Daily Blog 1- 4/29

  • Got up kinda late (10am. College Weatherly is laughing in my face.) Dicked around for a little bit until finally settling into work.
  • Wrote a lesson plan for my job based around spray paint galaxy art (thanks Jamie Jo) 😉 If it gets approved, I’ll post my exemplar project on the blog
  • Did a little bit of doodling (I miss drawing every day) (character design for MeowMeow Kiturami)
  • Grumped a lot about how much painting I have to finish by tomorrow for my class (class details to follow)
  • Settled in to watch a lot of youtube videos while embroidering my egg hat, due tomorrow as 1/3 of Assignment #1
  • Changed over to watching Casting JonBenet, which is all kinds of fucked up. I can’t wait for My Favorite Murder to livetweet their watch. I don’t particularly find the case interesting, except that JonBenet was only a few months older than me, and I remember my mom and aunt being semi-obsessed with it when I was 5/6.
  • Speaking of parents, mine are in town this weekend for the soccer game, so I’m going to my sister’s house tonight for family dinner. Slash we’re probably going out to dinner because my sister is kind of a kitchen nightmare (sorry whitney)

 

Just felt like giving a little update. Hopefully I’ll have some work time tomorrow, so I’ll be able to post my finished Assignment #1 and possibly the curriculum I wrote for this class.

W

Kiko Kiturami vs. the (Men) In Her Head (mixed media, 2017)

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Kiko Kiturami vs the (Men) In Her Head (mixed media, 2017)
So this is my newest painting, I just finished it last night.

It’s a frame from a graphic novel that I haven’t written yet. Well, it’s a frame from a comic inside of a graphic novel. A comic that might or might not be real, about a girl that might or might not be real/missing? I know, at this point I’m just being purposefully

The (Men):

I’m not sure anyone will even ask, but the Japanese character in the center is 面, which is pronounced “men” and translates to “mask.” I learned about it from a book called What’s Japanese About Japan, which I bought from Goodwill for the title alone. (Excuse my ignorance, but wouldn’t a book called “What’s NOT Japanese About Japan be a little less redundant?) I’ve had it for probably four years, and I’ve never looked at it.

UNTIL

I was procrastinating on something else (of course) and decided that the ONLY medium which would allow me the freedom to truly express myself was… collage. I think it was at that moment that I evolved into my true form: 45 year old scrapbooker from Ohio named Joy. And then I murdered Joy’s innocence by using her artistic passion to depict a decapitated girl. Sorry Joy. Life is hard, and it hates you.

Anyways.

The crowd in Kiko’s head came from that book. And so did 面. Actually, the entire inspiration from the painting, and some of its meaning, was inspired by a passage, describing how a face and a mask are sometimes the same thing:

“A face in the crowd. We do not know the man, but we think we know the face. We have seen that face many times before, on men who were happy and on men who were sad, on men who were angry and men who were bored, on men who were sure that they were right and on men who were uncertain.”

The book goes on to explain that in some Japanese arts, like noh and kabuki, the mask and face blur together, so that it is either unclear or unimportant which is real.

“Once, puppets imitated people, and this entertainment fave rise to a new art form where people imitated puppets.” 

I was intrigued by the idea of “mask” being pronounced “men,” as if the idea of being “a man” is something of a mask that someone can wear to depict an idea, rather than an actual expression of the person inside. Or even, more broadly, if “men” (in the ‘realms of men/all humans usage), are never not wearing a mask, because their “mask” is their face, which can be manipulated or left blank to suit the wearer’s purpose.

The idea went through several iterations, and more than a few horrible sketches, but for some reason I kept coming back to the idea that it was Kiko, and once I figured out the story behind it, the piece came together quickly.

WHO IS KIKO?

Kiko Kiturami is the sister of the MeiMei Kiturami, and she’s missing. MeiMei finds a comic book that depicts Kiko in a violent, terrifying, and more than a little surreal situation. MeiMei is desperate to find Kiko, but she also is scared and confused. Before she found the comic book, MeiMei didn’t realize her sister was missing. Before she found the comic book, MeiMei didn’t realize she had a sister.

DUN DUN DUN. etc.

What I’m most proud of:

  • My drop-shadowed Japanese character (that I was terrified to mess up/mis-translate despite cross-referencing it like 30 times)
  • The smoothness, post-editing (in real life there’s a lot more texture on her face… because I glued it on over the crowd picture.)
  • The purple tile (I got this canvas from Goodwill and it was pre-colored lavender (!!) and when I realized I was going to be covering it up almost completely I was v sad that I was wasting such a magical find. Thankfully, I decided to make it into purple tile and voila, I spent an hour looking at the ugliest bathrooms in the world as references. I love how it turned out.)
  • Her weird asymmetricality.  (surely there is a noun of this word??) At first, I thought I was going to have to repaint her eyes and hair, because they ended up being very strangely different  from each other, but after finishing the piece I actually like it. It kind of looks like the left side (our right side) is an older version of the same Kiko, her hair and face are longer, and the features are generally less childlike. This fits with the weirdness of the
  • That damn crossword puzzle

I entered this into a contest (the deadline was midnightPST/ 3amEST. I finished at 1:30AM. I like to stay completely in-character at all times.) And although I don’t think I will win (I’ve seen the other entries and they are… much more in-theme…) it was an excellent way to force a deadline… I doubt I would have finished this piece anytime this year without it. Now, if only there were a contest for vacuuming my house.

W

I Opened My Etsy Shop

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Check it out!

 

UPDATE: 

I already made my first sale!!! I WILL NEVER GET OVER THIS!!! This is the kind of high people search for their whole life/Capitalism Has Hooked Its Nails Into Me: An Autobiography

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#30FOADAY Day 1

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New challenge: a finished thing a day. (Sketchbook page, full piece, other Finished Objects) 30 days! Starting today March 14.

This is not an especially cohesive piece, obviously I was feeling really scattered today and was procrastinating a lot on finishing anything important/”real.” I’m really excited about a few of the small ideas that are on here, and also some from some other pages I didn’t show from today (I did a LOT of procrastinating today.)
Cohesive or not, this is my first entry in my new challenge I just started #30FOADAY which, despite the possibly-confusing hashtag, doesn’t mean 30fuckoffs in a day, though tbh is that even a challenge if you ever venture into public?
Basically, for the next 30 days, I want to finish 1 Finished Object a day. This could mean a full art piece, an embroidered something, a clothing alteration, etc. etc. as long as it’s a finished thing I can add to a portfolio of finished things, it’s A-OK. I decided to make this challenge inclusive of full sketchbook pages because it’s definitely a goal of mine to use my notebooks more deliberately. Until recently, though I’ve always been a devoted (almost obsessive) journal-er, I’ve never really bothered to keep an “art journal,” where all of my ideas, both written and visual, get equal space. I am definitely more comfortable with writing, so my journals have almost always been pages and pages of writing with little doodles here and there. I always had visual ideas, but I aways thought of myself as really limited in my talents. Writing was my thing, and nothing else was open to me. Recently I’ve told my past self to go sit in a corner until they can stop being so negative, and let loose with whatever sort of creative projects I felt like doing. (It’s a work in progress, there’s a lot waiting in the wings.)
For some reason the idea of keeping an “art journal”, though basically no different from the “do whatever you want” journal aesthetic I’ve always had, really appeals to me. I think it’s because the name denotes a sense of shareability, or at least completion, like the book itself is worth something, rather than just the ideas inside it. Ramping up my visual art practice has been really relaxing for me, but it’s also been a good self esteem boost. This is because I realized (recently, but all at once), that if I was going to blend my natural style of “throw any idea you get on a page in the easiest form possible and don’t worry about the presentation of it” with the more aesthetically pleasing idea of an actual book full of art, rather than just a messy idea dump, if I was going to blend those two I was going to have to accept one rule:

Make Mistakes Intentional.

I know, how Pinterest-y is that. But I realized that when I was sketching and I accidentally drew a head too small or I needed the space to complete my drawing that was already taken by a grocery list, my natural instinct was just to give up when coming upon these roadblocks. (Again, I’m a lazy person, most of the time. I’m glad that I’m manic sometimes because otherwise I would literally never be productive. Ok now I’m literally just rambling. Mhm…. Right.)

 

Make Mistakes Intentional.

Like right there, when I totally could have  should have just edited that paragraph and all of the ones before it and every other thing that has already appeared on this blog, I didn’t! You know why? Because I’m taking a mistake I made and making it look like it’s on purpose. Also because fuck that, that sounds boring and hard and this blog post is literally about how I just started another Challenge despite barely handling my current schedule as it is, so I think we all know there’s no being sneaky around here.

 

Basically

When I’m sketching in pen, and I draw the head on a portrait too big, or I accidentally put a weird mark in the middle of a perfectly lovely sketch, or the hair on my character looks like someone scalped Jon Benet Ramsey and used the knockoff cosplay wig for some fire-based ceremonial ritual, I’ve gotten the best results when I just said “ok. Fuck it.” And kept drawing. Finish Everything. That’s the new motto. None of this “keep working” bullshit. Not for me, Queen of Unfinished Ideas. This Challenge, and hopefully the new movement on this blog/my life in general is all about FINISHING. Just like sex.

Kidding.

Not kidding.

AM I?

YOU’LL NEVER KNOW.

W
P.S. (I know, my natural writing style is a LOT of run-on sentences and honestly, ask literally any teacher I’ve ever had– I hate editing. It’s because I’m lazy, not because I’m pretentious. Though I am, separately from this issue, pretentious for various other reasons.)

My Favorite Videos of the Week #2

This perfect use of camera angles and french music:

 

 

This Neistat nugget:

 

I did not remember Dumbo being this much of a gem but holy hell the animation in this is incredible. :O

 

Every time I find this, I vow to leave it open constantly, and then it inevitably gets closed again and I find it again and the process repeats. This is one of the most relaxing things on the internet. I highly recommend it.

 

And finally this incredible *and relatable* article, not a video but definitely definitely worth the read, all about learning about mental disorders later in life and dealing with them yourself!

Recent Works in Progress

I’ve been flooded with ideas lately, new projects, new stuff for my old projects, random bits of here and there my brain just spits up to avoid doing anything that will make me any kind of money. I want to start sharing more of my just-everyday life here. What do you say to once a week?

Good, that’s what I promised at the beginning and you haven’t called me on it yet. You’re getting too complacent. (This “You” is probably really “Future Me.”)

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Here are two recent works-in-progress that are both in the nautical boat. They are also, coincidentally, both in the “I’m not impressed with what you look like right now and I don’t have a clear plan to fix it so I don’t want to look at you”… boat. Boat types are very specific these days, but even a layman like me has heard of that one.

Last night/Today I got a lot accomplished, after several days of feeling incredibly procrastinate-y and useless:
  • Designed a handout for my job
  • Paid my electric and power bill (ouch)
  • started work on a truly-ridiculous-but-fun piece of art that I’m using to learn Photoshop
  • Laid out my calendar for the week and booked a ton of paying students
  • Pulled myself out of a slump that I was tiptoeing near
  • Started a new NEW piece that I’m VERY PUMPED ABOUT. I’m sure you guys will see it soon enough.

I’m slowly doing a blog re-design as well, but to be perfectly frank, it is absurdly boring and I just don’t know what I want it to look like. Marketing is not my forte. Suggestions welcome. Donors welcome. Housecleaners that work for free and also bring pizza are welcome.

W

January in Review

I know, it’s 11 days into February and I’m just now reviewing January. Gotta problem with it? SEE YOU IN COURT.*

With the absolute storm of bullshit surrounding U.S. politics, my January has been focused on two things: pointing out the corruption of the United States government, and de-stressing from pointing out the corruption of the United States government. Let’s focus on what helped me do the latter!

Books

I read 3 books in January, and I’m on track for my 50 book challenge so far, as well as my “No White Guys 2017” challenge.

  1. Pluto 001 by Naoki Urasawa – a graphic novel about robots and AI that I read to start my year’s reading off gently. Post-election I was not feeling like doing much of anything but screaming, so jumping directly into a big novel wasn’t going to do it for me. I actually read the 3rd book in this series last year before realizing it was a series, and I’ll probably be reading the rest in the future because it’s just SO GOOD. The art in it is particularly wonderful, it’s all framed really well, like a storyboard for a gorgeously-directed movie. Author info: Male, Japan
  2. The Birds by Daphne du Maurier – again, couldn’t force myself to pick up anything too daunting. This was an audiobook production with a full cast that I checked out from the library’s online catalog, and it was pretty good. I’ve seen the Hitchcock movie, so nothing was too big of a shock, though this book does a much better job of setting the slowly-moving, ominous tone that makes the birds seem otherworldly and eerie, as if the reader is only getting half the story, whereas the movie feels more like a traditional horror. Author info: Female, UK.
  3. The 14th Dalai Lama by Tetsu Saiwai – I bought this in Seoul about 7 months ago, and it’s been on the very top of my to-read pile since then. I knew absolutely nothing about the Dalai Lama before reading this, and I think that’s the way I’d recommend going into it, as the story leads you through his life from the time he was discovered as the 14th reincarnation of the Dalai Lama, to the present, where he is still in exile fighting for the freedom of Tibet. It’s a fantastic short dive into his life and the history of Tibet, and the art is sooooooo lovely and clean. Definitely recommend.

Movies

My goal to watch 50 movies is going even better than my book goal,

  1. Exit Through the Gift Shop
  2. The Shining
  3. Amadeus
  4. 13th
  5. Being John Malkovich
  6. Zoolander No. 2
  7. Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom
  8. Sing Street

I think I’ve talked about some or all of these before on the blog, so I’m not going to review them all, but The Shining and Amadeus have quickly made it into my very favorite movies of all time (the January 2017 watching of Amadeus is the third since early December.)

Other Favorites

  1. Steven Universe – I finished watching the first two seasons of this show FINALLY. Just like Over the Garden Wall, I found myself slogging through the first few episodes, not really connecting to the character or voice. But sometime in the middle of the first season, I realized that I was remembering all of the character’s names and personalities and getting involved in backstory, and it all kind of unraveled from there. This show basically is my new My Little Pony Friendship is Magic, which I marathoned a few years ago, and which basically acted as TV Xanax for me.
  2. Youtube Art Videos – I think I’ll do an entire post about my favorite youtubers, but I’ve been absolutely obsessed with watching artists on youtube lately. It’s so calming and inspiring to just relax and watch someone paint while you’re painting. Some favorites are here, here, and here.
  3. Speaking of painting, arts and crafts! – I have always been a crafter, but recently I’ve really been pushing myself to produce creative products on a regular basis! I’ve been trying out traditional painting, polymer clay and papiermâche sculpting, some wood working (building shelves and things), cardboard crafts, and other random stuff. As I said in a previous post, staying extremely busy helps me to control this creeping horrible anxiety that’s been plaguing me recently. 🙂 Plus my house gets more and more decorated. Win double win.
  4. Okra. Weird favorite, but this month I decided to go meat-free! I’ve been considering it for a while, and then I had a few different long talks with a few different friends and realized that I just want to do it. I’m not planning on becoming a vegetarian or vegan spokesperson, as I think there are a LOT of factors that go into someone’s dietary decisions and it’s not my job to tell you what to eat, but I felt like I needed to regain some control over my impact on the environment and on my own body. This is a long paragraph that’s basically saying: don’t come for me with ur anti-veg vibes because i don’t give a shiiiiit. But yeah, I’ve been eating SO MUCH OKRA recently and it’s been great.

That’s a wrap! Up. Next time I’ll try to make it before halfway through the next month but if you’re coming here for consistency you’ve only screwed yourself.

W

*Real talk for a second to Americans reading my blog who would prefer me to be less political: If Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, or any other real political figure had tweeted “See you in court” after going to court and losing, they would be laughed out of office. If you treat Tr*mp as “not that big of a deal” or “just another politician” or anything other than a giant anti-American stain on an already-foul reputation, you are showing a deeply-rooted ignorance of the American government and the idea of democracy in general.

If you are not speaking out against evil, you are siding with evil. If you stand by as the government destroys the rights of its people, bans government offices from spreading facts, restricts its judiciary branch, and disrespects the power of the country, you are just as at fault as those actually signing the laws. When your taxes raise, or your school systems crumble, or your roads go unmanaged, or your libraries close, or your national parks become oil fields, realize that you had a chance to stand up for basic human decency, and instead you decided to be *uncontroversial*. I pity you, but I will never forgive you.

Favorite Videos of the week

I’m up at a god-forsaken hour of the morning to teach English classes to students in China (I’m a regular diplomatic hero cough I’m avoiding getting a real job), so I figured I’d put out a little bloggity blog. I know the last few posts have been pretty heavy, and that trend will probably last because LIFE IS HEAVY or whatever, but this post is not heavy. This post is my brother.

This is why I don’t write blogs before 9am. Anyways, here’s some of my favorite videos of the week!

This lovely cover by Jon and Dodie:

 

 

This very informative and well-researched video on why the U.S. government’s de-funding of certain programs is a move that makes zero financial or common sense, much like everything else happening in U.S. government these days (with EVIDENCE and SOURCES because FACTS are REAL THINGS even if my grandmother and the POTUS don’t think so.)

 

 

This absolutely bonkers build of the Overlook Hotel Maze model from The Shining, built by ex-Mythbuster Adam Savage. I saw The Shining for the first time in January, and since then I’ve been obsessed with all things visually and existentially related. I know, I know, I’m late to The Shining party. But what can I say? I’m a lot like Jack. In that the party don’t start until I either completely imagine it or call forth the ghosts of hotels past to throw it for me. (Check out the entire Tested channel, it’s a great place for maker inspiration!)

 

 

And, as usual, I’ve been watching my fair share of arts and crafts videos. I really love watching speed painting and “watch me work”-style videos, because they allow me to trick myself into thinking that because the person on screen is being productive, it means that I too am being productive. One of my favorite crafters to watch is Jamie Jo aka BananaJamana, who does a lot of Disney/kawaii type stuff. It’s funny, because her style (super cute/Disney kitsch) is not exactly something I’m *that* into, but she is so absurdly talented (look at her realism paintings,they’re absolutely ridiculous) that I find myself drawn to her despite differences in aesthetics. Also, weird note but, as someone whose voice slips into a higher register when I’m tired or lazy, I find her quiet, high-pitched voice incredibly soothing. Double also, I love that she works in a ton of different mediums, because it means that on top of really wonderful paintings, she also does things like making a giant s’more. For reasons.

 

I’ve got a lot of favorite artist youtubers, so I think I’ll make this Favorite Videos a weekly series! (I say, knowing for a fact that when I say something is going to be a series, that is the surest way to ensure it is never mentioned again on this blog.)

W

I am from Alabama. I went to public school in Alabama. My mom works for public school in Alabama. I pay tax to Alabama. My license is from Alabama. I vote in Alabama. Jeff Sessions does not represent me.

This is my favorite song of today, and also the saddest song I know.

My year living in Korea felt a lot like living in a with my  head in a bubble. Like a bubblehead charm of English. Like a helmet to reassure my brain that it was still functioning, despite not comprehending any of the information flooding it.

There were people– many people– around me that spoke English. But they were usually grouped together at destination points, like the glowing beacons of understanding at the end of a long trudge through… wait what am I saying? I was thinking of a video game character that had a glowing light around them because you could talk to them, unlike the other NPCs or something, I don’t know, we’ll unpack that later.

What I mean is at times I felt completely alone. (Don’t awww.) It was refreshing in a way I didn’t realize I was craving. I could stand on the roof of my apartment building at 3 in the morning and know that nobody on Earth could say with 100% certainty where I was at that moment, save myself.

Of course, capital ‘L’ Loneliness is inevitable eventually, wherever you are. But honestly, after the first two weeks of satiny panic (culture shock), the loneliness morphed into something insulating, even comforting. Like a… Thundershirt? What I’m saying is… I was a puppy and it was storming outside, and the fact that I didn’t really have to talk to that many people while coping with the rising panic was my Thundershirt.

Yes. That’s good. That’s quality writing. People come to this blog for a reason.

Anyway, regular life is an absolute barrage of information, usually information that you take in unconsciously. It wasn’t until I moved to Korea with zero knowledge of the language that it really struck me how much of that constant information flow is language-based. Do you want to do an experiment?

Ok.

Look up from your computer for a second. No, I mean after you read the rest of these instructions, come on. Are there books around you?Can you read the titles at a glance? Do you have any

Or maybe you’re outside. Are there street signs around? What about shopfronts? Where would be the closest place to get food? Do you know because someone told you and pointed it out, or because you read the sign? Was it almost like your brain read it before you even told it to? Do any of the words or book titles or signs or roads mean anything to you? Maybe you live on a street with the name of a famous city, and you know the city because you learned about it at school, and you’ve watched Anthony Bourdain tour around eating its most photogenic food, and once you wrote a paper on the mayor who helped found a famous hat shop. When you read that word, you are slightly more in touch with the outside world than you were the moment before, because of these layers of familiarity.

However, when you are walking down the street or sitting in a coffee shop or combing through racks of clothing in a place with an unfamiliar language, none of these layers of familiarity exist. I want to say “your brain reaches out for any source of familiarity, trying to add context to the information it is drowning in,” but I don’t know anything about what your brain does, so samesies, but mine.

Getting on a bus or a subway or walking down the street having crowds of voices around me without the, allowed my thoughts a lot of time to parade around in my head uninterrupted, and allowing me a lot of time to sit quietly and listen to them.

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I started working on a tiny film I want to make about a girl named Annie or possibly Winnie or possibly something else being sent to work the solitary, mind-numbing, and minimum-wage job of tending to a one-man satellite in the upper middle regions of Earth’s orbit. The story quickly became more complicated than that, but I’m sure I’ll get to that later.

There was something about the feeling of being so far away, combined with being able to go for entire days without speaking to someone, without being able to speak to another person, that leant itself (rather bluntly) to writing a character that spends the story in a state of isolation. Plus, you know, space is dope. It started me thinking about this idea of having a familiar concept, being presented in an unfamiliar (at least to me) way. My character, Annie (or Winnie or WhateveR), does some fairly outrageous things, but my idea for the visuals of the film is to go overly-cliche, insipid even, in the way the scenes are shot. In the coloring, in the scene layouts, in the <insert other professional-sounding film things here>, I want to highlight the major differences between the real world and Annie’s perception bubble.

Does this sound like Underwater Matrix to anyone else? Ok, new plan. Scrap everything I just said, I’m going to start writing Underwater Matrix 2. (Because obviously as soon as I publish this someone’s going to steal the Underwater Matrix idea, and being a slow writer I will be finishing just in time to cash in on that sweet sequel cash.)

Oh right, right. This is a blog post not just a thought dump. Hmmm. Right. Oh! The Commander Thinks Aloud by The Long Winters. AKA the reason I started writing this blog post. I first heard this song on one of my long, long subway rides, autoplaying podcasts and staring at the crazy amount of people packed into the streets of Seoul.

In the podcast interview which you should definitely listen to, the songwriter John Roderick, of the Long Winters, explains that he wrote The Commander Thinks Aloud about the moment on February 1st, 2003 when the Space Shuttle Columbia broke apart upon reentering the atmosphere, killing all seven crew members. The way Roderick tries to think through this horrific tragedy from the mind of the Commander of a doomed crew, that moment when you know for a fact that all is lost and yet you are still alive for a little while longer… It hurts. When you listen to him, and when you listen to the song again. It makes it personal.

This is a big part of the feeling I want to explore with Annie.

Ok, this has gone on long enough, see you next time.

W