Let me come home.

Art, My Photography, Uncategorized

and I am back! For the past week I have been in Texas for my brother’s official homecoming. It was such an amazing experience and the Welcome Home Party I have been planning for the past month, went off without a hitch. I had a blast crafting and decorating Cadillac Pub with an insane amount of patriotic gear. The entire room was vibrating with nothing but love and happiness as all our family, friends, past teachers and the mayor, gathered to welcome my brother home. I even mustered enough courage to give a brief speech! I could not be more proud of my big brother and the party was the perfect happy ending to such a dark year.

 (can you spot the cardboard cut out of my brother in one of these pictures? His friends made it of him while he was in Afghanistan so he could still be in the pictures at his best friends wedding.. ridiculously awesome.) 

During my stay in Texas, I somehow managed to abstain from the internet the entire trip. No art blogs. No news/gossip sites. No googlereader. I watched an embarrassing amount of Duck Dynasty, savored every second with my cat, George (I  can’t take him to NYC with me..) & hung out with my brother. Very relaxing but It’s back to reality.. and I have a ton to catch up on. Be back after the weekend with lots of artthings! 

isn’t he purrfect? I miss him so much already.. 

Mission Accomplished

Art, My Photography

I am sorry for the extended absence but it’s with good reason…last night, after 10 months of deployment my brother finally came home from Afghanistan. (You may remember my post from when he left here)  

There are no words to describe what it was like standing in the blazing setting El Paso sun.. watching that plane appear in the far distance, only to land right in front of us with our soldiers finally stepping foot onto USA soil. Amazing, emotional, relieving, patriotic, filled with pride, admiration, gratitude.. it is just absolutely indescribable. Welcome home, big brother. my brother, Stephen (waving to us) and his sergeant moments after stepping foot on American soil.

our welcome home signs

first formation back or take your sister to work day today! 

for the stars and stripes

Art, My Photography, Photography, Poetry

Strange how life aligns. I’m headed out of town, to send off my only brother as he so bravely, begins his year long tour in Afghanistan. I won’t be posting as much until I get back. In fear of getting too sentimental, I will just leave with this.

more work about my brother

 Please, be safe.. you’re already my hero.  

Riff

Art, My Photography, Photography, Uncategorized

Check out this awesome project that artist Irina Werning  is currently taking on…. HERE

I would love to do this with a classic picture of me and my brother..

It’s been a long time, but I’m back in town..

Art, exhibitions

Last week at SMOCA, author Charles Bowden and artist Alice Leora Briggs gave a lecture in conjunction with the new exhibition “Re-Imagining the West” in which they have a collaborative piece in. Charles Bowden is a renowned author with stories published in major publications such as Harpers Magazine, New York Times, Esquire, and Aperture. Alice Leora Briggs is a master of the elementary skill of carving into wood blocks, but her pieces are anything but simple. She combines rather morbid subject matters with a style of detailed etching that reminds me of the classical drawings of Rembrandt.

Bowden, has been interested in the extreme violence and corruption of Juarez, Mexico, as well as the effects this war zone has on our nations surrounding states, Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona for quite a while.  He writes from first hand experience and to tell you the truth, every single sentence I have read of his work, is just completely numbing. That’s the only word I can come up with. They just make me terrified and numb.

Their collaboration consist of Bowden’s horrifying stories, placed in context to Brigg’s dark etchings. When placed next to each other, both pieces are instantly intensified. I wish I could find you an example but unfortunately the depth of the internet fails me today, as I can’t find one single example of their work together, where you can actually read the words Bowden has written. I suggest you go out and purchase “Dreamland: The Way Out of Juarez”, I promise it will be an eye-opening read.

Either way, I wanted to talk a little about my experience as a whole at this lecture. As the curator intern, I got a little behind the scenes action, which means I got to interact with Charles Bowden more then just the book signing he did for the public. Now let me state, that before this night, this man was not even remotely on my radar. I had seen his piece in the show, and it caught my eye just as much as the

El Buen Pastor

piece next to it (Luis Jimenez, El Buen Pastor (The Good Shepherd)  which tells the story of a Hispanic shepherd getting gunned down, because according to protocol he fit the criteria of a drug smuggler, but besides that nothing.  My first reaction of these two works was terror, obviously. They made me think about the reality of life, more then I ever really like too, to be completely honest. I live in a bubble, a place where I like to think nothing truly terrible could ever happen. Guns scare me, drugs scare me, the capabilities of human cruelness.. TERRIFIES me. Those things don’t exist in my day to day. They just don’t. Which as Bowden pointed out during his lecture, is a terribly ignorant and selfish way to live. Because even though they don’t exist for ME, this IS the way of life elsewhere, especially in Juarez, a place that my own brother can see from the window of his apartment. So as much as I would like to drown out these types of stories, I shouldn’t.. I can’t.

So there I am, standing in front of this man, who is surprisingly old, but theres something about his face that just looks so kind, that immediately reminds me of my grandfather. My boss introduces me “Charles, this is Jacque, my intern. I thought you might find it interesting that her brother is in the military and is stationed in El Paso, right?” She turns to me, and I am already caught off balance because of two things. One: the introduction, it has been nearly since high school that I have been introduced with a direct connection to my older brother. and Two: the look on Charles Bowden’s face was not the look of respect I usually get when people find out my brother is serving our country. Rather the look was peculiar, a recognizable combination of intrigue, curiosity… and disgust. This gets awkward quick, as my boss, and the two other people standing there recognize the tension and scurry away pretending other urgent things were going on, leaving me alone with this man, who clearly finds my brother’s position repulsive. “Yes, my brother is a 1st LT MP, who has been stationed in El Paso for the past year.” He makes some less tensioned small talk about the heat of the city, then cuts to chase. He proceeds to tell me a story of a conversation with a guy in Mexico who was “in the know” who basically told him that just about everything involving officials handling Mexico and the border of El Paso, were corrupt. Very corrupt. (I will admit the actual story was a lot more detailed and included violent and distasteful additions that I rather not openly talk about here) But the bottom line is CORRUPT. I told him, politely of course, that though I  know nothing of the situation and can not argue for or against either sides, that I could say this. That my brother, though not perfect himself, is the last person in the entire world to tolerate anything that is not just or does not fit his job title in the Army, which to me all comes down to one word: Honor. He looks at me, a bit differently, maybe with some approval. I wasn’t sure.

But it felt strange having to defend my brother. And it wasn’t even like this man was unAmerican, that wasn’t it at all. It simply seemed that he, (with good reason, due to all the haunting things he has seen) seemed to have lost all faith in who’s making the decisions. And I don’t blame him. But it made me really just think about how we, as Americans, have to have an unwavering faith that the people in charge are handling it. and handling it justly and compassionately, and doing what we wish we could by ourselves. After his lecture, I was so fired up, so inspired, and angry, and all I wanted to do was march into the capitol building  and demand that they help all these innocent people in Juarez suffering and scared. But I can’t and I won’t.

Weapons of Mass Destruction

Art, My Photography, Photography

Here are 8 more photographs that are new editions to my Letters from Stephen series. With these new images I have abandoned the diptych format, and instead have focused on the individuality of each toy action figure. With some I have distorted the scale to make the figures seem life-size, with others I have highlighted their individual characteristics. These images are mixed in with the original 12 and are the dominate images in my portfolio right now.

Dinosaur Poop

Art, Books, Poetry, Uncategorized

Lux: Undergraduate Creative Review is a magazine funded by the Barrett Honors College at ASU, that showcases student work in the form of a book each semester. This review has such a wide range of work, from music, to art, to stories and poems. Over 1,000 people submit a semester and out of that number only about 50 make it into the published edition. Since my freshmen year  I have been really interested in this publication, however I was always to shy to actually submit anything. Well, I figured if I never give it a try, I will never even have the option to succeed, so I shallowed my nerves and submitted two pieces I wrote. I am somewhat shocked, but mostly thrilled to announce that a poem I wrote “Dinosaur Poop” was indeed chosen to be published in this Springs edition. I wrote this poem two years ago actually, in a creative writing class I took, and I find it fitting since the theme directly corresponds with my photographic Letters from Stephen series that is currently up at Urban Outfitters.

Either way, I thought I would share it with ya’ll, and I would be more then happy to mail a copy to whoever is interested in purchasing a copy from me! Just leave a comment and we can make arrangements!

Miniature Faking

Art, exhibitions, My Photography, Photography, Uncategorized

Yesterday, as I was walking home from class I walked upon two little old ladies standing in front of the Urban Outfitters store window on Mill Avenue, staring in. One of the ladies had a stern expression upon her face, a look of disgust almost, as she made a shoo away motion with her hand and attempted to walk away hoping her friend would follow. Her friend, did not follow rather continued to look, her face appeared intrigued, somewhat taken aback. Little did these ladies know the product of their dismay, was created by the very person observing them from afar. I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to use the Urban Outfitter’s window space, “Urban Gallery” to exhibit my work for the entire month of April. I put up eight of my photographs from my Letters from Stephen series and I couldn’t be more inspired by the outcome.

Jacque Donaldson, Urban Gallery, 2010

In a class discussion yesterday, we were discussing the difference between my work and the exclaimed work of David Levinthal, who too photographs toys. Levinthal’s work spans over a broad degree of issues, he doesn’t just focus on soldiers. He has done series on Barbie, the wild west, space, sports, and everyday set-ups. He carefully sets up scenes with his vast collection of realistic miniature toys and uses a large format camera to skew the perspective and scale.

I.E.D. 2008, David Levinthal

Void in his work, is a stance or any emotional or personal connections between the toys and the artist. Unlike me, he is not in his work. Though I may look at the faux-violent scenes photographed in his I.E.D. Afghanistan series and see a negative message about consumerism and society, anybody else not thinking about those issues, wouldn’t pull that conclusion from the images. My teacher asked me, If I thought my own work took a definite political stance, (pro-war or against-war) or is it strictly personal?  How do these aspect affect my success? and then, from a kid in my class, Do I really think my work is sellable?

The reaction from the lady looking at my work in Urban Outfitters, was not the first negative reaction I have witnessed. Last year, when I had my show at Chryo Arts, an ex-Marine walked by my image, stopped in front of “I Like it Here. I Love It Here. I finally Found a Home” and clearly picked up on the sarcastic, brainwashed tone of the photograph. He hastily stormed away, not daring to view the rest of the series. I see the political tone in my work, it is intended, but it is not definite. I don’t look at my work and see a pro or against. They are too personal for that. Any sense of dislike or lack of support, is sobered by the realism of the situation. I am interested in all of these layers, the initial anti-military assumption, the idea that  these toys are functioning in more then just a innocent  way rather they are molding who we are, and then lastly, the more pressing issue, that I am scared of losing my brother in a turbulent and dangerous time of war.

The kid in my class who asked me about the sell- ability of my work , sparked a heated debate about why we create work as artist. Are we creating to sell? or are we creating for ourselves, to inform?  I hope people know me well enough to know the answer to this debate, but I will give you my response anyways. I don’t expect to see my photograph of a decapitated plastic blue toy hanging upside down from a palm tree, in anybodies house anytime soon. But this isn’t the type of art you display in your house. This is the type of art that is set to inform, spark conversations, make you pause, and forces you to think. I am unconcerned with reception, with the desire to sell. For me, having my work in the window on Mill, and seeing two ladies who might normally not ever have had a conversation over art, stop and look and discuss and REACT, is more then enough. It’s everything.

Come One, Come All

Art, exhibitions, My Photography, Photography, Uncategorized

The photographs are printed, matted, framed, and hung. The lights have been set. The food has been bought. All that’s left is for the clock to strike 6 pm tomorrow, (Tuesday March 23), for the reception of Persisting Events to begin. So, for the last time I am going to give you a couple more reasons to come out and support the ASU Photography program and check out some student work!

Persiting Events is a senior group exhibition featuring 7 photography students at Arizona State University. It deals with the individual subject matters that has dominated our work, as well as continue to persist upon us the change and ideas that we are developing as artists. Each day transforms into the next, making us examine the causes and effects of our lives. Isela Wong challenges us to think about how a marriage changes once the kids have grown up and moved out. Scott Snyder shows the consistencies within our days, a half eaten apple tossed on the ground one day, is photographed by another student, which is then re-photographed completing some kind of harmonious connection within his wall of 100 gridded photographs. Danielle Savedra shows the power of God in her collection, Naomi Spears replicates grafitti art, while Laura Spittler explores spiritual death and the scientific process of documenting forensics. and my work questions the effects toys have on the kids playing with them.

So if that didn’t convince you… Here is my

Top Ten Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Miss This Show

10. This is our senior show, so for many this is our last body of work as students and its shows what we have learned and how we have grown.

9. There will be sparkling punch, cheese, hummus, crackers, fruits, and cookies!

8. It’s an excuse to look nice and socialize with the artists in the area

7. The ASU Art Museum, Step Gallery, and Northlight Gallery are all open late on Tuesday’s too, so you can do a mini art walk

6.  You have nothing else to do on a Tuesday night.

5. It’s right off Mill which offers many places to eat and drink before or after!

4. Looking at Art is good for the Heart!

3. You Love me.

2. We put A LOT of time and work into the success of this show.

and Reason Number 1. You don’t want to miss Scott Snyder‘s wall of 100 4×6 Photographs recording his day to day life over the past two months, Pattie Harmdierk‘s psychedelic and vibrant huge color photographs, Laura Spittler‘s exploration of death and her artistic take on  forensic photography documentation, Danielle Savedra‘s wall of her involvement with her Church, Naomi Spear‘s graffiti inspired images, Isela Wong‘s profound and engaging portraits of her parents, and My work depicting miniature toy soldiers and the relationship they form with excerpts written from my brother who is a 2nd Lieutenant in the U.S. Army!!

Campus Map, Locating Gallery 100

* The Reception is at Gallery 100, located on the corner of University and Mill in the same red building as Saks Sandwhiches. It is a come and go, that will begin at 6 and end at 8! Please ask if there are any other questions!