SERENITY (2012) Acryl auf Leinwand, 200 x 140
Virgin Mary as a Hindu Goddess
Copyright for this image belongs to the artist, Sven Johnson. Visit his website here.
Hundreds and Thousands, 2008 – photography by Juno Calypso
reclining nude 11 x 14 inches gouache and india ink on paper 1986
Artist: Norman Engel
Lev Chistovsky - Reclining nude with a floral garland
There once was a young woman named Carlotta who grew up in the Bronx.
She moved to Baltimore and became a social worker, which is where I met her when I was in graduate school doing research on heroin addiction. (Baltimore has been cited as the heroin capital of the country …)
One day I found her spreading a layer of Vaseline on her face in the bathroom. Here was a real live Puerto Rican and proud of it from the Bronx and everything that went with it. So, I couldn’t understand what she was doing getting her face all greasy like that in the middle of the day.
“Well, last time I went to the prison to visit a client,” she said, “a fight broke out.” Okay. I still wondered why she was greasing up her face.
“You know,” she explained, “when you gonna go to fight in the street with your girlfriends, you gotta grease up your face so you don’t get scratched.”
No. I didn’t know. I do tell you in the first book, that it is possible even for someone in my profession to be naïve about some things.
This lovely Queen of Clubs by Albuquerque-based artists Nani Chacon knows what it takes to fight it out in the streets. Go here for details about this piece as well as others. Having started out as a graffiti artist, a recent article affirmed that Ms. Chacon is always trying to confront and redefine beauty.
Even though women have progressed in securing their rights on many fronts, there is an active backlash around the world in male dominated cultures. Women who previously enjoyed the right to assert themselves in both dress and expression have, in our lifetimes, been forced back under the weight of a literal physical shroud. They are left to just shuffle along in fear.
I feel a literal physical compulsion to yank the hijabs off of women’s heads when I see them around Richmond and yell: “This is America. You don’t have to hide yourself.” (Thank goodness I have a really good lawyer on retainer who has conditioned enough times to not pull stupid shit – especially out in public – so, better to speak softly …)
Indeed, how many times on your job every day, or even around your friends, your family, your significant other, do you find yourself making the (otherwise) well-advised choice to speak softly? All lawyerly advice aside, women, especially, are constantly pushed into speaking softly.
It’s important to Ms. Chacon as an artist, the article states, “to depict ideas of sexuality and femininity from a woman’s perspective. Popular pinup and tattoo art is from a man’s point of view, Chacon says, and it helps create a stereotype of what’s attractive.
“Sexy is not always the lipstick and big boobs kind of thing,” she says. “There’s also a strength and a power that women possess.” Ms. Chacon can also be reached by email to firstname.lastname@example.org or you can find her on facebook here.
So, make good choices for the rest of the week, kiddos. And, if in the interest of not pulling any stupid shit, you find yourself speaking softly – as that otherwise macho man Teddy Roosevelt put it, “carry a big stick.”
Or grease your face as Carlotta said. And, yeah, her boobs are popping out of her shirt. I see you staring.
Get destroyed this week, kiddos.
“I devour this Age of Man!” rages the Hindu Goddess Kali in the Goddess Oracle Deck as rendered by the artist, Thalia Took. Look around you. Destruction abides everywhere.
Even in the simplest things, the force of destruction is vital in sustaining life. Take a plant. By its very nature, a plant is always growing.
Plant cells literally break through their own cell walls to, yes, divide, but also to expand. A plant then grows by shooting its roots down into the ground (or sometimes only water) and upward into the unknown atmosphere. All – while radiating toward the light.
In Kali’s battle with Raktavjia, the lord of demons, a thousand demons sprang up out every drop of his blood that touched the earth. (It’s enough to drive any divine Bitch at least a little crazy…) Kali just rolled out her vicious tongue, licked up every single drop and danced her crazy dance all over the corpses in her wake.
Wildly ecstatic in her destructive victory, she could not be stopped even when the gods begged her to stop. When her own husband, Shiva came to stop her, she was so wild in her joy that she could not recognize him. She did what every Divine Ruling Wife would do – threw him on the corpse-strewn floor and continued her righteous dancing.
The original artwork was created with ink and watercolor on paper. Appropriately, Kali is the first Goddess to appear in Thalia Took’s Goddess Oracle Deck. Only after W/we allow that which does not serve U/us to be destroyed in O/our lives can W/we see into O/our future. For additional inspiration, read the artist’s tale of Kali here.
Her deck includes image of Goddesses from all around the world. Thalia Took’s image of Kali is available for purchase in the format of your choosing, for example a 13 x 16 framed print, a blank journal or the all effective refrigerator magnet to help burn a daily reminder of Kali’s essence into your own skull. If you would like to contact the artist directly, email her at: email@example.com.
As Took’s tale of Kali tells U/us: “And if you would be whole, you must love me and welcome me to yourself as if I were the fairest lover. You must breathe in the air of the abattoir as if it were fragrant as jasmine, sleep among the ashes of the charnel house as on a bed of rose-petals, smile back at the grinning skull with kindness. For Death is no less holy than Life; and all that begins will end.”
Now roll up your tongue and stop slobbering. (I see you staring at her tits.)