17 Jun

Art Girl Posse

Almost exactly three years ago, Natalya, Deborah, Robin, Vivien and I got together for the first time for an arty girl’s week. The photos got lost in my blog update a few years ago, but you can read about it here. Last weekend, we did it again! No Deborah (too far), and only for one day with Robin and two and a half for me, but it was fantastic all the same.

Rear view from the train

I brought my daughter this time, who was excited to take a train to New York. I think it sounded quite adventurous or sophisticated to her. So, we hopped on the train Friday morning and off we went, passing through DC, Baltimore, and Philadelphia along the way.

Pink Trees!

Speaking of Philadelphia, this shocking pink grove of trees caught our eye as we sped by. It was followed by a pink bridge section and an orange building. Turns out they are an art intervention titled Phsycylustro, part of a revitalization effort called PlanPhilly (click link for specific info on the project).

In NY, my daughter was amazed at how many people were in Penn Station, and then at how crowded the sidewalks outside were. She’d been to LA on our road trip two summers ago, but it’s a sprawling kind of big, whereas NY is a congested kind of big. We switched transportation modes and took a coach out to Nyack to meet Natalya and her girls at a Russian Fest. If you’ve never seen Russian folk dancing, it’s very athletic and a lot of fun to watch. We also ate a delicious dumpling called pelmeni which I couldn’t pronounce, but was happy to eat.

Saturday was art posse (as another friend dubbed it) day. I’ll save the specifics of the larger exhibits for the next post. We met Vivien at another train station and then Robin in the city at the Museum of Art and Design where we saw two very intriguing shows. From there, we checked out The City Quilter and the adjoining ArtQuilt Gallery. The shop has their own NY themed fabrics which I eyed, but was quite restrained and didn’t buy. They also have a nice selection of books. In the gallery were quilts by Michael Cummings. They are the kind of bold, fabriholic, statement work that I love. And, I was even bold enough to leave a resume and CD of work (more about the weekend’s conversations in another post too).

After The quilt shop was lunch, and then we searched out The Hudson Guild to see the Urban Fabric Exhibit which was so worth the effort to find it off the beaten track. Serendipitously, that put us right under the High Line, so off we went to stroll NY from a different perspective.

High Line


Did you notice the face in the windows of the building on the right? The whole weekend seemed to have an underlying current of street art, from the view out the train window, to murals and graffiti seen from the High Line, to what we would see on Saturday — a museum worthy installation, and curiously tagged billboards on the BQE (a little Googling revealed they were by RAMBO).


Rubber Sentinels


Not too far away, on Broadway, are the Rubber Sentinels by artist Chakaia Booker. Interspersed with cafe tables and chairs in the pedestrian zone, this was the perfect time to take a cupcake pause and placate the tweens.


Me and my art posse


At this point we said goodbye to Robin who had evening plans, and returned to Grand Central Station where we had just enough time for a quick look at the Centennial Quilt show organized by The City Quilter and displayed at the Transportation Museum.


Yarn trees

On Saturday, Natalya took me and my girl to Brooklyn. First stop was the Textile Arts Center. It is such a great looking resource, with looms, sewing machines, dye space, a small gallery, and little studios for visiting artists. The class schedule makes me wish I lived near Brooklyn! In the gallery, I recognized work by Joetta Maue, who I’ve admired, and weaver Erin Riley.


Street art Brooklyn



More street art along the way. I like the way the Bananaman ties together the yellow and the black in the building.

After TAC, we went to see Kara Walker’s installation at the soon to be demolished Domino sugar factory. Impressive! That in itself was worth the trip. We lunched nearby and then, on a whim, decided to visit the Brooklyn Museum to see Submerged Motherlands and Judy Chicago’s Dinner Party. While the Dinner Party was a huge influence in the feminist movement, and have most certainly paved the way for my friends and I, it was interesting to see it as very in-your-face and almost crass, despite the gild and shine and fine workmanship. I know that’s all part of it’s power, but at the same time, I was surprised at how far we seem to have moved in the time since. My peers can be so much more subtle about our subject matter and message, and we definitely take a lot of things for granted which Chicago and her peers had to grapple with. In contrast was Submerged Motherlands, which was also very feminine, but in a softer way. That’s the one that just blew me away. Loved, loved, loved it.

Sunday, we met Vivien again for a quick dog walk on an old Rockefeller estate overlooking the Hudson (lovely!), and then Natalya took my daughter and I back to Penn Station for our train ride home.

Bridge, NY

I don’t remember which bridge this is, but it’s for Natalya. It was a great, inspiring and invigorating weekend and we have pledged to do it again in a few years. I can’t wait!


18 Feb

Checking Out Pow Wow Hawai’i

This week was Pow Wow Hawai’i 2012, a “gathering of contemporary artists that engages with the broader community in the process and creation of art.” And engage it did. Our family took the afternoon to watch the international artists at work and to see their incredible creations. It didn’t hurt that we needed to be in the neighborhood to pick up hubby’s race pack for the Great Aloha Run on Monday, nor that the art was within blocks of Hank’s Haute Dogs (for fortification, of course). Pow Wow hawaii turned out to be the star of the day though.

I want very much to share some of the art we saw. Much of it was collaborative and in-process, so please forgive me if I have not given sufficient credit to the artists. I figure that since the nature of most street art is anonymous, just sharing the amazing work is acceptable. I’ve given names where possible, and more info can be found via the Pow Wow Hawaii link. Click on the photos to go to my Flickr pics which have a little more info. Hubby has more photos on his Flickr pages too.

This guy is part of an impressive corner mural depicting the Hawaiian coat of arms. It has a lot of legend and symbolism imbued in it, and man, the painting is good! Disclaimer: I’m not entirely sure if this is new, or from last year’s Pow Wow. I think it’s new.

Awesome mural representing the Hawaiian coat of Arms

Kamanawa, painted by Prime.

Powerful Hawaiian symbolism and legend courtesy of Pow Wow Hawaii 2012

This section is Kame’eiamoku and a he’e painted by Estria.

Warrior minions? Part of Pow Wow Hawaii 2012

These warriors were painted by Katch One

Hawaiian Legend portrayed by Pow Wow Hawaii 2012

Not far away is a huge wall depicting gods and goddesses of Hawaii. I forget who they all are and what each symbolizes, but it’s always in pairs such as heaven and earth, fire and water, air and snow, etc. Pele is easy to find, and I liked Lono riding his pigs, but snowy Poliahu was looking great as well. As I was talking to one of the artists and not getting all the names straight, he said this is why they wanted to make such a mural: to be educational as well as beautiful. Some of the artists participating in this collaboration were Estria and Trek Six and probably Prime.

Cool He'e (octopus) courtesy of Pow Wow Hawaii 2012

Another cool he’e by Estria.

I love this flower by Pow Wow Hawaii 2012

I love this flower.

Happy Face Spider courtesy of Pow Wow Hawaii 2012

The Happy Face spider is endemic to Hawai’i. The kids figure this one is happy because it’s on a web of cash!

Dangerous looking street art by Pow Wow Hawaii 2012

Further down the wall with the octopus and the spiders is this dangerous looking love by Katch. Again, I was really impressed by the quality of the artists. Damn, they can draw!

Knit bomber adds to Pow Wow Hawaii 2012 street art

My knit buddy Michelle got in on teh action too and tagged two pipes with spam knitsubi!

More Yarnbombing

And there’s a Hannasaurus rex on a nearby parking meter. Feed me!

Playing with the art at Pow Wow Hawaii 2012

It was hard not to be drawn in by the art.

Katja and a Party Fish

At first I thought this was a unicorn fish, but the kids pointed out the string hanging down and informed me it was a party fish.

Menehune racing wild pigs courtesy of Pow Wow Hawaii 2012

Around the corner from the fish and zombie-esque cutie were a bunch of local artists mashing it up. The theme at this end was mauka to makai (mountains to the sea), and as it was facing a park, it was somewhat sporty. Above are tattooed cliff divers and below are menehune racing pigs. I love the iconic ’40s style menehune (something like fairies) on their fluffy boars. Looks like wonderful pandemonium to me.

Fisherman’s Warf use to be a destination restaurant. Now it’s a derelict building on a main thoroughfare. As of this week it’s been made more interesting with a happy melange of graffiti by Flying Fortress, 123Klansman (scien, klor, cleo, & tommy), and Moby Slick (I think).

An improvement to decaying Fisherman's Warf. Thanks Pow Wow Hawaii.

Juke Box Whale! Courtesy of Pow Wow Hawaii 2012

Watch those tagger crabs! Pow Wow Hawaii 2012

Australian artist Phibs ended up with his own wall which he filled with this graphic red-head. It was amazing watching him paint. He made flowing lines so effortlessly and gracefully.

Impressive mural at Pow Wow Hawaii 2012

I think this wall was the collaboration to end all collaborations.  So many artists worked together on it and they blend and overlap so interestingly. Everyone seemed to be having a good time too — watching each other work, adding bits here and there, and checking out how each site was growing. Participants include “Angry Woebots” who painted the angry pandas (which he says counter the popular image of cute pandas and could be mad because they are endangered), Peap Tarr, Meggs, Barras, Jago, Aaron De La Cruz and Jeff Hamada (I think).

Extremely collaborative effort courtesy of Pow Wow Hawaii 2012

I’m not sure whose brainchild this one was, but it was basically a funky cat with a bunch of characters in it’s mouth. Angry Woebot is adding a panda to the mix. But the coolest thing was how the cat artist had used a cement overhang as the bill to the cat’s baseball cap.

Adding to the collaboration that is Pow Wow Hawaii 2012

All in all it was a great way to get out of the house, interact with the community, see some fun art, and have a nice family outing. there were lots of others out enjoying the Pow Wow too. I hope that they are able to continue this event to both engage locals and to add character and beauty to otherwise dreary neighborhoods.