"The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee."


I saw REVOLUCION: Five Visions yesterday. It was shown as part of the Independent Lens series on PBS, which is just about the coolest programming available on television.

The film centers on the Cuban Revolution and five Cuban photographers who experienced it, one of them being René Peña. He's often compared to Robert Mapplethorpe, although I have mixed feelings about that and he doesn't see it aside from the fact that they both photograph nude black males. His work focuses on the duality of the individual as a perceived unique being but also as a being that is inextricably linked to the rest of society and it's ideologies and is therefore an "institutionalized" being. I find this completely engaging as it is something that I think about A LOT. He seems less hung up by it than I am though. The series "White Things" revolves around his experiences in the US and the high rate of consumption that happens here. I LOVE that, it is sooo up my alley and is interesting to me on so many levels. It is particularly relevant when you take into account that he has since moved back to Cuba, is living in an area that was once the enclave of the aristocracy two centuries ago (but has since turned into the African-Caribbean area, which is decidedly not moneyed), works out of his parent's kitchen at night while they sleep (!!!), and has a hard time getting his hands on resources due to the embargoes against Cuba. The other side of consumerism, really compelling stuff. Another photographer in the documentary also speaks to this issue when he says that the US is an exporter of propaganda, which is the propaganda of the American Dream. It sounds good but no one ever speaks to the other side of the dream, the one where thousands of people die trying to cross the border, who drown in the ocean, and who never make it across. That is another kind of consumerism, and perhaps the more critical consumerism, especially in light of the atrocious bill in Arizona that basically legalizes racism and racial profiling.

Anyway, back to René. I love his style of photography. I love that he sets up his images with simple props or settings, and that his photos are very dark and contrasty which I LOVE. He also shoots mostly black and white film (keepin it real) but is also starting to work with color and digital as well. Not really art crush status, but definitely an artist I like. Click on the link below the pic to check out some of his work, read a little more about him, and watch an interview.



Rediscovered this pic of my nephew painting.

Art Crush: Hector Duarte

An art crush is pretty self explanatory. It's like a regular crush except with an artist. All the same butterfly feelings except driven by art instead of sex. They are artists I would totally want to date if only the stars were aligned and I were a few decades older, or not a girl (some of my all time biggest art crushes are women), or in the right corner of the world. These are artists whose work and spirit resonate with the frequencies of my own heart.

Hector Duarte was my first art crush. He's from Michoacan, Mexico, now based in Chicago. He does a lot of public murals. His mosaic ones are so beautiful. I love that his works are infused with so much meaning. Every image has a story behind it, a personal history that is incredibly moving to stand and be witness to. He is also big into community (in the greatest sense of that word) and is very much invested in his. He was the first one who tangibly showed me how one could make art for the public and for oneself and also speak to both at the same time. I've only met him once, during college for a community art class field trip but from that moment on he has been in the back of my mind always. He's almost 60 now but his work is still so fresh.


It's a wrap

I am so bad at mailing things. If you are my friend and live farther than 50 miles from me you will know this first hand. My friend's birthday was 3 weeks ago and I still haven't mailed her present yet. I finally got around to wrapping it though, so it will be on it's merry way soon.

I've been trying to be more creative in everyday activities lately. Sometimes this works out and sometimes it doesn't but that's a different issue. Anyway, I've been obsessed with The Gifted Blog which is the blog of a friend of a friend and it is just amazing! She is like a gift wrapping superstar and has such a great attitude. I especially like that she advocates for using things you already have which is very green and really captures the creative spirit. Anyway, I've been kind of obsessively reading her blog so when the opportunity came to wrap this present I wanted to try to use materials I already had, and to find a way to make it fun and pretty.

Simple kraft paper, yellow ribbon, and a felt flower I made.

Close up of the flower. I stitched it to the ribbon. 

I stuck the card behind it so there wouldn't be so much negative space. I like how it helps to bring out the flower and also secures my card at the same time!

The card was a simple blank one that I drew a little two tiered birthday cake with candles on. I like hand drawn/made cards so much better than store bought cards. I think my friend will appreciate this since she is pretty crafty herself! It was actually really fun and easy. Now I want to find more things to wrap!

I wish


A year older but none the wiser



Mo Chica

Unrelated house. Doll heads in the yard. Nice.

Corner Place, oldie but a goodie.

Red Velvet. Yum.

Love it. Thanks sis!


Private Spaces

I am a secret voyeur and love seeing into other people's spaces. I especially love seeing inside someone's studio space, it's like a glimpse into their working process and says so much about their creative energy. Back in my wild college days my loft space was a total mess (as was I) but it fed me creatively. I loved the paintings on the walls and the taped up torn magazine spreads and page after page of negatives, prints, and test sheets, all mixed up with tubes of oil paints and sandpaper and sharpies and spray cans underneath my desk and stencils strewn across the floor. It was a mess but it was a creative mess and it worked for me.

This is my workspace now - it's just a corner of my room. I also have a little cubby space on the left that I'm trying to fit my easel into. It's still a work in progress - all my books don't fit on my bookcases and I still have so much art to frame and hang up and my desk is far too cluttered to do anything other than write or type - but it's getting there.

Speaking of a cluttered desk, I'm also fascinated by the contents of things. I love seeing inside someone's bag, or bookcase, or desk. On my desk is: 30,000 years of art, print by matta-clark, 5-year journal, morning pages journal, heritage themed traveling journal, hero 329 fountain pen with pr burgundy mist ink, a very late birthday present that still needs to be wrapped and mailed, vase full of pens/markers, macbook, bamboo, drawing dummy, moisturizer, watch, this week's new yorker, and a yellow tray of misc items...I think there's tea in there. Above is a painting by Deth P Sun. On the right you can see half of Doraemon's face. :)

I am also super excited about my birthday present from my sister. I made her spill the beans (as I usually do) and she told me she got me this book. SO WEIRD! That book has been on my amazon/border's wishlist for months! Totally feeds my studio envy and voyeuristic tendencies.