Archive for the ‘Art’ Category
I went to a monastery for my birthday this year, the place where they make the local jam I like. They come in these beautiful little jars. I’m 25 years old now, I like that age. I feel that age. I only started liking my birthdays when I got older, past school. They make sense to me when I could control myself.
I’m happy. Things are working out, things always work out. I don’t really have anything profound to say. What did I used to write in my journals on my birthdays? I wish I could find my journal when I turned 22. 23. It’s here somewhere. 24 was here in Providence, and I have the same journal this year I had then, and it doesn’t have an entry. I never kept good journals, though. I realized years ago that if I wanted to make stuff I couldn’t force myself to adhere to one book at a time, one thing at a time, cover-to-cover.
I went to a monastery, and mostly laid in the fields surrounding the abbey. It was a beautiful day, slightly warmer than the day before (me and N went to the beach that day). I ate chips and drew the clouds and cleared my mind. Cleared my mind without particularly trying, which is the only way that makes sense. Forcing your mind to clear is sort of horrific. The abbey was an hour and a half drive too, which was nice. I had a great time. I kind of wished I had brought a tent and I could have camped there a few days, not spoken out loud a few days, but there was a party for me that night, and C did a tarot reading for me like she did last year, so I had to go back. I should live in a cold brick building some day.
This drawing of the main stained glass window doesn’t fit the aesthetics of my drawings well but it has to go in. Something I liked about the abbey was that it wasn’t very open to visitors. It had two tiny entrances that were barred off from the rest of the complex. The building itself had kind signs that asked for absolute silence. The interior of the building rang out with every shuffle from my backpack. I love that. A huge, echoing building, so when you bump something, everyone knows about it. Clear and cold and empty.
I organized and participated in this reading last night. It was a really good time. I had good conversations with people about my work. I mostly read work that hasn’t been printed yet, like when bands play songs that they just wrote in front of an audience, to “test them out.” Everything I read will be printed in various anthologies sometime this year. I read a few pages from my larger work, the pages still didn’t have word balloons on them. It was exciting.
The show was less thunderous than the one I saw in NYC, but then again, this is Providence. This reading was fun and conversational. The audience laughed and talked with the artists while they read. There was an after-party at John and Andrew’s house and we drank the beer that didn’t sell. It was casual and fun. That’s why I like making art here, it’s casual and fun. But not to the detriment of quality.
I told a 2nd grade girl today that she should start a diary to work out her feelings. I hate that the strongest, most interesting personalities of kids, are the ones who need to be “talked to” a lot. Loud and wild and full of ideas. I told her we would make a diary together, and in the diary she should write all of the things that happened that day, and how she felt about them. Thinking about and analyzing lesson plans for kids is how my mind has been growing lately. It’s weird strategizing possibilities outside of art, when art was always the lens I saw the world. I like doing stuff for other people and seeing how they take it and grow, though. I guess that’s also why I like art in a lot of ways.
I have a habit that when I meet someone new that I’m really excited about, that I want to tell another person who made me feel really excited, so I’m writing a letter (initially) to tell you about this person, but also to tell you (you!) that you are such a great person to me. Do you get that, the intrepid desire to document a crush, crush being someone who excites you and you want to know more about, not necessarily a lustful thing? The need to write and create about this jar lid popping open with possibility?
People are so interesting, aren’t they? You’re so special to me _____, I feel so tenderly and sweet towards you. I like that you are a creator from a kind + honest place. That’s my favorite kind of person, the people who work + create, then share. I don’t worry about you because I know you’ll always be killing it. I have a predilection towards concern. Maybe it has a relationship with neediness. Possibilities open up when you have a crush, huh? Like the world feels endless. It is otherworldly and good.
How are you doing? Last time we spoke you were considering moving. Is that still on the horizon for you? I’m lying in bed writing this on a clipboard. It’s nice, cozy. I hope you are doing well, _____. I hope you are writing + playing basketball + making music. I hope you are happy. I hope your possibilities are limitless.
It’s strange to watch someone who has mistreated you and people you love over the course of years, it’s strange seeing them talk about surviving their own abuse, and being praised for it. Is praise the right word? Maybe it’s just weird seeing it, knowing the other side. Human experience is multidimensional.
I still have coffee. It’s lukewarm. I’m at the airport waiting to board my flight to Detroit. It’s snowing heavily outside. I want to write about starting the new year, and the way I want to make art now.
I want to be calmer. I want to look at Twitter less. I want to write more one-on-one, because I think it would help me focus on bigger ideas. I want to think more. “You think a lot,” Kevin says. I want to write more about it, though. And I’m not a very good writer, so that means I need to practice.
I want to make art like the poems Ross and Cory write. I want to be a poet. Cory has a Masters. Ross works at a desk. I want to be more relaxed. I think relaxing will make better art, more interesting. I want to make comics like poems, but not even… just art.
Ross and Cory were so positive and supportive. Ross lives in Minneapolis and Cory lives in Tucson. I live in Providence. Kevin lives in Cleveland. Dispersed, sitting in our studios, writing and making things. How can I get that way on my own? Maybe I should stop reaching out.
Some sketches from my journal, some positive sketches I drew right away after hanging out with Ross and Cory, because my heart was racing:
Review of behind every young girl’s arse… written by Sophia Foster-Dimino from the Notable Comics of 2013 post on the Comics & Cola blog:
“Cathy G. Johnson is a cartoonist living and working in Providence, RI – where I went to college (we bonded over PVD at a con once) – and I think the first comic of hers I read was “Her Name Was Prudence,” a story about relationships, literature, sex, communication… beautifully rendered in graphite. I’m generally a big fan of comics done in pencil, especially if they sort of mimic vision in motion by blurring out peripheral details, and hint at process by showing semi-erased leftovers.
I’ve read many many pages of comics this year but Cathy’s black-and-white 9-pager behind every young girl’s arse… has really stuck with me, and I’ve thought about it regularly since I first read it. Her rough pencils perfectly evoke a pitch-black night, with a fire throwing thick shadows over contorted forms. The story is brief but it hits like a heavy hammer – full of monumental desperation and rage. Even little meta-details – like shadows of other pages showing through the paper – or a format-breaking list of potential “reactions” that could easily be Cathy’s own, in her sketchbook – drive home the raw weight of this narrative. The story is bookended by two contrasting images of a naked woman, and since I have reread this story countless times in the past few months, I have compared those images again and again. My experience of this comic is cyclical. It feels like a colossal turning wheel.
behind every young girl’s arse… is published in tandem with the also excellent Until It Runs Clear in a single zine, for sale online. Her incredible watercolor webcomic Jeremiah was also collected and published this year.”
Quote by Nina Power, from She’s just not that into you:
“What, ultimately, would it mean to let the Young-Girl speak for herself and not through the categories imposed upon her by a culture that heralds her as the metaphysical apex of civilization while simultaneously denigrating her, or even the categories that Tiqqun mobilize to take her apart in a subtly different way? Behind every Young-Girl’s arse hides a bunch of rich white men: the task is surely not, then, to destroy the Young-Girl, but to destroy the system that makes her, and makes her so unhappy, whoever ‘she’ is.”