Budgeting for food, and art supplies

P1060675Leaving work today, it was an art night. I could feel it. Even during my stay in California art had failed to surface as an outlet, and I could feel the lack of creativity in my life suddenly reach an immediate and painful boiling point.

Tight budget, and tonight it’s going towards art supplies. Some nights I feed my belly, tonight I feed my peace of mind. It’s a fair trade, and a healthy one in the long run.  I headed to Alpha, the art store around the corner from my house. Thinking it was just full of the usual nauseatingly cute Korean stationery that is everywhere, I stumbled in a few days ago and was surprised to find a fairly decent collection of art materials, supplies, handmade paper and, of course, cuteness. The back half of the store is basically Emmy paradise. I got lost in the shelves the first time I was there and had to literally make myself stop and walk out the door. Dangerous. But at least I know where to go if I want to do a project.

Giving myself the 8,000 won I would have spent on food today was a great exercise in self control, but it stretched. Origami paper, a length of ribbon, some craft wire, two big pieces of handmade printed paper and a calligraphy pen accompanied me out of the shop. Score.

At home, determined to not spoil my creative evening by just eating ramen, I cooked up a sweet potato and scarfed some white rice mixed with cheap packaged curry powder. Sort of a fried rice stir-fry, and it did the trick. A few moments to eat and practice Hangeul (the Korean alphabet). To work! To work!


Although completely incorrect, I’ve been playing with Hangeul  initials drawings. Mine, ESH, for example, looks remarkably like a winking face. I love it. Thanks calligraphy pen and my mediocre knowledge of Korean! I can’t wait to explore this further. Too bad it is grammatically incorrect for most combinations. Still looks pretty cool.

All I knew I wanted to do with the art paper was decorate my walls; they are painfully bare. Luckily, I brought along some watercolor pencils and a watercolor pen. We’ll see what the painting turns into over the next few days.

In all, dinner rations well spent. It’s a whole different kind of satisfaction.






L’indifferenza e complicita… graffiti holds new meaning

In April of 2011 I flew to Rome to meet up with my mom after her Reggio Emilia conference. After cruising Rome for a couple days by myself, we met up in La Spezia and traveled on to the Cinque Terre and Siena. A wonderful trip, and life-changing in many ways. While there, I ended a relationship I had been in for the last year and a half (a story unto itself) and was able to achieve that true sense of self that one can only find while travelling. Walking through Rome for two days, completely solo, was an incredibly empowering experience. It had been a few years since I had had the opportunity to visit Europe, but each time before was with a larger group (studying abroad in Berlin, visiting friends in Denmark with my dad, the traditional post-high school European backpack adventure). Striking out on my own was scary at first, but map in hand I soon found that Rome is a beautifully accessible city and I became determined to explore every corner on foot.

Source image for L'Indifferenza e ComplicitaIn Travastere, a quaint neighborhood south of Vatican City, I was roaming the alleyways and small streets west of the river when I came upon some graffiti that caught my eye. I’ve always been interested in street art, and while I wasn’t entirely sure how to translate the words, they held some deep meaning for me. When I got home to Seattle and downloaded my pictures, I translated them: Indifference and Complicity. Wow.

Needless to say, that got me thinking. As part of a generation that is so desensitized from the media, indifference and complicity is a huge deal. We are all guilty of it daily on a large or small scale. Not to imply the legal definition of being witness or accessory to a crime, but in the sense that we all turn a blind eye in our lives at one point or another. This concept really strikes home for me. Are we becoming so desensitized as a culture that indifference and complicity are tools we use daily to shield ourselves from real life? I could go on and on… but think about the last time you saw something happen on the street (whether it be an actual crime, verbal abuse, catcalling, harassment) and did nothing about it.

Anyway, after a couple weeks of musing/ realizations/ severe extrapolations/ general character re-evaluation, I completed the third image in the mixed media collage series (after ‘We All Want to Fly‘ and ‘Iceberg Flow‘). A friend had recently built me a bike, and as I was learning to ride in an urban environment it became apparent that there are huge danger risks to sharing the road. (duh- exactly my point that I didn’t understand until I tried it myself!) It is hard to see after the layers of paper and paint, but the original photograph of graffiti is part of the ground on which the bicyclist lies.

Hope this provides some imagery for thought. I welcome any comments or stories you’d like to share on the topic.

Title: L’Indifferenza e Complicita
Inspiration: Graffiti in Travastere, Rome
Medium: Mixed media collage
Dimensions: 8×10″
Price: $200

Mixed collage style continues…

After finishing ‘We All Want to Fly‘, I wanted to expand n the style of collage that had come about so spontaneously. I like the idea of movement in a collage, which i found rather difficult to capture. The image below is the second in the series, perhaps slightly less successful than the first, nevertheless a fun project. Again, the picture does less justice than the original; I used the same collage technique layered with sharpie 🙂 and blue and gold paint.

Title: Iceberg Flow
Inspiration: previous project, ‘We All Want to Fly’
Medium: Mixed media collage
Dimensions: approx. 10.5×11.5″
Price: $175 original, prints available

We All Want to Fly

In Seattle we have a free monthly publication called CityArts, a magazine created by and for local creative communities. In March of 2010, the front cover held an image of Rocky Votolato from the band Carissa’s Weird throwing a paper airplane. I was mesmerized by the image, and how the photographer had managed to capture both eye contact and motion in the composition. The act of throwing the airplane felt like both a catharsis and the release of a dream or idea into existence, and locking eyes with the subject makes such an experience speak directly to the viewer. I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to ‘make it my own’, so to speak. Building on the idea of the ‘release of a dream’, I created the collage below. 

Unfortunately, I don’t think this picture of the original does it justice–I used gold and blue paint to accent the light and shadows of the collage, and on the original you can see the gold reflect light, giving it a glow I didn’t capture in the photograph.

For more information about the CityArts article on Rocky Votolato click here.




Title: We All Want to Fly
Inspiration: CityArts Magazine, March 2010 cover article
Medium: Mixed media collage 
Dimensions: 8×10″ original, prints available up to 20×30″
Price: $350 original, prints $45 – $175