Friday, January 29, 2016

Feeling Ultra Femme: Darling Press Opening Next Friday!

Hey Portland!

I'm so excited that I was finally able to get up to St. John's and snag the pink and green ribbons I've been raving about at Ace Typewriter.  Check out this delightfully femme carnation pink.  I want to make everything in bubblegum.

Outline, in-progress.  See it on view alongside typewriter drawings I've been creating since 2013 at Darling Press!

This is also a reminder that I have the honor of being the Artist Of The Month at Darling Press, an intimate space operated by kind and hardworking letterpress wizards, Robyn, Alia and Jason.  They are great.  Not only do they create amazing things, they curate a stunning selection of other finely crafted art and goods and host an awesome life-drawing session every Tuesday from 7pm-9pm.
Should you ever be in FoPo, go say hi.  They also have a disturbingly adorable dog named CousCous that camouflages with the floor and does three perfect tricks.

The opening reception is EXACTLY one week away--please feel free to RSVP on the Facebook Page.  The details once again:

Hope to see you there!

Friday, January 22, 2016

Artist Of The Month @ Darling Press

Please join us at the Darling Press Studio on first Friday, February 5th from 7-10pm--just two weeks away--to celebrate my latest typewriter drawings on view for the month. We can nerd out about beautiful old machinery while surrounded by it.

Stay tuned for more details on the Facebook invite page!

Hope to see you there!

Thursday, January 21, 2016

In Progress - Sisters

Sisters will be featured in my show of typewriter-drawings at the Darling Press Studio this February.

Portlanders, please join us for the opening reception on First Friday, February 5 from 7pm-10pm--we'll have wine, snacks, and the Miley Cyrus Mind Control Quartet (the most delightfully un-google-able band) will be performing.  

Hope to see you there!

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Commission: Drawings Of Beautiful Women

I'm so delighted that beautiful women keep asking me to draw them.  Now that these gifts have been given, it's alright for me to share them completely.
Emily, 2015
typewritten ink on paper, 8 x 13 inches

I owe my sweet cosmic mom, former boss and friend, Cameryne for connecting me with Emily. Thanks to Cam, who purchased one of my drawings from my show in my hometown, Milwaukee, last June as well as commissioned another drawing for her friend's birthday, I now have two drawings that live in Glasgow.
Reeah, 2015
typewritten ink on paper, 8 x 8 inches
Hair is so much fun to draw with my typewriter.  I was overzealous on the first version of this drawing and attempted to make the portrait only 4 x 4 inches, but Reeah's delicate profile proved to be difficult to render on that small of a scale.  I started over halfway through,  which made the hair a much more challenging and interesting point of focus.

Thanks, lovely ladies.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Commission: The Tightrope Walker

At the end of 2015, I had the honor of making a typewriter-drawing for my very first collector in Portland.  In 2009, Michael bought an etching of mine from a group show at Backspace (RIP)--my first show in town--alongside Troy Briggs, Adam Stacey and Anthony Hix. That was probably one of the last prints I pulled from the MIAD print shop.  I covet and romanticize this space and can recreate the sensual-landscape of wonderfully toxic odors, each differing from the litho-, to the -intaglio to the -screen room. Let's gaze listlessly out of a window.

The Tightrope Walker, 2015
8 x 14 inches, typewritten ink on paper
The Tightrope Walker was a fun challenge--working smaller than ever before, figure-wise.  The tightrope walker herself is only 4.5 inches tall.  It was exciting and delightfully nerve-wracking to force myself to work in an impressionist way--each mark a gamble. I am grateful for having abandoned my purist tendencies with typewriter-drawing awhile back, and employed an eraser.  Everything is a drawing tool.

It was fabulous to make a piece for such an imaginative person--we had a long back-and-forth of planning for the feeling and look of the piece.  It was originally going to be a thoughtful gift for his wife, but Michael admitted when we exchanged that it became mainly for himself... Self-gifts are important.

There was another contrast between this piece and the work I make for myself.  I am a coward with words and have never considered incorporating text in my own work. I realize this may sound counterintuitive or wasteful (I'm using a typewriter all wrong!), but I really just enjoy using the typewriter as a straightforward drawing tool--using apostrophes and asterisks for fine lines and percentages and pounds for shading or to make velvet black, without incorporating subtext.  Plus, there are people like Leslie Nichols using the same tool to create incredible things utilizing text and meaning and order in such an overwhelmingly beautiful way.  Yes, a hero of mine. Michael had asked me to incorporate a quote from Ernest Becker's book The Denial Of Death, as a secret message, not necessarily detectable, "like a little hidden Easter egg for [himself]". What a lovely project. Thanks Michael!

Monday, January 11, 2016

In A Dream: Walgreen's Version Of Beetlejuice

I don't normally write. Nor do I post non-visual things here.  However, now that I've finally replaced my laptop, I can capture my dreams fresh and lazily while my eyes are still closed and I lie in bed. Yes, we all hate hearing about people's dreams--but read it anyway:

The scene is first person, myself watching “Beetlejuice” at the bar of Gladstone Street Pizza, where there is no TV in real life. The movie is just beginning, which then becomes fullscreen:

A male narrator's voice is heard over an aerial pan of a suburban neighborhood, a diagonal view of one small wooden house and one larger brick one.  They are both one-story, but the larger one hovers over two garages. The narrator explains that his family had swapped houses with the neighbors since they kept having kids. He hinted at a subtle point of contention regarding the confusion caused by the neighbors' last-born pair of kids being given the same first names as he and his sister.

It then pans to the mom and dad emerging from their champagne colored luxury vehicle, with a ramp coming out and everyone parading out of the vehicle after them. The narrator describes each one, first the human children who are descriptionless and inconsequential, but are quickly followed by the important brand of hypoallergenic dog. She comes out on a motorized skateboard and has breast implants. They are furry modest breasts. There’s a second dog, more of a terrier, also on a motorized board and had “the best calves on a dog despite its inability to walk” according to the narrator.  Apparently he had implants, too.

Then we see a clip of the human family on an unidentifiable game-show. The narrator describes boring characteristics of his neighbors, but I am absently watching the movie, so I can’t remember what he says about them.  They are in front of a velvet cornflower-crayon colored curtain, posing and attempting to do a classic nineties “jump up and have the camera freeze on a shot of everyone in the air and looking great” but it fails fabulously and they are mid-smile and squatting instead.  Mom looks the most awkward, but is the only person with any remarkable features, resembling Sarah Silverman.

There is suddenly a flash of another scene from the middle of the movie. Lidia (a Walgreen's version, not Winona Ryder) is in a dark kitchen, trying to avoid dancing at a party of ghouls.  She’s cornered by a looming male figure: a smelly, overbearing angel. In this world, angels are filled with straw.  The angel doesn’t resemble the archetype—it looks like Lux Interior in an ill-fitting tuxedo.  Our heroine finally gets annoyed by his odor and unremarkable dancing and, squinting, pulls handfuls of straw out of the Lux-alike's abdomen.  A second angel, also very unlike the archetype, is roughly two feet tall, can float and is wearing what would annoy you if you saw someone in public dressed up as a circus performer for no good reason. He solemnly snatches pathetically small piles of straw in trips, floating in the style of a bumble-bee to stuff back into the Lux-alike who is lying dramatically on his back like Goya etched him.  The floating angel shakes his head disapprovingly at Lidia without looking at her directly and mutters in a tiny voice “so naughty, so naughty” as he takes endless trips stuffing his friend.

Before I forget, it then returns to first-person.  A guy at the bar leans over to explain to me why the family’s failed freeze frame is funny.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

So Long, Chromaphobia

I've spent nearly a decade with an aversion to using color. This stemmed from my initial love for etching and aquatint--what's the point of introducing color when you can play endlessly with undulating values?!--as well as a fear and lack of understanding color itself and how to use it.

I've discussed my fear of painting with many friends. The biggest drawback to me is that there are too many variables (brushes, marks, materials, translucency, etc) and then on top of it, color and all of its endless avenues.  As my friend Keegan pointed out, I enjoy being able to make a mistake--hence using the typewriter, etching an image in steel, or using permanent marker and rubbing alcohol to make a drawing. I enjoy using tools which provide some kind of limitation. Light masochism? Cowardice?

Anyway, for the last few months, while actively in a frenzy of high contrast black and white portraiture, I have spent a lot of time passively staring at, thinking about, and appreciating color, as a voyeur. I contemplate the subtle yet overwhelming effects of light on a beige wall alongside the dazzling appearance of vivid colors in nature, ordinary human-made objects, photography, and painting. I have spent a lot of time building imaginary palettes, wondering how things were created, considering the changes in house exteriors I see on my daily routes while illuminating light upon surfaces paired with the sky in the background alters the same view so drastically.

Precious Cargo, in progress
typewritten blue and red ink on Rives BFK

Now that I have finally shrugged off the fear of using color, I'm taking steps to using it directly--and it is mind-bendingly exciting.  Even just pairing two colors--knowing that blue and red make purple because I'm a 30 year old person with rods and cones--is a thrill to watch, and maybe more so because I'm watching it change as it moves through the typewriter.

I'm super excited to use this decade to further consider and actively use color.  I remember an instance pointing to my color-use-paralysis in litho class my sophomore year of college, with Lynn Tomaszewski.  We were doing two- to three-plate printing, and while my other classmates were playing with the overlap of various colors and values and how that affected different areas of an image, I was resigned to using an fiery red, shapes of color without texture or changes in value under a black plate which held all of the outlining visual information. The same went for my color work in screen-printing and intaglio, too. I am still working through this--in Dominic In Blue, it's hardly an exercise in color use, but it's a fun monochromatic study--a focus on using different tools (I used only "/" for the flesh).  And I just drool over that cerulean ribbon!

Dominic In Blue, 2016
typewritten blue ink on Rives BFK
8 x 10 inches

I am looking forward to escaping this paralysis, this rigid thinking I have with color.  The typewriter, since it naturally provides limitations (in mark-making, width allowance, material), is actually helpful in allowing me to hand myself over to color.  By providing these limitations, it allows me to be more flexible and carefree within the realm of color.  While color choice is still limited--there aren't endless ribbon colors like there are tubes of paint, but as we all know from living in a world covered in CMYK-printed things, I still have a pretty free range. Plus I recently learned that Ace Typewriter has pink and green ribbons in addition to the blue and purple that I've already added to my chromatic collection!

This rigidity is still present in my first attempt at creating a four-color CMYK typewriter-drawing.  I separated the layers of a color photograph in Photoshop and had each layer printed so that I could copy the predetermined colors exactly.  Being that I haven't yet located a yellow ribbon, I have substituted the use of Saral yellow transfer paper secured to the Rives BFK and running it through with the photocopy secured on top and typing over all three layers, doing the Y-layer blind, so to speak.

Self Portrait, in-progress 4-color typewritten ink and 

I plan to continue working in a way using the CMYK process, but instead of relying on the predetermined layers given to me, trying to use my own brain to imagine how hard/soft or dense/loose to apply each layer.  Though I bought this book years ago, I'm currently reading Island of The Colorblind by one of my favorite authors, self-proclaimed neuro-anthropologist Oliver Sacks (RIP). I recognize my privilege in being able to see and appreciate color.  In the book, he discusses his friend and colleague, Knut, an achromatope, "who has never seen color...has experienced only the positivity of vision, and has built up a world of beauty and order and meaning on the basis of what he has." I am excited to navigate this new personal appreciation and bask in the magic of color.  Now go read the book.

Top-Heavy, 2016
collaged typewritten purple and red ink on paper
10 x 13 inches

The last thing--I look forward immensely to exhibiting my latest typewriter-drawings (some in color) at my upcoming shows this February: first a solo exhibition at Darling Press (endless gratitude to Nele and Jen for connecting us and making this show happen!) and several pieces will be featured in a drawing show curated by Robert Tomlinson at the Western Oregon University. More details to come...stay tuned!