Archive for the ‘artist to artist’ Category

What Is Your Greatest Need as an Artist?

Wednesday, April 12th, 2017

Periodically, we pose questions to artists about issues they face in their work and lives. This month, we asked practitioners in a variety of disciplines, What is your greatest need, as an artist?

Image from GODDESSES DESCENDING, choreography by Michelle Marroquin. Photo by Tracey Eller.

Michelle Marroquin, choreographer
My needs, if all things were possible?
1. Funding that would be earmarked specifically for dancers to engage in new work. Residencies might include a stipend for the choreographer but rarely pay for dancers. Because I cannot get enough time with my dancers this season, I am working on a solo.
2. Consistent access to space and more performance venues that are supportive and equipped to produce dance. A crew. Someone other than my husband to climb up and down ladders.
3. Administrative support to help enhance work flow. Someone to help increase outreach, search for opportunities, and fundraise. A dream is to have a production assistant.
4. Lifestyle support: Food stamps for artists. A guaranteed minimum income for the process, not just the products. Health insurance for artists. Affordable continuing education. In sum, less intermittent support and more ongoing, lifestyle support.

Robert Knox, writer and poet
I’m a fiction writer and poet. My greatest need is ways to connect with readers. Happily, I’m in a stage of life when my most pressing needs are no longer time or money. But I want to see the books that I finally have time to write get into print, or get read, or even noticed somehow. Commercial publication of fiction is a narrow funnel, except for certain formulaic genres, and agents look to meet specific marketing needs. Newspapers, a declining industry in which I’m partially employed, review few books. After my novel Suosso’s Lane was published a year ago by a small independent, I find most of its readers myself through public programs at libraries. Many of the fiction writers I know publish their own books and sell them on Amazon. Poetry is an even more self-contained universe. I’m not proposing any solutions here, just stating a need: How do we get read?

Dana Clancy, WINTER WEIGHT (2015/2017), oil over acrylic on panel, 36x48 in

Dana Clancy, painter
As an artist-professor-parent, I structure my life around building and maintaining artistic momentum. Momentum arises from consistent and focused time in the studio (including that hour before class or late night after our family dinner). It is also fed by important conversations with artist friends and with students. For me, as a painter whose work is based on responding to contemporary museums, it is vital to my work to spend time with other artists’ work that I find moving and important.

Recently, as part of BADA Second Saturdays, I hosted a conversation event at Alpha Gallery about what artists look for and gain from seeing work in person in the context of the museum. Many of us spoke about how the role of the museum has shifted to symbolize a space apart from fast-click looking. If I have to work quickly and efficiently in the studio, momentum for me includes time to slow down to look on a more critical level and feel highly present with what I am seeing.

As I start a new body of work, the momentum I seek also includes connecting more broadly to other artists, and feeling that I’m doing my part to give voice to the importance of art and culture at a time when funding and support are under threat.

Duy Doan, poet
Outside of the daily search for time and space to write, having mentors has been vital to my writing life. Mentors – writers who have read more, written more, and of course experienced more – can give you career advice and feedback about your writing, detailed as well as overarching, in ways that your peers cannot. I’m grateful to have had a range of extremely supportive mentors both in the literary world and outside of it. When I was an undergraduate at UT Austin, Martin Kevorkian, Judith Kroll, Joseph Slate, Oscar Casares, and Ian Hancock – scholars, poets, fiction writers – all gave me the language to talk about writing with a close eye and ear. These professors encouraged me through challenging times and guided me through the dizzying MFA application process. I attended Boston University where I studied with Robert Pinsky, Louise Glück, and Rosanna Warren, all of whom pushed me to pursue writing, first and foremost, in an organic way. Many writers encounter these kinds of supportive relationships through school, but I think the important conversations continue outside of an academic setting. Casual conversations about poems, outside of the professional world of poetry, are always a pleasure, a vital one.

Yuri Tozuka, BUNNY (2016), sterling silver, fine silver, garnet, coral, 17x3x1.5 in

Yuri Tozuka, metalsmith
A studio space has been my greatest need as an artist for a quite long time. I have been creating most of my work on my bench underneath a loft bed in my little apartment. Because of this, I am constantly in a battle when it comes to the actual construction of the piece; between what I can really make in this space and what I truly want to create. Noise, dusts, and fumes have to be minimal in this environment, which sounds better for everyone’s health, but as a metalsmith, this limits opportunities to play with different techniques, scales, ideas and to go outside of the box.

Having said that, this creative space issue made me focus on my technique, such as lost-wax casting, and also pushed me to try out different materials other than metal.

I have tried having a separate studio space, and the only down side was that it was too far away for me to get to as frequently as I needed. In the near future, I am planning to move into a house with an actual studio space, where only my husband and our dog will be able to complain about my hammering.

 

Dana Clancy has work in the group show All Things Great and Small at Geoffrey Young Gallery in Great Barrington (5/3-5/28, opening reception 5/6, 5:30-7:30 PM). She recently had a solo exhibition, Sightlines, at Alpha Gallery – read a Boston Globe review.

Duy Doan recently won the Yale Younger Poet Competition, selected by Carl Phillips, for his manuscript We Play a Game. Yale University Press will publish We Play a Game in April 2018. Duy is the director of the Favorite Poem Project.

Robert Knox discusses his novel Suosso’s Lane at the Ventress Memorial Library in Marshfield (4/13, 7 PM). He’ll read from his poetry collection Gardeners Do It With Their Hands Dirty at Plymouth Public Library (4/24, 7 PM). Currently, he has poetry published in Verse-Virtual.com, where he is a contributing editor.

Michelle Marroquin is a dancer and performance artist whose training includes ballet, modern dance, Mexican folk dance, and Odissi Classical Indian dance. She premiered her most recent work Goddesses Descending at Park Hill Orchard in September 2016.

Metalsmith Yuri Tozuka has exhibited at galleries and institutions including Mobilia Gallery, Massachusetts College of Art and Design, Hancock 309 Gallery, and 24K Studios in San Francisco.

Images: from GODDESSES DESCENDING, choreography by Michelle Marroquin, photo by Tracey Eller; Dana Clancy, WINTER WEIGHT (2015/2017) , oil over acrylic on panel, 36×48 in; Yuri Tozuka, BUNNY (2016), sterling silver, fine silver, garnet, coral, 17x3x1.5 in.

What Do You Strive to Avoid in Your Art?

Monday, March 6th, 2017

Periodically, we pose questions to artists about issues they face in their work and lives.

We were curious about ruts, pitfalls, or other counter-productive things from which artists make a conscious effort to steer clear. So we asked, What do you work hardest at trying to avoid in your work?

The answers range from technical or material concerns, issues of art history, creative decisions, and (in one case) become a poetic expression all their own.

Mara Superior, AMERICANA (2016), porcelain, salt glazed white stoneware, 14.5x18x2 in

Mara Superior, ceramicist
My material is porcelain, and there are so many technical issues and things that could go wrong all along the way before a piece is completed. As I’m making, I’m always trying to avoid mishandling the materials.

Porcelain is a high-risk material because it shrinks about 15 percent. Working with it is all about timing, moisture content, construction, drying slowly then bisque firing. I am interested in the beauty of the final product. I bear with the process.

To add a little more excitement into the mix, I work with an atmospheric kiln which means the results are not consistent each time as it might be in an electric kiln. As I work I am imagining the ideal outcome. There is always an adjustment and surprise when the kiln is opened.

Esthetically speaking I try to avoid being too decorative, although I love ornament. I try to balance beauty and content. I believe that some difficult content delivered in a beautiful package is intriguing and alluring.

 

Scott Challener, poet
avoidance procedures

comfortable writing

harmlessness…

READ the poet’s visual-poetic response

 

Marky Kauffmann, MAGGIE: DISINTEGRATION, from the LOST BEAUTY series

Marky Kauffmann, photographer
It is really important to me to make photographs that have an originality of expression. Of course, I understand that being original is impossible. We all stand on the shoulders of the artists who have come before us. Perhaps what I’m calling originality is really creativity – having a strong creative element in my work, something no one else has thought to try. By combining darkroom techniques and digital technologies in a unique manner, I try hard to avoid having my work look like someone else’s. If someone says to me, “Your work looks like so and so’s,” I know I have failed to accomplish what I set out to do.

At the same time, whatever technical devices I use, I want them to make sense in my work. I want to avoid cheap tricks at all costs. This can be a delicate balancing act, but I strive to speak forcefully, purposefully, and skillfully with all the tools in my toolbox.

 

Shubha Sunder, writer
Thomas Mann put it this way in The Magic Mountain: “There are so many different kinds of stupidity, and cleverness is one of the worst.” As a writer of fiction, I work hard to avoid cleverness in my work. This means being on the lookout for things like heavy-handed metaphors, striking images that fail to resonate with the themes of the story, or sentences that twist themselves into pretzels to convey, in the end, what could be said in a few simple words. Cleverness is not the same as complexity, when the world on the page reflects and illuminates the messiness of real life. That sort of effect comes not from clever technique but from a deep exploration of characters and situations. I used to delight in showing off my pyrotechnics as a writer; now, I’m obsessed with doing everything possible to immerse a reader into the world of the story – to make the words disappear, rather then stand out.

 

Evan Morse, SEB AND CLAIRE ILLEGALLY STREAM A MOVIE (2016), hydrocal, pigment 9x18x15 in

Evan Morse, sculptor
My earliest sculptural works were so close to historical precedents that what I thought was a commentary on the past seemed to most people to be merely copying the past. Most people can’t not think Greek, Roman, Renaissance, or Rodin when they see a marble nude. This has been my struggle throughout the youth of my sculptural career and is the thing that I am continually seeking to avoid in my work. How do I make art that speaks for itself first, and its historical counterparts second? How do I make figurative sculpture that builds upon history rather than repeats it? Not to mention that all the aforementioned acts are tough ones to follow…

After some searching and experimentation, I realized that the traditional methods and materials are important to me. Taking part in the millennia-long visual conversation in the representation of the human figure is important to me. This means that the content of my work has to be strong enough on its own to both embrace its historical allusions and seem original at the same time. It’s a fine line to walk, and I’m working to avoid the pitfalls all the time.

 

Scott Challener is a doctoral candidate in Rutgers University. His most recent poems appear in the online publication Pangyrus (out of Cambridge) and Lana Turner Journal.

Marky Kauffmann is a photographer who curated Outspoken, an exhibition of seven female photographers that recently closed at the de Menil Gallery at Groton School. The show will travel to the Hess Gallery at Pine Manor College in Chestnut Hill next fall.

Evan Morse‘s sculpture has been exhibited at Boston City Hall, Danforth Art in Framingham, and Heritage Museums & Gardens in Sandwich, among many other venues.

Shubha Sunder‘s fiction has been appeared in Crazyhorse magazine, where it won the 2015 Crazyhorse Fiction Prize; Narrative Magazine, where it was a winner of “30 Below, Michigan Quarterly Review, and The Bangalore Review. She teaches at GrubStreet and recently completed her first novel, Boomtown Girl.

Mara Superior has received five awards from the Artist Fellowships Program since 1986. Her ceramic work is currently on exhibit in A Sense of Place, the 73rd Scripps Ceramic Annual exhibition at the Ruth Chandler Williamson Gallery in Claremont, CA.

Images: Mara Superior, AMERICANA (2016), porcelain, salt glazed white stoneware, 14.5x18x2 in; Marky Kauffmann, MAGGIE” DISINTEGRATION, from the LOST BEAUTY series; Evan Morse, SEB AND CLAIRE ILLEGALLY STREAM A MOVIE (2016), hydrocal, pigment 9x18x15 in.

How Do You Approach Art-making During Times of Emotional Distress?

Tuesday, December 6th, 2016

Recently, WBUR had a story about how events out of our control – such as the recent election – create stress and internal turmoil that can disrupt all aspects of our lives.

For artists creating (or trying to create) new work, this can mean a serious disruption of their art-making process. We asked artists, How do you approach art-making during times of emotional distress?

Jodie Mim Goodnough, NORTHAMPTON STATE HOSPITAL (2015) from the PROSPECT project, Three Inkjet Prints on Cotton Lawn, 36x78 in

Jodie Mim Goodnough, multidisciplinary artist
My work for years has been about emotional distress, both mild and pathological, and the coping mechanisms we use to self-soothe, so you’d think I’d have all the tools I need. Based on the research for my recent work, what I should be doing is going for long walks in the woods and taking deep breaths of forest air. What I’m actually doing, however, is sitting on the couch reading about how much better I would feel if I went for a walk in the woods.

But if I’ve learned one thing, it’s that you can’t beat yourself up for slowing down occasionally – it only compounds the misery. When I don’t have it in me to hit the studio I do small things in the direction of productivity. I research and I plan for future projects. And I look for non-art tasks that feel productive as well, like studying Spanish. I’m currently living in Providence, which has a large Latino population. I feel like I need to find ways to better connect with people in my community right now, and learning another language, even at a basic level, will help me do that.

Jessica Reik, writer
There are always emotions. Some of them are more uncomfortable for me to be with than others. Some, like elation, feel really good but interfere with my ability to write – elation wants the external and so I’m out doing, not home writing! Fear, sadness, insecurity, they pose different challenges. Seeming bottomless (they never are), they threaten to take over the executive self and with it, all those evolved capacities of the human brain – like perspective – I rely on to write.

I like to sit with a difficult emotion and feel where it’s lodged in my body, then find out what’s underneath. Take fear (often in my lower abdomen). Fundamentally, it’s a lack of basic safety, so I look for that safety in tangible ways and identify what is trustworthy and supportive — my bones, my breath, the chair I’m sitting in. Simple stuff. I like to give structure for the emotion, a house I’ve built for it to roam around in, because the emotion itself isn’t the problem, it’s my reaction to it.

Always, in the end, I find myself in the same place at the end of this process — back to the work. My writing comes out of those very same vulnerable places where sadness takes root — where all emotions do — and yet is also one of the sources of stability that gets me through.

Michael Joseph, photographer
In times of emotional stress, not only making art, but also viewing art can provide a much-needed emotional release. Often my most productive periods are when I feel a need to disconnect with my own internal stressors and reconnect with life that is happening around me. Grabbing my camera and going for a walk breaks up a physically sedentary day but also an emotionally clouded one.

Street photography is unique in that it allows the artist to be present with the world in a way that working in a studio cannot. It shifts our role from being a participant to being an observer. Working on the street has a unique duality: the sometimes frustrating challenge of dealing with the unforeseen but also the excitement and reward of capturing the serendipitous. Events out of our control and uncertainty therefore become positives. By paying close attention to unpredictable actions and emotions of others in fluid environments, we are forced to focus less on our own internal thoughts to capture external narratives in real time.

I always saw the camera as a powerful tool of connection. Making street portraits of strangers whose personalities and places in the world are different from my own, forces me to engage with others and learn from them. It presents the challenge of making their unique, internal story come to the surface through a portrait. There is no time for subjects to look in the mirror, change clothes, fix hair or put on make-up, and I can’t ask the sun to change or the clouds to move… I am forced to make art from what is before me. And in that reality, I make my most powerful work.

Michael Joseph, SOPHIE (2013), archival pigment print, 16x16 in

 

Jodie Mim Goodnough is a Providence, Rhode Island-based artist whose work revolves around the use of images in psychology and psychiatry, and includes photography, sculpture, performance, video and sound. Recently, she received a 2017 Rhode Island State Council on the Arts Fellowship in Photography and was named a 2017 Traveling Fellow by the School of the Museum of Fine Arts and Tufts University. Her work will exhibit in Building a Lineage at Piano Craft Gallery in Boston, January 2017.

Michael Joseph is a street and street portrait photographer. His “Lost and Found” series, which has been featured on CNN, will be included in the December 8 slide presentation night (Dec 8, 6:30 PM) to complement IDENTITY: The List Portraits at The Annenberg Space for Photography in Los Angeles. Recently honored in PhotoLucida’s Critical Mass 2016 Top 50 list, he’ll have work in the accompanying exhibition (Apr 7-May 2 at the Artwork Network Gallery Space in Denver). He has an article coming out in the December issue of the Czech Republic magazine CILICHILI. Find him on Instagram and Facebook.

Writer Jessica Reik was awarded a fellowship position in Grub Street’s Memoir Incubator Program, where she worked on the memoir The Fathom-Long Body. Recently, she received a fellowship to attend a Ucross Foundation residency and was named a finalist in StoryQuarterly Non Fiction Prize. On Tuesday, January 17, 2017, at 7 PM, she’ll read her work in an event featuring MCC literary awardees.

Images: Jodie Mim Goodnough, NORTHAMPTON STATE HOSPITAL (2015) from the PROSPECT project, three Inkjet Prints on cotton lawn, 36×78 in; Michael Joseph, SOPHIE (2013), archival pigment print, 16×16 in.

Seldom Discussed Artist Issues

Monday, September 12th, 2016

Periodically, we pose questions to artists about issues they face in their work and lives.

Whether because they’re hard to talk about or because they just fly under the radar, some issues don’t get a lot of discussion on forums such as this blog. This month, we’re asking, What issues do you see artists grappling with that don’t often get discussed?

Camera Obscura photography by Marian Roth

Marian Roth, photography artist
Much of what causes me the most angst is an internal dialogue about my work and its place in the universe of “art.” One form it takes is my worry that my current work is too “far out” in respect to other photography. My friend Midge, who like me, works in photography and painting, blames our more generalized self-doubt on the nagging remnants of second place citizenry for those of us who work with photographic image making.

It’s been a long and ongoing history of gaining acceptance for photography, and that feeds a crazy kind of internalized prejudice, in which I continuously defend myself to myself. This year I blessedly received a Pollock-Krasner Grant, but they have only just begun allowing artists to apply in the field of “fine art photography” and, unlike other artists, we must be invited to apply. So I guess, one of the things I don’t think we all talk about very much are “art prejudices” – all of them – and how they become internalized and worm their way into our psyches. I think most of us cut ourselves down with self-doubt that is internalized marginalization.

Jane Dykema, writer
A challenge many writers deal with silently is others’ and our own perceptions of productivity, the time it takes to make something, and the ways we actually need to spend that time. So much of the writing process is sitting and staring, or starting to read 500 books and only finishing five, or waiting for enough time to pass so we can re-see a piece from which we need distance. It’s hard to justify to others, and worse, ourselves, that we need to protect this time, this 30 minutes or three hours, even if it’s spent staring at the wall, or writing one sentence and deleting it, or editing a piece and realizing the next day it was better before. We have to believe there’s no wasted time, that all these steps are absolutely necessary for the end product to exist. When we don’t believe that, we’re overly encouraged by days where we generate a lot of content, making the days when that naturally doesn’t happen more discouraging. And we’re overly discouraged by days spent pacing or undoing work we’d done, making it harder to get motivated to work the next day. Ideally, a writer would feel as accomplished after a session of staring as of writing, and we need the help of our communities to value the process as much as the product.

Our Take
The Massachusetts Cultural Council is proud to support individual artists and consequently, we get to meet and work with a lot of different individual artists. One issue we see coming up frequently is residency and the way it impacts availability of artist opportunities. Artists often discuss how residency in a big city – usually New York City or L.A. – can sometimes be seen as a signifier for an artist, a subtle badge of access to opportunities. We see a lot of artists with teaching positions or other ties in Massachusetts who keep a foot (re: a studio, a performance schedule, etc) in NYC for this very reason. But there are other, less-often discussed aspects of residency that impact artists. In her fascinating essay for ArtSake, poet Liz Waldner shares how challenges in livings costs and adjunct faculty employment led to her moving from place to place in a nomadic existence. On the plus side, an artist can be more open to opportunities when it’s easy to pull up stakes and move. On the other hand, health concerns (as Waldner discusses) are even more challenging when residency options are unstable or unknown. And from a practical point of view, many artist opportunities (like ours) require state or local residency.

What do you think? What issues do you see artists facing that don’t get a lot of attention or discussion? Let us know in an email or leave a comment.

 

Jane Dykema received an MCC Fiction/Creative Nonfiction Fellowship in 2016. She will read at the New Art Center on Sept 30, 7 PM, in an event in conjunction with MCC Artist Fellows in Painting, Choreography, Drawing & Printmaking, and Traditional Arts.

Marian Roth received an MCC Photography Fellowship in 1997. Her solo show Marian Roth: The Mysterious World of Camera Obscura exhibits at the Griffin Museum of Photography thru Oct 2, 2016. On September 25, there will be an artist talk (3 PM) and reception (4 PM).

Image: Camera obscura photography by Marian Roth.

Christy Georg: Art from Surprising Places

Thursday, August 18th, 2016

Last month, we asked a group of artists Has a surprising or unusual locale ever proven a boon to your art-making?

Here, sculptor Christy Georg addresses the same topic, having recently returned home from a surprising locale herself: the Kohler industrial factory in Wisconsin.

Christy Georg at work during the Kohler Arts Industry Residency

The risks and strides I’ve taken within my art practice have taught me to completely believe in my ideas and in my ability to achieve difficult, interesting goals. Thoroughness conceptually, as well as with materials and process in the studio are a defining factor of what makes being an artist essential to me. Endurance and perseverance are evident in both the subject and the practice of my art career. Nineteen artist residencies have taken me to interesting and highly influential places over the years which allowed my ideas to grow in ways never conceivable in the limit of what a “home” might provide. And so for for 13 weeks this year I found myself beginning production on a new body of work in the pottery factory at Kohler Company in Wisconsin.

Christy Georg at work during the Kohler Arts Industry Residency

“Don’t be too disappointed if the project proves impossible,” I was told. There is no more delicious prize in the world than successfully achieving a nearly-impossible goal, and I enjoyed pushing myself mentally and physically to produce such a complicate, physically large, and multi-part project.

Christy Georg at work during the Kohler Arts Industry Residency

The Arts/Industry Program places two artists in studios alongside normal factory production in both the pottery and the foundry. Watching the three shifts of workers coming and going kept my appetite for production crazy high. The pottery casting facility is kept hot and humid for the clay, but the taxing environment just made me want to be tough enough to overcome it. I made sixteen multi-part plaster molds, which overflowed the studio and had to be well engineered to I could manipulate them alone with the help of a hoist. Slip-casting the vitreous china is also very physical and I felt like my movements became choreographed over my sweaty and very long work days; a machine in the factory engaged in nearly 24-hour production, and with an unusually high rate of success.

– Christy Georg, August 2016

Created in Arts/Industry, a long-term residency program of the John Michael Kohler Arts Center in Sheboygan, Wisconsin. Arts/Industry takes place at Kohler Co.

Created in Arts/Industry, a long-term residency program of the John Michael Kohler Arts Center in Sheboygan, Wisconsin. Arts/Industry takes place at Kohler Co.

GreatGuns01

GreatGuns05

Christy Georg is a sculptor whose numerous honors include a Lighton International Artists Exchange Program Grant and an MCC Finalist award in Sculpture/Installation/New Genres. She teaches sculpture at Santa Fe Community College and is also an Adventure Guide for both Santa Fe Mountain Adventures and Santa Fe Walkabouts.

Christy Georg

Images: all images from Christy Georg’s work-in-progress GREAT GUNS, a recreation of the armament of the main gundeck of the USS Constitution in slip-cast porcelain. Work created in Arts/Industry, a long-term residency program of the John Michael Kohler Arts Center in Sheboygan, Wisconsin. Arts/Industry takes place at Kohler Co.

Art from Surprising Places

Friday, July 8th, 2016

Maybe it’s the unremarkable visit to the grocery store that sparks an idea for a new project. Or the stultifying job that drives frantic art-making at night. Sometimes, unexpected places prove crucial to the artistic process, be it in the inspiration, the making of, or both.

As part of our periodic questions to artists about their work and lives, we asked: Has a surprising or unusual locale ever proven a boon to your art-making?

Cover art from THE POINT OF VANISHING (Beacon Press, 2015) by Howard Axelrod

Howard Axelrod, writer
Several readers have asked whether I wrote my memoir, The Point of Vanishing, which is about living in solitude in northern Vermont, while I was living in solitude in northern Vermont. I didn’t. I wrote it mostly in a house just outside of Boston, in my apartment on the third floor, in a room facing a busy street, the windows closed against the noise of deliveries at the local taqueria, and the blinds closed against the sun. Readers tend to find this image, rather than the romantic one of a writer at a rough-hewn desk overlooking the mountains, disappointing.

But the outpost that inspires writing isn’t necessarily conducive to it. To write, it helps me to be in a place that doesn’t call for my attention — to be above a street I can easily forget and then easily return to, to be in a place whose grandeur is less than that of the place I’m writing about. Of course, it helps to have traveled back from a place, like the northern Vermont woods, that I can’t help but remember.

Cecelia Raker, playwright
I am not a morning person. I have visions of my someday self awakening with the sunrise birds and blissfully churning out pages with a cup of steaming tea… yeah, nope, that’s not me. I will stay up until 3am and then sleep until 1pm if you let me. I try not to let me, because of weird stuff like human relationships and day jobs.

I am, however, an airplane person. I remember as a kid staring for hours out the tiny windows, making up stories about the towering clouds’ lives. I love the whoosh of takeoff, the stomach-scramble of turbulence, the patchwork of little lives laid out below.

Unfortunately, given that I’m also an artist on a tight budget, I most often end up on airplanes that leave very early in the morning – cranky, disheveled, exhausted. These seats are not a bed. The air smells recycled. Nothing is beautiful or inspiring. Put that window down, I’m trying to sleep.

So imagine my surprise when I discovered by accident that crack-of-dawn air travel seems to be the exact cocktail I need to write more prolifically than I ever do while grounded. Something about being suspended in a fragile metal wing-can miles above my planet makes me believe that anything I make while in that space won’t be too significant—and somehow that short-circuits my usual loop of procrastination and perfectionism, and I land with a journal full of decently usable and sometimes even funny scenes. I wish airlines had writers’ residencies.

Stephen Mishol, visual artist
My drawings are studio fictions but much of the catalyst for this grew out of my time living in Boston’s South End, on the edge of all the construction that was taking place there at the time. Even though my work doesn’t document a specific place and depends on collections of information from many places, the qualities of that landscape informed much of my work and still does to this day – the diffused light, the compression of forms, and the manner in which the city seemed to reinvent itself on a daily basis.

In that environment, it was easy to experience extreme change – from the open horizon of the sea, to the congestion of the city. In addition, over time, as the landscape became more fused with construction, it developed a very muscular ability to redirect and alter progress and perception as one traveled through it.

Eventually, I came to view the city more as an equation of division and accumulation, reflecting shifts in aesthetics, politics and necessity. To this day, my drawings are still influenced by that time and like that environment, I continue to see them as equations in the process of defining themselves.

Stephen Mishol, SOFT HORIZON (2015), Graphite on paper, 22x30in

 

Howard Axelrod is the author of the memoir The Point of Vanishing: A Memoir of Two Years in Solitude. His writing has appeared in the New York Times Magazine, Shambhala Sun, and the Boston Globe, among other publications, and he has taught at Grub Street in Boston.

Stephen Mishol is a visual artist who teaches at the University of Massachusetts-Lowell. He has received MCC fellowships in both Drawing & Printmaking and Painting and is represented by Miller Yezerski Gallery in Boston.

Cecelia Raker is a 2016 PlayLab Fellow with Company One Theatre in Boston. Her play “La Llorona,” which recently received an Honorable Mention on the 2016 Kilroys List, will have a reading at Company One on July 24. The play will go on to have a workshop at Fresh Ink Theatre in September, with a full production planned for May ’17.

What Role Does Research Play in Your Art?

Thursday, April 28th, 2016

Periodically, we pose a question to artists about an issue they face in their work and lives.

Historical, archival, and other research can be crucial to artists, but how and why can vary widely depending on the artist’s work. We asked artists in different disciplines, What role does research play in your process?


View a gallery of some of the research-influenced work of the responding artists

Claire Beckett, photographer
I tend to be interested in subjects that I know very little about, so I need to learn in order to make work. For example, with my current project, The Converts, about Americans converts to Islam, I initially knew very little about the subject. I needed to learn about Islam, about Muslims in America, and about the experience of conversion. I began by reading, where I always begin, because I love to read. I read novels, I re-read The Autobiography of Malcom X, I read a linguistic study, I read ethnography, I read the news. After I while I found that YouTube was full of conversion stories, so I watched those. Beyond the reading, I joined a class for women converting to Islam at a local mosque. When I began attending the class I was straightforward, introducing myself as an artist who wanted to learn about conversion. It must have been odd for the women in the class, but they accepted me. I went on to participate in the class for several years, and I still attend whenever I can. Through the generosity of this group, I learned so much.

Cam Terwilliger, writer
As a historical novelist, research plays an enormous role in my creative process. Right now I’m finishing a novel titled Yet Wilderness Grew in My Heart, which takes place in the colonies of New York and Quebec during the French and Indian War (1754–1763). As the plot develops, the book investigates how colonists conflicted and collaborated with Native people, giving rise to the North America we know today. I’m especially interested in dramatizing the lives of people that existed between cultures, such as Native people that lived in Europe, colonists that studied among Natives, and escaped slaves that took shelter in Indigenous communities.

In terms of process, I research the past first through books of history to get a broad picture of the events, and then I move into primary sources in search of concrete sensory details of the time and place – the details that make the past feel immediate and sensory. I scour through the letters of Jesuit missionaries, the travelogues of naturalists, the narratives of slaves, and newspaper advertisements, hunting for a handful of anecdotes and images that will bring the complex truth of this time into focus. As the novelist Ian McEwan remarks, “It’s worth knowing about ten times as much as you ever use, so you can move freely.”

I then I stitch these details into a single bolt of cloth. My goal is to have all these images and anecdotes fit seamlessly together, even though I’m pulling from very disparate places. The challenge is to imagine a scenario in which they coexist in a dramatically interesting way that does not feel overly contrived or convenient.

Steve Gentile, animator
In the case of my most recently finished animated film, A Pirate Named Ned, the research found me. I was just trying to escape the idea of “reading for a purpose” because I had just finished a film about Emily Dickinson, and that involved extensive research. So I started reading about pirates just for fun. That turned into a short, animated film by accident, and I swear, the research made me do it.

Typically with film & animation, I need to become a semi-expert on the topic at hand, which means a lot of reading. Scholarly researchers who write biographies usually have more constraints with format and also the audience they intend to reach. With film, and especially animation, there’s an opportunity to take more risks, so I try to run to the margins of information. I’ve probably chased down more interesting information from footnotes and appendices than in the actual body of the texts.

Time-based media is not really the most efficient way to convey a mountain of facts and information. Writing is better suited for that. It’s hard to convey every detail of every story without putting the viewer to sleep, so a lot of the stories that I think are really neat sometimes don’t make it into a film. This is o.k. – those ideas can work their way into how a character is drawn, or how they move – how they’re animated. That’s an advantage animation has over writing.

Emily Lombardo, visual artist
When I decide to take on a project that is in direct relationship to another work of art or historical moment, I dive into research like a newly awakened conspiracy theorist. I feverishly comb the Internet for articles, links, books, interviews and documentaries. With The Caprichos, I had 80 plates to decode which Goya had made purposefully ambiguous to fly under the radar of the Spanish Monarchy. However in order for me to be able to recode and create a new independent body of work, it is important for me to step outside of the research to be able to make room for fantasy and a new narrative. The research serves as a solid point of departure where parallels and differences are revealed in my relationship with the reference. For me the research is the love affair, and the work comes after the break up. One can see the final effects of my research in the crafting of the works. This means that if I choose to appropriate a work of art that is etching I will take painstaking measures to accomplish the work in the traditional method of the artist I am referencing. By paying homage to the craftsmanship of the previous work, the audience is free to discuss why the work was made rather than how.

Azadeh Tajpour, visual artist
Research has been an essential and often the most time consuming part of my art making process. My installations of paintings, drawings, prints, and video have all been based on images or footages found within an area of curiosity, followed by further research of the subject, imagery, and the ways of representation.

Currently, I am studying a huge photo album from the 19th c., which I have been amazed not only by the photographs and their variety of genres, but also by their arrangements, and the ethnographic style of documentation. I read the textual narrative and look at their relationship with the photographs. Even though I have some vague ideas, mostly visual, the final outcome is uncertain, which can be frightening so keeping faith in the process is crucial. The next step would be to go back and look at my notes and selected images, with either a clearer sense of the direction, or just a narrower focus; this step might be repeated again and again. Research, brainstorming, drawing charts, and possible conversations will help me to progress. After all, maybe we are all doing what Michelangelo had mentioned, discovering the statue inside of the stone block by carving and carving.

 

Related reading: What do we owe to history in our art?

Claire Beckett is a photographer whose solo exhibition The Converts is on view at Carroll & Sons Gallery through May 28 (opening reception May 6, 2016, 5:30-7:30 pm. She also has work in the The Outwin: American Portraiture Today exhibition at the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery, through 2016.

Steve Gentile is an animator, documentary filmmaker, and Professor of Animation at Massachusetts College of Art & Design. His current project, “Chateau au Go Go,” is an animated film that uses the images from wine corks to make a kinetic statement about the human history of control over nature. The research involved the opening of a lot of wine bottles.

Emily Lombardo is a visual artist who applies her vast knowledge of sculpture and print across a wide range of conceptual projects.

Azadeh Tajpour is a visual artist working in various media. She recently exhibited art based on found footage and archival photos at the Hollister Gallery of Babson College, and earlier this year, she was in a group show at the Walter Feldman Gallery and had a residency at PLAYA in Summerlake, Oregon.

Cam Terwilliger is the 2015/2016 winner of the Historical Novel Society’s New Novel Award and is currently the Tickner Writing Fellow at Gilman School in Baltimore. From May 2 to May 6, he is teaching a one-week intensive online course on Flash Fiction through the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown.

How Do You Approach the Business of Art?

Friday, April 1st, 2016

Periodically, we pose a question to artists about an issue they face in their work and lives.

It can be challenging to balance artistic creation with the business, financial, or other career aspects of artists’ work. Artists are encouraged to see their art career as a “business” – but how does that translate into practice? We asked artists in different disciplines, What is your approach to the business of art, and how has it changed over time?

Part two of a two-part discussion.

Jake Fried, animator
Ultimately, my experimental animations must transcend financial concerns, otherwise they become something else for someone else. Luckily, making deeply personal work that I believe in has increasingly led to new and rewarding paid opportunities.

My main source of income is teaching, mostly at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston and the Massachusetts College of Art and Design. This past year I have created commissioned work for Adult Swim and the Marionette Record label, among others. I have screened my films at many international festivals, gallery shows and artist talks that provide awards and fees. And finally I’ve been awarded grants and fellowships, including one recently in Film & Video from the MCC.

As much as possible I want my artistic and financial success to stem directly from being true to my vision – it’s a hustle and I’m always chasing new opportunities to make this happen, but it’s worth it to make the work I believe in.

Jenine Shereos, LEAF (2013), human hair, 5x3 in, photo by Robert Diamante

Jenine Shereos, sculptor/installation artist
A few years ago, some of my work was featured on a popular art and design blog. I received a lot of exposure from this, and it had a ripple effect over the years as people continued to share the images on social media and other online venues. Many positive opportunities arose from this publicity, but it was definitely a learning experience as well. I had people contact me with bizarre commission requests, dealt with copyright issues, and even had an offer from Ripley’s Believe it or Not! This experience taught me the importance of being my own agent. To say no to things that don’t fit with my vision and to seek out the opportunities that I feel will enhance my career as an artist. I spend a lot of time researching residencies, grants, and other opportunities online. Recently, artist residencies have played a significant role in my artistic journey and have afforded me time away to focus on my art.

Similar to my artistic practice, I see the business aspect of my work as an organic process that continues to grow and evolve over time. I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to support myself fully from my art, but the obstacles keep me thinking creatively. Sometimes I feel frustrated by a sense of disconnection in my life, although I know I am not alone and many artists face the same struggle. On the one hand, my work has been shown internationally in museums and included in major publications. At the same time, I am nearing forty and waiting tables while piecing together odd jobs. Recently, I was sharing my frustrations with a friend and he asked if there was anyone I know personally who is making their living exclusively as an artist who I could look to as a model. After thinking through the many artists I have met over the years, I couldn’t think of a single one. I am slowly realizing that maybe this isn’t necessarily the end goal. I try to focus on the fact that I love making art and know I will always find a way to continue to do so against any odds.

Publicity photo from THE LAUNCH PRIZE, written by MJ Halberstadt, produced March 2016 at the Calderwood Pavilion of the Boston Center for the Arts, directed by Tiffany Nichole Greene, featuring Katharine Chen Lerner, Bari Robinson, John Tracey, and Angela K Thomas

MJ Halberstadt, playwright
People joke that Masters Programs in playwriting are “red headed stepchildren” that can’t be boxed neatly into more easily articulable Theatre or Creative Writing programs. Similarly, reconciling playwriting within the framework of a business model presents questions and problems. On one hand, I’m an artist-for-hire because different companies present my work. When they do, I am not the play’s “producer.” On the other hand, I am a free-lancer because I am the sole proprietor of my own playwriting “business.” The minimum viable product of what I can produce is a script, not a play, which is not sellable by itself – except, arguably, in the case of having the script published. It becomes necessary to tease apart distinctions, especially between my script and a company’s production of it. Combined, they make the product (a “play”) but assigning value to my part in it is tricky, especially when all of the theatre world is starving for monetary resources and many of the producers of my work are personal friends. I’m not a playwright for gain; in fact, only about a dozen American playwrights sustain themselves entirely off royalties. That’s why I have a totally unrelated day job at present; this is getting more and more difficult to reconcile since my playwriting “career” demands more of me each year.

[MJ takes a sip from a glass of whiskey.]

If my “brand” has “worth,” it’s not quantifiable. If anything, I’m building up artistic capital through making myself known and archiving reviews and, yes, “networking.” The hope is that it’ll pay off if and when I sell a TV pilot or get a job teaching playwriting.

[MJ takes another – longer – sip.]

 

Related reading: Who Is Your Audience? and How Do You Define Success as an Artist?

Jake Fried (inkwood.net) is an experimental animator whose work has shown on Carton Network’s Adult Swim, at the Tate Modern, in the Sundance Film Festival, and many other festivals and venues. He recently screened work in the Boston Underground Film Festival and has upcoming screenings at the Ashland Independent Film Festival, the Annecy International Animation Film Festival, and the Melbourne International Animation Festival.

MJ Halberstadt’s (mj-halberstadt.squarespace.com) new play is That Time the House Burned Down, produced by Fresh Ink Theatre at Boston Playwrights Theatre April 8-23. His play The Launch Prize was produced by Bridge Rep in Boston in March ’16 (read a great review in the Boston Globe). In February, he was profiled by Emerson College, and he wrote about race and privilege in theatre for HowlRound. In 2014, he was one of the artists selected to participate in Assets for Artists, a program supporting artists through financial and business training opportunities and matched savings.

Jenine Shereos (jenineshereos.com) is a sculptor and installation artist specializing in fiber and textile processes. Her work has been exhibited nationally and internationally, including in France, Italy, Switzerland, Poland, Portugal, Hungary, Austria, and Canada, and has been published in the Los Angeles Times, The Boston Globe, The Huffington Post, Make Magazine, and and the compendium Textiles: The Art of Mankind. Her work is currently on view at Centraal Museum in Utrecht, Netherlands, and in 2017, she will have a solo show at the Hampden Gallery at UMass Amherst.

Images and Media: BRAIN LAPSE by Jake Fried; Jenine Shereos, LEAF (2013), human hair, 5×3 in, photo by Robert Diamante; publicity photo from THE LAUNCH PRIZE, written by MJ Halberstadt, produced March 2016 at the Calderwood Pavilion of the Boston Center for the Arts, directed by Tiffany Nichole Greene, featuring Katharine Chen Lerner, Bari Robinson, John Tracey, and Angela K Thomas.

How Do You Approach the Business of Art?

Wednesday, March 30th, 2016

Periodically, we pose a question to artists about an issue they face in their work and lives.

It can be challenging to balance artistic creation with the financial, marketing, or other career aspects of artists’ work. Artists are encouraged to see their art career as a “business” – but how does that translate into practice? We asked artists in different disciplines, What is your approach to the business of art, and how has it changed over time?

Part one of a two-part discussion.

Wall mural by Caleb Neelon in Somerville, MA (basketball court is by Maria Molteni)

Caleb Neelon, international public artist
Last year while on a mural project in Sarajevo I passed a funny milestone: first time out at some bar (legally) downing beers with people half my age. I was 38 then and the guys were 19. They were eager young graffiti writers and they were taking the chance to grill me with nerdy graffiti history questions and ask about their favorite international graffiti writers that I had met or painted with over the years. They wanted to do their own individual version of what I had done, which was to make a career out of the doors-of-possibility-blowing-open passion of my youth. And one thing that I realized, and said to them, was that while I had been in some way a professional artist since I was their age, and those 20 years feel like forever, I’m consumed with how I positively navigate the next 40, or however long fate has in store for me. In many ways, the goals for me have shifted from a list of specifics (show here, sell for this much, publish this, paint a mural there, etc) to the end goal of doing good work up to the time I’m done here on Earth.

Crystal King, novelist, writer, and marketing/communications professional
Over the last few years, I’ve taught many classes to artists and authors on how to use social media. Many of them are there to learn only because someone, usually an agent, has told them that they need to be on Facebook or Twitter. Often, they are not happy about it. Some people do their best to engage with and build their audience. Others start social accounts but let them languish a month or so after their show or their book comes out, then bemoan the fact that no one is interested in their work.

To me, the business of art is just as important as the art itself. This is a world in which anyone has the chance to be successful. But unless you’ve managed to get lucky, you have to pay or play for your art to be noticed. If you can’t pay for publicity, then you need to learn and work for it. I’m always baffled when people are unwilling to promote themselves. If you believe in the work that you do, why on earth wouldn’t you do EVERYTHING you can to help others see your vision? This is more important than ever for me, as I prepare for my own book to come out in 2017.

Mariko Kusumoto, metalworker and textile artist
My artistic choices have changed over time, and the business side has followed the creative. Metal constructions had been my main focus since 1995, but in 2013 – after completing a very involved and technically challenging metal piece – I felt the need to move away from using purely representational imagery and do something more abstract, organic, and in a different material; the result has been fabric work. Fabric is completely opposite metal, and I like the softness, gentle texture, and atmospheric quality of the fabric I use.

In a formal manner, the financial aspects of my work are completely managed by my gallery although we work in unison to establish pricing. My metal pieces are quite expensive. But in developing smaller-scale fabric pieces, I felt that a wider audience/collector would find them more accessible, both aesthetically and financially. The public exposure for this new work (e.g., print, websites) has expanded audience interest as well.

What else has changed over the course of my career are opportunities and invitations that require an increasing amount of time to attend to thus removing me from the necessary concentration needed to make my work. I am flattered and grateful for the interest, but I have to politely refuse certain requests.

Metalwork by Mariko Kusumoto: RYOUNKAKU (2007), board game, metalworks, 27x9x1-1/2 in, photo by Dean Powell
Top: metalwork by Mariko Kusumoto from 2007; bottom: Mariko’s recent textile work
Recent textile work by Mariko Kusumoto, photo courtesy of the artist and Mobilia Gallery

 

Related reading: Getting More Out of Getting Online by Jessica Burko, and What Decision Most Impacted Your Career?

Crystal King (crystalking.com) is a 20-year marketing and communications veteran who has directed global social media programs for companies such as Pegasystems (were she currently works), Keurig, CA Technologies, and Sybase. Crystal is also a writer and Pushcart-nominated poet. Her first novel, Feast of Sorrow, will be published by Touchstone Books in 2017. She has taught classes in writing, creativity, and social media at Harvard Extension School, Boston University, Mass College of Art, and UMass Boston. At Grub Street Writers’ The Muse and the Marketplace Conference (April 29-May 1), she will present workshops on electronic tools to streamline writing and self-promotion using social media.

Mariko Kusumoto (marikokusumoto.com) is a metalworker and printmaker who is now working in fiber. Her intricate metal box sculptures have exhibited at Fuller Craft Museum, Morikami Museum, Racine Art Museum, and Society for Contemporary Craft, and her fiber creations have been featured in American Craft and Fiber Art Now magazines. She is represented by Mobilia Gallery in Cambridge, which has a Spotlight Exhibition of her work thru April 16, 2016.

Caleb Neelon‘s (calebneelon.com) wall murals and other works have exhibited in dozens of countries and in many galleries, museums, hospitals, and educational settings. Along with his artist monograph Caleb Neelon’s Book of Awesome, he is the co-author of The History of American Graffiti, Street World, and Graffiti Brasil, among other publications. His most recent projects, the documentary film Wall Writers: Graffiti in Its Innocence and an accompanying art book from Ginko Press, are forthcoming.

Images: wall mural by Caleb Neelon in Somerville, MA (basketball court is by Maria Molteni); Mariko Kusumoto, RYOUNKAKU (2007), board game, metalworks, 27x9x1-1/2 in, photo by Dean Powell; recent textile work by Mariko Kusumoto, photo courtesy of the artist and Mobilia Gallery.

Why Work Collectively?

Thursday, November 5th, 2015

Periodically, we pose a question to artists about an issue they face in their work and lives.

Artists are often encouraged to collaborate, but there’s a tension inherent in this advice. How to find the shared good for the individual’s vision and the group’s? We asked artists in different disciplines, Why work collectively?

AgX is a new collective supporting artists in photochemical film

Brittany Gravely, filmmaker, member of the new AgX film collective
No matter how independently you operate, film usually depends upon a chain of wizards, even if they aren’t always collaborating right next to you (lab techs, projectionists, audiences). Filmmaking can also involve a lot of tedium or waiting; add the company of others, and you can transform these voids completely! But basically, it’s just hard to do everything yourself. In the case of our burgeoning film collective, AgX, we are harnessing all these creative energies scattered around the area (and beyond). We can experiment and play and all our varied technical and conceptual powers can feed off of each other. Plus it’s really amazing to build something together with people who are passionate about the crazy thing you are attempting to build.

Nowadays, when photochemical filmmaking approaches its supposed “twilight” — which incidentally in filmmaking is considered the “magic hour” — teaming up with fellow artists is vital. As the costs rise for a medium which has rapidly moved from consumer to niche, collective people power poses some kind of market force and, at any rate, enables bulk purchasing of film and chemistry. With a craft considered eccentric or obsolete, it is so reassuring to know that there are other eccentrics out there engaging in these strange practices.

Jess Foster, playwright, member of Boston Public Works
Boston Public Works has given me a chance to stage my play Hard and Fast: a love story, a story with content that kept it from being produced. As playwrights in BPW, we were asked to pick our most challenging work that didn’t fit into theaters’ everyday Season Planning conversations. I Hard and Fast: a love story by Jess Fostersaw it as a call to present work that was daring, experimental and immediate. Plays are often a response to something happening in the world and it can take years of workshop processes before they’re presented to audiences, making them less of a call to action and more of a museum piece. Boston Public Works is a way we playwrights can get our work, and the works of the other playwrights in the group, from the page to the stage with fewer steps, taking control of our own process and compiling our own team of collaborators. My hope is that bringing seven fresh plays to Boston that the city wouldn’t have otherwise seen will inspire other playwrights to try out the self-producing model in order to keep pushing artistic boundaries.

January Gill O’Neil, poet, Executive Director of the Mass Poetry Festival
I’ve always thought poets and entrepreneurs share a common bond: we are self starters, work long hours, usually work alone, and have a singular vision that we will see through to the end. The difference? Our capital is creative. Our success comes in the creation of the poem, with no guarantee of reaching a wide audience. So any opportunity to come together and share our work benefits the art as a whole.

While we write in our own separate spaces, we become better writers when we collaborate. Mass Poetry is a grand experiment in collaboration as we promote and celebrate poets in all stages of their careers. We share stories, we experiment, we commiserate, and, most important, we connect with our tribe. The poets I turn to in my own writing life challenge me to go deeper and never settle. They are passionate, open-minded, and know how to harness a constant flow of ideas. What’s more entrepreneurial than that?

Poet signatures from the 2015 Massachusetts Poetry Festival

 

Jess Foster is a playwright, librettist, dramaturg, and teacher with work being presented across the country in New York, Providence, Boston, Washington DC, Albuquerque and Iowa, where she earned her MFA from the Iowa Playwrights’ Workshop. Jess is an affiliated artist of Sleeping Weasel and a member of the playwrights’ collaborative Boston Public Works. Her play Hard and Fast: a love story will be produced at The Stanford Calderwood Pavilion at the Boston Center for the Arts November 20-December 5, 2015.

Brittany Gravely works in film, sound, video, installation, and many media of the second dimension. Her work has screened at the New York Film Festival, Images Festival, MFA Boston, ICABoston’s T.I.E. Cinema Exposition, the Black Maria Festival, and many others. She is Publicist at the Harvard Film Archive in Cambridge and a member of the new film collective AgX.
AgX has a special multi-format film screening and party on November 7 (during Waltham Mills Open Studios), 6:30-9 PM, to launch a crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo to raise $10,000 for its lab, equipment, and work.

January Gill O’Neil is the author of Misery Islands, which was selected for the 2015 Mass Book Award in poetry, and Underlife, both published by CavanKerry Press. She is the executive director of the Massachusetts Poetry Festival and an assistant professor of English at Salem State University. Recently, she was elected to the Association of Writers and Writing Programs‘ (AWP) board of trustees. On December 7, 7 PM, Huntington Theatre will host Mass Poetry’s An Evening of Inspired Leaders. This benefit program will feature Massachusetts community and business leaders reading a poem that has inspired them in their personal and professional lives.


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