Monday, April 27, 2009

Taking a break for spring cleaning

The Internet is such a wonderful distraction, but I have promised myself I won't allow it to keep me from getting my spring cleaning done. Seriously, this is a disaster area. So I am taking a break from blogging this week while I get my spring cleaning done. I promise I'll be back again next week, so please don't stop following this blog if you're a regular follower. When I'm finished, I hope to take some pictures for my portfolio. And I'll post them on here.

Wish me luck!

If you like the daisy dish brushes, you can get them here. What can I say? I'm a sucker for cutensils.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Friday Featured Flickr Group: The Secret Life of Toys

Remember the premise of the Toy Story franchise, that toys have a life of their own unknown to their owners? The Secret Life of Toys Flickr group subscribes to this idea also:

This group is about collecting photographic evidence that toys get up to things when people are not around. Well, not just that - It is also simply a space to collect good images of toys for everyone to enjoy.

So if you've ever wondered if toys have toys or how they like to relax and unwind, you'll enjoy the images and discussion at this group.

Today is Etsy Day!

etsy car sign finalAlign Center

Over at they have declared today Etsy Day. When I first set up my Etsy shop, I posted a link to it and assumed everyone knew all about Etsy. But a lot of people still don't know much about it, so for readers unfamiliar with Etsy, let me explain. It's an e-commerce site for artists and crafters and purveyors of some of the best vintage finds on the Internet. I like to think of it as a Renegade Craft Fair/One of A Kind Show that's open 24/7. If you're an artist, it is a great place to sell your work (even original music) and get supplies. If you are an art collector, it is a great place to find work by emerging artists. If you love to wear original, cutting-edge fashions, you can also find clothing and accessories on Etsy. If you like to collect vintage items but don't feel like rummaging around garage sales and flea markets, there is an entire vintage section you can explore from the comfort of your computer.

Shopping on Etsy is similar to shopping on eBay in that you are often dealing with individuals selling things out of their homes, or small businesspeople. And just like on eBay, PayPal is often the preferred method of payment. But that's where the similarities end. While the eBay shopping experience can sometimes feel as impersonal as shopping in a big box store, Etsy shopping is more like perusing a boutique or a craft fair. Most of the sellers I've purchased from on Etsy take the time to enclose hand-written notes, and some include freebies. One seller threw in a pair of vintage earrings with the purse I bought from her. I've even found items for The Doll Project on Etsy.

Here are a few of my favorite things I've gotten there so far:

Raspberry beret from

Yoga mat bag from

Camera strap from

So when the time came to set up my own online store, I could think of no better place for it than Etsy.

Etsy: Your place to buy & sell all things handmade

Before I end this post, let me take the time to say once again that Etsy is for everybody:
moms, dads, kids, democrats, republicans, independents, brides, grooms, doll collectors, computer nerds, gardeners, businessmen, trendsetters, jet-setters, yoga enthusiats, bellydancers, burlesque girls, rockers, rappers, djs, goths, emo kids, bohemians, and socialites alike.

Stand out or fit in.

You can re-vamp your wardrobe, add to your library, get new furniture for your home and replace your grandmother's missing Pyrex casserole dish. If you still can't find what you're looking for, you can even place an order for a custom-made item. And you can feel good knowing that you are supporting the growth of small businesses and entrepreneurial artists while also helping the environment.

It's an honor and a privilege to be a part of such an interesting and diverse community. So if you haven't visited Etsy before, come and join us today.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

some formal considerations after Monday's critiques


Silver Whisper: "trash?"

Before I make any decisions about the next steps I will take, I wanted to take some time to process the comments I got at my two final critiques of the term on Monday. I needed time to take them all into consideration and filter the useful from the irrelevant from the altogether trifling.

Yes, I said "trifling." And that's because there are some people who do not know how to give constructive criticism. The whole purpose of critiquing is to give people feedback they can use in order to do better work next time and improve upon what they have already done, is it not? It is not to be a forum for ad hominem attacks. The tagline of this blog is "art and design with an axe to grind," so I am going to go ahead and say that I am angry at being told that Silver Whisper looks like trash in the gallery. This is an art critique, not an episode of American Idol. What did I do to deserve such an insult? Honestly.

If I ever thought of making such a rude comment, I held my tongue. Telling someone that I thought their work was ugly wouldn't help them improve, so I never said it. I tried to provide useful feedback when I could.

The criticism that damages is that which disparages, dismisses, ridicules, or condemns. It is frequently vicious but vague and difficult to refute.
--Julia Cameron

I tried to keep that quote in mind. I am learning not to take things personally and trying not to wear my heart on my sleeve and growing a thicker skin and trying to remember that beauty is in the eye of the beholder and all those cliches. It was only one opinion and art is so subjective. And for once, for the first time in years, I did not internalize the insult long enough to decide I had no talent and give up painting. For once I did not give in to the kind of despair and desperation that led me to try to set my screenplay on fire that one time, the kind that led to a bout of writer's block so paralyzing that it forced me to drop out of my fiction MFA program. For once, I'm not sad. Just angry. And irritated. And annoyed. And I should have said something. I wish I could easily come up with snappy comebacks right on the spot like Dorothy Parker. I'll probably think of something good next week.

But the useful feedback I have gotten has led me to some important formal considerations. Like, can my pieces stand on their own as paintings? I mean, I see them as paintings, but if nobody else does, are they still paintings or are they merely "objects?" Should the materials I have used to create my work be mysteriously hidden or should they be obvious? Do the bottles on Adaptive Resue 2 even belong there? Is what I am doing so banal and ordinary that anyone can do it? Do all my pieces need to be the same size? Should I just go back to making art that looks like what I was doing before I went to grad school? I almost feel like that is what is being asked of me. But I thought you are supposed to expand your horizons in grad school. But maybe you're only supposed to do that in order to come full circle to where you started?

As you see, I have a lot of questions, a lot to consider. And I really do appreciate the useful feedback I received. As for the insult, I am keeping this in mind:

Do not indulge or tolerate anyone who throws cold water in your direction. Forget good intentions. Forget they didn't mean it. Escape velocity requires the sword of steely intention and the shield of self-determination.
--Julia Cameron

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Earth Day at the MCA: Buckminster Fuller

You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.

--Buckminster Fuller

My last day of classes for this trimester was Monday. So today I had the opportunity to stop by the Museum of Contemporary Art and see the Buckminster Fuller exhibit. To be honest, I didn't know a whole lot about his work and didn't expect to be as intrigued as I was. But the exhibit is fascinating. It features video of his interviews, architectural drawing, and all sorts of wonderful models of his innovative designs. Of course I couldn't take pictures in the gallery, but fortunately I was able to find these photos over at Popular Mechanics:

The Standard of Living Package is a kit complete with all the furniture you'd need to create a small, sustainable home.

And check out this futuristic alien village. Actually, it is meant to be built here on Earth. The Dymaxion Dwelling Machine furthers Le Corbusier's idea of a house as a machine for living. And it's also pre-fab. I guess I never made a public confession of my pre-fab love, so I will do it now.

Triton City is a floating self-sufficient community. It reminds me of the arcologies from Sim City 2000. But it was designed in the 1960's. Clearly the man was a genius and way ahead of his time.

Models like this Jitterbug Transformation are a reason this exhibit would be great for a geometry or trigonometry teacher to sponsor a field trip to the MCA. How many right angles are there? How many congruent lines? Render it in 3D AutoCAD. See, kids, geometry is fun!

And is it just me, or does this picture of Fuller and his students building the dome remind my fellow Lost fans of anything?

Don't they look like they could be in the Dharma Initiative?

Anyway, writing this makes me want to play Sim City. Or watch Lost. Or even do both at the same time. Before I go, I definitely recommend you visit the MCA to see the show. It's perfect not just for Lost fans, geometry nerds, architecture lovers, and people who liked to build arcologies in their Sim Cities (which are all the reasons I liked it), but anyone who likes innovative ideas. It continues until June 21st and admission in free on Tuesdays. For more information on the exhibit, click here.

Monday, April 20, 2009

A painterly trend I've noticed

Sometimes I think I enjoy looking like a painter as much as I enjoy actually being a painter. The truth is, painting is a legitimate excuse for making a mess. And I have an entire portion of my wardrobe dedicated to painting, from painting jeans to painting t-shirts, a painting hoodie and even a painting dress. Each drip is a badge of honor, each daub a souvenir of whatever painting I was working on at the time. And now I have noticed a lot more people looking like painters these days, thanks to Pollock-like patterns appearing in apparel, footwear, and housewares too:

The shirts above are from Wet Seal.

This top is from Alloy.

Sheet set and hoodie from Delia's.

Shoes from Victoria's Secret.

And the Chromatic Splatter pattern from can be applied to all kinds of electronics, from laptops to PDA's, phones, and MP3 players. In fact, it's the skin I chose to customize my Palm Centro.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

My new website

After months of messing around, I finally finished building my website. I just uploaded it. The URL is Now I can finally get my new business cards. And if there is anything wrong with my site, like broken links or images that don't display, please let me know so I can fix it.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Friday Featured Flickr Group: Catchy Colors

If you love to look at colorful imagery, you'll love Catchy Colors.

Our photo pool is all about Colors - DEEP, INTENSE, STRIKING, VIBRANT, RICH, CATCHY COLORS not 'composition', not even 'angle' - JUST COLOR as you can make out from our group icon. As with us folks, we are all about FUN...very laidback, color loving, respectful bunch.

And with over a million images, you'll never get bored. See for yourself:

Monday, April 13, 2009

another use for my mini paintings

Since I love miniatures, I noticed right away that my 3"x5" paintings are just the right size for a dollhouse, whether 1 inch scale or play scale (Barbie size). See for yourself:

My Scene Madison doll with mini paintings
Dawn doll with mini paintingsMy Scene Chelsea doll with mini paintings
Bratz Sasha doll with mini paintingsAustin Powers Scott Evil action figure with mini paintings
Click here to view them all on Flickr.

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Friday, April 10, 2009

New items at my Etsy Store!

Since I am off from work today, I decided to take advantage of the beautiful sunshine and get some photos of my work in the natural light so I could upload it to Etsy. Here are the newest items:

Acrylic Sheet Paintings- $40

Mini Paintings on Mini Easels- $12

Look familiar? This is the background for my blog header.

Muzak Boxes- $30

Bet you didn't know that I also make crafts. Muzak Boxes are sturdy wooden media storage units that I have hand painted and embellished with vintage album covers. Use them to hold your music, data CD's, DVD's, cassette tapes, 8 tracks, or even office supplies. I give the old records to my man Slice the Celestial Sorcerer, and sometimes he finds something he can sample. But usually the records end up at the thrift store for a good reason. I didn't even know who Mitch was until I saw Catch Me if You Can. Remember the scene where Frank is at his girlfriend's parents' house and they are watching a sing-along show on TV? That's Sing Along with Mitch.

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Photos from the student show

Silver Whisper


Michael Costanza
Park Barbecue

Christopher Clark
The Intercession of the Saints (or Their Equivalent)

Margie Glass-Sula
Autumn's Mash

Kim Panozzo
Stacking Dolls

These are just a few of the pieces at the student show. I hope no one feels left out. I plan to take more pictures of other work in the student show and upload them sometime next week. There is so much great work in the gallery. I feel honored to have the opportunity to study with so many talented artists. The show continues until May 14th. If you're in the Chicago area, stop by. It's free. And you'll have a chance to support emerging artists, and maybe even add some original art to your collection while it's still at a low price.

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Wednesday, April 8, 2009

The student show is open now

I am featuring 2 pieces in the show. Remember that untitled silver painting? Well now it has a title. I am calling it Silver Whisper. It looks great under the gallery lighting. I've taken pictures but will have to wait until I get back home to resample & upload them. Also in the show is my first installation piece, a readymade entitled Bailout. It is the first and only readymade in the Recessionism series. It's 5 pounds of shredded money. The U.S. Bureau of Engraving and Printing says it's about $10,000, though in it's confetti-like state, it is worthless. I took a picture of it too and will post it here.
The show will run until May 14th. The gallery is open Monday-Thursday from 11 am-4 p.m. Tonight it will be open a little later for the opening reception which will be held until 9 p.m. Click here to see the official site for the show. If you need directions, click here.

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