Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Memory of working downtown as an office temp

I had a two-day teaching gig downtown San Francisco last week. As I walked around, I noticed the beautiful art in the lobbies Financial District buildings. Some of the art is crappy commercial, but much of the art is absolutely gorgeous.
In my early working career in San Francisco, I worked in many, many of those buildings. As a freelance temp, I was all over the place: three days here, five days there. I worked on about five floors in the Bank of America building alone. I remember seeing a series of priceless Henry Moore etchings in a conference room on an upper floor. It seemed like the higher you got in those buildings, the better the art got. (And the higher the floor, the easier the job, the better the coffee—but that’s another story.) This large conference room was always empty. I wonder if anyone appreciated the etchings.
Anyway, last week I was overcome with a strong memory—a feeling—how I used to feel trapped at work rather than be an artist. Passing the art in those buildings, with a bleeding heartache that I worked at some dumb job. It was like a physical pain, every day. I felt that I should be painting while I was young. I felt my art should be in those buildings, in every one of them.
I always painted on the weekends. Sometimes I made art or went to a drawing group in the evening. I fulfilled a quota of paintings per month. I'd mail my slides and SASE to art competitions at lunchtime.
Being an office temp allowed me days off between jobs. Sometimes the agency would call me, say, on a Wednesday, and I’d book a job for Monday. Then, I’d dive into painting, knowing that some money was coming in. Other times, I’d get stuck at a job for too long. 
I was never able to create art when I didn't feel financial secure. And I never expected someone to support me. So I worked. Eventually the jobs got better and more creative.

But I still painted on the weekends.

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Saturday, September 3, 2016

I was thinking about how the painting I am working on completely reveals my recent feelings (see previous blog), even though it’s just a still life of a bunch of old junk and no one will know.

video

I am feeling a bit paranoid lately, (the constant stream of job applications and art rejection letters can get to one). It seems that Adobe software company is watching my every computer move. I heard that Congress gave the FBI expanded powers. I was thinking about what Bernie Sanders has been saying in the campaign.
At one point, my computer was acting like it was hacked and when I changed all my passwords, it acted normal again.
Was some hunky agent watching my every move? I wrote him a love song. You guys all know that I still play in bands, right? My main band is The Insufferables. Singer Keith came up with the last line:

FBI song 

When I’m in the cafe
Are you sitting across from me?
Am I under suspicion?
Are you sworn to secrecy?

Yesterday I bought some pot
And there’s nothing wrong with me
I did not report all my tips
But you know that al-rea-dy

[chorus]
hey secret agent, watching everything I do
It’s nice to know someone’s reading all those tweets.
hey secret agent, watching everything I do.
hey secret agent, can you tell me what to do?

[verse]
Should I leave my current job
And look for something new?
Does my boyfriend really like me,
Or is there someone new?

When I move the cursor,
I feel you by my side.
When I leave my home
Do you slip inside?

chorus]
hey secret agent, watching everything I do
It’s nice to know someone’s reading all those tweets.
hey secret agent, watching everything I do.
hey secret agent, can you tell me what to do?

[bridge]
Can I really trust you?
Do I have a choice?
Do you control it all now?
Do the people still have a voice?

[verse]
Do you know my passwords?
Are they strong enough?
Have you seen my photos?
Am I sharing way too much?

Have you seen my band play?
Are you hear tonight?
Did you get a recording?
Does it sound alright?­

[chorus]
hey secret agent, watching everything I do
It’s nice to know someone’s reading all those tweets.
hey secret agent, watching everything I do.
hey secret agent, who is watching you?

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Compared with Hillary...

After watching the Democratic National Convention, when Bill gave a long speech about Hillary Clinton’s bio, I feel like comparing myself to Hillary.
Hillary Clinton is a few years older than my sister, older than I am, and while she's been spending all years apparently doing public service, improving the ‘lives of millions of people’, I've been painting and drawing.

I've been getting a lot of rejections from juried shows lately but I finally got to show put on by ArtSpan in a swanky Mission Bowling Club where I can showcase the big new work. I was less excited when I delivered and realized there were four other artists in the show, but heck, it’s still cool. (Terrified that two of my paintings are hung really low on the staircase to the eating area, in reach of greasy fingers, and will be damaged.)
Standing in front of 2 large paintings at the opening
Mission Bowling opening




I also got in a group show in a real gallery, a cool gallery, in Berkeley, called Ube, opening next week.
So why have I dedicated myself my life to art? When I was in grammar school, I was the kid in the class or maybe even the kid in the school that was good at art. (Okay, there was another girl who was better than I was, but she was getting private drawing or art classes outside of school. She was really good.) I was good at school, but best at art.
In fourth grade, I drew horses for the other girls for cash. I founded The Little Artists Club (LAC), which had two members, my best friend, Mary, and I. We had an art opening in her parent’s laundry basement and both families attended. I would loiter around friends’ mothers who were artists, asking them about their work. As a child I wrote stories, plays, and comics. I also knitted, crocheted, embroidered, sewed, did macramé, did leather work, took photos, made films, built a tree house, etc. My sister was really good at art but she never pursued it.
I went to an early feminist art show in my first college and a photographer overheard me saying, “I wish I could be an artist.”
     And she said, “Well, why don’t you?”
     I said “My mother wouldn’t approve.”
     She said “It’s your life, isn’t it? She had her life.”
And of course, this changed my life forever.
Later when I had my interview to get into the respected art school there, SUNY at New Paltz, the Dean said their policy was not to admit many women, because women would get married and quit art. I assured him I would not get married. They admitted me, but I decided to go elsewhere for my art degree. (I did marry later but art was always my mission.)
On National Public Radio, a female stockbroker said that women who pursued creative careers have hurt ourselves twice, partly because we don't have a lot of income, and we also don't have a lot of money to invest in things to get the society that we want.
So a lifetime spent painting and drawing and studying a lot. Attended drawing sessions all my life. Went back to school to study graphic design so that I could find work.
I probably worked as hard as Hillary. I always had to have two careers. I guess you could say she had two careers also, she was a mom and a public servant. But when compared to her, someone who has helped ‘millions of people’… I've basically learned how to paint and draw, somewhat, somewhat. (Mastery as an artist is never reached.)
So she's helped ‘millions of people’ get a better life and I've gotten pretty good at something that seems like an anachronism, something that doesn't seem wanted anymore, something that is way out of fashion. If the future was a river, I am stranded on an island off to the side, not even in the river. A peculiar place to find oneself after so much hard work.
However, art what I was best at, at so that's what I pursued.
Do I have regrets? Possibly, I will, if the future doesn’t want what I did, if my work ends up in the rubbish bin. I don't have regrets spending my life doing what I love. I’ve been a gambler with my life and it's not over yet.
When I was in college, Sue Penwarden and I got to interview Joey Ramone for my punk fanzine. In response to a question about gaining success, he told us “You can just never give up.” I guess I've been kind of following his advice all these years. 
Joey Ramone did okay.

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Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Video interviews with artists

Here's a handheld video done by Nick Pasquariello at archive.org, interviewing artists during the Open Studio event.
Click: here

I'm in a section at 24:16.

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Monday, May 16, 2016

New Illustrations

I also do design work, right now, mostly for my rock bands. I just did two posters that have a rabbit starring in them. Worlds collide.
(Yes, I need to match the fonts but I just can't decide about the fonts.)









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Friday, April 15, 2016

Painting books again

Well here I am again with the painting of the books. I tried to keep this loose and underworked but it still took a long time. The cat and the mouse did not take much time at all but they also aren't as loose as the books.

Not sure if it's done but I have an open studio coming up on April 23 and 24 and will have to break down the arrangement. That's the disadvantage of having shows in one's art studio, but perhaps it's more interesting for the visitors.

Looks a little dark here. I borrowed my friend Kathleen's cat for this one. The books are mainly design books and magazines.


I also have 4 new paintings of flowers.

Most of my recent creative effort over the past two years has gone into writing and drawing another book based on the life of a typical rabbit. I am almost done!! I have two drawings to do, the cover, and of course pre-press, but the book is out with a few friends for reading and suggestions. This book is long...something like 88 pages of color drawings. So I'll be really excited when it's out!!

I have also made a Kindle version of "Dumbunny" recently which took at least a week.

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Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Painting books

I woke up in the middle of the night with a vision of a traditional, classical-looking painting of a pile of books. You must paint what you dream about!
I want to work with books since I have a lot of feelings about all the art being done with books that don’t involve reading.

I am now painting it at the studio, sitting low to get a good vantage point. I put a spotlight on the books and turned off the other lights. It is difficult to see the canvas though.
I gave a nice piece to the large Lyme Light Foundation auction that is coming up next month. I realized I did not have any other recent work that I could give to an auction. So I decided to paint some flowers. And it's Spring and I love tulips. I have had good luck donating flower paintings to auctions. I will show a few of these new flower works at the next open studio.
White Tulips with Watch
I am trying to keep these new paintings vastly underworked rather than vastly overworked.
I am also working very hard on another new book about rabbits. I just sent my first draft off to some readers! Still a lot of work to do. It is a long book with over 70 color illustrations.

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