These Beasts: Daniel Lint aka @cut.tear

 
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1.) What’s your name?

Daniel Lint

2.) Where are you from?

Seoul, South Korea

3.) Where do you live?

Currently residing and working in Maui, HI

4.) 3 reasons why your life in your city couldn’t happen anywhere else?

1. It’s Maui.

2. It’s a completely new place to me. I know no one and have no distractions to get caught up in.

3. My son’s being born here any day now.

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5.) What kind of work do you do?

I work as a full time freelance visual designer and collage artist.

6.) What keeps you inspired?

The things that keep me inspired the most are music, nature, and life. The similarities between those three are the organic nature of their growth. All three of those start from nothing but an idea and emotion and through time evolve into something amazing and beautiful. Actually, now that I think about it anything that comes from nothing and grows with it’s integrity and values is inspirational to me.

7.) Where do you work? Describe it to me as if I’m a person who recently went blind, and you’re giving me a tour of all the details.

I have had the pleasure of being able to work from home for the past several years. I’m currently setup in a room that is all wood paneling on the walls and floors. I work on this raised ledge in front of 3 large windows that face outside. The ledge and windows span across the length of the room so theres a lot of work space. It’s taller and I currently have a metal stool that has no support whatsoever so most of the time i stand since it’s perfect height for that. On the right side I have my computer, studio monitors and cutting mats. This is where I do a majority of my work. In the middle portion I have my turntable and printer/scanner. I spend most of my time in here working on projects, generating new concepts, listening to records or reading everyday.

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8.) What is 1 challenge that has defined you for at least one chapter of your life?

Working for others.

9.) What are some of your favorite snacks, and do you eat them while you work?

I don’t really snack. I guess veggies or some almonds or whatnot….water count? I drink a lot of water. 

10.) If you had the power to be extremely persuasive, and you were invited to a presidential dinner, what kind of food allergy would you persuade everyone to believe you had, and why?

Simple — decline the invitation and not go, no persuasion needed. I’d rather be at home with my fiancé and son anyways. All that other stuff sounds like an anxiety attack.

 

Look At This Poser: @spacelandings

 
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Welcome to Look At This Poser. A new column on Twin Beast. This will be an ongoing occasion where we bring your attention to someone who is tragically guilty of pretending for fame. These are all people who deserve no recognition for the cultural capital they claim to have. But these are people who we should recognize, and shine the spotlight on, because everyone should know how fake they are. Fake people don’t belong in art, let them stick to capitalism. This is our thing, and Twin Beast is for the people. We’re gonna humiliate you idiots till you leave.

I discovered this poser @spacelandings when someone pointed out this stolen collage. And as you can see, there isn’t much to discover. No website, no identity, and nothing of any merit. This “artist” is nothing more than an instagram page and a society6 account. That’s the definition of a poser. There is no art there, it’s only capitalism. And guess what? 23.9 thousand people with bad taste are affirming how worthless this crap is. If you take yourself seriously as a collage artist I hope you’re not following this person, and supporting the idea that @spacelandings is a collage artist. Imagine being this guy @longliveliohn, and paying for cover art for your music, only to find out that you paid for stolen art! I’d feel bad, except that birds of a feather flock together. If you’re hiring a poser for your album art, your music is probably some poser shit too. I don’t know, maybe not? But I’m sure as hell not gonna waste my time to explore dude’s music, it’s hella contaminated with that POSER vibe.

If there is any artistry at work here, it’s only via the art of bullshit. If you’re so desperately untalented that you cannot create your own collages, and you have to steal 50 year old art and label it as your own, then you’re a piece of shit. Collage is really easy to do well, so if people lie about collages, then they’re only concerned with garbage emotional bullshit that has nothing to do with art. No matter how much art you steal, nobody is ever going to respect you. If you think being an artist means getting likes on instagram and selling shower curtains on Society6 then you’re a fucking worthless kook, and you need to go figure out how to find fulfillment without electricity.

If you’re a fucking poser then watch out, cause you could be next. And if you’re @spacelandings, you should quit art and do something else like selling hot dogs, cause the best collage on your page is the one that was made by someone else 50 years ago. You have all these resources and you can’t even do better than someone working 50 years ago?!

 

What It Is: Dad Hats, Pins, And A Gang Of Posers Pretending

 

Bobby has 1,000,000 followers with bad taste, and Jill has 2,000 followers with good taste. If Bobby’s post gets 100,000 likes, and Jill’s post gets 100 likes, whose post is better?

The answer is Jill’s. Because Bobby’s followers have bad taste, that means that 100,000 out of 1,000,000 people (10%) confirmed that Bobby’s post contained things that are pleasing to people with bad taste. Things that are pleasing to people with bad taste are not good, it’s the equivalent of multiplying a positive number by a negative number: the outcome is negative. Jill’s followers have good taste, which means that 200 out of 2,000 people (20%) confirmed that Jill’s post contained things that are pleasing to people with good taste.

All these people who want to be famous on social media for selling pins, or selling art, or selling whatever cheap commodity they could outsource with a google search, are not good at word problems, and they are not artists. They’re not creative people. They’re posers looking for something to sell in the capitalist shitstorm of social media fame. Everyone knows that most people making pins, and dad hats are lazy consumers who wish that they could be artists. But instead of just being artists–which is the most obvious, easy, and natural solution–they go to all the sociopathic trouble of making the things that artists sell, and posting the pictures that artists post, without ever making art. It’s like advertising a home-cooked meal-appreciators club, that meets at McDonalds. Anybody who is doing this for reasons that go deeper than, “I wanna be the loudest idiot selling the most things this week,” sees exactly what’s going on. There are a lot of problematic people who have “started a brand” that makes pins, patches, t-shirts, and other ancillary consumer goods that do not matter. And these people share common goals: get real big on Instagram and sell lots of stuff.

"It’s like advertising a home-cooked meal-appreciators club, that meets at McDonalds."

 

Now, just because I can neatly summarize the frail novelty that is being perpetuated here doesn’t mean that I am condemning it. For one, you can only meet the audience where they’re at. If people are buying pins and dad hats and you wanna make stuff, then you gotta start with selling pins and dad hats. And if people are buying combs disguised as switch blades then you gotta meet them there. It’s stupid but it’s reality. Secondly, I’m not here to judge anyone. I know I come across harsh at times–URL and IRL–but my intention is never to focus on any individual person as the cause of these dilemmas. I’m here to point out how our culture betrays itself: don’t hate the player, hate the game. Today people are eager to accept culture as it is presented, and get back to chasing fame on social media. If we really want to alter our cultures’ infrastructure to best serve all who might seek to use it–as people so vehemently claim to in this era of unignorable civil rights reform–then it starts with critical dialog. But right now if you speak up and try to initiate that critical dialog then you’ll be met with resistance, because “Things are good enough for us thirsty fame-seekers right now!”

We live in a time when culture is being presented from capitalist institutions that seek to use culture as a means to subjugate and profit from the masses. If you accept culture as it is presented on the internet then you are not participating in art, or creativity. You are participating in a marketing scheme that portents to depict art. Unless you are employing some kind of critical insight and creating alternatives in your practice, then you’re part of the problem. Has anyone thought about how easy it is to make pins? All you have to do is:

 

  1. trace a simpson’s character on your cracked version of Illustrator,

  2. then upload the files to a website that you found via google,

  3. fork over a little bit of cash that your employer gave you for working at their business,

  4. wait a few weeks for the pins to show up at your door,

  5. take a picture with your iphone and upload it to your big cartel and your instagram,

  6. then print out your labels and ship out all the pins

 

All it takes to be “a great artist” today, is following those six easy steps. And then you too can be another node in the network of grotesque capitalist greed utilizing limited resources, and offering little more than a few trinkets that will ultimately be discarded when consumers need to clean out their lives. If the definition of artist and project manager are interchangeable, then things are about to get really fucking boring. And they have. There are so many people making boring crap, and desperately seeking approval in creative circles, that you can’t even find the stuff you want to experience anymore. Everything is a mess because a bunch of thirsty people who really don’t belong, are out here shoving their dicks down everyone’s eyes in hopes that someone will think they’re special. But the only people giving praise are the people with bad taste, so . . .

"You’re not creative. You’re not artists. You’re just stupid privileged capitalists wasting resources trying to make yourselves feel special."

 

Is the commodification of your shitty uninformed opinion so special that it needs to obscure the original idea you’re trying to copy? Is it really that important, or that cool, to start a brand and manufacture a bunch of consumer goods that nobody needs? Especially if we’re talking about creative culture? It would be one thing if all the people making pins and patches, and lusting for social media fame, were bankers or hedge fund nimrods. But they’re not–the people who are producing a ceaseless amount of superfluous objects are artists, musicians, makers, crafters, et cetera. The people who are wasting natural resources and energy, and creating all sorts of pollution (both terrestrial and cultural) are the supposed creatives. On the positive side these idiots will all be immortalized in the carbonite-like concreteness of the internet. In 15 years society will be vilifying 40 year olds who spent their 20s and 30s filling the world with meaningless repugnant crap that nobody cares about. Shit, if we’re lucky they’ll be prosecuted for crimes against humanity. You’re not creative. You’re not artists. You’re just stupid privileged capitalists wasting resources trying to make yourselves feel special.

Make no mistake there is a direct correlation between basing your “brand” on selling pins and dad hats, and being a major contributor to this questionable era of consumer glut. The people who don’t recognize–or don’t care–that pin collecting is a mindless glutinous trend with no connection to usefulness are the people who are overcome by this era’s worst influences. If you’re just shifting existing consumer resources by hiring someone to print popular graphics onto metal pins then you’re not making art, or culture, and you don’t have a brand–you’re a poser. Being a poser is shameful, and while I’m not out to shame individuals, I think folks need to recognize a painful reality: being a poser is a betrayal against humanity, and all posers should feel an eternity of shame. If you are calling yourself, or your work something that it’s not, then you’re fucking it up for everyone that ever did it, and everyone that ever will do it. And if you’re screwing over all those people just so that you can be short-term famous on Instagram, and sell a bunch of things that nobody needs, then you will have something to answer for when you pass from this realm. You’re fucking with nature, and when you fuck with nature you get bucked.

Now, I don’t think that fools are necessarily engaging in a malicious deception, because as I said, most of these folks are simply overcome by bad influences. I don’t think that most people are really aware of the impact of their actions because they they fail to recognize the systems that they’re actually acting in. You might think, “Oh hey I’m in 2017 doing what’s hot on Instagram and catching shine. I tell my story, promote positivity, and respecting women, so I’m making the world a better place.” But when you consider that we’re in an era where values and social institutions are being recast, telling one’s story, and promoting values by celebrating consumerism is not doing any of the hard work of creating the new culture of our society. If you’re out here “telling your story,” and “promoting positivity” without creating new kinds of experiences, and building new kinds of places where culture can affect society, then you’re the problem.

". . . promoting values by celebrating consumerism is not doing any of the hard work of creating the new culture of our society."

 

You’re not changing anything for the better and you’re taking attention away from the people who are doing the best work. Artists and creatives don’t get likes and money. Artists and creatives create, we bring productive change, we are the generative force of nature as embodied by the industrious benevolence of human ingenuity. Artists bring nature’s influence to bear on society via culture. If we happen to be astute in the practices of business then we also have the opportunity to earn good money, and if we happen to be astute in the best practices of social media then we might get a lot of likes, but money and likes will never mean anything in art, creativity, or culture. When the loudest proclaimers of “I AM AN ARTIST,” are also those who blindly transpose the shackles of old world white man supremacy onto our new ways we are in trouble. Def don’t get it twisted: consumerism and capitalism are the white man’s most successful tools of oppression in this era.

Today being a successful artist or creative means nothing more than having millions of followers, and millions of dollars. There is no reason to get the money other than having more than everyone else. The only reason why people want the attention is to be the one who is envied by all the other obviously insecure posers–everyone is competing to be the biggest fucking loser out there. “Creatives” are desperate to deceive because that’s the only way to be perceived properly in the capitalist institution, and these “creatives” are only capitalists in the end. Actual creatives are struggling in the realms of capitalism because we have ceded the majority of culture to multinational corporate interests, or silicon valley fucktards who are desperate to be perceived as genuine and cool. Instead of demanding that these outmoded institutions of elitist oppression change and become more like us, irresponsible posers have taken the free lunch and lowered our cultural institutions to the standards of hedge funds and multinational soda corporations. When “artists” are “fortunate enough” to be the “hard working individual” who sells out a whole culture to a corporate interest they should be using that money to build the spaces where their culture can influence society. Instead, these “artists” use the money to aggrandize themselves, they retreat into expensive villas of private demoralization,  and culture is left to wallow in the leftover spaces–bars, galleries, and bullshit music venues–of an antiquated era.

"There is no reason to get the money other than having more than everyone else."

 

People will try to say that I shouldn’t worry about it, that it’s negative to speak like this, and if I worried more about myself then maybe I would have millions of dollars too. Well that’s all bullshit. If more people were like me, then there wouldn’t be time for all this yabba dabba doo ass flintstone ass feet powering a car of the future ass bullshit. If more people pushed for real alternatives, and spoke out to criticize what’s going on then maybe all these posers wouldn’t feel comfortable pissing in the punch bowl. Sure everyone has the right to participate, but not everyone has the right to represent culture, especially if it means you’re getting paid to do it. I’ve met a ton of false idols who are dangerous to the culture, but I’ve met way more fools who blindly empower them. The rarest thing out here is great artists who aren’t thirsty for fame and money. I’m fortunate to know a lot of those, and I do my best to promote them. But I also do my best to make posers feel entirely unwelcome. If your fraud ass is out here making pins of famous cartoons, you’re trash. You need to delete your instagram, and bury all your product in a 90 foot deep cement pit. If you’re out here claiming to be an artist and all you have to show for it is an instagram feed, some merch, and some art shows that you did in other people’s galleries then get the fuck off the computer and go do something that matters before you post again. I’m not angry, mad, or mean, I’m just someone from before the internet who knows better, and is overwhelmed by how shitty this has all become.

 

These Beasts Ross McEwen

 
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1.) What’s your name?

Ross McEwen

2.) Where are you from?

Wichita, KS

3.) Where do you live?

Wichita,KS

4.) 3 reasons why your life in your city couldn’t happen anywhere else?

1. Friends - I recently moved back to Wichita from Minneapolis and the group of musician friends I was able to reconnect with have been a massive inspiration in this endeavor, and in my life in general. I was sad to leave all my Minneapolis homies, but am extremely fortunate for my group of friends in Wichita.

2. Family - I've been playing music since I was a kid and my parents and siblings have always been extremely supportive. When I started doing collages just this past year their support and enthusiasm definitely helped me keep at it.

3. Seclusion - Wichita is kind of in the middle of nowhere, so we have our own style and own way of doing things. When I was growing up here the support on music and art wasn't nearly as solid as it is now. There are a lot of serious musicians and artists making a living and creating great art here. It's inspiring to see people in a place like Wichita do what they love and make a living off of it.

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5.) What kind of work do you do?

I work as a Project Manager for an IT company

6.) What keeps you inspired?

My inspirations spur from many things- Other artists on IG, music, world events, being out in nature, I would say natural beauty is one of my biggest inspirations it doesn't necessarily come across in my work but I'm constantly inspired by nature and our habitat.   

7.) Where do you work? Describe it to me as if I’m a person who recently went blind, and you’re giving me a tour of all the details.

My work room used to be a guest bedroom. It's actually a pretty bland, basic room in terms of color/decorations. Light grey walls with some family photos, and a rug that really ties the room together. I like to think that I bring the color and decorations into the room when I'm creating. I have a little antique desk with selections from my collection surrounding me.

8.) What is 1 challenge that has defined you for at least one chapter of your life?

Up until about a year ago I constantly plagued myself with self-doubt. I was producing a couple records and making video art and really enjoyed it but couldn't get past the self-doubt. I had many mentors consistently talking me down off the proverbial ledge of self-doubt. It wasn't until I had released the albums, and the music videos that I really realized how pointless self-doubt is. I'd spent all this time worrying about this and that, when in the end it didn't matter at all. I let my self-doubt delay timelines, make excuses, etc. I think it's certainly a stage any and all artist have to go through, I'm just glad I'm on the other side of it at this point. My mindfulness practice of meditation has certainly helped curb any self-doubt and other meaningless self inflicted pangs. To any artist reading this now: stop doubting yourself. Grow and learn in your craft, create and be proud of the art you put out into the world. Love yourself and others around you!

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9.) What are some of your favorite snacks, and do you eat them while you work?

Well being from Kansas the stereotypical answer to this question would be something like Larry the Cable Guy chips are my favorite snack. Yes I do eat them while I work, if one looks close enough at my work they can find biscuits and gravy chip remnants in most if not all my pieces. Honestly, here lately I have been a fiend for gelato, there are only a couple legit gelato places in Wichita and It's not a regular thing, plus the whole melting factor isn't really conducive to eating whilst creating.

In all honestly though I've never been a really big snacker, I'm usually just laying low snacking on music and water while I work.

10.) If you had the power to be extremely persuasive, and you were invited to a presidential dinner, what kind of food allergy would you persuade everyone to believe you had, and why?

I would persuade ol D Trump that I was allergic to ketchup. I would then be seen as inferior or weak and be banished from the table. End game is I would go on a hunt for B Trump because everyone knows he's the real MVP. I'd hang and play video games with lil B' maybe get some wardrobe tips or new clothing designs for Fall 2018.

 

 

What It Is: There Is No More Best Album

 (This article was originally published on Medium in 2013)

It’s a new day. 100%. And as Marshall McLuhan so aptly pointed out, people will ceaselessly proceed into the future with their eyes fixed exclusively on the rearview mirror. The result is new technologies and freedoms being used to replicate outmoded limits, like using a theremin to play Bach. While it may not always be cogently expressed, we are in a radically new era of social and cultural possibility. At times we catch glimpses of this, such as Run The Jewels, the free collaborative record between El-P and Killer Mike which is being used as the primary marketing tool by which to sell a variety of products. El-P and Killer Mike never could have worked together before the internet as they were part of two distinctly separate and mutually exclusive social and cultural musical spheres. The underground and the mainstream did not mix when or ”Whole World” were hitting. And those worlds weren’t even mixing when When You’re Dead and Pledge were hitting. Further, a major record label (Fool’s Gold isn’t a Major, but they’re big time) would never have released a record for free in hopes of selling physical goods in any previous era of the music industry.

So, in the midst of this new era, I’m pretty confounded at two things which persist: “The Best”, and album scores. Most of this has come to light in anticipation of the new Kanye West record. Invariably, this thing is gonna get all kinds of high scores, and explicit praise, and it’ll be touted as “The Best,” or “One Of The Best,” records this year. And everyone who will desrcibe it as such will do so without the slightest hint of contextualization. They’ll call it “The Best”, and do so based upon their subjective interactions with the cultural artifact created by Kanye West. People will not elucidate the inner grandeur of a work of art which is deeply connected to the infinitely complex and timeless process of existing as an object with subjective consciousness within this specific contemporary social matrix. Journalists will fail to point out the ways in which Kanye West’s Yeezus is merely differently articulated versions of the same things that every citizen of the United States does every day. Instead of showing us how much this record reflects us, most journalists are going to talk about about how this record reflects Kanye’s genius and greatness, which is different than the reader’s. And that’s just a crock of shit at the end of a rather repugnant rainbow.

Yeezus is just another album, and Kanye is just another guy. It’s solid music by a great artist, and the extent to which everyone likes it will vary. But the music press is gonna try to push the myth that Yeezus is better than Fools , and every other record released by some great unknown that the same music press failed to tell you about this year. Every album that comes out now is just another album though. Because Fools isn’t better than Yeezus either. We came from an era where you could only get a little bit of music. In the 50's, 60's, and 70's as music began to shape our social and cultural institutions in significant fashions the means of music and music journalism were very different. You didn’t get to hear much music, and when you made a music purchase you were doing it in order to get ahold of a rarified object. A record review helped you sort out which albums to buy, which albums to not buy, and which albums to consider buying. The idea of “The Best” album was a product of your music collection being an amalgmation of purchases which were either successes or failures. You buy a record because you think you’ll like it, which is largely informed by what music journalists have to say about it. Music journalists know about it because they have exclusive access to an endless stream of free music provided to them (sound familiar?) via PR companies and labels looking to win their praises. Until you buy the record you have no idea if you will like it because you don’t get music the way journalists do, you have to make a calculated purchase in order to gain acces to a rarified sliver of music. And thus, as the person spending money in order to acquire access to the sounds of music, not all of your attempts are as satisfying, and presumably, one of them is the utmost.

We are in an era where music is no longer rarified, yet the majority of our social and cultural musical institutions still treat it as if it is. You don’t buy a few albums in a month. You get all the albums you want to hear all the time. So, if there’s no need for discretion in the acquisition of music, if the value of music can be determined independent of an exchange, then why are we ranking music? If you can get every album that came out this year you wouldn’t decide what to get based on how it scored on a music journalists subjective scale, would you? I’d think your choices for which music to acquire would be driven by an entirely different set of premises which are likely more closely aligned to your life habits, your social circles, your desire to explore, a conversation you had, cover art, features, and so on. It’s much more akin to buying records at flea markets and yard sales, than it is to buying records at Tower or Virgin. But, more importantly, the dynamic of record industry and listener have flipped. The listener has exclusive access to an endless stream of music, and the record industry is paying to try and influence that.

The journalists are still at the crux of the relationship, but we’ve yet to really see their role evolve to reflect the present situation. They don’t relay rarified information anymore because everyone can hear the music. They don’t provide useful insight because most do not think critically about artistic practices and their connection to quotidian life, nor do they research the history of the art which they speak about. What most music journalists do is spin nebulous webs of adjectives which ensnare the reader in some proximation of emotional reaction or intellectual embarassment, which is intended to then influence the reader’s listening habits. Mind you, there are plenty of great journalists out there still. But, the field has been maligned by an endless hoard of know-nothings who are all vying for the chance to show how high they can pile their adjectives. Meanwhile they’re on twitter talking about how “Trap” is a word to describe music, and willfully denying the fact that the history of the Southeastern United States’ drug trafficking culture has come to define a significant portion of contemporary music. It’s dangerous because cultures and social behaviors are being appropriated ignorantly while the real humans who have originated these celebrated practices continue to be oppressed.

These Beasts: Tiffani Williams of Modern Weaving

 
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1.) What’s your name?

Tiffani Anne Williams

2.) Where are you from?  

Austin, TX

3.) Where do you live? 

Mt Washington, CA 

4.) 3 reasons why your life in your city couldn’t happen anywhere else?  

a. the vast network of manufacturers in LA

b. the community of makers and artists in my network that inspire me to keep going

c. my home where my work studio resides on my property 

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5.) What kind of work do you do? 

Pottery, Jewelry, handbags, clothing. Anything and everything art & craft. 

6.) What keeps you inspired? 

The inability to stop creating things, no matter what it is that day. Always always working on a project, whether its for the business or leisure. I enjoy working with my hands; It’s an uncontrollable habit. 

7.) Where do you work? Describe it to me as if I’m a person who recently went blind, and you’re giving me a tour of all the details.

I work in a stand-alone studio in the backyard of my home in Mt Washington. It’s about 200 sq. ft. with vaulted white beam ceilings and tile flooring. It has a pottery wheel, a kiln, two working tables a sewing machine, lots and lots of materials and tools. Garments and inspirational samples are on racks and shelves. It's relatively devoid of other objects. I like to keep it clean and simple as a blank canvas. It gets tremendous natural light,and beautiful golden light at sunset–my favorite and most creative time to work in the day. 

8.) What is 1 challenge that has defined you for at least one chapter of your life?

Working for other people.  

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9.) What are some of your favorite snacks, and do you eat them while you work?

Almonds, peaches or plums. 

10.) If you had the power to be extremely persuasive, and you were invited to a presidential dinner, what kind of food allergy would you persuade everyone to believe you had, and why?

Pea Tendrils. Because it’s fun to say Pea Tendrils  

You can check out Tiffani's work as Modern Weaving on her website, and at select retailers.

 

What It Is: Bad Times Don't Make Great Art, They Hinder Great Artists

Everybody deals with tough times. Some of us find the clarity to transcend and we create a path for ourselves that ultimately leads to a stronger self. Some of us are not as fortunate and we get trapped in the ever-intensifying labyrinth of emotions that arises from life’s least savory complications. For us artists though, things are a little more complicated.


In the time that I've been alive society has accepted and perpetuated the notion that artists benefit from turmoil, that existential crises are somehow essential to the creative experience. This is not true. When we celebrate works of great art that are born out of turmoil we are not celebrating work that is unique to times of severe duress. What we are actually celebrating is artists who manage to PROTECT their creative capacity from grave stress, and channel negative energy into a productive process. It's not that bad times make great art, it's that great artists rise to any occasion, and often show us how to transcend the ills the plague humanity. The only thing that makes great art is a great artist who has the clarity, resilience, and peace of mind to create.


Artists are just like plants, athletes, and Whole Foods employees: they perform their best when they're happy and their needs are met. If Serena Williams’ mom died, and one day later Serena found the strength to win a championship how would we call that? Would we say that Serena’s mother’s death gave her the strength to play her best? Or would we say, “Wow, she was dealing with so much and she went out there and crushed it. I can't imagine the kind of conviction and focus that requires?” In the case of superstar athletes dealing with traumatic life experiences you will be hard-pressed to find an example that reflects the same values that are used to measure artists.


An artist who is buried under turmoil is an artist who is incapable of producing their best work. An artist who is at peace is an artist producing their best work. When artists confront turmoil we are often lead to believe that we should embrace it. And on some level we certainly should embrace it, but only in order to know it completely and ensure that we can detach from it thoroughly. In times of conflict artists must protect their creative self from their violent self, and embracing turmoil, giving in to ill intention, ultimately poisons the creative spirit.


The violent self, and the creative self are in utter opposition. If we indulge the violent self too much, or too often, then the creative self recedes into books, museums, rare films, wilderness, and other places beyond society’s limits where inspiration and reverence mix. If the creative self is driven too far away one will have to go to great lengths--physical, spiritual, and mental--to rejoin with it. But, the creative self cannot offer any protection, and so in traumatic times artists need protection--be it physical, psychological, or otherwise--to survive. And so the violent self comes to protect the creative self, and in traumatic times a dance takes place, a dance that complicates the artist’s existence dramatically.


The creative self recedes when it has been sufficiently traumatized, and then the violent self emerges to disperse the cause of the trauma. Then the creative self reemerges, and until the underlying cause of the trauma is rooted out this exchange of the two selves, this nuanced shifting of the tide within the cosmic ether of the soul draws us back and forth between the poles of violence and creativity. In these times it is of the utmost importance that we remain mindful and ultimately intentional in all of our actions as artists.


We must always be focused on protecting the creative self. This means protecting the creative self from external traumas and stressors, but also protecting the creative self from an unchecked violent self. The violent self is chaotic and destructive, and so it cannot be predicted. The difference between protecting the creative self and destroying it can quickly recede from the reach of our influence when the violent self is in control. And so, we must always limit the violent self based on what the creative self can handle. We can only employ the violent self effectively if its limits are established, accounted for, and ultimately abided by.


As artists we are exemplars of human life, we transform our subjective reality into tangible objects that become society’s crucial touchpoint. The objects born of an artist’s subjectivity are the way that society sees itself, speaks about itself, and ultimately understands itself. Through today’s art society is able to trace a bread that runs back through all of human time. Art pre-dates language, and it is the most complete form of communication that society has come up with. Whether by film, music, photo, collage, illustration, fashion, or other means art creates a complex network of signification that communicates the myriad complexities of human experience. And so it should make sense that this complex manner of communication requires the intentional maintenance of a complex self. Be brave artists, you're our best hope.

What It Is: What's The Deal With Bathrooms?

What’s the deal with bathrooms really? They’re a weird kind of hybrid private public room. We go in there to be incredibly vulnerable, and eliminate our bodily waste. We hide ourselves from sight, but sounds are amplified and highlighted by the hard, non-porous surfaces that allow for effective cleaning of these perpetually putrefied places. If you think about it in the simplest terms the bathroom is a rather disorienting place. It tells us to be supremely private, but our privacy is necessarily violated by the nature of being in a public space. Perhaps that is why people have been worked into such a fervor over who can or can’t be in a bathroom?

Bathrooms are pretty psychotic places. The lighting, the acoustics, the smells, they’re all cues that tell your mind and body to not stay long. Bathrooms are disorienting for our senses, but they’re further disorienting for our psyche. We are at our most vulnerable when we’re pooping and peeing. If you wanted to kill someone the only easier time would be when they’re sleeping. So, when we go to a public bathroom to poop or pee we are kind of scared for good reason, ad we go into a kind of heightened alert.

Of course, some of us are less scared than other. Personally, I know for sure that I don’t die in any kind of bathroom public or private. So, when I go to the bathroom I’m not afraid. I try to make the best of it, and recall times when I ate LSD or mushrooms and hallucinated. The disorienting sensory phenomena of a bathroom are not far off from hallucinogens, so it’s not much of a stretch of the mind. I also don’t have any qualms about using a women’s restroom. I’ve done it before and I’ll do it again if I’m in need. There’s no shame in men and women pooping and peeing into the same porcelain rimmed holes in the ground.  

Honestly though, I gotta say it’s pretty crazy that people are tripping about who can and can’t go into different public restrooms. If people are worried about getting sexualized in a restroom then they should do some personal work to determine where those fears are coming from. Because the only people thinking about using a public bathroom for something other than taking a slightly psychotic piss or shit, are actual psychotic people. The fears of psychotic people are not a suitable metric for the edifciation of society’s values. Those who pre-emptively cry “VICTIM” in order to single out a group of “others” are the only individuals thinking of these perverse acts. It’s really tough to find any evidence of trans people committing sex crimes anywhere, let alone in public bathrooms. I haven’t seen any explicit evidence that points to a single incident, let alone a trend that warrants legislative action.

Maybe it is time we change bathrooms? Maybe all bathrooms should just be unisex, and our nation should start maturing a bit? We all shit. We all piss. We all puke, and do all kinds of stuff that we don’t want other people to know about. Maybe instead of living as if we need to hide all of this, it’s time we start accepting our complete human selves and create identities that are more robust (and tolerant)? We don’t have to walk around with poop diaries hanging off of our necks, but we would probably all benefit from discarding the psychotic stigmas we associate with our bodies’ natural processes.