Friday, April 27, 2007

thesis available in another library!

University of Victoria has decided my thesis is worthy of their shelves! Yay! Now it might get found by local academics.

comic jam

Last Saturday was comic jam night. We sit in a lame bar that can't decide if it's going to be a fake tudor English pub or a sports bar, with the coldest cocktail waitress ever who frequently ignores us, and we pass paper around doing a panel on each. Sometimes the pages are a total flop and sometimes they are incredibly good. This is a panel I put some effort into. You can see the rest of this page and others from the evening here, but be warned there is extremely offensive material in some of what's there.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Here's a shot of my street today. Compare to Herzog's below, taken around 1958. The Gospel Mission still owns that building. In fact little has changed except for the trees and general decrepitude. As I took this photo some passerby told me off for taking pictures "down here". Reminded me of the first time I took pix down here in 1998 - got told off then too. I usually get away with it, but today I was wearing a suit jacket and holding a big envelope, which made me appear as if not from here.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

VAG trip

Today we went to the art gallery, where there is a superb batch of shows on just now. On the main floor is a show of dramatic photographs from 1840-2004 or so, and it was so great I bought the catalogue. It was exciting because it goes straight to that crossover area between painting, photography, theatre sets, and illustration, an area I've been thinking about writing about for a while. Eve Sussman's video piece on Las Meninas is worth the price of admission.

On the second floor was the work of French/Chinese artist Huang Yong Ping. Not all the works were entirely successful, but some were really well thought out - the two pillars of Tibetan scrolls, for instance. As for the recent controversy over his use of live critters, I can't really take sides. On one hand I don't get particularly upset over the idea of some scorpions and spiders and so on eating some insects in captivity and forced environment. On the other, I disagree with the artist's stance, which is basically, "It's art, don't censor me, fuck off." There's got to be some ethical stance in artmaking. Whether animal rights in this case is an ethical dilemma is hard to determine. But it does make one wonder where to draw the line.

On the third floor was Herzog's wonderful, quiltlike compositions of Vancouver city scenes. The image I have swiped above shows the neighbourhood I live in - my building is just visible at the extreme right side. It's that bright grey one. Those tiny trees in Pigeon Park there are now huge. I'll see if I can get a shot of what it looks like now.

Friday, April 20, 2007

life drawing

The model this week looked like Russell Crow. He did a lot of fabulous gladiator poses. I was in a frenetic mood, which suited the poses, but meant I didn't do anything tight.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

EEEEEEEEEEEEK!!!

SUNY @ Stony Brook has just offered me a placement in their Ph.D programme!!!! - about 10 minutes ago. This comes with a TA-ship and tuition scholarship.

I gave up on them by end of last week. Ironically, the offer came just after I finished 3 hours preparing and sending an application for sessional work at Emily Carr. Good lord.

I have not yet fathomed the idea I'm going to be living in New York in 6 months. It seems unreal.

Hot babes in style... sort of.

My friend Erin and I volunteered as models for Swaporama-rama, a totally wacky second-hand clothing and recycled fashions event. It doesn't get more East Van than this. Here we are, all decked out - once again confirming my belief that makeup makes everyone look older. Not so great, when you're over 35! But it was fun, kind of like dressing up for Hallowe'en.


They did creative things with our hair. We sipped on martinis the whole time. Outside, the crowd paid $5 and a bag of old clothes, in return for being able to take away as much as they wanted. There were also stations set up for sewing and altering and silkscreening and so on.


Here's me, just exiting the catwalk as Erin comes on. All the clothes we modeled were designed by locals from recycled fabrics. Some of the outfits were I liked a lot, but unfortunately my favourite of the ones I was to wear - a lavender wrap-around dress - was stolen before I could model it. It sucks that even at a grassroots, all volunteer event like this that someone would be so mean. The poor designer put a lot of work into that dress and didn't even get to show it off.

Friday, April 13, 2007

wings!

Here's a shot of Jaytri's wings. I feel a bit self conscious with them. Even though they are subtle, wings of any sort are pretty showy. I wish I could find some that aren't so bat-evil looking, actually.

Last night I got in a discussion with a conceptual artist on SL who asked me casually what my thesis was about. When I told him I studied conservative artists like Robert Bateman the conversation got awkward. There's such a high wall in the art world. I tried to have a sane, intelligent exchange of ideas, but as soon as I got too provocative this person bailed. He - jokingly, I hope - said that representationalism was fascist. So I mentioned a book I'm reading right now that suggests current postmodern contemporary art is a kneejerk reaction to Nazi fascism, and that the jerking knee has gone too far, creating another kind of fascism. I asked what he thought of that idea - and that was the end of the conversation! "I'm going to go help so-and-so..." and off he went. I was left feeling annoyed. Something is certainly wrong in art when we can't even talk about these things without getting weirded out.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

life drawing


The life drawing sessions I attend have begun again. There was a hiatus, as the person who hosts these things at his studio was away for a long time. It felt pretty good to be back at it. I find I really like super short poses or super long ones, and little in between. These ones were 2 minutes each. Using black gouache on newsprint. There were only three of us plus the model, and so we goofed off a lot. I like these sessions, which are a little bit word-of-mouth/invite only, because we have great conversations, take long breaks, play excellent music, and drink wine. I'm going to try and go every week.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Thesis in library!

The central library branch in Victoria has agreed to take my thesis! It will be held in the local history reference room. I was hoping it would go into the stacks, but somewhere is better than nowhere. I have also asked UVic if they will take a copy, but of course, being a U, they won't get back to me for some time....

Sunday, April 8, 2007

Folk graphics


So, this vintage needle package was just given to me. Actually, I had to pay a penny; apparently it is bad luck to receive a needle as a gift. Anyhow, the graphic design and illustration is priceless! Why is there a teepee in the background? Where's the relevance to needles? (Yarn is about knitting, not sewing). Why is there such a strong cast shadow under one dog? What is the purpose of that heavy outline around the cat's head? After closer inspection, it seems the landscape is a mural on an indoor wall, and not a vista beyond a deck as I first thought. So then, is the hole to the needles a window? Why then does it look like a mirror? And who did that crazy bad typesetting? Finally, who on earth uses 109 needles!!!? They are almost all still inside.

All these conundrums, and I have to say that they actually add up to a successful package design, just because they are so many and so varied and so... sincere! in their mediocrity. Makes you want to curl up next to the window and sew!

Easter


It's a family tradition in G's family to decorate eggs for easter. Even though the three of us "kids" range from 37-49, my mother in law was determined she was going to get some fresh eggs designs out of us. The horrors of a creative family! These are my two contributions.

Saturday, April 7, 2007

My first Second Life sculpture



Sugar Seville gave me membership on Odyssey, so now I can start learning how to build stuff. I made this little grove of lollipop trees. Unfortunately I couldn't keep it past the session, because I am still a guest and not really entitled to redecorate the place. Another player told me where I put my grove is supposed to be a walkway soon. But while it lasted I enjoyed sitting there. Here's Jaytri, meditating on the life-decisions her alter-ego Jaleen made this week.



I got hold of a box of wings at a junkyard where they give away free stuff. In there was a pair of transparent batwings, which Jaytri is trying out for fun. I'll take a screenshot soon. I also poked around a bit in other places - I notice most people keep their avatars looking like "normoids", as G calls them. There's this weird selfconsciousness that kicks in - even though we are free to dress as if it's Halloween, SL is a public place and shyness occurs. While mucking about with the freebies, G tried on a free penis - not realizing it was a penis of priapic proportions, one which ignored clothing entirely! There we were, standing in the mall-like atmosphere of the junkyard with strangers shopping nearby, with this huge member suddenly on display. Very satyrical!!! Worse, he couldn't figure out how to take it off! We were eo embarrassed we immediately ported back to the grove to deal with the situation in private. Let me know if you want a screenshot ;)

Underwear for outerwear

I'll never lose my fondness and sense of connection to Victoria. As soon as I step off the ferry I feel at home. And the little regionalistic characteristics are so familiar and warm to me. For instance, I spotted not one but two individuals within two hours wearing the classic West Coast fashion statement: Stanfields grey woolen longsleeved undershirts worn as sweaters. Loggers are famous for this, but so are treeplanters. I used to wear a cream coloured version, scored in a thrift store, which was met with appreciation by my older planting partner, who declared it a truly vintage item and better made than the modern ones. If I spot another Stanfields guy I'll try and get a pic.

The trees already have new leaves out here, and it was about +20C. :-)

Thursday, April 5, 2007

Second Life again

I didn't think I would find Second Life interesting past the first few hours, but I think I may have been wrong about that! Notice I finally figured out how to get the cybergoth stuff off Jaytri - this is her latest look. Someone I met last night said she looked "ghostly", which is perfect. Ghost in the machine and all. I wish I could make her transparent.

I met up with someone I know from RL, who took me to an artists' compound where he is a member. I'm now a member there too. This place, called Odyssey, houses a gallery with some good art. Finally I find some! A lot of the people are developing highly scripted stuff. Sugar, who runs the place, has this fascinating piece with a chair in it. If you sit in the chair, your avatar gets literally bent out of shape. You have to log out to get it back to normal.

I met a few folks last night, and got a sense of 2nd L being a pretty serious endeavour for a lot of artists, who are moving their RL conceptual practice into the virtual. At some point it becomes difficult to tell the two apart.

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Views


In 1992 I was earning part of my income as an artist's model. I met Lincoln Clarkes because we were showing in the same group show in Victoria. I liked his figurative photos, so I offered to model for him. We did a shoot in an empty house in East Van - the room was very cold and the fire very hot. Lincoln was after a very specific idea. He printed some postcards of this shot and gave me a reject frame to keep for my own - and that was that. Then last year, he told me he wanted to put it in his latest book, which is titled Views. I agreed. Today he dropped off some copies - and I think it's quite ironically funny that I am part of a book as one naked chick among many alongside the properly clothed Pierre Berton, Noam Chomsky, Michael Moore, Arthur Erickson, William Gibson, and Nicholas Campbell. OH! how my feminist theory heart aches with laughter...

Second Life avatar

I have to say that having fun creating an avatar is worth the hassle of joining Second Life. Not that it's much hassle, just that it's yet another place on the web with my email address and some personal info. Sigh. Anyhow, here is my first avatar, Jaytri. I picked the cybergoth template, not realizing I wouldn't be able to change certain things - like her headset, ponytails, and white skin. I might make another avatar, starting with the plainjane girl next door. But for now this is fine. The way her face turned out, she reminds me of someone I once knew who was a real beauty. That person was constantly being hit on. Gee, although I dressed Jaytri in modest clothes, she gets hit on in Second Life too! Rather annoying.

Launch!

Well now I have two blogs! The other is at http://jaleengrove.livejournal.com/. I'm testing to see which one works better. I'll be x-posting, so no need to check both.