Sunday, October 30, 2005

Reflections of An Artist at Large

I displayed an artistic talent at an early age. I first experimented in dirty diapers and mashed potatoes. As I grew older, I moved up to crayons on drywall and markers on flesh. This met with harsh reviews from the critics ("No! Not on the walls!", You do NOT color your sister") and many hours of painting in my room, or on my room, depending on how you saw it. I saw it as a way to give my Jackson Five poster a "Salvador Dali" feel to it, Mom and Dad saw it as my journey into "non-conformity"... Unshaken by these minor setbacks, I continued my artistic development venturing into coloring books. At this stage I began to dabble in art theory.

Dad: "Very nice, Bridget. But bunnies aren't orange and fire trucks aren't purple."

Me: "Bunnies don't wear jackets and fire trucks don't have faces either!"

Contempt for Dad. More painting on room or in room. Who'd have thought I'd need a lawyer at this age? Upon entering grade school, I took up pencil. I would draw everything from horses to trees to houses to cars. You name it, I'd draw it. I'd even draw cartoon characters, like Snoopy, Magilla Gorilla, Popeye and Underdog, while watching television. This continued through, middle school into high school, where I discovered drafting. At the time, I thought this was the coolest thing, drawing odd-shaped objects from every angle. I began to ponder becoming an architect. I wanted to learn exciting, inspiring concepts and design important buildings! Hey, I just might become the next Frank LLoyd Wright. My high school drafting teacher, Mr. Harper, saw this plan quite differently than I did... He was rather "linear" by nature...

Mr. Harper: "Miss Petrella, you have a very exciting, inspiring concept for a motel... with a bright brass fire pole and a Star Trek Captain's bridge design that, as far as I can tell, has never been attempted by mortal men. You were to supposed to design a two-bedroom house."

Okay, so maybe architecture wasn't exactly my "thing". Besides, there were too many little annoyances like building codes and those nagging laws of physics. I still wanted to do something deep within the art world, so, I headed to The Art Institute of Pittsburgh and The University of Pittsburgh. As an "art school student of doom"-- I spent the next 5 years commuting past cows, cornfields, and barns while religiously studying illustration, watercolor, cartooning, graphic design, painting, markers, watercolors, oils. I knew this is where my talent could be nurtured and brought to the forefront. That is, until the COLOSSAL portfolio review... just before my last semester.

Professor: "Bridget, do you see this cow?"

Me: "Yes."

Professor: "Well, with the exception of your 'study on Norwegian dogs with braided nose hairs'-- it is indeed a bit of a plunge into madness, however, it isn't EXACTLY the 'marketing madness' we were hoping for with this assignment. Tell me, what does an Indonesian cow with no karma on a retreat in Nepal have to do with dairy farmers selling milk?"

Hmmm. What was he trying to say? Okay, just another insignificant speed bump on my journey. I simply turned it all into surrealist cartoon sketches, quickly done the night before, snagged my degree, graduated with honors and began to explore this world of marketing and public relations a bit more closely. It certainly wasn't "spiritual"...

Copyright © 2005 Bridget Petrella Media Relations

Sunday, October 23, 2005

My Series of Unfortunate Thoughts, 2

I'm human. And being human is not always such an easy task. I believe, that for the most part, insanity is all in the eye of the beholder or in some remote cases, the beer holder. And sometimes it just frustrates the living hell out of me that people often subscribe completely to one thing… or one "belief system" if you will... but then they live their lives in such a way that they only serve to further perpetuate the thing that they declare themselves to be in direct opposition of. The fact that most people will not change their behavior to correspond with how they would like the world to change is all too real and it usually becomes a quaint hypocrisy wrapped in a farcical chaser... like having a tall glass of Jack Daniels with Nyquil capsules and calling it "cold relief"...

Some people just live their whole lives in a reckless coma with no room for possibility or even a simple exchange of ideas. And since most of our entertainment is both comforting and vacuous, I think we should risk being pedantic every now and then... even if it appears to be nothing more than a no frills cheap thrill. While art may not be a perfect mirror of the artist, you can't make a Bloody Mary without a little bit of Tabasco sauce. Failure is integral to success, because it's only when you fail and people start ignoring you that you have the privacy to be yourself and proceed. It's only when you can get out of the eye of the critical masses that you can go back to achieving success. I really believe it's the moments we can't talk about that become the rest of our lives. It's the moments we cannot process by telling our story that serve to hurt us in the end. We must evolve… on some level we must learn life lessons.

I will openly admit, instead of my all-too-hectic, fast-paced job, I too long for a gig where little is asked and even less is expected. I want to work for an employer that simply wants me to show up each morning, keep a seat warm, and not pocket too many office supplies before I punch out promptly at 5:00 p.m. on the dot. And, if on occasion I should blunder spectacularly, my ideal employer wouldn’t so much as say “boo”— if anything, I’d expect a reassuring pat on the back and a generous bonus in my next pay check. In short, I’m hoping to land a gig where sustained mediocrity is considered to be the gold standard and colossal screw-ups are dismissed as no biggie… and isn’t this the American Dream?

Copyright ©2005 Bridget Petrella Media Relations

I'm Still Mad

It's been a week since I walked in the Los Angeles AIDS Walk and, frankly, I'm still seething. The walk was great. The crowds were great...enthusiastic, loving, motivated, upbeat (pardon the pun). All along the 6.2 mile walk, we were greeted by young people, shouts of encouragement, cars honking support, media...26,000 people (although it seemed like a lot more to me) all together in their goal to end the scourge that is AIDS.

So why so angry? Because I'm still seeing the three signs along the way from protesters. I know they don't deserve mention for they are looking to get attention. But I suppose that's why I'm just so angry.

What kind of sick person goes to an AIDS march and holds up a sign that says "AIDS is God's answer to homosexuality"...? God needs to speak to that nut job in a hurry. (Note to God: I know you're kinda busy what with hurricanes, famine, tsunami's and trying to keep the idiot in the White House from doing TOO much damage, but still...can't you smite cretins like the guy holding that sign?)

He wasn't the only one. There was also the guy holding the sign with two men kissing and across it, one of those international NO signs...the oval with the slash in it. It was all I could do to run over and hit him, although in hindsight, I suppose kissing him would be more offensive to his twisted way of thinking.

Besides, I'm a pacifist.

The sign that made me semi-homicidal was the one that read "Gay men marching against AIDS is like smokers marching against lung cancer." I immediately thought about the protest march against the Klan that turned violent. As a disciple of the late Martin Luther King and Mahatma Gandhi I know violence is never REALLY the answer.
But the question left me...if not now, when? When do we shut up the Klan, and the anti-gay ilk once and for all?

It seems now that with all the civil rights, and women's rights and gay movement taking a backslide these last horrific 5 years under President Cheney, uh, Bush, staying silent, not fighting back, and walking past signs feeling hurt, without hurting back, might not exactly be the right approach anymore.

I will walk again next year proudly. Word to the sign holders...if I walk by again, I might not be so inclined to turn the other cheek. Okay?

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

The Moments In Between

I had a wise philosophy teacher once in college who taught that in debate one's task is "to render your opponent epistemologically self-conscious.'' A worthy goal, I think, for a writer as well. How does the weatherman know it will rain tomorrow? How does the economist know that unemployment will continue to climb next month? How do we know where we are most of the time? How do we view being human? We all carry an implicit view of humanity, even if we don't always acknowledge it. Some think people are animals, not much different than dogs or cats or perhaps even raccoons; some think humans are minor Gods, a little lower than the angels but slightly above magicians. Sigmund Freud's vision of human existence is 180 degrees from the view of Abraham Maslow, and the Buddha's vision is 3600 degrees away from both Freud's and Maslow's... okay so that "may" just be a slight exaggeration... maybe not.

What is reality? In philosophy, the study of reality falls under the topic of metaphysics. A belief in God expresses a metaphysic. So does a disbelief in God. A belief in a meaningful universe expresses a metaphysic. So does a belief in a chaotic or random universe. What's important to me as a writer is to recognize that whether we reflect upon it or not, every one of us has in him or her some sustained belief about reality. I find myself lost amid numerous realities... floundering about for some sort of road sign or at the very least... a fragment of a road map.

But then I begin to find that "clarity" we all speak about whenever we are feeling particularly "inspired"... and so I shed the illusions of the day and ponder it for a brief moment. And in that moment I realize that is precisely where LIFE occurs... it's somewhere in those moments "in between". The seemingly inconsequential periods when we are sorting through what we perceive as the "mundane". But is it really mundane? Or are we simply unaware?

Copyright © 2005 Bridget Petrella Media Relations

Monday, October 17, 2005

My Series of Unfortunate Thoughts

Stumbling onto this bit of sad truth during an extensive segment of Google research was only the beginning of my series of unfortunate thoughts... In his web blog, comics writer Warren Ellis has a running quest to find the most depraved thing currently being done in the world of cyberspace. He lays out two possible explanations for this absurd quest.

The first is that we're hurtling towards an imminent apocalypse and it could all be over in a matter of seconds— so finding something that defiles humanity seemed like the thing to do. This is the one that most people seem to be saying. With that in mind... however, the second one may be even more disturbing, if that is at all possible. This is simply the way the world is now. Depravity is an acceptable form of our culture. This is normal. And we're all just going to have to live with it. So these same people... on the fringe of society who are in the process of falling off the edge are now "cerebral catalysts" in some inane tribal game played by out by unsuspecting patrons. There is so much competition for our constant attention— taking our thoughts away from our family, our dreams, anything personal— that some days I don't even want to leave the house... and I don't.

Copyright © 2005 Bridget Petrella Media Relations

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Conversations With Myself

Apparently the surrealist movement was originally a political movement. I don't have a problem with capitalism necessarily. It's very easy for this culture to point out the corruption of communism and fascism; but it's difficult for it to point out the corruption of itself. But that corruption does exist and it is in the element of corporate entities taking the element of individualized thinking away. That's really where bad corruption comes into play in all of these areas. It's the most evident in film and television because it's an expensive art form and they need to be able to feel confident in salesmanship. They need a group they can point to and sell it so since there isn't a countercultural movement that they can point to, they won't bother. If anything makes anyone feel uncomfortable at all, which good art can do, they won't support it. Now that's being taken out of stories in the media because it's considered something that could drive audiences or sponsorship away. Now all films and media are being approved by committees, which is an absolute corruption no matter how you look at it.

In the end... it really doesn't matter what anyone else thinks about you or your work. You have to be exactly who you are and what you want to be. On your terms, with your own ideas and philosophies and the absolute FREEDOM to express them. Not what has been marketed to you or at you or created perhaps to help you to think better by the corporate "suits" with a target demographic to uphold.

Copyright © 2005 Bridget Petrella Media Relations

Welcome to UPBEAT Entertainment News

Readers have continued to e-mail me and ask me to give my insights and reflections as to the "true nature" of that wacky, surreal, usually unpredictable world which IS the "entertainment industry"... I toss my head back rather maniacally and laugh... then... I explain...

I like to call Hollywood the home of "ideology brokering", which is inherently all about the power "protecting "us" and winning "them." I suggest that a far more adequate metaphor for our existence after the structuralism of modernity by Hollywood is the "networked age". We find this age interconnected by definition, characterized by disruption through wider connections, holding onto a nuanced continuity in existential and communal identity through a more explicit selection of and innovation within the tradition which the network finds itself constituted by. It is nearly a case of a new cogito, "I emerge in the network therefore I am".

Copyright © 2005 Bridget Petrella Media Relations All Rights Reserved.