Archive for March 23rd, 2010

the F, the Rule, the BBP

Tuesday, March 23rd, 2010

So: what was I up to in Bogliasco (besides over-eating)? Couple of things:

The F Word
A show at Evergreen Valley College Gallery, in San Jose. Curator Sana Makhoul contacted me a couple of weeks before my fellowship started, asking me if I wanted to participate in a feminism-themed show. It was rather last-minute, but hey, so am I. And I figured that I could use an excuse to crank out some new work, so the first couple of weeks of the residency were spent working on what is to become an ongoing series, before moving on to the new Big Bogliasco Project.

The work I made for the F Word was inspired by The Rule, this comic by the phenomenal Alison Bechdel, way back in 1985. A film only passes the Bechdel Rule if: 
1) there are at least two named female characters, who 
2) talk to each other about 
3) something other than a man. Unfortunately, 25 years later, it’s still more apt than it should be. Hence, this first incarnation of my new project, “Studies for The Rule”, which is a series of illustrations of film stills.

The 4 movies I chose for this initial batch are hardly the definitive statement on women in film: All About My Mother, Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion, Reno 911!: Miami, and The Apologies (a short film that Sam Chanse and I are making that isn’t actually even finished yet).  They are only the first of more images to come, and for this reason, I’ll keep adding to this series as the muse strikes. (Aside: I think this might be a fun one to do commissions for, if anyone out there wants to send me stills from one of your fave films that meets the criteria for The Rule.)


the whale

If there is anything that does bind these 4 together a bit more, it’s the presence of comedy in each film, as well as a similar palette of neutrals. While 2 of the films I’ve illustrated are overt comedies, the other 2 dip into darker, more melancholic terrain as well. The comedy is not necessarily literally in each frame, but it is important: my sense is that comedy, laughter and an embrace of ridiculous behavior between women in films is often even more rare than any conversation between women at all. 

Aaand, as someone with as deep an enthusiasm for comics as for cinema, and to bring The Rule back to its initial form, I also felt that it was somehow important to return the film stills to a comic-like, hand-drawn and painted, form.


the apologies

The BBP
While I do adhere to a semi-realistic comic-like style in general, I definitely realized that working from film stills and well-known actresses creates a new kind of challenge of faithfulness to my source imagery. And in the work that I continued with on the 2nd half of my residency, I’ve continued to learn the hard way how challenging this kind of specificity is, vis-à-vis celebrity. The new Big Bogliasco Project, the one I wrote my proposal for,  is a series of images of 2 women, dead ringers  for the middle-aged Eartha Kitt and Imelda Marcos, arriving on the Italian Riviera and getting into shenanigans. While they are not *technically* Eartha and Imelda, they are still doppelgangers, which means while I’ve had a little wiggle room on accuracy, I’ve really had to do a number of straightforward investigatory portrait sketches in order to get the right attitude. It’s slow-going, highly-detailed work, so I don’t have too many images of finished art yet to post: here are a couple of studio sketches to entertain you with, in the meantime.


the ladies