"Who belongs to which side and to what extent does crossing geographical and sociopolitical boundaries allow for a new or renewed sense of identity? The hyper-visibility of Mexican-American, Chicano, and Latino artists in general in this country has come about in the past year precisely due to these questions. And while visibility is an important tool for the diversification of artistic spaces, a danger resides in providing platforms of expression that further question belonging, as opposed to historically contextualizing and thereby making problematic the very roots of such an interrogation. Mi Tierra: Contemporary Artists Explore Place succeeds by doing both, and more. Aside from being an exhibition of some terrific contemporary Mexican-American and / or Chicano artists, Mi Tierra forms an important art-historical exhibition that has much to show us about modes of belonging and the creative practices that might allow us to belong elsewhere and otherwise."
I love that my studio practice now includes more reading and ruminating than ever before. This week I'm working on curriculum for a series of workshops I'll be teaching with the Art Students League of Denver. That's right, I'll be back in Denver this June for a lecture and a Saturday of workshops aimed at building participant's agency and appreciation for the medium of collage and the weight of image appropriation in relation to culture, identity, memory and place. If interested in learning more, visit the Art Students League website for registration information. LET'S GET INTO IT!
As one of 13 artists who created installations at the Denver Art Museum for Mi Tierra: Contemporary Artists Explore Place, I recorded a short video with them during my installation of WE WERE NOT ALWAYS FALLEN FROM THE MOUNTAIN. Even though it was only a few months ago it is a sweet reminder of all the things that were going through my head as I was taking on the challenge of creating a giant new work. Take a peek!
Mi Tierra: Contemporary Artists Explore Place is on view at the Denver Art Museum through October 22, 2017.
2017, wow! We've made it this far and as this first month of 2017 has provided so much necessary frenetic energy, I'm sliding into this week with a little focused meditation. As my soundtrack, I'm thrilled to announce a recent collaboration with UK-based dark ambient band, Slomo. Their fourth album ‘Transits’ features a small painting of mine for it's cover and the deliciously slow celestial tracks are perfect for moving with intention and grace.
‘Transits’ finds the duo of Holy McGrail and Howard Marsden further psychedelicising their core guitar/synth drone sound with loops, bit-crushers and ring modulators to deliver three shimmering pieces for frozen night skies.
The music is psychedelic, instrumental and abstract and I'm honored to have worked with the musicians to bring a face to their new sound. Follow the link above to experience Slomo's music and float away.
OVER THE MOON to announce my participation in an upcoming exhibition at the Denver Art Museum! I'll be spending the next 6 months preparing for a MASSIVE installation and I am so thankful to the wonderful curators at the DAM for all their creative input and their support, thus far. This is going to be a game changer, as I prepare to create the largest scale installations I've ever constructed. Keep it here and on my Instagram feed, as I document my travels collecting materials and inspiration for the work and document my journey in better understanding my place as an artist in Texas and Mexico.
Check out the curator's statement below and explore the websites of the 12 other artists that will on view with me:
Mi Tierra: Contemporary Artists Explore Place will feature site-specific installations by 13 Latino artists that express experiences of contemporary life in the American West. Energizing and vibrant artwork will be presented by Carmen Argote (Los Angeles), Jaime Carrejo (Denver), Gabriel Dawe (Dallas), Claudio Dicochea (San Antonio), Daniela Edburg (San Miguel de Allende), Justin Favela (Las Vegas), Ana Teresa Fernández (San Francisco), Ramiro Gomez (West Hollywood), John Jota Leaños (San Francisco), Dmitri Obergfell (Denver), Ruben Ochoa (Los Angeles), Daisy Quezada (Santa Fe), and Xochi Solis (Austin).
These artists examine diverse narratives of migration and the complex layering of cultures throughout the Western United States through ideas related to labor, nostalgia, memory, visibility, and displacement. Installations will incorporate mixed-media, performance-based video art, digital animation, fiber constructions, painting, sculpture, and ceramics.
To foster creativity and provide insight into the artistic process, the on-site development of the installations will be visible to the public beginning in December 2016, with scheduled opportunities for visitors to engage with artists. The exhibition will open February 19, 2017, and will be on view through October 22 of that year.
IMAGE: Dmitri Obergfell, Statues Also Die (Mauricio), 2015 (detail). Plaster and graphite; dimensions variable. Image courtesy of Gildar Gallery and Casa Maauad. © Dmitri Obergfell
WOWEE! When I got the sweet email from Meghan Murphy, Editor-in-Chief of Paper Darts Magazine, to be featured on their beautiful blog, I couldn't resist! Paper Darts is a literary + art magazine and publisher that is volunteer run by 8 fierce advocates for uncommon work by new voices, paired with custom illustration. After getting lost in the webpages of their dynamically designed website, I have quickly become a HUGE fan and love the feature they produced. But don't take my word for it, check it out for yourself by following the link above and while you're there do yourself a solid and take in the rest of their inspiring content! Thank, PD team for including me!
I've been one of the lucky to have a super special ally in artist and writer, Danielle Krysa AKA The Jealous Curator.
The Jealous Curator launched in February 2009, as a place for Krysa to show artwork that made her green with envy. Over seven years later, that “jealousy” has turned magically, wonderfully, and thankfully into inspiration. Inspiration for herself as an artist but also inspiration to so many others who read her blog and share her unabashed enthusiasm for artwork and art practices that produce awe and wonder.
Great fortune came in 2012 when Danielle first blogged about me and since then we have worked on a book project, a Land of Nod print and most recently many years later, we finally spoke on the phone and heard each other's chipper voice. The result is Episode 39 of The Jealous Curator's podcast ART for YOUR EAR. Take a listen and get to know a little more about me and my practice through a winding conversation about paper, music and err..margaritas. ALSO, there are tons more episodes from fabulous artists all around the world and Danielle publishs a new one each and every Saturday. Sounds like you have yourself a new audio obssession?
Even though I have been back in Austin for almost a month now, the days have been filled with enough bustle that I haven't had much time to reflect on my recent and most magical stay in Mexico City. Today, little pangs of homesickness for my DF departamentito filled me up and I had to share some pictures with you all to help me remember that this place does exist and YES! I can always go back and visit it. Big shout out to Brad, who maintains this jewel of a penthouse and shares it with the world via AirBnb.
Here, let me give you a tour!
This juicy aqua colored apartment building sits pretty on a busy street in Roma Norte in the heart of Mexico City. Built mid-century and in the style of Art Deco, its creator the architect Francisco J. Serrano is probably best known for the stylish Edificio Basurto in Condesa, but a quick walkabout in Roma and its neighboring colonia Condesa, you'll notice that many of the best Art Deco buildings are his. An early work, the statuesque Edificio Jardines at the corner of Sonora and Amsterdam features multiple balconies, terraces and mini-lighthouses on top. The streamline house at the corner of Michoacán and Avenida Mexico looks like a set for a Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers movie. Several of his houses have been altered or covered over with commercial signage or are hidden behind giant trees, but the curious traveler is certainly rewarded when they stumble across one.
Born in Mexico City in 1900, Serrano studied civil engineering and architecture at the Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico (UNAM). He later taught there as a professor of civil engineering and architecture. The Serrano family has made further contributions to the built environment through his son, Francisco Serrano Cacho whose work includes the second terminal at the city's Benito Juarez airport.
But back to my little home away this summer. Written out in wrought iron above the apartment building's central entrance reads Edificio Anahuac—the ancient Aztec term meaning "Land Between the Waters".
Rambling up a side staircase, you'll find a penthouse with the most spectacular view and the most miniature e accommodations s I've ever come to love. Perched isolated from the rest of the apartments in Anahuac, my AirBnb host has renovated the apartment in Mid-Century Mexican decor. I basically wanted everything and had to hide my absolute glee when Brad gave me the tour. It being mini, it lasted about 10 minutes before he popped out and I started jumping for joy!
I came to Mexico to create for myself a mini studio away from my regular day-to-day vices. I wanted to create a space where my focus was uninterrupted and where I was hoping little shifts of consciousness could occur in my practice. After a few days of panic due to the utter quiet isolation, I carved out a working space and set up a routine. Mornings sipping coffee and eating fresh melon, dancing myself awake and then settling in for several hours at my work table, allowing myself a time of day to call it quits so I could venture out the apartment to enjoy a meal and a walk in the nearby plaze. Remembering it now seems like it was a dream, but it was real and I have 20 brand new works to recall the record of my time there.
Until next time, goodbye to my little penthouse puppy friends, goodbye to sleepy mornings bathed in that golden glow of DF and hasta la vista, Edificio Anahuac!
JUST RETURNED from a quick trip to LA where I got the exciting challenge of creating a special one of a kind wall installation at this ultra cool, ultra Highland Park shop! If you in the LA area, please pop over to Shopclass during the month of June to peek at work fresh out of the studio!
And while you are perusing the Highland Park neighborhood, don't forget to stop for a delicous vegan treat at Donut Friend, visit a Sunday Either Way Sale at Chin's Push which is this neat pop-up shop run by artist Julia M. Leonard, or have a classy drink and burger at Sonny's Hideaway! I was also super lucky to have a pair of wheels and FINALLY got to head out over to Compton to visit the glorious weirdness that is Sam Rodia's Watts Towers. Summertime vibes abound, enjoy!
As I mentioned in an earlier post, the San Antonio-based curator Patty Ortiz invited me to participate in a ten person group show at the Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art this May and I happily accepted! For this exhibit Ortiz requested two "really big" wall installations and asked that I dream big and create wall works that spanned upwards of six to seven feet in width. A little daunting to move a good three feet beyond my comfort zone and well beyond any size work that I have created before, but I took on the challenge. With seven full days in Colorado I set out to make the best and BIGGEST works to date and had a blast doing it!
Founded in 1972 by a group of local artists, Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art (BMoCA) is one of Colorado’s premier venues for the exploration of contemporary art. BMoCA provides enriching experiences for nearly 30,000 regional, national, and international visitors annually through innovative exhibitions and engaging programs for all audiences. In 1976 the organization moved to its current location in downtown Boulder, a 1906 historic landmark building that once served as a warehouse. From the minute I walked into the space, I could feel nothing but good energy and was so excited to get to jump on the walls nestled in the same gallery as the incredibly talented Penelope Umbrico and Matthew Chambers.
What I expected when planning for this installation was long days of quick decisions and sore legs from climbing up and down ladders, but what I didn't expect was how much fun I was going to have with the curator Patty (seen below), her assistant Yvonne Montoya and the other visiting artists flown in to install.
Man Bartlett (above) was one of those artists and during his short stint of installation in the gallery before jetting back to NYC, he and I had numerous thoughtful and considerate conversations about the art world over delicious Boxcar Coffee Roaster pour overs. Man is a multidisciplinary artist who lives and works in New York. His diverse practice includes drawing, collage, video, performance and digital projects that use online platforms as outlets for playful yet subversive social critique. My favorite work of his in our show together is called RAGA/CHAKRA, a continuous 24-hour cycle over six phases to incorporate psychoacoustic binaural audio, The Schumann Resonance, crowd-sourced messages of people describing their surroundings, recordings of clandestine numbers stations, traditional Mongolian throat singing, analog and digital synthesizers, and more.
We also bonded over our stay in one of the most bizarre artist accommodations I have ever been hosted in named SWOON. While there we got to meet the artist Berndnaut Smilde, most famous for his cloud making, who was just finishing up a short residency in Boulder where he was invited to make a rainbow of all things.
Back in the galleries, days were spent listening to super loud Kate Bush and dancing on top of ladders as the two works finally began taking shape. Informed by the rainy cool mountain air, the emphasis on the new age and mystical "hippie" culture of Boulder and the dawning of summer, the completed works hold snippets of mushrooms from horticulture diaries, glossy images of crystals and bright and bold swaths of deep greens and lilacs.
At the opening, I was introduced to so many wonderful people and had the pleasure of talking about my work in the context of the show's title Flatlander and its exploration of how our compulsive relationship with the flat screen and the Internet has changed our view of the world. Ironically, many of the people I met during the reception came up to me because they follow me here or along my Instagram adventures, their interests sparked by images of my work they found while google searching or what have you. It was certainly wonderful to share the work in person and get to show of the not-so flat aspects of the work that they surely miss when glancing at it on the digital screen.
My week in Boulder was filled with Farmer's Markets, more than one meal at Oak and The Kitchen Next Door. Multiple coffees and croissants at Boxcar, the best sandwich on gluten-free bread I have ever had at Cure, several bottles of Rose Bud kombucha from the Boulder company Upstart, and so many wonderful meals with art patrons of both Denver and Boulder. A HUGE HUGE shout out to Patty Ortiz and her company Patty Ortiz Unincorporated for curating such a fantastic show, the amazing staff at BMoCA and to San Antonio's Liberty Bar for their sponsorship of the exhibit! To close out my whirlwind tour of Boulder and Denver, I hit up the brand new Clyfford Still Museum and just stood in awe of the gorgeous colors and paint strokes within the museum's perforated concrete ceiling that diffuse natural light just perfectly creating the most terrific environment for art viewing. It was the best way ever to end an art experience and I jumped on a plane back to Austin so rejuvenated.
If Colorado is calling you this summer, please check out the show at BMoCA up now through September 13!
In my work I aim to keep the viewer’s eye moving through my compositions by rewarding curiosity with unexpected juxtapositions and discoveries amongst the gestural brush strokes and collaged elements. When asked to create images for designlovefest's Dress Your Tech series, I immediately wanted to zoom in and share some of my favorite intersecting moments.
Most of these images are taken from works that are fresh out of the studio, many of which will be on view in a little show I have in LA in just a few weeks as part of the June 13th edition of NELA (north east LA) Art Walk at Shopclass. Thank you designlovefest for inviting me to create super special outfits for your series, I hope you find one you love!
You might remember a group show that I was in last summer called FLATLAND at The Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center. Well, I am happy to announce a version of the exhibit entitled Flatlander is on the move and headed to the Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art! I am excited that I was asked to join the group of artists heading up there from Texas and will be making my way to Boulder to create two GREAT big installations. When I say big, I mean it! The curator Patty Ortiz has asked for two 6 foot by 6 foot wall works, making these the largest I've created to date. Stay tuned to see how everything comes out, and if Colorado is where you call home, come see the show May 21 through September 13, 2015. I'll be at the opening on the 21st, too, so come say hey!
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.
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!
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!
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 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.
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!
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.The images in this group are unedited, downloaded directly from my phone, and selected from an archive of over 3000 such photographs taken during the course of slightly over two years.
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.
Things I like: fires, Venice, tequila, sunsets, babies, silent films, heights, coarse salt, top hats, large long- haired dogs, ship models, cinnamon, goose down quilts, pocket watches, the smell of newly mown grass, linen, Bach, Louis XIII furniture, sushi, microscopes, large rooms, boots, drinking water, maple sugar candy.
Things I dislike: sleeping in an apartment alone, cold weather, couples, football games, swimming, anchovies, mustaches, cats, umbrellas, being photographed, the taste of licorice, washing my hair (or having it washed), wearing a wristwatch, giving a lecture, cigars, writing letters, taking showers, Robert Frost, German food.
Things I like: ivory, sweaters, architectural drawings, urinating, pizza (the Roman bread), staying in hotels, paper clips, the color blue, leather belts, making lists, wagon-lits, paying bills, caves, watching ice-skating, asking questions, taking taxis, Benin art, green apples, office furniture, Jews, eucalyptus trees, penknives, aphorisms, hands.
Things I dislike: television, baked beans, hirsute men, paperback books, standing, card games, dirty or disorderly apartments, flat pillows, being in the sun, Ezra Pound, freckles, violence in movies, having drops put in my eyes, meatloaf, painted nails, suicide, licking envelopes, ketchup, traversins [“bolsters”], nose drops, Coca-Cola, alcoholics, taking photographs.
This material is excerpted and adapted from the forthcoming book “As Consciousness Is Harnessed to Flesh: Journals and Notebooks, 1964-1980,” by Susan Sontag, edited by David Rieff.
About a month ago the divine Leigh Patterson, editor of SYNONYM and contributor to Alldayeveryday, asked me to participate in an ongoing feature called Likes/Dislikes. For this series Patterson, "asks interesting individuals to create two lists: one of their likes, one of dislikes. The feature is based on two things: an excerpt from Susan Sontag’s As Consciousness Is Harnessed to Flesh: Journals and Notebooks, 1964-1980 and another from Roland Barthes’ autobiography (trans. Richard Howard, 1977)." At first approach this project seemed completely daunting since I do not fancy myself a list maker or collector of thoughts in this fashion, however as I thought about it more and more it was remarkable how things just popped into my brain into groupings because of Patterson's prompt.
Even before the invitation, I have long thought that categorizing items was a very human quality, perhaps a strange survival technique in some way. How many selections do you make in a day based on what you enjoy and what you'd rather not experience? Is this safe, is this dangerous? Does this feel good, does this make me feel bad? As a visual artist, I find myself asking all kinds of questions and striving to find a harmonious balance in the choices that I make. Much of it is instinctual and always seems very personally distinct, but variable and capricious, too. In creating my lists for Alldayeveryday I often felt compelled to include gratuitous conditions to certain likes or dislikes, and then quickly realized that I had to commit without apology to this list. I hope that the readers understand the exercise and that these collections of items or sensations are certainly truths, but can't be perceived as permanent since nothing certainly is.
So here it is folks, a list of likes and dislikes from me created on May 18, 2014 at approximately 6:02 pm. I look through them now and see some reign true today, but then some don't. Thanks to Leigh for thinking of me for this project, it was so much fun and delivered so much insight!
As a note: the awesome print above of Susan Sontag is part of the incredible pinup writer collection that Erik Heywood creates for his Oakland book store called BOOK/SHOP. Sontag is PINUP NO. 4 and is available now in their shop, but you can also get your hands on one by emailing them at email@example.com.
Beyond elated to have an exclusive collection of prints now available at one of my favorite shops, San Francisco's Little Paper Planes. Working with Kelly Lynn Jones, LPP founder, and her team has been wonderful and while I have been approached several times about translating my original works into prints, I never even remotely considered it until Kelly sent me an email outlining their Artist of the Month print project.
Little Paper Planes is a company founded in December of 2004 by Kelly Lynn Jones and started off initially as an online shop. With this shop Jones sought to create a platform from which she and her friends, who had just graduated from art school, could present and sell their work to a wider audience. However, as the number of artist-participants grew over time, it became clear that Little Paper Planes had grown up to become a broad-ranging community, composed of both the circle of artists themselves, as well the people who love and support their art. It seemed the natural progression of this growing inertia was to facilitate dialogues and awareness around Contemporary art between both the artists and public alike.
Little Paper Planes assists artists in their careers through print editions, publishing, curatorial and licensing projects. As of May 2013, LPP opened a physical location in San Francisco which has enabled the company to provide more opportunities in the space including lectures, events, exhibitions and workshops. With the new space LPP started LPP+ Residency which functions as a rotating work space for a diverse group of artists, designers, collectives, and curators to engage with the public.
I have long lusted after their diverse inventory and incredible roster of artists and am proud to be representing the month of June! Check out their shop online or in person and collect a print or two. They are all so affordable why not make it three! Oh, and I did an interview with Maggie Haas, LPP Featured Artist Editor and San Francisco-based artist, that dives into some of my recent revelations on my practice.
Swedish artist Jonathan Josefsson is widely known for his graffiti works, and you know if you follow his Instagram feed @Ollio he still has a way with the colorful cans. However, I am most in love with the large-scale wooly wonders he's been creating as wall works for European gallery spaces. Biomorphic forms that are similar to his organic spray painting style, these carpets have heftier tactile qualities that beg to be embraced and fiddled with. A little reminiscent of the juicy wall-to-wall carpeted days of Alexander Girard, Florence Knoll and Herman Miller, I can't seem to get enough of them and here are only a few from his repertoire.
Perhaps one of the absolute highlights of my trip to Mexico City was the visit to Museo Frida Kahlo or Casa Azul, the homestead to Frida Kahlo & Diego Rivera, two giants in the history of Mexican painting. On a previous trip to D.F., I had the pleasure of visiting this quiet retreat nestled in Coyoacán, but this time was different because I knew that something special had happened in 2012. In November of that year, 300 items of clothing that had been locked away since her death in 1954 were released from their dusty cupboards and drawers and put on view for the public. Compiled into an exhibition curated by Circe Henestrosa Conoan entitled Appearances Can Be Deceiving: Frida Kahlo's dresses it is the first showing solely devoted to the artist's wardrobe and her approach to clothing as costume or performance. Completely enthralled with the delicacy of fabric and form, especially after spending time in Oaxaca with textiles earlier in the summer, I couldn't help but dream of swathing myself in layers in layers of lovingly stitched capes and skirts. As I wandered through the exhibit I began to better understand what it meant for Kahlo to use clothing as an extension and expression of her often tumultuous life one famously reported to be heavy with illness and romantic sorrow. The clothing, even sitting static, exuded a vibrating energy and I can only imagine what it felt like to enter a room in such regalia steeped in tradition. Only up until November of 2013, the opportunity to catch a glimpse of this collection is well worth the visit if you are in the area of Central Mexico.
BONUS! This very engaging video from the curator tells more of why the clothes were hidden for so long and lots more juicy details of Frida's life!
line x shape x colour is the beguiling blog by Gemma Cagnacci, an Australian textile designer, photographer, and traveller, that has me daydreaming about far off places, delicious looking foreign objects and all around wanderlust. Most recently her posts from a trip to Mexico have me itching to get on the plane for my own south of the border adventure. In Cagnacci’s words, “line x shape x colour is all about creating and being inspired. Whether it be making something, travelling to far-away lands or listening to some awesome tunes -this is a place where it all collides.” Sounds like we’d be friends, huh? Following her on Instagram is the next best thing, I suppose.
All images are via line x shape x colour
Quite possibly the most entertaining blog I have ever visited, the AQQ Index is—in their own words—a design “firm” or “collective” or whatever based out of Los Angeles, California. Despite their slightly blasé attitude about who they are their beautifully crafted website speaks to something otherwise. The parent site that spawned the Index blog touts the collective's equisitely crafted and Fassbinder-esque furniture and related objects. The pages say it all and the slot-machine action of the blog will have you messing around with strange geometrics and weird helmet lighting (you'll see what I mean) for hours. One of their mission statements says it best, AQQ knows that there are endless things to enjoy and partake in. True enough.
Jean-Claude Farhi, Wall Sculpture, 1974-1975
As someone who has the pleasure of working in an art space daily, I am lucky enough to see this creative industry from many angles. When I stumbled onto WRAPIT-TAPEIT-WALKIT-PLACEIT I had a laugh. A peek into the often irreverent job of art handling, this tumblr certainly has a perspective most art musuem goers don't see everyday. Talk about art in context, here are a few of my faves. The best part is that you can send in your own image, in case you stumble into the backroom during your next art adventure!
Ozkaya’s “David (inspired by Michelangelo)” in front of Lincoln Center, New York City, 2012.
Transporting the Bavaria Statue to Theresienwiese, 7 August 1850
Tony Smith, Installation of Smoke at the Corcoran Gallery in 1967.
Being an artist means a lot of looking, I mean lots and lots of looking, and not only that but looking at the most random occurrences with wide-eyed appreciation and taking what you see and letting it inform you. Artist or not, I know that I am not the only one looking to the skies for fluffy reminders that this planet is absolutely incredible. Just check out your Instagram feed and you will see tons of clouds and oh wow! sunsets. For The Cloud Appreciation Society, or CAS, crushing on clouds is a true profession. I stumbled upon this site a few months back and check in every once and a while to see what new cloud has made it to the gallery. Complete with a Cloud of the Month spotlight, a page devoted to Clouds that look like things and your basic Find a cloud type, you can easily lose hours combing through the site trying to decide if the cloud you just saw is a nimbostratus or if you've got a praecipitatio on your hands. I can't decide what's more fascinating, the clouds themselves or the camp of cloud lovers devoted to maintaining the site.
A Powder Puff over Santa Barbara, California, US. Photo by William Meller
A Mammatus formation at sunset over Oakham, Rutland, UK. Photo by Denis Dalby
A sunset with a Pile d’Assiettes over Wanaka, New Zealand. Photo by Carolyn Guest
A cap cloud over Mount Pedra da Gavea, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Photo by Isabel Machado
Beautifully done video and so colorful, too! Revist those textbook diagrams of "the blue print of life" and learn something you might have missed when snoozing in high school biology.
Marit Fujiwara is a textile artist with beautifully gossamer, intricate, and woven ensembles. Fujiwara is no doubt influenced by her Brazilian, Norwegian and Japanese heritage, arriving at wildly hybrid works of art that exist between art, craft and design. I was excited to find a picture of one of her ensembles being worn, because it is hard to dream of handling these exquisite works, but functional they are! She currently lives and works in Brazil where she moved after finishing her degree in Textile Design from Chelsea College of Art and Design. Take a peek at her work and don't miss meditating on the finer detail shots of her handiwork. Also, her drawings are pretty dreamy, too.These carefully crafted gems are really special and I am waiting with bated breath to check out more of her work via her website that is under construction.
Photo by mädchen.
I just discovered Lee Towndrow's lovely photo portraits via Miss Moss and they are captivating! To me they recall the imagined landscapes you carved out of cardboard boxes and over stuffed pillows as a child. These portraits are serious and quiet, but there is also a playfulness about them as Towndrow juxtaposes bright swaths of Disney-colored paper around her subjects. On a sidenote, I have been really interested lately in simple architectual environments as a stage for the human body. I've been watching lots of Charles Atlas and Merce Cunnigham videos, but more on that later...
Image Credit: Paper Portrait of Steve Kado by Lee Towndrow