"The big hug." (James Hayward)

“If the art’s good, I think it’s got a strength where it reaches out and embraces you. And if you have an open mind and you’re willing to embrace it…

THE BIG HUG!”

- James Hayward

The way he talks about art feels like medicine. So fucking great.

As heard in this very charming video (skip to 4:15 or just watch the whole darn thing):

"It has to be enjoyable for ME." (Sam Esmail)

“The one thing I always go back to whenever I start writing something is:

I have to be a fan of this. I want to enjoy this. It has to be enjoyable for ME.

And if it doesn’t work (with audiences), then it’s out of my control. That’s not something i can negotiate or manipulate.”

- Sam Esmail, creator of Mr. Robot (from his recent Without Fail podcast interview)

Fragments, and fragments of Fragments (2019). I am a fan of taking photos of my art on fucked up cement

"Things that are your friends but are not real." (Marina Warner)

“By symbols, I mean things that are your friends but that are not real.”

- Louise Bourgeois

As quoted in Forms of Enchantment: Writing on Art and Artists by Marina Warner, a current obsession.

I’ve been wanting to write about this book for awhile now. But by “write about it” I mean totally fangirl out and basically quote the whole fantastic, beautiful, inspiring, beyond-beyond-beyond book.

…so for now I’ll just give a shout out to the essay, “Felicity Powell: Marks of Shame, Signs of Grace,” in which Marina Warner mentions an exhibition, curated by Powell, that featured “lucky charms, amulets and folk remedies found mostly in London by Edward Lovett, a civil servant, in the early part of the 20th century.” This led me down an incredible rabbit hole. Behold, souvenirs:

More to come, or not!

Writing on the wall

“The word “graffiti” first entered the English language to describe ancient texts and images on the walls of houses at Pompeii. Prior to the 19th century, Italian words like sgraffito or sgraffiato were used to describe decorative techniques — in architecture as well as on pottery — where scratching through a whitewash revealed a different color beneath.”

and this:

“Writing on walls, whether public or private, interior or exterior, was widely accepted in Europe (not to mention throughout the world) through the early modern period and even later…

It may BE the view of inscribing graffiti as stupid that is unusual.”

From The Clandestine Cultural Knowledge of Ancient Graffiti by Michael Press in Hyperallergic


I can’t get enough of this. The whole article is amazing.

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Artifact (never), 20” x 18”, 2019. I’m obsessed with the idea of private messages in public spaces. The visible clandestine.

"Nothing is sexy." (Andy Warhol)

My first art crush was Andy Warhol.

  1. My friend Matt introduced me to David Bowie in high school. (Thanks Matt!)

  2. I made my way through Ziggy and Heroes and so on, and eventually found my way to Changes, where I found a curious song about Andy Warhol.

  3. Who was this strange fellow that had so captivated Bowie? I did what we did back then and went to the library to find out.

  4. It was there I discovered Andy and Edie and Lou and Nico and the Velvets and Paul Morrisey and the Factory and so on. I fell in love with everything Andy. I bought records. I subscribed to Interview. I dressed as Edie for Halloween. I moved to New York.

  5. And I read The Philosophy of Andy Warhol: From A to B and Back Again, which I just started re-reading.

This book is a mainline shot of sweet nostalgia for me. Time stops. I’m in my teenage bedroom, learning about a world 3000 miles away from my small town. It’s funny and crass and boring and intriguing and charmingly old-fashioned. It’s patently true and blatantly false. It’s everything. That is all.

I posted these to IG while at the salon getting a pedicure. I think A.W. would have approved.

"A slow discovery in which I am more like a conduit." (R. O. Kwan)

“I tend not to write with overarching whys…I don’t have any special messages in mind. Writing, to me, is less akin to actions as willful as inventing and deciding than it is to discovery, a slow revelation in which I am more like a conduit. I sometimes think I’m a witness, rather than a person who makes. I don’t write to provide answers, I say. I quote Cortázar, whom I love:

I’ve remained on the side of the questions.

- R. O. Kwan, from “On Being a Woman in America,” in the Paris Review

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Talisman (dream siege), 2018. A conduit….to what, or whom? Does knowing the answers close the door? Should I remain on the side of the questions?

"Before I have the chance to edit myself." (Ariel Pink)

“I’m basically

capturing me before I have the chance to edit myself…

…I don’t plan it ahead, I have no filter, I just throw it into the world and my words crystallize and get taken out of context and have a life of their own. I’m not for or against what I’m saying, I’m just being reckless about it. I say things without thinking about the consequences.”

— My future BFF, Ariel Pink, talking about how he only writes lyrics right before recording them, which is essentially a kind of automatic writing, which I relate to as a lot of my artwork incorporates this same approach, although possibly for different reasons.

As heard on Episode 1 of the “Are We Still Talking About This?” podcast.


Please enjoy 2 of my fave Ariel Pink songs…


And please enjoy 3 of my most Ariel Pink-ish “automatic embroideries”, circa early 2017.

The long hand of the sacred pool (lukasa)

Thanks to the brilliant Rabih Alameddine (who you should follow on Twitter, if you don’t already) for tipping me off to lukasa, memory boards used by the Luba kingdom, in the 18th & 19th century.

I’ve been thinking about how someone might track their experiences in a visual (non-text) way. I find these nothing short of breathtaking.

The readers of these “long (wooden) hands” were members of an elite secret society. The boards contained origin myths, logistical/genealogy information, as well as top-secret divine king type of stuff (although there are apparently no extant examples of the latter boards, also known as the long hand of the sacred pool.)

So what is known about how to read lukasa? According to Wikipedia the villain was portrayed by a red bead “associated with bloody violence” whereas the king/hero was portrayed by a blue bead to indicate “ambivalent power and secret potential.” MUST. KNOW. MORE.

More here, here, here, here and here.

Talisman (all that is gone, all that remains), 18” x 18”, 2018 (fiber, acrylic paint). A different sort of memory board.

Considerations of scale

Approximate size: 2” x 3”. Made: on airplanes. Photographed: on urban cement. Purpose: undetermined.

Introducing XOJ

I was so inspired by a recent trip to BEAMS in Toyko. Zines galore!

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These are obviously not the zines of yore (gluestick, scissors, staples, late nights at Kinko’s).

Since then, I’ve been obsessed with making a zine of my own. And now the first volume is out! Introducing…

XOJ, Volume 1: Fragments

It’s available in a signed limited edition of 100. 5” x 5” with 28 full-color pages of original artwork.

Inscrutable signs (Petroglyphs)

To live on the Big Island is to live surrounded by mysteries—from the past, the present and even the future. Take petroglyphs. Who made them? When? Why?

Petroglyphs are interpreted to have recorded travel around the island of Hawai`i, express consideration for human longevity and well being, communicate events current and past, as well as mark boundaries and trails. - National Park Service

In a tour yesterday we were told that 3 dots for a head indicates a top ruler (ali’i), 2 dots is a secondary ali’i, a single dot (head) is a commoner. We were told that early Polynesians were over 7’ tall, that the statue of King Kamehameha in Kapa’au is life-size, that the Polynesian canoes were 300’ long. We were told that the lightest carvings (made with rock, not metal) date back to 200 AD. That a figure with an oar raised overhead was the winner of a race. That clusters of figures represented families, or bounty hunters chasing those who had committed kapu to the Place of Refuge.

When the truth is unknowable, do we make our own truth?

Is it more than we can stand, to live in a state of perpetual mystery?

"Trapped in a garish casino filling with seawater"

“…living in his America feels like being trapped in a garish casino that is filling with seawater,

because that is what it is. - David Roth

Read: This Is All Donald Trump Has Left. (as close to perfect as anything can get)

 
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Talisman (the last refrain), 18”x18”, 2018 (fiber, acrylic, paint). Our doomsday cult prepares for the inevitable. What comes next?

"The future leaks out." (William S. Burroughs)

“When you make cut-ups you do not get simply random juxtapositions of words, they do mean something, and often these meanings refer to some future event. I’ve made many cut-ups and then later recognized that the cut-up referred to something I read later in a newspaper or book, or something that happened…Perhaps events are pre-written and pre-recorded and

when you cut word lines the future leaks out.” - William S. BurrougHS

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Artifact (kingdom of end), 2018. The future of the future will one day be the past.

 

"Another thing altogether."

“It’s one thing to know what you want. It’s another thing altogether to

go through the door when it opens.”

- The Other Side of the Wind

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Talisman (the darkest hour), detail, 2018. The door opens.

Monomaniacally monochromatic (Pierre Soulages)

“Painting allows us to live in a more interesting way than we live our everyday lives. If painting doesn’t offer a way to dream and create emotions, then it’s not worth it. Painting isn’t just pretty or pleasant;

it is something that helps you to stand alone and face yourself.

For me, it’s important to experience this aesthetic shock, which sets in motion our imagination, our emotions, our feelings, and our thoughts. - Pierre Soulages

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From the beginning, man went into completely dark caves to paint. They painted with black too. They could have painted with white because there were white stones all over the ground, but no, they chose to paint with black in the dark.

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All those terms—abstract, nonfigurative, et cetera—they’re just words, they’re labels, and labels are meant to be destroyed.

More here, here, here.

Witch Marks

Speaking of coded visual communication in public places, archeologists have discovered medieval-era graffiti in churches that includes

pentagrams and other “witch marks” meant to ward off evil.

These were “…as central to the everyday lives of the medieval commoner as the next meal, the next harvest and the next year.” - Matt Champion, historian, archeologist, author

Images courtesy of the Norfolk Medieval Graffiti Survey


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Portal 13 (2018). Shelter us from evil.

"Tell pitiful story" (Hoboglyphs)

I’ve been thinking lately about the notion of

codes in plain sight

…and today I’m especially enchanted with hoboglyphs, used in the 1920s to allow hobos to secretly communicate with each other. What messages do we overlook, walk over, drive past each day, unrecognized? Who is using public spaces to share information? What are they sharing, and to what end?

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Portal 11. Intercepted communique; author(s) unknown; meaning(s) undetermined; outcome(s) unrecorded.


Example of hoboglyphs, courtesy of Web Urbanist (more at the link):

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"Cognitive jolt." (Martha Bosler)

“What is art for? First of all, for the simultaneous complication and condensation of the burning questions we ask or should be asking. Second, for

a sensory or cognitive jolt.” - Martha Bosler

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Detail from a work in progress. In search of jolts; sensory, cognitive and otherwise.