FindChaos: The Official Blog of A. Stiffler

Professional illustrator, comic artist, graphic designer and avid birder. Stuff I draw and other nonsense.
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Who wants a Sunday kitten fix? 

You can have Jiji playing with his (and Konstantin’s) favorite toy, Spiny Norman!

Jiji’s Teething

Unfortunately for K, she was subjected to the most adorable mauling. I helpfully took pictures. He doesn’t even break the skin. We’ve offered him more than a few fancy teething toys, but nothing seems to beat K’s wrist.

(via burgertv)

I have to disagree with you on your assessment of modern art, simply based upon your use of terms and definitions. Modern art (post 1850 along with the rise of photography) questioned what art actually was and how it should be made. This would be Impressionism or Cubism, to name a few modernist movements. Using the previous anon's example of the "hairy cheese" or your example of Dada (Duchamp's Fountain comes to mind), this should be considered Contemporary or even Post-Contemporary.
findchaos findchaos Said:

So, you’re disagreeing on my semantics, not my actual perspective on the subject (from what you said). “Modern art” is a term that inevitably has wide and relative implications since its early coinage, no matter what the official definition, but I think my usage was clear enough in referring to mid- to late-20th century movements while adding context to my intolerance for contemporary works. (Quick edit for further clarity for those who don’t feel like Googling: the official definition for modern art spans from the 1850s to the 1970s, covering Dadaism, Pollock, and the like just fine.)

What I criticized is still colloquially categorized as “modern art,” it’s just a matter of clarity or pedantry that I would further clarify it to lesser-known, if more artistically accurate classifications. After all, most of the works I revile are still housed in “Modern Art” museums, so I consider it fair game as a term.

And for the record, I love Impressionism and respect all of its rebellious context. That, apart from German Expressionism, marks the last “art movement” I’ve ever felt a strong passion for. I love art, but I no longer enjoy its recent “movements.”

What are your "contact with fairies" protocols? Are your prepared in the case of fairy encounters?
findchaos findchaos Said:


You can always be more prepared, of course.

And it depends on which type of fairies, but in cases of Fairy Emergency, my general policy is thus:

  • Be polite, but not thankful; generally, they don’t like that.
  • Don’t step on any toadstools or in any fairy rings and respect the nature around you.
  • Don’t take anything of theirs, not even a bramble on your clothing or a leaf in your hair.
  • Leave something of yours (that is of value) for them.
  • If lost, turn shirt inside out and put it on backwards to find your way again.
  • If you have anything edible, offer it or leave it behind.
  • Do NOT eat/drink anything offered, but decline with a simple “I couldn’t.” This is polite but doesn’t insist that other food is better/makes you fuller/all you’ll eat.
  • Don’t make any wagers, bets, or play any games. Especially don’t answer riddles.
  • Never, ever dance.
  • If they do something nice for you, leave out milk and a candle for three nights — either in the place they were last seen (at day break) or for the next three New Moons in a north facing window. 
  • Don’t ever mention the encounter to anyone.

There are a few tips I’m missing, but it wouldn’t be polite to mention them.

I don’t know how I’m in a place in my life where I could not only agree to but confirm most of these steps.

Asker Anonymous Asks:
Woah I totally agree on your resentment of "modern art", what's up with people gluing stuff together until it takes up so much space they try to put it in a gallery? And furthermore, what's up with people saying they "understand the metaphor the artist was trying to convey"? Hell, I haven't been able to tell if the Haired Cheese (it's super gross so be warned if you're going to google it) is a real thing in a real museum or not!
findchaos findchaos Said:

The funny thing is: I have an extremely open mind about art, in whatever form it needs to take. I even appreciate art that pisses me off, because art is meant to invoke a feeling, which doesn’t mean it has to be a good one.

What pisses me off about so much of so-called modern art are the people who abuse the concept, make something thoughtlessly, and then their entire premise for it is summed up by "I don’t know, what do you think it means?”

That’s not art. That’s a Rorschach, but with even less meaning.

Furthermore, I detest the popular reliance upon the nonsensical modern art movement, because it’s either people aping Dadaism or who are completely unaware of modern art’s biggest supporter: the 1950s-era CIA. Oh yes, I’m afraid the much-beloved Pollock, Rothko, ad their ilk were secretly boosted to fame simply to demoralize the Russians, whose art movements at the time leaned toward classical realism.

So, I guess I’m a cynic. In a twist of irony, I suppose their (and similar modern) art does inspire some feelings in me, which was my original protocol for deeming something art, yet I can further define it: I only call something, anything, art if the creator had any actual vision, plan, and effort behind it. If the artist I had previously critiqued said “I was making a bear/crystal cacti/the feeling of anxiety,” I would be perfectly happy. It’s the fact that their statement, like most others, is simply “I don’t know.”

At that rate, any piece of garbage you find on the side of the road is instantly art, if you demand your audience infuses it with meaning instead of you. At least try to offer something or else you’re just as much a passive observer as anyone else, in which case, why call yourself an artist?


thru Aug 10:

Tara Donovan
Pace Gallery, 534 W25th St., NYC

Presents two new large-scale sculptures comprised from index cards and acrylic rods, respectively. With these works, the artist continues to explore the phenomenological effect of work created through the accumulation of identical objects. Untitled (index cards), the first such work created by Donovan, is a 13’ x 25’ x 30’ sculpture in eight parts comprised of several million 3x5” white cards stacked and glued into scores of interweaving columnar forms combining to reach a summit on each element. Also featured is a newly completed untitled sculpture made with thousands of acrylic rods. Donovan spends months or even years searching for a method of assembly that allows the simple and immutable characteristics of the chosen material to generate complex, emergent phenomena which keep the viewer cycling between perception of the parts and the whole between the forms themselves and the light that surrounds and divides them. The work draws on both Minimalist and formalist histories, while creating a radically new form which embraces complexity and iterative processing.

TL;DR: Artist picks a random thing and keeps gluing lots of it together until it looks neat. Sometimes it takes a long time and is big.

Did I mention I resent many forms of modern art?


I missed TMI Tuesday, and I’m currently not in a good headspace to be of much use other than answering questions, so:

Ask me anything.

Free-For-All Ask Friday! Give ‘er hell, ‘cause her answers are awesome and I like reading them.

Asker Anonymous Asks:
How clean do y'all keep your living space for the cats? And if/when I get my own cat, how much should I train my eye to better secure things than can be knocked down from high places?
findchaos findchaos Said:


We keep our home pretty clean in general, the cats have full run of the house every day and are allowed in every room, so it’s best for us to be neat freaks. Most people are surprised to learn we have cats because it doesn’t smell “cat like” in our home. (We also light a lot of incense, but that’s beside the point. In my experience, cat funk overpowers most incense.)

Peter sheds something fierce (to be fair, so do I), so we usually vacuum or sweep every 3-4 days, maybe with a light sweeping in between, and brushing down our fabric surfaces with a rubber or wool fur pick-up. Our couch is microsuede, a good material to have around cats because you can wipe it clean and scrape any errant claw marks out of it.

We feed them a nice diet of grain-free food with supplemental oil for their coats. It’s important to keep their dishes very clean, too — aside from the obvious health concerns, they can also develop acne on their muzzles from having dirty bowls. Their dishes are usually cleaner than ours. Otherwise, we give the whole house a scrub-down weekly (or twice weekly) and a deep-clean monthly.

Their litter station is on a tile floor and stocked with a litter locker, dust buster (for stray litter) and disinfecting wipes. I would recommend getting some Nature’s Miracle pet spray to combat any messes, as it’s safe for kitties. Luckily, we keep the litter box very clean, so there haven’t been messes in ages. If you won’t be home to clean the litter very often, I’d recommend getting an automatic litter box that cleans itself. You still have to empty it (best done daily if you don’t want poop/pee smells infusing your home).

As for securing precious objects: definitely do that. Every cat is different, but most are curious, athletic little bastards. Konstantin broke a two-century old tea cup the first day he was here. If there is a surface for them to explore/wiggle into/jump onto/etc., they probably will. They don’t know any better, so it’s up to you to teach them. I usually give our cats verbal warnings (with maybe a clap to get their attention) and then gently remove them from the surface, followed by positive reinforcement (petting/treats). As many times as it takes. This method has worked for both Konstantin and Peter, who know not to jump on counters, mantles, dressers, stoves, heaters, sinks, cupboards, etc., etc. and has the benefit that they respond to my verbal warnings quickly and without fail, a great tool for their safety. Jiji is picking up on it, he’s still a kitten.

Also, plants — they will find and eat your plants, so be sure to only grow cat-safe plants indoors. Cat grass aids in digestion and looks adorable, too. And be attentive to any dangerous chemicals, etc. they could get into; our cats have opened cupboard doors, pantries and closets with ease. 

And please, please, please keep cats indoors. As much of a health and safety risk (for animals and humans) it is to have free-roaming outdoor cats, it’s also rapidly depleting native bird populations. (And no, don’t argue with me about outdoor cats, I won’t change my mind, not ever.) Get your kitty a microchip implant just in case it should get out and possibly a breakaway collar with their info on it — I prefer the ones that say “I’m Lost!” instead of their name.

And don’t declaw your cats. That’s amputation and is usually permanently painful. In a lot of countries it’s illegal because it’s considered inhumane. If you don’t want a creature clawing up your furniture/clothes/whatever, don’t get a cat — it will inevitably happen. RIP my favorite pants.

Otherwise, our home is stocked with scratching surfaces, enough toys that the floors look positively sprinkled with them and plenty of soft surfaces (and boxes) to keep the kitties comfy. 

It’s good for your health and theirs to keep everything clean and shiny, so be careful to know what you’re getting into and the amount of work (and money — good food, vet visits, flea treatments, etc.) it might take before you dive into pet ownership. A cat isn’t a decorative object; it’s a living, breathing, dumb little turdhat you are responsible for. If you treat it as such, you shouldn’t have a hard time at all keeping everything in its right place. 

Some excellent cat advice from K to compliment a very cat-themed couple of days!


ChaosLife: Kitten Kerfuffle

(Officially) Introducing the newest member to our family: Jiji!

If you follow K and/or I on social media, I’m sure you’ve already heard plenty about Jiji, but he’s certainly worth an official introduction! You can find the summary of why we adopted him here. He’s a 5-month-old one-eyed kitten who’s way too brave and playful for his own good, yet he loves sleeping while hugging onto someone’s limb. Konstantin and Peter have both adjusted to him extremely well, and the three off them cuddle and play together 24/7.

The reason for the medication in the comic* is that he had a secondary infection from his eye surgery that went unnoticed until we adopted him. The “how we found THAT out” story is worth a comic unto itself and I’ll leave it at that for now. No worries, though, because he’s recovering like an adorable demon and all seems to be on the mend. Y’know, except for not having his left eye. That’s not coming back.

*Despite the comic struggle, K and I have both had cats all of our lives and know how to handle troublesome medication dosings, which only take about 10 seconds. He hasn’t missed a drop of it and only hates us for about 5 minutes after the event. And no, we don’t need advice on methods (thanks all the same!), we have our cat-burrito technique down to a science. It’s been a long time since we’ve had to cope with a cat that hates medicine, Konstantin had us spoiled with his “I don’t care what it is, just stick it into my open mouth” policy on offered items. Jiji is apparently savvy to this whole antibiotic thing after Round 1 in the shelter and acts like a whirling dervish with claws.


Who wants a daytime dose of kitten!