Archive for December, 2008


December 31, 2008


Is collecting toothbrushes art?

This is one of 4 boxes of toothbrushes awaiting entry into my online toothbrush database at

Corey Schultz came over for eight hours of data entry, working from my paper documentation and the toothbrushes and their packages. While he did data entry, I accessioned toothbrushes. That’s the first step toward adding anything to a new collection, and includes preliminary documentation, especially the donor’s name, the year and country of acquisition. toothbrushwork

I’m so far behind that I’ve run out of these large boxes in which I store recently acquired toothbrushes. So now it’s time to photograph toothbrushes. Once their photos have been taken, the toothbrushes come out of their envelopes and go into plexiglass storage boxes.


At Faviana’s

December 20, 2008

faviI found the photo of Faviana and Melanie that I bemoaned losing on my Dec. 14th post. The color is just too wonderful to ignore and keep hidden in my iPhoto library.

“Polar 2” ->3 trips in 4 days to TAP

December 18, 2008

tap I made my 3rd trip (in 4 days!) to TAP Plastics, this time to the San Leandro store. There I got lots of useful information from Russ the manager about the best plexi fabricators. That’s for when I get around to re-doing my Patty Hearst vitrine. I brought him my polar 2 polymer plates and asked him to determine the correct size so that my next batch of  1/16″ polycarbonate plates would be the exact same size as the polymer plates, not before, but after beveling.

noname3I’ve been photographing the local “grocery cart guys”, people who recycle. I’ve got some holiday cookies in the front seat of my car for them. This man on Adeline Street, mid-cooky, would not tell me his name, citing his legal problems. He spun a long, convoluted and somewhat confused tale of woes and wrongs.

“Polar 2” struggles

December 17, 2008

polar21Today I began my first color trials for the print I’m calling polar 2. You can see the 3 polymer photo etched plates above. On the left they’ve been inked in black but not wiped. They’re sitting on a magnetic sheet so they won’t slip around. In the center image they’ve been wiped with tarleton, a stiff cheese cloth, and are ready to print. On the right are the 3 plexi plates for adding color. They were cut to match the polymer plates exactly, but after I beveled them, they no longer match. Off by about 1/16th-1/8th inch. Plus, my beveling tool grabbed the plexi making little divets in it. So it’s back to TAP Plastics for re-cutting and professional beveling. I pulled 2 proofs today, both of which were unsuccessful but instructive.  In addition to the mis-matched plates, the color was too opaque Days like this feel like failure, but they provide important feedback.

Friends & Street Folk

December 15, 2008


Morning at home. Later dashed to Kala to measure the copper plates I have ready for my next print (working title: polar 2). Then to TAP Plastics to have matching plexi plates cut. Closed on Sundays! After wrapping a gift, I went to Susie Cole’s for our annual Fungus Flats (Camp Augusta, our Camp Fire Girls Camp in Grass Valley) Holiday Party and gift exchange. On the way out, in the brisk night air, Joan Henley and I were talking memories. I encouraged her to join our Wednesday afternoon Golden Room (see to start writing hers. Because that made me remember my blog, I went back to Susie’s (everyone had left by then) to take a symbolic photo of our annual get together. Then home.

As I pulled into my drive way I noticed two “grocery cart guys” scrambling to move out of my way, or to stop doing whatever they were doing. I stopped my car in the driveway, got out, and offered them each a cookie from the tin I’ve been keeping in my front seat especially for this purpose. They each eagerly took one. I asked why they were out so late at night. Too rainy earlier in the day to do their recycling, they said. They thanked me for the cookies.

Linda Lee at Barney’s

December 14, 2008


lljlljme2Linda Lee Johnson is in town for a personal appearance at Barney’s. She does gorgeous jewelry. It’s both classic and contemporary at the same time. I love her dearly, have for decades.

At Faviana’s

December 14, 2008

favi3Bummed! Last week I went to Favianna Rodriquez’ open studio, expressly to buy a copy of her book, Reproduce and Revolt. It’s full of images, all attributed too, of politcal content. The title refers to reproducing these images in your own artwork or protest posters. She and her art collective, Taller Tupac Amaru, have created fantastic protest art.  In addition to the book I bought one of her non-political posters, which was sort of stupid of me, because it is her political art that intrigues me. And why bummed? I took a couple of terrific photos of Favi and Melanie, full of rich color, especially oranges and reds, but my camera battery died during the transfer from camera to computer and disappeared!

I am very intrigued with civic issues, which is politics, and political art. How to make it effective, attractive, and liveable at the same time is a very difficult task. I think I’ve had some success recently in this goal with my bomb and Prague pieces, below:


What I learned about “Beautiful Bad” at Kala

December 13, 2008


As I was talking to Nakano and Dennis about my piece, “Beautiful Bad #2” at the Kala Artists’ Annual exhibit last Thursday night, I heard myself say two interesting things that I hadn’t articulated or even thought before. We were talking about the process of how I transformed this government photography of the Ivy Mike hydrogen bomb detonation. That’s because Nakano commented that the piece doesn’t look like a digital print. So I explained the transformative steps and in the process realized how many, many steps there were! I didn’t plan this out in advance – it evolved.

download image from nuclear archive site -> print it out -> make enlarged photocopy -> cut image up -> make collage -> transfer collage onto art paper  using solvent and etching press -> photograph image -> photoshop digital file -> print out on large scale printer, like the Epson 9800 at Kala’s Electronic Media Center.

I also realized that this potent image of the first hydrogen bomb detonation is softened by the solvent transfer and transformed by its composition in strips, making the image simultaneously realistic and non-realistic, existing in its own nether realm.

imgp00861Here is Rebecca, whom I just met, back from England and the Miami art show, holding a copy of Relational Aesthetics by Nicolas Bourriaud. I think I’ll have to get a copy. She’s involved with HAM, the House of Art and Media in Berkeley. Smart. Going places.

Friday at Kala

December 7, 2008

kala12-07-083Friday I got to Kala early, hoping to get one of the large presses in a work area that includes a radio. I scored. I arrived at 11 am and stayed until 9 pm, the third of my ten hour days! Four different plates make up this print (no real title yet: working title is polar 1). I haven’t made a final decision about the colors. Thursday was the deeoer blue experiment (shown at left). Printing is very physical work -getting the blankets on and off the press, setting the press pressure, mixing inks, inking and wiping four plates, soaking and blotting the paper, loading the print drier, and cleaning up the happy mess (seen at far left).  I crept home, muscles aching after a long work out, and promptly began back stretching exercises. You can see Favianna Rodriguez and her assistant in the back.

Viewing “Syncopated Politics”

December 5, 2008

imgp0042Opening night at the Sanchez Art Center’s 2208 Bay Area Annual. I changed the title after the show from “Syncopated Prague” (where I made most of the collage) to “Syncopated Politics”, giving the piece a broader, more inclusive title.