Thursday, February 10, 2011

Creepy is the New Black.

<-- I <3 Juliette Lewis
Well, maybe not "creepy" but, at least weird. From what I have learned from such films as White Christmas and Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, there once was a time when "coolness" came with a certain degree of poise and elegance. Being fashionable and chic were one in the same. Maybe it's just my artschool upbringing, but it seems like chic-ness illicits eyerolling among the very coolest of the cool. If you are chic, expensive, well-tailored... you're simply trying too hard (even if you make it look easy). "Be Yourself," has metamorphosed from a lets-all-get-along saying to some sort of a challenge... and, part of me likes it.
So I challenge you to "Be Yourself," but not in a comfortable way. Be a cartoon of yourself, or, yourself to the Nth degree.

It seems like part of the effect of this onslaught of information associated with the world wide web has been a perverted self-awareness. We post about what we like and what we know about ourselves, all the while perpetuating our cartoonish external identities. We are encouraged so much as children to differentiate and embrace the things that make us different, and make us stand out, that it becomes difficult to know what we have been pressured to believe about ourselves, as opposed to what is actually there to begin with. It's exciting to live in a time that I believe favors differentiation to conformity. It's liberating! But are we putting too much pressure on ourselves to be different? To stand out? To invent?

I was just talking to one of my classes about this (vaguely). We were discussing how the English language is disintegrating, and I had what I think may have been an 'aha' moment. Typically I would quietly complain to myself about the fact that 1/2 of the papers I had to read were completely illegible because of an inconsistently twitter-like sentence structure and abbreviated words... But this time, something different happened. I thought, "Maybe this is the way language is supposed to evolve." Plently of philosophers believe that language itself is flawed- that using arbitrary symbols to try to get a message across is downright stupid. Someone go wake up Neitzsche. Tell him we are on the way back to images from abstract symbols. If we get a few more murals up in Philadelphia, future generations will think that we communicated that way anyway.

What did I start out talking about here? Oh, right. Creepy is the new black. So anyway- there is more emphasis placed on the person today rather than the generation, the family, or the nation. It's really fine with me. People are making more and more amazing things every day- and sometimes I think it's genuine. Here is a new piece that I made for BirdQueen Designs, as well as a piece from ilovegreyskies (below).

Thursday, January 27, 2011

"In My Body," "In Loving Memory of Yellow," and the rest of 2011

So, one of my new years resolutions SHOULD be to get better at posting more often, but, instead I will just take advantage of this snow day as an opportunity to catch you all up on the fantasticness in my life.
In the end of 2010, a multimedia project titled "In My Body" began with an exhibition of Leah McDonald's encaustic photographs of female nudes. To oversimplify, the objective of the project as a whole was (and is) to explore feminine self-image and self-esteem as it relates to gender roles and imposing societal norms. Shortly after the opening reception for McDonald's work at the Wexler Gallery in Old City, Wexler hosted an expert panel discussion about women and body image featuring a personal trainer, a plastic surgeon, an emerging fashion designer specializing in plus-sized women's denim, an ex-ballerina, a psycho-therapist, and a Qi-Gong instructor. I had the priviledge of attending and was enthralled by the conversation which was both engaging and eye-opening. It was interesting to have the plastic surgeon in there, sprinkling the conversation with slightly tense moments that sparked some confused and dissatisfied mutterings among attendees.
The last piece of the puzzle was a multimedia performance featuring vocalists, musicians, dancers and projections of McDonald's photographs. I had the pleasure of attending on this past Saturday evening. I have to admit, performance art is not my favorite, and hearing people sing sometimes makes me uncomfortable. Before the performance I was tense and nervous that it would not be something I would enjoy, but I was pleasantly surprised. For the majority of the performance, one dancer from the Melanie Stewart Dance Theatre would perform a movement piece while McDonald's photographs of that dancer were projected behind her, and one of the vocalists would read a personal story written by the dancer about her relationship with her body. Some of the anecdotes were incredibly moving, and the choreography was both beautiful and expressive without being too lyrical or literal. When it came time for Melanie's solo piece, the audience was completely engaged. While the vocalist told her story there was laughter, a gasp, and then silence- her story had been so personal and so well-paced. I found myself wishing I could run up to her and give her a hug and tell her that most women would kill to have her body, and I found myself wishing I belonged to this dance company.
So, that is one decision I have made about 2011- it is time to dance again.
At the end of the performance, Marissa Hines, who had been narrating through the entire evening stood up with her microphone and started belting out the song that had been adopted as a theme for the entire show. I was amazed. Her voice was absolutely astounding. I want to know what else she does, because it was quite possibly the most impressive voice I have ever heard live. The evening ended, and I was very glad I had attended this event.
"In Loving Memory of Yellow" is a short story and drawing project that I have been working on for the past 2 years and it is finally coming to fruition. The 33-drawing series will be showcased in an exhibition titled "Old Bones" which will hang at either Bambi Gallery or Proximity Gallery in Philadelphia with a first-friday opening next week (we are waiting to hear about the venue). "Old Bones" is a two-person exhibition featuring my work and the work of my boo, Daniel Hoffman, who will be showing some of his recent works in the other half of the gallery. In Loving Memory of Yellow is also now available for sale through createspace and features 5 written short stories based on my strange and surreal dreams, plus "I'm Already Married to My Habits," a short story comprised solely of the 33 images which will be featured at the opening reception on the 4th. You can buy the book here. Please come out to the opening reception next Friday if you can!!
On Tuesday Feb.1st, Dan and I will be closing on our house in South Philly. Very exciting!!! I will post pics when we get some things set up, but we are both very happy to be getting into a place with a LOT more space.
As far as the rest of 2011 goes, I am optimistic. I have a lot of work ahead of me, as well as a lot of opportunities. BirdQueen Designs just keeps growing, and I will be taking a more active role in the promotion of my jewelry in the coming year. The images on the site will be getting a little bit of a makeover so they will be consistent and more professional-looking, and, as always, you can look forward to seeing more designs on a monthly or bi-monthly basis (if you're interested).
2011: New house, big exhibition, first book and hopefully vending at a lot of prestigious fairs this spring and summer.