Archive for November, 2007

someone’s having a studio sale…

Sunday, November 25th, 2007

It’s come to this. The Wofford holiday studio sale. Tadaah!

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It’s nice that there have been a number of inquiries about purchasing my work recently. Studio visits aren’t always convenient, so I put together a small gallery of pages here on Wofflings of available original artwork for sale. Better it should go to you, than continue to languish in my studio. Better I should do this now, since I’ve been lagging on doing this forever…

All artworks are unframed small-ish works on paper. All are original, one-of-a-kind drawings (with the exception of the limited run of Chicksilog posters).

You can view the work, and get more information, in the new Gallery here.
This gallery and its sub-pages (nurse, inappropriate, etc) are also placed midway down the sidebar on the right.

If you want a copy of the pricelist, or if you have questions about the works, contact me at jkwofford at hotmail dot com.

You get the benefit of unique, well-priced original work.
I get the benefit of vital additional funding for my upcoming January solo project at Southern Exposure.
(See how well this works for both of us?)

Details are in the Gallery. Check it out.

35 years of kearny street badassedness

Saturday, November 24th, 2007

When I was still a wee anklebiter, making my way through the San Francisco Art Institute years ago, I first started hearing about the legendary Kearny Street Workshop, and its innovative program of art and community activism at the International Hotel and beyond. Later on, when I taught high school, I ended up becoming close with student Nicole Hsiang, whose parents were Kearny Street Workshop’s Nancy Hom and Bob Hsiang. Sometimes, when you’re constantly around something peripherally and familially like that, you forget that you aren’t actually involved: it’s only in the past couple of years that I’ve gone to more Kearny Street events, and participated in exhibitions there.

Lo and behold: Kearny Street Workshop is now 35 years old, even if it’s not on Kearny Street. But the I-Hotel has gone and returned, with a Manilatown Center in it, to boot, and they are on Kearny Street! To commemorate this amazing legacy, they are sponsoring a wonderful series of events and an exhibition entitled Activist Imagination.

The first Activist Imagination event is this Tuesday, November 27:

Kearny Street Workshop and Manilatown Heritage Foundation present
The Journey So Far: 35 Years of Activism
A discussion with Nancy Hom, Oscar Peñaranda, and Min Paek
Moderated by Alison Satake

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Join Kearny Street Workshop, the Manilatown Heritage Foundation and a panel of activists, artists, and organizers for a compelling, honest, and dynamic discussion about activism, the arts and community.

The Journey So Far: 35 years of Activism features community activists, artists, and organizers Nancy Hom, Oscar Peñaranda, and Min Paek, and is moderated by author and writer Alison Satake. The discussion, which encourages questions and comments from attendees, will take a look at the last three and a half decades of activism and arts in our communities–what forms has activism taken? what methods have proven effective or ineffective? what lessons can we learn from looking back, and how can we find inspiration for the present and future of engaging in activity that effects real social and political change?

The Journey So Far is part of Kearny Street Workshop’s 35th anniversary program, Activist Imagination, a series of conversations with community activists and artists and an arts exhibition with visual artists Bob Hsiang, Christine Wong Yap, and Donna Keiko Ozawa. For more information about Activist Imagination, please click here.
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The Journey So Far: 35 Years of Activism
Tuesday, November 27, 2007 @ 7 PM
International Hotel Manilatown Center, 868 Kearny Street, at Jackson, San Francisco, CA 94108
Free and open to the public.

For more information on Manilatown Heritage Foundation, please visit www.manilatown.org.
For more information on Kearny Street Workshop, visit www.kearnystreet.org
Join the conversation! Visit the Activist Imagination blog right here.

chomsky in a parking lot

Wednesday, November 21st, 2007

Brandon Bird painted this over a year ago, but I’ve only just been introduced to it this week:

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Signifier and Signified, 2006
oil on canvas

Awesome.
How did I live without knowing about this?

While Bird doesn’t usually paint eminent maestros of linguistics next to their fantasy vans, he’s pretty well-known for equally absurd compositions involving various pop-culture heroes. I’m a big fan of The Anguish (Michael Landon and a large squid), and No One Wants to Play Sega With Harrison Ford (self-explanatory). I might have to get the Law and Order Coloring Book for my sister for Christmas. Or, since I don’t really have the wall space for my own print of the image above, maybe it’s time to stock up on Chomsky greeting cards, at the very least…

My main criticism, if any? Bird paints mostly famous guys. I know the humor value seems a little higher, perhaps, but there are plenty of prominent lady celebrities, just needing a surreal painting generated about ‘em, too. There’s an Imelda Marcos painting just waiting to be birthed, for example.

Hmm.
Maybe I’m supposed to do that.

getting webbing

Tuesday, November 20th, 2007

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Webbed fingers and toes! Patrick Duffy in a modified speedo! The best show ever!
The Man From Atlantis
: quality 1970′s television, people…there’s little I can do to convince you, if you weren’t lucky enough to catch this show back in the day…

One thing that seems to come up again and again in conversations with fellow creative types (at least, the avowedly non-commercial creative types) is how to create opportunities for others to see and understand their work…without having to grovel, sell, brag, spend money or do any number of other artistically difficult things to promote themselves distastefully.

I used to struggle with this too, but I’m kind of over it. Wofflehouse is not much more than a year old, but hello, can I tell you how much more pleasant, and less awkward, it is to have a site to send interested parties to when they ask the perfectly innocent but invariably difficult-to-answer question “So what’s your work like?” No more averting of eyes, muttering about cockroach costumes and all that. It makes things so much easier.

Artists are often the worst at marketing ourselves. Even using the word ‘marketing’ sends chills up our spines, at times. We’re often supposed to play this fucked-up game of being coy: focusing only on the art we make, and not on how it gets out to the public, because doing this would denigrate our studio work’s potency, somehow. But at the end of the day, it’s like this: many of us make amazing work. We live in a culture that barely acknowledges us as it is, and we often play into this further by not sharing the cool things that we do. So I’ve gotta ask: why not make it a little easier for people to appreciate what you do? And why not look at ‘marketing’ as not about the literal market (because that’s not that interesting to me, either), and look at it more as being about just sharing your talent and ideas?

But. Websites often cost bank, right? And it’s all very hard to do, yes? And this holds us back, oui? Here are a number of simple options, if you’re interested. If not now, then maybe over the holidays or as a new year’s resolution this will be helpful.

1. Blog.
It’s free. It’s really easy. You don’t have to write all sorts of blather like I do: you can just use it as an image gallery, with a few notes. I use a Max-customized version of WordPress, but you could also try Blogger or Vox, as far as easy-to-use forums for just posting up scrolling pages of your artwork. I don’t really know the guy, but I like the way that Brion Nuda Rosch uses his in this sort of diaristic, stream-of-consciousness way. Eliza uses hers to post occasional videos (and she swears by this how-to link on vlogging). The Galleon Trade art auction galleries were done on a blog, as well.
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2. Uber.
Uber is kind of like MySpace, but without all the cracked-out annoying backgrounds, twelve-year-olds, and freaky stalker types. Okay, wait, it’s nothing like MySpace, other than it has a social-networking aspect to it, and you need to be a “member” to join and to use it. Gina Osterloh and a number of other friends use it: the portfolio templates are really nice, reasonably customizeable, and geared toward showing work off professionally. There are links to interesting, legit galleries and art writers. Plus you can make Uber friends. (I’m on Uber. I’ll be your friend. If you want.)
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3. OPP.
No, silly. Not that song. Other People’s Pixels. I got curious about the teensy logo attached to my friend Bayete’s cool revamped website earlier this year, and clicked through to find the website for OPP. It’s basically a dream set-up for artists on a budget who want something more than a blog or an Uber page, and it comes with everyone’s favorite vanity piece, a custom URL that has your name (or whatever you like) in it. OPP costs some $, yes, but is insanely less expensive than hiring someone to custom-build you a site, and infinitely more humane than brow-beating that poor web-designer friend of yours into giving you the pro job for the bro price. The prices seems really fair for what you get: browse around the various templates to see the options. I’ve also noticed that a few other artists I enjoy like April Banks and Bill Jenkins are using it, too.
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If you’re able to pony up more cash for something custom, I also know of a few different web designers who would do an excellent job. And noo, I’m not getting kickbacks from any of these folks: I’m just writing this post because I’m trying to be helpful. If I’m over-evangelizing about the wonders of the internets, it’s only because it took me forever to figure this stuff out, so I’m hoping this makes it easier for some of you out there.

If you’re not interested in getting your work more web-exposure, that’s totally fine: I think that there’s a great deal of every artist’s personal practice that needs to remain intimate and private, so I’m not suggesting that you go out and exploit yourself against your own will. You don’t have to plaster yourself all over the internet if you don’t want to. If you are feeling those twinges about missed opportunities, or if it is bugging you that you don’t have any web-presence, then hopefully, this stuff will help. It just seems like the relationship between opportunities and googleability is hard to avoid, these days. I’d like to see more folks I believe in sharing what they’ve got to offer to a larger community. That’s it!

perhaps mildly exaggerated

Friday, November 16th, 2007

This has just brightened my day enormously. Packard Jennings just sent out one of his intimate email blasts to friends, announcing the arrival of the public art posters he and Steve Lambert just completed and installed on Market Street in SF. The project’s title is “Wish You Were Here! Postcards From Our Awesome Future,” and the posters are effing awesome: a clever balance of civic engagement, utopian imagination, and straight-up goofiness. They will be up for four months.

the story:

Packard and Steve asked architects, city planners, and transportation engineers, “what would you do if you didn’t have to worry about budgets, bureaucracy, politics, or physics?” Ideas from these conversations were then merged, developed, and perhaps mildly exaggerated by Steve and Packard to create a series of 6 posters for the San Francisco Arts Commission’s Art on Market Street Program.

Love the “perhaps mildly exaggerated“. Here are a few samples of the posters.

Commuter zip-line across the Bay:

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PJ and Steve imagine a new, improved BART:
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how the Market Street posters look at night:
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Small prints from this series will be available soon. Interested? Steve will be sending out a notice on his mailing list when they are ready: sign up here. And a panel discussion about the future of San Francisco presented by the San Francisco Arts Commission and Livable City is being planned for January. Sign up on the mailing list, use the rss feed, or check back for details.

goldie hawn

Wednesday, November 14th, 2007

Last night was a blast. The kind people of the SF Bay Guardian put together an amazing shindig last night for the Goldies Awards: I really didn’t know what to expect, but it was a total treat: truly festive, very funny, totally vibrant.

This morning, I woke up feeling a really tremendous sense of gratitude: I’ve been getting a lot of reminders lately about the importance of generosity, and the Guardian offers this up when they give these awards. Yes, you could say I’m biased since I GOT one of the awards, but the feeling is really about not wanting to take any of this for granted, and to really appreciate these things. The Guardian doesn’t have to give these awards, and throw a party on top of it, but it does. It has taken the time and energy to honor local talent in the arts for nineteen consecutive years now. It felt so great to be in that room last night with all sorts of other creative people, and realize that our work is actually honored. Most of us do this work without much expectation of public reward or recognition, so when we actually get it, it feels fantastic. The generosity of spirit behind the event last night, and the enthusiasm the writers all put into the pieces they wrote for the Goldies, all added up to a serious case of the warm fuzzies.

Beyond the pleasant coincidence of Galleon Trader Mike Arcega and I getting awards the same year, the Guardian had the good sense to give the Lifetime Achievement Award to Creative Growth Art Center. I’ve had so many friends work there, I have friends who are clients there, and I even worked there occasionally years ago, that it felt like the awards were a family affair! It was so nice to getting to witness them get the accolades they deserve, and to get to be in the audience hooting and hollering for them as well.

Onwards to the embarrassing photos. Photos of our late-eve silliness on the dance floor remain mercifully out of reach, so this ridiculousness will have to suffice.

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Mike, Eliza and I: very excited to be reunited

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EBX, Pirate, Clam, taken by some photographer from “Napkin Nights”…huh?

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Heeeeres Johnny Ray Huston, getting the awards ceremony started…

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Zombies! Creative Growth’s Michael, Jennifer and Ann looking suspiciously undead alongside Tom

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Marga Gomez extols the virtues of vusual art

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Zombie convention! Trying to stop thinking about eating peoples’ brains

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Woffords squatting and sitting and eating brains

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We won!!!!!!!! (pic courtesy of sisig)

back in timespace to out of timespace

Monday, November 12th, 2007

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I swear if I don’t address at least some portion of this today, all of the brilliant discussions that happened at this weekend’s Out of TimeSpace symposium are just going to float out my ear, and go off into the ether forever. You’ll need to spend a few minutes perusing the OoTS website for any of this to make sense, but the short version of this story is that a lot of smart, creative, engaged academics, artists, and like-minded folk got together at UC Berkeley and SFAI for a series of conversations on visuality and alterity. (Erm, I had to look those terms up initially: if you need to as well, a couple of reasonably handy references are here and here, although I’d say that we’ve not adhered to any rigid definition of either). Not being anything resembling academic or well-read, I was not at all familiar with those terms initially. It turns out they applied to pretty much everything that consumes me as an artist. Little did I know.

The symposium opened on Friday morning at UC Berkeley with a lively centernote conversation loosely titled “Transnational Artworlds, Social Justice, and the ‘Will to Globality’.” Introduced and moderated by Dalida Maria Benfield (the queenpin of OoTS), it was an incredibly dynamic discussion between professors Laura E. Perez, Ramon Grosfoguel from UC Berkeley and curator Okwui Enwezor of SFAI. What was so compelling about it, since no transcriptions or public notes yet exist (check the OoTS site soon for these), was the way in which each speaker made a forceful case for his/her stance, and then pushed and prodded and encouraged one another throughout the discussion. There were some clear moments of disagreement, but what was so powerful was watching the way the three of them worked it out, and re-clarified their points of intersection again, in front of us. It set the tone for a symposium that was at times contentious and uncertain, but where despite differences in strategy, language and experiences, most participants were incredibly willing to move beyond their various epistemologies, to meet others at new points of intersection.

For all of the times in which I’ve seen all manner of passive-aggressive tactics used by both artists and academics to belittle one another to make their own point, I witnessed little to none of this at OoTS. The conversations many of us had were messy and imperfect, but they pointed towards a willingness to talk out and work on issues that many of us haven’t had opportunities to push with like-minded colleagues. It’s really difficult to be more specific right now: I’m not that great at distilling the enormity of some of those discussions down to tidy details. Also, the meatier blog housed at OoTS will soon be doing much heavier lifting than lightweight little Wofflings is able to do. Suffice to say, it really seemed that the risks and the effort undertaken to make this symposium happen in such a short amount of time are going to yield some pretty interesting rhizomatic results in the weeks and months to come.

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brilliant mimes/brilliant minds: Okwui Enwezor (with invisible coffee cup), Ramon Grosfoguel (invisible dagwood sandwich), Laura Perez (invisible book), November 9 at UC Berkeley

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OOTS co-organizer Rose Khor keeps her eyes on that sandwich

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Matthias De Groof and Kristin Rogge presenting during the ‘translocalities/transmodernities’ thinkspace

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Worth-Ryder Gallery opening for the ‘OoTS/Another Country’ exhibition

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Allan deSouza and ‘Another Country’ curator Laura Swanson breaking it down for folks during the artist talk

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The OoTS masterminds, Dalida Maria Benfield, Annie Fukushima and Lindsay Benedict, finally relaxing Saturday night

My involvement with the Visuality and Alterity working group that organized OoTS came late, and came minimally: I was always a little hazy on what it was all about, but I instinctively glommed on to the kinds of conversations that the folks involved were having. Unfortunately, the brunt of the planning happened while I was utterly consumed by and then recovering from the visuality-alterity extravaganza that was Galleon Trade, so I couldn’t contribute a whole hell of a lot. I helped out as best I could, but to be real, it felt a little bit like how at Thanksgiving time, I can only help my family prepare by doing all of the menial, brainless work. I am not to be trusted with turkeys, pumpkin pies, or any of that smart stuff that requires foresight and heavy lifting. Essentially, I was the OoTS member in charge of peeling potatoes and clearing plates. (Which was great fun, actually.) Nothing too hard, but good to be at the party, either way.

Congrats to Dalida, Annie, and all of the amazing participants who actually did the hardest work of visioning and manifesting this thing.

Out of TimeSpace

Friday, November 9th, 2007

Whew. What does it mean that I’m posting this at 8 am on the day of the event?

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When I got marginally involved with the ‘Visuality and Alterity’ working group at Berkeley last year, little did I know it would turn out such an intense, comprehensive conference a few months later! I had earnest intentions to help out with the symposium more, but what with, oh, having already GRADUATED, it ended up boiling down to a couple of graphic design jobs (such as creating the poster above), and general shuttling of peoples and foods. I’m still looking forward to the event immensely, however.

If you’re looking for something smart, entertaining and complex to do this weekend, please come to the Out of TimeSpace events at both UC Berkeley and SFAI. Galleonista Johanna Poethig presents today, and Galleon Traders Stephanie Syjuco, Johanna Poethig, and yours truly present on Saturday. Should be good dialogic fun!

To read more about Out of TimeSpace, click here.

you like me, you really like me!

Friday, November 9th, 2007

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I’m feeling hella Sally Field right now. Ha haaa. It’s an honor.
Thank you, Johny Ray Huston and good people of the SF Bay Guardian.
Big party this coming Tuesday night! Open to the public, after 9:30 pm.

Show up. Should be way more excellent than the 1985 Oscars.

SFBG Goldies Party
111 Minna Street, SF
Tuesday, November 13, 9:30 pm onwards
free admission!

ladies in waiting

Thursday, November 1st, 2007

There are so many things wrong with this image, I don’t know where to begin:

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Louis Vuitton, s/s 08

Yeah.

There are so many things both right and wrong with this photo, I still don’t know where to begin:

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Philippines National Police display for President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, October 31.

Double-yeah.

At the very least, I’d like to see all these women in the same room, maybe for a competitive eating contest.
And maybe with the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders, Destiny’s Child, and the Wowowee dancers.
And Peaches.

Just to, you know, see what happens.