Saturday, February 28, 2009

Think like a lady, act like a... not feeling so good this morning.

I consider myself a pretty self aware human being. Except perhaps when I'm watching tv, rushing to meet a deadline and talking to certain members of my family. But being the perfectionist I don't want to be, seeing myself in the act of doing things I should not do, that I know will make me feel sick the next morning, I want to kick myself watching myself do it anyway. I also scold myself for wanting to kick myself. Can I give myself a break, please? No kicking, though. Course a part of me wonders, if I had nothing left to shed, if I reached Eckert Tolle-hood, what would I do then? Yes I am not where I want to be yet but do I really want to go there anyway? Or as E.T. might put it, yes, despite all this spiritual work my ego is as strong as ever and here it is telling me how boring my life would be without it.

Anyway, last night (Gold Dust Lounge, some Irish place w/karaoke, Swig, Caffeine) feeling vulnerable and not so fabulous for reasons I won't go into I had two beers plus half a lemon drop, all after a light supper. Hence, this morning I wake up feeling like my insides are being wrung dry and I have to force myself out of bed to gulp down half a liter of water.

That's not the only reason I'm feeling less than good (i.e. heaven worthy) this morning.

Earlier yesterday I saw Steve Harvey on Oprah talking about his new book Think Like a Lady, Act Like a Man. He said we women are the ones leading the male/female dance. And yet we keep handing the keys over to the guy (sorry to mix metaphors) because we believe there's not enough nice men out there. Men know this, he said. And they play on this to their advantage.

So I told my friend L. about S.H.'s book and we discussed how it applies to certain recent events. I also thought about it as the night progressed. A clubbing bar/hopping night out to me means dancing, the comfort of friendship, meeting new possible friends and maybe having a funny story to tell the next day. It means enjoying really fun music and shedding some of the week's stresses. Neither of us do it that often but we've made a commitment recently to enjoy ourselves sociably as much as possible because 1. we like fun. 2. we want to see what might happen. And 3. meeting and falling in love with a great guy is less likely to happen when all we do is work, go home and see the same group of people week after week. Neither of us is good at flirting either so going to nightclubs is basically an all around challenge, opportunity and growth experience.

A night out for me is not hooking up with some random guy for the sort of night I could never let my right wing relatives hear about. (Being the four bads = artist, democrat, unmarried, infrequent church goer, some of them already see me as wild and unsaveable. Sweet, talks to God each night me.)

In other words I know what I want. I know what'll work for me. And from time to time I would think of this inner list along with what Steve Harvey said (as well as, unfortunately, how well I can dance when pickled) as I talked and danced with one guy after another last night. (Oo la la, quelle hottie est moi.) Five in all, but out of those five only one was truly fun to dance with. He could lead, he could be lead, he did not touch except when leading or being lead, he had no ulterior motive except to have fun dancing. I could fall in love with him. (No, not really. But with that kind of attitude, yes.) What made dancing with the others not as much fun was having to push them time and again away from me as they tried to bump and grind their way into my benefits. I don't remember this when I used to frequent clubs more often in college. Maybe because, with the 70's and 80's music my friends and I preferred, dirty dancing was not the norm. So when I first found myself being bumped and grinded I was at first amused. Then annoyed, and I tried various ways of enforcing my boundaries (i.e leading the dance a la Harvey). Finally I had to go outside for air (and space). I wanted to go home. I wished the fun to dance with guy was still here. I regretted not enforcing my boundaries immediately instead of eventually. Back on the dance floor the wants-only-to-please girl had fleetingly replaced the woman I've become and this frightened me a little. Ah well, next time, next opportunity, next learning experience.

Lesson learned: I should not drink and dance. I should meditate until I feel calm and brave instead. And if I fail in that I'll keep my buddies close, choose my dance partners carefully and forgive myself the next morning. But I will not stop dancing because I want to live life fully, joyfully and fearlessly.
In short: I will not stop dancing.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Shepard Farey's Obama poster

The recent Farey Obama Hope poster controversy is a bit overblown, The Associated Press trying to profit on a photo they didn't much care about before its popularity. I don't want to think about how illustrators and designers like me will be effected should they succeed against him. In art school we were taught to be very careful about using reference photos we didn't take ourselves. And if we did, to change it enough so that it becomes our own entirely. I think Farey did that. And I'm glad I got to see the actual artwork for myself during my most recent visit to DC. I also had the privilege of being among the great happy horde standing on the mall (by the Washington Monument, freezing) on inauguration day. Anyway, up close the original poster is really impressive, with a lot of surface detail not seen in copies.
interesting surface detail...(click for a closer look)
I also took this photo of Martin Schoeller's work in the exhibition "Portraiture Now" though I wasn't supposed to. Hope I don't get in trouble for it.

Lesson learned: I want my work to end up in the Smithsonian one day too.
In short: create fearlessly. It's worth it.

Monday, February 23, 2009

My intention experiment - How I react to good news about former classmates - Hooray le Marais

Feb. 21, 2009

As I write I wonder who's going to read this. I've been journaling nearly every day of my life and the thought of someone rifling through my private entries is not an enjoyable thing to imagine. Of course this blog will not be as free flowing as my journalings. Though I may include embarrassing or juicy stuff now and then just so I can laugh to myself about it. But, being a somewhat private person, I'll also worry that I'll come to regret my more thoughtless posts in case one of my right wing family members finds this or I become famous and may then be asked to explain something I once did/said/thought.

So I'm going to think of this as an interesting intention experiment. I intend for this Internet opportunity to do nothing but good things for me (and others) such as:

1. Connect me with creative/sympathetic people who may or may not prove helpful in my creative career.
2. Enable me to help/entertain a stranger or two thereby increasing my overall positive karma.

Now onto other things. I got a lot done today. Moreover, I didn't feel a single negative emotion. Except for when I thought about my need to exercise and my mother who works in real estate. Knock on wood, right now the major areas in my life--work, friends, family, love life, etc.---are all moving forward in a positive direction. I just signed up with a really great creative agency who I know will work hard to promote my work, I recently participated in a gallery show (in NYC), have two more shows scheduled (in CA) and four I'm considering (issues of shipping costs, scheduling), another gallery wants to represent me, my social and dating life is harmonious, busy and getting busier, etc.

Still, it was too bad I happened upon news of a former classmate of mine yesterday that prompted me to compare my career progress to his. This a few days after good news from another former classmate. The ironic thing is...never mind the ironic thing. It puts an unpleasant sensation in certain areas of my body. Not the stomach burning not fair feeling spewing toxicity into the world. More like the uncomfortable, reflective, okay what could I have done differently? What can I do now? Because they're great, great guys who deserve all the success and happiness that comes their way. But, they also have what I want and for a while there it was difficult to resist sliding down that dark and scary tunnel of negative thoughts and emotions which we artists can be all too vulnerable to.

Thank goodness a really good burger and a beer with a buddy of mine made me forget all that. She noticed I'd lost a few pounds and told me my skin looked really good (Strivectin, worth every penny). I told her likewise (many pounds, amazing, way to go L.) as well as the plans I'm hatching for my next birthday. Because it's on New Years Eve, I usually have nothing more than a modest celebration. But the next one being a (traumatic) milestone I'm renting an apartment in Paris, filling it with close family and friends (including, of course, her) and will have the best birthday ever. Then, we'll either rent a car or take a train down south where we'll continue celebrating life and the anniversary of my birth. Who wouldn't look forward to that? I wish it was tomorrow.

Lesson learned: yes, we artists can be easily upset. And depending on our level of personal growth and/or current life situation nothing can upset us more than good news concerning former classmates. To get over it, replace their good news with your own. Also, remember that periods of self doubt, envy and regret, though unpleasant to experience, are the rocky soil which feeds an artist's creativity which can't be a bad thing.
In short: negative thoughts; pain = a better artist.

Feb. 24, 2009

I'd made plans to see a matinee with my friend V. Sunday. Waking up at noon (Gravity Bar, Atmosphere Lounge, underground party, literally, at Caffeine, home 3am or so), I called her first thing to confess I was still in my pajamas and likely to stay in them all day. She admitted she was likewise pajama'd and agreed we should spend this rainy day homebound. We talked a while. Then I dove into the all important quest of finding the perfect apartment rental in Paris. So far these two, both located in the Marais (hooray le Marais) are my top choices. ...

I'd clicked through the many dozens of properties that fit my criteria, imagining myself walking around each one, trying out the couches, the dining room tables, les toilettes et les douches, and it was these choices I kept coming back to. Those are the couches I want to wake up on after a night cafe hopping. Those the windows I want to look through each morning. Those apartments, one or the other, ten months from now. Not that I can afford to book either of them at the moment. But the more I dream it the more that Parisian reality will take shape in the ether, right?

A psychic told me a few years ago that in a former lifetime I was an architect with a wife and three children living in northern Paris (Montmartre?) during the time of Toulouse Lautrec. More on that later perhaps but I wonder how that life played out. It must have been a happy one. He also told me what street some of my creations still stood. I have to see them. Though it's a strange, strange idea going to see something I created in a former life. But what the hey.

This evening I went for a walk (in the rain) and a coffee with my friend L. who was bummed out about a guy who may or may not call back. I reminded her we were going to Paris. That cheered her up.

Lesson learned: When given the choice between dwelling on romantic troubles and Paris, choose Paris.
In short: choose Paris.

Feb 25
Oh my gosh, just found this on, a renovated artist's studio in the 11th district...

I think this is my new favorite.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

My neices as creative inspiration

The Girls, oil on canvas, 24" x 30" x 2", 2008-9.
One of my latest works. Not completely happy with it. Doesn't do my nieces justice. Lili is the one on the right and the inspiration for the character below.
Medium: pencil, photoshop.
Lili, last year, kept asking me why I never did any paintings of her. The reason why was because she would never sit still long enough to let me sketch her or I didn't have any photos good enough to turn into paintings. So I gathered a bunch of photos of her together and made sketch after sketch until I came up with this character. Lili, besides being overwhelmingly cute (if only you could hear her talk!) and so hilarious that I like to think she might have been Lucille Ball in her last life. But she can also be shy and thoughtful and it's that side of her I wanted to capture in my design.