Archive for the 'Art' Category

10
Feb
10

Jon: Valerie Hegarty at 20X200…

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Valerie Hegarty, who you may remember reading about on Gaycondo last November, now has a pretty awesome limited-ish (500 copies) print available over at 20×200 for only $50. Probably one of  your best bets for a cheap art  “investment” piece at the moment. Hegarty has been building buzz recently and is about to explode in popularity. I recommend snatching one of these up while you can!

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11
Dec
09

Nickey: Non-Profit Lovefest: Do-It-Yourself Epowerment

Shocking fact: I don’t like capitalism. I work at a non-profit. I love non-profits! Unfortunately, this has been a very tough year for non-profits. Funding is drying up when the services non-profits offer are more vital than ever. Many non-profits are serving more constituents than ever with less money. It’s that time of year when we spend lots of dough on gifts. For the next few weeks I’m going to highlight my favorite non-profits with this new feature, Non-Profit Lovefest. I encourage you to donate to all of them for their end of the year campaigns- they need it! Even $5 can be a great gift to a struggling non-profit.

An organization that’s very near and dear to me is the Independent Publishing Resource Center in Portland. I have been a member since 2003, my second summer in Orgeon. The IPRC is a magical land of zinester dreams. Housed in a small office above Reading Frenzy bookstore, the IPRC has a plethora of low cost workshops, a free library with over 10,000 zines, a letterpress printing studio, a computer lab, and a work room full of fun stuff. They have also branched out to doing community work and youth arts programs. I’m very passionate about media literacy, and excited to see the IPRC teaching classes all over Portland where they deconstruct media messages about gender and sexuality. They’ve also helped senior citizens make zines, put on the annual text ball (where you come dressed as text!), and recently purchased a perfect-bind bookbinder so you can make really professional looking books for very little money.

Zines meant the world to me as a teenager in the pre-internet age, and I’m glad to see the IPRC continuing to teach kids the beauty of glue-sticking magazine cut-outs to paper. I’ve always been obsessed with pop culture and zines gave me my first outlet for expressing my frustration with mainstream messages about girls. Some think blogs are killing zines, but the digital divide is still a huge issue, and zines don’t require expensive technology- just a good idea and some paper.

Right now the IPRC is part of the Willamette Week Give Guide, and if you give at least $25 to a single organization, you’ll get an envelope full of fun freebies! So give them some money.

I also recently directed this short film about the work the IPRC is doing. Please watch it and forward it to your friends!

19
Nov
09

26 Interviews: (E)nid Crow…

 The majority of New York based artist Enid Crow‘s  photographs contain little more than a tightly cropped  self portraits of the artist wearing different costumes and posing. Despite the seemingly simple and repetative nature of her work, Crow has managed to create a body of images that says quite a bit about American culture and politics.     

 

 

 

 

 

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Jon Miller: What initially drew you to self portrait photography?

Enid Crow: Around 1979, my parents sent me to the Wendy Ward School of Charm. I took classes from when I was eleven until I was about thirteen. In addition to learning things like how to answer the phone and good grooming, part of charm school is learning how to be a fashion model. This involved collecting photographs of good poses from magazines, going to the front of the class, and posing like the model in your photograph. Then we were supposed to get professional black and white photographs taken and start making fashion model portfolios. My mother seemed to think this was either a scam or totally pointless since I had a mouth full of braces and bad skin.

So, I made my own studio in the basement by taping white paper over the wood paneling and photographed myself with my mouth closed, copying poses of the fashion models in Better Homes and Gardens. That was the only magazine my mother subscribed to. When I was a drama student in college and grad school, I started acting as characters in the self-portraits and working with costumes more.

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  JM:  Your early series, “Disasters” features characters on the brink of, well, disaster. Their faces all share a similar look of fear, shock, and disgust. In contrast, your newest series, “Happy Workers”, is nothing but smiles and happy faces. Clearly, these images comment on disaster as well, but on a more subdued and personal level. What are your thoughts on this shift in the way your ideas are presented?

EC: After photographing all the tragedy in Disasters and in the midst of the financial collapse last year, I needed to photograph something to cheer myself up. So I photographed myself as people who still have their jobs. Granted the characters in my photographs don’t have health insurance and their 401(k) plans tanked, but at least they aren’t working in a child factory in China. America really knows how to treat its workers!

Seriously, in my pictures, I try to address social issues like sexism, homophobia, and the exploitation of workers. Often I think a strong way to get a point across about a painful, controversial topic is to use humor. So in that sense, I haven’t shifted too far from Disasters even though my facial expression has changed and I’m now using text beneath the photographs to help tell the story.

JM:  I love your “Faggots” series in which you and your real life partner at the time play the roles of queer men, in both graphically sexual moments as well as quieter and even mundane situations. Though you had been doing drag self portraiture as men for some time, this series seems to have developed later and contains the only overt sexual imagery in your catalog. What inspired these images?

EC: When I first came to New York City in 2000, I worked for an attorney who has an extensive photography collection of men loving, taken from the latter part of the 19th century to today. The International Center of Photography featured some photographs from his collection in a show in 2001. My boss would show me new pictures as they were sent to his office and I’d see them scattered around his desk when I delivered papers for him to sign. The subjects ranged from stiff studio portraits of male couples, men sharing beds in rooming houses, to beefcake pictures from 1970s porn magazines. So in my series, I tried to reflect the scope of the images that I saw in his collection.

JM:  Queer sexuality in art is almost automatically processed as transgressive and political. What were you trying to say in creating this work? 
 

EC: Faggots is my favorite series. Justin Duerr, my ex-boyfriend who plays my lover in all the pictures, helped me shoot some of the pictures in the Disaster series around 2005 and 2006. Justin is bi and he would get aroused and want to kiss me when I was dressed as a male character for Disasters. We decided scenes of us kissing as men would make interesting photographs themselves so we started our own series together and ended it just before we broke up in 2008 when I decided to grow my hair long.

The photos comment on issues that I care about very deeply—the arbitrariness of gender and homophobia. I don’t think there’s any need for me to get into a long soap box sermon about why those issues matter because this is, after all, Gaycondo. But briefly, being in love with someone who loves men, and knowing he could engage in certain social rites with me because I am a woman (like marry me or display my photo at work) but not a man he might fall in love with after me, is in my mind, one of the greatest social tragedies there is.

JM:  Any future projects currently being fleshed out?

EC: I am going to my parents’ condo in Florida in a week for a vacation. I am going to finish the Happy Workers series and start shooting a very short self-portrait series called Beauty Queens in tiaras and heavy makeup on the beach. In December, I am going to start shooting a series of portraits of vegans in New York City. I would also like to do a serious series of pigeon photographs. I love pigeons and I take a lot of snapshots of the cute ones I see on the street and the sick ones who I take care of in my apartment.

JM:  Pigeon photographs? That seems like a pretty grand departure from your regular aesthetic! What type of images are you planning on creating? 

EC: I am as fanatical about pigeons as Nikola Tesla, and these pictures will be like poems in their honor. I will take photographs of ordinary street pigeons loafing and flying and manipulate the images so that they are monochromatic and simple. Then I will take the individual, simplified versions of pigeons and use them as individual design elements, like the way the artist Tae Won Yu manipulates letters of the alphabet to make fancy designs. I have been doing this a little with pictures of pigeons I’ve found on the Internet, but I think the pictures will be better if I start from scratch with my own pictures. 

 But I am not moving away from self-portraits. Sometimes I just need a break to come up with a new idea. As I age, my face is getting saggier and more comic, so I think that the photos will probably get funnier and sadder.

For More: www.enidcrow.com

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26 Interviews  by Jon Miller

365 days.

26 interesting people.

1 alphabet.

11
Nov
09

Jon: The Ruins of Valerie Hegarty…

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For more from sculptor/installation artist Valerie Hegarty, visit her gallery online.

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31
Oct
09

Nickey: Basically the best short film you will see in your entire life

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Watch this video right now. Just sit still for five minutes, and enjoy it, because you are probably going to cry it’s just so lovely

This is from the wonderful folks at Radio Lab, which is the best radio show on air and you should subscribe to the podcast as soon as you are done watching this video. I recommend starting with the Memory and Forgetting episode or Musical Language episode.

19
Oct
09

Jon: Must.Change.Hair.Immediately….

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From the Kaaz Hair Salon 2009 Master Series photographed by Simon Duhamel

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16
Oct
09

Jon: Why Portland Fashion Week Is Bad For Portland…

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 Sigh.

There is no more valuable way to signify the fashion value of a city than through a relevent fashion week. This form of event  showcases the importance of region’s design aesthetic, but more importantly it says to buyers, fashion editors, store owners, garment manufactures, and designers: We are a viable market,and we are ready for you.

Portland has always possessed a strong arts community, but only in the past decade has really begun to develope a fashion culture. With modern world fashion taking many of it’s cues from the d.i.y. art/music scene of the early 90’s as well as ideas related to sustainability, it would seem that Portland (which has always had a strong base in both) would be one of America’s burgeoning fashion capitals. And in many ways, it is.

Based on what was chosen to be presented to the world stage during Portland Fashion Week however, you would never know it.

The thematic elements of Portland street fashion, boutiques, and more notable designers seem to have been popping up on runways around the world the past two seasons. The four that in my opinion have been the most relevent as of late include:

  • Deconstructed Romantic
  • Bike Punk
  • Nerdy/Dandy
  • Lumber Jack / Pendleton

 Though some of these ideas were hinted at or even directly referenced (such as in the bike themed Ready to Roll group show), they were never presented in a way that was  either authentic or directionally forward.

Instead, 90% of the looks that were sent down the runway were tired, poorly styled, and cheap looking. It’s all very I got it on sale at JC Penny in 2006. Even the slightly more ambitious attempts (for example the black dress with the bow to the right) come across as very….Target-ish. Like most of the clothes in Target’s “Go International” line, they might look cute on a hanger, but on a body they are an unflattering mess. No one looks good in voluminous, pin-tucked black satin. No one.

Presenting this selection of designs as a representation of Portland’s presence to the global fashion community does an injustice to the city. It says to anyone outside of the region looking in at it: “We don’t care about fashion“. This is, of course, bad for designers. But is also bad for businesses and workers trying to make a living off fashion in this struggling economy.

The saddest thing about this situation is that Portland does have talented, forward looking designers. It’s a roll call that we should all be familiar with: Adam Arnold, Holly Stalder, Liza Reitz, Church and State, Anna Cohen. And these aren’t just my own personal favorites. These truly are the most important designers working in Portland today. Many of them did host secondary events during PFW, but since none (with the exception of Cohen) were officially involved, non-Portland residents looking at PFW coverage would not be exposed to their designs.

Admittedly, I don’t know all the details of exactly how designers are chosen to be a part of the event. I know that they have to apply and that, if selected, they have to pay a fee to show. Whatever the exact process is though, it reeks of misguided inclusiveness and perhaps even nepotism. Almost none of the designers chosen deserved to be chosen for this or any fashion event. The bar needs ton be set higher. If relevent designers are not applying and/or can’t afford the fee, they should be invited to show for free. It would be unfair to some, but so what? In the end, it would mean more ticket sales, more national press, and a raised presence for the fashion community. It would also encourage other talented designers to apply in the following seasons.

The reason that most of the good designers in Portland don’t become involved is because they know that Portland Fashion Week is a total joke. They don’t want to shell out money to be part of something so irrelevant. But like it or not, as long as Portland Fashion Week exists it will be what most outsiders view as the defacto representation of Portland.

And  that’s a very, very, bad thing.

 

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Oh, and last but not least, I thought I’d leave you below with my vote for the absolute worst look of the entire week. Out of kindness for designers who might be searching for press about themselves, I decided not to include any names for most of the pictures attached to this article (hey, I’m not out to hurt feelings here). However, Nelli Millard and Dru Broekemeier (of NelliDru Design) need to be called out on putting such a monstrosity into the world.

Ugliest dress ever!

 

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