Diaries of a Young Artist
artonpaperbooks is pleased to announce the forthcoming publication of Diaries of a Young Artist, a companion book to Letters to a Young Artist. Below is Sue de Beer's diary entry, one of approximately twenty that will appear in the book.
I have been going through a slow motion break up for a year now with a guy I was crazy for. He was filled with ghosts. Covered in scars. In my mind I can still see him the way he looked the first day we met—he was standing in front of a bright window, backlit. I couldn’t see his face. He had sunglasses on. We had lunch together, and when he saw that I wasn’t eating very much, he asked if I was going to eat my lunch, then took the plate and ate my lunch, too. Later, he showed me the place on his chest where they took the skin graft to reconstruct his eyelids after his accident. Smooth white shapes, like sideways teardrops.
The first three years were some kind of. . . I don’t know. Like playing poker and winning every hand. We flew to all these crazy places to try to be together—him coming to where I was working on a project, or me going to him, where he was working somewhere. I guess more often me going to him. It changed my way of making art. Before this love affair, I had a pretty standard studio practice: four hundred square foot studio, storage space, power tools, lumber store down the street. I closed that down, and just started traveling with a big suitcase, chasing some fantasy of what love can be, making art in the bathroom when that was the only space available, or trashing every place we lived in making sets and props on the bed, kitchen table, any available space. We lived in 8 different apartments and a lot of hotel rooms between 2003 and 2006, and I had 5 temporary studios in that time which I would take on, build out, shoot in, clean up, and close down. My permanent space in Europe was a storage space near the Shönefeld airport in Berlin, where I would bring stuff after closing down a studio. In the U.S. my permanent place was my sister’s basement, where she let me store whatever my last body of work was.
I think I forgot it wasn’t sustainable, to do this forever, and 2007 was more like when you play poker and you lose lose lose. I got an apartment in New York and crashed, finishing some big shows in Berlin, Antwerp, L.A. Then I just couldn’t make art anymore. I guess that was in December. Maybe things were bad before 2007. I don’t know. As I sit here trying to sort things out, I can’t quite reconstruct what happened. I missed some signs that things were drifting, or over. Or he lied to me. Or both of those things.
So, Dear Diary, what is my studio practice like? Certainly about to change, here in 2008. When I get on my plane in a month, computer and camera in my carry-on, notebooks and negatives in a DHL shipment, shoes and clothes in my giant suitcase, I will be flying back to some blank future. Flying into The End.
Diary entry by Sue de Beer. The book also includes entries by Ellen Altfest, Ryan Gander, Katy Grannan, Terence Koh, Sterling Ruby, and many others.
80 pp., $15 ($12 for artonpaper subscribers)
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