Tuesday, January 27, 2009


A sculpture sketch.  
When I sketch, 2D or 3D, I don't do it to totally plan out a project.  That would defeat the purpose of then making it (and make it really boring)!  I sketch in order to collect moments that I find interesting, and to play with materials without the need for a finished project.  Usually, if the sketches are "unfinished" they have enough of a freshness and an essence of the moment that it not only reminds me what I was seeing or thinking about, but it inspires me to make more work and to think more about it.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

The Business of Art

This is another show application I have been working on.  This weekend has been full of what I like to call "the business of being an artist": writing show and residency proposals, choosing images of my work so send with my application (my least favorite part) and waiting for outside resources to arrive (such as tax forms and letters of recommendation).  It is such a constant low-grade tension that I hardly notice it (and it kind of keeps up my momentum!) until I've sent off the applications and then, rather than huge relief, I feel like I just stepped off a cliff and am free falling until I catch myself on the next concrete endeavor... perhaps I should just let myself fall because I am pretty sure there is no bottom to hit...

Here is my proposal for my proposal for Vertical Gardens at Exit Art in New York:
A New Layer
Joseph Campbell talked about how a culture's highest influence is evident in the tallest building of that time. Our tallest buildings are no longer churches or state buildings, but financial institutions. As financial institutions shiver in this economic recession, it seems there is room (and an ecological and humanitarian need) for a taller structure to be built; a new, non-destructive influence to come into itself.

A landscape built on top of a city
: I propose a building concept that will focus our infinite ingenuity and resources to build green space on and around our financial institutions, as well as parking lots and other city structures. This green skin will be built in consideration with aesthetic harmony and function with what already exists. We can build spaces as big as fields and hills for grazing animals, farming, wind-power generators, solar panels, etc. or small enough for personal hanging and vertical gardens. Hills will connect buildings of different heights or different stories of the same building. A 20 acre field could exist on top of a few 60 story buildings. It will be a new layer and a new influence.

For the exhibition I will propose a compositional concept for this new layer. I will build a miniature landscape-like installation using almost all found and recycled materials. The structural assemblages (abstractions of the bones of our capitalist landscape) will be built out of modular items (sticks, straws, q-tips, random bits of plastic, etc). On and around that structure will be organic assemblages suggesting design potential for organic structure to co-exist with inorganic. The landscape will climb up the wall from floor to ceiling, extending in a multi-layered, web-like stretch. It will mix 2D and 3D elements-- wall drawing and sculpture; billboard-like elements and plants -- things we already work to find harmony with in our existing landscape. There will be three or four small lights (referencing the sun or unnatural lighting like car headlights) attached to motors and slowly moving, bringing the structure to life with changing highlights and shadows.

I hope to create a beautiful yet ghost-like memorial of what once lay below our cities, and suggest city and country as one conscious organism rather than the disconnected entities they seem to be now.

Good Night!!

Friday, January 23, 2009

Telepathics of Lost Camp

This is the album art for the recently released CD made by The Telepathics of Lost Camp, the moniker for Mikel's music.  You can here his music here .  He has put many CD's out into the world, but only recently feels sort-of comfortable with me promoting his tunes.  (psst... don't tell him I am saying this, but I think he is a very talented musician, and I especially like the vivid images his lyrics create in my mind.  Check it out! Any feedback is welcome!)

I am happily awaiting a visit from my sister, Clare and her new hubby Geoff.  They will hopefully get here in a day or two.  Until then: it's Saturday morning.  We've already had our pancakes, NPR listen, and Daily Show viewing.  Time for art-related business, and business-related art. 
Happy weekend! 

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Landscape of Enough

This is a project proposal sketch/collage for a show called Human=Landscape I just (ie. 10 minutes ago) sent out the proposal for.  I'm really excited about this project idea.  Even if I don't get into the show, I'm still going to make it happen.  Here is my proposal write-up (in case you're curious what a "landscape of enough" is):

"…most people believe in and operate from a psychology of scarcity and lack."
-Laurence G. Boldt

Changing climate and landscape have forced upon us the realization that we have too much yet we believe we don't have enough. Abundance has exploded out of our control, destroying things we don’t know we appreciate until they have changed or disappeared. This includes mass produced disposable goods, natural ecosystems, as well as value for human creativity and knowledge. “Too much” becomes “enough” when we realize that everything we want, we already have. This awareness, and the engagement of creative problem-solving, can manifest as a landscape of enough, revealing the inherent beauty and function in what we already have. This means appreciating our waste too.

A Landscape of Enough: I will build a miniature “Landscape of Enough” using mostly found and recycled materials along with non-toxic, renewable materials (e.g. paper, wood, play dough, etc.) The mostly abstract aesthetic will mimic an organic Vermont-like rolling mountain-scape built on top of and around modular structures (like scaffolding or an abstraction of architecture made from things like toothpicks). It will incorporate 3D space (e.g. miniature forest-like assemblages) and 2D space (e.g. wall painting); contrasting spaces that we increasingly grapple with in the changing landscape (e.g. billboards and hillsides). The landscape will be about chest-high and curve out from the wall so it can be viewed from within. The main lighting will be one or two small spotlights (referencing the sun or unnatural lighting like car headlights) attached to small motors and slowly moving, bringing the installation to life with changing highlights and shadows.

I propose this landscape as a manifestation of true abundance, a concept about utilizing what we already have to create something beautiful and functional without destroying what we start with. It will be a beautiful yet ghost-like tribute to Vermont's evolving face- its past, present and future-- and to suggest that this evolution is at a critical point of incredible potential: the potential to pool our infinite resources toward a healthy co-existence of nature and change.

Good Night!

Monday, January 19, 2009

Mythical Creatures

I wasn't supposed to be taking photos in the store which is why I didn't take the time to make sure I was taking a good one.  It still shows how totally awesome this fake hat is.  I was so bummed to realize that all of the crazy hats in the store like this were just for the mannequins.  The other stuff in the store was awesome too.  Ask me if you want to know the name of the store and I will find the business card.  I'm just...  too... tired.... must sleep...  no drooling...     
Mikel and I went to Tokyo again (which is the reason that I am trying not to drool on my keyboard from exhaustion).  The photo above is too ligit' to quit!  Mikel played his first solo music show at a small venue in Tokyo with five other bands.  Mikel was great!  I'm so proud of him and I have been looking forward to other people listening to his awesome music he has been making!!  People really responded to his tunes.  Yay!
We met some awesome people with great music at the venue.  One band, The Bad Spellers, were really nice to get to know, especially since they are thinking of possibly moving to New Hampshire (there are other possibilities for them too, but I'm going to pretend NH is the main one...)
The whole weekend was packed full of the usual "kitsune Udon" cool coffee shops, excellent restaurants, walking and sight seeing.  The weirdest thing I saw was a three headed dog.  No I'm just kidding.  But I did see this:
This is for all you unbelievers who think scrunchies are dead.  
These are either live scrunchies, or mummies of those that lived in the eighties...  
we aren't sure.
I do love Kiss and to kiss.  I'm not sure what "engasing eachother" means, but I think I like it.
In case you thought that all there is in Japan is weird Indie Rock and Taiko drumming, 
I'm here to prove that there is also Black Music.  
We finally found some more good art in Tokyo!!  Here is an installation we found in Naka-Meguro... okay, so we found in outside while walking to a gallery and claimed it as "found sculpture" but it's better than most art I see lately.  We did actually find some good art in galleries so that was refreshing.  I can't post any pics because  didn't take any and I can't give you names because I haven't unpacked yet (isn't this a fun game?)....  
On to the entertainment!
This is a young boy, probably 12ish.  
It gives a whole new meaning to "my mother dressed me."
Those are some nice buns, if I've ever seen them.  Mikel and I met our friend Allison to check out some large men wrestling.  I don't know if you have ever heard of the sport called "sumou".  It's a 1,500 year old Shinto tradition where men train and eat in a certain way to become amazingly massive, throw salt for purification and stomp a certain way to increase strength. They also try to knock each other down or out of the ring.
 Here's the ring from our sweet seats:  
We were able to sit up close in the morning to watch the younger wrestlers but as the main event started we had to sit up top (after eating Indian for lunch-- it's a full day event!)
We were trying to summon out fighting power.  
As soon as I put my second fist down, Ali is going down!

I totally recommend watch Sumou if you get the chance.  I can't believe that almost no one I know in Japan has seen it live.  It is an experience of a lifetime!  Their bodies are so strange that it's almost like they are mythical creatures.

This was a totally packed Tokyo trip once again which left very little time for sleeping.  I took a mini nap on the bus home yesterday but the ride was extended due to a snow storm, and then the connecting train ride was delayed for two hours due to the same storm and then our 45 minute walk home from our train station was pouring rain.  By the time we walked into our apartment it was midnight and we looked like drowned rats.  Going to work this morning was not a pretty sight...  At least I can go to bed early tonight, but not before indulging in the latest vampire shenanigans.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Dying, Floating and Scheming

I'm rockin' out to The Ting Tings on a Monday morning.... oh wait, afternoon.  I lost my morning in a book, pancakes and hot-glue, followed by a big dose of Photoshop.  Above is one of the newly "fixed" images.  It is a view from my studio/apartment.  I has a texture that I want more of my paintings to have, like each mark I make is important and therefore keeps its texture.  Painting over and over on marks makes different marks that are less fresh.  This painting has a freshness to me.  It's on paper, by the way.
Ohh, baby.  I like this one.   It really has a new presence after documentation.  It's called "Over Fukami".  Fukami is the big pond across the street from our apartment.  It is seriously beautiful and inspires many of my landscapes because it has such intense stacking and packing of shapes and spaces.  I made this painting/collage when I was concentrating on adding more space to my paintings AND keeping the freshness of mark-making.  I'm still not sure if the recognizable floating building ruins the painting or not.  I really like it anyway.

"To Fukami"
I usually start these landscape paintings on site and then bring them to my studio to finish them.  On this particular day I was sitting above Fukami pond in front of an apartment building.  An old woman came out to talk to me.  She asked me what I was doing so I showed her my paper.  It still looked like a two-year-old painted it so she politely nodded and made a very Japanese noise that means she loves me even though she doesn't know what the heck I'm painting.  I even gestured to her the general direction that I was trying to paint to no avail.  Oh well.  She then went on to ask me if my teeth were all mine and original.  This would have been as funny as you are probably thinking it is, except that I had already noticed that she was missing quite a few, and the ones left ranged in color from metallic gold, to orangish-yellow to gray, making the topic quite non-random.  In the country here (as in the US too I think...?) many people, especially older, have very bad teeth.  Dentist visits are reserved usually for when there are problems with your teeth, not preventative care.  
Thank you Mom and Dad for taking me to the dentist all my life!!!  
Also, thank you for my braces.  Those are not as common here either...

"Dying Maggie"
My "old-lady-baby" Maggie died last spring.  I was heartbroken that I wasn't with her while she was so sick.  One of the difficult things about being abroad.  It inspired a ton of paintings, mostly of her in various toxic-like stages.  This one seemed like she is actually dying; leaving her body and slipping into the strings of the universe.  Poor Mags.  She was really sick.

News from the tourist front:  I finally got Mikel out to a mountain to snowboard on Saturday.  He is a total natural (which I am so jealous of!  he didn't even fall over getting off the lift!)  It was really fun to be with him on his first chair-life ride.  He noted how peaceful and relaxing it is.  I love skiing but I can't board for the life of me.   I did get to sport my new mini-skis (snow skates?  What are they called?)  I LOVE them.  They are wicked fun (although they are not as fast as long skis.)  After our ski adventures with other buddies we went out to eat Indian food before heading home.  Then we schemed to get as much of our weekend to ourselves as possible so that I could get my applications done and Mikel could prepare for his show next weekend in Tokyo (Hachioji)... although he has all week off whereas I have to work tomorrow...  Is that really fair?
I suppose I should go make the most of my time.  
Happy Monday!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Enough Saturation and Vampires

Ok, it's not a creative title, but I named this one "Beach Babes 2" because it is from the same photo as the one in my last post.  This time the three of us (my sisters and I) almost keep  our form as humans... I did say almost.  I LOVE the greenish yellow in the bottom left background.  I think it might be called "puce", perhaps even "florescent puce".  Is it still possible to request crayon colors to have certain names?  I would like some florescent puce crayons (of course I will probably have to pay extra seeing as this color is considered the most obnoxious of all and therefore I would be the only person who would buy crayons this color.  What's stopping me?)
I learned a valuable lesson from my husband today: the Hue/Saturation tool in Photoshop is my friend.  I am ashamed to point out that the painting in this post is more or less correct to the actual piece whereas the first of the Beach Babes is a little on the dull side. Just ignore it... or come see it in person sometime...

This was my Christmas gift to my Mikey.  I made a bazillion ornaments this year for some folks for the holidays, but none quite this sassy.  Sometimes I just can't be stopped when I have a hot glue gun in my hand (actually it is usually the actual glue gun that stops me.  I get so excited that I forget that if I touch the HOT glue while trying to shift something, it will STICK TO ME AND BURN, hence the whole "hot glue" part.  I use low heat glue mostly these days so my fleshy phalanges are fresh and ready for any hot glue gun battles that might come their way.  But I'm getting carried away with myself.  Lets talk about actual Blartwork:
This is a sketch.  I like to call it "2D3D Sketch" (as of two minutes ago when I corrected the colors in Photoshop and then saved it).  
Here's it's friend "2D3D Sketch #2, or b"( whichever you like).
I am forever drawn to painting AND gluing lots of stuff together into sculpture-like goodness.  This has ultimately lead to a desire to combine 2D ad 3D stuff in a way that I like as much as I like my painting and sculpture separately (dare I say, more than my painting and sculpture?  Why else would I keep making art?).  

I am currently on a manic roll applying once again to residencies AND a cool show I really hope I get into.  It is called Human=Landscape and it will be at the Firehouse Gallery on Church Street in Burlington, VT.  You can see the guidelines for the show through the link.  

I am proposing a "Landscape of Enough."  Basically I think that the changes in our landscape and environment right now are forcing us to realize that "we have too much" and we don't know what to do with it (it's too much because we let it be wasted and not appreciated).  This is ironic since capitalism is based on the mantra, "we don't have enough."  I am proposing the idea that "too much" can become "enough" (as can "not enough").  I will make a mini landscape-like installation combining 2D and 3D (of course!), light, and perhaps some basic robotics trickery to create a beautiful and maybe sinister/spooky place that holds optimism for human creativity but also stands as a memorial or ghost of what was before.  yay!  Even if I don't get into the show, the parameters of the show totally whet my whistle for a new way to think about making my work.

Off to try to make something (rather than be lured into reading one of the two new juicy books that just came into my possession: A Wild Sheep Chase my Haruki Murakami and the fourth book the Twilight series...  I am ashamed to admit that I am a sucker for romance, especially when it pertains to mythical creatures or magic.)  I'm just going to say it right now-- the books are probably going to win.  It's 8:30 pm!  I work better in the mornin'.  Good night!  

PS.  Don't make fun of me for reading about vampires.  All the cool kids are doing it.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Beach Babes

"Beach Babes"

This is a new addition to my finished work  I have WAY too many unfinished pieces right now for my own sanity, so my goal today is to finish most of them.  They are all very small (for example, Beach Babes is about 5 x 5 inches.)  It's really hard for me to work small because for one thing, I have to force myself to work on detail (which is good for me to be challenged with) and I also have to edit the "stuff" that always seems to infest my paintings because there just isn't room.  If I don't make some space in the painting it just looks like a sloppily decorated box or paper which isn't what I want to see. 

"Beach Babes" started from looking at a photo of my sisters and I on the beach in sunny California last year... actually now two years ago (whoa, time's flying!)  I am still wrestling with the space between recognizable figures and abstraction.  I also seem to have a certain desire to make everything a bit acidic still, a bit toxic (the yellow on this one is neon which doesn't show up in digital pics.)  I miss making bigger pieces so I think I will start some paper pieces when I finish my mini ones.  I like how my body can enter my bigger paintings where as only my face and hands and mind can enter the smaller ones.  I think my paintings need to be understood at a sort of visceral physical level, probably because that is where the pieces come from in the first place (how they are made).

Check out the January 2 post on My Art Space blog about making the discovery of your art happen rather than waiting for it.  I'm jazzed.  I also read my friend Stephanie's blog about her New Year Resolutions on her blog Rivulette, one of which is to make her art business a full time job.  I don't think I will be able to do that myself this year but one of my resolutions is to work toward that as much as possible.  Yay for being a full-time artist!  Speaking of art, I should probably go make some.  Check back for more pics and studio ramblings soon!

Super Long Tokyo Blog Entry

We're home after more than a week in the land of Tokyo.  Before hitting central Tokyo we spent Christmas on the Fussa Air Force base with my aunt, uncle and cousins for a little bit of family love, amazing homemade Filipino food, and a big culture shock as military bases are oddly like little United States plopped down in other countries.  It was really fun but unfortunately we forgot our peanut butter when we left...  guess we'll have to wait until May when we're back in the States.  Here's what we'll eat instead: 
hehe, just kidding.  We usually eat tofu fish.
Again, kidding.  (but we did get an awesome book about the 7 kinds of tofu in Japan and how to make them from scratch, including our favorite Yuba.  Don't know what it is?  Remind me and I'll make it next time we eat together!!)
Ok, seriously, look at the dog on the right.  Not only is he wearing a fashionable sweater like his companions, but he is scooting about Yoyogi park in a doggy wheel chair.  
Mikey and I were at the park during one of our LONG walks (which usually consisted of us starving and looking for Indian restaurants while trying to see as much other stuff as possible on the way before totally "bonking".  The Bonk is when our blood sugar is so low that we have to fight to be kind to each other and also fight not to cry and give up.  We are getting really good at preventing The Bonk and have considered starting a reality TV show based on this concept.  The Bonk only happened one time REALLY bad on this trip when we first walked East one mile too far and then West one mile too far and then realized that we were supposed to walk south like hours before to go from Shinjuku to Harajuku.  Luckily we found a totally stellar Thai restarant that nursed us back to health and lead to giddiness and apologies to each other for our part of The Bonk).  
Anyway, on this particular cheerful walk through Yoyogi Park we checked out a little clothing flea market sale and ate some seriously 'lish grilled mochi on sticks.  We also met a really nice Japanese fella with whom we discussed various differences between manners in Japan and manners in the US (It's rude to eat in public here except for in certain places, especially while walking.  It's totally rude in the US to talk with a full mouth or noisily slurp noodles into one's mouth where as that's common practice here.)
We took some lovely and deliciously color photos at this kids play park in Ueno.  It was actually closed, but we followed the lead of other people who were walking around in it, allowing their children to play.
We ate some L-Size dirty ice cream and played the piano, 
(By the way, the outfit I'm wearing in this photo was my uniform for the week.  Other than various undergarments and shirts, I sported this skirt/pants combo for about 8 or nine days.  I wasn't nearly as smelly as I should have been.)
We also went to Harajuku area which was my favorite because I LOVE crazy fashion.  For major posh brand names, go to Ginza-- totally not my style (we went to Ginza to look for non-existent galleries...)  I prefer crazy young designers who make and wear things liks glitter covered shoes and colorful, embroidered, artfully-torn shirts.  Anyway, in Harajuku we came upon crazed young women flocking around funky vans like this:
Some of them were open revealing decked out interiors and blasting music videos of a very famous pop star named Ayumi... I forget her family name.  She must have had a concert there before we came because it was a seriously flocking ladies.  They could buy posters of her and other Kawaii items.  It was INTENSE. 
Here is a view of the walk way up to the big temple in Asakusa, the area we stayed in.  The decorations blow my mind as do the bagillions of people shopping for souvenirs like Japanese prints, fans and snacks, waiting for New Years.  This is a serious holiday here.
Mikel took this awesome photo of a glowing food tent and Pagoda next to the big temple on New Years Eve. That night was a total trip! We lucked out because our hotel happened to be in the area of one of the most religiously important sites in Tokyo and thus the most exciting for New Years. Tons of people lined up to visit the Temple and at midnight they were herded in in large groups by police like a weird peace march. When we came back the next day people were still lined up. We're not sure if they were there all night.  Before we hit the sack, we entertained ourselves with taking photos of people and cool fashion.  I even took a good one of a cool Jacket I saw at La Foret in Harajuku.  It was like seeing a celebrity!!!!
I read a joke that you know you've lived in Japan too long if you think it is acceptable and natural to give a peace sign when being photographed.  Enough said about that.  On to the mask...  
This store was CRAZY.  It's in Akihabra, the mecca for gaming and computer nerds.  The area started as a place to sell black market electronics but turned into a place to buy discount electronics, pornography, plastic models and visit a hilarious restaurant called @home cafe. (Yes, the @ sign is correct.)  It was amazing.  We had to pay just to go in.  The servers wear super cute and short maid uniforms, call us Master and Mistress and serve us cute and expensive drinks and other foods.  Cute is a key word.  Did I say cute yet?  Anyone (usually men) pay to have their photo taken with a server or to play a party game.  Servers also ask us to do some sort of cute gesture with them when we are served our food.  It's a great experience for foreigners but mostly a very serious fetish for many Otaku (nerds) who fantasize about being served by sexy maids.  
Cartoon attack!!
This is my feeling about Tokyo.  Well, partly.  It is total eye candy.  We were quite bummed, though, at how weak the art scene is there.  We did see a great show of contemporary Indian artists at the Mori Art Museum.  Other than that it was weak art viewing.  We'll be back there in a couple weeks so Mikel can play a show (music) at a venue in Hachioji.  Hopefully by then more art shows will have opened, redeeming Tokyo as an artistic city.
For now we are trying not to think about going back to work in a couple days.  At least it means I can be back in my studio on the off hours!!  
Images of my work to come soon, including Tokyo inspired clothing!