Life, People, sketchbook

The one with the magic

My friend k_space gifted Just Kids to me a decade ago and since then Patti Smith, with her music and her writing, have been my spiritual savior. I squeezed M Train out for months, not wanting to let go of her company.

[I got some coffee and stood looking at the sky. Patti Smith saves me every time. That’s why I’m tough like Monday morning.]

“Never let go of that fiery sadness called desire.”

Patti Smith

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Books, Life, sketchbook

Although I cannot see your face

Honestly who would have thought that we would spend a quarter of a year in physical isolation from each other. A story to recount in my old age.

And speaking of old age. Umberto Eco once wrote that books are the most robust format of content transmission that we have seen over centuries, and so that if nothing else, my sketchbooks would probably survive till my old age at least, and I will look back on these days and laugh…

"Although I cannot see your face 
As you flip these poems awhile
Somewhere from some far off place
I hear you laughing - 
and I smile..."

Shel Silverstein
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Life, sketchbook

Let’s be enemies!

Over the past few years, we’ve moved cities, homes, neighborhoods quite frequently. Every new house needs a new social life, but before we’ve been able to settle down to do that, we’ve moved again. Here are some drawings from a couple of years ago when we had just moved to yet another new house.

[It’s been so long since I made any friends that I’ve forgotten what one does with them…until I read this book with Orin yesterday: Let’s be enemies by Maurice Sendak. Friends do things together – like playing and birthday cakes and making sand castles.]

[I wonder what activities a solitary person like me will do with a friend? Work? Draw? Eat. Talk. Cook. Watch a movie? I need to do more things. I need to make new friends.]

“She always believes the solution lies outside herself. Tsk.”

Anteater
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art, Books, sketchbook

Read a book you hate

I read a lot of books in 2017 and Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas was one of them. I’ve always steered very clear of psychedelic fiction, being the straight-laced person that I am, but when I received the exact same edition on two separate occasions from two very close friends, I had to finally read it.

No, this is not a good town for psychedelic drugs. Reality itself is too twisted.

All the references to the Rolling Stones’ music and The Doors’ music was quite an educational journey for me – [who] steered so clear of all this narcotic-induced visions. This could be one of those “Read a book you hate” challenges!

I remember reading it and feeling quite hot, the language was so evocative of the Las Vegas strip and hot US highways in summer, and didn’t hate it as much as I expected to.

Here are some images from Google:

From Google

Ralph Steadman and Hunter S. Thomson had met once and it hadn’t gone too well: “A year later, Steadman was asked if he’d like to illustrate another, much longer, piece of Thompson’s for Rolling Stone magazine – about a drug-crazed trip Thompson had just made to Las Vegas with his Samoan attorney….Despite never having been anywhere near Las Vegas, he set to, and four days later sent off his drawings. “I was quite pleased with them, I remember. I thought I’d managed to complement the style of Hunter’s writing.” When the drawings arrived, Thompson anxiously unrolled them. “Ye gods,” he recalled. “Every one of them was perfect.” Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas was a huge hit and the two of them became friends. Under Thompson’s influence, Steadman’s work changed. “My drawing got stronger, less flaccid. He exposed me to the screaming lifestyle of the US.” But it was a friendship that came at quite a cost – to Steadman anyway.”

Have you read Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas? Would love to know what you liked about it.

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drawing, Life, sketchbook, Work

Surviving work, part 2

It was early 2017 when I first started to use my drawing to deal with work stress.

I was still grumpily trying to understand what my role as a Design Manager should be, and the anteater, as usual, gave his sage advice:

Sometimes all you need is a different perspective on life, like The Principles of Uncertainty by Maira Kalman.

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And I also finished reading M Train by Patti Smith around that time.

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While all this helps momentarily, there’s actually larger causes for work stresses which need to be carefully resolved. But of course, I didn’t know that then…

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art, Books, drawing, Life, sketchbook

From Sojourns in the parallel world

A year or so ago, I used to have a morning ritual of waking up and reading some poetry with coffee. Once in a while I would read Meditations by Marcus Aurelius, and during that time, I also read White by Kenya Hara. (It’s such a meditative, beautiful book, and it was rather a spiritual and other worldly experience for me.)

One of those mornings, I read this poem by Denise Levertov. Though it’s about immersing our human consciousness in the natural world, to me the last few lines evoked how we continue to voluntarily lose ourselves in the virtual world.

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“No one discovers

just where we’ve been, when we’re caught up again

–but we have changed, a little.”

From the sketchbook called Finding Soo • August 2016.

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Life, sketchbook, travels

Holiday journal, 1

A break from the distant past of 2015 to the last holiday we took a few months ago. We’d gone to Sri Lanka, but as you’ll see from my drawings, events conspired to make the holiday more about the hotel room than the place.

“Here we are, in a neighboring country that looks and feels familiar, but such a different vibe, such a different sense of people.”

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We’d planned to go to all these places that I’d drawn in the map, but I ended up in the hotel at Bentota the whole time, because Orin fell ill and only recovered the day we were leaving for Delhi. These are some drawings done on the road.

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On this trip I started using water-soluble color pencils for the first time, and really enjoyed moving away from lines to shadows. (Forgive the quality of these images, my scanner is broken so there’s a big glare in all the scans.)

These drawings done in Kandy Botanical Gardens were the first ones where I was trying to figure out how to use color pencils.

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Discovered the writing of Joan Didion in The Year of Magical Thinking on this trip.

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“You have to pick the places you don’t walk away from.”

And the same is true of people, I think.

Part 2 coming next.

And by the way, I used a Kaagazi sketchbook and loved it. Will be definitely using more of their books now.

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