Call for Artwork by Chicago Union Members…Deadline Tomorrow!

August 18, 2011 · Print This Article

We received a plea to get the word out from Jay Kelly of TimeLine Theater, who are looking for artists who are also Chicago-area union members (service employees, road workers, teachers, glazers, painters, CPS art teachers, etc. etc.) to submit works of art for their lobby display in conjunction with Time Line’s current production of “The Pitmen Painters” (September 6 – December 4th), a play “based on a true story about union miners in the 1930s who took an art appreciation class, discovered they had talent, and became the unlikeliest of art world sensations.” Right on.

The hitch is, you’ve gotta submit your proposed work via email by tomorrow, Friday August 19th at midnight. Jay Kelly contacted us in the hopes we’d spread the last-minute word, because thus far they haven’t received enough submissions to create an effective exhibition.  So, if you or someone you know is interested in submitting your work – go for it, and do it now! Click here for more information on the play itself, and see below for full details on how to submit artwork for the exhibition.

 

UNION MEMBERS ART EXHIBIT DETAILS

HOW TO      Artists who submit their work must be current members in good standing of

APPLY:         Chicago-area union

Artists must submit a hi-res photo, preferably jpeg or TIF format of artwork.

Each submission must include:

1) Artist’s name and contact information

2) Union affiliation(s) and how many years of membership

3) Year artwork was created

4) Dimensions of artwork

5) Estimated value of artwork

6) Artist statement of 100 words or less

There is a limit of three artwork submissions per artist

NOTE: Submitted artwork must be able to easily mount on a wall (paintings, drawings, photography, mixed media are all welcomed; sorry, due to space limitations, we cannot accept sculptures, video installations or anything that requires electricity)

DEADLINES:Submissions must be received via email by midnight on Friday, August 19, 2011. Send to info@timelinetheatre.com

Artists will be notified as to whether they will be invited to be a part of the exhibit during the week of August 22, 2011. Deadline for artwork to be received by TimeLine is Monday, August 29, 2011.

OTHER INFO:Artists must be willing to lend their artwork to TimeLine Theatre for the duration of the run of The Pitmen Painters.

There is no financial award given for participation.

Artwork will not be available for sale at the theater. However, TimeLine can help facilitate communication between artists and any interested purchasers as appropriate.

Submissions will be curated by a small team, to include (but not be limited to) TimeLine Theatre staff, the director of The Pitmen Painters and the theater’s lobby design specialist.




Traveling Comics: An Interview with Sara Drake

August 17, 2011 · Print This Article

I am an unabashed and biased fan of comics–the integration of text and imagery connects the whimsy of fantastic worlds, flip reflections and twee confessions to the more  transcendental preoccupations available in illuminated manuscripts or, even, Jung’s famous Red Book. Given the deep pockets of Hollywood super hero blockbusters, it’s easy to forget that comics mean much more than our tight-clad, cape and mask “Here I come to save the day.” In the following interview, I had the chance to talk to Chicago-comic artist/writer Sara Drake. We discuss the form of comics, the flexibility their formal structure affords, its relationship to gender and (!)  her forthcoming trip to Cambodia. Come November, Drake is going to Phnom Pehn with the help of Arts Network Asia and Anne Elizabeth Moore to teach a 2-month class on  self-publishing and comics to young women.  Together they will explore and suss out the medium alongside the ethos of self-publishing and dissemination. What does it mean to share one’s own reflections? How or why would this be significant?  As the center of this discourse, comics become a cross cultural stimulant, exhibiting once more their hybrid form.

Caroline Picard: In addition to your own work as a visual artist and writer, I  know you do a lot of work in the city; you run Ear Eater, a collaborative reading series and have also curated visual exhibits. I was wondering if you could talk a little bit about your various creative endeavors and how you feel them working together in the routine of your life.

Sara Drake: I come from a specific mid-western DIY mentality, rooted in communal and local sharing of how culture gets produced. Most of what I do is about supporting or interacting within a community of other people which then becomes a lens I use to view most everything that gets created. There’s this great Joan Didion quote that I keep coming back to, “I write to find out what I’m thinking.” I tend to engage in different things all the time and consider a lot of what I do, whether I’m curating an experimental poetry reading in my apartment, making comics, or just hanging out and doodling with friends, as a process of becoming. I don’t particularly want to separate or categorize things, the hybridity, for me, is what’s important. I think the hybridity is what attracted me to comics. No one really knows how to think or agree upon what they are culturally. I find that when people talk about comics, they describe them in terms of other mediums (literature, film, poetry). Comics can do all sorts of weird, crazy things, and they exist on this personal, experiential scale. It allows me to engage with an idea or experience in an array of ways, depending on what I’m interested in investigating.

CP: It’s interesting that you point to comics’ cultural position (i.e. the way, as a genre, they  resist a definite label like poetry, literature, or art) because they are so prevalent in so many cultures. I was wondering if you could try to define what you mean when you say comics. It sounds like there is a real spectrum of work you are thinking about.

SD: Well, I would be hesitant to define “comics” as a genre. Comics are a medium, like poetry or literature or painting, a way to express or convey oneself. I’m actually having a hard time answering your question, I’m not exactly sure what “kind” or “genre” of comic it is that I make. I’ve never liked the labels like “graphic novel” or “experimental comic” because the titles don’t really make sense to me. Comics have always been lowbrow, underground, or something that the mainstream world didn’t deem valuable. Right now, so much in comics is changing, and changing very quickly. I am a direct product of that change too, which is both unsettling and curious. Being able to graduate at an art school and say that you’ve made comics is a pretty recent development, and one worth paying attention too. I have to hope that the self-taught-ness that has been so much apart of comics history doesn’t  get lost or forgotten in younger generations of cartoonists who encounter the medium for the first time at art school.

CP: What kind of mechanics take place within comics that make hybridity possible? 

SD: Holy moly! There are so many different ways to talk about hybrids when we talk about comics. Perhaps the one that I see as most important is that a comic is time-based. Time can exist logically: from one panel to the next. Time can exist simultaneously and also sequentially: you could depict a single setting that has many actions that happen within that setting, each at different times. Time can hop around at random and sometimes gets lost between panels. As a reader, you can go forwards and backwards. Comics just work on perplexing levels depending on how you want to interact with them. Even the lenses that I use to read comics are always shifting, one day I may pay a lot of attention to the writing of a comic, then the next to the drawing style and how it relates to the mood or tone, and this list could go on and on.

CP: Recently you’ve been part of a project spearheaded by Anne Elizabeth Moore examining the way lady drawers (comics) are under-represented in the comic world. How did you get involved with this project and what has your role been? How does the project shape your expectations/visions for your own work as a lady drawer? 

I’ve always been involved a community that has had a vocal sensitivity to issues pertaining to gender and identity. More specifically though, my partner at the time was Anne’s research assistant. Through proximity to Anne’s project, gender discrimination and disparity became a part of my daily conversation and head space. Once you start looking at the rate of women in practically all comics anthologies you can’t really help but keep seeing a problem most everywhere you look. I was then asked to do the cover of the Women’s Comics Anthology, and later helped with Anne’s new Ladydrawers column on Truthout. My involvement thus far has been helping to create media to make the issues more visible. Although the people who should get credit for inspiring my awareness are all of the intelligent and inventive students who have participated in Anne’s class at SAIC or who have collaborated on gathering statics. My involvement with Ladydrawers has definitely opened some uncharted dark waters for me. On a weird personal level, I have a lot of close friends in the comics industry who feel attacked by the argument. This often becomes a heated debate or a bedraggled attempt at discussing the issue. Which, for me, becomes a daily issue of having to think seriously and critically about what is at stake when we ask questions about participation within a given medium. On a different level, the project has enabled me to work with a lot of amazing people, including Anne. I see Anne’s interest in working with young people uncommonly admirable. Her presentation of herself and her ideas are really infectious within the SAIC community and pretty soon, EVERYONE wanted to chat it up about gender and comics during downtime. So the project creates and allows participation within a community, and one that is centered around questioning cultural production at an art school and on a broader scale. Also worth noting, I probably wouldn’t be going to Cambodia to teach comics to ladies if I hadn’t become involved. So, you could say Ladydrawers really stimulates global media creation – I don’t want to think that that is so far off from the truth.

CP: You’re also in the middle of a kickstarter campaign to raise money to go to Cambodia as part of fellowship. Can you talk about what you would do there and how the project came together? What is the Arts Network Asia? 

SD: The project, Independent Youth-Driven Cultural Production in Cambodia (IYDCPC), is based on and was founded by Anne’s collaborative independent publishing work in Cambodia. (read all about it in her really amazing and generous book, Cambodian Grrrl: Self-publishing in Phnom Penh, CANTANKTEROUS TITLES.) I first heard about the project through Anne herself. I happened to be at the right place at the right time, and the right place was an art exhibition with her work in it. We bumped into each other, and after chatting for a while she pulled an unassuming business-like card out of her pocket with a website on it. Anne said she could give me a thousand bucks to go to Cambodia. Who in their right mind would pass up an offer like that? Everything about that moment was weird and doesn’t sound like real life. I remember that evening I decided to apply not really thinking that a proposal to teach and make comics would get accepted. Skip ahead five months later and I’ve got a plane ticket and a bunch of bristol board rearing to go teach comics in Southeast Asia.

We are still in the planning phase of what I will actually be able to accomplish while I am there. As of now, I am traveling into Phnom Phen, Cambodia for two months beginning in November. I intend to teach a comics and self-publishing course to young women in conjunction with local collaborators. The goal of the course will be to offer a space in which young women can share their own ideas, and to promote real media creation in a cultural space that has historically denied women the ability to do so. We will also be working towards creating an archive of student work using local resources and available networks. The project will be documented via a comics blog and hopefully a digital archive for future students or just interested Cambodians to have access too. I have aspirations to self-publish or to create some sort of document of the comics I make while I am there to exist in the US.

Arts Network Asia was established by an independent group of artists, cultural workers and arts activists from Asia—I think, originally, Singapore, and come from the theater world. They are a grant-making body that encourages and supports regional artistic collaboration. They’re deeply invested in fostering an engaged cultural community across Asia, and I’m so honored to work with them, since they see local value in what i’m doing in Phnom Penh—which is so much more important than “international” value. Or “cool points.” Anyway, they’re great to work with, very supportive. They just want to make sure Cambodians have access to interesting ideas.

CP: What is it about Cambodia that has inspired this project? Are your interests specific to Phnom Penh?

SD: Phnom Penh is where I have a network of support already in place, due to Anne having already done work and reporting there. To answer the question, I do need to be aware that all of my current knowledge of Phnom Penh (and an entire nation) has been acquired through media and not through direct experience. I will try my best to be honest. And actually, seeking out media and information about Cambodia in the US is really frustrating at times. In one way, it’s important for me to see the disparities between how the US tends to represent Cambodia and my actual experiences of being there.

From my understanding, there is little to no educational structure in Cambodia, so providing a potential structure or a place to view structure becomes, potentially, important. Historically, Cambodia has accidentally forgotten about women’s education. After the Khmer Rouge destroyed Cambodia’s intellectual and cultural life the country has been in the process of rebuilding after it’s tragic past. School’s being rebuilt in the 1990s didn’t necessarily discriminate students on the basis of gender but strict traditional gender roles, lack of female housing options, and economic imperatives made young women’s participation within an educational system really difficult. Comics currently being produced in Cambodia are mostly made and distributed by NGO’s and promote comics as a way to help combat low literacy rates.  I’m hoping teaching will encourage real media creation that can exist outside of this system.

CP: How is comic-making a vehicle for dialogue with different cultures, particularly Cambodia? And is that a strange space to occupy? I feel like if it was me, I would be both thrilled and nervous about how to facilitate a potentially political project in a foreign country; part of what seems thrilling is trying to understand how to conceptualize myself and my role. What is that like for you? How do comics factor into those ideas?
SD: The project doesn’t really have a political agenda in scope. My main objective is to help stimulate independent media creation among young women Comics are a vehicle for dialogue only so much as someone can decide that they want to use the medium as a way of communicating and sharing information with others. The medium is only powerful as a tool if someone sees the medium and decides that they want to interact with it and say something with and through it. For the women I will be working with, it’s important to me that they see comics as a tool for speaking, locally, on a scale that relates to them first within a community. For myself, I’m used to comics being a readily available means to express myself. In this way, I can use them to hopefully talk about another culture with my own culture in the US. My goal is to present myself as a model or example of a comics maker and hopefully others will be able to see themselves as potential creators, wanting to tell their own narratives and their own histories. The project is less about me and really about convincing other people that the medium is there for them. That it could potentially be a place of self-empowerment.

I feel really responsible, although I’m not entirely sure I can define what it is that I am responsible for. It’s a really bizarre space to occupy, and I learn to deal with it by being open to being wrong and naive often. The more I seek information about the history of Cambodia, I notice how whack a lot of the media that the Western world has to offer is, and how little I actually know or understand how globalization or a nation in poverty works (or in reality doesn’t). I also, have a difficult time locating myself and my own thoughts on women’s rights within a culture I’ve yet to experience, where the rules are completely different than how I would normally perceive them. I’m really excited and anxious about trying to encourage a bunch of young women to wield a medium of expression, in my case comics, with very little working knowledge about how comics or even self-expression exists for them.

CP: From an artistic perspective, do you feel like your anticipation for this trip has inspired/influenced your creative process?
SD: Oh gosh! Probably in ways that I’ve yet to unpack or even recognize for or in myself. I’m not used to creating comics about my personal experiences and part the trip is about sharing my own observations and awareness. I’m having to work and think and convey myself in a way I’m uncomfortable with but I’m also finding to be invigorating.

 





Links to Start Your Monday Off

August 15, 2011 · Print This Article

I spent a blissful week away from all things Internet last week, and have come back from my mountain vacay with an RSS feed that, thankfully, was not as much of a drag to plow through as I’d feared. In fact, quite a few interesting articles popped up that I thought were worthy of note. And you know me, I like to share.

*Triple Canopy’s latest issue has a first-person piece, Matter of Rothko, written by David Levine about his father’s complicated legal and personal relationship with Mark Rothko that, oddly, manages to be dry and deeply moving at the same time.

*Art administrator, writer, and former B@S guest blogger Thea Liberty Nichols contributed a slew of really good Chicago-themed interviews to Art:21 blog last week. Read Nichols’ conversations with Selina Trepp, Liz McCarthy of Roxaboxen Exhibitions,  Jasmine Justice, Lilly Carré, and PictureBox Inc, along with Houston’s Aurora Picture Show.

*Also on Art:21 blog, Francesca Wilmott writes on Theaster Gates’ “creative rehab efforts” in Hyde Park, St. Louis.

*Hennessey Youngman aka Jayson Musson, the dude the art world is currently crushing on (okay okay, that includes me too….), will be part of The Dialogue: The MCA Chicago’s Annual Conversation on Museums, Diversity and Inclusion on September 7th. Jeez, couldn’t they have thought of a better title for this event? It makes it sound so dull and institutionalized….like some kind of corporate “diversity workshop” where your participation is most definitely not optional. Hopefully Youngman’s participation will spice things up a bit, although I am already raising my eyebrows at the fact that Youngman is being brought to the Museum under the rubric of a “diversity” program and not as an artist in his own right. But, I will hold off on my comments until after I see the program. Tickets are $8/members and $10/non-members. Order online here. And if you haven’t listened to it yet, Mr. Youngman was interviewed on Bad at Sports’ Podcast a couple weeks back on Episode 306. Good stuff.

*This is fantastic: Shawnee Barton (who guest blogged over here on B@S awhile back) rejects those who wrongly rejected her. Read the letter she wrote over at Chicago Art magazine, it’s a hilariously polite ‘fuck you’ to the organizers of Art San Diego.

*This is the opposite of fantastic: Jerusalem’s Museum of Tolerance to be Built Atop a Muslim Graveyard. According to Groundswell’s article, some of Edward Said’s relatives are buried there, along with numerous Muslim saints and scholars, and some of the region’s longest Muslim family lineages. This is the same project that Frank Gehry left in 2010, although that was apparently due to scheduling and financial reasons.

*This is a couple weeks old, but if you’re a fan of our Mantras for Plants series here on the blog, you’ll be into this NYT article: What’s Left Behind, on scientists who are “recasting vacant lots as community assets rather than urban blight” by studying them to discover their ecological benefits.

*Would you be embarrassed to list “Winner of the Donkey Art Prize” on your CV? If not, applications are being accepted through February 2012. €30 per artwork application fee required, natch.

*Miranda July, photogenic artist extraordinaire.

 




Episode 311: David Hoffos and the Fulton Street Collective

August 15, 2011 · Print This Article

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.


download

This week: We talk to artist David Hoffos. Next, we talk with Joe Lanasa about the Fulton Street Collective.

About David:

Scenes from the House Dream opens at the Illingworth Kerr Gallery, Alberta College of Art and Design, Calgary, Oct. 27
and runs until Dec. 31, I think.

In 1994, David Hoffos received a BFA with great distinction from the University of Lethbridge. Since 1992 Hoffos has maintained an active exhibition schedule – with over 30 solo exhibitions, including Catastrophe, 1998 (Illingworth Kerr Gallery, Calgary; Fundació Joan Miró, Barcelona; Or Gallery, Vancouver; and Blackwood Gallery, Mississauga) and Another City, 1999-2002 (Southern Alberta Art Gallery, Lethbridge; Trépanier Baer, Calgary; Joao Graça, Lisbon; The Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto; and Museé des Beaux-Arts, Montréal). In 2003 Hoffos (with Trépanier Baer) launched the first phase of Scenes from the House Dream, a five-year series of linked installations. The entire series is set to begin its cross-Canada tour in the fall of ’08. His single-channel work has been shown in festivals in over twenty countries, and he recently represented Canada at the 48th Oberhausen Short Film Festival, Germany. A survey of his installation work debuted at the Edmonton Art Gallery in December, 2003. His first theatre piece – Hoffos/Clarke Conspiracy (with Denise Clarke/One Yellow Rabbit) – debuted at Calgary’s High Performance Rodeo in 2006. He has just completed scenic and visual effects design for the Decidedly Jazz Danceworks production wowandflutter. Hoffos has been invited to several residencies, including three at the Banff Centre. The artist has received awards including 2nd place in the inaugural Sobey Art Award, December 2002; the 2004 York Wilson Endowment Award; Images Grand Prize, 2007; and a Long-Term Visual Arts Project Grant, 2008. David Hoffos lives and works in Lethbridge, Alberta. He is represented by Trépanier Baer, Calgary.
About Fulton Street Collective: In the early 1990s, Anna Fermin and I were struggling singer-songwriters on the northside of Chicago, rehearsing in a corner room of a print-shop business owned by Don and Janeen (who also managed our budding musical careers).   We were the epitome of poor, downtrodden, and struggling artists.  One day Don and Janeen decided they wanted to leave the stress of Chicago, and relocated to the Pacific Northwest coast of Washington state. They gave their business to a “collective” of printers.

The printers business didn’t do very well and one day they informed Anna and I that we had to leave the very next month. By this time Anna was developing a popular fan base in Chicago with her unstoppable talent, in alt-country bands (AnnaBoy and Trigger Gospel), and I was turning my angst-ridden, heart and soul-wrenching songs into rock anthems and road-house dance parties (Fulton St. Saints, JLB).

We didn’t want to jinx anything by leaving our sacred practice venue, so we put our heads together to figure out how to keep the space. We negotiated with the building owners (Industrial Council of Nearwest Chicago), which provides small businesses incubator environments in the neighborhood.

Anna suggested that we could create an environment geared towards artists and other creative people by purchasing the 2nd and 3rd floors. So we did.  We worked, mostly by ourselves, to completely gut the 2nd floor of the building (we whitewashed the walls with a spray painter that left us spitting out white paint still to this day).  We then put an ad in the newspaper for artists, and before long, the 2nd floor filled up, and so we expanded to the 3rd floor, which is now very active as well.




Top 5 Weekend Picks! (8/12-8/14)

August 12, 2011 · Print This Article

1. Luke Aleckson and Matt McAuliffe at The Suburban

125 N. Harvey Ave.
Sunday 2-4 PM.

2. Book Release Party: Composition 2 / Color Studies at  Center for Book & Paper Arts

Book of works by Tom Burtonwood

1104 S. Wabash, 2nd Fl.
Friday 5-8 PM

3. Tape: A Celebration at Chicago Art Department

Work by Chris Silva, Chuck Przybyl, Teppei Katori, Lisa Chiodini, Frederic Moffet, Todd Frugia, Clifford Novey, Jason Frohlichstein, Timothy Olson, Edyta Stepien, Agnieszka Kulon, Mark Salach, Dandee Petr, Benjamin Thorp, Martin Rille, and Nat Soti.

1932 S. Halsted St. #100
Friday 6-10 PM.

4. Dominion at Eel Space

Work by Amy Babinec, Jessica Taylor Caponigro, and Neal Vandenbergh.

1906 S Throop St #2F
Saturday 6-9 PM.

5. Inaugural Exhibition Opening at Fulton Market Gallery

Group exhibition of gallery artists.

310 N. Peoria St.
Friday 6-10 p.m.