Available work from “Hijos Del Lago Perdidio”.

Hijos del lago perdido (Children of the lost lake)
Mexico City is built on the ancient lake Texcoco.   The Aztecs built the city of Tenochtitlan on an island in the middle of the lake in the 1300’s.  After the Spanish conquered the Aztec empire in the 1500’s, the lake was filled in to control flooding.  The lost lake of Texcoco gave birth to the city and it’s culture. When I arrived in Mexico City to start working on my next book “The Tall Trees of Mexico City” this year, I had an established recipe for finding artists, making books and curating art exhibitions, but I did not know if it would work in Mexico like it had in Tokyo, Portland and Paris.  Very quickly any doubt was put to rest as I started meeting artists and they were in turn introducing me to other artists.  The “Hijos del lago perdido” (Children of the lost lake) show represents a selection of artists that will appear in the next book.

View available artwork here.

Curiot goes to Berlin

Really awesome getting to catch up with Curiot in Mexico City while  I was there starting my next book.  We brought Curiot to Portland a couple years ago for the “Forest For the Trees Mural Festival”.  I popped by his studio with a six pack of tall boys the night before he was to leave for Berlin.  Yep, he was still painting a few pieces.  That’s the way it goes in the art world.  I really love the direction that Favio is going with his new body of work.  They incorporate installations and conceptual design in a distinctive new style.  If you are in Berlin, don’t miss stopping by BC Gallery to check out the show.

I don’t know what to do but I’m doing this.

Like a majority of the United States I woke up the day after the election in shock and horror. The crazy shit from the current regime is off the charts. I won’t go into each element of bullshit but one stance particularly sticks in my craw: all of the absolute false claims about immigrants. Vilifying Muslims and Mexicans really struck a dischord with me. I have crafted my life around traveling to international locations and getting to know artists and their cities, yet the new oval office temp was telling U.S. residents to fear Muslims and hate Mexicans under completely false pretenses. Sadly like Pavlov’s dogs, the ignorant racists of the United States answered this ringing bell with slack jaws spewing saliva. Like most Americans on that day and in the subsequent days, I felt powerless. Days went by without any real actionable thought on what to do to fight this catastrophe. People around me were posting advice on how to write your political representatives or telling everyone to join their local democratic party and run for office. Everyday someone had a specific action to do or a protest to join. To be honest I’m not really a joiner or a team player so these plans were not going to work for me. Suddenly I remembered what I do. I write books. My books are about exposing foreign artists and their culture to the world. Our post-freedom government was telling America that our neighbors to the south were murderers and rapists who are only here to steal our jobs and deliver drugs. The answer to this manufactured problem, build a wall and ban people from entering the country. Well fuck that. I prefer to get to know my neighbors as opposed to condemning them. The “Tall Trees of Mexico City” will be about getting to know my neighbors and introducing those awesome folks to my United States family.

I have been asked “what city was next?” since the Paris book was released. To be honest Mexico City was not the first place that came to mind. I had been thinking about Montreal, Barcelona and Amsterdam for the next book in the series. I have never been to Mexico City. I have some cursory knowledge about Mexico and its big city but truly like most Americans I am ignorant to Mexican culture. I can’t wait to discover all the nooks and crannies. I also can’t wait to tell everyone else about it. I want to shout it out. Mexico is not the problem, immigrants are not the problem. You are the problem, white folks shaking in dark corners afraid of their own heritage and family story. We are a nation of immigrants. We are mutts. I love mutts, always have. The “Tall Trees of Paris” was started under the cloud of my mother’s death. Her memory fueled me. I have never been more appreciative of the people I met in Paris, for their warmth when I needed it most. This book is being started under the cloud of a shattered United States. I definitely feel helpless and hopeless most days but every day there is a glimmer of humanity piercing the darkness. I hope the Mexico City book will change some minds and build a stronger friendship between our neighbors to the south and us during these dark times ahead. I was raised in the deep racist farmlands of middle America but I knew different. I knew curiosity didn’t kill the cat. Getting to know people is the only way to move beyond the fear. So I’ve picked a fight I guess. I’ve picked my little contribution. I’m doing my part. I want to educate and envelop the voices of fear in a blanket of art and culture.


Lady Amputee in a powder room

I met Makiko Sugawa several years ago while I was the director at another gallery in Portland.  I showed her work there and have continued to show her work since.  Makiko lost her leg to cancer 12 years ago.  This event heavily influences her work.   “Lady amputee in a powder room” reflects this influence.  Each of her delicate drawings features a character missing limbs.  Like with her prosthetic limb, the subjects of her pieces also have interchangeable prosthetic’s.  The difference between reality and her work is that the figures are like dolls with snap on limbs.  Makiko is a champion for amputees in Japan and is heavily involved in the community.  In a country that is fixated on appearance, this can’t be easy but she keeps knocking down barriers.  “Lady amputee in a powder room” opens at Vanilla Gallery in Tokyo on February 6th.



DAYDREAM with Rebecka Tollens

I met Rebecka Tollens while I was working on “The Tall Trees of Paris” book.  She was working at the Arts Factory gallery and book store in the Bastille area.  The gallery hosted the book release party for my Paris book. Over these visits I fell in love with going to the Arts Factory and having pastis at the end of the day with the owners Effi & Laurent.  I would always chat with Rebecka on these visits.  She started out studying international law.  During this time she went on a humanitarian mission to Ghana and a five month trip across South America.  After returning to Paris she radically changed course into art and illustration.  I had no idea she was an artist during my Paris visits.  Last summer was the first time I saw her work and it really blew me away.  “Daydream” is such a good title for her work.  The deeply atmospheric drawings are mysterious and playful with a wash of innocence on the surface.   They illustrate cracks in childhood and a struggle with feminism and relationships.  I highly recommend getting over to her exhibition.
Rebecka’s show Opens January 30th at the Arts Factory in Paris.