October 24, 2015

10/23/15 – Noontime with Noonan

Artist: Jeremy Noonan

Location: Chartreuse Kitchen & Cocktails

Breakfast:

JN – “Black” lemonade, smoked salmon sandwich with kettle chips

SRS – “Black” lemonade, fried egg sandwich with fingerling potatoes

First off, shout out to Chartreuse. It came highly recommended, and it did not disappoint. Here’s hoping it can hold its own in a notoriously difficult location for restaurants to survive (I have no idea why, but, like, four have gone through there in the time I’ve been here).

Secondly, shout out to people who have gotten out there and lived around the country. Metro Detroit native, Jeremy Noonan has covered serious territory, living in New Jersey, Minneapolis, Savannah–not to mention taking an extended visit to Australia among his many travels. I think there are people who grow where they’re planted, and then others who are inextricably drawn to expand their experience. Jeremy and I are both in the latter category. It’s not that there’s anything wrong, per se, with the places where we’re from–obviously, Jeremy has returned to his native land, and I come from the Bay Area, which is generally considered a pretty nice place (especially if you moved there in 1964 or if you have a spare $6 million dollars lying around). I think it is really difficult to appreciate the place you are born into without leaving for awhile, to get some outside perspective. This is probably true in Detroit more than other places, because naturally, the longer you’ve been in a place, the more memories are attached to things–and in Detroit’s case, there’s been a long run of not-so-good associations. A newcomer might see an empty lot, full of potential, or a broken-down house as a fix-it-up project; a long-timer might see the place where their best friend’s house once stood, before their family moved away. It colors your perspective. Which is why, for all the (justifiable) mixed feelings about the recent influx of newcomers to the city, a lot of people will acknowledge that new energy and fresh perspective is vital.

Another interesting thing that I learned about Jeremy is how well-rounded he is, in terms of being both creatively motivated and professionally grounded. He got his Masters from Cranbrook while working part time as an industrial designer. He learned weaving and fabric design in the context of a textile factory where he worked in New Jersey. He is a great example of the benefits of getting paid to do research that might later manifest as a creative skill set. Anytime there is a way to take a straight job and still be adding tools to your artistic repertoire, it’s a great idea to pursue that opportunity.

And make no mistake – these tools include learning how to manage a freelance existence, how to find a good accountant or contract lawyer (and learn from them!), how to invest resources and time into self-promotion and not just materials, how to network (hint: do not refer to it as “networking.” It really just means talking to people and paying extra attention to ways you might be helpful to each other)–a host of other practical business skills that a lot of artists shy away from because, you know, they are not the fun part where we follow creative inspiration. The sooner you drop your romantic notions about being an artist, and understand it to be, at the end of the day, a business arrangement with yourself (just as–sorry, diehard romantics–a marriage is a business arrangement, falsely billed as a romantic attachment), the sooner you will be able to appropriately distribute your efforts to support your practice.

You know who is really on top of this idea? Creative Many, who is hosting an OPEN TO THE PUBLIC summit today, with out-of-town presenters – and there is still time for you to go!

CRITICAL CONTEXTS
Date: Saturday October 24, 2015
Time: 12:00 – 4:00 pm (we will begin promptly at 12pm)
Location: Outdoor Adventure Center (1801 Atwater St., Detroit, MI 48207)
Parking: Free parking available in the gated lot on the corner of St. Aubin and Atwater St.
Parking instructions: http://bit.ly/critcontparking

Agenda:
11:30 am – 12:00 pm – Arrivals
12:00 – 12:15 pm – Welcome
12:15 – 1:15 pm – Future Forward Conversation (Kimberly Drew and Bonnie Russell)
1:15 – 2:00 pm – #BTF Lunch
2:00 – 3:00 pm – Context and Inclusivity Conversation (Andre Torres and Jen Schmitz)
3:00 – 4:00 pm –  Sci-fi visioning workshop (Adrienne Maree Brown)

We didn’t talk a whole lot about Jeremy’s work, but I have written a bit about it here, and look forward to seeing some new stuff, as it comes into the world. In the meantime, I sense we’re both dreaming about our next out-of-town excursion. Folks like us, we can’t stay put for too long, with all those worlds to conquer out there.

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