Narcissa and the Consumerists

Angie Brown | Narcissa


Rather than let another week go by waiting for an ample opportunity to make a proper post, I’m just going to throw this out there into the blogosphere, dash off a quick sentence or two and run back to my Cave of Intense Stuff-Doing.

(Aside: Why is winter always so busy? Doesn’t art know that I am half-bear, and I just really want to sleep?Not complaining though… Busy means alive.)

This is the latest project from my Eccentric Illustration class. This unit was about historical propaganda, persuasion techniques, and influence. I got a little rant-tastic about my anti-consumerist ideals during class discussions, but I won’t do that here, now. You’re welcome. It is sufficient to say this: We are more than our appearance. We miss so much of the stuff that really matters– because we’re so busy looking in the mirror.

As always, thanks so much for popping in. Tell me your thoughts. I want to hear them. 



Angie Brown The first project for my Eccentric Illustration class at AAU: depict “transformation” using a style you’ve never done before. So linocut seemed like a good medium for exploring the transformation of the American landscape and the decimation of our indigenous tribal culture… y‘know, because Columbus Day is right around the corner and it seemed like a good time to bring that up.

I got a little reckless with my cutting, and what has been cut can never be uncut… so I had to do some problem solving with my trusty collage techniques. I’m rather pleased with the outcome, and I learned a great deal about my process.

For me, art is about transforming a breakdown into a breakthrough. Every piece I make goes through an “ugly phase” when I want to either start over, abandon it, or even destroy it. But if I watch that struggle and even embrace it without being attached to the outcome, and just keep pushing– I’ll come out the other side with something true and beautiful. Life is like that too.

Landon Marcus is a Character

Angie Brown

This here is Landon Marcus, musician, artist, performer, cosmic wanderer, and all-around Super Cool Dude. He is– like seriously– one of the ten people that would be allowed on my personal island, if I had one. In fact, I would have his residence built right across the courtyard from mine, and he could live there with his girlfriend (who happens to be my BFF) and as many cats as they wanted.

So anyway, Landon Marcus, Super Cool Dude Extraordinaire, has commissioned an illustration to adorn the promotional materials of his new album.  This is my first go at “characterizing” him. When he saw it, his reaction went like-so: “Aweso-ome! You totally nailed the hair.” To which I replied, “Yah, totes. I’m really glad you have such interesting hair so that I could draw it thusly.”

So now I need to finish this project. It has to be really super cool. In the meantime, you should check out the music of Landon Marcus. And then come back and tell me if I have captured his Super Cool Dudeness.

kthx. bye!

urban: right up my alley

Angie Brown | urban: Illustration Friday
Angie Brown | urban: Illustration Friday

This week, the Illustration Friday topic is urban. I combined a few snapshots taken from a moving car in a seedy part of LA with shots taken at the Neon Boneyard  in Las Vegas. Major Liquor and Marlene’s Muffler Shop are actual Real Life Places. I like to imagine what Marlene looks like… Most of the collage elements are from the Spanish section of a certain cable company’s disclaimer booklet, and I used acrylic paint, watercolor, color pencils, pen and ink, and coffee.

During the brainstorming session for this challenge, I was tempted to pull another one from the archives. Most everything I did last year included some element of urbanity– Like this one, in particular:

Angie Brown | Our Lady of Relentless Urban Development
Angie Brown | Our Lady of Relentless Urban Development
click the pic for more like this

I mean, it’s even got ‘urban’ in the title, right? But since three of my last four IF submissions were pulled from the archives, I started feeling like I was defeating my own purpose, which is to experiment, have fun, and make new stuff.  And since I’ve really had a hankerin’ for hand-lettering lately, I decided to return to my drawing table this week, and I’m glad I did. I  like the little sketchy-sketch that came out of it, and I think it could be developed into something rather interesting, if one had, say, a larger sheet of paper and a three day weekend… Le sigh…

what i did with my staycation

Hello, 4-day weekend. So nice to have you here. So sorry to see you go… It’s been a lot of fun, having four consecutive days off and no homework to slog over. I painted. I meant to do a lot of other stuff, but I got into painty-land and just kind of stayed there. The large canvas is almost finished and I’m really in love with it. It’s my most ambitious painting to date. Here’s a li’l preview:
That’s only about one square foot of the 3′ x 3′ canvas. More about it when it’s done.

I went for a walk Sunday, in the industrial wasteland of North Charleston’s old navy yard. That place is a veritable goldmine of visual riches. See here:


an inexplicably festive balloon


the new sculptures are up at Riverside Park. this year’s show is better than last year’s.


this one makes noise. the wind hits the vertical steel poles & makes a bongy bell-type song.


the cattlegate. employees only, single-file, no pushing.










So that is my latest photo essay about the post-industrial world of North Charleston. I’m working on a new photo book through That’s on my list of Things I Should’ve Done, But I Just Painted Instead.

isupov and jean and klein, oh my!

The Mint Museum in Charlotte has a sculpture by one of my favorite contemporaries, Sergei Isupov, who is awesome. I love his style, his imagination, his subject matter, his fine detail and exquisite rendering ability. He is by far my favorite ceramicist and one of the most interesting contemporary artists still alive.

Sergei Isupov Thinline.JPG
this image courtesy of

During my wanderings about the vast and labyrinthine internets of late, I have discovered James Jean, an artist originally from Taiwan, now apparently living in California. I googled “seamstress” and came across the painting behind that link, which I love to the point of wishing I had done it. I am currently working on a piece which may or may not turn out to be about the plight of sweatshop seamstresses in Asia and Indonesia who, for 13 cents a day, produce the designer garments which retail clerks, making $8/hr, sell to trust fund darlings for $100+ a pop. I am on chapter 10 of No Logo by Naomi Klein.

Charlotte: home of 90 mph winds & 3 mph traffic

Aside from the flaming garbage truck on the interstate at rush hour Friday (creeping 3 whole miles in one hour!) and the semi-hurricane-force winds on Saturday, Charlotte seems like a nice city. I went up to explore the town and attend the opening of a group show at Baku Gallery in the famed arts district of NoDa. This was Contrast, curated and promoted by the Culture Initiative- and it went well. There were a lot of very talented people in the group of 61 artists, and the show was well attended.


Actual people looking at my work- yay!

These two paintings were created especially for the requirements of this show- 12″ square, black and white.


The following Saturday, I made my way to the two art museums in uptown Charlotte– the Mint Museum and the neighboring Bechtler Museum of Modern Art. Both were fabulous, containing a myriad of treasures, as well as a few snicker-worthy bombs. I didn’t care for the featured exhibit at the Bechtler- Niki de St. Phalle. I find her work garish and simple, and her forms are crude and unrefined. She certainly has pop appeal though, which is for me another tick on the ‘con’ side.

this is the statue outside by St. Phalle. its shininess is its redemption.

I also saw the work of many greats- Tinguely (the aforementioned Niki de St. Phalle’s more talented husband), Picasso, Ernst, Miro, Rauschenburg, etc… and I was exhausted & a bit art-saturated afterward. The museums offered great views of the surrounding streets and were architecturally interesting themselves.



lobby of the Mint. Chihuly sculpture in the background.

Charlotte’s inner city has several great modern buildings and an aesthetic not to be overlooked.



from the backside of the Latta Arcade- an historic group of buildings around the corner from the museums



The wind was also against me and my plan for a walk. Aye, thar was a cold wind a-blowin, and mighty hard. I had to walk at an angle on some streets, and my hair would’ve been whipped off my head, had it not been firmly attached to my scalp by the roots.

These poor poppies were taking a beating, and were probably rendered completely petal-less shortly after this photo was taken.

I am also fascinated by Charlotte’s public transit system, the Light Rail… or whatever it’s called. Being from a city which barely has a bus system (which I have never ridden) I am enthralled by the trains of the larger cities and Europe. Subways and elevated rails are like alien constructs to me, providing hours of delightful window-watching and hands-free travel opportunities. Themselves worthy of being photographed, with all their tracks and stations and associated accoutrements, the culture of rail travel is exotic and captivating. Crossing trains also provide opportunities for erstwhile auto travelers to photograph other roadside interestingness whilst being stopped…



I wanna ride that train at some point. I also have several other things to do on my Charlotte list, and I look forward to returning at the end of the month to claim my unsold work (if any)  from the Baku Gallery.

roadtrip, part #1

I used to be the queen of road trips- I’d jaunt out at a moment’s notice, grabbing my tent, sleeping bag and my trusty road atlas, boldly charging into parts unknown. It’s been a while since I did that, having discovered air travel & therefore Europe sometime around 2005, and satiating my wanderlust in great big expensive leaps instead of little economical hops.

But now, with Europe impossibly far away for my bank account, I find myself wishing I still had my tent and sleeping bag. Especially after our experience with the hotel in Winston-Salem, NC…

For my latest birthday, I went to the nearest wine country to tour a couple of vineyards and check out other points of interest in and around Winston-Salem, NC. Our first stop was SECCA, the SouthEastern Center for Contemporary Art, featuring an exhibit by Oscar Munoz, a highly conceptual artist who deals with the transience of life and the imminence of death, and how identity is impermanent. His work was thoughtful and thought-provoking, and engendered a quiet sense of carpe diem tempered with futility.


Creepy leaf people, aaaaugh! The window shopping continued into Winston-Salem proper, where we wandered around until nightfall, trying to figure out why it’s called “the City of the Arts”.


she didn’t know either.


What we found instead was an industrial wasteland left ravaged by JR Reynolds Co., the tobacco magnate, and a lot of closed mills.



But even industrial wastelands have their charms and unique flavor of beauty… we discovered more of that the following day. Our biggest find of Friday was on the “Avenue of the Arts”, the 4 block strip of cutesy shops, galleries, bars and restaurants that serves as the cultural center of W-S.

We had dinner at a little place called 6th and Vine where the food was beautiful and delicious. I drank a cab called “Irony” in honor of my entire experience that day.


Coming up next: roadtrip, part duex! wherein I tour 2 wineries vastly different in nature & explore the ruins of the tobacco empire…

top 10 wines under $15

And now–as promised last week, a fluffy little post about my favorite recently discovered & inexpensive wines. If you’ve had any of these wines, especially the ones that I lack sufficient descriptions for, please comment. And if you’ve had any you’d like to recommend, do that as well, please & thank you.

In order of their discovery:

D’autrefois Pinot Noir & Malbec
The pinot has been a trusted go-to wine since I  discovered it last summer with my good buddy Joel. It’s a light, peppery cherry and well-balanced. While waxing particularly poetic one evening, I wrote that it tasted like “a little boat made of bark and leaves floating down a dappled woodland stream.” yah, it’s all that.  The Malbec is new on the shelves, and is equally thrilling. Total Wine carries both- $9.99.

Finca Flichman Malbec – 3 months oaked
Paul will go on & on about his Finca Flichman, though his pronunciation of “Flichman” varies by day. I do know that finca means “ranch”– & that counts for something. Extremely rich/bold- a singular chord of intense flavor. This vineyard also produces Misterio, another Malbec oak-aged 4 months- but Paul insists that the 3 months is better. Total Wine $7.99– but they don’t always have it.

Fat Bastard
I’ve never met a Fat Bastard that I didn’t like. We’ve had the 2008 Merlot, the 2007 Cab, the 2009 Shiraz. I believe it’s the cab that we like the most- it’s hard to tell from my copious notes there. Easy to find- usually under $10. And that hippo is just so darn cute…

Contempo — 2005 Cab, 2007 Merlot
November of 2010, Paul wrote “this is my idea of a great wine” of the 2005 cab. Also written is that it “attacks softly, then explodes with flavor & finishes sweet.” We had an argument over who to attribute that quote to, but I’m pretty sure it was me because I’m the poetic one. Long berry finish, smooth tannins. We trusted Contempo & bought it whenever we were at Harris Teeter- & then the unthinkable happened- Contempo let us down. We bought a bottle of cab with no vintage marked on the bottle- and it  tasted like fishy cork. We haven’t gotten any Contempo since then, our hearts were broken. Moral of the story: If you buy it- check the back label & make sure there’s a year marked. If there isn’t, then the wine is from multiple harvests spanning two or more years. Shy away from that– the risk is just too great.

Robert Mondavi Private Collection Cab 2009
Easy to find, carried by almost any supermarket. Even the Food Lion has it. The label doesn’t come off very easily though…

Graffigna Malbec 2007
The Malbec from Argentina has flavors of Blackberry, currant, tobacco, oak & spice. 2007 Cab also delicious. Publix carries it, $11

Colores del Sol Malbec 2009
Another fine Malbec carried by Publix $12. I’ve slacked off on my flavor notes by this point in my journal… But it was definitely worth buying again. And the label is pretty.

Edgewood Estates 2007
A blend of cab, petit bordeaux and malbec. We splurged on this one- $15– it was Valentine’s Day, & I served butternut squash, black beans (soaked overnight & simmered with jalapenos), spinach salad, and toasted seeduction buns from Whole Foods bakery. It was divine.

Jip Jip Rocks Shiraz Cab 2009
Ordinarily we’d shy away from anything named “Jip Jip Rocks”, but a trusted Total Wine associate by the name of Tiger pointed us to this Australian blend. In Tiger’s honor, Paul & I have declared that this wine is grrrrrrrreat! $15.

Releaf 2009 blend
This organic wine is Fran’s Pick at Total Wine, & we like Fran. Fran has a good taste in wine & a simpatico palate. It’s a cab/merlot/shiraz blend from South Africa- fruit forward, mellow tannins, smooth & silky, peppery & well-balanced. Served with sweet potato, quinoa with steamed sweet peas & sweet peppers, spinach salad with herbs, avocado & pickled banana peppers. $9.99 AND IT’S ORGANIC, Y’ALL.


swampy adventures & local kumquat I.D.

This unseasonably gorgeous weekend, Paul and I discovered the Francis Marion National Forest. We did the South Tibwin trail, about an hour from Charleston up 17 north. It’s not as photogenic as CawCaw County Park, but the walking sure is good. It’s a bird sanctuary, and there were bird-watching blinds in key areas along the trail–but we saw nary a critter–save one crow, one hawk, & one li’l ol’ measly regular tweety-type bird. Grassy marshlands abounded, but alas, no grassy marshland birds abounded. How odd. Perhaps they were all downtown at SouthEastern Wildlife Expo. DSC04875


oooh, pretty!! I cannot resist old paint and rust in a split-complementary color scheme!

Hidden Ponds Nursery (HWY 17 North of Mt. Pleasant) is like a veritable amusement park for green-thumbed dorks. Consequently, I had a blast; it was like Disneyland. There were thematic elements…


charming still lifes…



amusing bits of spooky…


and kumquats!


And I purchased this handsome li’l specimen to add to my expanding family of flora.


golden ingot ivy, pretty, eh?

There are other trails in the Francis Marion National Forest that we’d like to try in the future, hopefully they’ll be a bit more photogenic. I took more pictures on the way home than I did at the destination, once again proving that it’s the journey that matters. I’m still trying to find the ever-elusive perfect shot of a cypress swamp from just the right angle with the right light and perfect arrangement of brackish waters & cypress root-knees. I would also like to see some wildlife, but Paul crashes through the forest with the musicality of a buffalo, surely scaring the bejesus out of every nearby critter, including myself. The paleface tenderfoot runs strong in that one, for sure.

In summation, I guess the biggest takeaway of the day is that I now know what a kumquat looks like, and I could pick one out of a citrus line-up if I had to. So yay, education & stuff!