Friday, September 24, 2010

Is that all there is?

My mantra song for the weekend:

"Is that all there is?
Is that all there is?
If that's all there is, my friends,
then let's keep dancing!
Let's break out the booze
and have a ball!
If that's all there is..."

Peggy Lee is fantastic, but one should also check out Firewater's amazing cover of this song.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Let's have a quickie!

My first class was canceled, so I'm killing time in the computer lab. I was going to post all about my recent trip to the MCA with Chryssa, and highlight some of the phenomenal artists we saw, but I don't have time right now. I do have time, however, to list what I got in the gift shop: a set of glass plates that look like a paper plates, a few little presents for some of my loved ones, and a magnificent book about my favorite performance artist, Marina Abramovic. I'm most excited about reading the Abramovic book, which comes with an audio guide narrated by the artist herself. Looooove. Oh, yeah, I bought a membership to the museum, as well. That means a whole year's worth of art-tastic fun.

I have printmaking class in about 15 minutes, and it's woodcut critique day. Ugh. My woodcut came out terrible, in my opinion. It was a passionless project for me. Sometimes when you struggle with a piece, it becomes your favorite, your pet, a challenge to be conquered with pride; other times, you just want to chuck it in the garbage can, out of pure hatred and frustration. Unfortunately for this woodcut, it fell into the latter of those two categories.

Cheers, all. My band is playing a show next Wednesday at The House. Y'all should come and drink and dance and laugh with me. It's gonna be a time. Here's the link to the event information.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Where is my mind?

School was a fucking disaster today.

I got up early this morning to finish a design for the woodcut we are working on in my printmaking class. I worked on it for HOURS, looked at about 10 books for references, and made countless drawings of ugly, ugly crap. I left my house to go to school, and realized I was going to be late for my first class, so I went to The House to analyze my "finished" design a bit more. My short analysis, which was abbreviated by the only relaxing part of my day - a cup of coffee with Chryssa - proved that the drawing was not something I felt comfortable turning in, let alone printing. Assignment or not, I see no point in producing work that I don't personally love.

I went to Printmaking and worked on it some more, then finally gave up, deciding that it will be an at-home project that will be finished this week/weekend. I spent so much time over-thinking my original design that I  just need to start over. Not cool, but I'm giving myself a second chance at making this project worthwhile.

After the stress of Printmaking, I went to my Science & Art class and realized, at the sound of the buzzer, that I had completely forgotten to do the weekly homework assignment, which left me with next to nothing to say during our discussion time. Luckily, there was a very interesting lecture at the art school tonight that pulled us out of class early. Frances Whitehead came to talk about her various projects that mix the science of sustainability with art and design. It made for some fascinating and inspiring cross-disciplinary stuff. I'll be writing a summary of the lecture for one of my classes, so I'll try to remember to post that here.

I'm home now, and probably going to go back to The House to see some live music. That usually cheers me up. Then I think I need to go buy a fucking day planner, because my mind is stretched to its limits these days.

Also, it seems that I'm terrified of talking to people that I find attractive. When did this happen? Am I just having an off-week or have I officially become a coward??? Why, oh why, do I over-think EVERYTHING? I haven't used my gut instinct in so long that I think it's broken. Any advice?

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

"Designs On You" has a Facebook page now.

I just created a Facebook page for this blog. Please visit it, click "Like," and share it with your friends.

Liking "Designs On You" via Facebook is a simple way to get updates about new posts, and an easy alternative for those who don't use RSS feeds. I'm also hoping that the Facebook availability will encourage people to leave comments about what they're reading here. Don't be shy! Talk to me. :)

Vote for RAINN!

One of my favorite non-profits, RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network), is in the running to receive $250,000 from Pepsi's Refresh Project. The money will help to widen the support they give to those in need of their services:
"RAINN operates the award-winning National Sexual Assault Hotlines and leads national efforts to educate the public and prevent sexual violence. Since 1994, RAINN has helped more than 1.4 million victims take the first step towards recovery, providing free support 24/7."

Vote now, vote often! You can vote everyday through September 30th, so make it a part of your morning routine. Good luck, RAINN!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Love Your Fellow Artists

Chryssa and I were having a discussion last night about how important it is, as art students, to stay involved in the local art community and to form good relationships with your fellow artists and colleagues. Many of us who make art were raised on the myth of the "genius artist," a man whose greatness was born into him, a natural talent, who works alone, whose work is so profound that it speaks for itself, insisting that this man be "discovered" and immediately promoted to elite status in his society. In reality, 99 percent of the time, this just ain't the way things work. In order for most artists to find success and carve out a comfortable spot in the vast art world that surrounds them, they need to work together; community is of the essence.

Too many times at school, especially in my studio classes, I witness classmates being too shy or closed off to ask an opinion of someone working next to them. I see them defensively arguing over their pieces during critiques, or cutting down the work of others, in terribly nonconstructive ways. They skip most of the gallery shows in town, only gracing the ones that are presented by their friends. All this behavior makes me wonder one thing - why are they art students? I mean, a major or minor in Studio Art doesn't seem like a choice one would "default" to.

I'm not saying that I've got this all under control, but I know where I strive to be within my community, and I know that I expect my success as an artist and art historian to come with support from others. I know that I want to go to as many local gallery openings as possible this year, and that I'd like to widen my circle of artist friends. I enjoy discussing my work and the work of others as much as possible, and find the opinions of my friends and classmates to be invaluable; I always leave artistically focused conversations feeling like I've learned something new.

And next Friday, I plan to buy a membership to the MCA in Chicago. I would like to plan monthly/bi-monthy trips there, and I'd love it if others would join me. Chryssa and I are going together next week, to buy the memberships, and after that I plan on making event announcements to see if others would like to join. We can take the train, or carpool, check out the museum, then, afterward, talk about the work we've just seen. Doesn't that sound great? If not, that's okay, just don't rain on my parade.

The exhibit I'm most excited about seeing is called "Works on Paper" from the MCA Collection (running until October 3, 2010). It features work by several artists, including some by a most interesting character - Henry Darger. My last roommate introduced me to Darger's work, and I have since fallen in love with it, as well as with the story of his life. There is a wonderful documentary about him, called In the Realms of the Unreal, which I highly recommend.

Art on, brothers and sisters.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Oh, the horror!

Over the last week, the temperature in my part of Illinois has dropped from 90° to 60°... basically, Illinois warp sped from summer to fall, seemingly overnight. Every year, as the weather starts to get chilly, I get a hankerin' for some good ol' fashioned horror movies. I began the cinematic descent into blood, demonic possessions, deep psychoses, and deranged villains last night, by re-watching The Shining for the umpteenth time. I'm not a big Kubrick fan, but I adore The Shining. I saw it for the first time when I was 13 or 14, and at 28, it still manages to give me the chills.

Here's the beautiful and terrifying original trailer:

And, just for fun, a romantic-comedy re-cut someone did with scenes from The Shining. Hilarious!

The next movies I plan on re-watching are Rosemary's Baby and The Omen, two more of my favorite horror classics. Did you know that The Omen includes one of Hollywood's first, and, arguably, BEST, decapitation scenes? I have long been toying with the idea of making a VHS "Decap Comp" of all my favorite movie decapitation scenes, and this one from the original Omen would definitely open up the tape:

I have a list of some of my other favorites, and if there are any that you'd recommend, please leave them in a comment below. I'd also like to know what your favorite horror movies are, so I can add some more must-sees to my watch list. Some of mine, in addition to the few already mentioned, include: Dead Snow, Cabin Fever, 28 Days Later (I love you, Danny Boyle!), House of 1000 Corpses, The Good Son, Jaws, The Exorcist, Carrie, and Teeth (don't trust the shitty trailer - trust me). And the next horror release I'm really looking forward to is Hobo with a Shotgun (see the teaser trailer at the bottom of this entry). I found the link to this through a blog I just discovered this morning - Greatest Movie Deaths of All Time. Total Google score!

Happy horror-ing, guys and gals. I finally have a working internet connection again so I should be blogging more frequently. Subscribe. Stay in touch.

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