Tuesday, March 25, 2008

sour-dough, french, multi-grain or rye?

I quit my job. I was working at a great natural foods market called New Leaf in a tiny mountain town near where we live. I was working in the delicatessen, doing prep work for the cooks as well as making sandwiches. I had high hopes for things going a certain way, a different way than they did. I mean I have so much experience making food....doing freelance catering, personal chef work etc. Not to mention my artistic ideas for creating cool signage, and making an overall positive contribution in whatever way I could. BUT needless to say this job did not turn out to be too rewarding other than a paycheck and the free food that I scored out of the compost and culls. I'll just sum it up by saying POOR MANAGEMENT. LOW MORALE. I left work feeling exhausted and drained. I cannot tell you how sick I am of making sandwiches. My last day someone ordered this disgusting combo: egg salad AND tuna salad mixed together with pepper jack cheese on a sweet roll. But I cheerfully assembled the order, wrapped it in white paper, cut it in half, wrapped it again in brown paper and handed it over with a smile and an "ENJOY".
Pictured here are some of the scrap papers with sandwich orders scrawled on them. We all had our own codes and abbreviations for writing down the orders. At the end of the day there would be a pile of these in a basket. The other picture is of all the plastic ties from the bread bags. I saved them the entire time I worked there. Each one stands for a loaf of bread that I parceled out into an array of sandwiches....the variety so individualized it is sort of maddening. I mean, really. But in certain ways I found it quite revealing. I swear, its a certain type that orders tuna salad with extra mayo, another type that orders BBQ beef with extra pepperoncini. And of course there are the "Fakin' Bacon" people who always want vegan aioli instead of mayo, lots of sprouts and invariably want something "on the side".
There was a guy who came in almost every day and would stare at the sandwich board and act indecisive but always end up with the same turkey pastrami and swiss on sprouted wheat, no onions, but everything else. For now I'm investing my time into my art and looking for some more inspiring options to make money. Now I can add "sandwich artist" to my resume.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Chris Johanson Opening

We still feel new enough to the bay area that when we hear or read of something cool happening in San Francisco we think to ourselves,"if we were closer...." Well, it turns out, we are close. Close enough that if we didn't go to the said thing we really, really wanted to see or hear because we had to work in the morning or were just plain lazy, we would be those old people we swear we aren't becoming. So, upon finding out there would be a Chris Johanson opening downtown at the Jack Hanley Gallery( a mere hour and a half drive from door to door if the traffic's with you), we shook our sugar trees and made it happen. The art world was our oyster as I made a semi aggressive move onto a downtown street like any other urban trafficker enacts multiple times daily. Wrong! Johny Traffic Copper was there to make me pay for such an obviously violent act while the rest of the city waited calmly and obediently for lights to change, paychecks to come in, and class disparity to be resolved. So, ticket in hand, we rolled into a very hip happening. The crowd spilling out onto the sidewalk looked several years younger and a few degrees cooler than these two country bumpkins. Once inside, the smell of fresh interior wall paint and street sweat hit the olfactories hard enough to cause a shared glance amongst ourselves. Chris's work was hung up in the most intentionally frustrating way I've ever seen an art show hung. In what amounted to an elaborate but roughly hewn cattle loading shoot, the paintings and drawings were put up too close to get back from and-in the jammin' situation-there was little room to linger or turn back and you can forget about an untied shoelace. In certain places 2x4s ran their length at chest level and one had to duck under the drawings attached to these pieces of poorly painted wood and pop up on the other side to see a couple of drawings one had no hope of seeing very well. Johanson comes from the Beautiful Losers school which spawned Barry Mcgee and Margaret Kilgallen, so in this scene our man is a star. a celebrity. a VIP. a somebody. His work is that of an outsider's insider and full of dead on existentialism gleaned from skating and living amongst the daily grind of poverty and anonymity that used to define the urban art experience. It's as though he took all the mad ramblings of dudes you sit next to on the bus or avoid eye contact with on the street and whittled it all down to the bone. the funny bone. Then put it on paper in the simplest, most naive, most irreverent, most truthful manner. All of which is fine until you start selling wrinkled pieces of paper sack with five minute paintings on them for seven thouand dollars. Then and only then do I get confused about what matters and what's authentic and what's exploitation. Mostly, though, it made us consider the fragile equation of where you live affecting how you make your art about who or what you make your art for who comes to see your art and why both you or they bother with any of it... then, we walked down the block to Mi Lindo Yucatan and comforted our questions with brazos de reina and salbutes and negra modelos. We toasted to our bafflement with the art establishment and some soon to come clarity. this hole in the wall was so cool, the waitress didn't even let those high heeled, soy latte drinkin', couture wearin' marin county art groupie broads who are so used to getting their way in to pee in their bathroom. we drank to that, too.