Laura Aguilar

Luis Alfaro

Don Bachardy

Ben Cuevas


Vaginal Davis

Tony De Carlo

Alison De La Cruz

Anthony Friedkin

Olga Garcia-Echeverria

Rudi Gerneich

Ken Gonzales-Day

Susan "Phranc" Gottlieb

Aurora Guerrero

Robert "Cyclona" Legorreta

Catherine Lord

Guglio "Gronk" Nicandro

Roy Rogers Oldenkamp

Monica Palacios

Antonio Rael

Julio Salgado

Terisa Siagatonu

Joey Terrill

Ryan Trecartin



Susan (Phranc) Gottlieb

  • Artist Susan (Phranc) Gottlieb
  • Phranc's Art
  • Contributor Dorothy Soto

Phranc (born Susan Gottlieb) is an American folksinger and visual artist based in Santa Monica. She began her musical career in the L.A. punk scene of late 1970s and early 1980s, first as a member of Nervous Gender, and later as part of Catholic Discipline. By 1985, Phranc was fed up with the sexism she encountered in the punk scene and ventured out as a solo artist. Although she didn’t find commercial success as “America’s favorite Jewish lesbian folksinger,” she continues to be an inspiration and queer icon.

Phranc has also made an impact in the visual arts. Known as the “Cardboard Cobbler,” Phranc is known for crafting everyday objects like shoes and clothing out of paper and cardboard. She claims that she became inspired to create three-dimensional objects after eating a perfect slice of yellow cake. She envisioned sewing cardboard and using bolts of paper in place of bolts of fabric. A friend taught her how to thread her grandmother’s old sewing machine and the rest was history!


In 2006, Phranc collaborated with cartoonist and fellow paper lover Alison Bechdel in a joint show entitled “Paper Play” at Pine Street Art Works in Vermont. The show included life-sized paper dolls created by Bechdel which were dressed in Phranc’s paper clothing. Her love of mid-century kitsch shines through in this show with pieces ranging from black and white saddle shoes to this red and white striped t-shirt, which is displayed here on the life-sized paper doll version of Phranc. During the time leading up to the exhibition, Phranc created a podcast in which she explains how she creates her “fabric” for her paper clothing and gives us a glimpse at a work in progress—the now infamous black and white saddle shoes. Her process for creating the “fabric” is a labor intensive one that involves hand-painting large rolls of kraft paper, in this case with red and white stripes, and then cutting out a pattern and sewing it together on her grandmother’s old sewing machine. Like her music, Phranc’s artwork reflects her interests and her insights on everyday life, and as with much of her music, she makes her commentary with a sense of humor.




The Cardboard Cobbler strikes again, and this time she traded in her California surf wares for what looks like some relics from the O.K. Corral. In November of 2011, Phranc debuted her exhibit entitled Phranc & Co. Out West General Store at the Autry Museum. The exhibit, “a store within a store,”  included cardboard versions of traditional items that were commonly found in a Western general store like barrels and sacks of flour alongside touristy gift shop items like belts and sheriff badges. The exhibit was part of Out West at the Autry, which sought to shed light on the history and culture of the Western LGBT community through a series of gallery exhibitions, films, lectures, and plays.

ArtSlant.com describes Phranc’s use of cardboard as “a witty observation on the artificial nature of fabricated legends and parallels the Old West's use of tall thin facades to make their buildings look more impressive” (Artslant: Calender 2011). Her skill and creativity in making the mundane fun and meaningful is truly impressive. I chose an image that incorporated a few of my favorite pieces from the exhibit: the guitar, the belt, and of course, no Cardboard Cobbler show is complete without a great pair of shoes, or in this case boots!

My name is Dorothy Soto and I am a senior Ethnomusicology major at UCLA. My area of emphasis has been music industry, and upon graduating, I hope to translate my knowledge and experience into a career in the field of music supervision.

Prior to returning to school, I spent five years working in other facets of the music business, mainly as a musician and working for a small music retailer.

My major has afforded me the opportunity to study various cultures through their music. I took an interest in the Queer Arts in Los Angeles class after researching the Riot Grrrl movement for a Radical Music course in my department. The Queer Arts in Los Angeles project has allowed me to discover many other talented, local artists that are too often under-represented. I took an interest in Phranc's work first through her punk/folk music and later for her kitsch, mid-century kraft paper creations. Whether it is through music or craft, Phranc's work often expresses profound social commentary while maintaining a sense of humor. I hope you enjoy this small sampling of her work!