Obsess Over Everything

Posts from the Research Study Category

So for the rest of the summer, I’ll be living in Taos, New Mexico during my residency at the Helene Wurlitzer Foundation.  I’ve been here about a week and all I can say is that my life has already changed in that short period of time.  My health has been bad since past August, which as many of you know has forced me to stop making artwork and exhibiting.  Since I arrived, I don’t stop sketching out ideas in my notebook or writing down subjects that interest me about the Spanish and Native cultural influence in the town.  I came here with the intention of creating spiritually themed work in performance as well as outdoor sculptures involving papercutting, and I cannot wait to share photos throughout my stay so keep checking back!










The other night there was about to be the most enormous rainstorm.  Since it was the first night that it wasn’t pouring rain here, I went out and walked around Rock River taking pictures.  It also just so happened to be the magic hour, and I’ve never seen light like this anywhere else.  Everything glowed this beautiful orange light.  Plus, the clouds didn’t hurt at all for photography.  I’ve got to say, I’m making it a habit now to take a walk after dinner along the tracks to go scavenging and picture taking.  It’s so different here from the city.  You hear nothing but dogs barking or maybe the sound of a boy on his dirtbike far away.

This summer I am participating in a research program at my university.  Each week, we hear 4 presenters go up and tell us what exactly they’re researching and why we should care etc etc

The other day, the Dean gave us a little talk on how this whole program seemed to him so far.  He said this was a room of “unusual students” and I must say that we are.  No one here has overlapping projects, and that’s the most refreshing thing ever. 

At the beginning of this experience, I said that my research was different from everyone’s.  I was wrong.  Yeah, it’s different.  But that’s not what I said.  I said only I was different.  Turns out, each person has the most interesting way of figuring out whatever it is they want to learn about.  I’m not the only one doing some crazy form of “research” that’s set apart from the typical scientific method.

A few weeks ago, I decided to go ahead and draw each person while they’re presenting.  As if there isn’t pressure enough.  I guess that puts more pressure on me actually since I better get your face drawn right.

Here they are:


Dean Stricker










For those fellows who do read this and presented before I started this little project, we are going on a retreat together soon.  That sounds like an opportunity to get a little portrait drawn if you’d like.

Have to say that I am usually not the type to get excited over Disney Princess pictures on the internet, but this is pretty great.  Jirka made these awesome images just for fun. Wish this was something I just whipped up in my spare time.

Note: No affiliation to Disney.

Megara from Hercules

Tiana from the Princess and the Frog

Esmeralda from The Hunchback

Jane from Tarzan

Jasmine from Aladdin

To see more, click here

Just when I was stuck in a rut of no inspiration or ideas, I found this guy. Hew Locke does it all, and in the flashiest of ways. I’m in love with these sculptures of his that have so much to them in terms of material and concept. Plus, they’re just gorgeous.

Black Queen (detail) 2004, approx 290 x 160 x 60 cm
Photo by FXP Photography.


The Kingdom of the Blind
2008 Ranging in height from 402 cm to 213 cm
Plastic, screws, glue gun, fabric, vinyl, plywood
Photo by Thierry Bal, courtesy inIVA 2008

Chariots of the Gods
2009 520 x 385cm
Wall hanging – wool backing with appliqué cord & plastic beads
Photo by Peter Mallet, 2009, Courtesy Haunch of Venison Gallery, London

El Dorado 2005 mixed media, approx 290 x 175 x 60 cm.
Photo by FXP Photography

Yellow Menace detail, 150 x 70 x 45cm, 2001
Photo © Hew Locke & DACS

To check out more click here

Lately I have been thinking about the gypsy lifestyle.  No, not the kind of gypsy that you see on TLC’s My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding but that old traditional view of it.  Being in a caravan and traveling around.  I can’t stop imagining about what it would be to be a modern nomad.  Sure, people do it all the time.  Would I be able to?  No.  I’ll be the first to admit it.  Let’s be serious, I could probably not even camp out in my backyard.

Yesterday I watched this video and was totally blown away.  For those of you just reading this post, I’m planning on going to Wyoming for two weeks now in July.  This is my first time going and doing anything like it, so I’m pretty excited.  But this video is exactly what I would love to create related to my own trip.  Sure, I’m not going to China or Cambodia or anywhere else spectacular. I’m staying here in the States.  I find beauty in just the city I’m in or just going to the airport.  Why not make a video of it?  I can’t imagine the shots I’ll find in Wyoming for my video/photos.  Add in some dolly shots and a really moody song and you have yourself a heartfelt video.

Pittsburgh has its little spots that have that grimy sense of wonder.  There are a lot of old pockets in this city, and not too many people are fans.  I love them.  They make for great photos and bring on a sense of nostalgia whenever you’re around them.  When I see these places it makes me want to go explore them and to capture them in as many images as possible. These are taken around Braddock.  I dragged my boyfriend to drive me all around that city.  Wait until he hears that I want to go back.

The day has come and gone.  Yesterday was …. Our First Meeting!  Yes, that deserves all caps.  It’s a big deal.  I should really explain what I’m talking about here.  At noon, I went to my first meeting for the Brackenridge Summer Fellowship.  Pretty exciting.  This is the first time I have ever received anything like this.  Over the summer, I will be part of a community of 55 other fellows and basically get compensated for doing research.  More excited now?

I expected to know someone there, but I was in a sea of unfamiliar faces.  That doesn’t happen so often in Pittsburgh.  Small town feeling where you know everyone at every shop you go to.  Apparently I have not been as social as I thought I was.  Before the meeting, I was desperately trying to finish my spreadsheet containing lists upon lists of what I plan to buy with all of the money.  ALL of it, just so you are aware, is going towards supplies.  Mainly photography.  B&H Photo is going to make a whole lot of money from me.

Everything started out fine and interesting.  We were given a lecture on what was in store for us the following months of summer.  For each meeting, four of the fellows are going to present their topics during a 30 minute presentation.  Easy enough, right?  I guess I underestimated how amazing my major is: Studio Arts.

I’m going to go off on a little rant here.  The Dean told us that by the end of the program we should, “be able to learn to communicate and listen so that they [we] can come to an understanding.”  Ok, that’s fine.  I’m totally fine with that goal, are you?  Then he took it a step further and began to dive into a discussion concerning questions.  As an audience member, you should be able to listen and ask questions that spark further conversation.  No problem.  But wait- isn’t this built in to my topic of study?  My work as an artist usually concentrates and rides upon its interaction with the viewer.  This is a particular quality to my recent work, but I am still very reliant on the viewer and the conversations that the pieces spark in them.   So here’s the final thought:  Studio Arts is usually knocked down for now being a “real major” by some students (not all) and is not the first major that comes to mind when one hears the word “research.”  Why is this occurring if our work is geared to communicate and lead to a universal understanding or wide conversation?


And that’s that’.


Rest of the meeting went fine.  I learned that we would not be getting half of the research money until later in the summer.  From then on, my dreams of wide angle lenses and Tenba backpacks fluttered away.  Well, only temporarily.  It stopped when we were given a lecture that was largely based on neuroscience.  Now don’t get me wrong, I love the sciences.  But I felt as though there was something missing in this.  Not just with my field of study, but others as well.

My Dream Pack

The main point to be taken from this, well at least I think, is that you must continue to ask questions and to keep digging into matters.  Sad to say, I have terrible hearing and was a bit too shy to speak up and request that he talked louder.  But my ears picked up on everything that they needed to hear.  I liked the lecture- there was a lot to be taken from it.  But again, there was something missing.  He told us that just because no one else cares about what you’re trying to figure out doesn’t mean that you don’t.  We are going to give up our summer time to find out something that we care about.  That statement was wonderful to me.  Then, he took a turn.  And that turn led into the objective.  He said many of the easy questions have been answered already, and we must go to figure out the hard ones.  For science, that’s pretty true.  I guess for art, too.  This lecture did not have any reference to the arts but focused solely on the scientific method.  Other fields, including mine, have answers to these questions that are opinion based.  I thrive on opinion.  I’m writing this blog to keep track of my opinions and feelings on certain matters.  I map out what I dislike, what I like, or what I want to move towards.  When you are working with opinion instead of data, things get a little bit more difficult.  And a little bit more fun.


Today feels like a planning kind of day.  I leave for Wyoming to do more research and I’ve got to get myself and my ideas ready!  I’m going to the MIDDLE OF NOWHERE.  No I’m serious!  According to an old folklore, when you go to pick up the phone to call someone at home you can’t because…… THERE’S NO CELLPHONE SERVICE ANYWHERE.  So this is where I’ll be:






My To-Do list is endless.  At the moment at least.  But it just feels as though that’s the case basically every single day of my existence.  Right now, I’m preparing for two very big things in my academic life.

  1. Brackenridge Fellowship:  I have been given 3500 dollars to do research for 12 weeks this summer

2.  Wyoming: I’m going to Wyoming.  To do art.

While I realize that these do not seem so daunting and so complicated, they really are.  Or I am just being overly dramatic.  Here’s the thing: I am dramatic and I do like to plan things.  Now, I never said I was good at planning but I will try my absolutehardestat it.  Especially for this summer voyage.

SO from here on out I’m going to try to keep this updated for the world with all of my inner thoughts, inspirations, ideas, and hates.  All of it.  You will feel as though you are inside my mind by the end of this summer.


Here’s a little intro to myself.  This is me in my typical working garb:  tshirt.  There’s nothing better to work in or to live in for that matter.  I’m keeping it fancy seeing as how it’s a vintage Calvin Klein tshirt.  There is a difference.

  • The bottom of my hair is dyed black.  It has been so since far before that whole trend started earlier this year.  Just thought that I needed to make that distinction.  You could think that I’m falling into a blogging trend and we couldn’t have that, could we?
  • I love ideas.  There is nothing more invigorating or refreshing than a brand new idea or project that brews inside the mind.  You get a feeling of excitement and begin planning.  Actually seeing that idea coming to realization is something I have to work on a bit more.
  • Everything is based on my mood.  My outfits, my art, my choice of music, are all decided by my mood.  And my mood is affected by all of those things in return.  So how does anything ever get done around here

Ah, the workspace at the moment.  You are literally looking at what I am doing right now.  Nothing like a Capri Sun while you browse through Gray’s Anatomy and pray that the Louis Vuitton + Yayoi Kusama collection comes out.  Don’t forget to notice my little feetsies in there.  I have my toes pedicured for you and everything.


Here’s my reading list for the summer.  Wait, I’m in college.  Reading List?  Yes, for my big ol’ Wyoming trip I have to read a few little pieces.  The Virginian is the first Western Novel and includes a few locations that we’ll be heading to.  Spiral Jetta seems interesting since it is about art and I’m pretty open to any forms of inspiration at the moment.  Bone Wars is all about dinosaur wars between a few geologists.  Pretty crazy to think that a few of those bones dug up on the plot that I’ll be in are in the museum right down the street from me.  In case you’re wondering, that’s the Carnegie Museum of Natural History in Pittsburgh.


Break time.  Capri Suns just suck me in.

Well, I begin my big adventure into my research tomorrow.  It’s time to look into anatomy now and take a break from all the western reading….