Friday, June 29, 2007

Ow, there

Right in the home stretch of doing a massive budget for an app, I started getting bad headaches. Repetitive pangs, and now they're echoing in my left hip. Gah. But the good news is that I have grant and job apps done and ready to mail tomorrow. Which means that all I have left is the press kit (yikes) and Fulbright (triple yikes). But I'm still prioritizing finding good pruning shears first. Happy anniversary to Breda! [plus surviving the first week of her OB rotation.] And happy 30th to Emerson, pictured here! [the birthday was Monday but the party is Sunday. Which I will sadly miss.]

Any tips on good activated charcoal to buy before Mexico? I'm also in denial about having to buy rain boots for mud season there.

Something akin to hope

Just a quickie before I dive into the inbox: today was another scorcher, and now I realize why the sun is so dangerous for me. Because I'm allergic to it! In doses this strong. I got to see Kiwon for lunch, almost died walking 20 blocks down 6th Avenue while running errands and ducking into stores for blasts of a/c, browsed pruning shears at neighborhood hardware stores (none were very good), and then almost passed out getting to the West Village on foot. I proceeded to spend two hours at Amy's Bread before Cindy showed up and we went to Caffe Vivaldi to meet Ivan and see Julie and Greg.

Their quartet, the Chiara Quartet, is in town briefly and did an amazing set tonight. More about that tomorrow...let's just say that they made me want to be the best person I could be, renewed my faith in art, pulled and tugged at all my fascia and major organs, championed exceptional contemporary compositions, and are pure love. They love music, each other, and the audience, and bring it all together in a remarkable way. Hell, they play chamber music in chambers!!! They also made me miss Nebraska like crazy.

Go see them tomorrow night if you can, in Brooklyn, at Rose.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Zoning out again

During the brief respite this afternoon when the skies clouded over and it rained and we were able to open the windows and air out the a/c-ed apt, I got motivated and made 1. a sketchbook for Mexico and 2. my very first batch of bathtub paper. All while listening to three Fulbright podcasts. My blender arrived today so I wanted to test it. It works. I also wanted to test my new small mould in the plastic tub I already have to make sure I can pull sheets. I can.

I'm starting to get psyched for Mexico and finally started to do some more research on the area. Good news is that the monarch butterfly flyway is kind of close to where we're be. Where there are monarchs, there is milkweed. Wishful thinking. My other dream is to find fig trees so I can make amate. The director said that there are nearby hot springs, and I think I'm going to splurge and take the optional fieldtrips to other areas in the state. I need to do some really basic language review, too. Maybe when I get back, I can start Spanish AND Korean language training. How fun would that be? [answer: not that fun. My brain is already too old to handle other languages with glee. I can barely get through papermaking texts that have Latin names for plants.]

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Wait, a heat wave??

I heard a lot of, "Aimee, if it gets really hot, you can turn on the A/C" today, but it wasn't until an hour ago that Ching-In told me that we're in a heat wave. I kept trying to wait it out, taking breaks from my computer so my left hand wouldn't fry on the hard drive. I guess it wasn't just me feeling uncomfortable. But I am still avoiding the A/C!

In the meantime: I finished reading Timothy Barrett's Japanese Papermaking, which is a GREAT book. I am embarrassed I hadn't read it sooner. I also got my first of three shipments of papermaking stuff I'll need for Mexico. But the list keeps growing! I just realized today that I need to get pruning shears or something that will help me harvest plants. There are so many little things that I forget go into a papermaking operation. The basic idea is simple, but a papermaking outift is NO JOKE.

Any advice out there on good shears? I'm going to poke around this week to try and get them at a hardware store (is that even the right place to go??). My excuse for knowing nothing about this is that I grew up my entire life in apartment buildings. Yard work is a foreign universe to me.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Oh, still hemming and hawing

I wish I wasn't so good at procrastinating. I ordered a bunch of papermaking supplies today for Mexico. Let's hope it all gets to me before I leave (it only hit me about an hour ago that I am leaving in just under two weeks. Pants!). I got a packet of readings on Korean papermaking from Dorothy Field, an artist in Canada. She's been very helpful in my research, and studied in the 80s with Kim Yeong Yon, a Korean papermaker. He died suddenly of a heart attack the day after she left. From her stories, he seemed like an amazing teacher, incredibly dedicated to the preservation of the craft.

Still left on my "I'd feel like a million bucks if I finish this in two weeks" list:

1 job app
1 grant app
1 publication submission (waiting on scans)
1 press kit (I've put this off since January)
1 book to read on Japanese papermaking
1 neverending Fulbright app

Sunday, June 24, 2007


I think that this fear has been keeping me up at nights. I'm going to try and break the cycle for ONE night b/c I'm waaaay too exhausted to function. I only have two weeks now until Mexico, so it's going to be a BIG push to get all my apps done before then and prepare. This is IT. No more hemming and hawing!

Belated shout-outs: Diana organized 50 Mermaids for Peace at yesterday's Mermaid Parade in Coney Island. I felt incredibly guilty for backing out but I hope it went well. Sun is to me like kryptonite to Superman.

Youme, a published author and wonderfully thoughtful visual artist, works for a great mural organization called Groundswell, if anyone is interested in contributing.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Remote controls from 1998

This was something I excavated yesterday. I forgot to take pictures until after it was a little too late. But I caught a few. All carved from Neutrogena soap during my last year at Oberlin. I made a little wood box for them, and they were all lined up on plexi and then the bottom of the box had a hole to let in light. That was the summer when I was listening to lots of Hello Nasty and The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill. Big surprise. I kept saying all year that Lauryn Hill saved my life.

I've been listening to a lot of Erasure, courtesy of Gili, and looking forward to a time when I'll actually get enough sleep (maybe tomorrow night?). I'm totally playing big sister, waiting to get the call so I can pick the kids up from the wedding reception. In the meantime, I watched the extra features of "Eternal Sunshine" b/c I can't bring myself to watch it again, but at the same time really want to see it, or have some connection with it. I also finished my meditation text and liked a lot of passages, though I didn't write them all down.
If we plant peaches, we're always going to get peaches. If we plant pears, we're always going to get pears. Karma works in just this way. If you plant nonvirtue - migewa - you get suffering. If you plant virtue - gewa - you get happiness. If we're using strong negative emotions to get what we want, and what we want is happiness, it's never going to work. Therefore we need to contemplate our intentions and actions. Contemplating samsara and karma strengthens our intention to point our life away from suffering and toward true happiness.

--Sakyong Mipham, Turning the Mind into an Ally

There's someone outside

She's in a red coat and just standing, looking out at the river. The Palisades are super green and morning pretty. In the meantime, I feel like hell after attempting to sleep on both the living room sofa and floor. My back just isn't having it. But I must say, I love excavating old art and making it new. More to come soon (including tiny, glycerin remote controls).

Friday, June 22, 2007

Full circle (almost)

I just went through the closet to find old sketchbooks from when my sister and I were tiny. I had told my therapist that we took art lessons one summer in Korea and drew on HUGE pads of paper. They seemed ENORMOUS back then, but I measured them today: 15 x 20". Hahahaa! It proves the point again about how everything looks bigger when you're smaller. We did a drawing a day, every day down the street from my grandparents, Korean style: our teacher would already have the picture of the day decided, and we'd copy it or he would tell us what to do and "fix" things along the way. I loved it. After class, we walked home and stopped for ice cream from a street vendor. That Korea doesn't exist anymore.

Yesterday: my first round of EMDR, lunch with Kate (she has her own consulting business now, fundraising for dance companies! So exciting), and a visit to New York Central Art Supply to browse handmade papers, and tea, with Brian. I stayed in Astoria with Cindy and Ivan (happy first anniversary!) and then had Stefan shoot some artwork. A couple for a publication I will be in that comes out next year, but mostly stuff from Vermont & Ragdale. A wonderful letter greeted me at home: I got a grant from NYFA to cover travel funds to Mexico!!! I had to call Shawn immediately, since he used to administer that program when we worked there together. Now, I just have to get a fellowship to see the circle all the way through.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

NYC housing in July?

I just got this from an artist friend, Rory Golden, who needs a place to stay in NYC (his Brooklyn apt is being subletted right now) for three weeks in July before he goes on residency:

I am looking for a couch crashing / pet sitting or dog walking / plant watering / empty bedroom / temp work gigs anytime from around July 1st or so through July 22nd (dates are totally flexible could even come earlier if needed).

If anyone has any leads, please let me know and I'll pass the word onto Rory. He's super sweet, a great artist, and a nearly enlightened soul. I met him in Nebraska and he put me up in Omaha.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Back to regular programming

Kate made this lovely bittersweet wreath w/my last "holiday" card. I hope to see her Thursday. I was psyched today to schedule a photo shoot w/Stefan for Friday. I get unreasonably freaked out about making phone calls, so I always feel extra happy once the call is over. It makes me feel like I've accomplished a LOT. Besides finishing Korean Women: View From the Inner Room, I also ordered papermaking supplies for Mexico from a place in Canada. I'm not sure why I felt compelled to do that rather than go to a vendor I know. Spending money on art-related things (like pro slides and pH strips from Ottawa) is my best happy drug.

I just found out that the Mexico residency is being fiscally sponsored by The Field, a non-profit, artist service organization, so we can receive tax-deductible contributions through them. If you want to help defray my materials/travel costs, just go to, click on "Contribute>To A Sponsored Artist," and under Artist Name, enter "Alicia Marvan" (don't worry, the whole amount minus the 3% credit card fee goes to me. Alicia is the director of the residency).

Of course, if you contribute, you'll get a special treat from Mexico. I'll have to mail it from the States when I return, but it will be something I make on residency.

The Field is a not-for-profit, tax-exempt, 501(c)(3) organization serving the New York City performing arts community. Contributions made to The Field and earmarked for Alicia Marvan are tax deductible to the extent allowed by law. For more information about The Field contact: The Field, 161 6th Avenue, New York NY 10013, (212)691-6969, fax: (212)255-2053, e-mail: A copy of The Field's latest annual report may be obtained, upon request, from The Field or from the Office of the Attorney General, Charities Bureau, 120 Broadway, New York, NY 10271.

Monday, June 18, 2007


This is long overdue. I'm down from the heat, my period, and being buried by all sorts of new challenges w/my Fulbright app and research. So better to show off people I know and love rather than talk about how much Gili and I were bored by "Pan's Labyrinth":

Terttu Uibopuu (see sidebar for a link to her blog) is a Chicago-based Estonian photographer who has a solo show opening at the end of this month. It runs June 28 - July 27, with an opening on Friday, June 29 from 5 to 7pm. It's at C33, a gallery on the corner of East Congress and Wabash (33 E Congress). Fun fact about the gallery: if you ride the orange or green lines towards Roosevelt, you can look down and see the gallery from above. Or you can just get off at Adams/Wabash and go see the show on foot. It's free. And will be brilliant.

Julie Laffin is a performance artist based in McHenry County, Illinois, and has been active in the Chicago and national performance scenes for her entire career. She works with architectural spaces and garments, with stunning sited work and durational performances in enormous dresses. She will be presenting a new work at the Prague Quadrennial on June 22, invited by Franklin Furnace to represent the US. My dear friends Clover Morell and Elizabeth Czekner are flying out tomorrow to perform and run tech/documentation for the event.

Stefan Hagen (I need to call him soon to shoot some more art) and a group of other artists (some that I met through NYFA years ago) are in Thoreau Reconsidered at Wave Hill, which runs until August 26.

I have two books in Artists’ Books 2007, showing at Cuesta College, San Luis Obispo, CA, showing until July 13. My days of the week underwear book is still on view until July 7 in Chicago at the Columbia College Center for Book & Paper Arts gallery, in Action/Interaction: Book/Art Exhibition.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Hey! Look at what I'm not doing!

I see this on the way into NYC on certain days when we board on the wrong side b/c of construction. My body ended up insisting that I take it easy this weekend. So, I watched three movies, tried to stay off the computer, and slept. I also skimmed three books, and did some research on folded book . I'm still in denial about the things I'm putting off, but am pretty skilled at procrastinating.

My latest method has been to send long emails to Chris, an artist I don't know. Apparently, we graduated from Oberlin at the same time. He was a studio major, but we never had any art classes together. He's been living in San Francisco for a while. He got in touch w/me after seeing my class note in the last alumni magazine, which is a trip, b/c it apparently made him think that I was a successful artist. But do you know what I'm doing right now, instead of filling out my Fulbright app? I'm on the sofa w/an overheating, outdated laptop, staring at a smiley face I drew on my right toenail when I was with Gili one day, a few weeks ago.

But who cares about where I am in my career, b/c tomorrow I'm getting a visitor!! Gili is coming for a Pan's Labyrinth date!!! AYEEEEEEEE!!

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Compulsive behavior

I'm behaving very, very badly right now. I should be asleep right now. But I'm feeling crazy from not getting "enough" done so I'm catching up on little things. I have to work all weekend, but I feel better about my ability to do it after spending a day w/Ching-In. We hashed out a lot of stuff about hopes, dreams, career planning, how much it sucks to book travel for residencies and the like, what we like to eat, and other fascinating points of interest.

We met up at Housing Works to get coffee (C) and brownie (me) for the road. Gili gave me the 2nd version of an Erasure mix that got lost in the mail months ago. PRAISE BE!! Then we rode to Coney Island, to see the rides, walk the beach, lunch at a place where we were treated nastily (most likely b/c we were Asian and not Eastern European), walk the track marks on the beach, and get ice cream (we were the first customers of the day!). Then we rode to Manhattan to wander from the Asia Society to a deli (I was craving potato chips), back to AS, back to Lex for more food (empanadas), and back to AS for a GREAT Ping Chong production: Undesirable Elements. This was part of the first National Asian American Theater Festival that is going on this week and next.

I'll miss Ching-In; this will likely be the last time I see her on the east coast before she heads to a squillion workshops and residencies this summer and then moves west for grad school. Today was the perfect way to cap our time together on this side of the continent. Even in spite of the sun, which burned me in random places (a shin, an index knuckle, cheeks). She put up w/my umbrella-toting, too. Some guy in the street was singing to me, "it's raining, it's raining, it's raining," and I had no idea until she clued me in. It all came full circle tonight as we sat in the front row of the theatre, hearing Joseph O. Legaspi talk about growing up in the Philippines and seeing women outside with parasols to prevent browning.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

A horse named Rocky

I saw this today at the Brooklyn Art Museum, by Fukami Sueharu, in the Japanese art section. The Korean section was pitiful. Tiny, poorly lit, and just sad. The whole museum was dreadful to get around, mostly b/c I think I've done something very bad to my left knee. There's searing pain behind the cap. NOT COOL. Brian advised me to stop pretending that I am an exercise machine kind of girl. I'll take his advice, b/c he brought cookies to the front of BAM right as I was making a mad dash down the stairs to get out of there.

Yesterday: meeting Youme, tagging along as she got art supplies for a friend in jail (not easy figuring out what will be let in and what will be trashed), seeing an art-o-mat machine, walking to Chinatown for bubble tea, and walking back up to meet Tuti for dinner at Otto. I escorted Tuti to Magnolia but did not get anything.

Today: major breakthrough about how I check out when people are talking to me and why, BAM (Korean art & feminist art), tea in Prospect Heights w/Brian, two stops at Borough Hall to meet Ivan (and talk to his Finnish coworker about how our languages are related), a futile attempt to find Gi at work, and then dinner in Newark w/Susan at Forno's. I skipped dessert there, too. But I love it there: where else can you go, sit down, and get hot bread, garlic bread, butter, olive oil, olives, and a huge salad, all before you even order any food?

Reading: Sakyong Mipham's Turning the Mind into an Ally, a great meditation text where he talks about HORSES as they relate to meditation.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Regina, Regina

I'm not sure which, but one of her songs is stuck in my head. I was able to get two mindless movies into my diet today after finishing two apps. It required one trip to the stationery store (for envelopes), one trip to the library (for copies), and two trips to the post office. I hope the one to Korea gets there on time; I always fear for airmail. Landscapers woke me up early, I've been snacking on a batch of cookies I made on Sunday, and my sciatica is raging: I am 100% the suburban nightmare. Wheee!

I only have a few weeks before I leave for Mexico, and have a feeling that time after that will fly, so I need to get on the Fulbright responsibility wagon pronto. Time to fill out some of those very unpleasant forms (like every since class and grade you ever got in your life and everywhere you've ever been in your life. Yikes).

Monday, June 11, 2007

Peanut butter cups

Are we allowed to mail those overseas? I want to send some to a friend in Japan. I drew today for the first time in a long time. It felt nice to cozy up to the sketchbook again. I also made a treat that I mailed away - a variation on the same theme. It's headed west towards someone who reads this blog but should be too busy right now to be reading it. Maybe I should start another mail art thing where I send things to random people who read the blog.

I finally forced myself back onto the app trail, since I got a rejection letter today. The hope is that I get three apps out this week. The reality is that I will probably only get two out. One to Korea and one to Minnesota. I read yesterday that Finnish and Korean are related to the same family of languages. So fun! I'm also about to give up on Octavio Paz's The Labyrinth of Solitude b/c I need to get to my almost 800-pg reader on Mexico. But I loved his opening paragraph in "The Pachuco and Other Extremes":
All of us, at some moment, have had a vision of our existence as something unique, untransferable and very precious. This revelation almost always takes place during adolescence. Self-discovery is above all the realization that we are alone: it is the opening of an impalpable, transparent wall - that of our consciousness - between the world and ourselves. It is true that we sense our aloneness almost as soon as we are born, but children and adults can transcend their solitude and forget themselves in games or work. The adolescent, however, vacillates between infancy and youth, halting for a moment before the infinite richness of the world. He is astonished at the fact of his being, and this astonishment leads to reflection: as he leans over the river of his consciousness, he asks himself if the face that appears there, disfigured by the water, is his own. The singularity of his being, which is pure sensation in children, becomes a problem and a question.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Study, cookies, gizzard

I've started to panic about going to Mexico. I have cold feet and wonder if I should 1. write a will before I leave or 2. cancel the ticket and bail. I don't feel excited about it; I psyched myself up for it b/c other people thought it was a good idea. And b/c I felt like I would be pathetic for not having a summer residency. But I'm not sure if it's worth it. While I panic about that, I'm reading a bunch about Korean art, which is fun (I LOVE that the rainbows I've been drawing for a while are in this panel from the mid to late 19th century, during the last dynasty before everything went to hell in the 20th).

My new epiphany about Korean history and why learning it is a bummer: it's a history about losers, about people who have constantly been kicked around and dominated. Growing up with American history was easy - this country got all the land (and lots of other things). Of course, along the way, it exterminated all the people living here and also brought and enslaved a bunch of other people who didn't live here. But going from studying a history of the winners to a history of the losers, wow. It makes me understand a lot of ancestral baggage that I have, the old grudges, the feeling of being so incredibly wronged that there might not ever be a way to make it right. And people wonder why I have anger management issues. HA!

From the Victoria & Albert Museum


Stoneware, inlaid under a celadon glaze
By Sin Sang-ho (b. 1936)
Height 29.4 cm

From a beautiful book, Korean Art and Design, text by Beth McKillop, to celebrate the opening of London's first permanent gallery of Korean art. This particular piece is by a contemporary potter. I turned to this page and fell in love.

Friday, June 08, 2007

One more thing

Michelle (I met her at Ragdale) wrote this lovely piece that I wanted to share.

Dreams of drowning

I love this car ornament that Ching-In's dad hung inside her car. Yesterday was a looooong but good day. Two rounds of therapy, two rounds of harassing Gili at work, a long round of hanging out w/someone I haven't seen in eight years, and dinner/dessert at Chiyono and Beard Papa with Cindy and Shawn.

I feel overwhelmed by my inbox. I have NOT dealt w/active "real live" research on Korea this week, and feel guilty about it. That process involves tracking down people. I don't like this process unless I'm tracking down people I know and like. When I'm searching for people who are complete strangers, and who have knowledge that I'm seeking, then I feel incredibly insecure.

Maybe this is why I dreamed this morning of being Lorelei saving Rory from drowning, only to have her tell me that we should both let the current overtake us and die in a huge waterfall. Oh, and also about visiting grad school only to find it under massive reconstruction: new classrooms, huge skylights, a lap pool...I cried b/c I was so sad that I wouldn't benefit from it. Then I found out that the project was being funded by a Baptist church that would also use the facilities as they pleased.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Starting over

I've been having bad bouts of second and third winds late at night, not being able to sleep b/c of sudden alertness, but not being able to work productively b/c underneath that wide eyed at 2am feeling is exhaustion. I'm trying to reset today, and did two seconds of cardio followed by a GREAT hour of kundalini (the second kind of yoga I studied when I first started; perfect for today). Gi pushed me to get out, so I walked down to a cafe run by someone I went to school with and sugared up on two chai lattes, plus a huge slice of chocolate cake.

My computer freaked out suddenly, so I was forced to read (Introducing Korea edited by Peter Hyun), which went surprisingly well. I also got to catch up w/the owner, who had been friends with Githa. We talked a little about her, which was good timing b/c she's been on my mind lately. Oh, and yesterday I procrastinated by making this paper hedgehog. Tonight, I'm going to commit to doing three apps (or at least starting them).

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

There and back

I'm recovering from the opening and confused about what day today is. It's more like I'm recovering from the travel. For some reason, each time I go to Boston, it starts out sunny and warm and summery in New York, and then clouds descend and suddenly it's cold and pouring in Boston. A bird shat onto my hand right before I left for Boston, which my mom said was a good omen for the opening. Dad told me to get lottery tickets (I did, at a Hess in Brockton, but didn't win). I missed the chance to talk to the crowd at the opening about my piece, b/c I didn't realize they were going to do a guided tour, but everyone was very nice and liked it. I was mortified b/c it had sunk a little on one side, but was able to keep myself from trying to fix it in front of everyone. The preparator will fix it later. The best part was getting to meet Phyto, who was super sweet and fun to talk to.

Ching-In took very good care of me. We had dim sum before the opening (that + traffic got us there late, but it was worth it). After I helped her by attacking her room (she's preparing to move to southern California for her MFA in the fall and was overwhelmed by all of her stuff), we had a really good dinner at a Portuguese place, and then watched "Brazil" (which led to bad dreams; I hate 1984-esque anything). I missed the bus back so had time to grab something at a Chinatown bakery before taking the next one back to NY. Rain, horrible traffic, really loud cell phone convos, the usual. I made it back in time to meet Michelle and her husband for dinner. It was nice to catch up since Ragdale.

I thought I had more profound things to say but only can come up with this: it's lonely doing the kind of artwork that I do, and I have the best friends in the world. Oh, and apparently I should bill my skills as magical genius packer and figure out a way to market myself to do it professionally.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Restless, as usual

I recently got in touch w/a long-lost classmate from Oberlin who saw my class note in the latest alumni magazine, and he said he's prone to anxiety, not depression. I didn't know you could do just ONE! I always mix it up w/both. In this heat, I'm on the anxiety side. I feel like I have a million little projects that all need a push, and I'm not pushing (like, manufacturing art to go into a box, entering a show for paper garments, getting a press kit together for a major collection, and hiring my editor and photog for more documentation). But I did finish the East to America book and LOVED it. I am now reading three books about Korean art and history all at once. Feeling a little tired of the scholarship, but at the same time can't stop myself.

I go to the Pulp Function opening at Fuller Craft Museum tomorrow to visit my wall and meet another cyberspace pal. Ching-In will pick me up and take me there! I'm going to force myself to do Mexico research for the July residency this trip, but still have a long ways to go on my proposal for Korea. I'm in a strange bored/overwhelmed state right now. Must be from not wanting to ride the bus so much for the next couple of days.