THEBATHTUBPROJECT

exploring vulnerability and transparency one bath at a time

Tag: Art

Hope Arthur

 

Date of Interview: January 5th, 2018

Name: Hope Arthur

Age: 30

Pronouns: She/Her

 

If you were an underwater creature, real or mythical, what would you be?

I probably would be a real one. But there are two that popped in my head right away. Well, no, three actually. So, the first one would be a sea anemone because I got really obsessed with the way they move for a while and I would only dance like a sea anemone. And then there are sea urchins because I think it’s really cool that they’re really spiny and crazy looking on the outside and they’re really soft on the inside. And then seahorses because I’ve been dreaming about them [laughing]. I don’t know. I just recently was dreaming about seahorses. Really gigantic ones flying outside my window and they’re floral. They were seahorse skeletons, but in my dreams they are not the typical exoskeleton you see on a seahorse. My dream seahorses have ribcages which are hollow. They’re gigantic floral skeletal seahorses. I’ve been thinking about seahorses a lot, so I would want to be one.

How often do you bathe or shower?

Several times a week. Yeah. Several times a week. I shower several times a week and I bathe several times a week because I love baths.

What are you passionate about?

I’m passionate about music and art, I’d say. I started taking piano lessons when I was eight years old. And I fell in love with classical music when I was a child, but my brother would listen to heavy metal and rock and roll. So I was into both [laughter]. And I knew when I was really little that I wanted to be a musician. By the time I got to high school, I had already figured it out and wanted to do that. So I joined every possible music-related thing I could even if I hated it. I was in jazz band. I was in marching band. I was in theatre and choir. I was in– I mean, I didn’t hate any– probably I disliked marching band the most. But I mean, I did all those things because I was like, “Well, if I’m going to be a musician then I need to know everything I can about it.” So, yeah, I guess it was just an intuitive thing I knew when I was a kid. And then I went to really conservative schools. The conservative schools I went to weren’t as liberal in their artistic expression as I personally wanted to be. It wasn’t until I got out of high school that I really got to explore the arts fully, the artistic side. And I started meeting new people in college and going from there.

What type of art do you do now?

Well, so it’s mostly music. I play classical piano, but I also perform in a ragtime band, and I perform in an electronic band, and I have a solo project. And then in terms of art, I’ve been dabbling in visual art because I have strong impulse towards it and it’s a medium I’d like to explore. I do feel intimidated by it though, because I don’t know what I’m doing, so I don’t spend as much time on it. But I have a long-term project where I’m working on a series of large-scale sculptures, which are a physical representation of my own spirit. Initially, I was wanting it to be a general representation of a human spirit, but I think the more I get into the project, I’m realizing it’s my own. But I want it to be a thing where it’s sort of like a playground but it’s an art piece, and you can climb on top of it and through it, and there’s tactile stuff on the inside. I have a prototype of it. It’s made out of styrofoam and wood, so you can’t climb on it. But anyway I sort of do large-scale sculptures, but I need a lot of help when I’m doing them because I don’t know what I’m doing [laughter]. If that answers the question [laughter].

What does the term artist with integrity mean to you?

Artist with integrity. What does that mean to me? I guess I think it means… When I meet people who I believe are artists with integrity, I feel like they ultimately value the purest form of expression. So it’s not like a hierarchical thing or a judgey thing. The people who I respect and the person that I try to be is seeing the first moment of expression. Like when a person wanted to express something or process the world around them, and how they let it travel through their body and then manifest. And allowing space for that, and not judging the manifestation, and just allowing it to be. It’s not to say there aren’t skills or mastery involved. With classical music, for example, there are ways to do it, right? So if you’re a professional at it, there are accepted standards for how to do it because there are established styles within that framework. But at the same time, somebody who felt an impulse to create a really wild classical piece, that’s just coming from the same place as a child who is drawing stick figures in kindergarten. And seeing the oneness of those things, to me, is an artist with integrity.

What are your thoughts on relationships, platonic, sexual, and otherwise?

I’m all messed up about relationships right now [laughter]. I’m really all over the place. I don’t really know. Okay. For my personal choices, I have a lot of trouble because of past baggage. But in terms of other humans and their choices, I just feel like everyone comes with their own life experiences that built them up to why they’re choosing to do things the way they do in the present, so I’m not there to judge. Same with me. I hope no one judges [laughter] why I would have some trouble forming relationships.

What is something you still struggle with?

In general, in life? Probably the relationships thing? [laughter]. Probably that the most. I’ve been really on top of my self-care game. Part of what got me into trouble in the first place, was that I had never really looked at myself and developed enough self-confidence or learned to set boundaries. That created a channel that allowed me to get into some really scary situations, which then created some traumatic experiences for me, which now play into why I’m having trouble forming relationships. So that’s probably, honestly, the biggest thing I struggle with. Otherwise, I feel like I’m pretty good [laughter].

What is something you feel accomplished with?

Something I feel accomplished with? So far, I feel really good about my career. Of course, I can always go further with it. I feel accomplished in my career because I didn’t compromise anything with that, regardless of the bad, unhealthy situations I found myself in. And if I died right now, I would feel pretty successful, even though I know I have a ways to go.

What does self-care mean to you?

Just being really generous with myself when I’m feeling confused about something. Being really generous with myself and allowing myself to feel all—absolutely everything. I used to definitely make myself so busy that I wouldn’t have any time to process my emotions, and I would find myself practicing piano and I would just be bawling my eyes out, because that was the only time I was alone and I could have any moment to process. And so at the bare minimum level, it’s for sure just giving myself time and space to let myself sort it out however I need to, even if people don’t like it or it doesn’t make sense to them. It’s just who I am and what I need to do. And then other things, like nurturing myself. I really like taking baths. That’s a big deal, right? Physical self-care. And then eating healthy. And then, also, if I have a wild idea, just going for it instead of being afraid or letting other people make me feel stupid about it. That kind of stuff.

Aim Ren Beland

 

Date of Interview: October 10th, 2017

Name: Aim Ren Beland

Age: 26

Pronouns: He/Him

Location: Chicago, IL

 

If you were an underwater creature, which would you be?

Any underwater creature? I’d be those little crabs that have no eyes that live next to the ventilation ducts in the ocean, the little white ones, you know, that feed off the weird phytoplankton. Maybe that one. They’ve adapted to live so uniquely to their environment, and they are so a part of their environment that if you remove them from that context, they literally cease to exist. And not just in that it kills them kind of way like a fish out of water, like a very literal– they can’t live in any other water or in any other space. It’s a very unique situation. I like that [laughter].

How often do you bathe or shower?

I shower twice a day, once in the morning to wash, once in the evening to rinse off from the day, and then in the winter, I bathe more because it’s like a warm comfort, a fetal womb kind of feeling, but otherwise I don’t bathe [laughter]. The wash-off and rinse-off is my way to decompress. I have a lot of anxiety, and I like to find little tactics to manage it that aren’t destructive to other people or myself. So I shower at the end of the day. You usually shower alone, so it’s your own space. You can’t do anything else besides just be in the water, so you have to tune into your head and your body, and then you have the good sensation of getting clean so that when you go to your bed or wherever you go to next, you’re really coming there fresh and revived.

What are you passionate about?

I am passionate about the arts and whose voice gets represented in the arts. I’m from up north, and there’s a lot of focus about the environment and the arts there, but the arts community there is predominantly white, middle-class, and straight. I intentionally moved away from that community to Chicago because I felt there were no voices but the stated prior being represented in the kind of art I was seeing around me. So I came here to experience more narratives and grow and see the world through lenses of other people and hope it helps me and my work mature. To find missing pieces of my voice in others. I’m mostly a visual artist, so a lot of stuff I do is drawing or print. I’m really involved right now in the comic scene, so a lot of zines, and I love zines because they’re accessible. They’re usually extremely inexpensive to produce and buy. Almost anyone of any class, creed, whatever can partake in zine making, buying, sharing, so I find that’s a good way to get art into the masses and to spread various messages of not only the current things that are taking place in the world but also the human experience.

What is one of your main thoughts or memories when it comes to human experience?

Things that stand out in my mind about the human experience… I’m still young enough that my childhood plays a large role in my perception of the human experience, so a lot of it is the different things like nature versus nurture that impact you as a person, whether from your parents or the community you grew up in, or the academia that you become a part of– so that’s a significant role. Going into the larger role as an adult and taking on other narratives, I am always more conscious of the ways that the universities and the other infrastructure around us impact other people’s narrative, whether intentionally or unintentionally.

How do you think you impact your community’s narrative? If you do.

Yeah. I think everyone does, whether they intend to or not. And right now, I am still coming into this particular community, which is Chicago– queer Chicago, as relatively an outsider. I’m still kind of a newcomer. I’m queer, but I’m definitely not from Chicago. I don’t know the infrastructures as well as other people, so right now, I’m kind of taking a step back and trying to listen to other voices, especially those that came here before me who understand the infrastructures at hand. And most of my work right now is purely introspective because I feel like I can speak on myself. But as I become more part of the community, I feel more comfortable taking in the various narratives I’ve heard, and with the guide and consent of those voices– putting that back out into the community.

What does the word community mean to you?

Community, to me, means a large group of people working together for a common cause. And as a queer person living in Chicago, those roles are mostly– just having the rights to various infrastructures [laughter]. Just having rights to infrastructures with the acknowledgment of the various privileges we all hold, I am white and I am from a predominantly upper-middle-class background, so I’m aware of those privileges. And using those privileges for good, and not just feeling guilt because guilt doesn’t make change. So using the privileges I do have to foster the voices that are otherwise not heard or not seen. You know what I mean? Just taking it in and listening, and when you mess up, apologize.

What are our thoughts on relationships? Platonic, sexual, and familial, and do they overlap?

Yeah, tying back into my thoughts on community, I feel like community is built through those relationships, whether it be sexual, platonic, familial, I feel like the backbone of a community is good relationships of varying scales. And my current social circle, I try and build that sort of effect. I have this large circle of friends, lovers, roommates, coworkers, collaborators, and they all sit in this very misty area where they kind of switch roles in my life, from one to the other. But the people never disappear. Do you know what I mean? Other than an event of moving or some other grand thing, the people stay in my life no matter what space they’re occupying, and I like to manifest conversations and communities that help build those bonds instead of tearing them down because they don’t fit whatever need it is at the time.

What are you looking forward to?

What I’m looking forward to– it’s a mix of apprehension. So I’m young. I’m 26. The future is so way ahead of me. The world is a really scary place right now, so that means a lot of changes happening very quickly and it’s really easy to feel powerless. But at the same time, I feel very fortunate to be in a city like Chicago because the communities that do exist know their power and they know their worth, and they know what actions they have to take to see what kind of change they want to happen, and it’s not just talk it’s actual action. So that makes me super excited, and I feel super fortunate to be a part of that community in an artistic sense, and welcomed into it, and to be able to take a part in it.

A Klass

 

Date of Interview: August 8th, 2017

Name: A Klass

Age: 28

Pronouns: They/Them

Location: Chicago, IL

 

How often do you bathe or shower?

I try to shower at least every day, but that doesn’t always happen thanks to– I feel like my mental health effects that a lot so sometimes it’s longer, sometimes it’s shorter. It just depends on how it’s going, but my goal is to every day.

If you were a underwater creature, mythical, real, whatever, what would you be?

Probably an angler fish, because I really like how they look. And I love that they have– I don’t know. I just love that their molecules can emit light, that’s wild to me. I also love the fact that their teeth are so big that they can’t close their mouth and that’s also wild to me. So yeah, I like them.

What are you passionate about?

I’m passionate about art. I’m passionate about creativity. I’m passionate about people. I’m passionate about people knowing that they’re seen and loved because I feel like that’s a really important thing and something that not everyone feels, something not everyone has felt a lot, including myself. So something that I try to do in my work and in my creativity is have representation for people. Being represented lets people know that they are seen. That’s important to me. And something I still need to work much harder on.

How does that manifest for you?

I think it manifests itself in my work. In my photography, I try– I feel like I photograph almost exclusively people who identify in the LGBTQ+ family now. I mean, growing up, I had no idea that being nonbinary was a thing and I was so lost and so– I don’t know. There was no representation for it and so I had no idea what I was. So I feel like it’s important to represent all these people that I feel like growing up I saw little or no representation for. And I want to change that for future generations.

What is something you feel accomplished with?

I think I feel accomplished with my ability to care for others and to love. I have a lot of platonic intimacy with people and I feel like that’s really important. And I feel like that’s something that is difficult for a lot of people. It’s something that not a lot of people do or a lot of people I’ve noticed don’t understand. And so, I think I feel accomplished in that because I feel very comfortable in that. And I feel confident in my ability to do that and with those who are comfortable with receiving it, sharing it with them.

What are your thought on relationships, platonic, sexual, and otherwise?

Relationships are very interesting. I love the complexity of them. I mean, my relationships in all those categories are the things that have kept me alive I feel. So I have a lot of deep admiration for those relationships even though a lot of them are difficult and have caused me a lot of heartache and pain in the past and present and future. But I don’t know. There’s a lot of beauty in that. Because I understand very well the temperance of things and I don’t really have an issue with things being temporary. It makes sense to me for things to be temporary. And I think its beautiful because I feel like it makes me appreciate those moments that I do have. And it’s kind of funny because, actually, today one of the people that I’m sweet on told me that they decided today to be monogamous with their primary and so we had to stop our, I guess, romantic side. And so it’s interesting because after that happened and after I’d sort of processed and accepted that, I then thought about this interview coming up, and I was like, “That’s a perfect day for that to happen.” But yeah, I don’t have any– I don’t know. I guess I’m just not mad or sad about things being temporary. Relationships are very interesting and complex things. And I do love the fact that they can exist in so many different forms and a mix of all three of those. Each one separately. I don’t know. That’s very interesting. I have a lot of feelings about relationships.

What do you think about your relationship with yourself?

Oh [laughter]. Yeah. We have a long history. I mean, it’s definitely my most difficult relationship. I can say that. Yeah. That’s one where every day it’s different. Yeah. I don’t know. It’s difficult. I see a lot of good things about myself, but it’s difficult for me to fully accept those. It’s hard for me to, I think, appreciate myself in a lot of ways. A lot of times, I wish I didn’t have to spend so much time with myself. A lot of times, I– I don’t know. A lot of times, I wish I could separate and not necessarily be someone else, but just somehow be alone with someone else in that way.

What is something you still struggle with?

Unfurl scroll [laughter]. I still struggle with anxiety. I still struggle with depression. And I still struggle with wanting to live. I struggle with loving myself, as seeing myself as worthy of love, of seeing myself as worthy of generally anything good. Yeah. Well, it’s interesting because I don’t know if I would necessarily describe it as coping mechanisms. But one thing that has helped me immensely that I have both realized recently and discussed recently is my relationships. And these people, they allow me to see myself as they see me and that’s really hard for me to do. And yeah, I mean, like I said, those relationships are the things that have saved my life countless times. Yeah. So I feel like that’s definitely what’s helped me the most. And even though I still struggle with it every day, the people in my life help me to survive that.

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