They Still Burn Witches.

Still finding stolen moments to work on Okay, Stupid. This is part of a triptych.
" Better believe there's war on up ahead/ Until we can settle the score and share the bread / Some people got no choices from the day they are born / Some other people got many but their reasons are wrong / Catch a fire, you're gonna get burned / Sow the seed, it will come back in return / Some people think they are above it all / and everything but they will fall"

"And we're at Square One"

I've been working on "Okay, Stupid" again. The project is evolving, and I have a lot of new material and concepts I am exploring. With this last sketch, I decided to document it every step of the way. I think it's really important that "artists" demystify our process in order to deconstruct notions of "talent", "genius" or other false capitalist boundaries that alienate the act of making. I know lots of artists that hide their use of photoreference, design programs, etc. out of shame, as though this makes them less of an artist (This seems, in my experience, to be particularly true of graff writers and illustrators). I know lots of artists that don't us any of that stuff, and still render photorealistically, or bypass that entirely and work completely from vision. Whatever you do, however you do it; Fuck it. Make some shit. Do what feels right. In my opinion, it's more inspiring when the process is transparent than when artists just shamelessly self-promote an image as a product out of context. Are we makers, or are we brands?

(Also, these flix were snagged off of my instagram account; when I get access to a printer again soon, I'll actually scan some of the sketches I've been working on.)

"Big Girls don't cry.  Oh, and Good Grrls are seen and not heard. (never tell how much it hurts)"

Also, I can't stop listening to this last James Blake record.  The whole thing, in tone and lyrical content, basically sums up my life from the last 3 months or so.

"Wasted times and broken dreams  / Violent colors so obscene  /It's all I see these days  / These days / Watch what you say / The devil is listenin'  / He's got ears that you  / Wouldn't believe / And brother once you go to him  / It's your soul you can never retrieve."
Just finished this design for the Undoing Racism Internship Projects' LOVE Conference to be held on May 10th!  The original design was first created in collaboration with a pair of activists in partnership.  When I was asked to work on this flyer and fundraising poster, I immediately thought of this image.  I really want to see more imagery of love and liberation in the world, and was happy to rework the illustration for this purpose.  URIP's members chose Assata Shakur's powerful chant for the fundraising poster, and it is a poignant reminder that personally couldn't have come at a better time for me as an artist, organizer and human.

Also, right after we put this poster out, Assata Shakur was the first woman to be added to the FBI's Most Wanted Terrorist list.  We stand with Assata, in alignment with love, liberation, and an end to "capitalist exploitation, the abolition of racist policies, the eradication of sexism, and the elimination of political repression".  Hands off Assata!

To buy the poster, click here: http://tinyurl.com/LOVEposter2013
Learn more about URIP here:  http://urip-ny.tumblr.com/
And register for this awesome conference here:  http://tunyurl.com/URIPreLOVEution

Eyes on the Rainbow is a documentary about Assata Shakur.

Also; anthems.

"I can't turn my head away- seeing all these things.  The world is going up in flames; and nobody wants to take the blame."

AND THE BANGER!!!  "Oh, there's a shakedown in my town.  Said I cannot make it.  Come a long ways from faking it.  It's in my blood, in my blood, yeah.  They wanna crucify me for being a believer: sometimes I see what they see - see they don't believe.  They gonna see.  They gonna see - That I'm ready."

Bus Sketch

Boomerang.  Banishing.  Bindrunes.

"Where you recognize evil, speak out against it, and make no truces with your enemies." --Havamal

"You make me reevaluate who I give my time to."

Train Sketch

I learned a lot the last few weeks.
"If you welcome every trespass, then every tramp's a guest  / Give what they would take from you then every theft's a gift / Hold too tightly to what's in your hands or in your chest /  and the future it won't open / palm readers can't work fists / Broken bones are stronger for the breaking / No, the danger's in the bending / those concessions that you never can take back / Curl you round a cane you're still in tact, but now quite lame / Better to grit your teeth, ready the cast and let it snap. "
I'm really shitty at this heartbreak stuff, (who isn't?), and I find a lot of things hearbreaking.  I could speak all day on some pseudo-intellectual/art theory ish about the concept behind the "Ok, Stupid" series.  And it would be real.   But I do it because it is visceral, and I am unapologetic.  So here's a process shot.  And if you think it's about you, well, be flattered; it probably is.  In composite, that is.  But it's also not about you at all.  This series is about me, and about using ones' personal life as a means to explore larger sociopolitical questions.

Also, a song.


So many, many things.

I've been not-so-good at being timely about keeping up with this blog or properly maintaining my website because I have been so wrapped up in amazing projects and collaborations.  Mostly, I'm busy with working with the Parsons Scholars, masterminding with my favorite people in the Inheritance Process Collaborative, executing an IP project with Girls for Gender Equity's Urban Leaders Academy middle school program, and doing two projects with Groundswell - one of which is another Navy Yard mural.  I'm also doing lots of freelance, and trying to find time to take showers, do laundry, brush my teeth and heat up frozen trader joe's meals on a hotplate at the new house I just moved into.  So bear with me :)  I'm so lucky to get to do the work I do, and to work with the amazing, inspiring people in my life.  Here's a sneak peek at some things I've been up to.

This is a pencil sketch for an installation organized by Groundswell.  My collaborators are a group of brilliant High School aged women, and our theme is women's health and empowerment.  The piece will be installed at an OB-GYN.  After doing a series of guided visualizations and tableaus exercises, the young women wrote reflections.  These poses and the quote were by them.

This is a commemorative poster for New Jersey's 1199 SEIU's women's day event.  I was super hype to work on this - any opportunity to support my fellow working Jersey Grrrrls, and I'm in there like swimwear.

Also, I got a new tattoo. I had a really challenging situation happen a few weeks back, and it got me reflecting on themes of self-protection and trust. I asked myself, "What is positive transformation? What is safety? What is protection? What is self-defense? How do we defend ourselves? One another? How do women protect our bodies? Our spirits? Our hearts?" For me, tattoos are deeply personal, and are acts of ritual and manifestation. I have been using the circle-circle-dot-dot in my Ok Stupid series for a year or two now, and thought it was time to commit to it's representation in my life. I called on the joyful, loving girl-culture of my youth. When boys would chase us, or bother us, or hurt our feelings, or touch us when we didn't want it, we'd soothe one another, come together, and defend one another against the boys and heal and protect ourselves with cootie shots. I decided it was time to innoculate. Thanks to Nick Wallin for this quickie! I recommend him, for sure.
Circle-Circle-Dot-Dot; Now I Got my Cootie Shot

Also....some joints I've been bumping on repeat lately.

I've been super busy again!  I recently returned from a 3 week trip to San Diego, Tijuana and Los Angeles.  I was blessed to have the opportunity to paint with people I love and admire!  (And, I swear, the new website is coming!  Slowly but surely....)
Many, many thanks to Isaias Crow who offered me an opportunity to collaborate on a freeway piece with Christian Flores at Chicano Park.  I teach many of the young people I work with about the legacy of Chicano Park in order to illustrate the power of public art and community organizing.  This was a profound honor for me, and I was also very blessed to meet Victor Ochoa, who I greatly admire.

Glow (Mexicali/San Diego), Monstrinho (San Diego/NY/Get Vicious), Eloaf (New York/Cali/Get Vicious), Norteno (Tijuana) and I came for a quick afternoon wall in Tijuana, right next to a bustling neighborhood street market.  The wall owners asked us to paint something for the kids.
Here we are with some of the beautiful, joyful young people that hung out with us as we painted!  Jimena and her siblings are the grandchildren of the woman who runs the food cart right next to the wall, and they were such great company.  They sang songs, and helped me with my Spanish.  It was an honor to paint for them.
And here's a video put together by our friend Eloaf of the afternoon..

The wonder team :)  This was a lovely day of painting.
While in Los Angeles, I was lucky enough to see my the De'Lish Dames and document them backstage and in performance.  I've known the troupe leader, Micha Pagano, since I was 5 years old, and she is one of my most cherished and inspiring friends.  They are an incredible burlesque troupe!

And, on a completely different note, I just turned this in for the homie Edwin Vazquez's "Comix Gone Rogue" Project.  I was inspired by the recent announcement that Wonder Woman and Super Man were getting it on- and figured I'd play with the idea of sexuality, masculinity, femininity and power in this fun, raunchy cover.  (Peep the SWV lyrics in the back!)  http://roguecomix.blogspot.com/
This is a quick piece I did inspired by the writer's block and the young people I worked with in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico in June.  The poem reads: ""Blackbook Sessions" - "They say there is a drought in Ciudad Juarez- and that every unpaved road is wet with blood. But I have been lead to a man-made oasis of art and dignidad, conviction y communidad. It is here I dip my toes and rinse my brushes and am refreshed. En la manana, a la interseccion de libertad y calle insurgente, we laugh in broken Spanglish. "Revolutionarios are never rico." The people are thirsty."

I've taken a little bit of a break from the "Okay, Stupid" series I was working on about dating, trauma and self-representation.  However, I showed this one recently at the Beatboxing Championships here in Brooklyn a few months back.  This one is called "Why I Quit Writers" and the poem is as follows: "I dove into you, hope first, bouncing off your bubble letters. Bubbleheaded. I made you feel silver and violet. Slivers of violence. Long walks at 3am to decipher hieroglyphics. Tongue kissing in wallball courts. It was the curious, frightened, eager, grateful wide-eyed pre-teen love I'd never had. Something between an art and a crime. I
dove into us, Raw. You treated me like a caricature of myself. Told me not to make cartoons about you. Do I need your permission to make cartoons about me? Why did you question the way that I spoke? my tongue thick against my teeth, loose against your skin. You made me question everything I said, which made me reevaluate everything I thought. Somewhere between a blessing and a curse. Snorting your cum out of my nose like I was laughing too hard while sucking down freelunch milk cartons. You lost me with three simple words. Bitch. Asshole. Cunt. We lost one another in the wreckage of seemingly excavated tombs. Abandoned sights. I was in awe of you."


Please Stay Tuned.

I have been back-to-back on projects since May, and have had very little time to update my blog.  Keep an eye out for my new, updated website- it will be live by October 1st!

In the meantime, keep up with me on Facebook.

Here's a sneak peak of some of the things I've been involved with over the last 5 months!

Half of the recently finished "Here Goes Something" mural at the Brooklyn Navy Yard.  Over the course of approximately 3 1/2 months, I worked with Esteban de Valle and Joel Bergner, 19 4th and 5th graders and 14 teens and young adults.  This mural is inspired by the work of Howard Zinn, and tells the over 300-year story of the Navy Yard and it's symbiotic relationship with the multi-ethnic, multi-cultural working class of the surrounding community.  This project was organized through Groundswell.

A small section of the second half of "Here Goes Something".

I've also been spending lots of time with some of my favorite people in the world- the Parsons Scholars!  I work for this program as a youth advocate, and have the honor of working with brilliant colleagues and even more amazing young artists.  We did lots of things this year, from Whitney Houston soul train lines, to museum and studio visits, and a Trayvon Martin teach in and art collaboration.  You can learn more about the Scholars on our blog.

In June, I was invited by 656 Comics and Colectivo Fundamental to facilitate a series of workshops in Ciudad Juarez that resulted in a youth-led mural at Puente Reves. 

In September, I came to visit friends, comrades and mentors in San Diego and Los Angeles.  I painted with Glow and Beth Emmerich in Tijuana.  We painted for the young women who have been disappeared in Tijuana.

When the rain comes down like this
In Sheets.
I remember you, torrentially.

Breasts, budded.
You and I
Asphalt black and blue

Mindlessly soaking.
One in another's lip locked
head locked
in a suburban housing development parking lot.
(We are children;
but whose children are we?)

Headlights gleam in puddles.

My head shaved.

I thought I was in love
lost in Lust and Youth.

Years later I heard you'd
loved another girl- underage
Hungry.  Alone.

Remember how you told me you'd raped
a retarded girl?

Luis, was I just further practice?

I was so young
and not jaded yet.

So many more rapes to come for me.
After you (rs).

That's what love looked like.

Does your daughter- the one I never met-
still have my childhood bear?  Pandi?
I am still weighed down
by your rings under my eyes.

I only hope she is lighter, still.
She must, by now, be as old as I was
when I met you.

La Bracera

Recently finished this poster for AF3IRM's upcoming art show, La Bracera: Women and Work. Come out to support on April 21st- some incredible transnational women artists will be showing their work, and all proceeds go to support the Summer School of Women's Activisim!

There was recently a really great interview with organizer Leilani Montes in Colorlines about the show and it's theme.  In the interview, Leilani says:

"Let’s understand the significance and range of women’s work: from the home to the office to the factory and field … and even when the woman does not work outside the home but inside the home, she does the work that makes all work possible, whether such work is paid or unpaid. This is of great importance. Let’s honor migrant working women by not only recognizing ourselves as a transnational force contributing to the global economy, but staying vigilant and actively supporting current campaigns to improve working conditions, prevents trafficking and hold contractors accountable for exploiting workers. Aligning ourselves with the transnational working women’s fight for just wages and safer working conditions directly strengthens the fate of all current jobs."
Did a fun, quick collab with Jesse Goldstein.  Check out lots of other great posters to print out and distribute at Occuprint!

Also...here's some music I'm currently bumpin...


DC Trip

Spent the week in DC with lots of old and new friends, reconnecting to many different parts of my past-and-present life.  Was hoping to see the cherry blossoms, but a surprise super-sprained ankle kept me off my feet for most of the trip.

Before the injury, however, I had a relaxing afternoon painting with HKS 181, Weres, Tuc, Delve and Spok at the Albus Cavus Open Walls in Ivy City.   I have mad love for these crazysweet DC/Baltimore/VA writers and this low-key afternoon brought me back a decade or so to the feeling of fun, community and no-pressure-painting-for-the-sake-of-painting that so often gets lost in politics, pedagogy, and performance.

Quick collab with  sister-from-another-mister KT Soko.  I've known KT since I was 15; we met at Great Adventure on my first day and her last day on the job as caricature artists.  We've been talking about doing a little wall together forever- this is her first time using spraypaint and she got it in!  I'm pretty rusty but had a dope time anyway. 
Pre-gaming. (Flick by 181)

181 (UK) has to put on shades to protect his irises cos this ish buuuuurns.

What the Tuc? (Flick by 181)

A fun, sloppy, quick production surrounded with sweet, silly folks (not entirely unlike most of my romantic endeavors.)

I also had the honor of doing a really quick piece on a Women's History collab run by Albus Cavus with all women-painters.  The young woman who lives in the house right next to the wall, Shawn, was kind enough to allow me to paint her characterportrait.  When I come to different cities and communities to do community murals, I make a real effort to meet people in the neighborhood and learn about what's important to them.  I'm of the opinion that in my practice, it is not my place to come to communities that I do not live in and tell them what I think they should think about.  Rather, in quick, spontaneous situations such as these, I'd prefer to use the opportunity to incorporate the likenesses and visions of community members into public space. 

I stayed with my generous and brilliant longtime friend, KT Soko, who supported me in every way.
Kate Soko introduced me to a very quiet but super sweet someone who's always up for a cuddle.
And a big shout out to TUC (MSP;ECK) who knew how to keep a girl off her feet by spending the afternoon with me rockin out in blackbooks and flippin through late 90's graff mags as I kept my ankle iced.


Big Fat Flea

Just finished a logo for NYC's Big Fat Flea 2012Formerly the Fat Girl Flea Market, the Big Fat Flea is an all-genders fatshion rummage sale for fat folks who like a bargain! All proceeds benefit NOLOSE.

train sketch.


AF3IRM flier

I recently finished this flier for an International Women's Day event for the amazing organization AF3IRM.

The Association of Filipinas, Feminists Fighting Imperialism, Re-feudalization, and Marginalization (AF3IRM), is a national organization of women engaged in transnational feminist, anti-imperialist activism. AF3IRM is committed to militant movement-building from the United States and effects change through grassroots organizing, trans-ethnic alliance building education, advocacy and direct action.
I recently completed an interior mural in acrylic at Park Slope Collegiate High School through Groundswell Community Mural Project, who paired me in collaboration with the incredible artist Jules Joseph.  We worked with a design and fabrication team of 18 brilliant middle-school and high-school aged youth from PSC, Secondary School for Journalism and Secondary School for Law to research and design a mural for their school based on the theme "College for All".

The research and design phase was largely based on a peer-to-peer interview approach, augmented by questionnaires answered by over 50 students.   The youth in the design team learned interviewing techniques, and engaged in dialogue with family members, friends and fellow students to uncover complex perspectives on access to higher education and what young people need in order to confidently engage in their journey to college.  The design phase also included conversations and interviews with experts.  Bill Gaskins, a professor and lecturer at The New School and Essence Rodriguez, a Parsons alum, offered unique dialogue around structural inequality and the central role of finding mentors and learning to navigate systems.  Jill Bloomberg, the principal of PSC, and Adam, the college counselor, held an in-depth conversation about Park Slope Collegiate's mission of college-readiness for all students, and discussed both the current climate around access as well as strategies for success.

After discussing and sharing our research, the group worked on collaborative drawing exercises to reveal common themes and visual language that would form the foundation of our mural design.  All of the text in the final mural is based off of quotes from the youth.

To see photos of the youth and school community celebrating the dedication, you can go to Groundswell's FB Page.

I am deeply grateful for all of the incredible young people I worked alongside on this project, who openly and honestly researched and developed the conceptual material and eagerly worked on painting.  The PSC community was extraordinarily warm, welcoming and collaborative.  Jules Joseph was an engaging, tireless and inspiring collaborator.  And, of course, many thanks to Groundswell for making it all happen.
Sketch depicting one of the youth artists.

Sketch depicting one of the youth artists.

Sketch depicting one of the youth artists.

After combining the ideas, individual sketches and collaborative drawings, I do a number of compositional sketches and then begin inking a final design.

The initial final design; a number of edits were made to this to make the piece more conceptually sound.

Jules Joseph working on the mural in the ever-fashionable yellow smocks the art teacher,  Ms. Jaffe, so kindly offered.

Working on the mural.