Saturday, June 20, 2009

A short rant about 9

When I was in high school I was a very high-strung person, hell-bent on perfection, which I theorized was perfectly achievable, and everyone else in the world must have just been too lazy to get there. I made the connection in more recent years that, at that time in my life, I was forcing myself into too many holes in which I did not fit. Some of the holes were straight A's, being the best dancer in my classes, and being the best artist in my school.
The main hole was religion, cliche as it may be to fade religion. I had a good experience at my particular church and was VERY involved. The other congregates were super-friendly, and at 16, I became the president of the youth group, as well as a kindergarten Sunday School teacher. At night however, I would frequently cry in bed, terrified at the thought of infinity, and equally terrified at the thought of time ending. While weighing out my fears of infinity and finity, I decided that time ending was the much more horrifying reality, and forced myself to become more and more involved in a religion that my mind simply could not believe in. When I got to college and distanced myself from the church, I slowly realized my stress and anxiety were melting away. I don't think that religion in general is a bad choice for all people, or even that it was bad for me, but I do think that forcing myself to believe in something that I could not, or forcing myself to "be something I am not" was causing all kinds of fears and stressors to surface. Losing "God" was initially horrifying, until I realized that I wasn't losing anything. If I don't truly believe in it, I am wasting time and energy on upsetting myself. It was simply not logical.
That was the first major sigh of relief in my personal philosophies.
The second actually came at the end of my graduate program at Pafa. While writing my thesis I had to flesh out my working methods, and try to come up with the inspirational force behind what I am driven to do on a daily basis. I would suggest that everyone do this at some point, or at various points in their lives. In finding my direction, I actually loosened my grip on the concrete endpoint I had in sight for the way my life would be in the future. In writing about what I wanted for myself, I began to realized that it was a forked and windy road, and at 24, i would not be able to see the end of it, and that is beautiful. Christ, who wants to know exactly what is going to happen to them in the future? It would be dreadful.
I realized, through writing my thesis that I had a distaste for photorealism. If you are going to spend 1000 hours painting something and it is going to look exactly like a photograph, why don't you just take a photograph? That version of "perfection" actually put me off a little.
I noticed a trend:
- I like to get a 96% on a test better than a 100%. a 100% just implies that the test was easy.
- I've always liked silver better than gold.
- I like my own drawings best when something is a little weird. You know, like, someone doesn't have anatomically correct elbows or something. My drawings are absolutely the best when you can tell something is awkward, but you cannot identify what that is.
The conclusion: I love near perfection. On a scale of 1 to 10, I love 9.
Aesthetically it is the prettiest #. In numerology it is like, the top thing you can do. In spoken German, it means "no" which I love to say.
I've talked to people about 9 before, and Emily had heard about it a lot. Today she sent me an email that inspired this post:
"im working at the pma right now, writing a lesson about super heroes. im reading this article about the xmen, and it says that they "challenge us to accept the beauty of difference, the libetration of imperfection." that reminded me of you, you know, like 9. so liberating." I am totally flattered that Xmen made Em think of me.
If you live your whole life trying to be 10, you can miss out on all of the wonderful things that make you a human being. You might never get drunk and embarrass yourself, you might never let anyone get to know your hilarious flaws. If you content yourself with 9, you can always be striving, growing, knowing there is something more you can make of yourself, never plateauing, and still never regretting. 9 is bliss. It's an A-, and I have become comfortable with not being valedictorian.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Hard Pressed. (ehhhhh....)

I have been really lucky recently in my press coverage, and i just wanted to share a few links with everyone. All of this positive press is in response to my jewelry designs which are available at, as well as 9 stores in the greater Philadelphia area (see listing below).
During the ArtStar Craft Bazaar, which served up beautiful weather and live music, 215 Magazine was around photographing vendors and their interesting items. Today I am featured in Daily Candy, which I am SUPER-PUMPED about; they feature some of the most interesting and creative goodies on their blog, and I am so honored that they took notice of my fledgling business.
Laura Draper wrote up a lovely piece about my jewelry, my artwork, and my professional double-life in the Philadelphia Examiner. Lastly, after Emily G bought a pair of my earrings at the Trenton Ave Arts Festival, she featured them in a blog about the big bike race on PW blogs.
Keep an eye out, too for The Uniform Project, I will be posting a little something when Sheena wears Caitlin Kuhwald's Owley necklace.

Shops that currently carry my jewelry:
Arcadia Boutique: 819 N 2nd Street, Philadelphia, PA
Arts+Plus Gallery: 704 Haddon Ave., Collingswood, NJ
Bambi Gallery: 1001-13 N. 2nd Street, Philadelphia, PA
Bohema Consignment: 6152 Ridge Ave., Philadelphia, PA
The Fashion Center: 16th and South Streets, Philadelphia, PA
Mew Gallery: 906 Christian St., Philadelphia, PA
The Point Store: Old Vilalge Road, Chadds Ford, PA
Tselaine's: 1927 Walnut Street, Philadelphia, PA
WILBUR: 716 S. 4th Street, Philadelphia, PA

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

The Uniform Project

Christine Finckenor recently sent me a link to a very interesting website that I have to share...

Sheena Matheiken of Brooklyn, NY has pledged to wear what amounts to the same thing for a year to support the Akanksha Project, a grassroots education initiative in Mumbai that helps young people stay in school while supporting improvements in education in general. She calls this The Uniform Project.
In Sheena's "What's this all about?" section on her site she describes what is behind her seemingly unsanitary practice:

"Starting May 2009, I have pledged to wear one dress for one year as an exercise in sustainable fashion. Here’s how it works: There are 7 identical dresses, one for each day of the week. Every day I will reinvent the dress with layers, accessories and all kinds of accoutrements, the majority of which will be vintage, hand-made, or hand-me-down goodies. Think of it as a daily uniform with enough creative license to make it look like I just crawled out of the Marquis de Sade's boudoir.

The Uniform Project is also a year-long fundraiser for the Akanksha Foundation, a grassroots movement that is revolutionizing education in India. At the end of the year, all contributions will go toward Akanksha’s School Project to fund uniforms and other educational expenses for slum children in India."

Anyway, visit her site and get inspired. You can participate by contacting Sheena to donate personally designed or hand-me-down accessories to help fuel her creativity, or you can donate funds to the cause. Sheena herself has agreed to contribute $1 per day on top of the work she is already doing to draw attention to this important cause.

I contacted Sheena a couple of days ago and she has agreed to take one of my necklaces, giving props to my jewelry design, as well as the beautiful illustration work of Caitlin Kuhwald. I'll mos def let you guys know when she sports it on the site!!!

So join in and check it out, I find it truly refreshing!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

The Spirit

I got a chance to see The Spirit, Frank Miller's adaptation of the Will Eisner comic last night, and it is thus far my favorite of the Frank Miller comic book adaptations. Or maybe I was just really prepared for all of the cheesy this time around.
I got to see the Miller/ Rodriguez adaptation of Miller's Sin City, and the Zach Snyder adaptation of Miller's 300 in that order over the past couple of years. I had thought, until I imdb'd the shit outta these films, that they were all directed by the same person and all written by Frank Miller. I guess I should pay more attention, but I will still compare and contrast the 3 films, as if they are sisters.
Sin City was great the first couple of times that I watched it, and there were definitely some haunting and creatively disturbing moments throughout, but the movie as a whole was dripping with too much drama. Parts of the film were so high-key and overemotional that it becomes uncomfortable to watch. I will always love Bruce Willis's performance, and some of the scenes are really artistically rendered. Miller's use of white is just so striking, and it really translates well to the big screen (see image of Mickey Rourke with totally badass band-aides to the left). Also that famous image of Marv sinking in the tar pit- completely badass.
The nice thing about The Spirit was that it incorporated a lot of that same beauty and high-contrast imagery without the melodrama. I think some people disliked it or critiqued it for being silly, but I think that is the right solution to these films. I would much rather that a film be silly-funny than painfully, awkwardly, unintentionally funny.
...Like the 300. Man, am I the only person on this planet that totally hated that movie? It sure took itself seriously. I just can't get on board with all the drama. The rock-music-slow-motion-kick-a-guy-into-a-huge-pit-garbage destroys anything beautiful in the film. Then the scene where that kid gets his head chopped off, but you can't really react to it or have any feelings about it because it is filmed in such ridiculous slow motion that you see it coming from 45 miles away. And, holy crap, that sex scene has GOT TO GO. Now, I am all about a well-done sex scene, but don't tease me with implied-sex tastefullness and then punch me in the face with royal doggy-style. I mean, seriously.
And don't get me wrong, The Spirit started like every other shitty superhero movie, with a 15 minute explanation as to how the hero's city is "like a woman, and i am her guardian, and she is not proud, but she needs me and I need her, and I live inside her, and she is a woman, like I said..." and on and on and on. But there is a grain of salt. Right there.
Samuel L Jackson does an amazing job of being an over-the-top super villian. The first fight scene between the Octopus (Samuel L) and the Spirit occurs in a giant mud puddle and involves all kinds of hilarious props like a huge anchor, the head of a dead guy, and a toilet. His costumes are many and various, full of fur coats and paste-on sideburns. Also, you get to see Eva Mendez's ass. That thing defies gravity.