I once saw a time-lapse video of how a vine locates an object to climb. It grows upwards into a curl, and then wheels around and around until it blindly reaches for whatever is closest. It reminded me of reaching for a light switch in a dark room, when your eyes haven’t adjusted yet, but they do it so elegantly. Plants’ ability to adapt is fascinating. Even in a world where we’re making it increasingly harder for natural things to grow on their own, they somehow persevere.
Similarly, I’m not a Brooklyn native, and I didn’t even grow up on the East Coast. While I’m not exactly a country girl transplant, I still had to learn how to adapt. Living in a place like New York City where rent can be 50 percent of your income isn’t the most encouraging work environment. Most creative minds are especially pre-disposed to mental illnesses like depression, and in order to keep a handle on things we need to reach out and find our own ideal living conditions. You have to balance out the “working to pay my rent” with the “working for myself” along with the basic human needs like water, rest, sunlight, socializing, sustenance, and exercise. Take care of those things, so that the rest of your energy can be focused on making the best work that you can make.
About a year after I graduated from the Corcoran College of Art & Design with my BFA, I was in a pretty big rut. While my gardens were thriving, my work was not. In school, I experimented with a wide variety of mediums, ranging from installation, to hand-drawn animation, to performance, to painting. The work revolved around themes of femininity, sexuality, mental illness, self-esteem, and body image. Hair was a constant thread, as well as nude and partly-dressed women.