Black Unicorn

A few exciting things in the works! I’m being flown out to Orange County for a portrait commission for a week (I feel so Tamara de Lempicka right now) and as a result, I will be in attendance for the group show “I Believe in Unicorns, Too” at WWA Gallery in Culver City on Saturday Feb. 16th 7-10pm.

Here is one of the paintings…


“Black Unicorn” 16×20″ oil on panel.

I’ll also be in a group show called “eyeCandy” at WWA Gallery in March with Aaron Jasinski,  Gustavo Rimada,  Edith Lebeau,  Brandi Read,  Robert Bowen, Charlie Immer,  Audrey Pongrancz, Jason Johns, and  Ken Keirns!

It’s been weird doing a portrait after not doing them for a while. I better get back into it before I fly to Los Angeles next month. Speaking of non-portraits, I only have one copy of my mini catalog left, so I made it available thru, it includes a preview and all that snazzy stuff.

Calling Artists and Galleries in New Orleans!

If you or anyone you know is an artist or gallery based in New Orleans, please contact me so I can add you to my list of places to visit with during my stay as part of the NOLA Bound program this coming March 14-18. I will probably have a documentary camera crew with me (just FYI). Those working out of studios that are housed in former warehouses or oddball commercial properties are of interest to me, too.

This is partly for the film, partly for research for economic development purposes, and also for my own research when it comes to the art scene in New Orleans — to see what it is like to run an arts-based business there. It’s also a bit of an audition, to see if New Orleans and I would be a good fit in the future. Either way, I love making new contacts and friends!

Hit me up at arabellaproffer(at) and tell me the haps!


This Painting Took Way Too Long!

My solo show “Ephemeral Antidotes” will open at Articulated Gallery in San Francisco, CA on January 7th, 2012

This will be a little different for me in that the work will be larger, as well as more surreal, with narratives addressing old medical practices and superstitions. I’ll have some tiny icon portraits in the show, too! Here’s a detail sneak peak at one of the paintings on linen. She took 2x longer than she should have. I kept screwing it up and then fixing, then screwing it up. I hope people like it in the end…

Planning Ahead: Book and a Solo Show

Two big things happening art-wise for me. I’ll be doing a book coming out on Cooperative Press of my “National Portrait Gallery of Kessa” paintings! I actually don’t think I’ll have room to include all of them — too many, really — but it will be a good survey and give the full biographies as well as family trees, crests, and map. It’s actually making me realize how damn complicated I made things for myself trying to re-do the family tree in a way that isn’t just scribbles for my own uses to keep track of all these damn people I made up! More info to be announced on all of that.

I’m also having a solo show at Articulated Gallery in San Francisco, CA starting on  January 7th, 2012! This will consist of paintings, with my usual fictional biographies, that are a part of my new series dealing with medical practices of the past. Needless to say these are going to be a little different from what I usually do; a little more surreal and symbolist. I’ve been working on linen for the first time for these new paintings, too. Here is a sneak peek of what I’ve been working on lately…

A Weekend of NYC Art Farting Fun

Obviously it has been ages since I last visited and much has changed. Brooklyn is actually nice, using the subway is not nearly as sketchy anymore, and I didn’t get tired or hate everything as much as I thought I would.

It was a horrible drive thanks to an EVIL pre-made wrap I purchased from Trader Joe’s that made me feel like Alien was going to burn from my abdomen, and the rest stop that I thought smelled like 1976 Michigan. But thankfully, Knitgrrl likes driving, and we came to discover we would be getting our very own apartment in Park Slope! Our hosts (old dear family friends) had a landlady out of town, they even put in hotel shampoos and white fuzzy bathrobes that Rachel Zoe would approve of.

We even got fabulous breakfasts on vintage dishware.

I got to catch up with an old friend Lon from CalArts. We hadn’t seen each other in 11 years! He says I look the same, I bed to differ, but I’ll take it.

I got to meet a bunch of new “internet friends” and spent much time doing gallery hoping and eating at some adorable little restaurants. Also, Williamsburg? I do not like. It smacks of effort in a way I just don’t find endearing. The sea of men in black hoodies and tight black pants was too much. There was a uniform going on, clearly. I saw small dogs with black hoodies even! Also ladies I must tell you that wearing black tights alone does not count as pants! Put on some pants or wear a skirt! Williamsburg: The Land of No Pants. This is how I will always remember it.

What hasn’t changed is the horrible traffic! We went around with the adorable Edith Lebeau and her man Joss; taking the subway in my condition wasn’t as terrible as a I thought and I found it more pleasant than the Boston subways oddly (it was good practice for my upcoming trip to Dublin in that I got shin splints in the bad leg!). Of course no trip on the subway for me is complete until I get shoved, or a homeless man asks for my phone number — check! We hit up the book signing Shannon had at Knitty City, as well as Alix Sloan Fine Art to see Jonathan Viner + Elizabeth McGrath, Arcadia Gallery, and Bold Hype Gallery for Quentin vs. Cohen in which Edith had a piece.

some of the Jonathan Viner works…

Liz McGrath…

Arcadia artists

love these tiny graphite drawings.

A huge Jeremy Lipking…

leave it to Shannon to find the gallery dog…

Edith next to her portrait of GoGo from “Kill Bill Vol 1” at Bold Hype.

love these by Tatania Suarez and Ewelina Ferruso…

We also had to cruise around in traffic blasting “New Jack Hustler”. Because I said so!

Then it was time for the Cotton Candy Machine opening hosted by the fabulous Tara. People had lined up the night before to get first pick on artwork! The line was insane, and even I got the boot at one point because capacity was just too much. It was fun, controlled chaos, and very interesting to friends who come from the old gallery system.

I got to meet Eric White finally (another Ann Arborite) who I’ve been a fan of for years, MTV interviewed me I think too; I stupidly wore high heels so I worked through the pain and was a little woozy by this time. I also got to meet Heidi too, who has some more photos up on her blog. So many others I wanted to meet but I was about to fall over not to mention it was hard to tell who was in line.

David Miretsky — whose work my family has collected for decades — came for the show was amazed, “you’d never see anything like this in Chelsea ever!” He waited in the store for an hour to buy my painting, he found the process fascinating. He gave me painting lessons a few times when I was very wee.

The next day Shannon had a class at Brooklyn General, an adorable store, full with a Giant Squirrel!

My husband said he was going to make tiny cheeseburgers for our cats while I was gone, so, you know…

We also hit up Dr. Sketchy’s during the Dr. Who theme.

I hadn’t seen Molly since Art Basel ’09, and missed her at Cotton Candy Machine, so it was good to see her a bit and meet John Leavitt.

It was a great event. I met a lot of people in the few hours I was there who were pretty awesome, including a fashion designer names Justina who also had a bizarre situation like mine where she needs a cane too! We are fellow fab gimpsters — we’re making it a trend. See…

The next day we decided to go out hitting a high brow note. Park Avenue — baby! Actually, growing up all of my trips to NYC involved the area surrounding Park and Madison. It was only when I started to visit my older brother during his time in grad school that I saw the “other” parts of New York that were a little more real.

Why does the old Astoria look so gross?

Hi Mr. Vanderbilt! I like your house in Newport — it is swell.

What the hell are these? Man they are tacky!

I really wish I could have taken photos at the Neue Galerie, but alas you are not allowed. I got to see many Klimt pieces, as well as old films and such from this exhibition. Only downside of Neue? Their guards would not leave me alone! Seriously, in one small room the guard was 5 steps behind me at any given time. What did they think I was going to do? Whack the reproduction Freud couch with my cane?

No trip to Park Avenue is complete without stocking up on treats for the car ride home. It was hilarious, a line of 9 year-olds were buying sushi for lunch.

Clearly things were falling apart at home and I was needed, so we left a day early. I guess I never noticed I-80 has a lot of farm houses that have what look like killing sheds in the back yard. You know they are killing sheds, because they aren’t nice enough to actually get used as a tool shed. Shannon and I also surmised that if hell is real, it is in Kyleville, Pennsylvania. In fact, our hell would be being the clerk at the Sunoco station in Kyleville. Trust me — you don’t want to know!

It has been almost 20 years since I last really listened to this album, but you know what I discovered is the most awesome long-distance driving music ever? Front 242! I dunno why this only occurred to me now…

New York Art Plotting

Currently plotting out my New York trip with Knitgrrl coming up April 9th weekend. Last time I was in NYC was 1999, and the last time I was in Brooklyn? Oh, maybe 1995 — thus I expect to see big changes.

On the agenda besides all of Knitgrrl’s teaching gigs is drinks at The Rusty Nail, Alix Sloan Fine Art, Bold Hype Gallery, Dr. Sketchy’s for the Dr. Who theme, and a visit to David Miretsky’s studio. This is on top of seeing old classmates from CalArts I haven’t seen in over 11 years, as well as other friends I haven’t seen in a decade or more. Oh and new friends, oh, and the opening reception for “Tiny Trifecta” where my little painting “Blessed Mary” will be available…

So yeah, let’s see if I can fit all of that into the span of 4 days or less. Between that kind of itinerary and the car ride to and from Cleveland, I’m either going to be super cranky, or super amped. It could go either way.

Gallery Press Releases Are In Your Hands

“Art Galleries whine about not getting press. My mailbox is full of boring press releases. My email box is full of boring press releases. If you are not creative enough to entice coverage, are too cheap to advertise and too lazy to network, how dare you take 50% from the artist. ” — Mat Gleason of Coagula.

I write my own press releases and contact writers myself, partly out of being a control freak, but mostly because I got tired of other people dropping the ball when I thought they had it taken care of. I know several artists who do this as well. Not only do I know better what to say about my work, how to make it mildly interesting, and my exhibition history, but I’m usually a better writer on top of it. I thankfully got practice after having to write dozens and dozens of bios for various non-living artists when I was at a certain art gallery institution in Los Angeles. That being said, I had no control over the press releases; these were all incredibly boring and still being faxed to their media list.
I love it when an item appears (yeah that’s right I said “item”, let’s pretend this is The Sweet Smell of Success for a minute) and the gallery, freelance publicist, or curator will either act like they were the ones who did the footwork and made it happen. Or, they get all excited as if it was totally by magic the website, blog, newspaper, magazine wrote about the show. It never crosses their mind the artist might have actually done the job they were supposed to be doing. But, the thing that annoys me the most is people who think that just because we are in an age of instant communication, that editorial deadlines do not apply. It is nice you made a Facebook invite for an event, and maybe listed it on some websites 3 days before the dang reception, or talked about it on Twitter, but if you want something to be in a glossy magazine — an interview or anything — you have to plan 4 months in advance. Even the local newspaper has to get a heads-up several weeks in advance. You also have to build relationships with writers. Don’t be pushy, don’t assume everything you pass along to them will get featured, and remember many times their editor will nix a story or push it back. And, if they didn’t feel like writing about a show in particular, don’t get mad at them or act like a big baby about it.
Do yourself a favor and get a copy of Fine Art Publicity to start. It might be somewhat dated, but many of the rules still apply. Then get yourself Edward Winkleman’s book.
If you want something done right, do it yourself.

Next Cleveland Art Show…

February 19- March 7, 2010
Curated by Joe Ayala

Artists Reception
Friday, February 19, 6:00-11:00 pm

Gallery Hours
Saturday, February 20, 12:00-6:00 pm & Sunday, February 21, 12:00-5:00 pm And by appointment

Wall Eye Gallery presents an exhibition dedicated to modern interpretations of the work of Spanish Baroque painter Diego Velazquez. Fourteen Cleveland area artists have joined together to “remix” his most famous masterpieces in their own respective styles and mediums. Art history and contemporary local talent combine in this innovative homage to one of Spain’s great masters.

Featuring brand new works by:
Joe Ayala, Stephanie Ayala, Andy Curlowe, Sarah Curry, Thomas Frontini, Todd Hoak, Anthony Jacobs, Arabella Proffer, Derrick Quarles, Anthony Valentino Robinson, David Szekeres, William Schwartz, The Sign Guy, Rafael Valdivieso Troya

Wall Eye Gallery 5304 Detroit Ave. Cleveland, OH 44102, 216.640.7769
I’d love to show you the finished piece I did for this, but no peeking until the reception! I’m actually pretty happy with how she turned out.

One Night in Pittsburgh

I have to stop going to Pittsburgh for only one to six hours! I never get to do all the things I want, and I usually pack so much in that the drive back at night sucks beyond belief. I still haven’t been to any of the museums, let alone anywhere outside of the North Shore and Little Italy areas. Oh yeah, and IKEA. Seriously, can I please find someone to go on a day trip with who doesn’t need to hit the IKEA?

Saturday was my show at Box Heart Gallery (always super nice people) and it was a fun trip — albeit a fast one. Lots of interesting conversations and people. It is cool when people see my stuff in person rather than online, they always remark how different it is (some people thought my painting were airbrushed at first) and they can catch details that they didn’t notice before or that a computer screen just translate as well.

Pittsburgh is a place I’m going to try and make an effort to explore more the coming year I think. The architecture and layout is very different than most cities; I like the row houses that are much like the ones in Baltimore, and all the bars — no matter how renovated — all look like a watering hole out of film noir. Something about the leftover art deco decor and the layout — can’t put my finger on it. Speaking of watering holes, we of course stopped at my favorite place, Brillobox, for a an early dinner and beer slurping. The highlight was as we were walking in, a woman who looked much like Amy Winehouse (messed up hair, make-up, skinny and all) stumbled over to ask us for cigarettes; I totally thought she was on junk or crack, but as it turned out she was just REALLY hammered and one of the few patrons at the bar (she followed us in off the street which weirded me out, and I had my fist ready in case she was going to pull something). Someone put the band Television on the jukebox and she got up and danced by herself for quite a long time — and by danced — I mean moved in rhythm just enough not to completely fall over. This was at 5pm, so she must have started early, and it was our entertainment while we waited for our dinner. It was all good, as I remember one night where Ben and I got a little too loaded and abused that same jukebox like crazy — Duran Duran “Ordinary World” was put on at least three times, and not by me. Anyways here are some photos from the night….


Ben at Brillobox getting an eye full of the gal drunken dancing to Television; and wondering if they are hiring at that indie-rock strip club in Portland?

Me after beer, nachos, wine, cookies, and coffee. Next time, I’m getting a motel!


Sadly the Starbucks on the turnpike was closed at midnight, so we settled for McDonald’s coffee. I thought this notice about nugget sauce abuse was pretty funny. You know once and a while some dude is probably like, “this is bullcrap; this won’t stand!”