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LIVING MY GAP YEAR

Filtering by Category: Art

Why Do I Write Poems?

Zuzu Tadeushuk

Because there’s nothing else to do. 

Because my brain is a horse

and needs regular walking or else

it overheats, dies.

Words are sponges, blue and holey, 

neat swiveled foams

that come to mop my brain cool

and when they’re done they have 

its heat, its juice, its steam and stench of manure,

and they heap

wetly

on tables and shelves—

so many swabs of thought

in some Lab of the Perplexities of Girlhood.

Someday, maybe, they’ll be examined. 

Someday, perhaps, explained.

Sunday Styles, 7/17

Zuzu Tadeushuk

Bed, coffee, and book. The simple pleasures that never let you down. Wishing everyone the time and tranquility to read a chapter and sip a favorite blend this fine sunny Sunday! xoxo

Watercolor on Paper

Mildly Misrepresented Marvellousness

Zuzu Tadeushuk

The past week, I have been in Chile visiting my brother who is on exchange here, and during this time I have fallen completely in love with the Andes (who wouldn't)! Inspired by the mountain range's fading colors at sunset and seemingly endless layers like frills on a dress hem, I painted them-- into the background of a rather caricaturish, folky (and hokey) portrait of a young boy who doesn't actually look very young! He is highly stylized (...in the style of some frightening child-meets-conquistador concoction?), and the mountains themselves are no less fantastical. But cartoony though they may be, they do represent some small particle of a small experience of small me in the large world. Of a moment, an impression, a love. Te quiero Chile!

Gouache and Watercolor on paper.

Roadkill on the Way to Coffee

Zuzu Tadeushuk

Or, The Day Off:

There were two dead raccoons on

the road where I walk.

One was very fresh

hit last night, perhaps.

It terrified me

stepping over it. 

Scared that that eye 

might open and I’d have to do something about

a half life teetering on the brink,

and the shoulder of Rt. 45

for maybe many taut hours already.

Scared that 

that eye might twitch

and I’d fall flat in the road and be

run over too,

roadkilled on the way to coffee?

After all our petitioning there are still no sidewalks. 

 

~ ~

 

My god, starting so early.

At 19 already living a barnacled writing life?

But no—

the more years I can

squeeze out of writing, the more

exultant will be my dying self

somewhere far down the road, I hope. 

But hush, hush, I can’t

write about writing until

I’ve really done it—

somewhere not far down the road, I hope. 

 

~ ~

 

Zuzu

you’re complete

you’re complete

you’re complete

horse crap.

And now you’ve shocked yourself

with a whiff. 

 

~ ~

 

Everything’s out there and out 

there and out there

and poking.

I’m not out there,

I’m not public, 

I’m not fast.

why, why, why 

am I how I am?

I think we should all 

live on farms.

 

~ ~

 

With at little bit of salt

and much moments of 

midnight

I managed to 

piece together

this parcel of a poem. 

People always call works of art “pieces…”

Are they really so fragmented?

I’d like to make something whole

once,

chase the last salty 

drop from my cheek,

feel renewed,

wrung,

more than partially alive.

 

Not teetering on a brink,

not roadkill, no 

not I, not I.

 

~ ~

 

My nostrils trap 

the scent of coffee

as it slithers thickly back across the glimpsed full-moon

bottom of the cup

that I draw from my lips

and place on its whitey saucer

that shines in the diffuse cloud light. I’m at a terrace table.

 

And I am wearing

a creamy white sweater

like a blob

a burr

a cloud 

and my hair is how it is when I wake 

in the morning, in a poof,

and my face is round

and it is mine 

and my head is mine

and my hands are mine

and my knees are mine

and my shoes are mine- dear boots!-

on feet that are mine

and I am all just

feeling like me

once more.

And I am head to toe

quietness

and tranquil.

Watercolor and Gouache on Paper. Self Portrait, hydrating.

Human, or Me? How Hypothetical Can We Be?

Zuzu Tadeushuk

A primitive vie for vibrancy, this painting is a rushed, thick-pigmented, woodpecker-stroked swab from my imagination. What began as Image of Hypothetical Human minutely metamorphosed into Image of Hypothetical Me. (I guess we are all, subconsciously, doomed to ape our own likenesses, graft our truths onto the openings and blank spots we make it our business to fill). Anonymous turned autogenous-- all in a prick and a scribble.

watercolor/gouache 

Tides and Tribulations

Zuzu Tadeushuk

You were weaving too many ideas together,

a dangerous thing at best

stitching together impossible hopes

like a pearl embroiderer

embroidering pearls on the dock where your heart

was shipped overseas.

On its way it got lost

though

dropped somehow, silent,

and the seagulls saw

it, they were the only ones,

and ate it like a clam.

Packaged and lost in the span of two days,

and now

where does that leave you?

 

On the playroom table.

We played doctor when we were young, faking 

C sections and craniotomy.

You’re just a soft white mouse,

the Christmas toy always left out of the game

and the brother crying above.

You always knew you were heartless 

towards yourself, chest empty— 

clam gone

embroidering spangled droplets of your blood

over the sea like

foam on my ebbing hope.

JK I love Life, but we all have moments...

What Makes The Writer Write

Zuzu Tadeushuk

  1. An abundance of beauty, and of connections to be drawn.
  2. One ambitious thought agitating for recognition. Make something of me!
  3. Stubbornness, and a love of lists. 
  4. Insomnia.
  5. Loitering in coffeeshops and eavesdropping. 
  6. Long walks, keen observation, fresh air like blood rushing to the brain. 
  7. Discreet narcissism.
  8. The smell of notebook. 
  9. Dark rooms, beds, things that suggest it’s time to sleep. 
  10. Phantoms asking to be memorized.
  11. Like I presume to know what makes a writer write? 
  12. Sometimes not-so-discreet narcissism, it seems. 
  13. Being isolated, being pierced, having a pit in your stomach. A love of lists within lists, it seems.
  14. Daring to grasp a phantom, denting it, loving it.
  15. Loving the dead squirrel on the path home, too. Step over it now, flee with a moan back to the living.
  16. Tea, gratitude,
  17. Good pencils.

Watercolor Crayon on Paper

Sunday Styles 5/1

Zuzu Tadeushuk

Last night I painted this copy of Rousseau's Child with Doll, which I've been kind of fixated by recently (you may recognize it from my "Dear Dog" postcard poem). The picture is an unsettling combination of innocence and ugliness, which is kind of how this morning is. Today is not a photogenic Sunday-- no picturesque coffee and toast or pretty dust moats in the sun slants at the window.  This morning is rain, and a clod of cultured coconut yogurt (I'm vegan now, remember) and green tea I left steeping so long it's bitter. A ghoulish permutation of something still perfectly, preciously pure. I love Rousseau; I love Sundays.

Quarterback? Louis XIV? Medusa?

Zuzu Tadeushuk

Another day; another horribly inaccurate self portrait. I can't figure out what the trouble is. Maybe I look too much at the mirror I'm copying from, and not enough at the paper I'm working on (utter narcissist, I know- just can't take my eyes off my reflection, can I)? Cause inevitably when I glance down at my page after a few minutes of scrabbling, I am startled to see an amorphous muddle looking back at me. This is why I always draw myself, you see: I wouldn't dare wonkify any one else's image so stupendously!

Watercolor Crayon on Paper

View, With a Room

Zuzu Tadeushuk

Irving, Texas

I've decided to document my various hotel experiences with sketches of the rooms I stay in while traveling for work. The first installment, of my room in the  Hilton Garden Inn on the outskirts of Dallas this week, was quite a hasty one: I had only just arrived and checked in at midnight, and was anxious to shower and sleep. Luckily there wasn't too much there to be sketched: this wasn't exactly your archetypal room with a view (its sole window overlooked a parking lot actually), but I tried all the same to conjure for you a glimpse of my midnight, mad-dash, hotel moment, a model’s view— with a room. 

Sorry for the grainy scan.

Indigo Kitchen

Zuzu Tadeushuk

Cooking for a special new

stomach is a measure of protection

Like a best friend

who just got a haircut

looking a little new way

going a little away

and a brother already gone there

to the land of Indigo cooking

where I went and ate churros. 

Three places, one peace

piecing together the wonky

people we’ll become-

fathers and mothers

cooking someday for really

new stomachs 

in an indigo kitchen,

eardrums pressed to the dawn.

Nicolai left to Chile last week, and  Sophia left to Switzerland after getting a haircut. I stay here and remember Madrid... Colored pencil on paper. 

Today is One of the Thinking Days

Zuzu Tadeushuk

And I Thought of This...

On some days I'm a crystalline capitulation of myself 

And then even passing below a telephone wire is inspiring, an epiphany.

Other days, 

most days,

I'm just a wart of me 

Stagnating on the tip of a cosmic toe

Somewhere far from the blood stream of life.

Then I don't see the telephone wire,

I'm in a shoe. 

Sunday Styles 4/3

Zuzu Tadeushuk

This Sunday morning it's snowing outside (I mean, I've heard of April showers but...April flurries? Doesn't have the same ring to it), and I'm dreaming of Sonia Rykiel's big fuzzy fur caps from their PreFall collection. How cozy one would be right now... So I printed out a photo from said PreFall lookbook I did with them back in January, and voila- My own sleepy, hand-doodled Sunday Styles submission! 

Materials: Journal, sharpie, erasable pen, crayon, and crappy photograph print-out.

Easter Art

Zuzu Tadeushuk

My latest artistic endeavor? A seasonal, age-old craft known as Ukrainian Easter Egg decoration. Something I do with my entire family each year, these eggs take a great deal of patience, forethought, and, of course, dexterity. Applying melted wax onto egg shells with little funneled styluses called “kitskes,” you create forms in wax that protect the egg surface from the dye you then submerge it in. After multiple layers of alternating wax and dye, you melt all the wax away over a flame to reveal the colors that have been preserved beneath. Perfection— even for a bunch of nitpicky perfectionists like ourselves— never enters into the equation. From the first uncertain squiggle to the last, you can’t even hope to create anything resembling the image you envision: dripping wax and sloppy styluses make for crude etchings and frequent mistakes. But oftentimes it is these mistakes that give our finished eggs their endearing qualities, as in the case of the rendition of “The Two Fridas” I did this week: faceless, eyebrow-less (sacrilege, I know! Frida sans unibrow?) zombies with scanty hair who are clearly the product of a blunt stylus— and a blunt hand— incapable of detail. Though they don’t command admiration or awe, my two little Frida’s do elicit a smile (or rather a full-fledged laugh) from my family members whenever they look on them! I’m pretty sure that’s a good thing… ?

My First egg this year- portrait of Frida Kahlo

The opposite side of said egg. 

My Infamous Two Frida's, a genuine masterpiece if I ever saw one...

And...another Parrot on the back of it, cause her monkey is too hard to draw.

Myself mislead: Self Portrait

Zuzu Tadeushuk

Gouache on Watercolor Paper- a rather warped would-be self portrait in my mirror this snowy Monday morning (you see, the green background is only wishful thinking; and very wishful at that)! Ironic that after a week of warm summery weather in New York, the official first day of spring should bring snow again...

Finding Paris

Zuzu Tadeushuk

This piece was commissioned and featured (in a modified form<<See here) by Vogue. com during Paris Fashion Week. See the original version below:

When you’re in Paris for work it’s often easy to disregard your setting and overlook all that the city offers— especially when your work happens to be fashion week. For fashion week, like a parrot, is a glittering, captivating creature of ever-shifting humors who demands all of your attention and most of your time. Fashion week keeps you up late with midnight fittings and wakes you up early with 6 am call times. Fashion week blisters your feet with extraordinary shoes and fries your hair with flatirons. Fashion week worries you and thrills you and disciplines you, swoops you up to giddy heights and drops you down at the end of a month feeling at once drained and exhilarated. But mostly drained. So why all the bother for a month of shows that leaves you wondering what hit you? Because not only are there practical rewards to be gained from a show season (like exposure and client relationships that may pay off in jobs down the road), but also a huge amount of insight and worldly experience to be gleaned from this month of madness.  Fashion week, and modeling in general, is a window into this most complex of world-wide industries, and provides a view not only of some of the most renowned artists of our modern era, but also of the culture we live in. It is for this view—the privilege of seeing these artists work and this culture evolve, of witnessing the most enchanting and absurd of characters, of experiencing society and experiencing the individual—for this I immerse myself in the frenzy of this month and pursue the unpredictable runway circuit. How’s that for living on the edge of your seat?

This job, however, isn’t entirely about change, and there are in fact some aspects of show season that for a model are quite predictable.

Five Mainstays of the Fashion Week Mechanism:

1. Castings— Sometimes a blast with a bunch of your best friends and other times long and uneventful, castings are the standard way to meet the high and mighty of the fashion industry and (hopefully) book jobs!

2. Fittings— Fittings and sleep deprivation go hand in hand, as fittings usually occur the night before a show and are no instantaneous process— no effort is spared nor detail neglected when the realization of a designer’s vision is at hand. Seams must be altered, shoes insoled, jewelry paired, bags stuffed and belts hole-punched. At the end of the night—sometimes with the first light of dawn— an abstract concept or sketch on paper has been given life. Quirky hours and sleep loss notwithstanding, I find fittings to be consistently wondrous things. 

3. Meeting Interesting People: As a model my itinerant job exposes me to quite a parade of characters, like the dresser at Isabel Marant a few days ago who assured me that dog walking was more lucrative than baby-sitting (not to mention dogs more managable than children); hadn’t I ever tried it?

4. Blistered Feet— Pediatric woe is an inevitable byproduct of show season. You may not imagine that shoes could actually create blisters in such short periods of contact (let alone blisters of such considerable size!), but once you try wearing a few new, cutting-edge (literally) pairs of shoes every day sans socks, you’ll quickly come to understand!

5. Wearing Interesting Clothes— As someone who reveres craftsmanship and beauty, it’s a thrill for me to be able to represent the brands I find myself regularly ogling through store windows. This black chiffon shirt belonged to my retro/punk outfit at Isabel Marant, and take my word for it: it looked much better in real life.

But amidst all this hubbub of work, it is important to occasionally pause and remind yourself that you are in fact standing a few hundred feet from the Eiffel Tower over there, or perhaps around the corner from the granite wonder that is Notre Dame. Because, though shows may change, and trends and tastes fluctuate from season to season, the one circumstance in all of Paris Fashion Week that never, ever alters, is Paris.

Five Ways to Appreciate Paris While in the Thick of Fashion Week:

1. Food: Start your day off like the Parisians— that is, with a delicious, not-exactly-nutritious breakfast. A fresh croissant, crispy on the outside, stretchy on the inside, is the holy marriage of butter and dough…and pairs lamentably well with a hot café creme.

2. Music: Get serenaded by a street musician— it’s not hard to arrange. On nearly every subway at nearly every hour throughout the day and city you can find singers, saxophonists, trumpeters…I even saw one guy playing a harp! When you hear La Vie en Rose warbled by solo trumpet in a near-empty metro car late at night, you can’t help but feel drawn into that magical, heart-warming romance Paris is so famous for.

3. Sweet Meetings: Grabbing hot chocolate with a friend is the best way to break up the stream of castings and remind yourself that in addition to a lot of other things, Paris happens to be capital of sugary treats! Especially when the hot chocolate you're grabbing is no less than “the best hot chocolate in Paris” (according to Coco Chanel), and as far as I can judge rich chocolaty things—which is pretty well— the best hot chocolate ever, at cafe Angelina. Thick as gravy and rich as Trump (but a good deal more palatable), it is just extravagant enough to make a rainy hour in a hectic day feel like a special occasion.

4. Wander the streets: My favorite part of Paris (besides the pastries, of course) is the architecture. If you have time enough to walk somewhere rather than take the metro, go for it— every alley is a feast for the eyes.

5. Get Inspired: Write a poem in a spare moment— it helps evoke the city's abounding literary past. Because it’s sometimes refreshing to shoo that fashion parrot from off your shoulder, and listen a little, taste a little, contribute a little to the indomitable essence of Paris. You see? Life on the edge need not always feel hectic— sometimes it can simply feel French.

Tales from Texas (yes, more of them)!

Zuzu Tadeushuk

Sorry I'm posting this quite late, but I've been in the thick of fashion week and what with travel and work haven't had a minute. But I'm done now, and here you go-- one from two weeks ago!

I spent the last two days in Dallas shooting for Neiman Marcus (yes, not just a 24 hour sleepover,— two days this time! I’m moving up in the world…I hope), and for some reason they put me up not only in the king of all kingly hotels, the Four Seasons, but in the king of kingly rooms, a suite. And this wasn’t just any suite. This was a stand-alone suite the size of an Adirondacks cabin, detached from the main hotel building and located down a path that wound by the bubbling (and odorous) hot tub and over a bridge straddling the shimmering outdoor swimming pool (there’s a tongue twister for you)… Anyway when I finally reached my room (or shall I say, apartment!) I was amazed to find what all I had to myself: two bathrooms, a huge bedroom with a desk, sofa, and master bed; a living space complete with dining table, fireplace, and another sofa; and a patio with wooden chairs overlooking the resort’s golf course. All these luxuries, and only me to enjoy them! These two days in Texas were very busy— and not all with work!

Five Things to Do When You Have a Gargantuan Suite to Yourself:

1. Order room service and eat a portion of it at each table in the suite-

2. Try both the shower AND the bath… leaving some time between, of course, to let your skin un-wrinkle… as much as I appreciate (and exemplify!) the granny look, it isn't always optimal-- especially when you have a shoot the next morning!

3. Turn on the tv in two different rooms and on two different channels while you wander around packing and getting ready for bed. I don’t have a tv at home, so this was an unusual treat, and a great way to see a bit of everything— wander through the living room to glimpse the news stories (politics politics politics, peppered with a few fresh atrocities from the innumerable pockets of unrest in the world); then through the bedroom to catch up on the contrasting first world unrests of the Kardashians and co.

4. Do some yoga on the terrace at midnight: after a long day in a studio bouncing between makeup chair and set, it is wonderful to stretch your body and breathe some fresh air at last, even if a bit chilly!

5. Once you’ve worked out enough (like after three minutes) make a cup of tea in the little water boiler and throw on a coat. Sit out there in the deepest of the deck chairs, sip your tea, listen to the quiet buzzing of the pool filter nearby and survey the large, flat, dark Dallas sky and the occasional golf cart that goes silently by.

Casting Cache, The Rest

Zuzu Tadeushuk

More populators of my pocket notebook, scribbled while waiting on "line" (really most of the time a haphazard sign up sheet of names-- or worse, no order at all!) with scores of other models to get into fashion week castings. 

Casting Cache, File 02

Zuzu Tadeushuk

Another inhabitant of my waiting hours notebook: my own pen and ink portrait, drawn from a mirror and looking for all the world like a cantankerous granny about to take a wooden spoon to your rump.