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LIVING MY GAP YEAR

Filtering by Category: Art

Knock off Rousseau

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.

Diet

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.

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

Zuzu Tadeushuk

pocket notebook, scribbled while waiting with scores of other models to get into fashion week castings. 

Portrait Apprês Van Gogh

Zuzu Tadeushuk

Recently finished reading Lust for Life, Irving Stone's biography of Vincent Van Gogh (great book), which informed me, chapter after chapter, that for the majority of his life Van Gogh's art was deemed childish, crude, and amateur. His work never "matured" enough for the art dealers of the time, called the “Grand Messieurs”— not even his own brother, who ran an Impressionist gallery in Paris, ever exhibited his canvases! Looking over his pieces now with new eyes, I admit that those frustrating Messieurs may have had a point: his art is crude and certainly far from refined, but it’s exactly this muscular, dashed-off style, this Spartan approach to detail, that makes us positively swoon over his canvases today. Here I tried to honor Van Gogh in a portrait I painted last night. I may not have caught his signature (and stunning) brush work, but I had no trouble capturing the crudity!

Acrylic/Watercolor Mix on Paper

Self Portraits/Selfies

Zuzu Tadeushuk

Selfies are, according to Wikipedia, quick pictures subconsciously "exaggerating the size of the eyes and giving the impression of a slender pointed chin." One user on Urban Dictionary defines them as "a ridiculous practice of narcissism," and another as "the beginning of the end of intelligent civilization." Hm, Yes, I believe these fall within those parameters. Ladies and gents, my intelligence-endangering, narcissistic, chin-slendering (and hand-drawn) selfies. 

On Seasons and Selfies

Zuzu Tadeushuk

Cold weather has come on fast. Just arrived this past weekend, it seems, in time for the incumbent holiday season. 

It reminds me of a crude little self portrait series I started in tenth grade and finished this past summer (yes, I am good at procrastinating— why do you ask?) that revolved around temporal change.

All three are a gouache/acrylic mix on canvas, painted during three different seasons— the fourth and missing one being winter, which perhaps I will paint in the bleak few (but not few enough) months to come. Or I could just put it off for another three years, either way…

The Sun Also Rises

Zuzu Tadeushuk

Night of Paris Terrorist Attacks

On a Friday evening when we were fretting about our weekend plans or what to wear to dinner tonight, the news of a series of terrorist attacks on Paris came as a shocking and grave reminder of the inconstancy of fortune and the thin, thin thread life hangs from. Not since 2001 has so large an attack struck so close to home, both literally and figuratively, and we can only pray that this is something we may never have to see again. It is beyond frightening to witness what human beings are capable of doing to each other. But as the City of Lights' darling Hemingway would have desired us to remember..."the sun also rises." Thinking of Paris, with love- Zuzu.

The Strange Things I Do for my Job (and Not), Part II

Zuzu Tadeushuk

Playing manager for my mom last Friday (does that make me a... "daught-a-ger?") as she was requested for a Marc Jacobs project shooting that day-- that hour!-- in soho but refused it on the sliiightly reasonable grounds that she was at that very moment sprawled on a table at Nyack Hospital getting an iron infusion and (less reasonable) had plans to help my brother make his impending Halloween costume. I made a few phone calls trying to arrange a way for her to go to the city anyway, and wasted a good deal of breath trying to change her mind--even deliriously offering to stay up all night sewing Nicolai's costume in her stead (don't know what I was thinking: I couldn’t wield needle and thread to save my life) but alas mama wouldn't be swayed and the surface of her midlife modeling career remains unscratched…YET! We still do harbor hopes of making this industry into a family affair— we’re just waiting for Calvin Klein to come asking my dad to do their next underwear campaign…(or Depends, more like)!!

Rough Watercolor of Mom (Emphasis on ROUGH)!! Apologies to her and anyone who knows what her face actually looks like (but I started this in an 8th Ave Starbucks and finished it on the bus ride home, so...).

The Strange Things I Do For My Job (and Not)

Zuzu Tadeushuk

This morning I got a text from one of my agents asking me to send her a picture of each of my ears (apparently someone’s doing a jewelry shoot and needed to inspect my hoop-wearing potential--or something like that) but no one was around to take the pics for me so I wound up a few minutes later with a crick in my neck and a “Storage Full” pop-up on my phone—I had filled my camera roll with numerous miss-aimed and oversaturated snaps of my ears at various unfocused angles. Scrolling through the ear pics, though, I found them strangely fascinating: is there any rhyme or reason to why an ear is shaped as it is? Do all those folds and ridges help our hearing, or are they just for looks? Naturally, I sat down and, with a cup of coffee by my side (because nothing of importance can be accomplished without coffee, and what I was about to embark on was inarguably the most vital task I would do all day!) I made a study of ears in my journal.  I came to the conclusion that, after extensive scrutiny, ears begin to look remarkably like embryos, and are really rather queer. Don't you think?