Sunday, July 16, 2017

Art Intermission




   I admit I’m starting to feel a tad guilty about these, “Art Intermission,” posts.  In the beginning I originally defined, “Little House Of Haute,” as a fashion blog.  However, over the years it’s become painfully clear...to me and my poor readers…thank you again for subjecting yourselves to my pointless blathering…that this blog actually has very little to do with the topic of fashion.  In reality I'm a novice regarding this subject and am only an expert in trends that suit my personal taste.  Ironically this does not keep me from posting my ensembles all over the Internet.  In the future I hope the outfits of, “Little House Of Haute,” won’t appear too cringeworthy.  Just in case, I figure the, “Art Intermission,” posts may lend a bit of academic flair to an otherwise pretty juvenile collection of photographs. 
   In a way the, “Art Intermission,” images I’ve posted so far could still be considered personal style pictures.  In fact, each one of these images was originally intended to be regular style shots… “And they would have got away with it too, had it not been for that meddling weather!”  Wait…sorry I slipped into, “Scooby Doo,” mode there.  However it’s true that I'd planned the outfit in the picture above to be featured in my typical blog post format.  Unfortunately, the day I took this picture happened to be quite stormy, which was not at all compatible with the idea of a photo shoot.  Again I lament, “Damn meddling weather!”
   I guess the reason I have Scooby on the brain is due to the actual image that was created that day.  After taking one picture in my garage and then throwing in the towel…before I had to actually go fetch a towel, due to the torrential downpour…I started to notice how very detective...ish my ensemble appeared.  Obviously, I took that idea and ran with it until ultimately I'd created the above picture.  Upon showing this image to a friend she immediately stated it looked very, “Alfred Hitchcock.”  I was thrilled!  Leave it to me to think, “Mystery Machine,” when I should aim for, “Vertigo.”  Overall I’m quite pleased by how this image turned out.  In addition, I believe this altered picture transformed a rather, “Meh,” looking outfit into something a lot more interesting.  I see  this picture and wonder what mystery I’m trying to solve.  Then I suddenly realize the only mystery on my mind that afternoon was how to avoid getting my trench coat soaked while running to the front door of the coffee house. 
   This whole post really makes me wonder about the relationship between context and clothing.  Had I just photographed this outfit in my normal, "ho-hum," manner I would’ve never created a feeling of mystery.  However, give this lady an hour on her smartphone with an image and I can transform it into something with a backstory.  I guess the true mystery here is whether this story was created by the clothes or the ambiance.  Either way, lately these art images occupy more of my attention than my regular glamour shots.  I mean, who wants to settle for beauty when you could have baffling?
-r.





Sunday, July 9, 2017

"I'll sleep when I'm dead"













   Well, it’s official.  I’m sick again.  Honestly, I don’t believe I’ve ever been ill this many times in one year.  The myth about working in childcare is true.  I work in a germ factory.  Thankfully it’s one decorated with drawings of Pokemon and cats.  I mean, how can that seem threatening?
   Despite the fact that I’ve not been feeling well, I’ve refused to allow myself to have a total collapse.  Basically, I took a vacation day to enjoy a three day weekend and I will not accept that I'm ill. I’m hoping this mentality won’t bite me in the ass later.  All of this reminds me of the words of a former coworker at the greenhouse.  This particular person was a veteran of the Vietnam War.  I had been complaining one day about the extreme heat we had to endure.  His response to me was, “You don’t know hot until you’re an eighteen year old sitting in the sweltering jungle sweating from heat and fear of, “Charlie.”  He elaborated by stating, “It’s all mental Rayna.  If you decide you’re roasting hot you will be.  If you decide you can’t survive something you probably won’t.”  From that day on I can’t help but think of my coworker each time my privileged mouth starts to state, “Man, it’s hot ou…”
   I titled this post, “I’ll sleep when I’m dead,” due to the fact I found the lighting in some of these images rather heavenly.  In addition, this title was inspired by a phrase my boyfriend utters constantly.  Ironically he is also a veteran, although he served in The Gulf War.  We always joke that when I was enjoying the luxuries of being an eight year old child he was off fighting a war…literally.  For anyone that knows him personally it’s no surprise to hear me state that Al works constantly.  He is one of those motivated individuals who defines a great portion of himself by the work he does.  He often states, “He has no idea what to do when he’s not working, and is not happy doing anything else."  I, on the other hand, am the exact opposite of this.  While I take pride in the work I do, I’ve never felt that any of my jobs defined me.  I’m a person who shamelessly loves her hobbies.  Without them, I would have no idea who I was.  In retrospect I have no clue which way of life is better.  In him I see an extremely successful, productive, and inspiring individual who is unable to relax.  Of course, then there is me who prioritizes creativity, introspection, and leisure time, but still has not formed a solid life plan.  Meh…tomato, tomahto...right?
   Lately, I’ve been trying to follow the wise words of these two men.  Instead of throwing in the towel immediately I’ve been attempting to push through and do things that would generally make me uncomfortable.  Already this summer I’ve attended my high school class reunion, gone to a few graduation parties, and socialized with friends more than once a week!  Like my coworker stated, I decided that I could, “survive,” these situations and I did.  Of course, in no way do I mean that last statement to belittle the experience he went through in the past.  I am well aware that anyone who has gone to war has endured things I NEVER could.  Perhaps that’s why I put so much weight in the words of these individuals.  Okay, well I see value to some of the words my boyfriend says.  Many of the things he utters are still stupid.  
   In addition, this weekend I took to heart my boyfriend’s catch phrase.  While I’m certainly not feeling my best, I decided to attend our beloved Brookings Art Festival.  Despite the fact that, “Man, it’s hot ou…” and I was fighting to breathe through humidity and mucus, I had a great day.  Al finally took a Saturday afternoon off work, and I sacrificed some comfort in order to spend some quality time with him.  Don’t get me wrong, my sacrifice was pretty small.  I walked away from that festival with some of the most legit 1970's vintage denim items I’ve ever seen!  I can’t believe I almost didn’t go!  For some reason I have the sneaking suspicion that Al’s words of wisdom where not meant to inspire me to push through the pain in order to shop.  However, maybe he could learn a few things from me as well.   
-r.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Finding a Pharoah...in South Dakota?













   This week the title of my blog post is fairly obvious.  Despite my addiction to metaphors, I simply named this essay after the necklace I’m wearing in the above pictures.  Ever since I was quite young I’ve been fascinated by the Ancient Egyptians.  I remember one of my favorite books growing up was, “The Egypt Game,” by Zilpha Keatley Snyder.  I also recall this tale inspiring me to sculpt a decent sized King Tut mask out of clay while in art class.  I spent quite a few hours precariously painting tiny details on that piece, despite my shaky hands.  In addition, during that time of my life I acquired a rather decent sized jewelry collection featuring various hieroglyphics, scarabs, and images of Egyptian Gods.  I’m fairly certain if I dug deep enough through my parents’ home I would be able to unearth several of these buried treasures.
   Not so long ago I was reminded of my forgotten passion for Ancient Egypt when I came across a 1970’s pharaoh mask pendant necklace on Etsy.  I gasped as soon as I saw it.  It was huge, it was gold, it was gaudy, and I had to have it!  The first time I put it on I felt a comforting nostalgia wash over me.  "Ahhh"…things were right with the world again.  One necklace inspired me to pick up a passion long pushed aside.  Maybe it wasn’t too late to get that cartouche tattoo I’d wanted since high school.  Bah!...who am I kidding?  If I had gotten every tattoo I’d wanted since high school I’d be covered in cartouches, ankhs, Gustav Klimt ladies, Art Deco designs, dragons, henna, mandalas, Picasso doves, Hello Kitty, and a giant Cocteau Twins band logo.  Yes, I would be a walking dorm room wall.  Considering all of this, perhaps it’s good my issues with permanency always got in the way.  
   Returning to the subject of finding treasures, I think it’s accurate to state that lately I’ve experienced a revival of many old interests.  The most notable one being my passion for art.  While putting on my Egyptian themed necklace made me feel like the, “old Rayna,” nothing has felt more comfortable than returning to my creative interests.  I must admit I’m absolutely addicted to taking photography portraits and digitally altering them.  I almost enjoy doing this more than glamour shots.  “What?!” you ask.  Yes, it’s true.  While I still intend to maintain the, “fashion,” aspect of this blog…because let’s face it I have WAY too many clothes to quit now…I'm pleased to be branching out into a more artistic realm of photography.  If I was perfectly honest the blog, “Little House Of Haute,” has never really been about fashion.  It’s more of a platform for this antisocial freak show to vent about her boring life and what she wore at the coffee shop.  However now that I’ve regained the confidence to create art again, I feel this blog may get a lot more interesting.  Now one can read about my dull happenings while looking at my periodically bizarre creations that may seem to belong in a freak show.  I anticipate some of these pictures will have to make my coffee shop stories more interesting…right?
   I guess I couldn’t help but use one of my beloved metaphors after all.  “Finding a Pharoah…in South Dakota?” has very little to do with the necklace I’m wearing in these pictures.  I believe it has more in common with uncovering the, "ancient," artist inside of me who has been lying in wait for the opportunity to become rediscovered.  I’m excited, and a little nervous, to reveal that I’ve finally found her and it’s become apparent that this mummy isn’t going back into its tomb. 
-r. 

Monday, June 19, 2017

Art Intermission




   A few weeks back I wore this outfit and the glamour shots I took turned out so bad I actually sent one of them to my brother just so he could share some laughs with me.  Of course he ended up using that image as my profile picture on his cell phone, just so he could relive the mockery each time I call.  Honestly, I totally approve.  It was a damn funny photo. 
   Among all the garbage pictures I acquired that day, I was able to catch one decent image.  The above picture was that photograph.  After about an hour of tinkering with it on my phone I finally created something I was pleased with.  I call it, “Self Portrait 5,” despite the fact that it should probably be referred to as, "Resurrection,” since I literally brought something to life out of a bunch of dead ends.
   The reason I specifically chose to post, “Self Portrait 5,” this week is due to the fact that it ties in nicely to a movie I'm dying to see.  In this picture I’m wearing a Wonder Woman t shirt I acquired many years ago at Goodwill.  I think it’s noteworthy to mention this shirt was handmade by someone and the Wonder Woman logo is rather imperfectly painted on it's front.  Of course, this is what attracted me in the first place.  I remember pulling this piece out of the discount bin and thinking, “this must be someone’s discarded attempt at a Halloween costume!”  Immediately I brought it home.  I love amateur clothing designs…mostly because I’m guilty of creating so many of my own.  Let’s just say I’m a patchwork prima donna and proud of it. 
   In addition to the affection I hold towards kitschy clothing, I must confess I do love Wonder Woman.  I’m actually quite excited to see the new movie…as soon as it hits the cheap seats, of course.  I remember being obsessed with the 1970’s TV series when I was little.  I would stare at Lynda Carter and marvel, “she has beauty… she has brains…and look at that outfit!!!”  In my attempt to emulate such a powerful idol I remember wearing a Wonder Woman pajama set while sleeping in my Wonder Woman sleeping bag…which I still do to this da…wait...no...just kidding.  I have no idea where that sleeping bag ended up.  Not to mention that would be really weird…right?  Considering it now, I'm starting to realize all of my Wonder Woman memorabilia was related to the theme of sleeping.  I guess the only way I could even come close to Lynda Carter’s level of awesomeness was in my dreams.
   Oddly enough, just this week someone asked me where he should take a first date.  My immediate response was, “to the Wonder Woman movie.”  I reasoned it had the super hero action that he liked, and a fantastic female role model for her.  Looking back at all the dismal pictures I decided not to post of this outfit, I simply don’t understand why I can’t look as good as Wonder Woman while wearing her iconic symbol.  Thank God my phone’s camera app has super powers when I clearly don’t.
-r.  

Sunday, June 11, 2017

"I ain't never scared!"













   Once upon a time a hip hop artist named Bone Crusher released an inspirational little ditty titled, “Never Scared.”  I almost feel guilty for writing about this song, considering I never would have heard it had it not been for my brother.  To be totally honest this tune has little meaning for me compared to the anthem it actually became for Zeb and his buddies.  Honestly it’s odd I paid attention to this song, despite my brother’s insistence on how great it is.  I admit to being a music snob…wait, music and clothing snob…no that’s not right, music, clothing, and movie snob…crap, maybe I’m just arrogant when it comes to everything.  Yeah, that sounds more accurate.  Anyhow despite my usual refusal to take the well-meaning suggestion of any other person regarding what I should listen to, I find myself constantly getting this song stuck in my head.  This song and the, “Peter and the Wolf,” score.  I can’t seem to shake that one as well.  Huh…rap and classical is all mixed up and rattling around up there.  It explains a lot, doesn’t it?
   However let’s get back to Bone Crusher.  The reason, “Never Scared,” is such a great song is because it basically repeats the line, “I ain’t never scared!” endlessly, making one feel more, “gangsta,” with each utterance.  Let me tell you, sometimes I find it imperative to feel, “gangsta.”  The older I get the more I realize how the majority of adult life revolves around social tasks and obligations.  Many of these occurrences cause a decent amount of anxiety, especially for a closet introvert like myself.  In the past few years I’ll admit to exerting a lot of effort into getting over my hang ups with hanging out with others.  At times I’ve actually started to prefer having company over spending the day by myself.   As a result of my escalated social life…and by escalated I mean I socialize with one friend, once a week, for about two hours…I have been more confident to attend events I wouldn’t normally even consider.
   Now when I state I’ve been, “more confident,” it simply means I don’t break out in hives at the thought of doing something outside of my box.  No seriously, that’s actually happened to me…it was awkward and rather hard to hide my obvious distress.  However these days, upon accepting an invitation to a social event that scares the shit out of me I don’t seem to have to worry about hysterical rashes…which I have to say makes a lady feel pretty bad ass.  As a result of this new, “gangsta,” persona I've found myself accepting all types of invitations to events that would usually have me shrieking to the safety of my bedroom and, “Golden Girls,” DVDs.  However, I’m proud to state I don’t do that much anymore.  Now I hear what…sounds like my voice… accepting these invitations and I actually follow through and go to functions!  The day I wore the above outfit was an example of one of these occasions. 
   Another example was my recent attendance of my twenty year high school class reunion.  The fact that I went to this is absolutely staggering to me.  I never considered I would have the guts to go socialize with a group of people that’s only impression of me was formed during a severely awkward phase of my life.  However, I must state my reunion was a very pleasant experience.  I was happy to have the chance to reconnect with others.  However, I was even more elated to know I was capable of attending an event I found so daunting.  Walking up to the doors of that reunion all I could hum in my head was, “I ain’t never scared.  I ain’t never scared!  I ain’t never SCARED!  I AIN’T NEVER SCARED!  Well…actually, “I was hella scared,” but that just didn’t have the same ring to it.
-r.

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Art Intermission



Self Portrait 3
   
Here’s a little something I’ve been working on lately.  It may have been WAY too windy to take my regular blog photographs, but I’ll be damned if I didn’t get one good picture.  All I can say is, “Never give up on glamour shots when you’re wearing earrings this good.”
-r.


Sunday, May 28, 2017

A New Perspective













   Man! does it feel good to take pictures in front of something other than a barn door!  I actually considered changing the name of this blog to something like, “Born In A Barn,” due to the fact that I've posted so many photos featuring barn settings.  Okay, so realistically there’s no way in hell I would’ve changed the title of this blog to anything with the word, “barn,” in it.  I think we all know how I feel about mixing farm terminology with fashion.  I promise not to go off on another, “Dress Barn,” rant…for now.  However, lately I’ve been so bored with my rural based pictures that often my instant reaction to them is animal noises.  Can anybody say, “Woof?!”
   Of course now that I have a portable set up for photography I’ve mustered the confidence to make my hobby mobile!  Finally my readers, (bless your hearts for listening to me babble about absolutely nothing,) will be able to have some interesting backgrounds to look at.  In fact, I assume this may be the main thing to look at, considering there are only so many thrift store outfits people are interested in.  While I still possess the same enthusiasm for fashion, I'll state right now I’m more excited to explore town for engaging settings.  I think these new found feelings of inspiration are reflected in the photographs above.  For some reason this outfit is really appealing to me.  While I'll pat myself on the back for coordinating an interesting look, I think credit should be given to the fact that I’m finally not using an ugly garage door as a scenic accent wall.  Oh how I cringe at the amount of bird crap stains I’ve had on display behind me simply because I wanted to use a colored door for a background.  Why?...Why?!...do apparently thousands of birds like to defecate on our garage door?  I will never know.
   Admittedly taking blog pictures in a public setting does have some setbacks.  Number one is trying to get over my own self-consciousness.  Upon real consideration I find this problem extremely ironic.  I seem to have a real issue with taking glamour shots in front of a few passersby, however I have absolutely no problem posting the same images on the internet for the entire freaking world to see.   This really makes no sense.  As a result, I’ve decided to suck it up and take silly pictures in front of any person that may happen to be around.  I reason it looks a whole lot weirder to suddenly stiffen up and start whistling like nothing is going on every time a stranger walks by.  Besides, most of the people I encounter in public don’t give a crap about what a weirdo like me is up to.  People are busy with their own lives.  Okay, so maybe these individuals give me a glance when they catch me mumbling to myself because I tripped while walking on turf with wedges that are a titch too high for off-roading.
   Speaking of new terrain, in addition to featuring different locations in future blog posts I also look forward to creating a series of self-portraits featuring digitally altered elements.  The last picture of this post is one of these portraits.  I like the idea of displaying these altered pictures along with the untouched images of what I really looked like that day.  It’s kind of like, “Here’s how Rayna really looked…now here’s how Rayna felt like she should look…wished she looked…just thought looked really cool.”  I guess overall I’m most excited about this new self-portrait series.  As I mentioned in a previous post it feels good to incorporate some actual artistic ideas into this usual puff piece blog. 
   Finally, if you happen to be in a public place and you encounter an eccentric woman who reeks of Nag Champa and is hobbling across a cobblestone pathway in platform shoes, while bitching under her breath, “This is ridiculous!  I’m totally gonna fall down this hill.  Did I just scrape the side of my shoe?!  Oh great, I wear them out ONE time and this is what happens!  Stupid!...just stupid!  Why can’t I get this tripod to sit level?  Perfect, now I’m sweating.  That oughta photograph nicely…” keep in mind she’s not dangerous.  She’s just embracing the glamorous life of, “modeling,” on location.
-r.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Recognize!...on Record Store Day!












   I’d like to begin by, “recognizing,” the fact that this post is a rather transitional piece.  A careful observer may notice that some of these pictures are larger in size than others.  The reason behind this is that I finally took my phone, “out on location,” with the intention to shoot a few blog photos.  Little did I know that in future posts my phone would be taking all of my pictures.  I know I’ve said it before, but I really can’t get over how portable my hobby has gotten since acquiring this miracle gadget!
   That being stated, the original reason I titled this post, “Recognize!...on Record Store Day!,” is because I took the pictures on…yep, you guessed it…record store day.  Deep, I know.  Okay so there’s a little more to it than that.  To elaborate, on that specific day I decided it was finally time to bust out what is quite possibly my favorite thrift store find ever.  The vintage boots I’m wearing in these pictures are something I acquired from Savers about a year ago.  I literally shrieked when I saw them.  With shaking hands I grappled to get them on.  The whole time I swore I would make them fit even if I had to bind my feet in order to do so.  By some miracle of God these boots, that in my mind were worthy of the likes of Stevie Nicks, fit my feet perfectly.  Upon further inspection I noticed a small, “Made In Italy,” logo embossed on the inside heel.  This was too good!  Boy howdy…was I going to pay for this kind of karma later. 
   Of course the reality of this situation was the whole event almost was too good.  Unfortunately, I put these treasured shoes on such a pedestal that I became almost terrified to actually wear them.  “What if I get them dirty…What if it rains…What if one of the heels becomes lodged in a crack in the sidewalk and it rips off…What if I go to someone’s house and they want me to take them off when I walk on their carpet...HA! as if,” I thought.  Finally last month, in celebration of record store day, I decided to get over my mental block.  I reasoned, “It’s a day to celebrate music and what better way than to flaunt Fleetwood Mac footwear?”  That day I felt proud to, “recognize,” some of my rock heroes.
   Returning to the word, “recognize,” lately I’ve been eager to recognize things about myself as well.  Many individuals I currently know may not be aware of the fact that I was an art major in college.  Sadly, since graduation, I've pursued little in the realm of art.  I’ve always used the excuse that without a community of artists around me I lost the motivation to continue my work.  While there is some truth to this statement, I believe the bigger issue is deeper.  Yep, it’s that deep thing again.  To explain, during the course of my life I've been several different versions of myself.  Of course, this is common to many.  During, “the artist,” version of my life I experienced some extremely turbulent times.  As a result, I feel something close to dread every time I find myself embracing my creative self.  It’s kind of like hearing that song you used to love, but now makes you think of an ex-boyfriend…except in this case the ex-boyfriend is your former self and you dislike her even more than that schmuck of an ex…whoa….  Of course, these unsettled feelings are only magnified by the fact that I seem to have a fascination with the darker side of life as the subject matter for my art.
   …and I’m happy to state I still do.  Lately, I’ve been delving back into my creative doopelganger and finally admitting that she’s actually a part of me.  While this particular post does not reflect any of the pictures I’ve been working on lately, I wanted to, “recognize,” the fact that future posts will.  I’m excited to be embracing the artist in me again.  I'm also pleased to report that the lady wearing the fantastic vintage boots does have more on her mind than just shoes…sometimes.
-r.