Friday, May 29, 2015

Blogging a movie: PASSAGES' furious goddess, Sum'a


"Coyolxauhqui," installation (2006). Scroll video to 7:44 for segment on the Aztec moon goddess. I have always been a fan of mythology. And now I am working on a performance art movie based on three sibling deities I concocted two years ago for PASSAGES.








Pre-production character study for PASSAGES: Sum'o, king of the gods. And I am thinking about competitive, larger than life - what I call "maneaters" - women because I am about to start working on the youngest of the sibling deities in PASSAGES, Sum'a. She is aggressive, vain, cruel, and if she was human, you probably would not leave your husband alone in a room with her. I am so uncomfortable playing characters who give females a bad rep like Sum'a. In PASSAGES, Sum'a is horrified when her brother the king of the gods wants to give birth like a human - not because he is male, but because he wants to have a human experience. That is so repugnant to Sum'a. This story has similarities to a story about one of my favorite mythological characters, the Aztec moon goddess:
" ... Coyolxauhqui was a powerful magician and led her siblings in an attack on their mother, Coatlicue, because Coatlicue had become pregnant by a mortal and that was shameful. ... " Wikipedia. 
People who know me in the artworld laugh when I say I am not competitive - I don't think ambition and competitiveness are synonymous or that ambition requires a competitive personality, only lots of drive and proactiveness. I have mostly kept a Clark Kent mild mannered reporter profile in the dayjob world and also often in the artworld. I tend to yield the right of way to competitive women like Sum'a - dealing with other women's vanity is just not part of my plan nor my skill set. I have watched Sum'as operate at most of the jobs I've had; at paralegal school, law school and grad school; in the theatre world and more often than I ever would have imagined in the staid, mostly stationary art world.

Such an adventure to let such a female creature live inside my skin. Seriously, case in point: I was only able to tolerate and keep up with half a season of Sex and the City. I really did not get it, though I tried. And the only character I had any sympathy for was the mousy one who couldn't stand up to her husband. So ironic, as I will go all sorts of out of my way to avoid another woman's passive aggression, but I have no hesitation about going for the most threatening man's throat. Sympathy - that IS the problem - I always have anxiety about whether I can make a flaming bitch sympathetic.

Film at 11.



Pre-production character study for PASSAGES: Sum'i, The Arbiter

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Artist's Life 101: Plagiarism vs. Branding

I've been branding myself as an artist for so long that it's second nature. As a visual artist and as a theater artist, I had a few jarring moments of feeling like I'd been copied.  The Internet is a wild frontier. I make hardly any "friends only" posts anywhere anymore because branding is always on my mind. My opinion: if you post content on the Internet there is a possibility you will be plagiarized. But there have always been people who copied other people's work, so why stifle?

There are sleazy little shits and bottomfeeders and leeches in every medium, every profession, every part of society. People will even steal your cred. When you meet these parasites at an opening or find yourself in a conversation with them during intermission or after a show, you want to go home and take a bath. And once you've been around enough of them, you know the creeps most likely to show up in some future venue with a "stolen" idea. 

The two most important things I learned in 35 years as a paralegal: always (1) cover your ass (2) with a paper trail (3). The most important thing I know about being an artist on the Internet: watermark (1) whenever possible (2) and post on multiple venues (3), being meticulously consistent (4) about your name/bio/branding (5).  People rip you off because it's easy.

A reminder that your Instagram photos aren’t really yours: Someone else can sell them for $90,000

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Blogging a movie: PASSAGES

Sum'o, King of the Gods, rules the world of PASSAGES with his two sisters, Sum'a and Sum'i. Sum'o, like his two sisters,...

Posted by Sylviatoyindustries on Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Monday, May 25, 2015

Blogging a Movie: Sum'o, king of the deities of PASSAGES, 1st test

PASSAGESSum'o, king of the deities of PASSAGES. First effects test. Sum'o, like his two sisters, is able to create his...

Posted by Sylviatoyindustries on Monday, May 25, 2015

Blogging a Movie: Costuming Sum'o, king of the deities in PASSAGES

PASSAGESI am working on the full body costume of the male character and completed his legs and torso yesterday. His...

Posted by Sylviatoyindustries on Sunday, May 24, 2015

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Lord Byron syndrome

There is a phase after diagnosis of Bipolar 1, the illness with the colorful feature of mania or hypomania, during which you feel (and probably act) like some kind of celebrity, as if Bipolar 1 is a cool kids badge of honor - a sort of Lord Byron syndrome.

I know that sounds mean, but dealing with being Bipolar 1 is a matter of life and death for me at least one week out of every year; and it is a whole lot worse than that for folks who spend their depressive episodes in the belly of the Beast eons longer than they spend manic or hypomanic.

I am writing about this because of several articles I read this morning that I was going to share because their author is so talented and interesting and, yes, entertaining in a cool kids kind of way.  But just as I was about to share, I had a feeling of uneasiness and memory of my own brief phase (brief, relatively speaking, but much too long) my own Lord Byron phase of bipolar celebrity. I thought: "This stuff is dangerous, not helpful. The writer is too into it - way way way too Lord Byron - and is a person who never came out of that phase of Bipolar 1 celebrity."

I went back to a well-penned couple of paragraphs that I had just read; and I re-read them a few more times. It hit me: "Jesus Christ! Didn't the doctors say anything to this person about stress! This person who claims to have no substance issues is addicted to stress!" Horrible thought. Red flags all over the place like a swarm of malaria infested mosquitos. Completely ruined my enjoyment of the two articles.

I am convinced that all the medication in the world can only put a flimsy little bandaid on a Bipolar 1 who is not educated about the devastating repercussions of stress. Decided to share this link instead.  Chronic Stress, Drug Use, and Vulnerability to Addiction, by Rajita Sinha

Friday, May 22, 2015

Somebody's hope

Somebody's hopeToday is a good day. I am not sad, the weather, while not sunny, is pleasant, and there is not a whole...

Posted by Sylvia Toy St Louis on Friday, May 22, 2015