novice Buddhist, expert neurotic. writer. aspiring adult.
sophcw at gmail dot com
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A decade ago, in his book No Collar, sociologist Andrew Ross described how tech start-ups borrowed art’s cocktail of work, play and personal life to create a new corporate culture around “self-actualization.” When young incorporated artists borrow this mix back—along with a toolbox of networking strategies—the result is a feedback loop. Business is branded by art and vice versa. What appears to be art is basically business. Nothing else feels possible.
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It sounds absurd now, but most artists I know, no matter their medium, go through depressions, ups and downs, serious self-doubt. I definitely questioned my abilities. I don’t have a degree in composition that helps me start at A and get to B and then C. I don’t have training—that’s why I took voice and drum lessons. I went and took dance lessons, too. But you can only take so many lessons, you know?
fes water fountain
Art by my friend Sofie Engstrom von Alten
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Last night, during a bout of unfortunately severe insomnia, I decided to make something. It was an altar to my demons, something I was inspired to do while reading an acupuncturist’s essay on insomnia and Buddhism. It was very late and I didn’t really know what I was looking for, so I opened a box that was in the corner of the room I’ve only lived in for a few months, thinking it’d contain a few photos but not much else. I can’t tell if it was Pandora’s Box or a treasure chest, but what I found in there was much more than I expected.
This has, it appears, not been a great year for me. It started with a sudden emotional slide to the bottom which continued to descend into the summer. It has only been in the last few months that I’ve picked myself up and began the work of making myself a functional human again. I’ve gotten on anti-depressants again, I’ve got a few jobs, I’ve even tried making some art. This all feels like a huge accomplishment in the face of how I had been feeling. But it also doesn’t feel great. For me (and I suspect for many people), depression is something that I’m constantly second guessing. I’m either not depressed “enough” for it to be real or it would go away if I just did x, y or z. It’s so hard to have any perspective when you’re in the midst of it, as I have been for a long time now. I’ve spent so much time in the last few months doubting myself, that I have any talent or should have any ambitions creatively. It’s easy to feel like any success in the past was a fluke that’s now over.
What I found when I opened the box last night was who I was before this happened. I have not always been like this. There was a time when I was vibrant, inspired, excited about so many things. Reading my notebook from a few years ago, almost every page is a list of Things I Want To Do, some of which I’ve even accomplished. And there’s creativity everywhere - so many snippets of song lyrics, stray thoughts written like poetry, essays, even drawings! It felt, as cliched as this sounds, like meeting a friend I had lost touch with and remembering why we had been so close. I am sad that I’ve been so grey for most of this year and so doubtful of the person I now remember I can be, but I am so grateful to have rediscovered her. My goal in 2014 is to ressurrect that girl, to the greatest extent that I can. I want to make big, stupid plans that seem impossible and then accomplish them. I want to sprint towards the things I want, even if it means I might fall. There was a reason I got my tattoo this year, the meaning of which had become obscure even to me. Scrape your knee, it’s only skin. I can do this.
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Babycastles Gallery Benefit: Party on the19th
BENEFIT “GIGANTIC HORS D’OEUVRES” DINNER w/ THU TRAN
Help support the creation of Babycastles Gallery by attending our benefit dinner fundraiser, starring Gigantic Nachos with funny faces, toppings scaled to match, and cheese fountain with Babycastles collaborator and celebrated chef Thu Tran (of IFC’s Food Party)! Come enjoy huge food and an early peek at the exhibition.
"GIGANTIC HORS D’OEUVRES" TICKETS
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PARTY ON THE 19TH!
Games by Michael Brough, Bennett Foddy, Increpare, and 3D Pacman by Dr. Clement Shimizu.
Performances by Shark?, DJ Big Black Poodle :) , tba.
Starring arcade cabinets by John Mejias, Nick Kuszyk, and debuting a beautiful new video games cabinet by Kate Kosek.
Yo support Babycastles!
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coming to you soon: my *real* reaction to meeting some dumb-ass dudes who live in my building at the bar tonight!!
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