Pardon Me While I Blaze Some Trails was a solo art exhibit at Mainstay Gallery in Santa Monica, California featuring art that was inspired by
these 12 trailblazing women:
MADAM C.J. WALKER
CORINNE MICHAEL WEST
Part of all art sale proceeds from my Trailblazing Women series will go to Girls Inc, an organization that advocates on behalf of girls and delivers life-changing programs and experiences.
If you're not ready to buy but you'd still like to help support me and my creations, you can purchase art supplies that I will use for this ongoing project. Be sure to leave a note so I know whom to thank!
Dorothy Parker has always been a favorite of mine. I enjoy her wild wit and brilliant snark. She was a poet, a critic for The New Yorker and co founder of the Algonquin Round Table where she and her clever peers would have dinner, drink heavily and exchange jabs. Oh how I’ve longed to sit at that table! Parker also co wrote the 1937 film, A Star is Born and she left all of her money to the Martin Luther King Jr. estate Parker’s ashes are stored at the NAACP headquarters in Baltimore.
MAYA ANGELOU (SOLD)
Spanning over 50 years of creativity, Maya Angelou was an American poet, singer, memoirist, and civil rights activist who published seven autobiographies, three books of essays, several books of poetry, and is credited with a list of plays, movies, and television shows. Her works have earned her more than 30 honorary degrees as well as nominations for a National Book Award and a Pulitzer Prize.
When I first read about the Hollywood movie star, Hedy Lamarr’s frequency hopping invention that led to the technology we now use for Wi-Fi and bluetooth, I started asking people around me if they knew about this. Most of the older men I asked immediately commented on how beautiful Hedy Lamarr was. True, she was. Don’t get me wrong, beauty is a beautiful thing. I’m a fan! but I was asking about something else. Now more people will know about Hedy’s beautiful brain, as well as her beautiful face.
When Canadian singer-songwriter, Joni Mitchell was only nine years old she contracted polio. It was during her recovery in the hospital that she began performing and singing to the other patients. Joni has received nine Grammy Awards and induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1997. AllMusic has stated, "When the dust settles, Joni Mitchell may stand as the most important and influential female recording artist of the late 20th century."
Elizabeth Freeman, (AKA MumBet), was the first enslaved African American to file AND WIN her freedom. She decided to seek her freedom after hearing a public reading of the Declaration of Independence. In 1781 the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruling found slavery to be inconsistent with the State Constitution.
Limited Edition Poster
A drawing of each woman in this show, drawn over the lyrics to Helen Redy's, "I Am Woman Hear Me Roar." Limited edition of 25 worldwide.
When I was a kid I remember first learning about Peace Pilgrim, born Mildred Lisette Norman, and I was blown away by her awesomeness! Peace was so dedicated to peace, that she invented a ‘walking protest’ that she embarked on. She was a spiritual teacher, a mystic, a pacifist, a vegetarian activist and peace activist. In 1952, she became the first woman to walk the entire length of the Appalachian Trail in one season.
Edith Head was an American costume designer who started out doing costume sketches (with zero training) for Paramount Studios in 1923. In 1938, Head became chief designer at Paramount, in charge of a costume department with a staff of hundreds. She was the first woman to head a design department at a major studio. She won a record eight Academy Awards for Best Costume Design, starting with The Heiress and ending with The Sting.
CORINNE MICHAEL WEST (SOLD)
When I first learned abut Corinne Michael West I was especially interested in the familiar storyline of “hard knocks for women.” Corinne often went by the name “Michael West” because opportunities for women in the art world were scarce. Extraordinarily independent for her time and obsessively driven, Corinne (later Michael) West was one of the most single minded and forceful artists of the New York School of Abstract Expressionism.
MADAM C.J. WALKER
By the age of twenty, Sarah Breedlove, who would come to be known as Madam C. J. Walker, was orphaned and widowed. She worked for years as a washerwoman to support her daughter. Inspired by a book she read (Up From Slavery by Booker T. Washington) Sarah Breedlove called for black people to lift themselves up by working hard and developing skills. In 1905 she changed her name to Madam C.J. Walker and invented a hair pomade and other beauty products that she marketed to black women.
CORINNE MICHAEL WEST 2
MAYA ANGELOU 2
My mom as a young girl in Israel. I will include one piece inspired by my mom because she is my own personal trailblazer. She escaped an abuser, ran away to another country with two small kids, found my dad, learned English, became a citizen and remained a powerful force in my life. I dedicate all of my art to her.
These days, #WomenDirect trends on Twitter because of the disproportionate amount of men getting directing gigs. But imagine the year is 1927. In the silent film era and when talkies first began, there were ZERO women directing films, except for trailblazer, Dorothy Arzner. In her twenty year, sixteen film, career, Arzner was the only female member of the Directors Guild of America.
It’s been said that more people know about the holocaust from German born Jewish diarist, Anne Frank’s account than from anywhere else. I read her diary when I was 13, the same age she was when she started writing it. I remember thinking, that although we spoke different languages and were born in different parts of the world and different times, my youth and my religion, bonded us. We could have been friends, I thought. She was funny and wise-beyond-her-years.
I wrote a short play about Moms Mabley, Don’t Know No Jokes, that was produced in Plano, Texas a few years back. (See it in the exhibit!) I first learned about Moms when I was searching for funny woman in history. I watched endless YouTube clips and fell in love instantly. Moms was born Loretta Mary Aiken in Brevard, North Carolina, on March 19, 1894 and was a trailblazing African-American 20th century comedian known for warm yet raunchy stand-up routines and hit albums.