Monday, December 19, 2005

240 radio towers

i spent my birthday in 1994 at the art brut museum in lausanne, switzerland. at the time, i hardly considered myself an artist. i had just finished scientific illustration school and given up my job as a research assistant in marine biology to move to france with my new husband (an aside: though we're still great friends, jean-paul and i have since been divorced...three years ago exactly, today, in fact...). i always had this longing to make art about science, and felt that all i'd learned at risd had put me on the right track, but my work hadn't coalesced into something yet. anyway, there i was at this phenomenal museum of works by "untrained artists". i could hardly catch my breath. i took copious notes, and absorbed everything like a sponge. later i based much of the content of my little booklet "EVOLUTION OF AN ARTIST" on what i learned that day.

here it is over 12 years later, and i was coming in here this morning to post one of my latest drawings. i was going to preface the post by saying that these new drawings feel familiarly, comfortably obsessive, like when i used to do stipple renderings of skate egg cases with a rapidograph. only instead of little dots, i'm drawing radio towers. hundreds of them. then i remembered some drawings i saw at the musee d'art brut, and dug through my files to find a postcard of some work done in 1939 by eugene gabritschievsky. i remembered how moved i'd been by his astounding, tiny, repetitious drawings of creatures. then i googled him and found out that Gabritschevsky was a pretty well-known biologist and geneticist before he was institutionalized for schizophrenia, where he created over 5,000 drawings. In his bio (link above) it says that "Gabritschevsky feels that the unexpected and the haphazard in art as well as in science are the basis of knowledge."

wow. i couldn't agree more.

i did this drawing while i was in court waiting my turn to be tried for the stickercrime. it's on some fabulous "dupont explosives" graph paper given to me by a friend whose dad used to be an explosives engineer (that friend, a crazybrilliant "untrained artist" in his own right, disappeared eight years ago today on a tiny sailboat in the north atlantic).

Monday, December 05, 2005

upsidedown LIFE follow-up

just a quick little follow-up on the upsidedown LIFE incident...

the hearing was held yesterday morning at 100 center st, the manhattan criminal court. i was wearing an upsidedown LIFE t-shrit and had pics of the "crime scene" on hand for reference. i had a chance to describe the situation to the legal aid lawyer who was assigned to my case prior to going before the judge, and he immediately wanted to know about the meaning of the sticker (content really does seem to matter...which, to my mind, brings up freedom of speech issues, but that's a whole other issue...). he classified it as "non-specific philosophical humor", which i was satisfied with. once before the judge, i was charged with possession of a "graffiti implement", but in my research i discovered that graffiti implements are specifically defined as spray paint, wide-nibbed markers, and etching powder. the lawyer and the judge and the DA guys ("the people") argued back and forth a bit (not without smirking, i might add). things mentioned: it was my first offense, there were already other markings on the pole, i had already spent 7 hours in jail, the nature of my message was non-commercial and apolitical (sort of...). at first they were going to let me off with an ACD ("adjournment on contemplation of dismissal" case dropped and my prints destroyed if i manage not to get arrested again for 6 months to a year) and one day of community service, but the lawyer managed to eliminate the community service and get me out without even having to pay a court fee (i was actually kind of looking forward to seeing what they had in mind for community service...working an extra day at the soup kitchen? planting flowers in a park? or scraping off other people's stickers...that would have sucked...).

i never needed to mention it to the judge, but i found it rather good omen to have come across this stuck to a pole on my way to the courthouse.

now if only all the goddamn politicians would go arrest themselves...