Tag Archives: self portrait

a tangent

it’s been four months (four too [f*cking] many) and two days since i last posted on here. i have written entries during this radio silence, but upon later inspection, those entries were mediocre at best. writing an entry from the confines of another home or a coffee shop just, well, it sucks. my creative juices tend to evaporate and i am usually left listening to those around me sip overpriced lattes whilst one-hit-wonder hipster songs play over head (it’s even hard to avoid if you wear a set of headphones which i tend to not wear because i feel antisocial enough and somewhat rude as it were trapped in my world of keyboard-ness). oh and happy new year and merry holidays, by the way! i’ve been so damn neglectful of my dear readers. apologies all around!

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i have not had my own personal desktop computer (i do not own a laptop) online since July. the hiatus was fine and at times quite pleasant (it’s a stellar excuse for missing emails, online bill payments, and the like – though i would never encourage that sort of behavior!). but it has also been a giant pain in the ass a bit frustrating because i realized just how dependent i (let’s face it, we) have become on this interweb luxury that we all take for granted. i have a smart phone, too. so it’s not as if i’ve been living in a remote part of the world without any electronics or ways to “reach” the inter-land. and for the record, i do find it quite pathetic just how exuberant i became yesterday when i realized that my own said smart phone (which i have had well before july) can, with a simple slide of a button on it’s delicate interface, become a “hotspot.” i.e. forget calling your local internet providers for service, just scour your phone for the hotspot option and slide the grey “no” to the blue “yes” and poof! you can get your computers, kindles, ipads, itampons (those exist now, right?) online anywhere, anytime ! hello 2013. my name is jessi and i am a complete dumbf*ck when it comes to technology. it doesn’t matter if i can operate photoshop with my eyes closed, that’s about as far as it gets for me and my competence of computers or really anything that has an extension cord, not to mention an operating system (or OS as you nerds technologically competent folks like to say).

there was a point in my life (as i am sure many people in my generation have encountered as well when computers and cell phones became what we now know them as) wherein i truly thought i was smarter than my parents merely because they appeared to have no clue about how to operate said smart phones, computers, or other new electronic gadgets. coming from a family with a father who worked at microsoft for upwards of 20 years, you’d think some tech-y gene would have landed inside my frontal lobe or where ever things like that land. au contraire, mon frère. my father has little to no understanding of technology and how it actually works, he doesn’t even own a cell phone and i’ve witnessed him, on many occasions, get so fed up with his collection of remote controls i fear they could, without warning, become the victim of his wrath by being thrown across a room or simply yelled at rather ferociously for being so stupid, those poor verbally abused inanimate objects. my mother, however, has a smart phone, an ipad, and a laptop and it’s reached the point where i truly believe she knows more about these gadgets than i do. in fact, when i was home in seattle last june for a best friend’s baby shower, i really wanted to watch a dvd at my mom’s house and we ended up watching television instead because neither us could figure out how to make the damn tv and dvd player align with one another. it was at this point i really had to reevaluate my own understanding of anything electronic. i could blame it on the fact that i haven’t had the luxury of a dvd and tv for over two years(therefore “out of practice”?, but let’s face it. i am a self proclaimed idiot when it comes to this new age of technology where a minimum of three remote controls seem to be a requirement for any television and computers and phones are getting “smarter” and “smarter” by the day. either my understanding for this stuff has plateaued or i’ve grown some seriously dumb cells in the recesses of my brain, which at this point, probably more closely resemble scrambled eggs.

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i remember my father had one of those giant grey cell phones when i was a kid that not only resembled, but also weighed as much as, a brick with a thick black antennae coming out of it (that stayed out at all times, there was nothing collapsible, convenient, ergonomic, or even functional about this big grey eyesore of a cell phone (particularly compared to today’s standards)). i’m not sure how often (if at all?) it was ever used. i remember it collecting a lot of dust. i also remember those beige-ish grey apple computers (that looked more like square plastic loaves of bread) we used in grade school to learn our typing skills on. i really only had an iota of interest in those machines because i would frequent my best friend Heather’s house most days after school to enjoy hours of playing both The Oregon Trail and Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego? i can think of no other reason for those machines now. they were not computers to my generation, they were toys. they were machines that informed me of having died from cholera or that Heather was lost and that cut three days off our trip. i always thought it a bit peculiar that someone who got “lost” in that game could shave anywhere from 1 to 5 days off your travels, but the death of a family member was just a drop in the bucket. no days lost, no apparent grieving or mourning took place, no tears shed. and no proper burial/funeral never once occurred. and i’m speaking from experience. i’ve Oregon-Trail-killed plenty of friends and family members. a death was akin to an announcement like, “it’s 56 degrees and sunny.” all of sudden ‘and then there were two!’

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Carved // Self Portrait // December 2012
however, i have to admit, flat out, that i think my understanding of technologically peaked at that age, hovering obsessively over The Oregon Trail waiting to see just how many people died, got lost, or sick. though my sister and best friend Heather seemed far more skilled at this game (sister, yes. Heather, debatable. (sorry Heather!))(ok, skilled at hunting, that is, because this game has little to do with skill, logic perhaps, but skill – not so much). i can’t tell you, nor would i even want to admit to, how horrible i was at hunting in that game. and an irritating fun-fact :: for any animal you shoot for food doesn’t really matter since you’re only allowed to bring 100 lbs back to the wagon at a time, even if you were to shoot ten 536 LB buffaloes, you would only get to keep 100 of those LBs.  i always thought that was incredibly lame, couldn’t the rest of my family (assuming any were still alive and not suffering from the measles) help you carry back some of your fresh meat? was it necessary to leave all of that fresh buffalo meat behind? wasteful. damn wasteful, especially considering how hungry those people on the wagon always were (it took them about two, maybe three days to consume the freshly killed meat).  and i absolutely loved the gamble you’d have to take when reaching a river crossing. do we “ford the river” or “caulk the wagon and float it across”? taking a ferry was also an option, but i don’t think we once opted for the ferry ride since it cost money. instead, we’d pick our poison, cross our fingers, and sincerely hope that one of our oxen wouldn’t perish in the process. i’ll speak for myself on this matter, but i remember feeling a great deal of responsibility over this ford versus float decision and i really took it quite seriously, as if i actually knew what any of it meant, though i did love to nod in agreement or shake my head in disdain if i felt someone (including myself) had made the wrong choice.
Screen shot 2013-01-15 at 3.11.11 PM
a good present day example to the anxiety that the “ford or float” decision causes :: being placed in the sticky position of being “the one” to choose a bottle of wine for a fancy dinner table and having a penguin-tuxedo dressed server pour just a splash into your glass, looking at you with rather bulbous eyes. positively staring at you with the expectation of your “highly trained palette” to make the call on some wine you’ve never tasted or heard of before and know nothing about (since my only “knowledge” of wine rests heavily on whether or not i thought the wine label was well designed). even when i never much cared for the taste of the splash of wine,  i never once (if memory serves) declared the wine to be “no good,” nor do i have a memory of sending food back (unless a meat dish was visibly expelling blood and/or undercooked).  i prefer my steaks to not actively “moo” while i eat them. under or over cooked veggies and/or sides will never fall into the realm of “send it back” because my standards when it comes to “fine dining” are so low, regardless of how many fancy restaurants i’ve eaten at. i am, after all, the girl who’s known for eating progresso soup at room temperature, directly out of the can, with a plastic spoon, in bed. perhaps my standards are extremely low or maybe i’m just a simpleton who considers food as fuel (though, when given the opportunity, i really do love to cook fancy meals, combining unexpected flavors and colors in my dishes. give me a full spread of food and a great kitchen, food is no longer food. it is cooking :: an art form, after all. however, in my current living situation, i’ve nowhere to properly prepare such a meal, nor do i have anyone to share it with, nor do i have anywhere to properly enjoy it as i lack any sort of dining space. my “dining room” is the side of my bed on the floor. so, now you must understand why i’ve fallen in love with my “Progresso Soup Diet” ?! plus, when you’ve no fridge, where does one store leftovers?
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this ramble is so hither and thither. i’d apologize but i have so much to catch you up on. i lost my job at the art supply store i worked at for just over 2 years on November 28th of 2012. just in time for the holidays, as “luck” would have it. i will not go into detail about things because it’ll only lull you to sleep, my dear readers. i’ve made the transition from full time job to unemployed, but i have since managed to keep my head more than just afloat not only financially (by means of selling my work and also handling some commissioned illustration jobs), but also in spirit as well. i strongly believe everything happens for a reason and though i have remained a customer at that fine art supply store, i am relieved to have those days behind me. there were copious amounts of dysfunctional activities and behaviors that took place there that had made it more and more difficult to get to work in the mornings. i’d reached a point of absolute lethargy and also unhappiness which even verged on irritability (which is completely out of character for me) towards different aspects of the job and some of the people i worked with. i miss the customers. i miss the building. i miss some, but not all, of my co-workers. but since having left the place, my mood’s improved ten fold. my energy and spunk has returned. my irritability seems to have evaporated like steam from a kettle. and i can’t tell you how many friends, family, and most flatteringly, former customers of mine have wrangled around me in support (if any of you are reading this, thank you! couldn’t have picked myself up so fast or so gracefully without you! I LOVE YOU!)

nowadays? i am living life happy and free spirited and optimistic. grateful to be alive. skating upon each and every damn silver lining that seems to exist around every corner these days because when one is so dedicated to their 40+ hour a week job, one loses sight of everything else. silver linings become distant memories at best. the two days you spend off are usually a bust since you spend them catching up on both errands and sleep. i had such an incredibly wonky schedule at my last job (my arrival and departure times varied just about every day) and turned my sleeping schedule on its head. in the past few months i’d become increasingly lethargic to the point where i requested to get my blood drawn, assuming i was most certainly suffering from anemia due to how tired i’d become. i took supplements, i went out of my way to eat better and more often. when my doctor told me the only issue i had was a Vitamin D deficiency (big whoop), i was stunned. i was almost disappointed that i wasn’t anemic, because it’s easy to pump yourself full of iron and foods that contain iron. i began taking huge doses of Vit D immediately and felt no huge change in my energy levels, even after a few weeks of taking them. but then i was laid off and it was as if a spell had been lifted. my energy began to return within only a few days and i had to wonder, was all of the negative energy i had been subjected to at work causing my lethargy? honestly? yes, i think that’s exactly what happened. i’ve continued the vitamins and all that good stuff, but i am almost like a firecracker these days with my energy and motivation to work for myself. and thus far, it’s been paying off in a massive way.

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welcome to Year of the Pig Studio!

so, i am signing off here. you will be kept up to date far more frequently of my adventure(s) now that i’ve gotten internet access again ! until then, don’t forget about the silver linings. once you start looking for them, you’ll be surprised just how many there are.

xxx

jessi

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Filed under design, illustration & painting (both acrylics and oils), illustration (both acrylic and oilt), photography, Year of the Pig Studio // San Francisco, CA

i live in chinatown. and it is the year of the dragon.

back in the middle of february, i had the opportunity to take pictures of the chinese new year’s parade in chinatown. since i live all of two blocks away from the epicenter of the parade’s festivities, i would have felt foolish not to run down there with my camera. i was out of town last year when this happened, so i am thrilled i was around to document it, on film, this year. it’s the largest chinese new year’s parade in the nation (sorry, new york) and one of the only parades in the nation that still takes place at night. after eight rolls of film, these are my favorite pictures (all shot on film using ‘Eloise,’ my nikon 50mm, my beloved manual camera from the 70’s)(in no particular order) ::

the crowd’s feet

red’s place

the dragon parade

police line do not cross, in the middle of grant avenue

a composition with two sheets of paper and some paint on the road

sparklers for the year of the dragon

sparklers sparkling for the year of the dragon

saw, + an abandoned cigarette bum on jack kerouac alley

the books.

an installation of weatherproof books suspended over the sidewalk on the corner of broadway and columbus

dismantled and flattened chairs. the aftermath of the parade

socks by the millions in chinatown

peking duck. chinatown’s idea of a “window display”

city lights by night during the raging parade

city lights + cop car by night during the raging parade

my sweater, pants, and shoes. taken inside a tiny vietnamese joint (best food ever) whilst testing the light meter on my camera

my shoes. taking a break whilst ducking and diving through and under the parade shenanigans

the day after the parade. lots of people. even a blue dog, Chase Bank’s mascot. it was only *slightly* crowded

the stools you sit in to race things and win over-sized stuffed animals. + a girl eager for the bouncy castle (can you blame her?)

this man. well, i think he’s my hero. he was so happy to stop for photographs. a beautiful soul, just outside Buddha Bar on Grant Avenue

i’m sorry. i don’t think you could pay me enough money to wear an animal suit under these conditions

a man who holds a giant load of helium balloons has my vote

chinatown parade cables

chinese card game, closely followed by a round (or six) of chinese checkers. in a park off kearny

singing his heart out

little old lady, just another bench ornament amidst the chinese new year chaos

walker

kearny street diaries

pigeons doing what pigeons do best

chinatown parade aftermath explosion. i think it was ranch.

now for the following three self portraits ::

mysterious purple indicates the end of a roll of a film

off kearny

the ultimate chinatown self portrait :: surrounded by stuffed goods and bright signage whilst standing on grant avenue

welcome to chinatown, folks.

and by the way, Happy Easter!

[nikon 50mm]

jessi

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sold

so that little piece i made for the June 3rd show in San Francisco @ Kokoro Studio… guess what ? it sold.

ok, just go ahead and color me happy. seriously. this is, more or less, what i feel like ::

[sigh]

jessi

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Filed under illustration (both acrylic and oilt)

now for the [really] good news Pt. 3

i apologize for keeping you so incredibly out of the loop, but after this post, you’ll understand why.

a few weeks ago, i was asked to participate in a group show in San Francisco at Kokoro Studio. yeah, right? are you as excited as i was and still am? ok. deep breath. when i was approached with said offer i quite nearly fell off my chair in my studio. i was not expecting to be offered such an opportunity. the opening is on June 3rd. so, all of you people who reside in the ‘Bay Area’ (as they call it), had better be there for the opening. the show has yet to be named, but the concept of the show is quite clear and very specific.

the guidelines: create a self portrait, include a background of your choosing (real or imaginary), make sure said portrait is somehow directed at the viewer so as to appear that ‘you’ are looking through a window into the gallery space at the viewer, mail it down in 2.5-3 weeks, and wait for further instructions. sounds easy enough, right? well, it wasn’t exactly easy, but it was a blast. it took one hell-of-an-all-nighter for me to complete it, but here’s the final product. and to be honest? i’m actually quite satisfied with it. it came from a good place inside of me and i always work best under deadlines (a.k.a. all nighters):

“speechless”

i must give props to Keiko Kuramoto at Kokoro Studio. she is an amazingly talented painter and artist and i am beyond flattered that she would invite me to participate in a group show at her gallery. i am going to do my very best to drive down for the opening and stay a day or two in San Francisco. this all depends on expenses, of course.. but i would feel like a d*mn fool not showing up for the opening of a show in which i am a participant. i’m stoked. i’m happy. and i can’t wait to spend a little time in ‘Frisco, it’s one of my favorite cities.

speaking of self portraits, cameras, and voyeurism.. i took this photograph in my studio. a dear friend mentioned i ought to share my own face on this here site. i disagreed with him, so this is all you are going to get:

so now you know i wear ugly over-sized sweaters and smoke cigarettes. but have you admired the camera? that’s my new baby. if you stare at nothing else, let it be my Nikon that steals the show.

alright, it is now 4:36am and i have to be at work by 11:00am tomorrow, er, today, er, this morning. if i weren’t wearing my massive headphones, i have a feeling i would be listening to the birds singing and chirping. a sound that i love when i am awoken by it, but a sound i despise when i am greeted by it after no sleep. so with that, i hereby sign off.

[acrylic and ink on canvas]

jessi

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Filed under design, illustration (both acrylic and oilt), photography