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Ideas and Submissions

The Gaff Blog would love to collaborate with you!

Here at the Gaff Blog, we love to inspire an environment of inclusiveness.

A blog with a humble but growing following ourselves, we would love to team up with anyone looking for some more views on their blog, or someone looking to share their art, music, or anything visual with the world.

If you’re looking for an opportunity like such, do not hesitate to send a submission or idea our way!

 

Submissions are best sent by email to our founder Nicole: nicoleoliva588@gmail.com

 

Best,

my emoji

Nicole xoxo

Why do we compare?

Why do we compare?

 

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Why were women taught to compare themselves

To diminish themselves

To think, wow she’s so pretty

I don’t think look like her, therefore: I’m ugly

Instead of: wow, she’s pretty. But hey, so am I.

Every facial and bodily characteristic is sitting in a sea of beauty. Some finding this sea, more beautiful than that one. But they all exist and mean something to someone.

N. Oliva

Xoxo

A Letter to Myself

A Letter to Myself

So I actually wrote this letter years back on July 7, 2013 (originally written inside my sketchbook with charcoal) but I wanted to share it because what I wrote is very relevant to my current mindset.

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You’re amazing, whether people realize it or not

Dear Nicki,

So here’s the thing, I don’t know why I keep feeling like this, but I’m not happy. Things aren’t bad, but they could be better. Especially my health.  I don’t know how I’ve let it become so bad. I used to care so much about what I ate. But I guess I spent way more time alone too. I mean I’m in great shape compared to other people but I haven’t been able to eat regularly without becoming sick. I think my problem is I care too much, and I’m not a person who could turn this part of me off. It’s deeply rooted. Not just that, but I care about what people think too much. I don’t know why it is the way that I am or maybe I’m just more honest about it. I think everyone else cares too, they just like what everyone else likes, so its not a problem. Or they just go along with what everyone else says. But that has never been the way that I am. I don’t follow the crowd.

I am a renegade at heart, as corny as that may sound. And I like it that way. I don’t want what everyone else wants. I want my own life and to live it my way. I hate gossip and drama. I like the finer things in life. I mean, I can be wild sometimes. But I’d rather relax and watch a Hitchcock movie. Not Fast & the Furious or other mumbo jumbo bullshit all of the time. Movies like that are just a distraction and a fantasy. Not that Hitchcock movies don’t contain illusions or act as a distraction itself. But the story lines are still about regular people and their lives. Not stupid car racing, drug wars, or stupid corruption. I know I’ve written about what I’m about to say somewhere else but it still sticks in my head. I feel like I’m the only person like myself left sometimes.

I can talk about old movies for days. Or Hitchcock movies anyway. I haven’t seen many other old films to be completely honest. I just feel like it’s so hard to catch up while also trying to stay current. Ya know? Of course you do know everything, don’t you?

Don’t let anyone tell you any different.

ANYONE LOL

Well I hate to cut this short but it’s getting harder to write with this charcoal.

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Damn right

Love ya.

Nicole 7/7/13

Rosebud – A Piece of Film History I Adore And Would Own With Pride – Citizen Kane 1941 *Spoiler Alert*

Rosebud – A Piece of Film History I Adore And Would Own With Pride – Citizen Kane 1941 *Spoiler Alert*

**Citizen Kane 1941 Orson Welles - Image of Charles Foster Kane from Imdb**
**Citizen Kane 1941 Orson Welles – Image of Charles Foster Kane from IMDB**

Before seeing Citizen Kane, I did not understand what all of the noise was about. A significant portion of older films received a load of recognition close to the ‘dawn of film’. However, since Citizen Kane is heralded as one of the best films ever made, I could not judge a book by its cover, or in this case, by the film’s name or poster image. Citizen Kane was released in 1941, many years after film’s inception, leaving more reason to trust the credibility of many scholars who judge this movie as a major achievement in film history for the production techniques used as well as the story-line.

So, who is Citizen Kane?

**Spoiler Alert: Do Not Read Further If You Have Not Seen Citizen Kane and wish to not have the ending spoiled** 

[ The Mystery of Kane ] Citzen Kane - Image of Kane from A Sharper Focus **The Gaff Blog does not own this image**
[ The Mystery of Kane ]
Citizen Kane – Image of Kane from A Sharper Focus **The Gaff Blog does not own this image**

Who is Charles Foster Kane and what is the meaning of the word Rosebud?

If you’re patient enough to watch until the end, the audience gets a hint of the true meaning and importance of Rosebud. The film asserts that the world never truly knew Mr. Charles Foster Kane. How could they? Kane is a famous publishing tycoon and when news spreads about the last word he says before his death, people scramble to figure out what it meant: Rosebud.” 

Kane is a man who was sold to a rich man by his poor family. Further down the line, he becomes the owner of a newspaper and creates his own news, among many other things. Kane has a good amount of time wrapping up his image with a nice neat bow until a competing paper divulges a cheating scandal with another woman. Kane is played by the genius himself, Orson Welles, who unfortunately did not receive much critical acclaim beyond discussions related to Citizen Kane. Kane’s character is based on WR Hearst. But the character of Kane is an enigma by himself. It would be hard to describe him any other way than to say the man that everyone wants to be friends with. But to love? Perhaps not. He has everything he could ever want — it seems. Except the thing he wanted the most as a child: Rosebud, a snow sled. And theoretically: Pure joy. When he was sold by his original parents to his rich guardian, he lost that childish but also a very important sense of love and joy. The person who obviously changed his life, some could say for the better, lacked the love of a mother or father. Technically, he received all of the physical things he wished for. But not love. Which is why his relationships with women fail and his life end in lonesome.

I think anyone who comes from an atypical home can relate to the less than spectacular feeling that encompasses Kane. He constantly reached for love and admiration from outside forces, girls dancing around him, the crowd cheering during his political speeches about the common man (though he was far from common with his rich father/guardian) even when he truly did not know what love meant because he did not experience love since his childhood. It can be argued that Kane never did experience love, because his family gave him away for money. Sure, it made his life better financially. But when someone’s dying words are the name of an old sled: You can get the feeling that he truly did not experience much joy.

If I could see or own Rosebud: I would treasure it and own it with pride because of everything the sled symbolizes. Like Kane, Rosebud is more than what meets the eye. Yes, it’s a sled. Roger Ebert wrote in his own review of Citizen Kane, “Rosebud is the emblem of the security, hope, and innocence of childhood, which a man can spend his life seeking to regain. It is the green light at the end of Gatsby’s pier; the leopard atop Kilimanjaro, seeking nobody knows what; the bone tossed into the air in “2001.” It is that yearning after transience that adults learn to suppress.” Source: (http://www.rogerebert.com/reviews/great-movie-citizen-kane-1941)

“Maybe Rosebud was something he couldn’t get or something he lost,” says Thompson, the reporter assigned to the puzzle of Kane’s dying word. “Anyway, it wouldn’t have explained anything.” (Dialogue from Citizen Kane)

Ebert goes on to write: “True, it explains nothing, but it is remarkably satisfactory as a demonstration that nothing can be explained.” Citizen Kane likes playful paradoxes like that. Its surface is as much fun as any movie ever made. Its depths surpass understanding. I have analyzed it a shot at a time with more than 30 groups, and together we have seen, I believe, pretty much everything that is there on the screen. The more clearly I can see its physical manifestation, the more I am stirred by its mystery.”

To me, the sled also symbolizes joy and the simplest forms of love. If you experience all of these things often, consider yourself lucky.

If you have not seen Citizen Kane, check out the marvel that it truly is.

For more info on Citizen Kane read Roger Ebert’s full review: http://www.rogerebert.com/reviews/great-movie-citizen-kane-1941  and read his “Viewer’s Companion to Citizen Kane:” http://www.rogerebert.com/rogers-journal/a-viewers-companion-to-citizen-kane

The idea for this post came from a partnership with invaluable.com
To see or buy movie collectibles like Rosebud visit the website: http://www.invaluable.com

Art Tuesday – Art is Much Less Important than Life, But What a Poor Life Without it. How Have You Benefited from Art?

Art Tuesday – Art is Much Less Important than Life, But What a Poor Life Without it. How Have You Benefited from Art?

I have a poster in my room that reads:

Art is much less important than life, but what a poor life without it. Robert Motherwell.


Quote by Robert Motherwell (on the left) Copyright MOMA or Museum of Modern Art. From their Abstract Expressionist New York Exhibit Oct 3,2010 - April 25, 2011; (On the right) Pablo Picasso's
I have always believed that art is an important piece of the puzzle of life. Without art, I would not be complete. (Two of many posters/images on my wall)                                                                            Quote by Robert Motherwell (on the left) Copyright MoMA or Museum of Modern Art. From their Abstract Expressionist New York Exhibit Oct 3,2010 – April 25, 2011; (On the right) Pablo Picasso’s “Girl Before a Mirror” Also, purchased at the MoMA.

Art has been a major influence in my life in a lot of ways. Not simply visual art either. Artists (visual and musical), paintings, music, film (also directors and screenplay writers), animation, writers like Maya Angelou (bless her soul and her beautiful poetry), even some clothing designers (You go Diane Von Furstenberg!), have all inspired me in some way. Even to start writing this blog.

When I look at the walls in my room, it’s easy to see how art has been an inspiration to me, even though recently I have hit a bit of a wall with my creativity. I’ve always been willing to try new things when it comes to art, as far as exploration and discovery go (in one’s art that is). But it seems whenever people tell me that they do not like some of my work, I take it too harshly. Should I or shouldn’t I? Nevertheless, I still draw and paint to my heart’s desire.

(In order clockwise from the top left) Robert Motherwell's quote again; Also Picasso's
An extended view of the pictures on my wall   (In order clockwise from the top left) Robert Motherwell’s quote again; Also Picasso’s “Girl Before A Mirror,” Andy Warhol’s “Chocolate Bunny which says: “I never met an animal I didn’t like;” Maya Angelou’s “Phenomenal Woman” in a hardcover copy; Warhol’s Flowers in Red; Warhol’s Pop  Art Print – Shoes which says: “It takes a lot of work to figure out how to look so good.” (**All Artworks showed in this image except Angelou’s bought from the MoMA. All rights reserved to original owners**) **Image by Nicole Oliva**

Until recently, I was not too good with words. Creating visual art was my sole escape. Keyword was. I still enjoy drawing and painting, reading, writing, going to museums whenever I can. However, life has caught up with me and has become more serious. I especially struggled after I was rejected from a film program I yearned to be a part of ever since I fell in love with film: the ultimate visual art in my opinion, because it encompasses all aspects of visual art, but also utilizes music and dialogue (in modern cinema of course).

Art is my escape from reality because art does not force you to have an impression or experience you do not wish to have. Certainly, artists have intentions for their work when they create them. But experiencing art encompasses everything you have ever seen. Depending on your point of view, you will see something different from how I do. Also, creating art is a unique experience in itself as well. People have tried to describe the process of creating art. But it is not the same for everyone.

Pablo Picasso's
Pablo Picasso’s “Girl Before a Mirror” **Image taken by Nicole Oliva. Artwork purchased from the MoMA or Museum of Modern Art in NYC.**

To me, “Girl Before a Mirror,” connects with my insecure side. When I look into it, I see myself looking into the mirror and think about how I pick apart myself and my flaws. But it is fair to say that this was not even close to what Pablo Picasso was thinking while creating this piece. Or while deciding on which colors to use, the shape of the woman’s breasts and hips, etc. He may have simply been fascinated with a woman’s habit of peering into a mirror. Picasso had more than a few women in his life. In the past, when I read about Picasso’s life and accomplishments I was fascinated about how he lived. He and the people he lived amongst revolutionized cubism during their own lifetime. Imagine doing that during your time alive? One could only hope to accomplish as much or even half of what Picasso did during his own lifetime. To be so successful, that your grandchildren do not have to work. If you do not believe me, google his grandchildren. He probably made most of his wealth after he died, and sure, he had his flaws, but can you say you are perfect?

** Original Artworks Created by and Image by Nicole Oliva** (Top left) Self-portrait 2013;  (Top right) A Still Life 2013; (Bottom right) Two Hands 2013 (Blown up version of the image on the bottom left) All original  works shown here were created for a drawing class.
Drawings by yours truly   **Original Artworks Created by Nicole Oliva and Image by Nicole Oliva** (Top left) Self-portrait 2013; (Top right) A Still Life 2013; (Bottom right) Two Hands 2013 (Blown up version of the image on the bottom left) All original works that are shown here were created for a drawing class.

Does Art Imitate Life or Does Life Imitate Art?


I do not think I could give a definite answer to that question but in my opinion, my art reflects my life. Sure, I have tried to redo some Picasso pieces. So in that literal way, I replicated art and was influenced by it. But I have always been an observer. Not necessarily a follower. Following this line of thought, some people may entirely imitate art, but the ones who revolutionize, their art imitates life. Not the other way around.

I believe all great art imitates life. Even abstract art. Abstract art in itself is a complex puzzle not meant to be solved. Just like life. Why are we here? I do not have an answer to that question either. Are we here to live and then die? What should be we do while on this Earth? What if we all have a purpose that is meant to be fulfilled? Have I fulfilled that purpose yet?

More pictures on my wall lol. Pictures of Lady Gaga **Image by Nicole Oliva** Original images taken from a magazine. Copyright goes to original owners or photographers.
More pictures on my wall lol. Pictures of Lady Gaga **Image by Nicole Oliva** Original images taken from a magazine. Copyright goes to original owners or photographers.

If you read through older posts on the Gaff Blog, you’ll see one post that mentions Lady Gaga, who is another great influence in my life. Say what you will about her. But her music, whether she was high while writing it or even making the beats certainly imitates her life. From Bad Kids to So Happy I Could Die, to Monster, if you dig deep into her lyrics, you can see the real her. Even Poker Face is apparently about her hiding a bisexual fantasy from her lover. The rawness of her music is what always attracted me to her as an artist. Also, her love of playing piano always inspires me to bring an aspect of what I love into my future work and career. Although her taste for leather repulsed me during my vegetarian phase, I accepted her for her flaws. Some may think she has more than others. But again, we’re all imperfect. Artists may simply be  more attuned to accepting their flaws.

To end this post, I will say that art has continued to be an immensely beneficial aspect of my life. If art has not benefitted you in any way, I suggest checking again. On your walls, on your clothes, maybe some place that I wouldn’t even think of. But find what makes you happy and pursue that, whatever way you can.

Last image from my wall.       Quote by Diane Von Furstenberg
Last image from my wall.      Quote by Diane Von Furstenberg. “Be yourself and enjoy it! Live healthy and love your body! Your confidence is your real beauty.” **Image by Nicole Oliva**

For more information on Robert Motherwell and his artwork, visit http://artsy.net/artist/robert-motherwell

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Art Tuesdays – A Hand to God

As an art lover, artist and recent blogger I struggled with thinking about how to incorporate art into blogging. Realistically speaking, I do not have the time to go to exhibitions every week thus, reviews would be difficult to write if I can’t go to a museum. So I came up with this idea: Art Tuesdays.

Art Tuesdays will be dedicated to submissions of my own personal work, whenever I do not have external content to review.

So I will start this Tuesday off with my personal favorite:

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I drew A Hand to God on a day when I felt very lonely. If you look at the date on it, it is over a year old. But the message is still very clear in my mind.

I have gone back and forth with my beliefs if a god exists or not. At one point, I considered myself an atheist. The one person I knew who dedicated their life to God (my grandfather) passed away from complications with a brain tumor and I could not understand how someone divine nor all loving could let this happen to someone so dedicated to him or her.

Recently, I consider myself more agnostic. A brief definition of agnostic, for those who don’t know would be that I believe there could be a divine being but I personally am not putting a name on it. I only use ‘God’ in the title as a symbol. When I think about my life I consider myself very lucky. While I am not well off, I live comfortably. I eat everyday, sleep in my own bed. See my mom and step dad. Still talk to my dad occasionally although that’s awkward lol. But regardless of the trivial bad things that happen to me, I am lucky.

I am lucky to be alive with so much potential and opportunity available to me. So, to get to the main point of why I drew this is: if there is someone, anyone pulling the strings, I reach my hand out to them and welcome them in. Instead of criticizing them for their flaws.

When I Say I’m a Feminist

When I Say I’m a Feminist

When I say I’m a Feminist

It has nothing to do with a hate for men 

When I say I’m a Feminist

It’s not because my dad chose not to see me as a child 

When I say I’m a Feminist

It’s not because of the latent patriarchy that is so evident to me, but not clear to people that say “you’re so lucky to live in America, what are you complaining about?” when I already knew this to be true, I come from a family that supports and has ties to the military and have never said I was not lucky. I have a great love for my country and I am still able to criticize it. Let’s not praise it like we are unable to do anything wrong.

When I say I’m a Feminist

I try my best to be intersectional but we all have our own blinders on due to our own perspectives shaped by the people in our lives and our own developed knowledge. 

When I say I’m a Feminist

It’s because of all the women that I’ve met and had around me my whole life. The ones who work painstakingly and get barely any credit. Their opinions are questioned at every level by men and women, often more than their male counter-parts. Their ways of life are questioned. If a woman doesn’t want a child, or if she does and wants to work, or she stays home with the child. No matter what we choose, there’s someone behind a keyboard criticizing us for just trying to live our lives authentically to who we are individually. 

Women that like to cook, or women that don’t cook or clean. Because you know that’s what women are supposed to do and we’re supposed to clean until things look spotless but you know it’s an option for the guy because he’s the stereotypical breadwinner. If he’s not the breadwinner we judge that too. 

For gay couples that want to adopt children or go through invitro, etc. Their an abomination? But yet their taking children that they technically have no obligation to into their homes and lives to give them a more enriched life. Wow, how fucking terrible. 

When I say I’m a Feminist

I say it for the guys who don’t want to be hyper masculine either. I see you and I may not understand your struggle exactly. But I feel it at times when I joke about being an alpha and guys laugh at me as if that’s not a possible thing for a woman to be. 

I say it for the guys who think they have to pay for everything and when I offer to pay they shrivel up in fear as if that’s something terrible for a woman to offer a man. 

Finally

When I say I’m a Feminist

It’s for all the women and men who show up, who listen to me and also allow me to listen to them. All the women and men (people, also trans/gender fluid) that are just trying to be their own authentic selves. 

It’s for all the women in my life that are so amazing, beautiful, but also intelligent individuals yet some people are too prideful to admit. 

It’s for all the women that have to play coy when a guy flirts with them so they can ease away from an awkward situation. Or the women who are bold enough to speak up and risk a potential conflict that shouldn’t happen when someone speaks up for themselves.

It’s for men who fell into these situations with women they don’t want to get involved with (because they should want advances from any woman right?)

It’s for a love of all people

Anyone that feels like an other, generally not included.

Meet your Feminist

N. Oliva

Making Meals Better Always: Frank’s Red Hot 

Making Meals Better Always: Frank’s Red Hot 

My breakfast this morning 😄

All of my foodies that love hot sauce can agree! 

If you don’t like Frank’s, which hot sauce do you prefer? 

Not a fan of spice at all? 

That’s alright, more for me!

Toodaloo. Have a great day all! 

N. Oliva 

xoxo

When Did it Become Okay?

When Did it Become Okay?

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Artwork by La Femme Cheri. Check her out on instagram @La_Femme_Cheri  The Gaff Blog does not own this image

When did it become okay to pass laws that target one sect of people that the lawmakers are not apart of?

And do not give me that easy bullshit answer about trying to maintain impartiality. If that were the case, when we speak about abortion rights we would solely be discussing the facts. Not this or that person’s opinion of what a woman should do with her own pregnancy. We would not be pitting fact against proven fiction to show where the truth lies.

We wouldn’t be telling people which bathroom they should be using.

Let’s cut the bullshit.

The bathroom that someone uses does not effect anyone else besides the user.
What does effect people: their thoughts. They perceive someone as out of the norm and they want to control those that step outside their zone of normal.

I have used the men’s bathroom several times. Hairs didn’t pop out of my chest.
I didn’t tickle or bother someone as I walked out. Most of the time there was no one else in the bathroom at all.
Most of the time, it’s a single stall bathroom and I went in there because the women’s bathroom was occupied.
With these facts in mind, almost no one cares that I did it.
See how facts work? They justify actions.
They show people’s motives and intentions for doing what they did.

People aren’t so black and white.
People are the colors that make up the rainbow.
Let people be people.

Not another drone in your controlled scheme.

 

N. Oliva

Xoxo

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Artwork by La Femme Cheri, check her out on instagram @La_Femme_Cheri  The Gaff Blog does not own this image.