Archive for May, 2012
Just when I think I can never be an artist, I’m reminded that human beings are capable of much more than they think possible.
A new exhibit opened May 25 at the Hannibal Arts Council, “Where We Can Read The Wind,” a traveling collection featuring professional artists with disabilities.
This exhibit features 26 creators from around Missouri and, according to the Hannibal Arts Council news release, should be an exhibit that can touch anyone who has felt intolerance.
“…the exhibit demonstrates that work by artists with disabilities is just as varied and rich as any other diverse group of artists. The exhibit is full of amazing and courageous stories of artists who have struggled not only with their disabilities but with discrimination, rejection but also accomplishment and creative joy. “
Take, for instance, one of the artists in the exhibit, David Kontra. David has less than five percent vision in his left eye and only light perception in his right.
It is inspiring to see someone like David, with such challenges to overcome, express himself through creation.
VSA, the state organization on arts and disability, gives artistic opportunities to those with disabilities and co-sponsors the exhibit, along with Hannibal Arts Council and Missouri Arts Council.
I know I always tell myself (and you) that I can’t paint, I can’t draw, I can’t create beautiful things. Nonsense. The artists in this exhibit are creating beauty and sharing it around the state of Missouri. Maybe instead of judging my artistic ability, I should just try to remember David, who says his vision is like looking through a straw, and just appreciate my ability to simply hold a paintbrush.
I applaud the Hannibal Arts Council for brining such a meaningful exhibit to our area, especially during a time when our nation is learning the importance of acceptance and inclusion, not prejudice.
Visit the blog later this week when I take you through parts of the exhibit. We’ll talk about some of the art you can see when you visit the Hannibal Arts Council and why it is definitely worth the drive across the river.
May 25 – June 23
Hannibal Arts Council, 105 S. Main St.
Gallery Hours: Monday, Wednesday-Friday 9 a.m.-5 p.m., Saturdays 11 a.m.-2 p.m.
Design house Alice + Olivia has a reputation for creating the perfect little party dress with their uber feminine aesthetic. When creating their Fall collection, designer Stacey Bendet wanted to incorporate something they hadn’t done before — long gowns. The result: glam floor sweeping pieces that make you want to go back in time.
The dresses somehow combine vintage inspiration with a futuristic vibe. This makes sense when Bendet announced her muses for the line ranged from Lolita to David Bowie.
View the full collection here: http://www.style.com/fashionshows/review/F2012RTW-ALICEOLIVIA.
There are two kinds of music listeners out there.
There’s the listener who is interested in a good beat. We’ll call her “the easygoing listener.” The easygoing listener just wants to hear pleasant sounds as a song plays through the radio. Words aren’t really important, entertainment value is all that matters. If the song is fun, catchy, entertaining, etc., the easygoing listener is satisfied.
Then there is the high maintenance listener. The high maintenance listener is not satisfied simply with a good beat. The high maintenance listener wants good lyrics along with a sweet beat. The high maintenance listener can be quite judgmental when listening to the radio. A catchy tune isn’t going to cut it for the high maintenance listener, no. The high maintenance listener needs the whole package.
Can you guess which one I am?
So join me in what I hope will be a semi-regular fixture on Alt Art. I call it “Dissection of Pop Culture.”
This week’s guest, per request by a reader, is Carly Rae Jepsen.
“Call Me Maybe” is a catchy song, to be sure. After support from teen idols Selena Gomez and Justin Bieber, the song now plays on every top 40 radio station in America.
Let’s take a look at some of her lyrics.
“Hey, I just met you,
and this is crazy,
but here’s my number,
so call me, maybe?
“It’s hard to look right,
at you baby,
but here’s my number,
so call me, maybe?”
And all the other boys,
try to chase me,
but here’s my number,
so call me, maybe?
Before you came into my life
I missed you so bad
I missed you so bad
I missed you so, so bad”
Clearly Carly is giving some mixed signals to this mysterious ripped-jeans fellow. In fact, I can’t be sure what Carly’s motives from her words.
So, let me get this straight. This song is about a girl who is so infatuated with a guy that she can’t even look right at him, but she tells him to call her … maybe? We’re playing awfully hard to get here, Carly. Wouldn’t you want someone to call you … definitely?
Not only can she not look at the object of her affections, but also she missed him so, so bad before she met him. Is it possible that Carly has some prophetic powers? Did she see this man with the tight jeans coming before she even met him? Because apparently she already missed him.
But if Carly is psychic, it is odd that she would tell this man to call her … maybe. One would think she already knew whether or not said man would actually use her number to call her. However, I can understand why she wouldn’t want to reveal her powers of prophecy right away. Kind of ruins the first date when you already know that your date will get salad stuck in his teeth.
I’m not sure that telling someone that all the other boys chase you is doing much to make this date happen. We all have egos, you know? Who wants to go on a date with a girl who thinks she is deigning to give you her number out of all the other boys? Sounds a little high maintenance to me. Sounds like a girl who likes to play games.
And how crazy is it, really, to give someone your number when you meet them? Isn’t that how you meet people? Perhaps I can assume from this that Carly Rae has never given out her number before. That is odd, considering Carly Rae Jepsen was born in 1985, making her 26 or 27. Aren’t these lyrics a bit immature for a woman in her mid-20s?
Carly Rae, knock off the mixed signals and the game playing. Maybe your next single could be titled, “We’ll Break Up, Probably.” Sounds like a winner to me.
The easygoing listener might say, “Hey Brenna, knock it off. I like this song and you are just being picky.” Well easygoing listener, you are right. But I wouldn’t say you are my target audience.
High maintenance listeners/ TV-watchers/movie-goers, what other pop culture phenomena drives you nuts? Comment with it and we’ll rip it apart it in the next edition of “Dissection of Pop Culture.” It might not win us any awards for being kind or courteous, but it sure is fun.
There’s nothing I like more than a heated debate. Movies, TV, politics, religion — difference of opinion and the right to voice those differences are the best things about being an American. I’m even willing to overlook those who watched anything with any Housewife in it who isn’t Betty Draper.
Art is more than just something to look it: it is something to be discussed, something to disagree on and something to interpret. And as long as you completely agree with the art critics who know best, your interpretation is the correct one.
Opinion and interpretation of art seems to be equally important as the art itself. What I mean is that meaning must be associated with a creation to make it special/important/hated/beloved/anything at all. We all make judgments about the beautiful and not so beautiful things we see hanging in art galleries, on our friends’ walls, but maybe we don’t say it out loud. Well, what happens when your judgment seems to the only dissenting voice?
How do you know if your inner critic is accurately judging or just judgmental?
I recently visited the Museum of Modern Art in New York City with my brother Andrew, and we capped off the tour with a trip to the sixth floor for the retrospective of world-famous photographer Cindy Sherman. Cindy has made a career of her self-portraits, which provide social commentary on body image, fame, power and many other issues. You can read more about Cindy here. If you choose to look at photos of her works, I warn you, some are graphic.
The first thing we saw as we walked in were 40-foot tall wall paperings of Cindy dressed in various silly wigs, prosthetic noses and outrageous costumes. I had no idea what we were walking into until I spotted this photo, above.
I stared at the giant photo of Cindy Sherman wearing some kind of carnie outfit, holding juggling pins and giving that sassy attitude and I burst into laughter. I didn’t see a statement on feminism or the world around me — I just saw someone who looked like she belonged next to Tim Curry in “Rocky Horror Picture Show.” My brother and I stared at each other and laughed again.
“Wow,” I thought to myself, “This Cindy character sure is hilarious.”
It took us about 20 more seconds to realize that of the hundreds of people viewing Cindy’s self-portraits, we were literally the only ones laughing. The exhibit continued with her depicting plastic surgery, Housewife type characters with too much makeup and fanciful costumes. We continued to be the only ones laughing.
This couldn’t be possible, I thought to myself. How is it that no one else sees the humor in what this crazy woman has spent her career doing? I searched deep into my mind to figure out what I really thought of this woman and her photography that was really supposed to say something about being a woman, about beauty and about our society.
All I knew it said to me was that the inappropriate prosthetic body parts and the kitschy poses seemed like more of a commentary on humor than how we perceive beauty or anything important.
That was when we realized that Cindy wasn’t trying to be funny. She was 100 percent serious about her absurd photography. And so, the “serious” art fans that had traveled from all over the world to see her exhibit were not amused either. I could not believe that there wasn’t a single other person giggling to themselves about Cindy’s outrageous photography. But that person looked around and saw that she wasn’t supposed to laugh at the “serious art” that really means something.
My feelings about the meaning of Cindy’s art didn’t change the importance of the exhibit to me — merely the outcome. I didn’t leave thinking Cindy Sherman was going to save womankind. However, I did leave thinking that I felt totally okay with the fact that I did not get it. And I was woman enough to admit it. Despite my leanings toward feminism and my liberal outlook on society, Cindy’s clown faces just didn’t speak to me.
My interpretation of her art was quite different than the others’ around me, but that did not make it less important to me. Just a lot funnier.
Maybe those who stayed silent around me assumed they didn’t know enough about art to make a judgment on what they were seeing. To that, I say that we can’t all be artists, but we can all be critics. Most art is created to be discussed, to be interpreted, to be argued over. We all have opinions and experience that help us create meaning from a photograph or a painting. Why would/should we stay silent and let a select few “critics” judge it for us?
Whether she meant to or not, Cindy Sherman reminded me of a very important lesson that day: Don’t ever take life too seriously. Otherwise, you might end up looking like one of Cindy Sherman’s self-portraits.
If we all start being a little more honest about the things we see on museum walls, in galleries and on the Internet, art becomes more meaningful. I choose a quote from my boss, Mark Twain. “Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect.”
Maybe I didn’t get Cindy’s work, but we spent the rest of the day in NYC talking about art, life, beauty and humor. I used my mind and my experiences to have an intelligent yet utterly absurd debate over whether Cindy Sherman takes life too seriously or whether she had us both fooled.
Art is infinitely more fun for those of us who don’t create it when we are honest about how it makes us feel and willing to engage in a heated debate about what a painting means to us. Even if it simply means you don’t get it. That is much better than pretending you “get” what a woman in a clown suit is trying to say to you.
You no longer need to be an Illini fan to enjoy the orange/navy color combination. This color duo was seen frequently on runways and is easily transferred to Maine Street.
Designers like BCBG and Victoria Beckham used a soft peach instead of a traditional bright orange for their colorblock Spring 2012 pieces. Marc Jacobs based the majority of his Marc collection around the color combo, trickling in tans and olives throughout the show.
For someone who wants to colorblock, but is hesitant about looking too bright, this is a great way to do it. These colors, unlike others in the Spring color blocking trend, are great for all situations- as shown by the professional, casual, formal, and chic pieces above.
Fashion’s best were represented this past week at the three-day long Cannes Film Festival in France. It was fantastic to see designs made all the more dramatic by the use of a train. After all, when you’re using the finest fabrics in the world, use as much as you can! Here’s some of my favorites:
- Spanish actress Paz Vega chose wore a Stéphane Rolland couture gown with a feathered train.
- Eva Longoria chose a blush gown by Marchesa with a long tulle train.
- Diane Kruger dropped jaws in this angelic mint Giambattista Valli gown — stunning!
Sometimes I wish Pinterest came with a warning label, like skateboarding shows or anything anyone on MTV is attempting.
“You are not an artist. No matter how much you think you are. You can try this it home. But yours will fail in comparison.”
Pinterest is the place that both makes me want to be an artist and constantly reminds me that I am an artist only in the sense that a 5-year-old with fingerpaints is an artist. Except I don’t have a Kindergarten teacher to tell me how pretty my art is.
If you haven’t had the opportunity to scour it for tissue box crafts or knitting patterns, “Pinterest is a Virtual Pinboard. Pinterest lets you organize and share all the beautiful things you find on the web,” the site explains. “People use pinboards to plan their weddings, decorate their homes and organize their favorite recipes.”
I have to say, after visiting Pinterest, I’ve discovered that there are some incredibly creative people in the world. And then there are the people like me, who steal others’ creativity.
But Pinterest is more than a site to share recipes — it is a place for people to showcase their talents, a market place of creativity and inspiration in the digital age. A one-stop shop for all the creativity in the world. And it is completely free, for now at least. So even if a Pinner doesn’t have the chops of DaVinci, she can find someone to show her how to create something beautiful.
This openness and sharing of ideas seems out of place in our copyrighted and priced tagged world — and totally welcome for anyone on a budget.
I was looking for some easy and inexpensive ways to decorate my new apartment recently and stumbled across an easy and cheap project I could hang on my wall. You can view the project here.
The project required very few things:
- Electric Tape
- Two shades of paint
- The ability to paint inside very thick lines
I invited my friend Blaise over, who actually happens to be a person with actual artistic skill, to help. I purchased a canvas for each of us to paint. The instructions told me to put down crisscrossing tape lines on the canvas, creating interesting shapes and angles. Then, I painted the created shapes within the tape, using one color for most and painting a few of the smaller shapes for a second shade. She painted her canvas with the opposite colors, using the bright blue for the majority of shapes and the muted gray shade for accent shapes.
The whole painting thing isn’t something I could say I did well. My paintbrush was a little too aggressive on the canvas and at some point a clump of black paint (where did it come from, I don’t know, considering I did not purchase black paint) got into the majority of my gray, leaving lines and spots behind.
We waited for the paint to dry and ripped off the electric tape, revealing thick white lines and gray and blue angles. Blaise, the neat and tidy painter that she is, had perfectly straight tape lines.
My aggressive brushstrokes bled under the tape and left behind little splotches in the white space. This makes sense, given my nature. In fifth grade, I won the award for shooting the basketball against the glass harder than anyone else. I often poke holes through paper with my pen. I wasn’t surprised to learn I’d too vigorously painted. Yet another reminder of my artistic shortcomings.
But, shoddy or not, those canvases sit on my dresser, ready to be hung. Project complete!
Even though my canvas could have looked better, and even though I picked out the easiest project I could find, I feel proud of what I did. I spent about $15 for two pieces of art that I get to enjoy everyday. Sure, my canvas isn’t perfect, but I’m not an artist.
And that, I think, is the best part about Pinterest. Ordinary people get to take time out of their busy lives to be an artist for a day. I wouldn’t have thought of the project on my own, but through simple instructions and because of a helpful person online, I completed it. And I’m thinking it doesn’t look half bad if you squint and stare sideways at it.
I won’t be painting anything complex like a flower, anytime soon, but I can definitely handle painting in a solid color. So when someone with really great taste tells me they like my painting, I can tell them it is a Brenna McDermott original. Well, maybe not an original.
Every Summer, we dust off our collection of shorts, but with how warm it’s been lately, most of us have already broken out our Daisy Dukes!
If your collection is looking a little ho-hum, here’s what’s trending below the belt:
1. Prints and Patterns
2. Neons and Pastels
3. High-Waisted Micros
4. Bows, Lace and other Embellishments
5. Monochromatic Short Suits
Editor’s note: The Local Q is pleased to introduce Brenna McDermott. Brenna is a 2011 graduate of Truman State University and is the marketing and community relations manager at the Mark Twain Boyhood Home and Museum in Hannibal. Read more about Brenna here.
I’m not what would be considered an “artist.” I’m no Monet, no Mozart, no Madonna. OK, so maybe that last one could be up for debate. However, I am what I would call a “dabbler.” I’ve dabbled in art. I’ve performed theater — see Affton High School’s 2007 production of “Singing in the Rain,” in which I performed as movie star Lena Lemont and was the first lead character who was so loud she did not require a microphone. I’ve knitted — and at least one of my scarves is actually wearable, thank you Mom. I’ve painted — I won an art contest in the first grade, and my abstract painting hung at Powell Symphony Hall for a time. I like to think of that as the turning point of my artistic career. I’ve made bad pottery, sung mostly on tune in a show choir, danced tap and drawn stick figures in birthday cards — last year’s sketches were getting pretty good too. I’ve dabbled in most of the arts. I suck at most.
But I have opinions. And from time to time, I like to put those opinions to pen.
I graduated from Truman State University in 2011 with a degree in journalism and a desire to immerse myself in good film, music, non-fiction writing and fill my home with expensive abstract art I’ll never be able to afford.
My goal at “Alt Arts” is to explore all kinds of art — everything from piano playing to the art of the mixed drink to the methodology of fancy grass cutting. However, I draw the line at actually mowing the lawn myself. What makes an artist? How do we discern what is good or bad art? And what about art is so enticing to the human condition? What are the many ways local people are expressing their artistic sides? Alt Arts is a place to address those very heavy questions. And also light questions, like “Can I make art from Popsicle sticks, glue and my old dishrags?” And I really hope the answer to that is “yes.”
We all have a desire to create, to express something, to tell a story. Writing has always been my art form, even though I know my grandmother would prefer me to be a movie star. Sorry, Grandma, I’m no Meryl Streep.
So join me as I delve into all kinds of artistic expression. If all goes as planned, I’ll hopefully lay down some beats and start off my rap career, learn how to ice cupcakes so they look fancy and not like a five-year-old slopped some icing on top, and maybe even learn how to improve those stick figures of mine. It’s likely that none of that will actually happen. But I promise to find you interesting stories and discuss what we’re all here for — a love of creative expression, even if we aren’t the Monets, Mozarts and Madonnas of the world.
Yesterday, Tomas Maier revealed his latest Resort line for Bottega Veneta in New York. The designer stated his color palette was inspired by the “frescoes of Tiepolo and Veronese”.
The colors work beautifully together, even though they are somewhat muted. Maier was smart to use monochromatic sets to complete the looks and tell the color story. I especially love that he didn’t stop at the clothing — the shoes and bag stayed on color.
If someone were to describe a look that has the top, pant, jacket, shoe and bag of all the same color, I’d think it would overwhelm. But what’s actually presented is a collection of soft, breathtaking resort wear.