Chatting with Chuck Tingle


Chuck Tingle is not just a man. He is many things. He is an erotic author. He is a Tae Kwon Do grandmaster (almost blackbelt). He is a doctor of holistic massage. He is a father. He is a prominent “flavor rights activist”. He is a politician. But more than anything, he is the greatest voice of our generation.

Chuck has written “tinglers”, named after the tingling sensation they evoke in their readers, on everything from sexy unicorns, sensual raptors, passionate bigfoot monsters, and even randy inanimate objects. Sex may be the subject matter, but the overarching message has always been the same: love is real.

I had the distinct pleasure of interviewing Chuck two years ago for INK MAGAZINE (read the article here:

Since I interviewed him two years ago, Chuck has exploded. He’s been featured on various media platforms from the New York Times to Comedy Central. I caught up with him to see how success has shaped him and what he has on the horizon.

*I left his answers as he wrote them…

How do you think you have grown in the past two years, both personally and in your writing?
past two years have been a very exciting way i have GOTTEN SO MANY FANS AND THEY ARE SO KIND TO ME they like to message me as online buds nothing weird just a bud to bud chat so then we talk and i LAUGH so that is a good way. once i was the best author in billings and now i am the best author in the world. also i have learned that ted cobbler i even more of a soundrel than i thought and i hope he falls in a snake pit. thanks
How is Jon doing?
jon is doing so good he is SO HANDSOME everyone in the neighborhood thinks he is a good man and i want to be just like him someday. he has been working out with his buds and calves look great but also he is ENGAGED to ladybuck name of clowy i am so happy for them and clowy is nice sometimes she takes me on trips to the library and sometimes we even drive to town name of HELENA for THE BIG LADYBUCK TROT that was a good way.
Please tell me about your nonprofit Flavor Rights Advocacy group, Allow All Flavors. What are the goals of the group and why was it created?
allow all flavors was made to oppose all unfair flavor laws this was a big part of the campaign for the buckaroo party in the last election we would like to make it so that all flavors are legal not just chocolate vanilla and strawberry. so that is a very important POLITICAL WAY
Tell me all about your news site, Buttbart. Why did you decide to become a journalist in addition to a bestselling novelist?
yes speaking of a political way this is a diretion i have gone in to battle the devils as part of my own buckaroo lifestyle. this is just the way of the buck, when you think about buckaroos of the past out on the open range you realize that they would battle devils all the time mostly their own inner devils telling them to go trot in a circle screaming or maybe even shake and drool by the fire out of their own lonesome way. but now the BUCKAROO LIFESTYLE is about fighting real devils like scoundrel ted cobbler or VOIDMAN TROMP (who is of The Void). so then i decided to start my own website with real news not the fake stuff.
What exactly is your Alternative Facts Warehouse? Why do you think it is important to donate to Planned Parenthood?
alternative fact warehouse is a part of BUTTBART where you can buy alternative facts from other timelines. in other layers there are many versions of reality and DOMALD TROMP uses this to his advantage in many ways i think it is only fair that buckaroos can use these alternative realities too. there are many fun facts to choose from you can just donated to planned parenthood and live in a world where handsome jom hamm is your online bud! important to donated to planned parenthood so they can keep ladybucks healthy!
Tell me about The Buckaroo Party. Are you a politician now? You wear so many hats!
yes i was offical VICEMAN for buckaroo party in this election i ran with HANDSOME CHANNING TATUM but we did not win this was very unfortunate but probably for the better because now i can focus on being the worlds greatest author again.
What are your views on Donald Trump, what exactly is The Void, and how many timelines are you aware about?
Dom Tromp is a creature of The Void that is actually multiple creatures in the skin of a sagging human (it is easy to see thorgh once you know what to look for) inside he is actually mostly bubbling tar and screaming piles of void crabs that form a collective way. The Void is a place outside of the layers of the tingleverse full of cosmic horror best place to think about it is to imagine that the layers of the tingleverse are in a stack like ininate pancakes. there is a top and a bottom and between are all the layers and the timelines, but outside of the stack you have THE VOID.
If you had to choose between making love to a unicorn, bigfoot, a living object, or a dinosaur, which would you choose and why?
well i would probably not choose. it is important to my way that they choose making love to me not the other way around i would have to talk to them first and maybe share a glass of chocolate milk so that i knew our ways were good for eathother
Why do you think the message that “love is real” is so important?
love is real is important message because it is one reality that is true across ALL TIMELINES. it is very importanant to remember because sometimes devils can say there is another way and that the only reality is a scoundrel reality but this is not true. in the long term scoundrels always lose BECAUSE love is real, so it is a message of hope but also a message of truth. even if eveils try to argue with it it is still true. also important to keep in mind that we can ALL PROVE LOVE every day. love is real but you can also go out there and PROVE IT every day this is just being active and thinking i am going to go out in the world and make choices that prove love like maybe helping someone carry their bags or maybe donating money to my library these are small things but they all prove love.
Any new projects on the horizon?
there are always lots of new projects but nothing to really talk on yet just writing new tinglers and remembering to prove love.
Do you have any love interests? Is Ted Cobbler still giving you trouble?
love interest is sweet barbara but she is gone forever at the bottom of the frozen lake that is all id like to say about that. ted cobbler is more trouble then every he is a disgrace to the neighborhood.
If you want to know more about Chuck Tingle, and I highly suggest you do, check out: Website:

Swamp Fest: Where Punk Rock and Safe Spaces Coexist



The Great Dismal has brought back Swamp Fest, a DIY celebration with a focus on heavy music. This year the bands are gonna rock harder and be more vocal about their politics.

It’s a music-oriented festival, but it’s more than that. It’s a hardcore punk music fest based around community and bringing together people who are doing the same kind of thing in different scenes. They can check each other out, build their contacts, and have a really good time. 

It is very similar to something that was big in the 90’s hardcore scene, which was also the time that a lot of people credit as being the birth of screamo.

“There were a lot of festivals like that. I travelled in 1999 to Columbus, Ohio for The More the Music Festival and that was a very political festival.” Drew Necci, Great Dismal member, explained. “They did workshops during the day before the bands would start and had a focus groups and affinity groups and all this stuff happening. It was supposed to increase the political consciousness of the scene and also bring people together. People came from all over the country, there were festivals of all kinds back in the 90’s that were of that type.”

These days you still have them, but they are a much more corporate thing. Like Riot Fest or Fuck Yeah Fest, which is now FYF Fest because they can’t be Fuck Yeah anymore. Or just The Fest, down in Gainesville, Florida which is probably the most still punk of them all, featuring a lot of DIY bands. But The Fest is more like a South by Southwest experience, a bunch of shows happening all over town at once. You’re running back and forth and you can maybe catch a quarter of the bands if you’re lucky.

“Swamp Fest is more like what people used to do in 1997, where there’d be one place, you’d go, and there’d be bands all day for three days at that once place. It could easily be a Richmond-centric thing, just because there’s a lot of kids involved in the scene here, but I think last year they kind of had to throw it together on the fly.” Necci said. “It ended up being much more a focus on the out of town scene and the bands that knew each other from the internet, all coming together at one place. It had not even a geographic community thing, but a community of like minds, which was really inspiring to me.”

In a lot of ways, The Great Dismal wanted Swamp Fest to be a thing that spreads the word to people who care about this kind of music, that there is a scene beyond their town and there are other bands, so if they feel like they’re a lone voice screaming in the wilderness, they’re not.


In addition to three days of music, The Great Dismal has also created a 64-page zine. There will be a section that will be a write-up of who these bands are and where you can listen to them. Then there’s going to be longer interviews with three of the bands, which are Coma Regalia, Weak Wrists, and This Land is Now Dead. Everyone except for the bass player of This Land is Now Dead lives in Haunted Mansion, a house show venue, and they’re in the middle of that scene here in town.

“Coma Regalia are from Indiana, and who knows what version of the band will show up this year. Last year, Shawn Decker showed up with a guitar player and he played drums and sang and that was Coma Regalia. There’ve been all sorts of different line ups of them, but at the end of the day it’s Shawn.” Necci said. “He’s been in the scene in Indiana forever, and he’s an example of somebody who has kept it going for a long time and has a strong DIY ethic. He runs Middle Man Records and he’s just a right on dude and a good voice to have in the zine.” The third interview is with Weak Wrists, from North Carolina.

“We think they’re a good example of both a band getting better and more can’t miss musically, but also have a lot of political and social-political ideas in their lyrics and their music that we want to spotlight.” said Necci. In addition to interviews, Jake Cunningham is doing a 16-page photo spread with his best photos from last year’s Swamp Fest.

The biggest and most important statement of the zine is that The Great Dismal is a politically-motivated crew of kids and they want to have voices from our community talking about things that are important to them politically. There will be political essays on safe spaces, which is something they are super concerned about as a group of people.

“It’s important to create that non-intimidating environment, because punk can be pretty fucking intimidating. And when everybody seems like they’re putting a premium on violence and aggression and this kind of macho power thing, it’s kind of intimidating to people who are not traditionally in those spots. People who are not straight white men. We do not want that for our community.” Necci explained. “A lot of us are not straight white men, and we don’t want to go to shows and see nothing but straight white men. So safe spaces are important to us to make other people feel welcome, to remind them that this is a style of music we like, not a way of acting that we like.”

The goal overall is to create climate in which everyone feels safe and people feel okay to talk about potentially intense issues.

I think punk rock is more about playing music, it’s about being politically conscious, it’s about giving a shit, and that’s what I want this fest to be about.” Mitchie Shue, organizer, said. “It’s about shaking the tough guy stigma, this is our answer to things like that. I love heavy music, I love cathartic, aggressive music, but it doesn’t have to be about beating each other up. It can be about a lot more.”

Pre-show is Friday, August 12 at 25 Watt. Fest is Saturday, August 13 & Sunday, August 14 at Strange Matter. Zine will be available for purchase before and during the fest.

For the full line up and tickets:

The Facebook Event:

Jake Cunningham’s work:

photos in this article by Jake Cunningham




The Great Southern Returns

the great southern

It is happening again. The Great Southern, that is. Last April, Richmond saw its first Twin Peaks festival, presented by Video Fan, Movie Club Richmond, and Makeout Creek. This year it’s back with even more bands, more films, and more special guests! That’s right, David Lynch fans–time to get pumped.

The event kicks off this Sunday, June 5 at 7pm with a Preview Show at Strange Matter. There will be a screening of Lynch’s 1986 film, Blue Velvet, followed by live performances from Christi and Lady God. Blue Velvet centers around a young man’s discovery of a severed human ear in a field which leads him into a thrilling investigation related to a beautiful, mysterious nightclub singer and a group of hedonistic criminals who have kidnapped her child. It was David Lynch’s project immediately before Twin Peaks.

It’s about the darkness that lives in a small town, so there’s some thematic links.” said Andrew Blossom, the man behind the festival.  “So much of the cast went on to be on Twin Peaks, so there’s just some natural connections that make it kind of a jumping off point for the series and for the festival.”

Then, on Thursday, June 9 there is the Happy Generations Happy Hour starting at 4pm at Ipanema Cafe (my favorite RVA bar). DJs Sister Golden Haze and Greg Darden will be spinning and there will be happy hour specials. Immediately following the happy hour, there will be a Twin Peaks inspired art show at Mojo’s Philadeli starting at 7pm. After that, the celebration moves to Gallery 5 at 8pm with a Concert for Agent Jeffries in honor of the late David Bowie. There will be live music from Life on Mars and Gull and an Agent Jeffries costume contest!

agent jeffries

You know, the guy who scared the crap out of you in Fire Walk With Me?

Friday, June 10 starts off at 1pm with a Twin Peaks Listening Party at Steady Sounds. Free music, coffee and doughnuts?! Sounds like a dream to me. Then starting at 4pm the Byrd Theatre is screening short films in the spirit of Twin Peaks. Then at 6:30pm you just cross the street and head over to Chop Suey Books  where Charlotte Stewart (Betty Briggs on Twin Peaks, also starred in Eraserhead, Tremors, Human Highway, ect.) will be reading and signing her new memoir, “Little House in the Hollywood Hills”.

Charlotte is such a wonderful person.” Blossom said. “Last year, while she was here she was talking about writing this book. So it’s so nice to be able to have her back and to hear her read from it a year later.” The book was only just published this week, and this will be one of the first readings Stewart does. Following the reading, there will be a panel of people who write, blog, and podcast about Twin Peaks, including Stewart and Brad Dukes, author of “Reflections: An Oral History of Twin Peaks”. It should be fascinating to hear so many viewpoints and interpretations on the show! This will be one of the events that I can’t miss.

Dinamo will be hosting the Damn Fine (Pizza) Pie Brunch at 11am on Saturday, June 11. Then at 2pm is Big Ed’s Craft Farm at Hardywood Craft Brewery, an arts and craft fair organized & presented by Curio Market. Hardywood will be selling Twin Peaks-inspired craft beers. But what I am most excited about is the panel discussion on the mythology of Twin Peaks with Scott Ryan (host of the Red Room Podcast), David Bushman & Arthur Smith (authors of “Twin Peaks FAQ: All That’s Left to Know About a Place Both Wonderful & Strange”), Brad Dukes, and John Thorne (creator of Wrapped in Plastic). There are so many ways to interpret the wildly bizarre show, and I am super pumped to hear what these guys think. Yesterday’s Heroes will screen 1944 film, Laura at 8pm. Laura is a noir film about a detective who falls in love with the woman whose murder he is investigating. I don’t think I need to explain the connection to Twin Peaks. Then starting at 10pm, Don’t Look Back will be hosting food and drink specials and tarot card readings!


The Great Southern will close things out with An Afternoon Both Wonderful and Strange Sunday, June 12 at Hardywood starting at noon. The event will feature live music from Big No, Lodro, Ghastly City Sleep, and Little Black Rainclouds with Kimmy Robertson (Lucy from Twin Peaks). There will be a Twin Peaks costume contest, judged by celebrity guests, a trivia contest, signings, and (of course) craft beer!

wonderful and strange

So, if you consider yourself a Twin Peaks and David Lynch fanatic, you gotta get out there and join in the festivities. If not, then now is the time to start marathoning it on Netflix!

It should be a damn fine time.

For more info:

March First Friday 2k16


Here’s your update on the latest exhibits:

“New Year” byAdam Shecter at 1708

There was on one wall, this looped video of what seemed to be animated jellyfish. 

On another wall there was a neon animated video of a kooky arcade. But the main event was his ~30 minute long film, New Year. It was cartoony and comic-like with sci-fi vibes. It follows characters A and J in separate scenes that bleed into each other like a vivid dream.

It was entrancing. Visually stunning and super relaxing. I couldn’t look away. It was so calming, that I was noticeably more relaxed after viewing it. It was like dreaming.


The film is chronological, it is supposed to pass over the time of a year. It features a robot parade, a movie theater that may or may not exist, dogs racing in a meadow of tall grass, a space shuttle, and a motorbike riding over a bridge.


“Nutrisystem” by Jimmy Trotter at Ada Gallery


This isn’t the first time Trotter’s pop culture saturated work has been featured at Ada. I absolutely love his fun and chaotic works. They feature bright, cartoony drawings that bring back memories of Saturday morning cartoons.


A lot of these kooky cartoons are paired with some inappropriate messages scrawled in pen. The piece above has cartoons paired with text like “lubricants” and “if heaven was a pharmacy.”

This may be a stretch, but it seems to me that the theme of this exhibit is subliminal messages in the media and how susceptible children are to them. Even the title,Nutrisystem, refers to an infomercial.


In edition to the drawings, there was also pieces made from found objects.


I really like this one, because you can derive a lot of symbolism in it. It s supposed to be a Christmas tree, and the base is surrounded by a white picket fence, and sports-related objects. A plastic tower of American culture. Or at least traditional white Christian American culture.


It’s even topped with a Nixon mask. Don’t forget the pretend money. I feel like this connects to the theme of television being fake and having subliminal messages. Politicians often use flashy imagery of the all-American, picket fence, Christian, sports-loving person to appeal to the public. Their political ads will feature them playing catch with their kids in the front yard.

They’re just like you! They care about what YOU care about! But all that flashy talk, all those images of pure American suburbia, it’s just a mask.

Is that a stretch? I blame IB English class.


There were also these creepy little statues that had glitter all over their eyes. Does it represent how television blinds and brainwashes children?!

Whatever meaning you get out of this exhibit, it is a ton of fun.

“Subject to Change” at Candela Books and Gallery

“The notion of objects having a soul is an old one and is perhaps a bit romantic. But the intangible presence which objects possess is nearly inarguable. Imperfections can signal appreciation or neglect, unusual provenance, or even historical import. Just how does an artist respond to a given object–with emotion or with intellect or with intuition?” (Candela)

These are the ideas examined in this exhibition.


These vintage photos printed by Kris Sanford, feature different same sex couples.


“Forget–Me–Knot” by Lisa Kokin, a sewn found photo collage.


“1979″ by Tarrah Krajnak


3-D vintage photo encaustics on birch panel by Rachel Phillips. There were 3-D glasses provided. Pretty cool!


And, of course CMYK: Arrangements by Randy Toy at Quirk Gallery


Chatting with Randy Toy



Ahhhh, springtime. It’s time to take off our winter coats and whip out our allergy medicine. The birds are chirping cheerfully, the bees are buzzing busily, and the flowers are blooming beautifully.

It’s hard to miss the new pansies and daffodils that have sprung up lately, decorating our fair city with a much needed dose of nature.

Some lovely florals have also sprung up in Quirk Gallery. Richmond based artist Randy Toy introduced his newest exhibition, “CMYK: Arrangements” on this past First Friday. His “reverse paintings” are fun, poppy takes on the classic floral painting.

I recently got a chance to sit down and chat with Toy about his process in making these works.  His inspirations ranged from nature to Matisse, and pop artists like Tom Wesselman.

My first question was of course, what does CMYK stand for? Cyan, magenta, yellow and black. The four colors in printing and they’re also the four primary colors Toy uses to make all the colors in his paintings. It is a nod to Toy’s experience in printmaking. In fact, he approached these paintings very much in the same way he approached his prints.

Toy used the technique of backwards painting.

“It’s a really backwards way to make something–literally.” Toy said with a laugh. He showed me a sample piece of the PVC, a transparent plastic sheet, that he paints on. It has a palette sample, various shades of purple, on it. This is how the painting comes together: he does all the painting on the back and then when it’s done he turns it around and you have it on the front. All the brushstrokes are on the back, so on the front you get that sort of cool, almost MS paint effect.

“Originally the images start on an ipad; I draw them there. And then I enlarge them in photoshop and then I flip them around to make a mirror image because I want to reproduce the image on the ipad.” Toy explained.

So he flips it around, and then he starts the painting on PVC.

“And this is a very unforgiving medium. Once you start laying it down, you can’t pull anything back, you can’t correct any mistakes. You get one shot, basically.” Toy continues. “So you have to really think about how you’re laying color down, and what goes on top of what because some colors are more transparent and more opaque.”

In that regard, it’s akin to printmaking. The process is sort of similar to making a lithograph where you have a finished image, and you’re dissecting and pulling it apart, trying to figure out how to reassemble it to make your image in the end. That’s pretty much how these paintings are done too. You gotta have your finished image, you pull it apart, and figure out how to put it back together.

“A lot of times when I’m in the studio, there’s lots of different avenues the work can go down.” Toy said. “Generally, it will either be conceptually based or process based. I don’t really feel like I’m married to one particular style or particular medium, so when I start a project, it’s sort of like taking a trip. I know I’m gonna go somewhere–and that’s exciting–but I don’t know exactly where I’m gonna end up, you know? I’m always open to doing something new.”

Great things happen when artists think outside the box and challenge themselves. I highly suggest you step into Quirk Gallery, grab an iced chai latte at the cafe, and peruse the art. Sounds like a perfect spring day to me.

CMYK: Arrangements is running until April 3.

Randy Toy’s website:

Quirk Gallery’s website:

The Valentine gets cocky with “A Chicken in Every Plot”


When I first heard that The Valentine was hosting a chicken-themed exhibit, I had a bit of a chuckle. What a quirky premise for an exhibition!

The show is focused on the growing trend of raising chickens in Richmond backyards. Is it city people trying to reconnect with nature? Is it reflecting the trend to only eat local foods? Is it part of Richmond’s very strong DIY culture? Well, after a conversation with photographer Alyssa C. Salomon, I found that it is all that and more that attracts people to the chicken-raising life.


Salomon became a chicken owner in 2009. She had wanted them for a long time, and moved to a rural place where it was okay to have them. She moved out there because she wanted a low-hassle lifestyle. So, it was fine that her chickens were tearing out her garden since she didn’t have a fancy garden to begin with. But what were people in the city with beautiful gardens in the fan, gonna do with their chickens? How was it gonna work?

That is what inspired her to start photographing Richmonder’s chickens around 2012.

“For photographers, a lot of photography is: you are taking things out of the world, you are putting them in front of your camera, and you are recreating them.” Salomon said. “That idea of taking from the world and putting back in the world to me is very much at the heart of photography.”


(”Woodland Heights, Richmond City, May 2014″ by Alyssa C. Salomon)

“The opportunity to work with a museum that is really conscious that the history of something is a mirror, and that we tell the story through our actions and objects, was ideal for me.” said Salomon.

See, in actuality, people obsessing over where they get their food is not a new development.

When the industrial revolution hit America, people started flooding into cities. Food factories started up, and people started wigging out about their food quality.” Salomon said. “All these ideas about what is healthy living, health food, curative foods, and ideas around quality, content, and food sources was a hot issue. All of that really came from a fear of industrialization.”

So when you start looking at people moving into cities, leaving what they know, not knowing where their food comes from,  and kind of being suspicious about conveniences, it could easily be 2015. It is an expression of our fear of the unknown, our fear of death. And that is universal.

That is what this exhibit is really all about. Connecting us to our past.

Below are some of my favorites:


(cigarette cards from 1891-92. Gift to Valentine from Mrs. Spencer C. Devan)


(Deviled Egg Plate Collection, Alyssa C. Salomon and Travis Fullerton)


Oh, and we can’t forget about the food! The second best part of going to an opening! There was a deviled egg contest featuring local restaurants–WHICH I MISSED BECAUSE OF THE SNOW MESSING UP THE CAMPUS CONNECTOR ROUTE (I’m not bitter)–and food and drink was also provided by Relay Foods and Ellwood Thompson’s!


(Pimento cheese spread, provided by Relay Foods. SO GOOD.)


A Chicken in Every Plot” will be running until September 5, 2016!

The Valentine’s website:

Alyssa C. Salomon’s website:

Relay Food’s website:

Ellwood Thompson’s website:

The UnBound4 Gala


This past Saturday Candela Books + Gallery hosted a fundraising gala. The tickets were $40 and the proceeds are going towards building the Candela Collection. UnBound4! is Candela’s annual invitational and juried exhibition. It is featuring 50 artists, ranging from newcomers to established national and international artists.


$40 is kind of a chunk of money for me right now, but I really wanted to support one of my favorite local galleries.

When I arrived, I headed straight for the food. There were deviled eggs, pimento cheese spread, crackers, lil’ sandwiches, smoked meat, pickles, ect. I was happy.


After stuffing my face, I made my way over to the first bar I saw. They were selling Moscow Mules for $4. I wasn’t a huge fan, but I think I’m just not a big vodka person. Also I was kind of miffed when I realized there was another bar further in with FREE wine and beer. At least it was for a good cause…*grumble, grumble*.

They were also selling insults which I found funny. It’s a cute idea, but who is actually going to drop $5 for a yo’ momma joke?

In the back alley they were frying up some chicken and I said hello to Terry Brown, whose photography studio is in Candela Books. I had interviewed her previously for The Commonwealth Times for a story we were doing on Beard Wars an exhibition The Valentine Museum was doing in collaboration with Terry Brown and the RVA Beard League.

I decided to float along and check out the art. I mean, that’s what it was all for! The cool thing about most of the photography that Candela Books exhibits is that most of the photos have been manipulated in really interesting ways. Like that Heliopolis show they had in May that featured satellite photos of neighborhoods that were manipulated to look like entirely new landscapes.


There was a live band playing, the Richmanian Ramblers. They are a group of musicians that play traditional Romanian and Ukrainian songs. I absolutely loved it! The singer had chords like an opera singer and she was playing the accordian. It was very fun just sitting and listening to them.


Also! Something that really got me excited and giddy was that people from Bijou Film Center were screening Nosferatu! I really love silent films, and had a good conversation with the guy representing Bijou Film Center about how awesome they are. I watched it a little bit, but then I realized they had brought Red Eye Cookies out and my attention shifted.


Overall, a rewarding event! I was happy to support the Richmond art scene.

Candela Books + Gallery’s website:

Terry Brown’s website:

My article on Beard Wars

My article featuring Heliopolis

The Richmanian Ramblers’ page:

Bijou Film Center’s site:



Recently the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts opened a new exhibit called Perseverance. Perseverance examines Japanese tattooing as a full-fledged and vibrant art form. We get to learn about its roots in the Edo period (1615-1868) to the Japanese tattoos of today. Some aspects have evolved over time, while some traditions have stuck around for centuries. It “focuses on the work of seven internationally acclaimed tattoo artists –Ryudaibori (formerly Horitaka), Horitomo, Horishiki, Miyazo, Shige, Junii, and Yokohama Horiken – inspired by the Japanese tradition of tattooing and heavily influenced by the traditional Japanese arts of calligraphy and ukiyo-e woodblock printmaking” (VMFA).

“Our exhibition title comes from the Japanese word gaman, loosely translated as “perseverance” – a word which has long been associated with tattooing in Japan.” reads the artist statement of curator Takahiro Kitamura. “Perseverance is what created this amazing art form despite numerous attempts by the Japanese government to suppress it, despite ongoing prejudices against its practitioners and clients, and despite a constant trend to oversimplify its complexities in contemporary media”

The exhibit consists of walls covered in framed photographs of gorgeous, elaborate tattoos. Some depicting ancient demons, some capturing lotus flowers, each completely unique and awesome. There were also large rows of life-size photos of people whose entire torsos were tattooed.

Once I got to the second room, I got to learn more about the tattoo artists themselves. There was a row of photos of the various artists along with a bio. In the middle of the room on a coffee table was a book that detailed information on the history of Japanese tattoos, the specific symbols and meanings, a biography of the curator, and more.

It was a fascinating exhibit! I might have to return when I have more time and read that book in more detail.

The exhibit runs until September 27, 2015 at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts (200 N. Boulevard, Richmond, VA 23220). Tickets are $10 for adults, $8 for students.

Here is the VMFA’s website:

First Friday: June 2k15


I was working quite late on First Friday, so I only had time to hit up two exhibits! I started out at Gallery 5. Their First Friday show was Dating in the Afterlife. It featured the works of Sean Sweeny and Miles Washington.

“My recent artwork is about the exploration of two polar ideas relating to myself in an autobiographical sense. The ideas are represented in two separate sets of paintings.” Washington stated.

“The first set being my collage paintings that are about the process of influence and creation as well as visual aesthetics. These paintings introduce the viewer to a dense visual field filled collaged photo “samples” consisting of wooden objects, fabrics and other textural pieces.
These elements come together to form a sculptural framework for the rest of the painting to be built upon.”

“The second set of paintings are more design oriented and utilize a self-made set of symbols used to depict the more concrete aspects of my personality. The symbols often denote things like, what I know to be true about myself, and traits associated with my astrological sign. The visual field in this set is uncluttered and uses similar aspects to ancient hieroglyphs.” Washington continued.

“I feel that these two separate approaches offer a unique contrast and allow the viewer a glimpse into my personal space. The first set operating on a more emotionally charged level and the second set introduces a more esoteric and abstract vision of the self.”

“My interdisciplinary practice focuses on lightness and gravity, seeking to create poetic moments of objects appearing to be simultaneously floating and subject to the pull of gravity.” Sweeny said of his art.

“While traveling in destitute areas, I became intrigued with a variety of found objects in deteriorated spaces. This discovery led me to further consider their original ready-made commercial state and the possibility of manipulating the material in order to create moments of pause in time and space. Materials I use have been altered, and while some are no longer recognizable, others are left in a raw state. The alterations aestheticize the materials with a balance of elegant crudeness creating a dichotomy that draws the viewer in.”

(This was my favorite piece, not sure why, it just is very visually appealing to me)

I really enjoyed the plaster and found object art. There was something calming about it. After I perused the art, I went down to the stage level where Lady God was performing. I have heard them before at a house show, and they are one of my favorite Richmond bands! The male singer has a weird nasally voice that sounds really cool and the girl bassist/singer is super cool. Every one of their songs make you want to dance!

A few days later, I stepped inside Ada Gallery to see what I had missed. I was greeted with a variety of candy-colored sketches on white paper. Hanging were the works of Jimmy Trotter. The show was called Shakey Ground.

Immediately, I am gripped with childhood nostalgia. I see many characters from my childhood Saturday cartoons-and-sugary-cereal mornings. Once you look a little closer, more and more adult themes creep in. Mickey Mouse has a cigarette in his mouth. There are pills scattered on the canvas. The words “double homicide” scrawled in a pink so light, you might miss it. A cartoon guy wringing his hands nervously, the thought “10 days clean?!” floating above his head. It’s kind of fun trying to find them all.

I’m not gonna assume I know what the artist was saying, but what I got out of it was that as you become an adult, adult themes permeate into your childhood memories. Or rather, adult themes that were already there come to the surface now that you understand them. I urge you to interpret it in your own way though. I loved this exhibit! So many colorful characters sprawled chaotically on the paper! It was very fun.

I also had a nice conversation with the curator, John Pollard. About art, art critiquing, and interpreting, ect. The next time you go to a gallery on First Friday, I suggest you talk to the artist and the curator, because they really do have interesting things to say and theywant to talk about it.

Here is Lady God’s page:

Ada Gallery’s website:

Gallery 5′s website:

Jimmy Trotter’s page:

1708 Gallery: 10 x 10


This summer, 1708 Gallery is running a ten week program, 10 x 10: Richmond Takes The Gallery. It runs from June 2 to August 9, each week featuring a different program. The gallery’s website read:

“Inspired by a program at Nurture Art, New York, 10×10 is an experiment—an open platform that treats the gallery as a communal space. Artists and organizations will use the time and space to try something different, to test an idea, to experiment with a project, and to engage with new audiences. Across these 10 projects, a picture of the originality and quirkiness, intelligence and ambition, and overall creativity of Richmond’s community is highlighted.”

I had to miss the first week, because I am working full time this summer, but I managed to pop into the gallery last week during Milk River Arts’ takeover. Milk River Arts is a non-profit visual arts center that provides career-focused support for artists with developmental disabilities.

The walls were lined with art that had been created by people in the workshops. I was instantly approached by two very nice ladies who asked me if I ever did art and encouraged me to give it a go. I created a nametag, and grabbed a sheet of construction paper and several colored pencils.

I didn’t really know what I was going to do at first, but the navy blue color of the paper reminded me of the beach at night time, one of my favorite solitary places. There was a book full of art by Matisse, one of my favorite artists, and I used his sketches as women as a reference. I ended up sketching myself sitting on the beach, the water creeping on my toes and the silvery moon shining up in the dark sky. I really tried to capture the magic.

I had so much fun making this! I chatted up another artist, Abernathy Bland, and felt very encouraged and accepted. There were a few people with special needs there and the people running the workshop were offering them encouragement, assistance, and respect. They were so happy and proud of their work and it was really great to see!

Again, 10 x 10 is running until August 9! This week’s program is Performing Statistics, which looks at how criminal justice reform would differ if it was led by currently incarcerated adults and teens and how the Richmond community can support those efforts. I am gonna try to check it out before the week ends and write about it!

Here is the website for 1708 Gallery:

Here is the facebook event for 10 x 10:

Here is Milk River Arts’ website:

Here is Abernathy Bland’s art blog:

Here is Performing Statistics’ website: