Mike Kelley *SAD*

Did y’all know that Mike Kelley committed suicide died last month?

My heart hurts; I loved his work so. <–When I guest lecture for The Husband’s Humanities classes, I always include a few pieces by Mike Kelley because his work is so fun and accessible and really makes you think at the same time.

borrowed from Philosophy of Science's post about Mike Kelley's life and death

I know that it’s silly for me to be all grieve-y about Kelley’s death, but it’s like when Baudrillard died:  my little heart just stopped.  Sometimes, for me, those by whom I’m influenced or with whom I’ve developed a relation to their work—it’s like losing Family:  the Family of the Mind and the Interior Space.

I’m going to go be sad in my corner for awhile.


supplemental blog post: branding…sorta

So, branding.


A product-line’s identity and the identity that a producer wants to portray to their potential customers–an identity that encourages loyalty and repeat sales.


Did I get that right? <–*is being rhetorical*


Really, that's kinda the definition I've culled from the reading I've been doing. I also think that it's somewhat problematic and a little cold since there's an emphasis on repeat sales, which–yes, yes, I know–only makes sense since we’re talking about the brand identity of a company that’s selling something (whether it’s physical products or ideals or something else).


I totally feel like I’m having an anti-capitalism/philosophical-communist thing going on here. <–This might explain why I've been having such a difficult time writing on this subject.


On the Etsy Blog, Sarah Stearns (2011) of Makery defines “brand” as


the promise that a shop makes to its customers. Your brand tells your customers what they can expect from your products and what differentiates your products from your competitors’. Simply put, your brand is a combination of the image you are trying to project for your business, plus the associations and memories that your customers bring to the table when they encounter that image. (para. 3)


Laura Lake from About.com Guide cites the American Marketing Association as defining a brand as


a name, term, sign, symbol or design, or a combination of them intended to identify the goods and services of one seller or group of sellers and to differentiate them from those of other sellers. (para. 1)


In The creative entrepreneur: A DIY visual guidebook for making business ideas real by Lisa Sonora Bean (2008), she simply states that brand is “a personality for your business” (p. 106).


But, really, I think my favorite, most resonate definitions of brand come from Grace Dobush in Crafty Superstar and Meg Mateo Ilasco in Craft Inc.: Turn your creative hobby into a business.


Even though it is not explicitly stated as a definition of “brand,” Dobush (2009) writes that “It’s all about first impressions” (p. 62). Yet, Ilasco (2007), I think, phrases brand best as


The common thread running through your products should be a signature aesthetic, design, technique, and/or illustration style. Your goal should be to make your products and your brand immediately identifiable. (p. 51)


Oddly, Ilasco was the first time I think I had seen someone place the emphasis on branding as an aesthetic one, which, since everyone harps upon consistency in branding (and, weirdly, in art school), connecting branding to aesthetics makes more sense. A maker’s aesthetic, while changeable, is going to stay fairly consistent. Isn’t that how a lot of art works? We recognize the artist’s style. Since a lot of the creative class of maker’s are artists, what we’re seeing often as a “brand” is really an artist’s style.


I like that idea. I like that branding is about one’s aesthetic and bringing that aesthetic to other people. Poketo is a really amazing example of this kinda of branding–especially since they’re in a highly visible market (i.e., Target). <–I really like the Poketo-aesthetic and their mission statement.


Another reason that I think I like Ilasco's take on branding is that she also emphasizes that makers need to stay true to their own thoughts and aesthetics and not worry about being trendy because it "should be an authentic expression of you" (p. 52).


And–yes–for those of you that have been paying attention, I am using a hyper-like-modified version of APA.


‘Cause that’s the way I roll: fast and outta control. *is a complete academic dork*


So, what I’ve really gotten from all of this reading and thinking about branding–which is totally something that I never thought I’d be thinking about outside of some client’s business/marketing paper in a writing center–is that branding is more about identity construction (Something that I am fantastic about and totally know the theory behind because I <3 theory!) and consistency and audience reception (Can I get another "Hells, yeah, for theory!"?). <–Yeah, I really did just do that. *feels corrupted*


I gotta tell y'all. Branding as a big, abstract business thing is kinda scary for me (as much as 'Lain thinks that nothing think-y scares me). But! For me, thinking about branding through autobiographical theory, reader-response theory, and economic theory is a far, far easier, non-scary thing.


Which is funny since theory is, by definition, a big abstract thing.



Oh, irony! How I love you!




I think I'm done babbling at y'all for awhile.


So, now, is the time in Shakespeare when we dance! it’s time for the calendar–with some revisions!


Artist Books: A Bookmaking Workshop–November 11th-12th $150.00

Bookmaking techniques and artist books! \o/ Y’all should see the list of books that I have ready to teach you!


Artists’ Demo-ing Night–November 17th

Same sitch (yes, I did use “sitch”) as the other one.


Artist Dolls–November 18th-19th $150.00

Really, this is ‘Lain’s gig; I’m just co-teaching, so she doesn’t freakout too badly.


Black Friday Mixed Media for Kids Class–November 25th

Co-taught with the fabulous Miss Carrie. Bring your kids to be babysat to learn about and make mixed media art while you get some peace and quiet some Yule/Christmas/Kwanzaa/Hanukkah/Saturnalia/insert-your-holy-day-here shopping done.


IQ’s Winter Show–December 10th

Support your local artists this holiday by buying locally–and usually handmade!–products this season!


Artists’ Demo-ing Night (I really hope we come up with a better title soon.)–Decemeber 15th, 5-8 pm

This Demo Night happens during the ARTgarage’s annual Holiday Sale/Show, so it’s a double header.


Miss ‘Lain is also teaching a couple of other classes that I’m kinda helping out with (Mostly so that I can take the class without paying for it! Don’t tell!).

Circuit Bending 101–October 28th $60.00 <–It's totally happening. You should sign up tonight or come by the ARTgarage before 12:3- tomorrow and sign up for it!


Puppetry–December 2nd and 9th $150



deconstruction: Twilight

NB: This craziness is for my Visual Culture seminar, and I would really appreciate it if y’all would leave critical comments: dis/like Twilight (film and/or novel, the cultural phenomenon), what ya think of the piece, what ya think of the theoretical response(s), should I wear an orange Jayne-hat everywhere I go. Ya know, the general. I even made a poll so that it would be easier! (ETA: Evidently, LJ won’t let you take the poll unless you’re a member, so I’ve attached the poll questions at the end of this note. Have I told y’all how much I love you?)  Also, the images are linked so that you can take a closer look at them if you so please (and I hope you do please!).

deconstruction: Twilight

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Mina Murray’s Response to deconstruction: Twilight

Artist’s Statement:
deconstruction: Twilight is a postmodern, poststructuralist critique of Twilight and, since the novel cannot be separated from the associated media that has grown up around it, its cultural phenomenon, utilizing the fragmented and decontextualized text of the novel to create a sculpture that references not only the text but the semiotic signs and signifiers of cultural, consumptive practices such as tweenster bedroom culture and media obsession. Due to the structure of the sculpture and the continued readability of the text on the sculpture, the text refuses easy (dis)closure and insists that it be read since, in true Derridaian fashion, the most effective way to refute a text is with the text; despite this refutation, the readability of the text does not forcibly require viewers to agree with the work but, rather, to take in the interpretation and decide for themselves.. Additionally, the art tradition of the male gaze, which acts as an artistic ground for the sculpture as well as a cultural ground, is redirected due to the slippage between the sculpture’s gaze and the viewers’ object/abjectification of the masculinized, sexualized, and fetishized text.
Poll Questions Since Livejournal is Mean!:

What do you think of the vampire genre?
  • J’adore!
  • BLECH!
  • ‘Tis okay.
  • Not my cuppa tea.
  • Meh.

What vampire movies (or books) have you seen (or read)?

Are you familiar with Twilight?

  • *stabs eyes out*
  • *draws hearts and Team Edward/Team Jacob diagrams–with hearts*
  • Yes. *eyes warily*
  • Yes! \o/
  • Um, isn’t that that thing that happens every evening when the sun goes down?

Cultural phenomenon surrounding Twilight

  • OMG! The tweensters need to stop with the Twilight obsession!
  • I’m totally for it! I <3 Twilight
  • What is this Twilight of which you speak?
  • I could really care less as long as the tweensters don’t get glitter on me.

If you would be so kind, please explain your answer.

Twilight the novel

  • Like
  • Dislike
  • Hate it with the passion of a thousand suns
  • Luuuuuuurve it with all my little heart
  • Meh

Please explain your answer

Twilight the motion picture

  • Like
  • Dislike
  • Hate it with the passion of a thousand suns
  • Luuuuuuurve it with all my little heart
  • Meh

Please explain your answer.How do you feel deconstruction: Twilight is responding to the culture phenomenon of the Twilight novel and motion picture? Again, if the answer doesn’t fit, please continue it in the comments.

Why do you think that vampires have re-emerged into contemporary visual culture? If there isn’t enough room here, please continue in the comments.

presenting the quixotic postmodern

PPM:  The STD* You’re Most Likely to Catch
*Something Terribly Depressing


We all come by different streets:


We’ve all heard that “geek” is the new “cool” or whatever.


There’s a myriad of variations on this theme, and in away, that idea of many variations on a theme, many takes on a situation, is what post-postmodernism, or what I’m calling quixotic postmodernism, is about.


Part of the reason that this acceptance of many perspectives seems to have became/become/will become integral and important to many contemporary cultures is the emergence of the ideals of the quixotic postmodern.


The postmodern, from which the quixotic postmodern is formed, exists in a state of carnival and carnivalesque where all is inverted and mocked, discursive and a perpetual charivari.


Good words, yeah?


The quixotic postmodern takes this revelry one step further (okay, sometimes we zooooooooooooooooooooom ahead completely off the steps, but you get the idea), and not only appropriate the fun and whimsy of the postmodern, but also acknowledge that the subject-object dialecticism and mockery are recursive and dependent upon each other, that in being skeptical and suspicious, deprecating and mocking of that which is appropriated/subject-/objectified, the artist is doing the same to themselves and their interests.


In short, postmodernism is emo-with-a-butterknife-hipstery, and quixotic postmodernism is punk-destroy-the-world-because-everyone-sucks-(including us)-hip.


Yet there really isn’t the fatalism or nihilism to the quixotic postmodern that is usually associated with the postmodern.  Just a if-we’re-going-to-die-anyway-we’re-going-to-have-fun quirkiness; there is fun, liminality (and reveling in our liminality), and loads of bad jokes.


Have you seen the working title of this book?


There is a focus on self-pleasure and performative action.


There is reverent irreverence and a whole lot of autobiographical subjectivity/objectivity.


There is a desire for craft to match concept and for art-making to be an extension of self-awareness rather than the next money-making venture or political protest.  Although political protest/reform are completely within the purview of the quixotic postmodernism, there is a need to not take oneself too seriously.


A lot of times when we’re trying to change the world, it’s less about the world and more about us on a personal level.


For example, whereas the postmodern generation of the 60s and after felt/feel that two plus two didn’t quite equal four (Conkelten and Eliel, 11), the quixotic postmodern generation feels that two plus two equals five given sufficiently high values of two.


*gestures*  We also have a tendency to reference TV and movies and music and purely sub-cultural thingies at the drop of a hat.


While this might sound optimistic, it isn’t necessarily; rather, two plus two not equaling four implies that there is something wrong with the world and is frightening and disconcerting, and two plus two equaling five implies that there’s something not quite right with the world and we, as makers and thinkers and dreamers (<——soooooo cliché), revel in it.


In quixotic postmodern, art is multivalent and hypertextual, meta-everything (to the point where meta and hyper are all that’s left sometimes!) while the craft/concept aspects are individual.


Quixotic postmodern art is quantum, meaning that the quixotic postmodern and art exist because of an agreed upon reality, an accepted ideal.


The quixotic postmodernists are the successors to Picasso’s impatience with form, Duchamp’s insistence that the artist gets the final say in their work, Kandinsky’s use of his non-art interests in his art, Messanger’s disregard of the “rules” of art, and McCullough’s emphasis on craft and form.


We’re tricksters.


We’re impatient.


We’re going to do what we’re going to do because, sometimes, you have to be willing to go where you have been told not to go.


We’re brave.


We’re belligerent.


(Can I get a “We’re Dada”?)


We’re going to mock our art-teachers (be they people, books, etc.) with full awareness that we are mocking ourselves and the teachers we will inevitably become.


We’re comfortable with uncertainty and certain that uncertainty is all that is certain.


We’re grey even though black and white are easier.


We’re the products of pop culture and intellectual discourse.

…no more cutting little bits of paper for a while \o/

You have no idea how happy this makes me.  All that I have done for the last month is cut little bits of paper and glue them into/onto other things.


*is very tired of it*


But!  The piece for the Writing Center was completed and sent off to the conference it was going to (and was, evidently, a roaring success! *SQUEE*) and my piece for the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery’s Outwin Boochever Portrait Competition was submitted yesterday!


I dunno; I don’t think I’ll win (’cause that would be hubris and crazy-talk), but I’m really pleased with my piece. It’s somewhere between Duchamp, Joseph Cornell, and William Morris in terms of how it’s constructed and composed, but the idea behind it is connected to autobiographical theory, particularly Baudrillard, Judith Butler, and Sidonie Smith.




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Speaker for the Dead:  A Self-Portrait




As an artist creating representative portraiture in a highly referential, (post) postmodern world that is heavily reliant upon referentiality and the interenet, I think of portraits as representational works meant to capture a person’s personality, their Self, yet, in attempting to capture this Self, the artist is also imposing their view upon the subject.


Self-portraits theoretically act the same way.


Yet, as we create ourselves, the only ways in which we can express these Selves is to use externalized elements:  words, images, colors, songs, etc.


When we create others, we do the same thing.


We Other them and, in doing so, we Other ourselves.


We can never see one another completely:  physically or mentally.  Even if you have a mirror to show the sides that you can’t see, these are just simulations.


A portrait is not different.


My piece works to straddle the lines between identity and portrait since a portrait is about an imposed identity.


So, that’s my entry.  Whatcha think?