I finished reading My Picture Diary by Fujiwara Maki on recommendation from BUBBLE’S zine. I’ve always been interested in themes like documenting memories, moving time/events taking place in mostly unchanging spaces, “acting”, perceptions of ourselves and others, feelings, thoughts, and experiences that stay the same no matter how much time has passed etc. So, when I read the review in BUBBLE’S I pretty much immediately bought it. I also read Nick Drnaso's Acting Class last year for similar reasons...Anyway, there’s a short essay in the back about who Fujiwara Maki is and some added context to the diary and her life before marrying Tsuge Yoshiharu - who I’ve never heard of but is apparently a manga legend* and who seems to have eclipsed his wife, Maki’s career/importance while she was alive as Maki was never really celebrated for being an artist in her own right but often referred simply as his wife. But Maki seems way more interesting, progressive, and at the forefront of culture than Tsuge ever was or wanted to be. She was more of a true artist and before marrying was an avant-garde theatre actress in Japan in the 70’s. Maki’s diary inspired me to start my own, although I’m still struggling to find a good style for the illustrations it’s been nice to get back into a habit of reflecting more on small things happening daily, I noticed usually when I write it’s about the past or what I want to happen in the future so focusing only on the events of a single day has been new.
*tbh the way I get into things goes like this: I find people, artists, authors, etc. who are creating around themes I’ve always been drawn to like memory, time, storytelling, perspective, shapeshifting... and just get really into them no matter what their medium is...so I guess I’m not super knowledgeable about graphic novels or manga in general, but I like a few specific ones because of how they were used as a tool to get across this idea/feeling I’m always chasing. This makes it hard for me to explain my interests though, It’s not a type of _____, category, or medium I'm into just an idea/way of thinking/being.
Some things that stuck out to me the most from the essay and were weirdly highly relatable to my experiences being alive today:
- Maki on acting: “...I tremble with anxiety and a kind of hatred, to the point where I feel nauseous and like I might actually shit myself. I hold in the compounding emotions until I think they might explode, then suddenly leap out onto the stage as if a “second-self” has been born...it’s like I’m a new being reborn out of my past self, or that I’ve become an insane version of myself...”
- “...even if your theater is is your life with Tsuge, even if it’s not something others can watch, you are bound to burn brightly as a performer.”
“She was really self-conscious about being an artist.”
Started going on photo walks in the morning with a nikon coolpix s33, a camera I impulse bought at an airport 7 years ago after my phone got stolen as a backup to my film camera to help document a trip. I ended up loving the way it captured colors and some other indefinite quality about it. I lost that camera in a move almost immediately after and decided to buy a used one this year. I’m working on taking some color and composition photos again, and generally re-training my eye, slowing down, etc. / the usual. Here’s a few of my favorites from this week.
Spent the break in LA visiting friends and family. We went to Venice Beach and Palm Springs, stopped at a random flea market, stopped at a dinosaur roadside attraction where I bought a mood ring and a hat, checked out the sim racing set up Ian made custom, gave away a lot of chili oil and had a chinese-vietnamese thanksgiving dinner and a puerto rican ~friendsgiving~
Fossy’s 30th Birthday!!!!! + Paintball + HOYEHH. Foster shot me many, many times in a row which angered me, but we made up. Me and Kevin slipped into our hyper-competitiveness and we both ended up winning a game each for our teams. Then we drove back up to Foster’s studio, it was really nice and we ended the year (sort of) where we started it (Foster’s studio). Kev took all the film photos.
Photos from Harry and Dominic’s wedding in Chinatown, NY. We went to a morning tea ceremony with dim sum and an evening reception at Jing Fong that had an amazing drag queen performance, lion dancing, incredible food, I m et some v amazing ppl, and they had egg tarts instead of a wedding cake. It was so beautiful and happy, I cried, fr. Also The Cut wrote an article about it.
Everyone was wearing their traditional clothes and I walked around NY in a sari all day, it’s honestly the most confident I’ve ever felt in what I was wearing and I want to wear sari more casually now. I styled both me and Kevin’s outfits; I wore a red/pink shift silk sari with a green trim, neon yellow socks and twin flats from Camper. Kevin wore a Navy silk quilted/embroidered knot jacket by CLOTTEE with shimmery light green/tan pants and a vintage chinese red/fuchsia silk dragon scarf that I sourced online.
Got to check out the press run for these posters I designed and learn about the process and machines. This was printed on a lithrone sx 29 Komori press.
BTS: mocking up new signage ideas for the ICA
Learning to make kev’s dad’s chili oil. I’ve been picking up some cantonese just from hanging out with their family, so I know how to say a handful of words now such as, help me, give me your money, hello, what?/what did you say?, and thank you.
Visited the Glenstone museum on our way to stay at the cabin our friend Reemo built called Doah House for a night. On our way out, we ate at a ~phenomenal~ burger and frozen custard place in Front Royal, VA called Spelunker’s.
Some BTS of the exhibition i’m currently working on. So it appears @ ICA VCU
My good friend and ex-band-mate Cody Jones owns a toy shop in town called Toy Lair, he has these ceiling tiles in the shop that he lets his friends and local artists draw on and this is what I did with the one he gave me - it’s my original character Cowboy Lurch holding an idea for a toy of him that I wish I could make real.
We caught up with our friend/photographer Foster White in his studio which is full of warmth, books/magazines, records, and sweet sweet gear. Later me and kev went out to eat at a Japanese restaurant and talked about pop art and how I think old Japanese prints are pop art bc 1.a lot of porn (and other often funny takes on the pop culture/entertainment of their times, i.e “floating world”) 2.mass production/distribution 3.cheap. Then mass distribution lead to the mail system, and how it would look if we started a direct mail campaign where we send cheap artist postcards to random neighborhoods that linked them to an online community where they could buy from/support those artists and see where we will send ppl mail next, or subscribe, or vote to have their neighborhood in the mix or something...anyway I love mail.