Selina Trepp Wins The Present Prize: Family Matters!

Selina Trepp is the winner of The Present Prize: Family Matters!

After about 16 nominations and ~9000 votes, we’re proud to announce that she has been awarded $1250 for her work as an artist while being a parent. She says,

Thank you again, I feel honored to be the recipient of this award, beyond the help that the money provided, it is so encouraging to know that people who don’t know me enjoy my work, and this award, due to the democratic nature of voting, communicates that so well to me.

About parenthood:

Becoming a parent has resulted in fundamental changes to how I work and live. My method of dealing with the obvious drawbacks of parenthood — less time and less money — has been to turn them into assets. Less time forces me to use my time well, to use all the little pockets of free time to make work. When Maxine still napped, I would work on hand drawn animations during her naptimes, this resulted in an entire body of work called  “Nap Animations”, that functioned as abstract animations, but also as a documentation of the lengths of her naps. If a nap was short, the animation reflected that, it was short too, if she slept long, then the animation was longer.

The effect of less money has brought me to the main conceptual restraint that I am currently working with: I work with what I have. I do not bring anything into my studio; instead I use and reuse all that has accumulated in there over the years. I began this experiment in October 2012. This constraint necessarily affects the form of my work, as materials run out my work is changing with the circumstances. Now when I make, the challenge is to see the potential of things. What remains is that the camera brings all parts together, flattened into a single reality.

Beyond the benefit of saving money, I see this mode of production in itself as a political position; I use my actions, my production choices of non-consumption and recycling, to express my stance. In addition to that I see it as an affirmation of creativity itself. I can make what I need with whatever is at my disposal. Seeing my daughter play has been a huge inspiration, often she doesn’t know what the intended purpose of an object is and uses it in unconventional ways, anything can be anything.

Selina Trepp is an artist who’s work explores economy and improvisation. Finding a balance between the intuitive and conceptual is the goal, living a life of adventure is a way, embarrassment is often the result. The best and worst advice she ever got was: If in doubt be radical. Her work combines installation, performance, painting and sculpture via photography. Additionally she developed a practice of singing combined with creating realtime animated projections and has been performing as one half of the duo Spectralina, an audiovisual collaboration with her husband Dan Bitney.

The Present Prize #4: Family Matters

“For those who have defied the advice of mentors and gallerists by deciding to raise children while also pursuing an artistic practice, it can be hard to know how to proceed. While many well-known artists have managed to be engaged parents while pursing successful careers, mention of this creative balancing act is largely absent from critical discourse, and so we find ourselves reinventing the wheel again and again.”

-Christa Donner, Cultural ReProducers (Half Letter Press, 2014)

Over the past 4 years, since our girls were born, Oliver and I have become more and more aware of the challenges and struggles parents go through in balancing a creative practice and raising children. Remember when you were a teenager and full of angst and relationships were just hard sometimes?  When life’s big questions felt like they needed an answer, now?  When you were struggling to find out who you were and how you were going to find your place in the world? I’ve found that becoming a parent is sort of like that: challenging emotionally, full of identity crises, and a process that involves a re-alignment of your priorities and world view.

That’s not to say it’s all bad – in fact, if we stick with the high school metaphor, think of all the strong memories you have from those short 4 years and compare that number to any previous set of 4 years.  All that change, those struggles, those questions of identity that challenge us can make space for beautiful new things to happen, for a new open-ness to experiences, and for spaces of awe and wonder.

I don’t know if it’s really harder for parents pursuing a creative practice, but I do know that it’s hard.  Artists are  great at scrimping for money generally, but sometimes being responsible for a helpless little thing makes many of us less willing to scrape the bottom. While we’ve toted along our children to many art events, sometimes inappropriately, it’s pretty much unacceptable to participate in a lecture with kids in tow.  While we’ve never been great at getting out, you might say that our social capital has decreased in the past years.  Many opportunities and residencies are off limits. Even ones with good intentions don’t always work out.  The Bemis Center announced a residency for artist-parents this past November only to have to pull the program when it became clear they hadn’t fully figured out all the childcare logistics.  Time changes as you work around naptimes, more rigid mealtimes, and meltdowns. Getting from bed to door in the morning can no longer be a 15 minute endeavor.

Too many artistic lives are built for single, childless, workaholic 23-year-olds. That can’t last. Raising children forces us to change, and that is good in the long run for us and for our field. It’s true that I could no longer write grants at midnight when I had a kid. But thank god I stopped writing grants at midnight, right? – Andrew Simonet, Artists Raising Kids

The adjustment that happens after having kids happens to everyone who has kids.  You know it will happen, but it’s still surprising when it does. But sometimes it forces us to face things that were not working.  We stopped taking jobs – either self-assigned or asked for by others – that didn’t pay or didn’t have at least some small stipend or grant attached to it. It forced us to professionalize in that way. I used to be a floral designer.  Now I rarely take a job because the cost of childcare is the same as what I would bring in. Instead I do web design more professionally now, where I can work less for more money.

I’m pregnant again and am looking forward to and dreading the phase that will come this fall, so this topic is close to my mind.  But before that happens, Oliver and I want to announce our call for nominations for the next Present Prize – to be given to someone balancing a creative practice and parenthood.  The money we give away might be enough for a month of daycare, for some on-demand childcare, or for whatever else the parent in question needs. Let’s reward someone for making the time, for playing the long game, for proving it can be done, for taking a break or taking it slow for a while, for being selfish while at the same time giving all of themselves, and for setting the example for their kids that balance is possible – you just have to work at it. Because in the end, family matters.

If you are a current web hosting client, nominate up to three parents pursuing a creative practice.  Include their name and some sort of contact info (preferably email). Email your nominations here.

If you think this is a good idea and want to both contribute to the prize and nominate some people, go here to Buy in.


Additional Resources for Parents:

Cultural ReProducers - an evolving group of active cultural workers who are also parents – has compiled a great list of Resources for parent cultural workers  that includes grants, publications, and parent friendly residency programs.


No Justice, No Service!

Join local artists, educators, unions, activists and workers to celebrate the recent excitement and organizing success of Adjuncts at SFAI, CCA, St. Mary’s College, Mills, Dominican University!

Performances! Installations! Speak-outs! Readings! Food! Art! Books! Socializing! Community-building! Help cultivate a cultural front for ongoing activism in arts, education, work and life.

We’ll be there begging people to fill out surveys for Compensation Foundation and trying to show some stats through live action visualizations. We’ll see how that goes. :)

Sunday, March 8 at 3:00pm
2948 16th Street
San Francisco, CA 94103

Participating artists, adjuncts, workers, groups, organizers, cooks, beer-makers and people include:
MC: Irina Contreras
Cara Emily Levine
Danielle Wright
Carrie Hott
Congratulations Pine Tree Podcast (Kate Rhoades, Maysoun Wazwaz)
Jessica Tully
Jessica Lawless
Christian Schoff-Nagler
Jennie Smith-Camejo
David Buuck
Stephanie Young
Ann Schnake
Compensation Foundation 
SEIU Local 1021
Give Me Cred!
Peak Agency
La Pocha Nostra
Kristi Holohan
Lauren C Elder
Amanda Jane Eicher
Chelsea Wills
Catherine Powell & The Labor Archive
Bay Area Strike Debt
Debt Collective
Fight For Fifteen
Chris Higgenbotham
Adjunct activist’s agit-prop from around the country
Keith Hennessy
Mess Editions
Words of Resistance
Critical Resistance
Modern Times Bookstore Collective
Joe Berry
Helena Harlow Worthen
Lukaza Branfman-Verissimo
Grace Chen
Zach Ozma
Adjunct Action Bay Area
Amy Rathbone
Francisco Grajales
Leslie Dreyer
SFAI Poster Syndicate
Shaping SF

Gifotrope – take control of your gifs

In the latest edition of “little things that we make for other people to use (but probably no one will,)” we’re proud to announce Gifotrope.  Gifotrope is a bit of code that helps you take control of gifs by breaking them up into little pieces that only animate when a user is scrolling.  You can’t read well while you’re scrolling, so something else interesting visually could and probably should be happening during those times.

Alternative Funding Strategies for Artists Class

On October 15th (a Tuesday) we’re gonna be breaking down what we’ve learned over the past seven years in regards to different funding models for artists and what the advantages and disadvantages are for each.  Come join us! 

Artists and cultural producers are increasingly turning to funding sources outside of the traditional methods.  This workshop and seminar will explore traditional and new models for funding creative practice and discuss their benefits and disadvantages.  We’ll also touch on the importance of developing social capital, along with practical strategies for building your brand and network. Participants should be ready to investigate their own support needs and be willing to contribute their own insight and experiences.

This workshop will take place over one 3-hour session with topics to include:

*Pros and cons of traditional funding sources

*Opt-Out Strategies: fee-for-service, barter, trade, co-ops, and secondary income

*Making Byproducts: production goods, economies of scale, and working with “middle-men”

*Selling your skills or surplus

*Community Supported Practice: Indirect funding, Subscriptions, MicroPayments, Crowdfunding

*Fiscal Sponsorship

*Leveraging social capital

Date: Tuesday, October 15, 2013
Time: 6:00 – 9:00pm
Location:  ProArts, 150 Frank H Ogawa Plaza, Oakland, CA 94612
Cost: $40.00 early registration (ends October 1); $50 regular registration (begins October 2).

Cancellation Policy: Full refund on registration fees up to 48 hours prior to workshop date. Fees nonrefundable after that date.

You can register for the class HERE.


What better way to celebrate 6 years of making art than to get that art into people’s hands at an extremely affordable (like out-of-control affordable) price?  If you have ever wanted to buy something from TPG but haven’t, or might want to start checking off your holiday list, the time is now.  From today until December 24th, our entire inventory is 20 – 80% off.  Some of these editions have very limited quantities available (like only 1 left of Steve Lambert’s I want you to have this,) so get your orders in fast if you want your choice!

Know when to fold em.

It is with a simultaneously heavy/proud/appreciative/relieved heart that we’re announcing the end of our little project, our subscription art service. With your help, over the past six years we’ve channelled over $34,000 into artist payments, critic stipends, and the production of new artwork. We’ve supported the creation of 21 artist projects (over 1400 individual art pieces) that may not have happened otherwise.

Six years ago, we were newlyweds with a dream, no business experience (or training for that matter), no connections, and no cred. Since then, we have learned an enormous amount, met and worked with some really wonderful people, and have no regrets. When we started there weren’t any active art subscriptions that we knew of. Now there are over 20. (In fact, we made a list! If you need an art subscription fix in our void, this is a good place to find the right one for you:

Over the years, The Present Group has changed its focus from solely an art subscription to a place for experimental projects focused on new ways to support artists and by extension cultural producers of all stripes. Over the past couple of years, our two major projects have shown quite a bit of promise. Art Micro Patronage gave people a chance to experience group shows of online artwork and donate to artists simultaneously. The Present Group Hosting has now given away $2324 to artists working in underfunded areas of the creative landscape.

We will continue this trend of being both a place for our own experimental systems and a place that helps to facilitate others’ experiments. We will continue making things, perhaps even create editions once in a while, and hope to begin collaborating more extensively with partners. We now know how to make a lot of things (like view master reels and transparent silk screened vinyl sticker sheets!) and hope to help others make things. We will continue to explore the area between art, activism, philanthropy, and commercial endeavors. If you have a project that may be a good fit for this type of collaboration, please get in touch.

Why are we stopping? We’ve never been able to pay ourselves, we work other jobs to keep it going, and after six years of burning the candle at both ends, the flame has started to flicker. We love this project and it has been hard to make this decision, but it is time to let it go. We’ve met many of you through the fairs, speaking engagements and shows we’ve been able to be a part of. Some of you have been with us since the very beginning or close to it and by that we’re extremely humbled. We would never have been able to accomplish any of this without all the people who placed their trust and faith in us.

At this time of Thanksgiving, we’re especially  thankful for the enormous generosity and community of people we have had the privilege of working with, amongst, and for. Whether you decided to try out art collecting on a whim, worked with us as an artist, writer, or vendor,  or helped spread word to your friends, co-workers, students, or family members, we’re enormously grateful for every one of you.


Oliver and Eleanor

P.S.  We’re celebrating this end and 6 year anniversary with a giant sale!  Check out our back issues for savings of up to 20 – 80% off. 

Show Me the Money: a new series on SFMOMA’s blog

For quite some time, Oliver and I have been talking about a project we’ve been calling Show Me the Money.  Sometimes our projects take a lot of time living in the back of our heads before they become a reality.  Years ago, we were thinking that it would be great to diagram out how the money works for different types of organizations, businesses, and artists in the art world just so we could simply see it.   But that didn’t happen, or hasn’t happened yet.

At the beginning of this year, we started thinking critically about The Present Group and how it could change and adapt so that we could become more stable (more on that later).  During this time, I started thinking again about Show Me the Money and how I wished I had already done it, how it seems so necessary, how I can’t believe someone else hasn’t done it. So I went ahead and emailed one of my favorite Bay Area platforms for conversation, the SFMOMA blog, to see if they were interested in the idea. Turns out, they were.

So today, I’ve posted a little introduction to the project as a whole.  I’m really excited and slightly nervous about it all, but I am really looking forward to it.  With a little bit of optimism and hope, I’m about embark on asking people to talk about a subject that almost everyone avoids: money.

Here’s a snippet:

The visual arts, as a discipline, is sometimes seen as a place where one can and should freely explore and produce independently of the market. It is with this optimism and drive to work without financial reward that so many people pursue the creation of their own organizational structures. This freedom can be a fertile and productive place from which to practice, but it comes with a price of perception and expectation: creative work is generally under-compensated (because you were going to do it anyway), general operating costs are ignored in funding proposals, installations are installed without fees, and exposure is offered as payment all throughout the chain.

..There is a prevalent belief in our country that if you work hard enough you’ll be able to “make it.” If you do something good long enough, people will notice. But as any artist, small businessperson, or organization head will tell you, this just isn’t true.

read more on Open Space.

We want to help you get your portfolio website up.

So we’ve decided to team up with Southern Exposure in order to teach a class on how to do just that.  Sign up – space is limited.

You can read all about it here. 

Headlands Center for the Arts 30th Birthday Caravanniversary Festival and Sale this Saturday

This Saturday, September 15th, join us in celebrating Headlands‘ major accomplishment: 30 years of supporting art and artists.  It’s going to be fun.  This one day, family-friendly, artist-driven festival in the Fort Barry Parade Ground of the Marin Headlands will feature an array of artist projects, games, musical entertainment, bike & surf activities, artist-led hikes, hands-on projects, and local artisan vendor booths for the delight of party-goers of all ages.

This week we’ll be finally sending out TPG21 and will be using this opportunity not only to sell our backissues in a TPG Pop-Up Shop, but also to have a little release party of sorts, with a activity led from afar by artist Christine Wong Yap.  We’ll be encouraging fair goers to take a moment to Celebrate Something in sparkles.

Over a dozen artists have been commissioned to present interactive contraptions, custom-designed pods, and games at the party. Curl up inside one of Suzanne Husky‘s “Sleeper Cells;” use plant-dye to design a custom handkerchief with TPG 11 artist Helena Keeffe; make a mini-succulent garden with Sausalito’s The Low Tide Club; and peruse original artist prints and multiples for sale by Park Life and The Present Group. Enjoy music, dancing, and tasty treats.


Congratulations to The Present Prize: Net Love Nominees

Over the next few weeks, we’ll be getting some additional information from these artists and building a platform for the public voting phase. In the meantime, get to know the projects!

We Who Feel Differently by Carlos Motta

Supercruft and Live Disasters by Andrew Venell

NSKYC by Mike Bodge by Andrey Yazev

Cultural Differences by Taryn Simon and Aaron Swartz  (declined to participate)

Cloaque founded by Carlos Saez and Claudia Mate

Open_Close.txt and The Internet Makes Me Happy by Emilio Gomariz by Packard Jennings

C RED BLUE J by Chris Sollars

HD Jellyfish Footage by Julian Dawe (declined to participate)

Peter Hasson: Praying Ping Pong by Jesse Nichols by Anthony Antonellis

Molteni Net Works by Maria Molteni and the New Craft Artists in Action

Sanctuary by Aaron Vincent Elkaim


Artists from this month’s AMP show + curator Dena Beard talk! March 22nd. @ProArts


Inverse Internet Operating Manual Live Artist Talk

7:30 p.m., March 22
150 Frank H Ogawa Plaza  Oakland, CA 94612

Join the artists of Inverse Internet Operating Manual and curator Dena Beard to reverse engineer the World Wide Web. Cycling between physical and virtual states, they will impart daring instructions for browsing, poaching, crowd-sourcing, misusing our favorite non-site. Finally, exasperated, they may ask: how do we look at art online?


This talk will be broadcast live at
Pose your questions in person, via the website, email (, or twitter (@AMPatronage).

Hosted by Art Micro Patronage, a project of The Present Group.




Art Micro Patronage is LIVE!

What started as a few vague ideas about the possibilities of micro-donations mixed in with questions about “collecting” digital artwork is now a full-blown, beautifully designed, web application for supporting online artists.

Art Micro Patronage is an experimental online exhibition space enabling you to view and support artwork that is ideally experienced on the internet. Built on the generosity of people like you, AMP is a vehicle for a new generation of art patrons, who are willing to associate their appreciation of great work with

actual dollar amounts, no matter how small.

We’re extremely proud, and also curious if anyone will use it.  So please, check it out. Each month we’ll present a new online exhibition.  And while you’re there, become a micro-patron of the arts by giving a small donation to the artists who pieces you like.


People don’t like to read art: TPG 16 shows off

Rebecca Blakley’s Lichen Books: On the Road is showing at Western Exhibitions (Chicago) in July as part of the show, “People don’t like to read art.The title of the show takes its name from a 2009 drawing (not in this show) by Deb Sokolow that humorously reflects on some viewers’ aversion to reading text in visual art works. While the use of text in contemporary art is fairly commonplace, the artists in this show move beyond the use of single words and phrases by working with paragraphs, lists, fully-formed narratives and book formats, asking viewers to take the time to actively read the work.

July 9 – August 13th, 2011
Reception: Saturday, July 9, 6 to 9pm
SUMMER Gallery Hours: Wednesday to Saturday, 11am to 5pm

Gallery Address: 119 N Peoria St, Suite 2A Chicago, IL 60607

The Finalists for The Present Prize: Christine Kesler, Alison Pebworth, Lindsey White

After some riotous voting by the public (thousands of votes were cast), the top three finalists for The Present Prize have been selected!   It was a very close race and up to the last minute people were pulling ahead and dropping behind by just a vote or two in either direction.  Now the hostees will choose who gets the final prize.  Thank you to all who participated in the process and congratulations to our finalists!


B, 2009

Christine Kesler’s recent work takes the form of full-studio installations of paintings and paper sculptures; this entails a great deal of re-purposing old work, and this in turn harnesses energies of destruction, rebirth, and re-imagining. Installations made of painted objects, found objects, paper constructions, and unaltered paintings, drawings, and panels, all exist to subvert the stability of painting and to create consciousness of using what is on hand.


Eagle and Bear (Haida, Quatchi, Sumi, Butterfly Maiden (Hopi), Betty Boop, Progress (Manifest Destiny Goddess), Bear Sterns Bull, Steamboat Willy, Tlazoteol (Aztec), Luchador

Alison Pebworth is a San Francisco-based artist who paintings and multi-media installations are a part of an on-going investigation into the lost and obscured histories of America. She is currently in the midst of a long-term traveling road show, entitled Beautiful Possibility Tour. This traveling exhibition is an interactive project combining art, history, and anthropology and will engage various communities and public art spaces from California to South Dakota, and across the Northern United States and lower Canada. Beautiful Possibility Tour kicked off from Southern Exposure in San Francisco in March 2010, and the artist will be traveling through October. Pebworth has received many public grants and awards for her art and research practice, including from Southern Exposure and the Center for Cultural Innovation.


Distraction, 2010

Lindsey White works in still photography, video and installation, offering subtle and often humorous insights into questions of truth vs illusion, found vs fabricated and synchronicity vs chaos. Her manipulations of materials and settings, by both analog and digital means, mixed with a keen eye for coincidence make for playful yet haunting images of the not so mundane everyday.

Lindsey White lives and works in San Francisco, where she teaches photography at the California College of Art. She received her BFA in Photography from the Pacific Northwest College of Art (Portland, OR) and her MFA in Photography from the California College of Art (San Francisco, CA). She has exhibited recently at the Pacific Northwest College of Art (Portland, OR), Southern Exposure (San Francisco, CA), the Kala Institute of Art (Berkeley, CA), the Headlands Center for the Arts (Marin, CA) and the San Jose Institute of Contemporary Art (San Jose, CA).

The Present Prize! Voting has begun.

Vote on the winner of the first Present Prize:
a $1K travel grant for a Bay Area artist.

The Present Prize is an intermittent artist grant funded by web hosting fees and awarded by the community of hostees with help from the general public. Each grant period will have a new theme targeting an underfunded area of the creative landscape.

For our first prize, we have teamed up with the Collective Foundation to create a $1K travel grant to a Bay Area artist in order to address a possible reason why Bay Area artists often leave the area after a period of “incubation”. Joseph delPesco, founder of the Collective Foundation speaks eloquently about the reasoning behind this grant theme on the SF Moma blog. (excerpt below)

“Unlike most first-world countries we don’t have a cultural agency at the state or federal level that funds artists’ travel. I have an untested theory that if Bay Area artists had support for mobility that they would be more likely to stay. While the last sentence may sound counter-intuitive, I think one reason artists leave is the relative isolation of the Bay Area in relation to the art centers. More to the point, It appears that most of the artists who have stayed are those who have been able to develop projects and find exhibition opportunities outside of the Bay Area.”

Nominees* for The Present Prize:

Ajit Chauhan, Alison Pebworth, Amanda Eicher, Andrew Venell, Christine Kesler, Lindsey White, Margaret Tedesco, Matt Borruso, and Nathaniel Parsons

We want to YOUR discerning eye!

This stage of the voting is open to all members of the public.  View proposals and give us your preference in randomized arena-style matchups**.  Voting is open until February 28th, 2011. VOTE NOW >>

*Artists were nominated by two groups of hosting clients whose fees contributed to the creation of this grant.  Artists were then contacted to provide short statements about where they wanted to go and why, an image, and a weblink.

** One of the things we were concerned about regarding the voting process was that we wanted to involved the public, but didn’t want it to just be an online popularity contest.  That’s why we decided on the head-to-head matchup style and a proposal-centered presentation.  We hope that this encourages voters to more fully consider the proposals merits rather than simply voting once for their friend and leaving.

Infoporn II

The State of the Arts posters were in this short lived show in Chicago: an homage to their love for data visualization, the show highlights a selection of works from around the world in the form of installations, a publication library, interactive projects and infographics.

Steve Lambert will be the artist for TPG17

We’re enthused to announce that Steve Lambert will be our seventeenth artist!  Lambert made international news just after the 2008 US election with The New York Times “Special Edition,” a replica of the grey lady announcing the end of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and other good news. He is the founder of the Anti-Advertising Agency, lead developer of Add-Art (a Firefox add-on that replaces online advertising with art) and has collaborated with numerous artists including the Graffiti Research Lab, and the Yes Men.

Follow TPG Issues via RSS

Just a quick nerd note, we added a new RSS feed to the blog and TPG that simply alerts you when a new issue is released.

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Lego Hello World
I wish all my printers were made of legos.

LIFE photo archive hosted by Google
Images from Life Magazine going back to 1860′s, hosted by Google

Coming Face To Face With The President
Well crafted story about an under-heard point of view.

In California, Pot Is Now an Art Patron
A new funding source for the arts – reaping big rewards and funding many projects.  It’s pot.

Notes on Portraiture in the Facebook Age

Celebrity Book Club: A List to End All Lists
Because, well, it’s sortof awesome.

Are "Artists' Statements" Really Necessary?
The pros and cons about that nemesis for most artists.

This to That
You tell it what you’ve got and it’ll tell you what to glue them together with.

Work of art: Online store for buyers, sellers
Not the TV show!  Kelly Lynn Jones from Little Paper Planes is interviewed on her project, gives us a cheat sheet to local affordable art resources.

How to make a Daft Punk helmet in 17 months