Dangerous Compassions

recipe card art

I made those archaeopteryx arts a few days ago.  I liked making my art on top of the marketing language / corporate art.  The layer of other stuff felt important, helpful.  A different experience, to look at it.  Complexified!


Then I painted some goddesses yesterday.  This recipe card pulled from a magazine was floating around my desk for a while.  I wasn’t sure why I had it–someone sent it to me, or somehow I’d taken it from a magazine myself?  But that wasn’t possible–I don’t read magazines.

I was about to have a zoom meeting, and I wanted to paint a goddess on the recipe card.  It felt important to do that, all of a sudden.  It was going to be my treat, after the meeting.

Some feeling in me surfaced, about these women’s magazines I read as a kid.  My mom would buy them, so they were around in the living room.

I learned about being a woman, from them–what was expected of me, options for making food, products I was supposed to like.  Something to help me be pretty, a good mom, a good wife.  Maladies I could have–a health risk or safety risk I needed to avoid.  Lots of adverts for food products, health products, make-up.  Recipes for masks I could make for my skin, from avocados or oatmeal and honey.

It was very educational–an education I denounce.  But I was skeptical from the beginning.  The world the magazines came from was not my world.  I was curious but confused.  Did the world these magazines came from actually exist?


Mom also bought Cosmopolitan magazines, which always had a sexy lady on the front, wearing a fancy dress, with lots of cleavage.  Her hair was tousled, and her makeup was overt.

Those magazines I saw at the grocery store, and there was always some “Drive Him Wild in Bed With These Ten Sexy Tricks” which I was even more curious about.  Seemed cool that someone, somewhere was being honest about sex.  But those ones she must have kept in her bedroom, because I never read them.

Mama loved to read recipes.  She never made them, but she was excited by new food possibilities.

“Oh, Marie,” she’d say.  “Look at this.  Doesn’t this look good?”  She’d make me look at the picture of some lasagna with one exotic aspect, making it different from the regular lasagna she might make.  Or some decadent cookies, or a vegetable dish sprinkled with smoked paprika and fresh parsley bits.  “We should make that!  I think I would really like that!”

On a weekend, she would read and reread these magazines.  It seemed mostly for the pictures–she was getting ideas.  But the ideas were in a narrow range, something fake-safe about those magazines.  Like nothing really bad would happen, in them.  Or any adversity could be overcome–inspirationporn.

Magazines like that couldn’t keep me safe; nothing could.  I prefer risk–the safety of honesty.

recipe cards

Hmm, I had a lot to say about that.  My whole point was to talk about the recipe cards, though.  Here are these small rectangles of paper, with a recipe, and you can save them in a drawer or give them to a friend.  “Oh, Laura-Marie is a vegetarian.  She might like this.”  Then it gets passed along.  Yes, with the name of the magazine on it, so it’s an advert too.

As for making art on top of corporate art, I’m in love with the layers–my art interacting with the other layer really helps me.  Maybe I can heal my capitalism trauma, by transforming the crappy recipe card art into a new thing.  But my art interacts with the corporate art, so they help each other.

Also, it’s easier for me to pull what I’m trying to pull out of the other world, when there’s something already there.  Collaborating works way better than all me.  Like hearing voices in white noise–the other world stuff has a safe place to land.
Like my friend on a long car ride, singing in the car, with the sound of the engine as a drone.  Stuff layered on the other stuff is richer.
There’s a lot I can’t do, as an artist, but I’ll get right the curve of a shoulder or the plumpness of a thigh, and I’m thrilled with gratitude that I understood something about people, bodies, mammalness, goddessness, physicality, myself.
art comfort
I took some purple paint, during the meeting, and painted this goddess on the recipe card to comfort myself.  The meeting had a stressful aspect, and the painting comforted me.  The goddess was there for me, as she came into being.
Thank you to whoever sent me this recipe card, to my own life / bodymind / unconscious mind, for wanting to make art with it.  To my good friend who helped me become able to make art again, with her love.  To other friends who accept my txts of art and say kind things, to Ming for doing that generous validating all fucking day.  You’re treasured!
recipe card
[naked goddess painted in purple on a magazine recipe card depicting pizza, salad, and utensils]

By Laura-Marie

Good at listening to the noise until it makes sense.

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