Sandy Kim photographs Ozzy Osbourne at his home in Los Angeles, CA. January 2020.
It Girl Theory is a podcast hosted by stunningly gorgeous pseudo-intellectual b*tches Kaitlin Eleanor Gleason and Martha Fearnley. They examine the cultural, psychological and political contributions of it girls throughout history in order to chart a Theory of the It Girl.
Abe Atri, is a Mexican-American photographer who is a specialist in capturing the hyperrealism of LA. An LA native, his work makes the viewer feel like they are a part of the action. He is dedicated to his craft and is constantly trying to find new ways to refine his work. He has always been dedicated to shining a spotlight on the different types of people that live in this city regardless of their race or social class. He shows the REAL LA and not the one that dreams are made of.
I take photos because I found it’s the only way for me to understand people and identity. I think my best work is when I have a certain kind of relationship with the subjects. Taking this time to train my lens on myself, I find the intimate connection within in the act of self-documenting.
I turned 24 this summer in the midst of confusion and frustration. I use different formats because I don’t know what works best. I try all kinds of art and craft forms because I don’t know what I’m good at. And that’s okay. The advantage we have now is that we have so much time to talk with friends, collaborators and ourselves. It is a nurturing process that will let us come to terms with ourselves later on. And when words can’t be spoken, I find it utterly comfortable in front of the camera to showcase a part of me.
We always feel responsible to act like a defined identity, knowing what we should do according to who we are. We have a temporary identity relative to other people everywhere. It limits the possibility of the storyline in a certain era, maintaining the storyline in a controllable zone. Identities and relations between individuals operate in an existing form. It preserves social stability and the poetic capacity. But many attempts were still made to depart from those definitions in a more private and controllable way, which develop a potential for a new definition. For example, open relationship was invented in 1972 by a book, which later gained popularity and became a kind of relationship for people to choose. Definitions of different identities are also refining themselves in multiple storylines, allowing each individual to find a better fit. So I feel visualizing the moment of this departure might help give a broader definition of those temporary identities and relations.
“American Psycho for the digital age”… “TikTok Taxi Driver”… “not f*cking real”… “FAV MOVIE 2020”… “Aterrorizante, real e genial”… “based”… “fakebased and cringepilled.” Eugene Kotlyarenko’s 2020 film Spree has been called many things. It is destined to polarize—in both aesthetics and thematics, Spree is jarring. Drake produces it. James Ferraro scores it. Joe Keery stars in it. Mischa Barton dies in it.
While Spree takes place largely within a car, it is certainly not a Road Movie (travel as bildungsroman), neither is it particularly a “driver” movie (e.g. Drive, The Driver, Bullitt). Keery is the opposite of a suave, mute Ryan O’Neal or Ryan Gosling (the strong silent type, like Gary Cooper), and is less a Taxi Driver De Niro than King of Comedy De Niro with the eyes of Cape Fear De Niro. Vincent Gallo said that De Niro ruined a generation of male leads. “I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by Robert De Niro’s mannerisms…” Keery’s generation has been able to avoid this.
One of my favorite reviews, which director Eugene Kotlyarenko shared on Twitter, was that of Common Sense Media, which gave a succinct synopsis of plot and theme and allotted Spree one out of five stars for “positive messages.” The one positive message carried by Spree might just be to log off, and that’s enough.
The film is not necessarily moralistic. Society has progressed beyond the need for platitudes about s*cial m*dia. If we can’t speak of it, we must be silent. No one can argue that Spree is not formally innovative, with its exclusive use of non-traditional cameras for narrative film. In the end, there is only one platitude that is truly apt for Spree: We truly do live in a society.
Anatole Alexander: Do you think the fact that Spree opened in the US in drive-in theaters changed its reception?
Eugene Kotlyarenko: It’s an added metaquality, given it’s a movie that takes place largely in a car. The film was shot exclusively on dash cams, iPhones, GoPros—so viewing it in a car creates a kind of 4D experience. People in England watched it in movie theatres, though. It’s also good to watch on a computer or a TV.
AA: Are you happy with Spree’s reception so far?
EK: Yeah, on one level I’m really happy because it’s the most exposure any of my films has gotten. There’s a really healthy discourse on Letterboxd. A lot of teenagers have seen it, and that’s the audience I wanted to speak to. On that level, the release has been a success. On another level, I don’t think it has penetrated any demographic besides cool teenagers.
AA: As in people who approached the movie primarily through knowing Joe Keery from Stranger Things?
EK: More so people who are just extremely online, but probably some middle ground between the extremely online and Joe’s fans.
AA: Why was that the ideal audience?
EK: Because the film is most effective with them. They’re receptive to it. Like with any film I make, I want the maximum possible number of people to see it. I wouldn’t be happy unless it’s the number one movie in America—I’m never satisfied after making a movie. I can’t enjoy the release unless it’s the most successful movie, but I’ve never experienced that feeling of being on top of the world after creating something. My goal as a filmmaker is to make an actual impact on the culture, and that happens after the film becomes a topic of conversation. Obviously, that’s different now, in 2020, with culture so broken up and bifurcated. You would have to do something insane to be at the center of culture, but it happens. Like Tenet is something most people know about.
AA: I read most of the reviews of Spree online and noticed some are exceedingly negative, almost like the critic had been wronged by the viewing of the film. Then there are some reviews that consider it super praiseworthy and novel. The negative ones, more often than not, moralize the film and judge it by certain unspoken ethical standards. What do you make of people calling Spree “nihilistic”?
EK: It’s been reviewed much more than my other movies, and those are mixed—some are negative and almost personal-seeming. The review that called it nihilistic was actually very positive. It was on Indiewire, and it was a really good review, about how Spree is campy and fun but lacked a moral imperative, so it was soulless or nihilistic. And that’s fine. All these critics are entitled to their opinions. To me, the movie is satirical, and they’re (the critics) trying to have it both ways. The way satire works is that it has to be brutal and savage, and probably has to have a philosophical perspective. People can extract morals or nihilism from it depending on how they react to the satire.
AA: Are the connections people make to Taxi Driver or King of Comedy helpful or do they obfuscate Spree’s novelty?
EK: On a marketing level, it’s helpful. There needs to be a hook, even if superficial, even if there are negative connotations. If you can get well known actors, they’re helpful shortcuts.
AA: Does Spree want to operate on an aesthetic level or is it supposed to be more socially impactful, political?
EK: I don’t think you need to make a distinction. They can coexist. The movie is formally very radical; pushing forward experimental film language, and at the same time having a philosophical position. It critiques social norms that we take for granted, that we don’t yet have the language to talk about. The mainstream reviewers who canned the film in the New York Times or the British press nailed it harshly because they’re offended by someone saying that the place we’re in is fucked up. They think that it’s obvious, but they don’t behave in that way.
AA: As in they don’t really process the thesis of the movie?
EK: They reject their complicity in the reality this movie depicts, and write it off with their own lies. They don’t want to grapple with it; the attention economy, their existence as brand entities. That’s how they promote themselves. If they had to look at it really long and hard, they might have to deal with that. That’s how teenagers deal with it, they see all the pathetic scheming that every single person who exists extremely online has to go through everyday, and the actors are extremely attuned to that. The script was written with that in mind. To the critics, Spreeis the equivalent of social media = bad, because they want to boil it down to the surface level.
AA: Does Spree have any kind of fraternal relationship to Alex Lee Moyer’s 2019 film TFW No GF?
EK: Not really. The subjects there are explicitly fringe, whereas Spree is the embodiment of a universal feeling. It doesn’t actually represent a real type of person—only a generic mass murderer, as opposed to an incel or a troll. A troll is extremely aware of the subversive behavior they are engaging in, but a mass murderer is often emulating scripted activity, and unaware of the ways in which they play into a transparent, formulaic behavior. That’s what Kurt does. He puts together a social media formula, through tutorials, tips & tricks videos, life hack videos. Because he’s a hack. And the fact he’s murdering people is only a byproduct of sensationalism culture.
AA: Were you thinking about trolls at all when writing the movie?
EK: I wrote a movie about internet trolls a while ago, using them as the last bastion of being subversive and punk that are allowed to exist in a society where everything is commodified. If things are even just a little bit fringe, they’re gobbled up by Kanye or Rihanna’s creative team. Trolls are anti-everything and unable to be commodified—which was basically true until Trump came along and became the most highly commodified troll of all time. I agree with the assessment that subculture is dead, sold out, or at least very easily co-opted.
AA: Given that Kurt Kunkle’s [Keery] entire existence is predicated on being as visible as possible, how does Spreerelate to the opposite end of the spectrum, of being super anonymous?
EK: To be explicit, Spree is really a film about mass murderers as this post-Columbine phenomenon. These people don’t want to be anonymous, they want to be the center of the narrative, and they engage in mass violence because they’re deeply desperate to get there. I wanted to connect that with the participation in social media, with the prayers to get dopamine hits of likes, follows, subscriptions. Social media promises to put us at the center of the narrative. People who operate anonymously online have very different goals. In my movie, no one has private goals. Everyone is extremely surveilled and voluntarily participates in that observer-observed society.
AA: Kurt’s line about how ‘if you don’t document yourself, you don’t exist’ has been quoted frequently in reviews—do you think we’re trapped in this existential framework? Or is there anyway to go offline, to go back, without sacrificing your social life or ostensibly disappearing?
EK: Not really, considering existence within capitalism. I read that 52 percent of the world population is on social media, and taking into consideration countries where there isn’t extensive internet infrastructure, that’s a huge number. That number means everyone is participating in the same economic model. The next wave of social media apps could change that a bit, though. Facebook is already irrelevant. Most of these apps were created by millennials, and it’s possible no one will be using Instagram or Twitter in ten years. The next wave will be created by Zoomers who have a different relationship with this.
AA: They appreciate the wisdom of the “just log off bro” mantra more than their millennial counterparts.
EK: They have multiple accounts, often private, and are wary of what they put forward publicly. They go consciously offline a lot more than Boomers and Gen X, who still see these apps as “a way to talk to my family”. Zoomers just have a much more intentional relationship to social media, and might create less laissez-faire apps that are more responsible to our psychology and attention and exhaustion. Posters have such a conflict with going offline because it’s heretical. You can say you don’t need to exist in this framework, but then you’re in purgatory.
AA: Has the reception of and your entire experience of creating Spree changed how the trajectory of your work as a director? Do you want to continue to make films like this, that confront similar issues?
EK: I’ll keep making satires. Satire is a hard thing for people who aren’t super cool or super smart to accept. Unless you get it and are willing to laugh, it will make you uncomfortable. I got the same response from my previous films, but it was less pronounced, because less people saw them. And those people who saw them were in the know. It was an audience who would accept your critique. Now, it’s much more open. There’s a long tradition of artistic satire, from Jonathan Swift to Paul Verhoeven to Brian de Palma. Even Hitchcock was a really strong satirist. When those films come out, people think they’re cruel or stupid or one-dimensional, and only later are people like, “Oh, that’s what that culture was like at that moment.” It’s an artistic representation of truth, and people weren’t ready to accept on a naturalistic level.
AA: Are your films all a form of satire?
AA: Do you think that’s the best way to express these ideas?
EK: There are a lot of ways to do that. I also love melodrama, pure horror, physical comedy. The best works of art and literature and theatre and even music often have a really strong satirical approach, which I think some people don’t realize. Shakespeare is all satirical. Hitchcock is really funny. I consider Spree less in the lineage of Taxi Driver and more in that of Clockwork Orange, as something highly comedic and with a distinct moral framework.
AA: Does Spree have the strongest moral critique of all your movies thus far?
EK: It had to, because of its level of violence. My two relationship films are explicit indictments of hipster millennial culture, of “cool” culture, and are just exposeés on people who are so transparently desperate for validation and coolness. That’s what Spree is about, too. But some people don’t get the humor, and just think they’re “slice-of-life movies.”
Spree is available to stream on Amazon Prime.
Photo by Olivia Wilkey
Around March 15 2020, I turned my dining room into a makeshift lab, converting an old cooler into a temperature and humidity controlled chamber to incubate tempeh. I didn’t have anything to do when the lockdown started, but had Amazon at my disposal. I turned my tempeh research into a report that I tried to get out to every chef I’ve worked with. Naively, I thought they’d care. In my bubble, I thought I was helping to save the future of food by using sustainable legumes to educate others on alternative protein sources. Ultimately, no one was interested – they were dealing with the impending closures that would grow to define the culinary industry for the next 6 months.
In a quest to stay busy, I tried my hand at Instagram food tutorials, but that was short lived. I felt useless. I’m a chef – I cook for people. Those people were gone. The streets had no cars on them, and the sidewalks and supermarket shelves were barren. No one knew how long it would last. I kept trying to figure out how I could do something positive, even if my girlfriend and I were the only ones who could eat whatever I made. I wanted something bigger than my home kitchen, and dreamed up a COVID-safe popup restaurant that I was certain was never going to happen.
The idea was to find a vegetable garden, a couple of grills, a friend to collaborate with, and a dynamic source for sustainable ingredients. After many calls, a beautiful garden space on Martha’s Vineyard was generously donated. I called my friend Flynn McGarry to see if he was available to collaborate on the project. It would require a lot more than my usual itemized list. Because of CO-VID, we now had to consider travel restrictions, social distancing, and testing. I thought we were going to have to cancel everything a dozen times, but ultimately it worked out.
The pandemic made staffing especially difficult. Luckily, our girlfriends, Rebecca and Olivia, wanted to come with us. They agreed to work, and we would have been screwed without them. It sounded magical to get out of town and be on an island for two weeks, but they ended up hating us for how hard it was. Even with their help, to run the pop-up with only 4 people was insane. Flynn or I would wake up around 7 am to clean the tables and finish washing dishes from the previous night. We rarely finished breaking down before 1 or 2 AM. On top of that, our days off were filled with trips to the dump, hardware stores, and markets. The dump was a racket. They’d charge us 10-15 dollars every time we wanted to throw out a bag or two of lobster tails.
We worked directly with local farmers, fishmongers, and mushroom growers to source ingredients. The goal was to source 90% of our products from the island – everything beside vinegars, olive oil, and dried goods. We stayed away from meat in order to have a low-impact menu, focusing on bivalves, shellfish, and vegetables. We wanted to challenge ourselves to be radical in our adaptation and serve things that would not typically be included in a traditional fine dining setting.
We found out quickly that the growing conditions on Martha’s Vineyard were less than ideal. Farmer after farmer told us that the humidity causes the flowers on plants to rot before they’re even pollinated. Though a lot of the produce we had access to was grown organically, it had failed to ripen in the short and difficult growing season. We had to look at each ingredient and figure out how to coax the best flavors from them. Their cucumbers were a delicious exception to much of the unideal produce on the island. Farms like Beetlebungin Chilmark were growing varieties with unique flavor profiles. I’d snack on whole ones when we had downtime on the prep day. Some cucumbers had citrusy, melon-like flavors, while others were classically refreshing, crunchy, and sweet. They were some of the best produce we ate.
In restaurants, it is often looked down upon to repeat ingredients from course to course. It is considered a sign of lacking creativity, and I hate this notion. Our limited ingredient list became a test of how creative we could be, and how different iterations of the same vegetables could be unique. We prepared cucumbers raw, marinated and grill-charred. Flynn and I created dishes based on the specific cucumber we were using. For our scallop and cucumber kabobs grilled on huckleberry branches, we used a variety of Armenian cucumber with a sweet, fruity flavor and added a bit of lemon. Our marinated cucumber salad had fresh cheese and lemon cucumbers briefly marinated in hazelnut oil and flowering herbs along with a small, raw Persian cucumber for crunch. Next, we used cucumber as a relish on grilled tempeh. For this, we removed the seeds from classic pickling cucumbers and charred them. Then, we minced the charred cucumbers and mixed them with vinegar, honey, and salt to create a condiment. We spooned this on top of grilled tempeh coated in a smokey kosho glaze. Finally, we used big, crunchy, sweet cucumbers to make a granita, which we spooned onto a corn semifreddo for dessert.
The lack of maturity in some of the vegetables created another issue. How can we get an OK tomato to taste incredible? Flynn came up with a delicious sauce for a tomato salad that stayed on the menu throughout the pop up experience. He used grated radish and Shio Koji (a fermented rice product) to add vegetal depth and umami to the lackluster fruit. He then sprinkled it with the flowering herbs that the island had an abundance of.
The local shellfish and seafood could not be more pristine. The farmed products needed to be tweaked to perfection and the seafood needed next to nothing to shine. Our goal was to marry the produce and seafood in a way where one didn’t outshine the other.
Everything was a lesson in how to work with the surroundings. Farmers were trying to do the impossible, and doing a really good job despite the growing conditions. You have a handful of pristine ingredients which form strange and complex relationships with the history of the island. The shiitake mushrooms there are an example of this relationship.
A couple friends came together to form Martha’s Vineyard Mycological, which takes advantage of the unwanted oak logs, an invasive species on the island. The local forest service clears the oak logs from the woods for farmers to use as a substrate for growing mushrooms. The landscape looks a bit like an abandoned construction site, with the logs scattered around. It turns out that the humidity levels on the island are similar to the best mushroom growing regions in Japan, and that oak logs might be the best substrate for growing them.
The farmers were able to take advantage of waste and grow something perfect in a space that seemed to have little potential. One oak log can only produce about three fruitings of shiitake, but we gave the spent logs a second life by using them on the grill. Spent logs burned more slowly than what I’m used to when grilling with oak, but they were great for smoking and retained a beautiful, even heat throughout the night.
Dinner Menu 08/06/20
Clam with charred tomato water and purslane
Charred cabbage dolma
Grilled tempeh with kosho and cucumber
Tomato salad with garden herbs
Charred and marinated cucumbers with fresh cheese
Eggplant with pickled shiitake and smoked bluefish
Grilled striped bass with summer vegetable stew
Cucumber granita with corn semifreddo
Olive oil cake whipped corn and blueberries
Marissa Delano: Typically your itinerant gallery programming is based in New York, but since the spring you’ve been quarantined in Switzerland with Ernst [boyfriend] and his family. Can you describe the ease or difficulty of working remotely and from overseas?
Kendra Jayne Patrick: The most difficult aspect is the time difference. It has also been hard as an American to watch from another country as the economic and political situation continues to unravel in America. I found myself envying Swiss life where you can be a regular person because the government’s everyday systems work for you. It’s been a mixed bag, but I am appreciative to be somewhere that’s relatively safe from all the chaos.
MD: Your article Twenty-First Century Occupational Adjustments and Considerations, recently published by Yard Concept’s Power Issue, presents the strip club as a site of freedom, particularly for black women. I found it insightful in terms of negotiating agency in a culture where women are taught to be afraid of sex. It also seemed to join the conversation during a time in which we are reimagining labor practices. Do you plan to write more on the topic or any adjacent issues?
KJP: With respect to writing about the strip club, my interest comes from being one of the college-age millennials in Atlanta partying at Magic City with full awareness that our mothers would have never ever set foot in a strip club! Magic City, in particular, was a cultural mecca for the trap era of hip-hop. My interest in this space has been renewed because of the way strip club aesthetics are modeled and embodied by main-stream female rappers.
What I really care about is Black women having real freedom of choice, and I want to explore more avant garde notions of what that looks like. Present day strip clubs offer a certain kind of economic and corporeal autonomy for black women whose economic status means that they must work with their bodies for a living. Considering that we are living through one of the shittiest economic contexts of the past fifty years, I’ll continue to write about and explore places where these themes intersect, especially as it applies to black womanhood. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that the triangulation between money, patriarchy, and female labor are the subject of so much mainstream female rap.
MD: I wonder what kinds of things the strip club and the art world have in common. For instance, the way money largely passes from the hands of old white men to the hands of other old white men seems to be a shared mode of operation. Money is often acquired by way of unsavory business practices as in arms dealing or tax evasion.
KJP: Again, female rap is very clear on who has the money, which is a good starting point for having a coherent macro-economic position. I think the observation that money largely comes from older white men whose income sources we largely ignore is also right. It is interesting that it’s okay for men like Warren Kanders to be a warlord of sorts, but then questions abound about why a woman might choose to be a stripper; so many dudes were incensed By Megan Thee Stallion and Cardi B’s song “WAP!”
MD: Do you find that your writing informs your curatorial process or vice versa?
KJP: Writing has always been a really helpful space for me to work through ideas. It’s challenging to even imagine curating without writing because they inform one another. When you write, you really have to work through your ideas to assess whether they’re logical; if they make sense together and just how they fit together. All of the above informs what I choose to show, so I would say they’re completely intertwined.
MD: Resilience usually registers as a positive quality, but how much of it is exploitative and ignores real narratives of growth, oppression and healing? I’m thinking about the added layers of expectation applied to Black women in the art world. Alongside the presence of overt racism, there are so many instances in which people fail to give them the respect, decency, oh and money, they’re fairly owed.
KJP: My first impulse is to say that on some level, it feels so Black? I love the @changethemuseum account and the @cancelartgalleries accounts on instagram so much because in a lot of ways they validate my and so many other Black people’s experiences in these spaces, as if to say, “you’re not crazy,” “you’re not making this all up.”
MD: I fall more on the skeptical side. It happens all the time in institutions, office settings and even interpersonal relationships that Black women specifically bear more of the workload. This workload is comprised of both physical and psychological labor and yet at the end of the day, we’re still seeing discrepancies with fair compensation. Black women in the US currently earn 62 cents for every dollar paid to white, non-Hispanic men. How much are you valued, by who, and why? What are the means and merits for this value?
KJP: That’s why this idea of contemporary female rap borrowing its aesthetics so heavily from the strip club, starting conversations about the hard truth about who controls economic, political, and environmental resources, is actually very important. I do think that the one element regarding the institutional and commercial responses to the ongoing Black Lives Matter movement that’s been really disheartening to see is that even at the Witching Hour, many institutions can only muster a position of pure instrumentalisation.
MD: Again at the Whitney, they just can’t figure shit out. As recently as last month, the now cancelled exhibition Collective Actions: Artist Interventions In A Time of Change, proved to be another half-hearted attempt at solidarity. The Whitney’s gesture fell short, particularly the museum’s lack of appropriate compensation for the scheduled BIPOC artists. A few of the artists were offered a mere hundred dollars as compensation! That’s less than the weekly unemployment right now, even after it was reduced to a fraction of minimum wage back in August. Which is still like-
KJP: No Money!
MD: It’s less than a third of a minimum living wage, which is like nothing.
KJP: It is important to be clear on what, exactly, any given wage/compensation/artist’s membership at a museum will net you in your real life. Even now, during a pandemic, when so many people aren’t working for various reasons, I heard a lot of hoopla about the $600/week an amount encroaching on a meaningful living wage in any given American city – effectively being “too much” compensation for someone who isn’t working. This suggests, to me anyway, that a living wage is controversial if you don’t have an executive level job, which is a terrible state of affairs. Even Congress thinks its “too much” money.
MD: They (congress members) were going on vacation, “BYE!”
KJP: Yes! It’s just an unbelievable situation where people with money are being really stingy and harsh with respect to ensuring that a regular person doesn’t have to struggle or have a bad life because they aren’t or don’t want to be rich. Why is the current debate now centered on having to justify why you should not be in poverty? It really makes me upset.
MD: I know. It’s a whole mixed bag of emotions, as you mentioned earlier. I’m wondering, despite and in light of the turmoil that takes place on a daily basis, what are your current or upcoming projects?
KJP: I curated an exhibition for Metro Pictures online that opened this month and is on view through November. I’m continuing on, and I feel lucky to be busy. I am really excited about this exhibition because there is some significant philosophical overlap in programming and art that I really got to explore with the show.
MD: And at the end of September you have something with the Houston Center of Photography?
KJP: On September 24th, I have an online talk with the newest artist on my roster, Arden Surdam. She is a fascinating photographer and we’ll be doing a talk about her new monograph, Glut, with the Houston Center of Photography. The publication extends the artist’s visual analysis and research on taste, specifically the taste-based hierarchies that arouse from 18th and 19th century European still -life painting.
MD: That’s something I was thinking about too, because you have been an itinerant gallery for years. What are your thoughts on adapting to this mode? It seems to have provided you with so much freedom to be flexible.
KJP: Having an itinerant program requires adaptability; I feel like I’m a house guest every time. There’s always something new to learn about the site and the space, always surprising commonalities between my programming and my host’s. In this particular climate, it’s fun to toggle between real life and the internet because one can do things on the internet that are hard to do in person, and vice versa. For example, the show I’m doing for Metro Pictures would be a serious logistical undertaking in person, but online you can combine any works with relatively little installation or consignment drama. On the digital stage, you can work through ideas and even guide your viewers’ experience in a totally different way.
MD: What books are you reading? What are you watching and/or consuming for entertainment?
KJP: I’m not reading anything right now! I’ve been up to my eyeballs in deadlines and new opportunities so reading has, unfortunately, been on the back burner. A mentor recently suggested that I read the Plutocrats, though, because I told him that I wanted to re-read The Theory of the Leisure Classwhile I’m here, in the site of old European money and wealth (Switzerland). Reality TV-wise, I’ve been watching Love & Marriage: Huntsville on the OWN channel. I also just started watching Million Dollar Beach House, because real estate reality TV cracks me up. It’s not as fun as the crew on Selling Sunset. My very Swiss boyfriend thinks that Americans and our sexy, sensational, true crime shows are so gross and therefore refuses to “participate in this with [me],” so I’m starting the new Unsolved Mysteries on Netflix without him.
MD: I started watching the Epstein series on Netflix, if you’re into true crime it is terrifying.
KJP: The real true crime is a podcast that I’m listening to right now called Nice White Parents, it’s a real trip. It makes very clear the ways that white people and families are the economic and bureaucratic priority in America and that it’s never been any different. Chana Joffe-Walt says, “The biggest influence on the entirety of the American school system are the preferences and whims of white parents.” It’s unbelievable. And the show illustrates that this prioritization starts at the very beginning of all American children’s introduction to social life. I feel like everybodyin America should be listening to this.
MD: Very true! That being said, any closing notes?
KJP: Recessions are a good time to re-examine, re-think and refresh, and I think that is something that we need in the art world. I want to see VR exhibitions. I want to see us use the digital stage to its full potential and maximize its native features, despite the fact that we all know that it’s better to be able to stand in front of a painting. I’m ready to be razzled and dazzled.
Biz Sherbert is a writer who focuses on fashion theory and history. She is also the creator of the Bimbo Theory Book Club. Much of her latest work follows Gen Z online-based aesthetics and subcultures. She graduated from the Fashion Institute of Technology with a BA in Art History. You can find more of her work on Instagram and her website.
Carol Li is a multidisciplinary artist and writer from New York. She works with themes of collection, image-hoarding, and treasure through sculptors and jewelry making. She holds a BFA in Visual and Critical Studies from the School of Visual Arts and is currently a resident of SPUR.world, exploring avatar-building and extensions of online personas. You can find her work on carol-li.com and jankyjewels.store, and lurk through her social media at @bamboo_killer and@janky_jewels on Instagram.
Tyler Nicole Glenn (they/them) is a visual artist and writer based in Tampa, Florida. They are a recent graduate of the School of Visual Arts, where they received their BFA in Fine Arts with Honors. They’ve invited Sherbert and Li to conduct an interview-style “studio visit” to foster community through virtual space. Their goals are to expand the notion of what is classified as “art” and connect other people to like-minded creators. You can find them online through their Instagram or their website.
Tyler Nicole Glenn: What experiences influenced your trajectory and brought you where you are today?
Carol Li: As cliche as it is, growing up in New York has really shaped the way I operate in my jewelry and other studio practice. A lot of it is inspired by landscapes that exist in New York. For example, my silicone sculptures are inspired by Chinatown basement malls. All the objects and trinkets from when I started making jewelry are just toys that I found in the claw machines. I was taking apart toys from the claw machines and quarter machines outside the laundromat. Those are important landmarks that follow me and are a big influence on how I work and look at creation.
And of course, the Internet. Just having been on the Internet since I was 6 years old, I was viewing a lot of the Internet imagery parallel to the way that people view religious imagery. They hold this sort of magic to it. A lot of it is recognizable, in a way that transcends religion.
Biz Sherbert: So for a lot of my life I was trudging through the mud. I was a very confused person. In college, I had no idea what I wanted to do. I didn’t feel like I was an artist and I didn’t feel like I was a writer. I didn’t feel like I was anything. I’ve always been very observant and found a lot of joy and nuance in the way people dressed.
Then I started studying art history. FIT has a really cool museum, the only strictly fashion museum in New York. I was exposed to fashion theory and history through the museum and a really cool group of academics and scholars that work there.
I was thinking about fashion all the time but I didn’t understand what to do with those thoughts. Then I started getting into Mark Fisher, and thinking about fashion criticism in a different way. Especially how it relates to the economy and culture. I started seeing fashion as a way to assess, analyze, and critique the effects of neoliberalism. That was when things started to click for me.
TNG: Biz, in your book club, Bimbo Theory Book Club, what kind of books have you been reading? Is it more theory-driven or narrative driven?
BS: Well, I put her on a big hiatus a couple months ago. I felt like there were other things to focus on.
A good place for people to start with about fashion in a more critical way is Anne Hollander. That’s the OG. She’s an amazing fashion historian and theorist. We read Seeing Through Clothes which is a massive book that changed my life. The rest of it is rare fashion history or fashion theory pdfs. It’s more of a resource than an active dialogue right now, but it has been really fun and cool!
CL: There was one quote I remember racking my brain on.
BS: Was it the Renee Barts one? “If dress is a social form, as surrogate for the body, it also partakes of the body’s relation to psyche and form. As a surrogate for the body, it also partakes of the body’s relation to psyche and desire.
Clothing is a compound medium and critical axis of the social (law), the sexual (fantasy), the figural (representation) and the individual (will and desire)”
CL: It really reminded me of something that I was working on for a paper. Angela McRobbie writes about disguise as a form of protection and a way of getting what you want.
“The new masquerade draws attention self-consciously to its own crafting and performance, and this space of reflexivity is also suggestive of deep ambivalence. The post-feminist masquerade is a knowing strategy which emphasizes its non-coercive status, it is a highly styled disguise of womanliness now adopted as a matter of personal choice. But the theatricality of the masquerade, the silly hat, the too short skirt, are once again means of emphasizing, as they did in classic Hollywood comedies, female vulnerability, fragility, uncertainty and the little girl’s “desire to be desired.”
TNG: Who are your influences?
BS: My influences are Mark Fisher, Anne Hollander, and Tansy Hoskins. [Hoskins] writes about fashion culture through a Marxist lens. On a visual level, I’m really inspired by two of my friends. One of them, my friend Win. Then, my friend Riley Hanson, who is a painter.
CL: Hannah Levy does really awesome silicone pieces. I went to see her show and she is a master at what she does. Donna Harraway and Angela McRobbie are the women I read and live by. Harraway writes a lot about cyborg feminism and I always translate that back and forth in my work. Online, one of my favorite people to look at is a friend of mine, Ali Bonfils. Her work is sort of gaudy. It’s uncanny but it’s also really beautiful, magical, and wonderland-ish.
In real life, my dad’s a jeweler so I grew up watching him make jewelry. He makes wedding rings and really pretty dainty necklaces. I think that I’m most inspired by his setup and his ethic. It’s also the way he talks about and looks at jewelry. It really reflects how I operate.
BS: That’s a great one. I feel like parents are big on our lives.
CL: We didn’t have that great of a relationship until I started making jewelry. It’s a really funny relationship that we have now.
BS: It’s a craft and praxis based relationship!
CL: Yeah! He sometimes has a hard time understanding because it’s very kitschy and it’s mostly costume jewelry, but I think he understands the appeal there. He didn’t really start taking me seriously until I started making money from it.
When you’re growing up you never want to be like your parents, so it was never something that I was interested in, but my first job was making jewelry for this company at one of those Chelsea Market places. I started selling vintage jewelry and then I started making jewelry for other designers. It was something that kept falling into my lap. At a certain point, I was like ‘maybe the universe is trying to hint something to me.’ I kept doing it because it is something I’m good at, and of course, I love it.
TNG: So you both are recent grads. Did you have a peer group in your institution who were exploring these concepts with you? Did your professors get what you were trying to say when you would speak to them about these things?
BS: The short answer is, not really. But it was kind of my own fault because I was really shy in school. My peers were more interested in traditional art history mediums and they weren’t that into relating that to fashion or pop culture. The only people I was really able to explore these concepts with were people I met online. That was really big for me! The professors I worked with were great, and a huge influence on the way I think. I would roughly explain what I was [doing] to them every once in a while. I think they were really interested in hearing my voice but because this was a field that I was so unfamiliar with because of its limited size and scope, I didn’t feel very confident expressing ideas.
CL: I have a similar experience! I was also very shy but only inside of school. I don’t consider myself a shy person. I think I was insecure about where I stood academically and how my interests aligned. I never felt quite as smart as people I went to school with. I think every school and department has its flaws, strengths, and weaknesses. My school’s department tried really hard to move forward in this new way of educating and teaching, but the art history references and art criteria were still very antiquated. I wouldn’t say I got a lot from school, if I’m being completely honest.
It was through the Internet and Biz’s Bimbo Theory Book Club that I was met with a successful peer group. I asked a question really relevant to my thesis and I got a lot of good feedback.
BS: Oh my god! Yes! That really was the moment I felt very connected to that project.
CL: It was really really amazing for me because I was struggling so hard just talking to my professors! They were really understanding. Like, at least they were trying. It was speaking to a specific culture that you can’t even begin to understand unless you’re immersed in it. How do you explain “I’m baby” to a middle-aged man?
BS: They don’t know how to talk about Gen Z Culture!
CL: Yeah! They don’t have a lot of knowledge on the theory and the cultural critique behind it. It was really interesting being in a forum with like-minded people because I tried posting it on Reddit and it got taken down byr/feminism.
BS: I was so amazed about how people were going off in response to that prompt. That probably boosted your confidence to know that people were like ‘yes this is a thing that’s happening and here’s how it affects my life and here’s how I perpetuate it.’
CL: I also personally felt a lot of shame through perpetuating this “I’m baby;” infantilizing myself. I felt like I was being anti-woman for a really long time. When I asked the questions at the book club, the responses came in quickly and people were giving really in-depth responses! It was just something you never get at school! There wasn’t much conversation between me and my peers at school. Everybody stuck to their own little nook.
TNG: Do you believe there’s power in self-infantilization; “I’m baby,” culture?
CL: While it’s easy to say no, it’s harder to say yes, and then no. Angela McRobbie talks really in-depth about how we’re entering a cultural domain where if you walk into a workspace you will see women working in the same caliber as men. That threatens a lot of men. McRobbie talks about using one’s femininity as persuasion and protection. Making yourself seem weaker, more infantile, a little ditzy in order to save yourself from men. Men are more likely to be kinder because they feel they’re in control. It’s a form of taking control in a very covert way.
We’re seeing a moment where a lot of young women are using straight cis men’s obsession with the infantile to get money, to get jobs. I think there’s power in that but there’s only power in that if you decide you are okay with being treated like you’re subservient. Too often we see people being pushed and pressured into this realm of sex-positivity when they’re not comfortable with that. If you’re not comfortable with it, then it really demolishes the entire premise of reclaiming the power. Power doesn’t necessarily mean you are obviously on top. Historically, the real power is always behind the scenes. It’s a complicated answer that is not one-size-fits-all.
BS: I really like what you just said about people feeling they have to be sex-positive rather than being sex-neutral or sex critical.
CL: Elaine Showalter talks about this thing called a three-phase taxonomy within feminism. Neoliberalism is third-phase feminism, disguised as progressivism. It describes the moral responsibility that many women feel to enter traditionally male-dominated spaces and opportunities. Right now we’re in the land of sex-positivity which is great but also really hard on a lot of teenage girls that feel this is the rite of passage. That’s not necessarily a passage for everyone. Growing up, I was feeling a lot of pressure to be sexually active to participate in the sex-positivity but I was fifteen. It’s really different now where I’m a lot older and I feel a lot more comfortable. But 15-year-olds should not be —
BS: Encouraged to pursue sexual pleasure with no critical thought about the potential emotional or physical consequences. That’s how I very much feel as well.
CL: It’s really what gives you peace of mind.
BS: Peace of mind is really important. I don’t think its discussed enough when people talk about sex-positivity, body-positivity, and self-care. Self-criticism is very normal and can lead you to a place where you have peace of mind.
CL: Precisely! Something I forgot to bring up is that sometimes self-infantilization can be pointless if you’re just constantly perceived as infantile. I’m a very small person and I don’t necessarily have the choice of whether or not to be infantilized. That was sort of where my research began- when I decided I would succumb to this oppression. Regardless, I will feel like a baby no matter what. With the choice to self-infantilize, you’re at least reclaiming it and using it to your fullest advantage. Otherwise, I’m just letting ‘them’ take, with no reward. I’m usually very certain when [the reason] a man is into me because I’m a small Asian woman. It used to bother me, only because I thought it should. That’s really difficult to admit. It’s shameful, but the best way to have peace of mind is knowing that it is my choice to self-infantilize.
If you’ve read Lolita, Lolita, in some instances, chooses to participate. There’s one incident where Lolita wants her allowance and Humbert won’t give it to her. She uses her ‘babyness’ to get her allowance. It’s that moment where she realizes she still has power over the situation. She could either be upset that he holds this power over her and not get her allowance or she can suck it up a little, partake in the fantasy and get a little something for herself.
TNG: “I’m baby,” as a cultural phenomenon, is sort of passé in the digital space but has left an undeniable impact. Do you think anything else, past or present, comes close to that?
CL: Incel culture.
BS: Yes! That’s something I think about all the time. I joke about being an incel advocate but there’s truth to it.
If you’re going to support a departure from capitalism, you need to realize that downwardly mobile white men deserve access to resources that they’ve also been denied. It’s a fallacy to try to exclude them from this vision of the future where people have access to things that make our lives much more livable and pleasurable. Mainstream media has portrayed incel culture as a symptom of incurable derangement. I don’t think that’s true. In a lot of ways, it’s a product of late-stage neoliberal capitalism.
Just thinking about fashion, Gen Z’s influence via online fashion is massive. I’ve seen cottagecore and dark academia, which are trends that started on Tik Tok with teenagers showing up in trend reports from big trend forecasting companies. I think that the e-girl/e-boy thing really reached a level of cultural notoriety. It broke the glass ceiling. After that, we realized Gen Z was in control of fashion and culture.
TNG: What kind of styles do you like to wear? And are there any styles you hate?
CL: My style really makes no sense. I dress like a slutty grandma who is really into the early 2000s. Right now I’m really into pre-craftcore which is just different layers in clothing. I don’t know if I hate styles. I’m not a big fan of e-girl culture and e-boy culture, but I don’t know if I hate it. I am starting to get a little sick of sexy Willy Wonka.
BS: Mismatching to the extreme.
CL: I think I’ve had enough of it.
BS: I feel like it takes a lot of effort for the average consumer to understand, which is inherently pretentious. Would you say it’s avant-garde like Brandy Melville?
CL: One could say! I actually really love Brandy Melville. I think I think they’re kind of geniuses, filling the void that American Apparel left.
BS: I love American Apparel. Their influence on fashion and aesthetics is underrated.
CL: They set the foundation of what Cafe Forgot tries to do. It’s using the influence of Tumblr models to promote their clothes that otherwise probably wouldn’t sell.
BS: I don’t like boho fashion that much even though I do indulge occasionally. I think it’s bad for the culture. I like American Apparel pre-2013. I also like corsetry and I love clothes from the 1940s. I like a full 19th-century get-up. I think about how clothing has changed and how that relates to women’s role in society. There’s this great quote from Valerie Steele, the Director of the Museum at FIT. “The external corset was replaced by the internal corset; diet, exercise, and plastic surgery.” I’m obsessed with undergarments of antiquity.
TNG: Nostalgia fuels so much of what we consume culturally, from movies to fashion to food. Do you find this to be positive or negative?
BS: Short answer, bad. Nostalgia is the dominant influence on almost every part of our culture. It also relates to “I’m Baby” culture. You can see “I’m baby” culture in our obsession with nostalgia-based everything, from film to fashion. This feels comforting in a time where many people are expected to live much more precarious lives than their parents and grandparents. We keep this anxiety about our futures at bay by wearing and buying things that are either in your face cute, childish, or nostalgic. That has a lot to do with how we all want to be taken care of. Since that’s not our reality, we revert back to a lot of behaviors and styles and interests that we participated in childhood and adolescence. It’s really bad for any sort of innovation or creativity. Nostalgia is very profit-driven.
CL: I definitely agree. I think about nostalgia inspired fashion. It’s usually co-opted by big corporate brands like Urban Outfitters. It’s all about marketing. They just remarket an unoriginal idea or item and produce it in mass quantities, to the point where everybody looks like they’re cosplaying an era.
When I am looking at nostalgia-based jewelry and clothes by independent designers, I think it’s interesting because a lot of it is anti-design and anti-fashion. We’re moving away from jewelry where you need industrial machines or a “proper education” to make. Look at craftcore. This is the type of stuff that is really accessible to so many different kinds of people. The problem is just when it gets co-opted by fast fashion.
BS: I feel like things that are deliberately made to look handmade but were actually made in a sweatshop are very morally corrupt to wear, but I don’t judge people for wearing fast fashion. It exists for a reason.
For a lot of people that grew up without any money, once you are able to buy your own clothes, there’s an aversion to thrift shopping. You spent your childhood having to wear things from thrift stores and not being able to keep up with fashion.
CL: I also think that trends are probably the most detrimental thing to the planet and to the psyche. You’re trying to keep up with something that will never stand still enough for you to afford to do that. They come and go so quickly that the environment can’t keep up and workers can’t keep up. Something that I always look at is Fashion Nova. I’m obsessed with them. I think we’re really always hypercritical of Fashion Nova, but Fashion Nova is just a product of its environment that probably would not exist if we weren’t buying these things left and right because we love it. We love to see it! I personally would love a Fashion Nova gift card. The demand is there. It’s one of those things where you participate or you don’t. It’ll exist either way.
BS: The hierarchy of fast fashion is so arbitrary. The very bottom is Forever 21; the most uneducated about fashion ethics. I kind of stan Forever 21, even though they’re bad for the world. Their products slap and as long as we need to look good to go forward in society, we’re going to need cheap things that slap.
CL: Also, the idea of sustainable fashion just isn’t real. It’s all words on paper. There’s no such thing. Just don’t make things. I don’t usually believe brands when they claim sustainability, because it trickles down so many different levels. For example, when I make jewelry, I do try my best to source my pearls as carefully as possible but there are so many levels to where I will never get down to; where they’re produced, who’s producing them, who’s getting paid for them. Gold and silver, they’re being mined by God knows who in God knows where.
BS: That’s one of my main critiques of the multinational fashion system- it’s so contracted and subcontracted, It’s intentionally impossible for the very top of a company to have full accountability for the very bottom. It’s subcontracted to the point there’s literally no linear path. The supply chain is often incomprehensible.
CL: A really good example of this is the fire that Kylie Jenner and Kendall Jenner have been under for not paying their employees.
BS: In Bangladesh.
CL: I highly doubt that they have control over whether or not these people are getting paid.
BS: That’s something I haven’t thought about because it’s easy to see really rich people as villains in these stories.
CL: It’s all Hocus Pocus when I see “sustainability.”
My definition of sustainability hinges on considering the impact of the primary and secondary industry sectors on the rest of the garment’s life. I assess if the negative environmental impact has been addressed and follow thoughtful procedures to counteract these effects throughout the production process. I aim to take unprecious things and turn them into something to care about. Reimagining use for a good that has lost its initial value prevents it from being disposed of and increases its usable lifespan. By working with materials that have outlived their first lives, I source sustainable fabrics for my garments.
For this project, I heavily considered the sourcing of my fabric. Initially, I only wanted to use discarded fabric, to reassign its value. However, when I reflected on previous projects, my garments changed from ‘something I made’ to ‘something I would wear’ with my Hip Beat sweaters. I always loved designing prints and t-shirts, but I never executed the ideas before because I didn’t think it would be possible to make them in a truly sustainable way. I learned how to use punch cards, which are rectangular cards that I create my design with by punching holes into, which are then read line by line on the knitting machine. With the punch cards I had the freedom to produce environmentally responsible prints and patterns by using 100% naturally-dyed organic wool. I knew that I had to incorporate these knits into my collection to continue working with the techniques I was enthusiastic and passionate about.
Jagger Spun is a fourth-generation family-owned yarn manufacturer based in Maine, U.S.A, only two and a half hours from my university, the Rhode Island School of Design. Their Green Line is Global Organic Trade Standards (GOTS) certified 100% organic Merino wool yarn, spun at their mill, and organically dyed at their dyehouse.
Wool is one of the most recyclable and biodegradable natural fibres available, so it is greatly sustainable. Despite this, using fabric that has already been produced but is going to be discarded (like from second-hand shops or factory scrap bins) is the most environmentally responsible option because you are using fabric that was going to go to landfills or incinerators and avoiding the unnecessary production of new fabric. The reason why this option is environmentally and socially responsible, but not always sustainable, is because these fabrics can be made with chemical dyes and synthetic fibres. If it does get thrown away, it will not biodegrade, but instead toxically pollute the environment. If it gets incinerated, it will turn into an airborne carcinogen. However, if the garment is never thrown away, it would be sustainable. It would also be sustainable if the fabric was entirely naturally-dyed and organic, since if it could not longer be repaired and was no longer wearable, it could be buried in the ground and decompose after some time. The nutrients in the fabric would feed the soil, ready to contribute to the cycle of growth again.
Many production methods have a negative effect on the planet, even the ones that claim to be sustainable. Recycled polyester, for instance, still pollutes the planet. This article is a great help in forming your own opinion about it since it lays out the pros and cons of the fibre.
To learn more about the harmful effects of plastic, a great book is No. More. Plastic.: What you can do to make a difference by Martin Dorey. I was surprised that plastic products can only be recycled two to three times. After that, it goes to landfills or incinerators because the polymer chains become too short and the plastic disintegrates.
A rule I live by to decide what to buy when something is new (whether that be clothing, food, home supplies, or anything else) is to determine if it is sustainable or environmentally responsible. I do this by asking: Is this organic and do I know where each element of it originates from? If the answer to this is no, then I try to find a second-hand substitute. The change truly has to come from the consumer, because the fashion industry will not change without an economic incentive.
The fashion industry is set up to be wasteful, even at the pre-consumer production level. For instance, fashion companies throw out the hundreds of yards of fabric used to test their designs. This waste is intrinsic in Fashion education too: RISD requires its students to make hundreds of fashion drawings, in order to decide which designs we like best. We must decide which colours and fibres we want to use, and then to go to fabric stores, collect swatches (organise them on a fabric list) and show our teacher so that we can discuss their eligibility. This is not sustainable, so I do not work like this, hence the note below.
On a surface level, this seems like it would not affect the sustainability of a garment. However, when I become attached to a design that I’ve discussed with my teacher I have to find a fabric with the right colour or thickness from a sustainable source. If I can’t find it at a FabScrap, second-hand shops, recycling centres, or factory trash bins, I have to buy new fabric to satisfy my design. Unless that fabric is naturally-dyed and organic, it would be unsustainable.The alternative would be to face a grade reduction since I would have to change my design halfway through the semester in order to buy whatever fabric was available from a second-hand source.
Therefore, I have a few game plans but most of the time I walk into these second-hand places and see what they have, then I drape what I find until a design emerges. I love working with scraps that I get from factory visits or rummaging around in the trash in the apparel department. Their shapes and size automatically control the design of the garment, which is why I call my work accidental — I can make as many fashion sketches as I want, but I have no idea what the design is going to look like until I start working with it in a tangible way.
I realise that my words are soaked in frustration. The frustration is not directed towards my teachers— I utterly adore them. It is frustration directed towards upper officials, the law makers, for not leading their decisions with moral integrity, aimed to advance society towards a harmonious relationship with Earth’s environment. Their decisions are driven by quick gains and encouraging disposable culture. It’s frustration induced by deep sorrow and grief felt when thinking of the reality of our society. Environmental and social education needs to match that of economic education. This lack is destroying the sustainability of our planet. The Impossible Dream attempts to plant a seed in your mind to become motivated to research sustainable living, so as to unmask false truths. It uses irony and satire to criticise what should be an obvious, widely known truth.
My impulse is to draw out contrast and irony, so juxtaposing pure, cutesy yarn with vulgar language and juxtaposing words of praise with words of contempt appeals to my senses. One statement on my textiles is “if you are wearing this you are a fucking legend” which is written upside down so only the wearer can read it. Is the use of “fucking” really necessary? The short answer, yes. It is used to show enthusiasm, and to fervently persuade the wearer that they are a legend for supporting environmentally responsible business. It is supposed to make them pause and think “the person who designed this believes in me.” Another self-reflective statement I use is “it’s easier if you don’t care,” because bringing a reusable cup with you to a coffee shop is not the easiest thing to do. However, knowing what I do about plastic, I have to be as close to waste-free as I can be. An educational statement written on my machine knit pieces is “80% of clothing goes to landfill or incinerators.” You can extend your garment’s life cycle by using second-hand shops, clothing swaps, and recycling centers to trade, dispose, or repurpose newly purchased items.
My work is driven by the personal bonds I have with the community around me: my family, my friends, and strangers at bars. The bonds, happiness and effervescent energy are what keeps me motivated to work.
“The force of fashion is symbolic. It is social. It lies in the sphere of interpersonal relations and cultural dynamics.” I am extremely frustrated by environmental issues so I channel my frustration into art in order to attract other passionate people. I want a community to form around sustainable work, to be informed and informative; a community that can Stand Out For Sustainability™ while pioneering solutions.
In an age of extreme uncertainty, the motions of the familiar have become broken by an appropriate need for change. Liquid Extremes does not attempt to know any one angle of absolute truth, but instead invites the viewer to have an internal dialogue with where they stand emotionally, mentally, and spiritually (through figurative visual art) during these uncertain times. The art presented hopes to reflect the current change occurring at this moment and make it visible to some degree in order to have a conversation with the self, despite the growing frequency of noise being televised at every moment. From this precarious point forth, one needs to slow down and ask themselves, “What now?” before embarking towards this new decade.
ENTER LIQUID EXTREMES
In a fashion landscape where NYC’s best-dressed and most prestigious events are scheduled to be remote and practically audienceless, we teamed up with Shay Gallagher, an apparel designer, stylist, and all around badass to create our own version of Fashion Week. “I had been wondering about fashion week ever since we went into quarantine,” said Gallagher. “It became apparent pretty quickly that a lot about fashion and the way people present their work would have to change.”
By the end of one conversation between Shay and Ben Werther, contemporary artist and the Jeff Gordon of STP, the two had come up with STP Fashion Week, an open submission online fashion showcase. “It will be made up of a series of live streams held by different designers, as well as an open submission fashion showcase,” Gallagher said. Shay designed a graphic for the event while Ben facilitated the submission process.
The goal for the submission guidelines is to accept all kinds of fashion pieces and eliminate any barrier to entry. “You don’t have to have a brand, or even identify as a fashion designer to be a part of it.” Everyone is welcome.
STP aims to find solutions to the asocial challenges of online events by providing a digital space for artists to showcase their work, gain publicity and connect with each other. STP has hosted events through their website in the past, like the BFA Student Show last May. Burgeoning artists like Shay can utilize STP programming as a tool for their art practice.
“When I was little I used to get these destroyed Barbies from a junk store in Bushwick and I would sew them little outfits out of socks.”
Shay’s friends are now her Barbies; the inspiration and models for her designs. Her community is also where Shay sources material, and who she markets her work toward – everything is made to order and one of a kind. As a small-scale designer, that support network is crucial for Gallagher. Community is a driving force for the process and exposure behind her art practice. The relationship between her, her stylist, and her client is crucial to creating a cohesive end-result with everyone’s creative visions in mind.
“I get creative by playing dress up with scrap, seeing what works, and taking some pictures, usually in the mirror, then put my little samples on friends, and take pictures of them too.”
Using scraps of tulle, deadstock fabric, and whatever stretchy materials provide a forgiving size-range, Gallagher creates designs that range from bulging to billowing and from hyper-delicate to hyper-abrasive. She loves to be over-the-top with her work, though a lot of her design elements are ultra-practical.
“I try to make my pieces as adjustable and versatile as possible, which is why I often find myself using ties. A lot of ruffles and gathering comes from things being able to change shape, become longer or shorter.” The adaptable nature of Shay’s garmentation is a large aspect of the ethos behind STP Fashion Week.
“A virtual fashion week seemed like one of the most effective ways of allowing people to still show their work while in a pandemic,” Gallagher said. STP Fashion Week aims to connect all kinds of fashion communities, and allow for networking and community building during a time where it seems nearly impossible.
Click here to submit to STP Fashion Week!
STP fashion week is an open submission online fashion showcase that will happen during NYC fashion week in lieu of access to physical spaces and opportunities for emerging designers. The show is free and open to anyone interested in fashion; all work that is submitted will be included. STP fashion week will kick off September 17th, 2020 on stp.world with a collective show of submitted works featured as clickable cutouts. In addition to images of their work, designers are invited to submit original supporting content to be released at intervals throughout the week amidst a series of live streams and zoom seminars. Submissions open August 8th at 12:00AM EST and close September 17th at 11:59PM EST.
For more information or assistance with your submission please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Organized by Lumia Nocito, Yard Sale is a group exhibition raising money for The Loveland Foundation, an organization working to provide financial assistance to Black women and girls seeking therapy. The show features the work of 21 artists but YOU can SUBMIT your work and help raise money for The Loveland Foundation. To submit please click link below:
Alfonse Ruggiero (b.1947)
Elliott Chambers (b. 1994) Lives and works in London, UK. “I make paintings about the realm we create for ourselves, be it in reality or fantasy. I am focused on the idea of ‘place’ and the imagery that defines it. My paintings are scenes of importance to me.”
BFA Student Show is a student organized exhibition composed of artworks from students currently enrolled in BFA programsfrom almost 60 art schools around the world and counting!
Artworks from the show will be exhibited here at https://stp.world/ at the end of the school year. All currently enrolled BFA students are invited to submit their work and be a part of this exhibition! As of right now we have brought together representatives from the following schools:
- RISD – Ethan Shaw
- Cooper Union – Ben Werther
- Pratt – Bennett Smith
- Parsons – Lauren Cather and August Blum
- SVA – Adrian Schachter
- NYU – Adam Fried and Paige Labuda
- Barnard – Mia Greenberg
- Yale – Ronan Day Lewis
- University of Tennessee – Cali York
- Reed – Nick Schlesinger
- CalArts – Chloe Palmer
- UT Austin – Caroline Perkison
- Bennington – Lauren Bradley
- Goldsmiths – Theadora Sutherland
- Slade – Giulia Ley
- Bard – Ines Barquet
- Glasgow School of Arts – Purdey Williams
- UCLA – Arthur Wechsler
- HGK Basel – Joaquim Cantor Miranda
- CUNY – Eva Alcantara Sierra
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Andy Heck Boyd is a painter and surrealist animation filmmaker. His prolific practice is motivated, in part, by his paranoid schizophrenia and his experience hallucinating and hearing the voices of Satan. Boyd is inspired by obselete technology, celebrity iconography, and do-it-yourself comic book culture. In addition to creating paintings, namely portraits, Boyd also makes lo-fi videos.
My favorite granola was always the original from La Brea Bakery, by Nacy Silverton. It had big clusters of whole almonds and pumpkin seeds that were toasted to a dark brown. I’ve honestly never been able to recreate it and don’t wanna try anymore, I think it’s better in memory. I eat granola every morning, with yogurt, or milk, or in a smoothie. Making it is a great joy and good for incorporating unused nuts and dried fruit in your cabinets. It’s one of the easiest things you can make and tailor exactly to your taste. It’s pretty hard to mess up too. It’s all about the method.
- Coconut or grapeseed oil (Other neutral oil can be used)
- Sweetener – I like the use the least refined versions of sugar honey or maple syrup are perfect for this, but you can use brown sugar as well.
- Dried fruit: Currants, raisins, cherries, blueberry, strawberry, banana, coconut flake
- Nuts: Almond, Pine nuts, Hazelnuts, pistachios etc…
- Seeds: Sesame, Chia, Poppyseed, pumpkin seeds etc..,
- Spices: Cinnamon, Cacao, Nutmeg, Ginger, et cetera + salt
Ratios are what matters in granola. 1 to 6 is the golden ratio. 1 Part plus a little wet to six parts dry. Or one cup of oil + sweetener to 6 cups of dry. The amount of oil to sugar varies depending how sweet you like your granola. I like to do about ¾ of the wet as honey and maple syrup and the last quarter as coconut oil. The sugary components help with clumping while the fat helps the granola brown and crisp. It’s also okay if you don’t measure here and just want to eyeball. This isn’t academic baking you can always add more. I whisk my oil and sugar together with my spices and salt so the dry ingredients are evenly coated. Another way to check for the right amount of wet is the squeeze a fistful of your granola together before baking and after you have evenly mixed the dry and wet ingredients together, you should be able to form a loose ball that crumbles as you release your fist, think like damp sand. I call it the wet sand test.
For the dry component. Id say about ¾ of your dry ingredients will be oats in traditional granola, I like to do about half oats because I like a lot of nuts and fruit. It’s up to you but ill give you two of my favorite variations.
- Coconut oil, Honey, and maple syrup
- ½ oats
- Whole almonds
- Dried currants
- Golden raisins
- Dried coconut flakes
- Pumpkin seeds
- Sesame Seed
- Chia Seed
- Ground ginger
- Coconut oil, honey, and maple syrup
- 70% oat
- Dried sour cherry
- Almonds whole
- Pumpkin seed
- Coconut flake
- Cacao powder
- Pre-heat oven to 300
- Put your wet ingredients in a bowl, the larger the better, you want plenty of room for mixing. Next, add your spices and whisk until its evenly incorporate. I usually salt to taste, so Ill add some to the wet base and add more before I bake if I feel like it needs it. The right ratio of savory and sweet makes it more addictive. It’s not as good as cookie dough but raw granola isn’t bad so taste it before you bake it.
- Pour your oats, nuts, fruits, and seeds on top of the wet and with clean hands thoroughly mix for a few minutes until everything is evenly coated. At this point, you can do the wet sand test I mentioned above. Squeeze a handful tightly in your palms if it holds together for a few seconds then slowly breaks down like falling wet sand, you’re good.
- Next, you need a sheet tray with a Silpat or parchment paper. Pour the granola onto the tray and spread into a layer no thicker than half an inch. The thicker your layer the more it “steams” and the less crunchy your granola will be.
- Once it’s evenly spread put the tray in the oven with a repeating 10-minute timer. Every 10 minutes take the tray out and using a spoon or rubber spatula move the granola around flipping it so what was on the bottom becomes the top, this helps it brown evenly. Flatten it back out before putting it back in the oven. Keep an eye on it! You want it golden but too dark and it will be bitter, this usually takes between 2 ½ turns and 3 ½ turns or 25-40 minutes depending on your oven.
- For larger clusters: When your granola is toasted to your liking, remove the tray from the oven. And using a rubber spatula apply pressure all across the granola tray while it’s hot. You want to compact it as tightly as possible. Then let it fully cool in the tray, this will leave you with some larger shards of granola which you can break into your desired cluster size.
Personally I have come to love a less compacted granola almost like a toasted muesli. For this I give the granola another toss when it comes out of the oven, I let it cool and pour it directly into an airtight container for storage.