Real Interviews

September 25, 2012 § Leave a comment

A friend of mine started a blog to “interview the everyday people around us.” Check it out here and check out my interview with them here.


Vera Klement: A Painter with Great Severity

September 24, 2012 § 1 Comment

At 80 years old, Vera Klement, an oil painter in Chicago, still grapples with the doubts of creating, with wondering what to create next, with creating something that people will understand and connect to. This brief documentary (10 min) follows Vera on a recent project as she paints a portrait in homage to Dmitri Shostakovitch, celebrates her 80th birthday party, and reflects on how she came to paint. Her courage and wisdom are inspiring.

“Really trite things, those are the things that move people,” she says. “But if you paint them with great severity, you can get away with it.”

A nod to Vera and her perseverance.


September 20, 2012 § Leave a comment

It’s Thursday afternoon, but to me it feels like a Friday. The empty water glasses around the house, clean and dirty clothes across the bedroom floor, and paper piles on multiple surfaces are all indicators that I have had a busy week. I came home today from my day job and laughed at myself about how ridiculous my room looks. It’s pretty embarrassing.

A prettier sight is the finished wall at Redamtè Coffee House.

Earlier this week, I mentioned sharing some life changes and recent adventures. I’m a student of art again.

My first watercolor exploration.

I’m enrolled in a watercolor class after being inspired from my first visit to Renegade Craft Fair in Chicago. I decided that I need to devote more time to exploring the creative part of me. In order to do that I had to step away from some responsibilities that were good, but not soul worthy. My energy and time was being split among too many things that took more out of me than I originally thought. Although, it was hard to step away, I think everything will be okay.

I’m sure I’ll be sharing some watercolor creations in the near future, but in the meanwhile enjoy your weekend. Happy Weekend!

Fall is here and so am I

September 17, 2012 § Leave a comment

The air is a little cooler, the sun sets sooner, and cozy sweaters are becoming more of my everyday wear.  The fall season is making its entrance and I have returned with it to the blog. I’ve missed it and you, dear Readers.

The past few weeks have been filled with many transitions, changes, and projects. One of the projects I have been working on is the mission wall for Redamtè, a local coffee house in the city. Collaborating and trying to interpret someone else’s vision while balancing my visual aesthetics was harder than I thought it would be. I put a lot of time and energy into this project and am quite proud of it. Most of the objects we used for the wall were found or thrifted to keep with the idea of repurposing items. Below is a quick snap shot of what I worked on in August and September.

A friend and I found 10 picture frames for $10 at a thrift store. I decided to paint them all with the Redamte colors: blue, green, and brown.

For the first time and with some help from a friend I did some pyrography, which is mostly commonly known as woodburning. This process took a lot longer than I thought it would – two letters for every Cosby show.

We painted old door knobs black to use as a ledge for the wood signs.

Here is the layout of the wall before we started to install it together. The three circles are old bicycle wheels we found from a local bike store. They were so kind in giving it to us for free.

If you are in the area go and take a look. There’s much more that has happened in these past few weeks that I want to share so come back Thursday for the complete look of the wall and a little life update!

Advice from Author Junot Diaz

September 14, 2012 § Leave a comment

Though I haven’t read any of Junot Diaz’s work, I’ve heard his name thrown about so often that I was excited to attend a reading by him this week. Which turned out to be not a reading at all, but a Q&A. Which was – perhaps – even better (he had so many good things to say on creating), but also a little ironic considering his advice on becoming a better writer: “Don’t write every day,” he said. “Read every day. There’s more to being a writer than writing.”

And it wasn’t just daily reading habits he was promoting, but a mentality to engage the world as fully as possible for art to be any good.

“To be an artist worth anything means a deep commitment to the world. People want news from the world and that can only be gained by being in the world. If you run the risk of asking people to be transformed by your work, which is why we do art at all, you need to be transformed yourself.”

Diaz took 16 years to write a novel. “I am deeply committed to fucking things up,” he said. He doesn’t shy away from failure and when someone asked about the length of time it takes him to create, he responded by saying that we have adopted a corporate workflow to outputting artistic work, which is damaging to art. Art should and does take time to create, and we as artists should and do go under the process of being transformed “to be the people we need to be to write the book we want to write.”

“What it means to be an artist is that no one’s fucking dying to read your shit. And that’s ok. Uncouple yourself from the assembly line. Any work of art worth anything requires you to be fundamentally lost in it for awhile.

Fight the desire for approval, fight the desire to turn art into a profession,  and fight the desire to escape from the world rather than commit to an invitation to be in the world.”

On teaching, he says:

“What we do as teachers of the arts is model compassion. How one looks at their work is how one looks at their flawed, vulnerable self. They need to see their past work as part of the journey, not just mistakes. Lack of compassion – which is what helps us to make it through college, hold a job, and hold it together – makes us terrible artists. Learn what compassion is [suffering together]. Get an operational definition of it, and practice it.”

A nod to Junot Diaz.

They Taste Good

September 12, 2012 § 2 Comments

I love the simplicity and joy of this poem by William Carlos Williams:

To a Poor Old Woman
munching a plum on
the street a paper bag
of them in her hand.

They taste good to her
They taste good
to her. they taste
good to her

You can see it by
the way she gives herself
to the one half
sucked out in her hand

a solace of ripe plums
seeming to fill the air
They taste good to her

Weekend Do: Honey Edition

September 7, 2012 § Leave a comment

Recently, a friend who’s been dreaming rural, said to me, “Wouldn’t it be fun to be a beekeeper?”

For her, I think it would fit. For me, well, I’m not overly fond of bees. Memories of being stung come quick to mind. But listening to her talk, I realized their community and crafting of a product is fascinating. And I do love honey.

This weekend, spend some time dreaming and enjoying.

1. Do eat some toast and honey. It’s come a long way to your table. Spoon it into tea. Drizzle it onto bread. Dip your finger in it. It’s goodness.

2. Do move with slow and calming grace. This beekeeper from Hong Kong doesn’t wear any protective clothing. His movements, which are as graceful as the movement of bees, makes me want to approach the space I’m in with similar ease and care.

3. Do be sweet. Sweet like honey.

Have a sweet weekend.

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