Like all of us, as the year Two Thousand Twenty One is about to fly away into memory, Bruce and I are grateful that we made it through, though it hasn’t been an easy one. But are any years ever easy? Each of us has our challenges that live among our joys. As it looks like we have another difficult year to come as the pandemic continues to be an unwelcome companion and an existential threat to our democracy looms, we look towards the year to come with hope in our hearts and wish you and all the loved ones that touch you, joy in your hearts this holiday season and the year to come.

Andrew & Bruce
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New Artwork – #HeavenlyHashtags – uv cured inkjet on cnc cut acrylic

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#HeavenlyHashtags, 2021
uv cured inkjet on cnc cut acrylic mounted to composite aluminum
50.25″w x 48″h, edition of 3

I put a little twist of the hash symbol in this piece. Normally in the hash symbol, the horizontals are straight across and the verticals are slightly angled but here I made the horizontals slightly angled and the verticals straight up and down. This gives the composition a energy and movement.

For nerds out there like me who may be interested in the history of the hash symbol (also known as Pound and Number symbol), I refer you to this article in the New Statesmen #History: the journey and many faces of the hash symbol. But the article doesn’t go into its modern history.

The asterisk or star (*) and pound or hash (#) key was added in 1968 to the push button phone keypad invented by Bell Technology engineers drawing it from the ASCII character set. When Bell labs were designing push button phones, they added these symbols to allow for access to telephone based computer systems, exactly how they’re used today. In 2007 it was Chris Messina, an open source technology evangelist who first suggested using the hash symbol on twitter to assign metadata to group and categorize discussion feeds. And the reason he chose this symbol: because before the iphone and android phones came out and texting was done on a qwerty keypad you had to use the phone keypad and it was easy to get to on his nokia phone.

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ASTERISCUS I at Artists Archives of the Western Reserve LGBTQ+ exhibition CONVERGE

I’m proud to be part of the exhibition CONVERGE. The brainchild of artist and Collection’s Registrar of the Artists Archives of the Western Reserve, Kelly Pontoni, the following are excerpts from the AAWR’s website:

CONVERGE features 71 regional artists of all ages, backgrounds, and identifications, creating a vibrant cross-section of the LGBTQ experience. Conceived by Kelly Pontoni, and co-curated by artists Sam Butler, Tony Williams, and Mark Yasenchack, with assistance by Mary Proctor, over 140 pieces were selected in a staggering array of media including painting, photography, textiles, glass, fashion, assemblage, and immersive installations which transport the viewers while transforming their perspective.

In addition to its support of local LGBTQ artists, CONVERGE also marks the first effort to extensively document their contributions to the important visual culture of Northeast Ohio.

Click here to read more about the exhibition on AAWR’s website.

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The work ASTERISCUS I embodies the things I strive to convey in my art. Starting with a geometric construct, in this work the form of the asterisk, I weave color and striped patterning to optically energize its geometric forms. Each asterisk is embellished with varying secondary forms that creates a playful dialog with its surroundings. Cut out on a cnc router, its composition is further geometrically energized. This energy is a proxy for my inability to move freely through the world without pain and represents a little piece of me that has been freed.

My husband Bruce Baumwoll (on left) and me

This artist was awarded the Ohio Arts Council’s ADAP Grant (Artists With Disabilities Access Program) for Fiscal Year 2022

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