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Showing posts with label misanthropy. Show all posts
Showing posts with label misanthropy. Show all posts

Saturday, June 20, 2009

on display.

there's a little gem from the 1940's that i picked up at a thrift shop on the way out of ann arbor yesterday. perhaps it holds all the secrets of my dream retirement in which i run a shop in the 1940's. it does have a "retailers wheel of fortune" and other great charts throughout. yes, a wise investment. speaking of merchandising, aitor is currently taking the concept to a whole new level in the window of local novelty shop extraordinaire, uncle fun. billy (the manager) has launched an artist-in-the-window series that has become so popular its monthly slots are booked up until forever now. we managed to squeeze in by taking an off weekend and trying to spread the word ourselves. oh yes, i will be in the window tomorrow. a taste of things to come:



aitor is unflattering people (starting with a child today) but i will just be installed making security envelope buttons all day. if you want in on that picky/insane process feel free to come ogle. then you can go inside and buy some rubber vomit.

Monday, June 15, 2009

window dressing.


photo by massdistraction


i am not ashamed to announce that i will be coming out of my button making shell this sunday when i will find myself on delicate display in the window of one of my favorite chicagoland stores, uncle fun. i will be there making buttons for your amusement and fascination (and my own stamina challenging). since many people make buttons (chicago is not wanting for button prodigies by any stretch), i have decided to do more than just make buttons. instead, i am focusing on a redoubling of efforts in the security envelope department. were i seven different people, security envelope button production would never have slowed. but i am one person and there is sometimes rent to pay.

workroom window display

regardless of any of that, this sunday will see me turing a big heap of envelope guts into a smaller (but still impressive) heap of 1" buttons. marvel at the calming monotomy! wonder at the smallness of modern day factory manufacture! watch garbage become accessories! press your faces against the window and weird me out!

saturday will also see aitor doing unflattering portraits in the very same window. just sayin'. at the time of posting, there are still appointments left. scoop 'em up!

Monday, April 27, 2009

a return to business as unusual.

well, in a few days, this blog will return to its most popular roots as a chronicle of strange travels and independent art on the road.

this upcoming trip may be shorter than previous outings but it is no less manic, crazy and potentially pointless.

this time, however, i hope to be able to publish our travel plans in advance so that you, a sea of friends and strangers, can help us shape our journey into something mildly less insane than we would create on our own. tips and recommendations are highly valued in this pursuit.

until then, i will just leave you with one of the many ways that aitor has become more famous while i have been languishing in endless illness (swan flu?).

Thursday, December 11, 2008

love, attention and broadcasting.


photo by a nice lady from eye weekly
(tell me who you are and credit will be lavished upon you)


1. up there is a picture of evan webber and myself from the 'party pics' section of this week's eye magazine. that's where i sit once a month hocking buttons and comics for trampoline hall. evan's not always there smiling beside me. he did a lecture on monday about the social and economic values of auctions. this resulted in the live auctioning off of three buttons. that was a real hoot! danny shapiro's lecture was a real hoot, too. i can't even do it justice by trying to explain what went down. suffice it to say that i now think enough laughs have happened on this planet and i feel safe abandoning comedy forever.

2. i got a note this week that old friend and fellow former west coast girl guide, katie varney, has launched a new art and design blog for the canadian southwest (more commonly know as the pacific northwest). the blog is called in my back yard and i am deeply honoured to have found myself in the beginnings of her blog roll. katie and i actually reconnected a few years back when she came out to one of the catch23 shows i was in and recognized me as the little brownie she once knew. and the rest is...well, i don't know yet.

3. aitor's friend heidi also found the ugly beautiful cbs sunday morning piece on mo rocca's youtube cannel. you can now see it wherever you are!

4. speaking of aitor's fame, we also had a private viewing this evening of a short video journalism piece that our old friend q and his compatriot aaron made about aitor (and the unflattering portraits) earlier this week. it's great! while not public yet (they are trying to find a buyer in the news media), we shall let you know when it goes online. it's really beautifully shot and assembled - aaron is a photojournalist and as a result they made a piece that combines video, still images and still sequencing. really interesting stuff.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

a day of being visionary.

now, this is something i really should have announced earlier but recent events waylaid many of my plans.

today we spent the day as special guests of sideshow, the more-than-a-gift shop at the american visionary art museum. the proprietor, ted frankel, had invited aitor to spend the day there doing unflattering portraits. i was really just tagging along. pictured above are the two tables the staff set up for us - draped with hand painted posters for bollywood movies. ted thought this matched the theme of portraiture. he's he real visionary around there.

now, for those of you doing the math, yes we were celebrating hallowe'en in new york last night. and yes, it is almost a four hour drive. and yes, store open in mornings. we've had no sleep.



in spite of all of this, we did our best to keep ourselves together and had a splendid time. ted is a prince among men and stellar host. we both feel very indebted to his hospitality. an interesting side effect to spending a day doing portraits at a museum is that one gets to interact with visiting tourists from all over. we got to chat with (and aitor got to draw) a visiting professor from little rock, a honeymooning couple and, of course a bunch of the staff at the museum and shop.



i have said it before and i will say it again, you really have to visit sideshow if you are in the baltimore area. they were unpacking thirty boxes of books (my total weakness) when we were there. i showed great restraint in not picking up any of these:



ted seems to have acquired one woman's entire life's collection of craft books dating back to the 1950's. if you are in the baltimore area and are a kindred spirit, i enourage you to pick at least some of these up. they are dirt cheap and i've never seen anything like them. i am just trying to be a touch more minimal in life now. but that doesn't mean you have to be.

Friday, October 31, 2008

school day part two: the hallowe'enening.

in an earlier post, i had teased about a great plan we had for halowe'en in brooklyn. well, i have had no time to announce these plans, but today they were set into action nonetheless.


the big exciting deal was that our friend melissa invited us into her 4th grade class in brooklyn to make buttons and do unflattering portraits with the kids. at first, i was trying to dissuade her from the unflattering portrait aspect of her plan, thinking it would release some kind of disaster upon the classroom. how wrong i was. the kids were totally excited to draw ugly pictures of one another and (unless they were pulling one over on us) totally uncruel in doing them.







melissa, you may remember, is someone we met years ago when she got a portrait done at renegade brooklyn. her class has all seen this portrait and, inspired by it, some of them had already tried their own. one young man has even compiled an entire book of his own portraits. we have been promised a photocopy.





there was so much fun to be had, and so much art made that i had to make and entire flickr set to house all the pictures. hopefully melissa and/or her students can help me remember who drew everything. getting credit is an important lesson for any aspiring artist.



later in the evening, we all (me, aitor and melissa) went into manhattan to witness the insanity of the parade in the village. or should i say, the colonel, beckylope and melissa?





Monday, October 27, 2008

fleas and friends in brooklyn.



yesterday we spent a great day at the big ol' brooklyn flea. i liked it there. the event has a good vibe, the vendors are nice, the passersby chatty and today the weather was sublime. after a number of hours sitting around, it seemed like none of the friends we had alerted to our visit were going to materialize. new yorkers do have busy lives, after all.

then out of the blue, some friends from atlanta show up - john and travis (pictured above) were there for some flea bargains and unflattering portraits. megan showed up in an act of total surprise (to us). and newly-transplanted canadian pal, dory, also came by to say hi and bring me some security envelopes in person! this makes her the first person to collect on my call for envelopes bargain (although i do have some tantalizing mail submissions coming in...) dory even brought me one i have never seen before!

we also got to spend the evening in the charming company of travis and john, sipping boozy apple cider, eating indian food and chatting.

then, when we got home, aitor had this waiting for him in his email box...


photo by michael dibugnara

...a contribution by one of the day's patrons of the arts who snapped up one of the specialty company's vintage framed limited edition prints. one can only get such gems from the misanthropes in person at fairs, in case you needed a reason to leave your home for some human contact.

it's nice to know we have left some good pieces of us in loving homes in new york.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

unflattering moments caught on tape.

so, word has come to us through the information super highway that the segment aitor interviewed for on cbs sunday morning aired two days ago. we were not alerted by production staff which is why you all were not notified - and why we did not see the segment. instead, we spent sunday morning at a drive-in flea market in latrobe, pennsylvania, in ignorant bliss of aitor's fifteen minutes (or fifteen seconds as the case may be). we were also living in a tree room that traded charm for internet access. so thank you very much to our lovely pals at something's hiding in here for blogging about aitor's flash of infamy. and to everyone else who alerted us to the airing - melissa, stephanie, lish, mayte. nobody actually taped the thing, did you? we are still trying to hunt down a copy from the folks at cbs.

pictured above is the portrait aitor ended up doing of the correspondent, mo rocca. and pictured below are some images greedily stolen from the fine folks at something's hiding in here (in order - aitor's unflattering rendition of the cbs sunday morning logo, his portrait of mo rocca and his own cute face). double thanks, guys! we will invade your home for real sometime soon.







ps - if you are looking for the good reverend himself or his collective, the misanthrope specialty co., they have a website and a shiny new etsy shop.

pps - for those who have asked, we have not located any clips online. but thank you for asking. and let us know if you all find anything.

Monday, September 15, 2008

and then life gets even more surreal (or aitor gets interviewed for cbs sunday morning).


this all began a few months back while we were in winnipeg. aitor had received an email from a producer at cbs sunday morning saying that they were working on a piece about the beauty of ugliness and had found out about his unflattering portrait project through a piece written about aitor a while back on martha stewart's bluelines blog. they wanted to do an interview, have aitor do an unflattering rendition of their logo, and do a live unflattering portrait of the correspondent, mo rocca.

they emailed back and forth about our crazy tour schedule and then we heard nothing for months and figured we were just too complicated to deal with. then, while we were in atlanta, aitor got a message that they would like to meet up in chicago and everything became real.

as a spectator, i have to say how deeply entertained i was. everyone was very nice and the conversations both on and off camera were interesting, fun and thoughtful. i know aitor's interview is part of a bigger piece and felt very lucky to get to watch the extended version. my pride in him is totally overwhelming and embarrassing!



we don't yet know when the piece is scheduled to air but will update the world here when we find out.

from the interview, i went to renegade handmade to drop off some new stuff of mine and the misanthrope specialty company's. the place was covered in drying things from the weekend and everyone was as weary as i so i felt sort of normal there. also, if you wanted something of ours from the fair and failed to get it, it's worth giving a check into the store. i mean, it's worth going there if you are in chicago, anyway.

Friday, August 15, 2008

baltimore more more!

as expected, our travels through baltimore today were all too brief and all too wonderful. first off, we went for a stroll through hampden, a kitchy little neighbourhood with a shopping district, nice cafes, yarn shops and the like. i had a rendezvous with the lovely folks at atomic books. rachel picked out a new batch of buttons for the shop while i browsed the racks (which house a dizzying array of books, zines and crafty stuff). the atomic empire used to be split (get it?) between two shops - atomic books and atomic pop - but have now reconsolidated into the newer, larger location on falls avenue that houses everything. it's overwhelming in all the right ways.

when we strolled past their old location, we saw this:


it would seem that our screen printing friends from squidfire are spreading their tentacles into the world of retail outlets. congratulations, guys! everyone in baltimore should go check out their new shop and the revamped atomic books.

aitor also encountered his true love in a shop window.



all the curves you'd ever want and she don't talk back. on a good day, she'll also match your socks. but alas, the store was closed and seemed pricey from what we could tell. thankfully, we encountered something a little closer to our price range at the common ground cafe down the street.



who can resist fake teeth for a quarter? well, i can tell you who can't...





after our goofings and fun and soup eating, we had to cheese it over to another amazing baltimore landmark (and a must-see for any visitors if you ask us), the american visionary art museum. i sell to the glorified gift shop there, sideshow, which is owned by the same lovely man as paper boy and uncle fun in chicago. billy from uncle fun was central in our first visit to baltimore. his urgings to go to the museum didn't overplay the majesty of the place. actually, the museum is hard to even describe and pictures are only allowed outdoors, so i will leave you with this:



totally amazing from wall to wall.

ted, the owner, picked out a heap of buttons and i picked up some remaindered books (he has a way of sourcing out an amazing selection). he also got aitor to do an impromptu unflattering portrait of gina, one of the employees.



the protrait was only on a ramada note pad and the rest of the staff wanted their portraits, too, so ted suggested we plan a trip back wherein aitor could set up for a whole day doing portraits in the museum itself! isn't that amazing? we're working on dates and think this will happen in late october or early november. i'm totally excited.

but for now, we must just dream of our return and shove off into columbus for the craftin' outlaws fair tomorrow and whatever adventure lays beyond that.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

making things and doing the rounds.

today i got up early to make all the stuff i have promised to stores in chicago. invite us into your home, and i will make a mess like the one above on your floor.

with no offense to all the amazing stores i deal with coast to coast, i have to admit a very special fondness for my chicago shops, their managers and staff. these were some of the first stores that ever stocked my stuff and they always take care of me.

aitor and i were reflecting on how we come through chicago and do the same circuit of store visits every time. after asking ourselves if we should bother trying to do any new things in town, we decided that as it stands, our little routine feels like coming home. besides, these are the shops and people we would want to visit regardless.

so here's how it goes:

we started the day off with a visit to quimby's bookstore where we always spend too much money on zines and the the other ephemeral literature that one can easily feel won't be around next time. they also have a photo booth now. then we went to renegade handmade (the newest of my chicago shops). the last time i went there the store was very new and it's really growing and filling up with some truly exceptional handmade stuff from all over the place. i especially liked their growing collection of prints. then to paper boy where we buy our favorite notebooks every time we come through. we finished the day off at chicago comics and filled our bellies with thai food at cozy noodle house. as we noticed more and more people showing up in cubs jerseys, we knew our time in wrigleyville was drawing to a close so we piled into the car to escape the drunken mess we knew was soon to come. besides, the skies were getting dark in a stormy kind of way.



we got back to pilsen and spent our evening doing laundry and reading all the new comics, books and zines we had picked up.

a great, full and tiring day. minus getting swamped by cubs fans, these are all things i recommend you do when you visit chicago. okay, you don't have to do your laundry, either, but clean clothes are always in good fashion.



good night, chicago. we quite adore you.

post script of note: renegade handmade and paper boy each took some of the framed assemblages and prints from the misanthrope specialty co. so there is now a non-craft fair source for these thing in chicago. you know, just sayin'.