Wednesday, September 10, 2008

smoke finger

if you look at this thing on the regular, you know that i went to canada last month and did a weeklong residency at islands fold (link over there to the right). islands fold is a residency run by luke ramsey and his partner ange where they invite artists to come stay in their beautiful home on pender island (just off vancouver island) and work on some art. they also publish artist's books/zines to support the endeavor and ange cooks up some of the most amazing organic whole foods i've ever had the pleasure to chow down on. well, the zine that i worked on is all done, and i wanted to post a little something on here about it. please visit the site and explore, there is tons of good work to check out. and please support them if you are able, it's one of the best experiences i've had and i think it contributed to my newly acquired state of mellow.

the booklet is called "this is the smoke that is inside you: selected illustrations form the autobiography of agnes thatcher lake (1829-1907)".
there are a couple things going on here. the title is something from a drawing given to me by my lil' soul-brother Felix, and in fact the booklet is dedicated to him. i can't get that phrase out of my mind, so i used it as a way to tie all these drawings together, smoke as a symbol or metaphor for a far-off message (like a smoke signal) or one's fate/mortality. there's images of smoke in pretty much every drawing in here and it can be read a number of different ways if one is so inclined.
so agnes lake. she was circus performer, a tightrope walker, a lion tamer. she was married to wild bill hickcok (side note: do you watch deadwood? i am obsessed with that show. wild bill writes a letter to his "dear agnes" in season one). i read her name in an in-flight magazine a few years ago and thought it was an amazing name. agnes lake. i wanted to use it as a pseudonym for a book of erotic naked people drawings, and i guess i still might, but i wussed out. anyway, there is very little known about her, but for our purposes here's what is needed: there is no autobiography. i made all this up by filling in the blanks in my mind about what her life may have been like in the early history of america. these are the scenes i imagine her living through. they are themselves moments out of context that one could attempt to connect with one's imagination, again, if one was so inclined. they say that dream analysis is trying to piece together random moments from our unconscious. so this book is like one big dream analysis of moments from an invented biography. and much of the language in the captions was cribbed from a translation of Homer's The Odyssey that i was tripping out on before, during and after my time there. in a nutshell. want to get more in depth? email me with your thoughts and term papers. working on this project got me much more interested in the process of storytelling and narrative abstractions and all that. evidence can be seen in some of the pieces in the show i just did. now i want to do a comic book.

there are also original drawings from this book in my art show at mollusk, as well as some on the islands fold site. all sales of the zines and the art go to benefit the residency. it's a good and important thing!

1 comment:

Cari said...

Just bought this at Together gallery. I wanted to hunt down her autobiography immediately after reading the first few pages. I'm a little disappointed to find out there is none. Well done! It's a beaut for certain!