requested by a-thousand-crows i hope this is helpful 

(Source: fav.me, via helpyoudraw)


Misadventures in “Contemporary Art”


smarterthanyou submitted to medievalpoc:

@swagjohncage is upset because to those of us who work in it, “Contemporary Art” means something different and distinct from fantasy illustration.

It’s a field where people of colour have to fight for recognition as much as any other cultural field, and so recognizing them their specifically is an important thing: aside from barriers to entry, they have to deal with on the one hand the dangers of a broader culture that rejects their ideas (see: continual attacks on the NEA or other institutions over support for artists of colour and queer artists’ work), and a world of big money and privilege on the other that sees “the right kind” of artists able to climb their way up social ladders.

I’m going to publish your submission. But first let’s address your assumption that I don’t know what you and your buddy are getting at. Here’s the post you’re mentioning for reference.

Here’s a decent primer on what “contemporary art” actually means, and “contemporary art” as it tends to be used.

I have to be totally honest. Your weak attempt above to Explain To Me The Thing taps into a font of extremely personal and visceral rage, partially due to the assumption that I am unaware that “artists of color struggle”.

Because I come from that world. I was a working artist for nearly a decade (and the struggle to even get to that point is another tale in itself) before I was forced to change career paths to survive around 2008-2009. The collapse of the economy drove artists who had degrees and previous success as contemporary artists to snap up the jobs I’d been surviving on, and they they were “too good for”, right out from under me. Including fantasy illustration, as well as commissioned portraiture, tattoo design, graphic design, advertising design, you name it.

Because when you need to put food on the table, a job is a job. And when you could hire Mister Had His Own Show in NYC to draw your kids for peanuts, that means Your Humble Narrator’s brown, disabled, queer self gets the new shiny title of Retail Sales Associate.

When I first decided to go back to school, even at my advanced age I was accepted into one of the most prestigious Fine Arts private institutions in the country…and had to turn down the opportunity to “learn how” to do things I had become accustomed to being paid to do for years when it comes with a $58,000/year price tag attached.

You see, the taste of this particular kind of arrogance is nostalgic and familiar, seeing as I got to eat my own arrogance for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, washed down with a glass of poverty and shame, for quite a long time. Something inside you cracks when you’re outside the poetry/art show in a tiny gay bar in downtown Saint Petersburg or Ybor, flushed with drink at 1 o’clock in the morning, and watch an entire homeless family walking by, the five- and two-year-olds holding hands between a mother and father, wandering the 80-degree streets because the police broke up the tent-town last week,or because the newest tent-town won’t accept families.

But it’s the second homeless family that passes by 20 minutes later that finishes breaking you. And it’s the bag of rice in your cupboard that keeps shrinking, the $25 increase in the rent, the “no” on the phone when you ask your mother if you can move back in, the 8-hour wait in the emergency room, and the knowledge that the 1am streets will be your new home too very soon that sends you a thousand miles northward.

Or maybe it has something to do with the most recent hammered millionaire who staggered into your display at your last big show, shattering the glass frame you took an extra day at Big Retail to pay for. He laughed. He didn’t buy anything.

So you run. You run from the tent towns, the tuberculosis outbreaks covered up by the governor, from the gauntlet of starvelings who linger outside your retail job trying to get any piece of the 7.25/hour you’re making. And you run into an entirely new and different kind of struggle…how I got here is another story, for another time.

I started painting again recently for the first time in years. And you know, I’m proud to work in education, as I do now. I’m proud of my writing, and I’m proud of my work in activism. And I’m proud of my art. But these distinctions between “the right kind of artist/art”, “contemporary art”, “REAL art”, and “fantasy illustration”….coming from my experiences, there is a terrible disconnect in what you’ve said about the struggles of artists of color, when you’ve seen even the “right kind of artist” fighting us pigs for the slops. When the “fight for recognition” turns to a fight for survival.

The world of Big Money and Big Privilege that you describe doesn’t only create the danger of being snubbed, having your ideas rejected because of racism, sexism, classism, and a failure to conform to their ideas about what art is “supposed” to be. The danger can be a lot more immediate than that.

I fail to see how you and swagjohncage policing what is and isn’t “real” art is anything but a tool of the elitist world you seem to be criticizing. All I see is a narrowing of the tiny crack that ANY artists of color, whether or not they appeal to your aesthetic preferences in contemporary art OR Contemporary Art, can creep through and try to make a living. We live in a world that crushes our gifts out of us, makes them irrelevant, makes them laughable. “Art??? Why don’t you get a REAL job!” takes on a whole new tone when you come from one of Those Neighborhoods.

We already live in a society that devalues art and artists, frames our work and our struggles as a frivolous choice (“starving artist, ha-HA”), that devalues this especially when coming from artists of color, queer artists, disabled artists, that expresses actual outrage when we use whatever media we can:


THIS is the world that rejects us. THIS is our struggle. This is being pushed so far into the margins that we practically fall off the edge of the world. Because the work of an Egyptian artist in digital media, challenging our colonized notions of what IS and ISN’T art, is not about breaking into the world of Big Money and Big Privilege so much as it is reaching ourselves.

The rules dictate that we cannot succeed. Honestly, your submission, which I plan to post shortly, highlights that perfectly. So we’re breaking the rules.

I had high hopes, I suppose, that more people would understand that. Seeing this reaction does make my optimism flag, but if I did have an Optimism Flag, as I’ve said before, this might possibly be it:


[illustration by palaceofposey]

“Stop beating yourself up. You are a work in progress - which means you get there a little at a time, not all at once.” Unknown  (via cold-winter-days)

(Source: onlinecounsellingcollege, via a-thousand-words)




So yesterday while I was working at the bookstore some girl came up with a barcode tattooed on her wrist. Of course, my first question to her was “Can I scan it?” I guess she had never had it scanned before and was pretty excited about it. She talked about how it was sentimental to her and stuff. I scanned it and she rang up as a bag of Jalapeño Cheetos. She then became livid and, of course, I was dying of laughter.


(via evelyn-gloria)





stop this man

im calling the fucking cops

i have obama on the phone

(Source: dmthx3, via evelyn-gloria)



Okay, so… because this pisses me off in a million and one ways possible…

The Alethiometer was neither golden nor a compass, nor was “The Golden Compass” the original title because “Americans didn’t know what the northern lights are”.

Funnily enough, English people give you a lot more credit than lot. Holy fuckballs…

The trilogy was tentatively titled “The Golden Compasses” (in reference to Milton’s “Paradise Lost”, meaning the type with which you draw a circle) but Pullman’s American publishers didn’t get it and insisted that clearly it was the name of the first book in reference to the Alethiometer (described as passingly similar to a direction finding compass), and refused to acknowledge it was anything else:

Their obduracy in this matter was accompanied by such generosity in the matter of royalty advances, flattery, promises of publicity, etc, that I thought it would be churlish to deny them this small pleasure.

It’s thankful, really, that he’d settled on the name of the trilogy as “His Dark Materials”.

This is why in the American version of the first book, published under the title “The Golden Compass” has a different description of the item’s appearance:

He crossed to the desk and took from a drawer a small package wrapped in black velvet. When he unfolded the cloth, Lyra saw something like a large watch or a small clock: a thick disk of gold and crystal. It might have been a compass or something of the sort.

Compared to the original description in “The Northern Lights”:

"He crossed to the desk and took from a drawer a small package wrapped in black velvet. When he unfolded the cloth, Lyra saw something like a large watch or a small clock: a thick disk of brass and crystal. It might have been a compass or something of the sort.

One word. That’s the only difference in the description.

So next time I mention I would love a brass pocket watch in a similar style to the Alethiometer you can get off your high horse about “OMG but it’s gold, you know nothing” and remember that apparently I know a lot more about the whole buggering situation than you do. I don’t sit in judgement when you talk about your gold Alethiometer, you can fuck off when I sit and remember fondly of the brass one.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to curl up in bed with my trilogy and enjoy all the sordid little details that were edited out of the American versions because apparently it was far too scandalous.

Now you’re making me want to reread the books!

As an American I actually had no clue this was the case.

Share with me your other HDM secrets. =3


I will not argue with someone on a pet site about gender identity.

I will not argue with someone on a pet site about gender identity.

I will not argue with someone on a pet site about gender identity.


Flank Steak Tacos with Lime Cilantro Slaw [720x540]


Flank Steak Tacos with Lime Cilantro Slaw [720x540]


?? in Bullet Points

  • Been a rough few days: work, depression, migraine. Starting to feel better though. 
  • Dad’s surgery is scheduled for Tuesday. Unfortunately it’s as early as friggin’ possible so I’m going to be running on little sleep so I can head with my parents to the hospital. Least it’s a one day affair.
  • The beetles are coming and they love me
  • I can’t even begin to express how amazing my partner is. I’ve been with them for 15 years and they still amaze me at how beautiful and kind they are in spirit and heart. 
  • In beta test for WildStar this weekend, just to check things out because I’ve yet to play around there. It’s like WoW + Guild Wars 2 + Firefly/Star Wars. Love the combat system so far though.
  • Starting to fall in love with GW2 Engineering. It’s a  good follow up class to having had an elementalist main, I think.
“Many of us have this idea that we’re meant to be perfect as writers. Instead, try thinking of your writing as akin to your fingerprints. They are what they are – unique patterns that exclusively represent you – not good or bad or better or worse than anyone else’s.
Instead of trying to perfect your writing, then, strive to get acquainted with this pattern and become more and more proficient at expressing it. There is no endpoint in this process, and we will never arrive at “perfect.” So why not give up the chase right now, and just enjoy the resonance and beauty of our humble, flawed writing as it is?” Sage Cohen (via writingquotes)

(via characterandwritinghelp)

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