I’m an artist and I like visual things – pictures. When I find a picture of artwork I like online I download as much media as I can find connected to it. Whether it’s the artwork of an illustrator, photographers compositions, or in this case the physique of a model. Models being the artist who sculpts their body to match certain aesthetics to pay for their livelihood.
Like other people, I find images of models on Instagram. Instagram models have a certain aesthetic. They are either extremely gym fit, beach bodacious, ghetto fab, or high-class sheik. They advertise products using their sex appeal which has created a unique aesthetic for modeling on Instagram using special angles, physical traits, and filters effects to attract a flesh-hungry audience. The quest for visual gratification is high among Instagram users that it is blurring lines of other media industries and there is another sort of model also popular on Instagram – female porn stars.
Recently I was observing a porn star named Nicolette Shea. Firstly porn unto itself is an exaggeration of things people find attractive. Representing the fetish of the glammed-whore fucking for a camera should never be considered too real. Yet in my opinion, the aesthetic qualities of Nicolette Shea are beyond porno exaggeration. Her platinum blond hair, lacquered nails, Botox lips, hand-drawn lashes and brows, balloon tits, round ass, and skin-tight rip cage is a fantastical combination of body parts. She’s always wearing something to show off her inflated breasts and every photo uses very bright light. So why I am looking at these photos? I collect media files to use as a reference or incorporate into art. I like erotic material and creating erotic artwork. I knew Ms. Shea was manufactured plastic and she and industry professionals are unashamed of her obviously fake tits and other details. I can borrow her image without any denial of what she looks like. When I like something I try to figure out why it is I like it. I am attracted to Nicolette Shea not because I think she’s pretty but because of her interesting posing and exaggerated beauty. The kind of beauty that looks good when fucking occurs on low-res videos but not so pretty when you stare hi-res image for too long.
Yet when I examined of a photo posing of her backside with a 3/4 twist of her abdominal so that her face, enormous side boob, and butt are looking right at you – her appearance matches my cartoon illustrations of Fruit Bottomed Girls. The seemingly impossible side boob I found appealing enough to include in my cartoon is possible for Nicolette to show for a camera. It reinforced my idea of this meticulously crafted porn start actually looks more like a cartoon character to me than a human being. It reveals how much influence internet porn has on my artwork. I’m left with the question, are my sensibilities so informed by the intake of the media I collect that I am less true to myself than I believe? Or is Nicolette Shea portraying her body so absurdly that it wrongfully matches the unrealistic eroticism of cartoon render?
To paraphrase the cartoonist R. Crumb, he believes that sex is usually better imagined than how it actually exists in reality. As stated previously the system of online consumption of Instagram models does not aim to look real or proper but realize it’s own standard of aesthetic. The features of Nicolette Shea are similarly shared with other glamorized Instagram models. Female Instagram model traits are fat butts, thin waists, big boobs, firm asses, abs and biceps – and for many some body parts are assembled together unbelievably to create a voluptuous muscled vixen. Then extenuate their body wearing plenty of make up, styled hair, and kinky clothing like Shea. Finally they are visually transformed with popular camera angles that make their body parts bigger or smaller. Bright lighting, vivid color and contrasty values that flatten the form and composition. There is also the usage of Snapchat to artificially change the size of facial features. The combination of physique, style, and photo technique generate portraits devoid of realism. The sculpted women are drained of personality when just visual. The hyper-sexualized portrayal of these women does not live on as a photo of them. Instead digital technology turns their image into a consumable object of desire. They exist as objects which so many people are watching. They are a disposable experience and like any other purchased product obtained an audience who never meet the makers. The images are just the ideal colors and shapes together that create a sexy image. This visual exaggeration is just a digital distortion of sex, and this disposable exaggerated fetish has the same function of porno.
Digital sex like imagined sex is better than real sex. Imagined sex isn’t about a person, just an idea of a person. In a fantasy, we objectify people sexually through an idea of them. Also, people don’t feel guilty about objectively looking at an image of an attractive person because they are a stranger. It’s not a person to a majority of people but the desired object, entertainment, a caricature of someone else. Thus we have segments of models across the internet who are sharing similar beauty traits but are involved in different forms of sexual expression. The common result still is the aesthetics of altering appearance in order to exaggerate using digital technology. Making models the exaggerated equivalent of a cartoon character.
The real danger is what happens when the aesthetics of exaggerated beauty are sought out in reality. If people consider the exaggerated beauty to be truly real and not realize the impact of digital technology distorting appearance, then people will seek out a cartoon in real life. If the cartoon is the perceived to be a true standard for beauty then people will self-engineer themselves into the cartoon version of themselves. Then a cycle of being more pretty, and being circulated online will amplify the values of exaggeration. Then if there are women going throughout life looking like a sexual object of the internet other people will not respect them as human beings, but something they want to have for gratification. Impersonal behavior, harassment, vanity, will all increase among people.
Without a doubt, the images I see online inform my thinking and creative decision making similar to the scenario I just described. Studying certain body types agrees with my sense of eroticism. However, I do believe a model like Nicolette Shea promotes a type of sexuality that reflects a cartoon image. Cartoons have been traditionally hand drawn and discerned as unreal due to exaggerated qualities. So then a photograph of a human being exaggerated by filters, camera angles, exposure must be considered a cartoon as well. Then are people photographed changing their body by choice or just influenced to become a caricature of themselves? And what is the value of flesh compared to digital flesh?
It’s hot, so hot I cannot be myself.
I can’t sleep cannot think.
Sweat and hot air engulf me.
This heat makes me hate my life.
Hate what I’m doing and can’t do what I need to now.
Makes me want to quit and die.
All I’m doing is escaping, in search shade, shelter, cold air.
AC is not within the threshold of my owned power.
The whole week it’s been this way.
High temperature and humidity.
It started Sunday, now it’s Thursday, and although it’s by far the coolest point of the hellish week my good will is shattered completely.
I can’t focus on art and just want to be lazy.
Everyone I meet today is irritable or impatient.
All our good vibrations consumed by southernly a devil.
Again I stop and try to re-imagine this shitty situation.
Thinking about hotter places, hotter days, people who did and do work in states of greater oppression.
This heat is really nothing, not the best but far from the worse.
I’m not living in a desert or dwelling under a Georgia sun.
I have a choice to remain under a roof and even am allowed a blasting fan.
No this time will pass and I will return to my familiar self – refreshed and reformed.
The mild weather where I live is like a friend seen taken for granted.
But someday soon I’ll quit this heat and go somewhere even cooler.
I’m washing dishes after my waking breakfast. I peer at the box for Waltz with Bashir. I had done an incomplete watching the film earlier in the week. The piano music and then the sequence explaining false memories generated to fill the gaps of reality or one’s own identity. Memory is alive, an alternating composition of memory objectively needed by an individual. This explanation rekindles my own remembrance of another explanation that the mind creates a narrative for a person on any given day. Then on any given day, the life story is the soul or identity of the person. Identity will always change depending on the state of happiness or sadness we feel at a given time, and our memories are remixed and prioritized as such.
Even as I washed utensils I recalled these memories of knowledge which inform my thinking I had, and am now remembering, having again. I am thinking about thoughts that informed me from a manufactured experience that I have absorbed, recollect the process of absorption. What is this process of processing: Re-processing, mixing, dissection, clarification? All those methods for describing the mind morphing my own thoughts. A warped memory depicting ghost in the shell flashed within me. It happened when considering how my objectives are altered by artificial experience turned into owned memory.
Before breakfast, I exercised my muscles. After that, I showered and thought how so much working out is pitiful compared to ancestral nomadic humans whose bodies were maximal shells of tough muscle and bone. All that physical development made by hard toil of running and hunting. A never-ending toil for survival is what informed humans. I can absorb media in many forms and methods. Such learning excites and challenges my identity, but it doesn’t usually push my capacity for survival. Survival still just means shelter and money. Yet my own story is being filled by experiences made by other people which become my experiences.
Still, the mind selects objectives for a person depending on the memory of an experience. Neanderthals possessed an identity of just wanting to fend off hunger and obtain pleasure whenever possible. It’s too easy for me to fend off hunger and devote too much time to pleasure. Yet the memories of hunger and fear must’ve informed the early humans to peak physical form. My own warped memories and well-insulated lifestyle have filled the gaps in my soul. So much reading, watching, and listening makes me vaguer when I consider myself. I am just someone seeking the best sights and shocking truths, and my body reflects that.
In my childhood school days, every piece of content was designed to brighten the classroom. A time for promoting high self-esteem, equality, and diversity within in kids. The icon of an extending rainbow atop different ethnic faces stands out in my mind. The notion that every person should embrace their own unique sense of self-rooted in their culture. The culture of their ethnicity, religion, nationality, interests, and genetic makeup. All those differences blended together into a harmonic belief of diversity, represented by various bands of color united into one form of beauty.
I am a believer that diversity is beneficial. It is better to have a variety of people so that a group can better adapt and solve problems together. Being conformist, singular, and exclusionary creates ignorance and segregation is slow development. Diversity embracement brings up everyone while segregation hinders everyone. Diversity and inclusion mean a united purpose amongst different people. However, the positive message of diversity has not patched up segregation. Segregation doesn’t exist legally due to skin color. It does exist in the division of the urban landscape, places of work, and communities of worship. How can the overwhelming support in schools for equality and diversity not solve this issue?
Addressing anti-racism based on complexion and customs is easy enough to dictate. The moral compass of a good-bad morality makes it easy to detect that embracing difference is good and prejudice of different people is bad. But skin color is just an indicator that evokes misconceptions in a person. There is another factor that produces a big difference among people – wealth. Rich people in contrast to poor people. From infancy, in school, and then working, the amount of wealth a person impacts their well-being. If you are poor your achievement in school is more likely to be low and the likelihood you’ll be discriminated is high. The income level of individuals, families, and communities is the sort of difference that is not embodied in a popular image of diversity.
A program of diversity inspired by a dialogue of white-guilt versus black-demand can amend laws and encourage inclusion, but it will not address income inequality. It’s poverty that informs why classes of people who are black, latino, and asian people have been historically beneath the white class. The white class holds more wealth and is given more access and influential power. This sort of diversity of segregation generates a dialogue that causes unrest and instability in the narrative of civilization and society. The wealthy deserve to rule and should not be disturbed and the poor will be managed by the rich. Ignorant people can just say white people have more money and are better behaved than non-white people because that’s how they are. That is a perceived state of human nature, it doesn’t require explanation. Therefore white people must command the non-whites.
Thinking about the hierarchy of racial prejudice and socioeconomic observations can be easily overwhelming in scope. Instead, I want to return to the rainbow of diversity. Specifically that the symbolic rainbow cannot represent economic differences of people. If it did, then poverty, a poor person would be in the rainbow too. So what would the color of poverty be?
If you think brown it probably would be considered a reflexive racist idea. So let’s safely select a neutral color, let’s say it’s gray. Gray seems depressing and does the tone lighten or darken depending on levels of poverty. A tone of living from paycheck to paycheck, or homelessness? I don’t recall ever hearing about lessons of poverty and I’m sure there were peers with me who were poor and never vocalized it. It’s a type of shame that is good, to not speak about. Even the color selection of gray informs a bias point of view. Gray is neutral, meaning unwilling to comprehend such injustice and the color gray is not naturally in a rainbow. That color doesn’t work and is outside the rainbow. Maybe that means everyone in the rainbow is middle class, comfortable and happy with the state of things. So the wealthy live on the rainbow and the poor on the gray stones beneath the bands of color.
Return to income equality. Thinking about it more implies personal values. In the United States, money is important not just for living but is also an indicator of success. The more you own the more successful you must be because you earned something that works well. But in some other cultures, largely concentrated wealth is not important. To not have a lot may not be a shame. Those societies tend to be egalitarian and made less complex by advanced industry. The earned wealth is shared among all people despite the role they play in earning. Each individual has less than the modern earner but can have a well-earned lifestyle. People who don’t have much may be just as happy or happier than other people who possess more wealth. Typically we are made to feel ashamed yet again when wealth is flaunted. We should all feel bad that we aren’t as rich as other people. So we just compete for wealth and do not unite for a better life.
Cultural inclusion and diversity are important. Despite decades of trying to squash racism and struggles for civil liberties the problems of division still exist. True inequality is about an obsession for levels of possession. Equality is about being candid about poverty as the true form of inequality. Poverty is only real in opposition to concentrated wealth. So what is the color of poverty?
The last time I went to an art museum I realized visitation is a bit of a drag. It was the David Hockney exhibit at the MET. Every museum in NYC is crowded on a weekend. Numbers in crowds don’t always bother me. A lot of people equals a lot of activity, culture, refinement concentrated and accessible. Well, I didn’t find that exactly. I just found a bunch of raiders looking for the next piece of art to clip into their collaged collection. Visitors just floating around rooms in silence, smart phones in hand to record awkward angles in sub-par quality. Cheapening reality into the backdrops for self-portraiture. Snap shots of priceless images, memorialized as snap shots. Probably half the few minutes spent at each person spends at a painting is just for capturing a picture for keeps. I’m guilty of this practice to some degree. I stand, I look, and occasionally I snap a picture on my camera.
The more time I spent living in the silence of feet shuffling around galleries and electronic screens firing off shutter sound bytes, the more pathetic everything appeared. I wanted to spend anywhere from 3 to 10 minutes looking at painting that grabbed my attention. The highway traffic flow of the people in the room made me feel like a pedestrian on a curb. What are these people absorbing at the show? Are they looking at the reality of a painting or camera?
Culture is just a form of memorability. Having pictures to share represents form but that isn’t culture. I cannot remember every mark of painting. But if I close my eyes I can summon the image back to my conscience. It may be fleeting and impossible to explain or compose but its with me. The painting lives inside me. But since I can’t share that it means less than a photo file. Nothing matters unless it was recorded for show. All the visitors won’t remember the artwork clearly since their personal machine recalls. Recalls the event of the art, perhaps not the art however. People have no patience with their lives. They won’t commit to just staring a little longer at an image to feed their memory. They have no faith in their own imagination. Instead the machines hold the memory for them. A good question would be ask everyone what they remember from the show and why. Otherwise it’s just a broken flow of peering at screens and gawking at other passer-byres.
If the device broke, if the server crashed, if the data was erased. The exhibits are pointless, the artwork is be dead. Dead since the visitors won’t remember it. And since they can’t remember it, there’s nothing to say about it – no talking.
I just purchased a refillable ink cartridge system for my Artisan 1430 printer. I made this purchase to save money by no longer purchasing single use cartridges from EPSON, which are vastly more costly. But before I made a new purchase I cautiously compared manufacturers by product appearance, name, website design, reviews, and called customer service. Later I narrowed my choices between two online store sites: Ink X Pro, and Ink Jet Mall, for my future supplier. Ink x pro was half the price, but the website details were less meaty and seemed generic. I called the service line and indeed I heard the foreign accent of Andy on a message machine. Andy the sales representative did return my call. He told me the inks were made in Korea and he could not clearly confirm the archival quality. Ink Jet Mall is a company located in Vermont. It’s small, with premium prices, but has loads of information, and phone service was fast and personable.
It was tempting to go with the cheaper option. But I could sense that using a 3rd party accessory on my name brand printer would yield terrible results if I chose a weak product with hard to reach, or low-achieving customer service. Going with the Ink Jet Mall service was more expensive. Yet I have a sounder feeling in my choice since it’s American made. So by purchasing with them l I am supporting my northeastern and national economy.
Then as I reflected on the apparent nationalist appraisal I was giving for the American company versus the Korean maker, my mind delved into the geographical differences of the two companies. From where I reside Vermont is less logistically complex than faraway Korea. In Korea I have no idea how the time zone difference would affect future communications. And all the controversial news of the two Korea’s and U.S. irritation made me think of what would happen to my supply bottom line if havoc occurred on the Korean peninsula. If bombs went off and obliteration occurred the market share of ink x pro would be in peril, halted, or demolished. Really if any major world war happened many services and products people in modern nations enjoy would be cut off. The invisible routes of mechanization in a global economy are too vast for me to comprehend. Therefore I cannot truly know what sort of existence would happen if the wonders of modern production ceased bringing tools and materials to my doorstep and store shelves.
If the military-industrial complex does spur wars to happen, and wars continue in small nations worthy of collateral damage, how can a global economy tolerate the possibility of a WWIII? A world war would just atomize international relations. Then it would be up to nations own capacity to fulfill all their own industrial needs, or re-establish alliances for trade. The possibility of nuclear attacks and all out war is like a wave of water. It’s so tidal we can’t see it coming until it’s about to crash, and even as it approaches we may not comprehend how big and hard it will be when it hits the shore. I suppose if I am going to be a real self-serving hedonist I should purchase as many things as possible within the United States. Living in a country with largest amount of armaments and defense technology means I am behind a wall. The only good thing for me with this wall is that my friendly U.S. factories can survive while everything outside North America burns. Neo-liberalism the only policy which keeps the urge for wide scale war from breaking out. I suppose if the President says we have so many bad deals for the U.S. Then he really is ready to let the world smolder.