Sunday, 30 April 2017

BEHIND THE ARTWORK: Community Service


Ever have a song going through your head that refuses to go away? All I could think of was the song "Tears Of A Clown" by Smokey Robinson. I find there are three possible ways to get that song out of my head: 1) listen to the entire song; 2) write a poem about it; or 3) draw an image that reminds me of the song. And that's how I began drawing the sad clown picture I call Community Service.

I did not want to draw a happy clown, obviously. Originally there would be tears on the clown's cheeks, relating to the song. But then I thought it would make for a good image if the clown had stubble on his face. I thought it would add to the look of sadness. After adding the stubble, I realized that the clown represented something else to me now. He represented the idea of being forced to do something that is meant to be pleasant. Even if something is seen as a pleasant or fun activity doesn't mean it feels that way for everyone. Yes, this clown is sad. He is sad because he has led a very shady life up until now that has led to being forced to become a clown. This is the last thing he wants in his life.

Note: I still can't get that song out of my head. I posted the video from YouTube below, in case you want to know more about the song I am referring to.


Friday, 28 April 2017

BEHIND THE ARTWORK: Cloak

 I have been thinking about creating a piece with this theme for a while now. Less than a month ago, I lost a friend. Not to death or illness, but it was still very difficult for me. It's not easy when you know someone for 20 years, and one day they decide they've had enough with you. It can make you feel like you never want to let anybody in again. 
This work, which I call "Cloak" is about that feeling of never wanting to let anyone in again. The picture is seen from the perspective of the artist, even though the hair colour and length is roughly the same as mine. But I guess this is more about stepping outside myself and witnessing the pain I am feeling. The subject is turned away from the artist, as one would be if they were ignoring someone or simply walking away. She is wrapped in a cloak as an additional layer of protection between her physical self and the rest of the world. The cloak represents her wall. 
I don't want to be one of those people who can't let anyone in. And it would seem a shame if I kept punishing myself for someone else's decision. So every day I try. I try to reach out just a little, and I put something out into the world that I can be proud of. Because even when bad things happen, life doesn't end. There's always more beauty to be discovered.

Thursday, 27 April 2017

BEHIND THE ARTWORK: Ordinary World

This piece is based on a stairwell in a building I used to live in. As you can probably tell from the picture below, the stairwell was a very dreary place. But there was no elevator in the building, so the stairs were the only option. The apartment itself was cozy enough (little small, though), but the stairwell was another story. The only nice thing about it was the big windows between floors. I could always look outside and see life beyond the stairwell's prison-like appearance. So I had to take the opportunity to take a picture of it in case I ever wanted to use it for anything.
When I drew Ordinary World, I tried to be very precise at first. But there are times when I don't guide the picture; the picture guides me. And I could not get this drawing to look realistic no matter how hard I tried. That turned out to be okay, though. It still offered the same ideas I had in the first place: each of us lives in our own little world, a little outside of reality. It is shaped by our environment, our experiences and the people around us. Beyond the window lies something bigger, something more. But even the way we view that is dictated by our view of reality. 
Now I need a cup of coffee and a cigarette. It's too early to be this deep.


Wednesday, 26 April 2017

Some Tree-Hugging Hippie Crap

The day I stop evolving will be the day I stop living. I think that becomes a truth for everyone, whether they want to face it or not. But evolving as a person can be defined in a number of different ways. For me, it is the practice of always seeking a higher plane of self-awareness. Man, I really sound like a hippie from the 1960s. But maybe that's okay. Those hippies had some pretty good ideas. 
Today I produced my very first single of original music. HipHop music, to be more specific. The idea has been rolling around in my brain for a few days now. I had an internal battle with myself about the fact that I look nothing like someone who would produce HipHop. I don't think anyone has ever seen me and thought, "Hey, I bet she could put something together with the right beats." 
It was kind of a cool experience, actually. I composed the lyrics myself, as well as the singing that is featured on the track. I got the beats from one of the umpteen sites that Google listed as having free beats available. And I put it all together with the same software program I would use to make videos or song covers. 
If you have dreams, ideas or things you want to try, I recommend taking the plunge. Even if you fail somehow, at least you tried to make your ideas a reality. That's more than what many people do: doing the exact same things over and over until the sweet release of death. So you have to decide how you want to live, what you really want to try. We only get one trip on this merry-go-round. We might as well make the most of it. And if you are one of the people who offered me free beats on Twitter, get ready. Because here I come. 

My Latest Song!

Tuesday, 25 April 2017

I AM NOT WHO I WATCH!!!

 This is iDubbbz. I can safely say that he is my favourite YouTuber. It was actually because of the incident depicted here that I wanted to check out his channel. Apparently, he went to a YouTube meet-up for Tana Mongeau (left). As they posed for a picture he said "Say n******!" And that's all I knew about him when I checked out that first video. I am glad I did, for a number of reasons. I discovered there was much more to the story than other YouTubers had been reporting. And I discovered he was hilarious. So I watched more of his videos. I do watch other creators on YouTube, but I watch his videos the most. They make me laugh. And really, isn't that the ultimate goal in watching something that is meant to be entertaining?
 This is Filthy Frank. He and iDubbbz have collaborated on a number of videos. Filthy Frank has his own style. He is just as funny as iDubbbz but in his own way. He says things that are very shocking, but at the same time I find him hilarious as well. In fact, I have a number of videos of his saved into my Favourites folder so that I can find them quickly if I want to watch them. He puts a lot of effort into his videos, sometimes playing multiple characters in the same video. People have said that his is "the worst channel on the internet". I don't care what they say. He is funny and talented, and if I want a good laugh I always know where to turn. I know that he is merely a character of YouTuber George (Joji) Miller, so it's easy not to take him too seriously.
Not all YouTubers see things the way I do, and that is fine. There is certainly enough of a variety of channels on YouTube for people to select channels that are most appealing to them. Today I happened to be watching a video by a YouTuber I usually don't watch, but who has gotten a lot of flak over the years from the YT community. He was updating his subscribers on what was happening with his channel, as well as expressing remorse for some things he's said in the past that he's not proud of. He said that he regrets referring to iDubbbz' viewers as "scumbags". I thought about that. How many other people on YouTube, both creators and viewers, feel this way? And how am I a scumbag for enjoying a video? Sure, he apologized, but he didn't look terribly remorseful. So I decided to write this post as a message to him and anyone who thinks like him.
I am not the creators I watch. And I shouldn't have to deal with creators who attempt to make me feel bad for enjoying these videos. I am not criticizing the 1M+ subscribers that he has at the moment. I know they have their reasons. Just like I have my reasons for saying I would never subscribe to him now under any circumstances. Calling people "scumbags" because of a preference shows how little character this YouTuber had. Having said that, I think I will wrap this blog post up now and go watch some Filthy Frank. Feel free to join me.

video

Monday, 24 April 2017

Ordinary World


BEHIND THE ARTWORK: Opera Singer

This particular piece has an interesting backstory. One day I came upon a video on YouTube called "Andrew-De-Leon-Full-Audition AGT-Goth-Opera-Singer". I hesitated, then decided this was too interesting to pass up. I thought it would be entertaining and that would be the end of it. Instead I found out that I actually had something in common with this young man. He suffered from self-esteem issues and spent his whole life feeling he wasn't good at anything. No one had ever heard him sing. His voice was so beautiful, people in the audience were crying. Heck, I was crying. Partly because I knew how he felt. Everything I do now, the ways in which I explore my creativity, I pushed myself to try because I thought I would be horrible at it so why bother? So I wasted a lot of time wishing I could sing, wishing I could draw, and so on. I could really relate to him. And I promised myself that one day I would draw his likeness. It's not perfect; I am still learning. But considering most artists my age have probably been drawing for almost four decades, it's not too bad at all. I have linked the video below so that you can experience his breathtaking audition for yourself.

Alex Jones: The Man Who Knew Too Much

Alex Jones is probably one of the most controversial figures in the media today, alternative or otherwise. Infowars, Jones' flagship alternative news network, is known for breaking stories that seem almost too far-fetched to be true. Yet millions of people tune in weekly on YouTube, the Infowars website as well as other alternative media outlets to listen to Jones and his crew, who many refer to as a "troll" or "conspiracy theorist". There have been a number of memes and compilations made and posted on YouTube meant to poke fun at Jones' eccentricities and emotional news delivery. But why do so many people tune into his broadcasts and listen to his delivery of political news stories? Is it just to finish up their Alex Jones cringe compilation videos? 
Thing is, Alex Jones provides proof of the news stories he has broken. Even those from twenty years ago. He is eager to share with his audience time and again the proof that he is not a troll or conspiracy theorist. On the desk in front of him at the Infowars studios he has piles of papers. As he goes through each news story, it becomes obvious that not only does he have his own news items, but he also has articles produced by the mainstream media to prove that his news stories continue to be factual and authentic. He breaks the news to his viewers first; that is the only real difference. 
But what about the times that he breaks a story that is not 100% accurate? Recently Jones went on camera to apologize to his supporters. It seems that the facts he reported on the now-infamous Pizzagate scandal were not true. In my mind, that shows great strength of character in Jones as well as a commitment to report the truth and be held to that standard. If anything, it made me view his other news items as more trustworthy than before. 
Now Jones is embroiled in what must be one of the greatest controversies of his career. Because he has spoken with President Trump in the past and he has been open about that, Jones is seen as some sort of behind-the-scenes advisor to Trump. His videos are being "hidden" in search engines and YouTube will not allow his videos to be visible in their restricted mode as they have done with many others who do not share the "right" opinions. But Jones and Infowars keep pressing on. Their aim is to bring you the news and they continue to do that. 
As for the accusations that Alex Jones is a "troll" or "conspiracy theorist", why so much opposition from mainstream media? If he was truly a troll or somehow unhinged, it would seem to me that the best response would be to ignore him and Infowars as a whole. But that is not what is happening. Maybe, just maybe, mainstream media knows that Alex Jones reports accurate news items. Maybe they just don't want you to know what is really going on. Alex Jones is very knowledgeable, perhaps exceedingly so. Jones tells us what we need to know, not what the media wants us to know. And in times like these, that is the best news of all.

Teen Identity Politics: Why We Should Hope For More


That's me in high school. And yes, I was a nerd. I still am, to some extent. When I first saw the movie Revenge Of The Nerds, I definitely identified with Gilbert and Louis more than I did with the picture-perfect cheerleaders, I always got good grades, teachers liked me, I was socially awkward and I never got into trouble. I did not seek out this definition of myself; that's just how it was. Sure, I had other interests besides school. And they didn't necessarily align with anyone else's. Firmly entrenched under the nerd umbrella, I still retained my individuality. Even now, my hobbies and opinions are based on Tanya the Individual, not Tanya the Nerd. 
I watch various videos on YouTube that feature different social groups of young people, and it concerns me. It seems many of today's youth are more interested in placing a label on themselves, and calling it a day. I have not seen many teens depicted who seek to step outside of these labels and find who they really are - not who it's trendy to be. I was a nerd and very straight-laced, but I have stepped outside that definition in many ways. Being a nerd does not really allow for much creativity if that is the singular definition I have for myself, but it isn't. I am a mother, a wife, an artist, a poet, a singer, and so on. I always tried not to limit myself in any way. But maybe I might have if I was given a label saying "This is who you are. This is what makes you a unique individual, just like these other 20 people." 
Labels pigeon-hole people. Not only negative labels, but also the positive identity markers that individuals assign themselves. The labels do not allow for the individual to grow, to become something more than that label. And that is where I think today's youth are at a disadvantage. They are told that labelling themselves is liberating, when really it becomes a crutch and a prison for them. High school was not exactly a paradise for me, but I am glad I was a nerd and not a non-binary otherkin who watches My Little Pony on the weekends. As a teen, we used to pity people who reached their peak in high school. When did it become a life's ambition?