Thursday, June 29, 2017

Color Poem #16

the exact pink of the
giant pink balloon
tentacle wings
on the backs of
the roller skaters
is hard to pin down

it’s a gay pink sure
the pink we know
the pink of pink triangles
pink buttons and badges
of drag queen lipstick
and punk rock haircuts

but being made out of latex or rubber or
whatever it is that balloons are made of
with air inside it
and light behind it
this pink glows in mysterious ways
making it tricky to put a name to

a powerful pink
a hilarious pink
a pink which reminds you that
strength and whimsy  are not
as we sometimes think them
mutually exclusive

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Chronicle Books Spirit Week Days 3 and 4

For the Chronicle Books 50th anniversary Spirit Week celebration last week, Wednesday's theme was gold and Thursday's theme was the Summer of Love (Monday and Tuesday's festivities can be seen here).

photo credits:
top - Caitlin Kirkpatrick
second - Christina Amini
the rest - Michelle Park

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Pride 2017

We love a parade! Mabel especially. And I adored how many protest and social justice groups had a presence this year.

Monday, June 26, 2017


I tried something new with this, my most recent drawing: putting the story right on the picture. Nearly everything I draw has some sort of story behind it. And, as I try in my stumbling way to start making work that addresses bigger issues like feminism and white supremacy, I'm realizing it's becoming increasingly important for me to find a way to convey that story along with the image. Otherwise this is just a sort of a cute drawing of a cheesy Italian restaurant, and that was not my intent. I'm not 100% sure this is the ultimate solution, but I'm trying it out.

In case this one is hard to read, it says: "At this Fisherman's Wharf restaurant I overheard a verbal altercation that, my gut told me, was racially motivated. I feel shame that I did nothing to intervene."

Friday, June 23, 2017

You Must Dive Down...

This piece by David Shrigley (found via the very excellent Booooooom!) is basically my new favorite work of art in the world.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Color Poem #15

Mabel just recently learned
the difference between
silver and gold

for years she called
golden things silver
and silver things gold

and no amount of correction
made any difference
until it did

image source is here

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Chronicle Books Spirit Week (Days 1 and 2)

Today is Chronicle Books' 50th anniversary! A company founded in San Francisco in the Summer of Love now finds itself fifty years old and celebrating in our own inimitable style. There's a slew of parties and other festivities to come, which I'm sure I'll report back to you on in due course. But for now I'll just tell you about the first two days of what we're calling Spirit Week. Yep, just like you remember spirit week from your school days, each day has a theme. Monday the theme was to dress in blue (blue being the official and unofficial Chronicle Books color) -- my blue look is above and the winners of the day, doing an exquisite Blues Brothers, is just below. Yesterday the theme was San Francisco and the winner was the genius who made her own Claude the Albino Alligator costume (two down). We also got to sample the custom Chronicle-themed espresso Ritual Coffee Roasters has invented to honor the occasion -- with a real coffee guy hauling his machinery in here to make us drinks (props to him - you offer publishing types free coffee and you will have a long line for a solid two hours). The blend is called Acid Trip and according to its tasting notes it tastes like "grapefruit, blood orange, rose hips, and freedom" (I love that). Group photos from both days are at the bottom of this post. Today is gold day in honor of our actual golden anniversary and I'm all decked out in the gold outfit I wore a few months back to the SFMOMA / Solange / Leah Rosenberg birthday extravaganza -- which, I'm just now realizing I never blogged a photo of! An oversight which, I've no doubt, will pretty soon be remedied.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

How Art Can Make You Happy

Here's a little sneak peek inside my book How Art Can Make You Happy (you can click to biggen-up the images to a legible size) that I hope may offer you a smidgen of inspiration for today.

If you've read my book, and like it, and are a person who makes it a habit to write amazon reviews, I wouldn't at all object if you wanted to write one for this little volume. Thank you.

Monday, June 19, 2017

We Girls Can Do Anything Right Barbie?

When I was a child in the eighties, there was a year or two when the TV ad with this tagline played constantly. I didn't think much of it at the time -- it just washed over me and lodged in my brain the same way thousands of other jingles and slogans did. But somehow, in adulthood, it has surfaced as the number-one best example I can think of to illustrate so many things about that moment in time: first and foremost the outrageous capitalist co-opting of feminism ("you've come a long way baby" ain't got nothing on this Barbie ad, imho); then, adding insult to injury, the fact that the "anything" "we girls" can do seems to consist of being a secretary, an aerobics instructor, or a southern belle; the unremitting whiteness and blondness -- not only of these particular humanoid figures, nor even of the Barbie franchise in general, but of the entire cultural construct of femininity, beauty, and even power; not to mention all the things it's easy to take pot-shots at Barbie for: the vapid faces, the boobs. This is actually the second time I've drawn this. The first time I didn't feel like I captured the ways in which this particular image epitomized a prominent cultural thread from the era of my own girlhood, or my own feelings about it. So I tried again. Still not sure if we're there yet, though.

Friday, June 16, 2017

Michelle Benoit


Artist Michelle Benoit calls these luminous constructions of lucite, paint, and wood "Painting Objects" and they are exactly the sort of work that sears itself into my eyeballs and my soul. Which I mean in a pleasurable way, mind you. Longtime readers of this site will know I'm a sucker for any sort of glowing fields of clear or bright colors in art. And Benoit's work take that construct to an astonishing new place. Like pure light and color have been made solid, then decided to hang out with the occasional thin slice of pale wood. Like only a magician or an alchemist could have made them. First brought to my attention by Design Crush.