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kissy lips again, this time about an art residency i did at the ace hotel in 2015

in my last blog post i talked about the kissy lips mac osx icon and how reactions of my use of it shaped the direction i took a lot of my art going forward - essentially, if i choose to express myself in a way and people tell me it's not professional simply because of misogyny, i'm going to double down. it was in september of 2014 when ben sisto, artist and expert on the song who let the dogs out, reached out to me about an art residency program he was running at the ace hotel, 24 x 36 - where 36 artists spent a night at the ace hotel in nyc over the course of 24 days.

screenshot of a locked mastodon post i made saying "just found the export of my late 2011-2018 tumblr which includes documentation from an art residency i did in 2015 that is very much integral to fully explaining my personal kissy lips lore"

i documented the chaotic (my fault) experience on my old tumblr, which i fortunately have the archive of so we can relive the experience together. my night was january 5, 2015.

screenshot of the ace hotel events site listing for my residency there on january 5, 2015

for this residency i wanted to take something i've been doing but with a twist: this would be the first time that i made analog pixel art by taking a digital artwork and bringing it to paper. much to the chagrin of my wrists, i originally got into using colored pencils. i've since moved to the less physically strenuous and more versatile watercolor. i started my drawing in make8bitart of course.

screenshot of make8bitart where i drew and counted out the grid size of pixel lips i drew in pink

this was 2015 so of course i was using snapchat to document the evening for my inner circle.

snapchat screenshot of me holding my colored pencil pixel lips up and the caption is the lips emoji

then everything took a dark, gritty turn. i had leaned the drawing against the wall at the back of the desk and it slipped and fell behind a small crack between the desk and the wall.

me giving the middle finger to the back of my desk and the gap between it and the wall

and - get this - the desk was bolted to the ground and had a full back panel that my drawing was resting, unreachable, against. i tried to fashion a device to use tape to catch and drag it up.

photo of a ruler and mat taped together with hot pink artist tape and some pieces of tape on one end which i was hoping would grab my paper so i can pull it up

in case you're wondering if that worked:

screenshot of an email sent at 12:19am from me to ben saying "Ben! I didn't realize there was a 1+ inch gap between the wall and desk and my drawing fell behind there and the desk is bolted down. And because I'm an engineer I made something to try to grab it and it fell down (engineer != good grip).So my art and 2 rulers are behind the desk and it's after midnight hahahahahahah"

i never asked ben if they finally got the art out from behind the desk, the last i heard they got the ruler. despite the drama that i and a bolted-down desk created, i really enjoyed this experience and am grateful that ben gave me the opportunity. i really admired his work in bringing culture into a space like the ace hotel in collaboration with artists like me that didn't have much of a name. sorry i was a pain in the ass, ben, and thanks for the photo booth, ace.

cropped scan of a photo booth photo of me taken the night of the residency

it's pretty cool how one free night at a hotel helped me focus on what kind of art i wanted to make, what media i wanted use, and the threshold for storytelling i wanted to add to the process as it's often as much a part of the art as the pigment and paper are - if not more. by the way, who knew that 6 years later to the day i checked out of the ace residency an insurrection would happen at the white house that would ultimately lead my variety twitch stream, hoobastank2, to come to its conclusion. if you know half of those words, congratulations but please drink some water.

xoxo jenn

p.s. in case you missed it, i have a new mailing list and also you can follow me regularly on mastodon. i figured it was a good time to remind you's.

this was published July 7, 2024 under art tech lips colored-pencil pixel-art make8bitart nyc residencies exhibits