Monday, April 30, 2007

Illustration Friday: Remember...

This is a piece that I completed a few years ago. Normally I don't like using old work for Illustration Friday, as I think part of the challenge is illustrating the topic at that moment and working under the time constraints. However, when I was trying to figure out what I wanted to do for this week's theme... all I could do was think about this piece and how if I did anything new it would simply be trying to recreate the original.

The piece is made up of several different pieces of paintings that I had done over the past five years. The materials have a physical memory. I had sewn them together and then loosely painted a self-portrait over it. The body of work that this came out of dealt a lot with self-reflection and remembering who I was and the changes that happen.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Graduation Gift Wish List...

I was talking with a friend about graduation and the topic of graduation presents came up. Normally I dislike asking for specific gifts. Part of the fun of gift-giving, I think is finding exactly the right gift... by way of happenstance or by strategic investigation. However, my friend made an excellent point: "Why get another coffee pot or toaster oven or something you really don't want or need?"

So I decided to compose a list of suggestions:

  • Art: I love art. I just started collecting it. My collection is super tiny, so I'm looking to add to it. I tend to go for smaller pieces since I don't have any space. I don't care if the artist is famous or not. And if given by another artist, I usually give a piece in exchange. I really believe in creating a dialogue between artists. I would pass out if I got a piece by Dianca Phelps or Lucas Samaras or Kiki Smith.
  • Raffle Ticket at Momenta's Annual Benefit: Along the same lines as the previous idea, it adds to my art collection and supports a great cause.
  • Art books: I am obsessed with collecting books on art. When I used to have a bigger budget, I would buy an art book (or two or three) every week. I have been trying to track down two books for the past few years. Agnes Martin: The Nineties and Beyond and Ross Bleckner: Watercolor. I also have been planning to buy Jutta Koether's new book.
  • Tea: I love tea. I especially like receiving it as a gift, because it is an invitation to conversation. I like gifts that can be shared.
  • A Bottle of Wine or Champagne or Prosecco: Again, I like gifts that can be shared and promote conversation. I especially like to see what people's favorites are and trying them out.
  • Chocolate: I'm a chocolate whore. I almost got a job at a chocolate store/kitchen just so that I could learn all their secrets. Fancy truffles make my heart swoon.
  • Anne Choi Beads: Anne Choi is one of my all-time favorite bead artists. I have a small collection of her work and pick up a piece here or there whenever I can. I hardly use them in my designs, as I'd much prefer to keep them in my treasure chest to fondle at my leisure. The mandrakes are my favorite.
  • Owls: I collect miniature owls that fit in my curio case. Now that my collection is pretty extensive, I only like the really rare ones. Like the Zuni Fetishes or the ever elusive Hagen Renaker Miniature Snowy Owl Figurine.
  • Print Gocco: I was terrible at silkscreening in school, but like the graphic effect and the opportunity to make multiples. Gocco is a seemingly easy-to-use home printing system that I could use to print greeting cards and/or specialized papers and drawings for my collages.
  • A Kiln: I want to start firing my own PMC and ceramics in the comfort of my home. We just won't tell my landlord. I really want to get my jewelry and inspirational items company off the ground. Having a kiln would allow me to easily create new product.
  • A Donation Made in My Name: Now that I'm pretty much broke all the time, I can't afford to support some really great causes that are in need of help. NURTUREart, RAINN (Rape, Abuse, Incest, National Network), and St. Jude Children's Research Hospital are just a few organizations among many others that could use a little help.
  • Dried White Mulberries: I'm a foodie, or rather... a wanna be foodie. I saw an article in Saveur about these Dried White Mulberries that can be purchased at Kalustyan's. I pretty much love Kalustyan's. They have such a wide variety of fine specialty foods. For me, sharing a good meal with someone is the best! It's one of my favorite things in the whole world.
When I finished writing this list, I realized that it was a list of some of my favorite things and that it tells a lot about me and my interests. Gifts and presents are great, but what's really important to me are the connections between people.


After I got out of work today, I went for a little walk. Above is a picture of a tree in the community garden next door to my apartment. It is full of blooms and has fresh new leaves, unfolding bright green amidst clusters of white. Spring is in the air. I feel very refreshed today and will start tackling the task of setting up my studio in my apartment.

City Lights...

After a wonderful dinner at Moto (a new favorite), I ended up on a friend's rooftop, overlooking Manhattan. We weren't alone in enjoying the view. There was a party already going on with many others soaking up the city lights! It was the perfect way to end a long week. Good company, interesting conversations, and sights right out of a PJ Harvey song - what could be better?


Tucked beneath the raised platform of the the JMZ, just under the second stop in Brooklyn, lies Moto. This bohemian 1930's-inspired French cafe is frequented mostly by hipsters and artists, indulging in its vintage ambiance and inexpensive dishes that are out-of-this-world!

I'm usually leery about the no sign on the door establishments that cater to the asymmetrically trimmed, black Converse wearing crowd, but this surprising little gem transcends the stereotypes.

A friend and I indulged in a very tasty Portuguese wine which was on special and then had a few small dishes. We ordered the marinated mushrooms, the manchego with pear, and a lentil dish. All delicious and inexpensive. To end the meal, I ordered the creme brulee. I believe that you can tell a lot about a place just from their creme brulee. Moto's portends a generous, warm atmosphere, not foreign to discussions about art and literature.

Not to mention there was a GOOD live jazz band playing and a horseshoe-shaped bar and a beautiful retro bathroom with a triangular mirror in the corner!

I was hesitant about posting about this restaurant. Why? Because it's my new favorite and I can sometimes be stingy with wonderful little secrets.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

About Afterwards...

It is strange to try and capture everything that goes into the emotions of a show. You work so hard, making the work and installing it and then... something happens. It doesn't just belong to you anymore. More people see what you've made and each one of them takes away a small piece. I also think that each one of them adds a little something as well. Soon, what you've made is completely different from what it was.

During the show, it was great seeing everyone and catching up! The last few weeks have been very stressful. So it was like a giant sigh of relief. But the feeling is strange. I always go through a little sadness when a show is over.

If I didn't have a slew of ideas that I am ready to work on, I'd feel utterly vacant. The times ahead are not so clear, but at least I have my work as my constant.

The Opening...

Here are a couple of my favorite pictures of the event. I have an album in Flickr, which you can access by CLICKING HERE. I'm not used to Flickr yet, so hopefully it works.

Right: Jackie Winsor and I in front of my white on black pieces.

Left: Gissele, Jasmin and Josh (a.k.a. Double J and G.) of 'Wichcraft. They were relaxing in my studio and "muffing." I'm not exactly sure what that was, but it has to do with like biting with your lips on people's cheeks or something.

Right: Christy Zucarelli and I were posing for the camera in front of my new charcoal drawings. I'm really glad that we've stayed in touch, even though it seemed at times we would be lost to each other.

Left: Aurea Tomeski has been one of my most supportive friends here in New York. Even though we are both extremely busy, it still feels as though we are as close as ever.

Right: This is my new co-worker, Kara. She's from Austin, Texas. She's fun! She wore one of the necklaces that I made for Stringing Magazine. It features a piece by Green Girl Studios.

Left: As Natalie Willemsen, an amazing artist who works with stuffed animals and fabrics, was about to head out, I grabbed her for a quick picture. She's a real peach!

Right: It was really great that Lauren Haggis and Riva Arnold could stop by. They are very glamorous and talented artists.

Friday, April 27, 2007

The Show...

Here are a couple images of the studio when everything was finally put together. I finished that morning after a financial aid meeting that I had to go to and before my afternoon class.

I'm really proud of the work that went into the show. I had to edit out tons of stuff, as I literally have hundreds of pieces in all various states of being done. You'll notice a couple of pieces tucked in here or there, not in the normal places... it's fun to hang these and see if people will notice them.

This is another view of the studio. It's all bright and white. I think it goes well with the limited color palette.

I'm glad that everything is up and that the Open Studio is finally over.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007


Last night/early this morning, I found myself in a bit of a panic. I was tired and slightly frustrated at how much progress I wasn't making, and then I just stopped. I sat down, thoughts for a second or two and decided to get up and go home. The sun was just about to come up.

I walked a few extra blocks to the next station, enjoying the chill wet pre-dawn air filling my lungs. There's no reason to panic; no reason to fret; no reason at all to stress. All that's needed is for me to be in the moment and be present.

Still there is much left to be done before the opening tomorrow evening, but I am resolved to do all that needs be done with grace.

BFA Open Studio...

Tomorrow, which is Thursday, April 26th, I will be having my final Open Studio event at the School of Visual Arts. I'm finally graduating. It's a very exciting time for me. I've really been engaged with the work that I'm making right now and am very proud to present it.

Here are the details:

BFA Open Studio at the School of Visual Arts
5 PM to 9 PM
141 West 21st Street, between 6th and 7th Avenue
4th Floor (my studio is by the freight elevators)

It would be an honor and a pleasure if you could join me.

Stop Making Sense...

Here is an interesting article:

Sol LeWitt, writing in 1965, counsels a young Eva Hesse to stop over-thinking her art.

Dear Eva,
It will be almost a month since you wrote to me and you have possibly forgotten your state of mind (I doubt it though). You seem the same as always, and being you, hate every minute of it. Don't! Learn to say "Fuck You" to the world once in a while. You have every right to. Just stop thinking, worrying, looking over your shoulder wondering, doubting, fearing, hurting, hoping for some easy way out, struggling, grasping, confusing, itchin, scratching, mumbling, bumbling, grumbling, humbling, stumbling, numbling, rumbling, gambling, tumbling, scumbling, scrambling, hitching, hatching, bitching, moaning, groaning, honing, boning, horse-shitting, hair-splitting, nit-picking, piss-trickling, nose sticking, ass-gouging, eyeball-poking, finger-pointing, alleyway-sneaking, long waiting, small stepping, evil-eyeing, back-scratching, searching, perching, besmirching, grinding, grinding, grinding away at yourself. Stop it and just DO!

From your description, and from what I know of your previous work and you [sic] ability; the work you are doing sounds very good "Drawing-clean-clear but crazy like machines, larger and bolder... real nonsense." That sounds fine, wonderful - real nonsense. Do more. More nonsensical, more crazy, more machines, more breasts, penises, cunts, whatever - make them abound with nonsense. Try and tickle something inside you, your "weird humor." You belong in the most secret part of you. Don't worry about cool, make your own uncool. Make your own, your own world. If you fear, make it work for you - draw & paint your fear and anxiety. And stop worrying about big, deep things such as "to decide on a purpose and way of life, a consistant [sic] approach to even some impossible end or even an imagined end" You must practice being stupid, dumb, unthinking, empty. Then you will be able to DO!

I have much confidence in you and even though you are tormenting yourself, the work you do is very good. Try to do some BAD work - the worst you can think of and see what happens but mainly relax and let everything go to hell - you are not responsible for the world - you are only responsible for your work - so DO IT. And don't think that your work has to conform to any preconceived form, idea or flavor. It can be anything you want it to be. But if life would be easier for you if you stopped working - then stop. Don't punish yourself. However, I think that it is so deeply engrained in you that it would be easier to DO!

It seems I do understand your attitude somewhat, anyway, because I go through a similar process every so often. I have an "Agonizing Reappraisal" of my work and change everything as much as possible = and hate everything I've done, and try to do something entirely different and better. Maybe that kind of process is necessary to me, pushing me on and on. The feeling that I can do better than that shit I just did. Maybe you need your agony to accomplish what you do. And maybe it goads you on to do better. But it is very painful I know. It would be better if you had the confidence just to do the stuff and not even think about it. Can't you leave the "world" and "ART" alone and also quit fondling your ego. I know that you (or anyone) can only work so much and the rest of the time you are left with your thoughts. But when you work or before your work you have to empty you [sic] mind and concentrate on what you are doing. After you do something it is done and that's that. After a while you can see some are better than others but also you can see what direction you are going. I'm sure you know all that. You also must know that you don't have to justify your work - not even to yourself. Well, you know I admire your work greatly and can't understand why you are so bothered by it. But you can see the next ones and I can't. You also must believe in your ability. I think you do. So try the most outrageous things you can - shock yourself. You have at your power the ability to do anything.

I would like to see your work and will have to be content to wait until Aug or Sept. I have seen photos of some of Tom's new things at Lucy's. They are impressive - especially the ones with the more rigorous form: the simpler ones. I guess he'll send some more later on. Let me know how the shows are going and that kind of stuff.

My work had changed since you left and it is much better. I will be having a show May 4 -9 at the Daniels Gallery 17 E 64yh St (where Emmerich was), I wish you could be there. Much love to you both.


Monday, April 23, 2007

BFA Review...

Here are some pictures of the details from the installation in the studio I had for the BFA reviews. My reviewers were Jackie Winsor and Lynn Umlauf. I just realized that they are both primarily sculptors.

In the installation, I edited the work down quite a lot to only a few pieces from each "wave" of work. I hadn't worked with Lynn before and I wanted to give her a sort of mini-retrospective, which was not a good idea in the long run. However, I think it was effective for me in connecting the dots and seeing the patterns within the work.

To the above left, you can see the development of my very cartoonish white lines on a black ground. I played around with different paint-markers to adjust the thickness of the lines and the brightness of the whites. To the right, you can see some of my collages of sculptures of ancient goddesses, with the line over-laid. I remember reading something that Daniel Buren once wrote on his lines: That the line was the most primal and oldest symbol.

Above: Here is a close-up of the square image

Above: These are the small vellum-overlay collages I had done earlier in the semester.


This is just a quick snap-shot of my studio last night. As you can see, it's quite a mess. I've been very prolific these past few months and that hasn't led to a tidy studio, especially considering how I work on the floor mostly. You can also see some of the new anatomical drawings I've done. Much looser and more organic than the ones I was doing just a bit ago.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Shower Break...

I just got finished with work today. Tomorrow is my final BFA review and I've got to get everything installed for the committees coming by. I just stopped by to take a quick shower and grab a quick nap before heading back to the studio for another long night of cleaning, painting, and hanging. Wish me luck!

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Happy Shiny People...

It's an absolutely beautiful day outside today. It's warm and bright and everyone is very nice with the new amount of warmth and sun. I haven't gotten a chance to enjoy the new nice weather just yet. I'm still preparing for my show. Needless to say, I'm exhausted and really need to rest, but I'm working on some new pieces that are just so much fun to make. I can't wait to get back to work in the studio!

Illustration Friday: Polar...

Even though the show is quickly approaching and I have much work to do before then, I couldn't help but make a piece for this week's theme: Polar. All I could think about were Eskimos. So I did another super quick illustration featuring one. The background was built up with collage and then the figure was painted in the faux-fresco style and then glued in front. I then painted in some elements such as the arm and the spear.

I may not get to sleep tonight, but at least I got my Illustration Friday submission posted and done.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

One Week...

A week from today is the BFA Open Studios at SVA's painting department. That's right, April 26th from 5PM to 9PM all of the seniors will be opening up their studios to the public. It's very exciting. I'm not really ready yet. In theory, I could just edit what I've got now and hang the show, but I'm addicted to work and will probably make stuff until the very last moment.

Tonight though, I'm resting. It has been a VERY LONG day and I'm exhausted. I think that I might wake up early and walk to the studio. Maybe take some pictures along the way. I'll get a couple of hours in before work.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Hustle and Flow...

I took a night off from the studio so that I could try and finish up some papers and presentations that are due tomorrow. I wish that I could focus on my art and getting ready for the show on April 26th, but I've got to do what I've got to do. It's just annoying that everyone wants everything due at the same time.


I just found out that I didn't get into any of the grad schools that I applied to. Alas. What's one to do? Eat some cake with LOTS of frosting! What's next? Maybe travel or get an art-related job. Maybe work in a jewelry store or take continuing education classes at SVA. This is definitely forcing me to think outside of the box.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Illustration Friday: Fortune...

Even though the show is getting closer and closer and time is running out, I had to pull myself away for a quick Illustration Friday submission. This week's theme is "Fortune." I've illustrated the Wheel of Frotune, much like I did for the last theme, "Green." First I started off by collaging the background, then painting and inserting the figure. Only this time, I had some more drawing/design elements and I added those later.

Hope you enjoy. I didn't nearly almost have to die to make this one!

Monday, April 16, 2007


After class today, many of my fellow students went out on the roof to blow off a little bit of a pre-graduation steam. All during the class, whispers could be over-heard about the incident at Virginia Tech. Some had friends who were in the same building that the shooting took place. Others were struck by how vulnerable we all really are. We are all really tired and stressed out about finishing everything up for reviews, the Open Studio, and finals - many of us were on edge all day, the tension was palatable.

Even though it was cold and it was drizzling and we were all tired, it was good to gather around and laugh and talk and try and find a little bit of community in such a dark time.

Come to Pass...

It was raining when I heard the news about Virginia Tech. It seemed fitting that the sky should be weeping. I am still in a little bit of a shock. My thoughts are a blur. I don't know how to feel about this as a student, a person, an artist.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

10 Days...

I'm excited about the BFA Open Studio 2007! Only ten days until the event. I'll be showing the second half of my installation, "The Rays of God." Here are the details: Thursday, April 26th from 5PM to 9PM at 141 West 21st Street (between 6th and 7th Avenue) 4th Floor.


It started raining last night and hasn't stopped. Big, heavy drops. The streets have become rivers and my boots are all wet. Yesterday was so lovely, filled with roof-top adventures and today it is raining... raining... raining. The rain makes me want to sleep... sleep... sleep.

I think it's appropriate that I'm listening to Patty Griffin's, "Rain" from her 1000 Kisses album.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Impression of Requiem Aeternam Deo...

I didn't know what to expect when I walked into the Kraine Theater. Before me, unfolded a stylized interpretation of Nietzsche's work through experimental theater. The production follows Zarathustra and the events/thoughts that follow the death of God.

At times tragic, at others comedic, this philosophy-laden performance engaged with several different ways of telling a story. What struck me the most was the role played by Aurea Tomeski. Her performance was amazingly haunting and sent shivers through my spine. In my opinion, her's was the most challenging to pull off. Aurea's character was completely covered by a stretchy black fabric. Her powerful and distinctive voice had to penetrate the cloth and the pretension of a possibly overly-dominate stage prop (that in the wrong hands could have been very cheesy and cliche). She was simply masterful with her stage presence. Being seen. Being invisible. She spoke with her body and made the fabric become a part of her character (yet still retained its symbolic quality); transformed into the epitome of a three-dimensional silhouette. While her fellow actors for the most part had costumes and facial expressions to aid in their performances, Aureas was done completely behind the shroud... a testament to her mettle as a truly stellar actress.

Requiem Aeternam Deo has one more show, SUNDAY April 15th, 3 PM.

On a Rooftop in Brooklyn...

When work was out, I made my way over to South Williamsburg to see my friend David's new loft. Stopped by the Green Market and picked up a bottle of Cabernet Franc/ Lemberger from Anthony Road Wine Company. Very tasty.

His roof is amazing and I took a couple of snap-shots of the Manhattan skyline. The camera doesn't do the view justice. It's a full 360 experience. Reminds me of one of my favorite PJ Harvey songs, "You Said Something."

So the picture to the lower right isn't a picture from a rooftop in Brooklyn, but a shot David took of me while we were sipping "vino." I have to say that I quite like it. Maybe because it's a candid shot, and still looks all right.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Conversations with Melissa Meyer...

After work, I swung by the Artists Talk on Art panel discussion featuring Stephanie Theodore in diaglogue with artist Melissa Meyer. I love Melissa's work and it was interesting to hear her talk about it. Her painting capture a lightness and fluidity that I admire greatly.
Left: "Out of the Blues", Oil on Canvas.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

In Memoriam: Sol Lewitt

Sentences on Conceptual Art
by Sol Lewitt

1 Conceptual artists are mystics rather than rationalists. They leap to conclusions that logic cannot reach.
2 Rational judgments repeat rational judgments.
3 Irrational judgments lead to new experience.
4 Formal art is essentially rational.
5 Irrational thoughts should be followed absolutely and logically.
6 If the artist changes his mind midway through the execution of the piece he compromises the result and repeats past results.
7 The artist's will is secondary to the process he initiates from idea to completion. His willfulness may only be ego.
8 When words such as painting and sculpture are used, they connote a whole tradition and imply a consequent acceptance of this tradition, thus placing limitations on the artist who would be reluctant to make art that goes beyond the limitations.
9 The concept and idea are different. The former implies a general direction while the latter is the component. Ideas implement the concept.
10 Ideas can be works of art; they are in a chain of development that may eventually find some form. All ideas need not be made physical.
11 Ideas do not necessarily proceed in logical order. They may set one off in unexpected directions, but an idea must necessarily be completed in the mind before the next one is formed.
12 For each work of art that becomes physical there are many variations that do not.
13 A work of art may be understood as a conductor from the artist's mind to the viewer's. But it may never reach the viewer, or it may never leave the artist's mind.
14 The words of one artist to another may induce an idea chain, if they share the same concept.
15 Since no form is intrinsically superior to another, the artist may use any form, from an expression of words (written or spoken) to physical reality, equally.
16 If words are used, and they proceed from ideas about art, then they are art and not literature; numbers are not mathematics.
17 All ideas are art if they are concerned with art and fall within the conventions of art.
18 One usually understands the art of the past by applying the convention of the present, thus misunderstanding the art of the past.
19 The conventions of art are altered by works of art.
20 Successful art changes our understanding of the conventions by altering our perceptions.
21 Perception of ideas leads to new ideas.
22 The artist cannot imagine his art, and cannot perceive it until it is complete.
23 The artist may misperceive (understand it differently from the artist) a work of art but still be set off in his own chain of thought by that misconstrual.
24 Perception is subjective.
25 The artist may not necessarily understand his own art. His perception is neither better nor worse than that of others.
26 An artist may perceive the art of others better than his own.
27 The concept of a work of art may involve the matter of the piece or the process in which it is made.
28 Once the idea of the piece is established in the artist's mind and the final form is decided, the process is carried out blindly. There are many side effects that the artist cannot imagine. These may be used as ideas for new works.
29 The process is mechanical and should not be tampered with. It should run its course.
30 There are many elements involved in a work of art. The most important are the most obvious.
31 If an artist uses the same form in a group of works, and changes the material, one would assume the artist's concept involved the material.
32 Banal ideas cannot be rescued by beautiful execution.
33 It is difficult to bungle a good idea.
34 When an artist learns his craft too well he makes slick art.
35 These sentences comment on art, but are not art.

First published in 0-9 (New York), 1969, and Art-Language (England), May 1969

Wednesday, April 11, 2007


This will be just a quick post before I head to bed. I'm exhausted. Today was spent all day in the studio. I'm busy getting everything ready for the END OF THE YEAR show. It's a lot of work. The way in which I work usually consists of me making hundreds of small pieces, and then cutting them up and putting them together in a few collages. So... lots of activity in the studio.

I had a quick burger at Rush Hour with my friend David and then his friend Sam joined us for "vino" at the Pink Pony in the Lower East Side.

I was going to go back to the studio and pull an all-nighter, but I'm tired and there were lots of people working in their studios and it wasn't really an environment conducive to work. So, I'm going to wake up early and try to pop over to the studio in the morning.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007


Just joined a website run by the Saatchi Galery called STUART. It's a site that is open to all students in the visual arts, that encourages the sharing of art and dialogues between artists. You can see my profile by CLICKING HERE.

Letters to a Young Artist: Howardena Pindell...

Art on Paper Magazine created a book called, Letters to a Young Artist. It is a book that includes 23 letters from professional artists who give advice to "the young artist."

Here is what Howardena Pindell, from the panel discussion on High Times, Hard Times wrote:

Dear Young Artist,

I received your letter and felt that it is so very hard now for the young artist in New York. It is also difficult for the older artists who, although they started at an easier time, are struggling with the usual enormous expense of living in New York, and additionally face all the problems of aging and having elderly family to support as well. I think New York is always a problem unless you are a billionaire. I feel you are correct in seeing as much art as you can, as well as meeting other artists and sharing your experiences.

One thing I would warn you about: Be careful of whom you let into your studio. I remember two artists who lived near each other and often visited each other's studio. One had an earlier and better chance to show than the other and took her friend's idea and showed it first. So you need to be very self-protective and shrewd.

Also, as best you can, be aware of the art world's foibles and how it is constructed. Try to get a sense of the galleries, museums, and auction houses as they are very intertwined to the point where one wonders about insider trading among the most elite members of the art world hierarchy. One of the things I did was to use statistics to try to analyze the situation, especially for artists of color (Latino, African American, Asian, Middle Eastern, Native American, etc.). There are of course the usual tokens and collaborators. I wanted the knowledge to understand what I was and was not seeing. I did not want to be a "good German," so to speak. I also did a lot of reading and self-searching to try to understand my strong points and my weaknesses. I tried to be aware of other people's behaviour and motivation so I would not take it all so personally. My findings were that there was a definite bias throughout the art world against people of color and often women. To this day I am still dealing with this issue and hope that you prefer to become fully aware of some of the underpinnings of the art world. Some prefer to show in this environment, taking advantage of the restricted opportunities to push themselves forward with what is called white privilege.

One of the things that I find very helpful is this: If you open your studio or have a show and you get verbal or published criticism that is not positive, write it down or talk it into a tape. I find that that gets it off my mind, as I do not need to bother remembering it because it is captured along with my reactions to it. Once you have distance from it, you can decide what is useful.

You should also try to be aware of archival practices so that your work will physically survive. Also be sure to keep track of where your work is and who owns it. Records that I kept or did not keep years ago have profound consequences for me now - positive or negative. Try to select your representatives carefully. Do they pay the artist, and how quickly, when the work is sold? Will they tell you who bought it and for how much? Are they truly honest? One big caution is showing abroad, as there can be economic losses. One can have problems with import and export tariffs and taxes on art that vary from country to country, as well as large shipping bills. The best way is to have a reliable dealer take on that headache for you if you can trust her.

We all isolate ourselves. Try to get together with people you trust. Also keep your mind fresh. I try to read every day from about 11:00 P.M. until 1:00 or 2:00 A.M., or I try to read first thing in the morning. The hard part is finding enough work (a job) to pay the bills - and pay off student loans - so that you can afford to make art. I worked for a museum for twelve years (five days a week or more) before I could find a teaching job. Some artists work in construction, some work on Wall Street, some wait tables or work for other artists. Some teach and some are librarians. Whatever works for you. Try not to get overly discouraged. Isolation can also cause this. One thing that helps is reading about the lives of other artists.

I wish you all the best. Be true to your work and try not to take the pits and valleys of the art world personally.

Howardena Pindell
New York

Panel at the New School...

After work, I headed over to the New School to watch a panel discussion in response to the exhibition, High Times, Hard Times. Katy Siegel (the curator of the traveling show) was co-moderating the discussion with Anna Chave, with panelists Jack Whitten, Howardena Pindell, and Robert Pincus-Witten.

It was an interesting discussion. Jack and Howardena both gave introductions about their work and the climate in which the pieces were created, emphasising racial, political, and sexual factors. Some of the panelists kept talking about the "master narrative" and how that after Clement Greenberg and October had passed, there seemed to be lack of an over-arching voice to direct the eye of contemporary artwork. They touched on how it was hard to verbalize abstract art and that the key that tied all of these works together was that they were all painting and questioning the expansion and limitations of the term. The show itself addresses a period of time that was largely over-looked by critics and art history.

I asked a question at the end of the discussion. The question that I asked was, "Does the very mounting of this show, the fact that many of the artists included in the show are teachers - with sway over their students, current market successes of participating artists and rises in publication interest, in some way predict that the artists and writers involved will become the new master narrative?" Katy Siegel emphatically and jokingly said, "YES!"

It is most interesting how these artists who "fought for a place at the table" may in fact become the artists who control the future of the table.

Artforum and Anchovies...

We never can keep an issue of Artforum in the restaurant. They always seem to get stolen... I was thinking about that early this morning, when the senior editor, Scott Rothkopf walked in. I used to serve him yonder year ago, at the old location... never knowing that this very young and sociable regular (with an affinity for the anchovy sandwich) was in fact running one of the most prominent art magazines in the country. I only recognized him, because I had seen him speak recently at a panel discussion last month. Come to think of it... I think he used to "date" one of my friends also.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Studio Sunset...

After this morning's early morning documentation of the view from my apartment, I decided to take some pictures of the view from my studio. It's the other place that I spend most of my time. This time at sunset. Due to the time of year, the location, and when I got to take the photos... it isn't the most intense sunset ever. But I still love the view.

My studio is located in Chelsea on 21st Street. In the picture to the right, you can see the health food store and the wine store on the corner.

I think this is a more typical image of what people think New York looks like. You've got to have at least one Yellow Cab in the picture.

Pieces from the Rays of God...

One of the readers of my blog wanted to see examples of my "real" work that I make. Here are a couple of small pieces from my last show. They are ink drawings on vellum that are stretched over line drawings that have been touched up with some gouche. All of them are 4" X 6" and mounted on stretched canvas. These aren't the best scans, because the vellum is a little bit more opaque and distorts even more what lies beneath.

Love Hurts...

I got called in to work at the SoHo store. One of my fellow employees is not so good at tapping shots. The ones this person made were too loose and not packed tight enough (resulting in a watery, less flavorful crème). I found out when I went to clean out the last shot and hot, wet espresso grinds flew out in all directions. A big glob landed on my arm and created this heart-shaped burn. I think it's a sign.

Brooklyn Sunrise...

I got up extremely early this morning and decided to go up on the roof (still in my PJs) to document the neighborhood skyline at sunrise.

Right: Here is the top of an old building that I absolutely adore. Everytime I walk by it, I think of what a nice building it must be to live in.

Left: A view of Manhattan with the early morning light reflecting off some of the buildings.

Right: In immediate foreground is a new luxury condo building that they just built, in the midground is the Williamsburg Bridge and in the far background is the lower portion of Manhattan.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

The Projects at Night...

From my window there's a view of a housing project. At night it becomes a patchwork of different colored lights. Due to the holiday, the projects looked especially nice this evening.

Songs for Little Hakim...

My good friend, Heather Wynn is the first to participate in the Mixed CD Exchange. She's a peach! It includes music by Griffin House, Tim McGraw, The Fray, John Mayer, Alison Krauss, Shawn Mullins, Brad Paisley, Diamond Rio, Fountains of Wayne, Justin Timberlake, Matt Costa and The Wreckers, to name a few.

Eggs and Bunnies...

Since it's Easter, work was closed. I didn't have enough steam to go into the studio, so today I relaxed. It'll be a very busy next couple of weeks and I wanted to grab some rest before the big rush.
Left: View from a rooftop in Brooklyn.

Friday, April 06, 2007

Illustration Friday: Green...

After I almost died last night, the spark returned. Better days, I think, have returned! Here is my submission for this week's theme: Green. As you can probably guess, I've still been doing extensive reading on the Middle Ages and it is surfacing in my Illustration Friday images.

I started off by building up a background with collage. Then I painted and drew the figure and incorporated the two elements together. One abstract. One figurative. Hope you enjoy!

Muddy, bloody, and sore...

It is a little after 4AM. After a long day at school, packed full of meetings, I went out with my friend Josh. I had a couple of drinks and then went home. While waiting for the train, apparently I fell asleep while standing up and fell into the train tracks. Luckily there was no train coming and two gentlemen came to my rescue and pulled me from the tracks. My Oscar Della Renta jacket is covered in mud, my knee is skinned, my hip is bruised, and my left hand is scraped up, but other than that... I am fine. Just muddy. Tired. Bloody. And sore.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

April Art Event 3...

Join me April 26th from 5PM to 9PM at the School of Visual Arts for the BFA Fine Arts Department Open Studios at 141 West 21st Street, 4th Floor! As this will probably be my last time in the studios (I'm graduating in May), this will be the grand-daddy of them! The work presented will be the second half of The Rays of God show I had at the end of March.

April Art Event 2...

APRIL 25, 2007 at 1:30 pm at the American Folk Art Museum


$3 General Admission
Free to members, seniors, students
Speaker: Deborah Dwyer

Santos and retablos are now primarily historical objects, while ex-votos continue to be created as a tradition still in progress. Deborah Dwyer will explain how, aside from artistic charm, these Hispanic artforms offer collectors a wealth of opportunities for insight into religious folk art. Dwyer has authored numerous articles on Latin American folk art and has taught several courses at the American Folk Art Museum.

April Art Event...

Artists Talk on Art will present Melissa Meyer in Dialog with Stephanie Theodore on April 13th. ATOA is a weekly event that occurs Friday evenings at 7PM at the School of Visual Arts.
Left: Melissa Meyer's oil painting, "Regale".

The Owl Collection...

I got an email asking to see my owl collection. So, here is the majority of it. They come from all over and are made of all different materials. Some were expensive and others very inexpensive. Yes, I know that I need to organize them. And yes, I also know that not everything in the case is an owl. Oh, and I have a few more. Some are too big to fit in the case and others are doubles of ones already in it.

The next time I'm in Florida, I will ask my mom about the ones I had when I was little. Then I will try to claim them back.


After a sluggish start, I quickly went about doing my errands. I got almost everything done for today. I did miss a meeting, but will reschedule it for later. On the way home, I passed by the Grace Church. The tulip trees are in bloom and it is a beautiful sight.

Rainy Grey...

Everything is grey outside. It's rainy and a little bit cold and I get very tired when it's like this. I don't like to leave the apartment and I can feel all the things I need to do mounting, one by one. Especially after being sick, all I want to do is hibernate.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007


Today I got a migraine while I was at work. Very inconvenient. It was our first day of being officially open. Cindy had recommended an herbal remedy, but unfortunately it was back at home and I didn't get a chance to try it yet. I was talking with my manager about the migraines and was telling her that my senses were heightened. I could smell everything and hear everything. I was painfully aware of everything around me.

Sunday, April 01, 2007


Here are some recent finds from Anthropologie. I got these a week ago, but didn't unwrap or take them home until tonight. What great deals! All of them were on sale and were very affordable.

I'm loving this owl print. But that's because I love owls and have HUGE collection of them. The sea urchin dish made out of bone china was an impulse buy. I think I bought it because I thought Cynthia would like it.