Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Mid-week Masters: Gabriel von Max at the Frye

The work of Gabriel von Max is currently on exhibition at the Frye Art Museum. I am shamed to admit my art degree let me down, because I didn't know of von Max's work until I went to see it at the Frye. I'm going to be a little punk and say that (pre-modernist) oil painting in general bores me. A whole lot of nude women appeasing the male gaze (Laura Mulvey what what!), sunlit vistas, biblical stuff, and rich people's horses/dogs. So, I went to the von Max show mostly because I wanted something to do that was somewhat enriching and the admission to the Frye is free. It was the best uneducated decision I've made in a while. I fell in love with his work. I've never seen skin tones on a canvas that glow like his do. The eyes of his subjects, oh the eyes!

take a look at some of his work after the jump

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Handmade Challenge: Day 25

Top: made by me (from a Vogue pattern)
Jeans: Pac Sun
Shoes: MIA

The challenge continues. I haven't posted very many (or any) photos of garments I made since I decided to give myself this challenge, but I would give myself a little self congratulatory pat on the back anyway because I have not purchased any new clothes since I started and I've finished making a couple of things. Including this black wrap top that sat in varying states of unfinished-ness for several years. No exaggeration. I think it was because the fabric I chose was kind of difficult to work with, but I liked the look of the top do I just couldn't bring myself to give up altogether. I'm glad I stuck with it because I like how it turned out (finally).

Monday, July 25, 2011

In the Trees

A little outside Bellingham there is a park with a waterfall hidden in the trees. I was trying to find it from memory. I got turned around, as they say, and lost my way. Once I found my way again, all the time I had set aside for galavanting in the woods was wasted and the sun was setting behind a layer of slate colored clouds.

The woods were dark and the waterfall was loud and swollen from a wet and rainy winter. My flat soled boots slid on the wet moss and the mud. My camera struggled to keep the images still in the low light. It started to rain and my fingers were frozen with cold.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Baby's First How-To Tutorial

It's summer again, and even though summer vacations are a few years behind me and I have to work like a boring grown up through summer now, I still get that giddy sense of freedom when summer rolls around again. I start to think of all fun stuff you could do as a kid over summer vacation that you just didn't have time for during the school year. Anything to do with crafting was always my favorite. Friendship bracelets, tie-dying, flower crowns, and my all time favorite, Shrinky Dinks. Of course, Shrinky Dinks are not strictly a summer nostalgia craft, you can make them any time of the year (Shrinky Dinks Christmas ornaments anyone?), but in my mind they are irrevocably linked to summer. My jewelry box box used to be filled with all kinds of useless Shrinky Dink charms to put on necklaces and bracelets, so I thought it would be fun to update my childhood obsession with Shrinky Dink jewelry for my blog's first DIY. I'll be showing you how to make a feather wrap around ring. Like the one above.

Instructions after the jump!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

The Weight of too Many

The Weight of too Many

This is a small piece I recently finished. The figure is made of clay and the arms are strung together with bookbinders thread. The base is made of wood and covered in dollhouse shingles. If you would like to read a little more about this piece, and look at some of my other work, you can do it here.

Friday, July 15, 2011

One of the best and possibly the only reliable and constant companion for an intrepid hermit is the written word. All you other nerds out there know what I'm talking about. I would say at least half the furniture in my house functions to hold books up. In other words, I have a lot of books. Believe it or not, when I moved across the country I got rid of about seven boxes of books and I still have so many left that I'm always tripping over them. Lately I've noticed I have this bad habit of buying a book, reading it once, and then never touching it again. It sits on my shelf, collecting dust and taking up space until I send it off to a used book store. It's kind of a wasteful habit. So, in addition to my six month ban on new clothes, I'm also going to limit my book purchases. My first step in going through with this plan was to get a library card again. I've been going without one for three years now. I honestly don't know how I let that happen. I should be ashamed of myself.

My neighborhood library has a great graphic novel section and one of the books I checked out was "a novel in pictures" called The Three Incestuous Sisters by Audrey Niffenegger (you might know her better as the author of The Time Travelers Wife). It's a wonderfully weird and sad book. A story about a tragic jealousy between sisters. It's illustrated with beautiful, dark aquatints. Apparently Niffenegger spent 14 years working on the book and letting it evolve into different forms. I'm inspired by this fact because it often takes me long periods of time to get some of my work done. I always wondered why my other artist friends could focus on one thing and get it done in a relatively short period of time, but I always work on about ten things at once and then they don't get done for ages.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

This Machine Kills Fascists

Woody Guthrie would have been 99 today. Undoubtedly an American legend. My first experience with Woody's legacy was the same as most American elementary school kids with the song This Land is Your Land. But, the version most of us sang when we were little is edited to leave out references to the "dust clouds rollin" and the sign that says "private property". The version we sing in school is a happy song celebrating our country and encouraging us to share our land. And while there's no doubt Woody loved the country he was singing about, his music questioned the intentions and the actions of the people running it. He led an amazing and sometimes tragic life and left a huge imprint on American music.

PS: I couldn't find the track of This Land is your Land that has the verse about the sign that says private property, but here are the lyrics:

There was a big high wall there that tried to stop me;
Sign was painted, it said private property;
But on the back side it didn't say nothin
This land was made for you and me.

It's track 14 on the The Asch Recordings Volume 1, if you're really interested in looking it up.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

If only...

Wow, Monday was pretty crap-tacular. Days like this usually send me straight into a retail therapy spiral. But, I am trying to break myself of that particular emotional crutch, so instead I'll share today's materialistic flavor here. I went a little overboard because this is a fantasy situation in which I have unlimited funds and feel no qualms about spending so much money on myself because I have already donated generously to charity. Anyway...

Today's retail lusting was definitely dominated by photography.

And of course I have to go somewhere that is worthy of all this new camera stuff I theoretically own.

Monday, July 11, 2011

The End of an Era

I don't know about all you other creative types out there, but I get very attached to my sketchbooks. I usually have about five going at once, each for different thought processes. I am overprotective of them and highly selective in terms of who gets to see what's inside them. Overdramatic, I know. I can't help it.

The other day I filled the last page of my "inspiration" sketchbook. I know nobody else really cares, but it's kind of a big deal for me because I started this one my first year of art school. It's been with me for seven years now. I started it as a place to collect images and articles I found that fascinated me for whatever reason. There's political articles, pages from fashion magazines, pages from National Geographic, gum wrappers, museum brochures, and a whole bunch of other random stuff. But the thing is, when it's all viewed together it doesn't seem like random stuff anymore (not to me at least). I start to see a certain style or a certain view emerge, a style and view that is uniquely mine. In the last seven years I cannot tell you how much I have changed as a person and all the wonderful and awful experiences I have been through and this overstuffed sketchbook has been there through it all. Excuse me while I get a little teary eyed.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

The Elected

I stole these photos off my friend Alli's facebook page because I'm still getting used to the whole I'm-a-blogger-now-so-I-have-to-take-my-camera-everywhere thing and forgot to bring my camera when we went to see The Elected the other night. They were awesome! But I think Alli kind of annoyed the lead singer, Blake Sennet, because she kept making Salute Your Shorts references. If you grew up watching 90s Nickelodeon or are a fan of the band Rilo Kiley you know what I'm talking about. Ha ha.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

RIP Cy Twombly

The artist Cy Twombly died yesterday. I have a hard time putting into words the emotions I feel when someone I admired, but didn't know, dies. I don't want to be maudlin, but hearing the news did make my heart sink a little. Twombly's work was the first abstract art that I understood. Not in an academic, form, function, art historical context kind of way. The kind of way that I could look at one of his paintings and think to myself "yes." Does that sound mysterious and opaque? It's not meant to. I just mean that feeling you get when you finally "get" something and in return it seems to "get" you. I think his work is what finally convinced me I am an artist as opposed to a designer or an illustrator. Designers and illustrators are concerned with getting a message across, with communicating an idea, artists are concerned with breaking that idea down, with seeing how much they can get away with (not that there isn't some crossover between the disciplines of course).  Twombly's work is so broken down it's just scribbles on a canvas, but can somehow remind you of poetry. 

I remember the first time I saw his work in person. It was my foundation year at Parsons and it was the first time I went to the MoMA. His work was up in that big open space in the center of the museum. I just sat and looked at those paintings that were just scribbles, but so much more. At the time, I was doubting my decision to move to New York and go to art school because, frankly, New York and art school were kicking my ass. But sitting there I decided if I got to see work like this in person I might be able to put up with it. It was a moment of respite and clarity in a difficult time for me. 

I don't mean to effuse (or maybe I do, I don't know) I just wanted to comment on the passing of a great artist and tell a little about the impact this man I never met had on my life.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

An Outfit and a Resolution

Nothing too special about this outfit, but I actually had a spare minute (shock), so I decided to prance around my back yard and take a couple pictures. 

Top: made by me from a New Look pattern. It's a part of my new resolution (see below)
Jeans: Gap (these wide flares feel so good after years in skinny jeans)
Shoes: from a brand called Spring Step (I didn't get a great shot of them, but they kind of look like Swedish Hasbeens. They were way cheaper though. Score.)

Jump shots!

I always intended for fashion to be a part of my blog, but I just couldn't decide in what capacity. A recent look at my closet and my bank account helped me decide how I want to present my personal fashion here on my blog.

First, a little back story. At the yard sale I had last weekend I got rid of a ton of clothes, but somehow all the jackets, sweaters, skirts, jeans etc still in my closet are fighting for space. How could I have gotten rid of so much and still have so much? and why do I still feel the desire for more? I don't know about you, but for me it goes beyond a love of clothes. Which I do, I love clothes. I love putting outfits together, the thought of putting one together helps me get out of bed in the morning (I know, I know, but it's true). I like to shop too, and here's where the problem comes in. I love that feeling you get right after you've found something perfect, but for me that feeling is followed up by a creeping guilt. The guilt comes from (among other things) the fact that even though I love to shop, I don't exactly have the income to support it. When things aren't going great (and, honestly, things haven't been going to great for me lately) we all look for something quick to fix it, to make ourselves feel better. New clothes make me feel better, but only for a while because they don't actually fix the problem.

I have so many things I want to do. I want to travel, I want to go back to school, I want to find a better job, I want to show my artwork. But those things take a lot of work, as well as a lot of money and time. To put it bluntly, I get overwhelmed. And finding something pretty that I can have right now, that will make me feel better right now, has always won in the past.

That brings us to the point of all this thrapudic (and more than a little self indulgent, sorry) rambling. I'm taking a queue from some other projects I've seen going around and officially putting a moratorium on all clothing purchases for six months. I chose six months because I think I can actually last that long. A year seemed like too long, like I would be setting myself up for failure. Six months felt like a good time frame. I did give myself one loophole though. I can have something new as long as I've made it. I have a pile of patterns and fabric I've been meaning to get to, so I'll be taking care of two things with one resolution. So, starting now whenever you see me prancing around in front of the camera I will be wearing something I've made with my very own two hands.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Molly Moon's

Last weekend (I know. I've got to post these things faster if I want to be a real life blogger) my mom, my sister, and I had a yard sale. We didn't make too much money, but we got rid of some stuff and got to sit outside all day while the Pacific Northwest summer tried it's hardest to assert itself. After it was done, we decided we deserved a treat for our efforts. So we went to get the best ice cream in Seattle at Molly Moon's in Wallingford. Even in the winter the line for this place is usually out the door. All their ice cream is handmade and so are the waffle cones (I imagine heaven smells like baking waffle cones). Scout mint is my favorite flavor. It's made with crushed up bits of actual Thin Mints. So good.

Unknown Source

I hate it when I come across something out there in internet land that's lovely or inspirational and the original source credit is lost to the internet abyss, like a sock disappearing in the dyer. That's the problem with these images. I love what's going on here, the wolves, the moors, the cable knits, a red-headed Lily Cole, but I have no idea where they were originally published, or who the photographer, stylist, or designer are. Ugh, I want to know more.