Art in Ruin is a new personal photography project by Laura Bergerol. It is timed to be ready by 8/29/14 (the ninth anniversary of Katrina making land in New Orleans.) My inspiration for this project began with a house that I noticed several weeks ago on Earhart Expressway, that was colorful and cheerful. When I went back to investigate, I realized that though the house was decaying, someone had painted wonderful things on it; and it looked as if it was ready to dance on Mardi Gras day. After I noticed the first house, I did more research and realized that there are many houses and buildings in New Orleans, that have also been “made beautiful” both by human hands, and by nature. When I went to photograph them, I realized that there was a “strong chance” that many of these houses will disappear into dust (some sooner than others) as their structures are less than stable, so the need to document them became more urgent. I suspect that this project may eventually expand to other cities, other than New Orleans, but for now, New Orleans gets my attention. I plan to offer a book of the photos, and all profits after cost will go to Animal Rescue New Orleans (www.animalrescueneworleans.org) who have been rescuing and finding homes for the dogs and cats of New Orleans since Katrina. Eventually, there will be a website (http://artinruin.org) but for now the photos live on my photography site; Art in Ruin and on the Art in Ruin Facebook page; Facebook page.
From our Pinterest Hot Reads board, a list of our favorite reads on the internet during the past week. Enjoy!
1. From HuffPo: “Dating in the 1920’s: Lipstick. Booze, and the Origins of Slut Shaming”
Favorite quote: “The new woman of the ’20s was totally different from her mother. She worked and voted. She smoked, drank and danced. She dated. She celebrated her new freedoms in style. She was a flapper.”
2. Also from HuffPo: “The Real “L” Word (Especially in the Bible Belt”) Is….”
(H/T: Part Time Monster)
Favorite quote: “Ministry isn’t always a sermon or a church service. No! Ministry is about loving people — all people. Jesus was radically inclusive. Just look at the woman at the well and the lepers, all considered abominations by the religious people. Jesus loved them, and He included them. That’s what I want to do with The Dandelion Project.”
3. Aaaaand, three times the charm. From HuffPo: “These Are the Things Men Say To Women On the Street”
This is shit that happens when you’re just walking down the street minding your own business. No favorite quote here. The pictures tell the story.
4. From Humanistic Paganism: “A Pedagogy of Gaia: How Lammas Changed My Life” by New Orleans blogger and activist Bart Everson.
Tagline: What can we learn, and how can we teach, from the cycles of the Earth — both the cycles within us, and the cycles in which we find ourselves?
Favorite Quote: “We may discover unexpected depths and make new connections if we are open to possibilities.”
5. From Thought Catalog: “How and Why To Keep a Commonplace Book”
Favorite Quote: “Some of the greatest men and women in history have kept these books. Marcus Aurelius kept one–which more or less became the Meditations. “
Note: I’ve keep one of these little books off and on over the years. Here’s two of my old ones. For me, it’s a creative addition to traditional journaling. Plus, I love quotes.
6. From TammyVitale.com: “Things That Strike My Fancy”
Favorite Quote: “So each new creation we allow to come through us may have been written/sung/painted/danced/spoken before, but in this instance it is filtered through our unique human experience and so it must be something new under the sun. Bayles and Orland, in Art and Fear say: Each new piece of your art enlarges our [everyone' else's] reality. The world is not yet done.”
Note: this is a really great essay on nurturing inspiration in your art and writing.
7. And our list for the week comes from Part Time Monster: “Top Ten Tuesday: Top 10 Books I’d Give to Readers Who Haven’t Read Southern Literature”
A great book list that you should check out. I’d add Mystic Pig by Richard Katrovas, Atchafalaya Houseboat: My Years in the Louisiana Swamp by Gwen Roland and French Quarter Fiction: The Newest Stories of America’s Oldest Bohemia edited by Joshua Clark.
What book would you add?
8. And finally, great poem of the week is “Don’t You Miss the Phone Booth” by Kate Peper on Rattle. Well, don’t you? If you haven’t thought about it, read this poem. Really.
A little snippet:
Oh, sure, back then it meant people couldn’t reach you 24/7,
photos snapped from your cell at a dinner party couldn’t be sent
to your loved ones in Zurich, or your pre-teen’s thumbs
couldn’t get the workout from texting, but hey—
I first became aware of Becky Fos’s art on Twitter when she followed our page and her avatar caught my eye. I clicked on through to her website and was blown away by her vibrant, colorful paintings.(She’s also on FaceBook.) I had to know more and she was gracious enough to consent to an interview. Enjoy!
First, tell us a little about yourself.
I am Texan born, a former Austinitte! So, to some that would explain my sometimes “weird” clothes. The city’s motto has been, “Keep Austin weird” for as long as I’ve known it. I moved to New Orleans in 2002 and never once regretted it. New Orleans, with it’s heritage, history and culture have completely molded me into the person I am today. I could never imagine myself being anywhere else. One of my favorite songs growing up was by Fats Domino, “Walking to New Orleans” and now it all makes perfect sense.
I have been painting my whole life, for as long as I can possibly remember. I painted on the walls of my room growing up, doodled on notebook paper in school, and now canvas. My favorite times painting are when my son, Jude (age 6) and I set up shop in the kitchen and go to town!!!
I like to paint on canvas with pallet knives. I like to use a lot of paint to create texture and I love color. SOmetimes I’ve been told that I use too much color, but that’s just me. And I wouldn’t change a thing.
beginning, middle and ending in mind or does it evolve as you go?
I begin with a thought or a dream. Or sometimes a person. I’ve been inspired by going to concerts around the city and seeing the musician up close deeply inspires me and I must create. I see the passion on their face while creating their art, and this inspires me. I love to capture the magic that I’ve witnessed first-hand and that’s how it starts. So, I have a jumping off point and then it actually evolves. I paint backwards actually because I paint the focal point first and not the background. I know everybody is different, but that’s how I start. SOmetimes I change the background several times.
Yes, my art is a full-time gig for me. I also do some of the chalk art at Chef, John Besh’s Restaurant, Borgne along with the amazing, Lance Romano.
I’ve always loved art. I was always drawn to things sparkly and colorful. My mom use to call me her “crow” because a crow will always seem to find that burry treasure of sparkleness. My passion only grows.
Who are some of your favorite artists?
I feel so bad about saying who my favorite artists are because I have so many friends who are artists. But just to name a few, Keith Eccles and Terrance Osborne since they have both guided me on this path. Bansky, Bruni and Van Gogh of course.
If you find yourself losing interest in a project do you push yourself to finish or set it aside for later? Do you have any tips you can share regarding motivation and/or discipline in completing a project?
Not all projects that we start do we stay 100% motivated throughout. There are actually a few pieces that I’ll be working on at a time. Sometimes I just have to put one down and walk away, especially when I’m feeling not motivated. Then I start to feel defeated so it actually motivates me to go back and finish. It’s these pieces that actually come out the absolute best and I never want to get rid of them and hold on to them.
Lozano & Barbuti Gallery at 313 Royal St in New Orleans carries my original artwork and I actually have a website that I sell my reproductions from: www.beckyfos.com
I have big goals that I’ve set for myself. I like to aim high. I plan on having my own art gallery in the french quarter right next to all the big dogs lol. I’m aiming for the moon! :-)
Today I have for you (channeling the chefs on “Chopped” which I just finished watching!) a little list of some of the good things and bad things that I read on the internet in the past week. Most of them are from other blogs, some from NOLA, some not. It’s just a hodge-podge of articles that I liked or …… didn’t, but all are decidedly shareable.
Road trip! Follow Ian McNulty on a trip down the bayou to Terrebone Parish in Bayou Country journey offers glimpse of small-town life at the end of the line.
Local blogger Blathering shares her recent outing to City Park’s Botanical Gardens with a walk through Enrique Alferez’s sculptures in her weekly feature “Arty Tuesday”.
“Blackberries Everywhere” , via Bouillie blog, takes us along to pick wild blackberries in rural Louisiana and adds a bonus of a recipe for Blackberry Cornmeal Cake that sounds scrumptious. The photos of the finished cake made my mouth water and put it on my list of recipes to try this summer.
I’m always complaining to myself that I don’t have the kind of time I’d like to read. This is really not exactly true since I often end up surfing the internet when my intention was to read my ebook. I even tweeted about it. So I was happy to find this post, 7 tips to help you read more (& love it).
#YesAllWomen was a hashtag on fire on Twitter this past week. It apparently first popped up Friday 5/23 in the aftermath of the Elliot Rodger shooting spree in California in response to his misogynist rants on YouTube. When social media takes up a cause like this, I find it much more interesting and enlightening to read personal blogs written by everyday people to get a feel for how the issue affects or is affecting everyday people. Here are a few blog posts I read this week that touched me (to tears in some cases) and/or just made me think in a different way, breaking open the festering sore of misogyny.
First, here’s a link to a Vanity Fair article that includes a graphic showing how the hashtag spread worldwide.
Brandi writes a very personal account of her experience of being bullied by a boy (and, yes, it was bullying) at age 11. I really identified with this post because I experienced the same thing at the same age and I remember the humiliation I felt.
Roxane Gay’s post, In Relief of Silence and Burden, is a heartbreaker written in the unmistakably honest voice that is Roxane Gay. Reading this made my stomach hurt.
Walking While Fat and Female – Or Why I Don’t Care Not All Men Are Like That was an eye-opener. I guess I’m naive but it never occurred to me that adult men acted this way.
And, from the men:
My Girl’s a Vegetable: A Father’s Response To Isla Vista Shootings in Luna Luna Magazine shares how a dad’s eyes were opened to the every day misogyny directed to women via his daughter’s experience while walking home from school.
Local Blogger Ian McGibboney writes “A Letter To All the Nice Guys”and makes some really good points.
And, finally, Emily Shire says “#YesAllWomen Has Jumped the Shark” and wonders if it’s being diluted by people tweeting about such things as “complaints about women being told to smile”. What do you think?
New-To-Me Blog of the Week
To end on a lighter note, I want to share a blog each week (or so) that’s new to me and that I enjoyed reading – you know, show a little link love.This week it’s The Art of Simple, a blog that shares ways to live a simpler, more meaningful life as well as giving great organizational tips. Give it a click, I think you’ll like it!
Seven years ago, when Ally Boyd relocated to New Orleans from Austin, she considered herself crafty mom, but not an artist. While wandering around the city during homeschool excursions with her children, she found items left behind as litter: the arm of a doll, an old glass bottle, screws, bottle caps, and wood. She collected these items, seeing the beauty in ordinary things, and used them to decorate her home. The vibe of New Orleans influenced her greatly, making her want to build, create, express herself. The darker themes of work by local artists inspired Ally to push limits and redefine her own boundaries. Four years after making New Orleans her home, she was now making New Orleans her art. NOLA Breeze Art was born.
When she first started creating shadow boxes, she began using the items she had collected from around the city. She believed most of the item she found were art in and of themselves and loved bringing them to light in her own work. She reserved most of her pieces for friends and family, or for use in her own home. Last May, a friend encouraged her to try the Freret Market.
Since that first market last May, Ally and NOLA Breeze Art have participated in the Freret Market every month, selling her pieces to those both local and visiting. In 2012, one of her pieces was accepted into the 4th Annual Femme Fest. Last month, The Green- Eyed Gator on Chartres St. began selling her art. This month a new gallery opening on Magazine St, Coq Rouge, will be featuring her art as well. NOLA Breeze Art has expanded from shadow boxes to steam punk statues, wall hangings, frames, and dolls.
Art has become a form of therapy for Ally. Recently, her estranged father took his own life. While she was hundreds of miles away from family, her art became her refuge, allowing her to process her feelings about what had happened in a way that she hadn’t been able to before. For her, art is the most constant of companions – the friend you share all of your pain with.
“The art that I created immediately after I found out about my dad is much different than the art I usually do. It helped, though, to get the storm inside of me out in something material that I could see.”
Ally hopes that her art helps people to connect or reconnect and when they look at her art, it inspires them to feel – taking away something personal from something that was so personal for her to make.
It is also her goal that NOLA Breeze Art offer people a little piece of New Orleans, no matter where they call home. This is why she uses reclaimed wood and other recycled items she’s found throughout the city in her all of her pieces.cc
“The city of New Orleans is such a huge inspiration to me. I like being able to take something that I found in City Park or on the ground at the French Quarter festival and be able to incorporate it into something new. I want to give people a little bit of what New Orleans has given to me.”
For the past year my partner Micah and I have been working on creating a new conceptual magazine called Momma Tried. Both long term New Orleanians (he was born in Opelousas LA, I moved here in 1998), our vision is to bring together a print-only publication that is equal parts literary journal, art magazine, and non-heteronormative nudie mag; a new platform to showcase the talents and perspective of our community.
From the very beginning of this project, we’ve been inspired by the idea that print is “dead,” and chose to fully embrace the romance of this allegedly lost medium as a part of our concept. By only making it available as a tangible publication printed in editions of 1000 and distributing it internationally, we’re hoping to create a magazine that is an archive of a moment in time and feels more permanent and precious than what can be achieved with pages displayed on the internet. We’re endeavoring to create something that is a nod to the publications that influenced us most when we were growing up, including the role of iconic and often misogynistic retro advertising. As an ad-free publication, Momma Tried gives us the opportunity to explore the tropes, manipulations, and possibilities of print advertisements, so through an aspect of the magazine that we call “disruptive content,” we’re partnering with artists to create original and appropriation based satirical adverts that deconstruct the nature of advertising, while simultaneously embodying the essential visual role of magazine ads.
Micah and I started the magazine while we were working on a large multi-disciplinary art installation in New Orleans last year, and from that experience of collaborating with many local and national artists, we realized that a cornerstone of our objective for Momma Tried was to create a new platform to share the talent of local artists and writers with the world. Since then, this dream has manifested into a collaborative work that is nearly complete. The first issue of Momma Tried will be approximately 150 pages long, full color, perfect bound, and contains the work of dozens of contributors from New Orleans, across the U.S, and abroad, as well as our core team of local collaborators which we have worked closely with to create our conceptual nude photo editorials.
The aspect of sexuality in Momma Tried is something we feel strongly about as an opportunity to create a new, more diverse and inclusive presentation of bodies and identity. We feel that art and sexuality go hand in hand as forms of expression and discovery, and that being interested in depictions of nudity or sexuality shouldn’t be an embarrassment, or kept away from other expressions of creativity and thought. We believe that sex and art are intrinsic to the human experience, and it is our hope that by pairing them in a way that is inclusive of people regardless of orientation or gender, we will be creating common ground for a diverse array of people to share, regardless of perceived differences. Idealistically, we’re attempting to create an artistic platform that allows artists, writers, and readers of the magazine to be embracing of their sexuality as well as intellect, which however small of a gesture it might be, is a step towards being more comfortable and honest with ourselves and each other.
After a year of working on this very rewarding and ambitious labor of love, we’re almost ready to send it to print! We’ve recently launched a Kickstarter campaign where people can pre-order the first issue and support us in our efforts to publish what we believe is a valuable addition to our local creative culture.