Friday, January 31, 2014

Eye Candy [ z h a n g p e n g ]

I just learned about Zhang Peng, a photographer/painter from China, whom TrevorBrown wrote about in 2008(?). I think, T. was inspired by him, because some of their works are pretty similar.

"Teddy Bear Operation" vs "Made in China No.1" ?

"The Butcher" vs "Made in China No.2" ?

Whatever. Zhang Peng makes cool pictures, true. I don't like his paintings though, so I'd rather write about his photographs. Speaking of which, I think that his latest work, "Made in China" series, is his best project so far (not sure if he's going to continue his career):

These two are my favorites!

However, the series differs from the rest of his works.
Generally, Zhang Peng looks like this:

And the wiki article on him is just hilarious: "Zhang Peng is determined and serious about his art. His works are different from the works of other artists of his age (duh) ... The red used in Zhang Peng's paintings and full-color photographs symbolize either China itself or blood." Or both, haha. Sorry.

But I like this piece about the artist concept (the statistics are interesting):
His intentions are to create a visual contradiction that represents the current problems in China due to the ever-growing modernization. One of those problems is the gross overpopulation of the country. Because of the one-child policy, families are being selective about the gender of their babies. Boys have traditionally been more desired. In order to ensure the birth of boy, families resort to a number of different methods, including having early-term abortions with the discovery of a girl fetus. Because of this, China now has the greatest difference in sex ratio, with males outnumbering females by 35 million. Zhang Peng’s image of girl dolls symbolizes the discrimination against young girls in China and the injustices they endure.
He also shoot 4 videos, and I want you to watch at least these two of them:

1 video: two little uber cute-ly dressed girls start to tease a man, then dress him up, then undress him again, then try to decorate him with beads, then threaten him with a rifle(?), then dress him up again etc.

In the 2 video one of the girls operates on a man and removes a baby doll out of his stomach.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Woody Allen vs Dylan

So, Woody Allen has been honoured at the 2014 Golden Globes for "a lifetime of achievement in writing, producing and directing films" about a month ago, and that made people recall this 8pp long article (1992) about his past with Dylan. Well, I looked through it too, so here're the worth-reading parts of it. Enjoy(?)

There was an unwritten rule in Mia Farrow’s house that Woody Allen was never supposed to be left alone with their seven-year-old adopted daughter, Dylan. Over the last two years, sources close to Farrow say, he has been discussing alleged “inappropriate” fatherly behavior toward Dylan in sessions with Dr. Susan Coates, a child psychologist. In more than two dozen interviews conducted for this article, most of them with individuals who are on intimate terms with the Mia Farrow household, Allen was described over and over as being completely obsessed with the bright little blonde girl. He could not seem to keep his hands off her. He would monopolize her totally, to the exclusion of her brothers and sisters, and spend hours whispering to her. She was fond of her daddy, but if she tried to go off and play, he would follow her from room to room, or he would sit and stare at her. During the school year, Allen would arrive early at Mia Farrow’s West Side Manhattan apartment, sit on Dylan’s bed and watch her wake up, and take her to school. At her birthday party last July, at Farrow’s country house in Bridgewater, Connecticut, he promised that he would keep away from the children’s table so that Dylan could enjoy her birthday party with her friends, but he seemed unable to do that. Allen, who was a fearful figure to many in the household, was so needy where Dylan was concerned that he hovered over her through the whole party, and when the cake arrived, he was right behind her, helping to blow out the candles.

 ..according to several sources, Woody, wearing just underwear, would take Dylan to bed with him and entwine his body around hers; or that he would have her suck his thumb; or that often when Dylan went over to his apartment he would head straight for the bedroom with her so that they could get into bed and play.
One summer day in Connecticut, when Dylan was four and Woody was applying suntan lotion to her nude body, he alarmed Mia’s mother, actress Maureen O’Sullivan, and sister Tisa Farrow when he began rubbing his finger in the crack between her buttocks.

“When she just wanted to giggle and run away and play, he’d be right behind her. And I just looked at it, and I’d shake my head and think, I hope this is a great thing,” says Pascal. “It was to the point that when we would go over there I wouldn’t run over and talk to her or anything. I’d talk to Satchel, but it’s like you don’t even dare talk to Dylan when he’s around.”
Several times last summer, while Woody was visiting in Connecticut, Dylan locked herself in the bathroom, refusing to come out for hours. Once, one of the baby-sitters had to use a coat hanger to pick the lock. Dylan often complained of stomachaches and headaches when Woody visited: she would have to lie down. When he left, the symptoms would disappear. At times Dylan became so withdrawn when her father was around that she would not speak normally, but would pretend to be an animal.
On August 4, Woody was in Connecticut to visit the children, and Mia and Casey went shopping, taking along Mia’s two most recently adopted children—a blind Vietnamese girl named Tam, 11, and Isaiah, a seven-month-old black baby born to a crack-addicted mother. While they were gone, there was a brief period, perhaps 15 minutes, when Woody and Dylan vanished from sight. The baby-sitter who was inside searched high and low for them through the cluttered old farmhouse, but she couldn’t find them. The outside baby-sitter, after a look at the grounds around the house, concluded the two must be inside somewhere. When Mia got home a short time later, Dylan and Woody were outside, and Dylan didn’t have any underpants on.
That day, August 5, Casey called Mia to report something the baby-sitter had told her. The day before, Casey’s baby-sitter had been in the house looking for one of the three Pascal children and had been startled when she walked into the TV room. Dylan was on the sofa, wearing a dress, and Woody was kneeling on the floor holding her, with his face in her lap. The baby-sitter did not consider it “a fatherly pose,” but more like something you’d say “Oops, excuse me” to if both had been adults. She told police later that she was shocked. “It just seemed very intimate. He seemed very comfortable.” 

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Me me me.

Today, I feel strange. I can feel either ok or strange, because I'm bad at reflexing. We're moving from Tokyo in three weeks, and it was only yesterday when I really thought about it. It was the day when I went to the new Trevor Brown's exhibition (it was not really his, but all exhibitions which he takes part in are his, really) and right after that, one more time (third) to his old one. I realized, that I'll miss Japan more than I thought I would. I'll probably cry at Azuma's birthday this saturday. I've been living in Tokyo with Boyfriend for almost a year and I honestly like it here. But I also know, that I can't stay here for any longer, because I want to study drawing so bad I want to cry (and I  often cried about it). The problem is, I can't do it in Japan before I learn Japanese and pass the exam. I cried like a baby repeating "I don't wanna study Japanese, I wanna draw!" So, yeah, New Zealand. An island country in the middle of nowhere with the population of 4,5 million people. So far so good! But also: "sigh".

here is a sneak peek into my portfolio which I had to send to my future uni a month ago (I think some people asked me to show it. I won't show the whole thing, though (=awkward)):

"las conquistadoras" [A3, black pen]

"hurrying to a party" [A3, black/white pens, black watercolor]

"dinosaur vs shark" [papier-mâché, watercolors, white gouache]

“a baby mermaid” [papier-mâché, nail polish]

the pictures I took in Bhutan. Part 1: "children"

“in a coffee shop”. 
This is a scene from the cafe where I buy coffee almost everyday. Only, I don’t forget to put my shoes on, staff members are not robots, people drink their coffees at the tables and no ghosts wait for their turns. The bear beanie is real though!

 "coffee princess guarded by ghosts"

characters 1/3: "before classes"


I was impressed when the university didn't ask me to write why I chose them in the explanatory note, because this part of the applying process makes me sick the most. However, it turned out to be shitty anyway.
I enjoy all kinds of creative activity: drawing, making papier-mâché sculptures, taking pictures, writing comics. I like to go to the concerts, art galleries, travel to the new places in search of the new ideas for drawings. However, one of my problems is that I usually have several ideas in my head which I want to draw all at once as soon as possible, and sometimes it can affect the quality of my work (I was too shy to say always). But at the same time, I get a lot of satisfaction from spending days carefully drawing the details when I know it's worth it.

My favorite artists are William-Adolphe Bouguereau, Gustave Doré, Alfons Mucha, Trevor Brown, Satoshi Kon, Hayao Miyazaki, Julia Pott, Sally Mann, Edward Gorey (Forgot to mention at least 20 more). Their techniques and ideas leave me speechless. I love everything about them, they are my greatest sources of inspiration!

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Anonymous Girl 1990 ✿[gun control laws]✿

I've never interviewed people in all my life before (except of my biology teacher when I was 14. We were told to interview somebody from our school staff, and all I can remember is how she told me how she hates being a teacher. She also told me not to include this in the interview). Anyways, recently I found a tumblr written by an australian girl (I have a hidden love for australian girls), explored it a little and clicked "follow". What drew my attention, was the aesthetics of her writing. It's so popular to be hurt by the whole universe, to be depressed and offended by life. This girl was the opposite. I saw her showing the others that it's actually ALRIGHT to be joyful, that it's OK to be happy with what you have. I saw her being a happy post-teenager who tries to get what she can out of life (I have a hidden love for girls who are happy no matter what kind of life they stick to (until it violates other people's rights ^_^)).

So, HERE IS THE LINK (sorry) to the whole interview which we agreed to publish on M.'s brand new blogAnd below is the second ~nerdy~ part of it. We'll speak about gun laws a little, if you don't mind.

Maki: You don't look like a politically interested girl, but even if you don't speak about, it doesn't mean it doesn't affect you or your opinions. So just a few questions: 
  • Do you believe it's ok, that government has rights to interfere in your life, often leaving you no choice in such things like paying taxes, making abortions, being able to defend yourself with a weapon, doing drugs if you want to without overpaying ridiculously (especially if you need it as a painkiller), being able to sell things and offer all kinds of services you want to without having to get a special license (but of course, being honest with your clients about it) or at least, driving your own car without buckling up if you don't want to (New Hampshire passed this law not so long ago!)?
  • Also: what kills people, guns or humans? drugs or bad decisions?

M.: I don’t know a great deal about politics, Australian or international. I’m pretty useless with this stuff. But it does scare me that our governments have so much power, especially when it comes to what we share online. People have been using the term "surveillance state" a whole lot lately.  There’s a lot of graffiti where I live, with big colourful slurs saying "the government is watching you" and ‘do you want to live in a surveillance state?’ I don’t know who the good guys are anymore. I disagree with a lot of what has happened in the recent years. 

But I can’t say a bad word against the Australian health system, it has saved my life more than once. I am still stumped that abortion is illegal in some places, and I can’t get my head around why gay marriage hasn’t been legalized yet. Is this really still an issue? Are we living in the Stone Age? Male politicians making laws in regards to women’s bodies and our choices? – don’t even get me started.
People kill people. People kill themselves and others with bad decisions. People abuse responsibilities and privileges and end up hurting themselves and those around them. The phrase ‘Everything in moderation’ seems to have been forgotten. And this so called ‘war on drugs’ seems like such a waste of time and money. 

I know very little about gun laws. I have shot a gun a few times before. It was really, really fun. You don’t see many guns living in Australia. I’m very anti-gun though, everything I hear on the news in relation to guns comes from America. It feels like every week there is another school shooting. When will they realize that the reason people keep getting shot is because everyone has easy access to a guns? I think their gun laws are an absolute mess over there. People walking around carrying guns every day, like it’s nothing. It’s just bizarre to think about. We don’t have that in Australia. Guns are for police men, hunters and farmers. It’s easier to get a gun than to get health insurance in America. What a mess.

Maki: My belief that the government has no rights to interfere in people’s lives is a pretty strong principle.

You wrote, that the fact that "the government is watching you” scares you. But then you wrote, that the government must disarm all the citizens, only leaving itself armed. Why are you scared of "the government is watching you” thing, then?

M.: Hmmm, I guess I don't watch much TV, or listen to the radio or read the paper. I am mostly in the dark when it comes to this. I only see headlines every now and then. I don't think the government should disarm its citizens, but coming from a country where there are few guns, my instant reaction is 'ban the guns' I guess. In the dream world in my head, citizens shouldn't feel the need to defend themselves. I think about the state of my own country and then imagine how much worse it would be if you added guns to it. Then again, It's just what the media is feeding me and I am not greatly informed on the subject. Guns aren't something you see around here very often.
The whole 'government is watching you' fear really boils down to me being overly-influenced by my friends and the media, and attempting to form my own opinion about something I don't know a great deal about honestly! I have watched a few documentaries, and also the recent Australian Prime Minister's Indonesian phone tapping scandal brought to light the power of government officials. It's not a real concern of mine though! I don't worry that to government is reading my blog or anything (haha).

Maki: You also said, thatIt feels like every week there is another school shooting” because they have a freedom to have guns in US. But lookAustralia takes the first place for total crime victims. And look where the States are. Because you can’t disarm a criminal. Criminals have always found and will find the ways to kill. And what the governments do is disarm the innocent citizens, making them unable to defend themselves. Not to mention, that all these school massacres are happening in the gun free zones.

M.: I did not know this! I have never really looked into this sort of thing before. It doesn't surprise me at all, Australia is a crazy place, we are an alcohol-fuelled country with a lot of drug and alcohol related crimes. This leads me to believe that the problem isn't guns, it's drunk dick heads. That's a separate issue on its own. I agree, that it is near impossible to disarm a criminal. If someone wants to hurt someone, they will always find a way! 
There was another group of statistics that I saw a while ago, which stated that from 2005-2010, almost 3,800 people in the U.S. died from accidental shootings. Based on that, I always thought the less guns, the less people getting hurt by them. Sorry, I'm not really informed on this subject..

Maki: Please, have a look at this article. And I quote:
States that allow registered citizens to carry concealed weapons have lower crime rates than those that don’t. 
True. The 31 states that have “shall issue” laws allowing private citizens to carry concealed weapons have, on average, a 24 percent lower violent crime rate, a 19 percent lower murder rate and a 39 percent lower robbery rate than states that forbid concealed weapons. In fact, the nine states with the lowest violent crime rates are all right-to-carry states. Remarkably, guns are used for self-defense more than 2 million times a year, three to five times the estimated number of violent crimes committed with guns."
P.S. why do you frightened by the people with guns more than by the armed government? Because, no armed man killed as much as the governments have killed. USSR? Germany?

M.: I think my gun fear comes from living in a country where you never see them or hear of them. When Policemen or security guards walk around with guns on the street, I always stop and stare because it is an odd sight, to see a gun.
I know that the US School shootings are rare, and that when one occurs the media flock to it like a bird to a worm. I guess it just saddens me in generally, that children were ever hurt at the hands of a crazy man with a gun. Therefor, like a lot of people, i've developed a distaste for guns based on how sad those few crimes were.
I wish we didn't live in a world where citizens felt the need to be armed, so my view on this is really just based on a dream that I don't think society will ever achieve. Sometimes I try to be unrealistically optimistic about terrible things to make myself feel better about society. 

Maki: You look like a good person, and I know, that this is a pretty tricky question. But the things you’ve said about it mean exactly that it’s guns what kill people from your point of view. Ban the guns and it will be ok. But it doesn’t work like this, and I tried to show it to you. What do you think?

M.: I'm not sure, I'm on the fence. The fact that there are so many accidental gun deaths is sad, It's sad that anyone dies from bullets.
On one hand, I wish for guns to be banned and crimes to be lowered but I know this is not the case. On the other hand, I know these statistics and that gun ownership does not instantly equal more criminals. If we could ban people from being assholes that would be great!
I wish that banning guns was the right answer but it probably isn't by the sounds of things. You don't see people committing mass-school-murders with a knife, or a baton. So I guess that's where most of my arguments stem from. There is no stopping a mad-man from murder, It's just interesting that their weapon of choice is usually a gun.

Maki: Thanks a lot for such detailed answers, it means a lot to me! Ok, so my last question is… 

You said yourself "I wish that banning guns was the right answer but it probably isn't by the sounds of things” but ended up describing the dream world, as you called it. But we are not living in a dreamworld (?)

M.: Yeah. I feel like the sad reality of the matter is that there is no right answer to this one. Guns will always be around and who's to say whether that is a good thing or a bad thing. At the end of the day, Everyone just needs to look out for each other.

Yess. That's it, everybody, I lost the argument. I've always been useless in defending my position, so I'd better go and draw some girls now. Vote for banning gun control laws and have a nice day y'all.

Monday, January 20, 2014

A house of our own.

"Black is traditional, but if you prefer red..." The Other Mother.

Another day spent at home makes me want to go outside and do things. Meet people, make friends. I start feeling lonely and useless. I need the action so much, that it frighten me to picture myself somewhere not in a big city. What will I occupy myself with?

When I begin feeling myself this way, I come to Boyfriend, he calls out our japanese friends for me, and every time we meet, the same thing happens: "Maybe, we shouldn't have done that? I don't feel like meeting anyone..." And that's not because I don't like some particular people or I'm not in the mood. Most of the times, I don't regret spending time with not-my-boyfriend people afterwards. It's either "How great, that we finally met!" or "It was fun. But I think, I'm done with meeting people for at least another couple of months."

Thinking about it more, I realize, that a big crowded city is not a solution for what I want. I need attention, I'm a huge attention seeker, but at the same time I understand that, somehow, there is nothing to deal with meeting people, be surrounded by them. <= The reason, we move to New Zealand this month, by the way.

I like imagine myself in a house somewhere in the suburban, decorating my own room (well, since I can't have my own bedroom (=weird), I'll call it a parlor!) with my Trevor Brown's posters, spending time in an immense Boyfriend's library, writing reviews of his albums and books. I want him to have a room where he could have an easy access to all his shirts and funny socks and hats (in our apartment in Tokyo we keep most of our clothes under the bed or under the table, unpacked). It's another reason why we're moving to Auckland - I like to think of it as of the finish line of our moving, the place, where we finally will be able to unpack all the things we have!

that's totally us

I'll study Fine Arts there in less then a month! Which I still can't believe in. Do these things happen in real life? You can draw and create everyday all day/night and that's all everybody will need from you?! Awesome! So now, I have these Coraline vibes which I gonna write about today.

I watched this movie almost two years ago. I watched it 7 or 8 times, had all I could have from their official website, which you all have to visit (I even download some of their official wallpapers and posters from there, sorry for this revelation), learned all I could about the making process, watched deleted scenes and even read Mr. B's blog. It's called "to get obsessed" and I knew, I was. But most of all I was (am!) obsessed with Henry Selick Himself. When he speaks about his work...

"The relationship between the creators and their puppets is the complicated one."

"Looking at it from the puppets point of view.."

I love dearly these silver-haired, slender Creators when they speak passionately about their works. And Henry Selick, he is one of these few men whose hands I want to kiss and then sit in the corner not far from them, unnoticed, just watching them work. I find them so vulnerable, touching, though endlessly fascinating. By now it's only Henry Selick and Trevor Brown whom I want to do these things to. And also all the Renaissance sculptors. Pity they are all dead. Is Tim Minchin silver-haired yet?

I want these wallpapers!

But what I want to speak about is  the Coraline's house, because there's a lot of interior details which inspire me when I dream about how my own house will look one day.

First of all, both Coraline's bedrooms, real and the other one. Wooden dragonflies all over the bed! A plush squid! A planets thingy and a chest in the second picture! And this bay window on the right of the pictures is my dream since I was 14.

Let's look at the details. A universe night light is the thing I dream about from the moment I learnt that these things are real (I'll dream about it till somebody buy me this, even if I'll be 45 by then). I hate insects even more than Boyfriend, but the mantis photo holder is definitely a cool thing to have.

Just two words: Glazed Patio.

Another important thing, that I'll always adore and that is captured in this film so well is the Coraline's place in the parents-children relationship. I like to imagine myself this character girl whose parents are always busy and she'll have to explore the world all by herself, feeling sorry for herself during the breaks. Will never happen to me though. My parents divorced when I was 11 + my Mum lives in Russia and she's unemployed (I just realized that that's enough for self-pity. The thing about exploring the world is also matches. God).

Also: red english wallpapers are a killer.


Thursday, January 16, 2014

Sayonara Ponytail [ さよならポニーテール ] edition!

Recently, boyfriend showed me a music video by "Sayonara Ponytail" with the words
I always feel sad finding things like that. Because, that’s something i’d like to shoot someday. 
He studies cinematography here in Tokyo. So, he showed me that video and it was so Yuki Aoyama, that I watched all their non drawn video clips, then read about the director, and 100/100! it was Yuki Aoyama who directed two of their videos. And now, I'm going to write about both phenomena.

Sayanara Ponitail videos go first.

  • "the lethargy switch" [2011]

Cute video, nice melody and lyrics. I mean, most of their songs are adorable, but this one is perfect from all sides. Yuki Aoyama then published the book made up from stills from the video Schoolgirl Complex (I bought all the three parts as a present for boyfriend a half year before he showed me the video I'm writing about).

The song is about the lack of enthusiasm and motivation to do anything. The girl sings about how she doesn't want to see the sunlight, to participate in any kind of activity (because "somebody will do it instead anyway, so why to even bother"), but wants to make doodles, flirt and snuggle into a futon all days long. 

  • "our season" [2012]

The lyrics of this song just describe the things that are happening in the video. But in an even more abstract way, adding more emotional depth to it. Is it possible? Who cares.

I like how everything goes crazy at the end though.

  • "In love with sports" [2013] (not sure about this one - "恋するスポーツ" ?)

A very very loose translation of the first four lines:

I noticed that you were watching me
How naughty!
Maybe, it means you like me?
I want you to hug me tight

Ahh, girls.

  • it's time for secrets [2013]

I think, it's their latest non drawn video, and it was also directed by Yuki Aoyama, and by the end of the filming, he published a book, just as he did it directing their video for the first time.

All these four videos are my favorites, no one gets the second place. The aesthetic of being a japanese schoolgirl is captured so well, that all I can think about is "Oh, what a sweet fairytale!". But then I realize, that it's not a made up story but a pretty real world, and my mind just blows up. I remember, how I cried heavily when I was reading Mineko Iwasaki's biography. Not because it was overly melodramatic or anything, but just because I wanted to be born in 20 century and risen up in a geishas house. Now, japanese make me suffer for the second time.

Anyway, you have to have a look at Yuki Aoyama's photography (I won't be held responsible if it breaks your heart):