I don't imagine there will be much crossover between jillianwest.com and the Electric Blanket blog, but as we transition and announce, there might be an overlap.
Last night we soft launched WILL YOU BE MY ELECTRIC BLANKET (the zine) with the close friends who were available on short notice to party on a Tuesday night. Over the next few days / weeks/ forevers we'll be distributing, making more, setting off fireworks- the whole thing. Until then, here's the blog post on jillianwest.com about last night's celebration.
It's the calm before the storm, I can see it. It's beautiful in its grey, dark mystery which will approach and throw everything around before leaving the crisp earthy smell of wet ground.
Patience and I have long been enemies. I've watched it prancing from afar, pretty in its own way I can only be envious of. "You should do yoga!" "You should get acupuncture" ...You should shut up, I've always thought. I am not that person. I don't do calm. I get shit done.
Yet for ten days now, I've managed - nay- perfected- patience, as two hundred pink neon signs have flashed from boxes in my bedroom. "WILL YOU BE MY ELECTRIC BLANKET WILL YOU BE MY ELECTRIC BLANKET", they chant. Every day that passes seems like a day lost in some ways, and every time I see a friend I'm dying to distribute them, but it's not time yet. I haven't given a single zine to a single soul. But why!?
Because: when it's time, we need to flip the whole table. With the zine launches this website, and I'm waiting for the logo to be finalized by an outside artist who I've hired (this is how you know I'm serious about this whole business thing). When the zine and the website launch, my plans are public. Which means I should have some firm plans. And I'm still waiting to hear back about some important business-y things first. They're all tied together, and in being tied, so are my hands.
The zines are chanting, my heart is beating through a megaphone, and I must tell them all to breathe and just hang out. Enjoy the calm. The prize for the patience: we're going to flip that table in one fell swoop. And it's going to be awesome to watch.
1. Flip Table.
2. Watch the storm of beauty roll in and change everything.
And then 3. There will be explosions in the sky.
If you know anything about my last year or so, you'll know that it's been thorough in its intensity and in the spring cleaning of my life. If not, those are stories for another day. But the thing is, as I emerge slowly, I'm more and more certain that the explosions will happen. Creative explosions, explosions of the heart, beautiful fireworks to watch and stand under as they glimmer above, without fear of fire- at least not the kind that destroys. I had a dream last night about lightening that turned into fireworks that then blew up a generator- but somehow it was all going to be good in the end. This is the third dream I've had recently about explosions in the sky, and it seems like a fitting premonition.
Until then, I am an artist out of control. Messages to friends late in the night that say, "Is it ok to use the word 'fuck' in a piece of art?" followed my "nm, I know the answer" have become a thing. I've made more art in the last few months than I imagined possible, and it's art I love more than anything I've made before. I wondered recently if attaining happiness will mean that the art will become boring, but then I realized that through Electric Blanket there will be endless topics for art. That's the whole point. We have art to create, people!
I want this so terribly bad that it seems impossible that it won't happen. I see it so clearly, this Electric Blanket space. And if I have to continue trying on this 'patience' thing, well, so be it.
bahhhhhhhhhh! I couldn't wait for the right supplies to play. The first prototype of WYBMEB already makes me swoon. Some iphone photos from the kitchen table on a Saturday morning.
It's kind of like what I imagine being pregnant with a baby would be like, though I wouldn't really know.
Somewhere inside there's a seed and it's growing. I'm writing to it knowing that one day it will hatch and grow and become something I'll only partially control. It will be shaped by its environment and I can only hope it takes on what I have in mind for it. I should probably stop calling it It.
It is Electric Blanket and I am Jillian West. I come from a lot of places, most recently a four and a half year journey working on the legal team at Twitter while running Little Bat Photography and making art as Pretty Fun Things. I've been blogging, traveling, baking, and trying to live life in between the madness.
For a while, I had been wondering what would come next. I've always been creative, but I've been taught by the society I've subscribed to that if I wanted to avoid homelessness, I'd have to have a real job. I couldn't rely on creativity. My creative life would always have to live on the back burner.
Then one day shortly after thinking I was the happiest person in the world I realized I had to switch it all up. I had to smack myself in the face with the cold crisp air that begged to be inhaled so my insides could freeze a little before they could find the right temperature. I needed to leave the nostalgia of my pastel electric blankets in search of a new kind of warmth.
If the cold wasn't enough, I literally went flying through the air via Vespa crash and smashed my body into the hard pavement. I quickly learned I had to cry a lot and listen more carefully to the undercurrent of life. I needed to be alive. The kind that involves the range of emotions I had forgotten were ok to feel.
I found myself in Portland with my little brother reading some advice I had sent him years ago that he had written down by hand, listening to his poetry after dancing our hearts out at a concert, and slowly the puzzle pieces started to move on their own. Will You Be My Electric Blanket was conceived as a zine (title tribute to Derek's gorgeous poem), and shortly after, the space was planted in my head and in my heart.
At the time of writing, the logistical pieces are all in progress. It's incubating in stages. There are many stories to tell.
WATCH THIS SPACE.