Wednesday, February 22, 2012

New Work New York (Projects in Scope: Life-Drawing, Terreform ONE, Trudy Miller/Layers, Spectacle Theater, and the Malapit Residence Garden)

Dear Reader,

Last Thursday, as Izzy and I were waiting for the (evil) G Train to come by and truck us away from the Gowanus district in Brooklyn (we had just finished seeing Slow Club, Air Waves, and Chalk + Numbers at the Bell House), she asked me, "So why do you want to stay in New York?".  She had asked me this because I'm currently searching for employment, and to be honest I could easily pack my bags and go back to California.  I took a long sigh and thought to myself how loaded that question was.  The answer was a jumbled mess in my head, but I guess it all boiled down to, "Because I feel like I could grow here, and I need seasons; I feel like I was designed for cold weather, and things feel more real here.  I have friends and networks, and I'm not ready to leave just yet.". 

Quite certainly, I feel I could get the art and design scene back in California, but to be honest, I'm tired of moving.  I need to stay put, especially with all the traveling I've been doing in Europe.  Besides, there are some awesome design and research firms here that I'm elated to work with/for.  Please don't be confused- I'm not the stereotypical emmigrant who moved to New York to pursue her dreams and become masked by the limelight of admiration on every superficial level possible.  No, really, I don't care.  I just want to be busy, and happy with what I do; and if love and appreciation comes with the work, then GREAT!  I'll be humbled, and encouraged to push further. If not, I'll just shrug (maybe cry a little), and be humbled yet again.  As always, I'll be moving forward.

Now, speaking of moving forward, since I have the time, I've been filling my schedule with all sorts of personal and pro-bono projects.  I'm doing this because it keeps me focused on something positive, something productive; and who knows, maybe I'll land something next week.  I've probably sent out at least a dozen applications to corporate and boutique offices in New York, as well as freelance opportunties in both the US and the UK.  I've also signed up with an employment agency, and I've spread the word out to my friends and provided samples of my work, references, and a link to my webpage.  I suppose you can say I've done all I could for now, and will continue doing so until the time is right to stop.  In a way, I feel at peace knowing that despite all the twists life has given me, doing my best is enough, and I could let go of whatever it is that's holding me back.  Now, dear Reader, don't think I'm super-human for thinking this way.  I'm not.  I tell myself this, and to you, because I'm validating it both in my mind and on the screen.  It reminds me to keep going- and in a way you're helping me along.

With all the applications I've got rolling, here are the side projects I'm currently working on, and will be working on in the near future:

1)  Malapit Residence Garden 
I'll have to be honest and admit that this project is way past due.  You see, Mom assigned me this early last year, and I have postponed working on it for so many valid (and unvalid) reasons:  I was in graduate school, I was looking for employment and sorting out my student loans, it was the Holidays, I moved out to New York.  I have to admit, Mom doesn't deserve to be treated this way, so before April (and before her birthday), I'm aiming to get it designed and built.  Mom has even taken 3 weeks out of work to get it all done (which means the whole family will be her laborers hahaha!), so I can't faff around.  Now that I've got my job applications sent out, I've freed up enough time to hammer this out in a week.  No pressure eh?

2) Malapit Design Website
Seriously, I'm not at all too happy with the title "Malapit Design".  It sounds boring!  Yet, I can't wrap my head around it right now- got too much stuff to do.  Any suggestions dear Readers?  The stuff you see on is really just a site for samples and a quick profile.  I had a proper website going, but had to put it on hold when I started and stopped working full-time.  Now that there's a bit of time, I've been incrementally improving the new one.  I've been thinking about new ways I could boost my portfolio and market myself; though to be completely transparent, since this is something I'm trying to do on my own, I'm finding it difficult to step outside of my thoughts and see myself objectively.  I think I'll be needing some help in the future- someone I could brainstorm with.

3) Trudy Miller/ Layers
Trudy is a wonderful friend of mine who I did some volunteer work for before I moved to Scotland 2 years ago.  She is an architect, a zero-waste clothing designer, and more appropriately a "Solutionista".  You could say we share similar ideals when it comes to global consumerism, and quite honestly we're annoyed at how little people know about their responsibilities toward our environment.  Granted we are not saints ourselves, and I definitely don't want to sound preachy; but the book she is working on (and I will help her format) will discuss the social experiments she conducted using her zero-waste clothing line, as well as share new ideas about being a "solutionista".  I haven't started helping her yet, there are still many side projects to get out of the way.  Quite certainly though, this will help both of us compartmentalize our thoughts and values regarding the aforementioned topics. 

4) Spectacle Theater - Movie Posters Scoping
(Plus a brief story about Anti-Valentine's Day)
Last Valentine's Day, Jessica, Izzy, and I went to the Spectacle Theater to watch some Anti-Valentine's Day movies.  Maybe we were cynics about v-day that evening, or at least I was considering that Valentine's Day was formed to celebrate the lives of several early Christian martyrs, who died a few hundred years after Christ's death....And guess what?  Their names happened to be Valentine (or variations of it).  To go further into it, I was also crestfallen when I read that the romance associated with the holiday didn't come until circa Geoffrey Chauser's time in the High Middle Ages when courtly love (among members of the royal family and their associations) was all the rage.  It then evolved into the exchange of poetry, chocolates, and cards (like we know today) around the 15th century; and became a major industry in Europe and America centuries after.  Yes, I did read a book or two discussing the holiday (but not in depth, thank God), and I did fill a few gaps using Wikipedia (geek!).  To be honest, I've always been curious about the holiday, and I have much to owe to it- after all, I got 50% off my red bedsheets from Target during their V-Day sale.  The main point I'm trying to say is if I'm going to celebrate Valentine's Day, I might as well do it my own way since it's been altered so much already. 

Nonetheless, the movies were well-chosen for the Anti-V-Day theme, namingly "We Will Not Grow Old Together" (  .  I must have felt annoyed at times at Catherine for staying with Jean, and then did a 180 and felt simply righteous for her when she left him.  Goodness knows we've all been in relationships like that before.  I felt the film explored every aspect of love- lust, eros, compassion, abuse.  It felt raw, and that pretty much summed up what I was interested in seeing that night.  Troy, the curator of the Spectacle Theater, was more than accomodating with his mysterious and ginormous bag of the darkest chocolate you could ever sink your teeth into.  Scientifically speaking, the darker the chocolate is, the more phenylethylamine (or love chemical) you'll get.  And if you add how much caffeine is in dark chocolate, you could understand why it's such an awesome treat to have on Valentine's Day, hint hint.  I must say it didn't work for me- I went home that night and slept without even thinking.  I must have been tired from all the walking I was doing that day.  Quite certainly it helped others though.  I observed there was much flirting among friends in other groups that night. =)

Visiting the theater however did make an impression on me, and a week ago when I was having a chat with Izzy about the Spectacle, she suggested I volunteer as a movie poster designer.  Taking all of this in, I'm quite looking forward to stretching out my limbs and doing graphic design again.  It's been a while to be honest, but there's no hurt in trying....and I love PS and Illustrator.  Here's hoping I could make a profit for them if we get to sell any posters.  More to come on this one.

5) Terreform ONE - Internship
Website: (
Since I don't want my skills and brain to go rusty, I'll be interning for them part-time for the span of 6 months.  It will provide a great opportunity to explore new ideas and get the experience and technical skills that are lacking in my portfolio/resume.  After all, I've been wanting to work for them for ages....literally.  Before I moved to Scotland, I read an article of theirs in Metropolis Magazine about self-sufficient cities and knew almost immediately that this was something I wanted to know more about.  Maybe you can say they helped inpsire me to pursue landscape architecture.  I was working full-time in Manhattan at the time, so it was quite difficult to get out of my routine.  Now that things are different, I'm looking forward to getting my hands soaked in work, with the possibility of becoming a teaching assistant in the summer.  Here's to new adventures!

6) Life-Drawing Classes
Website: (
So this is something I've already mentioned in my previous weblogs, and as you can see, I'm still taking classes at Spring Studio whenever I can.  It's a nice way to run free from the apartment and catch up with my former co-workers- Izzy, Mariko, Hao-Hsin, and maybe Jessica will join one day.  I find life-drawing relaxing, wholesome, and perhaps even spiritual.  Yes, I said "spiritual", don't laugh.  Imagine drawing someone nude in a closed environment, you're more or less removed from the unemotional, mechanical things in life-  computers, subway trains, mobile phones, our televisions.  Really, it's just 2 to 20 minutes of intense focus on the subject in front of you.  Sometimes that "subject" turns into an "object", and in the end, you're not drawing a breast, or a penis, or an eyeball.  You're studying the human body, you're drawing softness, light/dark, forms;  you're thinking about the human body and what he/she means to you, and you represent that meaning on paper.  If being spiritual means having the desire to learn about ourselves and others in the context of compassion; then sure, why can't it be?  That's why I go to class.  I go because I'm interested in humanity, and what it really means to be one.

So what REALLY brought me to New York in the first place? Before I went to Scotland for graduate school two years ago, I moved here because of a burnt-out relationship which ended with definite closure, followed by a beautiful and painful short-term whirlwind romance. I guess that time was all about embracing the good and the bad (or what Rollo May would call- embracing the "Human Dilemma").  This time, the second time, I came out to New York for another type of relationship (business-oriented if you will), which ended suddenly but with no regrets.  Again, you can say I'm embracing the human dilemma, but you don't need a famous psychologist to tell you that's what life is all about.  And what's REALLY keeping me here in New York?  Life would be easier if I just went home and lived with my parents until I have a stable job.  But to be honest, I haven't left yet, and I'm a firm believer that if Someone upstairs knew going home was the best thing for me, I would already be there.  I'm not quite certain where I'll end up, and I'm guessing I'm having these little earthquakes so I'll finally end up with something stable.  Tomorrow, I will keep pushing to find a job, and stay productive with my list.

When In Rome is playing,
Lesley Ann

PS:  Should any of you Readers like to spread the word that I'm looking for a freelancing gig, please feel welcome to do so. You can find samples of my work here: Or, if you would like to Shout Me A Coffee for this post (donate button at the top of this page), I'd much appreciate it.  Cheers! XX

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