Saturday, December 24, 2011

The Babysitter

I made this piece for a silkscreening class.  It may be hard to tell, but the dots that make up the grayscale are all tiny, hand-drawn hearts (hand cramp).  I was fondly remembering my babysitter Katie, who spent her entire babysitting hours sitting at our kitchen table chain-smoking cigarettes and talking about boyfriends.  I loved Katie.  She was so light-hearted.  And kind.    Soon after, Katie was replaced by her sister Colleen who was kinda mean and scolded me for wetting the bed during my parents' divorce.  Boy did I miss Katie.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Everyone is so creative, except for most people

How hard would it be to get 23 random children to paint? Easy.
How hard would it be to get 23 random adults to paint? Hard.
Imagination is a beautiful thing.
Score: kids 1, grownups 0

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Double Agent

It's summer, which for me means taking a vacation from my life as a double agent.  It's not an easy life.  Having two names, two languages (one being English and the other being Potty-mouth),  two sets of costumes, two Facebook pages.  And then there is all the moving, all the back and forth we seem to do every summer.  At one point, I decided to paint those few objects that had made it through all of our moves, such as this bowl.  I thought it would be interesting, revealing, and that I would be documenting the very most precious things in my life.  Then maybe I could stop moving all the time.  Around the sides I painted "Keep me always".  But in the end, it's just a bowl.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Valise Art Show

Truth: While painting this piece, I watched Glee episodes over and over and over (well, more like listened, like Chuck Close used to do with The Price Is Right)

Truth:  "What part of party don't you understand?" is a very good question.

Truth: Discomfort is uncomfortable.

Truth: Most of us do not like to think too hard about art.  We just want a pretty picture for Pete's sake!   Here on this fair island, we feel pretty arty and open-minded as we remain ignorant about the evolution of art since modern times. So, we censor filter out what doesn't fit into our comfort zone.  Out of sight, out of mind.

The truth hurts, baby.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Oh, nuts! #6

If it looks really wet, it's because it is!  If I am lucky, it will dry before I need to turn them in ... tomorrow.

Friday, April 22, 2011

It's the Cheese #2

I am starting to get tired of eating cheese, but am willing to make sacrifices for my art.  For this one, I incorporated the box imagery into my painting.  Can you guess today's word?  Hint: it's not "camembert."  (Look below for what the camembert box looks like uncensored)


Thursday, April 21, 2011

Think Magnetic Poetry #1

Here is, bit by bit, my contribution to an upcoming show on censorship. Valise Gallery/collective is putting on this open-invitation, all-island show (opening May 6th).

I am making an untitled piece similar to the one in yesterday’s post.  This time I am using camembert boxes (about 4 inches in diameter) to paint/draw on.  Each one will have a word on it, so they can be assembled to make different sentences.  Think "magnetic poetry".
Here is the first of six.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

If you can't beat them, annoy them

I left art school for a few years (also known as “dropping out”).  Things at Otis changed a lot in those years, including the addition of stupid, pretentious classes and categories of majors which have since disappeared.  The new trend reminded me of high school, when being “original” was the easiest way to conform (the 552nd punk rocker isn’t quite as original as the first few, you know what I mean?).  So our junior year drawing class (which had formerly allowed for a very broad definition of drawing) was replaced by an “experimental drawing” class, where you were allowed to do anything except to just draw.  Unless, of course, you were to draw on an unconventional object, like a piece of wood or a band-aid. In other words, it’s okay if your work has no concept, as long as you make it look like it does, by using weird materials (just fake it, boys and girls).   My bologne-o-meter went through the roof. “You mean if I draw on a rock, it’s okay, but if I draw the exact same drawing on paper, it’s not okay?”  “Exactly.”  “You realize you are actually limiting what constitutes drawing, not expanding it, right?”  It was very emperor’s new clothes with everyone embracing it, as if it made sense.  I should have just used invisible materials and saved myself a lot of time and energy.  Instead, I decided to fake compliance while plotting my revenge. 
The project I decided on was a series of 16 drawings on the back of brie boxes, each one representing a word (see above, though I later changed a couple of boxes).  Once assembled, they would create a sentence that was nonsense (which is what I thought of the class, as a whole).  I spent the semester quietly working on my piece, one word at a time, using different styles and mediums for each.  The teacher was glad I had come around and gave me encouragement for my “concept”.  That is, until the last day of class when it was time to display our work and explain our concepts.  I'm sure I didn't say, "this piece is about what nonsense I think this assignment is," but it was something pretty close.  It may not have been the worst grade I ever got but, again, pretty close.

Friday, April 1, 2011

This Lady Is Cool

I love it when people defy the stereotype I have for them.  For example, I think I know that it takes a certain type of person to for a figure drawing class, and that type of person looks a certain way, shall we say "arty" (leaving the artist to wonder, "Do I draw the tattoos too?").  And then in walks this person who looks like she is here for the pta meeting, or maybe a bridge tournament, or Oprah's book club.  I am perplexed.  Intrigued.  And it makes me think "this lady is cool," based on nothing but observation and gross assumptions.  Isn't it fun to sum a person up in one sentence.  And then to pat oneself on the back for being willing to change the adjective.  Cool.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Small Town Studio

The figure drawing studio I've been going to is held at Grange Hall.  It's an old funky building near the ferry dock.  We get there a little early to help set everything up.  The furnace is roaring, blasting in the main room, plus a space heater next to the model stand, and the kitchen stove and oven are turned on for extra oomph (it takes a lot of heat to get a stone cold room up to bikini-comfort warm).  Mostly the same regulars revolve through, both artists and models, and the atmosphere is very friendly.  The models use the restrooms to change into their robes.  The women's restroom is decorated with artwork by a local artist and a sign reading  "If it's yellow let it mellow. Sensative septic system.  Flush infrequently".
After all that, it feels like a shame to draw portraits from the shoulders up instead of complete figures, but that's what I find myself doing first chance I get.  Most of the poses are twenty minutes, so there is only so much ground one can cover, so to speak.  Also, I am trying to get back to a level of drawing that is more about line quality than large areas of contrast.  I don't concern myself with the drawing being a very good likeness, but am finding myself thinking, "Wow, that really does look like her."  So much so, that I hesitate to post them on the internet, for privacy concerns.  But oh well.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Models Are People Too

It is an interesting relationship between the artists and the person taking their robe off in front of those artists.  I always remind myself that Michelangelo put in plenty of time with figure studies.  One young person I explained it to couldn’t make sense of it.  “But they aren’t really naked.”  “Yes they are really naked.”  “But, so, they aren’t real people.”  “Yes they are real people.”  “But they do actually have clothes on.”  “No, they don’t actually have clothes on.”  “So, the people aren’t actually there.” “Yes, they are actually there.”  And so on.

I guess it’s weird, except it’s not.  Most artist models are professional artist models.  Sometimes they walk around during their break to see the drawings, but mostly they don’t.  Sometimes we know their names, and sometimes we don’t.   It can be hard to know how chatty to get with them during breaks. 

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Metaphors Are Everywhere

My younger, angrier, blonder, self.  Everybody loves a mouse.

I can’t seem to ever just paint something pretty, though a part of me would really like to.  For me, there’s always a deeper meaning screaming to be let out. 

Case in Point.
While in the “Indiana Jones” line at Disneyland, I was marveling at how fabulously entertaining the line is, an immense, imaginative installation piece, really.  While my younger, angrier self would have shaken her fist at how expertly Disney pacifies the masses, herding us through a world of over-consumption, my parent-self was telling my kid “now remember, the line is part of the ride.”  The person in front of us was impressed by this way of looking at things.  And I realized, there are probably a lot of gems hidden in the crevices of the happiest place on earth.  By the end of the day, I was more holier-than-though than I started, a better person for sure.

Disneyland Life Lessons

Life Lesson #1: The line is part of the ride.
Life Lesson #2 Fake people are scarier than  real people.
Life Lesson #3: Just because it has the longest line, doesn’t make it funner (people will stand in a long line because it’s a long line).
Life Lesson #4:  Some danger signs are imaginary and some are real, but it can be tragically hard to tell the difference. Examples: “Warning, High Voltage Area” (fake), “Do Not Climb on Rocks” (REAL!) and “Beware of Hitchhiking Ghosts” (possibly real).
Life Lesson #5: Makes no difference who  you are (when you wish upon a star).
Life Lesson #6: Princesses are EVERYWHERE.
Life Lesson #7: Your favorite ride is the one closed for repairs.
Life Lesson #8: It is a small world.
Life Lesson #9: Nobody likes a person who cuts in line, no matter how cute their kids are.
Life Lesson #10: Money really does buy happiness, if you replace the word “happiness” with “shopping”.
Life Lesson #11: If you close your eyes, you’ll miss the fun.
Life Lesson #12:  It’s more fun when you wear a costume.
Life Lesson #13: If you tell yourself that pirates are funny, they are

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Old Dog

New Tricks.
 It was great to spend the weekend painting in an absolutely gorgeous studio space.  I definitely learned new things about painting.  It is a "wet on wet" technique.  I didn't feel like I "finished" either painting.  I spent forever on the portrait trying to get the skin tone colorful enough before moving on to actually put her face on, which meant I was left with about an hour to suddenly pull a full portrait out of my...hat.  Both days I found myself working up to the very last moment, no choice but to call it "done".

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The Sky is Falling

Here is one of the pieces I did while taking time away from art.  A local gallery was having a show with the theme "chicken and egg", which I used for inspiration.  The painting is in fact a veiled portrait of someone I know, a proverbial "Chicken Little", who always imagines the worst is happening.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Will paint for food

What most people don’t realize is the tremendous energy and time it takes to be an artist.  It’s like working two jobs.  Unless your day job is a trust fund, in which case it’s like having one job (making art is still a respectable way to not make a living).  Or maybe you do what I did for years and work less than full time but live as a pauper.  So when your friends say, “Hey we’re going to see this band tonight.  The cover charge is only $3.”  And you’re thinking “THREE DOLLARS!  That’s 15% of the phone bill I haven’t paid!  That’s two espresso drinks! (which equals 4 hours of getting to be somewhere besides my crummy apartment).”  I’m realizing now that the artists I knew who magically didn’t have to work are the same ones with bottomless bags of money for going out.  Art making is not comfortable for those of us on the bottom edge of middle class, I guess.  We end up having to choose between having basic comfort and making art.  For most of my life, I chose art and for a lot of it, I didn’t really notice what I was missing.  In this drawing is a room I lived in.  It was a dining room, really.  On one side was my bed (a futon folded in half so it would fit), on the other side was everything you see in this drawing.  And down the middle was the path my roommate took to get from her room to the kitchen (her room had a similar path through it for me to get to the bathroom).  But I was so happy to have the luxury of not sharing a room that I drew this picture and proudly titled it “a room of one’s own.” And then I tied burlap sacks to my feet and walked 6 miles to school in the snow.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Willa goes to Hollywood

Eventually my interest in combining words and art led to making a book titled “Willa,” a story about a young woman moving to Hollywood.  I made it just before dropping out of art school, at a time when I was completely fed up with living in L.A. (not coincidentally, it was shortly after the L.A. riots of 1992).  Although there were kernels of autobiography in the story, it really was about inventing this character, a na├»ve and hapless Willa.  Each page was a collage of fabric and found objects and it was all sown together. Some of the pages have parts you have to open, push, or otherwise move to be able to read the text (which makes it hard to photograph).   Of all the old work I have so far pulled out and sifted through, this is the piece that most makes me want to rediscover that old path.  Take it up again where I left off, wherever that is.  More to come.

I wish everyone thought I was as hilarious as I think I am

Since my second year in art school, my thing in art has been that I tell stories by combining text with images that reflect (or twist) the text. In those early days, I would write stories about life, romance, heartache, hope, joy, disappointment, things people grapple with in their college years.  The text came from magazines, or things I would hear people say or sometimes I would just make it up.  This text comes from an article in Mademoiselle about visible panty line, go figure.