Waking up last week Tuesday at 5:30 am, I looked on my iPhone for the schedule. It read continue drawing, take food to Susan O’Malley (no mushrooms), and Mari Andrews’ studio visit for my Academy of Art University class. With Susan’s recent passing, that was no longer part of the plan. Loving order and routine, what would be the new schedule? What would I do that day to honor Susan?
At 4:15 pm, met my students at the West Oakland BART station promptly. We proceeded to go past my two old art studios in the neighborhood. The buildings were obnoxiously full of graffiti and weeds. It was like viewing a scene out of an Apocalypse movie. I wanted to demonstrate that sacrifices were made for my life as an artist.
Next stop was to visit the two Susan O’Malley murals on San Pablo Ave. “BE HERE” and “LESS INTERNET MORE LOVE” peaked their curiosity. Would my students some day see their art grace the public domain someday? Setting goals, dreaming, working hard, and believing was the message.
KALA Art Institute was next on the agenda. Upon arrival, the gallery appeared closed. As a result, rang the doorbell to be certain. Fortunately, we were allowed inside to view the exhibit and converse with welcoming staff. My class witnessed the labor behind the scenes and amazing prints from the masters. Andrea Voinot, Art Sales Manager, graciously talked to my class and personally invited them to the upcoming auction and Print Public events.
Time was of the essence and my group headed for a quick dinner at Panera in Emeryville. We were meeting Mari Andrews at 6:00 pm at her studio and didn’t want to be late. Upon arrival, Mari was waiting outside with open arms and a big smile. It was time to see more great art!
Mari Andrews’ studio is a laboratory of the earth’s finest specimens resulting in an inventory of endless creative inspiration. She proceeded to share her extensive background of exhibitions, residencies, and awards. Mari detailed her motivation, art practice, and favorite artists. Her contagious excitement of natural environments, mathematical patterns, and language script left the class empowered and in awe!
As we made our way back to BART, the day spent with a new generation of artists was a true tribute to Susan O’Malley.
Part of life is adjusting to a new routine or being flexible when one has no say or control. Tuesday was a day in which I fed students with new information, a warm meal, and most importantly hope for the future. As one tries to make sense of something that doesn’t make sense, I must try. Time will eventually carve a new routine. However, what we make of that time is what truly matters most. Onwards!