Sunday, April 29, 2007

Craft Congress, Pandora Success

Pandora's Trunk yesterday went amazingly well! The new venue, which I still need to co back and restore to its original state, was fantastic. My helpers were super-helpful! I will post more details later but there is much still to do (we gave away fabulous prizes. To who? well, er, I've got to do the drawing yet.) In the meanwhile you can read this report of the recent conference I attended. Autumn and I sat next to each other at dinner (as you can see from my weird-face picture. I hope that's a weird face. is that really what I look like?) on the first night and became good friends. I have a giant binder of files waiting to be processed still from that trip too, but now you can read a bit about the conference. It gave me tons of ideas, too, but now I get to implement them for my next show!

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Pandora's Trunk frantic preparations

The show is in just a few days and I feel pretty prepared - all I have to do is stock up on my own work - oops! I am all prepared for the show, though - even having made signs and everything. I could always do a little more promoting, naturally, and have to buy booze later today (vewy impowtant!) but other than that just need to sew sew sew and paint paint paint. A new friend agreed to help set up food and then proceeded to plan to drop it off entire and ready moments before the show starts. Yes ma'am! I have added a great new designer, Darina Drapkin, to the lineup. I have no doubt that her prices will be rather high but her work.... oh, her work. You'll just have to come see.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Derek Kirk Kim is totally cute

I spent all weekend at the Alternative Press Expo and had a blast. People were very appreciative of my work (i sold a bunch of little paintings!) and I must have distributed about a thousand cards for Pandora's Trunk. I also got to meet a comic whose work I really like, Derek Kirk Kim. I spent the first day squeezed in next to one of R. Crumb's contemporaries, who was hawking vintage comics of that era. It was an era of filth humor, though, so the comics are all things like "Twat" and "Jizz". He just kept calling out obscenities, the names of the comics, over and over again. The second day of the event those guys didn't come back so I got to spread out over the whole table - and had way better love from the audience as a result!

Pandora's Trunk is coming fast and furious - this weekend! Our live screenprinter bailed at the last minute so I have been trying to put together some kind of art production performance and fill the extra space that was created. I am putting some polishing touches on the website; I spent all day making signs and paperwork and screwing around with a recalcitrant printer, and answering as many goddamn emails as I could possibly manage - way not enough. Sometimes being a professional artist is not very goddamn exciting at all.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Mad Science

While cleaning my office today I came across this picture from False Profit's Alchemy party last month. Much mad science was performed.

I am making more spiky hair worms in last-minute preparation for the Alternative Press Expo this weekend - two jampacked days of indie press freakfest. Mmmmm. I have a ton of paintings done up and packed, I am shoveling out the leftovers of the postchristmas madness in my life and Laurie Anderson is playing on my headphones. One week till Pandora's Trunk!

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Pandora's Trunk goes nuclear

... in the good way, I mean. I managed to land a small cash sponsorship so there will be food, a decent spread of food. I think that I have professional help for this spread, so those of you who have been saying that I need it for years finally get your satisfaction. This goes along with the booze that we always have, naturally. I'm looking forward to a show that doesn't start with me moving every couch and bicycle in the house. The new art gallery venue combined with some theatrical assistance from the Magic Theatre (a small stage and some theatrical curtains) is really taking the show to another level of polish. The artists are mostly coordinated and complementary and the painter who did the show that will be up at the gallery will be present selling his comic book. What a strange assortment you will meet! I feel pretty great about the organizational state of the show - I am shining up the website a little right now, tracking down broken links before its usual pre-event onslaught of viewers. As always it's a little bit of a mystery what the result of all this work will be on April 28th, but as I sit here burnishing my armor and sharpening my sword, I feel pretty good about my level of preparedness.

Bring it on.

Pandora’s Trunk - 1 Year Anniversary!

A bi-monthly eclectic arts showcase & fashion sample sale

Saturday April 28th 1-7pm

free admission - live music - free drinks

Mina Dresden Gallery 312 Valencia @ 14th, San Francisco

Visual Vaudeville & Built Burlesque

"Vaudeville" is thought to come from the french ‘voix de ville’, voice of the city. Come let us speak to you. We will tell you a tale of independent artists and designers, making satirical and sexy statements like the vaudevillians of old, out of anything they can lay their dirty little hands on. Our first anniversary is shaping up to be a blowout party! We have busted our old studio at the seams and are coming to you from an all new location where the Mission and SoMa meet.

The event will feature a fashion sample sale, including local firecrackers Miranda Caroligne, Bad Unkl Sista, Medium Reality & the inimitable Shannon Riley.

Artist and screenprinter Marshall Adams, who you may know from his work at Porcelynne, will be there screen printing his designs live onto a shirt of your own choosing. It doesn’t get any more custom than that!

Local musical bombshell Kitten on the Keys will be there playing the sexiest instrument known to womankind, and the smoky-hot Jahmayo will be joining us from LA, guaranteed to be wearing the tightest pants ever donned by a black man who wasn’t Prince.

Indie designers, producers, and artists will be joining us with jewelry, photography, paintings, gourmet chocolate, housewares and more, using leather and feathers, metals precious and base, acrylic plastic, and resin-coated paper along with the traditional ribbons and bows to make you beautiful… with teeth.

Visit our website for a frequently updated roster of artists with pictures and links! Contact us to get involved!

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Going Corpro

Here is dance video. I guess I would call it minimalist breakdancing; it's also an advertisement. This dance troupe does something pretty creative and cool - are they like the monkees, formed by a company for a purpose, or are they like blue man group, formed for the work and then later popular enough to have a viable commercial career? Here is another Youtube video, of a giant piece of artwork (in bed with physics) that can walk under motive power from a gust of wind. This thing certainly cost a pretty penny to build.

At Craft Congress this weekend, Becky and I argued a bit over the idea of corporate sponsorship of indie efforts. It's an interesting issue.

Scion spent a bunch of money sponsoring music events and throwing its swag everywhere in the hip hop community, and there's been a recent backlash against it. They have been sponsoring arts events for a while now as well, including the CC itself. It's interesting that their involvement there was much more low-key; they in fact did not want their logo on materials or branding present in any way. They had an art gallery briefly in hayes valley san francisco. I went to an opening at that gallery; there were cars in the middle of the room, car seats with video games in the corner, and branding everywhere. We ended up getting into a protracted disagreement with security after the opening had ended because they kept trying to empty the public sidewalk outside of the gallery. It was overall a pretty opressively 'corporate' experience. So what has changed from their gallery last year to the Congress today - is it the very different nature of the event? Has the company learned from the backlash, or is it a calculated move to affect the hearts and minds in such and so a way? Does it much matter if the only difference made in your life by their presence is the fat wads of money they give you? Maybe.

When I was in high school I was accepted into a prestigious state-funded summer arts program, Pennsylvania Governor's School for the Arts. We all arrived for our five week program brimming with artistic idealism and a sort of awe at the idea of being part of a community consisting only of artists. A piece of work was collected from each of the visual artists to put on an initial 'portfolio showing', but we were shocked to learn a restriction: no nudes. The state was unwilling to compel its students to view representations of nudity. A nasty feeling crept into my guts to learn that similarly, the literature students were restricted from reading explicit poetry. The dance & acting students could only go so far. Obscene songs would not be allowed. I spoke with the administration over the issue to learn their concerns and generated a solution - an additional show where attendance was not mandatory. The administration encouraged me to do it, giving me an empty studio to occupy. My two 'uncensored' shows were a success - students were able to produce and perform work that would have been forbidden. Alix Olson baked me a cake. The lesson that I took away from this experience, which stays with me to this day, is the idea of how much can be accomplished by working with established authority, on your own terms.

A strange undercurrent of the new indie crafts movement is the sponsorship of events that many promoters are seeking and accepting. Is this a compromise of the integrity of what we do, or voluntary sponsorship of the arts, good citizenship on the part of corporations? I think each case is different, and each relationship must be examined with care. I also think that the arts have never been lucrative, and the idea of corporate citizenship acts must be considered because those big entities are not going away, and they are not going to stop having all the money. The fact of the matter is that money is the way that our society places value on time and at some point if a profession does not include any money the practitioners of it will not be able to sustainably establish a career. Career span allows an artist or artisan to hone finer points of craft and understanding, allowing these fundamental aspects of our culture to move forward, making progress the same way technology or medicine must progress. The anarchistic bent inside of me looks forward to a time when we can all support ourselves diffusely, through person-to-person interactions. If in the meantime I can get a hand up towards this goal without being asked to compromise my goals, I am going to examine the hand stretched towards me for filth and then, detecting none, grasp it firmly and reach upwards.