Tuesday, June 30, 2009

sea to shining sea

Will and I are leaving San Francisco tomorrow morning to go do America from sea to shining sea. We had a great day yesterday getting ready and being touristy. Oil change, check. Golden Gate Bridge, check. Pacific coast, check. Golden Gate Park, check. Haight Ashbury, check. Grocery shopping, check. Will bought a sweater and I helped him hem it. I washed our laundry at the apartment and he carried it to the laundromat to dry it. I cooked dinner, he did the dishes. It's nice to not be small and squabbly anymore. I love this picture and these small strawberry children.

who am I to say yes? who am I to say no?

I had stopped on my bike at a street light at the corner of Church and Market where I heard a homeless man ask a few well-dressed bros for change. One of them asked, "Who am I to say no?" before digging into his pockets. The light turned green and I kept going. I thought about this question for the rest of my ride and appreciated that built into it was the implication that every choice we make is a part of who we are, even the most mundane, the most automatic, the most distracted decisions that happen all the time and everywhere.

Monday, June 29, 2009


July 1:
leave San Francisco
drive through Reno
camp near Elko, Nevada

July 2:
leave Nevada
drive to Salt Lake City
camp near Vernal, Utah

July 3:
leave Utah
drive into Colorado
camp in Boulder/Denver

July 4:
leave Colorado
drive into Kansas
camp near Kansas City

July 5:
leave Kansas
drive through Illinois
camp after St. Louis, IL

July 6:
leave Illinois
arrive in Indianapolis at Papa's house

July 7:

July 8:
drive through Columbus, OH and Pittsburgh, PA
camp near Lancaster

July 9:
drive through Philadelphia, PA and Somerville, NJ
arrive at Grammy's house, Center Moriches, Long Island

Sunday, June 28, 2009

hello, 25.

A countdown to midnight and dirty dancing until 2:00am. A cold walk home and scrambled eggs with pesto. Sleep until sunrise. A tamarind popsicle and then breakfast at Saint Francis. One load of laundry. A bike commute. A walk to SomArts. Reclamation of four drawings. An apple fritter and Izze sodas. A slow drive to Nob Hill for birthday donuts. One dozen old-fashioned with various fixings, four buttermilk bars, three apple fritters and two cruellers, all packed neatly into two pink boxes. Biked to the SPCA to get finger-licked by dogs and hearts inpired by kittens. Biked to Dolores Park to join 250,000 others in various states of dress and undress for the San Francisco Dyke Saunter. Tecate and donuts and kisses with friends. Sauntering. A 10 foot wide disco ball suspended by a crane at the Castro block party, and then the dancing that occured beneath it. The best slice of pizza I've ever eaten. A plum and a card from a Quaker. A long walk to the Mission. A forgotten bike key. A phone call from home. People-watching from the top of a fire hydrant. A lime popsicle in the park. Swings. A cold shower. A red pedicure. Sleep.

Friday, June 26, 2009

goodbye, 24.

Today is my last day being 24. Twenty-five seems like a big deal kind of year-- as I keep saying to my friends here, it's half way up the hill, it's officially the mid-twenties, it's a quarter of a century. Actually, it's a big weekend for a lot of people locally, not just me, today being the onslaught of San Francisco Pride. My brother Will also arrives here on Sunday and we start driving across the country on Wednesday, July 1st. Before then I've got a lot of packing and emotional sorting to do in preparation for a whole month away from the studio practice, developing friendships and fledgling romance I've been immersed in this summer. But I'm glad to be leaving this home and going towards my other one. I borrowed a video camera from school to take footage of the roads leading to and from each of these homes through the front and back windows of the car. Once Will gets here we'll be figuring out The Plan, of which (of course) this blog will be kept abreast.

good news

The jurors for the 2009 Murphy & Cadogan awards were Meg Shiffler, Director of the San Francisco Art Commission Gallery; Ellen Oh, Executive Director of Kearny Street Workshop; Bettie-Sue Hodges of Yerba Buena Center for the Arts; and Isis Rodriguez. After careful evaluation of the 115 portfolios submitted, the panel selected a total of 24 students:

Miguel Arzabe, University of California Berkeley
Mara Baldwin, California College of the Arts
Michael Barrett, Academy of Art University
Bonnie Begusch, University of California Berkeley
Oscar Bucher, San Francisco State University
Carlos Castro, San Francisco Art Institute
Emily Dippo, San Francisco Art Institute
Llewelynn Fletcher, California College of the Arts
Matt Kennedy, San Francisco State University
Ace Lehner, California College of the Arts
Bobby Lukas, Mills College
Eric Martin, California College of the Arts
Susan Martin, San Francisco Art Institute
Armando Miguelez, Stanford University
Kusum Nairi, San Francisco Art Institute
Ruth Robbins, California College of the Arts
Eirini Steirou, San Francisco State University
Rebecca Wallace, California College of the Arts
Doug Williams, Mills College
Sune Woods, California College of the Arts
Wafaa Yasin, California College of the Arts
Daniel Yovino, San Francisco Art Institute

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Fake flowers

Pictures from the Holy Cross mauseleum at Colma, an epic winding building one could get lost in.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

bird of pray/prey

In autumn a migration of swifts fly through Portland. Every night for two weeks, thousands and thousands of swifts funnel around the huge chimney of a local elementary school at sunset before diving in. It's one of the most amazing things I've ever witnessed. Often a hawk circles around the flock of swifts, darting between them until finally grabbing one and making a break for it. I was reminded of this when watching a smaller pair of birds attack this hawk protecting their nest.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Still going strong...

Resumed sewing today after a long hiatus from my calendar/quilting project.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

you and me and you and me

Since I've started work on some new portrait-based drawings I've been revisiting that part of my collection. Morgan and I talked about identity last night a little and I've been thinking about it today. I pulled these three photographs out of a box of small pocketable pictures mounted on card stock and was struck by the their similarity. Of course, their era of production dictated the possibilities of their manufacture and fashion, but it's also interesting how their faces are similar too- I think that probably I picked them because I unconsciously recognized my own face in them. It's all about the eyes-- they're looking at you look at them look at you.

Home is Something I Carry With Me

My dear friend Adrienne is accepting submissions for a show she's curating. Adrienne and I have a lot of similar interests and I'm excited that she's actualizing this rad project.

Home is something I carry with me.
Private residences, Mission District, San Francisco
September 3 - 7, 2009
Curated by Adrienne Skye Roberts
Funded by Southern Exposure’s Alternative Exposure Grant Program

At the center of the Bay Area's current climate of foreclosures, rapid development, and threats of rent control repeals is the elusive and contested notion of home. A term used to define the physical structure of one's residence, it also signifies community and an attachment to place. Globally, the notion of home is stretched beyond the local to take account of identities formed through diasporic and migrant movement; home being both near and far. Within this context, how does one relate to place? How is home defined personally, socially and culturally? How does one know where they belong? Home is something I carry with me will take these questions as its provocation, featuring local artists and film-makers that interrogate their own conceptions of home and what it means to belong in a particular place.Home is something I carry with me will transform three homes in the Mission District into exhibition spaces during the weekend of September 4th and is specific to artists living in the San Francisco Bay Area. All mediums are accepted including participatory or performative work to take place the night of opening, satellite projects, walking tours, or site-specific installations. In addition to an exhibition, Home is something I carry with mewill include a film screening. We are looking for short films or videos (approximately 10 minutes in length) from any genre: experimental, narrative, and documentary. Work may respond to the San Francisco Bay Area or to the broader concept of home. Project proposals will be considered.

Deadline: July 1, 2009
Notification: July 15, 2009
Submission Guidelines:
1. Current CV
2. Artist Statement
3. 5 JPEGS (less than 100MB) or Quicktime files (.mov) on DVD
4. Slide Inventory


Home is something I carry with me
c/o Adrienne Skye Roberts
951 Shotwell Street
San Francisco, CA 94110
(Please send video submissions on DVD to the address above.)

Friday, June 19, 2009

teeny tiny flowers

Started work on a new series of drawings today. Here is the test drive. I've been thinking a lot about little flower patterns of mass-manufactured goods like linens, wallpaper, and china, how I associate them with the interiors of my families homes and how they exist beyond the parameters of their physical form.

Thursday, June 18, 2009


When our family moved into the first house my parents owned I helped them strip the wallpaper off the walls. A wallpaper shredder was purchased and we wheeled its circular saw over the walls. The wallpaper curled and fettered off in long skinny strips. My parents were pleased with themselves to find the signature of the architect on the drywall underneath.

When we moved into our next house we left the wallpaper there. And the small chalkboard in the kitchen and the ring holder over the sink and the absurdly small spice rack next to the window, too. At first it seemed like we were living in someone elses house until gradually all of those foreign things turned into part of what makes our family home, home.

Wallpaper is hot on the contemporary art scene and it's no wonder why. Wallpaper reveals and conceals all sorts of stories. I've been thinking a lot about my own fascination with wallpaper, specifically in thinking about the personal and historical constructs of my grandmother in their Indianapolis home.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

hello, goodbye, hello

Progress on some new drawings I've been working on whilst watching an incriminating/embarrassing/unfortunate amount of old CSI (Crime Scene Investigation) episodes. The images come from pictures I took of ruined portrait photographs from tombstones at the Holy Cross Cemetary in Colma.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

free(dom) piles

The second year students, having graduated a month ago, are still reaming out their studios to get ready for the upcoming class to move in. I'm excited about having some new peers. I expect that this next years class is going to be really great-- the recession has pushed a lot of artists in the beginning of their careers into grad school because it's harder to get recognition, teaching jobs and money without a degree to prove your mastery. Grad school might also buy some time for the economy to improve. This is, at least, what I am hoping for. I'm also praying for total loan forgiveness. Anyways, one of these newly-capped masters threw away this framed gem of a photograph and I pulled it out of the trash. I love how ugly it is-- that unfortunate electrical socket like a yellowing skin graft, the fellow (groom-to-be?) incredulous and perspiring with his big meaty hands.

Monday, June 15, 2009

The Kanter Girls

Morgan and I bought an old book at a garage sale yesterday called The Kanter Girls by Mary L. B. Branch, published in 1895. The book has smart illustrations and decorative sconces on the chapter pages, done by an artist named Helen Maitland Armstrong. One of my favorite parts is the evidence of this particular books journey, or in archival-speak, it's provenance. First it was a gift to Claire Goodman from her coz' Louise for Christmas in 1895. Later it belonged to Constance L. Holmes of Berkeley, California, who received it on May 7, 1922. Through an unkown exchange of hands, an older jewish woman came to own it in the Haight, who unsuccessfully tried to sell it on E-bay for 30 bucks, until she gave up and had a garage sale and sold it to Morgan and I for $2.50 (which was all we had in our pockets). When Morgan read the chapter titles out loud to me they sounded poetic, so I'll share them with you here:

The invisible rings,
in the woods,
the stream that ran both ways,
go back stream-- go back,
the unexpected happens,
by the air-line,
roses and honeysuckles,
in the garden,
the sound of the drums,
strange countries for to see,
the lunch party,
the little dryad,
the tenant of the pear-tree,
the forest refuge,
something new thursdays only,
calling on the neighbors,
the moonlight picnic,
down a long, long stairway,
little guld,
a royal playmate,
an arctic expedition,
the home of the snow children,
in the snow garden,
the visit repeated,
in the king's hall,
caught in a snow-storm,
going home.

Sunday, June 14, 2009


We went to the 91st Annual Livermore Rodeo, about an hour east of San Francisco. A marine in full regalia gave us free tickets at the gate and we walked amongst the shade provided by everyone elses cowboy hat brims, because boy oh boy, were there ever a whole lot of them.

Monday, June 8, 2009

How to remember.

1. Examine the dried fruit for any bad pieces. Checking for bad spots before cooking them is always a good practice. Cut the fruit into small pieces as is appropriate.
2. Take a small bowl and add the fruit to it. Measure enough water, wine or liqueur to cover the dried fruit. Warm the liquid portion in the microwave or a warm-water bath before adding the fruit. It will help the fruit to absorb the liquid.
3. Allow the fruit to rest in the liquid for about 1 hour prior to removing the fruit.
4. Properly clean the fruits and avoid using soap or other harsh products. Simple water should be sufficient. Slice the fruits of your choice into small pieces as is appropriate.
5. Preheat the oven to under 200 degrees if you prefer oven drying. Place the fruits on a window sill if your preferred method is sun drying. However, allow for two to four days for proper dehydration and watch for bugs and adverse weather conditions.
6. Allow your fruit to dehydrate anywhere from six to 16 hours, depending on the level of heat of your method of dehydration. Check your fruit for moisture to determine how long to continue to dehydrate. It should be leathery with no moisture or softness on any of its parts.
7. Repeat steps 1-7 as is appropriate.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

~quakes and tembles~

Here in San Francisco the ground has been shaking. Today an earthquake starting in Berkeley reverberated across the bay at 3:oo in the afternoon. Yesterday I felt one while I was sitting in my living room around 6:00 in the evening. I've heard all the theories about when they are most likely to happen-- some say it's when the moon is full, others when the day is a bright grey with warm winds. For some reason I'm highly sensitive to them--I'll be sitting with friends when one happens and look around wide-eyed at the people I'm sitting with who are consistently unamazed and disbelieving. Here's my favorite resource for determining whether I'm going crazy or not: http://quake.usgs.gov/recenteqs/Maps/San_Francisco.html. In this map you'll these red lines which mark where the land has a fault line and is more prone to bumping around. San Francisco sits near the San Andreas fault line, created where two giant slices of land are running into one another, one over the other. The one with America on it, I believe, is the one going under. Brigid Mason told me she once was sitting in a parked car and saw the road furrow up and down past her like a giant mole was beneath the surface. My favorite story so far is one that Conrad Ruiz told me, in which he was running down the steps in his childhood home to leave the house during an earthquake and how the staircase seemed to buckle in front of him. It's still such a strange thing, this not being something I've ever experienced in the other places I've lived. But every place has it's own geographically specific danger-- in the Midwest the drunken tornadoes, the southern and east coast their foul hurricanes, and the Pacific Northwest the eerily active volcanoes. It's nice and humbling to be reminded that the earth is a jelly-centered writhing thing.

Friday, June 5, 2009


Last May my mom and brother Dennis came out to Oregon for us to take a trip up and around the Olympic Peninsula. We went up to Port Townsend and fantasized about what our lives could be in such a quaint place. I bought a lot of old photographs, we checked out the huge redwood forests along the coast and stopped to dip our feet in the ocean as many times as possible. We saw giant purple studded starfish and anemones which my mother and I made jokes about looking like testicles when the tide receded. My brother was embarrassed and refused to speak to us until we stopped talking about them. I found a small weathered plastic dog on one of these beaches which continues to be one of my most prized tidbits. Dennis and I kept imploring my mother to move up there upon retirement so that we could visit her there. At first she consistently and politely changed the subject, but upon further prodding we discovered that my mother is existentially fearful of tsunamis, an oceanic possibility unfamiliar to her as someone who grew up in the small beach town of Center Moriches, Long Island on the Atlantic seaboard. She told us how she had read a sensationalist story written in the aftermath of the tsunami occurring off the coast of Indonesia in 2005. In the story some peasant fishermen recounted sitting in their small wooden dinghies as they bobbed over the rounded cap of the wave which they then watched peak and wash over their homes and families inside of them. My mother told us that her greatest fear was not to be one of the people washed away, but to be one of those who had to watch it happen. We were driving in the car up scenic Highway 101 and without further discussion conceded that perhaps our parents could just retire to Vermont instead.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

How to make a friendship bracelet.

1. Select two colors of embroidery floss for your friendship bracelet.
2. Cut three 27-inch strands of each color to make a total of six strands.
3. Hold the ends of all six strands together and make a knot about 1 inch from one end.
4. Secure the knotted end by clipping it on a clipboard.
5. Separate the colors so you have three strands of one color on the right and three strands of the other color on the left.
6. Pick up the three strands on the left.
7. Wrap them over and under all three strands on the right, forming a loop.
8. Poke the strands through the loop and pull tight, forming a single knot.
9. Pick up the three strands on the right.
10. Wrap them over and under the strands on the left, forming a loop.
11. Poke the strands through the loop and pull tight, forming a knot.
12. Repeat steps 6 through 11 until your bracelet is the desired length.
13. Hold the ends of the strands together and make a knot.
14. Trim the ends to about 1 inch.
15. Try on your friendship bracelet.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

How to remember past lives. (found online)

1. Sit or recline in a quiet, dark place. Choose a time when you are alert and not sleepy, hungry, or distracted.
2. Lie on your bed, or wherever you’ve chosen to conduct your self-hypnosis, and relax for a few minutes. Close your eyes. Make sure you are comfortable. Lying on one’s back usually works best. Keeping your hands at your sides seems to help, too, simply for the fact you won’t feel your limbs rising and falling with each breath, creating a distraction. Pay attention to room temperature, and plan for staying either warm enough or cool enough during the next half-hour – you don’t want to find yourself shivering just when you’re beginning to see something spectacular!
3. Protect yourself from harm: While you’re lying there in your comfortable, inanimate, warm position, imagine a white enveloping light all around you. See it in your mind’s eye, shining on your feet, your legs, your knees, your thighs, your torso and arms, your neck, your face, your head. This white light is protecting you from all negative influences. It represents love and warmth and enlightenment in a dazzling mistiness all around you, cocooning you in its brilliance, protecting you from anything bad. See it in your mind. Feel it. Invite it to wash over you. All the while, as you envision these things, say to yourself over and over, "White protective light, keep me safe...White protective light, keep me safe..." Or whatever works for you. Take the next color that comes to mind, and repeat.
4. Imagine yourself in a long hallway, with a big door at the end. See this hallway in as much detail as you can, whatever comes to mind. Your hallway may be all gold and filigree, or gothic like a cathedral, or entirely constructed from gemstones. It doesn’t matter. Make something up, and use the same visualization each time you try to remember a past life. Imagine this hallway with the expectation that when you get to the end, when you reach the big door and turn the knob, you will see something about a past life. Take each step down that hallway with purpose. See your feet touch the worn, smooth flagstones, and visualize every aspect of your journey as you approach the large door. When you finally reach the end – when you feel you are ready and not a moment before – take hold of the doorknob. See yourself doing it. See the brass knob turning. Give the door a gentle push...
5. Accept the very first thing you see on the other side of that door as something from a past life. It might be something as abstract as the color yellow, or as clear and vivid as a much-loved child nestled in your arms. Your job is to take whatever you see and expound upon it. Conjur it up. The color yellow? If you hold the imagery in your mind and open up to it, accepting anything that pops into your head, you might find that yellow becomes a carpet. With a little more prodding, you might see sunshine spilling onto that carpet. You might suddenly realize that yellow carpet is in a London house...and so on. You may doubt yourself at this point, but be reassured; you are remembering a past life.
6. If you see nothing, try thinking about something you've always enjoyed, a favorite hobby, skill, or travel destination. Ask yourself, "Why do I like this? Can this be past-life related?" If you still get nothing, try the shoe method: Look down at your feet, and go with the first pair of shoes you see yourself wearing. Expound upon that. You might see sandals, and then realize you’re wearing a tunic. You might see little pointy shoes, and realize you’re wearing a big silk gown.
7. Once you’ve remembered something - even if it's just a pair of shoes - and if you’re pretty certain there’s a grain of truth to it, you can start your next meditation from there. Always begin each session with something you’ve already seen. Always work from the known to the unknown.
8. Accept what you see. It will seem like you are inventing these images. Sometimes you are, and you must accept that as part of the process of trying to remember a past life. But these visions almost always have a shred of truth at their core. You will only know for certain when you’ve done a significant number of past-life meditations, and you begin to see patterns and details repeated over and over again. In the meantime, you must choose to believe that what you see is genuine; if you don’t, you will never get anywhere. Your analytical mind will simply shoot down every image as a product of your overeager imagination.
9. Unless you’ve had to remove yourself from an unpleasant memory, usually what will happen is that you will simply run out of steam. You will find the images have stopped coming, or your analytical mind has been inadvertently triggered by something you’ve seen...and then you’re done. You have no choice but to open your eyes. If this doesn’t happen, simply imagine that doorway where you began. Open the door. Return down the length of that gemstone hallway – or whatever you visualized – and tell yourself that when you reach the start point, you will be refreshed, and you will remember your past life in perfect detail and clarity.
10. When you open your eyes, resist the temptation to lie there, ruminating over all you’ve experienced. Get up, find a pen, and start writing down everything you saw. Be sure to note the date and time.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

How to make a clock tick backwards.

1. Use a small pair of scissors to move the clock shaft out of the way, so it doesn't press against the gears.
2. Remove the back of the clock to expose the gears. Remove any knobs or other adjustment devices off the back of the clock before taking off the cover. They will spring off the back of the clock if not removed beforehand.
3. Pull the gears up and out of the clock, setting them down in order. The leftmost gear counts minutes, the middle gear counts seconds and the right and small gear moves the hour hand.
4. Slide out the plate by working it up and off the pins that are holding it inside the copper-wound electromagnet. Be careful not to pull at the copper-wound device.
5. Flip the plate over, and put it back under the copper-wound device. If it doesn't fit, you can cut off about 3/32 of it at a 45-degree angle, and then flip it over and put it back in its original position.
6. Replace all the gears in reverse order, making sure the smallest is pointing up to align with the back cover.
7. Replace the back cover and reattach all of the adjustment knobs.