I participate in Na Omi Judy Shintani's mandala project every year. Starting January 1 we make a mandala a day for the next 12 days. Participants find mandalas in all kinds of ways - photographing round objects, drawing, painting, collaging, printing. I make mine in my tiny art journal at the beginning of each month to inspire or remind. I use various media from drawing, painting, stamping, cutting paper to collage. It's a pleasure to come upon a mandala at the beginning of the month, especially as the year wears on, because I would have forgotten and be reminded of the image + word. I like to come up with the words first, then make mandalas about them. The words are meant to inspire and to trigger an action. This is also a good way to turn art-making into a daily practice right from the beginning of the year.
I participate in the Postal Collage project every year hosted by the Round Table Collaboration. They randomly assign five or so participants into a group to make collages in the round. This collaboration consists of adding elements to each other's collages with very little restriction.
At the beginning of September I created a collage with torn paper repaired untidily with band-aids, a childhood photo, and fragments of mail. I deliberately left room for people to add things to it. Although the rules require sending collages once a month, my group was exuberant and collages started arriving well in advance of the deadlines. I had to make sure I kept them in order so as not to mess with the sequence. According to the schedule, I was supposed to receive my original collage back on February 1, 2023 but it came back in early December, 2022.
My collage was unrecognizable. After everyone was through, the torn paper had been neatly mended and the entire sheet was covered with cute animal and plant images with just my photo and the words "I do believe in a right to privacy" left over from the original. I saw individualized narratives rather than a cohesive whole. I could not relate to the cute elements. I set the collage aside and went to London for the Holidays.
Back this week, I took the collage with me to Collage-a-Rama, a monthly collage-making evening at Arc Gallery. There, I looked at it with fresh eyes and gave myself permission to alter significantly. I decided to go with the small newspaper clippings on surveillance and privacy on the top right side of the paper. I found a page of middle-aged men faces in GQ magazine; the faces reminded me of G-men. I used them to make over the animal faces. I also had a sheet of rub-on lettering and decided to add random text into the collage.
The next day, I had a break-through. Using lettering stickers, I added Nextdoor discussion threads about break-ins, catalytic converter thefts, loud noises, theft of packages, recall of Chesa Boudin, police apathy and attacks on progressive politics in San Francisco. I transformed a sweetly nostalgic collage of flowers, greenery, beloved cats and cute bunnies into a raucous commentary about this moment in time in San Francisco. I like the result, even if the collage is a lot busier than what I normally would compose.
I am organizing a postcard exhibit with the theme, "I Do Believe," on opinions about abortion. The woman’s right to abortion in the United States became Federal law on January 22, 1973 through the Supreme Court Case, Roe v. Wade. Individual states could no longer have their own laws that would contradict the provisions of this Supreme Court decision. But the passage of Roe v. Wade did not put the issue of abortion rights to rest. Recent cases under review in the Supreme Court may change or overturn abortion rights in many States. There are widespread disagreements among United States politicians, media, and citizens about abortion. I would like to receive your personal point of view about this complex and difficult topic. I am seeking postcards with viewpoints on all sides of the abortion issue from artists and non-artists, in the US and overseas. The purpose of this exhibition is to share beliefs, opinions and experiences on all sides of this issue. For more information and to participate, go here: littlemailbox.blogspot.com/2022/01/call-for-art-i-do-believe-postcard-show.html
I belong to a monthly group called Collage-a-Rama that meets in our gallery once a month to make collages. We haven't had many physical gatherings in the last couple of years because of Covid and various other reasons. We do an annual show and it's coming up in April. The group decided to do a group project called "Cut Along the Dotted Line." We made 6x6 inch collages on board, that will be displayed together. Mine are made with old calendar pages, cardboard houses, political posters and origami and the quote is by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.
A Diarist's Table
I have set my table in the manner of a 10th century poet. Sei Shonagon was a highly educated woman of acerbic wit, lighting fast imagination and a keen eye for fashion and manners. She was famous for her diary, called “The Pillow Book.”
“One day a minister brought the Empress a bundle of notebooks.
‘What shall we do with them?’ Her Majesty asked me. ‘The Emperor already has enough.’
‘Let me make them into a pillow,’ I said.
“Very well,” said her Majesty. “You may have them.”
I now have a vast quantity of paper at my disposal and I set about filling the notebooks with odd facts, stories from the past, and all sorts of other things, often including the most trivial material.”
I have set my table with modern, ancient objects that might have delighted her:
Ladies Room #2
Mague Calanche sent the above digital image. She was painting a shower curtain with these images. I thought it was quite interesting and decided to explore women's pubic hair as a topic. I found a cool online vendor called Only Mannequins that sold inexpensive plastic torsos. The order via Amazon took much longer than expected: 10 days for piece to arrive. When it finally arrived, I add gesso to the body and because I had to wait so long to get started, I decided to just adhere rubber bands to the torso via gel medium. I wanted to give a sense of fleshiness. I also had perfect pubic hair material - curly hair wig, which I braided with a wire inserted. I am not 100% satisfied with this piece. I have ordered another torso and will lay down the rubber bands more flatly on the torso. I will spend longer than the few weeks Art Tag afforded me, to create a more fleshy torso. And I may decided to cut the flesh out from the torso so that it ends up being drapey, rather than solid. Feeling inspired!!!
Art Tag "Ladies Room" Piece #1
"I've got a meeting in the ladies' room
I'll be back real soon
I've got a meeting in the ladies' room
I'll be back real soon
I've got a meeting in the ladies' room
I'll be back real soon"
~ lyrics from Klymaxx song
My first thought was to create an uber-feminine piece with frills and White Shoulders perfume but that wasn't what the ladies room really meant to me as a young person. It was a place where girls went to experiment with makeup, blue contact lenses and false eyelashes... a place where adult fantasies were played out through makeup, dress up, smoking and drinking. That was in the 1960's. Today, it's cos-play and cross-dressing. So who do I want to be?
Pris, the basic pleasure model replicant in Blade Runner. She had superhuman strength and the punk-edge beauty that seduced the human male. I remember her leaping out darkness in a warehouse-like building - a flash of violence and beauty.
The theme picked by Arc artists for the 2016 studio artists' exhibit is "Identity." This topic didn't resonate for me until the pressure of pulling together something for the show got me going. My selection is a combination of old and new work. There's even a piece I made for Art Tag.
Alien American: Asian American, Mixed Media 2008
Our Hearts Beat As One
Work in progress for Crossing to Safety.
white marker, double-sided tape, scissors, black paint, glue stick