PUPPETS & PROM DRESSESVillainette is the solo puppetry & music project by transgender-genderqueer interdisciplinary artist Scout Tran-Caffee. For Scout's Eisner-nominated comics, see failingsky.com and strip.villainette.com
Trained in portraiture initially, Scout has thrown herself into the study of a long list of artistic disciplines, from songwriting & accordion to street performance, video and sound art, movement, geurrilla installation and large-scale street game design. For nearly a decade she had been attempting to sew all these paths together, but to no avail.
In July of 2007 Scout ran across puppeteer Blair Thomas while working on her MFA in Chicago. Without warning or apology, puppets immediately took over her artistic practice. She apprenticed with the Blair Thomas & Co. from 2007-2008, building and performing in many grand projects at such places as the Field Museum, the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, and the Pritzker Pavillion. At the end of the 2008, she left her position as Shop Foreman with Blair Thomas to return to her home in the San Francisco Bay Area and begin her own puppet practice.
In Autumn of 2009, Scout set out on her first national tour to present solo puppet shows alongside original songs performed with accordions and wine glasses. Upon returning to California in 2010 she built her first festival-scale puppet show, "The Museum Proper," which kicked off further puppet/music projects with her long-time folk music collaborators Corpus Callosum. [Since 2009 Corpus Callosum has recorded two albums, made multiple west coast tours & one national tour, and curated a bimonthly music/performance evening The Uncanny Valley of the Heart's Delight at Anno Domini in San Jose. They maintain a small performance & recording space near downtown San Francisco, which can be booked at email@example.com. Corpus Callosum are collective recipients of the unsolicited Belle Foundation Fellowship.]
In 2013 Scout began experimenting with solo performance again, this time with the help of electronics & machines and a new focus on genderqueerness, publishing this work under the title Villainette, which was awarded an Awesome Foundation grant in 2015.
Diverting from performance and music in 2012, Scout began serially-publishing an experimental graphic novel at FailingSky.com to tell subtler fictions about transgender & genderqueer people. Failing Sky has been nominated for an Eisner Award in both its first two years of publication. While continuing Failing Sky, in 2015 Scout launched a weekly comic strip at strip.villainette.com as a more lighthearted vent for experiences living as trans & genderqueer.
Scout holds a BFA in Painting/Drawing from the California College of Arts & Crafts and an MFA in Performance from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She has been an artist in residence for the Tinkering Studio at the Exploratorium, and her cardboard artwork has been commissioned by the Exploratorium and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art as well as being featured in The Art of Tinkering. She is the Chief Badgemaker for the Feminist-Genderqueer Bicycle Gang, The Degenderettes.