Archives for category: Uncategorized

My husband and I have gained some weight recently, and in spite our daughter’s pleas, ”Accept that you’re fat. Don’t buy a new scale,” we bought a new scale. A digital one to replace the one with the numbers on it. The old scale had this red needle that waved back and forth with uncertainty. We both felt confident we would know our true weight with the new scale. And surely it would tell us that losing weight would be easy.

It is a Weight Watchers scale. Well, having had a career in marketing before getting into the “art world,” there had to be some sort of catch. You know, “fish while the fish are biting.” Make people sign up when they know they’re getting fat.

Doug got on first. He had no idea he was that heavy. My weight, too, was way more than the old scale told me it was. Okay, we accepted it. Didn’t join Weight Watchers, but tried not to eat the fries.

The next day, Doug came down the stairs, exclaiming he had lost ten pounds! Oh, I guess Weight Watchers figured we would join after the first weigh-in. Then it would throw us a bone of encouragement the next day-hey this weight loss thing is a piece of cake! (so to speak)

My weight continued to drop one pound a day. Even though, on a routine trip to the doctor, the scale had me demoralized again. One day, our new digital scale read me the original first day weight again, and I yelled at it, saying, “What??? I thought I was losing weight?” And then, when I got on again, the scale read the lesser weight it had registered the day before.

Artificial intelligence is making its way into our lives. We are all nervous about it. We fear the power that computers may have over us. But none of us figured on it being easily conned. Like when I yelled at the scale, it was easily bullied. How about that?

image

I recently ordered these three “on sale” half gallons of acrylic paint from the art supply store at an amazingly inexpensive price. They are not the colors I would choose in a tube, because there is a certain amount of white in them and I like paints that are a purer hue. But since I am working on big canvases, I thought I would give it a try. Plus, each half gallon was only $7.00!!!

The blue has potential, as it is the most true to the Cerulean Blue you find in a tube.

I realize this is not interesting to someone who does not paint. But I probably lost that person a few minutes ago anyway.

My large canvas ( speaking to the folks still with me ,) is starting to collect collage pieces. Amazing huh? I figure my life’s work has been devoted to some form of collage, whether it be in video form or mixing it with paint. So yes, I started cutting out pieces from magazines ( old fashion magazines ) lying around the studio and all of a sudden, my heart started beating a little faster. Yes painting needs collage! I have spoken!

All Rights Reserved Hollis Hildebrand-Mills Copyright 2015

wrestling 1

Wrestling. The distillation of good and evil. There is a good guy and a bad guy.

I have a good friend who is a wrestler. I went to one of his matches the other night and I was totally engrossed. Rolls of unravelling toilet paper and crepe paper tossed into the ring. Neon mohawks, tattoos, boos and hisses. Large blubbery thumps and noisy crashes. Flips and other acrobatics. Primitive, you say? It was wonderful.

Good and bad. Not so in real life? My new discovery is, that, even as the managers in the wrestling company do not enter the ring without knowing how to take a fall, the same is true with life. After years of seeing the character flaws in people and sorting through the many nuances, I have come to this conclusion: You are either good or bad.

Take a look at what I consider good. My doctor changes out of his Halloween costume during a crazy party and even though it is in the middle of the night, he makes an emergency house call. Good. The friend next door listens to my woes, hearing me tell the same story again and again. Good. The fellow artist shares her own techniques, gallery contacts and juried show opportunities. Good. The person at the grocery store when my green bean bag breaks. This good person hurries away to the produce section at the back of the store and selects new green beans, clumps at a time. For me! Good.

Ok, you say, where is the bad? And, by the way, I am the one in the ring here, I am only talking about myself and my experiences. I take the falls. I fall against the ropes. These people could be doing nice things for others. But I doubt it. Here we go: The person says good things to me, bad things about me to someone else. Bad. The person lies to me. Bad. One enters my studio, goes through my things, snoops around without my permission. Oh and steals my Booker T. and the MGs disc from my CD player! Bad. You are getting it. One more. A person cheats me in a business deal. Bad. Oh, I used to say, the person is from that type of culture. (Could be this culture.)… That is part of the game. Nope. Not anymore. Bad. Bad. Bad.

Back to wrestling. I go around now, doing the things that cause me to occasionally interact with people and I think of wrestling. No one is passing out rolls of toilet paper for me to stream at the good people.Thank God. And I don’t get the urge to throw a pie in a person’s face here and there. Thank God, again. But, good and bad. It keeps things simple.

Copyright Hollis Hildebrand-Mills 2015 All Rights Reserved

This “Pie O Logy” post was one of my most liked among the readers. I thought I would reblog it. And include the newest entry: Blueberry!

Hollis Hildebrand-Mills

IMG_2623People like different kinds of pies. And everyone has a favorite. My husband can assess your personality by what kind of pie you like. This method, he came up with in Junior High School and he calls it “Pie o logy.” I’ll start with Apple: You are a fairly basic, conservative person. However, if you are specific about the type of apples you like in your Apple Pie, such as Granny Smith or Macintosh, in any way specific, you have a secret side to you. Like you have a crush on Matt Lauer. Whose favorite pie, I am sure, is Apple. Cherry: You are a Liberal sort of person. You like National Public Radio. And you follow the party line. If you prefer a deep crust on your Cherry Pie, you are not as Liberal as you think you are. LIke you might secretly have voted for John McCain, but…

View original post 410 more words

DSCN0771We as a family were bumming around New York as we usually do, going to bookstores and thrift stores, stopping here and there, soaking in all the wonderfulness of Manhattan. I cannot remember the year, but our daughter was probably between six and ten at the time. Not quite up to my shoulder.

We were in SoHo, and happened upon a lovely neighborhood, as they all are in SoHo. We walked up the stairs to a consignment store. Or used clothing store, more aptly.

I picked out a particular shirt to try on. It was only $16.95. As I was in the dressing room, I tried on the simple gray plaid shirt. I honestly did not like the way it looked on me, nor did I have anything to go with it. I decided to put it back. As I was taking it off, regretting that I had to actually reject something to wear, (God forbid) I looked at the price tag. It was $1695.00!!! I silently said, “Yikes!”

I opened the curtain and the entire staff working in the store surrounded me. I merely said, “I didn’t have anything to go with it!”

We descended the stairs, walked down the block and I told my husband and daughter what happened. We wondered about the origins of such a shirt, (a celebrity owned it?Perhaps Madonna?) It looked rather worn. But in any event, (as my mother would say), we were aware that the workers in the store wanted to see who was behind the curtain trying on this plaid shirt!

Copyright Hollis Hildebrand-Mills 2014 All Rights Reserved

ImageOn television, when there is a haunted house show being shown, featuring a
“specialist” carrying around something like a ghost detector and the black and white video is shot so that spirits can be spotted with infrared heat, I am too scared to watch.

When I go to New York, I go for business, hanging my art show and then I go back three weeks later, to take it down.

I used to stay at the Salisbury Hotel. The staff knows me by name. It is centrally located in Midtown and the breakfast is luxurious, very inexpensive and on the second floor.

But during the last three or four years, I became fond of staying in a boutique hotel in the Lower East Side. Close to SoHo and Little Italy, and the new gallery district on Orchard Street, I could do a lot of walking. It had been the hotel of choice for rock stars. I have the love of celebrity in my blood, therefore seeing Kirsten Dunst on the steps was exciting also.

Nostalgia has its grip, though, and one New York stay, The Salisbury beckoned me back. Just for the weekend, it said. It was to be a very short trip since this solo show consisted of a video being shown across a seventeen foot wall, and most of the take down was fairly simple.

That night at the Salisbury Hotel, in my room, my by nightstand, I became unexpectedly cold. In fact, at first, only cold in one spot of the room. Intensely cold. I asked the front desk for extra blankets. Then more, more. I think I had ten extra blankets piled up on my side of the bed. I kept trying to jump out of the cold spot, but it did not release me. My husband, who was with me this time, was not affected. In fact, when he was in the bathroom, I screamed “Come out this minute!” Terrified he came out. I told him about the intense cold and he was annoyed at something so trivial.

You would think the hotel staff would be irritated at having to send up so many blankets to one room. Maybe it was because they knew us.

I put a camera next to my side of the bed the second night (I can’t believe I stayed there another night!) I told myself, I would aim in the darkness and take a picture when I woke up. I woke up in pitch black, aimed the camera but was too afraid to take the picture. More precisely, too afraid at what would show up.

The next day as I was leaving, I called the front desk and said, “Our room was abnormally cold the last few nights!” “What room were you in?” I told him. He pauses and let out a sigh. “Ah!”, he said with a little mischief in his voice……….“Room 237!”

After I wrote this story and I was searching around for a visual, I found out most of the horror movie, “The Shining” took place in non other than Room 237! I knew nothing about this! Never saw the movie! It was a total surprise. But let me caution you, the weirdness of this tale is true and I would not book my honeymoon hotel in a room with the number 237!

ImageMy roommate in art school, Judy LaBrasca took this photograph of me. A headache caused me to lie down. I had drawn the blinds, she said. Giving this picture a silent film star quality.

Judy and I were in Philadelphia’s Roosevelt Hotel together. On the ninth floor. At 23rd and Walnut. A grim corner. We painted the walls of our nine by twelve foot bathroom with Chinese Red enamel. The pale green toilet, sink and tub were just the right hue to interact with the Chinese Red. And my friend Bill Cohen ruined the aesthetic by drawing a peace sign on the light fixture. A by-product of Bill’s education: no appreciation of the color interaction.

My roommate and I had been collecting metal bottle caps. I think Judy started it. Soon we had so many, we dumped the bottle caps all over the floor. We placed our black throw rugs over them. A sign outside the bathroom door said “Before Entering, Put On Shoes.”

Behind the closed door, while our visitors were in the bathroom, we could hear the slushing of metal being plowed through. A heavy but slightly tinny sound. After all, the bottle caps were at least four inches deep! When not stepping on the rugs, which protected a person’s feet from tipping, one had to get footing by stepping on the floor and pushing the bottle caps in the direction one wanted to go! Kind of like walking through snow. But not on snow.

Art school, I am learning, is a very different sort of education. This suddenly is on my mind because our daughter just went off to college yesterday! What I lack in critical thinking from not having had a liberal arts education (such as my daughter and Bill Cohen), I make up for in creativity.

All those hours of life drawing, design and constructing modular pieces that “worked!” 
These classes went into the young art student’s brain in ways still waiting to be revealed.

Judy LaBrasca is now and has always been an artist. She lives in Maine. I am sure she, like I am, is tired of the bottle caps and doesn’t decorate with them anymore. I cannot speak for her usage of that wonderful color combination. I still have deep respect.

And while it may seem like I am trashing Bill Cohen, he received a degree from the University of Pennsylvania and then went on to law school in Boston. He has his own successful law practice in Pennsylvania.

 

Copyright 2014   Hollis Hildebrand-Mills   All rights reserved.

IMG_2454This little blog is about “Weird Al”. “Weird Al” Yankovic. I was planning to blog about “Weird Al” anyway. But when I found out about his newly released video album, (even the Wall Street Journal is writing about him. Nice going, Al!!!!!!) and because his fame has increased, his name more of a household word, I thought this would be a good time.

Many of you know, I worked for Orion Pictures. Orion was a client of the advertising agency where I was employed. I was on the publicity account. I helped promote “Weird Al” ’s movie “UHF.”

Unlike other actors in the business, who were always wonderful to me, “Weird Al” and I had a lot in common. We were both visual artists. While I thought he had gone to art school, like I did, I read recently that he had studied architecture at Cal Tech. And since I was unlike the publicity people with whom he had worked, we seemed to “speak the same language.” (so to speak) I was also, like he, (I say this because it may come as a surprise to you) soft spoken.

While I was promoting his movie “UHF,” I escorted him, along with his manager/producer, Jay Levey around to Atlanta’s TV stations and newspapers. To get publicity for the film. At the time, I worked for a woman who took credit for the work I did. Not a nice set up. This was not lost on the two of them. They tried to highlight my accomplishments in front of the “right” people at the agency to help bring me more recognition. They also managed to form an us-against-them team, humorously winking at me and putting my boss down. And who in the ad biz, can be angry with a client, let alone, a movie star? Mr. Levey even told me he would write me a letter of recommendation.

The above visual is a photograph of the “UHF” promotional T shirt I asked Al to sign. I expected him to just sign his name, but the limousine ride to the airport was long and he took time to painstakingly hand letter his name on the back. It looks perfect. No one would believe the printing was done by “Weird Al” Yankovic! Puffy glitter paint. I had it tucked in my purse. Eighties style.

When we arrived at the airport, it was my job to sit and wait until the two guys got on the plane. In the movie business, a lot of money changes hands. It was not assumed that two grown men could get on the plane by themselves. Jay Levey and “Weird Al” Yankovic were commodities. The plane was late. We talked for hours. No one was at the gate but the three of us. I am sure some joke was made about how, even though there were only three of us there, I sat right next to Al, as if he might escape. Maybe not good at self promotion at the time; I was publicity-smart.

I still have the letter of recommendation Jay Levey wrote. I have my own claim to fame. Watch a video from “Weird Al”’s new work:

here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yazr8JkazmE

Hoarding. I think of hoarders as people with stuff forming a landslide in their homes.

Until we had our basement finished. And we designated a certain part of the finished basement to be unfinished. That was when I thought of our family as hoarders. We did a lot of purging and sorting. To attempt to revamp the hoarder self image.

My husband collects music. He has 10,000 vinyl records and 8,000 CDs. While the basement was being worked on, these boxes of music were stored next to the furnace in the designated unfinished part of the basement. He also encourages others to keep their collections. Or make new collections. He is the person who, when I posted on Facebook: “What should I do with all my Martha Stewarts?” (I have been collecting the magazine since she first published. I have every issue.) My husband said, “Keep them!”

Our house is immaculate. Each room, people go into, saying, “What a nice room to read a book in!” Very sparse. I have a thing about neatness and cleanliness. You can tell. But to read a book? I spend a lot of time maintaining the neatness.

We hoard. Not only music, but Fiesta dishes. Many different kinds of china. And crystal serving dishes. Clothes. Dolls. Little porcelain shoes, also in boxes like the dolls. Bordering on hoarding.

The music on vinyl has gone into decorative crates in the finished part of the basement. The CDs in shelving in the unfinished part. However, we too have that cliched hoarders characteristic. When we wanted to find something like the wire that hooks the computer to the printer, we had to sort through a box labels “wires”, and delving into the assortment of extension cords, picture wires and Christmas light blinkers was a journey unto itself.

Pearls From Hong Kong

When my husband and I went over to China to get our daughter, before we flew to Shanghai and then on to Hefei, we went to a jewelry store in Hong Kong. This was the last year Hong Kong was under British rule. 1996.

We watched as a woman artfully strung pearls for our soon-to-be daughter. We envisioned gifting them when she reached age sixteen.

Sixteen came, fraught with teaching her how to drive a stick shift. (Never once did I grab the wheel, although I prepared for a crash once, thinking we were going to hit a telephone pole.) Also drama at sixteen was so great, as to make us hesitant to give her such a lovely gift.

This year, however, at graduation from High School, she received these pearls with a knot tied in between each one. The knots representing the knots in our stomachs as we flew military flights into the interior of the country. Happy music and the nose of the plane pointed straight upward. Hot wet towels handed out. And the nose of the plane thrust downward upon landing. More happy music. Knots for each of the ten planes. And knots for the anxiety we had at becoming parents.

It was the best thing we have ever done. To adopt our daughter. And the best thing we will ever do.