Conjuring Marz

If you grow up in a family of artists, it’s not always easy to be an artist yourself. Instead of being “the creative one” and standing out, your creativity is given automatic comparison. Any artistic freedom and open-ended exploration of ideas can be dampened by a sense of a pressure to compete or to perform at a certain level. It can drive you away from art entirely.

Maggie Poster JPEG

With an artist for a mother and two artistically talented older sisters, Maggie SanFilippo was not always sure that she wanted to enter the fray. She followed her own path. But – and here’s the thing – that path seems to have always pointed back to art.

Doing costume design in the film industry and working for years as an entrepreneur in the area of vintage and hand-made furniture, SanFilippo never strayed far from art, even if she didn’t think of herself as an artist. She works in fields where design and aesthetics are central. Her furniture work in particular had her hustling to rescue and refurbish furniture, applying some imagination to give life back to thrift store finds and in that way bring new ideas to life.

She found herself naturally drawn to musicians and photographers. Maybe she tricked herself in a very quiet way into becoming an artist despite the fact that she wouldn’t have given herself that title. Or maybe she was just waiting for the right encouragement.

When her boyfriend and business partner, musician Ainsley Hubbard encouraged SanFilippo to take her occasional sketches and run with them, the moment seemed right and she did.

In Conjuring Marz, SanFilippo’s show at Sagebrush Café and her first solo show – you can see the process of “running with it” at work in a collection of pieces combining sketching and water color that become a sort of jazz-couture style: firm lines and inventive improvisations of color, gesture and attitude that bring to mind both Ella Fitzgerald and Coco Channel.

And there is a very deliberate harkening back to the past in Conjuring Marz. SanFilippo was inspired to create some pieces for the show while she was watching Feud, the television series about Bette Davis and Joan Crawford, figures of glamour and great emotion – and a scrappy determination to insist on themselves and on their own success.

The style that is at work in Conjuring Marz calls on a certain understatement that hides in plain sight. Many of the pieces contrast vivid splashes of color with images of composure and self-possession. There is something in the drawn figures that the color points to, but the faces aren’t giving anything away.

So the joy that seems to shout itself from the bright and quite direct works in the show becomes at least a little bit complicated. There is something else here too.

Many of the figures in the drawings are wearing sunglasses, holding something back, maintaining a cool secret. That, in a way, is what elegance is – flair that is at the same time somehow restraint.

In Conjuring Marz, SanFilippo gives us a set of pieces that seem like the result of a meditation on this dance between the said and the unsaid. There is a sense that the stage sees what the actress wants to show but those inevitable off-stage incidents, those episodes in the wings are what stand behind the knowing smile when the actress takes her bow.

Conjuring Marz

Showing @ Sagebrush Cafe

42104 50th Street West

Lancaster, CA 93536




A Photographic Phamily

AV Arts Blog has some new artists listed on our sidebar. Two of the artists listed are a father and daughter photography team who you can find in two places: MojaveWest Photography (where the duo’s impressive, western photography is on display) and at their blog page, Light in Our Lens, which is dedicated to the stories behind the photographs.

Alan Radecki

With their photography, Alan Radecki and Rebecca Amber capture the grand scale of the American west, the technology that sometimes creates that scale and that entertains within this naturally and artificially lit world. There is a lot more to say about Radecki and Amber, but they say it themselves on their two sites.

Autumn Art Show & Sale on the 5th – 7th of November

Come join five local artists for a Autumn Art Show & Sale the first weekend in November!

We’ll have paintings, drawings, pottery, photography, jewelry, mugs, cards – and hot cider and warm snacks! Also, join us for two free kids’ art workshops:

Friday @ 3:30 paint watercolor, winter trees with me (AJ)
Saturday @ 12:30 learn how to cut amazing paper snowflakes with Jen Kennedy
More events may be added – so check out, find us on Facebook, or email AJ!

Reader Response – Antelope Valley

Antelope Valley Arts is interested to know how you think about the high desert semi-urban-semi-rural mixed bag that is the Antelope Valley.

The more we think about this spot of earth, the more difficulty we have figuring out how to describe it.

What do you think? How would you describe the AV to someone from Chile or England, from Russia or Egypt?

copyrighted image

Can you describe the Antelope Valley in one or two sentences…

Local Writer Shares Thoughts on Shopping Local

Reflections in Comparative Economics After a Trip Abroad    (exerpt)

– Nalin Ratnayake

Our mega-corporations are not all bad; the are the backbone of what provides our huge industrial and economic power. And for all the detriment it has done to the U.S. domestic economy by helping to flood the American //  market with cheap Chinese-made goods, WalMart has also used its enormous purchasing power to push for greener practices in its supply chain [ Aston ]. Starbucks has similarly implemented measures to support small coffee growers with its Fair Trade initiative. File:Farmer's Market Bridgehampton.JPG

But a balance must be made between the benefits of having large-capital corporations, and the need to keep domestic manufacturing viable. Countries like Sri Lanka have a long way to go before they reach the level of labor equity, environmental regulation, and purchasing power of the United States. But they definitely know something that we have forgotten a long time ago: a genuinely local economy that spends wisely is a valuable asset that has no price tag.

As I read the local paper and frown at forthcoming plans to put in yet another suburban WalMart center near Quartz Hill, I fear for the viability of my town’s character; Quartz Hill has long been a pocket of small, friendly, locally-owned businesses. But the powers that be will go with what sells, and that bit of policy is in no one’s hands but our own.

We Americans must realize that there is a hidden price associated with always seeking the cheapest product regardless of anything else and then spending like there’s no tomorrow. But the fault is never in the error itself; it is in failing to learn from it. So, after a gloomy recession year full of bad news and dashed dreams, let us as a nation resolve this year to: a) consume less and save more, and b) when we do consume, to buy local products or domestically manufactured goods whenever possible, even at somewhat greater upfront cost. The long-term effect will be, I think, to make our prosperity more stable, sustainable, environmentally friendly, and good for our nation and the world.

Read the rest of Nalin Ratnayake’s article HERE. (Click the link on HERE.)           

[photo credit: David Shankbone]

ArtsRoundUp: April, Arts & the Antelope Valley


 The month of April looks to be a busy month in the Antelope Valley. The annual Poppy Festival will be held on the weekend of April 23rd, always a big event, but that’s not all. (Click here for more details.)

            A group of local artists in Quartz Hill has put together a weekend-long art event – Ponderables –  open to the public that will include pottery instruction, painting lessons, and photography displays. (Click here for more details.)


            The Antelope Valley Thespians continue to add to their event calendar to provide voice to the arts on the west side of the AV. This month AVT will be hosting a live music night in their black box theater space. (Click here for details.)

             On Display:

            The Lancaster Museum and Art Gallery is hosting its 25th annual Antelope Valley High School show. (Click for details.)

            The digital landscape photography of Flint Fernweh is on display at Sagebrush Café. (Click for details.)

            Calls for Artists:

            Mouseprint Publications and the Unknown Writers of the Antelope Valley have combined forces to produce the Antelope Valley Anthology of Literature for several years.

            The anthology is currently accepting submissions. (Click here for more details.)

            Quartz Hill’s Antelope Valley Thespians are accepting submissions for original full-length plays on themes of “The West”. (See their website for more details.)


 ArtsRoundUp is brought to you by: Sagebrush Cafe


Cultural Illness…

Culture plays a role in mental life. Our thoughts and perceptions are shaped by the books we read, by the movies we see; by the language we speak.

Perhaps less obviously, culture plays a role in mental disorder as well.

The health-language we use predicates many of the symptoms and illnesses available to us.

Just think back to those black and white films with women fainting so often. People were always fainting.


The answer is cultural expectation.

Hysteria too was once a real mental disorder.

What happened to that?

Hysteria went away for the same reason that fainting did. People stopped believing in it.

The idea of culturally oriented mental disorder raises some interesting questions about the proliferation of mental disease in our society today.

America became a leader in the fields of psychology and psychiatry over the course of the 20th century. Universities and colleges across the nation have departments dedicated to the study of the history, the science, the treatment, and the effects of mental health and mental disorder.

The focus has been less on mental health and more on mental disorder. Famously, the “big book of psychiatry”, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Psychiatry, has become such a prolific list of symptoms describing mental illness that it is impossible to flip through the book and without diagnosing yourself with numerous mental illnesses.

For more of this article by local writer Eric Martin, follow this link: Cultural Illness

ArtsRoundUp – Literary Event in Quartz Hill

From the Writers and Editors of THE RAVEN & THE WRITING DESK (The Antelope Valley Literary Anthology v.6)
Dear All–
You are invited to come out to Keep it in the Light Book Shop and Tea room this Saturday 20 March 2010, for a book signing of THE RAVEN AND THE WRITING DESK.  There are going to be several of us out there for a “re-union” and to maybe sell a couple of books and, almost more important, to support one of the few independant book stores still alive in the AV.
The store is located at 45th St West and Ave. L in Quartz Hill.  It is in the strip mall behind the Wiener Snitzel.  The event is going to run from 3:00 PM to 5:00 PM, so come on out and help us celebrate local literature.