I got this mug during my return to Alfred last spring; my memory card had just failed right after I had finished documenting a painting of mine that I stumbled upon in one of the administrative offices. I was really excited to see it, so figures that I didn't end up getting a photo of it. By the time I realized there was a glitch, the offices were closed, so instead I wandered around the book store looking for a replacement and getting nostalgic, wondering why I had never stocked up on school memorabilia before (answer: I was an existing student and was poor). I got a couple of t-shirts and this rather simple cup. I'm not really a coffee drinker, but every now and then I will have half a cup to avoid falling prey to dangerous weekend nap impulses.
Here are a couple of photo updates on the comic I've been chugging away on. I haven't shared much about it in writing because I am still figuring out where I want to take it (though I do have a lot of storyboarding done, and have a growing set of Google documents that include a story framework and various thoughts, ideas, and memories). That said, I have very little time to work on this project with my full-time work schedule, not to mention 2 hours of commuting every day. But I'm still trying to chip away on the weekends for now, even if each set of week days seems to negate my weekend momentum.
I recently listened to a really wonderful interview with Debbie Tung (creator of "Quiet Girl in a Noisy World"), hosted by The Introvert, Dear Podcast. She talked about the struggles of choosing to quit her full-time job as a developer and pursue art full-time instead; they asked her if she recommends this choice to other artists out there, and she was hesitant to encourage that choice because it makes life quite hard economically. Not to mention, Debbie lives in the UK, so there are not the same concerns about student loan debt and access to healthcare. Here in Boston, it's almost impossible to afford rent even with full-time work - not to mention a mortgage (condos around here typically start around 400k, and houses are basically inaccessible unless you are up for paying 600k or more). I sometimes daydream about moving out to the country into a little cottage, where I can be alone with my brushes and pens and enjoy an uninterrupted creative process, but it's something I'm far too anxious to pursue in this stage of my life. Right now, I have health and dental care through work, a 401k, and a stable paycheck, which is a lot more than I had working in retail. Plus, comics are very hard to make a living off of unless you have proven success through a book deal. It's not the same as running an Etsy or doing commissions, which I take here and there but don't actively pursue or advertise. For now, I'll continue to cherish my free time and continue my work during the week.
I didn't have my phone on me during the opening (no pockets!), so didn't get any photos from the actual opening, but here are some photos of before/after! We were in the Brookline Tab as the #2 thing to do in Brookline this weekend. Not bad! Also including my statement below. Thanks to all who attended and came out to support local Brookline artists!
Artist Statement from Exhibition
The drawings and paintings collected here speak to the vulnerability, hope, energy, and rituals found in everyday family life, especially in young families. In most of my compositions, the parents are off to the side, or in the background, guiding the children, sheltering them, reading the paper, making sure everything is well. They are not the center of attention, and not engaging in anything exciting.
As I get older, I find myself relating more to the parents than the children in my drawings and paintings, even though I’ve only ever played the role of the latter. I think about how my parents did this for my brother and I when we were children, after years of shabby apartments and piecing together their rent. They bought a house near a park. They bought us new shoes every year that we wore on walks to the park. They bundled us up in hats and snow pants and pulled us on sleds. They brought home books from the library so they could read to us every night. There is a lot of selflessness there, to raise a child into an adult, but the children must figure out where to go from there. Meanwhile, the children I draw are playing, exploring, and being comforted. Drawing the parent/child dynamic allows me to meditate on the different roles that we play throughout childhood and into adulthood and parenthood.
Exciting news! I've been invited to share some of my paintings and drawings at Brookline Town Hall! We installed work yesterday afternoon and the opening is next Friday, February 9 from 5-7 PM. My work is in Room 111, the first room to the right at the entrance. Work by fellow Brookline residents are also on view, including portraits by Doron Putka, found object compositions by Martin Anderson, and a variety of work by young artist Bailey O'Brien. Feel free to stop by the opening next Friday or swing by in the coming weeks to check it out!
Hannah Dunscombe is a painter and portrait artist based out of Brookline, MA.