Quiet, Stillness and the Right Kind of Noise

My art practice so far consists of me, sitting at a low table in my studio, with my face pointed away from the door, hunched over my drawings.

My studio is on the second floor of a building that once was the headquarters for officers in the Air Force; the building and the field around is now for civilian use. The ceiling is high above me, probably about 12 feet (meters), and if you tilt your head back, the wide, wooden beams resemble the wings of a plane: my studio sits under where the nose of the imaginary plane would be.

The choreographer Twyla Tharp says the studio is for work, not for chatting with friends. That an artist needs ritual to start their process. My ritual is this:

I close and lock the studio door. I turn away from the door and face the wall. I insert my noise-cancelling headphones. And then I crank up the music.

I have danced since grade school (modern dance) and most of my adult life. Right now and for the last decade, it’s been latin dance that is my love: merengue, salsa, regaton, samba… and I dance. Between drawings. In the middle of drawing. If something great comes on. Something crazy. When no one else is on my floor, I work my way down the hallway, moving side to side, this way and that. Turning, striding, swinging.

Popular music is fine. Pit Bull. I really don’t care. It’s about the beat, the rhythm.

My drawings are precise and stylized. Intentional. Delicate. Patient. No one knows that I am moving, sometimes only inside.