Wednesday, December 30, 2009
Hanging out with Spotted Dog Farm
Who and what is spotted dog farm?
Spotted Dog Farm is just me, Jere Alexander, and a motley brood of dogs, donkeys, chickens, rabbits and my little handspinner's flock of sheep. It's a real place but it's also a pastoral dream that I'm trying to express in life and in art. I like how the name confuses some people - sometimes folks think I'm a dog breeder - so it kind of hints at how different animals are constructed since in this place and time, most people don't think of dogs as farm animals.
Your embroidered pieces have so much depth-what's your favorite and why?
Thanks so much!! So far I love the piece "I give you my tomorrow" the best. It's of my Rosie, who if i had to choose the most beautiful dog I've ever known, she would be it. She's just perfectly adorable with her underbite and her thick little body. It's hard to embroider a pit bull face straight-on. Their heads are such interesting shapes that I was afraid would lose expressiveness if I flattened it out in 2D. And at first she was looking more like a pig than a dog, but I used different stitches to make something of a sampler on her face. The triangle pattern in the vintage linen reminds me of a chain link fence, and the title is a lyric from a 70s song by Tim Hardin.
Who inspires you?
I am endlessly inspired by the handmade revolution, and textile artists like Nicole Licht/Astulabee, Beefranck, Porterness, Iviva Olenick, Sandrine Pelletier, and so many others. The cheeky, subversive angle of contemporary embroidery just kills me. I'm awed by soft sculpture artists - again Astulabee, Hisa Kato, Jennifer Murphy and Jennifer Muskopf. I am also seriously fascinated with some of the sculptors working with taxidermy, like Emily Mayer, Iris Schieferstein and Polly Morgan. I know it's creepy to lots of folks, but since i'm already used to working with animal fiber, it's not such a stretch to use furs and skins (although I would only use thrifted or roadkill, not hunted).
What advice would you give to the masses?
Oh, I'm not in much of a position to give advice to anyone! But my hub has this little joke that we always laugh about, and I think it's very instructive. It's from some police movie with Sean Penn although I don't remember the name. It goes something like... Two bulls, father and son, are standing at the top of a hill looking down at a pasture full of cows. The son says to the father, "Hey dad, how about we run down and fuck a couple of 'em?" The dad replies, "Naw son, how about we walk down and fuck em all." So when I get all manic, I'll just think "walk don't run... fuck em all..."
Do you have a website?
Well, yeah, I have a love/hate thing with my internet presence. I love making online friends and connections in the craft world, but there are so many crazy pit bull haters, and I have no tolerance for that negativity. Some day, I hope to learn css and flash and those other obscure languages to make a beautiful website. Right now I have spotteddogfarm.com to describe my work, and then I blog over at Pit Bull Patriarchy, pitbullpatriarchy.blogspot.com.
Best name for a pet
The most magnificent name I've heard is Iris Ladonica Deville.
Worst name for a pet
I knew a shelter dog with a head injury that had been dubbed "Wee Toddy."
Gah! I think I want to be Jere when I grow up! Her attitude, spirit and just plain ol' kick butt good nature makes me smile on a daily basis. Her work is so inspiring. It makes me sleep a little better knowing that there are people like Jere out there in the world.