Monday, May 01, 2017

Underneath the Paint: Hope Gangloff

Underneath the Paint is a section where short stories are written by me based on what is seen or felt in the painting.

I am walking. Why is that person with a red hat staring at me. I've had enough today. This month. This year. Anxiety ridden mind. I hope I don't fall. Or I hope that I do. Falling into this huge puddle would make me one with whatever I am feeling inside. I would at least have a more realistic reason to grip onto so I can ridicule myself. I stand here by the traffic light in this pile of people and feel as if not only my mascara but also my hair colour and my freckles and my skin is washing away with rain, peeling down, it cannot stick onto my frame. I think too much. I must get home as soon as possible or I'll jump under a car. But how could I carry the shame if the car would stop and I would stay alive. I am unlocking the front door, climbing up the stairs. Narrow, suffocating, dark, dusty, empathetic. The lock once again goes click and I am safe. This place is worse than the restaurant that I ate my lunch in today or my splendid little office area; it's worse than my parents' home or my sisters flat in the west of the city. But it's better because it reeks like me, it sounds like me, it is blind and it is deaf. It won't judge me, it won't make me feel anxious, it won't make me feel like I need to be someone else. I am probably imagining it all, dissociating, flying away into my own conclusions, my made-up troubles. But as I am laying on my blue carpet,which I haven't vacuumed in years, I feel as if I am in a safe place, far away from the apocalypse that is happening everywhere but in this little apartment. The ashes, the cigarette butts, the bottles of milk and of vodka, the dirty laundry and plates, the half-read books are what actually make me feel clean and real. The version of me that is true. And no one is judging, or no one is judging me as I imagine them do.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

The Style Icon: Lily Rose Depp

If it wasn't for her last name, Lily would look like a totally ordinary but stylish girl from 21st century. Perhaps with a tumblr blog that has 7456 followers and reblogs of well-composed instagram pictures, funny text posts and some drawings that share problems of teenagers. However, she is a daughter of Vanessa Paradis and Johnny Depp, has landed couple of roles in the movies and is becoming a style icon in speed of light. Her style seems effortless but well-put, eclectic and most of all - available for every other teen that looks up to her. She's no Kylie Jenner - doesn't lounge at home wearing Balmain (at least, it's not what it looks like)or have different Chanel bags for every day of the year (although, that said, she just attended and took part in the latest Chanel show). Her image is down to earth and that's what's attractive about her.

Buy yourself a nude-coloured matt lip product, put on a gemini attitude and you are good to go.
Oh, also - you have to look like a reflection of young Vanessa Paradis. But it's not an issue, is it?

Sunday, July 12, 2015

On the road: Texas

On the road features short stories written by me which seem to connect with the places in my head, visions, dreams.

“Are you sure that it’s the right way?” I say with my eyes wide open, searching for the right turn.
“Baby, I am sure. I am sure. I am sure.” He answers, quite obviously nervously, because he isn’t sure at all.
He takes a turn to the left where a bright red motel sign is inviting us to stay. The first letter isn’t working, but “otel” is enough. The clock says that it’s 3AM.
“Let’s stop at that motel over there, I am tired and my back hurts”
He quietly pulls up the car. We get out. I can finally arch my back and stretch my legs. I crack my knuckles.

A sleepy lady with a magazine meets us at the lobby. Her hair seems dull, in a tired shade of wheat. Her twitching smile gives us room 5 , we leave the lobby and her behind. He is walking besides me. Our hands touch by accident as we are travelling to our room, I feel electrified. My eyes hurt, my heart is beating so loud that I can hear it. Or maybe it’s just the silence between us and my heart is not even that loud. Maybe it’s the silence. God knows. He twists the key and we step into our airless room. He doesn’t turn on the light but nor do I. He just stands there. I am behind him. What now? I wrap my hands around him from behind and deeply breathe out the air. I smile to his back. I know he feels it. He could’ve probably heard the sound that lips make when you are in process of making a smile. He just stands still. As if I am some bag that he cannot wait to put down. One minute of this one-sided affection.
“I am going to the shower.” He announces.
I let my arms down. The light is still off.  The silence is making me shiver. I hear the water running in the bathroom.
“Are you coming or not?” His low, tired voice asks.
I take off my clothes and leave them on the floor, just by the door which I leave open. The bathroom is all pink. Pinkish lights, pink shower curtains, pink tiles. He is washing his hair curled up in a ball. He is too tall, his 6 feet 3 inch frame is too big for this motel. I stand up next to him and he moves to the other side, giving me space under the water. I feel him bending down a little from behind and putting his arms on my waist, his head on my right shoulder. I feel connected to him again. I continue to wash my face and then turn around. He straightens his back up and looks at me from above, taking my head into his palms. Silence again. Just the sound of running water. I press my head onto his chest and we just stand under the shower for a moment. After a kiss to my forehead, he steps out and walks out to the bedroom. I turn off the water and follow him.

The bed smells of cheap cologne and the pillows are as thin as it gets, but couple hours of sleep are enough to make me able to cope through the day. I open my eyes and see him – he sits in the bed, his legs are covered with bed sheets. Dreamingly smoking a cigarette, the blue sky in the window behind him looks sad, heavy and suffocating. What I am seeing right now - him – would look good in a movie or at least a photo. He notices that I’ve woken up and puts his fingers in my hair, while rubbing my cheek with his thumb. He gives me a side smile and looks away. I hear a car passing by.

We take back the key to the woman, “it’s 7AM” the television programme behind her informs us. I take his hand as we are walking to the car and look up to him with a smile, a true elated smile. He looks back at me. His hand slips out of mine as he is walking to the next side of our car. It’s and old, black 1969 Mustang. We sit down and I start singing the song on the radio. I put my feet out of the window and we are on the road again.

All I see is road and desert-like scenery. The sun is setting. Sun sets in the west. That’s where we are going. His hand is on my knee, the nearest civilisation isn’t near at all and I feel like this is the moment where I don’t need anything anymore. The horizon is coloured in burnt red gradually evolving into flax blossom blue. Take it easy, baby. Take my hand.

Pictures from movie by Wim Wenders "Paris, Texas"

Wednesday, July 08, 2015

The Beauty of Messiness

Always had a thing for messiness. It started when I was a little, artsy child. My room looked like some attic, filled with random objects, paper, pencils, gouache all over the floor, pictures of singers, whom I liked at that moment, badly taped to the wall, my easel being the centerpiece (how does a 6 year old even find out what an easel is and ask for it as a gift for Christmas?), a dusty plant standing behind it. A studio of a 6 year old. A creased paper stuck onto my pink bedroom door saying that my art studio works from 1pm until 8pm (from the time I get home from school until I go to bed). My Mom gave up hopes that she could ever make me into a neat person - she knew I am a mess inside and out.

Eugene Delacroix

What is attractive about messiness to some of us? It's the fact that you can see that person in little details scattered around his or her room - in an old cup of coffee that quietly sits on a window sill, in a shirt or couple of shirts thrown onto a velvet armchair (perhaps, the person was too tired after a long day of work (or night of partying) to actually put it away, but it's alright), in a wilted bouquet of freesias and roses (it might've been a birthday or a romantic date night). It's always in the details, trust me.

Messiness can tell more stories than neatness. Let's create a picture, just one example in your head.

"Morning. It's probably around 7AM. The sky is blue, sun is nowhere to be found. On old, wooden floor, splashed with paint, you see a black Agent Provocateur bra, a red silky dress and the pants of a man's tuxedo. The duvet is all piled up on your body, with hundreds of cushions around you, the bedsheet has gone down to the floor and you are lying on a plain mattress which has some lavender colour paint smeared on it. You look onto other side of the room and see two bottles of wine (empty) on the bedside table, couple of glasses (one has lipstick marks on it) sitting besides. You look further and see huge canvas standing next to a brick wall. What happened last night?"

Now it's easy to imagine having a mystery-filled romantic rendezvous with an artist- the smears of paint, the bra, the wine glasses - they tell the story, they are the main characters.

Karin Mamma Andersson

Let's talk artists. How rarely can you meet an artist that keeps his or hers surroundings clean? Even in their artworks, for example paintings, artists always enjoyed creating a messy scene because it gives more to talk about, more material to explore, it makes viewer's sight stay up longer searching for connection. Matisse, Mamma Andersson, Delacroix, Rappeneau. I am going through centuries here and portraying anything tangled or stained will always be more interesting to analyse, to cling your eyes onto.

Chaos is more entertaining than calmness. Even as a child it was somehow exciting to wait for a storm to come, even if it could leave damage. It would bring mess, chaotic feelings and all that makes life more enticing. Finding a person who is messy is like having a little tiny storm in your life, even if it seems like messiness only means cans of coke next to sofa or wax dripping on the table from a candle, it actually means that the person is going to make some messy decisions too. And that's how you can keep your life thrilling.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Something about stations in general.

A bus station, a train station, metro or gas station - I am probably in love with stations. There's just something about them that makes me feel an unusual feeling of liberty. A neon-bright gas station in the dark is what makes a night ride the most relaxing experience. A simple gas station looks as a mirage shining from afar, asking me to take a picture or just let my eyes rest on the alluring image.

Photograph by Matt Barnes

Bus station fascination came to my head because of my surroundings - there are mini architectural pieces who serve as bus stops and bus stations, they seem like embodiment of word "loneliness" in this country, especially when you see them in mist and rain and actually start questioning your own existence because of the feeling that these places give off. Western sights had been attracted by these Eastern places and they were captured in a photograph series by Nicolas Grospierre.

Photographs by Nicolas Grospierre

A metro station. Something that I can catch myself dreaming of, as stupid as it sounds. Lately I've been thinking of the frame in "Jeune et Jolie" which has Marine walking around metro in Paris. I could talk and talk of how much I want to explore the underground of Paris and it would probably make no sense to a Parisian, but that's what my Eastern heart dreams of at night. The sounds, the wind that blows as you start walking through the door, searching for a seat. You can definitely tell that I am dreamer.

"Jeune et Jolie" (2013)

Moscow's metro is a whole another thing. My fascination with russian culture is quite odd really, but there's no time or space for this discussion. Russian metro still glorifies the days of soviet union, the sculptures down there tell you the story of the happiest person - worker. Shamelessly skipping the communism part, we can admit that Moscow's metro is perhaps even more interesting than some museums. It's an underground's hermitage, if we can compare it to the one in St.Petersburg. Enjoy your trips to school or work while passing the halls, not everyone has such a fancy metro, some countries don't have metros at all (I am definitely not whining).

Train stations. Even the sound of a train at night makes me shiver, makes me feel jealous of those who are in that train in the deepest hours of night. Train stations, sadly, do not associate to me with the beautiful start of twentieth century, where ladies were walking around the polished floor while men were carrying their luggage. It associates to me with dirt, loud noises, smoke, coming from some young boy's mouth while he is holding a cigarette with his dirty nails and little fingers, smoke, following as a trail through rails while the train is riding in the middle of nowhere. Unfortunately, associations are hard to give up and even more awfully - I do not want to let go of these associations. I can hear David Bowie's "Heroes" in my head already, as I imagine a train station and Christiane ("Wir Kinder vom Bahnhof Zoo"(1981)) walking around with her lifeless face and transparent body, her hair all around her face in a storm when trains stop and start riding again. Trains are the sign of freedom, this thought came to me in first pages of "The Catcher in the Rye", while I was taking a ride with Holden, 3 or 4 years ago. I wish I could glorify simple things less, but it's more fun that way, isn't it?
"Wir Kinder vom Bahnhof Zoo"(1981)
Photograph by Lise Sarfati