ON BRAND

TWO ARTISTS, TWO GREEK SALADS, TWO SMALL BOWLS OF UNAPPETIZING CHICKPEAS, AND ONE SELTZER LATER…

Hillside diner at 7:15 pm. See you soon.

You know those conversations that no matter how many times you explain to someone, they simply don’t get it? Despite knowing you better than you know yourself, you can’t get the words out to properly do justice to the conversation you’ve been having in your head for the last few weeks? The conversations that are by far the hardest to express without coming off as condescending or rude because there’s no nice way to say: You don’t fucking get it because you’re not an artist.

Not that I am some grand artist or have any form of recognition to my name, I am simply another fool waiting on my big idea. As I’ve mentioned in my previous blog posts for those who read them, I’ve started to understand that being an artist is a state of mind. It’s seeing a show, hearing a song, watching your mom follow the same recipe and thinking of a painting, a sketch, an idea. It’s seeing inspiration in the unordinary and adding your inherently unoriginal touch to make it yours. It’s the perfect amount of larceny without actually being incarcerated and being celebrated instead because you’ve managed to combine whatever generic identity you’ve taken on in this lifetime with some already thought of concept, idea, painting, etc. Because as much as it kills me NOTHING IS FUCKING ORIGINAL.

I guess you could follow whatever cliche and say as long as it’s yours, it’s original. But nothing in this lifetime or world is ours to claim. Every idea, feeling, thought we could potentially have is a direct result of something we’ve known into existence or some pre-existing concept that has trickled down into every part of our brain. So what do you do now? Do you wait till someone has some ridiculous original idea like printing out Instagram photos that belong to other artists and pinning them up in a gallery? No shame to Richard Prince, we agree to the terms and conditions of Instagram. Yes, I completely agree with letting other people profit off my face for artistic recognition and fame that somewhat belongs to me because it’s my Instagram post, but whatever. Of course, that couldn’t be my original and groundbreaking idea because I was too busy wondering if the world we live in is actual and not some poor imitation of the real one. Cause for some reason I can’t help but think that there is more. This just can’t be it.

I hate to quote the Verve, and their one pretty catchy song, Bittersweet Symphony, but please gimme more than the life I see. I’m stuck. I need there to be more. I need to know if there is more than the world I see. I need to know if outside this shit imitation that there is a real-world where our ideas our unchanging and eternal. You’d think these thoughts would stir up an idea, a painting, just anything. But of course, I had to think myself into a rut. None of these feelings are actually mine because they are common side effects of being an artist. I just want to know if my generation will have an expressionist movement, or to my disbelief a dadaist movement? Or please just answer me and tell me who the next Pollock is? Do we even have one? Or does a modern Klimt exist? Better yet, maybe the art of our times’ are simply shitty Dumas paintings. Who knows. What I do know is that I can leave this diner a little less unfulfilled, a lot happier, and a slight bit teary-eyed. As I say goodbye to one of my favorite people, in the purple lit parking spot, I know that this is all I could ever ask for and more.

HIM: “MAKE ART”

ME: “YOU TOO!”

HIM: “PICK A DAY!”

ME: “ANYDAY”

The final conversation is short and genuine. We laugh, hug, and I drive away in my small, electric blue fiat.

des risques

A reoccurring theme has seemingly taken a course in the realm of my reality. I recently started working part-time at Louis Vuitton located in Americana, in the midst of the luxury brand’s transformational, fashion-forward Spring 2019 Cruise Collection. In my time working here, I’ve come to realize the extent to which art is replicated, reflected, and remembered in the luxury fashion industry. Louis Vuitton’s emblematic brand image consciously pays homage to their heritage by preserving Louis Vuitton’s authentic and original ideas while simultaneously conceptualizing revolutionary styles to uphold the modern perception of the brand.

At the mere age of 13, Louis Vuitton embarked on a journey to Paris by foot. It would take him two years to finally reach his destination. This journey speaks volumes on the notion of daring to take risks. 

Louis Vuitton’s voyage has compelled me to defy the conventional restraints of my reality through such risks. Yet unlike my prior choices, these are driven by the pure nature of living a creative life. For a brief period of time, I was compelled to live in a manner that made me willing to do anything for the thrill of it all. But ironically, as keen I was on being “being alive,” the more I was taking away from my livelihood. I began to force an unnatural excitement to my life with each risk, and with each repercussion, the more destructive I became.

I compromised the thrill of original ingenuity with risks that hindered my ability to create and produce. I had no artistic output and as a result, wanted nothing more than to feel alive. I externalized this unfulfilled sentiment by looking in all the wrong places; in places and people, I most definitely should not have found solitude in. Though it allowed me to see that as an artist, there is only one way to survive. My livelihood is dependent on my will to create artwork, not just artwork for display but work that makes critics feel something. To be the mediator between their conscious emotions and their subconscious thoughts.

But in order to be a successful mediator, I must channel the inner thrill that drives this creativity. It’s not a matter of recognition or fame, but instead the constant flow of ideas. Being an artist is a point of view. It is the manner in which you perceive the world for what it is. It’s the mental landscapes that come to mind when you think of your childhood, your teenage years, and the bits in between. It is the remembrances of scents and audio clips of loved one’s voices. It is the experience of coming alive within your work.

the realist has no illusions

As I near the end of my first semester of college, I’ve come to realize that I have far too much time and at the same time far too little. I’ve always fussed with the minor things that are beyond my control. And the truth is, I have absolutely no say in how my life is actually to go. I’ve spent almost two semesters torn between pursuing something I know I’ll have a job in and fulfilling something I’ve always known I’ve wanted. It’s conflicting when you’re caught in the middle. But really, there isn’t a middle ground.

I’ve started to flip coins. I’ve used this to figure out the little decisions in my life. Heads’ is sushi for dinner, tails’ is Mexican. The coin tosses, lands in my hands, and of course flipped once more. I get tails. I’m disappointed. I know I did not actually want to eat Mexican for dinner. Instead, I get sushi. These simple tasks require immediate decisions yet I can’t come to the head to make a decision. At least for now, but that’s what the coin is for.

This last semester, I’ve tried to convince myself of what I really want. I’ve reassured myself that the fashion industry is where I belong. I guess I enjoy fashion but it has not fulfilled me in the ways I’ve expected it to. Before I graduated, I was beyond excited to go to college, to start fresh, grow up, and live out the dream I’ve played in my head. I have finally gotten to experience the bits of independence of growing up from riding trains during the wee hours of the night and accidentally getting offered the happy hour menu at 24-hour brunches spots near Union Square despite being young enough for free entry at the Whitney Museum. In a lot of ways, I’ve been truly happy with how the first few months of college turned out. But again, in a lot of ways, I’ve found myself asking if this is all there is?

Since I’ve started college, I’ve developed this will to leave an imprint. Or some sort of recognizable mark on the planet. I don’t know how I’ll do it or when at the least. But I want to be something great. I wanted to exceed the limits I’ve set on myself. If this this all there is, I want to be all that I can and more. I find it strange that I am so keen to being alive, yet still so scared of actually living the life I want.

So, I’ve decided to flip a coin once last time. Heads’ is fashion business, Tails’ is fine arts.

And the coin flips.

Heads.

I don’t want heads. I know I want fine arts, and that is exactly what I’m going to do.

Farewell For Now

I’m seventeen and three days away from officially graduating high school. I don’t have my license yet and now realize it’s a lot harder than I thought to say goodbye to my favorite teacher.

Graduating only started to feel real once I made my first college schedule. Two Monday courses, a Tuesday all to myself, two back to back evening courses, and a required English course on Friday. I am most definitely excited to graduate, but before I graduate, I think it’s time I’ve reflected on the past year through an extremely overdue blog post.

This year has been strange. I started to pack my own lunch and discovered DoorDash delivers really amazing Thai food. I started to realize that I hate working on familiar projects. I cried over a cornucopia filled with disturbingly creepy heads.  I learned that going to the pond with people that aren’t necessarily your friends isn’t the greatest idea. I’ve learned that it is okay and sometimes necessary to make bad decisions. I’ve learned that crying to your favorite teacher in his office while workshops continue outside is completely okay. I’ve learned that life will always continue.

For the first few years of my high school career, I never experienced anything more stressful than a poor essay grade or a brief disagreement with a family member. I’ve always worn platform shoes and picked up hot lunch in the front of the school. I spent a lot of time walking on eggshells, avoiding error, conflict or anything or that sort of nature. I always apologized for things that weren’t quite my fault and I always made sure to divide my lunch with at least four other people. I tried unbelievably hard to be the most liked and the funniest person in the class. I also never showed up in sweatpants to school.

As my graduation nears, I accept an undefined territory with that realization that mistakes are meant to be made, feelings are supposed to get hurt once in a while, and this goodbye is just a see you later.

BASKET CASE

 

3D piece a hand-woven cornucopia made of straw, chicken wire, and mesh. filled with clay heads, painted in acrylic paint.

Molten Lava Cakes are Great

I never thought I’d be writing this blogpost. September of my senior year I settled on pre-med. I now realize that isn’t something you can settle on. It just seemed easier to pick a more guaranteed path. I mean it’s pretty hard to be unsuccessful as a doctor, right? Whenever I was asked about my plans for college I’d reply, “I think I’m just going to go to med school, or “I think I’m just going to do the whole dermatology thing.” I completely erased the idea of  art school and told myself that art was a hobby, not a career. I didn’t want to make the decision of going to art school, so I avoided the decision as a whole. I guess it’s a natural fear of being out of control. I want to be in control of every aspect of my life even though realistically, it is completely impossible. I know how completely unhealthy it sounds, but you’d be surprised at how easy it is to avoid decisions.

By November, with less than three months, I realized I could not turn away from art school. I had almost settled on medical school.  12 years of debt and a lifetime of self inflicted boredom. I almost pursued a career in the medical field not because I enjoyed science or helping people, but because I was too much of a coward to decide on what I really wanted.

Making decisions is something that I need to get over. It feels like I’m stuck in a restaurant sometimes. I am torn between a creme brûlée and molten lava cake. Two amazing desserts but which one do I really want? Exactly. I don’t. Both seem great, right? Do I really settle for the lava cake? Then again is that settling? Lava cakes really are great.  I just need to learn how to decide between them and just pick. Not even decide, it’s just a matter of doing it. I need to learn how to live with my own decisions. I need to learn that making the wrong decision is okay too. Who knows. Maybe I will hate art school and I was better off at medical school. Who really knows. What I do know is: making a decision based on fear is never a good idea. This blog post isn’t really insightful because it’s just the way things are. It’s just a reiteration of what I’m supposed to know. Just following what I know is not a strong suit of mine. That is also okay. It’s just something I have to work on.

By the way, I’ll take the sorbet. I’m not in the mood for a lava cake or creme brûlée.

Reed Pen

I found one of my old blogposts from freshman year, and I couldn’t help but cringe. I thought the bigger the words, the smarter I sounded. Honestly, I’m 3 years older now and I still don’t know what half the words I used mean. I couldn’t help but notice how unauthentic it sounded. It didn’t sound like me. Instead, it sounded more like the direction set on the bottom of a DIY art project on youtube.

I wrote, “What I think complimented my graphic comic was the choice of ink in the final sketch. In my opinion, the final decision of using ink suited the mood of the comic. For instance, the ink chosen was dark… from this, I learned how to draw with a reed stick.”

I learned how to draw with a reed stick. Well, obviously. The medium for the project was a reed stick. It’s a given that I would learn how to draw with a reed pen. I don’t really know what I was going for with the “the mood” part in that. It was a comic about a satanic robot. It kind of sounded like I combined a rhetorical analysis and a direction set into one. Poor choice on my part. That’s not the point of this blogpost though. I was trying so hard to sound smart. I realize now, nothing sounds dumber than trying to sound smart. Blogposts aren’t meant to be genius. Blogposts just have to be honest. Of course blogposts will be tedious, painful, and gruesome if you can’t come to terms with your own process. If you hate a project..write about it. Pretending to enjoy something won’t make you a better artist. Maybe a better liar, but that’s pretty much useless. Unless you have to take a lie detector test, but the chances of that happening are usually pretty rare. Coming to terms with the process of something is probably the most important part of any project. If a project takes away from your velocity and makes you cry.. write about it. Don’t try to sound smart. Don’t try to take away from the honesty of your artistic process. Bigger words don’t make you sound smart. Rhetorical devices don’t make you sound smart either. The truth is you’re probably not as smart as you’re trying to seem. But that’s okay.

The chance of being a genius at 17 is unlikely. I’d rather take my chances with honesty.

Anyway… here are my reed pen drawings. I learned how to draw with a reed pen! 

Detect this.

I’ve never really experienced a “non-highschool problem.” Most of my problems have been rooted to my low self esteem, irrational rational thinking, concerning amount of skepticism to undefined territory, and other commonly found side effects of being a teenager. Until recently, I’ve started to feel the coming end of my childhood. I am 17 now and I guess this is the introductory greeting to adulthood. I mean I’m not quite an adult but in a year from now I’ll be able to vote, take the F train alone on a Saturday night, and come home without having to explain myself. These are things I should be excited for. With adulthood comes these anticipated gifts. I’ve looked forward to being an adult. Maybe I’ve rushed it.

 

I don’t really know how I feel about a lot of things. In fact I cannot really register any of my emotions. I’ve always planned my reactions. When things are bad, act sad. When a friend is upset, slowly say “aw” and lean in but not too close. Personal space is important. When a teacher asks why you did not do homework say, “I’ll hand it in tomorrow.” Shows remorse for being an unapologetic, insincere, forgetful piece of shit. Also shows initiative. You’re willing to make it up. What adulthood doesn’t warn you for are the things you cannot plan for. The things you do not anticipate. The things that hurt. To whoever is really reading these blogposts, whether it be the Russian hackers I’m warned about, the fellow classmates that need ideas to steal for their extremely late blogposts, I’ve come to confess that I’ve come undone.

 

Maybe I am over exaggerating and my current situation really is not bad and I am just being the immature teenager I am. Maybe my problems are because of my selfish tendencies and I’m writing this blog out of my own self pity. I just feel like with my adulthood, I am changing. That was obnoxiously obvious and clearly I am. Just right now I am changing for the worst. I don’t feel like Kayla. I have not worn platform shoes in over 8 days. My outfit was all grey today and I wore sweatpants. My lunch was cold because I was too bummed to put it in the microwave.

 

I feel like I have to use this to reflect. My adulthood is coming, There is no doubt about that. I just have to learn to detect right path to follow.

I hope this sounded honest. It really was.

Criticize Me

I’ve always struggled to call myself an artist. I’ve never really felt that I’ve lived up to the title. I was recently discouraged by a role model I idolized throughout my artistic career. I sought “resources” to help the process of my portfolio. I never saw any flaw in it. I saw it as an accomplishment really. Rather this was seen as “taking the shortcut” or other words “cheating.” I don’t really understand how seeking resources is cheating, nor seeking the upper hand. Despite the apology I received shortly after, the commentary resonated with me for an extended period of time. It’s really hindered my “velocity” as some would call it.

I often feel like the key to being an artist is independence. I’ve become reliant on resources to ensure my process. I do not think I would be remotely capable of completing a portfolio on my own. This is my doubt speaking and I know I really should not rely on my inevitable doubts but I cannot help it. I know I am not thinking clearly and despite my conscious understanding, I cannot bring myself to not listen to this part of me. I guess part of being an artist is having these doubts. I sometimes feel like I am back to square one. It kills me though because I’ve surpassed these obstacles.

I want to be deemed talented and I want to have confidence in myself and my artistic abilities. It really just seems like a scam. I feel like I’ve been ripped off. I want the best. I want to be talented. I want to deem myself competent. Competency is always a tricky one. After a brief episode, I’ve always come back to questioning my ability. I know with being an artist, criticism is a given. Except this criticism constantly clouds my judgment.

Criticism is most definitely something I need to work on. I can’t see the light in the criticism, nor can I see the strengths in what I present. I emphasize the part I think of as “wrong” meanwhile there really isn’t a right or wrong to art. I know I ‘ll have to prepare myself because I’m going to need to handle it later on. Especially in college. I’ll be in an environment filled with entitled opinions about my artwork. And don’t get me wrong, not everyone in college will be an artist. But everyone sure is a critic.

I DON’T HAVE VELOCITY!

Art means nothing. If an artist second guesses herself she’s immediately viewed as incompetent! If an artist doesn’t engage in the work ethics that her peers do, she’s incompetent! Any form of weakness is basically viewed as incompetency! Art doesn’t mean anything. No one really has talent! Artists just think the more they whip out the easier it’ll become to gain talent! HA! I don’t whip out art work as fast as my peers so I am incompetent! I lack velocity behind me! I am incompetent! No velocity means no talent! I don’t have a single portfolio piece that makes me stand out from everyone else because I don’t have velocity! Colleges will never think anything of me! It does not matter! I am just a fraud! I’m not an artist and I don’t care anymore. I don’t want to be anyway. Where is this coming from Kayla! Why are you angry? Why are you mad? I’m not mad, I’m just incompetent! I have no talent and I never will. Maybe if I just whip out pieces as fast as everyone else I’ll get asked to go to SUNY PURCHASE too! Too bad I’m just a fraud. My art means nothing thats why it gets thrown out every year! Too bad I have no velocity to fix it! What a shame. There’s my 200 words to get to me to 1200.