Thursday, July 10, 2008

Good Advice

I didn't write the following paragraph, it is from my horoscope today on I thought it deserved to be here as it is a good thing to keep in mind every day.

When we approach our objectives with the notion that success is in our future, we naturally feel more confident and are more apt to stride unhesitantly into those circumstances that will facilitate our eventual victory. Optimism can serve as a wonderful source of motivation and inspiration, whether we are focused on mundane goals or our most beloved dreams, because it compels us to visualize the future in a positive light. We tend to think about all the goodness that is waiting for us rather than the potential pitfalls that can keep us from achieving our purpose. Consequently, we spend much of our time making sure we are doing all we can to realize the beautiful future we have seen in our mind's eye. Your positive visions of the future will help you come closer than ever to reaching your goals today.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

In Search of Inspiration

Today I was feeling the need for some external inspiration; even though I have some friendly coworkers around to chat with, just being here at my desk at the office just wasn't cutting it. I have with me today part of one of my illustration / digital collages on an SD card to work on, which is OK as long as there isn't work for the magazine that I need to do, but I just didn't feel like getting that going. I was feeling as if my brain was tuned to a TV channel with "snow" or static. Or maybe a "blue" channel. (since digital cable, there are no "snowy" stations)

I didn't want to go shopping during my lunch time outside but I remembered that the main NYC Library has a photography exhibit up, so off I went. The photographs and photographers were chosen based on the idea that many areas of the city are currently in danger of being developed with Eminent Domain rather than by including the community in the development and re-vitilization process. I wasn't able to stay long since my lunch "hour" is usually only a half hour, but I looked at one photographer's portion. Most of the photos in this section were of signage and very old store fronts that are still in operation. One of my favorites was a tiny, pink shack with a walk-up window and a hand painted sign on the side that said "ARTIST."
It was not occupied at the time the photo was taken, and it had a padlock on a door that was on the side. The funny part was that it was built out of scrap wood; lots of uneven pieces so it looked like it was just barely standing. I enjoyed the exhibit because it made me feel like I was back in time and in a very different neighborhood instead of mid-town Manhattan.

Link to a New York Times article about the exhibit:

I also really enjoyed the library itself. I wasn't in the stacks at all, mostly in the main lobby where they have their art galleries and exhibits. But still! Just the memories from spending so much of my childhood summers visiting the library—I swear I could smell that nice, comforting book smell. After I left the library, I stopped at the craft'wich ice cream stand and tried their pineapple & mint sorbet as a treat because I felt like I needed one today. It was very fresh-tasting and pineapplely! So it was a nice lunch time. It wasn't life changing but it was, at least, thought changing and gave me something to blog about.

Here's some old news, to me anyway, but since my theme is inspiration and I haven't blogged for a while, I'll include it. Once again I attended another Eddie Izzard Show: "Stripped" at Radio City Music Hall, 6/27/08. This time Liz was able to come with since she was in town. Luce & Justin also had tickets but they were in the orchestra section and our tickets were for the second mezzanine. (It was too bad Janet or Ambrose could be there this time.) I really can't say enough good things about him or the show. As I've posted before, he's inventive with the subject matter and also challenges the audience's intelligence rather than using put-down humor, but is still playful and silly while also communicating his concern or ideas about the state of the world today, all with a sense of humor. Again, I laughed so much my face started feeling numb! Youtube him! Maybe I'll post some of my favorite Eddie Youtube clips in another post.

In his words, he was in "boy-mode" (as far as the audience could see!) but I think he looks great either way. Another inspiring thing is that he is one of those types that just goes out there and does what he wants to do and makes me want to do the same. Not exactly the same, but I just appreciate the attitude since I've never endorsed doing or being a certain way just to fit in. "If you have an idea, just try it," is what this attitude makes me think!

Thursday, May 29, 2008

All Art, All the Time

I recently had a very busy artsy and fun weekend, which started on a Thursday earlier this month with a gallery opening in Long Island City. My friend Laura Bell had a large painting in a flower-themed show at the Art-o-Mat gallery on Vernon Blvd. I always love going to these events when I have a friend who is part of the show, it just makes it even more exciting.

Coincidentally there was a man there who had been in my voice over class. I saw him come into the room and recognized him, but didn't know why! Later, he reminded me where we
had met before. He and his wife live nearby in Greenpoint, so they decided to stop by the gallery opening after work.

On Friday, Laura along with Mary Lyn and Betty joined me for an art event of my own; I had two framed illustrations in a one-night show at the YMCA in Park Slope. I rea
lly appreciated having them along for support and companionship. The turn out was low because of the heavy rain falling that night and not many of my friends were available that night. Kurt and Elaine were there, though. Kurt also had some Girl Monsters art in the show, and the kids really loved the coloring books he brought for everyone to take home. I am a member of the Y, but it was Elaine and Kurt that let me know about submitting my work. Sandy, a woman who lives in their building, organized it. Now I bump into her all the time when I'm there to work out!

Two of my illustrations in the show at the YMCA.

Kurt's Girl Monsters!

The next art event was on Saturday at 11am. I met Tara, Paul, and their adorable kids Abby and Griffin at the studio of Alex Beard. He is very generous with his time and space by having it available to any families who want to stop by on Saturday morning and paint or draw. Both of the kids enjoy drawing and coloring, but this was up Abby's alley in particular and I was really amazed at how well she composed her drawings. He gave her a large piece of watercolor paper and she really seemed to have a plan for the whole page, she didn't keep her drawing in one area, but really used the whole surface.

Griffin having fun with the markers

Abby tries out watercolors

Believe it or not, there's still more art to talk about.... once Tara & Co. were on their way home to NJ, (around 2?) I stopped into Pearl Paint to buy some new pencils because the ones I had at home were getting smaller and smaller. It was a peaceful part of the day, not many people seemed to be shopping for art supplies, so I took my time and tested out stuff I had no intention of buying just for the fun of it.

Then on to Long Island City, again! (3:30pm) My friend Jean has a studio out there in a large building with many other artist studios and it was L.I.C.'s Open Studio Weekend. I love open studios more than going to the galleries. For one thing, it is a very relaxed atmosphere, you can also talk to the artists and sometimes see them working, all while taking advantage of the free wine and snacks they leave out for visitors! (Artist tip: much less competition for the wine and snacks compared to an opening at a gallery.)

Then, again, up pops Laura. She and Jean both had work at an opening in a restaurant near Jean's studio, La Vuella Bistro. (5pm) We marched onward to celebrate with mojitos and met up with Dirk (Jean's husband) and Bob (Laura's husband).

Laura and Jean lead the way to La Vuella Bistro.

Laura, Jean, and I, with Jean's art on the wall next to us!

At about 7pm, Jean and Dirk announce that they need to make an appearance at a performance art opening at a gallery nearby, so the rest of us decide to tag along and grab dinner some place else afterwards. I know I wasn't the only one sad to leave the delicious sights and smells coming from the other tables at La Vuella, right Bob? I recommend the empanadas, if you ever have a chance to stop by.

The performance was a quick stop, I think the guy's name was Larry something. He was making fun of the big art auctions at places like Sotheby's. I must have been getting tired around this time because some of the finer details are escaping me! We trudged on back to Vernon Blvd., and ate dinner at a Thai restaurant where Laura narrowly escaped death, thanks to me having Benadryl handy.

I sleepily hopped onto the 7 train to begin my ride back to Brooklyn and got home at 11pm. I thought about how days like this one are the reason I live in NYC! I really love being able to saturate my schedule with the kinds of things I talked about here. It doesn't often happen that I have so much art packed into 3 days, but I'm really glad that it worked out so well and that I just have the opportunity to do this kind of stuff. Yep, that's what I truly love about New York—all of the options and varieties of artistic expression and exhibition, all happening simultaneously, all the time!

Friday, May 9, 2008

Back to my roots

I went to a Syracuse University sponsored event this week at Lubin House, their NYC headquarters. Every year the Visual Communications (Ad Design, Illustration and Commercial Design) professors bring the graduating seniors' portfolios to New York for a couple of days. Alumni and industry professionals attend, give feedback on the work, and sometimes hire students.

I haven't been to this event in a few years, and I was glad I went this time because being at Lubin House always brings back memories of my early days of being an artist. When I was in high school, I lived in New Jersey and brought my portfolio to Lubin House for my SU admissions portfolio review. I still remember the exact room my appointment was in and what the woman who interviewed me looked like.

Being amongst fellow illustration alumni and professors also makes me nostalgic for the time my portfolio was there. I remember being quite disappointed with the lack of comments and job offers! I made an effort to leave comments, even though I am not in a position to hire anyone, and there was some really great work there. The best part of the evening was having some time to chat with some of the people who were in the program at the same time as me and compare notes about what it's like in the real world. Many of us have gone in different directions and learned new skills to keep the money coming in.

I remember how hard it was, starting out after graduating. It is still hard to keep on track with what I want to do with my art (creating more of it, marketing it, and continuing to learn), while making a living, and having a social life, but at least now I have the wisdom that comes from persevering this long. My attitude is much less dramatic than it was in my mid 20s, but at times that can lead to complacency. Its just a different kind of struggle than it was back then, but better in different ways, too.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Group art show in Brooklyn!

I will have 2 illustrations for sale in a one-night only group show at the Prospect Park YMCA on Friday, May 16. The theme of the show is "Friday Family Artist Festival." From what I understand, the artwork is not necessarily themed for kids, but the show is being presented to expose children to local talent. There will also be live music which will probably be geared more towards the kids (The 21st Street Dads are one of the acts) and a local hot dog vendor, Willie's Dawgs, will be on site. I'm very honored to be invited to be in the show, so bring a kid, if you have one, and enjoy the fun. You do not need to be a member of the Y to attend.

Location: Prospect Park YMCA, 357 9th St., Brooklyn. Between 5th & 6th Ave.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

The colors of Spring are inspiring

Well, here's my first post in my new blog location. It's been a while since I've blogged at all, so I feel like there are a lot of things I could talk about. Before I get to my main subject, I will allude to a past and future subject: my voiceover quest. I have signed up for an introductory class in May, so I'll probably write an update about that after the class. I am very excited to try it out!

What is inspiring me today (and for the past week or so!) are the amazing colors of spring time. I was walking to my yoga class this morning and saw a cherry tree in full blossom, right next to a leafy tree, whose leaves were that super-bright green that you only see when the new, young-and-fresh leaves start showing their faces this time of year. I love seeing those two colors together.

I am also looking forward to a day of brunch, yoga and crafts at my friend Betsy's place this Saturday. Funnily enough in reference to "the colors of spring" I was looking at the craft I am going to be working on, an embroidery design based on a drawing I did last year. Here it is:
I based my idea on South-East Asian and Indian motifs. The bright green and cherry-blossom pink are part of it, surprisingly appropriate for this time of year! I've chosen embroidery threads to match the colors shown here as closely as possible. I started working on some of the green areas last month, so I'm glad to have Saturday to focus on it some more, while enjoying the day with Betsy and her other friends.

The butterflies project is still in progress [today!] and I'll be attending a Freelancer's Union seminar this evening about using a website to market your work. I kind of do that already but you never know where the next new idea or beneficial contact will come from. So, until next time, enjoy your spring!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Eddie Izzard/Passing Strange (2/20/2008)

This is an older post from my blog, which I am relocating to blogger.

This past weekend I was lucky enough to see 2 great shows. On Saturday, Janet, Elaine and Kurt joined me for Eddie Izzard's stand-up show. It's been at least 2 years (maybe 3?) since his last performance(s) in New York. What I find so amazing is that he keeps to some of the same main subjects (world history, religion, computers, and toast with jam) but is able to come up with completely new and completely hilarious jokes for each show. I have seen him perform about 8 times now and I always wonder how much of his act or subject matter is planned in advance and how much is improvised. It has to be a combination of the two, because the things he relates together in his jokes or what leads him from joke to joke seems so obscure, as if it occurred to him at that moment. One of the things I like best about his humor is that he'll take an idea that people tend to believe or take for granted and question it. For example, his main subject matter that night seemed to be his issues with Intelligent Design and the fanatics who believe in it. He asked, "If you were God and you created the earth and all of its life forms in 6 days, and had that all written out in the Bible, wouldn't you also want to brag about creating the whole rest of the universe, and all other universes?" His delivery was funnier of course, but that's a good example of some of the things he brings up. Other jokes are just plain silly in a great way, like miming a snake driving a speedboat.

Sunday afternoon I had a discount ticket to Passing Strange on Broadway, a new rock & roll musical. The music was really great, I'm still singing some of the lyrics in my head. (because me singing them out loud would really be an insult to the show!) I found inspiring messages in the story about a young man from South Central L.A. who leaves home to live in Europe for a few years to discover himself and explore his musical talents. I'm pretty sure the story is loosely based on Stew's, the narrator's, life at that age and his relationship with his mother. There was a moment towards the end of the show that really grabbed my attention. Basically they were saying (singing) that wherever you are in life for whatever reason or choices you have made, that you should remember that "it's alright!" I always like being reminded of that, since sometimes I find myself wondering: Why I haven't had more public acknowledgment or higher accomplishment (such as more stuff being published or paid for in some way!) concerning my artwork. Is it purely because of the choices I have made? ... Choosing to sleep in instead of forcing myself out of bed so I can get a few more hours out of the day? Going out with friends more often instead of dedicating more of that time for moving forward on whatever portfolio piece I am working on? I read a bit more about the creation of the show and Stew and co-creator Heidi Rodewald worked the story and songs for about 10 years. It was first performed in Berkeley, CA, then eventually made the jump to Off-Broadway NYC at the Public Theater last year, and now it's a full-fledged Broadway show. So, greatness does take time to develop. There's still a chance for me yet!

Branching Out? (2/5/2008)

This is an older post from my blog, which I am relocating to blogger.

Last night I attended a seminar after work about getting into the voiceover business hosted by Syracuse University at their NYC location, Lubin House. I was glad to learn from the instructor, Johnna Gottlieb, that a background in acting is not required, and the start-up fees she mentioned didn’t sound prohibitive. ($1500-2000) And, on most auditions and projects the voiceover artist puts in 15-20 minutes and the work is done. I could make $400 in 15 minutes! Really!

Since I am mainly a visual artist, people might be surprised that I’m interested in voiceovers. I’m not even sure how serious I am about pursuing it, just very curious at this point. It would definitely take time and money away from my main goals. (Most of those have to do with my illustration.) I have gotten some nice compliments from people over the years regarding my voice and I think I have one of those “accentless” voices that they are looking for in the business. Also, it would be really neat to be the voice on the subway or other kind of public service announcement... don’t worry, I do dream bigger than that!

The way she described the process of how one gets work after you put together a professional voiceover reel (like a portfolio) is very similar to the process of how to promote oneself as an illustrator. You have to do the legwork of sending samples to publishers or art directors, hoping that they will look at what you send and like it and put you on file for future reference and maybe even hire you for a project... along with the thousands that are also interested in being published. As with any talent-driven career, having an agent that can help get an “in” for certain gigs can be helpful but not completely necessary to get work. (And those other thousands of folks want an agent, too!)

Having the fact that the promotion process would be very similar to what I’m already trying to do for my artwork in mind, I still had this feeling that trying it with a voiceover reel instead of an illustration portfolio would somehow be easier. I realized I was thinking this because I don’t have the same emotional attachment to voiceovers as my art. I really want to become more noticed and published as an illustrator, so whatever I do concerning that has much more weight and significance to me.

So, my next step is to check out this place called Edge Studios, they specialize in voiceover coaching and reels. They offer a program for amateurs once or twice a month where you come in for 4-5 hours and they give some instruction, everyone has a lot of time to read into the mic, and then on a separate visit, they give you one-on-one advice about wether you have the right voice and talent for the business and what to do about it. It’s only $150 and I think it would be fun, regardless if I decide to go further with it.

I should also put some more thought into my illustration promotion and find a way to be as carefree about it as I imagine I’d be with voiceovers!

Fashion Plates! 1/11/2008

This is an older post from my blog, I am relocating my blog to blogger.

One night last month, as I was coming home from work, I started trying to remember what some of my favorite toys were when I was growing up. One of the first things I thought of was Fashion Plates.

The main idea of Fashion Plates was to mix and match shirts, skirts or pants and model heads which were on plastic square "plates" onto a tray. You then place paper over your combination and make a rubbing with a black crayon. The really fun part came when you flipped the plates over, each had a pattern (i.e. plaid or floral) or texture (denim) to could apply to the outfit you just created via more rubbings with colored pencils.

When I mentioned this my friend and co-worker, Peggy, she said "Well that's just like your artwork now!" And she was right, I had never though about it but it must have had some influence on me. I started browsing e-Bay to see what the going rate was for a previously-owned Fashion Plates toy. I also asked my parents if they had possibly not sold that at their big garage sale when they were moving to a smaller house, but they no longer had it. My advice to those of you looking for your favorite retro-toys on e-Bay: Wait until after the holidays! In the week before Christmas there were some that sold for over $100 and ost of them were more than $35. I checked again right after New Year's Eve and was able to claim a full set (minus the rubbing crayon & holder and colored pencils) with the original box for about $25 including shipping.

I haven't used it yet since I need to dig up a black crayon to do the rubbings, but I'll have to post some here! Also after I figure out how to get pictures into my blog.

Looking Forward, Looking Back (1/7/2008)

This is an older post from my blog. I have decided to relocate my blog to blogger.

Happy New Year! As many people do, I tend to assess my recent accomplishments and new goals this time of year, but I tend to do so more intensely around my birthday. In any case, these are some of my thoughts about my art in 2007 and what I hope to do in 2008.

For most of 2007 I put a lot of energy into sketching out a graphic novel idea. (Starring Adele, my Parisian character) Being new to the medium I was easily frustrated or confused about how to develop the flow of the story and communicate my ideas. From this time I have learned that I need to experiment more in a shorter format, so that is on my list for 2008.

After I decided to take a break from Adele's story, I went back to some drawings of butterflies I had in my sketch book. Originally I created the drawings to be transfered to fabric so I could embroider them, but I decided to stick with the drawings to make a series of greeting cards. Each butterfly is arranged with a photo of a plant from its native region and a recreated textile design based on the craftwork of people from the same region. One is finished and I'll post it in my jamuse portfolio soon, and I'll begin working on the others again this month.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Until further notice...

I already have started a blog on but I thought I'd make sure I saved a spot here on blogger in case I decide to relocate it! (which I may quite soon, it does not allow images in the posts) If you'd like to read a semi-regular post about being an illustrator and what inspires me, check it out at this link: