At least once, every adult will have to make the trek home and stay for a while. And by home, I mean the place that you “grew up”. After my travels in Italy, I returned to Dallas penniless and car-less. Hiding out until the semester begins, I thought that it wouldn’t be that bad. I can see my family! See my friends! I can lounge around and scratch on the couch while watching Keeping up With the Kardashians. It can’t be, because “I grew up here”.
I moved away from Dallas two years ago to finish my degree in Austin, TX. Working constantly, studying, and my studio practice have all kept me from coming home for no more than 4 times a year at 2-4 days in length. And I’ve realized in the last month that I don’t live here anymore. I seriously don’t live here in anymore and I can’t come back here after I’m done with Austin. There is this false notion, this lie, that made me believe I actually would be able to come back and hide out in my childhood home, just like I did during those long hot ass summers of middle school and high school, but no. I’d go to museums, Addison bars, nightclubs, dance it up and sweat it out however; I’m not that girl anymore. One, I don’t have the appropriate funds at the moment and secondly, I’m not the Dallas girl I once was. Don’t get me wrong, I still enjoy all those things, but very few of them I enjoy doing in Dallas. I figured out some things while being here:
1) Although I have my issues with the Austin art scene, I miss it. I truly miss the experimentation, the house galleries, the wacky bookstores and “weird” folk. The openings every weekend, the lectures and genuine interest in ART.
2) I don’t know my way around Dallas anymore and I may not know my way around Austin either.
3) I miss Nasty’s (a dive bar near Amy’s ice cream on Guadalupe) and their hip hop night is AWESOME. FYI: The most black people I’ve seen in one place in the last 2 years I’ve been in Austin.
4) I miss Dos XX at a decent price, served to me in the bottle with a lime.
5) I miss lounging around my house in my birthday suit, drinking a nice cocktail, eating Ben &Jerry’s Ice Cream and watching Sex and the City.
6) I miss riding the bus for Free (currently $5.00 day pass in Dallas).
7) Most importantly: I’ve realized that my family and friends know jack shit about what I do. Is it like this for all artists, or just me? I’ll admit, I’ve always been the weird one, the black sheep, the “different” person in the family but DAYUUM, I really didn’t know that they had absolutely NO idea about what it is that I do artistically. They know I love art, but other than that, they know nothing about my concept or why I do the work that I do. Hell, I don’t even know if they’re interested. Matter of fact, one family member (and he means well with all his heart and soul, he seriously does) asked me why don’t I draw smiling black children and sell these images at Black Fine Art Shows? While Black Fine Art Shows, were once the only vehicles where Blacks were able to exhibit work artistically, it is not the vehicle that would be appropriate for my work. He doesn’t understand this and quite frankly, he’s so stubborn with his opinions, I highly doubt I could get him to understand where I’m coming from. Success and proving him wrong would be the only way he would then understand. I love him regardless though.
8) My family’s misunderstanding or ignorance about what I do artistically is my new muse. I am educating them on black conceptual artists, writers such as Bell Hooks and black feminist theory. By doing this they now know what I research, what I read and where my work stems from. The greatest thing about my family is that they are the very reason I’m interested in these things in the first place! We grew up with books by W.E.B DuBois, Malcom X, John Howard Griffin, Maya Angelou and Cornel West in the house on our bookshelves next to Dr. Seuss and Shel Silverstein. See, art and black studies tight there!! My family is now my audience. I want to make work that they will understand, ask questions, and critique. If this happens then I have succeeded in hopefully making art that is not too literal and familiar.
I was hoping to get to 10 things I’ve realized since I’ve been home, however I could only come up with 8…. I did pretty good. All in all, I’ll miss being home and seeing my family on a daily basis but at the same time, I won’t . It will be a bittersweet moment, but a necessary moment because we can’t go back in time and live in a frame of thought that no longer exists. The whole point to this life is growth and how can you do that by sitting at home watching Keeping Up With the Kardashians ??