Saturday, December 5, 2009

Brett Colley loves organic vegetables, snow, and cold caffeinated coffee beverages

Brett was the perfect first artist featured at our new and tenderly formed gallery The Bakery. He hails from Grand Rapids Michigan where he is a tenured professor at Grand Valley State University teaching drawing and printmaking. Joseph (my lover and co-conspirator) has been enamored with Brett ever since he took his class at Ox-Bow and was super excited to have the opportunity to invite Brett as a visiting artist to St.Ambrose. His art is politically inspired covering contemporary topics from 9/11 and the Bush administration, to clear cutting forests, and the industrialization of the meat industry. He is a super cool guy, sweet, thoughtful, and though he is passionate about his political views, he is also totally down to earth, approachable and easy to talk to, definitely admirable qualities.

One of my favorite parts of the evening was an interactive money stamping station. Colley has created a series of stamps with images of bulldozers, tree stumps, & oil rigs as well as one stamp stating "we vote with our money". He spreads them all out on table with a big juicy red ink pad for gallery visitors to use to brand their dollar bills. Everyone seemed to love it, whipping out their cash and stamping away with conviction. The activity generated lots of conversations and allowed people to interact with and ask questions about the politics and ideas at the heart of Colley's work.

The Bakery Gallery

With a little love, inspiration, resourcefulness, and help from our new friend and partner Heather Lovewell, The Bakery Gallery is official! We hosted The Bakery's very first art opening on Friday, Dec 4th featuring large 6ft linoleum prints made by visiting artist Brett Colley. Our first opening attracted 70 visitors! We were pleasantly shocked and amazed!

Bio: The seeds of the The Bakery Gallery first started when Joseph and I relocated from Chicago, IL to Davenport, IA and found ourselves living right across the street from the most awesome and under appreciated little bakery in town. In this bakery the exquisite Nikki and her two adorable long-haired vintage car loving teenaged sons make dangerously delicious tasty treats and heavenly pizzas. Inspired by Nikki's hard work as a single mother and small business owner, we decided to contribute to our new favorite eatery by starting a gallery there.

What we do: curate delicious works of art and pair them with delectable baked goods

Interests: All things booked, papered and baked

Thursday, December 3, 2009

I loved you, my leisure

Remember when I spent everyday leisurely following fun-filled personal interests generally leaning towards art making & vintage shopping loosely balanced with other more productive activities (selective bill paying, cooking, starting an art gallery, selling things on etsy) while blissfully attuned to my body's natural inclination to take afternoon naps, stay up late and sleep in?? It's all over, the snap of a finger. done. good bye life of leisure..helloo new job...high pressure, stress inducing, trauma surrounded 9-5 job that comes with expectations the seem almost unreachable....

Title: Rape and Sexual Assault Counselor
Program: VICS -Violence Intervention Community Service (grant based not-for-profit ...a.k.a lots of work for little money)
Organization: Family Resources Inc.

Perks: I have my own office
*I primarily meet with individuals
*the VICS program has an AWESOME super progressive, radically feminist community based (non clinical) philosophy of treatment
*diverse and interesting staff
*flexible and supportive work environment
*if I must work, I guess it's pretty nice to get to do something I feel strongly about

Other good news, bright side, glass is half full perspective as I start this new harrowing endeavor:
*at least i am well rested and restored?

Did I mention I have my own fancy office?? with comfy chairs?? a desk, a bookshelf, filing cabinet, and a window?? not shared. mine.

Monday, October 26, 2009


Pumpkin patches, farm animals, bright orange, red, & golden trees everywhere, sweet brisk air, wool sweaters, wearing my new pink knitted scarf, cooking acorn squash, eating pumpkin pie, AND a visit to an apple orchard?!! Can October be any more perfect? i think not.

Animal Farm

During Lizzie's very memorable visit, we went to a pumpkin patch, frolicked in the fields there, and played with farm animals. Lizzie has an almost unnatural love for alpacas ♥


I got married, it was lovely. My dearest friend Lizzie saw the whole thing and now I have health insurance. awesome.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Timeless Saucer and Uncle bunny

For the next time you desire to mindlessly lose two hours of your life click here.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Scrub Pub

My dryer broke already. Not to worry though (as I know you are prone to do, especially in matters that concern cleanliness) but I found the Scrub Pub. It has a bar & food (if you consider Mozzarella cheese sticks and nachos food), a lounge area with a flat screen TV, wireless Internet and a whole bunch of cafe tables on top of all the expected laundromat amenities. I noticed the bar even has regular patrons who appear to have no interest in ever doing laundry. I think it might be love. j

in the BIG house,

As it turns out Iowa isn't so bad. I thought maybe living here would naturally induce a state of absolute boredom and total disconnect, bit it's been quite the opposite. I can't explain why exactly but there is something sort of freeing about not being absolutely inundated with endless options. I think I actually pursue more activities here than i even did in Chicago. Namely because i can afford to go places, getting around is relatively quick & painless, i can ride a bike without fear of being run over or doored, I can enjoy a walk along the river without competing for space, The farmer's market is HUGE and less than a mile from my house, rent is way cheaper, and I have a studio space in the house! oh and did i mention the thrift stores around these parts??? Tons of super cheap awesomeness.

Fast Forward

I live in Iowa now, specifically Davenport, one of the cities that makes up the Quad. Gloria Gaynor has absolutely nothing what-so-ever to do with Davenport, Iowa, or the circumstances for which I moved here, but for some reason this song is on repeat in my head and quite fortuitously has a seriously awesome video:

Friday, October 2, 2009

not to be confused with ketchup.

Obviously I took a big break from blogging and truthfully I am not sure I am even capable of being consistent. My natural blogging style seems to be more of a cycle of binge and purge. So please excuse the retrospect, but i thought i would start to catch back up with some pictures from my summer painting class (which was awesome).

Alison Ruttan, who fit the stereotype of the New Yorker that she was, made me a little self conscious at times. She was not a painter herself in practice, but she did know everything about contemporary painting. Considering herself more of a conceptually driven artist she chooses her media as it relates to her intentions therefore her body of work was diverse and included video, digital, porcelain and sound. She was blunt but not mean spirited, perceptive, and unapologetically honest about her opinions but up for debate and respectful of difference….all qualities I really admire in a person. According to Alison, the narrative approach that I had been using in my paintings evoked a false sense of intimacy, tended to be sentimental (which is apparently the WORST thing a painter can be) and were a little too perfectly proportioned and balanced which undermined the dissonance, ambiguity, cognitive complexity and dark tension that I purported to be interested in.

* She referred me to Amy Sillman, Monique Prieto, Thomas Nozkowski among many others.

Richard Hull was easy to be around and i felt really comfortable talking to him about painting. Almost a little too comfortable at times, and I fear I tended to ramble on and on about things I know relatively little about. Richard was a painter. He worshiped light, shadows, space, form, perspective, movement, mark making, the details and lack of details. He seemed like a deeply spiritual person without at all being religious and took us to the museum all the time. This may be a little cliché but the museum was cleary his "church" and Titian, Carpaccio, Caravaggio, Goya, all saints perfect & flawed.

His advice to me was to sloooow down, consider the impact of each mark, simplify. He had similar criticisms of my work as Alison, but emphasized that he felt that I had really good instincts as a painter, with obvious strengths and potential. He said I should trust myself a little more.

*and yes it’s fair to say that I had a huge crush on Richard. I feel tingly.

Here are a few paintings made during class:

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

my own studio space!!!

Yesterday I started my final studio class at SAIC. I am taking a three week advanced painting course that meets every weekday from 9-4:30, taught by Richard Hull and Allison Ruttan. To my relief, both seem really cool, nice, and not too intimidating. I am super excited to have sooo much scheduled time for painting... and i was even more excited when i found out that i would have my own studio space (all to myself!) for the duration of the class. I immediately set to task making the space my own covering the walls with vintage wall paper pieces (that i use for color and pattern inspiration), old historical photos of farm houses, animals and people, sheep, birds, flowers, bugs and plant life.

yummy delicious

My back porch urban garden is thriving!.... and i celebrated by eating a newly ripened sweet, sweet strawberry. mmmmmm.... peas, beans, brussel sprouts, and tomatoes are sprouting soon.

we have reason to suspect a rogue pepper crazed squirrel might be eating our green peppers. Joseph purchased a plastic porch owl and felt that it would be sufficiently threatening to scare of said squirrel, but I have my doubts.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

A pretty powerful message about race relations in the U.S.

Reprinted from In These Times, March 10, 2006

Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome: Dr. Joy DeGruy DeGruy talks about her provocative new book

By Silja J.A. Talvi

Racism erodes our very humanity. No one can be truly liberated while living under the weight of oppression, argues Dr. Joy DeGruy DeGruy in her new book, Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome: America's Legacy of Enduring Injury and Healing .

DeGruy, who teaches social work at Portland State University, traces the way that both overt and subtle forms of racism have damaged the collective African-American psyche-harm manifested through poor mental and physical health, family and relationship dysfunction, and self-destructive impulses.

DeGruy adapts our understanding of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder to propose that African Americans today suffer from a particular kind of intergenerational trauma: Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome (PTSS).

The systematic dehumanization of African slaves was the initial trauma, explains DeGruy, and generations of their descendents have borne the scars. Since that time, Americans of all ethnic backgrounds have been inculcated and immersed in a fabricated (but effective) system of race "hierarchy," where light-skin privilege still dramatically affects the likelihood of succeeding in American society.

DeGruy suggests that African Americans (and other people of color) can ill afford to wait for the dominant culture to realize the qualitative benefits of undoing racism. The real recovery from the ongoing trauma of slavery and racism has to start from within, she says, beginning with a true acknowledgment of the resilience of African-American culture.

"The nature of this work," DeGruy writes in her prologue, "is such that each group first must see to their own healing, because no group can do another's work."

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Advocacy for the Homeless


Having expereinced homelessness himself, Eric Sheptock is a devoted and active advocate for the homeless by raising awareness through his blogg On the Clock with Eric Sheptock. Sheptock covers topics that range from gentrification, dirty politics, shelter closings, to human rights and job opportunites.

His most recent blogg calls attention to the preventable death of a woman, whom he names Jane doughless (to protect her identity) expereincing homelessness and living with HIV. Eric writes:Housing is a human(e) right. Jane Doughless was denied this right. In order that her death not be in vain, let us continue the fight for housing and other human rights. Let us not get angry only for a fleeting moment and then return to business as usual. Stay angry until we change the system that allowed this to happen to her, angry enough to fight for change. The story of Jane Doughless could very well become your story. In this economy, you could soon find yourself "Doughless". There, but for the grace of God, go I.....

His voice challenges the perception that people often have about the abilities and experience of the homeless. His blogg encourages active participation and incites a need to take responsibility from his readers.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

like magic

I found this artist through another blog site: neatorama, which accumulates interesting and amusing tidbits, facts and fictions pertaining to pop culture,the arts and science. Matt Shilan describes himself as a paper engineer (a deserving title) as he definately does some pretty complex & cool things with paper.

Project Girl

I recently attended an informational meeting with the founders of Project Girl, a totally awesome grassroots project designed to empower girls to become more critical of manipulative and destructive media messages that they are so often a target of. Project Girl, began in Madison Wi, and is now a nationally touring visual arts exhibition and series of hands-on art-based events and workshops designed to equip girls with the tools to create the foundation for long-term change. Project Girl develops and strengthens skills they need to become more critical and informed consumers of media. Co-created by Kelly Parks Snider and Jane Bartell, this program uses art-based workshops to build girl communities supporting resistance to harmful media messages. In addition to visual, literary, digital and video artwork by professional artists, the exhibition includes some amazing artwork by Project Girl adolescent artists who were guided during each media deconstruction workshop to express their own interpretations of media messages.

Project Girl believes that it is not the girls, but rather the culture in which they live that is in need of repair and that art is the tool to begin the transformation.I am so excited to have found this project as it fits so perfectly with my own interests!

hiking,biking, kayaking, & strolling on the beach

Finally made it back to Portland for a little restorative nature time and sister bonding. Spent very little time actually in the city and instead travelled to the Columbia River gorge for hiking, spent a few days at the Tolovana Inn on the coast near cannon beach, kayaked in Scapoose bay, and visited Krugers farm market (where i used to work) on Sauvies island. I am soooo out of shape but i loved every minute (ok, so maybe the minutes that i spent panting for breath, complaining about my non-hiking shoes, and how hot it was were perhaps a little less than perfect).

but still reminded me how much i miss the pacific northwest and my sister.