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26 June 2009 @ 01:24 pm
I'm moving my blogging business to WordPress. I've loved LJ, but WordPress provides features for free that I'm paying a lot of money for on here. Also, I'm in a new phase of my life, and I feel like I need a new blog to go with it. Too much of my Philadelphia life is wrapped up in here, to the point where it's too suffocating to post anything. My new blog will be drawings/artings ONLY. I guess I've just come to a place where I don't want my personal life to be on the internet anymore. It's kind of a sad feeling, because I've loved working on this blog and sharing my life with these wonderful people. To my steady readers: please, let's stay in touch, and I would love to still share my artwork with you on the new website.

Click on the banner below:

13 April 2009 @ 12:08 pm
And we're a pretty butter-cream yellow for Spring! Thanks estiloamor for the lovely layout!
13 April 2009 @ 11:01 am
Jarring question, isn't it? Filled with guilt, blame, self-doubt... The title of Leanor Vivanco’s article in the Tribune's Red Eye, "Are You Mug Proof," is a little too close to home, and considering the content of the article, he might as well have been only talking about rape. (Only one paragraph of the entire article is geared towards Dudes, the rest is an exhausting list of things one should do to not look victim-ish.)

I know, I know, this was in the paper a couple of weeks ago, but it's taken me a little while to articulate why this article, and ones like it, make me so angry. When someone in my women's lit class brought it up I was nearly foaming with rage, and I decided to figure out exactly why these little lists of Dos and Don'ts of the Daily Commute (OR OMGZ U MIGHT GET RAPED OR SUMTHIN!!1) are so offensive.

The photo accompanying the article depicts a young girl wearing headphones, texting on her cell-phone, and carrying her backpack; she’s just like any other girl on her way home from school. But in the photograph there are targets pointed on her, displaying all of the things she is doing wrong. “Your behavior could be putting you at risk to be a criminal's next victim,” Vivanco says. He then rambles a list of things one should not do, or look like, when walking down a Chicago street. Don’t put your hands in your pockets. Don’t listen to headphones. Don’t talk on your phone. “Appearing distracted or drunk can increase a person's chances of becoming a crime target,” he writes. Great. Now, not only do I have to worry about actually being drunk in public: I get to worry about whether or not I look drunk in public (which, I am sure, is most of the time).

Your behavior could be putting you at risk to be a criminal's next victim. From line one, I already feel like I am being chastised by an overbearing uncle who wants to make sure that I’m not one of “those girls.” I am instantly reminded of a seminar that was held at my dorm when I was living on the University of Pennsylvania’s campus in west Philadelphia—a city known more for its high crime rate than its Brotherly Love. It was mandatory that all of the freshman females attend; the attendance of the boys was not required. A hardened Philly cop went up to the podium and assured us that we all—each and every one of us “young ladies”—was a potential rape victim any time we left our dorm. He then also had his own little pet list of behaviors that make one a potential victim, including wearing one’s hair in a ponytail. “This gives the perpetrator a perfect opportunity to grab your hair and render you immobile,” he said. There was also a time when flyers were passed around campus warning us not to wear white sneakers, because a local serial rapist was attacking women who wore them. If a ponytail and my gym shoes make me more tempting to a perpetrator, why should I even leave my house?

Instead of making me feel more prepared or assured that I am doing the right things to keep myself safe, this article only makes me worried for new victims. There is already so much victim-blaming, especially towards young women. I can just imagine what I would hear from that same uncle had I been mugged on any given evening. Peering over his glasses, I’m sure he would have a whole list of questions for me. “Well, why were you alone? What made you think you could take that route home? And you were wearing that outfit; what did you think would happen? Were your hands in your pockets? That makes you look vulnerable, you know.” It angers me that it seems women have to bear more responsibility for what happens to them than the actual criminals do for their own actions.

What irritates me the most—and perhaps, what is the most offensive aspect of this entire line of thinking—is that the article, just like the seminar, is almost singularly directed at women. Where were the young men, and what were they doing, while I had to sit and be lectured in a stuffy auditorium for two hours? Frolicking in a field of daisies? Why don’t we lasso up all of the freshmen gentlemen and hold a seminar about why they should not rape, mug, or harm other people, and give them a list of what makes them vulnerable to becoming a criminal? We don’t do that because it would simply be ridiculous and counter-productive to create a society where all young men consider themselves to be potential perpetrators, and I think it’s just as ridiculous to live in a world where every young woman is a potential victim. And how about the fact that, actually, the average life-span of a young black man born in Chicago is 25? Statistically speaking, more young men are dying in Chicago every day...many more than women. Chicago has an insanely high homicide and gang-crime rate, but instead of telling young men how to be safer in the city, the Red Eye would prefer that Chicago's gentlemen would "Man Up" a little bit.

But, at the same time, I can’t blame Vivanco. I grew up in Rogers Park; there are worse neighborhoods in Chicago to be a teenage woman, but “The RP” was no picnic. My sister and I often joke that the one thing we learned the best in the Chicago Public Schools was to run home, very, very fast. I know that the reality is that street crime is a problem in Chicago, and most of those crimes happen to young women. I know we can’t all just hold hands, sing “Kumbaya,” and expect everything to be okay. Vivanco, I’m sure, just wants to make us girls aware of what is happening around us. Trust me. We are all too aware. If Vivanco knew all of the decisions I make in my day that are created out of fear of rape—-what I wear, where I go, how I get there, who I go with, even who I accept food from—-and if he could hear the catcalls, the taunts, and experience the fear that most city-women experience from age twelve and upward, maybe he would make a list of things men can do to make sure women feel more comfortable on their walk home from work. Shut your mouth, don’t walk so close behind me, and don’t call at me from your car are all a great start.
01 April 2009 @ 05:37 pm
Well, I have my first art job: a writer, Matt Cronin, has contracted me to illustrate his graphic novel, Out Past The Bright Lights. In order to create reader interest, we've decided to put it the sketches online and then re-release in color when it's published. Updates are every Friday, so add it to your bookmarks and enjoy!

I met Matt in a coffee shop, and he told me that he had just finished writing a novel and gave me a copy to read. I fell in love with the story and read it over five times through. As wonderful as his story is, I felt like something was missing. Matt knew exactly what I was talking about, and he had already hatched a plan. One day he said he wanted to meet with me for coffee. When I got to the cafe, he ploped a Wacom tablet in my lap and told me it was mine...if I'd illustrate the story as a graphic novel. Of course my instant answer was yes. I had been living in a kind of desperate art-limbo in the months after I left PAFA, and this was just the sort of thing I needed to get myself drawing again. So, we drew up a contract and got to work.

This is a huge project. It's taken months of planning to get this far. Matt and I have had meetings once or twice a week since October, and he even flew me out to Portland, Maine. The story is set there, and I couldn't very well draw a place that I had never been to. We flew out there together and also took day trips to Boston and Providence. You can see photos of our trip here on Facebook.

Go go go check it out!

Out Past the Bright Lights

Anyway, sorry I haven't posted on here for a while. I decided to lay low for a while because I thought for my safety and sanity it might do well to not give certain people quite so much access to me through the internet, but now that I'm going to have a pretty public internet presence professionally anyway, I figure I might as well start blogging again.
18 December 2008 @ 10:59 am
I've neglected this blog for a while... Things were happening in my life that I didn't particularly feel like sharing with the world, and I set my art aside for a little bit. I had to let life happen to me for a little while and surrender control, instead of pretending like I knew what to do. But now with everything looking fresh and white and clean around me, I feel ready for a new start.

I'm actually surprised how the cold and the wind makes me feel raw inside, like I'm being cleaned out. It's a good feeling. I wasn't expecting to have such an emotional reaction to experiencing winter in Chicago again, but it's bringing back to me everything that I love about being home, being here. The other day it was six degrees Farenheit, and I felt so fearless and wild. Bring it on. I wish it was like this all year.

So, to correspond with this nice new clean feeling, we have a nice new clean design by bzzinglikeneon of circa77. Isn't it lovely?
Current Mood: calm
03 November 2008 @ 10:08 am
Okay. So, this is kind of ridiculous and embarrassing, but Katie and I are going to go meet Hanson this afternoon and I'm kind of insanely excited. Katie and I have loved Hanson ever since we were 10. I can't really explain it. As I told my friend, Mike, it's like a cantankerous pustule on our dear little hearts that never went away. Even during our rebellious/snobby more-punk-rock-than-thou teen years Katie and I had our Hanson t-shirts stuffed under our bed. In my pre-teen days, I used to associate them with an insane hormone rush and lots--LOTS--of squealing. But now when I listen to them it just reminds me of the awesome bond that I have with Katie, and how fun-painful-scary-amazing it was to be twelve once. And yes, maybe I still do eek out a squeal... but I try to keep the decibel level down.
24 October 2008 @ 06:45 pm

02 October 2008 @ 01:13 am

Doodle of me and my new... "speshul friend." Hey. What's the point of having all this ability if it doesn't get ya laid? For real. Boys like chicks with skills. Numchuck skills... Crossbow skills... Crosshatching skills...
01 October 2008 @ 12:37 pm
Fall is here. I love how chilly and gray and steely Chicago gets. And it happens so quickly... One day, it's 75, the next day it's 50 and you're looking under your bed for your long-johns.

I'm in between jobs right now, which is pretty amazing. It's a privilege to be able to walk all day long during my favorite time in this city. Nothing is more full of anticipation, melancholy, clarity, and wonder than being on the brink of autumn in Chicago.

Music for walking, sipping, and trains:

14 September 2008 @ 11:30 am
One of the coolest things about living with Katie in this apartment is that I am literally a 20 minute walk from everything: the Metro, the Vic, Double Door, Abbey Pub... You name it, and I can get there in less than half an hour.

This Friday I had a bit of the rainy blues. I had also barely left the apartment all week, so I was a little cage crazy. Around 7:45 I looked online to see if anything cool was going on, and sure enough, the Dandy Warhols were playing at the Vic at 8:00. I called the box office to see if they were sold out yet, and the lady on the phone said, "No, but there are only about 30 tickets left, and they're going fast! You'd better get here quick!" I grabbed my room-mate Drue and we made a break for it; got there in less than ten minutes. When we got to the ticket window, they only had six tickets left. Literally minutes after we walked in the door, the show started.

And it was AWESOME!

Click here to read a review and see some cool photos over at TheDeadHub.com