i liiiiiiiiiiive!

well… as best I can…

I told a proffesor, months ago, that I was going to start a blog. Without hesitation she answered with”you won’t have time”

I don’t have time. I mean, I am not making excuses for my laziness or implying that I will be lazy in the future. But my lord, I am wondering how I am going to survive til graduation.

With that said and minimal updating having been done here, I do have good news! I have still been productive! As of January 15th (went the last post should have been completed), I had completed another painting, of my father, and started a self-portrait. As of a week after, January 22nd, My self-portrait was complete, my grandmother’s is underway. I have buildt more canvases this week but I have been a bit lazy in production. Well, maybe not. I did complete another drawing but after critique, I’m not sure how “finished” it is. It is finished, but not “resolved”. For those who are reading and not familiar with my university’s lingo (because I’m not sure if this lingo is shared with other art schools/departments), but a “resolved” picture is a piece that is sound in composition (the way things are laid out and make the eye look all over the picture), and execution (if it’s “drawn” or “painted” nicely, it isn’t just something “thrown” onto the canvas) and displays the intent of the artist. Note some of the greatest artwork needs no back story, it’s apparent when looking. But this also gives way to argue that there is no great modern art since artists like Andy Warhol created pieces “void” of back-story (Brillo Box, Diamond Dust Shoes). But then again, It could be biased opinion that something like Rebecca Belmore’s Performances such as “Fountain” and “Worth”, where you may not know every detail, but you understand. Or Terrance Houle’s photography, even though comedic, addresses issues without beating around the bush.(.. possible joke here if you know his work). With this all said, I know exactly where my drawing series is headed and it will make full circle, I will have a ton of posts at the end of the semester with images galore showing you and walking step by step into my different series.

Watch this, Rebecca Belmore speaks and shows her work; Phenominal!

And looking into Terrance Houle, I attended an artist talk by him and was very educated by him, but not in a threatening way, despite him openly challenging racism.


I have been fortunate enough to have learned from Terrance Houle and with any luck, will meet and learn even more from Rebecca Belmore, who may visit our studios tomorrow (minor fan-girl squeal). The artists have influenced me and I hope you will enjoy their art and learn from them as well.

More accomplishments, I made a relatively successful mold with fabric voodoo dolls. I am very excited to see this idea come to life, as it seems I am making a more autobiographical series in my sculpture courses. I definitely don’t document my sculpture… I need to change that immediately.

Doing another two portraits, one of my grandmother and one of my girlfriend, Cindy, is on the docket. I am looking into doing portraits of my friends to complete the series for the galleries. I will have to bust hump again for the next few weeks to meet personal deadlines. I have 5 paintings completed so far, I realistically see myself completing another five before the end of February. I would like to complete another seven to meet my original goal of  12 total paintings, and so 6 in each gallery. Awesome.

I will be in the studio again tomorrow, despite the fact that I don’t really work well with other people in the studio. For one, I am a night-hawk, and two, I am a chatty Cathy. But I need to make up for being lazy this week. I’ve needed the naps and time off. I finally managed to cash a cheque that was a few weeks, if not a month, old and pick up supplies. So I should not need to purchase many more supplies besides what I must for sculpture, gesso for a few canvases, and for a presentation in my drawing course. Which is wonderful but I CANNOT FIND OAK GALL to SAVE my LIFE! It’s the one thing I cannot get and it’s the only thing that makes authentic drawing ink. BLOODY HELL!

I have mentioned my “spellbook” a few times now. It’s my little journal for my current art projects, revelations and revisions for this year and future projects. My walls also make it into my book and sometimes the book ends up on the wall, so I am constantly surrounded and working on the madness that is theory behind your series, ideas and future compositions. Here are some images.

Despite what people think, there is an innate science behind composing a piece of visual art as there is behind music. There is a math that you begin to follow by subconsciously and there are rules that you are aware of, but may forget what their names are. You simply know it from practice, and you practice it, without knowing. If you have been practicing music since a young age, then you know this without acknowledging it. Same with visual artists. But I am affirmed in believing people will pay musicians to perform and create pieces, meanwhile artists are subjected to the idea that “art should be free”. I’m not saying that musicians do not receive ridicule based on how “frivolous” our studies are considered, or do not hear “so what does your degree mean in the job market?” less often than artists do. And hey, look at the intense and overzealous anti-piracy policies out there (ever looked up ACTA? It is SOPA and it’s already in place), and musicians aren’t paid for sharing their work, and artist’s images are equally as viral… but I stand by the fact that people see reason to pay a musician before an artist. And I also believe the years of art giving way to theory over execution has hurt the credibility of the study and practice. My point really is that few acknowledge the natural tendency for art that is only instilled from practice and learning continuously for an extended period of time… and not just in school. A similar few believe that the arts are to be free to all. Nononono…NO! If you listen to advertising, believe in wearing make-up and ever wonder how anything looks (being pretty/ugly) then you owe it to an artist. An artist who studied design will know how to market and do said marketing. If you think that cosmetics are so cool because you can wear a hundred faces, then you believe in someone who knows colour theory and colour mixing and a bit of science, and if you ever wonder why a kettle looks cool, a bag looks fashionable or the neat design of the tracks in your shoes, you can thank an artist. There are a thousand and one arguments as to what the purpose of art is, but simply for this argument, it’s to make our lives more livable. It directs you, encourages you, educates you and even serves function. We deserve payment for that. And if you are looking to have a sculpture made for your garden or have a public edifice, that artist should be paid. And if that painting is part of your interior design, which you paid for the furniture and wall paint for to begin with, then the artist is owed. If the work is a portrait of you to boost your ego, then the artist should be paid like a personal trainer or an inspirational speaker. I don’t work for free. No artist does. No musician works for free, no visual artist works for free, no house painter works for free, no street-sweeper works for free, no prostitute or stripper works for free, not even the lady who does the voices for the announcements in airports works for free. No one works for free (accept parents, but that’s a different ball of wax). I’ll get off my soapbox now… but please share and take into consideration what I’ve mentioned.

So yes, I’ve updated, shared some artists that inspire me, what I have been accomplishing and goals. You’ve even seen part of my spellbook and heard me be self-rightous. Thank you again for delving into the madness with me, I wouldn’t be happier anywhere else.

When I figure out my butt from a hole in the ground;

  • sculpture update
  • more inspirations of mine
  • some documentation of what I’m talking about

Ps – This new laptop is making these posts and life SIGNIFICANTLY easier!

-Elizabeth Hoskin, and I am LovingBedlam


so class didn’t start this week… good

Hey guys! Sunday update!

This may be short and sweet, and considering the last post, that would be a nice change. I have a girlfirend with me tonight, who I happened to meet as a model. She’s been a best friend of mine for a year and tonight, we veg! She’s having a break-up, we’re doing those girly things. However, I said I would update every Sunday and update when I have something accomplished, and I do! And I promise to continue these posts without broken, random statements and some more focus on grammar.

My last post I was summerizing work that has been completed in 2011, and so I am posting the painting/major studio paintings thus far. Feel free to skim over the last post to see the theory.

“Uncle Michael”, acrylic on canvas, 46″x38″

I wish I had documented all the phases this canvas, because there were two different compositions. The first had a very similar set-ups, then i painted over. This would be my favourite thus far.

“Mum”, acrylic on canvas, 46″x38″

I will be redoing this portrait of my mother after. It was inbetween my father’s portrait and my uncle’s, so you can see me hashing out what to focus on.

“Dad”, acrylic on canvas, 42″x36″

This was the first of the series and it was apparent that I was doing 1)something that I have beaten to death already and 2) lacking what I wanted to. I will redo his portrait later as well, but this is how the series started. My mother’s and uncle’s canvases bother had underpaintings of similar compositions. My original focus of the series was to relate people to space (basically).

“Poppop”, mixed media on canvas, 48″x36″

Please remember, all photographs and works are copyright, Elizabeth Hoskin 2011-2012

This is my grandfather. I belieive “Poppop” is a southern nomen for grandfather. In anycase, it’s what I call him. He is the last completed and I have an idea of where to continue my series. Next semester’s plan: blow these out of the water.

As for my drawing series, I have no clue where the drawings have gone to. I hope to find them; I want to submit some for the annual juried exhibition.  No pressure.

I’m just proud I have updated, because it has been a long week and a long night!

Next Update:

  • full sentences and coherent thoughts!
  • the spellbook
  • the studios
  • those crazy  things that inspire me, including death!

-Elizabeth Hoskin, and I am LovingBedlam

retrospect, plans and definitions

Hey All!

So, I said I was going to chat about where I got my names from, what has been accomplished and goals, and what i’m muddling around with now (Is this still the boring part or am I unsure of what to write? How do you know when you write something if it is relevant?).

Firstly, the name and screen-name for here. I chose “The Nirvana for the Asylum Patient” based on a weird post I wrote on my chalkboard in the studio. Nirvana, as I have known it, is a place and state of contentment and enlightenment. The self-actualized as Maslow could best describe it. Meanwhile the, outdated, reference to an asylum patient is for me, and anyone who does what seems illogical for their goal. Sometimes, I don’t know entirely what I am doing. And that is as it should be. Going into art may not be a lucrative endeavor or an entirely healthy career (being as I play with chemicals and sometimes toxic materials…and some materials are just not wise to breath in), but I cannot see anywhere else I would be. Every once in a while, when I’m working in a studio that has no heat and the breakers blow easily, when I’m hungry as hell but too into what I am doing to pry myself away to get food, it will hit me; I am exactly where I need to be. Sleep deprived, hungry, shaking from my caffeine addiction and muddling away at my next piece; it is simply Nirvana.

LovingBedlam, my screen name, is simply stating that I love where I’m at, where I’m going and simply loving the insanity behind achieving my nirvana. Bedlam was an actual mental health facility back in Elizabethan times. You would have learned that reference in reading Shakespeare. Then is was known as an asylum for the insane. What was so unique and ahead-of-times for Bedlam, was that they did not just throw patients into a cell and tossed them food, only letting them out to scare people into practicing the accepted religion. But rather, the patients were on a schedule and were given a quiet, and well regimented day. And that’s all anyone needs. You may be crazy, but there’s nothing wrong with that. Most of all, I simply love what I’m doing.

To really illustrate how crazy people think I am, at the end of high school, when I said I was going to pursue Fine Arts, my mother and father supported me with no question. However, not everyone saw why or what could come of an art degree. After all, what value does art, rather a picture, have in this society (that we will discuss many times after this) ? What job was I going to get with a degree in something so subjective and seemingly frivolous? Then, I believed I was going to go for my Bachelor of Education and eventually become the crazy high school art teacher. By the middle of third year of university, I changed my mind to a Master’s degree. I would be burnt out from teaching eventually, and most dreadful of fates for me, I would never produce art for me again. It was scary to change the game plan, but it’s what I think I need to do. I definitely don’t think I’m wrong.

After all, I go where my instincts tell me. Thus far, my instincts, my gut feeling, has never been wrong. I’m lucky for that. I go with the wind and it’s always where I need to be. I am young though.. but we shall see. I think I’m also lucky that I posses something of a fearlessness. Worst-case scenario is rarely that bad. And I haven’t had to fall back on Plan B. I’m also too stubborn to not get where I want to be, and that can help. It’s annoying, but it helps.

So… what have I accomplished in 2011? Well besides being humbled by life events and learning from that. At the end of my 3rd year I completed a miniseries of paintings. Even after second year I was wondering if I would continue to pursue figurative work and in the miniseries, that wonder was confirmed. My thesis for that series was based off an analylism from art history that year. Art history that year was a special topic, Feminist theory in Visual Culture, taught by Dr. Kristy Holmes. In the course we reviewed the idea of the “male gaze” and voyeurism in art. To simplify (or bastardize), paintings that look into a private moment are voyeuristic. Pretty simple, until you realize that most art was made from and for the male viewing. This is most likely because men 1) were allowed to attend art school  and 2) held the money to purchase art. Therefore to sell your art, you would need to appeal to the demographic. The demographic, in the epicenter of the art world for most of western art history, was the heterosexual, Caucasian male. This “male gaze” may have perpetuated the idea of the “venus”, or perfect woman. Of course the idea of “perfect” changes from generation to generation. My goal was to eliminate voyeurism within painting. Having hopes of continuing the theory or extending it in the future, I chose to start at eliminating voyeurism in portraiture first. I painted several friends, nude, looking directly at the viewer. In the eye contact alone, followed by the subject inviting or acknowledging the viewer, I had eliminated the voyeurism. Another part to the thesis was that voyeurism is what made some of the greatest paintings was the voyeurism. I wanted to substitute that with my love for multimedia with the possibility I could add another element for the viewer. A fear that may have taken over the work, was that the viewer would see the subject, be repulsed by the eye contact (as unbroken eye contact is intimidating at times) as well as the viewer does not now the subject and would not keep interest in the painting, and the other elements would keep the attention of the audience longer.


Please remember,photos and artworks are copyright, Elizabeth Hoskin 2011

I had completed a drawing series based on the figures of my nightmares, sadly my drawings did not survive the moves. However two of my paintings were chosen at the Annual Lakehead Visual Art Department Juried Exhibition. Ben and Kayla were displayed as a diptych, after following the advice of a professor, and were my pride and joy. Fun fact; “Kayla” is how most of the portraits start, but again, I was advised to put them in contrast with one another. Lesson learned: even the best in the game give imperfect advice every once in a while.

I also accomplished switching jobs, to working at the local art supply shop and as a cosmetician at a drugstore. My first love of almost two years ended, and that was humbling as well. I finally learned what people mean when they say “love makes you do stupid things”. No regrets, he was my first and he gets a special place in my heart. I’m in the process of forgiving, I’m still bitter from time to time but the motions are passing and I don’t think it will be much longer before I let it all go. I, however, do not forget. I think I have the diet for my digestive problems down pat. To help people along, I have gastroesophegeal reflux disease (like having heartburn on steroids and a constant ulcer), non-alcolic fatty liver (as does 70% of Canadians [being overweight does that]) and Irritable Bowel Syndrome. There a few other things, but together it’s a challenge. Not treating what I have can lead to cancer, and treating what I have with medications also could lead to cancer. Diet is the best bet. More on that later… maybe when I blog a meal or two.

For 2012, I will be graduating. And at the end of my final year there will be a few shows I will and I hope to participate in. First is the Annual Juried Exhibition that the University holds. The panel, as I understand it, is made up of Professors and members of the Thunder Bay Art Gallery. Also, the graduating class is responsible for hold their own collective exhibition between the Thunder Bay Art Gallery and the Definitely Superior Art Gallery. The course most graduating students take is called “Major Studio” and so that is the name of the exhibition as well. Lastly we assist with the Annual Urban Infill exhibition held by the Definitely Superior Artist Run Gallery. I have some other rough ideas but nothing to come to light as of yet. My main focus now is the graduation and moving back home.

I have a few series on the go now. First of all, and I hope to catch up in documenting these, is a drawing series based on my recent digestive diagnosis and prognosis. I have tried to broaden it to answer the question “what happens when you deny a person food?”. The focus thus far is the futility in attempting to participate in a daily ritual that you cannot fully partake or is not accessible for you. Essentially, you cannot “wine and dine” or “schmooze” like a general population. This is particularly noticeable with someone having Celiac’s disease. Denying someone the ability to be in the day-to-day ritual and social event, leaves you as an “other”. And an “other” is always at the bottom of the barrel. I’ve had hit some roadblocks, but I am sure I know where I am going.

My painting series, which is changing into a drawing series, is a bunch of family portraits. One of the many hazards with Major Studio is succumbing to pressure and getting lost. What is so exciting and dangerous about this course and this year, is that the professors leave you alone. You have a bi-weekly critique and few group critiques, and so much opinion can be too much. I fell into a very classic trap that is I became too absorbed with the theory and in turn, my production was lost. Our last critique was quite conclusive; If I want to paint portraits, just paint. Theory needs to be secondary. I’m quite convinced my drawing series about lack of food has been more successful thus far.We shall see.

I have been pleasantly surprised at one of my professors however. Sam is known to be a wee bit flaky and too ethereal to understand. He’s an amazing artist and in reading his work, I am stunned at the clarity and depth. And in person, he is someone you can really draw upon for good thought. Sometimes students loose that when he is a professor. I have had him as a teacher for three classes now. In second year drawing and last year’s painting class. Last year, in the first semester I had a surgery that I ought to have taken the year off for. This surgery is what determined my illnesses and brought a lot of years of frustration to a close. For half a year, I could not lift heavy things, I could not truly push or exhaust myself. And in doing art, you cannot forfeit either. I don’t know how, and it was not easy, but I finished all my assignments and even pushed out the miniseries in half the time. And I know I’m boasting, but I also ended the year ahead of the game. This also means I never have an excuse anymore. Sam, the deceiving, perceptive, whimsical person he is, noticed that I work by just doing it. I call it my “witching hour”. It’s most appropriate since it is often midnight (like this post) that I begin and do no stop. I can go into my studio at nine in the morning and leave at six, and have x amount of work done. But with witching hour, I can get that amount done from midnight to 4 or 7 in the morning (depending the project) and that work from 9-6 will be done, and better yet, all resolved. I suppose it’s me naturally being a nighthawk and I work when the world is silent, I am not due anywhere and no one will talk to me. The conversations are exclusively between me, and my work. This is when the insanity is not interrupted, this is nirvana. And it is always the most productive.

My last two miniseries that I am working on are in sculpture and in block printing. I am filing in one credit with a studio course and that would be third year, sculpture. The next semester the professor wanted to see more mold making from me. I want to either play with identity or keep on my relatively autobiographical scene. And block printing is just for fun and something to sell. That and maybe they’re cop-outs for things I wanted to make but never could crystallize my theory behind them. We shall see.

I think that’s enough for me tonight. Hopefully Sunday I will have photos taken of my major studio series and be able to show you my accomplishments of the week (remember I said I didn’t want to do a Sunday update without accomplishing something) and whatever else I discover along the way.

Next Episode:

  • photos of the major studio series thus far
  • finding my drawings and hopefully documenting those
  • the major studio journal, a.k.a. “My Little Spellbook”
  • my weird, wonderful and midnight fascinations

-Elizabeth Hoskin, and I am LovingBedlam


Happy New Year and Welcome to NAP

Hello All and Happy New Year!

I’ll try to be quick and the get the boring stuff out of the way. My name is Elizabeth and I am currently in my last year of my Honours Bachelor of Fine Arts. My main mediums are painting and drawing, but I still practice sculpture and printmaking. My goals for this blog are to,

  • become more connected to other art members, artist run groups, and the art world in general
  • keep myself accountable for pursuing deadlines and goals
  • find something more productive to do than facebook for 3 hours of the day
  • improve my writing skills. it’s been a few years since creative writing in high school and learning to be articulate in regards to my art would be essential
  • receive some critique about my art
  • receive tip about my research and creative process
  • promote me and my work
  • enjoy the trip

Also, this last year I was diagnosed with a few digestive problems and given some prognosis that have changed my life. The silver lining, i am forced to learn a healthier lifestyle and maybe, ( I will try) bring attention to an issue that is so common, and so unfocused; our relationship with food. Mainly, what happens when you deny a person food? When you deny a person the simple daily ritual, what happens to them? What happens when food is the currency? And do we do when food is the medicine and the drug? Food is used as power, and those with power have food, so are you denied any power when you are denied food? I am currently exploring this as a part of my own life, and through my art. my goals for that part of the blog are to,

  • understand my own diagnosis
  • be accountable to changing my life around, and maybe find a comfortable lifestyle
  • bring awareness to the miniscule; to something everyone knows or knows about
  • maybe, make a difference for someone else

Lastly, a bit more about me. I also work as a cosmetician. It’s another art form that I have always been surrounded with. My mother has been a Mary Kay Independent Beauty Consultant since I was 2 years old. I was an “ambassador” for the MK Unit since I was 13 and on my 18th birthday, i received my starter kit. Mary Kay was not just a business my mother and I got into, there was a lifestyle associated with it. It’s a lifestyle very few other cosmetic companies uphold, it is a lifestyle that any good make-up artist knows by nature. You see everyone as beautiful, you treat everyone honorably and you speak kindly. Growing up with this, I have been a phenomenal customer service expert in all my jobs, and just that smile, grace, and being myself landed me this job that could, hopefully, lead to me to other careers. I have watched Michelle Phan from the beginning and even screamed when she announced that Lancome had not just hired her for a counter/customer service position, but the spokeswoman! I follow Promise Phan, bubzbeauty and many other beauty bloggers, I peek at fashion shows and magazines and know exactly where the trend is going. Simply, I just love it.

This blog will be mostly written, as I find in writing my ideas, it is easier to spot and follow a golden thread that naturally leads forward. my goals,

  • write every Sunday
  • keep it exclusively about art, food, make-up
  • have something accomplished every time i update
  • document my work, even in progress (because i NEED to start doing that)
  • make it happen, you can’t always wait for inspiration; you’ll never make a deadline

Welcome, thank you and Happy New Year!

next blog:

  • inspiration for the names
  • what I have accomplished in 2011
  • plans for 2012
  • a bit about my current art series

– Elizabeth Hoskin, and I am LovingBedlam