Mixed reactions are pouring in with regards to HYURO, a Spanish artist’s, recent public mural in Atlanta, Georgia. Frame-by-frame, the mural depicts a nude woman dressing, then disrobing. Certain frames of the painting portray the woman as completely nude and a lot of the Atlanta citizens are outraged. Some called it “pornographic” and inappropriate, especially because of the mural’s logistics: it is located near a day care center and a church. The church itself has not complained about the artwork.
This is a common reaction to not only artwork, but to nudity in this country. Whether it’s in the media or on a beach, this country just doesn’t seem ready for au naturel.
I too have been forced to “censor” my work from the public eye. One summer, I was invited to display my artwork at a local street fair. After my space was set up, I was immediately informed that I would need to cover all the nude paintings. Since I was working on a nude series at the time, few paintings would be exposed once I had covered up the offensive ones.
I recently interviewed artist Young Sam Kim on his new series “A World in the City.” For the series, the artist used “hyper-collage,” a technique in which various pieces of digital photography are layered and superimposed upon one another. Through the use of this technique, Kim seemingly created a world of his own; a multidimensional space in which each time you view one of his pieces, you notice something you did not see the first time.
When observing a work of art, the mind naturally tends to piece a narrative together, not only from the associations it brings to the work, but from the work itself (as it inevitably does while viewing Kim’s artwork). After my interview with Kim I realized that even the the most creative mind’s conjecture could not breach the depth of Kim’s commentary of “A World in the City.” And through a little knowledge of the artist himself, the layers of his work deepen to a whole other dimension: Kim is hearing and vocally impaired. Continue reading
Note: This is an article I am writing for a fellow blogger, Sharon Nesbit-Davis’ blog. She works and blogs for the Rockford Arts Council of Rockford, Illinois.
I had only been on Etsy for a little while when I decided I was going to delete my site- demolish it, actually, like a wrecking ball to a dilapidated building. You see, I’d been on there for almost 3 months and hadn’t sold anything. Etsy is an online marketplace where artists can sell their goods. With sites like Etsy, long gone are the days where artists and artisans had to lend their goods out to shops and galleries on consignment to make a sale; a sale which sometimes costs the artist up to 50% of their sales revenue per item sold.
My family and I visited Salem, Massachusetts a lot when I was younger. There was this store on the corner of the main street that I always admired. Not only did it sell paintings and photography but a variety of colorful and unique home goods, really cool dishes, and a lot of handmade stuff. When the store was quiet, you could see the owner putting craft projects together and working on paintings at a little workstation in the center of the room. Sometimes she even had her baby with her cooing in the baby carrier slung across her back. I thought it was the coolest thing ever: to be able to do what you love in that capacity.
I wanted to one day have a store like this, a store where I could showcase and sell all my jewelry and paintings; things that otherwise sat untouched in boxes in my bedroom. I always wondered though, how would I ever be able to pay for such a thing. Rent wasn’t cheap especially for commercial space. Again with places like Etsy, what used to be a necessary overhead costs were now almost gone. No more overhead- well not no more overhead, but certainly no more overhead at those prices.
*** This is an excerpt from my book about failed relationships coming out at the end of the year!
I remember when I was in elementary school one of my friends told me that when she was on vacation in Disney World if someone asked where she was from and she told them she was from Connecticut, they immediately assumed she was rich. I was perplexed. She had an in-ground pool but certainly didn’t live in a gated community. Our families were predominately from Waterbury, Connecticut, a remnant of the long-gone industrial era.
I discovered when I went to an out of state college that what she said was true, that when you tell people you are from Connecticut they assume you live in a neighborhood on par with one of the most affluent ones in Greenwich. Years ago I had never been to Greenwich and wondered what this place was like. The richest town in the entire country would surely be something to see. I imagined that I would be pegged an outsider from the second my 2001 Kia Sportage crossed over the city limits. I was very wrong.
I got a job working for a holistic beauty company and had to go to various health food retailers. Now I had to drive down towards the Gold Coast for work at least once a month. My first experience there was good and it really hasn’t changed since I began working in that area.
One day I answered an ad on Craigslist. They needed bartenders and servers. I sent them my resume and a picture and was hired immediately and asked to come down the next day. Not only would I be bartending in Greenwich, but on a yacht! I would be lying if I told you I was excited. No, I reacted as I usually do when something really great and exciting happens in my life: I was terrified! I had never answered an ad on Craigslist before and feared it wasn’t legit. A yacht? Really? As usual, I pictured worst-cases-scenarios in my head; the yacht taking off with me and other unsuspecting young “bartenders” on it, carrying us out to sea awaiting some sort of mass-auction, our introduction into sexual slavery. Yes I know, I don’t deny that I’m a little crazy. I lived on the Mexican border for a year and never ventured south for the same reason. It’s funny, how someone who has lived to tell the tale of so many risky and dangerous events can be so scared and cautious. I would wager that it is because I lived to tell the tale of so many risky and dangerous events!
As a biased free spirit, I am rooting for the Frida on the right. This painting strongly reminded me of an event in my life that occurred the other day when I picked up a pizza. I scanned the menu while I chatted with the hostess. On the menu the buffalo chicken pizza caught my eye. It had roasted peppers, onions, hot sauce and homemade Gorgonzola dressing- oh and chicken. It was certainly the most delicious buffalo chicken pizza I’d ever heard of. “Your buffalo chicken pizza sounds really good. I don’t eat meat, but I used to lovebuffalo chicken pizza- before I became a vegetarian,” I blurted to the hostess. Our conversation ensued and she suggested I get it sans chicken because it would likely be just as delicious as with the chicken, I concurred and went on to tell her that when I used to eat meat, like buffalo chicken. I thought about buffalo chicken for a moment. Maybe she was right. I loved the hot sauce, the fried crispy breading, and the dressing, but never truly liked the chicken part. She nodded her head in agreement knowingly as we continued to discuss this issue.
I walked out with my vegetarian pizza, crushed tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, and basil, I thought about our conversation. As I spoke of my former self, the one who loved buffalo chicken pizza, It felt like I was talking about someone else. Indeed we were no longer the same person, but how could that be?
Read More At The Veggie Stand
"The Two Fridas," by Frida Kahlo
Above is one of Frida Kahlo’s most famous paintings, “The Two Fridas” or “Las dos Fridas.” She painted this shortly after her beloved husband asked her for a divorce. The Frida on the left of the painting is dressed in conservative attire; likely the acceptable societal clothing of her time, while the Frida on the right dons bright colored clothing that resembles her Native Mexican lineage. Who is Frida? Is she torn between what society expects her to be and who she truly is? The division of herself as two separate entities certainly suggests she has two faces, the true Frida, which likely sits on the right, and the Frida she presents to the world on the left. Somehow her impending divorce has caused Frida to spilt and come forward as two very distinct selves in this painting.
If you look closely you will see that the conservative Frida in the white dress has cut her vein with scissors. This snip implies an end to the circuit that keeps the two Fridas together. But who is leaving who and which personality, each so different, will prevail?
The dreariness of my high school’s art studio was enhanced by the pea green walls and matching green and white checkered floor tiles, clearly décor left over from the sixties or seventies. Whenever my art teacher was particular back logged, she would torture us with some droning educational video on the life of an artist. Most of the time if she wasn’t looking, we’d sleep through them, taking little interest in art’s making. Most of the artists on these tapes were white men, European or American. Then one day she put in a video about a Mexican woman I’d never heard of: Frida Kalho.