Saturday, December 14, 2013

End of Part I

So much has happened, and at the same time almost nothing has happened.  I've found my places and I've found my people in Kyoto.  The likes are many and the dislikes few.  I have discovered a pace and sensibility that agrees with me.  We get along, Kyoto and I.  It is not without struggle.  But the struggle is reasonable, grounded.  It is not egomaniacal or absurd, aggressive or cynical.  There is a beauty to Kyoto that is almost disquieting.  Not since my sojourn in Paris have I felt this kind of fondness for a city.

My relationship with my art has changed.  In New York it was somewhat combative, which really mirrored my relationship with the city.  New York was mostly a battle, the city always trying to defeat me.  In Kyoto the painting comes easier.  I do not labor over paintings and fight with them like I did in New York.  I think this is maybe because life here is less complicated.  That is not to say my life is easy, but the bullshit that runs so thick and deep in New York doesn't seem to exist here.

I have made some inroads into the Japanese art world, somehow accomplished more in three months than seventeen years in New York.  Strangely, despite my extreme difficulty with the language, I find myself a little more outgoing and willing to approach gallery managers and directors.  I also find that they are more receptive than their New York counterparts.  Hell, in New York you can't get the intern at the front desk to greet you, let alone get the owner to sit down and talk with you, hear what you have to say, look at your portfolio.  It comes down to respect, really.

But this is not an essay comparing and contrasting New York and Kyoto, the US and Japan.  It is rather my reflections on three incredible months.  I am grateful for the experience, to the Itos, to Mineko and Aki and the amazing people I met through them.  I feel terribly lucky.

I came to Japan because I wanted to go somewhere where I didn't know a thing.  I wanted to remove myself from everything that is comfortable and familiar.  To grow as an artist, or indeed as a person, one has to shake things up every now and again, break out of the routine.  I did that.  Oh man, did I do that.  But I learned that we quickly establish new routines.  And a new comfort zone is constructed.  This is human nature I suppose.

This is the last post until January.  I'm spending Christmas in Los Angeles.  So I will say arigato gozaimas and akemashte omedeto (happy new year).

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