January 30, 2009

New journal, new directions

It's a huge computation notebook bound comp style. Don't you just love the cover? I have two smaller spirals by the same company for my compulsive non-school related notetaking and collecting of words. Each journal is getting larger than the one before. 

I found a stack of painted papers that I made a few years ago that inspired me to collage. Agent P. was really intrigued by them, so perhaps a paper painting afternoon is in order. It's difficult for us to both get into art mode at the same time and try to share what little floor space we have in our room. I can't wait to have my own little art room one day with a big table. A small space can be confining to the act of creation, not being able to find what one needs or see what one has. One day :) 

Refuse, bark, charms
Deer have been lent a special significance from my mother (it was her birthday yesterday!), I still keep my eyes peeled when driving through wooded areas for them. Such majestic creatures. I can't wait to hike through the forest preserves and soak in the green, commune with the flora, and collect more natural detritus for art.

The deer and fauns are from a book I borrowed on how to make hand shadows, I traced them onto notebook paper saturated in olive oil. I love the selectively transparent effect it lends. 
I'm really excited about the direction this journal is moving me towards. Collage is less intimidating on big graph paper for some reason. Whoop whoop can't wait to go outside and journal.
xo Lara

January 27, 2009

Nothing, Indiana.

Pictures of nothing.

Like sandy water in the sky.

Textures that go unnoticed

or are eradicated because their beauty is not apparent.

Seeing the little things

and appreciating them before they disappear or are washed away.

This intriguing structure may not remain for much longer.

Agent P and I decided that we needed to go for a Sunday drive. We flipped a coin once to determine North or South and again for East and West. This lead us to Indiana where we saw a rainbow in a single cloud floating above riots of development. When it is warmer and the snow isn't to our knees we will try and find this house again and remember that there were once footprints in the snow. I want to bring my camera everywhere, it's becoming a part of me. I'm always taking note of pictures I would like to take but soon forget about. 

Did you go on Sunday drives as a kid to another neighborhood or state? To the city or country? To people watch? My mother used to tell me stories from her childhood when she would nestle in the car with her mother and father every Sunday for a Sunday Drive. I hope that driving aimlessly to Love FM and the oldies stations becomes a Sunday ritual; having the freedom to pull over at every point of interest and take pictures (when it's not freezing). I love it, even if the destination seems boring the act of driving and listening to that happy music you can sing along to is worth it. 

Can you guess what the nothings are?
xo Lara

January 25, 2009

Plumbing pianos.

Marisol, a kindred photographer and friend, initiated a Chicago adventure this weekend. She spirited me away in the dead of night to Hyde Park, which is where I spent a few of my "formative" years. We stayed at her friends apartment for the night two blocks from my old one. In the morning after coffee coupled with pitas and olive oil we poked around his apartment with our cameras (including the rooms of his roommates...)

There was this great enclosure between the apartments with a lid of windows. The photo below was taken through a window.

Then we grabbed all day CTA passes and decided to start in the loop. She took me to her favorite building, a relic from the late 18th century, and it instantly became my favorite building as well. We spent hours here, discovering hidden rooms and lonely instruments and

this magnificent white room with windows overlooking the water


Crawling, sliding, clicking shutters and posing all over the these dusty surfaces for art

The grand white room contained a stage and a shrouded piano

harmonious trinity

plumbing pianos for their secrets
looking through keyholes and opening doors

finding ghosts at work

we slipped through a door, went down a short flight of stairs, into a dark room through a thick plastic curtain filled with machines with red and green lights from floor to ceiling and thick wire tresses flowing across the ceiling. Marisol found a door, the light from which illuminated the machinery, leading to this fire escape on the 8th floor. I'm afraid of heights so i had to take this picture as proof :)

Click the mosaic to see the full set.
Our next stop was the Museum of Contmporary Photography which is featuring a series of work by Michael Wolf entitled The Transparent City.
"Chicago is known for work by innovative architects such as David Adler, Daniel Burnham, Louis H. Sullivan, and Frank Lloyd Wright. After World War II, it established itself as a world capital of modern architecture influenced by the international style of Mies van der Rohe and home to notable projects by Helmut Jahn, Philip Johnson, and more recently Frank Gehry. [...] Wolf depicts the city more abstractly, concentrating less on individual well-known structures and more on the contradictions and conflicts between architectural styles when visually flattened together in a photography. His pictues look through the multiple layers of glass to reveal the environment, focusing specifically on voyeurism and the contemporary urban landscape in flux. Wolf explores the complex, sometimes blurred distinctions between private and public life in a city made transparent by his intense observation."
--Natasha Egan, Associate Director and Curator
Chicago is a fascinating metropolis by virtue of it's claim of the only throughly modern city in the world all because it nearly burnt to the ground in 1871. The building we played in was built a few years later and is remarkably intact. I can't see myself choosing to live in a metropolis (although the prospect is intriguing) however, I feel honored to live near enough to be able to explore its relics and learn its history through exploration.
Marisol and I ended our jaunt by hopping on the El again and rode it until we exited at stop we deemed compelling, wandering around another hour before returning home. It was just the ticket to get out of the house, meet warm people, wander about, and take hundreds of pictures.
Happy wandering :)
xo Lara

January 21, 2009

Adventures in Library Land part 2.

Continuing to poke around my library. The Natural Sciences Center caught my eye. It is located in the center of the library and is encased by glass so visitors too feel like specimens when exploring the curiosities within, large study tables facing one of the walls. The masks  in Part 1 protrude from a wall across the hall; it as if they too are peering through the glass at you. I love how these architectural and artistic nuances converge to create an uncanny little experience. Thanks to Photoshop my snapshots came out well considering how quickly I moved through the space under the direct gaze of these masks. When I was originally editing the first set of photos I added speech bubbles to the masks in which they alluded to the treasures on the other side of the glass and, therefore, also to this post, but later deleted them thinking it too childish.

I want to make dioramas of my own with chamberpots and robots.

Lots of editing to bring out the contrast between the hearts and the gelatinous solution in which they are suspended. The cross-section looks like an eerie fruit. 

I will never forget having to dissect a rat in highschool. At least I never had to touch it since I deliberately partnered with an affable nerd. Sometimes as I walk by library patrons I detect the scent of fermaldehyde lingering in the air and hope its just my imagination.

A little artistic editing here but I tried to keep the beautiful texture and colors of their wings intact. A self portrait indicating a rebirth of sorts? I'm not sure.

This exercise somehow managed to lead me down a spiral path in Amazon's book search resulting in about 50 book requests divied up between my college and local libraries for books on curiousities, robots, natural history museums, automata, pop-up books, puppets, hand shadows, the evolution of the silver screen, and more (click on my Shelfari widget to see the titles!). I dream of a magical room in the house we will have which will be devoted to books and swaddled by built in bookshelves. Agent P has sworn to help construct my dream library and insists upon installing one of those moving ladders as seen in Beauty and the Beast (my favorite part of the movie when I was little was when Belle was in the Beast's library). I crave bookshelves. I have only two stout ones from childhood which do not begin to cradle my collection. Consequently, I am fixated on having proper bookshelves and think to myself that my bedroom would be so perfect and organized if only I possessed them. I will continue to be the Oscar to Agent P.'s Felix regardless of fixtures to be sure :) 
Are you fixated on anything at the moment?
xo Lara

January 16, 2009

Seven veils.

Seven veils., originally uploaded by kaliji.

One of the best perks about working in a library, especially a collegiate library, is book discards. When books are decommisioned only staff are allowed to take them. I wonder what happens to the ones I don't ferret away in my desk and are left unclaimed. Most of the books are old and would be great for altering, but I haven't gotten around to trying my hand at altered books yet. I jump on anything written in another language or that has great pictures. When I saw a copy of Mata Hari with magestic black and white images I was barely able to contain myself. The image on the left is an experiment in gel medium transfers of one of the plates in Mata Hari.  It is my favorite image in the book with the woman's royal stance and her stomach protruding proudly. What I love about belly dancing is that it looks best with a little "jelly"--otherwise there is not much to undulate. This page is about loving and accepting your body. Most of us have jiggly parts, stretchmarks, and cellulite in a milieu where the natural female form is no longer considered beautiful and augmentation is commonplace. Corporations make billions from making us hate ourselves and we tend to buy the hype and in turn their products that promise to make us worthy and happy with our bodies. No product can do this but we can. If we spent half the energy turned inward in self-criticism and turned it outward, towards advancing the causes of women, we could affect real change.

xo Lara

January 15, 2009

Winter advisory with rusty icicles.

There is nothing better than a self-declared snow day with which to bask in the beauty of winter and spend time alone. The frost on my windows is beginning to melt. I snapped these yesterday when it was 14 below.

My dream catcher and witching ball against frozen webbing.

Tin bowls scattered around the house to catch the leaks. 
With the lighting it looks like a divine messenger...hmmm

Dreaming about Clare's world and thinking she might need a glittery mohawk of flower petals :)

What do you day dream about as the frost builds and the snow falls?
xo Lara

January 13, 2009

First day of school.

Getting ready for the first day of a new semester

Documenting my new back to school ensemble: rust colored shirt and jingly earrings that remind me of peacock feathers

and getting distracted by the textures, patterns, and curiosities of the bathroom my mother decorated in the seventies

lovingly touching them through a lens 

photographing objects of the past while embarking on something new

illuminating the trinity while i'm at it


but not too much
Wondering how to fuse intellectual activities with the creative thrust that makes life
worth living. Hoping that I can manipulate the two causing them to push up on each other's edges this semester.

Taking, editing, and uploading pictures is relaxing. 
It is the quickest and most gratifying way to connect and explore artistically.
I don't need to be in a "zone," just a subject that intrigues me.
Art journaling can be more of a struggle.
Still searching
for a personal, effortless style.
wish me luck! xo lara

January 12, 2009

Adventures in Library Land part 1.

Making collages when bosslady is in a meeting or out to lunch using scraps, junk mail, and office supplies.

Discovering the beauty of delicate white-out webs.
Slipping away to browse the stacks, admire the artwork, take pictures, and find natural light.

The starry eyed magician.

The leader of the pack (vroom vroom)

The lush.

January 11, 2009

Clare keeps her treasure in her bellybutton.

clare's bellybutton., originally uploaded by kaliji.

Today was the day for a new banner. I love it. Change feels good. My old banner was too non-specific and boring.

I missed Clare, the tree spirit that briefly possessed me a few months ago. In so doing, the became part of an unfinished narrative concerning malevolent ogres and and giants that peel trees with potato peelers and create discreet color block graffitti on forgotten walls. One of my "ART-solutions" this year is to overcome my fear of creating outside of the safe confines of a book. This is my first independent piece (I did it!). I hope to create a series about Clare as her story unfolds in my dreams.

This all started because of Kimya Dawson whose music saturates the soundtrack of Juno. Her songs make my day when listened to in the morning and get me into create mode. Her song "I Like Giants" definitely infiltrated my consciousness and led me down a path toward Clare (Agent P. helped too).
My favorite lines are: "I like giants. Especially girl giants. Because all girls feel too big sometimes regardless of their size." I relate especially to that last sentence. That state of being so filled with inspiration and trajections of thought. As well as the state of being filled with joy or sadness. Having the freedom to experience thought and emotion to this extent is one of the many gifts facilitated by being a woman. It is an state of experience that many of our foremothers were not free to actualize for the consequences of being labeled a hysteric were severe. I would like to think that being a woman who allows herself to feel to such an extent is no longer negative. However the treatment by the media of the talented women in the political who filled boob tubes across the nation last year has caused me to think that we have not come as far as we would like to believe. It has certainly caused me to read my news online from sources without a recent history of misogyny, but I digress. If I were to truly translate my sentiments about the present state of "feminism" in this country into written form, it would be extensive and no doubt fueled by vitriol.

Instead, I will leave you with this clip of the official music video for "I Like Giants." The song is set to a really cute interpretative dance created and performed by her friends who are also members of the free choir she established in Olympia, Washington that anyone can attend. If I ever visit Olympia that will be on my short list of places to go for sure :) What music inspires you as you create?

xo Lara

January 10, 2009

One of those days.

what's next?, originally uploaded by kaliji.

There is so much going on in this spread.
Where will I go next? And when?
When will our life together truly begin?
Can I cut it at a small liberal arts college when I still haven't been able to use my voice outside of the realm of art?
Will I be able to hold on to my art? 
When I really take the time to think on it, I find myself more afraid than excited at all the possibilities before me. There are simply too many. Too many things I want to do. Too many things I could do. How do I start making choices that are not based on fear? Just do it i guess. A succinct slogan for a towering thought process capable of dwarfing what should be an exhilarating time. 
And just do more art! Art journals are so amazing. 

January 9, 2009

Those onion skins.

layers and negative space are so beautiful in nature.