Friday, January 30, 2009

Friday Featured Flickr Group: Art Directory

Okay, since I am supposed to be a "serious artist," isn't it about time I got down to business and shared one of the serious art groups I am part of? Okay, fine. Here goes. This week I bring you Art Directory, a colossal meta-group with over 30,000 pictures in it. That should keep you busy for a while!

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Thursday, January 29, 2009

one part of the stimulus package that I hope they do not change


American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (Introduced in House)

National Endowment for the Arts

grants and administration

    For an additional amount for 'Grants and Administration', $50,000,000, to be distributed in direct grants to fund arts projects and activities which preserve jobs in the non-profit arts sector threatened by declines in philanthropic and other support during the current economic downturn: Provided, That 40 percent of such funds shall be distributed to State arts agencies and regional arts organizations in a manner similar to the agency's current practice and 60 percent of such funds shall be for competitively selected arts projects and activities according to sections 2 and 5(c) of the National Foundation on the Arts and Humanities Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 951, 954(c)): Provided further, That matching requirements under section 5(e) of such Act shall be waived: Provided further, That the amount set aside from this appropriation pursuant to section 1106 of this Act shall be not more than 5 percent instead of the percentage specified in such section.

    Let's look at that again, shall we? The purpose of the funding is "to fund arts projects and activities which preserve jobs in the non-profit arts sector threatened by declines in philanthropic and other support during the current economic downturn." Support for the people employed in the arts is not a pork barrel spending project. Someone needs to tell the senators who are against the stimulus package because of "extraneous" programs like this that museums are not staffed by a team of elves and fairies who disappear into the ether at closing time. They employ actual human beings who deserve to get paid for all the work they do. I should know. I used to work in one.

    The Library of Congress

    Further Reading:
    Economic Recovery and the Arts (PDF)

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    Say it ain't so, Domino

    Remember how I was just saying on Monday that everything I like gets discontinued? Well, here is another thing to add to that list: Domino Magazine. First Suede, then Budget Living, then Adorn. . . is everything I like just too good to last?

    Maybe you're saying, "Tiffany, why can't you just read Architectural Digest or Interior Design like everyone else?"

    I do read those magazines. Sometimes.

    But sometimes they feel like the journalistic equivalent of the Merchandise Mart, an impenetrable fortress of design with a capital "D" with no room for whimsy and no regard for the way people who are not multimillionaires actually live. Domino was much more approachable. And just like Lucky, it had stickers in it that you could use to mark the items you like. Domino was the kind of magazine I had hoped to write an article for someday. Yes, I know there are plenty of other shelter magazines out there. But just like there will never be another Suede or Budget Living or Adorn, there will never be another Domino.

    Related Links:
    Domino Magazine is Dead U.S. News and World Report

    Wednesday, January 28, 2009

    Widget Wednesday, in honor of Jackson Pollock's birthday

    Paint like Jackson Pollock with this widget. Just mouse over to paint and click to change colors.

    Tuesday, January 27, 2009

    The Awkward Phase

    I just started painting my newest piece. The yellow paint was not as opaque as I'd hoped (shame on you, Blick!) so I decided to prime it with acrylic gesso first. Some of the honeycomb cardboard has a reddish colored dye in the paper, and so it became pink when I painted it. Despite these obstacles, I am determined to make the painting yellow.

    "Countown to Meltdown" now featured on Now Public

    I just accepted a request to publish my Countdown to Meltdown video at Now Public on an article about the Stimulus Package. Read the article here.

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    Monday, January 26, 2009

    A Farewell to Expo

    I suppose it was inevitable. Everything I like, it seems, is just too good to last. The products I like get discontinued, my favorite restaurant entrees get taken off the menu (or else the restaurant itself closes, like Zoom Kitchen or Taza), and the stores where I enjoy shopping go out of business. I have probably mentioned it before, but I used to work at an Expo Design Center. It was the best retail job I ever had, which is saying a lot when you consider my deep and passionate hatred for working in sales.

    But at Expo, we were paid a fairly decent hourly wage, with tuition reimbursement and health insurance, and a 401K plan. The management was not constantly harassing us to con customers into buying things they did not need or opening credit cards with exorbitant interest rates. I was still in design school, and the flexible hours worked with my schedule. I even got to use my recently acquired knowledge of textiles to help the customers in the fabric deparment where I worked. Since the store opened late on Sunday mornings, I even got to start going to church again, a luxury I did not have when working for other retailers. It was great for me as an employee, but perhaps it was not so great for their bottom line.

    The store where I worked in Lincoln Park was among Home Depot's first round of closings back in 2005. It had only been open for about 2 years, and I had only worked there a few months when they made the announcement. After we were given our required 60 days' notice, the store where I loved to work transformed into a store that I dreaded working in. The going out of business sale plunged everything into chaos. To this day, I have a hard time shopping going out of business sales because I will never forget what it was like to have the customers descend upon our store like flocks of gleeful vultures, coming to snatch away every discounted item from our dead decaying carcass of a store. No one cared that we were all losing our jobs with no severance pay. All that mattered was the discounts they could get. It took a long time before I could even pass by the empty building that once housed our store without wanting to cry. The last time I saw it, it was still empty. So my heart goes out to all my fellow designers who have been downsized by those greedy jerks at Home Depot, which is a store that I still have a serious grudge against. After the way we were mistreated, I refuse to buy so much as a nail from that wretched store. Now there will be no more Expo Design Centers and Home Depot stores are all that will remain. At least this time they have the decency to give the employees severance packages.

    Friday, January 23, 2009

    Friday Featured Flickr Group: Mod Dolls

    Well, last week's group was all about decay. This week's featured group is the opposite of that. What can I say? I have very eclectic tastes.

    When I was about 10 I inherited a sizeable portion of an older cousin's Barbie collection from the mid 1960's to early 1970's. To be honest, at the time, I thought the dolls were funny looking, but eventually the mod era aesthetic grew on me. And then in 2002 I discovered Blythe (along with the rest of the world) thanks to Gina Garan's book about her. I still want to kick myself every time I see how much the reissued dolls are going for now on eBay. (I was going to buy a Blythe back in 2002, but I kept procrastinating.) But viewing the pictures in the Mod Dolls group gives me a chance to see a lot of pictures of "the doll with the surprise in her eyes" since she is the star of the show. And you can also find Dawn, Heidi, The Rock Flowers, and even some long-haired hippie Ken dolls, among others.

    Mod Dolls is a great resource for collectors looking to identify an unknown doll, or for those who want to start collecting dolls of this era but aren't sure where to start. The group administrator is Lala-A-GoGo, a photographer, crafter, collector, and connoisseur of kitsch whose sites and groups are a treasure trove of eye candy for all of us who are fond of retro.

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    Wednesday, January 21, 2009

    Widget Wednesday: Title Generators

    Sometimes coming up with a good title can be pretty tough. It's tempting to just give up and leave your piece untitled. But in a world so filled with untitled works of art, you want yours to stand out somehow. And that's where this fun title generator from TV Tropes comes in. Here are a few it just came up with for me:

    "The Most Powerful Man In The University"
    "Black Book Down"
    "Fake Aesop"
    "Are You There, God? It's Me, Mario."
    "Kneel Before Zod"
    "Aging Timelessness"
    "So Is Falling In Lava, I'd Imagine"
    "Hyde Sticks Jekyll With the Bill Again"
    "Not Wearing Pants (Film At Eleven)"
    "Never Bring a Knife to a Pie Fight"
    "We Built This City On Whack A Mole"
    "No Stairway Denied"
    "Hilarity In Shoes"
    "Thirty Genre Pileup"

    Pretty clever, huh? I'd love to see what a painting called "Are You There, God? It's Me, Mario." would look like.

    But what if you want more control? What if you want to enter a name, a situation, a disease of the week? What if you want a title fit for a made for TV movie? Then you need the Lifetime Movie Title Generator. You can input a character name, setting, supporting character, plot point, and character development and see what kinds of absurd things it will come up with. Here are a few it generated for me:

    "A Prostitute's Hidden Wheelchair: The Truth About Jane"
    "Love's Deadly Fetus: Jane's Story"
    "Need in the Night: Jane Doe's Story"
    "My Fetus, My Nightmare"
    "One Disease Too Many: Jane's Journey"
    "Sister, Forgive Me My Eating Disorder"
    "A Secretary's Secret Fetus: The Untold Story of Jane Doe"
    "Jane: Stalked By Her Baby"
    "Jane: Not Without My Paranoid Baby"
    "Danielle Steel's Desperate Vanishing"
    "My Husband Won't Stop Seducing Me"
    "Tumor in the Night: Jane Doe's Real Story"
    "Almost Stalked: The Life of Jane Doe"
    "An Attorney's Deadly Death: The Jane Doe Story"

    And if you are feeling particularly self-deprecating, try entering your own name into the generator...

    Tuesday, January 20, 2009

    for inauguration day: Frederick Douglass by Christopher Clark and Robert Hayden

    Frederick Douglass from Christopher Clark's Buy American seriesFrederick Douglass from Christopher Clark's Buy American series

    I wanted to share this image and this poem for Inauguration Day. I have always loved Robert Hayden's historical poetry, and this one is very appropriate for this historic day.

    Frederick Douglass
    by Robert Hayden

    When it is finally ours, this freedom, this liberty, this beautiful
    and terrible thing, needful to man as air,
    usable as earth; when it belongs at last to all,
    when it is truly instinct, brain matter, diastole, systole,
    reflex action; when it is finally won; when it is more
    than the gaudy mumbo jumbo of politicians:
    this man, this Douglass, this former slave, this Negro
    beaten to his knees, exiled, visioning a world
    where none is lonely, none hunted, alien,
    this man, superb in love and logic, this man
    shall be remembered. Oh, not with statues' rhetoric,
    not with legends and poems and wreaths of bronze alone,
    but with the lives grown out of his life, the lives
    fleshing his dream of the beautiful, needful thing.

    As we honor our first African-American President today, we must also remember people like Frederick Douglass, one of many champions of the abolition of slavery who laid the foundation for social change that Barack Obama now stands upon.

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    Monday, January 19, 2009

    Art for the MLK holiday: "The Dreamer and the Dream"

    The Dreamer and The Dream by Minnie Watkins features Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and President Barack Obama
    The picture above is by a good friend of mine, artist Minnie Watkins. She is a very talented portrait artist and I wanted to share this piece today because I thought it would be very appropriate for both Martin Luther King Day and for tomorrow's inauguration. This print is available in a set of note cards on Etsy at

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    Friday, January 16, 2009

    I don't know what to call this new style

    I don't know what to call this new style or what kind of "ism" it would be categorized as. But it sure is fun to work in this style. This is another piece I worked on today. Acrylic sheets are flexible and you can do so much with them I've been inspired by work I've seen in resin, such as this jewelry from Etsy by Stoopidgerl:

    and also in resin panels by Veritas, which can be used in so many different interior design projects:
    I am looking forward to the many possibilities that acrylic sheets have to offer. I can't wait to finish the piece I am working on so I can post it here.

    and now I am ready to paint

    The brutal weather this week made it difficult for me to get to the studio when I wanted to. Today the temperature rose to a balmy 5 degrees Fahrenheit and I felt a little better about the road conditions, so I drove to school. While I was there, I finished my cardboard collage. And next week I plan to paint it.

    Friday Featured Flickr Group: Chicago in Decay

    This week's featured group is Chicago in Decay. The imagery is incredibly haunting. Somehow the best photographers in this group have managed to capture something poetic in peeling paint, rusted old bridges, weathered siding, crumbling bricks, and broken windows. This group was where I first saw the work of the incomparable Comtesse DeSpair, whose series of photos of abandoned buildings on the Michael Reese Hospital's campus are worthy of a blog post of their own.

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    Wednesday, January 14, 2009

    Widget Wednesday: Widgetbox

    Okay, so last week you found out how to re-design your background, but now you need some content for your site. Widgetbox is the perfect place to start. It was where I was able to build my "blidgets," which are badges that display RSS feeds of my blogs. I think they are invaluable for social media, especially if they truly support Web 2.0 functions. This way I can share my content at numerous locations without having to constantly copy and paste.

    Also, Widgetbox has the Widgetbox Network, which fills the void that the now-defunct BlogRush left behind. There is even a network for artists!

    Tuesday, January 13, 2009

    my first painting of 2009

    This is what I have so far. I can't wait to work on it some more. I have a feeling it wants to be yellow. Here are a few detail shots:

    I got the honeycomb cardboard for free when my bank was under renovation. I happened to be going to the ATM the day the new furniture arrived. The honeycomb was in the boxes to protect the new chairs. Since the deliverymen were going to throw it away, they let me take as much as I wanted. I have several more large pieces that I plan to use in future paintings.

    I like to push the boundaries of what materials are acceptable for use in fine art while still creating work that is visually pleasing. My improvisational and intuitive style is all about adaptation, making beautiful things out of trash. It is not just about salvage. It is about redemption.

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    Friday, January 9, 2009

    Friday Featured Flickr Group: Eye Candy- TRIPPY HIPPY kid's books from the 60's and 70's

    Okay, since last week's featured Flickr group was pretty grim, how about something to take your mind off the economy? This week's group is all about bright uplifting imagery. After all, what else would you expect from a group called Eye Candy- TRIPPY HIPPY kid's books from the 60's and 70's? Before I found this group on Flickr, I thought I must be a little weird to collect old picture books. And then I found a whole group dedicated to it, and I no longer felt weird about it.

    As a child, one of my ambitions had been to grow up to be an author and illustrator of picture books. I admired Shel Silverstein, Dr. Seuss, and Richard Scarry. Naturally, I kept their books. I also saved other fun picture books, like Runaway Monkey, which is also the first book I learned to read. Its cover is one of the illustrations I contributed to the Eye Candy pool of photos. You can see the rest in a slide show above.

    Thursday, January 8, 2009

    Countdown to Meltdown finally gets a little recognition

    I'd like to thank Anne of Carversville for her comments on my Countdown to Meltdown video:

    Can someone please tell me how it is — in the day of viral marketing — that this Countdown to Meltdown video has only 47 views on YouTube?
    (I had been wondering this too, Anne, though I chalked it up to my general obscurity and unpopularity in real life.) Thanks, again, Anne, for your kind words and for featuring my video here on your blog. The internet is so crowded these days. It's getting harder and harder to get any recognition at all, and I really appreciate it, especially from a writer of Anne's caliber.

    Worth Waiting For, or ,True Love Waits

    Worth Waiting For or True Love Waits | mixed media (skeleton model dressed in wedding dress, holding a dead bouquet)

    Worth Waiting For
    or True Love Waits | mixed media |
    1:6 scale maquette of a conceptual installation

    Always the bride, she waited and waited and waited for a day that never came. She had a trousseau, and her suitcase was packed for the honeymoon that never was to be. She put everything on hold. This is what a long engagement feels like. This piece takes the idea of waiting until marriage to its most illogical extreme.

    I think I was inspired by the work of a former classmate, Jody Reno, which unfortunately I cannot find online. Also, Tim Burton's Corpse Bride. I had hoped to make a life-size installation of Worth Waiting For or True Love Waits for a Halloween themed art show last year, but that fell through at the last minute. But maybe I'll get a chance this year. I have a frilly white dress that needs to be put to use.

    Wednesday, January 7, 2009

    Widget Wednesday: this week's widget- Colour Lovers

    Okay, I guess technically Colour Lovers is not a site where you get widgets. Basically the whole site is a widget. It is a widget that helps you make patterns, or a generator, I guess. If you ever get stuck while designing a background pattern or coming up with a color scheme, all you need to do is go to Colour Lovers. From there, you can see color schemes that other people have come up with, or create your own.

    You can then plug your color scheme into one of their patterns and voila!

    A PNG file is generated for you instantly. From there you can save it and use it for a variety of graphics projects. They make great wallpapers for websites or for your desktop. Colour Lovers is also a great place to kill time as you play around with all the color schemes and patterns you can create.

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    Friday, January 2, 2009

    Friday Featured Flickr Group: Economic Clusterf*ck of 2008

    Named for two-headed Janus, the Roman god of doors, hallways, gates, beginnings and endings, January is a time for looking forward and looking back. I don't know about you, but I am so glad that 2008 is finally over. However, we cannot go into 2009 without looking back to all the mistakes that were made in 2008. We have quite a mess to clean up. The Economic Clusterf*ck of 2008 group shows a vast array of photographic evidence of our present fiscal nightmare. Here's the group's description:

    About Economic Clusterf*ck of 2008

    Dear Taxpayer:

    I am pleased to inform you about the Flickr group "Economic Clusterf*ck of 2008" which started off as a group for the Economic Stimulus Act of 2008, but has been renamed in light of the continuing fun, especially this past weekend's Merrill Lynch/Lehman/AIG implosion--looks like we're in this for the long haul!

    If you've somehow managed to capture "flagging economy" in a photograph, this would be a good place to toss it. If you've photographed something that wouldn't exist if the economy was stimulated, add it. Just perfected your technique to siphon gas out of your neighbor's car? That's the sort of thing we want to see. If it's related to the Economic Stimulus Act of 2008, the mortgage/credit crunch, the sluggish economy, high gas prices, home foreclosures, high food prices (which has now become a worldwide problem), the weak US dollar, tumbling stock prices, or collapsing banks, then let's see your talents. Bonus points for any photo in which the comments degenerate into partisan sniping.

    You can view the photos in the group in the slide show below, or visit to join.

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    Thursday, January 1, 2009

    New Blog Features for a New Year

    Happy New Year, everyone! This year I am adding a few new features to my blog: Widget Wednesdays and the Friday Featured Flickr Group. In developing and designing my blog (a job that is never really done) I have come across so many wonderful widgets--too many to actually put on my blog without it looking like it was designed by a hyperactive 10 year old with no attention span. So each Wednesday (or maybe just on the Wednesdays when I have time) I will post some of my favorite widgets, most of which would look great on an art blog, if you also have one. And as a member of well over 100 Flickr groups, I wanted to show my appreciation for the opportunities they provide for sharing my work and connecting with like-minded individuals. So on Fridays you can expect to see a different group featured here. I think this will be a great start to a great new year! And thanks to all of you who read and comment on my blog regularly. I really appreciate it.
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