|Krakow, Poland (photo from google images)|
"This is your life, create it, live it."
I've been aiming and reaching to embrace this kind of outlook for awhile now. However, this year I am taking it up a notch. At some point I realized how I was living a little too passively by taking jobs I didn't fully love for the money, jumping on other peoples creative projects and not fully developing my own vision while deep inside I knew I wanted to step out and define myself more on my own terms. I am the co-captain of my ship along with the mysterious force that is with me every step of the way. I've had to be patient, I've had to trust and just put one foot in front of the other. Ultimately, I'm learning how to trust myself. The work is paying off and the path is becoming clearer. I feel aligned with it and on it now and feel excited, actively co-creating with what the universe gives me. I'm learning that hard work and patience are two keys to self development. Something I think I understood intellectually but am just starting to really understand in practice.
I'm excited to announce my plans that I believe will have an impact on me for a lifetime. I am going on a creative and educational quest to Poland and Hungary. I've been working this past winter and spring by clarifying my creative, educational and travel dreams. I enrolled in an art class, I created an independent study project, I got in touch with friends and family in Central Europe, I bought a plane ticket, I arranged for places to stay and I created a fundraising page on IndieGoGo, that I will launch shortly, to help me meet the study and travel costs of this quest. I will be posting regularly regarding this quest and the fundraising. I especially can't wait to continue blogging from over in Poland and Hungary in July and August. In the following text you'll find a more in depth description of my plans. I'm so looking forward to sharing this quest with you!
Study & Travel Plan
I arrive in Krakow, Poland on July 3rd to attend a four week long study program at Jagiellonian University which is the second university to be founded in Central Europe way back in 1364. The course, which is organized through The Kosciuszko Foundation in NYC, is called "The Art of Poland: Past and Present" and covers the art history of Poland, folk arts, poster art and contemporary art.
While in Krakow I plan to forge a connection with the Ethnographic Museum to do independent study on the folk arts of Poland. I will be taking photographs, sketching ideas and researching images, stories and music that will be influential to my future creations. I’m also looking forward to meeting and visiting with my family who reside in and around Krakow, as well as sight seeing to get a glimpse of the culture of my ancestors.
In August I will spend time in Hungary with friends and split my time between Budapest and the countryside. I plan to explore various Hungarian folk/peasant art traditions by visiting museums and attending festivals held on weekends during the summer months. My musician friend wants to share traditional Hungarian music and songs with me as well as put me in touch with traditional dancers who live in his countryside village. I will visit Harskut, Hungary, the village my grandfather's family is from. More photographs, sketches, memories, music and paintings will be made during this time.
I believe that there are parallels between the working class people of today and the peasants of yesterday. Instead of toiling for land owning lords we toil for the elite/corporate class. I believe one's connection to meaningful creativity creates spiritual, mental and physical health ultimately fostering a sense connection within oneself and with the outer world by positively impacting community and relationships.
Culturally, I see a shift of interest from a consumeristic mentality to an interest in the cultivation of local economies through the production and consumption of handmade, homegrown products, goods, food and arts. I am interested in traditional cultures and how they created meaning and beauty in their lives before big box stores, factory assembly lines and mass consumption. How were the personal, the spiritual and the beautiful created and shared?
I believe that we find a deeper meaning in life through the creation and appreciation of beauty. I imagine that my ancestors, the peasants of Poland and Hungary, created many things of beauty and meaning despite leading lives full of back breaking work for the benefit of the upper class. Wood working, paper cuts, embroidery, paintings, gardening, music making and story telling gave the peasantry an outlet to create and share stories, folk lore, traditions and beauty. I am looking to re-cultivate this mentality for myself, not only to connect with my personal history but to create homemade things of beauty and meaning, and build new bridges within my community both socially and economically.
I will create new work to show in community and commercial gallery’s based on my experience. I will share these ideas and what I learn with others through my work and presentations. And I plan to start my own handmade business using my designs.