Thursday, April 30, 2009

Happiness and Alex Pardee

A long time friend, Ashley aka Trashley tagged me to write a list. I wouldn't normally consider doing this on my art blog.; I have Facebook for that. However, I think when you're feeling especially bogged down you need to breath and remind yourself of pleasant things to keep up your drive. I'm a firm believer in the philosophy of doing the things that you are most passionate about and if you're generally unhappy you're perfectly capable of changing that.
So, things that make me happy...

1. Mention the person who nominated you (see above).
2. List six unimportant things that make you happy.
3. Tag six blogs, state the rules and notify them with a teeny comment on their blog.

I'm having a difficult time thinking of things that aren't important. That's funny because Ashley's always teased me about being too serious. Ok I can do this....

1. The smell of rain and a cool breeze on a summer evening
2. Success at a perfect fried egg, over medium
3. Cutting paper
4. A really good cup of oolong or pu erh
5. Phone calls from people I miss for no reason
6. art/craft/office supplies

Annnd I'm not going to tag anyone. I'd love to read yours if you feel like doing it. Otherwise here's another artist for your viewing enjoyment: Alex Pardee

I saw this print for sale at the giant peach. I looked at the artist and sort of recognized the name. Looked him up and sure enough he's done several album covers I'm familiar with. I think I like him for a few of the same reasons I like Jeff Soto. I love contrasting disturbing/grotesque/gruesom/dreary images with bright colors. So check him out.
ps, #7 bonus track for happiness, receiving unnecessary gifts

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

The Shoe Movement

The past several months my sister has been on a kick about Toms shoes. She loves them and wears the hell out of hers, and I've definitely made fun of her. What's so great about them? I just didn't get it. I do love my slip-on Vans especially because I bought them on clearance for $5 and certainly wear the hell out of those but Toms look like any pair of shoes I could pick up at an Asian market for that same price. I thought it was just a silly fad. That is, until I read this article from the L.A. Times by Booth Moore. If ever I was caught with my foot in my mouth...
This company has been around for just about 3 years and what makes them so great is the one for one policy. You buy a pair of shoes for yourself and you're also buying a pair of shoes for a needy child. Beautiful. So I give in and I'll probably be buying a pair this summer.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Kurt Halsey

Kurt Halsey is Precious Moments for the hipster, which is probably why I like him so much. I was one of those little girls that had Precious Moments books, dolls, collectibles, and Valentines Cards. So his work seems like a nod to my childhood. The fact that you can buy reproductions of his work at Urban Outfitters proves it's for the hippest of the hipsters. And since you can also buy a pattern of his art from Sublime Stitching, it again reminds me of Precious Moments. Who didn't have a Precious Moments cross stitching kit? There's not too much to say about him or his work other than it is warm and sweet and trendy. The one with the Umbrella is my favorite. And in case you can't see well, the one with the birds says, "We are more than most will ever find" and the post-it says "So don't fuck it up."

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

9 to 5ers Anthem by Aesop Rock

"Now we the American working population
Hate the fact that eight hours a day
Is wasted on chasing the dream of someone that isn't us
And we may not hate our jobs
But we hate jobs in general
That don't have to do with fighting our own causes
We the American working population
Hate the nine-to-five day-in day-out
When we'd rather be supporting ourselves
By being paid to perfect the pasttimes
That we have harbored based solely on the fact
That it makes us smile if it sounds dope"

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Shepard Fairey

Please take some time to read Shepard Fairey's statement regarding his legal battle with the Associated Press. He used an AP photo as a reference to create his monumental "Hope" poster for Barack Obama.
A blog on Shepard Fairey (Obey) is probably long past due. He is definitely a huge inspiration. His work is incredibly impactful and though he's humble about it, that "Hope" image was the visual summation of Obama's campaign and a great success. Simultaneously he has definitely gained attention from people who ordinarily wouldn't give his work a second thought. This man is at the forefront of the art and design world and a wonderful role model. He has shared his financial blessings with charities, including the effort in Darfur and also sits on the advisory board for a non-profit organization called Reaching to Embrace Arts.
Most importantly he has taken meaningful, socially relevant art and placed it in dozens of contexts. Art is inseparable from culture and Shepard Fairey demonstrates that eloquently.

*I wrote Shepard Fairey an e-mail of support concerning this issue yesterday and by last night he'd written an e-mail of gratitude back. Unexpected and appreciated. Nice Guy.*

2D Design Assignment #4: Unity & Variety

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Native Art and Recognition in American Pop Culture

I have decided that I love working with charcoal and am really excited about it. This is assignment #6 from drawing class.

I want to discuss art in a slightly more serious tone. A girl in my drawing class, Kristen, and our professor, Farrah, were discussing another professor. Farrah said when she was in grad school she thought his (the other professor's) work was crap. She said, in a laughter with a tinge of bitterness, that she felt people who do Native American art in this country have a much easier time selling and that they have the biggest market. Farrah and Kristen were right next to me so I decided to chime in.
It's not that they have the biggest market, it's that they have a large niche market. The buyers who like Native American art like this style almost exclusively. However I think Farrah's tinge of bitterness was implying that these artists don't necessarily have to be very talented, educated, or skilled comparatively to artists in other styles. Kristen even compared the exclusive purchasing of Native art to decorating your home head to toe, "white trash". Kristen is part Native, as am I, but we have VERY different opinions of this. OKAY White trash? Keyword=Trash. This is a negative label obviously and it upsets me to hear another person with a similar background as mine to compare the pride of Native heritage to White Trash pride, implying we're ignorant savages. She also said, "I just never got into the dream catchers and all that other stuff." Thanks Kristen, you're not doing anything to advance your people. Do us all a favor and just stop telling people you're part Native.
I know this blog is supposed to be reserved for art but sometimes you just can't deny it's social importance. Artists and artisans that work in cultural relevance are vital to the identity of a society or group of people. This is something that has been on my heart for quite some time. It has recently come to my attention that in general Americans really don't understand what happened to the indigenous people here. It's great that minorities are found in pop culture more and more (even if it's unevenly and almost generically represented). Our country has a huge fascination with Asian culture, and again this is awesome. All cultures interest me, but when was the last time you saw Native Americans in our pop culture? I'm almost positive that you would find at least 100x more Americans that know the differences between ethnicities in Asia than you could Americans who know that there are even differences at all between the Native American tribes.
I don't want to turn this into a rant about the struggles of Native people, but I do want to point out the unacceptable lack of representation in pop culture. I think this even contributes to deep seeded issues similar to my classmate's, Kristen who doesn't feel like it's admirable to have Native pride. But seriously people, if we're not even represented in American pop culture, where is it you think we're represented? At our pow wows, huh? Leave the Native culture to those select events. There's no place for it in your media and your art world...
That's changing, maybe not as fast as I'd like but there are people who are pushing to make these changes, and artists are the most influential to make change in this way. Did you click on the link for Demockratees when I blogged about Lush Life? Well you should check this guy out. As a designer who happens to also have Native American heritage I am ecstatic to see this. There is no reason why we have to do "Native Art" traditionally. It is definitely relevent in preserving what we have left of our culture, but it is also necessary to continue building on this culture.

a few facts relevent to my tribal background, Choctaw:
  • The Choctaw people were the first to be removed from their land and placed in Indian Territory during the Trail of Tears
  • It's estimated 70% of the Choctaw people died during this time.
  • Oklahoma comes from the Choctaw words "ukla" meaning person and "humá" meaning red.
  • The time period in which public education made it illegal to speak indigeous languages created a gap in the generations. To promote fluency in the language the Choctaw tribe offers free language classes to tribal members. Visit the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma for more information. Choctaw is also offered at several major universitites, including the University of Oklahoma.