When You Love Somebody…

… Sometimes you have to call them out.

It’s February, so I should be devoting time to my Valentine, Isobel. She just turned 4 this last week. Every day she does something else to remind me how quickly she’s growing, and how soon this magical time will be gone.

But the time I could be spending with my little one has been spent actively fighting a new danger to my Northwest community. It’s not bad enough that our local government has proven to be nothing more than a way for rich residents to play dynasty. Our Port has leased land to a Chinese LLC which aims to build the world’s largest methanol refinery to date using fracked gas in Tacoma. Methanol is a highly combustible compound, and the refinery will be placed next to a new natural gas facility, amplifying the potential for worst case scenarios (leaks, explosions, irreversible damage to water and soil, worsening of air quality, increasing health disparity, etc.).

I have been attending Environmental Impact Scoping meetings every chance I get. The most recent meeting I attended saw 1200+ residents against and three paid representatives for the project. The plant will use up to 20,000 gallons of water a minute despite the world wide shortage of clean water and a global rallying cry to convert to green energy. The purpose of the methanol refinery? Making plastics in China.

As an appointed member of the City of Tacoma Human Rights Commission, I was particularly troubled by the Tacoma Fire Department’s plan for detainees in the Northwest Immigration Detention Center that in case of catastrophe, there will not be an evacuation, instead they are to “shelter in place.”

So Tacoma, I love you, but I’m calling you out.

And for those who come to this page looking for cute drawings, not politics, I leave you the first in a series of illustrated responses to the proposed Tacoma Methanol Refinery. so as not to disappoint.

 

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Draft: Otter Destruction. 2016. S. Skaar

I’ll post the finished illustration when it’s complete. If you want to learn more about the methanol refinery and how you can help protect our environment, please check out Red Line Tacoma.

Literally, New Gear.

New Work available at No Mine! Studios Redbubble Shop.

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“Gear.” Gray. Sticker. Digital Illustration. S. Skaar.
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“Gear.” Gray. T-shirt. Digital Illustration. S. Skaar.
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“Gear.” Black. T-shirt. Digital Illustration. S. Skaar.
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“Gear.” Black on White. Totebag. Digital Illustration. S. Skaar.
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“Gear.” Black. Sticker. Digital Illustration. S. Skaar.

More color combos coming soon.

Cheers!

Suzanne

No Mine! Studios

Happy New Year.

2015 was jam-packed, and did not progress at all as I predicted it would. I ran for office on a well-developed social justice platform with $150, went to Africa, learned some Swahili and Nyakusa, watched my daughter’s language and social skills blossom, made new friends, developed my shop, started the wheels turning for a new media platform, stood up for myself and others, recently began looking at new career opportunities, was made Second Vice-Chair of the City of Tacoma Human Rights Commission, and am finishing the year with pneumonia and maybe malaria, too. I’m finding lessons even in the setbacks. For example, it probably shouldn’t take fluid in the lungs to make me take a break, but it seems like I have to learn this lesson every year.

I have been inspired by many friends whose work improves communities around the globe. In addition to illustrations of dinosaurs and a flailing Moped Guy, I plan to tell somewhat more serious stories in the coming year through writing and podcasting. I’ll share links as new projects are completed. As always, if you would like to collaborate, drop me a line at nominestudios [at] hotmail [dot] com.

Thank you for your support. Best wishes to you and your loved ones for a Happy New Year. Make 2016 count.

Cheers,

Suzanne

No Mine! Studios

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Artist with daughter, Isobel. 2015. Tacoma.

Crafty Like That

For a long time, I let the imaginary divide between “real art” and “craft” steer me away from fabric arts and into painting. While I enjoy painting a lot, I’m ashamed at how old I was before realizing how inherently sexist this classification is.

The work that other artists have mastered for the sake of beautifying their homes and the lives of their families is no less challenging or “real”. I underestimated how hard it was as a new mother, and dove headfirst into sewing projects. Between grad school and a new child, I didn’t have the time or energy to master the basic steps before tackling her first Halloween costume. As Trick-or-Treaters arrived at the door, I was still trying to attach a furry green tail to the back of an unlined vest, disappointed that I wasn’t capable of doing more.

Izzy's first Halloween costume. I'm sorry, kid.
Izzy’s first Halloween costume. I’m sorry, kid.

After I graduated and no longer could depend on daycare to help out, the demands of cleaning up after a 15-month-old, cooking everything from scratch, and freaking out over typical childhood injuries pushed my artistic practice in a digital direction. {It’s a lot harder for a kid to hurt themselves using the items in Photoshop than any of the items typically found in an artist studio. My head hurts at the memory of all the aerosol I used to make “real art.”}

Thinking back on the amount of spraypaint used for this half-finished piece, I now get why I didn't finish it.
Thinking back on the amount of spraypaint used for this half-finished piece, I now get why I didn’t finish it.

By focusing on making art for public consumption versus private enjoyment, we can often lose sight of taking on even more challenging tasks. Pleasing the ever-changing tastes of a three-year-old is an excellent multi-purpose exercise: speed, flexibility, creativity, and humor come back into the artistic practice, and can only improve future projects.

With the goal of once again working for my favorite client, I picked up the needle and thread yesterday. I drew out patterns on felt, solicited input, and made something that arguably could have been bought in the cat section at Pet Smart for 1/20th of the cost in terms of labor and supplies.

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Despite its shortcomings, Isobel received it happily. She watched me while I worked to see what goes into making projects from scratch. The process is just as important as the product. I’m starting smaller and building my skills up again in a new medium, and my daughter is learning that we all have to start somewhere.