One of the web's longest running participatory art projects came to an end last week. For seven years, Learning To Love You More cataloged art "assignments" ranging from photographing strangers holding hands to acting out someone else's argument.
My introduction to this week's sm[art]ist came from an exercise in a film class I had taken. The professor was having us list off as many female directors as we could think of and, as you could imagine, the list ended up being fairly short. In addition to Jane Campion, Amy Heckerling, and Julie Taymor, Maya Deren's name came up.
You don't have to look further than "Girl Fuck: An introduction to girl-on-girl lovin'" to see that Erika Moen is all about sex, and completely unafraid to talk about it. The 16-page zine is a starter course for those clueless in non-hetero girl sex, and includes some guidelines from Gender Bending 101. Her work is in the Best Erotic Comics of 2008 and her comic "Silver Bullet" was in the second True Porn Anthology, another erotic comics collection. But her work isn't all tits and wiggles (rhymes with shits and giggles? No? Okay). Her 2004 self-published "I like Girls" is Moen's intensely personal story on falling in love with a girl for the first time and the intimidating task of telling her family. Read on for cunts, cartoons, and controversy...NSFW what!
In recognition of the 40th anniversary of Earth Day, here are two artists whose projects offer an intriguing comment on very different aspects of a world in peril. The works of Agnes Deses and Cornelia Hesse-Honegger, whether calls to action or sober documentation of the realities faced by the modern world, are unflinching in their honesty, and seek to infuse art with activism.
Read more after the jump!
What a day! Two for one? Today's installment of Rad Ladies Who Draw Comics will feature TWO women comic artists! I was drawn to both these women for their quirky illustrations--Knisley has a whole series of small prints which depict everything from the Bronte sisters to Mulder and Scully.
Bay Area-based Angie Wang also places women in the forefront of her work, more often than not placed women in the forefront (be it destroying a city, birthing a watermelon, or just being Velma Dinkley)
Annie Murphy is a Portland-based artist whose new comic is making waves in the self-publishing world.
Murphy discovered the title of her historical/biographical/autobiographical comic "I Still Live" written on the tombstone of 19th-century spiritualist Achsa Sprague. At the age of 20, Sprague came down with a joint disease which caused her to spend the next six years bedridden. But in November of 1852, Sprague was revived and credited her convalescence to the presence of angels and spirits. Her reconstitution inspired her to tour throughout the United States and Canada, spreading not only spiritualism, but women's rights as well. Read on for more on Annie and some of her moving pen and ink works...
This past weekend was the fifth annual Stumptown Comics Fest in Portland, and while I won't spend too much time on the rather decentralized and chill atmosphere of the festival, the focus on independent and alternative comics, and gorgeous weather from the weekend, I would like to showcase some of the women comic artists there! April is Comics Month (at least in this town), so this week I'll profile one woman comic artist a day who was at this weekend's fest and who was RAD. It's called "Rad Ladies Who Draw Comics."
Today is all about Hellen Jo, who was a featured artist at the fest. Bay Area-Based, Jo's first comic book Jin & Jam, about quirkily disaffected teens navigating San Jose (Jo's hometown), is out now from SparkPlug comics. Before her big small-press debut, Hellen self-published a three part autobio comic called Komiches Buch a "teenage horror story" called Paralysis: A Romance, and a serial comic Blister. More after the jump!!
In times of war (check), political and economic upheaval(check), and social tension (check), artists are in a unique position to stoke democracy and to put pressure on the state, or, as the case may be, the banks, the corporations, "the man", etc. "In my experience, when things are upside down," actress and writer Anna Deavere Smith said in a PBS interview in 2006, "there's an opening for a person like me. I think when things fall apart, [as an artist] you can see more and you can even be part of indicating new ways that things can be put together."
Last night I had the chance to attend a screening of Handmade Nation at the Museum of Contemporary Craft
here in Portland. Most of you are probably pretty familiar with the
culture of DIY, but author and director, Faythe Levine has done a great
job of bringing many of the diverse activities within the community
(whether it be people who make things for fun or profit, galleries or
shops, etc.) in to an inspiring film for anyone who makes things, wants
to make things or who supports those who make things. (more after the jump)