Illustrations by Nancy C. Sampson

Archive for ‘March, 2009’

I decided to indulge a short-attention span fit by checking out some gallery openings in Chelsea tonight. I had heard that Patti Smith was having an opening tonight. I’ve never seen her artwork, so that was my other inspiration to get out there. (The prospect of free wine doesn’t hurt, either.)

Not only do you get to see great art in Chelsea (if you pick a good Thursday) but there is also great people watching. In the Robert Miller Gallery which was displaying Patti Smith’s and Jem Cohen’s work I saw a cute and arty couple. They were a man and woman, probably in their 60s, both wearing glasses. The woman had a very wide bob hairstyle that was dyed cartoon-pink and the man had one of those fancy mustaches that curls up on the ends. Another man was wearing what appeared to be a latex helmet/hat that was form fitted to his head. Most of the back of his skull was covered but there were cut-out areas for his ears, which were pierced with large discs, although not the largest ear discs I’ve seen, mind you.

But, back to the art… I enjoyed Patti’s work very much! There were some captivating vignette sepia photos in one room and in another room, provocative imagery of religious sculptures shrouded in clear plastic, taken inside of a church that was being renovated. Another piece that held my attention was a drawing made of tiny, illegible words forming a silhouette shape that was unmistakably of wreckage from the World Trade Center 9/11 disaster.

Back out on the street I had a nice interaction with a fellow who thought I was French! If only! We were both trying to cross the street in the middle of the block, as one does when gallery hopping, and he asked me something in French, then when I did not respond, said “Are you French?” This reminds me of another “Frenchie on the Street” incident. It was a warm spring day, I was walking to meet some friends at a tapas bar off of 6th Ave. with my head in the clouds. As I passed a man walking in the opposite direction he said “Oui, ma Fille!” (he pronounced “oui” informally: “way.”) This literally translates to “Yeah, my Woman/Lady!” and ten steps later I realized he was saying “Yeah, Baby!” in French. I was sad that I hadn’t had time to react because that was one of the best compliments I’ve heard!

Anyhoo… back to Chelsea. Another show I enjoyed was Izima Kaoru, a Japanese fashion photographer whose subjects are famous models and actresses from Japan, dressed in couture fashions. The are posed in images/scenes based on their death fantasies. There is no gore or blood and the photography is super-sharp and beautiful. In his other life, Kaoru is a fashion photographer. That was at the Von Lintel gallery.

Of course there were a few other places that I wasn’t so moved by or just didn’t grab any info so now I can’t remember who the artist was. An example of one of those was a show of sculpture that looked mighty familiar, wish I could remember. The medium was metal rods and thick construction wire shaped into twisting, enlarged-dna-like shapes. I also missed out on a group photography show which included work by Nan Goldin and Larry Clark. I went inside, along with some other art lovers, but most of the lights were turned off, I got the hint that the staff wanted us to leave! I should also add, if you like boob art, check out the Rogue Gallery, with watercolors by Theresa Byrnes!

So, I’m glad I went. The little French incident makes me think I need to keep on working on Adelé and brainstorming some stories for her. Goodnight!

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If anyone out there is reading this… I’m ba-aack! It has been so long since I have posted anything here, I apologize to my blog-starved fans. There were many times over the months when I noticed things going on around me that were inspiring, perfect for my blog. So, in addition to my main idea for this post, I’ll try to do a quick review of everything I should have been writing about!

One of the events that always inspires me to tears is the Olympics. It impresses me that the athletes spend so much time focused on training and competing in their sports for years on end. Seeing Michael Phelps reach his goal by winning all of those gold medals in one year was really amazing, but so were so many of the other Olympians.

As a life-long Democrat, I had many inspiring moments during the election season. I’m still not used to the idea that we actually had a woman and a black man in heated competition for the office of President. It has been too long coming if you ask me, so I’m glad we have finally broken that barrier in this country.

Once Barack Obama accepted the Democratic nomination and the playing field was narrowed, I was ready to get in there and do what I could to help get him elected. I’ve never been one to send money to politicians or become directly involved with a campaign, but I have believed for a long time in making one’s voice heard and playing my part in the government and my community as a citizen and voter. After all, that is an important part of how this country is supposed to work; of the People, by the People, and for the People.

With all of this in mind, I started making calls to the battleground states via MoveOn.org’s phone bank system. I volunteered some time doing this during the 2006 elections. (Right now, I am drinking some tea out of the mug I received as a thank you for my efforts!) Basically, MoveOn set up a call script and a phone list online. I would log in to their website to gain access to the system and helped to spread the word about who MoveOn was supporting in certain states, and remind people to vote. In the case of the ’08 election, I was often calling to ask people if they would be willing to volunteer at their local Obama campaign office.

Many of the calls I made were to wrong numbers, no answer, people who were Democrats but didn’t have time to volunteer, etc. But the folks I was able to have some positive interaction with were great. They were fired up and ready to go, as the saying goes, and whether or not they could volunteer, I had some good conversations. I really enjoyed speaking with the people who wanted to do something but didn’t know how to help out until they spoke with me and got the information. I also had fun attending one of MoveOn’s “calling parties” where you gather at a neighbor’s place, have some snacks and everyone gets on their cell phones to make calls. It was fun to meet like-minded people and see how our collaborative efforts made a difference in the number of volunteers we got to sign up. I remember feeling tired from my usual Sunday chores when I arrived at the party but I was very energetic and charged up by the time I went home a few hours later.

Obviously, this all led up to another inspiring moment: ELECTION NIGHT 2008!!! (I know, this is a loooong post! You may take a bathroom or snack break now, if you like.) By November 4, I felt quite confident that Obama would win, although many of my friends were skeptical early in the evening. I went to a bar/music venue to watch the results with a few friends. The place was quite packed as more states returned results, so my friends decided to leave! I stayed because I really wanted to be out and about when the final decision was announced, and it was glorious when that happened! Everyone started dancing and hugging each other. I was a little sad that I had no one to hug, the people near me didn’t seem like they wanted to hug a stranger! But I stayed and danced for a while and decided I wanted to be home to make sure I heard every bit of THE 44TH PRESIDENT’S acceptance speech. I waved to and cheered with other happy Brooklynites on the streets as I walked home.

As you probably remember, there was all kinds of celebration in the streets in the cities here in the U.S., but also, ALL OVER THE WORLD! This made me very happy. I remember falling asleep some time after midnight to the sound of illegal fireworks and people chanting “O-BA-MA! O-BA-MA!”

Then, of course, the inauguration. It is thrilling to be alive to see all of this history unfolding, even as we are dealing with one of the worst, wide-spread financial crises most of us have ever seen. Which again, is fodder for more inspiration. I have found it easier to feel worried about my higher bills and lower pay, and about how many people are out of work and struggling worse than I am right now. Amongst my friends, I have noticed that it seems to be a time to change paths or forge ahead with new ideas, and that is really rubbing off on me. I know that I want to take my artwork and ideas to the next level, only I am not so sure how to do it. I also need to get a design portfolio going to show people that I can do more than illustration and magazine production, so that I may have an additional source of income.

I think these hard times are causing many people to rethink what they really want out of life. (I really want an overseas vacation but I think it is going to be a while before that happens.) It is one of those times when I have to ignore the obstacles and just go ahead with what I want, or find out what I want, and stay inspired all the way along. Some friends of mine decided on two words for 2009: Fearless and Thrifty. These words resonate with me, too, so that has become my mantra for when I become overwhelmed with “what to do?” I should also keep on bloggin’! But that’s enough for now.

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