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TARNISHED Magazine is produced by students at Lasell University in Newton, Massachusetts who are members of the Graphic Design League, a student organization devoted to building community and expanding practical experiences in the graphic arts. TARNISHED Magazine is printed in a limited edition and is not for sale. The purpose of the publication is to provide educational experiences and offer a venue for student work.
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Tory Roberts’ path as an artist, but more specifically a pyrographer, hasn’t always been straightforward. During his senior year in high school, he shifted his entire career towards fitness and walked away from art completely. At his high school, all art students submitted their portfolio to MassArt where the grading was rated 1-5, 5 being the best. Roberts had it in his head that if he didn’t get a 5, he would change his career. He ended up receiving a 4 and thought the fitness industry would be his new career, or the “safer” option at the time. From there he spent the next decade of his life focusing purely on bodybuilding, until his injury occurred. This injury was a bicep tear from lifting a water bottle at work. “I couldn’t believe it. Years of curling hundreds of pounds, and a 12 oz water bottle was what did it,” said Tory Roberts. This wasn’t the last of his injuries. 6 months later Roberts had major throat surgery which left him with many complications. This made Roberts realize that his appearance shouldn’t be the only thing he focuses his life on. Revisiting art, and his fifteen-pound Wiener dog Trooper, were what kept him grounded and helped him through these tough times of being cooped up in his house. This gave Roberts the wakeup call he needed. He says that when he started to get back into art, he finally realized it was the balance his life was missing. “It felt so good to have something back in my life that had no rules or restrictions.”
Roberts grew up in Needham, Massachusetts, always living in and around the New England area. He currently lives in Lowell, Massachusetts. His focus in the art industry is specifically pyrography (wood burning). Currently, Roberts only does pyrography as a freelancer. His full-time job is working on assembling implants for specific knee and hip surgeries. However, this small side business has taken off and Roberts is finding that he needs more time to keep up with his continuous orders. “Once the value of my work reflects the amount of time I put into each piece will be when I can turn this small side business into a full-time business,” said Roberts. Roberts discovered pyrography out of pure boredom. He and his friend had absolutely nothing to do one day, so they took a trip to a nearby Michael’s Craft store and bought $8 wood burning kits and they created artwork of their dogs. This experiment led to a passion that Roberts loves and never looked back. Roberts can create a variety of images when it comes to pyrography, but his heart lies with animals, particularly dogs. His ambition is to someday promote local animal rescues and adoptions with his talent in wood burning. In terms of his process, it usually begins with a pencil outline of the basic shapes and from there he builds the animal or object one fur (or line) at a time. The entire process takes roughly 8-12 hours and larger projects can sometimes take 30 hours to complete. His in-depth process allows for a greater effect in terms of the realistic outcome of the piece and an easy solution should any errors occur. Roberts piece of advice for beginners looking to start in pyrography is that you can always chip out a piece of burnt wood or sand it down to make it lighter. From years of experience he has found this trick to be much more forgiving.
Roberts states that, “You have to dedicate yourself to your field, and understand that once you develop, you can only get better. The artist you are now isn’t the one you’ll be forever.” He also emphasizes that people need to remember no matter what “medium, style, or picture you are creating, you should always be able to see a finished piece, and also see a part of yourself in it.” Roberts, along with other artists, often create their masterpieces when they create pieces outside their own comfort zone. He said his lion dresser, when asked about his favorite piece, was able to push him into thinking about larger projects. He never saw it as just a beat down old dresser but instead as a work of art. Roberts’ biggest success in the art industry was his artwork being displayed at the Van Der Plas Gallery in New York this past November. People outside of New England came to see his work and thus reconfirmed this passion could turn into something much more than a side hustle. He sees an opportunity with pyrography because he feels it is truly a way to create something special and unique. “Part of the art world is just having something that separates your work from others,” Roberts states. One of his explanations for being in the art industry is to bring life to the pieces of art, and not only give people something valuable, but something they can hold onto forever. “Most of what I do is in memory of a pet, and it makes a big impact when they can look at the work I’ve done and say it brings their pet back into their life.” While Roberts continues to grow his small business, he still has his dream projects that he hopes to one day create as well. In the future, he would love the opportunity to create a mural at a school so he can inspire a large audience on a daily basis. Roberts continues to create noise around his work and is trying to get his “name” out there so, like many artists, he can start making a living off his true passion.
Photography courtesy of Tory Roberts
fire, brimstone, and sin When it comes to art, it is something that should never feel restrictive. It is a method of expression that has been around for ages and is conveyed in a variety of forms. There is never a “wrong” way to create or a “wrong” form of creation. Everything is individualized to the person responsible for the piece. For Tara Sellios, whether it be through painting or photography, she showcases her unique voice in art through the specific materials she uses and images that she produces.
This Boston-based creative graduated from The Art Institute of Boston (now known as Lesley College of Art and Design) where she majored in photography and minored in art history. Sellios viewed art as the only option for her when it came to a career. “This is it; it is very clear to me. It’s like I have tunnel vision almost,” she said when her family and friends asked why she chose to pursue art. Sellios thinks about her art every day, even going as far as when she’s in the shower. Sellios’ inspiration for her art has a lot to do with how she was raised as a born-again Christian. As early as four years old, she was attending church and would often hear of fire, brimstone, and sin. This intense kind of imagery can explain the graphic themes that come out in her art, but Sellios’ intention is not to question religion. Some of her sketches and imagery deal with crosses, however she uses a macabre portrayal of religious items as a point of reference when creating her art. Her work aims to unconsciously connect people with universal symbols in a dark yet playful way. Each new piece starts with a sketch, and they are usually intended for her to get some form of visual down to help build the photograph that will be taken later. These sketches are very intricate and when she is done, Sellios sends them to an articulator in Vietnam so they can prepare the animal bones in the way that she designed. The articulator boils the carcasses to clean the bones, glues them into the shape she sketched, then breaks apart the mold to wrap and ship to her so then she can glue it back together. After she puts together the articulator’s set up, building the rest of the set for the photograph can take anywhere from a week to a month. Her longest piece took five months to complete, but it also doubles as her favorite piece because it made her push herself in new and exciting ways.
In some of her more recent work completed in 2019, Sellios plays with a different kind of approach to her creative expression by using bugs. She wants these pieces to appear livelier as if the bugs and animals are taking over. The bones will look almost frantic as if they are coming alive alongside the â€œdancingâ€? nature of the bugs. Her goal is to encapsulate a circus theme and some of her more recent sketches depict the animal skeletons performing circus acts. Sellios shoots these creations with an 8/10 film camera zone six and this allows her to capture a larger canvas while keeping a high resolution. These kinds of cameras are old, but she prefers shooting on them versus modern day cameras because they have a simplistic nature about them that perfectly captures what Sellios is going for. Her creations are placed by a window in her studio apartment so she can shoot with natural light to get a rawer image.
Photography courtesy of Rebecca Leblanc
These completed pieces are always a combination of hard work and creativity from the initial sketch to the click of the camera. Although Selliosâ€™ work may lie within darker territories, her ability to give a sense of life back to something that is no longer living is quite amazing.
“ “ Art has the power to enchant. The smell of paint, the vibrant imagery, and the memories it may invoke can instantly transport you to another world. Since the first paintings appeared on cave walls, art has made a statement throughout history. People everywhere seek out art that has the power to immerse them into another world without leaving the comfort of where they are. It is a testament to culture, human ingenuity, and creative energy. As technology continues to advance, there is even more potential for innovation. Artists are always seeking to answer their most pressing question: where do I go next? The answer for RAG Media’s Richard Goldberg was to explore a new medium: Extended Reality (XR).
“I saw XR as a very creative medium and more opportunities commercially,” said Richard Goldberg. “This could be a very interesting new market to explore and to grow. When RAG Media started out, I wanted it to utilize my creativity in whatever I did.”
Extended reality includes the mediums of augmented, virtual, and mixed reality. Goldberg built on his 30 years of experience as a traditional illustrator and decided to take on XR. Goldberg was a freelance illustrator for corporations and magazines, then became an animator. More recently, he has fully immersed himself in XR while keeping close to the values that he has held since RAG Media’s inception.
“The thing I like about XR is that it’s a new type of learning and I like to learn. I think it’s good for your brain to be a lifelong learner...workflow continues to be refined and I don’t know if it’ll ever stop but the basics do remain the same,” said Goldberg.
The vast network of technology can quickly become a labyrinth of learning. As artists in the modern-day world, there are centuries worth of technological advancements readily at our fingertips. Learning has always been the artist’s most powerful tool and using that tool, Goldberg has continued to hone his skills and improve his workflow.
Goldberg’s main focus is designing objects, but he has also explored environmental design. Environmental design is effectively creating a virtual world the viewer interacts with. This is a critical component of things like video game development.
As a result, Goldberg has developed fluency in a wide range of software and programs such as Substance Painter, Blender, and Photoshop World Builder. Goldberg was first introduced to Extended Reality through an online community where people interact with self-made avatars called Second Life. Second Life is a virtual desktop world and because of the nature in which it is presented, Goldberg made the switch over to XR as it continued to grab his attention. This switch has required a lot of dedication, which has motivated his learning, and Goldberg has decided to take the self-taught route versus returning to school. Sometimes the best way to learn is not to listen but to do, and Goldberg believes that experience is the best teacher. “It’s going to take a while to learn and I decided not to go back to school because it is too expensive. I just decided to do it on my own through tutorials and through experience and even I’m still learning. I guess experiencing stepping into a virtual space was all I needed,” said Goldberg.
Most people traditionally think of gaming when it comes to XR. However, there is tremendous potential for XR art to improve advertising campaigns. The goal is to bridge the gap between virtual and reality. Virtual Reality (VR) “removes” you from your local environment and plants you in a new world. In Alternate Reality (AR), the line between those worlds have blurred and you haven’t been fully immersed in either one. This blur has the potential for stronger connections, hence its proposed benefits to brand advertisement. Goldberg has yet to see the limits of human imagination and believes that the collaborative potential of XR multiplies its capabilities.
â€œOver time these tools will get more refined and results will be more naturalistic. The future is pretty bright for that type of immersion but right now itâ€™s pretty good,â€? said Goldberg. Goldberg sees XR as a new dimension of interaction with the artwork that visual artists are creating. It could bring forth a layer of immersion the arts have not seen before. The medium is still fairly new and that is what makes the potential limitless. We have yet to see the full application of XR technology in the visual arts. The same way that gaming has used this technology to make its own artistic statements will allow for visual arts to be elevated even further.
Photography courtesy of Sound On
Goldberg has recommendations for graphic designers also looking to get involved. He suggested to do as he did and, first and foremost, get involved with the community. Whether it be through Second Life or a VR chat, interacting with the community you are trying to enter is paramount to getting started. The environments being built in XR require a designer and who is more qualified to design on a virtual canvas than a graphic designer? The future of this technology is bright and has already begun opening up new ways to create, plan, design, and reinvent how a person interacts with something visual. XR is truly a medium worth exploring and has proven itself to be both a fulfilling venture and a catalyst for artistic expression.
THE FABRICANT The observer perceives an upward shift in frequency when the wave source is approaching.
Tomorrow The Fabricant is a digital fashion house located in the heart of Amsterdam and shares a space at the Design and Technology Firm, Your Majesty. The Fabricant’s mission is to lead the fashion industry towards a new sector of digital-only clothing in order to cut down our collective material waste. All of their garments are digitally created, fitted, and displayed on their website/blog space. This innovative fashion house has collaborated with many big names such as Puma, Soorty, and Sadie Clayton. Through their work, The Fabricant is changing the way fashion is viewed and showcased while setting the stage for a reinvented fashion industry. Digital fashion is described to be the interplay between digital technology and couture as it integrates information and communication technologies within the fashion industry. This integration not only affects the industry but also enhances and evolves the experiences of the clients consuming this form of fashion. The use of digital garments is something that is personalized to the wearer and provides a feeling of exclusivity, which are two aspects of fashion that consumers crave most. We are living in an ever-changing environment that’s becoming increasingly reliant on technology and the need of staying connected. We’ve seen technology transform everything physical into alternate digital versions, introducing us to an entirely digital realm. As we explore this new dimension, individuals will develop new outlooks on life and start to shift their perspectives pertaining to how we create and display ourselves to the world. We have already seen lifestyle changes with a reliance on technology in response to COVID-19. From university learning to magazine photo shoots, everything has been made digitally accessible. With the unknown state of the world, the use of technology to lead our day-to-day lives is expanding in mindaltering ways. At the cusp of it all, the fashion industry is evolving along with the rest of the world to adapt to this new environment we are living in. Since fashion is a universal concept and can be an essential to all people whether it be for protection or selfexpression, the industry is making changes to adhere to the stay-at-home lifestyle. Through marketing online shopping deals,
creating fashion photo shoots over FaceTime, and sharing outfits of the day online, fashion creatives are exploring new methods of consuming and producing what we consider to be fashion. This innovation of fashion pushes the boundary of our physical dimension and allows us to explore a different aspect of the digital dimension. The motives behind the creation and expansion of digital fashion runs much deeper than trying to build upon known principles. The interest in this aspect of fashion stems from the urgent need for sustainability in the fashion industry. Considered the second most polluting industry in the world, it is leaving behind a massive carbon footprint. With the rising concern of climate change and environmental disruption, a new fashion community has emerged to push for more sustainable sourced fashion. Although this idea isn’t a new one, the number of those concerned has definitely increased in recent years. However, there are consumerists who thrive off of constant retail consumption, like buying into fast fashion, which is considered to be the most detrimental form of fashion consumption. Digital fashion provides us with a solution to the consumerist need for dressing up and being seen, which many fashionistas hold true to. Those willing to pay a higher price, will receive that satisfaction without harming the environment. While the flaw in this method is the high price point, the intentions still remain to cut down our material waste. Social media influencers play a key role in what trends and brands are being bought into. Many influencers are sponsored by numerous companies and receive monetary value for promoting said companies. A lot of these companies tend to promote fast-fashion, and with the combination of a consumerist-driven shopping style and celebrities with a large social media presence, the drive for overconsumption of clothing is born. There are influencers who openly support brands they actually care about and those who make more ethical choices, but they are harder to come by than the mainstream people being idolized.
“The digital world, the idea of who can be a beauty influencer is also evolving digitally.”
Tracing back to the implementation of fashion meeting the digital world, the idea of who can be an influencer is also evolving digitally. The idea of virtual influencers has been prevalent since 2016, yet many are still unaware of this futuristic realm. For example, Lil Miquela, who’s listed as a fictional character when searched on Google, is an influencer currently with 2.1M followers on Instagram. She appears to be like any other trendy girl, but she is in fact a digital avatar created by an LA startup called Brud. It took some time for people to even discover that Miquela is in fact made of pixels because of how realistically rendered she is. Lil Miquela wears real-life clothing from names like Supreme to Chanel, and hangs out with real-life celebrities in restaurants and other trendy daytime spots in LA. She continues to see a massive growth in her following, along with sponsorships from big fashion names such as Burberry and Givenchy.
â€œSeeing how heavily influenced we can be by a virtual entity.â€? Since her creation, she has been joined by a whole ring of other virtual influencers with the intention of creating the ideal brand ambassador from scratch. Seeing how heavily influenced we can be by a virtual entity raises the question of how we can explore this deeper. The answer to this question can be met in the use of digitally made fashion. Who better than a digital influencer to bear digitally made garments? The next step is creating a big enough hype around the idea to convince well-known human influencers to spread this message just as widely. The future of The Fabricant is a seemingly bright one, and in need of a larger spotlight on the fashion stage. With the growing awareness of the need for sustainability and the current search for new ways to explore fashion, this is only the beginning.
Photography courtesy of The Fabricant
Paula Ogier, an artist in the South of Washington (SoWa) art district, captivates the Boston streets with her energetic artwork that combines the use of typography, photography, and digital painting. She started creating art at a young age such as Spirographs, spin art, doodling, drawing in sketchbooks and even using point and shoot cameras. However, it wasn’t until Ogier opened her own art studio in Boston, that she considered her artwork to be her career. When she first started exploring her artistic skills, Ogier was not able to create digital paintings like she does now because of the lack of technology. Instead, she started creating artwork with traditional drawing materials, using colored pencils to draw over photographs she had taken. It wasn’t until she discovered Adobe Photoshop that she dived into exploring the possibilities of the paint tool. Ogier uses this tool experimentally, painting over her photographs to create interesting compositions and patterns. “Digital painting, my primary medium, didn’t exist when I was exploring my artistic sensibilities. About 20 years ago I stumbled upon the paint tool in Photoshop and that is what I regard as the turning point in my artistic path… As the equipment for digital art-making evolved, so did my art. When I started there were no trackpads on computers. I drew with a mouse; a ridiculous endeavor if ever there was one. When trackpads came along, dragging my finger across that seemed infinitely more advanced than the mouse even if it was still imprecise…,” said Paula Ogier.
Ogier started painting images of her cats, which lead to her friends asking for paintings of their pets. It was then that she started receiving commissions for her pet portraits as well as other Boston photography. Ogier eventually went from using a mouse and trackpad on her computer to using a Wacom graphics tablet. Using a tablet mimics the natural feeling of drawing that she loves and is used to, which connects her to her spiritual love for art. Ogier eventually switched over to the Wacom Cintiq tablet which is a powerful drawing tablet with a large display that is touchscreen. She was able to have an even more natural drawing experience with being able to tilt and rotate brushes in Photoshop. It wasn’t until Ogier started working outside of her own home and in a studio in Boston that she saw herself creating artwork professionally. She enjoys the time she spends inside her studio, often working days from 10 a.m. to 6 or 7 pm. Most days, Ogier works on her highly saturated and colorful digital paintings, often finding herself feeling absorbed in her artwork. By creating, she can calm the everyday mental chatter of the world and spend time with what she considers to be the best parts of herself. What pleases Ogier the most about her artwork, is the dreamy, energetic colors that she displays.
Mixed Media (Gel Pen & Digital Painting)
Northern avenue bridge Mixed Media
(photography, Digital paint) 26
Mist on Bir
(ink applied with carved rubber Digital pain t)
Sunday morning symphony Mixed Media
(photography, Digital paint)
“To start a piece, there can be a lot of staring and making marks, then unmaking marks, making more marks and doing more staring. Maybe some sighing, too. It’s often a process of relaxing into it…I have often said that working on an image is a form of color therapy for me. I’m staring at a certain intensity of say, blue, or rose, or orange for weeks or even months, and it gets inside me. It can feel like bathing in color,” said Ogier. In her artwork, Ogier uses colors that she describes as being bold and saturated, displaying energy and joy. When people visit her art studio, Ogier says that they feel joy when entering due to the nature of the colors she uses in her artwork. Ogier also describes the colors she uses as telling a story through emotion. This is so Ogier’s artwork connects more with her audience and viewers. “…You could say that the way colors are put together tells something about the deeper dynamics of the emotional story…colors tend to get inside me when I’m working, and I find that pleasurable. I’m a pleasure seeker at heart. I never look to express harsh or angry emotions in my work. In fact, I make art to not feel those things,” said Ogier.
Ogier tends to have hidden “surprises” in her artwork such as tigers, cows and other animals for an added sense of fun. The animals are not random, instead they are there to create humor in her artwork. Ogier creates art focused on Boston to highlight both the energetic and business side of the city. She also finds hidden gems that she can include in her artwork to demonstrate that the city is not boring. Paula sees the city of Boston as being lively, romantic, playful, and overflowing with pretty shapes that she shows in her artwork. Ogier’s focus is her city scenes but she also created commission pieces for several businesses in Boston such as the Animal Rescue League, Boston Children’s Hospital, and Boston Logan Airport. Ogier leaves her artwork open, as she says the city is yours to interpret, and that is why she uses colors that might not always go together, or random animals to have her audience think deeply about the meaning of her artwork. www.paulaogierart.com; @paula_ogier_artist
Photography courtesy of Liz Linder Photography & Paula Ogier
Elissa Surabian is making Boston’s streets a bit more colorful, one chalkboard at a time. Surabian has been creating unique imagery and lettering with chalk since 2009. In 2016 she started her own successful business, Elissa Surabian Art, and works with businesses and individuals throughout the Boston area. TARNISHED had the opportunity to talk to Elissa and hear about her experiences with art and business. There was even time for some fun questions, such as her favorite bubble tea places in Boston. Since Surabian could hold a crayon, she was interested in creating art. She began working at a young age to help her family and feared that a career in the art industry would mean becoming a starving artist. When she applied for college, she decided to study at a liberal arts school and major in graphic design. She believed that technology was the way of the future and that she could achieve a successful career. Throughout this time, Surabian worked at Whole Foods, spending her holidays and vacations packing groceries. Shortly after graduating from the University of Massachusetts Lowell, Whole Foods hosted a career fair specifically for “Store Artists”. Following some persuasion from coworkers, Elissa applied and ended up landing her dream job. As an artist for Whole Foods, Elissa was allowed a great deal of creative freedom where she expanded her skills in hand-lettering, layout design, and much more. When looking at Surabian’s work, her hand lettering is instantly recognizable. Working
with chalk markers, a t-square, and her creativity, Surabian developed her colorful and whimsical style. Over time, Whole Foods began to prepare to be purchased by Amazon. Surabian knew it was time to think about what comes next in her career. She started creating her own website and, at one point, she even offered to do work for Union Square Donut in exchange for donuts, merchandise, and a shout out on social media. Surabian acknowledges that many people frown upon this, but for her it was the perfect next step. One thing led to another, and local businesses across the area started reaching out. After two years of continuing to market herself, working a part-time job, and carefully saving her money, Surabian went completely solo. What is it like working for yourself? Surabian doesn’t hide the difficult parts of running your own business. She explained that it is rare for schools to prepare their students with tools to manage money, market themselves, and so much more. Surabian says her least favorite part is handling all the legal issues, paperwork, and figuring out health care or retirement plans. Nevertheless, Surabian says it’s been an adventure! There are many perks of going solo, and Surabian says she loves seeing herself grow and improve. And after 4 years, Surabian’s resume speaks for her success. From designing a food truck for Boston Sno Mobile, to painting a portrait of Aretha Franklin at Verb Hotel, Surabian has spread her art across the Boston area.
Now that you know her story, let’s check out Surabian’s advice for creatives. What advice would you give to people pursuing a career in a creative industry? Where do I start? Make what you love and share those pictures on Instagram. If you share art that you hate making, you’ll attract more interest in that work. Only share what you are proud of and excited about, then more projects like that will come your way. If you don’t have jobs that you like, make what you love in your free time and share that. Remember that even if something takes you 20 minutes to make, it took you years to develop that skill. Don’t underprice yourself. Know your worth. If you are new at something, don’t charge what long standing professionals do, but make sure that you are happy with what you get. Take advantage of your resources. There are lots of apps that can help you for little to no money. Network with other artists. If you make a friend in a field that you want to get into, they’ll be the first to inform you when a position opens.
You get back what you put out. Sometimes you must hustle, but don’t make hustling the goal. It’s not fun, and we’re more creative when we are having fun. Recently you posted some sketches for an upcoming project on Instagram and had your followers vote for their favorites. I thought it was so cool to see a behind the scenes look at your process. Could you describe how you begin to approach a project? I start out by asking my client what they are looking for, where it is located, the dimensions, when they need it, and if they have any specific ideas that they’d like me to incorporate. I’ll usually browse through their Instagram and website to get a feel for their brand (colors, style, personality, and whatever else I can gather). For chalkboards, I will usually supply only one sketch, but for murals or other designs I like to start with three. My goal as a businessperson and artist is to provide something that fits their personality and makes them smile every day but is also something that I am proud of.
“...we’re more creative when we are having fun”
Are there any educational resources you would recommend for beginners that are interested in lettering and illustration?
Do you listen to music or podcasts while you create? Any recommendations?
These days, our resources can often be on social media. Some of the people I admire most are on there. @HomSweetHom has weekly challenges to get you creating fun content and help you find your style. She also constantly offers suggestions and inspiration for other artists. She partnered with another talented letterer @tefankunz and they’ve come up with an awesome podcast called The Striving Artist. Recreate someone’s art that you admire, but make sure that you credit the artist if you share it on the internet. You can listen to tutorials on YouTube or skillshare. I also own the Complete Book of Chalk Lettering by Valerie McKeehan and Art Inc. by Lisa Congdon.
I listen to books, music, or podcasts depending on my mood. I like The Striving Artist Podcast all around, it is full of great info and down to earth superstars. I love the information in the Creative Pep Talk Podcast, but I find it kind of annoying to listen to Goal Digger Podcast. I also love the book Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert and Originals by Adam Grant.
What’s one art supply/brand/product that you can’t live without? ZIG Woodcraft Markers and a T-Square.
And most importantly, I read that you love Bubble Tea. What’s the best spot around here? Abide on Mass Ave, down by MIT. They use high quality ingredients and know their sources. I recommend the Godfather, which is a layer of strawberry puree, milk (they have oat if you don’t do dairy) and a shot of matcha on top. It’s beautiful to look at and tastes amazing. They are by far my favorite place!
Photography courtesy of Elissa Surbian
Make sure to follow Elissa on Instagram: @chalkin_about_boston ...and check out her new website: https://www.elissasurabian.com/ 35
Christopher Frost and his Colony
On a Saturday afternoon, I was on my way to witness the birdhouse-structure known as the Colony. I was tasked to unveil the mysteries of its process and passion behind the creator, Christopher Frost. It was around 11:15 AM when I arrived at Spy Pond that day. After I found a place to park, my next objective was in finding the Colony. Walking beside the pond, there were droves of ducks and swans swimming throughout. The sky was clear and the wind roared ferociously from time to time. Once I found the bike path that ran through Arlington, I immediately found myself in front of the elaborate structure. What caught my eye were the small artifacts inhabiting particular spots throughout the Colony. They provided a momentary splash of color against the white surface of the birdhouses. Each toy that lay there, gave me a clue to the meaning behind the Colony, interactive structure that is meant to incite the curiosity of those passing by. I took photographs of the structure before the interview began at 12:00 PM, that way I could familiarize myself with the subject. I was
keen on framing parts of the Colony, that of which included where the various artifacts were placed. The sound of the structure creaking in the wind foreshadowed Frost’s explanation of it as a temporary public piece. It was not until 12:00 PM I finally met Christopher Frost. Soon after, the interview began. With doing a temporary piece such as the Colony, Frost found that he had more artistic freedom in the materials he could use. In a more permanent public piece, you must be aware of the materials you are using in dealing with the duress of the environment. Those kinds of factors do play a part in shifting your pure idea. “A piece like this is fun, you can go all out and some pieces are made to change, making them out of natural materials, they can disintegrate back into the Earth. This one isn’t, but, that idea of changing, going through time, is kind of cool,” said Frost when asked about why he chose the materials he did. It was different from some of his more permanent pieces, one of which is located
Frost’s collaboration with Adam Doyle.
at the Forest Hills cemetery — a grouping of miniature concrete buildings on a rock outcropping. Frost explains that he “wanted to see if there was any kind of correlation how fancy their headstones or tombstones were, how did that relate to their homes when they were alive. I found a bunch of people, visited their homes and made out a bunch of little concrete castings of their homes, instead of their name, the home would say their occupation.”
or doing some repairs or painting. I kept running into this guy, named Adam Doyle. He is a painter, he paints all sorts of stuff, he does these unbelievable paintings of birds, flowing strokes, really simple of gorgeous.” After receiving a grant from Somerville, Frost collaborated on a miniature bird house with Adam Doyle. A painting of a cardinal is now painted onto one of the facades of the building, so there is a splash of color on the white surface.
Frost sees himself solely as an artist and said “I teach, you find that thing you love to do, I would still be making no matter what my job was. If that thing I love is going to help pay the bills, then all the better.” He recognizes his style as ‘sporadic’. “I do not see any kind of theme that runs through my work. Some people say that there is. I think it is one of those things where I get going on something, I might like it, but, after a while I just need something new,” Frost explained. That ‘new something’ can be just a different material, scale, or color that shifts the process. “I find that, going in and working with students, whether they are art majors or not, their excitement and thrill about learning new things . . . you feed off of that,” Frost told me. “I have met so many people working on this piece. Whether I’m here installing
For the plans of the Colony, Frost got the go ahead from the Arlington Arts Council. Then he had a meeting with an Arborist from Arlington to discuss the method of attaching the structure to the tree. By utilizing a collar system there would be no damage to the tree. The Public Works were set on leaving the lowest piece to be no higher than ten feet. However, when assessing this, it felt too high up for anyone to see. Of course, there was the question of vandalism, but as of now there have been no issues with that. “We thought people might be touching it but had no idea people would be sticking things in it. But as a viewer, it is so much easier to interact with it when it’s a little closer to you,” said Frost. With Frost’s implementation of different architecture in the Colony it is interesting in recognizing the origins of the design. A
â€œThen after it was up for a week, we came by and there was a little plastic figure on one of the porches there. We thought it was funny so we left it. Sure enough they just kept coming and coming. I love that interaction and that seems to be its life right now. You see parents with kids on their shoulders as they are reaching up to place an object.â€?
single building or decoration can be reflective of a specific place on Earth. “You would think at this point we would all live in the same bloody shaped things.” Frost commented. There have been no actual residents settling-in to the bird houses thus far. However, each house has a compartment where a bird could take residence. The absence of birds is due to the Colony being in frequent contact with people.
Once the interview had reached its end, I made sure to capture an image of Frost next to his Colony and thanked him for his time. If you want to check out the Colony for yourself (if it has not been taken down yet) it is located along the Minuteman Commuter Bikeway, beside Spy pond in Arlington, MA. You can’t miss it!
Photos courtesy of Spencer Congdon
It was an important decision to choose the white color as Frost explains, “We built it white because we wanted it to be seen more as form rather than a myriad of different colors.” The color of the tree played a part in this, contrasting against the white structure. Frost continued, “Then after it was up for a week, we came by and there was a little plastic figure on one of the porches there. We thought it was funny so we left it. Sure enough they just kept coming and coming. I love that interaction and that seems to be its life right now. You see parents with kids on their shoulders as they are reaching up to place an object.” The cycling of new figures every week never
left the Colony feeling empty. It made it bigger than it really was and allowed it to become a part of the community.
Photos courtesy of Spencer Congdon
WHAT WOULD YOU CLASSIFY COMICS AS? What would you classify comics as? Art? Literature? Many ask the same question and come to no concrete answer. To this day, art historians continue to struggle with defining exactly what it means to be comic art. It all began in the early 1800’s, starting as cartoons or satirical caricatures of a political nature which appeared in newspapers. Two centuries later, the word ‘comic’ has expanded to far beyond its origins. Now, it’s an umbrella term for news funnies, political spoofs, comic books, and graphic novels. What makes these types of works unique and difficult to pin down is their integral combination of literature with art. The words are just as important to the overall piece as the images they are placed upon; yet it cannot be a novel, and it cannot be strictly art. The early 1900’s saw the beginning of the massproduced comic book, which became popular among children and teens. Most contained stories that appealed to the current time period or created worlds of fantasy and intrigue. The use of pictures and words in a single work allowed for comic artists to craft messages more easily understood by casual or young readers. Themes such as politics, war and social justice were heavily prevalent throughout the decades. Today they continue to be an important and impactful element used in comics. Of course, what many think about when face to face with the words ‘comic book’ or ‘graphic novel’ are superheroes, one of the most monumental aspects of today’s popular culture. In the 1930’s, though they may not have realized it then, the introduction of the
‘superhero’ genre was game-changing for the industry. Many early comic book heroes have fallen into obscurity, but there are those who have survived the trials of time and are what we considered house-hold names, even if you have never picked up a comic in your life. Who does not know the name Superman, after all? He arrived in the midst of WWII and remains one of the most popular DC superheroes of all time, along with Batman, Wonder Woman and Captain Marvel—later renamed Shazam.
DID YOU KNOW? DID YOU KNOW? Comic books are almost always collaborative works. There are multiple positions to fill, such as: Writer(s), Artist(s), Inker(s), Colorist(s), and more!
Another well-known name in the comic book industry is Marvel, a company that seems to have touched every corner of the globe and amassed an empire that’s impossible to ignore. Characters like Namor, The Human Torch, and The Angel appeared in 1939, quickly followed by a surge of heroes as the United States entered WWII. Some, like Captain America and Bucky Barnes, were directly related to the current political climate and went on to grow into entirely new characters as the decades progressed. The world of comic books expanded to unthinkable proportions as new characters and comic series were created at every turn, each with their own ensemble of supporting cast and villains. Hundreds and thousands of artists and writers began to create new worlds for the public to consume and become enamored with. Different companies introduced their own heroes and characters, coined names and cultivated fanbases. Today, DC and Marvel are considered the two most well-known and popular comic book companies, each producing thousands of comic book series.
DID YOU KNOW? DID YOU KNOW?
A comic book page begins on a Comic Book Art Board, which is 11” x 17”! It’s then scanned, uploaded and processed for high quality digital printing.
Such an explosion of content did not come without complications. This new medium of storytelling was especially attractive to younger audiences, and therefore attracted the stern and suspicious eyes of concerned parents. Not only were comic books considered a ‘lesser’ form of literature, but they were also seen as detrimental to a student’s education and a threat to authority. The freedom to read what you wished was a foreign concept all those decades ago, a concept that seems entirely ridiculous to our current generation. Today, a topic of controversy is the effect of violent video games on children and young adults. This is not a new argument. Post-WWII, America was at odds with the circulation of comic books and many different groups, including the church, felt their distribution had to be regulated. A psychiatrist by the name of Dr. Fredric Wertham incited the creation of the Comics Code Authority. He claimed that comic books and their violent or disparaging contents would be copied in real life by susceptible children. The Comics Code Authority made it so any comic book published had to be regulated by the Comics Magazine Association of America (CMAA) and wear a stamp of approval. Comic book artists and writers were understandably furious and felt that many of the integral and pertinent messages they wished to get across would be needlessly censored. Some tried to sell their comics without the stamp, but most companies and wholesalers were now only accepting comics approved by the CMAA. The code heavily restricted material a comic book artist might wish to publish; anything that included sex, derogatory language, horror, violence, or drugs was heavily
edited. Essentially, they aimed to reduce comic books to mere picture books, eligible for very young children to read without being ‘tainted’. The stories left over after that kind of censorship were not the ones artists wished to tell, nor were they the ones the consumers wanted. Once beloved content became childish, mundane, and riddled with authority-driven propaganda. In the early 70’s, Stan Lee, a man whose name is almost as familiar as many popular superheroes’, went against the CMAA and used The Amazing Spider-Man to write a story about drugs. The issues were published without the Stamp of Approval; yet were still sold in shops. At this time, Spider-Man was a character not even a decade old and rising in popularity with every issue. The storyline painted drugs in a bad light, but because it mentioned them at all it could not receive the Stamp of Approval. Stan Lee’s actions led the CMAA to consider changing some of their code as anti-drug propaganda became a popular cultural trend. Within the next decade, the Stamp of Approval became less of an issue for comic book publishers, who could now sell directly to retailers without interference from the CMAA. By the time the late 80’s/early 90’s came around, specialty stores for comic books were open and willing to sell any and all comic books, approved by the CMAA or not. The issues of regulation become less intrusive, and the CMAA even redrafted their guidelines as the times changed. By 2011, the very last comic book dropped the official Seal of Approval, and now all comic books are regulated by their own publishers. Today we see countless worlds in comic books, all unrestricted by any code or censorship. There are mature comics, those with swears, nudity, gore and violence, and there are also comics geared toward children. Every genre under the sun exists in this medium and most stores generally organize them like a library, with specific sections for younger age groups. Now, comic books even go beyond the controversy of art versus literature, cementing their place in the world as popular TV shows and movies take the screen and draw in other consumers. Merchandise in every form imaginable exists, from home decor to clothing to packaging on food. What started as single panel cartoons in newspapers has grown into a big enough behemoth to take the entire world by storm. Maybe the question “What are comics anyway?” will never be answered, or perhaps an entirely new classification will be created. This ultimately leaves only one question: Who’s your favorite superhero?
DID YOU KNOW? DID YOU KNOW? Stan Lee and Jack Kirby are responsible for creating a majority of characters featured in Marvel Comics, including The Avengers and the X-Men!
2 3 INKING
C I M O
E C RO
Illustrations by Logan Farley
T R A SS
COLOR & TEXT
Illustrations by Logan Farley
Repetition and intricacy have always played a major role in my drawings. Repetition appears and repeats in different forms such as dots, lines, circles, and other various forms. I make these shapes into patterns inside of a larger shape. I keep repeating this, until the entire larger shape is full. Normally it is an abstract shape, but sometimes it will be an object in abstract form. The patterns can look like textures at first but upon closer inspection the hidden details can be seen. This aspect of my drawing gives me an accomplished feeling, because I like seeing how such small shapes can turn into something larger. I know I have achieved the level of intricacy that I want. To me, being intricate is just as important as repetition. I feel that the level of detail helps to enhance the repetition, and the repetition helps to enhance the details. It makes it more enjoyable and creates a more interesting drawing. I developed my style by repeatedly drawing the same patterns. They were often linear, geometric, and sometimes three-dimensional at first. As I continued drawing these patterns, I learned that the more detail and repetition I put into them, the more satisfied I was. Shrinking the designs also gave me ideas for more intricate patterns. Some of the patterns that I repeatedly use have some basis in the old geometric ones. I will occasionally use the old geometric patterns, but I have mostly moved away from them. There are several patterns that I often repeat throughout different drawings. One of them is a line-based design. To make it, I first create an outer, warped shaped. I then repeatedly outline the inside of the shape until the space is filled. I repeat this process using similar warped shapes. When these lines are combined, it creates a moving, wave-like pattern. Another pattern that is repeated throughout my work consists of dots. It is easy and at the same time difficult to make. The ease comes with only having to create dots, and the difficulty comes with amount of physical repetition involved in making the pattern.
My favorite part about the combination of repetition and intricacy is seeing how the drawing evolves and comes together. Most of the time when I am close to finishing one design, I am eager to go onto the next. I like to see the contrast of different patterns play out and repeat in different ways. Even though I reuse patterns, I try to use them in new combinations. In the beginning, it can be hard to get into a solid rhythm of the pattern I am creating. This can show up as unevenness in the lines. Getting past this stage can be somewhat difficult, but continuously repeating the pattern lets me get into a better rhythm. Drawing these designs brings me a great amount of joy and relaxation. Repeating the same marks with a pen over and over again is very meditative for me. While drawing, I always listen to one song on repeat, and the combined repetitiveness gives me time to zone out and focus on something enjoyable. Even though I enjoy the repeated familiarity of my drawings, I still want to progress and find new patterns to make. I do not often try something new but instead, I keep repeating what I am comfortable with and will occasionally come across a different variation. For example, instead of using the same dot pattern, I have started to add areas where the dots are less condensed. This new technique is exciting, and I like the balance between my repeated routine and trying something new. Drawing this way will always be a passion of mine. It brings me joy and a sense of purpose and accomplishment. I will continue to repeat my current patterns, progress, find new ones, and repeat those as well. Itâ€™s all very simple. I just have to repeat.
“Lines, Lines, Lines” 11 in. x 14 in.
“Wake Up” 11 in. x 14 in.
“Melt” 11 in. x 14 in.
“Mountains” 11 in. x 14 in.
Illustrations by Miranda Quinn
When most people see old cars, they just see an antiquated vehicle. However, Brent Favreau sees cars as a canvas and an opportunity to bring its nostalgia back to life. East Coast Impalas specializes in flipping late 50’s to mid 60’s Impalas, 30’s-50’s Chevys, early Hot Rods, and early Harleys. “I was always interested in cars, mainly ones I couldn’t really afford. So I was always buying/fixing them up, and re-selling any car I could get my hands on that I know would turn a profit,” said Brent Favreau. In 2016, he started the company by accident and never thought it would turn into a business venture. The first car he bought, which he found on craigslist, was a 50’s Pontiac for $1,000. “In hindsight, it was the worst idea ever, the entire car was filled with Tonka trucks, and it was so dark out, that I didn’t realize the car didn’t have a back seat until the next morning,” said Favreau. However, the next day he sold it for $2,500, which made him realize there might be some money to be made in car flipping.
perspective for me and is honestly what made me decide to say ‘screw it’ and dedicate my undivided attention to do what I truly love doing,” said Favreau. After deciding to start solely working on cars, the first year brought a lot of growing pains. He would pay his bills for the month and then put every last cent leftover back into the business. That first year was a blur, but a few things became evident to him. Summers are always crazy, and spring and fall tend to be about the same, although March and April are his slowest time of the year. The best months for buying tend to be in the winter. Although word of mouth or aimlessly driving allows Favreau to find some cars, he locates most of them online. He wakes up every morning to see if something has been posted the night before, checks again around lunch time and lastly before bed. “It gets monotonous, but some of these cars will be sold within minutes of being posted; so you really have to be on your toes,” he said.
Brent always had an interest in cars and motorcycles but only viewed them as a hobby. School on the other hand came naturally to him; so he decided to go to college and study pharmacy. He worked his way up and eventually landed a job at a hospital’s pharmacy where he could have potentially developed a career. However, after a while, Favreau realized that this path wasn’t for him. He started flipping cars while he was still working at the hospital, but it was hard to juggle both. “During that time I got into a really bad car wreck, bad enough to where I probably shouldn’t be here today, but somehow I ended up walking away from it. That put a lot into
‘41 Chevy Coupe
“I bought it off of the original family that owned it, they were all married in the car, and the original owner’s initials were painted on the driver side door.”
Once he finds a car, the design process begins the moment he places it onto his trailer. Favreau always looks to the past for inspiration, and when he re-builds a car, he wants to use the same tools or parts with which it would have been built in its era.
“I personally just want to have a visually appealing car that follows some sort of theme, that’s also reliable and fun to drive,” said Favreau. Not only does he work on cars, he also works on motorcycles. He’s owned and sold a few Harleys in the past, but the most recent one he sold went to Mike Wolfe from the television show “American Pickers.” Though a lot different from cars, Favreau feels that they aren’t harder to work on. “They’re extremely simplistic, which may sound like it’d be easy, but because they’re so simplistic everything has to be perfect in order for it to look and run properly. I honestly think I love them more than the cars though,” said Favreau. After 4 years of being in the business, he’s found that there is never the same amount of time put into a vehicle. The hardest car he has ever worked on was a ‘32 Ford coupe, which he’s been building for a little over two years now. It has tested him in every possible way and is the most in depth build he’s ever done.
‘29 Ford Model A Roadster
“I bought this one at a swap meet in Connecticut, this one is a ton of fun to drive.”
Currently, Favreau is creatively working on two cars: A ‘53 Chevy Bel Air and a ‘32 Ford Coupe. The journey of getting the Bel Air started when the previous owner finally allowed him to buy it. Slowly he has been going through the car top to bottom, finishing the restoration. As for the ‘32 Ford Coupe, which is a dream car of his, it’s being built from the frame up. “A classic car dealership burnt down, and that [Chevy Bel Air] car along with 90 others were in it. Out of all the cars, that was the only one that was salvageable. The paint was completely melted off from the heat; so they resprayed the car and planned to do a full restoration. Unfortunately, that never happened; so I got it in a million pieces and covered in 20 years’ worth of dust,” said Favreau.
Favreau has a clearly developed passion for what he does. He seems to know what he wants and despite the time and effort that has to go into a career like this, the final result is always worth it.
‘58 Chevy Impala
“My girlfriend and I drove to Niagara Falls for this one.”
“ This is the day I bought it, had been in the warehouse collecting dust for 20+ years.”
“ Trim is starting to go back on. Went through the motor, suspension and brakes. As well as lowered it and buffed it.”
“ This state is showing everything that was done above but minus the trim.”
“This is the bare frame, I had to figure out all the measurements, dimensions to mount the motor/suspension etc.”
“ This step I have the motor/transmission in, as well as the suspension/ brakes and wheels. Took a ton of fabrication work, so that was a huge step.”
Photography courtesy of CC Pelland
“ I just got the subfloor mounted, the body welded to it, and chopped the top 3” off the roof to lower it.”
The night before our arrival in France, we stood on the top deck of a ferry, looking over the stretching channel. It was a stormy night; the wind blew the rain through my clothes and soaked my skin. I remember leaning against the railing and watching the French flag blow wildly. As we sailed away from England’s shoreline and watched the lights dim into nothing, the girls I was hanging around with pulled me inside to meet with our group. We headed to a massive room inside the ferry that overlooked a small stage. Huddled around two tiny tables, we all got to know each other, and it turned out that all of us mutually didn’t know a single thing about our destination: Saint-Malo. Come morning, we were all packed together again near the ferry’s main staircase. We made our way through a swift customs check, and then we were on our way. When we stepped off the port into the dewy morning, we were greeted by tall stone walls in the distance. I stared at my newly stamped passport, and then hurried along with the group as we made our way to the old town. The wall appeared closer, and closer, until finally we crossed the threshold into the old town. It was not what I expected. When you think of France, the Eiffel Tower comes to mind – maybe a Parisian café or the Louvre. However, there’s more to the country
than its glamorous capital, and discovering that side — a town that was centuries old featuring stone buildings that I’ve only ever heard of — was an entirely new experience. I considered where I’m from in America old, but Saint-Malo dated back many centuries further, before America was an idea, before the people who founded America were a mere thought. We got lost through the roads. Every once and awhile a car would pass, jutting along the uneven cobblestone road. It was an odd sight to see: a modern car on old roads. We would cram onto the sidewalk, suitcases bumping along the stones to get out of the way. We made our way up a little hill, stopping at the top to consider the directions. Above the buildings stood a spire. There was a cross at the top, and paneling around a slim window. Our guides fumbled with the map while the whole group pushed against the walls to let another car pass, but I looked up to that spire. We were at the center of the old town – Saint-Malo’s cathedral. Eventually, we got directions from a local, and made our way down the hill. We found a steep set of stairs and hobbled down, where we got to our hotel and stored our suitcases.
... Above all else stood a spire ...
Illustrations/ photos courtesy of/ by
A cross at the top, and paneling around a slim window, it caught your attention above all else. Our guides fumbled with the map and the whole group pushed against the walls to let a car pass, but I looked up to that spire. We were at the center of the old town , Saint-Maloâ€™s cathedral. Illustrations by Hannah Doherty
We took a tour and saw the water. We were let go for the day afterwards – a chance to explore an old French town that I had never heard of before this trip. I took in every little detail, from odd street names to the numerous stone buildings that came from a different time. I walked along the English Channel as the tide pulled away from the shore — revealing islands and forts usually trapped at sea. And I hiked along the jagged rocks around one fort and watched the water — bluish-green with swirling white foam which lapped the shore. I sat on those rocks for a considerable amount of time, wondering when I would ever sit on the rocks of the French coastline again. The other kids in my group called from a distance, goofing off while balancing on the rocks. I turned my head and glanced back up at the walled city. The spire stood tall, above everything else. If there is one thing that comes to mind about Saint-Malo, it’s that cathedral’s spire.
As we made our way back through the back roads, SaintMalo became more familiar. Certain roads ingrained themselves into my mind. I trailed down a staircase as the girls I was with shouted from the top. We took many pictures, all to remember those moments. Little things – like a bike leaning against a wrought-iron fence. The wind whistling through the few trees scattered around town. And standing on top of a wall, looking down on those walking below. Our day in Saint-Malo was one I’ll remember forever. That dewy morning. The spire. Our guides completely and utterly lost despite having a perfectly good map. All I can say is — there is a road in Saint-Malo that is seared into my mind. It was a flash of a day that defined my time abroad. I wonder when I will next sit on the shore in France, as content with life as one could possibly be…
Illustrations by Hannah Doherty
We sat down with 22 year old singer-songwriter, CD Rose. Born and raised in Jamaica Plain, this Boston native may be new to performing in the Boston music scene, but it’s been a part of her life for as long as she can remember. Most notably, in the past year CD Rose has released several singles, including the Boston Music Award
617 Sessions nominated song, ‘Drake’. CD Rose opened her first music festival in Atlanta, GA this past November, and shows no signs of slowing down. CD shared with us some secrets of her songwriting success, as well as what we can look forward to seeing from her in 2020.
ROSE H: How did you get into songwriting and who are your biggest musical influences?
CD: I’ve been writing songs for as long as I can remember. Even before writing verses and choruses, I was always writing poetry. I got into spoken word when I was in high school and later developed the love for telling stories through song at that time. A lot of my influences are contemporary R&B singer/ songwriters like SZA, Frank Ocean and PARTYNEXTDOOR, and Jessie Reyez. A lot of these artists started their careers as songwriters and then built from the ground up. What inspires me most about these artists is the longevity within their careers. That’s 100% what I strive for as a singer and songwriter; to impact people with my lyrics and melodies that last. H: How did you feel your musical identity and presence in the Boston Music scene developed in 2019?
Photography courtesy of Annielle Camargo
CD: 2019 was the year I put my first song out. Being from Boston, I never really found the music scene here until 2019. It has always been present but definitely small and not recognized for the talent that it has. This same year I was nominated for a Boston Music Award and given the opportunity to perform all over the city as well as in LA and Atlanta. Performing, collaborating and creating with Boston
artists has been one of the most influential experiences I’ve had as a singer. This really helped shape my presence as an artist and allowed me to gain exposure to new venues, showcases, and platforms I would’ve never been able to reach without the help of my team and networking in the city. H: What was growing up in the Boston and JP music scene like, who are local artists who inspire you?
CD: The music scene in JP, in particular, has felt very DIY and creative since I was super young. Boston is really beautiful musically in a lot of ways because of the diversity of sound that comes from this city. There are alternative singer/ songwriters, R&B artists, Hip Hop artists, and rappers all collaborating together in one studio to create the sounds of the city. What I love about Boston is the ability I have as an artist to know the other artists in the city and be able to share stories and create music from our experience. I’m also really thankful to come from a place that has a super wide variety of venues and performance spaces, like Sonia in Cambridge and the Dorchester art project. Artists from the city that inspire me most are Tre Michaels, Mozado, Leedepee, Miranda Rae, Najee Janey and $ean Wire.
“That’s 100% what I strive for as a singer and songwriter; to impact people with my lyrics and melodies that last. ” 63
H: What was your favorite show you’ve performed in Boston?
CD: My favorite show I’ve done would probably have to be around this time last year at Mass Art — a show called Born and Bred Boston. It was a performing arts and traditional art collaboration so they were showcasing, like, paintings and photography and sculpture while the artists were performing. It wasn’t a traditional venue, which brought me out of my comfort zone a little bit; it was fun to change things up. The energy that night was beautiful, so many artists, singers, and musicians in that space. H: What are you studying in school? Do you feel like this is something you want to pursue after graduating?
CD: I’m studying Visual Media Arts with a concentration in video and music with a minor in sociology. I’m a very visual person so video/documentation with mixed media arts has always been something I wanted to pursue. As far as my minor I used to want to be a social worker before I got into music and that is something that I would still be interested in doing. I’ve thought about being a therapist before, maybe even an art/ music therapist. When I graduate I see myself pursuing music at an even higher level. I feel like if you want something you really have to put your full effort in and see where it leads you. The difficulty is most of the opportunities in music, for more of pop/R&B artist, are in LA. I’ve been traveling there a fair amount over the past two years, which has been really cool, but I can’t see graduating and then just packing up my stuff
for LA. I would love to try to bring more attention to the Boston music scene from here if I can for a while, because there are so many great artists here who deserve to be recognized. H: Do you find it hard to juggle being a full-time student with being a musician and performer?
CD: I always work best when I have a lot going on; so it really helps me to juggle working full time, pursuing music full time, and being a full-time student. It makes me appreciate time off and allows me to keep focused on what’s important. But that being said, it can be pretty hard to have my attention split between video production and learning the ins and outs of what goes into making great movies and music videos, and writing and producing my songs. It definitely presents two paths ahead of me in my future, and at times I do kinda feel overwhelemed by the possibility of having to choose a more practical career over something I’ve been dreaming about since I was young. At the end of the day, I always go with whatever I feel the most passion towards; so I think that’s the factor that will end up affecting my future decisions the most. H: What can we look forward to seeing from CD Rose in 2020?
CD: So so much. Music videos, new singles, projects, listening parties, events, weekly vlogs, shows, and live performances. I’m really excited to share what I have with everyone. And hopefully, through all these various ways I interact with my city, we’ll get to know each other a little bit better. Hannah McGann
Photography courtesy of Hannah McGann
“I’m so excited for all of the things to come in 2020, most importantly releasing my EP”
Streetwear is undefinable. Although the literal meaning of streetwear is essentially tee shirts, sneakers, hoodies, and baseball caps, what makes streetwear so unique and what makes people gravitate to it is the fact that it is different. According to Tommy Hilfiger “It’s skate and hip-hop, but not exclusively any one of those things.” To someone that is not involved with streetwear this might sound like a simple concept to understand, but in reality, it is far from it. Finding the perfect medium to appeal to both skaters and athletic types is extremely difficult, but Supreme has done just that. A$AP Rocky describes it as “I feel like certain brands got it, but they kind of gravitated towards skaters too much, or certain brands got it, but they gravitated toward graffiti and art shit too much.”
Photography courtesy of Nobuyoshi Araki
Illustrations/ photos courtesy of/ by
Many people assume that hip hop and fashion have always had a direct connection to each other but contrary to popular belief, that is not the case. Many know that Run D.M.C. reported a $1 million deal with Adidas after the release of their hit “My Adidas” but at the end of the day, Adidas is a sports brand. According to stylist Rachel Johnson in the early 2000’s “There was no familiarity with the culture […] The fashion community can be so high-brow that they miss the whole point.” This started to change though in 2001 when rapper Ja Rule released the music video for his No. 1 hit “Always on Time” featuring Ashanti. Throughout the video Ja Rule is seen wearing multiple articles of clothing with the world-famous Burberry tartan pattern. Johnson said, “Kids started wearing it. This love for Burberry emerged in urban communities; so I thought that Burberry would want to start working with me [and Ja Rule] in a more official capacity. That was not the case.” Although no one from Burberry went out of their way to express that they did not want to dress Ja Rule, it was obvious to Johnson due to the constant neglect she received when attempting to get in contact with a higher up there.
Streetwear has risen above the ranks amongst other subcultures of fashion, and it is not simply because of Supreme, but because of what streetwear is. If artists keep supporting the streetwear culture it will always have the “cool” factor, and people will always want to keep up with what their favorite celebrities are wearing. Also the fact that streetwear is so “in your face” is another large factor in its success. Not only the clothes but just about every accessory that you could imagine has been made by streetwear brands like Supreme. Items ranging from iPhone cases to shot glasses to boxing gloves have been produced, and it makes the fans wonder what could possibly be next. Nick Grant offers my favorite explanation as to why streetwear is still relevant. “Point blank: the shit looks good. If you know how to rock it, and you do it with good taste, streetwear really is the only way to be the freshest kid on the block.” As simple as it may seem, Grant is right. On the right person, the edgy skater boy athletic that is associated with streetwear can be very aesthetically pleasing, even if most of the pieces are simple.
Photography courtesy of Mario Testino and Ron Leighton
Streetwear, in my opinion and many others, is far more than just a passing trend, it is here to stay. Over the past few years streetwear has been the most talked about thing in the fashion world, and every day more and more people are being introduced to the general concept. It has gotten to the point of no return—men and women across the world have changed their entire approach on how they dress themselves, and this isn’t something that is just going to fade away. As much as I personally hate fakes, the counterfeit community is great proof of how long-term streetwear will be. Grant said it best. “Good or bad, there are an inordinate amount of fake streetwear pieces out right now. More than ever. And that is a big reason why streetwear is still relevant. If Supreme hats and BAPE hoodies are still being horribly counterfeited, then it means people are still buying them because the real pieces are either too hard to get or too expensive. Either way, (it) keeps the business popping.” Sure, there will definitely be new trends, and new wacky looks that people will be obsessed with for a short period of time, but streetwear is different, streetwear is unique, and streetwear is here to stay.
For the authors choice of best dressed I had to go with Playboi Carti. A$AP Rocky was a strong runner up but my bias is pushing me into the other direction here. The regular outfits that Carti is seen in are compilations of some peoples dream shoes and clothes. His everyday go to combination of a tee shirt and a pair of designer pants is a prime example of streetwear. Carti’s independent personality and rawness ties into what it means to be “street”, adding to his maintained image. Not only is his physical image very “street” but the way that Carti operates is as well. He deliberately outputs very little music just as Supreme distributes very little amounts of their clothes for the same exact reasons. Supply and demand. The mysterious droughts of no information coming from either Carti or his team about upcoming releases lures his fan base in for when the time is right for him to release new music. His latest project and first studio album “Die Lit” was a surprise drop, 13 months after his previous mixtape. It has since been almost 2 years since Carti released “Die Lit” and everyone has been itching for something new from the always evolving talent. A new single titled “@ Meh” just released a few days ago and is a teaser for his long anticipated “Whole Lotta Red” album. Not only does he have street fashion but the 21 year old Atlanta born rapper walked in Virgil Ablohs first menswear collection for Louis Vuitton. (Paris Fashion Week 2018)
Top 5 Playboi Carti Songs - Fetti - Shoota - Carolina Blue - Wokeuplikethis - Magnolia Photography courtesy of Micaiah Carter
MATTHEW S PIRE
Matthew Spire is a contemporary artist hard at work in Boston. His studio is located in Chinatown. On behalf of TARNISHED, I was fortunate to get a chance to meet with Matthew in his studio to interview him about his journey as an artist. When I first opened the door of Spire’s studio, I was amazed a.t what I saw. There were huge finished paintings hanging on the walls and painting supplies well arranged in one corner of the studio. Various antique materials such as sheets of metal, fabric scraps, and pieces of wood were scattered in the middle of the studio. Unfinished paintings stood nearby. It was wicked cool! When I stepped into his studio, it felt like I opened a treasure box. Seeing his work in person was inspiring. The paintings varied in subjects. Some of his pieces integrated words and letters into their designs, a unique feature of his style. Others were abstract paintings done on glass. There was an air of creativity in this studio. As an artist myself, I was very inspired to be there. Spire’s studio is a reflection of his past, particularly the wellused skateboard that caught my eye. When I asked him about it, he told me that when he began skateboarding with his friends, he became interested in “tagging.” The term tagging refers to the act of applying a signature as a personal design to a creation, similar to graffiti. Spire explained that tagging and skateboarding are often seen as subcultures in which participants express their individuality. Spire became obsessed with tagging while in high school. He wanted to be different and create something that was his own. He said, “At the time I didn’t think much of it. It was a routine that my friends and I enjoyed.” Spire started painting with oils when he was 10 years old. As time went on, he gradually found his niche as an artist. In his school days, he sometimes received compliments from teachers and
classmates about his sketches. As a student Spire participated in book cover design competitions and sometimes he won. His artistic abilities evolved tremendously during those earlier years. He took everything he learned during those early years and brought it to the studio. The studio has allowed Spire to experiment with multiple subjects and materials. His subjects come from a composite of memories, people of inspiration, found materials, letters, words and other sources. These subjects give the art more meaning and help them to have a unique “voice.” When it comes to materials, Spire goes for things that have an interesting formality or esthetic. He said, “Found objects are important for my work.” Antiques, wood, metal, and glass are some of the materials that he uses. Latex enamel is one of the mediums that Spire uses, but his favorite is ink. He said, “I appreciate the element of ink when applying it to a surface. I like the way it transforms.” He also enjoys using spray paint, aerosol, oil, acrylic, and watercolor sticks and other types of paint. He explained to me that “The medium is the hand and the brain, and the rest is just options to create with.” All of these materials are part of the process that guides him to create such spectacular work. He said, “I never have a clear image in my mind, I just go with the flow.” When Spire is about to start a new piece, he knows that it is going to be a journey. As he told me, “While working on a piece, it creates this kind of surprise that I like, the unknown.” His work balances somewhere between structure and the unknown. The structure involves using the paint to make it do what needs to be accomplished. The unknown represents the unplanned, the surprises that come along while painting. Often these surprises improve the outcome of the painting.
During my visit I had the chance to see Spire start a new piece. It was remarkable to see him paint! He was a man on a mission. He painted a few strokes, backed up, looked at it and said, “What do you think?” I responded “I like the bright colors on the dark background. It looks good.” He replied, “Thanks!” While he was spray painting a new piece of work, he asked me to help him by holding a guiding ruler. It was cool to be part of that process! While he painted Spire’s body movement was as rhythmic as a slow dance. He moved to the rhythm of the piece, always contemplating his next step. It was exciting to watch. Spire considers Water Over Fire to be one of his best works. In this painting, water and fire images are formed by words and letters of various sizes using colors of blue, orange, black, and white. The colors and the composition of the painting fit well with its title. The title guides us into the painting. When I asked him about what inspired Water Over Fire, he responded, “I went to the Museum of Modern Art in New York and got inspired after I saw a piece by Alma Thomas. It was an accomplishment. It was left in
the studio for six months before I finished.” This is proof that good things sometimes come with time. As Spire said. “The title should be only a starting point to guide you into the painting.” Spire’s art captures the audience’s attention. While he uses bold colors to get the viewer’s attention, it is the unique and interesting composition that keeps them looking. This is evident in The Lost Ones, with its yellow enamel letters juxtaposed on green letters. While the yellows letters are boldly outlined, Spire has also created a softer dripping effect. It was astonishing to see The Lost Ones in his studio. There is no doubt that Spire is a gifted artist. It was very exciting to see him at work. Although he is inspired by other artists, a lot of his inspiration also comes from music and musicians. The musician Cahmand Jamaica, who said “You don’t create things, you discover things.” is one of his favorites. He keeps Jamaica’s words in mind while creating art. It was interesting and fascinating to learn about his process and the meanings behind his work. I am glad I had the opportunity to interview someone who is so passionate about what he does. It was an honor.
Water Over Fire 48 X 36 Acrylic and Oil on canvas
Lost Ones 60 x 48 Enamel on canvas
Illustrations by Mathew Spire
Ocean, 68 X 52 Enamel and watercolor
Baptism The giving of a name, the blessing of water, the christening usually happens after birth. The true baptism was conception, on a steamy summer night in the family pool while Mickey Valentino waited for Alan, the father, on the blind side of the fence. The naming came before then, as soon as Donna, the mother, agreed to have a second child, because Alan had liked the name and didn’t care if he had a son or daughter- that line on the birth certificate was guaranteed to read the same. The Italian part of you ran down your mother’s leg when her water broke. The two sides of your family were always at war over who you belonged to more- using heritage and ancestry as weapons. Which of your parents owns claim to the title of priest in that baptism will forever remain an unanswered question.
Communion The bread is his body, the wine is his blood, that is the Eucarist. The wafer sat on the tongue like the dry stretched skin of ancient Methuselah, the wine dripped down the throat like a Bacchanal sacrifice. Now the bread tasted like the shed skin of a long dead corpse, the wine thick iron tainted blood. Donna’s death had the tectonic force behind the split of Pangea, the family floating apart a million-years-per-second, rushing and never knowing which continent to which each member belonged. That was the holy fucking communion, a pyroclastic cloud of destruction with no opposing force within the nature that bore it. Your mom died so that all the kids in heaven who don’t have mommy’s could have someone. The only person that didn’t force feed beautiful pictures of feathered wings and untainted divine reason into your gullet like a foie gras gosling, was Alan. Donna had left behind the father, the son, and the holy spirit- the son jumped a fissure between familial continents and never truly returned, the holy spirit died in your once faithful innocent child’s heart as you were shoved into the void between split earth, and the father was left alone.
Confirmation Seeing a deer abandoned and bloated on the side of the interstate is not equal to hearing a deer scream as it dies. The shallowness of the left behind shell of a soul becomes a whole with abysmal continuous meaning when the arrival and departure of Death is heard in real time. The despaired primal scream echoed through the trees and over the field followed by a thick silence, first cut by a coyote’s song of victory and then by padded paws running through the grass. The song continues as the sopranos and tenors join the chorus, the music riding on invisible waves towards the sky like a prayer colored with thanksgivings. Transcendence is the experience or existence beyond the physical level. The knowledge of knowing that everything around you is happening within a vast and infinite system of intricate and unexplainable design, is transcendental. But that does not make any process, natural or artificial, genuine or fake, any less complex or important- possibly mundane or meaningless or without any use. Death is real and all around you as it always has been and that will never change, and there is no feeling of ascending in that truth. You know those skeletal fingers grasp life with no discriminating thought, no care or concern for clean bills of health or compassionate hearts. You know it is the only truly neutral force in existence.
Ordination Is a near death experience really a near death experience if your heart doesn’t stop? It was medicine, a medicine commonly given to children, even 10 year old Mohammad had a bottle from when he got sick, still collecting dust in his mother’s cabinet. Going through life without allergies means taking the delicacy of physiology for granted- until a reaction no one was prepared for happens. Drowning in your own bodily fluids on the bathroom floor is something no words, no matter the amount of beauty they contain, can ever make beautiful. It is not like drowning in water, being conscious and knowing you can’t take in a breath if you wish to continue to fight, feeling yourself die as you are surrounded by a substance that is essential to maintaining life. Survival was imminent but for only one reason- you were not alone, someone heard the consequence of loss of consciousness. Your entire family wouldn’t even give a visiting child with a headache a Tylenol, for months, because no one knew if they had it before, if they would have a bad reaction, if they would almost die. You changed after that. The kind of change that ripples the surface of your life and reaches anyone you share it with- that ripple can turn into a wave, so some of them pull up anchor and head to shore, never to return to the depths again. You got too close to Donna, you came to realizations about life that made you not want to waste it with people that filled their hearts with blind hate and rage- you cannot handle the way they celebrate the pain of others while preaching acceptance, whispers like spilled ink between friends with the intent of hurting someone’s livelihood. You made the decision not to settle, and in that there is ascendance. The seed has germinated and now stretches amongst the dark for the light of the sun.
Black Mass Once upon a time there was a bear in the woods, and he took a big...fat...shit. That was Donna’s favorite bedtime story to tell, with the exception that sometimes the bear morphed into a dear- but he always took a big fat shit. The most banal stories stand the erosion of time, incite laughter in hearts, throw lines to drifting continents. The Son tells the story in Las Vegas to children who never knew Donna, the Father tells the story to hordes of growing and ever-changing children, the Holy Spirit wakes up and tells anyone who will listen to the words of disheveled prophets. Your mother wanted to write a book. It was a children’s book about a squirrel, but that’s all I remember. Alan told you that, when your professor loved a short story you did as a class assignment- but you thought was utter shit- and asked permission to publish it in the college’s literary journal, and again when you told him you made the decision to leap and go back to school for English and creative writing in the Boston area. No one had ever told you this detail about Donna. Persevere, allow life, continue, to fight with love as passionately as you use anger to fight wars. Preaching is not necessary, but sacrifice is.
A hardening, wrathful look glazes over brown eyes as the scrawny boy stares at the undisturbed sheen of white snow that blanketed the dock as it swayed and creaked. The quiet atmosphere was accompanied only by the waves of water splashing against the wooden columns at a steady rhythm. The occasional outcry of crows who were just as clueless as the world below taking flight with strong leaps and flutters of coalblack wings that left the branches shuddering. The towering aspa wood sheltered the area in thick, omniscient shadow. The distinct chill of the air left him undeterred in his stance. There was no fear, no guilt. It was the only home he had ever known, but the man knew his unforgiving past was the only thing that kept him from leaving. He was safer there. Hidden, immersed in a thick layer of oblivion. It was two years earlier, when the 11 year old boy had been sent out by his mother, in request for ice to fill the emptying refrigerator. Manning had bundled himself in an insufficient amount of thin fabric in an attempt to shield his premature body of the biting northern chill. His only sibling was ordered to accompany him, as if the distraught woman needed more tension that swallowed the aging cabin. The youngest swallows back his arguments and complies because he knows there’s more to his mother than she lets out. He knows there’s a perfectly valid reason behind her solemn exterior. Given the countless nights spent burning pictures of a platinum-headed blue eyed man who neither son was told of his name of. Scolding at the dancing flames as the film turned to ash before adding more worn photographs, watching the flames jump and pop and grow. Finding warmth in letting go of bad memories. Without warning a firm shove to his shoulder sent the younger boy plowing face first into freshly fallen snow. Audible, uneven footsteps spoke for the limp Calder held as he advanced towards the yard. Both boys were greeted with an abnormal stillness and crisp chill that wracked their bodies as they stepped foot into the twilight, the day fading into a dense night. Kneeling in the slush and wiping the biting cold off his quickly reddening face, the stiff twine that cut into his flesh and left blisters along his already dying palms falls at his knees. Connected to the sled and pickaxe that was far too heavy for him to lift.
“Get up you bastard I’m not here to help you.” The taller boy snarled before sending a flurry of snow back into his face with a difficult jolt of tan, worn boots. He grunts and loses balance momentarily then proceeds to falter past. Frustration and cold burned Manning’s ears as he stood to regrip the stiff rope tightly and eventually proceeded to drag the splintering plank down an open slope to the ice-laden lake that stretched out to what seemed like forever. Manning felt the snow melt against his face, never letting his scowl drop from the handicapped sibling, letting this motive drive him deeper and deeper into a black pit. Once a good distance from home, he sought an opportunity to finally put an end to the miserable, endless cycle of abuse the older sibling reigned against him. To release the pent up frustration of living in a constant state of agitation because their broken family could not possibly be mended. To end the silence that had settled so comfortably around the topic of what ever happened to the man they were supposed to call their father. Manning knows that he is far too young to have ever met this man, but is this missing man the reason behind Calder’s stonecold state? These thoughts bounced around his pounding skull with hell-bent resolve as he trailed behind, eyes glaring daggers into his older brothers hunched back. Manning feels the rising drive to make his brother aware of the years of suffering he had caused, and is response has developed a foreboding side of the seemingly innocent boy no one had yet seen. As they approached the docks, this new thunderous anger sent the kid hurling the sled across the ice-laden surface on which they stood. Watching proudly as it slammed against the taller boy’s ankles quickly sending him forward to his hands and knees with a startled gasp. Calder released a low growl from the back of his throat, though it was barely audible over the creaking of wood below them and howling of the wind through leaf-barren trees. He turned to face his culprit slowly, their hostile stares matching as Manning’s hands balled into fists. His brother gave an intimidating look up to the shorter boy, not expecting to have been met with a physical comeback. He tries to hide the struggle to rise to frost-laden knees. “Nice shot, really took me for surprise.”
Sarcasm drips heavily in his tone as he wobbles to an uneven stance. Without even trying to regain his deformed posture and balance he takes a step closer. Although he was hunched, he still towers over Manning, letting this be his insolent tool. Peering down at him through his long russet hair, forest green orbs contorting into thin slits as his composure breaks further. Brown eyebrows furrowing together in a bitter curiosity as the brown eyes staring back dart back and forth eagerly. Searching for a hint as to what is coming next. Strong, frost-laden hands came diving for Manning’s throat, and without warning, he was then sliding against the ice and snow and lading on his back, rope falling from his grip to instead scratch and hit and squeeze at the hands that prevented him from breathing. His head hit a concrete surface of ice hard enough to dizzy him. He sputters and squirms against his restraints, legs pushing into the powdered ground in a poor attempt to distance himself. Calder uses the most of his body weight to push Manning into the soaked and frozen field, taking advantage of the fact he did not have to worry about his deformity. Manning feels pressure grow in his chest as the air left in his lungs can no longer help him. He thrashes violently, kicking out his legs trying to reach Calder in the legs or abdomen or thigh, anything to strike a blow that would make him stop. “I wasn’t going to fight with you, but if it’s a fight you want, then it is a fight you will get.”
Photo or Illustration Credit Line
Amidst his struggle, Manning realized that he had to act fast if he was ever going to get back for the years of torment. If he was ever going to fix the broken family he had been confined to. The crippled boy may be stronger physically, but Manning was always the mentally stable one. Under the pressure of time and hands on his throat he was able to grasp that he had been dealing with this boy all his life. Putting up with every instigation, every shove and push, but in the end behind the facade of firmness was just a scared, insecure, and crippled teenage boy. Putting together the scrambled puzzle pieces of his life just like his brother was. The only difference was that Calder knew more about their past, the secrets about why they lived in the middle of fucking nowhere. Why they never attended school or went anywhere further than a three mile radius of where that soul-sucking cabin pounded isolation into them until their only choice was to turn on each other. Even if both of them knew they were all they had. The meaning of family disintegrating when it should have been growing stronger the whole time. Manning stopped struggling to meet those threatening emerald slits with his own look of determination. And in that moment his entire world stopped for a fraction of a second. Deciding that fighting back would be his last attempt to put an end to the disputes between them. Although he was ultimately unsure if it was the lack of oxygen entering his lungs or the cold eating away at his poorly covered body, his body goes still despite the shivers that wrack his spine due to the unforgiving cold. “When did I say anything about a fight?” Was the sharp-tongued reply the younger struggles to emit around the constriction applied to his windpipe. His
grip tightens around Calders forearms, nails digging into the thinly-covered skin with as much strength he could muster. Unfortunately the attempt to freedom failed and the grips around his neck only tightened further. His thoughts racing to find a way out alive for the sake of himself, his family, and his poor distraught mother who probably is slipping deeper into the void than either of them could even imagine. “This is all your fault isn’t it? You’re the reason we are stuck here? You know more than mom thinks?” Each word grew fainter and fainter as the choppy sentence is made harder to say. Manning’s limbs were getting tired and he could feel himself losing the ability to keep his eyes open. There was another moment of chilling stillness, and Manning finds oxygen rushing to his lungs again as chilled hands move. He inhales deeply letting out coughs and sputters as the crisp mint-like air fills his lungs. Sitting up and instinctively putting his own hand over his throat. In the inky blackness Manning could see the indistinct, barren look on his brother’s strong features as he wobbled to a stand and turns, taking a few imbalance steps into the shadows covering the equally ill-stable dock. Manning cautiously rises to a stand, and sees the open opportunity. With an abrupt yell, the younger boy stands and uses both hands to push at Calder’s back, sending him faltering backwards a few steps. Waving his arms and desperately trying to save his fall. “You never do anything to help us! You don’t care about what happens or why we’re stuck in this void of a place!” Manning screams and sends another blow to his brother’s back, as they both approach the end of the dock. “You are the reason mom never told us about what happened, why we don’t have a father!” Another cry paired with another hard blow. “It’s because you’re just like him!” One more harsh shove sends the brunette tripping, a loud crack emits from bone snapping painfully in Calder’s ankle, sending another cry into crisp air. He jumps having only his good leg left to support him, stumbling backwards until the dock ends and the iced over lake starts. Calder is sent grasping at the air as he falls. Manning watches proudly as his brother’s back collides with the ice and it breaks with the force of impact. The paralyzingly cold water prevents the opportunity for him to swim, so he instead sinks. Manning looked down at the helpless body as it drifted further and further into the abyss until all he saw was his distorted reflection. Watching the ripples of freezing water glisten under the full moon’s light. Letting it be his only guide back home.
TRIALS of IDENTITY The doctor standing above my body was smiling. It was all I could notice in the first moments of coming back into consciousness. There was a dull pain in the back of my head, sending waves of agony to the back of my eyes. I closed my eyes again and felt the world around me begin to fade back into darkness. There was a shuffling of papers at the end of my bed. ***** The next time I woke up, the doctor was gone. In his place was a tall nurse. Her hair was pulled back and I could see the blinding light above my bed glisten on her gray hairs. My eyes shut again, and I focused on trying to stop the spinning in my skull. The pain was still there. I couldn’t get it to go away. I didn’t remember why I was there. ***** When I woke up a third time, the nurse was next to my head, kneeling. She spoke softly “Can you hear me?” I glanced at her, unmoving. My mouth drooped open, but I couldn’t speak. I shut my lips and nodded slowly. “The doctor will be in soon.” She looked at me and asked, “Do you want to go back to sleep for a while?” I watched as the nurse walked around to the side of my bed. I tried to turn my head to watch her but found the pain in my neck prohibiting me to do so. Something brushed against my arm. I saw the little clear tube that stuck out of my skin. Was she added more pain killers? God, I hope. I faded back into the darkness and felt myself go weightless. I could hear her stand up and stride out of the room, her sneakers squeaking. *****
“How are you feeling?” He asked me, a clipboard in his hands. The doctor smiled down at me and nodded as I spoke. When he came back to my bedside was a blurred memory now, but I was glad he was there. He scribbled down notes and muttering to himself, “Disoriented… pain… can you rate your pain for me? One to ten? Seven? Okay, I’ll write that down.” The blonde nurse stood on the other side of my bed. I felt a gentle tug on my arm as she pulled on the IV attached to me. “How about your drowsiness? Is that better now?” I shook my head. It was difficult for me to even keep my eyes open. They would flutter shut and snap open every other second. Anytime I woke up from my inevitable slip into a nap, my head would be pounding. I thought I was dying each time. I would press the alert button over and over again. The nurses were sick of me at this point. “Do you remember where you are?” The doctor asked. He pushed his glasses further up on the bridge of his nose. I knew I was in the hospital. It wasn’t a normal hospital. I didn’t have my own room, which I thought was strange at this point. I had been here for almost as long as my memory would allow me to know. The only thing separating me from the other patients was a thin beige curtain on either side of my bed. The one at the foot of the bed was pulled open so that the doctors could watch me. I didn’t know why they wanted to do that. I didn’t know much. “So, you’re saying that you don’t remember much? Do you remember what procedure we performed?” No. “Not at all? Do you remember your name?” No. Maybe something that started with a C? “What is today’s date?” February 23rd? Judging by the way he is looking at me, I must be wrong. “It’s February 29th.” There aren’t 29 days in February. Unless I can’t remember that either. “Do you know what time it is?” There’s no clock in the room. How am I supposed to know?
“It’s 9:30 PM.” The doctor scribbled something down on the clipboard and said without looking at me “You’re going to be staying overnight for observations.” Fair.
I gripped the edge of the bed and stared at the photo. They looked nothing like me. I knew they didn’t. If that was me, which it wasn’t, I hadn’t looked like that in a long, long time.
The nurse came around to the other side of the bed, standing next to the doctor. She had her hair tied up as if it was a cinnamon bun on her head. God, when will they feed me?
“Hon, how come you’re standing? The doctor said that you were barely able to get your eyes open.” I turned my head as the old nurse spoke. Her eyes matched her vibrant blue scrubs. She stepped towards me. “Do you need to go to the bathroom?”
“Your name is Cadence, dear,” Her voice was like honey. Specifically, honey used as a sweetener in tea. Why is my throat so dry? “Cadence Rockland.”
I nodded. I needed to know who I was. I needed to remember.
The nurse turned around and opened a neon green bag. I watched with halflidded eyes as she proceeded to pull out what looked like a wallet. She slid out a card and handed it to the doctor, saying “Show her this.” The doctor turned the card around for me to see. The name of the girl was Cadence Rockland. She had black hair cut in a bob. Her eyes, though they were fuzzy, reminded me of chestnuts. She wasn’t smiling and her nose looked curved. I didn’t know why she wasn’t happy in the photo. Those pictures stay on your license for years, you should at least try to look nice. I didn’t know why she had that haircut either - it wasn’t flattering in the slightest. The one this I did know was that the girl in that picture was not me. The nurse gave me a funny look when I stared at the photo. “What?” “That’s not me.” “Very funny, Ms. Rockland,” the Doctor rolled his eyes and scribbled away on his pad. “That’s not me. That’s not me.” I felt myself getting frantic. I knew that wasn’t me in the photo. “Hmm…” the doctor rubbed his chin, turning to the license, and then he looked back at me. “You must be experiencing some side effects from the surgery.” “It happens all the time, dear.” The blonde nurse came back over to my side. “Once you’re feeling better, you’ll start to remember.” “That’s not me.” I looked up at the nurse. They had to have grabbed the wrong bag. “This is your license,” The doctor said, examining me out of the corner of his eye. “On this paper, it says that your name is Cadence Rockland. Is that you?” “That’s not me.” I didn’t know if the name was right or not. I only knew that it was not me. “You seem to be experiencing amnesia, Ms. Rockland,” the doctor explained, “this is you. This is your license. It is in the bag that you put your things in before the surgery. You are the one who put that wallet in that bag. No one else.” His voice was beginning to slide. Or was it always that deep? “That’s not me. It isn’t.” The nurse leaned over to the doctor and whispered something into his ear. The doctor rolled his eyes, but he nodded. He placed down the clipboard on the tray furthest from my bed, and he said: “I will be back in a few minutes.” He left the ‘room’ quickly after, the nurse following him. How did I get here? I don’t remember putting my stuff down. Where the hell did that green bag come from? And who the hell was that woman on the card? I could feel the pounding in my skull get louder, deafening my senses as I clutched the sides of my head. Who the hell was I? Why were the doctors lying to me? They were supposed to be helping me, why the hell would they suddenly hide my actual identity from me? There had to have been a mistake. This isn’t how hospitals are supposed to be. I knew who I was, they didn’t.
Illustration by Corenna Ryner
I sat myself up and rubbed my temples, trying to alleviate some of the pain that was radiating through every inch of my body. The white blanket fell off the bed as I stood up, collecting in a pile on the floor. The thin yellow socks were barely protecting my toes from the shiver-inducing tile floor as I stumbled towards the green bag. I looked at the ID in the wallet, again. Maybe I was crazy, and maybe I just could not remember what my face looked like. Maybe I was reacting poorly to the anesthetic that they used for the surgery. Yeah, that had to be it. It had to be that I just didn’t remember. Hospitals are supposed to help people, not hurt them. It must be a side effect, just like the good doctor said. The picture still sent my stomach into a knot. I knew, deep down, that wasn’t me.
“Well, let me help you walk, then.” The nurse came over and took my arm in her hand. Her palm was gentle, but her spidery fingers wrapped around tightly like she was suffocating me. The grip of her hand led me between the curtains. I squinted my eyes and scanned the perimeter, keeping an eye out as to where my doctor could be. Or, whatever he is. I wasn’t sure he was a doctor anymore, or that this was a hospital. Why would they let me walk free like this if it was a hospital? Why wouldn’t they show me my actual ID, and show me someone who was trying to pretend to be me? None of this made sense. The old woman pushed the bathroom door open and flipped on the light switch. She looked at me and said “Do you need any help? Or do you think you’ll be okay?” I didn’t give her an answer as I stepped in past the threshold of the door, closing it behind me. I turned and faced the mirror at the sink. The person staring back at me had gaunt-looking eyes. Their collarbone could be seen through the baby blue hospital gown. Their hair, while dark, was shaved and spiky along the top of the head. The look they were giving me sent chills down my spine. It was hopeless, with any sign of life drained away. Behind them, in the mirror, was a wall of swirling red water. I could only call it a river to hell. I was in hell. I stumbled back, bumping into the wall behind me as I stared. I gasped, sinking down on the ground. I’m in hell. Oh, fuck, I am in hell. “Everything okay in there?” I heard the old woman say. She knocked on the door. After a few minutes, I heard another familiar voice on the other side of the door. “Cadence, you shouldn’t be up. You need to come back to your bed.” The doctor sounded like an angry now. I leaned my body up against the door to try and keep him away. If I was in hell, then I didn’t want him anywhere near me. “Ms. Rockland, open the door. Don’t make me ask again.” I could hear them whispering through the door. Bits and pieces of their conversation came to me. “-them and get them here, now.” “But won’t that upset-” “I don’t care anymore. She is a danger to herself and the staff.” My heart pounded against my chest. I was shaking and breathing heavily, finding it difficult to hold the air in. My throat and lungs burned. My arms began to tingle, radiating through my body until I was having my own mini earthquake. It wasn’t hard for them to open the door once the key was placed in. The door was able to sweep me away towards the wall. The old nurse knelt down in front of me and looked into my eyes, asking “Are you ready to go back to your bed?” “That’s not me.” I couldn’t stop shaking. The two nurses, old and young, lifted me to my feet. My legs were like jelly beneath me, and the feeling of walking made it nearly impossible for the shaking to cease. I needed to run. I needed to get far away from this place, and they wouldn’t let me. They brought me back to the curtained room. I lied in bed, and the nurses pulled the white blanket back over my body. The doctor stood at the foot of my bed, watching my every move. “Now, Ms. Rockland, you need to relax.” He sounded like a father speaking to their toddler. “Further action will be taken if needed to ensure your safety.” “That isn’t me.” I looked at the doctor and repeated it to him. “That wasn’t me. This isn’t me.” The doctor smiled, with his pearly white teeth hiding a venomous snake behind them, and he stated: “You’re just having a bad reaction.” I didn’t realize that the blonde nurse had placed a clear surgical mask on my mouth and nose. The last thing I saw before fading away into the comforting black abyss was his bright white smile.
E M HO
I sat impatiently on the cold plastic seats of the school bus counting however many duct tape patches I could see. I was eager to get home and see my dog but dreading the math homework I had been assigned for that night, after all nothing could be more difficult than fourth grade math. I was greatly anticipating my departure from this big yellow box as it followed our regular route home. We passed the church in the center of town and then took a sharp left onto School Street. It was a chilly fall day, my favorite kind. I could play for as long as I wanted outside, and the cool air would always refresh my rosy cheeks. The trees looked as if they could have been on fire, their leaves had such a deep orange pigment to them. Then at the end of the road I saw the sign for Water Street, my street. This was my signal to put on my bag and start my journey up to the front of the bus, just like every other day. I slid my over-the-shoulder, one strapped, neon green, grey, and vibrant blue backpack across my body. I said goodbye to my friends then grabbed the seat in front of me to hoist myself up and started my journey to the front of the bus. After about five steps forward, my sister and brother would have usually stepped out into the aisle in front of me. I saw my brother’s extremely recognizable orange-red hair, but my sisters long rich, deep-red locks were nowhere to be found. Initially I thought nothing of it, assuming she had gone to a friend’s house. I was somewhat offended to have not
been informed about her whereabouts, but I snapped back to reality as my brother started to walk off the bus. In an almost robotic voice I said, “goodbye Carole, thank you” to the bus driver. This phrase was second nature at this point, every day we exchanged the same hellos and goodbyes like broken records just repeating themselves over and over. I can assure you that it got old fast. As I stepped off the bus my face was met by a brisk gust of the autumn air. My brother had already made his way across the street onto our small green lawn and into the arms of my father. Dad didn’t usually get us off the bus, so it was a nice surprise to see him home from work early. I ran to him and gave him a great big hug, feeling nothing but joy to be home and in his embrace. He always gave us bear hugs that would submerge me into his kind and loving nature, I could feel it radiate off of him when he held me close enough. It was apparent that this feeling was mutual for all of five seconds before he realized that another kid should have their arms wrapped around his waist. He immediately stepped back and asked us with concern “Where is your sister?” The smile he had mere seconds before had been swept away and replaced with a wrinkled forehead and a frown that was filled with distress. I rarely saw this expression come across his face, I knew that something truly worrisome had crept
into his mind at this point. My brother and I looked at one another expecting anyone to know the answer except ourselves. My father had already sprang into action and was running down the walkway toward the bus that was getting ready to depart. He was determined to get to the bottom of this and find his eight-year-old daughter; no matter what it took. My father was notorious for being slightly too honest with his feelings. This is especially accurate when it came to his anger, he had no problem giving us a stern talking to about why our actions were wrong and displeasing disappointing him or letting him down. He held me on a different level than the others, as the oldest it was always my responsibility to set a good example and to look out for my younger siblings with no exceptions. Nonetheless, we loved and adored him, he was always the best dad. No matter how long his day at work was, he made time to play with us, talk about our days, and take us out. All these nice and loving memories of my father were vacating my mind rapidly as I watched him pace and fidget beside the bus. I had seen him angry countless times in my life, but this was something new. I didn’t quite know how to register his behavior, he seemed scattered and frantic. Who was this man? This couldn’t be my father, could it? The man who always had an answer for everything, the man who was always able to stand tall no matter what was thrown at him, the man who had instilled in me to be a good example at all times. I felt I was in the presence of a stranger as he continued to speak to the bus driver. He whipped out his cellphone and was dialing my mother’s number at lightning speed. I hoped and prayed that she had forgotten to inform him of a play date or something of the sorts, assuming he was thinking the same thing as myself. If only that could have been the solution to all this, a simple lack of communication. The bus driver sat there with a stonecold face, showing not the slightest hint of empathy or emotion as he spoke with my mom on the phone. “Dee, where is Tilly? She didn’t come home.” Those cold and concerned words echoed in my head as my dad kept repeating them, hoping that if he said it enough maybe my mom would have the answer. I could feel my stomach drop and knuckles clench up involuntarily as I awaited some sort of reaction from him. My muscles were tense with anticipation. I watched his face closely hoping I would be able to read a sense of relief wash across it by the end of the conversation. I felt suffocated, all air had escaped my lungs as I witnessed the corners of his mouth droop and his jaw drop ever so slightly. He did not say much for a moment, just leaving his mouth barely ajar. After what felt like years, but was merely seconds, he hung up the phone. He was at a loss of words, for once he did not have something to say. After all, what could mom do while she was at work? He was on his own for the time being, it was all on him to find Tilly. “Try to call the school,” chimed in the bus driver impatiently, “I have to get the rest of these kids’ home.” With that she was gone, and my father was left alone by himself at the end of our walkway. He stormed past us into the house, without missing a beat my brother and I followed as if we were obedient dogs. We filed in and made our way to the couch, ever so slowly resting our backpacks on the floor in fear that anything would send dad off the edge. Then the moment we were dreading was upon us. I could feel the lump in my throat expand to the size of an orange as my brother made the first move. Illustration by Brian Allen
Pocket sized, seven year old Danny with his big blue eyes mustered up his courage and said “Dad, I’m really sor-,” but was abruptly cut off by a bone chilling “Sorry does not cut it” from my father. I felt each of his words run down my spine as I was overcome by goosebumps. I was ashamed because I knew what he was saying was true, being sorry was not enough in this situation. He stood there for a
moment silently just glaring down at us. We could not bring ourselves to make eye contact with him, but we felt his stare piercing through us. My math homework had become the least of my problems. After what felt like a lifetime, my dad pulled out this phone yet again and called the school. As the line rang, he mouthed to us “do not leave that couch,” then marched out of the room with the same sense of urgency from earlier. The silence was torture, not knowing was torture, feeling responsible was torture, there was no bright side to this grim occurrence. I allowed the sound of a children’s TV show to fill my head as I tried not to focus on much of anything while we waited for an update on Matilda’s whereabouts. Suddenly, my brother and I were summoned to my parent’s room with a brief “both of you, get up here now!” In sync, my brother and I rose from our seats and marched upstairs toward him. Our bodies were much like statues as we stood in front of our father. He had lost his sense of panic and was overcome by solely anger. “Look at me,” he commanded us. I slowly and hesitantly lifted my head until my eyes met his, I immediately felt tears start to swell. He continued on “Matilda is still at the school. She missed the bus. They’re going to have another bus drop her off at home shortly.” I could feel the knots in my stomach become unwound and an immense weight being lifted from my chest. I sighed with relief. I could not believe that we had settled everything out. Before I could say a word in response to this news, my dad reminded us “Just because we found her does not mean this is over. She is your sister. She is your responsibility.” In a trembling voice I spit out “I know dad, I’m really sorry.” He scoffed and replied “She could have been hurt or taken or something, do not ever forget how you felt just now and if you ever let this happen again-” he paused for a moment. He did not say anything for about ten seconds, he just stood there staring into space with a look on his face that meant he was thinking long and hard about something. Finally, he finished his sentence by correcting himself “You know what?” he proclaimed, “This is not going to happen again. Are we clear? I do not care what you have to do, you make sure every day when that bus leaves school all three of you are on it.” I knew that even though he was speaking to both of us, the message was targeted at me. I found myself nodding as if I were a bobblehead to show him that I perceived his message loud and clear. There she was, not even ten minutes after the call, running off the bus and into the arms of my father. She seemed confused as to why he held her longer and tighter than usual but failed to make any mention of it. My world had just been turned upside down by this series of events and she was skipping around as if nothing had even happened. I did not let this bother me however, I learned my lesson and that was all that had mattered. We had a silent family dinner that night. There was no talking, laughing, or fighting, we all needed that time to digest what had happened. From that day on my bus ride routine was forever changed. I no longer just sat on the bus mindlessly counting however many duct tape patches I could see. I stood up in my seat for as long as I could, double, then triple checking to make sure the tops of both my red headed siblings were there. Never again did I let either of my siblings miss the bus, proving my father’s words to be true. Even years later it’s a sensitive topic but we are able to make sly jokes here and there, but it always turns into a lecture at the end of the conversation.
There was a boy
Whose feet down snowy fields Above bodies still moist with dreams His mother, tattered cloth in tow Hoisted him by her hands So the serpents below Would not wring his neck
There are birds perching on wings of dead men.
backs lay broken
Men, whose in seeding fields where the buds of May Lay buried under a carnage of bones. And where the bones lay my hand caresses skeletons; Who wallow through black sand. The rounds of fire flare, pulling their souls above “Above what?
What does my body form when my mind goes in search of green pastures still buried in sand” Birds fly above the cotton lilacinked by blood. And when blood inks itself onto the flour,
it soils the flour. It inks and But when there is more blood than the flower can hold, like a penny full of water droplets it falls from the bronze; staining the fields When I walked there before, my boots, only ankle high. Those lilacs crunched beneath my feet, like sweet candy between teeth. And when the snow came to hide it away,
mouths of skulls,
I saw no more soil, only the stuck. Dead, but breathing, Though their blood never spit backit gurgled; reflecting off my painted earmuffs. “I remember the skulls and I remember the dirt; always staining my boots,
NEVER my skin.”
. who sits on a mountain peak, upon the A face molded in clay. He screams silent bursts of air long since thrown from his body.
VICTIM of the dust
, of which he will now
Above the bodies, it never felt so cold. Beneath the corpse, pondered the BuddhaNaked wisdom drowned under a hidden sun. Napping was Henry VIIIcarrying roses whose red match the cruor of his drapes And crushed was Heraclitus, holding a fate lay stillborn-
dirt staining its pure corpse. From the bottom, one looks in awe at the mountain, full and white.
But a smell behind city alleyways.
Over the island Angels soar, their wings coated deep white. To be swimming where there is no water! Diving through the air, never gasping for breath. Wisping over an ocean, by the silent waves, to the forests! Through the trees! Where a branch extends its hallowed hand, softly, an Angel is courted, green leaves rise, swallowing the pillowed wings, who once feared falling from heavenly skies. “Can you hear me?” Says one courted angel
“I feel ” “How swallowed?” “My lungs are crushed, I can no longer see, but still I speak” “What of your hearing?” “Only the sound of the leaves remain.”
Gather ‘round, gather ‘round! All children listen here! You, come sit by me, now you silent with all that noise, and you!
a time long past,
I have something, from Before there was us; when ‘us’ was only a duel with swords, and there were no sheaths. We showed our Earth destruction in the face of its love,
There is a corpse Pouring molten rock over
around it, as dumpsters
Blood melting from your fathers and mothers! A home we cursed, a scab we itched. And it spat back! Our battles brought down with devastating strokes! Swords melted to brimstone, valleys burned,
No hope! No hope! No hope! All in their eyes! The screams in their eyes! As they traveled across steaming lakes, Consumed in the valley of fire, we were found, children.
By God, this He set back the mountains, cleansed the rivers, and gave ‘us’ His sword! So we thanked our Lord, and burned Him a fire. So he could look from another land, On the wonderful work we’d done! Oh, oh listen here!
soils your trousers!
Before the sweat of my brow Pull your boots up from your ankles, and burn this fire!
To the drownedPhlebas, still swept, under currentsunder rounds fired toward the nearby shore, swallowing screams like a crash of thunder. Phlebas without gaze, peered up within the blue, to him, the storm looked as would firecrackers;
deep into darkness-
splintering cracks it whispers to Phlebas; who listens with deaf ears: Come to Socrates with a judgement or two, but he who forbids wisdom Drowns in castles rendered blue.
Stars signed the signature of a Titan commanding ghostly ships who had wrecked tenfold.
The of a faithful captain tearing vast seas open with a rollicking song of thunder. Cannons bolted their victory tune as black sand loaded in guns fired upon enemy ships, and, with a shout, silenced all who tasted its callous grain.
Over the ship bursts a twisted skyline. With light glistening through the misty clouds A crimson ocean blends with blue sky molding a thin ray of twilight. Through it peeks the virgin sun; whose
light cakes the
Though the men cannot see. It reaches only their hands, and
FAILING BREATH. the bursts of their
Now I rest. From the journey home,
crunches over bones.
the ship hands upon the wheel, I steer towards an island, beside the mountain; on the far side of pastures green. With my boots to my knees. We cheered in celebration, as I drove the men towards the shore. We did not hear the rain begin to fall,
our cheers rose
And when the thunder came, Until a scream, bent through the hull I became one with the sea Awakening to the sound and the fury Of men grasping their breasts in agony
I SOLD MY SOUL,
To the devil, I believe So see the sea, Drowning under its own weight, cracking the mast in half, and tackling my men, who fell all too late, to the deep blue. With only a board, broken from the ship’s wheel I carried it on my back to the nearby shore
, It was then, in my something broke upon my hollowed bones. And as I fell to the shore, I looked upon the mountain, which seemed to fade softly away, wondering where my body would be.
An enemy to the sea. Gusts rise infant waves, hungry and eager, swallowing mortal men who lay choking under the rolling hull of a falling ship.
snap the skulls of men
Boards crash and Still crying from birth. Surrounded by water, and consumed by The Fire.
Liv F erna
TARNISHED is a student publication of Lasell University in Newton MA. It is a non-commercial publication that covers the arts.
Published on Jul 14, 2020
TARNISHED is a student publication of Lasell University in Newton MA. It is a non-commercial publication that covers the arts.