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.)

Portrait #34: Megan's Megan

This is the third time I've drawn Megan. She was my original guinea pig for this project but my drawing skills have improved a lot since then. Meaning, it was a really bad drawing so I didn't blog it. Also maybe it seemed too obvious when I'd try to find new people to draw. I feel much better about this one since it has much more of a style and incorporates all of Megan's tattoos which are a really big part of her physical presentation. I was there with her when she got the hearts on her chest, and had actually helped her draw the concept for it, so it was interesting actually drawing the tattoo from her actual body. I'm glad the drawing ended up with a sassy expression since that is part of Megan's true essence. Another part is this essence:

However, the Megan that I got to see while I was drawing her had much to do with her calm and reflected essence. I think she probably told me a bunch of stories about love and family history and identity since those are often things we talk about when we're not taking about our Sixties class homework or revolutionary nationalism or tuff grrrl alter egos. It turned out to be a really nice bonding moment since she sat really still and went deep in our discussion. I think it helped that beforehand, said she felt really comfortable and calm when I drew her in the past, so I wasn't worried about inconviniencing her during the process.

There was a lot to discuss during the drawing session since it's been a really transitional time for Megan in terms of life paths and phases since she is about to graduate. The title of this post comes from our inside joke about this 1960s/1970s feminist activist named Bev Grant and her music. She wrote this song (that goes along with a documentary she made) called "Janie's Janie". The premise is that as she gains independence from men, Janie is her own Janie, not Daddy's Janie or Charlie's Janie. So thus, Megan's Megan. Thanks to Bev for the inspiration!

Friday, March 20, 2009

Portrait #33: Max J. K.

Max and I were "set up" as friends by Shahnaz, a professor we've both had. A respected academic and intense teacher, Shahnaz is also very skilled at setting up friendships between her students. A good example of strange-Sarah Lawrence-social science-subculture is that people who are fans of Shahnaz (often switching to her as their Don, or advisor) click really well together and talk about her often. Apparently Shahnaz recommended me to Max, so when we finally met through Ashley, he was like "OMG yr the one Shahnaz wanted me to talk about feminist politics with!" And then we exploded with things on our agenda to discuss. We often exclaim things to one another like "that is so post-medium" before erupting in giggles.

This intense Shahnaz-based connection offers a plethora of conversation topics on aesthetics, urbanization, gender/power/class/race, etc. This (along with my struggle with ADD) made it very hard for me and Max to concentrate on our task of drawing. Sometimes I forget how stupid it is to hold a conversation with my subjectwhile drawing them. I guess that problem doesn't really arise when doing still lives or landscapes.

Despite the fact that I chose not to create a background for Max's portrait, it seems to contain more visual information than the other portraits. I had a difficult time capturing his facial features since he and I had a hard time not being really chatty during the portrait session. However, I think the red in the glasses I added make it much more accurate to Max's persona. His choice to hold my Curious George stuffed animal is an interesting exaggeration of our age dynamic, as Max is two years younger than me and seems to feel this difference.

Not long after I drew this portrait, I got really deep into a Dead Kennedys phase and proposed to my friends that we should start a riot grrrl-style DK cover band. Max took to this idea and we proposed some prospective band names that emphazie riot grrrl sensibility, such as :

Lesbian Bed Death
The Vajanglers

Thank you Shahnaz for securing me with a valuable friendship and perhaps music career.

Portrait #32: L. Klotzy

Klotzy and I very intentionally decided how she would pose and what the composition would be for the portrait. I wanted to maximize forms to draw, which meant more time and concentration (the latter of which I have little capacity for). Since Klotzy wanted to do what it took to help make interesting art happen, she let me create a more complex composition and sat in a weird position. She probably regretted this since it ended up taking an hour. Mostly I really wanted to draw her Nike Dunks. We maneuvered my bed so she could put her foot up. I might have made it look more awkward looking in the picture, but maybe it was awkward in real life too. At least I was nice and let her take breaks and chatted her up a lot.

The reason Klotzy was such a dedicated sitter is that she is also very dedicated to her own artmaking, having taken a year off to have art adventures in Marfa, TX. She also has a blog called CRAP BAG. Klotz and I have a long history of arguing about aesthetics and art but have come to an understanding that lets us discuss art and politics more productively.

In other news, Klotzy is one of the managers for A*space, the student art exhibition space. We're trying to work on getting me a show in A*space in the next coming weeks to show my Sketchy Lady portraits in real life, so stay tuned for more info on that!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Portrait #31: Jordnnland

The influenza epidemic at SLC has come in 2 or 3 different stages, ensuring that for about 2-3 weeks, there has always been a couple sick people in any given social, political, or academic group of students. Jordan followed me in-to-fluenza in the second stage and was a trooper to sit for me while he was feelin real ill. (And also a trooper to wash his hair for the occasion as promised.) The drawing sesh was supposed to happen at 5:30 but since both of us fell asleep and accidentally took 4-5 hour naps, it had to be postponed until 11.

Jordan sat very quietly reading while I drew him. At one point his face contourted a little and I asked him if he needed to sneeze. He said no but asked if he could blow his nose. So I passed him the tissue box and told him the story about how Spencer was really intensely like "uhmmbeth? is it ok with you if I scratch my nose?" as if it were really disruptive to the process. That's one of the stories I told at the quaker-style Spencer memorial/meeting in November.

Jordan and Spencer went to high school together, in both situations being a freshman and a senior, respectively. The first time I talked to Jordan was at the memorial dance party for Spencer called "Wolf's Teeth". I was like "hey didn't you just add me on fbook?" and then we acquainted ourselves by dancing in a circle with our friends to some really hip band Spencer liked like The Gossip. We've been hanging out and listening to more hip bands lately, but we don't really talk about Spencer that often since I guess both of us only knew him for 2 short periods. However, we both often wear the colorful Spencer pins that were passed out at Wolf's Teeth (made to look like hipster band merch) so the idea of him is totally on the mind. Especially since Jordan is really tall and his pin is at my eye level.

Also you might notice the introduction of a baby quilt on my bed in this picture, unlike the other pictures... usually the only other noticeable decoration is my world map poster. Maybe this marks the beginning of the "early quilt period" in Sketchy Lady history, from post-flu epidemic era of Sarah Lawrence.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Portrait #30: Harrison

This picture of Harrison shows just how very proud of his Sketch he is. (Also the fact that he made it his profile picture on facebook.) He has been trying to get me to draw him ever since he wrote about my art and Sketchy Lady in his collaborative blog in order to make me feel like I need to reciprocate. I did feel quite touched that he called me "one of the finest art students here at Sarah Lawrence". (I am especially touched because Harrison knows my work very well after we spent 2 semesters in printmaking together last year.) However, I think I would have drawn him anyway even if he didn't do that. This is a good example of how wacky Harrison is. Another example of how wacky Harrison is: so much chesthair in this drawing! I really need to get a detail shot of that.

Harrison looked a little nervous while I was drawing him (his eyes got kinda big like kittens do in cartoons), maybe because he had a lot of investment in it. Either that or the huge pack of dudes at the table behind me in the sculpture studio made us feel like a small pack of dudes.

We were all feeling a little lazy on the night of the snow day. So our portrait drawing sesh was interrupted by a really climactic pizza delivery. I had ordered a small pizza and mozz sticks, but a medium one was delivered, decked out with 4 garlic knots (one in each corner of the box). So Harry and I feasted on the mozz and the pizza for a little before returning to contemplation. I was greatful because I was worrying about getting too malnourished to do a good likeness of my friend Harry. He graciously paid me $2 for his slice. We really were full of trades and mutual benefit.

Overall, although I feel that the likeness is better up close in the lip-region than it is in that pic, I am happy that I captured his pretty-boy looks in this portrait. Thanks for being a fan, Harry.

By the way

I am skipping around my posts a lot because I don't have all the pictures yet. My camera's been broken for hella long and I only just ordered a new one. They are showing up chronologically so you might have to look for the post you wanna look at lower down if it's just posted. Does that make sense?

Sorry for the delay!

Portrait #27: Ashley Lorraine G.

Doing this drawing of Ashley totally tripped me out because, lets be real here, she looked profoundly sad while she was sitting for me. (Perhaps it was the record player blasting Cat Power's "What Would the Community Think" (saddest album evrr). I asked her about that and she said she was looking at this really intense picture on the wall of this multi-color blob and that it made her blink/tear up a lot.

Well anyway, I really had fun drawing her tangley blonde hair. It is so different than mine that it was fun to learn how to draw. I also really wanted to draw her friends Jordan and Khari (seriously they are like a package deal, so inseperable) but Khari was too busy sewing with his head really close to his project, and Jordan keeps putting off his Sketchy Lady Sesh for until he gets a haircut or washes it, whichever comes first.

Ashley belongs on this blog because she is a natural Riot Grrrl. The other night when I had a dance party, all she wanted was for us to put on some Bikini Kill and have a scream-a-long. And despite my influenza-induced throatache, I submitted to Ashley's requests, and it was beautiful. Me, Ashley and my BFF Megan (portrait coming soon) had a scream a long to favorites like "Suck My Left One" and "Don't Need You" in my living room which scared the boys (Jordan and Khari) out. When they came back Jordan greeted us "hey riot grrrlz" and we were like "where the hell did you go?" so then we pushed Jordan out the door. (We started a grrrl riot.)

Then Megan and Ashley figured out that they DJed at the same radio station in Colorado at different times. (Megan interviewed Kathleen Hanna on it when she was 15!) We are glad that Ashley came over.

Portrait #26: Annie S.

Annie and her friend Jessica and I had a really fun girltime after lunch at the dining hall last Friday. We had lots of talks about cameras, Jews and tattoos (I was wearing some temporary tattoos of a burning star and an anchor), but mostly about boys. Then we got the great idea to turn gossip time into Sketchy Lady time!! But oh dear did we keep girltime gossiptime going on, and it was so very supportive and thorough.

Annie was wearing a sweet shirt that her best friend from home made her-- each shirt has the opposite person stenciled on. Sweet. I decided to go ballzy and draw in the stencil. I thought it turned out pretty cool. John says that this is the shirt he thinks of when he thinks of an Annie shirt (they are housemates so John knows her wardrobe).

Also, Annie is a totally rad riot grrrl as long as we're on the subject from Ashley. Annie worked at the Rock n Roll camp for girls, which I am SO jealous of. I SO wish that I knew about that in middle school and high school when I played drums... I lacked any sort of female/riot grrrl inspiration and felt really disempowered by my super dude drum teachers (one was the son of the drummer from twisted sister). So yeah Annie is like one of those friends who the young grrrl inside of you looks up to as some sort of cool babysitter figure. (Maybe it's like that with all of my friends that I respect??) Also as you can see from the pictures she is toadelly beautz... even making that weird face!

Portrait #25: Erin Bunny Furrows

Erin Bunny first posed like the babealicious reclining diva she is, but it turned out to be a really weird angle and it was distracting that we kept talking. When she first saw the first version of the drawing, she made some reference to this book called "Fat? So!" and the part about chins. It could have been a rich place for us to talk about the situation and about body politics, since Erin has gotten really into that lately since she's been working at this plus size vintage store called Re/Dress NYC. But I guess we didn't really talk about it. Maybe that was my fault? Erin, what do you think about this conversation?

I think the problem of the first drawing also stemmed from the fact that Erin is only on campus once a week now that she is a women's history grad student and so Monday's Sketchy Lady sesh intended to serve as a catchup sesh too. (We used to see each other a lot last year and this summer since we've lived near each other a lot, on campus and also in Brooklyn.) So then to give us all more concentration, Erin busted out her sweet tiny laptop (IT FITS INTO HER CLUTCH PURSE LITTLE). I was very pleased that I got to draw her spunky eyebrows since they were all furrowed (Burrows!) Her hairs are also very beautiful to draw. And you can't tell from the shitty cameraphone picture we had to resort to, but she was wearing this huge ornate rose ring which was so diva delicious, and oh GOD so was the pompadour. I am pleased with this drawing and can't wait to show you a better pic of it when my new camera comes in. Stay tuned!

Portrait #24: Alex Brozen "That Cool Guy From NYU"

If Alex Skozzzen could only come to visit Sarah Lawrence for one night, it was very appropriate that he chose Saturday, February 21st.

One morning when I woke up earlier that week, I noticed an facebook message from Alex:

February 19 at 6:06am
what would you think about me visiting this weekend? or are you guys real busy? i can't believe i haven't seen this paradise they call sarah lawrence college yet! i just realized that i have a weekend free for the first (and last) time in a while. so let me know! my internet's been really shady lately, so texting/calling is probably a better idea. and beth, i would be honored if you sketched me, lady.
Alex has been hearing about this "paradise" ever since a year ago when he and Sarah met on their NYU abroad program in Paris. Then his dreams became deeper when we all hung out in Manhatty a lot over the summer and he heard all of my sex party stories. I understood this great need we all had for Alex to see what it's all about, so without looking at my calendar, in my foggy headed sleepy stupor, I replied "I feel great about you visiting this weekend and me sketching you." without asking Sarah. BUT I WAS RIGHT. It was an amazing time.

First we sketched and Alex was a perfect little bearded Polish goddess on my bed. We talked mostly about really funny fecal experiences, taking advantage of Sarah being out of the room.

Eventually after a lot of gossip, it was time for Friendge Fest (spelling not important), a night of collaborative art events put on by the SLC art collective, C.A.T.S. It was totally wacky, mostly because there was a PIE EATING CONTEST. Best art event idea ever. Also there was a lot of boxed wine which made everything a little funner. Other events included: a punk band performances complete with a mosh pit started by me and Megan, a slideshow that compared pictures of porn to pictures of sandwiches, Zara's cutoutz projection performance, and a dance performance that required the participation of the audience shouting out letter-number combinations to tell the dancers which moves to do. We ended up at John and Annie and Emily's apartment where I donned Annie's blonde wig and we danced around to Le Tigre. In this pictures from this party, someone tagged Alex as "that cool guy from NYU" hence the post title.

By the end of the night (I honestly don't remember anything from in between), my all-girl apartment had 3 extra boys sleeping over. That's a lot of heterosexuality. (Or was it?) Was this a good example of Sarah Lawrence? Well Alex, you're going to have to visit again.

Portrait #23: Zach W.S.

I had the pleasure of drawing my fellow Fellow Zach at our final retreat for our JFREJ (Jews for Racial and Economic Justice) Fellowship at this crazy pimped out waterside mansion in New Rochelle. Zach and I were the 2 youngest and undergrad fellows, with our ages ranging unevenly from 20-45, so we naturally bonded over that and also a lot of multiple similar identities (esp. as feygelehs). There was this one time that me, Zach, and our friend Alex from the fellowship had this really intense queer brodown where we all told our coming out stories and families and dads.

There was a lot of bonding the weekend of the retreat in general, since a) we had been meeting for all-day monthly sessions for 6 months and b) because we went really deep talking about our feelings and histories on Israel/Palestine. My favorite activity we did was called "life mapping" where we all kicked back together (I DJed) and mapped out our lives, often in regards to our understanding of racism, Jewishness, and coming out, since a lot of us are queer. Also we went through two bottles of Annie's Goddess Dressing! So good.

In sum, it was a good time to draw Zach over the retreat to reflect on this process in the fellowship that we have been through.

Looking back on this above pic, I don't really feel like the Zach drawing turned out with the right facial structure (near the chin/mouth) but I think in person this portrait does look more like him. Like with Erin's portrait, I loved drawing Zach's fierce eyebrows-- they are a very important part of his facial structure. Another total treat deet was his earrings, and also the SOUL PATCH. (Too bad you can't see them right now but maybe I will take a detail pic when my camera comes in.)

Even if this portrait is not perfectly structured right (thanks to my shortness and awk perspective to the page) I got a lot of really great ego-boost support from the other fellows who were my cheering section while the sketchy lady sesh took place. Thanks GPOFfers!