“Each morning we are born again. What we do today is what matters most.” – Buddha
…and I just spent the last ten minutes surfing social media and making this little design (procrastination copy) trying to come up with a first sentence. Here goes!
I’m not one for procrastinating. I’m the exact opposite, but somehow I’ve managed to procrastinate on a lot this summer, including blogging. Except my version of procrastination is doing other projects that need to get done anyways.
I recently finished a second painting for Augustana admissions themed around the retro Ole logo and now get to paint an entire wall in one of the offices! Additionally, I was asked to create a design for the first show in the Augustana gallery in honor of one of our retired faculty members. My Director of Communications position has me making flyers, advertisements, sending emails, and creating logos for the beginning of the year. To top it off, I’m working nonstop and spend my free time thinking about all the things I have to do and watching Netflix. Writing this post is procrastination.
Yet somehow I’m always busy doing something or getting something accomplished and tonight I decided to take time off. I went downtown to Sushi Masa to eat some of the best sushi in the entire state and got a call from home with some amazing news. My mom and dad called to tell me I am a recipient of Augustana College Sophomore Honors, one of four students in my class! My version of procrastination has paid off and I’m starting to see how productive my summer of procrastination has been. I’ve networked in the Augustana and Sioux Falls communities for potential internships and jobs; made new friends through work; done more artwork on my own than I’ve ever done before; read books; taken a class; and started planning my next trip to India. I’ve even made time for yoga and running, and, of course, friends.
Looking back at my past two years, Augustana has been the best choice I’ve made. It’s difficult to explain to prospective students on tour my passion for Augie and all of the amazing experiences I’ve had thus far. It’s an inspiring campus full of opportunity. I would not have been able to accomplish as much as I have these past two years if I had gone anywhere else. I owe it to a lot of people in the Augustana and Sioux Falls communities for encouraging me to pursue my interests and to dream big. I’m looking forward to the beginning of my junior year at Augustana and all the “procrastination” to ensue. It truly is a great day to be an Augustana Viking.
When working almost sixty hours a week between two jobs, it can be hard to find time to be creative and take a substantial break. It took a coworker reminding me that I need to make time for it, otherwise it’ll never happen. Today, I got the entire day off and decided it would be the perfect day to paint. I woke up early – it’s amazing how much you can get done when you wake up before nine – and went for a run to clear my head. I even did some bargain shopping at a garage sale to finally get a vacuum for our apartment! I grabbed my oil paints, tabletop easel, and canvases out of the garage and set up on the balcony with some good tunes.
I work as a student ambassador at Augustana College and was asked to paint a small canvas for one of the showrooms in the dorm. I planned out my design with the Augie logo and Go Viking statement during one of my shifts at the office. I wanted it to stand out and be fun, something a student would actually like in their room or see on a poster at a game! I got to work with my blue and yellow paints and came up with this final product in about two hours. I haven’t worked on a canvas this small before and I found it more challenging than a larger canvas. There wasn’t as much room to make mistakes. I would have also preferred to build my own canvases, but there’s no free wood shop or canvas at my apartment!
I forgot how long it took for oil paint to get tacky (thankfully I was outside and this sped up the process) so I decided to paint my mom an early birthday present! I just started putting paint on the canvas, not really caring where or how and decided to work in the symbol for “aum”. The reds, yellows, pinks, purples, blues, and even greens I created reminded me of India – sorry, I can’t help it, I’m in love with the country – so I felt this symbol worked well. My mom and I also have the connection of traveling there and “aum” is a calming and sacred sound in many of the mantras. She has always suggested meditating to this mantra sound if I get stressed, and since she has been stressed lately, I decided to give her the same advice! I’m not sure if it’s a finished painting, I didn’t want to overwork it. I had fun outside in the sun and got messy, that’s all that matters!
As a bicycle mechanic, it was inevitable that I would build a pair of wheels for myself. I did not think that day would come so soon and I found myself unprepared for the madness. Like other forms of art, building a bicycle wheel can drive you a bit crazy in addition to teaching a great lesson. It’s time consuming, nit-picky, enjoyable (for my OCD self), and detailed. All of these things are what I love and hate about art.
Who would have thought something as simple as lining up the valve stem with the lettering on the hub could be so important in the overall look of a wheel? I certainly never considered bicycle wheel building an art until I had to make my own. Each spoke must be crossed over the other in an intricate 3-cross pattern and then tensioned equally. One cannot forget that the wheel must stay true throughout the entire process. It takes a steady hand and a lot of patience.
While I spent two days building wheels for my brand new mountain bike, I thought about how so many seemingly mundane activities and jobsin our lives are their own forms of art. So often we think artwork has to say something; be awe inspring. My experience building wheels taught me how simplicity and functionality play vital roles in art. In that simplicity I found intricate details and it made me realize how I overlook many things in my life. The basic building blocks to anything start here and usually someone else does that job. If I am building a bike from a box, I don’t have to design and paint the frame, build the wheels, or put on the components. Instead, I look at the bike as one whole instead of the tiny cogs and spokes that it is.
I’ve learned to see the artfulness of the nuts and bolts.
My trip through northern India this past January seems like it was yesterday, cliche, I know. After seeing the recent news on the devastation in Rishikesh, Uttarakhand, I cannot help but to reminisce on walking the very same paths that are now flooded and ruined by landslides and the torrential monsoon rains. People have lost their homes, Hindu pilgrims are stranded, and the death toll has reached over six hundred.
Some might say, why should we care? We are so absorbed in our own issues sometimes that we forget to look at the big picture. This city is full of life and amazing people. Holy men, aesthetics, beggars, children, mothers, fathers, workers, cows, and dogs roam the streets each day and each night attend ceremonies on the shore of the Ganges. These people matter, and I have seen only one newscast and a few small blurbs in the newspaper about this natural disaster. Who is going to know if these people go missing? Who is going to care about the man who gave me my first bindi, or the cow that ate my flower necklace?
This natural disaster has hit home for me. I have a connection to Rishikesh and I wish every day to go back to this amazing and inspring place. The statue of the Lord Shiva that sits in the Ganges is almost completely submerged. The arati ceremonies each night to put the river to sleep have stopped. The colorful fabrics and buildings are covered in muddy water. The tranquility of this town has gone for now.