Sunday, January 18, 2015

The Endless

Today, I finished three drawings of my favorite Endless, from Neil Gaiman's the Sandman comic.
I think I only have the first compilation of Sandman comics, Preludes and Nocturnes, and I've kind of laid off comics for a really long time, because they do nothing but frustrate me with their stupid open endings and "to be continued". I know that I like the Sandman, I knew that I was going to like it, I knew that I would like it before I ever started reading it. I don't really know how to explain that I like the Sandman comic almost by default, before I opened the first comic book.
During the winter break, I catsat for friends that have most of the series. Again, I knew that I was going to like it, but I didn't know that I was going to lose my shit over it.
I became completely infatuated, and it was helpful that Morpheus reminds me of Trent, definitely. I fell in love with him and every time I went to catsit, I would read two of the compilations (the owners knew this), and it was like going to see my lover, I was going on a date. Towards the end, I noticed that they were missing the last two issues and I went on a really bad trip and just stopped spending time at their place, because it was like I'd broken up with a guy that I really liked and I didn't want to be there anymore. And there was a nostalgia and a feeling of lacking when I went again, because my insides wanted to sit down and read more, but there was no more to read. It was confusing and it made me sad.
Morpheus kept reminding me of Trent, because he's usually top lit, with the scraggly, messy hair, scrawny like Trent used to be, back in the Downward Spiral days. He is freaking adorable.
So, my first impulse was definitely to draw Morpheus and I picked a picture of Trent that has something to do with the Downward spiral, but I don't know what it is the cover of. I have it labelled as "trent insect", because that's what his eyes remind me of.
I got quite frustrated with the stories in which Morpheus doesn't show up and he's only vaguely related to them. I love how charming and polite he is. It's like I have a legit crush on this dude, I'm blinded most of the time to how proud and stubborn he is. He was the first drawing that I did.
I have very little concern about his appearance when I look at the drawing, because I know that it turned out fucking perfect. I look at him and his twin star eyes and I feel like I could dive into him and kiss him.
Neil describes his eyes as "pools of night" and "twin stars", which is so beautiful and romantic, and I wish I had a lover with such eyes and he could look at me with them.

I don't know, really, why in particular I decided to draw Death. She is definitely way too cool and chill for me. Neil Gaiman said that there is a cabbalah story about death that says it is such a beautiful creature and you fall in love so hard and so fast that your soul comes out of your eyes. He said he didn't want a Death who agonized over her role, or who took a grim delight in her job, or who didn't care. He wanted a Death that he would like to meet in the end. Someone who would care. Like her. In the wikipedia article, she is described as: "pleasant, down-to-earth, perky". So for my drawing, I wanted her to be warmly and intimately looking at the viewer and smiling. I wanted the smile to be a Milla sort of smile, a smile that you give a person with whom you keep a secret and only both of you know, a smile that says you trust them and you're together in whatever it is. Because of the nature of said smile, there should be some mischief in it, so hopefully there is a little of that, too.

Desire was the most difficult and elusive one. I did two bust drawings of him, before I realized that a bust drawing would break what I had going with Death and Dream, because those two are close ups of faces. So I had to look for a face and a facial expression that I felt suited Desire. I also kept confusing him with pleasure, because I guess he just comes off as hedonistic and capricious to me, and that is also why I guess I liked the idea of making a self portrait out of him.
Also, I know that Desire is neither and both male and female, but I think of him as him. He's a very beautiful boy, one of those model types, with whose beauty I cannot deal with and makes me uncomfortable. I think that's why I ended up with Milla as my reference and I also think that she would be fucking perfect to be him in a movie.
Neil's description (one of the descriptions, anyway) of Desire in the comic is as follows: "Desire smiles in brief flashes, like sunlight glinting from a knife-edge. And there is much else that is knife-like about Desire. Never a possession, always the possessor, with skin pale as smoke and eyes tawny and sharp as yellow wine: Desire is everything you have ever wanted. Whoever you are. Whatever you are. Everything."
The line: "Desire smiles in brief flashes, like sunlight glinting from a knife-edge", I think might have been what did it for me.
So, Desire looks down at us, with disdain and condescension, parted fleshy, pillowy, inviting lips, half closed ochre eyes, a hedonistic molasses feeling about him.

So here they are.

Thursday, January 15, 2015


Today, I finished this drawing, titled "Automata". It is a strange 8 x 8" drawing, that I did with a Tombow B pencil over Fabriano paper that I mounted on canvas.
Probably one of the strangest things about her is the lack of eyebrows, or the apparent lack of eyebrows, because I purposefully cut her face off there. This is some of the work at which I concluded last semester, with my research work, it's actually part of a polyptych of sorts, because it's five drawings that hang on a board.
The drawings are all parts of the female body and the group is titled "Die Puppe" ("The Doll"), because I found myself emulating Hans Bellmer, in a way, but I'll get to that eventually. Not in this entry.
Of "Automata" as an individual drawing, while I was working on her, I wrote something down, thoughts that I had whilst I worked on her.
"Automata's eyes decidedly stare out at me
maybe demanding
maybe pleading
maybe impassive and imperturbable
maybe with curiosity
but they definitely stare
She stares out of the window of paper and canvas that I cut out for her
Her perfect and unaltered features, although still and peaceful, look to be on the verge on panic
Flawlessly graded shadows in valleys and mountains
delicate lines sculpt her in the paper
The cracks of her lips begin cutting into her face
exaggerated grooves make it seem like they're painfully dry and as though they will break and bleed at the slightest gesture
And so she keeps her entire face unwaveringly still"

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Modified Storage Space

I finished this painting maybe a month ago, it was part of some research work I was doing for what I thought would be my thesis.
Sometime last year I "awoke" from a lifetime of being a brainwashed woman. Before I got to New York, I was in a relationship of sorts with a guy that liked slapping and hair pulling in bed, which is fine, but I'm not into that shit and he kept doing it, even though I asked him not to and, for whatever reason that I just haven't figured out, I didn't defend myself when he would do it again and didn't say anything again.
He wouldn't do it every time we had sex, but I didn't know wether he'd do it or not.
I think part of not defending myself might have been fear of what would happen if I did defend myself, after all, it is said over and over again, that no matter what, men are always stronger than women. So is there even really a point to even try to defend myself?
So, I'm just blaming it on brainwashing.
There are many other things that I didn't like about having sex with this guy, he hardly ever kissed me and, when he did kiss me, I wasn't a fan of the way he kissed me either; there was hardly ever foreplay, so when he got his boner, he'd just put some spit on my cunt and penetrate me. And it was painful.
I have what I think is pretty good pain tolerance, I obviously have no gauge with which to measure, nobody does, but I like to think that I tolerate pain well enough. Pain usually makes me really angry, but whenever there was pain during sex, I felt like I was obligated to just take it. So I did the great majority of the time, with this dude and whatever other dude.
I had this image of myself that I thought I was supposed to be as a female, an idea that I thought I liked, a "temptress", "seductress", "always willing", impassive and insatiable witch.
And upon reading a book called "El Cuerpo en Venta" by Juan Carlos PĂ©rez Gauli, all my shit was put in the fucking blender.
The book talks about the relationship between art and advertising and how the female body has been used in both throughout history. It also talks about how women and nature are put in relationship to each other, because they are both things that are mysterious to men and have so to be dominated by man. Or some shit like that, the book depressed the living fuck out me.
I don't remember everything, but it obligated me to reconsider a lot of things about myself that I thought to be true. So this dude that liked slapping and hair pulling and the things in the book, just put this idea in me and that shit snowballed and I wanted to make images that dealt with how I've been treated and how I'm still treated by men and others. I don't know who "others" are, but it's definitely not just the men. And it's also not all men. The whole sexism issue is something that affects everyone, but the research work was meant to help me convey how it feels for me. I can't speak for anyone else, now can I?
So, anyway.
I mean, I was aware of feminism and sexism, but I just didn't know how deep it went. To look at another human and see an object is all kinds of fucked up, it's absurd, but that's exactly what happens.
I read somewhere a comment full of hate about how women are seen as nothing but a hole in which men put their dicks. And I saw an illustration once, of a woman with a bull's head and she had the dotted lines of cuts of cow meat.
Why do we have to treat each other this way?
So, I made a painting of a vulva, titled "Storage Space" and this painting that you see here, titled "Modified Storage Space".
As usual, the work becomes more, sort of, as I work on it. And this painting started out with only the two cuts on the side of her mouth, as if somebody wanted to make her mouth open farther. I'm not sure if that would work, but clearly whoever is torturing her doesn't care.
Afterwards, it became that she had more scars on top of the scars of the cuts on the side of her mouth, her skin is also surprisingly good at healing, so her abuser kept hurting her.
Also, when I first started it, her lips were pretty relaxed, it could have been any mouth, party open, the person is distracted or something. But as I painted her more, she started looking like she's just about to grimace in pain or like she's just about to start crying again.
After a while of telling other people what I was working on, it kept feeling more and more like I was victimizing myself and trying to get pity from somebody, so I laid off all that shit and the work changed. So, I'll post about that some other time, but this is a little painting that I really like and I enjoyed painting it. I find it an incredibly beautiful image and I love the Dioxazine Purple with which I painted her and how the purple coming from the sides of her neck look like they're going to engulf her and the entire image and maybe that's why she's so afraid.