I’ve been slowly working on this linoleum block as a demo piece for my students and hopefully to include in the zine. After printing this proof, I see there’s still a good amount to carving to do. Back to work I go.

Listening to: Dark Was the Night and Girls

making it official

So I thought I could sneak the engagement party into my sister’s graduation party this summer, but it never was meant to be. However, I am very happy we did have one this week because it gave me a chance to meet BJ’s dad, to see his mom and brother again, and to thank all our family members for their support. If only I had another week off, because this has not been a break at all! There has been a ton of cleaning, renovations, errand running, and late nights. Whew. Here are a few images I was able to capture.


I removed all the hideous vinyl wallpaper, painted, and hung some of my and my sister’s artwork.


Carrot mini cupcakes with cream cheese frosting


Serving tea with lots of whispered directions from the elders :) (pic by Quynh)


Still a little teary-eyed from my speech. Why am I so emotional!?

for under the tree

Every year, I look forward to getting my brother and sisters’ Christmas list in my mailbox. They’re super fancy-like with images and direct links to buy the item online kind of  fancy. But the best part is getting to read the explanations and descriptions for each item as well as the banter that comes afterwards. This year, the lists arrived a few weeks before Thanksgiving- a little early don’t ya think?

I’m not sure what I want this year, but I put together a few items that I think would be nice to give. Up first, paper goods:

(clockwise )
1. Painting Today
2. The Small Object Labels & Stickers
3. Live Forever: Elizabeth Peyton
4. Mike Perry Holiday Zine Gift Set ( I have a few pieces in this set and it is so worth it)

Lost Jewelry




  1. Perks of cleaning: finding lost jewelry
  2. Slowly putting up our posters
  3. Sushi in the Rice Village

We have one week until the engagement party and I have done nothing! Eeek. However, this year, I get one week off, so I’m hoping that’ll be enough time to get things in order. If not, no biggie. I just can’t wait to see my sisters, cousins, and BJ’s family. (We finally got another couch, after over a year without one, partly because of their visit! And it’s grey. Perfect.)

A secret language

What is minimalism? La Monte Young said it’s “that which is created with a minimum of means.” Donald Judd described his own work as more than reduction. “You’re getting rid of the things that people used to think were essential to art.” Michael Fried denounced minimalism as theater, not art: it lies in wait, needing an audience. Sol LeWitt accused the elusive term of being “part of a secret language that art critics use when communicating with each other.”

The hard curves and angles of Albert Exergian‘s posters touch on these questions. For most, you don’t require much beyond the title to relish them. Young’s “minimum of means” is all the artist needs—and all you need. In one, the shape and pattern of lines point to liberty; in the other, color and composition suggest carnal knowledge.



I think Fried’s charge of theatricality illuminates what makes Exergian’s series tick. In the below images, theatricality is not a bad thing: you have to join the TV show’s audience to revel in the cleverness of these images. Belonging to that community, in on its jokes, feeling the jolts of recognition, fluent in the secret language, you share that extra source of delight. Peter Falk’s secret glass eye, Dexter’s microscope slides—they snappily unveil something essential about each show—the treachery of perception, the dark side of science. You get the picture.


small things


Sometimes if I know things will be a little crazy at school, I’ll do a pen illustration related to our class project the night before. Then, for a few minutes each period, I’ll squeeze in some watercolor time. Trust me, it’s these small things that make a huge difference in terms of mental wellness! (But I really can’t complain much about my kids, they’re a good bunch… it’s the 6 classes in a row that’s exhausting!)

XXVI at Reef


We celebrated BJ’s 26th birthday a few weekends ago with dinner at Reef. Overall, everything was delicious, but the appetizer and desert were the shining stars! For starters we shared mussels cooked in Shiner Bock, and we ended the meal with a “deconstructed” cafe sua da: Vietnamese coffee tart, condensed milk ice cream, with mint syrup. Heaven.


photos from BJ’s phone

over overalls


Ralph Lauren & Nicole Farhi Spring RTW 2010 |

I think denim overalls were on my Christmas wish list for two straight years in the 6th and 7th grade, along with Caboodles, and American Dolls. The resurgence of overalls on the runway kind of makes me rethink the style (they pull it off well, right?), but even with the modern twists, it probably won’t be making my list this year. BJ will be happy about that!

guess who

For the past month, we’ve been working on pages  for a zine. This time, we want to use other means of reproduction like woodcuts, but here’s a sneak peak of one of my pieces. Can you guess who?


I’m hoping we can have all 10 completed before next month, but everything has been hectic around here! This project has helped me destress, so it has already been worth it.  And we’ve been brainstorming about the next Riley zine. I think it’s going to be pretty sweet.

My five musicians

  1. ________
  2. Cat Power
  3. Bon Iver
  4. David Bowie
  5. Bob Dylan

BJ’s five (newly feminized)

  1. Townes Van Zandt
  2. Lil Wayne
  3. Lou Reed Althea & Donna
  4. John Coltrane M.I.A.
  5. Neil Young Debbie Harry