DOLLS: Sharita "me explico..." :-)

Hello GrapevineInk!

It's Sharita Towne, I'm writing from Berlin Germany. I'm in transition to Berlin, after living in Spain for two years. Amidst all these changes, I'm looking back at this summer in NYC and the Bay Area, where I got the chance to put in some time at two print studios, and visit a third shop in Dublin, Ireland. This is what my next posts will be all about.

First, I'd like to touch on my printing experiences at Harlem Textile Works, and some more insight into the print DOLLS...

Originally, I had planned to print a small edition based on a memory I had from my early childhood. One year at Christmas, my aunt bought all her nieces Barbies. These were the Twist and Turn stomach models manufactured during the 80's and 90's. My aunt bought each niece the same Barbie, except for my sister Shadya and I. She bought us the black versions, as we are the two "bi-racial" nieces. The family threw a fit. Why did she set us a part? Why did she show us we were different? Why couldn't she have bought all black dolls? Or some other gift altogether?

I sought out the exact sihouette from these years, and wanted to print it. One black, one white, or two black and 4 white, corresponding to the 6 nieces of my Towne family.

So I traced the headless silhouette, saw it standing alone, and thought of stringing them together, like a paper doll chain, repeated identical dolls all holding hands.
But once I came to the first day of printing, feeling so excited by the presence of 6 other amazing artists and women, I realized that each of our heads had to go atop these dolls, and I'd print 7. That we were our own dolls; playing, imagining, storytelling, holding each other up simply by making the work we make. I realized that I wanted to pay tribute to each individual, but also to the community we were making, and through sharing our stories in our printmaking practice.

So from Left to right here's brief explanation of each artist, there head, and links to their work by clicking on each first name.

Sharita. Little birds are flying from my head, which comes from an expression in Spain "pajaritos en la cabeza". If someone has "little birds in the head", it means they are a bit crazy and idealistic.

The next head is Ellen. It comes from this woodblock of hers. Birds are a very present element in her prints, and she told me maybe this has something to do with often going to visit birds at the zoo as a child.

Fumiko included this portrait she did of a woman, which reminded her of a doll. The circles are something she's been doing in her drawings and paintings for around 10 years.

Next there is Chanel's levitating bandaged head.This comes from a former print, and Chanel's rich imagination in character development, storytelling, and performance. I believe this may be of Queen Gidrea herself (correct me if I'm wrong Chanel :-).)

Tyanna, and "PJ Sparkle", or combine the two "TJ Sparkle" is next in line. This PJ Sparkle screenprint is just one example of how painterly and attentive Tyanna can be in this medium. Her work often depicts childhood toys, or toy ads, memory, and identity.

Next we have Elena.
She did this character with a Posca marker in about a minute. She can bust out a character like the one below with such ease, for all her years doing street art and graffiti. This image is of "GodPsila"... her bombing around town.

Last, but not least is Shani. No head at all, just a headless barbie saying "WORD". Shani has done a number of videos, and artbooks,with this element of comic strips,so the speech bubble is fitting.

It is my hope that each artist in the collective gets represented this way. Soon we can have a chain of women in printmaking, interconnected, supranational, and everwidening... WORLDWIDE!

I'm looking forward to everything we will be churning out this year,as individuals and as a collective. Again, thanks to everybody... your print from this rainbow roll edition is in the mail!