Volume I, Issue v
Wild Greens 1, no. 5 (March 2021)
Welcome to the March 2021 issue of Wild Greens
It’s bold of March to come again so soon when surely it was just here. The audacity.
We chose the cactus as our mascot of the month, because (excuse the anthropomorphism) the cactus is by far the bravest plant. Our cover image, of the red sun rising over a cactus in the American Southwest, makes me picture March 2.0 riding into 2021 on horseback. It kicks open the saloon doors, turns to March 1.0 and spits. “This year ain’t big enough for the both of us.”
In defiance of March, we asked for your more audacious submissions, and our artists and contributors came through. In this issue, our contributors define audacity in multiple ways. Inheriting the past and forging your own identity. Braving fantastic landscapes. Choosing to be bold. Dancing with abandon.
We bookend the issue with two photograph series: at the top, artist Sam Vladimirsky’s series of photographs, “Untitled #3” from the series “53 Hits” about (literally) breaking away from the past. Sam writes: “The porcelain bust of Stalin functions as a stand-in for the Soviet past my parents worked hard to bury, and I desired to understand.”
We then feature Myra Chappius’s poem "Comparison," which reflects on double standards of perception, and the different vocabulary that gets applied to you based on the color of your skin. Racism affects who gets to be perceived as charmingly audacious, and who gets labeled brazen.
Next, to Sam Ken’s "La Fille Sans Soucis (The Girl Without Worry)," where Sam’s bold red canvas, full of motion, depicts people dancing with joy and abandon. It takes bravery to dance, all the more so if you’re not comfortable on the dance floor.
From Sam’s painting, an interlude: a new Turtle and Hare comic from artist Lauren Kimball, and then, a first for Wild Greens, a crossword puzzle by constructor Kathryn Pauline. Kathryn’s crossword is a work of art in itself – but we invite you to try to solve it, because puzzles are meant to be fun!
We then go to Bernie and his mittens, captured and commemorated by Robin Brownfield in glass mosaic tiles. Bernie’s homespun mittens became instantly recognizable as an image, and were taken up as a symbol of protest against the ultra-elite and moneyed class of Washington politicians. “Not me. Us.”
To conclude, Noah Erkes’ photo series "Voyages," which transports us to a seemingly otherworldly realm. These photos depict individuals forging through daunting and fantastic landscapes.
Hope you enjoy perusing through this most audacious of issues.
"Untitled #3" from the series "53 Hits"
by Sam Vladimirsky
Inspiration: My family's stories of life in the U.S.S.R. have always been filtered through a repressive, omnipresent Stalinist lens. As if at every waking hour, he stood watching them, as if they didn't have happy childhoods, lifelong friendships, and stable family lives. 53 Hits is the documentation of a staged action, through which I strive to (literally) break away from all of the pre-packaged narratives I inherited from my parents and forge ahead with a new identity separate from family myths. What this new "American" identity looks like, I do not yet know. But this is a step forward, and it is an audacious, if foolhardy, endeavor common to many second-generation Americans.
The porcelain bust of Stalin functions as a stand-in for the Soviet past my parents worked hard to bury, and I desired to understand. The title refers to the year of Stalin's death, foreshadowing the profound changes the Soviet Union would undergo in the decade leading up to my parents' birth, but also to the number of times it took to fully destroy the bust itself.
by Myra ChappiusBoldIs the word they useWhen skin is fairly huedBrilliant, daringComparable assessments spoken in praiseConveyed with admiration
As the scale slides into darker shades, Things changeOpinions twist to take on sharper impressionsBrazenOutrageousReckless, they sayDifferent meanings assigned to similar actionsCast in opposing lightThe failing light of history
Be boldBe brilliantBe brazen, outrageous, recklessI sayBe it allAnyway
La Fille Sans Soucis (The Girl Without Worry)
by Sam Ken
Oil on 11x14 Canvas
Inspiration: I started on this painting immediately after the theme of the March issue was announced. I loved the theme and wanted to create something unique for it. When I heard the word "audacity," I immediately thought of dancing. I am not much of a dancer, but my wife loves it. I was always in awe at her boldness and carefree attitude when it came to dancing. She has so much fun, whereas I can feel awkward at times because of my lack of rhythm. I depicted various levels of audaciousness in this painting. The style is loose and free flowing to reflect the movement of the scene. The nondescript faces capture movement as well while also allowing the viewer to put themselves into the painting. We all can be bold in our own way, but only the individual knows and can measure how bold they are. In the end, this dance scene isn't really about dancing at all. It is about being bold and taking risks which applies to many facets of life.
Hare Gets Held Up
by Lauren Kimball
by Kathryn Pauline
Editor's note: We love the craft and ingenuity showcased in constructing a crossword puzzle. It is, in and of itself, a creation like the others featured in this magazine. So, feel free to ooh and aah over the idea that anyone could sit and make one of these and then scroll by. That being said— puzzles are meant to be fun! So we encourage you to try it out and see what you think. Kathryn's theme is *very* audacious, and we couldn't be more excited to feature it in this issue of our magazine.
How to solve: Readers on desktop can solve using AcrossLite, a free downloadable software that Rebecca uses to solve crosswords on her computer. If you solve a lot of crosswords already, you probably already have it.
Or, print out the pdf below and solve by hand!
Bernie and His Mittens Take the World
by Robin Brownfield
Glass mosaic tiles
Methods: cut, paste, grout
Inspiration: Bernie Sanders's simple winter coat & mittens upstaged the posh Presidential Inauguration to become internationally celebrated memes. Some think it's audacious, but it speaks to his populism.
by Noah Erkes
DSLR camera, Adobe Photoshop
Methods: I use a digital camera to capture image layers and then I use Adobe Photoshop to manipulate/merge/blend layers.
Inspiration: This series depicts figures belittled by the daunting landscapes before and around them; and yet, each individual possesses the audacity to stand up straight and push on. These images attempt to embrace a spirit of perseverance that has become so vital to us all.
Artists and Contributors
Sam Vladimirsky has worn many hats: artist, filmmaker, ex-archaeologist, washed up actor, cat enthusiast, child ventriloquist. He currently produces documentary shorts for ALL ARTS on PBS, and has previously held positions at the Museum of Modern Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and Mana Contemporary, Jersey City. His films and photographs have been published in Vogue, Italia, The British Journal of Photography, Musée Magazine, The Billboard Creative, and screened at festivals nationwide. He graduated University College London in 2020 with an M.A. in the History of Art and currently lives and works in the New York Metropolitan Area.
Writer & Poet
Myra Chappius is a mother, writer, and avid reader living in Southern New Jersey. She enjoys movies, meticulously curated Spotify playlists, puzzles, and playing tennis.
If you like her writing, send her a tip! Venmo:@Myra-Chappius
Sam is a Marine Corps veteran, Air Force spouse, dog lover, and passionate artist. He, his wife, and their dog currently live in Virginia. He loves to share his art with people and tries to wake up every day feeling inspired to create something (whether it is painting, cooking, or drawing). He hopes his art will inspire people to see the beauty around them and he hopes people enjoy viewing his art. Sam currently volunteers as an advocate for military spouses, with the goal of helping to reduce unemployment in the military spouse community. When he is not doing that, he is working on commissions and planning what to paint next. Sam's art continues to evolve as he learns more artistic techniques and as he learns more about himself.
If you like his art, send him a tip! Venmo: @SamKenArt
Lauren Kimball lives in Philadelphia. She teaches literature and composition at Rutgers University, New-Brunswick. In her spare time, she plays with paint, digital pens, words, and home improvement tools.
Kathryn Pauline is a recipe developer, food photographer, and writer, currently working on her first cookbook (A Dish for All Seasons, out in spring of 2022 from Chronicle Books). She loves solving crossword puzzles in her spare time, and occasionally constructs them for fun. Kathryn studied medieval English literature at Indiana University and Rutgers, she recently moved from Hong Kong to Melbourne (where she spends most of her free time hiking and kangaroo watching), and she originally hails from Chicagoland, which is almost as magical as it sounds.
If you like her crossword, send her a tip! Venmo: @Kathryn-Pauline
Robin Brownfield is a former sociology professor who turned to art after becoming disabled. While she dabbles in numerous art forms, she finds mosaic art is a great way to recycle old materials and found objects. She has created murals, garden walkways, ornate tables, and countless other mosaic works, but recently, she has turned to creating portraits and works for social justice. She was recently featured in a FOX-29 News report, because she was commissioned by Tamika Palmer to do a mosaic portrait of her daughter, Breonna Taylor, whose death, in part, launched an international movement for justice for victims of racist murders. She has also won numerous awards in juried art shows, was featured as one of the Best Mosaic Artists in New Jersey in Best of NJ, and has had her art displayed in galleries all over the United States.
Noah is a lifelong Philadelphian who spends his days doing data and program evaluation work for a large social service agency. In his off time, he plays Ultimate Frisbee, practices photography, skis, hikes, and camps. He currently lives in West Philly with his cat Missy and a rotation of foster cats through local animal rescue Project MEOW.
Maggie Topel is an artist and writer living in Philadelphia. She designs our seasonal Wild Greens logo and social media avatar.
Arts Editor & Artist
Hayley creates the cover image for each issue of Wild Greens magazine and serves as the Arts Editor. Hayley is a social justice seeker, world traveler, rock climber, dog snuggler, frisbee player, event planner, and story-teller. She loves to paint with watercolors, embroider, and write. She grew up reading sci-fi and fantasy, and to this day she still turns to those genres to help her make sense of the world. She calls Philadelphia home, and she wouldn't have it any other way.
Rebecca Lipperini is a writer, teacher, and academic living in Philadelphia, and the founding editor of Wild Greens magazine (hi!). She holds a PhD in English from Rutgers University, where she taught all kinds of classes on literature and poetry and writing, and wrote all kinds of papers on the same.