The first week of the new year brought with it the passing of Eve Arnold, one of the first women to earn recognition as a photojournalist in the mid-twentieth century. Though she is perhaps best known for capturing celebrities such as Marilyn Monroe and Joan Crawford in rare, unguarded moments, Arnold should also be recognized for the political and social commentaries her archives provide.
Founder and janitor of the Oregon Department of Kick Ass, Portland-based artist Vanessa Renwick has made over 40 films and installations. Her work ranges from towering gold-leaf BMX bike sculptures in front of Powell's Books to super 8 shorts of her hitchhike sojourn to the Native American reserves in South Dakota during a two and a half year period spent barefoot, her wolf dog by her side, a pair of tweezers to pick glass out of her feet in her pocket. In an interview with the artist, Renwick talks about her affinity for nature and repair stores, her inner voice that says: "stop walking on concrete," local history, getting shit done, and the great grey wolf.
PrOphecy Sun is a multimedia performance artist, mother of four cats, and master of the green Line 6 delay pedal. Beginning her music and sound practice with Vancouver-based anarcha-feminist group,Her Jazz Noise Collective, over the last two years Sun has been diving into new collaborations and looking out from the pages of local arts and culture magazines as a result. In addition to her soundscape-y solo project, prOphecy sun, she plays in six other bands, one of which is the new-wave inspired Tyranahorse, winning second place this month at Shindig, Vancouver's annual underground music competition. When not in band practice seven nights a week, Sun plays giant games of street hopscotch, contorts her body into tiny cupboards, planks grocery check-out counters and sews feline figurines out of found material. Catch up if you can, PrOphecy Sun is an artist in a windstorm of ambition and all its accompanying forward motion.
Oakland-based Anna Petrisko sound-collages imagined jeepney soundtracks in her experimental music project called Jeepneys.Jeepneys are also vehicles that originated from United States WWII army jeeps abandoned at the end of the American 48-year occupation of the Philippines. Filipinos/Filipinas, including Petrisko's family, flamboyantly decorated the discarded jeeps-turned-jeepneys recycling them for public transportation. Much like her ancestor's creative reusing, Petrisko's tracks are built on layers of imaginatively used and reused sounds like transduced beats made by amplified thrift store necklaces.
Swoon works in a combination of wheat-paste and paper cutout to create life-sized, figurative and graphic street art with strength and femininity. While a great deal of her work has been done outside the confines of a gallery, she was classically trained as a painter before adopting street art techniques.
The artist formerly known as Caledonia Curry studied painting at the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn and started doing street art around 1999 at age 19. She's also a member of the Justseeds Artists' Cooperative, a grass-roots, decentralized group of artists who believe in art as both personal expression and collective action. This group contributes graphics to struggles for justice, both in the studio and on the streets, collaboratively and individually, all over North America.
Aw, snap - it's the second installment of smart! This has been quite an exciting, yet challenging task for me in compiling and summarizing the 65+ year career of an artist I have very much admired since my nascent, not-quite-sure-if-this-thing-I-drew-is-a-dog-or-a-rock-with-a-tail-creative days.
Read on, MacDuff, for there is much to say about Yayoi Kusama, The Polka Dot Princess.