Saturday, May 2, 2009

Portrait #43: Zac

This drawing session with Zac took place on one of the nicest days of Spring so far, right after our sculpture class. Since Zac had just sat through my presentation of my Sketchy Lady project (for an ongoing "twice weekly" assignment) he had all kinds of questions while I was drawing him. For example, "Do you think about what you write in the posts while you are drawing people?" So I made a mental note to write about that.

Recently, Zac was kind enough to play my interviewer in a video piece I did for our class, Hey Girl Hey, episode 13: Two Folds in the Schmutzy Fabric of Space and Time. The project really wouldn't have been half as successful without Zac's interpretation of his part. He claimed to me that we traded his acting for my lending him the video camera (he made a hilarious video about Davy Crockett) but told him that his performance was so valuable that I still owe him. This is when he asked me if I was still doing my Sketchy Lady project and if he could be drawn after class. Perhaps we are even now?

It is confusing to me whether me or my sitter is doing the bigger favor for the other. on the one hand, they get to be immortalized in graphite and on the internet, but also they have to sit still for a pretty long time. (This is one part that Zac didn't like very much... he took lots of stretching breaks.)

I'm glad Zac and I have finally gotten to collaborate on some art related stuff. A couple assignments ago, we chose really similar topics (Jews & radicalism) to make our pieces on and in one of our class discussions I asked him if we could collab, but he said he needed to work it out on his own. Zac ended up coming up with this really amazing performance piece where he re-Bar Mitzvahed himself in the SLC spiritual space. This new Bar Mitzvah was performed through a radical lens, as Zac delivered a d'var torah about the changes in his Jewish identity since his first Bar Mitzvah. He had the class read passages from a Judith Butler essay on the backlash against anti-Zionist Jews, as if we were a congregation. It was a really successful project that I'm glad Zac maintained the space to work on alone.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Portrait #41: Khari

This gesture is one that Khari tends to perform during dance parties:

I think it is a tendency of percussionists.

Speaking of which, I think Khari is going to be the drummer for Lesbian Bed Death, also featuring myself and Max. Khari is a sick drummer so it is going to be TIGHT. I am already compiling really riotgrrlly love songs in my head so that I can whine them really screamily at a sea of liberal arts college students. Mostly what I am trying to say is that Khari is going to help me become a rock star.

Khari and I had a nice chat while I drew him the day of the Sketchy Lady Show. It ended up taking a pretty long time because we'd hit on a really important point and I'd dramatically put my graphite down and say things like "BUT NO SERIOUSLY." And then I'd look down and be like, "oh shit, you are missing an arm!" And then Khari would say something like "Dude that is not good. We gotta take care of that."

Then, last weekend, Khari and some other friends came over before our excursion to a scary mansion in Bronxville. Then they had an impromptu American Apparel dealing session with Megan in our living room. Khari bought another of the above sweatshirt and when I needed one for our haunting night mission, he not only let me borrow it on this cold night but he is letting me keep it for the rest of the semester! (In light of Charlotte's "Trade With Me Trades" project, it was great to get something in return for drawing this portrait.) Most of our group was wearing this sweatshirt or a similar one and we accidentally might have freaked out this woman who was walking her dog... I hope she didn't think we were going to mug her. Either way, the mansion had an amazing chandelier that took up the whole ceiling in a large dining room. SWEET.

This post was brought to you by RES LIFE.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Portrait #42: Ryanbakergreen

Ryan originally met because he lived with my friend Martin. Given that he is a pretty quiet guy (at least to most people) we didn't really talk a lot until this year since we are in sculpture class together, and then we both lost our friend Spencer so I'd try to chat with him about how he was doing.

I guess since Ryan is not my chattiest friend (I am probably the chattiest friend of others) I hadn't ever spent such a long sitting looking at his face until I drew him. Usually when we chill in the studio everyone is looking at something different and working on things. It was really interesting because there were a lot of aspects of his face that I hadn't noticed. Like I knew what expression he would end up having since he was spacing out at his computer reading up on the history of acid, but I didn't know what steps I would take with drawing forms in order to get to that expression.

One example of Ryan's quiet demeanor there is a facebook group from 3 years ago called "Ryan Green Needs to Shut Up" which all of his friends joined. It is one of the only groups that Spencer was in, so whenever I look at his profile if I'm feeling nostalgic its like, OH YEAH heehee.

Anyway Here is a tree that Ryan made first semester as part of his Death Mountain project:

Here are some octopi he made from dipping bent chicken wire and dipping it into wax:

Sw33t d34l ryan.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Portrait #40: Anna

Anna's hair was quite nice to draw since I like to space out at it in our Sixties history class. It's so shiny and straight that her bangs sit sort of like Cleopatra when she's not wearing a ponytail.

For example,

, and,

I imagine that Anna's critique of these pictures might be about the racialization of "Cleopatra" as white and therefore, indicative of white supremacy's hegemony in Hollywood and consumer culture. (However, perhaps I am conflating her analysis with another student in our class named Daisy (drawing pending) who is researching the history of beauty products in the black community.) This is my guess since a lot of what we talk about in class is the Black Liberation Movement and Anna always has thoughtful things to say about the different stages of the BLM (e.g. development of self defense politics in Student Nonviolent Coordinating Commitee). Sometimes in class Anna and I talk about having both worked with an organization that trains youth to do organizing around peace and nonviolence, and then questioned that framework thereafter.

Also sometimes we complain about what some like to call "manarchism". Also sometimes we discuss what kinds of eyeliner we like to use in order to get that perfect point on the end.

During our sketching sesh, I had the pleasure of chilling out with Anna and about 6 other folks and did lots of chitchatting. This is a good example of how Sketchy Lady can be a really nice way to do homework as a distraction from my other homework. This was one of the larger groups that I have Sketchy Ladied in, but out of the big groups, I felt the least amount of pressure in it. I think I somehow made Anna look way more Jewish than she is, but I think I captured her relaxed posture accurately. Some portraits that I've done don't accurately capture all the deetz of a person's image but sometimes the most important thing is the way that large forms relate to each other. Thanks for teaching me this important lesson, Anna.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Portrait #39: Kate Bed-uh-currr-ay

I had to catch Kate while she was studying since she's been hiding in her room a lot after she got back from her 3-week Cuba trip. Kate's portrait is also part of my campaign to make time for portraits in times of study stress... therefore the small scale. I think it turned out pretty cool with the dramatic lighting... not all the portraits get that. It was a little difficult to get her to stay still enough but I think it ended up looking like her. She even said that it looked more like her than her twin! (Twinness throws a whole other dimension to the assessment of likeness.) I am glad she liked it--Kate took a little convincing in order to let me draw her since I had to tell her I'd make her look pretty. She is super duper pretty so that was easy to accomplish.

Here's how her drawing looked in the show (and a sneak peak of three others):


Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Portrait #38: Kait

Kait's drawing is certainly an outlier in this project in terms of both process and likeness. As the semester at SLC is getting closer to the end and stress levels run higher, I've been trying to figure out how to work sketches into busy schedules. Since Kait is a dance third and an early bird, I thought I'd take advantage of her 10:00am timeslot in her day so that I'd be forced to do work afterwards. Apparently I'm not so good in the morning... she got to my place when I was still in my pjs and I had a hard time transitioning from sleeptime into lifedrawingtime. I made coffee, we schmoozed a bunch, but I really just couldn't seem to wake up enough to capture her facial features like I have been able to with others recently. This portrait does not look as much like Kait as it does her housemate, Colman.

It's killing me trying to think of what specifically went wrong in this drawing. I think I needed to make her forehead bigger and wider on the sides. Hmm.

Even though it didn't produce my most successful drawing, that morning was very well spent; interesting to hang out with Kait in a new context--we had been in First Year Studies together, in a class called Emergence of Christianity. We both ended up switching Dons (FYS teacher=Don=advisor) as a result of finding a different academic direction. My first year I would have NEVER predicted Kait would switch away from Cameron too... she was always one of the most prepared and enthused students in the class. Her new direction in the dance department has been really great to see... she did this dance piece in the C.A.T.S. (SLC art collective) event called Friendge Fest where the audience could call out letter and color combinations to make the dancers do different movements based on what color their costume was. Fascinating.


Sketchy Lady Show, THIS FRIDAY APRIL 10TH in A*Space!

You should come! I think we're gonna set up drawing stations. Also if you come early enough, you can meet my parents (and draw a family portrait!)

Portrait #29: Bug

This drawing was completely unplanned. I heard about a lecture about Art and Politics that was going on at the library, and probably got distracted on my way there. Apparently a few minutes was way too late, because the room was teeming with eager students awaiting their favorite professor's lecture on the panel. Bug and I were two of the people who could not even squeeze through the door so we sat outside. I leaned against the wall separating the lecture room from the hallway, and he watched through the doorway directly at the panelists. This is why he looks so in awe in the photo: not only was I drawing his tall stature from below, but his mind was being developed rapidly as we learned about poststructuralpostmoderngobbeldygook.

I don't have a lot of stories about Bug since I don't actually know him that well. Except there is one story....

My first year, Megan and our friend and I had a boxed wine incident where the bag got punctured. Quickly we scrambled for the nearest bowls in our friend's room. But then we were stuck with all these bowls of cheapo wine... we looked into the hallway and there was Bug with his other friend. Megan offered them the bowl and they, being desperate first years, accepted. I don't know if Bug remembers this incident. But when I drew Megan a couple pages later during our trip to the New York Public Library, she wrote on my drawing of her "Hey Bug, would you like a bowl of wine?" I like that Megan's drawing spoke to Bug's. It was a very nice touch.

Portrait #28: Zara M.

I wrote this post about a month ago but only recieved the picture from Zara today.

Every new portrait I do lately seems to be my favorite... I think this Zara sketch confirms for me that I am into the groove. It was a very good snow day activity to jam around with Zara, Gil, and Alanna in the sculpture studio to hits like "We Got the Beat" by the Go-Gos. While I drew her, Zara worked on a little comic she's making... mostly sewing the pages together and adding text into some of the pix. She kept poking herself with her needle by accident and concentrating very hard, but I managed to give her a little smirk which she is pleased about. We decided that the hat was a very good touch and I think it is very characteristic of this zany girl.

Perhaps I am more comfortable drawing people that are also artists... they are less nervous being drawn and understand the process more? But also like, who the hell do I draw/know who is 0% creative? (False dichotomy!? Define YR Terrrmz!) Anyway, Zara is herself, as I mentioned before, a comix artist (often collaborating with Gil, on works like Taffy Hips, a collaborative comic which is having an A*Space release party this Friday!!). [EDIT: that happened a month ago; Taffy Hips is currently accepting submissions for issue #3... featuring yrs truly!] She also has super cool performances where she uses an overhead projector, cutouts, and audience cue cards//soundzz to tell a story. Hannah D. said the performance at Friendge Fest gave her chills! GO ZARA

-Zara did an even bigger and better performance at Wishbone Window, which was the senior show for students in my sculpture class (Zara, Ryan, Charlotte, and Hannah D). It was tight. Here is a pic from it:

The deal was that viewers could go into the tent, pick out a transparency and read out its number. Then Zara would read the corresponding story that went along with it. It set this really reflective mood because she said that viewers should try not to look at each other: either close your eyes or just look at the drawing. I think it is interesting that Zara and I have both made work this year that bridges drawing and stories.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Portrait #37: Vera

Vera's portrait might be one of my most accurate ones, which is suprising, considering how little it looked like her for 70% of the time I was drawing her. It was on one of the very first warm days, so the North Lawn was really happenin... so great to finally use that picnic blanket again right, V?

We decided that I made Vera look super Native American in this portrait. It definately has something to do with the combination of the jaw/braids/earrings. I don't remember ever doing a portrait where I inadvertently altered the sitter's ethnicity. I think I will try not to do it again... it might be problematic.

It was super nice for me and Vera to have special grrrltime together last week. Vera and I met through Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) and for a while were the most nationally active women in our chapter. We spent a long time during our drawing sesh talking about the national SDS women's caucus and the different ways it responds to sexism in SDS, especially "sexual assault" and how it's defined. Neither of us are involved anymore but still get lots of the emails, so it was really good to have someone to speak/think critically about it with. I used to spend a ton of energy writing articles about how I think the women's caucus should be organized, before realizing that a lot of my SDS work was not really going very far and had nothing to do with my local campus community, which I found much more important to work on.

Right now the organizing Vera is doing is mostly around the creation of a Student Union at Sarah Lawrence, basically meaning a rebuilding of our student government from the ground up, to make it radically democratic, more efficient, effective, transparent, accountable, etc. It is going to be TIGHT and I'm so proud of Vera's work... It's great to see how her and others' work in SDS really led to this project. So even if our chapter died, it was a really great learning experience for students here and we really applied those lessons. (Shout outzz to Michelle Lewin for taking initiative as senate chair. and being insanely employable. go get em!)

Monday, March 30, 2009

Portrait #36: Devra

I tried to get Devra to let down her hair and shake it up a little so that it looked superpunx in the drawing. I am glad I got the texture across because Devra's hair texture (greasiness etc.) is admittedly a very important feature as part of her anarcha allure. In retrospect, wish I had gotten to draw some of her tattoos... there are a lot of them and they cover a lot of her (one of her two octopi covers most of her leg/rear end). Glad I got to draw her glasses though. After I was done, we talked about how I made her look especially birdlike... something about those big glasses gives her a little beaklike quality. CUTE.

Devra and I are in a class together called "From the Plantation to the Prison: Criminal Justice Policies." She always has good things to say in class that both come from a sophisicated intellectual framework but also have a lot of heart. Sometimes that combination is really missing in discussion-based classes so its nice to have Devra around. Tomorrow, our prison class is going to Bedford Hills, a maximum-security prison in Westchester. I am mostly scared for driving the 15-seater van, and then having to shift into a different kind of stress, which is having to go through security. We are only supposed to take an ID and a key on this trip. Wish us luck!

Portrait #35: Colleen F.

I liked drawing Colleen quite a bit because it went much more easily than many of my portraits. She was a good, still sitter but also engaging, she had really fun glasses to draw, and somehow I achieved her likeness with little to no effort. It was totally stress free, especially for a sitter I wasn't as well acquainted with at the time. Mostly I loved drawing her glasses and her fantastic chin. You might notice that I exaggerated this chin: it looks a little manly which was not my intention. Also I must note that this above picture of Colleen in the flesh is ADORABLE.

Some more information---Colleen...
-is from Olympia ("OLY WA")
-has a band with our friend Khari called the Larry Hoffmans (Larry Hoffman is the director of security at SLC)
-randomly knows my friend Guy fron Olympia. Guy was my first boyfriend in 6th grade for two weeks and we've been friends ever since

All of these things are true! Also true is that after this drawing was done we watched Cindy Sherman's 1997 film Office Killer in my room and it was SO GORY AND FANTASTIC. I loved it so much that I watched it another 2 times and then wrote a whole essay about it for sculpture class even though I only had to write two paragraphs. When we watched it was when I was still getting to know Colleen, but we still chat even though we don't have the time and luxury of SPRING BREAK anymore.

Colleen might be embarassed that I am mentioning this on here but I think it is important for followers of this blog to know about. Colleen got me into, a dating website that has lots of quizzes and fun things to fill out and waste time doing. How else would I have instant messaged with the facilitator of Dyke Knitting Circle at Bluestockings without even having to go an get new yarn and start a new project? Brilliant. (It was not that interesting of a conversation but I am impressed with ok cupid nonetheless.) Thank you Colleen for making my world of procrastination even richer. (SORRY I MADE YOU BLUSH BUT THE PEOPLE HAD TO KNOW.)