Friday, August 31, 2012

{rObOts invade} Neil Armstrong Hall of Engineering

The fourth full moon of the season, also known as a blue moon, will make its appearance tonight ... what a perfect way to cap off a seemingly endless August, and a fitting way to send off Neil Armstrong, the first man to walk on the moon. 

Zach and I stopped by the Neil Armstrong sculpture on campus (Armstrong was a Purdue alumnus) to honor the man with a hoard/fleet/bunch of astrObOts.

We hope you have a great weekend. Hurricane Isaac is predicted to pummel us with loads of rain, so we're going to try our best to stay dry!

Animated Animals

It's like Old MacDonald's farm, except these cows and sheep are a part of County Fair's animal barn!

p.s. other County Fair videos can be found here.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Sunset in the Morning

A busy Thursday lies ahead for Zach and I. He left early for the studio to prep for a visit/brainstorming session with Pete Brown, a fellow stencil artist. Pete is relatively new to the Lafayette area, but he has been active in the Indiana art scene for quite some time now. If you want to see some of Pete's work (you know you want to!), go here.

And to help make your Thursday work day disappear a little faster so the weekend can come a little sooner, here's a pretty awesome cover of a pretty dang good song ...

plus a picture of a pretty sunset in Singapore ...

artscience museum

I recently found out that my dad reads our blog, so Hi Papa! :)

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Recipe of the Week: Grilled Mahi-Mahi

I was so excited about doing September's Asian Recipes of the Week that I had totally forgotten about the last week of August! o_O Well thankfully we grill fish every week and I have a trusty recipe I can share. This week's feature is an easy, healthy grilled mahi mahi, lightly marinated with tarragon, lime and garlic dressing, served with a side of sesame broccoli. I know it looks dull in the picture. But you don't need a ton of marinade with fish. Mahi-Mahi is typically mild tasting anyway, so you'd want to keep sauces, dressings, and marinades on the lighter side to complement, not cover, the taste your fish.

Now onto the recipe ...

Grilled Mahi-Mahi

2 mahi mahi fillets
2 tbsp fresh tarragon, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced
4 tbsp lime juice
1 tbsp lime zest
1/4 cup coconut oil
salt, pepper to taste

Marinate mahi mahi fillets in a bag with all the other ingredients for 15-30 minutes.
Preheat grill.
Cook fish until it flakes easily with a fork; about 5 minutes each side.

Grilled Sesame Broccoli

3 cups of broccoli florets
2 tbsp olive oil
1/4 tsp sesame oil
salt and pepper
1-2 tbsp toasted sesame seeds

Grill on a piece of aluminum foil over indirect heat (top rack) for 10 minutes.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Plastic Dolls

The painting Plastic Dolls got a lot of attention at the opening of County Fair last Saturday. Visitors are seemingly drawn to the bright colors.  And girls, especially, run up to it yelling "Barbie! Barbie!" to their moms.

Plastic Dolls
This is an easy painting to like, which makes the subject matter easy to ignore. But behind the facade of smiling girls, leopard print, barbie dolls, and paper cut-outs, this painting is actually a critique of our mass-consumer need to prescribe gender roles for children. The girls and the dolls are prettily packaged behind a layer of plexi-glass. The scantily-clad Barbie dolls have a layer of orange spray-paint on them and their faces are drawn back on with markers to resemble smudged makeup . On the t-shirts are slogans such as "I Like 2 Flirt," "Princess," "Party Girl," and "2 Pretty 2 Do Math," taken from actual shirts that JCPenny and other department stores were selling to girls. The Pop Princess Pink Phenomenon. A poison prescribed to little girls that makes them grow up too fast and keeps them focused on the superficial.  Real "girl power" is not about being a diva who demands  luxury and waits around for a prince charming.  Neither has it anything to do with being pretty or skinny. It has more to with the empowerment of girls, a counter discourse of popularly prescribed gender stereotypes, and the ability to be a thoughtful person who affects change.  But commercialism has flipped 'girl power' into a marketing device, packaging superficiality as self-identity.

You'd recognize this cultural ill even if you've not read Cinderella Ate My Daughter or How To Talk To Little Girls. You spot it in toy aisles, for example, where boys and girls have the same building blocks except in different colors. You notice it in department stores, where you can buy makeup kits for girls. You see it on TV with shows like Toddlers & Tiaras and the KardashiansYou watch it on MTV, where the cast of 16 and Pregnant are billed as celebrities. I'm not necessarily saying that pink is bad, or that gender roles are evil. I'm also not suggesting that wanting to be beautiful is wrong. But the failure to recognize the objectification of little girls and the commercialization of childhood is leaving girls with defeatist ideas of self-awareness and identity, creating people who think what they have to offer lies only in how they look.

The sexualization of toys, cartoon characters and clothes has a strong effect on how girls view themselves, because the choices in toys, television, and clothes are very narrow.  Strawberry Shortcake is a prime example of how a cartoon character has been sexualized in the last 30 years. As a child growing up in the 80s, this is the Strawberry Shortcake I remember:
This is the same character in 2006:
and this is her latest reincarnation:
And behold! A matching Halloween costume for your princess:

Zach and I have no children, so it makes me a little anxious to speak this candidly about his new painting and on the subject of how commercial culture pushes this superficial worldview on girls (even though this is not a post about parenting). We have friends with little girls and I am afraid of offending them. But I was once a little girl too so I feel somewhat qualified to speak about this topic. My childhood was not filled with Disney princesses and I was not subjected to girly stereotypes. I shared Leon's toys and wore his hand-me-downs because it didn't matter that they were not pink or made specifically for girls. There were no TV commercials that told me I should be a nurse, a secretary or some other second fiddle in a predominantly male field. My mom was not confined to shopping at Target where all the clothes and toys for girls are all marked with pink. I blame culture for how girls are being defined.

And now that I've written all these things, I am sure that if/when the time comes, our little girl is going to live and breathe pink and glitter and demand to be a sparkly princess cheerleader. She'll want her own diamond tiara and plead with us to live in a beautiful castle. But at least I know we are ready for battle.

Monday, August 27, 2012

meet Sam

Something else we did while we were in Portland for the weekend, was meeting and playing with Sam, the new Medler family puppy!

Sam's so cute with his giant puppy paws, boundless energy, and blonde lashes. He's still young so he doesn't know he's not supposed to eat everything in sight! To my dearest Sammy dog: I am not food!

at the Opening Reception

The opening reception of County Fair at Artlink went really well. Thank you to everyone who showed up. It was fun to see kids and adults alike playing with the artwork.

playing with the robot claw, trying to catch a robot
i'm demonstrating the strength test
people moving around the little animal magnets and playing with the carousel
these two loved the food cart cartoon
and, as their first art gallery experience, actually got to interact with the work
they are studying the 'plastic dolls' painting...more on it later
A very special thank you to Peter Minnich and Joy Grow and Tetia Lee who drove all the way up to Fort Wayne to see the show. You made our day!

joy, tetia, and i at the show.  i felt so honored that they drove 3 hours there and 3 hours back to come to the opening.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

{rObOts invade} downtown Fort Wayne

The robots made an appearance in several downtown venues in Fort Wayne over the weekend ...

artlink robots
outside of Artlink
auer center of arts and culture
lined up in front of the Auer Center of Arts and Culture
robot stencils
the front lawn of the Fort Wayne Museum of Art
zach medler stencils
solo bot hanging by the Arts United Center sign
Zach not being too discreet!
taste of the arts
in the park across of the museum

They were there to mingle with the Taste of the Arts crowd and welcome visitors to the County Fair reception!

new series of assemblage paintings

after we got back from singapore i put a lot of energy into the mural in winamac, but in my off time i was busy in the studio beginning a new body of work.  we finished the mural a month ago (and have 3 more to do starting next week!).  and since then my exacto knife has been busy.

i'm often asked why i use stencils instead of just painting the image.  sometimes i'm criticized for it.  i love stencils.  i love the way they look.  i think they work well with the way i draw (all of my stencils are original drawings).  and the idea of a 'graphic' on the surface lends to the layering that i use from the beginning in building the assemblage.  i love stencils for their use in street art, but also for the way my mother used them to paint the border on the bathroom cabinets when i was a kid.  stencils are, more or less, a craft media.

this is the first body of assemblage work i've created using spray paint instead of oils.  in the past i've always brushed on, mostly single color stencils, and then colored them in.  this time, i made multi-color stencils to have a much more layered effect.  after working on the quilt in winamac, i found pattern coming into everything i was doing.  i love the idea that fabric patterns from quilts can give context without painting an actual space.  these patterns look like indiana.  they come from table clothes, curtains, and quilts.

bird cage.  another of the first ones i completed.  the tv is a light box that plugs into the wall. 
american gothic :  this is the first piece in the series that i finished.  the kids running and the 'american gothic' couple are stencils from the winamac mural.  the iphone walkers are certainly inspired by what we see regularly on campus. 
ideas are hard to swat like flies.  this painting was a struggle, as i changed so many things on it so many times.  in the end i just made it about struggling to make something.
commercial influence.  trying to talk about the effect of television on the influence of culture and economics.  the mirror is how you're involved.
the state of education.  this is one of my favorites from this body of work.  
food product.  commenting on my one of my favorite topics, GMOs and the food industry.  what exactly are we eating? i'm in the picture in the mirror, taking the picture, but i lined my head up underneath the eye-dropper on purpose.  i eat this shit too.  we all do and we should all be pissed about it.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

saturday afternoon snack

Indiana has a well-kept secret ... DeBrand Gourmet Chocolates!

And since we are in Fort Wayne (where the chocolate factory is!), we have to stop in a store and treat ourselves to an indulgent Saturday afternoon snack. Yum!

Friday, August 24, 2012

old Chicago sketches

Here are some old sketches of Chicago that Zach did from a visit last year. Chicago is such an eclectic city with a mix of architectural styles and some really fascinating landmarks. We went on a Chicago River cruise with Leon and would totally recommend it if you are there and the weather is beautiful. It's a truly wonderful way to experience the city. And if you're a Transformers fan like my brother, it's also great way to see all the downtown buildings that were blown up and destroyed by Michael Bay's fancy, over-the-top computer-generated explosions!

chicago sketch
the Sears Tower (now Willis Tower) and its surroundings
downtown chicago sketch
downtown Chicago with the Trump building in the background
chicago sketch
the Trump tower and the Wrigley building behind the Michigan Avenue bridge
chicago sketch
wrigley building
chicago sketch
downtown chicago, drawn from the plaza in front of the Tribune building

Thursday, August 23, 2012

packing and unpacking

Packing and unpacking a show takes a long time. And since County Fair has grown bigger with each showing, we've got no choice but to rent a 10' box truck to haul everything to Fort Wayne this time.

We'll be staying in Portland through the weekend after we set up the show. There will be limited internet access, but we do have a couple of posts already lined up. We'll also be sharing updates and pictures on Facebook, so please keep up with us there!

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