Thursday, January 26, 2012

My Art: Intro

       My escape
       is through 
       any medium
      that leaves
       a mark on
       a surface.


          I love to explore.

Most of my exploration takes place on the canvas. 
Well not exactly. 
I will mar any surface I am permitted to have an effect on. 
I love cardboard. 
And paper. 
Anything that can readily be molded I will transform. 

Display for Work
Made mostly from cardboard
Thoughts of life and fantasy swarm through my mind all day. My artwork is like my way of learning how things work, why things are the way they are and how visual sensations can be transformed through the body – out through the arms and fingers - and into my own personal representation of them. Our brains and eyes transform every object, every sight into something our nervous system can comprehend.

Basically I just can’t keep this all in. It has to find a way out. Which is most likely why I never used to like selling my art. It was always so personal to me. Each piece was so much more than a memory it is an experience. 

An experience cherished to the very depths of my soul. Up until recently I couldn’t transform the act of painting and admiring a final product into a publicized exhibition or a buyer’s fair.
I must say that selling that first painting was such a relief for me. It gave me the strength to grow as an artist.
 It was great to see someone appreciating my work -besides me and having them want to spend money to own something that I made, something I personally cherished and valued. 
Being able to sell my work has opened a lot of new doors for me. 
Primarily being able to clear up some space in my crowded apartment! My walls are covered and my closets are packed. 
Secondly, it allows me to have hopes in achieving my goals. This is not a cheap 'hobby' and being able to make some money on it helps me to keep making progress in my techniques and skills and save for the ultimate goal of owning my own gallery. I can try using different methods and experiment with different concepts and colors. Concepts and colors that don't just appeal to me. I can learn new ideas and new passions. 

The Workday: Ch. 1

Today is cycle count day. Just because theres more than normal. Normal is like 10 pages, today theres 30 pages. Each page has like 20 parts.

A cycle count is like playing hide and seek with auto parts.
Not fun.
They can't scream and cry when you've been searching for hours and can't find them. 

Imagine spending hours searching for your car keys.
That's what I'm spending today doing at work.

I'm on lunch now though listening to Adele. Damn her voice is awesome. Its like a girl version of josh turner. Powerful. Deep. Seductive.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

My Automobile Passion Ch. 4

The Bittersweet Revolution
So I begin my research. As I said earlier, much more responsible now :) And becoming fairly car savvy might I add. I decided I wanted an SUV again. Something good on gas. Something dependable, affordable and to my liking. I found out that the Jeep Patriot’s are the SUV’s with the best miles per gallon to vehicle price. So the search went on. I don’t buy new cars. And the Patriots had only began production in 07. I went to the Dodge dealership. They would not take my Avalanche as a trade-in. I went to five other dealerships – all giving me the same crap. Can’t blame them though, gas was sky high and everyone was trading in their trucks.

I finally found a dealership about 100 miles away that would take my truck as trade in for a, white, 08 Jeep Patriot with 13,000 miles on it. I made my mom and boyfriend at the time rush up there with me the same day. I went home a happy girl. Sort of. This car was not something I wanted, it was something I could afford. Being responsible had already become so boring. I liked the $30 gas bill every time I fueled up.
So anyways, almost four years later, this car is still alive and parked in my driveway. She’s made it through some swampy rides, weekend ventures, long road trips and the pedal to the medal moments I thrive on. 
I actually topped 110 miles per hour in this little 2.4L 4-cylinder Jeep. 
She’s really not that bad. 
She’s just so ‘cute’ and it drives me crazy. Since the bargain for her was due to finances, I refer to my creamy vanilla (since it is not Chevy white) ride as the ‘jeep skate.’

My Automobile Passion: Ch. 3

Bigger is always Better
Back to the Chevy dealer I go. But this time, by myself and with a load of money :) This time around, they suck, the sales people suck, their deals suck, and they become unworthy of my business.
 Oh and I should mention that one month before that accident happened, I co-signed a 2002 4-door, Chevy S-10, for that ‘boyfriend at the time’. Meaning that in my vehicle history alone, I purchased 3 cars from them within a four year period. My mom, in that same time frame, about four cars. Thats a hell of a lot of business that they have now lost out on. 
So I leave and go to a Dodge dealership. Their service was great and their deals were great. The sales guy takes me around and shows me a black, 2005 Mazda RX-8. It’s beautiful, it’s fast, it’s a car and it’s black. I ask him if he has a Chevy truck. He takes me to the back where they just got in a brand new 2005 Chevy Avalanche.
I buy it. 
This thing is a beauty. 5.3L, V-8 engine. White paint. Black fender flares. Chrome wheels and side steps. A Bose stereo system… and to top it all off it did not have the black plastic trim that all the other Avalanche’s had.

I was so proud of her, she was a beast. I deserved her. Even though I had gotten money from the insurance company to put down on it, I still worked my butt off to make the payments and put gas in her. I cleaned her every single day. My mailman actually stopped to tell me one day that I owned the cleanest car in Naples (he would see me every morning polishing her up).
I took very good care of this truck. Or maybe it just seemed like it because she could actually handle my lead foot. By now, I was 20, more responsible and a much better driver. I was also in a different place in my life. I wasn’t going out on adventures every night anymore. I depended on my vehicle. I was now working full time, taking four to five courses in college and maintaining a home and two dogs. The bills were piling up and money started to get tight. It was costing me almost $320 a month in gas to drive this ‘phat’ hog around :)

My Automobile Passion: Ch. 2

My Beloved #2
So back to the Chevy dealer we go. A pre-loved 2002 white, 4-door Chevy Blazer, with a little more balls (a 6-cylinder 4.3L engine). She was great, the interior was much more roomy and could comfortably house all the artwork, bags, books, laptop, food, drinks, etc. I was towing back and forth every day to college. I was much more gentle with her. The lack of a truck bed, and the payments I was now making myself, reminded me that she needed more love and less harassment. Plus, by this time, time itself was limited because I was working, studying, doing homework and cleaning my new house and car all the time. Freedom was limited, but that was okay, I was doing my favorite thing – learning.

Two glorious years with my SUV go by and I’m still in love. So April, 9th, 2007 I’m headed home from my college and off to my part time job. I’m on the interstate and traffic abruptly slows to about 65 mph. 

I’m carefully watching the lady behind me, who appears to be on her phone, lose control and swerving between two lanes. Trying not to hit the car in front of me, I slow down and brace for impact.

Next thing I know I’m upside down in my car. I stayed conscious through the three and a half flips my vehicle managed to do, but it all felt like it happened in a millisecond. I unbuckle my seat belt and pull myself out the window. 

I stand up and start screaming bloody murder at the sight of my car. A man, a professor from FGCU whom I never got the name of, stops and helps me. He soothes me into a mild gasping state, informs me that emergency vehicles are on the way and asks me if I’m okay.

I find my phone - the only thing still in my car - right in plain view on the ceiling above the driver seat (which is now planted into the pavement) and I call my mom at her work. 

It takes me forever to finally get transferred to my mother. As soon as she hears the panic in my voice she tells me to call my step-dad (you think I would have known by now) who works less than 10 minutes from the accident. 
He arrives in 5 minutes. 
The sound of his voice calmed me enough to then call my work and inform them that I wouldn’t make it on time. 
I decide to start photographing the accident and talking to the firemen and the medics. The moment he arrives, I run to him crying. He always saves the day :)

Nothing hurt, except my shoulder, I kept saying, pointing at my elbow, which had only a few scrapes on it. I refused to go in the ambulance, which I would later regret, but I felt too much adrenaline rushing through my body to feel pain. The firemen helped to pick up my books and other artifacts that had been scattered within about a half a mile on all sides of where my vehicle was now planted.

The next day I was overwhelmed with pain. You know how people say they feel like they were “hit by a truck” that exactly explains the pain I was in. 

There was not a part on my body that didn’t hurt. I get a call from the lady’s insurance company. They ask me if I want to settle for $1000. I tell them they are dumb. My boyfriend at the time finds a lawyer and we sue them. I get loads of money. 

My Automobile Passion: Ch. 1

My First Chevy
We went to the Chevy dealer to look at used cars and there she was, a gleaming pewter star. I think she literally screamed for me. I could feel the freedom and the glory that she would bring. That sweet little two-seater, 4-banger with a five-foot bed; she never let me down.

Her and I had a passion and desire to explore the swampy flatlands of Florida. We ventured through every sandy, rocky, swampy, degraded place in Southwest Florida. She got me in a lot of trouble, needless to say. She could haul 10 extra people from the sunset to the beach house and easily get towed through the deep flood-zones I would try to push her through. I know she loved it as much as I did. The only thing she hated was my ‘lead foot’ in the rain. She flipped out on me every time.
The day after I get the car, I’m with my mom heading to the store for groceries. An old lady rear-ends me at a stoplight less than ¼ mile from my house. I follow her to the pharmacy parking lot where I get out and let her know she hit me. She seems surprised and gently apologizes. My mom and I look at her and my truck, and decide to let it go. 
A month later, I destroyed her chassis. Making a right turn on a wet city road, I spun her around and crashed into a median. I did not suffer, but she did. It took a month to get her back in shape, since my step-dad was able to get a friend of his to repair her for us.
So I get her back and we’re off. This is my town. I never felt so powerful. I had missed my girl. We had many nights rompin’ through the mud. She was a tough one, she only got stuck once that I can remember. Trailing through the “Tram” one night with my sister, following some of our friends in their lifted trucks, I drowned her. The headlights disappeared into the murky water and she shut off. Luckily the guys towed her out, flooded out the water she had drank and she started right up.
A few months later I was headed home, in the rain. As soon as the light turned green my foot plowed on the gas pedal, it seemed like an involuntary reaction on my part. I fishtailed through the intersection, did a full 360 and landed on the median this time with both ends of the truck facing oncoming traffic. Awful. No one stopped to help. I called my boyfriend at the time and him and his friends came and literally picked up the truck and set it back on the road. I headed home in shame.
This was the last of my glory days. I realized I had to control myself as a driver, because even though none of those incidents affected others, it put a hurtin’ on my truck and in my parent’s wallets.  

About two months later, I’m leaving the mall with my sister. Now this story will be edited for the sole purpose of keeping a clean record. But this bitch girl stops, looks at my car approximately 20 feet away, and decides to pull out anyway. She slams directly into the passenger seat where my sister is sitting. I jump out of the car. My sister jumps in my seat and puts the car in park. I run up to the five girls in the red convertible and the driver cries “Please don’t call the cops, I don’t have insurance.” The girls in the backseat cry “We aren’t even allowed to be at the mall.” I fiercely look at the girls in the back and recommend they leave now. I am fuming. I call my mom, who tells me to call my step-dad. He arrives in 5 minutes. Now, I cannot fully disclose the rest of the story but it ended up with a restraining order on my sister and I, against a girl with whom we attended high school. Weeks later we have a court ceremony where the judge dismisses the case {{ evil grin }}. Sorry but there are two things you don’t mess with – my family or my car. Ever.
Probably a week later I went to a house party. No more parking left in the driveway, so I go to park in the ditch where all the other cars were. I pummeled through the ditch and smack! The front bumper broke off. My friends zip-tied it back on. Good as new :)
A few months later, in heavy traffic, the car in front of me slowed for a bicyclist to cross. The bicyclist seemed to not want to go, and the car in front seemed to be taking the liberty to proceed. Then the bicyclist decided to go anyways and the car in front of me slammed on the brakes. BANG there goes my front end again. The bumper, this time, could not be mended and off it went. My truck had to be towed home where my step dad fixed her up again.
I think I should now throw in that about once or twice a month I would lock my keys in my car, and sometimes with it running. It had manual everything (except the transmission, thank god), a very basic model. But each time, there come my parents… saving the day :)
Slowly over the next few months, she aged. She drug her tires across the pavement every time we started on a journey. I really beat her up, and since I wasn’t working for the parts store at the time, I didn’t know how to fix her or truly care for her in the essence of maintaining her. She was beat. She became a diamond in the rough. Every panel on her had a gentle scar on it and she was like an old dog that didn’t enjoy the ride anymore. Eventually, it came time for me to find a new vehicle. As with jobs, my shelf life with vehicles seems to be about two years as well. 

My Automobile Passion: Intro

The thri ll of the ri de:

I’m very picky about my vehicles. I have owned three white vehicles since I could drive and one that was a classic, Chevy pewter color, or a non-color, as I like to call it. At fifteen, I got my permit and my mom took me to get my first vehicle. Excited could not explain the state of mind I was in. I never considered myself a daredevil or a risk-taker but as a new driver I felt like a new person, completely untouchable. This town became my playground. 

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

The characters

The family syndrome .
So family. Yes family. This is where I become serious.

Family Reunion
Tygart Lake State Park, WV
Many people have it, some can honestly say they appreciate it. Family to me is too remarkable for words, spoken or written. The word love is a family term to me. Love means unconditional, love means forever, and not in the ‘I can divorce you when I’m unhappy type of forever’, but in the type of forever that exists in a timeless hole in space. Not much can be used as a comparison because even our tattoos, or our planet won’t last forever. 

There are two things that do not break or falter in my life: Family and Love. I know they have me and they know I have them. But I must say I have been called a hippie and therefore I share love often, willingly and repeatedly. I have a knack for finding good souls and those good souls receive this love. 

Therefore, the neighbors I had since I was born, they are family, the step-father and his two kids my mother chose to love, are family. 

Family are the one’s you typically don’t have a choice with… And with that being said, the one you do have a choice with, a life-long partner for instance, makes for a complicated perception of family. 

However when I say I do to my significant other, that means I accepted him as family. So no matter what happens between us hence forth, we are loved, eternally by each other. We have put our choice aside and decided that we didn’t need choice or options, all we need is each other, and a little dog named Charlie :)

Charlie, my miniature black lab, is one amazing dog. Maybe not to everyone else, although everyone else does seem to be  impressed by her cuteness, but to me she is everything I could ask for in a dog. Stinky, furry, loud, obnoxious, crazy and rude. 

Yep she’s awesome! 

The perfect dog! 
But that’s what she is, she’s a dog! 
I asked for it, I went to the shelter and adopted her, I decided that I needed a furry crazy creature running around in my house. 
So now I treat her like family :) 

And she is eternally loved! 
She will never be without. 
She will be loved, forever. 
And honestly, she does know this. 

In fact, today comes and sits next to me, leaning up against me as always, rolls her head backwards and looks at me. Then she in her own awkward way acts as if she is struggling to scratch her own ear, all the while grunting and staring at me. She’s adorable and she knows it. 

The Bio

Enough of the mush!
So anyways, I’m really not an open person.

I don’t like talking about my ‘feelings’ or rather admitting my lack there of. Some people think that makes me cold. Maybe I am. That means they just don’t know the real me. I am friendly to everyone I meet.
At First.
I like having fun. 
But if you're rude or arrogant, you will just annoy me. Basically, as long as you smile back at me, you are in my good graces. 

I hate that I can’t infuse my tone of voice through these typed letters. I know, me personally, am much better when face to face with someone. I thrive off of nonverbal communication. After all, how well did you expect to get to know me from a few scrambles of the letters on my keyboard.

I think I'm a totally different person at work. They don’t need to know the real me anyways. I’m sure they already know more than they wish, after making me spend 40 hours of my week reiterating repeatedly why things go where I say they go and the constant ‘re-dispersal’ of my OCD ‘thoughtfulness’ throughout the store I work at.

My tone of voice and the animations I make usually help in making me a much more interesting person than I am. I don’t find too many people seriously attracted to my art, YET. More often they are interested in my strange gestures, what I usually refer to as, my animations.

The most common positive feedback I get from people is in regards to the smile that is tattooed on my face, and I don’t mean that literally, otherwise I doubt people would say I’m not like their weirdo artist cousin, but in the fact that I seriously can’t wipe this damn grin off my face. It never goes away, even if I’m in the middle of a horrific battle with a demon. Not that that’s ever happened, but I’m using that as an example of fighting with a loved one :)

Maybe it’s the countless years spent in customer service, or maybe, just maybe it is because I have been fortunate enough to grow up around the strangest, most supportive group of people I call family. 

The Conflict

I've been on my grind...
I work as a slave at an auto parts store.
I must say, I am kidding 
[ in order to keep my job ].
...i know people must think my job’s so easy.
My job duties just consist of, first and foremost, giving every customer exactly what they need to be WOWed at their experience at my store. { This aspect of my job is usually achieved right when they walk in the door and see a girl getting their parts } :) 
Teaching, training, coaching and enforcing proper procedures from my "minions" [ haha ] 
Also a joke! 
Ordering, receiving, delivering and returning parts for customers. 
Telling customers what kind of car they are driving, finding out why their check engine light is on, finding out why their car isn’t starting, finding out why their car is making a weird noise, finding out where their fuse box is, finding bad fuses for them, finding out that it’s not the fuse and it’s the fuse module control box, finding out which bulb is bad, finding out that it’s not the bulb and it’s the socket, finding out where their coolant goes, finding out that they have the wrong coolant in their car, finding where any other parts are located in their car, and then explaining to them what these parts do, why they need them, why they need to buy the right one, why the right one usually costs more, why different cars have different parts, why it matters what kind of brakes are in the rear to get them the right ones for the front, why the front and rear shocks are different, why it matters what year their car is, why it matters what kind of car they drive, why they cost as much as they do, why they can’t just hand me a part and I go ‘find it,’  and why I won’t install it for them for free.
Well we do install things for free such as batteries, light bulbs, wiper blades, relays, fuses – the ‘easy stuff’ - just not the “major” stuff.
Then, on to doing displays, endless paper work, scheduling, inventory, finding lost parts, finding why parts aren’t where they should be, why the part in the box is an old used one instead of a new one, scrubbing tons of greasy surfaces and battling cockroaches, spiders and ants all day. Yes that means I’ve survived changing the battery under the backseat of a cockroach infested car. YUP that sort of sums… oops wait I forgot to mention that in between all that I am assumed (by the customers) to be a mechanic
( W a I t,  S I e r r as  a  m e c h a n I c ? )
No. Sierra is not a mechanic.
Not by any means. I don’t even change my own oil. I mean I could, I could technically do plenty of things, it just doesn’t mean I do it well, and I really only do things that I know I do well. So basically I am, by my own rights, NOT a mechanic, for your safety and mine. I wouldn’t drive your car after I changed the piston rings on it. I mean I’d drive it, but you shouldn’t. I love destroying cars. That’s almost a specialty of mine. Just ask Ma! :) Except I really like to keep the paint job looking pristine! Kind of a fetish of mine. {For an inside look on my specialty please visit the ‘For the Thrill of the Ride’ post}.
Before we continue, I really feel I should explain to you that I have O.C.D. tendencies. Yes, I’m not an overly compulsive freak, well not currently in this phase of my life. I used to be very obsessive. I use to actually vacuum, mop, scrub my house every day, clean, vacuum, wax, polish my car every day, and lint roll, steam, iron the bed sheets, curtains and blankets every day and if that decorative pillow on the bed moved… well you get the picture.
I have found new priorities in my life but yes, my closet is still color coordinated according to sleeve length, my kitchen pantry and fridge displays all items with the labels facing directly at the viewer and I will repeatedly place the remote back in it’s designated spot no matter how many times he moves it. J
Those “tendencies” may never depart from my being, but I don’t mind.

Do you ???

Anyways, back to the cars…
I applied to work at the parts store so I could learn about vehicles. After I got my license, I wanted to become an automobile designer. I couldn’t get enough of it. To me, having, owning, driving a car was the greatest freedom in the world. They are a powerhouse of energy, machinery, technology, and really have a distinctive appearance compared with most other technological forms, in my opinion. I wanted to learn more about them. So I started working for the auto parts store. I quickly found out that cars are much more complex than any, non-mechanic, seems to be able to comprehend.

While I am still fascinated at their technology and machinery and their bodacious bodies, I do not want to have a career in the automobile industry. For now, I truly do love my slave job at the parts store because I get to learn something new every day and help other people learn about the thing they put the wrong fluids in.

But in the end... "Happiness isn't about getting what you want all the time, It's about loving what you have" 
-Asher Roth 


My favorite thing in life is learning.

As an aspiring artist, fresh out of college I don’t yet have any one ‘niche’ that fully absorbs my craft. 
I yearn to fulfill the unwritten desires of my mind. I always loved going to school. 

Graduating was one of the hardest things to accomplish. I never wanted to leave. I knew that once I graduated it would be a lot harder and more expensive to go back. I love to learn and then to use this knowledge to create.
 I love kids and animals, other than that I’m really not much of a people person.

The Plot

Ive Decided to BloG.
Bless your heart for reading this
FUNNY, I never thought I’d ever see this day come. But it’s here and I shall embrace the chance to share who, what, why and how I am who I am.
Notice I left out the where :)
Maybe I’ll throw that part in later.
Really just because this will be much more entertaining to me. I plan to use this as a form of stream of consciousness writing. Did you ever have to do that in school? I love it. It’s kind of like therapy, and inspiration, simultaneously.

If you don’t know me, my name is Sierra Benson. And that was probably one of those most literate sentences I’ll write, not because I don’t have a college degree or the gift to receive scholarships through perfectly written persuasive essays, but because, like I mentioned before, this blog is for my entertainment and because in between sentences I have to entertain this furry creature that is staring me down.
I’m the artist that no one sees as the stereotypical ‘weirdo’ with tons of piercings, tattoos and an outrageous vocabulary to describe all the mysteries of existence. I do have some tattoos, after all I am an artist.

FUNNY, when I tell people I have tattoos, they seem to be more accepting of it, just on the mere fact alone that I make art.
The five I have consist of very meaningful, symbolic designs that I created to represent family and my personal idea of freedom.