The Fort by Sofia, Bella and Lilly.

The fantastic fort installation: Bella inspecting the backside.Fia posing in the window adding the last touches.

This is the installation titled "The Fort" by Bella, Sofia and their bestie Lilly. Using yarn, sheets, blankets, boxes and other miscellaneaous items. I'm very proud of their work. Now on view 24/7 at Bergstrasse 16, Berlin. 

Dedications

Thread, acrylic, photographs, graphite on paper and mylar.

This past week my parent's dog of 9 1/2 years died of a heart attack in Madison, WI, one day after my sister Kristina's arrival from London. His name was Picasso named after the infamous artist, and in honor of my own career as an artist. Their cat, who is still alive and kicking, is named Schubert, named after the composer and a nod to Anna, my older sister's career as a musician and composer. Since they don't have other animals, Tina bemused if they did, what would they name it in reference to her career in IT? Zuckerberg? Gates, Jobs? (That would be kind of cute, actually). 

Picasso (Pico) was a loving and loyal golden labrador/retriever and although I only saw him twice a year, I will miss him. It's strange that Tina's journey, that was specifically planned to celebrate her birthday this week, coincided with Pico's untimely death.

I posted this picture in lieu of posting a picture of Pico because it evokes the sentiments I want to convey here. Besides, the photos I've collected of Pico and myself and my girls are so many...it would be brutal to try and choose which one would best befit his personality.

The script in these drawings is the Baybayin, the pre-colonial alphabet of the Philippines. They all spell out 'mahal', and 'halik' which translates to love and kiss in Tagalog (the national language of the Philippines).

This might be a rather bizarre dedication, (but in the spirit of odd dedications -- Picasso the dog, named for me as an artist and Schubert, the cat named for Anna as a musician) I'm wishing Tina a happy birthday on this cold January day, and to Pico, a final rest in peace -- and to both, lots of love and kisses.

New work space, finally.

Wisbeyerstrasse at the border of Prenzlauer Berg and Pankow.

The drawing I'm working on in the new work space.As of yesterday I happily installed myself in a new work space that a friend has so generously offered in exchange for artwork -- a new 'Artist in Residency' of sorts. I'm working on finishing up the last few pieces for my solo show in Orlando, FL this coming March, so the timing could not have been better. We are also planning on organizing educational workshops for adults and children as well as curating artist exhibits and talks for international and Berlin based mid-career artists. It's nice to be able to commute from time to time so I'm not only grateful for the opportunity to work in this space, but also for the impetus to get out of my kietz (small neighborhood in German) that I'm so comfortable in--and get out to be temporarily uncomfortable (but not really) -- I really do enjoy taking the S-Bahn, occasionally. Once this cold spell passes, I'll be joy riding it up on my bike!

Work in Progress

Sofia and Bella installing at Bergstrasse 16. Work in progress called "The Fort"...at least for now.

I've decided to give a it whirl for Sofia (age 8) and Bella (age 10) to be creative with this shop window on Bergstrasse and do whatever they want in regards to making art -- within certain limits of course. After seeing two emerging artists implement both very different works, they were both thrilled and inspired to try something of their own. But what? At first Fia just wanted to hang all her paintings (which I will do at some point). And Bella proposed to display an arrangement of her elaborate Lego creations.

But instead, I posed  to both of them this. What if you were to build a fort for all the world to see? They loved the idea immediately. It's something that most kids are so familiar with creating in the privacy of their own home. The only thing I provided were the materials and helping them reach where they couldn't and tie knots when needed. Both Fia and Bella were excited to use old sheets, blankets and wire laundry racks to begin building. Fia asked me, 'What if no one likes it?'. I told her not to worry about that. The role of the artist is not to worry about pleasing, but rather to convey an idea or emotion in a genuine way -- some will like it, and some will not.  She seemed fine with that answer for now, and perhaps as they continue to install the work and begin to really see it from the sidewalk over the next several days, they'll understand how the meaning of the fort has changed from simply going from a private space to a public one. Most importantly, it's a chance for them to basically go nuts exploring and being creative using fabric, color, light and things they're familiar with and then in the end, be able to share it with their friends.  

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