Soft Spring by Lex Gjurasic

Please come join me on Thursday, April 5th for the opening of Soft Spring!  I'm thrilled to be the featured Artist in The Museum Store at the Tucson Museum of Art & Historic Block and showcase this new work which is avaiable for purchase. The reception will be in coordination with other events that evening at TMA from 5-8pm. Soft Spring will be on display April 3-28.

Lex Gjurasic’s Soft Spring is new work that includes paintings, sculpture and wearable art. With Soft Spring Gjurasic embraces her synesthesia, allowing it to be involved in the creative process much like a divining rod, as opposed to treating the blending of sensory perceptions as a side effect of making art. The result is a wonderfully experimental body of mixed media work that draws its structural inspiration from botanical shapes, while having the textural quality and colors of edible confections. Gjurasic's synesthesia, in which colors have flavor, is even present in the title of this new work - Soft Spring; a play on words that speaks to both the floral motif and the texture of a perfect piece of cake.

More information here.

Facebook event.

New sculptural hangable mixed media works...

New sculptural hangable mixed media works... well as wearable leather flowers embellished with pearls, sequins and crystals. well as wearable leather flowers embellished with pearls, sequins and crystals. 

Update: DEEP TIME by Lex Gjurasic

I am having a lot of FUN working on DEEP TIME. We are deep in the thick of creation for the exhibition which will be on display May 29th-August 31 2018 at the Scottsdale Public Library.

You are invited to attend a special reception for DEEP TIME which will be held on the evening of May 26th.

You are also invited to follow along with this journey of Deep Time on my IG, @gjurasicpark

Part of a super coral sculpture in the studio with Moonpie the cat.

Part of a super coral sculpture in the studio with Moonpie the cat.

Super coral sculpture work in progress.  Magic Mountain

Super coral sculpture work in progress. Magic Mountain

Major Announcement! by Lex Gjurasic


 Myself and a collaborator have been tapped to by Scottsdale Public Art, the City of Scottsdale and the Scottsdale library to create a large scale temporary installation at the Scottsdale Library. Deep Time is the scientific term used to describe a time before man . For three months during the summer of 2018 Deep Time will be hosted by the Scottsdale library so you will be able to explore our imagined vision of the primordial seascape that once was the desert southwest.

Deep Time runs May 26 – August 31, 2018 

With an opening reception to be announced.
Scottsdale Public Library, 3839 N. Drinkwater Blvd, Scottsdale, AZ 85251

There will be multiple events and workshops in coordination with Deep Time. More info to follow here on my blog!

Witness my work on the project on social media here, with #DeepTime.

We welcome any helping hands through volunteer oppertunities. 

Email me directly if you would like to get involved. 

I hope you make the time to come enjoy this experimental and encompassing exhibition.

See you in Scottsdale!


Spines @ DeGrazia by Lex Gjurasic


  The DeGrazia Foundation and Lex Gjurasic invites you to Spines, an exhibition of recent work inspired by the found objects of the borderlands, on display at The Little Gallery at the Gallery in the Sun from November 5th to November 17th with a reception on Saturday, November 11th 12-4pm at 6300 N. Swan, Tucson AZ 85718.

Spines is an exhibit of exuberant mixed media sculptures and paintings by Tucson-based artist Lex Gjurasic that draws inspiration from the desert environment and the enduring creative spirit of Ted DeGrazia.  For the duration of the exhibition Gjurasic will be present in the exhibition space daily during regular hours 10-4pm. The centerpiece of the exhibition is a mixed media sculpture also entitled Spines on display to the public for the first time. Spines is a 4 foot tall found calf spine, coated in beeswax and painstakingly covered in seed beads and embellished with quartz crystal points as to give it a holy glow. Gjurasic’s signature vibrant and inventive, and often experimental, works will include paintings and sculptures, works on wood, paper and bone as well as her charming handmade items available only during the Holidays.  

Says Gjurasic about the unveiling of Spines the sculpture, “This piece draws influence from Huichol indigenous traditions and is comprised of found objects collected in the desert. Spines pulls energy directly from the desert and plays upon the ancient and scientific idea that the spine is the spiritual energetic center of the body and biologically the nervous system. It is also a play upon words as the every cactus employs spines that protect it. Spines the sculpture was arduous to create taking over a year and a half. I’m proud to showcase it in such a holy place as the Little Gallery at the Gallery in the Sun.”

Spines, detail, 36x16 inches, mixed media on bone, 2015-2017

Spines, detail, 36x16 inches, mixed media on bone, 2015-2017

Local News by Lex Gjurasic

Two bits of news worthy local recognition...  LeadLocal honored me by naming me their Artist in Residence. I've been hanging work in their beautiful adobe building in the Barrio Viejo for over a year now, so we decided to make our mutual love official! Stop by to see what's on the walls and to find out more about what LeadLocal does for our community or your organization or businesses.    More about LeadLocal   #ThisIsTucson included a profile of me in their list of Riot Grrrls You Need To Know. I owe a lot to the Riot Grrrl feminists movement in the Pacific NW for allowing me as a teenage girl to find the voice that makes me the artist and woman I am today.   Read the full article here

Two bits of news worthy local recognition...

LeadLocal honored me by naming me their Artist in Residence. I've been hanging work in their beautiful adobe building in the Barrio Viejo for over a year now, so we decided to make our mutual love official! Stop by to see what's on the walls and to find out more about what LeadLocal does for our community or your organization or businesses. 

More about LeadLocal

#ThisIsTucson included a profile of me in their list of Riot Grrrls You Need To Know. I owe a lot to the Riot Grrrl feminists movement in the Pacific NW for allowing me as a teenage girl to find the voice that makes me the artist and woman I am today.

Read the full article here

The Value of Unsupportive Parents by Lex Gjurasic


There is nothing more annoying than listening to some other artist talk about how their path is adorably supported by their parents. They don’t have student loans, Mom and Dad footed the bill for school, no sad trips to Hobby Lobby to use a 40% off coupon on supplies. Only the BEST for Junior! Not to mention Mom and Dad absolutely love ALL their art. They are just SO PROUD!

And home, home ISN’T NYC! They are just interlopers till acclaim comes their way. Home is still home with Mommy and Daddy. Who are both still married, to each other, by the way.

Immediately, I started protest hopping, worshiping the devil, and making drawings based on hairless Japanese pornography.

Don’t discount the value of unsupportive parents.

You are going to SHOW THEM when you make it BIG!

As a result of your folks’ lack of believing in your dream of becoming a regarded artist, you have a burning fire in your belly. The fire to show them that they are wrong.

You have a desire to make art at any cost. Sure, it’s nice to have Mother show your work proudly to her church prayer group, then pray for your success through JESUSCHRISTOURLORD’SNAME AMEN. But you have been blessed with nothing left to lose. You are so hungry for success. Through their lack of support, you are more self-reliant and therefore more creative. Any piece of free flotsam on the side of the road is absolutely wrought with unlimited potential!

You are not a well-kept lapdog; you are an artistic dingo scavenging the city for found objects.

Not only have your parents not believed in your dream, they never will. They never understood you anyway. You have always been so much deeper than them. You have never fit into their suburban dream.


The benefit of your parents not giving a shit about your art is that you don’t have to give TWO SHITS back. You don’t have to care what they think of what you make. You are like a young Robert Mapplethorpe once he shook off the shackles of wanting his father’s approval and began to give ZERO FUX.

Better yet, you may not even know your dad! You are lucky to reside in good company with other great creative pioneers such as Jobs, Bezos and Superman.

You DON’T NEED THEM anyway. You are an autonomous individual who makes whatever you want. Sure, those other patsies whose parents love them make art, but it is privy to their parent’s approval.

Do you know what happens when your parents pay $200K for art college? They are so invested in your work that they expect results they can show the neighbors AND that matches the couch. Basically they own your ass.

The best advice I got from my mentor was that if your parents aren’t paying your way, they can’t tell you what to do. It was a light bulb moment.

Immediately, I started protest hopping, worshiping the devil, and making drawings based on hairless Japanese pornography.

Who was to say no?

Who would disapprove of my new artwork?

Who would cast a shameful eye on me? Not my boyfriend at the time, I’ll tell you that.

When I went to Mexico City for a protest I was participating in, I met with a radical arts collective in DF and naively asked them if they had financial support from the government for their work. They scoffed, “NO WAY! Then they would tell us what to do!” Not to mention the Mexican government had burned their printing press the year before….

Returning to the US, I had a revelation. Any artist who made the public even the least bit uncomfortable and was funded through the NEA or through any other governmental organization was pretty much fucked.

David Wojnarowicz’s ant-covered Jesus video made ME feel uncomfortable; I can’t imagine how his parents must have felt. But I’m sure they don’t really care. If they had cared, he wouldn’t have been able to work so wildly and untethered. He would have backed away from the edge and ruined the nature of the sublime rawness of his art.

If your Ma and Pa have ever suggested that perhaps you have a “backup plan” to becoming an artist, like court reporting school, becoming a legal secretary, or getting a “real” degree—or if they want you to be a bit “more practical” and are straight up NOT willing to pay for a degree in Fine Art—you have been gifted with the blessing of parents who don’t support your vision.

The truth is that it’s just your art vs. the world. And be damned if you allow wanting their approval to make you fail.


10x10 by Lex Gjurasic

Your first opportunity to see new works from my  Soft Spring  series of sculptural objects at Tohono Chul Gallery this fall. I have been invited to include a few pieces in Tohono Chul Gallery's 10x10 small works invitational.  All pieces in the exhibition are no larger than 10 inches in size and all are $100.  10x10 will on display in the Entry Gallery 10/6-12/17 with an opening reception on Thursday, 11/16 from 5:30-8:00.  This should be a fun and frenzied event!   More info at

Your first opportunity to see new works from my Soft Spring series of sculptural objects at Tohono Chul Gallery this fall. I have been invited to include a few pieces in Tohono Chul Gallery's 10x10 small works invitational.

All pieces in the exhibition are no larger than 10 inches in size and all are $100.

10x10 will on display in the Entry Gallery 10/6-12/17 with an opening reception on Thursday, 11/16 from 5:30-8:00.

This should be a fun and frenzied event! 

More info at

Southwestern Obsession by Lex Gjurasic


Endless inspiration, if you can take the heat.

Before moving to New Mexico, my only reference to Albuquerque was in  Bugs Bunny cartoons as the destination arrived at only when lost. Over the past decade, I’ve lived and explored a good chunk of the Southwest—everywhere from Abiquiu to Marfa to T or C to Sasabe.  And now I live in Tucson and like Bugs, I arrived in Arizona unintentionally, and fell in love.

For an artist, the Sonoran desert is beyond beautiful and infinitely inspirational.

When you are a transplant to any new place, you tend to gravitate towards other transplants. For locals, exploring is old hat. To them old haunts are uninteresting and patinated with history.

The desert southwest is everywhere and nowhere.

Then there are the intentional Southwestern transplants, those who actually wanted to move to the Southwest from New York to Los Angeles. They flock to the desert like members of a cult. You sit with them and begin to hear the fabled tales that motivated their move to the desert; the O’Keefeeian light, the Taos hum, the Sedona vortex, the Santa Fe energies all beckoning to them.

“New Mexico is very BIG in New York. It’s a thing,” a NYC transplant once told me.

Oh really?

For Los Angeleno transplants, the slight eastward migration is best explained a bit more practically. It’s the cost of living that can’t be beat. As an artist, you can live anywhere in the Southwest, make your art and make your rent. Arizona has everything SoCal, minus the beach (unless you count the 4 hour drive to Mexico.) Plus, it is only a quick hop on the plane back to LA, I mean civilization.

It’s true, the light is amazing. Not only is there no smog, there are also no buildings over 10 floors tall to clutter the landscape. In fact, the desert’s almost nonexistent humidity brightens the sky to a turquoise blue that Los Angelenos lust after.

Before you go renting a U-Haul in a fog of cactus infatuation, this is what you need to know about SWern lyfe.

If you have a family history of skin cancer this may not be the best place to take up plein air painting. Also, true locals WILL be annoyed by you and won’t care about your art. Do bring your art connections when you move, you’ll need them. Yes, the Southwest is a Mecca for artists, but come visit before you move, and visit in midsummer.

Remember no place is NYC except for NYC. No one wants to hear about how you can’t get a good bowl of ramen in Albuquerque. Get over it and embrace the green chile, and know that low-carb in the SW means not eating the flour tortilla on your breakfast burrito.

A great example of “Big City” culture clash with the Southwest is on the website for the Roswell Artist-In-Residence Program in Roswell, New Mexico. This residency is one of the rare family friendly residencies in the nation. The FAQs section on the site includes the question of educational options for artist spawn in the area, which is answered with: “Yes, but no fancy type schools. Just the old-fashioned public schools and a few preschools. There are a few church type schools.”

How many times do you think they had to answer that question before they had to put it on the website?

Ever heard the saying “The First World falls in love with the Third World”? Well, I feel like this exact phenomenon happens with artists and the mythical Southwest. But there is so much more than Navajo fiber arts, turquoise jewelry, and gay rodeo cowboys to entice artists to the Wild West.

And forget about the damn the light; it’s the smell that’s intoxicating. Winter in the SW is typified by the smoke of piñon wood and magical fucking candles in paper bags. And the summer’s monsoon (rainy) season is just as fragrant with the scent of the creosote bush which basically smells like rain on the concrete without having to be honked at in the city.

Ok, the light here is incredible, except when it’s  not, like when the apocalyptic dust storms called haboobs engulf everything. And you better watch out because a flash flood can take out both you and your land art! New York may have rats and cockroaches but the Southwest has black widows, palo verde beetles, scorpions AND rattlesnakes. Oh, and they ALL will be in your studio.

Sure the Southwest is picturesque and endlessly inspiring for artists, but the idea of the Southwest can be starkly different from the reality.

New Mexicans playfully call the “Land of Enchantment” the “Land of Entrapment.” And rightfully so! If you are born here in relative isolation, it takes a tremendous amount of effort to leave. I heard an interview with Santa Fe-resident and actress Shirley MacLaine in which she said if New Mexico loves you here it will hold you here, but if it doesn’t love you, it will kick your ass!

For me the desert southwest is everywhere and nowhere.

It’s the only place I’ve lived where I’ve experienced both a deeply spiritual solitude and an invigorating cultural community. It’s definitely NOT for everyone. And it’s definatly not the landscape in the background of the Looney Tunes cartoon. It’s absolutely lunar and otherworldly and it won’t stroke your ego or kiss your ass. There is nothing between you and the prick of a cactus.

Plus, it’s hard to wear black here all the time, but you can try.

Welcome Summer! by Lex Gjurasic


As things get obnoxiously hot in Tucson my plan to deal with the heat is to be emerged in work in my cool studio.

I just wanted to remind everyone that if you do want to get out and see art this summer I have 3 floating paintings still on display in the exhibition Arizona Abstraction at Tohono Chul Park. Arizona Abstraction will be on display through August.

And yes, there is air conditioning!

My studio is as always avaiable for visits upon request.

Contact me to set up a time to come by and I'll make lemonade for us.



Spring Updates by Lex Gjurasic


Last week Arizona Spotlight's Vanessa Barchfield came to my studio and we chatted about art, robbing banks and Polar Pop cups. You can listen to the full interview online on Arizona NPR. 

Muchas thank you to everyone who came out to the opening reception party for Stamp Out Reality! It was so much fun. Stamp Out Reality! is will be on display at Tiny Town Gallery, 408 N. 4th Ave, Tucson AZ 85705 thru April 30th. The exhibition was also mentioned in #ThisIsTucson as part of it's suggestions of 30 Things to do in Tucson this April.

I will also have a few of my smaller cut-out paintings on display at Tohono Chul Gallery in the exhibition Arizona Abstract which runs 4/27-8/13 with an opening reception on Thursday 4/27 5:30-8pm. Tohono Chul Gallery is at 5366 N. Paseo del Norte, Tucson AZ  85704.

 Come by and say hi!


Photo: Vanessa Barchfeild      

Photo: Vanessa Barchfeild



STAMP OUT REALITY! by Lex Gjurasic

I invite you to Stamp Out Reality!

Join me for an immersive exhibition of psychedelic paintings and conceptual sculptures hosted by Tiny Town Gallery, 408 N. 4th Ave, Tucson AZ. 85705.

Stamp Out Reality! is on display April 4 -April 30, 2017.

Opening party Friday, April 7, 6-9pm.

Tiny Town Gallery has invited me to install an art experience that Stamps Out Reality! The exhibition is composed of my Styrofoam conceptual cactus sculptures that were created for and installed at the inaugural year of the Dusk Music Fest as well as my levitating Otherworldly cut-out panel paintings that were previously on display at Tucson International Airport.

“ Stamp Out Reality! was a Vietnam era protest slogan on a button worn by my friend’s father. This phrase resonates even more so now more than ever in this time of infotainment, truthiness and alternative facts…why not get lost in the imagination of the artist?”

The exhibition Stamp Out Reality! will also be punctuated with a limited edition run of buttons printed by Tanline Printing. 

How To Raise A Creative Child by Lex Gjurasic



I had a play date with a mom who lauded the benefit of sports for children: “Life’s all about competition. That is just how the world works!” I nodded my head in agreement but this philosophy of child-rearing just didn’t jive with me. And I continued to contemplate it.

Is the whole world competing with each other?

Is competition the golden key to raising a child into a successful adult?

Besides the obvious Capitalist implications of her statement, it was a total turn off to me. Of course there are real benefits for children participating in organized sports such as exercise, learning cooperation, team work. And every one of these things, not just competition, does benefit a person into adulthood.

I’m not into sports for myself or for my child but that does not mean I’m opposed to them. My daughter has just shown no interest in sports. Of course if she showed interest or asked to play a sport I’d sign her up.

How will she EVER succeed in a competitive world!?

I can hear the chorus of soccer moms now: But she needs exercise! Children need to be active!

It’s hard for sports-minded people to understand that art is a process, not a race.

 Now back to the “fact” that the world is based on competition. Well, it’s NOT for artists as well as many other brave souls.

I tried to imagine framing my artistic endeavors within the context of competition. Unlike the myth of the free market, it wouldn’t result in “better” art. To have strong artistic results, you must compete, but only with yourself. When you enter into your studio you do it with the BANG of a starter pistol. You’re off and running, making art as if you are the lone athlete on a track in an empty stadium, with no one to witness your feats. It doesn’t even matter if you run in a circle or even cross the finish line. It’s hard for sports-minded people to understand that art is a process, not a race.

Sure, there is a facet of competition within the world of the professional art. We compete for grants, juried exhibitions, media attention, and (if you believe in the myth of scarcity) gallery representation. 

So how do you raise an inherently artistic child into an artist?

Well, you can’t.

Either it’s there or it’s not.

As a child, I was exposed to all types of art and given the supplies but never told how to use them. As a child, I needn’t be encouraged to be creative, I desired it and wanted to do it.

You can’t Tiger Woods or Serena Williams your child into art. Meaning, as an artist myself, I can’t coach my child to be an artist as well. That’s not how it works. It is a very American thing to take the slightest talent your child shows in something and focus everything on that interest and make it the nexus of their entire life. It’s also a very American mentality to think the whole world is competing with you.

You can’t achieve success in a child artist by standing on the sidelines of the classroom art exhibition and yell “YOU CAN DO IT! YOUR CERAMIC ASH TRAY IS THE BEST! CREAM ‘EM!”

If you try to raise an artist, you are bound to fail miserably. Art is a practice, not a game. Creativity, however, can be fostered in the right environment.

What does it take to be an artist? It takes sensitivity to the world. It takes the development of introspection that is the impetus to come to the studio with a desire to express one’s self.

Even if all the stars align and you’ve created the optimal home environment to raise, I mean prune, your little bonsai child into an artist—you might not get an artist. You might raise a stellar abstract thinker, a brilliant chemist, an emotionally intelligent stay-at-home mom, a rebellious Young Republican, or a spatially aware soccer player.

When you read about what is lacking in the American educational system versus what is valued globally in successful citizens the answer is always CREATIVITY.

Creativity cannot be fostered through competition.

Creativity doesn’t oblige rules, it breaks the rules. Creativity is an abstract thought that has been given the time and encouragement to be able to be brought to fruition. Where is the time to daydream in an average child’s day? Where is imagination encouraged in their schedule?

Creativity takes quietude; it takes a breath, a moment in nature.

It takes a mind to be on the verge of boredom in order to dig deep into imagination.

And it needs a parent who takes their hands off the wheel. A parent that stops molding, constructing, fostering and instead allows a child to immerse themselves in what looks, to an outsider, like nothingness.


Big News! by Lex Gjurasic


I'm very proud to announce that a video I made, Tequila Annunciation (on VHS in my teenage bedroom), is officially part of The Getty Institute's permanent collection as part of filmmaker/artist Miranda July's feminist archive.  My short film which was part of the Joanie 4 Jackie, Big Miss Movieola, M.I.A. chainletter is now in the Women's Building at The Getty along side the likes of other infulentual artists such as the Guerrilla Girls and Robert Mapplethorpe. It's a great time to be a feminist!

ore about Miranda July's feminist archive in the New York Times here

Read more about the Joanie4Jackie project and "Where Is She Now?" about all the participating filmmakers here.

Day For Night by Lex Gjurasic

Magic Hour and Fireball have BeEn chosen to be part of the exhibition Day For Night at Tohono Chul Gallery.

Day For Night will be on display February 16th-April 19th, 2017 with an opening reception Thursday, February 16th, 5:30-8pm

Tohono Chul Botanical Gardens and Gallery is at 7366 N. Paseo del Norte
Tucson, AZ 85704

"Both of these paintings are inspired directly from the many moods, colors and patterns found in the Sonoran Desert at very specific times of day. Fireball captures the brightest and most hot part of the day, just moments before the intense sun mellows into the sunset and disappears for the night. Magic Hour captures the waning moment just after sunset, the sky is still bright but the sun has gone. These transitional crepuscular parts of the sun/moon cycle are inspiring to me because they much like sea foam at the waterline of wave meeting sand on the beach are fleeting, abstract and unsettling."


Magic Hour, 24x24, mixed media on panel

Magic Hour, 24x24, mixed media on panel

Fireball, 24x24, mixed media on panel 

Fireball, 24x24, mixed media on panel 

Can Art Be Funny? by Lex Gjurasic

“You should make art that’s funny…” a friend suggested to me.

“…Ya know, funny like YOU are.” This was the first (and only) time someone has suggested that to me. Was it a compliment or a curse?

Okaaay, I thought, putting the suggestion in the back of my mind. It seemed valid enough. After all, I’m definitely better at being funny than being an artist. Humor is a strength of mine…but to make art that’s funny is another thing entirely.

At the time I was knee-deep in my kokeshi-doll-army phase. I was fresh off of my first museum show at the Japanese American National Museum in Los Angeles, so I wasn’t exactly looking to switch it up.

“Funny?” I wondered. “What’s more fucking funny than hundreds of traditional kokeshi dolls? Dolls are hilarious!” Then I thought perhaps I can title these paintings in haiku and can call the show 5-7-5. That would be funny, right?! After all, the kokeshi dolls in my paintings weren’t fucking or fighting so they HAD to be FUNNY. If any kind of art can be funny, it has to be doll art—second only to clown art. (Thanks, Red Skelton.)

Lady artists, such as Sherry Markovitz and Phyllis Bramson, are favorites of mine. Their work uses dolls for subject matter, but is it that funny? Not really. I’ve never heard someone remark, “Oh, that Sherry Markovitz, her art is SO FUNNY. The way that beaded Kewpie Doll was giving birth to a Howdy Doody, shit’s hilarious!” More common is, “Once again, Sherry Markovitz takes up the theme of life, death and rebirth in new dolls molesting each other. Genius strikes again!”

Perhaps in a different social context—if a man or painted something like Phylis Bramson’s playful-yet-filthy oils—they could be funny? But when a woman paints a panda fellating a geisha, it’s damn serious business!


You’d think Jeff Koons‘s art would make him the King of Comedy. But he’s not.

If Koons’s work was a practical joke, we’d all be laughing at the huge shiny metal balloon dog. But as it’s not on the street, next to a fire hydrant, with a yellow puddle next nearby—and instead at LACMA—it’s VERY serious. Laughing at it will get you escorted out (so I’ve heard). The only thing funny about Koons’s art is that he gets other people to make it. Intern, slave, whatever.

There are the times when art is funny, but ONLY to the artist herself.

Like, “Tee-hee-hee that hair on my sculpture is really my lover’s pubes and the rouge on the cheeks my menstrual blood…and someone bought it!” That is hilarious, yes, but only for a few people.

There HAS to be some element of the inside joke to Nick Cave’s many Sound Suits. He HAS to have mixed sperm into his PVA glue, or sneezed all over one of his magical creations. SOMETHING that makes him chuckle to himself when some chump grad student is galloping around in it. Then again, he has never made one that exclusively makes a fart sound, and I have to wonder why not….

Perhaps funny art doesn’t run rampant in some sort of School of Funny Art, because funny art doesn’t sell?

Come to think of it, I’ve never really been to an exhibition intended to make the viewer laugh. I’ve experienced plenty of so-crappy-it’s-funny art. I have experienced ironically funny art. And I-had-to-think-about-till-it-became-funny-and-I-kind-of-chuckled-on-the-bus-ride-home-art. And it-makes-me-feel-funny-in-my-groins-or-uncomfortable-in-my-skin art. But I’ve never truly experienced thigh-smacking, side-achingly funny art.

I got to think that art isn’t funny because art galleries and museums are fully unfunny places. Is a padded cell at an asylum for the criminally insane funny? NO. So its kissing cousin, the maddeningly stark white art gallery, can’t be either. Perhaps if wine and cheese were replaced with laughing gas and poppers, then the art would be funny.

Hands down, performance art has to be the form with the greatest funny potential.

And if one living performance artist is equivalent to the great Richard Pryor, it’s Marina Abramovic. After all, what’s funnier than performance art? Oh, I dunno, maybe a performance art INSTITUTE! No, wait! A KICKSTARTER to FUND a performance art institute. That shit’s funny!

But no one laughs at it.

Here’s what’s truly TRULY FUNNY:

People DONATE through a KICKSTARTER to FUND a Performance Art Institute! (I’m not even going to link to Lady Gaga’s supporting video). But no one is laughing because it’s serious. It is seriously because it is Art.

When Marina stares into someone’s eyes, that should be funny (when it’s not happening to you). So why is no one laughing?

I’ve been to five yoga workshops and/or retreats where we were commanded to stare into a stranger’s eyes. At one workshop in particular, after moments of deep, intense eye staring, we were then expected to act like this person was your mom and they just gave birth to you! Oh, I laughed at that…only later, after Savasana.

I think about David Blaine, and his master illusions/endurances. People come out to mock him mid-epic feat. But no one DARES heckle Marina. It’s confusing to me. David Blaine must be fueled by the negativity. I have to assume that Marina uses her docents like bouncers: if anyone acts up or gets loud THEY’RE OUT!

I’ve come to realize that there are two kinds of people in the art world: cool people and fun people.

Cool people take it all in very seriously, and fun people are just along for the ride. Cool people talk about how they were in a gifted program in High School, having gone to school “out East,” and connect with art on a cerebral level. Fun people talk about their favorite John Waters movie and the crap they obsessively collect, and connect with art from creative charge it gives them.

It’s hard for cool people to find humor in art, even if it’s intended. Fun people tend have more success with this, as well as more success annoying cool people. I have found that cool people are most annoyed by James Franco. He is the kryptonite to coolness.

Here is my vulnerable and tender personal truth:

I try to be funny at all times. It’s my way of keeping interested and curious in a sometimes bland world. I roll through life crafting jokes for myself, not to make others laugh. If you do find me funny, I take you by the hand and never let go. Laughter is my litmus.

I have found outlets for my funny: my tweets and drawing scribbly mocking cartoons of other people. I’ve always been this way, a seeker of humor. As a child, I used to paint rocks with gold spray paint and sell them the next day at school as “gold nuggets.” Now I have to wonder, was this my greatest performance art piece EVER? Have I jumped the art shark? I still haven’t really incorporated funny into my paintings…except when I sell a piece of paper with pigment on it for $1000. That shit’s fun-knee!

Just to help you out, here is some guidance regarding humor in art.

Funny: Rude animals.

Not funny: Plastic surgery as art.

Not funny: When other people make your art for you. AKA interns AKA my daughter.

Funny: Tiny penises whenever they are where they shouldn’t be, like on girls.

Not funny: Any everyday object cast into metal, such as a wooden shipping pallet, card board box or cigarette butts.

Funny: Camel toe in sculpture.

Not funny: Lead, chemicals and toxins in art.

Funny: Lickable wall paper. (Thanks, Mr. Wonka!)

Not funny: Performance art that splashes me with food, wine or feces. (If it splashes YOU, then it becomes funny. If a video of said incident goes viral, back to not funny).

Funny: Piñatas on fire or filled with toothbrushes and travel sized tooth pastes. Sorry kiddies. 

Not funny: Dressing with prosthetic limb or mask like an old person, homeless person or monkey.

Funny: Dressing like the artist, and pretending to be them at their own art reception.


Psychic Vagina, 8"x11", collage, 2016

Psychic Vagina, 8"x11", collage, 2016


After a wonderful experience last year at Cultivate Tucson I will be back vending this event again.  What makes Cultivate so special is that 20% of all proceeds go to a local non-profit.

This is truly a great way to pick up gifts for the holidays, support Tucson based artisans and give back to our community. 

Cultivate Tucson, Saturday 12/3, 9am-4pm
901 6th Ave, Tucson AZ 85701