What is this? (dangerouschunky wayback machine)


From roughly 2/2001-2/2006 I kept a hit or miss web site called dangerouschunky.com* commenting on art making, New York and Seattle and occasional obsessions that veered away from any real path. A pun really, I consider this collection my own Wayback Machine. After combing their archives I am still dumbfounded to see all this stuff still out there on the WWW.

*domain has since been purchased by an auto detailer after I let it lapse


First Thursday February


I had a great time last night ducking into a handful of galleries for First Thursday’s gallery openings (or continuation). Finally got to see the show and chat with the fine folks at Platform Gallery who have their fantastic exhibit build up until February 11th. An interesting group show of strangely related systems, I was particularly enamored with Lucas Kelly’s drawings based on erasure.

Hitting 4-CultureDavidson Contemporary and then of course Shift Studio, I was excited for studio mate Michelle Forsyth who has a really strong show up of intricate . Of course there is hardly any art seen from the opening photos.

So there is much more to see, but sometimes its nice to not use First Thursday as a drive by fast food excursion. A common consensus appears the non stop rain is about ready to drive an entire population over the edge, however this didn’t stop a large amount of people from venturing out to check out the art.




I’ve been chewing on Anna’s entry previously about artist health issues, but mainly about her in discussion about full-time versus part-time in the day job world. This past week I made the monumental decision to go back to work full-time, after having a couple of years and the luxury of almost working part-time, which allowed me to get done a lot of things. However, reality beckons and it’s time to deal with the other part of my life- paying bills. So much for keeping things running in a fair and balanced way. I know what happens next, life tends to get gobbled up, but we’ll see. In the mean time my brain seems to be in idle-mode, especially in the last week I feel exhausted. We’ll get back on the horse again soon, this could be a good experiment.

Nice web redesign by the way Anna!

Hildur Bjarnadöttir


One of the regretful things I will be missing this month is the new exhibit of Hildur Bjarnadöttir up at Portland’s Pulliam Deffenbaugh. I just caught up with Jeff Jahn’s excellent coverageof her show over on the PORT site, and glad to see her work so thoroughly examined.

Ironically Bjarnadöttir was the first Portland artist I became aware of when I was still living on the East Coast. I say ironically as she is actually an Icelandic native, but while in Portland gathered some nice notice. She probably hit my radar before many others as at the time as I had taken a detour from conventional art and became interested in fiber. For a bit I pursued a short-lived, carpal tunnel riddled bout with knitting which at the very least allowed me know what hard work it can be. Nowhere does the intersection of fine arts and alleged craft become so beautifully merged as in Hildur’s work, if you look at her previous pursuits of tattingembroidery and crochet. A lovely thing to know is she has taken the handwork of Iceland, which is so important to their culture and placed it firmly in the realm of serious art- all the while winking over her shoulder at the prospect.

“I work contrary to everything I learned during my upbringing…. I was taught to make useful and beautiful objects, but I wouldn’t and I don’t.” quote from Unraveled- Boise Art Museum

I was briefly introduced to Hildur last summer, as it was known I was about to venture to Iceland in a few months. She herself was in the midst of a handful of months traveling between Sweden, Iceland, Boise and Portland in what sounded at the time like a punishing travel schedule in order to prepare for exhibitions. She graciously sent me an email while I was riddled with the darkness of Iceland and she stuck in Portland’s torrential December rains- I’m sure each of us wishing to change geographical places.

Hildur’s show in Portland, Overlap ends this weekend, but you can still catch her work at the Boise Art Museum through March 12, 2006, in an exhibit called “Unraveled“.

New Sculptures


I have images up of the sculpture I made last month while I was in Iceland. They were the last pieces I made during my stay, basically what came out of my first few weeks painting and drawing. The photos I took at 4 in the morning before having to pack them up and ship them out a day before I left. The scale of the camera angle makes them look deceptively large, which I think is funny. The sculptures are made out of Sculpey (actually SuperSculpey™), a material I thought could be easily transported—not take up too much space. I had a blast with it actually. While the rest of the world was baking holiday cookies that week I was pulling sheets of plasticene in and out of the oven.

The entire body of work is a continuation of the Radiolaria series I started while in residency in North Carolina last summer. It is strange for me, as the whole series has been executed outside of my own studio. The sculptures I actually like, and in reality remind me of overgrown skin tags as opposed to the small sea microplasms they are based on. The paintings and drawings, when I pulled them out of the box this weekend were too hard to look at right now and I’ve put them away for a few months. I was discussing this work with friends over wine a week ago and realized it is the most impersonal body of work I’ve ever executed, and feel too close to it at the moment. I will be showing the entire Radiolaria Series in July at Shift Studio, a date that seems far off now but will be here before I know it.




I came across this brief article about a reading series in Brooklyn that cracked me up: Cringe Reading series dedicated to people who read their (I hope) really old journals in public. Somewhere out in the garage I have journals from Junior High, however, I am pretty sure the content would be similar and as thought provoking as this missive:

in which a woman channeled her 14-year-old self: “Howdy! No sign of Kevin at school, but the day wasn’t a complete waste because we had a bomb scare. It ruled!”

At least there are a handful of people out there dragging around cardboard boxes of this stuff. However the reading series is undoubtedly aptly named and I don’t know how anyone could stand to attend more than one reading.

+ + + + +

Speaking of cardboard boxes, I was greatly cheered when on Saturday two small boxes arrived from Iceland containing the art I made while I was there. The shipment was very speedy (less than a month) and everything arrived completely intact. I hope to soon put up some images of the sculptures I made while there. I was a tad afraid the work might have gone M.I.A. leading the entire month to be conceptual in hindsight.


M.A. Peters at James Harris


On Saturday, sandwiched between opening up the Shift space and fighting Seahawk football traffic, I lucked into a moment of stopping at the James Harris Gallery to see the new Mary Ann Peters show. I’m a dedicated fan of her work and this show, her first solo in five years is a beauty. The work, all on paper shows her exquisite layering of drawing and paint. I’m so glad someone in town is giving us a chance to see it.

I also stopped by the Catherine Person Gallery, who is showing the artist Ron Lambert whose atmospheric work was memorable for her first show this fall. She is possibly the most gracious person to grace the Seattle gallery scene in memory, and seems to be doing well.

I had two visitors to Shift tell me how fantastic the show at Platformis this month, a three person exhibit titled Build, which sounds enticing.

I spent the day sitting amongst Kevin Haas’ new work which I had a visitor describe as poetic. Hass, who uses an enticing process to make pigment prints and photolithographs is the Assistant Professor of Printmaking and Digital Media at Washington State University in Pullman.

It was good to get a little snippet of art viewing in, it has been awhile.

Thinking about moonmilk


Yet, enough downersville here at the notebook.

I’ve always wondered and basically have romanticized what it would be like just to have a month where you had no obligations, etc. and really that is what a residency is. So it’s interesting what you find yourself doing, pondering and executing when you get it.
The more positive aspects of the previous month found me reading, writing, and listening to music and books on tape I’d gotten from the library (as I worked) and thinking about what I like in this world and things that would be good to eliminate, you know things you get caught up in and can’t remember why. My gut reaction and final assesement is I want less. Less chaos, less stuff, less things surping up my time, less disagreeable demands. I think the whole world actually feels like this, it is not original. This grand multi-tasking thing, not sleeping and all that has a hollow ring to it.

This is not earth shattering news, yet most of us who make art end up participating in society that way though. With day jobs and some semblance of a domestic life your little pie gets cut up rather quickly, you must steal or rob your day of all the time you can get. And most of us, not being machines need to turn off the all the noise for a bit before any semblance of what we really want to be doing begins. As Eva said on one of her radio shows that I listened to blissfully for company, she needs her nothing before she gets down to making art.

Spending time each day by myself, I realized the many things I kind of take for granted time wise: cooking a meal, reading a book, and of course making art all can take up the whole of a day. Even though it took me almost two weeks to get off the weird treadmill of scheduled stuff I keep in my head all day (and it didn’t entirely go away) it’s wild to shake out the other crap. Even in my physical space I wanted less; less visual stimulation, less color, less distraction. The irony was that I was spending my time making art objects, which means adding to more, but we’ll save that for contemplation for another day.

Any way, another topic that floated in and out of my brain of course is how I spend my time here on the web. I started thinking about what my original intent was and how I kind of pine for those silly days of innocent content and how can I get back there. It has been almost five years I have spent time putting something up on the web, however sporadically with much of the evidence changed, but my mental bean has been focused here, and it has been enjoyable enough that I jonesed for it took a chunk of time off after moving across the country a few years ago.

Even though it was a friend who worked at the time at Online Journalism Review that kind of insufferably dared me into putting up a web site, his, the now defunct site was called dangerousmonkey.com and was what I joking modeled this site after, the context now removed by five steps renders the name of this site almost meaningless. Yet it was a website called moonmilk that was truly my main inspiration for what I wanted to do.

I lived in Brooklyn at the time, and I had found (anonymously of course) another like-minded soul who lived in another section of Brooklyn, and used their corner of the web to document small moments in life. Moonmilk, the website is still up and running, and while not as up to date as it was at one time, you can still feel the same essence in the photos posted as of a person quietly documenting their life, through the food they see at the market, to the seasons and small things that happen in their neighborhood. That is what I wanted to do and it’s funny to think this is what provoked me to go out and buy my first digital camera.


Most of the photos I posted from then are now dismantled, but it was great those first few years to document, write and make observations about what I saw. It seems bizarre to think at that time carving out your space on the web was an unusual activity, and not that many people were on line. There is some thread of quiet from those days that I want to pick up and put back here and shape into meaning instead of an instilled sense of obligation that has crept into my words over the past few months, where I was trying to do far too much.

The Great White North


So the residency. It sounds lovely and everything, and it was for a bit, but I really got nailed by the lack of sunlight and sheer loneliness- it was a hard trip. The good news was I saw some beautiful sights and produced a lot of art, but it was one of the most psychologically alienating experiences I’ve ever had. I kept thinking of Bergman and rented Persona when I got home and was flat on my back last week with some malady.

So yes, the Icelandic folks were not as forthcoming as I had hoped. I was under the impression according to the residency materials I was there to get to know the towns people, yet after the first week everyone just kind of disappeared. I have been told this is typical because it was Christmas, but it was confusing.

I was prepared to give a lecture, have a small exhibit during my stay there, and this never materialized. There was a guest book in the studio from previous artists that showed most guests did indeed have an exhibit, talk and interaction yet when the days marched on and the office running the residency stayed closed I realized this was to never happen. No one ever swung by to see if everything was okay, or said good bye, and on my last morning as the taxi waited for me to go to the airport, I placed the Gueststudio key through the mail slot.

I never once during my month even shared a meal with anyone (Except for with the one American I met during my lava excursion). During the block of days that constitute the holiday (4 days) the entire town shut down with not even a restaurant staying open (luckily I found this out from the tourist office), so I was basically barricaded in the studio, alone watching my two channels of Icelandic television, drinking wine by myself. Boo hoo! On Christmas eve, when I realized that I would not be invited any where most likely, I broke open the special wine I had been saving in case of such invites, and drank it. And I know, such is life.

Don’t get me wrong, there were moments of good. Even though most everything was shut down for the winter I was able to take two excursions, one guided out into the lava beds and glorious nature, one to a whaling town, 30 miles south of the Arctic Circle. Strangely they were wonderfully lovely up there in this town of 2,500 and two separate blessed souls opened their museums for me, gave me personal tours- I was incredibly touched. Someone even said hi to me on the street, it was odd (most Icelanders, similar to New Yorkers look at their feet as you approach). It was a day that made me feel sane again.

Iceland’s most famous Dottir


01/10/2006 | 10:53

Björk voted world’s most eccentric star

Björk has been voted the most eccentric star in the work in a recent survey for British magazine BBC’s Homes and Antiques. Former UK boxer Chris Eubank came in second, with Ozzy Osbourne in fifth place.

The BBC News website reports that Björk remains internationally well known for wearing the famous “swan dress” to the Oscars in 2001, as well as for her distinctive musical style.

Iceland Review


The last time I returned from Iceland, the running joke at the time seemed to be for everyone to ask me, “Did I see Björk ?”
The closest I came then was finding her name in the phone book. Of course there are hundreds of Björk’s in the Reykjavík telephone book (alphabetized by first name) , but only one was bold faced, so I took it as proof.

So this time I have been waiting, and no one has asked. The funny thing is she was on my flight on the way over, from New York to Iceland. Five minutes before the air crew closed the plane door for take off, two final passengers entered, Björk- holding the hand of her daughter and looking very uncomfortable. She was so dressed down and headed to the back of coach class with the rest of us that I almost thought it was just someone who looked like her. The constantly swiveling heads in her direction of every 20-something on the plane verified it was definitely her. I was impressed- no entourage, no security, no Saga class (you know- those who pay extra to sit at the front of the plane). I felt sorry for her, if she really is as shy as I’ve heard reported, then something as simple as boarding an airplane becomes a public ordeal. So no, I didn’t venture back and ask her for her autograph, although I am sure others did. The middle age couple sitting next to me remained blissfully ignorant that a celebrity was in our midst, and by the time I left the plane I was so out of it, I neglected to wonder if I would see her at baggage claim. Of course I did not.

I am actually a large fan or her music and it was interesting after witnessing an inkling of what is the Icelandic driven personality (by being there for a bit), that she is really, I don’t think so completely weird as is reported. Talented and driven and given to championing unusual designers, but absolutely a serious artist. I think she has been so well known, for so long in her homeland that she sits in the news somewhere besides the Prime Minister of Iceland. It must be an unusal thing to be so famous in a country that prides themselves on treating everyone the same.

However, that principle didn’t seem to matter when Kiefter Sutherland was in town merely because his band was playing – rating a full page article in the daily Fréttabladid,much to my amusement. I couldn’t tell why he was garnering so much ink- did he die? I found out later unfortunately that was why Richard Pryor was featured.



I was given a beautiful workspace to live in. It was almost literally next door to the famous landmark church that gives Akureyri it’s identity. Every fifteen minutes, the bells would chime, subtly, marking the passing of time as it marched on. There were sky lights in the work area, which on some days were the best way I knew the light of the day would finally appear, if only for a few hours. When it started snowing I could see the flakes accumulate, coving the glass in a soft blanket of ice. The place its self was warm, as most everything in Iceland is heated by the very efficient geothermal heat. Actually, with the exception of my first week in town, it never seemed unbearably cold, the temperature outside sitting at a stable 32 degrees Fahrenheit (0 degrees Celsius). One night while watching a weather report I saw an indication of -17 degrees Celsius (!) and then the weather person moved away from the map and it was Greenland she was speaking of.

I went out and purchased some Christmas lights to put in the window to get into the holiday spirit.



I’m back, and hopefully so is my sense of humor. I’ve spent the better half of the last week flat on my back (of course) after being tightly knit into a quarantine unit they call an airplane (or really a succession of them) for almost a 24 hour period….with some malady thanks to the wheezing and sneezing going on all around me. My personal favorite moment of this trip was being dumped into the airport in Las Vegas for 15 minutes as I frantically attempted (and made) a connection, not before being bombarded by those beautiful slot machines that are omni present.

The last bit of my stay in Iceland was a bit doomed by depression (I better not move to Alaska in the near future) and some unmet expectations that I’m still trying to sort out…hopefully I’ll be posting a bit more about this…it’s a good thing I had my hands off the keyboard for a bit though. The good news is I made a lot of work. The only way I could afford to send it back to myself was via ship- they told me I won’t see it for two to three months as it chugs its way across the Atlantic, probably all good for clearing the air so to say.

Joladagur – Icelandic Christmas Traditions


Ever since I have arrived here at the beginning of December, it quickly became apparent this is the most important time of the year for Icelandic people, and they anticipate and prepare for their celebrations in an enthusiastic and intense manner.

Probably the most atypical tradition you will find in their culture from everyone else that celebrates Christmas is they have 13 Santas! The 13 Santas, also known as the Christmas lads (Jólasveinar) start coming down from the mountains one by one each night starting on December 11th. This is an ingenious tradition, as the children set a pair of shoes out by the window each night hoping for a small present from the visiting Santa. If the child has been good, they get a nice present, but if not they will get a potato. It was pointed out to me that Icelandic children don’t have Christmas stockings, as they don’t have chimney’s (most of their buildings are heated geothermally) In previous generations I have learned the lads were much scarier and meaner and there was the added bonus of the Yule cat who might eat you if you were not wearing new clothes on Christmas (thus a tradition of at least getting new socks for the holiday). Older adults embellished how they shook under their sheets in fear of the Yule cat.
Now, to my own confusion I know the lads are out and about but the red and white suited Santa is also popular both as a concept, and seen in Christmas décor. One woman told me her five year old became very confused because they saw four red and white Santas in a car- why were they not in sleds?

The 13 Christmas lads each have distinctive names and are laden with mischievous personalities that become apparent if you catch them. I love their get ups too, they are much more tattered and plump in different ways than our now commercial airbrushed Santa.


Typical of the twisted Icelandic humor, when I was out (in what I identified as a remote) lava field a week ago on a small guided day tour of the region, we were suddenly surprised by a tattered but friendly character sliding down a snow covered hill greeting us – it was Shorty, the third lad! I couldn’t stop laughing, as we had trekked a good ten minutes in, over ice to take a closer look at some lava formations. I was like, did he get radioed ahead that we were coming? There was no clear shelter for Shorty and soon apparent friend (who was kicked back on a formation, smoking and also laughing). It turns out it is the idea of the owner of the Hotel Mývatn in the area to bring people out to the area. Maybe on weekends (!) but on that day we were the only four people I had seen. Shorty put on a good show and gave us an apple. A truly insane idea and carried out to full effect even for adults.



As a holiday crazy kid I was always looking for more ways to add festivities to our family life, including the not too successful co-opting of the Swedish Santa Lucia holiday. If I had known that Icelandic children had 13 Santas, I would have been so envious!

Another Icelandic Christmas tradition I am kind of obsessing over is their special holiday bread, called Laufabrauđ (leaf bread). Very thin sheets of dough are folded and cut into special patterns that are reminiscent of cutting snowflakes out of construction paper. There were even special cutting tools made for this tradition that is specific to northern Iceland but celebrated nationally, including the prevalence of prepackaged and pre-cut Laufabrauđ in the frozen foods section.


Allegedly, tomorrow, December 23rd is St. Þorlakur’s Day, named for Iceland’s major native Saint, Þorkakur Þorhallsson, former Bishop of Skálholt. I haven’t actually heard anything to confirm if this is still traditionally carried out, but if so it includes a family meal of skate, last minute shopping and the decorating of the Christmas tree.

I have been told that Icelandic woman go crazy cleaning and cooking the few days before Christmas, and tomorrow night almost all stores stay open on Christmas. Then, for 2 ½ days they just gather with their families and relax.

In one weeks time after that are the New Years Eve celebrations, where there are supposed to be so many fireworks clouding the sky that all you can see is red.
The newspaper, almost devoid of any political content from America has been running full page articles on Quentin Tarratino and his plans to be in Reykjavík with “unnamed celebrity friends” for the New Years holiday. I had no idea why he was getting so much daily coverage until I read on Iceland Review what the deal was. I have been very grateful for their English coverage of Icelandic news, as at this point I would truly be living in a bubble with out a little help from them in translation.


Eating and such


The food.

Entire volumes could be written about the prohibitive cost of keeping yourself fueled in various ways in Iceland. I have met only one American the whole time I have been here and it was our main topic of conversation- she just couldn’t get over how steep it all is. The American dollar has plummeted too since I last visited Europe, which has led the topic of money to sit squarely on my back shoulder at all times.
The few times I have gone out to eat- usually a bowl of soup with bread has been between $10-15.
Subsequently, I have been mainly cooking for myself, becoming a connoisseur of the local grocery stores here, and making half assed guesses at converting Fahrenheit to Celsius with no cookbook in site. Like going to tiny town, everything here seems smaller to me, from coffee cups to spaghetti sauce to vegetables, and unlike what I’m used to seeing there is usually a selection of: one.

These facts from Iceland Review reveal I am not imagining things:

According to a new report from the Nordic Competition Authorities food prices in Iceland are 42% higher in Iceland than in EU countries. At the same time there is a narrower range of food products available in Iceland and Norway. The Nordic Competition Authorities examined the food markets in the Nordic region. According to the report food prices tend to be higher in the Nordic countries compared to other European countries. According to the report Baugur controls 47% of the retail market in Iceland. The Icelandic Competition Authorities pointed out that since the report was completed Baugur has added food stores in Iceland.

I was told jokingly before I left to bring some Metamucil with me as the site of a vegetable might be quite rare. Almost half right. The grocery stores do have them, most of the vegetation seems to come up from Holland and Spain. My favorite has been the packaging of baby cauliflower and baby broccoli together. Things like green beans, if you can find them are packaged in little clumps, similar to how herbs are sold in American grocery stores in the winter. I have been making a lot of soups. The meat section is a bewilderment to behold and I have not been so adventuresome. A popular site, reminiscent of the 1970s are cans of carrots and green vegetables cut into cubes.


I have become quite fond of their Icelandic made Skyr, similar to yogurt but much thicker. There is actually a television commercial of an enthusiastic blonde with an American accent going into a shop and asking for Sky-er. The cashier is confused until she realizes the tourist wants “Skir”. Allegedly in 2006 Whole Foods Groceries (I know) in the States will be importing Skyr and Icelambic lamb to some of their stores, so I imagine there will be many more mispronunciations, this time uncorrected.

The coffee here on a consistent basis is quite good, and I was cheered last night to buy a crate of Clementines (Clementinen) at a cost similar to what I am used to. There are numerous products packages specially for Gleđleg Jól— from smoked salmon, pickled herring to a special Christmas drink that is a combination of non alcoholic malt and orange soda.

You would be sadly mistaken here if you attempted to alleviate sugar from your diet. There is incidentally a health food store here, very tiny that I visited last night out of pure curiosity. They had interesting things from Africa and many mysterious jars along with the standard organic this and that. As you can imagine, the cost of everything was too prohibitive to even entertain. I went home and enjoyed my Clementines.

By the way, the only way to purchase alcohol in any form except to going to a pub is to visit the state run liquor stores. There is a reason the duty free store at their main airport is crammed, as the sticker shock on alcohol is truly unbelievable (an area where they excel at Value Added Tax). Already the newspaper contains postings of when the liquor store (in Akureyri it’s the Vin Búđ) will be closed for the holidays- from noon on 12/24 and closed until the afternoon of 12/29. I’ve been told this is typical and a good reason I am stocking a bunker of food.


Islenski bachelorinn and other sophisticated fare


Yes, there is art here, but I have this report to share that is of more cultural relevance at the moment.

Like any good wanna be armchair cultural anthropologist, I watched more Icelandic television last night. As it turns out, it was the season finale for Islenski bachelorinn, a show so clearly rivaling American reality TV in clichés that it elevated its self above and beyond any language barrier. I was transfixed! However, it was apparent in flashback sequences that they competitive sequences had been played out in the Icelandic wilderness and caves, adding a different allure to the entire show. I have never watched the American version, but can easily see there could be similiar plot lines.

I have not really taken a moment to comment on Icelandic television. From a visit 5 years ago, I know they have the capability of all the same cable tv we have back in the States. Thankfully all I have access to are 2 stations. There is actually one other station, but it mainly shows stills of shopping advertisements while music is played in the back ground. About once an hour a news break comes on. The news is astounding as people are given full airtime to voice their stories, opinions and even their school Christmas programs – in their entirety.

After being here for two weeks the oddity to me as someone used to American sound bytes and high production values is not as apparent. I much prefer this homespun version, and find the programming a wonder – every timeslot brings something completely different- whether a rerun of Law and Order or a highly amusing Icelandic game show called Poppunktur, which is a trivia game show (similar to Jeopardy I gathered) between two teams of Icelandic rock stars, of course the focus of the show is Rock Musak! There is a show host that keeps the quickly paced show moving between questions, activities of skill (the long jump anyone?) and of course each band gets to perform before they enter the final face off. There is another man who stands behind the host with an intimidating muscle man mustache, whose role I could not decipher for the life of me (maybe he is a DJ?). I found myself rooting for the huskier looking band Geirfuglar, with the guy in the red shirt ,the drummer and also the lead singer (much better than Phil Collins).

1 2 3


A few things American TV could use a bit more of:

      Full 60 second ads for new books


The airing of British television shows on regular TV, and additionally the willingness to not editing out f words- all are kept intact. Yes, that is how people really talk.

The allowance of people over the age of 40 on television sets that have not been susceptible to the knife of a plastic surgeon. What a concept!

Less or almost no television commercials. Along with the allowance of long monologues on all locally produced shows (talk shows, without slap dash pacing take on a whole other worldliness) this adds a strange twist of time-reality to all television viewing.

Three minute polka breaks!

The first week I was here I had no music and once I found out the television actually worked, I got down to business in comparing and contrasting cultural differences via the airwaves while I painted. I was actually hoping, like the Japanese lady in the 1970’s movie The Boatniks, if I stayed up all night watching Icelandic television I would be fully fluent in the language in the morning. No dice.

The poor Icelanders are unfortunately susceptible to high amounts of American television shows. All TV is shown in its original language, accompanied by Icelandic subtitles. This has thrown me for a loop when what I think was Swedish programming came on. I am sure I am missing gobs of information, especially during their own news broadcasts. It’s a very pretty language, and one I wish I could speak. Speaking of, almost no American news makes its way out here either via the airwaves (there is no English televised news so I could be fooling myself) or in their newspapers. This has been very refreshing, I can’t even explain how good it is to take a break from hearing about the non stop baloney back home.


Finally I would be completely remiss if I did not mention the Miss World competition. A week ago, this came on and of course I left it on, mildly amused by the schlock value that any beauty pageant radiates. Little did I know until the end that I was witnessing an event that has made the front page of the newspapers here for the last week: Unnur Birna Vilhjalmsdottir, Miss Iceland was crowned Miss World.

a note from the land of sleet and ice


Ah, I can´t believe I have been in Iceland for over a week. Time has slowed down. I won´t have regular internet access so intermittently will I post. Strangely my gmail account is not accessible here.

I like it here very much, and life has taken surrealistic tones, as I sit here typing this at 1:30 in the afternoon and knowing the daylight is slipping away. That has taken some getting used to.
There is much activity here over the upcoming Christmas holiday. Icelanders consider this their foremost family holiday and can´t imagine spending it alone. Many have expressed concern I will be spending mine alone, and even the tourist office here said they can´t convince even one restaurant to stay open, so I best take care of myself for the time span (it is a three day holiday for them, starting promptly at 6pm on Christmas eve). That being said, it might be a tad lonely, but I do think it is fantastic that they do not cave- will not give up their holiday. My plan is to bunker in with a good port and some pickled herring I think.

The weather has warmed up a lot. I walked around town today with out my gloves. Unfortunately the entire town has turned into a sheet of ice, which makes even a jaunt to the grocery store an act of treachery. I have been beyond amazed at the Icelandic woman who skate on this ice in their 5 inch pumps, meanwhile you know who here can barely make it across the street in here action boots.


akureyri map_c

Hallo! From Iceland. It is like a fairy tale here, very snowy, very quiet and very Christmasy. Much to report, as the sun is just cresting the mountains here at 12:10…my biggest snafu so far is I brought the wrong electrical plug with me and can not use my computer. I belive the art gods are telling me to get off the damn thing. So I am at the very nice and beautiful Akureyri Public library using their facilities for 200 kroner an hour.
At any rate, it is beautiful here and if I get my electricity sorted out we´ll be back soon. In the mean time I have to challenge this very interesting Icelandic keyboard that also includes: ðððð, þþþ and my favorite today:öööö ÖÖÖÖ.

I am only one of three foreigners in town right now, it is funny.

Little Shift at Shift Studio


Here is a very short plug- I will be missing my own opening tomorrow night… if you are down in the Pioneer Square area between 5-8pm, please say hello to my gallery mates on their one year anniversary of operating Shift. It’s a nice group show consisting of all small works.

I like this photo of Elise Richman’s work- she works in oil paint, slowly building up her surfaces- as you can only imagine the drying time.


Paul Allen’s Experience Art Project


I’m so out of it, I nearly missed one of the biggest art stories to hit the Seattle Times in a long time. Last night, while picking up our take out dinner, the top of a stack of newspapers caught my eye as the the front page cover story touted: Paul Allen’s Experience Art Project.

The story goes on to announce that Paul Allen will finally reveal a portion of the art collection he has been keeping secret all of these years….to be shown at his EMP (Experience Music Project) in the upcoming April.

For those not from Seattle, the EMP is Paul Allen’s “museum of music” and in my opinion one of the most god-awful architectural blunders of modern day (Frank Gehry used a smashed guitar as the inspiration….) seen from street level, the building is like a garish piece of rubble. On principle too, I have never been to the museum as I find it offensive the place charges $20.00 a head, with never a free night or reduced admission evening in its fold. I have friends who have visited from out of town who went and loved it, but for the moment I stand my ground.

The Times reports the high admission might have had some impact on the recent belt-tightening at EMP, but here is the catcher:

Why EMP? (to showcase the art holdings that include DeKooning, Eric Fischl,Mark Rothko and many Impressionists…)

“We saw no better place to put it than a populist institution like EMP,” said the museum’s spokesman, Christian-Philippe Quilici. “We see it evolving into an all-inclusive cultural shrine.”

and then the final paragraph of the article:

Museum-studies professor Marjorie Schwarzer of John F. Kennedy University in Berkeley, Calif., sees Allen aligning himself with collectors such as William Randolph Hearst and Las Vegas developer Steve Wynn.
“It’s positioning art and culture as spectacle,” she said.
“It’s a model that more traditional, more serious museums avoid, this idea of emulating shopping malls and casinos. It goes with the idea of the experience economy, where instead of selling a service or a product, you are selling an experience,” Schwarzer said. “Like a little bit of Bellagio is coming to Seattle.”

While I agree with the sentiment in the article that “Anything that boosts arts awareness in Seattle is a good thing” , there seems something strange about all the secrecy surrounding the collection…yet of course I will be there in April , breaking out my $20.00+ as curiosity has again killed the cat.

Off to the North


Meanwhile in a few short hours I will be on my way to the North. Back in February of 2001 I made a brief visit to Iceland, really just a vacation weekend, and fell in love with the place. And I promised I would go back. Well now I get my chance. I will be stationed in northern Iceland this time, in Akureyri, a town 60 miles south of the Arctic Circle (if I have my math correct). I will be the artist in residence at their Listagil Society’s Gueststudio.

According to the weather map, the temperature is currently 24 degrees, not too bad considering that’s only 10 degrees colder than Buffalo, New York.
The clincher is sunrise today was at 10:53 AM and sunset- was at 03:08 PM. Should be interesting.

And I have no idea if I will have Internet access, but for certain I’m in for a change of pace.

Three of my favorite sites lately have been those written by Americans living in Reykjavík:
Iceland Eyes
Reykjavík Harbor Watch
and The Iceland Report, including this little gem entry.
By all accounts they look to be into the thick of winter season!

Anne Appleby @ Greg Kucera


I have never considered myself a minimalist, but maybe this is changing. Ever since I discovered Anne Appleby’s work last year, I have been in love with her calm, quiet paintings. She has such a touch with so little that I recognized her work immediately across the room when I walked into the Portland Art Museum earlier this year.

In her latest exhibit up at Greg Kucera, there is an addition to her color system of a very saturated pink which adds an odd vibrancy to the room.

I think part of all of this is I have a certain fairy tale in my head about what Applyby’s life is like. I don’t know much about her except she likes nature and lives in Montana. The thought of living in some remote area and just painting, far, far away from it all is starting to sound more and more appealing.

Eva Lake: How Did You Get On Line?


Yesterday I said I had been wanting to ask Eva a question for a long time, and so indeed I did- as follows is her response.

CZ: I have been thinking about this for awhile, and please forgive me if the answer is in your archives. What prompted you to start your website, and what has been the instigation to keep it going? Just curious, there are not that many people who have been on line, especially in Portland as yourself!

E.L.: Sometimes I wonder why. I really do.

The major reason I began a diary online is because I have done the diary thing (in notebooks) better and longer than just about any other aspect of my life. There are times I did not exhibit art but I still kept a diary. I no longer dance but I still keep a diary. In the end, it seems I really am more of a writer than an artist, for I don’t actually make art every single day but I must write every day.

Yet I don’t publish in a formal way like most writers. I don’t have any books out etc. I wanted to get it out somehow. Novels weren’t in me though, not any that I know of! Just the diary. But as Oscar Wilde says, he always has his diary with him, as he always wants something sensational to read.

Of course there are other things in the website than the diary, but it seems to be the thing that is always there. the actual gallery Lovelake no longer exists. And Artstar Radio is sometimes on vacation and besides, it doesn’t relly need much of a website (a site of nothing but transcrpts would be cool but too much work).

Anyway, I’ve looked at the numbers and by far the diary is the most popular element in the website. I figure I must be contributing something.


Eva and I have been corresponding for almost a year now, and I had the pleasure of meeting her quite a few times since our first email. As you must know, Eva Lake is a Portland based painterwriterradio show host/historiangallerist and avid bird watcher. The first entry on line from her diary archives is May 2004, but if you read carefully you will find she has been doing this all of her life.

Portland Webjump


A year ago I found myself boggled by the lack of on-line representation of the art scene in Portland, which seemed strange since the place was literally exploding with activity**. I was mainly aware of Eva’s site (which some time would be fun to ask her what instigated her on line activity) and NW Drizzle and of course Jeff Jahn’s site. Now I am talking about sites that were on my radar, not that things didn’t exist.
Flash forward 12 months and there seems to be a veritable explosion of digests. I am just aware of Portland Public Art, a journal documenting the public art aspect of the PDX scene. Of course there isPORT, the mother ship of the Portland art vortex, and UltraPDX who I thoroughly enjoy….and god forbid many others everyday, which unfortunately I seem to have lost my touch in keeping up with.
There are also tons of artists in Portland who have their own websites. For a great index, check out Eva’s list of who she has previously had on Artstar Radio (scroll down a little).

Speaking of PDX artists, one I am fond of – both she and her work is Marne Lucas. She has a new show going up of photographs she took during her travels last summer called Amusement:

Amusement is a series of color photographs from Lucas’ road trips and travels. She often brings props and lets the environment around her dictate how they will be used. At other times Lucas captures nature on the sly, as when two fir trees bulging with burls are seen being intimate in ‘When The Forest Isn’t Looking’. Humorous self portraiture, an eye for the unusual and quirky use of animal figurines express a sense of discovery and playfulness she experiences while traveling.

Lucas is an artist using photography and installation art. She is a co-founder of the artist collective Blinglab, and a recent recipient of the 2006 Caldera Artist Residency.

Find Amusement at Homestar 4747 SE Hawthorne Blvd. (in Portland of course)
the Opening Reception: Friday, Dec. 2, 2005 7pm-10pm

and one last thing, another exhibit Marne has work in (a group show) –Trippin’ Balls: A Mycological Exploration has been extended due to popular demand! If you are anywhere near V-Gun gallery in Portland in the next couple of weeks, stop in and give it a look.

** My conclusion: undoubtedly they were all making art and not tinkering around on the web….



Last week I had the good fortune of going across the waterway to the Kirkland Arts Center to view the exhibit pARTners. The secondary title of the show is Considerations Rather than Constraints,which is the underlying thread. The group show is a collection of work curated by Deborah Paine and showcases work done by artists that are also live in partners/sidekicks. Paine says in the tidy little catalogue that comes with the show that:

Through the decades, literature has painted a somewhat bleak picture of the artist; solitary, angst ridden, self-oppressed and carried along by a muse that seems less than friendly. I’ve come to consider this a myth. In the introduction of Significant Others, a book edited by Whitney Chatwick and Isabelle de Courtivron, the question is posed,”if the dominant belief about art and literature is that they are produced by solitary individuals, but the dominant social structures are concerned with familial, matrimonial, and heterosexual arrangements, how do two creative people escape or not the constraints of this framework and constuct an alternative story?”

And Paine continues, through the work she has chosen for the show to execute examples. Often two pieces are displayed side by side showing inferred influence two people might have over each other’s work. Some pieces are collaborative showing a joint working style, like the glasswork done by Sabrina Knowles and Jenny Pohlman, and the video by Ken Fandell and Patte Loper. Some pieces were possibly done together for the exhibit like the one by Jaq Chartier and Dirk Park. My favorite piece in the exhibit is the collaboration betweenClaire Cowie and Leo Saul Berk– which looks like two Monopoly © piece houses parked facing one another on of Leo Saul Berks strange cartographic work- in separate yet close proximity. Sheila Klein’s billowy work next to Ries Niemi’s embroidered silk pillow offering was also a great combo.
An entertaining aspect of the show is finding out that someone does indeed have an artistic sidekick- perhaps lesser known (both Gaylen Hansen and Gregory Grenon have painting partners).

I never regret the 20-minute drive it takes me out of my way to get to Kirkland, and again KAC has mounted another invigorating show underling work done by local artists. Unfortunately the exhibit ends tomorrow- November 16th. Keep your eye on KAC though- they continually step up to the plate in giving local artists and curators a nice space to show contemporary art.

Photo stream of exhibit.


A note about the sparseness of writing here: 
I have been feeling rebellious about time spent on the computer lately. In two weeks I will be leaving to go to Iceland for a month, and in a bizarre act to reign in all the details that are falling down on me, all I have felt like doing is cooking. I haven’t purposely cooked for years, so this is comical. Lots of soups and cold weather comfort food and time spent over a pot— just stirring. Cooking doesn’t lend its self to multi-tasking outside of additionally just listening to music, so maybe that is what it is all about.
I will be in residency in Northern Iceland in the town of Akureyri which is will soon be boasting a collective 3 hours of daily “twilight”. My sister claims I could be stuck by Seasonal Effective Disorder on day 1 and be unable to get out of bed for the entire month. All I know is this is going to remove me from the hum drum of daily life undoubtedly.

The Persistence of Painting in a Digital Age

Tonight, at the Capitol Hill Arts Center is a panel discussion on “The Persistence of Painting in a Digital Age“, part of John Boylan’s Roundtable Conversation Series. Guest panelists include Elizabeth BrownDrake DeknatelBilly HowardMargie Livingston.

According to Margie Livington’s site the theme of the night is:

A conversation about the survival of painting into the 21st century. Why does this ancient ritual of covering big stretches of cloth or wood with oily pigments still captivate both the artists and their audiences? How has painting maintained its power in this age of information overload?

More information can be found at Art Dish forum:

The event will take place at the Lower Level, adjacent to the CHAC Lounge, a nonsmoking bar in the basement of the Capitol Hill Arts Center at 1621 -12th Ave, Seattle WA just below the sign for Crave.From 7 to 9 pm. Admission is free.

Capitol Hill Arts Center
1621 12th Avenue
Seattle, WA 98122


Down south in Portland this evening is also the kick off broadcast for a new season of Eva Lake’s Artstar Radio at 5pm. For those of us tuning in via computer, KPSU is now archiving their broadcasts for one month.

According to the Oregonian:

Radio these days isn’t the sound salvation, as Elvis Costello once sang, but it does have Artstar Radio, Eva Lake’s weekly chat show on KPSU (1450 AM). The show is returning after a summer hiatus . It’ll now air on Mondays at 5 p.m.

Lake has a fine lineup planned for September and early October: On Sept. 12 the artist and director of Chambers talks with Mark Smith, who has a fine show up at the Elizabeth Leach Gallery. That program will be followed by artists Jesse Durost (Sept. 19) and Scott Wayne Indiana (Sept. 26). A&E contributor Harvest Henderson meets with Lake Oct. 3. — D.K. Row

As a tie in to our first post today, Eva had a great radio interview with Jacqueline Ehlis last spring discussing the validity of paint in a digital world, check out the transcript here, its good stuff.

Incidentally, tomorrow is Eva’s birthday and she will be celebrating it with us fine folks here in Seattle! If anyone wants to meet up for birthday drink, shoot me an email…. for those of you who don’t know Eva, she is considered a triple threat in Portland, not only is she the creator of Artstar radio, but is an accomplished painter, runs the recently opened Chambers gallery and maintains an amazing website. I think that is actually a quadruple threat.

Belated Weekend Art Sitings


Last weekend was a great art viewing week- I just haven’t had time to digest it. Friday I went to two of my favorite venues in Seattle –Western Bridge and the Frye, never regrettful visits. Hopefully more to come about that- I think Crash. Pause. Rewind. has to be the best show up for the season here.

Saturday evening, I dragged a sibling to the Thread Shop My-T event. WTF? It was a great and a complete departure from most, well I was going to say art events, but really a great departure from what you would do anywhere on a Saturday night. Held across the street from Thread Shop’s actual store, in a kind of rec-room venue- people milled about picking out art patches while music played, people swigged beer and sewing machine’s whirred in the back ground. It was great fun. As predicted, I went for the Polly Apfelbaum patch (I learned based on some political posters she had made last election) and my sister went for a couple, including the Maki Tamura. Later I felt a little regrettful in not choosing the Jack Daws, but we’ll live.
It was a crazy rainy night and a strangely inviting way to spend the evening.

Garth Amundson in Ballard

On Sunday I toodled over to Ballard, Seattle’s fine Scandinavian neighborhood to visit the Nordic Heritage Museum.

There was a great little Marimekko exhibit too, tucked away in the Finland room and put together by one of the Museology students from the University of Washington. The N.H.M. should be capitalizing on these funny little pieces of culture they have tucked away- I literally stumbled upon it and it was a treat.

There were many displays focusing on not only the five countries of Scandinavia, but also the history of Scandinavian immigration to Seattle (and thus Ballard), impacting our logging and fishing industries.

The main reason I went was to see the exhibit by Garth Amundson, in the contemporary gallery on the third floor. Amundson, as I mentioned last week, is a photographer who manipulates and crafts his own lens contraptions out of clear plastic. It was a bright sunny day when I was visiting and the installation looked very elegant in the light. Definitely worth checking out, and if you have lived in Seattle with out ever visiting this Scandinavian outpost in Ballard, you owe it to yourself!

Afterwards I met up with my sister at the trendy Cupcake Royale . Even a few years ago people were still joking that quiet Ballard was for the “newly weds and nearly deads”, but I don’t think that is the case now at all.

My-T @ Thread Shop


Here is a part of town I certainly don’t get over to enough: Ballard.

Tonight there is a good excuse to stop by as Thread Shop, the hybrid gallery/retail store is having a tee-shirt construction event tonight from 6-10.

I was tipped me off to this event in a brief PI mention last week. The lure for me- Polly Apfelbaum is one of the featured artists being represented via a patch, along with other local and international artists.

Thread Shop is located on 5000 20th Avenue NW.

More on Ballard here.