Archive for the ‘Autoportrait’ Category

I once dated a man who was like trying to hold water in your hands

Monday, August 6th, 2012

In the end
I was just thirsty

One night in Paris, drifting along the Bassin de la Villette.

Moonlight in a garden of rocks

Thursday, August 2nd, 2012

The other night, I was on the Island of Elba when the moon was almost full. Earlier that day, I told my friends I’ve always wanted a big rock garden to play with, then looked down and saw the gravel garden below us was the perfect blank canvas to give it a try.

Self portrait with rock drawing, in the Ferraris garden

Analog surprises

Friday, June 22nd, 2012

In the middle of a roll of film, a surprise! A triple exposure, auto-portrait with two dear friends who, I believe very soon after this photo was taken, went off in different directions for 6 months, one to Nairobi, the other to Dubai.

Autoportrait à trois

Artificially sweetened

Wednesday, May 30th, 2012

I once bought a dress that made me look like a cupcake.

I remember standing in the tiny shop feeling ridiculous, artificially-sweetened, looking at my friend and the shop-keeper and telling them, “It’s not really my style.” To which I got, “Oh but it looks so good on you! You HAVE to buy it.” Surprised by their enthusiasm for something so fluffy pink, I said, “well, maybe if it were black…”

“It’s a great color, it suits you, you need more variety in your wardrobe.”

Pulling at the sides of the dress, I said “It doesn’t have much of a structure, I look like a potato.”

So why did it go home with me? I suppose it was cheerful enough that I thought it could brighten a grey day. But for two years, it has stayed in the closet, not tempted me once. Maybe I can turn it into a lamp shade.

Pink paisley cupcake dress comes out, but not to stay

Today at Iris

Sunday, April 22nd, 2012

“My reflexion scares me when I see it in the metro window. Some people are staring, some raise their eyebrows when they see my face. My head feels hot then cold. I wonder if my scalp is blushing.”

I wrote this in a notebook I carried with me in Paris, in the weeks after I shaved my head. It’s not an easy city for a woman to be bald. It showed me how conservative Paris is, how much I prefer to be the one looking rather than the thing looked at, and made me start writing with a vengeance from this new perspective.

Today at 2pm I’m giving a talk in Cincinnati, at the Iris BookCafé & Gallery, where I have a show of three series of self portraits, together entitled FEMME. It’s the first time I’m showing my work in my own country.

Installation at Iris BookCafé & Gallery. Cincinnati, Ohio.

Waking on

Wednesday, November 23rd, 2011

Hi, you handful of people who may read this blog (hi Mom). So, I just did something that feels kind of courageous. I’m working on a new website that will have only “personal” work (of course, everything is personal), but this site will only be self-portraits. At least for now. It might evolve. It’ll probably evolve. Of course it will evolve.

It’s 2/3 finished and one of those thirds I haven’t shown before, aside from some professional portfolio reviews here and there. (Mom, you’ve never seen them, and when I began the series you asked me what the point was, what on earth I was going to do with them.) Well I took them out of the box, off the hard drive, and they’re up there on the internet. Open to criticism or to being completely ignored and passed up for more important things like the pepper-spraying cop attacking Julie Andrews. In any case, I can be pretty determined, and I’m determined to carry this on for life. So maybe we can talk about it again in a few years, or for as long as I keep waking up.

I feel better having mentioned it.
(If you read this far, thanks for indulging me!
Now click here.)


Tuesday, November 8th, 2011

Scene from a mustache party

Sunday, November 6th, 2011

Lily & Dani in a 6th floor salle de bain

One night in the green room

Saturday, October 29th, 2011

“The timeless communicating to the time-bound.”

This photo is part of a series that I’m editing, taken during my residency at the Halsnoy Kloster, and today it makes me think of this sentence above, by Steven Pressfield and inspired by William Blake, in The War of Art.

The Mother Ash

Friday, September 16th, 2011

This tree is 550 years old. She (because I call her the mother tree) was struck by lightening around 1850. She’s protected by Norway and has a plaque nailed to the side of her that faces the Kloster Fjord, but her trunk has grown around it so you can’t see what it says. Her roots are tangled in the stone wall that runs along side of her, and because the lightening ripped her open, she can shelter you from the rain. Her trunk bulbs out in several areas that make very nice places to sit or nap. I visit her daily, and last night decided to light her up while the sky was clear and the moon was bright. For scale, I sat in my usual spot inside her trunk, and lit myself with a flashlight.

Self portrait in the great Halsnøy ash tree


Wednesday, August 17th, 2011

You’re going to tell me this photo is so banal and I’m going to tell you how much I love it.

You’re going to tell me it’s an ordinary country road and I’m going to tell you it’s the road between my parents’ houses, the route I’ve determined is the fastest, with the least traffic and the most open space.

You’re going to say it’s in the middle of nowhere and I’m going to say it’s a place I feel love.

You might know the stress of traveling between two pieces of your family, the guilt over not being there, the balance in your mind, the simultaneous leaving someone behind while joining someone else, looking behind you and in front of you and wanting to go in both directions at once.

No one can know how many times I’ve travelled this ordinary road, or how personal is the shape of that tree, how loved is this view over cornfields that make me feel so strongly a sense of place.

But I tell you, from a person who think she was born with one foot in melancholy, I am happy driving on this piece of road, in silence with the windows down.

Waking into sleep

Wednesday, June 22nd, 2011

Lately I am reluctant to sleep. Working late because of both necessity and desire, at 3am I remind myself that tomorrow I’ll need to be rested.

Not long ago I read something that made me want to go into my dreams with open eyes, so to speak. “Dreams and waking life are not consecutive but simultaneous. They exist alongside each other.” Excuse me, what? With my mind still wrapping itself around this idea, that night I dreamed that I called a friend on the phone to tell him the news.

I haven’t asked him if he dreamed that I called. Though I could call right now, when his time zone is mostly awake, and mine is mostly dreaming.

At the same time.
Right now.

Man-made borders

Tuesday, May 17th, 2011

One year ago I met an extraordinary person. His brief visit to my city coincided with the moment I had decided to shave my head. Visually we made a remarkable pair.

We weren’t fluent in a common language but the connection was intuitive and I don’t remember communication being too much of a barrier. When you must speak Spanish, you just do. His country is reported to be reforming laws, making it easier for its citizens to travel abroad. My country tells me if I travel to his, I face “civil penalties and criminal prosecution upon return.”

What astounding barriers can interfere with the possibility of two people meeting each other. And yet, it happens.

Luis y Dani bajo una luz de néon.

The only thing Nietzsche ever said that made immediate sense to me

Wednesday, March 2nd, 2011

A glance at my bookshelf

Another Rebirthday

Thursday, September 23rd, 2010

Seven years ago today I woke up in someone else’s life.

I didn’t anticipate how dramatic the change would be. I had big, impatient plans whose tires were spinning on the rug that I had arranged to be yanked from under my feet.

To start, I began drinking wine at every meal (excluding breakfast) and eating cheese that smelled like untouchable socks. I learned quickly that confrontation was not avoided here but even sought out and played with, that smiling while walking down the street made you look simple, that my pronunciations of regarder and rue de la verrerrie were better after drinking fruit juice, and that I understood nothing over the telephone and would have to go in person to read lips. I started swearing more in my native language to compensate for my impotence in my new life’s language. And, I didn’t recognize myself in the reflection of others because their eyes were looking through the heavy filter of my insufficient words. My small supply of adjectives just did not cover the scope of my thoughts.

The dream remained a dream, and every day was surreal
until surreal became real.

Me in 2003, when blog wasn't in my vocabulary and I didn't own a digital camera. Photo by V.M.

If change is the only constant, and because I like to count, I can say there have been 2,555 days of change between the me today and the girl in that photo. I knew her, I know her, I am her, I was her. I have sometimes forgotten her, hidden her, found her or denied her. I have pushed her very hard and yet not enough. I have taken her in and kicked her out, into the big wide world, to widen her peripheral vision.

Some days I have no regrets.
Today, I’m happy to be here, wherever I am.

On my street today, a man dressed in green, all the way down to his broom, said to his street-sweeping partner, “Partage un peu mon frère, la vie n’est que courte et éphémère.”

A Picture of My Paranoia

Monday, September 6th, 2010

are we talking about spiders again?

breath in, breath out. yes.

i have tried three times to kill her, and each time she retreats into that old gap between the wall and the floor. but i don’t want to kill her anymore. i’m trying non-violence. i just don’t want her biting me in my sleep. would she do that?

every night i shine a flashlight in the corner.
every other night she is:
not there.

it’s now 2:30am, let’s be reasonable.
and let’s look at this situation through the camera.

i have traveled and slept in poorly-insulated buildings in a rain forest,
how on earth can i let this bother me?

Château Voirin

Monday, July 12th, 2010

Taking a break from Arles @ Beauduc.

Château Voirin à Beauduc, tolerantly worn away by the waves

No, I don’t want a piece of paper

Saturday, June 12th, 2010

This will never happen again. Now will never repeat.

Mantra of the day

My two walls

Monday, April 19th, 2010

Back from the sea with burnt forehead.

I moved my studio today.

By the grace of coincidence I’m taking over a small space just next to my old one at 59 Rivoli, that has been prematurely liberated. I will have a corner! I’ve been working in a rather small space, though I am quite used to working in closets. This one was basically a hallway.

Left-to-right, it was . . .

Back-left corner is where I'll now be working. The wall of photos is in the space where I've been the last several months

The full width of my space/hallway/studio, between the the walls. You can see the orange backside of a painting by Bruno Dumont that hangs in front of the entrance to the 4th floor. In the corner there is also the old bathroom door, provocatively painted by Hao, recuperated from the squat days.

The wall between my and Aliocha's studio. The b&w collage is staying, and growing. The other photos and black background are gone. Francesco's studio is in the distance, with his Don Quixote de la Mancha on the far wall.

One Woman One Day Show

Tuesday, April 13th, 2010

Demain soir je fête mes six mois de résidence au 59 rue de Rivoli,
j’exposerai le travail résultant de ce temps,
les images attendus mais plutôt inattendus,
autour d’un apéro, partagé avec des amis
nouveaux, de longtemps et pas encore connus.

A Paris? Vous êtes bienvenus.

Self-portrait with found arm

Monday, March 29th, 2010

…illustrative of how I feel at 4am,
not sleeping and not sleepy . . .

Residents of 59 Exposed

Thursday, February 4th, 2010

Thanks everyone who came by 59 last night for our residents’ group show! For those who couldn’t pass through the gallery at 59 rue de Rivoli in Paris, you still have time! The show will hang until February 14th, when it will end with some young, energetic musical accompaniment.

And, a word about 59 and what it means to me, in a way I may have not said before…

It’s sort of a dream to me to be a resident in this building, a place I first encountered in maybe 2001 or 2002, a naive Midwestern girl roaming Paris, thinking “I will live here.” I couldn’t wrap my mind around how the existence of an artist squat was possible (you mean you just stay and not pay rent? how do you get away with that?), and I didn’t know that’s what this extravagantly decorated building at number 59 was.

What I saw that day, standing on the sidewalk among the shoppers on Rivoli, was freedom. Freedom manifested in a way I had never seen before. Freedom, action, creation, coming out of every window and crevice. My gut emotional response was, YES!

That day the front door was closed and I went about my dreamy wanderings. It wasn’t until 2005 that I saw the inside. It didn’t disappoint. Globally, it was colorful chaos, like a marathon five-hour French-style Christmas feast for the eyes. It was warm like sitting around a fire with friends. It had high collective energy and I wanted a key.

In 2006 I saw the building be emptied, in 2009 I saw it re-filled (sorry, skipping a lot in between), and now in 2010 it’s a place where my personal work is taking a new turn. 59, and the people who created and continue to create it, have inspired me with their talent, friendship and encouragement. My life wouldn’t be the same if we hadn’t crossed paths.

On that note, a few photos from the last couple days.


Sebastien Lecca contemplates his installation.

Fanny Duprat paints it black.

Can you find my head in Seb's collection of faces?


Jeff's son Diego, conquering his fear of dogs. He made his first canine friend on this night.

Camille, a frequenter of Parisian art events. Her maitresse, Pring, is behind her in gold ankle boots, which she created. My feet are in pink.

Fanny makes a killer belle blonde.

Resident artists Agnès de la Roncière and Gaki.

Kim, artist in residence, came decked out in angel's wings. Here photographed with Bernard, who always reminds me to consult his agent if I plan to sell a photo of him.

Yours truly, in a dress inspired by and borrowed from Lucie Belarbi, a long-time resident of 59.

In white, on black

Tuesday, December 22nd, 2009

New explorations with found objects…

Everything but the words

Wednesday, November 25th, 2009

i am the worst procrastinator!
when i have to write.

i am trying to write…

i have eaten dinner,
cleaned the kitchen,
plucked my eyebrows,
updated my facebook page,
changed into more comfortable clothes,
replaced my contacts with glasses,
taken off my hat,
put the hat back on
because it helps me think,
i think.

i lit a candle,
played with the candle wax,
charged my phone,
charged my iPod,
charged my laptop,
changed out of my shoes,
and watered the dying plant.

i made tea,
searched for chocolate in the cupboards,
finished the last two cookies,
cracked some walnuts,
looked out the window at the half-moon floating on a diagonal,
and sat back down at my desk.

i checked email,
i checked Facebook,
i checked Twitter,
i commented on one thing,
and “liked” another,
i clicked apple-tab back to Word, and all my notes,
changed iTunes from “repeat all” to “repeat one”

i turned down the music because i thought i heard the neighbors making love,
i turned the music back up because they are.

i opened a new email,
to get all this out…
and go back to this breakthrough,
because the right idea is now growing.

it’s four minutes from tomorrow

and the fear is gone.

I am ready to put it down.