Category: Uncategorized

13 Sep 2009

Alessandra’s Review of The Great Northwest!

How to determine if you have truly lived in a place:
-you’ve met the neighbors
-gone grocery shopping multiple times
-you’ve taken the trash out
-you’re sleeping in a real bed
-you’ve had a garage sale

So, having met all the criteria I can officially say that I have lived in both Portland, Oregon and Vancouver, Washington.

I feel this gives me the authority to attempt to describe the Northwest:

There is something fundamentally different about the Northwest. A different energy, a different mindset, a slower pace. Everyone owns a camping trailer. There’s always a big, wild outdoor world to explore. It’s always green, photoshop green. I’ve never seen so many different shades of green. Everyone has a garden. There are flowers blooming everywhere and always pear and apple and peach and fig and cherry trees in the backyard. And berry bushes and tomatoes! (The BEST tomatoes I have EVER had.) That’s just the way it is.

Things get done in due time and stuff gets fixed. Not discarded. People know how stuff runs out here and will spend the time making it run faster, better, longer, smoother. A lot of people own trucks. This helps get stuff done.

You can get real good Mexican food out here. Dishes I’ve never heard of before: corn cake (sweet corn mash), tortas and sopapillas. And good guacamole. Reliable good guacamole. No sour cream added. And no restaurant worth its stars serves anything that’s not in season. Hats off to Bunk’s Sandwiches for not serving tomatoes in January.

There are great old cars everywhere and architecture from the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s that simply doesnt’ exist on the East Coast. And incredible neon signs.

Honesty and history are well respected. But people aren’t bogged down by generations of history. People get by with less money. There are real cowboys out here and real lumberjacks and moutainmen. I mean, the real descendents of Paul Bunyan.

As a sculptor, I am inspired most by the raw material out here. Patrick David Melroy Hawkins, my most generous host, has systematically taken me to all of his favorite supply haunts. From the incredible Oregon Leather Supply, to the countless lumber yards and hardware stores. Including the infamous Wink’s. I purchased everything that I thought I could get on the plane with. I even contemplated checking a big huge slab of cedar… People travel with surfboards afterall.

The only problem I can find with the Northwest is that it is easy to fall in love with it. And, unfortunately for me, it’s on the other side of the huge continental United States of America.

01 Sep 2009

Robert Storr is God

The 2007 Venice Biennale kicks The 2009 Venice Biennale’s Ass.

I feel very fortunate to have been able to attend both the 2007 and 2009 Venice Biennales. Both trips to Venice were made Alessandra style: insane all day art extravaganzas guaranteed to result in major art hangovers the next day. (PLEASE NOTE: I DO NOT RECOMMEND TRYING TO SEE THE ENTIRE BIENNALE IN ONE DAY.)

Because of the time restraint, most of my focus was on the exhibitions in the Arsenale and the Italian pavillions. I was very excited about the potential in the theme of the main exhibition: “Making Worlds”. However, I did not feel that a new world was created at all, or that the issue was addressed of what role the artist played in the creation of that new world. It didn’t seem like the curator had much of a voice or a hand in any aspect of the exhibition. Many of the installations were in desperate need of editing and a purpose. And there seemed to be little to no dialogue between pieces or between pieces and the surrounding space/architecture/Venice. Many of the pieces felt irritatingly familiar and predictable, and the show felt like an extremely narrow representation of the art world. There were a handful of pieces that stood out:

My favorite being: Chun Yun’s piece entitled Constellation no. 3. A constellation created by the little glowing lights of all the appliances and gizmos and gadgets plugged in in a darkened room.

(bottom photo taken with flash to reveal appliances)

Visiting this most recent exhibition made me realize, and truly appreciate, the genius curating of Robert Storr in the 2007 Venice Biennale entitled “Feel With The Mind, Think With The Senses”. It was a curatorial masterpiece. An incredibly subtle, quiet exhibition with a huge long-lasting and deeply-moving impact. Storr took on the big issues, the major problems people are facing all over the world. It was not an exhibition about war, it was not a protest, it did not preach. The work instead instilled in the viewer a sense of vulnerability. The exhibition challenged us to look closer, to question what we were looking at, surprising us with a very different revelation from what was expected. The work dealt with the effects of war. And most inspirationally of all, the way that art can exist in the midst of and in despite of war. The work was from all over the world, created by people on all sides of war, with different experiences of conflict/restriction. But it so elegantly created a strong, uniform and optimistic voice. The exhibition was EXPERIENCE, created by all of the artwork in it and activated by my presence as a viewer within it.

Unfortunately, I am not inspired by the 2009 Venice Biennale, but it has renewed in me my passion to create the quality of work I wish to exist in the art world.

24 Jul 2009


Building, I mean Rebuilding, a Website is such an enormous pain in the ass that it is going to require a huge relaunch party in order to celebrate having done it all over again.

Stay tuned for more details.

23 Jul 2009

My Favorite Birthday Present EVER.

I have just received the most belated and EXTRAORDINARY Birthday Present of all time. Patrick David Melroy Hawkins aka “U-Betcha” just presented me with three beautiful leather tool belt pouches. Tool pouches are an impossible item to try and pick out for someone else, too many options: leather or canvas, 8 pockets or 10, metal hooks??? They are extremely personal decisions. In those final frantic moments of art show installation it all comes down to how quickly you can find the tape measure, the hammer, the correct size screw… and that perfect organization is dependent on the right tool pouch. It’s alot of pressure. The future success of my entire art career could depend on it. It’s a huge decision for someone to make for me. But Patrick took on the challenge and chose pouches more exquisite than I would have been able to choose myself. He choose the exquisite Graber-made 10 pocket supreme leather work pouch constructed of Soft Diamond Tanned Leather, a very multi-functional perfect-size Canvas and Leather Bolt Bag and a most curious shaped and beautiful leather welding rod pouch. It’s humbling to have someone put so much thought and consideration into my birthday gift. I’m truly flattered.
14 Jul 2009

U-Betcha’s 34th Birthday!!!

Portland, Oregon

July 14, 2009

I flew out to Portland to celebrate the 34th Annual Patrick David Melroy Hawkins Day. It’s actually a week long affair involving nude beaches, berry-picking, rose gardens, driving on the sand at sunset, lots of hamburgers, pinatas, and chocolate cake with vanilla frosting.

12 Jul 2009

July Updates…

I shared a spectacular Fourth of July with friends and family in NYC – the most impressive fireworks show yet.

I’m currently in Portland, Oregon celebrating the 34th Annual Patrick Melroy Day.

Flying to Maryland on Sunday for 2 days of Portfolio Reviews at The Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore.

The plan for the rest of the summer is to attend the Venice Biennale, the Time Based Arts Festival in Portland, Oregon and the Philadelphia Fringe Festival specifically to see Chunky Move perform. Hopefully that will still allow me some time in the studio.

07 Jun 2009

29th Annual Alessandra Day!

Sunday, June 7th was the 29th Annual Alessandra Day!
Hosted by The Marlboro Man and Ive at Bird Haven
Soundtrack provided by Smokey, the ducks and the Magothy River
(with special appearances by The Ambassador from Costa Rica and
the former US Senator of Michigan)

28 Apr 2009

Vermont Studio Center March & April 2009

I survived two months at The Vermont Studio Center!!!
My Studio
My Bedroom in March
My Bedroom in April
These are some of the projects I worked on during my stay:
“Shadow Drawing in the Snow”
(Work in Progress)
With no phone reception I had to revert to older methods of communication, Behold:
My Can Telephones:

“Long Distance Relationship”
(the second can was mailed to Portland, Oregon)
March and April is an action-packed time in Vermont. It’s Maple Syrup Season and I visited all the Sugar Shacks in the area. I prefer Grade A Medium Syrup.

Rob and Deb’s Sugar Shack