6/8/10 pt 1: I would love it if we could talk about this

June 8, 2010 at 9:40 am (art, thoughts)

The always awesome Mira Schor had a link to this article on her Facebook, so I checked it out. It’s one of the most provocative things I’ve read about Louise Bourgeois ever; in fact, it’s one of the more interesting things that I’ve read about art and the identity of the artist in quite a while.

Give it a look and let me know what you think. I’ll be back later today with images of new work.


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5/15/05 – special bonus post! Escape From NY!

May 15, 2010 at 3:08 pm (art, life, other sites to see, thoughts, Uncategorized)

I just learned about this from the blog Heart As Arena, because the blogger was nice enough (unrelated to what this post is about) to twitter something kind about my work, which sent me over to his blog, which lead me to…

Escape From NY, a really ambitious-sounding exhibition in Paterson, curated by Olympia Lampert. Opens today, but if you’re late to find out about it (as I am), it runs til mid June.

This is a tiny section of the factory they have for the show. It's going to be huge.

I’m a Jersey girl through and through, so I’m generally supportive of anything that happens over here. But this show definitely sounds next level: gigantic, professional, and all-around wonderful. My only fear is that tons of NYers will go and suddenly realize that parts of NJ are a lot closer than parts of Brooklyn, plus that’s seriously nice and also very cheap out here, and this will blow the lid off my ability to walk the dog in the morning with mismatched socks and some serious bedhead without the fear of running into people I know. But I’m willing to take that risk.

A secret between you and me: I’m a little bitter that I’m not in the show. However, that doesn’t dampen my enthusiasm for it and for all the ridiculous amount of labor that had to go into pulling something like this off.

Go Olympia Lampert!!

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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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The Degenerate Craft Fair!

November 29, 2009 at 11:53 am (art, culture, interesting, life, other sites to see, painting, personal, thoughts)

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…

Lauren Fatzinger: Beard Scarf

Everest Hall: (color xerox edition)

MiYoung Sohn: One Dollar USA (inkjet print)

Yura Osborn (Imaginary Friends)

Shalimar Luis

(and dare I say, “and much, much more…”?????)


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Tiny fabric houses… with updates at the end.

August 16, 2009 at 4:51 pm (art, culture, interesting, life, personal, sculpture, thoughts)

It’s really funny how this project’s gotten away from me a bit over the last few days, so I figured I’d better sit down and write about it!

One of my goals this summer was to get really, really good at sewing, so that I could use it more in my work. If you look at my two last entries, you’ll see I’m trying – and right now I’m in the middle of this huge project of sewing these panels with text on them… they take a long time, but I’m so happy with them.

But meanwhile, as a backdrop to that, I had to get emergency dental work and our new cat was sick. Major bummer. And a major, major hit over the head in terms of financial stuff goes, given that the art market has ground to the halt (summer on top of the recession) and I don’t get paid again til October for teaching. So between the two – learning to sew better, needing money desperately – I started an etsy store where I posted some of the things I designed and made, and just sort of hoped for whatever money might come my way.

Not a whole lot has, which is pretty understandable. A store on etsy is like anything else career-wise – you can’t just half-heartedly stick out there and wait for the money to start rolling back in; you have to promote it and try and make it really work for you. I didn’t do this, of course, because I was just looking to make a little money off stuff I had made and was practicing with.


I finally came up with a project I care about.

Meet: The Tiny Fabric Houses That Want to Take Over The World.

fabric housesThey’re little houses made out of felt and cotton; each one fits easily in the palm of your hand. The roofs come off and they can be used to store little things like paperclips or safetypins.

Basically, somehow – and I’m not even quite sure how this happened – I stumbled across a solution (maybe?) for a problem I had struggled with for years: How to make some sort of “spin-off” of my work that could be sold in quantity for very little money that didn’t make me feel like a complete sell-out. I’ve been totally fascinated by things like Marcel Dzama’s action figures and Takashi Murakami’s stickers, pins, toys, stuff – they’re so cool, they get people interested in the work who might not otherwise see it, they make money for the artist, and they’re just really awesome little objects. But they’re so not for me. The thought of having some company somewhere cram out 2500 plastic figures based on my work makes me… oh, let’s say, deeply uncomfortable. I want my work to be handmade; I want it to come from me; I want it to look like a human being had something to do with its making. But there’s there trap – as soon as you start making stuff yourself, it then becomes capital-A Art, and it’s not a cheap little thing just anyone can buy.

Unless… you design sewing pattern that can be duplicated one-by-one. And if you’re me, and you’re a sucker for repetitive tasks. And if you accept that ok, the scale of this project will never be Murakami-meets-Louis-Vuitton, but maybe you can still crank out these things that people will take and incorporate into their daily lives and have some sort of life outside of a gallery or traditional collection.

I became totally caught up in the idea of turning clutter into art – I have so much clutter in my space and I’m always looking for storage boxes, that I thought it would be really funny to make these sweet little containers to hold the stuff that could be collected to the point where your desk or shelves could look like a tiny village. So I set out to make a variety of them (houses, a farmhouse and silo, a church, a supermarket, and some others) and was experimenting with patterns, putting them up on flickr and etsy as I worked them through to get feedback. My plan was to get everything all lined up and perfectly figured out and do a big launch of the etsy site… but here’s where things got away from me.

My images that I put on flickr got chosen for some “best of flickr” pool, and suddenly I had a huge number of hits to the pictures. Then, one of the images got picked for the etsy front page:

Picture 1…that’s me on the lower right there, next to the beard… and suddenly my houses got 200 clicks in less than five minutes. Artist Chandler Pritchett, who I don’t know, happened to be watching when all this happened (technically, in the middle of the night last night) and made a series of drawings of the work featured on the front page at that moment. And I got an invitation to kickstarter.com to pitch my project there (I’m off to record my video explaining my “business concept” – they’re little houses! – as soon as I’m done writing this).

This is all kind of hilarious, especially considering I’m not even finished with the patterns for all the houses I want to make. But it looks like the project is here whether I’m ready or not, so here goes…!

  • The pattern is completed for the small houses pictured in the first picture above, and they are available in fuschia and blue or beige and grey (more colors soon). I love love love these guys – I am so happy with how they turned out.
  • The farmhouse with silo is still being worked out, but I have a test one listed that you can buy for a reduced price.
  • And I made several larger houses before deciding to go for the smaller pattern, but you can buy the larger ones I made while they’re still available. (There’s also other crafts available on that page but these are the ones that are awesome! :))

I’m kind of scrambling now to get the patterns done on the rest, so stay tuned! And buy! Amy needs a new set of teeth! My cats need drugs! You need a tiny fabric house to keep your paperclips in and a little bucolic village on your shelf! Everyone wins!!!!

***UPDATE!! 11:07pm… fushia/blue just sold out. Others still available and more coming soon!

***Monday, 9:40am… the large pink and the large blue just sold out. Crazy! Gotta do some sewing this afternoon.

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Picturing Sarah Palin

September 14, 2008 at 12:16 pm (culture, thoughts)

Things in my life have finally started to settle down a bit to the point where I can do things like spend a Sunday morning digging through one of my favorite image archives – the collection of AP images that Yahoo hosts, which are sorted by various topics in a slideshow format that you can flip through. I love looking at these images as I love looking at strangers’ snapshots on Flickr. I’ve probably drawn more information and inspiration for my work by going through both these kinds of “non-art” images than I have by going to museums or galleries, although the latter remains a major source of inspiration too.

I started off this morning by doing something that I knew would piss me off, and yet I did it anyway: There are currently 424 photos in the Sarah Palin slideshow, and I clicked through about 150 of them. (It’s not that I gave up or lost interest; in these AP slideshows, many of the photos are duplicates or near duplicates, and after a point once you’ve spent an hour looking at pictures of one subject, you’ve kind of seen them all.)

I have to say, I have never seen pictures of a politician quite like these before. I’m sort of impressed and horrified, revolted and intrigued, all at the same time. I don’t like her; what I do really like are the Alaskan wilderness, abortion rights, and the idea of a Democrat in the White House, so these are things that immediately set me up to be critical of her. And yet I think these pictures are worth looking at because they tell us so much about the expectations that we place on women in our culture.

The very first thing I noticed flipping from picture to picture is how many of them portrayed Palin walking arm in arm with a man. She looks in these photos less like the Governor of Alaska and more like… well, a girlfriend.

This was interesting to me at first as it seems that much of the attraction to Palin by her more rabid supporters comes from this idea that she is representing what “real” women are like. Picture after picture of her supporters show them with signs, banners, and t-shirts proclaiming that they too are “lipstick wearers” or favor high heels, as if these were qualifications for being Vice President (or possibly just qualifications for being a “real” woman). For example:

If you look at her clothes (and it might seem unfair to do so – would anyone really critique the wardrobe of Joe Biden? No, probably not… but it’s also impossible to ignore that Palin’s glamor isn’t somehow part of her appeal), you’ll quickly see that she must be the best-dressed female politician out there; I don’t like her very much, but I will admit her clothes are pretty fantastic. Whereas the norm for politicians in general is a sedate suit in a neutral color based on the classic men’s suit, albeit with a knee-length skirt in place of pants, eg:

Palin, meanwhile, goes all out in her outfits, which are tasteful and professional, but unabashedly “feminine,” with oversized buttons, fashion-forward details, and the occasional frilly edge:

The figure-flattering belt in this one I thought was especially interesting.

And let’s not forget the shoes:

Or again, as there are several shots of those shoes:

The idea of Hillary Clinton (or Nancy Pelosi or whomever) wearing shiny red, three-inch heels seems like a joke, as does the idea of a photographer zooming in on whatever shoes she is wearing and publishing a picture of them. But the message seems pretty clear to me – Sarah Palin is the kind of woman our culture craves. She is “all-girl” at heart (not one of those scary, “manly,” no-fun women we’ve gotten used to eating up the political spotlight), prone to moments of silly femininity and with a secret love of dressing up.

Ok, why is this important? Because, look: The Democrats have been going after Palin’s obvious lack of foreign policy experience and unreadiness to become President. Those are fine, valid arguments… but they’re not going to work. The people who are going gaga over Palin are doing so because she represents what we might see in academic circles as being a very regressive form of femininity, one based on a variation of very old and out-dated gender stereotypes. But that, unfortunately, is the state of affairs for women in our culture right now: what your professional experience is with foreign policy doesn’t really matter when you’re a woman running for Vice President. What matters is that you rock gorgeous suits and balance on towering heels, know how to put on lipstick, assume a traditionally feminine (and secondary, if not overtly subservient) role when you’re walking with men, and embrace your inner girl at all times:

I also have a bunch of thoughts about the pictures of Sarah-Palin-as-mom, but this post is too long already. So, next time.

There’s a dissertation in here somewhere and I’m not the one to write it. Still, I just had to put these really preliminary thoughts out there.

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The Myth of Loneliness (aka the pop-up book) folded, top view

August 31, 2008 at 7:26 pm (art, culture, drawing, interesting, life, painting, personal, thoughts, Uncategorized)

I’m nothing if not honest, so let me make this totally clear or I won’t be able to sleep at night…

This is not the exact same book you will see in pictures below, all set up and installed in the gallery. After working all summer on it, I decided not to risk screwing any of it up (ie, dinging the paper, crushing tiny little elements by mistake, or so on) by folding it up and photographing it. When we brought it over to the gallery, it was lightly folded onto itself such that it fit very nicely into three large boxes. And then from there we were able to get it to extend to 16′ and then some.

But the whole point of this project was to come up with a way to propose a pop-up (using that term lightly) book that *would* fold down into a small package, and so while it was being constructed, that was taken into consideration. I am confident that the book that’s up at BravinLee right now would, if carefully handled, fold down to the original size intended – there are pieces (ie, the pieces that make the huge trees in the middle, primarily) that would have to somehow become unglued, but each of those individual pieces equals less than 6 x 9 and would easily fit into this package. And so the idea of the prototype or proposal is that you would get this book that is really, really thick (it’s about 10″ thick) and you would piece it together as a craft project to reveal the whole story.

In order to make this mockup of what it would look like in its folded state, I measured out paper the length and width of the unfolded book, and scored and folded it very similarly to the way that the completed piece is made. I stuffed the back of the book with about 2″ of space to represent where all the papercraft “pieces” (ie, the trees, etc) would go – this is probably over compensating for them, as they were made of ordinary printer paper and I actually estimate that they would take up 1″ tops… but I wanted to leave a little room in case I shortchanged something in my calculations.

So – this is what it *would* look like, rather than what it *does* look like.

Oh my god, I can’t believe this project is almost done…!!! (below is the side view)

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Birds and branches

August 21, 2008 at 12:22 pm (art, culture, drawing, interesting, life, painting, personal, thoughts) (, )

Ok, so here’s what I’m facing: on one hand, hits to this blog are through the roof (I assume from the mailing the gallery did? or because the semester is starting up?) but on the other, I’ve reached a point in my project where I really don’t have so many interesting images to post. By next week I should have tons more, but for right now we’re in the grunt-work part of the project – there’s not too much to really look at, as we’re basically just cutting, painting, and gluing little bits of paper together. But at the same time, it would be nice if people coming to the blog had things to look at and read other than my personal fascination with Ikea tables or the possible metaphoric value of eagles ripping the heads off of mice on my birthday.

And so, there’s this. It’s the best I can do in the very limited space I have:

It’s a tiny bird that will eventually fly over the branch that’s there in the background along with a whole flock of its little friends. The birds were by far the hardest thing to figure out with this whole book project, as there just aren’t many papercraft patterns of small birds available, but luckily Jeff was really incredibly helpful in coming up with one that is repeatable and looks really good. The branches started out difficult to make (again, no patterns available) but they were actually fun to make once I got going on them. They’re made out of just ordinary computer paper with walnut ink and watercolor and what’s really cool is that when you add just some white glue to it, the paper sort of melts onto itself… hard to explain, but it’s that nice little moment of materials working like poetry (or something?) when you least expect it.

There’s lots more, but that will have to wait til next week. I am pleased to say that so far everything’s really stuck to the original idea of the book – even if the individual parts don’t really “pop out” on their own, the little parts that get stuck together to form the various animals and things in the book are all very small and would actually fit in that back pocket I designed with plenty of room to spare.

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new popups…

August 2, 2008 at 11:19 pm (art, culture, drawing, interesting, life, painting, personal, thoughts) (, , , )

Finally I was able to get back to speed today, after missing several days because of my cut hand. The cut wasn’t that large, but it was pretty deep and really badly placed – right on my finger, the part of which I use to press down and guide the x-acto. Not good. But I’m happy to say it’s much, much better now.

While I was waiting for it to heal, I worked a bit on a stop-motion animation I hope to have up and running soon, although finishing these other projects is more pressing. It was a relief to get back into the studio and get work done today. I can’t tell (because I am once again running out of room) if this work is 100% done or not, because I can’t really see it all set up at once… so that’s something I’ll have to solve a little later. But in the meanwhile…

This is a 90 degree pop-up that’s a little misleading to look at – parts of it are disassembled when you completely flatten it, so if you’re confused as to how it pops up, that might help solve the problem.

The text continues from the last one (the carousel) and reads:
I thought of things that grew best privately, alone, away from the rest of the world.
This state of perfection – I wouldn’t want it even if I could get it. I told myself this endlessly, like I was trying to win an argument that would somehow never be resolved – both sides had staked out their claim, dug in their heels, and there was no room for compromise. I did know that I looked upon the perfect with a certain sense of pity – I knew things about the world that they’d never know and I congratulated myself on my depth of my experiences. Was this a form of sour grapes, of convincing myself that I didn’t want what I could never have anyway? Oh, probably. But I knew also that fear could take shape and present itself in the most amazing of ways and be quite beautiful in its transformations – it wouldn’t ever stop hurting, but it was a wonder all the same.

If you look in the house, there is a cactus growing, poking up through the floorboards:

And I wasn’t able to get a shot of this that’s any decent, but in the attic (which you can see through a tiny window), there is a girl laying on the floor. The light from the window drifts over her:

If you look in the upper left of the window, you can just make out her hand.

In the next section of the story, the forest transitions into a desert. It is marked by a fence and the girls are hopping over it:

A detail:

The text reads:
I thought about drought and famine and creatures that found it possible to survive in that environment, in some cases, better than they would anywhere else.
It’s like that extra little bit of struggle – that hardship – somehow made it easier. Maybe you convinced yourself to set your sights lower or maybe you just tried extra hard. Somehow when you’re in a world of such unlimited options, it’s easy to never be satisfied – but here was a place with so much less and so you contented yourself with less. Or that was the theory at least behind this kind of self-imposed banishment. I admired people who lived like that.

Ok, last one for now – now they’re in the desert for real:

In case it’s not clear, that round part can be turned by hand, making the stars in the background rotate:

Text reads:
This is how I pictured the sky out there – perpetually night and just spinning in a way that made it so clear that we were traveling so fast.
Maybe it was my way of romanticizing it to always see it in my mind as night or maybe it was a reflection of my desire to have the night devour me – I thought of people who would disappear into the night and I wated that – I wanted the chance to disappear from myself as well – to have the night come in and completely dissolve my body and let me float up and join the stars.

Ahhhhh, if only I could have more days like today.

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New drawing (I wanted so much to have real experiences…)

July 9, 2008 at 1:17 pm (art, culture, drawing, interesting, painting, personal, thoughts)

I really can’t get enough of pop-ups. As frustrating and difficult as the last few weeks have been, I’m still fascinated by them largely for what I take as being their metaphoric possibility – this idea of the world inside the teeny tiny thing, which is completely hidden from view but is beautiful and complex once opened.

I started playing around with origamic architecture this weekend. It’s this incredibly obsessive hobby that involves translating favorite buildings into cut paper; the end result is usually left completely bare white (which actually reminds me a bit of Yuken Teruya’s bag/forests).

Anyway, after trolling the web and looking at one origamic architecture site after another (there’s a ton of them! and each is more jaw-dropping than the last… pretty amazing), I felt pretty sucky about my pop-up skills… and knew I had to get to work.

So here’s the first I finished. It’s a relatively simply one and I’ve painted on the paper, but I think you can see the pop up elements relatively well:

Don’t know if you can tell it from the picture, but there is a tiny door that is actually partially ajar.

One of the things that’s nice about the medium is all this negative space each cut out leaves. I backed the pop up with a sheet of paper painted black with a layer of walnut ink, so that the gaps look like shadows.

The text reads:
I wanted so much to have real experiences. The world just opened up to me there in a way that made me forget I was a part of it. I surrounded myself with things I knew to be alive in order to buffer me from the things I suspected weren’t.

Wanting to take the project a step further, I added an interactive element with the chimney. “Smoke” comes out of it:

It reads: I felt an affinity to cast-offs like smoke through a chimney or just a speck of dust.

Anyway, very exciting to get started on something new! Of course, I have a million ideas… 🙂

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