Submissions Now Closed (Submit to Strike Away – a matchbook art show)

Strike Away Show

I’m thrilled to share with you that Courtney Cerruti and I are curating a show of matchbook art at Paxton Gate Curiosities in San Francisco. It’s a follow-up to Courtney’s hit show last year, 3636 Project, 36 spoons by 36 artists.

The matchbook show Strike Away opens May 22, 2015.

If you’d like to submit artwork click HERE for details.

Can’t wait!!

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xmas letter from a new parent

Dear family, friends, and strangers,

I reflect on 2014 and its many life changers.

Last new year’s was spent with my head in the bowl

But not due to shots at the local watering hole.

I had a bun in the oven and six weeks of morning sick.

Come summer we expected a new Dornadic.

Fatter and fatter I grew

staying away from meats, cheese, and any kind of brew.

Giant belly, swollen feet, and a bloody bumhole

Waddling around, counting down to the big arrival.

Until one day in August, the doc said, “We’ve got to get that sucker out.”

After lots of poking and coaxing, and a little (ok, big) shout

There she was, a skinny screaming pup, with long hands and feet.

Dark brown hair, blue eyes, we were so excited to meet.

The family said congrats, dressed in their best

Then promptly headed to Santa Barbara for a wedding love fest.

We brought her home, and as she lay on our bed, a tight screaming ball

We looked at each other, eyes wide, and giggled, “Now what, doll?”

Sure enough, she kept us guessing,

Is she eating, sleeping, pooping enough??? We were obsessing.

Then French people came and invaded our home.

Well-meaning grandparents, armed with baby clothes, oils, and tome.

Then it was all bavoirs, tétines, coucous, doudous.

Est-ce qu’elle mange, dort, fait caca bien???

Et puis, au revoir et à bientôt, merci, de rien.

Back to 4am feedings

Online readings

To pooplosions

And lotions

Reflux.

Sucks.

And just when I thought, I can’t do this, enough is enough

She looked square in the eye and smiled at us.

And with that, the heart melted, OK, she’s a keeper.

Happy holidays to you and your Santa believers!

babyfoot

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

So that’s where my original letter ended, but then my friend sent this response and I had to include it because it’s so splendid:

 

Just read your sweet xmas letter.

Things will sometimes be down and then get better.

And so take note, these little munchkins of ours are smarter than you think.

Just when you are at wit’s end and on the brink,

They turn around and give you a wink.

Our hearts melt and are overjoyed,

Till two months later and the next mental leap that leaves us destroyed.*

It’s definitely a journey like no other I’ve found.

Seeing them turn into real people is way better than being round.

 

*Originally “annoyed” she changed it to “destroyed.” I think this says a lot but I’m no Freud.

 

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Feeling Like A “Real Artist” with a Show at The Shop Friday

1411_November-01

Well my last post was about how I feel like an artistic poser at times. So I am thrilled to say that I will have work on display at November First Friday in San Mateo at my favorite printshop/workshop space/gallery The Shop at Flywheel Press. I’m feeling more like a real artist already!

I’ll be showing work next to some very talented ladies, including the lovely Rachelle Kaldani.

I’m displaying original watercolor and ink sketches that went into making my zines. I’ll have copies of the zines for sale too! All super affordable because everyone should get to own art.

Hope to see you at the opening reception this Friday, November 7, 6-9pm at 309 7th Ave, San Mateo, California 94401.

Here’s a peek at what’s to come.

assyrian

From the making of “Growing Up Half Ass(yrian)” a collab with Seana Murphy.

squat floating  bellies

 

From the making of “Expecting” a zine about pregnancy. (ps Seana made this awesome blue jean quilt)

And last but not least, my new zine about breastfeeding “Public/Private” hot off the presses!

boobs

 

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Social Sketch in life

I met Mike when Courtney asked if I’d like to join them for a sketch sesh. I said, “of course!” but was kinda nervous about sketching with the two of them. They are what you might call real artists. The kind of artists with degrees in art, who show their work in galleries, write books on art and craft, and teach others how to make art. I am a bit of a poser. I am a “paint in my living room after I finish work, don’t really know the difference between student and professional materials” kind of artist.

I decide to go sketch anyway. After scarfing down a terribly saucy, terribly delicious falafel in Mike’s studio space, we get to it. We each start on a sheet and when someone gets tired or feels like they’re done we exchange work. Then we exchange one more time so that everyone has made a mark on each sheet.

It was magic.

I loved trying to figure out how to enhance their work. I love how clearly Mike and Courtney’s styles come through, and how they play off of one another’s work. (You can see more of their collaborations on Instagram under the hashtag #ccrabbit.) I wasn’t even that scared to mess up their work because there was no ego about it. Turd it up? Doesn’t really matter, flip the page and start something new.

Here’s one of my faves from the night:

collaborativesketch

And here’s the bunch at the end of the night that we divvied up:collab sesh

This collaborative way of drawing reminds me of old Persian miniature painting. Each artist would have a specialty, such as gold leaf, color, calligraphy, and would only add that particular element to each work. Paintings were a result of several artists’ efforts.

Several years ago the Asian Art Museum here in San Francisco hosted an exhibit that played off of this idea. Karkhana: A Contemporary Collaboration included paintings that had been passed from artist to artist. Here you can get an idea of the process (excuse the shitty images throughout this post, these are quick phone snaps of the exhibit catalog):

karkhana process

karkhana_final

This brings us to the awesomeness that is Social Sketch, a monthly event recently started by Courtney and Mike which alternates between San Francisco and Oakland venues.

social sketch

It’s an open event, you can find upcoming dates on Instagram #socialsketch or Facebook. Bring beer, burritos, and your favorite pen or paints. Start a work, throw it in the middle of the table, take someone else’s and add to it.

Why I think this simple concept is so good:

there’s no ownership of the work, no ego because you don’t necessarily know who made what, no money involved so it’s not really competitive. You make something you’d never otherwise make, meet and work with skilled people, have dedicated time to hone your craft, take cool shit home. And if you make something crappy, it doesn’t much matter. Throw it in the center so someone else can fix it, and start fresh.

I would love to employ the social sketch concept in other aspects of my life. How come it’s so hard to find paid gigs with this same spirit? Projects where you work with cool people, with no ego, who help to make something that wouldn’t otherwise happen alone. I suspect work projects don’t feel this way because they involve money. As soon as you pay or get paid for shit it changes the dynamic of the relationship, and people tend to feel more possessive of the process or final products. Even so, I’m looking to embrace social sketch in other contexts because it’s a fun way to work, and a lot of cool stuff gets made.

Here’s some collaborative pieces from previous Social Sketches. Hope to see you at the next one!

socialsketch_bottles

socialsketch_house

socialsketch_french

socialsketch_shapes

socialsketch_shoes

 

 

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Does It Need To Be Designed?

I am breaking my accidental year long hiatus with a post about doing nothing, my favorite pastime.

The reason for my absence is almost exclusively due to the fact that I am in a two-year graphic design program at Seattle Central and am just about to start my second year. Many times my fellow classmates and I will go out to eat and drink at neighboring eateries and drinkeries and jokingly kid about the crappy logos or bad kerning that surround us. Being back in school makes one more aware about the visual communication around town. Though said comments are made in jest, I wonder, is it sometimes better if something is crappily designed or not purposely designed at all? Many times our job is to rebrand companies and websites but I think it is more important to distinguish when it is necessary and when it is arbitrary. For instance, when logos for corporations are redesigned.

hershey's logo

One commenter thought it looked like a literal steaming shit

moo logo

Transferwise logo

Sometimes I think, wait which one is the before again? Is that a really good use of their resources? Probably not, but maybe yes. But honestly, what the hell is the difference? (These were taken from the Brand New site that reviews logos.)

One of the UI/UX instructors at Seattle Central, Erik Fadiman, is the one who made me not only think about design but also the necessity of design. He often says that companies will approach him for what they think is the need of a website. But in some cases do they need a website? Sure he can take their $8,000 and make them a responsive website, but will it really benefit them? Will simply using social media suffice? In some cases like food trucks, yes. E Fad started out more concerned with design and slowly moved to the other side of the spectrum, focusing almost solely on functionality and leaving the appearance to visual designers. I feel myself doing to same sort of leaning, but don’t want to let go of design. Can’t I have both?

So I started thinking about the need (or rather un-need) for design more. But how far can you go with that? For instance, I noticed restaurant websites are always really shit-ily designed and have nothing on them. And you are usually only going on there for the hours, phone number, and/or menu. So isn’t yelp a much better way to access this information instead of being sent to an external website that probably is not responsive? I understand wanting to have cohesive branding so if you could personalize your restaurant’s yelp page a little more, that would be ideal.

My fantasies on how to redesign something has changed to excitement over what does not need to be redesigned. Instead of my first question being “what would I do to change this?” it is now “does this need to be changed?” For example, there is this super cheap taco truck near us:foodtruck2

Is this menu aesthetically pleasing? No. Does it need to be redesigned? No. It is functional. In fact, it’s lack of design is its design. Besides, is there anything more beautiful than four tacos for $5.49?

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Expecting: A Zine About Pregnancy

belly parade

Dear readers, fellow pregnant ladies and those who think pregnancy might be a hoot, I made a zine about my experience being pregnant. It’s not about the adventures and misadventures that led up to it, nor will it include the labor, delivery, or gory aftermath of childrearing. I will not broach the natural versus medicalized birth debate. Nor will I give any helpful tips or insights to alleviate physical or mental discomfort.

It is simply about what a strange time pregnancy is, how it changed my relationships with other people, with food, how it generally complicates social interactions, and all the bodily weirdness that no one tells you about. And you may identify with some of it. Or not. I’m writing it down now because I assume it will get wiped from my memory shortly after I give birth.

The physical paper zine is available on etsy and hopefully soon at Pegasus Books in Berkeley and Needles & Pens in SF! You should check out those locations anyway for their awesomeness. As well as San Francisco Zine Fest Aug 30-31 in Golden Gate Park.

Here are some of the illustrations in the zine as well as outtakes. Rest assured, there are no fewer than 32 nipple illustrations that appear in the zine. (I love painting nipples and bellies.)

first trimester floating

fetal fruit

about me

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Weird things people say when you’re pregnant

I’ve refrained from telling pregnancy stories until now because well, they’re pretty boring if you’re not pregnant. However, I think anyone can enjoy a good round of “weird things people say.” These weird things were said to me in the recent past.

Size Matters. Being pregnant sends the message that it is now OK to openly discuss your shape, size, and weight. Even strangers will engage in this behavior.

“You’re so big.”

“It’s so big.”

“You’re so small.”

“You’re carrying so low.”

“Can I touch it?”

“Oh. You don’t look pregnant.”

“Don’t worry, my friend gained 80 pounds when she was pregnant. She lost it all but now her skin sags.”

 

Vices. Be it their own or on your behalf, it’s now OK to comment on your personal choices.

“Are you supposed to be eating/drinking that?”

“It’s OK to drink a little.”

“I want to smoke, please leave.”

 

Funny product recommendations.

pillow

“You can’t have a baby without this….”

– crazy pillow for sleeping

– crazy pillow for breastfeeding

– nipple cream

– swinging musical chair

– giant jogging stroller

and on and on

 

Scary Stories. Something about seeing pregnant people triggers all the (often hearsay) tragedies others need to now share with you.

“I know this woman whose baby died right before she was supposed to deliver. Have a great day.” (-airport security officer)

“You think you’re safe after 3 months, but my friend miscarried at 6 months.”

“My wife’s water broke at 7 months.”

“When I went to this birth class, the instructor told us how this baby was born with listeria blisters all over its body.”

“This [insert messed up thing here, i.e. pooing blood, peeing blood, fainting] happened to me when I was pregnant…”

“…And she couldn’t look at fish again.”

 

Fun with Doctors. They can’t all be good with people.

“You had a big jump in weight this month, don’t do it again.”

“You have a marginal cord, that just means it could get compressed and the baby could be in trouble. Have a great day.”

“Oh that? That’s a zit. Hang on, I’ll get it.”

 

Then there’s all the comparisons people make between your pregnancy and theirs, be it regarding sleeping, eating, nausea, mood swings, labor, women like to compare themselves to other women. But I’ll stop here.

 

 

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3636 Project Opens at Paxton Gate’s Kids in SF Friday, February 21

3636_project

36 antique spoons rebirthed by 36 artists. 3636 Project opens at Paxton Gate’s Curiosities for Kids February 21. Reception 6-8pm. 766 Valencia Street (between 18th & 19th Streets).

The curator of the show, Courtney Cerruti, is always making the world around her more beautiful. She calls herself a maker extraordinaire and that she is. Doesn’t matter the medium (although I believe her heart is happiest dripping in paint) she’ll turn it into something magical. Somehow I managed to sneak an invite to participate in the show. Lucky for me, someone who wouldn’t dare call herself an artist (at least not in front of other artists), Courtney can see creativity in most people. I think it’s because she teaches so many workshops around the Bay Area and can bring out artistic qualities in all her students.

So here I am, with a spoon in the show, alongside 35 extremely talented artists. Here’s a peek at my spoon. Come check out the rest! Some are already teasing us on Instagram #3636project

spoon

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Flocking v Differentiation aka why I’m uncomfortable in IKEA

(image from Flickr Creative Commons)

I have a lot of anxiety around IKEA. For starters, it’s always packed full of grubby kids and Noah’s ark styled couples, you know, the kinds that dress alike. Second, they trap you on certain floors and sections, by making you go up an escalator with no way down, urging you to follow the yellow brick road through the store. I’ve solved these problems by never going on a weekend and entering the store through the exit (and first getting a $1 ice cream cone as extra incentive). Seana has already written on IKEA as a sore subject.

My biggest beef with IKEA, however, is that I really like their stuff. I go happily along picking new sheets and pillows and crap and then it hits me that millions of people have all this same crap in their homes. The cool style reinforces your belief that you are a unique individual with good taste but in reality you are unique just like everyone else buying this mass-produced consumer good. This tension has pecked at me for years but I couldn’t put my finger on it until I was listening to an episode of the Planet Money podcast today, Episode 457: Why Pink. In the episode they discuss how fashion trends occur and why copying is so prevalent (embraced even) by the fashion industry. The reason there may be 50 different kinds of denim shirts for sale in 2013, is that we all want to be accepted and fit in (flocking), yet we want to feel unique and like we have our own style (differentiation). Designers offer so many different iterations of what’s in right now so that you fit in, but allow you to select one piece to stand out from everyone else.

(image from Flickr Creative Commons)

I think this tension is most profound in IKEA because of its lack of direct competitors. Really, who else is in the affordable furniture biz. Target maybe? There is no middle market for furniture. The next step up, we’re talking about Design Within Reach and Room & Board, where a couch may go for $5000. Besides antique, vintage, estate sale type situations, the only place to go for affordable designerly furniture is IKEA, and thus the conundrum. There aren’t enough iterations to make me forget that I’m like everyone else, and to fool me into believing I’m a unique snowflake. They definitely have fresh, youthful, clean styles with some variety, yet lots of people I know will have the same exact thing, not a variant, the same exact thing. I walk into a new client’s office. Oh, that’s my coffee table. At my friend’s house, oh I have that rug. It’s too much flocking folks. I haven’t solved the problem of furniture & home goods differentiation, but I’ve identified a new piece of my Ikea-discomfort puzzle. And thus, a win.

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Do We Have a Right to Ad-free Entertainment?

During my winter break from school, I have been taking advantage of a sedentary, carefree lifestyle. I am slightly addicted to watching clips of Conan’s tbs talk show on youtube. I love watching Conan flutter around as his coif bounces.

conan

The only thing is the ads are out of control. Between me and Conan entertainment often stands a 30 second non-skippable ad. And this is just for a 2 minute clip. And if you watch most of the ad but then want to watch a different clip, you have to re-watch the ad. It is just infuriating and wasn’t nearly this bad before.

Spotify is a bit ad-happy as well. It is especially annoying that the ad volume is jacked way up compared to the volume of your music.

Hulu seems to be the bane of Brian’s existence. He hates the fact that if you have hulu plus, you still have to watch ads. He doesn’t actually have hulu plus, he still doesn’t like it to a point where he has almost black-listed it. (Brian black-lists many companies. If there is an annoying ad from a particular company, he will never buy anything from them every again.)

It is something me and Brian often argue about. I would always say having ads are not so bad because they are giving you a free service. Plus, when you have to watch tv you have to watch commercials anyways and at least hulu will tell you how long the commercial will last. Who am I that I get to watch hours and hours of free content and not have to watch a couple ads? At the same time, how much is the reasonable amount?

Happy New Year, btw. Instead of making a resolution, join me in complaining more.

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