State of the Art: Year’s End, 2015


I make art that connects us to place. To shared heritage. To our bodies, to our present moment, and to our practices of contemplation and community.

My work is centered in an extension of contemplative practice. I call it “creative practice.” I draw inspiration from a big well: from the land, from relationships in community, and from the increasingly connected international world of post-minimalist, process-oriented painting.

I think of myself as a kind of activist–a soul worker, let’s say. Vision is my job. As artists, it’s our job to gestate new vision, birth it, and nurture it, introducing it to our communities and letting it change into the needful thing, over and over again. I take this on because I believe we need new vision–that we always do, in fact. I take this on as the best thing I am fitted to, the most frighteningly wonderful thing I can imagine, the best use of my impermanent life.

We’re remodelling our understanding of our relationships to ourselves, to our communities, to our global culture, and to the earth itself. We’re retrofitting our culture, because retrofitting is the least violent, the least wasteful, and the most living way to approach the redesign of the human structures we live within.


What is a simple, well-understood label for the field in which my work sits comfortably?

Contemporary artists who have inspired my artmaking this year:
painter Christian Hetzel, painter Hideaki Yamanobe, mixed media artist Hayashi Takahiko, painter Babette Herschberger, architect Eduardo Chillida, fiber artist Junko Oki, fiber artist Matthew Harris.

Examples of indigenous artforms that relate to the post-minimalist concerns I love: the Gee’s Bend quilters; the nameless Japanese home artists who built the Boro practice, and weavers from around the world and across time.

for images of these artists’ works.


In the first half of 2015, I was focused on understanding business systems–the tools, processes and mindset behind the Lean Startup and the Business Model Canvas. I learned a great deal, but also understood at last that making art is frightening because it is such vulnerable, soulful work, and that I needed to put my work on top of the systems I’m building to support it, despite how fast and shiny and dizzyingly exciting they are.

I end 2015 with a better understanding of art as a business, and with a serviceable set of tools for working with it.


My home studio has proved capable of handling a wide variety of processes, but is getting small. I continue to refine it periodically. Having connected with Bryce Hample and his Harwood studio, I saw the value of holding a work space there–connections with other artists, shared art energy, feeling of commitment. What conditions could trigger such a move?

– more income. I’d say 200% more, at least.
– decision to use home space for another use, eg. a home office for Counseling for Creatives, or a bigger space for Kathryn’s Embodiment work, or a co-housing strategy (dream on!).

Contractors, No. Interns, Yes: working with others as a leader
Maria Young is amazing. She is calm, grounded, humble and responsive. Her willingness to produce “discs” for my upcoming show has precipitated huge growth. I found I was able to relinquish control of “art-making” part of this installation idea; and in so doing, I discovered that my paperclay process is actually abstractable. I can use it as the foundation of installations anywhere, and with any group of people. Thanks to Maria, I had a Eureka! moment that has freed me to return to painting without sacrificing the installation work I love. And as Jill Christian pointed out, the installation work serves as a way to

Need: I am looking for more “interns.” Please refer people you trust to me, if you find out that they would like to experiment with their own creative practice, free, by working with me.


I will continue to pursue opportunities for installation, as it serves many needs within my practice and appears to connect with promoters. I am just now experimenting with ways it can be sold. However, I will be beginning a new round of paintings soon. I have learned that

Drawings and paintings.
– Return to rectilinear painting spaces: build and destroy textural spaces on the 14 panels I have in stock, using all the goops I’ve explored and more, as well as wire and cloth.
– Play more with drawing using small shapes as primary vocabulary–stitching, dots, triangles, X’s, solid blocks–in a continuation of my ongoing exploration of textile-like images.
– Look for ways to work non-purposeful drawing into daily and/or weekly creative practice.
– Possibilities: sharing a model with Judy Marquez 1x/month. NMAL’s long pose studio class.

In the works: 
Portraits. Took photographs of Ursula Nickel and Mindy Grossberg, with the intention of drawing from them. 

Collaboration: Sculptural furniture.
Need: a collaborator. I’d like to experiment with paper mache as a fine furniture medium.


General: better, but just getting started

Plan: rip off Christian Hetzel’s entire media and sales setup, as much as possible.

Other painters whose marketing setups you admire? Michelle Armas, for instance.

Social Media: the Empire is Small

Experimented with outsourced marketing strategy, planning and execution: no. Currently DIY, and keeping up a steady rhythm.

Learning: $1 buys approximately 100 Facebook clicks.

Need: brainstorm session with one of you, or a referral, to improve strategy and process without adding complication

Need: tutorial/class on analytics.

Need: tutorial/class on turning on analytic spigots at my website.

Possible need: improved Contact Me as call to action.

I’d like help in refining my marketing strategy: a way to market that is of a piece with my creative practice. Something that feels right AND has legs.
– How do I measure success? # of Instagram followers? # of media engagements? # of shows invited to? # of sales? The first is attainable, but is not directly connected to the others.
– how much content should I push out on my web channels? 1x/week? 1x/day? More?
– should I look for a Journalism 101 class on Udacity (MOOK) or YouTube (free)?

Recurrent pieces done in collaboration with NM Water Collaborative’s audience–2x, 4x/year gather waste materials from the community; transform them into art; auction the art back to the community, 50/50 between artist and NMWC; document and promote the whole thing.


Gross sales, 2014: $800

Gross sales, 2015 to date: $3000

What are some SMART goals by which I can begin to measure my progress towards profitability?

Profitability will not come from sales solely within our community, or within Albuquerque in general. My sights are set on the galleries around the world that already sell post-minimalist, process-oriented, highly textural and organic fine art and craft–galleries in LA, San Francisco, Chicago, New York, but also London, Paris, Tokyo, etc etc. 

As a step towards those markets, I’m beginning the process of creating a presence at Saatchi Online.


Solo shows 2014: 1

Group shows 2014: 1

Solo shows 2015: 4

Group shows 2015: 1

Solo: 400% improvement

Group: no change

Spring 2016: Two-person show at Page Coleman.

Currently Pursuing:
– show at Tractor Brewing Company.
– collaboration with Mindy Grossberg on a performance piece using installation work and/or sculpture–sewn, soft objects.
– Recurrent pieces done in collaboration with NM Water Collaborative’s audience–2x, 4x/year gather waste materials from the community; transform them into art; auction the art back to the community, 50/50 between artist and NMWC; document and promote the whole thing.

Other ideas–T shirts, Art Fairs, etc.
Are they worth it? Value comes in many forms, including US currency. What is the basis for a decision about participation in these projects?
Are any of you personally interested in working on one of these projects with me?


Activities in 2015 resulted in big changes on every level. Most importantly, I have developed more peace AND more commitment to my work than I’ve ever manifested before.

I am moving towards more production; more sales; more relationships from within the role of artist; and more growth. I anticipate a 2016 that brings great change, great growth, and great movement towards my goal of a financially sustainable creative practice.

I am immensely grateful to you all for forming part of the container of my growth this year. Thank you!

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