— Jen Power (@comradebunny) May 3, 2016
Warning: This image is a curse. By glancing at this sigil you invited it into your prefrontal cortex where it will remain, working, until such time as its work is done.
Capitol Hill artist Eliza Gauger is creating psychic weaponry. And it is spreading beyond Pike/Pine’s utility poles.
“Some people, it makes them uncomfortable,” she tells CHS of her sigils and glyphs, curses and blessings. “I don’t like to make people uncomfortable unless they’re a threat to us.”
“It’s supposed to be threatening.”
Gauger created the Hex of Obsolescence to protect trans kids. She has focused her work on protecting what she calls dangerous ideas from “those who refuse to mind their own fucking business.” The hex leapt from her creations at problemglyphs.org where the artist has been responding to the pains, sorrows, and occasional surprising celebrations of anonymous followers of her work.
“I can’t trust people. This includes new people who want to be my friends, old friends, and lovers,” one person wrote to Gauger. Her response: Trust
She wants the works to be widely available for use and reuse. “Problem Glyphs has always had that public access nature,” she said. Each of the sigils is done in response to problems that people send to me online and there are over 200 of them now. People have put them on the walls of their houses, things to wear.. and gotten them as tattoos.”
Her creations, the anger, and the wit might remind you of another Capitol Hill artist who made his mark on the streets while working to create a larger message about tolerance, intolerance, and bashing back. Here is CHS’s conversation with artist John Criscitello from November 2014.
Gauger is now working to bring more of her sigils into the solid world with a Kickstarter project to print Problem Glyphs, a bound collection of 100 of her responses over the past three years of her project.
Gauger’s Hex of Obsolescence has provided some helpful — though unintentional — marketing.
“I didn’t want the hex to be an advertisement for my own work,” Gauger said. “It was more something I wanted to make my own work in service of the message.”
As a longtime denizen of Capitol Hill, Gauger has probably envisioned more than a few “problem glyphs” for the neighborhood. The loss of Bauhaus hit particularly hard. “We’ve lost a lot of local community places like that through rent hikes,” Gauger said. But there are also blessings. She can often be found working at Kaladi Brothers on E Pike which she says has “centralized the queer community” and grown into a new hangout comfortable to all.
She is also ready to leave an even larger mark on the neighborhood.
As the book project comes together, Gauger said she is looking for a larger canvas for some of her next art in the neighborhood. She’s on the hunt for a mural space to feature a new, huge sigil. “I want to do something bigger,” Gauger said.
You can learn more at problemglyphs.org.
— e l i z a (@3liza) May 19, 2016