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The New Yorker’s February anniversary cover by artist John W Tomac is beautiful and profound: it speaks directly to the fear and uncertainty of our present moment. That said, with much respect for Tomac’s elegant statement, I felt like an obvious alternative storyline needed addressing:

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Tomac’s New Yorker cover (left), Wofford’s revision (right)

It’s important to acknowledge the frustration and helplessness that many are feeling right now, which is what Tomac’s image does so poignantly. Still, my personal sense is that in order to feel empowered to take action, it’s equally vital to keep envisioning the courage to move forward. By tweaking one iconic image and pairing it unexpectedly with another iconic image, this is just a quick, nerdy example of how new possibilities can emerge. The mere hint of something looking like a lightsaber in my version at right automatically creates a kind of neural shortcut to other associations.

Beyond my own 5 minutes of fun with Photoshop, it’s been interesting watching the many ways that artists and activists are presently harnessing the power of existing pop culture, cinema, comedy and all manner of embedded Jungian-hero tropes in their imagery and narratives to bolster their messages.

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To me, what’s present in the best of this maelstrom of creative output and serious silliness is a profound sense of hope, and a willingness to undertake this journey– not naïveté or optimism in some blank sense, but hope in the very specific sense expressed in this brief essay by the great Václav Havel, another improbable president of an entirely different ilk: it’s wise and absurd in all of my favorite ways.

Never Hope Against Hope, Václav Havel*, Esquire Magazine, 1993

(*Confusing byline in link, but this is Esquire’s 2011 repost of Havel’s essay. Original 1993 scan here. If you know any Czech history, the year this was originally published only adds to its potency.)

Hope in this deep and powerful sense is not the same as joy when things are going well, or willingness to invest in enterprises that are obviously headed for early success, but rather an ability to work for something to succeed. Hope is definitely not the same thing as optimism. It’s not the conviction that something will turn out well, but the certainty that something makes sense, regardless of how it turns out. It is this hope, above all, that gives us strength to live and to continually try new things, even in conditions that seem as hopeless as ours do, here and now. In the face of this absurdity, life is too precious a thing to permit its devaluation by living pointlessly, emptily, without meaning, without love, and, finally, without hope.

Vaclav Havel, 1990. Tomki Nemec
Vaclav Havel, Dec 14, 1990. photograph: Tomki Nemec

Kala opening reception

Below, a few pics from last Thursday’s opening reception for the Print Public exhibition at Kala Art Institute. Since my project is actually still in its nascent stages, my contribution to the show is more of a premise than a presentation. With everything that’s been going on these past few months, safety has been very much on my mind, and so this theme is how my project will now unfold.

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So. As an introductory exercise at the reception, visitors were invited to take a #safetyselfie in my space, holding up a paper detailing some simple actions they’re undertaking to feel safer these days.

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I decided to kick this project off with 2 large illustrations of Kala’s 2 nearby fire stations. While there’s no guarantee that anyone from either fire station will in fact collaborate with me on my Print Public project, I felt like these images would set a good tone, either way. I liked the idea of setting these 2 strong, hard boxes in a dreamy, inviting environment to convey a sense of stability, calm, courage, protection and hope.

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I also painted out my corner of the gallery in a palette of magenta, purple and yellow to add to this sense of a safe, but energized, environment.

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Beyond these initial 2 prints and this paint job, I’ll continue to use this area as a stage set, workshop space and evolving installation over the course of the exhibition. Stay tuned.

no scrubs

“A scrub is a guy that thinks he’s fly
And is also known as a busta
Always talkin’ about what he wants
And just sits on his broke ass…” TLC, No Scrubs, 1999

NO SCRUBS was the boisterous, fun dance brigade that I organized for the Jan 21 Women’s Marches (both Oakland and San Francisco). Why “NO SCRUBS”? Because if you know that jam, you know that it’s an earworm that’s hard to shake. Its lyrics could also be interpreted, under present circumstances, as a fun way to critique the new administration.

Oakland march
Oakland march

Organized around hiphop and pop music, Team NO SCRUBS’ goal was to add some sass to the occasion by dancing: “marching” just seemed so… grim. With that in mind, we got a PA system on wheels, and put together a playlist of fun, feisty pop songs by women of color (and Prince). Team NO SCRUBS then made and brandished quirky, absurdist protest signs quoted from these songs, and got a rolling dance party going with other marchers at both events.

Oakland march
Oakland march
Oakland march
Oakland march

Our goal was to be a focused, energetic burst of sunshine: the color yellow was employed as a motif for Golden State optimism, energy and power, and the music chosen was a deliberate strategy to engage and energize people. By all accounts, it worked well, especially when people were stuck in a holding pattern due to the crowds, and later when it started raining, too. It gave everyone within earshot of us something to do, and something to bond over.

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SF march
SF march
SF march

With many more protests likely in the near future, it’s important to come up with strategies that allow for optimism, collaboration and play, most especially when folks are feeling furious, alone or negative. Most activism requires more serious action, so dancing to pop music is by no means a blanket solution: however, Alice Walker did tell the crowd at the Jan 18 queer dance party held outside Mike Pence’s house that these times call for “serious dancing,” so…

While much of Team NO SCRUBS was the result of a great collaborative effort among the women involved, its premise was the direct result of a deep reading of The Culture Group’s “Making Waves” PDF, which I highly recommend to anyone trying to figure out what to do with themselves, creatively and politically, at present.

Sing with me now:

“NO I don’t want no scrub
A scrub is a guy that can’t get no love from me…”

brief video clips here and here.

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sign prep
body glitter prep
body glitter prep
SF march
SF march

first images

This was the cover to my summer course reader for Global Perspectives in Contemporary Art. It’s a portrait of Sifiso Candace Leonardo, by the South African photographer/visual activist Zanele Muholi.

GPCA cover

I make a  point of having the first image that my students see each semester in all of my classes be by an amazing, but typically less-represented, artist: a person of color, female, trans, non-Western, queer, non-binary, and/or any of the intersections therein. This image is either the cover of a reader or the first image on my syllabus.

I do this because these artists are still too often an after-thought, not front and center. It’s not charity when I do this: it’s the 21st century, it’s common sense, it’s great art, and it’s still not happening enough. Some of the artists I choose are in fact well-known international art stars, like Yayoi Kusama: often, my students still don’t know who she is. (The lesser-known Muholi image was one that I loved anyway, but coming into the summer course just days after the Orlando Pulse shootings, it felt that much more important to center the beauty, strength and fierceness of queer voices of color.)

First images from other recent syllabi (artists Lava Thomas, MM Yu, Jaime Hernandez):

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One significant exception to my “first image” policy was this piece by Robert Longo. It was an exception because it was this incredible drawing:

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-and therefore a way to talk not only about great technical drawing skills, but about how to apply those skills to relevant contemporary issues.

What we think of as the art world still dismays me in its passive racism and sexism. It’s a world I love and have been part of for decades, but it still disappoints me when it’s not as tolerant and inclusive as it flatters itself that it is. What’s happening in recent news in America should not be mistaken for something that the arts are immune to. We do all right, but we need to do better.

Last Friday January 20th, I was scheduled to give a brief noon talk at SFMOMA. I had deliberately selected Inauguration Day for this conversation, but was compelled to cancel it in solidarity with the J20 Art Strike that day.

I had chosen to discuss Student, 1968, by Wayne Thiebaud:

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It’s a piece that I genuinely love, but my selection was also a way to talk about some of the points I’m bringing up in this post. SFMOMA was gracious enough to publish my statement, which is more or less a skeleton version of the points I had intended to address. This statement was also on display in the gallery, next to Wayne’s painting.(Pic below, someone reading my statement in SFMOMA that day.)

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Anyway, back to Global Perspectives, summer 2016. In my Day 1 lecture, showing images by a number of artists of African descent, I talked with my students about the irony and problematics of sharing these images without a single Black student being present, at a school with few Black students in general. (It’s not that one must be Black to appreciate this work, of course, but the richness in so much of it seems to bounce around the room without the resonance of familiarity, at times.)

As we stare down the barrel of this intensely turbulent moment in U.S. history, I want to gently and lovingly challenge many of my colleagues in art education to look at ways they could diversify the artists and themes that they teach to. Look hard at numbers: when you show male/White/western artists, what percent? How could you change it up a bit? Beyond personal identity,  how often are you showing work that engages social and political issues, rather than just formalism in a vacuum? I also want to gently and lovingly challenge my friends and colleagues in arts institutions to look more authentically at issues of inclusion, and how to do the work of curating and organizing exhibitions and events that truly attract and connect with more diverse audiences. When you look around your galleries, who isn’t there?

Some of these challenges are easy things to do, some are harder. They’re by no means the only things to address, but they don’t hurt. And they’re definitely more immediate than the bigger challenges of structural racism, sexism and epidemic violence we’re confronting right now in this country. This week, when I’m feeling sadness and impatience for change, continuing the quiet, insistent work of change and inclusion feels more important than ever.

Exploring Public Art Practices

Catching up on some items I’ve been neglecting on the blog: below, video footage from the Rainin Foundation‘s “Exploring Public Art Practices” symposium at Oakland Museum of California back in September 2016.

First, there’s the high-speed 8-minute presentation I gave to a sea of invisible ghosts, followed by the more populated round table portion moderated by Christian Frock (this, in conversation with Mike Arcega, Kota Ezawa, Dee Hibbert Jones and Nomi Talisman, Cliff Hengst, Ana Teresa Fernandez, Alison Pebworth and Chris Sollars.)

Jenifer K. Wofford | Exploring Public Art Practices 2016 from Kenneth Rainin Foundation on Vimeo.

Afternoon Roundtable Discussion | Exploring Public Art Practices 2016 from Kenneth Rainin Foundation on Vimeo.

the coldest winter

I ever spent, yada yada yada. There’s no evidence Mark Twain ever really quipped this about a San Francisco summer, but that doesn’t make it any less true: I was wearing not one, but TWO long insulated coats when I went out the other night! This city kills me sometimes.

Anyhow, Woffles & Herb wrote and performed our disco song “Summer Furs,”  a paean to dressing for the ridiculous weather here, over a year ago for the Glamorgeddon project at SOMarts. In honor of the ever-chilly month of July, we finally made a trashy, no-budget, fashionably-late music video this week. Please enjoy:

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June 12

Unbelievably rough week in this country.

Pics from the vigil that night in San Francisco. This city, for all of its flaws and challenges, still has so much love.

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It was such a comfort to attend, and walk with the crowd from the Castro to City Hall. It will be a bigger comfort when we can finally make effective changes to this nation’s culture and laws around violence, prejudice and assault rifles.

Storm Drain Murals installed!

They’re up! (Or rather, down. On the sidewalk.) SF Bay Guardians, the digital mural project I was working on this past winter and spring, has finally been installed in the Mission Bay neighborhood. The official public unveiling was this past Wednesday.

It was fun doing an informal walk-through of the 6 murals with representatives from SFAC and SFPUC, the 2 city agencies that sponsored this project. I even got interviewed by KPIX (and was apparently on TV that night)!

Since I completed my work on the illustrations back in March and have been more or less on vacation from teaching since May, I got to enjoy the still-unfamiliar experience of just getting to show up for an art event of my own, feeling refreshed and relaxed. It’s happening more and more, this whole not-being-a-wreck-from finishing-at-the-last-minute thing. I could get used to this lifestyle.

sea lion storm drain (photo courtesy Thea Quiray Tagle)
Woff with sea lion storm drain mural (photo courtesy Thea Quiray Tagle)

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woff on the news (photo courtesy Mom)
Woff on the news! (photo courtesy Mom)

SFPUC, SFAC, Woffords
Various SFAC, SFPUC, Wofford reps

globetrotters

Back from a 3-week whirlwind trip to Europe! It never ceases to amaze and comfort me how differently time moves when I’m traveling. It slows back down again, becomes full and rich. 3 weeks in my home routine just zips by, cheap and disposable.

May 14, Herb and I left for France for a family trip with my parents, sis and brother-in-law. Not our usual cup of tea, but hard to be too resistant to the notion of a week in the South of France drinking pastis, eating cheese, and taking portable toilet photos.

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Also, the old farmhouse we stayed in had an enormous cherry tree in the front yard. I have never in my life plucked delicious, sweet cherries off a tree and popped them right into my mouth. (Still deep in my Prince obsession, I had to appreciate that Under the Cherry Moon was filmed not far from where we were. And we were, quite literally, under a cherry moon each night at our place.)

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Following France, everyone went their separate ways, and Herb and I decamped for Barcelona. Having not been there in over 20 years, I loved getting to know the city again. Highlight: La Sagrada Familia. I felt more of an obligation than an interest in seeing it, given that I used to teach about it in Art History as a high school teacher. I knew that there had been significant progress on it since I was left there, but I was wholly unprepared for the unearthly beauty of its interior. The outside was fine and well, but my jaw actually dropped once we were inside.

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It didn’t, and still doesn’t, feel real: like something from another planet or dimension. I’ve seen a lot of beautiful churches and temples in my life, and never felt any inclination to declare a favorite…until now. I actually burst into tears when it was time to go, because I didn’t want to leave its beauty. Not being religious, this is as close to a religious experience as I’ve ever had in church.

And then it was the Netherlands! We stayed in The Hague for 4 nights while I gave a talk and did a visit at the Royal Academy of Art there, courtesy of new friend and art/media/design program director Shanti Ganesh.

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Had a decent couple of days in Amsterdam: every time we passed the Haarlem train station en route, Herb would start whistling “Sweet Georgia Brown,” the Harlem Globetrotters signature song, since we’ve had basketball on the brain. We also had a great afternoon exploring Rotterdam’s fascinating, futuristic architecture, and then it was off to Prague. Having not been back to Prague since I moved away in 2011, I had some trepidation about returning to a place that had often been painful for me. It was a brief but glorious visit, though, and restored much of the affection I had for this beautiful city.

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In the midst of the kind of travel I usually like to disappear into, I found myself still tethered to Bay Area obligations, thanks to an escalating situation in the NBA playoffs. That lark-y illustration project I began in April with some drawings I posted on Facebook after GSW’s 73rd win had evolved into a challenge to post a new illustration after every playoff/finals win.

Problem is, those games came on in Europe at 3 am, and didn’t end until almost 6 am. So for 3 weeks, I was waking up at extremely odd hours to check scores and post new illustrations.

At this point, certain images have gone totally viral, like the Riley Curry one. I’ve definitely been freaked out by this, but it’s certainly been an interesting window into fan mania and meme culture, and has probably done more to get my art (even though attribution has totally slipped) in front of a far more diverse crowd than it usually gets in the fine art/gallery world.

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Still, I never thought I’d been that weird fan, making drawings and keeping odd hours for her team.
The things you learn in Europe.

poets, toilets

Tripwire 10 is out: I have art in it.

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This being a “journal of poetics,”  editor/jefe David Buuck asked if I would contribute my suite of portable toilet drawings to it, naturally.

Why, you might ask? Because the titles of the 5 drawings are

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Disclaimer: As a spelling stickler, I’d like to express that I am not responsible for the misspelling of my own first name or the surname Wordsworth on these pages. Apparently, poetics journals don’t always have funds for spellcheckers. Sigh.

purple/ashes

Purple was never a favorite color of mine, but it’s funny how that can change abruptly.

bowie ashes

The news hit me hard: Bowie’s passing was devastating, but my response was more predictable, given what an avid fan I’d been at times (image below, from a Bowie party not long after). Coming as it did during Mardi Gras season, the K and I found ample excuse to celebrate his passing with extravagant abandon.

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Prince’s passing, however, hit me like a ton of bricks. I’m still recovering. This really surprised me, since I’d always considered myself a casual fan at best. I suppose I took for granted how tremendous his presence and influence on my youth was.

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The deluge of video and audio material that was unleashed on the internet in the aftermath of his departure also deeply impressed upon me the enormity of this loss.

There have been numerous events in SF to honor him, all of which have been amazing, cathartic ways to dance out the grief. (Image below, en route to a Prince tribute dance party the day after his passing.)

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At this point, weeks/months in, I’m less able to articulate the feeling clearly, but I’m definitely already developing a new project that is about grief and music,  partly inspired by the strange experience of losing 2 these two iconic influences early this year.

Here’s to both of them, having finally been called back to the mother ship, to their own galaxy, because clearly, our planet is no longer inhabitable. I thank them, deeply, for their time among us on our messy little planet.

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Avant Garden Nomes

Woffles & Herb were invited to emcee the Silent Auction portion of SoEx’s annual art auction fundraiser again. The last time we did so in 2014, the party’s theme was “Smoke and Mirrors,” so we came as, well, smoke and mirrors.

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(pic: courtney fink)

This year, the theme was “Avant Garden.” We interpreted this as a sort of Klaus-Nomi-meets-Gardening-Paraphernalia ensemble.

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(pic: david  lawrence)

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(pic: mike arcega)

Herb found a fantastic watering can on Amazon that he cut out the base of and fashioned into a headpiece over a padded balaclava. I engineered the Nomi costumes out of cardboard, vinyl and black duct tape, then added my usual default assortment of fake flowers and foliage.

Here’s a little of our muse, the wonderful Klaus Nomi, as a refresher (or a primer) for you all:

Interestingly, Nomi’s signature costume from those early 80s years was directly inspired by David Bowie’s iconic tuxedo worn on SNL in 1979 (when Nomi and Joey Arias sang back up for Bowie). David’s costume design, in turn, was itself directly influenced by the Dadaist costumes of Sonia Delaunay, worn by Tristan Tzara and Hugo Ball.

bowie snl tux
dada tux delaunay

The irony is that when we’d first started researching costume ideas for Avant Garden, we’d wanted to go with something Dada or Bauhaus inspired, but couldn’t figure out how to streamline (and budget) those ideas for a one-night event. Leave it to Bowie and Nomi to lead us there eventually, anyway.

Mouthguard of Destiny

It’s a semi-secret that I’ve finally become something of a Bay Area sports fan in recent years. (Well, Giants and Warriors, anyway.) It’s led me to some accidentally fun art projects, like the Bumgarner and Curry editioned prints that SFMOMA Artists Gallery has been stocking for the last couple of years. People love sports art. Who knew?

Anyway, I’ve gotten totally sucked into this season of Warriors basketball in particular, having finally gotten to even attend a home game (courtside!!!!) and to understand, on a gut level, what whips people into such a frenzy about this stuff. When the guy below is a few feet away from you, it does sort of change your perspective.

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Being that close to Steph’s mouthguard in particular was also quite compelling. I could practically smell it.

Since then, and since I basically think like both an artist and a comedian, I’ve been working on a series of illustrations of Curry’s singular obsession with 3 pointers chewing on his mouthguard, and letting it dangle off the side of his face. It’s really more a talismanic object than an actual oral protection device. Hence, on the occasion of the Warriors’ historic 73rd victory last night, I give you STEPH CURRY AND THE MOUTHGUARD OF DESTINY.

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Pine Tree Redux

Kate Rhoades of Congratulations Pine Tree invited me back to sit in for Maysoun Wazwaz as guest co-host for an episode of their wonderful, ridiculous podcast.

Here are 31 minutes of our eloquent glory, linked below. We discuss many things Bay Area art-related, and go wildly off-topic, to boot. Please note that the title of this episode comes from Kate and I discussing our respective college mascots, and my disbelief that her “Mills College Cyclones” were not universally assumed to be the…

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Kala Print Public Residency

I’m happy to announce that I’ve been awarded a 2016-2017 Print Public artist residency at the venerable Kala Art Institute in Berkeley! Information on last year’s Print Public program here.

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Details and calendar still TBD, but I’ll likely be working on a public project in and around Kala over the summer and fall of 2016: it will probably involve a lot of neighborhood engagement, research, and illustrations. Since printmaking has long been one of my blind spots as an artist, I’m also thrilled to have access to classes and facilities that will allow me to learn some great new skills and techniques to apply to my project.

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My fellow artists for this round of Print Public are Sue Mark (who is continuing the program from before), Ramekon O’Arwisters, Mildred Howard, Drew Cameron, and Kelly Ording + Jet Martinez.

Image below, one of the late, great Susan O’Malley’s Print Public projects, installed by friends and family after her passing.

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Art Fair Philippines

Silverlens Galleries showed work from my summer “Collapse” show again last week at Art Fair Philippines, Feb 18-21, in Makati.

I couldn’t be there, but dear friend Carlos Celdran sent me a pic of one of my paintings on display at the Silverlens booth:

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Collapse V (Seward Highway, Alaska 1964)
acrylic on canvas
40 x 48 inches
2015

sea creatures + storm drains

While at the Asian Art Museum with my drawing students recently, I found myself enjoying an activity designed to help visitors better appreciate the huge influence of Japanese ukiyo-e prints on European artists beginning in the 19th century. I went in a little skeptical of the “Looking East” exhibition’s potential for the usual fetishization of Asian cultures, but came out of it pleasantly surprised.

I’ve loved Hiroshige’s prints for years, but had never attempted to copy them to understand them better. Sketching this out at one of the activity stations at the museum was unexpectedly fun and genuinely educational.

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As I wandered through the exhibition, I found myself attracted to its numerous depictions of aquatic life. This is unsurprising, given that the public art project I’m currently at work on involves sea creatures. This project, sponsored by the San Francisco Arts Commission, is intended to remind people of the consequences of dumping contaminants into storm drains that pollute the bay. Here, some teasers for 3 of the 6 pieces in progress: a leopard shark, some bat rays, and some rockfish, all protecting the storm drains.

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My illustrations will be output onto mural textile, and adhered to certain sidewalks in the Mission Bay area of SF. Each mural will be around 4 x 5 feet. As the full designs are currently in revision to adapt to some quirks of the sites where they’ll be installed, I can’t post them in their entirety yet.

videos in progress

Almost immediately after MaxiPad, I had to shift gears and drive down to LA to shoot a new video project with Reanne and Eliza for Los Angeles media org Freewaves‘ annual ‘Long Live LA‘ program. The program commissions local artists to make short videos for public venues, usually addressing a particular health theme. (Since Reanne is LA, Freewaves deemed us “local” enough.) We chose to focus on women and self-esteem, in our own oddball MOB way.

Sneak peek of the 5 videos that MOB is editing right now:

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Claim Your Space
mob disculpe
Disculpe
mob nothankyou
No Thank You
mob takeit
Take It
mob upstanders
Upstanders

The videos are very different than MOB’s typical output in a number of ways: we’re actually not in the videos ourselves (other than in some peripheral, background way), and we’re definitely not in our usual faux-queen drag. They’re also very short (60 secs) and silent (since they are destined for public space where audio might be intrusive). But they’re also actually very typical of MOB output in the use of humor, absurdity and imagination. And we’ve often had a grand time collaborating with others, so our cast included a lot of our LA and Bay Area friends and family.

The project involved 2 trips to LA for Eliza and I (1 to plan, 1 to shoot). 4 of the videos were shot in LA, and 1 in SF. Reanne did a tremendous amount of the front-end planning and organizing; Eliza and I are doing the bulk of the back-end editing and finalizing. We should be done this week.

Screening dates still TBD: I’ll keep you posted.

MaxiPad: Postmortem

After months of noodling and fretting, my biggest performance commission to date went about as smoothly as I could have hoped for. Although it’s already been a while since MaxiPad: Templum de Mysteriis, I’m finally able to look back on the experience with a little more perspective.

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MaxiPad: Puttin on the Ritz | photo: cesar valdez

Early in 2015, Val Imus at SoEx asked me if I would be interested in a new performance commission attached to the “Public Works” exhibition being held later in the year at Mills College Art Museum. Thus began a series of months of poor Val trying to pin me down about what I intended to do for press/print deadlines, and me trying as best as I could to give her something to go on (while still needing time to sort it out). At that time, I was thinking a lot about padding and protection in relation to women in public space. I really had no idea what to do with these musings, but figured that “MaxiPad” was a campy title that could absorb a lot of…ideas.

Months later, now shackled with this exceedingly dumb title, I ended up coming up with some ideas for a performance that really didn’t seem to have anything to do with padding or protection. Increasingly anxious about what I was to create, to organize my thoughts I generated a list of goals and challenges that would make me happy, not stressed, to undertake.

The piece needed to be collaborative, colorful, ridiculous, political, organized, rehearsed, improvisational, camaraderie-laden and above all, fun. While I would lead the project, I wanted this to be an authentic opportunity to others to step up and make this their own thing. It needed to be a performance piece of about an hour, with multiple stages: a short walk/mini-parade, some choreographed numbers (“dance” too strong a word), and some audience participation.

To this end, I assembled an amazing girl-gang supergroup of art cronies, close friends, and former students, all with the comedic chops and coordination to pull this off flawlessly: Niki and Monica Magtoto, Azin Seraj, Alysoun Quinby, Jessica Gammell, Rebeka Rodriguez, Patricia Cariño, Kim Arteche, Dara Del Rosario, Victoria Ayala and Jeila Saidi.

I gave the supergroup a loose, “demented ladies in togas in cult of the Mysteries” premise, a verdant setting (Oakland’s Morcom Rose Garden), and some organizing principles that they could then take in whatever direction they chose. We scheduled workshops and rehearsals to sort our various ideas out. I made all the costumes and props. I prepared all the snacks for rehearsals. I was production crew, stage-mom and caterer. It was glorious fun.

toga bling
toga bling
bakers dozen togas
toga burrito bundles
fake phones
balsa wood fake iPhones and selfie sticks
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lady clowns at end of rehearsal

The day of the performance started with some stress about a potential rain storm, but the MaxiPad deities showed us mercy. We arrived on site in the morning for our first full-cast run-through in the rose garden, then decamped to a friend’s home nearby to primp, eat a little pizza, and to knock back a little tequila to get fully into the MaxiPad spirit.

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post-tequila, pre-performance

And we were off and running! In retrospect, I continue to marvel at how smoothly it all went. The MaxiPad-ettes were fabulous, of course, but it was teamwork on multiple fronts: incredible support from SoEx with press, logistics, funds, sound system and morale, and a huge turn-out from friends, family, and good-natured strangers (who had no idea what they’d stumbled into).

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MaxiPad: descent into the garden | pic: Greg Peters
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MaxiPad: Templum steps | pic: Cesar Valdez
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Sacred Pool of MaxiPad | pic: cesar valdez
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MaxiPad: Dance Offering to Hygeia | pic: Greg Peters
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MaxiPad: selfie stick Wands of Enchantment | pic: cesar valdez
selfers
MaxiPad: finale selfies with audience | pic: cesar valdez

I haven’t pestered SoEx enough yet for their comprehensive documentation of the performance, but I’ll update the Projects section of Wofflehouse with this soon. In the meantime, I continue to be grateful for this marvelous experience, working with amazing women, in a crazy little rose garden in Oakland.