Disconnecting the Anti-Social Network

Years ago I was reluctant to join Facebook.  But I have to admit, it did help me reconnect with a few people who I had lost touch with.  And, at times, it’s helped me connect with more people about my art and widen my circle a bit.  But in recent years, Facebook has become more and more about algorithms that essentially are designed to make you look at advertising rather than what your friends might have posted.  I don’t know how many times I have heard someone say, “Did you see…….on Facebook?”  Facebook becomes less user-friendly as time marches on and I find it less useful.

In the past week there has been a big push, or should we say putsch, to force drag queens and other performers to use their “real” names – the names that appear on their drivers’ licenses, etc.  While I mostly am known as Tofu, the DMV does not call me that.  Not that the name my parents gave me, Scott, is a big secret.  It’s just that more people know me as Tofu.  I figure it’s a matter of time before my account is suspended.  Well, I am on the docks, have boarded the ship and am leaving the dictatorship of Zuckerbergland. 

There are so many good reasons why people use different names socially, and in some cases there are serious issues where people need to protect their privacy.  For example, one of my friends is a psychologist who uses a pseudonym so his patients are unable to find him on sites like Facebook.  It’s not about being secretive or clandestine.  This is what people like mental health professionals, teachers and even law enforcement might choose to do in order to maintain the social boundaries they are accustomed to creating in their day-to-day worlds. 

Many of my closest friends have always refused to join and many other of my friends on Facebook barely use it anyway.  I don’t need this anti-social network.  I always enjoy hearing from you.  Call me, write a letter, send me a postcard, or a regular old email.  I will continue to post my latest work and news about upcoming art shows on this blog.  Follow me here.  You can also always reach me via my website tofuart.com.

Now, back to making art, or meeting you for coffee…..

Postcards from the Road

Back from a wonderful two weeks travelling around the Southwest.  I had ambitious intentions to make a bunch of hand made postcards as I travelled.  Let’s just say, I didn’t make quite so many, so you should feel a bit privileged if you received one.  This was the afternoon in Zion national park in Utah.

It’s the last day you can wear white shoes

A little shoe painting from the 2011 Project.  Happy Labor Day!

Next Stop Chicago

Collage Meets Landscape is still up in San Francisco through September 28th.  Our artists from Sweden, Giovanna Aguirre and Lars Jonnson, have been busy working in Chicago. They just have completed this installation titled Finding Order in Chaos in the window at Art on Armitage in Chicago. There is an opening reception tonight in Chicago from 3-6 pm.

This month in my PO Box

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August is ending in San Francisco and summer is finally here, (we tend to do that season in September and October). Visitors continue to stream into Glama Rama to see the show and all the while I am busy sending out some new mail art.  The PO Box is filling with fun things too, including these pieces (shown above):

  1. E. Coles sends a new piece from Bath in the U.K. and asks, “How many times can you use a tea bag?”  I believe a few were used in creating this piece.
  2. A new piece arrived from Sandra Lefever.  Pink seems to be a theme this month. 
  3. Mim Golub sends a new piece from Virginia where she is trying out water colors and yet reminds me a bit of tea bag art.
  4. I always like anything Lotería-themed including this new piece from Dori Singh down in Southern California.   Perhaps a Lotería-themed mail art show needs to happen.
  5. Diane Keys is keeping the pink going with her latest piece. 
  6. I wonder if the parking lot tickets that Jennifer Utter used were all parking she paid for in San Francisco.  It’s a city where $25 per hour can actually happen in some lots and garages. 
  7. And finally an Aegean Sea piece from Katerina Nikoltsou in Greece in response to my Lake Erie series.

Thanks for all the cool mail – time to send out more soon….

Letchworth

Lost Letchworth Postcard, 4”x6” mixed media on board

Imagine a postcard lost in time since the 1970’s and finally arriving in your mailbox in the 21st Century.  Okay, that’s an exaggeration.  But I am experimenting with image transfers and used a copy of a photo of my brother in Western New York’s Letchworth State Park.  We always stayed in Area C where we rented a cabin.  The same cabins that were built by our grandfather’s Civilian Conservation Corps crew during the 1930’s.  There are a lot of layers of material and time in this little piece.

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.