Poor Moon - Canned Heat0:00
HAPPY EARTH DAY!! Even though this song is about the moon let's love all our astral entities today, hmm?
HAPPY EARTH DAY!! Even though this song is about the moon let's love all our astral entities today, hmm?
Hardware, 1990 Dir. Richard Stanley
What happens when the majority of your days are jam packed with projects and deadlines? Well folks, that's when really horrible/great B movies enter your life telling you stories about the rampage of a self-repairing robot in a post-apocalyptic slum. And you know what, you like it.
Just got back into town from a birthday trip to Mexico City, where I was super fortunate to hang out with Leslie Moody Castro, an old friend and co-founder of AtravesARTE a company that provides their clients with an unparalleled, personalized tour experience while showcasing and promoting the cultural value of contemporary art in Mexico. Tagging along with them, we got to check out new artists and new art spaces that we would have not otherwise had access to, even me a person that has travelled to DF many times over the last decade. Along our journey from one taco to another, from one art space to the next, we visited the amazingly stunning Museo Jumex where we saw Abraham Cruzvillegas's exhibit Autoconstrucción. Cruzvillegas was born in Mexico City in 1968 and his work is inspired by the harsh landscape and living conditions of Colonia Ajusco, his childhood neighborhood in Mexico City where houses were built on inhospitable land in ad hoc improvisations. Over the past 10 years, Cruzvillegas has assembled sculptures and installations from found objects and disparate materials and developed a riveting body of work that investigates what he calls autoconstrucción, or “self-construction.”
Much of the work is human scale and the viewer is really encouraged to peek around each nook and cranny of the sculptures, unveiling the material mysteries that Cruzvillegas has hidden for us. I tried to snap as many pics as I could, but really being immersed in it was the best way to take it all in.
For more on Cruzvillegas, check out the most recent Art21 episode on Legacy, here's a snippet!
Created in conjunction with an essay I wrote for Dirty Laundry magazine. These selections are favorites culled from my collection, and in my humble opinion, are essentials. Basically, they never fail to have me feeling some kind of way.
Take a listen, what do you feel?
DIRTY LAUNDRY MAGAZINE // dirtylaundrymag.com
Check out this funny little essay I wrote for the lovely folks at Dirty Laundry Magazine all about that time in 5th grade I sang "Feelings" at the top of my lungs. I also made a special mixtape just for the occasion of its release that I will share shortly. The task of writing a personal essay was no small feat for me, but I loved Dirty Laundry's mission so much I gave it a whirl. Through original essays and Q&A sessions, the magazine functions as a curated platform for creative voices to be heard. Dirty Laundry is a collaborative effort between three self-proclaimed individuals – an illustrator, a designer and a writer – typically hard at work in a small DC apartment. It was a little like writing for this blog, but a bit scarier because I knew at least a few people would be reading it :) Hope you like it!
2015 is all about adventures abroad! I just got back from New Orleans where the MASS Gallery team and I created a group show and, I kid you not, a great big giant sandwich installation. As an homage to all the great sandwiches that New Orleans has bestowed upon us over the years, the handful of us that braved the chilly bayou weather set out to craft one big ol' cardboard sammy as a token of our gratitude!
What started out as a little sketchbook idea and a joke about "wouldn't it be funny if..." we seriously set out to turn one whole room of The Front into one giant club. It was, as you could say, MASS's clubhouse where we all got to pitch in on the painting and cardboard construction. Collaborative works like this are rare for us, since our collaborative piece really is in the walls and organizational structure of our project space here in Austin.
For five whole days we poured our energy into this beast and it was quite the team building exercise. Of course, it didn't hurt that we had rented a sweet little AirBNB in the heart of the Marigny-Bywater neighborhood and when we weren't working (which was sadly not too many hours) we got to sample all the delicious food and charisma that NOLA had to offer. We even snuck in a quick and sleepy walk through the Audubon Aquarium of the Americas where we met a very friendly all white alligator.
Club Sandwich ended up spectacular, as you can see, and for the rest of The Front's gallery space the makers in the group staged a pretty great looking group show, too. Thursday of install was particularly exhausting because not only was I on sandwich duty, but I also did a 5 x 6 foot wall installation, which I think happens to look excellent with my fellow MASS member Scott Proctor's ceramic works.
Highlights of the trip were early morning trips to Frady's for a huge diner style breakfast for only $5, fancy drinks and small plates at Booty's, hunting for bargains in the area thrift stores, late night grocery shopping at Mardi Gras Zone, NUMEROUS snacks at The Sneaky Pickle, lots and lots of sandwich puns and super super late night games of dice with my MASS folks. Certainly the best way to welcome good times for this New Year! If you are in the NOLA area for Carnival or Mardi Gras pop over to The Front, our show is up till February 8.
La flor de mi secreto / The Flower of My Secret, 1995 Dir. Pedro Almodóvar
Tunes to take us onto the next adventure carrying peace and love in our hearts ♥
Despite what some may think, there are always new and interesting art happenings occuring in this fair city of Austin, TX. Perhaps it's due to the influx of bright and chirpy young folks that come to central Texas to study at any number of the higher education palaces that dot the area. Perhaps it's something else entirely, but I certainly love when I get to witness new energy and ambition go into operating a space dedicated to exploring contemporary art and artists and the conversation that surrounds that process. A new little house gallery just opened up called Permanent.Collection and I am so happy that they did because at their inaugural show I was introduced to the work of Chicago-based artist, Alex Chitty.
Walking into Permanent.Collection I was immediately drawn to a collection of intimate, hand manipulated collaged photographs that were pinned to the back wall of the tiny living room gallery space. I spent a lot of time observing Chitty's manipulation of the photographic surface and soon found myself dreaming of owning my very own so I would never have to say goodbye. As stated in a recent article about her on Make.Space.net, "over the last couple years her work has gone from collages and prints to flat cut paper and paper sculpturally attached to the wall to vitrine-like sculptures. The work seems to confound the definition of what is flat and what is dimensional – a piece of paper can be a sculpture and a sculpture can collapse into a layered plane as the viewer looks through it."
I am pretty smitten and enjoy the playful and unprecious approach that remains underlying in each work that I've seen, no matter the medium. I find great affinity to her unabashed need to collect images and objects, even if the direct purpose for having them is unknown for months or years or maybe never. I can equally relate to the neatly stacked islands of chaos that can be found in her studio as a result of her collecting. I invite you to take a peek at her body of work and get all wrapped up into it like I have!
This past Friday I had the distinct pleasure of taking over the @UpriseArtNYC Instagram, inundating their fine followers with pictures from a day in the life of me! It was super great to get to share my process through pictures and just in case you don't follow @UpriseArtNYC (and you should!), I am posting them up here for you to take a peek at. This winter will have be hunkered down close to my studio's space heater while I prepare for a show this coming January and adding new inventory to both Uprise and LEIF. Enjoy these pics and stay warm wherever you are!
I am over-the-moon excited to share my little corner of the world with you and to give you a peek into my studio practice here in the heart of Texas. This is where the magic happens! I’ve been in this little garage space for the past 9 years and its secluded location along a tree-lined street in East Austin suits my process perfectly.
Taking a quick spin around the place, you’ll notice my surplus of old books and magazines stacked and stored in every nook. These forgotten anthologies are usually scooped up at thrift stores and estate sales, but one or two are gifts from my sweet friends who can easily bet that I will use the heck out of them, giving their out of date pages new life through my collaged paintings.
As I snip photographic surfaces and over-saturated illustrations found inside their pages, I can’t help but clip out the silly little images that make me laugh along the way. This one was taken out of a 1967 Time Life book titled TIME and describes a very serious study on snails and magnetism.
Focusing on painting during my time as a student, I’ve always been drawn to the viscosity and material nature of paint. Pushing the pigment around and watching it react to the pressure of my hand or the texture of a certain kind of paper, never ceases to amaze me. It’s a ritual I gladly perform and include in each of my artworks.
Sandwiched between swaths of paint and found images, you’ll find pieces of brightly colored paper sourced from different corners of the world. Over the last 10 years, I’ve voraciously collected sheets and samples of all kinds, attracted mostly to those in unusual colors, ones with rough and irregular surfaces and have recently begun to start my own collection of hand-dyed papers from traditions I learned during my Arquetopia residency last year in Oaxaca.Looking over maps of memory is a current favorite of mine that I created especially for Uprise’s inventory at the most recent Affordable Art Fair NYC. For me, the repeated act of layering is a meditation on shape and form. What spurs me to keep repeating these assemblages of material are that each construction is a puzzle where color, form and texture are constantly in rotation with different results. I am particularly satisfied with how the sharp cuts of pink and nude paper transition to the more gestural application of acid green paint.
Inspiration for color and shape come from having wide-open eyes as I move throughout my daily routine. I’m can honestly say I am equally fascinated by the organic contour lines of my own hand, as I am by the bright and gleaming colors of this painted mural I pass everyday on the way to work. You never know where the vision for the next composition is going to come from! Speaking of work, most of the time the creative balance between studio time and office feels very natural and rhythmic. Making artwork, creating programming at the University of Texas’s Visual Arts Center or collaborating with my peers in our collectively run art space MASS Gallery are very similar practices. I absolutely love being a leader in the visual arts and my experience as an arts administrator gives me access to the back end of making creative projects happen through imaginative problem solving. Plus, with these guys at MASS it’s hard to not have a good time!
Being exposed to so many artists regularly, I find it impossible to not want to support them in other ways and have a burgeoning collection of paintings and objects from makers that grows each year. Here is a sweet painting by my friend Sam Sanford, a little stone and wood totem by Chantal Wnuk, a bright neon Chiaozza sculpture I picked up on my recent trip to NYC, and a lovely clay figurine by Irma García Blanco from my travels to Sta. Maria Atzompa. Collecting art is not only a joy for me, but knowing that I help sustain an artist’s practice makes it so much more awesome.
Well, there you have it! A little window into my life in Austin, TX! Thank you for all your enthusiasm and kind words, I am so happy to be a part of the Uprise Art family and look forward to all the ways I will grow with their support and encouragement. If you are ever in the Lone Star State, please come say hi! Huge THANK YOU to the incredibly talented Courtney Chavanell for her photo assist on some of these, a real gem that girl!
Possesion, 1981 Dir. Andrzej Żuławski
The sun moves so differently through the sky these days and suddenly, as August moves into November, everything is golden and glowing. Long live fall, where open car windows bellow melancholy songs like these.
If one called painting by its name, Malin Gabriella Nordin would probably have it
respond with the voice of rocks: of stones that fluently speak their own language
of shapes and ciphers and glow with multiple colours in the dark. Nordin gives
abstract forms a unique presence that is subtly spooky, animated by the silent
laughter of beings from other dimensions. – Jan Verwoert, 2013
As fall sets in and our summer sun gazing comes to an end, I have found myself looking towards the ground, hunting for pebbles, fallen leaves and seed and nuts that have tumbled to the ground marking the change in season. Perhaps it's because of this transition that I am drawn to the work of Swedish artist Malin Gabriella Nordin and all its organic regalia. An artist after my own heart, Nordin utilizes found images to inspire her collages, many of which are centered around color, form and surface.
I am particulary drawn to how she jumps in scale to create these friendly-looking wooden sculptures that isolate her two-dimensional biomorphic shapes and brings to life in human scale. It is this physical encounter that she explores in her artist book Private Language, where the above excerpt was plucked from by critic and curator Jan Verwoert. I'm hooked on Nordin's work and I was so excited to see that she has a limited edition of prints available from Little Paper Planes, too!
Audrey Rose, 1977 Dir. Robert Wise
Pedro himself looking dashing here in his 1984 film, "¿Qué he hecho yo para merecer ésto?" // "What have I done to deserve this?". Happy 65th birthday, you look AMAZING!
Check out these gorgeous pics of my upriseXnorwood installation by photographer Sam Teich, courtesy of Uprise Art. Wish this place was closer than NYC so I could hang out and look at all the beautiful artwork on a regular basis! Speaking of NYC, this week is the Affordable Art Fair and my work will be up there at Uprise's booth B-1! If you're in the area, pop over and say hello to the Uprise team for me.
Dan Graham on the rooftop of The Met
This past week I whisked myself off to New York City for a quick and busy trip to create a site-specific installation for Uprise Art at the Norwood Club in Chelsea. So much fun to get to stretch out in the beautiful architecture of the early Victorian architecture of Norwood. My first installation work in another state and certainly my first install in a house listed on both the National Register of Historic Places and the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission.
At The Norwood
While in the city we stayed with my good friend Jamie Isenstein, whose work we had at the Visual Arts Center back in 2012 and who was kind enough to host us, even though she is working hot & heavy on her upcoming solo show at Andrew Kreps gallery coming this Spring.
Jamie Isenstien blending in at The New Museum
We didn't have much time to explore the city, but we certianly ate our fill of deliciousness at Despaña, Ippudo (barely any line because of the NY "heatwave while we were there!) and had time to wander around aimlessly at The Met. We even made it to Rockaway, my very first East Coast beach experience, and don't even get me started on what we ate there! My favorite shopping this time around was at the MOCIUN store, where I splurged and bought a little sculpture created by the artist duo CHIAOZZA who I have a crazy crush on.
All in all, despite the sweltering heat and having to carry a really heavy box of art supplies to the FedEx store, I had an amazing time with an AMAZING host (both Uprise & Jamie!) and I can't wait to come back and visit The Norwood to sip on a cocktail while I admire my work and all the other talented artists on view. If you are in the area, the show will be up for a whole year so pop on over!
I have been absolutely slammed this summer and while I usually get to make awesome bouncy summery mixtapes of my own, I have been relying on the kindness (and good taste!) of strangers! Though can a blog that you frequent weekly, if not daily, really be a stranger?!
I don't have to tell you how INCREDIBLE the folks at the LA-based blog Aquarium Drunkard are, but their playlists sourced from guest DJs from all over the world never cease to impress me. In fact, I owe 1/2 my music collection to tunes they've turned me on to!
So instead of sharing my own compilation, I thought I'd turn you on to this incredible two hour journey that AQ contributor Chad DePasquale has created so eloquently entitled BLUE AUGUST MOON. Some of my favorite cuts are Irma Thomas's Ruler of my Heart, Eunice Collins's At the Hotel and the well timed Stockhausen spoken qoute, “We are Changed”.
So what are you waiting for here is the download link and please please PLEASE do yourself a favor and take a leap over to AQ's website for more clever mixtapes!
Nestled sweetly amongst my FRIENDSHIPS page, you will find loads of artists and partners in crime that I have had the pleasure of knowing, working with and sharing a laugh or two with...or three or four, or perhaps even almost stopped breathing because I was laughing so hard.
One such favorite of mine is Ariel Evans, a PhD Candidate in Art History at The University of Texas and editor of Pastelegram magazine based out of Austin, TX. Though started in central Texas, the online and print publication is concerned with issues globally and historically through the exploration of archives and the artistic process—all while having a killer sense of humor. If you thought Art Historians were no fun, let the team behind Pastelegram prove you wrong. Below you'll find a few of my best-loved projects, but I highly urge you to exhaust their cleverly built website for all kinds of treasures!
Pastelegram’s title comes from a list of possible car names by the poet Marianne Moore. The auto that Ford later christened the “Edsel” might have been called “Bullet Cloisoné,” “Varsity Stroke,” “Utopian Turtletop,” “Thunder Crester” or “ Pastelegram” (among other possibilities). As the name for an art magazine, it intentionally withholds meaning: there is a story but it is one that you must find in the archive of someone else.
Essentially, Pastelegram is a method for examining contemporary visual work, a method that involves looking at the varied sources that affected the work’s ultimate creation. It is reading around a work by looking at its archive rather than reading an authority’s interpretation about the work.
We publish a print annual and an array of internet projects. Through our experimental and innovative format, we encourage serious engagements with living artists and art writers from diverse audiences. Pastelegram’s focus is artists’ archives, which we explore through commissioning new works from living art workers (for either print or online publication) as well as maintaining several online collections of artistic working materials, such as sketches, architectural renderings and book collections.
ONLINE ISSUE 6
This is a partial record of the closet in Chuck Ramirez’ home office in San Antonio, Texas, which also functioned as a studio until his untimely death in 2010. In it, the artist stored artwork, keepsakes and snapshots dating back to his high school years. Ramirez’ home is now a living archive, and the site of the Casa Chuck Arts Residency, an international invitational program for curators and writers.
I Am Divine, 2013 Dir. Jeffrey Schwartz
I have recently been working on fluffing up my resume with exciting forthcoming projects and the insertion of a beefier new publications section that will include DRUMROLL please...the exciting new book I'm in coming soon to bookstores!
This September the book Collage: Contemporary Artists Hunt and Gather, Cut and Paste, Mash Up and Transform will be available to the public and I am super giddy to get my hands on one. Thanks to Danielle Krysa aka The Jealous Curator for all her hard work and her unwavering support for all of us Collage artists, but especially thank you for keeping us all up-to-date on the soon to be available new book that we've made together. Until its arrival, I've been working on my website and resume to reflect all the exciting things to come. During this time of clerical upkeep, I have apprehensively searched the internet, trepidatiously googling my own name to see what pops up. With amazement and a little embarassment, I have found lovely little blog posts from all over the world written with such genuine affection and admiration, that after a few I had to take a break for fear of taking myself and the internet too seriously.
One such blog post that the creators Ariel Torres and Sean Collins were so kind to email me about was especially beautiful. Their newly launched site CHROMATIC WATCH is just getting off the ground and has a poetic take on artists and their work. I especially loved their use of "sun, fruit, face" as descriptive words for my paintings. Thank you to Danielle, Ariel and Sean for making me and so many other artists feel so great about the work that we do! It's amazing how excellent people like you, perfect strangers often times only held together by only the portal of the computer screen, could care so much about making a connection through art.
It is studio time all the time and the heat is beginning to go to my head as I gear up for some exciting September projects. What's a girl to do but crank up the stereo, stand in front of the oscillating fan and work!
I loved my recent trip to San Antonio and had such a terrific time meeting so many new friends and talented artists from Texas, Mexico and South America. Curator Patty Ortiz put together a wonderful group show and it was great to get to talk about ideas and processes that each of us shared in some way or another. Among the 10 artists currently on view as part of FLATLAND, I was super happy to meet Panama City based artist Cisco Merel, who told me all about living in Berlin and his recent show in Guatamala and how he manages his studio practice no matter where his travels take him.
I also loved meeting Mexico City based artist Ricardo Rendón and realizing we knew people in common and he gave me the scoop on the best paper store in D.F!
All in all, it was the perfect summer break to get to visit a city so close to me in Austin, but still so different and new. If you happen to be in San Antonio in the next few months, I recommend taking a swim at San Pedro Springs Park, San Antonio’s oldest designated park, eating tacos at Taco Taco Cafe, having a drink at OCHO and yes, please pop over and see all our work now on view through October 11!
I'll be hitting San Antonio, Texas next week to install two wall installations for a group exhibition entitled FLATLAND. Described by the curator as "presenting artists at the intersection of cultural form, process and meaning in this emerging flat world", I am interested in seeing how the work of the 10 exhibiting artists pulls together in her vision. If you are in the area, the work will be up at The Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center July 11 through October 11, 2014. It'll be nice to stretch my legs out of the studio and make something BIG! Stay tuned to see how it goes!
As a person interested in many things I have difficulty focusing
I love the blurry and banal
Folk signage: KEYS CUT HERE
Old traditions of fine craftsmanship
The spontaneity of a child’s scribble
I believe in the phonetics of materials and the grammar of space
I’m interested in the invisible systems of the everyday
Twisting a joke out of the mundane
The subjectivity of words
Perception and the complexity of the human eye
Loops, self-referentiality, pangrams
Ridiculous self-imposed constraints
Collecting, archiving, processing, filtering, editing
Patterns and the quest to discover them
The rich history embodied in a rusty tool, or threadbare quilt
Skipping while frowning
Recognizing social and urban phenomena
The peculiarities of human behavior
Pointing at things
Directing attention to something easily missed
Grouping like things together (or unlike things)
Bouncing things against each other
Shifting focus and contexts to widen Art’s lens
The drive to relate to things
Missing the exit
Doing the The Hokey-Pokey to the Macarena song
Doing the Macarena to the Bird dance song
Hope and Humiliation
Affinity toward all colours known and unknown
Colouring outside and reading between
I'm currently infatuated with the work of Vancouver-based artist, Ben Skinner, ever since I stumbled upon his work via The Jealous Curator. I also really love his artist statement (above) which reminds me of the LIKES/DISLIKES project I was just a part of. I have been saving my pennies to get one of his sculptures from his recent body of work SAME SAME, an ongoing series of brick sets made of plaster and in wildly delicious marbled hues with phrases like CHOP CHOP, KISS KISS, NO NO and other playful colloquialisms. These works alongside paintings, drawings and installations are currently on view at Vancouver's Back Gallery Project.