Thursday, September 8, 2011

I am Artsy as Hell

I always wanted to art for a living when I grew up.

I was (and am) pretty good at making arts, but I have never been particularly successful at being a self-promoting entrepreneur, which is apparently what you actually have to be to make a living as an artist. Talent is optional.

Oh, and you have to make a lot of art..

Since "working professional artist" doesn't happen instantly, you also have to have a regular job at first, and produce a bunch of art in your spare time until your art supports you.   This means you have to give up things like going out with your friends and wasting time in bars and stuff.  Which kind of sucks.

So I kinda gave up. 

Years and years ago.

I never paint anymore.  I rarely draw.  I don't sculpt anything. 

I have started taking pictures though, or, as I like to think of it, the lazy man's art (and before I get any hate mail about how difficult good photography is to make, I would like to point out that crappy artsy photography is remarkably easy to make, so just chill).

See how artistic I am?  I take close ups of flowers.

I always liked taking pictures, but more as a "I am documenting something that happened that I am too lazy to write about."  Photos have to have a story to be really artsy fartsy.   

I call this one, "Red Sunflower", and the story goes something like this:

I was at the supermarket waiting for my boyfriend to pay for propane at the service desk.  We were having a beer making BBQ, and we were going to need it.  As I waited, I looked at the stuff in the floral department, stunned at how pretty the red sunflowers were.  I brought them up to my boyfriend and said, "You should buy these," and he said, "OK."  When we got home, I put them in water in a glass vase.  A few minutes later, the vase water had turned bright magenta because it leeched the dye back out of the flowers.  They were DYED.  I knew that.  Totally.  

Just before sunset, I took a picture of the petals back lit by the sun to represent the synthetic commercialization of even natural beauty.

(It might help if the stories are poignant or interesting in some way, but I have to start somewhere.)

I also take pictures of sunsets and mountains.  AMAZING.

Boyfriend and I walked up to the convenience store at the end of the neighborhood.  He had run out of cigarettes, and I felt the need to get out of the house.  The BBQ guests had gone home, and all that was left was finishing off the beer and food, and cleaning up, so a little break first sounded nice.

At the convenience store, I bought a bottled green tea with citrus, which was supposed to be sugar free.  I don't know why, but I was expecting tea with lemon.  Instead, I was shocked by a sweeter-than-candy flavor of sucralose overpowering all else.  Hiding my crushing disappointment on the walk home, I glanced up the road to the west and saw a spectacular sunset, so I took this picture.

 I had to walk an extra half a block to get this picture.  I am dedicated.

I call this "My Feet are Sore from Walking Several Blocks in Toe Shoes and I am Battling Enormous Disappointment in my Bottled Diet Green Tea"

I'll even attach my camera to a tripod and wait for a long exposure because I am just that artsy and patient.

I was mostly trying to figure out the settings on my camera. I've had it a few months and I still don't know how to use it very well, only kind of well.

Mostly I just push a bunch of buttons until the camera does something vaguely resembling something I want. Other times, it does the opposite of what I want and I pretend that that is actually what I wanted to do, I meant to do that, OK? I'm being "artistic."

What's awesome is that the camera doesn't take crappy pictures, like, hardly ever. I think I would really have to try to suck at photography with this camera, which leads me to believe that this particular form of art is going to have a lot of competition, and just because I take a good picture doesn't mean that I will ever be able to sell a single thing that I do, and I should just give up now without even trying, I mean, what's the point?

(Excuse me while I go hide under my bed and cry now).
Since the tripod was already out and everything, Dad suggested we play with some long exposures with the little LED lights we all have attached to our keys and light things up with them.

Obviously, the first thing I tried to do was to leave light graffiti all over the damned place.
And fail.

This shit is harder than it looks. Not only was I trying to write my name big, but I had to do it backwards and blind. My mom kept snickering and laughing at my contortions as she stood off to the side, but I kept at it, and I sorta almost wrote my name legibly...

A reasonable facsimile of my name.  I spelled it "LAURA" because it has fewer letters and less confusion than the proper spelling of "LEAUXRA".
And then I decided to get CREATIVE.

I made a flower and hid in the stem.

Also notice that I have three legs in this picture (and not in the dirty way).  There is a literal two left feet visible.

Way way back in the dawn of time, when I still thought life was going to turn out the way I planned and I was in college learning about art, there was a picture of Picasso drawing a bull on a long exposure just like this.  Only he used film. 

Anyway.  I remember thinking this was something only super-duper famous awesome artists could do.  I thought it would be way too complicated and... well, I'm pretty lazy, so I never tried.

Add in a few beers, though, and suddenly this is the most entertaining shit I have ever done.

I made something like a kitty cat arching its back and hissing.  This photo also includes a creepy self portrait with too many legs.

I don't know what I did to end up being paid to be nice instead of artistic for a living, but I would like my money back, please.


Anonymous said...

It's Hoody Hoo, in the Comment-Witness-Protection Program.

"I always wanted to art for a living when I grew up." Just so you know, that's how I'm using that word from now on. "Oh, you're an artist? What do you art? Did you art this?"

My Dear Sweet Mama's father (my Dear Sweet Grampa) also took a lot of "artistic" photos. So I now have boxes and boxes of pictures that only he knew the reason behind... or he was just drunk.

Anonymous said...

*waves at Hoody up above*

You have to be nice to people for a living? I hope they pay you a hell of a lot, because that would suck. I couldn't do it. Still, it's better than having to be nice to people and not being paid, volunteer niceness... *shudder*

Those light pictures are really good. How many did you have to take to get those?

What kind of camera do you have?

We can do two coffee table books now, fuzzy butt photos _and_ flower close ups!

Paula said...

The flower and the cat are really great pictures!!! I'm so uncoordinated I'm sure I would have injured myself trying to do that! :)

LeeAnn said...

My stepdad and daughter are both camera pros. Seriously, they got paid to take pictures. Bitches. My brother is a professional musician. My female siblings, may they rot, are both sort of artsy in a domestic way... they're damn near pro-level decorators. My mom is a seamstress slash designer.
I think I'm adopted because I don't have an artsy bone in my body. I'm like an art octopus.
I would never be hired to be "nice" to people because it would be like throwing money down the toilet. Actually, I think I should get a job throwing money down the toilet. My aim sucks and I would keep the misses. See how neatly that works?
Your pictures are very pretty and I may have to stop talking to you. Jealousy.... and I have a mouthfull of cheesy poofs just now and it would spray. Never pretty.

Leauxra said...

Hoody: Art is a verb, yo. And totally use it. It makes people know you know what you're about. It makes you sound smart.

andtheletterm: Two words: Customer Service.. So no, I do not get paid really well, but I get by OK.

There were actually not too many more pictures that you can see here, actually, but I probably would have benefitted from practice. The cat and flower are first tries. They were all taken with a Sony Alpha Nex-5 set for a long exposure. It's a compact interchangeable lens camera system that I still brag about constantly.

I wrote about this camera here: and here

Leauxra said...

Paula: For real, it is a full body movement, and I am super duper clumsy, but I could still do it. Try it. It's fun (and entertaining to watch others do).

Aww, LeAnn, shucks. I feel so proud when I make people jealous. But you ARE artsy. You're WORD artsy.

And I don't know what they were thinking hiring me in customer service. I was once told I would go to hell due to my poor phone manners, and then someone hired me to answer the phone and BE NICE. Of course, I no longer answer the phone anymore and just do everything by email, so maybe that's why I still have a job.

Leenie said...

Laughing at your absolute and hilarious honesty when it comes to being a photographer, and how fancy cameras make it hard to suck at photography. Also the unvarnished truth of your disappointments when it comes to dyed flowers and nasty diet tea. Impressed and amazed that you had a tripod along (even though wearing toe shoes) to get the cool sunset shot. Also impressed and amazed at the time exposure writing. Picasso would so eat his heart out.

Leauxra said...

Leenie: So the other day, I was trying to take a blurry carnival ride picture in the dark. Seemed like it would be easy, right? Oh no. My damned camera kept snapping these perfectly crystal clear images of the rides. So, I have to admit... I didn't have the tripod when I took the sunset pic. That was a random hipshot where I barely bothered to focus. My camera is totally magic.

And thanks! I am still practicing the light drawings. One of these days, I will do something REALLY amazing with it.

Anonymous said...

I was just about to say, "I love the flower pic!" Then I saw the light pics. Awesome!

StephanieC said...

I really like your LED art.

Watch "Exit Through The Gift Shop" by Banksy, and you'll feel even lower about authentic art. *sigh*

I say never give up hope on the art. Life is too short to be miserable at your job.

Easier said than done, I know.

Start an etsy store or something.

Also? I am commenting topless. Just sharing that.


Leauxra said...

Thoughtsy: I'm glad you like! I am still practicing light pictures, so hopefully I will get better with time.

StephanieC: Let me tell you, it was hard to not just write dirty words, but my parents were RIGHT THERE, and even at 35, I still feel like I need to be on my best behavior.

And I haven't given up completely on my arting, I just notice that I don't do much anymore. It is really kind of scary when I think about it.

Topless huh? I have often wondered if my stats would go up if I advertised that I blogged in the nude.

Sandra said...

...crappy artsy photography is remarkably easy to make, so just chill...still chuckling!
For what it's worth, my crappy photography would never be art. Plus you spell your name all cool, so I'm sure being an artist is in your future!
Very cool what you did with the LED thingies...see me, definitely not doing art. Like ever.

Leauxra said...

Sandra: You're totally right! I didn't even think about my "Blogger" name. It IS a total douche-artist pseudonym, not just a douche-blogger name. Woot. My future is SECURE.