Part One of an ongoing blog from Jeremiah Jenkins and his “Artist Without Residence” project.
“What am I doing?“ It’s a question we typically ask when we lose our focus or when we do something that scares us a litlle. But I want to focus on the question, what am I doing? And what better way to do that than by doing something that scares me a little. This project is my attempt to focus on that question and hopefully find out what I’m doing.
This project started in 2008 during the presidential election. Which doesn’t matter other than it was the first election I didn’t vote in. To me it was all a big sham and I knew Obama would win, because it was all just a bunch of illuminati bullshit. Just to let you know my attitude at the time. I had flown down help my friends convert a retired school bus into a mobile speakeasy for a historical tour company, as one does from time to time. We tore out all the seats and laid down wood floors. We put up ceiling tiles, wood panelling, and installed 20’s style nightclub seating. While we worked on it I began to imagine how I could live in the bus. There was so much room and to be mobile would be amazing, life changing, and completely crazy. What would my dad say? “What are you doing?” Which would make me start to ask myself, “what am I doing?”
In the 3 years since that time I had several on call jobs, a couple of moves, and had become worn out on regular life. When I say “regular life” you should know I mean a regular artist’s life. It was pretty good. Big studio in Oakland, lot’s of art, plenty of shows, learning, growing, and an amazing community, but something was missing. That longing for everything else, for the completely unknown and the vaguely familiar never stops nagging once it starts. Then some major shit happened. That sort of perfect storm of shit that makes you shed layers and get down to what you really really want out of life. The details aren’t too important, just know that it involved a broken bone, a gun in my face, etc. I was ready for a change. That was when my friends asked me if I wanted to bus. I said “I don’t know, I can’t afford it, I would love to, but…” Then I thought of myself in the future and was really disappointed in the me that said no. Plus I felt called to do this, to travel, to wander, and seek. So I said, “yes” and “what am I doing?”
On the surface what I’m doing is turning the bus into a mobile live/work and taking it from place to place looking for art communities and treating each stop like an artist residency. Instead of waiting on a space to open up and go through the whole application process, I’ll make my own space and move it to the places I want to be. I’ll be supported by my community and explore how people are doing things out in the world. I’ll be showing work I make along the way next May at Evergold gallery and I’ll be doing this blog for SFAQ every 2 weeks or so. I’ll be putting up a kickstarter page (wink) and hope that I can get what I need to keep going, and if I don’t I’ll keep going anyway. On the surface I’m flying off a cliff wearing ACME rocket skates chasing that ever fleeting roadrunner or taking a leap of faith if you perfer. However the core of what I’m doing is focusing on that question, “what am I doing?”