Saturday, February 21, 2009

in the limelight

julie blackmon

julie blackmon astonishes me with her design sense. she photographs her children in her body of work called 'domestic vacations'. the surreal quality of her images juxtaposes well the truth that centers around family life. in her artist statement, she compares her work to 'a jan steen household' which is a dutch proverb from the 17th century that refers to "a home in disarray, full of rowdy children an boisterous family gatherings" ( blackmon photographs the "stress, the chaos an the need to simultaneously escape and connect". Her images are incredibly visually engaging with close attention paid to figure in space and placement of props. she also incorporates photoshop manipulation to create a surrealism effect. her work really inspires me. 


Friday, February 20, 2009

in the limelight

lone catalysts

okay i am going to give a shout out because these guys just rock! they are from the 'burgh (for all of you out there who know what i mean) and the songs vibe with colorful beats and strong lyrics. two guys, j-rawls and j-sands formed the group in the '90s and now have a loyal fan base in europe and japan. rawls on the meaning of the name the 'lone catalysts' :

"At the time, we thought that there weren't many cats, at least in our area, trying to do it the way we were trying to do it. it's that raw hip-hop." ( 

i remember the first time i heard this band. i found out about them from a good friend of mine, went to the tiny eclectic record store on east carson st. in oakland and bought it. i played it in my car that day, and then literally played it nonstop for two weeks. there is something in the intention in the words and the references to pittsburgh that had me hooked. the album 'hip hop' can be pretty hard to find in regular record stores. i ended up having to buy it again recently online. and guess what i bought? a record of mp3s. no more cds. only mp3s. or lps (my fav). i could get back into the discussion of my love of listening to lps again, so i will stop here. in any case, check this band out if you like underground, conscious, and intelligent hip-hop. it is worth the time and effort! they also collaborate with talib kweli on a song, but i am not going to say which one. listen for yourself.

.: solitude :.

 i am for some reason fascinated with dead flowers. there is something oddly beautiful about what happens to a flower once it dies. the mold takes over and spreads across the drooping petals like crystals. when the light hits the it a certain way, the flower transforms from and symbol of death to this object of color and mysticism. it is as if all flowers could look like this in another world and it would be considered beautiful. 

Thursday, February 19, 2009

.: expand your creativity :.

these are a few tips that i read in communication arts magazine recently that i thought apply to my blog, since it centers around art and creativity.

these are things you can do to "wake yourself up", meaning spark your creative juices...

1. take a class in something new
2. crack jokes, especially wordplay
3. keep a notebook
4. visit museums regularly
5. give yourself empty time, nothing to do
6. allow boredom
7. go to a bar you have never been to, in a part of town you never visit, order something you never drink, pull out a piece of paper, look around and write for 45 minutes. (this was the author's favorite tip. it is mine as well.)

in the limelight

oren lavie

i am completely in love with this video. it is a stop motion movie, meaning still photographs stitched together to make a moving picture. it is a lot of work, considering that a 3.5  minute video could be up to 5000 images or so. i am attracted to the jagged feel that a stop motion picture has vs. regular video. oren lavie is a songwriter and director originally from tel aviv, israel. on his myspace page, he describes himself as someone who likes "to create dreamy visuals from realistic elements, [and] he enjoys squeezing big worlds into small places". this is a really interesting conceptual vision and it makes so much sense, considering that he showed an trulu emotional story without ever moving the camera away from the bed.

in the limelight

jeff wall

dead troops talk (a vision after an ambush of 
a red army patrol, near moqor, afghanistan, winter 1986)

this image is a particularly good example of wall's attention to detail because this is a staged war scene. 

milk, 1984

a sudden gust of wind (after hokusai) 1993

this is one of my most favorite pieces of his. it was the first image that i saw when i starting out as a photography student and it has suck with me. 

after "invisible man" by ralph ellison, the prologue

jeff wall is an influential photographer of the 20th century. his works grace the walls of the sf and ny momas. his work is very preconceived, planned and staged. certain images offer a glimpse into the complicated production such as after "invisible man" by ralph ellison, the prologue, where wall constructs "the basement room where ellison's unnamed black narrator inhabits a shabby, cluttered self-contained world exposed under a ceiling full of hundreds of bare light bulbs sucking power illegally from the municipal grid". (

other images are not as complicated, such as milk, 1984. in wall's own words, "the explosion of milk from its container takes a shape which is not really describable or characterizable, but which provokes many associations. a natural form, with its unpredictable contours, is an expression of infinitesimal metamorphoses of quality".  the splash of milk was just as intentional as the hanging of hundreds of light bulbs. that is what i love about his work, the intent. as well as the intellectual process behind each piece. 

i have seen some of his pieces at the sf moma and they are incredibly beautiful large format color photography pieces. i find myself staring at jeff wall's work for long periods of time so that i can really take in every detail.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

.: fashion, etc :.

this is a fashion shot that was a collaboration with my good friend mark chien and an amazing make-up artist gabriala bianca lecuscu. the model is jennifer peterson. she was such a delight to work with. sometimes working with models can be a task if they lack the confidence. iykwim. she is so beautiful and it shows. i tend to shoot images of people, however, that bring out more of the person inside rather than looking at it as strictly a fashion image. so while mark was shooting here in really flattering angles, i had her look straight at the camera for the drama. here it is.

in the limelight

blue & exile

blu & exile
below the heavens

i have really been digging this album, i can't stop listening. emcee blu leads with his lyrics and he is not afraid to rap about his personal experiences. exile rocks it with some pretty sick beats with a classic 90s sound. below the heavens flows so cohesively from start to finish, something that i feel is so lacking these days. we just bought a record player for the sake of listening to an album from start to finish. it has brought back to beauty of experiencing the soul of an artist. chelsea really brought this to my attention when she decorated our cabin in tahoe with her record player and records. we are so accustomed to using our ipods and flicking from song to song that we forget the value of an album.

in the limelight


This last photo is particularly cool because the eyes make up the rest of the faces when the train passes through.

this artist really inspires me on so many levels. i think he is doing what people only dream to do. he puts large scale portraits of people onto buildings in communities all over the world. his choice of subjects is quite simple: people that he finds in urban ghettos. 

in his bio on his webpage, he describes himself as "an undercover photographer [who] transforms his pictures into posters and makes open space photo galleries of our streets."

here are some examples of his work!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

.: nuclear pop :.

this is an image that i shot during a bonfire. it was the biggest full moon of the year that night, incredibly docile. the beach is in a nook between ocean beach and the golden gate bridge, so it is sheltered from the wind. it is rocky and one can very easily sprain an ankle if not careful. flashlights are recommended. and maybe an axe (for chopping wood, not killing people). we always laugh at the weird looks we get from people on the path at night with an axe in hand. usually we carry a headlamp (perfect for hiking at night, or camping for that matter).

we talk about music and art and friends and school and jobs and life and photography. somehow most of our conversations involve the action of using a camera to create a vision. 

we always have fun. this trip was especially nice because of the purple sky and sparkling stars. and we laughed and laughed. for there is nothing as comforting as a bonfire in san francisco.

i shot this image on a long exposure and drew around the people with different-colored pen lights. 

in the limelight

dj frane 

i have getting down to the sound of dj frane a bit lately. he is a mix of psychedelia, hip hop, scratching. his myspace page is incredibly psychadelic and is really cool as far as the artwork goes. i also really love the covers of his albums. the album that i recently bought is 'journey to the planet of the birds'. i was incredibly taken by the title that is partially why i bought it. there are lots of birds chirping throughout this album. i know. sounds corny but not really. it is an earthy version of dj shadow. 

.: spirituallee :.

this is a dyptic of a friend of mine spiritualee. he is a musician who lives in my neighborhood, haight-ashbury in san francisco. he has a unique style, considers his fashion sense to the utmost degree, eats mostly organic food, has the most eclectic style in his bedroom of antiquities and the coolest mustache. we had a great time shooting together, and he is even a huge fan of radiohead. i knew we had some crazy connection. thats why we got along so well.

here i used a ring flash to create such a stark sense of lighting. the small hints of red in his outfit were intentional to contrast against the red wall. i am addicted to color photography and this is a prime example of why.

in the limelight

chelsea roudebush

this artist is necessary for my in the limelight section. her work inspires me every day. she is someone who i respect for her thought process and intelligence. her name is chelsea roudebush. she has the mountain spirit like me, and oh there is something about that mountain spirit. she studies anthropology, which shows in the human and animalistic figures in her work. she centers her style around this connection between art/humans/animals and the earth. the pieces i have chosen are paintings, mostly acrylic. chelsea paints more than anyone i know. it is pretty amazing. i love people who pursue art just for the sake of pursuing it. her walls are covered with her artwork. she is a true artist.

in the limelight


i guess the next artist for in the limelight is my favorite band radiohead. i just can't put it off any longer. there is so much about radiohead that inspires me. i can relate a majority of their songs to different aspects of my life. i am sure that i will have so much more to add to this post as the blog progresses, but i wanted to at least give it a start. my boyfriend and i traveled from san francisco to tokyo to see radiohead, which was documented every step of the way. i was taken aback by the buzz that surrounded this band, even on the other side of the world. i never knew there were soooooooooo many japanese radiohead fans. i am convinced that it is a common thread that it brings people together. the night of the show in tokyo, the two guys sitting next to us lived in guam, but were originally from florida and cleveland. also, i bought our tokyo radiohead tickets from a guy in new york who i am still friends with. today he wrote me to say that he is going to mexico city in march to see them (oh, i want to go to this show so badly) and this is what he wrote me:

radiohead is a real horrorshow band that attracts both sexes - devotchkas and malchicks alike.

he was referring to my clockwork orange persona. 

in the limelight

jacquelynn estay

this is a posting of the first artist who inspires me. her name is jacquelynn estay. she is a friend of mine in san francisco. this charcoal piece made it into the academy of art spring show, and for good reason. it is titled "black girl coming out of the water with drops on her face". pretty original, huh? that tells you something about her sense of humor. with this piece, she has made it into the limelight. i love it so much because she has made it look like a photograph. it is difficult to tell that it was done with charcoal.

Monday, February 16, 2009

.: average american hotel :.

we went to tahoe this weekend and it was pretty sweet. mounds of snow line the streets to my knees, and even to my waist. trees drip with ice as do motels. the thought of killing someone with an icicle enters my mind briefly. it would be the perfect weapon because it melts. i tell this to my boyfriend who looks at my in amazement. he says he was thinking the same thing. we ride the same psychic wave sometimes it's scary.

we see signs along the way that mean more to us than most to people. we linger and talk about the weird mountain energy. i take a photo of the word 'vent' on the side of a post office box. i think about snowboarding and how that is exactly what we did. vent. vent all of the frustrations that build up in a relationship, in work, in health, in love, in pain. what could be better than snowboarding to vent those toxic strings that bind us. photography, possibly, i don't know. it is a pretty damn close tie between the two.

next we see a sign that says "jp and company" (my boyfriend's initials are jp) and at the top of an evergreen tree, a sign that says 9-11. i am not sure how this ties in but it feels somewhat creepy to me. i saw the planes hit the trade center from 9th and hudson in new york on 9-11. i remember weird things from that day. like lines for the pay phone. which were a few blocks long. 

i look for more signs to steer my attention from that day to the present. i see a woman with her hand in a heil hitler fashion and a tall wooden bear in the same pose. i take a photo of the woman and the light above her glares like a halo on her head. my boyfriends screams, out loud, actually at the top of his lungs, across the lake and through the mountains straight to god, "is jesus a nazi?" we laugh out loud. i stop in the bagel shop to feed my rumbling stomach. i instantly recognize radiohead's ideoteque playing in the background and i look down upon the local tahoe newspaper and the cover says in large black letters 'radio heads'. i am not joking about this. i am being totally real. i know. right? i couldn't believe it. 

this is a series of photographs taken while in tahoe. the first are dyptics in a series of american motels. tahoe is the ideal place for this type of work because it is littered with cheap motels. the neon signs burn inorganically against the darkening sky. it is interesting to capture these monuments for sex and cheap travel. it is so universal because we see motels everywere. it could be in the chill of tahoe winter or the middle of mississippi, hot as dripping sweat. 

okay enough with words, it is time for a visual trip.


.: from facebook to blogspot :.

well, i am starting this blog because i am finding that i want an internet presence besides my website and my facebook account. i like writing about some of my experiences and i feel that this blog will be a way that i can post my experiences (since i can't seem to do anything without documenting my life). i also want to post my favorite artists, whether it be music, visual, etc, (thus the name me and the artists i like).