Thursday, April 30, 2009

lost, found, and recontextualized

Busy lady K,
Cool install at the Showtel! The lighting really sets the mood--much like Gregory Crewdson photographs--and leaves an eerie feeling that something is amiss. Your found slide reworkings are beautiful in that urban decay romance. Here we are again working with the old, beat-up, fantasy marker of memory. But K, this looks like a darker nostalgia than I've ever seen from you. The elements of consumption and (almost) destruction may be giving way to your current state of life making. Not only are you layering and stacking and building and adding, but also taking away, clearing, and covering--it's a complex subtraction (and not necessarily a negative one). I'm also glad you're working with the now archaic technology of the slide projector (the didactic tool of the Art Historian). In parallel, I'm appropriating the old ABCs of mechanics (Automata has always been a very masculine field hasn't it?). It's silly really, but I like the look, sound, and process of making things "work" (spin, move, etc.).

Look forward to seeing your wallpaper samples!


1. Found this distorted polaroid in the alley behind my house. I'm not sure if it was intended this way or if it was just discarded and left for the weather and outside elements to "take care of it." It reminded me of your slides. I was afraid to pick it up, so just snapped a pic with my cellphone.
2. Still shot of my tornado machine--simple automata of wood, cardboard, and cotton. And it really spins!!!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Showtel 2009

Dear K,

Whew.. what a whirlwind few weeks - and the next few are crazy as well. First, wanted to comment on your amazing last post. Oh how I LOVED your students invented font animation. What a great and successful project!! You should be giving yourself a gigantic educational pat on the back for that one... loved it and it looked like your students had so much fun as well. Here's to art being fun again.

Funny thing.. in addition to your amazing fonts, ironic that you posted about the "penny art" and wallpaper. As I have had references to both this week. See Showtel photos for penny room as well as look for a post later this week on my upcoming wallpaper exhibit!

And now for some updates/photos from this weekend's Showtel 2009. What an event! I've never been involved in something so exciting, so frantic and so overwhelmingly full of energy. Adrienne and I spent 14 hours carefully placing small sculptures and silkscreened ants about the room for our "munching, crunching, bunching, scrunching" piece. It was a total success and wonderful to be a part of. I felt like an art star!! Our sound, video, slide projections, scented room, silkscreened ants, thread, small sculptures made of hair and lint, and fabric draping the room created a fantastical habitat that spoke of layered consumption, nesting and the feeling that insects (or some other creature) had invaded the space. Although I have worked in installation before, I haven't ever had so much sensory overload. The projected slides were one of my favorite aspects. See above for a detail shot. .. I'm planning of using these in our exhibit as well. There are about 80 that change every 3 seconds, creating a didactic and scratched, eaten and abstracted image.

Kara Walker-Tome, the event's curator, did such an amazing job coordinating - complete with a lovely catalogue and much press about town. And I have to say, it was wonderful to meet so many amazing and energetic local artists.

For additional photos see here
and here.

Stay tuned for a wallpaper post - lots to tell. It's the end of the semester - grading, compiling, etc. Plus, I need to keep working on our exhibit, and the film that I'm working on. Storyboards are next. Yippee.

Lots of love,

Tuesday, April 21, 2009


...on my last post as an excuse to share some student work, I wanted to write a bit about the tedium of doing things by hand and the aesthetic of designer Stefan Stagmeister.

I finally watched Helvetica (really great!), and was reminded of the work of Stefan Stagmeister, who is featured as a leader in postmodern design. I did a little research afterwards, and found his aesthetic very much in line with D.I.Y. craft art and the performative. His work is a perfect blurring of the worlds of design and art. Pictured above is an example of his text work. There is more here:

He also collaborated with designer/illustrator Jessica Hische, on a temporary public installation (pictured below) made entirely of pennies. I thought I might talk about this project in our collaboration class, because it involves all the elements of making that I am so interested in: collaboration, performance, public space and participation, impermenance, and documentation. It reminds me again of those Buddhist mandala sand paintings--beautiful, impressive in it's time consumption, and ephemeral (the pennies were left for the public to take away). You can see time-lapse video of the project here: my Intro to Design class, we are preoccupied with busyness. Without access to computers, Adobe programs, etc., we are learning design principles all by hand. I forgot how precise and annoying it can be to draw everything out, measure, cut, mount. With each project, I do an example alongside. My appreciation for the fast and simple, cut and paste, color fill, edit, manipulate, copy of Photoshop grows daily. We recently, though, completed a couple projects that I am proud of, using our hands first, then capturing digitally (the same process I'm working with for my own work). Below is our text animation. Not intentionally, yet sort of in the vein of Sagmeister, we built type out of found objects and material around the house. In stop-motion style, I captured all the imagery with my camera and compiled in AfterEffects. It was a great success in that everyone was into the process and together we generated some cool ideas. We illustrated the school's mission statement:

We also hand-drew a pattern swatch to repeat and print out like wrapping paper. Here are a few results:

This is my sample--a pattern of moustaches. Maybe I can paper my kitchen with this. ;)

Gotta get back to work. Miss ya!


Thursday, April 16, 2009

time for tedium

Dearest K,
I miss you much! The pressure is on, huh? Well, isn't it always? I know you're in a crunch time, but you'll catch a break from school soon. That exhausted productiveness and last minute art-panic-fervor can sometimes feel pretty good, so get all wrapped up! And once the summer is over, you will have accomplished many great little feats. I'm completely jealous of your A/C complaint. This K is still wearing her winter coat, although the sun is out and the Japanese magnolia is trying to open.

I wanted to show you some work up at ARC right now. It's completely aligned with your aesthetic tastes and made me think of your beautiful window sill nature collection. The artist, Sun H. Choi, spent over 20 hours installing this wall piece. She slept over night in the gallery pinning each tiny twig into place---drawing with the lines of nature. The end result is a steady whimsy that reminds me of the Japanese woodcut Jeff Wall so famously appropriated or the in-flight merging of migrating birds. And yet with closer inspection, each form has its own intricate weathering that reveals the individual to the whole, the complexity of life and current.
As for my life and work, I'm pretty low energy these days--in need of some sunshine and a productive art day. Hope to talk to you soon!


Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Spring on...

Dear K, 

A quick post to sort through a schizophrenic few weeks. It's spring, which means I have to turn the a/c on for the first time in months, making me a little sad. It's the end of the semester, meaning I have papers to grade, things to compile, and the biggest exhibit to hang in my school gallery. It's two weeks until my Showtel installation - yielding technical issues, silkscreen mania and tactile decision making. Also starting a newproject - production design for an exciting film. The above bicycle photos are my "visual research".

My students are doing paper sculptures in multiples while I am at home "munching" and taking away space. I stumbled upon this photo of artist, Chris Natrop' s work while searching for a brainstorm thunderstorm. 

Inspiration is needed lately. I am at the exact vanishing point of complete exhaustion meets complete inspiration and artistic energy. . . Thought you might need a spring boost. 

Miss you, 

Thursday, April 2, 2009

An homage to Nathan and Joan

Dear K, 

Hope you are great! I know we are both swamped this month.. How could I possibly have so many competing projects for my time? Both inspiring and exhausting. 

Speaking of inspiring and exhausting - VSW, my old friend and alma mater is turning 40!! In honor of Nathan and Joan Lyons - founding directors of Visual Studies Workshop - I wanted to do a quick post dedicated to years of humble beginnings and hard work, independently operating art spaces, brilliant collections, AfterImage, and the hard-working grad students who continue to breath life into two ivy-covered buildings. VSW is like no other place I have ever known... part collaborative, part think-tank, part miracle, it is a direct reflection of Nathan and Joan's vision of providing an alternative and multi-faceted art space.

Today, it's run by friends and colleagues, Kris and Tate, who are giving it a fresh breath of air in a windy and turbulent economy. Kudos to VSW - its rich history and its bright future. It's hard to imagine my artistic career without it. See City Newspaper's feature article and bid on the amazing collection of work displayed at it's annual auction

I miss it's ivy walls and cooperative do-it-yourself attitude. I'm looking forward to our Summer Institute class, so I can keep exploring its splendor. 

with hope for art spaces,