Show write up!

Me, Mike and Ryann

The folks over at Blow the Scene were kind enough to do a really thorough write-up of the bat show along with some pretty great photos!


Corpse Flower

Here's my second piece for the show friday:
I wanted to draw from folklore that was neutral towards bats (like I mentioned previously), so I picked up on the idea that the soul could leave a body in the form of a bat and went from there. It mostly seems to stem from the association between flying animals and ascension. There's also some Eastern European folklore I remember reading where the souls of captured witches and wizards escaped in the form of moths and insects and magpies. I thought it would be neat to have the bats chasing the moths on their way up since that's a food source for insectivore bats.
After I drew out the skull I wanted to make it more interesting and remembered the painted skulls I just missed seeing in the beinhaus in Hallstatt, Austria (we were there in December so mountain roads were closed).
So I included the stylized red laurels and the gold theta:
The "flowers" in the foreground are Monotropa Uniflora which I've mentioned on this blog before. I first discovered them peeking out of mounds of rotten wet leaves while hiking in Maine.
I honestly couldn't tell at first if they were fungal or floral and it turns out it's a chlorophyll-less plant which is parasitic to the fungus that grows on tree roots. I figured something that thrives in an ecosystem because of fungus might be interesting to add to the painting since one of the challenges of fighting white nose syndrome is maintaining the integrity of cave ecosystems that actually NEED fungus (especially the many many species of arthropod that live there). It's also referred to as "Ghost plant" and "Corpse flower" so I thought it fit the theme in that sense as well.
I'm pretty proud of the amount of time I put into the background for this one since it's something I've really been working on developing a bit. I'm also working on controlling my use of color to produce more of a mood. Whatever, look at the moon!
Some pictures of the opening can be found here if you want to check them out.

Friday I leave for a little trip to Oregon to hike, camp, hang out, pet dogs, eat food, look for Bigfoot etc. so it might be a while before I have any more work to post! I'm working on something much less serious next.


The Voice Of The Unheard Language

First off, I have to say the show Friday was an overwhelming success.  The place was packed, art was selling SO FAST, and between the art on the walls and the additional prints and pins and donations we raised $3,100 just on the opening night! I know a larger piece sold the next day as well and there's still a lot of great stuff and printed multiples left so we stand to raise a good amount of money when this is all over.  I feel like all the artists involved REALLY put a lot of effort into their work and it definitely showed.  The employees at Grindcore House also did an amazing job keeping up with the frantic pitch of the sales.  The event received a good amount of event press so there seemed to be a lot of people beyond the usual Philly art crowd in attendance and I got to chat with a few people who found out about it through Bat Conservation International, or who picked up flyers we left out when we went to the lecture about White Nose Syndrome at the Wagner (I have a big half written post about that lecture to post soon).  I also have to give a shout out to friends who pitched in all kinds of help like Nikki who helped fold all those origami bats, my mother who baked and decorated 200 vegan bat cookies for the opening, Carol who brought a flat of vegan brownies with little bat picks in them, my friend Greg who came from Pittsburgh with the awesome bat house he built for the show and Dilek who came down from NY to sell etchings of her piece.  
I struggle to adequately express it but I'm just really excited to be working with other artists and people who have the enthusiasm and generosity to get behind something like this. Thank you so much, guys! I'll make sure to share some of the press I know is in the works about the show as soon as it gets posted.  I'll also have some more photos.
In all the commotion I didn't have much time to post about what I made for the show.  I'll spread it out into two posts since this one is already so long, but here's the first piece I made:
I decided early on that I wanted to do something a bit outside of the normal, somewhat negative, associations with bats in folklore.  I've been reading this excellent book about Grimoires lately and have particularly been thinking about the early blending of science, medicine and magical thought particularly astral magic which includes the idea that everything in the natural world was imbued with powers from the stars and planets which could be harnessed for medical and magical purposes.  
A lot of this centers around the idea of like producing like, meaning that animals and plants with certain associations for humans (or in the case of the doctrine of signatures the appearance of a natural object) could be used to treat and influence a similar problem.  In the case of bats their association with night led to their use in medicine and magic that dealt with sleep.  This is why I also chose poppies (my favorite flower) for the piece. 
"Ualueria" is the word for bat in the Lingua Ignota ("unknown language"), a language invented by "Saint" (her sainthood is unofficial) Hildegard of Bingen "the Sibyl of the Rhine" a medieval mystic, abbess and writer of medical and herbal texts, and musical composer.  It's believed that she invented her language, which included 1,011 words and its own alphabet, in order to encourage comradery among the nuns in her order. Many of the words are for plants, animals and medical terms because she used them in her writing interspersed with Latin.  There are some really amazing illuminations of the visions she had that I recommend googling:
And there's a really extensive website about her here.

I don't have a good picture of the piece framed yet, but I built the glass-less frame myself and glued one of the resin "rock crystal" pieces to it. Happy to say it sold! A full post and image of my second piece tomorrow!


My Love Is A Bat

Quick peek until I get the full images up. One of two new pieces for the bat show (also donated two really small older bat themed things). Show is tomorrow! Hanging it all tonight. It's gonna be brutal.


Empty Night Skies is in one week!

Just thought I'd make an image heavy post about the show now that it's a week away. For starters, there's a new flyer from Mike Bukowski:
Work has been pouring in this past week and I'm so stoked about what people have made. It really seems like people put in a lot of effort and enjoyed the theme and there's a real variety of mediums and interpretations. Here's some sneak peeks at just a few of them:
L to R: Amy Duncan, Justin Miller, Alan Brown, Jeff Pfeil
L to R: David Cook, Dilek Baykara, Tamara Santibanez, Kirsten Teel

I'll have two pieces in it myself. One of them is small and is already finished and the other is a little larger and probably needs one more day of work. A little peek:
I also spent several hours yesterday folding origami bats for the ceiling with the help of my good buddy Nikki:
Come to the show! Tell your friends! Become a member of Bat Conservation International!