Wednesday, December 16, 2009

type projects

Dear k,
Wanted to share some videos here.

My type video project:

"Dear Mom + Dad" and "Brother" are the first in a series of handmade video love letters, using type I find around my house or make with my own hands.

My most recent students' project:

Whatchoo workin' on these days?

Sunday, December 13, 2009

love by hand

In the words of Margaret Kilgallen, we always talk about loving “things that show the evidence of the human hand." It seems this is a super trend in all things design right now, too. Post-perfectly-measured-machine-made type, culture embraced super expressionistic and individualistic type. From grungily-distressed to futuristically-retro typefaces, designers had too much to choose from in placing their context appropriate type, each font operating as an audience specific voice. Naturally, the next step is to move completely from the computer, away from that which limits textural quality and levels of imperfection. It's not an anti-technology maneuver. It's a simplification, an appreciation for raw talent and skill, a flip-flop of the process (emphasis on pre-production). Hand-made typefaces offer approachability, a one-of-a-kind quality, and an unavoidable cuteness. No wonder they have been so widely accepted (a few of years ago, I only noticed the then edgy layouts and illustrations of Nylon Magazine using them, now even Starbucks stickers hand-cut words on their windows). I love it! Even the irony of using handicraft digitally. Makes me wish I could go in to type design. Only, this may not last. Then, I wonder what's next? What will be the anti-handmade trend?

I ordered the above pictured book recently: Hand Job by Michael Perry. It's a collection of great handmade type from many different artists/designers. The images, drawings and crafty things are wonderful samples from the in-between---seriousness and play, slop and precision, raw gesture and perfected final product, art and design.

Thanks for inspiration ABCs!


Thursday, December 10, 2009

Alphabet inspiration

Hey you,

Yes!! We are back on track! I've been inspired by many things lately - and this quick post is just to respond to your lovely text pieces (and C's amazing cross-stitch of your family). Obviously, we love the idea of letter writing, love notes, discarded texts. Makes me remember the first time I read Letters to a Young Poet or say, Sylvia Plath's Journals (in my slightly-angst youth)... and now, our letters back and forth. Also makes me think of the wonderful handmade qualities of Margaret Kilgallen.

Congrats on your new studio, love the wilty plants ;)

Will post this weekend on Art Basel Miami Beach and other art musings on the brain.


Sunday, November 29, 2009

Ah! Waaaay Toooo Loooong

You're install looks totally amazing!!! You are incredible! I'm so proud and excited for you! In honor of our "Hanksgiving" Feast (we listened to Hank Williams Sr., watched Tom Hanks in the Burbs, and played a little "all the famous hanks we could come up with" trivia), I'd like to say...Hanks for being such a great friend! I am indeed thankful to have you!

In fact, I'm working on a little project about it. I wrote 4 "thank you"/"love" notes: to my parents, my brother, you, and C. I'm making (or finding) all the text to illustrate the notes in video form. It's for a type show that I'm applying to. I thought it would be a fun assignment, similar to the one I do with my Intro class. Anyway, it's the first thing I've done in our new studio. I'll post the final when I finish. It feels good to have a space to play!
And this is what C has been doing in the studes. It's a X-mas gift for my Mom. Adorable!Work space, a holiday, first blog in 2 months...aaaaahhhhh, finally! Thanks for keeping the blog alive.
Love you!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Art in Storage

Dear K,

Hello! My busy week of two exhibits is over and I have the photos to prove it. 10x10 was a success and I was really happy with my installation. See the above photos for visuals of my piece, "Nesting". I was also featured in a promotional article on the show - exciting.

Walking around the storage center was a treat again this year - I continued to get lost in the sameness of the rows of storage units - a fun maze. The range of installations was fantastic - from sculptural pieces, to video, performance and an entire unit full of delicately placed zip ties!
How is your new studio coming?

Happy Thanksgiving - I'm so thankful for you.


Sunday, November 8, 2009

to the delicate and beyond..

Dear K,

Fall is finally here... and with it brings a breath of fresh air in the art scene. South Florida is definitely seasonal - with a dramatic increase of arty events from November through April and a quiet stall through the sticky summer. I happen to like it.. the ebbing and flowing of energy, the ability to slow down and take dips in the ocean. I know you are getting busier too - with work, with your new marriage and new home. What a year!

The above photos are of a fantastic show at a unique venue. Whitebox, a new project of Whitespace - the private collection of Elayne and Marvin Mordes opened this weekend with its first show, "Beyond Delicate" - curated by Kara Walker Tome. (of Showtel). It featured local artists using "delicate" materials. I thought the space looked lovely and the work itself quietly approaching magnificent. Burned fabrics, sculptures made of sugar and podlike organisms swam through the air with muted tones of white, peach and grey. This is apparently my recently favorite color palette. I find my own work even being influenced. I particularly like the title of the exhibit - the idea of the materiality adding to the subject matter of the piece instead of being an afterthought of merely an aesthetically pleasing "happy accident". Being interesting in the exact materials that this show boosted - it was a refreshing exhibit to begin the season with.

See more press coverage here of Beyond Delicate.

What's happening in Chicago?

Thursday, October 8, 2009

The power of the sharpie marker...

Dear K,

First - congrats, Mrs.!!!

Wouldn't you love this combination of wall drawings, sharpie markers as a faux wallpaper in your newly married apartment?? - I certainly would. And you could save so much money on furniture! See the artist's website for further images.

I'm clearly in a nesting phase, but still pondering my wallpaper piece that I did earlier this year. I'm thinking of transforming it into an installation for an upcoming show. The idea of combining a medium that has such a royal/regal history like wallpaper, with the casualness and low-brow nature of a sharpie is pretty genius. Opposites - let's talk about them.

High art vs. low art
Tiny drawings vs. wall drawings
Motion graphics vs. still images
Delicate vs. powerful
Quiet vs. loud.

This is where I'm at today - stuck in the middle, but enjoying the line quality.


Friday, October 2, 2009

House and Home

Dearest K,

Big steps... big steps this month. You are getting married and I just bought a house! (Yikes!) I am so in love with your "Happy Hitchin" postcard and cardboard ring.. you two are the cutest. Let's take a break from art posting for a quick second and post pics of all of these new
adventures! How could we not? We started this blog to document our parallel lives, and they are continuing. So.. I want to see your pretty red dress so I can start helping you search for the
2nd one!
Ok. Here are some pics of our adorable abode. We love it. It was built in 1934 - very old for Florida, very "old Florida". Complete with hardwood floors, arched doorway, built in cubbies and modernized kitchens. . . To comment on your "disaster" post - its been through many hurricanes, calming my fears a tad. We are planning on painting the upstairs bedroom, which will be my studio, this weekend! - Goodbye neon yellow, hello pale lavender. The yard is still a
small jungle, but I'm learning that I can only complete one project at a time - and it might take quite some time to get all the things done. Process is everything!

Sorry for all the photos.. I'm just excited. 10 years ago when we met, I never thought about all of these steps. . . so glad we are getting there. I will post pictures of the newly painted upstairs studio in a few days! Then ... its back to work. Many projects on the burners...

Miss you.

Love to you and C tomorrow,

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

let's get personal

Okay, okay. Life is crazy for both of us! Sooooooo...let's share some pics + new realizations from our personal adventures. I wanna see the cutie house!

Love ya + miss,

Thursday, August 27, 2009


I've always had a strange fascination with natural disasters. I remember getting very excited just before a big storm hit Florida: the smell of the air, the crazy wind made visible with the furiously twisting oak tress. Maybe it had something to do with the chance of danger, the romanticism of adventure, or just that something different was happening to break the routine. What ever the reason, when the lights went out in the neighborhood and my family had to break out the candles and flashlights, I was enthusiastically glued to the window, watching the action unfold outside, and feeling...special (silly, I know). Luckily, these storms never did much damage to our lives directly, aside from a few tree limbs falling on my dad's car, or perhaps my interest in them might have changed.

Attending Michael Ruglio-Misurell's show, Project #12, at Gallery 400 Wednesday night, I was reminded of this childhood attraction. However, where I enjoyed being overwhelmed by the power of nature, Michael's obsession is composing an aftermath.It looked like Florida threw up 1985.

All the banal structural materials of back office theme parks, or bathroom stalls in Ft. Lauderdale's first gay club, were glamorously disheveled. Carefully arranged in total disorder, urinals, two-by-fours, sheets of metal, mock signage, palm fronds, socks, beer cans, and coffee cups framed peaks and valleys of environmental mess. I wondered how much garbage they made during install that they simply left around within the space. I wondered how aggressively satisfying it might have been to destroy all these things, to then build into something else. Upon entering the space in fact, it was immediately humorous imagining the making of this work, especially in its final stages---the final touches and clean-up before the opening. At what point in the destruction process do you stop and say, "Okay, now let's fix this up a little?"Formally, the installation is compelling---sensational in scale and with plenty of crannies and details to explore, which often result in an overall sense of amusement. Michael is surely challenging the space, completely altering the gallery, leaving only the front desk unharmed. It's materially complex; but thematically, a bit campy. The "Enter at your own risk" sign congers Disney's Blizzard Beach or Universal Studio's retired Earthquake ride. And as structurally intriguing as it may be, the sheer mass is indulgent and luxurious.

Gallery 400 gives the artist a small budget for the exhibition, which Michael undoubtedly spent on thrift store objects---chairs, tables, lighting, etc---to fill-out his piles of found stuff. Many of these things are manipulated, cut-up, reassembled, propped into place, thrown around with crumpled papers, wood paneling, and pieces of corporeal construction. Items with "use value" become art. The art, in this case, is a beautifully arranged pile of trash. At the close of the exhibit, this art will most likely be thrown into a "real" garbage heap somewhere (similar in form, only dislocated from the gallery context--rendered worthless). And this consequence seems ineffectual to most.

I have a feeling Michael is in part playing on the excess of human consumption, yet an ethical dilemma exists with making nothing out of something. But then, that is another elusive question of art + value I guess. The true disaster might be the waste of the aftermath of art. Ah!

Wishing you a safe hurricane season!

Images at top:
1. Still from the show (aftermath of surface)
2. REAL aftermath of hurricane in Florida (compositionally interesting, yes, but tragedy overrides the need for representation.)
3. Poster for Earthquake Ride at Universal Studios in Florida
(If Universal's Disaster blockbusters prove anything, we like destruction. Dramatic devastation is visually alluring, in fiction. Besides the formal qualities, though, what is the fascination?)

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Staple yourself to school

Dear K, 

It's the beginning of the fall semester here and I am reminded why I love teaching. . . I know that you not only feel the same way, but I feel the need to tell you again how proud I am that you got a full-time faculty gig! So exciting... and much deserved. 

I just read this article from the Chronicle for Higher Education and thought of you, and me, and our many pedagogical talks and jitters. After years of doing this, I still get nervous and excited about the first day of school. I've been organizing, getting my files updated, images cropped and projects ready. Ready, set, go!
Also.. have been in love with Jane Mount's paintings of books lately. In addition to her awesomely designed, yet effective and efficient personal website. I desperately need to update mine and am considering hiring someone else to do this, but feeling guilty at the idea of not doing it myself. (Even though I fail to ever design one effectively) Do we have to do everything ourselves? Thoughts?

Here's to a fresh fall. 

Love, K.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Permanent Collection

Dear K, 

It's a circus around here! Plus, I just stumbled on these fantastic vintage Ringling Brothers circus posters. I would love to use these as examples in a typography class.

Thanks for the fantastic blogging. It's going to take me awhile to catch up with you.... Things have been crazy here, waiting impatiently for our house to close. In trying to stay sane, I have been imagining all of my previous spaces, my current space, and wondering how the Mr. and I will make this a home. In responding also to your "Intersecting the Personal, Part 2" - a classic great example of home-spun meets modern design. Plus, I LOVE the idea as showing your home as a "museum" - we do live in mini-museums, because we make them. We are sensitive to our space, and behave accordingly - elegantly displaying shells organize
d by shape and size the way others pick curtains to match the carpet. 

I am distracting myself from banking mambo-jambo by telling myself that I will own a house where I can curate our life in. . . All these photos represent my favorite parts of our current apartment. 

Also thinking of the great Kehren's idea of "The Permanent Collection, Collection". You are inherently in my "permanent collection." To quote the other K: "We are each other's permanent collection. Objects that we make as part of this idea are an homage to idea of permanence in an impermanent culture. What we keep, who keeps us; what we love, who loves us."  I have K-drawings on cocktail napkins from 10 years ago, exhibit "cereal" postcards, digitally current photos and artwork. Think of all of the amazing artists we know.. we don't acknowledge it very often, but they are in our permanent collection. (If we were fancy private collectors, our semantics would surely be different about our "acquisitions") 
Here's to acquiring more, collecting more, curating more - and all in a more permanent way. One last thought... Is this blog a more permanent or less permanent record of our collecting?

Miss you, 

p.s. Will catch up on responses, promise!

Saturday, August 8, 2009

"Stimulate on THIS"

As you can tell, I have a bit more time these days. So...I'm catching up with Flickr, FB, and all the other online time-suckers. Just read a delightfully hopeful article (at the NYT web) about the new chairman of the NEA. Read here:

I really like his arguements about artists being workers too, with families, mortgages, and medical bills, just like any other laborer in America. “Someone who works in the arts is every bit as gainfully employed as someone who works in an auto plant or a steel mill,” Mr. Landesman said. An artist's productivity is valuable, and good for the economy. After all, aren't we the ones that preceed gentrification patterns.

It's tough to shift such a longstanding generalized misconception about art and artists, though. In American politics generally, he added: “The arts are a little bit of a target. The subtext is that it is elitist, left wing, maybe even a little gay.” But thinking positively, maybe, just maybe we're leaving the "art is superfluous" attitude to die with the armadillos in Texas. Yes!


p.s. My title for this post was jokingly appropriated from a very serious realty ad on the Blue Line, depicting swank modern condos for sale at remarkably slashed prices. Funny huh? B went on to add, "Wanna see my stimulus package?"

Thursday, August 6, 2009

"production journal" by Chris Lin

Hey K! C is currently working on a project that has him questioning the strange power of a documentary editor. Mid-process, his views on the subject have changed, and an icky feeling of responsibility disrupts his work-flow. Notes from the editing table...

I’m editing a documentary entitled “Cabrini Gone Green” for visual artist Michele Stutts’ upcoming exhibition of the same title. The documentary concerns one of Chicago’s most notorious housing projects, which was first built in 1942 with several additions built in the surrounding area over the years. Cabrini Green is notorious partly because it is located less than a mile from one of the city’s most affluent neighborhood, and because of its location, it became a hotbed of racial and economical tension. Since 2006, the building began to come down, forcing the residents to move out to other Section 8 housing.

The city was building new mixed-used developments on the demolished sites of Cabrini Green, the new development mandates 10% of the new building will be rented out to Section 8 residents. In the meantime, the Section 8 holders find it increasingly difficult to maintain their status, and if they cannot keep the status, they will have to pay full rent for new apartments. This is the premise of the documentary.

As for my personal feelings, since it is my first formal documentary work, I’m finding it harder and harder to narrow down their voices to just one. Would I even want to? It would seem like a dictatorship.

Growing up, I loved watching feature-length documentary. Steve James’s “Hoop Dreams” (which is partially set in Cabrini), Michael Moore’s “Roger and Me”, and Ross McElwee’s “Sherman’s March.” All of those films have one thing in common: a unified voice. In other words, the filmmakers know what they want, and they can manipulate the footage to get it across.

The problem is, I don’t know what I want to get across, or more accurately, the message I want to get across may not be the most flattering one. After reviewing 18 tapes that I didn’t shoot, I began to find that voice in two of the subjects. Mrs. Landry and Mrs. Wilson, both over 70 years old, talked about their memories of living in the projects. I liked hearing them reminisce from the time they moved in and how the area has changed over the years. They don’t want to move out, not because they couldn’t find a new home, but because they truly love the neighborhood.

Then there is Mr. Randolf, 40 years old, who was born in the projects and is now some sort of community leader. One moment recalls him talking about the fact that the new apartments cannot provide them with a 4-bedroom apartment. Understanding that Section 8 status holders pay somewhere around $500 a month for a 4-bedroom apartment, it is harder to sympathize. To make matters more muddled, many Section 8 holder’s children and relatives move in with them, taking advantage of the deals they’ve got. Those who moved in illegally may not be able to apply for the status for reasons including having criminal records.

Part of me wants to reveal all the contradictions and focus on all the hypocrisy, but part of me feels like it’s kicking someone when they’re down. I cannot change the reality: This is going to happen whether we make this documentary or not, but do I really have to paint unflattering pictures of the project residents? Since this is my first time in the editor’s seat, I’m overwhelmed by the moral responsibilities that come with the job. Kuleshov can make the viewer believe that a man is sad, hungry, or lustful just by placing different footage immediately following the face of the man. But when it concerns something as consequential as real people, how does one find a firm ground to stand on?

I don’t know.

~Chris Lin, two-time contributor, long-time follower of L.I.P.

What do you think, K? Have any thoughts from your own film production experience? I'll respond to your questions very soon.