11 April 2008

I interview a cool person so we can all take notes.

Today we have a special treat. It is the First Interview of our New Interview Series.

Featuring interviews by cool people who do not do dog agility, and dog agility people who I think are cool. I hope to delve into important subjects like, why do the cool people not like dog agility, how did the dog agility people get so cool, and can we see the inside of their house.

Today's interview is with the fabulous Kelsey Nicholson, a Bay Area artist who has a bunch of dogs and who likes running but who does not do dog agility. And, Kelsey Has Been To Marfa, Texas. She is super cool. Although she wouldn't let me take any pictures inside her house this week. So let's see what we can learn, my dog agility friends.

Kelsey is also currently having an art show at the Bedford Gallery in Walnut Creek, CA through June 8.

Hello and welcome to your interview!

I'm so honored to be interviewed by Team Small Dog. As you know I am way behind on the dogs per square foot ratio and my goal in life is to catch up.

Here's a shot from her installation in Walnut Creek. Kelsey loves wallpaper murals and stuffed birds!

And another one. With pergo floors.

Your art show has the taxidermy factor which I believe there to be a correlation of dog agility people who enjoy taxidermy. Because if there is one of me out there, there are others.

The specimens are on loan from the Lindsay Wildlife Museum in Walnut Creek. They were very very nice to let me use them. They will go back after the show. However, AttaBoyStudios maybe has secret thoughts of a future in taxidermy.

Is the deer sleeping in a dog bed?

Yes, Boy Howdy is without his downstairs dog bed until June as the fawn is using it. I washed it first. Am wondering if Boy Howdy will smell stuffed fawn on his dog bed and wonder where it has been all this time.

Do you think that your art work will ever tackle the culture of dog agility using landscape photo murals and synthetic flooring materials?

Don't you think the re-constructed birch trees could really be weave polls??? I could see that.

OK. How cool would those weave poles look. Maybe we could commission you to build a stunning and non pvc and purple and yellow agility course someday when we have our own ranch.

How did you come to visit Marfa? And was it everything you had hoped for?

Well, like many people I know, Marfa had long been on my list. I once applied to a residency at Chinati (Donald Judd's DEA site there) which I of course did not get. It definitely has an art mecca calling.

Team Small Dog feels so behind the times. We did not love Marfa until this year.

So anyway, my long time pal Joni lives in Austin. I love to visit her. She is really funny. She also wanted to go to Marfa forever. So we planned a trip that was me flying to Austin to hang out for a couple of days and then we drove to Marfa (about 8 hours) in our rental Camry. Two nights and three days in Marfa (which was plenty in mid week in mid May since you can walk the entire town in an hour and since it was a "quiet time" people tend to not open anything even if they say they are going to so you are left looking at the outside of buildings in the hot sun.)

Oh, oh, but I should mention that one night we did go see the Marfa Lights, which you see from a viewing spot just out of town and the lights are far off but are REALLY there. They move around just over the horizon out in the desert. Supposedly no one knows what causes them. That was fun. The band Animal Collective was going to play on Friday night, but we weren't staying that long.

We are pretty sure Animal Collective is a band that cool people enjoy.

We then went to Chinati Hot Springs, which was also during a "quiet time" (two other people there.)

Donald Judd used to own that when he lived in Marfa as his get away place for weekends. That involved driving really slowly for two hours on an unpaved road in the middle of the Chihuahuan desert in our Camry, which was highly memorable. You will need a truck if you are going to live in Marfa with 4 wheel drive. The outskirts happen fast and the roads end.

Then we went to BIG BEND National Park, which I got to say is what you would REALLY love because it is so so beautiful. They have lots of Javelinas.

Those pig things with fangs?

I got to pretend I was one with a Park Ranger for the amusement of an audience.

Hmm...Would that outfit you were javelina-ing in make a good dog agility outfit?

I was wearing sweats. Just a skirt made of sweatshirt material over the sweat pants, and my favorite hat that I have had for ten years and is slowly fading away. Yes, probably good for dog agility, but surely not of the stylish level you aspire to.

Don't let Kelsey fool you. She is always VERY stylish. Perhaps another not doing dog agility clue.

Was Marfa everything you had hoped for?

YES. We stayed in the cool hotel and spent a lot of time in the pool.

Um, what about cattle ranches and running across the desert?

We had coffee at the Brown Recluse Coffee Shop once (because then they didn't open the other days even though the sign says open daily. The galleries are nice and I drank a beer with the owners at one, Gallerie Urbane, where I will have a show in spring of '09.

Guess who has already invited herself along as a "Helper of Artist" if she can figure out how to take off work?

Chinati Foundation and all the Judd stuff is great and everywhere.

Donald Judd is known for minimalism. We learned about him in art school. He likes boxes. I have to say he isn't exactly one of my favorite artists, but minimalism is important to life and look what it did for Marfa.

I bought a lot of books because they have a really fancy big book store in town with a great bathroom. Everyone talks to you I think because there is nothing else to do.

You figured it out by now that Kelsey gave me all these photos of Marfa. She took this one in the bathroom. See, this is why she is an artist and I gave all that up for the life of dog agility. I forget to take pictures of the bathroom.

We had a great meal at a hip restaurant out by the cemetery (nice place to walk on the edge of town) that was open!!! Called the Blue Javelina and I had a blood orange, fresh ginger screwdriver that I then attempted to copy for the rest of the summer.

We were also there when it was not so hot. Only 80's or 90's. I also imagine it is different when it is 112.

Was everyone in Marfa cool?

Of course everyone in Marfa is not cool. I think it's a lot more like, "why are you here??" We did get to listen to good old fashioned teen age gossip at the pizza place, which is called Pizza Foundation, and is in an old gas station, and is well, cool.

Would you ever move to Marfa?

No. Extended visit, yeah probably. It really is too far away from everything. You have to drive to the next town to go to the vet. It's some little college town that doesn't seem to have anything cool that college towns have, although I only drove thru it so am probably not giving it a fair chance. Maybe it would be good for a second home. Supposedly, there are many people who spend half time there which is perhaps not super popular with the people that spend full time there. I dunno, maybe. I would still love to have a residency there. It would be great to spend more time there to see what I really think. So far I think it is just a nice place to visit. A great place to visit.

Kelsey and most people including my husband think that I should find somewhere other than Marfa to move to.

Here's a picture of Sealy and Boy with cows on my Dad's property in Paicines, which is somewhere I do want to move to and I think you would too and is close enough to maybe convince Gary. Well, maybe when he retires.

Kelsey, why don't you do dog agility? You have all these dogs, you can run far distances including actual marathons!

Cause I would never be better then you!!! That, and the fact that I am far too lazy. That, and Walker's baseball and or soccer games already take up all of our weekends. I'm the kind of person who has the ability during the day to think things like waking up really early to drive four hours to a dog agility competition somewhere in the Central Valley would be a great idea, but come four a.m. I would turn off the alarm and go back to sleep. But, would I like to have a team of small (or medium or big) dogs of my own, even if they wreck the house because I don't walk them enough, YES!!!

But you still have a team.

Here's a pic of the three dogs I have so far for the team. Go National! Once I was walking them and some lady said, "Oh, you like those national colours." Then I wondered if the black, brown, tan combination is referred to as "national," and have never found out, but like to call them that now anyway. The dogs are (from back to front) Gabbi, a 10 year old berner, Sealy Bird Jones, a 14 year old Sacramento SPCA mutt, and Boy Howdy, a 3 year old rat terrier mix rescued from Hollister through the Milo Foundation.

Boy Howdy would be REALLY good at agility. This just drives me crazy that Kelsey does not want to do dog agility. And now she even has birch tree weave poles for her driveway.

A couple of years ago I attempted to become a dog walker, since I walk extra dogs anyway and people said they would pay me. But it turns out I am too lazy to invoice and then too embarrassed to bill for 4 months of walks, when the truth is I would be walking the dog anyway.

Kelsey includes this story about the first time we met. Or actually that she met Timmy. I don't know where I was. I guess now you can figure out that my interview subject is an actual friend and not some random person. Why would I want to interview some random person? I believe this is called nepotism and I believe I am a practioner of this.

Laura and I both went to graduate school at UC Davis. I did not really meet Laura until later in Santa Cruz. She graduated just as I was starting. However, I did meet Timmy the very first time I went there. I knocked on the studio building doors and a woman answered (not Laura) to let me in. Timmy ran up to investigate and promptly peed on the leg of the woman. She was pissed and stormed off. I was left to look around the studios and decide if I wanted to go to Davis. Here’s what I thought: Woman, grumpy. Timmy, smart and feisty and cute. Davis, great studio space and dog friendly!!!! Exactly what I was looking for. I started the next fall and promptly adopted Sealy at the Sacramento SPCA. Sealy, like Timmy is the best dog ever. Sealy like Timmy is now old.

This is the only time I ever have heard of Timmy peeing on someone. Kelsey told me who this woman was. I agree she is grumpy and humorless. But still probably did not deserve to be peed on.

If someone was to ask me what my favorite dog is, I would answer, “the one standing in front of me.” I’m a little slutty in that way. Even Sealy slips down the list if we are walking past Maggie’s house (a Norwich Terrier, I think they are like hedgehogs, and although I have never seen a hedgehog, I think I LOVE them,) or if I am obsessing over any number of dogs that need to be adopted. I once tried to be a foster dog parent. I thought it was a good way to get to help more dogs get adopted. That’s how we got Boy Howdy.

I have officially “rescued” numerous dogs from outside of their very own houses. That’s why I put my address and phone number on my dogs’ tags. I would not have taken all those dogs home for baths and meals and to lay on my couch, had they had tags that told me they lived right where I found them wandering in the street. Well, I probably would have just until the owners came home so I could make sure the dog was safely inside again. Once as I was helping a dog into the back of my car, the owner came out of their house and said, “excuse me, can I help you? That’s my dog.” Oops. Tags!!


Anonymous said...

Excellent feature this morning, Laura! Thanks!! -Laurel

Anonymous said...

Not many folks know this, but sometimes Kelsey Nicholson goes by the name "Bambi". I think the fawn on the dog bed has something to do with this. Just like they say "Everybody's art is really just about themselves."

Nicole, rat terriers owner said...

This is an excellent blog. I really enjoyed reading it. I hope you post more blogs like this.

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