What do you do?

Well everyone, as the only new AiR that hasn’t posted to the blog yet, here we go.  I am Ian and I just moved here from Columbia, Missouri with my new truck (new to me) and seven-hundred thirty-eight pounds of junk to make art with.  The last three years of grad school were a blast and I will always look upon them fondly.  Now, however, life begins.  I have never blogged before, unless Facebook is blogging and I don’t think it is.  So, as usual, with writing, I have no idea where to start or where to use commas.  I thought that I would open with something that has been on my mind as of late….

I was asked a couple of weeks ago by a friend of a friend of a friend after introductions-What do you do?……What do I do?….Well, that was an easy question to answer up until now with the default answer being “student” most of the time.  The masters program I just finished is the cap to a school experience lasting twenty-three years (so says my mother), and now I am at a loss for what to call myself.  The Hub-Bub residency is for artists and I am sure what I do is “art”, I just have never taken a liking to calling myself an artist.  I hope this doesn’t come off as disrespectful to all of my friends and coleagues out there, new and old, I mean this with the utmost sincerety and kindness.  I have always seen what artists do as so fundamental to living, be it creating, thinking or even observing and speaking.  The idea of a specific group of our human population with the task of doing all of these things seems too excluding and privileged.  I have always seen regular activities from our daily lives as a venue for creativity and I certainly saw my involvement with art making and chores as one of the same.

What do I do?  I guess the problem for me with answering that question is that I have not yet found an answer that explains everything completely and without the strange graduate school vocabulary for which I have grown accustom to speaking.  When I got into this game I was a potter, and that was a profession that fit my penchant for labor and my sensitivities as a maker.  Over the years the vessels became sculptures and the drawings became doodles.  While the switch to “fine art” from the humblest of craft mediums during grad school makes me a statistic, it leaves me gluing, sawing, tearing, pouring and scribbling feverishly to create work that reflects not only my cartoon and sugar stimulated eight year old artist brain, but the rest of my family and their scientific careers.  The next eleven months are going to be a blast to say the least, and along the way I will be searching for a language that fits my work and a title that tells people what I do as easily as possible.  I am honored to be here and look forward to the year with Corinne, Kerri and Ron as well as the rest of the Hub-Bub and Spartanburg community.  Huzzah! -ian

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1 Comment

Filed under Artists-in-Residence, Ian Shelly (10-11)

One response to “What do you do?

  1. Ron

    What do you do? You exist. It is a general but solid response. I too am trying to move away from ‘defining’ what I am. I certainly never liked being called a ‘sculptor’. At least ‘artist’ was a step back from that. But now I too just exist to manipulate objects in space.

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