Tuesday, April 30, 2013

You're Invited!

Jazz Action Heroes: Official Unveiling

lafayette indiana graffiti street art
jazz action heroes, on 4th st. in downtown lafayette, april 2013
yesterday morning i finished out the final details on the mural on 4th st.  the official title is jazz action heroes.  the weather was not exactly very cooperative this month, but through rain, wind, and floods, and many reschedules, we got it finished.  i'm very proud and appreciative of the kids in my mural class.  they put a lot of energy into this piece, and the finished product is something i hope they can't wait to sign.

we unveil TONIGHT at 4pm.  if you're in town, please come by.  meet the crew.  shake their hands and tell them how much you appreciate their service to the community.  they're a great group of kids.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Garden Update: April 2013

We've had a relatively rainy April. Though the unpredictable weather has halted a lot of outdoor mural/painting projects, the plants in the garden are thriving and happy. Here's a quick look at what's been growing ...

Strawberry blossoms! We have 7 strawberry plants (one from last year and 6 other new ones) and they all look like they are doing well. It's so fun to see the flowers bloom, fall, and the little strawberries emerging. 7 plants seem like a lot but Zach is still convinced he's not going to have enough to eat!

zone 5 swiss chard

Swiss chard -- a new addition to the garden this year. I got the "bright lights" variety because I thought this would be a fun and delicious way to add some color in the garden. The seeds took no time at all to germinate, which is always a bonus! I've never actually eaten chard before, so this should give us plenty of opportunities to explore and experiment with new recipes ...

dwarf gray sugar pea shoots

Pea shoots (dwarf gray sugar). I've already harvested a round of these! These little happy campers love the rain and gloom. They are so easy to grow, and you can harvest them in a week! Cut them above the first set of leaves and they'll come back even stronger! We've been eating these in salads, but another easy way to prepare pea shoots, is to saute with freshly minced garlic and a sprinkle of salt. You can add some sesame oil if you like, but resist the urge to douse the dish with oyster sauce!

zone 5 blueberries

We have 4 blueberry bushes and 3 of them have these clusters on them. We've been waiting a year for blueberries so I'm hoping we'll get some this year!

Dill. We grew a little pot of them so we have plenty to put into yogurt sauces and egg salads. Yum.

Last year we struggled to get the Japanese shiso growing. This time around, we've ditched the Japanese variety for the Vietnamese kind and they seem to be growing well. I'm still not sure what we'll do with the shiso but I guess there's plenty of time left to figure this out.

Cilantro and parsley. We grew them in long planter boxes because these were the herbs that we didn't seem to be able to get enough of! The cilantro seeds germinated fairly easily. The parsley is about a week or 2 behind. We're planning to sow these successively so we can hopefully have a nice and steady supply of both this year. 

Our raised planted filled with greens ...

Kale. I thought the kale would love the slightly chilly spring weather but these have really taken a while to grow. Maybe we need to fertilize them more, or maybe I'm just too impatient!

zone 5 bok choy

Speaking of being impatient, these are the dwarf baby bok choy that I thought would grow in just a couple of weeks. It's been a month now and they are still just little, tiny plants. Grow bok choy! Grow fast so the bugs and worms don't eat you bare like they did last year!

zone 5 dwarf peach mandarin tree

This is our dwarf mandarin peach tree. The flowers are a striking fuchsia color that the camera simply cannot capture. I'm excited to see this tree come back to life. We left it out all winter and have been keeping our fingers crossed ...

Blue sky salvia, with little flowers starting to show!

Borage. We decided to grow borage because I read somewhere that borage deters a good number of pests in the garden. Borage is apparently also good for attracting bees. I'm not usually a fan of anything that crawls or flies, but I'm learning that bees are our friends.

Our raspberry shortcake bush! We are so excited that this plant came back to life! We didn't have high hopes for it. The lady at Bennett's didn't have high hopes for it either. But this little plant surprised us all and I am so happy for it! I doubt we'll have any fruits this year, but that's okay. We'll just focus on it growing big and strong. Anything beyond the 2 existing twigs will be a treat.

zone 5 improved meyer lemon indiana

An improved meyer lemon tree. We bought this earlier in the month, and have been carrying it in and out the house so it can get some sun but not freeze overnight. It's a lot of work, but we're not complaining ... yet. The little blossoms smell heavenly and the flowers look so pretty it's hard to stay mad at a plant as awesome as this!

This dark leaf clover plant is my favorite in the garden. And that's quite the surprising choice considering how we can't eat it! I just love the dancing leaves and the cheerful demeanor of the plant. The leaves open in the sun and close back up at dusk. How special. :)

** sidenote: we planted tomatoes, celery, and beans today!

Sunday, April 28, 2013

a rainy spring weekend ...

Friday, April 26, 2013

"Destroy the Picture" at the MCA

after my morning meetings yesterday, mindy and i made an impromptu trip to chicago.  we had intentions of seeing the picasso show at the art institute, but (as usual) were more interested in eating something ultra-delicious.

our first stop was gt fish and oyster.  i have been craving oysters for the past several weeks, and finally i got to indulge.  for those that enjoy oysters and don't know, GT, on the corner of grant and wells in downtown chicago, has the absolute best, freshest, and most diverse selection of oysters there is to offer in the midwest, and probably on either coast as well.  they always have 6 seasonal selections from both the east and west coast.  all are distinctive in flavor from sweet and succulent to briny and savory and are served with GTs own cocktail sauce and ponzu mignonette. hands down, this is the best the midwest has to offer in the way of fresh oysters.  period.

selection of oysters 
tuna poke with preserved mango, cucumbers and black sesame
eggplant with tofu, plum hoisin sauce, pear, cashews, and thai basil
duck confit with chickpea harissa stew, apple, frisee

we, of course, indulged in many of the other tapas style offerings.  tapas-style is a huge trend in chicago right now.  it allows the customer to sample a large section of the menu, while allowing the kitchen to waste less and send out smaller plates rather than gargantuan platters of food that only the most gluttonous amongst us can finish.  GTs menu, beyond their oyster selection, is rather diverse too, with flavors inspired by thai, japanese, irish, and french cuisine, creating an incredible seafood fusion that feels very chicago.

so after a early afternoon lunch indulgence, we headed off to check out some art.  we were of course pushing the closing time of the museums, so instead of going to the art institute to see the picasso show, we opted for the musuem of contemporary art (mca) and the destroy the picture: painting the void, 1949-1962 show.

salvatore scarpitta, sun dial for racing, 1962
detail of salvatore scarpitta's racer's pillow, 1963
salvatore scarpitta, tishamingo, 1964

destroy the picture is a collection of post-war abstraction and media experimentation work from japan, europe and the us.  neither mindy, nor i are huge fans of post-war art.  and there are many of the overly-contrived works from artists like lee bontecou and alberto burri, but there was also some stuff we'd never seen before.  everything was, of course, in a brown color palette, and made with alternative techniques and media.  the bandaged, wrapped, and belted works of salvatore scarpitta were some of my favorites.  using multiple panels and textures to create a work that expressed the healing of a war-torn world.  His works were also the most colorful, eschewing the browns for muted reds yellows and greens.  i'm never all that interested in the stories behind the works, that's more mindy.  i like to investigate the creative process.  why this mark?  how that texture?  or what was this approach?  This post-war show is laden with works whose experimentation is evident upon first glance.  and for me, that was important.  i love how these artists played with dimension and space, but also how the works relate to environment by using elements directly from the environment.  i must say that i saw a lot of what i do with my own work in these pieces.  I feel like many of the Gutai artists from japan were working with ideas that are very akin to my methods of using locally found objects, in their raw and unprocessed form.  the multi-dimensionality of many of the american works were also very inspiring to see.  i play with the spaces between panels and layers and stacks of surfaces in a similar way.  The most important thing i found with this show was media experimentation.  You can visualize the thought process and the element of discovery in trying something absurd.  i love that that process is written all over the finished product.  That element of discovery is so so so important to me.

Shozo Shimamoto, Cannon Picture, 1956
Michio Yoshihara, Sakuhin, 1959
Chiyu Uemae, Sakuhin, 1960
Alberto Burri, Plastic Combustion, 1958
Kazuo Shiraga painting
Shozo Shimamoto, Sakuhin, 1951
Francois Dufrene, (the stranger [art is theft] series), 1961
Jacques Villegle, 1961

We also peeked into a new installation that looks quite promising, but is not yet open to the public.  opens on the 27th.  can't wait to go back and check it out.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

from the studio: 4.24

I cut Mindy an owl block:

and she printed a cute dress.

Recipe of the Week: Asian Pear and Smoked Gouda Grilled Cheese Sandwich

I hope that wherever you're reading this, your toes are warm, and you are cozy and comfortable. It has been a weird spring in Indiana so far, with lots of rain, a record-breaking flood, and even a couple of days of snow! Today, we're not even sure the sun will make it out from behind the thick clouds! We thought hard about a suitable recipe for a day like this and found a great one: grilled cheese sandwich! And not just the boring old sandwich that we all know and grew up with ... Asian pear and smoked gouda grilled cheese! You can see the original recipe on this website.

The sweet and juicy Asian pear is a perfect match for the smoky, creamy flavor of the gouda. Pair it with some English muffin bread and a bowl of Egyptian tomato soup, and both your day and your spirits will instantly perk up!

1 tbsp unsalted butter, softened
2 slices of English muffin bread
2 slices of smoked gouda
thinly sliced Asian pear

Heat cast iron skillet over medium low heat.
Spread butter on one side of each slice of bread.
When skillet is warm, add bread buttered side down, and top with 1 slice of cheese, some slices of pear, and the other remaining slice of cheese and second slice of bread, buttered side up.
Cook until bread is toasted and cheese is melted; about 6 minutes per side.

Pair your grilled cheese sandwich with this incredible Egyptian tomato soup. The tartness of the soup makes it a perfect match!


Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Flood Worms

Last week, it rained for 2 days straight and the Wabash river flooded something fierce.

I went out to the garden and saw 2 massive earthworms. They gave me the hibbie-jibbies. I was scared of them but I knew they are beneficial to the plants, so I screamed for Zach. He picked them up and tossed them into the big planter box. I hope we have good soil this year! :)

Monday, April 22, 2013

Jazz Action Heroes: Day 2

sunday's stopping point. 
yesterday i met my mural class to finally get back to work on the new piece at Brent's Bench.  we've been sidelined by the indiana spring weather.  but finally after nearly 2 weeks of rain, cold, wind and generally shitty outdoor painting conditions, the clouds cleared off, the sun came out, and so did the spray cans.

having a class on a sunday is a bit weird, and i was surprised when the majority of my class showed up to work.  they all seemed quite excited about spending their sunday afternoon on the wall.  and i was grateful that they showed that type of commitment to the work.  we broke out the tape and some stencils and started in on the details of the painting.  it was fun to watch the blank spaces begin to fill with patterns and details.  i'm super excited about the xylophone with all the multi-colored tines.  one of my students decided that it should be multi-colored like a kid's toy, and the effect works perfectly with the playfulness of the rest of the piece.

our final scheduled painting day is tomorrow, but again, indiana spring is throwing us a curveball in the form of another predicted inch of rain.  the unveil is a week away, so we'll have to try our best to get out there when we can, but the painting is developing nicely.  just a bit more to finish up.

Friday, April 19, 2013

from the studio: 4.19

today was spent finishing up my piece for the 'under the dome' show at the courthouse.  i meant to enter a print, but i hate framing shit.  it was cheaper for me to make this than to frame a sheet of paper.  and to me: this is cooler.

this piece is made from scrap wood, cardboard, metal and blue jeans.  the imagery is put on with stencils and linocuts.  the white print on the rusty metal will continue to change color as the ink oxidizes with the metal and water.  it's hard to see in the photo but the bottom white panel is a sheet of cardboard.  after using it profusely in 'art from where you live,' it is of course beginning to show up everywhere else.  i used it for a section of the roof on the church i built the other day too.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Ai WeiWei at IMA

Yesterday Mindy and I went to Indy to see the Ai WeiWei show at the Indianapolis Museum of Art (IMA). Neither of us know that much about his work, mostly what we've seen in the press. But still this is Indy, quite possibly the most anesthetic community in the country, why the hell would Ai WeiWei be here?

Let me preface our trip with an interview I read with the new executive director of the IMA. Basically the article made the guy look like an elitist prick to a level not known in the cornfields of Indiana. He compared his museum to Lilly, then asked why the children's museum draws 3 times the visitors that the art museum does, then went on to say that he wanted 'nice average' museum visitors. Now, I'm sure this guy is not as bad as the article made him out to be, but then he did just layoff a ton of staff in a money-saving move, while not reducing his $600k+ salary, with another round of layoffs set for the summer. Maybe he is a banker in the role of director, who really knows. But I digress.

One of the best things about the IMA is that it is free everyday. The special shows are ticketed, but in the past have been relatively cheap. Ai WeiWei was $12 a ticket. Plus $5 to park. That's $29 for two of us to visit a museum that I usually pay $0 to visit. But that's cool I was really looking forward to seeing this celebrity artist's work.

Colored Vases, 2007-2010
Tea House, 2009
Grapes, 2010

The show was a major disappointment on a number of levels. First off, there's very little in the way of stuff to look at in the gallery. You are led into a collection of his time in NYC and his work from the the 2009 Chinese earthquake that killed several kids in shoddy school buildings that were deemed safe by the Chinese government, and some of his other earlier work.

I can't decide if I'm disappointed in the show or the artist celebrity. Basically Ai WeiWei is just the Chinese version of Michael Moore. He is a political activist. His art is not thought-provoking, it is quite clichéd really. His narrative is poor and overly self-centered, and I came away from the show with no new revelations about anything. I'm sorry, I'm sure that Ai WeiWei is a great artist, I just think he sucks. He's a celebrity, and I imagine that his activism does more harm than good for China. All his work did for me was to reinforce americanized stereotypes about the Chinese people and government. While I agree that China has corrupt leaders and awful poverty, I believe that his work is only popular because it plays into the isolated American vision of an evil China. Surely this is an artist that can be loved by the tea party fools and the occupy fools. But I also imagine that celebrity artist will help to bring in dollars for a museum that doesn't necessarily need the money.

After that huge disappointment, we were on our way out of the museum and were stopped by a docent with a survey. We obliged, kind of. It was interesting to hear the survey questions. Typical demographic questions: what did you do while you were here, how can we improve? But instead of asking my opinion I was forced to pick a number between one and five or from a list of possible museum experiences. Hey art museum, if you want to get better throw away your dumbass survey and actually talk like humans to humans.

He Xie, 2010
Overall I think this was one of my most disappointing museum visits I've ever made and I think it has to do with a combination of a new administration and a shitty celebrity, faking as an artist.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...