Posts Tagged ‘living’

Quitting: A Comic

Burning Man / Secret Passage

i can’t expect you to understand how all these people in this video make me so happy but they do

art vs. craft vs… a lot of stuff

My friend recently wrote a blog post in which she shared what she dreamed it would be like as an artist vs what it’s actu­ally been like.

I was in a pretty seri­ous band for many years and have a back­ground in fine arts (with a focus in paint­ing and sculp­ture) and I def­i­nitely wres­tled with some of the same issues while try­ing to fig­ure out how to actu­ally live out a cre­ative pro­fes­sion* (the ideal vs the real­ity). There are two aspects of the how-to-be-and-be-happy-and-even-be-successful-as-an-artist issue that I want to address here: art vs craft, fem­i­nism, & the cult of the ama­teur, and the cur­rent trend col­laps­ing art/craft & consumerism/consumption.

Your Mom’s a Fiber Artist**
(the art vs craft debate from 3rd wave fem­i­nism to the cult of the amateur)

In the past 8-ish years, there has been a huge main­stream resur­gence in a cat­e­gory of cre­ative activ­i­ties tra­di­tion­ally con­sid­ered more “craft” than Art. Knit­ting, cro­chet, sewing, etc are expe­ri­enc­ing a post-modern renais­sance where it has become cool to play with fiber (and knit­ting has pos­si­bly even jumped the shark since every­one and their mom does it). Out­side of the realm of fiber arts, activ­i­ties like paper/printing arts, jewelry/metal work­ing, home craft, and cook­ing have gained a degree of legit­i­macy that even 3rd wave fem­i­nism couldn’t have imagined.

[As an aside, it is worth doing some read­ing about the art vs craft debate (or even just on women and art in gen­eral) from the per­spec­tive of fem­i­nist writ­ers. I am not going to pre­tend that I am aca­d­e­mic enough any­more to do this topic jus­tice, but suf­fice to say that the asso­ci­a­tion of many crafts (and espe­cially fiber crafts) with women’s work/domesticity has his­tor­i­cally rel­e­gated them to a lower posi­tion in the hier­ar­chy of all-things-aesthetic, whereas fine Art-with-a-capital-A enjoys a legit­imized (and his­tor­i­cally largely male-dominated) posi­tion at the top of the aes­thetic pyramid.

Here is a poster by the Guerilla Girls and some links for your aside enjoyment.

…end aside.]

Aaaaaaaaany­ways.

Back to the explo­sion of pop­u­lar­ity and sub­se­quent main­stream legit­imiza­tion of the craft-y arts. I am cer­tainly not here to crit­i­cize the pro­lif­er­a­tion of craft-as-art-and-even-Art on the whole, but I do want to point out an unfor­tu­nate side effect: much like we have seen with music over the last 10+ years, we are in a period that J some­times likes to call “the cult of the ama­teur.” It has become incred­i­bly acces­si­ble to become a cre­ator, a maker, some­one who con­cerns them­selves with the prac­tice of aes­thet­ics. In a world where you can buy Garage­band for you iPad for $4.99, a search for knit­ting pat­terns turns up over 8.3 mil­lion results, and Urban O*tfitters has a DIY sec­tion, how do you deter­mine who is actu­ally Good? What is actu­ally Authen­tic? How is value/meaning/significance assigned to art now that the angle of par­tic­i­pa­tion has widened sig­nif­i­cantly? I don’t have the answers to these ques­tions (nor am I try­ing to sug­gest that we res­ur­rect the cult of Genius). How­ever, I think it is impor­tant to acknowl­edge that as we swing away from the myth of artist-as-special, we risk swing­ing too far to the other side, where we value the ama­teur over the pro­fes­sional, the casual over the seri­ous, the mediocre or even crappy over the skilled. And that is not a world that sup­ports and val­ues cul­tural pro­duc­tion by Artists.

Con­sum­ing Anti-Consuming
(or why Etsy is not all that it’s cracked up to be)

This brings me to my sec­ond topic. I have refrained from men­tion­ing Etsy thus far but it is obvi­ously a result of the value of hand­made enter­ing our main­stream con­scious­ness. Etsy encour­ages peo­ple to buy items from what they term small-small busi­nesses (“human-scale economies”) and places an empha­sis on author­ship and prove­nance in the items mar­keted there. In the­ory, Etsy is really, really great and I am whole­heart­edly happy that it exists and espe­cially proud of my awe­some friends who have shops here, here, and here. But (yes, I just did another “yes, but”).

Here’s my prob­lem with Etsy. It’s cool that it’s rooted in ideas about alter­na­tive economies. In prac­tice, though, I see a race to the bot­tom (after all in cap­i­tal­ism cheap­ness wins). In an effort to com­pete (or per­haps out of igno­rance about their value as cre­ators or even in spite of their value), sell­ers must suc­cumb to mar­ket pres­sure and the pre­mium for arti­san and hand­made gets thin­ner and thin­ner. Sara Mosle wrote about the false fem­i­nist fan­tasy ped­dled by Etsy two years ago. The NYT ran an arti­cle ques­tion­ing the effort required to run an Etsy busi­ness as well. Since then, I haven’t exactly seen things get bet­ter. Searches turn up a pro­lif­er­a­tion of list­ings made with ques­tion­able mate­ri­als (cheap & made in China), ques­tion­able author­ship (every­one copy­ing every­one else… owls and deer any­one?), and even ques­tion­able sell­ers (is it really a small-small busi­ness and is it really hand­made if you are clearly out­sourc­ing your labor and pro­duc­tion?). I mean, it’s not like all of Etsy is like that, but it’s def­i­nitely there as the dark under­belly of the indie com­merce machine. At the end of the day, I think that the mar­ket pres­sures you see in play on Etsy might be the undo­ing of craft-as-Art, and iron­i­cally of hand­made as a viable cre­ative pro­fes­sion. It’s very dis­ap­point­ing because it’s so tan­ta­liz­ingly Almost.

Finally, let’s not for­get that even for the best that Etsy has to offer, it’s still about CONSUMPTION. I’m going to go way out of my league here intel­lec­tu­ally and aca­d­e­m­i­cally and say that my gut reac­tion is that when Art/art/craft/Craft seeks its val­i­da­tion through con­sumerism, artists aren’t really com­ing out ahead.

It’s my bed­time but I plan to read more about this last point (this, this, and some good old marx seem like decent start­ing points), to make sure I’m not being full of sheep. Please call me out if you dis­agree, I’d love to have the con­ver­sa­tion or some links to read.

*It turns out that I became a UX designer, which was a good fit for me cre­atively, but try­ing to fig­ure out how — and whether — I wanted to “make it” as a musi­cian or a fine artist took a lot of soul searching.

 ** Dear Mom. I don’t mean this as a dig against moms.

Posted: September 13th, 2011
Categories: making
Tags: , , , , ,
Comments: 1 Comment.

raw thoughts from burning man

writ­ten on the plane.

p.s. my hair exten­sions sur­vived just fine in case you were won­der­ing :D

Posted: September 7th, 2011
Categories: adventures, things i like
Tags: , , ,
Comments: 1 Comment.

goggles and glasses

people are scared to say hello is a line from a subhumans song

A few weeks ago I was meet­ing a friend after work and since I knew I would have an hour to kill I thought I’d stop into Wax­Trax, which is a few blocks away from her new apart­ment. I hadn’t been there in ages and ages (because who buys CDs any­more?). I think this was slightly before I fin­ished my zine so I had it in the back of my head that maybe they still had a bin of zines I could poke thru while I was waiting.

Den­ver has been hav­ing these crazy rains this sum­mer where the sky just opens up and floods down. One of these rains hap­pened the minute that I stepped in the store, an intense bar­rage of water. I didn’t see any zines — well, there were like 2 or 3 on a mag­a­zine rack thing, along with a book called The Rest is Pro­pa­ganda by Steve Igno­rant of Crass.

Now, I had coin­ci­den­tally just lis­tened to Crass a few days pre­vi­ously and given that I was clearly going to be stuck in the store for a while due to the rain, I thought it would be polite to buy some­thing. So I picked up the book, and I wan­dered around the store for a while, and I left with it and a copy of the How to Destroy Angels album (lit­er­ally the first CD I have bought since around 2004 or 5).

The book is really great and it turns out that Steve Igno­rant is a really good writer. Though I was once real­lyre­al­lyre­ally into anar­chop­unk music I really never knew the story behind Crass, and how they formed out of the Dial House in Essex out­side of Lon­don. I have been really intrigued to read about the cul­ture sur­round­ing that place and time because it is just so dif­fer­ent than my life is now (or ever was) and even though I still really love Crass I can now as an adult see how I was never, ever really a punk (cos, y’know, punk is dead). I mean for chris­sakes I grew up in the Val­ley. Any­ways there’s all this stuff about squats and other inten­tional com­mu­ni­ties, which I find really fas­ci­nat­ing and I really want to do some more read­ing on this topic.

And hon­estly my life is so so so far removed from any of that that it’s not even funny. I live in a lit­tle sub­ur­ban sub­di­vi­sion plopped down in an old coal min­ing and farm­ing area. The clos­est thing to squat­ting here is the fact that my county has a high fore­clo­sure rate and also a high meth rate and one might imag­ine that the two lead to occa­sional ille­gal aban­doned house occu­pa­tion. And the lack of com­mu­nity here is notable. We’re one of the younger fam­i­lies in the neigh­bor­hood, and most every­one is either retired or has kids. Lots of stay-at-home moms and SUVs. I don’t see a lot of evi­dence of peo­ple with left lean­ing pol­i­tics and I do see a lot of evi­dence of peo­ple who go to church. On one side of me are neigh­bors that I have lit­er­ally seen less than 10 times in the 3 years we’ve lived here. The other side used to be a guy who worked in IT and was out of the coun­try 3 weeks out of every 4. Across the street is a fam­ily with teenagers who once watched Mr. Kitty when we were out of town but they don’t really talk to us. There is a fam­ily down the street that sells us girl scout cook­ies and we wave and are friendly when we walk by their house to the mail­box, but that’s about it in terms of pur­pose­ful con­nec­tion with any­one in my imme­di­ate res­i­den­tial vicinity.

Why is that? I *do* like my home and I *do* like the area we live in and I really *am* a died-in-the-wool sub­ur­ban­ite with a fond­ness for rural farm­land and no desire to ever live in an apart­ment or city, but at the same time I have sit­u­ated my life so that it is very iso­lated from other peo­ple. I can gen­er­al­ize about how I prob­a­bly wouldn’t like any of my neigh­bors (see above) but the real­ity is that I’m kind of anti-social and priv­i­leged to be able to live in my own single-family home and while I some­times bemoan the lack of any kind of com­mu­nity in my life I know it’s com­pletely my own fault.

The IT guy was relo­cated this spring and a fam­ily recently moved in next door. They are an extended Indian fam­ily (grand­par­ents, par­ents, kid) and at first I was annoyed because they have a lot of cars and one was parked pretty closed to our dri­ve­way, which I am not used to. I know I was being a brat about it so I felt bad and promised myself that I would intro­duce myself. I kind of waved at the grand­fa­ther on my way to work once (he sits on the porch a lot). The grand­mother plays out in the front yard every evening with the lit­tle girl (who is super cute) and they both said hi when I was walk­ing in with gro­ceries the other night.

Tonight I was tak­ing out the com­post and on my way back in the grand­mother and lit­tle girl were wait­ing on the wall between our houses to say hi. She doesn’t speak much Eng­lish but she seems really friendly and nice and eager to meet the neigh­bors. Of course! They have pos­si­bly been mak­ing them­selves extremely vis­i­ble in the front yard as a way to intro­duce them­selves to the community.

Is there any hope that my sub­ur­bia could be a lit­tle less of an unin­ten­tional clus­ter of recluses and a lit­tle more of an inten­tional com­mu­nity? I mean, I have every inten­tion of get­ting to know the new fam­ily but the real­ity is that I don’t have high hopes of sud­denly hav­ing drop in art nights and band prac­tices in people’s garages and col­lab­o­ra­tive gar­dens and stuff like that. We’re still going to be younger than the peo­ple around us by 10+ years. I’m still a bit of a recluse. I still have a bit of a chip on my shoul­der with regards to fit­ting in with any­one. It feels like an unsolv­able dilemma. Maybe in 10 years we will have our own ver­sion of the Dial House on Jasper Road and we will have some don­keys and some goats and a big gar­den and com­mu­nity din­ners with heather & miles. But I think there is a per­son­al­ity prob­lem I have to work on to get there.

Posted: July 24th, 2011
Categories: Daily
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i made a zine

yep, i did.

the last time i did some­thing of the sort i was 15 and i made it with a kid named MK who was some­body i met from the aol punk mes­sage boards and my screen­name was oran­gesid and i am pretty sure i wrote about the pro­pa­gandhi riot at the VFW (that i didn’t “get” to go to).

so then fast-forward many years and i am a designer by pro­fes­sion and let me tell you how chal­leng­ing lib­er­at­ing it was not to get sucked into doing this thing on the com­puter. cos at one point i was try­ing to pick out what font i was going to use and a lit­tle voice at the back of my head told me “no, no, no you are miss­ing the point entirely.” and so i picked up some tape and a marker and 3 months later once i was done pro­cras­ti­nat­ing less busy with work i finally had 26 pages to scan on my copy­ma­chineprint­erthing. and oh did you remem­ber that when you make real phys­i­cal printed things the pages need to be in mul­ti­ples of four? ha ha, yeah, that’s embarass­ing. so i added two more pages.

so, here it is. issue one of my zine called ‘animal/people’. the theme is love & loss and in it i process a bit about los­ing mr. kitty and other things. there are some great con­tri­bu­tions by colleen, jenna, and heather. and i am really proud of it.

if you would like a copy, then please harken back to the way zines worked last time i did them and send an SASE and $1 to… wait, i am not going to post my address on the inter­net. i won­der how much P.O. boxes cost?

so, just email me at linds­dot­moore­atmedot­com (you know the drill with the dots and stuff) and i will send you some snailzine­mail. and if you would have sent me a dol­lar in the mail maybe you could donate it to the boul­der humane soci­ety instead. thank you lovelies.

 

Posted: July 17th, 2011
Categories: making
Tags: , , , , ,
Comments: 2 Comments.

The Modern Failure

You are my hero­ine! And by hero­ine I mean lady hero. I don’t want to inject you and lis­ten to jazz.”

—Liz Lemon, 30 Rock

Right now my lady hero is my friend Chanelle, who is writ­ing an awe­some blog called The Mod­ern Fail­ure. In it she explores “the areas in which the mod­ern woman may feel like a fail­ure (the work­place, the work­out, the home, preg­nancy, being ‘green’, etc), the ori­gins of the mod­ern woman’s expec­ta­tions of her­self, and why we wake up every day feel­ing like we are already behind.”

I pretty much think that if you have ever been, cared about, or even met a mod­ern woman human being on this planet, you should prob­a­bly read it. Right now.

Posted: February 17th, 2011
Categories: things i like
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Last Day Of Magic / SX70

Hi Summer

Hi Sum­mer.

You’re pretty awe­some. You make it feel like vaca­tion, even when it is just a nor­mal Sat­ur­day. I really like spend­ing time with you and hope that you’ll con­sider hang­ing out with me until at least August.

xoxo,
Linds

Posted: July 17th, 2010
Categories: Daily
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erie

Today con­sisted of gar­den­ing, going to a farm stand a few miles away and buy­ing spring greens and straw­ber­ries on the honor sys­tem, dri­ving around farm land, eat­ing local greens on the back porch while Mr. Kitty lounged and looked pleased, and some more gar­den­ing. All the while, a back­drop of amaz­ing bil­lowy clouds set off the snow­caps still show­ing on the moun­tains to the west. Erie is pretty good place to live…

Billowy clouds hanging to the west of the Erie farmland:

Posted: June 5th, 2010
Categories: Daily, things i like
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chlorine

mmm­mmm. first adult swim time of the sum­mer. oh how i <3 the smell of chlorine!

Posted: June 2nd, 2010
Categories: Daily
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life like weeds

Life Like Weeds
Mod­est Mouse

in this life like weeds

And in the places you go, you’ll see the place where you’re from.
And in the faces you meet, you’ll see the place where you’ll die.
And on the day that you die, you’ll see the peo­ple you met.
And in the faces you see, you’ll see just who you’ve been.

in this life like weeds

In this life like weeds, in this life like weeds.
Eyes need us to see, hearts need us to bleed.
In this life like weeds, you’re a rock to me.
I know where you’re from, but where do you belong?
In this life like weeds, you’re the dirt I’ll breath.
In this life like weeds, you’re a rock to me.

in this life like weeds

All this talk­ing all the time and the air fills up, up, up.
Until there’s noth­ing left to breathe,
And you think you feel most every­thing.
And we know that our hearts are just made out of strings
To be pulled, strings to be pulled.

in this life like weeds

So you think you’ve fig­ured out every­thing,
But we know that our minds are just made out of strings
To be pulled, strings to be pulled.

in this life like weeds

All this talk­ing all the time and the air fills up, up, up.
Until there’s noth­ing left to breathe,
Up until there’s nothin left to speak.
Up until the data parts in space.

in this life like weeds

Posted: May 23rd, 2010
Categories: words to rest in
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pavel, fading.

today i logged into face­book to find an unex­pected reminder of my col­lege friend pavel’s death from a heroin over­dose 5 years ago today. it is crazy how often i still think of pav but i also know that i have con­di­tioned myself to remem­ber him when­ever i hear lou reed. since i used to wake up to ‘pale blue eyes’ every day, it wasn’t a huge leap to keep him in my consciousness.

this is prob­a­bly the first april 19th in 5 years that i haven’t thought about him on my own. it is scary when mem­o­ries begin to fade, scarier still when you think of how the mem­o­ries that haven’t faded are the ones you have rehearsed. bowl­ing. nap­ster. go board. bowtie. red shirt. bor­rowed chair. radio show. messy room. hunter s. thompson.

i really wish i still had the mem­o­ries that fill the holes between those words.

Posted: April 19th, 2010
Categories: words to rest in
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Everyone calls someplace home.

Every­one is from some­place. Every­one lives some­place. Every­one calls some­place home.

The other day I was talk­ing to some­one who had moved to Den­ver from Min­nesota 2 years ago (I took note because I am also from Min­nesota. If you could hear me say that word you could tell). He was explain­ing that he knew he wanted to move some­place less cold, with lib­eral pol­i­tics and good schools for his chil­dren. He took an online sur­vey that was sup­posed to let you know where you should live and his matches were Den­ver, Austin, Nashville, Min­neapo­lis, and Cincinnati.

Cincin­nati??” I said. “Who wants to live in Cincinnati?”

Do you know any­thing about Cincin­nati?” he responded, pointedly.

Tonight at din­ner, my grandpa men­tioned how much he likes Col­orado and that is a very nice place to be. He moved here two years ago, when my grandma passed away.

You like where ever you live,” my mom responded.

I think my grandpa is wise.

I went to col­lege in Florida, which is about as far as you can get from Col­orado in terms of cul­ture and weather. For the first 2 years, I felt like I was dri­ving around with blind­ers on because I had no periph­eral vision due to the flat­ness and trees. I also found out that I am aller­gic to fire­ants. I spent 4 years lament­ing about how Col­orado was so great and about how much I missed it and about how peo­ple from the east coast _just didn’t understand_ what it was like to live in the West. I think back now and know that this must have been so tir­ing to the peo­ple around me.

Last week, J and I went to Florida to see our super­greata­maz­ing friends. We spent a mag­i­cal week doing chill chill chill. We also saw amaz­ing birds, ani­mals, and plants, ate beer-battered hot­dogs on the key, sun­burnt our­selves at the beach, had boat drinks in the tourist quar­ter, breathed at yoga, and watched good local music. Spend­ing time with them makes me love Florida. Spend­ing time with them makes Florida feel like a sec­ond home.

Every­one calls some­place home. Whether it changes 20 times or whether you stay rooted for your life, every­one has their rea­sons for where they land, where they leave their hearts, and where they want to be. Den­ver. Sara­sota. Tai­wan. Santa Bar­bara. Brook­lyn. Maui. Manila. Chicago. Alaska.

Even Cincin­nati.

Posted: April 4th, 2010
Categories: Daily
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Perfection

you are beautiful

One Little Word: Unfold

If 2009 was a year where I was sur­rounded with peo­ple hun­ker­ing down, per­se­ver­ing, and mak­ing it thru, then I hereby declare that my word for 2010 will be Unfold.

Unfold­ing is some­thing that can hap­pen phys­i­cally, men­tally, and spiritually*.

I look for­ward to good things unfold­ing on this year’s horizon.

*funny for me to men­tion since I comfortably/firmly an agnos­tic and don’t really care for that word, but it is appro­pri­ate as related to good soul­ful yoga liv­ing. Kinda like a sec­u­lar ver­sion of adhy­atma vikasa.

Posted: January 6th, 2010
Categories: words to rest in
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Comments: 1 Comment.

New Years Fortune Cookie

If our New Years Eve and New Years Day were a for­tune cookie, this is what John told me it would say:

You are risk tak­ers. You are will­ing to take on risks to find happiness.

What a crazy night, but I love that way of look­ing at it!

Posted: January 1st, 2010
Categories: words to rest in
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