today i am a biologist



Growth is a spiral process, doubling back on itself, reassessing and regrouping. –    Julia Margaret Cameron


This is the second time I make a map. The first, a few years back, was a map of the city of Phoenix laid out as a living cell. I made it for an invitational exhibition called You Are Here. That summer I saw myself as a cartographer. With this new drawing the cell itself is primary, the city is secondary and I am a biologist mapping out the smallest unit of life.

In esoteric teaching it’s believed there exists a blueprint of the physical body. Changes in the body occur in the blueprint before they appear into its physical form. As I work I think there must be a blueprint for each and every individual cell. Imagine that!

I can probably still call this work You are Here. You think cells are inside you but in fact you are in each cell. Are you the life in each tiny cell? Could you in fact be the maker of each cell?

Am I the maker of the blueprint?  Am I the one who maps out each and every cell? I can only say for certain – today I am.


Detail shot of the cell.


The Nucleus controls activities and contains the cells genetic material (DNA). The And the Endoplasmic Reticulum is like a labrynth holding and moving molecules.


The Golgi Body packages proteins and lipids before they get sent to their destination.


The Mitochondria is the power plant of the cell and holds its own DNA

I didn’t plan to work this big but in the end it’s allowed for me to really think about the space I fill – the space I live in.


a legend

Making a map, reconstructing a map, playing with the idea of a map…this is what I’m doing. A city, a living organism, the bigger picture…this is what I’m thinking. Liking all the crazy detail coming forward. It’s new work for an upcoming exhibition at downtown’s Regular GalleryPhoenix New Times Amy Silverman and Claire Lawton invited me, and 9 other artists, to create a Map of Phoenix. This weekend I’m setting up the map’s Legend. It’s occurs to me very late last night, I probably should have done this first.

Legend, I’ve learned, comes from the Latin, legenda, “things to be read.” Maps inform by using symbols.  A map’s legend tells you what the symbols mean.  In the case of my map there are the usual practical map symbols…city street, interstate, park…and then on top of that is alteration and abstraction, implying something else. I not only want to layout Phoenix, I want to point to a larger idea.  If I set the legend up right, there will be no need for an artist statement. It will not only lay out what I’ve done, but why.

This posting is visual help to me, really…as this is work in progress. I think I don’t need text in the legend, but my husband says I do…

City of Phoenix (a living organism)

A Cell (a living organism)

Above, the start of the Legend

Cell Membrane – City Wall
Golgi Apparatus – Post Office
Lysosomes – Waste Disposal and Recycling

Mitochondria – Energy Plant
Nucleolus – Mayor
Nucleus – City Hall

Nuclear Membrane – City Hall fence and security
Ribosomes on Endoplasmic Reticulum – Highways and Roads

Cytoplasm –  Lawns and Parks


Bigger picture.

Organ (kidney) – State

United States – Body System (digestive system)

Planet – I am Here  You Are Here

To be continued…