August 2008

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this drawing is called ‘my favorite neckless’.  i’m showing this drawing at hosfelt gallery in san francisco.  i’m taking part in a group show titled “vocabularies of metaphor — more stories“, all works on paper by fifteen international artists.  the show will run from september 6th to october 18th .   if you’re around in san francisco, please do take time to visit the gallery and enjoy the show.

about the show (by the owner/curator todd hosfelt)

it’s an exhibition of works on paper by fifteen international artists exploring narrative through symbols.  i’m interested in visual languages that are highly personal and lyrical.  the “stories” are also original to the artists and open to interpretation.

the artists’ choice of exploring the intimacy of drawing/painting on paper (and my choice, as the curator) is about giving the viewer a voyeuristic glimpse into private moments.  i’m exhibiting between two and six pieces by each artist to give the viewer the opportunity to observe mutating idioms and to decipher the lexicons of each.    while the show didn’t start to be about work by women, almost all of it is.    i’m including amy cutler, fay ku, shahzia sikander, ruth marten, liliana porter, yuka yamaguchi, yelena yemchuk, baseerah khan, rob matthews, henry darger, sara stites, charlotte schultz, rachell sumpter, crystal liu and seonna hong.

todd hosfelt will be writing about the artists and their works in the show on his blog.  here’s what he wrote about my drawing, ‘my favorite neckless’:

i love yuka yamaguchi’s work.    it’s what frieda khalo would be making if she were alive and japanese.    gorgeously rendered colored pencil (often self) portraits that are seemingly innocent and disarmingly brutal.

i’m reproducing “my favorite neckless” 2008 colored pencils on paper, 11×14 inches.     beyond the play on words, jay brought the phrase “turtles all the way down” to my attention.     the story, in this case, as told by stephen hawkings in “a brief history of time” goes like this:

a well-known scientist (some say it was bertrand russell) once gave a public lecture on astronomy.  he described how the earth orbits around the sun and how the sun, in turn, orbits around the center of a vast collection of stars called our galaxy. at the end of the lecture, a little old lady at the back of the room got up and said: “what you have told us is rubbish. The world is really a flat plate supported on the back of a giant tortoise” the scientist gave a superior smile before replying, “what is the tortoise standing on?” “you’re very clever, young man, very clever,” said the old lady. “but it’s turtles all the way down!”

the story is used to illustrate religious/mythic myopia, but can also be read as meaning that you can never get to the bottom of a difficult question.

and of course there seussian reference to yertle the turtle…

i didn’t know about the turtle book by dr. seuss, but now i’ve got to go buy that for elijah and me ;)

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‘jealousy’ — drawn on the street at the fringe festival, 2008

the fringe festival is finally over (well, three weeks ago).  it was very productive in many ways.  i got a nice suntan and a knife stuck in my heart.  as usual, people said to me whatever they felt like saying.  it was wonderful and amusing.

i was surprised that many people remembered or recognized my drawings from my show at the mendel gallery over a year ago.  some people even remembered them from my show at royal red gallery at phonographique three years ago.  a few people told me there were looking for me at this fringe this year since i wasn’t there last year.  the best moment was when a guy told me that he’d had seen one of the drawings, ‘inseparable’ somewhere, but he couldn’t remember where.  he left then came back just to tell me the postcard was up on the fridge door at his friend’s house.  he was so excited he came back for the third time to show my work to one of his friends.  i was very touched by all this.  so thanks and arigato!

i kept track of comments that i enjoyed.  so here’s the diagnosis;

  •  ’you should do medical illustration.  you’ll be great!’ — i don’t think so…
  • ‘do you draw family portraits? i have a photo here.’ — no thanks…
  • ‘she’s a freak!  she’s a freak!  she is a FREAK!’ screamed a guy with his full body tattooed and wearing a scary outfit with spikes.
  • ‘i LIKE it!’  said 8 year old boy who flipped through all the drawings.
  • ‘i wish i could draw…’ — i feel the same way
  • ‘ahaha!  look at those boobs!’
  • ‘these are amazing!’
  • ‘i had the EXACT same image ( an elephant coming out of my belly) recently.  i should draw that!’
  • ‘do you like creepy stuff?’ ‘no’ ‘… then why do you draw creepy stuff??’ — good question!
  • ‘do you take any drugs?’
  • ‘you look normal, but i know you aren’t!  you are not normal!’
  • ‘did you draw these?  they are so weird and grotesque.  and you are so adorable!’ — do you want a candy?

i feel so energized and encouraged.  thanks for all the encouragement and cheering as well as your nasty looks.  i did a couple of drawings sitting at my booth and i’ve been drawing away ever since.

more soon, including news about shows i’m doing in september…

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i’m taking part in a group show called “paper pushers” at gallery 1988 in san francisco.  i’m showing eight pencil drawings (click here to see six of them).

the show opening is tonight.  i hope my readers in san francisco can stop by and see the show!

paper pushers
an annual show featuring all works on paper

august 15 – september 6, 2008
opening reception: friday august 15th ( 7 – 10pm)

1173 sutter street (at polk), san francisco
ph. 415.409.1376

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ah~, it’s so nice to be on the street with my drawings.  i started busking at the fringe festival here in saskatoon last night.  this is my first fringe since elijah came along.  and this is my first time ever being away from elijah for more than an hour.

i’ve been showing my drawings at galleries nowadays, which is very nice.  but i really like being on the street, where most of the people who come by are there just to look around, not because they’re particularly interested in art or in my drawings.  i like the randomness of having people stumble upon my work and seeing their reactions, good and bad.

the busking areas at the fringe have been very busy already this year.  i’ve been setting up on broadway, near 10th.  i have a little table with books of prints and postcards that people can browse through at their own speed.  there are a couple little stands that i put single prints in, so people can see them from a distance walking by.

some of the prints and postcards are of my newer drawings that i’ve never made into prints before.  the only one of the newer drawings that i’ve shown in saskatoon before is ‘new wings’.  the other new drawings are on first view, but i’ve already put the images up on my blog.

for the fringe festival i do a different printing technique than the archival prints i sell in my online shop.  they’re not as expensive to make, so i can sell the 8.5 x 11 prints for $10.  postcards are sold for $2 each, or 6 for $10 (i’m from kansai, i have to offer a good deal).  people keep telling me the prices are way too cheap.  i want them to be cheap enough that even little kids don’t have to worry about the cost if they find an image of mine they want to take home.

this year i’ve already had a lot of people coming up to me who know me from somewhere — my blog readers, people who remember me from previous shows in saskatoon, and even some asian girls who saw my drawings in the hong kong fashion magazine, milk.

a couple people asked for my autograph.  i double-checked to make sure they weren’t out of their minds.

i got a few negative reactions — people saying ‘urrghh’, or ‘creepy’ — but not as many as i was expecting.  one older woman did sniff at me with a disapproving face, which i was glad to see.  i don’t know why, but those negative comments don’t hurt me anymore.  i kind of enjoy them.  a couple of harsh comments go a long way to motivate me to draw more.

i ran into some of the local artists as well — artist kris moffatt, poet taylor leedahl who is representing local book company jackpine press, artist carole epp, and young artist michael.  i’m hoping to meet the artist kristin bjornerud who will be back in saskatoon for the summer from hamilton.

if you’re in saskatoon, come and see me on the street at the fringe festival!  you can say whatever you want, and you don’t have to pretend to be nice.  i’ll be happy to see you anyway.

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