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November 2008


TMNK- The Me Nobody Knows. Mankind: Mixed Media on Canvas. 22x28  copyright 2008

"Mankind, Or Unkind men? That story and the legacy thereof will be determined not by grand promises or royal gestures.It will be something far grander, our kind and generous ACTS as humans, caring for EACH OTHER, REGARDLESS of our differences. That historic event will determine what history writes of US.

I pray we can find ways to walk like "kind men" and work together for mankind. Mankind." TMNK

TMNK - The Me Nobody Knows, is having a 2 Damn Cold, 2 Day Sale at his eBay site.
Hop on over and check it out.

TMNK will be at Pine Street Art Works in September for Art Hop, but it's never too early for you to start collecting his work.


The human body cover small
Copyright 1955. The Human Body by Cyril Bibby and Ian. T. Morison, illustrations. Puffin Books.

Closeups of cells and nerves and skeletal structures make up the body of this illustrated human anatomy book for children, although not every one of the fine drawings by Ian T. Morison is at a microscopic level. For your enjoyment I present some of the illustrations full page size, and then at a microscopic level, details of the pages themselves. That is, through the amazing technology of scanner and photo crop tool, we can delve into the smallest detail of the ink color, line and typography of the page itself.

The human body cover009_2
The Human Body. Bibby & Morrison 1955. Puffin Picture Book. Cover detail.

The human body p 4
The Human Body p. 4


The human body detail other ways
Abstracted detail of a cell. The Human Body p. 6


The Human Body, p. 6, detail. This one could easily be a wallpaper design.


The human body p
The Human Body, page 9


The human body p.9011_2
Detail, The Human Body, p. 9

The Human Body, p. 17


The Human Body, detail p. 17

The human body p.17013_2

The Human Body, detail p. 17

Thehumanbodyp21 small
The Human Body p. 21


The human body p.21016_2

The Human Body. Page 21. Detail of blood cell.

For more on the Puffin Picture Books including more images and a wonderful essay see this post on the blog Quad Royal 


Every month or so I rearrange the gallery: each exhibit demands a different ambiance. Right now I've got the fabulous lamps from Studio-Glow, the wonderful husband and wife team of Riki Moss and Robert Ostermeyer from Grand Isle, VT.

Psaw window studio glow wide view

Here are some Studio-Glow sculptures in the show window, from the inside. The sun going down behind Lake Champlain created this amazing blue glow. It's different each day, and of course, what the camera captures is always a bit different than what the naked eye can see.

Studio glow and leda

These are some of the Studio-Glow table lamps in front of a 2004 series of reverse paintings I did of Leda and The Swan.

Studio glow glowing
Gallery view with Studio-Glow Lamps and a variety of art and artifacts.

Mad glass nov 08 blog
Every year at Winter Solstice I sell these wonderful beads and jewelry by Madlyn Erb, Mad Glass Beads.

Tmnk, fairey 

art by TMNK and Shepard Fairey.

These pieces are  not for sale but I want everyone to see them. The picture in the upper left is by TMNK- The Me Nobody Knows, a wonderful artist from New York City, who will be here with his art next September for Art Hop. The small piece at the bottom is his also. The other two pieces are signed limited edition silk screens by Shepard Fairey. I'm not selling any of these pieces because they are from my personal collection and I'm just not willing to part with them but I want people to see them.

See, this is where my branding becomes really fuzzy. Because sometimes PSAW is a tiny bit more like a museum than a shop and people get confused, so I have to greet people by saying 99% of everying in here is for sale.

Meanwhile, if you love TMNK as I do, check out his blog and his sales on eBay. And I will be having his work for sale starting next September, which will be here sooner than you think.


Photo at Atelier Tove, by Jordan Silverman, SevenDaysVT copyright 2008.

One of the reasons I've redecorated this month is that I've leased my back room to Atelier Tove, run by Tove Ohlander, a glass blower from Sweden. Tove and I know each other because our kids are in fifth grade together. Small city, Burlington. Another fifth grader in their  class is the son of Ali Marchaldon from Flashbags. Schools build community.

But I digress. Tove is using the space to sell the glassware that she and her husband, Rich Arentzen, make under the name of AO Glass, and to give art classes for children. Here's an article about her from SevenDaysVT our local alt weekly newspaper.

Tove glass

AO Glass at Atelier Tove.

Today Tove is hosting a Create Your Own Obama Art event in her space.

Tove obama
Tove, Atelier Tove, prepping for Obama Art Event. TMNK painting in the background.


I've been featuring art about Obama for a while, but here's a twist. A drawing by Obama. Or as I'd call him, Obama Picasso.

Drawing by Barack Obama
Drawing by Barack Obama.

Portraits of Senator Chuck Shumer, Majority Leader Harry Reid, Dianne Feinstein and Edward Kennedy. The drawing is owned by Wayne Berzon, who bought it at a charity auction last May to benefit Neurofibramatosis Inc. He paid $2, 075.

Maybe if the administration needs to raise some more funds, Obama Picasso could be talked into doing some more sketches.With the market so hot right now for Obama Art and Obamabelia, he could make quite a pretty penny.

Full story here


It seems clear that President-Elect Barack Obama has inspired more and better art than any previous America political candidate or victor, but political imagery and ephemera is not a new category for  collectors. I started collecting campaign buttons in the early sixties - most of which I regret that I no longer have. But fliers, posters, celluloid buttons and other propaganda is a fertile ground for art collectors and cultural/political historians.

Campaign buttons have long been a popular way to market candidates. George Washington and many of his supporters wore brass clothing buttons reading "G.W. - Long Live The President" at his inauguration in 1789.

1789-2 George Washington (GW enclosed by inscription Long Live The President) (brass inaugural button)
George Washington Inaugural Button, 1879. Courtesy of

In a  marketing strategy that continues to this day, William Harrison sold himself as a man the common people, with his "log cabin" image. The truth that he came from a wealthy, prominent family was no more relevant than the fact that "cowboy" George Bush did.

1840 William Henry Harrision (black sulphide). Scarce
William Harry Harrison, 1840. Sulphide badge. Courtesy of

Not all presidential imagery is used to sell the canditate running for office. Sometimes the images are used to sell unrelated products. My sister, Holly Cowan Shulman, one of the world's leading experts on Dolley Madison relies on, and loves, the pop cultural images of the "first" first lady, hostess of Washington. Madison's name and image was used widely, after her death, to market products from ice cream to tobacco to cake.

Dolley madison icecream
Dolly Madison Ice Cream. Note that the name is spelled wrong. Courtesy of The Dolley Madison Project.

By the time of the Abraham Lincoln campaing, tintype and ferrotype processes allowed for mass manufacture of images and campaign promotional badges. 

Lincoln star button

Abraham Lincoln star button. Courtesy of

Lincoln Ambrotype Reverse  

Lincoln ambrotype badge/pendant. As much an ad for the manufacturer as for the candidate. Courtesy of

Teddy Rooseveltpillbox 

Teddy Roosevelt button. Courtesy of

Adlai stenenson pin Pictorial Productions tuckshoe NY

Adlai Stevenson celluloid button.

Stevenson shoe pin blog  

Heavy on symbolism - the Adlai Stevenson hole in the shoe pin. A wonderful customer gave this to me.


Adlai Stevenson, hole in his shoe. 1952, photo by William M. Gallagher. This photo, shot at arm's lenght so Stevenson wouldn't realize what was happening, won the Pulizer prize in 1953. The Flint Journal

Any photojournalist or political historian remembers the Stevenson photo and the powerful symbolism of a president who encourages thrift. Which brings us to Barack Obama.

Obama hole in shoe photo by Callie shell 

Photo by Callie Shell/Aurora for Time. Providence RI, 3/1/2008 "Senator Obama was doing press interviews by telephone in a holding room between events. Sometime later as he was getting ready to begin his event, he asked me if I was photographing his shoes. When I said yes, he told me that he had already had them resoled once since he entered the race a year earlier. "

The Obama buttons are famous, as are the Shepard Fairey Obama Hope posters. Right now, all you politcal ephemera collectors can jump on the bandwagon and get this new sticker by Shepard Fairey from But hurry up. The limited edition (5,000)  Shepard Fairey Yes We Did poster sold out in record time yesterday and I blinked and missed it. Really. I was with a customer and when I came back online they were gone. They will be available on the secondary market, but prices will rise dramatically.


Shepard Fairey, Yes We Did sticker available from MoveOn.Org.

You can get one sticker for free, 5 for $3 or 50 for $20.  I've seen these available for sale on an online auction for $5 each, and they haven't even been released from the artist/publisher yet. I find that unscrupulous, since they are still available for free from the source. So get yours while they are still available from MoveOn.Org.  And give them a generous contribution while you're at it.

update Nov 11: the signed We Did It poster sold out. At last look, was still offering unsigned posters for a donation of $15.


Day two of a new era.

So, now that the election is done and we won! my Obama Or Else postcards are no longer propaganda but now are collectibles. Funny how the market works that way. I gave away close to five thousand postcards for the cause and was gleeful to do it. Now they cost a buck each.

Obama or else postcard
Obama Or Else Postcard. Pine Street Art Works, Liza Cowan design.

You know they are so worth it. Just stick few dollars into an envelope and send it to me. I'll send your cards.

$10/set of 10 cards
+ 5.00 postage


Obama inaugural bag b:w


Be the first on your block to carry the Flashbag Obama Inaugural handmade handbag. Obamabelia at it's finest!

Flashbags, the wonderful woman-owned, independently operated micro business in Winooski Vermont has just come out with their Obama Inaugural Handbag.

These beautiful bags are made of laminated paper, with images inside as well as outside,  hand stitched and sewn with swoops and swirls that complement the composition of each image.  Each bag features  a cellphone pocket, and handles made of beverage tubing. The main edges are bound with clear plastic to keep your bag durable. Very sturdy and comfortable to carry.

Flashbags has been making handbags and accessories for over three years, I've sold them since we both went into business, and I stand behind their amazing product.



Tara by liza cowan

White Tara, Reverse Painting On Glass, Copyright Liza Cowan 2004

In the excruciatingly long couple of months from the day Barack Obama became the Democratic Nominee for President Of The United States Of America to the night he was elected (yesterday)  I have posted in this blog almost exclusively about the election. I felt it was my civic duty to suspend regular programming to focus on this world changing event.

I've tried to tie my posts to art about Obama, and in so doing, discovered one of my new favorite artists, TMNK, The Me Nobody Knows. My gallery  has been filled with Obamabelia - that kind of rolls off the tongue, doesn't it? I have given away over 5,000 Obama Or Else postcards, and sold over two dozen  handmade limited edition Obama handbags by Flashbags. In the gallery I have blasted the Obama cd, Yes We Can, Voices From A Grassroots Movement, until I have every word memorized, and my customers have now come to expect to hear Obama's inspring words when they step inside the PSAW zone.

I've also kept some Tibetan White Taras around the gallery, particularly in my show window, hovering over the Obamabelia and Obama art. Why? Because I wanted to wrap Obama in the  aura of this powerful protector goddess. Call me spiritual, call me superstitious, but I felt compelled to ask Tara for her help. And, help she did. Along with all other protective deities from multitudes of religions  and spiritual practices from every corner of the globe.

Green Tara would have been a good choice as well. But I had a series of paintings of White Tara that I did several years ago, so she is the Goddess I invoked. Link here for more images and text on my Tara Paintings.

Tara, (Sanskrit, "star") is a Buddhist savior-goddess especially popular in Tibet, Nepal and Mongolia. In Tibet, where Tara is the most important deity, her name is Sgrol-ma, meaning "she who saves." The mantra of Tara (om tare tuttare ture svaha) is the second most common mantra heard in Tibet, after the mantra of Chenrezi (om mani padme hum).  

The goddess of universal compassion, Tara represents virtuous and enlightened action. It is said that her compassion for living beings is stronger than a mother's love for her children. She also brings about longevity, protects earthly travel, and guards her followers on their spiritual journey to enlightenment

According to Buddhist tradition, Tara was born out of the tears of compassion of the bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara. It is said that he wept as he looked upon the world of suffering beings, and his tears formed a lake in which a lotus sprung up. When the lotus opened, the goddess Tara was revealed.

White Tara (Sanskrit: Sitatara; Tibetan: Sgrol-dkar) is sometimes called the Mother of all Buddhas and she represents the motherly aspect of compassion. Her white color signifies purity, wisdom and truth.

In iconography, White Tara often has seven eyes – in addition to the usual two, she has a third eye on her forehead and one on each of her hands and feet. This symbolizes her vigilance and ability to see all the suffering in the world. The "Tara of Seven Eyes" is the form of the goddess especially popular in Mongolia.

In religious practice, White Tara is believed to help her followers overcome obstacles, espeically those that inhibit the practice of religion. She is also associated with longevity.

Green Tara (Sanskrit: Syamatara; Tibetan: Sgrol-ljang), filled with youthful vigor, is a goddess of activity. She is the fiercer form of Tara, but is still a savior-goddess of compassion. She is the consort of Avalokiteshvara and considered by some to be the original Tara. Like Avalokiteshvara, the Green Tara is believed to be an emanation of the "self-born" Buddha Amitabha, and an image of Amitabha is sometimes depicted in Tara's headdress.

In Buddhist religious practice, Green Tara's primary role is savioress. She is believed to help her followers overcome dangers, fears and anxieties, and she is especially worshipped for her ability to overcome the most difficult of situations. Green Tara is intensely compassionate and acts quickly to help those who call upon her.


So thanks and prayers to Tara, om tare tuttare ture svaha. Goddess bless Obama and all sentient beings working to make the Earth a better, safer, saner, healthier home filled with justice for all.

We now return to our reguarly scheduled programming.


"If there is anyone out there who still doubts that America is a place where all things are possible; who still wonders if the dream of our founders is alive in our time; who still questions the power of our democracy, tonight is your answer." Barack Obama, November 4, 2008

Obama art, barack obama, president obaba, art about obama, art about presidential inauguration, inaugural art, TMNK, urban art about obama,
TMNK - The Me Nobody Knows. Sacred Promise. Mixed Media with oxidized rust application on canvas. Copyright 2008 TMNK. Used by permission of the Artist.

"All of us are equal. That’s the promise that was made to all of us as Americans by the founding fathers, And in doing so an even greater promise was made. That promise was that if YOU were willing to do your best to be your best, you could accomplish anything, even becoming President of The United States. Well if (when) Barack Obama takes the “Oath of Office” America would have finally kept her promise, and hundreds of years of tomorrows have become today.
And by electing Barack Obama, “we the people” are making a new promise, a very sacred promise to future generations. Unity over division. Love over hate, Peace over War. Martin Luther King Jr. had a dream, FOR ALL OF US. Well close your eyes go to sleep, and get up and vote on Tuesday. I believe tomorrow is today, and today the dream comes true. I promise." -