Almost two years ago, I was visited by John Shimon & Julie Lindemann, two artists and photography faculty at Lawrence University in Appleton, Wisconsin. They came to visit and talk about work and to ask if I might be interested in coming up to Lawrence and talking about what I do and how I do it. Well, the time has finally come to head up and talk.
Sometimes when it comes to showing work or going to give talks, they are in-the-works for years before anything actually ever comes of them. In 2010, Julie and John asked Lisa Hostetler–—then the curator of photography at the Milwaukee Art Museum—for recommendations of speakers. My name was one of the options she gave them. That recommendation was followed by a visit from Julie and John in the summer of 2011, right before I left the Twin Cities for Columbia. We had a nice little talk in the studio that I was renting at the time, and they asked if I might be interested in talking. If you get to know me at all, you’ll learn that I am always interested in talking. Although, they said “it may not be for a while”.
Then last spring, they settled on the Spring of 2013 to have me up. That still seemed like a long way out, but, eventually, the time came. Last week, just before SPE was supposed to begin, I hopped in my car and made the 2.5 hour drive north into Wisconsin. I had the luxury of driving through fairly heavy snow—Columbia declared a “snow day” while I was driving. There wasn’t really any snow by the time I got there, though.
I stopped by and had some snacks at Julie and John’s house before heading over to the college’s guest house, which would be my residence for the evening. The lecture began around 4:45. Ii was pretty well attended, especially considering the size of the program there and the weather. I talked about my process, including new work, for around 45 minutes or so. There were a lot of questions from the students, which is always nicer than having no questions.
After the lecture, there was a small reception, then I was off to dinner with 5 of the students. When I get into those situations, I always think that I have all night to talk, but in this case, we ended dinner around 8:30 due to the fact the students all still had homework to do for their class the next day.
After breakfast the next morning, I went to the photography class, and we talked a little about digital archivability, something that is difficult to grasp sometimes. Then, while they went off and did more class-related things, I met with students one-on-one for critiques. I always love talking about work with students.
After that, I had lunch with some of the students and answered yet more questions about how to operate and promote yourself as an artist out in the “real world”. The last stop was the New Media class, where we talked about digital technologies and ended up back on my work with lots more questions and a more personal and in-depth answer session.
Then I was off, back to Chicago for the beginning of SPE the next day. Trips like that are often exhausting and rewarding simultaneously.