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

“practical tools for shifting reality” — art opening this saturday, february 2nd, 5-7pm!

January 31, 2013 at 8:00 am

overlapping rubylith, the words "desire" and "junk"

If you’ve talked to me in the past five weeks, I’ve probably been slightly incoherent, stared around me confusedly (especially in large-group social situations), and mumbled something about rubylith, mixing ink colors, and how I need to get back home to the studio to keep working… So, in sincere apology for that slightly rude behavior, I would like to invite you to come to the art opening where you can see all (or most of) the stuff that I have been working on!

This Saturday, February 2nd, 5-7pm, at AS220’s performance space gallery (115 Empire St), I’m showing a whole bunch of new work. Some editioned prints, a whole bunch of tiny drawings of words/letterforms, things in actual frames (whoa!), hand-printed “classic paisley / new pattern” bandannas/hankies, newly re-printed agit-prop from earlier this summer, and a bunch of very new (aka finished yesterday!) unique screenprints that were amazingly full of discovery and magic to make and which I’m SUPER excited about.

The show is titled “Practical Tools For Shifting Reality” — it’s up through Feb 23rd, and AS220 is open from noon to late evening every day except Monday.

Here’s the facebook event page, if that kind of thing is useful to you.

Neal uses a level to hang a framed print on the gallery wall

The work is lots of hand-drawn letters, lots of overlapping colors, echoes of my thinking about how we create our bodies and existences, and the world around us, through strategic and/or magical language and significant objects… Words as structures and tools and actions, printed things as evidence of thought & of having an idea & making it real & sharing it with the people around you… Creating reality, talking about things, making them happen. This is some of the first work I’ve made that’s felt like an extension of my embodied existence, rather than a distraction from it or dazzle camouflage for it. I hope you can come see the show!

Below are some snapshots of the world I’ve been living in for the past month or so: hover over each image for details. I’ve extracted myself from a lot of sociable things happening around town (with a certain amount of regret / “missing out”), but it’s been a really, really satisfying & fruitful re-engaging with my studio practice. I need to figure out how to maintain this level of art work energy and also have social time as well… but I don’t want to stop working on this stuff… because being engaged so seriously in these processes is pretty much the best thing ever.

So many people need thanks, first off: Neal Walsh & Mollie Deerkin for being the super patient & awesome gallery folks at AS220. Thanks to Walker Mettling for riso-printing skills, Liz Novak for fabric assistance and teaching me how to use the rolled hem foot, Tatyana Yanishevsky for glass cutting impetus & assistance, Andrew Oesch for crucial studio visit & computer loan, Meg Powers for allowing me to re-print her sticker drawings, Faces Imaging for film outputs over a national holiday, Mt. Pleasant Hardware for supplies & all the scrap glass, RI Glass for the nice non-scrap glass, Lorraine’s for their bargain fabric loft, Peter Lutz for miter-saw loan, Meg Turner for consults & encouragement, Jesse & Chris for driving me places, feeding me, & putting up with my distractedness & totally weird hours, Olivia, Katrina, Graci, Freya, David R, Noel P, Katie M, Cybele, & other friends for “hanging out” with me when I was “working” at the same time, and everybody who wrote about how & why they wear their hankies. There are probably others that I am forgetting!

and, Last but Most Crucial: Scott Reber for driving me everywhere, playing awesome music, being a late-nite studio companion, sharing selections from his readings, thoughts on dissonance, creative excitement, and terrible jokes… and Emmy Bright for frame loan, delicious/nutritious food & salted caramels, and a crucial logistical / strategic prioritization session, without which none of this work would have been completed. Thank you!!!

also, of course, insistent companion & dedicated co-sleeper Buio-cat:

cat on desk "helping" with art

infinity of possible choices about letterforms

January 5, 2013 at 9:35 pm

…or really, about anything, for that matter. !!! No time to write much at the moment but here is some process preview for new work I’m doing for the show (opens February 2nd, 5-7, AS220, 115 Empire St. Providence). Lots to do, not a lot of time. My strategy is to do whatever it is I’m procrastinating on the most — ask myself what is the most scary thing, do that first. Ha!

a pile of postcards on manila paper with various handwriting on them

rsvp notecards from 1959-1961, from a curb in new york city to an attic in providence to my hot little hands (thanks Will, collector extraordinaire!)

process shot of desk

desk scenario — I’m referencing years of collecting ephemera & hundreds of pictures I’ve taken of fonts for letterform generation, and mining writings that I was doing (for performances this past fall) for text generation…

hand-drawn font in progress, reads

learning a lot about script fonts; the variation is so broad, anything is possible!

using an architect's adjustable triangle to create shading

architectural drafting strategies; these letterforms are based on the packaging from some fireworks that Jacob had…

letters in overlapping screenprints

print over test print, experimental zone

jars of ink and test color strips, laid out on a desk

transparent color testing for some seriously procrastinated-on re-prints that will be part of this show, and also for some new prints!

okay byeee time to make another sandwich, drink more coffee, & then back to work!

upcoming art-based social events at which you can buy my prints!

November 30, 2012 at 6:19 pm

I’ve been working hard, I’m excited about the work, & there are lots of chances around town & elsewhere to buy screenprinted posters & prints & postcards that I’ve made.

  • RIGHT NOW! Friday November 30th, 5-9pm — Craftland opening party & fun time, in downtown Providence (235 Westminster St). meet the artists! snacks! etc! plus my work will be ongoing-ly for sale at Craftland through all of December.

  • Saturday December 1st, 3-8pm, & Sunday December 2nd, 10am-3pm — I’ll be selling my work at the holiday art/craft sale of Fertile Underground grocery store on the west side of Providence (1577 Westminster St).

  • Wednesday December 5th, starting at 7pm — art opening (+ music, performances, etc) of a radical/feminist printmakers’ art show at Bluestockings bookstore on the Lower East Side of New York City (172 Allen St, Manhattan). I will actually be there (whirlwind NYC trip, yikes)!

  • Thursday December 6th, 7-9pm — studio open house & sale at Patti Barnatt’s West Side Sewing Studio at the Steel Yard (27 Sims Ave, Providence). brief but sweet! a warm respite from the cold outside.

  • some of my prints are available at the awesome Frog & Toad shop (795 Hope St, on Providence’s East Side); there’s a Hope St. holiday stroll thingy on Thurs. December 6th, 4-8pm, with cool demonstrations & food trucks & family fun & all the things that people on the east side like.

  • Saturday December 15th & Sunday December 16th, 11am-4pm — Cardboard Pankakes, a winter-time studio sale at New Urban Arts (705 Westminster St, Providence). I’m helping organize this holiday sale of amazing artists, zinesters, comickers, & craftspeople. it’s a serious all-star assortment of Providence maniacs!

Okay, holiday self-promotion done? Oh wait, there are also two of the new versions (red-orange, mint-blue) of my Industrial Trust Building print up on the store — I’ll be putting a bunch more recent prints for sale up there on Monday, as soon as photo documentation is done!

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.

I used to hate the color pink

January 11, 2012 at 6:01 am

A lot of things happened and now I am working on a bunch of projects at the same time as per usual, rolling forward with some experimental / totally new & unknown-territory stuff while I try to ACTUALLY finish long-unfinished things and push myself to work harder on comics (right now, in the form of lots of ink/brush/wash experimentation / practice / fooling around) and keep putting on events that help build the queer community in Providence (right now, a series of monthly queer dance parties in our basement, next one’s February 11th, mark those calendars (or contact me for details)!).

Also I started a one-day-a-week coffee shop called “Coffee Club” in my friends’ office/gallery, partly as a way to have “a job”, and partly as a way of creating a warm creative community space where people can meet & be sociable through the winter months… come join us! Fridays, 186 Carpenter St. Providence, 12-8pm.

I should be writing about all this stuff as it happens, instead of doing giant summary posts three months apart, um well I’m a terrible blogger.

This (and the photo at the top) shows the beginning of an experimental project, which I’m working on with my truly awesome intern Alison Nitkiewicz, who is a printmaker, feminist, student, & part of my community of friends here in Providence. These giant sheets of bond paper, printed in various gradations of transparent ink, are collage material: they are going to go out into the world & be used to construct worlds.


[as seen with the toes of my boots; Alison, you were totally right about having some full sheets of each of these blues & not just printing them on the small paper!]


[as seen with Alison’s boots]

Pink & blue were just the first colors, there will be more, never fear, we’re not trying to stick to an essentialist binary here!

Also I haven’t really posted lots of pictures of friends on this website at all ever but here’s us dancing around in the kitchen to the music of the pop star who just had her baby the night/morning of our basement dance party… and yes, my housemate is holding the empty shells of 30 eggs… breakfast was delicious…

…and this is some beautiful people (there were more out of the frame of the picture and taking the picture) in the living room of our house the morning after the party, there was a sleepover…

…so maybe later I’ll write about what I’ve been thinking about regarding putting on events as an important path towards creating community, and how making social spaces is “real work” and totally meaningful, even though they are ephemeral and don’t fit into the standard definitions of what is productive… but I can’t write about that right now, there’s stuff to do!

I can say two words about pink, though, which is this: I used to hate it because I thought it would make me look girly and that people would categorize me with other girls if I wore it… now I like it, I think mostly because it reminds me to keep reclaiming things I am afraid of… and because it is super gay, and guess what?

so am I.

More soon!

the answer is yes

October 15, 2011 at 12:20 am

Hey kids, I’m going to be selling prints tomorrow (Saturday October 15) at the RISD student & alumni sale! I think my table is in front of the College Building, near the corner of Benefit & College St. 10am-4pm. Come get some beautiful (or weird looking) stuff…


Also, more excitingly::::: a potentially large number of people, including myself at some point, are going to be occupying Burnside Park in downtown Providence (next to Kennedy Plaza) starting at 5pm on Saturday, ongoing into the future until we build a new society of some kind that doesn’t feel so broken, and doesn’t make us feel that we are broken. How about that? Sounds good, right? I am excited. But it’s not just about camping out & yelling at the cops and the Bank of America skyscraper… we also have to listen to each other & actually hear each other… and I think the white non-trans guys (and probably the trans guys, too) are going to have to shut up.

On Wednesday night, I was at a ‘teach-in’ (that happened at the fancy liberal arts college up on the hill), which was three.5 hours long, and overall extremely great & extremely inspiring, and which got me excited about the potential of this occupy thing happening here. A young female-bodied person of color stood up in one of the question & answer sessions and asked the question [deeply paraphrased]: “In any activism project I’ve ever been part of, my questions & my voice are never heard, my concerns are never listened to. How can this movement say it’s building something new if it’s still not listening to women / people of color / queer people / poor people / etc?”

One of the faculty speakers, also a female-bodied person of color, answered her: “Basically you have to call them on it every time it happens. Every single time. You can’t ever let that erasure of your voice go un-confronted. Because then, at least they can’t say they didn’t realize it was happening. And maybe eventually they will realize they need to change.” …. It was a pretty intense, brutally realistic answer; and the only answer given during the talk that was actually in the form of advice: ‘this is what you should do.’ I was pretty stunned by it. I wonder if anybody else heard, hidden within that answer, its converse that the professor did not state: “White people, male people, non-queer people, people with money, you need to shut up & listen. And you, too — YES, YOU — need to confront the erasure of the voices of others… every single time it happens.” Did anybody hear that? Or does the burden rest only on the shoulders of the people whose voices are already not being heard?

Here are two good essays about the potential of the “Occupy” movement, and about white people shutting up: one from the Revolutionary Autonomous Communities of LA… another by Manissa McCleave Maharawal.

I don’t have energy right now to write a lot more about this all (got a bunch more to do to get ready for the sale)… but I’ll just say that I am excited for this scenario, the occupation, to happen. However, from what people have said about the Providence general assemblies, & the occupation in New York, I have the feeling that there will be a lot of male voices & male privilege in effect there… as there is usually in an activist context… which is why I have avoided many activist contexts in the past. And I know that I won’t be able to be part of this occupation for long, unless that privilege is confronted whenever it becomes apparent.

HOWEVER

I am very intimidated by speaking up against white male privilege, as a female-bodied & female-raised person who now is in this weird place of being accorded some aspects of male privilege & camaraderie, while still not actually being listened to or taken seriously in many ways. I still find myself wanting to be polite & not say things that will insult or offend people — and especially not say things that will make people “not want to be my friend”. Hmmm. I also am worried, as someone who has always been a person who talks a lot, & has opinions & a certain amount of confidence, about becoming or already being “that guy”, who dominates conversations and silences other voices.

I’ve had a bunch of run-ins lately with unseen & denied privilege… the very strong phenomenon of people not being aware of the ways they are privileged, and then “people getting defensive when they are shown evidence of structural inequalities which benefit them” (as my housemate Chris & I wrote about in the print we made recently… more on that later…). I’ve been trying to find conversational strategies to bring these things up to people in a way that allows them to think about it instead of reacting defensively. But there is a little ambiguously-gendered faerie sitting on my shoulder saying “it’s not your responsibility to educate these assholes…..!”

Well I don’t know what’s going to happen, we might make a ‘faerie camp’ as part of the occupation (inspired by Sean Minteh)… we might just end up being “those obnoxious queers/feminists/women who call everybody out on stuff” or we might end up bailing & realizing that something that is dominated by white non-trans men doesn’t have a chance of building a society that has a radically different structure. We’ll see. I don’t want to be pessimistic. Hells, I spent the last two days working on making a poster for this darn thing! But I want to put my energy where it can be used… I want to support my friends, and support people whose voices are not being heard… but I don’t know if I have the stamina to continually be trying to educate people who should be educating themselves about privilege.

oh and on a less serious note, remember:

new your city forever!

April 25, 2011 at 6:52 am

Real real real quick:

In 2006 & 2007, I conspired with Ann Schattle, the children’s specialist at the Fox Point branch of the Providence Public Library, to work with kids in the library to build a city, in the library!, out of cardboard, recycled materials, and trash. (Here’s the website I made for the second year of the project.) It was named “New Your City” by one of the participants, who was then in second grade…

The library is now the Fox Point Community Library, kids have been asking for and talking about city-building for the past four years, and Ann and local artist Mary Geiser have brought the New Your City project back for a third iteration! The kid who named the city is in seventh grade, and on Friday we built a working drawbridge together, for multiple lanes of traffic…

I haven’t had anything to do with organizing the project this time around, and it’s been really great to pass the project on (under an informal creative-commons share-alike non-commercial license, more or less) and see it come to life again! Back in 2007-2008, two friends who had helped build the Providence New Your City did further versions of the project, one person at the elementary school where they were teaching in Boston, the other with children they were working with in a refugee settlement in Palestine… but I didn’t get to witness those except through photographs.

This time it was great to take part as a helper/builder participant, and to realize that I could be in that space of chaotic building, and be a force for order & structure, without being responsible for how everybody’s building turned out (or whether everything fell over…!). Mary made the asphalt road segments and I built the structure for this super-tall elevated highway:

So why am I telling you about this???

Well…..

There’s a New Your City party this Tuesday, April 26th, from 5-7 pm, at the library (90 Ives St, corner of Ives & Wickenden), and we would love for you to stop by & see what everyone has made. All the kids’ parents will bring great snacks, the What Cheer? Brigade is going to play, it’s your once-every-four-years chance to run around & yell in the library… NOT TO BE MISSED.

My favorite part of the city project is possibly the binder notebook in which kids & grownups are asked to write (or draw, or dictate to somebody else to write) about what they made. The binders from the previous years are still proudly displayed in the library, as a record of everybody’s ideas, work, & intentionality. Here are some snaps from this year’s binder… come see more at the party!

and, um, my favorite that I’ve seen so far:


Other work news: the Plant Sale poster is done, the eggplants are just about the same color as my eggplant-colored sweatshirt, what happened there???? I dunno.

The other poster is laaaate but siiiiiiiiiiiiick. ok more soon!

being public

January 27, 2011 at 4:03 am

Quick notes about upcoming events; fractional treatment of complicated subjects.

sign

I am going to be speaking on a panel this weekend, as part of an event that the RISD Office of Public Engagement is putting on, titled “Queer Representation & Resistance as Acts of Justice“.*

The panel I am on is called “Identity, Place, & Practice” and (quoting from the official description), “will explore the ways that queer identity intersects with creative practice.” Since being asked to be part of the panel, I’ve been thinking about this stuff a lot. …. I mean, I think about it a lot in general, but recently I’ve been trying to think about it constructively instead of just worrying a bunch of things around in my head.

I’ve been intending to do some writing about it, but I have had three other serious deadlines which have also been occupying my mind & time… plus a certain amount of procrastinating, finishing the first five pages of the Scar comic, enjoying being snow-bound with my awesome housemates, and cleaning up half of my print studio and my main working space, which, though it was really important and necessary, just got me back to clear-desk-land, didn’t get anything truly accomplished.

So yeah, I have a bunch of thoughts on these topics — queer identity, art, purpose, social identity, community, context, audience, story-telling, meaning — but nothing is concrete enough to put up in writing here yet. So, come to the panel to hear me attempt to sort it all out!

Sunday, January 30th, 12:30pm
AS220, 115 Empire St, Providence

My awesome and accomplished fellow panelists are Matthew Lawrence, Mickey Zacchilli, and Laurencia Strauss. There is another panel discussion afterwards about “Institutional Silences”; there is a related talk on Saturday afternoon… I am excited for it all, and very proud to be part of it.


I am also going to be in an art show at Cade Tompkins Projects, called “Printed in Providence”,* from February 4th to March 19th. You can and should come to this party too, especially if you need to ask me more questions to clarify what the crumb I was talking about in that panel!

opening reception Friday, February 4th, 6-8pm
198 Hope Street, Providence
(Entrance on Fones Alley between Waterman and Angell)

(more…)

time, timer, timing

April 24, 2010 at 6:27 pm

new orleans, poydras st.

It’s been a long time since I’ve written or posted anything here! and I’ve generally been neglecting my internets in general. (with the exception of Facebook, for what it’s worth…) The translation of this is that I’ve been working really hard & intensely on stuff in the physical world.

new orleans, beautiful can from the fridge at Nowe Miasto, long-opened and full of moldy beans!

quick list:
new orleans …

new orleans, central city neighborhood

back in Providence…

  • drawing
  • printing (postcards, prints, posters)
  • a little bit of gardening
  • making zines
  • mixing colors, printing infinite rainbow rolls that really deserve the name
  • trying to get old projects printed so I can move on to new projects.
  • building little block cities out of a bag of woodshop scraps from Utah.
  • taking lots of pictures, realizing on return from new orleans that there are a bunch of things I like to take pictures of (hand-drawn letters, beautiful buildings, useful/weird customizations of things, falling-apart stuff) here as well! and that I should document it somehow, and that drawing just isn’t fast enough… that the speed of the camera doesn’t imply some kind of lack of moral grounding. I know, self-limiting thoughts, hilarious. !

providence, off of Prairie & Public streets.  they may be tearing this building down, it’s unclear…!?

etc?

Real briefly, big developments in my life & thinking have been these two:

— Realizing I don’t need to be an architect someday. This may seem like a no-brainer, but for me it is a big one. Since I finished school, I had had in my head the idea that at some point I would stop making prints and go work in an architect’s office and work my way up into that kind of career… that that would be when my “real life” would start.

Recently, due to a number of incidents & factors that all kind of piled on each other, I realized that a) I really love making prints and those challenges and sets of ideas and questions and things to explore (especially, hey, prints about buildings); b) as an artist who understands buildings, I can always work with architects and build off their deeper knowledge and learn more from them and add something to their understandings (even in traditional architectural practice, architects hardly ever work alone, they are always collaborating with other architects, engineers, specialists, etc!); c) that I can always work on buildings but under a collaborative and co-learning model, not trying to fit the way I work into the hierarchy of an office (very intimidating to me), and not being limited by “architecture’s” rigid separation between designing and building.

With the idea in mind that I was someday going to stop printing and change paths, I wasn’t really letting myself give all my energy to print stuff… now I sense a re-focusing and a shifting of my attention, and expansion of energy… it’s very exciting. We’ll see what comes out of it. !!

drawing for plant sale poster 2010!

— A friend ribbed me that “For the past five years, you’ve been making the same thing!” Aha, a sensitive spot!

Like all writers, he measured the achievements of others by what they had accomplished, asking of them that they measure him by what he envisaged or planned.

(Borges, The Secret Miracle)

Thinking about this, I realized that I have, for the past bunch of years, actually just been executing ideas that I originally had two or five or eight years ago… that I have kind of been a carrier-out of my own ideas, as opposed to an artist working in the present with what I am thinking about now… ideas I have now are pushed off till later (“till I finish the projects I already planned”) and sometimes get forgotten or shoved away entirely. Not the best of situations! So along with focusing my energy on printing instead of on a vague and not-really-desired future as an architect, I am finishing up long-standing projects and trying to get to a place where I can work more directly on ideas I have now…

Okay, so this could get into a much longer ramble about thoughts for the future and specific projects and etc. that I know you all want to know about… but I really need to get to printing!!! The upshot is, still working, still thinking, same projects, new motivation, new projects, new ideas pouring in all the time, can I keep up with them? Probably not, but I’m still trying.

can I get a little figurine made of this?[attempt on the left by me; drawing on the right by Lena, inspired by San-X, there is a singing worm from the worm-bin next to me; in background, new Industrial Trust Building postcards!]


Helpful Tools note:

I have started using an internet-based work timer called SlimTimer, which Arley-Rose told me about… I was skeptical at first, having had limited success with ‘systems’ which are supposed to help you manage your time… but whoa, being able to know how long I actually spend on things is actually CHANGING MY LIFE.


Also, Meg Turner & I are gonna be selling our work at the spring RISD alumni art sale! Saturday May 1st, 10am-4pm, Benefit St, Providence. Directions are at the link… come by & say hi even if you’re broke! I will have cheap postcards/small prints and zines for sale, as well as some older/larger/more expensive work too. Meg will be bringing her gorgeous photogravures (some new & some old), as well as new screenprints, up from New Orleans. Hooray for ART!

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