valentina elise

Volume 6: Part One

Things they never taught me in art school:

  • The general public need not concern itself with your psychosis. Save your anxieties for your artwork, and continue with business as usual.
  • You will need to re-acclimate to dealing with personalities you may not have encountered for four years. This does not mean you regress to your previous self from high school.
  • You will feel lonely. Remember that you are not alone, and that what you’re feeling goes without saying when you’re surrounded by familiar faces.
  • You will feel tired. It’s good to sleep. Don’t let this become an excuse to become lazy.
  • Art school was hard, but creating assignments for yourself and sticking to our own deadlines can prove harder.
  • Great things can take time. Find your equilibrium, though. 
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for help.
Trying Something New: Volume 1

A lot of people in the non-cyber world have commented my theme of this blog, and noted that I simply reblog photos, but never publish anything of my own on minervasarrowcomplex. In an effort to evolve for the better, I am going to encourage that if anything that’s ever posted on here piques your curiosity, please, do not hesitate to ask questions. In return, I will do a weekly personal blog post. I will default to “memoirs of a starving artist”, but again, I want you, that’s right, you the viewer, to inquire, if there’s anything you would specifically like for me to address in these installations.

This first volume will serve as brief introductions.

My name is Valentina Elise. Elise is not my last name, but an occasionally disregarded nomenclature I was born into. I ascribe it to everything I produce and publish.

I was born in New York City, raised for 13 years in Northern California, attended high school in Central New Jersey, and currently reside in Baltimore, where for the past four years, I attended the Maryland Institute College of Art, and obtained a degree in General Fine Arts.

Some might consider my college career a failure; I dropped out of the art education program, and forsook a stable career opportunity as a k-12 teacher to focus on my undergraduate degree. To those people, I would say that I simply realized that I was invested in a different kind of pedagogue. The time I spent in the MAT program profoundly impacted the trajectory of my work, however, so I do not see the time I spent as an art education double as being for naught.

Currently, I am a server by day, and a solitary artist by night. It is neither simple, nor easy, but I would not trade my life to live in the shoes of somebody else. I have no blood-thirst for fame or riches, as I don’t believe that it serve’s art’s fullest potential. I want to facilitate a higher level of thoughtful consideration in bystanders of various backgrounds, not just the highly educated, and artistically refined. Education should be free, and accessible to all, and I will never deviate from this conviction, for it is embedded in my genetic makeup. 

This blog serves as my mood-board, so to speak. I do not publish my own work directly to this site, as its primary purpose is to assist my allocation of imagery that keeps my mind aesthetically active. Occasionally, I treat it as a curatorial pet project. Occasionally, I reblog my own work into the mix. It serves as a litmus test of the success in my communication to an anonymous audience…

Yeah, I’d definitely say that that’s enough for the first volume. Stay tuned for Volume 2 next Wednesday.

Volume 6: Part 2

As I absorb my surroundings, I find myself brimmed with the anxieties that my friends whom I once admired are already ten steps ahead of me. It’s a terrible thing to feel left behind, especially for bigger, better things.

With this new found solitude, I’ve consulted the trees, and have chosen to follow suit; molt my baggage from the last year, and endure the inevitable. I don’t mind that it’ll be a long winter, but you’d be a fool to think I won’t complain about the cold weather regardless. I don’t mind that great things take time, but goddamn, this is taking for ever.

It’s the calm before the storm, and from a distance, I can’t discern whether the forecast predicts loan payments, or pearls of wisdom. The best I can think to do is continue as usual, and ride this out until I unearth my next wind. The best I can do today will be my bare minimum standards tomorrow when fine is no longer good enough.

For those of you who perhaps feel the same way, I would like to extend the opportunity for you to share the way you feel, and include why you chose this path 6 months ago. I’d venture to say that the hungry ghosts have lost their way. We all need to stick to our guns, myself included. 

Volume 4

Today, I slipped in the kitchen at work with my arms filled with 6 full sized plates, and 4 bread plates. As I fell, my dominant arm’s elbow ground against a stack of glass racks, scraping my elbow pretty badly, and rattling my funny bone. The shock knocked the wind out of me for about a minute. The good news is that the plates were still intact in my arms, and When all was said and done, nothing was broken in the fall. 

After a week that felt like it belonged in its own episode of Skins, I found that it served as a perfect metaphor for what many of my peers, myself included, have been experiencing lately. You will fall, and you will get hurt. But the most important thing to remember is that none of your plates are broken, so catch your breath, and place them in the sink so that you can continue with your day. When it comes down to it, we all choose our flooring and footwear, and if those floors happen to be slippery kitchen asphalt, and your shoes happen to be heels, even when the wind is knocked out of you, you accept that it was inevitable, and count your blessings that the fall wasn’t worse.

We make our paths by walking, as The Juliana Theory so aptly put it. Those who have chosen a career in the “non-applicable” arts especially can attest to our roads as being fraught with drama, and manic swings between euphoria and despair. One of the upsides to this is it provides a great deal of time for thinking. These have been my conclusions, which have enabled me to early on resolve that I am happy with my trajectory:

I think I’ve always had an infatuation with punk rock. Growing up, I thought my parents were rock stars. They never became wealthy, or famous off of their work, but it molded the people who molded me.

I had a pretty firm understanding on the elementary school blacktop that I wasn’t like my classmates. I loved learning, and had keen interest in subjects that “normal” schoolchildren do not follow with the same discipline. By junior high, I had discovered that there existed a community for like-minded individuals in subculture, and quickly allied myself with the other dispossessed students. We found great joy out of tampering with public property to create circumstantial puns, and chugging Redbull before class so that we could beat the system by raising hell in first period English, despite still being the top participants during seminars…

but by high school, I began to realize that I didn’t even fit in there. It wasn’t until someone invited me to go to New York Comicon that I understood why; rich with my parents’ experiential knowledge I’d already began to realize that the punks in my local Stop and Shop parking lot were not rebels, only disenchanted. It was at the Javits center that it dawned on me that I’d rather be the person behind the booth signing prints than waiting in line with everyone else dressed in costumes emulating their favorite characters. That is to say that I not only wanted to appreciate, I wanted to make things that expanded peoples’ minds.

MICA exposed me to a cache of what I now regard as my standard of punk rock: people that live in shit, eat shit, driven by their passion to grant their masterful rebellion exposure. It’s a life fraught with drama and suffering, but never lacking in passion. Sound familiar yet? Sure it does. Most readers will think of figures like Kurt Cobain, or Sid Vicious as the poster child for such punk rock martyrdom. More have begun to recognize Alexander McQueen in this category. I encourage those people to research Basquiat, Caravaggio, and Marina Abramovic, for there are those who live fast and die young, but the latter will show you that those with patience and diligence also possess a fearless prowess.

As silly as it sounds, I think I always wanted to be what I loved, only I wanted to do it “better”. In the grand scheme of things, I don’t mind dealing with the nominal crap that comes my way, because it ultimately drives me to become more productive, and liberates me from the burdens of complacency. It only makes me want to utter my sermon louder from my soapbox, and once blood sweat and tears are spent, it feels more profound than any other simple life pleasure. Feel free to disagree, but that’s pretty punk rock to me.

This post is dedicated to mister Thomas Hobbes, who tragically passed away yesterday. I hope you find your Calvin in snake afterlife.