Thursday, July 29

Gallery piece

A few months ago, I signed on with MacWorthington Gallery in Columbus Ohio. I'll periodically show paintings there, and my work can also be seen and purchased through their online gallery. The first show that I'll have work included in there will be in September, so I wanted to share the in-progress painting I'm working on.

The gallery is open to any subject matter and medium, so it's a great opportunity for me to explore themes I'm personally excited about and also experiment with medium a bit. I had so many images in my head that I would just love to create--but thought a lot also about something that might sell to the kind of clientele a gallery like that might get. I decided to tap into a recent inspiration--the Coney Island Mermaid Parade.

The Mermaid Parade stems from Coney Island's Mardi Gras celebration that was celebrated every autumn in NYC from 1903-1954.  It was re-born in the early 1980s as a celebration of summer, held each June on the Saturday closest to the summer solstice. 3 years ago, some friends and I decided to participate, because with our love of costume-making, it just seemed natural! We've marched in it each year since, and it's one of my absolute favorite events of the year! This most recent parade was our favorite to date--we played off the Coney Island sideshow/freakshow and created marine representations of old-time sideshow performers, "The Spectacular Seashow". (I was an Octupus-woman..."Suzi Squid"!) Here's a few photos of our get-ups!:

There's a "Freak Bar" at Coney island--adjacent to the Freak Show performance space, and we found ourselves hanging out there for a good portion of the day after the parade ended. There were quite a few people who wanted our pictures--and the American flag hanging outside was a perfect backdrop for us to vogue a few pin-up style poses. We were also handed a "golden bird" by another participant, who informed us it's a Mermaid Parade tradition and good luck to hold this bird on Mermaid Parade day. Not sure how much truth is in that--but we had alot of fun posing, and these are the photos I've derived my inspiration and reference from:

And this is my sketch for the piece I will be submitting to MacWorthington Gallery. I am super  excited to get going in color with this!

Wednesday, July 21

The Sketchbook Project

I'm really excited about participating in The Sketchbook Project--a nation-wide art project organized by Art House Gallery. Each participant receives a Moleskine sketchbook to fill as they wish, inspired by a provided theme. The sketchbook is to be sent back to Art House, who will exhibit the sketchbooks across the country. The tour includes Brooklyn, Austin, San Francisco, Portland (ME), Atlanta, and Chicago. Eventually, the books end up in the permanent collection of The Brooklyn Art Library, where they will be barcoded and available for the public to view.

I chose the theme "Great hopes and massive failures" which has already inspired me with lots of visual ideas to explore. I can't wait to get my book and get started!

Anyone is invited to participate--if you are interested, you should check it out on their site.

The Sketchbook Project: 2011

Monday, July 19


I want to share some highlights from my experience at ICON--though it's hard to pare it down because the entire weekend really was fantastic!

There was just so many great speakers! There was a major focus on the world of publishing and what the future of illustration within publishing holds for us, with all the rapidly changing technology and media formats. Alot of interesting (and differing!) opinions from art directors, designers and illustrators created alot of discussion throughout the entire weekend. Obviously, no one can really answer the question of what the future holds—in any context—but it is an important time to be thinking about how our changing world is going to affect visual artists' careers in the all-too-near future...for the better or the worse. I personally feel that the industry will be very different in just a few years--but not in a good or bad way necessarily. I think as artists we just all need to be open to adapting to what's next, and keeping our eyes open for new markets that will be created as technology continues to change. It could be a very exciting time.

There were some really great panels on the use of illustration, rather than photography, from some top art directors & companies--including SooJin Buzzelli, Sally Morrow, Irene Gallo, and the creative team at United Airways. There was a really entertaining discussion from children's book illustrators John Hendrix, Adam McCauley & Istvan Banyai, and a pretty memorable overview from Wayne White on his illustrator-to-cartoonist-puppeteer-to-fine artist career path. There were also lots of cool presentations from motion graphics/animation studios (of course, it was LA!)

One of my other favorite sessions was a talk from Melinda Beck and Gary Taxali on issues of exposure vs. fair pay. They shared some great stories, and are both artists whom I admire so much—not just for their work—but also for their knowledge of the business and the ethics they practice when dealing with clients.

The ICON bookstore always has a great selection of books to pick up from the featured artists and speakers. I just couldn't resist buying Paul Rogers' Jazz ABZ--the art is so beautiful. I love the graphic quality and the sophisticated palette and design. And, of course I am completely inspired by the subject matter. I also had the great opportunity to meet Paul and have him sign my copy--he's a pretty awesome guy!

I also was really inspired by Todd Oldham's presentation, and love his book on Charlie Harper—a collection of his work over the span of his 60-year career—which is gorgeous! He spoke a lot about the time he spent with Charlie during the last few years of his life, cataloging all his work, which was fascinating. I also was super excited to meet Mr. Oldham at the book signing.

And the other book I just had to pick up  and get signed was The Dress Doctor, illustrated by fashion-illustrator Bil Donovan. Bil's style is just so inspiring--the way he captures so much elegance and grace in such simple, bold forms. And, he was an incredibly sweet person also!

Of course--aside from all the great info and inspiration in everything I attended, it also proved to be another wonderful conference of connecting and networking with so many amazing and talented peers. I met lots of great new people, but also re-connected with tons of people I've met at previous conferences and illustration events...and once again, I'm reminded that illustrators are the most fun people in the world!

New blog design

I just returned from ICON6 --the Illustration Conference--in Pasadena, CA. It's an event held every 2 years or so in a different city, and always proves to be a fantastically inspiring weekend filled with incredible speakers, workshops, and presentations. This year was no different--I saw and met so many talented and fun people and really got myself re-energized about my work and thinking alot about some new paths to explore.

Step one--updating this blog! I felt like it really needed a little bit of designing--thought I'm not feeling too excited about blogger's new "template" designs. I don't love the limited choices in color and background images/textures, and the fact that I'm unable to upload more of my own imagery. But, maybe it'll just take a bit more figuring out and playing with, or exploring how to create a custom-designed blog. For now--do feel free to let me know if you have any thoughts on this--better, worse?