KloHaeuschen Spa Article in MucBook

I had a great time with journalist Leonie Meltzer at the KloHaeuschen Spa.   The spa is now in its second week and I’ve started working on the KloHaeuschen Spa memoir.

The memoir was not a planned part of this project but an idea added on after guests started telling me stories.  This was an unexpected and happy surprise for me so I decided to do something with these shared words.

The memoir will be a combination of their words and mine – their experience and a few of my lifetime experiences released at the KloHaeuschen Spa.

Want to know how I write? You can read a few flash fiction stories here.

 

Fill The Void – August 30, 2016

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My 1k balloons arrived.  Look how cool they are.  On Tuesday August 30th, I will be blowing up 1k balloons and filling the void located at Schleissheimerstrasse and Rottmannstrasse (A corner lot that will be a construction site starting in September 2016.)  Blowing up the balloons and placing them in the location will take about four hours but I’m going to start at 1300 so that I have plenty of time before I’ve asked people to come and take a balloon and get their portrait filling the void.

The installation/ art happening is called Fill the void and I’m asking people to come and share how they fill the void.   They can interpret that anyway they want.    I will photograph them with a balloon and if they share with me how they fill the void, I will photograph them with that notecard too so that I can keep track of the person and the void they fill.  I will be videotaping the process and the end result but I will be photographing the people because I’m one person.

The balloons are blue.

Why did I pick blue?   The artwork created by HNRX is red and looks kind of like a shrimp so my balloons will be the waves of a sea underneath.  Waves of change.  Waves of enlightenment. Waves of tired Mingas ready to relax and have a beer.

Blue has so many symbolic meanings which can also be associated with the project but I wanted to let you know that I picked blue because of water and waves and the serene feeling blue gives me.  I also want to give Maxvorstadt a big dose of blue colour therapy too.

If you want to join me, I will be blowing up balloons most of the afternoon. If you want to participate, you are welcome to come at 1900 on August 30th to the corner or Schleissheimerstrasse and Rottmannstrasse, Munich Germany (Near Stiglmaierplatz)

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500 Artists Fill The Void – An Art Happening in Munich

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I wrote about Luekenfuelle this week and emailed Luekenfuelle asking them when we could plan something for the space. The group responded by saying that Munich Artists could do something in the space before it closed in September but, they were not in the city so would not be available to support us in any way.   I quickly sent an email back saying I would fill the void both in time and space, with artists and that folks, was the end of my staycation.

The idea is to visual show how artists fill a void in a city with positive energy and creativity.  The “Artists” do not have to be professional artists and we will be asking the neighbourhood to join us in helping us fill the space with our balloons and positive energy.

The challenge?  This is the holiday season in Germany and most of the artists are in some other country baking on a beach or hiking a mountain.  I know this may be strange for Americans, but Munich does lose many of its residents during August when the public schools are on holiday.

On the 30th, I will be there early in the day blowing up balloons.  I want to fill the space with balloons and then the people will each pick a balloon and explain how they fill a void by writing it on the balloon. They can swap balloons or give them to people or take them home.   I was thinking of sticking them in the subway window at Odeonsplatz on August 30th because the space will be empty.

This idea for Fill a Void started on August 18th.  Today is August 19th and we have until August 30th to get everything in place.  Here is the Facebook Event Page where I will keep you updated.

Wish me luck in person or just by sending positive vibes to Munich.

A personal note: My mother is still incapacitated.  She has 24 hour care at home that the whole family is paying for because it isn’t covered by insurance.  Maybe this spurred the filling the void idea?  What happens when there is a big hole of nothing in your life?  For my mother, the family stepped in.  For Munich, hopefully the artists and Mingas will step into place.

Mi Madre – work in progress June 2016

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My mother had a stroke. When it happened, I grabbed this book and started pouring ink on it -on all the pages. And the edges and filling the pages with the colors black and orange

After a few days I took my pen and started drawing lines to contain the ink poured inside which is what my mother’s brain was doing to the damaged sections of her mind.  I started cutting sections out. I started filling parts in. 

My mother’s brain must learn new pathways and go around the dead and unusable sections of her mind and it seems that I’m dealing with her tragedy by creating “mi Madre stroked.”

Portrait of Richard Huelsenbeck

This is a big year for Dadaists and a Munich Dadaist asked me to create a portrait of Richard Huelsenbeck.

Because there isn’t alot about Mr. Huelsenbeck on the internet, I bought his memoir “Memoirs of a Dada Drummer” with full intentions of reading the whole book before creating my portrait.

That didn’t work out.  I did read the beginning and the end and was struck by the following quotes:

I left America because I felt I would never succeed in becoming an American in my heart.

I left America because I could never make clear to anyone the true meaning of Dada, which fights against a cultural identity being used as a protective shield for soul and political injustices.

Dada Fought for the freedom of the creative personality for the absence of artistic snobbism and lies.

In my research, I looked for artwork by Huelsenbeck but only a few pieces have been sold at auction and the pieces that were sold were uninspiring.  Huelsenbeck was a doctor and wrote poetry but those were not the part of Mr. Huelsenbeck that I wanted to share in the portrait.  I wanted to share how torn he was about Dadaism, his American life and working as a psychiatrist.

How do I show those in a photograph?

At first, I added text, as I would in an instagram photo.

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The photo is a street photo around the corner from my office.  I have many versions of this man but this one was perfect because he has a street cleaner going right into his head (psychiatrist).  The ripped head represented how Huelsenbeck felt about his worlds. America was not home because it was too easy.  He was born to fight against something and that something did not exist in America.  The first version was black and white but, I decided to stick with the color version because I love the colours in this photograph.

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Looking at the photograph, I decided I didn’t want the text.  I want you to know those words but I don’t want his words on my photograph about him.  It felt wrong so I deleted the words.

I sent the file to the printer and printed it on the wrong side of the photo paper which left the photo looking really wet. Not realising my mistake and thinking I needed a new printer, I took a matt piece of photo paper and laid it on top of my color print and pressed down hard so that the second paper would soak up the extra ink.

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I was so happy.  Look at my monoprint from my photograph. This is the first time I printed a photograph and worried about it.  That was a new feeling for me.

For the portrait, I then printed the image on the correct side of the paper and paired it up with the monoprint which makes the full piece.

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Portrait of Richard Huelsenbeck Feb 2016 Digital print and monoprint on paper.

“Minga Pill” Installation February 2016

Happy Sunday.  My installation Mingapill starts tomorrow at Odeonsplatz, Munich, Germany and will exhibit for the full month of February 2016.

I had two weeks to work on this installation and I’m happy with what I created. The art piece is inspired by this photo that I snapped at Odeonsplatz and flipped into black and white.

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For the installation, I took the black and white image, printed it and dipped the prints in encaustic wax.  the four blank pills have additional ink on the black sections (I was testing to see if it made any difference.) The artwork looked better with just encaustic over the digital print so I used the inked versions for the blank pills separating the two sides so that I can make a version that is coloured and backlit.  I already know that backlighting doesn’t really work in this window so I kept the piece simple and ready for the scorching light of the window.

The pills are hung on fabric using magnets.  Here is everything looking perfect at the studio.

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Originally I was going to have a second layer in the visual plane between the pills and the video but after contemplating the space a bit more, I decided that it wasn’t needed.  I decided to keep the piece simple enough that people who are seeing it from a distance can enjoy it.

The text for the video comes from the following flash fiction piece I wrote last week.  Here is the first draft of Mingapill

Its a hard pill to swallow 

but you know you want to try

what the candyman has to offer 

so freely

even though its big and bitter and leaves

something to be desired.

You’ll Grab one

no doubt about it.

It’s a hard pill to swallow

Scraping down 

it may even scar you 

in places no one can see.

The candyman 

he waxed his way in 

but

You can handle it, I’m sure

Just Pick one.  There all the same,  

no sugar coating to ease the pain,

cause you never said 

you wanted wonderland

and you’ll settle for whatever

comes your way.

Nothing wrong with that.

It’s a hard pill to swallow and leaves something to be desired and

Mingaland is where you’ll land.

 Once I wanted one

cause I never wanted wonderland 

until now.

First draft wich means that as I was editing the video, I changed the words.  It felt wrong to repeat lines in the video and I didn’t want to focus on Candyman.  The candyman is a man from the southern part of the US who gives away sexual favours for stuff- a sort of gigolo which is what I’m referring to in the story but, I didn’t want people to think of the other two meanings – a drug dealer or, a horror story character so I cut out candyman and focused on talking to a person and their decision to eat a minga pill.

Here is the new text:

originally the video was going to be old creative commons footage but it didn’t go with the pills so I scraped the video and just focused on the text to go with the pills and used the photograph of myself with those pill shapes all over my face.  As I was making the video, I was thinking about that fortune teller box where there is a face and it tells you what will happen. so I’m the fortune teller in the video box.

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I love living in Munich but at the same time I find it very difficult to accept the back off until it’s proven to work attitude. Luckily even after 10 years, I still have the optimistic American attitude I was raised on and I’m willing to trudge my way forward. The only difference now is that I’m not worrying whether other people settle for less then what they deserve.  I see it now as their right to settle and my right to move on which is what I’m saying with the Minga Pill.

Here is the final installation in the window.

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I moved the video screen right in front like the fortune teller’s box. I bought the black stand after creating the pill wall piece. I think I may print some more pills and add a bottom row if I show it again.

I may edit the video and make it smoother and add my face to “the swallow” text.  It is the only segment without the face. Initially I had several of those black spots with just words but I changed all of them to the gypsy face…. The video in the installation will remain the way it is because I don’t want to keep opening and closing the big glass window and I’m ok with the video as it is, it can just be better which is what I will work on a bit this week.

It is amazing how many hours you can spend editing a two minute video.  My favourite part of the video is the last bit which is inspired by my encaustic artworks on LED boards.

If I had a scorching spotlight like the ones in the Window, I may have gone with just plain paper instead of the encaustic pieces because I can see every drip of wax and scratch from moving them around. They were so beautiful when I first made them.  It is very humbling to see how imperfect they all are and how something printed digitally can be made to look handmade and used.

If you are in Munich, please go check out the installation.  I will be giving away a few more pills for Free art Friday.  I gave away one pill last Friday. I hope the person likes it.

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yup. So that is my installation notes.  I had a thousand ideas floating around in my head but this one latched on and things flowed. The video was a bit of a snag point but once I stopped using creative commons footage, I was ok.  I’m guessing this is something to remember, I shall stick with my own footage in the future to avoid wasting time.