2018 was a year of me painting my favorite female singers with butterfly and bird wings and antlers. (I will talk about WHY in my next post) I slowly transitioned into also painting a handful worthy men and then political figures like:
Dr. Christine Blasey Ford – There was no question that the Kavanaugh hearing moved me. I was devastated, uplifted, and triggered all at once along with many of my girlfriends and other sexual assault survivors. Her bravery will forever be remembered for me in this piece. A portion of the proceeds for this print are donated to RAINN, the National sexual assault telephone hotline.
Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg – the Notorious one original sold long ago, but the print can still be acquired HERE.
Maxine Waters “you better shoot straight!” If you don’t have a deep fondness for this woman I just don’t understand. Like Ford and RBG – the framed original Maxine piece has found a home, but the matted print is available.
Emma González – I write this tonight with the knowledge that a Parkland survivor has taken her life. Not everyone can be a figurehead of the movement and many suffer in silence. My heart goes out to every one of those kids and all the victims of the countless shootings in our country. I know those scars will be carried for a lifetime. I really hope Ms. González continues to fight the good fight and we see big things from her in the future. The print is still available and HALF of each sale will go to March For Our Lives.
Sharice Davids – It isn’t fair that I haven’t painted Deb Haaland yet, but Sharice is so striking I couldn’t resist. She is one of the first Indigenous Women elected to Congress in the recent blue wave. The framed original is still available.
Nancy Pelosi – I have to admit, I admire her, but I’m certainly not her biggest fan, but the state of the Union clap had to be immortalized as those who know me know – I LOVE shade. Again, the original sold, but the print is available.
I’m back again for another week’s worth of earrings for the celebration of heroes and icons for Black History Month! With each entry you can click on the highlighted text to purchase them.
I am donating a portion of the proceeds at the end of the month to Bennett College, an all women’s HBCU in South Carolina. I am also going to try to set aside a little for The University of the Virgin Islands as they recently announced they would the first HBCU to offer free tuition!
Feb 15th – The Tuskegee Airmen were the first black military aviators in the U.S. Army Air Corps (AAC), a precursor of the U.S. Air Force. They were trained at the Tuskegee Army Air Field in Alabama, hence the name. Their impressive performance in World War II earned them more than 150 Distinguished Flying Crosses, and helped encourage the eventual integration of the U.S. armed forces. They were called Red Tails or Red Tail Angels because of the red tails the P-51 Mustangs they flew in had.
Feb 16th – Booker T. and W.E.B.
Booker T. Washington and W.E.B. DuBois
By Dudley Randall
“It seems to me,” said Booker T.,
“It shows a mighty lot of cheek
To study chemistry and Greek
When Mister Charlie needs a hand
To hoe the cotton on his land,
And when Miss Ann looks for a cook,
Why stick your nose inside a book?”
“I don’t agree,” said W.E.B.
“If I should have the drive to seek
Knowledge of chemistry or Greek,
I’ll do it. Charles and Miss can look
Another place for hand or cook,
Some men rejoice in skill of hand,
And some in cultivating land,
But there are others who maintain
The right to cultivate the brain.”
“It seems to me,” said Booker T.,
“That all you folks have missed the boat
Who shout about the right to vote,
And spend vain days and sleepless nights
In uproar over civil rights.
Just keep your mouths shut, do not grouse,
But work, and save, and buy a house.”
“I don’t agree,” said W.E.B.
“For what can property avail
If dignity and justice fail?
Unless you help to make the laws,
They’ll steal your house with trumped-up clause.
A rope’s as tight, a fire as hot,
No matter how much cash you’ve got.
Speak soft, and try your little plan,
But as for me, I’ll be a man.”
“It seems to me,” said Booker T.–
“I don’t agree,”
Feb 17th – While a professor at Tuskegee Institute, George Washington Carver developed techniques to improve soils depleted by repeated plantings of cotton. He wanted poor farmers to grow alternative crops, such as peanuts and sweet potatoes, as a source of their own food and to improve their quality of life. Apart from his work to improve the lives of farmers, Carver was also a leader in environmentalism. In 1941, Time magazine dubbed Carver a “Black Leonardo”.
Feb 18th – I made these on President’s Day as perhaps a little bit of wishful thinking for the future. KAMALA HARRIS
Feb 19th – US Women’s Olympic Track & Field athletes – Alice Coachman was a high jump specializing athlete who, in 1948 at the London games became the first black woman to win an Olympic medal). Flo Jo or Florence Delorez Griffith Joyner was considered the fastest woman of all time and has 3 Gold and 2 Silver Olympic medals. Wilma Rudolph was a sprinter and was considered the fastest woman in the world in the 60s. She was the first woman to win 3 gold medals in a single Olympics games. Lastly, the 2016 USA Women’s relay team of Felix, Garder, Bowie, and Bartoletta took gold in Brazil. They all appear on these double sided earrings.
Feb 20th – the LegendaryJimi Hendrix! I really really love the textured blue violet color on these babies.
Feb 21st – Beyoncé and JayZ in The Louvre based on their now iconic Apes**t video.
See you next week for the final 7 entries and a surprise!
This is my 2nd full day at home here in Portland after 17 glorious days away in Japan. It is incredibly difficult to readjust to life back in the United States, even after all of these visits.
Day one was spent in Kamakura. This time I spent the visit on the opposite side of town. I had an incredible passion fruit sponge cake and visited the Mame Shiba Inu cafe. The dogs were completely indifferent to us being there, as one would expect of the cutest, snottiest dog breed. I also got to check out a temple and an amazing lotus garden.
On day 3 my friends and I made our way to Yamagata via shinkansen. Yamagata is a small city, but it is sprawling and quaint in a way. I had a great oil soba noodle dish (my favorite Japanese meal) on my first night there AND I got to enjoy a spectacular sunset complete with the surrounding mountain range.
Day 4 found us heading to the spot that has been #1 on my must-see list for a few years now, Yama-dera. Yama-dera is where, in 1689 the famed poet Matsuo Bashō wrote his haiku –
“ah this silence
sinking into the rocks
voice of cicada”
The pictures do not do it justice. There was a sense of real camaraderie among the people climbing the many steps to the beautiful temples. We were the only American tourists there. They made Sakuranbo (cherry) ice cream at a local shop and the shop keeper was so kind with us and curious of how we even came to be there. She was also curious about the sexy anime boy bag my friend was carrying.
These sakuranbo candies were ridiculous. I bought 12 bags. I found them at a train station in Oishida while we waited for our taxi to… Ginzan Onsen!
This place was remarkable. We soaked our feet in the mineral-rich waters before making our way around the tiny village, the trails through the hills surrounding it, and a glorious little waterfall. We also enjoyed the most satisfying cherry sake. Cherries again because the region is famous for them. Kelly had one sip of the delicious drink because her eye closes when she drinks even the weakest alcoholic drink imaginable.
After Yamagata we headed back to Tokyo and headed to the Yayoi Kusama Museum. The sheer joy her pumpkins give you when you see them in person in indescribable.
My friends stayed in Tokyo the following day, but I got back on the shinkansen and headed to meet a new friend in Nagoya, Masa. He purchased a piece from me online earlier this summer and we got to know each other over email communications. We both took a chance and I took the 2 hour train ride to meet him. He picked me up at the station and informed me he didn’t make plans, but was a trail lover like me. So, to my surprise he was willing to drive my behind 2 more hours into Gifu, one of the most gorgeous prefectures I have seen. We hiked in the humid heat a little bit on the trail that connects Tsumago and Magome. The old buildings are filled with tiny shop owners selling sweet and savory treats. The heat made me not so hungry, but we had some delicious rice cakes anyway. We headed back to the station to get me back to Tokyo, but not before Masa showed me his large home and the temple he spent much of his youth in. They opened it up just for us so I could see inside and I felt honored and humbled. My phone chose this time to randomly blast a Chris Brown song that I don’t even have saved in my phone. *tries to be quiet and respectful, fails horribly. Masa walked me to my train and we said goodbye and I was filled with joy over making such a good friend and sadness over the uncertainty of when we would see one another again.
The following day found my friends and I and our friend William attending the new, permanent installation by TeamLab: Borderless. Some of you readers may have seen my pictures from previous TeamLab events. This one did not disappoint. Rooms upon rooms of well thought out, brilliantly conceived lightshows and interactive light displays really blew our minds.
Then, it was time for our annual trip to WonderFest to look at upcoming toy releases and brave the crowds. I had a hard time here. We got drenched as we were herded around the outside of the entire complex before finally getting dumped into the showroom floor with the masses. The crowds weren’t as intense as AnimeExpo, but my back hurt, my feet were drenched, and I just could not snap out of it. Travel isn’t always pretty, but the sight of these breath-taking toys did boost me a bit.
From Wonderfest we headed to the airport and the large northern Island of Hokkaido – Sapporo to be specific. Exhausted and still damp, we called it a night so we could rise early for a bus tour of…
FURANO!! The area is known for its agriculture and pastoral scenes and we got to see so much of it! That gelato you see is blueberry honeysuckle from Furano dairy farms and it was so, so, so good.
On our second full day in Hokkaido we decided to stay in town. The city charmed all of us with its $2 trolley that circles a large portion of the city, its views from Mt Moiwa, and for me – the thicker, farm raised boys everywhere. Dude. so cute. Also, the subway at night is full of life and the windows are down so you get a strong breeze as you travel station to station and something about the city just feels so right.
Mt Moiwa boy for life.
We flew back to Tokyo early the next morning and went straight to JWorld to see my beloved Haikyuu (volleyball anime) boys, to Daikanyama for a cafe that I had to see (but flaked on when I saw the wait), and to dinner with my friend Miniko, a Shibuya shop owner. I got to have oil soba again at my favorite place in Yoyogi and walked around in the humid night to take a few pictures. I still love Yoyogi so much.
The next day my friends headed to Osaka, but I opted to get back on the shinkansen to see Masa again. This time he picked me up and we drove straight to the mountains in Gifu, just beyond the town of Gujo to escape the heat and view a spectacular waterfall, Amidaga. The trails were neatly kept and there was even a ramen shop in the woods below the falls! Afterwards we headed back to Gujo and the little market sitting on the Nagara River. What a place! I couldn’t help but imagine my life there as a farmer. Back in Nagoya we saw the beginnings of the Cosplay world event before saying goodbye again. This time I felt a little less sad with more confidence that we would for sure find a way to see each other again. Also, he gave me coffee that he roasted that I am drinking as I write this post and it is delicious.
I had a final 2 nights and a day in Tokyo after that, but I was a bit too numb with the fear of returning to the US to really absorb anything. That map above shows where I have spent time in Japan so far. Fukuoka and Kyushu are next I believe and you best believe it will be gorgeous and wonderful.