Wednesday, December 25, 2013

RuPaul X Stitch Animation, Take 2

RuStitch animation frame projection.

Where did the time go?  It's been weeks since the opening night festivities and performances at the Serving Face exhibition in Atlanta. What a beautiful and unique experience. 

RuStitch animation frame, from behind, projected.

At the Barbara Archer Gallery on December 14th, I reconnected with the other artists, viewed new work by Aubrey Longley-Cooke and watched live dance and drag performances. 

The actual RuStitch animation by Aubrey was projected on giant screens in the open gallery space and it is stunning.

Threads dividing the gallery space after the closing performance
by Lavonia Elberton.

Aubrey created two animations from the 35 x stitch frames of the 35 participating artists -- one of the front side of the finished frames and one of the back. Both are wild explosions of color and facial expressions. 

In the gallery. Frame 10 (left) by Tricia Hersey-Patrick,
and Frame 11 (right) by me.  2013.

When Aubrey first explained that each artist would work from his or her own color palette, I wondered about the fluidity of the finished piece. Well, it is so appropriate and perfect for the energy of RuPaul. 

Lavonia Elberton leading dancer in for the final performance.
(Aubrey is the tall man in the background in snakeskin.)

I was particularly moved by the closing performance of Lavonia Elberton, who was featured in her own embroidered animation, a solo piece by Aubrey.

Still from the Lavonia Elberton animation by Aubrey Longley-Cook, 2013.

Lavonia is (at the moment) a bearded drag queen and a textile artist in her own right. She stitched a RuPaul frame and created and wonderful performance art piece to close the evening, leading dancers holding balls of thread/yarn into the space. The dancers flitted about the space, dividing the gallery goers into small, intimate groups made out of triangles of thread. It was a wonderful way to create a stolen moment of intimacy with strangers, pressed as we were into each other, the thread binding us together. 

X stitch animation frames in the gallery.

I am proud to be a part of the project. Insanely proud to be a part of the embroidery as art world. To be included in the boundary-pushing creativity of a project that effortlessly entwined digital animation, live performance and community artwork. 

Me being goofy excited before leaving for the opening.

Aubrey is a special man. A special artist.

With performance artist Tricia Hersey-Patrick in front of our frames.

Now I'm hungry for more opportunities to work with other textile artists in person. Starving.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

RuPaul X Stitch Animation, Take 1

It's finally happening!!

Aubrey Longley-Cook's latest embroidery animation is premiering December 14 at the Service Face exhibition at the Barbara Archer Gallery in Atlanta. And guess who got to be a part of it?

RuStitch Grid, by 35 artists. Aubrey Longley-Cook (2013)

Me!  I stitched Frame 11.

A little background... In February of 2013, Aubrey gathered 35 artists at the Wonderroot studio in Atlanta to participate in an X stitch workshop, where each of us stitched one frame for a new animation he created. I knew it was crazy to join this -- I was in the midst of a terrible flare of pernicious anemia and it involved driving six hours, one way, to Atlanta, three times in three weeks.

Opens 12/14/13

I was so weak that I couldn't drive myself, so I wound up taking a bus for the last trip, which turned out to be a fantastically colorful and fun experience. Jamie Chalmers later told me he thought it was a bit "mental." A six hour drive is basically the length of an entire country in his neck of the woods (UK).

Frame 11, WIP 1, Olisa Corcoran (2013)

But there was no way I could pass up the opportunity to meet and work with Aubrey, an artist whose huge talent and creativity is matched only by his warmth and sense of inclusion.

With Aubrey. I love this photo because I look so
star struck! (And anemic.)

The RuPaul animation is part of his larger exhibition called Serving Face. Here is the description from the Barbara Archer Gallery:

Serving Face investigates and documents Atlanta's drag queens by combining traditional embroidery techniques and animation. Co-presented by Barbara Archer Gallery and Goat Farm's satellite location Erikson Clock, Serving Face will showcase Atlanta artist Aubrey Longley-Cook's portraits of drag queens, paired with work created by his RuPaul Cross Stitch Animation Workshop – a collaboration of 35 artists. 

Frame 11, WIP 2 (2013)

And their explanation of the term "serving face":

The term “serving face” is a drag-community expression used to describe a queen striking an intense pose. Longley-Cook's portraits offer intimate glimpses of his subjects as seen through vanity mirrors.

Frame 11, WIP 3 (2013)

I'll be in Atlanta for the opening. If you're in the area, please join us! And please look for me and introduce yourself. 

I can't wait to see the animation!