Found this image on the net! Pardon the poor quality. I figured, if I were an actual bee, this is what I might look like, yes?

Wow, that is some powerful imagery, eh?

It’s true. I’ve been so swamped with work, both professionally and personally. The hectic schedule between my 9-5 and all the writing assignments has really taught me to manage my time well, organize, mobilize, and learn how to say ‘no’ to certain things. A few quick updates:

  • The Asterisk SF Art & Design Issue is available! Many sleepless nights but it was all worth it. It was a tremendous learning experience and helping artists gain more exposure was a great benefit of the overall work.
  • Blogging regularly for Gray Area Foundation for the Arts (GAFFTA)! I have volunteered with this organization for some time and its been wonderful to see and experience all the great things happening with this organization. It’s even more awesome meeting and corresponding with GAFFTA faculty who teach artists, musicians, and creative technologists a multitude of skills from programming to creative coding to integrating older and newer technologies (i.e., paper-based electronics!! Watch out for that post on the GAFFTA blog!). 
  • Still blogging with ZERO1 and anticipating the ZERO1 biennial!! The biennial will be from September to December 2012 and with so many amazing artists on the roster and pop-up exhibitions throughout the Bay Area, I’m really excited to write profiles for some of the biennial artists!! I won’t reveal them just yet BUT they’re doing some phenomenal things in arts and technology!!! Most importantly, I’m looking forward to facilitating a blogging workshop with ZERO1 art ambassadors. They are a young and talented bunch that will be covering the biennial events and festivities. It will be great working with them and seeing arts and technology through their eyes and perspectives.
  • Still working hard on all fronts BUT the greatest test will start in Septemeber…graduate school! Yup, you’re probably thinking, “Damn, this woman is crazy”. Well, yeah, you’re right. I’m one of those people who likes being busy BUT it’s time. I’m excited, anxious, nervous, and happy that I will be starting this new chapter in my life. Talk about “hit-the-ground-runnning”! I know, I’m filled with clichés. Horrible. I know but they’re easy and get straight to the point.

All right, if you have read this far…THANK YOU! Looking forward to the next few months and what will happen during the rest of the year. I’m curious, do you have something to share or ask? Well, drop me a line and let me know!! Thanks again for reading and your support!! Definitely means a lot. 🙂

This is Your Brain Shopping (left), This is Your Brain on Art (right) Credit: Wikimedia Commons

I learned a phrase a several months ago – FOMO. It stands for ‘Fear of Missing Out’. However, suffering from FOMO is inevitable for creative types. We constantly need stimulation to get everything going. In my last post, I wrote about taking a break (because they are important). Well, you know what happens when you take a break, right (besides being well rested)? A deluge of ideas and inspiration (and events) present themselves! I took a break at the most opportune time. Perfect timing, actually. Last weekend, I went to The Phoenix Hotel to check out the San Francisco Art Institute (SFAI) 2012 Vernissage show. The MFA exhibition had a handful of exceptional and VERY promising artists in the showcase. Overall, the collective energy was impressive and, as one current graduate student put it, the ‘punk rock’ nature of the school makes the art work and the art practices quite unique from other art schools. Although I’m accustomed to SFAI Vernissage at Fort Mason, this particular venue offered a different view and interaction with the art. I took tons of photos and will be doing a major upload to the blog.

Hoping I can get all of those pics uploaded tonight!! ::crosses fingers::

As for the weekend ahead, it is one of my favorite times of the year – the trifecta of art fairs in San Francisco! The San Francisco Art Fair (Fort Mason), artMRKT (The Concourse), and ArtPad (The Phoenix Hotel)! This is such an exciting time for art critics, writers, and bloggers in the city!! I actually searched on Google for “Brain on Art” and found the image above! I don’t have to say this but there will be a lot of right side going on and maybe, for those with deep and generous pockets at these art fairs…the picture to the left may apply. Overall, I will be reporting on the arts fairs through ZERO1 so be on the look out for my recaps on the weekend events early next week. I’ll definitely post slide shows to my blog!!

From left to right: Holland Cotter, A (very) excited and smiley Dorothy, and Bill Berkson

Founder and director of Art Practical, Patricia Maloney invited me to attend a reception at the Asian Art Museum to meet Holland Cotter! HOLLAND COTTER! Okay, if you don’t know who Holland Cotter is, please don’t feel bad. I told my Mom, she smiled, saw my elation, and politely asked, “Who is Holland Cotter?” Mr. Cotter is a New York Times art critic awarded with the 2009 Pulitizer Prize for Criticism. He also sits on the Board of Directors for the International Association of Art Critics. You can learn more about him here. Oh, AND, he is one of the nicest men I’ve ever met. Humble and incredibly kind. I was at a loss for words. I really was BUT I got up the nerve to ask for a picture. I couldn’t stop smiling. He repeated my name and said, “I will look for you”. WHAT?!?! Wow. I know he’s swamped with work and other aspiring art writers and critics contact him all the time but to meet him and have him get a sense of my excitement, enthusiasm, and passion for art criticism and listening to him share similar sentiments about the art writing process was simply amazing. I spoke with and met formally, Bill Berkson, an American poet, writer, art critic, and teacher. A few years ago, I took a writing workshop for emerging art writers (facilitated by Art Practical and The Lab) and he sat in on a panel with Whitney Chadwick (art history scholar and very nice – LOVE her!) and remember him sharing the advice, “Write as if you are writing to an intelligent friend that doesn’t take BS!” I have tried to stay true to that adage. Again, it was an incredible feeling to meet and chat with these writers! Most importantly, being invited to this event and meeting the Art Practical editorial staff was phenomenal. What a talented, mega intelligent, and fun group!! As I’ve mentioned to friends, I’m indebted to one of my art heroes, Patricia Maloney, and her team for allowing me to hone my writing skills over the past two years and include me in on such an unforgettable evening. 🙂

OKAY, OFF to go see some performance art by another art hero and mentor, Jenifer Wofford at the SOEX!

Balancing Act…this elephant has crazy core stability!

The past few weeks have served as a bit of a break from active writing (I define ‘active writing’ as writing every day for a couple of hours about art.). Wanting to take a step back and re-focus is the primary goal at the moment. There’s always something that brings me back to art though. It’s in everything I do. The practice of posting to my blog everyday in 2011 (at the very least, gathering material to post for every day of the year) taught me a lot about producing well written and researched content. However, after a year of that practice, I found myself wanting to write ALL the time and feeling guilty when I find myself unable to produce. THIS was a sure sign that I needed to step back. Aside from wanting to constantly write about the things I want to write about, I have to balance deadlines and exhibition reviews for different editors too.

After some introspective time, I wanted to share a few revelations and strategies. These are not new but I’ve found them to be very helpful. No matter what, there’s always something there to remind me that art and writing are not going anywhere. Reading the last line of Steinbeck’s letter to his son Thom about falling in love is so true (in any case, it can certainly apply to your passion),

“…And don’t worry about losing. If it is right, it happens – The main thing is not to hurry. Nothing good gets away”.

~ John Steinbeck, November 10, 1958 ~ Letter to his son, Thom

Despite the itching angst ridden feeling that washes over me when I attend art events or read something really amazing and phenomenal online, and end up not writing about these discoveries, I’ve definitely cut myself some slack. There’s just no way to capture everything and do it all justice. Lately, I’ve suffered from information overload as well and grappling with having this thing called ‘me’ time that incorporates relaxing and resting the mind and body. Here’s what I’ve had to tell myself over the past couple of weeks,

  • It’s OK to not write about EVERYTHING I see!
  • Documentation of art happenings are, sometimes, best left to memory…
  • Being in the moment of an art experience which will never happen again is OK ~ Let go…sometimes, the memory paints a much more interesting picture
  • Save all that pent-up writing energy for grad school and read non-art text (i.e., Tobias Wolff, Haruki Murakami, dive into some art magazines, flip through all my art coffee table books, etc.)
  • Watch the films I’ve BEEN wanting to watch and SAY I will watch but don’t because I’m hunched over my laptop
  • See art but take off the critical lenses!! It’s perfectly fine to spit out a gut reaction and not analyze the work
  • Enjoy a nice cup of tea (a good cup of tea…we’re talking loose leaf)
  • Connect with loved ones (yes, if you can believe it, I actually have a reminder on my calendar to do this…I know, I know…crazy, eh)

Overall, the break has been a nice refresher! I’m definitely back and will be posting some photos and posts in the next few days! Also, if you have other ways that you step back from your work, I’d love to hear them. 🙂

Yay for Shetland Ponies! ~ Image Source: Mark Kokke (2004)

If I had to select my power (or spirit) animal for this year, it would be the Shetland Pony. Quite àpropos considering I was born in the year of the horse (if you believe in the Chinese Zodiac and Feng Shui). According to Wikipedia,

Shetland ponies are generally gentle, good-tempered, and very intelligent by nature. They make good children’s ponies, and are sometimes noted for having a “brave” character, but can be very opinionated or “cheeky”, and can be impatient, snappy, and sometimes become uncooperative. Due in part to their intelligence and size, they are easily spoiled and can be very headstrong if not well-trained.

~ Source: Wikipedia entry for Shetland Pony

Now, I don’t particularly see myself as impatient or uncooperative (or snappy, cheeky maybe, but not snappy) unless I’m met with such behavior but I can say with some certainty that such interactions are pretty rare. If I’ve learned anything in the past year, it is to know my boundaries, keep pushing the limits of my art writing, discover new ways to write and research new media artists, and draw upon connections (ideas, concepts, people, my roots in philosophy and psychology, and art history) to help in creating a theoretical framework. I know. I know. Ambitious but with hard work, dedication, and focus, I’m convinced this can all be done.

So, what will change in 2012 for this work horse? Glad you asked 😉

  • Increase in ZERO1 Blogging! ~ With a fresh new design and some exciting events on the horizon, you will be able to find my musings and observations here.
  • Asterisk HQ!! ~ Now that Asterisk SF Magazine has found a cozy home in the Mission district of San Francisco, I will be spending some time at the Asterisk HQ. I will continue to write about local artists and art spaces/places and help the team as much as I can with setting up shop, cleaning up, and making it an awesome new spot! Go Team Asterisk!! [Pardon the rah-rah but I’m excited!]
  • Amazing opportunities!!! ~ The new year presents me with an incredible opportunity to work on some major new media arts projects with artists, Matt Ganucheau, Cullen Miller, and Jonathan Barcan. I can say anything yet but some really great stuff is in the making!
  • Looking forward to finishing up some pitches this week for possible publication!! Cross your fingers and send me those virtual warm fuzzies.

Hmmm, perhaps, the Shetland will be for freewrites, explorations, and time I’ve set aside for discovering new artists and artists-technologists BUT when working on the bigger projects of 2012, my jockeying skills may look a bit more like this…

As always, if you’re willing to share some things you’ve got lined up for 2012, please feel free to comment or message me. I would love to hear what is going on for you! Cheers and all the best to you!!

Call for Bloggers!! Click the image above!! ~ Image Source: Art of Hustle Website

If you’re a writer and blogger, you know the challenges involved with coming up with new content while staying motivated and keeping yourself apprised of what is going on out there. The emergence of bloggers all over the world, many perceive blogging by many as “…Not writing but graffiti with punctuation“. However, the truly serious stick with it, learn from their mistakes, open to constructive criticism, and reap the benefits of their hard work. It’s been a truly productive, energetic, and inspiring year (to say the least). Yet, in looking forward to 2012, I’m also trying to find opportunities to tighten my writing practice, find some new readership that will not only read but engage with me, and continue writing about my passion – art (specifically, discovering and writing about emerging new media artists).

That said, do you have a success story or tips you would like to share with writers and bloggers out there in the blogosphere? Consider submitting a blog pitch to the founder, Anthem Salgado, of phenomenal resource Art of Hustle and get your writing seen and read. 🙂

This is a quote from the movie Contagion. Elliot Gould plays scientist, Ian Sussman, in the film.

You want to know what I say to that statement. Bullsh*t!

As a contributor to a few organizations, I have the pleasure of working with editors and supporters that give me extremely useful and productive feedback that not only improves my writing, but my critical thinking skills. Admittedly, I love the quote because there are many bloggers who exhibit poor grammar, diction, syntax, and total lack or desire to EDIT. However, there are bloggers, such as myself, that constantly try to improve and use our blogs as a reference and a record of our learning, our musings, our mistakes, mishaps, and observations of the world. Okay, I’ll kick the soapbox to the corner now.

Last thing, what the hell does a scientist know about writing? I’ve met a good number of scientists that are not very articulate. Okay, okay, enough. I need to work on some writing deadlines (yes, it never (ever) ends). Playing catch up has been very difficult lately. As one of my favorite professors has reminded me about the nascent stage of any piece – you gotta turn on the faucet and let the brown water run!!

Let’s hope the plumbing is all right…