Art Domestic: Welcome to My Crib

Anyone that has rented an apartment in an old house or building knows that you’re likely to have weird or awkward spaces. Those spaces are typically part of the charm. Still, they can be a challenge at times.

For example, when your front door opens immediately into a narrow hallway and you’re not allowed to paint it, how exactly do you brighten or enliven that space? For a while we had paintings and such stacked salon style all the way up to the ceiling, but I had a drawer full of unframed art that I really wanted to liberate despite being unable to frame all of it.

This was our solution:

artdom1There’s a lot of stuff there so I’m not going to get into detail about each and every single piece. Most of the work I received as a gift or as part of a trade. I still plan to properly frame their artwork, but for now at least I can see most of it, which is especially important as people move onto other adventures in their lives.

artdom2In this section: Marie Porterfield Barry, Stephanie Streeter, Amanda Richardson, Liz Layton, Jessica Augier, Stephanie Ott, and just a corner of Ira Pratt’s octopus print. artdom3In this section: Liz Layton, Stacie Williams, Wyatt Moody, Reese Chamness, Marissa Schillaci-Kayton, Keaton Lawson, Stephanie Streeter, Jessica Augier, and Ira Pratt. artdom4Not all of it is art, as you can see. There are also a few wedding photos. We used to have more pictures up, but they kept felling off the shelf, so those are in a drawer for now.

In this section: There’s some more Liz Layton, Ira Pratt, and Marie Porterfield Barry work in this section. Charlie Haskins and Geoff Pratt each have a drawing poking out.

artdom5This is one of my favorite possessions. A little girl named Alex gave it to me.
artdom6“Little Womb” by Taylor Norris. This painting was part of her BFA show and I snatched it up. (Pun intended.)

artdom7Unfortunately I don’t remember what this silverpoint drawing it called, but I can tell you it was made by Jessica Augier when we were undergrad students together.

xx

Interested in participating? Check out the submission page. If a blog post seems like a hassle, you can also post to Twitter or Instagram under #artdomestic.

Art Domestic: Call to Rooms

Sitting in the passenger seat and looking out the window during one of our many trips to holiday festivities this past December, it occurred to me that homes without art in them feel foreign to me, not because I grew up around art, but because art is part of how I define Home. Every space that I have controlled, whether it’s a bedroom or an entire apartment, has art in it. A lot of it. Rooms without art in them feel inactive, almost lifeless in their complacency as kitchens, bedrooms, living rooms. This train of thought led me to consider our general expectations about art: where we expect to find it, who can possess it, how art ends up in our homes, and what we want from the art in our homes.

I’m curious about the lives of art in private residences. I’m curious about the relationships that exist between the art object and other objects. I’m curious about intended audiences and hidden away pieces. There is already Great Art In Ugly Rooms, but the art I am curious about is not necessarily “great” or “famous” or “collectible”. (And furthermore, the rooms are not necessarily ugly.)

Whenever my husband and I have looked for new apartments and the landlord finds out I’m an artist, each time they had something to show me, some painting or embroidery made by their great aunt or sister or cousin. Or a giant ceramic vase they found at a garage sale, probably made by an undergrad ceramic student. Each time they seemed a bit nervous, but also excited. Amongst piles of dirty clothes or above a carefully made bed or hung next to a print of Jesus in a plastic frame — there were these objects they identified as Art.

The enthusiasm of others is sometimes daunting. I want to like the object. I don’t want to be reduced to a stereotype. I don’t want to demean their grandmother’s fish scale collage or wife’s painting of her childhood home. I love the paintings and drawings of children, though I often don’t know what to say about them. I don’t want to appear critical of the one time this person bought art.

When I cannot appreciate the object itself, I can usually rely on appreciating what the person has to say about it. Why do they have it? Where did they get it? Why did they put it in their bathroom? Is this the first and only piece of art they’ve ever bought? Did they feel like they needed “permission” or a lot of money to own art in the first place? Did they grow up with artists or art collectors in the family? How often do they visit museums and galleries?

I want to know.

Share the art that lives in your home.

xx

I will start with myself for obvious reasons.

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This is a fragment of our living room. There used to be a lot more photographs and paintings on the wall, but we altered the space quite a lot and haven’t really “finished”.

Stephanie Streeter made the drawing in the frame during undergrad. The first time I saw it was a group student show downtown and as I looked at it, many people nearby talked about how funny it was, how much they loved it. I remember thinking that Stephanie was really getting somewhere with the dog imagery in her newest work and that graphite was her medium, where she combined poetry and banality, bodily impulse and sophistication.

Later when she had her BFA exhibition, I saw her bring the same language to painting except with the added lusciousness that oil paint offers.

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Before Stephanie moved to Cleveland, we traded artwork and this was one of the pieces I received from her. It’s still a piece of art that people often comment on when they visit. They almost seem surprised by it.

Do the Art Hustle

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It’s better than disco. I promise.

I added many of my available original paintings and drawings as well as prints to Etsy: http://www.etsy.com/shop/unicorntaxidermy

I also uploaded some images for print at Society6: http://society6.com/JaimeSantosProwse

More is coming, believe it or not. It turns out I have made a lot of things.

I cannot immediately begin working on commissions because I already have three to fulfill, but if you have something in mind that doesn’t need to be finished within the next 3-4 months, I’d be happy to discuss it with you. Later this summer I will post more information regarding time-sensitive, holiday season orders, especially for custom or bulk order block print cards or tags.

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Reception for Inheritance

I’m not sure how one gauges the success of a reception. Is it how many people show up? How many people compliment you? How much art is purchased? How many people suggest another exhibition or commission that probably won’t come to fruition? I don’t know.

A lot of people showed up, a lot of people responded positively to the work, a lot of people loved the food, and one person bought a print. Good, I think. I worked a bit harder to promote the show and to allow other people to promote it for me. A couple people mentioned reading about it in the paper to Robert.

Thanks to my grandparents, mom, mother-in-law, and some friends the food for the reception was everything I hoped it would be — good, seasonal, and substantial vegan food for people who aren’t used to eating vegan food. I’m glad I decided to shoot for having too much food because people ate pretty much all of it. There was very little left for us to take home by the end of the night. We had:

Southern Event Regulation sweet tea
Art Show Regulation boxed wine (probably not vegan)
Husband Regulation Yuengling lager beer
Fruit jam, olive & dill, garlic, and spicy nut spreads
Chipotle, black bean, and garlic hummus
Crackers and fresh bread
Fresh fruit
BBQ pomegranate tempeh
Citrus glazed beets & sweet potato
Asparagus & heirloom tomato garlic salad
Cranberry, apple & squash quinoa
Hot black-eyed peas & kale
Sesame chard salad
Spiced pumpkin cupcakes
Maple cookies (Earth Fare)
No-bake chocolate cookies
Peanut butter rice krispy treats

It was all delicious. And I might have forgotten something or things. We managed to find some compostable plates and silverware, plus recyclable plastic cups so there ended up being one trash bag, one recycling bag, and two compost bags. I’m pretty pleased with hosting an event that was at least semi-responsible.

Instead of a guestbook, I decided to paint a rectangle on the wall and let people fill it with their comments. More like an open forum or a discussion board than a guestbook. People were a bit shy about it, but with some encouragement by the end of the night there were several comments, some of which were especially thought-provoking or validating. (And who doesn’t love feeling validated?) It seems like most people came to me directly to tell me what they think.

We ended up staying in the gallery until 11:30 because people kept coming in, and I was as proud of myself for talking to so many strangers as I was for putting together the whole damn show. Especially on three hours of sleep. More images from the reception are available at my Flickr account. I’ll take some good photos of the work itself soon. Until then, here are a few more images from the reception:

A beauty but a funny girl

Tantrums
Spiked coffee
Yoga
Damiana
Husband hugs
Dark chocolate
Really good dinners
Running
Singing

The tantrums actually ended a while ago once I felt more secure in the progression of the work. At first it was not working out at all, my hands felt awkward and jumpy. Virginal in the ways of graphite and watercolour. Has it really been that long since I tried to draw something in earnest? It’s at least been a couple months. And before that I was busy masturbating a sea of hundreds, thousands tiny little black lines. Fight or flight, a combination of both.


My hands and my eyes remember more now, and I can see the faces much better. Soon I’ll move onto the figures. They will have to be quick and ruthless. In my head, they remind me of figures in the work of Kara Walker, Wangechi Mutu, Fay Ku, Peregrine Honig, and my former classmate Kenna Kindig (who needs a website or something).

Installation begins after this weekend, then a week until the opening reception. I knew there were some things I wouldn’t begin until I could move into the gallery, such as the mysterious substance flowing in and out of the figures, so that’s not really a concern. It will work. If it doesn’t I will burn the whole building down. (Not really, Karlota.)

By the way: I still need some pictures of faces. Just an up close portrait with no makeup or glasses. Unless you have a lot of facial hair, in which case I can’t really use you, but thanks anyway. Photos of random people on the internet just don’t work as well.

Prayers for the wild at heart

I made two more paintings in the circus series to replace the two that have sold (the monkey and the giraffe), but then one of the new ones plus an older one (the elephant) sold so now I need to make more. Not that I’m complaining.

Self-Explanatory. Mixed media, 2011.

I focused on the tricks that the animals are made to perform because they are just as disgusting to me as the physical abuse so prevalent in circuses that include wild animals. It’s degrading. I’ve never understood the desire to kill, cage, or otherwise possess something you find beautiful. Don’t you love it or find it interesting because of what it is, and can you not see how possession changes it?

Detail from Self-Explanatory.

Sorry about the poorly shot photos. I kept forgetting to do it, and then ended up rushing. Since I’m interested in eventually producing prints, I’ll have to be more deliberate. For these two, as before, I used second hand frames from local thrift stores.

Obedience. Mixed media, 2011.

The amusing thing about all of this is that I tried a bunch of other things in an effort to earn some money, thinking that selling “public friendly” paintings or drawings could not possibly work for me. None of those other endeavors really amounted to much, or gave me the same level of satisfaction as making these paintings. If I can keep it up (EF wants me to have work there every 3-4 months), then this is certainly a viable option.

Detail of Obedience.

I’ve been thinking a lot about obedience lately. Last week I was reading about Eva Hesse and there was this phrase that really stuck out in my mind — “… haunted by obedience.” So many contemporary acts of rebellion feel forced, phony, or inauthentic. Symbols of it – like tattoos, strange hair styles, and so on – are now meaningless. Where is the real rebellion? Is that possible? Are we all haunted by obedience?

I go where I wanna go / providence

Now that they’re framed, mostly in second hand frames, I like them much more. Probably because I don’t have to worry as much about the 96 year old paper tearing or getting renegade glitter in my tea.

The paintings will go up on Friday and will remain in the Earth Fare cafe area through August. Hopefully at least a few of them will sell since that was kind of the whole point. That said, I don’t think these pieces are entirely separate from my “real” work and actually reflect on some interesting things that I had forgotten about.

One example: When I was a kid, I used to make a lot of collages. I didn’t intend for them to have socially critical meanings or set out thinking, “This will be funny”. I just made them. Later I’d look at them and think, “Oh, this is about _____” and I could see how they were a bit silly and angry all at once.

Coincidentally, I’ve been watching X-Men cartoons lately.