Monthly Archives: September 2011

Why anything where I have to try and explain myself gives me a headache.

There’s something about having to explain myself in a concise set of words that gives me a headache. I can never quite manage to choose the right words that succeed at wrapping my whole life up into a pretty little bow. I suck at it. Fitting into the bow, I mean. Oh sure, I can explain myself. In millions of different ways. But choosing one set of cohesive words, all spelled correctly, that encompass my whole self? I don’t think so. That’s nearly impossible. The statement of my life is like a mood ring- it’s always changing. One day it’s purple, the next it’s black. Somedays I can’t even tell what color it is, let alone be able to explain it.

Ho-hum. If only I could explain myself in a song. Right now? What song would I pick, you ask?

No, I’m just kidding. This is the right one:

MIA is awesome. Love her funkiness.

And thus you see how my mind wanders.

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When in Doubt, EXERCISE.

Since we’ve been on the topic of self-doubt and artistic struggle for the past couple of weeks, I thought I’d take this opportunity to introduce you to the crazy (and artistic) world of fitness.

When I feel like crap about myself and the work that I’m creating, I exercise.

In the act of focusing on the movement of my own body, I’m able to let go, at least for the moment, of whatever it is that’s dragging me down into the dumps.

Not surprisingly, it’s often when I’m on a run in the park with my dog or swimming laps at the gym that the most profound artistic ideas dawn on me.

Not only does exercise give your bothersome, negative thoughts a breather, but it also makes you feel good about yourself.

Exercise = Wellbeing = Totally Awesome Art.

Or, in the least, it offers you a chance to come back to whatever it is you’re working on with a fresh point of view, PLUS sport killer abs in the locker room.

***Want to check out some awesome, weird fitness videos? Check out my Manic Fitness blob: I’ve been collecting them! : http://manicfitness.blogspot.com/ ***

LINKS:

http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-536/Jane-Fonda-Launching-World-Fitness-Day.html (Mind Body Green)

http://factoidz.com/american-womens-fashion-trends-and-times-by-decade-part-3-70s-80s-90s-and-now/ ( American Women’s Fashion Trends and Times by Decade, Part 3 – 70’s, 80’s, 90’s and Now)

http://dpifitness.wordpress.com/2011/03/08/inspirationa-or-fitness-expert/ (Divine Proportion Inc)

http://www.mlive.com/news/muskegon/index.ssf/2009/05/seniors_enjoy_fitness_day_at_t.html (Seniors enjoy fitness day at Tanglewood)

http://sexymalebodybuilder.blogspot.com/ (Armon Adibi Top National Competitive Bodybuilder)

The Art of BEING A CHILD AGAIN!!

Children make me happy. And they remind me that I once was a child too. Once, before I transmogrified into this adult body which I find myself in now…

I made some of my most amazing artistic discoveries as a child. I loved art because it gave me the opportunity to express myself in a way that nothing else did. Through art, I could let my imagination run free.

Children’s art is amazing because through their eyes we rediscover the world again for the first time. Because we once drew those pictures, too. Even if we’re no longer artists.

All children are artists.

And their artwork, while not always beautiful, is honest: coming straight from the heart. With a little bit of encouragement, children make art without barriers, without being shaped by others’ opinions, without doubting their own ability to make art in the first place.. They just MAKE ART. They just make it. And then they put it up on the wall for the world to see, proud of what they did.

Adult artists struggle to recreate playfulness in their work all the time; to be free to express is not so easy when you’re an adult.

STRUGGLE. The definition of struggle in the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary: to make strenuous or violent efforts in the face of difficulties or opposition; to proceed with difficulty or with great effort..

When you get in a room full of children making art, their ideas are endless. They have the idea, and they go with it. They are less concerned with the product of their artistic endeavors, and more with the physical action of hitting the brush to the page, of gluing the yarn, of blending the colors, of telling the story…

Is it the development of artistic technique that kills the essence of our work as adult artists? Or is it society that shapes us to slowly lose our childhood touch?

Perhaps it is a combination of both.

No matter where we are as artists (with or without technique), we can’t forget that ART is about PLAY. It really is. It’s not about struggling to make a painstaking diagram that maps the future of humankind. It’s about expressing what we see, in a different way, and sharing it. And it can be FUN. ART can be FUN. That’s a mantra I have to say over and over again to myself. Not just that art CAN be fun, but that art IS fun. ART is FUN. It feels good to say it. ART is FUN. ART is FUN. ART is FUN. ART is FUN. ART is FUN. ART is FUN. Isn’t that what you thought as a child? ART is FUN. ART is FUN. ART is FUN. ART is FUN. ART is FUN. ART is FUN!


LINKS:

http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/struggle (Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary)

http://fort-greene.thelocal.nytimes.com/tag/the-fridge/page/3/ (The Fridge)

http://www.mama.org/caa/gallery/ (Museum of Ancient and Modern Art)

http://www.flickr.com/photos/78392448@N00/54641857/ (Marc Portier’s Photostream)

http://modernfolklorists.wordpress.com/category/child-artraw-art/page/3/ (The File Cabinet of Curiosities)

http://www.funkorchildart.com/ChildrenArt.php (Funkor Child Art Center)

The Art of Self Doubt

Every person has their ups and downs. Every artist has her ups and downs too. Yesterday I was up, today I am down. Perhaps tomorrow I will be up again. Nothing is perfect. Every project is always growing and changing. For the past several weeks since I’ve been back in grad school, with this being my last year and my big thesis project looming up in the near future, it’s as if I’ve been on a rollercoaster of new artistic ideas that both excite me and at the same time couldn’t be more terrifying. One day I think I know exactly what I’m going to do, and the next day it’s all up in the air again. I do already have certain elements that I know I want to explore, and am already exploring, but how I want to execute it and the medium(s) that I choose to work with are still in questioning. Yesterday over an amazing pancake breakfast, I wrote nonstop for over two hours what I thought would be the first draft of the film I am (or was) going to make for my thesis. It was invigorating. The words just flowed out of me. They needed to sit on that page. And I felt great about it.. until I went back and read the script in the evening. The second time around, it didn’t seem as exciting as the first. In fact, it seemed so short and simple, not at all what I was really going for….. Today.. well, today I’m torn in between. In a lot of ways there are many elements within what I wrote that excite me. Certainly some new ideas came up from my inspired pancake writings. However, perhaps it is also okay to decide that even though it was inspiring in the moment, and I needed to get those ideas out, I don’t have to stick with the script that I created at all. I can let it go. And go back to the drawing board. And think again. And reassemble. And think again. And doubt again. And then feel inspired and confident again. And perhaps, eventually, string all the ideas that really hit home together and make something out of them. It’s an ongoing process. And it’s not always easy. But that’s a part of art making. Art making is not one continuous inspiration. It can also be hell sometimes. But maybe it’s the struggle that in the end creates the most meaningful work. Because you have to really think about it. You have to doubt in order to believe again.

Photo credit:

http://www.utopia-britannica.org.uk/pages/New%20Harmony.htm

The Art of the TV Dinner

I don’t eat tv dinners a lot, but once in a while you just gotta give it up for a quick and easy meal. My favorite is Amy’s Kitchen- tamales, veggie loafs, mashed potatoes, Chana Masalah, enchiladas… Yummy nummy. At the supermarket, if you’re going to Meijer’s, for instance, the biggest section in the store is the frozen dinner section. How can you not spend hours there trying to decide on which tv dinner to buy? The choices are neverending. To be a successful tv dinner salesman, you’d probably make a lot of money coming up with the most creative tv dinner. If I were to create my own concoction, here are a few ingredients I might include.

Recipe for the Artistic TV Dinner

The Miraculous Sweet Potatoe.

Mother of the rooted vegetable, this curvy creature brings a healthy mix into the artistic mix. Peel her sexy skin and steam her up and you’re started with your tv dinner.

 

Carob.

In case you didn’t already know, Carob plants are planted by bats. They eat the Carob Tree Pods and spit out the seeds. And the Coyotes? Well, the coyotes are known to disperse the indigestible Carob Tree seeds in their feces. It is an essential part in the Artistic TV Dinner to ingest our animal instincts. Being one with our animal ancestors puts ferocious energy into our tv dinner bodies. Toss a few baked carob seeds into the mix.

 

A strand of hair from Mother Theresa’s Head.

One strand from the Blessed Mother’s head and you will have love-giving inspiration for life. Cut the strand up into centimeter-long pieces and sprinkle it into the mix.

 

A Pound of Salt.

Nothing tastes good without a mouthwatering pound of salt. Throw it on top of the mix.

 

And there you have it! The perfect microwaveable tv dinner. Sit back and relax, turn the tv on, and indulge in the plentifulness.

Links

http://www.health-fitness.com.au/sweet-potato/ (Health & Fitness)

http://www.batplants.co.uk/carobfinal.htm (Bats, Plants and People)

http://carolynpankallaministries.onlybusiness.com/About-Carolyn.aspx (Carolyn Broken Into Beautiful)

http://salteuropa.com/salt/en/produse/industriala/ (Salt Europa)

Art That Brings People Together

Unfortunately, 9/11 divided people just as much if not more than it brought them together. On the 10-year anniversary of the tragic event, of course we want to honor those who died and the families who lost them; remembering that sad day when all hell broke loose in New York and across the world. However, as so much of the alternative media is discussing in relation to the ten years that have passed since that day, a lot else has happened. And I’m sure you’ve already heard that it ain’t all good. Rather than try and sound overly smart myself, I’m just going to quote a few articles I’ve read over the day that have struck home for me.

The first is from Al Jazeera English, in an article written by Mark Weisbrott titled “The Decade of 9/11: war without end”:

The most important way that 9/11 changed the world, as tens of millions of Americans understand, is that it provided an over-arching theme and a rationale for the kinds of military adventures, invasions, bombings, interventions and atrocities that our government had previously carried out under other pretexts. For half a century the “war against Communism” served this purpose.

From OpEdNews, in an article written by Abdus-Sattar Ghazali titled “American Muslims ten years after 9/11”:

Alarmingly, the post-911 America has become less friendly to Muslims to the extent that they have probably replaced other minorities – Hispanics, Native Americans and Afro Americans – as targets of discrimination, hate and prejudice. Many American Muslims have a story of discriminative treatment ranging from physical attacks, a nasty gaze, casual comments to work place harassment, burning mosques and the Quran. Muslims have witnessed the ever-growing marginalization of their communities. According to a PEW survey released on August 30, 2011, forty-three percent had personally experienced harassment in the past year. The survey also said that 52 two percent of Muslim Americans complained that their community is singled out by government for surveillance.

And from USA Today in an article by Harriet Baskas titled “How the airport experience has changed since 9/11”:

Outside of sending men and women to war in Afghanistan and Iraq, no aspect of Americans’ way of life has been changed by the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks as much as their travel — especially air travel. Many Americans say government air security requirements intrude in their lives in ways that not only inconvenience them, but also invade their privacy, humiliate them and even change the ways they behave.

Rather than dwelling too far on all the negatives, I’ve decided instead to look at the role of art as a medium to bring people together. Often referred to as participatory art, interactive art, and social practice, this style of art often brings art into public spaces, encouraging participation and interaction between people who might not usually come together in everyday circumstances. Here are a few examples of some of my favorites:

Improv Everywhere’s “Say Something Nice” project. To read more about their project, visit the post on their website at: http://improveverywhere.com/2011/08/22/say-something-nice/

French street artist JR’s “Inside Out” project. Visit his website here: http://jr-art.net/

Spencer Tunick’s crouching nudes in Mexico City (http://www.thecreatorsproject.com/en-uk/blog/creativity-bytes-a-guide-to-participatory-art)

Marina Abramović: The Artist Is Present (http://www.whatisparticipatoryart.com/)

Nick Tobier’s mobile hot chocolate tent (http://playgallery.org/stories/nick_tobier/)

Rose Petal Pool by Rounder (Joanne Jovinelly/Figment) (http://radioboston.wbur.org/2010/06/04/cambridge-river-fest)

Cardboardia. (http://cardboardia.info/)

Do you have more info or links to art that brings people together? Please share them below!!! Thank you.

Article Links:

http://english.aljazeera.net/indepth/opinion/2011/09/2011910151711228528.html (Al Jazeera English, “The Decade of 9/11: war without end”)

http://www.opednews.com/articles/American-Muslims-ten-years-by-Abdus-Sattar-Ghaza-110905-979.html (OpEdNews, “American Muslims ten years after 9/11”)

http://travel.usatoday.com/experts/baskas/story/2011-09-07/How-the-airport-experience-has-changed-since-911/50300998/1 (USA Today, “How the airport has changed since 9/11)

Stop Motion + Lo-Fi Awesomeness

I am IN LOVE with stop motion animation mixed with live action in film. I’m also obsessed with lo-fi quality, the kind of lo-fi that is obviously fake but offers the magic of using your imagination (*gasp*) to believe it. Here are a few of my favorite examples:

Alice in Wonderland by Lou Brunin, 1949. This film is magical. The cardboard sets are so theatrical, the flicker of the film so old. The scene where Alice is swimming in her tears is amazing- so obviously green-screened and yet so wonderful. The young actress who plays Alice’s hair is obviously bleached blonde. The world of the Queen, all red, is fantastic. Watch this whole film. Go on, watch it. It’s worth it. Move over, pixel animation!!!

Food, Part 1 & 2 by Jan Svankmajer. Czech surrealist filmmaker Jan Svankmajer is my idol. I LOVE LOVE LOVE his work. It’s the perfect combination of live acting and stop motion animation. It’s dark and humorous. It’s disturbing and beautiful. I have watched his films over and over trying to figure out how he does it. Truly a brilliant artist. Watch his films. Watch all of them. Now.

The Blob, 1958 version. Oh, the Blob. How I love it so. It’s like a cross between a big piece of red jello and strawberry jam. And yet, it keeps getting bigger and bigger! Here’s a horror film that I’ll actually watch. Why? Because I can still believe that it won’t actually happen. And despite that, it still holds the exciting suspense that horror films should, without the grossness of being too realistic. I’ve seen the advertisements for the newer 1986 version of The Blob, and it just looks disgusting. Yes, perhaps I should actually watch it to know for sure, but I prefer the older version, there’s just something about it and lo-fi films in general that excite me more than the newer ones.

Has the art world progressed too much for its own good? Has increasingly fancy technology turned it to the shit? Or, am I just too nostalgic for the past? What do you think?