MAKING CHANGE artists for change

MAKING CHANGE artists for change


Monday, October 25, 2010

Interview with Valorie Creef of Arttoweardiva

Above: "Peace is Beautiful" by Arttoweardiva

What issues are important to you?

The heart space, keeping it open and clean and interconnected with body, mind, and the divine cosmos that swirls around us, flowing in and out of us with every breath.

How is the idea of activism apparent in your art?

My medium changes often, spontaneously and sometimes literally with the wind. Like grabbing a song floating by on a warm breeze or being inspired to write a short story about a face in a crowd. My organic vegetable garden was not only a labor of love but an opportunity to get connected in a very intimate way with the Great Holy Mother Gaia. It gave me a chance to sink my toes into her soft slippery mud and ground myself in the healing peace that is always there, the garden knows no other language. In a very practical sense it allowed me to share an unbelievable amount of fresh, wholesome food with my family, friends and neighbors, yes I am very popular in my neighborhood!

Above left: "The Everything Ecology Tote Bag" by Arttoweardiva

Out of the garden flowed a series of small "Earth Prayer" collages with themes of Peace, recycling and "one world" interconnectedness. Since having survived the "dark night of the soul" many years passed now, I have never taken the presence of Peace in my life for granted. It is singularly the most precious of things and I am grateful for every drop that finds it's way to me. About three years ago I originally asked myself “what can I do to encourage Peace in this dusty little high desert town?” “How do I put Peace in front of people?” The answer was to make Peace bags, and have everyone walking around with this sacred symbol draped about them. Symbols are so subliminal and speak to the unconscious taking it to that place deep within our souls which never lies and so Art to Wear Diva was born.

Do you think political and environmental issues can be effectively addressed in art?

Art has always been political! Even to the point of what has been allowed to be painted.

The great masters were very subliminal for this reason. Leonardo da Vinci for instance used symbols in his images with deep philosophical meaning, such as Masonic signs for the subconscious eye to consider.

Right: "The Organic Hemp Bag" by Arttoweardiva

Which artists do you admire who have an activist agenda?

Jakob Dylan's lyrics on his CD, "Women and Country" are stark, beautiful and fierce in it's renderings of the plight of the working class in this country and its humiliating rape and economic dismantling by the corporate greed mongers.

My son Ryan Williams aka Cosmic Blacksmith, Recording Artist, Screenwriter, Photographer and Psycholinguist.

Also, the Northwest Earth Institute.

Tell us something about your process of creating?

It always begins in the heart and usually blooms in full technocolor in some outlandish dream, then gradually winds itself through the body and out through the hands.

What is the name of your etsy shop?


Monday, October 18, 2010

MAKING CHANGE store now open and a new interview today!

Elena Mary Siff surrounded by art and artifacts from ‘Making Change’ artists By: Natasha Garyali
“I am appalled by what’s happening and someone needs to bring some thoughtful art to the scene,” says Elena Siff, her voice filled with anger and despair as she talks about some of the worst environmental disasters like BP’s oil spill and Hungary’s toxic sludge disaster that have occurred in recent months. “Our world is being destroyed,” she states, as her eyes wander around the project room of 18th street Arts Center, surrounded by political art posters depicting environmental tragedies, anti-war slogans, peace signs among other artifacts.
“A lot of people gravitate towards these posters,” she says talking about her passion for studying and observing the natural world and creating art. Her eyes cast a glance on a painting hanging on the nearby wall. The poster shows twin towers standing amidst desert, surrounded by pyramids, money and arms, an image that immediately resonates with you, bringing memories of loss, pain and destruction.
For Siff, it also draws back the memory of a postcard that she found in 1979. “It was called ‘two in time’ and if you tilted it on one side you could see the twin tower and on the other a pyramid,” she says remembering how she found the artist’s dual image representation fascinating and drew inspiration for painting ‘ material world‘.
Siff who enjoys living in Santa Monica’s artistic and politically progressive community speaks about the events that led to her interest in political art. Siff had to discontinue her MFA in Film and TV studies at UCLA, after her first born was diagnosed with autism. While taking care of her son’s special needs, she witnessed the lack of opportunities that existed for people with disabilities. This led her to actively engage in promoting work of people with disabilities, specially artists. One of her art work ‘ Speaking Thunder’, an interactive installation placed at the Santa Monica Place in 1993 focused on providing opportunities for people with disabilities. “I was really interested in getting people with disabilities hired at the Santa Monica Place, but I don’t think it really happened,” she says with a look of disappointment, adding that, people with disabilities should have a chance to become valued employees.
While Siff’s interest in political art had always been there, it wasn’t until recently that she got the opportunity to work on it professionally. Thanks to the 18th Street Art Center’s residency program, Siff’s project ‘Making Change’ won an artist fellowship for 2010 theme: ‘ status report: the creative economy’. In her project, Siff addressed how the internet plays a major role in this new artistic economy and included a high degree of public engagement by setting up a virtual marketplace and a physical store housing artworks, crafts, clothing, prints, paintings and more from artists all over Los Angeles. To include artists whose works would bring diversity, Siff  selected them on their responses to several questions pertaining to the relationship between art and activism and if the medium of art could be used to effectively represent political and environmental issues. The interviews of these selected artists have been documented by Siff on her blog: Art of Making Change.
elena roadmap s2  Visual artist Elena Siff creates virtual and physical space for LA artists and brings social activism through art in ‘making change’ One of Elena’s book art, titled ‘Art in Transit’
Apart from being a major assemblage artist, Elena Siff also specializes in creating unique book objects. Drawn to small formats, she has been creating book art for nearly 15 years. The intricacy of work in some of her book art is both amazing and fascinating. On of her book art, titled “Art in Transit” involved her creating a series of ten trucks on which she collaged works of well known artists. She used a miniature truck as the base to haul wise words by Plato, Virgil, da Vinci, Norman Cousins, among others for life. “I took copies of artist work and put my own embellishment on them and for me it was like a collaboration with the deceased artist,” she says pointing her finger at the picture of the toy truck on the brochure. Her book art has been in many international exhibitions and can be found on Vamp and Tramp booksellers and Etsy.
Elena Siff hopes to continue making statements through her art and being the change that she wants to see.
How you can support ‘making change’ ?
On October 23 from 6-10 p.m., at the 18th Street Project Room, Elena Siff will have an opening reception for her project Making Change. The project room houses several artworks, crafts, clothing, prints, paintings, powerful posters, books, calendars from the Center for Political Graphics and more original art by artists all over Los Angeles. Geared towards creating social awareness about our environment and society, at project room, you will not only be inspired but also find something that resonates with you and your beliefs.
The artifacts range from $1 to $4000 and include recycled T-shirts ($6), crazy art dolls ($15), crotchet coasters with messages ($10-$15) among others. All artists receive 100% of any sale and your purchase will help support artists and their efforts in ‘Making Change’.
Making Change, Project Room, 18th street Arts Center
October 18 – December 23, 2010
Thursday through Saturday
1 p.m. – 5 p.m.
Artist receptions: Saturday, October 23, 2010
6pm- 10pm
[On Nov 2, if you are visiting 18th street Arts Center for voting, swing by Elena Siff’s Project room between 12 p.m. – 7 p.m.]

The Making Change store is open now and looks Thur/Fri/Sat from 1 to 5pm till Dec. 23rd. ..Big public reception is Oct. 23rd from 6 to 10pm...would love to see you there!! Excellent etsy sellers have work on view!!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Interview with Shawn P. Wilbur of Corvus Editions

[Above: "Helen Keller Bottlecap Pin" by Corvus Editions]

The MAKING CHANGE Etsy team is for artists committed to activism. Please tell us what issues are important to you.

Liberty, environmental and social sustainability, and teaching the history of those ideas. I'm a mutualist anarchist, but my cultural work covers a lot more ground than that.

How is the idea of activism apparent in your art?

My work is essentially educational. I worked for years as a bookseller and university instructor, and then that work went away with the changes in the economy. So I've found other means to at least try to keep doing that same work. The works that I publish and the images that I use in my art are all drawn from my researches into radical history. In some cases I've drawn book-design elements from radical presses of the past.

I try to use recycled or repurposed material for almost everything. Most of the paper I use is produced from farm-waste. My books are nearly all covered either with wall-covering, upholstery samples or paper I've made at home from junk mail and scraps. It's a constant learning experience, working with scrap material, and I try to share as much as I can of what I learn.

[Left: " E. Douglas Fawcett, Hartmann the Anarchist - 1893"
by Corvus Editions]

Do you think political and environmental issues can be effectively addressed in art?

Yes. Of course. There are so many examples of powerful political art. There's a lot that art can't do, in terms of addressing very specific issues, but many of those issues can be addressed by artists and other cultural workers. I find that I'm increasingly foregrounding the scrap elements in my work, and highlighting the seams so that people can see what can be done with material that was essentially waste, and maybe see enough to try it themselves.

Which artists do you admire who have an activist agenda?

The Just Seeds group, the Beehive Collective.

Tell us something about your process of creating.

[Right: "Voltairine de Cleyre - Germinal - framed poem and pictures of Angiolillo" by Corvus Editions]

I start with historical research, and collect texts and images. Some of the things that I collect sort of push themselves forward, generally because they seem to have something important to say in the present context. I have a general aesthetic, roughly neo-19th-century, to complement the sources, and a bit primitive, which is partly a matter of letting the seams show and partly me playing to my personal strengths. I try to make everything I put together sturdy, and obviously so, so that people will be less hesitant to pick things up and use them. For the most part, I print text and images in black and white and add color by hand, so each item is at least a little different from the others. I tend to work fairly quickly once I'm really producing items, but I do a lot of experimenting in the early stages of each project. A test book-binding may end up riding around in my satchel for a month before I decide it's durable enough to run with.

What is the name of your etsy shop? CorvusEditions

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Fantastic opening of the MAKING CHANGE store yesterday!

Huge opening reception at 18th. Street Arts Center yesterday..great response to Making Change store..powerful art! Come see Thur/Fri/Sat 12:30 to 5pm till Dec. 23rd!

Friday, October 1, 2010

MAKING CHANGE STORE at 18th. Street Arts Center opening Oct. 2nd.

ElenaMary says:
My "artist in residence store" at 18th. Street Arts Center in Santa Monica is opening Oct. 2nd...Etsy sellers are represented along with many of the best political artists in Los Angeles. The MAKING CHANGE Blog features only etsy sellers who are members of the MAKING CHANGE ETSY TEAM..some of whom are represented in the actual store..Contact me if you create political work and would like to be interviewed for the MC blog:

Those of you in Los Angeles please come and visit me in the store..days and hours are: Wed/Thur/Fri/Sat 12:30 to 5pm