Contributing Toads {2:4}

Ruby Amanze

ruby onyinyechi amanze is a brooklyn based artist and educator of nigerian birth and british upbringing. she has come to, not only accept this reality, but ultimately find empowerment in the authenticity of the hybrid. her drawings have been influenced greatly by textile processes, print-making, collage, architecture and the japanese philosophy of wabi-sabi that emphasizes the beauty in that which is transient. her collection of writings are just words, slightly disjointed like thoughts, and hopefully minus sequins or other forms of embellishment.

during her time at tyler school of art in philadelphia, she studied photography and fiber/material studies. she then went on to earn an inter-disciplinary m.f.a. at cranbrook academy of art in bloomfield hills, michigan. as a 2012-2013 fulbright scholar recipient, she is currently maintaining a studio practice, lecturing and conducting research at the university of nigeria, nsukka.

In response to the question: “What aspect/s of everyday life do you consider art?”
“I think about this question sometimes when I’m not in my studio. It’s easy to get into a groove of being inside some room cranking out art, but I think it’s important also to get out and live art. Not in the sense of visiting museums or galleries, but just by human interaction, being in nature or riding public transportation! So much of my art is inspired by observing how people move in space and relate to one another. I am interested in the stories people tell, the mannerisms they have, the ways they interpret the world. You can’t make art in a vacuum. And for the studio artist it’s a fine balance between creating, often in solitude, and being out in the world. When I arrived in Nigeria for my Fulbright, I didn’t have a studio for a month or so. On the one hand I was anxious to get inside and make something, but on the other hand I was able to justify my everyday experiences as a valid part of the art making process. The people I met and the conversations I had, all became source material.”

Dylan Bassett

C. Dylan Bassett’s poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Anti-, Columbia, DMQ Review, iO Poetry, the Pinch, Salamander, Steam Ticket, Tar River Poetry, Word Riot and elsewhere. He attended the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and is the recipient of an Academy of American Poets Prize and fellowships from the Morrie Moss Foundation for Poetry and the Sewanee Writers’ Conference.
“Everyday I run in the mountains near my house. Running is a private art. It is that brief, solitary moment when the outer world and the inner world intersect.”

Brianna Caszatt

“A native of Michigan, I studied creative writing and history at Albion College. After graduation, I attended the Bucknell Seminar for Younger Poets at Bucknell University, where I got the chance to write and study with fellow young poets from across the country. Currently, I am living in New York City and working as a copy editor for a prominent science journal. In the future, I hope to return to school for an MFA in poetry and further my career in publishing.

Lately, as the nights are again getting colder, I have found a renewed appreciation in my cats’ seemingly infinite sculptability. I love waking up to find them draped across my pillow, crowning my head, or neatly tucked into the curve of my knee.”

Lisa Cihlar

Lisa J. Cihlar’s poems have been published in The South Dakota Review, Green Mountains Review, In Posse Review, Blackbird, and The Prose-Poem Project. One of her poems was nominated for a Pushcart Prize. Her chapbook, “The Insomniac’s House,” is available from Dancing Girl Press and a second chapbook, “This is How She Fails,” is available from Crisis Chronicles Press. She lives in rural southern Wisconsin.
“In my world, art is ripe tomatoes and garlic. Which also means that art is cooking. And art is the orange bittersweet climbing the trees down the trail from my house. Art is the dabbling I do with watercolor which pleases no one but me. In my artful life watching black and yellow garden spiders is a complete day. The color orange is almost always art.”

Darren Demaree

Darren C. Demaree is living in Columbus, Ohio with his wife and children. He is the author of “As We Refer To Our Bodies” (2013) and “Not For Art Nor Prayer” (2014), both collections are to be published by 8th House Publishing House. He is also the recipient of two Pushcart Prize nominations.

“Everything is art, if we’re talking about art.”

Kathleen McGookey

Kathleen McGookey’s work has appeared in over forty journals and ten anthologies. She has published a book, Whatever Shines (White Pine Press), a chapbook, October Again (Burnside Review Press), and a book of translations of French poet Georges Godeau’s prose poems, We’ll See (Parlor Press). She lives with her family in Middleville, Michigan.

“I think the sun shining on waves on Gun Lake in August is beautiful art. Same goes for the moon shining down on the same lake.”

Teresa Pereira

Teresa Pereira works with words and images, influenced by experiential and spatial activation. She shoots, writes, edits videos of spaces/landscapes to perceive an unspoken narrative. Her recent film Most of May / Some of June is an 8,000-mile travelogue of the US through captured footage in sequence with writings of nomadic observation. In 2011, she self-published a chapbook called Letters to Grand and Union about her apartment in Brooklyn. She now lives in Philadelphia, currently pursuing a master’s degree in landscape architecture. More of her photographs exist at

“Spaces between ‘things,’ like alleys and creases, the texture of sidewalks, the fleeting golden hue of sunset impossible to own–also known as magic hour, the bodies of trees, human bodies, breakfast: all honorable details of my daily routine that I’d consider art.”

Nate Pritts

Nate Pritts is the author of five books of poetry, most recently Sweet Nothing & the chapbook No Memorial. He also does the words & pictures for a comic book, There Will Be Nothing Left. The founder & principal editor of H_NGM_N, an online journal & small press, he lives in upstate New York. Find him online at

“If I’m doing it right, being mindful & responsive & open, then every aspect of every day is art in itself – something generated: some new thing or just some new artful minutes. You take all of this & ‘You furnish your parts toward eternity.'”

Steven Ramirez

Steven Ramirez has been recently published his fiction in the North American Review, Indiana Review, Puerto del Sol, Blue Mesa Review, Midway Journal and Stumble, among others. He is a graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, and currently teaches literature and creative writing in Chicago, where he is working to finish his first novel. Steven is married to Michelle, the most patient and supportive person in the known universe.
“As for every day art, I consider Jean Claude Van Damme’s body of work from 1991 to 1995 the highest form of cinema. It out hipsters the hipsters, and out philes the cinephiles. If I were to ever run for office, this, and only this, would be my platform.”

Carrie Rubinstein

Carrie Rubinstein is a Brooklyn-based artist who earned her MFA in sculpture from Hunter College in 2007. She uses watercolor and pen and ink for two-dimensional work and builds sculpture from paper. Carrie has exhibited regularly in the city and Massachusetts. She works as a preschool art teacher at the Washington Market School and as a teaching artist with Community Word Project. An active member of the tART artist’s collective, a group comprised of women committed to making art professionally, Carrie is involved in the organization’s public engagement, activism, and education efforts. Visit to learn more about her artwork. She’s also a comedy improv performer currently a member of the musical indie group Pants! Find them on Facebook.

“The relationship of buildings or structures to their environment is what I find most compelling. My compositions are amalgamations from working onsite, based from my Brooklyn neighborhood and in Massachusetts where I visit regularly. Like a photographer uses a viewfinder, I notice architecture in the landscape and hone in on a section that moves me. Angles, levels, and intersections are my primary concerns. Watching my lines move askew with the intention of accuracy gives me pleasure, evolving into a metaphor for navigating this world. I return to the studio to add value. I intuitively gravitate towards vivid colors. The prominence of my choices contrast and clash with other shapes and ink marks. These discoveries speak to me, hold my interest, and make the work worth doing.”

Jay Sizemore

Jay Sizemore writes poetry because he needs to. His attention span is too short to write novels. Blame the internet. He lives in Nashville, TN with his wife and three cats.

“Art is a sneeze. No two are the same, they are completely organic spontaneity, producing unique collages of spit and slime to decorate walls and shirts at the microscopic level. A poem is a sneeze with words.”

John Brown Spiers

John Brown Spiers lives in Athens GA in a house with far more animals than people. His work has most recently appeared in or is forthcoming from Phantom Drift, Slab, and Hyphenate Magazine.

“I am not sure exactly how to answer the “everyday life as art” question. All I can offer is that every day this fall I take a picture of a ginkgo tree in my neighborhood, because I like how brilliantly ginkgos turn yellow and how quickly their leaves blow away in a stiff mid-season breeze. I hope that that is enough of an answer.”

Joshua Ware

Joshua Ware is the author of Homage to Homage to Homage to Creeley (Furniture Press Books, 2011). He is also the author of several chapbooks, three of which will be release in 2012: Imaginary Portraits (Greying Ghost Press); How We Remake the World (Slope Editions), co-written with Trey Moody; and SDVIG (alice blue books), co-written with Natasha Kessler. His writing has or will appear in many journals, such as American Letters & Commentary, Colorado Review, Crazyhorse, Gulf Coast, New American Writing, and Third Coast.
“As far as an everyday part of life that I consider art: correspondence. Yes, there is an artistry involved with communication, particularly in the written form, whether email, letter, text, or smoke signal.”

Jane Zweibel

Ms. Zweibel is a visual artist living and working in Brooklyn, New York. Ms. Zweibel holds an MFA in Painting from Columbia University, and a BA from Bennington College. She received a fellowship from the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture. She is the recipient of grants from the Puffin Foundation and the Artist’s Fellowship Inc., and was selected for the Artist in the Marketplace program at the Bronx Museum of the Arts, which culminated in a group exhibition and catalogue at the museum.

“I believe that most aspects of my day-to-day experience, both ordinary and monumental, have some kind of impact and influence upon my art. Because a major theme of my work is identity, each moment holds a potential nugget of content that might ultimately become incorporated into my art. The concept of life as art and art as life holds very true for me as an artist.”

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