Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Support Your Local Baltimore Artists!


As many of you know, I am a proud, founding member of The Feminist Art Project - Baltimore, and I'm here to ask for a little support from you, and hopefully others in your network! We started an Indigogo campaign this week, with a very cute video made by my buddy, Jessica Wyatt.

 Click here to check out our crowdfunding page!

The Feminist Art Project - Baltimore recognizes the aesthetic, intellectual and political impact of all women on visual arts, as well as history and culture, regardless of race, class or creed. We are a grassroots, non-profit arts organization which aims to be inclusive; supporting local, self-identified female artists, as well as men, who recognize and promote Baltimore area women in the arts.

We are seeking funding, in an effort to continue our free programs, events and opportunities for artists and neighbors in Baltimore City and the surrounding area. In our less than two years of operation, we've held a range of free artistic and cultural events...with an operating budget of exactly ZERO. We'd love to change that! Seriously, imagine what we could do with a little money and the backing of all of our friends!


Last week, during my Women, Arts and Culture course, I shared some of the principles/efforts of the Guerrilla Girls with my students. We looked at this piece (below), and I asked them, "What DOES happen next month? And what if I don't have work to show in March--and March only--of every year? Do I have to wait a whole year to be recognized?"

That's actually why I founded this chapter of The Feminist Art Project. I was searching for art exhibitions with themes of women and women's subjects/bodies. I unfortunately completed my google searching in April of that year. And I'll tell you honestly, I couldn't find anything that related to my work thematically. I had JUST missed all of the calls that fit my aesthetic...in March, "Women's Month". It was frustrating, to say the least, so I created an Action Plan, and did something about it!

Please help support this effort by Sharing or Donating! And please let me know if you have any questions, or an interest in getting involved! Thanks so much for your time!

Shana R. Goetsch
Visual Artist, Community Arts Facilitator
Regional Coordinator, The Feminist Art Project-Baltimore


Sunday, March 8, 2015

A Baltimore Minute: Artist, Katie Duffy

It's time again for a little peek into another artist's world! For this Baltimore Minute, we'll be talking to the awesome, active local artist, Katie Duffy! Katie actually performed in our first TFAP-B event, Speak Up. And recently, she was kind enough to create our really incredible new logo design (incidentally, I'm pretty sure I was a real pain in the ass about it, so kudos to Katie for putting up with my often creative willfulness).

Now, let's learn more about Katie and her creative process, here we go!

  Katie's performance at our Speak Up event, Winter 2014

Shana Goetsch: Hi Katie! Let's start by telling us where are you from, and how did you arrive in Baltimore City?
Katie Duffy: I am from the Chicago. I grew up on the south side about two miles west of Midway Airport in a neighborhood called Clearing. I came to Baltimore because I thought going to grad school was a good idea :) ~ I'll let you know if it was or not in about 10 years. 

Prior to grad school I was living in Dubuque, Iowa, most recently known for its sledding ban. I went to undergrad there graduating with a BA in Social Work and Integrated Visual Arts. In retrospect, I stuck around post graduation for a while because I was unsure of what aspect of my studies I was most interested in pursuing.

So I found myself in this really small community that was very different than all of my experiences growing up in Chicago. To be honest I was very unhappy there, which was the result of a combination of my post grad directionlessness as well as my fish-out-of-water feelings within a city that had a lot glaring social imbalances. All that being said I was fortunate that I had a really supportive community there that allowed me to do all these projects and shows that I don’t think I would of been able to do in Chicago. The women in my life there taught me some incredibly valuable lessons about living, working, and how art fits into all that, that have contributed to the projects I am most passionate about today. I had a professor there that was pretty fresh out of the new media program at SFAI who totally changed my entire definition of art making. I also had some really great friends who, at the drop of a hat, were willing to help me with literally whatever crazy project or installation I had cooked up. Looking back the amount of support I had was pretty ridiculous and I feel a great amount of gratitude towards many people who are still living there and working super hard to make the creative community there vibrant and sustainable.

After all these DIY and non profit experiences I felt that it was time for me to take the next steps in my career. I was looking for a program that would allow me to continue the type of work I was doing, which was somewhere between venn diagram smashed in between community organizing, design and fine art. I was really fortunate that I got into more than a few schools and had options. Upon visiting Baltimore to check out the Mt. Royal School of Interdisciplinary Art I kinda fell in love with Baltimore. The community here felt a lot like the community I had in Dubuque, but it also felt a lot like where I grew up. It sounds really silly I guess but everything about the program and the city just felt weirdly right.

Since I graduated in May, I have been fortunate and have had the opportunity to collaborate with some really incredible artists, but I have also continued to learn many lessons about living, working, and how art fits into all that. I will admit some of these lessons have been harder than others. Baltimore has started to feel like home because of those harder experiences though. My partner, who I met in grad school, also relocated here most recently from the midwest. We have started to carve out little life here. We both feel like the MICA community and the larger Baltimore community have given us some good opportunities and that we can contribute to these communities in meaningful ways. 

S: As an artist who recently graduated with my masters as well, I noticed you are a fellow college adjunct professor! I'm curious, do you find teaching to be something that helps your art practice or hinders it (because of time spent away from artmaking, etc)? Is it a difficult balance for you to strike?
K: Oh jeez. Balance. I’ve always been doing a million things at once. I think I do this because I am in constant competition with myself. I don’t care much for competition when it comes to other people, I prefer collaboration. But for myself, I think my perfectionist streak kinda drives me. I think I used to feel bad about this aspect of myself. Always wanting to turn in the perfectly formatted and binded homework assignment, but I have been trying to embrace this as a good thing and channel it, thanks to one of my mentors and of course, Leslie Knope.

So currently, I am working full time as a Designer and Creative Director at an app company, I teach Electronic Media and Culture at MICA, and I am the Co- founder and Designer/Developer of a collaborative digital project space called BrowserAs. All of this on top of my studio practice, which consists of both collaborative installations as well as my own individual work. I find that all of the various projects I am working on at a given time start to influence each other in really exciting ways. For example, I have found that my own practice has been increasingly influenced by my job as a designer and its close proximity to development. My job has given me an introduction to this whole new medium of coding and screen based experiences, which led to the creation of BrowserAs. Now, in my own practice I have started to make these digital prints that deal with the fact that I am always bouncing between these creative personas and different realities - real life - collaboration involving physical presence and verbal communication, - and digital life- the interactive outcome which exists in a digital reality built with code.

Considering my teaching practice, I think all of the above makes me a better facilitator. I don’t want the class I teach to only be about teaching digital skills and how to use programs. I think its super important to also impart on the students that I am teaching them how to access and critique information themselves. I think the best thing I can do as a facilitator is lead by example and hope that having a guide will show the students how to start to piece it all together. As much as I hope I am influencing them, they are also influencing me. I find teaching to be a really sustaining practice. I must admit there are times I am sitting alone in the studio thinking, "Wait why am I doing this"? I find that teaching makes my occasional unease about my career choices subside. My students really inspire and challenge me and I always leave the classroom feeling exhausted but excited.

All this being said, YES. I 100% crave more studio time. I have to work really hard managing and organizing my life and various projects to get to the studio. So when I do get studio time in, it really is a reprieve. Which leads into your next question (this was actually second to last question, I hope you don’t mind me reorganizing #perfectionistproblems)

S: (No problem, and I completely understand the "in competition with myself" bit.) So then, how do you decompress, or what allows you a stress-free or "quiet space"?  
K: I think I’m bad at this aspect of my life, but the whole stress-free thing was never my style. I guess hanging out with my partner Ali is pretty stress free, and he's not like, screaming all the time so its quiet-ish. I also run, do yoga, read and I like to go to artist talks. But most of the time I'm working. I guess I find my quiet space in my work, especially in the studio. Getting the chance for some really focused time to dive deep into something. That’s the best most stress free time for me, kinda hitting the stride and really starting to articulate something in the studio.

 Katie working on site for Co(Lab): Pattern Perception at School 33. Image courtesy of Katie Duffy.

S: Do you have a particular female artist or writer that you feel has influenced you or your practice (working in any medium, historical or contemporary)?
K: I’m going to go with one musician, one writer and one artist.

Annie Clark! Watching her play guitar is revelatory. This is one of my favorite things on the internet.

The work of Ayaan Hirsi Ali was incredibly influential to me when I was younger. My senior Social Work research on Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) led me to a lot of her texts. Her work, particularly The Virgin Cage, really inspired me to begin to combine the interests I had as a social worker and my studio practice.

Zoe Beloff - Zoe was an interdisciplinary artist before it was cool. She is an artist who exists in all of these different worlds, from live performance, to CD- ROM games, to installations. What I love about her work is that she is mining all these historical concepts that have contributed to contemporary stereotypes or states of existence. Within her retelling of them are also these bits of false history, whether it be intentional or just a symptom of translating something that was written from a very limited historical perspective into a contemporary time frame. She totally dismantles our understanding of whose experiences are deemed worth remembering. #badb

S: As a multi-disciplinary artist (do you consider yourself that?), What is your favorite medium to work with?
K: Yeah, I think I would call myself a multidisciplinary artist. I spell that wrong every time I type it so maybe that means I'm actually not that... Anyway, most days I think that what I'm really passionate about falls pretty far outside the purview of normalcy, and that declaring myself anything is just an absurd concept.

When I try to find the common threads that run through all my work, the one thing that stands out is that I am always shifting my mediums and materials. Whatever is around me will end up in my artwork. If I come across something I don’t know much about I immediately want to understand it by taking it all apart to see how it all intersects, then fits back together. I got really into sculptural processes in grad school, most likely because my roommate was in the sculpture program and I knew almost nothing about sculpture. Now I am getting more and more into computer-y types of processes because of my job working closely with developers.

But If I had to choose a favorite medium, I think I like making art on my computer the most. I take my computer everywhere with me. I am on it all of the time. I cuddle with it at night and watch The Nightly Show. I like how immediate it is, and I think it’s an incredible art making tool that allows you to do so much! Plus you can hook little art robots up to it, and make things for you, like you are some type of god. No matter what I am doing, even if I am say working on a drawing or a sculpture, a significant amount of the works in various stages has been done on my computer.

I really love the idea of “computer as medium,” because it’s kind of cheating. I literally have access to all of the tools and all of the time collapsed into a nicely designed silver box. This concept of collapsed space and time has just as many problematic implications as it does good ones, but I think I am interested in dealing with internet as a material from both sides of this argument.

Katie working on site for Co(Lab): Pattern Perception at School 33. Image courtesy of Katie Duffy.

S. Most important tool as an artist?
K: Computer with internet.

S: Thanks for sharing your time and thoughts with us, Katie! I know you've got an opening coming up, tell us a little more about that....where else can we find your work right now?
K: Just finished an installation with Dave Essau and Ali Seradge at the Koban Project that will be up through March. Also just finished a collaborative Installation with Cici Wu for BrowserAs called The Phone Rang, so it Started to Snow, which you can see here. Upcoming with BrowserAs I am designing and developing a Pay Per View Performance interface with Lab Bodies as well as a curatorial project from Ashley Molese. I am always posting new studio stuff to my website too! http://ktduffyprojects.com/

Katie projection mapping on site for We Should See Each Other More Often at the Koban Project. Image courtesy of Katie Duffy.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Film Screening Rescheduled!

In anticipation of the winter weather storm headed our way tomorrow, we are rescheduling the film screening for Saturday, March 7, 5:30–7:30pm at the Maryland Women's Heritage Center.

We hope you are still able to make it out to the screening Saturday evening! $3 discounted parking will still be available at the Edison ParkFast garage on 100 West Fayette Street, which is within walking distance of the Center.

If you have any questions, please contact Feminist Art Project member Kelly Johnson at kjohnson04@mica.edu.

Stay warm, drive safe, and we look forward to seeing you on Saturday!