medium /// historical

girl crush

I have a crush. Well, I have quite a few actually… so many, in fact, that I’ve turned them into a new series of guest posts, that start today, on the always lovely sfgirlbybay. The series is called girl crush. Can you guess why? Yep, the posts will feature amazing women artists that I have huge art crushes on! Here’s why I chose to do this…

When I was in university, I minored in Art History. As a young female artist, I wanted to know why there weren’t more women in my textbooks… surely they existed?! And it wasn’t just the Renaissance and Rococo periods that were lacking – I have a Pop Art book filled with artists that I love, but there is not one woman in it. Doesn’t that seem kinda crazy? Yes, yes it does. Luckily, contemporary art seems to be balancing things out a little more… I know that more than half of my posts feature women. Granted, I’m jealous of work regardless of the artist’s gender, but as a woman artist myself, I absolutely love to see, and celebrate, the successes of inspiring, crush-worthy “girls”… hence the catchy title of this series! Sigh… I have so many crushes, on so many artists, that these posts just might go on forever! So, now that I’m wearing my heart on my sleeve, you can tell me… who do you ?

{textbook worthy images by: 1. Tina Berning 2. Martha Rich 3. Maia Flore 4. Laura McKellar 5. Beth Hoeckle 6. Margaret Kilgallen ♥♥♥}

july 16th ~ 17th

Kelly Lynn Jones is an artist and curator living in Oakland, California. She received her MFA in May 2010 from the California College of the Arts in San Francisco, and has shown her work all over the US, and UK… so, obviously, I’m totally jealous! Her own work is fabulous, and if that’s not enough, she just happens to run a little online gallery you may have heard of called Little Paper Planes… yeah, I know! And wait til you see who she’s jealous of – it’s a fascinating story:


I am jealous of Bas Jan Ader

I think I am really just fascinated by his whole persona.
Bas Jan Ader appears to be nothing but a myth, even though he was an artist living in the 1970’s whose life was cut tragically short as he searched for the miraculous.  We all have moments where we want to believe in the romantic ideas of the sublime.  We listen to pop songs about love on the radio and let ourselves get swept away in what could be our life, even though those are calculated songs, not reality.  He framed all of his works within a conceptual lens though the underlining themes are still universal in the simplistic ways of showing emotion and longing for the past and future.  Underneath the guise of generalized images of the romantic tragic hero, was an artist/person who had his own personal tragedies and experiences though through art translated the personal into generic cultural references.  Ader was successful where he could take the vernacular within Pop culture and transcend the commoditization of the romantic notion into something that felt real yet not personal.  He essentially became a “persona” or “myth” of the romantic by carrying out the actions that portrayed his ideal.

I often romanticize what life should be like, what an artist’s life should be like and am often stuck in some state of nostalgia; longing for something I have never actually experienced.  So when I view Ader’s work, I empathize with how he may of felt.  He was so successful in portraying this “persona”, that I wonder where he as “Bas Jan Ader” fit into the scenario.  Was he really and actually the tragic hero?  Did he begin to believe the myth he was creating or was this actually he all along?  In his final piece, In Search of the Miraculous in 1975, he left those questions with the answers deep into the vast Atlantic Ocean.  So we will never know.


Thanks so much Kelly. What a lovely, thoughtful post.

i’m jealous of bob willoughby


Bob Willoughby, ‘candid photographer of the stars’, died on December 18th at the age of 82. His work is amazing and will always be remembered, not only because of his stunning compositions and his obvious knack for capturing perfect moments, but also for the very unique glimpse into Hollywood that his photos revealed. At the time, during the early 50’s and 60’s, it was rare to see a Hollywood star doing anything other than posing perfectly still for a shot that would promote his or her big studio film. Bob went behind the scenes and captured some of the most famous faces of the time just being people… heading home at the end of the day, re-reading scripts, waiting for sets to be lit, and yes, even grocery shopping (although I’m pretty sure Audrey Hepburn was the only one that took a baby deer along for the ride.)

{I found this story via Peter Hay Halpert – Thanks Peter.}

i’m jealous of vivian maier


What an amazing glimpse at a slice of American life during the 1950s and 60s. And what an even more amazing story about this photographer, the undiscovered Vivian Maier. John Maloof, also a photographer, ended up buying a bunch of her negatives {30 – 40,000 to be precise} at a furniture and antique auction in Chicago. The auction house acquired her belongings from her storage locker that was sold off due to delinquent payments. Um, can you say gold mine? And he still has 600 rolls to develop. Who knows what else he’ll find!

Anyway, the story doesn’t end there. About a year after he bought the negatives, as he got more and more involved with Vivian’s photos, he did what any modern day person would do… he googled her. Her obituary had been posted one day before he hit ‘search’. Seriously. She died peacefully at the age of 83. I’m not sure what I love more, her photography or this story. I don’t know about you, but I can’t help wondering how many more ‘Vivian Maiers’ are out there, just waiting to be discovered.

{John Maloof has set up a blog to show her work, and is trying to put an exhibition together in Chicago, the place where Vivian lived for a large part of her life.}

i’m jealous of dali’s decorating skills


I was at the library today and saw a Salvador Dali book on the shelf, which reminded me that I probably had my next post in an old photo album somewhere. I went to Dali’s Theatre & Museum in Figueres, Spain years ago and was totally inspired to say the least. I was there for about 4 hours and still didn’t see everything. The art on display was weird and wonderful as always, but what I loved so much was how crazy the actual house was, and he really lived there… in a pink house with popcorn-like sculptures stuck to the exterior walls, huge eggs lining the top of house, and Mae West’s nostrils as his fireplace(s). I wonder if I could get at least one nostril installed before winter?

{I ended up finding only one of these photos in my album. I have no idea where they all went?! Well, thanks to all of you other travelers out there that I ‘borrowed’ most of these images from!}

i’m jealous of diane arbus


I usually write about contemporary artists, but today I’m jealous of an artist from a few decades back ~ rewind to the 1960’s if you will. These amazing portraits are by Diane Arbus, one of America’s most influential photographers. She was best known for capturing the images of somewhat strange people, or to be a little less politically correct… ‘freaks’. Her life story is quite interesting but a bit sad, and her completely made up life story in the movie Fur: An Imaginary Portrait of Diane Arbus, is even more interesting and even more sad. If you  haven’t seen it, you should! It’s beautiful, very Alice in Wonderland.

i’m jealous of ann newmarch


Australia’s Ann Newmarch did this screenprint in 1975. Thirty three years later I saw it in WACK! Art and the Feminist Revolution at the Vancouver Art Gallery. It was easily my favourite piece in the show. I have to admit though, as much as I can appreciate the meaning behind the work, it was those purple panties that got me.