I don't have monkeys on my back. Instead, they live on my shoulders. But they are not the opposite sides of the same coin – one an angel, cautioning; the other a devil, urging. They are, instead, equally ill-behaved, clamorous, and single-minded in their goal to convince me to indulge my twin obsessions for shoes and art.
My monkeys sent me on an art buying spree this weekend. Luckily it was at the Recycled Art Festival, which meant I could feed the little buggers on only a few Andrew Jacksons and some change.
First of all, I'm sorry I don't have more photos. People were awfully precious about me whipping out my camera. Like the woman who made these amazing dolls that she crafted from people's cast off shoes. The best piece in her show was a likeness of Frida Kahlo, displayed dead and in her coffin, accompanied by one of her miscarried babies, a replica plaster cast of her teeth, and with a gilt edged mirror on the inside of the lid, so that even in death, Frida could ponder the meaning of her existence. I was desperate to take a photo of the piece for K9, but the artist was so reluctant, I didn't pursue it.
I can, however, show you one of my favorite artists in the show, Albuquerque resident and "jeweler" Kristin Diener. I've met her before and was delighted to see her again. We chatted for a while and I was struck anew by the difference between her sunny, matter-of-fact Midwestern demeanor and the dense, almost fetishistic quality of her work. I would love to be able to afford it.
But I managed to sneak in a few snapshots of the children's art exhibit.
Like these marvelous Day of the Dead Sculptures crafted by second graders in a local Santa Fe elementary school.
And these elegant sculptures, made entirely out of white cardboard by a fourth grade class.
And what I think was my favorite piece in the entire show, this gigantic paper mache elephant. Again, another class of second graders. I wish I'd taken some photos of the detail on this, but people were beginning to eyeball me real funny, so I stopped. But trust me, it was delightful.
And now, for Moi's purchases:
This halter top by Niña Feliz (happy girl in Spanish), a cooperative up in Arroyo Seco (a small community north of Taos), run by a group of women designers who “refashion” discarded clothing into wearable art. What attracted me to it was the exuberance of the stitching and the bright red velvet ties. It also fits perfectly – I paired it over a long sleeved tissue tee shirt and it looks marvy. In summer, I see it under a cropped crocheted sweater with skinny jeans and gladiators.
One of the artists I was most looking forward to was Julie Anderson, who makes her living designing costumes and unbelievable statement necklaces fashioned from vintage found objects. But what I love most are her Demented Doll Head purses, which I first saw in a Bruce Weber photo shoot for Italian Vogue a couple years ago. So enamored am I with these purses, that I must have vocalized that love in just the right way to Julie (either that or she was desperate to get my bat shit crazy ass self out of her booth) because she sold it to me at a deeply discounted price.
But that discount came with a price of another sort. I have to give her a name by the end of the week or suffer the consequences of Demented Doll Head juju. Any thoughts?
I'm thinking she looks an awful lot like an Anita to Moi.
And, finally, the piece that touched me the deepest. By a woman named Kim Kelly, a former participant in an Albuquerque-based art program for the homeless called Art Street. Kim, I hope you are safe and sound and still making art.