I admit my snottiness! For years, I honestly had no idea what performance art was. There was always some kind of stigma, confusion and snottiness attached to the concept at my school. It took me years to understand it and break out of my prejudices of what it was, without understanding.
As I came to realise, it's really another form of communicating to an audience, taking theatrical elements, storytelling, and other forms of performance and using them to tell a story using your body as canvas. In a sense, I've been working on it all along without realising or understanding it.
I feel like a major door has been opened in how I relate to others, as a result. I took improv comedy classes after college and loved performing in front of an audience, but the pressure to be "on" all the time as far as being quick witted can be a challenge for me. I often get lost in a moment and prefer to engage in a more introverted manner.
My friend Nina invited me to a performance art festival at a place in Bushwick called Grace Exhibition Space, and I will say right now that the experience was absolutely life changing and inspirational. I saw four or five performances that night that really spoke to me. I can't explain how, or what made them inspirational, in the same way no one can really explain what they see in an improv Harold show. You just feel it in the moment. All of these performances were ethereal, surreal, and emotionally charged. I finally understood what it was about, and all I had to do was witness it.
I'm primarily a photographer, but I've been trained in acting, dance, music, video, juggling, and drawing - and I feel like I can create more interesting photography stories if I start treating photography as an extension of my eyes rather than simply a means of documentation. I started creating pieces to interact with - found feathers, masks, headdresses, plants and herbs, etc, and contorting myself. Some of my photos make me look like an angel. Some make me look like a monster. I don't see the photos as me, necessarily, but rather a character in a story. It happens to be a story I'm living, but thinking about it in the context of an observer allows me to step out of my own ego and see what paths are possible. It's a half-assed Buddhist approach to life and art, but so far it's working.
Right now I'm going through a massive change in my life, and I feel like I would like to document this process as true to how I feel as possible. It's a lot of confusion, a lot of confidence challenges, and most of all, a feeling of possibility. I don't think ahead much, I usually look to see what's in front of me and make something out of it, and interact with it somehow in an image. It's all highly personal and I don't feel it's necessary to spell out for others in words precisely what each image means; I just want a reaction without thinking. The motto for Upright Citizens Brigade is "Don't Think." My challenge is to tell the story with my face, my body language, and most of all my eyes. Part of me always wished I could have been a silent movie actress. Might as well do it now!
I am grateful for the opportunity to find this path and to explore it. The human body; humanity as a whole, it all fascinates me. How can I tell a better story? How can I relate better to others in an interesting way? And how do individual reactions change my perception of the story? It's a two-way street.