navel gazing as personal reflective processing.

As stated many times in many contexts, I have a complete inability to sit, rest, do nothing and be. This is why i love yoga and hate meditation. So- what to do when faced with with no big projects to pursue and a lack of inspiration? I just keep churning the wheels with arbitrary art-assignments and half-baked solo endeavors. I might just be moving in circles, but at least I’m moving. These usually involve long hours of tedious repetition, leaving me plenty of time and space to listen to radio shows, then music, and eventually new ideas. Once that happens these things, to which I’m never too attached, fall by the wayside. Sometimes they come back, sometimes they evolve or feed into something else, and sometimes they just disappear forever. Below are a few examples from the past year or so. Though usually uninteresting and always unfinished, these little stopgaps are incredibly helpful and, I’m only just starting to realize, an important part of how I make things:

A thorough, deliberate and ritualized destruction of a beloved anatomy book.

A thorough, deliberate and ritualized destruction of a beloved anatomy book.

Abandoned for now- the project as initially conceived is way too convoluted and internal to be interesting to me for as long as it needs to finish or to be interesting to anyone else.

A holdover from my first Postcard Collective exchange- still working to interpret Chris Toalson's 10 'photo' prompts.

A holdover from my first Postcard Collective exchange- still working to interpret Chris Toalson’s 10 ‘photo’ prompts.

Currently discontinued from lack of ideas/interest, but not totally abandoned out of guilt about not responding to Chris’s prompts. Creating interactions and exchanges is hard and when another artist tries to facilitate them, not responding makes me feel like an asshole. I also worry about karmic retribution.

A cataloging of every apron worn by the female characters of Mad Men, inspired by textile patterns, midcentury class/gender-roles as expressed through clothes, and a desire to turn the impulse to watch Mad Men into an art project.

A cataloging of every apron worn by the female characters of Mad Men, inspired by textile patterns, midcentury class/gender-roles as expressed through clothes, and a desire to turn the impulse to watch Mad Men into an art project.

Totally abandoned.

from the Encyclopedia Apocalyptica, a series of numerological historiographs exploring personal fears and the book of Revelations

from the Encyclopedia Apocalyptica, a series of numerological historiographs exploring personal fears and the book of Revelations.

…Eh? Still into this idea and really like how the first (of 22) finished pieces looks aesthetically, however, like the first, it’s super internal/personal and like all ‘product’ producing projects, I have a hard time staying motivated- if there’s no room/plan for interaction and no plan to display, what’s the point?

The most recent stopgap - thinking about plants and  ecologies and connecting those interests to my long standing interests in viscera and sewing paper.

The most recent stopgap – thinking about plants and ecologies and connecting those interests to my long standing interests in viscera and sewing paper.

Ditto to the above. I’m not totally scrapping this idea, but without a real ‘what’s next’ beyond the image itself I have a hard time coming up with a motivating ‘why.’

Creative ecology, permaculture of the mind.

Currently in the process of absorbing the following into my brain:

Studios, collections, spaces for exploration and discovery, permaculture, self-sustaining ecologies, learning ecologies, living lightly, living deeply, the connection between life and artistic practice, collections, our intrinsic need to touch natural materials, space and aesthetics, summer.

(all images linked to their original owners.)

 

 

 

House Keeping

Before I get too far into the ideas buzzing about my head, I’ve been trying to get caught up on the terribly unsexy work of documentation, including this:

website

Click the image to see this spring’s contributions to the Postcard Collective

And this:

movie edit

As both involve long hours looking at a computer and fiddling with what feels like insignificant changes in color correction and transition timing, I’ve been dragging my feet to do it and all the way through it. BUGH. More updates and exciting things to come. Just as soon as I go play outside a bit more. And also read another chapter in this book…

Dinner winner?

Dinner winner?

Hey friends, we’re going to try an experiment here- Now, you were warned that this might happen (see here), however, I do feel the need, at least this first time, to give you a head’s up, so you can opt out if you’re not interested.
I’m going to try something that just a few years ago would’ve seemed impossible and insane-

I am going to write. About food. And share a recipe (of sorts).

Like sewing and gardening, cooking is a skill  my mom tried to teach me growing up but, through sheer stubbornness and dependency (‘but why learn, when you’re so good at it already and you’re right down the road and will be for forever and ever?’) never quite stuck. It wasn’t until I was living in my first apartment, eating giant potfuls of beans and rice, and oatmeal for dinner that I started to take feeding myself (and anyone else I might be interested in impressing) seriously. This also happened to coincide with an absolutely amazing science class that looked at the food industry from all angles and dinner became, not just tasty, but a chance to nourish my body and vote with my fork. Thus began an investigation into cooking with whole foods, and a real relationship with flavors and tastes. Thanks to friends, family (mom!), the internet, trial and error, I’ve graduated from someone who can possibly make dinner with two hours, a recipe and a few trips to the store to Someone Who Can Make Dinner In a Reasonable Amount of Time And With What’s On Hand, Recipe Be Damned, which is really about as far as my cooking aspirations go. On one level, I want to celebrate that, but on another, I want to share these tasty things I’ve been making with you so that you can make them and share them with the people who love who will make them and share them with the people they love- This isn’t just thoughtless navel-gazing, people, this is a REVOLUTION.


IncrediBOWLy Tasty Black Bean, Sweet Potato and Rice Bowls

Like Conan and Fat Tire, or peanut butter and siracha, black beans and sweet potatoes are a pairing that have earned a special place in my heart, despite the naysayers. So much so, in fact, that when I start thinking about dinner (usually about 30 min before I want to be eating it) and I think ‘Gee, I have a sweet potato that needs to be eaten soon, I instantly think, “THANK HEAVENS THERE”S BEANS!” because there is. There’s always beans.

things you can make a shit-ton of at a time and freeze: black beans, chickpeas, rice. to use, thaw. then use (DUHbecky.)

things you can make a shit-ton of at a time and freeze: black beans, chickpeas, rice. to use, thaw. then use (DUHbecky.)

  1. First things first, you will need cooked rice (some?), beans (lots?) and roasted sweet potatoes (I used one, but who ever said no to more sweet potatoes?). If you’re using frozen beans and rice, get those out to thaw.
    bean_Bowls1Then, congratulate yourself on being a grown up and a GENIUS.

    BONUS INFO: The Craft is now on Netflix. You’re welcome.

    If not, then open a can, or put some beans and rice on to cook. Meanwhile, roast that potato- scrub, dry and cut into 1/2 inch cubes. Toss with a little olive oil and salt. Roast at 425 F. Go live your life.
    bean_Bowls3

     
  2. After 30 to 40 minutes, they should look like this:
    bean_Bowls4


    feel free to ‘test’ a few pieces.

    Now it’s time to make the queso;

  3. Like most sauces/dressings, this started out as someone else’s recipe which, through sheer laziness and ingredient availability has been simplified/substituted/bastardized. The base recipe for this particular sauce came from Isa Chandra Moskowitz, snarky vegan-food-fairy and author of Isa Does It. For this version of it, Add the following to a blender and blend until smooth:
    3/4c. soaked cashews (Oh, what’s that? You haven’t been soaking cashews ahead of time? HAVE NO FEAR- for in my indolence I have made the following discovery: As long as you soak the cashews in really hot ((like, out of the kettle hot)) water for a few minutes while getting the rest of the ingredients, all is not lost), 1 c. veggie broth, 3 T nutritional yeast, 2 T. lemon juice, 1 T white miso paste, 2t. cumin, 2 garlic cloves, smashed, and a teaspoon or so of dried chipoltle powder if you have it, regular ol’ chill powder if you don’t. Blend the hell out of it, until smooth (ish). Pour into a small sauce pan, and heat over medium, stirring regularly.

    I have a hunch that adding chopped up pickled jalapeños at this point in time would be an excellent idea.

    I have a hunch that adding chopped up pickled jalapeños at this point in time would be an excellent idea.

    until the whole thing is thick like queso sauce. How will you know when it’s reached the right consistency?

    Trust me, you will know.

    Trust me, you will know.

     

  4. And finally, it’s time to make the ‘meaty’ filling for the bowl:
    These are the things you'll use.

    These are the things you’ll use.

    In a large pan, saute some onion. After it’s just starting to brown, toss in the beans, a can of tomatoes, juice from one lime, some (?) cumin and a few sprigs of oregano.  Cook on medium high heat until the liquid begins to evaporate.

  5. Assemble the bowls with rice, the bean mixture, sweet potatoes, and the sauce. Top with any taco fixings that tickle your fancy (red pepper, cilantro, avocado, etc.) and mow down. You can carefully arrange each component, OR toss it all in and smoosh around until every bite’s got a little bit of something else. Clearly I have a preference:

    Double plus bonus points if you forget to photograph the finished dish until it's halfway down your gullet.

    Double plus bonus points if you forget to photograph the finished dish until it’s halfway down your gullet.

I am good at a lot of things: making pancakes, sweating,Street fighter 2 (arcade version)- But one thing I’m absolutely terrible at, is being sick. I’m really good at advocating for natural, noninvasive treatment, like resting and fluids. I’m really bad at following my own advice for more than 4 hours, at which point I either  fall to pieces of melodrama and self-loathing like Chris Trager:

…or I deny what is happening, a la personal hero and spirit animal Leslie Knope:

Here is a list of things that, like Leslie,  I’m ‘doing’ while watching Parks and Rec on netflix and mouth-breathing:

  • sewing pants
  • knitting socks
  • finishing a sweater
  • updating my website
  • doing laundry
  • making things
  • reading edifying literature
  • cleaning our kitchen
  • gardening, general
  • a long run
  • not feeling guilty about ‘doing’ all of these things
  • not apologizing to the internet about doing all of these things.

 

Bridging the gap.

Sometimes I’m fairly convinced that the universe is trying to communicate with me via public radio. (Which, if this is the case, good work, Universe! I’m ALWAYS listening to public radio, and trust the the likes of Carl Castle, Terry Gross and Lynn Rossetto Casper with almost frightening implicity.*)

This past week, cosmic intervention took the form of the TED radio hour (as it sometimes does). I was flipping through the stations (let’s be honest, looking for some Journey to belt on the way home) when I heard the phrase ‘LOLcats.’ I, of course, immediately abandoned my search for the smell of wine and cheap perfume and tuned in to listen. Though I didn’t happen to catch all of the talk (The entirety of which, you can see here) the part I did manage to catch and which I’ve been mulling over like a tasty worther’s original, is this:

The stupidest creative act is still a creative act. The real gap isn’t’ between the mediocre and great work, the real gap is between getting started and doing nothing. If you’ve created something, even if it’s stupid, you’ve put yourself in a position to do more.

OH YEAH. Does anyone else periodically lose sight of the fact that we all started making art because at some point it just feels good? Or, to go a step further, does anyone else periodically discredit the creative acts they do based on an arbitrary scale of ‘worthy (i.e. labored over)’ and ‘stupid (i.e. fun’)? For now, let’s stop doing this and just take a moment to celebrate that for no logical or tangible reasons, we are creatures that make things, and sometimes these things are fun.

As a first step, here are some completely frivolous posters and cards that were made entirely for fun:

galentines_ono

 

 

fabulist lecture poster_2

COSMIKA_2

poster for Cosmika’s second gig.

 

A birthday card for the fella

“How do PIE love thee?”

'The Spirit of Texas,' a farewell gift to a friend, with John James Audubon playing the role of Steph, and Bobby Darren playing the role of the Spirit of Texas herself

‘The Spirit of Texas,’ a farewell gift to a friend, with John James Audubon playing the role of Steph, and Bobby Darren playing the role of the Spirit of Texas herself

 

I had a lot of fun making these, and there’s certainly some creative remixing happening here, but is this still…art? Is it a ‘lesser’ form of art than my large scale projects or even my drawings? “There is no such thing as bad art, there’s just ART, and things that are not”…but how can you tell which is which? Without the context of the gallery or museum to validate what you’re doing, how do you justify your work to the rest of the world? Or even to yourself? What am I doing awake past 10:30 and why am I trying to form words and/or thoughts? More questions and more ambiguous, ambivalent  ponderings to come as this stuff continues to rattle about in my head.

 

OH: And in case you were in need of more motivation to make things, check out my friend Sharon’s latest blog post, where you’ll find answers to all  your lame excuses AND a picture of the cutest dog in all of Ohio.

 

 

*Seriously. I once tried waiting until 9:30 to have my first cup of coffee, based on a report I heard on Morning Edition, with  tragic results.