Skip to main content


Showing posts from September, 2012

At the Brooklyn Book Festival

Last weekend, Patty and I flew to New York to do some things related to her short story collection,  The Temple of Air . On Saturday night, there was a reception and reading near Washington Square in Manhattan. It was hosted by the publisher of the book, Jotham Burrello, at the apartment of one of his friends. That alone would have been worth going to NYC for, but the next day, Patty and Jotham manned a table at the Brooklyn Book Festival, handing out cards, taking names, and spreading the word for the three books that Elephant Rock Books has now put out into the world: The festival was held outdoors, in the plaza in front of Brooklyn's borough hall buildings. Luckily it was a beautifully warm September day. There were reading stages in three areas, and lots of panels and readings in the offices and public buildings surrounding the plaza. There were thousands of people there, which gave me hope that the world of the paper book will not die out any time soon.

Expo Chicago 2012

Chicago has a new art fair, Expo Chicago, which I reviewed for the online art magazine Hyperallergic . It was a smaller affair than the big art fairs like the Armory show in New York, or Art Miami (sorry, I forget where that one is held). But it's still tiring to walk around and see so much art in only one afternoon. Here are some pictures that I didn't include in the Hyperallergic article: Tony Tassett, fibreglass and acrylic, at Kavi Gupta A visit to the art doctors from Berlin Stephan Balkenhol at Galerie Forsblom/Helsinki Specially designed something hanging from the ceiling - architectural/design feature, not art, but still impressive Georgia Russell, cut paper, at Galerie Karsten Greve AG Zilvinas Kempinas, Lemniscate, magnetic tape and fans, at Yvon Lambert/Paris. The fans kept the tape whirling around in the air at precisely the same location each time - very clever.

A great interview

Here is the interview that Samantha Villenave did with me for her Google+ Art+Talk series. It's long, but you can dip in and out of it by sliding the timer along. We had a great discussion of my art, how ideas come about, how to combine art writing and teaching with studio work, the value of art education, the uses of social media, and much more.

Fiction Writing: Week 3

We did an interesting word game this week: when it's your turn, say an object-word and make a related gesture for it; then say a verb that's only now coming to you, and make an unrelated gesture with your hands and/or body. Hilarity ensued. Example: someone said "Sincerity", then rolled their eyes sarcastically. Another person said "Barbell," then made a double-handed gesture that signifies penetrative sex. Here is an extract from a piece of writing I handed in: Mr. Marshall was over six feet tall, but always seemed bigger to Johnny. He wore a suit of dark tweed and a maroon tie bearing the emblem of a strict Catholic order. He had the upright posture of an ex-military man, and he had a way of staring unblinkingly at you through his dark-framed glasses in a way that reminded Johnny of a hawk looking at a rabbit. He leaned down to listen as Mrs. Crosby spoke quietly in his ear. Bernadette was squalling away, but she stopped instantly when Mr. Marshall

Fiction Writing Class: Week 2

Last week was the second of the Fiction Writing class I am taking this semester. What stood out for me this time was the way that recalling aloud from each other's work, while we all sat in that semi-circle, already caused people to see more detail in what they recounted, and to transfer some of that "seeing in the mind" to the in-class writing. Here is a dream-telling that I wrote in my journal for week 2: Dream I’m in Key West, but when I look out of the window, there is concrete and glass and asphalt everywhere, tall buildings with old fashioned iron fire escapes, and an elevated train track with cars thundering by overhead. This isn’t Key West, I think: this is Chicago. “This is Key West,” says RA, who seems to know what I was thinking, even though I am sure I didn’t say anything. “We have to pick up the stuff from Key West and take it to Chicago.” “What stuff?” I ask. “There isn’t time,” says RA. Suddenly we are running through a long corridor, dim


It takes hours just to make a relatively simple book like this: It's two lengths of paper, folded, glued and stitched to make four pockets, into which I will put some small prints. I also took some old watercolour paintings, cut them up, and experimented making map-folds out of them, and gluing them so that they will open out of this box in a jack-in-the-box fashion:

A Find

I rediscovered a set of alphabet stamps yesterday that have been buried in a box for nearly eight years: It's not quite letterpress, but it'll do to make some basic words in a nice font on some old prints:


Back in the studio today, I made some trial prints from five more collagraphs. None of the prints looked at all good enough to photograph. But I tried just embossing some paper using a collagraph plate with lines of lentils glued to the surface, and that came out nicely. Below is the embossed paper next to the plate:

Fiction Writing Class: Week 1

So last night was my first fiction writing class proper. I've sat in on my wife's workshops and tried some of the activities that were used in this class, but this is the first time I have sat in the room for four hours and done all the activities and in-class writing with a roomfull of writing students. There will be fourteen more classes like this, and as I said near the beginning of the class, my goals for this class areas follows: "I have a lot of starts and slightly longer pieces of creative non-fiction based on memories of my childhood. Some of these have strayed into fiction after beginning with a real memory. I have used a lot of the shorter pieces in my visual art, too -- videos with voice over, audio recordings, even performance. But so far I feel that I haven't gone as deeply as I could with this material. So I want to use this class to explore what comes out when I try different forms, ways of telling, ways of seeing a story. I want to be completel