I stopped shaving my armpits a few months ago. At first it wasn’t to make a statement. I was just curious how it would feel to keep it.
It happened when I got really sick for about a month. I felt so horrible I could not care less about shaving any part of my body. When I got better, I looked under my arms ready to mow down the short black tuft that had grown and realized it had never been this long before. To shave or not to shave never felt like a choice that was given to me. It was presented to me, by a combination of social pressure from other women and Seventeen Magazine (a garbage publication btw), as if it were a plain fact of being a woman.
Since I realized I felt like I wasn’t supposed to have a choice in the matter, I stopped. I trim it once in a while but for now I’m not shaving it anymore. I get the occasional glance of curiosity or subtle surprised look from people when I lift my arm in front of them. I’ve actually grown to like the feeling of it. I feel more me.
So I decided to make a series of six drawings about body hair. Each of the ~unsightly haired areas~ are replaced with native California plants, which are all also classified as weeds (likely by anxiety-ridden suburbanites or OCD gardeners). Like body hair, weeds are purely a matter of taste. It’s all about what you think other people care about, what they assume about you, and all the random social stigmas that come from tedious norms.
You can see them as ugly and problematic, or you can see them as beautiful and interesting.
Last weekend I went to the final meeting of my 6-month art class. It was an intense experience, and the best, most challenging instruction on creativity and visual art I’ve ever had.
I went into the class pretty lost about what my motivations were for making art, and how I’d find my style and voice in the craft. Going to art classes all throughout high school and college, it always felt like I was being pushed to make things look more realistic. Whatever personal flavor happened to manifest in the final works sorta felt accidental. After a while, I realized that making things look accurate was a waste of time given how you can use any number of digital tools to do it for you. I loved getting sucked into a project, but the objective of art—which seemed to coming at me suggestively from all sides socially—to make cool, somewhat realistic looking shit, began to feel hallow and stupid.
Anyway, this class really helped to drag me out of this rut. More than anything, it gave me the tools to experiment so I could continue to explore what my aesthetic voice is. I’m really excited to use these new methods and try it on some other kinds of media besides charcoal on newsprint.
I thought these three drawings from the last session do a good job of reflecting my evolving approach to and thinking around my visual aesthetics. Each one was made in < 7 minutes.
So I’m taking this art class in my neighborhood involving a lot of intense concentration on the craft, feeling, and experience of making visual art. We’re now in the middle of the term, and we’ve only just started being allowed to look at the page we’re drawing on.
These are the some results from last night’s exercises. None of these feel complete, but there are parts of each I like. The first two were drawn just by me, and the latter two collaboratively, each with five other classmates. The first one is the one I started, andothers built on top. The last one is the one I finished after four others.
There are way more parts I don’t like than like so I’m just gonna point out the latter.
Parts I like: the fleshy middle curve of the folded thigh, the weightiness of the hand on the right, the zig-zag of the inner fold lines (is that what they’re called?) of the arm on the right.
Parts I like: How the face looks doubled, the weightiness of the foot on the right, the breadth of the shoulders, the scribbly outline.
Parts I like: The ghostliness of the whole thing, the fullness of both thighs and butt, the random fire explosion coming out of the shoulder.
Parts I like: the white outline around the nipple, the squiggly happy trail line, the shadow of the arm over the abdomen, the curve of the waist, and the motion lines.
I got to spend some time this weekend practicin’ my digital drawing skills. My buddy Yana and I had talked about drawing together, so we finally met up and spent a lil while getting our hands more in tune with our wacom tablets. We both love drawing but never make the time to do it, and having to wipe the dust collected on our tools certainly made this neglect ever more glaring.
We went online and found a super simple exercise to train our brains to deal with the separation between the “pen” and the values and objects captured on the screen. It was to draw squiggles—consistently formed, evenly spaced out squiggles. These are some of my scratch documents that I saved since it ended up looking sort of cool by the end.
To change it up, I then made each squiggle a different color. OoOOooo, rainbowwww~
So we did that for a while until we got bored and started working on drawing from photographs we’d each taken. I just finished mine, which is a photo of Lake Merritt at dusk that my friend Susan took. (It’s a pretty big image and it might look better if you click to expand).
I’m happy how it turned out. I wanted to spend more time on making the water reflection better and putting more details on the buildings but… whateva.
the first four are of things on or next to my desk, and the second half are just random drawings.
My lil chewbacca that my sister gave me a while ago. He lives on my bedside table.
These dried leaves I picked up on a walk in Chiba are scattered on my desk.
a dragon in the hills.
I’d like to make an anigif of this.
I went to an anigif festival in the Mission last night, where hundreds of animated gifs were projected onto the floor, walls, and buildings next to the patio where the party was. It inspired me to try to make my own, frame-by-frame ones.
Below is my first ever GIF from scratch (!):
Aaaand another one, using a random photo I found of myself.
Yay for learning new things. I’m excited to do more experimenting with elaborate drawings.
A box of random crap and a trash bag full of coats.
I somehow made this much smaller than I meant to so I had to blow this up a bit (therefore a tad pixelated).