Sunday, December 11, 2011

The Door is Wide Open


It has been a long time since I blogged about my professional life.  I will now take this nugget of time to get you all up to speed.

After a long 4 years at college I graduated after finishing my Scottish Identity class where I spent a month traveling the country learning about the people, their culture, national identity, and personal drive.  I learned many things about how people (myself included) attach themselves to a culture, idea, or country.

On a personal level being Scottish myself I wondered where my family was from or what it would be like if my family had never left.  I'd like to explore making artwork that explores the concept of loss of speech and identity.  I can recall visiting Sabhal Mor Ostaig (a Gaelic speaking college) and I felt removed because even though my heritage places my family there I have no tongue to speak it.  I was removed from my own land and that because I didn't speak it and I didn't belong there.

When growing up I felt the same way with people who spoke Finnish in Michigan's Upper Peninsula (UP). (where I'm from)  They had a home language to speak with family and friends and you just feel like an alien from a different country who looked different and couldn't speak their language.  I felt like such an outsider to a culture I couldn't tap into because of a language barrier.

At Sabhal Mor Ostaig I felt just as removed and that same isolated feeling that I had as a kid.  I tried so hard to speak it, my tongue felt like it had lost all ability and my frustrations with the language swelled.  They told me that the language wasn't like English or German (a language I dabbled in at college).  In addition it would take years to understand it.  I put it on my long list of things I need to explore more.

A excellent book I found at the Scottish record office in Edinburgh relates to this.  It's called 'Glencoe and the Indians' it's about American Indians and the Scottish.  I feel a strong connection to the displacement in this book because of the Scots being removed form the Highlands in the Sutherland Clearances and a displacement of Indians in America in relation to the cultural displacement in my life.  I suspect my family to be removed from the Highlands and my own suspicions of Native American in my blood.

Venture to even further connect the displacement feeling to the Upper and Lower Peninsulas of Michigan.  As a Yooper going to school downstate I have encountered people who maliciously insult my culture as a Yooper.  Examples are: Why don't you crawl back across the border? or  Don't you marry your own cousins up there?  Although I will never forget, You have running water up there?  The Upper Peninsula in Michigan is viewed as England views Scotland.

I envision a typographic related graphic creation on an image of Sabhal Mor Ostaig about feeling displaced.  Even though you are in a place you are disconnected because of a language barrier.  You can travel thousands of miles to get to a place and you should understand because it's in your blood but everything's in a foreign language.

In other realms of life I got a job with AmeriCorps VISTA at Lansing's Mid-Michigan branch of Junior Achievement this past November.  Junior Achievement is program that promotes financial literacy in public school in classrooms K-12.

Being in Lansing has and will help me connect with getting more work related to my field.  I am very much looking forward to it.  As for right now I'd like to keep the craft a live by creating logos or brands for non-profits free of charge. (because I am unable to make any kind of wage in VISTA)  This would be a time for great experience and help work on my portfolio.  For now I have a million concepts to work with and now it's time to focusing in and making a exciting project.