Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Being Gothic is so last generation

I think it may still be "in vogue" with younger people but I grew up in the era where black hair, clothes and lipstick was popular and were what is now called "emo". Teens and young adults alike were attracted to the dark side where death was considered glamorous, or at least to look dead was. I wore black to hide my fat - plain and simple. I am sure there were very real reasons why this fashion statement/trend became so popular and for those that took the statement to the bitter end, I feel remorse. Some of these people actually did hang out in cemeteries, catching what they might think was a glimpse of what death truly was, even if there wasn't much to understand there.

I fear dying. I try hard not to envision the coffin, my funeral...just the thought of not being here anymore frightens me.

I have experienced people dying my whole life. As one of the youngest in my family, the older relatives died when I was fairly young. I was at my grandparents' funerals when I was 13 and 16 years old respectively. Coming from an Italian-Catholic background, we had the open-casket-lay-them-out-for-3-days thing which didn't make things any easier but to this day, when I look at a body in a coffin, it's almost surreal. How can these events not stay with me?

This last year has been more difficult. 2 deaths, much illness and the constant feeling of waiting for the next person to die has consumed me. Even when I was hearing about celebrity deaths, which we hear about all the time, was affecting me.

As a matter of fact, September is the anniversary of my father's death and since then, I can't seem to stop being consumed by it all. The "Angels" series I started work on, as well as other photographs of me in cemeteries seems to be coming so naturally.

Oddly enough, those holy grounds don't scare me at all. People laid to rest surrounded by beautiful representations of angels and saints is good. "Becoming one" with the angels in my work comforts me.

So is my work considered "Gothic" for lack of better terms? I don't think so. I just see it as a real expression of experiences I am trying to deal with. That those experiences happen to be about death and the spiritual is just the topic at hand. It's something I have seen many an artist deal with in their work.

I do, however, see fans of my work in the long black corset dresses feeling a sense of distance from others and feeling misunderstood. I can relate to that.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

An update

I know it's been awhile since I've updated but honestly, things have been a little slow in the art-making department. A few things have been buzzing - I will have 2 pieces in a group show next month in a gallery in Huntington, NY, I donated a piece to LI Artworks to help the BP oil spill wildlife survivors and I am submitting a piece for a book about death based on Ray Johnson (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ray_Johnson) .

I have also applied for a grant through Women in Photography to help fund the new "Angels" series. Aluminum sheets and image transfers add up financially, so I am praying I get this award.

And speaking of metal plates, yesterday, I took a solar plate printmaking class. If anyone knows basic printmaking techniques, this is a more modern way of doing printmaking. The metal plate is coated with a gelatinous light-sensitive emulsion. You take a photograph or drawing on acetate, put it over the plate and expose it to uv rays. Wash it in water, replace plate under the uv rays to harden and oilla! your plate is made. Ink the plate and run it through the press and go "ooh and ahh!" The great thing about doing this is that it is much easier than most other printmaking techniques. More importantly though, it is a non-toxic way to make prints.

The cons? The plates are very expensive. An 8 x 10 costs around $16 so in order to do a series of 15 images, plus paper and ink - would be a bit exorbitant. The other con is that you need a printing press - costs in the thousands - so you can either rent time in a printing studio, or in my case, make friends with the printmaking professors at the colleges and see when they are around for me to use their press.

I will post a photo of my final print later, but I have to say, the experience was an exciting one and had that same feeling when I was in the darkroom. Perhaps, this will lead to something but we will see.