Monday, April 21, 2014

BFA Juried Exhibition 2014

Microchroma, Fall 2013
Chalk pastel on paper

______As a Bachlor of Fine Arts major, I have the opportunity to enter my work into a juried competition among other BFAs for being displayed in an off-campus gallery for a few weeks. I was pleased as a pokey pineapple to discover that two of my pieces ended up being selected! Both are installation floor pieces that were done last semester for a Drawing Concepts class. I had to set them up one early morning alongside faculty and other BFA majors as we all figured out the proper placements for the works; I believe a true gallery environment with hardwood floors and controlled lighting really makes the work pop compared to a classroom setting, so I was sure to snap a ton of pictures, which is why you all haven't seen these before!

______The first piece I'll show you is a floor piece comprised of a multitude of pieces that I hand cut from thick Bristol paper. I then made drawings that were cellular or body-like in nature using chalk pastel on those pieces. As you move from the outer pieces to the center, the image "zooms in" on the one above it, thus rendering it more abstract. It was very time-consuming, but working with a buttload of smaller pieces instead of one large entity made it more adventurous and bearable. I feel this piece opened a whole new world for me; I'm hoping to push similar ideas further in my coming years.


______My next piece was lucky enough to claim the famed "glass floor" on the second floor of the gallery. I was delighted it fit so perfectly there--I was afraid I would have to leave some strips out or have an uneven placement of them, but everything fit snug as a tiny cactus in a tiny cactus holder. For this one, I snipped a (clean!) white bed sheet into squares, stacked the squares in groupings of ten, inked minimalistic drawings on the top square, and used alcohol to bleed its memory through the layers.

______It was entertaining observing people get so close to both of my works to point and try to figure out what was going on. As I was taking pictures, one guy asked, "Is this yours?" and I nodded yes and he said, "It took me a while to realize what was happening. And then I grasped it and had an 'aha!' moment." He told me it was neat how even very similar marks ended up producing different results, and he and many others told me which their favorite "row" was, which was delightful to me!

Wash Out, Quiet SquaresWash Out, Quiet SquaresWash Out, Quiet SquaresWash Out, Quiet SquaresBFA Juried Exhibition 2014
Wash Out, Quiet Squares, Fall 2013
Ink, alcohol, fabric, glass

______The event itself couldn't have gone smoother--I was sure to make myself as frilly as possible, donning a confectionary, twirl-worthy dress and my geek-chic Triforce earrings. There was a full gallery of people: fellow art students, faculty, and family members made up a hearty chunk of the attendees, but there were many others beside that. I also spoke to a few polite strangers about my own art on display and I really think it helped my own confidence--it's flooring (ha) to see that people are interested in what you're making and how you're thinking!

______(sighs deeply) Yep, I'm gonna miss all my senior art friends who are graduating in just two weeks. Two weeks! What even happened to the semester?

BFA Juried Exhibition 2014BFA Juried Exhibition 2014BFA Juried Exhibition 2014BFA Juried Exhibition 2014BFA Juried Exhibition 2014BFA Juried Exhibition 2014
(first group photo above taken by Greg Randall)

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Come Sail Away + LoopsWay


______I'll keep this post short since my last two posts were practically-basically-sorrynotsorry novels. I've probably exhausted your reading meters, so I'll give you guys a week or two to refill them. I'm quite relieved you all are spiz-spazzin' out with me--it's fun reading all the little stories you guys have to share, too, and I solemnly swear I will keep you updated. It's a strange thing, this liking a dude thing is, but we'll see how it goes.

______Any who, onto LoopsWay: they're an online jewelry boutique that offers a snazzy range of shiny accessories to sport on your big, bad self, from necklaces to bracelets to earrings. They sent me over this dainty gold rudder necklace and I believe it's the perfect size--not to big, not too small, but noticeable enough so that your friends and neighbors will know you're a fearsome sea pirate and water wrangler. Plus, it came in the mail in under a week and their staff was very kind and quick to reply to my e-mails. Excellent customer service combined with speedy shipping on a cute item is a triple win in my book!


______You can find more of their darling necklaces here, and if you spend over $35, you can earn free shipping. Ch-check 'em out!

______Stay sane this week, friends!


Dress: Cynthia Rowley via TJ Maxx (similar)
Anchor necklace: c/o LoopsWay
Anchor belt: Lotus Boutique
Earrings: c/o JoJo Loves You
Closure bracelet: Charming Charlie

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

I Had My First Kiss Watching Pokemon

The Crest of AllThe Crest of All

______It started off plainly enough. Since the night was young, we opted for watching a few episodes of Pokemon, the most romantic show that infested planet earth in the 90s. He loaded it up on his computer, snapped the lights off, and faced the screen to his bed; we plopped down side by side and instantly jammed out to the Pokemon theme song, huffed at the ridiculous dialogue, and revelled in the perfectly packaged puns. A ways in, he flipped to his side and rested his head in my lap. I began lightly scratching his back and noted a smiling response accompanied by the glint of an eye. Phew, safe move. Knight to F-3.

______We continued making outlandish commentary and he flawlessly imitated a few of the character voiceovers, but about three episodes in, our responses waned and the quietness reigned. I shifted my hand from his back to his shoulders to his hair.  I noticed his eyes shut a few times. His eyelashes blinked in sync with the computer's changing screen. Occasionally, his fingers would graze my palm or caress my arm.

______"You're tired?" I inquired, already knowing the answer. He nodded.

______I looked down at him and continued to comb my fingers through his hair. Gosh dangit, you are fluffy and cute, was all my brain could process. I would totally kiss your face if I had any idea how, and also you are sort of far away and I have no idea how to get you up here. And so for the next few minutes, fleeting schemes ran like feral ostriches through the grasslands of my heated mind. Do I just ask to kiss him? Maybe that would be lame. Maybe not. Forcing him up wouldn't be feasible, either. That would require an excess of energy on my part. So what to do?

______I stopped brushing his hair for a moment. He responded by moving his fingertips across my arm and down to my hand, pausing there to hold it in his own. My own fingers wrapped around his. The screen flashed in vivid yellows and greens and embraced his form like paint smears.

The Crest of All
The Crest of AllThe Crest of All
The Crest of AllThe Crest of All

______All things must have balance, my inner Confucius said to me, similar to the balance there is in devouring a head of lettuce alongside a Snickers bar.  And so there I went, contemplating kissing in terms of a mathematical equation as I continued to stream my fingers through his hair.

______Well, why not just tell him what I was thinking? That was a safe middle ground, or so the reasonable human being within me decreed. He opened his eyes and smiled up at me. Gosh dangit, why can't you just be the one to instigate it? I wanted to punch a stupid wall or something. I could have described it as a moment of content frustration. He has these pale fluttery eyelashes and piercing blue eyes, and they seemed to glow even with the Pokemon rap flashing quietly in the background.

______Very well, I thought gallantly. I had chosen my means of attack. Say it, Ali, you big weenie. Say it or regret not saying it later.

______"Um," I began slowly, "I mean, I can't really kiss you when you're down there..." Did it, I did it! Done. Your turn!

______He turned his head toward me and made a quiet, "Hm?"

______My insides tinged and I felt a little flustered. I was positive he could hear my heart beating up a stormy rhythm, especially seeing as how his head was smack on top of it. You heard me, you darn turd. Don't make me repeat myself.

______"I can't kiss you when you're down there. I can't reach," I repeated in the same tone, moving my thumb from his ear to his lips. Awaken the beast, my Confucian mind instructed. Touch the face to awaken the beast within.

______He closed his eyes and grinned ever so slightly. For a moment I thought all was lost, but then he rolled himself up and the next thing I know he's all shoulders and breaths away from me. His face was a square jaw with eyes that narrowed into slits and into shadow. Sound was sucked from the air and even the squabbling of his roommates in the distance seemed to fade. Cool air swam through his open window. He leaned in on me and we're suddenly doing that kissing business, the lip touching, the gentle face battling. What else do people call it? They probably don't call it any of those things. But they're also probably not little dweebs like me who turn kisses into overly-romanticized blog posts.

The Crest of All
The Crest of All

______And seconds later, it's over and he's already curled back up in my lap like a kitten in a laundry basket. It seemed like a long time. It seemed like a short time. Reflecting on it, I'm not even sure what it was.

______The day was Monday. I had just finished correcting, printing, and stapling my final art history paper into one cohesive element. I had no priorities until the morrow, and I had no idea my night would end with the first kiss (I've ever had in my life). All in a day's work?

Dress: Charlotte Russe (exact)
Blazer: Charlotte Russe
Socks: ???
Heels: Jeffrey Campbell (similar)
Sunglasses: Target
Ampersand ring: c/o BornPretty
Earrings: from a New Orleans street vendor

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Walking on Sunshine + Ali Likes A Boy


______I have some really uncanny news for you guys. It's a topic that's never reached my blog, or even my mind, or even that scrawny, faintly defined thing that I call my life. It's about the elusive creatures we refer to as ze boys.

______Cue blood-curdling scream (and the sounds of my mustached father frantically clawing at his gun safe.)

______It was the evening of March 13th. The night was young, dark, and warm, like a fresh dog poop on a moist summer sidewalk. My friend and I had planned on attending a gallery and performance event for some time, and the night had finally come. We arrived at the gallery a half hour before the performance began to view art and mingle with faculty and students alike, taking opportunities to snatch clusters of crunchy grapes and tiny cubes of cheese from the reception table.


______Soon, gallery assistants began delivering sleek plastic chairs to the main gallery and curving them artfully around an electric keyboard. A man wearing a knit hat and sporting artisan metal rings appeared from the back room, his dark eyes all-seeing, shimmering like iridescent insect bodies, and comfortably absorbing his audience. His name was Lonnie Holley. My friend and I took two seats in the middle and others hurriedly flocked to their seats and faced the keyboard. Moments later, Lonnie began to speak and play. Some of the songs he sangs resulted in a booming response of hearty chuckles and claps, and others produced washes of silence and melancholy gestures. Everyone was listening intently and soaking up the rawness of the words, the fiery piano keys, the chilly drawn-out vocals.

______A ways in, I notice that I was just sort of leaning my shoulder on this guy. Music still playing. Arm touching is totally no big deal, I reasoned. Words echoed through my head. I tried not to think about the arm touching, but I was definitely conscious of it. Rich sounds were reverberating off the pristine walls. Piano keys were being pressed and struck. The. Arm. Touching. A deep voice producing words that I could hear, but no longer comprehend. Keys upon sharp keys. Can't focus on the words being sung anymore. Is he aware of the arm touching, too? The music paused and Lonnie reflected on the next song.

______Should I do it? Should I be the one to make the first move? There is no way I had that kind of bravery. I was far from being the brave little toaster. I was more like the pathetic little power outlet or the lame little llama.

______The music began again. And then before I could think about it any longer, my friend was suddenly brushing his hand against mine ever so subtly. My brain instantly took note of it jumpstarted my heart into a pounding rhythm. Hand touching. Somehow, without skipping a beat, I involuntarily wove my fingers through his, just like a carp that had been lured in and snapped its mouth on the baited hook. Done. It's done. It's done. I did it.

______Blub blub. I was caught. Blub blub, glub.

______And then came the internal panic: Do I look at him, maybe a little slyly? Do I play it cool and keep looking forward? My heart was pumping blood like a germophobe desperately pumps an empty soap dispenser. Lonnie was still getting deep with the keyboard, which thankfully concealed the booming noise my cardiac organ was producing. The sparks were sparking.


______This has never happened to me.

______I've been hit on and asked out by creepers and people I'm plain not interested in, but I've never actually had a crush on someone. I still haven't had my first kiss. I get nervous thinking about it. I barely think people on this campus are cute because three-fourths of them are fratbros who have one thing on their mind (yeah, curly fries) and cute just doesn't cut it anymore. Nice doesn't even always cut it. But respectful, intelligent, a punny sense of humor (with plenty of Pokemon references, mind) and aesthetically pleasing forearms? That sort of cuts it deep.

______I'm pretty sure the first few throughs that pranced through my head were, "Well, he thinks my art and blog is neat, he's very respectful and kind... and he's six feet tall so I can wear heels around him." After that, my mind sort of dissipated into a fuzz of blurred mindwords and I was just comfortably existing next to this dude. Not even questioning it.

 ______Reality is a sappy plot-twist that's maybe very okay, friends.


Top: Urban Outfitters
Dress: Urban Outfitters (exact)
Tights: dunno, man (similar)
Neon sneakers: Palladium Boots
Necklace: vintage
Earrings: via Lotus Boutique

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Embrace Thy Inner RDJ + Ozealglasses


______Ozealglasses sports a slick range of carefully selected prescription eyewear, sunglasses, and even biking shades (holla!). Their hand-picked brands lend a modern twist to traditional styles, with thick frames, luscious colors, and dreamy silhouettes. Their brands include, but are not limited to, glasses from the nearly-futuristic Human Skull and pumped up vintage specs from Ospirit. If those aren't your style, then take a gander at their wooden glasses and embrace your inner woodland fairy. There's really nothing that compares to wearing wood on your face.


______I ended up choosing these snazzy tortoiseshell frames by Human Skull and adding a pink tint to them. You can choose a variety of tint colors (eg. pink, blue, orange) and shades (eg. light, dark, sunlight sensitive) as well as picking from a plethora of frame options. I love how their tints are actually vivid opposed to extremely desaturated colors; I've always wanted some sunglasses with rosey lenses that are actually pink, not a gray color that has a touch of washed out rose in them. I'm very tempted to purchase myself a pair of purple or amber tinted lenses in the future...

______But like I was saying, their website definitely offers tons of customization. Even if you don't see a pair you like (doubt it), you can get your inner artist on and create your own. I spent way too long toying around with potential glasses combinations and messing with their virtual webcam try-on. Next stop: customization central, choo chooooooo! That was cheesy. Sorry.


______I had Robert Downey Jr. in mind when I was making these... The man has a tendency to wear fully rimmed glasses with hue-licious tints in purples or blues. Not that I'd know much about his style or anything.

______But I would, actually, because I'm a people creeper.

______(opens a new program to conceal RDJ computer wallpaper) DowneyIluhhyouuuuuuuuu...

______(ahem) Yes, so if you're looking for some special new specs that are high quality, long-lasting, and customizable to the max, look no further! Ozealglasses is here for ya. Guys, I would honestly pick these snazzy shades over a new pair of Ray-Bans any day. Their quality and customization is astounding, plus their customer service is helpful and efficient to the max. These came in the mail under a week and a half and they were custom. Hot damn. I'm in love.


______In terms of my week, it was fan-flippin'-tastic! I won an art scholarship even though the competition was super fierce this year (there were three times as many people as there have been in past years, and friends I thought would hands down get scholarships did not). One of my college goals was to obtain an art scholarship for every year I attended the university, and I can now proudly say that I have done that!


Glasses: Human Skull, c/o Ozealglasses (identical frames here)
Dress: KnowStyle
Blazer: Charlotte Russe
Monkstrap Oxfords: Jeffrey Campbell (exact via Bloomingdales)
Necklace: Charming Charlie
Chain bracelet: Charming Charlie (similar)
Socks: Target