Photo by Shahriar Shadab
"After the first glass you see things as you wish they were.
After the second, you see things as they are not.
Finally you see things as they really are,
and that is the most horrible thing in the world."- Oscar Wilde
2013 rolled in with promises of fresh start and delivered with a great big blow to the perceptions of illusion and reality. I called it absinthe soda. The Oscar Wilde quote summed it up but as the days turned to nights and hours into months, the horror turned to beauty and the great mysteries of the year unfolded. It seemed to be a year of open homes, wounds, and new ventures. It started and ended in the same physical space. There is a saying that whoever you spend your time with or whatever you end up doing on New Years will give insight to the outcome of the year to come. I believe this to be true and spend the night in the company of close friends sprawled on a canopy bed drinking champagne and recounting stories.
Summing Up 2013:
I was written up in The Guardian, NY Times, Hi-Fructose, Run Riot, Luna Luna, Digital Journal and did a panel on independent publishining for Bedford and Bowery and guest hosted Comic News Insider. I was featured in Force Field Fotocomix 01 by Seth Kushner, traveled to Chicago and did a tarot class at Madame Zuzu's. I had shows in Last Rites, Sacred Gallery, Skylight Gallery, Local Project, and Madame Zuzu's. I did the album cover for The Cold & Lovely, shot their music video, and my own video vignettes were featured as backdrops for their tour. I also did production design for Natti Vogel's "Cannibal video which was featured on Mtv Hive. Speakeasy Dollhouse got rave reviews this year as well and so it goes on another year. I also did a Speakeasy Dollhouse themed Dr. Sketchy's before it waved goodbye to it's NY chapter. After a trip to New Orleans I came back refreshed and Sister Enable and I started London Conjure. I also joined with Damon Stang to bring you "The Witches' Compass" at Catland Books.
2013 brought some sad news as well. My dear friend Taylor Mead passed away and forever took a piece of my heart with him. You were a brutal year 13, but necessary and I'm looking forward to all that 2014 has to offer.
It's been busy here and I'm finally getting a chance to update. Damon Stang my partner in the Witches' Compass and I were featured in the NY Times for our rituals at Catland. Feeling very honored that they chose to do a piece on us and the slide show is lovely. Here are a few shots by Kirsten Luce.
I also recently finished this portrait of Marie Laveau. It took about 2 days.
The London Conjure site is live and we'll be adding more posts about rootwork, conjure and cleansings as we go along. I created the look and feel of the site and we've got a great new youtube channel that has been getting lots of wonderful feedback. Will post a link to one of the videos discussing Marie Laveau.If you'd like to explore the London Conjure site please click the pic below.
Most of you know of my great love for Ganesha. A month or two ago things got a little rough and a friend contacted a Swami for me. He said two things: 1. I didn't need a reading and 2. Take six coconuts to Ganesha. Just a day or so after I received that advice i found an elephant head near my house. I brought it home and excitedly called my friend. It seemed like the perfect thing to do. While I would still bring my coconuts to Ganesha I would also create a living shrine to him in my home. Later that week I brought my six coconuts to The Hindu Temple Society of North America Šri Mahã Vallabha Ganapati Devasthãnam.
As I made my way to the temple fear crept over me. I didn't know the protocols of the temple. I had forgotten all my prayers. I couldn't understand why I was so afraid when I have always had a connection with Ganesha. But still I went and when I showed up at the enormous temple I was in awe. It was like stepping into another world.
I took off my shoes by the coconut breaking station and walked in. An older man was behind the desk and I waited to get his attention. I told him I had never been there before and I was unsure of what to do. He smiled and told me to follow him. He took me to Ganesha's shrine and explained that I would break one coconut outside and leave all but the one I broke with Ganesha. The coconut I broke would be placed in a plastic bag in front of Ganesh while I prayed and made my rounds through the temple. He pointed to a corridor.
"Through there is where you'll find the astrology. Many people forget that out bodies are connected to the planets and the stars. We must take care of our bodies in order to fully be healthy. We must pay attention to the stars in order to truly be healthy." He asked me what was wrong and I broke down crying. I noticed a sign on the wall. "No skirts, no shoes, no cell phones or video. This is a place of worship." I cried harder and wrapped the shawl around me. "You're not disrespecting if you come with a pure heart." He said. He looked at the charm around my neck. "This is for good luck." He said and again asked me what was wrong. We stood in the corner talking and he nodded his head. He sent me to break to break the coconut.
I went outside to the outdoor station and began pounding the coconut on the sink. Another older man came over to me as I pounded away. "Do you need help with that?" He asked. I showed him my messy broken coconut. "You did okay." He smiled and walked away.
Back inside I prayed in front of Ganesha and then made my rounds stopping at every altar and said a prayer until I had come back to Ganesha. The older man came around again. "You are a beautiful girl. There isn't any reason in the world you should be so sad. Smile. You came to Ganesha but Shiva loves you to and wants to help." You say your prayers to Ganesha and Shiva. He gave me back my coconut and asked me to return again. On my way out he said, "Eat a bit of that coconut child. He has blessed it. You are refreshed." I came home and started to work on Ganesha.
Below is the before and after. You can see the finished piece this Thursday at Sacred Gallery 8-11 p.m. Recycled, Reclaimed, Reworked Thrift Shop paintings. Great artists bring a new life to those old and dusty Thrift shop paintings. 424 Broadway 2nd Floor, NYC.
The video I did production design for was featured on MTV Hive. Please click the pic to see the whole video. Natti Vogel's "Cannibal" song is a delicious melody depicting what it's like to both want and fear being consumed. Colby Keller does a fantastic job of being the Warlock in this fairytale for adults. It was a complete pleasure to create the aesthetics for the video.