How I Started Writing
When I was a graduate student at the Cranbrook Academy of Art, every student had to write statements to accompany their work. Artist statements are often unreadable and mine were no exception. These artist statements had all the pitfalls of bad writing—excessively floral language, big words to demonstrate my intellect, and needlessly complex sentence structures. I was not a good writer.
During my second year of grad school, I applied and received a Fulbright grant to study in Finland. Several people read and edited my grant proposal. I learned that writing is a craft that demands time and dedication. And much like my practice as a visual artist, simplicity and organization are key.
In August 2010, I arrived in Helsinki and started a travel blog to keep in touch with friends and family. A few months later, I applied to be a blogger for the Art21 online magazine—a position that gave me access to the Finnish art scene. At a restaurant in Helsinki, Miina Äkkijyrkkä explained to me that she looked at the world "through a cow's telescope." Months later I discussed Katja Tukiainen’s fiercely pink, feminist paintings. I learned intimate details about the lives of artists like the night that Jani Leinonen spent in jail after he kidnapped a Ronald McDonald statue.
The next year I moved to New York City where Summer Wheat told me about how she traveled around the country on a Greyhound bus reading Leo Tolstoy. Inside his Brooklyn apartment, Dread Scott explained that the role of the artist is to “consistently fight with everything you understand to bring the horrors of the world to an end.” A few years later, I left New York to start my teaching career and eventually landed in New Haven, Connecticut. Meeting and writing about so many different artists has challenged and shaped my practice as a visual artist. The more confident I have grown as a writer, the more freedom I’ve desired to write about the topics that most appeal to me.
About this blog
First, a warning. The art world is small and Connecticut even smaller. It’s safe to assume that I will know many of the artists whose works and exhibitions I will cover on this blog. My intent is to write objectively and critically with the goal of enriching the dialogue about the visual arts. As a New Haven resident, I think that the critical conversations about the arts have not matched Connecticut’s thriving art scenes. I hope this blog will bridge these communities and contribute thoughtfully to our conversations about art. To that end, you will find exhibition reviews, book reviews, artist interviews, studio visits, and the occasional essay on this site. Thank you for reading.