Ink People DreamMakers Survey

I kept procrastinating on this questionnaire from The Ink People, so here it is completed for y’all to judge!
— Me, on Facebook

What is the name of your organization? How do you want to be referred to?
Universal Pictorial Language

Please describe your program in a few short sentences.
Most invented languages are written by one person with a specific intention or ideology. But you and I will forgo that to create the Universal Pictorial Language, or UPL. An image-based language written from scratch. I have begun hosting tabling events where I sit down with as many people as fathomable, and draw as many hieroglyphics as possible. Our collaboration will coalesce into a language understood across the region, the nation and potentially the world.

Tell us your creation story. How did you come up with your program? What was the inspiration?
While in my final semester of graduate school, I needed to have a side project to keep me sane whilst also installing a huge makeshift bedroom in the gallery space. Previously I had created rebus music videos, visual puns that sounded out the words of some of my favorite songs. The problem with these pieces is that the images I created weren't mutually intelligible - they were all puns that only I could really get. 

I began researching auxlangs, auxiliary languages means to be used for cross-communication. Dissatisfied with the haughtiness and ego I saw in previous auxlang projects, I decided to experiment with making an entirely pictorial language using public submissions and the democratic process.

What are the biggest challenges your program faces?
Getting participants. I table at public events and advertise online asking for people to submit glyphs, but I need a base group of participants who join in regularly and keep the conversation alive. Advertising, a comprehensive website, and regular public events could get me there, but it is hard as an artist who can only be in the studio 2 days a week.

How would you like for your program to grow?
I want to create a web forum for UPL discussion and submissions. I also would like to be able to table at least once a month, possibly twice. Eventually I will start printing UPL dictionaries that I can share with galleries, book stores, community centers, and language invention convention-goers.

How has the Ink People helped your program?
The Ink People helped me with my post-grad residency fundraiser, where I spent 2 months at the Kala Art Institute learning how to screen print - the medium I chose to produce Universal Pictorial Language materials to share in galleries. Now thanks to the Ink Annex's print studio, I can continue honing my technique while collaborating with the Giant Squid Printmakers.

Is there anything about being a DreamMaker or the DreamMaker MOU that you would change?
I would like more opportunities to interact with the rest of the DreamMakers, and advertise my events via Facebook and other social media. I also feel as if the current layout of the Ink People website could be improved to give a better idea of what each DreamMaker does (but that I assume is what this form is for!).

Do you have an anecdote or funny story to tell about your program, or the Ink People?
As a part of my auxlang / art practice, I set up tables in some interesting places, including Berkeley. There is an active and well treated homeless population in Downtown Berkeley, since many people were kicked out of San Francisco. One person who came to my table was a woman wearing about 4 layers of coats who had a ginger cat she called Zeus on a leash. I told her about my project, but instead of voting on glyphs she wanted to draw her own.

What she gave me was a cypher of the English Alphabet. I know it isn't a conlang, but she spent about 10 minutes on it and I promised her I would share it with all the "language inventors" I knew. So please enjoy. I have redrawn it in my hand - her name seems to be Lhoryanne.

How does your program connect with the community?
The Universal Pictorial Language is a chance for the public to explore concepts usually not considered on a daily basis. It activates creative thinking, does not disenfranchise those who think they "cannot draw," and allows people to consider how to relate to people of different backgrounds, religions, languages, and socio-economic statuses. It is truly democratizing. A homeless person has just as much say in the UPL as a college professor, for they can both consider what communication issues can arise and reach a compromise visually with a quick drawing. This is why I table in public spaces, as well as in art galleries. Having input from a wide swathe of those who would be interested in an auxlang makes for a superior Universal Pictorial Language.

Ramping Up

This is the face I made when I realized that I didn't know how to mat and frame artwork anymore. :^x

This is the face I made when I realized that I didn't know how to mat and frame artwork anymore. :^x

Greetings Everyone!

I have three art things coming up that I ought to tell you about, yes? That sort of seems like the point of this whole thing.

Arts Alive! Eureka
May 3rd, 2014 5:30 - 9:00 (I'll be there from 5:30 to 8:00pm at least)
Giant Squid Printmaker's Collective at
Studio 424
424 3rd Street, Eureka, California
2 - 3 pieces hanging from the Universal Pictorial Language project, and the chance to submit glyphs to the language as I sit at my beloved table

Redwood Art Association
56th Spring Exhibition
April 23 – May 16, 2014
Opening Reception: May 3rd, 2014 6:00 - 9:00pm at
RAA Gallery
603 F Street
Eureka, CA 95501
Alphabet Aerobics is up, looking snazz. Previously seen at Pro Arts in San Francisco and in my studio thereafter.

North Coast Open Studios
May 31st - June 1st and June 7th - June 8th
Hours: TBD
Giant Squid Printmaker's Collective at
The Ink Annex
47B W. 3rd Street, Eureka, California 95501
Most definitely selling UPL cards and prints, as well as tabling up a storm!



Reality Check

I do believe that, in the process of learning art at institutions I became, well, SPOILED. I am use to facilities that are fixed when I am away, and having the time to learn my equipment. Having classes that teach me to anticipate what goes wrong. Oh, what luxuries those were!

The Ink Annex is not that way. I am almost always the only person in here screen printing. The wash-out station is a shower with a hose. Everything leaks. The fridge I bought still freezes our emulsion. It is not easy to get from concept to print - transparencies are made at the FedEx 20 blocks away, the studio itself is two towns away from where I live, and I don't have a car. Insert whining noises here.


My latest progress report was show at Kala for one day, but I was dissatisfied with the results because of all the mistakes I made (that's why no picture yet, sorry). I couldn't afford to continue to dig into my savings to improve my equipment without a job, so I was sort of stuck. BUT THEN I GOT HIRED! And now I can manage to buy a power washer, better screens, machine cut paper, my own chemicals. Ah, the future is bright.

All of you who have been wondering why I went AWOL, that is your answer. I wanted to finish the perks I promised donors before I continued tabling, and I couldn't effectively work on the perks. I was struggling paying bills instead of buying supplies, I had IOUs piling up. Long story short, I was no longer a student with ample art-making time on my hands. But now I can afford to be in the studio all weekend, and make this studio just a little better. It is a glorious feeling.


The Ink Annex and all its facets.

The Ink Annex and all its facets.

The Ink'll Set You Free...

The Ink Annex, the community arts center through which I have been getting my printing all in order has been having a few... mishaps. First it was the sink (my fault), now it is the refrigerator (its fault). All the emulsion has been uncooled for days, and we needed to get a new fridge. But, since I have plenty of funds available thanks to all my fab donors (that means you), I was able to buy one today and get this train back on track! This hopefully will give me enough time to create a print of the current UPL vocabulary to show during the SGCI Studio Roulette when it hits up Kala Art Institute on March 28th: https://www.facebook.com/events/560209470716877/

I'll keep you all in the loop, and invite you over to my blog to add your two cents to the debate over the glyph for "WE:" https://katywarner.squarespace.com/debate-central/2014/1/22/words-of-the-week-we-me-you-yall

-Katy Warner


It appears that I have disappeared for the last two months. The truth be told, I have been sick with a combination of an impossibly virulent flu and the Humboldt Crud. Instead of using my wee bit of energy towards creating art, I’ve been looking for a job. I know, lame right?

This week the good people at Kala Art Institute suggested that I hang a print for the SGCI Studio Roulette Event and Conference on March 28th. And then I HAD AN IDEA! Why don’t I catch up on our UPL glyphs in order to get a print done in time? I have a month, that’s doable! It is, as I love to say, killing two birds with one stone. Which might be very offensive to the visitors of my other website, but whatever.

Below is my plan for my poster, using the dimensions I already have planned for the UPL dictionary. I AM WAY TOO INTO PLANNING, IN CASE YOU’VE NEVER MET ME. Since y’all can’t read it, a translation:

Universal Pictorial Language
Progress Report Poster Design

Each square is an official 3 inch square glyph, meant for the UPL typeface. Below that in the lower righthand corner is a calligraphic version in Katy’s hand.

Each glyph will be color coded, printed on white bristol and then mounted. Each positive will be kept for the UPL dictionary printing as a 4 inch square transparency.

Glyphs are in alphabetical order, and the color code is as follows:

Green - Approved
Blue - In Contention (people have complained about it, or Katy can’t draw it!)
Orange - Derived (inferred by Katy from other glyphs)


To see why I feel the need for an “in contention” category, enjoy my attempt to do a progress report as quickly as possible last night. Hands are hard!


So, that makes my goal a total of 35 unique glyph graphics printed, cut-up and set on paper. Their color will be determined by how far I get with approval via tabling and web surveys at the time of the printing. And then I can keep the transparencies to reuse for the dictionary printing if they are approved. And the multiples I create can be sold or given as gifts!

Now I have a quandary - I haven’t been able to standardize the approval process. Not only is it time consuming to table, but it’s harder to do it in Eureka than it is in Oakland. Less people, less public transit, more rain. Luckily, the folks of Giant Squid are getting back into the mix of things and may participate in North Coast Open Studios. And I might be lucky enough to piggy-back on other art events like Arts Eureka and Arts! Arcata… or run Ink People Center for the Arts meetings… or meets at Old Town Coffee. I don’t know yet, logistics are hard to do without knowing my future schedule.

So in the interim I am asking for glyph submissions and votes online, and then I’ll revisit the process. If you bunny-hopped here from my newsletter, I thank you for catching up with me. The next word for approval is BUT, followed by WE and AND. Send me a glyph or two if you’re feeling adventurous. I’ll also be asking for input on Facebook, so follow me if you would like to vote for glyphs there instead.

Hugs and Kisses,

Katy Warner

P.S. I’m also making the prints for donors at the $50 level or higher, don’t worry. I need to buy and reclaim screens like mad first, and Ink Annex has no power washer :(

Anarchists and Glyphs

Greetings All!

I thank all of you who helped me with my fundraiser while I was in Berkeley and Oakland last month. From submitting drawings, debating with me at my table, or just spreading the word, every little bit was important. I successfully learned screen printing, but I could not afford to, nor logistically design, 200 glyphs in those two months. That was impossibly ambitious, I know. But none of this was in vain! I now can afford to move forward, first on perk fulfillment for my great donors, and then the printing of a basic Universal Pictorial Language dictionary.


I have now settled down into my new adoptive studio space, the Ink Annex in Eureka, California, USA. Here in Eureka the hair is a little bit longer, the stores open a little bit later (10am - 6pm), and the art is a whole lot weirder. Like it should be. Although... since I have this weird compulsion to "reorganize" other people's stuff, the print lab might not be too safe in my presence.

Here in Humboldt I will be meeting twice monthly (maybe more!) with the people of Humboldt to continue designing glyphs. My first meeting to introduce this project will be from 5:30 - 7:00 pm on February 20th at the Ink People offices in Downtown Eureka. More info soon on what our goals will be (I'm thinking grammar debate - can't have a language without grammar!).

Now, most of you don't live in the state of Jefferson / the Emerald Triangle / the Redwood Coast / whatever term is popular now. You can still participate! This week I begin the "Glyph of the Week" submission system. Head over to my latest blog post on the word WE here, and let me know what you like or dislike about my placeholder glyph. And, feel free to design your own. How would you draw the word WE so that as many people as possible could understand? If you don't have a digital drawing program, a camera, or a webcam to photograph your own drawings, email me at deathundothee@yahoo.com and we can arrange something - there are several options online.

Please check out all the new sections on my website I have created for public debate, and stay tuned as I start making more prints for sale.


Take care,
Katy Warner

Catch-up, go go go!

I have the formatting of my new UPL section down. Click around to see what's up, won't you?

Time for a new TO DO LIST, GO!!!

  1. Email $25 dollar donors about their digi-reward. 
  2. Improve tagging system / search engine. Be prepared for the entire Swadesh list.
  3. Email all donors at $50 or higher level what they need to know for their prints. 
  4. Buy supplies for the rest of my perks.
  5. Print perks and dictionary thus far.
  6. Arrange with the Ink People to have a weekly venue for UPL, and a spot at Arts Alive!
  7. Arrange with Old Town Coffee & Chocolates for UPL debates, bimonthy or monthly.
  8. Create blog rss feed for http://conlang.wikia.com/, send rss link to http://aggregator.conlang.org/
  9. Apply to at least 5 funding opportunities.

Also, I abandoned a ton of art in the past two weeks. "Pulls" was found by a park ranger, who asked that I not abandon in Patricks Point any longer because of the hazard to the animals and children. So no more there, sorry. "In" was found a mere hour after abandonment by a lass named Kara.

#36, "I Will." Trinidad State Beach.

#36, "I Will." Trinidad State Beach.

#02, "Pulls." Patricks Point State Park.

#02, "Pulls." Patricks Point State Park.

#13, "Becoming." Arcata Marsh.

#13, "Becoming." Arcata Marsh.

#33, "In." Arcata Marsh.

#33, "In." Arcata Marsh.

The Game is On

The following people are the donors to the Universal Pictorial Language (Phase One). Soon i will be linking each name to the donor's preferred website so that they may gain additional recognition for what they do. But for now let us admire them! THANK YOUUUUU!


Aaron Yashinsky

Alan Peterson

Alison Rushing

Ben Jacob

Blaire Knight-Graves

Bob Holman

Brian Camozzi

Catherine Wagner

Chris Fraser

Christina Yglesias

Danielle Peterson

Donald Day

Erin Cooper

Grayson Richardson

Hung Liu & Jeff Kelley

inara Tabir

Jackie Reuling

James Hasbrouck

Jeff Batdorf

Jennifer Breen

Jessica Chappell

Jocelyn Meggait

Kelsey Thorne

Layla Otey

Leigh Burgess

Lia Pellegrini Davies

Libby Maynard

Maija Beeton

Mary-Ann Milford

Maryellen Herringer

Matthew Gottschalk

Megan O'Lanen

Mia Bella D'Augelli

Michael Koehle

Pamela Peterson

Patricia Wallace

Rima Greer

Robin Conway

Scott Oliver

Shannon Southward

Simon Pyle

Stephany Campos

Tamra Seal

The Queendahls

Veva J. Edelson

#37, Takes.&nbsp;Humboldt Bay National Wildlife Refuge, Shorebird Loop.&nbsp;(Abandonment cont inues, huzzah!).

#37, Takes. Humboldt Bay National Wildlife Refuge, Shorebird Loop. (Abandonment continues, huzzah!).

This blog hasn't been updated in a while for a bevy of reasons: a residency that took ages to get rolling, a fundraiser that was nuts, a lack of money and no work to be found, carpal tunnel syndrome, holidays, head colds and packing cars full o' art and stuff. Plus i still don't have an "i" key on my computer. Annnnnddd there's a hole in my silkscreen.

When it rains, it pours, right?

Nevertheless, i am back at it! i have several goals for the next month i wish to share with you all, excluding the obvious (looking for work and helping with Redwood Planet Media).

  1. Ensure my Hatchfund donations get to me.
  2. Email $10 and $25 dollar donors about their digi-reward.
  3. Update website with current glyph database and Bulletin Board capabilities. Be prepared for the entire Swadesh list.
  4. Email all donors at $50 or higher level what they need to know for their prints.
  5. Arrange to print at the Eureka Print Alliance.
  6. Buy supplies for the rest of my perks.
  7. Print perks and dictionary thus far.
  8. Arrange with the ink people to have a weekly venue for UPL, and a spot at Arts Alive!
  9. Arrange with Old Town Coffee & Chocolates for UPL debates, bimonthy or monthly.
  10. Create blog rss feed for http://conlang.wikia.com/, send rss link to http://aggregator.conlang.org/
  11. Apply to at least 5 funding opportunities.

Pausing Abandonment, Starting Fundraising

First, a lovely email:

My name is Sam and this email concerns pieces of art that I have found. 

A couple of months ago, I was parking in a parking lot at the trailhead to Skunk Cabbage when I saw what appeared to be an art canvas. I did a double take and walked over to it. It was number 15 of 42 titled "Thee." I looked at it, a plastic covered piece of art and looked around...no one in the parking lot...a quiet afternoon. I put it down and took my walk, then came back to the parking lot and saw it still sitting there. This time I examined the back and read your message about the piece. I decided to take it.





Two or Three weeks later a strange thing happened. I was walking down the same trail and what did I see but another piece of art from this series. This time I knew what it was and I really liked it. But I couldn't take two. So I did the walk, thinking about the piece of art in the plastic by the side of the trail and the more I thought about it the more I wanted to keep it too. They would look very good together. A duo. So, they now hang together. #15 with #41. 

I hope you don't mind that I took them both. But I do like them and they compliment each other nicely.


 #24, "Me." Cow field adjacent to Mad River Footbridge.

 #24, "Me." Cow field adjacent to Mad River Footbridge.

My last two abandonments before I leave to Berkeley / Oakland for two months.:

#29, "As I." Hammond Trail, McKinleyville.    &nbsp;

#29, "As I." Hammond Trail, McKinleyville. 

And now, yes! My abandonment is taking a break. I will be spending the next two months at Kala Art Institute in residency working on a UPL dictionary. I cannot afford this residency out of pocket, so please check out my promo video and fundraising page. If you donate you can get screen prints and drawings, who doesn't love those? Plus, this fundraiser ends on my birthday, so your donation is basically a present exchange <3


Thank you all for reading, and I'll see y'all next when I report back from Oakland First Friday!

UPL Humboldt Part 1

My first test run with the general public to draw three words as ideograms - "love," "take," and "universe." These shots took place outside of the Ink People Gallery on 2nd Street in Eureka, Ca as a part of the Arts Alive! art walk. The results were delightfully random, but some interesting issues came up.

1. Herd Behavior. Many people did not like having other drawings directly in front of them, saying they were distracting and influenced what they drew. Two participants asked that I give an "anonymous" option, either on a post-it note or on a form via the web. Creating a worksheet with an explanation, that participants can fill out alone, might resolve this.
2. Drawing Angst. I have had artists do this experiment before, and they had mentioned that randomly chosen individuals would be turned off by being put on the spot to draw. "I can't draw" was heard quite often from passersby, along with "Will it take long?" I need to find a way to best emphasize that these are simple and straightforward to be better understood. What term should use instead of "draw?"
3. Reproducability. Simply saying "try to make it simple" didn't seem to cut it. I really needed to emphasize that these drawings had to be reproducable for others. I tried using the phrase "it's actually better if you can't draw, because that means it's more likely that others can draw it!" But I suspect that resulted in only more complicated images.
4. Ideogram vs. Pictogram. I keep getting these terms mixed up, which I believe added to confusion. The UPL is mainly an experiment in ideograms. As Jim Grossmann from the Conlang Facebook Group Explained: "Strictly speaking, you can't draw a pictogram (picture-depiction) of the universe, because the whole is unpicturable, if only because spacetime has more than three dimensions. You could draw an ideogram (symbol-for-idea) of the universe."

The next step for this first set is to translate these ideograms into my own hand, and then run group debates over which to chose for each word. Then, that image will be uploaded onto my website and temporarily "confirmed" as a UPL symbol, along with notes on its debate process. Stay turned for more on this page and others.



Practice Makes Perfect

Two abandonments this week: 

#9, "Thee."&nbsp;Miner's Ridge Trail, Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park.

#9, "Thee." Miner's Ridge Trail, Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park.

#25, "Away." College Cove Beach trail, Trinidad State Park.

#25, "Away." College Cove Beach trail, Trinidad State Park.

I am please to say that, even though it was a last minute decision, I got the chance to collaborate with the artgoing public to start designing pictograms. This session was just outside the Ink People Gallery on 2nd Street in Eureka, Ca. The first three I chose were 'universe', 'take' and 'love' - all being a part of the GSL/Fry list conlanger Seedy Johnson was kind enough to send my way.

I also just wanted to see if any viable alternatives could be developed for 'universe,' 'cause it's been bumming me out!


 Which do you prefer? Why or why not? Could you draw your own interpretation? I'll share the brainstorming sheets from UPL Session 1 once my head clears from this virus (which sadly is why I wasn't at Art Alive! Arcata yesterday. #sadface).

These folks insisted on posing for a photo.

These folks insisted on posing for a photo.