Saturday, September 19, 2009

EmbroiderBirdies

On a daily basis, it is almost guaranteed that at least one item of clothing adorning my body is polka dotted. I don't understand my fascination with a pattern consisting of nothing but repeated circles, but I embrace it regardless. This blue hoodie was a little boring, so I embroiBIRD it. (sorry. lame.)

Each vintage tattoo inspired sparrow measures between 3-5 inches. The design of the birds is based on a stencil I saw quite some time ago and I don't remember where.

It turns out that this seemingly unassuming hoodie was a poor choice of an embroidery subject because: 1. The combination of the knitted fabric and thick screen-printed dots made any kind of marking on the fabric impossible. I had to freehand it entirely. 2. Trying to force a needle through those thick screen-printed dots resulted in some seriously sore fingers. In life and in craft, no pain, no gain, and since I'm pretty hardcore I conquered the dots and through that pain, gained a pair of sweet birdies.

Both Birdies

Birdie 1

Birdie 2


Birdie Hoodie!
(Although difficult to discern in the picture, birdie #2 is on the collar bone region and the other one is on the upper chest region, not mid-boob as it may appear.)

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Seattle Paintings #3: The Twins


These paintings were not originally intended to be a part of the series. However, the friend who commissioned me wanted to have a painting night in which I was to teach him a few basics. I decided to teach him a quick and awesome technique involving cardboard and blobs of paint that I later employed on the city series. We sat down on his apartment floor with trash bags and newspaper spread out on his nice hardwood floors, put on Monster's Inc. and made masterpieces. At the end of the evening he asked me if there was any way he could add those to his collection because he loved them so much. I call them The Twins. They're quite small (8"x10"), but they're super charming.

Thing #1
Thing #2

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Seattle Paintings #2: City on Fire Series

Now that FAIL is out of the way, I can move on to success. FAIL was originally intended to the centerpiece of a three part series but never got past the first part. From a mental standpoint, these were less about composition than they were about moving paint around on the canvas. After the excruciating mental effort that FAIL required of me, I decided to approach FAIL #2 without intention or forethought. I knew which colors to use and roughly where to use them (burnt orange and golds towards the top, blues towards the bottom) but that's it. I mixed acrylic with water and played with opacity and blending. I squeezed out splotches of paint directly onto the canvas and used pieces of cardboard to spread. I got into the zone that doesn't involve thinking about what you're doing, just doing. I think it looks like the skyline of a city that is on fire.

This is the piece that directly replaced FAIL as the centerpiece. (24"x24")


And this is the piece in context of its series. (each side piece is 10"x24")

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Featured Project on Craftster!!!

My first post has been chosen as a featured project on Craftster! Hooray for my dino coloring book art!

Dino Fun Time

I have a small ugly plastic dinosaur named Gerald Ford (no reason in particular, it was the first name that popped into my head) and I have toted him around the City taking silly pictures of him for the entire summer. Personally, I think they're hilarious. Two of my faves:

Dino stomps West Side Story

Dino scales a building.

When not stomping on Broadway or scaling skyscrapers, he fuels up on cupcakes. His favorite is from Billy's.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Seattle Paintings #1: FAIL big and go home

A friend commissioned several paintings to decorate his apartment. As my very first commission, I was nervous to come up with something satisfactory. I took him to a paint store and asked him to pick out a color palette of acrylic paint and canvases, and asked for a list of images he is drawn to. After several months of incubation, planning, trial and error and more error, I came up with seven satisfactory paintings. But, before I get to my successes, I'd like to present a painting that I fondly titled FAIL.

This was my first attempt of the series. It was the first concept that I came up with and since it is the smaller of the two large pieces, I thought I'd get the "easier" one out of the way. Wrong. This painting was the bane of my existence for several months. I was plagued with the frustration of being completely unable to translate my vision to the canvas. Most of my paintings start off as a relatively clear picture in my mind that then transforms and evolves as it comes into being. This one sucked when I started it and sucked when I finished/abandoned it. I attempted concept after concept, a variety of methods, I painted white over entire sections, I took breaks and completed other paintings, I asked several helpful artistic minds for input and I still managed to fail. I lost sleep mulling it over and woke up in the middle of the night with a new brilliant idea that would save my crap painting, which never worked...

Two weeks prior to leaving Seattle, I put FAIL aside, bought a new canvas and cultivated a new frame of mind.
Sometimes you just have to know when to say when. If there was a theme for my year in Seattle, I'd say it was giving up. In a good way. I can't fix everything. Sometimes giving up is a perfectly appropriate and acceptable response. I tried to cover up the evidence of what didn't work instead of putting those remains aside for a blank slate with unlimited potential.

When I think about it (don't want to get too philosophical here, but I can't help but make the comparison), my dear FAIL was the physical manifestation of what was happening in several areas of my life. You can only put forth so much effort and invest so much time before you have to take a step back to admit to yourself that it is not working. I'd never given up on a painting before, I'd never given up on a relationship before, and I certainly hadn't taken a second look at the career that I've dedicated a decade and am now veering away from.


I don't know if FAIL ended up in a dumpster or as an eyesore on someone's wall, but either way I am grateful for FAIL for the hell it put me through and how wonderful it felt when I figured my way out of it.


Moral of the story: Fail big. Fail often. Then get a new canvas and create something fantastic.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

A Salute to Summer

Summer usually means the following to me: Colorado, mountains, hiking, climbing, swimming, gorgeous cloudless days and cool nights, camping, friends, family and relaxation. This was my first summer in New York City and let me just say that I am thrilled to embrace the fall. NYC can be a pretty nasty place to be during the warmest season. Although this summer was rather mild, so I hear, I can't wait to say goodbye to:
-oppressive humidity!
-everyone sweating literally all the time
-sweltering summer nights that provide no relief from the heat and actually seem hotter than the day
-descending the stairs into subway stations = descending into the pits of hell. that's how hot it is down there.
-subway trains with broken air conditioners
-rainy days that manage to
not be refreshing because it's still relentlessly hot!
-garbage baking in the sun on the sidewalks


I did have a few fantastic NYC firsts and summer-specific adventures. Highlights include a sunset cruise around Manhattan, free concerts in various parks, Nathan's 4th of July Hot Dog Eating Contest (68 hotdogs in 10 minutes. Intensely gross and I secretly loved it), the strangeness of Coney Island and the strangeness of the fact that I went there 4 times, lazy Central Park days, zoos and the aquarium, my birthday, a tranny in a bad blonde wig's bad impression of me (totally jealous of my natural locks), cat-sitting for a kitty that drools when she's happy, and the relaxed pace that the City adopts. The City offers endless summer attractions, free entertainment options, street fairs, festivals, restaurant week, etc because without them, this place would be an empty smelly oven.


The view from my summer residence on the Upper West Side of the Hudson and New Jersey.

Manhattan from Brooklyn.

A sailboat, the Hudson, and New Jersey. Taken from the water.

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