Most of the art our culture celebrates is the same type of art that makes me yawn. See, I enjoy art that gets my blood racing. For me, good art needs to be both aesthetically appealing and make my brain hurt. Because of my intense predilection for this type of provocative eye candy, I was exceedingly pleased recently to discover the Visibility Project—a female, Asian American, Queer portraiture project by Bay Area Photographer Mia Nakano and Los Angeles collaborator Christine Pan.
I saw Ginger Brooks Takahashi's work in the art auction for the Lesbian Herstory Archive. Although her work spans illustration, multimedia, wall hangings, and music, the themes of sexuality, gender, and community run throughout. (Rabbits also seem to be a motif).
Whether it's her involvement with the Mobilivre Bookmobile, where a super cute a 1959 Airstream Overlander trailer, interior-redecorated as a mini-zine and book arts store toured the country, or Butch in the Bog, a collaboration with Celeste Dupuy-Spencer, it's clear that aesthetic is as important as community building to her. As she told the New York City News Service, "As an artist, I like to create situations for people to come together and to have an encounter."
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!!