Hello from the Fire Island Pines!
Currently, I’m an artist-in-residence at BOFFO. The generosity of spirit, community, creativity and queer celebration that flows through this place is extraordinary.The magic of producing for a loving and generous audience is priceless. In partnership with BOFFO, I am delighted to bring you this coloring book which is based on some of my rarely or never before seen pencil drawings.
As a person who has been known as a painter for most of my career, sharing these drawings with you is an intimate act. You will see some of the erasures, additions, omissions that my paintings do not always reveal. The added layer of erotic imagery makes this an even more personal type of disclosure.I offer you these drawings merely as a starting point for where your mind might take you – you’re the artist now. Do you want to color outside the lines – or even remove some with Wite-Out? Permission granted. Will you color alone or bring others along to help? Go ahead and cut pages out and share. Along the way, I’ll share a few ideas and suggestions, but first and foremost, this is your journey. Take it where you will.
Off you go…enjoy,
Ara uses post-it-notes to express candid messages to her wife and fellow BOFFO resident, Hilary. In typical form, the notes are posted around the house, movable to mood, temporary in placement, and inevitably intimate. They are Ara’s quick witted love notes inspired by spur-of-the-moment observations, mundane anecdotes and secret codes, all brought to life with Hattie the Skull – a recurring character in Ara’s artistic practice – and Hattie’s beloved cat, Rattan.
Ara has shared that she often places Hattie (and Rattan) in contemporary or modern spaces – because while she is a keen observer and admirer of iconic residential architecture, she recognizes that it’s not always a given, even with financial resources, these spaces will be open to her as a black queer woman. To Ara, Hattie is both an ancestor & also a reminder to be somewhat subversive. To be willing to go beyond the pale of the living & into those spaces where the dead are allowed to tread.
During her BOFFO Residency, Ara has felt an attachment to Horace Gifford’s iconic architecture in the Fire Island Pines. His homes are artistic interpretations of living and articulate a unique sensibility that extends outside of traditional domestic spaces created for nuclear families. They are different programmatically, in function and by design — they are celebrations of queerness. Inhabiting aHorace Gifford is walking into a queer utopia, made possible from imagination and play. And yet, in the Pines, these homes were primarily designed with gay, white men in mind. It was ripe for intervention. As Ara spent more time here, her post-it notes to Hilary expanded to include Hattie and Rattan finding their way into Horace Gifford designed these spaces, along with some Fire Island natives(enter Buck and friend). How could they not?