I've been too busy, and (it turns out) too poor to make canvases and start any "real paintings" so I've been making these small wall collages out of materials that i brought with me, and things I find on the street. Don't know what they mean yet, but it's fun and I'm working harder than our president.
I've been listening to the Kanye West discography.
I've been reading Baldwin, Agnes Martin, and Glenn Ligon.
I've been looking at Kara Walker, Stanley Whitney, sidewalks, parks and dumpsters.
I haven't had time to start a painting yet, but ive been doing a lot of drawing and some experimenting and combining collage elements.
Here is a collection of drawings i made yesterday while walking around my neighborhood. I'm starting slow and just collecting images that interest me via quick, candid sketches. I fold up an 18"x24" page and work on one square at a time. The finished page combines many different ideas and observations in a single grid format.
I love Philly. I think I've heard "Ain't No Mountain High Enough" blasting from someone's porch more days than not this week.
I've been in Philadelphia for two weeks, and have one week of classes under my belt. I want to share some images of my studio space on the third floor of the Tyler art building. I'm really excited to have so much natural light, and so much space to paint. I havent gotten many supplies yet, so I havent been creating much, but so much of the creative process for me is getting the space to be just right. Hopefully I'll be able to start in on some paintings by the end of this week.
The other images were taken in the neighborhood near my apartment. I think a lot about what makes a particular city or place feel the way it does, and in Philadelphia I think the construction of the streets has a lot to do with the atmosphere of the city. Most streets are very narrow one-ways, with 3 and 4 story row houses taking up the length of every block. There is a distinct feeling of being enclosed, without being towered over like you would experience with downtown skyscrspers. I'm interested in the few open spaces that you can emerge into, such as parks and empty lots. I was surprised to learn that you can see the Center City skyscrapers from the park near my house, while that view is hidden when you stand on most street corners.
My grandmother, Marjorie Evelyn Maynard passed away just over a month ago on March 30th, 2017. Born on June 10th, 1924, Gran spent her 92 years living on the Caribbean island of Antigua, near the capital city of St. John's.
Over the years, my family and I have made many trips to visit my grandmother and the rest of my extended family in Antigua, and my grandmother, even into her later years would visit her grandchildren in Minnesota for special occasion and big events in our lives.
Both of my parents grew up in Antigua, and immigrated to the United States before any of their children were born. Growing up in Minnesota, removed from most of our extended family has taking the lives of my siblings and I on a different path than if we had grown up in Antigua, and has meant that even with periodical communication and visits, our daily lives are disconnected from those of our cousins, aunts, uncles and grandparents.
My grandmother had been coming to terms with her advanced age for quite some time. Last month, as I was developing the concepts and artwork for my recent show, I had the good fortune to talk with her over Skype several times before she passed. I was interested in creating maps to reflect both the physical topography and firsthand experiences of those who live in Antigua and my home of Cottage Grove, MN. I interviewed Gran several times to ask her about her life growing up in St. John's, and what the city and other parts of the island were like. Her stories create beautiful images of the spaces she inhabited throughout her life. She describes how those places transformed through time, and how they influenced her development throughout her long life.
I included this recording with my maps of Antigua in my current exhibition at the Rochester Art Center, and I offer it here as a tribute to my grandmother. As it runs about 1 and 1/2 hours, I invite you to skip around within the recording and drop in on different parts of my grandmothers stories, or turn it on in the background and let the atmosphere of Antigua envelop you.
I am excited to announce that this fall I will be pursuing my Masters in Fine Art at Tyler School of Art at Temple University in Philadelphia. I have been awarded the The Future Faculty Fellowship, which will provided significant financial support during my time at Tyler.
I want to express my gratitude to my friends, family and mentors who supported me greatly throughout the application process. I am very excited for the opportunities and challenges I will encounter in Philadelphia, and am looking forward to this next steps in my art career.
If you are interested in following my endeavors in Philadelphia I would encourage you to check back regularly as I plan to share some of my experiences, ideas and images over the two years of my degree and afterward. I also plan to compile and post some of the many, many pages I wrote as I researched, prepared for, and applied to grad school programs. I have some new and interesting ideas that I am excited to begin sharing.
My exhibition opens a week from today! I have been invited to exhibit at the Rochester Art Center in Rochester Minnesota as part of their 2017 RAC Emerging Artists Series. My solo exhibition, Firsthand, opens on March 23 with a reception 7 - 9pm in the 3rd Floor Gallery. I'd love to see you there! The exhibition will be on view March 23 - May 28.
About the artist and exhibition:
Maps have many purposes; providing guidance in our travels, visualizing complicated demographics, or recording important patterns and political transitions. In his new exhibition, Cameron Jarvis focuses on the site specificity of aerial views, Google maps, and other sources to present, share and investigate autobiographic relationships based on important personal places. A first generation American, Jarvis uses maps as a source of inspiration to connect his current home in Cottage Grove, MN, with his Grandmother’s in Antiqua. Through the print making process, Jarvis presents the audience with an intimacy of the local that is both personal as well as universal
A Chosen Valley (Chatfield), 2016, linocut print 11"x14"
I forgot how integral music is to my thinking and practice and just general wellbeing. Here are a few compositions that are keeping me these days.
- My thoughts about my home town have been harsh
- Little interaction because of homeschooling
- Boring because its a suburb and not st paul or mpls
- Too large too be cute like Hastings, but too small to be interesting and booming like woodbury
- Working at the bank means finally interacting with residents of my city
- Delivering pizzas in st peter led to exploring all parts of the city
- I have my routs that i follow through the city of Cottage Grove.
- Biking this past summer let me see the outskirts. Interacting with them as an exploration instead of just an evacuation.
- I didn't realize what a perfect mix of suburb and rural small town it is.
- It's connected to st Paul, but is bound on 2 sides by farmland, and by the river in a third
- A lot of cottage grove's ethos? Aura? Comes from how you enter and exit it. Highway or county road
- Because of the Mississippi River on its Western edge you must travel north or south by highway to get anywhere or you can go as far East as you want by county road.
- I am using maps to depict cottage Grove so that i can visualize and put into relation the few parts of cottage Grove that are familiar to me with the many parts that are part of the city, but i have no point of reference for.
- The drawn out process of recreating it, while at the same time exploring those same places in real life is an exercise in direct observation
I realized I haven't written anything for quite some time, so I thought it would be a good idea to post something even if it's short just to give you an idea of what I've been up to, and get back in the habit. I have a few blog posts in the works, including an account of my experience with the grad school application process, and some thoughts on mapping and its function. I hope to find time to finish those and post them in the next week or two.
This weekend I had a few days off so I got a fair amount of work done. I have been working with some land use maps in Photoshop to plan out the shapes and colors I will be using to create my linocut prints for the Rochester show. It was really nice to have full days to devote to the fussy work, instead of cramming in an hour of work between getting home from work and bed. I'm looking forward to a time when I can devote more time to developing the ideas for a show through working with the materials, but I am having an interesting time planning out all the steps I will take to assemble the pieces before I actually start. I'm ding so much planning now because I have specific materials I need to gather to incorporate into the collages I have planned, and it is taking a fair amount of research to track them down. In addition, I plan to incorporate the making of these collages into the process of the creation of my prints, meaning I can't start one piece without the other. This delay is giving me a lot of time to think about the inherent meanings and properties of the materials I plan to use, and about how planning these pieces out in full, and then assembling them is akin to a performance, with the finished product serving as evidence of the performance.
From the end of that last paragraph you can see that I am doing too much thinking and not enough making, so I am glad to report that the last of my art materials that I ordered online have finally arrived. I somehow accidentally sent some paper and printmaking ink to my old address in Saint Peter, instead of my current address, but one of my former Gustavus professors was kind enough to bring it up to the cities for me after several phone calls to the Gustavus post office to track down "a small box and a really large flat box that got delivered the other day."
A big part of this exhibition is source, and how maps record and influence the interactions we have with our surroundings, and I have been trying to find a particular kind of map to use in the show. The problem is I'm not sure if this kind of map even exists, and most map collections are organized by their function and date and not by the feeling you get from examining it, or what visual presence it has as an object. I've been out on several research expeditions to try and explain my needs to people and agencies who work with maps, and It's nice to be out driving and walking to this different places to examine these artifacts first-hand.
I paid a visit to the Washington County Government Center, and to the surveyors office at the Public Works building in Stillwater last week. Most map records there are very functional and relate to property lines, city planning, land surveying. Most of the information that's designed for perusing is online in geographical information systems (GIS). The most recognizable example of this would be Google Maps and its interactive interface.
I also visited the John R. Brochert Map Library at the University of Minnesota. one of the student workers was more than happy to help my find a plat book for Washington County and some aerial photographs. He also gave me a few other types of maps I should consider tracking down.
With that information I stopped in at the Minnesota History Center to visit the gale family library. I didn't find anything immediately fruitful, but one of the librarians had some information about the first surveying teams who mapped Minnesota, and clued me in to the existence of fire insurance maps that depict each block in the business districts of cities for the purposes of recording which buildings were insured against fire.
All of these visits provided some interesting leads, and helped me clarify what it is I'm looking for for the show, but also made me realize how little I know about the functions of different maps and how much culture, history and politics can be unpacked from any map.
I have been slowly rereading On Beauty and Being Just by Elaine Scarry. In it she makes a case for the recognition and pursuit of beauty as a worthy and important endeavor. It is really helping me as I think about what it means to be a maker of art and a proponent of social change right now. In the first part of the book, 'On Beauty and Being Wrong,' Scarry examines the thoughts and emotions around suddenly realizing the beauty of something that you had ignored before, and how that can shake ones trust in ones own judgement, and at least for a time, reframe how one thinks about the world. I was really intrigued by the passage that opens the second part 'On Beauty and Being Fair,' where she states her intention to draw a connection between the pursuit of beauty and the pursuit of justice:
I was born here in Minnesota, and have lived here my entire life, but my parents moved here only a few months before I was born. This complicates the answer to the question, "Where are you from?" I call Cottage Grove, MN home, and technically I come from St. Paul Children's Hospital, but I trace my family lineage back to the small Caribbean island of Antigua. Both my parents were born there, and spent their formative years there. My grandparents emigrated from neighboring islands before them, and a few generations before that you would likely have to ask the Trans Atlantic Slave Trade.
I and my siblings have gotten the chance to visit Antigua every few years since we were little, and I am struck by the curious relationship we have with the island, somewhere between quasi-expatriate Antiguans and foreign tourists. Antigua's economy relies mainly on tourism, and polished resorts on white sand beaches are the images that the island projects beyond its shores, and the spaces that most visitors inhabit. When my family visits however, we stay in my grandmother's house on a plot of land that used to grow sugar cane. We spend some days at the beach, but more often we are in my aunts car, driving to various parts of the island to see my father's cousins, or an old school friend of my mother. We get to see less curated parts of the island that are removed from the paradise imagery that Antigua exports to lodge itself in our imagination and culture.
I am working on a piece about Antigua, and I called my grandmother a few days ago in hopes of hearing some stories about her life on the island. I wanted to get a sense of the daily reality of existing in that environment. Gran is starting to have some memory loss, so my aunt was in the background egging her on and trying to jog her memory, but she told me about the intersecting streets she lived on after she married my grandfather, and the neighbors, and how you could see the ocean at the end of the street if you stepped out into the yard. They used to get up at 5am to go down to the sea and swim, and be back in time for work at 9. I am planning to use these and other stories in the show to give viewers a perspective of the island that is more concrete and specific than just white sand and palm trees. What would you been interested in learning about the experience of growing up and growing old in Antigua? I have many more conversations planned in preperation for this piece.
This past Saturday my friend Tiana and I took a road trip down to Rochester so that I could check out the space at the Rochester Art Center where my show will be. It was beautiful day for a drive, with the sun shining down on the open spaces of southern Minnesota.
Now that I know, I want you to know too! I have been invited to exhibit at the Rochester Art Center in Rochester Minnesota as part of their 2017 RAC Emerging Artists Series. I have begun creating new artwork that will be on display from March 22nd to May 28th in the 2nd floor gallery. Mark your calendars for the opening reception on Thursday, March 23rd, from 6 to 8 pm, featuring an artist talk at 6:30.
Executive Director Megan Johnston and Curator Su Legatt visited me in my home studio earlier this month, and we had a fruitful conversation about the current direction of my work, and our vision for the exhibition. I am planning to employ more map imagery to talk about the places I’ve called home.
I will be resurrecting my blog in some capacity to catch you up on the past few months, and keep you in the loop as I start preparing for the show in earnest. You can learn more about the Rochester Art Center by visiting their website.
See you in 2017!