Sunday, February 28, 2010

Busy Week

A friend of mine has just qualified to be one of the Garden State Roller Girls - Go Elektra Shock! And so, they need a new poster, they may use mine depends on how many are submitted, it might then be put to a vote by the team so fingers crossed, it was fun doing that. If it's chosen it'll be up all over the place at their first bout of the season which we're hoping to attend.

Then, I've been writing out a spot of creative block -the one where I have to do self-initiated work, I can do stuff for other people at the drop of a hat, I just never treat myself as a worthwhile client and so my stuff always gets shelved due to lack of something; just not sure what. Maybe lack of conviction, because the stuff I feel I should be doing isn't much fun? Who knows... Anyway, one issue is that I'm totally obsessed with doing useful/worthy stuff and then putting pencil to paper, or stylus to tablet, becomes something stupidly agonising. So, all of the stuff I fret about, and all of the things I aim to convey and plan to do, I decided to get out where I could see them, so they can't cause trouble. That's what all the yellow paper is in the photos above. I've adopted an upturned crate as my neurotic workspace for all of my solipsistic witterings. So far it feels good. I've done some painting this week, not sure if they're finished, but I like them. Nothing profound, but at least I know I can still paint.

I've had lots of hints to tell me to just go do, rather than thinking things over to the point of paralysis: In the Diesel shop in Union Square there's a big lit sign for their new campaign that says 'Smart Critiques, Stupid Creates', I bought a book on humour in art and there's a bit by Sean Landers who says 'I figure that it's better to be a sucker who makes something than a wiseguy too cautious to make anything at all.' and last night an artist who we've befriended in a local bar said 'Jo! Just make the work, then make the next idea, then worry about it later.' All signs point to go.....>>>>

Friday, February 26, 2010


Am really pleased to say that along with a group of artists, I am partly responsible for Ginger Moo Gallery in Crawley being awarded a 'Highly Commended' prize by the Big Draw, It's for all of the group activities that went on in October 2009. Everyone worked really hard, especially Rachel & Ian to make every event interesting, fun and creative.

Ginger Moo has brought a great creative space right into the middle of a town not normally renowned for creative output, it has been really well received and proves that creativity and art is relevant and important in peoples' lives. They're doing a great job and need as much support as possible to keep going and continue to give opportunities to artists (like me!) and to develop community projects.

I thoroughly enjoyed working on my Vacant/Engaged project (pictured above along with all other projects featured during The Big Draw @ Ginger Moo) and also a Learning Revolution project with the WRVS. Other very talented artists I had the pleasure of working with and who and brilliantly inventive and lovely: Rachel Cowell, Ian Cowell, Sam Murray, Katie Jean Howell & Tom Forsythe.

To see more of their work & more information on The Big Draw - Campaign for Drawing visit the sites listed below:

Thursday, February 25, 2010


Just been doing a spot of assisting and here are the fruits of my labour. Clean and simple, I quite like them, I may faff about with them a bit but there's probably no need beyond my own pedantry!

An Unravelling Theme

Well, been a few days since I blogged. My bro's been to visit and we've pottered about visiting Brooklyn Museum, being in the audience for a TV show at NBC studios, eating goooood pizza, and going to a talk in SoHo called 'That Not So Fresh Feeling' at Housing Works Bookstore about how embarassing products are marketed to women and the cultural implications. And, whilst there we met Sarah Haskins who was on the panel, and who's work I blogged about a few days back weirdly enough! Me and Sarah, for research purposes (and for yuks) watched all of her clips on Current TV and then two days later saw a panel discussion advertised at a charity bookshop and ended up meeting her! How fortuitous.

There's a write up here at Jezebel complete with video from the evening.

One of the panelists, Susan Kim was promoting her new book called 'Flow: A Cultural History of Menstruation' which, also oddly enough, I'd leafed through in a bookshop the other day before buying 'Adventures in Menstruating' a UK zine, which was mentioned in a piece in the Guardian recently. In fact, it was in the same piece as Susan Kim's book, so all in all a strange convergence of smart funny women's writing and periods. Make of that what you will, but personally I find it all very interesting and at times very funny. One thing I do find unusual is women's squeamishness about the subject, I know women who are so enraged by the any mention of the M word or reference to such bleeding that they deface the ads for Mooncups in public toilets. Pourquoi? I dunno. I don't want to dance about during mine celebrating my inner procreational goddess, but nor do I think I should be considered a biohazard for 25% of the year. It serves companies that make pads & tampons etc for us to be afraid of it all, since we need 'sanitary protection' as if its corrosive or something, I mean obviously it's gota be dealt with but there's no need to make us feel bad! Apparently menstrual blood and its accompanying goo is great plant fertiliser, and I once read that some aboriginal tribes collect it as it has great healing properties, which I suppose makes sense since it's uterine and for growing people. It's no less disgusting than when cosmetics companies put placenta in face creams eh? On a vaguely similar note, when haircare adverts say there's pearl extract in shampoo and conditioner it means fishscales and other aquatic scum that's scraped off the bottom of fishing boats... mmmmm lovely glossy fishy hair.

Continuing (yes still) on the uterine theme as I mentioned above we got to be in a TV audience. A friend of ours who works in New York is a TV producer, he works on a show called Dr. Oz. Dr. Oz is an actual surgeon and is in theatre every Thursday. He also used to have an occasional guest spot on the Oprah Winfrey show. We got to sit right at the front and just narrowly missed having to handle an actual fibroid tumour (we were given gloves) from, yep you guessed it some poor woman's uterus! The show was interesting both in content and seeing how they go about shooting something of this nature. There was a warm-up comedian who got everyone all riled up and told us when to applause etc and some bits had to be re-shot so we had to be enthusiastic on cue! Dr. O seems very pro women's health and urges people to be as informed as possible about their bodies. He's quite a charismatic chap and has a rather eager female following! The show is shot at NBC studios in The Rockerfeller Centre and our friend Liam let us see the view of Manhattan from his 43rd floor office! All in all a pretty good morning.

After that we went to The Brooklyn Museum as mentioned in my last post about The Dinner Party. Also in the Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art was an exhibition called 'Sojourn' by the artist Kiki Smith. I first came across her work when studying for my degree and was particularly taken by her piece called 'Train' (pictured above it's the white model of a woman with the beads, it fits in very well with the rest of this post dunnit?). 'Sojourn' was very different from the work I had expected to associate with Smith, but not at all disappointing. Her drawings, paintings and sculpture are beautiful and evocative of the stages in a woman's life. One thing I particularly liked in this grand sequence was her use of what was described as Nepal Paper. It looked like tracing film and the ink work on it was really delicate.

Well that's that for now. I have some more logo work to do, some film titles to design for some film pieces Sarah's been working on and also I've been painting a wee bit myself so want to see where that takes me, it's been a while so I'm starting small. Will post a pic or two when I've got something I'm not horrified with! Bye for now.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

The Dinner Party

Went to the Brooklyn Museum today to see Kiki Smith's exhibition and most importantly 'The Dinner Party', an amazing feminist art installation by Judy Chicago and her group of 129 women who contributed to its making.

Introduction to the work on the Brooklyn Museum website:-
'The Dinner Party by Judy Chicago is an icon of feminist art, which represents 1,038 women in history—39 women are represented by place settings and another 999 names are inscribed in the Heritage Floor on which the table rests. This monumental work of art is comprised of a triangular table divided by three wings, each 48 feet long.'

A friend of mine on my foundation course introduced me to the work ten years ago, I don't think I ever thought I'd see it, especially since despite its first being exhibited in 1979, it had no permanent home until 2007 due to its controversial nature. I was, awestruck, it's beautiful and spectacular and monumental, I know that many things are described this way when it's certainly not the case, due to our culture's fondness for hyperbole, but I'm not exaggerating, it is a magnificent work.

I'm not sure if photography is allowed,and I didn't take any of my own because I felt almost reverent before it, I just want to have recourse to it from my own shabby memory imbued with my awe, rather than any half-arsed photograph I might have taken.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Barely Noticeable

Have done two small cards to contribute to an exhibition to do with my MA course called 'Barely Noticeable'. My first thought was to make some kind of pattern that was difficult to discern without close inspection, but maybe that is too obvious? But anyway I decided to think about it from another way, how can I say something about the things that interest me (female self-image for instance) within this title? So I had a ponder and decided to focus on getting things out of proportion and the perception of tiny problems such as troublesome facial hair compared to the excessive anxiety they may cause in social situations. CLICK IMAGE FOR DETAIL.

I will try and post more drawings etc. as I want to up the ante creatively. I'm generally quite prolific when I have a set brief for work for someone else, but I want to consider myself as a worthy client as well. So in addition to design work for The Sarah Maple Project @ Novo Studios I want to develop ideas via my own practice, more practically than I usually do. I get a great deal of inspiration from reading, but when I made 'FYI' the short zine last week (in an earlier post), I found I suddenly had lots of possible resolutions to things that had previously troubled or inspired me. It's a different approach but it might just this space.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Also more art

I forgot to mention yesterday that I also saw some great paintings in a small gallery in SoHo. The artist's name is Clare Grill and her work reminds me of Luc Tuymans one of my favourite painters.
They are titled 'The Overachievers', 'Curtain' & 'Mirrors' respectively.

1st solo wander in Manhattan & The Statue o' Liberty

Had a nice day today, I had some time to myself as Sarah had to go and meet her fella (my bro) at Newark Airport and have some couple time. So, I decided to go and find Bluestockings the bookshop and activist centre on the lower east side, what I found on the Bitch website. I'm too cheap to get the subway if I can feasibly walk it before nightfall or collapse so I had a lovely long walk from Christopher Street Path Station and Spring Street in SoHo, made note of some eateries to visit in future. I saw a poster I liked and took a bad photo of it and also a cute stencilled robot behind a grille. Every now and again, I thought - Oh my god I'm mooching about in New York city, reading my book on the Path Train from New Jersey like I'm y'know totally seasoned in all of this and not really nerdy and excited!

Also went into the most
wonderous stationary shop. I'll admit I have a bit of a stationary/pen problem and this place only made things much worse. I liked the fact that they sold folders that said 'limbo' on them, I have 3 magazine files worth of papers that deserve that category!

Anyway after a brief paper-fetish pit-stop I make my way to Bluestockings where I am again in paper heaven but this time of the feminist/zine/art/activist bibliophilic kind. It's a lot like the Cowley Club in Brighton as they serve coffee and vegan food and they also have events virtually every night. I'm hooked, it's my new favourite place. I spent a good hour and a half reading and browsing before setting off. Also was given some good advice as to where to see live music and other good cheap events as relying on tourist guides is often very expensive and you miss really great stuff. Great success. Yes.

Then, to further top off my day on my walk back to the studio from the train station in Jersey City I realise that for three weeks we've been walking past a street called Liberty View Avenue or street or I thought I'd take a wee detour not five steps down the street I spot her in the distance (pictured), small but definitely there. I mean that's pretty great, to just happen upon the sight of the Statue of Liberty whilst meandering home. It was such a strange feeling, I just stopped, it was more impressive than hen seeing it from closer range. I don't know why exactly, it just was.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Short back and sides.

Me and Sarah have decided that a good dose of Target Women everyday should be mandatory for staying sane, I was pointed in Sarah Haskins direction last year by two people on the same day, it was fate, she's a blinking genius. Jean Kilbourne is also good for some much needed perspective, a youtube visit to watch 'Killing Us Softly' her critiques on advertising can only be beneficial.

Cheap(ish) thrills from bitchin publishing

Well was feeling a bit homesick for marmite, cheap instant coffee and my cats but was able to distract myself with the joy of remembering that one trip to Borders or Barnes & Noble can sate my need for a magazine fix. Now I'm a bit of a snob where this kind of thing is concerned, I used to buy Vogue and Dazed and I have one great issue of ID (Femininity Issue Spring 2005) but to be honest I lost interest as I didn't feel represented by these mags, I'm not edgy/rich/young/thin/innovative/London enough (delete as applicable - without bitterness) and definitely not by Glamour, More, Psychologies etc I don't feel the need to be very polished and stylish and I don't want to feel guilty for this abominable negligence, if I never looked in a mirror or saw a photo of myself again I could truly be happy! The Observer Woman looked like it could really inspire, but the clothes are stupidly expensive, with the exception of the one 'cheap' item every week and it's a bit woolly at times, much as I hate to say it as I've long been a Guardian/Observer reader, but just not feeling it these days . I have been known on occasion to skim through copy of Heat or Now in a waiting room, but I feel a bit grubby afterwards, not sure if it's because I feel like I've been the user or the used, either way it's not a fresh sensation. I also dabble with Computer Arts, Grafik & Creative Review, in fact I was lucky enough to have been given a subscription to Grafik as a gift last year and anticipated the hit of lovely litho ink when it thudded onto the doormat once a month, sadly this was only ever followed by the comedown of inadequacy that comes from wondering -why haven't they discovered me yet? Granted, I've never sent them anything, but but I send out great vibes, don't I?

Anyway...I have bought 4 magazines since I've been here and have not been disappointed. I mentioned 'I Love You' in an earlier post, it's big and beautiful and on matte paper, it's a bit fashionista-ry and over the top but was the only pretty thing akin to all the wonderful books that I could afford in Gagosian!

Next up, I went a-browsing in Borders (boohoo) and came across BUST mag, I'm friends with Bust Mag on Myspace and had forgotten all about it. There's beautiful intelligent celebrities (Charlotte Gainsbourg, Amercia Ferrera), lovely lingerie for ladies with actual thighs, witty features, crochet patterns and chilli recipes. It's a breath of Fresh air amongst all the 'How to drop 4 stone in 2 days' type things in other women's mags, my friend bought American Glamour which is full of exercises and Posh Spice photographed by Ellen Von Unwerth squirting whipped cream into her mouth blah blah blah, then at the back is a piece by Eve Ensler about just being yourself and not buckling to exterior pressure and being contented etc...minor contradiction-much? Aaaanyway interestingly Bust Mag is not situated with the 'normal' women's magazines it's in the arts & culture section, I suppose it' best not to let anyone get any bright ideas when they're supposed to be hating themselves and laughing at other women's VPL, that just wouldn't do. To paraphrase Sarah Haskins, who channels Naomi Wolf's 'Beauty Myth' message (amazing book, but it makes me want to break things) what would we do if we didn't feel bad and then buy stuff to make us better? Bust is a refreshing $4.99 roughly £3.18 there's a minor amount of advertising but for things like ETSY (marvellous homemade brilliance - also a tip if the shipping costs spiral out of control there's a UK version where else can you get a replica jammy dodger badge for next to nothing?) bands, vegan stuff and right-on sexy things rather than cosmetic surgery!

Next up I indulged in Print the graphic design magazine, I considered Eye but it's $35 so couldn't justify that, not even a little bit. Anyway I happened upon Print's 70th anniversary issue which was full of stuff all about magazines! Well that's just dandy it's a double fix, a designy magazine going on about the luscious designs of other magazines. Very nice. The only criticism, so far (not read it all yet) are the varied sized ads on thick stock that make it physically difficult to flip through nicely.

Finally, is my favourite, Bitch magazine. Again it's sequestered in the 'Culture' section, I suppose it is more fitting as it's themed and this is the Art/See issue. It's full of smart, witty feminist goodness. A piece on photoshopping off bits of womens' bodies to sell magazines is entitled 'Would Our Lives Suck Without a Thinner Kelly Clarkson?', rhetorical irreverence rules. Since this is the Art issue they look at women's art practice, curating, film, books and female bloggers who have used the medium to free themselves from their physical beings, in order to narrate whatever they please, unfettered by bodily judgement. Bitch sounds confrontational and aggressive as a title but, it's really anything but, well, unless you're an awful misogynist or political hypocrite (and in that case you're left to fend for yourself). I felt weirdly valued reading it, as if the things that interest me and piss me off are valid. It's funny, intelligent without being elitist and also it's totally independent, it runs on donations and everyone that donates is thanked at the front. I'm smitten, I feel a mail order subscription will be necessary upon our return... either that or I need to be a bit more proactive in searching out stuff at home, or making my own?

Saturday, February 13, 2010

View from Liberty State Park Jersey City

It's just a bit beautiful really. Further round to the right is the Statue of Liberty.

Laundromat Virgin

Well, my first ever Laundromat / Laundrette experience. I felt like I was in Beaches but without playing cards or a kerchief about my head...maybe next time! They even have the carts like in friends! Yes. I'm easily pleased.