August 25, 2019

"Gharib often forces herself to make a zine in five minutes, and she used that same approach when creating chapters for her book."

“The challenge and the beauty of the [comics and zines] format is practicing extreme restraint,” she said. “I had to condense down what I was trying to say in a set of words and meaningful images.'... You’re busy. We get it. But you can use small pockets of time to create. Gharib, for example, molded omelets and other foods out of leftover clay during work meetings. “If I don’t have any art materials and I get bored, I try to interact with whatever I have on me in the space I am in,” she said. “Sometimes I pick flowers and leave them places, or tear tiny bits of receipts or trash in my purse and write tiny messages on them and leave them around the city for people to find."

I was reading "How to Draw Yourself Out of a Creative Funk/Malaka Gharib, the author of the coming-of-age graphic memoir 'I Was Their American Dream,' shares her tips" (NYT) on my iPhone, where the Instagram images didn't display. I made a mental note to write a blog post titled something like "Littering?! The NYT endorses littering?" But this morning I'm on my desktop and I'm seeing the images and — is it just Morning Me versus Late-Night Me? — I'm presenting the Times text uncritically and clicking "Follow" at Instagram and thinking this littering is like the small category of graffiti that I'm happy to see.



A post shared by malaka 🥀 gharib (@malakagharib) on

28 comments:

Kevin said...

"Littering?! The NYT endorses littering?"

If they don’t, they come off as racist.

Rusty said...

With my daughter it's sculpting or crocheting(?) little figures. she gives her little creations away. Art is something she cannot not do.

stlcdr said...

Why do these people have so much angst, and feel like their angst is the most important thing to everybody, that they have to literally express that angst? Look at me!

I thought artists used emotional state to actually create something would like? The state of the artist is metadata that no one really cares about.

Rob said...

I like it. I’m going to start leaving receipts around the city with handwritten messages like “Bet you wish you could afford this, sucker” and “Kiss my white privileged ass.”

Temujin said...

I want to say something...but nothing's coming. I got nothing. Just wanted to share that with you. I guess I could be interested in her tips for life, but I'm not. Just wanted to enter something before I got onto my day. I hope you all have a great Sunday and find creative ways to write bits of nothingness on small slips of paper and drop them on the floor of Macy's or a coffee shop, or maybe the car wash. With any luck, you will get noticed by a Millennial who works for the NYT and you'll have a story printed about you.

Then you will be a star for a moment. So much of the rest of your life will be spent trying to capture that star moment again. More writing on small pieces of scrap. More modeling things out of leftover other things. Furiously working to get noticed.

OK- gotta go get the bagels now. Come on, dog!

Fernandistein said...

I thought it was a cute story about a jr-high school girl passing cute jr-high school girls notes and giggling until I saw that sickly greenish-yellow poisonous claw. Then I knew it was a story about an NPR employee.

Temujin said...

I suppose, when you aspire to live in tiny houses, you would want mini-zines to put on your mini bookshelves. Nothing else will fit. I like that these people want to live so small we could eventually fit them all into a space no larger than Dubuque. Give them Dubuque with instructions to never leave. We'll keep sending shit there to keep them going. Scraps of paper and such. Just stay there. Don't move. We'll let you know when it's safe to come out.

Rusty said...

That being said. A lot of people who claim to be artists are artist wannabes. Art schools are full of them.

traditionalguy said...

Malala is a fascinating person. She seems to be the old adage that mixing two cultures gives you the best of both. God blessed Malaka by giving her American freedom to become herself. And NPR is a treat when they are not going all anti-Trump.

gspencer said...

Using some elections to form a zine to say goodbye to Gharib.

Danno said...

Littering gets you fifteen minutes of fame and a NYT story on your miserable life. Wow!

Danno said...

Temujin said..."Give them Dubuque with instructions to never leave. We'll keep sending shit there to keep them going. Scraps of paper and such. Just stay there. Don't move. We'll let you know when it's safe to come out."

Don't spoil Iowa. Keep them in some sequestered part of one of our great shithole cities.

traditionalguy said...

Malaka is half Cairo Egyptian. Don’t under estimate her brain power. Just enjoy her.

rhhardin said...

A real artist leaves $20 bills around, hoping to defeat an economist.

Paco Wové said...

It's always navel-gazing and comic books with some people. That said, it's interesting that this article seems to be a mash-up of two of the NYT's obsessions, "glorification of the immigrant" plus "squeeze every last bit of productivity out of your hyper-competitive life".

gilbar said...

This exemplifies EXACTLY what is WRONG with America
You Can't Bring Nana's cookies with on the Plane
SOMETHING MUST BE DONE!

Howard said...

Rich people problem

EDH said...

I made a mental note to write a blog post titled something like "Littering?! The NYT endorses littering?" But this morning I'm on my desktop and I'm seeing the images and — is it just Morning Me versus Late-Night Me?

The NYT is always trying to shower disdain on people they disagree with from their lofty perch, so it's healthy to instinctively want to return the favor. You just have to remember to not necessarily impute the NYT's mendacity to the people they give favorable coverage.

D 2 said...

Kids like to create whatever. Something New I just thought of. Whether it is poems on paper or a picture of a frog holding a flower.
Kids also like the idea of the world celebrating what they do. Put the poem on the fridge, or the trophy on the shelf.
Kids also love the idea of their play having unknown consequences in the big wide world.. Let's put a message in a bottle and see where it goes. This alleyway is where me and Nancy Drew found an old coin.

Some kids eventually turn out to be artists. From what I can tell, it's a highly competitive field. Frog with a flower might not be as remarkable as Walrus with a Plastic Fork.

Other people get to be farmers or office clerks and if they are lucky, they find the love of their life, and if they are even luckier, they have healthy kids who draw pictures and write stories and see the world with new and wondering eyes.

Nothing new under the sun.

Phil 314 said...

Where is the boundary between your kids finger painting and the struggling artist’s latest work.

Social media make sure it hard to find.

And do we judge by the number of likes, hearts and/or retweets?

(PS Is “struggling artist” a synonym for “bad artist”?)

Darrell said...

Marvel should snatch her up. I can see one of her comics selling 110 copies per month.

D 2 said...

That's not to disparage artists by the way. Or the creative impulse that is wired in us all.

Just look at the way Mr L Spatula made the world a more appealing place for a few years with stories about treadmills, porn shop guys and (my old favourite) Lindsey Buckingham. But why some artists get their stories told in the NYT and others are doing their thing without acclaim or attention, is just because life's like that.

There is - I have no doubt - a young woman in Iowa writing and playing her songs at the local coffeehouse right now who may, in 3-4 years, decide to take her passion for singing and join a local choral club on Tuesday nights, because she needs to work shifts on Saturdays, and she won't begrudge the fact that she didn't "make it"

buwaya said...

Wannabe artists and musicians are how lots of actual artists and musicians have always made a living.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Gharib, for example, molded omelets and other foods out of leftover clay during work meetings.

And if I am conducting the work meeting. I'd stop everything and ask:

"Are you bored? Are we boring you? Is this material too confusing for you? This isn't kindergarten crafting time. Do you have any questions about the material we have been covering? Thoughts? Bueller? Bueller???? Pay attention or please leave.

Oh. And see me in my office at XXX time."


I would wonder just how much company time she IS spending fucking off and make a point to closely observe her and her job performance. This is also going into her job performance review and for her to sign stating that she has been counseled. Probably have another employee in the room as well to avoid the inevitable harassment claim.

Good thing I'm retired and not her boss.

mikee said...

In the category of graffiti I am happy to see, I support the practice of an East Austin homeowner whose privacy fence kept getting tagged by local kids. She put up a sign stating that ONLY local kids had permission to graffiti her fence, which would be repainted white every few months. For years now, she's had quite wonderful spray paint art created on her Tillery Street fence. The kids are happy, she's happy, and many other homeowners don't have spray paint on their fences.

I built a new home not far from this fence. I worried about taggers hitting the long, white side wall of the building, which was open to the street. I had not one problem until the day of the home sale closing, when a local kid tagged my "Coming Soon" sign out front. I look upon it as a friendly goodbye from the kids who watched the house going up on their street.

Rusty said...

Buwaya.
This is true, but it helps to have talent.

Phidippus said...

Saw the picture. Anyone who paints their fingernails that color, and then has them photographed (or more likely, does it themselves) with the chips on them is unworthy of further attention.

TL;DR

Professor, do you think you're going to live forever or something? Why do you waste your time on this crap?

I regret the 30 seconds I spent on this, but that's on me.

Slip said...

golly... so unique, so 80's...