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F.O.K.U.S. uses the arts to unite, inspire and empower diverse communities. This is accomplished through the production of events, workshops and the publication of INSIGHT, our quarterly arts magazine. F.O.K.U.S. is an organization led by young adults that highlights the importance of and need for the arts and creativity in life. We believe the arts enable people to rise above barriers in society by creating new ways of thinking, communicating, and interacting.
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Volume IV | Issue 1
Letter From the editor Street StyLe GiFt PLAte iN the JArS oF oBSerVAtioN iCeLANd orGANiZed mAZe FAmiLy BUSiNeSS iNViSiBLe iNStrUCtioNS the odd CoUPLe SyZyGy miLLiNery reSUSCitAtioN reSidUAL eNerGy WiNG Poem tUNA FiSh SheetS FirSt CLiCk iNFiNite PLAyLiSt
Art ArtiCLeS / Q&A PhotoGrAPy Poetry F.o.k.U.S. CrU iNFiNite PLAyLiSt
PRESIDENT/PUBLISHER/EDITOR-IN-CHIEF / ATIBA T. EDWARDS EDITOR / ALLISON MARITZA LASKY LAYOUT & DESIGN / JEFF ALBERT
Atiba is a perpetual visionary that likes to do art in the dark since it is easier to see the true light. Allison believes that children are the best artists—they are individual universes of infinite creativity. Jeff is a creative type whose favorite questions are Why? and What if...? In that order.
CONTRIBUTORS / ARNTHOR ÆVARSSON / PETER CICCARIELLO / BRIAN DUPONT / ATIBA T. EDWARDS / SIMONE GRANT / AMINA HASSEN / SPRING HOFELDT / ALLISON MARITZA LASKY / BUD RAMSAY / STEVE RILEY / RoByn / MIKE ROSEN / SPAZECRAFT / JARED WILLIAMS www.onefokus.org/insight Questions and comments can be directed to email@example.com Submission inquiries can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org All advertising inquiries can be directed to email@example.com INSIGHT is published by F.O.K.U.S. Inc.
All rights reserved on entire contents. Reproduction in whole or in part without written permission is prohibited. Opinions expressed in articles are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of F.O.K.U.S. or INSIGHT.
LETTER FROM THE EDITOR
Volume IV | Issue 1
Why do I do this? Of the primary things I do, each is rewarding and stressing in different ways. Several people have asked how and why I do all the things that I do. Which is usually followed by some derivative of “you don’t feel like your cup is full?” I do, but each and everything I do is connected and helps me be a better me. F.O.K.U.S. has introduced me to a wide brush of folks and vice-versa. Some of our integral members came via F.O.K.U.S. event connections. INSIGHT was started several years ago when I was talking with my co-founder of F.O.K.U.S. about the need to really create an arts science fair. Yes, you heard right—an arts science fair—a place where people, from novice to expert, can test out their creativity. The first issue we ever created was like the volcano experiment at your elementary school science fair. It was a safe, tried and true format and reflected a group of kids who were still mashing things together to figure things out—that worked. Fast forward some 20 or 30 issues later and here we are with the latest volume for your enjoyment. Our content and contributors have expanded and I would encourage you to visit the F.O.K.U.S. website to see the development throughout the issues. I realize that my cup, at times, runs over but I have a saucer to catch it.
2 | INSIGHT
Atiba T. Edwards
“I think that the classic glamor of a woman should always be reflected in her wardrobe and that’s something that would never die.”
Photo by Atiba T. Edwards at opening reception for Wesley Martin Berg’s “My Gang”
My practice is a study of how the visual aspects of information can be conveyed—or distorted—within the framework of abstract painting. My recent work has begun to focus on the visual possibilities inherent in language; I take the written (or printed) word as source material, stressing and distorting the text through a process of painting, erasure, and repainting. Working in oil on metal (usually aluminum) I engage with the techniques of high art and common signage in an attempt to foreground the painting’s material reality. My goal is that the painted surface and language will be placed on equal footing so that the works will not merely be read, which I feel ends any engagement with it too quickly. To this end the text is distorted, reversed, and repeated with odd kerning and shifts in scale so that that the act of reading is transformed into looking. My recent work has begun to experiment with painting as a three dimensional object. By projecting the painting into the space of the viewer, but keeping the painted planes flat, I force the viewer to reassess their relation to the object as a carrier of information; all of the sides cannot be viewed simultaneously, and the complete painting can only be comprehended abstractly. “Gift Plate” is a study in combining the use of text and the marks existing on a found support to determine the composition of the painting. The text was applied and modified (stenciled backwards, vowels removed) to discourage merely “reading” the work while simultaneously defining the geometric division of the surface. (right) Gift Plate Oil and paintstick on steel 9-5/8" x 14" 2010
Brian dupont was born in tacoma, WA and was raised in the midwest. he attended the University of minnesota and kansas City Art before attending Cornell University to study painting. he lives and works in Brooklyn, New york. 4 | INSIGHT
IN THE JaRS OF OBSERVaTION
Each painting is a translation of the way people communicate, including but not limited to interactions of my own. I utilize animate or inanimate objects which I find to have a spunky nature. More often than not I play and work with these objects until I find the right metaphorical setting to place them in. Capturing and illustrating every character role in the piece is important, such as the disposition in a fish, the nature of a glass jar’s curves, and the overall sentiment that a marriage of two such elements creates. Translation of these personalities is key as it helps to make light of situations we encounter or may take too seriously.
TOUGH LOvE (right)
In some families, no matter how young or old we are, our parents are continually teaching us a lesson. How heavily do they need to stress their point before it makes an impact? Acrylic on board 11" x 17"
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PEOPLE WATCHING (above)
Have you ever observed the people who are watching other people? I am amused by their continuous glances of inspection. It’s best when their chin has dropped open slightly and they’ve lost all sense of what they are doing. Acrylic & colored pencil on board 12" x 11-3/4"
NOT A CONDImENT (right)
Make no mistake, people aren’t always as plain as they appear to be. Acrylic on board 4" x 5"
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OUT OF SORTS (above)
When out of our comfort zone, and without realizing it, we sometimes calm our nerves by pretending to be someone we are not. Acrylic & colored pencil on board 7.5" X 10.5"
’TIL I TURN BLUE (right)
Stubborn as a mule, but no larger than a gumball. As a child, holding your breath to make a point always seems so ridiculous. It’s a silly move to make, but awfully entertaining to watch. Acrylic on board 4" x 5"
Spring hofeldt is painter based in Brooklyn, New york. She earned a BFA in Commercial Art, with an emphasis in illustration at Central missouri State University in 2001. Spring has shown her work in galleries across the country, along with facilitating exhibitions and events throughout Brooklyn and upstate New york. 10 | INSIGHT
Returning to Iceland after a 14 year long journey abroad, I realized how deeply my spirit is connected with the Icelandic landscape and nature, a tie that has never been broken. Located so far north, Iceland is renowned for its magnificent light, the midnight sun and the dark winters with the magical Northern Lights. With its active geology, providing erupting volcanoes and steamy hot springs, and constantly changing weather conditions, Iceland provides an amazing showcase of the elements in nature. Capturing nature’s elemental forces best defines the current character and direction in my photographic art.
STEAmY mOUNTAINS (right)
Some days the humidity levels in the air emphasize the geothermal activity by accentuating the steam billowing from the countless hot springs in Iceland. This late evening shot shows Grensdalur, a geothermal field in southern Iceland which is at a walking distance from my home.
STEAm AND ICE (pp. 14–15)
Hot steam from the ground encountering freezing temperatures at the surface can generate dramatic ice sculptures.
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LAND OF LIGHT (above)
Half-covered in snow, I often find mountains showing their best character. Drama in the sky completes the play on this winter scene.
THE ExPLORER (right)
Although I rarely intend to include my best friend and exploration buddy in a landscape photo, he incidentally can make a picture much more interesting.
mY BIGGEST KODAK mOmENT (pp. 18–19)
As I was getting ready to end a photo session at the site of the volcanic eruption, I noticed the Northern Lights appear in the sky above for a fleeting moment, the biggest Kodak moment of my life—so far.
The photographer Arnthor Ævarsson currently lives in a small town called hveragerdi in southern iceland. A selection of his photographic work can be seen on www.flickr.com/photos/ice-cold. 16 | INSIGHT
REvOLUTIONARY FEvER (right)
“Revolutionary Fever” speaks on the need to constantly create positive change both individually and collectively. It recognizes that sole truth in life and that change is constant. In the midst of change one should be encouraged by the hope and possibility of new options, new energy, and new outlooks, all the while embracing the slight and consistent alterations life will always bring our way. “Revolutionary Fever” reminds us that the world is still moving and I have the power to positively move with it!
LOUD PASSION (pg. 22)
“Loud Passion” speaks on the need to remove any hinderances that would stifle one’s voice. It recognizes gifts and talents which we have all been created with. A dream may in fact plant the seed but it is that passion that resides in the inner core of our being that allows us to move forward in watering that seed. It embraces the drive of life, the power of motivation and grand opening of one’s true manifestation. “Loud Passion” reminds us all that thinking outside the box breaks barriers and builds bridges!
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CONCRETE COLOR JUNGLE (above)
“Concrete Color Jungle” is truly inspired by the rhythm of life, the motion in sounds, and the melting pot in the city in which I reside. It is a non-verbal illustration of the way everything and everyone around us can bring us hope and joy and at times even peace. It speaks to the hidden innocence of the every day hustle to survive and keep one’s head and inspiration above ground. “Concrete Color Jungle” is a direct reflection of the look and feel of life in the city. An abstract yet fulfilling feeling!
Bud ramsay is a singer/songwriter and founder of Fyre Zone, an organization established to work with inner city and at-risk youth with a passion for music and the arts. his paintings were inspired by his desire to help these youngsters and to raise money for Fyre Zone. he resides in Brooklyn, New york. Find his work at www.fyrezone.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
an Interview by aLLISON MaRITza LaSKy
On a sunny day in august last summer, my co-president, atiba, and I traveled to the Bahamian island of Nassau, to celebrate the nuptials of our F.O.K.U.S. family member, Jared Williams and then wife-to-be, Lakethia White. Even there beneath a cloudless blue sky, thousands of miles from home, Jared’s natural eye for artistic flare was hot and present—from snapshots of his brothers walking on cobblestone streets to the salt on the rims of margaritas at the local bar. I remember the first time I met Jared at The University of Michigan—walking with a camera around his shoulder in the dead of winter—no bag, just the camera. Jared will even tell you his primal love has forever been with creativity—how to sanctify a moment by capturing its speed and truth. Now, months later, a married man, I caught up with Jared to see how life has expressed itself in new ways behind his lens. ALLISON mARITzA LASKY: So with all the changes around being a married man, were you able to really bring in 2011? JARED WILLIAmS: Everyone loves
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house parties, so instead of paying a ton of money to hang out at some club, a few friends and I threw a house party in Harlem. On the morning of New Year’s Eve I was dreading the long ride home—I’m a Brooklyn kid. AmL: Inquiring minds want to know—what’s the latest addition on your arts menu? JW: POLAROIDS! I recently inherited my parents’ old Polaroid SUN660 and haven’t put it down. Having given up my pursuits in photography a few years ago, I did not realize what I was getting myself into. AmL: What are you getting into with the camera? JW: After a day or so of research I found The Impossible Project, a company that has continued to produce film for instant film cameras after Polaroid discontinued its production of their instant film. Coincidentally, a few years ago, I attended a New Year’s Eve loft party in the same building that The Impossible Project is currently located in. What a great space! Great memories of Polaroid cameras and all the fun that was associated with them—the space brought all those feelings back. AmL: So this new relationship, how
does it differ from the first time around with photography? JW: Polaroids are like the Delorean of cameras, and I want to go back to the future! [I am working with] the people at The Impossible Project, who are innovative and energetic about the basics. I stopped by their office on a lunch break and the afternoon lent itself to discussing the process of using the film and techniques to create different effects. Developing the film in cold, room temp, and warm environments all result in different looks—and contrary to popular belief YOU ARE NOT SUPPOSED TO SHAKE THEM! AmL: Oops! No wonder all my photos look like the Northern Lights.
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So, with new perspectives on how to use your 660, are you getting into a groove? JW: Hell yes! It’s a lot of fun to mess around with—and for once, I don’t mind carrying a tank of a camera around with me! AmL: So tell me about these shots you shared with our INSIGHT readers. JW: On New Year’s Eve, I strapped on the 660 and just let my eyes do the talking. I hope you like what they’re saying. AmL: I admire the varying distances from the lens of each photo—and the sepia is a fitting final touch to reflect an old school piece of technology. So, any images
you are particularly interested in capturing now that you’re back into photography? JW: Everything and anything— especially if it is in Brooklyn! Although, I might have to venture out of the Kings County to find something truly amazing. Perhaps a trip to somewhere warm—start planning now! AmL: Ha! More sun, sand and snapshots—I could get into the idea. Until then, though, some closing questions for you. If you had one thing to teach the children one lesson about art, what would you preach? JW: Be fearless—push boundaries, do not compromise, explore every aspect of your subject, and don’t
be a slave to rules. Own the space outside of the box, transform it. AmL: What is your art? JW: I enjoy any medium of drawing, food, and photography—not necessarily in that order. AmL: Will you always be F.O.K.U.S.’d? JW: You know it! Since my inception into the family in ’04, I am and always will be fully F.O.K.U.S.’d man! AmL: Finally, finish the line ’Art is…’ JW: Art is my LIFE!
Allison is co-president of F.o.k.U.S. NyC, assistant director of a Brooklyn preschool, and is working towards her masters in public health. INSIGHT | 29
SpazECRaFT ONE OF SOHNUp INK
My artwork is based on the premise that we all follow these “invisible instructions” that sometimes and often, we either do not understand or we look into our work to discover greater meaning from within ourselves and from what comes through us. Whether it be social, political, intellectual, imagination, fantasy, community, or otherwise, we urban art creators channel our spirit (call it what you like) through our technique, visions, and experiences to produce our cultural output. I often create symbols that are reminiscent of Mayan glyphs, Japanese kanji, or typography from other cultures, and in fact, I take my inspiration from the varied typographic pictographs that I study and intuitively create my own hybrid symbology that gets further interpreted by the viewer and translated by me upon further study of the marks themselves. I take on the role of cultural anthropologist & typographic “morphologist” in my analyzation of my improvised symbols.
SYmBOLOS 1 (right)
Process-oriented, this piece was the most recent in my “Symbolos” series, and it encompasses both an underlying abstract quality and a freeing from flow in the intuitive automatic writing space. Often these “marks/symbols” do not hold meaning until they are revisited by myself and by other viewers. Truly guided by invisible instructions.
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The main symbol has been created and repeatedly drawn by me literally hundreds of times in a variety of context. Stickers, paintings, illustrations, sterling silver jewelry, and automatic writings. I’ve assigned this symbol the meaning of “hope” as its ligatures seem to me to suggest the act of giving, a genuflected position of sorts, and a “humble” yet “prideful” symbol. The background for this symbol is created from a simple arc or rainbow shape, and is part of my “Totem Symmetry” process and urban art creation stencil-making workshops.
EE/ES/CE (pp. 34–35)
A study in color fields and ebb and flow. I’ve never worked on archival watercolor paper with mixed media before, so this was a testing ground for working the medium (acrylics/spray paint/ink) into a visual map of seemingly disparate elements. However, all the elements stem back to, and are joined by, the original source, my original graffiti tag, “ESCE.”
FLOATIES 1 & 2—ON RECYCLED FAN BLADES \\ SIGNS—ON RECYCLED CHIP BOARD FROm 1974 (pg. 36)
A study in found objects as transformable surfaces using my most recognizable art creations/techniques. Characters and characters. Stencils and paint.
STEm CELL \\ TOOLS_N_TESTS (pg. 37)
A deep space of reflection for me as an artist in 2010, while working with teens from Israel and Palestine on visual arts projects and as an “artist in residence” at Boston College. I gained a sense of understanding my heritage through my introspection and work. I broke down and cried while I was creating these paintings.
Aaron Lazansky-olivas AkA SpazeCraft is an internationally recognized urban artist/designer & music/ cultural producer born, raised, and currently residing in New york City. Find his work at sohnup.com and invisibleinstructions.com. INSIGHT | 33
THE ODD COUpLE
“The Odd Couple” is based on real life cheaters. as I travel around New york City and Brooklyn by subway and bus, I observe the relationships of people. We are all odd but beautiful in our own individual way. The Odd Couple collection is organic in form and real in personality.
THE ODD COUPLE EARRINGS (right, top)
999 fine silver 2010
THE ODD COUPLE RINGS (right, bottom)
999 fine silver 2010
THE ODD COUPLE BRACELETS (pg. 40)
999 fine silver 2010
THE ODD COUPLE NECKLACE (pg. 41)
999 fine silver 2010
Born in 1967, Steve riley attended art school at UCe Birmingham, Uk. Since graduating in 1996 with a BA honors in art and design, riley has been creating one of a kind art and jewelry, won first place in a design competition for British jewelers “Clive ranger,” received a bursary from the Prince of Wales’ “Prince’s trust Fund,” and produces work for “tiffany.” riley now works from his Brooklyn studio where he creates his one-of-a-kind pieces, accepts private commissions, and teaches jewelry making. Steve riley also teaches at Williamsburg’s Fitzgerald Jewelry Studio. For more info on work and classes by Steve riley, visit www.steverileyart.com. 38 | INSIGHT
In the consideration of syzygial imagery, it immediately becomes evident that we are talking about the tension and nervousness between objects or “things,” most commonly used in relation to celestial bodies. Looking closer to earth, one finds the same conceptual tension in more mundane everyday objects. The dichotomy between things provides the same nervous attraction and repulsion occurring in deep space. With careful examination, one sees dissolution of separateness and a further alignment of conjunctions and oppositions where previously, no apparent connections existed. The yoking together of conceptual opposites, in this case, the organic and the inorganic, the living and non-living, the useful and the discarded detritus infers an inner alignment between the other and the self. It is essentially, both one and two at the same time. In fact, there appears to be a fusion of disparate things without loss of identity by either, a harmony of opposites. Here we have Syzygy, as clearly as planets in the same gravitational system align along a plane. There is a synchronization that reveals itself through this effortless alignment, an inherent connectedness between all things that presents as harmony of color, form and “thing-ness.” pairing the evocative Luna moth (actias luna) with discarded metallic trash provided the opportunity to explore this syzygial relationship. Seen mostly at night, the Luna moth, with its disquieting eyespots, lives approximately one week with mating as its sole purpose.
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On the other hand, trash is ubiquitous. Trash sits at the intersection of urban and rural (another syzygial opposition), of use and discard, of the personal and the public. Trash is the historical record of culture and of civilization itself. We find the personal and public detritus everywhere, choking waterways, windblown on our mountains. There is even a gigantic floating garbage field, mostly of bits and pieces of plastic, in the northwest pacific Ocean, about a thousand miles off the coast of California. But trash also sits in the liminal space between beauty and ugliness. Found trash, out of context, has a new, fresh and vital meaning. The juxtaposition and visual tension of the natural and the unnatural, the living and the discarded dead, serves to identify the inherent poetical nature in these objects. Here we have trash as poetic object. The viewer responds to this dichotomy in multiple ways. The use of collage and pastiche in a first stage montage is further eroded by mapping the resultant images into a 3-D software program, this serves to fragment context in an even more disturbing manner. Trash becomes art, advertising text becomes poetry. Trash and Luna moth combine into a synthesized visual image that represents an amalgam of opposites. The exploration of the syzygial relationship begins with the Luna moth and trash and extends to other diametrically opposed images and concepts.
LOvE FLIES LOW WHISPER REDUx II (pp. 44–45) BITTER PILL II (pp. 46–47) TINY SKY STILL LIFE WITH FEATHER (pp. 48–49) BEING OF mAN (pp. 50–51) LOvE FLIES LOW WHISPER REDUx II (pp. 52–53) BIRD IN A BASKET (pp. 54–55)
Peter Ciccariello is a New england-based visual artist who works at the interstices of creative intermedia, where process overlaps and defines form and form becomes the carrier for the birth and evolution of ideas. Find his work at invisiblenotes.blogspot.com or email him at email@example.com. INSIGHT | 43
an Interview by aTIBa T. EDWaRDS
Childhood friends Molly yestadt and Jane pincus set out to carve their niche in the world of millinery. The hats that they produce under the yestadt Millinery label have been seen on shows such as “Gossip Girl” and in magazines such as Elle, WWD and Nylon. Tucked on a cobble stone street near Chinatown, I had a chance to visit the two at one of the yestadt Millinery spaces as they were prepping and ramping up production. ATIBA T. EDWARDS: Please introduce yourself to the readers. mOLLY YESTADT: I make hats. JANE PINCUS: I work with Molly and we own and run Yestadt Millinery. ATE: What led each of you to use this as your form of expression? mY: I love working with my hands. It was about finding a way to design in a hands-on way. Also finding the niche in the [fashion] industry where you can have freedom.
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J: I handle the sales end while she designs, does the sampling and production. JP: While Molly was taking classes at F.I.T. for her millinery certification, everyone would go to her old apartment on the Lower East Side and the wall would be covered with hats. People were responding to them and wanted them—that’s what started the conversation. Coming out of school and having worked for different companies, we brought our individual experiences to the table and had this brain child idea and said “let’s do our own thing together.” ATE: Where do you each draw your inspirations from when you come together? JP: I love New York—I call it being in the trenches every day. I get to see all these different gears of the cycle in any given day—from going into factories and watching garments being produced or into a design studio and seeing a new collection. When we discuss an idea, I can draw upon all these different experiences. mY: I always draw upon color and
depth and how they interconnect as the starting point for everything. ATE: How has millinery and the wearing of a hat evolved? mY: The language of hat wearing doesn’t exist in the same way that it used to in terms of etiquette and things like that. In that respect, we have a lot of freedom. Millinery is an old term and it refers to a hand crafted product. That is what we are doing—making hand-crafted hats that are up to pace with the fashion season. JP: Hat wearing serves a purpose for you. If you do not want to deal with anyone, it can do that for you. It is up to whether you want to welcome people in or shield yourself from them. mY: The hat creates a space, either open or closed, around you. Like sunglasses. something is hidden, but something is also simultaneously there. ATE: How do the materials you use play a role in your design? JP: We find something that we love and create around it. Coming from a fabric background, I feel that what you use is just as important as what you create with it. ATE: What was your first hat? mY: I made a simple cloche while I was in school. I gave one of my first hats to Elizabeth John. The
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first grouping that I made, I used all this weird beaded fruit—my teacher made me cry. JP: I remember that! I came back from UMass- Amherst one weekend and we used it in a hat show in Chelsea. ATE: Where or on whom would you want to see your hat tomorrow? mY: Anna Dello Russo. JP: She’s turned her editorial column into a PR machine. Why Molly cites her is because she has been known and is photographed wearing forward thinking and crazy stuff. She would wear the wackiest and craziest designer duds that you’d see walking down the runway and looks awesome. People started following her personal styles, and she recently came out as a huge supporter of wearing not just hats but headpieces. As the subcategory in the millinery world, headpieces takes some guts because you have to be really comfortable to wear them. Anna came out and said everyone should be doing this. mY: She made it her personal mission. JP: Respect to Anna Dello Russo. One area we would love to do hats would be for a European runway show—like to do the hats for Louis Vuitton.
ATE: What are you working on now? mY: We are doing development for Fall 2011 which will premier in February for Fashion Week. February is going to be a big month because we will be doing our own preview of the new line in addition to doing runway collaborations and marketing. JP: It is literally a lot of planning for one month of craziness that sets the tone for your next six months. ATE: Thank you for your time. Before we wrap up complete the phrase “Art Is...” mY: Art is context. JP: Art is freedom. Art is fun most importantly.
yestadt millinery is a New york City-based hat company seeking to modernize headwear and resuscitate the millinery industry. Their pieces are a mix of old world craftsmanship and contemporary style. For more information visit www.yestadtmillinery.com INSIGHT | 63
This selection of photographs is part of a larger body of work entitled “If you Listen Closely,” photographs shot in uninhabited and foreclosed homes in northeast Ohio. These uninhabited homes are filled with the lingering energy of people who have lived in them and each room tells a story of former residents that I try to absorb and document in photographs. I engage in a collaborative process with the space, letting the architecture, decorations, light, presence and voids delimit how I take the photographs. Tensions arise between the beauty and pride of each space and the unfortunate stories of foreclosure and abandonment. I try to highlight the nature of the home—structures we become emotionally attached to that seem physically permanent, but that ultimately break down. These photographs are also a social commentary on this historical moment in american life, filled with the myth of permanence and embedded in rupture, divorce, foreclosure, decay.
BEDROOm DOWNSTAIRS, vINE STREET (right)
Paying close attention to light has become very important in my shooting practice, as it is the presence that really activates the space. Each photo I take requires careful planning and sometimes multiple visits to the homes so that I can capture the light. C-print 20" x 24" 2010
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BATHROOm, vINE STREET (above)
This home has been uninhabited for some time now, with no sign of the owners, except for their abandoned or forgotten belongings. I revisited this home several times since October, 2009 and the only signs of change are the passing light and the gradual increase in mold. C-print 20" x 24" 2009
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BEDROOm, STATE ROUTE 534 (above)
It was a strange experience to see so many homes that (at least superficially) were completely inhabitable. This highlighted the tension of their slow, quiet takeover by nature. C-print 20" x 24" 2009
INSIGHT | 67
HALLWAY, STATE ROUTE 534 (above)
The landscape surrounding this home was also a huge presence inside. This window framed it nicely. C-print 20" x 24" 2009
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POOL ROOm, STATE ROUTE 534 (above)
This home in Southington, Ohio was foreclosed on in October, 2009 and has remained uninhabited since then. It is also the former home of heavyweight boxing champion Mike Tyson, although it was not in his possession at the time of the foreclosure. I was drawn to show this particular home because it helps represent, to me, the full range of people being affected by foreclosures in the US.
Amina hassen is an artist currently living, working and exploring in New york City. She uses medium and large format photography as her documentary tools. Feel free to contact her with any reactions, thoughts, questions at firstname.lastname@example.org. INSIGHT | 69
You rub my back On my shoulder blades you touch the places where my wings once were. I don’t know where they are now. Sometimes I ache in their absence I look for them. Maybe they are buried beneath the rumpled bedclothes. no. Maybe they are on the topmost shelf, obscured by dust and guarded by cobwebs. no. I’ve already searched under the bed, behind the doors and in the cupboards. I wonder where they are now. More importantly, how did I lose them? I have no memories. My skin in the places where they were attached is raw. Sensitive. I feel them sometimes like I imagine amputees feel their phantom limbs. Where they worn away by everyday forces? Did they atropy from lack of magic? Was it a knife, quick, cold and cruel? Or were they just torn from me as if I was a fly in the hands of a mean child. You kiss my back and I feel less raw. A few more kisses and I giggle. I can almost feel them now.
Jersey gal. Lover of art, chocolate, magic, sex and sleep. She is curious. Sings loudly and off-key, dancing like a white girl. happiest playing with her computer, paints, camera, books and wrapped in her blankie. Can be distracted by shiny things. 70 | INSIGHT
Steering toward the sun To resist the tide of change Only to be caught
Simone Grant is originally from northern California and works in a museum in midtown manhattan. She currently resides in Sunnyside, Queens. INSIGHT | 71
Her sheets were empty when I came home from the hospital which was not surprising because these sheets were never used for sleeping were never made for sleeping these sheets were made were not made for sleeping to cradle falling porcelain from kitchen floors the empty plate, poised in shaking fingers of the high resolution images that fill this picture book documenting anorexia and bulimia in thirteen year old girls I do not know this disease but I know those, those are bones, those are the bones that form fingers, we call them disfigured, emaciated, human piles. these sheets were made were not made for sleeping to be tied together and dropped out of windows like ladders so she could escape then stream behind her as she whirled barefoot skies dancing hurricanes out of Saturday afternoons these sheets were made
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were not made for sleeping to be used as slings
made for gauze wrapping her frozen injuries made to satin siphon the blood from wounds I couldn’t close made to keep her warm because when a body drops to 92 degrees it doesn’t feel like August it’s too painful for her to sit on the ground and terms like “hormone replacement therapy” imply that she has starved herself back into childhood these sheets were meant to be used for scrolls, for story books, for stories, for the story already scripted into individual ribs something, about bike rides, and sunsets prom dates and fairy tales, first kisses, frog princes and teddy bears, but no these sheets were made were not made for comfort to simulate a sense of control in a thread count that matched her daily caloric intake a sense of control in a world where she had none so she made her own in a sense that manifests at breakfasts she never ate at lunch when her side smiles handed out cupcakes at dinner tables with family when she did nothing but hold food in front of her face did nothing but hold food in front of her face just to prove that she could resist
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is not how people were meant to exist is something that I could not fix something that no body can fix
this this this
is a disease is a virus is what causes double vision in adolescence and hallucinogenics in pre-pubescence why misogyny and cosmetics should be considered types of eugenics
this this did
is not the last breath of a coward who enforces the death sentence is the death sentence you know that in the developed world twenty percent of people diagnosed with an eating disorder die twenty percent equals one out of five I have five friends who are diagnosed anorexics I do not know which one this poem is for. I do not know to whom those sheets belong.
mike rosen is the founder and publisher of TheNewConfusion (www.TheNewConfusion.com). he is a student at Wesleyan University pursuing a bachelor’s degree in english. you can reach him at mike@TheNewConfusion.com. 74 | INSIGHT
aLLISON MaRITza LaSKy
On the afternoon of his 2nd birthday, my nephew, Sebastian, snapped his first photo. While using my phone as a toy to nibble on, he accidentally turned on the camera feature and shot this bright self portrait. Children are individual universes of creativity—I hope Sebastian never stops pointing and shooting.
Allison is co-president of F.o.k.U.S., assistant director of a Brooklyn preschool, and is working towards her masters in public health. INSIGHT | 75
INFINITE pLayLIST: CHapTER 7
Virtual Digging Social Club
Curated by aTIBa T. EDWaRDS
For this issue, I decided to turn the playlist over to the F.O.K.U.S. Cru to see what they are listening to. as a result we’ve gotten some very interesting music—ranging from Romanian music to a local ann arbor MC to classics like Frank Sinatra and Etta James. It felt like I got a chance to go record digging with the entire NyC Cru and have them find some treasures. I welcome you to the virtual digging social club.
ERYKAH BADU – FOUR LEAF CLOvER (BADUIzm) “Here I am, on a cloud.../Catch a four leaf clover /Maybe we’ll get over/Try and love might come your way.” mACKLEmORE – RYAN LEWIS - vIPASSANA REmIx(vS EP REDUx) “space and time are a bunch of manmade distractions to measure a spirit that no human could ever capture.” CINEmATIC ORCHESTRA – TO BUILD A HOmE (mA FLEUR) “This is a place where I don’t feel alone / This is a place where I feel at home.../ Cause, I built a home/for you/for me.” GRAFFITI 6 – ANNIE YOU SAvE mE (COLOURS) “Just when I’m finding it hard to breath you lift the weight inside of me/ Oh baby I see the light thats burning bright and we’re the stars.” FRANK SINATRA – THE WAY YOU LOOK TONIGHT (vERY BEST OF FRANK SINATRA ALBUm) “Lovely ... never, ever change./Keep that breathless charm./Won’t you please arrange it ? /’cause I love you .../just the way you look tonight.” ELLA FITzGERALD – ALL THE THINGS YOU ARE - (THE COmPLETE ELLA FITzGERALD SONGBOOKS) “Finding your love I’ve found my adventure,/ Touching your hand, my heart beats the faster,/ All that I want in all/of this world is you.” BILL mEDLEY & JENNIFER WARNES – I’vE HAD THE TImE OF mY LIFE (DIRTY DANCING FILm SOUNDTRACK) “Just remember/You’re the one thing /I can’t get enough of / So I’ll tell you something / This could be love.” LAURYN HILL – SWEETEST THING (mISEDUCATION OF LAURYN HILL) “How much you’re in love with me/See, like a queen, a queen upon her throne.../ Fingertips on the small of my back/More valuable than all I own.”
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BRUNO mARS – JUST THE WAY YOU ARE (DOO-WOPS & HOOLIGANS) “I’d never ask you to change/If perfect is what you’re searching for/Then just stay the same.” ETTA JAmES – AT LAST (AT LAST!) “Oh, yeah when you smile, you smile/Oh, and then the spell was cast/And here we are in heaven/For you are mine/At last.” JOHN mAYER – CITY LOvE (ROOm FOR SqUARES) “Friday evening, we’ve been drinking/2 AM, I swear that I might propose/but we close the tab/split a cab/and call each other up when we get home/falling asleep to the sound of sirens.” O’JAYS – CRY TOGETHER (SO FULL OF LOvE) “Every day the sun doesn’t shine/Sometimes it has to rain/Just like we enjoy the pleasure/We have to stand the pain.” EmILY KING – U & I (EAST SIDE STORY) “Oh, I have been waiting for all of this time /You, finally found you, my love has arrived/ Once there was me, now there’s U and I.” BONUS TRACKS CEE-LO – ALL DAY LOvE AFFAIR (...IS A SOUL mACHINE) LLASA – DE CARA A LA PARED (LA LLORONA) DON GYNéCO – CARAmEL (qUALITY STEEL) CHEEKS – mOON FEAT. PRHYmE RHYmE BOSS AND G.P. OF TREE CITY (THE POTENTIAL) THE ROOTS – RIGHT ON FEAT. JOANNA NEWSOmE AND STS (HOW I GOT OvER) CEE LO GREEN – LOvE GUN FT. LAUREN BENNETT (THE LADY KILLER) GORAN BREGOvIC – EDERLEzI (SILENCE OF THE BALKANS) vIvALDI – CONCERTO FOR TWO mANDOLINS (IL GIARDINO ARmONICO PLAY vIvALDI) THELONIUS mONK – CARAvAN (THELONIUS mONK PLAYS DUKE ELLINGTON) CHET BAKER – mY FUNNY vALENTINE (mY FUNNY vALENINE) DUTCH – PEARLS (A BRIGHT COLD DAY)
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COVER aRT: BIRD IN a BaSKET
Volume IV | Issue 1
In an ongoing series of experiments with visual and textual signs, I have become increasingly interested in how narrative meanings are constructed. In first creating a photo montage, I select a working theme, in this case a bird hidden in a basket. The tension in the image comes from the stalking reptile and the fact that the bird is almost entirely hidden in the scene. The photo montage is brought into a 3-D modeled environment where the image is “mapped” over the objects. The inherent cohesion that the original montage contained is further fragmented by this process, and as a result, the bird becomes invisible. Hiding and disappearing, searching and finding, safety and terror are several of the issues that are inferred. The viewer is left with many “clues” in deciphering the image meaning, and the elusive, purposefully ambiguous meaning is altered by the perception of each viewer, driven by what each individual brings to the experience. What is the artist’s intent? How is that intent altered by perception? How we see and interpret visual signs helps to formulate the narrative of any given image. The repercussions of individualized perception versus intent is what we deal with every day culturally, politically, and spiritually in our information and data-saturated lives. Find his work at invisiblenotes.blogspot.com or email him at email@example.com.
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