Sunday, November 22, 2009

The Complex of All of These

Artist-in-residence Abigail Uhteg put together this video while working on her artists’ book, The Complex of All of These, at Women’s Studio Workshop. The stop-motion video uses 3000 images to show some major action, covering printmaking, hand papermaking, letterpress, and book arts production.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

In a different vein..

Amid my over-analyzing of the manifesto project, I managed to stumble across some artists/collectives that made me smile. I guess this post is about that simple.

I tend to forget sometimes that artmaking doesn't have to be all serious. It can, in fact, be confetti-throwing and lotto-style scratch offs.

Sometimes we need to challenge our ideas of mark making.

Monday, November 16, 2009


Hello. Earlier in the semester I was introduced to this cool site in my animation class. The Gnomon Workshop is a fantastic resource for every stage of the three dimensional animation process. Whitiker lab does have copies of Maya and Photoshop, so it is something you could try out if you are interested in animation. I know a few people are, and the site offers free tutorials for those brand new to the process (at the top, under the freebies tab) which really help offset the difficulty curve of Maya. And if you decide that you like the software, you can also get higher level educational resources from professional users of the software in dvd format (which is not free, though). Just thought I'd pass that on.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

art and the trendy: reworking the skull

Damien Hirst's For The Love of God

I'm not sure how everyone feels about this, but I feel as if the skull is getting to be pretty exhausted as the hip, edgy thing to "reinvent" all over the art scene. I've always been really interested in how things become trendy in the art world - and in general - and how subsequently, after enough exposure, they tend to lose their power as a compelling or as even an original or interesting image or object. To maybe commemorate and offer up a memento mori of the memento mori, I thought I'd do a brief visual review of some selected favorites... some that still pique my interest, but that leave me uncertain whether they are still provocative or just trite... it's a strange push and pull. 
check it out:

Skullphone digital graffiti

John Espinosa's Skull Prismatic Resurrection 

Brian Dettmer's cassette tape skull

and finally Jim, a "skull artist" actually...
(for more, check out 

How do you feel about art "trends"? How do they affect the way we perceive and respond to certain images or objects?

Interesting Application

I read about this application a few weeks ago in a little blurb in ARTNews. This Add-Art application essentially blocks advertisements on some websites by replacing them with curated images that rotate every two weeks. There are other adblockers out there, but they simply leave a blank space. The Add-Art website provides some brief information about the artists and images. Currently, the show is photographs of the" youth that have taken part in photography workshops faciliated by the Portland, Oregon non-profit My Story." After using this application for a few weeks, I'm still pleasantly surprised to find these images preventing advertisers from taking complete control of my mind. I've noticed that the application works better on more high traffic/popular websites . This application also brings up a curious new way to think about 'curating' a show, strictly online, squeezed between articles and other information, and unpredictable about what will pop up, where, and when. Anyways, I thought this was an interesting idea and has definitely been appreciated in recent times of increased web-surfing.

McDonald at the Louvre

I was just reading the blog post on consumption and I thought that this piece was very ironic considering the past posts.

Mixed Pickles

While reading magazines in the art library last week I came across an ad for an exhibition at the Art Institute of Chicago called "Playing with Pictures: The Art of Victorian Photocollage" that is up until January 3rd. This is a really exciting because this is the first show if it's type, and we all know how often works on paper are on display. I was surprised that at a time when photographs were just beginning to circulate, people were already cutting them up and inserting them into their art to make these strange collages, just as artists still do today. Who knew Victorians were so funny and creative!

Even if you can't go to Chicago, there's a lot of images from the show on the website. Go look!

Shifting Interests to Social Commentary about Consumption

Right now I am shifting gears in my artwork which I am really excited about. Previously I was working on cellular forms, but now I am taking more art into a more social commentary direction and using found objects which I am really interested in- I am exploring ideas about societal consumption and accumulation of material goods and I am really eager to see where this new direction takes me.

I have been very focused and interested in Kate Bingaman-Burt's blog website Obsessive Consumption and I recommend that everyone should take a look at it. She does daily drawings of the objects she buys and works a lot with craft art to make her installations. She makes us question our own role in consumerism and I think we can be inspired by her and learn a lot from her own work.

I have also been really interested in reading up on blogs over the past few weeks and for those of you who are interested in feminist thoughts check out Feministing blog. It has no connection to printmaking really but can be a good source of subject matter to inspire you and get you going. It is really entertaining and intriguing to read.

Hopefully soon I can post some pictures of the new art I'll be creating. Right now I am collecting receipts and seeing where that takes me.


I have been an artist of many existential crises. Almost every semester of art school I have almost given up the gig entirely. BUT, something wonderful!!, astounding!!!, life changing!! happened to me this summer. I made public art. It completely changed my mental model of my practice and absolutely qualmed any concerns I had about the studio isolation effect.

On the prowl for outlets for public art (and for a paying job), I ran across this article in the T magazine of the New York Times. RxArt not only gets art out of the galleries, but gets it into places that really need some cheer- Children's Hospitals. Take a look, its a pretty wonderful program.

Steve Wolf and Sam Winston

After tirelessly thinking about a great post that would inspire the entire printmaking studio, Steve Wolf and Sam Winston are two artist that I decided to share with everyone for today! After searching the internet for inspirational stories and even a great video I continued to think about the manifesto that I just finished. I am constantly questioning why I create art and what is it exactly that the patterns, shapes and colors provide for my viewer.

Steve Wolf caught my eye because of the precision used in his work. Currently being exhibited at the Whitney are his works on paper. While I have a very fuzzy and unclear descriptions of exactly what it is that I create I was very interested in the first line written on the Whitney's website:

"For over two decades, Steve Wolf has created objects and drawings of astounding craft and visual presence that investigate the intersections among material culture, intellectual history, and personal and collective memory."

This idea struck me as very interesting and after a thorough investigation I am very attracted to his desire to recreate record labels, vinyl recordings, and tattered books with such precision.

This is one example of his works, and is something that may inspire many of us new, and or old printmakers.

Alongside Steve Wolf, I continue to come back to Sam Winston's work and investigate it time and time again. I am very interested in incorporating text within my work, however I am aware of strong meanings and implications that come with placing text on a page. Text is a very powerful tool and I want to make sure that I am saying exactly what I have in mind.

Winston creates books, drawings and sculptures that incorporate text in a subtle and creative way. Here is a few different works that I continue to look at again and again.

Everyone should check out his work:

OK Art Manifesto

This won't be a particularly enlightening post, but considering all the MANIFESTing going on, I found it amusing.

The OK Art Manifesto is precisely what it sounds like - a manifesto about art and artists that are just, well, "okay." Meaning not mind-blowing or fantastic.

My favorites:

3. OK artists really want to make great art,
they shoot for the stars, but their work ends up
being just OK. OK artists are OK with this.

4. Art enthusiasts and cynics alike, leave an
OK art exhibition saying "that was OK".
No one is blown away but they don't feel cheated either.

I actually found the manifesto simultaneously horrifying and comforting. Horrifying because of what it would mean to be considered just an "okay" artist. Comforting because even if you are just an "okay" artist, that's...okay.

Though I hope to never settle for being just that!


So even though this isn't directly linked to printmaking, I wanted to share this link about the project called Poetry 180 started by former poet laureate Billy Collins. I see a similarity between the misconceptions about poetry and the misconceptions about printmaking in terms of being old fashioned. The concept of Poetry 180 is to show a poem at the beginning of class and read it without going into typical analysis overdrive. Poetry has generally been deemed "uncool," but movements such as Slam Poetry strive to reawaken the poet in all of us. In some ways poetry and writing are more democratic than Printmaking since everyone has access to words and not necessarily does everyone have access to a printing press. Every word is a matrix and there are an infinite number of possible combinations just like the infinite possibilities within printmaking.

Introduction to Poetry

Billy Collins

I ask them to take a poem
and hold it up to the light
like a color slide

or press an ear against its hive.

I say drop a mouse into a poem
and watch him probe his way out,

or walk inside the poem's room
and feel the walls for a light switch.

I want them to waterski
across the surface of a poem
waving at the author's name on the shore.

But all they want to do
is tie the poem to a chair with rope
and torture a confession out of it.

They begin beating it with a hose
to find out what it really means.

Where Does Our Genius Exist?

In 1954, psychologist Julian B. Rotter developed the concept of locus of control. Rotter believed that a person's locus existed on a continuum from "internal" to "external." A person with an strong internal locus of control would have strong faith in his own actions (personal choice, free-will, etc.) to determine the outcome of events in his life, while a person with a strong external locus of control would believe that forces outside of himself (fate, God, the environment, other people, etc.) govern the events of his life. For the person with a strong external locus of control, too many negative outcomes in life can lead to a sense of helplessness, of weakness, a sense that the world is completely out of his control. We may think then that having an internal locus of control is better (indeed, this is what our hard-working, American, individualistic culture emphasizes) but a strong internal locus of control can be equally problematic. A person with an internal locus of control may suffer from self-doubt, thinking that he is not skilled enough our "good" enough if things aren't working out quite right.

So how does this apply to us as artists? I find that when something doesn't feel right in studio, when my work is un-fulfilling or uninspired, when I have a bad critique, I blame myself, my lack of skill, my poor eye, my tastelessness, my stupidity. This thinking seriously hampers the art-making process. But it is my art, so how can it not be my fault if something is wrong with it? How can I move past this self-defeating mental block?

Elizabeth Gilbert has an answer. If we are ever plagued by self-doubt as artists, maybe we just need to shift our locus of control a bit. Maybe our genius isn't really our own. Watch and have hope.

Art takes guts and a little bit of nuts

For a significant part of last week, I was working on framing "The Garden of Earthly Delights" for the exhibition, Remastered, which just opened this weekend. When I wasn't focusing on the "final finesse" of this piece or figuring out how to price it, I was carving and printing the pigeons in my current wall installation. All this made me wonder what the value my work really holds.

Of course, you should never sell yourself short. But how marketable are you really? Not that you should be terribly concerned; you're making art, not merchandise, after all. But at a certain point, what is your art but the stuff you store beneath your bed? Where is our time going, and why has it been worthwhile? Does it have value to anyone else besides ourselves? Does it still have value to us after we've finished it, besides being a reminder of how much we spent on paper this month?

Why did you absolutely have to make it?

As I set up my installation, I thought about how much I really love making big work and taking up space. But simultaneously in the back of my mind I wondered what it all became once I took it off the wall. The pigeons would revert from installation to scraps of paper in my drawer. I wish there were a way of assuring that the things I make are still the same when not on display, are worth the effort to keep flat and well-preserved, and can be valued by anyone besides myself. I'm not trying to make my work over-precious; rather, I'm trying to understand why I should keep it at all if all it if it might never see light again. The subject matter is dear to me, dear enough at least to make me want to create. So am I doing some sort of dishonor to my subjects if I can't insure their worth or good keep? Have I failed in my message if I store it away and nobody but me ever knows about it?

We tell stories to share them and, in essence, preserve them. We believe they deserve that attention, to be recorded and remembered. We choose images that mean something to us. So how do we give the same justification to our subjects that we give ourselves to depict them? Without our inspiration, our work is nothing, and therefore valueless. The beginning of a work's true value lies with its concept. It is up to us to craft it adequately and to know what we want when the work is in our hands - and how we would feel should it go to or be judged by someone else.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Art... Art is what brings us together today.

The Museum on the Seam is a socio-poltical contemporary art museum in Jerusalem, Israel. It is located in between east and west Jerusalem (hence its name), and the exhibitions there focus on different aspects stemming from the conflict in Israel: trauma, coexistence, collective memory, violence, anxiety, etc. For each exhibition a long list of international artists' works are curated around a central theme, such as HeartQuake (an attempt to "shudder and shake identity and otherness vis a vis anxiety"). The past shows have included some of our favorites: William Kentridge, Anselm Kiefer, Sophie Calle, and Alfredo Jaar.

I find it fascinating to see an Israeli museum inviting artists from outside of the Middle East to participate in a dialogue on the conflict. It is interesting to see that some of the artists seem personally invested in the conflict in some way, while others have their work included because it is relevant to the theme.

**** transition back to the United States****

In case you are wondering how the art fair went a couple of weeks ago...
We had a lovely afternoon basking in the sun and selling prints.

see, look how happy we are....

Don't forget that WHAMMO is still selling raffle tickets for a print from Tom Huck, Lisa Bulawsky, Tom Reed, or Amy Thompson!!!!!! Get yours today and tell all of your friends!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

The New Museum in the New York Times

Since we are occupying our thoughts with the New Museum, it might be worth while to take a look at what is actually going on there right now, as described in a recent article in the New York Times. A show is being organized that will feature works from the collection of the Greek industrialist Dakis Joannu, a primary collector and patron of Jeff Koons. Jeff Koons himself will be curating the show. Dakis Joannu serves on the New Museum's board of trustees. There has been a lot of critical response to this endeavor from many sources, all summarized in the New York Times article. It brings into question concepts of value and the ideal purpose of the art museum as an institution. If anything, the article provides a brief history of the New Museum, which could certainly prove helpful as we go about imagining an exhibition to stage there.

As stated in the article, the concise mission of the museum is "new art, new ideas."

What can we contribute?

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Remastered Opening Reception!

Hey, since it's the week of critiques and hence a week with no announcements, I thought I'd let everyone know that Trisha and I have a piece in the exhibition, Remastered. The theme of the show is reimagined art historical masterpieces and it is hosted by the Soulard Art Market & Contemporary Gallery. The opening reception is this Friday, November 13, from 7 pm to 10 pm.

A sneak peek at our contemporized masterpiece:

Thanks for viewing and we hope to see you there!

Monday, November 2, 2009

summary of studio life

you know critiques are approaching when:

1. The Red Balloon goes from being a quaint entertaining French children's movie with religious undertones to a presence which you cannot extricate from your daily existence. It follows you around, like a weight around your neck, but instead of inducing feelings of sinking it instills a constant awareness of something in back of your head.

 2. Portals to other dimensions open up in your hands. You can't close them. You are merely the gateway to another world. Do your best to admit the worthy and hire a good bouncer for the undeserving.

Thanks, MOMA!

MOMA has created a most excellent interactive flash site on various printmaking techniques! The site explains lithography, woodcut, etching, and silkscreen in layman's terms so even (or rather especially) children can understand it. So the next time you're having a difficult time explaining printmaking to someone, you can refer them here.

Artist statements

Ran Ortner, an oil painter from Brooklyn, won the Art Prize competition in Grand Rapids, Michigan this month. He'll receive $250,000 for winning by receiving the most votes from members of the public.

Here is his artist statement from his website. I thought it might be interesting to read in light of your manifesto project.

Artist Statment

In my art, I contemplate collisions of opposites, from the most tender brutalities to the most devastating sensitivities. These paradoxes register within me and I can see myself within them. I am continually surprised by the reflection between me, as an individual, and the environment within which I exist. As Robert Lax said, “The blood within and the brine without.”

I often think about Rollo May’s idea that “sustained intensity equals ecstasy.” Every day I enter my studio, prepare my materials and, as James Joyce said, “go for the millionth time to encounter the reality of experience.” I find that sustaining the encounter with life’s biting reality is not “miserablism,” but rather intense engagement. The undeniable union of life and death is not dire but majestic as evidensed by the inevitable crash of each cresting wave. In a tempest, distinctions blur registering in me as the rhythm of life’s dance. Life’s beauty is magnificent as it hangs at the edge of death, insisting upon its relevance.