the ch!cktionary

I'm Lena Chen, a writer, activist, and media producer who's been called a "skank" (by Bill O'Reilly) and "a small Asian woman" (by The New York Times). My favorite part of my workday is the hate mail.

For the unlikely story that is my life, read on.

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irregular features
Ask Lena: Reader Questions Answered
Anatomy of an Outfit
Bad Feminist Confessions
Freelance Friday: Career Advice for Young Writers
Hate Mail
Gratuitous Photos Of My Bulldog
Notes & Snapshots from Abroad
Recent Tweets @lenachen

Lazy Sunday in New York? My friend Johanna Hamm (yup, that’s her up there!) is participating in GO Brooklyn this weekend, and you MUST check out her open studio because she’s a badass. To be precise, she’s an incredibly talented sculptor and performance artist working on a MFA at Pratt Institute, where she completed a masters in art therapy. I read much of her art as overtly feminist (probably a matter of interpretation, since I know she doesn’t like labels). Most of it is inspired by her experiences working with patients struggling through mental illness or the aftereffects of emotional trauma. Besides the sculptural jewelry above, Johanna will also be showing Stab If You Want To, an interactive experimental piece on which visitors are welcome to leave their mark.

My ability to appreciate art has grown so much since I’ve started discussing it with Johanna over the past year. And though I’m a writer, understanding her creative process has helped me better manage my own, and I’ve found that we share several commonalities when it comes to the way we work and the way we make sense of our work. Both of us would also love to work in a shared space that encourages collaboration between artists and writers (as well as musicians, dancers, engineers, yogis, programmers, sushi chefs, etc.) Who knows? Maybe we’ll get to share a studio one day.

You can say hi to Johanna all day today in Brooklyn (and model some of her sculptural jewelry pieces while you’re at it). I’m super jealous to be missing this! Tell your friends/reblog/spread the word/the usual. Full details below:

GO: a community-curated open studio project
11am-7pm, September 8-9th, 2012

Johanna Hamm Open Studio
Pratt Institute
200 Willoughby Ave, ELJ Hall 410B
Brooklyn, NY 11205
Floor 4

During GO, Brooklyn-based artists open their studios to community members who visit, nominate, and vote for artists. Two or more artists will be featured in a group exhibition to open at the Brooklyn Museum on Target First Saturday, December 1, 2012. To plan your visit, add Johanna’s studio via the GO Brooklyn website or download the iPhone app.

  1. jamilasays said: when i scroll through my dashboard, i can’t help stopping at this photo — and that necklace. it’s such a clear and inventive way of communicating this relationship. i wish i was in NY sometimes
  2. lenachen posted this