Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Tuesday morning with rain

Most younglings are daydreamers, it's easier to sweep your own brain off its feet when you're a kid, before "adulthood" turns life into a series of informal business transactions. No, that's harsh. But kids are more imaginative and it causes them less anxiety. I don't think this loss of wonder or the growth of shame are inevitable with age, but a lot of people would have to reexamine and overhaul the experience of living, so it's safe to assume the world of people will continue to move the way it's been moving. Progress, progress, progress, advancement, advancement, advancement. Mantras for all great societies and civilizations. I always wonder about the most advanced civilizations. Did they move underwater or to outerspace? It seems like the proudest achievements of human history mostly end up in dust: "...Nothing beside remains: round the decay / Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare, /The lone and level sands stretch far away." Remarkable poem, that Ozymandias.

This is messy philosophizing without a point, sorry. I was just going with it. And I was considering making a regular horror/cult movie recommendation post, so I wanted to explain my interest in such dirty business, then I wanted to examine imagination and shame and consciousness and societal schizophrenia; but, my intentions always take detours. It makes the days more eventful, but conversations suffer.

Last night, we watched a documentary about David Cronenberg that ended prematurely, but anything about his intellectual process is mesmerizing. Dead Ringers, Scanners, Videodrome, and The Brood, are great, weird brain-food. Ideas about parasitic relationships, mass media and mass schizo-psychoses, existence through willpower, the manifestations of flesh, all presented with a sincerity, or a moral subtlety you can't get on TV. It makes the films more interactive, a necessary collaboration of brains and perceptions.

Gray skies weigh heavily in my head, but there's a beautiful, muddied quality to everything.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Monday Update + Mini Tutorial


So I found some squares of Primo clay at a thrift store and I wanted to play around. As you can see, I made this gal with clay and a photocopy of vintage artwork. It's funny, I've never used clay outside of a school studio before and I realized there's too much dust and cat hair frolicking around in my room for this to turn out well. But I persisted because I wanted to try out this method for transferring images on polymer clay; I'm a sucker for cheap and easy alternatives.

Via Beads and Beading:

1. Make a shape from clay.
2. Press photocopied image onto clay surface (ink side down), burnishing gently so all your image is contact with clay.
3. Nerve-wracking fun time -- wet the image with cool water (not warm) and gently rub in circles. This should cause the paper to fuzz up into little wet balls which you can rinse off under the sink as you go. Basically, the paper peels away (circular motions work best, really) and the toner-based image is left behind.
4. After all (or most) of the paper's gone, bake the clay according to its directions, generally long enough for your apartment to stink like a plastics manufacturer.
5. Once it's baked, you can mess around with it and the image won't smudge. I painted with some gouache and then sealed the whole thing with a clear acrylic coating.

It was extremely satisfying to rub the paper and watch the image develop. I still don't know what I'll do with one of these finished pieces, but I'm happy with my little success.


This is a test post from flickr, a fancy photo sharing thing.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Nibble they little feet

I try to walk around my neighborhood as often as possible, particularly on bright, sunfilled days like today. Living in the city is many things to many different people at many different times and places, but it's so close to me now, like a friend whose constant company is sometimes terrible, sometimes marvelous, and always familiar. I suppose I've lived so long on the edge of impermanence through military-forced nomadism and the shuffling of academic goals that thinking of a place as "home" is scarily, thoroughly delightful, however banal or complacent. This yellow-and-mauve apartment in this old apartment building on this block of South Philadelphia in the city of Whateverly Love has been an everchanging home since January of this year. Damned if it still ain't the apartment I'll die in, or even remain for the next year, but something warm tendrils around every time I set foot in the neighborhood, every time I'm sitting and working in sunbeams, or watching light color all these rowhouses like a carnival.

I guess I always want to remember the way sun filters through the streets here, setting red-brick houses in stark contrast against unnaturally blue skies. Unnatural for the city, because they oughta be smog-grey, right? Maybe they are, but they seem so clear. And the old trees along Broad St., I can see from my window -- they stand so tall and green and they whisper with the wind like they're telling me stories only trees can understand.

Anyway, I figure if I'm this glad to enjoy the sun and the sky and the trees and the air and the rain while I'm a citydweller, wandering to actual skyscraper-less, building-less environments should burst my aching heart.