ON IT.  WE'RE ALL WORKING ON IT.  FEELINGS GET THE BEST OF US SOMETIMES. 

SINCE I RARELY GO OUT INTO THE WORLD,  I RARELY USE HAIRBRUSH ANYMORE.  AM I STILL CUTE?

me

taos house

i arrived in Tempe, AZ on 11.14.14. i had but a few hundred dollars and a vague plan.  

i left Tempe, AZ on 2.1.15.  leaving tempe, felt like that same kind of melancholy that went along with leaving western mass.  not as rooted, for sure.  but how it feels, to leave something you can call home for the unknown; it's scary and sad and you wonder a lil bit, if you are making a mistake.  while i was in Tempe, i did not write much or make any serious work.  my medium was mostly instagram.  i worked a lot.  i fell in love.  as it goes, i felt all the feelings.  i made some things.  i figured some things out.  and... i decided the best thing was to go to Taos and make some work.  refocus.  retreat.  for me.  

made this drawing for my friend/bae's zine

made this drawing for my friend/bae's zine

After a few days in Santa Fe, i am now in Taos.  I got here Thursday, which was mostly a blur.  i didn't get to the house until about 2 in the afternoon.  This is after getting lost and nearly running out of gas.  I later on realized i took a wrong turn and would have found a gas station much sooner if i had gone the other direction when the road turned into a "t".  then moon was acting sickly, so i took her to the vet.  she was okay but needed some antibiotics.  Most of Thursday was spent away from the house.  

Yesterday, I moved what i will need from the honey into the house.  i got familiar with the house.  the solar panels work so much better here, than they do on the honey.  it's the benefits of better batteries, i think.  i relaxed a lot after moving in, and went to bed early.  

taos haos

despite the fact, i've been here for a day and half, this feels like my first real day here.  i woke up early this morning, took a shower, walked around, thought about things, organized more.  soon, i will begin working on some drawings.  i have this amazing project started for my sweetheart, and it'd be nice to get it in the mail soon.  

speaking of which, I now have a p.o. box.  if you want it, send me a message.  

i don't know how long i will stay here.  i have no idea where to go next.  i imagined for staying for a couple of months, when i envisioned this, and that doesn't seem too far off from reality.  my plan had been to go to santa fe after this, but i am seriously reconsidering that, which makes the plan feel uncertain.  this all feels a bit overwhelming right now.  i am feeling swarmed by thoughts and feelings, so much that has happened recently weighs heavy on me.   

the only thing to do, is to draw.  

what is next

it's been quiet on the honey front for last month and a half.  i have spent my time working a lot for my friend and the job is now over and i am finding myself having to make some decisions on concerning what is next.  the initial plan had been to retreat to taos new mexico and i am awaiting to hear from  my friend, justin, to make sure that is still a possibility. 

i finally got the ball rolling on fixing the honey from the accident back in october.  i plan on staying in arizona until these repairs are fixed.  now its a waiting game for the claims to go through, the money to get in my bank account, and the repairs to be done.  

art making has been slow since i have been working so much.  but here are some lil things that have brewed in my sketchbook and whatnot:

oh honey
in the sketchbook
a poem
a christmas present: ren
a christmas present: toby

still punk at 30:

still punk

i had a birthday since the last time i wrote here.  i went to vegas and met one of my favorite people in the world, who also happens to be born on december 27th, to celebrate our birth.  it was brief but wonderful.  

vegas
best friends

after we left vegas, my friend and i went to red rock canyon and i reconnected with things greater than me.  it felt good to be surrounded by the mountains and uncultivated land, especially after being in the strange city of vegas with all of its excess and greed.  

lion king

i am finding myself in this liminal space between here and there.  waiting, wondering, planning.  things feel unclear in some regards, where i will live, what i will do for work.  i can only have faith that this is right and things will clear up and work themselves out.  until i leave this place, this is my view:  

must find a new home

exiting the wild for a while

i've been in arizona for a little over a week now.  i am staying at my friends cassie & nathan's house.  cassie has an online jewelry business which i will be working for through the holidays.  so far, much of my time has been filled with having a job again and spending time with my old friends.  

here is a visual update of what this last week has looked like :

3 beautiful zenned out creations.  the inside of that ring is inscribed with : shine like the whole universe is inside you

3 beautiful zenned out creations.  the inside of that ring is inscribed with : shine like the whole universe is inside you

cassie at her work bench, a moondog at her feet. 

cassie at her work bench, a moondog at her feet. 

me packaging (with my new 'do & bad attempt of being 'fancy')

me packaging (with my new 'do & bad attempt of being 'fancy')

moon at work

moon at work

it's been so great to spend time with cassie, she such an old friend.  both of us are from indiana but we traveled europe together in our early twenties and lived in france.  we have not lived in the same state in nearly 8 years, our lives have been so different in that time and yet we have remained so close in spirit.  it will be nice to be here and spend an extended period of time with her and her wonderful husband.  i am also grateful and happy to have a job again, i have about exhausted my bank account and now can rejuvenate my resources.  i am parked in cassie & nathan's backyard, they are gracious hosts.  

while i was at the petrified forest, i realized that my radiator leak was serious.  and when i arrived last week, i knew it was a priority to fix.  nathan's friend, tom who is a mechanic, took a quick look and confirmed that it was the water pump.  i called several mechanics and got some outrageous quotes but finally found a reasonable price.  she's now fixed.  i'm figuring that she's doing pretty good considering she sat for a long time before i had her and part of our relationship, i put no money into mechanical work before we left and now i've invested about a thousand into her, and we driven about 2500 miles, and i haven't paid rent to a landlord in two months.  so, i'm not worried about her health yet. 

here is the honey in the backyard :

the honey in her new setting, moon shadow at the bottom. 

the honey in her new setting, moon shadow at the bottom. 

this living style is strange back in the 'real world'.  in the forest it's easy to live in the honey, peaceful, freeing.  the road is exciting and scary and hopeful.  while i am happy to be living in the honey parked in my friends' backyard, there is a big adjustment from the wildness of the world i have experienced outside this fence the honey now sits inside.  there is a sort of quirky role you have to assume when you are a domesticated wild thing, though i'm figuring out how to main authenticity.

because of processing these things, spending lovely friend time, and working, i have not been active in the studio, though i am always active in my brain (and really should get back into the practice of using the sketchbook as a visual representation and notation for these brain activities).  this input/output flux of making work is something i think a lot about.  i am missing teaching, though i am happy for this 'sabbatical' i have created for myself to experience that wildness / the unknown, to learn about about myself, to devote real time to developing to my practice...  all of which will make me a more effective teacher.  i have been thinking about how teaching can (and does) continue in my life.  because of complicated beliefs and feelings i have about the education system (though i am a huge supported of learning), i doubt that i will be looking for tenure track jobs, but i have loved adjunct work despite the pittance of a paycheck, but besides, i don't think one should teach for such monetary reasons.  i am sure i will find myself back in the classroom, what that classroom will look like is what i am unsure of.

after this pause with working a job, i will retreat to the mesa in taos at my friend's off grid home for a few months to make work.  until then i will be sending you updates of sketchbooks and mail art (let me know if i have reached out already or if you want some love letters).  i also hope to make some needed adjustments to honey, mainly installing my composting toilet, fixing the stove situation, building some shelves, and fixing the battery box (however these are things that can get accomplished in taos as well).     

in the desert

i left santa fe a few days ago.  i had a wonderful time with my sister, her children and dogs and friends.  i took lots of walks, made some work, laughed a lot.  my sister, dawn, is an amazing woman.  she's an incredibly talented tattooer (see her work here), an awesome mom, a juggler and unicyclist, and overall rad lady.  spending an extended period of time with her was awesome and i am really excited about coming back to new mexico and learning from her!

my very dear friend, justin who lives in taos, came down to santa fe and stayed in the honey with me.  it was so good to spend time with him between his amazing adventures.  justin works for earthship biotecture and travels the world on various builds.  you can see one of his amazing projects here.

after i am done working in arizona, i am going up to taos to stay at justin's tiny house on the mesa, he's going to be in new zealand working on a build all winter.  i am excited to have a plan after january, a warm place to spend the winter in his lil house, a diy artist residency.  i am so grateful to him for giving me the space, since i have the time, to make some serious work.  

here are some pictures of cute kids and animals, ya might want to flip through:

after i left santa fe, i drove west to arizona.  the first night, i stayed at a casino.  then i drove to the petrified forest national park.  at first, i was only going to drive through it and stop at a few vistas, but i was really enamored with the landscape and so when the museum worker told me of a free rv park right before the park entrance, i knew i was going to stay for another day.  the rv park was in the back of a gem and souvenir shop, the campground was called 'crystal forest rv park'.  i met some young people who were traveling the country in their van.  we had dinner together and decided to go on off the beaten trail hikes together in morning.

the landscape was out of this world.  it was scattered with ancient remnants of a prehistoric forest.  the desert seemed alien and was painted with crazy blues, purples, and whites.

check out these photos! :

i made it to tempe yesterday.  i will be here through the holidays to work for my beautiful and talented BFF cassie uhl's business zenned out jewelry.  check out her etsy shop for your holiday gift needs, i'll probably help make it!

things are good.  the desert is bringing clarity.  the animals are happy and doing well.  moon loves the hikes and justin said poe seems friendlier (as she's kind of a disgruntled cat).  the honey is doing alright, i think (or know) i have a leak in my radiator hose, i'll get it looked at after this weekend, no big hassle though.  i'm learning a lot about what i am cable of, it's a lot more than i thought.  

i made some mail for some lovelies.  more to come soon. 

for shamara 

for shamara 

for ottie 

for ottie 

maybe for you ...

maybe for you ...

forgotten places

i left all my troubles in the midwest.    driving from Missouri to new mexico, i traveled as much as the mother road as possible, but we have butchered that original road so much that i ended up weaving in & out for those old and new roads.  originally, i had planned on stopping at all the roadside attractions i could, but i was uncomfortable with the culturally appropriated sights and found myself stopping for very little.  to my surprise, i loved some religious attractions, not the largest cross in the western hemisphere (as i am attracted to excess), but the holy family cemetery, with its beautiful grotto, touched me in a serious way in all its eerie glory.  

here are a series of photos from the holy family cemetery in canute oklahoma and the old territorial jail in texola, ok:

these images, along with the images from the giant blue whale in catoosa oklahoma, combined with my increasing awareness of cultural appropriation, have been inspiring me to look towards the histories of my childhood, my culture, in hopes to retell stories that have been oppressive or misinterpreted.  what if i were to make grottos for my heroines or if i rewrote the story of jonah and the whale?  what if that forgotten highway that once connected our two coasts, became the setting for a tale that rewrote its cultural history?

i am trying to make everyday.  sending out the evidence.

for richard 

for richard 

still for richard 

still for richard 

i spent halloween in small north texas town.  the journey to this place was filled with abandoned spaces.  i searched them as if i was looking for something long lost.  i found nothing but these remnants:

i thought about this forgotten road and about my grandmother who died while i was still a tiny babe.  she grew up in texas but moved to indiana when she was 17.  i wondered how she made this passage and if she traveled the old road i am driving down.  even if i was making up a tale in my mind, it felt good to be connected to her, as it has felt good to be connected to all my family during this journey.  

i am now in santa fe staying with my sister and her sweet family.  it's getting cold here and i am looking forward to the relief of arizona weather.  i am thinking of coming back here to stay for a longer period of time.  i am also concerned with traveling greater distances.  it feels uncertain; it feels so clear.  

i am writing letters i will send out and letters that will sit in boxes unread.

 

the mother road

i left indiana on sunday.  now, it’s wednesday evening and i am in bristow oklahoma, between tulsa and okc.  

it was hard time getting myself to leave evansville sunday and i drove later in the night than i initially had desired.  i arrived in berryman park, in the mark twain national forest in missouri, sunday evening with little trouble.  i told myself when i got honey to never night drive but i did it anyway.  and it was really hard, i missed a turn, backed into a tree stump and bent the bumper some, and it was totally anxiety ridden. though it proved panicking never helps, even though i wasn’t ‘freaking out’, there was that heart racing happening in the middle of my chest… calming down and then dealing with a situation is what’s needed.  life lesson exemplified.

for rachel.  finally making some mail for people who have helped me out. 

for rachel.  finally making some mail for people who have helped me out. 

still for rachel. 

still for rachel. 

when i arrived in the park, i didn’t even try to find a camp site and just parked in the parking lot.  in the morning i found a nice site, though it was shaded by trees so i lost power at one point the next night.  monday, moon and i hiked several miles.  i chose this campground because it is free and has access to a 24 mile trail.  we arrived back to the camp before sundown.  i made a drawing, wrote a letter, made a silly video, read a comic, lost power, read by lantern.  there was a thunderstorm in the early early morning.  i was the only person there except for a few day visitors.  it is eerie to be somewhere without people and no phone service.

moon trail 

moon trail 

i left late in the morning on tuesday and took my time driving and made it just west of springfield missouri.  unsure of where i was and wanting to be around people some, i stayed at a koa campground.  it was a little expensive.  this is the second koa i have stayed at, and i can tell that they must all different.  the first one was just sweet, this one was more business but i liked both for different reasons.  both were surprised when i said i had an rv but i didn’t need hookups, not wanting to pay for an amenity i wasn’t going to use.  when i was paying for my lot, the lady told me they had pizza and you could order by phone and they would deliver it your campsite!  i splurged and had pizza and beer that night. 

at koa campground.  poe and reflected house. 

at koa campground.  poe and reflected house. 

today i drove south west of tulsa and i am staying in a walmart parking lot.  i stopped long the way to some road side attractions.  i drove route 66 when i could and braved the highway when i couldn’t.  honey goes a cool 55, maybe 60.  i could have stayed in tulsa or okc and stayed with friends of friends but wanted a break from people.  

rewriting bible stories: sarah, moon, and the whale 

rewriting bible stories: sarah, moon, and the whale 

if i look from the right angle in the honey, it seems like i am living in some studio apartment in a big city.  noise from the parking lot and near distant highway, my shades drawn with lights from the walmart shining through.  and a few days before i was living quietly, miles away from another person, in the woods.  all from within the honey, i am experiencing the most powerful game of make-believe i could imagine as a child.  

i will continue to travel west and have plans stopping for several days in santa fe and then in taos before heading to arizona.  from here to new mexico will consist of road side attractions and walmart parking lots.

i will leave today with this text message from my dad:

my mom reminded me i had posted photos of everyone but my dad, and i said i didn't have a photo, so my dad sent me this selfie he took with me.  cute. 

my mom reminded me i had posted photos of everyone but my dad, and i said i didn't have a photo, so my dad sent me this selfie he took with me.  cute. 

into the wildness

for the past week and half, i have been in my hometown of evansville indiana.  this is the longest i have been in this town since i left over a decade ago.  it has been filled with lots of big feeeeelings.  putting those feelings into words and finding the time to write has been difficult.  

the honey had to go to the hospital again.  i tried to start her last thursday to no avail, so i brought her into a shop and they said she needed a new carburetor, mine had been hemorrhaging gasoline all over my engine and honey had been toeing the line of combustion.  they rebuilt the carb and now she drives better than ever.  hopefully this is the last mechanical work we'll have to do for a while. i have yet to feel frustrated with her ailments, it seems natural and i've been lucky that she has gotten sick in places that are safe and filled with love.  

since i had another big expense, my brother, who works in construction, gave me a job painting an ice cream joint.  i figured i'd be doing boring painting jobs like the ones i did to put me through my first year of grad school, but instead i got to paint this rad sign.  i tried to channel my love, anne marie o'neill, you can see her work on instagram.  

sign painting

along with spending time with my family, i saw people and places i use know so well.  when i was a teenager, i worked at a community center geared towards giving safe spaces for children in the downtown area.  i worked in the art studios and gardens, teaching children about expression and self care through the act of getting one's hands dirty, in soil and clay and paint.  my nieces now go there after school and i visited several times.  it's strange to me to see this photo from 15 years ago, despite running away from this town and that life, i have been dedicating myself to same things over the years.  everything has changed; nothing has changed.  

1999

1999

i saw old friends who have spawned new lives.  cole, one of my closest friends from this town, and i had lost track of one another when we both started traveling after college.  amazingly enough, he is now in partnership with another dear friend from high school, gail, and they have made this amazing child.  we all spend as much time as we could, reconnecting and catching up.  it is amazing to me that our lives can diverge and yet we are on the same path.  

i also saw my high school boyfriend.  we hadn't spoke since breaking up my second year of college.  he came over to my parents house with his three year old daughter and we awkwardly and wonderfully filled each other in on how our lives turned out without one another.  i am so happy for the life he has, as i am so happy and grateful for the life i live.   

me and ender (cole and gail's sweet one)

me and ender (cole and gail's sweet one)

and then there was family.

as personal as this blog is, i can't speak about this in specifics.  maybe it's because i don't have the words.  

i can say it was wonderful, and so fun, and sad, and hard.  if you have family, i am sure you can relate. 

my brothers: dan on my left, dustin on my right

my brothers: dan on my left, dustin on my right

my beautiful mother and moon

my beautiful mother and moon

i set out again tomorrow.  this is the saddest i have ever been leaving indiana.  perhaps it was because before i was always leaving to 'go home'... but i said goodbye to that home a month ago and this time i am leaving into the wildness.  

luckily, because sadness is a feeling, it will pass.  and i have a journey to look forward to.  i am excited to spend a few days in mark twain national forest.  i found a free campground next to a 24 mile trail i am looking forward to exploring.  after that there are some unclear plans to brave oklahoma and texas.  i am going to take route 66 (the mother road) as much as possible.  i want to experience the classic america as we pave 'better' roads and nature takes back the ones we have forgotten.  

route

route

wheels and heels getting me places 

wheels and heels getting me places 

art is more than product, it is also that which we absorb. 

work is coming.  those forests and roadways will provide more than shelter and trails.  

i'll be touch, hopefully sooner than you expect.

xo

s

safe havens

this morning i drank coffee with a rad lady while we quietly listened to crust and doom, so to not wake up the other inhabitants of 'faggle rock', a queer punk house in bloomington indiana.  

yesterday, after a super lovely visit with my family, i left findlay ohio.  knowing that the drive from findlay to evansville indiana, where my parents & brothers live and my next long(ish) stopover,  was too far for me to drive in a day, i began to look for a good place to stay for a night.  i knew 1.)  i didn't want to pay for a campsite, 2.) didn't want to park at a walmart, and 3.) needed a break from family matters/needed time with other radical queer folks.  i contacted a few punk houses i knew of in the bloomington area and ended up with the nicest people, who made me a pot pie and then we watched 'the crow' and stayed up until the wee hours talking.  

along with brilliant company, my hostess gave me awesome presents:

a wonderful (and sad) comic scout made about growing up misgendered and the struggle of trans identity.  

a wonderful (and sad) comic scout made about growing up misgendered and the struggle of trans identity.  

i can't thank my bloomington hostess(es) enough!  i will be sending y'all some really good things in the mail soon! 


despite the drive from bloomington to evansville being a mere few hours, i didn't arrive at my parents house until mid afternoon.  i spent some quality time with my ma, while we waited for my dad, my brothers, and nieces.  once everyone convened, we ate an awesome meal my mom prepared, i talked with my brother, dustin, and his kids, jasmine and jerriah, for a long time, we looked at photo albums, laughed, explored honey.  honey is parked down the street in a vacant area of my parents' housing development, they don't have room in their driveway/street (or maybe they don't want to bother the neighbors, in all likelihood).  since she's a lil ways away and in a neighborhood, i figured it best to not sleep in her while we are here, which i am a lil bummed about.  moon and poe and i are tucked inside the spare room of my parents' house.  when i moved poe from her perch on the loft bed, she was pissed and is now hiding under the bed.  moon's dreaming next to me, her little paws twitching, so i think she's happy.  

i'm really excited to spend time with these folks.  my nieces are really amazing, interesting, funny people.  my brother, dustin, is the best dad (plus, all those awesome things about my nieces definitely come from him).  my brother dan, is quiet but not without a good sense of humor and tenderness.  and my parents are loving and fun people.  this week will be packed with family time and planning the trek west.  i am looking forward to carving out a few days, once the journey picks back up, to hang out in some woods and make some paintings/write some letters.