Cold Rooms and Indie Tunes

Phoenix is playing and the air is cold and dry. Song shift. Liztomania. The kid in front of me is bouncing in his seat. Cotton cobwebs are strung from wall to wall, plastic blood stains stuck on the television. This room is one of the few that sunlight finds its way into. This room is bright. It’s happy.

It’s strange how perspective can change about seemingly meaningless things, like rooms. Shifting perspectives about rooms. A person moves in, moves out, moves in. Adjusts. Readjusts. Homes relived in, over and over and over. A history. A capsule. This room once looked different, felt different, was different. It’s only a container.

I’m trying to remember what my initial impression of the room was, but I can’t remember. Clutching for memories at the tip of my recall. They’re not. Just a bluish fog of associations instead, angry political posters, Big Brother on the wall.

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July 2018 | Daily Art

To see my Daily Art works from July, you can scroll through the box below!

July 5.jpg

Style and grace.

7.1.18 | Daily Art


July 1st.jpg

My latest video game obsession: Detroit: Become Human. My boyfriend and friend both recommended it to me a while ago. At the same, the plot seemed a little hokey, a little cliché, just another story of robots gaining emotions and taking over the world. I’ve applied makeup thinking of the same storylines.

Detroit: Become Human‘s surpassed all my expectations. Three storylines–all incredibly fascinating on their own–converge into one. Actions and decisions made in one episode carry over into the entire storyline. Relationships built in one character’s plot seep into another character’s. I’ve been milking out episodes via Youtube gamers for the past week, unable to finish it, because I want to savor it more.

7.2.18 | Daily Art


July 4th

The days are melting together.

My mind’s been muggy as of late. I used to journal every day, but I haven’t been writing regularly. I tried to write last night but it felt like yanking…teeth. I don’t know. I should probably get back into a habit of automatic writing/mindless blogging because, at the very least, it keeps me on my writing toes.

Maybe I’ll micro-blog here. I used to feel more comfortable with micro-blogs, back when I had a Tumblr. Apparently micro-blogs are called tumbles–something like that. Tumbleweed. Tumblr was filled with snippet reblogs and poetic sentiments, small snacks of art and social justice and quotes you wanted to plaster all over your room.

7.3.18 | Daily Art


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A baby bunny lives in my backyard. I visit her frequently and chat with her. I like animals. I like Lil’ Buns.

7.4.18 | Daily Art


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7.5.18 | Daily Art


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…is a dainty, fancy candy shop with assorted high-brow candies. I’ve only ever gone for the free samples, but EM and I skipped in and split a 6 pack for $15 deal. I walked out with marshmallow egg chocolates, caramel egg chocolates, and champagne gummies.

7.6.18 | Daily Art


7.7.18 & 7.8.18 | Daily Art


 

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It’s the Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling! Anyone else love this show?

7.9.18| Daily Art


July 8 and 9

Slow-moving.

7.10.18 & 7.11.18 | Daily Art


July 13.jpg

Date night!

7.12.18 | Daily Art


July 10th.jpg

11 PM. We stopped by the gas station for strawberry blonde beer.

7.13.18 | Daily Art


July 14th.jpg

7.14.18 & 7.15.18 | Daily Art


July 16.jpg

Light and shadow.

7.16.18 | Daily Art


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Doodling on iPads while patiently waiting at Apple

7.17.18 & 7.18.18 | Daily Art


July 17.jpg

Kelpy dancing

7.17.18 | Daily Art


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I’m scrambling to find things to draw. My mind is devoid of inspiration. These 365 projects always drag on and on after the halfway mark. So, in a desperate scrawl, I drew the hand sanitizer in front of me.

7.19.18 | Daily Art


July 20th

7.20.18 | Daily Art


July 21st

7.21.18 | Daily Art


July 22nd

7.22.18 | Daily Art


July 23rd.jpg

Basket

7.23.18 | Daily Art


July 25thHipster homes. This is us, roaming the arts district in a hundred degree weather. Our bellies are stuffed with grilled cheese and bruschetta and there’s barbecue sauce splattered all over my white lace dress.

Tops. Galleries. Prints. Pie. We dip in and out of shops too hipster to survive. One is an open-door-and-ceiling store with antique mirrors and coins on velvety boxes. Another houses perfume thick and white. Across the street is the pie shop, where it’s Christmas in July and all the workers wear Santa Claus hats.

7.25.18 | Daily Art


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Currently reading a book called Mao’s Last Dancer. I can’t get through 10 pages without lightly dissolving into tears.

7.26.18 | Daily Art


July 28th.jpg

7.27.18 & 7.28.18 | Daily Art


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Nail polish

7.29.18 | Daily Art

Fallible

People are disappointing. People are fallible. People are real and complex and strange. We stumble in all the ways The Four Agreements says that we do.

I read the book years ago and tried recommending it to those who needed it most. To those who took things personally endlessly, who spread vitriolic poison for the sake of it, who wallowed in their own disappointments. They thought the book was too preach-y. I think it was was too on-the-nose.

Time and time again, I find that there are two sources of comfort: books and animals. Books, because they are worlds, and because they are predictable, even when they are not. And animals, because animals have fewer pretenses than people. But mostly books.

So I have stocked up on books because they bring a quiet, but palpable, happiness, and are not fallible in the mind-numbing way that we, and others, are.

June 2018 | Daily Art

To see more works from June, you can scroll down in the box below

June 4th

I spy with my little eye…a disorganized art project.

This week, I’ve been working with oil pastels, the adult artist’s fancier version of crayons. I stumbled upon them while cleaning out my supplies. Pastels feel childish to draw with at first–it’s all very waxy and chalky and messy. But a bit of blending and mixing will bring out a bit of realism!

6.4.18 | Daily Art


June 5th

Gesture and movement–I used to practice figure drawing by drawing random passerby’s in coffeeshops or sketching people’s faces in class.

It is about capturing their essence!

6.5.18 | Daily Art


June 6th

Shapes, shapes. This was a fun little exercise in colors.

6.6.18 | Daily Art


 

 

Fruity.

6.7.18 | Daily Art


June 8th

6.8.18 | Daily Art


June 9th

Violet

6.9.18 & 6.10.18 | Daily Art


 

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Unable to decide between the fuzzy border and circle border, I took it to IG story, where I set up a poll. The fuzzy border gives it a messy, organic look; the circle border, as my boyfriend suggested, makes it look like the view from a telescope.

Of the 80 voters on IG, 70% voted for the fuzzy border and 30% voted for the circle border. Which of the two do you prefer?

6.11.18 | Daily Art


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Scrambling for titles–the figure reminded me of a model, and the twins as if they’ve been cut out of construction paper. Unrelated thoughts:

  • Summer sounds like hissing cicadas outside my window.
  • God, I miss Austin and Gordough’s. Could we vacation there ASAP? Eat and eat and eat? Kayak furiously? Again with the so-nostalgic-it-hurts feels. Every year, one year later, I’ll look back fondly on what happened about 365 days ago. It’s a curse of sentimentality.
  • I know I started a blog to write, but sometimes my head cramps and I won’t want to write anything because it’ll seem too insignificant.
  • Reminder to self: don’t fuss over the larger picture. It’s better to set large goals, break them down, and take life day-by-day.

6.12.18 | Daily Art


 

 

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A bouquet of plastic flowers

6.13.18 | Daily Art


 

strawberry illustration design

Strawberry fields forever

6.14.18 | Daily Art


 

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It comes and goes in waves.

6.15.18 | Daily Art


June 16

Floral Vectors

6.16.18 | Daily Art


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6.17.18 | Daily Art


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Sunny side up

6.18.18 | Daily Art


Inspired by The Incredibles 2, I drew the main character in the short film, Bao, as well as my favorite character ever, Edna Mode! I threw in a little cartoon named Eggy for unrelated kicks and giggles.

June 19

Bao bao in Chinese is a term of endearment; it’s like the word “honey” or “sweetie.” A bao zhi is a type of meat dumpling. In the film, the mother’s bao bao (her son) is embodied in a bao zhi named Bao!

6.19.18 | Daily Art


June 21

“No capes!”

God, I love Edna.

6.20.18 & 6.21.18 | Daily Art


June 20

This, world, is Eggy.

6.22.18 & 6.23.18 | Daily Art


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Micron bloom. I didn’t realize how much I enjoyed drawing flowers until I started this project, and drew them almost every other week.

They’re just…naturally beautiful subjects, although I’d never paid them much attention when I was younger.

6.24.18| Daily Art


ramen illustration

 

Today, I felt like making spicy Shoyu ramen. I’ve never appreciated ramen much; the word “ramen’s” conflated with cheap-low-quality-noodles, and I never understood the appeal. Recently, though, I went to a Japanese sushi restaurant where I ordered some ramen. Life-changing. Mind-altering! The broth was rich (it’d probably been boiled for hours with meat and bones) and spicy; the egg was runny and soft-boiled. I thought I’d try my hand at a slightly simpler version, since I don’t have pork bones within reach, and I’m too impatient to boil broth for a whole day.

So I used chicken broth and dashi broth with sesame oil, garlic, soy sauce, etc–a whole slew of ingredients I threw into a pot and brought to a simmer. I soft-boiled an egg that decided to crack on its way down, so I crossed my fingers, barely moved the pot, and lo and behold, it came out solid. Misshapen, but solid. I threw in some seaweed, and there I had it: slightly altered ramen, but not the cheap Instant stuff you find for 25 cents.

6.25.18 | Daily Art


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Creeping, crawling tendrils.

6.26.18 | Daily Art


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We drive past sprawling landscapes dotted with cows and horses. Over the years, I’ve grown more and more appreciative of crosses between the suburbs and countryside.

6.27.18 | Daily Art


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Mountainside. Recently I stumbled upon an artist’s IG page where she staggered her pieces based on color scheme and B&W. I’m trying to do the same. I’ve yet to see how it goes, but hopefully it doesn’t require too much work. And I can practice simpler pieces, too–although, admittedly, my whole project’s been mostly simple illustrations.

6.28.18 | Daily Art


lotus flower animation

“There is the mud, and there is the lotus that grows out of the mud. We need the mud in order to make the lotus.” – Thich Nhat Hanh

6.29.18 | Daily Art


galaxy painting animation

In the cosmic blink of an eye–

6.30.18 | Daily Art

Booksy Books

I’ve been feeling antsy, and gulping down books in an effort to squash summery mugginess. In the past two days I’ve breezed through five books–the latter five on my list of seventy books read so far. Three books have stood out.

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Published in 1959, its story chronicles pre-colonial life in the south-eastern part of Nigeria and the arrival of the Europeans during the late nineteenth century.

One: Things Fall Apart, a book we’d been assigned to read in high school–one that hadn’t held my attention long enough for me to finish it. By section three, when the white man and his horse had arrived at the African village to convert everyone once over into Christians, I could understand why we had been assigned it. It mirrored Conrad’s Heart of Darkness, but with a far more sympathetic and grounded portrayal of the fictitious African society.

By section three, all I could hear in my head was: White Man’s Burden. White Man’s Burden. White Man’s Burden. I kept naively wishing that the African society in Things Fall Apart could remain as it’d been described…before the Christian converts came riding along with their horses, religion, and forceful government. But that would be to rewrite fiction! ….and to rewrite history.

Soviet Daughter provides a window into the life of a rebellious, independent woman coming of age in the USSR, and the impact of her story and her spirit on her American great-granddaughter.

The second: Soviet Daughter, a comic about the author’s great grandmother who’d grown up impoverished amid World War II. The great grandmother had been fiercely independent, the eldest of seven children, a typist, a nurse, and a survivor of the purges. The author occasionally interspersed sections with her own story identifying with her great grandmother, who, like her, was open-minded, political, and embraced the arts.

The book echoed of MAUS, a book about the author’s father’s experiences in the Holocaust. It was a comic that catapulted itself into the ranks of visual literature. I’m guessing MAUS inspired a whole slew of historical biographical comics, such as the one on the atomic bomb in Japan, and then this girl’s great grandmother’s experiences in the USSR. Oh! The sociopolitical fumes of World War II linger….

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The Founding Fathers tried to protect us from the threat they knew, the tyranny that overcame ancient democracy. Today, our political order faces new threats, not unlike the totalitarianism of the twentieth century.

Which brings me to the third book: On Tyranny. It not-so-subtly hinted at the pre-fascist-like tendencies that American politics has recently devolved into. It offered twenty tidbits of wisdom detailing how certain American norms have become vaguely reminiscent of those in Nazi Germany and East European Communist regimes during WWII. Its lessons were sound: investigate, beware the one-party state, be wary of the tendency to comply–as a citizen, as a professional. Why? Because institutions have risen and fallen and lied and slain and led people astray in a similar fashion.

Yet the irony lies in the fact that Americans who might benefit from reading this book, in heeding to the lessons of history, likely wouldn’t read it to begin with. I doubt that the masses–specifically, the subset of the population that tosses around the word “fake news” while consistently turning a blind eye to political lies–would ever pick up this book. Those who would pick up this book–people who enjoy reading about politics, thinking about politics–perhaps might be already aware of these 20 lessons, and might be politically active. Those who need to hear these 20 lessons most wouldn’t even begin to listen….

Those are my 2 meta-cents as I read through it. But I may be wrong. Of the three books, I’d most highly encourage others to read the third book, On Tyranny.

100 Books Reading Challenge

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Started a reading challenge project mid-spring. The goal: read 100 books by summer in a year. I’m inching along, albeit at a slower pace than I’d like. Figured posting the list on my blog would hold me accountable–also, I get to share cool books!

So here’s a list of books I’ve reading; I plan to update every 10 books or so. If you have any book recommendations, I’d love to hear them! 🙂

  1. One! Hundred! Demons!, Lynda Barry
  2. James and the Giant Peach, Roald Dahl
  3. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, Sherman Alexie
  4. Here, Richard McGuire
  5. Zombie Survival Guide, Max Brooks
  6. Burned, Ellen Hopkins
  7. Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?, Mindy Kaling
  8. Walking Dead 1, Robert Kirkman
  9. Walking Dead 2, Robert Kirkman
  10. I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings, Maya Angelous
  11. Milk and Honey, Rupi Kaur
  12. Partner Track, Helen Wan
  13. Girl, Interrupted, Susanna Kaysen
  14. Kafka, R. Crumb
  15. Project Jennifer, Jill Rosenblatt
  16. Dignity, Donna Hicks
  17. Can We Talk About Something More Pleasant, Roz Chast
  18. Ginny Moon, Benjamin Ludwig
  19. Autobiography of Barefoot Gen, Nakazawa Keji
  20. Meow Meow, Jose Fonollosa
  21. Beautiful Darkness, Fabien Vehlmann
  22. Phenomenal Woman, Maya Angelou
  23. The Skin Above My Knees, Marcia Butler
  24. Essential Poems (To Fall in Love With), Daisy Goodwin
  25. Sailing Alone Around the Room, Billy Collins
  26. Future Tense, Paintings by Alex Gross
  27. Why Not Me?, Mindy Kaling
  28. Thirst, Poems by Mary Oliver
  29. Global Street Art, Lee Boffkin
  30. Men Without Women, Haruki Murakami
  31. Vintage Cisneros, Sandra Cisneros 
  32. Have You Seen Marie, Sandra Cisneros
  33. Woman Hollering Creek, Sandra Cisneros
  34. The Quiet Eye: A Way of Looking at Pictures, Sylvia Judson
  35. Blue Nights, Joan Didion 
  36. The House on Mango Street, Sandra Cisneros
  37. This is How You Lose Her, Junot Diaz
  38. The Embassy of Cambodia, Zadie Smith
  39. Love Mad Poems, Rumi
  40. The Wolves In The Walls, Neil Gaiman
  41. Forms of Distance, Bei Dao
  42. 73 Poems, E.E. Cummings
  43. The Love Bunglers, Jaime Hernandez
  44. Little Book of Little Stories
  45. Shoplifer, Michael Cho
  46. Rick & Morty Comics
  47. Fresh Complaint, Jeffrey Eugenides
  48. Stone Butch Blues, Leslie Feinberg
  49. White Teeth, Zadie Smith
  50. South and West, Joan Didion
  51. Dear Dumb Diary
  52. Stories Julian Tells, Ann Cameron
  53. Stitches, David Small
  54. Tuesdays with Morrie, Mitch Albom
  55. Buddha in the Attic, Julie Otsuka
  56. Pretty: Stories, Greg Kearney
  57. Night Watch, Malin Lindroth
  58. Constance and the Great Escape, Pieere Le Gall 
  59. Rapunzel, Paul Zelinsky
  60. Jane and the Fox & Me, Isabelle Aresenault 
  61. I’ve Loved You Since Forever, Hoda Kobb
  62. Corduroy, Don Freeman
  63. Buck, MK Asante
  64. Chemistry, Weike Wang
  65. The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, Marie Kondo
  66. Soviet Daughter, Julia Alekseyeva
  67. Things Fall Apart, Chinua Achebe
  68. LIFE 70 Years of Extraordinary Photography
  69. On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century, Timothy Snyder
  70. SHOCK
  71. Beijing: Imperial and Contemporary
  72. Abandoned America
  73. The Polaroid Book

To Love and To Be Loved

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I’ve slipped back into life as it’s been: seeing friends, talking to my boyfriend, spending time con la familia. I hear about relationships fragmenting and forming. It’s strange how relationships, by default, are in flux. I imagine that friends in the mid-to-outer circle are changing–not so much for closer relationships. But I guess that’s an illusion.

Life is too short to not spend it with the people you love, I murmured. Did you just read an Instagram caption? my boyfriend asked. I huffed. I said that it was a midnight musing–not an Instagram caption. But it’s true. To me, at least. From reading children’s books to books about death and illness and meaning and regret, I gather that this abstraction–love!–that poets wax on about and singers warble on about and writers scribble on about is what matters most. It isn’t money or material items or career or achievements or resumé markers or positions or charm. It’s the simple, deceptively simple! equation of existence: to love and to be loved.