Surrealism is the new Real

Friday, December 31, 2010

Another Year... almost

I keep intending to further this blog, and I keep getting so busy with life, the universe, and everything but the kitchen sink that it gets set in the background, waiting for me to return. My dog would make puppy eyes at me, and maybe even a few huffing noises to encourage me. The blog however does not have eyes or the ability to make cute noises at me to get my attention. (Not without help, anyway.)

2010 has been a very intense year, but it's not over. It never is, actually. For most people, New Year's Eve is a tie of renewal, a chance to make resolutions and start out anew. For me, it's only an excuse to get together with friends and to drink socially, then go home and sleep in for a day before going back to the grind. The time for renewal for me is Lunar New Year.

I'm not Asian, nor am I of Asian descent, but regardless Lunar New Year seems to have more governance over my life than the Gregorian calendar. Since my vacation in Taiwan in early 2007 for the Lunar New Year celebrations (which were spectacular) I have found that my life tends to be book-ended by that time, as opposed to the traditional Western New Years Eve. January still seems to be a tag along with last year's issues and torments, and by the time February rolls around, things have changed - usually for the better - and I'm feeling more "renewed". This year will be no exception. Several major changes are coming down the pipe, but won't be in effect or finished until the last day of Lunar New Year 2011.

What are they? I'm not even sure myself. Events around me seem to be ruled by the Twin Patron Saints of Irony and Serendipity. If there can be a connection, it will happen. (Or won't.) My hope is that at this time, things will serendipitously fall into place, as they have in previous times. I'm ready for a new beginning. I have art shows I want to put together, and projects that need to be brought to light. I have sketches that need to be turned into completed pieces, and a move to make.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Tattoos & Body Art

I admit, I LOVE tattoos.

Just the good ones though. I could care a less about the little hearts with a ribbon saying "Mom" or butterflies and tramp stamps. I've seen too many people walk into a tattoo parlour and get something that in 10 years will look terrible, and have no story or reason behind them besides "It seemed like a good idea at the time."

The body on its own is a work of art. Care for it well, and it can remain a thing of beauty. I'm not talking about losing weight, I am talking about caring for the skin, toning the curves, dressing it in garments that will not cause muffin tops or sag around you like a folded tent. If you get a tattoo, find a spot where it will work with your curves, and even as it fades, will not stretch or warp as your body changes. Part of the reason I do not have a tattoo is because I have had a hard time choosing the right image. So many images are important to me (go figure) and my life changes so quickly and so often if I got a tattoo every time I found something important to me, I would be covered head to toe.

Spring the money on a good tattoo artist. Cheap usually means "not very good". Ask to see a portfolio, and don't just go in because a friend said "I won't go anywhere else". Yes, everyone has to start somewhere, but the shops with the more talented artists tend to hold even apprentices to that standard, and teach them to that same level of expertise. References, referrals, and make the artist show you his previous work. Shading is especially important, because anyone can do an outline and fill in colour. Someone who does great shading and blending can bring it out from just a tattoo, to something that looks alive and breathing.

And most importantly, find the story. Don't just go into a tattoo parlour and ask for something without doing a little research. Find something important to you, an image or icon that represents something about you, a memory, or a time when you resisted and conquered earth-shattering change. It's going to be there a long time, and should be something you will care about even as it fades. And nothing in this world is permanent, except change, and a well-placed cared for tattoo will remain gorgeous long after the colour has begun to fade, and the body betrays you to old age.

Already got one, and don't like it? A good tattoo artist can help you cover it up. Removal is available, though the treatment can be expensive. Alternatives that I use frequently are henna, temporary paints, and Hollywood styles temporary tattoo inks. It allows me to indulge in decorating the body, mine or others, without having to worry about what it will look like in the future, or that I won't like it. It's very Zen, living only in the moment. If it weren't for the fact that needles tend to make me pass out, I might have become a tattoo artist. Instead, I have spent many days designing custom tattos for people, and recommending several tattoo artists that I know well, and have seen a large majority of their work. There is one in particular that will be my go-to guy when it comes to finally making that leap and getting inked. Someday, when my semi-nomadic life stops taking me everywhere and I can settle on an image.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Suffering for the Art

Every time I do a show of any kind, I always make the same lament. "I should have started sooner." "I should have done this in small spurts through the year, and not waited until right before the show." "I should have refilled my supplies by now."

It's not an intentional lack of planning, it's just that after a show I tend to forget quickly, and though it will occur to me through the months that I should really pick up more matte board or foam core, and restock my watercolour paper, I still end up waiting until the week before the show to actually start working on the practical framing and presentation of my art. This usually results in a great presentation, but a very sore back and more often than not, some creative improvisation for backing or things that might actually be considered a frame. This time, along with being short on time and supplies, it's hot as hell outside, which tends to make me somewhat lethargic. It's a bad combination.

This weekend is no exception. At least today I have a full day to work, and take breaks between sessions of madly cutting boards and framing pieces that will be going up tomorrow at Anime North, or in a couple week at the Artist's Walk. I know artists are known for suffering for their art, but honestly there are days like today when I'm aware that half the suffering is self-inflicted. Tonight, when I'm satisfied with a job well done, I'll still be sitting on the couch, rubbing my lower back, and trying to think of ways to remind myself to keep caught up on my supplies.