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“Feminist Art Series” Artist Profile: Rebecca Goldings

This is the first installment of  Paradigm Shift’s Feminist Art Series, which will showcase up-and-coming visual designers whose work creates innovative ways to speak to the everyday feminist.

Please welcome Rebecca Goldings, our premiere Artist Profile!

Rebecca is an artist and mediamaker from Dallas whom I met a few summers back when the two of us were interning at a nonprofit arts organization. Being a fellow Texan and NYU attendee, we soon hit it off — and I knew once the PShift blog was up and running that we had to feature some of her amazing work.

Though Rebecca’s focus is multimedia art production, her portfolio also features several drawings that capture her vibrant, honest and unsettling perception of gender norms. Below are two examples of her work: “Barbie on a Leash” and “Sweetheart” (series) – both of which might be best described as resembling pop art with a twist.

Barbie On A Leash

Barbie On A Leash

Sweethearts (series)

Sweethearts (series)

Rebecca’s photography is also incredibly provocative, but you’ll have to check that out on her web site at, since we haven’t gotten clearance to post her photographs on our blog yet (C’mon, R!).  *** Staff Pick: “Another Hairy Thing With Lips”.

Of her many accolades, Rebecca was recently  selected as a 2009-10 Artist Fellow at The Drisha Institute for Jewish Education. In her spare time, she freelances web and graphic design, which you can also check out online (link above).

For price requests or questions about Rebecca’s work, please contact her by email at

EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: Documentary Filmmaker Havana Marking, Director of Afghan Star

Paradigm Shift’s Community Outreach Coordinator Julia K. Weis here interviews Havana Marking, director of the awe-inspiring documentary Afghan Star, which explores the impact of Afghanistan’s version of Pop Idol on the varying factions within Afghan culture and the influence of musical self-expression within a society restricted by religious extremism.

Afghan Star had its New York Premiere at the International Human Rights Watch Film Festival, which celebrated its 20th anniversary in New York. The documentary was released by Zeitgeist Films and represented by Shotwell Media.

View the trailer on PShift TV here.

PShift: What prompted you to develop the film Afghan Star? What’s your relationship to the show and/or Afghanistan?

HM: I had always wanted to go / explore Afghanistan – all my life. My father had been there in the 60s and the images from that era were just epic. I tried to pitch lots of ideas – just to get there. Luckily none of them were commissioned, but in the process I talked to a British war journalist, Rachel Reid (now the brilliant Human Rights Watch officer there). She in fact told me about the new TV series Afghan Star and put me in touch with the Local channel owners.

I knew instantly that it was a genius idea – I have always loved Pop Idol (I always cry!) – and knew it would be the perfect vehicle and way in to such a complex and extraordinary place.

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EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: Documentary Filmmaker Jesse Epstein

Paradigm Shift Community Outreach Coordinator Julia K. Weis here interviews acclaimed documentary filmmaker Jesse Epstein about her work dealing with the relationship between body image, media and physical perfection. Epstein, who most recently had the video “Sex, Lies and Photoshop” featured as a New York Times Op-Ed, received an MA in documentary film from NYU and was selected for “25 New Faces of Independent Film” by Filmmaker Magazine. Her three films are distributed to universities and high schools through New Day Films (a filmmaker owned & operated business). “WET DREAMS AND FALSE IMAGES” received the Short Subject Jury Award at the Sundance Film Festival, “34x25x36” premiered at SXSW, and “THE GUARANTEE” won Best Short Film at the Newport International Film Festival.

NYT Op-Ed "Sex, Lies and Photoshop"

NYT Op-Ed "Sex, Lies and Photoshop"

PShift: How did you get started working in film?

Jesse Epstein: It’s weird, I feel like I started more with thinking about body image and issues and then thinking about what’s the best way to communicate a message and that kind of led me to, OK – media, like, how do you counteract media messages? You have to use media itself! So I really wanted to learn filmmaking specifically to do projects around body image and media, but then I got really swept up into it and now I’m in love with film as lighting and camera angles and things I never thought I would be interested in.

I started off trying to learn about filmmaking by working as a prop-person and an on-site dresser – I worked in the art department on independent films. I then realized that I was getting some of the tools but I wasn’t getting any of the theory. So I decided that I would go to graduate school at NYU at the Gallatin program and create my own major, but really focus on documentary film and gender studies and combine all of this stuff. This barbershop (from “WET DREAMS & FALSE IMAGES”) was my thesis film, and then I’ve been building on that to make a larger project. It’s definitely been a way for me to get involved in social activism.
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EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: Oscar Winning Filmmaker & Writer Pamela Tanner Boll



Q: For what reason did you create Who Does She Think She Is? What was your inspiration?

A: I have been a writer and painter for most of my adult life, but the fact is, I stopped writing and painting during college up until I was 32 years old. That was when I had my first child. For those years I didn’t do anything creative because I couldn’t imagine supporting myself as an artist and continuing to create new ideas. So, instead, I decided to work in NYC for a commodity trading company, then for a literary agency, and then for another company. After that, I got married.

I always wanted children, so I had a child and it completely changed my life. It absolutely turned everything upside down in a way that was remarkable to me. I was amazingly in love with this little boy that I had and yet as the same time scared I would do something wrong. I was scared of the responsibility of keeping him alive and I was very cognizant that it was me who was keeping him alive. I had never felt that kind of responsibility and utter love before.

I started writing again because I didn’t know how to make sense of all these feelings. At the time, though I didn’t realize it then, I was also experiencing a bit of post-partum depression and that was terrifying too. And so, I started writing a lot about being a mother and being pulled between the baby’s needs and my own. I quickly had two more sons.

When my oldest was about a year old, I felt I had to express this part of my life again. Long story short, I started doing these things and put aside my fear that I wasn’t very good at them. I started getting some recognition for my work. I taught at Harvard for a couple years, based on the strength of my essays and short stories. Still despite all of that I was feeling caught between the needs of my family and work. No matter where I was it felt like I was in the wrong place.

My boys became teenagers and all of a sudden I wasn’t at the center of their lives. I thought, Gee – what about my own life? I always imagined I would be a writer with five books published. I was terrified of growing older and having nothing to show for it other than these three beautiful boys.

And so, I heard of Maye Torres from Taos, New Mexico. She’s a “thirteenth generation Taosena” who works on a lot of public sculptures. It’s still primarily a male field, but that is her main job – to be an artist. I couldn’t believe that this woman was making her living as an artist despite all of the hardships that she was experiencing. She was a single mother, divorced and I thought, how in the hell does she do that? I felt like I was living my life halfway, without as much zeal. So she was the real inspiration.

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