right now!     ian g. cozzens updates, news, photos, and thoughts

the epic to-do list

July 9, 2014 at 12:31 am

Hi readers of these updates! Hope your summers are good. It’s now kinda hot here, Scøtt was dog-sitting for a couple weeks so I was hanging out with this little yellow dog Winnie as well as Buio-cat, they were hot too, everybody was/is hot, it’s hot now & it’s midnight.

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So… this is a chance for me to tell you what I HAVEN’T done. There’s a lot of stuff I need to write more about on here, including other projects I did in the spring like complete an assignment for Headmaster Magazine #6, and the final outcome of the print that I shared some process drawings from here.

Also… I never really put together final posts about the Manchester St. Power Station print project (in progress here), or even the Recycle-A-Bike poster from a couple years ago (process moment)! Yikes!

Then there’s a bunch of other stuff from the past year that hasn’t really seen the light of internet-day, or even proper documentation: a dazzle camouflage pattern I made last summer to go on a t-shirt to give myself some body freedom/body obfuscation, which was a personal project that I now want to make some kind of mass-production possible for… a text & slide-projector performance/reading (also about bodies) I did that will become a zine someday… a map-and-memory project I made to be installed in my friend’s apartment in Abu Dhabi, that needs to have a local instance at some point, and get realized fully…

Also I’ve had a blog post in draft form for a while about tools for drawing, which keeps developing & changing in its meaning & context since I got a new wacom tablet recently, and have been learning more computer skills… and since my grandfather (who gave me his engineer’s Rapidograph pens) died this past month…

BUT! There are a couple of print projects on my plate right now which I am struggling desperately to complete. As well as organizing shows & events for the rest of the year… And being a living human who cooks, eats, gets dressed, sleeps, talks to friends, and lives. So I’m not writing those posts now!

Also eventually I will finish some really long-unfinished projects like my epically, drastically incomplete print series about everyday spaces? Aahh! (I kind of don’t want to think about all the other projects that are unfinished / aspirational, that’s just the most egregious one…) Someday I intend to eventually bring all the projects to a close. So basically, as it always has been, this blog is a chance for me to say “sorry everything is not done yet” and “it will be done eventually & then I will make a blog post about it”. It’s good to know nothing has changed since 2007, I guess.

For the moment — I am posting some nice barns, letters, building aspects, etc. to instagram/tumblr; you can keep track of my random nerdy notes in either of those spots — and please enjoy this picture of a drawing setup — on the parlor table due to the length of the horizon line I needed to use to get the vanishing point right. The cat was very happy that I was working on a surface he could sit on (as opposed to my main desk, where there’s really no room for him) while I made the marks.

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More soon. !!!

upcoming awesomeness!

September 26, 2013 at 4:54 am

Now fall is officially here, I guess, and with the season, a TON of work & projects just hit me on the head with their reality and urgency! So it’s time to get to work & stop feeling weirdly bummed out all the time……. okay?

Past couple days, I’ve been buckling down, and amid MUCH distraction, finally getting back to this image from the spring. Lots of ***sick*** rubylith cutting is going towards a “finished” version of the Manchester St. Power Station print (there will be many versions of this, but I’m just trying to get a decent one(1)-color [just one color?!! whoaaaa] version of it right now…):

I’m working from a photograph of these reflections, but not tracing: drawing onto paper and then cutting the rubylith out over the drawing, then varying wildly from the drawn lines with the goal of getting the feeling of the light from the windows reflected on the water… The improvisation & amorphousness that it’s necessary to embody in my lines, at the same time as I mark the precision and specificity of the reflected light, is a very strange & complicated mental/artistic state to hold myself in… and I keep having to take breaks & look at webcomics. :D

I will have the above print done for the RISD Fall Alumni Art Sale, Saturday October 12th, 2013, on Benefit St. in Providence, 10am-4pm. I’m also working on completing other (old & new) things for that, hopefully it all gets done in time!

Then the Craftland Show work delivery deadline is right after that… so all the ramping up will just continue…

Wednesday October 20th is the first night of the fourth (!) class I’ll be teaching at AS220 on “Knife-cut stencils, rainbow rolls, and other mysteries of the non-digital silkscreen process”.

Color test prints, experimenting with ink transparency and color order, by Corrine Hill, a participant in the class I taught in July:

(more images from past classes)

For this session, we reduced the class size to six, so there will be more time & space for everyone. The awesome artist/activist/engineer Jen Hall will be the T.A. This is gonna be great! Four classes (+ an extra work night as well) for $160, sign up here!

All during this time I’ll be getting ready for a solo show in November at the University of Rhode Island Main Gallery in Kingston, RI. I’m hopefully going to display all (“all”?! well, maybe) the prints & posters I’ve made since 2001. We’ve been jokingly saying it’s “a retrospective” but that is actually what it is so I guess I should quit jokin around! I was pulling out the contents of the my archive/portfolio flatfile drawers to show to Ron Hutt, the URI gallery curator, and I got slightly overwhelmed thinking “oh crap, this is like my ‘life’s work’ right here”. Geez! Deep thoughts! You better come see the show! The opening will be Thursday November 7th, 4:30-7:30pm; the show runs through November 29th.

I’m also super excited to be working on a short video with Tara Cavanaugh that will go in the gallery along with the print work, most likely showing some of my process, shots of my visually-overwhelming studio, me talking about how & why I do all this stuff, me walking romantically among some empty industrial buildings, my roommates making faces in the background, Buio-cat, etc etc etc.

(possibly similar subject matter but much better than this “action shot”:)

Okay, that’s all the near-future stuff. Further out / further away: if you find yourself in Abu Dhabi, some of my art will be in Maya Allison‘s apartment/gallery show “Providence — True Love Always” there, beginning on October 25th; in Providence, look out for some kind of holiday sale type thing in December; in February I’ll be lurking around New York City to help out my lil brother & his partner after they pop a babs (!), and maybe I’ll be making some kitchen-window drawings or something; at the end of March & maybe early April I’ll be in California cause I will have a piece in the “Queer Communities in Print” portfolio that Corrine Teed is organizing to be part of the SGC International Printmaking Conference in San Francisco; annnnd…. that’s it? for now? see you soon? what is this thing called life?

“ink and knife”-native letters

May 10, 2013 at 1:11 pm

ink_letters_01

How did I not write anything at all about this project yet on this bloggy? I think it was because I was ***way way way behind schedule*** getting it done, so didn’t have any time to make process posts along the way. Then afterwards I got super wrapped up in organizing a bunch of stuff for a month of non-assimilationist Pride events here in Providence. So it goes!

complexity_730

I made this print last summer, for a print portfolio project organized by the amazing political artist and potter Meredith Stern. The portfolio is called “This Is An Emergency!” and is focused on reproductive & gender justice. Meredith has been doing presentations about the project (and her work) around the country, as well as doing the logistics/promotion to get institutions and libraries to buy copies of the portfolio, which is super awesome cause a) those institutions have these radical prints, and b) it’s pretty great that some of my work is in the collection of institutions all over the place.

You can buy the purple-gold-orange colorway of this print here, and I also made two new colorways because I was running out of the first one; blue-silver-green (sparkly) and tan-gray-red (not sparkly). They are $20 — cheap! Shipping is $6 or I’ll deliver in Providence or you can pick it up. Get it, put it on your wall, use it to help tell your cis friends about what it means that you’re trans, to help explain to your parents why racial profiling is dehumanizing, or to help remind your students that their values are worth hanging on to even if they don’t coincide with the values of the academic institution… anyways, I made it for you.

complexity_blue_246 complexity_gray_245

The full text is at the bottom of this post.

I spent a while brainstorming and writing the text for this print (and trying to figure out how to make the text more concise, but avoid “soundbites”/tumblr-esque-ness… also thinking about representation of human beings & once again deciding to avoid it)…

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…and then time hit me & I realized that I needed to make the simplest possible print, alignment- and printing-time-wise… but how to make a “simple” print about “complexity”? Plus I wanted it to look super cool (the classic downfall, I know). I decided to make basically the whole “background” of the print a giant rainbow roll of *ink*, and leave the letters the color of the paper.

First step: draw out the text how I wanted it to read (thinking about “reading” vs “seeing” & how they work together), not getting it perfect but just enough to ink over:

ink_letters_10

Then: inking. This was done on wet media mylar (“prepared mylar”), using a nib pen, brushes to fill in the background, and an Olfa razorknife to scratch unwanted ink away. Each of these steps requires some time for ink to dry, and is contingent on working your way across the surface in one direction at a time, so you don’t smear the wet ink you’ve just put down. I also wear thin cotton gloves, with the thumb & first two fingers cut off the dominant hand, to protect the plastic from the grease on my hands. Okay here goes! Watch the lower-case “g”s…

1. outline the letters & begin to fill in their smallest concavities, with the pen:

ink_letters_03

2. fill in the spaces between the letters with a small brush:

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3. fill in the ink on one side of the letters with the brush:

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4. …and then fill in the final gap:

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5: now with the back of the point of the Olfa knife, fix any places where you blobbed over the line, clean up the inside part of the “e”, “a”, “o”, etc, square off the corners and ends of the letters (check out those “g”s), and generally sharpen it all up:

ink_letters_07

Was this simple? Kind of. Did it take a hell of a long time? YES. I’m terrible at this time thing.

But that aside… I really like working this way because it produces letters that are native to the materials I’m using to create them. The act of my hands using specific tools to make them is what gives the letters their shape — not just aesthetic decisions in a vacuum. It was intriguing to make a couple different sizes of the same letters, and a vertical and slanted set (not sure if “roman” and “italic” apply here), and to see how they all came out differently… Of course, there’s an alternate set of letterforms created by “drawing the same letters” but with ink as the *positive* instead of the negative — just as cutting “the same” letters negatively or positively out of rubylith results in different forms. Someday! actual usable computer fonts will come out of all this work… maybe?

Here’s a cool photo Pam Murray took to show the metallic ink I used to print it, and the resolution of the letters:

complexity_focus_detail

And I wanted to include one quick set of images to answer the question “But how did you do the rainbow roll at an angle?”

A. Shoot the transparency on the screen at an angle!

1. transparency at an angle, and a “linear blob” of different colors of ink on the screen:

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2. a couple of prints into the run, the rainbow roll has smoothed out (you can see how the paper is aligned on the table at an angle as well):

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3. epic squeegee (don’t drop it):

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One last note about this portfolio format for political art work generation and distribution — it rules!

Meredith is part of Just Seeds, a radical artists’ collective, and though this portfolio was not a formal Just Seeds project, they’ve used the same model a number of times: “a group of artists each make a print about an issue, possibly collaborating with organizations or mentors, then those prints are collected into a portfolio which is both distributed to organizations to sell/use/display, and can be shown as a thematic exhibit and be the occasion for discussions and an impetus for activism”. It’s a pretty bad-ass method for disseminating political art outside of the big-money art market, for getting little-known artists (like myself) some wider distribution and possibly recognition, and for providing art to political organizations.

It seems like something that should happen as widely as possible. If you know of an issue in your town or area that could use a bunch of prints made about it, grab this idea & run with it! Contact Meredith through her website to ask her questions about the process… She has worked really hard to make the whole project happen, and to promote it & make it successful, but it now has a momentum of its own: a young woman came up to where I was tabling at the art sale last weekend with Sam Merritt, who also made a print for the portfolio and was displaying it in front of our table, and asked her “Is that print in that, uh, reproductive rights collection? That was exhibited at my college last month — people were lining up to see it, it was a great event, everybody loved it!”


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Full text of the poster:


so you’re not comfortable with our complexity?

you pull us over, lights flashing
you call us back to the counter
you don’t understand why we have to do that to our bodies
you demand picture ID, proof of residence, a letter from our therapist, citizenship documents, tax returns, body mass index, a calm rational voice, coherent gender presentation, formal english grammar, insurance card, deference

and it even sounds friendly when you say, “come on, baby, would it be so hard to give me a smile?”

and we almost do it
so you’ll let us exist safely in the world you offer

but — your systems of control are not safety
they will never be a place to live

so we leave them behind
we run from them headlong, heaving homemade bombs back over our shoulders into the gated compound, waiting for the explosions
we rip them, piece by piece, excruciatingly slowly, from their nesting places within our own hearts and stagger away wounded, barely alive
the door of the bus closes with a soft noise and we pull our knees to our chests

our demands are simple, contradictory, impossible, necessary
you tell us the world has no space for our complexity

yet we live right here, in dissonance & beauty
we’re not comfortable
yeah, we might be dangerous
our long-term effects are definitely unknown

our complexity is the world


In re. the art sale: here I am, sleep deprived & coffee fueled, in a shirt that is my favorite colors, in need of a haircut, gesticulating about something I don’t remember but which seems entertaining, standing outside with Sam and a girl I don’t know, under a nice sign that says “QUEERS!” — that’s good, right?

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drawing fonts / trading projects

February 18, 2013 at 8:46 pm

a person seated at a table trying to draw with a small dog on their lap

Oh, the assistance of a tiny dog… so crucial for drawing this typeface for Liz Novak’s jewelry line / personal-world-creating self-actualization project, With Care… !

Liz (“E. Elizabeth”) is a skilled pal who I don’t get to see often enough, maybe because we both work a ton? or maybe because I am mega distractable and don’t realize that actually months & months have gone by since I have seen some of my friends? Unclear. In any case, it’s unfortunate… and partly with the ulterior motive of ***hangouts*** I asked her for help with the bandana project that I began for the “Practical Tools For Shifting Reality” show at AS220. She had asked me for help with a letterform project at the end of last year (which I had actually forgotten about in the chaos of holiday-sale-december-time — yikes), so it was a great chance for a work/project trade!

Liz is a jewelry-maker, a proud New-Jersey-ite (and also a loyal adopted Providencian like myself), a seamstress at the local bad-ass-lady-run business I’m Your Present, and a SERIOUS flea-market-hunter and collector of visual & graphic ephemera (check the instagram!). She also makes costumes… knows a ton about fabric & sewing & clothing… & has helped me in the past in various self- and gender-actualization-through-clothing-modification projects!

hankies in progress spread out all over a couch, with a cat on the shelf above[photo by liz]

In the lead-up to the AS220 show, she advised me on some of the fabric stuff for the bandanas, did a bunch of ironing, figured out the use of the rolled hem foot on my sewing machine to sew the tight hems, did a bunch of the sewing, and taught me how to use the rolled hem foot so I could keep doing it on my own… Her help was super crucial to that hanky project actually happening. At the end of our second day of working together, Liz said something like “You know what I really like? Working hard.” I never really think about this, possibly I just take it for granted? But I’m on the same page. And indeed, working hard together was especially fun.

hemmed & folded hankies...[photo by liz]

It helped that the bandanas looked super awesome when we were done!

In return for helping with that project, she had asked me to help her with font & logo design for With Care… which I was super psyched to do, since I had just been in the very rewarding realm of drawing lots of fonts/letterforms for the show.

two words, "correia" and "fabrik", in 1920's letters

Liz had collected together a bunch of objects, decorative items, and (of course) historic letterforms, which I (of course) love looking at, and which gave me an idea of what kind of letters she was interested in for the logotype, and some graphic/visual context to work from…

the back cover of an old magazine titled "your health", with the titles of articles

two words, "charm" and "ferragamo", in old typefaces

So we sat around & talked about different kinds of letterforms (& various other important community news, what some might disparage as ‘gossip’, but is actually crucial) and I drew some letters! It’s a pure delight to take this set of letterform-drawing skills that I have & turn it towards creating a ‘brand’ identity for someone a) who is a friend, b) whose taste I really respect, c) who also respects my aesthetic judgment, and d) who has a very strong vision for what the aesthetic world of their creative project/business is. Wearing my ‘designer’ hat, it’s really nice to be able to perceive someone’s aesthetic and try to follow & amplify it! I hope I succeeded…

Getting ready for some kerning — the letters in “CARE” are awkwardly spaced here, and I wanted to even out the curve to make it more symmetrical:

a drawing of letters with overlapping curving guidelines

The drawing scenario, with bright light (clip lamp) at Liz’s kitchen table, showing bristol board (original drawing), tracing paper (kerned letters), and small black jewelry box which this rectangle is designed to eventually go on:

different tracings of letters "with care" arranged on a table

Final drawing, with gemstone — somehow I have never drawn a gemstone before?

a person's hands holding a tracing of a gemstone onto a drawing of letters
[photo by liz]

Next steps for this guy are a little bit of cutting & pasting, to make it fit the differently-proportioned rectangles that Liz needs (Etsy-store header banner, two different jewelry boxes, postcard), rubylith cut-out (to get clean-but-slightly-wobbly lines without using a computer), scan rubylith & clean up on the computer. At some point I might draw some different versions of it at different weights or with a three-dimensional shadow on it… infinite possibilities… !


postscript: Clearly, the “animal in proximity to project” scenario is not unfamiliar to me:

a person seated at a table trying to draw with a small dog on their lap [Martin, at Liz’s house]

a person trying to work at a computer with a cat sitting between them and the computer [Buio, at my house]

late nites work nites

January 15, 2013 at 5:54 am

So nothing is stopping here, really quick here are some various process shots, as I just keep on task in a really kind of wonderful way preparing for this show (opening Feb 2, Saturday, 5-7, AS220, yes I’m mentioning it again!). When I’m really working on things, which I have been & it’s been awesome, I stay up till 4 or 6am and sleep till noon or 2pm, so A) don’t call me before noon unless it’s an emergency or we planned on it beforehand, and B) it’s really great to have a housemate who is also awake all night and practices beautiful/weird bass & piano scales while I mix colors…!

Sometimes the printed color is the same density as the hand-wiped color swatch (L)… sometimes not (R). The far-right test is closer to the ink these were actually printed with:

test swatches & printed test colors

Test prints usually look more dynamic to me than the “real” print (that’s why a bunch of these newsprint test guys will actually be part of the show…):

test printings of geometric letterforms

These are the first two colors on the four colorways (I know, four is too many) of the “Queers!” print:

different colorways of geometric letterforms

One thing that’s unusual for me is because of the deadline, I’m working on six (!) projects at the same time… I usually work on one thing at a time till it’s done. I am really, really bad at working on many things at once. But because of the scheduling, lots of different elements that need to fall into place, and different logistical things, this is how it’s rolling out — and I actually really like it. It means I have to really focus and set aside my evenings & nights pretty dedicatedly to working (and check out my organizational structures at the bottom of this post)! But it’s really rewarding & it’s pretty lovely to be in a color thinking / print thinking / drawing thinking mode a lot — though I switch back into an organizational / logistical mode often, cause it all has to get FINISHED!

Also, all of these projects were begun / conceived of / initiated sometime in the past two years… and are now seeing a final push towards completion for the show. I don’t know if I could be coming up with new ideas or new complex drawings on this kind of deadline and all in the same stretch of time… that might not be possible.

* * * *

This picture was taken as a “visual note” so I can remember how I might want to line up the next layers:

printed script letters with rubylith transparencies over them

Printed on my 5+-year-old plastic alignment sheet, as this gloss varnish dries, it seems to make the worn & scratched alignment sheet look clear & clean… hmm… oooh… gloss varnish… !

gloss varnish, printed on plastic, showing its anti-refractive tendencies

Harnessing the magic of the test prints to make cool unique “real” prints:

cool accidental/intentional color magic

Also I’ve been re-laying-out & adding a second layer to these stickers from this past summer:

screenshot of misalignment test for stickers

They are gonna get Risographed by Walker Mettling of the Providence Comics Consortium, which I am excited about, but the degree of my stress about getting the layout & alignment of the images set up for the RISO machine was totally out of proportion to the importance of whether these are actually well aligned. Walker was like “it’s just like a photocopier!” and I was like “waaaahhh I am scared of processes that I don’t have control over…” HA. hmm. Turning over control to someone else, it’s good!

Looking back at these photos of the earlier Queers prints, to figure out the next colors:

screenshot of looking through different variants of one print

Tonight, testing further colors (WHY CANT I USE ALL THE COLORS) for the Dissonance prints, and using the testing time to think about what order the layers should go in. (Anybody out there got color thoughts? I really kind of do want to use all the colors…)

color testing for script font print

… and… this is how all these things come together over time & in their logistical sequence: pages of basically illegible notes & calendars & details:

lists of scribbled handwriting

Note mediocre drawing at bottom center, of the orange cat sleeping on the mat in the hallway with all his feet tucked under! cat blob!

“we don’t like to keep it simple”

December 12, 2012 at 11:53 am

we don't like to keep it simple

Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve been working with Priscilla Carrion (a textile artist, and New Urban Arts alumni student & alumni mentor), assisting her in creating a four-layer screenprint that is for sale as a fundraiser for NUA. Our process has had a similar structure to the project I did with Noel back in the summer; and I think the results are equally if not more awesome…

looking at the different transparency layers

The print is called “We don’t like to keep it simple”, and the title as well as all the text that’s incorporated into the image are drawn from NUA students’ artist statements over the past years.

In this case we started out with relatively well-defined imagery (see drawing to the right in the photo above) that we wanted to replicate, and I worked with Priscilla through the steps of color separations, rubylith cutting & creating transparencies with ink on mylar, decision-making about ink mixing, and printing some epic rainbow rolls: (ANIGIF ANIGIF ANIGIF feat. Printeresting “dirty apron contest” prize apron!). The final print dimensions are a little over 12″x24″, it’s super complex & a beautiful mysterious landscape, if I can say that myself…

We made it as a fundraiser for the New Urban Arts studio, it’s a place that has changed my life, among many other people’s, and is super close to all of our hearts. You can ACQUIRE a copy of this print at the “Cardboard Pankakes” art/craft/studio sale at New Urban Arts, 705 Westminster St, Providence, this weekend, December 15th & 16th, from 11am-4pm… They are sliding scale $45-$150+; get a beautiful print & help an awesome organization sustain its continued future!

cardboard pancakes!
(Yolibel at last year’s Cardboard Pankakes, photo by Jesse Banks III)

There will also be lots of other local artists & craftspeople (including me) selling their own work at “Cardboard Panckakes”, it’s the best-feeling “commercial” space you will have ever been in, come by & check it out. Facebook event here!

Here’s a sequence of images from our print-making process — click on any of them to see the whole lineup as one large image.

print process sequence part 1
print process sequence part 2
print process sequence part 3

WOWZA!

commemorate a riot with me

June 14, 2012 at 4:15 am

I wrote a bunch of stuff about why I have been organizing around queer issues & to build queer community here in Providence, but that writing got erased, which is okay, it was important but it wasn’t well-articulated enough yet!


(photo by the amazing Jori Ketten)

The brief version (in run-on sentences, sorry mom!) is that I am working hard with others to create/assemble/coalesce a queer community here, and to spread awareness of queer & trans existences and the languages & concepts that make space for those existences, so that trans & queer people in Providence don’t have to think: “all the trans people I’ve known have moved away” or “I am the only person I know using a pronoun that wasn’t assigned to me at birth” or “it’s going to be impossible to get people to understand me as male & to use the right language for me” … all of which were things I thought frequently three-and-a-half years ago. Not that it’s perfect here now… but we’ve made huge progress & have really built something real. There are still a bunch of things I worry & stress about around my existence as a queer trans guy… but those worries aren’t that I am alone in my queerness here — that has truly changed.

At this tumblr: queerlilrhody.tumblr.com and below, you can find the giant roster of events that a loose group of queers here (including me) has been working to put together for June of 2012! We’re commemorating the 43rd anniversary of the Stonewall Riots not by saluting our corporate sponsors & buying a lot of lite beer, but with conversations, celebrating our creativity, working on oppression, dealing with difficult stuff, & figuring out the next steps forward. Oh, and abolishing prisons & ending the state institution of marriage altogether? Those are on the way. ;)

… and yes, this organizing work is also my “real work”.



Thursday June 14: 6pm, 186 Carpenter St.

“Liquid Sky” screening: queer/lesbian/trans sci-fi film set in 1980s New York City. A conversation about femme visibility will follow the film. Trigger warning: this film contains graphic depictions of sexual violence

Friday June 15: 4:30pm, Bank of America building, Kennedy Plaza.
Join Jobs With Justice & other local organizations to address Bank of America’s foreclosures in Providence. BoA is one of the sponsors of the “Pride” parade & festival — as queers, we’ll be there to denounce them for “supporting” “the LGBT community” when it’s fun & visible, but then with their other hand, undermining our lives and those of our neighbors in our communities.

Friday June 15: 5:30pm, Kennedy Plaza side of Burnside Park downtown.
Queertical Mass – Circus on Wheels! Join us on a ride where we can celebrate the strength and power of riding together without the need to “dominate the roads.” An accessible, fun bike ride for everyone! CIRCUS theme!

Friday June 15: 7:30pm, Libertalia Automous Space, 280 Broadway.
“HOMOTOPIA” screening. “Love revolution, not state delusion! Race, gender, ability, & desire are reworked through an anti-colonial queer struggle creating a visual rhythm of melancholic utopianism”

Saturday June 16: 10pm-2am, AS220, 115 Empire St.
FUCHSIA IS NOW #7 presents SMEAR CHAMPAGNE: “a killer and amazing anti-corporate Stonewall commemoration party: voguing, fashion show, homemade BMI/ASCAP-free beats and so much birthday cake and yelling!” All ages / anti-corporate / anti-assimilation queer [dance] party, basement zone transported to downtown for one night. $1-5

Saturday June 16: 9pm-1am, Mathewson St Church, 134 Mathewson St. downtown.
Youth Pride Inc. Pride Night Dance Party! Free, open to ages 13-23, alcohol- & drug-free, food & refreshments provided.

every Sunday: 6-8 pm, Libertalia Autonomous Space.
Rhode Island Anti-Sexism League meeting

Sunday June 17: 7pm, AS220.
“Heart Breaks Open” screening. A feature film which recasts biblical narratives around HIV positivity, transmasculinity, drag and the sisters of perpetual indulgence. $1-5 donation

every Tuesday: 5pm-6pm: BroadMed Building, 557 Broad St, enter from the parking lot.
ACT UP RI – Open Meetings. AIDS Coalition To Unleash Power: fighting for healthcare, justice, and to end AIDS locally & worldwide.

Wednesday June 20: 6-8pm, Location TBA.
Queer prisoner letter writing! Meet and talk about the prison-industrial complex as related to queer lives & politics, connect with prisoners and write initial letters to them.

Thursday June 21: 8pm, Libertalia Autonomous Space.
Unite & Fight! a Forum on Queer Liberation & Feminism. Rhode Island Anti-Sexism League & allied organizers present a panel & discussion about historical and future shared struggles of queer people and women against sexism, heterosexism, transphobia and homophobia… and thinking about what a queer anti-sexist grassroots organizing community can do here & now. Join us!

(Queer Liberation and Class Struggle reading group, postponed to sometime later this month! Details TBA. email chrisgang@gmail.com for more info.)

Friday June 22: 7:30pm, Libertalia Autonomous Space.
“Madame Satã” screening: a film based on the life of infamous Brazilian drag performer & outlaw João Francisco dos Santos. Discussion will follow on homosexuality & masculinity in the Portuguese-speaking world.

Sunday June 24: 11am to 6pm,
Queer Farm Day at Scratch Farm in Cranston, with potluck lunch & gender-variant- & body-positive swimming at 1pm. Come for all or part of the day, help harvest & spend time in safer queer rural sanctuary space with queers & allies! email secretdoorprojects@gmail.com for more info & directions.

Thursday June 28:
43rd ANNIVERSARY OF THE STONEWALL RIOTS

Thursday June 28: 7pm, New Urban Arts, 705 Westminster St.
“Queerly Present” evidence of queer lives in Providence: readings, spoken word, performance, music, etc.

Friday June 29: 7:30 pm, Libertalia Autonomous Space.
“The Raspberry Reich” screening, a pornographic, violent & satirical Bruce LaBruce film that explores the ‘innate radical potential of homosexual expression’. Followed by discussion about queer resistance and violence.

Friday June 29: 8pm, 95 Empire Black Box, 95 Empire St.
“How To Be A Lesbian In 10 Days or Less” + “You Just Need A Little Lipstick”: ‘motivational speaker’ performance, and new work in progress, by Providence theater-maker Leigh Hendrix. $5

Saturday June 30: 2-4pm, Libertalia Autonomous Space.
AIDS and gentrification reading group. More details TBA.


YESSSSSSSSS see ya in the streets!

heretical certainties

June 8, 2012 at 4:28 am

I have some work in a really neat print portfolio put together & printed by Erik Ruin, a friend & political graphic artist who now lives in Providence! The portfolio release show is tonight, Friday June 8th, 7-late at Machines With Magnets in Pawtucket, featuring performances by a bunch of bands including Katrina & Julia’s band Groke, my housemate Work/Death, and the Assembly of Light choir (Providence’s neo-spiritual ladies’ rock/metal vocal performance group which includes the awesome artist/scientist/singer/general-renaissance-person Tatyana Yanishevsky), and more!

Come to that if you can, check out the work & the music, it should be great! Here’s the successful kickstarter page for the portfolio project, with more info about it.

My drawing is about Joan of Arc, who I’ve felt really close to since I was a little kid, in many ways that aren’t totally explainable and some that are (and some that have only become clear over time). Making this drawing, I followed my instincts & desires for it, and tried not to over-rationalize it or to demand much logic of myself… I wanted to make an emotional thing, not a “poster”. Not that a poster can’t be emotional, but… I needed to frame the endeavor differently for my own purposes.

It was really nice to get to make a pencil drawing as a “final” object — as opposed to having to turn it into a print myself. It was also really interesting to draw a person, since I rarely draw people (it’s possible that I have been avoiding drawing people for years!!??). Even though I was drawing from a photograph (this is Renee Jeanne Falconetti in the 1928 “Passion of Joan of Arc“, by Carl Theodor Dreyer, a seminal movie for me when I saw it in 1998 or so), it felt like I was drawing an actual person, and then at times it felt like I was drawing myself, and I felt like I was very bad at it, or very naive, but I proceeded with confidence and delight, and then I felt like I was my (confident/naive) high school self, specifically at a certain stretch of time when I was drawing a self-portrait in 10th or 11th grade, which I have a distinct memory of and which I know is a drawing in which I look extremely masculine, and I remember at 15-16 years old being both stranged-out by that visible masculinity as well as satisfied by my drawing of myself… so, making this drawing was a very strange & evocative time, and that’s all I am gonna say about that!

In the two images above, I’m tracing the long text onto the paper over a lightbox (thanks Will K. for the gift of that very useful tool!). Visible here are, on the left, the main drawing of Falconetti, in progress… under/around her eyes, the initial drawing of her that I started on the other side of the paper and then abandoned as too crappy (classic style!)… at the bottom, Joan’s signature… to the lower right, the printed-out text I am tracing from (thanks to the HPLHS for the very authentic Oldstyle font!)… and down to the middle of the page or so, my hand-traced 11.5-point serif letters.

Tracing these letters was totally grueling and a hassle, but they look sooooo goooood! Most of the hassle was using a 2B (soft/dark) pencil lead because I wanted the letters really dark to contrast with the H (hard/light) lead that I used in most of the rest of the drawing (this contrast can be seen clearly in the first image in this post). With the architect’s-lead-pointer sharpener that I use, you can get a very sharp point, but with a lead that soft, the point dulls fast, and the tip breaks off about every third time you sharpen it. But it got done! There are few things I love more than turning a uniform computer font into a destroyed hand-drawn font…

The final print! Printed on the offset by Erik Ruin. If you want to get a copy of this and the rest of the portfolio, 12 other images of heretics & witches, email him: erikruin (a) gmail.com.

Here’s what I wrote about the drawing / myself / Joan, for the portfolio:

Of all the heresies for which Joan of Arc was tried, refusing to wear “woman’s dress” was the one that her ‘Assessors’ came back to again and again, over the course of their lengthy questioning — and it was the charge for which they eventually convicted and executed her. The trial transcripts reveal Joan’s impressive resolve and spiritual conviction during the harsh rhythm of her inquisition. For me, as a person who spent much of my life under pressure to dress and look “more feminine”, reading and re-reading those documents is a difficult empathetic and vicarious experience. The quote in my drawing is unedited: I didn’t want to present just the parts of her testimony that resonate with my experience, but also her religious zeal & dedication to her God.

The signature in the drawing is the actual Joan of Arc’s signature… and the text is from p.87 of the T. Douglas Murray version of the trial transcripts, which you can look at part of right here on the internet.

There’s a lot more to write about how I think & feel about her, and my ongoing & always-developing relationship to women dressed as men, “women warriors”, “passing women”, etc….. but it’s gonna have to wait for later! For now just read these two awesome young adult books, The Blue Sword and Alanna… *then* we can talk about women warriors.

alison is the coolest

January 26, 2012 at 10:30 am

I am super psyched about having an intern. Even if Alison & I weren’t getting anything done, it would be super helpful to me just to have to figure my schedule & projects out every day that we are going to meet up, and to be pushed to articulate & plan what I want to work on & what my next steps are. So that’s great in itself… BUT AND! we are getting a lot of stuff done, and working on projects together that I probably wouldn’t have had the impetus to work on on my own, and she’s also helping me with some stuff like studio organization and finishing the reprints of the “queers” posters

Also having another person around is great for me to be able to look at my process & see where I’m not so organized or putting things off to ill effect, and to be aware of how I’m focusing or failing to focus… Also Alison is good at seeing where distraction and chaos come into the space we’re working in, and good at saying “hey, let’s take steps to take this distraction away”… Which, sometimes, it’s hard for me to say about my own time/space… but when I’m working with somebody else, it legitimizes creating clear space for us to work in, and then gives me an example of how to create that space for myself in the future / when I’m working alone. Hmmm. The upshot is, Alison is great & I feel lucky to get to work with her!

Here is some of her work, just my snapshots of the slightly random selection that happened to be within thirty feet of my desk…

A poster she designed & printed for a show at Witch Club, the mill space she helped create & run this past summer & fall (a slightly mis-printed version, I believe):

A typography zine that she made this fall (cover & selections from internal pages):





She drew the fonts & letterforms for this poster collaboration with Julia Moses:

And this is the flyer she made for the dance party we had at the beginning of January:

She also does “non-poster” CMYK silkscreen work based on her photography… here’s her tumblr page… oh wait & did I mention she’s a radical femme, with at least one secret scheme up her sleeve, and an outspoken queer feminist at RISD (which is an institution that sometimes feels very lacking in queerness or feminism, & can be a difficult place to be either of those things)? Anyways, SO AWESOME.

Right now we’re collaborating on a poster for the *next* queer dance party (second Saturday in February, mark those calendars!).

Some thumbnails & sketches & color test & figuring out the action steps:

Drawing elements for the poster, being combined…

Combined sketch & beginning of letters (& look at that glossy black paper we are going to be attempting to print on, ha ha!):

Okay, well needless to say perhaps, I would most likely have not thought of using this color scheme or this kind of imagery if I were not working with Alison. But I’m generally excited these days about pushing myself in a different direction, or in a bunch of different directions… and I’m reminded again about how collaboration is super useful as a spur to get you to try things you’ve been nervous about tackling….. !

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“old or new?”

May 17, 2011 at 1:26 am

A favorite game of mine, when wandering around looking at buildings, is to try & figure out whether a building is old or new, whether details are the product of restoration or are authentically original, etc. Sometimes this is clearly apparent and not worth wondering about — sometimes it is very difficult! I was just in Philadelphia and I had the interesting experience of having to play this game with the remnant of a building…

My friend Dan S & I saw this with simultaneous mutual gasps of awesomeness: “aaah look how cool they tore down the house and you can still see the wallpaper!!”

Then I said, “wwwwwait a second, I’m pretty sure that’s some kind of recent art project… because I’m pretty sure I took pictures of that same side-of-a-building a while ago, with no wallpaper on it…”

We had a half an hour till I had to get on the bus, so we walked up to check it out (on Vine St, right north of Chinatown).

The wallpaper could have been screenprinted, but upon closer examination, it was some kind of digital output onto a glossy coating on a fibrous Tyvek-type material — we found a couple of scraps around the site! It was pasted onto the building side with a heavy (I guessed plastic-based) glue, and carefully cut and sliced to create a ripped-looking edge.

(click on any of these images to enlarge)

Ultimately the patterns are (more-or-less) too large in scale to be authentic Victorian wallpaper — and many of them are mirrored across an axis instead of repeating more subtly, also not a “real wallpaper” hallmark. But I think the artist’s intentions were not to replicate a historic thing, but to create something that would echo the intricate busy-ness of Victoriana, push passers-by — in a creative way — to think about the former inhabitation of the building that had existed in that place, and maybe make some people (like us) play the “old or new?” game…

I know nothing about the makers of the installation, but I can’t imagine that it was done without permission of the building owners; it would have been much too visible and time-consuming of an endeavor. Anybody know anything about it? Phila. folks out there reading this?

[UPDATE! Amy fills us in that this project, entitled “Home That Was”, was commissioned by the Philadelphia Mural Arts Program, and done by the artist Ben Volta working with Phila. high school students, who designed the patterns. Here’s Ben’s blog & writing about the project, showing some of the process that they used in the creation of the mural… Thank you, Amy!]

I have many dreams of pattern– and wallpaper-making, and seeing this just amplifies them… What a neat project.

When I returned to Providence & my computer, I did indeed find these pictures from my cellphone camera, December 2009:

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