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Thursday, October 27, 2016

Vote and be thankful!

I'm ready for the election to be over. I believe we have shown the world our worst and it saddens me that the idealism of the promise of a melting pot of Americans is no longer the predominant view across the heartland.
Having spent time living abroad in a country under a dictatorship, I am truly thrilled to cast my vote. It is a privilege not everyone, much less a lot of women around the world, can claim to have. It was 144 years after the founding of this country that the 19th amendment to the constitution provided my kind access to the voting booth! This equal access was written on the bones of the suffragettes and should not be taken for granted.

Check out my instagram #tillystudio for more paintings of Bones

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Fall is the time for Bones

 We collect them, study them, measure and draw them. Though considered at first glance to be about death, I propose that the bones are more about life.
 They hint at the miracle of molecular creation, evolution, and the passage of time.
Contemplating the skull can be like looking into a mirror. Are we truly alive?

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Tracing my predilection for cardboard literature

2016 signage

My interest in the intersection of raw street signage and the tragic narrative of society victims goes back many years...specifically to my divorce. That is when I found myself on a new and precarious financial and social brink. In 2009 I photographed my teenage son at the intersection of our small town with a sign, haunting and hinting at our new sense of place.
 My son, July 2009
 I altered the sign to be more specific in 2010.
cardboard, ink, paint and collage, December 2010
 In 2011 I moved to Florida where the cost of living is a lot less than New York. Immediately I took notice of the many beggars standing at the highway intersections with their signs. I became entranced by the messages, the short stories, the written summaries, and the haiku-like poetry scrawled in cardboard and waved against car windows in an effort to tug our hearts and open our wallets. The authors seemed under duress. The signs were like flags and themselves were important to the beggars. They refused to part with them as if they would be powerless without the scrappy badge. The attitude reminds me of studio artists. We all are begging for attention. We are standing in situations of duress and with luck can find ink and a surface to create a story that, like a great work of art, whistles a wallet open.
February 2013

In 2014 I started making street signs in the style of great artworks.
After Brito

After Giotto

Friday, October 21, 2016

Edition of Anxious Truths

 It's pre-election time here in the USA, and of our two main contenders for the presidency, one politician paints the landscape as an apocalyptic promise, and the other as a glass ceiling to smash through. Science and statistics actually show that there has never been a safer or healthier time or place to be than right now and right here. We live longer and in more comfort than our ancestors...

So why are Americans so anxious? Our anxiety levels are off the charts. I see it everyday with my students and their parents. The media feeds it. Everyone seems to be on some sort of medication.
 My answer is to search out a set of symbols and re-create the poetics of street signage. Then, like a small loose-bound book, bind up the packet as a small gift edition. Contained in the "pages"' are the words and images that promise to measure the truth and realities of our current given situation.

It is my own cardboard literacy project. Ink and acrylic on cardboard bound by ribbon. Edition of 10

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Cardboard bards

 Living in Miami means reading your intersections and experiencing a constant literary drive-by.
 This has led me to ponder signage, (I used to work for a sign maker) and the one or two line phrases that can shoot you into imagined stories.
 If we were reduced, (as these bards are), to telling our story on one piece of cardboard, what would you say?
How would you share the truth of your situation? I'm creating a set of visual symbols representing the truths in my life...
Next will come words and I will bind them together for my own cardboard literary statement!

Sunday, October 9, 2016


first draft of this image: Warding off Monsters
During the dark ages in Europe, monks in their fortress-like-monasteries, kept literature alive. They worked by candle light and burning whale oil to copy and embellish stories of the prophets and saints in Greek and Latin. These documents where bound into books and called illuminated manuscripts, not only because of the bright colors and glow to the pages. The name also references the capacity of the books to hold light, (education and wisdom), for the largely illiterate population living under fear and superstition. 

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Survivor guilt

Almost a thousand lives have been lost in Haiti. God please bless that island sometime soon. Their homes and schools are blown away, bridges toppled, and crops destroyed by a massive barrelling  hurricane and then... a day or two later the same Hurricane, Matthew, skates along the coastline of the USA, where we wait in fear of losing our electricity, running out of water and fighting over fuel, without daring to enter our land space. It just brushed past us. The worst damage was caused by storm surges coinciding with the high tides. How come we are the lucky ones, again?

Our strategies this time were simple: storing water in and keeping it out. Of course I am thankful. But I feel a little survivor guilt too.