Friday, October 31, 2008

Further Thoughts on Frida

I lied, I had more to say. I think I put it most succinctly in this part of my thesis paper...

"...What I am influenced by and what I seek out, is based on loss and personal experience; mainly on words or concepts, but some times based on images. I can still recall the power of the images in the movie Frida. The accident scene on the bus was particularly horrifying, yet so beautiful it made me weep. Thinking of it right now makes me a little teary, in fact. But that image of her twisted body covered in golden glitter will always stick with me. She was the very essence of a broken, fallen angel, captured in the exact moment of her fall, and that moment painted her golden. I believe those images in the film contained a very strong pictorial message. Kahlo's personal story, her challenges and her experience, were beautiful in their tragedy. Her experience was golden. I enjoy the deepness of that visual metaphor, I enjoy its dichotomy, even if it is tough to look at..."

There, I'm satisfied now.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Broads Who Happen to Influence Me (Frida Kahlo)

She just plain rules. I feel like I can't really say anything more about her here without doing her a disservice. However, there is plenty of information available about her if you are not in the know about her life story and her work. I love that Kahlo used painting as a tool to heal her pain...and pain she had.

The real Frida Kahlo...

Baby Doll

Dolls, who doesn't like them?!? Me. Although I have always been fascinated with their major creep factor. Back in the day, my grandmother's prized possession was an antique doll that had 'Clicky-Open Eyes' (original childhood horror name). Frightening. I inherited that doll and promptly sold it for $150. Anyway, I like the idea of dolls, I just don't want to give them a chance to form an evil army. So I don't feel they need to be hanging about...also, I think they would be especially angry with me when they found out that I disliked the color pink. 

Thick with meaning, dolls are. I frequently use dolls in my work. A doll symbolizes a body, usually a female body, and usually that is an ideal body of some kind.  This is also an ideal that cannot be reached. Dolls are fantasies of perfection. I think that the life of a doll is a good metaphor for where females are placed in the society. How we are perceived...all glitz and glam...something unreal. Or perhaps something entirely false, like a deceptively sweet trick.

I also feel that a doll being taken out of its toy box, or 'put away' is an interesting idea. When the favorite isn't around, one brings out the spare. There is always a spare. I wonder what the spare feels like when it has to go back into the toy box because the favorite has returned. Actually, I do know. It's a used, broken-down feeling; a helpless and desperate one.

Paper dolls are less scary but communicate many of the same concepts. They also say other things such as, 'I am just like the one that came before and the one that comes after. I am the same as any other, interchangeable.'  They still retain that essence of perfection however, crisp-lined and orderly as they Dolls are entirely, manufactured, representational, beings.  

So I have been thinking about using some dolls, specifically chains of paper dolls, in a piece or two. But I have a lot of things floating around in my head lately. We'll see how it all goes.

Tissue paper dolls, possibly the most fragile of all their species...

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

I Miss My Stinky Art Shoes

I miss them. I still have them right outside the front door (because they are indeed, that stinky). But still, I miss going to my studio at school because that would give me a reason to wear them. Of course I always took them off when I got there, because soles of shoes can get pokey when you are sprawled all over the floor while painting.
But they are my printmaking/hardcore painting shoes. You wear these suckers when you don't want something dropped on your foot, or spilled, or you mean Official Art Business. Don't get me wrong, they are terrible leakers in the winter as they have holes on the sides now and there is a distinct crack starting to form on the bottom of one shoe, but they fit my feet! No socks, and they fit my feet perfectly, just like Cinderella.
I had the chance to wear them again while I painted a mural for the Art in the Alleys project a few weeks ago....which was awesome. I feel like a real artist when I wear them. (real artist artsy photo angle in 3, 2...)

Unfortunately, me having my studio located on any and every available inch of floor space in my apartment does not allow me to wear them for the time being.

So it's back outside for y'all. Hopefully, I will see you soon, my old stinky friends.

Monday, October 27, 2008


I had one of those freaky dawning moments when I watched this, randomly on someone's myspace blog today. It's a coincidence, just like aaaall the other ones that happen to me.
So I made these two found objects pieces a couple of weeks ago. They are loosely based on the poem, The Highwayman by Alfred Noyes. But anyway, that's not the issue, the issue is that I used several images from a very old tarot deck. Randomly, they were on my floor, so I used them. (This happens from time to time. I use things that are in my direct environment a lot. It seems to work for me)
So I was watching this video...

Turns out it was this tarot deck in particular that I used images from. And I found out the meanings for those cards specifically, as the meanings are somewhat altered being that the deck is so darn old. But what was interesting for me, is that I used the cards in the pieces in a way that did not pertain to the characters in the poem. I used them because I just needed a visual representation for a woman and a man, and they were there within my vision on the floor. The Highwayman and Bess are definately not the two that are being represented, meaning-wise in the piece with those two tarot card images. It was about me and my own life. My life and their lives sorta paralelled for a few months there...but no, all about me. It was interesting, to say the least, what the cards really meant because I had had someone else in mind the whole time. And they meant something coincidental. Coincidence? I think not.
But anyway, it's all linked. The guy even says so at the end of the video. Freaky.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Body Movin'

Blood Vessel 13/24

That's right, I purged a big one this time. I made 24 paintings in approximately 24 hours. The's a continuing motif for me. I make them during the in-between times when I know I want to paint, but I just can't wrap my head around things. If I can't say what I need to say just yet in other ways, I meditate with the circles.

With this particular series, I was seriously on auto-pilot. I just painted, I just did. Let me say this though, the circles are not my favorites. I feel that they don't take enough time, enough work, or enough struggle for me. But I asked myself, 'Does it always have to be a struggle?' Nope. I don't think it does. But I DO believe that when I paint these...they are the times when I am shattered the most and can find no words, no real concepts. When I can find nothing else, I still find those circles. Pure, subconscious, gooey, insides.

But I feel I can be 'blah' about them, nonetheless, because they are a purge. They make me feel better when I paint them, even if I consider them to be 'fluffy' and low on the challenge scale. Still, they are purely from me, from my insides. (You may consider them my guts on paper, if you wish.) I make the circle paintings when I can't express what else is inside. When I have a lock on my expression and my voice. They are wholly bodily. It's why I name them the way I do now.

Blood Vessel 16/24

Blood Vessel 19/24

Misery Falls Off

I have been painting a TON lately, to shed the misery, I guess. I've been thinking a lot about loss....again. About how I seem to be in this perpetual state of loss and then recovery. I never seem to get back to one hundred percent (or even 80 percent) before it just happens again. I have to wonder, am I glutton for punishment or do I simply not know how to even exist without it. 'Drama Queen', maybe. 'Completely emotionally screwed', more like it.
But back to recovery...I can do that at least. I can fix things and I can steal my moments back and see them in a different light, if I choose.

I can recover. I can make things glow.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Broads Who Happen to Influence Me (Kathe Kollwitz)

Let me count the ways in which I love her! I saw a German Expressionism exhibit a few years ago at the Milwaukee Art Museum (4 times) and it was very Kollwitz heavy. In general, that could be used to describe the tone of the exhibit, 'heavy'. Kollwitz has some of the most complete portraits of human suffering ever made, in my opinion....they are again, painful to look at. Really painful. I've never stood in the museum with tears in my eyes while looking at art before that, truthfully. She moves me. Her personal suffering moves me. I feel like I know her just by looking at her work.

I feel her.

Broads Who Happen to Influence Me (Marlene Dumas)

There is something so raw about her style. (the Massive Attack song doesn't hurt it either) Her work makes me so emotional, and like I want to fix every problem ever known to man (or woman). It's downright painful that I can't.
But I love her. She's at the MOMA right now...

The Studio and the Principal Players

When I say 'studio', I mean to say 'the scrap of floor I paint on'. I suppose I should refer to it as my 'space' because that's mainly what it is. It is a space that is approximate depending on my lighting needs and mess levels. If there is a heavy chance of mess, I migrate with my 'space' to the kitchen. But generally speaking everything gets put away, vaguely, and pulled out again when I need it.
I like to paint around the things I love, so I plop my board down where the action is.
But other than that, nothing fancy. I'm on the floor with my stuff all gathered around me in a semi-circle. I think I feel more rooted that way. Plus, drips...I don't particularly enjoy them.
I like things clean friend was astonished that my supplies were so clean, given my messy personality, and hers had paint all over them, and she's a neat freak. I'm a tidy painter, it seems.
I work with water based media, mixed media and found objects. If I can combine the three, all the better. And glue...I have a straight-up love affair with glues and tapes of all types. Primarily I use Elmer's glue though, and self-adhesive linen tape is becoming my fast favorite.
And most importantly, I have a team of overseers! Casual observers..... Scampy is the furry one, as long as she stays in the bucket we're good.
The statue is my long-time friend, the old master painter who always watches me, Mr. Miogi.

Now I paint.

First blog....'Strength'

Let me just start with strength. It is something I aspire one day have enough.
Making art gives me strength, and it's the only thing I've found so far that truthfully does. Know thyself and all that jazz...
But this is a reminder about the dialogue between my head and my heart and the surface of my paper, and how vital understanding that process is for me.

This is the method behind my madness.