AR Family History Project

My great grandmother on my mom’s side was an early collector of arts and artifacts from native people in North America. In the 1930s she moved to Berkeley, Calif., and began traveling around the West to indigenous communities, where she acquired Navajo blankets, Alaskan Inuit masks, and a wonderful collection of California native baskets.

80 years later, those baskets are still around the family well preserved and I’ve decided to tackle a fun digital project to archive them as 3D objects using a technique I learned a few years ago called Photogrammetry. The process enables you to photograph an object from all angles and assemble those into a 3D model with a textured surface and a high-resolution outer skin that makes it look like a real live object when viewed on an iPhone.

Below is an example, shown in a series of screenshots from my iPhone:

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José Clement Orozco (1883 – 1949)

“Dia De Los Muertos” by José Clement Orozco

The NYTimes.com published an article this weekend in the art section about a new exhibit at the Whitney Museum of American Art that explores “the profound impact” of Mexican painters on American culture.

“Vida Americana: Mexican Muralists Remake American Art, 1925 – 1945” features artists Diego Rivera, David Alfaro Siqueiros, and one of particular interest to me, José Clement Orozco. According to the Times, Orozco came to New York in 1927, teaching easel painting and print making before moving to California for a 1930 commission at Pomona College in Claremont.

Sometime after then, my great grandmother Madeline Thomas Langworthy acquired an Orozco artwork, titled “Dia De Los Muertos” or “Day of The Dead.” According to a tag on the back, Madeline lent this signed lithograph to the San Francisco Museum of Art in December 1953, as part of a José Clemente Orozco Memorial exhibition.

the impact of these painters and muralists also appear in the footnotes of an earlier post, in which I discovered a WPA-era artwork painted around the time of these Mexican influencers by the other ancestral female artist on my Mom’s side of the family.

New Deal, No Deal

This week, my family art history research project led me to the basement of the Monterey Museum of Art, in Monterey, California, where a large mural painted by my great aunt Moira Wallace has been hiding in storage for decades.

Moira’s mural was among a collection of WPA-era art commissioned for Monterey High School in the 1930s and later moved to the cellar where they lived out their life in obscurity until 2003. My mom kept an early sketch of the mural in our family, though I’m not sure anyone ever knew it had a full-sized twin.

This morning, after months of art sleuthing, I reunited the sketch with the finished piece.

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A Thank You Letter to my Fashion Guardian Angel

The following is the contents of the email I just sent.

Dear [redacted],

Thank you so much for taking pity on me last night at Nordstrom Rack, and guiding me through the suit-selection process. I couldn’t have done it without you. Really. I’m afraid to think of what I would have looked like today had Maddy and I been left in charge. Can you believe I showed up with a red and black plaid tie, and looking for a suit to match?

I wanted to share a photo of how it all turned out. 

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Jack London and the Misadventures of the California Eucalyptus

In the Fall of 1909, just north of San Francisco, a 33-year-old Jack London was at home on his Glen Ellen, Calif., ranch resting from a decade of traversing the globe in search of The Call of The Wild and other stories to tell.

London sat at his writing desk looking out on his rugged California ranch surrounded by golden hills, Live Oaks, and vineyards. A coastal wind blew East, carrying the scent of salt water from the Pacific Ocean filtered through the forest of Redwood trees and tangled Manzanita.

He typed a letter to his old writer friend — my great grandfather Grant Wallace — about a business deal they were working on:

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