Out to the Sweet Unknown

“So I took off running / I ran over the hills / My odyssey through concrete and steel / Gonna keep on going / I don’t wanna stand still / Gonna keep on going / I don’t wanna stand still.”

I thought an appropriate way to start this new column would be with something known my whole life, family, which has become an unknown due to the dismantlement of the matriarchs.

Today was grandmother’s birthday; Thursday marked the four-year anniversary of my mother’s death. While I’m not ritualistic or big on cemeteries, I felt a strong desire to visit their shared plot. And while I’m not usually superstitious either, I have noticed the number 11 having a significance throughout my life; their plot location at the very meeting of these two important numbers.

The cemetery, located in Middle Village, Queens, is also within walking distance from my grandmother’s house. My grandmother died just 4 months before my mother, both women suffering from Dementia and Alzheimer’s respectively, nearly 30 years apart in age. My aunt, uncle and cousin still live there, keeping my grandmother’s apartment on the second floor eerily intact. Lately I have been having reoccurring dreams about this house; I knew eventually I would have to go back.

Having been raised here almost as much as my own home, there are so many memories living within these walls. The dolls behind glass looking out at me, chachkies and knick-knacks; everything still in its place. The lingering smell of Sunday dinners, holidays, and cooking; stored within these familiar dishes.

This is the mural I stared at for hours as a kid, hands tucked under my head as I lay on the floor, feet propped riskily on top of grandma’s perfect sofa. Without younger siblings or cousins to play with, I would create scenes within the wallpaper’s landscape again and again; its beauty still vibrant and as fresh as the day she got it. The origin of my obsession with chandeliers still dangles just above it.

I was also surprised by something so familiar and yet foreign to me now: homemade tomato sauce made by my aunt and shared with my cousin, just like the good old days of long ago.

This Heartless Bastard song not only kick-starts what I hope to be more exploration, but every word rings true as this particular point in my currently transitioning life: “Oh, I’m longing to be, out in the sweet unknown. I’m gonna keep on going, I don’t wanna stand still. Out in the sweet unknown.” 

While I nostalgically dream about these known times that have long since passed, one thing I do not miss: being that scared little child, so afraid of everyone and everything. Here’s to the risks and the adventures; to finally embracing a life less travelled and enjoying the journey, wherever it may take me. Here is to the sweet unknown.

“I could do all these things. Oh, I have the power.”

photography © 2012 Andrea Sparacio (artsparrow); song lyrics & album cover © Heartless Bastards 

Jugs & Capes: American Born Chinese

For our August Jugs & Capes meeting, we decided to read something light & summery: Printz & Eisner award-winning graphic novel American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang. A majority of the group felt that they “almost loved the book” (<–thanks to Oriana for coining the phrase!) but perhaps Yang’s character of Chin-Kee’s was a bit of a drawback. We wondered whether this over-the-top sitcom stereotype was necessary, much like Long Duck Dong of Sixteen Candles or Mr. Yunioshi of Breakfast at Tiffany’s, and didn’t find his scenes as interesting as the others (ie. first love & monkey kings). Could Chin-Kee have been played more subtly? Realizing this overstated character was created for a purpose, we still wondered if the Young Adult target audience played a part. Most of us also agreed that the ending was a little abrupt, though we did love the art and humor.

And speaking of overstated, ever since our book club moved from weekday nights to Sunday brunch, we have been enjoying some seriously delicious & well-themed food spreads. Special thanks to Amanda Bullock for picking up those yummy dumplings & den den mein at M. Noodle in Williamburg.

One of my favorite pages (below); Jin’s expression is priceless!

Last but not least, this is how we artists drink: Exquisite Corpse games + free shots! Thanks to Sam (of Lady Jay’s) for contributing with me & Miss Laura Lee. The rest are hanging up in the bar. xo, artsparrow

book images © Gene Luen Yang & First Second; food photography © Oriana Leckert & Amanda Bullock

Bushcraft: Finger Painting at Low Brow Artique

We have moved Bushcraft from Bishop’s old loft to his brand new gallery/retail store in Bushwick called Low Brow Artique.

Check out this great write-up on Low Brow Artique in Bushwick Daily here + awesome photographs of the store.

This month we played around with Finger Painting! Laura Lee & I have finger painted before (see previous post), and I always love creatively loosening up by working with my hands. It’s definitely a much needed break from staring into the endless glow of my computer screen, fixing tedious CSS stylesheets, and using size 000 detail brushes.

Above & below are my two paintings; I got a little spontaneous with rubber bands, paper clips, scraps, bottle caps; topped off with an even more spontaneous trip to late-night karaoke at The Cove.

The group’s final pieces:

Low Brow Artique is located in Bushwick, Brooklyn, 143 Central Ave; open Wednesdays through Fridays 12-8PM, 11AM-7PM on Saturday & Sunday.

photography © 2012 Laura Lee Gulledge (whoislauralee.blogspot.com) & Declan Zimmerman (motiongraphicsnyc.com)