colette fu

You didn’t see that coming, did you!? Collaged pop-up books are already fabulous, but then, hold on, what’s that, is it … a gigantic pop-up book installation!?!? Yes, yes, a thousand times yes! This is the work of Colette Fu. She is one of the artists in the “pa•per” show {that opens at Paradigm Gallery, Philadelphia on April 26th} that I wrote about yesterday. She’s based in Philadelphia, but has done extensive traveling through Asia… I love this story from Colette’s site:

“For 6 months, I traveled between Shanghai and select minority areas in Inner Mongolia, Northwest Xinjiang Province, Hunan, Guangxi, Guizhou and Zhejiang Provinces. Traveling through the mountainous Yi landscape, one old Yi man told me, “Although an eagle flies far into the distance, its wings will fold back. For the Yi, the ultimate goal of life is to find the path of your ancestors.” Another Yi man advised me, “Don’t follow the black road, which is madness, dampness, illness and the ghost road. You should follow the white road, which leads you back to your ancestors.” Constructing pop-ups allows me to combine intuitive design and technical acuity with my love of traveling as I try to understand the world around me. With pop-up books I want to eliminate the boundaries between people, book, installation, photography, craft, sculpture….”

Beautiful. Also beautiful, a peek at her work in progress:

So, so fantastic! Her exhibition, titled “We Are Tiger Dragon People”, is currently showing at the Taubman Museum of Art {Virginia} until September 8, 2019.

pa-per {a group show}

A 15 artist exhibition celebrating all things “pa•per”, and this isn’t even half of them! From insane paper-cutting pieces and embossed bodies, to ‘knife drawings’ and found image collage… Paradigm Gallery in Philadelphia has put together an exciting and eclectic show titled, yes, “pa•per” , and I am beyond thrilled to be one of the artists in this stellar lineup. Here’s a little more info about this upcoming exhibition:

“Though paper is often thought of as craft material, Jason Chen’s exhibition, pa•per, tries to re-contextualize the medium by showcasing 15 artists who use nontraditional techniques to elevate it. Artists participating in pa•per include: Kanako Abe, Daria Aksenova, Joey Bates, Albert Chamillard, Colette Fu, Lizzie Gill, Sally Hewett, Danielle Krysa, Rosa Leff, Huntz Liu, Ryan Sarah Murphy, Marianne R. Petit, Lucha Rodríguez, and Nayan & Vaishali. The gallery is known for working with established and emerging paper artists, but pa•per’s lineup is fresh and unexpected.” 

The show opens THIS Friday, April 26, 2019 from 5:30 – 10pm, and will be on view until May 18. Go, okay? Thanks! ♥

mé collective

Gasp! A big, beautiful, very solid “wave” that, because of the window behind it, looks like it’s moving as the light finds its way across the undulating ripples. This piece, titled Contact, is the work of Japanese collective, .  The group is headed by Haruka Kojin, directed by Kenji Minamigawa, and the production manager is Hirofumi Masui. Their portfolio is filled with all sorts of fabulous work… have a look at “Day With A Man’s Face Floating In The Sky”.

‘Contact’ is on view through May 26, 2019 at Mori Art Museum, Tokyo.

{via Colossal}

worthy of worth, part 2

On November 25, 2018 I wrote a post about WORTH – more specifically, feeling WORTHY OF WORTH. That post was the result of the first few months of my book tour for “A Big Important Art Book – Now with Women”. I’d noticed a recurring theme of people – especially artists – not believing they were worthy of living creative lives.

Five days after I wrote that post, my dad died. It was sudden, unexpected, and an absolute shock to my family. Everything stopped. My book tour, my urge to create, my will to shower daily. True. My dad has always been my biggest cheerleader – he pushed me hard too {which wasn’t always fun}, but he was in my corner every minute of my life.

I’ve had a long, hard winter. Never experiencing this kind of grief, I didn’t truly know the range of emotions you can experience in a matter of minutes. I was sad, then okay, then very very angry, back to crying uncontrollably, and then okay again. Honestly, I’m still riding that rollercoaster, but I’ve learned to accept the dizzying effects. The best advice I got was from a childhood friend who also recently lost her dad. She wisely said, “it’s okay to not be okay.” That’s hard for a control freak who tries to be on top of everything all the time, but allowing myself to “not be okay” has been the greatest gift I could give myself. If you’re going through any kind of grief right now, I hope this advice helps you too.

All of this to say, I’ve done a lot of soul-searching. It’s cliche, but life is short. My dad certainly had no idea that his last day on this earth would be after on a morning training run on the beach in Jamaica just days before the event he was there to run. So, what matters to me? What do I want? What do I want to do with whatever amount of time I have here?

I want to make my own art, and I want to help other people feel worthy of living a creative life too.

In late February, my grief fog started to lift a little – ie., I started brushing my hair again. My dad has always wanted me to kick ass at whatever I set out to do… so here we are. I built a studio in my basement. I have reached out to people who I admire for help with what my next steps should be. I have been making art every day. I finally wrote and pitched a children’s book that I’ve been thinking about {ie., hesitating to pitch} for three years … still waiting to hear about that one, but I’ll keep you posted!

People who follow me on Instagram have commented/noticed the sudden fire under my own artwork, and have been asking how, what, why? Well, all of that lonely soul-searching is definitely a factor, but there have also been FIVE key things. Now, this is in no way a sales pitch for ANYTHING so please don’t read it that way. It’s just the truth. I’ve never been much of a joiner… I don’t join groups, I have never liked talking to other people about my art, I’ve never even been part of a book club. That said, I’ve realized in the past few years of writing books and delving into the uncomfortable world of creative blocks and inner critics, that having the support of other creative people is absolutely crucial. You don’t need a tribe of 100 people… 2 or 3 will work just fine, and they don’t even need to be in your town. Most of my “tribe” are friends who live on the other side of the planet. Ok, so, here are the FIVE things that have pushed me to stop f’n around:

  1. My Dad. His famous line {used on me, my sister and my brother} was always, “the harder you work, the luckier you get.” Yep.
  2. Going to Venice in 2017 and 2018. Talk about a rollercoaster. The Venice Biennale is filled with the most insane artwork. Work that takes your breath away. Work that made me think, “My simple little collages are so pointless!” Now, the old me would have just quit right then and there, but ‘The Jealous Curator’ took her own advice, sat down with an espresso beside the Grand Canal and wrote a list of why her work was important, but also how she could push it further. This is not a sales pitch for attending the European Cultural Academy in Venice this July, but it is a pretty transformative place / experience. {FYI, I’m one of the teachers in July}
  3. Pennylane Shen. Damn. She is an artist consultant who will sit down with you {either in person or via Skype}, and help guide you / your work to the next level. If you follow me on Instagram you might have noticed my “simple collages” getting a lot less simple. Yep, that’s a combination of the Venice experience and working with Pennylane. Oh, and she also convinced me to finally build a proper website for my art.
  4. Turning my 100 year old basement into a studio. My husband suggested this after the millionth time I complained about not having enough room to take my work from small paper pieces to large panels. I didn’t procrastinate, I didn’t find reasons it wouldn’t work, I just got it done. March was filled end to end with renos {pictures coming soon!}, and voila, it’s done. Now, after I drop my son off at school, I “go to work”. I pour a coffee, put on my paint-covered apron, kiss my husband goodbye and head down to my studio for the day. Sometimes I cry due to overwhelming happiness.
  5. Thrive. Again, not a sales pitch, just something I’ve been doing for the last couple of years that has helped me find my way. If you haven’t heard me talk about them before, it’s basically a mastermind group {online} for female/female identified artists from all over the world. I think it’s the accountability that goes along with our once a month meetings that has helped me make a plan and stay on track… when you know you have a meeting coming up, it kinda lights a fire under you to do the stuff you told your group you were gonna do!

My sleeves are rolled up, and there will be no more apologizing, hesitating, or feeling unworthy of the success I want. I’m going to go get it. I’m going to make my cheerleader proud.

Thank you for listening. ps. If you’re wondering why my podcast has been on hold, see above. It will come back, but the grief rollercoaster is not conducive to recording conversations with people you don’t know! Until I feel ready, there are 151 episodes archived for you.

liza lou

Glass. Beads. Millions of glass beads… and in the case of that white “rope”, a “Continuous Mile” of glass beads. This is the absolutely stunning work of Los Angeles based artist Liza Lou. According to her website, Liza “utilizes glass beads as an index of intensive labor”. Mission accomplished.

cindy rizza

Sigh. Are you thinking about your grandmother right now? Me too. Oh, so many feelings, memories, smells … and these aren’t even my blankets! That is the magic of nostalgia, and when you combine beautifully boring subject matter with the insane oil painting skills of New Hampshire based artist Cindy Rizza, well, here we are. I wrote about Cindy six years ago, so I’m thrilled that I was recently pointed her way again. Here are Cindy’s words about her work:

“My work quietly examines familiar domestic comforts and the objects that we use to feel secure. In examining the unique identities of heirloom textiles and childhood nostalgia my work summons conflicting feelings of comfort and loneliness, hope and foreboding, and of life and loss. I aim to expose the contradictions within the subjects – to honor the comfort and love they bore, but unfold the truths of what we are fearful of in the darkness.


samuelle green

So apparently, that is what you look like after turning zillions of hand-rolled paper cones into gigantic paper caves! If you have Instagram {hahaha!} you’ve probably seen these insane “Paper Caves” by American artist Samuelle Green. Most recently, the interweb was going crazy over her work at the Art on Paper fair in New York. Well good news … if you’re in New York, you can still wonder through one of her paper caves at 601Artspace until May 5th. Here are a few words from Samuelle’s site about this work:

Upon entering the cavern like space, viewers will be aware of the amount of time and work involved in the creation of the installation and liken it to often overlooked art forms in nature. There is structure and design inherent in the natural world which we constantly draw from and take for granted. We generally fail to acknowledge the skill, time, and detail required to manifest the intricate structures found in objects we encounter regularly — such as those found in bird and wasp nests, beehives, spider webs, rock formations, anthills, feathers, and countless others. Samuelle’s installation references these forms on a human scale – inspiring contemplation.

lizzie darden

Gorgeous styling + Puns = Lizzie Darden. Well, I just fell down the rabbit hole that is Lizzie Darden’s Instagram feed, and I loved every pun-filled second! I think my faves are the macaroknee pads, the prank caller in a prank collar, and those potato wedges!?! I’m going to make you guess the rest over your morning coffee. Be like Lizzie and “take life pun day at a time.”

ps. I think it would be irresponsible of me not to show you these pins from Lizzie’s shop… ‘brain freeze’, ‘cheese cake’, and ‘let’s taco bout it’! Bahahaha!


joey bates

Paper paint drips? I don’t even, but how, are these, I don’t, oh my word. That was exactly what went through my head when I came across the paper-cutting work of Seattle {now Stockholm based} artist Joey Bates. If you’d like answers to all of my highly intelligent / well-spoken questions, just keep an eye on Joey’s Instagram feed for the inside scoop on how he does what he does! It’s all a little bit insane… in a wonderfully inspiring way, of course. ps. Joey and I are in a show together, titled “pa-per”, that opens on April 26 in Philadelphia at Paradigm Gallery! The opening reception is from 5:30-10pm.

Represented by Montreal’s Galerie Youn

jessica oreck

“I tend to think of myself less as an artist and more as a Bower Bird, compositing and arranging archipelagos of intricate nests.”

Currently based in South Korea, American artist Jessica Oreck makes multiple collage series, all of which live under the theme of “Sent From Where I Am”. This dreamy grouping, for example, is titled “Manila, Philippines : Collected November, 2018”. It’s basically a mix & match game using faded historical figure flashcards she found in a dusty bookshop in a mall in Manila. LOVE. Here are Jessica’s words on why she does what she does…

“I am enthralled by the objects and remnants that fall through the cracks – caught somewhere in limbo between belonging(s) and trash – the habitually forgotten residues of other people’s lives … The collages each engage directly with a sense of place. Every collection is comprised of materials gathered in a single location. Drawing on the limitations and precision of the imagery, the collages reveal a sort of palimpsest of ethos – a layering of mutating cultural vogues, the anonymous censorship of time, and my own socially muddied sense of self.”

Beautiful. Happy Friday.