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22B422 Pt. 3: My dream job as Pawnee Muralist

I’m already behind on this project despite the 2-day handicap I gave myself, so let’s get at it.
Some people have lofty, respectable goals in life: save lives every day at Seattle Grace Mercy West hospital, run the Boston Marathon, back-up dance with Justin Bieber*, etc.

* Actually, back-up dancing with Justin is my Number 2 Dream Job. I just wrote a really long tangent describing my ideal “Boyfriend” music video, but I’m gonna save it for tomorrow’s post.

So anyway, my Number 1 Dream Job is to be the Pawnee Parks and Recreation muralist, and here are 6 reasons why:

1. The 1914 Pawnee Zoo, which housed a Jewish ornithologist.

2. Pawnee’s Sunday Boxing matches in the 1880’s. 

3. The trial of Chief Wamapo, who was accused “being Indian,” a crime punishable by death in 1834. 

4. The Spirit of Pawnee.. there are like 10 scenes going on here. Like a Chinese man eating a hamburger.

5. The progressive wedding between a Wamapoke chief and a white woman which ended in a bloodbath. 

6. The traveling magician who was burned at the stake for being accused of witchcraft in 1973. 
If I’ve learned anything from being a studio art major, it’s that it’s a lot easier to paint a joke than to paint something you want to be taken seriously. It’s also a lot funner to paint a joke (ZURICH DADA I’M LOOKING AT YOU). So why not get paid $10,000 for each one?! I’m telling you, this job would be the best thing ever, plus I’d get to use up that $20 tube of titanium white oil paint I still haven’t finished. 
Like everything else in Parks and Rec, the murals are exaggerations based on truths, and I’d like to argue that while the paintings are mostly for laughs, they also remind the audience of unattractive periods in U.S. history that usually get glossed over. This post isn’t going to get into a tangled up argument about whether trivializing those events does more harm than good, I’m sure you can find plenty of those  somewhere else. I just want to say that the murals are more than just jokes, and that their satirical take on politics has the potential to contribute more to our education and understanding of U.S. history than most contemporary art. 

7. BONUS REASON: The McSteamy music box. Are you looking at this?!! It looks photoshopped BUT IT’S NOT. IT’S MARK SLOANE INSIDE OF A MUSIC BOX!!! Probably singing “Let him know that you know best/ cause after all, you do know best.”As Pawnee muralist, I would obviously take the reigns for this and other sculpture projects that objectify my favorite TV characters. Ernesto and I just watched this episode today and I about choked on my dinner in utter surprise/glee/adoration when Amy Poehler popped this up. Greg Daniels and Michael Schur, this is the best early birthday present I could have asked for.


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seeyuh comps

I should start out by preemptively apologizing for what I am confident will be a ranty, lame fluff post that mostly consists of stolen APPROPRIATED images, non-sequiturs and enough caps lock to feed a third world country (see what I mean? You should probably close this tab now). BUT I am running on very little sleep AND just finished all my work for the term AND just opened the following letter in the mail:

Hogwarts, you can keep your owls at home because this piece of paper has made me happier than any wax-sealed acceptance letters you could send me. In case you can’t read the line inside of the appropriately placed color wheel of arrows (yeah SMart major yeah), this letter confirms that I, Paulina Lopez, AM DONE WITH MY COMPS and can now proceed to enjoy the rest of my senior year at Kawlton. COMPS refers to Carleton students’ undergrad thesis, which is supposed to represent the culmination of their education blah blah blah. At some point, I thought it was an acronym for something, but maybe I made that up.. Carleton’s Ominous Misery Project for Seniors. Chronic Overt Miserable Person Syndrome. Can Only Make People Sob. Chill Out Man Please Son. Don’t worry, I’ll submit these to the dean. 
The responsible, authorly thing to do at this point would be to show you the professional-quality pictures of my body of work and its accompanying artist statement. For now, suffice it to say that I made and wrote a bunch of things that speak to the processes of my memory. Also, I vaguely remember promising Ernesto that any artwork in my comps would be titled after Nickelback lyrics, so there’s that. 
At Carleton, it’s really cool for people to martyrize themselves over their comps, which (depending on the major) can consist of super long exams, group research projects, 60 page papers, so on and so forth. There’s a widely accepted ‘It’s not comps if you’re not bleeding from every pore’ mentality, which gets old pretty quickly for people who aren’t compsing. I definitely complained too much about comps, but I felt justified because the entire process basically dunked me face-first in alternate buckets of ice and boiling water while pumping my blood with self-doubt and squeezing out any remaining drops of optimism. I don’t even know. There were a lot of moments during this term when I felt like throwing all of my comps work into the Cannon River and Cannonballing (GEDDIT) in right after it. But I should be mature and recognize that comps pushed me to develop personally meaningful work of which I am moderately proud, etc. So.. come see my exhibit in May! Or maybe don’t. All I actually want you to see are the following images, which portray what it feels like to have just passed comps and be done with this entire term:

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Shameless Copypasta

Courtesy of Randall Munroe. 


This comic just made my day. 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 <– can you tell? My art history education has never paid off so much. 

I feel like I have to write other things or this post is going to be too tumblr-y. Saturday night, my family and I ate at Canadian Honker, where the Robert Coats band was playing live music. Just before we left, they played the CatDog theme song (!!), to which Francisco and I sang along flawlessly. My brief exposure to Cartoon Network has never paid off so much. 

There are also few choice words I have to say about Pinterest, but I’ll probably hold onto that for next term’s non-fiction workshop. sTaY tUnEd!


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Adventures in Interviewing Myself

It is a typical February afternoon here in Northfield, MN. The floor of Paulina Lopez’s studio in Boliou ( the neglected warehouse that functions as Carleton College’s art building) is covered in newsprint, chalk dust, plastic curlies from her relief blocks and the Death Blanket that she made last week for Advanced Sculpture. Much like Bill Watterson’s Calvin might spread his peas around his dinner plate to make it seem like he has been eating, Paulina has spent the last 8 weeks of Winter Term spreading her crap around her studio space to give the appearance of passionate art-making. Is it working? Why doesn’t she just work on comps instead of writing about comps? Will she ever finish the “It” audiobook she’s been listening to since last year? The answers to these questions and more are revealed in this exclusive interview.

Paulina 1: Thank you so much for taking time out of your busy schedule to meet. As I’m sure you’re aware, I’m running out of ways to put off my ever-increasing mountain of homework, and this interview has just made that so much easier. 

Paulina 2: I’m happy to oblige.

P1: Let’s get down to business, shall we? Tell me, how exactly does it feel to be done with the GRE?

P2: I’m so glad you asked. It feels GREat. .. I’ve been sitting on that one ever since I walked out of the Prometric place at Edina/Eden Prarie (what’s the difference, right?) but I didn’t want to say it until I got my scores back and could say with a fair level of surety that I wouldn’t be retaking it soon. WHICH I WILL NOT BE DOING. BECAUSE I GOT MY SCORES TODAY AND BOY DOES PASSING BY WITH BARELY ABOVE GROUND COLORS FEEL GOOD.    ..Wouldn’t you aGREe?

P1: How many more terrible GRE puns do you have?

P2: I could only think of those two. Forgive me, I was too busy recovering from all the PEMDAS review to go crazy with the wordplay this time. Sooo anyway, I’m done with the GRE. Booyah. .. I bet you’re GREen with envy. (Sorry, I just thought of that one now.)

P1: Are there any other recent accomplishments you want to share?

P2: Oh man, YES. I recently found out that Carrie Underwood and Colbie Caillat are two different people. Who’da thought? (not sure whether I spelled that right) But seriously, consider my paradigm shifted. All this time, I’d been skipping over Carrie’s tracks in Pandora because I thought she’d be singing about cute bubbly gingerbread dreams or whatever the actual Colbie Caillat sings about. Two weeks ago I was off my game (thank the lord) and “Before He Cheats” started playing before I saw Carrie’s name on the computer screen. Have you heard that song?!

P1: Well, it came out in 2007, so.. 

P2: I know, I’m still recovering from the fact that I’ve gone 5ish years (yeah GRE math!) without knowing this song. It could’ve come in handy for all those times I wanted to ruin someone’s pretty little souped up 4-wheel drive! Which add up to about zero, because Mark Irish’s twenty year old Explorer wasn’t pretty or souped up, and besides, the only car I’ve ever envisioned beating to death belonged to the Northgate Driving School during my second (and last) practice driving hour in eleventh grade and wasn’t pretty, souped up, or a 4 wheel drive. It was one of those cars built with an extra set of brakes in the shotgun seat, which I’d always assumed were fake and just there to give the student driver a reassuring sense of security. Speaking from personal experience, I can assure you that the extra brakes are actually very, very functional.

 No, but I was actually really impressed with myself for knowing what a Louisville Slugger is when Carrie mentioned it in the chorus. I’ve gone to the Louisville Slugger museum/factory, so I think I’d know exactly how to use it on a couple of headlights. And I still owe Northgate four practice driving hours, soooooo you know.

P1: I still don’t get how you could think Colbie Caillat and Carrie Underwood were the same person.. 

P2: Don’t get judgy, anyone could’ve made the same mistake. They’re both blonde. They both play guitar.. I think. Anyway, the good news isn’t over yet! Because apart from discovering “Before He Cheats,” I also learned that Carrie Underwood is the voice behind “Jesus Take The Wheel,” which I have loved half-sarcastically, half-sincerely ever since Karen K. showed it to our seminary class in 9th grade.

P1: Any other music-related accomplishments? 

P2: Duh. Well, no. This next one isn’t an accomplishment as much as it is an opinion.. but here goes. The Spanish version of Shakira’s “Rabiosa” is way better than the English version with Pitbull. I KNOW, WHAT?

P1: But it has Pitbull!

P2: I knoooow but trust me, the non-Pitbull one is better. It may have something to do with the music video, which is the same for both versions and doesn’t show Pitbull at all, so you’re just watching Shakira flirt with this guy who is obviously not Pitbull while Pitbull is singing seductively.. it’s weird. Like, bad weird, not freakyhawt weird.

P1: Tell a little bit about your position on the Carleton College Memes FB page.

P2: I was totally for this page before it existed, because I was tired of hearing crickets whenever I browsed month-old post after month-old post on r/carletoncollege. I thought, “Oh, a Facebook memes page will be so much more dynamic and colorful and fun.” I had envisioned people investing as much energy into the page as they do writing incoherent, unfunny CLAP articles every Friday, only it would be even better because Facebook wouldn’t have an 11 pm submission deadline OR pile up on my coffee table each week. I hadn’t, however, envisioned 75% of the memes being THE SAME CONDESCENDING WONKA STOLAF JOKE. So.. back to r/carletoncollege it is. Which isn’t so bad, really, because that’s where this nugget of truth resides.

P1: What has been your most empowering experience in the past few weeks?

P2: You mean other than memorizing the “Before He Cheats” lyrics and singing it for two hours straight while I hammered away at advanced sculpture stuff? It’s hard to get more empowering than that. Buuuuut there was that moment last Sunday afternoon during a church potluck when this 6 year-old kid named Connor maniacally piled my fruit salad onto his plate while yelling “This is my favorite thing EVERRR!” Talk about a self-confidence booster. Never mind the fact that 10 minutes later, I saw him telling a cherry pie, “Ooooh, Connor likes what he sees. Connor’s gonna eat you all up.” First of all, talking to food in third person shouldn’t be so stigmatized. Secondly, Connor didn’t say Cherry Pie was his favorite thing ever, so I’d like to think I still have that special place in his heart.

P1: This has certainly been enlightening. Any last words before checking out?

P2: You mean something that will bring inspiration, personal growth, love and/or happiness to people’s everyday lives? Well, I’d like to second in saying that you can’t go wrong with any Young Money quotes. 16 out of the 29 inspirational Young Money quotes are all from Bed Rock, so you know that’s promising. BUT if you’re still skeptical, feel free to peruse this other source of inspiration/personal growth/etc. YOU’RE WELCOME.

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Sad Timez

Well, February has wasted no time in becoming the most depressing, soul-sucking month of my life since the time my brother RUINED Harry Potter 5 for me when I was a quarter into the book, and I had to go through the next 400 pages knowing that Sirius was just gonna die and that Harry would never have a family. Yes, it was horrible. Yes, I got my revenge by telling him that Dumbledore dies in Book 6. No, I don’t regret it for a second.

So February was shaping up to be a fantaaastic time right after the Ebony show, which I will write about later. I was actually planning a whole post about Ebony and dance at Carleton College, which was completely thrown on the back burner when Mike Freaking Kelley killed himself. Of all the art majors at Carleton, I’m probably one of the least informed or passionate about contemporary artists, mainly because I spend my free time having karaoke contests with Ernesto to see which one of us is better at Nickelback’s “How You Remind Me” instead of watching Art21 or whatever good art students do. You’ll understand, then, that it is a Big Deal for me to go out of my way and fall in love (actually) with someone’s work. I was first introduced to Mike Kelley’s work when I saw “More Love Hours Than Can Ever Be Repaid” at the Walker Art Museum’s Spectacular of Vernacular show about a year ago, and later when I came across “Educational Complex.”

 Since then, I’ve written essays and a powerpoint about Kelley because his work largely informed my comps (my senior major thesis project that is currently sucking up all of my time, energy and belief in happiness), so I should be able to write a sentence about why this guy’s work impacts me so profoundly, but honestly I just want to wallow in sadness while listening to “I Will Always Love You.”

… YOU KNEW THIS WAS COMING. Whitney Houston is gone. Before any of you bring up the fact that Etta James ALSO died and I didn’t write an incoherent, whiney blog post about that fantastic black singer whose music I seriously wanted to mashup for Da Wedding, let me point out that unlike Etta James, Whitney Houston has been a part of my family since 1992, when my dad got a some sort of cassette-playing alarm clock that would play “I Will Always Love You” at 6:30 a.m. every morning for an entire year. I loved Whitney Houston before I knew what she was singing about. That song is practically engraved into my eardrum. AND there is the fact that I spent the last two weeks of fall term writing a comparative paper about the role of Whitney Houston’s music in the book and film versions of “Waiting to Exhale.” Remember? The paper also provided some insightful insight into the steamy relationship between Whitney’s character and the guy from Allstate commercials.. this is one of the (many) (MANY) scenes I memorized after watching the movie 4 times (seriously). You know, for academic purposes.

You’ll be disappointed to hear that because of Whitney’s unexpected death, they’ve had to cancel the promising Waiting to Exhale sequel.

Let me ask you this. Is it a coincidence that Mike Kelley and Whitney Houston died after the groundbreaking scholarship I produced about them?


So, this is a public service announcement that the following individuals should consider themselves in danger of death, having recently been the subjects of Paulina’s homework: Adam Brody, Rachel Bilson, Katrin Sigurdadottir, Bill Clinton and Lauren DiCioccio.

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I Can’t Believe It’s Not Art

I’ve never gone to an addiction recovery program, but I’ve seen enough episodes of The O.C./Grey’s Anatomy/Arrested Development/other shows featuring well-to-do alcoholics to know that the first step is admitting you have a problem. 
There are a couple of instances throughout this blog where I hint at my obsession with all things food-related, but even I didn’t grasp the extent of my infatuation until recently completing a sculpture assignment that, as it turns out, is the fourth consecutive food-related artwork that I’ve made in the past 2 months.  Below, I give you the artistic manifestations of my troubled, food-addicted subconscious:
Let Cake Eat Them. Felt, thread, zippers. 
Prompt: Make a piece about connection. 
This guy took me 2 weeks to finish, so I spent a looooong time daydreaming about real desserts during the process. 
Putrescence. Satin, Sequins, Thread. 
Prompt: Make your favorite word.
An excerpt from a future art history textbook that will undoubtedly be written about this work: “Much like Picasso went through a depressive Blue Period (or how Van Gogh went through an entire depressive career), this piece sheds some light on the more painful aspects of being in love with anything: having to say goodbye. The juxtaposition of fine materials with forms that reference a clear state of putrescence manifests the artist’s inner struggle at this crossroad; by looking at the piece, the viewer can almost hear the artist whisper to the bowl of fruit, ‘You are beautiful, no matter what they say,’ before tossing it into the dumpster to avoid yet another fruit fly infestation.”

 Concessions at Weitz Cinema. Fake popcorn, fake coke, fake candy bars, fake nachos, fake pretzels. 
Prompt: Make something site-specific. 
I sincerely believe that more people would attend movies at Weitz if they could buy overpriced snacks. I know I’d rather pay $5 for a jumbo box of Sour Patch Kids than for a 2-day old parfait at the Sayles Cafe. (count the rhymes, imma poet)
I Keep On Fallin’. Flannel, Satin.
Prompt: Make something else that’s site-specific.  
It was in the making of this piece (at 2 in the morning while watching Arrested Development) that I realized all of my art was about food.

So now, I’m going to follow in the footsteps of Kirsten Cohen, Chief Webber and Lucille Bluth and weasel my way out of any interventions that threaten to separate me from my one true love.
1. It’s not really a problem to think about food all of the time if food is my muse. Some people get The Dark Lady, some people get Yoko Ono, and I get the food pyramid. Potato/Potahto. (but no one says ‘potahto,’ so more like.. Coupon/Kyoopon)
2. This entire dilemma only exists because I initially denied food the condition of Art with a capital A to begin with. Luckily, people like Marcel Duchamp and Laurence Weiner have paved the road for making Non-Art into Art at my very whim. So.. food, I now declare you to be Art. Which makes my food-related sculptures actually art-related sculptures. Which in turn makes my art self-referential and snooty and fit for inclusion in fine institutions like ARTFORUM and the MoMA! Below, I present you just one of many works of art handcrafted by moi that you now have the privilege of admiring:

Enchilovin’ It?