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39 posts from January 2014

Content and Delivery

Back in my magazine days, we had a practice of paying artists per word. I think it was like 35 cents per word. There was one artist who would turn in something like 2,000 words for an article about a relatively simple project. As it became my job to work with her, I felt the tension building as I would routinely chop off more than half of her written words from any given article.

From my point of view, 2,000 rambling padded words became a manageable 700.
From her point of view, 700 sorely needed dollars became a meager 245.

Eventually, we adopted a different payment schedule where word count no longer steered the ship. Part of me felt badly because I knew she had a tough financial situation. I still kind of feel badly about that. But if it hadn't been me, it would have been someone else who put the kabosh on the per word practice.

EditThere were other tension-filled times, one in particular when an artist who made works with a very disturbing material became angry with me for not putting his art in the magazine. I was accused of censorship. I struggled with it but I stood by my decision.

Early in my relationship with The Mister, when we were dating, I remember hurting his feelings. Just a shitty foot-in-mouth situation where I said thoughtless things in an immature way. When I realized how much I had hurt him I realized how fragile relationships and friendships are and how quickly they can fall apart if we talk without the ability to self-govern what we say and how we say it. Content and delivery.

One big lesson I've learned in preparing for my Saturday show is how important it is to have self-editing skills when it comes to presenting your art. Part of me wants to show every single thing I've made on this journey related to the boats. Every sketch, every doodle, every painting, every photo. It reminds me of friends who come back from a vacation with loads of photos they want to share. From the viewer's perspective though, I really appreciate when the sharing is done after some thoughtful editing is done so that I don't have to go through every single photo with them.

After this blog post is posted, you might see some comments posted. And you might see none. Gone are the days when blogs were the hot new thing and posts got lots and lots of comments. People now prefer to comment on Facebook and Instagram. But one of the things I do on this blog is to moderate comments. Always have. That means I read comments before they get published. For the most part, I publish all comments except a few, which fall into these general categories:

1. Advertisers who pretend to be readers but are actually advertising their site or their giveaway. Ya can't fool me. :)
2. Cowards who establish hotmail accounts with fake names so that their comments can't be traced back to their real identity. I say, take the sheet off your head before you talk. :)
3. People who slam a person or entity by name. Not cool.

There are some online newspapers that don't moderate comments. And all the vile comments get posted, usually by cowards wtih fake names.

In this day and age where transparency and sharing is the end all, I like being reminded to pause, to edit, and to filter before I let it out into the universe. Or somtimes to toss it out all together. Even the best writers have a trash can next to them with crumpled up drafts that never get seen.

Bear Ears: They Complete Me

What is it about bear ears that I love? I'm not sure if I can completely explain but it's just that they're so darn cute. And maybe also that they remind me that the thing I love most in a person is active listening skills.

I've been wearing bear ears for many years and decided to put a few up onto my little etsy shop. :)



IMG_5841Here's a throwback photo of me when I wore ears to a fancy event. As you can see, they complete the outfit. :)


To Create with Vigor

I spent all day today installing everything for my Saturday show. From macro big to micro tiny. I've learned so much. Mainly that it's very very very hard to execute a solo show ... to have large magnificent pieces as well as teeny tiny details that all work with the large ones.

The other thing I've learned is that I've grown more through this process, this body of work, and this installation than I've ever learned in a long time. And oh yeah, I want to do more. More art, more digging, more unearthing, more installations.

IMG_5815During the day, I was texting with my friend Pam ... pondering life's questions and bouncing ideas with her as usual ... and I found myself explaining how I want to make sure I use my precious energy within the short amount of time I have left to create as much art that is true to who I am with vigor.

I don't know if it's morbid ... my frequent reminder to myself and friends that we'll all be gone soon and that we'd better get a movin' if we are going to do what we want to do.

Photo-15So the other realization I've had about why I prioritize health and fitness is that I want to have as much energy as possible for the time I have left for art. Every workout counts. Every bite counts. I don't want to squander a single day as I seek to create magnificent works of art with vigor.

Oh ... to be so lucky.


Paper Boat Cards :)

I've been having lots of fun making these sweet little cards. Some for the show, and some for my little etsy shop. :)








Seeing and Speaking Out Loud

The post I made today generated lots of people chiming in ... here, on FB, texts, and email. In particular what seemed to hit a nerve was #9: my point about the comment "I love the colors." Turns out there are artists who also feel the way I feel and artists who don't feel the way I feel.

One of my closest artist friends is one who does not feel what I feel and we had a series of robust, honest and respectful back-and-forths today about the topic. As robust as it was, I feel we just scratched the surface of how much I really want to delve into the topic and talk about it some more. I think it's challenging to really talk and consider topics such as these and easier to silence challenging topics.

Jerry SaltzI've been reading a book titled Seeing Out Loud—the collected columns written by Art Critic Jerry Saltz. Every single column is filled with the courage not to silence difficult topics as they relate to art but to actually talk deeply about them ... clearly and out loud. I actually fell in love with Jerry Saltz when I saw him on Work of Art and listened to the criticisms he'd offer the contestants. I still re-watch the episodes just because I learn so much from his masterful criticisms.

I think it's interesting that many critics of Saltz try to dismiss him as "an art snob" who cares more about fancy art school stuff than "real people" stuff from the real world.

What is it about the very act of discussing art or being an art school graduate that agitates some people? Why is the act of pondering concepts within art considered by some as elitist?

Based on that logic, then would it be correct to view the pursuit of math and science by mathemeticians and scientests as elitist? When we are in need of accounting services, do we say "Let's go to the one who didn't go to accounting school ... the one who just rounds up or down when the numbers don't add up"? Or when we are really sick, do we say "Let's not go to the one who went to medical school because that means he's a snob"?

This post is not about how art people should go to art school. There's a part of me that wishes I did but I didn't. And Jerry Saltz didn't either. (By the way, the juxtaposition of the last two sentences in no way means that I compare myself to him. Hardly.)

So what is this post about?

It's about how I really enjoy the Out Loud part of what a free society affords us ... which is to think, discuss, and have robust back-and-forths ... and how we can champion rather than silence topics ... no matter how challenging.

10 Things that I Don't Like to Hear About My Art

Here are 10 things that I don't like to hear people say about my art.

Jenny Doh10 "I could have done that."
Then why didn't you?

9 "I love the colors."
I know the intent of this comment is harmless but I wonder: "That's it? The colors?"
I don't know. I feel like it's a play-it-safe commentary that's not a commentary at all.
(Que music: Say Something by A Great Big World)

8 "Can you make it with purples and golds?"
I can.
But I probably won't.

7 "What are you going to do with it?"
This one usually leaves me speechless.

6 "I'm offended and I'm going to boycott your art and I'm going to get my friends to boycott your art. (True story.)"
Although it feels unsettling at first to get negative feedback, I actually thought it was fascinating that my art generated such an intense emotion in this person and that she even decided to boycott my art. I wondered why my art triggered that response in her. But the part that I thought was strange was that she would spend precious time getting her friends to boycott my art. How weird is that? I mean, I realize that some of my works have floating legs and nipples and vaginas but really ... an organized boycott? I didn't say anything back, fyi.

5 "You know you could sell this, right?"
This one always leaves me speechless and feeling awkward.

4 "Do you offer Giclees?"
Errr. Ummm. Also known as prints, right? This one makes me giggle. And it makes me think of gelato. I'll probably offer Italian ice cream before I offer prints.

3 "How long did it take you to make this?"
The truth of the matter is that I don't know. I never time myself when I'm working on something. Does anyone? And I think it's weird that there is value placed on the amount of time that something takes rather than the actual something. Like if the person loves Painting A and hates Painting B but learns that Painting A took 3 hours to make and Painting B took 3 days to make, will she then buy Painting B? If not, why ask the question in the first place? Actually, she probably wouldn't buy a painting at all. Usually I've found people who ask questions like that never buy art. They just ask questions.

2 "You have too much time on your hands."
As the saying goes: You, me, Beyonce ... we all have the same 24 hours in a day.

1 "Tutorial please."
You're kidding, right? Here are my thoughts on that.

EDIT regarding #9: Talking about color in and of itself isn't offensive to me. Color definitely contributes to important choices I make on a daily basis ... like the car I drive, the clothes I wear, the furniture I buy, and the art I make and the art I buy. And I realize that sometimes there isn't enought time to give more in-depth commentary on art so "I love the colors" is given very frequently, politely, and with harmless intent. I guess what I'm pointing to are instances when the comment about color feels like it's veiling what the viewer is truly feeling. I'm interested in what's behind the veil ... even if it's "I'm offended and I'm going to organize a boycott against your art." I also recognize that maybe I want too much. Maybe my art doesn't evoke much else from a person than a generic "I love the colors" comment and I feel frustrated that my art isn't strong enough to evoke a stronger commentary. This then makes me wonder if #6 should even be on this list at all.

Announcing :: Lettering & Art Journaling Workshops with Pam Garrison!

I'm happy to announce two of Pam Garrison's upcoming classes in Studio CRESCENDOh!

  • On Saturday March 8th, she will offer a 1-day workshop titled For the Love of Lettering. Enrollment for this class is open and you can enroll here.
  • On Sunday March 9th, she will offer a 1-day workshop titled Art of the Page. Enrollment for this class is open and you can enroll here.


Hip hip hooray! Pam and I look forward to seeing you in the studio as we have fun with letters and art journal pages. :)

Paper Boat Necklace in a Bottle

I like that obsession takes you in all directions ... sometimes big and sometimes super tiny. Like these teeny tiny boats that I've been making. I like them quite a bit. And I wanted to make a commemorative something for my show this Saturday and decided that this would be it. Suspended on red string and in a bottle the boat can stay. Or it can be taken out and worn as a necklace. I'll be putting some up on my little Etsy shop as well for those who can't make it to the show. :)





Top 10 List :: Week 4 of 2014

 The Top 10 things floating in my mind this week. Monica Mouet10. Every year I think I won't be able to do what I must do, which is to complete 1099s for everyone on behalf of my company. And then I do it. I make small mistakes but they are usually the same mistakes that my extraordinary accountant has gotten into a rhythm of preidicting and correcting. I could take time to learn how to not make my small mistakes but I find it easier just to keep making them and having someone who knows how to correct them correct them. I'm glad I don't make new ones. BTW, I hate it when someone says "that's why I hire someone to do my 1099s." Really? Well of course, I hire someone to help me with my 1099s and other accounting and tax-related work but you really can't have nothing to do with doing them, even if you hire someone. I just can't imagine a small business owner not having anything to do with doing them.

9. Within the art/craft universe, it's very hard, almost impossible to say publicaly "I don't like that," lest you be labled a meanie or a bully. That's why "I don't like that" is said privately.

8. Southern Cal. Edison shut down our electricity for half a day last week, which threw our timed sprinklers off. And so our lawn gets watered at completely irrational times of day. And because we are so not handy, I'm sure that the next time the timer will change is when our electricity goes off again ... either intentionally or accidentally.

7. I just saw this saying that I love: "Get your halo dirty." In other words, stop acting all perfect and start doing good shit.

6. If I ever become a fitness instructor and I end up teaching a class, I won't be one who asks the students questions like "how's everyone doing today?" followed by questions like "why is everyone so quiet today?" Because no one in a group class is interested in answering questions like that. We just want to work out. (This is different from one-on-one training sessions, by the way.)

5. I've learned that people who say "be vulnerable in your art" are the ones who are least vulnerable in their art. Same thing with all the other over-used words that I avoid like the plague ... not because I don't like the words, but because their over-use has transformed them into such tired cliches.

4. People try to distinguish art from craft. I actually think there is another distiction that is more important and harder to talk about ... and that is the distinction of art from decor. It's one of those things that also gets talked about privately.

3. I eat pretty healthy. But when I hear about people talk about doing a "juice cleanse" for a day or even a week, I think "oh that sounds like a good idea I want to do that too." And so I think about stocking up on juice and just having that and nothing else. And then I start drinking juice for a meal and when I realize I can have nothing else, I think "this is the shittiest thing I've ever tried in a long time." And I stop the cleanse. Actually, I think what I am attracted to is the word "cleanse." Who doens't want to hug that word? It's such a great sounding word. Cleanse. Cleanse. Cleanse.

2. I just got a card from Lenscrafters saying I will get free lenses if I buy a new frame. Yeah, right. "Free" as long as you have single vision with no other weird stuff like astigmatism and all the other short-sighted vs. far-sighted shit that happens to your eyes with age. But I'll still take the card in becuase it's time and I do need a new prescription. Usually my AAA card ends up giving me a bigger discount than these periodic promos that come in the mail. But no worries. I do love my lenscrafters.

1. I started installing my show yesterday for I See Boat People (which you are invited to attend, by the way). Before yesterday I had been thinking "Oh I wish I had a bigger studio to show all my stuff" but after yesterday, I thank my lucky stars that my studio is not any larger. One of the biggest lessons I've learned is that it's hard to fill a studio with a body of work where every piece feels worthy and right. And I also learned that I trust deeply the feedback and editing that my daughter gives me about it all.

2 Paintings :: Air Mail

PAINTING 1: Air Mail #1 + Details

Jenny Doh



PAINTING 2: Air Mail #2 + Details




The two together


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