Letters From Paris

This post will likely tie in somewhat with my previous post titled What Do I Desire, but that’s okay.  Etsy‘s Facebook page posted a link to their blog sharing an interview with an artist, Janice MacLeod.  Here is that link: Quit Your Day Job: The Paris Letters by JaniceArtShip.  Please do read the article, it’s not long, but summarized it’s about a lady who, unhappy in her ordinary office job, quit, moved to Paris, and began painting and writing letters as her business and means of supporting herself.  Not only is this flat-out awesome, it’s also, dare I say, inspirational.

Being the crazy, unrealistic dreamer-person that I am, the idea of ditching everything and hauling myself across the planet to make a start at life with no real plans in place is terribly appealing, even if it is slightly terrifying at the same time.  Believe me, for the past several months I’ve threatened my family with everything from becoming a gypsy and traveling the world, to buying an RV and exploring America, to moving back to England to do goodness-knows-what, to my latest obsession of traveling to and living in Utah (you wouldn’t believe how many cool people live in Utah and the nearby surrounding areas…).

With this article, though, there is hope.  All my lovely schemes and plans are largely plans of escape, whether physical, mental, or both.  I long for escape and freedom, and if it takes moving to Utah to get it I’m almost to the point of doing it (not quite though, don’t panic, don’t panic.).  In all seriousness though, two of the things I’ve loved doing for a very long time are painting and writing, and this lady has managed to do both and make a living and live in a foreign country to boot.  I think that’s amazing.

So, if anyone needs me, you will find me interning with her in Paris.  Soon after, I shall open a second branch in the UK and have a jolly time and do something I love while earning money (take that, person in previous post who said I couldn’t earn a living doing art…)(yes, I was told this several years ago, and yes, it still bothers me somewhat.)(and yes, I also really like to use parentheses).  🙂

Please, please, please visit her shop and buy a subscription to her letters if you can.  Or buy just one.  Buy some for your friends.  Support a really cool, not-so-local artist, and help her keep doin’ what she’s doin’.  People like her are the kind of people who give people like me little glimmers of hope in life.  Always support artists.  Prove everyone wrong, that you can make a living with art!

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What Do I Desire

I recently saw this video posted somewhere on Facebook, and it instantly intrigued me.  I’m at a point in my tiny life where my brain and my heart are often a bit at odds.  I hear my photo teacher tell me that she’s actually easy on us and we’re in for a shock once we get to the real world.  I’ve heard a previous student say that life’s much harder once out of school, that people are much tougher out there than in the classroom.  I once had someone I respected tell me that you can’t make a living doing art.  These things are crushing to a slightly head-in-the-clouds dreamer like me who’s trying to believe in a wonderful future of some sort.  And frankly, after hearing all these things, that wonderful future seems to be only a little wisp of fog, barely there and impossible to grab.

On the one hand, I believe the people who say life isn’t all fun and games, that you can’t properly make a living doing art instead of taking on a normal, everyday job.  I generally believe now that I’m not good enough to make it at art anyway, which should technically solve the problem right there.  I know life isn’t always easy.  I understand that.  We as humans do not always get our way (boy do I know that…), and sometimes we have to brave a couple of storms before we get to the sunny weather.

But my little dreaming heart can’t hep but wonder, “Is that it?  Is that all we’re meant to do, to suffer at a job we hate merely for a paycheck, to never enjoy what we do?  There has to be a way to survive and be happy at the same time.”

I don’t know if my little heart is right or not.  I certainly hope so.  I like to think that, one day, in the near future preferably, I’ll be able to do something I enjoy for a living.  Maybe not art, but something.  Maybe one day I’ll become a master of this something, or a master in my art (although I doubt it).  Maybe.  We’ll see.  Until then I guess I keep doggy paddling, try to keep afloat, try not to drown entirely in all these waves.  The sun has to come out eventually…or that’s my hope, anyway.  One day…

Touch of Magic

Well, while everyone else has been busy posting Facebook statuses about the presidential debate, I have been watching a lovely short film.  I’m not terribly keen on the narrator voice at the beginning, but bear through him and it’s quite delightful.  I love things like this with that magic feeling (And more than just magician/illusionist sort of magic…the kind you feel deep inside you.  It’s difficult to describe, but if you’ve felt it, you know exactly what it is.).  Hope you guys enjoy.  And props to the the awesome guy/group who made it.  He/they did a great job.  Leave a comment on the video for them if you want.  🙂

As an end note, I really hope the lady in the story took the magic with her and went on to become something amazing.  I also hope that the magician (I might kind of adore him) found a place to go where he was loved and appreciated after his theater was torn down.  I hate the thought of an artist of any kind being kicked out of his home and livelihood.  I’ll pretend they both went on to be amazing, artistically magical people.  That’s a happy thought.

Note: In case anyone wonders, no disrespect was meant about the debate tonight.  I do realize it’s very important to be involved in that sort of stuff.  I should have watched it, but chose to relax instead.  I needed relax time.  🙂

Movie Research Assignment

First off, so sorry to anyone who still visits my blog for being absent so long.  We had two weeks off from school between the summer and fall semesters, and now we’ve hit the ground running yet again.  Three weeks in and my head has already begun to explode slightly.  Hopefully my dog and cat will clean up the mess after I explode…

This semester we’re doing Multimedia 2, and our first real assignment was to watch a film that we think has cultural significance and then write a paper about it.  I chose to research the film WALL-E.  I love this movie, so it was nice to watch it and have it count as school at the same time.  As part of the assignment we are supposed to post our paper on our blogs.  So, with only one further ado, I present my paper.

One Further Ado: I’ve missed my blog quite much, so I’m hoping to start up again during breaks from homework.  I’ve got a small collection of things to share, so hopefully I can get those posted soon.  🙂  NOW without further ado…

Movie Research Assignment–WALL-E

WALL-E is a film about a small robot left behind on earth.  He has adventures, meets new friends, makes mistakes, and ultimately saves the day.  Although WALL-E isn’t strong, he’s not big and impressive, he isn’t a bold, dashing hero, there are many things to be learned from him and the circumstances he lives through.

WALL-E is set in earth’s future.  Humans have evacuated the planet.  Left behind are squads of debris-clearing robots.  Only one bot remains though; the rest have fallen into disrepair and ceased to work, lying where they die.  That one is WALL-E.  Day in and day out he continues with his job of cleaning up, stacking cubes of trash, and preparing for the day humans will return to earth.  The problem is, humans aren’t coming back, not until the planet is able to safely sustain life again.  That’s where EVE, a robot visiting from space, comes in.  Sleek, modern, and searching for any sign of life, she and WALL-E form a special friendship over the course of their adventures.

In this film, the main, obvious point given to viewers is that we as humans cannot waste and waste and waste and expect to receive no consequences for our actions.  In the movie, a huge  corporation called Buy ‘N Large  has essentially taken over the world.  Electronic billboards and speakers ring with advertisements wherever you go.  But with the mass consumerism that Buy ‘N Large presents come the aftereffects: massive waste, trash covering the earth, and, eventually, a planet that becomes uninhabitable.  This is a reminder to us here and now to be careful of how we treat our planet.  Sure, earth can take a lot of hits, but that doesn’t excuse poor treatment on our part.  It’s our responsibility to care for what we’ve been given.  There are many easy ways to help our planet out even a little, things as easy as walking or riding a bike instead of using gas to power a car, recycling as much as can be recycled, buying used items instead of new from the store, and even simply turning off the light when you leave the room.

In WALL-E, not only was the earth left in disrepair, but the humans themselves were in sorry shape.  After evacuating earth in the Axiom, a huge, high-tech space craft, everything was done for them, brought to them, they were carried constantly by powered floating chairs, and all their food was consumed from a cup and straw.  They grew fatter and fatter, lost all muscle mass, and became akin to adult-sized babies.  As the years passed, they even lost the ability to walk on their own.  Our own world is gradually moving this way.  Fast food restaurants reside on every local street corner, many sporting drive-throughs so you don’t even have to get out of your car.  You can pay and move on to your next destination, never stopping, never slowing.  In recent years, America has made a step toward awareness of these sort of issues.  Advertisements and commercials urge kids and families to go outside, take a walk, and eat healthier, all trying to avoid this imaginary-but-possible future of having everything done for us all the time.

WALL-E was released in theaters at a time when people were, and still are, becoming more and more aware of all these issues.  It was meant to hit home for viewers that, though an extreme picture, the sort of things that happen in the movie could potentially happen on a smaller scale to us.  It’s a call to action.  The captain of the Axiom, the spaceship where all remaining humans lived, began to investigate and research.  “Computer, define dancing,” he once said.  After living 700 years in outer space he had no idea what dancing was.  He dug deeper and discovered all the wonderful things earth used to be and to have, things like farming and pizza, and he was not content to stay in space any longer, not while there was hope of returning to earth and starting fresh.  We need to be like that.  If we take it upon ourselves to protect the place we live, to research and to study, we can keep our home a safe and beautiful place.

In addition to the environmental side of the film, there is another side as well.  This film is full of emotion and magic, ideas grasped by people of all ages.  When we meet WALL-E, he has been living by himself for a very long time.  All the bots similar to him have broken and died.  He is alone.  When EVE comes to earth, searching for any sign of life, WALL-E is captivated.  He begins to follow EVE around, watching as she searches for any growing thing that could signify life is sustainable on earth again.  Eventually they meet, and he takes her back to his home, shows her where he lives and all the wonderful little things he collects.  When EVE realizes that WALL-E has found a small plant, proof that life can grow on earth again, she takes the plant into her own care…and promptly shuts down.  WALL-E, initially worried about her, continues to look after her in the following days and weeks.  He takes her touring through the abandoned city, although she can see none of it, he sits beside her gazing at the sunset, he holds umbrellas over her in the rain, and places her in the sunlight in the hopes that her batteries will charge in the sun and that she will wake up again.  All of this is driven by his one great desire: to hold EVE’s hand.  Touch is such a huge factor for humans.  Something so small and seemingly insignificant can mean more than anyone ever realizes and, although he isn’t human, the same holds true for WALL-E, the lonely little robot.  Throughout the movie he tries to tell her that that’s all he wants, though he’s shut down each time.  Finally, at the end of the film when it seems WALL-E has been lost, overcome by all he’s been through, it is EVE finally grasping his robot hand in hers that brings him back.

Audio was a huge part of the film.  Since the first half of the movie has almost no dialogue and there is little dialogue throughout, filmmakers had to rely heavily on sounds and sound effects.  Everything from the sound of the wind, to spaceships blasting off, the voices of the bots, not to mention the myriad of noises that WALL-E himself makes as he moves, bends, works, and speaks, every sound had to be found or created before it could be inserted into the film.

From the day it was released in theaters, WALL-E was almost unanimously popular.  It ranked in as the fifth best opening weekend for a Pixar film, at that time.  It was nominated for eighty-two awards and won forty-seven in total.  Among the wins was an Academy Award for Best Animated Feature, a Golden Globe award for Best Animated Film, as well as the People’s Choice Award for Favorite Family Movie.  There were rumblings of dissent when WALL-E failed to earn a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Picture.  The only animated film to ever be nominated for the Best Picture award was Beauty and the Beast in 1991.  Despite being passed over for the Best Picture award, WALL-E received hefty ratings and was loved by just about everyone.

Although WALL-E is a gentle warning to be wary of the direction we as humans head in, it is also a reminder to be human.  We must remember to take care of the world, but equally we must remember to look out for one another, to dream, to stop and notice the small things in life, and to love.

Citations:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_accolades_received_by_WALL-E
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/WALL-E
http://www.worldwatch.org/node/3915
http://pixar.wikia.com/WALL%E2%80%A2E_Awards
http://www.time.com/time/arts/article/0,8599,1820824,00.html

Warning!

WARNING!  Imminent brain failure!  Cessation of brain functionality on the near horizon!  WARNING!!!

THAT is the mess of math review that is currently spread across my living room.  It’s the one thing that’s been pressing constantly on my brain since approximately Wednesday.  For my other three classes, there’s nothing more I can do to help my grade.  But for this, this grade still rides on me remembering everything I’ve learned the last several months.  I really don’t want to screw up on this last test.  And yet, studying things you’ve already pitched from your memory is just depressing.  Relearning and remember everything just to do a test.  Yay.  Here’s hoping I can remember enough to make a decent grade.  (I usually do better on math tests than I expect, but there’s still the concern that everything I think I know will suddenly disappear from my brain as soon as I pick up my pencil.)

 

 

Long Lost Creativity

Over the last two semesters, eight-ish months, I’ve been very focused on school work.  In my spare time I usually just want to sit and do nothing, and this results in a lot of activity on my Neflix account.  I still paint occasionally, but my art interests have been left largely untouched.  And this is sad.

Lately, over the last couple three weeks I guess, I’ve had that little feeling that urges “Go on!  Create something!”.  But, as finals approach and the big, end of semester projects come due, there’s little to no time to heed these little urges.

This is one thing I resent about being in a photography specific program at school.  In the eyes of my teachers, I am a (somewhat lame and pathetic) photographer.  But to me, that’s not all I am.  I’m not just a photographer.  In fact, I resent being that anymore.  Because I paint too.  I draw sometimes, I enjoy sewing by hand.  I like to create little creatures with polymer clay, and I love to write, even though my stories aren’t always very good.  I love creating art, I love looking at art, and I’d love buying loads of it too, if money grew on trees.

It’s the writing aspect that’s been nagging me lately.  I want to write again.  It’s gotten me to thinking about past times, stories I’ve written, and characters that still live in my mind.  Some of my favorite characters were created in a wolf roleplay guild on Neopets.  There were probably ten to fifteen of us active in the guild, and we each had a few wolves that we’d created.  Together we wrote and made our wolves interact, created stories, built families, and brought in conflict.  My friend and I once killed off two of our main wolf characters and, later, were so depressed at not having them around anymore, found a way to resurrect them and bring them back again.

Another of my favorite characters, from one of my own (unfinished) stories, is Halice (pronounced normally like “Alice” but with an H on the front).  Her character was sparked from a photo I saw for sale (which I later bought with Christmas money).  She, in a round about way, becomes friends with another girl who needs to remember to imagine, and together they visit a land of their own creation.  The place is very real in both their minds, and to all intents and purposes may actually exist.  She’s sort of a rebel, but only because she’s had to be.

Often times it will be a song, or a piece of music, or a picture, maybe even someone I see walking down the street or at the mall, that will spark something in my mind.  That spark may grow into a scene, or maybe a general plot line for a story, or a character.  Not all sparks grow to a proper flame.  Sometimes they slip away again, quietly, because they know they’re not really suited to be a story.  But some, even if I never finish their story, stay for a long time.  Halice is like that.  So are my wolves.  And Carlos the minstrel.  The Darkin, the small dragon who’s name I have forgotten at this moment…they all stay with me, some bolder than others.

It’s this sort of thing I long to return to.  A time when writing and painting and real creativity, not just assignments, fluttered around my life more freely.  Maybe one day I’ll have more time for them again.  But I think One Day is a long ways off.

But it’s good to dream, and to remember, and to hold those favorite characters close.