Friday, November 12, 2010

Getting Back Into Digital

I'll get back to this later...

Friday, November 5, 2010


I am not impervious to influence.  Sometimes I try to be.  It was something that I would often identify myself with.

"As original as someone could be who didn't live in absolute isolation."
Although isolation would inevitably become the source of influence.  Art, music, writing, any form of self-expression, is nothing more than a response to what we are receiving in the world around us.  Since I have come to accept that, embrace it even, it leaves me excited, enthusiastic to interpret and share what it is that I have been enjoying recently.

I've been watching the Tudors...

And, damn... talk about a cocktail for something I would be obsessed with.  It's pretty, to downright gorgeous, sexy, complex with amazing character depth, historical, and not a single damn character involved is really "good."  So ultimately, that's the same description I would hope to receive in regards to my novel.  Damn, I even drew a picture with all my characters in a similar matter to this one above a few years ago.  I came upon this realization when I was revisiting and re-writing a section:

    "Lady Bordeaux, are you not feeling well this evening?"  As true as his words may have been taken, they were nothing further from just that. They belonged to Geoffrey Logner, the Emperor's First Advisor and long standing rival to Evelyn.  Seeing her in any amount of distress seemed to please him, irregardless of the circumstances surrounding.
    Evelyn sighed, raising her hand to meet her temple, but not diverting her attention which was placed on the massive audience that was strewn before them, "If it satisfies my Lord, no I do not."

Obviously, I didn't mean for that to be overly rhetorical or even profound (although as the author, everything is significant to me).  But what I'm really trying to emphasize is how it's influenced my dialogue, my interaction... to me that's the whole pleasure of the writing experience... it's what I'm most interested in.  In fact, that's what I try to explain my entire book being about.  Social interaction under different hypothetical scenarios... I imagine that's what nearly every book I ever write will be about... I'm sure I'll write an "adventure" novel here and there, but overall, the ones that are my "favorite" will most likely be in the spirit of what I've expressed.

At any rate, thank you to my friend Jenn, who brought this wonderful show to my attention.  I had noticed it in the past, but was weary due merely to my suspicions of the historical merit to the show... I mean... c'mon...

Although, seeing the show inevitably provoked me to do research, I did come to find that King Henry VIII was quite fit in his youth.  Sadly, or perhaps not, this made me infinitely more interested in him.

At any rate, my first love, my passion, my story... has been sparked once more, and it is in these moments, I am most happy.

I find that speaks volumes about what I should be doing with my life.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Admiration, Anticipation

Audrey Niffenegger, author of The Time Traveler's Wife and Her Fearful Symmetry and artist, just visited my university.

My professor, and one of few subjects of my admiration, Mille Guldbeck,
worked very hard to have her come.  Throughout the duration of the semester up until this point, Mille had expressed to me her excitement about Audrey's visit, as she was first introduced to Audrey during a residency, nearly 10 years ago or so.
Mille, I find, is an incredibly intelligent, introspective individual, who has most likely (and unknowingly) opened up my eyes to a whole, much more expansive field of art than what I had known previously.
Naturally, someone I admire being excited about someone else coming to visit makes me excited, so I had to check out what she was all about.
Currently, I'm a little over 100 pages into The Time Traveler's Wife.  It's a good read.  Nathan finished first (he reads much more quickly than I do) and remarked on how it's one of the best books he's read in a long time, and he's read a lot of books and has a fairly critical eye for such.
I can't help but be inspired.  For those of you who know me, and for those of you who don't, I have been writing a novel for the past 4.5 years.  I used to be paranoid about how long it was taking me, but I've discovered throughout the journey, that the length of time it has taken me has been the best thing to happen to the novel.  I've sat with the idea long enough, that it's more than just a story, it's a whole universe now.  The characters, not just a skeletal idea, but living, breathing personalities.
My insight, now much less na├»ve, facilitates room for a much more complicated, thought provoking idea.  The gravity of it is much more real now than what it was when I was 17 (If you can only imagine).
Talking to Audrey was wonderful.  For the first time instead of being intimidated or discouraged, I thought, "Yeah, this is something I really can do."
It doesn't sound scary at all.
I was also quite flattered that Mille spoke of me specifically to Audrey, telling her of my current work, my aspirations, and my in progress novel.
I started to revisit my novel today, being as though such inspiration shouldn't go to waste.  My conclusion, "This is actually pretty good."

That's comforting.  That's usually the exact opposite of what happens.
In short, I think that's all I am left feeling the urge to say.  At the end of anything I write, or create for that matter, I'm left feeling/knowing I excluded more than I included, and sometimes that's frustrating... but that is the nature of things is it not?

So this is just an old "digital painting" I did back in 2007 of one of 4 main characters from my novel.  Her name is Evelyn Bordeaux and at one point is the Empress of the Empire of Alunae, Alunae being the title of the novel.  Admittedly, I had no idea what I was doing on Photoshop at the time, and still fumble around when I'm on it.  Bettering my digital skills is among one of many of my post-graduate aspirations.

In other news...

I make an excellent David Bowie Goblin King don't I?  With one obvious difference...

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Anxiety and Art

My life has been filled with anxiety and sadness.  Sometimes I feel like that's all it's ever been.  I feel as though there's very little that I actually wholly enjoy.  Maybe I'm not alone.  Maybe we're all like that.  I suppose, my primary concern is about a genuine experience.
It seems that more often than not, most genuine experiences are spent alone, or with very few, very trusted individuals.  I'm sure that's not too difficult to relate to.  But I know, that so many people desire to be around me, desire my company... I very rarely want to be around.  It's not to say that I don't enjoy the visceral experience for what it is, but I feel as though often I'm just going through the motions to make everyone else happy or satisfied.  Sometimes I begin to wonder how well I hide it anymore.  It pays off, on rare occasion.  Is that what makes it worth it to me?  The fear of disappointing or hurting someone else, sadly, is one of my main motives.  It makes me question my main motives for one of, what I consider to be, the most important languages of identification for myself, art.

It honestly feels like my most appreciated and remembered experiences do not revolve around me creating art.  So why do I do it?  What do I get out of it?  I feel compulsed to create it, yet fear and anxiety hold me back from making it what I really want it to be.  Fear of not enjoying myself mostly.  But I won't allow myself to enjoy myself because I feel like I haven't earned it.  So in the end, I'm never happy with it.

I feel like I can sit around and shoot the breeze all day about what makes someone an artist, yet I feel as though at most times, I don't really have the right to call myself one.  Shouldn't my art make me happy?  Shouldn't I want to do it more often than I do?

We can rationalize so many things.  So I won't.  I will leave these questions as questions.

I've been asked on numerous occasions, "What makes someone an artist."

People have a plethora of responses to that, reasonings.  By societal standards, it's become an exclusive thing, a club if you will... there's certain hoops and passages we must go through, and quite frankly, sometimes I don't care.  Sometimes I do.  Why do I want to be considered an artist?  By some measure, I suppose I perceive it to give me some sort of value, some sort of meaning, purpose.

In the end, the label means nothing.  My actions, my creations, mean nothing.  The loose standards that many people would hold for someone being considered an artist irritate me, yet I encourage creative exploration and initiative.

Why? Because that's mine and not yours?  In a sense, I suppose.  I do find that there's something fundamentally different about the way I think, feel, experience.  Does that make me better? That's not for me to judge, and I don't really think about it.  It does frustrate me, however.

I seem to place a much higher value on experiences... loves... interests...  and I can't seem to get my head around most people's apparent negligence to the world around them, to themselves even.  I try to communicate constantly what I feel, to share it with those who perhaps cannot... to inspire... to bring our minds closer together, to make sense of the world around me.

Sometimes, a bridge is created and other times the gap is widened.  So I suppose I keep creating for the sake of those bridges and those gaps.  It better defines for me, my place in my perceived world.  Why is it necessary to know these things?  I suppose we might as well question why anything is necessary.

So what makes someone an artist?  Everything and nothing.  There's is very little that can actually be solidly defined.

Am I an artist as far as in the idea that I create art (as defined by wikipedia) Art is the product or process of deliberately arranging symbolic elements in a way that influences and affects the sensesemotions, and/or intellect.
But that does leave the opportunity open for most people to be considered artists.  So why would the label be in existence?   Is it someone who is particularly good at communicating these ideas?  I guess.  I guess that's what I would have to tear it down to.

I feel like I've expressed much and very little simultaneously.  This whole thing feels like a big, pointless loop to me, and art feels that way to me sometimes too.  I feel like I never know where I stand, and I feel like I constantly contradict myself.

Art should be considered a by-product of a disorder.  I don't even remember where I was going with that and  I only halfly mean it.

But in the end, what I really am left saying is I wish I could stay in one place longer, in one moment longer.  I want time to think.  I want time to write and explore.  That's when I'm happy with what I create.  My fear is I will never have that again.  And I think that's why anxiety follows me.  I'm never in one place long enough to get a good grasp of it and when I wake up the next morning, I can hardly associate a feeling with what I did the day before.  I want my life to slow down, and sometimes, I really just want to be left alone.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010


As you can see, I have none... well close to none.  The most common question I have been asked recently, if you can only imagine, is, "why Christine?"

The answer to me is simple.  It was the most logical thing for me to do at the time.  Okay, perhaps, "logic" isn't the most applicable word, but it suits my needs for the moment I suppose.

However, my actual explanation is a little more complicated.  There were many reasons.  The first and foremost, being, "why not?"  Simple enough.  I've always been curious.  And really, why should it matter?  It's not like we're living in a post-feminism society right? People obviously don't care about these things anymore.  The measure of a person isn't wrapped up in their hair.  Or is it?

When I had the electric razor in my hands, right in that moment before I went and did something that in all honesty should not have been considered all too drastic, I wasn't thinking to myself, "I'm out to prove something.  By doing this, I will reveal to all that women are not subject to inequality and prejudice due to physical appearances anymore!"  It's been done.

Instead, I was more concerned with how I was going to be treated.  It's just a common place fact in our society that if you are a female, white, and with short hair you are among a list of less than savory titles that someone may choose to associate you with, i.e. dyke, transvestite, ugly, boyish, feminist, idealistic... I suppose I could go on, but I care not to think any further on what I know other men, especially, have already thought about me.  And to me, an unsavory title is anything I care not to be recognized as, not necessarily that they're bad.

I just don't like titles.  When I had to title this blog, I felt like it was presumptuous of me to call these "musings" and even calling myself an artist, seemed... pretentious.  I mean, I don't really care, especially about the second part, when you get down to it.  I am an artist.  I guess I just didn't want to oversimplify, or limit what it was I could discuss on my blog here.  Plus, I know it's incredibly unoriginal.  It seems the only time I do like titles is when they're completely ironic.  To some of my friends, this puts me under suspicion of being a hipster.  God help us all if it's true.

But if I did want to prove anything, it was that I could do it.  That I could overcome the fear of letting go of something that is truly material, and inconsequential to my person.
But if it was so inconsequential, why had so much of my identity been wrapped up in it?  I'm not so much interested in answering this question for others to read, but for them to ask themselves.  Nearly all of us do it. Some of us, worse than others.  What I've noticed is a general, overall insecurity.  If we have little to identify ourselves by, then our appearance and our activities become our identities.  "Well, I'm a gamer."  Or, "I'm a girl, see my girly hair and clothes?"  "I'm a rebel."
And although, these things may be true, how inconsequential.  How simple.  How empty.  Even the statement, "I'm an artist."  Without some sort of substantial backing is trivial.  I had conflict over the statement not too long ago.  The sum of the word extends beyond the implied meaning.

It's pretty obvious , that hair and what is says about a character is a fascinating subject matter for me personally.  The way I paint it, the endless assault I've made to it over the last 8 years... I'm obsessed.  When I was 14, my aunt took me to get my hair cut and colored the way I had imagined it for quite some time.   It did wonders for my confidence.  Should it have?  No, but I was 14, angsty, and philosophical meanderings of "significance" and "true value" were not going to help me feel better about myself.  So, you take what you can get at that age.  It may be cliche and redundant to state, but true beauty lies within... although I won't argue that by societal superficial standards, I'm not too bad off either.
Balance is the theme of my life lately.  I wake up to Earl Grey, and relax to Darjeeling or Oolong.  I love eating healthy but a little chocolate won't hurt me either.
As I regrow my hair out, I'll have fun with it, and I'll like what'll it say about me.  It'll say, "she's weird" for starters.  But it's nice to start over, have a nice forced evaluation and appreciation for what really makes me, me.  Take away all my paint brushes and I'll still be an artist.  Take away my hair, and I'll still be Christine.  I believe that it's alright to take part in life's frivolities, as long you have an appreciation and understanding of what's more important.  I'm not out to prove much, but rather, amuse people with ideas, laughter, and emotion.  And if it doesn't reach others, at least it has made my life interesting.