I am not "the media." I am not a journalist. I am not an "academic." I am not an activist. I am an artist. Artists make art. I started my Artists Make Art series when I created this new space last December to bring my personal, professional, and creative thoughts, ideas and work together; Gradient Lair (Black women and art, media, social media, sociopolitics and culture; womanism), Drift Sojourn (food, travel, lifestyle and macro photography) and Cinemacked (entertainment, aesthetics and sociopolitics of good film and television). In January, February, March, and April, I shared posts similar to this one.
In May I created:
- The actual cover for my subject-specific digital anthologies of Gradient Lair. There is a boiler plate cover where some of the cover photographs will change depending on the subject of each one, but the base cover will remain the same. This took so long to decide on but it finally exists! Hooray! Each anthology will focus on a particular topic that I wrote about while the space was active 2012-2015. The anthologies will eventually be available in Publications here, and on an anthology link on Gradient Lair itself. Admittedly, this particular project is very difficult, emotionally. I am still dealing with plagiarism on old content and abuse because the space still exists, even if not active daily anymore. Additionally, some of the content is difficult to revisit, even triggering; such is life. However, I did decide to proceed with the project; I had some serious doubts last month and I was considering scrapping the whole thing. It is quite the financial burden to make it happen and I know that I will not see a good financial return on it since most people engaged the space exploitatively to start with and will not respect this project if each anthology has a small fee. People are committed to extremely selfish unidirectional consumption and I see that very clearly. However, I decided that this project is more about me than anything. Gradient Lair started as a personal blog so I like the idea of creating something with permanence in regards to what I did what that space. I respect my own work even if it is plagiarized and disrespected as the most common type of interactions. I know that I did something good there (and it did reach some good people and helped them evolve personally and politically; many have told me so) and it was a challenge for me. Despite all of the harm that I have faced (and still face) for creating it, I am still proud of what I made.
- New photographs that I shared on my Instagram profile for Drift Sojourn. On Drift Sojourn blog I posted: Simple and Sweet Brownies, Soft and Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies, and Fried Lobster Raviolis Snack. I have definitely been enjoying my baking experiments.
- The final outline and the introduction for a new photography eBook, my fourth one overall. 2 of my previous three photography eBooks—Photography Projects For Practice and Portfolios and Free or Frugal: Learning and Creating Photography On A Budget—are available right now in Publications and on an eBook link on Drift Sojourn itself. I wanted to publish this fourth eBook in May, but I was pretty busy with so many other things. Hopefully I can in June.
- One new post and one new essay on Cinemacked: 3 New To Netflix Selections - May 2016 and an essay on one of my current television shows; Chicago Fire - Love, Under Pressure. Though I did not write any new film reviews on the blog in May, I did tweet about several films on @Cinemacked: Blunt Force Trauma, Captain America: Civil War, Hidden Figures (not released yet; I discussed the concept of people viewing it as a "Black film" or not), San Andreas, The Intern, The Man From U.N.C.L.E., and X-Men: Apocalypse. I also live tweeted the AMC series The Night Manager. Other TV shows that I live tweet (i.e. The Flash, Arrow) are listed on the TV Roster page of Cinemacked. I became a member of LAMB (The Large Association of Movie Blogs). The LAMB is the world’s largest film blog directory/community.
- More brainstorming for 2 surprise publications. In the previous months' posts like this, I mentioned that I will not discuss these publications until they are complete. Some work is better shared when complete, in order to minimize abuse, copycats, plagiarism and the stress associated with those unfortunate types of actions.
- I wrote the following 3 essays, published here on the blog: People Who Minimize Hobbyists and Exploit Professional Artists, Abusing/Exploiting Independent Creators Is Not "Fighting Capitalism" and One Day I Want To Dazzle.
There are so many times when I feel discouraged about what I do. Who could feel "empowered" as an indie creator using social media when so much time is spent mitigating online abuse? Most times, I am just here so that I don't get fined; Marshawn 3:16; the holy verse on labor. This is something that I elaborated on in Social Media: "Fans," Supporters, Hypervisibility and Survival. I have to survive so I create art as my work and I create art as pleasure, self-care and healing. This is how art saves me. While living in a capitalist society, sure, I have become accustomed to eating and having shelter; survival. But people make this difficult because they are more concerned with stopping me from surviving, even more than them specifically not liking any specific thing that I have made. I recently re-read all of my Artists Make Art posts and I noticed that each month while I feel mostly happy about what I worked on in the previous month, I also experienced abuse in that same month. It is a tiring coexistence. I do wonder about that future moment when I cannot do it anymore. And then what will I do? This crosses my mind in lighter ways as I mentioned in the aforementioned linked essay, but also in much much heavier ways, as I wrote about in To Get Through This Thing Called Life and Death Folder: On Life, Living, Suicide and Dying. Will art always save me? What will happen when art can no longer be my hero?