Together We Will at RISE!

Karla Albright of the Los Gatos chapter of  TWW/Indivisible Los Gatos caught the Gutfreund Cornet Art show, RISE: Empower, Change and Action!, the day it opened and approached Whitney Modern for a special tour so the rest of her group could take it in! Though it is a national exhibition, a number of Bay Area artists were happy to get together again and share some of the inspiring motivations behind their social justice work in the gallery.

Please note that if you click on any of the names of artists and organizations, etc, in bold in this post, you will open a link to their website!

Suzanne Whitney Smedt, welcoming us all to her beautiful contemporary art gallery, Whitney Modern, located on the second floor of 24 N Santa Cruz Ave in downtown Los Gatos. The gallery typically represents twelve fine artists but has teamed up with Gutfreund Cornett Art for this specific summer show curated by Karen Gutfreund, Sherri Cornett, Marianne McGrath and Suzanne Whitney Smedt.

Karen Gutfreund reading Maya Angelou’s poem, Still I Rise from the exhibition catalogue, on which Ceciley Blanchard (Jackson Tennessee) had based her photographic series. I love hearing that read (or sung by Ben Harper)!

Irene Carvajal (Belmont, California) with her (what) do YOU think? desk with the positive  messages we’d wish we’d grown up with carved into the wood. You can even take rubbings with the graphite pencils and paper provided, if there is a resonating message you’d like to bring home with you.

Priscilla Otani (San Francisco) with her original braille art book, Political Action Group on democratic women in congress and democratic women running for congress – copies available at the gallery have all sold out but you can still order them through Amazon!

Rozanne Hermelyn Di Silvestro (Sunnyvale, California) with her monotype, oil, paper and string on panel piece, Bound and her mixed media installation, In a Constant State of Rising and Falling.

Winnie van der Rijn (San Carlos, California) with her photographic image transfer and embroidery on muslin pieces, One Size Fits All.

When it came time for me to speak about my painting, In the Pink, I shared how I believed that the Pussy Hat (originally co-created by Krista Suh) became such an immediate, global, viral icon of the Woman’s March because it employed such a feminine voice. It took knitting, a traditionally feminine craft, one that we do with our hands, and our hearts, in our homes or together in groups, using soft, warm, pretty and fuzzy fibers and often give as gifts to one another to wear with pride (a bit of kitty humor) saying in our sea of pink that, “We see you Pussy Grabber in Chief and we do not approve, we will not forget, and we will stand together and march for our rights.” Even the metaphor of knitting one stitch, connected to another, and another, collectively making something bigger than ourselves, is so perfect!

Rinat Goren (Woodside, California) with her beeswax, pigment and paper paintings, Finding Points of Agreement 1 and Finding Points of Agreement 2.

Irene Carvahla (Santa Cruz, California) with her acrylic, mixed media and image transfer, Ambient Thoughts.

Irene Carvajal (Belmont, California) with her screen print on paper, fan and plexiglass tank kinetic sculpture, Future Gains: the dollar is rising. She is selling individual bills to help fund her trip to the border to offer her language services to those families who are seeking asylum at the border and are too often being separated and denied their legal rights.

Chandrika Marla (Mountain View, California) with her acrylic on canvas painting, For Our Lives.

Karen Gutfreund standing with Jenny Reinhardt‘s mixed media on canvas painting, Split the Sack, shared the dismall figures, of the percentage that women artists earn in comparison to their male counterparts, as well as how poorly they are represented in museum shows and what an incredible value their work actually is! Sales continue a pace at Whitney Modern and RISE has been extended to September 9th, 2018 to be included with ForFreedoms a 50 state activist art initiative!

Shannon Edwards from TWW/Indivisible Los Gatos thanking the Whitney Modern and the artists for the evening. Together We Will as a grassroots civil engagement movement that helps to lobby for progressive initiatives, supports candidates and sponsors local events was the perfect audience for RISE! It’s so great to join together like this!

Artist, Winnie van der Rijn and author and speaker, Nilofer Merchant.

Exhibiting near the Louvre

My first public exhibit near the Louvre!


Do it …near the Louvre!


Kapow!…near the Louvre!


Tickle…near the Louvre!


Onlyness…near the Louvre!

Thanks to my dear friend, collector and curator, Nilofer Merchant, for arranging this impromptu pop-up exhibit of my mixed media paintings in Paris!  Love it!


Spheres of Community

Nilofer Merchant and her blog, Yes & Know recently challenged me to think about community and what it means to me in her posting, “Where do great ideas come from?”

It’s really a big core question, and there are lots of ways of looking at it!

Communities of Ideology: all your belief systems, religious, social, political, environmental…
Communities of Geography: all the you’ve places lived.
Communities of Circumstance: gender, race, health, wealth, family…
Communities of Association:  friends, networks, affiliations, clubs, schools, family (again)…

I thought it would be interesting to try and map out some of this in a visual way, identifying some of these communities for myself, to see how large I perceived them to be in relationship to each other and to see where there were overlaps or intersections of these communities.

So I began with Communities of Association (the most personal) and I found the results illuminating!

Spheres of Community - Marie Cameron 2015

It turns out the communities that have the most overlap (and maybe influence?) for me are artists who I went to school with, who I’m still personal friends and with whom I maintain a social network connection.

Now I tried to be as object as I could about the relative sizes of these spheres, based on numbers of people more than the impact they have on me.  It would be fascinating to create another chart where the sphere’s size is based on the amount of influence they have over me.

Another interesting chart comparison would be the Spheres of Ideology compared to my actual engagement with these beliefs. I’d also like to see if this chart would be proportionally represented in my artwork!  Am I brave enough to lay that out? Oh the things we can learn just by seeing it all a little differently!



Spring Walk ‘n Talk

Nilofer and Marie on a Walk 'n Talk photo by Cooper Bates 2014photo – Cooper Bates

How I love spring –  it’s the miracle of all that dormant life bursting out of the dark and damp with such delicacy and pure beauty – it stuns me. A perfect milieu for a walk’n talk with Nilofer Merchant as we share budding new ideas.  Our areas of expertise are quite different, Nilofer the business innovator, author and speaker and me the visual artist and hopeless magpie but we’re both creators and know that while some of our sensibilities may overlap, it is the cross pollination of unique ideas that provides fertile ground for something new to take root. Too much spring metaphor? Never!

Clearly on a blossom rant – photo by Cooper Bates

Too bad I don’t  have a photo of Nilofer’s shoes, they’re covered with golden bees!

It was great watching photographer Cooper Bates with with his camera – the extreme angles he shot from, the unique elements he chose to frame some of his shots with and the element of motion he chose to employ… you can learn a lot on a walk!

Bloom on!

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When More is More

Nilofer Merchant, author, speaker and a Silicon Valley dynamo purchased a little assemblage painting from me last year. Bliss has hung in her office across from her desk as a reminder that happiness is not all rainbows and kittens but has an edge to it too, and maybe in the end it means more if you have to work for it. But she spoke more eloquently about this when she blogged about it in  Are You Experiencing Bliss?

Nilofer Merchant & Mug photo Marie Cameron 2012

I’ve known that she is quite the Wonder Woman for some time so when Good Housekeeping approached her for some photos of her inspirational mug (which ran in the Dec 2012 issue) I was only too happy to help out. It was then that we began sharing our other Wonder Woman bits and bobs. She had a box full of postcards depicting early WW comics and I had a little cropped photo I’d kept taken of a some street art in San Francisco from the late ’90s.

WW Mug Shot- Marie Cameron 2012   ww postcards - Marie Cameron 2013   Wonder Woman peeking through - photo MarieCameron 2012

This was the seed of a fun, collaborative process that would lead to the commission of four new works based on the idea of owning one’s onlyness and the acquisition of three earlier works that fit into Nilofer’s vision. The result was a portrait of sorts, one in which individual pieces not only say their piece but come together and spark a conversation. It takes a vision and a curatorial eye, but surely this is an instance when more is more!

Twinkle in the eye - Marie Cameron 2013

One of the first stars to echo the one on Wonder Woman’s tiara was the twinkle I placed in her eye.

Do It - side view - Marie Cameron 2013

Do It was inspired by those vintage Japanese match boxes from the deco period. I loved how the registration line was off either intentionally or by accident, either way, the black shadow line for the lips looks like a Nike symbol – hence “do it”, as if the ruby red lipstick wasn’t enough encouragement to kiss!

Speak - Marie Cameron 2012 - side

I love how the text balloons hover empty while the blacked out speak seems to implore one to break the silence. Pretty appropriate for a speaker!

Kapow - Side  Marie Cameron2013

The canvas edge doesn’t show a lot when these pieces are hung together but it makes for a great space to reinforce the playful graphics of the work.  Kapow! was inspired by artist Harry G. Peter who’s original was for issue # 27, 1948. I fixed some metalic rope that was unearthed in a dig from Latvia and some Soviet military stars to reference the cold war sentiment behind much of the Wonder Woman comics – rebelling against the “evil power structure”.

Nilofer interviewed me about my process for this series and my thoughts on onlyness and how it relates to this project to art and to life. You can check out the interview on her blog post Unanswered Questions to Ponder.

Onlyness Series - Marie Cameron 2012- 2013

Mug Shots

I was recently asked to help a friend with some mug shots. No, she was not arrested. She was asked by Good Housekeeping to provide some photographs of her beloved Wonder Woman mug and I happened to be around with my camera.

Nilofer Merchant & Mug photo Marie Cameron 2012

When asked by Gretchen what makes her happy, Nilofer shared that drinking coffee from her Wonder Woman mug that was given to her as a gift by her step daughter had turned into a real source of pleasure.

An innovator in business thinking in the new social network climate,  Nilofer Merchant has authored The New How, #SocialEra and Yes & Know. As a writer, corporate director and speaker, she is a dynamic person – a real wonder woman! No wonder Gretchen Rubin, author of the Happiness Project wanted to talk with her, to provide some insight into where this Silicon Valley mover and shaker finds her happiness! In the interview, Nilofer had mentioned this mug. Good Housekeeping needed some pics for their January issue, so, I got to work with my camera. I bet it has something to do with New Year’s resolutions – don’t we all long to tap into that inner Wonder Woman (or Superman)!

Wonder Woman Mug Transformation photo Marie Cameron 2012

I love the transformation of business woman to Wonder Woman on Nilofer’s Mug!

Shiny Wonder Woman Mug photo Marie Cameron 2012

Maybe we are what we drink from – it worked for Nilofer Merchant!

I thought about what mug I like to drink from in my daily ritual and what it means to me.  My favorite cup (part of a pair – one green, one blue but I exclusively use the green one) was a given to me as a wedding present by a dear friend from art school.  The cup is lined with polka dots and covered with playful naked people cavorting about and was made by a potter in Scotland. I find it beautiful, arty and celebratory and I love how it fits in my hands. What makes it really special though is the fact that someone I care about gave me the gift which says she knows the real me, that she sees who I am, that she gets me – and I get to drink from that gift every day!  Sometimes a cup is more that a cup!

Celadon Cup with Handle- photo Marie Cameorn 2012

My favorite cup was a gift from a dear friend from art school – we share a similar aesthetic appreciation.

Celadon Cup - photo Marie Cameron 2012

I love the color, the craquelure glaze and playful union of people on this handmade Scottish cup.

Is there a special mug or cup that you chose to drink from, and have you thought about why?