Friday, December 30, 2016

A Cultural Oasis in the Arizona Desert

I am a big advocate of seeking out museums wherever I travel.  This Christmas I found myself in the gated community, McMansion, suburban sprawl that is Scottsdale, Arizona.  Fortunately, the Monday after Christmas, the Phoenix Art Museum was open for visitors.  I visited the museum about ten years ago, but that time I was helping organize an event and was unable to see as much as I wanted to.  This year I had all the time I needed on a quiet day. 
The permanent collection is solid.  There is a good overview of western art such as the Deborah Butterfield (seen above).  The contemporary collection has noticeably grown since my previous visit.   I really like Betsabeé Romero’s piece in the courtyard and then I looked at her website.  I would love to see a big installation of her work. 
As an artist who works with maps, of course I was all over Horacio Zabala’s exhibit Mapping the Monochrome.  Seeing my first large exhibit of Kehinde Wiley’s work was a real treat.  And then there was Martin Creed’s installation Work No. 2497 — a room filled, tightly packed actually, with white balloons.  Visitors are allowed to navigate their way through it.  It was a bit terrifying, yet I am glad I did it — but once was enough.

Now I am back home in San Francisco.  It is good to be home.  But I have to say, as we all love to diss red state Trumpizona, it should be noted that they have this museum.  It is a place where all the signage is bilingual, where women and non-white artists are well represented, where this is plenty of new, dynamic contemporary art.  I am not sure where to find that in my little city by the Bay….

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Solstice Mail Report

As the year winds down and we reach the Solstice (I am always more optimistic when the days start getting longer), it’s time to recap the latest mail art arrivals:
  1. Handmade Christmas mail art from Barbara Stasiowski.
  2. Melissa Wand’s Muiresque holiday card.
  3. A wintery moon from Kerosene (aka Carolyn Oord) in Québec that included a cool Christmas beaver in jaunty cap (Canada does Christmas stamps right).
  4. Repurposed Christmas cards from Jane Gravois make for good mail art.
  5. Mail art from Sugene Mine with some of my favorite, now vintage, postage stamps of all time.
  6. A Portland postcard from Julie at Eva Moon Press.
  7. Sasquatch Mail Art from the Cracker Jack Kid.

This January will be five years of sending and receiving mail art.  In 2017 I look forward to trying out some new ideas and seeing what all the artists I correspond with continue to create.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Holiday Mailing

The holiday postcards are off in the mail.  They are heading nearby and around the world – some even have a mail art, ATC surprise inside.  This year’s image complements my new series of Time Travel Photo Collages with a photo of twenty years of my used paintbrushes.  Normally the brushes are stuffed into an old jar.  When they are all laid out, they are another way to mark time.  It was 20 years ago, in the fall of 1996, after one of many inspirational trips to Joshua Tree, when I returned home with a new focus.  I decided to put all of my creative energy into my visual artwork.  In July of 1997 I left the unsatisfying world of a financial district office job and have been primarily focused on making art ever since.  It has been a struggle at times and it has also been rewarding.  Those old paintbrushes are a good way to mark the years.

If you like this image, you can purchase prints and other products from Society 6.  And today, December 8, they are offering free shipping and some deep discounts.

Monday, December 5, 2016


A new series of 7 mixed pieces (5”x7” each on wooden panel).  They are of an imagined Idaho landscape from the air.  They are also prototypes for bigger pieces in 2017.