Thursday, August 25, 2016

Another blast from the past

When I taught high school at Columbia Central High School in Brooklyn, MI, I did this project each year with my second year 2D Design students. It wasn't always easy to get across to them, but once they realized what the gist of the project was, the end results came quickly and wonderfully!
It didn't hurt that I used the legendary Rube Goldberg as a starting point.
The students loved him and his amazing contraptions and drew inspirations from his work.
Arts and Activities Magazine, September 1999. 
This article was published in Arts and Activities magazine.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Getting plastered with your students

Ha, not what you think.

One of my students wanted to make a plaster mold of his face, so we made a teachable moment out of it. You can see Ethan cutting up the plaster/gauze strips prior to me coming in to apply them to his face. You'll notice him covering his face with a thick coat of Vaseline, it's a must if you want to mold to come off.

No Ethans were harmed in the making of this video. 

You'll also notice me using a hairdryer. The heat accelerates the plaster drying and setting, shortening the time the victim student needs to be under the mold.


From Our Queer Art: Tom of Findlay interview

The fine people at Our Queer Art posted this interview with me this summer, you can find out about me, my work, and why I call myself Tom of Findlay.

Rub a dub dub. 

Read all about it here:

From the archives: End Times from The Politics of Fear @ Gallery Project

End Times

If you like it, put a ring on it.
Apparently, the simple act of marrying my husband in California in 2008 is contributing to the end of the world. Since the elections in 2004, when gay marriage was used as a wedge issue, this contentious issue has dominated the elections and helped George W. Bush win a second term in office.
The flyers and mailings that came to our house in the very birthplace of the Republican Party (Jackson, MI) were offensive and blatantly homophobic. “What about the children???” the angry and prophetic flyers wondered out loud with their poor graphics and sensational headlines. Yeah, what about the children? Our child helped marry us in California, as she was our flower girl and ring bearer at the same time and she is doing just fine.

Projection still
And with the gathering storm approaching (thanks to the National Organization for Marriage’s ridiculous ad and general troll Maggie Gallagher) the end was indeed in sight. However, on a warm and sunny afternoon in San Francisco, I married my husband in front a small group of friends, family, and former students. We were LEGALLY married by an ordained clergy man, Jeb Edwards in a Christian ceremony on the fourth floor of City Hall. Below is a video of the piece in action. 

To this day, the world is still turning and life goes on as it did before I put a ring on Tod’s left hand and shared my vows in a shaky but sincere voice in the fabulous Beaux Arts City Hall of San Francisco. The prophetic voices lamenting the end of traditional marriage now have 18,000 married couples to scare the world with for midterms this fall, and with the recent ruling regarding Proposition 8, I am certain we will be paraded around and once again thrust into the spotlight to incite fear and trembling amongst the voters. I am proud and ready for this fight.
The images that are being projected over our wedding picture are from the internet found under simple search terms such as:   
Protecting marriage        
Defending marriage        
Anti Gay Marriage

I did not take these pictures, nor do I claim them as mine. However, the internet is fair game, especially when it comes to satire or political commentary. 

From the archives: Born This Way from Mine/Yours @ Gallery Project

Mine/Yours @ Gallery Project

close up of work
 At the interpersonal level Mine Yours looks at real and artificial barriers people create to separate themselves from others; at the group level the social symbols groups latch onto to establish their uniqueness; and at the international level the disputes nations have over territory, water rights, and air space. The changing relationships between governments and their citizenry will be explored in the context of growing surveillance in the ages of terrorism, globalism, and information technology.  Finally, human pathologies, resulting from some of these phenomena will also be explored such as hoarding and various addictions people develop as they retreat further into real or imagined safe havens. Mine/Yours invites participating artists to comment visually on these social phenomena, and their varied impacts and behavioral adaptations.

The piece installed at the Gallery Project
The piece by Tom McMillen-Oakley and Isaac is an exploration of gender/gender identity and sexuality.  This is the first time that McMillen-Oakley and Isaac have collaborated, and this connection has produced an evocative and compelling piece.

You can also find this piece here:
Autumn 2012 “Born this way” Mascular Magazine


From the archives: Punch Line from What's so funny? @ Gallery Project

What’s so funny? 
Hanging the piece in the stairwell

The view up

Close up

The Artist is Present, and in a tux

I have been accused of being too literal in my interpretation of themes for shows in the past. I am okay with that designation as that is how I was trained as an artist. I have a bizarre sense of humor, and that can often times come out in my art and in my writing. It’s not always to everyone’s taste, but humor can be a weapon as well as a tonic.

This piece is my literal take on a punch line, with a shout out to the old Batman TV series. The fight scenes, although never dangerous, were taken to another level when the screen would suddenly change to “POW!” or “OOOOFFF!” or any of the other ridiculous fight words they came up with.

In a world that takes itself way too seriously, it’s refreshing to see a show that provokes laughs and elicits a smile. Art doesn’t always have to have a message, nor does it have to be serious. Thanks to Gloria and Rocco for giving us the chance to show this side of us as artists.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Wish List @ Gallery Project in Toledo, OH

The amazing Gallery Project held "Wish List" in an abandoned department store in downtown Toledo (Ohio) last summer. One of the curators invited me to show in the collection, and I think was hoping for a piece on LGBT rights. I had considered that, but with the pending SCOTUS ruling, I was hesitant to do anything that might look outdated once the show opened in August.
The movie "Superbad"  inspired me. 

So, I channeled my inner seven year old and drew a penis.


Here's my Artist's Statement for my piece "Size Queen"
My best friend in high school worked in an adult book store our senior year. Many afternoons when I was off “studying” I was actually at the bookstore with my friend using a razor to open the goodies displayed on the shelves of the store.
Many of the magazines available in the clearance bin were from the seventies and had that delicious raunchiness to them that so defined that decade. Needless to say, my aesthetic, when it comes to porn and what I find erotic, has that very same vibe to it. I think I was also scarred (and scared!) for life by the likes of John Holmes and Al Parker, two porno superstars with gigantic penises.
As young boys, we all wondered if we would be “big enough” downstairs and that hope is the theme for my “Wish List” entry. Yes, the porn industry finds the models with the biggest butts, the biggest tits, and the biggest cocks, after all, it’s a fantasy. But when you’re an insecure teenager, these fantasies can fuel lust and doubt in your mind.
I’m not curing cancer or doing anything that is actually helpful with my Wish List, I’m just presenting every boys’ wish…  a giant dick and the hope that he somehow measures up.

The Artist Is Present

The curators noted that my piece was one of the most photographed, natch. 

on our high horse