Anywho, #13

Dearest g.g.-

Another update from earlier in the year---the new Gig Harbor Fred Meyer is open, up, and running smooth. When you check out, lookup. That's my finished 45' mural!

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Cross Section revolves around one core element - a slice of a tree. Building off themes of nature, water and Gig Harbor’s past and present, all surrounding images are connected and echo off the growth rings. Its outward movement is reminiscent of sound waves, water ripples, or waves traveling on a still bay. The deer, octopus and harbor seal gaze outward, inviting you to investigate within the design - to voyage from Gig Harbor’s forest to its underwater environment and back up to its beaches.

AND, more currently, my "Yes" mural was featured in July's SEATTLE MAGAZINE! A two page spread even! Here is the digital version so you can check it out at your leisure:

http://www.seattlemag.com/arts-and-culture/seattle-artists-and-tacomas-homegrown-creatives-are-growing-buzzworthy-south-sound

Much love,

mindy jo

 

 

Anywho, #12

Dearest g.g.-

Hi there!

A few updates: the finished discs for Mette! They now live happily in Denmark.

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Much love,

mindy jo

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

 

 

Anywho, #5

Dearest g.g.-

How are you, Sweet-n-low? Has the weather changed for you there, as it has here in the Pacific Northwest? We’ve had freezing temperatures and days with low fog. So beautiful. Especially when walking and running. Running? Yup. Or, better yet, I should say, ‘rugging’—my more accurate combo for my running/jogging. I am again trying to get back into the running swing. It’s free, I feel free, and it realIy gets my heart pumping, all while managing to checking out my surroundings. My mantra: slow and easy= no injuries…or heart attacks. But a couple of days ago it was balmy, with wind. Now, nonstop rain. Who knows? Anywhos do!

Need some really exciting news? What could possibly be that exciting, you ask? Well, get ready, because it’s big. Big excitement. McMenamins, that robust Portland based hospitality company, is finally starting their rehab project on the old Tacoma Elks Temple building.

‘The Elks Temple was built in 1915-16 when fraternal organizations were an important part of the community and had the money to build beautiful buildings such as this one. It was designed by É. Frère Champney, a graduate of the École des Beaux-Arts, in the second Renaissance Revival style.
Adjacent to the building is a stairway called the “Spanish Steps” that winds up the hillside adjacent to the building. These steps, modeled after the Scalinata di Spagna in Rome, were rehabilitated in 2011 by a grant from WSDOT and the Federal Highway Transportation Enhancements program’

This is the same building that has been vacant and leaky since I was a kid. In fact, I don’t remember a time when it was actually a functioning club. And, more recently, it sat even longer after the McMenamins bought it—I think it has been something like 6 years or so. 6 years is a long time for a structure to sit, allowing it to continuing to ponder its years of neglect. Like so many buildings in Tacoma, while driving or walking by, you could swear you could hear it moaning a low despair.

Here is McMenamins’ new footage about their project:

The fact that it is still standing, though, points to the solidness of its construction (I have known a rumor for years that it has a swimming pool on one of the upper stories! What?!!!), which is one of the reasons I respect McMenamins’ business philosophy: they buy old, well built properties often facing unknown futures and refurbishes them to their yesteryear glory while installing a feasible business within. They work with what is there and build to functionality.

In 2009, Tacoma experienced a not so happy story, one that many Tacomans wish not to repeat. A neglected, six story, on the National Register of Historic Places, Burnham & Root building, the Luzon, was torn down despite its historical significance as an example of early architectural designs that led to the modern skyscraper-- it was one of the first buildings in America to have steel columns. What’s now in its place?  A parking lot. Yup. Still there, in all its UNIQUE (ha!) glory.

A local gallery had a show celebrating the Luzon right after the demolition. Here is a photo of the building before it was gone and the artwork I created, part of my Photo Extensions series—I used a photo I took of the building prior to its demolition and extended their colors across the surface.

 The Luzon prior to demolition.

The Luzon prior to demolition.

 My Luzon painting.

My Luzon painting.

So grateful this will not be the Elks Temple's storyline.

Another reason, speaking from a muralist's viewpoint, why I think this news is so grand is they are BIG supporters of hand-painted imagery on their walls. Pretty much on every practical surface. Do you know how rare this is? As you know, I have lots of attitude regarding the nonexistence of original art in people’s homes. My business is, of course, hand created so you'd think most of my clients would own other original art. You'd be surprised, as I am, that this is not always the case. These days buying a print (and I'm not referring to an artist signed and numbered piece--that's great because it means it's a limited edition...almost, kinda sort of close to an original), like a giclée print (I've had the unfortunate opportunity to inform many 'painting' purchasers that their 'painting' is NOT an original painting but rather a giclée print with clear gel smeared or brushed onto the surface to give it a hand painted, brushed texture...people, this is NOT real!), is so easy and CHEAP...or at least CHEAPER. We artists are having a hard time convincing art collectors to pay possibly a bit more and investigate a bit longer for that perfect, only-one-in-existence artwork. I commend those who do! There is even 'mural wallpaper' now. Oy vey! So the fact that McMenamins takes great care in investing in custom, hand painting makes me scream with joy!!! Welcome to town, I say!

And an additional stream of good news came last week. McMenamins is slated to take on the Old City Hall building too, which is located just below the Elks Temple and the Spanish Steps!!! It's another gorgeous building that's long overdue for some loving care. Yip-a-doodle! Looking forward to what McMenamins has planned!

Keep warm, dry and lovely.

Much love,

mindy jo

 

My lanterns are hung!

Come visit the Tacoma Design Collective's showroom! I have just hung some of my handmade lanterns in the window and they are all lit up...come look in the day or come at night. Very festive! 

On each paper lantern I have embedded photos I have personally taken and then added a hand painted design to connect all the photos. Each one is completely different from the other. There are three sizes and also two different paper lantern formations, one a random rib pattern... the other more consistent, to choose between. All reasonably priced for that perfect present for your loved one!

Is there more work to purchase in the showroom from the other Tacoma Design Collective members?

Yes!!! Please visit this website to learn about other artisans represented by the Tacoma Design Collective.

http://www.tacomadesigncollective.com/

What is the Tacoma Design Collective?

Tacoma Design Collective is the premiere North End Design + Build creative team. The brainchild of President Scott Neste, the Tacoma Design Collective was formed in January 2011 to build on the collaborative and creative strengths of its members including Weddermann Architecture, SE Construction, Details BUY Design and Neste’s own Minor Details. 

Where is the showroom?

2603 North Proctor, Tacoma, WA 98407

253.468.4965