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jenny fine

These two photographs inspired a colorful, dreamy, David Lynch-ish traveling performance piece by American artist Jenny Fine. I wrote about Jenny’s series, titled “The Saddest Day” a few years ago – a heartbreaking project she did with her dear grandmother, Sarah, shortly before her death. Almost all of Jenny’s work is an homage to her Granny, and the beautiful dedication continues! May I present Flat Granny and Me: A Procession in My Mind:

“Intertwining the historic narrative surrounding the plight of my South Alabama farming community at the hands of the Mexican Boll Weevil with the memory-scape of my grandmother riding in the annual Boll Weevil Parade as 1968 Woman of the Year; past meets present, reality and memory collide placing the viewer in a dream-like setting and state. Part cyclorama/part moving image, A Procession… was created in an attempt to “reverse the camera’s crop” – returning space and time to the still image; and doing so, attempts to redefine the form and function of the photograph in our contemporary, image-saturated world.” 

So beautiful. And that’s “Flat Granny” above — a life-size photographic cutout of her grandmother turned costume. A full video of this dreamlike performance piece can be seen on Jenny’s site. There are also gorgeous behind-the-scenes photos that go into detail about the gorgeous costumes, lighting, etc.  It’s all just so weird and beautiful.

jenny fine

So weird, and beautiful, and weird, and sad. Quite appropriate given that the title of this series, by American artist Jenny Fine, is titled The Saddest Day. It really was, and here’s why:

“In the throws of it, one hardly knows what to do.  It is a hard feeling to name. It’s a lump in the throat, a shortness of breath. It’s hands that tremble knowing that they must work fast. “This is it,” I kept thinking, I kept speaking under my breath, as if saying it out loud made the moment more real. She was leaving, we knew that full well, and there was nothing we could do.

I come from a family of farmers.  When my father was little my grandparents raised pigs.  On the coldest day of the year the hogs were slaughtered and their bodies were dragged to the roof of the house to freeze. One year the hogs took sick and the entire herd had to be slaughtered on the same day. It was my father’s job, together with the other children in the family, to help kill the pigs. This day was known as ‘The Saddest Day’.

This series of medium format photographs, entitled ‘The Saddest Day’, was originally conceived as a reenactment of this family narrative. However, when I arrived home that Mother’s Day weekend, I found my grandmother upside down on the couch, her head where her feet should have been. She was hurting. We rushed her to the hospital.

These photographs document the moments following our return to the farm after our first visit to the emergency room, two weeks before my grandmother died. ‘The Saddest Day’ explores my family’s collective experience of loss leading up to the death of the family matriarch: my grandmother. In this moment taking pictures seemed the only thing we could do to stop time. Putting on a costume, wearing a mask, even looking through the camera was a way to face each other, face this trauma and our vulnerability without having to look at each other straight on. ‘The Saddest Day’ portrays the beginning of our coming to terms with a looming goodbye; my father, sister and cousin dressed as pigs leading my grandmother into death.”

See? So, so sad… but at the same time, it’s also so wonderful and amazing that Jenny had that kind of relationship with her fabulous grandmother, Sarah. A woman who for years and years was a collaborative creative partner {she did this shoot when she knew she was dying – what a spit-fire, right to the end!}, and huge supporter of her granddaughter’s talent and love of art:

RIP, Sarah. I wish I had known you.

dear 2013…

Dear 2013,

This is our last day together, so I just wanted to say… you were amazing.

You were filled with art that was delicate, mysterious, funny, touching, strange, controversial, and breath-taking.

You were there when I finished my first bookand started on my second.

You took me to all sorts of lovely places like Salt Lake CityChattanoogaAustinLA, and Maui. {ps. In January, Stefan Sagmeister kissed me in SLC, so that was a pretty great way to kick off the year!}

You gave me the chance to guest write for lovely folks like Victoria Smith on sfgirlbybay, Emily Henderson, and Anthology Magazine.

You were the first year that I really gave my own artwork a shot… even if I resisted. A lot.

You were the year I spent settling into a new town, and home, with my amazing husband and super sweet little boy. We had twelve months of adventure ~ making new friends, swimming in the lake, fishing, jumping off docks, and eating more ice cream than three people should ever consume.

You were also the one that introduced me to so many lovely new friends {like Stephanie, Emily H, Ginny, Leah, Emily LSamantha, Mark, Alyson, Melinda, & Diana}, and gave me time to visit with some really wonderful old friends {Autumn, Kathleen, Jessica, Mary-Jo, Janette, Melanie, Meleny, Christy, Janna & Jason, Kira … love you guys!}. AND there are so many more of you who I plan to catch up with in 2014… I’m talking to you Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, New York, Toronto and Vancouver friends! I might even make my way to Paris and London {fingers crossed!}

And finally, you did a pretty good job of teaching me how to slow down, so that I could truly enjoy everything along the way. Thanks. I needed that!

So, with that I’ll say bye bye, 2013. I can’t wait to meet your pal, 2014… I’m pretty excited to see what she’s got in store for all of us.

~ danielle xo

Happy New Year, everyone. I hope you have an amazing, fun, safe night tonight! Thank you so much for being part of my little world, I appreciate it more than I could ever put into words.

Ok, are you ready? 2014. Let’s fill it up with creative genius… GO!

{1. Prospect Goods 2. Rachel Castle 3. CONFETTI SYSTEM 4. Max Wanger 5. ROTGANZEN}

i’m jealous of “the exquisite book”

This book is amazing… well, exquisite actually. Julia Rothman, Jenny Volvovski,  and Matt Lamothe of Also, a small American design company, are the creators of The Exquisite Book {which, fyi, just became available for purchase two days ago}. The book features 100 contemporary fine artists, illustrators, designers and comic artists, each of whom were “given the page that precedes theirs to connect their own image to. They needed to extend the horizon line of the last page onto their page.” Such a great collaborative idea, with absolutely gorgeous results! Oh boy, that Christmas list of mine is just getting longer and longer by the second.


I have always been jealous of people who can truly fill a sketchbook. Pages that are thick with paint, found objects glued on haphazardly, images drawn over and over and over until the artist’s vision is figured out. It feels very voyeuristic to me, like you’re seeing images that you weren’t meant to see. The mistakes, and the hope of creative potential. The really bad ideas, and the little seedlings of fantastic gallery-worthy pieces. ‘Peep Show’ takes you inside the beautiful and inspiring sketchbooks of seven very talented artists. If I could cover an entire gallery in pages from these books, I’d have to change my name to ‘The Happy Curator’.

{Most of these sketchbooks were found on Julia Rothman’s fantastic book blog, Book by Its Cover}


Martha Rich:


Isaac Tobin:


Ben Finer:


Jenny Volvovski:


Tina Berning:


Sonja Ahlers:
{*Note. This is a ‘fur book’, not a sketchbook… but close enough!}


Julia Pott: