5/18/10: Blog Love

May 18, 2010 at 11:02 am (art, blog, culture, other sites to see, Uncategorized)

You know, there’s no love like Blog Love… when a total stranger feels inspired to write about you or your work, it’s one of the best compliments you can possibly get. Everything your mother ever said about not talking to strangers? It was a lie. Strangers are awesome. I mean, I guess some of them are scary, but most of them are awesome.

This is what I’m blathering about:

Katie Runnels of The Constant Gatherer wrote on of the nicest articles about me ever:

and Jeff McIntire-Strasburg wrote this really great story for the Sundance blog:

Oh man, today is off to a good start. It’s rainy and cold but who cares. The world feels good right now.

UPDATE:

More wonderful blog love, this time from Kickcan and Conkers! Holy cow, you guys are the greatest!!

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5/13/10 part two: Attention, bloggers!

May 13, 2010 at 8:59 pm (art, blog, culture, thoughts, Uncategorized)

I’m doing a giveaway! I hear these are all the rage online these days, so I’m curious to give it a try.

I have no idea if this is going to work or not, but here’s the deal:
1. Write a post shamelessly pitching my tote bags (and linking to where they can be bought, aka http://amywilson.bigcartel.com).
2. Mention that the next round of totes will be available on Wednesday, May 19th, at 7pm EST.
3. Then, leave me a comment below with a link to your post. When you do, you will be entered into a contest to win a free tote bag!

Think about it! Not that many people read this blog. You’re going to be in the running with like, three or four other people, tops. This is so obtainable!

Make sure you remember to leave a link to your post in the comment section of this post, otherwise I might not see it. And if you’ve been a super awesome blogger and already blogged about the tote bags, just leave a link below. I’ll enter you in the running, too!

Contest is good til May 19th at 4pm. Do it!! 😀

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I’m back

May 1, 2010 at 5:40 pm (art, blog, personal, Uncategorized)

The semester is almost over (one more day!)! I feel like every year I say this, but this year was the toughest. I try to really challenge myself every academic year to step it up in terms of what I give my students, and balancing that with my own work and my life… well, something has to give. I’m lucky it’s mostly the blog that suffers (and also, the cleanliness/organization of my apartment).

But summer is here now and I want to get back to blogging. In fact, I want to start blogging something every day – maybe not something substantial every day, but at least a few words and a picture or two. And this leads me to another thought I’ve been chewing on for the last few weeks:
More and more, I’m incorporating stories and experiences from my life into my work. I’m very happy with the writing I did with It takes time to turn a space around because I feel like I finally found a way to weave my personal stories in with observations about the “greater” world (politics, news events, etc) in such a way as it actually all makes sense as one big narrative. But then doing that has lead me to wonder if it makes sense for me to blog about art and only art (which has been my goal so far with this blog, not that I’ve always achieved it) and to keep curating out things that I do that are somehow not art, or that I think would be utterly uninteresting to anyone reading my blog.

I promise I won’t start blogging about watching my toenails grow or something like that, but certain things that take up my life/time/mental space and constantly reoccur in my work could make for some interesting blog fodder, I think. Stuff like: my vegetable garden, my experiences in Jersey City, vegan cooking (and why being vegan is so important to me), friends, crafts, news, music, and so on.

Well, it’s an experiment, and we’ll see how it goes. But I’m going to try and blog every day. May 1st seems like a great day to start.

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Micro-benefit for Haiti: My invitation to the Whitney Biennial

February 18, 2010 at 10:44 am (art, blog, culture, interesting)

I am selling my invitation to the Whitney Biennial opening reception as a micro-benefit for the victims of the earthquake in Haiti.

I got this in the mail a few weeks ago and have been staring at it in dread ever since:

I’m not going to act like I’m being some sort of selfless hero… my social anxiety disorder has been kicked up a notch over the last few weeks, and the thought of going to the Whitney next Tuesday and seeing everyone I have ever met, ever, would be all it takes to put me over the edge. As a result, I really can’t go anyway. But I also don’t want to just chuck it when maybe it can raise a buck or two for a worthy cause.

I have absolutely no idea how “exclusive” this invite is. I have zero clue as to why I got it. All I know is that I have it, I’m not going to use it, and it should be put to some sort of good use. Several people I mentioned to that I have it got all eyebrow-raised and interested, so maybe something can come out of this.

Interior of the invite reads:

Adam D. Weinberg, Alice Pratt Brown Director, and the Board of Trustees of the Whitney Museum of American Art cordially invite you and a guest to attend a reception celebrating the opening of [the] 2010 Whitney Biennial. Tuesday, February 23, 2010, 7 – 11pm. Festive attire.

Disclaimers:

Fine print reads: This invitation admits two and is nontransferable. This invitation is required for admission. However, despite the use of the term “nontransferable,” I have given away several similar invitations over the years and it’s never been a problem. They just take the invites at the door and don’t check a list. Will things somehow be different this time? I have no idea.

Bidding starts at $1 and goes up in $5 increments from there. Leave your bid in the comments section below. Winner will be decided noon on Sunday, February 21st and announced here. Bidders are responsible for checking back here on Sunday to see if they won.

Once a winner is declared, that winner has until 6pm on Sunday to make an online donation to a Haiti relief charity of their choice in the amount that they have bid (any major non-religious charity is ok by me). They they will forward me the receipt they get from the charity, acknowledging their donation. If the winner does not do this by 6pm, the next highest bidder will win and we’ll go down the list from there.

Monday we will sort out delivering the invite. If you’re really generous and are somewhere in Manhattan, my arm could be twisted to hand-deliver it. Otherwise, if we could meet at a mutual-agreed-upon location, that would be great.

And then on Tuesday you get to get dressed up and rub elbows with art people!! And I get to be knocked off the Whitney’s mailing list for the rest of my life.

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New book: Middle, 2008-9

September 28, 2009 at 6:56 pm (art, blog, books, culture, drawing, interesting, life, personal)

This is a book that I started at least a year ago (may have been longer, I’m not sure) and only completely finished just now. It’s strange for a project of mine to take that long, but this one went through so many different changes as I learned more about book-making and pop up books. There is a real ceiling when you’re making things where your abilities and your ideas sort of clash; for me, that ceiling of ability kept constantly changing (I’d learn something new and it would go soaring up or I’d totally screw up another project and it would scare me enough to basically have it clamp down). And I am really, really trying to find a way to combine this idea of the pop-up, which I absolutely love, with my work so that it’s not just gimmicky or cute but instead refers to this interior space which is infinite.

Anyway. At very long last, here is the book.

The cover:

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Side view:

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Here is a picture of my gimpy hand opening it (not sure why I always show my hand in these pics but I do so why stop?):

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Inside the cover:

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Then you turn the page and you reach this part you have to assemble:

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So it’s not a pure “pop up” in that you have to do some of the work, but it is incredibly easy to assemble. The five-sided cobweb basically comes out at you and all you have to do is latch the side into a little perforated latch I created. When you do, and interior part naturally falls down and it looks like this from above:

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…and like this from head-on:

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You fold it up to read the rest of the story, but from there on it’s just symmetry in terms of the design part:

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and the last spread:

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I worked like crazy trying to get the hinges on the pages so that it could be opened and assembled over and over and over (100s of times) with no worries about damaging it… and in the end, I think it has to sort of remain a fragile work of art.

Ok, I’m excited! I think this is a big step!!

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Belize

May 24, 2009 at 11:09 am (blog, culture, life)

Wow, I’ve been very disconnected from blogging lately. I’ve been going through this thing where basically I’ve wanted some more privacy and space to think about some things (and to create some new work that I’m not making public right away), and as a result it doesn’t really leave me wanting to update this thing like crazy.
So somehow, going with all that, I neglected to even mention that we were going to Belize. We just got back yesterday in the middle of the night after eight days away, our first “major” vacation together in quite a while. I’ve had a bunch of people ask me “Did you love it?” or “Did you have fun?” since we’ve been back, and the questions sort of make me hesitate. I did love it and I did have fun, but I guess the major thing that I’ve been finding it difficult to express is how to take in loads and loads of new experiences you’ve ever had before. (I can tell you that I had fun at an amusement park because I can compare that trip to other amusement park visits, but if you were to plop me on the surface of Mars, I’m not sure “fun” would be the first word that pops to mind. Fascinating, interesting, amazing – yes. But “fun” doesn’t really seem to do it.)

We started our visit by spending 5 days outside of San Ignacio, up near the border of Guatemala. Conventional wisdom about Belize says that it’s equal parts Central America and the Caribbean and I found this to be true; our first stop definitely had both its feet planted in the Central American part. We were staying in a cabin in a camp which was in the middle of the rainforest. No electricity (our cabins were lit by kerosene and once that went out, that was it) and a shared bathroom and shower “outhouse” situation.

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I haven’t done much camping in the US, but I doubt that even having done much would have really prepared be for the experience. I adored the things I expected, like the pitch blackness of nighttime or the unexpected cool breeze wafting in from the screened windows. The things I didn’t expect would first fascinate me and then wind up completely scaring the crap out of me – scorpions(! in our sink!), Howler Monkeys (they sound like a cross between a lion’s roar and death metal played at full volume), and all the various sounds of the jungle.

In some ways, it was sort of a relief. I’m so used to walking around and having things in my own head that scare me – memories, thoughts, things that only exist in my mind – that it was kind of nice to be told to be wary of ocelots and have that kind of fear take the place from my usual ones. Ocelots are real and can be seen by everyone; they’re tangible and, in their own way, manageable. You know what to do when you see one. It’s not some sort of great unknown spinning around forever.

I also couldn’t help but notice things like how all the upper management of the place we were staying at were former British Royal Army guys and how we were brought to our camp in a 4×4 with a gun on the dashboard. That part of Belize is a bizarre mix of complete poverty, a once-booming (now pretty much crashing) tourist industry, Mennonites and Amish communities, and ex-pats from different places. Somehow they all coexist, but I couldn’t help but think that this was a temporary state. Oil was recently discovered nearby and all I could think of was how this not really going to be a good thing for the country.

Partially my experience was informed by growing up and hearing about El Salvador and Nicaragua on the news every day and being very aware of the horrors happening there. Add to that mix the distant memories of anti-apartheid documentaries I saw as a teen and… well, it was hard to turn my brain off about all this. Being out there kicked up tons of memories I never even knew I had, as my mind raced to connect this completely unique (to me) experience to something familiar.

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Anyway. After several days of that, we headed out to Caye Caulker, which is the much more Caribbean part of the country. Just as the first stop was indisguishable to me from any other remote, jungle-lined country, the second could just as well have been Jamaica. Caye Caulker is a tiny, laid back island right outside of Belize City with a large Rasta population. There isn’t much to do but eat at the fantastic restaurants, swim, get some sun, and lay around… which is pretty great if you’re on vacation.

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So that’s the update from Belize. I’m back home now, and getting back to work.

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Red Dot Fair panel discussions

March 23, 2008 at 9:40 am (art, blog, blogging, culture, personal, thoughts)

There’s two panel discussions at the Red Dot Fair next week that I thought I’d bring your attention to…

One: Bloggers and Their Impact on the Art World
Quote from their site:

Sunday, March 30th
11:00 AM
Bloggers and Their Impact on the Art World.
There’s now more art coverage in the blogosphere than in conventional publications. Do we handle this responsibility with conventional journalistic standards or something that’s faster and looser as befits an instantaneous medium? How do we manage the formidable network that has developed around and because of us? Where do we go from here?

Moderator: Joanne Mattera, painter, Joanne Mattera Art Blog. Panelists: Edward Winkleman, Winkleman Gallery and Edward_Winkleman blog; Carol Diehl, painter and critic, Artvent; Paddy Johnson, blogger, Art Fag City; C-Monster, freelance writer whose identity will be revealed at the event; Sharon Butler, artist/writer/professor, Two Coats of Paint.

And two: Art Fairs: Practical Considerations and Strategies for the Future
(starring MEEE!!!!)
Quote:

Sunday, March 30th
3:30 PM
Art Fairs: Practical Considerations and Strategies for the Future.
Representatives from all sectors – artist, dealer, curator, consultant, collector, the media – will discuss such questions as: Are we all still benefitting? Can the experience be improved? Are there too many fairs? Is the vetting process effective? Is the proliferation of art fairs putting too much pressure on artists, dealers, collectors and the market in general? How is the market affected?

Moderator: Margaret Mathews-Berenson. Independent Curator/Art Advisor. Panelists: Brooke Mason, The Art Newspaper; Douglas Maxwell, Collector; Amy Wilson, Artist; Sique Spence, Director, Nancy Hoffman Gallery.

Directions, details, etc on the Red Dot site linked above. Stop by and say hi if you see me!

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Travel stuff

March 5, 2008 at 10:47 am (art, blog, culture, drawing, painting, personal, thoughts)

Hmmm, so…

I realized that I’m going to be unplugged for nine days – no cell phone/Blackberry, no easy access to email – while I’ll be traveling through Central/Eastern Europe*.

This both excites and frightens me. I’m thrilled yet freaked out.

I’m really excited to see what this trip does for my work. I have this idea that I want to make some books while I’m there, but other than that I’m really open to see what the new experiences bring me. I don’t travel enough… I haven’t been out of the country since high school (is that true?? I hate that, but I think it is… combination of no money + dollar being low + working all the time). So, I don’t know. This trip is a big deal to me.

So I decided I’m not posting anything else til I leave. I’m still working away, but I want to digest a little what I’m doing and think about some things. So… yeah. I’ll try and write in this thing while I’m away, but I’m not sure what the email situation will exactly be.

But I’m excited. Did I say that yet? Also: nervous. That too.

*So, I keep saying “Central/Eastern Europe” without really going into it… that’s because it’s 9 days in Prague which, I’m told by people who have spent time in Prague, might be a little too much time there. I’m entertaining the idea of maybe going to Berlin or Warsaw or some other place after a few days in Prague but I don’t really know. I also really like the idea of hiding in my Czech hotel room and drawing. A lot depends on just how nice that hotel room is, I think. So… yeah. I really don’t know what I’m doing for the next week or so, except that it will involve a hotel room, Europe, and drawing. Hooray!!

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Stringing for a cure

March 4, 2008 at 6:04 pm (art, blog, culture, personal)

One more quick friend-centric blog post and then back to the art…

Frequently commenter Andrew Thornton is doing a fundraiser for a cancer charity on his blog. Check out his offerings here. Andrew, along with being a very talented painter, also makes really amazing necklaces – including one that I own (he gave it to me as a very nice gift!) and love and wear all the time. I’m insanely picky with jewelry, but his work realy blows me away. It’s got a kind of bohemian/earthy/godmother slant to it, while also being very contemporary and different and not at all cliche. There’s nothing I wear that gets more (really positive!) comments.

My only hesitation in posting this is that I plan on bidding on these necklaces and now I just got myself some more competition. Ah well. It’s for a good cause.

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I felt everything was connected (2/25)…

February 25, 2008 at 11:49 am (art, blog, culture, drawing, life, painting, personal)

That’s really the theme I keep coming back to over and over til the point where it’s nearly an obsession: that everything is connected, that we are of nature, and that everything we do/think/feel affects every other living being.

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I kind of mix all that up with my love/hate relationship with our humanness, our bodies, mortality, everything. It’s all just a swirl in my head that I’m trying to figure out. I sometimes feel, with all this, that I’m really lost in the woods and trying to find my way out, but maybe not too quickly… because it’s pretty nice being lost in the woods.

Good lord, did any of that make any sense??

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