Happy Independence Day!

“Only barbarians are not curious about where they come from, how they came to be where they are, where they appear to be going, whether they wish to go there, and if so, why, and if not, why not.”
— Isaiah Berlin

Falling Water house

I’ve found my dream house. Edgar Kauffmann, who owned Kaufmann’s Department Store, called on Frank Lloyd Wright to design a summer home on his property southeast of Pittsburgh. He wanted a space to enjoy nature and to act as a camp for his department store employees. Kauffmann loved the stream and waterfall that ran through the property and hoped that Wright would build the home with a view of the water, but instead the house was designed to essentially hover over the waterfall. Wright used native stone quarried near the home site to build the structure with and even built around some of the natural components. It’s such a dream studio space! I fantasize about curling up next to any of these windows, seeing the green of the trees in my peripheral, and reading, writing, and drawing my brains out!

Here is a link to the original PBS segment and some screenshots of my favorites aspects of the design.

L.A. / Bikini Kill

Christina, Charley, and I visited L.A. for the Bikini Kill reunion show at the Palladium. This is probably the only band I would travel to see once in my life. All of Kathleen Hanna's musical projects (Bikini Kill, The Julie Ruin, Le Tigre) collectively set the tone for my first real creative renaissance when I was 14, locked away in my own world with loud and fast female voices singing at me while I made my own clothes and collages, obsessively studied fashion designers and models, and Ask Jeeves'ed more and more new bands to buy CDs of or download on Limewire (sorry for all the songs I stole, sue me). Bikini Kill was a gateway drug for me with music at a time I felt the most lost and unseen; I saw in them a perfect balance of toughness and anger and confidence with feminity and vulnerability and sincerity. I've never felt like I belonged anywhere, but this music was the driver escorting me to the realization that I belonged in my room absorbed in my projects and thoughts, and also made me feel confident in my presence and not so tiny. I still put on Le Tigre's "Keep on Livin" when I feel scared of the world because it inevitably makes me feel 10 feet tall and full of light.

Anyways. L.A. was a good adventure. We really got acquainted with the tougher side of Koreatown ha ha ha, observed an exuberant nude man marching up the beach, and crossed paths with lots of alien-looking plants because Southern CA can grow literally anything. We were also very cold most of this trip.

I’m sorry for the terrible video. You get the point.

Camping in east Texas

Christina and I ventured east to explore the piney, crow-infested woods of Sabine, Texas. We’ve spent plenty of time in west Texas’ deserts and some friends’ photos convinced me I needed to spend time with the lanky and endless trees on the other side of my state. We had a prime tent spot on the water looking across to Louisiana, spent half a day trying to get to Goober Hill for a pic only to find that there is no sign celebrating such a historic name, and Christina brought sliced beets for a snack.

We also learned that a national forest is not the same as a national park, which was slightly disappointing. No visitor center, no gift shop, minimal signage. A national park’s purpose is for the strict preservation of of the nature, while a national forest seeks to preserve resources but also allows for multi use of the land. We were pretty thrown off when we saw lots of lumber mills and housing on national forest land.

It was a great trip. It always is when it’s just us, our tent, and quiet nature.

"Anger rising" background

This is a background I made for a page in my newsbook. It’s a collection of triangles I cut out of my new origami paper. It will run as the background for a page about President Trump’s rising anger towards the Special Counsel’s investigation.



9/11/2001 is the first day I started writing in a diary almost daily and did so for the next 17ish years. I remember feeling so overwhelmed with emotion, crumpled up on my bed watching event coverage on my big-ass box TV, that all I could think of to do for some temporary relief was to write. I was in 5th grade and was lucky to have had an angelic GT teacher Mrs. Peña that got our whole little crew together so we could watch the events unfold live together. 

These diary entries are sacred to me. They're trying so desperately to grasp such a grown concept from a place of pure empathy, although it seems my regard for factuality was a bit skewed (first of all 20,000 people did not die and I also had not visited NYC at this point in my life so I wasn't very authentic in my emphasis on location). I respect my extravagant patriotism and also my signature deco, both of which I will be incorporating in all future professional endeavors.

Painting Dr. Watkins' bench

I had a very good day today. I walked around downtown for a few hours because I've needed some time with myself and the city. I had my painting supplies but was not really anticipating to paint. I sat on this bench and a very animated man named Jim walked by and said I chose a great bench to sit on (all the benches are memorialized to different individuals) because that was the bench honoring his doctor of many years and this being the doctor that helped him stop taking prescription pills "because he said he was not going to prescribe them anymore." Jim said he walked into AA that day and has been sober for 40 years since. It's a great story that I might normally discount as a bit cliché, but I had seriously just been sitting there thinking about how little I regarded all the gaudy, glinting bench plaques because I assumed they were by way of rich people donating money. I figured my subject had landed in my lap so I painted Dr. Watkins' bench because Jim seemed like he's wonderful company to keep and I wish I could mail him my painting. It really changed my perception of memorialized benches.

Dr. Watkins’ bench on the South Lamar pedestrian bridge

My sketch and the bench

Texas coast trip

Brandon and I flocked to the coast this weekend in an attempt to escape the insufferable heat. Although the air temp was hardly less miserable and we both got sea lice (which gifted us with some odd side effects), it was a blast! We skated the Port Aransas skatepark (a forever favorite), had a stimulating visit with our engineer friend Ryan, and spent hours watching burly trucks get stuck in the sand. Listen: the lighter and fluffier the sand, the heavier the predicament you're going to find yourself in when the sun goes down. Always park on dark, compacted sand to ensure an easy exit. And NEVER set up your tent at the beach without an understanding of tides. Lastly, pack it in, pack it out! Spend some time collecting trash next time you visit a state or national park and let us love thy facilities and love thy planet. 

Goonsquad, reporting live and ready to shred!

Goonsquad, reporting live and ready to shred!

My afternoon muse

A stack with a view

A stack with a view

The trash we collected within 1/4 mile on the national seashore. Chip bags, cigarette butts, grocery bags, juice straws, tent paraphernalia, water bottles, etc. Please be a conscious camper. These things get sucked into the ocean and end up in corners of the planet that you would never expect. 

The trash we collected within 1/4 mile on the national seashore. Chip bags, cigarette butts, grocery bags, juice straws, tent paraphernalia, water bottles, etc. Please be a conscious camper. These things get sucked into the ocean and end up in corners of the planet that you would never expect. 

A note I found while picking up trash. Eres el mejor papá del mundo! I hope this was an accidental loss instead of a careless tossing. 

A note I found while picking up trash. Eres el mejor papá del mundo! I hope this was an accidental loss instead of a careless tossing. 

2018–19 Newsbook

I've always documented news stories in my sketchbook, mostly just news about the environment. But as I've worked in newspaper design the past few years I've become ardent about my documentation. I love the news. I love understanding political timelines, contexts, and spotting hypocrisies. It's become a creative obsession for me, so this year I started a news book wholly dedicated to my interpretation of the political, environmental, and social happenings of 2018 and 2019. I cut up newspapers I get from all over the country, TIME, magazines, and any other relevant publication that I feel is necessary to nail the context. I still trip out that newsrooms literally publish entire books every single day of the year, jam packed with all sorts of perfectly edited content.

Maybe the craziness of 2018 isn't unique in it's anxiety — maybe every year from now until humans self-destruct will be disorientingly divided. I've been watching the Handmaid's Tale lately and my psyche is unnerved and disturbed: I see the show everywhere, in every crevice of modern society. This book helps me make sense of the discomfort and answer my screaming WHY?!?s.

Title page to my news sketchbook

Trumpy tweety

Gatefold cover to a climate change section

Unfolded climate change section

Detail shot of 2 additional flaps for climate change

Inside pages

My pile of newspapers and publications that I still need to read through (left) and my stack of stories clipped together, organized by topic (right). I've never appreciated paperclips as much as I do with this project.

My holy workspace as I lay out the Parkland shooting spread

NY to DC

Christina and I flew into New York and eventually MegaBus'ed our way to DC. It was a very special trip because I got to have some of my favorite friends meet for the first time. It was also Christina's first time to both places. We took our skates, along with a confused wardrobe of bathing suits and sweaters because you how do you really transition from Texas to New York during a transitionary season? It was a great trip. She's my favorite travel partner because we don't ever make tight plans and we're both open to anything that floats our way. 

We skated to Chelsea Piers skatepark, then skated all around Manhattan.

Christina, Sophie, and I engaging in a synchronized routine at a swanky Red Bull event.

DC was a good time, but not as thrilling as NY.; the energy in Brooklyn feels addictive when I get it in doses. I discovered a few of my new favorite artists in the Washington museums, though, and we had a good visit with our friends Lisa and Rusty. 

Documentation of my trip in my sketchbook.

Documentation of my trip in my sketchbook.

The blue blind contour car drawings are when our Megabus was driving in the far right lane and the red drawings are when we were driving in the left lane; plus a few drawings and brochure cutouts from the botanical garden in DC.

The blue blind contour car drawings are when our Megabus was driving in the far right lane and the red drawings are when we were driving in the left lane; plus a few drawings and brochure cutouts from the botanical garden in DC.

Legends skate

This weekend was one for the books! We hung out with OG skaters Brad Bowman, Doug 'Pineapple' Saladino, Olson, and Wally Inouye at the North Houston/Spring skatepark. I got to hear so many stories about the origins of skateboarding that will most likely be lost in time. These guys made the 'sport' into what it is and the energy was stellar! Thank you to everyone that made this event happen. 

Picture from  @nhoustonsk8park

Picture from @nhoustonsk8park

"Gettin Paper & Hittin Blunts: Reimagined"

I've been hyped on noseblunts and tailblunts lately and the way the skateboard trucks align perfectly with the coping. This project was a gratifying way to fit edges and corners together perfectly and also a means to practice painting straight lines. 

Collage on gouache background. Collage is mounted on layered cardstock to give it dimension. 12 x 18"

Gettin Paper & Hittin Blunts: Reimagined by Whitney McCaskill

Gettin Paper & Hittin Blunts: Reimagined by Whitney McCaskill

detail 1

detail 1

detail 2

detail 2

detail 3

detail 3

Valentine book (pt. 5): flipping tab

Need: I have two similar but opposite photos that I want to flip back and forth at the pull of a tab. 
Mechanism used: pull-strip with flap that lifts up in opposite direction of the pull.
Why it works: the slot in the page acts as a fulcrum for the two little tabs to move behind the page. 

That's all for my Valentine's Day book! I'm stoked for how it's turning out so far but also equally as stoked that I'm getting better with time management to fully finish my personal projects. 

Valentine book (pt. 4): 3D pop-up

Need: a cutout to pop up in 3-D in front of a crowd of people.
Final mechanism used: twisting mechanism.

1st attempt: photo glued flat on top of a floating plane.
Why it doesn't work: I want my image to have more dimension other than simply being glued on top of a raised plane. I've cut out the photo of my boyfriend so I want him to appear standing upright. 


2nd attempt: unfolding mechanism that twists as the page opens. 
Why it works: this mechanism is the most impressive to me. I still don't fully understand its workings, but I do know that the complicated folds allow it to perfectly fold up when closed and out when opened. It is such a smooth action! I played around with the length of the center strip of paper to perfect the angle of my image. 

I experimented with the length of the center strip of paper. I found that the longer it was, the tighter the angle of the fold and the more upright the image would stand.

Valentine book (pt. 3): circular motion (manual)

Need: An arm to move in a natural rotation at the shoulder. I have a photo of him playing the guitar that I want to move as though he is actually strumming the guitar.
Final mechanism used: rotating hub with pull-strip.

1st attempt: rotating hub with manual pull-strip.
Why it works: It rotates an image (or in my case, part of an image) around an axis point and allows the rest of the image to stay stationary. I like this mechanism because there is magic in the fact that your manual action (pulling the tab out straight) results in a different type of movement (a circle rotation).