Selfish Gene Series: Karen Gray’s Evolution-Inspired Monoprints


Karen Hansen Gray                                                                                               



Artist Statement


Evolution is a prevalent  theme in my current work.  I am intrigued by how and why living organisms adapt and survive,  re-examining  evolution in light of genetic discoveries,  and ultimately questioning  my own reality in the web of life.  I attempt to explore this theme through images; sometimes layered and complex, and at other times, symbolic and simple.


The Genera Series are monoprints* motivated by the two-hundredth anniversary in 2009 of Charles Darwin’s birth.  The series is a rumination on the theory of evolution; overlaying a chimpanzee skeleton with an inclining human body, showing a finch donning the mask of its altered brother,  and revealing Darwin’s reflection on this special occasion.


*A monoprint is one made from a plate with a reproducible image, but inked to produce a unique print.


I  examine three evolutionary paths in my work:


The first path explores the hypothesis that human evolution is something  we can control through our chosen behavior.  If we mate with an intelligent partner, our offspring will be smarter, or taller, or faster, as the case may be.  Evolution is treated as if each generation was a blueprint to be reworked by us,  regardless of the consequences.  The Iso Series are monoprints in which a bowing human form composed of contour lines  is repeated like a cookie cutter.  Iso means equal,  although in this series,  the original  lines were drawn freehand and thus flawed,  leading  to unpredictable outcomes in reproduction.


 The next  path suggests evolution is manipulated both by nature and the environment.  The influential entity could be as grand as the sky, the stars, the moon, and the earth, or as intimate as culture, language, religion, and spirituality.  The Shiva Series are monoprints  inspired by  auspicious Shiva who always adorns his coiled hair with a crescent moon.  Lunar phases are transformative and mark the cycle of time.  Also, Shiva represents a Supreme God whose influence has the power to convert our character, form, and function in this world.


The third path negates our evolution as whole beings, or rather proposes that it is our DNA which evolves independently and explicitly for the purpose of its own propagation and survival.  In The Selfish Gene Series of gouache paintings, the primordial struggle is happening but at the cellular level, completely out of our hands, and we are just along for the ride as a vessel.   


Artist Bio

Karen Hansen Gray is an artist exploring the theme of evolution through printmaking, painting, and sculpture.  She has studied at the San Francisco Art Institute and the California College of the Arts.  Karen has resided and traveled in many countries,  from Afghanistan to Vietnam, but always returns to San Francisco to live and create art.  Her work has been shown at the Mendocino Art Center Gallery, the San Jose Institute of Contemporary Art, City Art Gallery in S.F., Diego Rivera Gallery in S.F., and Espacio Palleros in Buenos Aires.

Karen attends northern California’s Burning Man festival and is a huge fan of the Cubitron 😉  You may contact her or find more of her work online at


Cynthia Lamanna: In Memory of Miss Nancy


Her stories about her dogs will always endure. Miss Nancy, “Happy Days” Teacher

of teachers, was tough as nails, with a tender heart. Her innovations, signature style, and new takes on old traditional games, holiday fun, and classical art projects with young children set precedents in the little red and yellow school, set back and nestled in a cluster of trees.


When she first came three decades earlier, it was not uncommon to witness more rural sights, horses and their owners sauntering in the open green, and over golden hillsides. Through the generations, she made the “blarney stone”, the Rainbow Bridge and the Lone Ranger come alive, as well as “save the earth” day. Each year she hid magical dinosaur eggs for the children to find, crack open, and to their delight discover a tiny toy dinosaur hidden inside. She called plastic bags “the scourge of the earth.”


Music time with her was amazing as she held captive a group of children as young as two years old with her spontaneous singing, expressive dialogue, in-between songs, and authenticity. Her charisma won over the shyest and newest students. Also, not to be forgotten, her black and white movies from the fifties about horses, cowboys, and an Indian named, “Tonto.” She had the gift of narration, and a way with the remote that added to the fun; with the expertise and zeal of a tour guide on a colorful safari, she transitioned her young audience from one scene to another, keeping the spark of their interest alive; not an easy feat with 2-4 year old viewers.


A hands-on teacher, witty, passionate, and descriptive, she taught the children life lessons about accountability, the treasures of the rain forests, and compassion toward the smallest of creatures, along with their “A, B, and C’s.” Hers was the first face parents saw, and the first voice they heard greeting them, as they dropped off their little ones in the early morning hours. When a child came in downcast, or tearful, she cheered or silenced them with an interesting fact, authentic joke, or anecdote that would put Mom or Dad at ease, as well, and smiles on everyone’s faces.


With her wide range in music, and appreciation for the classics, we were all treated to oldies, bagpipes, cowboy favorites, and hauntingly beautiful music, such

as the theme to “Dancing with Wolves,” and new sounds from old cultural icons, such as Paul McCartney during his special tour of London.


Miss Nancy stunned, educated, and fascinated parents and staff along with the students, as she was clued in about the latest in animal stories, stranger than life tales gathered from her own personal life, and international news. Everyone remembers her openness, memory and eclectic knowledge of even the smallest details.


All of us will grieve for Miss Nancy, and remember her with tears, special stories, and humor. I share my condolences with her family, and stand in unity with the community of parents and generations of children who have loved her.  


We, her friends and fellow teachers, will cherish her, admire her contributions, and celebrate her pioneer spirit. As both a friend and co-teacher, I personally enjoyed working with her, gleaning new ideas, sharing laughs, and learning something new from her each and every day. We love you Miss Nancy!


                                                                                              Cynthia Lamanna


Cynthia Lamanna honors the memory of all dedicated, creative, hardworking teachers. She may be reached at


Charlotte Severin – Painting a Celebration of Life

From Charlotte Severin:

Working mostly in Plein Air (on location outdoors) in watercolor and traveling all over the world, I also enjoy experimenting with different types of paper, such as YUPO or rice paper. But I also use a collage of several varieties of textured paper in some of my paintings.

Painting is for me a celebration of life, an opportunity to express my joy and awareness of the beauty and fascination of life all around us. Nature abounds with color and form. It fills my palette with warm earth tones. It flows on the paper in fields of bright flowers, dark mountains and blue green oceans. When I paint old buildings full of history, I feel a part of that time.

Painting also opens a world of people to me. When I paint the vibrant colors of a native marketplace I share again the excitement of that scene. My paintings are Impressionist Realism in the California Style tradition. They are a reflection of my soul and an embodiment of my feelings about all of life.

Charlotte has been honored with more than 30 single-person watercolor shows and serves as a signature member of the California Watercolor Association.

An inspired teacher, Charlotte has taught classical watercolor, Oriental brush painting and drawing in San Francisco Bay Area schools, both public and private, for over thirty years. Also serving as Artist in Residence in many schools, she has enjoyed lighting the spark of creativity in thousands of children and adults, teaching four weekly classes in watercolor for the City of Pleasanton’s Civic Arts program, creating a new vision for all of life.

Enthusiastic to share her joy of painting, Charlotte speaks for state conventions and conferences, teaching on topics such as “Art Made Easy” and “Art for Relaxation and Stress Management.” She calls her approach to art “Refilling Your Cup” and “A Celebration of Life.”

Charlotte Severin welcomes feedback on her artwork and requests for speaking engagements. You may reach her at 4513 Mirador Drive, Pleasanton, CA 94566 or call 925-846-6382.

Confessions of a possessed woman living in a sane, sane world (Jaylan Salah’s new poem)


If there’s a life and a death
If pain is avoidable in another body
I’d rather be possessed by this catatonic demon
than get dressed, work my lips and pluck my breasts
to be your slave
Your highness, I’m just a girl who chose wood over pearls
and walked on burning sand
to join the pilgrims in Neverland
where eagles cry and ants dream
where bubbling steam shoots from dusty craters, full of candies and white beet
Trick or Treat
it’s either this or a thousand splendid suns under my feet
I go for a bun and a cup of tea on a crooked table with some lunatic unable
to pay yesterday’s rent
than kiss your feet and scoop diamonds with cherry on top
I wait for a date on this decaying planet
I wait for a long walk on a beach, covered with peaches and cocktails
where pines are bleached and caterpillars fly away
I choose to stay in a body made of flesh and blood
than fit your shining armor
where heart is steel, legs are wheels and an egg stands for a nose
and drums for teeth
Jaylan Salah is an emerging Egyptian author and artist who loves Supernatural, her faith, family, and friends, and novels of all types. She would love feedback and publication suggestions for her work – you may contact her at

Happy Armageddon and Margaritaville – Lisa Demb of San Francisco

San Francisco sketch artist Lisa Demb wishes to share the latest from her new series “Happy Armageddon.” The drawings depict biblical apocalyptic imagery, such as a blood-red moon and vanishing sun, yet present the scenes as interesting, positive, even playful. To Demb, perhaps one can approach impending, even cataclysmic changes with curiosity and optimism.

Demb lives with some health conditions, and the work “Margaritaville” pays tribute to her caregiver Margarita, whom Demb credits with changing her life.

Lisa Demb welcomes comments, questions, requests, and any feedback regarding her artwork. She also produces custom-designed stationery, which you may order directly from her. You may write to Ms. Demb at 140 Jones Street, San Francisco, CA 94102 or call 415-776-2115 and ask for her by name.

Making Halloween Less Scary for Small Farmers: Families Celebrating with Fair Trade Chocolate


Making Halloween Less Scary for Small Farmers: Families Celebrating with Fair Trade Chocolate

In conversation with Adrienne Fitch-Frankel of Global Exchange

This Halloween, Synchronized Chaos Magazine encountered an intriguing advertisement for Reverse Trick-Or-Treating, where children gave out free candy along with flyers concerning the values of Global Exchange’s fair-trade chocolate. Here we discuss the ins and outs of the campaign, along with broader economic and ecological and cultural issues, with Global Exchange’s Adrienne Fitch-Frankel.

For our readers – Global Exchange offers free fair-trade Reverse Trick-Or-Treating kits available for kids and families who wish to participate…more information and the signup form available here: Deadline for church/temple/mosque/school etc group signups is the end of September, deadline for individual trick or treaters is October 13th. So you know, they can and do run out of chocolate!

Synchronized Chaos: Many of us in the Western world hear the phrase ‘fair-trade’ frequently, even at Starbucks and Peet’s. What does that label usually represent, and how does Global Exchange incorporate fair trade practices?

Adrienne Fitch-Frankel (paraphrased): Fair trade involves a commitment to building a business relationship with farmers where those who work the land may earn a decent standard of living. This can happen through practices such as guaranteeing a minimum price every year so one poor harvest does not bankrupt farm workers. Or by facilitating farm cooperatives so farmers may pool their capital and invest in education, healthcare, or sustainable environmental practices such as relatively inexpensive, nontoxic ways to fight fungi and improve crop yields.

Synchronized Chaos: Great humanitarian ideas, and decent business model, too – surely bankrupting one’s suppliers would not be to a company’s economic advantage. But, could ordinary people (in the Western world) still afford coffee or cocoa produced this way?

Continue reading

Oakland’s Rock Paper Scissors Collective Gallery – open call for submissions to the fall exhibition “Social Structures”


Rock Paper Scissors Collective (community based gallery in downtown Oakland) seeks submissions for the upcoming exhibition “Social Structures.” Interesting little gallery space – hosts serious professional talent and also works with and provides educational and social support for emerging artists (including young people and zinesters!)

Background on the show’s concept, and contact information:

A social structure is constructed to enhance the relationship between people through design. Designers of these structures feel they are solving social problems through their projects, which affects communities and individuals on a personal level. Projects are related to addressing some basic needs such as shelter, communication, food security, safety, and intimacy.

Submissions can consist of proposals, prototypes, photo documentation, scale models, or drawings. RPSC accepts electronic submissions only, which can be emailed to Submissions are due on October 1st, 2009. For more information visit

San Francisco Solo Performance Series – free tickets available for this Sunday night’s spoken word show


The producers of the Solo Sundays/Words First series, a critically acclaimed showcase of the San Francisco Bay Area’s best solo spoken word performers, are offering a limited number of free tickets to this Sunday night’s performance at StageWerx Theatre.

Solo Sundays performers blend original humor with poignant, thoughtful commentary on modern life. Topics explored include race and intergenerational relations, coming of age or facing midlife crises in an unsettling economy, and coming to terms with one’s spiritual and/or cultural background.

Each of the solo spoken word actors brings an incredible level of energy and dedication to his or her piece, and develops his/her writing within a supportive professional community geared towards helping emerging artists to perfect their craft. You may find yourself re-thinking your values and attitudes while laughing and having fun. I’ve (Cristina Deptula – your Synchronized Chaos Creative Facilitator) had the privilege of attending several of these multi-layered, complex presentations and remember nodding with recognition and relief at several moments because someone out there actually understood my thoughts and experiences…even while watching the actors play characters from cultural backgrounds very different from my own.  At other times the humane, insightful storytelling provoked me to reconsider and challenge my assumptions about various types of people.

Solo Sundays’ producers invite Synchronized Chaos readers and contributors to experience for free the joy, creativity, passion and wisdom of their productions.

If you are 100% CERTAIN you can attend this Sunday night’s show, please copy and paste these four items into an email to :

1. Solo Sundays  at StageWerx Theatre
2. Sunday, September 27 at 7:00
3. Your FIRST and LAST name
4. Whether you’d like one or two tickets (additional tickets are just $5 each)

We will confirm all reservations. Again, only respond if you are 100% certain you can attend. Thank you very much, and we look forward to welcoming you to the show!

Solo Sundays
Sunday, September 27 at 7:00
StageWerx Theater
533 Sutter (at Powell)
San Francisco

Sun Gallery in Hayward accepting submissions of visual art related to October/Day of the Dead

Day of the Dead- Dearly Beloved

Call of Art deadline Sept 30. Submission Fee $65 (includes membership to Sun Gallery).
Up to 6 works, or a space no larger than 5′ wide x 5′ deep.

Reception Nov 7, Saturday, 5-9pm

2 workshops for families Nov 14 and 21 School Field Trips can be scheduled for a fee of $125 up to 30 kids.

10/30/09 — 11/21/09

Curated by Orlando Somozo


Link to their webpage for more information on this opportunity and the gallery in general:

Reed Magazine open to writing submissions, prose and poetry!


One of the oldest, most respected literary journals west of the Mississippi River (in the United States.) Now seeking submissions of all types, please email them in to the address provided before November 1st for publication in the Spring 2010 issue.

The link says no previously published material – I spoke with some of the editors today for clarification and they said you may submit anything so long as you have the permission of the previous publication. Synchronized Chaos Magazine extends permission for any and all of our contributors to also submit pieces to Reed or any other magazine/newspaper, including contributions we have already published.

About Reed Magazine:

Reed Magazine is sponsored by San Jose State University. Reed is produced annually in the spring. We welcome submissions of fiction, poetry, and non-fiction. Please do not submit any pornographic material, science fiction, fantasy, or children’s literature. We do not publish translations or previously published material.

Website for Reed Magazine (to read the latest issue)

Link to submit to Reed Magazine: – follow the procedure, fill out the form provided, use compatible (not docx files) and select non-contest entries.

News and Notices, Mid-September


San Francisco Artist Network Professional Development Seminars for Visual Artists, covers topics such as Presentation: Preparing Your Artist Statement and Packet, Promotion: Creative Venues to Show Your Artwork, and Networking Online and Offline.

Several seminars, reasonably priced from $15-30 for an evening with Dr. Stephen C. Wagner, professional artist and art educator.

Located at venues around San Francisco and Oakland and a few in Marin County. Link for directions and more information here:

Global Affairs – a Spanish online journal for international relations graduate students and professors covering highlights, features, and perspectives on world affairs – at – seeks a Spanish/English translator. If you are interested please email (si tenga interes por favor escriba a) Eva Diez at

From Robert Brewer, editor of the Writer’s Market online version:

I’m looking for “publishing experts” to interview for If you’re a publishing expert who’s interested in being featured on the site, then please send me an e-mail with the subject line “I’m a publishing expert.”

What qualifies as a publishing expert?
* Published author of books (fiction, nonfiction, children’s, or poetry)
* Freelance writer who gets regular work with multiple magazines
* Staff writer (magazines, websites, or newspapers)
* Freelance or salaried editors
* Freelance copy writers, technical writers, etc.
* Playwrights (who’ve had their work performed)
* Screenwriters (who’ve sold or optioned scripts)
* Agents (literary or script)
* Book publicists
* Artistic directors at theaters
* Producers
* Conference or Contest directors

Bottom line: Make a case for being a publishing professional, and we’ll go from there as far as the interview. (Note: I don’t want writers who wish to someday be publishing experts; I’m not interested in that slant, though I’m sure I’ll still get a few who pitch that angle to me.)

* Send an email to me at
* Have subject line read: I’m a publishing expert
* Include your name and a short paragraph or two qualifying you as a publishing expert
* If possible, include some areas that you would be especially skilled at discussing (For instance, publicists would be good at talking about things they do for authors to promote books. Remember: is slanted to the needs of writers trying to get published and/or paid for their writing efforts.)

Please feel free to forward this message as you see fit.


Robert Lee Brewer
Writer’s Market

Monterey Peninsula College Call for Fall Visual Art Submissions

Reprinted – call for submissions for Monterey Peninsula College’s art gallery.

MPC Monterey Peninsula College




Dear Potential Exhibitor,


The Monterey Peninsula College Art Department is accepting proposals for exhibitions in the Art Gallery. Please read our mission statement and submit the required materials by mail to the address below.


Mission Statement

The Monterey Peninsula Art Gallery exists as a resource for Monterey Peninsula College and the surrounding community, and in this role will strive to fulfill the following mandate: The MPC Art Gallery shall educate and inspire students in the methods, materials and issues of contemporary art. It shall initiate art exhibits that foster critical discussion of contemporary issues and exhibit the best student, faculty, regional and national art. The gallery will be an art environment conducive to discussion and examination of art in the twenty-first century, as well as a venue for art-related activities.


MPC staff and volunteers operate the Gallery under the advisement of the MPC Art Department faculty. The gallery staff and the Art Department faculty make curatorial and logistic decisions and are represented by a Selection Committee. This Selection Committee will make curatorial decisions based on the quality of the artwork, artistic merit and relationship to the gallery mission.


Please submit the following is the information for the Selection Committee:


A.  Cover Letter

(Stating your proposal for an exhibition in our gallery)


  1. Artist’s Resume

Typed on 81/2” by 11” paper. Abbreviated resumes of not more than 3 pages)


  1. Artist’s Statement (your philosophy)


  1. Published reviews or articles about your work. Please limit to 3 articles.


  1. Labeled slides or CDs of examples of work to be included in the show. Limit 10.


F.   An annotated slide or CD description sheet, with titles of each work, medium,

materials used, date completed, collaborators involved, location of piece,

and complete description of the work including size.


  1. A self-addressed stamped envelope for the return of your slides.


H. A check made out to the MPC Art Gallery Trust Fund for handling fee of $15.00.


Thank you for your interest in an exhibition at Monterey Peninsula College Art Gallery.


Melissa Pickford

(Gallery Director)


Monterey Peninsula College 980 Fremont Street Monterey, California 93940 Telephone (831) 646-3060