When You Are the Paint on Your Canvas / by Christine Olejniczak

It's been just a few short weeks since my studio was built in my backyard. I actually ordered it online through a company called Kanga Room Systems. (Check out their website at: http://kangaroomsystems.com/) There is so much construction going on in Marfa that it is very difficult to get help with small, residential projects and this company made a long time dream come true.

It's a 16 x 20 foot structure. Complete with clearstory, well insulated, birch panel walls and bamboo floors. I've spent the last couple of weeks setting up shop and getting organized to start my practice. The re-organization has meant weeding through boxes and boxes of files, notes, journals, old art and sometimes bits and pieces of childhood memorabilia. It's been really interesting to see how long I've been hammering away at the same ideas. There are journal entries and drawings that have floated to the top of the pile and remind me that I am not at the beginning of my journey. It's hard to see how far you've gone until you look back at where you started.

As I've been prepping the space to draw, paint and record I have started a daily habit of hoop dancing for an hour a day. Sometimes I sing while I'm hooping. I feel like a living Leslie Speaker spinning around with my voice radiating throughout the space and bouncing off of the hard, resonate surfaces of the interior.

Last weekend I hoop danced in public at a Chromeo concert. The first time I've danced in public - ever. I felt like a Sufi at a rave. My body twirling in time to the beat. Everyone around me was a blur. The lights flashing, people pulsing in time to the music like one big heart. I was completely and totally in my hoop. In my head. In my body.

Today I will be participating in a reading of Steve Ramser's screenplay Empire of Dirt as part of the Marfa Film Festival. This time my voice is the required tool for the job. It surprises me that my body and all the embedded energy in it could be a piece of art - or at the very least a brush stoke in a collaborative, bigger painting.

I'm excited to see all of these different art making methods coming together. With the studio stocked and ready I am pushing myself to connect the dots. I know I have a story to tell about the land - this time I plan on revealing myself as the narrator.