Dry Postcards

It’s the driest time of the year in California, and it’s been really dry for nearly two years now.  Is the drought making me create “dry” art – cutting up bits of desert maps for new hand-made postcards?  Ironically it’s been raining a lot in the desert Southwest and I anticipate that New Mexico will be quite green next month when I visit.

National Park Postcards

Soon it’ll be time for a fall road trip to visit some of my favorite national parks.  Along the way I am sure to pick up more national park map/brochures.  In the meantime, I am recycling some of the old ones into new hand-made postcards.   

A San Francisco Postcard

When I make a San Francisco postcard you might wonder why there are no images of cable cars, Victorian houses or a Golden Gate Bridge.  But as a local, I see my City differently – and nothing says San Francisco more to me than the way we are wrapped in wires.  We might be the planet’s technological center, but we are still a mass of chaotic, dangling wires that look more 1914 than 2014.

Lake Erie Postcards

From series titled Trouble at the Lake, mixed media on matter board, 4”x6” each

Lake Erie has played a big role in my life.  It’s the lake that is surrounded by once-prosperous, industrial cities.  It drew my ancestors like a magnet.  As an infant, I lived in an apartment building in Buffalo, right on the shore of the lake.  I continued to live nearby for my first 14 years.  When winter, arctic air blasted across Lake Erie it was the source of amazing snowstorms, and it was the place of summer of beaches as well.  Back then the lake was terribly polluted, but the EPA and Clean Water Act helped turn things around.  Next, the demise of America’s heavy industry was a blessing for Lake Erie’s waters.  But the disappearance of industry nearly killed the cities and towns surrounding the lake when jobs vanished.   The factories were closed down rather than upgraded.  Then, many of the remaining jobs were shipped overseas leaving workers adrift. 

Lake Erie, and the working families who live on it shores, have been victims of unbridled capitalism. The same forces that have nearly destroyed the lake’s waters and its great cities, is now shutting off the water for poor people in Detroit.  And, this month, the people of Toledo were not able to drink or use the water due to a toxic algae bloom.  The algae bloom is a phenomenon linked to global warming and agribusiness.

Lake Erie and a city like Toledo might seem faraway to many Americans, but the lake could be called the United States’ Canary in the Coal Mine — or we could say Perch in the Lake.The health of Lake Erie, and the quality of life of the communities that surrounded the lake, reflect the overall health of our entire country. 

This series of 25 pieces of 4”x6” handmade postcards is being mailed to some of the artists I exchange mail art with.

Summer Mail Bag

It’s been a hectic summer having opened a large show last week.  I haven’t been able to check the PO Box for about two weeks – I finally got up there today and was not disappointed.  All sorts of notes, cards and mail art treasures were waiting for me.  A big thank you to everyone who sent them out.  It’s time for me to make some mail art and start responding.  In the meantime, here a re a few favorites:

  1. Adrienne Mason sent down this large collaged card from British Columbia.  More of her work can be seen at toughcitywriter.blogspot.com
  2. Jennifer Utter was celebrating National Ice Cream Day.  Isn’t that every day?  It is for me.
  3. Marina Salmaso sent this big measuring card – fun on both sides from Denmark.
  4. At first I saw Rebecca Guyver’s piece and thought, hey this looks like I did it.  Of course Rebecca wrote that I inspired her – I’m flattered and love it.
  5. Dori Singh’s card is great from both sides.
  6. Carolyn Oord (aka Kerosene) sent a something soft and fuzzy made with denim and bleach that arrived from Québec.
  7. Mark Dean’s latest card arrived from France last month and it’s been on view for a few weeks – I just realized the patterns are actually above views of cups and saucers.
  8. A little handmade book from Phyllis Lucas-Haddon arrived from Santa Fe.  I’m starting to get quite the collection.

Last night’s opening

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A few photos from last night’s opening for Collage + Landscape = Collagescape - the show is up until September 28, 2014. Details here.

Listen to the Wind

Listen to the Wind (mixed media, plexi box)

One of the pieces that Giovanna Aguirre and Lars Jonnson brought over from Sweden for Collage meets Landscape.  More of their work can be seen at jonnsonaguirre.com

Installed and waiting for you….

Yesterday we installed the show Collage + Landscape = Collagescape. It will be on view at San Francisco’s Glama-Rama Salon and Gallery at 304 Valencia Street until September 28, 2014

There is an opening reception this Friday, August 1 (7pm to 10 pm).

On the main level, there is an exhibit of my new series of work called Collagescapes.

On the upper level of Glama-Rama, I am curating a companion show of mixed media works, where the theme will be Collage meets Landscapes.

Juan Vargas

Juan is both a painter and collage artist, also known for his portraits. He is what I call a true painter. Juan’s collages have a distinct painterly appearance.  They immediately reminded me of some of the landscape work of the Bay Area’s figurative giants.  A native of Chile, Juan has made his home in San Francisco for decades.  Juan’s work is undoubtedly Californian but with a strong palette that might suggest a hint of his Latin American roots.  Like many of us San Franciscans, we all retain a little bit of the best of wherever we got started in life. 

Look carefully at the work shown here – at first you might think they are paintings – but they are collages that incorporate wax, blending medium and paper.  Juan’s work is a genuine meeting of collage and landscape and I am pleased to include one of his pieces in Collage meets Landscape.


The Collage + Landscape = Collagescape will be on view at San Francisco’s Glama-Rama Salon and Gallery at 304 Valencia Street in San Francisco.

The show opens in two days and will be up from July 29 to September 28, 2014 with an opening reception next week on Friday, August 1 (7pm to 10 pm).

The exhibit will have two components:

On the main level, there will be an exhibit of my new series of work called Collagescapes.

On the upper level of Glama-Rama, I am curating a companion show of mixed media works, where the theme will be Collage meets Landscapes.

Nathan Lowe

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Nature Shatters

If you’ve been following this blog, you’ve noticed I’ve been showcasing different artists for the past month.  Introducing you to the 12 artists who will be joining me for Collage + Landscape = Collagescapes that opens next week in San Francisco.  Unfortunately I just discovered Nathan Lowe yesterday, so it’s too late to include him in the show. I saw two pieces of his work, and this one, shown above, is spot on.  I’ll keep him in mind for future shows I am curating.  I saw Nathan’s work included in the youth exhibit at the California State Fair.  There were a number of promising young artists, some very young, whose work was on display.  Nathan’s stood out, a young artist from Elk Grove who won awards in the 16-18 year old division.  I also want to note that I did not see any work in the adult show at the Stare Fair that I felt this strongly about, at any age, Nathan Lowe would get the Best in Show in my opinion.