Monday, April 16, 2018

Celebrating Women

My Daily Art collection has become a paper fashion show — here's today's addition. See more (with daily updates) on my Facebook album and on my Instagram feed.
In childhood I got the message that the hair thickening on my brothers' legs was fine, while mine was disgusting, an embarrassment, something I needed to make sure no one saw. Shaving, putting on makeup, wearing "dressy" (aka uncomfortable) shoes and constrictive clothing, was not a pleasure for me, but a punishment, an insidious, subtle message that I was not okay as is.
But at the same time, I read the beauty magazines and longed to feel pretty, to feel worthy of all of the pretty things...
Whether it shows on us or not, we women feel pressure every day over our appearance, a sense that we need to be attractive in order to be worthy of attention. Some women go to great effort to meet this challenge, but for me, this effort feels humiliating. I hate for it to show that I am in any way "trying" to look good.
I remember coming downstairs one morning at about 14 years old in the slightly tight t-shirt I'd slept in. My father stared and smiled at me like I was something delicious to eat. I felt good and bad in that moment—aware of the power of my developing body to attract male attention, glad that my father was smiling at me, but also uneasy. Instead of getting the loving and respectful attention I so desperately wanted from him, I felt like as if I might be devoured.
I admire women who are unapologetically fierce while conforming to these difficult standards— the hair and makeup and shoes and manicures etc. I admire women who don't feel like they're conforming but do all these things in the name of personal expression, or in celebration of their inherent beauty—regardless of age or body size or curves or lack thereof. I also admire women who, like me, have hair in their armpits and dirt under their nails and holes in their jeans and not a single high heel in their closet. AND I admire women who struggle with the pressure, who try things and try other things and sometimes give up trying altogether, eat too much (or too little), have closets full of clothes they never touch or can't bear to shop. We're all up against brutal, irrational pressure. I celebrate all of us!

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Daily Art Continues



I'm a month and a half into my daily art experiment. At the moment, my greatest joy is using up art supplies. I've been on a roll with Sharpie drawings—as the markers dry up and my sketchbooks empty out, I'm forced to alter my color palettes and make creative use of pages with marker bleed through and abandoned scribbles. See the whole series here.

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Daily Art

I've completed something every day so far in 2018 — I'm determined to continue for as long as it's fun. Maybe longer (sometimes the most interesting stuff happens when you get bored or careless and start taking risks).

One of the most interesting aspects of this challenge is economy. I don't have a lot of space in my life to devote to this right now. When there isn't much time, my creativity, and creative confidence, are stretched.

It's always good to stretch!

I'm archiving these in a facebook album.




Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Blast Off


I'm on fire with this new "Snapsketch" series (as I'm now calling it)—making drawings with the Snapchat's unsophisticated, strictly limited tool for drawing and writing over photographs with one finger on a smartphone screen.

With just a few colors and a single font (writ huge or tiny and without many options as to placement) my creativity is truly challenged. (if I need black or white in the drawing, for instance, I must find them in the underlying photo.) Mostly I choose blank or close-to blank backgrounds, at least so far.

My favorite limitations with this tool is time - if I start a drawing, I have to finish it promptly or else Snapchat discards it. So I make a drawing in a single sitting, place a bit of not-too-premeditated text over it, and send it out into the world.

I'm archiving these, for now anyway, in an album on Facebook.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Running Scales

Anyone who ever took piano or voice lessons or did sports competitively knows about warming up. On the piano, you play scales, do re mi. In the pool, you swim a few slow laps to get the blood moving. You limber up, you shake yourself out and hone your focus.

Lately, art projects are on my mind. I may be gearing up for something big, but for now, I'm running scales, stretching. To do this, I'm exploring the perimeters of a strictly limited tool—using simple Snapchat tools and my fingertip on the screen of my phone to draw and write over photographs. Only, for the most part, I start with photographs of almost pure darkness, to create a blank, mostly black canvas.

With no eraser, no way to alter the thickness of a line, and very limited colors (no black or white, no options for tints and shades, just a short slider of bright rainbow colors) I'm making little compositions. Then I tag them with simple messages, and put them out into the world.

Find me on Snapchat (Amy K / amyKstudio) to see these as I post them, or check out the growing collection on Facebook.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Five Things

The creative juices are flowing, and I expect I'll be posting more here soon. In the meantime, here are five things I've made during my long absence from this blog:

1. Spark*Letter, my email love letter to the world. I write one when the ideas are ripe and I have time, which works out to be about four times per year. You can see the spring issue here (and subscribe so you won't miss the next one).


"The Web"
2. Leggings for Society6. I call my line "Happy Legs." I've got four designs so far, and plan to make more.



3. Podcasts— I'm recording one-on-one conversations on Hello Climate Change, as a tool to help me (and hopefully others) think about this overwhelming topic in a less overwhelming way. My goal is a hundred conversations. I'm about a third of the way in, learning and gaining insight every time. (Subscribe on iTunes or wherever you like to get your podcasts.)



4. Kaleidos— Using Quartz Composer, I made a tool that uses my computer's camera, sin waves, ASCII text, and a glitch triggered by sound in the environment to make these kaleidoscopic artworks.



   

5. Photo collections, four ongoing visual journals on Facebook: Walking Shots, Things on Top of Things (AKA Surfaces), Millie, and Sinks.


Saturday, May 17, 2014

In Praise of Swimming

Masters
6 x 6" collage on wood
I grew up swimming. I was on swim teams from age 8 to 18. I had a pond in my backyard and spent much of my summer diving into its cool and murky depths. One of my first jobs was teaching swimming. Then I was a lifeguard for many years. When I spent too much time away from the water, I swam laps in my dreams. When I felt lost and depressed as a young adult, the pool is where I found myself.

I've been swimming three days a week, like clockwork, for a decade. I swam through breast cancer. During chemotherapy, it was the one thing that suppressed the nausea. I had to take a break for my mastectomy, but as soon as I was healed enough, I was back at it. It was the best thing for me, so they told me—the lymph nodes removed from under my arm put me at risk of lymphedema, or chronic swelling in my arm.

I was terrified of lymphedema. It got to the point where I was actually afraid to stop swimming. I ignored the pain in my shoulders. Of course the pain got worse and finally I had to fold. It's been almost two months now since I stopped swimming. My arm hasn't swollen. Even when I crashed my bicycle and scraped up my elbow last week, I've been okay.

Speaking of biking, without swimming I've had more time to ride. I've been sleeping more. My creative life is expanding. I no longer fear vacation (it's true, I feared not swimming).

But I do love swimming, and I do miss the meditation of it.

So here's a little piece of art in tribute to the sport. Thank you, swimming, for all the good you've brought into my life. All the amazing people. All the hours of lazy-brain daydreaming, losing count of the laps. All the moments I've floated in the middle of a lake on a summer morning thinking about how lucky I am.

Hopefully I'll be back with you soon.