...or tries to...

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Mini Me, in a way

Dollhouse art studios seldom come to be the same way real sized ones do-Mini Me had a work table long before I did, and she does have much more space, proportionally. When she wanted an easel she didn't have to save up and order it from the Dick Blick catalog, she just asked and I made one and the glue was dry by the next afternoon. Any postcard or picture for the wall, any art book, magazine, drawing pad - boom, it's hers. No Amazon, trip to Pearl Paint, museum gift shop. She asks, she gets. But she pays a price, in illusion. Have you ever read a story or seen a tv episode where someone is shrunk or transported into an imitation of life? At the end of the novel 2001 the astronaut has books in the faux hotel room provided for him, but since they were imitations the pages inside were all unreadable blurred lines. In a Twilight Zone a married couple turned into toys for a giant alien child wake up in a house and can't use anything in it-the kitchen drawers were just fronts and the phone receiver was glued to the wall. Mini-me can't draw with her pencils or open her drawing pads or books, I imagine the postcards are too pixelated to really be appreciated. I love that trickery-like I love stage sets and museum dioramas. And it makes the real world, despite all its limitations and denials, seem limitless and amazing.

Monday, March 15, 2010

I Heart...

This photo is a bit of a re-run from my Flickr Valentine's Day, but its significance extends way beyond that one February 14th. When something terrible happens, nothing takes it away, but, I have found, the world does open itself up to you. The people who surround me, nearby and far away, some of them very far away, have held out their arms to my family and I last week. I can only put my heart in my hand and say thank you.

Monday, March 8, 2010


There's so much Alice in Wonderland out there now, thanks to Tim Burton, with all those shifts in scale. I've always turned to small, to things that could be knocked over with one exhalation, or shot across the room through an accidental twitch of a finger. There's a general belief out there that miniaturists are controlling, but I never thought so. The idea of shrinking is the ultimate loss of control, backyards turned into jungles, water droplets bursting like bombs. We think a great deal about getting lost, on enormous highways, in big cities, out in the vast woods. Physically true. But hunkering down and considering something small is a truly transformative experience. It gives you those few minutes when you concentrate and the rest of the world falls away. It makes adults do something that children naturally do, truly try to see things that aren't part of every day life. It makes you vanish into an exotic and odd somewhere else.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Florida Fridays

Since I work from home, and always have, the weekends are about rediscovering that I actually exist as a living creature on planet Earth, specifically in the state of Florida. It's a place, I think, that people come to with their own expectations, a chance to make over into their own version of an ideal life. That's why it provides so many crazy news stories, there are so many versions of paradise here that our expectations tend to collide into each other. But I love it because it can be what you want it to be sometimes. So on Fridays I think I'll post a few pictures about my exterior Florida, its odd and its beautiful things. This weekend is the flea market at the Fairgrounds, where there should be dolls with strange and enigmatic faces.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Things I love

I would love, every so often, to talk a bit about things around here that I love. I finally managed to work out some table space in my studio where everything I needed could be within reach, and you can't imagine how fantastic that is after working on the floor for five straight years. The card catalog in my home town library looked a lot like an enormous version of the one I have. I remember getting my first card for the adult section and being frightened of it. I was short, it was huge, it was filled with all the knowledge in the world. Plus, what would keep those drawers, if tugged at too hard, from crushing my head with all that knowledge, cards fluttering down around my body like snow? Still, I loved its depth, that authoritative Dewey order of it all, those smudged typed cards with the furry edges. When I found this one at a warehouse sale, I ran to it, in what seemed like slow-motion, and beat out another woman who had seen it too. I keep thread in my little cabinet, and embroidery floss, and three kinds of pins.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010


I often think I make art to stop time. I used to make it to say here I am, and of course, that still has something to do with it. But now it's more about grabbing hold of what I'm thinking in the here and now, and making it stop, hold still, so I can understand it a little. Things change so quickly. If my piece, Inconstancy, were real, the mushrooms would multiply or die, the birds would fade away. It would be different in only a few hours. I try to say, stop. But time doesn't, nothing does, and that's the lovely absurdity of art making, isn't it?

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Dream studio, (literally)

I guess I had dream houses built in my head when I was a kid, but they were never as vivid to me as the fantasy studio. My father was an art director and worked with all kinds of artists, and each came with their own particular work places. The one I remember best belonged to a very well-known and wonderful illustrator. It filled the entire top floor of a Brooklyn brownstone, stacked up to the low ceiling with rolls of paper and flat files, piles of books, posters, paintings, rows of glass jars filled with gouache. It smelled like pipe smoke and mildewed paper. When we came to visit, we were entertained up there, eating and talking between the art supplies.

I don't have the kind of studio I think I want yet, but it doesn't matter right now. The work gets done, everywhere I can. But I did manage to give fantasy some kind of form, on the top floor of one my dollhouses. Even if it were real, I'd fill it up anyway, and start planning out the next one.