Saturday, 21 September 2019

2 artists in a bar and then one goes to space

While I was shooting this, the owner of the distillery behind me commented on how I must like their walls because he'd seen me there before. I laughed, yes, I do!


I was recently interviewed for a show called Two Artists Walk Into a Bar by Carol Mcquaid, a Canadian artist/traveler, a self-described nomad. (The link goes to the webcast; you can subscribe to her podcast as well.)

My first thought when she contacted me was, cool, I'm an artist! Then I thought, but am I really? Then I thought, yeah, yeah, I am! Sometimes it's hard to see yourself for the trees, know what I mean, when you just do what you do.

Before I lost my studio


So what does an artist look like? Pfft, that's an idiotic question. THIS is what an artist looks like, courtesy of the photo filter Noire. The netting on the hat would have to go though. I'd be wearing black sidezip capris and pointy-toe boots. Adding a filter to your life would, in some respects, be so much easier than actually living as an artist.

Mel as quintessential artist person, minus the ciggie and the Dali mustache

(Skip to later if you just want photos, and don't miss my space movie down there)

An artist looks like Salvadore Dali, except in my case minus the mustache. Or a sort of Audrey Hepburn in the 1957 movie Funny Face, her beatnik phase, when she was paired with Fred Astaire. Ugh, I didn't feel the magic but anyway. Often there's a cigarette, but I've used a pencil crayon in a holder instead.

A younger generation probably envisions something completely different having grown up without cursive writing or even the joys of cassette tape Walkmans. ("A walk what?")

And the artist is always starving. Let's just debunk that myth right now: junk food is the cheapest food around and it tastes reeeal good. Chips!
The starving artist is a terrible stereotype! Maybe it's time for resale royalty rights in North America, hmm? Like musicians and novelists, and actors/filmmakers get.


But seriously? What little there is left of the stereotype (style-wise at least) is crumbling - if this image was ever something beyond my own imagination in the first place - especially with new media, which is now old, which is exactly how I feel when I think about how quickly everything is changing. Keeping up is key to feeling young I think.

So back to the interview - Carol asked me where I envision myself in the future. I quickly replied: in a penthouse, living a life where I never have to vacuum again and have a personal chef to cook for me and a personal driver.

I reflected on that answer this week (I reflect on everything later and then freak out), and thought, hey, I must be living the high life already and not even know it because:
  1. My current home is really high up; 
  2. I could easily never vacuum again (some might argue it's already true);
  3. O usually cooks for me (he is afraid of starving if I do it, although I make a mean boiled egg);
  4. I have a personal driver but I kindly share space with others on the bus or I go driverless (Skytrain, no driver), or I do enjoy driving myself once in a while (if I'm not in tight leather pants). There's nothing more personal than being the actual person, is there?
Of course, that's about material wealth. What would I envision for me in the truly meaningful sense, although shelter, heat, and food are pretty meaningful. And a sanitation system.

As I said to Carol, I would be doing what I'm already doing but on a bigger scale - videos, or how about a real show or series or movies or a magazine or book, made with other creatives?!! I get dizzy thinking about it. "I'd conquer the world!," she yells from the prow of her private submarine. So that's my other answer to that question. Now, I sometimes feel like that prisoner in the movie Shawshank Redemption, digging his underground escape tunnel with a spoon, for freedom via a sewer pipe. Moving right along.

But again, isn't this kind of like my other penthouse answer? Am I living the dream already? Successful people in interviews often look back on their days before success and say, those were the best days of my life! Okay. I'm trying to get on board with that.

A famous TV series was once filming in a loft complex where O and I were living and they used our suite for a bit. The Big Star sauntered in during a break and said, "You know, this place reminds me of the good old days when I was a struggling actor in New York." How does one respond to that? - wow, you guys are in rough shape, and, hey, isn't it fun? And it was in fact a really nice loft. Everything is relative.

I thrive on the creative stuff I do and am grateful to be able to do it. And I have worked/played at it for a long time. I do or could do all those things I listed right now, but I grin considering the bigger picture, a bigger budget. Heh.

So I'm just putting all this out there as I ponder issues Carol and I discussed during the talk - what it is to be an artist, a model, the imposter syndrome, underwear, and more, for about an hour. It was very laid back and I enjoyed her company. So I invite you to have a listen HERE or via podcast, Two Artists Walk into a Bar. And/or catch some of the other artists she has interviewed. I've enjoyed so many of them.

And now some outfit photos because, you know, style and all. These are just a couple of the things I've worn since my last post.

I farked the jacket. I made it smaller by adding a front diagonal red zipper. You've maybe seen it before.

Vintage men's velvet blazer made in London and faux suede/velvet Parasuco pants. Suzanne clocked the blazer for me when we were at a Toronto thrift store.


And what else? I feel like I've dumped all the stuff from my purse onto the floor and am pulling bits out excitedly to show you. "Oh, look at this, and there's this, and oh, what about this...?!" - a toothpick with writing on it, a piece of forgotten chocolate, a pink tape measure.

I made this video too. As you may know, I recently put together my annual what-I-wore video (see sidebar), found a thread in there and pulled. This came out, especially with the music playing in my head, "Saving the World" by Aaron Kenny. The space photo is by Raphael Nogueira from unsplash.com. O made the space ship; I made it fly. Heh.



I have more stuff to show you but I'll mercifully save it for another post. Till next time.

I hope you are all well, now moving into autumn here, spring for my friends down under. Hellooooo!! I've missed you all. Thanks so much for stopping by, especially if you've made it to the end of this post.

I'll link up with Patti at Not Dead Yet Style for Visible Monday and Catherine at Not Dressed as Lamb for #iwillwearwhatilike when everyone is ready. And don't forget, for some of us it's almost time for pumpkin scones (even though they're often made from other gourds, still tasty). Hooray!!!



Saturday, 31 August 2019

Ruffled in a frock coat

I've been sequestered in my garrett feverishly toiling on a new symphony in H-minor with none but my pet raven Grasp as a silent companion at the window. This work will break all the records. It'll be huge. Great. Really fantastico. 

But now I am stepping out for refreshment with gentle verse and a forest shower. "O," my giddy soul cries to the heavens, "Dispatch thy muses - and a new rollerball pen." Writing with a feather is fecking annoying. And plucking them from seagulls may even be an offense. Grasp doesn't share either.

Mel Kobayashi, Bag and a Beret, frock coat, plaid pants, ruffled blouse, poetry

Artliness temporarily satisfied, I clamber onto nearby battlements and gaze seaward, brow furrowed (not really, those are just lines). I scan the horizon, searching, searching for my ship, which should be coming in any decade now.

It would be so much easier if it were a jet coming in and not a frigging frigate. And an airport at least has a Food Court where I could hang out. But wait, maybe my ship is a luxury yacht or, gulp, a tanker. I must consult the Manual. Does anyone know where it is? Oh dear!

Mel Kobayashi, Bag and a Beret, frock coat, plaid pants, ruffled blouse, time travel

Still waiting, contemplating more poetry. And owning that wall, I mean battlement (the top of a fortified wall of a castle with holes for shooting from). Bafflements is a good word too to describe a confusing wall or even this blog post.

Mel Kobayashi, Bag and a Beret, frock coat, plaid pants, ruffled blouse, time travel

And what ho? What's this? The royal court has decided to have an official portrait of me painted?

Me looketh upon the artist with suspicion. "O, Painter, be thou forewarned. If thou dost not capture a flattering likeness, I shall lop off thine head." (Why must I stick my hand in the jacket like that?)

In fact, I would prefer a non-likeness, so not to worry. And we would go out for martinis and pickles and swap stories on where to get good rollerballs and plumes, if not provided deus ex machina (unexpected godly intervention that saves the day), which is always my preferred method.

Mel Kobayashi, Bag and a Beret, frock coat, plaid pants, ruffled blouse

Mel Kobayashi, Bag and a Beret, frock coat, plaid pants, ruffled blouse

I love this aubergine frock coat with ruffles and my Partridge Family pants.

This outfit is a definite time-slipper. I conceived it for chasing bad guys with Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery, a movie which features the phrase, "Groovy, baaaaby," spoken with a toothy grin. But on this light-rain day it morphed from Austin Powers to Jane Austen.

Details of the blouse. I wore suspenders with the pants too.

Mel Kobayashi, Bag and a Beret, plaid pants, ruffled blouse, suspenders

I have been possessed by ruffles and blazers (and frock coats) for almost a year now. Finally, I farked this thrifted Asos blouse by adding ruffles around the collar and sleeves, and down the front. There's even netting behind the base layer for body and lift, although that was original to the blouse, I confess.

Now I shall fark all my blouses! I would happily wear ensembles like this every single day, although I would need a hound and maybe a horse. I already have a sports car (as you can see in the video clip link in the right sidebar) and a toothy grin.

Mel Kobayashi, Bag and a Beret, frock coat, plaid pants, ruffled blouse

I went to another play with Mara, the opening night of Shakespeare's Coriolanus at Bard on the Beach, front row, where we were right in the heat of battle. Clearly, its influence has spilled into this blog post.

I had never been so close to "violence" before, even feigned. The blood and wounds looked pretty convincing, which made me ponder even more the tragically flawed nature of our species.

The story is timeless: ruthless power-seekers contend with colleagues, family, foes, and poor people hungry for a good line. Sigh. In this play, all the people really want is corn. Is that so hard? The lead role is gender-switched to female and played brilliantly and breathlessly by Moya O'Connell. The play runs until Sep. 21 on the Howard Family Stage in the Douglas Campbell Theatre. Check HERE. (Not sponsored)


I debuted my farked blouse with this outfit that night. Mara debuted a coat that she farked with red paint too. Stunning.

And, finally, I put together my third annual (plus a few months) compilation video of what I wore 2018/2019. Click the photo or HERE to watch the video on Instagram. You don't have to be a member of IG to watch it though.

Mel Kobayashi, What I Wore video, 2018-2019

That's it for this week.

Oh, except I opened a new page with lots of my sketches HERE featuring Ternip Hedd (changed the spelling to avoid conflict). Most of these sketches you've seen on Bag'n'B; a few may be new.

I'll be linking to Patti at Visible Monday, Not Dead Yet Style, and Catherine at #iwillwearwhatilike, Not Dressed as Lamb when the time is right.

Cheers, everyone. How does your ship come in? Land? Sea? Air? Carrier pigeon? Ether? Curious minds want to know.


Tuesday, 27 August 2019

The question of smiling, fake serious faces, and authenticity

"SMILE!" We all know that yelp before a casual photo. Or "SAY CHEESE!" Time to fake smile. Oh wow, look how much fun I'm having! Hey, my life is awesome!

I am now a proficient fake smiler and even fake laugher, a result of years of rigorous training. Doing this convincingly in "real" life is a whole other blog post.

But the opposite of a forced smile is forced seriousness, which is just as fake as the smile but maybe easier to pull off. Without this pose, I wonder if high fashion would even exist. It's simply the relaxed face with a dash of intention or self-awareness.

Mel Kobayashi bag and a beret august 2019 coral dress

I suppose when you drop a whack-ton of money on a Chanel suit, it's serious business. My face upon spending such sums would probably look like the Psycho shower scene, if I'm still conscious at all. And then there are those who live in rarefied air who don't even blink. Sigh. I'd like to try on that face some day for realsie, and I'd have my personal assistants pose for me.
Me (with camera to assistants): Just relax and show how happy you are working for me. Did you not hear me? I said &*#(@6 HAPPY!! 
Mel Kobayashi bag and a beret august 2019 coral dress

The Zoolander face is the absolute best example of the fake serious face: the sucked in cheeks, exaggerated pout, and squinched eyes. And an inner growl which probably only dogs can hear. (Zoolander is a movie that spoofs high fashion.)

For me, the fake laugh often leads to a real one and the fake super-serious face does too, but does a fake serious face lead to a real serious face? I hadn't thought about it until just now. I would guess no, although wretched photos do inspire real-life serious faces, if grimaces or frowns qualify.

Even the effects of gravity on a face, especially jowls, can mimic a serious face, which usually translates into a real-life one too because it is so fecking annoying! Does that make it a high-fashion face? Hardly. But there are sometimes scary faces strutting down runways, not due to physics but the gravity of the situation I suppose.

Mel Kobayashi bag and a beret august 2019 coral dress

About the outfit - my friend Mara (I've written about her before HERE) drew my eye to these pieces on the super summer discount rack at a local consignment store, a dusty rose suedine (ultrasuede) dress by Dutch brand 10 Feet and this sheer nude trench coat/dress thing by Mint Velvet. 

You can see the sunscreen on my nose as I didn't bring my parasol. Friends have often reminded me I must blend it in but I always forget and it's hard to notice indoors before I go out.

 Mel Kobayashi bag and a beret august 2019 coral dress

I think models fake laughing as they strut down a runway might be just as surreal as models with serious faces. It's all part of a role anyway; otherwise, it would be called people walking nowhere indoors in a straight line.

All of this begs the question: is there such a thing as authentic? Is that ever enough? How do we know when we look real authentic as opposed to fake authentic? Maybe we need an app for that. Lie detector machines have tried and still fail.

I enjoy finding the sweet spots in between the poses, the off-guard moments, which, if I am successful, I may try to wrest into a repeatable formula thereby ruining them. And it's too bad that the candids are also often the ones I don't want to share. There's genuine and there's too genuine. I like a bit of curation. Can't I have my cake and eat it too!?

Mel Kobayashi bag and a beret august 2019 coral dress

Maybe everything is an illusion. Maybe the idea of an "authentic look" is not possible anymore with ever increasing photo moments in our daily lives, like we're running on some joke of a cosmic loop of "say cheese." We survey life through the lenses of cameras, our own, others', and surveillance which so far we don't feel the need to pose for (she wrote, looking nervously around the room with a stiff grin on her face).

I'll link up to Patti at Visible Monday at Not Dead Yet Style and Catherine at #iwillwearwhatilike at Not Dressed as Lamb. I hope I'll see you there.

Finally, I have recently been in a Canada-wide ad campaign for Shopper's Drug Mart, part of The Beauty Project they're running until September 6, HERE and a video HERE. If you go into one of their stores (or online), chances are you'll see me in photos and/or a bunch of little videos. Just imagine that I'm encouraging you to try a new look! Filming was a great experience, in Toronto on two occasions this summer.

So have a look if you can. Let me know what you think. I put two of the photos on my IG, here and here.

That's it, seriously, authentically, maybe. Cheers, everyone!!





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