First Fridays

First Fridays

My city is one of many whose art community opens its doors on the first Friday of nearly every month for the new shows on display. My life has taken twists and turns recently, and I was ignoring a vital part of my personality because It didn’t seem of value.

Knowing My Trades

Image of Japanese drawings

Even in 19th Century Japan, preconception was a necessity.

One of the elements that reconfirmed my sensibilities was the evidence in the Japanese drawings of preconception. As a professor in graphic design, I always assign preliminary research and ideation to my students before they begin work on the assignment proper. This usually takes the form of thumbnail sketches, and quick drawings of scenes or storyboards to better visualize the final product. Present in the display of the 19th century Japanese drawings was this very element. Displayed alongside some of the finished pieces hung other drawings depicting rough drafts of layouts, stick figures, and even text placement. I took pictures of these to show my students that yes, this is a thing you have to do.

Emotional Viewing

It took a great deal last Friday, and almost failed to get out of the house. Once I was, however, all the angst or anxiety I had seemed to vanish. I remembered who I was. I’ve never much needed or required a group of people to hang out with. Maybe artists can just make their own fun.

I met with colleagues and provided, in their words, “fascinating insight into the work which [they’ll] use on their next lecture group tour.” I met a Brazilian who mistook me for someone else, but spawned a wonderful conversation about the art on view. Dare I say I also developed a new crush on yet another person?

Throughout all of these dialogs, I sprinkled in that I hadn’t been back in while because I was traveling. Letting the other person decide what that meant to them, I meant for myself that I had been ‘away’ on an emotional journey. I returned home, and I think I found it.


Sculpture in the CAMSTL Opening. Each side has cross-sections of body parts.

Reflecting Beyond Art

I reflected on the term ’emotional rollercoaster’ because of all this. It perhaps had to do with with the 19th century Japanese drawings on display, and their dynamic. Meditative and refined, but emotive and charged, I reinvigorated my passions with their presence. I never liked the term ’emotional rollercoaster’ because what is a rollercoaster. It’s a ride, and more importantly, a loop. One waits in line, probably for awhile. Once on, one undergoes wild ups and downs, horrendous jerks, and in the end one returns to where one started. This is a terrible metaphor for an intense emotional experience.

I never wind up in the same place as I started after an emotional journey. Whether they have ups and downs or not, I think one starts in a place and stops in another. This is certainly my case, and definitely after the reflections of this weekend. I reached a moment of clarity that imbued a sense of certain confidence in myself. I am not secure in this, for it is something I always struggle with, but its a start.

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