Monthly Archives: December 2013

New Year… gah!

Face

Another year?!?!

Lord, please let the next year be good. Let it be better than this year. I’m not complaining much about 2013. The year has been great, I am counting my blessings and I did manage to accomplish many things. But I do hope that 2014 would be much better. Better and bigger changes. Please, let me have some more of the good things in life now.

2012 was bleh. 2013 was great. I hope 2014 would be so much better.

…..

Due to the holidays, I haven’t been able to spend much time making art. This will have to change soon.

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Misogyny Time!

Female_Artists

Calm down! The strip is supposed to be humorous. And yes, there’s quite a few female artists there to which you can play a drinking game with.

Drink once when you hear “femininity.”

Drink once when you hear “sexuality.”

Drink twice if you spot an odd fashion accessory.

Drink twice if she makes art which involve her self-portraits.

Drink thrice if the images she incorporates are nudes of herself.

Drink thrice if she uses the word “goddess.”

Finish the drink if the artist gets nude during her performance.

Maybe I’m a really bad artist. I’m not sure. But I find that female artists can afford to be “bad” artists far longer than men because people (men) will pay attention to them far longer and encourage them more. Male artists command less patience for their bullshit. And that’s the key: patience. People will be more patient when women make art and talk about femininity, sexuality, etc. But when a man does it, coupled with mediocre art, people will just tune out and move right along.

And no, I don’t hate women nor do I dislike female artists. There’s quite a few female artists that I admire. (The “I have black friends” defense!) It’s just that now and then, what I see on the wall and what I hear from the artist get downright predictable.

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Quick, name an artist!

Gustav_Klimt

Gustav Klimt, one of the artists that all Koreans know, along with Picasso, Warhol, Van Gogh, and Haring. There’s like a Picasso or Warhol show here in South Korea every year. And Van Gogh, Klimt, and Haring’s images have been incorporated into so many products that it’s impossible not to know them.

Ask a Korean who their favorite visual artist is, it’s almost certain to be one of those five.

Of course, I’m sure this is not a strictly a Korean phenomenon. You’ll probably get similar answers in the west with Banksy added.

As for me, my favorite artists are Calder and Duane Michals. It’s funny because I’m not really that heavy into sculpture or photography. I’ve always admired Michals’ look into human insecurities and I remember taking a couple of photography courses back in university just to try to emulate his style. This was before digital photo manipulation just made it too easy. As for Calder, his sense of playfulness is hypnotic. Forget texting or reading a book while waiting at a museum lobby. Just stare at a Calder piece. The minutes will just zoom past you.

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They don’t do humans.

Korean_drama

I don’t watch Korean dramas. Despite their global popularity and despite me being in the country, it’s just not my thing. My wife however often follows one or two dramas. I don’t really pay attention, but sometimes she’ll explain things to me or I’ll just absorb it through osmosis. One particular drama though has me seeing red. My wife stopped following it but will occasionally watch it or read what’s going on online. Now, I don’t know much about Korean dramas, but whoever’s writing “Princess Aurora” is a cynical, creatively bankrupt writer who has no concept of how human beings function in real life.

Here are some points (You don’t have to know the plot).

1. The male lead basically stalked the female lead and later won her affections. Not only does this encourage stalking, but is akin to my experience with Korean women and their stalker exes. “She will come back to me once she dumps him!”

2. The weaksauce male lead’s life is controlled by his three older spinster sisters. The writer must have a thing for weak men.

3. The female lead dumps the male lead, starts dating some sucker, then later dumps him and marries the lead. This sucker later ends up getting cancer, so the female lead gets a divorce and marries him.

4. The sucker who got cancer asks the male lead to help him recover because he’s the only man he trusts with his wife. Did I say he was a sucker? The two later become friends.

5. The sucker also chooses not to treat his cancer because he considers it a living being and a part of nature. The sucker however has no qualms about eating bacon. Heck, even a plant is more sentient than cancer!

6. The cancer spontaneously goes into remission. I suppose that happens SOMETIMES, but the writer basically took a shit on everyone who lost a loved one to cancer despite aggressive treatment. Maybe the cancer responded to idiocy.

7. My wife first got interested in the show because one of the side characters is bisexual and is involved in a love triangle between his gay live-in boyfriend and another girl, the writer’s niece. My wife thought it was interesting that a major Korean show is tackling gay issues on primetime. Although I pointed out that if she knew Korean women, not one of them would ever be with a gay man if they had a visual of what gay sex involves. (But then again, a lot of men in K-Pop look really gay to me.)

8. The gay character tried teaching his boyfriend’s mother how to “go-go dance.” He teaches her “the hustle” instead. What kind of homosexual doesn’t know the difference between “go-go dance” and “the hustle?”

9. This gay character decides to go to a temple, bow a thousand times everyday in front of Buddha, and becomes straight. The show basically says you can pray the gay away. So much for tackling gay issues. The writer just took a shit on gay people.

10. Come to think of it, the writer took a shit on human sexuality in general. Does this mean I can bow a thousand times everyday and become gay as well? Can I pray the straight away?

11. The formerly gay character is now dating one of the spinster sisters.

There are so many other hackneyed points in the show but this list would get too long. The writer is basically just writing the show in order to create buzz among Korean netizens. It is cynically manipulative. It’s like she’s going through a list of what would get the Internet talking about the show? What next? A tragic death? AIDS? Twerking?

My wife says most people realize this, but it’s like watching a really bad car accident. Now, I don’t mind watching garbage television and bad writing. I used to watch Sons of Anarchy before I realized it featured the most inept motorcycle gang in history. But it really gets my gourd when writing gets ridiculously bad and spreads misinformation about how human beings work. The thing about the gay character I feel was the worst. “Let’s all use a gay character to drive up ratings then basically say that being gay is an evil that can be cured with a bit of religion.” This is especially troubling since Koreans are still pretty much in the dark ages when it comes to certain aspects of human sexuality. This is a country where many claim “there are no gays,” AIDS is a foreign disease, and adultery is punishable by jail time.

Maybe I’m reading too much into it. But with Korean dramas being very popular, I hope they’re all not as bad and as hollow as this garbage.

Here’s some art so this post is not solely about Korean dramas!

The_Hunt

The Hunt!

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Killer Cars

Hood_ornament

Religious hood ornament. With the chances of dying in a car accident being around 1 in 100, I’m surprised I don’t see these on the road. Automobile fatality stats are higher than being chosen to compete in the “Hunger Games!”

A little late, especially since the death of Nelson Mandela being in the news, but speaking of dying in car crashes, notice the amount of good deeds the media reported regarding the late Paul Walker? He started a charity, he helped pay for someone else’s engagement ring, he helped some other person, etc. Is this his PR people? I don’t have much to say about Paul Walker and the “Fast and the Furious” movie franchise other than it’s just not for me, but it’s like the media tried so hard to distract the public from the fact that the man died doing something which his movies encouraged, going vroom vroom on suped-up cars. If you strictly just read the Huffington Post for news, you would think the man was the pope (or Nelson Mandela). I mean, you didn’t hear too many of the good deeds James Gandolfini did in his lifetime after he died this year, not that he didn’t do any, I’m sure he did. But the media mostly reported about his genius as an actor and his role in “The Sopranos.” With Paul Walker, it seems the only thing he did whenever he wasn’t acting in those dumb racing films was help out the rest of humanity.

As for Nelson Mandela, there’s really not much to say about his death that hasn’t already been said. The world lost a hero and a role model, and we are in desperate need of Nelson Mandelas to look up to. (I realize this is quite the change in tone compared to how I talked about Paul Walker) What’s sad though, is that even as the world honors a great man and tries to glean lessons from his life, not long before he died, his family was feuding over making money out of the family name in ventures which included a reality show.

I’ve been reading about the upcoming Penn & Teller movie about the painting process of Johannes Vermeer. It might sound like the most boring topic in the world and something that art history students would snooze through, but looking at the Dutch master’s photorealistic work and trying to emulate it using one of the theories that he used mirrors and lenses to guide his brush sounds very intriguing. The movie is the first movie that’s got me excited for 2014, that and George Clooney’s “Monuments Men.”

Update: Speaking of deaths. Eleanor Parker just died. (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/12/09/eleanor-parker-dead-dies_n_4415730.html) The Baroness is dead! There was a great letter in McSweeney’s which makes some great points about her in the movie, although it failed to mentioned how those misguided kids practically bullied her out of a ball game.
(http://www.mcsweeneys.net/articles/i-regret-to-inform-you-that-my-wedding-to-captain-von-trapp-has-been-canceled)

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Hound

doberman

I’ve been really productive since I got back from Canada. Art, art, make art. Get it done, Joseph. Draw, sculp, do anything! I’d better go nuts on art now before I get all lazy again.

The problem with us people who don’t make art for a living is that neglecting art or being “lazy” involves the business of living in the real world: working, working extra jobs, working out, working on my relationship, working on the hidden dungeon on a Playstation game, working, working, working!!! It take a special kind of dedication and inspiration to stop “working” and start making art. So I guess I should make art while I’m still inspired.   Epiphany, most television is vapid and uninspired. I realize that’s not the most insightful of revelations, but it truly dawned on me yesterday when I was having lunch with my wife while she channel surfed through Korean shows and commercials. They all feature the same celebrities (I see less than twenty people on Korean TV ALL of the time!), the same annoying music, and the same canned sounds of oohs, ahhs, and laughter. I was a bit annoyed at how she can’t just stick to one channel and how it’s a tad inconsiderate of her to just mindlessly surf through shows which I mostly A. don’t understand and B. don’t really care to understand at all. Watching Korean dramas doesn’t really inspire me to learn Korean at all. I don’t care who is pregnant, who is dating who, and what taboo is being broken for ratings this month.

But then it dawned on me, is western television really any better? Granted, there are great shows on television right now, with TV enjoying a great renaissance in terms of inspired writing, but a lot of it is also mindless, boring entertainment. From the pseudo-inspirational OWN and the dumbed-down Discovery Channel, to the commercialism of MTV, I just come out feeling dumb and bored.

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