Saturday, November 12, 2016

Under $100 Official Poster

WPhila Pink & Blue #1 (click for larger)
I dropped off my piece WPhila Pink & Blue #1 at Off the Wall Gallery today. The work will be for sale for under a C-Note, so come to the opening next Sunday.

And W Phila #1 has a twin, and possibly more in the near future, so if you're interested in purchasing one come to the show, or contact me for details.

Click for larger PDF version

Share the event with your friends!

Old News is Good News

Migrating my websites "news" section to the blog. So here's some old news:

Save The World, UPDATE

This Machine...
I am glad to announce I was awarded Best In Show for my piece, This Machine..., by Off the Wall Gallery's community jury. What makes this a real honor is the overall strength of the show. There are some great artists who came up with a diverse array of answers to the show's theme. It will be up all summer, I encourage you all to go check it out.

Save The World

I have been accepted into the Off the Wall Gallery's community juried show, How Would You Save the World? Click here for event details and to RSVP.

Opening Reception is Thursday, June 9th, 7–10pm at Dirty Franks.

'A' Is for Adjunct

I have had the opportunity to work with a lot of great artists through the United Academics of Philadelphia (AFT Local 9608), including artist and activist Jennie Shanker. She put together a show at the Pennsylvania State House in Harrisburg comprised of artists who also work as Adjuncts. The title, Plan A: Artist Adjuncts in Academia was based on a piece I wrote on my adjunct experience (found here). The show aimed to educate State Legislators about the plight of Adjuncts who at the time were fighting against Temple University, which was arguing against their right for an election to Unionize before the PLRB.

Emirates Fine Art Society's 29th Annual Exhibition 2011

Sharjah Art Museum
While attending Graduate School at the University of the Arts, I had the pleasure of befriending visiting artist Mohammed Kazem. He had casually mentioned bringing students from UArts to the U.A.E, and possibly set up a space to show our work as an excuse to spend time in his home country.
Little did I know that a few months later I would be submitting work to the Emirates Fine Art Society's 29th Annual Exhibition, curated by Layla Juma Rashid. Twelve of us, including myself, were accepted and present our work at the Sharjah Art Museum with 24 other artist form the U.A.E., Germany and Italy including Hassan Sharif, Cristiana De Marchi and Maisoon Al Saleh.
• Blog by the University of the Arts artists documenting our experience in the U.A.E.

• Write up on WHYY's news site
• Write up on the Art Blog.
• Sharjah TV interview during the opening featuring myself and Lauren McCarty.

Monday, October 31, 2016

Under $100

Under $100

I have just been accepted into Off the Wall Gallery's juried exhibition, Under $100. The theme was open to any medium and subject, so I painted some nice little West Philly cityscapes. WPhila Pink & Blue #1 was selected and will be up for sale. Drop by Dirty Franks to purchase it, the show opens November 20th.

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Unacceptable New Normal

While organizing on Temple's campus last semester, the FBI issued a blanket warning for a possible shooter somewhere in the Philadelphia area.

The very next day, while driving to one of my Adjunct jobs, this story came on the radio, where an actual shooting occurred at the Community College of Philadelphia.

As nothing happened the day before, my fears reemerged as I though the previous day's threat could still be in effect.

After my initial shock and political indignation over America's irrational gun-boner, I attempted to rationalize away my fear with the fact that I work an hour outside of the city, and the likelihood of my small school in South Jersey falling under the warning was slim to none.

But as I prepped for my students' arrival I found myself planning a defense from a shooter, fretting over the fact that my door doesn't lock, the largest barricade large enough is too far across the room, and the window openings may be too slim to escape through (and may lead to more danger).

My response to both events can be found over at the Drinking Liberally Blog.

And today, I am reassessing my grading policies because now if a student disagrees with a grade I may get shot.

I have given my fair share of bad grades over my short teaching career. And those students most certainly deserved them. I was once called "tough but fair" by one student (an awesome one at that) so I feel confident in my grading.

I take a lot of time developing grading standards that are transparent and fair. My rubrics are clear, and my students are asked if thy agree to my standards at the beginning of each semester. I've found that as long as I can show a clear system to them, they don't argue. The understanding is that if assignment X has predetermined value of Y, then they know exactly what to expect when they slack.

Even attendance has an assigned value.

But even with all that, I've been challenged by students who clearly cheated, even after I presented them with evidence of their infraction.

So now do I inflate my grades to avoid dying? Do I reward cheating so as not to be murdered?

The fact that I have to ask these absurd sounding questions (as well as set up my classroom like a doomsday prepper) is more than problematic, it's deeply troubling.

Now I understand that I do not teach a high-pressure subject, and it seems the UCLA shooter was in a high-pressure career track, under a great deal of pressure to succeed, and whatever grade he received made him crack. And whatever that grade was, I have a feeling it would have been perfectly acceptable to some of my students.

But I have also been told that, due to a failing a student, that I have ruined careers. And I'm certain I've ended Academic careers with one grade. So I am again left to contemplate certain death for giving an F.

What is worse is how facts about gun control are ignored like Global Warming or Vaccinations (that's right anti-vaxers, you're as bad as Lamar Smith!).

The evidence is clear,  more gun regulations means fewer shootings, lax rules means more shootings. Just look to Hawaii and Alaska for proof. To over-simplify, the more guns the more shootings. You don't need to be a scientist to understand this, but sometimes it helps to ask one.

I easily found that source from one the most reliable fact-checking organization out there, They were founded right here in Philly at an academic institution, the University of Pennsylvania, and importantly are not beholden to profit.

 They say the same, that more guns do not equal fewer shootings.

And if you are not into "science" or "facts" and respond more to heart-tugging issue based arguments to make this point clearer, here you go.

As an Academic I tend to avoid sources that reinforce my bias, as the article does. But the article makes good points and includes personal stories of teachers including one that would rather leave their job than accept Campus Carry laws.

And don't you dare tell me that I should carry. There's even more evidence that suggests, unless I am a highly trained member of  law-enforcement, with hours and hours of constant firearms training, as well as exposure to high-stress live-shooter simulations, I am as useless with a gun as my Dad is with Twitter.

It's time for evidence-based, reasonable gun laws, universal background checks (supported by most Americans), fewer guns on the streets, and zero in the classroom. I will likely be giving out a few more bad grades in the future and I'd like to live through them.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

My message to #Bernieorbust folk

Today's post has a soundtrack. Listen to this as you read

This election season, I am having flashbacks to Aught Eight and the Obama v Clinton arguments we had at Drinking Liberally, which got so tiresome that Roxanne Cooper and I abstained and bonded over our mutual love of Battlestar Galactica.

Good times those.

Now I need to  find someone to talk to about Mr. Robot.

These days things have gotten worse,  Social Media has amplified the arguments (now about Sanders v Clinton) to the point that you would think Sanders is being completely ignored by the Media (he isn't) or that he is actually winning but because of a broken mainstream media and a corrupt Democratic party, he is losing. Or the Dems are purposefully denying the will of the people (also, not happening, at least to the extent my FB feed would have me think).

The same camp would have us believe that Clinton is the Spawn of Satan who hates Black people and is a Republican in disguise. She has certainly said some questionable things, but what politician hasn't?

The other camp wants me to know that Sanders doesn't have a chance in hell and his pie-in-the-sky rhetoric is nothing but empty idealism with no real-world application.

I don't believe any of it. The age of click-bait headlines and opinion-driven journalism has made the academic in me die a little bit every day. I thought my students were bad at proper citation.

Otherwise intelligent individuals have posted some of the most unreliable sources coupled with caps-lock heavy posts. I've even seen Reddit used as a "source" of information. Fucking REDDIT.

The pro-Bernie Left has sunk to the levels of the Anti-Acorn or anti-Planned Parenthood Right.

And the pro-Hillary-Left hasn't learned from '08 and has written off Sanders as a joke, and is defending an admittedly flawed Political Party.

This doesn't help the actual, and beneficial debate we need to be having about Clinton and Sanders' records, their ability to win, and eventually, lead.

Especially when, no matter who wins, an intransigent Legislature will more than likely continue to block everything either a Woman or admitted Socialist purpose.

And what really get's me, and the impetus of this post, are the folk on the Left that will not vote if Clinton is the candidate.

The #Bernieorbust cult claims that they won't care if Drumpf wins because then we will finally have the Revolution we have always wanted and finally tear down a broken system.

They do not propose an alternative, other than "the system is broken so fuck it" and this same attitude gave us Bush II with all his foreign and domestic horrors. Not to mention an arguably more dangerous Ted Cruz, elected by a tiny minority because people didn't show up to vote when it really mattered.

Samantha Bee, one of the better standard bearers of Jon Stewart's legacy, makes the argument that not only do we have Ted Cuz because of low midterm election turnout, we have Governors and State Legislatures enacting racist Voter ID laws, transphobic bathroom laws, and anti-abortion laws.

That's right, if you listen to the anti-Clinton propaganda pushed by the Right ever since the 90s, and don't vote, we get Drumpf/Cruz, and shit gets worse. Tearing the system down by not participating has real-world, often deadly consequences for a lot of people. And your Revolution ain't happening. Sorry, if you didn't revolt in '04, what will be different now?

I agree that the system is effed, and that Clinton is a Centrist and an opportunist, and also that Sander's offers some very attractive, but sometimes impractical, Populism (who also voted fro the same Crime Bill cited by the anti-Clinton camp as evidence of her evil). But hyperbolic Facebook posting is not helping

I also think that Clinton is not patently evil, has a great deal to offer, and when pushed to the Left she moves to the Left.  I also love that Sanders is succeeding in such a way that the conversation has been forever altered, and is helping push Clinton to the right side of History (or Left side of History, as it were).

So let us just promise that we won't read USUncut, or UpWorthy, or Reddit, (or unverifiable Memes, God help me the Memes!), calm the fuck down and really talk reasonably about how we on the Left can move our country the right direction.

Also, go vote, the only way to change the System is to properly organize and make the System work in our favor.

In the words of my friend Booman (someone you really should be reading):

"You can tell me that this is a rigged system, except it was precisely this system that allowed Barack Obama to overcome the institutional advantages the Clintons had in 2008, when holdovers from Bill's presidency dominated the DNC and many state and county level positions.
And I don't think this system disfavors outsiders if the outsiders are good (and early) organizers. I do think it disfavors anyone who thinks they can take over an entire power structure without winning over a substantial part of that power structure to their side, but that's part of what organizing is all about. Without that kind of organizing, you're relying on magic, and I don't believe in magicians."