Looking Back, Moving Forward.
Hi from 2018,
It has been quite a while since I've given this little flag blog some love. Not at all for a lack of news to write about, quite the contrary, this has been the year of the flag, but rather, I've been real busy making, sharing and talking flags. Frankly, it has been hard to keep up with documentation. So in an effort to make up for the silence, here is a detailed recap on my flag adventures:
Last January I moved back to the Bay Area after giving Seattle a 10 month test run. I hibernated, ate many delicious meals with some of my closest and oldest friends, went for long rainy walks with my dog, did some deep thinking and unraveling and ofcourse, made many flags in my cozy studio in West Seattle.
2017 was bountiful. The momentum started with pieces from 2016 being activated out in the world. The Archive of Creative Culture Argosy Museum has been traveling with the flag I made for them. It is hoisted it at every venue event and city they visit all over the country. I love knowing one of my flag babies not only influenced the design of this awesome experimental mobile art space, but gets to travel! I always wonder what my flags see and hear without me.
Seattle based blogger and small business Not Without Salt asked me to make a flag with her business logo as signage for tradeshows. This flag now hangs on the window of their new shop in Ballard! Congrats Ashley on the growth of your business!!!
After accomplishing one of my biggest and first ever flag centered public projects to date in 2016, My Story Is My Flag, the Alameda County of Education building exhibited all flags produced as part of the project from March till June. Just recently I was informed this project will get a second chapter thanks to the Archive of Creative Culture and non-for-profit Co|Operative and the City of Graham, North Carolina in April. Stay tuned on that!
In March I made an experimental auto-ethnographic flag called EMT flag (Emotional Mistranslation Flag) that played with scale and bordered on sculpture for the Foreign Language Magic Word Mother Tongue exhibit curated by Sasha Petrenko at SOMArts. One of the first but certainly not the last of pieces I'll make that conceptually pushes the notion and purpose of a flag. In many ways, this would not be considered a flag by say a Vexillologist but as my relationship to working within this frame and history is growing and pushing back on the limitations the field has, so does my need to once again get personal and inevitably get rebellious about those "rules". Any day now I anticipate Whitney Smith coming to me in a dream saying "what the hell are you doing?! That's not a flag!" At which point I’d say, “Sit down Whitney, let me make you some cafecito and tell you what I’m up to.” Just kidding, I would never say that but I would totally make him a cafecito and let him rip me to shreds.
A few weeks after the SOMArts show was de-installed, the building where I had my art studio hosted an open studios event. I had installed half of that piece in my space partly because it was too big and too nice to store so I displayed it. An 8 year old boy came into my studio with his mom. The boy, Lodan, had a very intense response to the flag. His concern for it was so strong his mother asked me to consider selling it to them right then and there. Lodan said he wanted to hang it over his bed so he can look at it every night. So off it went with them. It was very special to see a child respond to a piece that was a big departure and experiment as well as a sort of self-portrait.
OCTOBER & NOVEMBER were crazy awesome!
I met with the 100 Days Action crew to design an image and create a flag that stands for inclusiveness and the long-term reverberations of small acts of resistance against the current political administration. We marched this flag across the Golden Gate Bridge on June 14th, Flag Day, as well as Trump's birthday.
100 Days Action is a counternarrative to the Trump administration’s one hundred day plan. A calendar of activist and artistic strategy, 100 Days Action is a call to thinkers, artists, and writers to propose gestures that can be carried out either at home or in the world. Whereas the president’s 100 Days will seek to dismantle restrictions that protect our environment, public education, health, and jeopardize unprotected minority groups, 100 Days Action is a forum for resistance, an artistic coming together, an exercise in endurance, a call to all bodies that stand against bigotry, xenophobia, racism, sexism, and the destruction of our environment to act together.
This flag then had the great pleasure of being part of Ceci Moss’s incredible projects Gas Dot Gallery’s inaugural exhibition Fuck The Patriarchy. The exhibition was featured in various publications including THE NEW YORK freakin’ TIMES!!! Read the article HERE. As well as honored to be included in the Portland Flag Association Newsletter, thanks Ted and company!
Almost done.....I swear!
I was honored to be invited by artist and curator Rachelle Reichert to participate in a really unique exhibition as part of the State of the Estuary 2017 Conference. My piece responded to the State of the Estuary Blueprint which is a very thorough plan of actions to help preserve and educate about the many efforts necessary to keep these essential Bay Area bodies of water sustainable. I designed 32 prototype flags on watercolor paper in response to each of the actions detailed. It was the first time I worked in response to the environment. I wondered how these semaphoric images could function as codes that could be referenced to help educate the public on how and where these specific actions were being implemented. The conference was so informative! Participating in this made me realize that there is so much potential for artists and scientists to work together to bring awareness to the needs of our natural environment. I loved being part of this show and the fellow artists I had the pleasure to work with. I'm also happy to say the piece was purchased by the State of the Estuary Partnership. I look forward to see these little flag babies installed in their new office location in San Francisco.
And finally, the Bay Area Discovery Museum in Sausalito, California invited me to be the “Artist In Spotlight” for the month of November. I thought making a large collaborative flag would be fun with all those little ones. The piece will be finished and installed at the museum in the next month. It was great to work with the young little flag makers.
To wrap up my self indulgent recap of 2017 I will say I’ll be a whole lot more active on here and look forward to talking about other people’s flag ventures. This seems to be a great time to use this powerful form.
love from Miami,
VEXILA // Sabia Projects // Cristina Victor