Thursday, November 19, 2009

New Blog Location...

From now on all of my blogging will go here:

Yours Truly, Naima

Monday, September 14, 2009

Richard To Death

This Saturday I dealt a death blow to Richard Simmons' Disco Sweat.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Inspiring Films

I think that I may have had a better time at film school if I was asked to watch and consider these, instead of all the 1960s/1970s American "realism" that gave my professors a hard on. Oh well.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Monday, August 3, 2009

I am a Neglectful Blogger

I have barely paid any attention to this blog. Unfortunately I have also be neglecting everything other than working with some youth on a web design project for the last several weeks. It is fun and I like working with them, but I wish that it didn't burn me out so totally.

I have, however, been reading and watching and doing some interesting things, and spending time with some fabulous people.

Last month I went to the Allied Media Conference. While I claim to be conference and activist phobic, I have been part of quite a few gatherings over the last several years. This one was one of my favorites. I really enjoyed thinking about connections between cultural production and radical movement building. I felt challenged, intrigued and excited by all that I saw and did. 
During one of the workshops I learned about The Pinky Show, which is an amazing site filled with videos that make complex issues like militarization and colonialism really interesting and accessible. And Cute. I also spent a lot of time at the conference with Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha, who is a bomb ass writer and performer, and one of the co-founders of Mangos with Chili and The Femme Sharks. It was fun to not be the loudest or most foul mouthed brown girl in the room at any given time.

But my favorite AMC moment was hearing about this amazing radical participatory research project conducted by the women and girls of the Young Women's Empowerment Project in Chicago. The research they presented was about modes of resilliance and resistance practiced by young women in Chicago impacted by the sex trade and street economies. In addition to the report, there is a 'zine with tips and information on self care and harm reduction. I fucking learned how to give myself a vaginal exam and give DIY stitches. I felt blessed and inspired by the creativity and fierceness of the project and presentation.

This week I have my friend Charlotte Cooper staying at my house. It is divine to hear her scheme, dream and plot big fat revolution.

I have been slowly and surely working on a couple of stories and learning about book making. Maybe once I feel more focused, I will have something to show for those efforts. 

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Being a Working Artist Doesn't Always Work

I'm really proud of the work that I've done and all that I'm learning every day. I'm also proud to be part of networks of people who are creative. However, as I try right now to really take myself and my work seriously and move forward and somehow scratch out a living, I'm struggling struggling struggling, and it totally makes me get why so many creative people go into advertising.

It also makes me feel really defensive and frustrated and sensitive about the ways that we do go about making our money. There is a teeny tiny fraction of us who become art stars who become fabulously wealthy through selling, producing, or directing our work. Another slightly larger group make a living through our work, though not an especially fabulous one, working a variety of performance, gallery, or publishing or DIY sales circuits. The rest of us have a variety of day jobs as teachers, food service workers, academics, programmers, sex workers, homemakers, advertisers, craftspeople, retailers, and on and on. We apply for grants, fellowships, residencies; We sell prints, solicit donations, get fiscal sponsors, rent cheap space and take classes to keep the work constantly moving. We all hustle, whether or class status tells us that's what we're doing or not. We're trying to find a way to beat the system.

I feel so protective of my fellow artists and the things that they do to make it work. I feel protective of those who appear "sell out" when they finally start to actually make money for their work. I feel protective of those who toil away in obscurity, unwilling or unable to make commercially viable work, but equally unwilling to give up on their ideas. I feel protective of those who are unschooled by choice or by circumstance, and who may or may not even call themselves artists. And I am protective of those who spend years and years in artist finishing schools trying get experiences and credentials that might help them in the future. I feel protective of artists who have no idea if they are any good, and especially of those who just keep at it anyway.

I feel protective of artists because of the risks that they take that are so often considered worthless (unless they can be easily co-opted or branded) by capitalists and anti-capitalists alike.

As I write this I'm feeling privileged to be among the ranks of this hugely varied group of people in the world, and that knowledge is helping me understand how to be ok with being broke for a little while longer until I figure out the next scheme... And the next...

Monday, April 6, 2009

For Some Reason This Has Become Pink

In a flurry of "creativity" I decided to make this blog pink. Not sure why.

I have also started work on something new, hinted at in my previous post from a million years ago.

Also, I've been thinking a lot about this whole concept of productivity as an artist. Obviously the fact that I haven't "produced" anything to my own satisfaction in quite a while means that I have already come to some serious conclusions about what this means. The project above is something of an ongoing experiment, and one that is going very slowly. Or maybe it is actually fast. Not sure.

I do think that it reflects a certain charming combination of humor, nostalgia, and laziness.