I don’t really want to say that the highlight of my week is that I got a haircut on Saturday. But it kind of was. That and hearing Yoyo suck her toe whilst I left her on the change mat. So funny. Coincidentally the woman who cut my hair was pregnant, as was the woman who cut my hair last time I went to the hairdresser’s a few months ago. Maybe my hair must now always be cut by pregnant women only.
What’s happened this week???? Um, last week’s über-productiveness seems to have been balanced out by this week’s utter unproductiveness. I have made 1.5 drawings and an animatic for a client. I printed a buttload of baby photos. I sent a rather long email which I deliberated over for much longer than I expected.
Feeling kind of stuck and jump-starry, I thought of another poo-analogy which describes this week’s progress/process. I’ve been kind of blurry all week, couldn’t think properly, unmotivated, fixating on things in the pipeline I have no control over. And then one morning, as I went to get Yoyo from her room, the gross stench of baby poo filled the air. It made me think… work stuff is popping out one hard nugget at a time like her constipated little turds. Each taking quite a bit of effort, discomfort and with a degree of unpredictability. Sometimes the result is nice, clean, containable; others are an absolute mess. Sometimes the timing could not be better and other times just so completely, explosively, inconvenient. And it doesn’t matter how much you want that shit to come out or how much good it would do her – if she doesn’t go, she doesn’t go. And even if I do try to control it a bit by, say, feeding her apple and carrot to speed things along, it’s not like I can tell exactly when she’s about to go. It would be nice for sure, to be able to predict just how long after eating apple and carrot until she fills her nappy with a burst of runny brown liquid poo and avoid her having to wallow in it/me having to deal with it first thing in the morning.
I have spent an inordinate amount of time this fortnight staring into a butt. Now, before you get too alarmed, it is my baby daughter’s butt and she is constipated cos she’s trying out foods that don’t come directly from me. So, I have never thought that I would actually watch poop come out of an anus before and yet this week I watched a poo come out and go back in and come out and go back into a butthole. Look, this isn’t some kind of weird fetish blog this is about being a mother, an art-inclined mother, but a mother nonetheless. And this isn’t the kind of thing anyone (that I know of certainly) talks of when they talk about motherhood. Babies are the epitome of life – beautiful, cute, mysterious (well, that’s all I ask for anyway) – and completely freaking foul. But in an indescribable, forgivable, illuminating way that makes you feel better about life. It seems to be their unique selling point, their contradictory power – to reveal the grossness and simultaneously the okayness or life.
Well, besides catching freshly delivered poo in environmentally friendly bamboo cloths, this last fortnight I have been busy working on a new show. I decided to just say YES and have a small exhibition locally. It’s my best way to be motivated to create new work cos suddenly you have a space and you have to fill it. Aaaaannd some clothing samples arrived and some plans got made, re-evaluatued and remade. And emails from some interesting people in my inbox. Fingers crossed something good comes from them.
Well, some work/work in progress here:
Still steadily making positive changes, often regressing and taking backwards steps – but am slowly getting better at it though still have the odd outburst here and there (it’s no fair!! I’m so tired!! etc etc) better grow out of it before Yoyo starts doing the same…!
I have a note in my book that simply says “poomergency”. We had one of those this week. You know there’s some messy trouble ahead when your child hasn’t had a poo in a few days. Well, luckily for me Yoyo had her horror turdfiest on the night I was on my own and had nothing ready to deal with it. Don’t want to gross everyone out with all the details but suffice to say it was one of those moments when you think she’s finished but she hasn’t and you come back into the room from washing your hands to find a big brown explosion with wriggling feet in it and a baby greedily sucking their thumb, then when you reach for the wet wipes they’re all gone so you pick up the baby, smudging poop all over yourself to wrestle her into the shower and put her in her little tub where she immediately does a wee and so wallows in yellow-brown piss water (still happily sucking her thumb which you really hope hasn’t left her mouth in the last 10 minutes!) whilst you struggle with holding her head up with one hand and adjusting the hot water/struggling with the too-short shower hose with the other. And then in your pooey haste, you didn’t actually pick anything up to wash her with so you use the maybe soiled top you ripped off her and your bare hands to scrub the dark brown markings off her legs and the sides of the tub. And yourself…. So, yeh.
sketch I did for world vision australia project, inspired by something striking someone said to me at a multicultural playgroup I took Yoyo to
This week was a bit of rollercoaster as it tends to be when you think you have a potentially awesome job lined up and then it disappears. Yeh, then times that by 2 :'( You’d think after about 10 years doing this it gets easier when things fall through – it doesn’t. Well, I guess I’m generally better at not getting too excited about things until it’s completely in the bag. But over time that turns into not getting excited about anything at all and you wonder what’s more important – protecting yourself from disappointment by never feeling the highs or going all out and letting yourself feel everything. As I watch my daughter grow the imagined future conversations I have with her when she faces these kinds of things build up. What will I tell her when she’s faced with set backs and disappointment whilst struggling to do what she loves? Will I overcome my own personal struggles and pessimism to tell her to go for it and that it’ll all work out in the end? I don’t think I’ll ever tell her that. I think I’ll tell her to go for it for sure, but I’ll tell also that it’ll be bloody hard and there’ll be times when she wants to give up and wonder if it’s all worth it. And she might not ever even be very successful (objectively, whatever that means) at what she tries to do… but at least she did it and gave it her all. A good quote from a book I bought at the perpetually stock-clearing Book Grocer (I suppose that is the goal of all retail businesses…):
“..remember that the mistakes of the young often overcome the successes of the old, that the flawed but colourful performance, the enthusiastic outward looking and imaginative act triumphs over the chiselled professional delivery of the inveterate, dispassionate hack.” (Bad Idea Anthology 1, edited Jack Roberts & Daniel Stacey)
I’m not very young anymore, but I need to allow myself freedom to make plenty of mistakes – and even just throw myself into making them. The fear sneaks up on you so slowly you don’t even realise and you cocoon yourself in safety, dismissing new ideas and making excuses to not do things… I don’t want that. I need to keep fighting to achieve vague and distant goals, stop seeing them as dreams but as possible realities and ignoring the absolutely real outcome of failing. Another quote from the same book:
“And if it all ends in flames so be it.”
One exciting bit of news though – my fabric designs are in production, awaiting test prints in about 10 days 🙂 🙂
Nirvana and Grimes are powering me through this week. Got back from gym around 9 tonight and straight into doing a pro-bono brief for a UK charity thing.
My memory is probably going to work best if I work back from today… spent the weekend in Wagga Wagga at the Australian International Animation Festival. Went there to check out all the films and see what I might want to bring to Shepp in October. Kind of feel like the range and quality of film were better last year, but that may be my mind playing tricks on me. It was Yoyo’s first weekend away from home and my first Mothers Day ever. Was good, though her sleeping routine is a little messed up now.
Today was about getting through the day and waiting to hear back on a job. You know, those sucky hours where you fight with yourself over your doubts and insecurities whilst trying to remain optimistic and sing Twinkle Twinkle to your child. Kind of weird, kind of spaced out.
Went for a Winton Wetlands site visit on Tuesday to see about a possible project out there. Amazing place – so big and kind of desolate. Beautiful and secluded. Got to find the time to get some ideas down and make some mock ups. Yeh it’s hard sometimes but I can’t let Yoyo become an excuse to not do what I want to do and be who I know I am. How much would that suck. So also this week my writing has regressed and I have decided to sound like a teen. OK, whatever.
Sleep is still unpredictable and often elusive (partly my own doing) but hey, Margret Thatcher ran a country on 2 hours sleep. Sure she screwed a lot of people and eventually a whole country over but still, the point is: she ran a country on 2 hours sleep. I can do this.
Ooh also, ordered some samples of random shit with my repeat pattern (random like: joggers, pillow case, button up shirt – watch out for a selfie wearing all the clothes and lying nonchalantly on a pillow)
Below: WIP for a client // repeat pattern for clothing test
Life is about 20 times busier these days and I can’t handle the pace. So this week I signed up to the gym, which I haven’t done since my uni days (which lasted about 2 weeks), in an attempt to build better habits and become a a giant ball of energy. I’ve resigned myself to the fact that I won’t be able to get anything non-baby related done until after she goes to bed in the evening so I need to be bouncing off the walls round the clock to get what I need and what I want to get done, done. Having to fight for time to do what I want seems to make me want to do them more and appreciate the outcomes better. Had my first fitness class on Saturday morning and my muscles still ache :'( It was only half an hour! At 4 months I guess the ‘just had a baby’ excuse wears thin. I wasn’t particularly exercise-y before pregnancy but I definitely feel that a lot of my muscles have gone to shit. Also dawned on me that I need to walk up and down stairs more – we need more stairs, people!
Set up a Facebook shop via Shopify and loaded up some prints on it. So far my bug series are available as well as few bits and pieces from the past few years that I quite like. It’s going to be a slow process building up customers for them but for now it’s a much better place to send people when they want to buy something from me. Will be expanding to standalone shop site later in the year when I’ve decided how I want to do it all.
Yoyo had a total nightmare of a day last Tuesday and then snapped back to regular baby the day after.
This week – did a poster for a client, a pic for my folio and line design for a repeat pattern for fabric. Not many sketches to show for it this week, spilled water all over the client sketches and did the other ones digitally.
Slow start to the week… I don’t actually remember much of what I did except maybe have Photoshop open on my computer for most of the time without actually doing anything with it. Yoyo did a few days with minimal daytime naps & I spent most of my time trying to keep up and figure out the new schedule she’s decided on.
Managed to get a job done for an overseas client and start working up a sketch from the sketchbook. Maybe having a baby has made me more efficient and decisive – on everything but baby stuff. I’m having a tough time deciding what food to start her on. The more you want to get something ‘right’ the harder it is to start. And now that I have baby stuff to get worked up over a lot of my creative decisions seem to be less frustrating & more satisfying.
I think about time a lot these days and crave the time to dedicate to do just one thing. To focus, get immersed, fine tune and fine tune again just one single thing. Like a baby; 9 months to get made & then forever to continue becoming, growing, being created.
3 sketches below. 2 for self, 1 for client – can you guess which??
A very productive weekend follows a frustrating, circular week where I just got stuck in a repetitive loop of misery. Going round and round, trying things and doing things, making things I’m bored of and uninspired by. Starting things, dropping them halfway through, constantly second guessing myself. It’s hard to separate the ‘shit stage’ of a piece that you struggle through to reach an actually decent work and the shit stage of a work that’s just… well, shit. I started about 5 things and ended up hating them all during the week. Until the weekend when I had some actual time to get stuck into something (thanks to a brill husband who took Yoyo out for a few hours so I could sleep). That and deleting Instagram and Facebook from my phone so I stopped just scrolling through stuff when feeding Yoyo. I just fill my head with so much crap that way. Inundated by images of talented people doing amazing things; bigger, better and loved by more people than me… Just felt so weighed down by the image of everyone’s success you can feel like total worthless crap quite easily. It’s kind of debilitating and definitely restrictive. So I’m only on FB/IG when at the computer now and it’s helped! So much! Here’s something I started and dropped and picked up again on the weekend, just taking my time playing with things in Photoshop that I felt like I didn’t have the time to do before; from rough sketch, to gouache paint to messing around on Photoshop. I really need to feel engaged with my work and the challenge for me atm is to create work that allows me to experiment and stay engaged with the work but which is also appealing to others and to a certain standard. Whatever that it is.
A crying baby calls.
Feels good to be working pencil on paper again. Though this time I’m playing with pens and markers to colour up. So much faster! Still playing with clothes for Yoyo and have set myself a project to improve my/get some (!!) lettering skills. So, things are going pretty ok this week. Nice working on paper cos you let the little line wobbles and slight mishaps go instead of constantly hitting undo undo undo… & loving just doodling on the clothes. No planning or sketching beforehand & just straight in with the colours 🙂 Yoyo’s been more or less cooperative lately though last night she kept cry-yelling from a bad bout of wind. And when she wasn’t doing that she was sucking her hands so loudly they made a smack-smacking sound. And that’s what woke me at 7.30am, followed by a loud squelchy fart which hastened my jumping out of bed to change her before shit leaked everywhere. Another wondrous, beautiful morning.
What did painting mothers do before ipads? I like this quote:
Art is not meant to be created in stolen moments only
– Clarissa Pinkola Estés
Said about female writers and the idea that there’s always some housework etc they feel they ‘should’ be doing that gets in the way of writing. All time is stolen at the moment. And today the thing I felt I ‘should’ be doing instead of cracking on with all the ideas and works I have going was cleaning the explosive shit Yoyo had whilst in her car seat. It went right up her back, through her clothes and the car seat onto the plastic shell. She was wearing a onesie so it was a challenge getting her top off without smearing shit up her back and everywhere else. Needless to say, I didn’t succeed but we counted a shitless face a win. She went straight in the shower with streaks of pooey pumpkin soup yellows up her back, in her armpit etc etc. So, I am glad I got a bit of drawing time in earlier in the week.
Also had time to visit Rone working at Wall to Wall in Benalla yesterday and see Adnate’s mural in a tiny church in Goorambat. It was brill.
Got into the studio (garage) to sneak in a bit of painting tonight after dinner. Started this about 1 week after Yoyo was born. She’s now 13 weeks old. On top of time and energy constraints, today’s a day for battling doubts. The usual barage of, “This is shit!” and “You’re never going to get there! You’re shit!!” Arg.
An overactive midnight mind meant another dazed day, leading to missing the golden window of opportunity to settle Yoyo for her morning nap, resulting in an unscheduled drive to town to lull her to sleep (and stop her yell/crying). Once there, coffee, cake and shopping ensued. Obvs.
And a trip to Cheap As Chips to wonder around aimlessly after picking up a caulking gun and a 110 litre plastic tub, which I had to carry around with a sprained left wrist (over-did it whilst lopping old wood in the garden for kindling). So, this blog may also be a whinge-fest, but maybe whinging is a big part of my process. Pulling into park, I briefly wondered if disabled spots should also be used by mothers because having kids may not be a disability but it certainly is a handicap.
I could leap into a full-on whinge here but I went to Bunnings afterwards, which always brings at least a pissy-yellow stain of sunshine to a crappy day. I wondered around in a daze looking at various tools and equipment, imagining the brilliant things I could make/do with them: I could paint the mouldy bit on the ceiling finally, I could make a storage rack, I could build a shack for the garden. I could change my life around. Hardware and DIY stores don’t sell down-to-earth, handy tools and solutions to real issues – they sell dreams. They sell dreams they know you’re doomed to ruin. That’s why they also have workshops and project advice; to counsel you, to console you. So you keep returning.
I picked up some black gloves for painting because I saw how all these really cool and successful guys on Instagram with 20 million followers and loads of amazing jobs/clients etc. wore them. I dreamed that they would make my paintings immediately 20 million times more successful. And then I picked up a $50 tub of Taubmans oil based preparation sealant and primer. I had it in my hand ready to go, with visions of how it was the missing ingredient to getting that finish I’m after on my paintings, and just then Yoyo started groaning and grizzling from inside her pram. Her voice was muffled under the hood I had pulled up to keep the light out so she’d sleep longer. And with that muffled groan my vision-bubble burst and I put the paint back on the shelf. Who am I kidding – I’m not going to need that tub of paint for a long while.
Hello, my baby girl arrived right at the end of last year and she’s been keeping me pretty busy. I make work every chance I get, and have completed a few commissions & projects since her arrival. I made an animation to my song, Mess Head, on my phone using Animation Desk. It will be screened as part of For Films Sake Festival in Sydney at The Wild Rover (75 Campbell St, Surry Hills) from 27 – 29 April, 4pm – midnight. And I’ve been making little sketches of her on my phone using Sketch whilst I feed her. It keeps me awake and helps pass the time.
I’d like to have more time and energy to get on with the paintings I’ve been busting to make since before she was born. And I neeeed to play with spray paint since I’m finally in a place where I can. But between changing nappies and scrubbing shit off towels and mothers groups and cleaning the house and no lie-ins and always broken sleep etc etc yawn etc – the usual stuff mothers list on their daily to dos… it’s going to take me a little longer to build up the stamina/energy/organisational/prioritisation skills to do all that and create the things I need to. But I’m getting there. And I hope to have time to document my progress on here, more as a reflection for myself than anything, but if you’re here and you’re reading this then Hi & I hope you come back sometime to see how things are going. & maybe say Hi back, that’d be nice 🙂
To vote, head over to the ‘Balls’ VOTD page: http://votd.tv/nominees/1070/balls-i
Finally I can reveal which Secret 7″ cover was mine! Also, a bit about the process, from Jelly London blog. I like it, but I dunno if it sold :/
Working on a new video for my song about balls…
Style icon/art agent @jessie_cake mixing it up with pink socks, gold shoes & my FRS ‘bananaz’ leggings
Send me your pics if you have a pair! 🙂
Currently working in Hong Kong til Feb with this luxury spacious set-up. What’s going on people!! I need something to do other than eat and shop…
I decided to kick off 2015 with a quick behind the scenes q&a with my hugely lovable agents Jelly. Click the link to have a snoop 🙂
Behind The Scenes with Mimi Leung
Hey my ‘Money’ video is today’s VIDEO OF THE DAY!! thanks for voting everyone 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂
Have a look at the link if you’ve not seen it yet:
I liked the Final Fantasy 7 fan art I made for Matter magazine so much I printed it out and framed it. Give me a shout if anyone else wants one, (how much would you pay for A3??), I’ll get some made up if there are enough takers
Have a look at the article – 7 other artists draw and comment on their childhood game loves & how it shaped their creative output…
My ‘Money’ video has been nominated for ‘Video Of The Day’ on the VOTD site – please spread the word and cast a vote for $$$$ – THANKS! It’ll be up for voting for the next 4 days x