A quick recap from the last installment of the "positive state of production" saga.  ---How to optimize output: STEP 1: ESTABLISH CONTROL




STEP 4: TRY AND MAKE IT FEEL GOOD - abandon useless guilt - trade pacification for delayed gratification


I am eternally invested in the process (of everything.  painting, making things, living.).  I guess a hyper-tendency to over-analyze could/should be directed through my action channels in a way that will help me radiate more *positive* energy-- I am becoming more and more aware of how it surfaces as neurosis, anxiety, frustration, pain, and anger.--  It's time to start poking little holes in my soul's Light Bright, if you will.  Maybe fill 'em with little Vitamin D bulbs: a bunch of little ultraviolet happy lights.  how.pleasant. (((..does this mean I need to abandon sarcasm?)))


Another topic of interest trending in my mind at the moment:  DUALITY.

INSPIRATION: "fragility of goodness" martha nussbaum"

[youtube=] watch this video or else read some'uh'duh good parts I transcribed below

18:45 thoughts after discussing the story of Hekuba -  "The condition of being good is that it should always be possible for you to be morally destroyed by something that you couldn't prevent.  To be a good human being, is to have a kind of openness to the world - an ability to trust uncertain things beyond your own control that can lead you to be shattered in very extreme circumstances - in circumstances that for which you are not yourself to blame.  I think this something really important about the condition of the ethical life that it is based on a trust in the uncertain, a willingness to be exposed - It's based on being more like a plant than like a jewel.  Something rather fragile, but whose particular beauty is inseparable from that fragility."

21:10 "Tragedy happens only when you are trying to live well.  For a heedless person who doesn't have deep commitments to others, Agamemnon's conflict isn't a tragedy.   Someone who is a bad person could go in and slaughter that child with equanimity or could desert all the men, let them die.  But it's when you are trying to live well and you deeply care about things you are trying to do that the world enters in in a particularly painful way. And it's in that struggle, with recalcitrant circumstances, that a lot of the value of the moral life comes in."

22:08 "The lesson certainly is not to try to maximize conflict, or to romanticize struggle and suffering.  But it's rather to see that you should care about things in a way that makes it a possibility that tragedy will happen to you. If you never trust any people, or if you don't trust the political setting, which is certainly something I see very often in my students, then it doesn't hurt you when things go badly. But you want to tell them to live their lives with such a seriousness of commitment that they're not adjusting their desires to the way the world actually goes, but they're trying to rest from the world, a good life, the good life that they desire. And sometimes this does lead them into tragedy."


My compassion for others is partially rooted in the fear/understanding that I have, we all have, a breaking point. The possibility will always exist that I will lose my faith in humanity, but still I forgive.  I think I forgive, because not only have I been hurt, I have hurt others.  I've been hurt because I have made myself vulnerable and I hurt others in attempt to stay honest.  This Nussbaum interview made me realize my tendency to make myself vulnerable is rooted in my love and passion for life.  And maybe I forgive so much because people who are clumsy with themselves maybe have been hurt, because maybe they too have a passion for life and just need to be nurtured, like she said, a plant.  and maybe we're all in this together and it's our responsibility to tend to one another when we have the capacity, and everything is a mess and they're IS a point of no return - and someone can become so damaged that they cannot regain their faith in the world. I don't really know where I'm going with this, but I know I am really glad for her and her thoughts and I want to read more about what she has to say.  I also am really excited about the story of Hekuba and would like to draw it out.  HAPPY FRIDAY

MULLED ART: dig myself out

what i'm interested in regards to painting:

  • spontaneous gesture
  • obsession
  • compulsion
  • neurosis
  • self picking at
  • self flagellation
  • internal vs external
  • alienation
  • power struggle
  • power play
  • bursting at the seams
  • over-pouring
  • drips
  • drops
  • splitters and splat
  • paint as blood
  • paint as skin
  • paint as mud
  • paint as its own wild animal
  • paint as snot and scabs
  • paint as scum
  • grit
  • grime
  • wabi sabi
  • paint as easy to handle
  • paint as hard to hold

this list makes me feel like i should be more abstract... also makes me want to paint more portraits.



by: hannah helton

for sale: BRUTTO mugs and pillow

I have decided to put some of my designs to good use!  If you find yourself in need of a cool new mug or pillow, check out my society6 page here.  (<--- this link will get you free shipping until January 12!) (all my designs also available as t-shirts, onesies, prints...totes.  you name it, this site's got it all)











ART RANT: angry about art fees

I hate applications, they infuriate me. But it's much more than that.  Applications are just a trigger.  I guess I feel about it the way certain great nation folk feel about having their picture taken.   I lose a little bit of myself every time.

Ultimately, I mother.fucking.hate.this.system - the art world in general...

I guess I'll start with the first and most basic issue: APPLICATION FEES.  I don't think enough people outside of the art world know about this.  It's pretty simple: you have to pay to apply to different notable art thingies (residencies, gallery shows, etc). ... Because, you know, artists make enough money to shell out $40 here and there all willy-nilly.  I understand the galleries aren't making much money either and ultimately they need to pay people for the time it takes to go through all the applications or whatever, but fuck that noise.  I DONT WANT TO HAVE TO PAY YOU TO LOOK AT IT.  This is so deeply degrading I can't even stomach it.  In my sound mind I should consider it an investment.  I should say to myself, "This is just part of it, play the game, get your work out there."  But these rationalizations only further infuriate me.  I don't want to think of art as a game.  I don't want to comply with "the way things work" like some great hand of god designed some sort of fixed system. WE build this world. The way we encouraged primp and pimp our work and put it up against the others is only making group shows feel like pageants with no real intention other than to clumsily showcase 'the big names'.  Art is supposed to be the one space in humanity we keep sacred from that shade of bullshit.  Every chance to show work should be a chance for us to get together and make something really flipping cool.  I'd much rather us be a critical system that encourages conversation. Isn't that how it's supposed to be? I want an art world that comes together to create things that celebrate the individuals, rather than one where people work by themselves to celebrate themselves. (But this doesn't mean collaborating for collaborations sake.  I want to find people I can make something real with.  People to amplify one another's visions and voices, not names.  Actively challenge each other to move forward.)

But what actually challenges us often times first hits as a sense of repulsion.  Most people won't venture this far.  They comply and indulge in the comfortable and the palatable.  There is nothing wrong with this...I just wonder if people know that's what they're doing. For those who want to learn, who want to grow wild and free - chase fear.  Chasing happiness is like having a political debate with someone who agrees with you.  It can be really nice, and re-afirming, and there is definitely a place for it, but when over-indulged it becomes empty, non-productive and boring.

It seems that those whose work I admire the most are recognized the least.  But the things that hold them back are the things that make them great artists in the first place.  They are incubators, self-criticizers, never-good-enough neurotics. They tend to feel a desperate need to protect their art because every other part of them has been made to feel so deeply violated or under appreciated, it is the only thing they feel they really have. This is why their work is so important, and in someways to me, more important.  The current art world model not only refuses to nurture these people, it actively seeks to discredit them.  Like if they're good enough they'll learn how to fight their way up and out.  But I want an art world that doesn't ascribe to that bullshit idea of cream rising like every other depraved industry out there.  We have enough outlets to celebrate our cutthroat and competitive nature.  I want something better.  I wish people would learn to base the quality of the artist on the quality of the work, not how effectively they've learned to say their own name.  It should be the job of the gallery to find these people and expose them, not to shame them away with applications.

--Painting is my longest love.  And I hate the way I am asked to talk about it.  I took this last year off and refused explain myself in the traditional channels of the art world (and all its applications).  To wake up and just make, or even choose to not make.  To reenter a more organic and natural state of painting that doesn't require or demand "making it" or "selling it" or "showing it."  And in this time I still made. And I still showed. I found that I am not against the idea of communicating about my art, I am fundamentally apposed to the atrocity of "selling" it.  ...and to clarify, I am not the least bit opposed to people buying my work, rather I'm wary of feeling like I am MAKING them buy it.  I feel such a disconnect between the art and the non-art world.  Most people would rather buy an ikea print than a real painting.  Why?

I am not afraid of money, and I don't think wealthy people are intrinsically evil. I'm not upset that art and business are in cahoots with one another, I just want to be art to be valued more for what it is.  I want an art less manipulated.  An art less mindlessly appreciated.  An art less told what to do and how to be to get by. I know I'm not ready in lots of ways, and I don't pretend to be.  This whole thing drips with generalizations and contradictions and has no real specific examples to back it up.  I know this.  But it's a raw screaming feeling I can't seem to overcome and has been reverberating in my lungs for years.  This is not how it should be, this is not how it should be.  I want artists to take over the art market, but then who would pay for everything?  I want people with money and good taste to take over the art market, but would they further neglect the ugly things?  I feel so helpless I could cry.

...but while the coldest-air-in-a-long-time is upon us,  I want to stand outside and let it freeze-burn the tip of my nose.  I want battle scars.  I don't want to protect myself or my work anymore; I want to live a full life.  I want to react and enact and play and scream and sing and this must be why I paint.  It is basic, but I always need reminding.  THIS wild feeling is the only thing that really matters to me. fuck the whole need to apply.  fuck it.

hypnopompic and my own hallucinations

I came across these beautiful weavings by Finnish designer/artist Kustaa Saksi in a blog post by Miss Moss.  Yes, they are trippy, and vibrant, yet subdued in a really appealing way, but the reason I had to catalogue them here is this quote/definition of the title of the series "Hypnopompic": "Hypnopompic refers to a state of sensory confusion leading out of sleep, when the state of awakening gets mixed with the dream world into a surreal reality. It is an exceptional state of consciousness, in which one may experience the presence of, or see creatures and animals, such as spiders, monkeys and insects. Hypnopompic state has also been affiliated with visual delusions caused by migraine. These graphic patterns, designs and textures are thought to have contributed to the traditions of ornamentation, mosaic and textile."


For as long as I can remember, I have hallucinated (visual, auditorial, physical) while falling asleep and waking.  Even though I know now that it's a completely normal phenomenon (and symptom of narcolepsy) called "hypnogogic hallucination" that many a brilliant historical figure experienced in their day, I still sometimes feel a bit off my rocker (the fact that the only "famous person" I can think of off the top of my [wikipedia's] head who mentioned experiencing the phenomenon is Edgar Allen Poe does not plead my sanity case).

...But these weavings are so inspiring.  My hallucinations are sometimes terrifying (I've been told I cry), sometimes exhilarating, sometimes funny (I've been told I giggle), so duh, I don't know why I haven't already considered THEM "inspiring."  Apparently, some people even actively try and learn how to achieve them (like they do with lucid dreams...WHICH my visions have always lead right into--or out of)  I guess if anyone wants some tips just ask...But be forewarned: nothing is worse than having something really cool or beautiful or what-have-you in your possession during a dream you're controlling, only to wake and see it there! with you! in your bed! and then lose it to reality... Huge bummer for me as a kid.

Anyhoo, on an art note: these really jumped out at me because the most common things I see in my hypnogogic state are bugs, particularly spiders.  I have been trying to think of a way to tap into the whole weird dream thing for a good long while, and these are definitely inspiration in the right direction.  Also love the concept of weaving (a very feminine history which also references spiders--Mother Spider taught us to weave), meshing with my very physical painting style (rooted in the very macho action painters of the 50s)---little gender discussion about materiality there.  Also, the concept of "mother" as spider has been coming up a lot in my work lately.  ...AND the comments in the quote about mosaics makes me better understand my tendency towards pattern work and this sort of thing...  WHAT A SERENDIPITOUS FIND! THIS IS SO DENSE.  I'M SO EXCITED.

2014 is golden

I'll start off by saying I had a really beautiful, raw, and serendipitous New Years Eve. Much better than last year.  Hope everyone else out there enjoyed themselves... I had a really sexy "2014" post planned - complete with resolutions and everything!, but since it got lost not once, but twice, to the black hole of the interwebs, I have decided to take it as a sign that somethings are best left unsaid.  BUT, I do have a couple of efforts imma make this year that I'd like to share with you fine folk:

1) text less / call more

2) relentlessly and shamlessly indulge all my wildest ideas

3) stop berating myself and apologizing for my flaws / start celebrating and highlighting my bright light!

I hope everyone has an amazing year of the horse.  I'm PUMPED...I love horses.  Posts and paintings about horses to come (neigh)...(see below).




need plan to sabotage my tendency to self sabotage

Happy day before new years eve everyone.

Today I"m feeling a bit glum.  It's been a hard year- one of which has resulted in a long chain of self-sabotage.  As I catch wind of the results of the final (hopefully final) thing I did not apply to for no good reason, I am fed up.  I know life has been mean, but never have I been THIS outwardly destructive to PAINTING.  Or have I?  Now I just don't know.  Maybe I was oblivious to myself until life trauma knocked me more self aware.  

Does anyone know anything real deep and revealing about self sabotage? Anyone have a quick fix that's more elaborate than simply "getting over it" or "working harder."  Obviously this is a symptom of something much sludgier - something that smells of low self worth, and I just won't have it.


Here is a sketch of my nephew I did the other day


here's a shot of my studio looking a lil cray.Image


A gift from me to you:

ImageThe world's easiest homemade cleaner recipe:

1 part vinegar 

1 part water

spiced up with some drops of essential oils. 

I used sweet orange, but tell me, oil---water? The whole separation thing... (see picture below)  Um...