Wednesday, January 30, 2008

I survived the first day of class!

[This is a comic I did for the CD cover of identidades.04 (I have to redo it for a square format but the basic idea remains intact), whose theme this year is Identity and Memory.] I had major anxiety before tonight's etching class at MGC. I'm a little perturbed by my extreme anxiety in general, but I'm happy to report that class went just fine. Everyone seems nice and it will be a pretty unpressured environment. I like that there's a huge range of people, from hardcore artists to people who have never made art in their lives. I now have a tiny 3x4" copper plate wrapped in newspaper, beveled and covered in ground, that I need to compose a drawing for. It's funny to start a class again after being out of that mentality for a while - picking a shelf, figuring out what supplies to buy, etc. The commute over was horrid b/c of my anxiety (I jumped off of a train I should have stayed on and ended up riding three more and running to class only to be early/on time).

In other news, I just found out that an artist I met online through Paulette is starting a project that I find interesting (go to her website for the contract that lays out the terms of the performance):
Dear Comrades,

I would like to announce the commencement of my new performance work entitled, das Deutschsprachliche Projekt: I think I’m turning German, I think I’m turning German, I really think so...

This notice also serves as a warning to all. For a period of 3 months, beginning the 1st of February at 6pm and ending on May 1st, at 6pm 2008, I am only allowed to communicate in German, a language I have only been learning for only a year and a half. Please see my website for more information: www.katehers.com

Best,
kate hers, Berlin, Germany 2008

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

I could eat rice cakes all day

I filled up the chalk line and found out that the chalk is blue! I had assumed it would be white. I have no idea how I'm supposed to use it w/o having a big studio where I can make a mess. But at least I've filled it up. I am feeling a little calmer after hacking away at my new statement, mailing mail art, sending an app overseas (will this country EVER go metric?? It would save a lot of in to cm conversions), and eating lots of Korean rice cakes - the mushy, sticky, yummy kind. Not the styrofoam sold in stores.

These are Jacklyn's books. I finished Sherman Alexie's The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian last night and now have three new books, including Papermaking for Printmakers by Elspeth Lamb (my etching class starts tomorrow!). Speaking of books, Ching-In's first manuscript is going to be published! Damn. That is amazing, and so good to know that people who work hard and make good work get chances to get their work out there! I met her last year when she was working on it, and now it's going to be a real live book of poetry! Speaking of poetry, Tam has been working hard on this year's National Cowboy Poetry Gathering, so check out live cybercasts and audio of daytime shows on the Western Folklife Center's website!

About camcorders

I promised to share, so this is what I heard:

Liz Wuerffel (video artist/teacher) said:

Sony Handycam DCR-HC40
The review say that for the price, it performs well in low-light. Has a 1MP resolution.

Panasonic PV-GS320
Reviews say impressive video quality for the price, decent low-light performance. Resolution is 0.54 MP, so it's considerably less than the sony and it costs more. But the user reviews are better.

I've used a Canon that runs around $300, and while it works fine in most situations, it's not very good in low-light. I haven't used the Sony or Panasonic, but they both get top reviews for the price.

I'd suggest investing in a second battery for any camcorder you buy.

Clover (performance artist) said:

Canon Elura 100 is what we use at SAIC for a low-end nice camera. You can find them for sale around $300-400 too.

Liz Winfield (performance/video artist & videographer) said:

Well, my choice would be the Canon Elura as it has a great lens and all the bells and whistles for a decent price. If that runs too high you can go with the Canon ZR series. Those are good and reliable. My problem with Sony is that they tend to use proprietary cables and connectors and that is annoying - esp. if you travel and find yourself without a cable and have to hunt high and low for one. With Canon you can just go to the nearest Radio Shack and grab one for cheap. I would also agree with Elizabeth about the extra battery...you'll get about an hour out of the one that comes with the camera and for performance stuff that isn't always enough. An extra battery, cheap fluid head tripod and a nice case are good investments. Sometimes you can get a cool package deal on all of it.

Elizabeth Ross (multimedia/video artist) said:

What I can advise is a sony. It is a good machine, and you can find a new one for that price. You can shoot by night and take pics (stills); just be sure EVERYTHING works...

Chela (visual/performance artist) said:

Three chip cameras offer excellent quality, might have to pay a little more but worth it. I have a panasonic NV-GS500 3ccd camera, I like it so far. I still have a lot to figure out on the camera, but so far so good.

Monday, January 28, 2008

The almost crying kind of tired

Wow. That was a looooong, hard weekend. After work, picking up photos from Stefan, and great Ethiopian/Middle Eastern dinner/dessert w/Paulette on Friday, I headed to spend the night with Cindy and Ivan so that Cindy and I could work on editing my VT performance on Saturday. Good lord, that was taxing. Mostly b/c their apt has too much dry heat going on, not b/c of the editing. Now that Cindy is a super pro, she edits like lightning, and does a really good job. We LAUGHED so hard when reviewing the footage - it was supremely bad, but also hilarious, like Blair Witch. It was shaky handheld camera work, dark, with a ridiculously squeaky door, and dark figures w/ski caps on (b/c it's cold in Jan in VT!). I told Cindy that she should cut a horror flick from my performance footage. But at least we were able to get something out of it.

I also did some hardcore organizing, brownie-from-scratch baking, and crepe making for them. There was uncomfortable futon sleeping and Australian Open watching and other errands. By the time I got home today, I thought I was going to drop to the floor from exhaustion. But I did come home to a new music stand, a package from Andrea (w/chalk line! Amazingly sweet, and a fantastic memory - she told me to get that a loooong time ago), and a package from Jacklyn (books that she made w/scraps that I sent to her!). I've been doing website updates for hours now and am about done.

Here is recent work.

Here are words.
Here is the performance (this is FUN).

Friday, January 25, 2008

This is for a woman who knows how to fight back at B&H

I agree with her (and am glad she told B&H that it is unacceptable for women customers to be treated like crap by male employees): teeth as identity is endlessly fascinating. I'm sure that this casting of my current mouth will find its way into some art in the future.

I have been wrangling all day with my artist statement. Clover was a huge help after the first draft, but now it's developing an attitude of its own and I feel pulled in a million directions. In the meantime, I was also researching the following: 1. red ankle boots, 2. corner rounders, and 3. ball chairs. But then in my searching, I found our old favorites: the womb chair. Which is hella expensive! After wondering how much Oberlin dished out for the ones in the library, I found out.

Makes me covet one all over again. But I should lay off; I have recently given into book and DVD splurges. Which I NEVER do. Updates on that once they arrive.

P.S. - Jami has been evicted from her home in Brooklyn! Horrible, and she is looking for housing. If you have any leads, please let her know.

Friday, January 18, 2008

That salt girl was right

I've been cutting words again, and this time in more forgiving material. This is something Elizabeth would say a lot, which I loved. I could use some clarity right now: I found out this morning that I won the scholarship at Manhattan Graphics Center! 3.5 months of workshop hours, a tuition waiver for a 12-week etching class, and a small materials stipend. Then, a few hours later, I find out that someone has cancelled at Ucross and they want me, as an alternate, to step up and take a residency in the spring. Yikes! This freaked me out so much that I immediately took a hot shower. Then I emailed back & forth w/a Jentel buddy (she had my studio the month before mine and we have never met in person, but she is a rockin' mail artist) for advice. No solid verdict yet, but I am leaning towards sticking it out in NY.

I find it hilarious that I was being showered with rejection letters and now it's pouring the opposite. I can only hope that the good fortune continues. I broke a wishbone w/myself and it said that great things are in store (I didn't cheat b/c my left, non-dominant, hand won). I also did an hour of yoga and visited my old music teachers to ask for referrals. 2008 is already kicking my ass! In a good way.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Elizabeth does a much better job at me

Yes, I meant "at me." Like how she summed up making my knit book, or how she illustrated my knitted plastic bags, or even her poetic take on my tunnel book. I am lucky to have such wise friends, who can explain what I do better than I can! She also has invited me to participate as a long-distance artist for identidades.04 this year. How psyched am I? Well, a lot, but my excitement was buried in my stress over apps and other career-y things that are way less fun than planning a piece of art made to be interacted with in public places.

I was talking with my sister tonight about how I'm still stumped on my artist statement, and how it's preventing me from doing a lot of other things (like apps and press kits). She said, "do you really not know what you make art about?" and again asked if other people could articulate it better. And I felt like the people I know who I think really "get" my work get it in a way that makes sense to them, in a way that they can feel, but not necessarily in a way that they can articulate with words that can be marketed. Her assignment for me was to write down all my major recent work and what those pieces "were about" so that I could figure it out methodically, since "feeling" my way around is obviously not getting me anywhere.

I went to P.S.1 this weekend to see a Kris Martin show but it had already come down (damn the inaccurate internet & Time Out NY). Luckily, I was able to see the James Turrell piece, b/c most everything else was not my cup of tea. But I had wanted to see the Martin show b/c my sister saw it a while back and said it really reminded her of my work. But again, she could not for the life of her articulate to me how. She said tonight that she would never "get" my work if I didn't explain it all to her. I would rather make my work and stop already w/explaining it. When do I get to do that?

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Remember "SOY BOMB"?

This is the final version of my fourth knit book (please note use of Mexican amatl as endsheets and also the brown sheet as the backdrop: gracias, Elizabeth!). I've only now uploaded some more pictures to flickr; I have no idea why I was being such a lazy dud about it: the knit plastic bags and the stories I keep posting here. Today, I visited Beatrice at her lovely apt. Her friend Jim, who runs the only gallery in Manhattan south of Chambers, also came by so that we could drive up together to see Beatrice's solo show at Lehman College. Damn, that space was nice.

The weather was ridiculous today. High 60s in NY in January??! Maybe winter nostalgia made me reminisce about the soy bomb dude from the '98 Grammys today, while staring at the river from the train.

Tomorrow: don't miss Jami read from her new novel, The Kept Man, at B&N Chelsea!

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Typing, typing






I just need to box this sucker and it's done. I've bound my knit pages for a fourth knit book/sestina. The dentist says I have a hairline fracture; it's not root canal time, thank goodness. Sad about Iowa results but too early to despair.

Friday, January 04, 2008

Rolling, rolling!

Despite panic about a possible new root canal treatment (all hypochondriac self-diagnosis; I see the dentist tomorrow), I got tons of work done today. Traced 60 stories from a 2004 performance and figured out how I will construct this performance remnant while on the rowing machine.

Also, super news from my favorite dentist ever, who lives in Chicago: "Just letting you know I saw your name on one of the spaces at the art-o-mat!!!!!!!! at the cultural center...congrats...so proud of you." So, a solid lead on where some of my artwork went! And what I love about this news is that the art in the vending machine comes from a performance that I did at the Cultural Center in 2005! Full circle.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

New books for 2008!!

I was SO excited about Ching-In's gift to me yesterday for my third decade: this perfect journal. Apparently, Bon Bon is a "Japanese-French girl who's ultra-mad about Vespas, Pop Art, space-age lounge, and 60's sounds!" The pictures are hilarious, and ones I like best of her on a corded phone in a womb chair, and of her breakdancing in white boots. Mostly, I am entranced by the moire-pattern volvelle on the cover (the spinning wheel!!).

So that will be my new 2008 planner; I just finished writing in all the dates, birthdays, full moons, and dates for the new mail art project that Ching-In and I will collaborate on for the entire year. I have one more box to make before I make some new books, and got my contracts back from a new collection in Portland. Cindy flies back from Sweden today! She should be landing in about 20 minutes. So, time to get a move on that box...