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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.
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.
Well I hate to cut this short but it’s getting harder to write with this charcoal.
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 SeenCitizen Kane and wish to not have the ending spoiled**
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.
Art is much less important than life, but what a poor life without it. Robert Motherwell.
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.
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.
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?
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?
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.
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:
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 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.
How do you know if your expectations are too high or if other people’s are too low?
Since I’ve been unemployed for some time, I have had a lot of questions. Not only why it’s so hard for someone to get an entry-level job around this time of year in New York City of all cities, the busiest city of them all but why people have become so anti-social in some aspects. But at the same time, they act like they’re doing stuff all day long on Facebook, Snapchat and Instagram.
I know I should not focus so much or any of my attention on these things. But as harsh as it seems, it kills me inside to think that some of these people who I have to share space and oxygen on the earth with are such selfish, careless individuals.
I want to be the change I wish to see.
I want to be upbeat and happy, do all the things I’ve ever hoped and dreamed of, hopefully with someone I love as well.
I can’t find the love inside myself to do it and move forward.
I don’t know how to find today’s peace.
I’m looking for my group of people who make my heart sing and every time I think I’m on my way towards that people remind me how terrible they are and I just want to quit.
It has nothing to do with money either. Oddly enough, I was happy when I made bullshit money at my job that I worked at night after coming home from classes. I loved the grind. Keeping myself busy.
I hate when people get mad at me for sharing my opinion and claim that I’m shaming someone else’s.
No, you just don’t like or agree with my opinion. Be upfront jack-off.
On the other hand, there’s a difference between someone being shamed for their opinion and someone saying something completely ridiculous or off-putting and hurting to people.
I am young but I have heard and read almost everything terrible possible. People are not begging for ‘safe spaces,’ they’re asking for human decency.
If America as a country has taught me anything, it’s that I have the right to say what I want but I also have to deal with the repercussions of stating my opinion. I do not have any problem with a person or group of people even, disagreeing with my opinion. What I dislike, is people just replying with their opinion instead of trying to listen to differing points and views and learning why someone thinks with that perspective.
I want to do something that makes me happy, meet people who I automatically click with and we can talk all day and night and hang out whenever. I personally do not like depending on people for anything but I do not want to feel like I am depending on people when I go to them with my feelings either.
I have been getting so bored and frustrated since I have been home looking for jobs, maybe partly cynical because of a bad experience I had with a job I thought was different than it turned out to be.
I used to love going on walks around my neighborhood and to the beach by me but it has become so awkward. I feel like people are looking at me like what the fuck is she doing using her legs outside? Legitimately. You’re not walking to your car? Or walking some place to eat? People are so strange and so basic at the same time.
I want to hang out and have fun with amazing, outstanding people who care about more than themselves and are okay sharing their opinion while also being okay listening to others endlessly.
I will end this post with a quote from someone (one of many) who inspires me. Suck it if you don’t like it!
Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek. – Barack Obama
For the past couple of weeks, I’ve been contemplating what I want to do with the rest of my life.
The answer: I’d love to create.
Film, art, maybe in the future act or write a play. But before I get ahead of myself, I need some slight inspiration from you all. I have some ideas in my mind. But I’d really like to know what you all would be interested in.
What genres of film are your favorites? Do people watch shorts that aren’t your average funny video on YouTube? Honest question.
One idea that I’ve been throwing around in my mind, is a film with a female villain. I’m unsure of her name so far. She meets this girl Daisy, who has been struggling to find herself. And she’s really struck by Daisy’s honesty.
I’m thinking of naming the film Spark. You’ll see why if you’re interested.
I’m so tired of seeing all the same films about all the same things. Or films that are simply an escape from reality, without trying to add something better to reality. Beyond documentaries, not many mainstream films address struggles of your average person.
Daisy is a sweet girl who tries to see the best in everything and everyone. She truly wants to make the world a better place. But she’s unsure how. She hasn’t had the best family upbringing, has always felt bitterness from her mother, stepdad and sister, but she appreciates everything she has been through regardless.
What I need is a motivation for her character. What wakes her up in the morning? What wakes you up in the morning? What’s going to take this sensitive woman from wanting to stay inside all the time, from doing the complete opposite?
My struggles right now are very close to Daisy’s.
I want to start a conversation. What do you think? What do you feel? I’m here for you. Inspire me, like I hope to inspire you all.