In June I spent three weeks in LA looking after a friend’s dog. I am very enthusiastic about LA at the beginning of every stay and my husband and I always talk about moving there. This time finally felt like the right moment and we began looking at neighborhoods but It only took one time for me to realize that no, I couldn’t just hop on the bus or subway or walk home, I would have to catch an Uber. I hate taking Uber’s especially in places that I don’t know well. I get that they have GPS but I just feel weird about being in a car with someone I don’t know. Oddly, I actually feel safer in a regular cab and also I feel better in NY because I know the routes well. Needless to say I won’t be moving to LA anytime soon, but I did have an amazing time reconnecting with old friends whom I love dearly.
The place where I stayed in LA had a really lush and magical backyard with a tree growing up through the deck and dense and fragrant plant life that made you feel enclosed in your own secret world. It felt good especially after being in NYC where it was hot, sticky, stinky, grey and loud.
Normally, I work nearly everyday either laying down an image to an ongoing piece or experimenting with new ideas. My main mode of creating is screen printing and over the years I’ve developed ways to print without having to burn new screens which can get very expensive if you don’t have your own set up. I either use construction paper or sticky paper to create stencils and then lay down the image onto canvas. I don’t really have a set up for printing meaning that i don’t do any registering of prints. I sort of just lay the canvas on the table and go for it.
i developed a love for printing around 2006 when I was creating new costumes for Karen O for the Show Your Bones tour. I remember looking at the costumes Kansai Yamamoto created for David Bowie and realizing that creating your own textiles was a good way to keep a look singular. Now it’s a major part of every ensemble. I love the way a graphic print looks on stage and how a textile can tell a story.
As my love for printing grew I began to collect books on the subject and some of my favorite go-to’s were books from the 1960’s and 70’s on textile printing. This one in particular is still a favorite of mine just based off the amazing photos of textiles in nature.
It’s always been a dream of mine to have a place where I could set up outside and print and the house where I stayed finally gave me that opportunity. I set up a table and a clothes line and watched my prints dry in the warm sun and flap in the wind.
I happened to also have my sewing machine with me, an old Pfaff that weighs a ton but does the job better than anything new. I bought it for $300 off Ebay. It needed a minor repair but I have to say if you need a machine and can’t afford an expensive one buy an old one off Ebay. The new plastic ones fall apart in no time and it’s difficult to sew anything more than a light cotton.
Out of my studio and in a new, slightly more confined space. (I don’t mind making a mess in my own space but I want to be respectful of friends homes) I began to create with the tools i had with me and I began to experiment with drawing with my sewing machine.
Drawing has never been my strong suit. My brothers drew like crazy when we were growing up but I was never interested and even now it feels like a chore. I’ve also realized over the years that I’m better with cutting out shapes. Somehow I can see the image more clearly when i’m using an Exacto knife or scissors. The same goes with the sewing machine. What I’m actually drawing with the machine is fairly exaggerated and undefined and really meant to compliment the print but the combo has turned into something I really love. Stitching a line creates the same clean, graphic style that I desire most.
i also had a show up while I was in LA at the OHYA Gallery owned by my friend and former Liars drummer Julian Gross. For the closing show I exhibited some of the new pieces I created during my time in LA in the magic garden.