Snack City in LA

In July,  I was in LA to work on a site-specific wall installation at M-Rad Architecture's new office space in Culver City. M-Rad stands for Matthew Rosenberg Architecture + Design.  For the record, Matthew Rosenberg is my brother, not my husband as LA weekly misstated in a nice article featuring a color-centric bench we collaborated on a couple of years ago.  They were quick to make the correction.

Bench Press / proposal M-Rad Architecture / 2013

Bench Press / proposal M-Rad Architecture / 2013

My brother and I were raised in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada, and somehow both ended up working in creative fields in California.  Over the years, I have visited LA frequently to see art and visit my brother.  Not so long ago, my brother called to tell me they were moving their office from Downtown LA to this much larger space with big walls and that a lot of work needed to be done and that the big walls that needed something.  I thought maybe he wanted some artwork to hang, but he offered me a wall, any wall.  And so arrangements were made for me to come down for a couple of weeks to do a wall mural and then we would have a little party to launch the first M-Rad Salon Series.   The party was the deadline to complete this site-specific color wall, but it was also an opportunity for snacks.

Snack City at the first M-Rad Salon Series, July 2015.

Snack City at the first M-Rad Salon Series, July 2015.

 My favorite place to be is the beach.  Then it's the paint aisle at Lowe's acquiring paint chips.  And then, it's scouring random grocery spots for colorful snacks like I'm on a color safari... on the hunt for a particular purple pepper to compliment a bright orange cheese puff, or an oversized marshmallow to stick a pretzel stick in.

Snack City at the first M-Rad Salon Series, July 2015

Snack City at the first M-Rad Salon Series, July 2015

For the event at M-Rad, using one of their oversized mirrors that typically leans against a wall as a table top, I assembled what I ended up referring to as Snack City.  I procured a selection of ingredients that could be stacked, shaped or stand upright to create an architectural landscape.  Stacked cucumber rounds, pickles with their ends cut off stood upright, halved dates held almonds, popcorn dispersed at random like pedestrians meandering the streets, crackers piled precariously, goat cheese rolled in paprika, poppyseeds or finely chopped parsley held court like points on a map indicating landmarks.  green grapes complimented red raspberries... and then there was sliced salami.  

Guests didn't quite know what to make of it at first.  Was it art?  Were they meant to eat it?  And if so, was there a certain way it was intended to be eaten.  Wine was also served, so soon, guests gathered around the mirror and the snacks were slowly consumed... one cheese puff at a time.  And new conversation was generated about what it is to eat art and how good an upright pickle can be as an interpretation of a building.  At the end of the night, the city had vanished, but the color on the big wall in the new office that a week ago wasn't there, remained.  

A cookie by Dough & Co. makes an appearance.

A cookie by Dough & Co. makes an appearance.

As it happened San Francisco-based Dough & Co. was in town and we were so excited to have them there serving their renowned chocolate chip cookies made with a genius chia seed mixture in lieu of eggs.  Snack City was what guests turned to once the cookies were gone and what everyone was talking about the next day.  You can find these dough-licious (sorry) cookies at various locations in SF + LA.

Thanks to M-Rad for the opportunity and the team for your help with rolling cheese balls and lessons on maneuvering a scissor lift. And to everyone for helping make the space feel more like a space, by coming to see the art and eat suspiciously served snacks.  










"WALLSCAPE" // a new color wall in LA at M-Rad Architecture

Last month I spent a few weeks in LA where, in addition to looking after a cat named Leonard, visiting with family and friends, and seeing some art, I installed this wall at M-Rad Architecture's new office space in Culver City.   I used a herringbone pattern, so the panels were either 15" x 15" or 15" x 30".  I used latex or vinyl paint on birch panel and incorporated a few mirrored and glittered plexiglass panels for fun, but also the mirrored pieces end up reflecting other architectural features of the space.   I looked to the surrounding environment for some inspiration for color and pattern.  

In the beginning / M-Rad Architecture, LA, 2015

In the beginning / M-Rad Architecture, LA, 2015

I painted a panel inspired by the Public Storage building across the street.  

I painted a panel inspired by the Public Storage building across the street.

 

M-Rad Architecture is located on Jefferson Blvd in Culver City, directly across the street from the La Cienega Metro stop.  I took a few panels up there and waited for a train to see if I had gotten the stripes right!

M-Rad Architecture is located on Jefferson Blvd in Culver City, directly across the street from the La Cienega Metro stop.  I took a few panels up there and waited for a train to see if I had gotten the stripes right!

And then we risked our lives in the middle of this intersection in LA rush hour to ensure these stripes aligned.  I wanted to make reference to some of the colors and patterns that one would see looking out the windows from inside the space.

And then we risked our lives in the middle of this intersection in LA rush hour to ensure these stripes aligned.  I wanted to make reference to some of the colors and patterns that one would see looking out the windows from inside the space.

Detail, details.

Detail, details.

We had to rent this scissor lift from El Cheapo Lifts in order to get the top panels installed.  That's my brother, the architect, looking out the second floor office window.  We are toasting here to the completion of the wall with a glass of bubbly he handed to me while on the lift.  

We had to rent this scissor lift from El Cheapo Lifts in order to get the top panels installed.  That's my brother, the architect, looking out the second floor office window.  We are toasting here to the completion of the wall with a glass of bubbly he handed to me while on the lift.  

And this is the view looking down from the lift.  

And this is the view looking down from the lift.  

I admit, at first, I wanted to cover up that window completely rather than work around it.  When I realized that wouldn't fly with the boss, I thought about leaving town and changing my name because I didn't think the end result would look right.  I took a break and came back with fresh eyes and more vinyl paint.  I painted directly onto one side of the window and removed the other piece of glass.  I did leave town in the end, but only after I completed the wall just in time for  a party.

I admit, at first, I wanted to cover up that window completely rather than work around it.  When I realized that wouldn't fly with the boss, I thought about leaving town and changing my name because I didn't think the end result would look right.  I took a break and came back with fresh eyes and more vinyl paint.  I painted directly onto one side of the window and removed the other piece of glass.  I did leave town in the end, but only after I completed the wall just in time for  a party.

On & On

At the end of May, The Aesthetic Union organized and hosted ON & ON, a limited edition letterpress show exploring pattern, repetition, and rotation. The idea was to "create a dynamic pattern that can work uniquely in different arrangements".   The show featured six Bay Area artists and designers, who were asked to create a unique piece to be duplicated and tiled together creating an ongoing, ever-changing motif.   I was so pleased to have a pattern printed with them in the company of other artists I admire like Heather PhillipsKindah Khalidy, Brendan Monroe, and Sean Newport.  

Initially I had submitted a pattern with eight colors, obviously overseeing the specs mentioning sticking to two colors only.  I have worked with James of Aesthetic Union on other letterpress pieces for projects in the past like this and this, so he understood that process was a major part of my practice, that color(s) was kind of my thing, and picking just two is a struggle.  He kindly suggested that maybe I should come in to the shop so we can make a process-based print together.  So I thought it might be fun to share some of that process here.  

Mixing ink, I realized, is a lot like making cake.  You need a recipe, a gram scale and a spatula... and then you make a mess.

Mixing ink, I realized, is a lot like making cake.  You need a recipe, a gram scale and a spatula... and then you make a mess.

James had a 5.5" x 5.5" polymer plate and exacto blade ready.  He handed over the shop Pantone color guide from which I selected four (lucky me!) colors to use for ink.  While I cut the unexposed polymer plate, James prepped the press.   

First color, hot pink.  If mixing ink is like making a cake, then inking the press is like icing one.

First color, hot pink.  If mixing ink is like making a cake, then inking the press is like icing one.

And on and on and on....

And on and on and on....

Today might be  the last day to see the show in person, should you want to pop in, but the prints are available for purchase up now on The Aesthetic Union online shop!   

Thank-you, James Tucker for helping me make a pattern print that felt like my own.  And thanks to Daniel Dent for this photo of it!

I call it "Hot Pink with Some Blues"

I call it "Hot Pink with Some Blues"


COLOR WALK

On May 2nd, families, friends and neighbors convened at Irving Street Projects to venture out on a guided walk through the neighborhood.  Stopping at points of color that inspired the layers of paint, for Everyday, a color, up to that point. Now it's nearly June, the beginning of summer, when in San Francisco is the time the fog rolls in heavy and sits.  While the fog lingers, these days are sometimes my favorite because it's when you notice the color the most intensely... colors work harder to pronounce themselves in contrast to the greyness.  These grey days are also good days for jellybeans.

Participants received a map and a tiny package of 12 different colors of jellybeans.  Color is a matter of taste reads the small note inside.

Participants received a map and a tiny package of 12 different colors of jellybeans.  Color is a matter of taste reads the small note inside.

O. + E. showing off  their event-inspired stripes and collection of buttons they've earned over the course of the porject // At our 5th stop along the walk, we matched a wild raspberry blue jellybean to Day 2 "Window Frame" on 45th Street // A. coincidentally wearing orange shorts, a perfect match to the California Poppies along the Great Highway and this tangerine jellybean //  The bunch of color walkers on 43rd Street, prior to the sugar high.

O. + E. showing off  their event-inspired stripes and collection of buttons they've earned over the course of the porject // At our 5th stop along the walk, we matched a wild raspberry blue jellybean to Day 2 "Window Frame" on 45th Street // A. coincidentally wearing orange shorts, a perfect match to the California Poppies along the Great Highway and this tangerine jellybean //  The bunch of color walkers on 43rd Street, prior to the sugar high.

Twelve colors of jellybeans were selected to match points of color throughout the neighborhood.  JellyBelly has a wonderful selection of colors and flavors, but still my dream is to be able to go into a candy shop and get a custom jelly bean color mixed.  I'm likely dreaming of this while eating a jellybean in this photo.  Quality/color control.

Twelve colors of jellybeans were selected to match points of color throughout the neighborhood.  JellyBelly has a wonderful selection of colors and flavors, but still my dream is to be able to go into a candy shop and get a custom jelly bean color mixed.  I'm likely dreaming of this while eating a jellybean in this photo.  Quality/color control.

Towards the end of the walk, everyone began seeing color everywhere and, wanting to eat more jellybeans, we decided to whatever color we found, we got to eat the matching jellybean...  here's Adam Polakoff's documentation of his finds!

Towards the end of the walk, everyone began seeing color everywhere and, wanting to eat more jellybeans, we decided to whatever color we found, we got to eat the matching jellybean...  here's Adam Polakoff's documentation of his finds!

Oscar matched part of his lunch with the red of the wall.  Then instead of eating the red pepper, he ate the jellybean to match.

Oscar matched part of his lunch with the red of the wall.  Then instead of eating the red pepper, he ate the jellybean to match.

STRIPE REVEAL

Last Friday marked the last color of Everyday, a color at Irving Street Projects. How many colors was it you ask?  FIFTY!  Why fifty you might venture to know?  I needed a number.  A number with some significance that I could attain in the amount of time that I had at the space.  56 maybe?  Which according to Artistotle is the number of layers of the Universe.  52, I thought... which is the number of weeks in a year.  After losing a few days at the space for travel for a project, I settled on 50.  For no better reason than, when asked how many layers were painted over the course of the project and wanting so badly to yell FIFTY! while simultaneously kicking my leg high into the air (see SNL's Molly Shannon skit to make any sense of this nonsense/the main inspiration.) 

Behind the stripe scene at Irving Street Projects // Fifty cans of paint

Behind the stripe scene at Irving Street Projects // Fifty cans of paint

The Reveal took place on Friday, May 15th and it was one of the loveliest evenings I have known. For those of you who couldn't make it, not to worry!  Sarah Klein, who works in stop-motion animation and curates the Stop & Go animation showcase, documented the reveal and created these sensational gifs below.  This summer, she will be curating for the San Francisco Peephole Cinema and she recently  finished this animated music video for the band Synchronized Watches.

Click on gifs above to scroll through and see the progression of tape being removed.  Thank-you gif-master, Sarah Klein!

A moving stripe painting.

It was like going back in time, while being very much there at the same time.  Kate Haug, who wrote an amazing piece about the project for SFAQ mentioned afterwards... At the same time, being very much there with such good people, so many of whom helped make for such a nice event.  

Friends showed up sporting their stripes, neighbors in head-to-color color. After the tape was removed and stripes revealed, ISP Director Kelly Inouye and I sat down with writer, curator, and someone I consider a renaissance woman, Christian L. Frock  for a conversation about color, community, stripes and endurance, beginnings and ends.

WELL TOGETHER // New work at The Mill

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Tonight is the opening!  6-9!  Please come, if not for the art, then for the pizza.

I have known Josey Baker for a number of years.  I would follow his loaves around town and his writing on his blog.  One pizza night I told him I was on my way to Vermont for a residency.  Knowing Josey was from Vermont, I thought maybe I could make work while I was there and show it at the Mill upon my return.   I would call it "The Vermont Series".  It would be drawings of barns and snow and deer and antlers.

Well, we did settle on a date for the show and I did go to Vermont and I did make a few "Vermont Series" drawings, but you will not be seeing those on the wall at The Mill.  But instead of making work about Vermont, I made work for the people at the Mill, about the space.   I took inspiration from the shapes and patterns already there.  The herringbone tile which is mirrored on the other side of the space on the merchandise wall.  I really find great satisfaction in referencing the space I am showing in and sometimes intervening... taking cues from the space and then adding color that reflects it too.

When I visited The Mill to take some measurements, the toast preparer confided in me that it sort of bothered him that the artwork hanging on the wall often hung a bit crooked.  And he had to look at it all day, whilst spreading butter impeccably upon toast, unable to do much about the unevenly hung works of art.    "Noted", I told him.  And then, I got a nail gun. 

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I included some mirrored plexiglass pieces for a funhouse effect.  I installed right in front of the place where the toast preparer stands and I hope it makes him/her only happy.

I included some mirrored plexiglass pieces for a funhouse effect.  I installed right in front of the place where the toast preparer stands and I hope it makes him/her only happy.

Huge thanks to Ben Laramie for helping me with cutting all this wood, to Jason Kalogiros for your assistance hanging those big pieces up high, and to the Mill for having me.  

One minute matters.

I received an email from my dear friend Susan one day with the subject:  "have you been listening to Serial Podcast?".   And in the body of the email she wrote:  "So good!",  included the link and signed off xx, S.  I hadn't listened to Serial yet, I replied, as I was in the middle of reading Lena Dunham's memoir which I was busy feeling hot and cold about.  I loved the fact that it (the book) was illustrated and full of advice, but hated the fact that at the turn of a page, I could be reminded  of every bad decision I had made in my twenties.   And so while processing Lena's advice, I took to Susan's and started listening to Serial in the studio.  Six episodes,  one bike ride and two dinner parties later, I realized this (Serial) was what it was to be part of something and that my twenties were not so bad.

Susan and I checked in regularly about Serial and other things like Lena Dunham and Miranda July and how their writing compares and what it is to be someone with a memoir and the all the ways to tell a story.  And that we adore Miranda July.  She's a weirdo we both agreed.  The good kind.  

When I saw that Miranda was scheduled to be in conversation with Adam Savage for a City Arts and Lectures, I bought two tickets, Susan as my date.  I hadn't even realized the reason MJ was here was to talk about her new novel until halfway through the evening because all I had been thinking of relating to MJ was this excerpt from her film the FUTURE,  "A Handy Tip for the Easily Distracted"   As far as I was concerned, she could have made this and only that for me to be a lifelong fan.  But the conversation was great and she talked candidly and generously about being a new mom and what actually getting to writing looks like.  

 

Two weeks ago, Miranda July was in town again for this audience participation performance art piece at Brava Theatre for the San Francisco Film Festival.  My friend Christina whom I met through Susan, got tickets and we met for dinner ahead of time.  It was April 28th.  Some things had changed in the short time since I had seen her last in conversation at the Nourse Theatre.   We had a lot to catch up on.  And all of a sudden it was 7:45pm.  We rushed out of dinner and hustled to the theatre, eating a warm pretzel we had ordered thinking we had time, on the way. 

 

We arrived at the theater. It was 8:01.  Woops, the show was at 8:00. The doors were closed and they were denying latecomers entry, explaining that the performer is strict when it comes to people trickling in, for fear of it disrupting the show.   As someone who runs 10 minutes late, I was 9 minutes earlier.  Since when were things on time, I thought to myself.  I stood for a bit studying the bouncer's face, convinced that surely this was part of the piece...getting nervous even at the thought that we would somehow be brought up on stage and shamed in front of the audience.   Christina though was thinking something different . But wait, I always figure out a way, she thought.  Then, a man came from the back to let us in . . . approaching the doors with false hope.  Was there a chance? Nope. It was only to get our money refunded. Really, 8:01?  ONE MINUTE?  Other would-be viewers were slamming doors with a huff, shouting at the bouncers. Christina and I stood there looking at the man who could have let us in but gave us money back instead, then looking at each other and then at the others who wouldn't be seeing MJ tonight either. But I drove to work today, thought Christina.   I just listened to nothing but MJ's book so I could finish it in time for tonight.  As if she would have known if I hadn't, I thought to myself.  

As we walked away, disappointed and perplexed, we couldn't stop thinking about the significance of all of this.  We look to signs in times like these, when everything has changed because someone we love is gone.  We go to things we know she would have loved because it makes us feel closer to her.  And so what does it mean when you are one minute late, missing this thing that was meant to be significant?   Is there something bigger that we are meant to experience by not seeing MJ?  We walked down the street trying to laugh at the nonsense of it all, grateful for at least getting to be together.  With everything that has happened from one Miranda July event to the next, everything holds a heightened significance.  A black cat I've never seen before sits on my porch waiting for me to get home... Susan?  The sky on a Saturday opens in an unusual way, turning to a shade of pink... a sign.  

We wondered what the message here was. Don't be late?  That one minute matters?  That dinner was the important part, not the show? Were we not meant to see Miranda July?  As we walked back down Folsom Street, we passed a golden retriever puppy who jumped up on me, licking my face as his owner explained he named him Bart Simpson. Because he's a jackass, he said.  See, we would have missed this moment if we were at Miranda July, I reminded Christina as I tried to wipe the dog slobber off my chin and the lingering disappointment off the night.

What would Susan do in this situation?, we continued to pondered.  Laugh? Cry?  Find a clever way in through the back, ending up on stage and stealing the show?  

Things are exactly as they need to be, she would say.  This is the one minute that really

matters.