My 4 P's: Process

One of the most awesome….yeah, I said it MOST AWESOME…things that a person can do is find a process that works for them. Having a plan is the first step towards an idea, authenticity, and a mission, I refer to it as the vision. Without a vision; defined as the ability to think about or plan the future with imagination or wisdom, one is unable to move into the process of achieving the vision. Process is formally defined as a systematic series of actions directed to some end, continuous action. Wisdom is defined as the soundness of an action or decision with regard to the application of experience, knowledge, and good judgment. If the vision is the plan, the abstract idea that will propel something great into the universe, than wisdom is the process that works that vision into reality. 

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So here’s a little story to help describe what I’m talking about. I had a project that required a vision for a sculptural wall installation. I had 2 locations in the building and I could do whatever my heart desired based on the mission of the company. The vision was to translate the brand mission into a large scale art installation, "live, work, play". Well how the fuck do you process that? I took the brand philosophy and started making rounds of sketches. From the sketches I kept the process going by finding inspiration, material palette, color story, and texture details that I felt would be powerful and exciting in the space. I found wisdom; experience, knowledge, and good judgement. 

Once my final sketches were completed, I deconstructed the idea. I use this method everytime, because it's what works for me. These actions always lead me to a product. I outline everything I’m going to need, this includes how much the materials are going to cost, and how long it will take for me to construct each piece. Prototyping. More action. Taking a vision and making it a reality is one of the most difficult things anyone can do. No matter what your vision is…a business, a building, a painting, a sculpture, a piece of music, it takes a plan; an abstract idea, and a process; actions, in order to produce a product. The tangible thing for others to experience. Process takes wisdom to know what you need and how you are going to do it. The three fundamental ideas defined in wisdom; experience, knowledge, and good judgment are about learning. If you don’t have these, find them, and find them fast. The process is all about obtaining these three things, and it requires asking for help, finding a team, and a lot of research. 

The method to my personal madness is having a vision or a plan, finding wisdom or a process in order to make dreams reality. The process is all about putting pieces of a puzzle in an order that works for you. You may not know it, so I'll just tell you, this is a creative rescue mission.

To schedule a Creative Rescue Mission meeting click Make Magic

My 4 P's: Plan

Planning isn’t always linear. Putting together a business plan is scattered with information that you put in some form of order that works for you both visually and organizationally. Most people think that this is a singular way to think. For me I use these tools in order to produce art. Art is such a broad term used by many. It also comes with some negativity when dealing with business. I work the two together. Business and art are not mutually exclusive. There are abstract ideas involved in both. There is research. There are materials. There is a pathway.

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When I start a project, business or art, I always start the same way, with the abstract ideas. The basics help define how to put the plan together. Being playful and having fun is the best way for me to start. If I take myself too seriously nothing good comes out. But when I find inspiration in unlikely places, the hidden corners, the quick, and the impulsive. I’m able to expand on this and integrate it into the plan. 

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Getting messy is my favorite and most successful way to defining what goes together and what doesn’t.  It means I've got tons of shit in front of me. It also means that I get to design a way to get into the process or strategy that will help achieve the end goal. But remember ideas are worthless until you implement them into a process and execute. Check in next week for my post about designing a process that works!

Strike: Like a Match

Every once in a while there are striking moments of inspiration. Has this happened to you? Why does it happen when you least expect it? Has it happened during a moment in time that seemed to be inconvenient? That is exactly what I was feeling at 6:53 pm on Saturday evening. For whatever reason it hit me like a bolt of lightning. Spark, a fire was lit in my mind. It wasn’t lit by looking at all the pretty things on instagram. It happened as a direct result of the previous 18 hours. First was attending Raw Pop Up, the second was walking around the Miami Design District with my favorite person, and third was taking the day to recharge. 

    Before I dive into the concept of inspiration I have to express the experiences that have lead to the bolt. The first four months of 2018 I gladly gave away certain parts of myself, my time, and my love of who I am. I had a solo exhibition, discovered way points, grieved my friend I always believed would be present at my wedding, lost a part-time job, got involved in a “start-up” company. I had the honor of being a maid of honor, collaboratively threw a Miami Music Week party, shut down, cleaned up, moved things, organized furniture. I forgot what I was doing, constructed a financial business plan for a company I didn’t want, I remembered who I am, remembered what to do, I met people, I watched every episode of How to Get Away With Murder on Netflix. I reconstructed the Alchemist business plan. I offered a co-founder partnership and was denied. I brunched with a design idol I lurk on instagram. I pivoted. I learned. I celebrated. I got inspired.

    Now let’s talk about how inspiration happens and what to do when it lights the fire in the mind. When it strikes like a match and there is only a moment before it burns out or burns your fingertips. First was the excitement to experience the multi sensory art exhibition by former Young Artists Initiative now Raw Pop Up. I had missed the first installment during Art Week in December. Jared got us tickets as part of my birthday weekend events. I am so glad we went to dinner before standing in the line to enter the Moore Building. After 20 or more minutes we made our way to the front door and passed through the white and tulle fabric suspended from the ceiling. The music was obnoxiously loud. The building was full of trendy 20 and 30 somethings all with their phones out. As I made my way to the first installation I wasn’t sure if I was looking at art as several girls held flash lights hanging from the ceiling and posed for photos. It was difficult to get around the crowd and make our way to the stairs to get to the next floor. Up against the handrail there were bar tables that obstructed the traffic flow on each floor. It was a great experience even if I felt pushed out the door. I was able to see something that truly inspired me. I saw several art installations showcasing a low standard of craft and concept. This just pushed my spirits higher, this reminded me that I’m doing exactly what I am supposed to, and to keep doing it. 

    We left Raw Pop Up and wondered the Design District streets browsing the real life instagram moments of luxury brands. The glowing facades. The trimmed trees. Being sandwiched between a furniture showroom and luxury fashion storefront. That is my everything. It excites me. Inspires me. The clean lines, and perfectly placed merchandise. The felt, the silk, the metal, the wood. I was like a little kid in an ice cream shop and I want a scoop of every flavor. I love this neighborhood at night. It has all the Miami vibes without the overwhelming tourists. The shops were closed which made the surroundings palatable, quiet, and special. I was able to lovingly peek into the storefront windows. To experience these moments uninterrupted. 

    Yesterday I had the pleasure of sleeping in. I stayed in my pajamas for most of the day. I fell asleep in my makeup the night before which I wiped from my face around 11am. I sat at my third desk, the couch. I updated spreadsheets, doodled, and cuddled with my poodle. I was in recharge mode. I was taking some time to breathe. Making assessments, timelines, goal setting, and watching Scandal. Nothing about this was pretty. The real moments aren’t. The typical day to day for the average person isn’t an instagram moment that you post to your story to look cool, and inspire the followers. Something I’ve been thinking about a lot lately. It’s a topic that comes up in my mind from time to time. About curating, and executing, and showing off, and shameless self-promotion. I don’t have a problem with it. I don’t think that there is anything wrong with it, as long as you are willing to show both sides of the coin. The head and the tail. This is what inspires me. As a result of the spark I have moved furniture around, wrote, and purged things that I don’t need. Tonight it was about writing. Creative expression at the core. It has been releasing all the things whirling wildly in my brain. 

    I woke up this morning, a year older, with a need to complete commitments to myself. A year ago I made a deal with myself, that I would succeed, no matter the sacrifice. I would take the opportunities laid at my feet and pick them up. I would honor my voice. It’s time to make moves. It’s time to care less, and do more. It’s time to release.

2017: In Review

As I sit here and reflect on the year that has passed, I am so happy. Happy about the decisions I’ve made, the things I’ve learned. Happy about the way my life is going. 2017 began with a dream, a thought, and a conversation. I had been sad for several years that I “couldn’t control” certain things. That I wasn’t getting things I had been working towards. You work hard and do what is excepted of you, do more than you are asked, and good things happen, right? There was nothing “wrong” with my life. I had a great full time job that I was financially self-supporting. I have amazing friends, family, and partner. I have a cute, cuddly, happy dog. But in 2017 I turned 30 and everything I had done up to this point did not make me “happy”.  What was I supposed to do with that? January 27th 2017 was the game changer. In 2017, unexpected people re-entered my life to show me that I should really believe in myself. There were a few people at my job that believed in me, but it wasn’t my supervisor, or their manager. It was the people who watched me from down the hall, the people who stopped by to chat on their breaks, and the people who knew that I loved what I did for that company. They could see past the corporate frustrations and into my heart. 

By February, Valentine’s Day, to be exact my partner and I went to dinner. The conversation was unexpected. We discussed opportunities available to us outside the city we were currently living in. We weighed our options and put together a plan. If I didn’t get a transfer or promotion by April we would leave and start over. Scary, I know, but necessary. March came and I completed my largest project to date. It was magic. The process, the 14 hour work days, the final product exactly as I imagined. Still no growth with the company. Then it happened, exactly what was supposed to happen. My partner came home one afternoon, and asked me if I’d like to move to Miami. I delightfully exclaimed “YES! When?”, he responded “Soon.” I promptly crunched numbers, and wrote my 8 week notice. We would move no later than July 1st. We worked really hard through April and May and I left my corporate job on May 26, 2017. 13 days after my 30th birthday to begin a new life. Over the next 5 weeks we signed a lease on our new Miami home, began packing, and I made personal art. For 13 years my father had asked for a piece of art. I had always told him I would make him something, and I didn’t. Until this moment, that’s what I did during my 5 weeks. I made the piece “My Father’s Shirts”. We moved and everything was an adjustment. We moved without jobs, living off our savings, and credit cards, but we knew we had to do it. It was the right things in the scheme of this life. 

In August I submitted work to the Bombay Sapphire Artisan Series without expectation. I had been exploring a few new things. I went and installed “My Father’s Shirts” in his dining room and the following day I received an email that it has been chosen as a regional semi-finalist for the artisan series! 1 of 15 selected out of 800 applicants to show in October. I spent the following month producing a second in the series “My Mother’s Jewelry” for the exhibition. I didn’t want to take my father’s piece from him. This was one of the best things I could have done. I noticed that I had a concept and a product that was positively responded to. September was a big month. It also marked 3 months living in Miami. More great things had happened for us during those 3 months than the pervious 3 years. My partner and I both got part-time jobs in September. It cost money to make art and live. We agreed that it was the right thing to do until I started selling installations consistently. Enter, hurricane Irma. Enter, Box Cold Brew my part-time job surrounded by coffee. Enter, Kevin from Shulman+Associates. Enter, me making personal art. Enter, being asked to be the maid of honor for one of my closet friends. Enter, a full and happy life.  

October started with the group show at N’Namdi Contemporary Gallery, my first exhibition in 5 years. Showcasing new, honest, work that I am proud of. I met other artists, and a wonderful woman who spoke my language. We went to lunch and discussed art and what could come next for me in my personal art practice. I wasn’t sure at the time if I was going to continue the series of abstractly narrating peoples objects. I had prepped the month to work on singular large shapes titled “Twelve”. Then I got my Miami Art Week installation during Art Basel and my focus shifted. From the end of October to the beginning of December I created 8 pieces of art. I learned a lot in this process. I wasn’t sure if I was going to have mental breakdown or a spiritual experience. I’m still not sure which happened, but it was amazing. If you’ve been keeping up with me than you know I’ve confirmed a solo show in February 2018 at the Englewood Art Center. This will mark one year since the first conversation that changed everything. Over the last month I made the decision to continue my series of wall constructions abstractly narrating peoples intimate objects. I kept going back to the lunch conversation with Shawna. I have titled the exhibition “Identifying Characters”. Within this body of work I will show 9 pieces. “My Father’s Shirts” represented by 35 triangles. “My Mother’s Jewelry” made of 24 parallelograms. “My Brother’s Books” with 30 trapezoids. “My Dog’s Toys” 21 diamonds. “My Partner’s Music” 23 hexagons. “My Postcards” a mass of suspended and distorted diamond-like shapes in the center of the gallery. Reoccurring themes this year as been form, function, 30 degree angles, obsessive pattern making, and intimacy. I have always dealt with intimate objects, abstract narratives and mass that describe an experience. A few months ago a dear friend from art school suggested that I make kaleidoscopes. With the size of the gallery, and my push to continue to create environments I noticed that something was missing from the floor plan of the show. I needed freestanding pieces. My friend DMC passed away in November. I reflected on my relationship with him, I had known him all my adult life. He had taught me valuable life lessons and supported me in someway. It forced me to look at two other friendships I had with amazing men with interesting nicknames, who had also passed away. With the kaleidoscopes I will honor these 3 men. “Lunchbox: 1983-2008 (Christian Andersen)”, “Snacks: 1987-2016 (Chad Michael Lee Hudson)”, and “DMC: 1982-2017 (Daniel Brice McClair)”. These are all influential relationships that have shaped who I am today.  The living on the walls, mine suspended in the center of the gallery, and the spirit world honored with freestanding sculptures that will create an installation of objects or moments. 

This past month, December, has been an adjustment. Directly following Art Week I needed a mental break to recharge, reflect, and regroup in order to finish things I started. So that I could move forward with the next most important things for me. I have been strategizing, analyzing, and assessing all the things I’ve learned about myself over the last 6 months. What is working? What isn’t working? Through a careful review of things in black and white, I clearly see somethings that are working and I clearly see things that need to change. The first 3 months of 2018 are outlined to bring me closer to my personal idea of success, to be there for my friends and family, and to honor who I am as a person and as an Artist. Cheers to the year that past, Cheers to a New Year ahead. 

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Meta Apparition: Miami Art Week 2017

I was really excited and nervous on September 27th. I almost didn’t go to the opening at Primary Projects in the Design District because I was by myself. But there was a plan in place, an intention. I would go and introduce myself to Typoe, artist and owner, whom I had been Facebook messaging with the month before. I had to show up even if it was just for myself. Primary Projects is such a beautiful space and the show “Impressions of a Landscape” by Magnus Sodamin was a site to see. While I was there I wandered around awkwardly, staring at the paintings on the walls. I turned the corner and saw Carlos Betancourt's “Times of Illuminations: For the Sake of Beauty” and I lit up. The funny part was that the assemblage wasn’t even plugged in. That was my moment where I felt as though the gallery was empty. It was just me and the monumental rectangle covered with Christmas stars. Massed in the center, sprinkling out to the edges, I felt like a little girl on Christmas morning and I knew I could survive the rest of the evening. I made my way outside and saw a tall bearded man adorned with tattoos, in an unrefined way I introduced myself with “Hi! I’m here by myself, my name’s Ariana, who are you?” He kindly exchanged salutations and talked with me for a bit, introducing me to the people he knew outside. 

Carlos Betancourt "Times of Illumination: For the Sake of Beauty"

Carlos Betancourt "Times of Illumination: For the Sake of Beauty"

Through the window I saw Typoe walking and for the first time all night he was not surrounded by 5 people. This was my moment, I walked back into the gallery, and up to him. He greeted me as if we had been friends for years, so kind and welcoming. We engaged in light conversation and then a gentlemen wearing a button up and slacks came up to say hello. Our exchange set in motion an opportunity I didn’t know was possible when I moved here 5 months ago. This is the moment that positively changed the course of what I would be doing for Miami Art Week. I met Kevin, Projects Director for Shulman+Associates. Our brief conversation, standing in the packed gallery, resulted in an email 2 days later. Subject line “Outdoor Installation”. I was planning on emailing him the following Tuesday. I’ve learned that building relationships with people is like dating. Be aggressive, but don’t look desperate, engage in like-minded conversation, but speak your truth. This has been part of my business model. I was surprised and intrigued by the message including one creative direction “furniture/shelter like”, and I knew we were a good fit. 

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After our first in person meeting, and 1 page project overview submission, I got the call. This was now our project. I began my planning, and result was a 14 page powerpoint presentation of the interactive indoor/outdoor sculptural art installation. The colors are bold and vibrant. The shapes are graphic. The surface treatments organic. All 10 ambitious sculptures were well received by the Shulman Team. Pre-production began at the end of October. My timeline was 5 weeks with 1 week of details. I began dying watercolor paper, material testing, designing each piece thoughtfully, knowing that it will represent myself as well as Shulman + Associates during the most important time of year for artists and designers here in Miami. 3 trapezoidal cabanas outside with 5 plinths, a coffee table, and a suspended ‘chandelier’ inside the reception area. I was told “furniture/ shelter like” and this is where my creative brain went.

Two weeks into production, I assessed my timeline, and realized in order to get everything done before December 4th, I was going to need to bring in some help. The suspended ‘chandelier’ is composed of 2000 discs made from aluminum mesh screening, watercolor paper, and metal foil. The circle punch I got worked great for the paper and metal foil but when I tried the mesh I broke 3 punchers. I knew that these were going to have to be cut by hand. One Facebook event, 32 ounces of Cold Brew coffee from Box, 3 hours and 40 minutes  and 4 friends later all 1150 mesh circles were completed. I continued to assess, adjust, and stay on schedule. Week 3 came and so did the rain. I needed to work outside to dye the curtains I tailored for the cabanas. 20 feet of canvas for each cabana. I found a window in the weather app that showed me clear skies through the night. I promptly picked up 9 bags of 10lb ice, set up the structure, and the curtains soaked the dye as I slept. Week 4 I started working on the plinths, I had some plywood donated to me, which was saving my budget. As I began working with the material, following my original plan, something felt off. I was not connecting to the shapes, or the heavy material. I couldn’t use it. I needed to adjust, be flexible, and revisit my drawings. I thought to myself “If I could change this and do anything what would you do?”. The sketch that came out of that put me in a position that made me uncomfortable. But I knew it was the right thing…remember this is the most important week for artists and designer for the whole year in Miami. I took the day to find a solution. The next day I started again on the plinths, creating all 5 in under 12 hours. These felt right. These came together as if the universe was guiding me. They make me happy. Over the last week I have been in detail mode. Refining installation processes, color story, weather proofing, and assembling as much as I can. Yesterday I took the whole day off, I spent time with my roommate developing this weeks media marketing strategy, drinking coffee, and watching mid-90s rom-coms. Tomorrow we install. 

The exhibition is titled “Meta Apparition”. When I was developing this installation I knew it was going to be playful, spiritual, and metamorphic. I experienced all three of these things while I was producing the work, and my overall intention is for the viewer to also experience and celebrate these ideas. Meta pertains to a story, conversation or character. It describes a consciously and playful self-referential story. Apparition is the supernatural element, as if these objects have appeared from the natural, to be remarkable. This is my truth.  

This will be my first solo exhibition…and you’re invited…

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