"My responsibility as an artist is to work, to sing for my supper, to make art, beautiful and powerful, that adds and reveals; to beautify the mess of a messy world, to heal the sick and feed the helpless; to shout bravely from the rooftops and storm barricaded doors and voice the specificity of our historical moment."
That incredible statement is by Carrie Mae West, who began taking pictures in 1960s San Francisco to document the political, and grew to make her photographs the political, taking on historical construction of race, gender, and representation.
That's my arm. I thought it only fair, if discussing the representation of tattoos, to be up front about my own. This one, taken directly from a life science textbook, falls in line with most of the work I've had done: science-y and metaphorical: half-directive, half-reminder.
I'm sure you're all very familiar with Beatrix Potter and her famous
rabbit creation, Peter. I grew up with the books myself, but never
really appreciated the illustrations fully until I saw many of the
original works at the Smithsonian in a travelling exhibit. The detail
and warmth is unbelievable. The pieces are so small, but you stare and
stare at each little flower and 'paw', marveling at the textures,
gestures and color. Or at least I did. (More after the jump)
With her small, engaging eyes and enchanting disposition, Hello Kitty has cemented herself as a timeless merchandising icon. Her round face brandishes pencils, backpacks, socks, shoes, toasters, bicycles, computers, and everything else under the moon. You maybe very good friends with Hello Kitty, or you may curse the cute sidewalk she skips along.
Familiar as you are with Hello Kitty, have you ever met her mother? Would you know Hello Kitty's queen illustrator if she walked down the street? Would you recognize her illustrations? In fact, do you even know who made Hello Kitty? Well, allow me to introduce you to queen momma of cute Ms. Yuko Shimizu.
It is a ritual of mine to flip through channels on a typical Saturday morning before I go off to work. While my adventures are less frequent these days than when I was eight years old, my curiosity is piqued as it still was. However, in my habits, I’ve encountered a frightening discovery that has sent a gross feeling in the pit of my stomach.
"Great Scotts!" I announce, mouth gaping like a frog. "Where in the lord are all girl-lead toons?"
Read more about gender politics in cartoons after the jump!
While I love art of all kinds, and especially feminist art of all kinds, I can't actually claim to know all that much about the art world. Sure, I like museums and stuff (and the very fact I am using the phrase "museums and stuff" is probably an indicator of my dearth of knowledge on this topic) but when it came time for me to write this post I felt a little out of my league. If you are like me and find yourself a bit of a novice when it comes to feminist art, fear not. The Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art has a website that is here to help.
As mentioned in this past Popaganda, I visited the Portland Art Museum this past weekend and completely fell in love with the detailed and often quirky work of Beth Van Hoesen. From red afros to tattooed men to skunks named Fleur, Van Hoesen's work is as whimsically unique as it is grounded in reality.