TUNESDAY: “Wobbly” by Ezra Furman

 

 

Genders: my friends
I’ve just been changing genders, fluidly
cause they’ll never pin me
Down in the pages
Like a bug or bumblebeeEzra Furman has a great, grated voice. He also has a fantastic “about me” blurb that I am seriously thinking about stealing:


Ezra Furman is a guy you want to know all about. That’s why when the Internet was recently invented (ca. 2008?) Ezra snapped into action and began his two-year preparation of his blog. On this blog he will include every single thought that crosses his mind, all the songs he likes, all the bands he likes, all the songs he makes up, and everything he writes including poems prose and grunts.

Basically it’s just about music and poems. Probably just music actually.”

 

See? Doesn’t that capture Manic Neon Wasteland pretty well, too? I think so! Just substitute poems for visual art, and boom!

I love the humour in his videos (see the great stop motion adventure in his “Restless Year” music video below). I am also totally happy to send some love to genderfluid artists. His band name, when not performing solo, is super cute too:  Ezra Furman and The Boy-Friends. I love it.

Was today’s song a hit or a miss? Let me know in the comments below! Song recommendations are always welcome!

“MAKE IT WORK” Mondays: Excuse me, how do I write?

Script writing. Ugh…

Finding Leslie’s voice was definitely the hardest part. I say “was” like I have found it, but I am definitely still working on it.

What was she going to say? I had no idea! Was she going to be a character, with a whole backstory, a history, a family? Did I want to commit to writing my entire blog in her voice? I don’t think I have the creative chops for that! I got some criticism about my creative writing as a child and while I know it was unwarranted, and I have since written stories that I am proud of, I still struggle with seeing myself as a writer, as someone who is capable of telling stories.

I would watch Max Headroom interviews and want to be him. My biggest influence for the show, though was Buddy Cole from Kids in the Hall. He’s always mesmerized me, even as a kid watching the show on the Comedy network (channel 44, what what!).


I wanted to create a character who gave witty monologues like that. Problem was, I’d have to write those monologues myself…

I sat down at an empty word document. It stayed empty for a long time. Who was Leslie Taylor and what exactly happened in the Manic Neon Wasteland? I asked the empty page those questions, and slowly but surely typed out the answer… and that answer will be the first video from Leslie Taylor… which will hopefully be released before pigs fly and hell freezes over. I’m working on it! 

WEEKLY UPDATE: Daily Drawing round up, Graduation, aka “How does the start of summer = The end of summer?”

Another week of drawings completed in 30 minutes or less! A colourful mix this week!

Day 17: I saw the most adorable bunnies today with very unique markings. It looks like they had eyeliner on, which of course, led to me putting two and two together, et voilà! Punk bunnies! You’re welcome 🙂
Day 17: Bus and Train edition. I will tell you this: drawing with sharpie on a bus is a very nerve-racking artistic experience!
The punk bunnies IRL
Day 19: The old orange beater. The unexpected sequel to that old farm house drawing.
Day 20: Serving up futuristic realness.
Day 21: I must remember to iron my dress for tomorrow. I must remember to iron my dress for tomorrow. I must remember.
Day 22: I graduated from my Masters program today, and as the weight of this milestone settles on me like delicately falling snow, I bring you this picture. Have a great night!?
Day 23: No Exit. Not to be confused with the Sartre play of the same name.

How was your week, dear reader? My week felt very busy, and also, unfortunately, not very productive. It was a very scattershot week.

LB and I both graduated from University this week. As a result, I ask to be addressed as Master Taylor from now on. I’ve got the piece of paper to prove it now, so why not? I hope “master” is included in the drop down menu of prefixes I can select from on online forms! LB made the Dean’s list, which means he was in the top 20th percentile, with an average of over 3.5! Talk about high distinction! I am so proud of that smartypants!

What else did I get up to… oh right, my online course finished this week! It was very strange to have to work on a seven page paper, do readings and post a response on the same day I was graduating.

This break brought the first day of summer, and my summer, ironically enough, is just coming to an end. I start teaching ESL at a summer camp on Monday, so bye bye free time, sleeping in on weekdays, staying at home doing art all day… It was nice while it lasted. I am excited about camp though. My co-workers seem great, and the camp has a very relaxed atmosphere. Little nervous about teaching grammar, but if I stay one day ahead of the kids I should be fine, right?

What am I watching? (in five words or less)

  1. Forks Over Knives
    “Plants heal, animal products kill”
  2. What the Health?
    “Diet will save your life”
  3. RuPaul’s Drag Race, season 3 – (rewatching for the umpteenth time)
    “Such a strong, talented season!”


What am I reading? (in five words or less)

  1. Shades of A, a webcomic by T A Kimpton
    “Asexual love can be complicated” (slightly NSFW)
  2. Blogging for Creatives by Robin Houghton
    “Horrible book layout, helpful tips”

I think the fact that my reading list has shrunken considerably tells you quite a lot about the state of my week! Now I’m off to watch the finale of RuPaul’s Drag Race, Season 9 so that I can go back to using the internet without fear of being spoiled.

Have a great week, everyone!

BABY STEPS TO A MORE CREATIVE LIFE

Last week I wrote about how to live a more creative and fulfilling life. If you’d like to read my recommendations, suggested book list, please check out my post.

The Artists Way by Julia Cameron is always at the top of my list of recommendations. There is no denying that reading this book and completing the 12 week course is a life changing and fruitful endeavour. From my experience, however, it’s a deceptively hard course to complete. I don’t want to dissuade you from trying. Struggle brings growth! I tried to complete the course last year but the timing wasn’t right for me. I wasn’t ready. Don’t beat yourself up if you start and fall off the wagon. You will have learned something just by trying, I guarantee.

If, like me a year ago, you don’t think you are ready to do the full 12 week course, I have developed a “baby-steps” path to a more creative life.

BABY STEPS TO A MORE CREATIVE LIFE

  1. Read the introduction to “The Artists Way” by Julia Cameron to learn about Morning Pages
  2. Write your morning pages every day. If you’re not a morning person, they don’t need to be written first thing in the morning as Julia Cameron recommends. In my opinion, when you do them is not as important as the fact that you do them. Morning pages allow you to have deep conversations with yourself. I feel like I’ve only met myself through those three daily pages of writing. Morning pages are a place where you start out by complaining about your day, planning your to-do lists, ranting about what happened yesterday, and worrying about the future… but that sort of stuff can only take up so many words. Around 1.5 pages in, I find that I run out of mundane things to talk about. This is where the real magic starts. This is where you get to talk to the real you and discover what you really want to do, how you want to spend your time, what you’ve been missing, what you’ve always wanted to try, etc. This clarity doesn’t come right away. Oh no! There are definitely days when I’ve written “I don’t know what to write. I don’t know what to write” over and over for a while until I found something else to write. Getting to know yourself is a slow process, but one that will happen through the morning pages.
  3. Commit to doing something you love every day. The morning pages help you discover what you really want to do. My pages revealed that I wanted to get serious about developing my multimedia art skills. I challenged myself to do a drawing every day. I didn’t say it had to be a finished, polished drawing – I just had to put pen to paper and doodle every day. If you have a musical instrument that you’ve been neglecting, challenge yourself to pick it up every day. Want to write a novel? Challenge yourself to write 500 words every day. So many artists say that the key to being a successful artist is showing up and doing the work every day. Ten to thirty minutes of practice will make a big difference, I guarantee. The habit isn’t that hard to pick up, I promise. It might suck for the first week or two as you stress about fitting it into your day, but soon a day without doing it will feel like a day wasted. Stick with it!

Other things I recommend:

Read up on Minimalism. Minimalism isn’t about getting rid of your possessions and living in a sterile black and white room; it’s about simplifying your life so that you can live your life with intention. It’s about surrounding yourself with only what you need and love so that you can live the life you want. Minimalism has many different forms and philosophies, so I recommend reading as many POVs as you can. Some of my favourite minimalists blogs are: Jenny Mustard, Zen Habits, No Sidebar, The Minimalists, and Break the Twitch

Unplug!  This one is hard, but it pays off in spades. Spend some time with no TV, no internet, no books, no music, no news, nothing! If there is one surefire way to force yourself to create something, it’s being bored and being alone with your own thoughts. Challenge yourself to do media deprivation for a day, or a weekend, or a week! Sit, observe the world around you, look out the window, sing the songs that are stuck in your head (and you may only know a few of the words), play with your cat or your dog, take a walk… all of this is good! All of it will get you out of your digital world of distractions, will help you stop comparing yourself to other people and their fabulous facebook lives, and it will plunk you, unapologetically, in the centre of your own life. That is a hard place to be, it turns out, but it is a fertile place. With no distractions, you have no choice but to ask yourself “how do I want to live my life?” If you have sympathetic roommates, or family members, ask them to join you in this challenge. I did it with LB  for a whole week and it really helped to have someone else “suffering” along side me for a week. We encouraged each other to keep going and shared our frustrations and discoveries. It was a powerful week!   

Talk to your friends and family. Ask your parents or siblings about what you loved doing as a child. There may be a favourite toy, hobby or something you always wanted to do as a kid, but may have forgotten about. Is there something you always talk about wanting to do but have never done? Something you talk passionately about? Something you would never dream of doing, though you secretly want to? A club you were a part of in high school or university that you talk about non-stop even though it was years ago? Finding out the impression you leave on the people closest to you through what you say and what you share with them can help you figure out what you should try out, or discover what you’ve been denying yourself. 

If you have your own tips and tricks, things that helped you find a life of creativity, please share them below! If you try out any of the things I recommend, please let me know how they go! You can become the artist you want to be and live a life you love. Good luck! 🙂


Note: This post contains affiliate links. I only recommend products that I have used myself, enjoyed and benefited from. If you make a purchase through these sites, you’ll be supporting my dream of being an artist and living my life to the fullest, so thank you!

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TUNESDAY: “Money” by That Poppy

My friend sent me a facebook message: “Have you heard about Poppy? I have a feeling you would like her. She’s weird.” With accolades like that I had to take a look. A quick google search led me to, not her own videos, but instead page after page of “Youtube Conspiracy Theory” videos analyzing the pastel creepiness that is Poppy. I do love things creepy and weird, but this does seem a little too forced. Not enough story? I’m not sure. I do admire her dedication to the narrative, speaking in third person in all her interviews and what not. And her comments on human’s relationships with technology. It might be attention grabbing, but is it enough to maintain our attention? In the end, I admire the attempt at doing something different, putting something odd out there. Good for you, Poppy and her producer overlord Titanic Sinclair. Oh, and Titanic? 100 points to you for having an amazing name.

I want to see behind the scenes of Poppy so bad! I mean, she “reacted” to “Kids react to Poppy” by quoting herself with the same intonation and did not react at all. Her performance deserves applause at the least!

Odd internet presence aside, her music is wonderfully pop-y… geddit?

Was today’s song a hit or a miss? Let me know in the comments below! Song recommendations are always welcome!

 

“MAKE IT WORK” Mondays: Bringing Leslie Taylor to Life!

Every Monday I want to share with you an element of my artistic process. This weekly segment is one half a personal endeavour, a journal of what I’ve been doing and how I’ve been progressing (or a document of regression), and one half an exploration into the artists process. I love learning behind the scenes information about things! I love learning how things were made, how ideas came about, what problems came up and how those problems were overcome. I know I’m not alone with this fascination, so I’d like to share my behind the scenes with you!


In 2015, I went as Princess Carolyne from Bo Jack Horseman for Hallowe’en. It was during this the creation of this costume that I was introduced to Mehron Liquid Makeup.


The coverage and colour was amazing, and once it dried it felt like I had nothing on my skin at all! I was hooked! My only goal for Hallowe’en 2016 became “pick a costume that required me to do awesome face paint”. Challenge accepted. I saw these gorgeous bellydancing wings online, bought them on a whim and decided I was going to be a, for lack of better word, “bird of paradise.” I went out and bought all of the primary colours of face paint, and this was the result: 

One part terrifying monster, one part beautiful work of art!

I knew I wanted to bring more face paint into my life. Enter Leslie Taylor. Remember my pink and red design from last week? I waited until I had the apartment all to myself and I stole away into the bathroom and got to work. I may or may not have spilled a lot of the red face paint on a pair of leggings and the floor, but that is neither here nor there.

As Gene Wilder would say, “It’s ALIVE!!!”

I am so happy with how it came out!

My next steps are:

1) Get royal blue contacts. This might be a problem since I need contacts to see, but when I’m rich and famous I can afford cosmetic prescription contact lenses, n’est pa?

2) Get a wig. In my design she has a YELLOW wig, shoulder length, with bangs. Is that the best fit with the neon jacket?

3) Face paint brings with it a new logistical issue. It is time consuming, uses expensive materials, and tends to stain my skin. If I still want to use it, I’m going to have to get strategic with my filming. The best plan would be to write as many scripts as I can and film them all in one go. Is that a sound plan?


Note: This post contains affiliate links. I only recommend products that I have used myself, enjoyed and benefited from. If you make a purchase through these sites, you’ll be supporting my dream of being an artist and living my life to the fullest, so thank you!

WEEKLY UPDATE: Daily Drawing Review and Homemade Ginger Beer! June 10th to June 16th

The 30 minute drawing challenge continues this week, with varying levels of success. Some, like this first one of an old country home, I really am proud of. I can’t believe I squeezed that much detail into 30 minutes. The strangest thing has been happening: I’ve been finishing my drawings before the 30 minutes are up! Then I find myself staring at the screen going “What should I add?”

June 10: I’ve been listening to Neil Young, Roy Orbison and Willie Nelson today. Does it show?
June 11: Rock Robbin. I had the opportunity to see “Drift Seeds,” a very cool piece of community theatre. The costume and prop design was amazing! Simple and innovative. Bravo @reddressproductions!
June 12: Summer just arrived and already it’s too damn hot!
June 13: Sorry mom, things got a little weird during the last 30 minutes. I blame the drag queens. I may or may not have been watching a lot of “UNHhhh” with @katya_zamo and @trixiemattel, Debrah.
June 14: Today I decided to paint… my face!
Do you like the face paint better in full colour, or in black and white? I can’t decide!
June 15: Get a load of this guy! He’s a star!
June 16: Porch sitting in St Catharines.

 

How have you been this week, dear reader?

This past week, I’ve been brewing my own ginger beer… actual alcoholic ginger beer! I followed this recipe, hunted down some organic ginger so that the pesticides wouldn’t kill the fermentation, and created my own little ginger bug. It was really easy and didn’t take too long. The five day fermenting time passed quickly. Yesterday I brewed the actual beer with the ginger bug and filled up a few bottles to sit. Tastes pretty good, a little too much like molasses for my taste, but I’ve only had a small glass and my cheeks are starting to feel a little numb. Looks like there is some alcohol in there after all! I’d like to make my own Ale soon.

My online course is taking up more time than I would like, and it’s more of an annoying obligation than an engaging education experience. Fortunately, the course ends next week. Unfortunately, my summer vacation ends next week too. I’ve got quite the to-do list for the next seven days: I graduate from my Masters program next week; LB graduates next week as well; I need to work on my lesson plans for camp and submit a final assignment. It’s going to be a busy week and then work starts the week after. I’m going to have to work extra hard to find time for my art, but considering it is what I enjoy spending my time on the most, I’m not too concerned.

The play took place inside the courtyard of a school. The weather was warm, the breeze was cool, and the lush green trees created a beautiful setting!

LB and I saw the coolest piece of community theatre I’ve ever seen. It was called “Drift Seeds: a poetic parody for people living in absurd times” and it was put on by Red Dress Productions. The puppetry and costume design was amazing. It’s simplicity highlighted how ingenious it was!

Rock Robin surveying his domain. I love the simple tailcoat and the slicked back grey hair. I should have guessed from the pursed lips that Rock Robin would turn out to be a Trump parody, but I was too dazzled by his costume.

Puppets were everywhere in Drift Seeds!

The Birdwatcher, a puppet that took four or five people to control, was truly a scary sight. It was a windy day when we saw the play, so it’s wings were very intimidating, flapping with much dramatic effect
Whoever designed the masks for this production deserves an award. The birds were beautiful!

People performed private little puppet shows adding context to what was going on. These little birds bicker about carrying the coffin of Rock Robin around and debate taking a look inside.

This puppet theatre was so cool, and the little birds were just made out of styrofoam balls! They even had a little string that was used to lift the lid of the coffin.

There were also puppet shows which included masks! I just love how the puppet theatre was designed to sit on top of the actor’s shoulders, with a little opening for other stick puppets to enter from the side. 

WEEKLY MEDIA ROUND UP

What am I watching? (in five words of less)

  1. UNHhhh w/ Trixie Mattel & Katya Zamolodchikova
    “Yaas Queen give me more!”
  2. Silicon Valley
    “Come for Jared. Stay for Jared.”
  3. Real Time with Bill Maher
    “Please be informative, not selfish!”
  4. Last Week Tonight with John Oliver
    “Please be informative, not ‘funny'”
  5. Oh, Hello on Broadway
    “Funny jokes for theatre kids”
  6. The Eric Andre Show  
    “11 minutes of insanity”


What am I reading? (in five words or less)

  1. Goodnight Punpun by Inio Asano
    “Sad life for little birds”
  2. The Four Agreement Companion by Don Miguel Ruiz
    “Way harder than it looks”
  3. I Hope I screw This Up: How falling in Love with your Fears can change the world  by Kyle Cease
    “Nice, but not for me,” or “Fluffy book, but good concept.”  
  4. Wendy by Walter Scott
    “Edgy Montreal art scene comic,” or “glad I’m not a partier!” 
  5. Making Comics: Storytelling Secrets of Comics, Manga and Graphic Novels by Scott McCloud
    “So informative. Comic making bible!”
  6. The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a F*ck: How to stop spending time you don’t have with people you don’t like doing things you don’t want to do by Sarah Knight
    “Fucks given = minimalism, intentional living”

That’s all for my week! I’m off to the local strawberry festival to enjoy some fresh local berries and ukulele orchestras with my folks. Have a great week everyone!


*Note: This post contains affiliate links. I only recommend products that I have used myself, enjoyed and benefited from. If you make a purchase through these sites, you’ll be supporting my dream of being an artist and living my life to the fullest, so thank you!