Saturday, September 06, 2008

Spine, Monkey Torture and How I've Come Full-Circle

Wow. I just came across a serious blast from my cheesy past. I dug up a bunch of old sketches and issues of a collaborative zine I put together with my friend Jazmine in high school (hopefully she won't mind me posting this! I'll keep it to my contributions to be fair). Here are a few tasty tidbits of teenage angst, social outrage, geeky romantic notions of art and being (ahem) an uber-goth. We're talking '94-'95. Awesome funny. But first, Monkey Torture! (probably the coolest radio show ever on the East Green at OU... wink wink to the Deb!)
And now I bring you Spine. The cover of issue #2 and a few selections from issues 2-4. (click for a better view)

Now, the interesting thing about what I rediscovered in these issues of youthful exuberance, is how full-circle my attitude has come. This was all done with a pre-college, thus, pre-art school mentality. 4 years of official BFA painting education kind of sucks the life out of creation and replaces it with notions of "concept," "relevence," and (gag) "is painting dead?" Before college I felt like the act of creation was art, no matter how important or relevent to the "art world." Post-college I had been brain-f'd so many times by concept/material/technique/form/function/post-modern/deconsctruction/Art Forum/finding my voice and place in the art history continuum (argh, my head hurts just writing about it!) that I became virtually paralyzed in my desire to make art. What was I doing? Was I relevent? Was I even talented? These questions and the need to make something "important" kept me from creating AT ALL.*

Essentially, when I left OU and had to make a choice whether to continue down the MFA painting/struggle for a meaningful gallery show in New York route or find something else to do, I opted for that something else, and thankfully so. Graphic design brought my creativity back into focus. I applied it to a goal. Communicating a message, then, in my career, communicating my client's message. And then I started to miss the pure act of creation. Which puts me here, back where I started before all that nonsense and overthinking. I'm painting and drawing whatever I damn well please and couldn't care less whether it's relevent, marketable, important or ground-breaking. I'm making things that make me happy, and hopefully, some others find happiness in exploring them too.

Lessons learned? It's good to laugh at yourself, sarcasm isn't always understood, and I've always been lucky to be surrounded by so many passionate, creative people. Oh, and yeah, we did look silly in the 90's.


*rare moments of letting go and creating did exist
and should I find them I will share them with you.


Connie said...

Jen!!! I think the same time you were going through ol' high school stuff...I was doing the same thing here! No joke! Over the summer I shipped from Cleveland a few boxes of photos and sketchbooks I had storing at a friend's house. Just a few days ago I decided to peek inside. You should see the photos of us in good ol' commercial art...and the ones from when we went to the Rocky Horror Picture Show...and...and...I was totally searching through all my stuff to see if I could fine my issue of Spine!!!! That's what sparked my search in the first place.

I owe you an's coming soon.

PS---I'm spotlighting your art tonight on my blog. Go check it out sista. Lots of love to you! I bet Autumn is going to be incredible in your new home! Take photos!!

Peace & Love.

Connie said...

Jen--I was so excited to see Spine on your blog that I didn't take the time to read what you wrote. I just did. You are awesome! I completely understand what you're saying. I love you!!!!

Peace & Love.