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How dark, possibly abusive or manipulative, or deeply romantic and obsessive love narratives like Bella and Abel relate to the cultivated pop image, global politics and war, their actual relationship.  Basically how the personal, pop culture, and war and genocide all exist simultaneously and weave in and out of each other.  Do we notice?  We all try to figure out how to live with it all going on, how to switch modes, or let everything layer and happen together.

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Tax Day 2024

If I write will I find something to latch onto?  Some sort of conclusion or resolution...physical pain combined with taxes and a general bereft feeling have left zoned out kind of dizzy, just listening to the same Lana Del Rey songs over and over, standing at my standing desk, praying for relief and drinking my 8th cup of coffee.  There is art on the wall behind me that feels just humiliating.  Even though I think its good.  It may be years (probably more liek months) before I can show it because I'm afraid someone will interpret it correctly.  Sometimes its hard for me to know how the murky mental images I extrude will be understood by others.  They seem kind of obscure, mysterious, even to me, but I'm often shocked by how closely they reflect my thoughts and feelings and how immediately they are understood.

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failing at eating disorders, photoshop collage, 2024.

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transcending Chris Kraus, photoshop collage, 2024.

For the past month I've been contemplating ways of escaping the constant thought of my own identity in my work.  I've been thinking about my gender and identity and making art about it since late childhood. I've tried to transcend social, economic, sexual, etc. limitations so I can create and think about whatever I want at a soaring level.  At the same time, like most other women I know, I was hurting myself, trying to obtain the rewards I saw women getting for thinness, coolness, whiteness, manic pixie dream girl-ness (the most accessible consumable female form for me personally lol), however conscious or unconscious I was of what I was doing. But I want the soaring level of thinking and making, and thinness, whiteness, manic pixie dream girln-ness, coolness, seeming to be of mediocre intelligence--they all interfere with what I want.  So do relationships with men.  Art has always been the most important thing to me, and it always wins out over everything else. I have it, I have the soaring level of thinking and making I've always wanted, and I try to be there as much as possible.  My desire to generate images and think about them is so strong its hard to communicate, and I do it, no matter what.  I always will.  It's going to win over my temporary personhood in life.  No matter what my "female identity" is while I'm alive, it will be brief.  I could be many things, and I am. "I was one thing, now I'm being another." (Lana Del Rey, Happiness Is A Butterfly) Who I am for the moment, as a briefly living being, is not the most important thing to me.  I want to be free from the thought of it.  Self-forgetting.

A mentor noted to me once when I was 28, "Your work right now is driven by sexual energy.  Remember that one day that energy will be gone.  What is left beneath the sexual energy that drives you?"

He was right, and I did have an immediate insight, which I will share in a moment. 


Some might think his comment sexist but it wasn't.  I had consciously and purposefully weaponized my sexuality in my work, and he was willing to point out the tactic for what it was.  It was methodical, not unhinged or emotional. LOL. Most of my teachers and mentors at the time wanted to pathologize my choices, as in see the content of my work as a sign of mental illness and categorize it as some sort of catharsis, which it was not.  They and others now even mistakenly believe that this view is therapizing, as though it would heal me to see myself as "sick," or even "victimized."  I see this as a big mistake, the consequences of which are disempowerment at a deeper mental level than at the time of the original traumas or offenses or whatever you want to call them.  Rapes, overdoses, horrors.  My work, my artistic representation of and handling of my experience, was not catharsis, but a honed and meticulous instrument of horror inducement, meant to appeal then to horrify.  I appreciated my mentor's willingness to treat me as a thinking person, capable not only of planning, but of planning beyond the level that most around me could anticipate.  It was a confusing time because the sexual energy that, as he noted, drove my work, was also driving me to hold onto my appeal to men.  This conflict has been difficult to resolve because I, like all beings, want freedom and power, and if I feel like I get freedom and power from something, even if its not real, I don't want to give it up.

Observation.  My immediate insight after hearing my mentor's challenge--because that's what it was--was to realize that my primary action and interest in and reason for doing and use of art is as a tool for understanding the world.  Its not that I like to sloppily spill my guts with pretty cool colors.  It more like how American society thinks of a scientist than how American society thinks of an artist.

I think.  I plan.  I am methodical.  The things I do are logical.  I anticipate other's action and interpretations.  I'm intuitive.  Intuition isn't being a loosey-goosey, silly girly thinker.  Its thinking that happens very fast.  

An addition made on 4/26/24

I don't know how unreal "feminine power" is.  Is it the kind of power I feel like I have when men like me and women are jealous of me?  Is there something inherently (aka essentially) powerful about femininity, female sexuality...or is it just sexuality in general, carried on the current of trends, appearance, beauty standards, etc that has power?  Sometimes it seems obvious that [femininity, femaleness, female sexuality, as it is consumed by men and everyone else in society (its not just men lol)] is truly very powerful, and that women scorn each other's sexual prowess, critiquing and chastising, (often from an intellectual standpoint at least in my life) because they are competing, trying to take each other down.  Other times it seems obvious that the female sexuality I have learned and that I am sold is a horrific trap, one that forces me to constantly evaluate and manipulate and torture starve, abuse my body and mind.  Other other times I feel aware of something essential, though I don't know if I believe in anything unchanging, especially within the self.

Other other other times I think sexuality is what we have to work with.  I will be sexual no matter what.  I can't reinvent the wheel in one lifetime, so I choose to work with what I have so I can participate.  I never stopped believing in the myths of feminine power, though.  I don't use the tools clionically or begrudgingly.  I use them with reverence and belief in their influence  Maybe that's because I see them materialize around me constantly.  Its so clearly the belief of powerful women like Bella Hadid (who I have begun to study) that using the world's expectations, accepting and leaning into and participating in them is the way to become powerful.

It is a matter of what kind of  power it is, or what power is.  Is power controlling and influencing others?  If so, why do those who infuence and control seem to suffer just as much as those who don't?  What is the relationship between power and suffering?  Do I just want the power not to suffer?  No, that isn't it.  I'm a former Christian so maybe this is just a vestige of my childhood faith, but I still believe experience of the sublime, the spiritual, higher power, whatever you want  to call it, originates from suffering.  Whatever that is, that's what gives me power.  Power to consider all of these ideas rather than starving myslef to death or drtinking myself to death, which is what I was doing without it.  For me, its just power to listen for whatever the sublime is instead of to my own thoughts.

Carolee Schneemann's piece Interior Scroll is one of the most influential artworks of my life so far.  The act and the text.  Its so meaningful to me on a daily basis, what its like to live as a woman artist.  Its ecstatic, uncomfortable, the type of labor, the type of interactions, the expectations, the way people want or expect me to appear versus how I actually am. This is the text from the original performance.  There are two parts to the text.  The first part was read from Schneemann's book, Cezanne, She Was a Great Painter.  The second part was read from the scroll she pulled from her vagina.


This is a painting of Miley Cyrus I made in 2019 at the Vermont Studio Center residency. 

It seems important to note that painting and drawing can be used to question and explore things that disturb or that I don't understand rather than explain them or state something final about them.

That is most always how I use painting and drawing and the creative impulse in general.  I may be come with opinions and notions of how things should be, but I leave those when painting begins, even when I don't want to.  The painting (and drawing) process doesn't allow me to dominate reality with my own thinking.  I have to submit to the physical materials, what is revealed about my subject as I go over and over her.

I come with criticisms of Miley Cyrus, yes, but I also like her music.  I paint her not to elevate her or to tear her down.  I paint her to understand her image and how it functions in the world.

I don't know where this gray atmosphere came from but it fits with my uncertain feeling. There is no art worth writing about or making. In order to access the part of myself that feels alive and able to create, I have to forget about art enitrely. Art in the world, (outside of an earlier state, what I think of as my creative desire and impulse) is a collision of wills, just like everything else, and its impossible to think or make in that area. So I don't even think what I make is art. It takes place before art, and the dissemination and circulation of what I make after that creation phase is art. The circulaton is art. the movement is art, but I prefer the time before art. That time is pristine and safe.


This is a video of my MacBook Air screen that I took in 2020 while I was re-watching all of America's Next Top Model.  I used the video in the work, Daylight, which just premiered at Good Dad Studios during the Austin Studio Tour this past weekend, so yesterday (11/12/23) and the day before (11/11/23).  I've linked to that work in my performance and video section on this site as well, and either this morning or soon I will write a bit about it.  But here I just want to briefly discuss the idea of memory in art using this video as a starting point.

If all my work begins with and stays very close to an immediate experience of life, particularly my life, then every time I look at or experience my work I feel transported.  Remembering, also, is one of my primary actions of making.  It's the point of origin of many drawings and other works.  I have a memory.  I become immersed in remembering, then I feel like I must translate that memory to others.

As I am transported by looking at work I've made about memory, I notice that work in particular holds the interest of viewers. Memory is a potent tool for communication of material or ideas that are not made for entertainment, but which require viewership, interest, and attention to function (art).  I've noticed this as I analyze people's reactions to my work.  The art that relies on memory, uses memory, translates memory, is captivating to people.  Maybe it's in the same way that stories are captivating to people.

Communicating memory helps with an art problem I've noticed.  As stated above, art is not entertainment.  To take it further (to the extreme I love to live in) I don't think art is really a commercial thing, no matter how much we want it to be, have made it that way, no matter how much it literally has to exist in that way now because there is nothing that's not for sale anymore...

So, if art is not entertainment, then getting and keeping people's attention is not and cannot be the motive of art.  It's something different.  I think a lot of people would agree with me at least on this, if not on my views on whether art is/should be commercial.

For me, the problem arises when artists throw out the viewer's interest and investment along with their attention, conflating entertainment and attention.  This results in boring art that people don't really want to look at.

I think it's possible to interest people without entertaining them.  To get them to want to look without relying on meaningless but stimulating imagery.  I think communicating memory does this.

Making art-time and labor

I'm tired of leftwing buzz words but I'll use some here because its the vocab I know to describe what I'm thinking.  

Its a privilege to be able to make work using traditional art materials, have time to plan grand art concepts, installations, set ups, to produce polished work, to produce work that requires a lot of concentrated studio time.  It's a privilege I guess I hope to have someday, but at the sme time I think one of the things I love most about the kind of work I've learned to do--what I see as some of my best work--is brevity out of necessity.

When I was in grad school one of my professors was Michelle Rawlings, whos work I admire.  She visited my studio early in my time at SMU and described my work as "breathless" like something might happen to keep me from making it, so it had to be done quickly.  She was right!  The kind of life I've lived makes it so that if I don't act and extrude my thoughts and images quickly and not too carefully, I may never get to extrude them.

One thing I love about drawing is that its accessible under whatever circumstances.  there's almost nothing to prevent it being made.  It takes a special kind of deprivation--the kind of conditions we would call barbabric or inhuman--to prevent a person from being able to make a mark.

I value ideas, methods, marks that eschew polish in favor of communication--in favor of existence. i've encountered so may times gatekeepers of the art establishment who have told me not to produce, not to show, not to publish because there are loose ends, unconsidered pieces, not enough editing, not enough polish....and to that I say, whatever, maybe you're right but I'm going to take the quickest action possible to execute and share my experience.  Critique me from the other side.


Always on the Verge of Death

I've not been able to belive in the same imagery or narratives for maybe 2 years.  I had this very fruitful period of drawing, where my thoughts were totally in synch with my body and drawing movements. Those drawings kept emerging even as I lost interest in their subject matter/content.  It's all seemed less interesting to me since I started dealing with this undiagnosed health problem.

That's because the subject matter of the previous drawings was about a different life experience.  Sexuality and danger, I guess, to sum it up.  

​Last night the continuum between life and death emerged as a way of understanding my newer drawings.  I am making self portraits, but they are about the disintegration of the self and the freedom that comes from detaching from my self-narrative, realizing that I will only be here for a short time, and that my experience is mostly exactly like all humans who have lived, are living, and will live after me.  It turns ou the danger of sexuality and identity that defined my life and work up till now is like every other fear and monster.  It all portends death, and death is coming anyway.  I think thats what all of these selfie drawings are about.

Problem 1


Problem 2


Problem 3

How much of problem 1 and problem 2 do I need to make problem 3?  The art?  problem 3 is the art. What should it be? Should I be happy to make a little painting with the meager amounts of time and money I'm allotted by the state?  Seems off.

Problem 4

Attention.  My attention on what I'm making versus working versus life versus internet life.  Your attention and how much of it is actually available to view the thing I'm making?  Probably not much?

Problem 5

If somebody's attention gets on my artwork, what is it they end up looking at?

Problem 6

Having a problem with everything.  Accepting almost nothing.

October 2023

I'm tired.  It's 7 am and I'm about to teach a 9.  But I get here at 6:30 because of an i-35 commute and I want time to think etc...

Video, the mind and mental processes and images and language versus objects.  The relationship between art objects, experience, thought and how we just take art objects for granted, like no one is even trying to create new types of "objects" anymore, even though the objects we've been relying on for a long time are inadequate.  Thinking of "objects" that are less object-y and more information-y.  


I had a full blown instagram argument with an artist from some other state on Brad Troemel's comments section on a recent instagram post about taste.  Just made me more certain that I don't give a fuck about whether art is good or bad. That's our stupid artist circle jerk obsession.  We allow ourselves to be disconnected from  reality based on the idea that it's enough to know whether an image or art object is "good" or "bad".  That's a sad state for art but I do think its the truth--we (artists) are mostly delusional and disconnected from whats going on in the world now.  And making non-traditional art or art that tries to directly deal with politics doesn't solve the problem...because we are still talking about art, which is different from just having political opinions or making direct statements.  Art has to figure out actually meaningful ways of dealing with stuff that's going on.  I think we are mostly either dropping out of the world and painting pretty or interesting stuff to analyze with each other or making statements that lean more towards propaganda, journalism, or social science than art (also to analyze with each other).

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Weakness, Mystery, Ambiguity

Ive been holding this paul klee drawing in my mind, revisiting it regularly, where it just appears.  Its soft and weak, and that weakness and gentleness adds to its mystery.  It is mysterious because it isn't overdetermined.  Its not an illusion of mystery.  The thing knows something I don't, and by looking I become vaguely aware, probably of something I will never understand but can sense.  Separate from the drawing (I can't rermber if it was before or after I started looking at it) I had this vision of a drawing--a perfect picture in my mind accompanied by direction to make it (more than an urge, a feeling of you have to do this now, that I listen to and accomadate asap when it happens) while I was watching the "thinking genius" montage at the beginning of Oppenheimer in a dark theater with my boyfriend and his child.  The image was a an abstarcted figure, a conglomeration of times, certainly in the spirit of early 20th century observation and abstraction, like Picasso and paul klee ( i know theyre different but you know what I mean).  I did make it, then I started making many more, and they are very similar to the paul klee drawing. My first image is below.  Anyway, there is so much power in admmitting to uncertainty, in allowing the alchemy of drawing and image making to guide my actions rather than "ideas", "concepts", "outcomes"...anything with an answer.  i do not care about answers.  At all.   We know so many answers.  I care about seeing a small bit of the unknown and picturing it so we can share it, sense it, feel something from it.  Have intuitive knowledge of it.

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September 2023

I need to explain that all of my thoughts are not about myself and my identity.  How I am perceived, my femininity and what that means for me as an artist and instructor, etc.  In fact, almost none of them are about that, but, like I feel like I have to explain this now, I always feel like I have to start with my identity, apologize for it, aggress with it, intimidate with it, make a strong statement with it, use it like a battering ram to force my way into the conversations and worlds I want to be a part of.  I use cultural icons like Lana del rey to do this because she did the work for me.  Potent toxic femininity to push with since thats the form I've taken (feminine), though I don't really know that I am that, in essence.  I just need to explain, to prove, that there is this well of thought I hide beneath all of what I just described, because when I share it I'm not taken seriously and I'mstill afraid of that from the ast few times I was hurt by it.

August 2023

June and July were like dreaming.  I've still been  been thinking a lot about the relationship between Observation, Memory, and Imagination.  I've begun to collect drawings made by my students with specific instructions in each mode, and I have an idea of someday creating a book that deals with the differences in mental processes that produce each type of drawing.  But I need to collect many images and have many conversations before I do that.

In the meantime, I'm trying to be quite disciplined about making one of each type of drawing per day, no matter how busy I am.  This way I can study the process.

I am increasingly uninterested in making polished, colorful, monumental images.  Part of it is that I can't afford painting materials.  I am bitter about it.  I feel rejected by "painting".  recently I became aware of some negative opinions of my painting.  Someone whos paintings I think are literally terrible also thinks my paintings are terrible. Lol.  That's why I can't really get behind a viewof art that's like "oh, who's better?  yes, that's it.  that person got it--they really captured "painting"--but you didn't" :((((.

It seems patently silly to try to discern quality based on formal or aesthetic qualities now.

Maybe as a reaction, I don't even want to try to make "good" art anymore. Like, hasn't that been over for a long time?  Can't I explore whatever I want without trying to make it pretty?  Isn't it the same with my body and appearance?  As a girl, can't I look however the fuck I want, not try to please whoever or get whoever's attention (not just men.  there are lot's of people who are not men who get deeply invested in other people's appearance) and just galavant all over the world wreaking havoc?  Just kidding, but sometimes, yes.  

Aesthetic beauty is way less interesting than how the ugly or wrong offends, and what that offended state says about how people are currently thinking, at least to me.

I am still interested in the sublime, which I don't think a person can experience, let alone translate, without the limit...the Foucault limit, at least how I understand it...when things go so far and get so close to the edge, they're dangerous.


May 2023

Dark Heavy Feelings

self-destruction as creation

Becoming through destruction.  An aesthetic expression of experience.  All the colors and movement of life in real time.  The bad art that constantly flows with intermittent good things.  The smallest drawings that show this transformation are the best.  Feeling obliterated by life and barely expelling glimmers of experience as drawings and paintings.

Performance, physical presence, violence, movement, dance

Needing a spotlight

Impossible to fully realize the expressions I need to make through static images alone.  I need wild movement, wild experience to be fulfilled.  A type of movement and way of being that truly has no regard for the opinion of the watcher or for what is expected according to art norms because it's just about being in time and understanding what's happening while its happening.  Making immediate beautiful representations of life as life occurs.

Floating on the surface of existence, watching my life as it passes with detachment.

There is power in not caring.  Knowing I'm one of billions and choosing to aestheticize what happens to me while I'm alive.  "Fight for the right to make art out of my life....fight for the right to be different in a world of fake bitches..."  something like that that Lana Del Rey sings in an unreleased song.  Boyfriends and physical and mental pain are the source of my art and if it doesn't seem deep enough, who cares that's just what it is.

Checked out in a good way.



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