SPAIN’S WINDOWS, WALLS, FLOORS, & DOORS
Yes, this is another Spain travel photography post. It’s the last one for the next couple of months leading up to my Open Studios show on October 26-27 at Pacific Felt Factory in SF. I think I have become obsessed with doors, windows, hardware, floors, and painted surfaces. I’m crazy about them and over the last year I’ve been adding them as layers to my drawings to create collages. I like the way they add a back story with depth, mystery, and complexity to my figures.
WINDOWS ON WORLDS
GREAT GRATES (& IRONWORK)
TILE & MOSAIC WORK
BLACK & WHITE SERIES
GRAFFITI & STREET ART
LOCKS, KNOCKERS, & KNOBS
> SFWA | Aug - Juried Group Show: "Memories" (SF)
> Rite Spot | Sept-Oct | One-Person Show | "The Poster Series - Graphic Nudes" | Happy Hour Reception Mon, Sept 9 | 5-8pm (SF)
> The Mosser Hotel | Five New Works | Sept-Feb 2020 (SF)
> SFWA | Sept - Two Juried Group Shows: "Language & Letters" & "Hot Colors" | Reception Oct 10 (SF)
> Artspan SF Open Studios - 12 Artists | Oct 26-27 | Pacific Felt Factory | 2830 20th St (btw Bryant & York) | Mimosas on Sunday 11-1pm (SF)
> Artspan | SF Open Studios Group Exhibition | SOMArts | Oct 12 - Nov 3 | Reception Oct 10 (SF)
Please send me a few lines about your experiences with Barbie so I might include them in my ongoing project. Thanks! firstname.lastname@example.org
SIZZLING SUMMER IN SPAIN (& A TOUCH OF FRANCE)
As the temperature rose to 104 degrees Fahrenheit we went to Aguablaves - a tiny cove beach and village with great seafood restaurants and a Parador. We spent another few days stationed in the charming village of Begur - a long planned getaway with our friends from London (where it cannot possibly be this hot). Sant Marti, Sa Tuna, and La Fosca were also winning beaches on day trips in between.
What I’ve seen as the temperatures rise and we plunged from June’s coolish evenings to July’s hot nights, are the growing crowds at the beach and the ice cream flowing. This is ice cream and granizada weather. So when it’s hot you want to eat light but you also want to explore all the taste sensations around….so fish and seafood are the winners. But after a meal of fideua (a type of paella made with tiny noodles) we seem to require gelato, a growing habit. Then a nap on the beach and a cooling dip in the Mediterranean. Ah, summer on the Costa Brava! It’s an international soup…there are so many languages being spoken as you imagine where people are from - on the beach with your eyes closed against the sun.
Nearing the end of our second month here, we took a road trip cross-country, following one of many Pilgrims Routes to and from Santiago de Compostela. Spanning the country at its widest point in our rental car, we were hardly pilgrims, but the coolness of the NW region - the Atlantic coast - beckoned. It was our first trip to Santiago and our third time visiting parts of the Pilgrim’s Route. It was an adventure we shared with our niece (and if I’m lucky she’ll share some of her photos for me to post).
Once again, this post is mainly photos with captions. This has been a dense two months of hanging out with old friends and new with lots of leisurely partaking of the local specialties. You can follow along with my Instagram page too.
It’s great to keep moving despite the heat. There’s always a cool breeze on the water. This was my first exploration of the lake at Banyoles which is a lovely place to spend time. It was a refreshing change from our usual coastal daytrips to the Med. The lake provides boating, swimming, kayaking, and an easy walking path around the water’s edge. With drinks, snacks, and views all along the way!
A PICTURESQUE FRENCH CEMETERY
ALONG THE PILGRIMS ROUTE
ART SEEN IN SETE
In Sete, France with fellow artist friend Diana we visited the Contemporary Art Center. We kept trying to go there and it was always closed but eventually we got in and it was worth it to see the two women’s work featured there and shown below.
OUR LOCAL SITES
The archeology museum at this site of the original Greek and Roman cities in Empúries is small but wonderful. Everything in the museum comes from this site - which is extensive, and it is spectacular. Maybe don’t go there when we did - in July at the high point of the heat during a heat wave. Otherwise, go.
PICASSO MUSEUM VISIT
The Picasso Museum in BCN is a delight - located in a gorgeous old building in the Barri Gotic, it is rather hard to navigate, yet the space is so lovely and the shows and displays quite interesting. It was an important destination for our niece - so it was easily worth the effort of two train rides and an advance booking.
VIEW FROM THE TRAIN
Group show at SFWA, “Memories”, juried by DeWitt Cheng, San Francisco-based critic, curator, teacher, and blogger.
RECEPTION AUGUST 8, 5:30-8PM
San Francisco Women Artists Gallery (SFWA) is membership gallery that dates back to 1887. Located in the Inner Sunset at 8th Ave and Irving St, it’s open Tuesday-Sunday.
JUST ONE MORE THING:
KEEP AN EYE OUT FOR MY UPCOMING AUGUST BLOG POST, “PORTALS”!
CLASSIC FRENCH FISHING VILLAGE
Filled with bridges over canals this charming village is close to the sea for daytrips to the beach and is a lively port. It is also located right between Aix en Provence and Girona so it makes for a great meeting spot with our friend Diana (who lives in Aix) for a reunion.
A MOUNTAIN VILLAGE EXCURSION
PLANTS & ANIMALS
WAY UP IN THE PICOS
Of course Barbie travels with us now. And I am still looking for YOUR BARBIE STORIES…so please keep sending them to me ( a few lines are fine): email@example.com
AN ART VENUE IN BCN
I saw a wonderful photo exhibition by Richard Learoyd at one of my most beloved art spaces in Barcelona - a gorgeous, intact mansion, Fundacion Mapfre. The artist uses a camera obscura. There’s a lot of reflection in my photos which distracts from this extremely powerful man + octopus tattoo image. Turns out this artist exhibits his work right in SF at Fraenkel Gallery and Pier 24 Photography. Go figure! His photos resemble paintings and I especially enjoy his figurative work. The image on the right below shows some of the details in the gallery space including mosaic floors, gilding, and artistic murals inset into the walls.
HANGING WITH FRIENDS & FAMILY
SAVE THE DATES
ARTIST WORKSHOP: PREPARING FOR SF OPEN STUDIOS-PANEL DISCUSSION: Q&A discussion about preparing for SF Open Studios with panel of experienced SFOS artists - I’m a panelist. Come and get some useful tips.
AUGUST 20, 6:30PM - 8:00PM
OCTOBER 26-27, 11AM-6PM
Images and captions - that’s about it this time folks. Not so much writing. Lots of thinking and experiencing. A little bit of art making. A great deal of hanging out with old friends and new from everywhere. Also a lot of leisurely eating and drinking our regional specialties. If you want to feel like you’re traveling along, check out my Instagram page too.
Girona is a romantic medieval city with an ancient, well-preserved Jewish Quarter (Call), a surrounding Roman wall, and a magical Old Quarter (Barri Vell) which is our operating base. We’re 30 minutes north of Barcelona by fast train. Girona is an ideal base for day trips. In the summer it can’t be beat for the many delightful beaches of the Costa Brava and some are just 25 minutes from home. We’ve been coming here for years and watching the area evolve. Now there’s much more English spoken, many more tourists and cyclists, and for better or worse, a growing international flavor.
DOORS, WINDOWS, & WALLS
GIRONA DAY & NIGHT
We lived here in 2004-6 and during that time we had 35 visitors! Even our current stay is busy with guests. But it’s always fun to show our friends around and spend time together here.
As the week progresses the city gets busier and louder. On a Sunday or a Monday it is very quiet and people tend to head to the beach on summer weekends. There are festivals all summer long and so much is free and inexpensive - what a treat compared to living in the SF Bay Area where summers are cold, foggy, and just as expensive and crowded as any other time of year, if not more.
BARBIE IN CATALONIA
Of course Barbie came along on this trip and she is participating in most of my activities. She reminds me of the project we are working on and how it’s expanding.
SEEKING BARBIE STORIES
I’m looking for MORE Barbie stories! Please send me yours - from a couple of lines to a few paragraphs…from nasty to sweet. What was/is your experience with the Barbie clan? Email me: firstname.lastname@example.org
See more about the first iteration of “Barbie on the Cusp” here. Thanks!
On our first day of prime time at the beach we went to a new spot. It was beautiful! There are so many coves here to explore. I had my favorite beachside dish, sepia a la plancha (above).
The next day we took a train to meet a friend who took us to another fav playa in a tiny pebble-filled cove. I love to eat at/on the beach here.
And I think there’s nothing better than looking up from the warm ground and just shooting the sky. I don’t usually see it from this perspective.
ART & POLITICS - MORE WALLS & DOORS
Just about everywhere there are strong graphic statements. They are covered with banners, handwritten, spray painted, or stenciled with signs and symbols (such as yellow ribbons), murals, paintings, posters, and graffiti art. And since storefronts are covered with grates to cover doors and windows, they are sometimes used for advertising. Often times the shutters are artistically painted. Even residential buildings sometimes have wonderfully painted doors.
SAVE THESE DATES! 10/26-27
Fall Open Studios
See the evolution of my art residency project “Barbie on the Cusp” at Artspan Open Studios the last weekend of October from 11-6.
For the first time I’m holding my Open Studio Show at Pacific Felt Factory in the Mission (19th btw Bryant & York in SF).
I’ll be showing a variety of new work, books, and limited edition items that I rarely sell at my exhibitions. Don’t miss it. Updates are posted on my home page - so check back for details.
SIGHTINGS IN MEXICO
NYC ART FAIR + BARBIE
Here are a couple of pieces (two different artists) which I saw in May 2019 at the NYC Art Fair. I think they are kindred spirits to my own Barbie art and storytelling. These artists certainly have stories to tell!
My latest art residency consisted of a six-week stint with Black and White Projects at Pacific Felt Factory in San Francisco. I’d love to do more residencies like this! I had a nice little chunk of space to work in and work with right here in SF. I had someone there to choose which project on my list to tackle and that same person to offer suggestions along the way. I was looking for this input as I sometimes feel like I’m working in a vacuum without other artists around sharing space and ideas. My project started out as “A Doll’s House” and developed into “Barbie on the Cusp” (see www.cherrypits.net/portfolio).
Since I already have established my recurring themes I wanted to continue to build on them: feminism, the female form, body love, self-love, personal histories and story-telling, human liberation and expression, censorship, multiple layers and streams of communication, costumes, nudity, the gesture, strong personalities, vivid colors, bold women, our shared humanity, nature as the body and other juxtapositions, plus all that is sensuous without necessarily being sexual.
EXPANSION - YOUR STORIES
As I dug deeper into this project and discussed it with friends, I heard stories that I wanted to add to my story. Now I invite you to think about how Barbie affected you. I would like to include a variety of stories (all kinds!) in one of my next Barbie books. I will not include your name and I will lightly edit stories.
Please email me your stories to: email@example.com
THE RESIDENCY PROJECT
The residency took me down some old art paths that felt new. Digging into my personal history I became focused on the Barbie game I played as a 13-year old. What that would look like as an art project was tough to work out. I don’t have a collection of Barbies, so I put out a call for them and yes - I still need more!
I started by writing and drawing the story digitally. But once I got a box-full of Barbies and had collected an assortment of Barbie-related materials I began visualizing the gallery installation. I had the luxury of space on several walls and a floor - to convert into my Barbieland. I wanted to combine all types of things into an installation that spun off of the basement Barbie game that I played with my 13-year old girlfriends growing up in Pittsburgh in the 60s. And I wanted to illustrate why that tale is still relevant (and not a cliche) today. Barbie has been a popular art and fashion theme for decades, but there’s still a lot of substance there to explore.
Installation art is something I haven’t done in a long time, if ever to this extent. I was thinking about a class from my distant past in video and performance art at SFAI with Howard Fried and Karen Finley. Right after that I had a one-person show which included a performance piece. So I referenced these distant experiences, but I got so excited about the story aspect that I developed a story book in three formats:
A small square printed version in an edition of six (Chatbooks)
An 8.5 x 11 version ink-jet printed and accordion-folded for display in the center of the exhibition
A video of me reading the story
Other elements of the installation included a game board of sorts on the floor, littered with headless dolls in positions that indicated sex and violence , some surrounded by body outlines, all surrounded by hazard tape.
Small headless Barbie doll children crawled up the walls and were rudely taped down. Little piles of dolls on the floor below. Paper mounted around the walls are short-pose life drawings of a model (Tami Tsark) in underwear and odd outfits with props including her interacting with Barbies.
DIGITAL VS. MANUAL
I started the drawing process in my comfort zone, on my iPad (the source for the first book) but I soon moved to drawing on the paper on the walls. This was all about getting out of my comfort zone. I want to draw directly onto the walls next time!
INSPIRING OTHER ARTISTS
A NEW DIRECTION
Inspired by the photos I took of piles of Barbies during my show and my constant picture-taking in the SF Botanical Garden I began a new series of side-by-side photos.
REMINDER TO SEND BARBIE STORIES! SRKIRSHENBAUM@GMAIL.COM
I’ll be away for awhile - in Spain. I’ll be returning in August. Meantime I will post images and updates here and on FB, Instagram, and Patreon.
In March my husband Jack and I flew to Mexico City and Oaxaca for a week each. Wow, what a great trip. We saw and did so much that I just decided this has to be a two-part blog.
The weather was lovely - mostly dry and warm. There was a bit of a heat wave. (What place in the world isn’t having unusual weather?) And it’s a rather high elevation - 3-6ooo feet up - so that took getting used to.
We went to several art galleries and collections, small and large museums, various interesting shops, fabulous markets, and we walked and walked. All the while we were snacking on mangoes and sidewalk treats. Having lunch/dinner at 3pm meant that we had to lie down for a siesta in our B&Bs. Sometimes that would end up being the end of another very dense day.
Art in Mexico is political! It often refers back to peoples’ roots and Mexican history - there’s a lot of symbolism, skulls and skeletons, snakes and other animals, guns…
TATTOOS & PIERCINGS
Back in the SF Bay Area I now see people’s tattoos and piercings in a different light. Throughout Mexico I observed the ancient and contemporary art and artifacts made by and about the indigenous populations. Tattoos and piercings are a popular look in Mexican cities and it fits right in… (see below).
As a figurative artist, I love human figures, and the works I saw on this last trip are some of the most expressive I’ve ever seen. Maybe I was studying them more than usual. Checking to see what their facial expressions and their hands were doing as well as their clothing, accessories, and if obvious - their bodies and genitals.
THE DUALITY THEME
ADORABLE ANIMAL VESSELS
WALL ART: GRAFFITI, PAINT COLORS, POSTERS & SIGNS
HEADS & SKULLS
STRONG PRINTMAKING EVERYWHERE
…AND CONTEMPORARY ARCHITECTURE
BOLD COLOR, TEXTURE, PATTERN
FRIDA, DIEGO, & TROTSKY
Love this image of Frida dead center. A highlight of our trip was the xxxx where most of the walls including the stairwells are filled with Diego’s ultra political murals.
Frida’s death. I have two photos that relate top it directly. Because she was a tragic heroine, like a fairy tale.
Diego…I had so many favorite murals I wanted to show you all, but this one (below) seems most apt to our times about the moneyed class.
And Trotsky…lived with Frida and Diego for two years then he got a house and that’s where he was murdered with an ice ax. Right in his office, by a Stalinist. Another fascinating little museum not far from Casa Azul.
PRETTY, UNUSUAL, & TASTEY
THE WEAVING VILLAGE - A DEMO
LAST (BUT NOT LEAST) ART RESIDENCY WITH BLACK & WHITE PROJECTS AT PACIFIC FELT FACTORY
“BARBIE ON THE CUSP” - Barbie! Oh, where does SHE fit in?
I created a storybook, which I also read aloud on video, and did an installation with my dolls, some costume props, and life drawings done on the spot. Everything is different from my usual work.
This is the project that I pitched and now I’m in the midst of my Art Residency with Black and White Projects at Pacific Felt Factory in SF. I took two weeks off in the middle of ALL this, and went to Mexico where I obsessed over Barbie the entire trip (without making any real progress). My iPad died. And I am self-identified as an iPad artist.
But for now - if you want to see what I’m working on in this mostly analog project installation show, and you live in the SF Bay Area, come to PACIFIC FELT FACTORY this Saturday, 4/13 from 3-5pm.
We’ll talk Barbie. You might even tell me your own personal Barbie story.
The name of the show is “Barbie on the Cusp”. Details: