Revenge of the Link Roundup

It’s link roundup time! Art, activism, and all the spaces between.

Flyer advertisting Pittsburgh's March for Choice on June 18, 10am in Schenley Plaza, sponsored by
  • A manifesto for creatives: Artists, Raise Your Weapons. I’ve been chewing on this for over a month, trying to figure out how I feel about it.

  • Gwenn Seemel: Artists are future-makers. “Artists… serve a concrete purpose in our communities and in the world’s community: we re-imagine the world and help to make it work better.”

  • Surrealist photographer Shawn Vandaele. I originally found him through a photoset that was posted without attribution; only the filename of the images told me who it was. Let this be an object lesson: if you like someone’s work enough to post it, post the name of the artist with it! Doing otherwise isn’t quite stealing, but damn close.

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Link Roundup

Five female athletes standing in a line, with diverse body types. Two have visible disabilities.

gonna zoom zoom-a zoom-a zoom

This weekend I’m taking the train out to Philadelphia for the Reproductive Justice Arts Festival, at which my piece “Not Yours” will be showing. I’m very excited, not just for the event, but for a weekend trip BY MYSELF! This will be only my second time away from my son overnight (unless you count that one night in the ER…. I don’t.)

I have to find my business cards…. crap!

Then the following weekend I, with my family this time, will be driving out to New Jersey for Crucible, an occultists convention. I’m presenting on yoga (and hoping very hard to not make a fool of myself), and Andrei is talking about the power of magical names. It should be a good time.

As soon as I get back from NJ I start ramping up for new member screenings to the two pro artist organizations in Pittsburgh – the Associated Artists of Pittsburgh and the Pittsburgh Society of Artists.

I’d love to go to Illuxcon in November, but I don’t think that’s going to happen this year. Hopefully next time.

I’m also working on, a personal website I’ve been meaning to do forever – collecting all of my various internet personae and creative endeavors – art, writing, and magick – under one roof. That project finally got me off my butt to learn CSS, at the very least. Fire Sea Studios is sticking around for the “art” portion of that, though it still needs a complete overhaul.

Other than that, I’m working on art, writing, and my Crucible presentation. Clearing the stink bugs out of the third floor so I can start setting that up, ever so slowly, as an actual art studio. (You can take that last sentence literally or metaphorically – both interpretations are accurate.)

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In Lieu of Content: another link roundup

Too much happening and too little time… which means another link roundup!

found via Evil Slutopia: A way to customize the look of web pages. Unfortunately, the page itself doesn’t seem all that accessible – more for people who have readability preferences rather than actual needs.

The “Just do it already” flowchart

Silence, consent, rape: the most comprehensive link collection I’ve ever seen:

Glass sculptures of dangerous viruses, objects of fear and beauty

Maria Brophy: solid info on helping your art support a sustainable lifestyle

Why “racial colorblindness” is just perpetuating the problem

The Pork Board is unhappy about Unicorn Meat. The best Cease & Desist letter ever!

An excellent shop of Gay Pride shirts, stickers, etc. My favorite: the bumper sticker that says, in white on black: “Stop putting words in my mouth. -God”

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Reboot complete. All processes running nominally.

As of this morning, the kid is back in school full-time, allowing me the space, time, and physical energy to have a care for things beyond keeping us fed, rested, and marginally cordial to one another. I’ve not done any art whatsoever in two months – not since we got the news that we had to whirlwind-quick pack up our life and transfer it from St. Louis to Pittsburgh – and my soul is feeling the ache.

So today I rounded up the source images I’ll be using for my next piece (the one I talk about here and here) and am shifting back into active-artist mode, with no small amount of gladness and relief. (Though I do have to say, just arranging the source images and knowing what I plan, this one will be…. intense. I will have to be very careful when and how I work on this.)

We also now have a wonderful new house, now named The Abbey – a 130-year-old 6-bedroom Victorian on Observatory Hill, half a block from 300 acres of park and 5 minutes from downtown Pittsburgh. We have great plans for the place, and a fair bit of my time will be spent not just unpacking but making this into the home we’ve dreamed of for years.

I have an appointment with a local pain management doctor next month. I hate this part – there’s so much background to cover, gaps to leap, before even determining if this is a decent doctor. The biggest worry is that the medication I depend on most to enable me to have a life outside of bed is hydrocodone, which thanks to addiction scaremongering most doctors are terrified to prescribe at all for chronic pain. You got something better? I’d love to try it. But I probably already have, and have found it useless to me.

The upside, I suppose, is that at this point I do know what I need. I just need to resist Good Patient Syndrome for long enough to find it again, even if it gets me labeled a bitch, an addict, or a hypochondriac.

I’ll leave you with a brief link roundup.

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In lieu of original content….

…some blogs I found worth commenting on this morning.

-From Womanist Musings: What do nude bodies mean?
Stripping in public as performance art, and how the message changes depending on the body and the place.

-From Women and Hollywood: The Miracle Worker to Close
The controversial production of The Miracle Worker, which chose to cast a “star” over an actress who was actually deaf or blind, closes on Broadway after poor reviews.

-From Raising My Boychick: Sexual Dissonance in Bisexual Monogamy
On the apparently-unique-to-bisexuals experience of having a partner who sometimes just doesn’t feel right.

-From rm: Sundries
“…nearly everything I have ever been taught — by my parents, by my schools, by my fandom, by more than a few lovers, and by my persecutors — tells me one simple thing. Because I have a cunt, when I love something, I make it less.”

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Art like mine

One of the things They(tm) tell you as an aspiring professional artist is to become familiar with the work in your field/area/genre/medium. Know what’s out there, so you can both relate your work to it and avoid being too derivative.

Good, solid advice.

I hate it.

Both when I did primarily painting and now in pen&ink, I have yet to find anyone who does work at all similar to mine. Landscapes and abstracts are all the rage in galleries. Figurative work and social commentary only seems to show up in pop surrealism, which is nifty but does not mesh visually with my style at all.

A nude woman arches back, embraced and supported by another woman.

Tango No. 2 by Jan Saudek

The closest thing to what I do is actually in a different medium altogether: photography. Weston, Lange, Avedon, Saudek – these names are fascinating and thrilling to me, and I return to their work again and again, analyzing and contemplating and being inspired.

I’ve done photography in the past, and it’s fun and I’m okay at it, but it doesn’t thrill or energize me like setting pen to paper does.

Photography has a power that most painting does not. The effect can be summed up by a spectacular sunset, at which I look and remark “That could never be painted because it wouldn’t be believed.” Even the advent of Photoshop has not reduced this effect. The sheer photorealism overwhelms that which your mind tells you cannot exist.

With pen&ink or paint, though, you can blend reality with abstraction, reduce the infinite fiddly details of reality to focus absolutely on the aspects you choose, carve light and shadow and color and line into something entirely new – so long as you do not trip that little filter in the back of your head that says “Waaaaaaait a minute. What the hell am I looking at?”

That is why I think so much fantasy art tends towards the photorealistic or comic-style – those little fiddly real-world details prop up the suspension of disbelief. I think this trend does human imagination a disservice, though. Sure, you need to be realistic enough that you can tell what you’re looking at, but does it need to be so darned cluttered?

This rant is going off in an entirely different direction than I intended. Photography. I likes it. Yeah.

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Enter the future


The year we make contact.

Um, no, wait. That’s Arthur C. Clarke and Roy Scheider and a mysterious camera somehow outside the spaceship transmitting video inside as they slingshot around Jupiter.

Anyway. I thought I’d start the new year – new decade, yikes – with an introduction of sorts.

I’m Heather. I live near St Louis, Missouri with my husband Andrei, 3-year-old son Aiden, family friend C., and a black cat named Nuit. I’m hard of hearing since birth, and have syringomyelia and fibromyalgia from a car accident in 2007. I -

You see, this is the thing. I don’t really know who I am anymore.

I have – fragments. Remnants, torn scraps of my life before the accident. Many of them are good, just – less than what they were. And right now everything I’ve got is trying to make sense of those scraps, reassemble them into something I can call a decent life, with purpose and direction and flow. To somehow find the new intersection of what I want to do with what I can do, and be okay with that.

And what role does art play in this? After all, this blog is called “The Living Artist”. I wonder, often, how much right I have to claim the title of artist anymore. My professional status, always shaky as I never made anywhere near enough money to support myself, has not even a whisper of truth anymore. Months go by sometimes without my putting pen to paper. But there are two things I cling to when I can’t remember who I am or why I’m here. One is my son Aiden. The other is art. If I can’t make art, I can think about it. If I can’t think about it, I can look at it. If I can’t look at it, I can hold tight to the belief that all these things will return in time. They always have. And sometimes that’s all I have.

Anyway, since blogging is, as Havi likes to say, therapy you don’t have to pay for, here is where I’m trying to work all that out.

To sum up with a complete non sequitur, here’s a cross-section of my favorite blogs, in no particular order:

The Fluent Self
Uppercase Woman
It’s Not All Mary Poppins
Sociological Images
Ursula Vernon
Questionable Content
Dancing With Pain
Love Isn’t Enough

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Yes! This! (special bonus post!)

While in the doctor’s office today I picked up a free arts magazine, which had this totally amazing article in it: “Hard Times Require Imagination: Why society needs artists now more than ever” by Don Fels.

An excerpt:
“In general, artists are not normal. Over-sensitive and hypersensitized, they are mutants, misfits, jesters, troublemakers. They can also be visionaries.[...]

Artists work at seeing what others don’t. Outlaws, perhaps, they are also lightning rods with hard-wired early warning systems. What they see can be shocking, entertaining, dopey, empathetic, thought provoking, even useful. Throughout history, particularly in times of crisis, societies have undone the ropes (rough or velvet) and freed their artists to take pivotal roles in rethinking, reshaping and reforming the status quo.

We are now in one of those times when artists should be drafted to make a real difference.”


Reading this, I am uplifted from the melancholy I was in yesterday. I don’t know if the art that I do can be shifted to the specific sorts of partnerships he’s talking about, but I don’t care. Society needs art to show it where it has to go. Not only does it allow the soul to breathe, it drives the growth of humanity.

Yes. This is why I am who I am. I remember now.

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