Here & Now, Art, Stephanie Syjuco, Abraham Cruz Villegas, Luke Jerram, Craig Mod, the Kiffness (with Goregen and Khlyvnyuk), and Brooke Simpson.
HERE AND NOW
It felt as though my eyes had been locked on the screen for about a week, while I researched and wrote a grant for the nonprofit I work for. On Thursday, I finished the final draft and sent it off for review, then submitted it. Crossing my fingers that we get the grant, though we won’t hear about it for a couple months. I celebrated by getting myself one of those incredible, big-fat-nutty chocolate chip cookies baked at our local fine-food market, Elroy’s.
I also copyedited the Spring 2022 issue of an academic journal, so I’m high-fiving myself for both. Another grant is on the horizon, this March, as well as copyediting for another journal (different client). Anyone who falls for that stereotype of oldster boomers as all retired and taking it easy are wrong. That’s not the reality of the current economic system we live in.
In the meantime, nations and leaders go on with their wars. There is stupidity and horror. There is grief. There is heroism and resistance.
I’m giving my hands and wrists a rest from all the teeny lines I’ve been drawing, rather obsessively perhaps. I suspect I’m developing carpal tunnel syndrome; my hands have been complaining, painfully. I have started to minimize the detailed line work, and focus more on color, shape, and composition.
Below are some of my first attempts at adjusting to this situation:
I decided to try acrylics on the Lokta paper; I cut stencils to block out areas to be painted black. The acrylic paint seemed to do OK, as long as I was careful not to saturate the paper (I’ve mentioned previously how easily paint soaks into this paper):
Then I realized I might still be able to do some detailed line work, as long as I kept it minimal and didn’t keep trying to cover the paper with lines.
And even more minimal—based on the shapes of seeds falling from the wattle tree above my house:
Stephanie Syjuco’s art challenges the traditional narrative of “history” (Art 21):
Conceptual artist Abraham Cruzvillegas says he loves being a “beginner,” and believes that, as an artist, he does not create—he can only rearrange matter and energy. Reminding me of my relatives’ homes in the Philippines, his art reflects his experience of improvisatory, residential construction in Mexico, or “Autoconstrucción.” In this film, he takes this vision to the enormous Great Turbine Hall in London’s Tate Modern, and gets everyone involved in his scavenging process:
Luke Jerram’s glass microbiology is beautiful:
Boredom is one of the things I hate about exercise. So, I’m fascinated with this take on boredom as a kind of sublime state or meditation. Imagine boredom as something to aim for! Craig Mod —“On Walking and Sublime Boredom in Japan” (podcast interview with transcript):
More recently, The Kiffness did an “Army remix” of Ukrainian singer Andriy Khlyvnyuk, lead singer of Boombox, singing a Ukrainian Folk Song. Khlyvnyuk has returned (from a tour of the U.S.) to Ukraine to fight against Putin’s military. All royalties from the remix will go to humanitarian aid for Ukraine’s armed forces.
*Including the now-famous Alugalug Cat—which you’ve seen, right?
“This is a Man’s World” by James Brown was on play a lot during my teens. But indigenous vocalist Brooke Simpson takes it somewhere else altogether; the last half of the song gave me the chills. Brooke and Ray Simpson: “This is a Man’s World” (James Brown Cover):
And so, we march on into March, and who knows what it will bring. More next weekend . . .
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