Archive for January, 2010
One of our contributors, the Egyptian poet and aspiring novelist Jaylan Salman, has a book published by the MediTheater foundation – a collection of poetry entitled Angel of Darkness. Highly recommended, 47 pp., reasonable price. Jaylan pulls off wonderful work with imagery to express themes such as women’s worldwide quest for independence, international cultural interchange, and awareness/celebration of every moment. We’ve published several selections of her poetry, please feel free to search her name from the front page.
Link to Jaylan’s new book, for online orders: http://meditheatre.wordpress.com/2010/01/27/angel-of-darkness/
Just click the image of the book to order – PayPal and credit cards accepted, $3.33 in euros, $4.75 USD. The page is in Italian but you may enter your PayPal password and user ID as you would with any other page.
Also, Cynthia Lamanna, who sends in descriptive essays and short stories every now and then, has a children’s story out now with X-Libris, entitled Miriam’s Treasure. The book concerns a friendship between two elementary school girls, one Catholic and one Jewish, and how they learn about each other’s traditions. I believe it takes place several decades ago, in California.
Fifty pages, $15.99 in USD. Here’s the link: https://www2.xlibris.com/bookstore/bookdisplay.aspx?bookid=68275
Things you MUST include somewhere on your poster:
41st Whole Earth Festival
>From the Ground UP!!!
, 8, & 9 2010
U.C. Davis Quad
alcohol-free & zero-waste event
No more than 3 colors (including black!)
Submitted to E.C. by
Thank you for your continual support,
Whole Earth Festival
Kate Leffler, artist and bullfighter featured in October’s issue, will show some of her latest work in a group show, Sunday, January 31st, from 11 am to 6pm (drop-in) at the Bakery Lofts, 4600 Adeline Street, Emeryville. Check out the flyer above to see some examples of her work and of her fellow exhibiting artists!
First of all – Robert Burns Nixon Jr., a business consultant with RGG Global Business Networks, is compiling and publishing an anthology of essays, short stories, and poetry related to economics/business/finance and related fields. He’s looking for writing from economics professionals, and will send guidelines to anyone who contacts him at firstname.lastname@example.org
Also, Kathryn Salvador, interior designer and milliner/hatmaker, seeks a mentor and publicist skilled with social media and blogging. She’ll trade her professional services and/or write a letter of recommendation or serve as a reference for you in exchange – please contact her at email@example.com
Jacquelyn Neubaur is co-organizing the Social Awareness Fashion Film Festival, where emerging filmmakers will present documentaries they have produced which raise awareness concerning various social and ecological issues local to San Francisco. The event hopes to raise funds for local grassroots organizations and to provide exposure for the emerging documentarians.
They’re expecting the event to take place sometime this coming October and have put out the call for volunteer musicians who would like to perform live, artists who’d like to send prints of their work for possible display, fashion designers and models, etc. Goal is to draw folks in with all types of entertainment, then get them to watch the videos, learn about social issues, and then donate/volunteer for worthy local causes.
Neubaur’s group eventually wants to broaden their focus to encompass the rest of the world, but is starting small and just working with San Francisco right now. They’re also interested in hearing from grassroots groups in SF which are addressing local issues, and possibly from filmmakers, although Neubaur has connections in the film industry.
If you’re interested in offering art/music/fashion design services or you’re with a local SF nonprofit, please contact Jacquelyn Neubaur at firstname.lastname@example.org
Friday, January 29th, South First Street Billiards, 420 First Street, San Jose, CA. If you would like to paint, please bring your own canvas and paints and arrive at 7:30 – for everyone else, this 21+ event starts at eight!
Live Music, Live Painting, Live Relief!
Hello, and welcome to February’s issue of Synchronized Chaos! This month the theme is incarnation, or re-incarnation: personalizing, embodying, entering into another’s life and experience.
Victory-Girl, a company creating vintage military-history and airplane nosecone art, helps pilots, history buffs, and others to personalize and develop a relationship with their planes. As with American art-car and classic-car culture, the planes (or jackets, bags, etc) which Victory Girl adorns become more than transportation machines, but almost living beings, interacting with the pilots.
Cynthia Lamanna’s elegant piece on Valentine’s Day and the month of February brings older-style vintage writing and a nostalgic conception of the holiday back into today’s consciousness. Return of the spring to the Northern Hemisphere represents a form of physical re-incarnation, re-inhabiting the Earth after a long colder winter.
Frank Allred’s new film Beat Angel presents the physical reincarnation of Jack Kerouac, come back to inspire a crowd at a poetry slam. Yet, through the imagery and dialogue, the movie brings his resurrection beyond a mere fantastical thought experiment and shows how it illustrates and symbolizes the larger process of creative people’s building off of each other’s work over time.
Owen Geronimo also describes the cumulative process of artistic influence during our interview with him concerning factors contributing to San Francisco’s fashion resurgence. He speaks of San Francisco’s cultural mystique over the centuries as a place of innovation and discovery – from the Gold Rush to the hippie to the information-technology days. Still, for Geronimo and others within the San Francisco Fashion and Merchants’ Alliance, style can be affected by where one lives, but ultimately becomes a matter of personal confidence and choice.
Empathy also involves individual choice, and represents one of the best ways we here on Earth can actually enter into another’s situation and state of mind. Tony Long illustrates what happens when people choose against empathy, or simply stay so preoccupied with themselves that they don’t use their capacity to understand others, in his humorous short piece “Leaving So Soon?” In contrast, Patsy Ledbetter illustrates empathy in action during her vignettes: imagining herself in the place of a homeless woman, which brings her to a place of gratitude, and sharing health information with others.
Empathy represents an intellectual and emotional challenge and can bring great rewards during our social interactions – yet becomes a difficult task in modern city life, when we are surrounded by literally thousands of very different people. Connie Noyes illustrates these feelings through her mixed-media collages, where various colors and materials blend into one another throughout the collection, entitled, “Human Steps.” Yet, Noyes finds beauty and poetry in the assortment of imperfect interactions – and uses ordinary materials, even ‘garbage’ about to be thrown away, to constitute her collections. Perhaps, to Noyes, ordinary people, like ordinary materials, can find the strength and heart to attempt empathy, and thus ‘incarnate’ themselves temporarily as someone else.
Richard Ghia-Wilberforce and Noel Dawkins philosophically explore the experience of multiple minds within one body, whether and how the human mind and brain can generate multiple, distinct individuals. Rather than describing this phenomenon as a mental illness, they examine a different way which some people experience ‘incarnation,’ or sentience, consciousness, the capacity for self-reflection. Finn Gardiner’s poetry mimics the rhythm of conversation, presenting a cafe as a unit of social organization, an organism in itself, coming into being through simultaneous, spontaneous interactions. Separate-bodied humans make up the cafe, but the piece echoes Ghia-Wilberforce and Dawkins’ ideas about what constitutes consciousness and existence, in a more poetic, abstract format.
David Selsky attempts to set up a self-organizing system through his photography, snapping spontaneous scenes which attract his eye. To Selsky, intentionally ‘composing’ a picture might actually detract from what is really happening subconsciously behind the scenes. As with Gardiner’s self-organizing cafe, the theme comes into being without conscious direction – yet, merely because Selsky does not define the collection’s theme or even know what it is beforehand, he does not turn towards nihilism and assume that no unifying theme can, or does, exist.
Perhaps the search for meaning can itself become a source of meaning, can represent our current best efforts towards finding whatever is out there. Through that search, we, like the Beat writers, can leave ideas behind which become ‘reincarnated’ philosophically into subsequent generations, who then continue and proceed with our search.
Please feel free to search for meaning within the posts of this month’s issue of Synchronized Chaos – Happy Valentine’s Day to those who celebrate.
With a grainy, indie, half-lit café feel, with brass sounds more akin to instruments tuning up than a jazz performance, the new film Beat Angel reflects the restless, transcendent creativity of Jack Kerouac and other Beatniks. Desperate to reach a discouraged author, Kerouac returns from the dead for one day, performing at a poetry slam in his honor and befriending amazed, but skeptical audience members.
Balestri embodies Kerouac throughout the film, most effectively during a highly energetic open mic performance, holding my interest for its entire ten minutes. Defining ‘spontaneous poetry’ via spoken word examples, Balestri relates aspects of the Beat aesthetic: the use of jazz rhythms, recognizing and speaking the truth about our common humanity, and reworking the travel memoir genre. Sometimes slow and academic, other times fast and musical for illustrative purposes, his presentation covers a great variety of intellectual and emotional ground.
Beat Angel celebrates its protagonists’ creativity without smoothing over the darker aspects of their lives. The film’s most complex character, Gerard Tripp, slams Kerouac and other Beats as troubled, overrated drunks. And the movie opens with Kerouac dying alone, curtains drawn in his mother’s living room, with only whiskey and old cooking shows for comfort.
The instrumental sounds follow the characters, sometimes even as they sit alone, giving the sense that something happens within their heads that only they hear, or perhaps choose to hear. The disjointed background noise during certain scenes – Kerouac’s death, and his memory of his brother’s illness and passing – is isolating, restless, even more jarring than silence. Perhaps the film suggests here that some of the Beats did not choose the writing life so much as turn to writing and other arts to quiet and satisfy the inner voices, the questions and contradictions inherent in their lives and times.
Gerard, bitter over his lack of commercial success as a writer, lives in a dingy apartment and hides unsubmitted manuscripts away in a trunk. In one of the film’s most poignant gestures, the reincarnated Kerouac inspires not through his posthumous fame and success, but through how he sought beauty and meaning through his times of personal loss and weakness. In a lengthy dream sequence, Kerouac and Gerard remember Kerouac’s brother, who passed away at a young age. The candle and church/funerary imagery suggest that Gerard abandoning his writing would represent another form of death, whether or not he ever lands a book contract.
Others draw strength from Kerouac during his one-day stint on Earth, including a shy, beginning writer and the bartender, who once aspired to become a painter. Amy Humphrey brings genuine openness to personal and artistic growth to her role, illustrated by how she thinks through his advice. I was left wishing for a little more backstory and complexity for her character: what did she write, why was she drawn to Kerouac and the Beats, etc – although I appreciate her performance. Lisa Niemi pulls off her part as a grown career woman with a past of unexplored dreams, illustrating how people in all stages of life can benefit from mentorship and inspiration: beginners, the hardworking but discouraged, and even those who have let go of old aspirations.
Beat Angel avoids adding to the personality-cult around Jack Kerouac and instead celebrates writing and art in themselves. Kerouac himself scans Gerard’s bookshelf, pointing out how everyone learns from others, and how he studied Whitman, Emerson, and other older authors. And his final message to Gerard is not to write more like Kerouac, but to pursue and develop his own style and craft.
Only an hour and a half, Beat Angel is a short film, and some of its characters’ stories could be expanded. Overall, the piece is very thoughtful, evocative, and reflective of the experimental artistic work of the Beat writers. People can understand and enjoy Beat Angel even without knowing much about the period’s writers, and the film explains basic ideas in an entertaining enough style to make the film accessible and enjoyable.
Beat Angel is directed by Randy Allred and produced by Allred, Frank Tabbita, and Bruce Boyle. The film is available for purchase at San Francisco’s Beat Museum, or online at http://www.kerouac.com/homepage.htm
For basic information about Jack Kerouac and other Beat writers, and how/why they were important and influential in world literary and musical culture, please click here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beat_generation
All my life I have been plagued with various ailments. You name it.. Stomach trouble, immune system. I also use lots of peppermint oil…especially for relief of headaches and stomach issues. I put peppermint drops in my water., sleep issues, hormone problems, ulcers, weight issues. After researching and finding out to most of these ailments I can branch out and help others with some of their problems…..I have discovered that the products that have helped me the most are things that have been around for hundreds of years. I have taken garlic capsules for several years now and I know that they have really improved my
I have also discovered that clove oil is very helpful to the immune system and can keep you healthy and heal toothaches and . Oregano oil is good for shingles, and Roman chamomile are great for relieving .
Cinnamon is great in helping one to metabolize sugar and it is
also great for diabetes. Ginger helps the joints and stomach and salmon oil is great for as is calcium.
For help with sleep, valerian root is helpful, as is tryptophan. Melatonin is also helpful. I just want you all to know that I am writing this article to help others overcome some of the same health issues I have dealt with.
Change your attitude and be filled with joy
There are many times when our ungrateful attitude makes us unhappy. I remember hearing about a little five year old girl who asked her mother….”Are you going to change your mind from mad to grateful?”
That is the question the Lord asks us everyday….It helps me to go and find someone less fortunate to help…I met a lady named Susie who had been homeless, living on the streets for ten years. She has a so no one will hire her. Many shelters will not take her in.
My heart broke for her, I gave her some money and tried to tell her Jesus could heal her. She did not want to hear so I prayed for her and bid her farewell. All night I was thinking about what it would be like to spend a cold night on the street. I prayed for her.
God is a good God of miracles so I know He will work on her behalf. I thanked him with a new sense of gratitude for my home and my family and most of all, my faith in Him which means everything to me.
Over the holidays, my adrenaline was way too high….Between practicing for a large production at a large church, substitute teaching and family gatherings, I found myself running a red light before I even realized what I had done. I breathed a sigh of relief that not a single person was around when I did it. About two weeks later, I got an electronic ticket in the mail with the request to pay 440 dollars or go to .
So on a very cold December morning at 5am, I waited in line for three hours for traffic court. Once I got there, I waited two more hours to get my 32 hours of community service, traffic school and some fines assigned to me. I began working off my community service hours at a church thrift store and was frustrated when no one could decide what they wanted me to do. I did what I could for a few days, but my attitude needed some adjustment.
The next day, I met Mariella, a young mother from Argentina and in three hours she transformed the linen section to an area of beauty. What she said I will always remember….”God wants us to do whatever job He gives us for His glory. It doesn’t matter what the job is, we are to do it with excellence, and that is what I am here to do today.” She did and I will never forget the beautiful young girl who inspired me to be all I can be for God’s glory.
Patsy Ledbetter lives in the San Francisco Bay Area and may be reached at email@example.com
Victory-Girl –Creating Wearable, Flyable Art
Talismans of good luck, group identity, or signs of homesickness, these are just a few of the reasons pilots and their crews have adorned their aircraft with highly personal images called ‘nose art’ since the first aircraft took to the skies over a century ago. ‘Nose art’ (so called because the images were normally painted on the ‘nose’ of the aircraft) were painted on the fuselages of bombers, fighters, hacks and reconnaissance aircraft, on flight jackets and in mess halls, of military units in very combat situation to present day.
Victory-Girl, an aviation art services company in Upland, California, specializes in re-creating historical nose art for vintage warbirds, as well as more modern military and general aviation aircraft.
“Wartime aircraft nose art was and still is huge morale booster for our soldiers in combat zones and here at home” notes Jerri Bergen, owner and principal artist for Victory-Girl. “What we enjoy most is understanding the history behind the nose art, how an aircraft can come to be called ‘the Racy Tomato’, ‘Homesick Angel’ or ‘She Couldn’t Wait’.”
Victory- Girl has done hundreds of nose art pieces (see their galleries at www.victory-girl.com) for military and general aviation and can relate stories about each piece. “We created one piece of nose art for a military unit that wanted a pinup girl holding a pistol on a mail bag, for their heavy-duty helicopter. When we asked ‘what’s with the mail bag?’ they responded that although their combat cargo missions were varied and numerous, such as carting water to stranded troops, fuel to vehicles, and humanitarian supplies to local villages cut off from roads, their most important mission was getting the mail to the troops on the front line.”
As a service to the military, Victory- Girl creates nose art designs at no charge for active military units, charging only printing and shipping fees to units overseas. “It’s one way we can give back to those folks who are helping to protect the freedoms I take for granted every day” Jerri admits.
Nose art isn’t just for vehicles, however. Victory- Girl has also completed hundreds of nose art designs painted on leather jackets, once a common practice among pilots in WWII, and more recently among pilots of private aircraft. “What we really get a kick out of is creating a piece of artwork on a jacket that becomes an instant conversation piece the moment the wearer walks into a room”.
Characters, planes, portraits and pinups comprise the majority of subject matter for flight jacket artwork, but truly anything goes. “We’ve painted historical WWII pieces that have included German swastikas or other historically sensitive imagery. We caution our clients to be prepared for comments, both positive and negative, that these might draw. One client brought his jacket we painted with Nazi aircraft ‘kill markings’ (the ‘scorecard’ painted on the aircraft to note how many Nazi aircraft had been shot down) back to us, asking us to change it to another, less charged graphic. He was tired of explaining to distrustful onlookers that having Nazi kill markings on his jacket did not make him a Nazi sympathizer.”
Handpainting detailed imagry on leather takes some doing, however. “We can spend several days on a single jacket” Terri notes (Jerri’s twin sister, partner of Victory-Girl). “The process requires careful preparation of the leather, painting with specialty leather paints, and then a sealant process to ensure the paint doesn’t peel or slough off.” Painting on aircraft uses a more traditional enamel based painting process.
What do Terri and Jerri enjoy the most? “For sure its’ the memories we help to keep alive through this artwork” affirms Jerri and Terri, in unison. “ It is gratifying to know that you’ve helped build a tribute to a brave pilot, a loving husband and grandfather, who, although passed on, will always be remembered every time his grandson puts on his flight jacket with his portrait on the back.”
Examples of completed works are viewable at www.victory-girl.com or call Terri or Jerri at 909-297-6688.
February, our hearts aglow; we halt the further unveiling of our bundles-and leave them at the door. A time to marvel, to thaw, to contemplate- in-between the crystallized remnants of winter and the first signs of spring-we are wrapped in a velvet time warp between dreams and waking; things hidden will soon foretell; a white statue of Adonis winks. In the center of the table a box of dark chocolates and a vase of roses adorn
the white linen.
From shadowy school days, we smile at the thought of nearly perfect hearts cut out of red construction paper- pasted on snowflake white doilies. All of you children rejoice, the smallest to the tall, gangly or invisible, for whatever your lot, in-spite of the fickle sentiments of others, rest assured you will not get overlooked
on that special day- today no-one notices freckles; for at the end of the day your shoe box or brown paper bag will be full of valentines, and pastel candy hearts uttering sweet forget- me- not’s’!
A shadow like that of a sprite plays upon the hearth-was it Cupid or just a rebirth of an old ghost?
In the pale gold, a host of real and imaginary lovers cry out. Some are in chains, some just arch-types etched into the clay of our own 1940’s ideals. Some are waiting in secret-in the rose mist, just hidden from view by the vine edged columns, as their shadows dance upon cobble stone corridors-pining to merge into one with their soul mates; in the dance called love, passion and purity become one. A flamingo pink flashes on the horizon- Snow Cherubs wait at the gates where babies who didn’t quite make it to their childhood on earth are ushered back in, on tiny angel wings. An image forms in the clouds, as imagination flows, whipped cream white, castle like, as days grow in length- lavender streaks the Northern skies, and stars pierce the cold black.
In a fleeting glimpse of a beautiful sunset, February speaks to us, and represents itself. The barren holes where furry, busy creatures played are covered with winters brown and frost- premonitions of blossoms, mauve, cherry, and white, float beneath the earth, as in watery vaults, waiting for the time of their rebirth. Angels in white feathered form or dressed in the common threads of man, flit and hover, from all the corners of the earth-February, our hearts again opening, giving tribute to Valentino, to birds in flight forming a straight black arrow-in the silver slant of the morning light, mirrors the silver of the birch trees – at last is our salute to the flaming crimson heart –as on wings it takes flight and carries the songs of lovers for all times, the gifts of starry skies, music boxes with tiny skaters on mirrored glass ponds, and the collective pool of tears from earnest, broken love-sick and contrite hearts.
February, our heart’s now thawing from January’s bleakness and chill. With curiosity, we rub out a spot on the fogged window to see our neighbor in his glory and plight- and the dividing shrubbery is blurred in our memories of good will once again. A few yards away a fence was knocked down by a storm, (again), but in the spirit of new beginnings, the fellows, young and old, work together to repair it again. The wives cheer them on, with mugs of hot coffee.
A dog’s yelp can be heard, echoing a hallmark sentiment-children riding scooters warm us with the return of their high pitched laughter, and free spirits. The gap between generations narrows-the mitten clad lad of the fifties whirls around corners at high speeds on roller skates; in the regeneration, of his species, though his DNA is unique, somehow his spirit is engineered into the spirit of a happy faced modern day boy-with an electronic box in hand, twittering a friend.
A trickle of ice melts the heart, and we smile and nod, as if coming out of a long winter dream. We note how the grass has grown, and pools of rainwater leading down to the gutters are timely reminders, of how seasons change and turn color, and than die like the leaves-and than one day, like Lazarus, they rise, the ashen bedclothes fall off, and spring is born again! They enhance us and all the earth around us.
The old man across the street is coming out of hiding, tending to his garden soon to be green with Spring- time rains. The corners of his mouth set like a straight grim line in a face of stone are turning upward. Though he does not speak to nary a soul, if he could but speak I know what this old Irish man would say; “Ah, me thinks its going to be a wonderful day.”
Cynthia Lamanna may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org – and would love the chance to talk with other writers and artists!
Owen Geronimo came out of the real estate world to work with San Francisco’s Fashion and Merchants’ Alliance, which seeks to facilitate networking among emerging designers and to place San Francisco, California right back on the map in the fashion scene. Here are some of his thoughts, on various factors and trends influencing the design world and San Francisco’s aesthetic.
Save-The-Date: “The Economics of Art” forum is going to be on Feb. 11th at The Barber Lounge. For details, please go to this site: http://www.theeconomicsofart.info/
We at Synchronized Chaos would love to hear more about how people describe San Francisco’s fashion scene…trends, styles, what’s unique about the place?
What’s unique about San Francisco’s local fashion scene is about the innovative melting pot of many talents here. Realistically, style has really nothing to do with geographical locations. It has to do with the individual, him or herself.
However, San Francisco has its own mystique and aura regarding style. I think, because the San Francisco Bay Area is in the forefront in technology, politics, and social equality. If you look at history,settlers have gone west (across the United States) in the search for gold, the flower power of the seventies, the raves and the dot com era of the nineties. It is that the same mystique why most come to the SF Bay Area… to experience this movement.
As far as trends are concern, the street style fashion combining, the eighties neon B-Boy get-up and vintage chic from your local Goodwill stores is hot. That is the norm these days. Fashion evolves, the beatnik look, gothic and punk, hobo chic – you will see on the street. I think because of our weather here in the bay area, there isn’t really a set trend. Clearly, what’s out is overpriced labeled brands. Ultimately, we are now experiencing the “poorgouis” (poor and burgouis) economy all the retailers are adjusting their price points to cater to the consumers’ new frugality approach.
I think the majority of people are confused about style and fashion. It really has to do more about your attitude, it’s either ‘you got it’ or you don’t. It’s all internal, the outward approach is really how you present yourself. Confidence is very sexy. Being unique would make you stand out in a crowd.
What advice would you have for upcoming designers?
Master your own sewing machine. If you want fashion to be your career, you have to live it. Fashion is an art not a hobby. Take a business class to learn accounting and to know the difference of profit and loss. Be original. Always be aware of what your customer wants. Build a database. Prepare a realistic business plan. Join a collective to get exposed to the community. There is no shame in networking, so network like hell.
Why do you think fashion is important/a form of art on a level with paintings, etc?
Fashion is very important. It is as extension of how we express ourselves to the public. Some of us, sometimes intentionally dress up to get noticed. It is really in our psyche as human beings to crave for attention and fashion can satisfy this need. However, I personally prefer not to be noticed.
As a painter, you must be able to paint and create a masterpiece from a blank canvas originating from your mind. As a designer, transferring your sketch to a dress form is just the beginning process until the final product is made and ready to be sold to the public.
What do you think is bringing about a renaissance for fashion in SF?
The fashion renaissance never left, it was always here. I have met numerous individuals from New York, Miami, and as far as from Melbourne in my events just to see what is this local fashion movement about. It’s nothing new, it’s always been there but it has never been positively cultivated. I have observed that the major players in the local fashion scene are occupied disparaging each others. A perfect example is “Style Wars.” The judges were sarcastically rude toward the designer contestants, never offering constructive criticisms. It created so much animosity toward the creative designers. I couldn’t grasp it. I’m sure the crowd also noticed. The common goal of creativity and sense of community are ultimately lost within that event.
The last time, I saw “Project Runway”, no one actually representing San Francisco won. No one made the cut. That was a major blow to the local fashion scene.
My main goal is to have San Francisco become synonymous with the word ‘fashion’. The local independent and “DIY” fashion scene is robustly thriving with the help of the internet. At the same time, we have fashion houses and major retailers here, such as, Bebe, Gap, Levi’s, Nice Collective, Chaiken, to name a few. The “Burning Man” crowd are also pioneers in the renaissance of the local fashion scene.
How has fashion been affected by the economy?
The economy has affected fashion and the retail industry immensely. H&M just opened two new retail locations in Tokyo. This is a major shift from the “label” conscious Japanese consumers. Jimmy Choo and Sonia Rykiel also just launched their new line with H&M in United States. Last fall, New York and Macy’s launched Fashion Night Out with Vogue’s Anna Wintour showcasing boutique trends in an attempt to stimulate shoppers to buy in New York. These are major strategic shifts from the retailers to adapt to the price conscious consumers that are driving the retail economy.
By the green movement and environmental concerns?
Eco-design is a hot commodity in the luxury market. The majority of society is slowly catching on. Eco-design, both retail and homeopathetic are growing rapidly. Some local designers are actually pioneers with this concept by ‘deconstructing’ outfits and wardrobes to come up with new designs. With environmental concerns, you have synthetic fabrics versus organic fabrics or chemically based dyes versus organics. It’s a tough call, a wholesaler would rely more on a cheaper commodity to run a business.
The Copenhagen Conference just wrapped up. Realistically, if we talk about saving the planet, don’t look to the fashion industry for an answer.
By globalization and immigration and multicultural influence?
Globalization. China, UAE and Saudi Arabia, India, Southeast Asia, The European Union. As an American, I’m doubting if the United States can actually compete with these major players with our current political and economic climate. Our education system is lagging immensely compared to most developed countries.
In fashion? Globalization has made cheap labor, and cheaper materials, more accessible. It has made a lot of impact on open trade and import/export also with the help of technology.
Immigration? Banana Republic flagship store in San Francisco hired foreigners to fill their opening for the holiday season. Cheap labor will be filled by foreigners to try to fulfill their own American dreams. The companies would want to cut down their costs before hand. The United States should really look into extending H1 visas to foreign workers to sustain job security inside the country. A lot of tech and labor jobs are rerouted out of the country to save money. After 9/11, many of the United States’ immigration laws have changed, and also with the recent decline of the banking industry, the influx of immigrants has tremendously dropped.
What should someone look for in a clothing line? In the clothes someone wears? What makes an outfit artistic?
Quality and comfortability. Armani is a perfect example. Your outfit becomes a luxury item. For me, sophistication is always a turn on. Again, it’s all about the attitude, it is not what you wear. It’s how you wear it. Originality makes an outfit artistic. A creative insight must be applied to come up with an original outfit.
Should someone consider going to SF if they want to be successful in fashion?
*Laughs.* Hone your skills in San Francisco, then move to New York to make a name for yourself, then come back to San Francisco. You will not fail.
Okay, just one last question: Who are your personal inspirations? Whose clothes do you like?
Laughs. This is a good one because I almost had a brain aneurysm with the ‘global’ questions. Alexander McQueen is my fashion god for the past few years, it changes from time to time. My personal inspirations are Issey Miyaki and Rei Kawakubo. I recall walking into Comme De Garcon’s showroom in Chelsea, years ago. It really was inspiring.
I consider myself a painter, though I use many different materials in my work. My MFA is in photography but I never actually thought of myself as a photographer. The photographic image was the skeleton of my work. I had a hard time keeping my hands off the image. I had to touch it, manipulate it, paint on it, erase parts and then draw back into them. My photographs looked like paintings, and now as a painter people tell me I paint with a photographer’s eye. I think what they mean by this is that I work with and am aware of the edges of the frame or canvas. This is where tension and poetry are created.
My latest body of work is called HUMAN STEPS. This is an ongoing series I have been working on for a year and a half. Currently, there are paintings and digital images but eventually there will be video components and an installation as well.
HUMAN: adjective, have, or relating, to characteristics of people. STEPS: noun, plural, the act of putting one foot in front of the other.
HUMAN STEPS is a dialog, which references the many disparate elements encountered in daily urban life – a metaphor for the way in which dark affects light and vice versa, how the sweet can become sickly if overdone and how close proximity to millions of people, diverse cultures and visual images can both inspire and overwhelm. It is a metaphor for tight quarters, pleasant or not so pleasant meetings and vibrant energy of the city in contrast to shadowy and emotionally difficult places.
For HUMAN STEPS, I use what most people consider garbage as a jumping off place in the work. The materials at one point might have been utilitarian, but were never considered beautiful. The hard, shiny, plastic surfaces often synonymous to commercial objects would never pass inspection as such. Dirt falls onto the canvases, scratches, cracks, marks occur and there are no straight lines, only the illusion of such. Through the act of turning detritus into “works of art”, or elevating the prestige of garbage, I aim to question the status quo of beauty, worthiness and usability.
Has my style changed over the years?
This year, I completely moved out of a house I was living in for a while. In doing so, I uncovered some of my photographic work from 1992. I was so intrigued when I saw them and what I had been working with at the time. Garbage! I was photographing cardboard, old window shades, hardware parts-junk really. The photographs looked like abstract paintings. So it seems my interest in materials has remained fairly consistent.
Themes continue to reoccur as well.
I am intrigued with seduction – seduction through colour, sensual line, materials- and with irony or contrast – that moment when the viewer realizes they are looking at garbage, but isn’t it beautiful garbage!
When I was living in San Francisco, I painted with sludge- the waste that sank to the bottom of the jar of turpentine where I cleaned my brushes. At one point I literally had a sludge farm. Jars and jars. The stuff just grows. So I began to experiment. I would layer these beautiful transparent pigments over the sludge like a protective skin. Through the layers, colors would arrive on their own, When complete the texture of the sludge, the way it cracked or lumped up was still very apparent, yet the skin was seductive and held two opposing ideas together in one place- inside/outside, beauty/waste, seduction/repulsion.
In the end, I think everyone brings his or her own experience to my work. I encourage that. I don’t want my art to be an absolute. It is too limiting. I want my work to spark dialog, intrigue or visceral experience.
1029 W. 35TH STREET
CHICAGO, IL 60609
Information on each of Connie’s featured images, including media used, here: http://community.livejournal.com/chaos_zine/7788.html