Friday, January 28, 2011

Drawing a Day 2011: January 28: Here you go, Cupcake!

Timtohy says let's sell all our stuff, buy a truck, wander around the world making and selling cupcakes. How 'bout instead I draw the cupcake, drink some wine & watch some TV? We can pretend the rest...okay?

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Drawing a Day 2011: January 18: Throwing Comfort

Today, it is snowing (as it does in the winter in Maine). As I was travelling from a work presentation back to my office my tires forgot about friction and swerved off the road and I would have gone into a ditch and rolled down a hill had it not been for the tree that caught me. My car landed in the lovely arms (well, the lovely sturdy tree trunk to be exact) of the waiting tree stopping me from getting very severely hurt. In fact, all the wounds seem to be sustained by my car, my pride and I think that tree who caught me.
Thank you, tree.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Drawing a Day 2011: January 14: Chicken Foot Rocket

The Psychic Puppet rides in a Chicken Foot Rocket...

Shameless self-promotion (well, yes, there is shame involved, but...)

I attended Catholic school, but only for 7 years (Kindergarten through 6th grade) so I have some issues. As I attended during the late 70's and early 80's, there were a couple of nuns who were on the teaching staff and I don't believe that the Vatican had outlawed corporeal punishment before I had left. Because of this in addition to that fact that I WAS (emphasis on the was) a quiet child, I have an "inner nun." She wears a habit and a very large, heavy Rosary and carries a measuring stick and a scowl. She judges me. She looks over her glasses at me disapprovingly. Often.

Be that as it may, I have news: my etsy shop. It is small as of yet, but my inner nun is still very large sometimes. Also, my print, Butterfly Galaxy, was part of this Valentine's Day Collection.

I think you should ignore your inner nun, if you have one, and go check it out. If you don't have one, go check it out and maybe later go help out those of who do have an inner nun.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Drawing a Day: January 12

The request was a drum kit and something to do with bowling lanes...I don't think this drawing was successful because the request seemed fairly precise in my head and I think I took it too literally. Just not happy with this as the stand alone representative for today. Sooooo, here is the "Mulligan"...

In lieu of Girl Scouts...

My daughter wanted to join Girl Scouts, so I took her to the meeting that was being held at the elementary school for sign ups. She was really excited, completely jazzed and willing to commit the time. She filled out the form and I completed the rest.
Then...we were informed that there were no troops open currently. Unless, of course...

Unless of course, I would be willing to be a troop leader.

Are you kidding me?
You want me to be a Girl Scout Troop Leader?

For my daughter, if I needed to I would eat glass. So I began the application process.

My husband asked me why exactly I decided to do this.
My boss asked me if I was crazy.
Friends looked at me crossly when I told them.
Me as a Girl Scout Troop Leader was like an octopus wearing pants.

So when the possibility of hosting an Internet based radio show popped up, I asked my daughter if she'd rather have a radio show instead of being in Girl Scouts.

Her main reason for wanting to be in Girl Scouts was to be with school friends. But when the troop she wanted to be in was no longer open, she kinda soured on the idea of Girl Scouts. A radio show, however, was a way for her to reach out to friends and family living far away as well as a really cool way to express herself creatively. So she exuberantly said,"YES!"
We have been broadcasting our show since about mid November. I believe that my daughter is happy with her radio presence. I am sure she would like very much to hang out with school friends. But politically I just couldn't do it and I think my daughter knew it. Now, I will flat out say that I have nothing at all against the Girl Scouts. I do have problems with single-sex education. I do have problems with religion being laced into public or quasi-public organisations. There are other personal issues among them my inability to fit in...that octopus wearing pants thing again. It's not something I have tried to engineer. So a radio show for now seems like the better solution. Who knows? My daughter can take up the issue with me or with her therapist when she sees fit to do so. I take whatever blame she needs to throw at me. But for now, she is being trained on the whole sound board, low-key radio show production thingy. And that is kinda cool.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Drawing a Day 2011: January 8

Totus est non ut is videor, part 2 (please read part 1 first!)

And so what does all of this mean…

I love that people ventured out on a very cold evening in January in Maine to view the local art scene. I am grateful for the attention that my art is given. I love also that people are sometimes curious and mostly trusting. I like very much the sense of community that sharing can bring. However…

At dinner after the event we discussed what happened and what we each observed. Many times during the evening we uttered to each other that we wished it was being captured on film or recorded. This piece this time was not about surveillance. This piece was about literacy and being aware of one’s surroundings. I feel that if I had filmed or recorded it with the intent to replay people’s mistakes there would have been some malice on my part. Many people who drank the “wine” were embarrassed that they had. Displaying images of people being embarrassed for one’s own amusement is causing harm. And I had no intent to cause harm.

One of the points that we discussed at dinner was the recent purposeful poisoning of restaurant food bars. In these cases, a terrorist (yes, terrorist as their intent is to cause harm) walks up to a food buffet or food bar and sprinkles cyanide or other toxin on the food. Because it dissolves into the food, patrons get sick after eating the food and think that they only have food poisoning. In some cases that victims have died of cyanide poisoning before anyone thought to look in that direction.

The connection with my harmless vinegar in wine bottles is that people assumed that the “wine” was safe even though it smelled bad, looked dirty and had been told using many cues that it was not for drinking. Because they expected and were expected to drink wine on the Art Walk this is what people did, damn the consequences.

Also evident in the piece were people’s lack of visual thinking. When told to “read” the piece, most people assumed that they were supposed to read words and look at the fine print. They didn’t understand perhaps because it has either been schooled out of us or else they never learned how to see patterns and logical progressions of information. Even though with this piece I purposefully chose a pattern consisting of 5, most people did not or refused to see the pattern.

There is also a fear with art. We have a cultural fear that if we can’t understand art, then we are somehow deficient and stupid even though we have often not be taught how to engage with it. Or else we are yelled at if we talk about it at all. This I think was what the comments of being “elitist” were about.

Finally we assume safety. One woman said she didn’t want to drink the wine because it didn’t look clean. Her partner said it smelled bad. Neither drank it and when I talked with them they had said that their thoughts were confirmed by listening to somebody talk about what the piece meant and the visual break down of the piece. In short, the couple had a hunch and eavesdropped to confirm their hunch. In turn they told someone who was about to drink that it wasn’t wine. That person didn’t listen. The couple was shocked.

I wondered throughout the evening if I would have fallen prey to my own trap. Who knows? I would like to think I wouldn’t but then again. I hope that I have learned a thing or two about assumptions and trust and about engagement.

And finally, speaking up about something that is not right is a good idea.

Totus est non ut is videor, part 1

I have a new installation assemblage piece up at the gallery that I am part of, Sylvia Kania Gallery. The piece’s official title is Molestus Creatura: Quam ut Identify quod Elimiate lemma tutus, which translates loosely (I think) into Annoying Creatures: How to Identify and Eliminate Them. The piece is comprised of 5 annoying creatures that I have encountered and simple methods of eliminating or deterring them using common household items. The piece is basically an exercise in visual literacy. It sets up a simple pattern: image with item, image with item, mirror with item, image with item, image with item. The individual labels for each chunk has the title of that image written in Latin. Actually it is the Latin name for the annoying creature pictured. The material description for each chunk reads etching with watercolor, what the item on the shelf is, and shelf. For example the chunk of the piece with the skunk, this piece:

Mephitis mephitis; etching with watercolor, mothballs, shelf.

Each chunk of the piece follows the same pattern with the loose exception of the third chunk of the piece. This chunk is comprised of a mirror placed above a stool. Placed upon the stool is an antique mirror tray with three wine bottles. In the wine bottles is vinegar. The annoying creature meant to be deterred in this piece is a person who comes to galleries merely to get free wine or in Latin: Parum vomica ut ostendo sursum iustus bibo solvo vinum. The phrase “parum vomica” translates into “little sores.”
The impetus for this piece was sparked from anger at people who wandered into Sylvia Kania Gallery and literally knocked over artwork in order to get to the free wine. There have also been numerous comments from Art Walk patrons that the wine was cheap and of poor quality but these same patrons still drank the wine and never said thank you or gave any acknowledgement to the members of the gallery. Basic rudeness.

Moving forward on this problem of people’s basic rudeness, I tried to stay away from outright hurting anyone physically with this piece. Early ideas around this piece involved creating a ring of broken glass around the “wine” table so that transgressions would be apparent in the movement of the glass circle’s form. The glass however could hurt people and that would leave me with a tit for tat type of scenario. I did not want to be rude. I simply want to raise awareness.
The other 4 annoying creatures offered in the piece are imaged in simple etchings with watercolor. The methods of deterring or eliminating these creatures were actual items purchased from the store and presented as is. This was done purposefully to create a simplicity of image as well as to make the visual pattern of heightened importance.
As it was being “viewed,” we (we being myself and other artists) found that perhaps the fake wine was too available. With the addition of a blue tape line directly in front of the stool, we hoped that people would be more likely to not drink the wine. This was by and large not the case.

As patrons to the art walk walked in the gallery’s door, many people walked directly to the third piece and helped themselves to the contents of the bottle. This perhaps is a reasonable and logical response to some set ups during Art Walks. However, the smell of vinegar wafted through the entire area of the piece. One Art Walk patron commented on the smell and asked what it had to do with the piece. When he was directed to read the piece, he and his companions did exactly that and refrained from drinking the “wine.”

Many times Art Walkers were told not to drink the “wine.” Several people thought we didn’t want them specifically to drink the wine and told us we were “elitist.” Some people ignored us and then commented among themselves that the “wine” was “cheap” and perhaps had gone bad. Several times I interjected that the substance in the bottles was vinegar and that it was part of the piece and they still didn’t believe it. Half way through the Art Walk, the tray on the stool was littered with dirty cups. People still picked up half full and full cups of liquid and drank them sometimes placing them back on the tray. Within seconds these discarded cups were picked up by others. I should note at this point that there was no trash can anywhere in view of the patrons.

In the most extreme case of carelessness, a woman with a preschool aged child approached the stool. The woman took the wine bottle that originally contained a white wine but now contained white vinegar and poured the child a full cup. She handed the child the cup without tasting it first herself and the child drank the liquid. When the child commented that it was “yucky,” the woman tasted it and placed the cup on the tray. They then left the gallery.

Drawing a Day 2011: January 7: Thumper and a Cock

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Drawing a Day 2011 has begun...

January 1, 2011: archimedeian spiral

January 2, 2011: left-over notes from my husband

January 3, 2011: put on your eyes and get your mouth in order

January 4, 2011: Bird Kills, again

January 5, 2011: the circus

January 6, 2011: draw a turtle