Friday, July 21, 2017

Hey Girl

As a teenager, I did not like being female. I did not feel like I had any control. I felt like an object, and I felt like I was required to fit within someone else's mould. As a result, I was as contrary as I could manage. I hacked off my own hair, got called "young man" a few times, wore boxy unisex band shirts pretty much exclusively, you get the picture. Nowadays I'm glad I had those experiences, and I feel empowered. Because what's the worst that could happen? I love being a woman because it puts me in a position to understand disadvantage.

So I encountered this question about what a woman's place should be now, considering the bizarre political climate. I thought about how frustrated and tired I am. And I thought about how, despite the adversities I face personally, there are so many others who are a million times more vulnerable and exhausted than I am now. I came to the conclusion that my place specifically is about opportunity. It's about opening doors, breaking windows, and grabbing seats at the table for those who are struggling to get one. I'm not making any groundbreaking strides in my daily actions. But I'm trying, if at times only by paying attention and not shutting up. And being a woman now is about being true to myself and my values. In the end, it doesn't matter how I may be perceived.

Sketches and studies. Doors 'n' windows 'n' chairs.

I also thought a lot about some cool women whom I admire. There are a lot. For this one though, I opted to model my girl mostly after Rachel Bor of the underrated Dolly Mixture, a little bit after Poly Styrene, and with a touch of Pauline Black.

I've recently started fumbling around with gouache. I've still got a long way to go, but I adore it. In that spirit I went unintentionally opaque with my watercolor, and then I rolled with it. Possibilities!

"Some people think that little girls should be seen and not heard..."

I want it loud as hell.

OK Go. I've thought about it, and I realize that this band has managed to pop up every time I've gone through a major life struggle. Apparently some people think that they are gimmicky and their music is ho-hum???? If you are one of those people, GET OUTTA HERE! GO!! YOU'RE THE WORST! They are committed to their art, they are thoughtful, they are original, Stephen Colbert loves them, and I love them too!

It is my goal to see them every time they venture within my vicinity. They never ever disappoint, and I would like to know what I'd have to do to get them to play on demand for me? They so love what they do and their shows are just trancendental.

I finally started painting my own shirts last year and it's an extremely fulfilling achievement for a nerd.

Also, that happened.

Anyway, it's the "End Love" goose (his name is Mario and he's famous). Also Tim.

As it turns out, stamping is a lot harder than simply stenciling. More panic-inducing for sure. More left to chance. But it turned out all right in the end.


Stars and Stuff

I am finally at a place in my life where I am confident enough to actually tackle all the ideas I have. There was once a time when I'd simply write ideas down for "later", knowing that "later" was as good as never. Now I have so many ideas I have to prioritize them, which is awesome. The most exciting thing is to do these little tributes to the bands I love, and that list is infinite. (Sorry Big Country, I'm comin'.)

I got into The Psychedelic Furs after hearing "Love My Way" on the radio at an impressionable age. I remember the DJ playing some interview snippet that lumped them in with Echo & the Bunnymen because of the similarly pretentious arty monikers. (And as I write this, "Lips Like Sugar" follows the Furs on my streaming radio, and I'm kind of creeped out.) Although they are steeped in Molly Ringwald pop accessibility, the Psychedelic Furs are also dark and edgy and just impossibly cool. (See "Fall" and "Sister Europe" from the debut.) Richard Butler is also one of those doubly-inspiring creatives because he's a visual artist on top of being a top-notch musician. I think the first album I ever bought on vinyl was the US release of Forever Now. The band apparently hate the cover art on that version and the whole tracklisting is flipped. That sort of thing has become a pet peeve of mine as a record collector. Like, the album has to be dumbed down for America. Why can't I just hear it and see it the way the band intended!!? We ARE kind of dumb, but I digress.

A lovely friend later gave me Mirror Moves on cassette, and boy does that one go down smooth; not a stinker in the bunch. Seriously. "Alice's House"? Yeahhhhh. Also, here is a thought I had while working on this one: if I were famous, I think I'd go down the Tim Butler/Joey Ramone route and hide behind sunglasses at every opportunity.

Preliminary sketches and studies. Thinkin' about old west cowboys. The Furs actually sing about cowboys a lot? (Well, at least twice.)

The line-drawing stage.

"They're no fun at all."

Lads From Liverpool

Fab Four tiny journal marker studies while I watched the Sgt. Pepper PBS special. More of a Rubber Soul / Revolver gal honestly, but I'll happily ingest whatever Beatles paraphernalia is thrown at me. Our culture is hard-pressed to find much novel material from them fifty years on, but really I'm up for anything from the band that made me the music-obsessed weirdo I am today.