Last summer I was inspired by an ad for an analog animating class hosted by Dogbotic, which prompted me to pick up my stylus and doodle one quickly as a promo for an event I was doing. What began as a charming one-off 5 frame animation turned into a collection of 5 complete looping animations within the next six months. I didn't make them for any special intent, it was just something that I enjoyed experimenting with, with the attempts to push myself past the limitations of the previous one by trying a new style, brush or color palette.
As luck would have it, around Halloween I won a free Dogbotic class from a raffle I entered, so I decided to take the one on analog animating. One week I wasn't able to complete the traditional stop-motion blackboard assignment, so I did it digitally. It was a rush job, like I liked the concept and the style, I wasn't happy with the ending and it didn't loop - which is my favorite quality to animating short form work. After I showed it in class, I decided to rework it - something I hadn't done with any of the others I had made. I ended up doubling the length of it and fell in love with the ending, because nothing goes hand in hand quite like hot dogs and kite flying : ) When I wrapped the final edits, I saw Agitator Gallery was hosting an animation showcase, so again as luck would have it - I had amassed an entire visual compilation, however it lacked the full immersion that a good soundtrack brings. So I set out to correct that.
I have a synth cave where my entire collection lives, but this time I wanted to challenge myself with a different workflow. Sometimes having too many options can slow down ideation, so I tried different approaches I haven't ever toyed with - I used only two portable synths to compose the entire score, recorded it with my voice recorder and worked upstairs where I usually paint. It was the best decision I could've made!
I wrapped recording with about 15 minutes of sound and gave that to my partner chop up and sync to the different animations. It's funny/befuddling to think how much finessing goes into syncing up a fourth of an hour of bleeps and bloops to a minute and a half of footage. Even though the ratio is big, there was still footage that wasn't scored, so I did another round of recording for about 7 minutes and finally assigned a sound for every moment.
There are two ways to score a film, start with the footage and make music and sounds specifically for each moment OR create many sonic swatches, pull from that and splice it all together. I like to score with the ladder workflow, I think it injects a lot of spontaneity and opens the doors to having many more a-ha! moments than anything I could've prescribed and purposefully tried to define. I call these moments of serendipity "puppet magic," even if I'm not working on on a puppet show. The roots of puppet magic are found when something artistically comes together perfectly without meticulous planning: a quick cut without a template that fits like a glove, a mistake that turns out better than what was intended, or discovering a movement you didn't build for but looks effortless and purposeful.
That being said, in this case, I'm not naive or discrediting that much of the magic pumped into my short filmmaking process is conjured by the hands of my partner who is one of the best editors in the industry. (this isn't a bias because he's so handsome, his impressive CV backs this up) We make a really great team and making short films together is one of my favorite art forms because collaborating with him is so fun and he makes my footage look like a billion bucks. He's super supportive of my art career and always invested in my creative process, no matter how obscene the timeline may be. I'm really lucky he's an editor because if he wasn't I would have made 0 short films in my adult life, that part of the workflow frustrates me to no end and brings me no joy - so our director/editor combo is really a dream come true <3
Come check out the Agitator Animation where my scored compilation of animations will debut on Saturday, February 3rd from 6 - 10p at Agitator Gallery in Chicago!
I'll be debuting my animations one by one on my House of Egregious instagram soon, and then after I'll put my compilation to my Short Films page.
I'm stoked to announce I landed a group show and my comic Old Ghost, New Tricks will be on display. Big thanks to Agitator Gallery for accepting my work into the show and for being so kind in working with me as a remote artist.
Of course it would take me moving out of the city to have my work presented at a Chicago gallery. (cue Earth Wind and Fire's "That's the Way of the World") Truth be told, I never tried very hard - in my 15 years there, I only applied to a handful of galleries. However consistent no's after a while didn't really hype me up to keep applying, eventually I set my eyes on different types of gigs to book. This just goes to show to never stop trying because you never know when you'll finally get a YES after a parade of NO's.
Also the comic I had accepted was something i sketched up during last year's Inktober. While I never found the time to ink my pencil sketch, it did give me a jumping off point for this submission. Having a completed comic to digitize instead of starting from scratch enabled me to see this through to completion instead of getting hung up on ideation and editing during the submission window. It taught me a valuable lesson about open calls - to value the sketches I doodle daily more and build off of those instead of always starting from scratch when I find an opportunity that excites me. Seems obvious enough, but this was the first time I ever leveraged something in my sketchbook for a final product instead of creating something specifically inspired by the submission. More importantly, I was also able to submit it days. before the deadline instead of the hour before it was due, which historically has always been my downfall and major source of stress & anxiety. I'm trying really hard to focus on conjuring less stressful workflows, both in my art and personal life, this year. Capitalizing on previous designs went a long way to help me find a new approach that instilled equity into my practice that I've never before experienced - which very much ties out with the title and theme of my comic: Old Ghost, New Tricks.
Exhibition Dates, times in CST
*Comics On the Radio is both an effort at accessibility AND a fantastic way to experience comics. This event will be a radio play enactment of all the work in the book, complete with voice actors, foley sound, and live music. Video and audio will be recorded and uploaded to the Agitator website.
taken from @agitatorgallery's IG announcement:
Volume 4 of Agitator's annual open-call, open theme comics compilation is LIVE! Come meet the artists, and buy books, original artwork and swag.
Book Edited by Gretchen Hasse, designed and produced by Alex Wilson. See you there!
The 15 Artists I'll be showcased alongside are linked in the IG announcement.
I've been publishing a top 10 album of the year list since 2018, it's one of my favorite things I write and I work all year on finding the best of the best. This year was probably one of the best years for music since I started sharing my list - I could make a whole other list of just bomb ass singles and more EPs, but this one took me long enough to write so I'll let this speak for itself.
Top 10 list for 2023
10. Simon Grossman - Mostly Fresh EP
I only came on Simon Grossman in recent years, however the music he makes perfectly unifies all of the ideal aspects of Latino Indiepop that I've adored for years. "Atardecer" is one of my fav tracks of the year and it's delicious to listen to on repeat for hours, hope your hips are ready to swivel.
9. Aphex Twin - Blackbox Life Recorder 21f / In a Room7 F760 EP
I actually enjoyed this 4 tracker way more than Syro, his 12 track grand return in 2014 - and first album since 2001's critically-acclaimed Drukqs. Only now in typing this out do I realize that he's put out an absolute banger every decade, which I think is a much more reasonable pace than most others operate at. I can wholeheartedly appreciate that cadence. It's easy to leave on repeat for hours and find something new with every play through to key in on and appreciate.
8. Cannons - Heartbreak Highway
E got me hooked on this band, and since she did every time they have a release it usually ends up on this list. This is about as poppy as I'm into these days, it's delicious because of its shimmery, etherial fairy vibe. Its driving beat is ideal for working out, cleaning and cranking out a big project.
7. Sampha - Lahai
J posted one of these tracks to his IG stories - we have over a dozen shared playlists so I was excited to check it out. I was instantly impressed with that one track that I dove straight into the full album and was blown away. Never heard of them before and was converted into a forever fan. Every year Frank Ocean doesn't put out a new album is a sad one, and when that happens I look for a runner up and this is it.
6. Ladytron - Time's Arrow
On the contrary, I've been a fan of Ladytron since they broke ground with their first full length album 604 in 2001, "Another Breakfast With You" being a favorite anthem in 8th grade (shoutout emo kids on Napster with impeccable playlists). It's been a joy to grow up with a band as badass as Ladytron, especially when most of the music I listened to growing up was made by all dudes. Fast forward to now and I appreciate how influential they've been on my own music making endeavors. Sonically and aesthetically speaking they are pretty untouchable.
5. Oneohtrix Point Never - Again
Let me just say I'm very thankful my friends have such a great taste in music, otherwise my life would be far less rich than it is. I learned about this album when P posted a meme that said "they don't even know the best album of the year is about to drop" and I was instantly hyped bc their taste in music is *chef's kiss.* From the first single "A Barely Lit Path" I was left speechless - it's the apex of so many genres I love deeply - experimental electronic, classical, glitch, pop. This album is so complex, it keeps blooming and reinventing itself as it moves you through the halls of avant-garde delights. This album is something special and had a huge impact on the music I make.
4. Chemical Brothers - For That Beautiful Feeling
I mean, it's the fucking Chem Bros. Highly delightful, an ancient satisfaction. The OGs of the industry did not disappoint with this drop, and we haven't had a full length one since 2019's No Geography. While my favorite albums of theirs are the 90's releases, with one of my all time fav albums being Come With Us, 2002, this album will absolutely be added to the lifelong tops list. Every song feels like a feature-length film, a world onto itself. They will forever be the very definition of goals.
3. Yo La Tengo - This Stupid World
I've been a fan of them for so long, I was beyond stoked to be able to finally see them for the first time - and in Michigan of all places! They're the closest thing we have to experiencing The Velvet Underground live and I wish more people would give them the credit they deserve. I'd go so far as to say they're one of the most underrated bands in the genre. With seventeen studio albums, six compilation albums, sixteen extended plays, twenty-two singles, two film score albums, four collaborative albums, and one album of cover songs (re: wiki) - they are at Zappa status when it comes to a prolific career. But everybody sleeps on them because they are older, not showy, not into clout-chasing and very lowkey - don't make this mistake. The opening track has been in my top 5 for almost a year, the perfect album to drive to.
2. Blonde Redhead - Sit Down for Dinner
I haven't been this obsessed with an album of theirs like this since their 2007 release, 23. I'll always count the title track as one of the best songs the band ever put out, and a staple of the indie cannon. It's driving, sexy and the way the drums seem to waterfall on top of each other, splashing into haunting rhythms - it hits all the right spots for me. It also set the expectation really high for all subsequent releases. "Melody Experiment" picks up where the song "23" leaves off, and based on Spotify's top play list - I'm not the only one who is completely consumed by how remarkable it is. "I Thought You Should Know" feels like walking in a Michigan snow drift. It's cool to mark different parts of my life with their albums, I'll always associate this one with my first year living in Michigan, like I associate 23 with hanging out in my partner's dorm room in 2010 or falling asleep in the Ravenswood apartment a decade later. This album is a femme dom, for which we are all too eager to sub.
1. KAROL G - MAÑANA SERÁ BONITO (BICHOTA SEASON)
I'm going to make a bold statement - KAROL G is possibly the closet we'll ever get in this lifetime to the soulful excellence that only Selena is known for. This is galvanized by “Mi Ex Tenía Razón,” where she echos the brilliant cumbias that are signature to La Reina. She makes no mistake where her inspiration comes from, sporting a Selena shirt in her music video for the song. This album has no skip tracks and feels like summer drives down to San Antonio to visit family and day trips to Mexico. Track 1 "BICHOTAG" is pure party, you can bet you'll hear this play as my walk out music for a future House of Egregious shows. We all love Kali Uchis so it was really rad to see her guest on this album, her feature on "ME TENGO QUE IR" is sooo fucking hot I really cannot with them. This album is unlimited joy and an instant favorite, bump it loud if you want some sultry summer vibes to warm you up from the biting cold.
Hey friends! Happy new year! It all happened so fast, I didn't even have any time to promo it here. What a wild ride! I played my first live synth show on NYE, hosted by Earth Modular Society. It was so badass, I broadcasted from my basement and played a stream train where musicians from all over the world showcased their talents and impressive rigs for almost 20 hours straight. It was a marathon of bleeps n bloops and I feel honored to have been a part of it.
I also survived my audio interface going down minutes before my set started, causing me to reroute my entire set up through my mixing board instead. From the beginning this has always been my biggest fear (losing my audio signal either from an instrument or all together during a live performance) and now I can say I lived through it without losing my shit too bad - which is a real triumph. I know how to get through technical difficulties during a puppet show just fine, but it's a different pandora's box when we're talking complete dead air.
This summer I've been having way more vivid dreams than usual. The following was written right after I woke up and before my alarm went off. I'm considering publishing a zine inspired by my dream journal, either that or working a few accounts into my reissued Save the Bees Worx Vol I - III, due to drop this Fall.
Recently my sweet friend from Baltimore, Jessie Delaplaine, brought up the joy of returning to old work with fresh eyes - which is something I don't think about or do very often. I wrote this in the second week of July, back then I thought it was finished. Then our talk it inspired me to revisit it and do some sweeping, hang up some new shelves, change out the candlesticks and rearrange the bookshelf. It feels nice to write new poetry without starting from scratch.
Here we are at the Ritz-Carlton, making ourselves at home on my birthday.
rain / glitter
"Meet me in Ravenswood"
my last whisper in your ear
after you found me freezing and throbbing in stilettos
a drag queen recently taught me how to correctly walk in
and gave me both the hoodie and puffy coat off your back
before disappearing into a crowd
I ran barefoot down Foster Avenue to find you again
I never stopped
When I awake
the house is submerged in indigo
at the windowsill I find
thick periwinkle frosting
caked across the sky
the only break of light in the far west
an island of silvery blue emerges
pipped with wispy white clouds
and promises waiting impatiently
leaves from the trees kiss and ride, then reunite
their infinite passion shimmers and twinkles
between the silhouettes of maples and oaks
through I can't hear their rhythms
over the thunder crashing in my heart
Scribbling this down
as I am hurried through the terminal of a dream
tired eyes need to see this through
before I go back to sleep and
re-record over the synapses that brought you to me
As I go back to poetry
the way the godless go to prayer
when they are desperate for salvation
My deliverance is my heart is forever tethered to Chicago
even though I no longer walk down Foster Avenue
I'm not a content creator, I'm an artist. I don't pressure myself to keep a regimented schedule to pump out new material, I enjoying hunting and gathering for my inspiration and that takes time. As you can see from my track record over the last two years blogging, once May hits - I'm out of here. I try to use social media less during the late spring and summer, living in the moment is my greatest source of inspiration. I do my best work when I fit in the gaps during a fun day of hiking, kite flying, snacking, Murder She Wrote marathons, music making and stargazing. Be kind to yourself, take breaks - you don't have to earn them! Try making work outside of your desk, I've been having a great time this summer plein air painting by the river - that is, when the AQI is good enough to be outside.
Please keep our Canadian friends in your hearts while their beautiful Boreal forests are on fire and donate to wildfire relief funds, especially those that support Indigenous communities. If you're unable to donate, boost the message to your network, friends and family who can. I'm working on publishing a zine about air quality this summer, however it's taking longer than expected because living with the stress of monitoring our AQI around the clock has taken a lot out of us, can't imagine the insurmountable, horrendous stress being in it's inescapable path causes.
Recently I've been writing the best song yet in my hammock. Hoping to record some new songs later this summer and sell them on Bandcamp. All proceeds will go to Canadian wildfire relief funds that directly benefit Indigenous and Arctic communities.
As much as I can't believe I don't live in Chicago anymore, being here seems almost inevitable at this point, as if this was the natural course we were meant to travel, unbeknownst to us. Friendly reminder that six months ago to the day we drove into town for the very first time. Moving here full-time was never in the plans, building a tinyhouse we could weekend at somewhere on the SW coast of Michigan was. But once we heavily considered all the driving back and forth, and how the Sunday Blues loomed and hit heavier each time we visited costal towns to see where we could build, it became evident that weekending would only be a gap filler. Whether it was this year or three to five years from now, we would eventually want to stay here and never leave.
There's an incredibly mystical vibe surrounding the whole transition and our new location. Yesterday we packed up our lives, crossed two state lines and pulled up to our new, empty home for the first time. A clean slate. After the last three tumultuous years, a fresh start is exactly what we need.
I can't impress upon you enough how I never saw homeownership possible for us, we were dead-set on staying in the city and were trying to figure out how to steal enough gold bars or take on 4 side hustles each so we could buy a condo in Rogers Park to be closer to the lake and beach. Now we live on a peninsula, surrounded by a pristine river, bayou, great lake and miles and miles of beaches. It took the biggest leap of faith I've ever made, and quite honestly there were some days I didn't know if I had it in me to say goodbye to my first and deepest love, Chicago. But she'll always be waiting for me and I'll always carry her in my heart so it's not goodbye but see you later.
Likewise, I'm going to step away for a while to fully embrace being a first time homeowner. See ya after a while!
Hi friends and fans, I shot my longest film to date: Newspaper Headlines Omit Queer Joy! Since I usually work in the genre of micro movies, I consider this work that clocks in at 24 minutes to be my first full-length film. Would you believe we did it in under one week's time? What if I told you we did it while simultaneously going through a financial colonoscopy and signing our life away during the home buying process? Because I cannot!! That's right, I went from 0 - 100 on an idea that was completely unplanned before I learned about a filmmaking grant opportunity that was too good to pass up.
To say I'm very tired doesn't begin to cover it, so I'm going to try and nap for a hundred years and when I wake up, I'll tell you all about the incredible cast I worked with and all the flaming hot cheetos it took to finish this on time. Oh, and how my VPN almost prohibited me from being able to upload the film with seven minutes to spare before the deadline.
This one is dedicated to the lovely queers who shared their definitions of queer joy and how they experience it daily. It's a vast, beautiful, honest, sexy, intersectional, explicit, harrowing account of the current condition of our community at large. Almost every letter of LGBTQIA+ is represented and includes multi-ethnic, disabled, neurodivergent and immunocompromised and COVID long-haul babes. My heart is so full by the large swatch of representation this film embodies, our community deserves nothing less. Like the title states, newspaper headlines don't celebrate queer joy and spread harmful homophobic and transphobic rhetoric (we're looking at you NYT!). This is our fight back, we deserve so much more than the crumbs we are given. It's my favorite project to date and I can't wait to share it with you later this year once we're able to make some adjustments with a longer timeline.
Also, I wanted to fundraise for it but couldn't because during the home buying process you can't accept any financial gifts without documenting them and having them count towards your house goals, which this is entirely separate from. I'll share more on how you can donate to support this film, the gear purchased for it and to cover the stipends paid to talent closer to the release date.
¿Como se dice "Un Blog?"
Here is where I share announcements of all shapes and sizes, and deep dive into my art and music making practices. I aim to demystify the creative process for BIPOC women & NBs.
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