art

Oh, Fall, You Cruel Mistress

I love this time of year, I said, in super serious sincerity.
Jeans.
Boots.
Chunky sweaters. (HAHAHAHAHAhahahaha just kidding. It hasn’t been lower than 75 and it’s going to be 93 on Friday.)
Hot drinks make more sense (because I drink them even in the sweltering heat of summer).
Less people at the beach, which leaves more room to enjoy the gorgeous sunsets.
The promise of holidays around the corner and the chance to see family.
Things feel, I don’t know, more cozy.

And then it all starts to tilt sideways.

The first thing that happens is my mind starts to whirrrr with the possibilities of ideas. This part is exiting! Yay! New ideas! And then the moon turns blood red and mercury goes into retrograde and too many people get into pumpkin flavored EVERYTHING [Et Tu, Chobani!?] and whoopsie, that’s where the tilting starts.

Just when I’m thinking about all the awesome things I’d like to do, my mind/body won’t cooperate. Like, Shut Down for business. Taking a shower becomes an Olympic event and staring out the window at the dappled sunshine on the patio is as much movement that happens for hours. The leaves are so beautiful! They’re so beautiful I guess I’ll cry about it.

I remember this. It happens in the fall of every year. Some years it’s more severe than others. The cosmic energy shifts and suddenly watching a documentary narrated by David Attenborough where a seal pup doesn’t make it will keep me in tears for hours because the pup’s mom is clearly in pain and grieving as she bellows into the rocks and hugs her lifeless pup with her neck and chest and head.

And then one afternoon I’m skimming through feeds and follow a link to a NYT piece about Rosemary Kennedy and I can’t sleep, the pain and grief are so poignant and sharp in my chest. (Seriously, don’t read that, or anything about Rosemary Kennedy’s life if you aren’t in a strong place.) I can barely whisper, “I read about Rosemary Kennedy’s life today,” to Joe as he’s falling asleep. “Do you need to go talk to someone about that,” asks Joe, who of course has previously understood how unfairly she was treated and is now looking at me with eyes filled with great concern, understanding how deeply I might be feeling this.

I shake my head no, wait for him to start breathing deeply, and then turn over and play a couple of hours of Nat Geo Bonza puzzles on my phone until my mind numbs enough and I can join him. The sound of Joe’s steady breathing pulls me into dreams where old, tired scenes are played out filled with people from my past.

When I woke up this morning I realized two things:
1. This is my 44th year on this planet and not one previous fall ever prepares me for the one-two-punch of a coming September and October.
2. If fall is all about the holidays, I’m making a new one called The Autumnal Melancholia Festival (trademark copyright hashtagCryTogether hashtagSeasonOfFeelings). We shall wear jeans, boots, chunky sweaters, (HAHAHAHA) sit around sipping hot lavender tea (that’s a thing, right?) and cry about deeply moving things that hurt our hearts this time of year. We can be introspective and clear our throats a lot. I might have some clever hankies in a drawer somewhere. We’ll do art. You’re all invited. Bring a scarf and a dark-colored, corduroy jacket. No membership fees. Who’s in?

LeahAge4

I made this drawing of me at age 4. I wanted to remember that at one time, I did have sparkle in my eyes and I was happy as a kid. My thoughts this time of year turn inky, deep, and sad, so it helps to look at this version of myself while I wait for November to arrive. And November WILL arrive, my friends. (If you’re reading this, you aren’t annihilated. Congratulations. And life continues as per usual. Starting after The Autumnal Melancholia Festival, I mean.)

Fussy’s FBA Drawing

You all know of Eden‘s drawings project, yes? Well, much to my delight, and I don’t just throw that word around lightly, I got one of my very own thanks to my husband’s planning and sneakery.

Of all the things Eden could have put in my drawing, she chose The Bear, which is one of my favorite things she draws. And he’s a friendly bear that’s just kind of friendily swatting at the birds helping him hold up the banner. Like they’re old pals. You can practically hear the bird twittering, “Oh, you old so-and-so!

It makes me smile every day.

Selfies From 1990something

I neglected to date these self portraits, one which includes such awkward hand placement, but I remember them being during the late 90s. Sometimes it hurts to go back and look at old work. I’d like to argue with my 8th grade art teacher – sometimes there is such a thing as bad art. As @superjules so aptly said, So call me maybe?

Broken Glass

I cried the day I broke this green glass bowl from Grandma Jean. I tried to fix it with some glass glue, but as you can see, it is kind of a globby mess. Most likely it will come apart and become part of a painting. Its smaller counterpart survived my butterfingers (photos soon) and I take some comfort in that.

This blue goblet is part of a 10 (now 9) piece set, which I love a lot. The color makes me very happy. The light shining through the glass is beautiful and the unfocused image below might be my favorite. It will be part of a painting someday, too.

Nuvia Crisol Guerra on “Domestic Disobedience”

Nuvia Crisol Guerra is passionate, well-spoken, well-informed and charismatic. It’s easy to see why she was chosen to be the guest-curator of such an important show focusing on the Latina experience: Domestic Disobedience, Redefining the Feminine Space.

It all started with an essay by Amalia Mesa-Bains, entitled Domesticana: The Sensibility of Chicana Rasquache. Nuvia said it so closely spoke to her own experience, that she knew she wanted it as the focus of the show.

Amalia Mesa-Bains’ essay speaks to the esthetic of Chicano art, how rasquachismo comes out of simple survival; in the home, their personal lives and in the studio. It’s using objects that they’ve known their entire lives – what’s been around them – in a new way.

Nuvia tells me about how growing up, her parents would grow plants in broken coffee pots or milk jugs, whatever they had. She tells me about visiting her family in Mexico and how they placed used tires to create a retaining wall. “It’s about using elements for something where they are not supposed to be used, because it comes down to survival and it’s then reflected in Chicano art,” she says.

Amalia Mesa-Bains’ essay includes the civil rights movement, the Chicano movement and the gender stratification that starts in the home. “I’m a visual artist and my work has always focused on the Latina experience and my personal experience as Latina, and the conflicts and challenges I’ve had, and the choices that I’ve made in having an education, getting married much later than my parents would have liked, and my choice of not having children,” Nuvia tells me.

Thinking about all those conflicts and challenges, I looked at other artists to see how they were resolving some of these conflicts, how it was coming out in their work.”

“Even though these female artists were involved in the Chicano movement, once it became about their home, they still had the challenges, had these roles they had to fulfill, and if they didn’t, a conflict was created with their spouses, within their family, and at times were too much to bare. This is not only amongst women of color, but all women artists.”

“All that has resonated with me as I decided to make art more, a bigger part of my life. It’s scary to think about becoming a sustainable artist and putting together all my skills to succeed and to do this as a professional career. Pretty much what I’ve learned … is that it’s at all costs,” Nuvia tells me.

Here’s a look behind the scenes of Domestic Disobedience with Nuvia at the San Diego Mesa College Art Gallery (Exhibition and artist details below the video):

Domestic Disobedience, Redefining the Feminine Space
San Diego Mesa College Art Gallery

Location: Art Gallery – D101 and Gallery Courtyard
Dates: March 15 – April 19, 2012
Hours: MTW 11-4 pm, Thursday 11 – 8 pm. Closed Fridays, weekends and school holidays.
Reception: Thursday, March 15, 5:00 – 7:00 pm D101 and Gallery Courtyard
Artist Panel Discussion: 7:00 pm in G-101
Artists Present: Ana Teresa Fernandez (SD), Carolyn Castano (LA), Sonia Romero (LA), Angelica Muro (SJ), Viviana Paredes (SF)

Exhibiting Artist:

Juana Alicia
Claudia Alvarez
Carolyn Castano
Ana Teresa Fernandez
Ester Hernandez
Delilah Montoya
Angelica Muro
Viviana Paredes
Isis Rodriguez
Sonia Romero
Amalia Mesa-Bains

San Diego Artist: Perry Vasquez, Part 1

(Posted at San Diego Union Tribune)

Yesterday I posted about Alexander Jarman, who is curating a show at the Southwestern College Art Gallery called More Real Than Life: An Exhibition of Contemporary Collage.

Today I’m focusing on Perry Vasquez, the gallery director, and artist in his own right.

Perry was nice enough to let me come to the Southwestern College Art Gallery to see the show coming together. It’s great to go see a show on opening night and view all the pieces, plumped up in the perfect light and showing off their party dresses, but there is something altogether fascinating to me about getting a behind-the-scenes look at the parts that make up the finished show. The nitty gritty, if you will. It’s enough to whet your appetite and make you hungry for opening night.

I’ve got another video coming of Perry, which I hope to post early next week, that focuses on his own work. The following video is a sneak peak into the upcoming exhibition, More Real Than Life.

SHOW DETAILS:

Thursday, March 8: Opening
Artist Talk for Students and Staff: 12 p.m., Reception 11-1
Public Reception: 6-10 p.m. Artist Talk 7-7:30 p.m.
Light refreshments provided

Southwestern College is located at 900 Otay Lakes Road in Chula Vista, California. Gallery hours are Monday-Thursday, 9-5

Exhibiting Artists:

Sadie Barnette, Based in San Diego, CA.
Mike Calway-Fagen, Based in San Diego, CA.
Troy Dugas, Based in Lafayette, Louisiana.
Lola Dupre, Based in Avignon, France.
Chris Kardambikis, Based in San Diego, CA.
Gordon Magnin, Based in Los Angeles, CA.
Morgan Manduley, Based in San Diego, CA.
May-ling Martinez, Based in San Diego, CA.
Arturo Medrano, Based in New York City, NY.
Jason Sherry, Based in San Diego, CA.
Joshua Tonies, Based in San Diego, CA.

San Diego Artist: Alexander Jarman

Alexander Jarman shows me his studio. He wears a tie and a sweater. His manner is quiet and professional and perhaps a bit reserved. At least until you get him talking about something he cares about: Art. Then, his face lights up and he becomes someone you’d like to pull a chair up closer to, and drink great coffee with, while he explains how William S. Burroughs and the dadaists were collage artists.

I got to experience one of Alexander’s projects he did with his sister and fellow artist, Savannah Jarman, called the Picnic Project. The Jarmans collected fabric and created a 1000ft picnic blanket, which debuted at last year’s Art Labs during the San Diego Art Fair.

Alexander’s studio is small and cozy. He’s a collage artist, so piles of snipped papers are everywhere. It’s a bit of a treat for your eyes, these pieces he puts together. Colors, images, shapes and logos you recognize, cut, arranged and glued together in new ways.

Alexander is curating a show at the Southwestern College Art Gallery which opens this Thursday night, March 8th (details below the video): More Real Than Life, An Exhibition of Contemporary Collage.

Thursday, March 8: Opening
Artist Talk for Students and Staff: 12 p.m., Reception 11-1
Public Reception: 6-10 p.m. Artist Talk 7-7:30 p.m.
Light refreshments provided

Southwestern College is located at 900 Otay Lakes Road in Chula Vista, California. Gallery hours are Monday-Thursday, 9-5

Exhibiting Artists:

Sadie Barnette, Based in San Diego, CA.
Mike Calway-Fagen, Based in San Diego, CA.
Troy Dugas, Based in Lafayette, Louisiana.
Lola Dupre, Based in Avignon, France.
Chris Kardambikis, Based in San Diego, CA.
Gordon Magnin, Based in Los Angeles, CA.
Morgan Manduley, Based in San Diego, CA.
May-ling Martinez, Based in San Diego, CA.
Arturo Medrano, Based in New York City, NY.
Jason Sherry, Based in San Diego, CA.
Joshua Tonies, Based in San Diego, CA.

Boo!

Adorable Ghost Snow Dude created by Tony. GSD is our only Halloween decoration, as I dislike Halloween with the heat of a thousand suns. But when your son makes you an adorable Ghost Snow Dude, well, what can I say. My tiny, shriveled Halloween heart grew three sizes that day.

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