The beginning of a new year may just be another Gregorian marker, but it’s as good excuse as any to smile and get going. Oomph! Spanish feminist magazine Revista Píkara has published my gif of a fab fictional duet between two powerful lesbian voices: Big Mama Thornton and Lesley Gore. Switch between the two video links to hear a home-made mix of lyrics that intersect rather well.
This simple animation is based on my drawings of lesbian singers Big Mama Thornton and Lesley Gore, two fabulous musicians who give patriarchy a piece of their mind. The original drawings were created for my artist book Sphynxation, which features 3 pages of the two divas.
Big Mama Thornton sings Hound Dog:
Lesley Gore wrote the brilliant feminist track You Don’t Own Me:
Calyx is an award-winning, feminist journal that has been publishing women’s arts and literature since 1976. The Autumn/Fall issue (vol. 29:2) is in print, and includes my drawing of Alice Babette Toklas, which began a this humble sketch of pencil on paper:
Pencil sketch for Alice B. Toklas in Rue Christine after Gertrude Stein Departed Forever, 2016.
Find out in Calyx why she is wearing a big hat…
Updated 11 November: I have received my copy of Calyx!
I make slow art because I like to explore each idea with lots of documentation and different materials. But this type of labourious drawing just can’t be finished in a matter of hours. The good news is that, little by little, over the past month this work has grown a fair bit. Regular visitors may remember the first sketch from 2011.
I make pictures like I read books – I have lots on the go at the same time. This close-up detail of the acrylic paint and the pencil on the watercolour background of this drawing from the Chemical Flowers series is finished, but it’s friends in the series are not mature enough yet, so this big sister is waiting till they can all be introduced to polite society together.
I found this picture of a Christmas card I made as a child. It’s funny now to see all those lit candles and box of matches all over the floor, with children walking around obliviously. I assure you that my family was very careful and such reckless fire hazards were entirely the product of my imagination. I wish you all a bright and imaginative end of 2012 and a happy new year!
This little painting is my donation to the Arts For Mobility art auction that will take place this Saturday in the Saigon Opera House.
The Gold Digger Ate my Homework, 2012
Acrylic, old book pages, Letraset, pencil, gold dust and ground demolished HCMC house pieces on canvas.
On a regular day in HCMC, I might easily spot at least 5 diggers around the city, tearing down buildings in their mission to renovate Vietnam. These mechanical giraffes with the power of an elephant are fed houses and shops, or whatever other constructions get in the way of their flattening path. They relentlessly cause a daily ‘fall’ of Saigon.
The paintings in this series contain actual ground up bricks and cement taken from demolished buildings. This ‘gold’ digger is painted over old book pages, torn from Vietnamese books published pre-1975, before the real estate ‘gold rush’ started. In recent decades, wealthy developers have metaphorically eaten up the homes and places of work of the less privileged, at a speed that has made the country one of the fastest growing economies in history.
Watch this short film on the wonderful, if sad, story of a Vietnamese fisherman who was moved away from the place he lived and worked. I used to see his shack regularly on my commute. Not anymore.
‘The rapid transformation of the environment was seen merely as a casualty of progress, not as the regrettable passing away of an age and the erasure of a whole set of values.’ Tay Kheng Son and Robbie Goh (2003) in Theorizing the Southeast Asian City as Text.
Uniting my fascination with found materials, found art and multi-layering, I’m trying a new experiment. The ‘curated drawing’ shown here includes purchased drawings from an Indonesian artist, copies of copied artworks, pages from old Vietnamese books and a screenprint of my own work. I don’t think it’s finished yet, but it’s on the wall so I can think about it for a bit before I develop it further. A lot of what I’m making at the moment involves painting images on ‘found’ objects. The process now goes two-dimensional, which seems paradoxical since the 3D ‘collages’ are much more innovative. The creative process sometimes has to go back to rediscover old ideas.
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