…be dissolute, be despotic, be an anarchist, be a suffragette, be anything you like, but for pity’s sake be it to the top of your bent… Let’s live, you and I, as none have ever lived before.” ~ Violet Trefusis to her lover Vita Sackville-West (who never did leave her husband) (early 20th century), quoted in Janet E. Hardy’s book, ‘GirlFag’.
Friend, “Artists are antennas for the future, that’s why they have to be so sensitive. You’re just a well lubricated antennae” – a very comforting, although perhaps ‘egotistical’ thought, I can work with that, this really helps my soul!
Over the past couple of days I’ve been going through all of my photographs, putting together some options for an upcoming school project to make a ‘graphic novel/visual narrative/book’. I don’t want to give too much away/it’s still in the planning/research stages so will likely evolve considerably throughout it’s creation, but I’m working with the themes of skin, specifically my own skin and psoriasis (which is a chronic auto immune disease that causes my skin cells to multiply too quickly, and covers over 70% of my body in scab like, red circular patterns), as well as imagery & ideas I relate or attach to it. Like:
flowers, dust, crystals, blood, the nervous system, cells, wounds, scar tissue, the female body as public space, toxins, stars, solar systems, leopard print, patterns (in design and metaphorically), paint, fungus, fish, lace, chalk, femininity, fragility, (re-defining) beauty, ect.
Mostly I’ve been scanning, cropping and editing for hours while drinking cocktails and feeling strangely inspired by just tinting a bunch of forgotten photo’s pink. ‘skin hues’.
Right now I’m almost as far back as exactly a year ago and I just love the way this one from my road trip across the USA last April, taken at the Grand Canyon, turned out.
(I liked it so much it’s also my new header photo!)
Also, last night I was hanging out with a dear old friend, Mattew Donnelly, who I’ve known for… maybe since I was a pre-teen? We couldn’t remember when we met exactly but it was definitely pre-2005 (the year I turned 14), he later made my high school grad dress! (which was also the same year he graduated from his BFA) He’s a fashion designer and now living in NYC, we were having a blast at his studio till super late, as in almost 5am (this is where I was photo editing with the help of cocktails, and cupcakes, and Cher remixes).
Afterwards we took a cab, my first NYC cab even! The text on the photo is from one of the many lovely things our cab driver said. Another favorite, which he said a few minutes after this initial beautiful phrase, was,
“New York City, always 24 hours. Someone is always getting up to go to work. Someone is always going to bed.”
To which I responded, “It’s always the beginning of the world.” And we laughed.
Watching and reading interviews of artists, performers, writers & film makers that I admire.
Mostly so far they’ve been all of George R. R. Martin (the author of the Game of Thrones book series), the Mad Men cast and writer Matthew Weiner, and Lena Dunham (best known as the everything girl for/in GIRLS, HBO).
This was sort of inspired by a comment made by my drawing class profs during a portfolio review in December, which is that I should read about/watch the way that other artists talk about their own work (in that context I think they meant specifically the use of vocabulary choices by female performance artists), saying that I “…don’t have to reinvent the wheel.”
This I guess might seem like an obvious concept, and I have of course done some of this in the past, but not much, or perhaps not as much as I need to in the future. I do feel that my artwork and the concepts I’ve explored within it have often come from a very instinctual place, without paying much attention to what has/hasn’t been done before, or if anyone would care. I haven’t even paid much attention to consciously deciding “what kind of artist I wanted to be”, or what sorts of topics I wanted to focus on. Instead I feel that those things have sort of occurred to me “naturally” (I’m anti the word “natural” right now due to large university type analytical discussions about like, society, evolution and alien robot cyborgs, but the word still feels appropriate) — and over time, by way of noticing the patterns in what I keep coming back to, what I’m most fascinated, elated and enraged by.
“Not having to reinvent the wheel” admittedly kind of saddens me in a self indulgent way, but! but! I want people to care about my raw instincts, I want to feel like those feelings are valuable. Except that then I realized why it’s also sort of a huge breakthrough ‘DUH’ moment, it means that I can build my ideas to be so much bigger than they would be if I stayed off the internet alone in my bedroom and did nothing but write. It means that I have friends I have never met, women who died long before I was born but feel kindred to me. People who, without them, the words I use to express my feelings may not even exist at all. And this is so cool! And this makes art, as a whole feel like such a collective effort to me, if we build and expand on what’s already been explored than we’re capable of pushing so may more boundaries than we would be otherwise. DUH
(this is why I’m in art school)
Also more generally, to gain an adept vocabulary knowledge, and because I find it plain old inspiring and encouraging. These are people who have succeeded in fields/areas that I aspire to, and who create incredibly intelligent work, I want to know as much about their thought processes as possible!
some jems I’ve encountered: this interview between Lena Dunham and Miranda July aka lady writer gold, it’s really long and they cover so much, I’m even tempted to read it again but I might get lost for hours.
Also, “The only thing worth writing about is the human heart and it’s conflict with the self.” – George R.R. Martin – which makes me go teary
I have also read a lot of TV show reviews lately, often excellent, and often by people who either just sound really bitter or kind of scary, which is especially interesting to see the contrasting perspectives of artists vs. people who talk about art.
So just to end on a terrifying note with this quote:
—In the bad old days, men had to court and marry a woman to get sex. He had to love her. Now, thanks to feminism, women give their bodies first and hope someone eventually will love them afterward. Feminists call this “empowerment.” —
from this terrifying article about GIRLS.
***ohhhh how silly of my to be a feminist, DUH.
So, okay this might be really obvious but, MTL is filled with incredibly talented people.
It’s kind of intimidating for a minute because everyone is an artist, a musician, a performer… but then it’s like woah omg! this is so amazing, fun, encouraging and inspiring to be surrounded by these people who sleep, breath, eat, drink and bath in art, and making art, and loving art and making art as a community practice possible, just like me!
So! collaborations are everywhere! and they’re fantastic!
So! I was recently a part of two music videos for some of these super talented friends,
The first is for a song called ‘NinnyHammer’ by Holobody, (I’ve mentioned this before and posted a link to the trailer) which you can watch/listen to here. Also, pretty screen caps:
(filmed over the course of one very spectacular evening with spectacular people)
The second is for a song called ‘Think About a Love’ by Kieran Blake. Listen/watch it here. Also check out this screen cap of my face + two other girls layered over top of each other:
Karley Sciortino aka Slutever aka one of my most favorite writers/ bloggers/ artists/ idols/ women ever did an interview with Iris Apfel, possibly one of the most bizarre/ incredible/ wise/ fascinating women ever, for the latest issue of Dazed and Confused. I’m completely obsessed with it, and her, obviously.
-“I absolutely consider fashion a form of art,” smiles Apfel from behind her signature owl-frames. “Of course, there is some fashion that is not art at all – it’s utilitarian, made for the purpose of covering up. And there are a lot of people out there who put a lot of effort into looking awful. But there are also people putting the same amount of energy into making bad art. It’s not what you do, it’s the way that you do it.”-
-“I always say that my mother worshiped at the altar of the accessory.”-
-“Rei Kawakubo’s work is never funny, but her wit is so ferocious, so elegant, so scary, and sometimes even so ridiculous, that her customers never have buyer’s remorse. How could they feel that they overspent when they look so courageous, cult-like, superior, and even slightly insane every time they get dressed in one of her outfits?”- said John Waters on Commes des Garcons
-She looks down at her tiny frame, lost in a gigantic, electric-pink overcoat. “I mean, look at me, I look like I’m down the rabbithole! But I don’t mind. I don’t think fashion should be taken so seriously. It’s something you should adapt to your mood and spirit.”-
-“…American women are really psychopathic about the way they look…”-
-We worship great artists because of a fundamental belief that the magnificence of a creation reflects a magnificence in its maker. Apfel, in her transcendent style, has made herself into both the artist and the work of art. The painter and the painting.-
You can/should read the full piece/ see the rest of the photos here
Photography by Jeff Bark, styling by Robbie Spencer.