Trying To Fit In

What is this life we live? Consume, throw away, repeat. Stripes are in, spots are out. This lipstick, that haircut. Eyebrow trends are actually real. For what? What is the reward of being so vain and desperately needing to project our best selves into the world, cause god forbid we show our real selves… Then everyone would see the flaws we work so hard to cover up. So, we just try to fit in. Conform to the idea of who we are supposed to be, based on what someone or something else said. That same someone or something, has no reference to who we are personally. Something like a magazine, or the media. Someone like the person who writes for them. And we listen like lambs, being led to slaughter.

This is me trying to fit in.

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Somewhere Between Earth and Sky

Transition by definition is; the process or a period of changing from one state or condition to another. To think of the process in its totality is rather magnificent. I envision it as if we are catapulted off the earth in the most beautiful arc, and when we finally land on our feet, the transformation has taken place and we have evolved. The period of flying, the scary and challenging part, is what fascinates me most. Flying or floating somewhere between Earth and sky, your stomach in knots, doing summersaults as you soar exhilarated and terrified, trying not to look down. Its hard to see clearly when you’re in the middle of your own rebirth, no matter how large or small, yet the view can be stunning, if we stop, take a breath and take notice.

This how I transform.

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The Feeling of Solitude

Greetings fellow fans and readers, I know I know, its been forever. I’ve had quite the adventure since my last post. Since then, I left LA and moved back to Chicago. The drive was lovely, it was mine and mine alone. I spent three days in the car, with nothing but jams and quiet thoughts. I regret not stopping and taking more photographs, but I was under a deadline. I have not shared with you all the work I made while in LA. Some great work has yet to be posted! I have a pretty demanding job these days, which has affected my ability to post on the regular. I hope to find a balance and be able to make time for my work again (for my own sanity) With that said. I share an image I made in my brother’s yard in Glassell Park, a lovely neighborhood in northeast Los Angeles.

I feel more connected to the narrative of this piece now, then ever before. I have spent more time feeling disconnected to the things that have always ignited me. This bubble of work and sleep is like an out of body experience, as if I am floating high above the artistic burner in me, looking down at someone that I used to know well. The solitude doesn’t bother me, its how its spent that does.

For those of you who don’t know, my botanical portraits invoke the narrative of everyday human emotion and the human condition.

This is my feeling of solitude.

 

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You Are Here

sometimes we have to get

a bit lost

in order to be found

You Are Here

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This LA Downspout

By definition, descending means to, “move or fall downward.” It’s opposite, the antonym; ascending means, “increasing in size or importance” and “sloping or leading upward.” Must we go down in order  to go up? I suppose so, whenever we as people make a sudden change in our lives, its usually because we have some in some way fallen down to some degree and are looking to be uplifted. We move, change jobs, change lovers, make new friends, go to different bars etc. In order to ascend means we will or have fallen down somehow. Furthermore, what separates the strong ones from the rest, when the strong fall down, we see it as an opportunity. The silver lining sings its beautiful song and we get the fuck up, dust it off and keep going.

As I sit here on the edge of the continent where there is no water, looking out over Griffith Park, I can’t help but feel disjointed. I need to remind myself that its worth descending in order to ascend to something higher.

This is my time to self-destruct. I must not be scared.

This is my LA downspout.

 

This LA Downspout

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Lavender at the End of Summer

As some of you may know, I have relocated to Los Angeles, California. I also have a new website, which you can see here, (www.courtneypenzato.com). In an effort to cope with my homesickness for Chicago, I have revisited some images I took towards the end of summer in my mothers backyard. I have posted from this series before. Portrait-like images of the plants she grows in her garden.

Picking up your life and moving over 2,000 miles away has an almost nauseating effect. The parallels between excitement and fear are almost impossible to distinguish. The feelings you get in your body when experiencing either one  are practically identical. My creativity has come to a halt, and has been replaced with creating a new resume and looking for a job. Allowing time to feel whatever it is this particular day or that. Learning my new environment, creating a space within myself to call LA home. It’s not as easy as I had anticipated, and I’m slightly embarrassed by my naivety in this regard. I was ready, so I thought. But home is home, and not even paradise can take that away.

The lavender flower is a spectacular plant. It comes from the latin word, lavare which means to wash. The cleansing properties it possess are both immaculate and divine. It is a time of self-destruction and rebirth for me. It is both painful and joyous at the same time. I reference the phoenix quite often in my writings, as I feel it is my spirit animal. I am the phoenix, yet again. Like the flower shown here, it has lost its lustrous purple/blue color and has become dry. However, when springtime comes again, so will its essence. One attribute that remains with this plant through the midwestern fall season, is its scent. The most powerful of all the senses. It is both soothing an healing. Calming and relaxing.

Lavander is a totem for my transition.

 

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Pedestal

What is ego anyway? The textbook definition says; “A person’s sense of self-esteem or self-importance.” What is self-esteem? What is self-importance? A pedestal of sorts, where we all sit perched. While our ego delegates the day; what to wear, where to go, whats in, whats out, who’s hot and who’s not. She’s a slut and he’s never cried. She must be crazy. His dick must be big. Everyday we make judgements. Everyday we assert some sort of power to make ourselves feel better, usually at the expense of somebody else.

The stench of this trash is so rancid, we no longer remember what it’s like to be nice. Women compete with other women, rather then rally with one another. We have the same parts and we are on the same team yet, we would cut our sister with a knife for a man? I’m not claiming to be a saint. I have done things I’m not proud of. I am not perfect, nor am I better than anyone else. There is however, a sense of real pride that comes from standing on your own. Standing up tall and proud; using your sense of self-esteem and self-importance to perpetuate the greater good.  Patti Smith once said, “In art and dream may you walk with abandon. In life, may you walk with balance and stealth.”

This is my pedestal.

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Spider

In reference to some older posts titled, My Chastity Belt and Spider Plant and I, I’d like to take a minute and talk about the spider. To me, spiders are absolutely fascinating. I once went to watch the sunrise on top of this old landfill turned forest preserve near my house. The sunset was divine, and the mosquitos were the absolute worst. On the long walk back to the car, I stopped and noticed a spider weaving its web in the brush. I sat and watched that spider for what seemed like hours, but was only a few minutes. How simple its life, up early working, building its house, in a what was pretty misty morning. I was in awe. I completely forgot about my seemly silly life, always rushing here or there, doing this or that, yet not really doing anything. Somewhere, little spiders are diligently working just building their house. I remember feeling wasteful in this moment. Wasting my time and my energy on things that didn’t really pay off, that weren’t for the greater good. I envied the spider. I wished for such simplicity in my own life. I wanted to do something more by doing less. Marry simplicity with a work ethic.

I view the spider plant as an abstract symbol of an actual spider. The resemblance is almost uncanny! And just like the spider, the spider plant diligently works to make its babies in order to spread its seed. Here again, simplicity and a work ethic in perfect harmony. This plant in particular I have had for over ten years. I absolutely adore this plant. On several occasions I have clipped the babies off and transplanted them in to smaller pots, only to give them away as gifts. Its a very rewarding feeling; gifting. Some places build an economy around it. Simplicity along with a work ethic are spiders’ gifts to the rest of the world.

We could learn a few things from this glorious insect.

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