My Art Shows

String Theory Collaborative Installation

When I was asked to participate in the art show Eye Tea at Citadel Gallery, I had to say yes. My friend Anabella Piñon had not been showing her art as much in the last few years and we thought it would be great to do this show together. At first, we thought we would make separate pieces, but as we got talking we decided to collaborate.

The Eye Tea show asked artists to reflect on social media and information technology. I know one aspect I wanted to cover was overwhelm. I frequently get overwhelmed by the massive amount of information, likes, comments and emails the internet brings. Through multiple chats, we eventually came up with the idea of using the old can and string game of telephone. We were to each draw one life-sized child that would be mounted to the wall. 

Anabella and our dyed string

Anabella and our dyed string

We met up at her studio multiple days, where we dyed string. It was fun starting with primary colors and eventually playing with pattern, leaving some areas white. 

Pretty string

Pretty string

Anabella had these wood slices that made the perfect storage for our string. We even liked the way this looked and wondered about doing something like this for a future project.

Anabella's studio

Anabella's studio

This is the corner of her studio where we painted the kids. She has a dream studio, with a lot of space and cool stuff everywhere. I loved working in it. It got the wheels turning for what I would like to do with mine. 

String Theory - watercolor, paper, strings and cans

String Theory - watercolor, paper, strings and cans

The final installation, String Theory. As Anabella worked on her boy, she realized my girl was starting to look a little mad, trying to get him to hear her and her boy was starting to look like he was straining to listen. All the cans are voices and eavesdropping, conveying the chaos that internet communication can bring. 

Girl close-up

Girl close-up

One special touch here: you can see the string connected between the boy and girl is blue and white. We thought this would convey a sort of active, Morse code communication between the two. 

Boy close-up

Boy close-up

Strings and cans close-up

Strings and cans close-up

One of my favorite things about the piece was all the colored string and the shadows created by their lines. It was difficult to capture this in photos, but you can get an idea here. Thank goodness for Anabella's efforts with family and friends to collect all these cans!

Lines

Lines

Eye Tea opening on April 11

Eye Tea opening on April 11

The opening had a great turnout! Viewers loved interacting with our work and used the cans we provided for them. Other artists also went above and beyond for this show. The tall sticks you see in the background were bamboo constructions. There were multiple installations and there was a lot of great two-dimensional work. We may be installing String Theory elsewhere in downtown San Jose. I'll keep you posted. For now, I'm scheming up an installation for the SubZERO Festival in early June. 

Linea de Costa Art Residency in Cádiz, Spain Pt. 2

I had started writing some blog posts while I was on my art residency in Spain. I ended up only publishing one of the many I had planned. I was too engrossed in the moment, whether making new work, talking with new friends, eating good tapas or quietly meandering. This series of posts will cover my time out there. There are a lot of photos and experiences to cover, so I had to split it up into easily digestible amounts. You can read the earlier posts on my first week in Cádiz, Spain and on texture and pattern inspiration. This one will focus on what a residency is.

While I was out in Spain, I kept getting questions from my friends here in the States about why I was out there in the first place. It seems that the concept of an art residency isn't much known outside of artists, and even then, not all artists know about them. Many people just thought I was going to school out there. 

Art residencies are meant as time and space for an artist to create and think about their work. Residencies are application-based, so you have to submit a portfolio or images and write a statement and bio. They usually provide housing, a studio and support for your work or a specific project. You may or may not end the residency with an art show or specific project, it depends on the program. Residencies operate worldwide and vary in their amenities. Some have kilns and printmaking equipment, others are much more simple. It just depends on what you are looking for. Residency costs vary from being all expenses paid to subsidized costs to very expensive. You have to do your research when finding one. 

Last February/March, I had a small list of residencies in mind to apply to. I was mostly interested in a couple in Barcelona, as well as one in Joshua Tree National Park and another in the Caribbean. During that time of the year, I am usually working on Valentine's Day orders, taxes and planning, so I missed the deadlines on all of these. I found one in Cádiz, Spain and was instantly mesmerized by the location after looking up photos online. I had to go to this one and this one only. Cádiz is on a narrow strip of land, almost like an island. It looks out on the open Atlantic and resides south of Portugal. 

The esplanade near the Gran Catedral. 

The esplanade near the Gran Catedral. 

We Have Overcomplicated Things , paper, ink, chair, bulb, 2014.

We Have Overcomplicated Things, paper, ink, chair, bulb, 2014.

I felt like the happiest person on earth when I was accepted to the Linea de Costa residency. It was the first residency I applied to. I received an email three weeks later stating "we find your proposal very interesting for Linea de Costa's goals." They later told me that the program is very competitive and receives many applicants. This, of course, made me feel honored and thankful to be one of the selected. The image above of my installation, We Have Overcomplicated Things, was one of the artworks I applied with. The program director really loved this one. 

One aspect of a residency is how many artists you will be there with. I have heard of some residencies hosting a single artist at a time, but I believe most are small to larger groups. Linea de Costa hosts 3 artists at a time with myself, Amy Podmore a professor of art at Williams College in Massachusetts and Juyoung Lee, a South Korean artist, there for the month of November. Both artists turned out to be amazing people. They were creative, fun and super inspiring to be around. I felt very lucky to have been there with these two. 

The view from my work desk in the studio.

The view from my work desk in the studio.

The location was really something else. I looked out on this view everyday, though sometimes it was overcast and stormy. It made me feel like I was working on a boat. I can't tell you how much having the sea this close makes me happy. The apartment I was set up in was very nice, but just did not compare with this view. For more on the studio space and apartment see my first post in this series

If you're interested in an art residency, you can look them up on the following sites:

For some great articles on finding, preparing for and funding your residency:

One of the biggest things I took away from this residency was letting go of old habits and stale ideas. There's nothing like a change of location to reinvigorate your senses. If you have any questions about residencies, feel free to ask me in the comments below. 

Stay tuned for the next post in this series!

Linea de Costa Art Residency in Cádiz, Spain Pt. 1

This is my fifth day in Cádiz, Spain and I'm in love with this city. I felt right at home. The pace, the food, coffee, air, ocean and people are magnificent to say the least. I battled through some jet lag for the first few days, but I'm doing great now. 

The studio view from the huge rooftop terrace.

The studio view from the huge rooftop terrace.

I'm out here for the Linea de Costa art residency in the Espacio de Creación Contemporánea. It's a beautiful marble-filled gallery next door to the Universidad de Cádiz. The artist studios view the ocean with waves pounding the ancient city walls and boats sailing by. I've always dreamt of a seaside studio and I always dreamed of studying abroad when I was in college, so this is pretty surreal and satisfying. I feel spoiled to be here.

Espacio de Creación Contemporánea (ECCO)

Espacio de Creación Contemporánea (ECCO)

The grand stairwell at ECCO.

The grand stairwell at ECCO.

An installation in the atrium at ECCO.

An installation in the atrium at ECCO.

The building I'm working in is a former military barrack built in the 18th century. It was renovated and now houses a beautiful museum and gallery space. The gallery where I will be showing is gorgeous. I'll show you photos in a couple of weeks.

My workspace in the art studio.

My workspace in the art studio.

The other artist here is fantastic. She has a few really interesting projects going from textiles to video and masking tape. It's inspiring to have her in the room with me. She's from the US, Massachussets specifically, where she is an art school professor. We're having a good time hanging out and creating. 

The local art supply store and their dog.

The local art supply store and their dog.

The art supply store, Piccolita, has a lot of great supplies. The owner and her daughter were so helpful and friendly. It's in the same square as the Museo de Cádiz and maybe 8 short blocks from the studio. 

The interior exterior of my apartment.

The interior exterior of my apartment.

The small, yet perfect little kitchen.

The small, yet perfect little kitchen.

I'm making a lot of comparisons with the States while here, especially in my art making process. I love how the living spaces are so much smaller. We're always looking for more and more room in the US, when we don't really need that much space. Eggs aren't refrigerated here (as in much of the world outside the US) and instead of dryers, you hang your clothes to dry on a line. 

The beautiful colors of Cádiz.

The beautiful colors of Cádiz.

So many boats.

So many boats.

Little A-frame

Little A-frame

I have been sketching and playing with ideas for my installation at ECCO. I also created this little A-frame house in about a day and a half. It was fun playing architect! 

My installation at ECCO opens on November 27th. 

Gotta get back to work! 

SubZERO Festival Recap

Whew! This last couple of months have been busy! I worked an enormous amount of hours to put together an art show for the school I teach at. I tell you, hanging or displaying nearly 300 artworks, plus organizing their over 1,000 pieces for their individual portfolios is no easy task. It left me with a mere couple of weeks to prepare for the SubZERO Festival. I spent a few weeks making art prints, sewing up bags and figuring out how best to display my booth.

I didn't have much of a chance to leave my booth, so you should see the SubZERO Facebook page for great photos and videos of the event. I just have a few here.

Not sure if I knew this photo was being taken?! Haha. Photo by Cherri Lakey of  Anno Domini

Not sure if I knew this photo was being taken?! Haha. Photo by Cherri Lakey of Anno Domini

As you can see above, I had original paintings, art prints and textiles including scarves, bags and patches in my booth. I was really happy with using the lightweight canvas walls and all the 'furniture' was things that I had: wooden ladder, crate, easel. I thought I would have a chance to paint in my booth, but I felt busy much of the time. I also talked about preparing goods for SubZERO in my last post if you would like to read more.

Talking with visitors of my booth. Photo by Cherri Lakey.

Talking with visitors of my booth. Photo by Cherri Lakey.

I loved interacting with customers and visitors of my booth. You can see the banner above made from scraps of my bags and patches. They had sweetest things to say about my art and my booth itself. Some things I heard: "Your booth is so homey and welcoming", "your work really speaks to me" and more. It was a great experience and I was glad I finally displayed my work at the festival, after attending for many years.

Cellist  Freya Seeburger

Okay, enough about me! Although I didn't get photos of anyone else, except for Freya Seeburger since I was glued to my booth, I was incredibly lucky to be across from her. I could watch her performances throughout the nights. When I watched her and her friends set up, I knew it would be something exquisite. I can tell you that San Jose really came through these two nights. Gorgeous costumes, wild performers and innovative art installations ruled the streets. Elaborate displays showed locals the kind of art, music and creativity that often hides below the surface in San Jose. With my art, I interact with people online much of the time, so it was really nice to be involved locally again. Be sure to check my events page for upcoming fairs and shows. Again, be sure to check the SubZERO Facebook page for great pics and videos.

A BIG thanks to everyone who came out! It was great to see familiar and new faces. Can't wait til next year!

SubZERO Festival - Textiles

I've been a busy little factory getting ready for the SubZERO Festival coming up June 6 & 7. My space will act like an open studio, with sketches, paintings, clutch zip bags and art prints in my booth. I'm making stuff as we speak, as well as starting to test out my display. You may have already seen that I made a temporary outdoor studio over the weekend so I could at least pretend I was celebrating Memorial Day weekend.

I could get used to this.

I could get used to this.

Since I had been preparing for my students' art show, I have had to pick up the pace these last few weeks for SubZERO. I started off by dyeing, printing and sewing clutch bags for the event. I had fabric left from last year so I decided to make a limited run for the event.

If you didn't know, I started making these bags because I inherited a bunch of vintage sewing supplies from my aunt Yolanda, an incredible creative and amazing artist. I had to put all the vintage metal zippers to use, so I decided to make some bags. I hand dyed cotton canvas, carved some block prints, and voila! I had made my first set of bags about a year ago. Interesting enough, this current batch used EXACTLY the last of the metal zippers!

Tangerine, lilac and avocado fabric drying.

Tangerine, lilac and avocado fabric drying.

Block printed fabric pre-construction

Block printed fabric pre-construction

Sewing in the labels

Sewing in the labels

Little helper Oscar

Little helper Oscar

Almost done! Ready for the last step.

Almost done! Ready for the last step.

Multitasking. Getting booth ideas on  Pinterest  while arranging my bags.

Multitasking. Getting booth ideas on Pinterest while arranging my bags.

I think the jacaranda petals have been influencing my color choices.

I think the jacaranda petals have been influencing my color choices.

Stop by my booth at SubZERO and check them out!

Hope to see you there!