I can imagine how difficult it is to know if you would like to work with a client, until you spend time with them. I thought that by writing more about my disability, my needs, where I live and my activities, you could see if you wanted to correspond with me. Then, we could meet and you could decide if working with me might fit where you are on your path. This is my first time using Carina. I am not sure how it works yet but I am grateful their service has connected us and I am happy to correspond through them.
I currently work with two caregivers but need the help of one other. I am looking for a person to please help me with household upkeep, errands, and continual organization in my art studio on Capitol Hill across from Cal Anderson Park. I have received three doses of the Pfizer vaccine and have a strong immune system.
I am in a wheelchair. I cannot walk and only have limited use of my arms. Making art is my motivation in life but I require help maintaining my baseline substance before the art can even be set up.
The daily chores required to maintain our lives can be exhausting. Add to that a disability, the production of making things, the steps it requires, the objects and supplies in play, and the work becomes much more than what is in the frame of a painting. As you know, being the hands for another person is a kind of translation. I find that we have the capacity to do this work together for three or four hours at a time. So, I prefer to meet for three or four days a week and allow for our lives to grow in between. I like to work in the afternoons because it takes me so much time at the beginning of my day to eat, drink coffee and put myself together before engaging, but I could work earlier if those were the hours you had available. This would be a part-time job as I have 45 hours a month available for one more caregiver.
My body is sufficiently taken care of. I do not need help bathing or going to the bathroom. Our work would be household upkeep, organizing, at times making parts to a painting design, and the ongoing setting of the stage where something new can be made. I am focused on long term goals, getting things done and running my day as efficiently as possible in order to make paintings and photographs happen. I have a girlfriend and a social life. I am not looking to lean on you emotionally. I would like to work with you to be in the activity of chipping away at tasks, building and being stoked by our process. It would not be necessary to know anything about art to help me with my endeavors. Art is often defined by the viewer anyway. When making a thing, we sometimes don’t know what it will be. What I love most about art, is working towards things. If you could please help me with your strengths in life, I know the effort we put in will produce beauty.
Being disabled and needing other peoples’ help, or being a caregiver and giving help are also difficult roles to define. Much thought and conversation centers on these topics. There will always be things to learn here. I have received help from caregivers through the Department of Social and Human Services for 30 years.
My life changed course when I was 15 1/2 years old. I was driving with a learner’s permit and swerved to miss a squirrel that ran into the road. I broke my neck and was paralyzed at the C-5, C-6 vertebra. It was an incomplete injury. I still have some feeling but my muscles were paralyzed beneath my chest and throughout my arms. I wear a brace on my arm which enables me to hold a pencil for drawing. I was in the hospital for nine months as a teenager. I was welcomed back at high school but spent my lunch times drawing in the library.
I went to college to become an engineer, then a literature major, then into art as it provided the broadest scope of looking into life’s workings. I almost chose not to finish college when the Seattle music scene began to take off in the early 1990s. I had already begun painting guitars and leather jackets for musicians I was spending time with. Still, I dedicated myself to my responsibilities of schoolwork and graduated, making my parents proud of my traditional path before jumping on the ride of 90s music.
In my twenties, I was fortunate to see the great art of the world, sitting in front of paintings and sculptures, contemplating the lives of the masters and what was required to produce such achievements. It was clear there was more to succeeding as an artist than getting ideas onto t-shirts.
As Seattle’s singers begin to die, I went into the dark for one week without any visual inputs. I sat naked in my wheelchair for seven days and ate pre-made meals from Tupperware heated in the microwave without a light bulb. I rolled blind from room to room, encountering walls and furniture in shocks and misalignments with my expectations. My struggle to find my way in the dark would help me to form a fluid action of movement that would direct my painting when I came out.
In 1999; I rented a large studio on Capitol Hill and was lead by an accident into my first meaningful painting in a new style. My sister and I had been working with materials, setting up different approaches to play freely with paint. I had a large circle of tables and laid out selections of Masonite canvases primed in either black or white. I was using the cut off bottoms of plastic milk jugs to hold water for washing paint brushes, both clean and dirty. As I was lifting a white wash container over a black board, I accidentally spilled it. Instinctively, I grabbed a towel to clean my mistake but I stopped. What occurred had created something living. Regarding it as a composition, I added two primary shapes, a circle and a line. I found this art to be responsive of inputs, free of my previous mark making labors and strategies.
I have focused on making paintings which can happen in one movement without imposing additional layers. I call it “Illuvium” for the geological term of sediment settling over flood planes. My main objective is to work with nature, introducing forces and adjusting, asking what it needs in order to settle gradually into its most effective frequency of macroscopic waves.
Setting up the landscape to pour on is often more compelling to me than the final painting. One painting in particular took me three years to build. The form underneath the canvas consisted of 88 ribs, each less than a millimeter difference in height which helped to curve the flowing paint in the shape of a downward twisting spiral. Dozens of wine bottles hung on strings from below to pull the canvas into place over the form. It was one of my most successful paintings, a meditation on repetition, patience and the investment of touches that our nature as builders seems to appreciate. I celebrated its place on an expensive podium in the Smithsonian museum but I realized I did not have the time or help to be painting this way indefinitely.
I begin asking friends and caregivers to help me with the involved setups. People brought others to the studio and eventually the sessions of tying strings on weights and adjusting shims and widgets became celebratory pourings of paintings together in large groups. As I showed these pieces, curators introduced me to the terms Relational Aesthetics and Social Practice, where painting has value as an object but also in the meaning we ascribe to it together. With considerable time writing on these ideas, I have received grants to build a larger painting table which will enable groups of up to 20 people to pour paintings at once.
Painting with others is a satisfying group experience. All of the activities I have described, including caregiving, are exercises in letting go of control, inviting new inputs, and following things in their directions. They do however, require a system built to accommodate chaos while directing the inputs of energy forward.
My goal is to produce paintings, eventually making them valuable enough to transcend this system of benefits where I currently have stability. I would like to rise to a level of income where I can pay people what they are truly worth for three or four hours of focused work helping me with my life. For now, I work at a pace where the art can evolve steadily, a little each day. If you also have that time to help me maintain my life, keep the pieces in order and possibly add them together to make something extra, I would love to work with you.
Please reach out and we will see how Carina put us together. We can talk, you can visit, see the space and take some to time decide if we would like to work together.