ONE.DROP N a s h v i l l e
A r t
K u l c h a
p u b l i s h e d E V O L U T I O N
b y P R E S S
kul-cha \kÇ?l-chÇ?\ n 1 a : the continuously evolving expressiveness and creative functionality of peoples of African descent. 1 b : the seamless integration of values and social activism into artistic endeavors. 2 : what you don't see on television.
WHO DUN IT? Editor in Chief Kana Kavon
Contributing Writer J. Wayne Stephens
Contributing Writer Viktor Le
CONTENTS NOTHING BUT A ROOM ...Wiping cats butter from the corners of your eye...
TEARS FOR THE THIRSTY ...Dust for the dead / Rust for the man-made...
ANYTHING BUT PRECIOUS: THE POETRY, PHOTOGRAPHY & PROCESS OF ALYSHA IRISARI MALO
SHADOW WORK ...I have weathered a season's worth of knowing and loving myself...
"Flesh and Grit" is the title of the cover photo taken by Alysha Malo.
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I just finished reading through the Nov 2013 issue of One.Drop & I love it! I think you did a great job of incorporating different art mediums on a local and national level. Not that I didn't enjoy the entire read, but I loved the article about Gary Clark Jr. I loved it so much, I found myself stopping and asking myself..wait, why haven't I seen him live??? Plus I enjoyed the spotlight on Joseph P. It's always nice to know about the artist behind the madness. Photography speaks for itself, but as an artist it's refreshing to learn about the process and what others find inspiring. Sierra M.
One.Drop is a really informational, inspiring, and motivational publication! Alysha M.
r e r
I"enjoyed"your"[November]" issue...especially"the"Gary" Clark"and"Elizabeth"Cotton" ‘Freight"Train’"variations."" I’m"a"lefty"and"I’m"always" thrilled"to"see"lefties" playing"right"handed" instruments"upside"downF" subversively"adaptable.""I" also"liked"your"poem"about" the"music"of"washing" machines,"lightening"bugs" and"basketball"courtsF"very" nice.""I"appreciate"the"raw" fearlessness"and"passion"of" your"publication.""It"always" seems"too"short"to"me," which"is"a"good"thingF" leave"them"wanting"more. Jimmy"W."
Questions, comments, and ideas, please firstname.lastname@example.org
I began this issue with the idea of shadows because I have spent the better part of the past year addressing the darker side of my nature. Digging into the messy root system of my fears, anxieties, and discontentments has been a solitary, but rewarding journey. I began where I was comfortable--in books. I read self-help books on boundaries and relationships in order to place my finger on my decision making process and begin developing a strong and intentional value system. Once I had reached what felt like a plateau (in my inner landscape) I reached out to therapy. My therapist has helped me dig deeper by asking simple questions when I make very matter-of-fact statements. It seems that when I make "absolute" statements, there is generally an unknown, insecurity, or nightmare lying just beneath the rug. This journey is one of self-awareness. The most alive I've ever felt. Crying tears that have been pent up for years. Spilling over with joy that I would never have dared express before. Being vulnerable with people who have the potential to rip my heart out. Like the Prince of Pop explained, "It's a thriller, thriller night / And no one's going to save you from the beast about to strike." Because no one can. It's just you and your shadow. Better make friends with your Self.
Nothing but a room The$heat$jerks$you$from$sleep.$ You$snap$up$from$your$dreams$and$pull$back$ the$sheets$revealing$beads$of$sweat$on$your$ skin.$ $Searching$for$a$breeze$you$pull$back$the$ crushed$red$velvet$curtains$that$drape$behind$ your$window
yawning$stretching$shaking$it$loose$you$take$ two$steps$forward$three$steps$back$and$one$to$ the$side.$ Open$your$eyes$to$ﬁnd$there’s$nothing$not$a$ nothing$for$you$to$see.$
No$house$no$car$no$tress$$babies$or$people$ walking$dogs$in$the$park$at$dark.$No$sun$rise$red$ orange$green$and$brown$$lavender$teal$violet$ black$blue$and$grey.$No$silver$lining$beneath$the$ moon$no$fullness$to$wonder$on$$there$is$ nothing.$
As$if$the$stars$fell$deep$in$to$slumber$the$sky$ gently$fades$away.$ Into$nothing.
And$the$other$two$are$blue.$ The$ﬂoor$meets$them$in$the$ middle $$$$$$$$$$$$and$muddle$to$make$ purple.$ $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$Purple$reminds$me$of$ my$grandmother ,$it's$her$favorite$color.$ .$My$loving$grandmother$bakes$ the$best$corn$bread.$ Golden$yellow$$is$its$center$ fading$orange$into$the$crust. The$orange$crispy$crust$is$laced$ lightly$in$vegetable$oil,
Oil$from$the$vegetables$that$ grow$outside$the$window$of$ this$room.$ Outside$the$window$of$this$ room$there$is$a$garden.$ There$are$seven$rows$of$red$ earthen$clay$$that$ferLlize$the$ vegetables$growing$in$the$ garden.$ A$ferLlizer$that$smells$of$horse$ ass,$yellow$grass$$and$perfume.$ Perfume$from$a$bo?le.$ A$crystal$artesian$$amethyst$ bo?le$ With$nothing$leM$inside$but$ remnants$from$the$past What$used$to$lay$inside$it$ before$the$bo?le$became$ empty.
Florida$water,$and$if$you’ve$ never$been$to$ﬂorida$it$smells$ of$island$co?on,$ﬀresh$honey$ ﬀrom$the$comb.$And$diamond$ Crusted$pearl$powder$$in$a$ garden$of$fresh$$lavender,$$ lavender$is$purple,$which$again$ reminds$me$of$my$ grandmother,$it's$her$favorite$ color$and$her$corn$bread$ baking$in$the$oven$siQng$ center$of$the$room,$ With$four$walls$that$sLll$have$ yet$to$meet.$ Is$almost$ready.$ I$would$wash$my$hands$but$ there$is$$no$water$in$the$room. Cornbread$anyone?$ Viktor Le Viktor Le Shadow Visions
Skeletons in our closet don't scare us. It's our shadows.
It's not the other folks and distant experiences of our pasts that haunt us. It's the way that we block our own light. It's inevitable. We cannot avoid it. When I was a little girl, my cousin and I would play all day outside. There was one downside to this. My cousin was terrified of her shadow. When she caught sight of it, she would literally take off running in the other direction, looking back and running harder. I used to think this was absurd (and hilarious). But time and experience dodging my own shadow have revealed the simple metaphor of a little girl's fear. We live lives that promise that one way or another, we have shadows. We get fucked up. We get lucky and have parents who aren't perfect, don't know it, or couldn't care less. We get neglected, abused, abandoned, betrayed. We get born black, red,
feel ashamed? Who told me I was shameful?" heroes, babydolls, and Maybe we fall into a animated princesses. And rabbit hole of dark in our innocent belief in life, memory and grinning we do whatever we can to ghosts. And maybe that's survive. We learn to lie, manipulate, s c a r y. B u t m a y b e w e reject, isolate, and deny realize the illusion of our ourselves and others. We s h a m e a n d s h a d o w . overcompensate, binge, Maybe we dare to share and deprive. We don't o u r m o s t u n t a m e d know where to look, who to nightmares and learn that we all wake up screaming ask, or if it's worth it. Our from the same terrors.
brown or yellow in a world of white super
thoughts swim in circles around tragedy, violence, death, and emptiness. Shadows.
Maybe that grants us courage. Who knows. These are shadows we're dealing with. Hard to pin down. One thing's for certain.
F u n n y t h i n g a b o u t Running don't make shadows: when the sun is 'em go away. Only the at its zenith, the highest brightest, most direct light point in the sky, right above banishes shadows. us, there are no shadows in that moment. Imagine -Kana Kavon what would happen if we were to give our fullest, brightest, most loving attention to our oldest bruises and, in this way, banish the shadows. When we feel shame
bubbling to the surface, maybe we pause and look at it instead of tucking tail and limping away. Maybe we ask ourselves, "Why do I
Water$$$All$that$we$are This$ﬂesh$is$but$a$jar$of$pain Ebb$and$ﬂow$$$$$$All$that$we$know UnLl$these$bones$are$drained Given$form,$taken$shape To$all$that$would$restrain We$are$water$$$$This$is$all UnLl$by$dust$reclaimed $ Water$$$Knows$every$truth Beneath$the$surface,$lies Ever$falls$$$$To$rise$again Again,$to$fall$and$rise Mold$the$Lmber$$$$Mill$the$stone Put$the$steel$to$rust We$are$water$$$$This$is$all The$ﬂesh,$no$more$than$dust $ Tears$for$the$thirsty Tears$for$the$thirsty The$sun$on$the$ocean Rain$on$your$mind Water$to$water Dust$for$the$dead Rust$for$the$manYmade The$stone,$for$to$grind The$sky$in$the$gu?er A$vanishing$vapor Her$water$has$broken We$crawl$from$the$sea Holy$Books,$Holy$Books All$of$your$mystery Dissolved$in$the$water Just$Tears$for$the$Thirsty
-J. Wayne Stephens-
Anything but Precious
The Poetry, Photography, & Process of
Alysha Irisari Malo
Petite in stature, but a powerhouse when it comes to art, Alysha Malo has inspired me since we met last summer at one of the CRITs she coordinates every month as a place where artists can get valuable feedback from other artists on their work. With roots reaching back to the Phillipines, Alysha is a painter, p h o t o g ra p h e r, s cu l p t e r p o e t , entrepreneur, wife and mother. I was honored to snag an afternoon with Alysha to sip tea, meander through her home studio and chat with her woman to woman about personal evolution, culture, and family. One.Drop: Change and evolution are major themes in your work. When you started art making, was that something that you were aware of or did you become aware of it through your art? Alysha Malo: At the beginning of my artmaking, I was making these images and I didn't know exactly why. It's not until you look back at things that you realize, "Ah, these are all various ways that I'm trying to tell stories about myself and things that I'm dealing with." Figuring that out, I asked myself, "What am I trying to say about myself? What am I confronting in all of these paintings?" I realized that it coincided with these life changes that I was going through. It made me realize that I'm really talking about change in my life, how it affects me, how it's difficult to cope with it, but how it's inevitable. All of the experiences that I go through end up being a part of me.
OD: Has your art helped with cope with change? AM: I think it's helped me explore it. But, to a certain point, it's still this mystical thing to me. And that's why I keep painting and photographing things that deal with change. I don't think that I'll ever be comfortable with change. Art is a way that I can deal with it on a daily level. I once had a professor tell me, "If you're comfortable making art, then you're really not getting anywhere. It's when you're uncomfortable that you really make breakthroughs."
"I' dont think I'll ever be comfortable with change. Art is a way that I can deal with it on a daily level." OD: Can you tell me about more about your creative process? AM: One thing that I've dealt with in my art making over the years is trying to get away from "preciousness." It's hard to not become so attached to one piece or to try to be so careful with your artwork. Especially when you're trying to sell it. And the commercial aspect of art draws you in that direction But the more that you compile work, the less precious they each become. It becomes, "This is my artmaking as a whole. And that's just one piece in this chronology of work." Photography also helped me let this preciousness go because I'm finding all of these things around me that are interesting. I can snap photographs in an instant. It's helping me get looser and find more of those moments throughout my daily life.
The Dust Pulses -Alysha MaloThe dust pulses, gathering itself together, shifting and shimmering, finding its volatile forms through the context of history. Its mechanisms are fueled by the impetus of necessity. Particles are everything and everywhere, transcending impossibilities and extending their reaches outward until they finally dissolve into mist, drifting and scattering into space, losing focus and realizing that it is dust once more.
drifting and scattering into space
Powder and Ashes
OD: What is it like to explore so many different mediums? AM: My ideas will take me wherever they take me. Sometimes I get the idea for a poem and I'll write it down. And it could not be a painting. I think it's a great way of exploring an idea in lots of different ways and from lots of different angles. I always love having my brain exercise different parts of itself by working on painting and then working on sculpture. I don't think I could be confined to doing just one thing because I have the urge to move in different directions. I think I've come to terms with that. I need to be able to find my creative voice by following my own path.
OD: What was your emotional response to the typhoon in the Phillipines? Did you have any urge to create art out of that? AM: I think I'm still trying to process it. In some ways, I feel very removed from it. I always have this weird feeling that I should be closer to my roots because that is who I am. But it's so hard because I live in this isolated bubble away from the Phillipines. When I was growing up, my parents would always speak to me in English. I don't even know the language. I know the food and the general social aspect of being Phillipino, but I grew up in the middle of West Virginia. In so many ways, I feel like I'm just American. My parents and a lot of people in their generation, unfortunately, when they moved here, their unconscious thought was "America is great and we should raise our kids with just American values." They loved America almost to the detriment of not teaching us enough about the Phillipines. OD: Race is something that I don't feel that I can escape. When I look at media, especially, and I don't see people of color represented proportionationally.
Nebula No. 1
AM: I know. And there are even less Asian people in media. And then they're always portrayed as the geeky or nerdy one. That's frustrating. I lived in a very majority white area when I was younger. I think I lost myself a little bit as far as race is concerned. I would wonder vaguely why I didn't see Asian people on TV, but I would concentrate more on having brown hair with blond
Evidence No. 2
My Senses Are Now Too Keen -Alysha MaloOnce I saw death in large brown eyes. I saw the urgency to speak to me, to tell me about the fear of the unknown, but to no avail. I saw the sadness of the end of an era, of saying goodbye. I saw the candle flicker, the light go out, and the look of relief. I saw the deep, warm pools turn to shallow, glazed mirrors that shone my reflection. Once I heard death from a laboring mouth. Out of quiet, parted lips came the panting, sobbing breath borne out of the instinct of survival, an instinct immune to the imminence of what lies ahead, waiting. I heard the silence return home again, this time to a mouth more slack. Once I felt death in a cold kiss. I felt the lack of response, a cold, firm resistance, like I was kissing a stone. The disturbing rigidity was unwelcoming and unfamiliar. Plastic. An uncustomary snub to my affection. I was paying homage to an empty idol.
Once I smelled life, in the sweet smell of the down on a new head as a soft, tiny body wiggled in my arms. The fine wisps would tickle my nose as I ran my face over and over along the crown. Vague, but clearly distinct from any aroma that came before it, it was the sweet, powdery freshness of pink, sensitive skin. I could not inhale enough to keep me satisfied. Once I tasted life, in the dripping milk spilled from my own breast. In curiosity, I tasted a drop of cream, almost a pale gold, warm and strong, complex with tangy assertiveness. It was not sweet, like I had assumed it would be. I wondered at how my child loved to drink it so.
Reincarnation No. 7
Once I lived in a pleasant haze where life and death were abstractions I read about in books and poems. Now, with more understanding, having seen, heard, felt, smelled, tasted these things that were never allowed to reach me before, I try to pause time and stand still where it is safe. But that is only futile. My senses are now too keen to be tricked into delusion.
highlights. I wanted to be white. I think that instead of feeling the anger of not being represented, I just embraced the whiteness. I wanted to be white. I wanted to be like my friends. I didn't even realize that was a problem until I was a little older and could see that, like in college. It wasn't until then that I figured out that I should be embracing the fact that I have different roots from other people. I did not realize what a gift it is to be different. [Alysha's three year old son bounds up the stairs into the studio with a huge grin and contagious giggles.] OD: So now you have this little one of your own. How has parenthood changed you? AM: It's a really big reality! Your life changes, OFFICIALLY! I went from working full time and doing my artwork to nothing but being a mom for quite a while. That turned me completely upside down. I was like, "What's my identity? Can I call myself an artist anymore?" It wasn't until my son was almost a year old that I could begin mixing artwork back into my life and gradually increasing it. In the past year I've become a lot more involved. That's one way that photography has come into my life. It's a lot easier to do a session of photography and feel like I'm really getting something out of it without having to do a studio intensive practice of painting that requires a lot of set up and clean up and getting messy. I don't have that time. In a lot of ways, the parameters of what I'm given help me to go somewhere else and find another way of
Tethered (Fear and Yearning) No. 1
doing it. When my son was born, I started looking at things new all over again. The most insignificant things would entrance him. Everything was magical again. That ignites your creativity on this very basic level. Even the simplest things that we take for granted, he thought were magical. Shadows and light on the wall. Little sounds. Looking at things through that perspective is pretty special. It has deepened the creative flow that I was already working with. OD: Many artists (and I've been guilty) fear that family and art can't go together. What is it like to be married -in a continuous collaboration- and how does it balance into your art? AM: Eric and I have been together for a very long time, since I was seventeen. As I was findng myself and realizing that I wanted to be an artist, I was in this
You and Me -Alysha MaloThe essence of you and me is a rich reduction. It is the tapestry woven from the wrinkles in our pressed palms, the shiny scar tissue that tells our imperfect history, and the way jagged and uneven pieces fit seamlessly together with a bright click. I try to hold it, caress it, look at it, turn it in my hands, but it is as elusive as it is solid, as tangible as intangible, and as I attempt to define it it reveals more of its brilliant complexity. You and I are a collective of shape-shifting memories, a fragile and delicate web of mist expanding in all directions. Interlaced fingers, comforting warmth against my back, the familiar tightness in my chest, a kiss on the soft dent of your temple, tingling heat spreading through my veins.
The quietness of a night sky blooming with stars, talking late in the dark, the reflection of an intent gaze on a shiny bus window, a key dangling from my neck. We are fear and dependency, tears and disappointment, silence and restraint, but we are beautiful in spite of our dents and scratches. We transform with the same pace as a monumental glacier, moving forward slowly yet surely bringing what we can hold in our arms along with us into the future. We are collapsing and growing, condensing and expanding, and we face forward hand in hand.
Electric Air No. 2
Electric Air No. 2
relationship as a constant. I have to say, that he is the biggest supporter of my work and I highly value his opinion. He often helps me so much with the things that I need to do in order to have a forward progression. Just to have that support is really nice, so I wouldn't give it up. The life of an artist is not the easiest to be in a relationship with. It's kind of this self indulgent thing. And there are few opportunities, so you go where the opportunities take you. And sometimes that's difficult when you have a spouse or a significant other. It sometimes makes logistics more difficult. It's easy to fly solo because you have the flexibility and you need flexibility as an artist. But the companionship and support is really good. I think artists need to be with somebody that understands that they're with an artist and will help nurture that. It's so easy for obstacles to get in the way and to stop making art. It's such a fragile thing. You need somebody who knows what that means and how to support you.
OD: What's your One Drop? AM: My creativity comes from having so many roles that I play and having such varied experiences. They might not have been the most glamorous, but I find things inquisitive in the world around me because I've had such varied experiences. I think all of that is cultivated and flourishes with the people around and the support. You know, it takes a village to raise an artist.
SSS HHH AAA DDD OOO W W W
S H A D O W
W W W OOO RRR KKK
W O R K
Shadow Work -Kana Kavon-
Journaling has saved my life at least twice. Through two dark stretches, months of depression and internally tortured thoughts, writing in my journal kept me connected to a part of myself that was sane and safely tucked away in some parallel universe. Looking back through those old journals I've cried as I live again the bittersweet mix of despair and hope.
the communicative tools and courage to address the person and issues directly. If I'm just feeling down in general, I know that my blues call for a good song and a solo dance in the middle of my kitchen. I am standing/sitting/dreaming/walking/ watching my Self transform and shift gears as my process changes. Because I am changing. It's not that I am letting go of journaling as this new year and this new me begin. I am letting go of an old paradigm in which I only trust my journal with my heart. My stomach no longer drops at the thought of being vulnerably honest with a friend/loved one/ lover.
I am lettin Yet, as I learn to work pa ra d i g g g o o f through my emotions and an ol m in o n d I have weathered a w l y h subconscious barriers, I ich I my jo trust s e a s o n ' s w o r t h o f urnal have less urge to journal. It heart with my knowing and loving my doesn't mean that I have Self. My heart is not fool . less urge to create (I used to fear that being happy, healthy, and sane meant that I would not be able to be a successful artist.) Instead, I find a stronger urge to create and in a more varied way. I want to make poetry, music, magazines--culture!
proof, nor is it meant for the steel safebox I've kept it in. I cry. I pine. I hate. I fear. I doubt. I trust. I believe. I risk. I take wise risks with my heart because it's the only way it learns to soar. The biggest breaks have been worth getting to this point.
What's so different about all this is where I place my creative energies. For the past ten years, I have done the majority of my creating on the pages of my journals. I am witnessing is my own evolution as I begin to create and share with a larger world. With you!
This is not the end. It is an end. And end to a type of profane protectiveness I've placed around my love. I trust that the ones in my life who are meant to be here are not going anywhere far or forever as I grow and go through the sometimes clumsy, often slippery transformations of becoming my Self. I've a deep faith in the love light that beams over and from within me as I do the dirty shadow work of dancing with my demons.
I've journaled for years. Heavily. In fact, my journas have vast stores of my emotional, mental, spiritual and creative impulses. Ten years' worth. Now, when I feel some way about a situation, I'm less pressed to grab a pen and vent. I have
IS THANKFUL. Full of thanks. Vulnerable. Laughter. Give yes. Speak in inner language. Graze skin. Lick citrus and split. Gift. M a n y opportune opening. Heart y e a r n . Tu r n soil. Kiss winter's lips. V i l l i f y perfection. You are it. This is just...this is just...this is just exactly what is. Handle it. One.Drop drips. Drips. Drips. Drop.