Update: NTS

I've been continuing to work on the Not to Scale piece. I'm going to be switching out some equipment, once I find some things, for ones that better fit the idea. I'm also going to be going from rough draft to final draft on the wall and booklet components. Additionally, this weekend, Gus and I will be painting my studio off-white, because right now it's an awful shade of blue (which was the way it was when I moved in). Once I've got most of the pieces put together and assembled, I'll be able to share some pictures of the various components. The group show for our program opens in July, and this piece will be there, so stay tuned for more information as the date gets closer!

WIP: "Not to Scale" (2014)

"Not to Scale" (2014) Video Game Screenshot (Opening Scene)

I present to you... CURRENT PROJECTS! You'll find a new link at the top of the page which takes you to the projects (the big stuff anyways) that I'm working on right now. There will still be lots of content posted on the blog, of course, like periodical updates, sketches, etc. Check out my project: "Not to Scale"


BAMcinématek's Migrating Forms (December 17, 2013)

BAMcinématek, Migrating Forms, December 17, 2013
by Kristen Bisson, Social Media Assistant, The Living Gallery

(originally posted on The Living Gallery Blog)

Last Tuesday was the last night of Migrating Forms. Closing off the evening were two films: "Lo que el fuego me trajo" ("What the Fire Brought Me") by director Adrián Villar Rojas (43 minutes, 2013) and "Sequence 0" by directors João Maria Gusmão and Pedro Paiva (35 minutes, 2013). (For more information on the films themselves, click here.) Tonight, I went with my friend and colleague Brandi Martin.

The first film, "Lo que el fuego me trajo," is a thing of beauty. The composition is extremely well done; the lighting and the colors are so incredibly vibrant and rich; the sounds were poetic, simple and mesmerizing. The depth of field was shallow. It was slowly paced and meditative. There was very little dialogue, and what little there was couldn't be heard very clearly at all. In the film, men and women are found to be working extremely hard building and collecting various objects and structures, deep into night and next morning. The film was shot at the Casa de Vidro (1951, Lina Bo Bardi) in Morumbi, São Paulo.

Brandi and I talked a little bit about the themes this film was addressing: modernism and voyeurism. These themes can be found in: the glass house, where everybody can see you and you can see them; the actions the characters went through in their projects; the way it all was filmed in general; the ending, where a character looks you, the audience, directly in the eyes (which is no where else in the film); the credits themselves, which went on for so long that many in the audience could help but laugh, and I don't think they left anyone out of their list; even the font chosen for the credits, and oh man... that kerning; and then, to top it all off, there was a segment, which felt like forever, where two black circles adjacent to each other would spin at center and leave their mark every few millimeters, so that eventually it became a larger, opaque, black dot. Yep. But seriously, such a great film. Definitely see it if you get the chance!

The description for the second film, "Sequence 0," is as as follows (pulled from BAMcinématek's website):

These 14 short films were created by the Portuguese filmmaking duo João Maria Gusmão and Pedro Paiva, whose poetic philosophical fiction explore and interpret the uncanny through acts of magnetism, transference, and material transformation.

Some of these shorts were poetic, sentimental, and others were absolutely hilarious. Many, if not all, were done with extreme slow motion, which brought about either a painful how-long-do-we-have-to-sit-through-this kind of experience or a fun and pleasurable experience. These shorts didn't really have sound, and usually consisted of the overlapping of shots with different opacities. The various films included: a close up shot of someone getting the very top of their head shaved; the same landscape at different times of day so that three suns were overlapping and slowly shifting; three men at a campfire apparently having a hilarious conversation; three egg yolks moving around together, again overlapping; lots of eggs shorts, actually; a couple of emu-bird-things wandering around in front of a painted backdrop, blocking the camera, investigating the backdrop itself, and being funny overall; a number of other shorts; and my favorite short from the series that night was a close of up of the top of a table with an elephant's trunk trying really what seems like desperately hard to grab a few peanuts.

Overall, I found the films of the night to be interesting, funny, beautiful, and weird. I enjoyed the various films I got to see at Migrating Forms. You can read my two previous reviews on this blog from December 13 and December 15.

Let us know in the comments if you saw anything awesome at BAMcinématek and/or Migrating Forms!

BAMcinématek's Migrating Forms (December 15, 2013)

BAMcinématek, Migrating Forms, December 15, 2013
by Kristen Bisson, Social Media Assistant, The Living Gallery

(originally posted on The Living Gallery Blog)

Last night I went to see both Migrating Forms Program 3 (7:00pm) and Migrating Forms Program 4 (9:30pm). It was absolutely fantastic. Here's a list of the films that were presented:

Migrating Forms Program 3 (Information Source)

  • "45 7 Broadway" (Directed by Tomonari Nishikawa) 2013, 5min An analog portrait of Times Square’s LED present.
  • "Mount Song" (Directed by Shambhavi Kaul) 2013, 9min Half-forgotten spaces are reconstituted into an eerily familiar cinematic new world.
  • "A Third Version of the Imaginary" (Directed by Benjamin Tiven) 2013, 12min An exploration of the material facts of video and film at the Kenya Broadcasting Corporation.
  • "Juan Gris Dream House & Popova-Lissitztky Office Complex" (Directed by Jon Rafman) 2013, 2min each New York premiere. Two entries from Rafman’s Brand New Paint Job project, which uses famous paintings to wallpaper 3D models of houses and offices.
  • "Amuse-gueule #1: Digital Destinies" (Directed by Gina Telaroli) 2012, 12min New York premiere. “An experiment in superimposition and cinematic mediums that ebbs and flows through a fractured layering of images” (MUBI).
  • "El Adios Largos" (Directed by Andrew Lampert) 2013, 11min Archivist and artist Lambert presents a speculative restoration of Robert Altman’s The Long Goodbye.
  • "Pepper's Ghost" (Directed by Stephen Broomer) 2013, 19min New York premiere. Inspired in equal parts by Michael Snow and your local haunted house.

Migrating Forms Program 4 (Information Source)

  • "Warm, Warm, Warm Spring Mouths" (Directed by Ed Atkins) 2013, 13min “…Pictures the digitalization of existence from the inside, in all its cold alienating surrogacy” (Art Agenda).
  • "bbrraattss" (Directed by Ian Cheng) 2013, 3min Ian Cheng dissolves and re-choreographs a rabbit fight into an abstract motion study.
  • "Even Pricks" (Directed by Ed Atkins) 2013, 8min “… The culmination of a series connected with depression, in both the psychological and the physical sense of the word” (Lyon).
  • "Swallow" (Directed by Laure Prouvost) 2013, 12min Inspired by the artistic and sensuous traditions of Italy, Laure Prouvost presents a collage of a recent Mediterranean idyll, syncopated to the rhythm of her own breath.
  • "Critical Mass" (Directed by Kerry Tribe) 2012, 25min Continuing her career-long investigation into personal and historic memory, Kerry Tribe presents a restaging of Hollis Frampton’s groundbreaking experimental film Critical Mass. Tribe’s reinvention features a single virtuoso take of two actors delivering the lines originally edited by Frampton into a rhythmic, disjointed pattern.

A number of my favorites from the night included: "Mount Song" (Directed by Shambhavi Kaul), "A Third Version of the Imaginary" (Directed by Benjamin Tiven), "El Adios Largos" (Directed by Andrew Lampert), "Warm, Warm, Warm Spring Mouths" (Directed by Ed Atkins), and "Even Pricks" (Directed by Ed Atkins).

The set and fog in "Mount Song" reminded me a lot of The NeverEnding Story's set and aesthetic, with a little Lord of the Rings thrown in there. I thought that was awesome. It had that dark, starry, fantasy, hidden-in-the-forest landscape and feel to it, and there was a little village, a full moon, and no humans in sight. No creatures really of any kind. Unless you count the fog as creatures. In "Mount Song," the fog felt activated, as if they were the characters of this short story. They moved, we followed, they traveled, and there was even what looked like an epic dark/light fog battle at one point. There were other possible characters, which took the form of little shining lights traveling at fast speeds across the landscape. The explosions, quick cuts, and set, as I said, reminded me a lot of the fantasy movies of the mid-80s, like The NeverEnding Story. I could have sworn that at one point, in one particular scene from "Mount Song," we might surely see Falkor dip over top the thick fog bank under the starry sky. Loved that this short film, "Mount Song," was done in 2013 and accomplished that aesthetic extremely well.

"A Third Version of the Imaginary" (Directed by Benjamin Tiven) was extremely interesting. It featured a library of VHS tapes, the covers all black with white labels, with a man looking through them, apparently trying to find something specific. From listening to the narration, you would learn about different concepts of video, image, memory, and meaning, including such ideas like "video is an amnesic medium." The narrator spoke about how when film is recorded, how much time, production, money, etc, goes into it, and then it appears on an inexpensive and ephemeral piece of technology like a VHS, stored, and that even the original film is not saved because it is used to make the next film. The narrator explained that in Swahili, words like "video" are inherently attached to a medium, and understood this way, but that there is no "naturally occurring word" for "image" since that word is so detached from any specific medium. The film is an interesting introduction and investigation regarding how technology and language changes and informs each other, simultaneously changing ideas and concepts about the world around us, and ourselves.

I had never seen The Long Goodbye, so my experience with Andrew Lampert's film "El Adios Largos" would probably be very different had I seen the original. The opening credits still showed the original people for The Long Goodbye, but then for certain credits, Lampert had added his own right next to the originals, so that there were two directors, instead of one, etc. (All part of the humor!) The part of the film Lampert used was the beginning scene, where the main character is feeding his cat, trying to give it human food, then going out at 3:00am to buy it cat food, then trying to fool it into thinking it's eating its favorite brand, etc, but this cat knows better. The main character also interacts with his female neighbors, who are apparently baking brownies and cookies and whatever at 3:00am. (Why not.) This version of the film, which Lampert had found and used, had been dubbed in Spanish. So, he had it subtitled back into English. And, since the film had been in black and white, Lampert added color to it, often in blocks, shapes, with shifting and imprecise borders, moving, warping, etc. In his talk after the screening, he said had researched to figure out what colors kitchens, etc, were in the 70s, and worked with those color schemes in this piece. Overall, his film, and his talk, were both hilarious, interesting, and lots of fun.

For both of Ed Atkins' pieces, I was intrigued and captivated by the poetry, the visuals, and the sounds. I was very interested in how he manipulated the 3D animated characters and objects, the repetition of themes with variations each time, the text (in various fonts, colors, styles, etc) and the poetry, the still images mixed in with animated elements and narration, etc. Sometimes, the text, the poetry, had the same font, style, and sound of an epic movie trailer, with all the emphasis and energy that comes with it. His films were amusing, thought-provoking, and inspiring. Definitely worthy of multiple viewings. Anybody interested in animation, either as a viewer and a maker or both, should see these films by Ed Atkins. Quite amazing!

Overall, a really great night with really great short films!

I will be going to the following film screening:

Conor O’Brien, also of The Living Gallery, will be going to this screening:

Please, go check out BAMcinématek’s film series, Migrating Forms!
Let us know in the comments about what you’ve seen or plan to see.

BAMcinématek’s Migrating Forms (December 13, 2013)

BAMcinématek, Migrating Forms, December 13, 2013
by Kristen Bisson, Social Media Assistant, The Living Gallery

(originally posted on The Living Gallery Blog)

I returned from a night at BAMcinématek just moments ago. I had joined my friend Andrea Chen for screening of “The Unity of All Things” (2013). (She is one of the actresses in the film.) We enjoyed viewing the film and chatting about her experiences in the filming of it, and subsequently her viewing of it in its entirety. Sometimes, even for the actors, this is the first time they’ve seen the films they star in.

The film itself was surreal, dreamlike, bizarre, funny, sentimental, philosophical, and an interesting take on the idea of science fiction. The directors, Daniel Schmidt and Alexander Carver, spoke after the screening, and discussed how they went about the idea of science fiction as a genre in terms of this film. Rather than the construction of a whole new world or a whole new society in order to talk about certain issues, which can be typical of science fiction, they decided to take what was already existing as structures and shift it slightly, taking what we already know as reality and dipping it into the unusual.

The description from the website states:

In their debut feature, Daniel Schmidt and Alexander Carver crafted this utopian science fiction allegory about the development of a massive particle collider intended to probe the origin of the universe. Taking the instability of everything from identity to gender to history to the image itself as a starting point, the film follows two teenage boys as they visit their mother, an expatriated Chinese physicist, in the US. As their journey spans from Jiuzhai Valley in China to the Sonoran desert, it reveals the alienation and otherness beneath the surface of all things.

I stayed for the second screening of the night, Migrating Forms Program 2. The films that were shown included: “Birds” (2012) 17 Minutes (Directed by Gabriel Abrantes), “Utskor: Either/Or” (2013) 8 Minutes (Directed by Laida Lertxundi), “Not Blacking Out, Just Turning the Lights Off” (2012) 16 Minutes (Directed by James Richards), and:

“A Breakdown and After the Mental Hospital” (1982)
26 Minutes (Directed by Anne Charlotte Robertson)
In this harrowing self-portrait, Super-8 master Anne Charlotte Robertson lucidly narrates footage of the daily routines and rituals that governed her last breakdown. - BAMcinématek

“Emily Died” (1994)
27 Minutes (Directed by Anne Charlotte Robertson)
Possibly Anne Charlotte Robertson’s most devastating film, Emily Died chronicles the death of her young niece. Set in the spring, Robertson seeks solace in her garden as Emily’s death sends her spinning toward another breakdown. - BAMcinématek

I scribbled some notes in the dark as I was viewing the above short films. Ultimately, of those five films, I think I was struck most by both of Anne Charlotte Robertson’s creations. My rambling reflection will be for the both of these films:

There were simultaneous dialogues happening in the films, and one could pick up pieces of both, but one was obviously louder and clearer than the other, and you had to struggle to get small sections of the second overlapping dialogue. The video shifted, often quickly, amongst different moments in time, going from self-reflection, to family portrait, to environmental observations, to philosophical and metaphorical inquiries, and the experience of a range of emotion from joy, to curiosity, to anger, to helplessness, to fear, to obsession, etc. The fragments of her life, the people in it, her environment, her situation, all of which pointed to and revealed something very raw and very real about the human experience and in particular her mental experience.

In Emily Died, she said things like, “All we have are pictures now,” and “I hope there is a heaven,” “I hope I believe in God, and I hope I believe in heaven.” She then talked about how she wished to help children, to care for them, to be pregnant, but that her age, medications, and mental states wouldn’t allow her to experience the things that she longed for. She was distraught over Emily’s death. She expressed guilt for thinking about other things, rather than thinking about Emily’s death. She would wonder why she thought she herself was allowed to think about food, or her weight, or her own problems, when something so tragic had happened to someone she cared about.

“Significance” was a frequently heard word. We’re invited to contemplate along with her as she thought out loud, narrating her mind and the events in her life. Her train of thought seemed fluid and unhindered. Moments in the films were funny, poetic, thought-provoking, sentimental, troubling, sweet, serious, philosophical, uncomfortable, etc.

The night’s films gave me a lot to chew on.

I will be going to the following film screenings:

Conor O’Brien, also of The Living Gallery, will be going to these screenings:

Please, go check out BAMcinématek’s film series, Migrating Forms!
Let us know in the comments about what you’ve seen or plan to see.


"How did you get to be sooo taaall?" asked The Little Sir, a gentlemanly four year old boy asks. The yellow, tan-spotted creature swings his head around and brings his face closer to the boy's. He blinks, his long lashes nearly sweeping along The Little Sir's face. The boy backs up a step. "Well," the creature began, "there are many stories your kind tells to answer that very question." Not quite the answer the boy was looking for, but then, he didn't really know what answer he might have been expecting either. He just wanted to know. The creature flicks his ears, and brings his head back to the average height. "It's all relative anyhow." He continues with the puzzling answers. The Little Sir kicks the dirt as he walks.

Another creature, a little bit smaller, but not by much, gracefully frolics up to their location, reducing speed and joining them. "Hello," she says. "How are you both doing today? Enjoying this sunny day in the park?"

"Yes," the spotted creature replies, "The Little Sir was just asking me about how we got to be sooo taaall." The boy looks up at her in anticipation of a better response.

She blinks in surprise. "Oh! It just really depends on who you ask, doesn't it?" She says, unhelpfully. "Aren't there tall ones from your kind, too?" she asks The Little Sir.

"Well, yes, I guess. But not nearly as tall as you," the boy replies.

"Oh, it's all relative anyhow," she echos.

Her husband fast approaches them, with a little one running just behind, still three, maybe four times the high of The Little Sir. He speaks, "Darling, how are you?"

"Well, Dear. We were just talking with The Little Sir about why we are sooo taaall."

"Oh! The story changes. It could be for many reasons or none at all," replies her husband.

"I'm going to be really tall one day!" squeaks the little creature, towering many, many feet over The Little Sir.

"Isn't that the truth!" says the boy's friend to the other three creatures.

The Little Sir sighs deeply.

The breeze gently passes through some trees ahead of them. The creatures pick up speed and approach the tree, stopping in its shadow. They began to reach high for the leaves, gnawing on them happily. The Little Sir looks up at them, imagining what it would be like to be sooo taaall. Loose leaves fall from the activity high above him. He removes his top hat and tries to catch the falling leaves inside.

My fiancé gave me a writing prompt: A walk in the park with giraffes.

About Then / About Now - Group Art Exhibition - Join me on Wednesday!

Join me for the opening of

About Then / About Now

at the UMF Art Gallery and Emery Community Arts Center

in Farmington, Maine

Opening Night: October 9th at 5:00pm

Running: October 4th through November 18th

Featured Artists: Katherine Steward, Annah Mueller, Rebecca Stevenson, Kristen Bisson, Christy Carle, Stephanie Small, Tim Berry, Giselle Scherle, Emily Baer, Joshua DeMello, Nicole Phillips, Andrew Thompson, Markeith Chavous, Other Various Artists

RSVP on the Facebook Event!

Part of the UMF Charter Day Celebration (150 Years!)



Sketches: War of the Shoes

The sneakers stomped and then heels clicked and clacked. They were separated a short distance, on the hardwood floor, the rug as the barrier. The heels, then the sneakers again, and back to the heels. The slippers scurried behind the heels, pretending not to be seen, while the flip-flops ran through the middle, not concerned in the slightest about the volume of their steps. The sneakers responded roughly, the heels sassy but sweet, and the slippers just hid in the corner. The sneakers stepped closer, their laces tightening, the heels stepped even closer. When they were not an inch apart, suddenly they turned to the door as they heard them coming: the steel-toed boots had arrived. PROMPT: My fiancé gave me a writing prompt, which simply said: “the war of the shoes.”

Sketches: Here & Now

Needing a Push

She pulled over to the side of the road, and there's not another soul in sight. She closes her eyes, imagining herself home with her children, but she's still a ways away. She thinks of their big, bright, beautiful smiles, and she starts up her car for those last long few miles.


She looks at her paper, and sees the scribbles she's left behind. Worrying about the next quiz, midterm and final test.

Worrying about then, later and now. Wanting to do well. and not knowing how to be someone of whom one can be proud, to be picked out as unique from the crowd.

But her teacher gives her a pat on the back, and says, "Do you realize that you're doing so well?" She looks down and tucks her books into her pack, and suddenly off goes the 2:30 bell.

Her teacher says, as she turns towards the door, "I'm so proud of you, and I know that you're going to continue to grow."

And she smiled.

Writing Prompt

Reaching Out posted 9.10.13

Writing poetry can be a lonely endeavor. Reading poetry, however, can introduce us to people and worlds we’ve never experienced. Use the power of poetry to help someone who is lonely. The woman resting her head on the steering wheel at a long red light. The old man with a soggy coaster at the end of the bar. The adolescent kid hiding in the school bathroom. Write a poem for them, from you.


An Artist's Statement

Daily, women like myself are attacked on (at least) two fronts: by visual representation and by our roles within society. The internet and information technology are powerful tools for feminism and progressive ideas, but with influence from the media, pop culture, advertisements, the entertainment industry, and contemporary politics, the image of a beautiful, sexy woman has been reduced to wide hips, long legs, large breasts, big butts, and tiny waists, and the roles for women are continuously reinforced to be submissive, passive, overemotional, weak, incapable of intellect, etc. Our patriarchal society desires to control “woman.” I am interested in how individuals and society are involved in the construction of contemporary identity through visual representations and roles. I am interested in how society views, interacts with, uses, and transforms women, and also how it doesn’t. I myself, both purposefully and inescapably, participate in the world and certain structures which I also criticize. I live and make in contradictions.

I also live in the internet. I live in the real world, too, but so much of my life has also involved living in the internet. I have a digital self that rarely resembles my physical self and only occasionally represents my mental self (or so it would seem). I am as much my online aliases as I am otherwise. At the same time, I am also reacting to the world around me, as a young woman and as a feminist, in a society that continues to suppress and oppress women. Like most people, my identity is a construction and an interpretation, pluralistic and complicated, transformed by my experiences within both the digital and physical worlds.

Concepts/subjects that inform my work include, but are not limited to: feminism (particularly third wave and cyborg feminism), the contemporary roles and representations of women, the virtual/physical world/border, the male gaze, internet and video gaming culture, politics and current events, chatrooms and forums, animations and cartooning, characters and their development, and so forth. Specifically, these influences include: Donna Haraway, Cindy Sherman, Hayao Miyazaki, Naoko Takeuchi, Hoogerbrugge, et al.

Some of my concerns include: 1) How both technology and the internet play a role in Feminism; how it tends to reinforce sexism while also being an opportunity for liberation and progressive thought. 2) The visual representation of women in entertainment animation, video games, comics, and within society. 3) The interactions with and treatment of women in the entertainment industry, in politics, at the individual level, within society, and in the digital world.

I would like (hope) to communicate (illustrate): the hypocrisies; the representation and roles of women; the mis/treatment and/or mis/representation of women; the changing definition of women; the current struggles, challenges, and injustices facing women/feminism today in both the physical and virtual realms. My motivations include: observations and experiences within and between the physical/digital world(s), sexism/patriarchy/capitalism/militarism/corporatism, the potential of technology, the inequalities and injustices here and abroad, etc.

Art, for me, is the exploration and the journey: ideas in progress. It invites and provokes conversation. When I make art, I sometimes feels like I’m participating in a form of activism, and I’d like to believe that I am making a difference in the world through what I make as an artist. I am interested in how it prompts us to contemplate and question societal structures, producing and influencing an increased sense of awareness and maybe even inspiring action. I want to be a storyteller.

Neil Gaiman Quote: Mistakes

I hope that in this year to come, you make mistakes. Because if you are making mistakes, then you are making new things, trying new things, learning, living, pushing yourself, changing yourself, changing your world. You're doing things you've never done before, and more importantly, you're doing something.

So that's my wish for you, and all of us, and my wish for myself. Make new mistakes. Make glorious, amazing mistakes. Make mistakes nobody's ever made before. Don't freeze, don't stop, don't worry that it isn't good enough, or it isn't perfect, whatever it is: Art, or love, or work, or family life.

Whatever it is you're scared of doing, do it. Make your mistakes, next year and forever.

Neil Gaiman


Gage Academy of Art - Drawing Jam 2012

Yesterday, Olivia and I went to the Gage Academy of Art - Drawing Jam 2012. It was a lot of fun! It felt like an art-making festival. We got those pseudo-paper bracelets for "tickets." They had loads of supplies available for people to use, free of charge. There was music happening in the rooms and around the building. We checked out the different studios, i.e. sculpture with clay, painting, drawing, etc. We joined in on a couple of drawing sessions. I really enjoyed it. The first model was wearing a medieval costume, and the second was in a very colorful outfit with fake dreadlocks. Later at the event, I enjoyed a piece of chocolate cake, and Olivia ate lots of Goldfish Snacks. Here are some photos of my adventure at the Drawing Jam:

My Drawing of the Medieval Model

My Drawing of the Colorful Model (Sketch)

My Drawing of the Colorful Model (With Color)

Olivia's Drawing of the Colorful Model

Fish in the Mouth of the Skeleton