slightly wonky


Elves and a snacking stupor…
March 14, 2014, 9:36 am
Filed under: Drawing, Fleeting thoughts... | Tags: , , , , , , ,

My son gets angry every time I buy Cheez-its, because I eat the whole box myself.  (Gross, I know.)  Maybe they have MSG in them?  (Grosser.)  They’re VERY addictive.

I have recently discovered a new snack food to eat excessively:

pickles

I know.  Grossest.  Try them!  They’re not bad.  I still think that salt & vinegar are more tasty, but I had to try these.  I remember in Spain that they had some Lay’s chips that were flavored like a ham sandwich.  Now, THAT’S gross.  (BTW that bag isn’t empty…YET.)

I recently finished another crafty project…a quilted purse!

purse2purse1

It was pretty labor intensive.  I’m going to figure out a way to get small elves to work on these while I sleep at night.  I’m also going to ask the elves to clean the house, since they’re already up.  I’m thinking of opening up an Etsy store.  Any thoughts?  Suggestions?  Words of wisdom?  Are elves hard to find?  They can’t be THAT hard to find, as everyone else’s house is much neater than mine, so they must be using elves.

Please don’t have them take me away and put me in a padded cell.  While that might be good for napping, I’m sure that they wouldn’t give me any Cheez-its.

My son is always creating fearsome drawings:

drawing1He’s 24.

Just kidding.  He’s six.  I love the “v” shaped mono-brow that all of the faces have.  I’m hoping that this truly is supposed to be a monster, and not just me on Monday morning.  I haven’t gotten my eyebrows done in ages, so I have a sinking suspicion that this is actually me.  At least my legs look skinny.

I’ve gotten a bit of “press” as a result of being in New American Paintings.  I got to be the “artist of the day” for March 1 on this website.

artist a day 2

C’mon people!  I need votes!  I only have 28 votes so far.  You aren’t allowed to vote if you don’t give me a perfect score.  Okay, just kidding.  Make it at least NEAR perfect.  It makes me feel better about my imperfections, like my “housekeeping blindness” ailment.  Very troubling.

I also got some press in the latest issue of Artscope magazine.

artscopeRight now, this series of drawings is still up in Dedham at the Mother Brook Arts and Community Center.  Can someone pick up a copy of this for me?  I live in the ‘burbs, and I only know of one local place that has this journal.  Otherwise, I’ll have to schlep into Boston to get some.  Sigh.  Just going to Stop and Shop seems like a major hassle…don’t make me drive 30 minutes to get into Boston.  I’ll have to locate my “good” pair of mom jeans for that excursion.

I’ve recently starting ice skating on a regular basis.  I skated a lot as a kid (not gracefully, mind you) as we lived near a small pond.  I forgot how fun it is!  I hate exercising, so this is pretty much the only way to get me to move around a bit, other than telling me that a fresh box of Cheez-its are in the next room.  I’m even starting to dabble with ice hockey.  I’m pretty terrible, though…so patience is key.  Not falling on my face is generally important too.  I think that the years of playing field hockey is actually doing me a disservice.  I keep forgetting that I’m standing on two, skinny blades on a sheet of ice.  Hmm.

Speaking of ice, my hands are frozen into two claws.  I’m typing this in our unheated basement.  I’m going to stop now, thaw out my hands by sticking them in my husband’s leftover coffee, and then probably finish the bag of pickle potato chips.

THEN, I’ll move onto the box of Cheez-its…



Ikea filth and shameless self promotion…
February 1, 2013, 9:08 am
Filed under: Drawing, Fleeting thoughts... | Tags: , , , , , , , ,

So, I survived a trip to Ikea this week with my 5 yr old son.  I think that because he found an enormous stuffed leopard to carry around with him and call, “Lepy”, he was reasonably accommodating.  Yes, I am not beyond bribery, and yes…at least it was on sale…

a-lepy

He looks sort of sweet, right?  Trust me…he came to our house bearing the filth of being dragged around Ikea.  Now we have a UN of filth in our house…our domestic filth intermingling with this international/Swedish filth.  Maybe I should be Secretary of State instead of John Kerry, based upon my diplomatic prowess in successfully bringing my 5 yr old through Ikea?  Maybe if we bought everyone in Syria a “Lepy”, things would be better?  Hmm…perhaps not.  I’d better stick to being a domestic goddess, or demigod, rather, and leave the real problems in life to those more capable…

Case in point:  this is the latest playdoh project that my son and I made:

a-dough

Wouldn’t Martha Stewart be proud?

We decided that making a multicolor patty was clearly the best use of playdoh.  Forget those fancy moulds and cookie cutters…PSHAW!  (not MOLD…mind you, I’m not THAT bad of a housekeeper)  Can’t you see Damien Hirst doing something like this???  No?

Is it not the sculptural equivalent of THIS?:

a-hirst1

Damien Hirst, Beautiful revolving sphincter, oops brown painting, 2003

No?

Do I need to get out of suburbia more often?

Probably.  Maybe we do have mold, and the spores are starting to affect my brain…

So, I finally got a chance to update my website with new artwork.  YES!  So, I’m going to do a little self promotion now…you’d better grab that double espresso…

AYST 1

Elizabeth Kostojohn, Are You Still There? #1, 2012, 15″x20″, Graphite on mylar

This series is titled, Are You Still There?, and it’s about the struggle to communicate in our significant relationships.  (Everything is fine, Honeeeeeey!!!  xoxoxo)

AYST2

Elizabeth Kostojohn, Are You Still There? #2, 2012, 15″x20″, Graphite on mylar

Next:

AYST3

Elizabeth Kostojohn, Are You Still There? #3, 2012, 15″x20″, Graphite on mylar

Next:

AYST4

Elizabeth Kostojohn, Are You Still There? #4, 2012, 15″x20″, Graphite on mylar

Next:

AYST5

Elizabeth Kostojohn, Are You Still There? #5, 2012, 15″x20″, Graphite on mylar

What do you think?

Do you know what I think?

I think that it’s going to be next to impossible to get people to volunteer to model for me…that’s what.  Actually, my son wants me to draw him.  Seeing as he typically refuses to have his picture taken, resulting in multitudes of photos of the side of his head, I’m surprised to hear that he wants me to draw a picture of him.  Perhaps he only means a drawing of the side of his head?  Hmm.  Example:

a-classic1

Classic.  Even less subtle:

a-classic

Okay…okay…I can take a hint.  Sheesh.  I’m sure that Durer never had this problem…



What should I even call this post???
June 1, 2012, 3:53 pm
Filed under: Drawing, Fleeting thoughts..., painting | Tags: , , ,

You know that it’s going to be a snoozefest if I can’t even come up with a title for this post.  Why bother with a title, you ask?  Or, why bother with this post?  WELL…if I asked myself THAT question too often, I wouldn’t get out of bed in the morning.  So…why not?  (has anyone out there been to “Perche No” in Florence, Italy? two words: bacio gelato…but i digress)

So, this week, I’ve been slaving over a drawing that I’m not sure is really turning out too well.  I’m trying to use a different medium.  Normally, I use graphite on Duralar.  THIS WEEK, however, my advisor suggested that I coat some cradled plywood with absorbent ground, and draw on that.  WELL.  I think that if I was better at PAINTING…and could have applied a SMOOTH layer of absorbent ground…then this might have been more successful.  (notice how I deflect the cause of the problem to the board, and not me)   Here it is:

Okay…it’s NOT done yet.  Still…I think that it still may be a bit off.  I’ve changed the vantage of my usual still life subject so that you can better see the impact of the hammer on the pear.  Do you think that it’s effective?  Or, is it just weird?  Actually, don’t answer that.  Nevermind.  Perhaps when I finish it, it will feel ok.  Here is a side view, so you can see the board that I’m drawing on:

HMM! It’s so different than the thin and translucent Duralar…

We visited some friends over the long weekend who have a fantabulous house on Cape Cod.  Yes, it’s true.  Not only do they have a HOUSE there…but it’s dreamy as well.  In all honesty…after just three days in that house/with those friends/at the Cape, I felt so refreshed.  That’s amazing when you consider that my 4 yr old son and their 4 yr old son played the entire time.  In other words: shrieking laughter whilst the boys throw things at mating horseshoe crabs, etc.  Luckily, we weren’t thrown out by the Audubon “crab copulation” police.  If there are fewer horseshoe crabs next year, it’s because our kids distrupted their love-fest.  It’s so refreshing to take a break from helicopter parenting, and just say “who cares?” 

ANYWAY…that weekend made me fantasize about my own dreamy house.  Here is what our house looks like:

Pretty typical, huh?  It has painted white shingles…a stone foundation…brick steps…original, dilapidated windows…you know, the norm.  It’s a very sweet house.  (“sweet” is a euphemism for “tiny”)  But, I’m NOT complaining…it’s really lovely.  We’re sooo lucky to have it.  BUT…wouldn’t it be NEATO to live in a more modern house, like THIS one???

 Servie Boetzkes and Jeroen Helder

Isn’t it GREAT????  No, I don’t think that it’s Darth Vader’s European hideout, thankyouverymuch.  This house is designed by Boetzkes and Helder.  OF COURSE, it’s in the Netherlands…not the ‘burbs of Boston.  Here is a closeup of the metal panel exterior:

DREAMY!  Or, as I used to say when I was working as an architect: BUTTERY!  (that’s not a technical term, fyi)

I have no artwork completed by my son to show you.  I know.  That’s why you read this blog, isn’t it?  If that’s not why, then I’m not sure what’s left, honestly.  ANYHOO, here is the work of an uber-talented artist you should look at:

EVOL

This is the work of German street artist, EVOL.  Umm…that’s a painting…on a piece of scrap cardboard.  SCRAP CARDBOARD…for Lord’s sake.  Here I am, whining about working on cradled plywood…and he’s making crazy paintings out of cardboard.  Here’s another:

EVOL

Are. You. Kidding. Me.

Sigh.  I’d love to have that on the wall of my Darth Vader house at the Cape.



Sloooowness and scribbles…
May 18, 2012, 11:59 am
Filed under: Drawing, Fleeting thoughts... | Tags: , , , , ,

I’m so concerned about this post being boring that I’ve decided to post an image of the drawing that I’m working on…which is still in process:

There!  Now, is this post exciting???  No?  Too bad. 

This drawing is waaay too pale.  I need to generally bring up the tones, etc. etc.  But, I think that it’s coming along.  These drawings take forever, so I’m often pining to do something more “scribbly”, just to get that visceral, mark-making feeling out of my system.  Actually, I sort of get that out a little when my son and I do a “group” art project.  Here is our latest drawng:

I do NOT like to draw on my son’s drawings, as I obviously “ruin” them if I do.  But often, he insists that we draw together.  I get yelled at if I slack off.  So, above, you can *clearly* see a soccer field…a baseball diamond…and a football field.  I drew the little brown people on the sidelines watching the game.  My son asked why they had no arms.  I had no good reason, so he decided to add arms.  You will notice the short, orange arm extending off of the lowest person.  BUT, if you look at the person second from the top, you will see LOOONG, swirly arms coming off of him.  That blob that looks like a spiky sun on the bottom of the page is one of his hands.  BRILLIANT!  See?  This drawing would be so much better if I didn’t have to contribute to it.

The reason it’s posted on the wall is because my son wanted to cut a hole in the wall.  Even though I pointed out to him that our staircase is on the other side of that wall (I didn’t bother to mention the more obvious reasons of not cutting holes in walls), he still insisted that we cut a hole.  After much wrangling and debating and struggling to tell him that we are NOT cutting a hole in the wall, he agreed that we could draw what we imagined would be in the hole.  Thus, we have several athletic fields.  Go figure.

In my poking around on the internet, I found the GORGEOUS drawings of Sandra Allen.  Here is a sample of what she does:

Sandra Allen, Auspice, 60″ x 42″, pencil on paper 

CAN YOU BELIEVE IT?  That’s a PENCIL drawing, for Lord’s sake!!!!!  Look how big it is too!  That’s actually tiny for her…she does some truly enormous drawings.  Please check out her website.   I’m pretty flabbergasted by it.  She has a drawing that she’s done which is 37 FEET TALL!  No, not 37 inches…37 FEET…I kid you not.  Go look at her work.  Now.  Isn’t it amazing???  I’m not going to give my usual whining speech lamenting that, in comparison, my drawings look marginally better than putting a pencil and a sheet of paper in a clothes dryer for an hour.  Okay, that’s an exaggeration…but only slightly.  I’ll just give a dramatic *SIGH* to express my discouragement.

Can anyone recommend the work of other artists who work in graphite?  I’m always interested in seeing what others are doing (in my masochistic way).  Hmmmm???  Suggestions?  Whom should I look at?

Here’s something that you should look at:

That’s in our garden!  No kidding!  I wish I could take some kind of credit for this lovely iris (am I right?), but I cannot.   Not only did I play no part in it’s budding (obviously)…but I also didn’t even put that silly bulb in the ground in the first place.  It was here when we moved in.  For someone like myself, who has the tendency to inadvertently kill most plants, it’s great to see something lovely in the garden that I haven’t destroyed by sheer ignorance.  Now, if I can just keep my son from hitting it with a wiffle ball bat…



Time to regroup…and swiffer…(is that a verb?)
March 9, 2012, 9:33 am
Filed under: Drawing, Fleeting thoughts... | Tags: , , , ,

Well, I think that I’ve made all of the preparations that I can for my upcoming portfolio review on April 1.  This is where esteemed people in the Boston art world (curators…gallery owners…etc.) will come to the Arlington Center for the Arts and take a look at artists’ portflios.  I’ve got my drawings…my box…I just ordered some postcards…and I have even updated my website: www.elizabethkostojohn.com.  Also…I took some photographs of how my work looks when pinned up:

and here I am looking at it:

close up:

Kind of interesting, right?  It’s very minimal.  My advisor, Adria Arch, was kind enough to let me use her studio space to pin these up.  The idea is that these drawings are a single work of art…not individual pieces.  Adria showed me an example of a work by Jim Dine that has that same attitude…forty drawings comprise a single work of art: The Glyptotek Drawings.  Yes, his ability to draw is stunning!  Here is one of the drawings:

Jim Dine

Amazing!  I love the smudgy areas and the scratchy areas combined…there is so much depth…sigh.

That image is a good segue onto wonky people that my son continues to draw…here is one:

Look at those mesmerizing eyes!  Maybe that’s actually supposed to be me in the morning, before I’ve had my cup of tea.  I’m concerned about the bald spot on my head above my left eye…but no matter.  I’ll just part my hair differently.

My son is obsessed with building blocks.  Typically…we are making imaginary structures.  This week, however, he decided to do something else:

I asked him what it was…a skyscraper?  A tower?  He said that he was making a shoe store.  So funny!  Can’t you see that kind of thing at Urban Outfitters or Anthropologie???  Okay, so maybe his future is in retail…not construction.

I finished another drawing for the series:

I’m feeling that I need to “regroup” now.  Do I want to do more of these?  Do I want to shift and continue in a different way?  I know.  I’m the only one who can answer that.  I have to do some pondering.  I also have to do some housekeeping!  I spend more time drawing mangled fruit than I do straightening up around here.  I’m going to get a little zen…you know, chop wood…carry water…while I put this series and where it’s going into the backburner of my subconscious.  Hopefully, the fumes of Windex, Murphy’s Oil Soap, and scented Swiffer sheets will be enlightening, and hopefully the direction that I am looking for will come to me…much like the way static-charged dust and crumbs are drawn to the bottom of one’s socks…or, is that only in my house?



My babies are away for the weekend…
February 24, 2012, 9:31 am
Filed under: Drawing, Fleeting thoughts... | Tags: , , , , ,

NO…not my actual child!  (I’m sure that the plural was puzzling as well)  I mean my DRAWINGS.  Yes, I took my set of 16 drawings to be photographed yesterday.  So, as I write this…they are sitting in a photographer’s studio, and will be there over the weekend.  I made sure not to act like a neurotic parent by asking the photographer if he was going to treat them with kid gloves, as if they were important artifacts or rare antiquities.  Heck, I think that some of them even have pear juice on them.   No joke.  This is the last one that I finished:

You can see it in the box…with my handy-dandy eraser shield adjacent.  I have another one in progress…mwah-ha-ha!  (The produce aisle shudders at my approach…)

In the realm of art, more drawings by my son…another hilarious muppet-esque face:

I seriously love these.  And his version of an eighteen-wheeler:

I think that he thought that all eighteen wheels are are ONE side of the truck…plus, he ran out of room for the full amount. 

I try not to get depressed when I see amazing work by other artists.  I mean…if we all let that kind of thing get to us, none of us would get anywhere, right?  Take, for instance, Surabhi Saraf.  Her work is stunning…please take a look at her link.  She is a media artist, and does AMAZING videos of the mundane turned sublime.  Here are stills of one of her pieces:

Surabhi Saraf – Peel, 2009

and:

Surabhi Saraf – Peel, 2009

You can’t appreciate how beautiful these videos are without watching one. Go.  Now.  I insist. (click here…but, please come back!)  I know.  Gorgeous, right??????

Here is another thing to get depressed about:

How far MY mundane is from the sublime.  Case in point:

Our plant is growing.  (Hurrah! will wonders never cease?) 

 Also, my recent Bed, Bath, and Beyond indulgence (I’m such the suburban mom):

 

Close up:

It’s a basket made from woven recycled paper…from China.  I love it!  I can’t decide what to do with it…I mean, doesn’t this deserve to be more than a wastebasket???

I love that art causes you not just to look at the world with fresh eyes, but specifically to look at the world AROUND US with fresh eyes.  I feel that Saraf’s work does that in a poetic way…taking the repetitive tasks of domestic life and multiplying/choreographing these rhythmic routines to an enormous scale.  Perhaps, in its own little way, my wastebasket does the same…imagine the possibilities of what a lowly, Market Basket flyer could become!  What if it wasn’t a wastebasketbut a LARGE, WOVEN PUPPY, A-LA-JEFF KOONS???? NOW, we’re talkin’! 

 

 

 



Shoddy week, but at least I went to the Decordova!
February 16, 2012, 8:30 pm
Filed under: Drawing, Fleeting thoughts... | Tags: , , ,

Yes, this was a shoddy production week.  I didn’t even finish ONE DRAWING.  I kid you not.  I did, however, build a box for my drawings and mount them all:

Nice, right?  Snazzy custom box!  That’s just to distract you from harping on the fact that I did not finish a new drawing for this week.  So sad. 

I am digressing from my stuff to note that my son’s drawings have taken a new direction.  He was “a scribbler” for the most part.  Now, he’s doing these hilarious faces.  Check it out:

He decided that the hair only on the top of the head wasn’t enough…it needed to go around the WHOLE head.  Awesome.  This next one, he told me, is a one-year old:

See all of the circles in his mouth?  Those are apricots.

My own drawings, as a kid, were rather mundane:

I assume that I was older than 4 when I did this…my dad mowing the lawn.  Nice beard stubble.  Apparently, that was important.  Next:

I’m not sure that my spelling is any better.  Does anyone remember those Ed Emberley books????  They were these odd guides of how to draw stuff…these fish are CLEARLY from that book. In some ways, those books are really “anti-art”, as how to draw things is codified.  BUT, I think that it’s an interesting take on abstraction, just using combinations of basic geometric forms.  I know.  No one is going to get into any MFA program with these drawings, but you gotta start somewhere.

This week, I went to the DeCordova museum to see their Biennial exhibit.  It’s odd…I liked it generally, but I wasn’t really wow-ed by it.  I’m not sure why, so maybe I’ll know by the end of this post. 

Lately, there is a lot of work where something looks familiar, but it is made out of completely surprising materials.  Take these, for example:

Antoniadis & Stone – Sculpture Park (Flipside)

This looked like two, green concrete block walls that have been stacked on their side.   Hmm!  Actually, it was made of particle board, plastic and paint.  I kid you not.  I liked their work, as it was taking the mundane of our landscape and not only reconfiguring these objects, but making them by hand with other materials. Next:

Chris Taylor – Untitled

This artist takes mundane objects, like styrofoam cups and bubblewrap…and makes them out of GLASS.  Seriously.  They look perfect.  I guess that he’s sort of the “anti-Chihuly”.  I liked these, but I didn’t like how they were shown.  They were all sitting on a steel shelf, jumbled together.  I would have liked them to be treated in a more precious way.  How pedestrian of me.  Next:

Lauren KalmanBlooms, Efflorescence, and Other Dermatological Embellishments (Nevus Comedonicus)

HMMM!  This artist studied skin conditions, and then rendered them with jeweled piercings.  It makes beautiful what we would normally think of as “ugly”.  She used herself as a model, I believe.  I like where this is going…but is the final product actually “beautiful”?  Or, now that it is body adornment…has it become ugly again because of it’s unorthodox nature?  Either way…ouch.  I’ll stay with pencil drawing, thankyouverymuch.

Tomorrow, I’m going to the “Artists’ Books: Books by Artists” exhibit at the Boston Athenaeum.  I LOOOOVE this kind of stuff.  I’ve now made several little books myself, which I think is super fun.  I haven’t ever really focused on one seriously, as an attempted piece of art.  Anyone out there know some favorite artists who create cool artists’ books????

For those who don’t know what the heck I’m talking about…artists’ books are basically a book as art.  For example:

Merrill Shatzman

I discovered this artist online.  Her (his?) stuff looks GORGEOUS!  Check out her/his website.  I seriously love her/his stuff…(sorry, Merrill!  Maybe I’ll invent “hisser” as a word to replace her/his?  Thoughts?  Will Daniel Webster rise from his grave to strangle me?) 

Any other book artist recommendations out there????? 

 Is ANYBODY out there????  (kidding…sort of…)




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