Sometimes we find ourselves in a place where everything is ending. Or at least it feels that way.
It’s a bitter-sweet thing. I’m in one of those places right now and wondering how it all happened so fast and what will fill the “hole” on the other side of the pond. While endings can be sad, they can also open the door to opportunities; and that’s where I have to keep my head, or at least try.
Today, I’m reflecting on leaving Europe after five years, Summer’s evolution into adulthood (the loss of “my little girl”) and just the overall loss of what I know now – my life – if you will. The year is ending, too. That’s what started me writing. I thought I could use the last day of the year as a metaphor for my life right now.
I was in my studio/darkroom yesterday and I was trying to devise a plan of where to start to break it down. It made me sad. In a lot of ways I don’t want to go back to America. In other ways, I can’t wait. It’s a roller coaster of emotions, to say the least. I walked out of my darkroom full of anxiety and didn’t touch a thing. I need to get in there today and start packing!
We’ve met and befriended some of the finest human beings on this big blue ball (you know who you are) here. Europe and the Europeans have been very good to me and my family. This has been, without question, the best part of my life. The people, the experiences and the personal and professional growth has been amazing. I’ve learned more about myself and about life in these five years than the previous forty. I hope I can take some of that back with me and am able to share it without sounding arrogant or condescending. Americans could learn a lot from Europeans, I know I have.
I’ve been treated like a king here. And I’ve been respected and acknowledged for my work. I’m afraid that I will lose that returning to the States. No one knows me and no one cares what I’ve done here. It feels like I’ll be starting over in a lot of ways. I’m okay with that; I just don’t want to keep taking one step forward and then three back.
I have to thank Centre-Iris Gallery (Olivier and Pierre) and all of the fine Parisians that supported me this year. What a wonderful experience! Merci beacoup! To have a gallery in Paris that supports you like Centre-Iris is overwhelming. I’m very grateful and will return every two years with new and exciting work to show Paris. A big thank you to our friend, Benoît Boucherot, too! He made a wonderful documentary about me (see the previous post).
To every studio, cultural center, art school and individual artists in Europe (Barcelona, Reus, Gothenburg, Budapest, Dresden, Cologne, Vienna, Glasgow, London, Amsterdam, Berlin, Brussels, and many, many more) that I’ve had the pleasure of visiting and teaching at (and there have been a lot of them); thank you! You’ve allowed me to grow and taught me more than I taught you. I’m eternally indebted to the hundreds of people that I’ve had the opportunity to meet, teach and befriend; thank you! I wish I could stay another five years.
Summer and Jesse just spent three weeks with us. They flew back yesterday and are back in America today (31 December 2010). I was able to get them in the head brace for a plate during a private workshop with Bernd Radtke. We had fun; we went to Amsterdam, Belgium (Lummen) and Aachen (Germany) to see friends and have some fun.
I miss my life here already.