Dada

Wanna know how often I go out to things like concerts/shows/performances?  Like, hardly ever.  I can't remember when the last one was...maybe 5 years ago?  Longer?  shorter?  I dunno.  At some point I got over wanting to immerse myself in the scene.  And that goes not just for the music scene, but for the art scene too. 

Tonight I totally went out!  My friend, Joie, put me on the waiting list for Dada, and I have now finally seen him/them play in real life.  (as opposed to Youtube) 

Here are a couple pix I quickly snapped tonight -proof that I actually went somewhere besides my studio.

I also had the pleasure of meeting Phil's wife, Genevieve.  She is their manager and told me tonight that the desk person at their hotel told her that female band managers are almost non-existent.  She also told me how much she liked the photos I created with 7Horse, and that they might ask me to do another shoot with them.  I don't show those pix as part of my portfolio because they are nothing at all like my regular work, but I also really loved how those pix turned out.  Also, the shoot itself was really fun.  here are my favorite pix from that shoot:

Genevieve mentioned that she would like to come along for the next shoot to see what goes on.  I was, like, "yeah!  that would be great!"  then I thought...oh jeez...so she can see my tin foil snoots mounted onto shop lights.  LOL!!  I am just SOOOO professional. 

After doing the shoot with 7Horse I thought it might be fun to do a girl-group.  And start a page on my site with these kinds of band photos.  Meaning, NOT the kind where they are playing on stage...i don't actually like those kinds of pix.  but studio pix where I get to make little installations based on the band's theme du jour.  I guess there would have to be a sort of meeting of the minds, though, vibe-wise in order for it to work.  or maybe not.  I dunno; I've never done it. 

Good night, world.

difficult...

I'm trying to deal with the fact that one of my pieces was broken during a recent show in Boston.  Here is what my box actually looks like....

From the inside, one of the scrolls has been knocked loose and some of the little bee-bodies are coming out.  The inside is easy...I can just glue the scroll back in.  The bee-bodies?  I'm the only one who will know that they're missing...still, it does matter to me that they're gone. 

All told, my box is not in a million tiny splinters...I mean, there it is -it still exists.  But it is DEFINITELY, and without a doubt, broken.  When I sent it, it was perfect.  I don't send them out unless they are perfect.  You can clearly see in the first picture where my box hit the floor.  The paint is broken, some of it is missing, and the pigment in the acrylic skin is also broken off.  I haven't peeled anything off yet to see how the joint is.  I don't really wanna know.  The other corner is rounded (so it must also have taken some impact) and a small scuff took the pigment off the photo.  In the third photo --it was hard to get a picture of, but the surface/varnish scratched and pocked.  And the hinges are looser than they formerly were, and the box is dented. 

If you look at any of my boxes it looks like the paint on the edges is separate from the photo-skin, but in fact everything on either side is all one, smooth thing.  So in order to make this as it originally was, I would have to sand off the entire back side of the box and re-do it.  and I won't do that.  Because the integrity of the box isn't there...it's looser, and not being sure of the future of the joint on the bottom left, it just makes more sense for me to try to recreate a new one with a new box that is solid and un-banged-up.

I'm still upset about it as this is my favorite thing I've ever made.

So I get home from work on Friday night.  and find an email in my box from the gallery owner saying that her insurance company wants to talk to me on the PHONE.  Because it's "oddly quicker" (gallery person's words) than via email.

here is my reply:

Hi ________,
It doesn't make sense that they want to speak with me over the phone when 
all of my information would be electronically generated. Additionally, email 
leaves a communication trail that phone calls don't. And insurance companies 
are well-oiled machines...skilled at managing the lowest possible payouts to 
people who file claims, whereas I have filed precisely one claim in my entire
life, 36 years ago when I was 24 years old. So, no. This needs to happen via
email, where I can see what is happening and give thoughtful replies that are
not steered by an insurance company.

Another thing is this...I don't actually think I should have to go through 
this. I applied for the show and listed the price of the box on my 
application. You accepted it, and other galleries and museum curators have 
juried that particular box into shows at the same price. I have also shown 
other boxes and for all of them, I have set my prices carefully, after doing 
research, AND with the assistance of an experienced gallery owner. Here are
a couple that are up on PhotoEye.

http://www.photoeye.com/bookstore/citation.cfm?Catalog=zg429
http://www.photoeye.com/bookstore/citation.cfm?catalog=ZG474&i=&i2=

If you would like, I will ask the gallerist who helped me set the prices if 
she will vouch for me/my work/our pricing decisions. But...I think this isn't
right. I sent the box in good faith, and it was broken while on display there.

I believe the person whose child broke the box should have paid for it.
So that is where I am at right now.
Thanks for understanding.
smith

Why do I have to justify my prices to the insurance people AT ALL?  I have this idea that what they want to do is get me on the phone and ask me questions such as this:

How much does the paint that is actually on there cost?  $5.00?  oh, ok...so + $5 now how much did you spend on that bee hive?  nothing?  ok, so that is + $0.  And they will somehow wind up justifying sending me a check for $100 because that is the "value" of the individual materials that went into crafting the thing.

But what about all the other stuff that goes into all artists' creations?  What about the LIFETIME I've spent becoming the best at what I do?  What about the $ I've spent over the years just to get here?  on schooling, on supplies, on experimenting so that I could actually get something that looks like this?  What about just the time it took to make this?  How do I quantify that?  What about the value that exists because the sum of the parts is greater than the individual bits that went into making it?  What about the artistry?  What about the fact that this box, and all my boxes are containers of meaning.  That they are important things, that I cannot just let this roll off like so much water off a duck's back?

I'm tired.  Like sick and tired of taking all the financial hits.  WE ARTISTS pay for EVERYTHING.  We pay and pay and pay.  I've accepted that, to a certain extent.  That the power is lop-sided for most of us...that's just how it is.  But the very least galleries can do is not damage the work.  They charge us for applying, they have us pay for shipping to AND FROM the gallery and we provide them with free cool-as-shit inventory for a month.  But I am NOT paying for it when they break my things.  Nope.  Not.  Happening.

If this isn't resolved in a fair way I am taking it public, will post it on Facebook, will say who the gallery is, everything.  Because no.  I can't take it anymore. 

Wolff Gallery

Today?  Studio visit.  Zemie Barr and Shannon O'Connor braved the ice outside my house to journey here and look at my work to see if it fits into the aesthetic sensibility at Wolff Gallery.   They think "yes."  And since it's the only gallery I wanted to contact in Portland, I am really glad they also think it's a fit. 

Rather interesting, I asked them how they arrived at the name for the gallery.  There were so many reasons!  For one, they mentioned that they are interested in representing traditionally under-represented artists -artists who remain under the wire, anonymous, if you will.  And they told me about a quotation by Virginia Woolf that I'd never heard before, but that really struck me:

I would venture to guess that Anon, who wrote so many poems without signing them, was often a woman.

They also mentioned that the double-f on the end of the gallery's name represented them in a way, 2 Females, women. 

I loved watching them look at my boxes.  They made little exclamations.  They un-scrolled the scrolls, touched and noticed everything.  It was good.  We talked about the Ghost Ships project and I think that looks like a "GO!"  Very VERY glad about that since I am sitting here with all these frames, images and trinkets and no home for them.  I also told them about my murmurations idea, and they seemed interested in that, so maybe some time down the line...

They drove off after about an hour and a half, with 4 of my tiny pieces to put in their shop.  I feel really fortunate to have connected with them and am very much looking forward to seeing how things unfold! 

Oh Fun!!!

I just Googled myself to see what my site looks like from a search engine perspective and discovered that someone at the Lomography site blogged about my work after seeing the show at Davis Orton!  So nice to see something positive like this at the end of such a difficult week!

Here is the entry!!

 

The Good and the Stressful

First, the good, yes?  There's a call out for small and affordable work at Radius Gallery.  I had wanted to create frames for my little painting collages for awhile, so I made a couple of frames for them (even though, my flippin' scroll saw broke).  I made 2 frames.  um.  THEY SUCKED!  I mean, my idea for them just did not pan out at all.  And I didn't see how I could change my idea or the materials to make it work so I bailed on it for now and fell back into my comfort zone, which are the boxes. 

This is my first mini-box:

 "Ode to Dorian Gray"  2016

"Ode to Dorian Gray"  2016

It's very small; it fits in my hand.  The scroll is simply placed in and can drop out if it's not wedged in quite right, but for the most part it stays put.  To me when I see it on my wall it reminds me of a piece of jewelry...ok, much too large for jewelry, but you get the idea.  The sunflower hook is an antique, and adds a certain vibe that I like a lot.  I consider the photograph side the "outside" and the old decomposing tintype the "inside," though I have spent time with it hanging both ways and like it equally well no matter which side is hanging.  I feel like the scroll and the broken personal photo have a private feel to them.

The scroll looks like this:

 Inside with scroll unfurled, "Ode to Dorian Gray"  2016

Inside with scroll unfurled, "Ode to Dorian Gray"  2016

I've "signed" the inside underneath the scroll.  The quote is from Oscar Wilde's creation, "The Picture of Dorian Gray."  I've also shown the edge box because the wood is pretty, and by holding it, you can get a sense of the size of the finished piece.

I have 2 more coming out now, and I love them both...will post as soon as I get them finished.

The rather unpleasant bit that happened isn't real...or maybe it's more accurate to say that it is a dream, but says something about where my mind is at.  In the dream I traveled across the country to attend a show I was in.  I had sent a lot of work to this gallery, and was excited to go see it. 

I walked into the gallery and nobody knew who I was, but they were all friendly-seeming and were milling about drinking wine, and laughing with each other.  I did not see my work anywhere, so I began to wander in search of my pieces.  A smaller gallery branched off behind the bigger one, and I entered.  There was nobody in there.  There was work on the walls, but no viewers and none of the pieces were mine.  And then a hallway...that took a turn and made a slow curving journey to a back closet-like area.  I went through the closet area and into another gallery.  It was miniscule and decrepit and my work was there.  It was not even hung on the walls, it was placed face up on cheap metal shelves, and two of the pieces by the door had paperwork thrown on top of them...bills of sale for artwork sold from the front gallery.

That's it...no neat ending, no punchlines, no redemptive glow at the conclusion...just this, and the shitty feeling of self doubt it left in its wake.

I remember once hearing an interview with Dustin Hoffman on NPR.  He was talking about how full of self-doubt he was...now it's been a very long time since I've heard that interview, but I remember him describing his feelings, and sometimes when I have dreams like this, it's good to remember that people like Hoffman have similar feelings.

Math Made Simple

math made simple:

WEBaBirdintheHand.jpg

pearl + coffee = bird

dektol + tulip = coffee

(therefore)

pearl + dektol + tulip = bird

bird - tulip = dektol + pearl

(but)

dektol + pearl = nest

(therefore)

the nest is in the bird. it is a matter of biological determinism. inevitable...immutable. please don't ask me about the egg.

it

was

not

necessary

in the first place and

not

desirable

in the last.

Ghost Ships Image Set

So here is one of the images for my Ghost Ships project:

I have this image framed in one of the vintage frames with the convex glass, and am presenting it as a diptych.  Here is a low quality photo of how the set is hung:

It's a bit hard to see, but the bottom piece (also convex glass) is a photo of cupped hands, there is aMorpho butterfly inside of it...I wanted to draw a comparison between the moving arms in the top image and the wings and motility of the butterfly below.  I was hoping that -together- they would give a sense of fleetingness.  Anyhow, the butterfly is iridescent -I've only ever seen this species of butterfly before in photographs and photos don't show their iridescence very well.

The small piece off to the side...not sure I'll put it in the gallery, but I like the shape and difference it adds to the grouping.

Ghost Ships

Last year I was given a solo exhibition at a new gallery in Portland.  I was SO excited to show in my own hometown and since I was given the liberty to do whatever I wanted with the space, my imagination ran a little wild with it. 

I first considered creating a murmuration out of paper birds, of creating this piece in my garage and making a set of tintypes with it...then re-creating it in the gallery as a huge, ceiling installation.  Prints from my tintypes would adorn the walls.

*side note - this is a murmuration for those who don't know:

Then that idea ebbed, and I found myself wanting to channel Leonardo Drew...to create a large scale, modular photographic installation.   I had actually began making objects for this, but I simply lost interest in it. 

Then, one night I was listening to an episode (#36) of Lore Podcast called, "When the Bow Breaks" and became entranced with in the notion of Ghost Ships.   Ghost ships are real...they are vacant vessels that just float around out there on the open seas.   The crew is either missing or dead.  Ghost ships are floating equivalents to abandoned houses, but more mysterious, I think, for their rarity and for their peculiarity...I mean, there's no reason for a ship to be sailing without a crew, whereas houses stay right where they are long after the inhabitants have all left.

One of the things that appealed to me about the idea of ghost ships is how it might work as a metaphor for human beings as we are all just passing through, really...slipping silently through the waters of life -waving to each other as we glide by.  The human body is also a vessel of sorts...and though we may not be empty, we are certainly haunted -both culturally and individually by our histories.

For my show in Portland, I had decided to present a show of photographic images & objects that work within the theme of "Ghost Ships."  Each piece was to be presented in an antique/vintage frame -the kind that has convex glass in it.  The convexity of the glass leaves room to add items to the work...so in Untethered Pearls, for example - I was able to put a few alphabetical symbols in there that appear to be floating.   I also liked the way the frames echo port holes in a ship.

By the time my show was cancelled (yes, I really did just say that --it was cancelled) I had already spent just under $1500 on the frames.  Unfortunately, the gallery folded.  And here I sit with 19 antique frames and 5 finished pieces. 

I decided to celebrate the fact that I now have these gorgeous frames that I would never have purchased without believing there was a destination for them.  And I'm going to create this body work anyway.  I have time now to think about how I would really like each piece to be.  There's no rush, and I love the objects I've already created. 

Anyhow, that's it for today...maybe tomorrow I'll post pix from the Ghost Ships series.

 photo kitty.gif

Goodnight, world.