Thursday, March 31

Art Love Japan

The recent disasters in Japan have touched all of us; As humans we can only feel an overwhelming feeling of sympathy and heartbreak for all the people who have lost loved ones, homes, livelihoods...everything they had and knew. Yet, as a single being on the other side of the world there's also a sense of helplessness about what we can really do to make a difference. But, I think every little bit counts, and I've been inspired by some friends who have responded by using their talents to create art for sale and offering up the proceeds to relief efforts.

Manjari Sharma—a dear friend and amazing photographer—just created a gorgeous limited edition print entitiled "Hope" that was sold through Wall Space Gallery and benefited 2 charities aiding the Japanese in need.  Tara Jacoby—a friend and super talented emerging illustrator—created a really beautiful piece that she's selling prints of and donating all proceeds to the Red Cross. So, when I saw the call for entries for Art Love Japan, I was super excited to have my own chance to create something for the cause.

Art Love Japan is a charity art show/event at In Rivers Gallery in Brooklyn, New York. Anyone can participate by sending in a small 5"x8" work of art inspired by the theme of love, hope and happiness. All original works will be sold for $20 and buyers will have the choice of 3 charities to donate the proceeds to. 

The exhibit opens Friday April 8 and will only show for 3 days at In Rivers Art Gallery in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. Full details about the project and exhibit can be found on the website or facebook page.

Every April, my street becomes a beautiful promenade of pink petals and the air becomes filled with a sweet, delicious smell as the Japanese cherry trees lining the perimeter of the Brooklyn Botanical Garden begin to blossom. I love this time and these trees, and so I felt inspired to use such a beautiful cultural symbol to convey my sense of love and hope for Japan in my piece. As I was researching, I learned exactly what the cherry blossoms symbolize to the Japanese people: The fragility and ephemeral nature of life. That fragility has been exemplified in Japan more than ever over this last month—so it seemed the perfect subject matter to base an image off of. Here's the piece I created and am donating to the exhibit:

I really enjoyed creating this. There wasn't much time from the call for submissions to deadline for this project, so I tried to keep it simple and experimented a bit with style and medium. I found a cool paper laying around my studio—almost like an oak tag stock—and used ink and water color & liquid acrylic washes to just add minimal color. It was a fun, fresh way for me to work a bit differently from both my heavily textured paintings and my flat, digital art.

I'll be at the exhibit next Friday—if you are in the NYC area come check it out, buy some affordable art—and support a great cause!

Monday, March 28


I just sent off my submission for the Photomobile—it's Art House Co-op's current project, where participants choose a theme, receive a disposable camera, interpret their theme in the 27-exposures on the camera, and send in the outcome. Similar to the Sketchbook Project, the Co-op will curate a traveling exhibit out of all photos they receive and take the show across the country—but this time, they'll be traveling in an airstream trailer that the library of images is housed in!

This project just sounded way too cool to pass up, and the timing was just perfect—I signed up and received my camera right before my trip to New Orleans for Mardi Gras—and one of the themes is "Neighborhood Characters"—what could be more fitting!

I had a lot of fun capturing colorful images of interesting people down there to tell my story and submit to the project. Here's a few of my favorite shots:

I especially love the last shot; I love the white and black—even in the background awnings and windows—and the quietness of the street behind the couple. Almost feels like a small town in France or something...which is actually a quality that many places in the French Quarter have.

I have to admit, there was an interesting challenge to this project that hadn't really occurred to me until I got the pictures developed. We've become completely accustomed to digital photography—you can instantly zoom, crop, and view your shots unlike on these disposable 35mm point-and-shoots. We've also become used to looking at photos on screen, rather than getting the dingy drug-store developed prints of the past. So I felt much less in control with these, which I think is a big part of the point of this project. But, as fun it was to be surprised by what came out on my camera, there were a lot of shots that just didn't feel dynamic enough to include in my submission. But, I've still submitted most of the pics and will have to wait and see what they choose to include in the exhibit!

There's still time to sign up if you're interested—anyone can participate. Registration is open until March 31st, and you don't need to postmark your entry until June 15. The touring exhibit will kick off in Brooklyn in Fall 2011—you can find out all the details on Art-House Co-ops website.

Friday, March 25

March Madness

March has been such an exciting, wonderful month!  Right after wrapping up a super cool job for Cleveland Magazine (which I be posting samples of as soon as I get the final layouts) I took off for two back-to-back super fun adventures: my very first Mardi Gras in New Orleans, then my very first time to the SXSW music festival in Austin, TX!

Anyone that knows my work (or me personally) knows how much I love music....and food. Both these towns and events are completely about music and food and celebration—so I felt right at home and extremely inspired!

This was my 4th visit to New Orleans, but my first for Mardi Gras. A huge fan of costumes, parading, and all-around shenanigans,  Mardi Gras has been on the very top of my bucket list for awhile. I also have fallen quite deeply in love with the city of New Orleans from my annual visits over the past 3 years—I love absolutely everything about it. From the incredible food to the colorful culture; from the warm, fun people to the pretty sights and funky sounds; I truly cannot get my fill of that wonderful, amazing city!!

And Mardi Gras is one of the oldest, all-encompassing cultural celebrations the city holds annually. I'd been told by locals that it's truly a representation of what the culture is all about, and something that I just have to experience at least once in my life—especially if I really love the city. This year was just the year! After having gotten familiar with the city the past few years, I felt prepared to have a true (i.e. NON-frat boy) experience of this amazing celebration.

My best friend—New Orleans travel companion extraordinaire and costume-parading cohort, Kristin Smith—and I created some of the best costumes we've conjured up to date. Playing off the traditions of the Mardi Gras spirit, we designed something bright, beautiful and feathery, and made quite a splash! We were definitely a big hit and fit right in with the locals on Mardi Gras Day!! The amount of fun had in three days of dancing, parading, laughing, eating (and of course bead-catching!) is really hard to sum up or capture in pictures....but here's an attempt.  It really was one of the most fun, colorful, exciting things I've had the chance to experience!

Exactly one week after returning from New Orleans (meaning just one week of much needed recovery!) I was off to Austin for the SXSW music festival. My first time to Austin, I fell in love! It's such a cool city--It actually, in ways, reminded me of the spirit of New Orleans and Nashville—it's another city with music everywhere, every hour of the day, and some of the nicest local people I could imagine! I also really love the sort of "weird" eccentric, retro feel that the whole city has—there's was all this super cool signage all over the place. And I has some of the most interesting and most delicious food there—"artisan" hot dogs at Franks, the best BBQ I've ever had at Stubbs and Iron Works, Guiness ice cream at Amy's, fried avocados, breakfast burritos, bacon bloody marys and of course the Triple Lindy: Makers Mark, pickle juice, and beer shots (yes, each one chasing the previous! Yum!!)

One of my highlights was a double dose of Dancing Man 504 in both New Orleans and Austin! Dancing Man—or Darryl Young—is this amazing guy...a staple of New Orleans who's devoted himself to 2nd line dancing and sharing it with others—especially children. He's founded a program, Heal 2 Toe, where he teaches second line dance and culture to kids. He's all around an amazing guy with a ton of talent and personality, and I was able to meet and hang out with him for a bit in NOLA, then able to jump in his 2nd line parade down 6th St in Austin! If you are in NYC, he'll be doing A Jazz Funeral for Coney Island on April 3rd—I absolutely recommend checking it out!

And as far as the music festival—it was just awesome. Music everywhere!! Almost overwhelming to navigate, so we just kind of winged it, popping in cool little places for free shows as we walked around rather than buying a badge or rsvp'ing to get into the bigger shows. But I loved it that way. Got to see and hear a ton, found a few new bands that I super love—like the Orbans—and really just got to soak in the city as a whole. I can't wait to go back again sometime!

Just had to share these little tidbits....feeling really creatively inspired from weeks of celebrating life with great music, food, art and people! Ready to translate that into some good new work ...then on to the next adventure! :)

Wednesday, March 23

Spring snow showers?!

One of the most disheartening things I can think of is waking up to sleet and snow in March, after a weekend of warm weather fooling me into thinking spring had finally arrived! Unfortunately, that's exactly how the first official days of spring have begun this year in NYC!

What else can you do but make the best of it by using it as an excuse to make a wintery piece of art! I've had this little gal inked and hanging around my studio for quite awhile, so felt inspired to finally give her a little color.

I have lots of exciting things to post soon....just wrapped up a super cool editorial illustration project, have recently had some crazy fun travels, and have my new website in the works and close to launching. So stay posted...this busyness has made for pretty sporadic blogging lately, but I'll be sharing lots soon!