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Up from the Bitterroot
Medium: Paper-cut on Paper
This piece is the cover art for Sky Steele’s album of the same name. Bitterroot is the name of a mountain range in Montana where Skye wrote most of the album. ‘Up from the Bitterroot’ is a concise articulation of a transformative process, and the image is all about this process of going up from root to peak, and down again, from blossom to root. A mountain is impressive, but it is only so high because of its deep roots; a flower starts as a sprout of roots before the green fuse blossoms. In this image, the goal of transformation is inseparable from its process.
Fitting the theme of transformation, this piece uses the technique of inversion quite a bit (when an object which is white crosses a thresh-hold and becomes black, and vice versa).
Medium: Paper-cut on Tyvek Paper
This tarot-inspired design is a portrait of Francesca Dunford (Chez), a friend and British clown who performed in a shadow puppet show I toured in 2014. She played the part of an angel, and I loved the idea of combining in her portrait the divine grace of angels with the earthy grace of clowns. The word ‘angel’ is Greek for ‘messenger’. Angels are messengers from the divine, to the unenlightened people of the earth below. Clowns and comedians carry a message of grace, too, while joking about the absurdly silly and the absurdly tragic, that people feel solidarity through laughter.
In the composition, her body is linking three realms: the sky, the living earth, and water rushing beneath. She seems very calm as she walks on the dangerous water, an act itself which is an old, old magic trick, belonging both to tricksters and prophets. The trumpet is the tool of the herald.
The Air is Longing to Hold Your Music
Medium: Paper-cut on Tyvek Paper, 68" x 44"
I collaborated with the musician Skye Steele to illustrate some of his songs, and this lyric immediately struck me as a promisingly beautiful image. Visualizing the air into ornate and diverse swirls, and thus illustrating the potential beauty in the air around a person, was an early idea; discovering the right gesture of body took some time. A person breathing is not an automatically dramatic subject, and my first few sketches had bored looking ladies leaning on counters and exhaling, like they’d just finished a long day in retail. I am happy I found this moment, the moment when the intake of breath is full, right as the air is transformed, in the cauldron of the lungs, into music.
Medium: Paper-cut on Tyvek Paper, 47" x 65"
This piece is about the human experience of the winter solstice, the winter solstice being the longest night of the year, caused by the tilt of the earth as it orbits the sun, and occurs on or around December 21st. The composition is split into three panels, top, middle, and bottom. The middle panel shows a winter landscape. Two humans are at the center of the piece, walking through a field of white (snow), below a field of black (the night sky). Their experience of the solstice is taking a hike through a the long night and winter landscape together. The top panel shows the calendar and astronomical meaning of the solstice, and above those elements, the starry sea beyond the earth. The top panel puts the earth’s solstice into a larger relationship with the cosmos; the bottom panel puts it into a much smaller, internal one. This panel is the underground world of winter, where three ground squirrels are in a burrow, huddled together for warmth. All together, the three panels of the composition make-up the heavens, earth, and below. Through another lens, the top panel is higher , abstract thought (the calendar), and larger experience (understanding are relationship to the cosmos); the bottom panel, with huddling, companionable animals, is the experience of the body and emotion, the desire for companionship, the realm of the animal.
Medium: Paper-Cut on Tyvek Paper, 47" x 66"
This image is a combination of two traditional christian images: the Nativity (the birth of Jesus ), and Adoration of the Magi (‘the Three Wise Men’). It is impossible for me to anticipate how anyone in 2015 in America looks at piece of Christian iconography that is not made of feces or soaked urine. In all my works that are connected to mythologies, I am interpreting ideas and emotions from old mythologies toward my own sensibilities. I’m attracted to mythology for its richness in interpretation, but another aspect I’m interested in is history and tradition. Countless people have projected and felt their own personal experiences in these images, stories, and icons. I’d like to continue that experience of human expression from past generations.
In my Nativity, the mother is proudly breast-feeding, and sharing the tenderest moment of love with her child. She is surrounded by a chorus of barn-yard animals bellowing and bleating praise, and is accompanied by another new mother, a mouse in the rafters who is nursing her litter. Instead of angels, a choir of pigeons coo hosannas. The three wise men are each embodying a different reaction to the birth; the first has laid his crown before the mother and child in surrender; the second is has fallen to his knees in joy; the third is weeping, for every birth recalls a death.
And in the foreground, indifferent to and bored by the whole pageant of divine birth and life renewed, a handsome tabby cat is grooming its paws.
Medium: Paper-Cut on Tyvek Paper, 47" x 65"
This is the third image of the holiday triptych.
Medium: Paper-cut on Tyvek Paper
This tarot-card inspired image is a portrait of singer, collaborator, and friend, Jean Rohe.
A good song can feel like the experience of a mystery and the simultaneous feeling of an answer. Depicted here, like a lock, but with halo of keys.
And the garlic is - well, Jean really likes garlic.
Triangular Lightbox Shelf
Medium: Paper-cut on Tyvek Paper, wood, light fixtures, and plexiglass.
This light shelf I designed and built for Flux Factory's Utopia School. A witch's tonics were served on it, the liquid jars on the shelf illuminated from underneath. Matching the utopian and communal theme, as well as the seemingly incidental theme of hexagons and modular furniture, the imagery on the unit is of bees working together, with the backdrop of their hexagonal honeycomb.
Though I am unsure now whether an apiarian monarchy is a good analogue for a non-hierarchical anarchist paradise.
Indigo Dye Instructions
Medium: Paper-cut on Tyvek paper.
I designed this as a study aid for a natural dye class.