Friday, April 19, 2019

night time interlude

when suburbia gets dark
my demons come out to play
i try so hard to keep them at bay
but they crawl out of my chest anyway

they claw their way outside
these secrets that i try to hide
they swallow up the neighborhood
oh, i wish these people understood

they will never learn
and i have stopped trying
i've had to resort to lying
to pretend that i've bought what everyone's buying

it's easier that way
to draw attention away
from the fact that i'm a stranger here
this no longer conjures a tear

this town has been rotting from the inside
since before i realized that i had to hide
i can see the flies
i can smell the rot
if you listen you can hear other cries

from those trapped in this purgatory 
for one reason and one reason only
something happened to them that left a stain
something that filled them with nothing but pain

these roots that have grown
despite no seeds being sown
no escape even in other places
the town haunting even these places

so i lie awake 
waiting for dawn to break
having not slept at all
having allowed my tears to fall
feeling inconsequential and so very small

another day in the neighborhood
my demons crawl back into my chest
i rise to face another test 
i wish that i could fall asleep
it would be so much easier to maintain the upkeep

being a person here is very tiring
i left my body behind years ago
now i'm a ghost everywhere i go
and i don't know how to stop feeling low

so i'm just a ghost with sadness weighing down on my chest
and i can't find the strength to tell you the rest

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

an interview with ala koreitem

Ala Koreitem is a multi medium illustrator that aspires to collaborate with animators, fashion designers, and local galleries in the future. For now, she posts her work on her Instagram and sells some of her pieces online. "I love capturing the power and strength of girls and women united. I try to portray as many different backgrounds and personalities as I can. I like to use colour palettes and patterns to highlight the richness of their diversity. I also like to think that you might recognize the characters I draw as familiar but then might get distracted by the infinite abstract background of shapes and colours." Upon discovering her Instagram I became an immediate fan of her work and asked if I could interview her. She kindly agreed, and the following discussion ensued.

When did you start creating art?
I've been drawing for as long as I can remember but I only started taking it seriously about 5 years ago after I decided to post some of my work on Tumblr. 

Who are your favorite artists?
I absolutely love artists like Laura Callaghan, Carla Fuentes Fuertes, Etel Adnan, Ricardo Cavolo, Ines Longevial, Moshitari Hilal and Basquiat. 

Which museum would you be most excited to see your art displayed at?
Some of my favorite museums are the AGO in Toronto as well as the Getty Museum and the Underground Museum in Los Angeles. Although those are the ones I like the most, I would be just as excited to show my work at a local museum or art gallery!

How would you describe your creative process?
I get most of my inspiration from women in general, whether it's someone I know personally or someone I see on Instagram. The creative process will usually start from there and I will then eventually draw a character with a similar vibe. Most of the time, it will look nothing like what I had in mind but that's not always a bad thing!

What are your favorite films?
The Florida Project will always hold a special place in my heart. I also love Fargo, Her, The To Do List, and Me and Earl and the Dying Girl. 

Which fictional character do you relate to the most?
April from Parks & Recreation. 

How did you develop your personal aesthetic?
I feel like when I first started out, the only thing I cared about was figuring out what my personal aesthetic was going to be and how my work was going to stand out. I obviously realized very early on that it takes time. As I focused on improving my drawings and spent more of my time practicing, I eventually developed my own style over time and found that it happened rather naturally. Obviously that's not to say that my style won't continue to change and evolve as I do in life. I think that it most probably will and that it should. 

Your art is centered around women, especially women of color, and is very feminist. What inspired you to make your art female-centric and incorporate feminist themes into your pieces?
Initially, I found myself drawing and taking inspiration from women surrounding me without necessarily meaning to. I loved drawing characters with completely different looks and styles, girls that were my idea of "cool" and "badass." I drew my first low-quality version of the "GIRLS" print I did last year. The first version was not my best work but I remember posting it on Tumblr and feeling like it was the first time I had created something that meant something to me while also making somewhat of a statement. It felt really empowering to draw characters that looked like me, that had my hair, my eyes or my eyebrows, while, at the same time, draw characters that didn't. Women come in different shades and personalities and it's important to me to include that in my illustrations. 

What are your favorite songs? 
This was extremely hard but some of my all-time favourites include "Buzzcut Season" by Lorde, "Lonely" by Jamila Woods, "Forever" by Noname, "Honey" by Raveena, "Silver Springs" by Fleetwood Mac, "Major Minor Love" by Rhye, and "None Of Your Business" by Salt-N-Pepa.

How would you describe your sense of style?
I feel like drawing so many fashion-driven characters is my way of compensating for my less exciting sense of style. I would actually describe my style as effortless. I tend to stick to neutral colours and less vibrant combinations. My ideal look, when it's not -10 degrees C outside, would be a pair of high-waisted denim shorts, a tucked-in t-shirt, and a pair of sneakers. 

What are your favorite books?
I love The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini as well as Promise at Dawn by Romain Gary.

You mentioned that you'd love to work with a fashion designer one day. How would you collaborate and how would your art factor into the collaboration? 
I would love to design or collaborate on some simple streetwear items and have one of my recurring characters included on the back somehow.

If you were to publish a book of your art, what would you title it?
I think that I would go for something simple like "GRL."

What's your zodiac sign?
I've been told that my sun and moon are both in Gemini and that I'm a Cancer rising. Not sure what that says about me.

What do you do when you feel uninspired?
When I'm feeling uninspired, I usually stay away from illustrating for a little bit. I find that when the inspiration simply isn't there, it's okay to take a break for a few days and come back and try again later without necessarily forcing anything on paper. I believe that you can still be productive while thinking and contemplating.

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

team spirit

kimberly woods is a cheerleader and yes, she knows that going by her name she was practically destined to be one


it brings to mind pink bubblegum and cheap mall perfume, the kind that's supposed to smell like vanilla

the victoria's secret push-up bra that she bought after her boyfriend told her that her tits were too small, eyes smudged with mascara staring drunkenly into a mirror at a party, grass stains on her skirt that were not there because she'd hooked up with jim henderson on the football field (he fucking wishes) 

she's supposed to have that ethereal quality that other girls in school don't have, even though they all look the same and it's suburbia so the people have to match like the white picket fences

homogeneous, she thinks

 the latest vocab word courtesy of mr. c, who makes all of the girls uncomfortable but doesn't actually do anything to merit going to the principal about

she's supposed to be dating the hottest guy on the football team, she's supposed to smile

 "smile, girls!" a militant command hidden behind a cheery disposition that fills her with an almost animal rage

 she wonders if the other girls feel the same, but none of them really speak when they enter the locker room

 it's eerily quiet save for the sound of the showers running and the lockers being shut a little too hard

kimberly leaves to smoke under the bleachers, trying to escape the cloying scent of a dozen girls using citrus shampoo at once

she's inhabiting another cliche because she can and because she's not even sure who she fucking is, anyway

she inhales, thinking about britney's abortion last spring and how it had brought the girls together in an almost primal way

they huddled in the locker room and held each other until the bell rang and ended what felt like a ritual

she can still feel the phantom arms clutching her tightly, hard enough to bruise but with no intention to harm, and being enveloped by the smell of orange blossom

she exhales, glossy lips trembling

there's no one around and her socks are wet from the dewy grass

she bursts into tears, clutching cold metal and wishing that things weren't so fucking quiet

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

how to: be a female protagonist in a french new wave film

Chantal Goya in Masculin FĂ©minin dir. Jean Luc-Godard (1966)

1.) Go to the salon. Get bangs, a bob, or a pixie cut.

2.) If you do not own a turtleneck, buy one. Preferably in black. Other necessary items include a little black dress, a trench coat, slim black pants, a cardigan, a striped sweater, a plaid skirt, and loafers. Simplicity is key. You're too busy with your current existential crisis to have a complex wardrobe.

Anna Karina in Une Femme Est Une Femme dir. Jean Luc-Godard (1961)

3.) Go to the cinema, preferably alone. Go to most places alone, armed with reading material or a journal. You might be observed or approached by a man who has already constructed your entire personality in his mind. Ignore him. Daydream instead.

4.) If a man has annoyed you, don't hesitate to tell him. After all, you could be at the cinema or wandering around the house wearing cute lingerie rather than wasting your precious time on him.

Anna Karina in Vivre Sa Vie dir. Jean Luc-Godard (1962)

5.) Don't be afraid to cry. It's part of the aesthetic. Also, there's that existential crisis you're currently experiencing. Lie down in bed and cry. Put on a record to drown out your sobs or let them be heard. It'll make you feel better, and if a man is present tell him to go away. Allow yourself to experience your emotions in solitude and find solace within yourself. He was going to use your moment of vulnerability to emotionally manipulate you anyway. 

6.) Be honest and direct. There's no time to waste when there are so many films to watch, so many songs to listen to, and so many books to read. 

Anna Karina in Une Femme Est Une Femme dir. Jean Luc-Godard (1961)

7.) Black eyeliner, blue eyeshadow, pink lipstick, and soft pink blush will be the staple items in your cosmetics bag. Going bare-faced is always an option as well. You don't exist to please anyone, certainly not men.

8.) Don't be afraid of looking "messy." Hastily pinned back hair and messy updos that look ready to collapse are only to be expected when you're busy living life the way you want to. 

Anna Karina in La Petit Soldat dir. Jean Luc-Godard (1963)

9.) Create your own inner world and let it thrive. Let some of it seep into your real life, surrounding yourself with things that feed your imagination. Acknowledge your inner and outer beauty. Take photographs of yourself and share them shamelessly. Take up space. You're interesting enough, you're funny enough, you're intelligent enough, and you're beautiful enough. Think of yourself as a person of importance because you are.

10.) Don't allow yourself to be romanticized. Romanticize yourself, and don't allow a man to write about an idealized version of you in a mediocre novel that will inexplicably get published. Write bluntly about your existential crisis, your anxiety, your depression, and your disappointment with the real world. Include him in your work and watch him get angry, because only women are vessels for inspiration. Watch your work get published and watch women read it, knowing smiles appearing on their faces because womanhood is being written from a woman's perspective. Men will be angry because they don't own the narrative, they never did. It takes the place of a lover's photograph inside the locket that you wear around your neck.