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The Highland Park Trailer Project

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I moved to the one-of-a-kind neighborhood of Highland Park in North East Los Angeles (NELA) early 2014. Paradise. I was steps away from Figueroa Street, a melting pot of history, culture, and the kind of diverse community one only dreams of. Day and night I heard the buzzing of cars traveling north to Pasadena or southward toward Downtown Los Angeles (DTLA), just a couple of miles away via the 110 Arroyo Seco Parkway.

Highland Park Silver Streak Trailer

Everyday I passed vintage autos lining my street, a stunning collection belonging to a life long HP native. I’d stroll by the Highland Theater ,with its giant, glimmering marquee lights, and quickly became a deeply involved member of the Milagro Allegro Community Garden after winning my own plot in the biannual garden lottery. Shortly after, I joined the Arroyo Seco Arts Collective, the longest standing active arts collective in East LA. From the top of Deb’s Park, I had a 360 degree view reminding me of all the reasons I now find myself residing on the West Coast. It should be noted, however, a piece of my heart will forever reside in the south, where I grew up in Florida.

When I first arrived to HP, I lived with two brilliant physicists (my soon to be best friends) pursuing and ultimately receiving doctorates in particle and theoretical physics at CalTech University. I found them on Craigslist. Together we explored HP and its various and equally interesting surrounding neighborhoods. We still are passionate about experiencing and absorbing the uniqueness of every corner. I adopted my dog, a xoloitzcuintli named Tesla, from my next door neighbors whom tended the Tierra de La Culebra Art Park, a long-time beacon of communal arts in the area.

It came time to relocate, and I most randomly, bumped into a true spur-of-the moment deal of a lifetime for myself and my new landlord. I’d move my belongings that very evening (consisting of just two trips across the way in my Honda Fit) onto an acre of sacred land in the heart of the place I called home. Sharing the large piece of land with me, would be my landlord and close friend, a world-renowned artist (look her up here–), tediously working away in her studio and pouring her heart and soul into her land. It would not be a conventional living arrangement (I’d have to run across the yard to go to the restroom, take a shower, and use the kitchen and washing machine), yet it turned into my most prized art project and life experience to date.

The 19′ long 1969 Vintage Silverstreak “Jet” that I’d passed by wondering about everyday for well over a year had suddenly become the space and canvas for a most great art piece andadventure. The caveat was that I’d have to re-build everything from the ground up, as the livability of the trailer was next to zero—a challenge I did not hesitate to accept. There was undeniably work to be done. When the project began, my heart was in it, and there was no turning back. Soon after the groundbreaking, passing travelers, and neighbors in their cars cheered me on as I worked tirelessly with some friends through the heat day after day, every day, for over a month. I was thankful to be in a place where I could afford to make the renovation my full time job for at least a little while. The odds and ends came organically.


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Initially, this trailer was used as a mobile office for the LA Department of Water and Power . Therefore its original interior had been modified to accommodate a more functional work space. Task #1—it had to be gutted. Whatever critters might have been calling it home would have to relocate elsewhere.

In the heat of summer, the next priority was ventilation. Initially, it seemed there was none. It was stagnant and suffocating, but nothing that couldn’t be fixed.  After some YouTube research, with the help of a friend, we installed three air vents atop the roof. Until these were installed, I improvised by sleeping in the breezy outdoor porch of the main house, or slept in my car with the trunk open (it was cooler in those spots than inside the 100+ year old, 100% American Craftsman home). We caulked, tarred and sealed any existing cracks to prevent water damage inside, and re-screened the multiple surrounding windows. Privacy and curtains would have to come later.

Some of the most enlightening things I learned about myself during this journey were a) I don’t need a lot of material things, b) I like getting my hands dirty, and most interestingly of all, c) I don’t require much privacy (like, at all). At some point, there isn’t anything left to hide.


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This is what it looked like after the initial gutting. Luckily there was a pre-existing deck (this plays a major part soon).


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After acquiring some beautiful lumber from my friend/owner (and one of the most up-and-coming contemporary  artists to watch of this time, Kyle Austin Dunn) of BayAreaCustomFurniture  located in Oakland, I was able to do some fine-tune wood working with the beautiful extra donated slats used to add accents and personal touches of my own. Primarily these pieces were used for wall panels and my custom work desk. I came across solid red wood floor panels and gained my hands on experience laying down a genuine hardwood floor, replacing sheets of old, damp, plywood. The result gave a true breath of life to the space. Stark white walls were established after three layers of primer, three layers of paint, and two days of scrubbing and cleaning away years of grime and dust.


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Living a minimalist lifestyle has always been my chosen path. Each item in the trailer was of personal value. My goal was to create product of form and function working in concert—Pictures, curated salon wall, artwork of friends, antique furniture and accent pieces, the works. The vintage barber chair show is a stellar find from a local man of the neighborhood with an unparalleled skill collecting metal odds and ends selling them to local antique and vintage stores. We’d done business before, and he came to me first, knowing I’d be ecstatic. Um, yes please.


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Hanging on the wall to the left in the photo below is the original hand drawn design plan for the the community garden. These sort of pieces are priceless. My bed shown above is small and an irregular shape. A special foam pad needed to be cut to accommodate the curved front of the trailer, but it fit me perfectly. Space underneath functioned as extra storage, optimizing any and all extra areas I had to play with.

Those nights ended up being some of the best rests I’ve ever had. In the summer, when it was scorching, I’d sleep with the door wide open, facing palm trees, while Chopper, our sweetest property dog, staked out on the deck keeping me safe. In the winter, it was a different story. I had a small yet effective space heater. Yet my mother sensed the probability of changing weather conditions and mailed an electric blanket well in advance during the early fall…(thanks, Mom).


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Power ran straight from the main house under a shallow ditch using a couple long, orange extension cords. Something tells me this isn’t to code. I’ll apologize later. Moving on!  It was thrifty clearly a project in which we had to be resourceful—not to mention, it worked perfectly. The hanging lanterns shown here proved my primary light sources. When it came to using the internet or talking on the phone I took that business out to the deck any hint of a signal.

The stump pictured below is actually made of real California avocado wood, originating from a mature tree I knew during my time surfing for six months in Ventura, California  before making my post-graduation move to LA to pursue my burgeoning future as a writer and producer in Hollywood. The beautiful tree was tragically cut down, despite much protest from locals. Alas I collected the remnants I could. I created this stump and a live edge coffee table which I added hairpin legs to and use on a daily basis.


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This is the even more fun part.

Months later after the bulk of the work was in good standing, a close friend of mine, a Senior Producer at The Ellen Show, approached me about an upcoming segment of the Ellen Show show called Grand Design. A professional crew would come in, and renovate various spaces across the country in just two days per project for under $1,000. Obviously, I was down for it all. Within a month the job was done and exceeded any and all expectations. See for yourself.


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The revived shiny coat was achieved by using a finish that is used by airliners to maintain their appearance and upkeep. A turquoise stripe added just the right personal touch, matching the style of not only myself but also my eccentric property owner/artist whom generously allowed me to share her land. Potted succulents on the deck lived organically among the surrounding natural plant landscape.

The best parts are the simple horizontal slat privacy walls and sunshade, making it easy to entertain, as it was more difficult in such small quarters. The transformation was not only aesthetically transforming but also initiated a re-birth and revitalization in the mindsets and hearts of all that gave energy to this project.

Others seemed to agree!

Look at all the attention it received on social media! My project got its fifteen minutes of fame and also a lifetime of appreciation and love from me.


Check out the articles here.

Want to see the episode? Click HERE!


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There were many of these lazy days and and existing  lifetime of gratitude, memories and pride in my work and the team of others that helped me with achieve my vision.


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The Whirling Girlish for @HappeninginHighlandPark !

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As of late I’m writing for @HappeninginHighlandPark (http://happeninginhighlandpark.com) and below is a feature that just posted today about the urban garden in, you guessed it—Highland Park!

Link to full article here!

Walk in Highland Park

andrea_jackson_whirling_girlish_highland_park_los_angeles_californiaandrea_jackson_whirling_girlish_highland_park_los_angeles_californiaandrea_jackson_whirling_girlish_highland_park_los_angeles_californiaIt andrea_jackson_whirling_girlish_highland_park_los_angeles_californiaandrea_jackson_whirling_girlish_highland_park_los_angeles_californiaandrea_jackson_whirling_girlish_highland_park_los_angeles_california andrea_jackson_whirling_girlish_highland_park_los_angeles_california andrea_jackson_whirling_girlish_highland_park_los_angeles_california andrea_jackson_whirling_girlish_highland_park_los_angeles_california  It andrea_jackson_whirling_girlish_highland_park_los_angeles_california andrea_jackson_whirling_girlish_highland_park_los_angeles_california andrea_jackson_whirling_girlish_highland_park_los_angeles_california andrea_jackson_whirling_girlish_highland_park_los_angeles_california andrea_jackson_whirling_girlish_highland_park_los_angeles_california andrea_jackson_whirling_girlish_highland_park_los_angeles_california andrea_jackson_whirling_girlish_highland_park_los_angeles_californiaandrea_jackson_whirling_girlish_highland_park_los_angeles_california andrea_jackson_whirling_girlish_highland_park_los_angeles_california andrea_jackson_whirling_girlish_highland_park_los_angeles_california  I andrea_jackson_whirling_girlish_highland_park_los_angeles_california andrea_jackson_whirling_girlish_highland_park_los_angeles_california     andrea_jackson_whirling_girlish_highland_park_los_angeles_california   andrea_jackson_whirling_girlish_highland_park_los_angeles_california  andrea_jackson_whirling_girlish_highland_park_los_angeles_california   andrea_jackson_whirling_girlish_highland_park_los_angeles_california

andrea_jackson_whirling_girlish_highland_park_los_angeles_californiaandrea_jackson_whirling_girlish_highland_park_los_angeles_california  andrea_jackson_whirling_girlish_highland_park_los_angeles_california andrea_jackson_whirling_girlish_highland_park_los_angeles_california andrea_jackson_whirling_girlish_highland_park_los_angeles_california   andrea_jackson_whirling_girlish_highland_park_los_angeles_california andrea_jackson_whirling_girlish_highland_park_los_angeles_california andrea_jackson_whirling_girlish_highland_park_los_angeles_california andrea_jackson_whirling_girlish_highland_park_los_angeles_california andrea_jackson_whirling_girlish_highland_park_los_angeles_california      andrea_jackson_whirling_girlish_highland_park_los_angeles_california andrea_jackson_whirling_girlish_highland_park_los_angeles_california  andrea_jackson_whirling_girlish_highland_park_los_angeles_california    “That’s what she told me!”, said no one ever.     andrea_jackson_whirling_girlish_highland_park_los_angeles_california andrea_jackson_whirling_girlish_highland_park_los_angeles_california  andrea_jackson_whirling_girlish_highland_park_los_angeles_california Cafe de Leche rules and the management is second to none (she’s a good friend of mine). Grab a cup!   andrea_jackson_whirling_girlish_highland_park_los_angeles_california andrea_jackson_whirling_girlish_highland_park_los_angeles_californiaandrea_jackson_whirling_girlish_highland_park_los_angeles_california andrea_jackson_whirling_girlish_highland_park_los_angeles_california   IMG_5449andrea_jackson_whirling_girlish_highland_park_los_angeles_california   andrea_jackson_whirling_girlish_highland_park_los_angeles_california  andrea_jackson_whirling_girlish_highland_park_los_angeles_californiaandrea_jackson_whirling_girlish_highland_park_los_angeles_california  andrea_jackson_whirling_girlish_highland_park_los_angeles_california andrea_jackson_whirling_girlish_highland_park_los_angeles_california andrea_jackson_whirling_girlish_highland_park_los_angeles_californiaIMG_5484IMG_5485IMG_5488IMG_5489IMG_5490IMG_5492IMG_5499IMG_5500 IMG_5502  andrea_jackson_whirling_girlish_highland_park_los_angeles_california andrea_jackson_whirling_girlish_highland_park_los_angeles_california   andrea_jackson_whirling_girlish_highland_park_los_angeles_california This is Dr. Moore. He taught at Pepperdine for 33 years and walks around the neighborhood with his African Gray Parrot on his shoulder as to ensure that she doesn’t “get restless”. She poops on him constantly, and he genuinely doesn’t care, and I hope to adopt his mentality one day. andrea_jackson_whirling_girlish_highland_park_los_angeles_california andrea_jackson_whirling_girlish_highland_park_los_angeles_california  IMG_5557

She wishes she was that belt! (PS she made that belt, and Nyima Ward is wearing it). PSS I live with her.

I live with the BA artist that hand-crafted some of the beaded jewelry featured in this month’s issue of Numero Homme Magazine in Germany, and I’m pretty excited about it. 

numero homme germany magazine stormie art

The October 2015 issue of Numero Homme magazine based out of Germany features model, Nyima Ward wearing (my badass roommate’s hand-made, artisanal, Native American, beaded goods) STORMIE ART (represented by Roseark). Photos are by renowned fashion photographer Alexei Hay, and styling is done by non-other than Bill Mullen ( This group of people…I’M TELLIN’ YA!)

model nyima ward in stormie art jewelry for numero homme magazine styled by bill mullen photo by alexei hay oct 2015

You get a sense of not only the kind of work Stormie does, but also the kind of person she is. Old School style meets psychedelic funk as it manifests itself through her tribal inspired, intricate bead-work.

model nyima ward in stormie art jewelry for numero homme magazine styled by bill mullen photo by alexei hay oct 2015

Stormie is a feminist’s feminist. A strong, independent woman who etched her way into the fashion scene long before digital and social media was ever thought of. She has worked with some of the most renowned stylists around the world, while her work has been worn by artists like Madonna, and Mick Jagger (just to name a couple).

model nyima ward in stormie art jewelry for numero homme magazine styled by bill mullen photo by alexei hay oct 2015

Stormie has her finger on the pulse of trending styles, as she has a most unique and creativity-inspiring living situation nestled in the burgeoning neighborhood of Highland Park in Los Angeles (where she’s been kicking ass for the last 20 years with her myriad of animals….including a pet pig, on a big piece of land in a SWEET 100-year-old house). But she never loses her sense of self, and stays true to her true passion and spiritual ties to Native American culture, a community she has been active in most of her life.

model nyima ward in stormie art jewelry for numero homme magazine styled by bill mullen photo by alexei hay oct 2015

Stormie’s work can be found painted around social media via her website, Instagram, Facebook, Tumblr, and soon-to-be-launched blog! (She’s going to step out of her comfort zone and be less private, per my nagging request hehe)

model nyima ward in stormie art jewelry for numero homme magazine styled by bill mullen photo by alexei hay oct 2015

Not too shabby a morning for Stormie, huh!? PS She’s toying with the idea of going with a Nyima Ward inspired themed costume for Halloween (they have the same hair) and I completely support her in this endeavor.

WHIRLING GIRLISH THROWBACK!: that ever-present artistic push against “neo-mannerism”—a favorite piece for The Suburban Apologist (SubAp!) magazine!

whirling girlish for the suburban apologist resisting neo mannerism art article featuring artist kyle austin dunn of san francisco california

Here’s an original Whirling Girlish article published in The Suburban Apologist in 2013! SubAp! just celebrated its first PRINT issue that you should try to get your hands on! SubAp! has been a friend of The Whirling Girlish for a loooooong time, and there is more greatness to come! Congrats, SubAp!

Check it out here!

resisting neo mannerism the whirling girlish for sub ap

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You can re-red the original article here

These days artist, Kyle Austin Dunn, still resides in San Francisco, CA and is creating a collection of large-scale pieces out of his studio in Oakland, CA. And his custom furniture business is booming! You can check out some of his unique and hand-crafted pieces by checking out BayAreaCustomFurniture.com here.

He creates some really cool pieces like the ones shown here at: 

bay area custom furniture by kyle austin dunn san francisco california

bay area custom furniture artist kyle austin dunn san francisco california

ENJOY, GIRLISHERS! 

Women Around the World: Weekly Article Feed

Your weekly update about happening around that you want to read about. Brought to you by The Whirling Girlish. Hope all of you are getting ready for a fantastic Women’s Rights Day this upcoming Tuesday! 

tina belcher bobs burgers feminismThe Women of Bob’s Burgers : http://www.npr.org/blogs/monkeysee/2014/08/23/342397137/feminism-in-a-run-down-taffy-factory-the-women-of-bobs-burgers (via NPR)

The Fate of Feminism in Pakistan : http://www.nytimes.com/2014/08/21/opinion/bina-shah-the-fate-of-feminism-in-pakistan.html?_r=0 (via NY Times)

Taylor Swift’s take on feminism “clarified” : http://www.mtv.com/news/1908420/taylor-swift-feminism-guardian/ (via MTV)

Conde Nast’s new CMO is shaking things up : http://www.forbes.com/sites/aliciaadamczyk/2014/08/21/new-cmo-is-latest-shakeup-at-media-giant-conde-nast/ (via Forbes)

Twitter parody humor for anti-feminists : http://www.chicagotribune.com/lifestyles/ct-twitter-feminism-parody-balancing-20140815-column.html (via Chicago Tribune)

Scenes from feminist implosion : http://nypost.com/2014/08/04/scenes-from-the-feminist-implosion/ (via NY Post)

I made a thing! Handcrafted reclaimed avocado wood goodies!

Hello readers!

Just a full little side note of what I have been filling some of my free time with!

When we moved into our house, the yard behind it had the two biggest avocado trees that I have ever seen! The biggest a lot of people have ever seen. It made the biggest fruit. Seriously. It impressed people.

But the developer that owned the lot cut down the trees because he wants to build apartments (so horrible!). People protested, and they had the hardest time finding a company that would agree to cut them down….
But finally they did, and when they showed up, I ran into one of the guys hired for the job. Like everyone else…he was totally bummed! But the bills weren’t going to pay themselves. So I asked him if he could cut the tree in such a way that parts of it would be salvageable for woodworking projects!
They were really excited about that idea, and complied the best they could, trying to cut the slabs flat. After two days, the beautiful trees were gone, and in their places, just two large stumps and big piles of lumber.
So stump by stump, I started gathering pieces that I thought would make beautiful furniture, cutting boards etc. After about two days of rolling and lugging, we had a nice collection of genuine Ventura, California Avocado wood in our backyard!

There was one stump in particular that I knew would make the best side table! But the wood was really wet and still alive. I would have to wait a month at least for it to dry out. But in the meantime, I bought some chisels and hammered the bark off of the pieces I wanted to use! After a couple of weeks, the stump looked something like this…

And with some more chiseling and A LOT of sanding…it started looking like this…
and after it was sanded and smooth, I started added layers of boiled linseed oil to seal it from water and serve as a protective coating!
It is still unfinished (it still needs some coats), but so far this is what the top looks like…

And there was a slab section I knew I wanted to use as a coffee table. My favorite piece. It was cut from one of the main stumps. After a couple of months it warped a bit but I was able to saw it in half, and sand it down so that it was level! It was a lot of sanding. A lot.
But all worth it!
Today I applied the first coat of boiled linseed oil just this afternoon, and so far this is what it looks like…

And here is a side view. Right now it is just resting on another unfinished stump. Eventually I will add metal hairpin legs, and it will be a mid-century modern style avocado coffee table! Here’s a side view…There are definitely some knicks and nooks, but I kind of think it adds some character.

It still needs about a weeks’ worth more of varnish/oil, and then I need to attach the legs…but so far so good!
There are other stumps like the one below that have had no work done yet, and I plan on sectioning them off into cool cutting boards!