Thursday, September 30, 2010


Well, I talked to my landlord about the lights but apparently the problem has gone away on its own. He checked the wiring anyway and said there was nothing wrong, but to let him know if it starts happening again.

The Jill situation has gotten a bit better as well. She was actually out in the living room today, writing in a journal, and seemed pretty normal when I talked to her, even if she's still a little jumpy. She even helped me make dinner. We didn't talk about whatever was bothering her, but if it's getting better or she's finding some way to deal with it, I don't need to remind her of whatever's wrong.

As to art, I think I'll talk about my own art for a minute actually. I'm in a sculpture class right now, even though I'm focusing on 2D art (it's a prerequisite) and we're supposed to do a wooden sculpture with intersecting planes that focuses on a relationship we're either involved in, or have observed. I'm doing mine about a boy I used to know who was declared "off-limits" dating-wise by a friend of his, because of his mental health issues. It turned out that the boy was really pissed off about having his dating life dictated by his friend, which makes perfect sense. So what I'm doing is a wooden figure of a boy, wrapped in caution tape, with a brain made of wire and sharp objects.
I'm not actually any good with 3D objects, generally- our first project was to create a representation of ourselves out of foam, and mine was so terrible I'm not even going to mention it here. But this time I seem to be doing pretty well, despite being scared out of my wits by the power tools we're using to shape our wood. My figure actually looks like a figure, and I'm immeasurably proud of it! So I'm going to show it off, naturally.

These are the two main body parts, although there will be a few more slats running across the main body. The arms on the main body were carved separately and then glued on, but luckily I'm going to put slats over the places where they join, because they look pretty weird right now.

Here it is assembled- the drawing on the head is where I'm going to cut out the space for his wire brain.

Another angle on the assembled figure. I'm so excited about this piece. So excited. I'm thinking of pasting some stickers on it that say "fragile-handle with care" but I'm not sure where to get them. We'll see.

Next time I'm going to talk about more design stuff, specifically this really fantastic book I'm reading right now. It'll be either that or a talk about typography and lettering.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010


This isn't art/design related, sorry guys. I want to organize my thoughts, and I guess this is the best forum for it. I probably wouldn't do this if I had any followers, but right now it's public enough for me to not feel weird posting, and private enough to feel safe.

God, I sound stupid and overdramatic.

So remember last entry when I talked about Jill being in her room all the time? I finally saw her in the main room this morning and asked if she was okay, and she laughed kind of oddly and told me she was fine, just stressed about a school project. I didn't think anything more about it until I happened to see a mutual friend of ours, Christian, on campus, and he mentioned that he hadn't seen her in the class they share in a while. Okay, fine, she's skipping one of her classes to work on a project for another. I totally understand, I've been there.
Except I obviously haven't, because when I came home this afternoon she was back in her room and I could hear her crying, so I knocked on the door and she told me to go away. Later she came out and apologized, but when I asked what her project was she said she'd rather not talk about it. And I've just come from the kitchen, where a full bottle of vodka is suspiciously missing from the freezer.

What the hell do I do? I know something's really upsetting her. Usually she's so much more collected than I am, and I'm really worried about her. If she doesn't want to talk to me about whatever it is, that's fine, but she hasn't left the house that I know of in almost a week, and I haven't heard her call anyone either. I wish I could tell her that she needs to talk to someone, but if I do, I feel like she'll get even more secretive because I know something's wrong. I hope she'll be better soon, because I don't like this. It's scary. She could fail her classes, or hurt herself, or drink way, way too much. Come on, Jill, snap out of it.

In any case, I hope she at least comes out into the living room. Concerns for her wellbeing aside, I'm starting to not like being alone in the house- I think I also mentioned in the last entry that I've been having computer problems, and now the other electronics are being weird too. The lights keep flickering a little bit, just enough to totally creep me out. I'm going to ask my landlord about it tomorrow, because it's unnerving as hell and it gives me a headache.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010


I'm in kind of a yelling mood today, because I've got a headache and I'm worried about Jill. She's been in her room every time I'm home for the past few days, and I don't think she's gone to class. I don't think she's sick but I'm not really sure what's wrong...maybe I'll just make her dinner or something nice. Also, my computer keeps doing weird things, crashing and restarting randomly in the middle of the night, which means I'm a little bit sleep deprived. I'm sure that's helping my mood.

Anyway, time to yell.

Even if you guys don't know the name Shepard Fairey, you know his work. Specifically, you know this poster:

Or maybe you know him for his ubiquitous Obey brand, featuring Andre the giant:

Or maybe you've seen his designs for the covers of George Orwell's 1984 and Animal Farm:

So yeah, like I said, you know him. He's designed a huge amount of counterculture imagery, especially for skater subcultures, and he's gotten very, very famous and rich off his works.
But here's the thing: I don't like the guy.
The main criticism of Shepard Fairey is that his work is at best derivative, and at worst outright plagerism. He has a tendency to use people's images without permission, and then turn around and sue people who do the same to him. It's not terribly endearing, and there's more.

Shepard Fairey markets to anticonsumerists, members of the counterculture. And he's gotten rich off of letting high schoolers play revolutionary by wearing and buying his designs. He's no longer a member of any real counterculture. He sold out, but hHe's somehow managed to keep a fair ammount of credibility, and now whenever I see some upper-middle class white boy wearing an "Obey" t-shirt and thinking he's a rebel, I have to marvel at the sheer hypocrisy of it. Stephen Heller, a design critic for the New York Times, said it really well: "It is painfully ironic, if not disappointing, to see 'Obey the Giant' co-opted by Obey the Brand."

While writing this eEntry, it occured to me that I'm not sSure whether Andre the giant got any money from his image being used. I can't find anythHing online that mentions any money coming to him. Fairey starteEd making his orRiginal stickers in 1989, and Andre died in 1993. His estate at leEast should have gotten some cash.

I guess my main problem with Fairey is his plagerism- I'd be ok with his use of other art as long as he credited accordingly, or didn't swipe directly, or maybe if he jJust ripped off things that weren't specifically associated wiIth real movements to make money off his vague, fake revolLution. He has an insane ammount of followers, so if you want to be annoyed at a bunch of juvenile faux rebels, check out The Giant Wiki. At the end of the day, the guy just doesn't have anything to say, and he's making so much money off of nothing.
I don't know, he just pisses me off. Next entry willL be both shorter and less ranty, especially if my computer keeps giving me problems.

Relevant Links:
Wikis for Shepard Fairey and the Andre The Giant Has A Posse stickers (which later turned into the Obey brand)

Saturday, September 25, 2010

As promised...

...the art/music post. Which is different than I thought it'd be actually.

I decided to do this when I found this comic page, in a webcomic called The Secret Knots. By the way, I'd recommend The Secret Knots to anyone, comic reader or not (and I'm usually not) just because of the quality of the art and originality of the stories.
Apparently there's a lot of crossover between comics and music- I've got a comic book called Put The Book Back On The Shelf which is a compilation of comics inspired by Belle and Sebastian songs. I love Belle and Sebastian, and some of the art in the book is unbelieveably gorgeous (although my friend Jess, who reads a lot of comics, says the storytelling is crap- I really can't tell). There's also a Tori Amos comic out there called Comic Book Tattoo which I actually have never seen- someone will have to tell me if it's cool, although the cover art looks good.

When you think about it, the connection between songs and comics is very logical- they're both usually short forms of storytelling, and they can be either very straightforward or just a collection of images.
Man, Jess is going to kill me for this. She's very big on the writing part of comics, rather than the art.
Anyway, I usually don't find music related art without some element of words or lettering. I think it's because lyrics are such an important part of a lot of music (obviously not of classical, but I actually have yet to find any art related to classical music, other than portraits of composers. If anyone finds any, link me!).

Which brings me to my last link- William Duignan's flickr series "The Mixtape". I found his Subterranean Homesick Blues poster while searching for images of Bob Dylan for my userpic (hey, I have to maintain a theme, right?) and fell totally in love. I'm sure it helps that I love 4 out of 6 of the songs he chose (I have never heard Pink Moon or Overs, although I like Simon and Garfunkel a lot). Nevertheless, from a design point of view they're still extremely cool posters even if you don't like the music- they fit the style of the songs they're illustrating, and still look fantastic without being obvious. For example, the Dylan poster has all this frenetic energy in the text, and it looks extremely homemade, which fits the folk aesthetic. By contrast, the Sufjan Stevens poster is slick, abstract, and almost without any text at all, which fits his highly produced and orchestrated, dreamy musical style.
I love this guy. Mr. Duignan, would you marry me please? I totally love you.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010


I was going to do a post on music and art, and probably will next time, but my roomate Jill and I had a really cool conversation that I've been thinking about a lot recently, so I'm going to talk about that instead. It's not directly art/design related, so sorry if that's what you read the blog for (because I totally have lots of followers, ha ha), but hopefully it's still pretty interesting.

Jill, as mentioned, is my roomate- she's a year older than me, she's awesome to hang out with, and she's a psych major. She's also maybe one of the most intelligent and intuitive people I know. Apparently one of her classes has been focusing on memory a lot recently, especially repression and recovery of memories after traumatic events.

Jill was saying that she's been learning a lot about flashbacks  recently. Hopefully I can do justice to this idea, because I just learned about it this afternoon. Flashbacks are more than just a literary device, they're what you get when a memory suddenly "flashes" into your mind. These are very common symptoms of people with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Dissociative Identity Disorder (what used to be called Multiple Personality Disorder). Apparently these memories feel real, to the point where people who get flashbacks often feel like they're back in the situation that traumatized them. They don't always see or hear what was happening in the memory, sometimes it's just sensation, but usually the memories were either repressed or ignored, and brought to the surface suddenly.

The thing is, repressed memories could be dangerous. Not because they shouldn't be brought out into the open, necessarily, but because memory is suggestible. Jill mentioned a study where people were asked to remember events that happened during their childhood, which were described by older relatives. Two of the memories were true, and one, that the person had been lost in a shopping mall as a child, was false. They had 3 sessions of this and by the 3rd session, 25% of the participants believed they had in fact been lost in the mall. Memories can be suggested, and they can be inaccurate, and they can be just plain wrong.

I suppose the upshot of this is that I've been questioning a lot of my memories. For example, I distinctly remember, as a child, getting a few stitches in my left foot when I stepped on broken glass in our driveway. The stitches were real, the cut was real- I have photographic evidence, and my mom and stepdad both tell the story of how scared they were when I ran in leaving bloody footprints behind.
The part I'm questioning is my memory of getting the stitches taken out- as I recall, it was done without anaesthetic. I remember screaming in pain and the doctor holding my foot, but not doing anything to take the pain away. But that's impossible- I also remember my mom being in the room, and she wouldn't have let something like that happen. What's more likely is that I was given localized anaesthetic, but the fear of seeing someone pull thread out of my body made me think I was actually in pain. It's a little unnerving to think that something that feels so real is in fact at least partially false.

There's also the stuff I can't remember at all- my mom and aunt Caroline, who we lived with for a while after Mom and Dad got divorced, have told me about how I used to get lost all the time when I was little and we lived on the outskirts of Flagstaff, AZ. They'd tell me that I'd disappear for hours when I was five or six years old, and reappear out of the woods after they'd both gotten worried sick. The weird part is, I don't remember a lot of those times- I just remember coming out of the woods to find them both panicking, not what I did in the woods or why I went there in the first place. I was definately old enough to have lasting memories at that age, although most of my memories from before about age 12 are a bit hazy. Jill says she had similar memory lapses from around that age, so it's probably not that big of a deal- it's probably common, in fact- but it's still strange to think that there's a chunk of my life that I'll never know about. Not because anything traumatic happened and I'm repressing it, but just because for whatever reason, my brain didn't deem it worth saving.

Looking back over this post, it's not one of my best (although out of 3 posts, it's not like there's a lot to compare it too), and it sort of doesn't have a point. But I find it pretty interesting, and I'd love to hear if anyone out there has similar thoughts about memory, or would be able to explain some theories on why we remember some things and not others.

Relevant links:
The wikipedia entry for flashbacks (as a psychological phenomenon)
A helplist for dealing with flashbacks from PTSD
A really good article on suggesting false memories, from the woman who did the study I mentioned above.

Next time I'll get back to art and music, unless of course Jill catches my interest again.

Art off the canvas

So I said I'd show you one of my new favorite artists, and here she is, in self-portrait form:

I don't know if you can tell from this small size, but that's not a painting.

That's a photograph.

Alexa Meade is maybe one of the most conceptual artists I can think of off the top of my head. She paints the bodies and clothes of her models with acrylic, and then photographs them. She also does living installations, in which a painted model sits in a painted diorama on a painted chair.
This is a print from one such installation:

...and this is the same installation, with the artist in it.

The papers surrounding the guy are painstakingly painted as well. She also does what she calls "living still life" which is what it sounds like- a still life such as a bowl of fruit, painted over with acrylic in the same way as her models. In some ways, the still lifes are even more like a painting- I think it's because no matter how well you paint a person, things like their eyes and hair will always be real-looking.

I love stuff like this, stuff that blurs the line between real and fake, photography and painting, life and art. And of course it's a huge bonus that her painting style reminds me of Van Gogh and Chagall. I love the dynamic feel of expressionism, and chunky, clearly visible brush strokes are gorgeous, at least to me. Weirdly, the "paintings" remind me mostly of the work of Clive Barker, who is more famous for being a writer but whose art I greatly admire.  Not so much the subject matter, obviously, but the brush strokes and vibrant colors.

Anyway, suffice it to say that I love Alexa Meade's work to the point that I'll neglect working on my project proposal for sculpture class to post about her at midnight on a Tuesday.

Relevant links:
Alexa Meade's main site, which has mostly older art on it
Alexa Meade's flickr account, which seems to be much more up-to-date, and includes process photos and my favorite of her pieces so far, which is entitled Mediation (it's my favorite because it gets even more meta than everything else she does)

Maybe sometime in the future I'll do a post on Clive Barker and his art as it relates to his writing, because I'm actually a huge fan of the guy in general. For now, what I'll probably post about next time is art and music! See you!

Sunday, September 19, 2010


So I guess I have a blog now- well, that makes me sound like way more of a luddite than I actually am. Truth be known this is the second blog I've had in my life, but the first was some terrible livejournal thing composed mostly of whining and passive agression, and since I haven't looked at it since I was fifteen, I figure it's time for something new.
I'm going to try to make this a place where I can share funny, interesting, mostly art or writing related stuff. I'm actually a design major at the University of Arizona, with a Creative Writing minor, so I'm pretty immersed in this world. I love creativity and hopefully the other people who will read this blog will find my tastes interesting. I'll talk about myself and my life a little, but for the most part it'll be links, videos, and maybe philosiphizing, I'm not sure. I'm also going to try and not make this a pretentious art blog, which will be hard, but I'll do my damnedest.
Uh, and I'm going to be cussing, so if you're sensitive to that this might not be the blog for you.

I suppose first posts of everything are always awkward, so I'll just shut up and stop over explaining myself, and share some cool stuff.

First, check out what I found on wikihow last week:
How to make a hollow book!
I'm actually considering making one of my own just because I love the idea of having something so like a movie prop. Maybe I can use it to hide my valuables (what valuables?) or whatever I don't want my roomate to eat. Hmmm...

This company called Idee Labs has come up with a weird, cool way to search flickr- by color. I'm not sure what practical use it'd have, but it's definately fun to mess with. You can choose up to 10 colors, and the more you add a color, the greater presence it has in the set of photos. Here's one I made in the colors of this blog:

Hmm. Remind me to mess with the picture editing on this blog, I need to figure some sizing things out.

Anyway, that's it for today, next time I post I promise more cohesion, less rambling, and a truly awesome artist who is fast becoming one of my favorites.