I s s u e 4
A u t u m n 2 0 1 2
Who Are We?
We are a small group of passionately ambitious
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beautiful Willamette Valley! We are awesome, and love other awesome people. Like you! We want to become a resource for artists of all creeds. We are here to support, inspire, and teach one another and everyone who wishes to create. We represent visual, literary,
and everyone in between. We are a network of infinite possibilities of creation.
Midnight Muse was created by Neebinnaukzhik Southall and Sarah Page. All photographs and layout designs are from them. Want to contribute? Email us!
Table of Contents
“Creationism” by Carrie Brandon
Who Are We?....................................................................................................2 Find Us!.............................................................................................................4 Artist Submissions Rinee Merritt, Wild and Domestic...................................................................................................................5 Amy Booker, Fly........................................................................................................................................................6 Samantha Hatfield, Langourous Ribbons......................................................................................................7 Alana Kenagy, Rulers Crossing.........................................................................................................................8 Nikki Brittain, Lush....................................................................................................................................................9 Nancy Jamieson, A Grandfather’s Collection.......................................................................................10 Frankie Olivo, Bullet for my Angel.............................................................................................................11 Kristin Hayes, Lady of the Deep...............................................................................................................12 Leah Palmer-Rye, Midnight Rose..............................................................................................................13 Christina Mason, If It’s Meant to Be (Easy)................................................................................................14 Brian Forrest, Abbey............................................................................................................................................15 Heidi Sterling, In Blue..........................................................................................................................................16 Laura Witham, Movement & Ruin...............................................................................................................18 Magdalen O’Reilly, Forever Avonlea............................................................................................................19 Conner Allen, Feel It All.................................................................................................................................20 Iris Benson, Dirty Words.......................................................................................................................................21 Davey Cadaver, Hornet Nest Headache...................................................................................................22 Paul Charron, Building in the Past..............................................................................................................23
Featured Artist: Carrie Brandon..................................................................24 Plus Size Fashion: The Naked Truth............................................................34 Ojibway Aesthetics........................................................................................38 The Evolution of Video Games as an Art Form.......................................40 Brittney West Exhibits her Chemotherapy Series....................................44 Sky Club Portland.........................................................................................45 ASCII and Art.................................................................................................46
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Wild and Domestic, Rinee Merritt Photograh | Deanna Peters
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Fly, Amy Booker Model | Maile Hanani
Langourous Ribbons by Samantha Hatfield
There is a place in the heart where only feelings reside. They are smooth fluidity, floating like silken ribbons throughout the languorous space. Words are inadequate and clumsy, like huge concrete barricades, stalling and inhibiting. But feeling is eminent; whether we choose the road or not. It can sometimes arrive unexpectedly, seemingly out of nowhere. This metaphoric road is sometimes chosen for us. To illustrate, to expand, to guide. To teach. Nearly everyone has been on an emotion-road at some point. It brings a depth of experience that cannot be explained entirely. I, am seemingly on that road. I struggle, and I falter. I stare into spaces, and wonder about so many things. The choices, the differences, the similarities, and the connections. Lifeâ€™s songs have been coming and flowing, and I am dancing . . . in the space that to my life since I can remember, much in the way music has been. Music however, was halted, but the words flow and surround, comforting me and allowing me to hide behind them when needed; allowing me to expose and share when it is time ... The scientific Socratic method allows nothing for this type of situation to be analyzed and categorized. My scientific reliance allows impartiality, division, concrete evaluation of parts and taxonomic labeling. Carefully constructed analysis that has divided and conquered; analysis which has led to logic and division. My specialty, my training, my knowing, but moreover my heart, knows there are no rules. In a feeling space, rules are a farce. There is no analysis, no taxonomies, no categorizations which can be erected and placed. There are choices in life; the ribbonesque flow into and amongst us, interweaving time, and space, and heart. It is what makes us whole, it is what completes Our circle. It is why we are human. I sit and listen to the silence. I sit, while the emotions flow and dance and remain. I sit, and succumb. I sit, and continue my silence as well.
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allows no words. It is somewhat uncomfortable for me. Words have been integral
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Rulers Crossing, Alana Kenagy
Lush, Nikki Brittain
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A Grandfathers Collection
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by Nancy Jamieson
among her papaâ€™s shells
we wanted songs
were conch and nautilus
with ocean notes, high &
we used as phones to call
sweet and salty deep
the sea, specifically to speak
but only sailors heard the arias
grains of sand
dissatisfied with songlessness,
got in our ears
mere breaking waves-on-sand,
but we could hear
we shook our whooshing shell-phones,
the gill soft-breaths
and thought we heard the slap, the thwack, the
scale-finned tails of mermaids.
we asked if they would sing to us
our game was interrupted when her papa
like babies in a cradle
came and quick! we lay the shells
shh-shh-shh was all they sang, our gently lulling
upon their shelf, nautilus and conch, as if
weâ€™d never called to mermaids.
Bullet for my Angel, Frankie Olivo
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Lady of the Deep, Kristin Hayes Make Up Artist | Kayleena Campbell Model | Candice Forsberg
Midnight Rose by Leah Palmer-Rye
She appears suddenly in the darkness
Nothing has seemed more important than this strange woman
Walking along the cobblestone path towards me as I sit under a maple tree
Like we have been searching for each other all along.
Leaves falling around me from the warm night wind.
She is almost to me now,
Her heels echo as she steps down
Still walking in a slow pace, black dress sweeping around her making her look like
The only sound in the black night that is
quickly swallowed by shadows As she is about to pass me, she turns her head As others toss in their sleep and children
and looks me and I freeze
dream of fairies and magic. Her gaze pierces me, like she can see every dream and heartache Iâ€™ve ever had in my life
A proud woman
And my soul is like an open door to her.
Different from others in this sleepy town
Something in her gaze makes everything stop, where itâ€™s just her and I and everything else
Hair so dark it gleams in the moonlight.
Mysterious eyes full of broken dreams.
I feel like this moment is what decides where I go in this life
She looks like she is searching for something, And who I will be Perhaps a forgotten love or a place where she can finally call home.
She turns then, and melts in the inky blackness
She wears no color besides a one red rose
Taking her star colored hair and proud figure
tucked into her hair To where you just hear the echo of her heels A rose that gleams and sparkles with water
fading like a memory
Glittering in the darkness
And I wonder if she was even there at all
Something makes me want to take the flower
Until I look down and look at a single red rose at my feet
Feel the silky petals of the rose, caress it against my face and breathe it its sweet scent
Waiting for me in the golden leaves and starlight
Like this is the key to my salvation
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She holds her head high, her back straight
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An Original Song by Christina Mason
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Abbey, Brian Forrest
charge a $25 replacement fee. The key catches
In Blue by Heidi Sterling
the low lamplight and for a moment, appears to
his isn’t a getaway—it’s a getting to. A
glow like a firefly in your palm, and then your
And then, as is true to your nature, you are
fingers curl around it, holding the light safely,
drifting away, murmuring about pizza and
and you turn to me and say, Stairs or elevator?
hunger, and I am laughing quietly, knowingly, taking your hand, feeling the hot cushion of
getting to the core, to lift the curtain, to
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each deep drink of your mouth.
lift our eyes and voices, to be unashamed. You
We take the stairs. Our breath, our footsteps,
your palm in my palm, and then leading you
chose San Francisco because there is freedom
our words, echo in the antique enclosure, the
back down the stairwell, white marble, glittering,
here, an understanding that has deepened, that
hidden dimensions of a quiet building, and in
and the city glittering, full, foreign, enticing,
has been seasoned and intensified with the
the low, yellow lighting of the stairwell, your hair
overwhelming. We take it all in, our eyes
collective courage of those who have come here
appears the colour of a faded memory, faded,
turned upwards to the tops of the buildings,
and dared to be themselves. This is part of why
but yet vivid, beautiful in its muted testimony to
or moving left and right, sweeping across the
we are here—to be authentic, to be ourselves—
an altered perspective. When we have reached
urban scenery, the night people, the cars, taxis,
to belong. But at first, we must find our way
our floor, you pause at the top of the stairs, turn,
streetlights. We find a Pizza Hut two blocks
in. At first, we can only be two silent and small
and lower your eyes to me, smiling faintly, your
down. Halfway there, you take my hand—our
figures drifting through the sugar-encrusted
silent smile, secret smile. You hungry? you ask.
hands held in public for the first time ever. No
hills that swell up and down the city, pregnant
Because I could go for some pizza. I nod and
one looks twice. Eyes are staring ahead, glazed,
with life. The lace-mist floats in wisps over the
say, That actually sounds really good right now.
distracted, unseeing. We are the unseen tonight,
rooftops and descends on our fingertips as we
You nod back, and then we are walking down a
and yet, I feel I am in the centre of everything,
hold our hands out the car windows, caressing
red-carpeted hallway, glancing at door numbers
and only our story plays on the screen. The
the face of the oceany night. We drive. Market
etched into brass plates, finally seeing 32, a white
whole world has been condensed down to this
Street. Lombard Street. The wide arc of the
door with a peephole like all the other doors, only
street, this block, this patch of light shadowing
Embarcadero flowing underneath the steel
this is our door—the first hotel door that has
over your calm face, your slight smile. Our story
thrust of the Bay Bridge. Back to Van Ness
made my heart pound and my hands tremble-
fills the city. Do they see?
and into Little Saigon where the hotel waits—a
--simple, white door, antique brass doorknob
Victorian-era building with marble and granite
gleaming below a modern deadbolt---this door
Your grip on my hand tightens as a loud car
pillars. Our room is on the third floor. The street
that creaks a little when you push it open to
passes by, and you switch sides with me—you on
is old and dark. People mill around. A woman
reveal the room—our room---blue carpeting,
the outside now, me on the inside. You say, The
with drooping eyes and a hardened face asks us
bay window facing the street, small bathroom
man always walks on the street side. We look at
for money. We place our spare change in her
with an old-fashioned freestanding porcelain
each other and chuckle. When we are outside
dark, chapped hands and she smiles sadly and
sink and a clawfoot tub, a chest of drawers—
of Pizza Hut, I give you a meaningful look.
turns her eyes solemnly to the night. We look at
white--a television set, a small round table, two
And the man always opens the door, I remind
each other wordlessly, a flicker of compassion
wooden chairs---and one bed. We look at the
you with an amused smile. Ah yes, indeed,
and concern touching between us, and then
bed quietly and my heart grows stronger, louder,
you concur and reach over to pull open the
we hoist our bags firmly on our shoulders and
in my ears. Is this---is this all right? I hear you
smudged glass door for me. Thank you, I nod.
enter the hotel. The lobby is warm and smells
asking as you set down your duffel bag onto the
People glance over. They must see this bursting,
of heated contentment. The walls are papered
bed. I mean, if it’s not, I can ask for a different
delirious feeling—they must sense it, feel it,
room, one with two beds…….No, I say quickly,
like sun on their faces. I can hear the electric
designs. A chandelier drips downward in a
no this is great. I smile and my cheeks turn to
snapping of emotion, feel it tugging in my chest.
cascade of crystal droplets. I watch you write
fire. One bed is great. I am shy, fiercely shy, all
It continues through every ordinary event—
out all your information on a small 5 X 7 card—
of a sudden. I fumble with my bag, smile again,
ordering a pizza, filling plastic cups with soda,
name, address, license plate number—and then
clear my throat. But you won’t let me hide for
pulling paper napkins from a dispenser. What
hand the card to the clerk, a plump man with
long---even as I blush fire and avert my eyes,
a strange agony—this nearness, this yearning,
thinning hair, a dark moustache, and square,
you are capturing me, pulling me out of the
this endless flow of sensation, heightened
gold-framed glasses that slide down to the tip
chaste comfort of innocence. You are taking my
sensation. Everything you do, everything you
of his nose as he reviews what you have written.
wrists and drawing me forward into a careful,
say—a sensual build-up, a saturated colour. The
thoughtful kiss that seems to me to move and
dreamworld has flooded the real world—now
Ah, ok, he says. Okey dokey, room number 32.
express itself with a maturity beyond your years.
the boundaries are buried under the streaming
He lifts a key from a set of golden hooks to his
I am soothed and pleasantly agitated all at once,
of desire. Now I am drowning willingly. Now I
left. This is your key, he says. If you lose it, we
my growing tenderness toward you steeped into
am in your underwater realm—all blue.
We eat our pizza—a medium half pepperoni,
saying my name again as I fall backwards onto
your name. I feel you tremble as if in great pain.
half olive and pineapple. We comment on the
the bed, taking you with me.
We are broken open, warm fountains, blood
locked bathroom—a token required to use it-
coursing through, soaked skin and hair. It is as if Outside people are laughing. Cars grow quieter,
we have fallen from a great height, plunged into
there are not these public restrictions. Let the
more distant. The curtains are drawn, crème
water, resurfacing, panting in our amazement as
city boy show you the ways of the concrete
panels, absorbing the diffused light of the
we come back to awareness—we are alive.
jungle, you say proudly. But back on the street,
city. The radio is humming low, something
I see the wonder and curiosity on your face,
melancholy, something that sounds like a sigh,
Your hot skin settles into me—you are draped
the wide-eyed look of newness rushing in.
a yearning, something that trembles like my
over me, damp and supple, a tender mantle. I
Everyone becomes a little kid again in novel
fingers as they touch your skin. Your shirt is on
feel your hair warm and soft as fresh earth on
situations, in unfamiliar surroundings. Everyone
the floor, your chest above me, radiating. You
my chest. We are both trembling. The night has
grows small beneath tall buildings, in the midst
are from the water, a silk creature, fashioned in
retreated into the rolling waves of early morning
of a traffic rush, jostled by a stranger’s shoulders
a world unseen by human eyes. I am intimidated
and grey begins to touch the horizon. The radio
on a crowded street.
by you, your strength, your boldness. You look
is static, and the streets are muted. Your eyes
at me unwaveringly, studying me through your
are closed, your lashes dark. I fall in and out of
You point to the cable car tracks and say, Let’s
quiet lashes. Let me see you, you murmur. I am
sleep, sinking into the layers of your embrace,
ride one tomorrow. You want to? Yes. First
beneath you, holding my breath, face and chest
and I dream, but do not remember the dreams,
thing. We return to the hotel, climb the steps
flushed. I half-sit up, pull my shirt off, and lie
only the feeling of them, like light—shapeless,
again, enter the room quietly. I turn on a
back down, waiting. You breathe out slowly. You
clock radio on the nightstand and a Smashing
don’t have to say anything—I can see your eyes
Pumpkins song is playing. “By Starlight.” You
change—turn serious, contemplative, full of
In the morning I wake up, but my arms are
glance over, eyebrows raised. Everything you
wanting. I shiver as you lower more of yourself
empty, and the room is silent. I sit up and look
touch turns to romance, you comment playfully.
onto me, as your hands caress my shoulders,
around confusedly, still tasting you on my lips.
We stand looking at one another from across
my chest, as your lips touch to my skin. Now
Reece? And then I look down to the floor
the room. Without thinking, I reach over and
all the world is water and I am looking into my
and see you curled up, half-covered with the
turn off the bedside lamp, and the walls turn to
reflection—I am seeing my body move and
comforter, your head supported by your duffel
hazy blue. Come here, I say. And you come. I lift
join to another body, a mirror half---There is
bag. I watch you for a few minutes, wondering
your hands to my shoulders, and I put my hands
nothing in this world that is closer—nothing
why you left the bed—My heart sinks. Was this
on your waist, and in a low, shy voice, I say, I
that can move into the blood as deeply as this.
too much, too soon? I bite my lip and lie back
know this is cheesy, but……I say nothing more,
There is a knowing before the knowing---A
down, my eyes to the ceiling. Too much, too
my voice giving way to the careful movements
familiarity, and yet a profound discovery—in
soon, and I have frightened you away. I close
of my body. Slight sway, soft sway. You follow
the body that looks and responds as a mirror.
my eyes to steady myself. This is what life is,
along, a bemused look on your face. Rossetti,
There is a purity here, a natural privilege—the
isn’t it—beauty and pain. Accept it. Accept. I
I don’t dance. Yes, you do. You are. You lower
echo of myself in your frame—the expression
keep my eyes closed. My chest burns. I hear you
your chin and shake your head. I feel your body
of your body—male---reflected back to me-
stirring, rising, breathing in. I feel you waiting.
softening. I can’t believe I’m…..What are you
--full of desire. There is no imbalance—we
Come to me….I chant this in my head. Please,
doing to me….Leo? You draw in closer. Leo,
are on the same side of the scale. I kiss you,
come to me. Drowning again. Drowning in
you say. Your hands slide down my arms, move
taste you, invite you, and nothing changes the
your blue. I will not open my eyes until I know
to my waist. We continue moving. I feel your
reflection. Our hands caress, our skin heats---I
for sure that you will stay away, or until I feel
mouth warm on my neck. I feel your kisses
close my eyes and feel all of myself drawn up
you touch my body. What will it be…..You
opening me so that it seems I become just the
into your mouth, like a thread through a needle,
move and the comforter rustles like an ocean
soft pulp of flowing life, rushing past your
pulled through, stitched through. I hear your
wave slipping away from the shore. The sun
lips, offered to you to slake your thirst. There
soft cries, your unsteady breath. I feel myself
comes through the window and through my
is no thinking, there is no doing, there is just
rising, rushing. Half-clothed, shoes still on,
eyelids…..I feel you standing…..I pretend I am
instinct, the instinct and force of emotion. I
the rough friction of your jeans--still I feel you
still sleeping even as all my nerves are raging,
see in colours—white, pearl white, your skin.
heating through. I find myself murmuring, then
waiting. Did I do wrong? Did you feel me last
All moonlight, all newborn, pale, smooth glass,
letting my voice break free—Your soft mouth
night, did you feel the desire? Just one caress,
untouched, clear. The blue of your eyes drift in
is flowing to my lips, my chest, suckling me--
and I will know…..Just one word and I will
the milky streams. Your fingers weave through
-I grow louder, and I am drowning again…….
my hair slowly, and from far away I hear you
My breath is lost---then recaptured, sighing
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--This you have seen in Boston, but in Arcata,
Movement & Ruin
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by Laura Witham
Lightning struck the fallen phoenix’s umbrella. The bird flew into a spider’s web and plucked a turkey’s tail as a fishnet dreamcatcher caught hold of the vision instead of waiting for a rise.
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Forever Avonlea, Magdalen Oâ€™Reilly
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I Feel it All, Conner Allen Model | Alaska Bruneau
Dirty Words by Iris Benson
A plow horse goes west in one long furrow. Fingers fallow behind, stitch and sow seeds, open buttons on a dirty cotton dress, let the heat out swaddle a baby to nurse grain sprouts Bred to work, hair short, but girls, hidden until their breasts grow like seeds in dirt. Neon stems and roots cut by silica in soil, grow tall under a sigh and reach the naked sides of salted men. Sweat drips into dough to make bread without yeast. Women knead muscles at night and drink kerosene to feel the light, catch TB, cough coal into diamonds, a tool to carve dirty words like work.
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in overalls, not men
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Hornet Nest Headache, Davey Cadaver
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Jâ€™ville Oregon (left) and Bannack Montana (right), Paul Charron
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Issue 4 Featured Artist
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Q: Carrie...first off...WHO ARE YOU? A: I am a freelance illustrator and concept artist. A lover of Doctor Who and devourer of epic fantasy novels. My friends often tell me I’m either laughing or smiling constantly. I try not to take things too serious and enjoy life, and I hope that attitude comes a cross in some of my art. Q: You are insanely talented and you are still so young. How long have you been drawing? Did you/are you going to school for art or is your art education in your own hands? A: First off, thank you so much! I think like a lot of artists out there I tend to be my harshest critic when it comes to my artwork, so I really appreciate your kind comments. I started out doing little doodles when I was around twelve years old after catching an episode of Sailor Moon one morning. For some reason a gang of magical girls fighting monsters got me inspired to draw. I still have some of those abominations in an old sketchbook to remind myself how far I’ve come. In high school I decided to get really serious about my art, and I haven’t let up since then. I am for the most part self taught. I was lucky enough to take Drawing I at OSU back in 2009, but due to some family issues I ended up leaving school. Since then I’ve been studying on my own like crazy, in the hope that I’ll blow all my professors away when I get to attend class again. Just recently I decided to take the Figure Painting and Drawing class at LBCC. It’s really great for my improvement getting to work with a live model once a week.
Q: From talking to you previously and just by browsing your Deviant Art, I can see how dedicated you are. How much time do you spend studying and refining your artistic skills?
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A: I spend a lot of my free time studying the fundamentals of art. Art is one of those subjects where you get as much out of it as you put in. I realized early on that I’m not going to become the next Caravaggio by sitting on my bum so when I feel like I’m lacking in an area, such as perspective or anatomy, I study it for hours upon hours. The Corvallis library has several books I’ve found to be insanely helpful. I also heavily rely on whatever materials I can find online to teach me what I’m not getting. Once you’ve studied, things will start clicking in your mind and that’s when I start sketching. Sooner or later it’ll all click on paper too and that’s when I move on to the next subject that I’m terrible at. The entire process can honestly take months, so it’s important to just keep trucking at it and not get discouraged at lack of progress.
Q: You mentioned being part of an online community of artists before. Care to share with us how that sort of environment has impacted your growth as an aspiring artist? A: I was a part of Sketchpad.tv. It was a streaming website where several artists from all over the world, and all different levels of skill and style participated. It was honestly an extremely huge impact on my improvement. Not only was it really exciting getting to stream my drawings for art lovers everywhere, but it was a huge source of constructive criticism for me. With people watching me draw in real time, they were able to spot any mistakes that I hadn’t noticed yet and point them out to me, allowing me to work so much faster. Also, when another artist would stream I could tune in to watch and observe their unique techniques and see how they handled those tough subjects to draw that I hadn’t quite grasped yet. Unfortunately Sketchpad.tv lost it’s website programmer, so it’s now in internet limbo.
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Q: What are your long term goals as an artist? A: To conquer the world! I want to do a bit of everything, honestly. One of my biggest dreams has been to just do some concept work for a video game someday. I already take commissions, and I hope that I’ll be able to continue doing that until the day I die. I love doing artwork for people who appreciate it. Currently I’m working on producing a Graphic Novel with a friend who is a writer. So another dream of mine would be to finish it and have it sell well. Other than that I’m looking towards possibly teaching art as a long term stable profession. Q: Who is Lola?
These days Lola is even more than that, as I’ve passed her on to my best friend Nicholas Browning, who is an extremely talented writer. I gave him the basics of Lola, and asked him to tell a smart part of her story. What we have now is one amazing epic fantasy trilogy that he’s writing, which is what I’m using as the basis of my graphic novel. He’s already finished the first book, and words cannot describe how excited I am to share Lola with the world under a new medium.
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A: I get this question often by people offline, and it’s one I love answering. Lola is a very important character who serves a variety of purposes for me. I first created her when I was around 17 or so. I wanted to draw someone, but kept coming up to that block “Well who do I draw?”. And so I created Lola. Someone I could fall back on to draw when I just wanted to draw for the pure pleasure of it. I poured all of the personal and physical traits I admire into her design. All those things I secretly wanted to be, but never would. She was a teenage outlet for me. As I’ve gotten older she is now a very good reference for when I want to see how far I’ve improved, drawing her throughout the years has shown me how far I’ve come and keeps me inspired in my progress.
Q: What are your preferred tools (for digital and traditional mediums) A: While I’ll doodle with anything I can get my hands on, I use mostly oil paints and my digital drawing tablet. With the oils I use a lot of pallet knives and cheap brushes and paints. Since I tend to do my study paintings in traditional oil, I really don’t go all out when it comes to using quality products since I’m pretty cheap. With the digital art I do I’ve been using the same Wacom Intuos 3 drawing tablet for the past six or so years now. Currently I’m using Photoshop CS5 as my painting program of choice. I think it’s really important to become familiar with both traditional and digital art. The skills you learn from each medium really support and synergize with each other. Q: Where can people see more of your work? Buy prints/originals? Commission artwork? (links, links, links!) A: I try to keep my decent art on my DA portfolio http://carrieli.daportfolio.com/, with everything else being posted to http://carrieli.deviantart.com/ and once in a blue moon to my Tumblr at http://www.tumblr.com/blog/studiotuba.
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Q: Is there anything specific you want your fans to know that I didn’t ask? Go for it here! A: I’d like to say thank you so much anyone reading this or looking at my images in Midnight Muse or anywhere else for that matter. I really appreciate all the support I get from everyone. It honestly keeps me going and striving to get better. For those of you interested in art or just getting started who feel like they’re lost, never give up! So many people have told me they want to start painting, but they’re too old to start or they don’t feel “talented” enough. I say poop to that! It’s never ever too late! I don’t believe in things like talent being needed to be an artist. All you need is a passion and the willpower to commit your time to the practice and I believe anyone can draw well.
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Author and Model | Keri Atkins
Photography | Liang Liang of Lsquare Production Jewelry | Calypso Art
pushing the plus away.
don’t remember a time in my life when I wasn’t a big girl. If you wish for me to be brutally honest; yes, I am fat and have been pretty much all of my life. In part, due to poor choices; but also, due to medication side affects. Perhaps it doesn’t help that I stand at five foot nine inches, and have excellent ‘birthing hips’. Regardless, I am a big girl, living in a time where ‘thin is in’. Despite an incredible movement that grows every day, many fashion designers and media outlets ostracize a large group of people that I am apart of.
How can there be any doubt, that all women and men, regardless of size, wish to wear fashion that appeals to them? We all wish to wear our favorite designers...we all wish to be able to try on looks we saw and was inspired to try ourselves. Fashion is simply the art we live our lives in. It’s self expression quite literally worn on our sleeves. Fashion is creativity we offer to the world, allowing it to see a small portion of who we are. No matter your age or size, this is a truth. No matter how little you yourself actually take notice of fashion, it is, none the less, a major part of your life. Yet for many of us, finding clothing we wish to wear is hard to do. The plus fashion industry has grown leaps and bounds, but there are still many designers that refuse to go above a size 8 or 10 in their sizes. When you look at the history of fashion, you start to see why. In the 1950’s, fashion mannequins had the same hip measurement the average woman had: 34 inches. By the 1990’s, the national average
If you are a big girl like me—who wears a size 20— you realize there are far more companies against you then they are for you. What’s worst is being a big girl working in the very industry that is trying to ignore you. But perhaps I am looking at this the wrong way. Perhaps these companies that refuse to market to me, companies that obviously do not want my money, must have a secret desire. If they are not willing to sell me clothing, perhaps they wish for me not to wear clothing? Perhaps, they wish for accessories to be the only fashion on my body?
Keri won ‘Best Model Plus’ at Portlands 1st Annual Fashion & Style Awards
Photographer | Robert Domondon
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Perhaps it is my stubbornness, or perhaps I am doing this all for my need to be apart of a creative team. None the less, I got into the fashion industry and now work as a plus model and fashion stylist. Yes, me: a girl who was always teased about her size and bullied much of her childhood. Most of my life I wore jeans and over-sized sweatshirts, sneakers and my hair pulled up in a pony-tail. Though, admittedly, even during these many, many years of awkwardness, I would take time to apply makeup and wear fashion accessories. That was the one place in fashion I felt accepted: no matter my size. I could fit into designer jewelry, I could use their purses, I could fit into their shoes.
hip measurement was 37 inches, however fashion used mannequins with a 31 inch hip. America grew by 3 inches, while the fashion industry shrunk by 3 inches. Once, fashion marketed to the average woman. Now, we have 6 inches separating the average woman, and the sample sizes fashion uses on their models. Sadly, the plus fashion industry itself is falling into the same bad habits ‘mainstream’ fashion has. Ten years ago, the average plus models wore a size 14 through a size 18/20. There was diversity in plus models, meaning diversity in marketing. Today, however, plus model agencies ask for size 8 -14 models. Yes, you read it correctly: size 8 is now called ‘plus size’ in fashion.
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if they are
not willing to sell me clothing perhaps they wish for me not to wear clothing? Perhaps, they wish for accessories to be the only fashion on my body?
As Iâ€™ve been lately exploring the art of my
time period, floral motifs were not seen
deliver and sell products to nineteenth
people, the Ojibway, Iâ€™ve become aware
the way they might be now by some,
century tourists seeking connections to
of the substantial influence that European
bereft of meaning and generic, but as
that authentic, natural way of life that had
culture has had on the evolution of
the cultural apex of aesthetic sensibility.
vanished in the wake of industrialized
Native aesthetics, particularly as a result
of the souvenir industry. How might this
This led me to believe that the post
play out in Ojibway art particularly?
19th century Ojibway aesthetic, then,
finding an answer to this question, one
was influenced by a needed generation
phenomenon became apparent as I
might begin by identifying and exploring
of supply for a particular Victorian
read more. Victorian culture viewed the
the reoccurring motifs and symbols that
demand. This was confirmed to me by
replacement of traditional design with
typify the art.
an awesome book, Trading Identities
floral patterns as evidence of cultural
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by Ruth B. Phillips, which stated that Floral iconography became a dominant
Native groups developed
feature of Ojibway art production, as well
as Northeastern Native art in general,
following the War of 1812. This new motif
replaced traditional geometric motifs
and depictions of the Thunderbirds
and Misshipeshus (water panthers), two diametrically opposed and important figures in Ojibway mythology.
possible explanation for this shift was the pervasive influence of Victorian culture which emphasized naturalism, especially
as a supremely beautiful product
nature. In this
Upper and Lower Worlds, Norval_Morrisseau
minds of many Victorians, it was a
subsequently suppressed in boarding
schools, missions, and the like.
seasons and renewal.
sign that the Natives were accepting civilization.
In this regard,
the shift from traditional motifs to floral
In this regard, echoing
Interestingly, however, indigenous values
patterns allowed Ojibway people to
the same creed of cultural superiority,
and beliefs saw continued expression
continue expression of their Indigenous
religious aspects of oppression had also
even through this shift. Though flowers
beliefs and values while creating new
caused much of the Ojibway
themselves are not centrally important
art and securing a means of economic
mythos to be downplayed
in Indigenous cosmology, oral tradition
in representation, as many
stressed plant life as irrevocably important
as it transforms the energy of the great
For those interested in further exploration
spiritual motifs were decried
manitou, the sun, into sustenance for
of Ojibway art, I recommend the art of
animals and humans. Plants also play
Norval Morrisseau, also known as Copper
Thunderbird, as a subject of study. This talented painter and medicine man, born
in 1932, founded the Woodland school of
native art, which controversially utilized and shared many Ojibway cultural concepts. Though met with resistance and accused of violating tribal taboos by
Copper Thunderbird inspired many other Native artists and was himself known as “the Picasso of the North.”
Th i rb rd k
ee ,N on
Ic So ll
ha ut Medicine Being from Sacred Fish Stomach, Norval Morrisseau
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The Corvallis Advocate Presents
Written by Sean Bassinger
If you’re a fan of video games, chances are the name Roger Ebert represents more than movie culture. In 2010, Ebert made a
presentations. These games were simply entertainment, but certain patterns eventually formed that changed the medium forever.
Evolving into art
blog post stating that video games “can never be art,” a continuation of statements he made years before. Since voicing his opinion, discussions followed – most of which were intelligent retorts and evidence claiming why he was wrong – regarding the topic of video games as art. Eventually, Ebert conceded and applauded those who disagreed, stating “I should not have written that entry without being more familiar with the actual experience of video games.”
The primary definition of art begins with “The expression or application of human creative skill and imagination.” The continuing definition states how most art forms typically exist to be intentionally moving. Key word, though, “typically.” Video games aren’t your typical medium, and the fact that any game could move someone emotionally -especially through use of captivating visuals -- proves that video games qualify as art. And if we look back through the years, it’s quite evident that games represent art both visually and in other ways.
Visually, the Odyssey presented very little. Baer’s creation was far from art, as most of the console’s creation involved programming the behavior of on-screen dots, and there wasn’t much emotion or intentional design involved. However, it’s still representative of a pre-evolved art form, given that Baer worked with what he had in order to recreate certain games for the television. After all, the same can be said about a toddler who, for the first time, finds a purple crayon next to a blue pen and decides to recreate a sunset. Does the purple squiggle look anything like our sun? Of course not, but this is still the beginning of a very important artistic process. The child can’t accurately recreate visuals right now, but
The beginning bits Ralph Baer’s Magnavox Odyssey, the world’s first interactive television game, entered stores in 1972. Though technically a “video game system,” the Odyssey was mostly a glorified electronic toy. There were interchangeable chips with different data arrangements, but the actual televised graphics consisted of the
One pioneer of storytelling in video games was Nintendo’s Shigeru Miyamoto, who worked on games like Super Mario Bros. and the arcade hit Donkey Kong. Though these games seemed rather simplistic on the outside, they were actually quite innovative for their time. Miyamoto never made a game without offering a story on the side. Some stories, like The Legend of Zelda, were visually inspired by Miyamoto’s childhood experiences. Before Miyamoto, video games rarely highlighted stories outside of the instruction manual. Sure, all games had backstories (as everything usually does), but actual events were never portrayed through the player’s progression. In the arcade hit Donkey Kong, you actually rescue Pauline at the end of certain levels. In Super Mario Bros. and Zelda,
v i d e o g a m e s b e f o r e t h i s s i mp l y i n v o l v e d
t h e n um b e r h i gh e r un t i l y o u get b o r e d o r
d i e
eventually they’ll craft masterpieces featured in galleries and exhibits; the same can be said about video games as a whole, only the pen and paper are code and computers.
you eventually reach the princess, therefore fulfilling your quest. Most video games before this simply involved “make the number higher until you get bored or die.”
Like a child discovering their talent as they experiment, video games developed throughout the 70s and 80s. Pixels and bits started resembling real objects, and sound chips were improved to output more detailed effects to complement these visual
As storytelling evolved in games, other design concepts followed. Games like Final Fantasy needed stunning worlds, lovable characters
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So are video games truly art? Since these games house an array of fascinating visuals, musical and storytelling, most gamers and developers say “yes.” Meanwhile, others consider them nothing more than mindnumbing entertainment with no further purpose. The reality, however, is that the question itself is very broad; both answers are correct since not all video games are art.
same series of white dots. The unit also came with colored TV overlays to make up for the lack of visuals. For instance, Odyssey Tennis required that consumers paste a graphic designed as a tennis field on their television. Scores were also kept manually, using nothing more than a regular scorebook to help players keep track of the winner.
As time passed, developers acquired more resources; video games involved less imagination and more representative visuals. Compelling characters and captivating storylines appeared, making video games less about entertainment for the moment and more about lasting experiences.
l ik e
s t un n i n g
wo r ld s
co n f l i c t
lova b le
a n d
i n f l i c t i n g
s a i d
s c a ry
i n a l
c r e at u r e s
co n f l i c t
a n t a s y
n e e d e d
c h a r ac t e r s
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w i t h
with conflict, and scary creatures inflicting said conflict. Spiritual sequels in the Super Mario and Zelda series became more detailed and complex. More than ever before, players had reasons to jump in and save the world, while also being moved by different animated sprites, sounds and story sequences designed to capture the hearts of millions.
More years passed, and two-dimensional
As a whole, video games are just now breaking through as a recognized vehicle for visual art. In-game graphics and character models utilize the very elements of art within their creation, and assure players experience more of an emotional takeaway than ever before. Since it’s still such a young medium, critics will continue devaluing the purpose of video games beyond entertainment. Regardless, it doesn’t change the fact that video games convey visual art, and in many cases, are art.
A collaborative effort between The Corvallis Advocate, The Commuters Editor-in-Chief Sean Bassinger, and Midnight Muse. Thanks to everyone involved for this phenominal contribution!
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Creating worlds & moving audiences
graphics were replaced with entire threedimensional realms in the late 90s and early 2000s. But as we approached the modern age of gaming, 2D graphics returned in the form of portable and independently developed games. Often described as “Metroidvania” titles, many of these games honor the general aesthetic and exploration mechanics of popular franchises like Metroid and Castlevania. For many players, these games offer trips back to childhood, where beautiful colors – often representing certain moods or settings in virtual worlds -- presented themselves on the screen.
It took much time and debate, but many current video games are works of art in themselves. In Bioshock, you wander around a beautiful but structurally degraded underwater city while discovering what lead to the community’s downfall. In the Mass Effect series, you assume the role of Commander Shepard as you traverse the known galaxy and push against the assumed Reaper threat. Games like Skyrim: The Elder Scrolls V let players roam an entire countryside, day or night, and encounter everything from breathtaking medieval cityscapes to gargantuan dragons. Even independent developers like the studio Playdead (the creators of Limbo) craft adventures with purposes beyond those of conventional gaming. With its shadowed backgrounds and breathtaking environmental shading, Limbo is a visually unique experience that continues to move new players.
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any of us are close to someone who has battled cancer, or perhaps may have suffered with it ourselves. Although I witnessed my own mother slowly succumb, I can only imagine what it must have been like for her, and others, to be diagnosed with terminal cancer. Her balding visage is a symbol of courage for me, extending far beyond the effects of this illness to a confrontation of fear itself and the enlightenment that follows. Rather than a story about conquering cancer and loss, this collection of work titled “Chemotherapy Series”, addresses acceptance and living life more fully through facing fears. Human fears are many, can be paralyzing and restrict us from living freely. I have included figurative paintings and drawings of women specifically experiencing hair loss due to chemotherapy. With recurring images of these women during a vulnerable and distressing transition, I seek to illuminate their beauty in such a raw state, displaying their resilience through trying times and capture a moment of profound understanding.
Brittney West Brittney’s Chemotherapy Series has several exhibitions coming up. Be sure to stop by & check them out in person! Dec. 4th – Jan. 5th The Arts Center’s Corrine Woodman Gallery January 5th – 31st Corvallis Chamber Coalition February 1st – 28th Benton Hospice Service March 1st – 31st Samaritan Regional Cancer Center
Art is a visual language through which I seek to communicate the interplay between vulnerabilities and acceptance. The body of my work primarily consists of figure studies through a variety of mixed media –predominately oil paint, charcoal and pastel. Within my art I explore multiple interpretations of my subjects— both psychological and physical— taking the figure out of their realistic environment and creating a space to exist in that reflects and abstracts the beautiful subconscious. I was born in Eugene and earned a Bachelor of Art at the University of Oregon. With the desire to explore unfamiliar ground, I moved to Corvallis where I set up my art studio downtown. A wide variety of my work can be found on Facebook at “Brittney West’s Art” and in my shop at Etsy.com. Ultimately, my goal as an artist is to be involved with organizations and events devoted to helping others. If I can be of help by donating art to an organization or cause, or if you would like a commissioned piece of art, I can be contacted at email@example.com.
Sky Club Portland Written by Daniel Page
Walking into Sky Club Portland, or as I like to call it Skybar, was curious. A lightly illuminated room with a stage in the corner and silk hanging from above. My mind wondered what lie ahead for the evening.
I was in awe and felt like a kid at the circus. Skybar was a night I won’t forget and a venue I can’t wait to return to. If you want to learn more about Sky Club Portland—and trust me, you do—head over to their website at skyclubpdx.com for a list of their events. Or next time you make a pit stop to Voodoo donuts pop your head in and say hello! You might be in for a surprise.
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Lauren Lee started the show off smoothly trapeezing to “Girls Just Want to Have Fun” by Cyndi Lauper. It was nothing like I was expecting and exciting and I suddenly knew I was in for a treat. Soon a singer, commanding the room with her beautiful voice, interacted with patrons making fun gestures to match her song...I was thrilled, and okay, perhaps a little turned on as well. But really, what a show! Silk dancers sailed and climbed as easily and gracefully as if they could fly. Pole dancing that was fun with a sing-a-long song.
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Art and Words by Johnny Beaver
hile computerized art is certainly not a new concept, it is generally considered to be much more firmly rooted in the realm of graphic design as opposed to fine art. While this may be true by statistic, there are often overlooked venues in which digital artists have truly broken new ground in ways that have yet to be fully appreciated or even understood. One such example is the computer world’s adaptation of text art—most notably utilizing the ASCII character sets that were first defined in the earlist days of modern computing. A very long (and interesting!) history made reasonably short, ASCII characters (resembling the English alphabet along with numbers and other symbols) quickly found structural use on older machines that were short on graphics capability. In the place of lines and shapes, these characters were used to add graphical elements to text-only documents for the purpose of organization and presentation. There is more to it than that, of course, but what shouldn’t be surprising is that this concept was quickly taken much further by artists and scientists alike -- such as the famed photomosaics of Ken Knowlton and Leon Harmon (which were more of a precursor to ASCII, but that’s besides the point for now).
As time passed and computers became more common, dialup bulletin board systems emerged (and later the Internet). As a result, this art form found cult status amongst computer programmers, hackers, e-zine writers and software pirates as a way to add graphical elements to universal text files so that the images could not only be displayed on nearly any machine, but any machine from any era. Character set art crews emerged, including the likes of ACiD and iCE. Literally, this form of text art became (and remains) the graffiti of the web. If you had a computer, you could do it. End users claimed this as their own and soon thereafter came the inevitable emergence of specialized software, such as AcidDraw. Over the years such an incredibly diverse pool of this type of art was created in an equally diverse set of approaches. Take a look at Mr. Knowlton’s “Studies in Perception I” then find something belonging to Normand Veilleux. Next, look up some SAC (an underground text art group) logo work. I see no less diversity here than when viewing the various
movements that painting has seen over the course of hundreds of years. The platform is compact and vast. Various character sets. Color. Fixed width and variable width fonts. Tools as different as a text editors alongside specialized software. Imagine now postcreation edits being done in high end graphics software like GiMP and Photoshop. Animations. Comics built on these building blocks that could be considered fine art just for existing or being used in this fashion. And all within the confines of images being drawn with keyboards rather than pencils, paintbrushes or even computer mice. What intrigues me the most is that we’re not even scratching the surface of what this form of art is capable of. The underground status that has persisted has left an immense amount of unexplored territory. Human beings are explorers. We expand into any habitable space – and create that space out of thin air when our imaginations merge successfully with our knowhow. ASCII art is just one great example of where we can choose to go artistically from here on out.
Cover Artwork by Featured Artist Carrie Brandon