Saturday, November 30, 2013

Day Seven - Prairie Center Rez

Yesterday ended with a Lady B photo shoot so I thought I'd begin today with one, Lady B bookends if you will.  Second order of business:  to further explore the space around the studio.  We share a warehouse with a machine shop and of course there's the corn factory next door, so as you can imagine things are pretty machiney around here.  I set out to find a little nature in the midst of all the brick and metal...

Flower motif...ok, we're getting somewhere.  
What the hell is JFBE?

Moss, dirt, now we're talking.

Man, that sure is a big corn-type factory - you're 
never going to find any nature trinkets.  BAM!!!
 Totally found a shell and a feather thank you very much.

Everybody takes pics of their food so I decided to do the same.  My lunch looks a lot like what I'd imagine is served in prison.  This is not issued food, this is food I made and served myself - totally by choice.  I really need to rethink my eating habits.  But I don't have time for that now, I gots to get to work!

I finished the Moon Bear and began work on the Golden Eagle in The Bear Farm Story painting.  It had to come down temporarily so I could get started on the next work in The Hunting Series.

Here we have a hound chasing a fox chasing a pheasant.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Day Six - Prairie Center Rez

I rose with the sun today, not a bad view to have as a backdrop to some cereal-eating.  After fueling up with coffee and breakfast, it was out the door and down the highway - moving fast and forward towards the studio.

The fox was sewn into place and the corner details and the Moon Bear aka Asiatic Black Bear aka Tibetan Black Bear got some attention.  Next it's on to details, details.

So, yesterday I mentioned that the studio space emitted a slight Mary Tyler Moore office vibe and I'm sticking to it.  While sitting on the couch, I peered over to the kitchen area and behold...

You can't tell me that I'm not on a freaking movie set from the 70's.  I'm in love with this.  "Cue hot actor-dude carrying a large pizza...quiet on the set...aaaannnnnnnndddddddd...action!!!!

I ended my day with a Lady B photo shoot.  
Can you imagine how tiny her little heart is?  Whoa.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Day Five - Prairie Center Rez

Captain's Log: Day 5 in the a.m.
The small patch of woods next to the house has been explored.  All of the trees are bare, the ground is inches thick in leaves so it has some bounce like if you were walking on a mattress.  Note: the leaf debris is hiding rocks and sticks so the chances of ankle-breaking are high - proceed with caution.

Moss on log - check.

Experiment #143:  piece of bark outdoors/piece of bark indoors - check.

Captain's Log: Day 5 in the afternoon
THANKSGIVING!!!!!  Today is Thanksgiving.  All of my housemates have bailed outta town for the holiday and the owners of Prairie Center invited me to their family feast.  It was delightful and delicious.  I felt completely welcomed and I'm so grateful to have been a part of their day.  Party over, now on to the studio...

Captain's Log: Day 5 in the p.m.
I have 10 days left to tear shit up in the studio-this is a motivating factor so let's do this.  Rug, fox, decorative border-check, check, and check.  I'll be back in the morning to do some more damage.  Over and out.

Side note:  In honor of Thanksgiving I would like to say that I am extremely grateful for this experience and I'm also extremely grateful for my lobster apron.  Amen. 

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Day Four - Prairie Center Rez

I haven't been able to sleep very well yet, my eyes are still anxious to explore the new surroundings.  Early this morning I peeked through the blinds and the light was beautiful.  It was so beautiful in fact, that I had to go out and be with it.  Well...more like see it from the inside of the van on the way to the studio because it was less than 20 degrees and my southwestern skin isn't tough enough for that direct exposure.

I spent the entire studio day working on one task - sewing my painting.  I had gotten the raw unstretched canvas too wet yesterday and it was warping in a wicked way around the edges.  Cure:  cut out the characters and embroider them onto a new square of canvas.  I knew one day my embroidery and painting worlds would collide.

Not a big fan of the word cute as a description for my work but this painting is pulling me into some child-like narrative illustration so why not cute the shit out of it?  I'm going for all out bedtime story.  There is a dark irony between the sweetness and the choice of animals.  I'll explain it later or you can go ahead and Google moon bear farms in China - just a's pretty gnarly.

The studio space is really inspiring, there's tons of room to move around.  It's extremely industrial-we're surrounded by machines inside the building and out but everything is neat and orderly.  (Which was totally conducive to the one-person sewing sweatshop I had going on today.)  

There is also a kind of Mary-Tyler-Moore-office vibe going too which I adore.  I could never capture the entire building in one shot but there are all of these lovely little vignettes that hint at the space as a whole.  Here are some of my favorites...

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Day Three - Prairie Center Rez

No big deal, just saw a fucking bald eagle flying over the Illinois River on the way to the studio.  The studio space is located smack dab in the middle of an industrial part of town.  It's also said to be a dangerous part of town.  These are two qualities in towns I greatly enjoy.  I'd rather be walking in the middle of nowhere collecting nature trinkets but if I must be in a man-made environment I'd like it to be edgy.  

 There is some serious industrial shit going down 
next door. Word on the street is that it's corn-related.

 BAM!!  I told you...Peoria is not messin' 
around with the machining of kernels!

 Bird-watchin' factory-style.

 After checking out the corn factory, I decided to 
get some work done.  And so it begins...

 Bummed-out Moon Bear, a hooded 
Golden Eagle, and a sleeping fox.

 Apparently I'm into foxes.  But who isn't?

I'm glad to know the sidewalk is doing fine.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Day Two - Prairie Center Rez

DFW Airport.  Gate B7.

Ready for takeoff!  I escaped the shit Texas weather but before reaching the blue skies we traveled through a cloud that illuminated the inside of our little tin can plane.  If you saw us rocketing across the sky you'd say we were smaller than a soup can, more like a vienna sausage can or a tuna can.  It made me feel like a giant when I boarded.  It was only 3 seats wide and I had to duck as I walked down the aisle and then squish myself into seat 9A.

We flew in between the clouds and outer space.  The clouds looked like a desertscape and then like mountains and lastly like endless treetops that are found in a rainforest.  They looked like anything but clouds.

Then we landed and within 20 minutes I found myself pushing a shopping cart in the middle of a grocery store in Peoria, IL.  Culture.  Shock.  Next I was in a van chatting it up with two of my new housemates and then I was making a sandwich in a totally foreign kitchen.

Now I'm writing this on the same laptop I wrote Day One on but just sitting at a different desk, in a different room, in a different state.  It's all so weird and I love it.  Tomorrow morning the same van that picked me up from the airport is heading towards the studios.  Amen.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Day One - Prairie Center Rez

A couple of hours ago I was supposed to board a plane bound for Peoria, IL to begin a two week artist residency at Prairie Center of the Arts but instead I'm sitting at home typing this.  A lot of stuff can happen in a short amount of time to change the course of a plan.

As I fell asleep last night I kept eyeballing the luggage on the floor like a little kid headed for Disney World.  I drifted off to sleep but was soon woken by men beating down my neighbor's door.  You know why they were beating down his door?  Because they are firemen and their job is to put out raging blazes which is what was happening on the other side of my wall.

After my neighbor's apartment was extinguished and the smoke cleared, I went to sleep only to be awoken for a second time by my ringing phone.  It was an automated voicemail...from American Airlines..."your flight has been cancelled".  I tried to absorb these experiences with grace...Ghandhi-style (but without the food strike).  I can totally handle this without being insanely disappointed, I told myself.

I floated back to sleep only to wake up in a panic after a dream.  You know the kind of dream that is so real and terrifying that you have to turn on a light and re-orient yourself?  It was one of those.  Recap:  I was at an artist residency in Africa where my dog was murdered and I was next in line.  Grace be damned, I'm now in WTF mode.

Sooooo, if I'm reading all of this correctly...last night went like this:
1.  Run for your life!!
2.  There's no escape.
3.  If you try to leave in your mind, you and your best friend will be assassinated.

I hid under the covers until late morning then decided to start my residency regardless of where I was.  My flight is rescheduled (weather permitting - the heart of Texas is blanketed in ice ya'll) so this time tomorrow evening I should be in Illinois.  Until then I shall make work in my jammies at the Peoria satellite studio aka home.

Here is how I spent Day One - Prairie Center Rez...

Casey the Asian elephant and other Sri Lankan friends
(5ft.x5ft., acrylic)

Thursday, November 21, 2013

The days surrounding my birthday.

Aplomado Falcon, pastel, 9"x12"

Sri Lanka, oil on raw canvas, 5'x5'

This painting is moving along.  It and St. Addax (the painting I just completed) have sprouted a collection called The Hunting Series.  So far this cast consists of an asian elephant, wild boar, jungle fowl, black-headed ibis, gray lemur, flying fox, and an asiatic long-tailed climbing mouse.

The more days that I have on this planet, the more I realize that time spent outside of the studio is just as vital as time spent inside of the studio.  My birthday was this past weekend and I was lucky enough to share it with a group of wonderful women.  First we gorged on pizza and then we ventured to the Fort  Worth Nature Center.  

Putting one foot in front of the other along a hiking trail can change a life in my opinion.  I sure know it can change a day and definitely an outlook.  It's an enormous think tank, playground, and therapist's couch all rolled into one.  It is a place I need to visit to make the time in the studio productive.  And so I did...

Fort Worth Nature Center 2013

birthday hike treasures

A second enormous experiential inspiration as of late is my job.  I work at a zoo.  I can meander around the park on my lunch break which has given me this really amazing opportunity to savor little nooks and crannies that I would otherwise miss if I were just blowing through on a regular park visit.  I can take bite size pieces of the park to explore.  

Take for instance the bug habitat below. It's in one of my favorite buildings which houses bats, snakes, insects, and other critters a lot of people find slightly frightful (but I super love).  It seems that most people move pretty quickly through the space, I imagine to shorten their time amongst creepy crawlers so they can get to the next cute furry mammal exhibit.  Well that's fine with me because it's a pretty awesome environment to have all to your human self.  I fell in love with this particular habitat...

 lunchbreak excursions

Apparently my work day can't go without making a mini movie - Desktop Film-style...

lemur man


sweet freedom

Thursday, November 14, 2013

awesome pony & help

Q:  What do you get when you combine a pony, 
a crystal ball, a moose, and a super snake?

A:  This...

awesome pony


Thursday, November 7, 2013

The Shortest Film Festival Ever by Layla Luna

Now featuring...


Enjoy the show(s).
You don't even need to grab a seat - 
it'll be over before your butt hits the chair.