A whole lot of Pollock

My first post for May Gray (no, I’ve never seen marine layer clouds, but I’m certain Melbourne’s bipolar weather could rival the SoCal coast)! And my fifteenth – that’s a double octave, folks! #15 was the milestone post for considering buying a domain name…should I or should I not?! Wait, I’ll consult a pot pourri. Or Seal.

First world problems aside, I’m weirdly glad this “landmark” post commemorating my overcoming an acute fear of commitment coincides with the début of my very first Lynnderella, and Connect the Dots, no less!

Did you hear that? That was the sound of a million computer screens shattering into heart-shape pieces. No, I’m just kidding – that’s the kind of readership I’d love to have, and a definite wager for getting a domain. No, that was the sound of at least one dove crying, and it had nothing to do with Prince coming to Australia.

Waiting for CtD was like carrying a polish pregnancy. Indie polishes have created a whirlwind of “female hysteria” lately (make of that what you will), and Lynnderella has surely been at the forefront of it all, for better or for worse. An extremely-talented-one-woman creation, Lynn is a bit of Salinger; creating*, manufacturing and bottling these on her own, and exclusively selling them via Leah Ann from llarowe. There’s a lot of stupid drama surrounding these polishes and I have no intention of gossiping about it here, except to say it’s disgusting how catty and ugly girls can get over something that is so trivial in the grand scheme of things. Because of the facepalming drama, Leah Ann stopped selling Lynnderellas directly on her shop, and has instead set up a “wish-list” system where orders are fulfilled via alphabetical rotation, going by surnames. Over the past few months, Lynn has worked hard to complete the first round of wish-lists, and Leah has done an amazing job of getting the polishes to us and maintaining communication. They’ve almost made it through them all so if you’re interested, I would suggest following Leah Ann on facebook, as she’ll let you know when and how to set up your wish-list in due time. The system requires patience in waiting, but I think Leah has done a great job at fairly alternating surnames; and, being a whole timezone away, I could never get my hands on any Lynnderellas for the whole fifteen seconds they were available on the site, so I greatly appreciate the wish-lists where you can list all the polishes you want and you’re guaranteed all of them, give or take a few backorders, unless they become discontinued. Each bottle is $15 USD, and the international shipping is reasonable.

Phew! That was a mouthful! A few people have asked me about CtD and how to get it, so I hope this clarifies my marble-mouthed explanation of the wish-list system, girls!

What I have here is a jelly sammich (see here) – one coat of Orly Bonder Base Coat, two layers of OPI’s My Pointe Exactly, a thin layer of CtD, and another coat of MPE, and finally sealed with INM Out The Door Top Coat.

PSA: these photos were taken over a gradient of days as I tried to catch stray rays of sunlight, so please excuse the varying lengths in tip wear.

OPI’s My Pointe Exactly is a recent shade from their 2012 Soft Shades collection, inspired by the NYC Ballet. The collection consists of five soft, neutral jellies, and a hex glitter top coat. As you know, I am a huge jelly advocate, and this distinctly unique light grey jelly stole my heart the way Centre Stage did, and not Black Swan. This cool blue-toned grey builds to a smooth and squishy finish with three-to-four coats, leaving barely-there VNL. It’s a clean shade that applies beautifully, as long as it’s allowed to dry between layers. May Grays can surely be enjoyable now :)

And here’s the debutante CtD. Like nothing I’ve ever seen before, I will never tire of this! Released as part of the 2010 Halloween collection, this has reached cult status over the space of a year or so, and if you could have just one Lynnderella to fill a nail salon, this would be it. It’s the Where’s Wally of polishes. There’s so much going on, you can’t help but appreciate the complexity and density of it as a whole before drawing out the individual aspects making up its sheer awesomeness. Not that it’s sheer – I am amazed at how packed this glitter is. It’s a bubbling cauldron of white and black bars, variously sized hexagons, squares and circles, with fine sprinklings of microglitter. Not that it bubbles. Lynn calls it “instant nail art” and I whole-heartedly agree: I have been mistaken for a creative person all week. I love the application; one coat was smooth and dense enough for my mani, with a wide array of glitters evenly spreading with each brushstroke (no spot-glitter-dabbing business here!). If anything, the polish was a little thick, but it’s nothing a few drops of polish thinner can’t fix. Adding to the scroll of Pros, this is a boyfriend-pleaser as he was so stoked with its awesomeness, it drew comparisons to a Pollock drip painting…

Jackson Pollock, One: Number 31, 1950, 1950
Courtesy of the Museum of Modern Art, New York

Jackson Pollock working on One: Number 31, 1950, with wife and artist, Lee Krasner, in the background

Was this the inspiration for CtD, Lynn?

I haven’t seen One: Number 31, 1950 in person, but I’m certain it is as viscerally immersive as it is large. Standing at 269.5 x 530.8 cm, this was one of Pollock’s largest pieces.

On the floor I am more at ease. I feel nearer, more a part of the painting, since this way I can walk round it, work from the four sides and literally be in the painting.

Pollock was a radical artist for his time, whose method of freely pouring paint on unprimed canvases tacked to the floor and preferring sticks, pebbles, sand and other foreign matter over the conventional paintbrush and easel, polarized critics and drew as much public praise as it did widespread criticism, earning him the derisive nickname of “Jack the Dripper”. In late 1950, an Italian critic was quoted in Times magazine, shunning One: Number 31, 1950 as “chaotic” with “a complete lack of structural organization” to which Pollock famously replied “No chaos, damn it” in a telegram. In the years to follow, he would be regaled as a leader in modern art and Abstract Expressionism. I admire the magnetic power of this painting. Individually, the colours are neutral and subdued, but when regarded in their entirety, the effect is endless and bold, a deliberate arrangement of chaos and possibilities, electrifying and masterful. There is remarkable depth and detail to his iconic paintings; the seemingly arbitrary rivers of colour and looping nets are no accident – Pollock’s methodical art exemplified a keen spiritual philosophy. He believed in free yet controlled expressionism, and often spoke about tapping into his unconscious being, drawing on the rituals of Native American sand painters, and the influence of Surrealist automatism and Jungian psychology.

Pollock assigned numbers to his drip paintings because he believed conclusive titles gave viewers preconceived notions of a painting’s true meaning.

Jackson Pollack, Number 1, 1950 (Lavender Mist), 1950
Courtesy of the National Gallery of Art, Washington

The method of painting is a natural growth out of a need. I want to express my feelings rather than illustrate them. Technique is just a means of arriving at a statement.

While his physical yet transcendent masterpieces demonstrated great precision and control, Pollock’s private life was a stark chirality. His long-standing battle with mental illness and alcoholism, as well as meeting the demands of an art world that considered him a pioneer, were overwhelming and he became a recluse, dropping his drip style abruptly and reverting back to figurative art. Pollack died behind the wheel of his crushed vehicle in 1956, alcohol coursing through his veins, at the age of 44. He hadn’t painted for a year.

Every good artist paints what he is.

I think Pollock’s quote is applicable to all forms of art. I am drawn to eccentric people. Pollack, Kusama and Rossetti aside, Plath, Elliott Smith, Ian Curtis and Jeff Mangum are also people I greatly admire. Without romanticizing frank mental illness, I think some of the most sensitive and honest pieces, across all the art forms, stem from these idiosyncratic minds that may be more clinically and socially misunderstood than truly troubled. Nothing is contrived; there is strong presence, belief and sense of self in all these precious works, against the face of whatever conventional customs were in place at the time. These days, artistic integrity is uncommon and sorely missed (this should make you thoroughly depressed). If breaking down the fourth wall means nurturing a few more wonderful oddballs, Pollock may have underestimated the power in a bit of chaos.

Jackson Pollock, Number 1, 1949, 1949
Courtesy of The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles

Have a fantastic weekend, everyone! I hope you enjoyed my CtD sammich. A real treasure in my stash, this fun polish is like a Pollock masterpiece – the more you examine it, the closer you get to realizing there is no conceivable beginning nor end. C’est la vie. xd

*Regarding Lynnderella ingredients, here’s what she said on her  blog, which has since shut down:

“The lacquers shown here contain cosmetic and other polyester glitters, as well as cosmetic-grade pigments, mica and synthetic mica. There may also be traces of non-B3-free nail polishes used to tint bases. The main ingredient is Lacquer Base. Blends may differ from month to month depending on new glitters and ingredients I find for you—they are always evolving and may vary from batch to batch. Complexity, beauty, colour saturation and luxury are some of the energy ingredients that makes them unique. Another ingredient is extensive experimentation and research over years. It has been a labour of love that required a significant investment of time and resources. I hope you will all feel that love—and enjoy and luxuriate in it.”