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Don't ever peak: ‘nightmarish’ photos, art by the ocean & visual arts residencies
Issue no. 5
I finally watched the YA show The Summer I Turned Pretty, after learning that a filmmaker I admire Isabel Sandoval directed a few episodes. While the story stews a little too long in the teenage love triangle for my taste (I wasn’t so boy-obsessed at that age), I do recognize the protagonist Belly’s yearning to be seen for not just who she is but the person she’s becoming.
I always heard that you shouldn’t “peak” in high school because the rest of your life will be a struggle. But I couldn’t help being jealous of my peers who seemed to have it together. Funny. Great at soccer. Pretty. It became even harder not to compare myself to them when I was one of the few Asian American girls at my school, and I definitely stood out. But not in the way I wanted to.
It wasn’t until junior year of college, when I studied abroad in Europe, that I felt confident in my own skin. I joke that it was my “glow up” year, but I think the difference is that I stopped hiding. I was in a foreign country with new friends, and truthfully, I had nothing to lose. This energy followed me that summer when I got an internship of a lifetime in Southern California. I was working at a TV production office with red-dyed hair, hanging out by the beach on the weekends, and looking out at a horizon that seemed to stretch on forever.
This year, I turn 30. It’s almost like I’m back to my school years, navigating another pivotal moment in my life. My interests have changed. My old jeans don’t fit like they used to. I’m talking about starting a family with my husband. There’s a lot of growing still left for me to do, but I’m actually excited for it.
“Peaking” is something I don’t think I ever want to achieve. Even when I’m 80 years old and more settled in my life, I want to still feel like I’m learning and growing. I want to keep having summers of new discoveries.
— Ruth Guerra, Founder of Cool Girls Co
What’s Cool Lately
German-American award-winning illustrator Nora Krung depicts a year of war through two visual accounts from Ukraine and Russia in her new book. Last year, Krung started text messaging with Russian-born Ukranian journalist K, and D, a Russian artist from St Petersburg. In the book, Krung illustrates K and D’s daily lives, while exploring the impact of the war on their overall wellbeing. “How does it change their relationship to their families and their sense of cultural belonging?” she asks.
We might be entering the last few days of spooky season, but photos live on forever. Here are 10 photobooks that will extend the nightmarish spirit well into the new year.
Moment of Inspiration
Hundreds of large-scale artworks grace an Australian Beach for the largest outdoor sculpture park in the world (though only temporary), Sculpture by the Sea. According to Colossal:
From a beefy seated gorilla to a sleek shell with human legs, a spectacular collection of public artworks currently populates the walk from Bondi to Tanarama beaches on Australia’s coast. Celebrating its 25th year in this location, the annual Sculpture by the Sea festival showcases more than 100 pieces in various mediums, styles, and sizes, all bordering the Pacific Ocean.
Open Calls & Opportunities
🏛️ The G. & A. Mamidakis Foundation Art Prize calls for site specific artworks created to be part of a configured environment; works which narrate an internal path/route, and which can be reference points/landmarks within their exhibition space. Application deadline: Friday, 15 December 2023.
🎨 The Fulcrum Fund provides grants to artists and artist collectives of $2,000 to $10,00 USD. It’s an annual grant program created and administered by 516 ARTS as a partner in the Regional Regranting Program of The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts. Application deadline: Wednesday, 20 December 2023.
🧑🎨 Applications are now open for the Artist Studios at MAD, a community engagement and professional development program for contemporary artists and designers. The full-time MAD Artist Fellow will receive a $15,000 USD, while two Artist Studios residents receive a $5,200 USD stipend. Application deadline: Sunday, 7 January 2024.
🎓 The Core Program awards residencies to exceptional, highly motivated visual artists and critical writers who have completed their undergraduate or graduate training and are working to develop a sustainable practice. Residents receive a $20,000 USD stipend, 24-hour access to a private studio or office, and borrowing privileges at the MFAH Hirsch Library and Rice University Fondren Library. Application deadline: Monday, 1 April 2024.
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