Mesa Center for the Arts: Monica Martinez, Carolyn Lavender, and Mary Shindell

Then Entry to the exhibit Creature, Man, Nature

The entry to the exhibit “Creature, Man, Nature.”

On Friday April 5 Superstition Review editors met with s[r] contributors Monica Martinez, Carolyn Lavender, and Mary Shindell to discuss their collaborative exhibition at Mesa Center for the Arts. The exhibition, entitled “Creature, Man, Nature,” explores the formation of bodies—animal, human, and rock—and the voices inherent in each form. When I walked into the exhibition, I was immediately struck by the size of several of the pieces on display. As Carolyn later told me, there is a certain power that comes from artwork that is as big as or bigger than oneself. This was true of Monica’s work, specifically a pair of massive paintings of the male and female forms, hence the “Man” portion of the exhibition title. Monica explained how her intensive study of human anatomy allowed for highly accurate portrayals of bodily structures, as well as a literal frame through which she could explore male and female energies. She challenges the traditional patriarchal energy by including feminine qualities in her male figure (modeled by her husband).

Monica Aissa Martinez

Monica Aissa Martinez describes her work.

Monica’s pieces, “Body Male” and “Female Body,” draw in the viewer through the visceral anatomic imagery coupled with animal figures. In her painting of a female figure, she includes a snake, which instantly brings to mind ideas of the Christian creationist mythos wherein the snake functions as an antagonistic figure. However, the female faces the snake head-on as an equal, accepting of the snake as symbolic of knowledge, rebirth, and sexual passion. Conversely, the male figure is presented with a cat between his feet, modeled by Monica’s own pet. Her husband trained the cat to walk on a leash; due to this curious skill, the cat connected Monica’s family to the rest of her community, a traditionally feminine quality exhibited in conjunction with the male form. Directly beside Monica’s human subjects, Mary’s digital art piece, “There is a Mountain” is a room-wide print of her backyard view, fashioned on the program Illustrator. 26 layers allowed for the tiny details, such as sage bushes and cacti, to be created on a mountainside of elegant color and texture. Mary had had plenty of experience with her subject, having sketched and painted South Mountain multiple times prior to attempting a digital rendition. As she said, South Mountain dominates the landscape with its sprawling hills, and the size of the print, dominating an entire wall of the exhibition room, communicated the grand scale of the mountainside well.

Mary Shindell

Mary Shindell describes her work.

Mary explained to me the meticulous process of piecing together the different components of “There is a Mountain.” The minor details, like plant life, had to be modified outside of Illustrator in another program, such as Photoshop, so as not to overtax the main image file, and would then be incorporated back into Illustrator as a repeatable symbol. In order to create a soft, rolling effect for the mountain itself, Mary used the gradient feature, which she identified to be her favorite part of the process. As a whole, the intricate and time-consuming details paid off; viewers will be amazed to see the piece both at a distance and up close. The exhibition also benefited from Mary’s input for the lighting. Hanging light sculptures emulate the cacti in Mary’s backyard, functioning as relevant sculptures for the larger mountain view.

I addressed Carolyn’s art last, having finally made my way around the exhibition room. Carolyn’s work focused on the “Creature” aspect of the exhibition title, introducing a variety of animal figures on large panels as well as smaller paper sketches and paintings. She described her love of animals to me as that of childish fascination, a love fostered in her early years and carried firmly into adulthood. Her largest piece, “Preservation Woods,” features animals sketched and painted (acrylic) from photo and taxidermy models onto 10 foam-core panels. Carolyn explained to me how long the piece took to create, requiring 8-10 hours of tracing per panel.

Carolyn Lavendar

Carolyn Lavender describes her work.

With that in mind, the raw, openness of the piece, fully compiled, hardly transmits the idea of “incomplete” or “unfinished” but of intentional invitation, drawing viewers’ eyes from the broad white expanses of the bottom panels to the detailed shadows of each animal figure. While Carolyn told me that there are still bits that she would like to work on (as with any piece of art), she was pleased with the outcome of her efforts and considered “Preservation Woods” to have been a learning experience, having never worked on so large a scale before this exhibition.

Leaving the exhibition after interviewing these three artists, I felt encouraged to pursue art myself. Each artist approached her craft in a different fashion, and this collaboration no doubt impacted those approaches. I look forward to seeing the future works of Monica, Mary, and Carolyn, and I hope that the exhibition inspires others.

The Banner

Outside the Mesa Arts Center Museum.

The exhibition “Man, Creature, Nature” is on display at the Mesa Arts Center until April 28.

 

Meet The Interns: Anthony Cinquepalmi

Anthony Cinquepalmi is a sophomore English (Creative Writing) major in Barrett, the Honors College at ASU. He has been enthralled with poetry for the past six years and hopes to make poetry his focus in the upcoming semester. Other interests include photography and specialty coffee, the latter of which he plans on pursuing thoroughly alongside his writing, and the former being the knowledge foundation for his work on Superstition Review‘s Photoshop/Design tasks.

Superstition Review: What is your position with Superstition Review and what are your responsibilities?

Anthony Cinquepalmi: I am the Photoshop editor. I touch up headshots and design advertisements.

SR: Why did you decide to get involved with Superstition Review?

AC: I wanted to get a closer look at the publishing world. I figure: working with other writers and/or publishers can only benefit my own writing knowledge. Last year, I was talking with a friend about this desire when another Superstition Review intern overhead the conversation and told us to apply. Here we are.

SR: Besides interning for Superstition Review, how do you spend your time?

AC: School and work consume almost equal halves of my week. I work at Cartel Coffee Lab in Tempe, though, when I’m not working or schooling, I visit with friends or I read or write.

SR: What other position(s) for Superstition Review would you like to try out?

AC: Poetry Editor.

SR: Describe one of your favorite literary works.

AC: Letters to a Young Poet, a series of letters from Rainer Maria Rilke to an aspiring poet attending a military academy, is one of the most enlightening pieces I’ve ever read, and it’s non-fiction! It has become a reference point, a source of hope–even, a new bible.

SR: What are you currently reading?

AC: For class: Aurora Leigh by Elizabeth Barrett Browning and The Norton Anthology American Literature. For fun: Making Certain it Goes On: The Collected Poems of Richard Hugo, John Berryman: Selected Poems (American Poets Project), The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera, and Howl by Allen Ginsberg.

SR: Creatively, what are you currently working on?

AC: I’m currently pursuing photography as well as creative writing. I’m hoping to release a chapbook later on this year.

SR: Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

AC: Well, hopefully not dried up in terms of writing, and I’d like to be finished with formal education (with an MFA from somewhere or other). I want to exhibit photography at least once, have a chunk of poetry published in book form. I’m not opposed to teaching. I want to go to London.

 

Progress Update: Closing In

With just over three weeks left in our submissions period, Superstition Review staff are reaching a critical point in Issue 6. Submissions are pouring in and our section editors are reading and sorting them daily.

Our photoshopper has been busy formatting the head shots of confirmed authors as well as staff. We’re also looking to our Advertising Coordinator to develop new ways to expand our readership. Interview Editors are continuing their research by listening to National Public Radio broadcasts and reading previous interviews from our selected authors. This is allowing them to form more refined interview questions.

Content Coordinator Carrie Grant has confirmed poets James Hoggard and Amanda Auchter for this semester’s issue. Hoggard’s work has been published in Mississippi ReviewHarvard Review and others. His most recent work, out of the 19 books he’s published, is Triangles of Light: The Edward Hopper Poems.

Author of The Glass Crib, Amanda Auchter‘s writing has appeared in numerous reviews and magazines and she has received accolades from Crab Orchard Review and Bellevue Literary Review, among others. We look forward to their work with Superstition Review.

In addition to providing these weekly updates on our progress, I strive to provide information on Superstition Review authors, and upcoming literary events in the community. Stay tuned in the next few weeks for features on Matthew Gavin Frank and Melissa Pritchard.

 

Meet The Interns: Jason Wright

Jason Wright is an ASU senior majoring in Creative Writing with a focus on Poetry, and an Arizona native. He has studied under such poets as Sally Ball and Norman Dubie, and is currently examining the effects of poetic form under the guidance of Terry Hummer. Having grown up around computers, he is also very tech and internet savvy, and currently boasts a day-job doing web design and development for a small business in Glendale, AZ.

Superstition Review: What is your position with Superstition Review and what are your responsibilities?

Jason Wright: I am a Poetry Editor and I am responsible for working with my co-editor to solicit poets for publication with the magazine this issue, in addition to researching their work and negotiating with said poets. I will also be responsible for voting for my favorite works to be published within the magazine.

SR: Why did you decide to get involved with Superstition Review?

JW: I decided to get involved with the magazine because I wanted to have a taste of editorship within a magazine–both for experience, and to see if it is something I may be interested in.

SR: Besides interning for Superstition Review, how do you spend your time?

JW: Besides interning for SR, I spend my time teaching myself various web development techniques, studying poetry, writing poetry, writing music, playing guitar, and working for a small business.

SR: What other position(s) for Superstition Review would you like to try out?

JW: I would be willing to try out the photoshop editor and the web design position in upcoming issues.

SR: Describe one of your favorite literary works.

JW: One of my favorite literary works is The Illiad, because I think Homer does a fantastic job weaving the depiction of battle into his epic poetry.

SR: What are you currently reading?

JW: I am currently reading Anthony Burgess’ A Clockwork Orange and Charlaine Harris’ Definitely Dead.

SR: Creatively, what are you currently working on?

JW: Creatively, I’m working on building, from scratch, a linux-based media storage server for my apartment, and am also working on building a story for a contemporary-styled epic poem about Greece’s birth.

SR: Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

JW: In 10 years, I will hopefully have written a few books of poetry, will have a steady job involving web development, will have learned Java and will be able to write applications for Android phones, and will have written, produced and released at least one album of music. Or, at the very least, two of these things.

Meet the Interns: Nicole Davis, Photoshopper

Nicole Davis is a freshman in Graphic Design.

Superstition Review: What is your position with Superstition Review and what are your responsibilities?

Nicole Davis: I am the Photoshopper. I use Photoshop to format all the headshots that are published in SR and I also help with advertising ideas.

SR: How did you hear about Superstition Review and what made you decide to get involved?

ND: I got an email about an internship and applied. I didn’t expect to get it, and I am so excited to be a part of SR this issue.

SR: What are you hoping to take away from your Superstition Review experience?

ND: I want to gain a better understanding of what it takes to put together and publish a magazine.

SR: Describe one of your favorite literary or artistic works.

ND: I really love collages and photomontages like work by Hong Hao.

SR: What are you currently reading?

ND: Blue Like Jazz by Donald Miller, I love it so far.

SR: What is your favorite Superstition Review section, and why?

ND: I really love the art section. I’m a painter and a photographer so seeing other people’s art is really inspiring.

SR: What other position(s) for Superstition Review would you like to try out?

ND: I would love to be an art editor or work in advertising.

SR: Do you prefer reading literary magazines online or in print?

ND: Print, I truly love having that tangible object versus the computer screen.

SR: Do you write or create art? What are you currently working on?

ND: I used to write when I was younger but now I’m much more artistic. I’m currently working on a painting of superman for my older brother for his birthday.

SR: Besides interning for Superstition Review, how do you spend your time?

ND: I’m a full-time student, and I also have a part time job and a pizza place called Picazzo’s. I also attend a group called YoungLife and rehearse with the ASU Gospel Choir each week.

SR: What is your favorite mode of relaxation?

ND: Napping. Nothing is better than a nice, mid-day nap.

SR: Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

ND: In 10 years I hope to have a job that I enjoy. While my dream is to be a magazine editor, I’m open to my future. I’m not positive where I’ll end up, but my biggest goal is to be happy.

Meet the Interns: Amy Cheung, Advertising Coordinator

Amy Cheung is a Creative Writing junior at ASU.

Superstition Review: What is your position with Superstition Review and what are your responsibilities?

Amy Cheung: Advertising Coordinator. I am responsible for creating and sending out email blasts regarding submissions, readings, and notifications about Issue 5 of Superstition Review. I also work to contact other magazines and advertise SR there, as well as other locations so that we can increase awareness of our magazine.

SR: How did you hear about Superstition Review and what made you decide to get involved?

AC: I took a course with Trish last semester about publishing in literary magazines. I received email blasts about Issue 4 and an email blast requesting applications for interning this semester with SR. I thought it would be a great opportunity to contribute!

SR: What are you hoping to take away from your Superstition Review experience?

AC: I hope to learn a lot from this experience of working as a small part of a really big project. I want to learn the process of getting a literary journal out, better appreciate all the hard work that goes into it, and understand the extent to which each role plays an important part. More importantly, I want to have fun this semester working with my peers on this amazing journal.

SR: Describe one of your favorite literary or artistic works.

AC: One of the best books that I’ve ever read is by Australian author Tim Winton called Cloudstreet. It’s an amazing book about real life people and real life situations. The magic realism of the book creates a fascinating world that anyone can be a part of and brings the characters and the house they live in to life. The author’s style is so beautiful and fitting for his characters. It is definitely a must read.

SR: What are you currently reading?

AC: Besides all the textbooks for my other courses at ASU, I’ve just started reading Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress.

SR: What other position(s) for Superstition Review would you like to try out?

AC: I think I would enjoy trying to do Photoshop and web design work for SR. I wouldn’t mind trying my hand at being a fiction editor, since I love reading other people’s work.

SR: Do you write or create art? What are you currently working on?

AC: I both write and create art. I’ve been revising a lot of my old stories as well as very slowly working on a book that I thought up several years ago. Art wise, although I haven’t painted in three years, I’m trying to paint again. I also like to do digital art, although it tends to be very time consuming.

SR: Besides interning for Superstition Review, how do you spend your time?

AC: Currently, I have three other classes at ASU, and I work part time for my high school in China. I’m finishing up helping coach for the basketball season. I also work as a media designer, creating advertisements, posters, pamphlets and other documents to promote the school.

SR: What is your favorite mode of relaxation?

AC: I love sitting and talking to my friends, since I have so little time to do so. I also like taking time for myself, reading, drawing, and playing video games when I need to do something mind numbing.

SR: Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

AC: I hope to still be writing in 10 years, and working as a museum administrator. I love art and organizing, so I hope to make a profession of it!

Meet the Interns: Jessica Swanson, Web Design Team Manager

jessicaswanson_0Jessica Swanson is a Senior at Arizona State University majoring in English with a concentration in Creative Writing.

Superstition Review: What do you do for SR?

Jessica Swanson: As the Web Design Team Manager I oversee projects for the Blogger, Web Developer, and Photoshop Editor. I initiate or remind the members of upcoming projects as well as assist them with certain projects or questions. During the past few weeks the team and I have begun a rebuild of the SR webpage which I am extremely excited about. This includes redesign the fonts, colors, and layout of the site as well as creating a new banner that will represent SR during the release of the fourth issue.

SR: How did you hear about or get involved with Superstition Review?

JS: I have had a few classes with Trish in the past and had heard about Superstition Review a few times. Since it is my last undergraduate semester at ASU I thought this would be a great opportunity to gain some hands-on experience with this online literary publication.

SR: What is your favorite section of SR? Why?

JS: I am a fiction girl so I would have to say that section and the art section are my two favorite areas of SR. I primarily write fiction so I am drawn to that section just from a personal bias, and I am always fascinated by artwork and, therefore, attracted to that section.

SR: Who is your dream contributor to the journal? Talk about him/her.

JS: Well he has already contributed to the journal, but I would really love to see a piece of fiction by Sherman Alexie. He is a very diverse author/poet and I find his work extremely influential in my personal life. I have a deep respect for him as a Native American author and would love to meet him one day.

SR: What job, other than your own, would you like to try out in the journal?

JS: I would really like to be a fiction editor (big surprise) or possible work for the marketing team.

SR: What are you most excited for in the upcoming issue?

JS: I am very excited about the re-design of the SR website. My team has been working very hard these past two weeks to get this up and running by the fourth launch and I am extremely excited to see the final result.

SR: What was the first book you remember falling in love with and what made it so special?

JS: Well this wasn’t really one of the first books that I ever fell in love with, but this was the first book that made me cry. I remember being in elementary school and reading Where the Red Fern Grows, probably for pleasure and not as an assigned reading. I was home alone and it was an overcast, early winter day. I sat in an oversized plush chair in the living room, curled up with my feet underneath me. As I read the novel I became overwhelmed by what I was reading, never having read something quite like that at my age. I cried and cried until my family came home and at the time I was sad, but I was also thrilled because that was the first time I had truly interacted with a book. After that I just became an even bigger bookworm and you could not pull me out of library for anything.

SR: What are you currently reading?

JS: Besides schoolwork I am attempting to read a mystery called Beautiful Lies. This has been a feat considering the workload of the first few weeks, but I hope to have it completed soon. I am very surprised with the novel so far–something I wasn’t expecting since it had been on the bargain table at Barnes and Noble. During the summer I read the entire Sookie Stackhouse series by Charlaine Harris and I would like to start viewing the show True Blood which is based on the series. Also, I am greatly anticipating Dan Brown’s new novel The Lost Symbol which continues the Robert Langdon series.

SR: What artist have you really connected with, either in subject matter, work, or motto?

JS: I think I talk about Sherman Alexie a little bit too much, but he has got to be my favorite author just because of subject matter (although I hear he is a pretty nice guy as well). He has really helped me not only as a writer, but also as a Native American who always felt a little bit like an outcast within the community. I appreciate his work because he is so true and honest and humorous. I truly respect him as an author and I greatly value his work.

SR: What would be your dream class to take at ASU? What would the title be and what would it cover?

JS: Dream class? Naptime 101. But that will never happen. I really wish I could take a class where I am being graded to read whatever I want. If I knew that I could devote two hours a night to reading some random fiction novel off the shelf for a grade then I would be in heaven. I have found that during semesters I really cannot dedicate the time I would like to read novels for pleasure. If I could have a class where I was allowed to do that then I would be overjoyed.