June was somewhat of "lighter" month for me in terms of my work and the art that I created. I was ill for a lot of the month. Also, June is the anniversary month of my mother passing away. Thought it has been well over a decade since she passed away, sometimes it feels very raw and very painful. Some days during June, it was difficult to get out of bed at all. Even so, I did work on a few things during the month of June; at the end of each month I share an Artists Make Art post to discuss what I created that month.
In June I created:
- New photographs to be the artwork within my upcoming subject-specific digital anthologies of Gradient Lair. There is a boiler plate cover—which I finally decided on and created last month—where some of the cover photographs will change depending on the subject of each anthology, but the cover design will remain the same. Each anthology will focus on a particular topic that I wrote about (i.e. womanism, street harassment, hypervisibility etc.) 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. The project is taking me a while since revisiting some of this content is painful and the project itself is not really funded. Ya know, people take and take from Gradient Lair—often times opportunistically or punitively erasing me in the process—but rarely give back to the space, so...yeah. I did try to get some outside funding for the project, but so far that has not worked out. I will see...
- New photographs that I shared on my Instagram profile for Drift Sojourn. On Drift Sojourn blog I posted: Homemade Chocolate Waffles, 3 Classic Film Cameras, Chocolate, Chocolate Chip Cookies, Pancakes From Scratch, and Sugar Cookies From Scratch. I have definitely been enjoying my baking experiments. On Twitter I participated in the #FeministsInTheKitchen and #BlackChefsBreakTheInternet hashtags, where I shared some of my food photography, specifically. I also participated in #BlackGirlsBreakTheInternet, sharing some of my self-portraiture as well as just for fun iPhone selfies. The selfie tweets collage above is something that I created after the hashtag when I had a bit of free time to do so. It might be like a Twitter keepsake since I have very little desire to use that hypervisible account anymore; I deal with an inordinate amount of hourly/daily online abuse for literally years now. I also shared some mobile macro photographs (iPhone 6s + Olloclip 10x macro lens) of makeup.
- Some of the writing for my 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 in June but as I mentioned above, June was difficult month for me emotionally and mental health-wise. However, I feel 99% certain that this eBook will be ready in July.
- One new post and one new essay on Cinemacked: 3 New To Netflix Selections - June 2016 and 35 Of The New Black Members In The Academy. Though I did not write any new film reviews on the blog in June, I did briefly tweet about several films on @Cinemacked: The Game, The Saint and What Happens In Vegas; I also tweeted about my favorite TV show fathers for Father's Day, and they are from shows that I analyze/critique regularly. TV shows that I live tweet (i.e. The Flash, Longmire) are listed on the TV Roster page of Cinemacked. I also joined ARRAY; ARRAY is the rebirth of The African-American Film Festival Releasing Movement (AFFRM) founded by Ava DuVernay in 2010. It is an expanded movement now, dedicated to the amplification of films made by women of all races, and people of colour, in general.
- Preliminary writing 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 these exploitative types of actions.
- I wrote the following essay, published here on the blog: Hire Black Writers.
I created this 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, April, and May, I shared posts similar to this one.
One of the things that I like most about my Artist Make Art series is that I like reviewing my process and holding myself accountable for what I want to do next. There is no one to tell me what to do as an indie artist; I have to be accountable to myself and create the things that I want to create, not only because I love art but because it is my work and ultimately I have to be able to pay bills and survive. This survival comes with many challenges, some of which I wrote about in Social Media: "Fans," Supporters, Hypervisibility and Survival here and last year year in Art Saves Me, on Gradient Lair.
I am halfway through a new year and at this moment I feel a small amount of optimism about my work itself, though not in the social media culture that surrounds it. That leaves me torn, always, and makes me desire something else for my life, ironically. The issue is that there is nothing that I rather do more than write and make art; it is simply the context in which it is happening, in social media space, that has a price that is honestly too high. I cannot pay that price with my peace of mind, time, safety and physical/mental health forever.