Sep 18, 2014

always david

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he is almost an instinct of mine.  in my alcohol-fueled lethargy, i began to quiz myself over the relevance of art...  what it means, what my art means and whether or not it even matters.  this is an aggravating little game artists play with themselves, it seems, but in the moment it really hurts.  it hurts to ask yourself, "is art meaningless?"  it's so close to asking whether or not life is meaningless.

and maybe it is.  maybe life is meaningless.  maybe art's role is to provide the meaning we're all searching for?  or at least an avenue to it.  i don't know.  i just suddenly found myself wondering this evening whether or not i'm defeated...  whether or not i still contain the requisite amount of FIGHT.  despite recent encouragements, i suddenly felt worn out.  

i got out of bed and went to my book case.  i needed another artist.  i needed a mentor.  i needed someone to tell me that everything is okay and to pull my shoulders back and fuck what the rest of the world thinks.  my eyes flowed across my collection of art books.  so many volumes of kiki smith's work, louise bourgeois, keith haring, andy warhol.  i paused at francesca woodman.  i paused again at terrence koh.  then i came across a book i forgot i had.  a book i hadn't even read yet.  i pulled it from the shelf.  david wojnarowicz's 7 MILES A SECOND. 

the moment i start reading his work i come face to face with the truth that art is a way of life.  i don't need to torture myself with the question of whether or not my work "matters".  what does that even mean?  i don't need to make myself cry about the accomplishments i've not yet made.  art is a path.  or better yet, art is a language.  it is how i speak.

i read his texts and i want to cry.  not only because of the sadness his work so often describes but because of his fearlessness in telling his story, his bravery in regard to confronting the twists of the heart and mind.  his love of humanity was so unapologetic, so humbling...  and so i want to cry when i am confronted with his work:  i am humbled.  i realize, in the face of david wojnarowicz's work, to ask, "does my art matter?" is a waste of time and effort.  just do the work.  just speak.  and even if it's just to speak about something as aggravating as my struggles with my own artistic temperament, that's alright.  i silence myself too quickly sometimes.  i mean, we all need to complain to each other every now and then.  it does us good to know we're not total freaks in this regard.  we all fear our work is total crap...  that how we are choosing to spend our lives is an act of  futility.  david's work reminds me that this is absolutely not the case.  the point is to care enough about the brevity of life to use what time you have to connect the way you want to connect with other human beings.  the point is to breathe as deeply as you can breathe, so deeply it hurts and then to tell the truth about yourself...  the truth that hurts.  the truth that nags and won't stop tossing and turning until you finally acknowledge it exists and needs a space in which to be seen, to be dealt with, to be wrestled with and contended with.

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Sep 12, 2014

one slow stitch at a time...

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untitled (i want to hold your face in my hands)
filet crochet curtain
angela simione, 2014




i need a much taller window.  :)

the full text reads: i want to hold your face in my hands but you go on backing away away away.  the text is from a poem i wrote over a year ago that will probably never see the light of day, save for this excerpt.  and i like that...  the secrecy of it...  which is very much what this work is about. i like the idea of hanging my secrets in the window, allowing the light of day to use the twists and turns of my private thoughts (and the hook that has given them shape) to make shadows sigh and heave on the adjacent wall.  i like the tease of it.

this piece taught me a lot.  it's still teaching me.  not merely about the method of production and where i failed and where i succeeded in using it, but also how i want to use light and shadow as materials themselves...  transparency...  absence and presence.  in this regard, this method is very much like drawing.  the emptiness of the page is just as important as the mark.  it's poetry.  the things that aren't said add weight to what is.

it's hung up in the window of my bed and i stare at it for a little while every day.  i finished it over a week ago and i'm still so bowled over by it.  it's a new "first step".


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Sep 11, 2014

9 for a lost god and 10 10 10 10 is for everything everything everything

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writer problems

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i need to start over, perhaps. 

i need a different set of rules (or maybe no rules at all) when it comes to this place, when it comes to words on a page, when it comes to reaching out to other human beings through these electronic waves.

i've had this little sandbox of mine for so long, this blog. the last few months it's become increasingly hard to write here and i'm not sure why.  i want to write here.  i miss having a daily love affair with my blog and want to rekindle my fervor. walking home from the grocery store this evening, i agonized over why it's been so hard for me to come here, to type out the words...  and i think it's because i'm judging the whole enterprise by what this blog has been and not allowing for what it could be.  i'm not allowing for change and so it's become stagnant.

maybe i needed a break for awhile too.  maybe i needed to step away from the out-pour.  maybe i needed a bit of privacy.  everyone needs to curl up under the covers some times and just hide from life.  i'm no different.  perhaps that's all i've really been doing by not writing here: claiming a space of silence for myself, allowing myself a deep, abiding privacy and quietude.

some explorations are necessarily made under lock and key, away from the eyes and ears of the world, in total darkness, in total silence, under the sheets, without words, without record, without apology.  i've largely enjoyed my silence. still, it isn't me to not write.  it is such a huge part of who i am and how i live.  there is the diary, yes, and there always will be but the writing i do there is entirely different from what lands in public spaces.  a different impulse is responsible for bringing me to this electric square of light and a different urge is satisfied when i type.  a different demon is exorcised when i publish my thoughts here. 

i need to just let this space evolve.  evolve or die.  the strictures must be chopped away and i need to hold on to the fact that this place was always intended to be a place where i could say whatever i wanted, without fear and without judgement.  it's always been meant to be a play-space.  it's unhelpful for me to judge my life and self and writing NOW by what i wrote BEFORE.  i need to let go of the writer i used to be and nurture the writer i am now. i'm not who i once was.  the temperature of my entire world has changed and, when i look back, certain days feel like total fictions. 

how do i set myself free from what my own practice has been?  how do i stop holding up current projects to the expectations set down by previous accomplishments?  how do i write without thinking at all about what i've written before?  how do i begin again?  how do i start anew?  because that's exactly what needs to happen.


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Aug 25, 2014

second skin

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self-portraits made in drunken, desperate moments eager to fight or eager to love.  how may we come to speak to one another of the pain of living? about the pain which has become very much a second skin?  how regular it ends up being.  about the pain of the day?  such quiet pains.  such quiet hours.  this stillness.  all the hours of longing.  only my eyes in the mirror.  only me and my camera and no voice at the other end of the line.  

and all of this for you too.


Aug 16, 2014

memory lane can be the road to the Present

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spent the whole day behind the hook and am now enjoying an over-poured glass of Auslese.  this is the very definition of a wonderful day off.

and i've needed it.  the passed week or so has been a bit of an emotional roller-coaster.  a huge box arrived unexpectedly containing my mother's collection of family photos, more than 3 1/2 years after her death.  i opened the box only to be sure of what it was and then closed it again.  i wasn't in the mood for that type of upheaval and i wasn't prepared to slice open a cardboard box and be greeted by my mother's face and the dresses she saved that my sister and i wore as little girls in an Olen Mill's portrait so soooooo many years ago.  kelly must've been 4 or 5.  that would have made me 7 or 8.

a few days later, i reached back inside the box and pulled the dresses out.  i remember hating them as a little girl but, now, they look like art pieces.  something possibly akin to the Kiki Smith piece, Sisters, or the twins in The Shining.  ha!



i gazed at them in between rounds of digging through the 7 portfolios that are stored in my bedroom closet.  it was a strange walk down memory lane.  it's amazing what an accurate barometer of emotion art is.  looking at my work from just a few years ago, i relived the pain and confusion and longing i was entrenched in during those days.  and the sheer MASS of my personal collection is astounding! i've thrown away SO MUCH each time i've moved and i still have such an enormous stockpile of work! it was heartrending to go through it all but there were also moments when i smiled.  and smiled wide like a goofy child, at that.  in the middle of a portfolio that largely houses work i did during the last year i lived in Calistoga, i came across a self-portrait i drew when i was 21 years old.  it was made during one of the happiest times in my life DESPITE the fact that i had yet to leave my hated home town.




it was drawn during the time Jose and i lived together in my very first apartment.  we were inseparable and i loved being with him.  we smoked way too many cigarettes and drank blended frappaccinos way too often and squeezed our bellies  and called ourselves fat just like two silly teenagers would.  :)  thinking back on all that makes me so happy.  we listened to Bikini Kill and dreamed of New York together.  what's really special is that sometimes we still do.  it's not at all irregular for Jose and i to refer to each other as Rebel Girl more than 10 years later.  :)



all this made somehow brought me to the realization that for the last several years i needed a deep round of PLAY.  it's no secret that life is hard and it's no secret that my life has been hard.  looking at my own work, my own hand smearing charcoal and graphite, the words i'd scrawl sometimes in the margins or on the back of the paper...  i realized that in the span of 3 short years i lost all three parental figures and the person i considered to be the closest member of my immediate family, my partner for 7 years.  with the exception of my siblings, my entire immediate family basically collapsed.   and all the emotion of those days was right there.  right in my hands, in the black and white smears and screams of my drawings.

it was hard to leave the house that day.  i wanted to hide in bed.  i wanted to be dirty and dumb and lounge around in dingy pajamas.  i wanted to not give a fuck about anything and just spend the day drinking.  i wanted to raise a middle finger to the world and cry my eyes out.  sometimes i hear my voice inside my own head and it sounds so small.  so painfully small. so heartbreaking.  i think of my mother and i think of my father and i think of my siblings and what their pain must be and i whisper inside myself, "this isn't fair"...

but looking at the artwork i made during such a tumultuous era allowed me to see that i have, in fact, healed from a great many pains and that i long to return to a certain type of seriousness again, a particular breed of deep introspection and artistic investigation.  basically, it made me want to draw again.  :)

we'll see.  i sure enjoyed laying in bed all day with my crochet hook and black yarn today, that's for sure.



i'm confident the Future is an interesting place.  

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Aug 10, 2014

all in

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i re-opened my etsy shop today.  it's something i've been wanting to do for quite sometime now and getting into the residency helped me pull the trigger on that this morning.  i'll be putting more and more things up for sale in the coming week, it was just important to open it today.  i simply needed to make the commitment to it.  and it's about more than just needing to raise funds for travel and supplies, it's about having an artistic presence in the world in as many forms and places as i feel able to and interested in.  it's about giving the art a chance to find its rightful home.  it's about taking my role as an artist a bit more seriously each day.

i've been watching my bosses lately, paying attention to how they move, the expressions on their faces, the way they carry themselves, how they speak and, most importantly, how much time they dedicate to their profession every day.  i started watching all this because 2 of them recently had birthdays and they were both in the restaurant on those days.  i'd remarked to our Sommelier "working on your birthday?  that sucks!" and her matter of fact retort was, "that's what this job takes."  her assertion stayed with me the rest of the evening and has followed me around in the weeks since, popping in to my brain almost daily, and is now slapping my in the face with a very simple truism: those who work daily toward their goals, undaunted and with total stubborn persistence, achieve them. those the road through this world is a bit more unclear for artists, it is nevertheless true that making a 7 day a week commitment to ANYTHING will eventually lead to success.  and i'm not even sure what i mean when i use the word "success" in relation to art as i largely already consider myself to be successfully living s an artist-  i wake up every day with enough time to luxuriate in the landscape of my diary before getting dressed for work.  i tend to work a 4-day work week and therefore have 3 days off every week to dedicate toward my own artist aims, whether it be holing up in bed and geeking out on a project of spending an entire day flipping through the monographs of artists i adore. i successfully incorporate art into my daily life.  but i'd rather be plugging 12 to 14 hours a day in to my practice than do anything else.  if i can look at my bosses and take a hint from them, what i'm seeing is the glaring reality to pursue what i want with as much steam and muscle as i've got because, as the lady said, "that's what this job takes." 

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