Clean, Purge, Repurpose. As new life springs forth from the dead of Winter, I find myself once again looking for a fresh start. Unlike previous years when starting over meant new relationships, foreign travel, or a new career, this year it begins with something as simple as a little spring cleaning.
Tucked far into the depths of my closet, hidden by boxes of art supplies, a shabby plastic electric guitar, and bins full of printer paper and broken cameras, were hangars full of clothes that still smelled of the mold and damp of an ill-fated life in
England. They were ugly (stylistically, and emotionally speaking) reminders of a failed relationship, and a vain attempt at entrepreneurship. Looking at them was, quite frankly, depressing.
But, then again, there were stories in those threads; first loves, London nightclubs, an African adventure. Even though they hadn’t been worn in a year, it was hard to let go.
We all keep mementos of moments that are important to us, of things that happened a lifetime ago. Whether and old t-shirt, a piece of jewelry, or an abandoned photo album, we hold tight to these mementos despite our futile attempts to forget the things in our past they represent.
Letting some ripped up jeans and an over-sized sweater stay in the back of my closet for decades wasn’t doing them, or me any good. And so, as I sucked it up and threw them in a box to donate, I made a resolution. This year, spring cleaning wasn’t just
about out with the old and in with what’s in; it was about starting fresh. It’s not just building a new wardrobe, but making a concentrated effort to create new healthy habits, and establish a new me.
This year, if you find yourself in a funk, or looking for a fresh start, I challenge you to look around you. Take the time purge all those the things that are holding you back and look at this spring as a chance to start over as the person you really want to be.
Words and Art by Dani Dirks
Mori Girl Fan Art by Chico, CA Artists Hana and Mali
Local sister duo Hana and Mali Jones are artists with a love for all things creative and unique, especially when it comes to fashion. Both are currently attending Butte College where they are studying studio arts, graphic design, and fashion design.
Hana’s first job was working with the Three Sixty Ecotique, and has since been inspired to continue her long-term goal of becoming a fashion designer. Mali has always had a gift for graphic design and a keen eye for unique style, so it only makes sense that they join forces.
We are really looking forward to this show… mark that date dudes and dudettes. werd.
We got all artsy here on Friday… it was awesome! Thanks to all the artists, models, and onlookers… such a good night!
This FRIDAY the 13th: Skin As Canvas Event
Where: Our Shop (511 Main Street in Downtown Chico)
We invited some our favorite local artist to paint some models at our shop… come see their work and sip some drinks! There will be other galleries open late in the SOPO district, so cruise around and support local artists!
If you’ve happen to frequent some of the local hangouts in downtown Chico, you’ve probably seen paintings by local artist Caitlin Schwerin. I met up with her last week to chat about her work. She lives down a small gravel road in a short row of houses with picket fences and no sidewalks. The grass in her yard is bright green and overgrown. Cats roam free and a distant rooster makes an afternoon call.
She leads me to her studio in the back. A very small rectangular space stacked with canvases and wood, finished and unfinished paintings. As you would expect, she has fragments of pictures and notes taped to the wall. Her paints and brushes create a tidy little mess on one end of a work counter and in the middle is a painting she’s working on. It’s a “treeple”. Half tree half person, a kind of mod looking lady with a puffy orange fro and long thin legs. Schwerin smiles as she blends color into the tree fro. I ask her to categorize her style. She says “I like the phrase ‘serious whimsy’.” She explains that while all her imagery is whimsical, she approaches every painting with “all seriousness”. She reminisces about attending Chico State, and receiving criticism from her professors for being too “commercial” and “lighthearted”, but she says, “that’s just what comes out.”
There is a simplicity to her imagery that is balanced by her depth of color. She layers and blends colors and mixes acrylics and oil paints. She talks freely and relaxed as she continues to paint, showing her experience and confidence in her process and techniques. We talk about her polka-dots (a by-product of staring and the end of toilet paper rolls) and landscapes. She admits she paints birds when she is sad and that creating these paintings offers her an opportunity to construct some order out of the chaos in her head.
I ask her if this is her only job, and to my surprise, she says yes. Caitlin Schwerin is a working artist, completely making her way on the sales of her artwork. I ask her how she does it, and she says she doesn’t really know, “I’ve been doing this a long time.”