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.

Bye, Bye

So i guess it's over, feeling relief and anxiety all mixed together. I have one more studio class yet to take this summer and of course still writing my thesis (barf). I am glad to be done with core classes as I found the social stresses to be almost unbearable. Hoping this summer will be a good one.

Art of Connection

The above pieces were created by artists at C4 and are the culmination of my work at this site: Ron B., David C., Pat C., Rawhide C., Traci D., Amanda E., Darlene F., Marvin G., Lynn H., Elizabeth H., Richard H., Judie I., Amy J., Brenda J., Michele M., Tanjila P., Anna P., Isabel R, Joanne R., Cecil S., Lenny S., Jennie T., and Chayce V.

C4 (Community Counseling Center of Chicago) is a community organization that serves a diverse group of people with a variety of mental health needs. Participants in the Art of Connection show are members of art therapy groups at C4 who share a common belief that art making and self-expression are essential components of mental health. The projects presented in this show are meant to capture the expressions, thoughts, feelings and imaginations of this community of people.

Art Belongs to Everyone is dually influenced by the work of the Chicago based street artist collective “You-Are-Beautiful,” and the “Learning to Love You More” project formed by Miranda July and Harrell Fletcher. Responding to the suggestion to “make an encouraging banner” in the LTLYM project, and utilizing the format of the “You-Are-Beautiful” project, artists at C4 collaborated in brainstorming and selecting positive messages that everyone in the group felt connected to and inspired to promote. Each letter is made by a different artist with a material of their choice. Art Belongs to Everyone is one of several banners made. The others include the statements “Everyone Matters,” “We All Belong,” and “Art is Essential.”

The Multi Panel Project is the product of an art directive asking participants to identify the people, places, ideas, and events that have been influential or important in their lives. In response, art therapy group members completed up to six 4” x 4” panels. The project is intended to explore the specific and unique things that have influenced each member. When viewed together, the images create a beautiful patchwork of complex interactions.