no woman is an island

Late last week I receive a few emails from Jack who is in Phoenix, from Sacramento, for a business trip. I came through the airport and fell in love with your art and especially “Wandering Nerve…” I want it to live with me. Is it spoken for?

I like that he wants my study ↑ of the wandering nerve, aka vagus nerve, aka pneumogastric nerve … to live with him.

Another email:
Do you want to sell it? Do you make prints? I’m here for 3 days.

The work is an original. No prints. Yes, it’s available. I forward more info.

Marvelous! He notes he’s checked in with his wife too. All good.

He fowards:
The microbiome is growing in importance to me individually and the Vagus Nerve is a major player in my current health. I’m so grateful to see it combined in an artistic way too as art has been a similar factor in my life.

This weekend we speak. I learn a little about Jack…

At one point in life he considers becoming a psychologist and/or a minister. He talks about his interest in Eastern religions, community development and personal growth. We talk about philosophies he’s studied. I’m intrigued to know he once lived in an Ashram in South India.

Jack recounts a time, years ago, when he first came across images of Van Gogh. He describes his emotions and the physical sensations as he looked at the work. The experience seeds his interest in art and it continues to grow … which is why we connect today. And he thought he was coming to Phoenix for a business trip!

I listen as he tells me about his physical health, early ailments, and then later more serious issues including inflammation and severe pain. The latter leads Jack to research (a Stanford Lab) among several things, the microbiome and the vagus nerve, and eventually he makes the necessary life-style changes. In particular he talks about food, old cravings as well as a new way of eating that he’s designed for himself. He no longer deals with pain and he notes the breath, now easy and open. I ask questions, he answers with directness and ends with…the vagus nerve…it directs you!

I like his description of the vagus nerve… like a runway...he says. His quiet excitement is clear … I love the wandering nerve!

 We talk a little about the body directing the brain, and the brain directing the body.  It’s 2-way communication, I say. He agrees.

Jack’s life is full. He has plans with his family, which include a return trip to India and to write a book…

Art on a Cellular Level continues to June of 2020 at Sky Harbor airport.

Before our conversation comes to an end, Jack mentions how much he enjoys walking through Sky Harbor. It’s one of the nicest airports I’ve been in…and I’ve been in many.  He especially appreciated the art spaces.

I’m pleased you took the time to experience the artwork. I’m especially glad you’re well and in good spirit. Thank you Jack, for connecting and sharing some of your extraordinary life with me. I am happy the Wandering Nerve will live with you!


The blog posts titled No Woman is an Island acknowledge the people and/or organizations who support me and the work I do.

©2020 ALL RIGHTS RESERVED BY MONICA AISSA MARTINEZ

no woman is an island

I receive a card a few weeks ago from Margaret:
Thank you for my new milagro. I plan on sharing it with my sisters Elizabeth and Kathryn. It will travel between my home in West Virginia and their homes in New York. My sister Kathryn and I make these needle felted things we call talismans, small, discrete lovely things about the size of your milagros. It will hang with these among other things at my altar for my mother, Elena, and her spirit will continue on vibrant as ever, only from a different plane.

Continue your work, it serves the world and graces what we think of ourselves. 

This note – so thoughtful.  And reading the last sentence a few times, I can’t help but wish for every woman, every mother, sister and daughter, to hear, to know words like this too.

Margaret writes in January of 2019:
I didn’t know what to picture when I learned my mom had colon cancer. Scans don’t show anything. Doctors draw diagrams and talk in the abstract. One doctor showed me his pinky and said my mother’s colon was like the diameter of a pencil. I said ok but what does that mean? I forgot to say what does it look like? Soon the vision wasn’t pretty in my head. But your artworks helped me see something beautiful and lively, chromatic. Epic and often exuberant, full of lines overlapping with pattern and movement. The organs in my mother’s body that were filling with cancer look different to me because of your artwork. I saw energy, I saw her perseverance, vivaciousness.

I can’t remember if I ever told her about your artwork. I think I was afraid to be implying she should love her cancer or love her colon, liver, lungs and linings which is where it all went. Instead I loved her as much as I could and I loved your drawings privately for myself in a way to make peace with the situation. Thank you for that. I wish you a happy new year. Thank you for doing what the doctors couldn’t do. You gave me a beautiful visual through which I upheld my mom the best I could.

I’ve had interaction with Margaret about her relationship with her mother and how my work affects her, since 2016. In that time I’ve sent along images (a couple below) as she requested. And I aways sent my best wishes for her and her mother.

I tell Margaret my interest is in both the physical body and in the subtle body. I feel she responds to both but most especially she picks up on the subtle (the unconfined and the constant). Margaret will always share connection with her mother. I appreciate knowing my drawings remind her of this.

Contacting me this summer, she looks for a work, something small, intimate and feminine in quality. I love the request and pull a few small, 2-sided, translucent studies. I call these pieces milagros, Spanish for miracle. The votive offering itself is connected to altars and/or shrines. I also call these small artworks holders of light because they do hang in space,  taking in and reflecting out on both sides. I photograph and send her a number of them, including the breast/mammary gland, which is the one she chooses.

Thank you Margaret for sharing the beautiful spirit of your mother with me. I wish you and your sister the very best. #Motherline #HolderOfLight

Milagro photo courtesy of Margaret Bruning #life

This post is dedicated to Elena Lisbeth Sette Bruning, beloved mother, who passed on Dec 13th, 2018. #nowomanisanisland


The blog posts titled No Woman is an Island acknowledge the people and/or organizations who support me and the work I do.

©2019 ALL RIGHTS RESERVED BY MONICA AISSA MARTINEZ

no woman is an island

I don’t remember exactly (maybe 10 plus years ago?) when I showed the painting below at Estrella Mountain Community College. But I remember Cheryl.

The World Stage, a play in finite acts, 2004

Cheryl, who was a nursing student at the time, contacted me to ask about the painting. We went back and forth via email. She wrote to me about looking at it daily. Eventually she inquired about the price.

Fast forward to July 2019:

Hello, can you tell me If you have any upcoming exhibits in the Phoenix area? Do you have a studio that I can purchase prints from? I love the items from World Stage.  Thank you,  Cheryl A

Cheryl graduated and became a nurse. Eventually her children graduated from college. And recently she experienced a major loss in her life.

It was a pleasure meeting Cheryl all these years later. We spent a thoughtful afternoon together.

She will return to Estrella Mountain College in the Fall. This time she is in the role of educator. Full circle. And more new beginnings.

She now has The World Stage to look at everyday, along with a few other works.

Academia 2, Mixed media, hand colored Intaglio etching on Arches, 2008

I didn’t know what to expect when you walked into my studio yesterday Cheryl. Know that you have some of my favorite work that I’ve lived with for a good while. I wonder if you understand how I feel to know that someone thought about a painting for 10 plus years. I really had no idea the one painting was waiting for you.

Pride, the father of all the deadly sins, Casein and Egg tempera on canvas

La Persona, Mixed media, hand colored Intaglio etching on BFK paper, 2007

This morning in an email:

The Pride piece and The World Stage fit perfectly in my family room near my recliner. The colors are perfect and new for me.  I will place The World Stage over the “faux” fireplace. Looking at this piece gives me so much joy. It really is a lesson in patience. We can desire those little luxuries in life but not at the expense of our family’s needs first. It feels so good to finally “reward” myself for a job well done. It was worth the wait and has gained even more value to me.

Thank you so much Cheryl for a special afternoon. I’m really happy that you have my work in your home. I hope it continues to bring you joy. Good luck in the wholeness of your new life. I wish you all the very best.

Who Am I?, Mixed media, hand colored Intaglio etching on BFK paper, 2018


The blog posts titled No Woman is an Island acknowledge the people and/or organizations who support me and the work I do.

©2019 ALL RIGHTS RESERVED BY MONICA AISSA MARTINEZ

no woman is an island

Early October I receive an email from Julie Sasse, Chief Curator of Modern, Contemporary and Latin American Art for the Tucson Museum of Art.

I hope you will remember me from your participation in some of our Arizona Biennials. A group (anywhere from 20-45 people) from our Latin American Art Patrons are planning a trip up to Phoenix on Wednesday, January 9, with a first stop to see the Teotihuacan exhibition at the Phoenix Art Museum, followed by a lunch. I’m not sure if your studio can accommodate a group, but I’m checking to see if that would be of interest to you and if your studio is located in the downtown Phoenix area. If you would be up for a visit sometime soon after 1:30 that day, our group would enjoy seeing your work.

Of course I remember Julie! I recall her support of my work. I will thank her in person. Yes.

All 45 members! of the LAAP arrive to the studio Wednesday afternoon. I share my art process and content with the thoughtful group. My husband, who is present, enjoys meeting members so much, he forgets he’s supposed to take photos! I understand completely.

I do have one photo. It catches a moment when I respond to a question about the portrait of my mother.

Soon after the photo is shot, I meet Nancy.

She approaches holding a small print. She wants to know about it. Is it available for purchase? The limited edition intaglio print titled Her Diagnosis – A Windy Liver is numbered 1/1 (1 of 1) because while it is a printed edition of 15 and is the first of the hand-colored series – each print is original. It holds a memory I have with my friend Maria. The border-lined text that makes its way into the composition as fragmented Spanish sentences comes from a song by the group Maná. The album plays in the studio the day I carve the words into the copper plate. And yes, the print is available.

Nancy, did I tell you the print along with 4 other hand-colored works, hung at the Phoenix Art Museum? The group exhibition called Local’s Only celebrated the art of 12 Chicano and Latino artists based here in the city. It feels right that you own it – in some way it is a full-circle experience. Enjoy the work and thank you so much.

As everyone returns to their bus, one woman stays behind taking a moment to share her thoughts about my work in general and she mentions her daughter, who is in medical school. She speaks to me in Spanish. I appreciate hearing what she says and how she says it – because she’s right.

One fun way to kick off this new year! A special thanks to Julie Sasse and the entire group of Latin American Art Patrons, for taking the time to visit my studio.


The blog posts titled No Woman is an Island acknowledge the people and/or organizations who support me and the work I do.

no woman is an island

I know you said your studio is empty but I’m wondering how exact that is 🙂 I’d love to buy a piece of yours as an anniversary gift for Ray.

Yes, the walls really are empty. All the humans are gone!  I do have some critters….

Setting up a date and time for a studio visit I ask Amy – Will you be bringing Ray? Or will this be a surprise?


I lay paintings of insects, a hummingbird, and a tortoise out on a drawing table. As I turn a spot light on them, I feel certain Amy will choose a bug.  But fairly quickly she picks the tortoise. It reminds her of a road trip her and Ray take in their first year of marriage. 

Being turtles…
Cold, November and fairly newlywed (10 months) they drive along the Southwest. Traveling Southern Arizona to New Mexico and into El Paso, she notes they make their way across the border to Juarez and they get lost.  A pizza delivery person had to lead us out!  Upon return they make their way to Hueco Tanks and then head back up New Mexico to Santa Fé and Taos.

we are outside at a café somewhere in New Mexico — I can picture the scene perfectly and we were both wearing black turtlenecks and freezing and looked up and realized we were both pulling them up over our faces, to just below our eyes. And “being turtles” was born

I smile with the visual.

Is she female? Amy asks.
I don’t know. Let’s look at her sexual organs, I say half-joking.
Is this her spleen?

Study of a Tortoise – Casein, Gesso, Prisma Pencil, Micaceous Iron Oxide, Ink, Collage on Panel – 10×10″

Amy drops me a text later that evening… I just realized Rays grandpa used to tell a story about a tortoise named Gilbert! (the map)
Meant to be yours – She is!

Surprise Ray! And a very Happy 20th Anniversary to both of you!

Thank you so much Amy!


The blog posts titled No Woman is an Island acknowledge the people and/or organizations who support me and the work I do.


no woman is an island

Hi. I love your Torso images. Do you have similar work available? Dennis

This simple note arrives on September 13, 2014. Chosen for the State of the Art, Discovering American Art Now exhibition at the Crystal Bridges Museum, my studio visit makes the cover of the arts section in the NYT.  I receive email from across the country.
It still makes me smile. I am overwhelmed in the best possible way.

Eventually Dennis inquires about a commission. He let me know he’d prefer a male, anterior view anatomy study. He’s a cardiologist, the connection to the heart is the draw. Willing to wait as long as needed (his words), I decide he’s a patient man. In our correspondence I also gather he’s thoughtful. He describes how he works with artists to foster both creativity and opportunity. He writes that he rarely buys paintings, though he loves and collects glass sculpture.

Fast forward to September 2017

Hi Monica – I contacted you a few years ago … I had discussed a piece in your torso series. Do you have any completed works in line with that body of work you might have for sale at present?  Dennis

I have work and send him images. It doesn’t take him long to decide on a painting titled  Front Body, Male.

Front Body, Male,  Casein and Gesso on Canvas,  34 x 13″

I now know his full name is Dr. Dennis Chugh.  I very much appreciate his reconnecting after all this time.

Front Body, Male will be on display at the University of Arizona medical school opening in a few short weeks.  I am happy to note the painting is his. I will borrow it for the exhibit, Nothing In Stasis. The show will run to March.

Dennis will have to wait a little longer for the work. His response: I’m in no hurry. I’m so glad your work is being seen (and sold).

Thank you Dennis, for reaching out and for the support of my work.


Dennis Chugh is a cardiologist who appreciates the arts and is also a maker of beautiful objects. He has blown glass for several years.

Chestnut-headed Bee-eater

You can see more of his colorful Aviary Cilinders at → dennischugh.com


The blog posts titled No Woman is an Island acknowledge the people and/or organizations who support me and the work I do.


no woman is an island

I could have titled this post: The Mud Dauber, at the Wedding Party.

The doorbell rings.

Sergio, the new neighbor, stands in my front patio holding a plastic cup. Sergio is newly wed (only a few days newly wed at this point). He and his wife Terrah, recently move on to our street.

Look! We found this at our reception! He says with excitement. I look into the cup and see a wasp of some sort. Do you know I paint bugs? Yes! That’s why I am bringing him to you.
We’d like to commission a small painting! 

It’s beautiful, I tell him.  Do you know what it is? He responds, No, that’s your job! 

I plan to research and identify the small, thin-waisted, golden-yellow and warm-black wasp. I understand bright colors signify a more aggressive species…well let’s see what I discover.

Yes, this wasp can be aggressive, but usually only when provoked. I learn a few other surprising things.

It’s a Mud Dauber from the Hymenoptera order. Derived from Ancient Greek hymen means membrane and pteron is wing. They have two pairs of thin, often see through, membranous wings. The hind wings connect to the fore wings by a series of hooks, considered married wings in flight. Note: Hymen, also Ancient Greek, is the god of marriage ceremonies, inspiring feasts and songs.

Two other features are their chewing mouth parts and large compound eyes. These wasps build their nests from mud (hence mud dauber). Did I mention Sergio and Terrah bought a newly remodeled house. He didn’t care for the layout of the yard(s). They are in the process of redesigning and completing as much of the work possible, on their own.

The symbolism of the wasp (happy to report):
Communication
Focus
Order
Productivity
Progress
Team work
Construction
New start
New goals
New doors

You probably couldn’t find a more appropriate symbol representing new beginnings, on your wedding day –  congratulations Sergio and Terrah!

And thanks! for the commission.


The blog posts titled No Woman is an Island acknowledge the people and/or organizations who support me and the work I do.

no woman is an island

Maria sends an email… I will be back in town next week and was wondering if you have any of your work on exhibit right now. We have friends coming into town for a few days and I’m thinking of things for us to do. So if you were showing somewhere I would love to take our friends. One of them is an artist herself.

I invite Maria, Susan and Laura to come to my studio.

As you might expect  anatomy study surrounds us. We talk the body for a good while. Laura personally relates to the newest kidney drawing sitting on my table. Susan wants to know about materials – the paint and paper.  I understand she has worked in woodcut and now does linocut.

Do you have any prints, she wonders. This question always confuses me. Do people mean a reproduction like a giclée or poster? Or do they mean an original print? I’m a printmaker. I stumble with the words … I have real prints, I say.

Maria wants to know about one particular small print. I’ve only thought about anatomy lately so I have to stop, change focus and think … considering the content of the work, I find it amusing. I can tell Susan and Laura do too.

selfsustainingconfusion1

Self-Sustaining Confusion, MM – Collage and hand-painted print, 12 x 10″

Here it is, in a nutshell:
The title – Self-Sustaining Confusion – I find in physicist David Bohm’s book On Creativity. I write the phrase on a piece of paper and leave it on my work table. Weeks pass and one day the rest of the composition formulates while I listen to NPR.  A scientist talks about the brain chemistry at various stages of awareness (or lack of) and I hear things like 69 unfolded proteins and limited real-estate in the brain. And that’s that, I pull out a piece of copper and start drawing.

We talk printmaking and intaglio. This is a dry point.  I use a sharp-pointed tool to  scratch the image directly on a copper-plate (I love copper!). Can you see it? ↓ The process of both printmaking and collage tend to free me up, work flows more stream of consciousness.

About this print in particular – If I recall correctly I pull 15 prints, only 7 of them are worth saving. In general the drypoint technique won’t allow for too many pulls, the marks are too irregular.

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copper plate with drawing on it

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a few pulls of the print

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Each image varies slightly. This one is the first image I collage and paint in the series of 7.

We talk about California (where they are from), the ocean, and the desert. We discuss raising chickens (I learn some things) and having fresh eggs (Susan does).  Of course I bring up making  egg tempera paint. They leave my home with plans to visit Frank Lloyd Wright’s (Taliesin West).

Ladies, I appreciate our morning together. Thank you Susan for wanting to take home Self-Sustaining Confusion. It’s the last one of that series. Enjoy it!

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The blog posts titled No Woman is an Island acknowledge the people and/or organizations who support me and the work I do.

no woman is an island

Yesterday I spend the day carefully packing 2 works. Finally, both Tarantula Wasp and Praying Mantis will be making their way to Missouri.

Once upon a time (last Spring to be exact) I had work hanging at ASU.
Krystal connected in March…

My mother is on vacation from Minnesota and texted me some of your images at ASU. I love them. I love bugs and bats and anatomy and maps and you have put them all together in the most beautiful way.

A week later another email from Krystal…

Interestingly enough, my step daughter was also at ASU this week visiting her boyfriend, and she sent pictures of your work to my husband so he could show me. He was in Colorado and came back last night, so we were having coffee this morning and I said “oh, I have to show you these pictures my mom sent you of this artist in Arizona” and I showed him the first picture and he picked up his phone and showed me the same piece of artwork on his phone. So two people we are related to, from different parts of the country, both traveled to ASU in the same week and sent us the same photos, because your artwork made them think of me.

What are the odds of this happening!?

tarantulawasp

Soon another email…

I would like to purchase the Tarantula Wasp and the Praying Mantis. I love them both, I love their predatory nature. I had never heard of a tarantula wasp, but they are amazing. Have you heard of a cicada killer?

No I’ve never heard of a cicada killer. I look it up and learn it is as creepy as the tarantula wasp!

mantis1While the wasp is already scheduled to show to June, in April an opportunity presents itself to show the mantis (to September). Krystal agrees to wait for both.

The next email (cracks me up)…

I hate to wait for the praying mantis, but I have always wanted to have a piece on loan with my name on it. So if you will send me a photo of it with the tag, then I will suck it up and wait.

…and you did Krystal.

Synopsis: No Woman is an Island.
2 bugs, 2 art venues, 2 museum visits, 3 seasons, 3 states, a mother, a step daughter, a boyfriend, a husband and wife and a cup of coffee… #gottahaveart

Thanks again Krystal. And thanks for letting me share our correspondence. It is a good story. Enjoy the insects! They’ll be arriving soon.


The blog posts titled No Woman is an Island acknowledge the people and/or organizations who support me and the work I do.

i get questions

I appreciate getting emails from people who see my anatomy studies. Now and again I enjoy answering a question. Here is one I receive today. Thanks Karen!

Just want to share how much I enjoy seeing your art. I originally found/bought a coaster (bat) at Made during a Third Friday visit downtown Phoenix. When I saw the original would be shown at ASU, I made a trip to the museum to see it and the other exhibits at that gem of a museum. A follow-on of course, is the STEAM exhibit at TCA. I met some friends there and enjoyed all of the exhibits, but especially finding more of your work was so enjoyable. Your human anatomy work, from the intricate detail, color and scale, so awesome to see. Thank you for creating and showing your beautiful talent. I love the expression of “inside beauty” from the cellular, organ, system, skeletal. If I may, please tell me about your use of maps behind the animal/insect art. It is a great effect.
Thank you!
Karen

Karen, the maps tell the viewer about the subject.

About the bat: Invited to take part in an exhibition slated to travel overseas, Between Earth and Sky: Contemporary Art from the American Southwest originally travelled to China. Born and raised in the Southwest, I set out to focus on a creature  connected to each state I’ve lived in. The map, in the case of the bat, connects it to Arizona where it is the state mammal. I currently live in Phoenix near a large colony. Bats, in general, are in serious decline. I hope these thrive and continue to visit our neighborhood. On a practical note they help keep mosquito population down.

bat

The Cicada, one of the insects in the STEAM exhibition, is from Kansas City. Someone who saw the ASU show sent me beautiful cicada’s from her personal collection. It was truly a special gift. I quickly researched the insects and I am certain I will not take another one for granted again.  Kansas City sits at left center edge of the composition.

cicada_lores

I began using maps a few years back. My husband brought home a perfectly preserved Hercules Beetle he found in a mine in Superior, AZ. I keep the impressive specimen in my studio. You see the city highlighted in the lower center (green) area.

hercules coaster

The maps are part of the narrative – they supply information : How? Where?
How did the study originate? Where does the the creature come from?

I love knowing the coaster directed you on to museum visits.

a cicada from kansas city

IMG_8838 (1)

“My mother is on vacation from Minnesota and texted me some of your images at ASU. I love them. I love bugs and bats and anatomy and maps and you have put them all together in the most beautiful way…”


“My husband and I are from Kansas City and are print makers…
…we dabble in collage as well so really appreciate what you are doing.
…Do you have any cicadas? …if you decide you would like some cicadas, I have quite the collection of them and would be happy to send some along for inspiration.”

A few weeks later a package arrives!

IMG_8864

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This is the one I choose to study and paint. I find two used Missouri maps here in Phoenix – what are the odds of that! I plan on another composition soon.

cicada_lores

mixed media collage, 12 x 12″

Krystal shares more:
“….Aren’t they amazing. Right after they shed their husks they are completely white. I sit with them on my hand and watch them turn into their colors, their wings are tiny little clumps and then as they dry they uncurl and form into shape. It takes about 45 minutes and it’s the coolest thing to watch. Each group is a different size and marked differently.
…The orange wings came off small, all black cicadas from last summer. I didn’t keep their bodies because they weren’t particularly interesting, but I had never seen orange wings before. If I find them soon enough after they die and they are still flexible, I can pin the wings out and dry them that way. I am just fascinated with them. Glad you find them beautiful, enjoy.”

Krystal and her husband are artists and printmakers from Kansas City, Missouri.

IMG_8766

There’s magic and myth associated with Cicadas, worth looking up if you’re inclined. They symbolize carefree living, resurrection and immortality. They connect to the ideas of spiritual realization and spiritual ecstasy.

Thank you Krystal! Yes, they are amazing.

There’s more to this story, but I’ll save that for another time. I plan to show the Kansas Cicada, along with other studies, in the STEAM exhibition, opening next month at the Tempe Center for the Arts.

no woman is an island

The Onloaded Project I call Cella, opened (last) Friday night in the phICA containers on Roosevelt Row. The brightly lit boxes and the steady stream of visitors make the night memorable.

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OnLoaded boxes activate at sunset on Friday night.

onloaded_containers

Last visitors as we prepare to close.

The evening is followed by the annual Phoenix Art Detour beginning Saturday morning and going through Sunday. Again, I enjoy steady visitors. I love watching how people move through the space and interact with the work. I manage a few sales.

cella2

Richard Ross, whom I meet exactly one year ago when the Contemporary Forum visits my studio, drops in. I enjoy reconnecting. We talk art, materials and hanging systems. Interested in several works he decides on a flashcard painting – the Pancreas. These are small, two-sided (two views), 6 x 4″ studies that hang in line, together. He likes that it’s somewhat abstract and resembles something that might live underwater, a sea creature perhaps. Some of the glands in the set have that quality, yes I agree.

Thank you Richard!

pancreas

The Pancreas (part of the endocrine system), anterior and posterior view, mixed media, 4 x 6″

Will and Louise Bruder come into the container, while I chat with Richard. They too decide on a flashcard work – the eyeball – but not before Mr. Bruder congratulates me for representing Phoenix in the State of the Art exhibition at the Crystal Bridges Museum. They’d been to the ASU Art Museum the day before and note my work in the project room. I remind him we met years ago at a Burton Barr Central Library celebration.

He explains where and how he wants to hang the small work. He will enjoy it while drinking his morning coffee, he says, near an east facing window that allows in morning light. He’s pleased by the idea of seeing an eyeball – so appropriate, he says. He wants to know about the materials. Casein, I tell him, the Egyptians used it. The medium passes the test of time. That works for him.

eyeball

Before the weekend is over Ted Decker picks a flashcard out too. The bladder and prostate gland get his attention. I also call the image The Minister of the Reservoir and the Water Gate. I explain I also see the small drawing as a milagros (votive offerings). He nods with appreciation.

bladder and prostate

The Minister of the Resevoir and the Water Gate, Front and Back view of bladder and prostate gland, 6 x 4″

It seems to me that having a Cella, a room of one’s own, to settle and reconnect to the self – feels appealing more now than ever.

Thank you Richard, Will, Louise and Ted.
And thank you to phICA for the invitation to exhibit – a unique experience, for sure!


The blog posts titled No Woman is an Island acknowledge the people and/or organizations who support me and the work I do.

no woman is an island

Once upon a time, Liz was my next-door neighbor.  One season, thanks to the Phoenix Arts Commission, we both worked an after school program.  She taught dance, I taught art (mask-making). Because we knew each (sort of), we organized a collaboration between our 2 groups and created a final production to end the program that season. I suspect Jocelyn, the director who hired us,  was hoping we’d do this. The idea, while ambitious, did seem natural.

Two things we learned: think twice about asking young performers to sit still long enough to make and paint a mask and perhaps young artisans shouldn’t be asked to perform. While rehearsals were chaotic, we pulled it off and more importantly in the end, a good time was had by all. That was 10 years ago.

Today Liz lives in Los Angeles where she teaches and continues to dance. She shares the stage with a partner. I am happy to report → Casebolt and Smith will be performing in Taiwan next week. Merde!

sea horse coaster

Last week I drove out to Los Angeles for an art opening. While there I delivered 2 small animal studies and a virtue, to my friend’s home. She purchased Caballitos de Mar from 515 Arts. And she commissioned the Jerusalem Cricket (that I was able to include in a bug show at the Idea Museum), though she likes to say Charlie Goodyear (the cat) commissioned it. Charlie killed the bug, Liz sent me a photo, I found it creepy and was asked to paint it.

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Liz lives with my first small cat (anatomy study) called Issa Cup of Tea. She picked that up at Mesa Contemporary a few years back.  The feline is another element of our friendship (Ali, Monkey, Mango, Potus, Shobi,Chupa….etc).

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Thank you Liz. All the creatures are home now. Look after them.


The blog posts titled No Woman is an Island acknowledge the people and/or organizations who support me and the work I do.

On this trip I also deliver Prudence who pairs with Temperance, two works on paper, from an older series – the The Worlds Stage, a play in finite acts. She waited a good while to head west. Now they are both with you too. Thanks again Liz!

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no woman is an island

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Last Spring Wright contacts me about a Palo Verde Beetle I’d just painted for an upcoming bug exhibit at the Idea Museum. I have a sister who is into bugs and anatomy, he says, and this would be a great gift. I respond, You have a sister that’s into bugs? And anatomy?  I should meet her one day. 

Today he brought the family to my studio. I meet everyone including his sister Cady. Within minutes of being introduced we are discussing anatomy. She mentions a short study at Stanford and working with cadavers. Cady Did (they call her, yes like the bug) is completely surprised when she learns the studio visit is arranged for her to receive a graduation gift.

She is home for the holidays, lives in Oregon and will be graduating from Pacific University with a degree in Occupational Therapy. Congratulations Cady. Wright is correct, the gift is fitting. Even that the composition  includes the word surprise (as in Surprise, AZ) feels appropriate.

The whole family pitched in to make this happen. Thanks everyone! It was great to spend an afternoon with all of you.

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Olive, Mead, Cady, Monica, Wright, Jenni, Day and Sandy

No woman, or family member in this bunch, is an island – for sure. As everyone walks out of the studio Sandy comments, I feel like I should get college credit or something for this studio visit. I wonder if she can know how much I appreciate the comment.


The blog posts titled No Woman is an Island acknowledge the people and/or organizations who support me and the work I do.

While having connected to Wright last year, I finally meet him at a studio visit the Breakfast Club hosted at my place last May. He brought along Sandy, his mom. Today my husband and I enjoyed meeting his wife, his daughter and son, and his sisters. Everyone has their hands in the arts in one form or other.

On another note, the Palo Verde Beetle along with several other of my bugs, will be include in a publication to be released in 2017. More on that later.

no woman is an island

Interested in a small animal study he’s seen on the internet, Judson arranges to visit my studio this a.m.  He’s come to pick up a particular one. As he moves through the space he quickly changes his mind and consequently will leave with 2 others. I am always surprised by people who can do this – make quick decisions of this sort. I admire the skill.

We spend time talking and I learn he’s passionate about art. He’s visited many artist spaces. I first connect with Judson back in March at the Feminism Today exhibit in the monOrchid. I enjoy finally meeting and chatting with him.

Here are the artworks he takes with him today –

creativeiamblog Above is the mixed media (casein and egg tempera) on paper titled Creative I am.  It is the  anatomy study that eventually leads to my current series Nothing In Stasis. And below is another mixed media (casein) painting on canvas titled Taking a Stand from an earlier series called Mental Concoctions. Both are now at his framer!

Thank you again, Judson.

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The blog posts titled No Woman is an Island acknowledge the people and/or organizations who support me and the work I do. Here is a video made a few years back by Brian McHugh and MojoVideoProduction. Not only does it show some of the series of the latter painting in this post, and the ideas behind the work – it also shows my studio a few years back. It’s a completely different environment now!

Phoenix Artist Monica Aissa Martinez from Brian McHugh on Vimeo.