Thursday, December 12, 2013

Photos from the show at Bergamot

Saturday at Berg was the place to be. It was one happening thing after another.

We started out small with a couple of little ones making Christmas ornaments.

The first little girl was so delighted with the result, I knew it was going to be a big fun. Soon there were kids pouring in and parents hunting for used materials. I picked through the warehouse of goods at reDiscover this morning to find the perfect mix of "trash" to resurrect into art. I was confident that there would be some magic happening.

The tiles made it on to the wall. After a rough start, that's saying a lot. Each tile is slightly irregular because they are hand poured, and the hooks, though lined up and embedded into the plaster, are slightly off. So the whole thing had to be measured piece by piece, which I did on Wednesday. It was a crowning achievement to see them all up.

Explaining the whole concept to everyone was a good challenge.

Each tile represents a significant event in El Salvadoran history, ranging from the birth of the nation to the devastating repression, which left over 75,000 Salvadorans dead, many indiscriminately killed by para-military operations looking to keep control over the small nation during the major power struggle of the Cold War.

El Salvador was one of the first places that I visited out of the US; I became fascinated by its history and later engulfed in the challenge of depicting a complicated, politically-charged story through images.

To help in the deciphering, I have a book that goes along with the exhibit that gives the year and details behind each image.

AND on the other side of the room - wood nymphs and fairies. haha. Seriously, when we were planning the show, I was doubtful that the walls would make sense with such.. let's say "diverse" work.

The string that was supposed to tie it all together was my sketchbooks.

The theme of the night was reusing materials..
Supporting the mission of reDiscover..
Doing an activity with kids that emphasized reused materials..
Exhibiting my headdresses which use quite a lot of second-hand materials..
And screening a sneak peak at the documentary Landfill Harmonic about a group that uses trash to make instruments.

The sketchbooks tie it all in by talking about the landfills of Cambodia and travels in El Salvador along with the tiles showing the history of El Salvador. See it kind of works... but we couldn't get any glass cases, so the sketchbooks had to wait. And therefore the show has a missing link and is a lovely mix of disparity.

Actually I was told that one woman was really pleased with the opposing walls, saying 'this is real, this is how it really is, we are not just one thing." I was happy to hear that because, well, it's true. We are not.

Human rights and geography aside, the headpieces are purely artistic and fantastical. I like to take an idea like a character from a novel and try to make something that represents that story. If you've been here a while, you know they have been worn extensively by Elizaveta.

I also displayed some sketches and notes about the creation of the pieces, and images from some of the photo shoots where they have been used.

We screened the first peak of the documentary Landfill Harmonic and actually had the filmmakers in the room answering questions and showing us some of the real instruments from the documentary. It was one of the most inspirational things I've seen in a while. Check out the trailer below, to get the idea. They've been raising funds with Kickstarter to bring the orchestra to the US for a tour, which will no doubt be incredible.

A couple of instagrams from the night.

We were all freezing in the 45F weather. Mie almost didn't make it.

I enjoyed meeting tons of new people, but also loved having all of my friends come out for the night to show their support.

Elizaveta performed some live music later on, which sounded outstanding with the acoustics of the gallery. Robert pranced by saying, "there will be chocolate!" So that basically tipped the scale. It was peppermint, my favorite.

Topping off with some late night sushi, something LA does best : )

Thanks for checking out the stuff and sticking around until the end of this long post with way to many pictures of my mug.

Pictures by Tohru Oneki and John Grimshaw

Friday, November 22, 2013

Dec 7 - put it on your calendar

Hello internet friends,

If you are in the Los Angeles area, I strongly suggest you come out to Bergamot Station on Saturday, Dec 7.

I'm teaming up with a great organization called ReDiscover. We'll be hosting an art workshop for the kids (of any ages, that means grandma too) from 4 - 6pm. It will be the first time they've had live art in the gallery!

I'll be showing a lot of art that has never been exhibited in LA before. There are 100 tiles that tell a story in narrative form. I will also be showing my collection of headdresses that  have been donned at TEDtv conference in Scotland, on the front page of itunes, and on stage all over the US, in the UK, Russia, and Paris. On the wall will be photographs and sketches that show the process of building the headdresses.

Musical guest is Elizaveta, also known for her fantastic headdresses (hehe). You can read more about her rockstar music at the bottom or at her webpage.


Additional information:

reDiscover promotes resource conservation, creativity, and community engagement through material reuse.
reDiscover recycles everyday discards donated by business and gives them new purpose as hands-on learning materials.
reDiscover is a community art center, reuse warehouse, gallery and event space.
12958 W Washington Blvd, Los Angeles, California 90066
(310) 393-3636

 i102fly, alias of artist Missy Washington, represents exploration to all corners of the earth, documentation, and stories. Washington works creatively in a number of disciplines - drawing, illustration, photography, map-making, sculpture and costume design. She carries a sketchbook wherever she goes and has a strong interest in the seen as well as the unseen.

Washington works with reDiscover as an instructor for their summer programming. She loves working with children, joining them in the endless world of the imagination while helping to instill environmental and social values that will make the world a better place in the future.

Exhibited at EarthWe will be a series of 100 hand cast and painted ceramic tiles, and in the vein of found object art, a collection of headpieces and wearable architecture made largely from used materials. Many of the pieces have been featured in photo shoots and live performances by Elizaveta.

Elizaveta is a critically acclaimed singer, pianist, and composer. Trained in opera and composition, her work melds pop and electronica with classical prowess. Her debut album Beatrix Runs is out on Universal Republic Records (US). Her follow up album, Hero is set to release in spring of 2014.

EarthWE is on track to become the prime event destination where non-profit organizations and those motivated to champion change intersect.

It’s a community where people wanting to create a better world can unite, share and make a difference in the lives of people who need help most by supporting any of the EarthWE100 organizations and social causes showcased weekly at our Bergamot Stattion gallery.
Bergamot Station
2525 Michigan Ave
Santa Monica, CA 90404

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Russian headdress

Photography: i102fly
Flower Architecture: i102fly
Model: Olga Sannikova

This piece was created for a performance in Russia. modeled by my friend who coincidentally is Russian. Isn't she wearing the heck out of this thing! Olga is one of the coolest people I know. Not only is she the most down to earth person you'll ever meet with a heart of gold, but she's into all sorts of crazy  things, like flying planes, riding motorcycles, mastering concertos on the piano, and globe-trotting.  After Kilimanjaro, definitely one of my favorite travel mates. Next stop Russian... maybe not. Come on someone go there with me.

It's a little intimidating for a non-Russian speaker, but as far as travel goes, it's at the top of my list. Reasoning is kind of weird, my grandfather collected mail-order paperbacks in the sixties. Some were stored in my room as a kid, I stared at the book spines for about two decades until finally deciding to see what Anna Karenina was really about. To this day, it is still the greatest book I've ever read. As a devotee of Tolstoy, it is my duty to see the motherland.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

America: Red Rocks

Previous sections of our drive: South, Prairies, Mountains. Utah doesn't feel like the home stretch, it feels more like another planet. I really feel that Utahans are being too modest about their state; they need some Texan-style pride. This place is one National Geo photo after another, considering that, please excuse my instagrams.

5:54 PM Utah border: Destination -  the red arch in the picture. Because it's in the picture. I've seen this thing on license plates for years, it's time to see it in the rock.

10:12 AM Arches National Park, Utah: Looks like a toy or set backdrop.

4:32 PM Arch, Arches National Park: It took a little over an hour to reach the arch from the road. It wasn't quite a tourist march because the trail wasn't exactly marked, just large slopes of rock to walk over and shallow canyons to weave through. But the steep bowl at the top had tons of people perched precariously kind of like eggs on a countertop.

4:46 PM Arches, Utah: We tried not to look down as we climbed along the edge of the bowl with our expert climber's grip and over to the chimneys across the cliff.

11:11 AM Make a wish, Utah: Mie is unperturbed by the bus load of tourists that just blocked her view, because she has extra-sensory skills.

2:12 PM Moab: I couldn't go to Moab without doing some climbing, so we bouldered instead. It was really easy, but pretty high up

2:13 PM Moab: Note the height.

7:02 PM Overlooking Moab: Rainbows. This place is one jaw dropping moment after the other. There's something kind of relaxed about this city too. The hostel had some characters as they always do. The manager or concierge was the friendliest guy, full of advice and stories, a big happy grin. One not so small distraction though, he had a gruesome gouge where his right eye once was. It was red and hollow and so hard not to look at. I had to focus like a surgeon on what he was saying.

8:14 PM Moab: Our two mile hike put the fear of starvation in us, so we ate more than advisable at the Mexican restaurant with the rain moving in behind us. This took Mie so long to eat, I went for a walk and came back and she was still working. So much respect!

I stopped at the climbing store to add a little to my stash, still not equipped for a full mission by myself. But almost.

11:02 AM Monolith/Moai, HWY 24, Utah: On recommendation from the eyeless man, we skipped the I70 and took off through the center of the state on 24 & 12. Canyonlands veered off to the left, where Aron Ralston had to cut off his arm.

3:22 AM HWY 12, Utah:  A storm rolled in as we entered into the Indian Res. Being in the lowlands; I started to get nervous. We were following along beside a river that was already red with runoff. As we wound around a corner on the 12, we hit a patch of road with at least a 15 foot-wide flow across it. We waited for a while, building up stupid courage. One car plunged through it unscathed. It appeared pretty shallow. Though, I've heard that even two inches of flood water can wash a car away. But it was cross or drive a hundred miles back, so I clinched the steering wheel and plowed ahead. The road dropped off on the other side, so that was menacing as I tried to keep a grip on the wheel. We high tailed it after that, and fortunately started ascending again. Just then the radio beeped with a flood warning... laugh, you dont say?

4:21 PM Grand Staircase HWY 12, Utah: Just driving along and then suddenly we are on a sliver of a plateau with canyons on either side as far as the eye can see, no big deal.

5:23 PM Escalante, Utah: We ate at what looked like the only open joint in a 100 mile radius. It was empty when a guy with a big belt buckle seated us, but it started to fill up with people from who knows where. Then a band appeared and an old cowboy started playing Johnny Cash of course. I was the only person clapping, so he asked me what I wanted to hear, I suggested Hank Williams Sr, an ode to my cowboy grandpa, whom I really miss. We got a concert of Hank and Cash for the rest of the night, really felt like I was on the range.

11:03 AM Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah: We got used to the isolation and cowboy lifestyle in Escalante, back with the buses of tourists and the fees.

Superb tourist fashion

The volume of formations blew my mind, like each one is a tiny castle.

7:35 PM Paria Outpost, Utah: We found this cowboy outpost in the middle of nowhere and when I say that, I mean nowhere. It was awesome, the canyons, dust, tumbleweeds and sunset stretched on forever.

We booked up in this super inexpensive, very quaint, very clean little cabin for the night and then went up to the ranch to talk to the cowhands, who lead trail rides out into the canyons. That's on my list when we come back.  Utah is unbelievable.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

America: Mountains

Traveling cross country (south and tornado alley.) We have found the end of the prairie by way of Denver. The talk in Denver was that in the old days prairie people migrated west, crossed the plains, found the Goliath Rockies rising to the skies, said f-that and plopped down with the tents and carts.

My best friend from high school lives there with her boyfriend and is working on a fat degree.

12:23 PM Denver, Colorado: Me n Red. She showed us around Denver, we had cocktails and tasty coffees, posh lunches, raided a local bookstore and music shop, where Mie and I bought Radiohead and Revolver to relieve us from Blurred Lines on every station in the forty-eight. We stayed up late talking and singing and listening to 90s hip-hop, just like old times.

10:34 PM Buck's Palace, Denver: Buckley Napoleon is happy, noted by his tongue hanging out.

2:12 PM Irving, Colorado: The rock climbing gym, excellently marked routes, almost twice as high as Rockreation but missing that je ne sais quoi. Maybe it's the smell of feet. Was the Colorado gym too clean?

2:03 PM Rock Jam, Colorado: For the Arrested Development fans.

12:10 PM Echo Lake, Colorado: The real rocks, aka Rockies! Trying my hand at Ansel Adams, his photos are everywhere I look, printed and in the leaf.

1:32 PM Mount Evans, Colorado: The highest paved road in the country at 14,100 feet!

3:32 PM Goliath  Peak, Colorado: Encountered this crazed tourist, who hijacked the car and made me drive all over the Rockies in search of wild goats, yelling, "Show me the GOAT!" Eventually, I began to share her enthusiasm and finally my passion for wild goats and sheep created a common bond that led us to continue traveling together to this day.

Someone else understands about the goats and sheep.

Botanical prowess
3:40 PM Summit Lake, Mount Evans: Pretending that we are the first explorers to ever climb this far up into the Rockies, wearing only a sweater and poncho.

3:43 PM Chicago Lakes, Mount Evans: It's been so long since we've seen any vegetation or animal life. We are beginning to question our sanity. Can't go...on... much... longer.

3:21 PM Summit Lake, Colorado: Slightly under dressed for this kind of fun. I guess somewhere in our minds it was still muggy Louisiana, not any more.

Monday, October 28, 2013

America: Prairies

Crossing America. We've reached the midway point. Catch the south in this post.

8:45 PM Outside Dallas, Texas: Some BBQ that I want for lunch every day.
I have the strong suspicion that Dallas freeways are the worst in the country. I've driven in a bunch of cities, but I never fail to miss exits here.We were miles outside the city and still the ramps were these huge disorienting clover leaves with only a few cars on them.

9:12 AM Backpacking hostel, Dallas, Texas: What do people do in Texas? Watch Cowboys football all of the time. No, not really? Yes. Really. Maybe. I'm kidding. We were in Texas less than an hour when we walked into a room full of people watching a Cowboys football game. A guy asked me who I was rooting for, and I said, "well, you know I don't really watch football."

He said, "That's what pretentious people from Los Angeles say. When you know they watch it. Everyone watches it."

At that time an Australian guy walked by wearing a shirt with a big Australian flag on the front. I liked it, but to all of the haters who say Americans are the only ones who wear their flag with pride while in other countries, you're wrong.

In the morning, I struck up a conversation with an older sailor who was newly off of a Kibbutz in Israel. He wanted to convince me to start harvesting wild herbs from city lots and even showed me a website to guide me in the pursuit. As we were leaving he shook my hand and said awkwardly, "May you find G-d," then mumbled, "sorry I have to say that."

2:42 PM Moore, Oklahoma: Site of the massive EF5 tornado in May. We literally got off the freeway and this is what we saw, didn't even drive a block. This was once a residential neighborhood. Very sad and very shocking to see first hand.

Most of the houses were abandoned, some were being rebuilt. This stretch of Oklahoma has got to be the most banged up area in the country, the heart of Tornado Alley. Bascially they are hit with major tornadoes every other year, and in 1999 another EF5 with the fastest wind speeds ever recorded (318 mph.) You wonder why people still live here, but I suppose you cannot underestimate the meaning of home.

The tornado this spring caused more casualties than any other this year. There were still signs and donation depots all along the main road. What's crazy, the El Reno tornadoes hit just a little over a week later and only about 30 miles west. Some of the world's best stormchasers were killed in the widest cyclone ever recorded (2.6 miles.) I imagine it just looked like a huge thunderstorm, you couldn't even tell it was spinning.

Striping away the humanity, there is something about tornadoes that is terrible and fascinating at the same time, like rogue waves and swollen waterfalls. I'm not saying I'd be a storm chaser, but I can see why people do.

6:46 PM Kansas Prairies: Miles and miles of Milo. The grain feed for animals

9:03 AM Mentor, Kansas: Catching up with my good buddy Hugo, who I haven't seen since he was a puppy back in Virginia. Corgis are the best.

Gorbet the cat, suspicious at first.

I just woke up, no one told me that my hair was all messed up. Hugo is ashamed to have his photo taken with me. Come on, don't be like that. Catching up with David; I practically lived at their house when I was a teenager. His daughter was my best friend. He and his wife were like my second parents.

10:02 AM Downtown Mentor, Kansas: Random things that happen when you are on the road. Going on Kansas access cable, checking my teeth for bagel.

Catching up with one of the wolfpaks. Remembering the family trip to New Orleans, the one in which David knocked me into the trash can. So good to see old friends.

The Denver folks were giving the prairie a lashing. I imagine it's difficult for young people or any people to live there long term. But we'd never seen this part of the country. I had painted a picture in my head from the Wizard of Oz, what I read of Grapes of Wrath and storm chaser clips from youtube. But actually being in the Breadbasket has been enlightening.

Prairies last forever.