Wish you were here: postcards as art

Just for kicks, I've started sending out postcards to my friends every so often. I've finally gotten around to framing a few for myself.

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The Husband gave me a set of these postcards as a gift; they're reproductions of classic Penguin paperback book covers. When I rearranged some of them, they made me laugh out loud.

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But I couldn't fill in the center space for the second trio until a few days ago, when I rediscovered this postcard: "Portrait of a Black Woman" by Marie-Guillemine Benoist.

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I love this image for many reasons, but most of all because of this woman's pro-level side-eye. Apparently her very existence, like that of so many black women, gets people all riled up. So now she's the demigoddess of my nightstand.

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Put together with the other postcards, it makes for a lovely vignette that also warns people to Let Me SLEEP.

The time to collect art is NOW

Here's what I imagine happens in an art collector's brain when they decide they NEED to have that art in their lives:

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When I delivered a collage to this new collector, I was privileged to see her reaction in real time. She and her husband had seen "Rare & Exquisite" in the show I curated at Columbia City Gallery...

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... and the collage stopped them in their tracks. The husband loves maps, and he'd mentioned he would like "something more 3D" for this spot on the wall. 

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If you've been itching to take home original art, you're in good company. This weekend, the Seattle Art Fair returns for its fourth summer, drawing collectors and art galleries from around the world.

  Inaugural Seattle Art Fair, 2015

Inaugural Seattle Art Fair, 2015

A few things to remember:

  • Buy what you love (of course) and buy local if you can
  • Your support makes it possible for the artist to make MORE art (and pay their bills)
  • You can always pay for the work in installments -- just ask

One last thing: Wear comfortable shoes if you're going to the art fair. Wouldn't it be a shame if you had to leave your favorite new artwork at the booth/artist studio just because your poor feet couldn't support you for one more minute?

Summer thoughts

I may have gotten more vitamin D in the past month than I have in the past five years here in the Northwest. (We're not used to multiple, consecutive sunny days... it confuses us.) Just drinking in the sun, thinking about art.

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My family was definitely immersed earlier this summer, when we were fortunate enough to visit the Louvre and the Musée d'Orsay. The trip also got me thinking A LOT about museum etiquette: OMG don't get so close to the artwork/ 250-year-old paintings don't like flash photos/ how do you NOT know how to behave in a museum?!

  Vincent van Gogh, "Self-Portrait," 1889

Vincent van Gogh, "Self-Portrait," 1889

After a certain point I found myself playing a mental game of "find a European artwork that includes black people." Medieval and Renaissance-era artists did depict people of African descent occasionally, and not always as servants, possessions or "noble savages." But even those sculptures make me think: this is still a black body rendered in a couple tons of marble, by an artist who died more than a century ago.

  Ernest Barrias, "The Alligator Hunters, or the Nubians," 1894

Ernest Barrias, "The Alligator Hunters, or the Nubians," 1894

And it's worth remembering that most museums allow you to borrow their air conditioning for hours at a time. Depending on where you live, summer really is cooler at the museum.

Liberty Bank Building: new (old) faces

Back to work on the collage portraits for the Liberty Bank Building. This week I'm staring down some formidable faces.

  Dr. Rev. Samuel B. McKinney (from the Liberty Bank & McKinney family archives)

Dr. Rev. Samuel B. McKinney (from the Liberty Bank & McKinney family archives)

Dr. Rev. Samuel McKinney was an activist who moved mountains. During his tenure as leader of the iconic Mount Zion Baptist Church, he co-founded Liberty Bank as well as a housing complex for the elderly and working poor. He was also a gracious person with a resonant, Morgan Freeman-as-God-level voice. I just hope I can do his portrait justice.

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And just a few days ago, I learned about the architect DeNorval Unthank Jr. He and fellow architect Mel Streeter teamed up to design the original Liberty Bank. "De," as he was called, was also the first black man to earn an architecture degree from the University of Oregon. One of the university residence halls has been renamed for him.

  Unthank Hall sign unveiling (credit: Around the O/University. of Oregon)

Unthank Hall sign unveiling (credit: Around the O/University. of Oregon)

So... just making a couple more collage portraits of Northwest icons. No pressure.

Book of Bulmash, chapter 149

Book of Bulmash, chapter 149

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  1. Behold the empty bed of the nine-year-old child! Look, and see the glee this absence hath bestowed in the heart of this boy's mother.
  2. The boy had ignored the radio alarm designed to wake him. He slumbered despite the family dog's whine to be let out for bodily relief.
  3. But the boy could not ignore the sound of his mother breathing,
  4. For she had crawled into her son's bed and laid her head directly next to his own, so as to weaponize the breath of life.
  5. As the air left her nostrils, it roared inside the semi-conscious boy's ear like the sound of a thousand vengeful bees pursuing their prey.
  6. Of course, the child turned his head away from the sound. But this solution was short-lived,
  7. For his mother simply began breathing heavily in the other, newly-exposed ear.
  8. The child squirmed and grunted in protest, but to no avail.
  9. At last the boy cried, "Begone, mother!
  10. "I am awake and shall rise from my bed anon! Only thou must remove thyself and allow me to exit!" 
  11. "But my son," the mother responded, "thou hast plenty of room to exit, if thou climbest to the foot of thy bed.
  12. "There and only there doth an escape route wait for thee."
  13. Thereupon the mother resumed wielding her exhalation as a method of driving the child out of bed.
  14. The boy leapt out of his cozy nest, desperate to flee his mother.
  15. And once he retreated to the silence of the bathroom, the mother was wracked with a fit of giggles that buoyed her throughout the remaining morning routine.