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Work Samples

Google Art Video (excerpt)

Google Art Video is a series of strange encounters between an artist and a belligerent version of herself. As the women discuss art, each represents a different side in a dialogue about the dynamics of creativity and the self-doubt with which women artists often struggle. This piece marks a pivotal shift in my work - the point at which I summoned the courage to pursue my life long dream and attempt stand-up comedy.

Starbux Diary at The Stoop Storytelling Series (excerpt)

Starbux Diary was an endurance art project in which I wrote down my thoughts about life, love and art on a Starbucks customer comment card each day from 2005-2015. In this audio clip, I tell the story of the project at The Stoop Storytelling series in 2009, about midway through the piece. The story was also broadcast in-full on WYPR's The Signal and has since become a pledge drive favorite.

Stand-up Comedy (excerpt)

In this stand-up set, I use techniques from my performance art work such as talking on a banana while simultaneously calling attention to this long-standing cliche.

Cats, Criminals & Comedians: The Untold Herstory of Feminist Performance Art (excerpt)

Cats, Criminals & Comedians: The Untold Herstory of Feminist Performance Art is a darkly comical theatre piece in the guise of an academic lecture. Using real and invented historical figures, the piece satirizes and critiques the feminist performance art genre while illuminating the very real struggles of women in a patriarchal art world. As the story progresses, we see how systemic misogyny programs women to loathe and undermine themselves as well as antagonize each other, thereby reinforcing the power structure. The analysis becomes a rigorous cultural interrogation pursuing the question: Why do we (as a society) hate women? The action reaches a catharsis as the lecturer comes to terms with her own feminine identity.
PDF icon Cats, Criminals & Comedians: The Untold Herstory of Feminist Performance Art (excerpt)

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About Christine

Baltimore City

Christine Ferrera is a Baltimore-based writer, performer and comedian. She began her artistic career as a visual artist. However, after completing several series of paintings, she discovered a tendency toward narrative in her work and made the leap to time-based media. Inspired by the experimental monologues of Laurie Anderson and the surrealist humor of Andy Kaufman, Ferrera's current work lives at the (dangerous!) intersection of performance art and comedy. Whether in the form of  video,... more

Stand-up Comedy

I perform darkly absurd stand-up comedy in clubs, conference rooms and crawl spaces internationally. Always looking to surprise and challenge myself, I thrive on doing comedy that verges on performance art. My style has been described (by me) as, "self-deprecating Third-wave Feminism." I sometimes perform in-character as Awkward Pauzez the Digital Comic - a very confessional comedian who delivers jokes with pre-recorded punchlines - or as the even more tragic Carrot Bottom: A Prop Comic.

In 2017, I was a featured performer with (Adult Swim's) Wham City Comedy on their USA tour, performing as America Lady - a hopelessly out of touch middle-aged woman attempting to do cutting-edge political comedy. I have had the honor to open for national headliners, such as Rhea Butcher, Gary Gulman and Michael Ian Black, as well as appear at comedy festivals across the country. I am a co-organizer of the Freeze Peach Comedy Series, which features women, poc, lgbtq and other under-represented comics and performers. I am currently in production on recording a half-hour comedy special for release in 2019.

America Lady, 2017 photo by Alex Ell
Portrait by Alex Fine
Awkward Pauzez the Digital Comic, 2013 photo & video by Roberto Herrera
Awkward Pauzez the Digital Comic, 2012 video by Guy Werner

Cats, Criminals & Comedians: The Untold Herstory of Feminist Performance Art

Cats, Criminals & Comedians: The Untold Herstory of Feminist Performance Art is a darkly comical PowerPoint lecture that tells an apocryphal herstory of feminist performance art. Using real and invented historical figures, and intentionally low-tech aesthetics, the piece satirizes the genre while illuminating the very real struggles of women in a patriarchal art world. As the story progresses, we see how systemic misogyny programs women to loathe and undermine themselves as well as antagonize each other, thereby reinforcing the power structure. The analysis becomes a rigorous interrogation pursuing the question: Why do we (as a society) hate women? The action reaches a catharsis as the lecturer comes to terms with her own feminine identity.

The title refers to Freud’s essay, On Narcissism, in which he asserts that women, “especially the beautiful ones,” possess a primary narcissism similar to that of children, cats (and other beasts of prey), criminals, and humorists. After two decades working in the male-dominated fields of art and comedy, I felt inspired to combine my passion for performance art, stand-up comedy and storytelling to focus attention on the issue that has largely defined my life and career - my gender. During a political climate in which misogyny is promoted at the highest level, Cats, Criminals & Comedians is a densely layered and sly homage to the tenacious, innovative and radical spirit of women.

Starbux Diary

Starbux Diary began in 2005 when I was a painter striving to make art while juggling several waitressing jobs. Along with student debt, my art school education had left me with a passion to create but little clue as to how to sustain myself as an artist. I either had time to work in my studio or money enough to survive, but rarely both. This time/money conundrum left me feeling frustrated and powerless. One day, I was at a Starbucks store and noticed that their customer feedback cards read, "We'd love to hear your thoughts..." Taking their invitation literally, I conceived of an endurance art project in which each day I jot down my ideas about life, love and art on a comment card and mail the original to Starbucks' customer relations department. Sometimes, Starbucks writes back.

A selection of diary entries, drawings and actuarial tables, my self-published book, Starbux Diary: My 10-year Journey to Caffeinated Enlightenment, was included in City Paper’s Top Ten Baltimore Books of 2015 and described as “Hilariously personal.” A longer revision of the book is scheduled for publication in 2019 accompanied by a performance reading and book tour.

Starbux Diary: My 10-year Journey to Caffeinated Enlightenment, 2015 book layout & design by John Moran
Starbux Diary Performance, 2013 video by Roberto Herrera

Stellar Cellar

Stellar Cellar is a journey through a woman’s subconscious, an evocation of Dionysus and a radio talk show about wine. As the host samples each vintage, her memories are conjured – funnel cake and dippin’ dots on the boardwalk, monks in Macedonia, the loss of her virginity in the back of a Honda Civic. Call-in questions, a car salesman from beyond the grave, and a dystopian weather and traffic report move her further into the deep layers of her psyche until a fox and a bear appear, revealing the sorrows of the animals. Finally, the shade of Emily Dickinson guides the host into the outer reaches of the spirit-filled world.

Written by Christine Ferrera with monologues (Jim's Crazy / Jerry Karpeziak) contributed by Dan Hanrahan, Stellar Cellar is a devised theatre piece conceived for the stage by Temple Crocker. The piece has been performed in-progress at teh 14 Karat Cabaret, The Charm City Fringe Festival and VisArts. Now in its final form, Stellar Cellar is a strange, intimate and surprisingly funny exploration of memory and loss.

Stellar Cellar, 2014 video by Dustin Roddy
Stellar Cellar, 2014 photos by Bill Shewbridge

  • Stellar Cellar at the Charm City Fringe Festival, 2014

    Stellar Cellar was performed at Church and Company as part of the Charm City Fringe Festival in 2014. This production was written by Christine Ferrera and Dan Hanrahan with contributions by Greg Romero and performances by Christine Ferrera, Dan Hanrahan, Temple Crocker, Daniel Friedman and Sarah Lloyd.
  • Saint Cloud Viogner

    Saint Cloud Viogner
    The Host (Christine Ferrera) describes Saint Cloud Viogner, one of the best kept secrets in the wine world.
  • Jim's Crazy

    Jim's Crazy
    Jim's Crazy (Dan Hanrahan) advertises his all-weekend, all blowout deluxe carpet showroom super sale while his wife (Temple Crocker) listens affectionately.
  • Giovani Monaci

    Giovani Monaci
    The Host (Christine Ferrera) describes Giovani Monaci, a fabulous new pinot grigio made by some wonderful monks in Macedonia.
  • Buffalo and Fart Face

    Buffalo and Fart Face
    Buffalo and Fart Face (Dan Hanrahan & Temple Crocker) give a dystopian weather and traffic report.
  • Dave Matthews Merlot

    Dave Matthews Merlot
    As the Host tastes the Dave Matthews merlot, she remembers losing her virginity in the back of a Honda Civic, which causes a woman to cry (Temple Crocker).
  • Fox and Bear

    Fox and Bear
    A fox and bear appear (Sarah Lloyd & Daniel Friedman), revealing the sorrows of the animals.
  • Fox and Bear

    Fox and Bear
    Bear (Daniel Friedman) watches over Fox (Sarah Lloyd) as she sleeps.
  • Jerry Karpeziak

    Jerry Karpeziak
    Jerry Karpeziak (Dan Hanrahan), a car salesman from beyond the grave, tells his story of being suspended in the cosmos.
  • Emily Dickenson

    Emily Dickenson
    The shade of Emily Dickenson guides the Host into the spirit-filled world.

Google Art Video

Google Art Video depicts a series of strange encounters between an artist and a belligerent version of herself. As the women discuss art, each represents a different side in a dialogue about the dynamics of creativity and the self-doubt with which women artists often struggle. This piece marks a pivotal shift in my work - the point at which I decided to pursue my life long dream and attempt stand-up comedy.

Stephanie Ferrera, a brilliant Bowen Theorist and my mom, described the project as follows:

"With exquisite nuance in facial expression and voice, the artist captures the painful self-undermining emotional process inherent in creative work, and mirrors the more universal tension between longing and fear inherent in human relationships."

Google Art Video, 2013 photos & video by Roberto Herrera

SELECT SCREENINGS & PERFORMANCES:
Video! Video! Festival (Chicago, IL)
Amsterdam Fringe Festival (NL)
VisArts (Rockville, MD)
Defibrillator Performance Art Gallery (Chicago, IL)
Itinerant Performance Festival (Bronx, NY)
Two-Sided Act, Brooklyn Art Space (Brooklyn, NY)
Videopolis (Baltimore, MD)
Transmodern Festival (Baltimore, MD)
Johns Hopkins Film Festival (Baltimore, MD)
International Center for Photography, (NYC)

  • Google Art Video, 2013

    Google Art Video was performed at VisArts Art Center as part of Between You & Me, a solo show of video and performance.
  • Between You and Me at Amsterdam Fringe Festival, 2014

    Between You and Me
    Google Art Video was presented at the Amsterdam Fringe Festival in 2014 as part of my solo show, Between You and Me.
  • Between You and Me at VisArts Art Center, 2013

    Between You and Me
    Between You and Me is a solo show of video and performance, first presented at VisArts Gallery in 2013. Counter-posing live and recorded performance, this collection of work contemplates art, humor and feminism.
  • Google Rape

    Google Rape
    Pink describes her new video project about art, love, war, language, facade, technology, colonialism, dreams, gender, sustainability, indulgence and metaphor, among other things.
  • Google Communication

    Google Communication
    Pink literally spells out her feelings about art to a polite but apathetic Green.
  • Google Meaning

    Google Meaning
    When Pink asks Green what her art is about, Green does not take the bait.
  • Google Unity

    Google Unity
    Pink and Green nearly experience a moment of unity and stillness, but not quite.
  • Google Echo

    Google Echo
    Green tries to locate the precise moment when she gave up on her dreams.
  • Google Zeitgeist

    Google Zeitgeist
    Green finally gives Pink some answers but it's uncertain if Pink is satisfied.
  • Google Art Video, 2010

    Google Art Video depicts a series of strange encounters between an artist and a belligerent version of herself. In the original video piece, I perform both roles separately and later edit them together. As the conversation weaves between profundity and nonsense, the strange timing between the two gives the piece an aura of dissonance and dark humor, forming a kind of eerie echo chamber.

Frisco & Jeff

I am one half (Frisco) of the musical performance duo, Frisco & Jeff, along with my partner and collaborator Dan Hanrahan (Jeff). Together, we perform monologues interwoven with surrealist ballads flecked by touches of glam and Brecht.

All music composed by Dan Hanrahan
Dan Hanrahan, vocals, guitar & banjo
Christine Ferrera, backing vocals, xylophone & melodica

  • 600 New Names for the Big Bang, Coming in 2019

    600 New Names for the Big Bang
    What do a 1930's Chicago supper club, Edgar Allen Poe's bewildering treatise on the cosmos and a highly eccentric Kinko's customer in Milwaukee, Wisconsin have in common? 600 New Names for the Big Bang attempts to answer this riddle using monologue, archival photos and song.
  • Cave of the Winds - Baby New Year 1945

    Baby New Year 1945
    600 New Names for the Big Bang weaves together the story of the Cave of the Winds - the 1930's-40's supper club run by my Sicilian grandparents on Chicago's Northside - with Dan Hanrahan's experience working at a Kinko's copy shop in Milwaukee, Wisconsin in the 1990's. Edgar Allen Poe's treatise on the cosmos sets the stage for Dan and Chris to reunite after twenty years apart and fall in love. Written by Christine Ferrera & Dan Hanrahan. Music by Dan Hanrahan. Visuals by Christine Ferrera
  • Children of Gold

    Christine tells the story of her grandparents' harrowing immigration from Sicily and their beloved, Cave of the Winds, a legendary Chicago supper club that hosted touring vaudeville acts throughout the 1930's and 40's.
  • 600 New Names for the Big Bang

    In the early 1990's, Dan discovers a strange document left on a copy machine while working at Kinko's in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The document contains a list of over 600 new names for the Big Bang Theory, each meticulously hand-typed by a mysterious customer.
  • Frisco & Jeff Merch

    Limited Edition hand-painted Frisco & Jeff t-shirts!
    Limited Edition hand-painted Frisco & Jeff t-shirts!

Making Art Not Money

Making Art Not Money was an endurance project in which I created something - a drawing, painting, photograph, video, performance, joke, poem, story, song, found object - each day for one year. In 2016, I quit working full-time for the first time in my life. As a meditation on labor and creativity, I made 365 pieces of art to celebrate the time I gained by not making money.

Corporate Romanticism: Products for Self-Empowerment

Corporate Romanticism imitates the devices of commercial media and personalizes it. A combination of painting, video and performance, this project was inspired by the feeling that marketers were trying to get in my head and create the illusion of a universal consciousness, as if to say, "I know you. These are your thoughts and your deepest desires."

Fluiditude, 2005 featuring Greg Darden
Freeway 3-Way Bra, 2005 featuring Theresa Columbus
Man Cigarettes, 2005 featuring Stephanie Barber

Personal Ads

Personal Ads are collaged images and text from newspapers and magazines painted to evoke hand-made signs. Each surface is saturated with eye-popping color and campaign slogans are transmuted into short poems.

Gadi Dechter of Baltimore's City Paper described the work as follows:

"Ferrera paints in vivid, unnatural colors, superimposing artificial hues on her subjects (blond hair on dark-skinned women, for example) in the same way that consumer culture often imposes its beauty standards on its subordinates. That the slogans are written in broken English--familiar to anyone who has visited the non-English-speaking world--further emphasizes the misleading power of consumer advertising.

Ferrera also creates ironic tension by infusing sexual, racial, and political currents into these messages: In one work, a semi-reclining woman in a provocative red dress poses in front of a tube labeled 'feel real' with the slogan 'cock smart!' emblazoned underneath. In another piece, a grinning model proudly holds up a dispenser of some kind of cosmetic powder, framed by the phrase 'be a bomb!' Individually, each of Ferrera's collages is carefully composed and beautifully rendered; taken together, they are a damning and darkly humorous exploration of how advertisements articulate subversive messages about both purveyors and purchasers." (1/8/2003)

Tummyache

Tummyache was inspired by the craft of hand-painted signs and the advertising imagery of my youth. The paintings explore the collision of desire, satisfaction, overindulgence and nausea. At once, they revel in and critique the temptation ever-present in a consumer landscape of overly sweetened products and over-saturated images.