Friday, December 23, 2011

Under the Bed Gallery Opening

I was going to start with a picture of a beautiful Antarctic vista, but I realized I haven't really ended up with any new ones in a while. This is because I am only allowed to wander within a very small, contained area, and all my pictures start to look the same because there are a limited number of vantage points. So instead of a photo, here is a comic that addresses the very tight leash that I am kept on, and how I choose to deal with it:

Obviously I failed at posting on my day off. I think I instead ended up locking myself in the record room all day and drawing, which I needed for my own sense of sanity. I am doing my best to keep you abreast of my continued shennanigans down here, but I am tiiirrreeeeed. Very, very, very tired. I was talking to a friend down here, and she said that you have just enough time to do one thing outside of work, and that most people choose to make that thing drinking. 

This is a very true statement. 

I'm trying to keep up my usual Tessa pace and do about 5 things outside of work (on that note, I'm going to start posting playlists from my radio shows... eventually... at some point... when I find time... (also, I apologize to all the people I owe letters to! I'm working on them...)), and am definitely beginning to feel pretty worn down from the effort. At the end of this contract, I intend to give myself the sort of vacation that I usually consider to be my personal version of purgatory. I am going to find somewhere comfy to collapse-- preferably a hammock on a warm beach-- and drink cocktails with tiny umbrellas in them and keep my decision making to such compelling issues as,  "Which section of the Sunday times would I like to read first?" and "Do I want to nap now, or nap later?" 

Anyways, since my last post, I hosted the first opening for the Under the Bed Gallery. The vague theme of the show was "Things That Have Come to Seem Normal," and the idea was for people to make art about the strange things they'd adapted to after being down here for too long. Some people decided to go with that theme, but for the most part it was a delightful free for all. Instead of rambling on, I'm just going to post pictures. I even took some videos for you at the end of this post.

Keep the Outside Notions of Antarctica submissions coming!

 So... For context, someone pooped on a chair in one of the lounges. It was discovered by the janitors, and no one is fessing up to who did it or why. It has been the talk of the town for weeks. Various McMurdo bands have written songs about the poop chair, and it's a common party game to ruminate on the context leading up to its creation.
 Part of our ridiculous bureaucracy down here involves filling out Labor Allocation Sheets (LAS), in which we account for literally every minute of our work day. We break down our hours into such inane categories as "Safety Meeting" or "Stretch Break" or "Preparing Flight Lunches." These categories are absurdly specific, and I think there are something like ~80 options of common activities, and then a write in space for "Other." I really, really wonder what you would have to do at work such that there wasn't a line to write it in. We have to fill these out every day, and we get angry emails if we don't have them filed by 10:30am. Each friday we have to Lock and Certify our hours, and if we don't do that on time, then the world ends and the universe implodes and we get written up and have to have meetings with our big HR bosses. I find this all quite fascinating, as bureaucracy is something I have always avoided like the plague.
Anyways, Jason made an LAS sheet accounting for all 24 hours of the day. It's a little depressing. But also funny. 

 This is a pretty accurate depiction of the kitchen. We have a lot of fun at work. There are many spontaneous dance numbers and discussions of dinosaurs, and sometimes we lose our voices because we decide to spend four hours loudly singing along to all of our music in the style of Cher.
 My favorite piece. Video of it at the bottom of this post.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Interview on Squidface and the Meddler

This post has nothing at all to do with Antarctica, but I recently got asked to do an interview for the Toronto based arts magazine Squidface and the Meddler. I really enjoyed some of the questions they asked, and ended up illustrating some of my responses. Here are some of the comics I drew for them, and you can check out the full interview here.
I promise I'll put up some more Antarctic related posts soon, probably on my day off on Tuesday. So much to do, so little time!

Monday, December 12, 2011

A plane crash and some art updates

The post isn't really all that Antarctic, but here are some fun pictures of a plane crash from 1971 to give you your fix of strange things down in the very deep south. It's an enormous pain to ship things off continent, so when this plane went down, the crash was more or less left where it landed.

And now on to the non-Antarctic portion of today's post!

One of my favorite things about traveling and/or ending up in weird remote places is that I get to more or less ignore all the practical, business-y aspects of being an artist and just play around with making things. I make art because it's a joyous compulsion, and I wouldn't be able to stop myself even if I wanted to. But I have yet to figure out how to fully make my peace with the idea of art as a commodity. When I get back from this particular adventure, I think I might just wait tables a few days a week and keep creativity and commerce as separate as possible.... Anyways, my "art career" seems happily far away and abstract from down here, but some of my Northwest art friends have done some pretty wonderful things recently and I am proud of them and would like to share.

People often ask me how I first heard about working in Antarctica and how I subsequently ended up down here. The short answer is: Tia Kramer.

Tia and I met because we both had art studios in the same warehouse space. Tia is a wonderfully talented sculptor and jeweler, and she is also my creative mentor when it come to all the organizational, business aspects of making things for a living. She also always has tasty snacks, and has saved me from low blood sugar many times over because sometimes when I am working, I forget that I need to eat. She was recently interviewed in American Craft Magazine! 

Yay for seeing fabulous artist friends receive the recognition they deserve!

One of my favorite things about writing for an arts magazine is that I get to meet my art crushes. Last summer I got to sit down with Stacey Rozich for an interview for Redefine Magazine, and Stacey's stuff has been circulating like wildfire over the last few years. Stacey recently worked on this incredible video for Seattle's Fleet Foxes. Amazing! I have fallen hopelessly in love with it, and will hopefully be doing some sort of a mini interview (because I have so much free time, right?) with Stacey about the process of working on it.

The Shrine / An Argument from Sean Pecknold on Vimeo.

Annnndddd, last but not least, AJ Fosik! He's been one of my favorite artists for years, and I got to chat with him about his work before heading down here to the ice. 

Monday, December 5, 2011

Two Months

 I realized this morning that I've now been in Antarctica for two months. Two months of stepping outside and looking at views like this, and it still renders me speechless every time. Which, I think, is exactly how it should be. Sometimes it seems like I've been here for three days, and other times it seems like at least nine months. Time becomes pretty subjective when you haven't seen sunrise, sunset or stars in 60 days.

My dad recently forwarded me this amazing Herbert Ponting Antarctic photograph. I would love to get to see something like this-- if only I could, say, be down here on the artists and writers grant... I'm just going to just keep mentioning this repeatedly in the hopes that the universe, as it is sometimes wont to do, might deliver if I ask it enough.
It's my day off and I'm currently camped out in the coffee shop working on six (I mean this literally, not figuratively) different art/writing projects, so I'm going to get back to those and just quickly post some images of various things I've been working on. And let's face it-- people just look at blogs for the pictures, right?
Poster design for Freezing Man, which is exactly what it sounds like. 
Poster design for the Fuels department's Mad Max Party, which I am RIDICULOUSLY excited about because I LOVE anything having to do with the apocalypse.  I have been skuaing various portions of my costume for weeks.
 My own submission for Under the Bed Gallery's "These Things Have Come to Seem Normal" show.
I'm also ostensibly writing a comic strip called "Family Meal" about dumb/silly things that happen in the kitchen down here.

OK! Back to work! And thanks to everyone who has gotten in touch about Under the Bed. Get those submissions in!