Sunday, December 21, 2014

El Dorado

Been forever since I last posted. I have a bunch of new work to post!

This book is an origami fold structure, digitally printed background, and letterpress text and imagery. It measures 3.5" square when closed, and 9"x29" open.

It's about a literal and figurative search for El Dorado - the legendary city and also ghost town in Nevada. Some of the writing is my own and others are sourced from old Nevada mining town books and news articles.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Bookbinding Conference Go Fund Me

I've created a Go Fund Me campaign to attend the Guild of Book Workers conference this October.  As a student, I'm on a tight budget and it isn't really feasible for me to go without some help.  I've been researching and making medieval girdle books for the past year, and there is a seminar specifically on girdle books!   I have bookmarks,  zines, blank books and miniature books to give in exchange.  It would really mean a lot to me. Thanks so much!

http://www.gofundme.com/kerisbooks



Saturday, August 9, 2014

Miniature bookbinding

I made some miniature full-leather books this week.  Unsurprisingly,  they are just as big of a pain in the ass to make as bigger books!  But they are fun and cute and will be making more, even tinier books soon!  I'm thinking of making them into necklaces, or leaving them as is??

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Unfunny Bitch

I've finally started gathering the comics and illustrations I've been working on and am now posting them on unfunnybitch.blogspot.com .  Go check it out!

I'm maintaining this one (Keri Contrary) for my various other projects and artwork, while Unfunny Bitch will mostly consist of illustrations and comics focusing on social issues, personal issues, feminism, racism, and all things unfunny from daily life.
 



Welcome To The Wonderful World of Wage Labor







"Welcome to the Wonderful World of Wage Labor"
Movable book, 2014

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Cryptid Park and Phantasmagoric Garden

A collaborative project between myself and Beverly Bryan from 2013.  Pen and ink illustrations digitally scanned and printed as a tri-fold brochure.  Will be editioned (someday).  We're working on opening the real zoo someday too. 

CRYPTID PARK -cover view

Petting Zoo with cute little Astrid the unicorn!


Overview map fold-out

Who doesn't love a skunk ape?

We still have annual memberships available!

Searchlight


A towering lighthouse in the desert. 

We got lost on the drive there.  Drove past the unmarked dirt road, hidden in a ninety-degree angle off the main highway.  When we figured it out and turned around, we lost nearly forty minutes of daylight.  The windows were up, bracing us against the heat, and the artificial cool air streaming from the vents made the skin of my lips become tight and crack.      

The black tower, non-reflective, absorbing light, keeping its warmth in its core for cold nights.

We found the decaying boat first, crashed into the side of a mountain, off the side of the road.  Lost at sea, brought in by a tidal wave no doubt, left astride a teetering rock, wedged in the stone wall of the shallow cliff in the middle of the desert.  He said we should explore it, maybe climb inside its rusted out hull.  I told him, maybe it wasn’t safe.  We climbed in anyway. 

A beacon of light calling out to the lost ones.  Bring them in.  Bring them to safety. 

The crew had long abandoned ship, not even footsteps or cigarette butts in the surrounding sand as record.  The air was thick with heat and sunlight.  We found a broken porthole on the inside of the boat, with a dark space that extended past the width of the entire wall into another side, another dimension.  Reach your hand inside.  No.  Okay.  It feels cold inside.

This is the way, through the darkness. 

We pull out a journal, a captain’s log, a tattered green paper covered book with crumbling yellow lined pages, spiral-bound, a cheap drugstore notebook stuffed into a plastic bag.  Open it.  No, you open it.  Okay.  What does it say?  Notes, letters, gibberish, scribbles, lists, many names of people who were here.  Should we write our names on the list?  What will happen?  I don’t know.  No.  Okay.  Write our names in the notebook.  I was here.  You were here.  Now the world will know we were here, in this boat, at this moment in the desert, under the weight of the midday sun, in the spring time.  The next time someone reaches their hand into this abyss, this dark sea in the boat, they will find the notebook and know.  I was here.  You were here.  Our names are added to the list, to the captain’s log, to the crumbling page with black ink. 

Watch your head.  Walk slowly.  It’s not too far now.

Careful not to cut yourself on the rust.  You could get tetanus.  You could get lockjaw.  Did you have your shots?  No.  Okay.  The boat was coated in green patina, oxidized metals scorched by the relentless sun.  It had been an unforgivably long time since the boat had been in water.  Its lips were parched and cracking like ours, made weak by the desert sun, crashing down on us like waves, beating us against the side of the mountain like the grounded boat.  Stripped of purpose, stripped of all meaning, left as a reminder on the rocks of unseen oceans.  A reminder of absence.  

The light is blinding, infinite.  Waiting for you. 

We sat in the boat, the boat merged with the rocky shore without a shore.  The seats of dry rot planks did not give way to our weight, and we were able to survey the area as new captains.  This foreign, Martian land of red rocks and dry earth, surrounded by wild flora like blue sagebrush and black rooted desert bamboo and tiny milky translucent white flowers like fingernails danced in the wind on gray twig stalks.  We looked far out into the horizon for a ghost route of safe passage to sail through.  A route to the sea that won’t disappear when you approach.  Past heat and expiration, past the darkness and the cold.    All I ever wanted was to find you here.   

Wake up.




Gotta Love Them Pretty Boys and Muscle Cars


The second time I fell in love was with a boy who had wild jet-black hair and wore eyeliner and fingerless gloves and all the kids in school called him a fag and we would fuck in the backseat of his ’72 Chevelle SS parked in empty desert lots on the outskirts of town with the twinkling of the distant city lights mingling with the stars and everything was just sparkling diamonds on black velvet amongst the smell of spit and sweat and the residual heat of the sun soaked into the earth and into the damp leather benchseat.        

Thursday, January 16, 2014

A Mostly True Tale of Fraggle Mayhem





"I'll see you in your nightmares, tiny fraggles.."

When I was young, I really liked Fraggle Rock.  Like, I really liked Fraggle Rock to a borderline unhealthy degree, as in, I would dig holes in my backyard trying to find their secret lair, and bury my toys so that they would have a secret lair.  For those of you that might be too old or too young to remember, Fraggles were tiny creatures that lived in a miniature underground construction site, and there were larger creatures above ground that were always trying to get them for some reason, and above that world was a man who lived with his talking dog, I think.  I felt a strong connection to these Fraggles, in their struggles in life, being forever hunted by larger creatures while they build on and on in their perpetually unfinished world.

          It was Fraggle Rock that inspired my very first business venture.  I would write, plan, and produce my own puppet shows for my family, who patiently attended each showing sometimes held entirely against their will.  The jokes in my puppet shows were always strange and almost never ever funny.  I didn’t quite understand punch-lines, so often my routine would consist of tremendous amounts of absurd buildup and then just flat-line awkwardly at the end.  I did notice though, that my jokes got more of a reaction when I screamed them at the top of my lungs, and so I did just that.  “Why did the dog cross the road?!!  Because I said so!!!”'

          I made my own marionettes by tying strings around the necks and arms of my stuffed animals, then I would make them dance and sing from their tiny nooses as I swung them around the room.  A particularly disturbing puppet was made from a stuffed rabbit, whose head I had removed and staked onto a sharpened popsicle stick.  I cut a hole where the rabbit’s mouth was so that I could manipulate it to talk, however, the mechanics of talking puppets was a bit too complicated, and instead, I just waved the decapitated rabbit’s head around on a stick, its mouth gaping in horror.  My parents would watch my plays with unease, but they would always clap at the end.  They were careful not to stifle my creativity.

          One evening my parents had company over, and that called for a special performance.  As I set up for my play, my mother quietly said fearful diversions, like “Oh, let’s watch the play next time, honey…” or “hey, why don’t you show them your new coloring book instead?”  My parents were like most adults, who have an undying need to show everyone else how normal they are, so I assume that having their guests witness their child set up a torture chamber of a play, screaming maniacally with dismembered stuffed animals on ropes, might have come across as not normal.

          The play was brilliant, my finest performance to date.  I was beaming, and my audience sat transfixed and wide-eyed, as I fitfully screamed nonsensical jokes and flung my toys in bondage around the room. “How many trees does it take to screw in a lightbulb!?  I don’t know!!!” My Little Pony both asked and answered herself, dangling from a string tied to her mane.  “Knock knock!” legless Barbie would scream. “Who’s there?!” Rabbit’s head-popsicle stick would shriek, cotton stuffing spilling out of its cavernous mouth like foaming rabies.  Teddy Ruxpin answered, but his head was half crushed due to an incident with a garage door and he no longer worked properly, unless I peeled his eyes back with my fingers, and pried his jaw open and closed.  “It’s meeeee…..” Ruxpin exclaimed, in a low demonic voice that I mimicked from when his batteries ran low.  I would like to add, that because I was a master of my craft, it was important for the puppeteer to remain unseen, and so I wore a black sheet over my face for the entirety of the performance.

          For my grand finale, I took off running around the room, singing the Fraggle Rock theme song.  The next thing I remember was laying on the floor, staring at the ceiling except I couldn’t see anything above me. My head felt cold and I had a sensation that I was sinking into a dark tunnel, like I was headed to the underground Fraggle lair.  I heard my parents’ voices, but they sounded far away and distorted, like they were talking into a tin can telephone.  Then everything went black.

          I awoke in the hospital, fading in and out of consciousness.  I was very, very sleepy, but I remember doctors and other adults yelling at me to wake up, and asking repeatedly what my name was, until it became very annoying and scary, when all I wanted to do was sleep.   Every time I woke up, I wasn’t sure if I was really awake or not. I just remember waking up, over and over, but never falling asleep.  The coldness in my head was something I had never experienced before or since, and can only be best described as if your head was a dark cave containing an icy lake inside, frosty and misty, dripping icicles that sent freezing shocks like lightning through your brain.

          I awoke and then I awoke and then I woke up finally, but unsure if I was still asleep, and woke up again.  This cycle went on for an eternity, and I had lived a dark eternity in this icy cave.  When I would reach the light at the entrance, I would wake up in the cave again to tunnel my way out.  There was something frantic and feverish in my memories, a mix of laughter and fun, and sheer terror.  I was lost in myself and in those brief waking moments I was filled with terror, unable to differentiate between reality and dreams.

          I learned a few days and a lifetime later, that I had Fraggle-danced all the way down the metal staircase in our house, and split my head open like a pumpkin.  In the hospital, while they pieced back together my head, the doctors needed to wake me up pretty frequently so I didn’t slip into a coma.  I didn’t know what a coma was then, but I knew it was a lot like sleep but also sort of like death, and I became very aware of how unaware I was when sleeping, and so I began to avoid it at all costs.

          When I finally went home, there were bloodstains everywhere on the carpet, from my landing spot to a small dripping trail as I was carried out the door to the ambulance.  My parents were preoccupied with me being in the hospital, so they had left my mess untouched.  Parts of stuffed animals and broken toys lay strewn around the room, near a dried pool of blood.  I felt that they had rebelled and attacked me in their mutiny.  Fraggle Rock had forsaken me and stolen away my childhood, replacing it with anxiety of sleep and an association between muppets and blood and mayhem that I could not shake.