March 29, 2009

My own agent of change.

Winter launched it's penultimate attack on Chicagoland today, conquering our senses with a couple inches of snow. Outside, the finespun branches of our magnolia tree are smothered in it like clumsily applied mascara.  On the ground the snow is melting into curious footprints as if frenzied giants charged across the backyard.

I retreated inward; noticing the colors, patterns, and textures of my space in miniature. Focusing on the pieces with a telephoto lens and appreciating our treasures. I love being first to rise in the morning--the precious few days a week when an alarm does not pierce my dreams. Peering through the windows while the coffee brews in a state of relaxation that could be interrupted at any moment; taking the moments and saturating them with simple pleasures. I grabbed the nearest notebook and wrote, rediscovering the sensuality of writing one's thoughts by hand, that intimate connection between hand, pen, page, and Self. 

I've touched on my fear of words here and it was with this fear that I began writing. Why do I find it so difficult to write? Am I afraid to betray something in my words? Perpetually afraid of the fall.  Afraid to betray that I am still that child who is terrified of everything and therefore has no right playing artist. What if the gradual cultivation of more literal jumps like climbing trees and riding roller coasters could transform one's proclivities in the figurative. The cultivation of Self is the modern enterprise after all. Signs telling us not to like ourselves and that if you don't like who you are just change it (or more often, that there is a product that you should purchase to be your agent of change): one's identity is fluid. Art is a means of slowing down, of acceptance and discovery. Ideally when we create we are guided by cues from within

Life is too short to merely go with the flow, to be the sediment rolled along the bottom of the river of life ever so gradually causing the river bed to deepen. I want to be friction, energy as opposed to an inert object carried by forces greater. To swim against the current and deepen my experience or drown trying.

Be your own agent of change. 

Writing, like art, is a way of finding one's equilibrium in the overwhelming nexus of ambiguity. Of making sense of the disparate thoughts which, unanchored and unexamined, weigh you down. In my literature classes it is not until I am asked to write a paper that the magic truly begins. My brain is on fire, connections are made, and everything comes together: the material and I undergo a catharsis together. At times I rely on visual modes of expression as a way to avoid thinking and as a consequence the investigation of what lies beneath and within is incomplete, a fraction of the whole. Often times when we are stuck on something, when we stop in the middle or fall short in some way it is because we are afraid of really examining, afraid of what we might find. Filling pages today brought about a peace, a knowledge that I would not have otherwise scratched at, a knowledge that is now more tangible. I am my own agent.

xo Lara

March 28, 2009

Climbing a tree, step 1.

Go to a forest preserve.
Find a beginner's tree, or one with a thick trunk that splits into 3 or more
 smaller trunks near the ground.
Lean on one of the trunks for support and climb a little higher.
Go down the way you came.

Clavicle level is as high as my feet allowed me to go. Considering my fear of heights I consider it a feat!
Do you see that building in the background?
It's abandoned.
xo Lara

March 24, 2009


I did my favorite yoga DVD this morning. The first time I've practiced yoga in months. Not only was it humbling (it used to be my easy video) but the wave of serenity that washed over me as a result stuck with me all day. Soft rain and thunder. Taking pictures through the window. Blogging as Agent P. plays in her journal. Hot coffee and gooey cinnamon rolls. Watching a fun movie with my family. Having a smile on my face for no reason. I had forgotten how yoga used to prime my day. A rainy day stuck inside the house would have otherwise been draining. 

I'm thinking about trees and playing in the forest. I'm anticipating climbing one for the first time,  looking for human and animal faces in them, and capturing their fallen sheathing as they shed old bark to use in my journal. 

I've also been thinking about my list.

    15. Host a portrait party
    16. Host a dinner party
    17. Visit my brother in Detroit
    18. Surprise the people I care about
    19. Venture to Illinois' ghost towns
    20. Photograph that cute cafe owned by that saucy Italian lady
    21. Make a book of the favorite parts of my journal pages
    23. Keep an inspiration board
    24. Overcome the fear of my sewing machine (T-shirt surgery party?)
    25. Spray paint! and stencils!
    26. More mail art
    27. Paint the thunder horse1 Amy's dad carved

Spring is like hopium and I like it! Breezes of cloying optimism that dissipate slowly, such that you don't even realize they were ever there.

1 In tribal lore, the thunder horse stomps to create thunder and has a warrior spirit. Carved thunder horses are used in ritual dances.

March 22, 2009

Primary portraits.

Primary colors (wrinkled vintage dress + ballet flats) 
+ tripod 
+ new Canon 30D 
+ back yard 
+ 8mm cine camera

Amazing how even self-portraits in one's own back yard can be intimidating. After figuring out the tripod and waiting for a curious neighbor to go back in his house it was exhilarating. Dressing up, red lipstick, primary colors, new cameras, and jumping in the air! Finding my happy. Now if I can just figure out how to use this 8mm camera....
xo Lara

Sunflower discovery

We love our old Buick.

Driving in the sun with the windows down.
Bouncing to cassette tapes.
Roads splitting and bulging at their seams
into pot holes scantily patched.
Pulling over and discovering.
Reflections off the hood.
Photographs through sunglasses.
Looking through mounds of dirt and shiny things
for unburied treasure.
A pile of terra cotta tile shards
with sunflowers. 
A bag full!
The coolest jukebox ever.

It is officially Spring Break! I'm enjoying a few, much needed, hours to myself. Lately the only alone time I've come across is during all-nighters (yes I am a procrastinator). That said I have much school work to do despite this respite, but I will not neglect artistic pursuits. There are pictures to be taken, pages to be painted, mail art to be created, and dreams to be had. 

A list in progress:
  1. Climb a tree!
  2. Self portraiture: photo, sketch, paint
  3. Develop Clare's narrative
  4. Conceptual photography
  5. Make prints of my photos
  6. Write a short film already
  7. Shoot 8mm
  8. Get organized
  9. Road trip
  10. Think of a series
  11. Practice yoga
  12. Drive (still don't have my license...)
  13. Get published
  14. Pick a major

March 18, 2009

Curiosities galore.

A package from Kate!
She collects bones and nests and bugs and flowers.
And crafts amazing and creepy displays for them.
She also crafts clothes and diapers and bags and has an etsy shop.
This is the shrunken head she made with her boys out of an apple.

From her letter: "Little bones, a grouse foot, a rusty nail from our barn, butterflies that accompany our summer days, dragon fly wings, birds nest made with birch bark." And a Virgen de Guadalpue matchbox filled with little treasures including a little rubber frog and ladybug, shark teeth, a molar.

I was so intrigued by Kate's curiosities on flickr, you can see them here, here, and here, that she sent me a box full of treasures from her home. I can't wait to make little homes for them of my own. For now they're a livin in the jewelry case and tins.
Thank you so much, Kate!
xo Lara

March 9, 2009

Rainy day with Anais.

Anais 3.
Anais 1.
Anais 2.
Cat back.
Anais 4.

I never knew that this one loves the camera so. She must have got it from her mama. Anais is typically the aloof, flighty cat, unless you're in her domain then she follows you around everywhere and chirps like a bird. She never learned how to meow and she climbs to the top of the windows with her claws. It was very nice of her to model for me for 200+ frames workin' the window sill for me like a covercat :) I must shoot more of the creatures in the future. They're so expressive.
Oy it's midtern time. Adios.
xo lara

March 8, 2009

Mail Art ♥

From Randi! I feel like the luckiest girl in the world :)
Did you know she's working on a new book! 
And that my face is going to be in it?
And hopefully a photograph that I took.

It's a mail art book. 
On it she wrote that she's been making them since she was little.

And in a perfect bit of serendipitousness it came on the first spring-springy day!

It's full of her photography and stencil art.

Bits and pieces of Randi.

And a jolt of inspiration!
Thank you so much Art Queen, for the rush of art energy. I feel like I could explode into saturated Larushka fragments everywhere. 

Mama Warrior cat was super excited too and kept posing with the art on the front steps. 
She was getting quite the amorous with the lens.
Love that cat affection.

Cycled Thoughts magic.

I was on of the lucky winners in Sarah Elizabeth Condon's Cycled Thoughts Giveaway! Not only does Sarah keep an art & design blog called Visual Influence, she is also the curator of The Eclipse Gallery. Her Cycled Thoughts series raises critical questions about the relationship between artists and critics. In so doing she inspires: "How can you have your own opinion if you buy into other’s? Critics are being replaced by a general awareness of the capabilities of ourselves. How can you, as an artist, create original art, if you care?"  She describes the series as "autobiographical, a conglomerate of me. Recycled elements, found objects from my frequent nature hikes, stitching, and brutally honest text. A reflection of my life."

I got it in the mail Friday! This precious object jingles due to the bones and glass enclosed in repurposed packaging stitched onto crumpled paper on which Sarah wrote her thoughts on love in pencil. She advised me to hang it by nailing it directly into the wall. So cool, thank you Sarah!

Pieces from Cycled Thoughts and her new series Brave New Typography are for sale in her shop.

March 6, 2009

Ghost jars & jumping cats

Ghost yard.


A warm afternoon at home.
Indoor cats with springs in their step.
Drinking chai tea on the steps with warrior cat curled up at my feet.
Hot cat fur and happy art mail.

March 3, 2009

Adios February.

February mosaic.February Mosaic 2.

On Saturdays, if it's nice outside I have been ditching all the reading, writing, and computing in order to drive aimlessly with A.P. and take pictures. When its not nice, we drive and look for places to take pictures when it is nice again.

I'm looking forward to improving at my new hobby and to (hopefully) getting a camera of my very own. Also looking forward to warm sunshine, afternoons spent at home. picnicks with the warrior cat, explorations, photo sessions, and perhaps even a trip to Peru (not likely but a girl can dream, right?).

And I caught up with my moon!

Shout out to my new friend Kate! 
xo Lara