100% handcrafted, each "Queer Sleepover Classic" VHS pendant necklace celebrates critical formations of queer identity nurtured by independent video stores in the late 80s & early 90s. Pieced together with craft wood and paint, I hope to add more pendants to this special series, now exclusively on-sale and on display at the boutique gallery A Love Bizarre in Los Angeles.
For my sister’s birthday last month, I wasn’t able to afford tickets to Phloston Paradise for her and her husband David - but I was able to grease the palms of a few intergalactic customs agents to secure a MULTIPASS. It’s good for the next five years.
As I’ve stated before, birthdays are excellent motivators for artists to establish deadlines for themselves. Let’s say a friend’s birthday is coming up. Do you have a calendar? Do you want to make that day special? Plan ahead! This year, I’ve made a commitment to hand-make as many gifts as I can for those I love, rather than contribute to an avalanche of products, “stuff” and other retail ephemera. Boo! There’s a magic that happens when you transform raw materials with your own hands, knowing that whatever you’re breathing life into is going to find a home with just one special person. I see it as a communication, a special message that repeats each time they look at it or pick it up. Emotional/Memory replay, like a video?
Engineering this piece solely by eyeballing photos on Google Image Search was a unique challenge, as I didn’t have a VHS tape handy for physical reference. (Next time, I will!) The process began on paper, as I sketched out its rough dimensions and visualized it hanging from someone’s chest, once the chain would be added. I approached it as a three-dimensional cartoon, as I hand drew the sprockets and wrapped the inner gears with construction paper (VHS tape). This project has definitely awoken more ideas within me to create colorful representations of household items, as well as setting a high bar for Maggie’s next birthday. *wink* Love you and Vidiots Foundation!
My goal is peak-Sailor Moon.
Cola @ Coachella
December 21st, 2018: Arizona was especially cold this winter. As my family & I admired the illuminated cacti at the Phoenix Zoo, fond memories of this Christmas tradition added an extra glow to the similarly decorated mesquite trees that lined its walkways. Mountain lions, gila monsters, roadrunners, snakes and all manner of desert creature scurried to the surface in decorative form, amidst the chatter of sneakers and other slow moving families trying to keep warm. As I cradled my paper cup of hot chocolate in my hands, grateful for each sip, I saw a saguaro cactus strung with brightly colored bulbs next to a howling coyote. “I still need to glue on those needles,” I thought, picturing the half-finished art project which would become this year’s Christmas gift for my mother: a paper cactus.
Firmly believing that birthdays make the best deadlines for artists, holidays are an equally powerful motivator. Fueled by the giving spirit of the season, I began crafting this cactus (seen below) in LA, finishing it back home in Arizona after an inspirational trip to the Phoenix Zoo. Just as the resilient desert plant stores water for the dry seasons ahead, I treasure these trips back home to charge my emotional batteries for the droughts in my life, giving back to those who mean the most to me. This year, I chose to leave my mom with a cactus, a model of perseverance and stubbornness…two of her finest qualities. By making something from the heart, why not choose to leave a part of your spirit with someone you love, instead of something factory-assembled? A new tradition, perhaps?
Been meaning to make this miniature for awhile, my first attempt at miniaturizing cartoonish food. Served on a (tiny) paper plate, the ingredients for this short stack were: Discs of painted clay covered in syrup (Gorilla Glue) with a disc of butter on top, which ended up being a slice of a synthetic rubber eraser from a mechanical pencil!
For a handful of mornings in late-October, I’d rise before work and whittle away at this gift, chattering crows on the other side of my kitchenette window. After awhile, a second skin of super glue dried on my right thumb and index finger, smudged with the wax residue of colored pencil illustrations I pressed onto the panel’s surface. Before wrapping it up, I could see that I’d left a fingerprint along the panel's edge, a faint “hello” to the friend I was making it for. I wondered if he’d notice. If you’re an artist, and wanting to strengthen your skills of accountability when it comes to delivering an original piece by a specific deadline, I can’t recommend other friends’ birthdays any higher. The wreckage of my latest collage (see above) was strewn with love for one of my dearest friends, a opportunity to test out some new approaches for an audience of one. Everyone has the ability to create things with their hands & heart, and for my money, nothing beats receiving a gift in the mail that only you know could've come from someone you love. After all, it has your fingerprints all over it.
Serving as both a fun project and a locomotion behind building stronger habits for practicing faces, I’ve decided to create multiple series of trading cards (4 inches x 3 inches) based on the Instagram selfies/photos of my friends. I find that, whenever confined to a smaller space than usual, my senses of what feels right when portraying the character of a face, sharpen. On a card, for example. Here’s to hoping I can finish enough of these to line the molding that runs along my apartment’s walls, just beneath the ceiling. How’s that for a benchmark?
After clearing its final sound mix at Chapman University last week, I'm excited to begin sharing more images and sounds from my upcoming film, Ghost Tape #10, with you all. A visualization of the effects of audio propaganda during the Vietnam War, this figurine of a North Vietnamese solider (designed & sculpted by Jedadiah Cracco), represents one of the central conceits of the film: unearthing the past. Through dreamlike visuals, I hope the film can explore this connection between the living & the dead that I experienced in Northern Vietnam, and what stories still lie underground, waiting to be pulled up into the light.
I'd like to develop the habit of drawing or creating something quick immediately after waking up and having my morning tea. Today (Tuesday) was my first attempt at this: a tiny paper taco. I crafted this tasty snack, all the while completely forgetting about my cup of Earl Gray, which was cold to the touch when I went to pick it up soon after. A small price to pay for getting lost in one's work.
I've been experimenting with making cut-and-paste collages from my own illustrations, scrambling them in order to find new shapes or meanings. Music usually keeps me company while I do this, and one of the most delightful songs to do so last year was Boy Pablo's "Everytime." The music video is a delight, sun-dappled friends playing together on a dock in Norway. As the guitars swell and ring, you can almost feel the brisk of the afternoon by the water and the joy shared by all the musicians. Unexpected and effervescent, I highly recommend giving it a listen.
Sometimes, time should escape you.