Category Archives: MFA

Home Art VS. “Art” Art

Moving can be a pain. From the packing to the cleaning to the moving to the hauling to the cleaning to the unpacking again, it is a HUGE task that should be done as un-often as possible. That said, my husband and I just moved. It was our first move in three years, which was a nice buffer time from the previous moves we had done while living in Indonesia from 2005-2009 (a total of 4 times in four years, including repainting the walls in every house!). Unfortunately this time around, buffer time = more stuff. In the three years of my grad school artist career, we managed to go from the 4 suitcases we brought with us from Indonesia to I don’t even know how many boxes, furniture items and random trinkets we managed to accumulate. Furniture/belongings + large art projects which include Red Blobs, suitcases of costumes, mansuits, masks, oodles of clamp lights, big hunks of clay and random goodness that perhaps someday will feed inspiration, end up being a major pain in the ass.

Luckily, we managed to survive!!! And now here we are, five blocks away from where we used to be, in a cute little house with a giant backyard and garage (which I referenced as the new art-studio-to-be in my last blog post.) Things are still half-packed, and there’s plenty of cleaning left to do, but finally we feel glad we have moved. Yay!!!

And that’s when the creative ideas start to flow.. The fun thing about moving to a new house is that with it comes lots of new artistic possibility. The artistic possibility is partly for projects that are non-home related, however in the beginning the bulk of them have to do with interior decoration, DIY yard projects, garage studio designs, and an overall ‘plumping up’ of the home environment. As I face this new creative excitement, there’s unfortunately still that grad school critique voice lingering in my head..

“Emilia…” it gurgles, “don’t spend too much time on your house! Don’t forget that you still have to be an Artist (with a capital “A”). Don’t forget about the artist residencies you still need to apply for, the exhibitions you need to submit to, the film project you need to finish, the CV you need to update, the website you need to complete, the new project ideas you need to think of and propose…. the grants you need to apply for, the artist statements you need to write, the creative work documentation you need to gather, the collaborations you need to nurture, the creative brainstorming you need to do!!!!” The list could go on and on. Choosing the path as an artist unfortunately comes with its own set of baggage, and no matter where you move to or how great your house looks, it’s still going to hover behind your back as the constant task that you “should” be doing. Being an artist is a full-time job. So.. how the hell am I supposed to decorate my house??!

HOME ART VS. “ART” ART:

An argument for Home Art: Home art is art that makes you feel good. It’s creativity that you get to enjoy every day, without feeling like you have to sell it or give it away to someone else. Home art is inspired, designed and created for you and you only. It can be argued that an inspiring home environment fuels the artist in you to be creative.

An argument against Home Art: Unfortunately, home art projects are endless. With the amount of space that our new backyard offers, and the other creative possibilities that exist within the house and garage, I could foresee myself spending the next year or longer just working on home projects and never, *sniff*, being a Real Artist (with a capital “R” and “A”) again.

Oh, the terror!!! Of never being an artist again. Every artist’s worst nightmare. The haunting question that comes back and back again, especially after graduating from art school and suddenly being out on your own in the world… “Will I EVER be an artist again???????!!”

Well, hopefully yes. And honestly, there’s nothing wrong with letting your creativity follow its own instinct. If I’m not feeling like making that stop motion film quite yet, or designing the next Buoj iz Jeb mansuit, then maybe artistically upgrading my home environment is the next best thing I can do. Certainly working on the art studio in the garage, even if it’s not considered making “real” art, will influence the art made later on. Likewise, the hangout area for the backyard, the filing cabinet for the bedroom, the space-saving design of the kitchen, the art on the walls of the bathroom… Who knows, really, where artistic inspiration comes from? Quoting Anais Nin: “”My ideas usually come not at my desk writing but in the midst of living.”

And so, without further ado, here are some of the Home Art projects I have in mind!!!! :

DIY Large Work Table:

DIY Jewelry Organizer:

Salvaged Door Coffee Table:

DIY Cork Pencil Holder and Organizer:

DIY Backyard Theater Screen:

And maybe someday.. a Backyard DIY Rollercoaster!!!!:

Image Sources:
4 Tips for Social Media Beginners
Monster Mouth
Three Property Rights Judgements
Reminiscence of Childhood
DIY Large Work Table
Roundup: 12 Swoon-Worthy DIY Jewelry Organizers
Make It: Salvaged Door Coffee Table
Make It: Easy DIY Cork Pencil Holder and Organizer
DIY backyard theater screen
Make a Backyard DIY Roller Coaster

The RED BLOB MASSACRE Trailer!!

Hi everyone,

I promise that this will be the last self-promotion post I write in a while :). It’s just, well, I had an earlier post about my MFA Thesis project, “Red Blob Massacre”, which I wrote right in the midst of making with golden promises of more stories to come, which in the end never did because I got lazy (and started a full-time job directly after graduating).

Anyway, to make a long story short, especially considering that it’s almost 3am in the morning and I’ve been editing at my computer since 4pm in the afternoon (and have to work at 9am), I will cut the small talk and just give you the meat of this lovely blog post.

The Trailer for RED BLOB MASSACRE:

Thanks for watching, please tell your friends! This was definitely one of my most spectacular (and grueling) projects yet, and I’m proud of it!

The link to the RED BLOB MASSACRE website: www.redblobmassacre.com

HOW TO FAIL AS AN ARTIST.

Hello friends!! I’m back at last. Life has had its ups and downs recently, as it always does. Since my last post, I finished my graduate thesis show, graduated from grad school with an MFA in Studio Art, and started working full-time at the university. It’s been a whirlwind, to say the least.

I know that I said I’d post a whole big thing about my graduate thesis show, but I’m lazy now. I’m sorry. I did, however, post it all on the film’s website: www.redblobmassacre.com. Check out the Premiere Photos to see images from the event. It was AMAZING!!! It was worth the hard work. I’ll be doing it again in October, 2012 at River Gallery Fine Art in Chelsea, MI: http://www.chelsearivergallery.com/ . A completely different venue than the premiere, but an equally awesome challenge and opportunity!!

Now. The real reason for this post. Duh duh duhhhh…..

HOW TO FAIL AS AN ARTIST.

Now that I’ve graduated from grad school with the masterfully revered MASTERS OF FINE ARTS, the big question is… will I ever make a LIVING as an ARTIST????!!!

Most MFA graduates go on to sustain themselves as Professors, or in other jobs that may or may not be creative in some way. Few of them go on to be the art millionaires whose successes equal those of Damien Hurst and Marina Abromovic. Many who do, are blessed with family funds that sustain their practice and free them from the constraints of having to have another job to survive until they make it big.

As I face the hump of 40 hours a week in my current future, there are obstacles that will keep me from being the free artist that most people envision successful artists to be. But then again, without a job, I wouldn’t have an income to purchase the supplies I need, to sustain my mental wellbeing of health and relative security that may in the long run contribute to my practice as an artist.

My fear, of course, is that from this point on, my career as an artist will FAIL. I will NEVER be an artist again. Goodbye art school, goodbye art practice. Goodbye time. Goodbye inspiration…

In ode to my own fears, I have created a list of ways that I probably could FAIL as an ARTIST. Here they are:

1) Give up before you start again.

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2) Never have the time:

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3) Doubt your ability to make art:

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4) Have too many bills to pay:

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5) Allow your JOB to take over your LIFE:

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6) Run out of IDEAS:

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7) Run out of opportunities:

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8) Have 10 kids:

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9) Decide/realize that art is pointless:

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Phew! I feel better now. When I look back at the list, I admit that there are probably many more ways to FAIL as an artist. But I also see the list and think… well, that’s pretty stupid. I mean, it’s stupid to even fear those things. Because yes, all of them are threats to continuing a life as an artist. But they are also all things that are universal, not shared just by artists, but by everyone who exists each day as a whole. I think it’s okay to experience all of those things at some point in time (although I’m not sure about having 10 kids), but as long as it’s not an ALL THE TIME kind of thing, it should be okay. If the artist suffers just as the rest of the world does, it’s probably better than living in the privileged artist bubble that is completely removed and oblivious to the real world.

I will work my job, and I will enjoy it. I will continue to make art, and enjoy that too. I will have my ups and downs, but I will keep on making. I don’t know what I will make, but that’s okay. It’s good not to know. Perhaps it will be something incredible.

And lastly, I’d just like to say that sometimes FAILURE is not so bad. Failing at something, as long as you try again, is sometimes better than being successful right from the beginning.

Image Sources:

http://charleneburke.com/2011/10/ready-to-give-up-50-things-you-should-give-up-starting-today/ (Ready to Give Up- 50 Things you should give up starting today)

http://thewordthoughtsblog.blogspot.com/2011/08/time.html (Time)

http://katerawlings.com/2012/01/11/self-doubt-youre-not-alone/ (Self Doubt? You’re not alone)

http://uncyclopedia.wikia.com/wiki/File:Bills.gif (Bills)

http://www.cartoonstock.com/directory/t/time_slave.asp (Time Slave Cartoon)

http://laurencehunt.blogspot.com/2011/04/its-duh-kind-of-day-in-gold-stocks.html (It’s a duh kind of day in gold stocks)

http://www.extracriticum.com/extra_criticum/2012/01/accentuate-the-positive.html (Cartoon: Accentuate the Positive)

http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/news/3749964/Mum-on-30k-a-year-in-benefits-seeks-charity-aid.html (10 kids with 4 different men)

http://www.destructoid.com/about-the-art-debate-please-shut-the-f-k-up-226826.phtml (About the ‘art’ debate: Please shut the f**k up)

http://www.destructoid.com/about-the-art-debate-please-shut-the-f-k-up-226826.phtml (Smile Saturday)

Red Blob Massacre: a silent horror film and live performance

Dear Readers,

Hi. How are you? I’m fine, thanks. Well actually, no I’m in freak-out mode. I’m in total spasm art mode. I’m in the wind-up mode until my graduate thesis project finally explodes in the eyes of the public next Thursday & Friday night, April 5 & 6. And then it will all be over. Well, almost anyways.

It’s interesting to track a project from its beginning all the way through to its current fruition. I say current fruition because even though next week this project will extend its long limbs out into the public sphere, it most certainly will continue to grow and develop into the future- be that at the international film festivals I intend to submit it to, as well as the art shows and live performance events I hope to present it at. In many ways, what’s special about this project is that it can fit into various modes of transmission. That, I hope, will transform the many, many hours that I and many others have put into this project into something greater than itself.

The project is a silent horror film and live performance titled Red Blob Massacre. 

Honestly, I wish I had the time and energy to explain all about the concept and research and inspiration and so on, but even just starting this blog post in the midst of it all makes me feel stressed out about all the things I should be doing to actually MAKE THIS EVENT HAPPEN.

So, for the time being, I’m going to include some screen shots below, and direct you to a few links which will at least introduce you more to the project until I come back in two weeks or so to tell you how it went. I’ve put a LOT into this project. And I’m more excited about it than anything I’ve worked on for a while. And as I mentioned before, so many great people have been involved with it. I hope, if you have the time, that you’ll visit the links I’ve included and tell your friends all about it. Thanks so much for your support.

Synopsis: A silent horror film and live performance. Maddy Blitz is a young woman with horrendous-looking teeth. Maddy’s nightmares of not fitting in clump together to form a giant RED BLOB that confronts her tormenters, eventually growing so big that it……..

Collaborators:

Written & Directed by: Emilia Javanica (me!)
Assistant Directors: Ian MacInnes & Jan Trumbauer
Director of Photography: Jessica Renée Lee
Assistant Director of Photography: Alan Torres
Lighting Design: Matt Infante
Puppet Design & Art Direction: Emilia Javanica
First Assistant Camera: Walter Lin
Grips:Joe Reed & Brett Firlik
Sound Design: Simon Alexander-Adams
Location Sound: Mike Chen, Rolando Palacio, Živan Rosić, Wes Swartz & Eric Lundgard
Green Screen Videographer: Jacques Mersereau
Green Screen Lighting Design: Jeff Alder
Editing & Stop Motion Animation: Emilia Javanica

Cast:

Emilia Javanica, Jan Trumbauer, Skyler Kragt, Taylor Henkin, John Kannenberg, Jeffrey Kaplan, Jeannine Thompson, Ali Amine and the RED BLOB

Red Blob Massacre blog site: http://redblobmassacre.wordpress.com/

Interview about process with Mark Maynard: http://markmaynard.com/2012/03/emilia-javanica-on-the-red-blob-massacre-and-what-its-like-to-shoot-ones-first-independent-film/

Red Blob Massacre on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/RED-BLOB-MASSACRE/360836520597395

Red Blob Massacre on Twitter: https://twitter.com/#!/RedBlobMassacre

And last but not least, the poster for the premiere, which as I mentioned above, is happening NEXT WEEK!!!:

Comic Procrastination

I’m not going to say too much today, because I’m deep in the throes of trying to finish up a grant proposal that’s due tomorrow. In fleeting moments of procrastination over the past two hours, I have collected some entertaining comics that at least for a moment have taken my mind off the grind of asking for money. There’s nothing like a little humorous interlude to put things in perspective.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Image Links

http://www.graphixia.cssgn.org/2011/07/04/30-who-wears-the-tights-in-this-relationship-selfhood-and-identity-in-grant-morrisons-batman-and-robin/

http://www.buffalorumblings.com/2009/11/26/1171942/happy-thanksgiving-nfl-week-12

http://www.thefunnycartoon.com/funny-cartoon/funny-cartoon/bztoons—cartoon-gallery.html

http://www.funnycartoonpictures.net/postcard.img287.htm

http://www.glasbergen.com/diet-health-fitness-medical/?album=2&gallery=59

http://baloo-baloosnon-politicalcartoonblog.blogspot.com/2010/10/dieting-cartoon.html

Art with Googly Eyes

I don’t know about you, but I’m a big fan of googly eyes. Working on my thesis project for grad school, which will be a lo-fi horror film and live performance titled Red Blob Massacre, I’m all about giving my Red Blob character googly eyes. There’s something about googly eyes that adds a bit of humor to any situation. Googly eyes have a DIY feel to them, you can buy them for cheap at any local JoAnn Fabrics or other art store, and they turn anything into a character. What more could you want?!

Here are several examples I discovered of the creative use of googly eyes:

Baby Googly Eyes

Googly Eye Breakfast

Googly Fashion

Googly Veggies

Googly Framed

Street Art Googly

Googly Googly Monster

Googly Face

Blue Monster Googly

Googly Eyes on a Rock

And I can’t make this blog post featuring googly eyes without including some of the work by my amazing husband, who is a painter and artist:

I have to say that googly eyes in his artwork are my favorite out of all of them. And that’s not just because he’s my husband!! To check out more of his work, visit his website(s): http://swidyoa.com/home.html, http://www.impressionphotography.com/swa/index.html and Etsy: http://www.etsy.com/shop/Biantu.

On another note, in the creation of this blog post I realized that my amazing blog post ideas are far from original. There are several googly eye posters out there!! For more interesting googly eye sightings, visit here: http://googlyeyewatch.blogspot.com/.

 

Image Links:

http://www.googlieyes.net/2010/11/my-first-post/ (GoogliEyes)

http://hilobrow.com/2010/09/02/merit-badge-2/ (Hilo Brow)

http://dollarstorecrafts.com/2011/10/fashion-diy-louboutin-googly-eye-slingbacks/ (Dollar Store Crafts)

http://www.thebandfrom.com/indoor-gardening-tips/2009/03/ (Indoor Gardening Tips)

http://artsandcraftss.com/tag/craft-googly-eyes/ (Art Sand Craftss)

http://ny.racked.com/archives/2011/03/30/mr_googly_eyes_replaces_lady_gaga_in_nolita.php (Mr. Googly Eyes Replaces Lady Gaga in Nolita)

http://www.wijom.com/Monster_Paintings.php (Wijom!)

http://www.art.uiowa.edu/gradimages/gradarchive.php?artist=Krueger,%20Adam%20C. (School of Art & Art History, University of Iowa)

http://www.makingthingsmove.com/2011/09/the-blue-monster/ (Making Things Move)

http://googlyeyewatch.blogspot.com/2008/05/nina-katchadourian-loves-googly-eyes.html ( Nina Katchadourian loves googly eyes )

Die Tomato, Die!!!

Last night I performed a piece, Die Tomato, Die!!! at the Performance Laboratory, which is a bi-monthly performance event I co-curate at the Contemporary Art Institute Detroit. The theme for this month was Death.

I performed Die Tomato, Die!!! for the first time last April in a seminar in grad school, then titled Tomato Smashing. Here are some pictures from that performance:

It was a successful performance, and I made a lot of discoveries by doing it. One of them was that smashing tomatoes with a hammer was more difficult than I thought (they roll off the table, especially if they’re not ripe enough). Another, that the juice sprays everywhere, including on the audience, who in that particular space space (an empty studio space) was in close proximity. As they were sprayed with squirts of tomato juice, my peers grabbed a plastic sheet on the floor that just happened to be there, and used it to protect themselves from the bursts. There were plenty of  yelps and squeaks as I worked away with my hammer. It was hard to be serious even though I was trying to be- I really didn’t know what would happen, and everything was unfolding in the moment.

The performance was aimed to be an exploration of the RED BLOB, which has been a theme I’ve been experimenting with in my work over the past year. I’ve done all kinds of experiments around the idea of what the red blob might represent, without wanting to define it too specifically as one particular thing. In the tomato smashing context, the tomato represents food and cooking (and a female doing it), there is something quite gorey about it as it is smashed, and it has an interesting context in a performance, especially with me, as the performer, smashing it. Usually it’s the audience members who throw the tomato at the performer…

So, with all these things in mind, I recreated this performance last night at the Performance Laboratory for The Death Show. And it went really well! In the context of death and horror (two other themes I’m working a lot with right now), I wanted to continue with the seriousness of the piece, choosing atmospheric ‘scary’ background music. I chose a costume that was a bit more ‘glamorous’ than the previous one, and was a red color just a bit deeper than the tomatoes, but would be partially hidden behind my white apron. I also added a timer, that I set to 10 minutes long, which is the duration limit for each piece at the Performance Lab. I added rubber gloves, which accentuated the horror effect and made a lot of people laugh in nervous anticipation. And lastly, I handed out plastic bags to the audience members in the first row, who were in close proximity to my table. Oh, the anticipation!!!! AND, I waited to enter for added suspense- just the audience staring at those shiny red tomatoes and a hammer with plastic bags on their laps, waiting for something to happen….

Here are pictures from the performance:

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I have to say, this is definitely one of the most satisfying performances I’ve ever done in my entire life. There is something so incredibly liberating about covering an audience in tomato juice. And even though it was a serious piece, there was a lot of laughter, a lot of participation, and a continuous dialogue between me and the audience. This is still a work-in-progress, and I plan on continuing to develop it for more future performances. I feel so thankful to have the Performance Laboratory as a continuous forum to try things out and experiment. I couldn’t have asked for a more willing and accepting audience, one willing to get covered in tomato juice for the sake of good and experimental art. I don’t know if this would happen everywhere… it would certainly have to depend on the context, and the space that I performed it in.

You can read a review of the Performance Laboratory’s Death Show on the Midwest Theater Review: http://midwesttheatre.wordpress.com/2011/10/22/detroits-performance-laboratory-journey-to-the-interdisciplinary-fringe-a-review-by-edmund-lingan/

For more info about the Performance Laboratory, please visit our facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Performance-Laboratory/139602749441643. I co-curate this event with collaborator Carrie Morris. It takes place at the Contemporary Art Institute Detroit (CAID) every other month, featuring short works by artists and performers that explore what performance is, and what it can be.