Since 2017, it has been impossible to turn away from American politics. It is like living within the pages of a Shakespearean tragedy, where social order is frayed by pestilence, unstable rulers, and torch-wielding protesters. Whether this epic book will end in tragedy or comedy, no one knows.
As a minor character in this story, I endeavor to document everything in real time with my art. Many of my political pieces were created through an amassing of artwork I made or collected every day. By adhering to a daily discipline, I was able to stay true to the moment, and tap into the emotion I was feeling.
I prefer to use paper in many of my compositions, particularly readily available, disposable material such as advertising postcards, candy wrappers, political paraphernalia and magazines. Braille magazines have a particular appeal in their tactile hand, exclusion of sight-reading and the repelling of clean, straight lines. As a multidisciplinary artist, I also enjoy collaboration.
As a United States citizen and member of civil society I feel a responsibility to stay engaged in the democratic process. My commitment to this engagement is through my art.
First 100 Days
Using the bumpy pages of Braille magazines as my canvas, I have selected and drawn an event that has occurred over each of the first 100 plus days of the Presidency. Over days, weeks and months I painted over the white Braille pages and drew, stenciled and numbered the days. More than ever before, families, friends and the community are irredeemably divided by political affiliations and beliefs. The Braille pages, difficult to draw on, difficult to keep lines straight, are reminders of the acute blindness that has overcome the President, his followers, the opposition, the media, the politicans and US residents- legal and otherwise. It represents fear and anger in the pitch darkness of fake news and fumbling attempts to decipher the bombshells of each new day. The President may seem isolated, but we are not much different.
Click on the image above to view the online book
2017. Artists' Book, 112 pages, Coptic Binding. 21" W(open) x 10.5"H x 2"D.
This quilt was made in 2020, during the height of the Covid outbreak. The President downplayed the seriousness of Covid by performing a year-long stand-up comic routine about the spread of the disease. I tried to capture as many of his words as possible on this quilt. I cut up silk neckties, symbols of the Establishment and Wall Street, and arranged them chaotically to represent the economic turmoil of 2020. The sparkling bugle beads and sequins portray the invisible scattering of the coronavirus through spittle and speech. I used broken pieces of women’s garments and added reprehensible, patriotic, racist, and religious symbols to show how the President exploited everyone and everything for his own benefit. While piecing this quilt in May, I began to understand his disquieting purpose: to incite his base to rise up and create civil disorder if he lost the election in November, 2020.
2020 Mixed media crazy quilt, 19.5 x 20.5 inches
What gave me hope in October, 2020 was the record-breaking number of people who had voted already or planned to vote in the upcoming elections, no matter what. The news media and politicians’ repeated pleas to vote as if our lives depended on it, were being heard. I decided to create a traveling ballot box, along the tradition of Travelocity’s Traveling Gnome. The box is covered with election paraphernalia, mostly donated from strangers via the Nextdoor App. The traveling ballot box started its journey in our back yard, then visited various places around San Francisco. It stopped in downtown Glen Park, 24th Street in the Mission, SOMA (South of Market), Arc Gallery, City Hall, The Tenderloin, Chinatown, Financial District, Ferry Building, North Beach and Coit Tower. Driving the Ballot Box around, I was struck by how empty the San Francisco streets felt because of Covid, yet how beautiful this City was, and how fortunate I was to live here.
2020, mixed media, photography on location.
At a Young and Tender Age
In the United States we are given guns to play with at a young and tender age. Gunplay embeds our imagination through songs and stories and moving pictures. Through peer pressure we learn to thrill to our fear, playing at stalking, chasing, shooting. Death is made all right by resurrecting the dead when the game is finished. Our play distorts what is right and what is wrong, what is real and what is not.
2020 Mixed Media Fiber Art, 30.5 x 36 inches. Quilt with tumbling blocks, images of rag dolls, toy badges, patches, names of children killed by gun violence.
Liar Liar Pants On Fire
These briefs symbolize the 1980s when Brett Kavanaugh and other well-to-do boys came of age, raised on party flicks like Risky Business, Valley Girl, Fast Times at Ridgemont High, House Party and Pretty in Pink. Mimicking Hollywood, they partied their asses off, trashed homes, wrecked cars, drank and vomited to excess, and grabbed pussy mostly without consequence. It didn’t matter that the girls said stop. Their behavior was forgiven. Boys will be boys. Girls were silenced, disbelieved, slut-shamed. Their anger burned without end. At some point boys like Kavanaugh sobered up and old-boy-networked into jobs that clothed them in suits of impeccable respectability. It was easy to forget the past. No harm. No foul. No proof. His word against hers. Liar, liar pants on fire. The witch hunt is just beginning.
2018, Mixed Media, Tyvek men’s briefs set on fire mounted on fine Italian suiting.
Political Action Group
What women are the power brokers in Congress today? Who are the up and comers in politics? The braille book format punctuates the danger of turning a blind eye to politics and allowing extremists to move our nation in the wrong direction. The women painted on these pages are current and future politicians. Through them I hope we will reverse the current trend and expand environmental protection, immigration rights and access to healthcare; solidify LGBT rights; protect reproductive rights; and implement gun control.
2018, Artist book: 20 pages pamphlet stitched braille book, 10 x 10 inches, 20 pages.
Deep State Conspiracy
Q-Anon is a leaderless populist movement made up of people who believe in no one and believe almost anything. Fed breadcrumbs of information by an anonymous government official called “Q” through an anonymous website, followers believe that special prosecutor Robert Mueller is in secret alliance with Trump to expose and arrest Hillary and Bill Clinton for their child sex-trafficking operation. At recent Trump rallies believers have been spotted wearing Q teeshirts.
This Braille book explores "passages" in two forms: the shuffling of White House personnel in alarming succession and verbal and written passages associated with these individuals. I selected words that best fit the characters, whether Senate testimony, on-the-record media interviews, declarations of Trump loyalty, fake media coverage or tweets. See complete book online: www.yumpu.com/xx/document/view/59379304/fun-house-passages-2017
August, 2017, Artist's Book, 20 pages, pamphlet stitched, 10.5" x 10.5". Paint and ink on Braille.
2017. Indigo-dyed handmade paper and handmade Japanese momi paper. 32.5" width x 76" length. An alt flag for dark times held together with safety pins. The pins represent individuals willing to stand in solidarity with vulnerable groups maligned by Trump.
2017. Indigo-dyed handmade paper and handmade Japanese momi paper. 32.5" width x 76" length.
Little Furious Monster (Voodoo Doll for Democrats)
All those needles of resistance add up and not entirely through black magic either.
2017. Inkjet print on fabric with doll hair, pins and paper. Box contains artificial turf and flag fragment. 7" width x 9" height x 1" thick.