Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Always my favorite anyway

On the hottest day of the year, when simply standing in the sun directly causes vision to blur and knees to go wobbly and an unhappy stomach to threaten your dignity. The rides are sparkly and bright and inside a prepubescent voice is pushing you to go, but your adult ears hear the creaks and squawks the ride makes as it reaches its upside down apex and you shade your eyes with your hand and look up through the glare of the sun and your oh-so-grown-up mind wonders how many times these things have been put together and taken apart and wouldn't that cause some sort of stress on the parts over time, and who exactly puts them together, and what is the governing body that regulates safety around here? And you decide to go look at the cows because that was always your favorite anyway.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Added to my Christmas list

Yesterday, Design Sponge brought these gorgeous editions of the works of the Romantic poets to my attention. I'm a sucker for the Romantics, particularly Keats and Coleridge. Their lives were as beautiful and as crazy as their words. They were lovers and cheaters and criminals and addicts and philosophers and revolutionaries. Think free love was invented by the hippies in the 60s? Think again. Although, their revolutionary ideas about life and love always seemed to me to benefit the men more than the women. Free love is a great idea until it results in another tiny mouth that needs feeding. That's probably why monogamy is still the traditional way to go.

These editions are published by Faber

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Handmade Challenge: Day 88

dress: from a reprint of a 1940s Vogue pattern
shoes: GAP (who knew GAP had good shoes?)
socks: Madewell

The challenge is about half done and I have to say it has been surprisingly easy. I expected the temptation to be unbearable and that I would crack at least once, but I haven't at all. In fact, it's kind of been a relief. In the past, every time I bought something new I would feel obligated to wear it or I would end up feeling guilty (first world problems, I know) and that led me to ignore a lot of the things already in my closet. Now, I've been wearing things that have been neglected and I've realized what an emotional crutch shopping was for me.

The Handmade Challenge is also a bonding experience for my mom and me. She brought me up in a creative environment where troubles could be banished by building something with your hands. Sewing, among many other forms of creativity, has been a staple activity in our home for my entire life. She has also contributed a lot to this challenge and is working on a couple of patterns I cut out ages ago but never quite got around to finishing. She's the one who actually made this dress. Thanks Mom!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Self-Conscious Vanity


All through art school and even going back to art classes in high school I lived in dread of the self portrait that would inevitably be assigned. When I say lived in dread I'm not exaggerating. It used to give me anxiety attacks. I would find any way I could to avoid looking at my own face for extended periods of time. I don't really want to think about what that means for my psychological health, but a couple of years ago I decided that it was ridiculous for an artist to be terrified of self portraits and I started to put myself in front of the camera. Having this blog and taking photos for my handmade challenge has also helped me move past my insecurities, I can look at my own face a little more objectively now, without cringing and picking out every flaw. I guess it's also part of growing up, learning to accept your flaws and not take yourself so seriously.



I read or heard something from I-can't-remember-what that said something along the lines of "self consciousness is just another form of selfishness" because when you are self conscious you think everyone is looking at you and cares what you're doing. When I heard that (or read it or whatever) it made me realize that in the grand scheme of things the only person who cares if I make a fool of myself is me, that other people are too busy with their own lives to worry over what I'm doing, and that self consciousness was a really stupid reason to not do something I wanted to do. So, I started to challenge myself and make myself pose for self portraits. I've become more and more comfortable with it, which isn't to say I don't still feel a little weird about it occasionally.


2011 / 2008

It's funny, when I was picking out my favorite self portraits for this post, I didn't notice until they were all up together that my face is obscured in all of them. Also, why am I always wearing that white dress?

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Mid-week Masters: Sally Mann

Sally Mann doesn't know it, but her work owns a part of my soul. Dark and beautiful, with a sense of being closed off from the rest of the world. Her earlier work of her children was a huge inspiration for my own work in art school and a chunk of my thesis was dedicated to her. I didn't work in photography then, but themes in her work and the controversy raised by her depiction of children was intriguing to me. Now her children are all grown and her work is focused more on portraiture and Southern landscapes, but the beautiful, eerie darkness has only deepened.

These photos are from her Deep South series. She uses a 100-year-old 8 x 10 bellows view camera and looks for cracked and flawed lenses to capture the light leaks and blurs that make her photos so gorgeous.

Also more images and information here

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Handmade Challenge: Day 82

outfit details:
dress: from a Simplicity pattern
shoes: DSW

My first photo shoot outside of my own back yard. It was strange, I wanted to take the photos really fast in between when people walked by, I felt really self-conscious and kind of silly. I propped the camera up on a bench and used a remote, so many of the photos were of planks on the bench or crooked close ups of my dog as she walked in front of the camera. It was a learning experience to say the least. But a few of them turned out nicely, so I'll definitely do it again. 

I wore this dress last week when most of the Pacific Northwest was enjoying a late summer. The time for pretty, girly sundresses is swiftly fading though and I had to get one more wear in before I'm forced to wrap my limbs in leggings and layers of sweaters. The fabric I made it from is swiss dot, and I added a row of buttons down the back instead of a zipper. I'm really pleased with how the outcome looks, even though the fit of the dress makes it really hard to breathe! 

Friday, September 9, 2011

DIY Inspiration: Annie in Bridesmaids

So, did anyone else relate to Annie a little more than they're comfortable with? Losing your job that was really crappy to begin with. Check. Moving back in with your mom. Check. Sitting around watching as all of your friends move on and actually do something with their lives. Big fat check.

Annie's wardrobe in the movie was also really relatable. She looked like she creatively put together pieces that she picked up at the mall a couple of seasons ago because she had more important things to spend money on like rent and gas for her car and drinks to forget about her crappy life. We would all love to have Helen's wardrobe, but most of us have to make do with what we have don't we? Not that we're bitter* Speaking of making do with what we have (nice segue) I loved Annie's top in the airplane scene and I'm pretty sure drafting a pattern for my handmade challenge would be doable. Then maybe I could re-enact the scene and cement my status as a  real life Annie**

*We are
**Please, I could never wish to be as awesome as a Kristen Wiig character.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Mid-Week Masters: Romaine Brooks



Una, Lady Troubridge

Romaine Brooks had an absolutely fascinating, romantic, and tragic personal life. Her portraits have a strength and directness that challenges the viewer. What I love most about them is they portray a steely-ness that women rarely posess in oil paintings. They're not pale, pillowy bosomed nudes, or demure aristocratic ladies, or the millionth incarnation of the Virgin Mary. It's refreshing and inspiring.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Portrait of an Artist

Photography is a voyeuristic art form, I think we all already knew that, but there is something about seeing photographic portraits of visual artists that makes me feel like I'm seeing something I was never meant to see. There's a role reversal happening, the creator becomes the subject. Usually, artists are seen through the filter of their own work, but in these portraits it's almost as if control of their own image is handed over to another artist (the photographer). They fascinate me.

Georgia O'Keeffe photographed by Yousuf Karsh

Kiki Smith photographed by Nan Goldin

Marina Abramovic photographed by Antony Crook

Yayoi Kusama photographed by ? (anyone know?)

Friday, September 2, 2011

My night with Joseph Gordon Levitt

I'm not sure how many of you have heard about Joseph Gordon Levitt's production company hitRECord and the open collaboration magic that happens there. Last Tuesday the magic was brought to the Neptune in Seattle and I found myself with drink in hand, throughly enjoying the show. There was music and short films and audience participation and it was all really inspiring. We all know Joseph Gordon Levitt from various movies and TV (and, admit it, various GQ photo shoots you have taped to the inside of your locker, or you would have taped to the inside of you locker if you weren't in your 20s and didn't have a locker. Just me? Ok) But I was surprised at how enthusiastic and downright positive he was about the whole thing. I guess surprised isn't quite the right word, maybe refreshing is a better way to describe it. As an artist trying to make a career out of my own creativity, I come up against obstacles all the time, and the frustration that results leads me to looking up how much it would cost me to go back to school and get a degree in marketing or whatever. I start to wonder if it really is possible, if it's worth it. To have someone up there reminding me that this is fun, that this is a way to connect with people through a shared passion, was exactly what I needed. I highly encourage you to check out the website and go to the show if it ever comes to your town.


(Insert cheesy stock photo of stressed out office worker here)

I really hate it when bloggers apologize for random absences from the internet, but... I apologize for my random absence from the internet lately. My life is in flux right now to say the least. After working in a pool for a year as a swim instructor and contracting pink eye three times, a chronic sinus infection that was so bad at one point I could not smell, taste, or hear anything out of my left ear, losing my voice more times than I can count, a very painful cracked rib, and learning from my doctor that I was suffering the effects of chlorine poisoning, I finally put in my notice. At the end of September I will be officially unemployed. Originally I thought I would be starting in a photography program this fall, but that fell through because I couldn't afford the ridiculous equipment list. So, I am the typical mixture of terrified and exhilarated at the prospect of something as yet unknown beginning in my life. I am choosing to be go against my inate view of life, which tends to veer towards the pessimistic, and stubbornly sticking to positivity.

Most of my time now is spent re-writing my resume 20 different ways and applying for jobs. I'm trying to narrow my search to something that will lead somewhere (especially if that somewhere is earning a livable wage. Wouldn't that be nice?) So it's all kind of boring and stressful. But this job search has a greater sense of determination than I've ever had before, and despite looming unemployment I feel good about what's coming. We'll see if my tune changes as the end of September approaches.

*The title of this post refers to the current unemployment rate for Washington state. Kind of depressing.