Lisa Myers Bulmash

New work: The one who's got what you need

I’ve become obsessed with the wild foxgloves growing near my studio. What’s not to love about a plant that could either save you or kill you? So I put them in my latest altered book.

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Foxglove is poisonous — every part of it, fresh or dried. Yet it’s also the basis of a safe and effective drug to treat heart failure. Plus, it’s just pretty, in a femme fatale kind of way.

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So I began collecting items that made me think of medicine, danger and beauty, adding them to a vintage copy of the novel Black Beauty.

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Before sealing the book, I flipped through it — and found a few casually racist passages I did not remember from my childhood reading. Right next to praise of the horse’s beauty. (Yeah, I know the horse was male.)

Photo credit: Alex Nemo Hanse/Unsplash

Photo credit: Alex Nemo Hanse/Unsplash

But that contrast of praise/insult, object of desire/ beast of burden made me think of how black women are often pegged as beautiful and potentially dangerous.

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Somehow we’re powerful enough to save America from itself — and at the same time lure the country down a path of ruin. Plus there’s this weird undercurrent of entitlement too, like we’re literally here to fix the heart of America.

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I went back and forth on a few titles for this altered book, but I kept coming back to the original one: “You Got What I Need.”

Lisa Myers Bulmash, “You Got What I Need” (altered book)

Lisa Myers Bulmash, “You Got What I Need” (altered book)

Speaking of needs, I could use your help: would you share the image above, far and wide? The Seattle Art Fair is coming up next week, which means lots of eyes checking out artists like me. Even better, you can support me by tagging a gallery that has a booth at the fair. The list of participating galleries is here.



Artwork purchase: and the new owner is...

I can give my crossed fingers a rest now: “Relatively Progressive” now belongs to the city of Shoreline!

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The city will add my collage to its permanent art collection! In addition to my work centering the civil rights leader Edwin Pratt, Shoreline acquired two other pieces from the “Living the Dream” exhibit: Kemba Opio’s “Sunday Living”…

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… and “A Brighter Tomorrow” by Vincent Keele.

Vincent Keele with Sarah Haycox, who helped name a Shoreline early education center after Edwin Pratt

Vincent Keele with Sarah Haycox, who helped name a Shoreline early education center after Edwin Pratt

I’m so thrilled to have created a collage that speaks to the African American presence in Shoreline, as well as the city’s present-day reckoning with its past. Public art coordinator and curator David Francis and I have had some illuminating conversations in that regard. And I’m grateful to the Black Heritage Society of Washington, which holds the original image of Edwin Pratt I used in “Relatively Progressive.”

Art exhibit: "One Nation..." heads to Texas

East Texans (and west Louisianans): I’m headed your way, y’all!

Ledbetter Gallery, Cole Art Center. Photo credit: SFASU School of Art

Ledbetter Gallery, Cole Art Center. Photo credit: SFASU School of Art

More specifically, one of my collages will represent me at the Texas National 2019 art exhibit, in the Cole Art Center. They’ve accepted “One Nation, Under Reconstruction” into the show, which opens April 13th.

“One Nation, Under Reconstruction,” 2017, by Lisa Myers Bulmash

“One Nation, Under Reconstruction,” 2017, by Lisa Myers Bulmash

Juror Michelle White, senior curator at The Menil Collection, chose only 51 works out of a thousand entries, so I’m immensely grateful to be included in this show. Looks like my “Made You Look” tactic won me a spot on the wall!

Reavley Gallery at Cole Art Center. Photo credit: SFASU School of Art

Reavley Gallery at Cole Art Center. Photo credit: SFASU School of Art

If you’re within shouting distance of Nacogdoches, Texas — say, Houston or Shreveport — this is your chance to soak up the art in person. Be sure to take photos and post them to your social so I can see you with the art!