April 2008

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i’m inspired by the ugly patterns on the textiles for baby clothes at the fabric store. happy clowns and baseball patterns and weird pastel-coloured bears with eyes too close together.  they are so ugly i’m having nightmares.

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i’ve been invited to show my drawings at the cracow screen festival in poland. the festival is taking place in the centre of cracow. there will be 2 music stages and video and art slideshows on a large screen and on 12 projections on the sides of buildings. it’s a 3 day music festival, may 2-4 2008.

the festival website is here.

16 performers, 3 days, 2 stages, visual art screened on buildings, houses and screens – all this can be expected during first cracow screen festival which will be held in cracow from 2nd to 4th of may, 2008. the event will start the festival season in poland, as well as the tourist season in cracow. in the long run the csf is designed to become one of the largest live music events in the country and the biggest annual video art presentation in poland.

over the three may days (the traditional polish ‘long weekend’) the historic cracow squares (jan nowak-jezioranski square and szezepaniski square) will witness live performances of well established bands and shows of visual art, created by artists specializing in video art and artistic film.

visual art will be ubiquitous: films will be shown in most public spaces, esp. on ATM screens, video screens, tv sets in shopping malls, etc.

the festival will host two distinctive visual artists: floria sigismondi – italian born photographer and director, known for working with bjork, white stripes, marlyn manson, david bowie, the cure, muse, interpol. and maria mochnacz, known for her unique portraits and videoclips of pj harvey.

the three days will turn cracow into one gigantic music screen.

two main stages will host seven bands daily. the audience can move about freely from one square to another, thus creating a festival programme of their own.

the first cracow screen festival will host many international artists, who haven’t made it to poland before, such as cirKus feat. neneh cherry (sweden), slut (germany), the raveonettes (denmark), bryan ferry (uk) and some, like mattafix (uk), who turn each visit to poland into immediate success.

some, like underworld, with their amazing light show, will satisfy both visual art and music fans. the festival auduence will have a chance to confront thir shows with concerts of the most interesting polish acts, such as wilki, smolik, cool kids of death, pustki and others!

i wish i could be there in person. i’m a big fan of underworld, especially. maybe i can see photos from the festival and some video clips on youtube.

here is my favorite youtube video using underworld’s music and film from koyaanisqatsi:

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it’s been super cold here in saskatoon.  it’s already the end of april!  it was snowing the other day…  i like prairie winter – so cold and painful, but not this long.

i should start spreading cherry blossom heads.  they will keep me warm.

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elijah likes to flip through papa’s cd binders.

today’s choice was “bombay the hard way“. his selections:

he likes to crank up the volume.

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elijah and i are taking part in city park artists showcase tomorrow night. i’ll be selling prints, postcards and maybe small originals. if you’re around in saskatoon, please come and have a good time. there will be music, poetry reading, some sample food from local restaurants, and of course art work from local saskatoon artists.

this will be my first art fair since the birth of elijah. i’m really looking forward to this.

city park artists showcase
hosted by city park community association

Featured City Park Artists are: Chris Savage— Ivor Jones— Judith Bensen— David Geary— Lia Sunshine— Celine Schmidt— City Park Cycle — Wendy Waters — Kathyrn Trembach — Lynn McGinnis (Musician) — Shannon Brunner — Shakespeare on the Saskatchewan — CFCR — Taylor Leedahl — Mike Magnussen — Kris Engstrom — Priscella Settee — Yuka Yamaguchi — City Park Preschool —CPCA — Milton Taylor (Photographer) — City Park Collegiate Art department — Tannis Pratt — Craig Nelson — Tammy Boehmer — Pete Burgess

Music by:

Sean Hogan David Hutton Paul Tobin

Poetry performance by:

Taylor Leedahl

Friday, April 18, 2008
7:00pm – 10:00pm
City Park Collegiate- Gymnasium
820 9th Ave North
Saskatoon, SK

$10 admission ( also includes coffee/tea/punch and samples of food)
Kids under 12 free

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jean snow, a canadian writer based in tokyo, invited me to contribute a drawing for a website called neojaponisme. he suggested i try to use the same colour scheme as neojaponisme — red, black and grey. but he was kind to say that i could use my usual style if those colours didn’t suit my work.

i was happy for the suggestion, because i’ve been wanting to do something new. when i started drawing, i did a lot of line drawings using ballpoint pens. these days i do most of my work with colour pencils, gradually adding details and shading and only using my line drawing technique to vaguely outline figure before i start colouring.

so it was a nice brainstorming project to put my usual colour pencil technique away for awhile. i enjoyed working with a pencil again. i quite like the grey colours of graphite and the nuances that can be added by that smudging.

to add a little red to the black and white of my pencil drawing, i gave one balloon head a nosebleed. truth is, it’s a carrot stain from elijah’s lunch. he likes to feed himself these days — he gets annoyed if i try to do it all for him. when he uses his fingers, he’s very accurate and doesn’t miss much. but when he uses a spoon, food ends up all over the place — on the floor, and on his clothes, and in my hair and in this case, on my drawing. carrots flew through the air from elijah’s spoon and magically landed right on the balloon head. i like it — i think it’s very natural. so i didn’t erase it.

the colour of the carrots/nosebleed was more like orange than red. so i used photoshop to color that part, to fit with the style at neojaponisme.

(title :: simple minded)

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paul and i found this shirt at nishimatsu-ya, a baby clothes shop in japan. my mom and my sister-in-law, mayumi-chan, kept telling us to go check out this shop — lots of cute baby clothes, with reasonable prices.

so one day we dropped in to do some shopping. we were happy to find that most of the clothes they carry have awesome engrish on them. we had such a great time we ended up going back there again and again.

elijah seems a little skeptical, but that’s his usual face so we don’t worry about it.

rainbow world very wonderful
nice the sky happily
we are all well so special
smile big sky

on the back of the shirt, it says ‘highest’.

(photos:: seven month old elijah)

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elijah’s separation anxiety began when he was eight months old. in japanese, we call this period ‘ato-oi’, which literally means ‘after-follow’. he began to follow me around wherever i would go. even when i was in his sight and someone else was holding him, he immediately would start crying and reach out to me. it is/was really, really touching and awfully adorable.

i try to stay close to him so he won’t feel insecure. he wants to be picked up and held all the time, so i do that. when i need to go to the next room, i let him know that i’m going. i try not to disappear without saying anything. he always stops what he’s doing and crawls after me. for some reason, if i get down on the floor and crawl out of the room, he doesn’t react anxiously. maybe he thinks i’m off to catch some salmon. it’s all part of the bear game, my friend.

recently, he started to follow after paul, too. he chased after paul when he entered the bathroom. so i thought it might be a time to teach him that papa and mama are around even when you can’t see them.

it’s kind of embarrassing to tell you this, but i’ve been leaving the bathroom door open when i take a shower in the morning. i put elijah in the playpen and move it down the hall in front of the bathroom so that he can see me. as soon as i would get in the shower, he would start crying, and he’d keep crying his head off the whole time. from time to time, i would stick my head (covered in shampoo) outside the shower curtain and say “daijyo-bu! mama kokoni iruyo!” (it’s okay, mama’s here!). he would cry even harder. :D after a couple of try, i stopped hearing his crying. he started to play with toys.

this is one of the drawings for ’100 stories’ at hosfelt gallery in NYC.

100 stories

photographs by crystal liu
& drawings by crystal liu, ruth marten, rachell sumpter, yuka yamaguchi

11 april – 31 may 2008

hosfelt gallery
531 w 36th street,
new york

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