A photo posted by Jessie Keylon (@jessiekeylon) on
I have never lived with a cat. Before my husband and I married, he was adopted by a stray petite, sweet one eyed kitty (legend had it she had a fight with a raccoon) and she stayed with me one night. My apartment had fleas afterwards. Other than that, I have never lived with a cat.
When the Artist Republic 4 Tomorrow gallery in Laguna Beach asked if I would participate in their upcoming cat show, I balked. I know nothing about cats. I”m not even sure I trust them- they always seem to know too much… planning for revenge…
But alas, I agreed and ended up with the kitty above. This was a very fun project to work on, fun to come up with the objects inside (my favorites are the bread clip and the thumbdrive). So glad I decided to participate!
The show runs Through the 26th of April, I recommend heading over to the gallery in Laguna Beach if you find yourself in the area!
We went to Joshua Tree last weekend for a getaway and to visit the meditation center.
If you have not been to that region, it is the high desert, specifically the Mojave desert, and it’s, well, it’s a desert.
It’s warm and dry. Since it is January, it was not sweltering hot, just nice and sunny. Saturday the wind picked up as we hiked amongst the strange looking trees in Joshua Tree National Park, but all was warm and pleasant during the day, and slightly chilly during the evening.
It wasn’t until we got back Sunday night until we realized the effect of the the dry desert air.
I instantly went into the cold that was threatening since the week before, and my nose was incredibly dry and flaky skin around my nostrils.
Our lips were chapped, our throats were dry, our eyes felt itchy, our skin tight and dehydrated. (this after 2 days in the desert- are we coastal or what?)
It was obvious to us that we did not prepare for our trip.
Note to self: next time we go to the desert- drink 10x more water and slather on 10x more chapstick and bring the coconut oil!
I don’t think I am alone here when I say my pants are fitting a bit tighter after the holidays.
When I look back at the past month or two of eating habits and exercise routines (or lack thereof), I can’t help but cringe. I’ve given in. I’ve let go. I’ve consumed our neighbor’s delicious cookies with ease, and my nephew’s chocolate gifts with reckless abandon. I’ve given up morning walks for sleeping in, and evening walks for watching movies. And now we arrive on the cusp of the new year, thinking over the past 12 months and wondering what new things the next months will provide.
So in pure cliche New Year’s form, I’m putting it out on the internet that I need to put the chocolate and cheesy crackers down and stop mindlessly snacking with the idea that food will keep my fingers and toes warmer. I’m going to go on a walk to warm up and then snuggle up in bed to watch a movie to stay warm. I’m going to make fresh ginger tea instead of rich hot chocolate, and most importantly, I’m going to love myself whether I do these things or not, whether I loose pound or two or not, because in reality, everything is okay.
Happy new year, everyone!
Have you ever gotten sucked into the internet time-warp and come out of the other side with a slight hang over,
several hours behind, and feeling like you just got off a 23 hour flight to the other side of the world?
So have I. It’s embarrassing to admit, and I could be making so many drawings and paintings with this lost time.
I could be writing and addressing these darn cards already (yes I know, 5 days left until Christmas, and I still have not sent out a single card- Don’t worry Grandma! Yours will go out in the mail on Monday, I promise…unless I get sucked back into the abyss)
On the other hand, I now know what Jimmy Fallon and Oprah did on the Tonight Show, I have warm-fuzzy feelings from watching this dog run, and I am well versed in the archives of Kate Beaton’s brilliant comics.
Happy Saturday night, may you be doing things more exciting than staring at a digital rectangle.
This summer you may remember that I took part in a fundraising art show in collaboration with Quiznos, for San Diego Comic Con.
They came to me with a theme of Superheros, gave me a Quiznos wrapper mounted on a board, and gave me a deadline. The theme made me think of the usual superheros I grew up with; Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, The Greatest American Hero, Powdered Toast Man, etc. As tempting as it was to bring one of these characters back from the grave, it just didn’t feel right to use the creative mojo from someone else’s creation.
I let the project sit on the back burners of my mind for about a month, until I the day realized the deadline was only a week away. Motivated by the lack of time, I turned to my most current obsession of the moment, family photographs. My mother is an avid, experienced genealogist, and had sent me some burned DVDs of family photos from both my mother’s and father’s sides. I have several of these photos printed out on my inspiration board, mostly as a cheerleading squad of old, dead people whom I’ve never met. They still cheer me on with their vaguely familiar facial features, their lives lived in a manner that is completely unknown and mysterious to me, and the eery feeling that the evolution of our family bloodline from hundreds of years of struggle and emotional sleepwalking, has all come to a breaking point with me, sitting here with my modern technology, an unexplainable connection to past, and an unnerving empathy of the world around me.
Out of all of this, one photo stood out. An older lady, solid and unfazed by being infront of a camera, stood awkwardly unapologetic with two little girls (one of whom would become my mother). Mabel was her name and she was born in 1881, grew up in Kansas on a farm, had 8 children (one of whom would become my grandfather), and moved to California during the depression when her sons came here for work. My mother remembers her vaguely as being old and frail, and she died a few years after this photo was taken.
The only thing she was missing was a super hero cape and mask. In just a few days I had finished the painting, added a polyurethane sealant on top, and shipped it to the gallery curator, to be seen on the fundraiser night.
The Quiznos Qanvas Fundraiser was a success, and raised over $10,000 for local artists and non-profits. Mabel now lives with someone else in San Diego, but I hear she is doing well, and has a very comfortable spot on the wall.
Why did you choose an Octopus?
Why did you choose to paint him with a sitar?
If you’d like me to make something up in order to sound deep or contemplative and moody, I can. However, usually I just paint. I just paint, then realize something looks octopus-like, then I paint some more, and realize this octopus needs to be doing something. Then I think of a guitar in it’s tentacles, but that seems so boring and expected. Cue a George Harrison song, and a sitar-playing octopus is born, so I just paint.
I used to wish I had some deep philosophical reasoning behind the paintings I make, so that when people stop in front of one in a gallery, they read the artist’s blurb and look back at the painting in awe thinking, “it’s so profound” or, “this artist must be smarter and more philosophical than I, because I have no idea what these words mean, and what they have to do with this painting, but in order to save face as an intellectual art connoisseur, I will nod my head and say how profound this is.”
I have often been confused with some artist’s blurbs about their paintings, and sometimes I think of what it would be like if I chose to bullshit my way through a blurb in order to sound like a profoundly deep artist:
This painting represents the 8 tentacled monster inside of all of us, writhing and slithering through the dense ocean of uncertainty. The sitar, protectively cluched tightly against the body of the octopus, represents the yearning to be the creator of our lives, and to construct an environment of beauty around us, no matter the opinions or rejections of those around us. The eye of the octopus stares straight at the viewer, daring them to object to the song it is about to play.
That’s not bad. I just made it up. Is this how artists create their blurbs about their paintings? Or do most artist plan it out, have the foresight to think about how each element of the painting will have meaning, and to execute the painting according to this plan? If so, I am not this kind of artist. I am one who creates, doesn’t worry about why or what or if it makes sense, and then afterwards, I get to decipher what my unconscious was trying to say.
Last night we went to the reception at the AR4T gallery in Laguna Beach. The octopus was joined my about 70 other pieces all with the loose theme of Art and Nature. Great Gallery, great people. I highly recommend a visit if you are ever in the area. This show runs until November 30th. I met the woman who bought the octopus. I am glad it’s going to a musically creative home. Happy travels, octopus!
Days like today, when the leaves are transforming ordinary gutters into Goldsworthy-worthy stripes of orange, I can’t help but feel the change of the season, and with that, a change of perspective.
It takes me back, several sketchbook eras ago, to see my life in segments, stepping stones, sequential stages to the point where I stand now.
From my current perspective, I want to be “there” already. I want to be enlightened, free of doubt, making it as an artist (define that please).
After looking back to see the sequential, crucial stages I went through, I realize how much I have grown. I am “there” if you asked my 22 year-old self.
Choices in life brought me here. I could have studied art in college, but I didn’t. Perhaps that would have been the easy way to do it. Perhaps if I had gone to art school, I would be in a great job with a big company, making art for movies or games or cartoon shows or commercial packaging. That would be great. But it would not be me. I used to kick myself for not taking that route to “success” but now I realize that it is someone else’s definition of success, not mine. I need substance, I need meaningful interaction. Turning out cute drawings to promote profit in other people’s businesses is a great career choice, just not for me.
Are there wrong paths to take in life? Are there even any paths to take other than the one we are on?
Sometimes I feel like I have disconnected with the outside world.
I feel like I have to sometimes when everything around me seems overwhelmingly strong.
I have always been more “sensitive” than those around me, resulting in confusion of why I feel this way; why I felt invalidated for being aware of things people wanted to shove under the rug. Perhaps this is why I cried so much as a baby. Perhaps this is why I have always been a good listener and a great empathetic friend. Perhaps this is why people in my past felt better after they dumped their pent up emotional baggage on me. I am like a sponge, soaking in everything and everyone around me, mistaking it for myself and my own emotions, and neglecting my own well being while relieving others of their negative feelings. Perhaps this is why sometimes I feel like hiding in my art studio, away from the world, to focus just on me.
I am learning though; learning how to observe these sensations and not identify with them. It takes a lot of practice to undo the 30-some years of habitual taking things personally.
It’s comforting to know that I am on my way to understanding my place in the world. Day by day, I am on my way.
Yes, that would be Canvas, but with a Q.
I am going to art exhibit thursday evening to see my own artwork, as well as 49 other artists’ work.
The show benefits ArtReach, one of the nonprofits I work for, and is appropriately themed “super heroes,” riding on the start of this years Comic-Con convention in San Diego.
Artists were given a clean, unused Quiznos sandwich wrapper to use as their canvas (hence the Qanvas) and free license to create any super hero image they would like.
Here is a sneak peak at where I started with this project; with a little inspiration from my Great Grandmother Mabel, born in 1881, shown here with my mother and her sister in the mid 50’s. The Qanvas made for a challenging surface to paint on. Can’t say I’ve attempted to paint on a sandwich wrapper before this, but now I have. While challenging, I found it enjoyable to creatively tackle the difficulties, and successfully make this a personal tribute to a family member I never met except through black and white photos.
The show is this Thursday, July 24th, at the Space 4 Art Gallery, downtown San Diego. For more information, visit this website.