Thursday, December 30, 2010

Adventure in Florida...

      After this blog entry I will not be disclosing my location because my evil skin head stalker has expressed his interest in stalking me once again.  I do not feel flattered to say the least.  So if you are reading this (you know who you are, you angry, sad little man) find someone else to stalk cause you are ruining my travel mojo and I am not above finding someone to put a voodoo curse on you.
      That said, this is route 206 outside of Saint, Augustine. We were dropped off by a semi truck at 6:30am.  The driver of the semi is in the National Guards where he de-activates bombs in Iraq.  He had many awful stories to fill up the two day long ride to Florida.  There will be more on him at a later date.
     Rocky and I walked a very long time on this road before we were picked up by a yacht driver named Walter in a blue, mint condition, 1966 Chevy El Camino. I did not take a picture of the car because I was too busy running to it.

      Here is one of the many many cars that passed us.  I eventually got so frustrated with the situation that it became funny.  I started  joking with Rocky to ease the tension:
  • "Whatever McDonald's worker, have fun living in fear!" 
  • " Hey Rocky, did you see that lady? She wanted to pick us up, but Jesus told her not to." 
  • "No, It's cool.  No we're fine. We don't need a ride." 
  • "I love the way my hair looks blowing in the wind as you drive by really fast without stopping!"

      Rocky has started to show his age.  He gets tired a lot faster these days.  So I ended up carrying his saddle bags shortly after this shot and I have not had the heart to make him carry them again.  He does look good in red though.

       Here is a bridge thingy in the town of Palatka which lies between Saint Augustine and  Gainesville.  There are lots of Pentecostal churches here.  I got three rides through the town of Palatka. One was from a gross old pervert who immediately asked me if I wanted to give him head for 20 dollars. Are you fucking kidding me? 20 dollars? Maybe in your day (or in Palatka) this is an acceptable offer, but I was quite offended. I declined and told the man, that was old enough to be my grandfather, he could drop me off  at the next block.  He let me out of the car without an argument and told me I was a good girl for saying no.  Ha! Thanks Gramps!

      I arrived in Gainesville sometime around 11am. I have not been to Gainesville in 6 years because I have been terrified that I would use drugs again. Now that I have been clean from narcotics for 3 years, I felt that it was time to prove to myself that I could visit without the disease of addiction taking over my mind.
     When I used to live here, I would often stop to admire this beautiful, giant oak tree.  I was glad to see it still there.  Many memories, mostly bad, began to surface as walked into town.  These memories came as no surprise to me. I was expecting them. I was more than ready (eager even) to process them.  After all, this was the place where I almost lost my soul to drugs and misery.

    Rocky and I decided to make camp underneath this oak tree for the day while we waited for our Gainesville friends to call. Rocky chewed on sticks while I read "The Red Tent" by Anita Diamant. The book is about a character from the Bible named Dinah who is the sister of Joseph and the daughter of Jacob.  Call me naive, but I did not realize that "The Red Tent" refers to a period tent until I started to read it.

       While we were lounging we were visited by many interesting people, including this punk rock gentleman named A.J. He has awesome brass ear plugs and told me about a group of travelers that he had just met.


         Aside from A.J., while I was reading, I was visited by at least three drug addict homeless people with different requests. "Can you buy my man a forty ounce? They won't let him in the store," an exhausted, wide eyed woman asked me.
       "No, I am sorry," I said.

       "You straight?" another asked.

       "As an arrow," I replied.

       "You gotta cigarette?" yet another asked.

      It was at that point that I decided I was not going to get any reading done if I did not take drastic measures. So I decided to read "The Red Tent" out loud to make it clear that I was busy.  As I was rambling like a crazy person, my dear friend Lars Din arrived.  We talked about  surviving the past and how life was going presently for each of since our last encounter. It was cathartic to say the least.


       Lars and I talked until my brother came to scoop me up and bring me to Sarasota in his sweet yellow 79 Chevy Nova. My brother is so tall. 6ft 4in to be specific. It's awesome. I haven't seen him since he came to visit me in Vermont a couple years ago.  The only thing shitty about him coming to get me is that his awesome car, whose engine was just rebuilt, started making fucked up noises on the way back.  I feel like a jinx kinda, but I'm glad the engine started messing up now instead of after his warranty expired.

      Here is Rocky basking in the sunlight at my Mom's place.

       My Mother and I have been hanging out, walking dogs, talking, crying, looking at old photos, and reminiscing about the past.

       Here is Ginger, my Mom's cat, right before she turned into a Ninja on Rocky.

      It was scary.  Someone set off a fire work which made rocky panic.  He, in turn, tried to crash through Mom's screen door and this put Ginger the cat on defense.  She was a fucking ninja, seriously. She flew through the air like a tornado made of calico fur and sharp nails and teeth.


       Poor Rocky. He always gets the shit end of the stick. No pun intended.

      Here are some shots of Sarasota's Amish town.  I had originally planned to photograph the ghetto and the historic areas of Sarasota, but I decided that this might be pushing my luck as far as staying away from drugs.  So I have decided to photograph less intimidating subjects, like Amish people and birds.



Thursday, December 23, 2010

Adventure on the horizon...


       Rocky and I are getting ready for a big adventure with our friend Gillian. Destination Florida. The land of palm trees, rednecks, crack heads and rich white old people. But more importantly, my family and friends live there. So that's that.
       I want to find a different Florida than the one I've known in the past. That's why I am going to turn my trip into a photo project. Gillian said that I can use her awesome little Cannon, but if it feels right I might bring my clunker and try to make the best of it.  I am also making a necklace out of my flash drive so that I can store photos on it whenever I come across a computer.
       I've been packing my bag and prioritizing valuable commodities, carefully deciding which little things get to come with.
  • Bikini .........check!
  • Doggy saddle bags full of dog food...... check!!
  • Camera batteries.... check!!
  • Tooth brush and dental floss.......check!!
  • sanity.... check!
  • cell phone charger.... check!!
  • One good book...... undecided as of yet
      All of the commodities, separately, are light and not intimidating, but together they can either turn a pack into a pain in the ass or a bearable burden of all usefulness, depending on how much I convince myself I need to bring. 
      I have a whole plan for my boot situation.  Let me explain:  I will travel south with two pairs of boots: normal leather boots, and giant thermal snow-boots. The snow-boots will stay on my feet until I reach a snow-less environment, at which time I will throw away my snow-boots and switch to my all-terrain-except-snow boots. I'm ok with throwing these boots away because I've had them for years and they've started to leak. Out with the old. 
     On the topic of adventure, here is my first and last attempt at sequential  art.  I had a hard time figuring out the  words that belong in the thought bubbles, so I left them blank. Please feel free to add your own words.

The shell cracks while it is still night...

 A fully clothed, grown and newly hatched  man climbs down from his nest...

        Here is were u come in.... What does he say? Please note color creeping  into the composition. As the story progresses, more and more color will take over the scene.

 So then  he's like "Fuck this, I'm out..."

      Our hero is left to wander the Earth in search of an answer that has no question and a question that has no answer. Lame, right? Welcome to life : )

Here is an image Ive been meaning to scan for awhile of a winged female.

I need to get re-obsessed with pointillism.

Here is a sketch of a child from a National Geographic magazine.....


And Another strange image that I dug up...

Friday, December 10, 2010

IIIIIIIIIIIIII -Yi -Yimmmmmm livin' in the Ice age!! OH- -oooo

     I watched some you tube videos to figure out how to design an image from a blank photshop document. Before doing this I only knew how  to manipulate photographs to look closer to life, now I'm a logo making machine.
     Here is my second or third attempt, after figuring out the general workings. Not bad. I think that I've found something to let my OCD tendencies loose on.  Just in time too, geesh. Been going a little loopy. It's so dark here in Vermont. I was talking with a a friend about the possibilities of morphing into a pale and pasty cave dwelling creature as a result of having no sun.

And here is the mate to a collage made awhile ago.

Here is his partner...

Thursday, December 2, 2010

In progress WWI portraits. Pencil on wood so far.


         Kathe Kollowitz was a Prussian Expressionist (Prussia was part of Germany before, and during part of, WWI and afterward  became part of Russia).

 I still need to flatten her cheek bones more and make her chin bigger and more squarish.

Here is part of Kathe's Wikipedia page:

 K├Ąthe Schmidt Kollwitz (July 8, 1867 – April 22, 1945) was a German painter, printmaker, and sculptor whose work offered an eloquent and often searing account of the human condition in the first half of the 20th century. Her empathy for the less fortunate, expressed most famously through the graphic means of drawing, etching, lithography, and woodcut, embraced the victims of poverty, hunger, and war. Initially her work was grounded in Naturalism, and later took on Expressionistic qualities

         Here is a portrait of C.R.W. Nevinson.  He was a pretty wild dude. He became Britain's official war artist after gaining popularity through his art by  free-lancing . Nevinson brought his art to the battlefield and by this I mean he  sketched death and war.

I will draw his other half today.

Here is part of Nevinson's Wikipedia page:
Christopher Richard Wynne Nevinson (13 August 1889 – October 1946) was an English painter. He is often referred to by his initials C. R. W. Nevinson, and was known as Richard.
At the outbreak of World War I, Nevinson joined the Friends' Ambulance Unit with his father, and was deeply disturbed by his work tending wounded French soldiers. For a brief period he served as a volunteer ambulance driver, before ill health soon forced his return to England. He used these experiences as the subject matter for a series of powerful paintings which used Futurist techniques to great effect. His fellow artist Walter Sickert wrote at the time that Nevinson's painting 'La Mitrailleuse' (now in the Tate collection) 'will probably remain the most authoritative and concentrated utterance on the war in the history of painting.
Subsequently Nevinson volunteered for home service with the Royal Army Medical Corps, before being invalided out; he was eventually appointed as an official war artist, though his later paintings, based on a short visit to the Western Front, lacked the same powerful effect as those earlier works which had helped to make him one of the most famous young artists working in England. By 1917, Nevinson was no longer finding Modernist styles adequate for describing the horrors of modern war. "Paths of Glory," depicting two fallen British soldiers in a field of mud and barbed wire, is typical of his later war paintings in its stark realism and complete lack of Futurist or Vorticist effects. A large collection of his work can be found in the Imperial War Museum in London.
Shortly after the end of the war, Nevinson travelled to New York, where he painted a number of powerful images of the city. However, his boasting, and exaggerated claims of his war experiences, together with his depressive and temperamental personality, made him many enemies, in both the USA and England. Roger Fry of the Bloomsbury Group was a particularly virulent critic. In 1920, the critic Lewis Hind observed in his catalogue introduction to an exhibition of Nevinson's recent work: ‘It is something, at the age of thirty one, to be among the most discussed, most successful, most promising, most admired and most hated British artists.’ His post-war career, however, was not so distinguished.
Nevinson was credited with holding the first cocktail party in England in 1924 by Alec Waugh.

Monday, November 29, 2010

The Robert Hull Fleming Museum of Art

This is what Ive been working on, so I thought I'd share.

The Robert Hull Fleming Museum of Art
By Gewel Kafka
Photographs are from the Fleming Museum's website

            The Robert Hull Fleming Museum of Art was founded in 1931 in the heart of historic downtown Burlington, Vermont. The Fleming is located next door to the Fletcher Allen Hospital off Colchester Avenue on the campus of the University of Vermont (one of the nation’s oldest universities, chartered in 1791).  The Fleming is open every day of the week except Monday and admission is affordable making it accessible to the entire community: five dollars for adults, ten for the whole family, and three for students (K-12 and college) and senior citizens. The Fleming has ample parking, but is also on the bus line and in reasonable walking distance from downtown Burlington. The Fleming offers many educational resources that cater to the University of Vermont, local high schools and the community with lectures, tours, films, workshops, artists' demonstrations and non-credit courses.  “The University of Vermont's Robert Hull Fleming Museum is a cultural treasure prized by Vermonters and visitors for more than 80 years” (Fleming website, Home page).
The Fleming Museum of Art is an irreplaceable asset to Burlington with opportunities for education as well as personal enrichment.  To experience a wide variety of art from different cultures, from all around the world, check out the Fleming for all it has to offer.
            A Friendly student receptionist greets visitors in the front lobby.  For the entire museum is staffed by work-study students who attend UVM. In the front lobby is a snack and drink station with Green Mountain coffee, chips and soft drinks.  Drinks and snacks cannot be brought into the museum so they must be consumed in the dining area. Other items that are off limits include ink pens and cameras.  These rules are meant to keep the art safe so food or drink does not get on the valuables and so the flash from a camera does not damage the older paintings.  In the front lobby a small book store compliments the museum with diverse titles ranging from Picasso: Inside the Image, by Janie Cohen, to The Serpent Power: The Secrets of Tantric and Shaktic Yoga, by Arthur Avalon. In the lobby opposite the book store is a large globe-shaped sculpture by Lars-Erik Fisk.  The sculpture is also in the form of a red barn, right down to the stone foundation. It so resembles a globe that it looks like if it were bumped, it might go rolling. A barn window in the sculpture is meant for viewers to look inside the globe into a lighted, nest-like area filled with hay. The information card says the piece is meant to pay tribute to New England life with its barn-like appearance
            Visitors show the student receptionist identification and pay an admission fee. Three different entrances lead toward the main gallery and the experience is different depending on which way is entered. The two hall entrances on either side of the lobby have permanent glass display cases.  The hall entrance to the right is dedicated to 12th and 13th Century Islamic earthenware and 19th century metal work from India. The Islamic pottery is cracked and fragile; though the glazes are aged by time, the cobalt blue hues and painted designs remain vibrant. The hall entrance to the left is devoted to Chinese bronze and ceramic arts from the 19th century as well as a display of Japanese ceramics. A Qing Dynasty marble statue from19th century China, named Guanyin, ushers visitors into the main room with a peaceful gesture. 

            The central main entrance leads into a large wooden room, presently devoted to visiting art. A collection called Metals, Materials, and Culture is on display Until December 18th, 2010.  The collection consists of metal sculptures, head garments, and utilitarian objects from around the world and focuses on the way metal has been decorated, shaped and used.  A massive, brass chandelier from 1931 is the first piece seen if entering from the lobby and looking up. The information card says the chandelier was part of the original design for Burlington’s Wilbur Library when The Fleming was built in 1931; brass fixtures, such as this, typify 1930s colonial revival rooms and buildings. Other metal works on display include an intricately carved brass arm cuff from 18th century Nigeria and a silver Mongolian bridal helmet thought to be from the 19th century. The silver bridal helmet, inlaid with colorful stones such as coral, glass and turquoise, is decorated with intricate Celtic knots. Strands of vibrant red coral beads hang from the silver cap suggesting fiery hair. 

            Further into the Fleming is a large main marble room. There sits a life-size marble rendition of Penelope, carved by Franklin Simmons in 1891.  Penelope is the wife of the legendary Ulysses from The Iliad and the Odyssey. To the right of Simmons’s Penelope, on the other side of the room, is a sizeable granite relief from Iraq of a winged king mounted to the wall.  The relief was carved in 880 B.C.E and found in the ruins of a palace on the banks of the Tigris River.

            The other visiting art room is behind the stone relief of the winged king.  The room is presently displaying world famous modern artists Christo and Jeanne-Claude in The Tom Golden Collection on display until December 18th, 2010. Christo and Jeanne-Claude are a married artist couple, famous for wrapping objects of all sizes in cloth and twine as a type of installation art. The Tom Golden Collection involves many lithographs of finished wrappings, plans of some of the many objects they have wrapped, and a few small wrapped objects behind glass.  Wrapped Automobile by Christo, from 1984, is a lithograph of the plans to wrap the couple’s friend’s Volvo in cloth.  The lithograph borders on sculpture; the shape of the car protrudes out of the center of the lithograph making it three dimensional.  Another lithograph called The Paris Review, Wrapped, from 1985, is a flat image of a magazine wrapped in plastic. The collection documents the plans of Christo and Jeanne-Claude’s work in a visually pleasing manner and epitomizes the couple’s art. 

            Back into the marble room and up the antique stairs is a tribute to Donatello, the sculptor (1386-1466): a metal replica of Saint George. Further up the stairs is a balcony/walkway for New England artists.  The first painting seen at the top of the stairs is an original Francis Colburn from 1937. The painting is a still life depicting a piano, apples and a lamp.  The lighting and the shapes are extreme and vibrant making the piece distinctly recognizable as Francis Colburn’s work. Francis Colburn was a Vermont artist who lived from 1909 to 1984. He is known for the cubist influence seen in his paintings.  Francis Colburn graduated from UVM in 1934 and is a Vermont state treasure. Another New England artist on display is Henry Schnackenberg with a landscape of Vermont’s Manchester Center painted in oil from 1938.  A more recent New England work on display is an oil painting by Kathleen Kolb of a snowy lumber yard called Grappling Logs at Dawn from 2007.
            There are two large rooms that shoot off the balcony/walkway devoted to Vermont artists. One room is for Egyptian artifacts as part of the Fleming’s permanent collection. A must see in the dimly lit Egyptian gallery is Mummy of an Unknown Woman from the 6th century B.C.E.  She is wrapped in linen, resting in a painted wooden coffin, behind thick protective glass.  Two mummified animals are behind glass directly across from the human mummy: a cat and bird wrapped in linen from 712-30 B.C.E among other bone and jade sculptures of Egyptian deities.

            The other room branching off the balcony/walkway is proudly labeled “The European American Gallery” and also part of The Fleming’s permanent collection.  Like the rest of the museum, this gallery is quite impressive. One of the first items seen when entering this room is a Dutch oil painting from 1684 called Couple with a Globe.  The painting captures the essence of that time: it depicts a rosy cheeked couple coddling a globe, dressed in 17th century garb.  Another remarkable oil painting from the American section of the gallery is from one of world’s most iconic painters: Norman Rockwell’s The Babysitter from 1947.  The Babysitter is an amusing image of a frustrated red-headed girl attempting to sooth a screaming infant.  

            The Fleming Museum brings art and culture to Burlington and therefore it is a great asset.  Whether looking at Metal sculpture, mummified bodies, 13th century Islamic pottery, 17th Century European oil paintings, or modern art it’s impossible to leave the museum without a better sense of the world and one’s self. 

The Robert Hull Fleming Museum of Art

Address: 61 Colchester Avenue | Burlington, Vermont 05405 USA

Museum Director: Janie Cohen



Phone: (802) 656-0750

Museum Mission Statement (from website):
The Robert Hull Fleming Museum serves as a gateway for active cultural exchange and critical thinking in our communities and an essential learning resource for the University of Vermont. Through the experience of our diverse collection, dynamic exhibition schedule, and innovative educational programming, people of all ages are inspired to discover the arts and cultures of the world.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

        I'm graduating from the Community College of Vermont in the beginning of December. I thought I would be a bit more excited than I am.

        I'm blaming my disenchantment on my unpreparedness: I had all summer long to decide where I want to go for my Bachelors, but like the Gemini I am,  I procrastinated until fall.  Now I feel too rushed to make a proper decision and my choices here, as far as where to go, are bleak.

        UVM Has amazing studio space and teachers who are showing at the Met, but they only offer a liberal arts degree (BA), while Burlington college offers the degree I want (BFA), but lacks in studio space and a strong visual arts faculty. Johnson has a really awesome art program, but they're in the middle of freaking nowhere. Lame. Lame. Lame.

        Some of my allies here at CCV have tried to calm my nerves about the subject insisting that there is no difference between the BA and the BFA.  I mean, after all, it's only a letter right? Wrong! I looked it up!  One thing that I learned from college is not to take any one's word on anything.  Look it up! That's what the Internet is for. I found this information on this website.

          ALL undergraduate college degrees, the BFA included, must have a general studies (liberal arts) component. The difference between a BFA and a BA is in the ratio between art and design, and general studies. In a BFA approximately two-thirds of the course work is in the "creation and study of the visual arts," with the remainder in general studies (literature, history, sociology, etc.). In a BA approximately two-thirds of the course work is in general studies, with the remainder in visual arts.
          AICAD believes that neither degree, BFA or BA, is inherently "better" than the other. The judgement of which degree is best for a particular student depends almost entirely on the student's educational goals. However, AICAD does believe that the BFA is the most appropriate degree for serious, motivated students seeking to become professional artists and designers. With its specialized focus, a BFA degree program will tend to attract highly talented students and faculty, and to generate great intensity and commitment among its students and faculty.
         Finally, it should be noted that the basic structure of a BFA degree (one-third liberal arts, two-thirds visual arts) DOES NOT change from one type of college to another. The ratio between these two curricular components in a BFA is the same anywhere; a large university, a comprehensive four-year college, or a professional art college like those in AICAD. Contrary to some impressions, one does not get more liberal arts if the BFA is taken at a university versus an art college. One gets more liberal arts by taking a BA degree rather than a BFA. It is the type of degree, not the type of college, that determines the amount of liberal arts (para.3-5).

        In response to the stress from having to make decisions too fast, I have decided to take the spring off as an in-between-the-degrees-break and return to an undecided as of yet University for the fall.  This break will officially be called "field study" and will include activities such as gallivanting through the desert, picking sage, swimming naked, collecting sun bleached bones, meditating on inner peace and making music.

       But first a lot of good old fashioned work needs to be done.  I have to bust some #ss to make a bunch of money to live on right after the papers are all done being wrote. I am a bit nervous about loosing my academic momentum, but thoroughly excited to get a lot of painting and drawing done in between some wo-manual labor. I have five paintings that are screaming for attention. I am also looking forward to being in the south for the Christmas and New Year. It will be nice to see my mother and brother as well as my southern comrades. My heart aches for beaches and palm trees.

Here are some shots of the WW1 pieces  I've been working on for my end-of-the-degree paper/project. The lighting was different for each photo.

And here it is done! Though I can't say I'm too happy with it anymore.  I don't know if other artists feel this way, but I often feel disgust for my work after its finished. It's only when it takes a really long time to finish. Not to be gross, but If I could compare this feeling to anything, it would be closest to an unwanted orgasm: inadequate, embarrassed, awkward, regretful, and exposed.

Here is the same image inverted in photoshop. This is proof to me that winter is making me crazy.

Here is a collage I made last Wednesday.  I like it. The red on her brush was left over from the soldier's eyes. It was really cheating to play around with this because there are so many other things to do to finish up the school thing. Oh well.

Back to art that makes me feel gross..... This sign. It's almost done though.

See! Almost.  Not quite though.

Are here's me looking all tough with safety goggles on.


Bite his face Molly!!

For me, enlightenment has been the process of losing the biases I developed from my past. My judgment was clouded by the very act of living. No one is exempt from their knowledge being clouded by their experience..