Archive for the ‘Drawrings’ Category

Gots Me Some Opinions

Wednesday, August 5th, 2015
Media Consumer

Media Consumer

Books (lots!) have been read. Movies (plenty!) have been seen. Television shows (Transparent! Is absolutely as fantastic as everyone has said!) have been watched, albeit belatedly. But here is what I want to talk about: the supposedly feminist arguments against Trainwreck*.

I keep hearing/reading people say that Trainwreck is a non-/anti-feminist copout, because instead of allowing the Amy character to live a happily single life, it pairs her with a man in a heteronormative relationship, invalidating her previous choices in the process. And . . . argh. I feel frustrated by this view.

Because Trainwreck isn’t a about a woman who wants to be single (totally valid life choice, I hope it goes without saying but will say anyway) or who wants to be partnered but doesn’t meet anyone worth partnering with. In either of those cases (great example of the latter: Whip It), sure, any film with integrity, let alone a feminist consciousness, would leave its protagonist single at the end. Trainwreck, au contraire, is about a woman who does want to be partnered but is terrified of intimacy. That’s a real thing. And it’s not feminist or anti-feminist; it’s just psychology.

At the beginning of the movie, it may seem as though Amy is living a liberated life, and to some extent, she is; she has sex casually with any number of partners without feeling bad about it. I’m glad to live in a (part of the) world where that’s possible (for some women), but it doesn’t mean that every woman wants that, or should want it to be considered a feminist. In fact, I think it’s fairly evident from the git-go that Amy is terrified of real connection—as opposed to, say, having sampled both real connection and emotion-free sex and chosen the sex.

But even if you see her character as initially having made the conscious lifestyle choice of non-attachment, that point of view is soon dismantled—and dismantled a good while before Amy spells it out for her sister by saying something along the lines of, “I made fun of your marriage because marriage is something I thought I could never have.” Because by the time Aaron (Bill Hader) comes along, the movie makes it abundantly clear that Amy likes him and wants to be with him. What’s in her way is not a desire to be single and keep sexin’ it up with people she’s too drunk to remember**; it’s a terror of being truly coupled.

It’s not anti-feminist to want authentic emotional connection with a man—especially a kind-to-the-core, egalitarian guy like Aaron, who cares about Amy’s feelings and wants to support her***. It may be feminist to prefer being single over an unhappy partnership with a man . . . but I don’t know about even that. Because isn’t feminism simply about gender equality? And doesn’t that mean that we want all the same rights and privileges that men have? And isn’t one of those privileges making our own decisions about our romantic lives, whatever those decisions are?

If you want to have random sex forever, yay! If you want to be monogamously coupled, yay! If you want to stay in a bad relationship with a woman because of the kids, yay! (I mean, ouch, painful, but yay!) You can do whatever, because those decisions are yours. Feminism does not exclude monogamous heterosexual relationships anymore than it excludes polyamorous lesbian relationships.

*I do agree that there are problems with the portrayals of people of color in the movie; here’s a good place to start for more on that.

**I may have betrayed a slight personal bias here.

***Here are my feelings about Aaron: He is perfect.

Fin.

 

 

Donna Tartt: Why No Women?

Tuesday, January 7th, 2014

I’m getting fond of attaching monsters to things, and particularly to blog posts, so here’s another.

Ayayay

Ayayay

He seems pretty worried; hence the name.

I’m also getting the sense that I won’t be able to keep up this monster-creation business forever, at least not in drawing form. (For whatever reason, perhaps because it is a zillion freaking times slower, felt seems more open-ended.) I hope to prove myself wrong, though. The subconscious is a mightily expansive place.

Meanwhile, I’m curious about something in Donna Tartt’s work. Fresh off the immense satisfaction of her latest novel, I went back to her first, The Secret History, which I devoured as a college student. It’s still wildly absorbing and impressively written, especially since she was in her twenties when she published it. And her plotting—you know, good plotting. Very, very good with the plot. Sure, the romanticization of scholarship (and particularly scholarship of the classics) feels kinda juvenile now, and with academia in my now-pretty-distant wake I find it impossible to fall for, but I was right there with her when I was 19 or 20.

What I wonder about, both in The Goldfinch and in The Secret History, is: Why no women? (Her second book, The Little Friend, does have a female protagonist, as I recall—but I think everyone else is male? And the protagonist is a young girl . . . which, totally fine, but not a woman.) The Secret History has five central male characters, almost all of them indelible and alive on the page (not Charles, though), and a single woman who scarcely exists. (She’s one of those ephemeral, wispy women, without opinions or personality, who serves as a projection screen for men.) Same dealio for Goldfinch: Three main characters, all male, all copiously detailed, plus a) a dead mother (who has a smidgen of character, but not much); b) another gauzy love interest who’s nothing but gossamer on the page; and c) one more minor love interest, less diffuse, but still minimally sketched.

It’s weird. There doesn’t seem to be any reason for it, except that Tartt doesn’t think women are people? Which . . . I hope not. Why wouldn’t she have chosen a female narrator for The Secret History or The Goldfinch? I can’t help but wonder if it’s because those books are (at least in some sense) (and quite intellectually) action-adventure novels? Or in the case of The Goldfinch, a bildungsroman? But if that’s the case, ARGH. So very frustrating. There is just no reason that a woman can’t be the protagonist of any kind of novel. And think how much richer The Secret History becomes with a female narrator . . . if for no other reason than that THERE WOULD BE A WOMAN in the novel, instead of just men.

My friend Sarah (Hi, Sarah!) pointed out that since Tartt is writing in the tradition of Dickens and also of children’s literature, where the motherless young urchins are almost always male, she may be polluted in that way—i.e., with no notion of women being in those kinds of stories. Maybe she simply couldn’t imagine it. It’s a great theory, and I can entirely see it, but again, ARGH. Couldn’t Tartt then look at that, in herself? Couldn’t she ask herself why she can’t imagine women into a certain type of story?

I don’t need Tartt to stop writing adventurous, Victorian-esque novels about directionless orphans who fall under the sway of great personalities. But I would be so thrilled to see one of those novels have at least one believable, fully fleshed-out adult female character—or even two. Two, Donna, please?

FYI, Spike Jonze is Now My Favorite Film Director

Friday, January 3rd, 2014

Happy New Year! Here are some monsters I made before I left for the East Coast:

Yay

Yay

I’m not sure how celebratory they’re feeling. I’ve never been particularly into New Year’s myself, not least because I just cannot stay up that late, especially not for a party. For a movie or a discussion about feelings, well, perhaps. In fact, both of those things have happened in recent years.

In other news, I already loved Spike Jonze, especially after Where the Wild Things Are and definitely after I’m Here. Then we saw Her, and well, just fantastic—so, so smart and moving and insightful and brave. And he wrote it. And it is my favorite movie of his, although Where the Wild Things Are (which I absolutely need to watch again) is also in contention. All three movies are about emotions; the latter two are more specifically about intimacy. And are those not my favorite topics of all time? THEY ARE. And is Jonze not masterfully insightful and careful and specific about examining those topics? HE IS.

I would recommend seeing all three in some kind of proximity, ideally with someone who is as interested in and invested in emotions and intimacy as you are. Such a rewarding experience.

Spike Jonze, thank you.

 

 

More Monsters

Friday, December 13th, 2013

For a while there, I was managing a monster a day, but then a) I got a giant contract  and b) we went to Palm Springs. And 10 days from now, we head to Maryland for the holidays, which requires plenty of ramp-up. So now it’s more like a monster whenever.

Here’s a guy I did in Palm Springs:

Georges

Georges

Note the French spelling of his name. He is old and crotchety, but in a French way.

And here’s one I did in a different app, Adobe Ideas:

Flish

Flish

As you can see, I was working with a specific body position. This is apparently an underwater monster, although she seems comfortable pretty much anywhere.

With some help from John, I started to work with layers. The iPad seems to be somewhat underpowered to manage more than a few layers in ArtStudio, so it wasn’t entirely fluid to assemble the following image. But with some patience, I made it happen:

Group Shot

Group Shot

It isn’t perfect, but it’s cute enough, right?

I’m experiencing something akin to what happened when I discovered felting: Suddenly, I have the power not merely to purchase cute but to create it. And that feels like nothing less than a superpower.

Cuteness, YOU ARE MINE.

A Monster for Paloma

Friday, December 6th, 2013

I have a two-year-old friend. Her name is Paloma. (Hi, Paloma!) She loves purple, so much that she thinks of herself as Purple Paloma. She also likes monsters, so I made her a little gift.

Purple Palomonster

Purple Palomonster

Hope you like it, Paloma!

My First Monsters

Monday, November 18th, 2013

ArtStudio for iPad has landed, peeps. And I started drawing immediately. First priority: monsters. And because I hadn’t learned many of the tools yet, they were pretty sketchy indeed:

GAAAAAAAH

GAAAAAAAH

The stylus, it is not a pen. And the iPad screen, it is not paper. Here’s the next one I made:

Rawr

Rawr

Fairly dino-like. I mean, essentially a dinosaur, yes. And a sketchy one! Soon after making this one, I discovered the zoom-in, so I was able to do repair work. Here’s how that turned out:

Rawr 2

Rawr 2

The first one is kind of . . . better, isn’t it? A lot more life in it. And yet I’m obsessively tidy, so I went on to make a bunch of other creatures with neat lines. As this is just the first batch, I’m sure there’s plenty of experimentation to come, so we’ll see what evolves. For now, my first monsters:

Pink Squawk

Pink Squawk

I think we’ve all been where this monster currently is.

Bloobie

Bloobie

Rueful little Bloobie. Such a simple design, but plenty of feeling, right? And you know I’m always going for the feelings.

Capital Fellow

Capital Fellow

This guy seems like an upstanding citizen. Pretty sure I would want to be friends with him.

Blorb

Blorb

Bit of a worrier here. I hope her day gets better.

Vraaaaah!

Vraaaaah!

Wants to be scary. Isn’t, very.

Hulky

Hulky

She’s got a lot on her shoulders, and possibly her mind. But probably not her mind.

I don’t know what’s going to happen next, but I have a feeling it will involve cuteness. One thing I discovered when making these is that, at least when it comes to images, I seem to be primarily interested in the cute. We’ll see if I can break out of that, or if I want to. After all, the power to create cuteness means that you are never without it!