I worked allllllll day on this project, and I made seven tote bags. Yikes.
But! The good news is, a lot of that was just fine-tuning the pattern and figuring out the best way to do this thing. I hope.
After a day of working my ass off, I started to feel like… well, this. Homer = Amy, Marge = Jeff, big pile of sugar = vinyl.
Anyway. Back to work.
Cutting up the vinyl in Lincoln Park:
And after a few hours of “helping,” (ie, jumping up and getting in the way and licking everyone’s faces five million times), Oscar the dog finally crashed out. Yes, he sleeps with a flower:
First set of tote bags should be done by tonight, or the latest tomorrow. More details soon…
One of the best things about living in Jersey City is that no one ever lets anything go to waste, and everyone I run into is just as frugal/stingy/broke as I am.
Case in point: The really awesome woman who came to the dog park yesterday and gave away something in the ballpark of 30 to 40 dog toys that her pug was completely uninterested in. Most people would have just thrown them away; instead, she carefully washed everything (they were practically brand new anyway), got into her car, and brought them over to give away to people she had never met.
Love that. Oscar took home three, and now he’s a very happy dog indeed. I’m keeping the rope/ball toy away from him til we go back into the park because it could really unleash some mayhem in the apartment, but he’s coveting his new squeaky snowman and cheeseburger:
I especially like that second picture because while he’s chewing on the snowman, you can tell he’s dreaming of the cheeseburger. It’s kind of Oscar’s life in a nutshell.
Yesterday was the last day of classes at SVA, which means that already I have a million ideas about what to do next year.
One of the things I’ve been kicking around is this idea of offering a class called The Business of Art as Art. The idea of the class would be to investigate different historical models of doing business in the art world. Above, I’ve posted a picture of the art dealer Gracie Mansion and her co-conspirator; they ran a gallery out of her apartment and even on occasion, out of a rented limo. Their way of presenting art was very different than the white-cube standard that is the norm for showing and selling work, and yet they did it and did it quite successfully for years. In a way, their gallery became a work of art in itself, a living kind of performance art, or at least a very different way of trying to make a little money and while supporting art that they loved.
They’re just one example out of many (and I mean MANY… there’s no shortage of examples at all). It leads me think about things like “art in the age of etsy” and about how as a teenager, I was drawn to art not so much as a way of expressing myself, but as a lifestyle, as an alternative to getting a normal job and working 9 to 5 with someone else as my boss. Sooner or later, as an artist (or as anything else), you bump up against the idea of “how am I going to support myself?” and I don’t see a reason why the answer has to be “exactly like everybody before you has.” We expect artists to be original or different in their work (even if they’re appropriating, because re-presenting is never the same as the first time), so why not in the way in which they conduct what is essentially their own small business?
So this is what I find myself thinking about on the first day of summer – how I would structure a class like this, what we would talk about, and what, very specifically, the goals would be. Immediately I know I would want a situation where each student would start their own business (this would be a requirement of the class) and the business would have to, in itself, be a work of art. But beyond that? That’s what I’m thinking about.
If you’ve ever had any inclination to start an urban garden, you’ve probably had someone try and sell you on the idea of growing herbs. I’m not quite sure why this is, but “Why don’t you try basil?” seems to be the standard answer to anyone interested in turning their stoop, windowsill, alleyway, or what have you into a fertile little patch of land.
In my book, this is some of the worst, most life-draining advice you could ever give someone. Yes, yes, it’s very nice to have fresh basil to put on your pizza or fresh mint to put in your lemonade, but for most small (one-to-three person) households, you’re left with this plant that produces much more than you could possibly want, to the point where the wannabe gardener almost resents it. That is, if you can even get it to grow for you at all.
For me, the true magic is in leafy greens. Collards, kale, swiss chard, escarole, arugula, lettuce, cabbage… when you start growing that stuff, that’s when the lightbulb goes off over your head and you understand why there are people who are so passionate about gardening. Leafy greens grow almost effortlessly outdoors, they produce tons, and they feed you really, really well.
I have a very small square foot garden (about 4′ x 4′) and also a very small container garden. The square foot garden is in an unused part of the front of our building and some of the containers are right next to it; there are additional containers in our windowsills.
It’s a very, very small space. And yet, when I plant leafy greens in there in the late winter/very early spring, they grow like crazy. It’s almost hard to keep up with them, and I swear – all I did was create the container for them, dig a hole, put the seedling in (I start from seeds mostly, but that’s another story), and water it every couple of days. Nothing fancy. And from the end of April to the start of September, we really don’t have to buy veggies at the store. (Bear in mind that I’m vegan and I try and eat a LOT of raw greens… probably a normal person would be stuck with a surplus to freeze and keep for the winter.)
So far, I’d estimate we’d had about 10 cups of greens from the garden, and it’s only the second of May. Not bad!
Pics of the garden forthcoming…
Special bonus video (if you know me personally, you knew this was coming). Oh Blixa, you sexy man:
I just got a call from Karin that the park is now ready, and the construction guys have officially removed my installation around West Thames Park. In many ways, this is sort of terrible timing, because I have a show opening this Wednesday at BravinLee programs, which is the completed drawings for that project, and it would have been nice (and it was the plan) to have them both up at the same time. On the other hand, this is just the way these things go. It’s a construction site, first and foremost, and only a place to see art as a very, very distant last place. It was great to have the opportunity to have my work up there for as long as it was, and now it’s on to new things.
Including… that show I mentioned! If you’re in NYC, come to BravinLee program this Wednesday from 6-8pm and check out the full drawing in the project space (Douglas Florian in the main space!). Details:
Amy Wilson: It takes time to turn a space around
BravinLee programs, 526 W26th Street #211
April 21 – June 5
Opening: Wednesday, April 21st, 6-8pm
Hope to see you there!
This is going to seem like the silliest thing to put in an art blog, but bear with me.
I bought a pair of ginormous bug-eyed prescription sunglasses. It wasn’t really my intention to do this when I walked into the Lenscrafters, but I’ve been needing new sunglasses for ever and this pair was on sale, and I’m always saying I want to try a different kind of glasses, so why not? So I got them, didn’t think too much, ordered the polarized lenses, and waited a week. They arrived two days ago.
Here’s why I mention it: Seeing the world through ginormous bug eyed glasses is a completely amazing and all-new experience. For starters, THE COLORS. I had forgotten how amazing sunglasses make all the colors look outside; that the sun sort of bleaches the color out of everything, and walking around with sunglasses on is a little like being Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz when suddenly everything goes all technicolor. Blades of grass twinkle (the tips of the blades of grass now clearly a dark yellow unlike the base of the blade which is a fierce green with a little bit of blue), individual leaves up in trees shine and glisten…. it’s amazing. And then secondly, the field of vision is way bigger. I’ve been wearing smaller glasses forever and have totally forgotten that oh yeah, there’s a whole world that gets edited out when you see the world through 1 1/4″ lenses.
Anyway, I am psyched to see if this has any affect on my work. Already I’ve been planning on making some very large scale drawings, but now I’m thinking all about color – intense, pure color, the kind that makes your eyes pop out. And I pretty much never want to take the sunglasses off.
I’m going to have some work up in the project space at BravinLee in a few weeks. It’s the large drawing that I did for West Thames Park, only totally completed – which is to say, with all the text filled in. Here’s a preview, but the full drawing is huge…
It’s all ready to go… except I don’t want it to leave my studio just yet. I want to fuss around with it a bit. I have been on such a tight schedule the last few years, I haven’t had the luxury to really just work and work on something, and then walk away for a few days, come back, work some more, take a break, etc. I’m happy with it the way that it is, but since I have a little extra time (it’s not going to be framed, which means I don’t have to rush it to the framers) I’m going to take it. I don’t expect to make any major changes, just little tweaks – but it’s fantastic to finally have the time and space in my life to do that sort of thing.
I know – I’ve been MIA for a while.
About a million things have happened, and I will happily bring you up-to-date on all that on some other day. But for right now, I’m reminded of a bumpersticker we used to see around New Haven (“My kid and my money go to Yale”). If I were wearing a sign right now, it would say “My brain and my heart belong to the Degenerate Craft Fair.”
I am way to flustered to blog correctly, but here are the basics:
The DCF is being put together by me and Shannon Broder. It involves 20+ artists and will run for five days spread out over three weekends, the first being this Friday night at a DIY place called Silent Barn. The weekend after, it moves to a storefront in Williamsburg, and then the weekend after that it’s in Chelsea at BravinLee. For allllll the details and info, see our website: http://www.degeneratecraftfair.com
A slight aside: Have you ever been to Shecky’s Girl’s Night Out? It’s this really terrible event in the Puck Building – you pay something like $20 to get in; there’s tons of goodie bags and freebies and free ultra-sweet alcoholic drinks, and lots of vendors selling stuff. You go, the whole evening is a blur, and you wake up the next morning with a pounding headache and a brand new purse next to you that I guess you bought (probably stuffed with other things you bought), but good luck if you remember actually doing so.
Ok, so the Degenerate Craft Fair is supposed to be the good version of all that. Vendors (aka artists) selling FUCKING AMAZING stuff at fantastic prices, giving you lots of things to give as ultra-cool Christmas presents or maybe keep for yourself. And yes, alcohol and music and a party-sort-of-atmosphere. And also free to get into. Fun!
So basically I’m scrambling to get all my own work done (tons of cheap editions I’m making – books, “records”, other fun stuff) and also help organize this thing. It’s a lot. But I really hope you’ll consider coming and maybe even re-blog this event if you keep your own blog.
I have a million things to do, so let me close with some of the work that you’ll see at the fair…
(and dare I say, “and much, much more…”?????)
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.
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?):
Inside the cover:
Then you turn the page and you reach this part you have to assemble:
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:
…and like this from head-on:
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:
and the last spread:
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!!