RIP 1967-1994

•April 6, 2009 • 3 Comments

 

On April 8th 1994 , three days after his death, Kurt Cobain was found dead. This was my seventh birthday. I think I’ll always remember it because I was living in Seattle at the time, and here I am fourteen years later back in the city that I love to hate but miss upon all of my departures more than any other.

From the shy smile and the quiet disposition he often displayed to the lyrics that truly seemed to impact a generation, Cobain is someone that can’t be forgotten. His place in history is too iconic.

But it is also devastating, when you think about the dark age we live in and how his death also brings up so much controversy. 

I don’t really want to talk about the way one of my favorite artists died today though.

Kurt Cobain grew up in a small rainy town called Aberdeen, he played his first concert at a dorm room at the college I am getting my degree from. Everywhere I go in Seattle and Olympia there are artifacts, spots where he ventured most. From the sidewalks in Olympia that he so often slept (even after his single, Smells like teen spirit, became a staple song on radios across america) to the Jack in the box on Broadway in Capitol Hill (which just closed this past year actually) where he purchased his heroin…pieces of his eccentric past are everywhere. In Olympia, people still live in that scene. It’s such a strange place.

But he did something many don’t, he took his pain and made beautiful art. He became well known and loved, but I guess that also comes with a price.

But who was Kurt Cobain? Why are we so fascinated by him? Is it because he did not deny his humanity, because he was honest about his imperfections and pain? So honest that his music became something very real and relatable to a population that was tired of lying to themselves?

Do we remember the husband he was? The father? Those were personal sides that are only truly known to the people closest to him.

(note: I don’t care what anyone says, I think they were a beautiful couple.)

Do we remember his sculptures? His fascination with the form in utero? Do we remember that perhaps even if someone seems to have it all, that perhaps there are some things fame, money, art, and family cannot save?

Some pain runs too deep, perhaps the reason Kurt Cobain made such an impact on my strange rainy landscape and beyond is that pain is something we can all understand.

Even so though, I wish that art and family, that even transient things like fame, could have saved him.

His daughter turned into a beautiful young lady, as if out of the pain and tragedy of both of her parents’ lives she blossomed like those daffodils you see beneath the snow in early march….

If anything, I think he deserved to see that.

Advertisements

You’ll never live like common people…

•March 30, 2009 • 9 Comments

(taken by Gabino Mabalay-http://www.gabinomabalay.com–it ended up reminding me of my swan series…for more pictures of me go here-http://www.flickr.com/photos/sheclimbeddownthetree)

Rimbaud talked about disordering the senses and experiencing all that you could to truly see. I wonder if that is what I’ve been doing, or if my nomadic existence is merely inherited. I’m like a strange mixture of languages and novels. It makes me constantly sad to meet people my age as so many don’t read or watch cinema that is not spoon fed to them by mainstream culture. I find that many of my “peers” are constantly repeating generic manifestos that they picked up unconsciously from a television station or some magazine. 

I can’t help but feel the order of consumerism in their words, their lack of evolution.

Frankly it scares me.

The internet has helped somewhat, you can discover many oddities even while surfing social networking sites like myspace, but in truth it’s strange to see how people prefer boxes.

I even find myself confused by the fact that I don’t fit into anything.

But humans are not meant to be sorted and put in boxes, at least not until they’ve stopped breathing.

Are we really that dead?

In America I get asked if I’m European, in Europe I get asked why I live in America….

Frankly, the only answer I have is that it was just the cards I was dealt.

But it doesn’t stop there, my mother never really had us watch television and to be honest I’ve managed to stay away from the contraptions as if they held some kind of plague pretty successfully. Things have become far too much like 1984 for me to tolerate.

I spent my childhood riding horses, playing violin, seeing the world, I was very blessed.

Perhaps I would rather have had such a privileged and intellectual upbringing even if it set me apart from my peers because now that I am not privileged I still work very hard to follow my dreams because I was raised to dream. So many young people I meet today seem to have such a myopic vision, I see it slowly changing at times, but many seem to fall into a pattern. I am terrified of becoming infected with the art of giving up. I have worked so hard in school and with art to travel since I was seventeen, I am only twenty-one but I still feel that I haven’t done enough. People are always reminding me of where I’ve been or the things I’ve accomplished, but none of it has really settled in. I only see the goals ahead like a line of carrots, past feats are soon forgotten. Perhaps it is I who has forgotten to dream in my pursuit of making dreams reality?

In public school I never fit in. I was always that strange girl drawing in the corner. My view on sexuality is very european because of what I was raised with, and yet my inability to sleep seems to be something of an America quality where we live to work but never work to live.

Fuck humans don’t even try to touch one another anymore! Voices are only heard if through static, and texting has taken the place of real conversations. I love technology for the information it can transfer but its dangerous when put in the hands of those who lack imagination or drive.

I think I prefer the company of freaks, or at least wolves in sheep’s clothing. 

But sheep I could never tolerate for they are far more dangerous than wolves.

 

•March 23, 2009 • 4 Comments

 

 

model: nana

 

me and nana in milano….

 

Life is strange lately….I really need to start taking better care of myself.

 

for more art

http://www.flickr.com/photos/mikamae

China….

•March 19, 2009 • 7 Comments

(me when in 2007, in the 798 district in Beijing…taken by Kathryn Garcia)

Sometimes I forget all that I have done in the past few years, I have a tendency to put a lot of pressure on myself to move onto the next thing, to continue changing, to accomplish more.

Often times I never get a chance to properly reflect on the places I have been or the events that I have experienced. Any successes I have seem to pale in comparison to the goals I am currently trying to acheive.

But today while I was walking in the rain, I started remembering China…..the place that truly changed my vision of what art is, what life is, who I am…

Not that I even really know who I am yet, but something happened while I was there and I’ve only recently started to comprehend it in my recent paintings and writings….

 

People find out that I went there, that I studied there with a program, and they always look at me as if I went to another planet….I guess, in a way, I did.

It was a completely different realm at least.

Why did I go? What was my urgency? With my mother’s failing health and my own issues I guess I could say that I thought I was losing my mind. I must say that at the ages of 19 and 20 I was aware that I needed to educate myself by exposing myself to something deeper, something more.

I felt that I needed to challenge myself, my perceptions, everything really.

I have never felt so alone as I did in China, not even when I was in Italy, not even when I was in adolescence suffering from the alienation that is so common amongst high school kids-

No, I was very alone in Beijing, but there was a comfort to it that I can’t explain. I was so transfixed by color and sound that I found myself a voyeur, and at that time I needed to be. What happened to me there would not appear in my work until recently, but the change was evident….it just took two years for me to fully start to understand it.

I could talk about riding a bicycle through the traffic of Beijing and finding that I was still stared at for the whiteness of my skin and the european features that were undeniable. I think I needed to be in a minority to understand something more. I wanted a challenge, something catalystic, I had to put myself in a place where just the tone of a word could change its meaning.

And what about the government? The history? The cultural revolution was something that had fascinated me for years. What happens after you silence a nation? There seemed to be an explosion of visuals coming out of China while I was there, as if the artists that were emerging out of the woodwork after so many decades of silence were finally finding their voice.

In the 798 district I found a world of this language, more powerful than anything I had seen in the western world. Perhaps the only thing matching it were the gleaming beauties of Botticelli that I faced in Florence at the Uffizi years later. Imagine, during the cultural revolution artists were killed, intellectuals, teachers, one of my professors in Beijing spoke candidly of his youth during that time…how as a student he was made to spit on his teachers, to be, in his words, “a red guard”….what a strange strange time it was, and generations later the echoes of this revolution are still heard. When dreams meant death, how can one truly live?

(paintings by Zhang Zhen…these brought me to tears, but I couldn’t find any further information about this artist.)

The process of flight, explosion, the body, it all came together for me while I was there….

I fell in love with the work of Zhang Jie…who’s self portraits captured me in a way that I never thought anything could. She wasn’t merely painting herself, she was painting her heart….

(for more, my favorites even go here-www.artscenechina.com)

 

The 798 district is a district of over a hundred galleries….it was originally built for soviet families, so the architecture is harsh, but even within the concrete you know you are in a place where people are transferring their dreams onto paper…

I found myself immersed in color…it was as if I was in a Wong Kar Wai film. Everything felt so saturated, even as the heat forced smog down my lungs I felt this need for the color that surrounded me.

Or the history, the beauty and spirituality that had been so denied…and still is…now functioning as a spectacle for people with a foreign tongue…

 

Or the people..

 

needless to say…

I felt like Alice in Wonderland, and perhaps it started my addiction to travel…I haven’t lived in one place for very long since…

(taken by the ming tombs 2007)

But sometimes, sometimes I remember it and I wish I could go back, I always seem to be longing for another place…

No matter where I am.

for more pictures (and trust me there’s a shitload more) from when I was in china go here-

http://www.flickr.com/photos/sheclimbeddownthetree/sets/72157600195981425/

To sell out or not? Thoughts on a failing economy and the art world…

•March 17, 2009 • 5 Comments

One of my latest paintings in my swan series….for more go here-

 

 http://www.flickr.com/photos/mikamae/

 

I was reading Art news when I discovered this article, “Where is art going?” which discussed how the failing economy has affected and is currently affecting the art world. Many romantics predicted that the struggle so many Americans are going through will strengthen the art being produced, that art will get more serious again, more profound. Through strife comes a need for a voice, so to speak. But there was another view point that I thought was really important and to be honest, more realistic.

 When thinking about how it will affect young and emerging artists I thought this point was very viable, “You sometimes need five to seven years to learn your craft, to pull it together, and you live off the crumbs of a vigorous market,” says painter Alex Katz. “When the market closes down, the crumbs disappear and a lot of artists are pretty much destroyed or seriously hampered.” (Ann Landi, pg 87, A new Creativity-Art News Volume 108)

To be frank, I feel like I am in that margin right now. I’ve had a serious struggle with my work considering my financial difficulties and personal issues with my family that also are a result of financial hardship. If I was stable economically the stress of living off of nothing would not be an issue. I would not have to worry about putting food in my mouth or going to the doctor, and I certainly could have the time to devote myself to my work. Lately I feel seriously destroyed by the economic and personal hardships I have had to endure. While I am still creating, it really is a struggle when you calculate the other things going on in my life. Sure, death and all the other factors that I’ve witnessed in the past year have caused me to create much deeper work than I ever would have in the past, but to be honest it gets hard to keep the momentum when there seems to be no end in sight for the continual struggles that I’ve had to witness.

What is even more troubling is some of the art that is sold so largely on the market these days. I’m not going to criticize anyone personally, but I find that many artists have stopped challenging themselves and reverted to making expensive wall paper. Yes I enjoy beautiful imagery with a graphic quality, but I’m tired of people who recycle the same images over and over again without any urge to push themselves to delve deeper being hailed as geniuses.

Yes, they make what sells, and in these trying times selling seems to be everything. Perhaps this new level of superficiality to the art that I’m seeing is primarily because the economy is so terrible? Poverty has not inspired a new bohemian revolution, but rather a push for capitalism. To be quite frank even the most famous artists of the said bohemian revolution in the 1860s had some sort of financial support to feed their budding egos.

In all truth though, I was never good at selling out.

 

(note–I am by no means insulting any of the artists in the contemporary world, there are plenty that are creating beautiful work that feeds the soul, I am merely stating my disgust on the way that everything really does come down to money. And no, I don’t think my work is that great…I’m just starting to find my own voice.)

 

I was dealt a bad deck of cards…

•March 11, 2009 • 3 Comments

Death and I always wind up in the same room but we never speak, we only eye one another wearily.

Our interactions are akin to that of seeing an ex, or an old friend you had a falling out with but keep running into at the most inopportune moments. Every time I see her I want to say something, but its always the wrong moment, the wrong time, there’s too much pain or I’m not seeing clearly.

I wonder if one day she’ll speak up? Perhaps we only run into one another so frequently because there simply is not enough room left? She’s been everywhere and so have I. The world is a small place when you truly think about it, and in just eight hours you could be on the other side of it.

The fact that Death and I can never seem to discuss these things makes me sad. I’d like to know if she’s lonely, is that why she keeps taking people away from me and from the people I love? Does she stop by so frequently so that we can remember why we are alive? Or how fragile life really is, the line between life and death isn’t very thick, its just busy.

I am at a point in my life where I think I am truly losing it, but does that mean that something good will come of this?

Afterall, whatever doesn’t kill you simply makes you stronger.

Identification means comprehension

•February 28, 2009 • 7 Comments

model-me photo by gemma fleming-www.gemmafleming.com

Alessandro: You own an intense gaze which recalls me the visions of Alberto Martini and Karel Thole…
Alberto Martini isn’ t avery famous italian artist, but you can try to look for his artworks on the web, he used to draw giant butterflies with human eyes on their wings.
Karel Thole is a little bit most renowned since he created a lot of covers for fantastic and horror books like those of Lovecraft, Dunsany and K.dick. When I see your photos I can feel the same profound perceptions I got from those artworks. Basically I like your fairy and mysterious gaze.

Me: I always get curious by what people mean by particular, I get a lot of people telling me I’m unconventionally pretty. Some people have been so rude too! One guy didn’t want to photograph me with clothes on because he said my body was more interesting than my face…as an artist I couldn’t understand that because I love faces, I always paint faces and I love bodies too but I can’t imagine a body without a face.

Alessandro: The fashion and show business are full of greedy and shady people who cannot conceive women like human beings but just like erotic machines configured to satisfy any of their lustful desires…
Faces, and especially eyes, are the visual elements which freak out men with weak spiritual dimension because they remind them that they belong to them as well…so they manage always to avoid looking in the eyes of their “objects”
identification means comprehension.

(Taken from a conversation I had with writer Alessandro Fantini a week ago, I felt that with all of my talk about hans bellmer and objectification, this was very important…to see some of his work go here-

http://beinart.org/modules/Word-Press/2008/07/31/alessandro-fantini-art-book/)