AT THE stARTup ART FAIR
by Mary Shisler
I could no longer pronounce “archival inkjet print” and yet the crowds still streamed into my stARTup Art Fair room on Saturday night. This phenomenal exposure is the chief benefit for the exhibitor at the fair. The fair took place at the Hotel del Sol. Each artist or artist group took over a hotel room for a weekend, from April 27-29.
I participated in the Fair in 2017 and found it beneficial. It forced me to really bring my A game. I made contacts, connections and sales both in 2017 and 2018.
Another benefit for the participant comes from attendees’ feedback. You can assess the impact of your work from crowd reaction. I exhibited large format prints of botanical subjects derived from a photo-based source. The biggest surprise was how many technical questions I received, because my prints read as paintings as much as photos. The visitors really wanted to know how I created them.
The expense of the stARTup Art Fair is its largest drawback. I do not find it excessive considering the pluses, but it does dent the wallet. Your fee covers four nights at the Hotel del Sol and publicity. All of the publicity by Ray Beldner’s (the director’s) team generates a powerful promotion campaign, and varying other goodies from sponsors. This year, for example, we received 100 free Moo cards and special participation in ArtFinder, an on-line art seller. Mr. Beldner also encourages professionals such as interior designers to come to the fair for the guided special showing on Friday afternoon.
Hanging art in a small hotel room has its challenges. Only existing hangers or 3M hangers that do not damage the walls are allowed. Much work and planning are needed to develop a clear and professional presentation of your work. Careful editing is critical. Because the rooms have a yellow and orange color scheme, I effectively emphasized rich warm tones in the framed work I hung.
The stARTup Art Fair takes place annually in Chicago( ACME Hotel), Los Angeles (The Kinney Hotel), and San Francisco (Hotel del Sol). I found it worthwhile for the connections alone. I certainly encourage participation to generate personal and career growth.
By Judy Shintani
This year I attended the Manzanar Pilgrimage with four women artists. We named ourselves the Sansei Granddaughters to honor our families who were incarcerated during WWII and because we are all 3rd
generation Japanese Americans. Our group consisted of Reiko Fujii, Kathy Fujii-Oka (NCWCA member), Shari Arai DeBoer, and Ellen Bepp. Videographer Pat Mayo also joined us to assist with documentation. (Image left, Judy with her mattress piece)
Our group met twice in person and were online daily planning everything from the drive, hotels, what we wanted to achieve, ideas for rituals, what we would wear, etc. We pulled it together in three short months. Our goal was to honor our relatives in a creative and sacred way.
Manzanar Pilgrimage took place in the Owens Valley about 210 miles from Los Angeles. Here 9,000 people of Japanese descent were imprisoned for having the face of the enemy during WWII. About two-thirds of all interned at Manzanar were American citizens by birth. The remainder were aliens, many of whom had lived in the United States for decades, but who, by law, were denied citizenship. The incarcerees were crowded into 504 barracks organized into 36 blocks. There was little or no privacy in the barracks—and not much outside. The 200 to 400 people living in each block, consisting of 14 barracks each divided into four rooms, shared men’s and women’s toilets and showers (all without privacy stalls), a laundry room, and a mess hall.
There were approximately 1,000 pilgrims, attending this year with some coming from as far away as Hawaii. The pilgrimage activities included a taiko drum performance, talks, camp tours, Japanese dancing, interdenominational blessings, and intergenerational group discussions.
An important part of our journey was finding the actual place where Reiko Fujii’s family’s barrack once stood. She had 16 relatives that lived in one barrack. With no buildings, only remnants of foundations and rows of stones placed by the incarcerees, it took us about an hour of tromping around with a ranger in the dust and heat to find block 21, barrack 6.
The next day we rose early at 5am to get to Manzanar to conduct our rituals. We created remembrance lanterns with photographs, writing, and embellishments to take with us for the first ritual. We then “lit” them with battery-operated candles and placed them on the Manzanar desert ground in the predawn light. (see image above, left) The beauty of the glowing lanterns in that desolate environment had us standing in silence while we honored our ancestors on that crisp morning.
Before the sun rose we did the 2nd ritual that expressed appreciation for the indigenous people and the incredible nature that we were standing on. Artist Ellen Bepp opened the ritual with the blowing of a conch shell. We honored the indigenous people who were of this land before us, and each artist represented a direction, voicing a special welcoming and asking for support of our rituals and tribute to family and others incarcerated during WWII.
For our last ritual we wrote the names of our incarcerated family members on rice paper and tied them onto pine tree branches. They became a “haraigushi” - a “purification wand” that the Shinto priests use to cleanse an object, place or people. We chose pine branches because in Japanese culture, the pine tree is known to represent longevity, good fortune, and steadfastness. It is commonly linked with virtue and long life, even immortality. The pine tree is iconic of the Japanese New Year, as a symbol of rebirth, renewal, and a bright (hopeful) future. It also tied into the town of Lone Pine that is near where the Manzanar Incarceration camp was located. In addition I have a personal connection to the pine – my mother's maiden name translates to “pine tree on the hill”.
Some of the artists brought art pieces created especially for this journey. Kathy Fujii-Oka created her dress she wore to honor her ancestors and and the Fujii Nursery. The “Cherry Blossom dress”, is a yukata redesigned and hand sewn, with splashes of 22 ct. gold leaf embellishments. “It expresses my sentiment and compassion for my family and those who were subjected to the unjust incarceration during WWII”, said Kathy. Her grandfathers, Fred Kiechi Fujii and younger brother, John Mauro Fujii, owned and operated a wholesale nursery in Berkeley from the early 1920s. Subsequent to Executive Order 9066, Fujii Nursery donated over 3,000 cherry trees to the City of Berkeley. According to the Berkeley Daily Gazette and the Tribune, in 1938, over 1,000 cherry trees were planted along the parkways of Civic Center, Adeline and Ashby St. as well as various other locations. The ephemeral beauty and temporal blooms of the cherry blossoms were visual reminders of how precious and precarious life is. Her dress is an expression of delicacy, femininity and the pink color of universal love. It is not just about the flowers, but also about the transitions one experiences in life.
It was profound for me to do this journey with other Sansei women artists who had experienced the same history and trauma within their families and communities. There was a special connection and knowing that was felt throughout the long weekend. I came back with a renewed energy as if the healing rituals had cleared a heaviness I did not know I was carrying. I believe art, ritual, and acknowledgment can be healing for generations of the past and those of the future.
We are now working on editing footage shot during our journey, and we will have a preview showing of the documentary in a few weeks.
MEMBER SHOWS, WORKSHOPS AND PUBLICATIONS
Julia Edith Rigby,
"Printmaking in Point Reyes," Sept 7 -9, accommodations included at Point Reyes National Seashore, $280 for PRNSA members; $300 non members, How to sign up: http://www.ptreyes.org/camps-classes-programs/field-institute/classes/printmaking-point-reyes-new-date
East Bay Open Studios
, Group, EBOS Preview/Opening Night, The Scottish Rite Center, 1547 Lakeside Dr.Oakland, May 25, 6:00-9:00 PM. Also East Bay Open Studios, Studio 39 of the Sawtooth Bldg, 2547 8th Street at Dwight Way, Berkeley, Two Weekends: June 2-3 and June 9-10, 11:00 AM- 6:00 PM.
, Cut It Out
, Arc Project Gallery, 1246 Folsom St, San Francisco, May 26 – Jun 16.
Priscilla Otani, Cut It Out,
Arc Project Gallery, 1246 Folsom St, San Francisco, May 26 – Jun 16. (Image left)
, Cut It Out
, Arc Project Gallery, 1246 Folsom St, San Francisco, May 26 – Jun 16.
Xuan My Ho
, Observer Mechanics
, The Main Gallery, 1018 Main Street, Redwood City, May 9 – Jun 17 (Image right column)
Victoria Veedell, Dream
, Arc Gallery, 1246 Folsom St. San Francisco, May 26 - Jun 16. Also, Tranquility and Light
, Throckmorton Theatre Gallery, 142 Throckmorton Ave. Mill Valley, May 1 - June 3. Also, Art in the Lobby
, China Basin, 158 Berry Street, San Francisco, May 1 - Aug 30.(Image right column)
, Make Your Mark
, Marin Museum of Contemporary Art, 500 Palm Drive, Novato, Jun 16 - Jul 29.
J. L. King
, Wonderland SF Presents 10 Years In Wonderland
, 111 Minna Gallery, San Francisco, Jun 1 – Jun.
, Cactus Gallery, 3001 North Coolidge Avenue, Los Angeles, May 12 - Jun 2. Also Into the Wild
, Art Attack SF, 2358 Market St. Suite 1, San Francisco, Apr 5 - Jun 2. (Left image)
, Small Works
, Richmond Art Center, 2540 Barrett Ave, Richmond, Jun 12 - Aug 16.
, And Still We Rise in 2018
, California Museum, 1020 O Street (corner of 10th & O Street) Sacramento, Feb 6 – May 27. (Image right column)
, Holiday in Hell
, Bert Green Fine Art Gallery, 8 S Michigan Ave, Suite, 620, Chicago, IL, May 12 – Jun 22. Also WOW X WOW
, Nucleus Portland, 1445 SE Hawthorne Blvd, Portland, OR, May 4 – 30. Cover art on Honeymoon
, a book by Juliana Gray, Measure Press publisher.
, Personal Narratives,
Avenue 25 Gallery, 32 W 25th Ave., 2nd floor, San Mateo, May 5 - Jul 6.
, Personal Narratives
, Avenue 25 Gallery, 32 W 25th Ave., 2nd floor, San Mateo, May 5 - Jul 6.
Marguerite Elliot, Metamorphosis
, Arc Gallery, 1246 Folsom Street, San Francisco, April 21 - May 19 (image left)
Sondra Schwetman, Metamorphosis
, Arc Gallery, 1246 Folsom Street, San Francisco, April 21 - May 19
, Co-curator, Artists’ Eyes: Art of Incarceration
, MIS Historic Learning Center and NJAHS Peace Gallery, 640 Old Mason Street, Crissy Field, Presidio of San Francisco, Nov 11 – May 20.
Mary K. Shisler
, Berkeley Civic Center Art Exhibition
, 2180 Milvia Street, Berkeley, Dec 2017 - Dec 2018.
Members, get your shows and workshops listed in News & Notes, NCWCA Calendar and on the NCWCA website! Send jpg image of your work in the show and information about the show to firstname.lastname@example.org.
2018 MEMBERS, WELCOME! THANKS FOR JOINING OR RENEWING IN MARCH/APRIL
Welcome new members Tracy Ferron, Zahava Sherez, and Ariana Davi! Welcome back Salma Arastu! We look forward to seeing you at a future meeting or event!
Chapter meetings are on the second Tuesday of the month. Look for agenda and activity details on our webpage.
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Jun 12 San Mateo
Jul 10 Oakland
Aug 14 San Francisco
Sept 11 San Mateo
Oct 9 San Francisco
Nov 13 Oakland
December Year-End Party Oakland
OAKLAND MUSEUM TOUR UPDATE (PART III)
by Judy Shintani
This is a third article about the issue NCWCA members encountered during a docent-led tour of the Dorothea Lange exhibition at the Oakland Museum of California (OMCA) on July 23, 2017. On that tour, the docent assigned to NCWCA made some shockingly disparaging comments about the Japanese American incarceration during World War II and tried to justify such camps for Muslims today. You can read the details of what happened here and NCWCA’s and OMCA’s response and actions here. Here is Judy Shintani’s recent report.
Following a revised curator-led tour of the Dorothea Lange exhibit on August 25, Lori Fogarty, Director & CEO of OMCA suggested a facilitated dialogue with OMCA key staff and volunteers and me about the impact of the Japanese American incarceration and its continued relevance today. On May 11, 2018 after many follow-ups, I met with the OMCA staff and 15 docents at the National Japanese American Historical Society Museum (NJAHS) by Crissy Field. Three NCWCA members attended: Elizabeth Addison, Judy Johnson-Williams and myself.
The meeting included a quick tour of the historical part of the museum, the Artists Eyes, Art of Incarceration exhibition that I co-curated, and a 45 minute facilitated dialog.
I'm glad we did it, but it was far from being a fruitful and satisfying meeting. It was as if there was an elephant in the room that no one wanted to address head-on. If I hadn't requested strongly that OMCA stay to discuss the incident last year, they might have left in their carpools because we were past the 2 hour mark. I appreciated Elizabeth Addison for speaking up about the docent incident in more detail. OMCA had not shared what happened with their docents. One of the docent leaders was horrified and said that OMCA had failed and she was so upset that it had been kept from them. She didn't understand why it was 10 months after the incident and only now being discussed.
Then it turned out another of their docents that was attending the training was talking to the NJAHS educational manager and referring to the incarceration camps as POW camps!
There wasn't an apology or a list of what the next steps would be.
Amy, the OMCA education manager thanked me for being tenacious. I should have responded: "Why did I need to be?"
Why is it so hard to speak up? The way OMCA responded has made the original traumatic experience worse and by not addressing it, has made the whole situation an unhealed, open wound.
I am thinking about next steps....
WOMEN ARTISTS TO KNOW
To join this Facebook group, go to the Women Artists to Know
page and click Join. A moderator will add you to the group. Share your favorite artists! We have over 1000 participants from all over the US and abroad!
May honors Drawings
Rosemary Meza DesPlas
January - ceramics
February - literary works, art with text, writings
March - painting
April - eco/land art
May - drawing
June - performance/dance/music
July - photography
August - installation
Sept -political focus/community engagement
Oct - print making
Nov - collage
Dec - sculpture, assemblage
Jun 4 5-8 PM
Take-down ka-POW! artwork,
Pacific Pinball Museum, 1510 Webster Street, Alameda
Chapter Meeting, Irma Velasquez' studio, 49 N San Mateo Dr, San Mateo
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Xuan My Ho