This is my third sketchbook project but the first one I completed! haha ugh. The sketchbook project is where you buy a sketchbook, the same one that everyone uses, fill it up nearly any way you want, and mail it back so they can scan it up to the site for the interwebs to see and/or shelve it at the brooklyn art library where any visitor can come and look at it. (I must visit its new location on Frost Street in Williamsburg. Definitely after this blogging has been completed, and it’s been mailed and scanned) You get 32 pages which is a pretty perfect amount to go in on your artistic vision. And you can add more pages if you want to or remove them or whatever, just as long as it doesn’t get beyond an inch thick.
Here’s how mine begins:
The front cover. The title of this sketchbook project is “Adored Ephemera: An Empathy” which you can read in a > sign way and it also says “by Eileen Ramos”. And in those blue sticker labels, it reads: “This is how the world works: blindly, cruel, forgetful, beguiling, in a perpetual cycle, yet mixed with pockets of light, passion, sincerity, tenderness, & so much wonder. You are holding one of them right now.”
And beneath that, in blue ink is “you are one of them right now.”
Ephemera are basically “paper items (as posters, broadsides, and tickets) that were originally meant to be discarded. Things that are important or useful for only a short time: items that were not meant to have lasting value.” (from merriam-webster) I love collecting ephemera, whether it’s fortune cookies, receipts, business cards, etc., though I used to be a bigger hoarder when I was younger.
Empathy is “the feeling that you understand and share another person’s experiences and emotions: the ability to share someone else’s feelings” as well as “the imaginative projection of a subjective state into an object so that the object appears to be infused with it”. (source: merriam-webster, my bae). This sketchbook is like a way to get into my head, to understand my past, present, and wishes and fears. This is my way of sharing myself with you, without ever facing you, without seeing you reject me. I’ve bared my soul in ways I didn’t, couldn’t, predict.
Even now I’m hesitant to go further with this and share it to the world. But I paid for the scan and it feels weird not to explain the whole thing once it’s open to everyone. I always appreciated it when artists do statements and tells their line of thought in creating a work. Though it can be fun to imagine it yourself their reasoning and method, it’s always nice to see how well both of your ideas and thoughts connect.
And I want the reader to infuse their own experiences to it as well. The first thing they will see are the instant photos on each page. They can guess what they’re seeing, how they see it, and then how I interpret it. Our at first separate feelings will intersect and meld together and it’ll add another layer to the work.
I’ve become increasingly cynical as I grow older. It seems like it’s one horrifying disaster and scandal after another, with no end in sight. But then I look at my friends, my family, the kindness of strangers, the small beauties of nature, the blueness of the sky, and so much more. And art especially, how people can transform their inner anguish and demons and create something so beautiful and evocative that gives other people meaning and hope and wonder and (self) understanding.
Making this gave me closure on a lot of things, a deeper sense of self. I’m hoping that it helps others too, in at least a small way, or maybe that’s too lofty. And I believe, that most people are good at heart and that they want good things for other people too. So they too are pockets of light and wonder.
And I’m so incredibly lucky to be surrounded by them every day of my life.
I bought those blue sticker labels in high school at a dollar store, beyond a decade ago. This is the first time I’m using them lol. And I like how they pop out against the sketchbook cover. The black ink splotches are from a pen exploding in my hands and I just decided to smear the cover with it. I think it adds an interesting element to it.
The preface and the first page. This is what the introduction says:
Adored Ephemera: an Empathy
I took these photos with my Lomo’Instant from March ’15 til the fall. It was so much fun taking pictures around the house, within the area & in NYC. Then I used them as prompts to produce the typed out poems & prose you’ll see very soon. It was cathartic, stimulating & granted me deeper understanding of myself & the world. I haven’t completed a large art project in so many years. Plus this is the first book I ever created. There’s a bunch of errors & messiness but I adore it. A lot of these pages have throwaway ephemera: receipts, fallen apart book pages, outdated calendars, cancelled stamps, fortune cookie slips, actual scraps & even a few of the photos themselves are failures & discards. But they add a little character to these lonely pages, making them more worthy for your eyes.
When I make anything, I hope to grasp how I feel & to comprehend this strange existence and for others to connect and have empathy in an artistic & human sense. To discover something inside themselves through relating to these evocative pages. They can be silly at first and simple but they get increasingly complex and dark as you go along, just like getting to know someone. Trigger Warning: there are mentions of violence, mental illness, and depression.
Interspersed are my bucket list, aspirations, love poems, unwholesome thoughts, and odes dedicated to fatass making food. I’m scared of what people will think but I know that some of them will understand. If you can distill my entire being at 27, I think this would be the result.
Thank you for reading and I hope you have a wonderful day and lifetime ahead of you.
I thought it would be good to have a preface to give you an idea of what’s to come. Plus I always wanted to write one hehe. And I didn’t want to trigger anyone so I gave warning, just in case there are those who are sensitive to those topics.
I ordered this I think in August and I only started it like the month it was ending haha. I also had my Lomo’Instant unopened and unused since November ’14 from the kickstarter so I had to use it. That camera is so much fun to use! I actually bought film in January but haven’t used it yet. I think I will soon this April month. And I’ll definitely put up select results on here, hopefully haha.
And the first page’s poem says:
Let my mistakes be at the forefront of
what you see in me.
See my fingerprints, the smudges, my
grease, the lack of light, my shadow
Watch for the warp of our reflection.
See yourself within me.
You are a part of my whole.
What do you seek?
The black smudges are from the aforementioned pen explosion. I just felt like cleaning my fingers on the first page, just to relieve the stress of first pages and all. I’m sure you know that feeling. And that’s black construction paper beneath. It looks weird because I modpodged all the pages to glue and seal it, so it looks scratchy, but I like it.
The instant film is the aforementioned discard. I think the first one I shot, or at least one of the first ones. I have plenty of those haha. When you look at it, all you see is shadow on your face, a distorted reflection. You see yourself in the page I created, within me in a way. And you become part of the art.
The question I pose to you is what do you want?
From this first entry? what do you think I was trying to shoot? what do you want to find in these pages? what do you want from me?
What do you want to feel?
Always interesting to start off with a question and go from there.
I’m going to try to keep to a regular schedule and post at least twice a week. Every few days, an update of the next two pages, until all 32 leaves, and inner and back cover are up.
And I’m hoping to put up poetry I write everyday for the month of April as it’s National Poetry Month. Only the best ones, or the ones that made me feel a lot. They sadly can’t all be winners.
See you in a few,