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Extra Extra: Alisa Wilhelm Loves The Internet, So She Blogs Blogs Blogs

4 Nov

One of the last pages in Issue No.2 is something called “Our Job is Awesome.” The words on that page are a mini-play, a transcription of a real-life seven line conversation between John and Andrew in which they discuss the merits of a shared workplace. This dialog was captured by Alisa Wilhelm and originally published on her eponymous blog. We were hoping to find a couple of short pieces for the second issue when we stumbled across Alisa’s blog and saw that little gem nestled in her blog (and tagged “crumbs”). We asked permission to publish it, and she agreed.

Alisa’s blog is more than crumbs. It’s student art projects, art projects detached from school, thoughts on travel to distant lands, thoughts on studying at the University of Arizona, and more more more. We interviewed Alisa to find out why she puts pieces of her life on the Internet for all to see. Because she’s an artist and photographer, we also asked her to choose some images from her blog to repost here. She obliged us with answers and images. Enjoy.

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Dove&Snake: When did you start blogging?

Alisa Wilhelm: I started blogging in 2003. I was 12, and I used Yahoo Geo Cities instead of a blogging platform. I had to manually archive all of my entries. We had dial-up internet at my house.

D&S: Why did you decide to start a blog?

AW: I’ve always been obsessed with documentation, preserving, trying to keep remembering. Even before I read about Anne Frank, I wanted to be used like she is used today: a historical record for future generations. When I started blogging, it was just another expression of me documenting my life. I didn’t care to attract an active audience, but I secretly hoped that I would.

D&S: Why do you continue blogging?

AW: For a while, I really wanted to be a part of this cool blogging community called 9rules. It is very exclusive. You have to submit your blog to be reviewed and approved, or more likely denied, and they only accept submissions during certain times. I wanted to be a well known blogger, that’s why I wanted to be in this cool blogger’s club, and that’s what drove my blogging.

9rules accepts blogs that have a very narrow niche. The niche could be in any field, but it has to be specific. I knew that, so you can see points in my blog of me being like, “Concert reviews! THAT is my niche!” or “Life of a university student! MY NICHE!” However, I really didn’t care enough about those things to base every single post around them (also, they aren’t narrow enough). I stopped caring about how many people read my blog and I turned my visitor trackers off. I like pretty blogs, so now I just try to make my blog posts pretty. I continue blogging in order to create a pretty blog.

Colorblind

D&S: Do you know your readers?

AW: I know some of them. I stopped using visitor trackers a couple years ago, so I have no idea how many people read my blog.

D&S: How are the readers you know of connected to you in real life? Do they read your blog because they know you, or do they know you because they read your blog?

AW: I would guess that the majority of readers that I know of read my blog because they know me. None of my family members live nearby, and I have friends who are far away as well. I think they’re curious to find out about what I’m doing. When I read blogs from my friends and family, I find out things about their life that I might never think of to ask about. It’s probably a similar situation.

D&S: Do you get much feedback from your readers? What do they say?

AW: I used to get a lot more feedback than I do now. I don’t invite feedback. Some bloggers ask a question at the end of their post to get a discussion started, but I don’t. Lately I’ve been getting more non-traditional blog feedback than I have actual blog comments. Strangers email me encouraging notes saying that they like what I make, and people that I come into casual contact with often start conversations with, “I hope you don’t think I’m creepy, but I was reading your blog the other day…”

D&S: Have they (the strangers who hope you won’t think they are creepy because they read your blog) ever been creepy? If so, how did you respond?

AW: One time I was in a park, and a man came up to me and asked if I was Alisa and if I had a blog. I thought that I must have met him somewhere before, but I hadn’t. That was kind of creepy—an adult man approaching a teenage girl to ask her about her blog that he found. I was guarded, but I answered his questions. It turns out that he is a librarian who found my blog by searching for “Casa Grande Public Library,” a library that I have a love-hate relationship with. I used to volunteer there, and I love books, but I’ve had some bad experiences involving a very stereotypical, stern, shushing librarian.

D&S: What blogs do you read?

AW: Right now I’m subscribed to 283 blogs. I’ll give you a sample of my favorites: Ample Sanity, a deluge of New York Times blogs (Idea of the Day, The Moment, Schott’s Vocab, and others), artist’s blogs (Camilla Engman, Fine Little Day), and Things Magazine.

D&S: How do you encounter other blogs? What makes you want to subscribe to certain blogs?

AW: I find other blogs by reading other blogs. My favorite posts to read are ones that show photos, have a paragraph or two of text that might not even relate to the photos, and share a couple links. It’s those links that I find most valuable. They usually lead me to other blogs that I’ll like. When a blog is pretty consistent with my idea of a good post, I’ll subscribe. I don’t mind a lot of text if it’s interesting to me and well written.

D&S: Do they influence what you post on your blog?

AW: The most influential blogs that I read come from European women artists. Their photos are so calm and nice. I try to do that, but it’s difficult.

D&S: How do you decide what events from your life become blog posts?

AW: If I’m proud of it, then I post it.

D&S: This summer, you were out of the country and unable to access the Internet. Did you miss updating your blog?

AW: Not really. I wasn’t editing any photos, and I didn’t make much art, so I really had nothing that made me think, “I want to blog this.” I was more worried about my archive list looking less complete. I didn’t blog for two months, so the list goes: April 2009, July 2009.

*Alisa went to China. Here are 1723 photos compiled into a timelapse journey to East Asia:

China 2009 from Alisa Wilhelm on Vimeo.

D&S: Your blog is quite the miscellany. You post school projects, personal projects, observations about your university, notes and images from your travels, and more. What do you hope to communicate by posting these kinds of things?

AW: I want to give interested people a sample of what I’ve been thinking about, working on, and looking at. I used to think that my blog could give people an example of what my life is like, but there’s no way it could ever do that.

D&S: Who are the “interested people” who you are communicating with in your blog? Do you know who they are and what they’re interested in?

AW: Some Blythe doll owners read my blog. They are interested in Blythe dolls, haha. The community that forms around Blythe dolls is very close knit—adult women, strangers, gather for tea parties for their dolls, and they send people they don’t even know little gifts that are Blythe-related. I have a Blythe doll, her name is Marcie, and I read blogs about the lives of other Blythe dolls. Those people (and their dolls) read back. Other people have varied interests: family and friends care about me as a person, instructors are interested in seeing what I do out of the classroom, other artists like to see art.

D&S: Do you ever read your old posts? If so, what do you think of the you from the beginning of your blog?

AW: I try to avoid reading old posts, as anything older than a couple months I find to be extremely embarrassing. I guess it’s good that I’m not stagnant.

D&S: You started a joint blog project with Adam called Adam+Alisa. Who is Adam?

AW: Adam is my boyfriend! He’s an artist and photojournalist, among other things, and he lives in Boulder, Colorado.

D&S: Why did you start that blog with him?

AW: We have very long lists of things that we want to do together, and a blog was one of those things (Adam started the idea). We also have a very long list of future posts to make for the blog. Adam sometimes thinks of it as PDA, but I don’t. I think of it as an ongoing collaboration project with someone that produces work that I know I’ll like.

D&S: What will readers of Adam+Alisa find there? How is it different than your individual blog?

AW: Everything that has been posted on Adam+Alisa so far has been a collaboration project. We make each other a poster every month and mail a hard copy of that, but a jpeg diptych is posted on the blog. Along with that, we send each other preview swatches of the poster, and those are posted as well. Photo diptychs and audio are also there. It’s different from my blog because we both have access to it, and we come up with little assignments for blog posts (example: take a picture of a tree today). I don’t give myself assignments for my blog.

D&S: How long do you think you’ll keep blogging?

AW: As long as I keep loving the internet, I bet I’ll keep blogging.

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Dove&Snake at Whata Cafe Art Opening

1 Oct

Dove&Snake at Whata Cafe 1

We released Issue No.2 at the beginning of September at Keegan Rider’s Whata Cafe Art Opening. Keegan did a special edition, so he let us sell copies of Issues No.1 and No.2. We set up shop on a table at Caffe Luce and sold some zines to the good people of Tucson.

Dove&Snake at Whata Cafe 2

Reflective Collective also did a special edition. It’s is the one at the top of the picture. They printed some art (halftone motorcycling couple printed in silver under big block letters saying NOBODY WANTS TO BE A SUCKER) on the inside covers, front and back, before we put the zines together.

Keegan’s special edition is a stencil based on his current show, which involves rabbits in a sort of Alice in Wonderland motif in some of the work. He numbered and signed each of his editions.

Dove&Snake at Whata Cafe 3

The reader in this picture is Alisa Wilhelm, a contributor to Issue No.2 (“Our Job is Awesome” is from her blog). The other folks are John Weatherford, of Reflective Collective, and his wife Emily. They set up shop right next to us and sold some t-shirts (and donated cardboard to D&S for a makeshift sign).

Several people purchased the zine, and several others perused a copy at the show. The best part of that perusing was that we didn’t know the readers leafing through the pages of Dove&Snake, but they were interested nonetheless.

Caffe Luce is a D&S favorite, and sitting at their table with friends while selling zines was highly enjoyable.

Thanks to Caleb Jackson for taking the photos and letting us post them here.

Dove&Snake Video: Tucson Grid Project 2.0

1 Jun

Here’s a look at the Tucson Grid Project 2.0 photography show from April. In this video, we hear from John Weatherford (the man with the TGP plan), Nate Edwards (who photographed Weariness), and the duo of Jenn Spohn and Sara Babler (who sought out images of Zest). Check out the photos and the buzz of people enjoying the photos at the show.

15 Minutes: A Day in the Life of a Design Student

22 May

On Wednesday, April 29, Alisa Wilhelm took a photograph every fifteen minutes during the entirety of her marathon day of design classes at the University of Arizona. Here’s her photojournal:

I am usually rushed in the mornings. Class starts at 8:00 and I wake up at 7:15 (it takes exactly seven minutes to walk to the art building at UofA from my house). On this day my first class started an hour later than it normally does, so I had time to relax, make art and drink tea. It was splendid but went downhill from there.

In the morning I was shooting photos effortlessly, and they are the type that I always want to take but am never quite sure how. However, around 11:00am, I lost that touch. In the evening I tried to think back over the day and figure out what went wrong, and I think that other people’s demands on my time is what did it. Other people taking my time is really unavoidable, I suppose, unless I become a hermit, but you can tell that I’m an introvert by how drained I become by the end of the day.

– Alisa

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Tucson Grid Project 2.0: Interview with John Weatherford

21 Apr

Tucson Grid Project 2.0 is this Friday night. We caught up with John Weatherford, the mind where TGP originated, to find out what we can expect to see on the walls at 7:00 pm at 785 S. Columbus.n63901456405_7347

Dove&Snake: I know the basic idea for the TGP came from the Portland Grid Project. Where did the idea for adding in the emotions come from?

John Weatherford: Well basically, I just didn’t want the concept to get stale. In addition, I was trying to find a way for people to connect with the city more than just take a journalistic look at it. It is one thing for someone to wander the city in search of something that catches their eye and to take an “artistic” photo. It takes photography to an entirely different plane when you ask someone to look around them, to look for sorrow, and then be bold enough to photograph it. Couple that with the fact that there are almost no people participating that consider themselves photographers or artists, and we are really asking people to take a substantial risk.

D&S: Did you always plan to continue the project year to year? Did you always plan to evolve it?

JW: I guess I always assumed that it would catch on and that we would continue it. Then, after last year’s photographs and the bigger than expected turn out, it seemed like we had no choice but to keep it going. I think this is something that will be around for quite a while. We are already talking about next year and possible themes for following years. One thing we would like to see is more community involvement. I don’t want this to be a Second Mile thing. I want to see us own the event but I want to see the whole of Tucson walking the streets with cameras. I have already talked to a few parents about getting their children involved next year. I feel like there are a bunch of perspectives that are not yet being seen.

D&S: How are you planning to set up this year’s show?

JW: It will look very similar to last year. This year, however, instead of the photos being hung based on content of the actual image (i.e. graffiti, signs, traffic, landmarks) each emotion will occupy its own area of the room. So depending on the artist you may have 3 or 4 pictures that seem to be related or they may at first glance have nothing in common. This is why many people have included summaries of their photos. I am looking forward to seeing what the contributors thought of when they heard anguish or joy or passion.

D&S: Can you give us a sense of the photographers who are taking part in the show? Who are they?

JW: In a short description they are just normal people. Some are photographers, some are artists, some are mothers. We have students, teachers, bus drivers. People in their teens, twenties, thirties all the way through their sixties. We have representatives of downtown, campus, Vail, Marana, Oro Valley. It is a cross section of Tucson. We have some gaps but I feel very good about the diversity that is represented in the photographers. There are a few I haven’t even met yet. Part of the artistic ethos of Second Mile is a belief that we are all creative because we were created by the most creative being ever, and since we are created in His image we bear some of that creativity. I think you will see what I mean at the show.

D&S: You’ve been selecting photos for the show for the past week or so. What are your initial impressions of what we’ll see?

JW: I think from a quick glance the critic would say that this year’s pictures are “less artistic” than last year’s. I was careful to say critic because this experience is not about criticism–it isn’t even about art. It is about being in your city and loving your city. The thing I am loving about this year’s photos is the fact that they are incredibly well thought out, and they tell a story. What are we as a community if we cannot tell the story of our city? Last year the pictures were great, some were even incredible. This year, however, the participants were asked to do more than frame a beautiful or unique image of their surroundings. They were asked to process an emotion and convey it though a lens. That is not an easy thing to do. That being said, from what I have seen so far no one will be disappointed. There is an obvious intentionality to the photographs I have seen so far. The photographers took the emotions they were given and interpreted that through the city they live in. I would rather look at that than really well composed photographs of graffiti any day.

Dove&Snake Video: Check2Check Art Opening

9 Apr

What was that? You didn’t get to go to Keegan Rider’s Check2Check Art Opening? Why, yes, we can help you out. We went. Yes, Dove&Snake went. We even made a video. Yes, John DeSoto–the John DeSoto, uh huh–put together a video of the art show. Here it is.

Check2Check Art Opening

27 Mar

Tonight from 7-10pm, The Living Room (4th Ave & 5th St) is hosting Keegan Rider’s Check2Check Art Opening, featuring art by Josh Flood, Keegan Rider, Pat Foley, Iner, Balley Hill, K-Beth, Goner, Grader, John-Paul Olson, Ray Roy OE, S. Scuzzin, Andy Stiembrink, Token, Prime Suspect Trevor, Jesse Vasquez, Matt Wade, James Walterson and selected pieces from the Kai One Inc art collection. The show is free, but you can donate a few bucks to The Living Room at the door.

We hoped to sit down with Keegan before the show and conduct a proper, full-fledged interview about what he calls his “best project/art party yet,” but he had scheduled a road trip to “go to California and see big trees,” so we did a quick mini-interview over email this week. check2check1

DOVE&SNAKE: What’s up with the upcoming art show? That’s a big list of artists on the Facebook event page, and I saw something about spray paint. Is it a graffiti show?

KEEGAN RIDER: Yeah, it’s graffiti, street art and pop art. It’s my best project/art party yet.

D&S: What will you have in the show?

KR: I’m doing a reflexive piece on drug addiction that I have created a Jesus stencil for.

D&S: How did you choose the artists for the show?

KR: The theme of the show is street art, pop art and graffiti writing as fine art. The artists are mostly from Tucson and are between the ages of 20 to 30. Many are known for street art and graffiti writing around Arizona and the West Coast.

D&S: Is the street art scene growing in Tucson?

KR: I believe so. We hope to create street art that is more than “graffiti.” It should be art that opens minds and leads to thinking about the world we live in. Street art is created to be temporary, which means it is art in its true form. The message and process of creating the work becomes the purpose of the piece.