Courtney Moy’s drawings are at once quirky, delightful and personable. Beginning on the first page of her recently completed zine, Fridays Boiled Rice is Saturdays Fried Rice is Sundays Chicken Rice Soup is Mondays Trash; Courtney creates images of seemingly mundane food items and accompaniments but infuses them with a boisterous kind of life. The subject matter of her work includes portraits of Morton Salt, various oyster sauces, chopsticks, soy sauce packets, vegetables, and other items common in a Chinese-American kitchen, but personality of each, and her vision, shines through them.
Beginning with the title of the zine, Courtney turns the lens onto herself and her upbringing; of it she says, “It was a funny take on rice. Growing up, nothing ever went to waste.” Leafing through the pages, her statement on humor holds true: from a sketch of soy sauce packets and chopsticks that casually inhabit space more like roommates hanging out on a Thursday night than discarded, disposable take-out freebies, to an oddly distinctive image of a jar of white pepper bordered by hand-written words that read “White Pepper, son. Been using since before I was born.”
While Courtney did not set out towards creating a piece of deeply personal ephemera, the final product of the zine became just that. For instance, as a child Courtney would frequently watch “Yan Can Cook”, featuring Chef Martin Yan the culinary champion of Asian Cuisine, with her family, so when she found a flier in a local college cafeteria announcing Chef Yan’s visit to the campus, she couldn’t help but give it a place among the pages. On the following spread of pages, she features her grandmother’s recipe for “sweet flavor” in braising meats. In-context examples like this emphasize her personal connection to the subject matter of the work, giving the zine overall a candid warmth.
Her main goal at the beginning of this project was to create a unifying narrative that would bring life to old work. The images featured within the pages range from sketches, drawings,photographs, collages, paintings, and prints that also vary in date from 2010 to the present. But rather than becoming a catalog of art long past, the fluctuation sets the pace of the zine on a delightfully vacillating clip.
For Courtney, zines are important due to the play in creating them and the fun of sharing. However, she admits that they can be frustrating because of printing errors, something that irks her education in printmaking achieved at the Massachusetts College of Art and Design. In spite of this, she is the first to add that the errors add to the edginess and cavalier qualities of zines. She plans to make more, including one with the working title “Don’t Drink the Kool-Aid” based on the South-End and the neighborhood that surrounds her studio at the Distillery. In the mean time, she is focusing on her studio practice, making a return to strict drawing materials like graphite and colored pencil unaided by other media.A resident of neighboring Brighton, Courtney has exhibited frequently with Washington Street Art Center and is a friend of Somerville’s Fringe. She can be found on the web via her blog and Flickr stream. To obtain a copy of the zine, please contact the artist.