The Bats Have Left The Bell Tower

So I figured it was about time to announce some info on the show I'm working on right now. Mike and I decided to do this show late this summer while making plans to go hiking and see one of the largest bat populations in our area leave their roost at dusk in Canoe Creek. We called the park to see if it was too late in the season to see them and were told "Most of our bats are dead. White Nose syndrome. Sorry." This is a population of bats that in 2006 was around 3,000 in a single roost. It's always pretty crushing to hear about extinction on the march but it really hits home when it's so local and affects animals you grew up around and are so accustomed to seeing and wrongly assumed you would always see.

White Nose syndrome is caused by a cold-loving fungus that grows on the faces and bodies of hibernating bats, causing neurological damage and causing them to awaken from hibernation and leave their roost at which point they starve to death. Fungal spores are hard to contain and built to survive and the spread from cave to cave is rapid with fatalities in affected areas around 98% and in some communities 100%. It's estimated to have killed more than 5.7 million bats since just 2006 and to make matters worse, with the slow reproduction rate of bats even if the death stopped NOW it would take at best 200 years for bat populations to return to previous numbers. All of that damage done in just SIX YEARS.

One of the issues that further complicates bat conservation is the general perception of bats reinforced in hollywood:

and the misconception that bats are largely responsible for the spread of rabies. In general the lack of interest in conservation for animals that aren't deemed "cute"(come on, really?) or useful to humans (though bats are VERY useful) or are considered dangerous (one of the issues affecting shark conservation, and issues related to wolves and wild dogs) is indicative of the larger attitude most people have towards animals; the idea that they exist for our use or amusement to be tamed by us or that animals that are threatening to us simply because of the way they exist in nature don't deserve to exist at all. As a result there's a lack of concern for what is a genuine natural eradication happening right under our noses (and not just to bats obviously, I'm talking about the entire natural world here).

I realize that part of the mystique of bats which attracts me to them as a horror movie loving, death rock creep bag is also responsible for some of the struggle involved in conservation and I feel like after a life-time of exploiting and enjoying bat imagery it's time to turn it into something advantageous for bats at a time when they need help the most. The proceeds from the show we're planning will be donated to Bat Conservation International and all the artists participating will be making new work or donating old work related to bats and using bat imagery. So far everyone seems really excited and we're just getting to the stage where we're finalizing a list of participating artists (which so far, is HUGE). We've had two shows like this in Philadelphia so far(For those to Come and From Whence we Came which was organized by Ryann who's helping with this show too), both of which I've participated in and they've both raised a ton of money and probably a good amount of awareness.

The show opening will be on 4/20 (harrrrharrrr) at Grindcore House here in Philadelphia and it'll be up for 2 months. We're working on planning some kind of movie night and also some purchasable items to help raise money. In the meantime I highly suggest checking out this half hour special called "The Race to save Pennsylvania's Bats"

Check out our artist list so far:
Jack Barfield
Vanessa Lucas
Alex McWatt
Jeremy Hush
Avalon Zimmerman
Joe Boruchow
Anthony Pedro
Phil Sloan
Ken Miller
Halsey Swain
Keely Dolan
Jen Zie
Derek Reverts
Ryan Slegel
Adriane Dalton
David Cook
Amanda Moore
Patt Whelan
Dilek Baykara
Alina Josan
Amy Duncan
Alan Brown
Ketch Wehr
Jeff Pfeil
Kathryn Moran
Emily Kohl-Mattingley
Chris Shockley
Doug LaRocca
John Mitchell
Mary Price
Stephanie Dimiskovski
Kristin Scholz
Lucy Price
Jonathan Schoonover
Dylan Smith
Eric Clark
Joseph Hasenauer
Justin Gray
Sarah Grocholski Breitenstein
Alicia Neal
Paul Romano
Elizabeth Siegel
Tamara Waite-Santibanez
Kyle Miller
Greg Kamerdze
Justin Quinlan
Matt DeFillipo
Josh Robeson
Jeanne D'Angelo (duh)
Mike Bukowski
Ryann Casey


Babylonian Gorgon

Had to take a week break from what I was working on to do a quick flyer for the Alice Bag reading/show which I am so excited about. Alice is a personal hero of mine and since finding out she was maintaining a pretty intense web presence a couple of years ago I've been following her writing and her interview series and finally got her book which I've been reading any time I get a chance. It's a series of short anecdotes about her life so it's really easy to pick up and put down (well, it's a bit hard to put down once you get started) and as it's been said in many reviews it's about much much more than punk. I had to do the flyer quickly (no time for anything but black linework) so I could get it out there since the show is quickly approaching.
Here's the full Northeast Tour info:
2/5 Cambridge MA, Boston Lady Fest, Cambridge YMCA Theater. Alice will be backed up by Terry and Melissa from Foreign Objects
2/6 Easthampton, MA Flywheel Arts Collective 7 pm. Alice will be backed up by Meghan of Ampere/Won't Belong and Ally of Honeysuck, Outdates, and Potty Mouth
2/7 New York NY at Bluestockings Bookstore. Backing by Angie Boylan of Aye Nako and others.
2/8 Batimore MD at Golden West Cafe with War on Women and Big Mouth. 8 pm
2/9 Washington DC at Joint Custody. 7 pm
2/10 Philadelphia PA@The Marvelous w/ Carmen and 3Jane 8 pm
2/11 Providence, RI at Providence Public Library with members of Whore Paint and Lolita Black providing backing 7 pm
2/12 Jamaica Plain, MA at Aviary Gallery. 8 pm with backing by Terry and Melissa from Foreign Objects and DJ Danny Gromfin Spinning LA punk classics before and after the reading!

Yesterday despite the fact that I'm pretty sick right now I managed to put in some time with the painting I posted linework for last week. This is going to be a fun one to paint!



Hey, since I'm too dumb to get the SOPA strike page up in my html, I'll post this video explaining what SOPA/PIPA would do. And what you can do. And I'll just say being in the age group that grew up without the internet and remembering desperately wanting access to radical ideas and underground music and art and my friends and I scrambling to find and share those things amongst ourselves I can recognize how many more people can find those things now and how vital and amazing that is, and why it's worth protecting. I think sometimes even I take it for granted and it's good to reflect on the past in a way that's a little less nostalgic. The reason we thought zines were important then is the reason sharing on the internet unfettered by corporate intervention and censorship is now.


The Dead Queen

So, I finished a couple of things in December but they were all presents. One was a painted recipe box for my mother which actually came out better than I thought it would but someone accidentally erased all of my pictures so I can't show you that.

Every year for Christmas my brother gives me a gift card to the place where I buy paint. I used to use them because they carried the Pelican Plaka paint I like but they seem to be phasing it out. Luckily their general selection is pretty great and I make an order every January to restock things I've used up or to try new stuff. In order to really get a grip on what I needed I looked through everything I had to see what colors were lacking and to throw out stuff that was too dried out to use.
I find that really pleasing to look at.

I ended up buying a few metallics (seems like I buy a new gold every year) and some new white and black to test out, as well as a new ceramic palette to hopefully curb my compulsion to mix paint on any surface I can find (note all the jar tops in the picture). Exciting, I know. On a slightly related note, how cool are impossible colors?!

I got to do another art trade which I love. I traded the urn painting I did for this amazing hand of glory necklace (top) from Amanda Moore aka Adelina Mictlan:

The original hand drawing was also by my buddy Patt Whelan aka Patt Attack.

I had my eye on this thing for so long since I love anything related to the hand of glory and I love big weird jewelry. Amanda's stuff is really well done with a nice heavy style and she uses a lot of interesting etching methods to make the more graphic pieces. I've also got one of these finger pendants coming my way as part of the trade and we're chatting about some kind of collaboration AND she'll be making some small bat pendants for the bat show. Neat!

This weekend I finally got to work on a new painting for a Feb. group show and got everything drawn, inked, and ready to paint. The pencils:
and inked:

Also working on my piece for the bat show. I'll say it involves a secular icon, bones and an attempt to cast faux rock crystal pieces in resin for the frame. Excited to get to work and plan the show a bit more.