Lisa's Musings

there's little i control


yes, dear blog, I have neglected you.... apologies abound - I was swept up in the whirwind that was Thanksgiving. And it was tasty (thank you for asking). Actually it was rather a nice day - I like spending time in the kitchen for a meal like that (granted if I ate like that constantly I would probably be 30 pounds heaver - mmmm butter). Plus I had the BEST sous chef/kitchen assistant in the world - my mom! She is a master of spit shining everything in sight and I have finally learned to just let her do her thing and appreciate it instead of fight it (right mom?). It was an all family affair this time - at my brand new finally big enough dining room table with the antique bottles from my grandmother on the table (some were there in spirit at least). I do have a softy soft spot for cranberry sauce.... sigh.....

and OH! there is an anonymous commenter - my first comment! it's quite invigorating whoever and wherever you may be! you are, of course right about "living and working in a cocoon is safe but not conducive to growth!" It's just that in my weak, tired, fed-up moments cocoons seem so nice and warm and cozy. Of course sometimes I feel saddened that a by-product of participation is the necessity of tougher skin - but then again armadillos are pretty cool looking. Mostly I am reminded and thoughtful about the fact that balance is key. Which actually segues nicely into the discussion we had about D. Hickey's essay today in class - the one where he states that the artworld should just admit that art is a silly and frivolous thing to do because then we would all be "allowed" and encouraged to fail - to do exciting things - to make beautiful things - to perhaps "go where no man has gone before".... (my star trek reference - not his). although I have my own issues with mr. Hickey and his hip cool name dropping ways - he is good brain fodder (and easier/more entertaining to read than Greenburg!)

I am back in contact with my grad school friend and zine conspiritor James.... I am happy about this. We are going to shoot for our 2nd issue. I think the theme this time is Migration - mostly because he's been doing a bit of it - but also because I like the thought of migration - winter - change.... I feel some migration in my brain. I think I am ready to tackle the sewing of maps.... my own.... historical - although not accurate. It's dangerous to start to articulate this before I actually start to make anything.... but I think it's stewed for long enough and is ready to come out. and I think the comission is done - I have yet to seek approval from the receivee - but I have a pretty good feeling! yay!

I have also finally updated the website a bit - new pieces in the portfolio section and a dandy little store with some silly little buttons and checkbook cozies. Mostly I set the store up to learn how to create a paypal shopping cart for a client - but heck if even 1 person buys 1 button it will be more than worth it! Yes I still need to put up some gocco samples so that perhaps someone else will hire me to print something for them (I know TRUST ME I CAN DO IT doesn't actually fly) - that is the next task to tackle - I'm really hoping to get that stuff up before the new year (yikes 2005). There is just something so mindless and boring about scanning... and arranging printed matter attractively on a scanner..... I am also solemly swearing that I will attempt to find an exhibition space somewhere in another city (hoping like LA or NY or Portland or heck Kansas City) that might be even slightly interested in working with me. This is where the armadillo suit will come in handy. Can't expect anything to happen without any effort, right? Stop worrying about the swarminess of the commercial side of this endeavor.... in the timeless and effective way of the swoosh - just do it.


me with my tanks.... which have to start coming down tomorrow. OK, I admit, in my secret heart of hearts I had really hoped that someone would want a crazy installtion like this one.... alas, if someone does, they haven't informed me! I know that sometimes these things take some time to sink in, but.... I guess I could start to propose such projects to people/places.... time to gear up the personal promotion machine (ugh!)

and so the emerge show comes to an end - time sure has flown.... I am part sad and part glad.... as is par usual with these things! at least I don't feel like I'm flapping in the wind with nothing to do! I am not looking forward to taking down all those tanks, though - even if it will be easier than putting them up! this is when I wish I had minions to do my dirty work (can they come clean my house too?)

it is almost the end of the semester - my students start working on their final projects this week. wow. I wonder what they will come up with. tomorrow we have a mini-crit - those who were absent the last time around.... I think we are all tiring out... dragging our heels ever so slightly.... time to tap into that hidden reserve of energy (did I remember to store it away to begin with)

this is totally random, but I've been thinking about it b/c I find it so strange. Last weeks New York Times magazine included a spred of Julia Roberts with people's reactions to the photos. they are all black and white and she doesn't smile in any ot them. I found the whole thing bizarre. comments about how in the photos she looks more "european" that she is an "odd" beauty because she has a long neck, and how she will probably age interestingly.... I think all of this was meant to be flattering? I can't help but think about how beauty functions in our culture and how it seems to be commodified in this horrific way. what about whether or not she is a good actress? there were comments about her having to strategize to work around the beauty - like it's a big elephant in the room - to choose roles that proved that she could act. it seems like you have to uglify yourself in order to prove that you are talented (charlize theron, halle barry come to mind as recent examples). And if you aren't inherintly "beautiful" then just have some plastic surgery to fix it - new face, new boobs - you too can become a "swan" (is it just me or is that TV show just DISGUSTING?!?). oh the burden of beauty - how tragic (I'm being sarcastic here) - OK, to be fair - it can be a burden - both helpful and hinderance, but why the big to-do? and on that note I will cease, because otherwise I'm feeding into the whole useless debate!

in the studio?? well, I think I have finished the bat commission... I need to trim it, and make sure the person who it is for likes it, but I'm pretty happy with it. Especially since it is something I don't think I would have approached had she not asked me. It's always interesting to get pushed into a direction that you didn't even know was there.... I have also been seriously thinking about floorplans - the history of places I've been.... how the long threads imply a past tense - things in movement, but also in the past... like ghosts.... of course this has been in my head for months now - but I think it's finally ready to come out... and funny thing - Jennifer Starkweather spoke of it when she came to my class - we are on such similar wavelengths - it's fascinating. I know that mine will come out completely different than hers - but we chatted about collaborating on something - that would be SO MUCH FUN! Our sensibilities are so similar and yet divergent enough to make it interesting....

and on the trade front - Aurora and I are about to - we may even make brand spanking new pieces for each other .... I'm giddy with glee.... the thought of owning one of her little treasures just makes me smile! I think we may even talk on the phone soon - I wonder what her voice will sound like - I'm sure it will be charming. I have seen some photos of her from R & V.... she's a hottie! (her description of Viviette, but also apt for her!) yippee!

my head is swimming.... in a good way - i spent most of the day with a museum group - i was a bit nervous, but they were really lovely folks. in fact it reminded me of being in graduate school. it's like they have a forum in which they discuss their thoughts, passions, revelations about various aspects of art, the practice of making it, criticizing it, curating it, etc. the morning was spent with laura richard janku and glen helfand speaking on writing and being an art critic. there were at least 30 different publications circulating (shows you how much i know and read about art) - two that stick out in my head are zingmagazine and ten by ten - i'll have to follow up on those. what commenced was a good discussion of the roles of critics and magazines and how often things are politicized, but how also art criticism can be an eye-opening experience. of course i then started to wonder what role art criticism plays in my scheme of things... i'm most interested in criticism that does more than just describe - that pulls art into the larger scheme of life in general. i think as an artist - criticism can be inspiring - the catalyst to go see a show - the devil's advocate in a train of though - an intrduction to an aritst/a way of seeing. i think that art criticism can help to define - or re-define - or expand a point of view. of course it can also be staid, insulting, unimaginative and not helpful - just like art itself. what was also brought up, (and what, as an aritst i find the most difficult to deal with) is what role reviews and criticism play in the role of developing an artist and making them in a sense more marketable and interesting to curators, art enthusiasts and the public at large. as with every other arena, there's a political side to this game as well... in the end though, i was most curious and inspired by the fact that here was a room full of people willing to engage in this discussion at all - and it was an informed room no less.

i'll skip over the part where i had to talk about my work - will this ever not make me uncomfortable? it's difficult to explain things that you naturally want to keep sort of secret - or that you hope will be apparent with out explanation - or that put you in that vulnerable spot. i guess i'm fearful that in explaining the work might lose a little bit of the ju-ju that makes art what it is - almost a secret language. but then again i usually like when an artist talks about their work - because then you get to relate to it in a new way. so hopefully that was true for someone today....

amanda hughen - good friend and fabulous artist had her opening at ampersand arts last night. she's showing with jesse simon (it's really a good match). the space is lovely and her work is lovely.... i also checked out kimberly austin's piece at the sothern exposure show epic - also quite great. and today after all that happened above - i went to the cream from the top show at arts benicia . there are quite a few mills expatriots in it - and a couple artists that are also in emerge with me! (small world). yes, it's a lot of shows.... and tomorrow is the long emerge tour/reception as well. i definitely think that it's more fun to go to openings that aren't your own!! and part of me thinks when i look around the room at the artists that where we REALLY want to be is in our studios - continuing to make stuff. at least that's true for me.

i'm letting a couple of ideas brew... and i have to make that commission of bats.... the paint samples i tried muslin didn't really do the trick, so i'm going to have to figure out another fabric/method of adding color to the muslin. color that mimics those vintage paper colored squares in the tank pieces.... how could i have thought for a second that would be easy?? i'm thinking of turning to my old standby of felt.... or velvet?? hmmmm


this is one of the many designs of Torde Boonjte
granted they are kind of all over the place (the SFMOMA has had 3 different colors of the lights in their window for months now) - and I know he's been featured in numerous design magazines, etc...

I am quite drawn to the Wednesday design (above), AND the Fairy Tail postcards (many Shakespearean/woodsey references here). too bad he's in London.... although it looks like some fo the goods are accessible enough here in the good ole USA....

I have wistfully and wishfully wandering around the net for a bit. mostly because we had a critique today in class and I am thus a bit on the tired side OK, to be frank this is also caused by a bit of over activity: the build up and super installation of pink plaid tanks (pictures to come soon). Emerge grand gala on Friday - 1300 people !!! - it was sort of surreal experience. I mostly stayed away from my own work fearful of overhearing comments or watching drunken partygoers touch the art. Followed by a trip to Aptos on a wild goose chase to find my car at an auto repair shop... luckily with some success after a bit of driving around - loaded up 2 cars full of potted plants - hand me downs from an upcoming giant move. Today we looked at my students 20 hour drawings (meaning they were supposed to spend a minimum of 20 hours on them). It was gratifying to see what happens when left to their own devices. They have each had a chance to cultivate their own personality and style of making. I'm like a proud mother hen (although apparently I am also a hard ass - meaning I expect a lot. Better that then plenty of other adjectives!) - I'm positive I could "name that art" if I was forced to in a non-tagged Art Lineup!

Back to the wish list. I have also generated a list of artists of whom I'd like to own books of.... for posterity sake I think I'll list them here:
Louise Bourgeois, Julie Mehretu, Mark Lombardi, Ida Applebroog, Joseph Bueys, Lucian Frieud, Agnes Martin (images, not writing), Sigmar Polke, Alice Neel, Tim Hawkinson, the book about Nara in his studio (can't remember the title right now) and there are more, but I have forgotten (see this is why it's good to make lists!).

I am headed back to the studio tomorrow - I've had a nice break - not sure if it's been long enough, but I also don't want to go stale. Luckily I have a commission to work on (yay!) - which will force me to solve some problems and also a studio visit w/ Andrew Phares - he was in the Dangerous Toys show and wants to trade! (trade is such a nice thing) thus I am inspried to clean, put up some work.... get organized. Wouldn't it be great if I could automate that task (snap snap of fingers). I can lust for that too!

how?!? I can hardly think, concentrate or get anything done. I have always known that my friends and family constitute a bubble of like thinking (heck the whole bay area) - however for some unknown reason I actually allowed a small sliver of hope that the election, although close, and possibly contested would put Kerry in the white house. Not because I love Mr. Kerry or what he and the whimpy Democratic party stand for, but mostly because the thought of 4 more years of the fear mongering, outright lying, complete disregard for other human beings/countries/philosophies, and the sheer arrogance and postering of this administration simply not only makes my stomach churn and my heart sink, but sends shivers of anger through my brain.

there are thoughts of fleeing to another country. there are thoughts of buying a gun and starting a revolution. the west coast can become it's own country damn it (so can the north east coast)..... fundamentally this country is operating with a completely different set of ideas than my own. I am NOT represented by our government. although I respect other people's morals and religion I do not wish to be subjugated to the Christian Coalition/Religious Right's view of what is right and wrong. I do NOT CARE if you want to pray all day, if you think that the world was created by God or if you will never have an abortion - why do you feel the need to force your moral views on me? I don't need to be saved - thank-you-very much - and I seriously doubt that those of you running around trying to change my moral compass are earing brownie points with the Great Creator (and since I will most likely burn in hell anyway I guess I'll never have the answer to this question)

How did morality become the #1 issue in the election? and how can you call Mr. Bush moral? more moral than Mr. Kerry? "moral politician" seems like an oxy-moron to me. When did morality start to be equated with religion? Where has critical thinking gone? where has analysis and looking at the LARGER picture (how bout the environment? how bout the WAR?!? how bout the horrific state of our economy?) gone?? I am saddened that I truly am starting to feel not only in some off-chute minority, but that I can no longer give "the people" of this country the benefit of the doubt.

I am sorry to the world who must now look at us with disbelief. I feel as though I should start researching writings of dissenting voices during Hitler's regime - or thoughts on the fall of the Roman Empire.... Maybe I should join the ACLU?

mark morford of the bay guardian wrote a nice piece that sums it up pretty well.

I am going to focus on small details. making a good dinner. fortifying my house/family. finding beauty in little things. I am not going to be quiet - or ignore the situation. I will find a way to do something, say something.... something - anything..... woe is me.


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Name: lisa s
Location: oakland, CA, United States

hello and welcome to my blog. i'm a mixed media artist living in oakland, CA with my husband, 2 dogs, 1 cat and my baby daughter. i try to post once a week about things that inspire me, what's going on in my studio, and little tidbits of my life. thanks for visiting, reading and commenting!



please please please :: i am happy to have you use an image of mine on your blog or somewhere else, but PLEASE just ask permission before you do. and please don't hot link. it really is important that we respect one another and the work we do. and if you are too shy or busy to ask, could you at least link back to me? thank you in advance!



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