Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Olaf, Ghosts, and Dance

I first saw this video 6 years ago at the Skin Tight exhibition at the MCA. It was being projected on to the back wall and was the only thing that captured my attention (besides the robot dress). Mostly this video is creepy and disturbing but there's an element of playfulness to it. I went through hell and high water to find and post this but now that I have, I'm as happy as a pig in excrement! Excuse the video's poor quality but try to enjoy it none the less.

Ghosts, 2003 by Olaf Breuning and Bernhard Wilhelm

Speaking of being insanely happy, I just found out The MCA will be hosting the Akram Khan Company in February! They'll be performing Bahok and if you are a loyal reader of this blog (and I know you are) you'll know that I posted about them way back in December of last year!!

A little taste of Bahok:

I hope everyone else is having a nice low key day!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Black Black Red

For some reason, it's impossible for me to complete a drawing in one sitting. I obsess over it for a few weeks and collects tons of images, then I eventually sketch out the basic ideas. I tend to forget about it for about a month and then come back to it later to add the ink and detail. A hint as to what I'm currently drawing:

I watched District 9 last night and it's still sitting heavily with me. I'm not sure how I feel about the movie as a whole but it made some very valid points about how the government sections off certain groups with the intention of keeping order but it ends up making things more chaotic. The whole film is a very obvious metaphor for the apartheid and racial relations in Johannesburg which seem to be far from resolved. In spite of the film's message I couldn't help but think to myself how gross and scary the aliens looked and how I wouldn't be able to bring myself to interact with them.

I thought a little bit of Nathalie Djurberg's work. She is a Swedish artist that uses detailed plasticine puppets to make stop motion animation videos. Her work is a mixture of sweet and sadistic and she frequently explores the darker aspects of humanity using this seemingly "low tech" medium. The only aspect of her work that makes me a little apprehensive is her portrayal of minorities. Most of the black people in her animations appear as if they have on black face (black skin and big red lips) and they usually wind up being the sexual play- thing of the seemingly white puppets or they terrorize the predominantly white cities and eat bananas.

still from Badain, 2006

still from In Our Own Neighborhood, 2007

I understand that this is not to be taken literally. But I don't think it's enough these days to say "This is a commentary" without understanding who it's a commentary for and with what purpose. Most of the interviews I've read with her discussing her art, she does not touch on its racial elements. None the less, her puppets are beautiful and I feel as if she's living my dream.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

I'll eat you up. I love you so.

"You are now, the King."

I recently saw Where the Wild Things Are in theaters early on a Sunday morning. I felt myself spilling over with excitement as I sat patiently in my red seat. It's a dreamy story about being misunderstood and learning to control your anger. I was expecting to be a *little* bit more into it. I wanted to bee woooed and taken away to another place that wouldn't allow me to think about the weather or what I was planning on cooking that evening...but alas, I was not. It was a wonderful movie, don't get me wrong, with potent emotional moments, dance-worthy music and a beautiful backdrop but something was...lacking. Perhaps I feel this way because I believed the Wild Things hype and expected too much. Perhaps I wanted more of a lucid, emotional, Gondry-esque experience. But it was definitely worth seeing for the wonderful back drop, costumes, and moody music. It made me want to run through a forest and scream.

I for one was very excited about the objects and the props but unfortunately there weren't too many things that read as organic or distinctly hand made. Most things in the movie were CG, which was a total buzzkill. The actual body suits worn by the Wild Things were made by Jim Henson's creature shop but the facial expression were computer animation. Max's costume, however, totally rocked. Too bad I couldn't acquire one in time for Halloween. Perhaps next Halloween I'll make one, along with a paper crown and golden staff.


Check out Spike Jonze's blog following the Wild Things Progression

.. oh, and also the Amazing Soundtrack. Did I mention it's AWESOME! Karen O's crazy screechy voice is a perfect compliment to the film and the lovely chorus of children.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

January, February, March, April, May...

I was searching for art about letting go and found these images.

I'm supposed to be drawing a shack and a forest but I can't bring myself to do it. Too many things running around in my brain.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Monday, June 29, 2009

I've had a very beautiful day. After waking up and stretching and of course having my necessary bowl of Peanut Butter Panda Puffs, I headed to the library with one very obvious thing on my mind-books...lots of them! I must say I was not disappointed by the library's selection, especially in the comics realm. So dear readers something useful to remember is: whenever in doubt about buying a comic book, hit up the library first! I found a pretty decent and recent selection of books there.

One comic/manga I found is called The Aranzi/Aranzo Hour. Originally published in Japanese but translated in English so all the Americans can now enjoy it's awesomeness. The cast of characters include a fish named Fish, two nondescript guys named Bad Guy and Liar, a dog named Terry and two bunnies that to eat cake and take naps (which reminds me of me and my closest friend from school!)

The Complete Aranzi/Aranzo Hour

Melting Spritekin- Aranzi/Aranzo Hour

After my lovely time spent at the library, I headed to the cemetery.

No, I don not have a death wish...it's just like going to the park, except much more interesting architecturally. I strolled around, soaking in the greenness and all the headstones and before I knew it, I was locked in!! Lovely, huh? Luckily a young goth couple got locked in too and asked the caretaker nicely to let us out....

Surprisingly nice goth couple.

I rounded out the evening with going to the movies!!! A sort of recent habit that's been developing over the summer months and I have to say I enjoy going to the movies by myself. No having to put up with annoying conversations during the flick with your friend. No having to worry about getting mauled when the lights go out (j/k). Just quiet peacefulness with yourself in the dark in front of a big screen. You can even cry without feeling awkward about it.

I saw My Sister's Keeper, a semi-manipulative tear jerker about a family's struggle over a girl's cancer. I say it's manipulative because it was definitely tugging at your heartstrings but it was well done and Cameron Diaz surprisingly did a good job as the mom. Worth it if you enjoy emotional movies.

I must add, though that I did NOT cry. Even though I cried long and hard during each Harry Potter book. Ahhh, which reminds me- Harry Potter opens in two days! Go and see it so we could have something to chat about! <3

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Michel and Pop up books.

I just rented the collected shorts of Michel Gondry and I am so utterly in love. I'm very fascinated with him because he's quirky and french and he seems to have created an entire mythology around himself. Also I appreciate how he tends to lean more towards "live" special effects and handmade props rather than CG. It's definitely worth watching if you enjoyed The Science of Sleep or Eternal Sunshine. I haven't seen Be Kind Rewind, though.

Tiny by Michel Gondry

Also, I have been on this weird pop up book kick. I used to think they were really dorky but I don't understand how I was able to overlook how amazing they are. I want to make one about my most recent trip to California. I stumbled across some really awesome pop up book art/artists during my research on the internet.

First Bank
An Elaborate Pop up by Colette Fu

Andrea Dezso

I found her by accident. I believe I was researching embroidery when I stumbled upon her amazing website. She works primarily in the book and paper realm but she created short animated films using nothing but embroidered images. I suggest you check out her stop motion animation, Demon Bridegroom when it's released in July.

New York Dreams
Andrea Dezso

Pioneers give first aid to their comrades.



I think Michael Jackson dying is strange because in the DVD I just watched, Michel Gondry named him as one of his musical heroes. I'm also beginning to suspect that I have a thing for quirky french men. Death is so scary, isn't it?

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Art Sale and other things

The Spring Art Sale was a great success! Thanks to everyone who bought from me or helped me out in any way. Special thank you to Lauren (your collar sold!!) for sitting in for me and my table mate for being so funny and pleasant.

I experienced for a brief second, this wonderful post- Art Sale coma and then I realized I have an eight page paper due tomorrow that I haven't started and also a huge project due this Thursday that is still in it's planning stages. Yeep. I'm currently in bed and hating life but soon enough this paper will be done. Also, another post about things I love.

Collaboration between Dame Darcy and Jenny Hart.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Bad Mood

I'm in an uncharacteristically bad mood because it's fucking snowing outside and it's a Sunday. I'm not looking forward to my mold making class tomorrow and I suppose after years of being exposed to Chicago Public schools, I've grown to loathe Sunday nights. That aside - I did manage to get a lot of work done on my cake pattern and I am looking forward to the Motor City Comicon next month!

Check out my friend's shop on ETSY!

Also, I've been looking at her blog a lot lately


I suppose that's it for now. I still can't believe it's fucking snowing!! I keep thinking about 90 degree weather, mountains, and my sewing machine to feel happy. I wish the sun would come out and play.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Roger Brown home and studio

I went to the Roger Brown home and studio for the second time and enjoyed it just as much as the first. I also brought a camera the second time (which they surprisingly allow) and I managed to take A LOT of photos.

A little bit about Roger Brown: He studied at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago briefly as an undergrad and then as a grad student. He was one of the core members of the Chicago Imagists artists and a collector. After he succumbed to aids in 1997 his home/studio was donated to the Art Institute where it remains, under their care. His home is pretty much untouched so a lot of his personal items are still lying around along with various handmade functional objects, toys, folk art, and decorative pieces. Really he considered anything art as long as it was interesting looking and well made.

Sculptures by William Dawson, a folk/outsider artist who influenced the Chicago Imagists especially Roger Brown.

Me in the bathroom of the Roger Brown studio. His toothbrush was still hanging on the wall!

An exploded pot still hanging out in his stove. It's probably been sitting there since before '97.

Please go to the Roger Brown studio. They have an original page from Henry Darger's book! Which reminds me, Intuit is also worth checking out since they have recreated Henry Darger's living quarters. I am incredibly attracted to outsider art. I think there's something to be said for artists that are able to operate outside of the institution. I wish I could be one of those people, but I can't really complain because the institution I'm currently in has provided me this culture that I am thriving off of.

Anyway, Other artists to check out:

Lee Godie

Ray Yoshida

Jesse Howard

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

It's supposed to be spring!!

Bad day at work. I'm in this weird stage where I feel like I'm losing interest in what I was initially very intrigued by and I'm struggling against it. Perhaps it was the grayness of today that made me feel so down. Or perhaps I am just being hard on myself but it really matters to me that people don't consider me lazy or ambivalent. I feel like I'm the wicked, duller stepsister.

Time at home makes me very excited. I'm happy with the few hours I get to spend in the privacy of my room making something or reading...it's what got me through this long, awful winter.

Other things that are currently making me feel happy:

Creepy narrative photos involving dolls.
More at http://turquoisechildren.online.fr

Cameo Necklaces with Couples in them.
I know, I know. Fuck you. But how can I resist the cheesy loveliness of this necklace??!! I almost bought one like this with a hand painted portrait of Joel and Clementine.

Obnoxious Ribbon

I just learned about this band within the past month. I like the original version of this song but this video has somehow become a subject of intrigue for me. I can't seem to tell if the lead singer is super cute or creepy.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Caged Performance....I have lots of work to do.

I should actually be working on other things but I feel compelled to post, thanks to my lovely art history class.

Today we watched The Couple in the Cage, a video documentation of a collaborative performance involving Guillermo Gomez- Pena and Coco Fusco. It was an obvious satire in which Guillermo and Coco traveled around the globe, decked out in faux Amerindian costumes and posed as "savages" locked up in a cage.The cage was set up in the main lobby of various art and natural history museums, allowing the visitors to interact with the performers. If you payed fifty cents, Guillermo and Coco performed faux tribal traditions. Coco would do a "warrior dance" to a hip hop song while Guillermo told a story about his homeland in a made up tongue while holding a rubber snake. If you went up to their cage and enunciated the word, "P-H-O-T-O", they would even pose so you could take a picture with them.

The performance was very effective in that it had a very sophisticated way of being satirical and that was primarily due to the passive attitudes of the performers...which I totally commended because if someone tried to feed me a banana through a cage, I'd probably spit on them.

The video documentation was interspersed with images of native people being shipped off to Europe and America to be showcased in the circus like freaks. At first, I was irritated with the very didactic comparison but there was a moment when I kind of lost it and got a little emotional. What REALLY effected me was that there were still some people who didn't seem to understand that it was a social commentary. I distinctly remember a sailor from Chicago asking, "Who shaved her legs for her?".

(A small excerpt from the video)

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Fun with the drill press and stop motion animation

Worked in Blair's studio today. He was gone most of the time, tending to his sick dogs at home. It felt like me and the other intern were two little girls lost in a forest out of some fairy tale. There were wild masks and props all over and I was having so much sick twisted fun constantly drilling holes using the drill press. I mean, it was fun until I somehow managed to rub one of my knuckles raw and then proceeded to bleed on one of Blair's books. Thankfully, he wasn't mad. He actually thought it was amusing. It was nice to hear him laugh.

I talked to the other intern about various stop motion artists including Christiane Cegavske. She created this wonderful stop motion animation called Blood, Tea, and Red String over the course of 13 years!!! She has since created a creepy live action follow up called The Doll Maker and is working on a related stop motion movie. Some of her work:

Slice and Stitch

I actually saw a similar version of this painting which was actually used in the movie and I liked it better because instead of sewing her vagina shut, they were delicately painting a thin red line down the middle. The fact that they're cutting off her breasts, though does bother me. At first I thought they were just measuring them.

Little Red

I like this one because of it's blatant sexuality and that ALWAYS came to mind when reading about Little Red Riding Hood and the Big Bad Wolf. I also recently finished The Book of Lost Things and in it there was this story in which Red Riding Hood seduced the Wolf and that is how Werewolves came to be. Freaky.

There is no time

I haven't been able to decide if she's sadly repairing herself or just making herself a costume. None the less, I love visible stitches. I used to work with this woman who had stitches tattooed along her body and I adored them. Maybe I'll get some tattooed some place discreet.

After watching this, and a lot of Svankmajer, I made this miniature scene based on Alice in Wonderland that has since been destroyed. Too bad I never got to finish it, but a few pictures still remain.

Can't see it too well but it's made out of an old wicker basket, there are hands coming up out of the ground holding a gold key and on the table are three playing cards (from the suit of hearts) and a glass of milk next to a sign that says drink me. Beyond the huge keyhole is a table with a tea set on top of it. I plan to rebuild it someday and add more things...including rabbit tracks. But, I think I'm going to make a pair of earrings first.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

This business of Art (History)

I love my Art History class. Alternative Art History 1980-Present with Keller. Take it. I read this article today called "Clash of 85", it's an art critic analyzing her work and how she's changed over the years after she's been fired from her job. Very insightful. She made some interesting points about culture and art.

"Culture, in the full sense, not just the other arts, but the whole fabric, including how we eat and dress and work and make love as well as make art- a general culture in which we are all collaborators, which does not exclude so much as embrace the so-called avant-garde along with many other manifestations." (Lippard, 2)

This quote made me think of Post-Modernist ideals as I learned them in my previous Art History class. I used to be very bothered by the idea that nothing is original, that everything is derivative or a reference to what came before. Now, I don't necessarily think it's a negative concept. Our culture informs us, as we inform each other and that filters down through our work. So it's impossible to seperate your work from the zeigeist of our times, even if you are not making any direct socio-political/cultural statements.

We talked a little bit this situation in which our teacher was speaking to this woman who said she didn't want to be known as a "woman artist but rather an artist that just so happens to be a woman..." I can relate to this because I have similar fears about being pigeonheld as a black artist, woman artist, etc.. On the other hand, these are very importat aspects of my identity and ofcourse, impact how I relate to the world and the work that I produce. Furthermore, I would never want to deny aspects of my "personhood" just so that my work could be seen as something more accessible. Catch 22.


An article on a Kara Walker exhibit that I found interesting. She's someone I often debate about with myslef. I thought it was weird though that Betye Saar had such a huge issue with her.

Saturday, January 24, 2009


My break was heavenly. I wish I could have somehow extended it, though I was actually quite relieved to start school again. I spent most of my time hibernating: working on my portfolio, some stuff for Etsy, and killing myself over internships. Luckily I managed to score an internship this semester with Blair Thomas and Company.

Blair Thomas is a visual theater artist that combines puppetry and pageantry with music and folklore. He is also the co founder of Redmoon Theater and I've been eyeballing his company for sometime. Most of the work I will be doing will be mold-making, sewing, and welding. His studio is located in a big warehouse type building in a seedy part of town.

Blair Thomas and Company's Cabaret of Desire

Blair Thomas and Company's The Selfish Giant

Since I've been spending so much time inside lately, I've been thinking a lot about having a studio. I want to live on my own so badly it hurts. I just don't have enough room for all of my stuff anymore and I don't have the peace and quiet I sometimes really need. I feel like Alice after she took a bite from that cookie and grew so huge she got stuck in her house.