Saturday, July 18, 2015

Printmakers for the Ayotzinapa 43 at the Santa Cruz Public Library

The Printmakers for the Ayotzinapa 43 portfolio is currently on display at the downtown branch of the Santa Cruz Public Library. There will be reception with a poetry reading and performance on Friday, August 7.

My print is the first on the left in the middle row. You can see a earlier post about the making of it here.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

The Making of a Small Plate

I've been busy these past few weeks completing the edition for The Last Color, my book for the San Francisco Center for the Book's Small Plates Imprint. Above is a photo that Cheryl took of the Small Plates artists and Chad: me, Andy, Chad (SFCB Studio Manager), and Patricia. This Friday, June 26, is the release party for the event - and everyone is welcome! The Facebook page for the event is here.

Making this book at the Center has been such a thrill - some photos of the journey below.

Printing many shades of blue:

Folded accordions stacked neatly:

Assembling the accordions with the flags:

After casing, an interesting weight solution that accommodates the accordion:

The books:

I'd be remiss if I didn't acknowledge all the assistance, advice, and problem solving by Chad Johnson, as well as the binding help from Jillian Bruschera and Lynn Prather.

Hope to see you on Friday!

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Art Fairs!

May blew through my life like a tornado, and I'm still trying to catch my breath. It started with the Parking Lot Art Fair, a rogue art happening outside of artMRKT. Artists were invited to set up in parking spaces on the chilly Saturday morning of the fair.

Thinking of literatura del cordel (clothesline literature), I decided to show my work as grabados del cordel (clothesline prints). I was feeling a little nervous when I first got there, so I kept looking at the prints above. It's always nice to have some family and friends with you when you're anxious.

At one point during the event I was talking to a couple of Frenchmen who were there for main fairs, and they said it seemed like the Parking Lot Fair was the black market to artMRKT. I kind of liked that.

So many other cool artists were participating. My neighbor during the event, Mike Rothfeld:

Curator Jenny Sharaf knows how to get around at an event like this:

NIAD Art Gallery in a pickup truck:

Mary Button Durell:

After the Parking Lot Fair closed down midday (and the sun finally came out - I should have worn more layers!), I walked over to the stARTup Fair with Tracey and Sharaine.

Since the event was at a hotel, I was intrigued to see how artists incorporated hotel furniture. I forgot to note who this was, but it was a lovely use of the bedroom space.

I really wanted to see Mary and Tony's room as Quite Contrary Press. They turned their beds into tables!

Tony's work:

Mary's work:

Mary had also turned their closet space into an installation - I really liked it, and hope she gets more chances to do stuff like this:

It was an art-filled but exhausting day.

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Printmaking for Los Ayotzinapos 43

Back in March, I was invited by Stephanie Martin and Melissa West to participate in a project they were organizing called Printmakers for the Ayotzinapa 43. For this endeavor, they invited printmakers to make a print that commemorated one of the students who was a victim of the Iguala Mass Kidnapping.

Although I intellectually understood the importance of the project, I didn't realize what I had gotten involved in at first. The artists were given a list of names, and I selected Giovanni Galindes Guerrero, for no particular reason. All I knew about him was this short bio, and so, armed with this small amount of information, I began to think about how I could honor him.

My difficulty was that I had more information about how Giovanni died than about his life. I've done portraits before, but usually of people I knew and connected with. But in this case, I knew very little about his personality, his quirks, his individuality. I knew he was studying to be a teacher; I am a teacher. I knew his nickname was El Espáider (the Spider). I knew he was twenty years old at the time of his death. And I knew there had to be so much more that filled his life, that made up his soul.

Somewhere in all these perambulating thoughts, I turned to art history. The prints of Taller Grafica Popular, particularly Leopoldo Mendez, always inspire me, and felt very relevant to my subject matter. This print has always stayed with me, and became my visual guide. The most haunting part of the print is the smoke of the train, evoking the final destination of the Holocaust deportees to the cremation chambers of the concentration camps.

Giovanni's body was also burned after his death. Thinking about that, his nickname, and Leopoldo's print, I started sketching. I decided to include a spiderweb as the first layer as a reference to his nickname (see the print above), but also an allusion to interconnectedness.

The next layer was his portrait, and a layer of smoke.

This was followed by a chain of buses, like the ones the Ayotzinapa 43 were riding when they first clashed with the police.

When I'd been sketching, I'd originally thought this print would be three layers, and that when I reached this point it would be finished. However, once the imagery was printed, it didn't seem complete to me yet. Sometimes a drawing translated into print needs more. I've been a printmaker in some form or another for over fifteen years, and I still learn, again and again, to listen to the process.

So went back to sketching, and asked a few friends for their thoughts. I felt that the smoke in the print made the image unbalanced, so I added another layer.

The bottom still felt empty, it needed just something a little more to send it home. With all that gray, I felt that it needed a moment of color. After some deliberation, I decided to add the number "43" using pochoir. Several of my students this semester have been experimenting with it, so I thought I'd give it a try.

The prints still need to be curated and signed, but I think the image is complete now. I hope it honors the memory of Giovanni Galindes Guerrero well.

It's been a busy spring, with finishing this print, my regular teaching, two residencies, and editioning an artist book. I'm fortunate to be a part of so many things, and trying to remember to pratice self-care during this insanity, rather than putting it off till after. However, moments like these, it's nice to step back and see the work complete.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Return to Half Moon Bay

This past weekend I was thrilled to return to Judy's Kitsune Community Studio and teach pulp painting again. I'm not sure if it's the weather, Half Moon Bay, or Judy herself (most likely) that makes every time I go there just magical.

Oddly enough, to add to the magic of the memory, some shmutz on the lens of my phone gave all my images from the day a slight halo effect.

Last time visited Judy's, her cat Winky decided to join the class. This time around, Tanuki, her other cat, spent a portion of the day supervising the class.

This class really took to the technique. Below is Yoko's paper.

Nancy picked up the painting part of method very naturally. Many of her pieces were portraits or figurative works.

Besides everyone making paper, a workshop at Judy's includes incredible food. I was introduced to HMB artichoke bread this trip, which is worth the drive "over the hill" just for that. I also learned that it is almost impossible to buy underwear in Half Moon Bay. So, artichoke bread, yes, underwear, only at the Walgreen's, apparently.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Making Paper at the Berkeley Botanical Gardens

I was fortunate to teach Papermaking from Plants last week at the Berkeley Botanical Garden, as part of their Fiber and Dye programming. For the class, I decided to prepare some fibers that grown locally, so participants could learn how to make paper from their very own gardens. I also invited participants to bring plants from home, and asked the garden for any cuttings they could spare.

One of the fibers I prepared was yucca - that's what's beating in Dulcinea above. It's from my yucca plant that I grew in Richmond - you can see it in the picture here - that I'd harvested and dried before we moved. Winnie had warned me that the fiber would foam in the beater, but I didn't realize how much it it would foam! Even dried, the fibers were full of saponins.

Below, the beaten fiber, still sudsy.

I posted a picture of the suds to Facebook, and I think some people found it pretty gross. However, I found the suds almost like a luxurious bubble bath, and I was so enchanted I decided to write about it for Mary's "Eat Your Words" zine.

Every time I do a class like this, the prep exhausts me and I wonder if its worth it. Then I teach the class, and watch how people are transformed by making plant matter into paper, and realize it totally is. I've been thinking about how making paper from local fibers connects people to place, and how paper from local plants has what I think of as hereness - the sense of the landscape in the very fibers.

Along with the yucca, I prepared New Zealand Flax (which really isn't flax, it's phormium), daylily, and corn husk, and during the class we coaked and blendered some pampas grass leaves. It was so, so , so great to teach people how to make paper from scratch from their own gardens.

We started out with everyone making a sheet of each of the fibers from the pure botanical, and then added a little abaca so that we didn't run out too soon.

It was a full class, with very enthusiastic participants. The garden also gave us some banana cuttings, which we didn't get to, but they let me take them home.

Below, Lisa experimented with incorporating fresh plant matter into her paper.

I had been pouring our waste paper onto the plants, and took the press outside to press, hoping the water would drain into the garden - but then was chagrined to learn that the plants were under controlled watering conditions for study. Oops.

We went through almost all the pulp, and I let Christine take the remainder home - she used it up right away.

We ended the workshop with the pampas grass paper - completing the cycle of plant to paper in a day. We didn't have enough for everyone to make a sheet of pure pampas, so it was a pampas grass-abaca mix. All of my prepared fibers has been dried, so the bright green of the fresh fiber excited the participants and felt to me like the grand finale of the workshop.

Tomorrow I return to Half Moon Bay to teach at Judy's again!

In other exciting news, I've been invited by the San Francisco Center for the Book to make a book for their 2015 Small Plates Imprint! I'm going to work with a variation on the flag book structure.

I was also selected for Creative Capital's "On Our Radar" program!