Wednesday, December 29, 2010

S.O.S. New Orleans

Sometimes you are young and go somewhere to visit, then end up living there for 4 months. That's my short romance story with New Orleans back in 2002-03. I spent my brief winter working in a city that charmed my pants off waiting tables at the Blue Bird Diner (R.I.P), an old haunt for William S. Burrourghs and painting Mardi Gras back drops for Maloney Productions.

My old house in New Orleans

This is my old house I lived in on the corner of Burgundy & Spain. This photo is from a visit last year, it was the first time I'd been back since Katrina. The neighborhood I lived in was pretty much the same condition (*it had been almost 2 years since the storm) but there were a lot of big painted X's on homes still. I was told by my host that most families choose to leave them up to remember what happened instead of erasing the memory. This apartment was my favorite I ever rented. You can't really go wrong with 9 foot, floor to ceiling french windows on two sides of the building and beautiful ancient wooden floor boards over a foot in width. The week I left New Orleans I was robbed at gun point and our car was totaled by a hit and run accident, all within 24 hours.

It's just that kind of city. Wild. Feral. Unforgiving. Inspiring. Magical.

New Orleans itself has massive history of magic, the type that can only happen there. Along with the magic comes brutal crime that haunts the streets. I'm in no way the person to speak to conditions there. But I do have my time spent and a large community of friends I consider my family that have chosen to stay there and make good for the city.

Last night on facebook I was stunned when I read an open letter about the current terrible things happening in the city posted by my friend Mikro Naut who lives there (he is originally from Milwaukee). Then a second red flag today was when I got a call from another New Orleans connection saying it's just terrible what's going on, similar to the post-Katrina and summertime crime waves. The city seems to be out of control with a lot of the attacks, fires, rapes and robberies go unreported since folks don't want to deal with the uncaring police.

I guess I am posting this as a plea to those of you who may read my blog and have friends or family there to pass a long this letter (below) that Mikro Naut gave me permission to repost and pass along to you. For me this is about raising awareness. We need to keep our community and loved ones safe.

My deepest condolences go out to those who have lost friends or family in the recent violent crimes in New Orleans. I would like you to know that even though I am far away and may not know you, your loss saddens me and I hope answers and resolution come soon with the new year.

On a lighter note, since bad news always brings people together, I was excited to learn after talking to my friend today about dark sad things, about a new NOLA baby on the way this week. I am sending out MASSIVE waves of safety, love and smiles for my friends Drew & Rose who are giving birth at their home this week with guidance by visiting (left the city due to Katrina) friends Dan, Amy Moon and their one year old son Olai . Smiling as I type this, I can not wait to meet their new family.

REPOSTED with permission of Mikro Naut
12.28.10 via facebook


just recently moved to 13XX Marigny, NOLA 70117. feel free to write an actual letter, its fun. been back in town for around 10 days after a visit to austin. My new neighborhood is in the middle of the most intensive and brutal period of crime that I have ever seen here. Home invasions leading to beatings, rapes, stabbings and slashings, and robbery.

the perpetrators seem to be targeting punks (crusties, oogles gutterpunks, etc.) who don't really have money. not being a very profitable target is the first and often only line of defense for this demographic. in addition the attacks show no sign of abating, with a new death, box-cutter attack, home invasion or what have you occurring nearly every/every other day. also after the the 2nd line for one of the shooting victims a squat burnt down killing 8 or so other kids (many of whom were at the memorial) inflicting a new loss on an already traumatized population. This constant emotional bombardment has left many shell shocked and so stunned that plans of action or even discussion of the different elements of the situation are beyond many of them. there was a meeting today at the "slab" down by the tracks attended by about 50-70 punks and also a homicide detective working on the case by the name of Packer. Many were glad for his presence as it gave us an opportunity to find out what the cops know and ask questions. I felt that his being there created a focus on the law enforcement element of this crisis, in an atmosphere that did not allow for serious questioning of the NOPDs role in the situation, or their frankly shitty history in relating to street kids. Detective Packer acted unaware of the animosity between the cops and the kids, even unaware of the fact that two kids were hauled away from in front of the murder scene of their friend for completely non criminal reasons. One of them, a female, when released had to walk home alone at 4am. I was not able to hear anything useful in any of the statements or answers from Packer. He was a guy with the shitty job of relaying the uselessness of corrupt bureaucracies to respond to emergencies and in that, he reminded me of a PR person. Anyway, I want to find out if there is anyone who has a collected body of info. Things are happening so quickly that its hard to keep track and no one has anything close to an overall picture of this constant psychopath BS. I would like to start with a map of the hood with locations, a timeline, a description of the crimes, times of day etc. hit me up or point me in the right direction. My across the wall neighbors were the victims of one of the home invasions, so this shit is not just close to home, it is home. the police are useless.
peace out
Mikro Naut

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Later Days Pop-Up Shop: 5 day countdown

It will be sad to pack up the shop, but I've done my 3 months sitting here playing retail and am looking forward to having a new show in the gallery. This will also mark the end of Sofia Arnold's amazing magical mural she did for the pop-up, if you haven't seen it in person, you really should.

Wow, 3 months gone, just like that. Poof. Sometimes it helps to type it out to put the time into perspective.

The last 3 days we are open I've decided to have a special sale to help clear out inventory so if there was something you had your eye on, or didn't get for Christmas, it's now or never.


Then we are on to 2011.

Opening Gallery night January 21st will be a photo show with San Francisco based photographer Amanda Marsalis.

Friday, December 24, 2010

One Wild Snow Man

I love a dark children's story & who doesn't like a snow man?

The Snow Man: 1932
Directed and Animated By Ted Eshbaugh
(February 5, 1906 - July 4, 1969)

The Snow Man (1932)

The Snow Man (1932)

The Snow Man (1932)

The Snow Man (1932)

The Snow Man (1932)

The Snow Man (1932)

The Snow Man (1932)

The Snow Man (1932)

The Snow Man (1932)

The Snow Man (1932)

The Snow Man (1932)

The Snow Man (1932)

I love the end when this happy fish is swimming around in the melted remnants of evil snow man who was killed by the northern lights. Happy fish is joined by all the north pole buddies are dancing around in celebration.

Watch the full clip here.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Full Metal Rabbit: 2011 Leif Goldberg Calendar

I couldn't be more happy that my friend Leif Goldberg's annual calendar arrived at the shop today. We got a (very) small amount. If I were you, I'd come by right this second and pick one up. Mine is already set aside, the rest of you have to battle out who gets the rest.

I'll just let these images speak for their genius self.

Leif Goldberg calendar: 2011 front cover

Leif Goldberg calendar: 2011 February

Leif Goldberg calendar: 2011 July

Leif Goldberg calendar: 2011 waffle horse

Leif Goldberg calendar: 2011 back cover

Full Metal Rabbit
Leif Goldberg 2011 calendar
7 color, silk-screened
Edition of 180
$26 tax included

Check out additional work by Leif and his lady Erin Rosenthal from a 2008 show I curated at Paper Boat Gallery here.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Tis' The Season

Wishing you all a calm, safe holiday weekend from Milwaukee.

Happy Holidays from Milwaukee

(We went to the big grocery store late late last night....I'm all for dressing up things with bows but this sorta blew my mind)

Monday, December 20, 2010

Art Auction: Haitian Contemporary Art

Some days you read your email at the right time. I caught notice in the Art City newsletter last week that the Green Gallery East was hosting an art auction with contemporary paintings from Haiti brought back by local artist and filmmaker Xav Leplae. I've known Xav for a number of years and he has great taste, a red flag for an event not to miss.

Contemporary Haitian Painting Silent Auction presented by Xav Leplae
Cock with gun detail: I bought this

Since I had to work at the gallery all Sunday I made sure to arrive early to check out the pieces & see the price range. Thankfully, each painting had a "buy it now" option, so once the hard part of picking what I wanted was over I didn't have to worry about getting outbid. I'd always rather pay more to know I'm getting what I want. I actually hate auctions and don't even buy stuff on ebay. When I decide I want something I want to know I'm going to get it.

The range of work in the show was stunning. Xav did an amazing job of bringing back a wide variety of styles and it was difficult to pick out which pieces I wanted. If Aaron hadn't been there with to help pick out pieces I would of lost my mind (and probably bought at least two more pieces). Somehow we now have to find space for three new pieces in our house.

Contemporary Haitian Painting Silent Auction presented by Xav Leplae

Contemporary Haitian Painting Silent Auction presented by Xav Leplae

Contemporary Haitian Painting Silent Auction presented by Xav Leplae

Contemporary Haitian Painting Silent Auction presented by Xav Leplae

Contemporary Haitian Painting Silent Auction presented by Xav Leplae

Contemporary Haitian Painting Silent Auction presented by Xav Leplae

Contemporary Haitian Painting Silent Auction presented by Xav Leplae
Wedding detail: I also bought this

We went back at the end of the day after work to pick up the pieces and it was interesting to see what went for what. I'd say some folks snagged some pretty wild deals. I was happy to of paid what I did for my pieces knowing the proceeds of the show were going to Xav who is currently working on a documentary filmed in Haiti. Getting new amazing art can happen at the darnedest times. Happy Holidays to me!

Find a few more photos here.

Handmade Meaning: Madison, WI

At some point withing the last year I did some consulting for the show that opened this past Friday in Madison called Handmade Meaning: The Value of Craft in Victorian and Contemporary Culture. The show focuses on craft work all made in Wisconsin, objects made in the 1900's hung side by side with contemporary work. I wasn't expecting to be as impressed as I was, but once I saw how the show looked in the gallery I was so glad I went to see everything in person.

It was amazing to see the work all in one room- my favorite part being not being able to tell if something was old or new. I'm also really glad I made it to opening night so I could overhear comments from visitors. Those interested in craft and those who do craft can be a very critical audience, and I heard a lot of positive feedback about both new and old objects in the show.

I also want to give a shout out to three Milwaukee ladies who have work in the exhibit. Cortney Heimerl (co-author of Handmade Nation) had two embroidery pieces in the show. Kimberly Weiss who is the current temporary mural artist at my gallery. And Cassandra Smith co-editor of Fine Line magazine.

Handmade Meaning

Handmade Meaning

Cortney <span class=
Cortney Heimerl's embroidery piece focusing on animals she has killed.

Cassandra Smith: Handmade Meaning
Cassandra & her mom check out her antler installation

Cassandra Smith: Handmade Meaning

Handmade Meaning

Handmade Meaning
Charles Krafft porcelain skateboard deck

More images from opening night here.

Handmade Meaning, an exhibition investigating the connections between Victorian women's fancywork and contemporary Wisconsin craft.
December 17, 2010-February 6, 2011
James Watrous Gallery
Madison, Wisconsin

Loren Schwerd

I missed the Loren Schwerd solo show in New Orleans last year by one day & was NOT going to miss her show here in Milwaukee. I made it with one day to spare. These pieces are made from human hair extensions found outside the St. Claude Beauty Supply in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina.

Loren Schwerd

Loren Schwerd

Loren Schwerd

Loren Schwerd

Loren Schwerd

Loren Schwerd

Loren Schwerd

More images from the show here.

Venerate: Collectors of the Human Condition
Loren Schwerd & Marco Zamora
November 18- December 17, 2010
UWM Union Art Gallery
Milwaukee, WI

Sunday, December 19, 2010


I'm sure some of you shop keeps, designers and curators will know the satisfaction of seeing someone wearing a design you made, hearing a story about how much someone likes the work they bought from you or seeing photos of what one has done with work they have bought. This is a quick post to share with you a story that was shared with me.

Sky High pop-up boutique

At the pop-up this season there was a total of 24 midwest doily's for sale that I had commissioned for the shop. I posted some images online and sold a few to folks out of town. One piece I sold was to Daniel Arnold, who happens to be father of Sofia Arnold (our current mural artist at the Sky High Gallery pop-up) and husband to Susan Johnson, owner of Avalanche Looms, whom I blogged about this past September.

A few weeks after shipping his order I received an email from him with these two photos and the following story [reprinted with permission].

Framed Midwest by Daniel Arnold

I hope you don't think this is to corny- I was seeing this headed to my parents home, and they, although not living in the midwest, are the essence of it. Sort of a roots reminder for them this Christmas. I stripped and refinished then recut a walnut thrift store frame, stitched the crochet piece to a backing of antique wallpaper that survived the fire in my shop, and put it behind a crazy wavy piece of antique glass, my favorite. Every pane of glass in our old house is wavy, the ones that were clear I replaced with old. Maybe that is part of how Sofia learned to see the world in a different way.

I'm quite happy you had the inspiration to commission the work.


Framed Midwest by Daniel Arnold
A bit touchy to photograph with the beautiful bright day outside.

My summary: this email and story made my month and what an amazing family full of inspiration. Thanks Daniel.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Prayer Flags

I picked out these 5 prayer flags to sell at the pop-up boutique (open until December 31) this season based on their visual appeal and underlying message. All flags are on unbleached muslin and measure 19" x 19", the top edge is finished, and the other three edges are unfinished in order to release the prayer. Pretty nice present (or gift wrap) for someone I thought....

At Sky High Galley: Vast Luck Flag
Vast Luck Flag: The Vajra Cross, symbolizing spiritual power, surrounded by auspicious Tibetan symbols. Brings luck and protection. Available in green.

At Sky High Galley: Kernunnos Flag
Kernunnos Flag: Kernunnos, is he Horned God, Celtic father of animals, Patron God of Druidism. Kernunnos is representative of the male aspect of union with the Earth. Available in dark green

At Sky High Galley: Rain Cloud Flag
Rain Cloud Flag: Native American cloud design celebrating the nourishment of the earth. Available in navy blue.

At Sky High Galley: Lama Seal Flag
Lama Seal Flag: Alchemical symbol representing the union of Sun and Moon over the river of life. Available in green.

At Sky High Galley: Green Man Flag
Green Man Flag: The foliate face represents irrepressible life, as the forces of nature merge with humanity. Available in green.

The flags are sold individually for $6 each or 4 for $20.