Archive for January 2013

The Maine Labor Mural is now on display in the Maine State Museum   Leave a comment

Maine Labor Mural - Clarke Canfield, AP

Clarke Canfield, AP

Maine Labor Mural - Andy Molloy, Kennebec Journal

Andy Molloy, Kennebec Journal

Five years ago, in 2008, Maine artist Judy Taylor completed a 36-foot, eleven-panel mural depicting the history of labor in our state, which was then displayed in the lobby of the Maine Department of Labor in Augusta.

And there it sat until March 2011, when our blustering illustrious governor decided he didn’t like its pro-labor message and had taken from the walls of the Labor Department.

Gov. LePage received an anonymous letter signed by a “secret admirer” who sputtered in outrage at the presence of pro-union, Communist North Korean-style propaganda adorning the walls of a government building. This right-wing mouth-breather’s heartfelt plea for the state government to embrace reactionary anti-union paranoia resonated with LePage’s “Solidarity for Businesses and the People Who Own Them” agenda, and thus Dear Leader declared the mural objectum non grata in the very building it was commissioned to adorn.

It was a nasty if pathetically impotent attack on the labor movement, and it seriously pissed off quite a lot of Mainers.

Of course, it ended up backfiring completely on LePage: he made himself look like an obnoxious, bullying despot, the issue became a distraction for his administration and a rallying point for his detractors, and the mural became famous, celebrated – beloved, even – and is now prominently displayed in the Maine State Museum.

Bangor Daily News: Labor mural unveiled at new home, the Maine State Museum in Augusta

By Matthew Stone

AUGUSTA, Maine — Nearly two years after Gov. Paul LePage had a mural depicting Maine labor history removed from the lobby of the Department of Labor building, the artwork resurfaced Monday at its new home: the Maine State Museum.

Labor Commissioner Jeanne Paquette and Maine State Museum Director Bernard Fishman unveiled the Maine Labor History Mural in the atrium ofthe state Cultural Building in Augusta, which houses the museum, the Maine State Library and the Maine State Archives.

The Department of Labor has loaned the mural to the Maine State Museum for three years. Fishman, the museum’s director, said Monday that museum staff and others would work to find the artwork a permanent home during that period. The mural’s final home might be the museum, he said, but that would require some renovation.

“The murals, when they first came to public attention, were only contemporary art in a functional office,” Fishman said. “And after their removal became a public issue, they became historic in their own right. They recall and commemorate the past, but they also remind us of the power of art to stir thought and to stir feelings.”

This is a satisfying victory, and even if the  resolution is quiet and a bit undramatic, it’s a wonderful outcome. LePage failed, and the things he attacked came out stronger. It still doesn’t make up for that fact a bullying little puke is our governor, but it’s a nice offset to the damage he’s done to our state.

Maine Labor Mural

Maine Labor Mural 2

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ABC African Animal Book   Leave a comment

Hey lookit me I’m on BuzzFeed!

But seriously though, check out this totally sweet book I wrote and illustrated and presented at the ‘96 Viola Rand Elementary School Talent Show.

BuzzFeed: “ABC African Animal Book” By A 7-Year-Old

When I was in first grade, I wrote and illustrated a book which I read aloud at the school talent show. [Ed. note: This spectacular book is part of keepsake show and tell]

Dik-diks happen to be the most painfully adorable antelope ever.

After I’d finished about half the drawings, I started to get bored with rote depictions of animals in their natural habitats, and my illustrations started to get a bit more … creative.

Here, for example, we have an ibis who’s apparently just locked a bad guy in a cage or prison of some sort, and is also dressed to attend a birthday party. Or maybe he’s some kind of rather flamboyant wizard? I can’t recall.

These nyala are apparently sailing to France in the year 1731. Because, sure, why not?

Can you see the ostriches? There’s one in the middle of the page, who’s just punted Scar over a waterfall with a kick of one of his mighty ostrich legs.

Depicted here is some sort of epic battle, featuring ostriches, chameleons, hyenas, characters from The Lion King, and a large arsenal of missiles on both sides.

Boring.

Now that’s more like it!

This image features, among other things:

  • a lemur with a police badge on his chest and a sign saying “Lemur” taped to his forehead
  • two chameleons gesticulating angrily at some warthogs
  • and a gray character who appears to be either rudely mocking someone, unhinged with fury, or perhaps both simultaneously

Urotriorchis macrourus is the scientific name for the Long-tailed Hawk, and was the closest thing I could find to an African animal whose name started with a U.

“Macrourus” is from the Greek for “long tail”; “uro” is Greek for “tail” and “triorchis” is from the Greek meaning “having three testicles.”

I was unaware of that fact at the time.

So, since this is an alphabet of African animals, you all knew from the beginning that the last animal was going to be “zebra” OH SNAP NO IT’S “ZEBU”!!!

The zebu is a type of domestic cattle originating in South Asia that has been raised in Africa for hundreds of years. It’s pretty obscure; you probably haven’t heard of it.

Oh man, I totally had you fooled! I even tricked you by decorating the “Z’s” with black and white zebra stripes.

This is the back cover. Here we have, let’s see:

  • a white chess piece knight on a checkered path of some kind
  • a bunch of hyenas (they had haunched shoulders and gangly hips in The Lion King,features which I depicted in a manner that makes them look the twin humps of Bactrian camels)
  • and a grey hyena who is A) apparently a good guy, or at least disguising himself as one, B) sporting a purple bandana and cape, and C) also maybe some sort of cyborg, with mechanical spider legs – and maybe that cape is actually an exhaust pipe?

And God only knows what this poor bugger’s deal is.

And finally, my performance at the Talent Show (with assistance from my mom).
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