MiZTAKES – an eXperiment in crossing the line

MiZTAKES is a way to help womXn access true courage to make audacious changes in our lives, relationships, work, and the world.

taking place at Lucas Lucas 57 Conselyea Street, Brooklyn NY

Tuesday February 26 2019 7pm-9pm

space is limited, rsvp is crucial, wear black

finalfashion@gmail.com for info


This is an eXperiment in sharing some practices I’ve developed over the years to help me get into the flow state necessary to do my best work. Each participant will create a beautiful piece of original artwork to keep. This artwork will be a powerful reminder of a technique we can use to work through fear to access true courage. Although this has the form of a drawing exercise, no artistic talent is necessary, and this is not a drawing class.

This is a guided meditation on fear, security, courage and power, designed for changing times. This is a womXn’s circle stripped down to the bare essentials. This is a creative expression of mutual support and encouragement. We stand together so we can stand alone.

If you’re still not sure what this is, that’s not surprising. I’ve never done anything like this before or heard of anything similar. The embrace of uncertainty is at the heart of this endeavour, after all it is called MiZTAKES. Curiosity and the willingness to risk a try is the key.

RSVP to finalfashion@gmail.com for details.

I was called upon to create this event through a series of synchronicities that were so beautiful. So what follows is the story, if you’re curious.

Part 1 – Chances

Last March I was in London and feeling sad. I had made a mistake; I had done something bad. I stopped to meet a friend in a little hole in the wall bar in Hackney and my bartender was the most enchanting dark-haired vixen I had ever met. As Gabriella served me my non-alcoholic cocktail she told me that she had been visited by Mary Magdalene and was working on a multidisciplinary production inspired by this revelation. Crushing, I confessed everything to her; my own revelatory experience with the Mona Lisa and the subsequent submerging into the shadow, and I had to admit that I was a villain.

“Oh,” she said, wearing a smile very similar to Mona Lisa’s “but you know the villain is a sacred role!” and this intimate, conspiratorial acknowledgement of my rascality over a virgin dark and stormy was a taste of redemption.

A year later, this January, I was in Brooklyn, mourning the loss of my studio in Toronto, and feeling frightened of what I was becoming. It was totally clear that I was no longer a fashion illustrator. Instead I was a fine artist, and how I would ever make my way doing this kind of thing is unknown. I knew I had to switch from paper to canvas but I couldn’t even get myself to the art supply store. Instead of being brave I was hiding in my cold dark room, wrapped in a duvet like a cocoon, and crying mascara stains onto the pillow case. I hadn’t seen anyone or hugged anyone in a week.

Gabriella posted a beautiful video of her dancing in Bali which I had to send a note of admiration for; and in the subsequent correspondence she revealed that in fact she was heartbroken and also crying. I remarked upon how symmetrical it was that we were both on opposite sides of the world, trying to believe in ourselves, and she tasked me with painting that. She also asked me what I thought self love was. My response came without thinking: “Self love is giving yourself the chance to fuck up.” And she told me that instead of sitting inside by myself I might go out to find a circle of women.

So the next day I walked over to the art supply store and bought a canvas. On the way back to the apartment, I noticed an amazing mural of the Mona Lisa, except she had Cardi B’s face. She was looking into a coffee shop across the street so that seemed like a sign. I walked in to order a latte and avocado toast.

The only available seat in the coffee shop was next to another woman who immediately asked me about the canvas I was carrying. We started talking about how it is so scary to do what you love. She said that she wanted to make the world a better place and I told her that I admired that optimism, that lately I felt like that was not even possible. How do you make a change? It seemed like the missing key was courage, but how do you find it? If it was just a matter of telling ourselves to be brave an inspirational meme would be enough. Something was missing. I felt like I had an idea of what it was, though.

Sandra said that she had a list of amazing women she had met that she wanted to bring together but somehow she never had the time because she works long hours in the film industry. Here was my circle of women. So I said, if you have the contacts, I have the time, I will put together this women’s circle, and the theme will be accessing courage.

Sandra gave me my first hug in a week and it was so sweet I cried a happy tear. Then I went back to my room and painted this:

So this is the result of Magdalena’s prompt, Chances, a rotating 18″ x 18″ canvas. Gabriella is dancing in Bali, the wild woman, and in the post-industrial landscape of Wyckoff Avenue I am walking with a book shaped hole over my heart, the Empire State Building in the background and the new moon and Venus overhead.

When I posted this on Instagram it was a very popular painting. I even got a freelance job from a very famous luxury department store based on this painting. The subject of that commission was – get this – a woman in her thirties living happily alone. I was painting myself in my own future studio. It felt like a powerful manifestation; my second canvas : Living Solo.

I thank the collaboration of Mary Magdalene and Mona Lisa, for this divine assignment, the genesis of MiZTAKES.

Part 2 – One More Line

Things were moving forward but of course nothing is ever simple. Living Solo was proceeding fine however as an interior scene, I was finding that I couldn’t use the same techniques that had worked for Chances. So I ended up doing something different and once again it came together beautifully; the figure was relaxed and confident, her face content, the scene serene. When you’re working in analog materials and you only get one shot everything seems like an accident; when things go so right it’s kind of a shock. So I sent the results to the client feeling happy about it.

I also was preparing for my first large canvas; I don’t want to describe it in too much detail here as it’s a whole story on it’s own. I suppose the main relevant detail is that it was painted at a lesbian orgy and it features a wide open pussy.

Both paintings ended up coming to completion the same day; the eclipse on January 20. Of course I got a note from the client and they said that they wanted Living Solo to look more like Chances. They wanted me to add some colour on top of it; and I felt as if I was being stabbed in the heart while I made that tentative change to the painting. It looked overworked. It seemed like I had ruined a beautiful image with second guessing.

Then at the orgy I successfully entered the trance state and produced the painting of my dreams. A fresh pink butterfly of a painting. Big – three by four feet. When I finished it I stepped back and admired my work. Of course though I was seized by a second thought; as always, the speed of painting meant that much was approximate; some lines did not connect, some anatomy was missing. My friends said I didn’t need to add a thing but I didn’t listen and I added ONE MORE LINE. A mistake.

Now, it is an inconspicuous line, yet symbolically very resonant as it covers up an absent ear. I was not paying attention to the signs. The quality of that line is stiff and too careful. I stopped myself immediately and said to myself, that if I learn ONE lesson from this eclipse it will be to NEVER paint ‘one more line’ ever again. Who am I to try to ‘fix’ what is divine?

Remember that God never makes anything perfect. The planet is not a perfect sphere. The orbit is not a perfect circle. Everything is slightly off for reasons we mortals cannot understand. It’s only when we allow ourselves to go off that we touch the edge of the ideal. It has to be wrong to go right. Sacred geometry is never exact. Synchronicities are always askew.

Soon after I received an email from a gallery in Williamsburg called Lucas Lucas. I wasn’t familiar with the gallery, I guess I had ended up on their mailing list somehow. The show ‘Goldmine’ featured a beautiful open pussy print, and I thought, oh this may be a movement, it would be interesting to meet the artists, and resolved to attend the opening.

At the gallery I met the artist who printed with her pussy in delightful gold and pink; she’s an accomplished photographer named Yana inspired by post-Degas bondage ballerinas. She told me that she was afraid to draw, and I mentioned that I had the idea for this event. She was naturally a bit skeptical, however the other artist standing behind her was very receptive. Her name is also Yana.

Looking at the second Yana‘s work I got the sparkly shivers seeing this one beautiful small piece. It reminded my of Salvator Mundi, but visceral and feminine, the mudra over the heart. She remarked that she hadn’t even realized that connection, she was delighted by it. She said that painting was an unconscious process for her and she did not consciously put that gesture in it. She told me that she knew she was an artist from when she was a child and her first work of art was a painting of Christ.

That’s a strong sign from the Savior. And I had resolved to be sensitive to signs. So I spoke to the gallery owner Stacie about renting the gallery and she offered me a very good deal.

So now I’m committed to making MiZTAKES. Are you?