Anywho, #11

Dearest g.g.-

I wish you lived closer because Tacoma is so good to me.

I would love to share its goodness with you, but, alas, you live so far, far away.

What would you experience? Well, on September 21st, myself and 9 other Tacoma based artists were honored. Yup. All of us together; everyone's artwork installed in one place at the Spaceworks Gallery.  First, we all were nominated--which was amazing--then each of us won a Foundation of Art Award from the Greater Tacoma Community Foundation! So honored. And I have to say, Gabriel Brown, of Spaceworks Tacoma, did a fantastic job hanging my stuff at the gallery. It wasn't easy! For more information about this award and the AMAZING things the Greater Tacoma Community Foundation does for our community, go here: https://www.gtcf.org/blog/gtcfs-10th-foundation-art-award-honors-10-pierce-county-artists/

 The Spaceworks Gallery with my Strata Discs hung second to right in right window.

The Spaceworks Gallery with my Strata Discs hung second to right in right window.

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What stuff?

Remember when I told you that I was going to Denmark this summer? Well, I did! My dear friend, Mette, in Denmark, has been chatting with me about creating artwork for her family's home since 2006. I know, long time--over 10 years! But this year we made it THE year!

The first leg of my trip included 3 nights stay in Reykjavik, Iceland at the Reykjavík City Hostel. What did I do the most: spent daily hours at the Laugardalslaug thermal pool, just a few minutes away from the hostel. Heaven, especially the pool with geothermal ocean water.

2006 was the last time I visited Iceland. I was with 5 other Icelandic relatives and, wow, Reykjavik has changed. There was so much more tourist this time around! Almost every sign was in English along with an Icelandic version, sometimes with the English version first. I also had trouble finding hand-knitted items that were actually crafted by Icelanders. After I mentioned this to Icelandic friends they confirmed my suspicions: most of the knitting is done outside of Iceland, by non-Icelanders outfitted with patterns to follow. I'm guessing, with little doubt, that the rate of return is higher this way. After hours of meandering searches, I did find a woman with hand-knitted items in the plaza on Austurstræti and Lækjargata. We had a wonderful conversation, once I told her where some of my Icelandic ancestors lived :) She informed me there were more tourists (mostly summertime) in Iceland than Icelanders. Very concerning. And I believed her.

Next, I spent 10 glorious days experiencing Mette's life, including her life with her two lovely children in Lyngby, a northern suburb of Copenhagen, Denmark. How did we meet? I lived with Mette and her family as an exchange student in 1988-89.

 Mette and I in 1988 in downtown Copenhagen.

Mette and I in 1988 in downtown Copenhagen.

 Mette and I in 2017 at the Queen's Castle in Copenhagen.

Mette and I in 2017 at the Queen's Castle in Copenhagen.

On this trip, the first time back since 1989, we walked, talked, biked, swam, ate, drank, and laughed. We jumped into her car and toured through Zealand, Funen, and Jutland visiting friends, camping, picnicking, walking, morning bathing in the ocean and laughing more.

 Picnic on the side of the road, next to the Nakkebølle Fjord.

Picnic on the side of the road, next to the Nakkebølle Fjord.

 Car camping at the Nørre Lyngvig Campground.

Car camping at the Nørre Lyngvig Campground.

 Sunset picnic on the shore of the North Sea.

Sunset picnic on the shore of the North Sea.

 Mette and I on top of the Nørre Lyngvig (lighthouse).

Mette and I on top of the Nørre Lyngvig (lighthouse).

 Mette took a photo of me on the way down through the lighthouse interior.

Mette took a photo of me on the way down through the lighthouse interior.

So many coinkydinks happened each day that I soon was asking Mette, 'Did you plan that?' Then we'd break down, laughing and laughing. For example, while visiting Vadehavscentret in Ribe, Queen Margrethe II walked by, only about 1 foot away from us. She was museum touring with around 6 people and if Mette had not pointed out who she was I would have thought she was just another museum visitor. I'm SURE Mette planned it! It was a gorgeous place.

Something Mette definitely planned was a visit with her long known friends in Havnbjerg. After a beautiful evening of delicious drinks and food, their daughter, Sophia, a young, inspiring artist, asked if I'd like to draw with her. She had an elaborate water-soluble color pencil set and a soft colored bouquet she designed earlier that became our perfect still-life.

I have never been around a young person with such determination, such a hunger and willingness to learn. While we drew together she asked me why I did certain things--through translations from her supportive mother--and she never lost her concentration. Blown away by this person! Enjoyed every moment with this family.

 Me, Sophie, and her mom, Stine.

Me, Sophie, and her mom, Stine.

 Me and Sophie quietly drawing together.

Me and Sophie quietly drawing together.

 Sophie and her younger sister, Ina, pose with Sophie's gorgeous artwork. AND she gifted it to me! A treasure!

Sophie and her younger sister, Ina, pose with Sophie's gorgeous artwork. AND she gifted it to me! A treasure!

I'd love to keep writing and describe what we did every day--the new Moesgaard Museum, MOMU, was amazing and the Louisiana was still as wonderful as in 1989-- and who I saw--like Mette's family, especially her dad who I haven't seen since 1989!-- but this would belabor our main travel abjective: in exchange for a flight to Iceland and Denmark, I will send Mette 5 of my Strata Discs.

And the award, with its show at the Spaceworks Gallery, prompted me to complete 4 of the 5 discs for the installation. Some even traveled with me on this trip!

 Drawing in the evening on the discs I brought with me to Denmark.

Drawing in the evening on the discs I brought with me to Denmark.

Thank you, Mette, for a beautiful trip!!!!

Back home, I worked non-stop to complete the 4 discs for the show. Each one contains specific imagery to be included within their strata, symbolizing ideas precious to her and her children.

Strata Discs, Artist Statement:

I’m fascinated by soil.
The soil we walk upon is teeming with gazillions of tiny, unseen critters, with one gram containing as much as 5,000-7,000 bacteria species.
And most people don’t even realize it.
Most of my work revolves around those critters seen or unseen and the environment surrounding them. Each completed piece becomes a decomposing, creature-filled and impermanence abiding environment soon to crumble into soil. It’s what all matter eventually becomes--layers of history.
I like to imagine what a cross-section of this strata could contain—perhaps fictional frolicking creatures, colorful minerals, objects that have been disposed of or demolished, all of them past memories embedded within deposited layer.
 Adding imagery.

Adding imagery.

 More lines drawn with my favorite pens, Pigma MICRON.

More lines drawn with my favorite pens, Pigma MICRON.

 Almost completed discs sitting next to uncompleted discs on my studio floor.

Almost completed discs sitting next to uncompleted discs on my studio floor.

The 4 finished Strata Discs hung in the Foundation of Art Award art installation:

  Sunset , acrylic/ aluminum leaf/ dutch metal leaf/ ink, 14" X 14"

Sunset, acrylic/ aluminum leaf/ dutch metal leaf/ ink, 14" X 14"

  Sky,  acrylic/ aluminum leaf/ dutch metal leaf/ ink, 8" X 8"

Sky, acrylic/ aluminum leaf/ dutch metal leaf/ ink, 8" X 8"

  Sunrise,  acrylic/ aluminum leaf/ dutch metal leaf/ ink, 6" X 6"

Sunrise, acrylic/ aluminum leaf/ dutch metal leaf/ ink, 6" X 6"

  Sunshine , acrylic/ aluminum leaf/ dutch metal leaf/ ink, 10" X 10"

Sunshine, acrylic/ aluminum leaf/ dutch metal leaf/ ink, 10" X 10"

Much love and happy travels,

Mindy Jo

 

 

Artist statement: collaborative mural on 11th and Market, Tacoma, WA

Humans, Join Us!™

By Mindy Barker and Kristin Giordano

Hey you! Yes, you, "driving" by in your car, texting. Notice the air quotes around "driving?" Don’t you know the dangers of texting while driving? I think Werner Herzog just did a documentary about it. You don’t know Werner Herzog? You should really look him up on Netflix™. The Criterion Collection® put out an entire box set of his films. You will not believe the scene with the tiny monkeys in Aguirre, Wrath of God.™

Sorry, I lost my train of thought for a sec. I was talking about danger, texting, and driving. Because there are alternatives. Have you ever considered the pleasures of bipedal locomotion? We have! The best way to begin walking is to find yourself an excellent pair of shoes. They should be comfortable, but please--try to be a bit stylish. You’re in public now. It is not okay to wear your pajamas to the store, and slippers are not shoes. You know who you are.

But seriously, have you ever seen a cuter bunch of baby chickens? One of them is wearing a helmet. By this time, you have probably gotten distracted and clicked on the YouTube™ cat video your cousin put on Facebook™. You really need to stop messing with your phone while you drive. You're becoming a menace. And you really shouldn’t hold a No-whip Mocha Frappuccino® and an iPhone™ while operating a motor vehicle, especially a stick shift. That's probably why the baby chicken has to wear a helmet all the time.

I see that you are now scrolling through the photo gallery on Flickr™ of cute animals in mugs. I mean, a baby hedgehog IN A MUG! That is literally the cutest thing ever. OMG, totes adorbs! Wait, no way, there’s one with two baby bunnies IN THE SAME MUG! WATCH FOR THE PEDESTRIAN!!!!! Jeez, you really need to focus.

If you take a break from looking at the hilarious thing George “Sulu” Takai just posted to Twitter™, you might notice that there is a large lemur on a skateboard on the side of a building downtown. That is horrendous! Oops, I meant to type “hilarious.” Stupid auto-correct! You know, you really shouldn’t try to post it to Instagram™ while you’re driving. But, oh, wait, never mind, you just did. No worries! But you should really pull over if you want to get the one of the meerkats in sneakers. It could totally go viral. For, like, 2 seconds.

 

 

 

Mural: 11th and Market

Last June, Tacoma put out a call for artists to submit proposals for the Artscapes Program:

Spaceworks Tacoma and Downtown On The Go (DOTG) are teaming up to facilitate new Artscapes for the building walls at 11th and Market in downtown Tacoma.

We are seeking artist(s), artist teams and/or community groups to transform the current “Chalk Walls” into temporary 2-dimensional, site-specific installations (Artscapes) with a theme of transportation. Artists are asked to submit proposals that will create a space that adds to the livability of downtown and positively reflects living, moving, or being downtown Tacoma.

Here's a photo of the "Chalk Walls" project. The wood panels are the surface to be painted for this call:

Kristin Giordano and I decide to tackle this challenge. Here is our initial proposed idea: 

We are accepted!!! 

The city also accepts Jeremy Gregory's design and decides to have us share the building, giving one side to Kristin and I and the other to Jeremy. We are tickled! 

Jeremy graciously takes the hilly side of the building. Thank you! 

Here's our new revised design for the Market St. side of the building:

At this point of the design process, the design didn't have the "ground" indicated but on the actual final mural it will be added. 

After our specified basecoat color was painted, this is what the site looked like before we began:

Time to measure. And measure. The polar bear and the "Humans, Join Us!" became the center to measure from:

After hours of working with FedEx on 19th (thank you manager Vicky and the super fantastic Jeremiah...thanks for not shouting, "No more! We never EVER want to see you both again!". Kristin even brought them donuts as a peace offering but both Vicky and Jeremiah were not working. Nice thought, though, Kristin!) to produce our images and hours of gluing these images together, here is where the application of our design began:

First to be painted, "Humans, Join Us!" second, the polar bear is adhered.

Next the meerkats...

A high (Hi!) fashion/Tacoma action shot of Kristin!!!!

The team. An attentive passerby noticed I was standing in the middle of the street with my camera and tripod, running back to Kristin to get a photo of us together once they were set. She kindly offered to take over. Phew! She only got one honk of warning from one impatient car driver. 

The cats are added.

photo: Lisa Kinoshita

Painting in the "ground".

photo: Lisa Kinoshita

The "ground" is now in place.

More to come...