Father, by Dan Hillier

Originally uploaded by Modofly
Going from a series of art retreats to the daily grind of work and starting the kid’s new school year has created a bit of cognitive dissonance in my family. Since we instituted our weekly Art Night, we sit down each Thursday night to work on some art project or other. You can smell the gears grind as we disconnect from our PTA/worker-bee selves and try to reconnect to where we were when we weren’t doing anything BUT art.

It really doesn’t work very well.

The only successful Art Nights I’ve had are the ones where I spent the previous evenings preparing — gessoing, sanding, gluing, annealing, whatever needs to happen before the composition and assembly can begin — thereby just keeping myself in the artistic mentality on a constant basis.

But when I maintain that sort of artistic headspace, it makes it very hard to take workaday concerns like housework, job and school seriously. It makes trying to be a good, “normal” dad when I’m on school property nearly impossible; I am certain everyone can see my tentacles showing. In many ways it’s worse at work, where I work on creative software tools. Go ahead, just try testing metadata support against a matrix of file formats when all you want to do is play creatively with the tools you’re testing.

Does anyone with more experience than me in keeping these worlds parallel but separate have any suggestions? Or at least predictions for the future?