I absolutely love getting mail (I mean come on, who does't!?!) Today, I received this little gem by post. The photograph is by Stephen Komp, a great mentor of mine. I have long awaited a Komp original and I am excited to say that I am now the proud owner of this beauty. I can't wait to find the perfect place for it!
It's been a little over five weeks since I started my internship with the Midwest Museum of Natural History. Each day I go in, I'm never fully sure what to expect, and I love it! Some days I'm working with the live animals, volunteering for an event, or cleaning rocks, other days I'm photographing gigantic taxidermy heads or identifying shells.
My main focus is to photograph the collection. As of right now, it's a little difficult because we are also in the process or re-accessioning almost the entire collection. I can't photograph items until they are properly numbered. This has caused a little rut in the rhythm, but I'm learning a lot new things because of it. I have anthropology and entomology pretty much done (other than what is on display.) The current project is with the geology collection. We've been going at it for a few weeks now and I think we'll be able to wrap it up hopefully over the next couple of weeks.
Last week, in-between waiting for specimens to be numbered, I began to tackle what I would refer to as the conchology (the study of mollusc shells) collection. Most of these items aren't numbered at all which means they still have to be identified. I was excited to sit down and flip through field guides to discover something new to my knowledge.
Earth, our planet is incredibly amazing. Forget about your everyday life and step out of your mind for a minute. Our planet, formed billions of years ago and over time reached a point of stabilization and began to form and sustain life. Life that evolved and changed because of the earths continuous shifts and alterations. Not that long ago, mankind has started to separate his/herself from the earth, often forgetting where we came from; often ignoring the fact that we too are animals. Beyond this all, our plant is just a spec, a sliver of what is out there in the multiverse. Other potential "earth like" planets and even some moons are now being questioned for the sustainability of life. But amongst them all, we are here, on our little planet Earth that we call home.
It has been 43 years since the start of Earth Day. 43 years of the world banding together to work towards reducing pollutants and rebuilding the natural world that we so often take for granted. It's hard to believe that many have been fighting for cleaner living and it still seems to be a struggle to gain large support in the matter. Every day I walk outside and there is trash in the streets. The smell of manure from industrial farming lurks in the evening air. I can't even see all of the stars in the sky because of light pollution. There are constant struggles to fight off mining, drilling, and dam building.
I am not trying to point fingers, I am also to blame, we all are. No matter how lightly we live, all of us leave a trace. But today, take the time to reanalyze your life style. Instead of buying styrofoam, maybe buy recyclable plastic (and of course recycle it.) Or maybe use reusable bags on your shopping trip this week. Open your curtains instead of flipping the light switch. Even the smallest steps, if taken continuously and consciously, can evolve in to great leaps.
Here's to one more year of being aware, now go hug a tree because Momma Earth is pretty damn awesome.
This afternoon I went to a lecture by artist and critic, Buzz Spector. I had missed him the last time I had the chance to see him speak and I wasn't going to miss him again. If you ever get the chance to see him, don't miss it. He's an incredible man who allows his passion to seep through his life. There is no doubt the care this man has for the written word, mainly in books. Although he has been criticized by book fanatics for his sculptures, I think how he approaches his work mentally is really beautiful. He spoke mainly about his library photographs, and not so much about his sculpture, so here is a nice little sample of his photo work.
Buzz is a master of articulation, something I am far from. He strings words together so elegantly, it blows my mind. Because of this, he tends to leave his viewers with incredible quotes to go back to over and over again. Here are some that stuck with me because I felt they resonated with my work, or maybe my state of mind:
(speaking on organizing shells as a child) "A child's sudden realization that the world can be ordered..."
"Our absorption is our resource, where are we more absorbed than in reading?"
(speaking about his early exhibition criticisms) "I don't hate them, I love them violently"
"What's selfless and invisible in editing should be selfless and invisible in teaching..."
Last night, I lost one of my best friends, Mr. Edward. He was an amazing dog and was always there when I needed. We grew up together, side by side for years. I remember bringing him home, he was my 12th birthday present. Best gift ever. 14 years later and I have to say "good bye." He went gently into the night by my mother's side. It breaks my heart that I couldn't be there with him, but it comforts me to know that he had her by his side as he entered his eternal rest.
You will always be missed, my Little Bean.
One of the NIU Printmaking alums, Bill Higgins, invited Kyle and I (along with Steven Lockwood, Kimberly Fredricks, Kenrick McFarlane, and Katie Allen) to be visiting artists at Lakeview School. I had never done anything like this and wasn't fully sure what to expect.
Each of us had our own little area to set up our work. Classes were marched around from artist to artist in 20 minute intervals. It was kind of crazy talking for 20 minutes to kids about art and science. It was a long, but fun, day full of bizarre comments and questions. Oh the minds of grade school children.
Enjoy the photos of us being swarmed by little ones:
A friend of mine shared this, and I couldn't help but repost it. This one goes out to all of my art friends that sometimes find it hard to keep going. Let Bob Ross lift you back up, "it'll bring a lot of good thoughts to your heart."
Just a fair warning to all of my East coast friends and family, the magicicadas will be emerging from their underground lares. It has been 17 years since they last surfaced and they're ready to see the sun again. It might be a good time to stock up on ear plugs.
Here is an ode to the little cicadas, welcome back!
I couldn't help but share this video capturing the courtship display of the Coastal peacock spider (Martatus speciosus). When thinking of courtship rituals, arachnids aren't the first creatures I think of. Typically I think of birds and mammals, but spiders? Not on my radar. Check out these beautiful tiny little creatures, and their little booty dance for some lovin'.
366 years ago today, Maria Sibylla Merian was born. Merian was a 17th century German-born naturalist, entomologist, botanical illustrator, and divorced mother of two daughters, Johanna Helena and Dorothea Maria. Her drawings and paintings are beautiful, and she used them as a way to get her daughters involved and interested in science. The connections she made between art and science are truly amazing and inspiring.
During her time, women that could afford to paint, were expected to do so in a delicate, pretty and quiet manner. She did more than create "pretty" pictures; she used her paintings as a way to not only educate her daughters, but also to pay the bills to give them a roof over their heads. She also innovated the natural illustration. She was one of the first to add insects along with the flora specimens. She brought her work into her home and studied entire life cycles, becoming one of the earliest archivists of the natural world. Her daughters followed in her footsteps and began studying the natural world around them, and documenting it through art. This is a family that I wish I could have met.
“Enterprising and adventurous, these women raised the artistic standards of natural history illustration and helped transform the field of entomology...” -The Getty Museum Website
Words and Stuff.
Here you will find Kim's musings, thoughts on art related topics and the most current updates on her work.