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!


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)


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


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


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


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.


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


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?


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

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


"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.

Cedar, everywhere

I’ve been back from Japan a week but Kyoto is still in my heart. The textures, the juxtapositions, and most of all

the fragrance of cedar, everywhere.


Among bonsai enthusiasts there is a concept of shitakusa, companion plants.

These provide a sense of scale and setting to the bonsai.


Shitakusa, above. From a bonsai exhibition in Waimea earlier this year.


This concept has lately taken hold and is sending forth emissaries.


Shitakusa (2018). Works in progress. Companions, as yet, to the unknown.

"It isn't 'outsider art', fuckers; it's art." (Jerry Saltz)

"Alfred Barr got in trouble at MOMA for putting [outsider artist John Kane]'s work in the museum. Barr essentially got fired for including outsider artist Moros Hirschfield in a show. This is how closed all of our museums still are.

It isn't "outsider art", fuckers; it's art. Just art. - Jerry Saltz


(God bless you, Mr. Saltz.)


Fragment (2018). I like my outsider art to be truly outside. On the ground. In the gutter. Degraded. Disrupted. Damaged.

Don't Shoot Me Down! Popup Show

I am so excited to have 2 new pieces in a really cool popup show at Shockboxx in Hermosa Beach, CA. It's called Don't Shoot Me Down, an artful dialogue about guns in American culture, and it's in affiliation with March for Our Lives and the Brady Campaign.

Image uploaded from iOS.png

Check it out

Sept 1: 6-9pm

Sept 2: 1-5pm



I'm also excited about the work I have in the show.

A million years ago, before I started making abstract paintings and embroideries, I was doing more traditional embroidery. Using a hoop and 'real' stitches and working from patterns (albeit patterns that I created, based on found vector objects.) I haven't known what to do with all of this old work but this was the perfect opportunity to put it to good use. So for this show, I have taken some of my older pieces and combined them with new abstract paintings:


Baby Steps (2018) and Profits & Loss (2018). Soon to be appearing at the mighty Shockboxx!

Mini Hot! LA Popup Show

I'm very excited to be showing some of my Narrative Fragments for the first time at the Mini Hot! Popup Exhibition in LA from September 1-15 at Studio C Gallery, run by the inimitable Peggy Nichols. Hoping I can make it to the Aug 31 preview or the Sept 1 opening...


"Couldn't really tell you." (Jean-Michel Basquiat)

"It's like asking Miles, how does your horn sound? He couldn't really tell you why he played it, why he plays this at this point in the music.

He's sort of on automatic, you know." - Jean-Michel Basquiat

(from Tamra Davis' movie, The Radiant Child. So good.)


Yes (2018). Bring it.

"More than what it actually was." (Judy Linn)

"By taking a photograph and isolating things,

it could look like more than what it actually was.

We weren't really dreaming a future, we were dreaming a present." Judy Linn (re: photo sessions with Patti Smith in 1969)

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Fragment, 2018. Part of a larger story. Or not.

"It doesn't mean much." (Vija Celmins)

"It is hard to tell what part is really yourself and what the work means. My feeling is that it doesn't mean much. It is a sort of presence that comes out of human beings and you either go for it or you don't. Really I have been thinking

nothing means too much." - Vija Celmins



Fragment (2018). Obsessed with scraps, with wreckage and ruin and chaos and accident. The pleasure of those things. The rightness.