Monday, July 25, 2011

When I moved to NY 3 years ago I dreamed that I would take the art world by storm up here. That is not what has happened. 

Am I disappointed? No, I really am not. 

Sometimes I wonder what I am doing wrong why can't I get some shows up here. Truth is I have been so busy doing and creating art that I just have not had time to search for one.

I've participated in a few group shows up here. One was this really cool skate deck show in a gallery called APW. They had a great space and a wonderful crowd opening night. There were some really great boards on display. The gallery emailed me asking me to keep my boards there in inventory which was fine by me. A few months later when I decided they had been there long enough I went to contact them and they were gone. Out of business. No contact info. So there went 2 of my favorite skate decks. 

The next show was right up my alley... a Halloween themed show sponsored by Fangoria magazine. The setting was a bit strange... in one of my fave sushi restaurants in the city- Avenue A Sushi. But hey, a lot of restaurants feature local artists. The opening night was nice. Quite a few people came out. I even sold a piece- Charlie Chainsaw. It went all down hill after that. I kept getting reports that my pieces were no longer hanging. I'd call and nobody every knew anything. So I stopped by and still no one new anything. They eventually found the missing pieces in the basement. So all ended ok.

Title- An Axe to Grind. Quite an appropriate piece for this show.

Despite these few little bumps in the road I have already had one wonderful art career and I still get giddy thinking about my pieces scattered about the country. I feel very thankful that there a few special folks out there who like my work. THANKS!

I'd like to go back and visit some of the "highs". Not to toot my own horn at all, but just to reminisce and get amped up for what is still to come...

One of my favorite shows was in SEED a coop that I used to belong to Winston-Salem. They were and still are a wonderful group of artists!

The show was Candy Coated Nightmares. I collected vintage lingerie and children's clothing in candy colors to hang amid the space. I painted the walls with candy stripes and drippy drips. For treats to offer visitors to the show I had a ton of old-timey candies and PEEPS with red food coloring spattered on them.

I don't seem to have any photos of that show. It makes me sad. So if you're reading this and you have some please send them my way!

Another show that I had at SEED was Psycho Nanny Nursery. I spent a lot of time finding old kids toys to mix in with my art pieces. Again I painted the walls and stenciled paper dolls all around. I had baby pink and blue balloons all on the ground to wade through in the gallery. The paintings all centered around childhood experiences. 

 Say Cheese!

 Fashion Note: Horns-Made by my dad, Baby Doll top- Betsey Johnson for Victoria Secrets, Jewelry- Vintage pieces

For this show I had the 2-Headed twin panel that you could stick your head through and have a photo made. That was a lot of fun.

My miniatures show was also a lot of fun. No pieces were over 5x7 and most were WAY smaller than that. This was April Showers Bloody Flowers. This show called for giant rain clouds with glitter drops of blood streaming down. My husband helped me with this. We made giant shapes of chicken wire then we covered it with batting and spray painted them dark and stormy. I made foam core drop shapes that I covered in red glitter and dangled from red ribbons.

 My Second Family- The Youngs
Fashion Note: Tutu was from a yard sale of my old dance teacher Miss Dorminy. Necklace: Tarina Tanantino Top: Marshalls

 Looks like someone snuck in for a preview!

I've also had quite a few shows at Urban Artware. Millicent the owner there has treated me so well over the years. I think my fist show there was Freaks, Geeks and Beauties (thus my blog and jewelry line title) I did the entrance in Red and white striped fabric. I had to be on a budget as usual since all extras come straight out of pocket. So I found this real inexpensive vinyl table cloth fabric. It didn't even have to be sewn!

 Step right up ladies and gentlemen to the spectacle that lurks behind these curtains!

For me having an art opening is as exciting as a vacation. It means all the hard work is done and I get to stand around and chat about my work with friends and family and make new friends.

Here are just a few more snap shots from different shows throughout the years.

My niece-Chyna, older sister-Lisa, dad-Tommy, myself and younger sister- Mindy
This show was Delightfully Dreadful Tales
The Opening for Cupcakes and Creeps.
Fashion Note: Tutu- online find, Shirt- Sailor Jerry PJ top

My husband and I made this giant cupcake out of a lamp shade, insulation and baby parts
Here I am with two of my biggest supporters David and Susan Hunter at a group show in High Point, NC

This show was at Rebus Works in Raleigh. It was called Black Valentine.

My next big event will be in September. At an out door art festival in Winston-Salem's Grace Court. This will be showcasing mostly my new jewelry with some small paintings and burlesque side show paper dolls! I can hardly wait.

This weekend I also did a photoshoot at Eastern State Pen in Philly. Despite the 100ยบ weather with no air, it was a lot of fun. Here are just a few shots.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Art-o-mat pins complete just in time for a Coney Island visit

Sunday was my deadline. That's how I work. I give myself deadlines so things get done. My husband calls me "The Responsible Artist." I like this title.

My deadline of completing my pins to go in the Art-o-Mat machines (See earlier post) was eminent. I told myself Saturday night that I had to get up early and go for my run then get my pins boxed and ready to ship out.

7:45- I'm up!

8:00- Coffee down. No breakfast- it'll slosh around in my belly when I run which makes me not feel so good.

8:30- Out the door. Wow. It's pretty hot out here even for this Southen Belle.

10:00- I'm back. Jump in the shower.

10:30 Time to get busy...

I have all the pins made. The steps are on the blog from X-XX-XX. But that is only the beginning. Each Art-O-Mat needs to be a nice little package. That way when people purchase one they are happy with the whole experience.

A Tiffany & Co. bag with Tiffany pins ready for packing

1. I need to trim out all the wraps for the boxes. I chose to use the brown pasteboard boxes instead of white slick boxes. I want the purchaser to feel they are opening an old treasure they found in a circus travel chest. My design for the wrap is circus tent stripes but instead of the typical red and white I've used shades of purple. The type is done in my favorite face- ROSEWOOD.

Wraps ready for the trimming

2. The boxes must be folded first so that I can wrap the stickers around.

3. The labels must be adhered to the boxes. So I make myself a little spray booth out of an old box. I probably shouldn't be spraying this adhesive in the apartment but- oh well! I'll just hold my breath and hope the puppies don't breathe in too much.

Paste board boxes ready to fold
Folded and ready to wrap!

4. I have decided to attach each pin to a nice piece of tulle. Not the old yucky stiff stuff but some nice soft tulle. Using my black and lavender color scheme. This will help pad the box as well as adding another layer of PRETTY. Also in each box I add my business card to lure people to my blog and ETSY store.

Layers of pins and tulle

5. After closing each and every lid one last step is to wrap the box in clear cellophane.  This aids in the dispensing of the box of treasure.
Small wall of Art-O-Mat boxes

6. Last I pack it all up to ship off to AIC World Headquarters in Winston-Salem.

Bye Bye!

From there the pieces will be sent out to Art-O-Mat machines across the country. I'll post on here when I hear where they are so that you can go get a little treasure for yourself!

1:40- Gotta take out the pups. Pack my cooler. Grab my parasol, camera, 100SPF, beach towel and subway card. Time to hit the tracks!

Elvira and her teeth

Monster looking for rats at the park

2:40- I've found the perfect spot. I get off at the NY Aquarium one stop before Coney Island Stillwell Ave. and find a place there. It seems just a smidge less crowded than right in the middle of it all. It still has a nice view of the Parachute Jump.

Beach photo with Diana camera

Me at Coney taken with Lee's (my husband) Holga camera
Swimsuit: Betsey Johnson, vintage glasses:Kill Devil Hill in Brooklyn

5:30- Well it's either hit the Freak Bar, Ruby's or take a few pics. I think I'll opt for the pics today. I wander through Luna Park with my Diana Camera ready to go. I take a few photos of some kiddie rides. Who knows- they could show up in paintings later!

Here a few pics taken...
This guy told me that I have a lot of tattoos. I think he'd give me a run for my money.

6:00- Time to head on back. Today was a good day.

On a side note- My jewelry has gone international. I sent a pair of earrings out to the UK! Woo hoo!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Diana Dreamy Photography

Once upon a time I really enjoyed photography...
Then the computer and digital camera came along.

For the last however many years I have viewed photography as a burden. I still have enjoyed documenting the things that I do and see. But more often than not I find myself dreading looking through the disk of hundreds of images and trying to decide what is print worthy. 

So I get everything organized and ready to print then lo and behold- I’m outta ink. Ugggh.

This warrants a trip to the local Staples or Office Depot. Here in the city that has "everything" neither of these places are convenient to me. So a special trip has to be planned and an after work run or workout will be missed. Or perhaps I'll ruin a Saturday running around to see who has my ink in stock.

All this is too much like work.

Well I have decided to travel back in time. Back to the 1960s in fact. When people used film!

I headed to the local Lomo Store only a few blocks from my home. I’d been in here many times before but since I was so down on photography I’d just look around with not much interest. This time would be different- I was ready to purchase!

Money in hand I walked in knowing I wanted a Diana F+.

Original Diana F

Me being me- I wanted the most pretty one they had. The Diana was originally a most unusual blue and black. But that just wouldn’t do.  Normally I would go for pink and if they would have had a nice creamy pale shade of pink, I probably would have fell victim to it’s charm. The only pink one was a hot pink and black combo.

Mighty cute, but it just wouldn’t go with many of my outfits. There for the solid white won out. For a mere two hundred and some odd dollars I bought the whole kit and kaboodle. I got close-up lenses, zoom lenses, some fancy little thing that does some double exposure thingy (I’ve yet to try this), it has a flash, it has a fish eye lens and it even came with a cute little squirrel carry pack. But what it DID NOT HAVE was a nice strap. SO I hit up ETSY right away. I found the nicest little pink and white strap to deck out my Diana with- from Sassy Straps.

My first shoot with my new set-up was a big one- The Coney Island Mermaid Parade (see previous blog) I must say I was a little nervous. Weird. I only had 12 frames to shoot. What would be worthy? What if I miss the shot? What if I don’t know what I’m doing and all images are ruined? 

Finally a few hours into our adventure I pulled out the Diana. At first I was rather hesitant but after my first click I was hooked. I still wanted to look at the back of the camera to see what image I had captured obviously that is not how film works.

I must say when you only have a few frames you tend to actually think about your photo composition and lighting a bit more- just like the good old days.

My twelve shots went by fast but carefully.

The very next weekend held another special occasion- The Governor’s Island 1920s Lawn Party (see earlier blog) It was a beautiful day and the people were beautiful as well. I pointed and CLICKED a few times still being a tad on the cautious side.

Twenty four CLICKS complete and I was headed back to the Lomo store to drop off my film for development. In a world of instant gratification I was actually enjoying the wait... the anticipation... what will my prints look like?!

My Lomo store NYC

Two days later back to Lomo I go, I snatch up my box of prints, disk and negatives and head to Washington Square Park. There is no way I can wait to get them home. Opening the pack I smell the sweet smell of photo prints. Yummmmm. Dreamy image after dreamy image lay out in front of me. Soft. Surreal. Dramatic. Oh joy! This is just what I was hoping for.

Now mind you, not every image is a masterful work of art, in fact several were nightmares altogether. I learned some lessons with these first few rolls. Diana likes the sun, if she is using the flash she better be close to her subject and sometimes what Diana thinks she sees isn’t always what is captured. This is also the beauty of the images.

Mermaid Parade (unedited) 

Oh and another thing I like that I kinda forgot about... real photo prints have no dot pattern and that makes them quite lovely.

Bethesda Fountain Central Park (unedited)

1920s Party (unedited)

With Diana as my new friend, I look forward to doing some more shoots and sharing them here.