A Poem, A Page of Thought by Heidi Valdez

Words about personal mixtures of depression, anxiety, loss, and heartbreak.

"My eyes want to focus on the lights of a late night stage, yet its too blinding for someone who's barely learning how to see again

My mind drifts into a video playlist titled "scenarios that possibly won't happen but that feel like they would so it affects your heartbeat none the less" 

Imagination is a walk in the park and then a fall down your stairs, maybe both at the same time

Good, bad, good, bad, maybe neither? Maybe both? Depending, right?

Walk past someone you used to know, how does it feel?

Walk past someone you barely know, does it feel different?

Stand by them, talk to them, cry over them, admire them, walk away from them, breathe alone, wishing wellness for everyone, almost forgetting to wish wellness for yourself, wish wellness for yourself, catch yourself, dance, breathe, cough, take a break, not too many breaks, drink a beer, share a beer, love your friends, miss your friends, miss your friends a lot, draw your friends, draw anything, paint and draw a shit load, hold the person you love, hold their hand, they might need it today, dream, please dream some more, sleep and wake up, know when to let go, know when to hold on, know to know what is more healthy emotionally for you, be sad, be happy, be angry, be calm, thank you, I appreciate and regret sometimes but, I love you, I love you, I love you. Vent to me, vent to me, I am here.

I want to get close yet I might be used to stepping away at the thought of my trys. I want to smile and cry and eat a bagel all in that order, I would like to drive with friends and take them aquaducts and sometimes I will get anxious but thats okay, because it happens and I'm not alone.

Sometimes I want to be alone but sometimes become afraid to show that I want to be alone! 

I do not want to care but I do, so is this statement really true?

I want to help myself and help others and believe that it is possible to help others while being unable to help yourself, so is it possible, maybe help yourself for now? How do you live, how do you routine on a daily basis? Do you smile at your reflection in the morning? Encouraging and inspiring and breaking down and moments of despair, all needed, to live, to love, to touch, fingertips are sensitive? Our skin is sensitive, in our own ways, for our own reasons, does a memory come to mind? Maybe distant, maybe recent? A few minutes ago, a few years ago? Perhaps with someone, perhaps alone?

Memories, you miss them, you feel them, you dread them, you accept them, acknowledge them. At the moment, maybe it was hard? Maybe it wasn't? Depending, right? That's okay, you'll be okay. 

You'll be okay, you'll be okay, okay? Hold your hand, right now, if you want, touch your cheek, walk it off, walk what off? I dunno, anything, everything? You're okay, you'll be okay."

Reality, Art by Vincenzo Dama

It was the spit heard round the world. When Flavor of Love contestant Pumpkin was bumped off in favor of rival Tiffany Pollard (New York), her final, dramatic gesture not only solidified the show, but Tiffany’s career in pop culture history. “Slap me, Bitch!” Is one of Vincenzo Dama’s most recognizable homages. Like the reality shows he recreates, each piece is equal parts cringeworthy and iconic. Dama’s aesthetic is excess, drama, celebrity and confrontation. Every scene is packed full of chaos, and Dama’s grotesque renditions make it all the more scandalous.

    It’s hard to pinpoint what makes these drawings so good, so extra, but his massive tumblr popularity speaks for itself. Maybe we love reality tv, and Dama’s work by extension, because of humankind’s long history of parasocial relationships. Through media, we form intimate, one-sided connections with the characters we watch, identifying with some, demonizing others. This gives us our concepts of an ‘ideal person’, and our favorite celebrities either become role models or cautionary tales for society. We always see thinkpieces bemoan celebrity worship, but it’s an evolutionary part of life. The Egyptians and Greeks had gods, the British have the Royal family, and we have reality tv.


 While he's only an artist part time, Vincenzo Dama has enjoyed steady internet fame, and has received shoutouts and DM’s from Logo TV, RuPaul’s Drag Race, and Tiffany Pollard herself. Dama has a book of prints, Moments that Changed my Life, and a variety of other merch available online. All work is copyright to Vincenzo Dama, and we appreciate his cooperation with our zine!

Candace Odendaal

"I don't know if being an artist is ever a choice. I don't know if it equates to deciding one day you'll start doing yoga or establishing a new routine in the morning. Personally, even if I had a choice I probably would still choose this life. It was never a choice I had to make. It was like choosing to breathe everyday. I was born to do this, it had nothing to do with choice. I believe that I was destined to be an artist for the sake of living this life the best way that I can. I'm supposed to be one. I have a duty to myself and to the world to be one, because I have a voice and I have a soul that I need to share with everyone, a voice and soul that needs to leave my body somehow. I'm lucky that I was able to harness my abilities. I've been an artist since I could hold a pencil and draw a line. I've been drawing women exclusively, since I could arrange a legible image. I get so emotional when I draw or paint, and I think you can see it in my art. I have a very deep connection with my girls and with selling every painting I sell a part of myself, but not in a sad way. When I sell my art, the little that I do sell, I'm not selling that one piece of paper or canvas with pigment on it. I'm selling them this creation that took 16+ year to become what it is, all the crumbled sketches and doodles on my math homework, all the disappointment that I got for deciding to be an art major, all the probably thousands of dollars I've put into teaching myself at least a dozen mediums. With my art comes me. It was never a choice, it has always been my life.


I have a hard time thinking about what inspires me because I'm a very individual artist. I don't ever really talk to other artists, I don't have my personal work criticized, it has gotten very little exposure due to insecurities and lack of networking on my end. I'm just inspired by women, all women. I'm VERY inspired by artists that I follow on instagram like @rosellenswenson, @nomi_chi, @lucasbavid, @eilyjenkins, and a whole lot more I couldn't imagine I'd remember. A huge inspiration also for me is ball-jointed dolls like posted by @emilie.steele or @popovysisters because they are just otherworldly and to DIE for. There is a lot of oil painters that inspire me but one of the biggest inspirations while I was first learning was my friend Michael Gross (@shrapnel_grade_glitter). It wasn't just his technique, while I absolutely hate him for and admire so much, but he was my first artist friend that took it just as seriously as me, the first friend I ever had that was an art major like me, and he made me feel so welcomed into the community and I will never forget him as my favorite painting bud. Other oil painters are ones like @meda.alice, @seancheetham, and my favorite professor Glen Knowles who has made me an even better artist than I thought I could ever be by pushing me to limits I didn't know I had and helping me overcome them. The list goes on, but I am greatly influenced by myu fellow art community and widely support art, not just my own. My biggest inspiration will always be myself, and to aim to be better with every brushstroke and watercolor wash." -Candace Odendaal

Checkout more of Candace's work on Instagram @screamingbabies.