A recent purchase in the comic department was issue #2 of the magazine, Slake that has a comic called "Survivor's Guild" by Matjames about the days after hurricane Katrina and how he survived in New Orleans. Those of us comfortable in our higher elevations and distant states could not really have imagined the disaster and pain that Katrina caused. The newspaper flattened the effects. Some of his friends committed suicide. Many drank heavily. They were in shock. Matjames captured the agony in a raw form and with humor, too. I feel like I got a lesson in empathy and was reminded to be grateful. As we have seen with the popular Maus I: A Survivor's Tale and Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood, comics about desperate times can be powerful teachers.
On a lighter note—shopping therapy—I finally got back to the Craft and Folk Art Museum in Los Angeles and got my own Matjames piece. As I walked over there knowing I was on a mission to buy, I decided on a few criteria. It had to have a ruler frame. It had to have an object in it. I had to feel something when I looked at it. And I would pay $100 for it. I looked at six or seven, but this one eventually called to me.
It seems I also wanted a subject I could connect to or identify with. I'm not sure why, but I kept putting aside the ones with photos of men.
With her own built-in measuring system, you can see that she is 3 1/2" x 2" (89 mm x 51 mm), slightly larger than my palm. She is built from three thin layers of wood slats, then framed with the wooden ruler. A sweet photograph, I think, enhanced by the "France: all silk" label. It would be nice if the wooden edges were aligned, and the border, seamless, but they aren't. So it's a little askew, and so I'll get down. As a friend once said, "The air is a little thin up on that high horse, isn't it?" His mini boxes were the inspiration for my collage boxes.
Since I spent some time looking through his website and writing a (previous) post, I can't tell if I am comforted by the piece because of its own character, or because of Matjames' bio, or both. I guess it is a talisman for both. The woman at CAFAM who sold me the piece says he's a very nice guy. Nice how it shows.