Monday, July 18, 2016

Women warriors (#RNCinCLE)

Women art warriors.

In the early hours on Sunday, just before dawn, more than 100 brave Cleveland women rose together, holding mirrors overhead to expose the naked truth about the Republican Party and making art with what may be the most controversial subject in this presidential race: a woman's body. 

New York-based artist Spencer Tunick, best known for organizing large scale nude shoots, has chosen The Land once again (in 2004 he created an installation where he photographed 2,754 naked people on East 9th Street). When it was announced that Cleveland would host the Republican National Convention, Tunick knew exactly what kind of art he wanted to create.   

"To me, [the work] references equality not only in the workplace, but in government," Tunick said about Everything She Says Means Everything in a recent interview. "Once there are more women in government, I think it is going to be a more peaceful world."

I'm inspired by Tunick's work and I'm even more inspired by my friend, Shauna Davis, for volunteering to be a part of the project. She and some 120 Cleveland-area women were chosen among 1,800 who applied to participate.

"It was so powerful, I feel like I was a part of history," she says. "It was an awesome feeling of camaraderie. And there were so many women of different body types, ages and races. There was even a trans woman. [Tunick] was so intentional when he and his team picked these women to take part."

Perhaps even more impressive was Tunick's sensitivity not only to the art but to his models. Not wanting the shoot to turn into a "press circus," Shauna says they were instructed to bring bed sheets to the installation space (a sprawling piece of un-manicured grass in The Flats, off of Scranton Road). At first she was puzzled.

"He said he wasn't sure if the police would come and he didn't invite the media," Shauna says. "He didn't want to make a spectacle of it. So the sheets were to build a wall around us, to protect us in case we needed it." 

Tunick also shared what the work meant on a personal level. As parents of two daughters, he and his wife (an Akron native) wanted them to have more choices, he told the women. The Republican Party, he said, doesn't represent that.

Though getting nude in public isn't new -- Shauna's participated in seven naked bike rides -- Sunday's event was even more poignant.

"I don't really do political things," she says. "But when we shined those mirrors on the convention center, it was like a silent protest." 

Everything She Says Means Everything by Spencer Tunick.
Prisma photo courtesy of Shauna Davis.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Art as activism (#BlackLivesMatter)

I wasn't alive in 1968 but I sure do feel like we're going back in time. 

Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated that year, as was Robert F. Kennedy. Two black athletes, Tommie Smith and John Carlos, staged a silent demonstration against racial discrimination during the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City. Star Trek aired American television's first interracial kiss.

In 2016 the volatility feels as thick as a relentlessly muggy summer evening. Suffocating. Oppressive. Inescapable.

Race relations is hitting a boiling point this year. Perhaps it was most horrifically portrayed in the Dallas sniper attack last week, where a peaceful Black Lives Matter rally turned into the massacre of five white police officers.

The world seems like it's going mad.

When I don't know what to do with my emotions -- anger, fear, deep sadness, hopelessness -- I often turn to words, art and images to help me cope. I came across this cathartic article in today's New York Times.

"The best that art can do is force us to face our problems," says writer Angelica Rogers. "Within ourselves and within our society."

Here is some of the most striking artwork coming out of the Black Lives Matter movement right now:

When you look at these images, what kind of emotions do they evoke? Anger, validation, healing? 

Would love to know your thoughts.

#MLK by Nikkolas Smith. (via BuzzFeed)
"A Man Was Lynched By Police Yesterday" by Dread Scott. (via The New York Times)
"Stay Woke," "Stop Killing Us," "No Breathing" and "More Than a Hashtag" 
by Nikkolas Smith.
"Don't Shoot" by Maria Maria Acha-Kutscher. (via Sojo)

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

White denim: do or don't?

Do you do white denim?

Ronald Reagan was president last time I wore a pair of white jeans. I was a pubescent 13-year-old who thought white Guess jeans were the ultimate fashion status symbol. The year was 1988 and since then, I haven't dared. It's been almost 30 years.

My straight-up honest opinion about white denim? I think it looks trashy. Like men with ponytails and Victoria Beckham, white jeans have definite opinion-splitting properties, says blogger Alyson Walsh of That's Not My Age.

Unless you're Kate Moss, most women can't pull it off.

The color white, especially when stretched over the legs, is unforgiving. Every bump, every inch of cottage cheese and dimpled skin, every crack and fold. It's like watching a fashion train wreck.

What do you think? 

White denim: yay or nay?

Shades of white. (Girls of a Certain Age)

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

This week's obsession: lightly-scented lotion

During hot, sticky summer months the last thing I want to do after a shower is slather on heavily perfumed, thick-as-cream-cheese kind of potions.

I'm a believer in all things Dr. Bronner. This wonderful lightly-scented lavender coconut body lotion is the perfect solution if don't want to feel like Greek yogurt.


Summer beauty tips. (StyleCaster)

Monday, June 27, 2016

New beginnings

You know that saying about one door closing and another one opening? 

Well, it's the happy circumstance I currently find myself in. I recently accepted an amazing opportunity with a creative agency here in Cleveland called shark&minnow, where I am doing all things content related: branded storytelling, content creation, curation, strategy and management.

This new gig means I won't be posting on love,-j. as frequently. But do stop by every so often. My goal is to keep the site fresh, with at least one new post per week.

As always, thanks for reading!

love, -j.    

On networking and outfits.