Swinging Away, This Childhood

Swinging At The Park.JPG

written November 2008

I went over to my friend’s house this Friday. At the park, I walked over to two kids that looked about eight and six at the park, asked what they were doing, and invited them to a game of tag.

It ended up in a swinging contest. I was the judge.

I called the picture Swinging Away, This Childhood, because I know being a kid isn’t going to last, and you’re just swinging in the air, all free and happy with the wind messing up your hair. And then, before you know it, you have to get off and your childhood’s gone.

Maybe it’s not like that. But maybe it is. I’m not the one to speak. After all, I’m still swinging.

IMG_0572

Advertisements

Reverie

DSC_1945.jpg

Sometimes I find myself lost in paintings: the best pieces, I think, are transportive. You’re no longer in the pristine museum with white walled divides or the living room with its gaudy frames. You’re on some field instead, climbing over oil globs and brush marks and resting in blended shade. You’re on the rainbow trail dotted with pink painted flora. You’re somewhere else instead, dancing in visual reverie.

The Broad Museum

IMG_0334

“You are a goddess living in a city of angels.”

We passed by the courier-sans painted declaration of love and self-love on the walk to The Broad, LA’s contemporary art museum. On the way, we were stopped by an angry protest in the streets. They marched in circles, shouting loud, the police surrounded. After a few attempts to go around the demonstration, we finally climbed up several warm blocks to The Broad.

IMG_0305

We took the three story high escalator to the massive airy room, which housed millions of dollars worth of contemporary art. Several sections were partitioned off, so we zig zagged through the exhibits.

At first, all I saw were scribbles. Blobs. Meaningless abstract figures. And, truth be told, I’d never been a huge fan of contemporary. It always seemed like a whole lot of nothing imbued with something. But the art began to morph into more complicated, familiar pieces. Roy Lichtenstein. Andy Warhol. Jeff Koons. Cindy Sherman. Kruger. 2D images, pixelated and printed, danced to life.

IMG_0271

IMG_0304

Here I was, seeing the works of so many artists I’d researched, written about, drawn inspiration from.

Near the end of the museum, we found ourselves in a video exhibit. In a mid-size room, there were at least 10 projections on the walls. On each projection was a musician, cradling a different instrument.

IMG_0323

Each musician contributed to rising the symphony, each absorbed in his own world, his own space, while creating one with others. The music ebbed and flowed.

 

A Year of Digital Painting

leilani-2

Spent last Nov/December holed up into digital art, the one thing I derived a sense of stability from. With protests going on outside my room–constantly, it seemed–and wishy-washy people fluttering around and tests looming ahead, art was an escape.

So I drew. A lot. Mostly on the computer using Wacom tablets–the library had them. They had the Cintiq, a massive screen you can draw on, and smaller Wacom bamboo tablets. I’d spend hours a day drawing on Photoshop, learning from artists on Youtube, hunting out inspiration on DeviantArt.

jan-16

 

 

 

 

Blink. These are screenshots from an animation I worked on in February. I didn’t realize, until attempting animation, how much of it I took for granted–how tedious the process really was, how every 1/20 or 1/80 of a second had to be drawn by-hand. And only then could you piece together the slightest movement. (Though there are animation programs now, which speeds up the process)

lightface

Ruby. I used this piece to practice digital shading. Creating depth/values on Photoshop is a quicker process than it is with oils and acrylics. With paint, you have to mix and dilute until you have the right shade and consistency; on Photoshop, it offers the entire color spectrum with all its variations. I was initially was frustrated with this piece until I threw in highlights–on the nose, lips and cheek–which added a lot more depth to the piece, and subsequent realism.

When it comes to shading, I’ll usually start out with a base color, add in shadows, then tentative highlights. I’ll go on to darken the shadows, do a bit of blending, and then add a final layer of the brightest (sometimes completely white) highlights. These are the little white dabs on her upper lip and nose bridge.

eyes

This was my first digital sketch, done hurriedly over a one hour lunch break.

version 3

A few days later, I decided to expand on the eye, to practice faces and portraits (my favorite! as you can probably tell), so I sketched her, who I never named–my first digital portrait.

String of Thoughts

IMG_5514.jpg

A string of thoughts, in no particular order:

  • The mind is the strangest thing. One of my favorite books reminds me that we’re all stuck in our heads, projecting our own distorted notions of reality onto the screen of our minds. It’s all constructed, pieced together by attention, a weird believable 3D fabrication that we call reality. Like Rorshach blots. We see what we choose to see. And the things I see make me panicky. But then I’ll become aware of this, that we’re all making this shit up, and feel calmer at the thought.
  • Thoughts are what brought me here: October, February, July–have you ever felt so listless you wanted to die? Moments like that. Sprawled on some surface by a window pouring sunlight and periodic existential crises. Then I’ll just want to watch comedy shows at hotel lobbies in Florida, where I can moan about how much I hate traveling, god, just take me home.
  • Even so, I miss New York so much. I couldn’t tell you why. Everyone gets so excited when they visit New York, inundate their social media feeds in it–look, the Empire State of motherfucking dreams. For a moment I thought New York became less sparkly–it’d lost its glitz and glam, become drizzly and cold (stuffed in a cab full of chatty ambitious strangers). Evidently it hasn’t. I miss the wide streets, the energy, the movement, the noise. It’s overwhelming, but remove the source for a while and I start to miss it.
  • A stranger in the city with a giant bouquet flowers once told me that we’re all looking for somebody to listen, that strangers just want to be listened to. I believe her. Half a year later I emailed her saying hello, and she said that she sometimes looked for me in the city. Isn’t that odd? To be looked for, even if only briefly? I became so accustomed to searching in the sea of moving faces that it never occurred to me that somebody would ever look for mine.

January 2017