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Last summer I applied to have one of my paintings included in the Montana Arts Council’s 2018 Art Mobile of Montana show, a traveling exhibit that reaches audiences in grades K-12 all over Montana.

When the exhibit came to rural schools near Bozeman, Curator/Educator Tess Fahlgren invited me to come to one of the visits. It was beyond fun, beyond inspiring… It was the kind of heart-melting feel-good experience that just makes all the yucky stuff in the world disappear like a bad dream.

I fell in love with the incredible kids at this tiny rural school, and their cool teacher, and their toddling siblings, and I was not a bit surprised at how deftly and intelligently Tess handled the presentation, discussion and art activity. I knew I would enjoy going, but it was even more wonderful than I imagined. (A shout out to my friend, artist Angela Yonke, or “Miss Angela” as she’s known by the students, who taught art as a visiting artist at Pass Creek School for several years! I bet you miss these guys!)

Here’s a rough collection of video clips that I caught:

And below is a little photo essay taken with my phone, since my camera card was on the fritz.

Thanks so much, Tess, for the invite and to Tess, Ms Rider, and the students for including me in this great day. Happy travels, Art Mobile!

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I’m doing a collaborative journaling project with some of my Etsy friends, and today’s entry seemed fit for general consumption, so here it is.

We watched “Liberation Day” last night, a documentary about the concert in North Korea staged by the “radically ambiguous” ( i.e. hopefully ironically) pseudo-fascist Slovenian band, Laibach. It’s mind-blowingly weird, and more than a little depressing. It has been described as “the most bizarre concert ever,” which I can’t really argue. The fact that the concert happened at all is completely mystifying.

Laibach is David’s favorite band. They play sophisticated, industrial/classical/martial style music, and their lead vocalist, Milan Fras, sounds pretty much like my imagining of the prince of darkness. I think David finds their covers of sweet songs like “Let it Be” and “Across the Universe” refreshing. I get that. But it’s not exactly the kind of music I want to listen to while in my home with a cup of tea, crocheting.

In North Korea, after much confusion and censorship, they did covers of “Edelweiss” and “The Sound of Music.” Here’s their somewhat terrifying rendition of “My Favorite Things,” which we watched on Youtube, later.

The documentary was artistically filmed and had that disjointed/redacted character that all films that make it out of North Korea do. We had watched Álvaro Longoria’s “The Propaganda Game” a year or more ago, and it gave me that same eerie feeling of a dream you wish you could wake up from, and you keep realizing, “Fuck! This is real!” So, one North Korea film a year is enough for me, tops.

The weirdest parts of “Liberation Day” for me were the is he serious? comments made by Laibach’s Ivan Novak, who famously said in response to Orwell’s quote, “All art is propaganda,” “All propaganda is art.” You just don’t know whether he really thinks totalitarianism is a good idea, or if he’s being provocative. It’s discomfiting, but thought provoking, which I chose to think was his intention.

The North Korean audience looks about as thrilled by the performance as I imagine any given audience in fly-over Oklahoma or Montana* might look when presented with Laibach. How did they pick these audience members anyway? Was it a punishment or a treat? Did people just choose to come of their own accord? Did they love it, but carefully hide their emotions? Did they have post-Laibach stress? Were they monitored afterward? *Which brings to mind a question. Has talk radio created the propaganda equivalent of our own little North Korea, right in our midst?

Anyway, after checking the laundry, I realized I felt like crying. We call the movie you watch after the weird, upsetting one a palate cleanser. Last night’s palate cleanser was an episode of “Laugh In.” It was the first time I’d seen it since I was about 6 years old. That was a trip in itself. I could smell the warm polyester of our 1970s living room the minute Dan Rowan and Dick Martin started swizzling their martinis.

Afterward I went on a Spotify safari to find songs for next Wednesday’s ukulele cabaret play-along. I had decided on the theme “Good, Bad, Ugly” after hearing “Only the Good Die Young” on the oldies radio station in my car. Led Zeppelin’s “Good Times, Bad Times” helped to wipe out the cobwebs of totalitarian ambiguity angst, followed by “You was a Good Ole Wagon, but you Done Broke Down.” I don’t think we’ll be doing any Laibach songs.

Marla

Over the past weeks I’ve been charging up for the Bozeman Open Studios Tour (10-4 Sat-Sun Oct 21-22 2017).  Pop in and see me! I’ll have tour maps on hand, or use the online map.

coloring

Drop-In Hands-On Workshop I’ll be doing a very easy-going drop-in gelatin monoprint workshop. It’s super easy and fun to make an ink monoprint from a reference image, using gelatin as a printing plate. I’ll have it all set up so you can try this 5-10 minute activity if you want. You can make a coloring page, or notecard, or do like I do and just call it art.

pendants

Art Merch! I’ve got new prints, pendants, magnets, patches, wee ditty bags, matchbook sized print booklets, Marla art comics, cards and even a few oddities & cast-offs to purvey, so you can shop for your friends & family, be they geeks, angry feminists, inconsolable peaceniks, or just normal weirdos. (I will also have a few items from the sweeter, cuter, more mainstream side of my personality, which my sister Jana will like.)

FTS

New Originals! If you missed out on the chance to express your feminist outrage through an embellished monoprint from my “Fuck This Shit” series, I’ll have some new ones at a variety of smallish sizes and delightfully affordable prices, while they last. Who knows, I might even have a few surprises lurking around here.

swimsuitOld Originals! Perhaps you’re interested in something On Fire? Or a PINK painting based on vintage photos of women? A Caroline Kennedy figurine or baby doll embellished found-painting? A vintage swimmer? Or that weird painting of Captain Kirk carrying Spock’s head in a basket? They’ll be here, too. I’ll probably be ready to do a little wheelin and dealin on older stuff, so don’t be shy about asking for a discount.

apoca

Sneak Peek at the first few items to emerge from my newest creative outlet, Apocalypta’s Sewing Circle. Give me your input, or buy original embellished clothing if it fits your style and/or your body.

My “Pink” painting series will be at Wild Joe’s Coffee Spot, 18 W. Main, throughout September 2017, with an “artist hangout” (i.e. super chill reception) during the Friday, Sept 8. However, these extra special “FTS” pieces (and some other surprises!) will be on public display only during Bozeman Artwalk 6-8pm Sept 8. Here’s a secret link for anyone who might like to purchase early: https://www.etsy.com/shop/Kitschatorium

This is a sneak preview of my “Pink” series, which will hang at Wild Joe’s Coffee Spot, 18 W. Main, throughout September 2017, with a reception (ok, more like a hangout) during the Friday, September 8 Downtown Bozeman art walk. They are available for purchase beginning Sept. 1 and available for pickup the first week of October, after the Wild Joe’s show closes.

I’m posting these images for press reference. Press can use these images (with artist credit Marla Goodman) online, or if you want a high res version for press use, please contact me through my contact page.

Artist’s Statement: Pink Statement – Goodman

Additional works will be on display only during Bozeman Artwalk Sept 8. Secret pre-display link for early purchases: https://www.etsy.com/shop/Kitschatorium

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Our family participated in the Women’s March on January 21 2017.

As a writer, I think words matter. Especially words spoken by people who call themselves leaders. Saying ugly things about innocent people is despicable.

When I learned that a person of despicable character had been elected as the U.S. president, it was like getting the news that a loved one had died. The loved one was the ideal of American democracy. How could a government by the people elect a person of low moral standards: a liar, a cheater, one who demeans the helpless, one who insults instead of conversing, one who flies into a senseless rage at the slightest challenge to his ego, one who seeks to aggrandize himself at any cost?

The day after the election was one of the saddest days in my life. How could anyone vote for a sleazebag who treats women as objects? How could they care so little about the people this creep demeans: A whole religion? A neighbor nation? An entire gender?

To me, the election of this sad walking spectacle of human failings seemed to mean that the majority of voters couldn’t care less about the things that make life more than just breathing. It seemed that for whatever reason, they didn’t place a high enough value on character, generosity, compassion, decency, pride. Yeah, pride. It allows you to feel good about who you are, without feeling the need to fear and destroy others.

But the brighter news is that the majority of Americans did not vote for this poisonous, greed-crazed charlatan. He may insist on pretending that he is admired, but that’s just another lie. That’s why many of us who are usually pretty quiet felt a need to stand up and be visible, at least for a day, and show we won’t accept empty promises of prosperity at the price of normalizing belligerence, cruelty and outright stupidity.

I didn’t march because I thought it would cure some pitiful narcissist’s deeply ingrained personality disorder. I didn’t even do it because I thought it would change anything. I did it simply to be seen and heard for a moment.

I stood up to express my conviction that the words and actions of a few ill-mannered bigots don’t stand for the values of equality, justice, compassion, intelligence, acceptance and teamwork that my family, our friends, our neighbors, and millions of Americans (yes, the vast majority) care deeply about. And the world stood up with us!

America’s democracy is founded on the peaceful inclusion of all. It promises liberty and justice to all races, all genders, all lifestyles, all beliefs. It learns from skeptics and dissenters, instead of silencing them. It’s founded on the ideals of helping each other, providing equal opportunities, welcoming those in need, and taking care of each other, even when personal beliefs differ, and especially when personal resources differ.

Inclusiveness and peaceful cooperation are American values. And I’m willing to stand up for them.

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I was digging on old hard drive for some lost technical illustration bits when I ran across this short essay I must have written at some point after my dad’s death of pancreatic cancer in 1998.

Eating for the dead

That fall when he was in the VA hospital in Helena, I walked to work dazzled. The wings of the pigeons flocking above me in the pink morning caught the sun and lit up with silver. Suddenly this world that he would leave and I would inherit seemed too radiant for me to bear. I scrubbed my motherʼs floors, desperately.

Three sisters and Mom and I in the same motel. I dreamed all night that the phone was ringing. When it rang a 5 am, I knew the sound, and lifted the receiver. After the tears, we tried to eat salads, soda crackers. We thought we should. It all tasted too sweet. Our conversation crackled with girlish electricity. I kicked up my heels in the Salt Lake City airport to make my sister smile. Our private jokes were a secret language that said what team we were on. The grief team.

But as the months went by, the shimmering unreality that had enbalmed my world during his illness faded a bit. The first searing moments of seeing a television show that he would have liked, or a book that I would have recommended to him turned to months when I seemed to be picking up little bits of him everywhere.

Driving down the middle of the road, like I always do, I would remember thatʼs the way he drove. That was my inheritance. That and two large cans of tomato juice that Mom said she would never drink. I never could seem to drink it either. So I kept the cans, full and heavy. Solid, like his arm.

I never touched another person who felt so heavy, like living granite. In Salt Lake I touched his fevered shoulder through the navy blue of his hospital gown. It was strange, he still felt so strong, so near death.

At the grocery store I see things he liked: Those waffle wafer cookies with the crisco-like filling between. Dreadful, dreadful sweet, but I buy them anyway. I have to see the birds and learn the things he ran out of time to learn. So I eat the wafer cookies, read boyish adventure stories and drive down the middle of the road.

 

 

Later, my friend John Akre made this animated film based on a conversation we had about food and death. We both contributed illustrations.

https://archive.org/details/eatingforthedead

I kind of like the apron and the grass, and the weird out of perspective sofa bed frame on the porch. I'm kinda bummed with the monochromatic cartooniness of their faces, but I figure at this size, I'll be happy if I can represent expressions at all. Yes, the lady's legs look weird. I accept that.

I’m about 14 drawings into my “love” series now, and you’d think maybe I’d be learning something by now. Every now and then I see little snippets of things that I like and occasionally I catch myself in the midst of a mistake so fundamental that it makes me actually want to slow down and think before I act. So, I guess maybe that constitutes learning.

For example, on my first couple of drawings, I just started drawing with black oil stick on the white canvas board, then filled in around it with color. I actually like that effect, and I think it tends to produce the “super awesome coloring book” look that I wish I’d end up with. But I soon discovered that it was a pain in the ass (and I felt dumb) when I drew a tree and had to try to fill in the sky behind it. So I started doing colored grounds. Planning ahead! Novel! Then I realized that it was kind of a waste of ground color if I covered it up entirely, so I have started trying to block in darks and lights a bit at the ground stage.

I love this photo, but so far I do not like this drawing. Right now it looks like a bad drawing of children that somebody's aunt made. Oh, crap. I AM somebody's aunt!

On this “sisters” picture (still unfinished) I sketched in white instead of black. It seemed to undermine my ultimate goal of drawing FLATTER, so I don’t think I’ll do that again. The car behind the girl distracts from the image, but I feel compelled to tell the truth in these drawings from vintage photos. It’s partly the composition, or apparent lack of it, that I want to… What… Capture? Honor? Document? How can I say it without sounding too phony? I see the irony: Why am I making drawings if making a good looking drawing doesn’t come before representing the photo? Why not just show the photos? Well, partly because I’m afraid nobody would hang the photos. And partly because I need the drawing practice.

It seems like a lot of the drawings that I’m doing right now are somewhere between flat and shaded. I still can’t seem to make the leap away from modeling with shading (I know, I keep saying that!) but as soon as I’m done with the first 14 drawings (14, for Valentine’s Day) I’m gonna go WILD, I swear!

Where do I begin? There may be nothing in this drawing that I like! Well, I kind of like her expression. It does tell a story, if you can get past everything else. Oh, and I like the right park bench leg.

Meanwhile, I know I ought to give up on this park bench picture and move on. I have repainted the lady’s face at least 5 times (I even scraped it off with a palette knife) and while she looks less like a baboon now (at one point I considered adding a tail and calling it done), her skin tone is completely different than the guy’s. I can’t seem to make myself repaint the guy to match her because I like the way the warmth of the ground color comes through on him, in spite of the fact that it makes him look like he has been using a cut-rate spray-on tanning product. So I am stuck at an impasse with Oompa Loompa Man and Pancake Girl. I realize that this drawing just an outright failure, and it will continue to bug me like a pea under my mattress.

What is the lesson? It’s not like I don’t know this: Don’t get attached. Sometimes you have to sacrifice something you like for the greater good. For example, if you’re a writer, you know that you might have written a great sentence, but if it doesn’t flow, it’s gotta go. You just have to whack it out of the paragraph and have faith that you’ll write another good sentence some day.

My friend, writer Mike Harrelson, was telling me just a couple days ago something that David Quammen said to him: not to measure yourself by the highest peaks of your work, but by the lowest thing that you’re willing to put out there. Or, at least I think that’s what he said… something like that. I think he meant that DOING it is the thing, like everybody says (and to which I’m clinging with all my might).  …that if you only are willing to show your very best work, you probably won’t show very MUCH work. Or maybe you’re not really a writer at all. Or at least that’s what I came away with.

So I give you park bench people. And I’m saying, “Dude, it’s the PROCESS.”

Here comes Baby New Year!

Happy New Year from Marla, David, Sammy, Kitty, Wally, Yati, Mailbot and all of the residents of Kitschatoria!

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Steve's Wobbly Knees - Walk to Defeat ALS - Tee Shirt design by Marla GoodmanI just sent off the artwork to my sister Teri for this year’s “Steve’s Wobbly Knees” Walk to Defeat ALS team T-shirts.

Teri lost her husband Steve to ALS last September, and we’re proud to keep on walking in Steve’s memory, to help others.

I wanted the T-shirt design to show our team spirit, which is all about celebrating Steve’s lively, giving personality while helping the ALS Association in its commendable work to make sure that people diagnosed with ALS get the the support and care they need.

Steve was a smart, passionately caring person who was compelled to help young people get a good start. His volunteer work and support of kids’ opportunities through education, music and the outdoors are wonderful parts of his legacy.

Since Steve loved folk music and the great outdoors, I picked a musical/nature theme for the shirt. Yeah, I know it kind of looks like a Woodstock ripoff, but I’m still happy with it. The quote on the bottom of the back print is one that Steve had on his outgoing emails. He really lived by it, too.

I’m looking forward to flying to Portland this September and joining the rest of the Steve’s Wobbly Knees Team in Portland’s 2011 Walk to Defeat ALS. If you’d like to toss a few bucks in my ALS Association donation can, click here!

Steve's Wobbly Knees - Walk to Defeat ALS - Tee Shirt design by Marla Goodman

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