Rania Matar

    Just saw some of this photographer’s work for the first time. She’s from Lebanon originally, but moved to the U.S. in the 80’s, according to her website bio: http://www.raniamatar.com/index.php     I’m most interested in this series of photographs called “A Girl and her Room”, all photos taken in the past couple of years. 

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     Some of these were taken in the U.S. and some in Lebanon. I love the intimacy of some of them and the invasive quality of others. Each of the images seems to be an individual character study, and contains some narrative in aspects and details of the room each girl is in. The similarities among rooms can be surprising, and also the varying attitudes of the sitters. But I love how focused and concise each image is, and simultaneously the mystery surrounding each person in each picture. Also interested in what these say about girl culture in the U.S. and places like Lebanon. 

Civil War Reenactments

     Thinking about replication in a more abstract sense. When I was younger my brothers did civil war reenactments, and I would go see them. It was a pretty weird experience. I was talking with someone about Nostalgia and some of its problems, and the fact that sometimes, an interest in antiquated forms of image-making or other technologies doesn’t lead anywhere except to a kind of weird re-hashing and reenactment of things that already happened. I know in reenactments too, authenticity is crucial. There is an extreme effort put into creating an authentic moment, one that accurately represents that era. The weirdness of civil war reenactments makes me think about duplication in some ways. And of all things to reproduce, I have to wonder why war would be so important. I’d like to work with specific memories in some prints I’m working on, and am thinking about the reenactments in a way I hadn’t before. A few collected images of civil war reenactment moments and WWII reenactments:

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Lincoln!!!

 

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Also Lincoln!!!

 

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Not sure what’s going on here.  . .

 

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“Old Photo” look

 

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Halloween

Thinking about halloween costumes. I never realized what a weird holiday it was before. Intensely weird. From an artistic perspective though, this kind of stuff gets fascinating. I love the lack of subtlety involved in these costumes and how obtrusive and obvious they are, and really funny too. It seems to be an important element in the kinds of stuff that I do Image

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Creepy photos

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Weird photos from my grandma and granpa’s house in the late 70’s/early 80’s. It looked almost exactly the same when me and my brothers and my dad would go visit 30 years later. Thinking about memory, and how being at that house is one of the most vivid memories, for whatever reason. I’ve made some art relating to this too. Besides that though, I’m thinking of the influence of that house on my aesthetics and personality. Also, I’m thinking of autobiography through narrative. I’m interested in the idea of telling a story that may not be about myself per-say, but is in a way autobiographical. The merging of memoir and autobiography and fiction, is something that Lynda Barry has talked about a lot in relation to her work (one of the main reasons I’m so interested in her work right now), and I’m finding it useful to think about what doing that might imply, and if it can be pulled off. 

Interview with Lynda Barry from Tinhouse mag// :

http://www.tinhouse.com/blog/12855/from-the-vault-lynda-barry.html

“LB: The most autobiographical work I’ve done has been in 100 Demons. I grew up in a Filipino family. My dad split when I was twelve. My mom’s side of the family all speaks Tagalog and there were always various Filipino relatives living with us, a lot of them just coming to the U.S. and speaking rough English. All our food was Filipino except for TV dinners, and the style of living was very much first generation American. Quite different from Marlys and Arna! But I love that people refuse to believe that the comic strips that have Marlys in them are not about me. They must seem very real somehow. I guess it’s a compliment.

It’s funny that people really do think of my work as autobiographical, but I’ve always had a harder time writing/drawing stories about things that happened to me. I do write them but I don’t especially like to show anyone. Some images are for other people and some are not. It’s kind of like a kid playing. Sometimes playing is a very private thing that actually can’t happen unless the private part is there. Playing isn’t for others.” 

 

So I guess it isn’t always intentional in the first place! 

Daniel Johnston

One of my all time favorite musicians. I never liked him that much, but then my older brother got me starting to listen to his music, and I went with him to  see him live in Providence. It was a pretty unremarkable show, at least at the time, but in retrospect this is who Daniel Johnston is as an artist, and I think that word really applies to him as a musician as well. His songs are direct and awkward and really beautiful to me, and sort of everything that I love the most, interestingly enough in both music and art. I know I’ve been trying to find ways of thinking about music and art and the way they interact with eachother lately, and Daniel Johnston is one person I can think of who sort of makes that distinction not matter, and makes me wonder why it has to in the first place. I know that there have been a lot of people talking about that connection before, and it’s been important to a lot of art movements in the past, this weird understanding between music and art, and I think that’s fascinating. I also think about writing, since my parents are both writers and they always wanted me to be, and writing is very important to me as well, as a way of laying everything out that confuses me. I think of that too about song-writing, because it’s a version of poetry, and all of these things sort of combine to me. I’m not sure what to do with all of the corrolations, but I think as long as I’m doing all of these things, that’s good for me. Here are some of Daniel Johnston’s weird drawings, which are great! Also a couple songs:

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Really weird stuff.

 

 

 

Botanical illustrations

 

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I’m finding these to be really aesthetically appealing to me lately. I like the simplicity of the illustrations and the way that the forms float on the page, and I also love the way that each item is labelled, for the sake of identification of course. I tend to enjoy labels also for their directness and am interested in labeling or identifying scenes that I draw with text. So there are some correlations here. Also have been looking at Anna Atkins’ beautiful cyanotype prints. They’re executed in the simplest way, just by laying different plants onto coated light-sensitive paper, but they have a really unusual effect to me, a little bit abstract and mysterious, but also direct in their intent to lay out specimens. 

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