Art

If you would just stop touching it…

“You” being “me” and “it” being my blog (and me…depending). I turned 32 the other day (July 2nd) and I still haven’t learned that things will be less irritating if I leave them alone. This goes along the lines of “things become complicated when you forget about their simple, individual parts” or “…the little scratch on the roof of your mouth that would heal if only you could stop tonguing it”.

As I wrote in my last post from June-freaking-13th (nearly a month ago!), I created a self-hosted WP blog at a subdirectory at ItDoesArt.com and was trying to decide if I was going to keep this one and that one, or ditch this one, blah blah blah. Overcomplicated. Just…overcomplicated. I like this blog. I like you guys/gals that subscribe to it, and comment and what not. That other one was far too much of a pain in the ass for what I wanted it to be. Which was (get ready) a BLOG. It was slow. Posting to it was a nightmare. Really, there wasn’t any major benefit considering… I get why people do the whole self-hosted thing and it makes total sense for them. For me…not so much.

So, like most things I repeatedly attempt/redo/reorganize/overthink, I’m simply going to use this lovely one and nothing more. The rest is unnecessary. My site is still accessible from this blog, just as this blog is still accessible from my site. It’s just much faster and less complicated.

As I’ve been writing this, fireworks are being set off outside and it’s really pulling my attention away. I’m going to go hunt them down (I’m not sure which direction they’re in and the trees block most views) and admire them. Happy 4th.

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Life, Writing

Prepare for a long post…

I’m seriously, you guys.

I’ve noticed how lax I’ve been in updating my blog. I’m not sure what the deal is, but I’m looking into remedying it. I write out a list of possible posts and then don’t get to them or, I see them, but don’t remember what I was going to say. I figured that today I would write about a recurring issue I have that sort of ties into my work: My name. Yes, my name is an issue.

I have gone through more casual name changes than I want to admit. I’ve changed for a variety of reasons: paranoia, boredom, spelling problems, anger/spite, and simply not feeling right about my name.

I have only gone through 1 legal name change: I was adopted. I went through several years of one easy-to-spell surname and then it changed to a rather fantastic, albeit hard to spell/pronounce, surname. Like old songs or movies, names can be triggers to past memories, good or bad. My last name made me think of bad things, so I wanted to change it. My first name did the same, so I wanted to get rid of that too. And then it started.

In high school, I toyed with the spelling of my first name. I was usually called “Jenni”, so I continually changed the spelling of that until one day my Federal Government teacher pronounced my newly spelled “Jenee” as “Juh-NEE”. I knew I had a problem.

Early adulthood I signed my work with a symbol that I still use once in a while. I refused to sign my name because I still couldn’t accept it.

Then, as mentioned in the Explanation section of my blog, I went through several years of being ridiculously crazy and became obsessed with changing my name. I continually changed my online usernames or created new ones because I was scared that I would be found. Now when I see those names they seem so foreign – I don’t even recognize some of them.

Last year I created a whole new name: Morgan Dreag. I love the name Morgan. I think the letter “M” is beautiful, I have a massive connection to the sea, and I think Morgan sounds like such a strong name. I needed some strength. And “Dreag”…well, I kept that part. I like writing it. I believe it’s Old English for “apparition” and since I had spent most of my life feeling like I was a ghost, I thought it was suitable.

I used Morgan for a while. I look like a Morgan, so it seemed pretty natural. The family and friends I chose to tell about the name assured me that they wouldn’t say anything because they understood my fear of being found (it’s not a completely irrational fear…just mostly). Unfortunately, someone did mention it to another person and that name lost its power for me. The illusion of strength and protection was gone. The name hunt resumed…

Trying to find a name that not only fit me, but also matched my work was becoming a hassle. Here I had the documents ready to start the legal change – I just needed a name to put on them! I tried various names on, typed them out in different fonts, wrote them out by hand, entered them on forms, signed quick drawings with them; all to see how they looked and felt when doing that. Still, nothing.

I went back to look at my real name. My surname is relatively unique, so I don’t have the problem of being lost in a list, but it also makes me easy to find for those that know the name. During my name-hunt, I went through countless name meaning sites and books, typing and looking up each name that popped in my head. Of course I repeatedly researched “Jennifer”. In doing this I found that “Jennifer” also has connections to water and apparitions. For reals. Once again I already had something I wanted, I just needed to go the l o n g way to figure that out (can you tell that this happens a LOT?).

I’m sure that eventually I will, once more, become bored with my name or if I become mentally unwell again, I will feel the need to change everything, but I have a feeling by posting all these things that I’ve rarely said out loud, it will allow me to be okay with keeping what I got.

There is also the possibility of hitting the “Publish” button and eventually seeing a shadowy figure standing outside my window…

Art

A messy life and Work of Art…

My place is a wreck. A serious, serious wreck. After returning from the Illness Vacation and whipping out that MS Paint drawing on the 14th, I still have not properly cleaned my apartment nor have I really (really) worked on anything. I did start a painting I was asked to do, but only started it and haven’t touched it in a week. Terrible.

Today, though, has started out wonderfully well. I slept quite well (woke up nearly every hour, but did not allow myself to get out of bed), awoke at 5:30, made coffee, started laundry and dishes, and am well on my way to cleaning off the drafting table and getting my rather large behind in gear!

Last night I watched the final episode of “Work of Art” (thank you On Demand!). Two days prior, I watched the next-to-final episode and couldn’t wait to see the end. Wow. Before watching, I was certain Young would win due to his previous successes. I liked the idea of his work for the finale, but I couldn’t get into it. Although, I would have liked to stand in that structure he built to see the photos of his boyfriend and mother staring back at me – I really dug that concept. I’m not sure why that wasn’t made to be more significant in the work.

Sara’s work was really beautiful. Both the crane piece and bed of hypodermic needles are equally my favorite, just in different ways. I wasn’t entirely sure about the video (or the web), but I think it worked. I wonder if maybe it was detrimental to her winning, though? I go back and forth on it; a part of me feels it was necessary. I am a fan of getting to the nitty-gritty of a person’s being. That she took an idea that allowed people to say whatever they wanted/needed due to the freedom of anonymity was fantastic. Something like that always ranks high with me.

I would think it a tough decision choosing between Sara and Kymia’s work, but they chose well. I can’t think of any piece Kymia did that I didn’t like – including the burial mounds. The boat picture was my favorite, of course. That picture makes the cliché “a picture is worth…” true. Truly stunning. I’m still not sure about the headpiece so I will need to watch that episode again (I usually watch each one a couple of times because my head doesn’t always sit straight and still). Really, all of the paintings she did were beautiful.

Time to fly now. I’m running low on juice and getting easily distracted (I’m sure you can tell mid-way through the Sara paragraph!).

Art, Illustration Friday

Illustration Friday’s “Vanity”

Before drawing this I wanted to doodle a bit to prepare for whipping out “Vanity”.  That’s what I told myself anyway.  I spent over an hour working on some eye as “preparation” and completely forgot about I.F.  Hand tired, back and neck cramped and on fire I scratched this thing out.

A chick.  A pile of bodies.  A hand mirror.  What else could anyone ask for?

Art, Drawing

Hello stomach virus…

How are you this evening?

Nature put me out of commission for a few days and while I was hoping that I would be well enough to accomplish something productive today, I didn’t. I was well enough to, but I had a lot of cleaning to catch up on. Plus I don’t consider cleaning productive – my kind of productive anyway.

Thankfully my illness opened my head up a bit and allowed a few ideas through. I’m excited to start working on them tomorrow. Whilst in bed and unable to move, I was stuck with the t.v. I found a show called…well, something about art. It had “art” in the title. I watched 2 episodes (they were about an hour long) and although I missed most of the second episode (sleep attacked me), I was pleased with what I saw of the first. It’s about an art competition; 10 (or so) artists compete for their own show at the Brooklyn Art Museum. The first contestant to get canned was Ugo; a beautiful Frenchman whose style is similar to that of Keith Haring. Initially his piece was unimpressive and boring…lots of red layers. But then he removed the red backdrop and WOW. It seemed like it came alive. It was unfortunate he didn’t remove the red backdrop from the get-go – undoubtedly that would have saved him.

Don Vito the “Pig” is running laps around his cage and it’s loud, so I’m retiring for the night. Since I haven’t posted to this, I will leave you with a picture I drew while working as a TSR. No thought involved (obviously) – simply sitting in front of a computer, listening to people threaten to end my life because they have no internet connection. Sometimes I actually miss that job, but I think it’s because I was good at it and there are very few things I’m good at.

Goodnight!

Art, Writing

My difficulty with writing…

Those that know me have often been subjected to very long emails nearing novelette lengths. And they’re just emails. They’re filled with possible ramblings or just several paragraphs of intense thought. But still…they’re emails. They should be short and to the point.

I’ve been working on that, so now my emails usually are short and to the point, but I really have to fight off rambling and giving every detail of every thing I’m attempting to communicate. I think partly it’s because of my fear of being misunderstood. This carries on into my blogs.

When I create a post that involves a drawing, it’s much easier for me to just quickly jot down a few thoughts about the image and leave it at that. I certainly have an urge to go in depth and tell you every thought I have about not only the resulting image, but also my feelings on it while creating it and so on. What happens is I end up with a very, very long post that not many people will want to read. Plus, when I write like that it seems I get burned out. So much so that I won’t post for a very long time after. Obviously, that happens now without the burnout, but I’m working on that too!

I feel internally divided – where one part wants to share a lot with the world and be very open about everything (I think letting people know they’re not alone while still acknowledging their unique circumstances is important) and the other part wants to remain closed off, severely private and almost cold, I suppose. It’s a constant battle and whoever the victor is depends on my mood that day or moment.

The reason I’m thinking about these things tonight and writing about it is because I want to try to find a middle ground or at least a comfortable place with my posting (and myself). Presenting those pieces as I do was a big deal for me because there is a lot (a LOT) of resistance from my family and some friends about the type of work I do and it’s always been a struggle trying to feel good about myself and please them at the same time. My family likes what I do as long as it’s not what “I” do, if that makes sense. I don’t think I would ever be able to show them the works that I post here and the amazing thing is that these pieces have been very well received by others – I didn’t think that was possible. The voices of my family rotate through my head when I make those sometimes, so to hear/read positive messages/critiques about them floors me.

I know that when some people meet me and then see my artwork, their initial impression of me goes through a pretty large overhaul. I could say that I’m not a violent person; I’m actually very peaceful, but that’s not entirely true. It goes back to that division I mentioned earlier – part of me is violent and angry and the other part is incredibly peaceful and loving. That’s not to say that the work is violent though. I don’t think it is. I think the last two images I posted are actually very loving and represent an ultimate of something…maybe self-sacrifice? There are so many themes that could be applied and, if it were up to me, “violent” would be at the end of the list.

I like to keep this blog not too personal, but not so distant either. I hope I’m achieving that. I’m pretty sure I rambled…

Uncategorized

I blame insanity…

Because I’m a bit “off”, I feel that I am allowed to post more than one blog a day.  The last one was a few hours ago.  Since that time, I accomplished a few things.  Well…not really.  I went for a walk a bit after sunrise and took some photos.  Silly photos that serve no purpose, other than allowing me the opportunity to walk around the apartment complex and strategically drop my business cards here and there.  Littering with ulterior motives.

I saw a beautiful bird during my adventure.  You know what I wanted to do with it?  I wanted to catch it and bite its fucking head off.  Feel the beak crack between my teeth like popcorn kernels.  The caviar burst of its eyes.  Feathers that will later need to be flossed out.  Blood.  I love blood.  Mainly my own, but some days, I want to see it from any source.  Red.  Thick. Sticky.  Beautiful.

Rarely do I reveal my violent side.  It’s such a large and strong part of me.  One thing we humans have in common is we’re made up of different parts.  Some caused by nature, others by nurture.  I frequently question my most acute parts…wondering if they arrived in the womb or were established through experience.  The typical conclusion is the latter.

It feels good being afforded the chance to let these things out.  Let them be known.  Yes, simply to strangers who happen to fall on my blog.  Prior to this, the only way I was able to release them was through artwork.  It fascinates me, the way different people can look at the same piece and then come to their own various conclusions.  They look at it and try to see who I am or what I was thinking when I created such a disaster.  I enjoy the responses.

Back to my violence.  I’ve always been this way and have never known what it was like to not have savage ideas.  Don’t get me wrong…that’s not how I present myself nor is it how I am.  It’s just a part of me that, on occasion, pops up and takes over for a while.  But I enjoy it in a way…not the feeling itself, but knowing that I understand that about myself.  Because there is so much about myself that I don’t know…things that confuse me.  Things that I question.  Why am I like this?  Why am I like that?

Sometimes I feel as thought I have a story to tell.  However, I don’t think I’m quite ready to reveal it.  People suggest I write a book.  “It will help others” is the main line I get.  Perhaps it will and perhaps I will.  I don’t know how much time I have left on this planet, so I suppose “sooner than later” will work.

A couple of years ago something switched in my head.  I don’t know why it started, but I do remember the night that it started.  I was laying in bed, and I became very, very ill.  Past the point of being able to vomit.  Almost like I had contracted a serious flu.  I had symptoms of the flu.  Cold chills, sweating, fever.  I couldn’t move because I was so dizzy.  It just kept getting worse and worse and I thought for sure that I was going to die.  As the hours went on, I started having hallucinations.  Granted, I am prone to have hallucinations, but these were different.  While laying in bed, I thought that I had taken a large knife and slit my throat, one side to the other.  I remember feeling the warmth of the blood running out of my neck…trickles making their way to the back of my neck.  Making my pillow feel wet.  I remember it so clearly.  I felt the pain of it, the panic, and I felt the warm blood.  Eventually I realized that I didn’t actually do that.  That it was just a severe hallucination.  But after that, things changed.  The switch.

I went outside the next day.  I passed someone on the sidewalk and when I looked at them, I didn’t see them.  I saw their skeleton.  This continued.  Not only was I seeing skulls on necks instead of skin, but I started seeing people decomposing in front of me.  As if they were dead and the decomposition process was sped up.  Didn’t matter who I was looking at.  When I saw my psychiatrist, I told him about it and told him that his face was rotting off.

This lasted for a very long time.  It doesn’t happen anymore.  Sometimes I’ll catch myself studying the bone structure of someone’s face, but it doesn’t go beyond that.  I am VERY happy about that.

Someday I hope to be off medication.  When I started taking them, they sucked the creativity right out of my soul.  I was so dull and crushed – it was unbearable.  Now, sometimes, I feel like I’m starting to balance.  I still have, and treasure, my manic days where I’m electric and unstoppable.