Explaining Monday – Gun Day

**HERE LIVES THE MOTHER OF ALL TRIGGER WARNINGS**

There’s been a lot of news about guns in the last week. Last Tuesday I filed this article away for inclusion in today’s regular post; the Guardian reported that Remington was filing for bankruptcy, due at least in part to what they had termed “‘The Trump slump.'” A friendly administration for the gun lobby, and gun owners, has spelled radically decreased sales for gun manufacturers. But then on Wednesday, in a turn-around that would give you whiplash were you researching anything other than gun violence in the US, there was a mass shooting at a school in Florida on Valentine’s day. The cycle begins again.

My Monday – Gun Day series began on the 9th of October, 2017, a week and a day after the largest mass shooting involving a single perpetrator in US history had taken place in Las Vegas (all the modifiers are to remind us that there have been larger massacres in US history, usually racially motivated like that at Wounded Knee, or the Colfax Massacre, which was perpetrated by white Southern Democrats against about 150 black men.)

Since then, across 16 posts (including this one) made on Mondays (US Pacific time), I’ve been sharing my research about guns, and more specifically, the guns used to kill the 63 people who died in January 1st, 2017. But why? Well, firstly, some backstory that might help to explain.

I began the Monday – Gun Day series with an introduction to my work Gun from 2013/14. To design the work I replicated the AR-15 knock-off (made by Remington) used in the Sandy Hook mass shooting of 2012, into which I incorporated facts and figures I had researched about that days killings, which was, at that time, the second most deadly mass shooting perpetrated by a single person ever in the United States. I was making a series of pieces that used the tools of war to make a statement about humanity’s continuing poor relationship with itself, which I entitled The Escalation Series. My use of this gun, with all of its associations, pointed out an additional fact; the other tools of war I made pieces about were designed for, and were chiefly only accessible to, organised armies. This weapon, designed for and known as as the M-16 in the US armed forces, was and still is far too easily accessible to regular citizens of this country.

I thought after The Escalation series, in which I made jewellery pieces that depicted the following weapons of war:

tank
cannon
arrow
fire arrow
sword
gun
rpg
drone
cartridges with Minié ball bullets
Lapua Magnum shells (sniper rifle shells) from Combat Paper
multiple caltrops

as well as 3 versions of HEAT, a work (pictured below) that shows the molten metal spatter and penetration of a HEAT missile through armoured tank steel, that my association with weapons was done for a while. My focus had made a gentle pivot which saw me making mosaics out of enamelled laser cut steel, with which I could write by turns gentle, piercing and witty messages in binary.

From the series HEAT, (1 of 3) 2015
Strike
9 wall-mounted panels (565mm x 565mm – 22 3/16″ x 22 3/16″)
Stainless steel, vitreous enamel. Image Melissa Cameron.
From the series HEAT, (1 of 3) 2015
Spatter
neckpiece (480mm x 480mcm – 19″ x 19″)
Stainless steel, vitreous enamel, titanium. Image Melissa Cameron.

 

Then two things happened. I had been recently juried into the Elizabeth R. Raphael Founder’s Prize, for which I am to make a work out of found materials, and on the 1st of October I decided to do a stock-take of all the found objects I have lying about in my study, the same day that the current most deadly mass shooting perpetrated in modern times (this seems to be accepted as anything since 1950,) by a single shooter, happened.

Having memorialised a single-person shooting before, I did not want to go down that route again. I’ve read a lot of stories about Sandy Hook, and will continue to do so the rest of my days (it’s reportage on unjustified killings of defenseless white children in a 1st world nation, and thanks to our social/political/class climate, we will find it in the media for the foreseeable future,) and it’s a lot. And I don’t want to have to repeat myself.

I have other things that horrify me just as much as 59 deaths by one person in a day. 59 deaths on any day is a pretty shit day by most of the world’s standards, and I wanted a way to make that point. So I picked a day, New Year’s Day 2017, and got to work.

We know the weapons of the mass shootings because they get so much publicity. (The Guardian already has 3 pages of articles about last week’s shooting.)  [I’m getting cynical, which I usually try to banish from my writings, but it’s almost as if the amount of publicity is inverse to the amount of action that will be taken against the problem, despite the fact that I learned in another Guardian article linked to the Trump Slump article that, “Only 22 to 31% of Americans adults say they personally own a gun.” And what they call “gun super-ownership” is actually concentrated to 3% of the population.] Anyway, digressions aside. We know so little about the other gun deaths that happen in this country because everyone is so inured by the frequency of the killings that everyday gun violence doesn’t make it to the national news. But the weapons used by the mass murderer are studied ad nauseam, so of course we learn about the guns, the shells, the alternate weapons, the victims, the scene, the police department response, the slow and painful moving on.

But what about all the the other shootings? Which guns are responsible there?

Hopefully in just a few years time the gun lobby will face a shakedown that will be compared to that experienced by the tobacco lobby, and their unconscionable actions will be pored over in as much details as the lives of those involved in the Sandy Hook massacre. For right now, I’ve learned that there are great resources for finding out who was killed, when, and where, and more loosely, how. What’s becoming clear is that there is no focus put on the gun responsible, nor its manufacturer. In any other arena, should over 30,000 people get killed by any single type of object in a year, we, the public, would cry out for all the statistics on the make, model, age and condition of the thing responsible.

Thus my research project; for each person listed as killed on the Gun Violence Archive on the 1st of January, 2017, I am finding out what make and model of gun killed them, (or my best estimation thereof,) to draw a picture of what that gun looked like.

And when I have a picture of those 63 weapons, I’m going to make a wearable piece of jewellery that incorporates every f*cking one of them.

Monday – Gun Day

Heads up, there are five unnamed weapons today.

Default Pistol 2 – S&W M&P

The next two shootings listed on the Gun Violence Archive, of Alvin McDowell (25) and Zavier Wimes (22), happened with a proximity that had the investigative team questioning if they were related. Wimes was shot and killed around 1am on the first block of Byrd Way in Buffalo, New York, while McDowell was shot in his vehicle at 6:30am at 15 McNeeley Way – Byrd and McNeeley are essential the same street that runs about 6 blocks (by my calculations) between Hickory Street and Jefferson Ave. Close to downtown Buffalo, the name switches from Byrd to McNeeley about half way down the street. It is reported that the killers would have been known to their victims, and while I have found no further details of the first shooting, it it reported that Alvin “Duke” McDowell was shot while lying sleeping in his car. His mother has put out a plea for anyone with further information to contact police.

Also reported alongside these murders was a woman shot and killed around 10:30am, but that crime comes further along the Gun Archive listing. I’m going to keep to their order.

We’re up to default Pistol 2, and then 1, again.

Ruger SR1911 – Default Pistol 1

A 46 year old man, Jason Ellis, was killed in Del City, Oklahoma at 12:25am by Kevin Henry (37) who, after a police standoff at the home outside of which the body of Ellis was found, reportedly killed himself. A third man, Christoper Russell (27), was later arrested for luring the victim to to the home. No details on the weapons were reported, so Default Pistol 2.

Default Pistol 2 – S&W M&P

From the Baltimore Sun:

Police also identified James Williams, 33, as the man killed in the 1000 block of North Mount Street, the same block as the Western District Police Station, about 5:30 p.m. on New Year’s Day.

An officer heard gunshots and saw a man with a gun fleeing the area, police said. Williams was located inside of a car, and died at a local hospital.

Cham Green lists this as the second and final shooting for Jan 1 in Baltimore, and also adds that the victim did non have a violent criminal history. (Previous mention of Green’s 2017 list of homicides in Baltimore.) No details of the gun to be found. DP1, again.

Ruger SR1911 – Default Pistol 1

Danny Barron, 18, was shot and killed in the parking lot of movie theatre in Copperfield, a neighbourhood of Houston, TX. One of the accused, 17 year old Faith Deleon, accounts the story as Barron and unnamed friend were conducting a drug deal (marijuana) when Deleon’s 16 year old friend (details are being withheld as he is a minor) pulled out a gun and shot Barron twice, and the friends once. Barron’s friend made it into the cinema to report the crime and survived their wounds.

Deleon has been charged with capital murder, as of March 10th, 2017, as has her 16 year old friend, who is also connected with a prior aggravated assault case. Again, no word on the weapon. DP2.

Default Pistol 2 – S&W M&P

Smitten Forum

I talked up my participation in Smitten Forum briefly before it happened. And then it happened from the 27th of December until the 3rd of January, at Ghost Ranch (yes, of Georgia O’Keffe fame) in New Mexico. And I’ve been meaning to share it ever since. So, what is it? Well, it’s the brain child of two jewellers Sarah Brown and Marissa Saneholtz, who, from what I can tell, are best buds with complimentary admin skills. They like to work and holiday together, so while they’re at it, they gather a group of wonderful beings at a different location each year to join in working and playing together for a week. This year’s crew was: Sarah Perkins, Melissa Cameron, Bryan Petersen, Cappy Counard, Cheryl Rydmark, Tanya Crane, Rebekah Frank, Anika Smulovitz, Don Friedlich, Laritza Garcia, Leslie LePere, Hannah Oatman and the two aforementioned heroes Marissa Saneholtz and Sara Brown.

Our rag-tag team of local legends and talented artists from all over the country (and, it has to be said, one random from Australia via the PNW,) got together, cooked up a storm and enjoyed a wonderful creative week  – that is if you weren’t one of our number downed with the super-flu and confined to quarters for most of the week. There was relative isolation which added to the atmosphere, though there was the obligatory patchy wireless internet and cell/mobile phone reception and we were only a 15 minute drive from the local store. We weren’t completely slumming it, and we were just one hour or so from a fancy resort with hot springs… Of course we went! Well, some of us 😉

I took the opportunity to gather scraps from my studio (nails Turbo pulled from sundry pieces of furniture in the basement when disassembling obstacles to the team who put in the french drains last year, washers found on the street and offcuts from my latest chain series, for example,) and sandblast them before I left. Once there, when not hiking and photographing, I was able to enamel them thanks to Sarah who lugged her kiln across the country. With this strange array of bits and pieces I created a bunch of little meditations (or sketches if you’re feeling more generous) on a theme of realignment and repair. The parts formed new coalitions (in the coalescence sense of the root word), aided by their recently acquired visual uniformity. I have plans for all the metal I magpied (past participle of magpie, v: to pick up shiny [or often rusty] discarded objects in the street) while in Marfa, TX, last year, and this was my attempt at a trial run. I could not resist the local soil though, so that became a feature too, as did a few rocks “sampled” on a hike.

It’s a really special place. If you ever have the opportunity to go, leap at it. I believe it operates as a summer camp that has art and jewellery classes. And certainly don’t equivocate if the super-duo Marissa and Sara ever get in touch.

We were all smitten.

(You’ll have to ask Sara and Marissa who I stole that last line from 😉 )

 

Monday – Gun Day

Another Monday, another chance for the Department of Homeland Security staff to enjoy my ‘colourful’ internet search history. (Thanks to for reminding us that all legal US immigrants are now denied the protection of the First Amendment – you know, the one about free speech.)

But lets get this protest back on track, eh?

Emory Sharod Lewis was shot at around 1am on January 1st, 2017. He was found outside Andrew’s Discount Market. Two weeks later a 19 year old suspect, Branden Prioleau, was arrested. At this stage I can’t find conviction information, so I assume he is awaiting trial. Charleston City Paper reports that Lewis was shot with a .40 caliber round. Regular readers will not be surprised to find out that the .40 caliber is a round for a semiautomatic pistol. Turns out the .40 was developed by Smith and Wesson in 1990 to go into a pistol as the FBI wanted to phase out revolvers as they were too slow to reload but wanted to keep a minimum ammunition size (= payload) to stop the intended recipient.

The .40 caliber was developed by Smith and Wesson, and as it turns out that we’re up to the S&W M&P in our sequence of alternating pistols, so allocating the Default Pistol 2 to this crime is apt.

Default Pistol 2 – S&W M&P

Luz Rosado was shot around 3:45am in Hartford, Connecticut by her friend Ulises Robles, with a “black handgun”, according to the Hartford Courant. I can’t find any details of the Robles conviction, but he was arrested after a police officer, who happened to witness the argument that preceded the shooting, chased him on foot. As for the weapon, the Ruger SR1911 (Default Pistol 1) I originally drew (true fact, I inserted in my Autocad file as a reference raster image) was a black model.

Ruger SR1911 – Default Pistol 1

This next one hurts.

Regina Hernandez, 5, was shot and killed by 34-year-old Fidel Rodriguez-Canchola after he began firing shots into the ground outside to celebrate the New Year when the girl came out and walked into the line of fire. The weapon, a .22 caliber revolver, was retrieved on the other side of a fence at the location while the suspect made his way on foot. Once found, he was charged with, “Criminally negligent homicide, a class A misdemeanor.” according to the The News Courier.

He pled guilty to that crime in February, for which he faces a maximum of 1 year in jail. Once arrested for the shooting there was trouble establishing his credentials. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) were called in and it was established that Rodriguez-Canchola is an illegal immigrant, and thus was ineligible to hold a fire-arm legally. He was then arrested for the federal crime of illegal possession of a firearm with a maximum 10 year/$250,000 penalty. (Reporting from WAFF 48, an Alabama-based NBC affiliate.) He was due to be sentenced on the federal charge, to which he also pled guilty, on October 12th, but I have found no more information about the outcome.

Ruger Single Six .22 revolver

This is gun #15. I’m a quarter of the way there.

One month residency opportunity

I know, the publicity department here gave up a while back, but I promised a friend. Plus this one looks so good I’m finding it hard to resist applying multiple times under pseudonyms and never telling a soul. Gabbing about it here is just insurance against my own worst nature. You’re (kinda) welcome.

Application fee $35 US, due March 10th.

https://hecgallery.submittable.com/submit/104212/iair-2018-montana-state-university-international-artist-in-residence

 

Some highlights:

iAIR 2018: Montana State University School of Art International Artist in Residence

Mission:

To foster an environment of international artistic exchange while providing a rich working experience for the artist to practice and grow.  The School of Art strives to cultivate a dialogue between the national and international art community and the community of Bozeman, Montana.  The iAIR program at the School of Art is supported in part by the Beulah Glaze Waller Endowment.

Residency Details:

Residency Dates: Monday, October 1, 2018 – Monday, November 5, 2018

Exhibition Venue: Helen E. Copeland Gallery, 213 Haynes Hall, Bozeman, MT 59718

Exhibition Dates: Install will be Saturday and Sunday, October 27th and 28th

The incoming flight will be scheduled for arrival in Bozeman on Monday October 1, 2018; departure flight will be scheduled on Monday, November 5, 2018.

MSU School of Art provides:

Roundtrip airfare to Bozeman, pick-up and drop-off at the airport, housing/utilities, office space, materials assistance (up to $250.00 USD), program administration, and a general stipend of $1000.00 USD ($900.00 upon arrival and $100.00 as room deposit will be given to the iAIR upon completion of the residency.)

Plate Glass – Seattle opening!

Nicolette Absil – Krinkled Peony Saucer, 2017

You are cordially invited to join me and Sally, staunch patron of the arts here in Seattle (and not to mention gallery owner), for afternoon tea tomorrow from 2pm. Come sip and munch delectable treats surrounded by beautiful art, in the freshly landscaped garden of delights that is Fancy, at 1914 2nd Ave, Seattle.

With exquisite treasures on show (such as the work by Nicolette Absil, pictured above and Steffi Götze, below) there will be something to surprise and impress even the most winter-weary residents of the Emerald City.

Do come!

Steffi Götze – Raum. 2017

For those who simply can’t tomorrow, the exhibition closes March 10th.

Monday – Gun Day

Bushmaster XM15-E2S with bayonet affixed

Y’all hoped that was it for today, huh? But I owe you an AR-15, with a bayonet, from our last ‘episode‘.  I was not aware of the difference between a carbine, a mid-size and a rifle, but now I have learned. It has to do with the size of the gas system that allows the propulsion from the firing of the weapon to be recycled to expel the spent jacket and chamber a new cartridge. Simple, yeah? Anyway, as it happens, the AR-15 that I drew from my Gun series of works appears to be a carbine.

And now the image that was the basis of that work has been ‘modded’ to include a bayonet. I found an image that had a similarly-sized carbine with bayonet affixed and I’ve made my own Frankenstein’s monster of a gun/bayonet combo, because, well, I wanted the continuity, despite what might be perceived by purists as an inaccuracy.

I’m an artist. I’ll draw what I want to.

See you next time for another drawing of a gun, or several. I’m going to have to speed this up, I’ve got a lot more of these to get through.

Hammer time

Point Line Plane brooch iv, 2013

You can touch this. If you go to the Artist Trust auction (Saturday, February 24, 2018 at the Fisher Pavilion, Seattle Center) you could even win it! The menu is up and the artist works already online look good. Just sayin…

And on now:

I am very pleased to have my work Ruchnoy Protivotankovy Granatomyot (or RPG) in this exhibition, which, as the exhibition media tells it, “drew over 1,000 submissions from 8 countries around the world. Juror Perry A. Price selected 70 works for exhibition at the Patterson-Appleton Arts Center including works from 27 states in varying media including metal, wood, plastic, ceramic, fiber, glass, and mixed media.”

31st annual Materials: Hard + Soft International Contemporary Craft Competition & Exhibition
Meadows Gallery, Patterson-Appleton Arts Center
Opening Reception | Friday, February 2, 6 – 8 PM (Artist Awards at 7 PM)
February 3 – May 5, 2018

Recognized as one of the premier craft exhibitions in the country, Materials: Hard + Soft began in 1987 and was originally initiated by area artist Georgia Leach Gough. Now in its 31st year, the exhibition opens to international artists as we celebrate the evolving field of contemporary craft and the remarkable creativity and innovation of artists who push the boundaries of their chosen media.

Yep, pleased as punch!

Plate Glass – in Seattle

The Plate Glass exhibition opens next Saturday in Seattle. The opening celebration is on February 10th, from 2-5pm. Our full dates are from February 8 – March 10 at Fancy, 1914 2nd Ave, Seattle.

I may have promised somewhere to speak around 3pm, but I really don’t intend to. I’ll just be chatting all afternoon. Please come say hi!

Artists:
Nicolette Absil, Alicia Jane Boswell, Susan Buchanan, Kat Cole, Katie Collins, Danielle Embry, Laura Eyles, Annie Gobel, Steffi Götze, Aurelie Guillaume, Naoko Inuzuka, Kaori Juzu, Rachel Kedinger & Eleanor Anderson, Inari Kiuru, Mio Kuhnen, Zachery Lechtenberg, Camilla Luihn, Sharon Massey, Lindy McSwan, Marissa Saneholtz, Samantha Skelton, Demitra Thomloudis, Claire Townsend, Jen Townsend, Hsiao Ai Wang, Kate Wischusen and Aurelia Yeomans.

We have seven new works (yup, that’s over one quarter of the show) that did not appear at the last outing at Arrowmont, because Seattle is Special. Or, maybe it’s because our artists are so amazing that we sold a quarter of the show in its first iteration. Take your pick 😉

Enamel me

Corporeal Body, 2017

Oh no, Freudian slip – email me!

(I’m just repeating myself to the German speakers…)

The Enamelist Society (TES) would like to know what’s going on in the wider world of enamel, and somehow Anne Havel has roped me in to write a little something for their newsletter. That’s where you come in, with the whole email-me shenanigans.

If you in an upcoming enamel exhibition, or have enamel works in an upcoming show that you don’t think I’m familiar with; if you have you seen a cool collection that you’d like to share with the greater world of enamelists; or if you are leading a workshop, or doing a residency, or are in the know about some enamel event that needs more media coverage, then…

Drop me an email!

Include details, dates, images (with artist and photographer captions at the very least) and other relevant info, and I’ll personally add your secret spices to the gumbo that is the TES newsletter. And I’ll email you back, though probably not until within a week of the next first-of-the-month deadline.

enamel (at) melissacameron (dot) net

☝ add the @ and the . and lose the spaces. obviously.