Hey Everybody, I'm excited to announce that I will be showing along with illustrator (and mensch) Josh Ellingson at the first-ever show at Mule Gallery in the lovely North beach district of San Francisco from January 20th through February 26. The opening is on February 5, from 6-9 pm. This event is part of North Beach's First Fridays gallery walk. Join us?
Josh Ellingson & Michael Wertz Jan 20th-Feb 26th, 2016
Opening Feb 5th, 6-9pm Mule Gallery 80 Fresno St. San Francisco, CA 94133
I'll be showing a bunch of the Some Wags prints : see below. All prints are framed & ready to move. We'll also have a small collection of unframed prints for sale.
See you there?
Friendlies, I'm very excited. SomeWags has been printed, prepped, and hung on the walls of the oh-so-pink-and-pretty Glama-Rama Salon and Gallery in Oakland. The opening is this Saturday night, October 17, from 6-9 pm. The address is 6399 Telegraph Avenue near the corner of Alcatraz. It should be a hoot. I think there will be a short set of music by our band Special Ghosts (featuring AJ Pinecone and Isabel Samaras), as well as some uke and singing by my nephew Kellen Wertz. Punch and Pie! This is a show of new two-color screenprints created with paper stencils under a big tent on my back deck. PRINTING IN HEAT AND WIND CHALLENGE: ACCEPTED. To see some snaps of the work in progress, head over to m'Instergrahams to see #somewags in action.
See you there?
I was lucky enough to catch a word with Mrs. Vera (David Faulk), who is an amazing San Francisco artist and personality. David and Michael Johnstone (who created the photos above) are the fearless leaders of the Verasphere (pictured below). Here's the Verasphere traipsing down the runway for a show at the DeYoung museum. Each year for Pride, they splash San Francisco with enough color to make a rainbow blush. Read the full interview with Mrs. Vera after the photo.
All photos: Michael Johnstone
Dear Mrs. Vera, I hear you're a fan of the comics. Can you give me a few of your favorites?
It's been a long time since I read EVERYTHING...the completist/collector(former) in me misses that era of possible comprehensiveness, a ship that has long since sailed. I always was drawn to writers who could build long story lines and develop sub plots, and growing up for me that was Steve Englehart, who could really hit the head on stories that were pure fantasy but socially relevant and just soapy enough that they seemed ABOUT to become adult (gosh JUST LIKE ME!). At 13 that was Avengers, Dr. Strange, he took a whack at most of Marvel's and a bunch of DC's titles. I could not get enough, for years, but now relentless continuity just exhausts me, and I can't afford it anyway. But I still love the mythic qualities of superheroes and power struggles. Mrs. Vera is all about the fighting of crime and the leaping over of tall things, mostly grass, but still...
There are SO MANY great books out today, I'm astounded, having waded through decades of material half-heartedly in search of something to get excited by. I think the medium, it's writers in particular, have really come into unassailable artistic legitimacy, elevating the field higher than I'd imagined possible, and the art has evolved so much since my early days. It is all so much more sophisticated. I'm very writer-driven at this point still. I think Jonathan Hickman does amazing, and varied work really utilizing the medium. East of West, Manhattan Projects. His Fantastic Four was delightful, and his Avengers work is fascinatingly worked-out and intricate. Saga is amazing, and funny as hell. I like to use humor in my work, and I like it in the work of others as well. I thought Young Avengers was a hoot, and The Wicked and Divine is especially fun, because I'm a million years old now and the dialog is so, well, satisfyingly hip and young and clever. Joss Whedon's writing for same reason. Velvet and Lazarus and Hawkeye are like perfect screenplays. I've loved everything the Luna Brothers have done (Alex and Ada, Girls(so messed up!), The Sword. The list is HUGE, it's a renaissance really. Morning Glories, Silver Surfer (Michael Allred is such a stylish blend of down-to-earth and out-of-this-world), She hulk is a hoot, Rachel Rising a disturbing hoot. Grant Morrison always delivers. Darwyn Cooke too. Astro City. I like sprawling but contained universes. I could go on and on, so instead I'll mention two things I used to love, but found I eventually couldn't look at one more panel of! I LIVED for Cerebus, for years, but came to hate the book for reasons I still can't formulate to my satisfaction. It was like a descent into poor mental health that I just stood by and watched (yikes!). I also cannot read another X-men story. PLEASE don't ask me too. It's like watching ghosts playing tiddly-winks for ghost grapes. I'd buy THAT, of course. Zot was a masterpiece too. Wuv me some Wuvable Oaf. Oh lordy, the beat goes on....bottom line, comics have never been smarter.
What's your new studio like, and what can you do there that you couldn't do before?
San Francisco, I still love it and feel REALLY lucky to be here, but it's been rough making it work the past few years. I lost my Studio space- full of paintings- and had to move ALL of my Mrs. Vera kibble and kaboodle out of my apartment, and then lost my apartment. Visual Aid closed, the closest thing I'll probably ever get to gallery-esque representation, a huge loss to myself, and more importantly, the city. Anyway, It's all in a shipping container one can drive right up to now, but it has been three years of down-down-down-down-down-down-sizing and, well, depressing unproductivity. But I found a great place, and my apartment shares a wall with my partner-in-crime Michael's flat, in an amazing building in Hayes Valley. It's like a very poorly written sit com, and I have a feeling our dogs will get a spin-off series if anyone happened to tune in. Michael and I have been together 22 years, collaborating on the photos and costume shenanigans, but never actually lived in the same building until now. It's all TOO perfect, and I'm happier than I've been in years. I hasten to point out that this is NOT the San Francisco 2013-2015 Real Estate experience of ANYONE else I know, and I have a positive dread of being some poster child rainbow story of the moment because of my uncommon good fortune. At the moment I need to archive, I need to paint again, Mrs. Vera needs new outfits, I need to get GOING again. All of which can be achieved in my new space!
I think of Mrs. Vera as a summertime creature. What is wintertime like for Mrs. Vera?
I came to THIS planet to escape the summer of my home planet, which is 80,000 years long, but it looks like your beautiful Ice Age is Kaput. I only look like a 'Summer' because of the horrible accident I had as a child in the spray-tan factory, and also maybe because I lack the ability to sweat, and bees love me, and one of my feet is shaped just like a cinderblock-sized Ice Cream Sandwich. Go ahead, try and guess which foot! I'll never tell, a Lady needs her secrets after all.The best thing about winter, since you ask, is that you can make jello molds outdoors without running up your electric bill, and you can also pretend it's going to rain, probably, and people around here don't look at you as if your crazy. Okay, now I'm just projecting. Most people avoid making any kind of eye contact with me at all, during the winter, but that's just because they are jealous of my AMAZING silver diaper! Want me to make you one for the Pride Parade this year?
And Thanks, ever so much, for noticing I'm alive! It confirms my Doctor's theory that I am, so that's ONE less thing for me to worry about. I'm crossing it OFF the list!
Thank you thank you thank you for a lively lovely interview Mrs. Vera!
.. and when I say LOVE you best believe I'm in LOVE L-U-V. A one-color poster design for the Oakland Museum and Oakland Pride. I'll be with the OMCA's "mobile unit", teaching folks how to screenprint their own take-away posters at the Pride festivities. We'll be close to the intersection of Broadway and 14th. Come say hi!
Oooh, Sheila E. Love her.
Hey kids, It's been a busy summer in the silkscreen studio, and finally I can share some of the work I've been producing. There's a mess of new stuff to peruse on the shop page: the collaborative book by Mister Jim Winters and myself, Queen for Two Weeks, numbered and signed and packed up pretty in a cellophane wrapper. The super-tall-and super-fifties Sutro Tower screenprint. The longer-than tall Lake Merritt (featuring the also-longer-than-tall Lake Merritt Monster). There is also a photograph of an attractive young man modeling the t-shirt design (it looks just like the Sutro Tower print) I did for therethere.
Friendlies, 'Secrets of the Dog Park', my screenprint that explores the issues of the gay dog community, has been selected for inclusion in American Illustration 30, a sooper groovy hard-cover compendium of hand-picked images. This is the seventh time my work has appeared in the book. "From more than 7,000 pictures entered by over 1,100 illustrators, magazines, agencies, publishers and schools, the jury selected, by a majority vote or better, only 316 images to appear in the book and represent the best pictures from 2010."
Buy yourself a copy of the print here.
hey there, ladies. today jim winters and i spent a bunch of time spray painting and silkscreening these prints of notorious drag sub-lebrity doris fish. doris fish is most famous for her film "vegas in space", and, for those of you who have never seen it, it's a goody goody. go rent it.
now. the screens. daniel, a friend of jim's found them on the street. we're pretty sure that doris herself made them. so we decided (with the blessing of phillip r. ford and miss x) to make prints from the screens to sell at sugar valley this year. half the proceeds (and the screens themselves) will go to the doris fish archive.
this is the first in a series. we made a few of these gals, and they look good, if i do say so! there's a few more silkscreens left for us to do - we'll be doing those next saturday.