Friday, July 31, 2009

The National Urban League Conference Fine Art Exhibit

urban league art show

On the advice of a career counselor, I went to a job fair today at McCormick Place. But I almost didn't make it into the exhibit hall because just outside the career fair, much to my pleasant surprise, there was a stunning display of art. And Gallery Guichard, a well-known Chicago gallery specializing in African-American art, is displaying it. Some of the artists on display are Max Sansing, whose show I checked out at Three Peas Art Lounge, and Joyce Owens, who also writes a blog that I follow. The show ends tomorrow, August 1st with a panel and lecture series from noon to 4 p.m. Click the postcard to read all the details.

Though the cost of getting into the conference is pretty steep (the theme this year is The Path to Power, and apparently it costs a lot of money to get on that path), it won't cost you anything to see the exhibit. You'll find it on the third floor of the West Building in McCormick Place.

My site is back up again!

My apologies for my absence, and the absence of my website. It is back online again, at least for the next few months. Hopefully I will soon sell enough of my work so that it will start paying for itself, as this summer has been brutal on my finances. (As I am sure it has been for a lot of people.) Speaking for finances, in my quest to find additional work, I have come across my first blatant Craigslist scammer. It was a variation of the infamous Nigerian Prince Scam. You know, take my bad check and cash it and keep 10% for yourself. I quickly reported it to the FTC and Craigslist, as I have no patience for con artists. And that got me thinking: Is there a reward for catching scammers on Craigslist? Maybe I could be a Craigslist bounty hunter. Perhaps that is my true calling.

Friday, July 24, 2009

my website is down...

My website is down until further notice. Hopefully I will sell some more paintings so I can afford to get it back up again. In the meantime, you can see my work on Flickr. Sorry for the inconvenience. This has been a difficult summer...

Friday Featured Flickr Group: Drawn Zoo

Have you ever had trouble deciding if you should visit an art museum or a zoo? Or been bogged down at work and wished you could escape from your desk and spend time with some animal friends? Then you should take a trip to the Drawn Zoo group on Flickr. The group features drawings of animals from nearly every imaginable class and phylum. And if you are an artist with some animal art in your portfolio, this is a great place to share it.

Monday, July 20, 2009

a lunar living room

In honor of the 40th anniversary of the moon landing, I thought I'd post a lunar-inspired interior design. In honor of my fiance's interest in space travel (he studied aerospace engineering, so his stage name is Slice the Celestial Sorcerer for a reason), I came up with a pretty crazy idea for our fantasy living room and designed it all around a photo mural of the famous "Earthrise" image of earth photographed from the moon. I had a lot of fun sourcing different products and finishes that went with the mural. I was going for a retro-futuristic sci-fi look. Here is what I came up with:

lunar living room

1. Mural available at and
2. Wowowo Sofa by Karim Rashid from
4. Eames Maharam pillow from
5. CeasarStone Quartz tile in Absolute Noir
6. FORMAS END TABLE from Eurway
7. Petal Lounge Chair from Eurway
8. Mica Wallcovering from Astek
9. Cumulus vase from Z Gallerie

*I sourced most of these a few years ago, so some of the products on this list may no longer be available. Remember, everything I like gets discontinued.

Who knows, perhaps once we finally get a home of our own I can make this fantasy room a reality. I think it would be a fun place to watch TV and spend time with guests.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

My artwork at Shorty's Children's Boutique


My very eventful week culminated with an opening reception on Friday the 17th at Shorty's Children's Boutique, where my work is on display until August 5th. Everything went really well. I even made my first sale of a piece from The Doll Project. So, Chicago readers who were unable to make it on Friday, you still have time to see my work. Also on display is the work of local artist Libby Booth. Her whimsical paintings are fun for kids and adults alike.

Once again, the address is 1240 N. Milwaukee Avenue.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Videos to promote my work

As I mentioned in my previous post, having to put together a quick digital portfolio for Bravo's Untitled Art Project forced me to finally make videos of the works in The Doll Project and my Post Consumerist series. I whipped these up this morning. I consider them first drafts. I'd love to get my hands on Adobe Premiere someday, but in the meantime, I'm doing the best I can with Windows Movie Maker. At least it didn't crash this time...

The Doll Project:


My untitled art project audition

mad I didn't capture a video of how long this line really is.
cameraphone started recording halfway thru.

I decided not to take the advice of commenters who said not to go to the Bravo audition and went anyway. I documented my experience on Twitter. Here's what I wrote:

listening to beat it & bad to get psyched for this untitled art project audition.about 6 hours ago from mobile web
  • this line is almost around the block. the gallery is on state and I am standing on wabash!about 6 hours ago from mobile web
  • my fellow artists standing in line with me, remember: a casting call is never a waste of time. it's a chance to network.about 6 hours ago from mobile web
  • if this audition doesn't work out. we could always have our own impromptu art show/ guerrilla art happening right here in the loop.about 5 hours ago from mobile web
  • mad I didn't capture a video of how long this line really is. cameraphone started recording halfway thru.about 5 hours ago from mobile web
  • i bet dick blick will get a lot of business today since we are all lined up across the street from it.about 5 hours ago from mobile web
  • ok I am a little concerned now since it is after 1 and I still haven't made it around the corner from monroe to state st.about 4 hours ago from mobile web
  • finally turning the corner. state street here I come! :)about 4 hours ago from mobile web
  • ok I am almost at the door now. I am artist 9.about 3 hours ago from mobile web
  • trying to stay calm and focus on deep breathing. the coffee I drank this morning has made my heartrate super fast. the yoga music is slowiabout 3 hours ago from mobile web
  • the coffee I drank this morning has made my heartrate super fast. the yoga music is slowing it down.about 3 hours ago from mobile web
  • ok here goes nothing. wish me luck!about 3 hours ago from mobile web
  • this guy standing in line with me is wearing a cool button that says "painter by day superhero by night." I want one!about 3 hours ago from mobile web
  • there are the most interesting people here, including 2 people who have been painted blue from the neck down.about 3 hours ago from mobile web
  • didn't get picked to be on the show but had a good time anyway and met some great artists. about 2 hours ago from mobile web

    But even though I was not selected, I don't think it was a waste of time.

    Yes, there has been a lot of interest in the Bravo auditions around here lately, making for a lively exchange of opinions. Some people were angry and said they were a waste of time. Others were upset with the judges. And I can understand the frustration they may have felt, but I know that comes with the territory. It's a lesson I learned not from my experiences as a visual artist, but from my adventures in other artistic disciplines.

    I may not have mentioned this before, but I also sing. And as I've tried my hand at making a little money from this avocation, I have been to plenty of auditions. I've tried out for a wedding band, a performance group that entertains passengers on a popular Navy Pier ship, a part as extra in Wicked, and even a part as the feather duster in Beauty and the Beast. I have learned a lot from each one.

    What matters in the end is your attitude, as well as your perspective. You can't go in thinking you're a shoo-in, as you may be in for a lot of disappointment. You also can't go in thinking your life will be over if you don't make it. You have to go to every casting call ready to enjoy the moment and relish the experience. What better chance to meet and socialize with others who share your passions than an event that draws fellow travelers from far and wide?

    From the other casting calls I have been to, I have met interesting people, and even learned that the Harold Washington Library has a great selection of popular sheet music to check out or photocopy. I also leaned not to view not getting chosen as an indictment of my talents. I learned to take it in stride. There were times when I was clearly out of my depth or when my voice may not have been at its best. But through it all I learned to achieve the delicate balance of giving my all in every audition, while at the same time maintaining a sense of emotional detachment in the time spent waiting my turn, and taking things in stride when I was not chosen. You have to take risks in life to reap the rewards, and you'll never know what you can do until you actually try.

    And from this experience, I learned about an upcoming artist in residence opportunity at the Galaxie, and met many amazing artists. Among them are Tara Roys, a self-described "fractal evangelist," John Ginsberg, the Founder/Art Guy of Chicago Art Leasing LLC , (by the way, don't you love the creative titles of entrepreneurs?), and Frank Fitzgerald, a very prolific painter and art teacher. I even learned some things about myself. The application required descriptions of me from someone who knows me well, and I learned that the one word my fiance would use to describe me is "colorful" and that he thinks my best trait is that I am trustworthy and my worst trait is that I am stubborn. Not only that, but having to put together a quick digital portfolio forced me to finally make videos of the works in The Doll Project and my Post Consumerist series. So even though I didn't get to be on TV, I still got a lot out of this experience, and that's what counts.

    So, if keep this in mind if you're going to the last round of auditions. You still have a chance if you're in New York City this weekend. Just remember to keep it in perspective. If you don't believe me, just ask our fellow artists who are actors, musicians, and dancers.
  • Wednesday, July 15, 2009

    "The Audition" by Laurie Simmons

    With all the talk about auditions on my blog lately (who knew that my post on Bravo's Untitled Art Project would get so many comments?) I started thinking about a scene from Laurie Simmons's film The Music of Regret. So here is a little snippet from it entitled "The Audition."

    I'm In the "Creative Souls" Spotlight

    I have just been featured in the Creative Souls Spotlight. This is a blog where Renata Steward, who is an artist herself, features the work of other artists, which I think this is a really gracious and generous gesture. You can see the article about me at this link. And be sure to take a look at Renata's blog. If you are interested in being featured in Creative Souls, find out how to sign up here.

    Tuesday, July 14, 2009

    A Good Deed By Design: The One Percent

    Recently I learned about a wonderful program for architects and interior designers, The One Percent. Sponsored by San Francisco based Public Architecture, The One Percent is a pro bono design initiative. According to their website:

    "The 1% program is a national venue for firms to document their pro bono contributions, gain recognition, and find new project opportunities."

    The goal is to to get firms to donate 1% of their billable hours to pro-bono work. At this point, they work only with firms and not with individual designers. If you have a firm this could be a great opportunity for you, especially since business is scarce due to the recession. But doing pro bono work for a not-for-profit could be a great project to add to a portfolio of work while also using design to benefit society. I love the way Public Architecture addresses this concept on their site:

    What We Don't Believe

    Design has nothing to do with social justice
    What? Can't sophisticated design serve social justice? It can, and it should. The distinction between progressive design and popular design is a class prejudice—and a red herring. Public Architecture brings the values of design—formal innovation, intellectual currency, critical appraisal of the status quo—to bear on real problems in our communities.

    Beauty is trivial
    No. Beauty dignifies. Architecture doesn't just function; it expresses the human condition. It's about human dignity. It's about respect. It communicates identity and enables people to speak, to participate, to act. If you want to see what design has to do with identity, look at people's clothes, their cars. Architecture does the same things; it just lasts longer.

    "Looks" are everything
    We didn't say that. Beauty dignifies, but architectural beauty isn't just in the look of things. It's the expression of who we are and what we value as a community. It's also in the sound of footfalls on a plaza, the smell of rain on pavement, the warmth of a brick wall in the sun. It's in the sequence of spaces we pass through—tall and narrow, broad and open, bright, dark, loud, quiet. Public Architecture advocates for places for people with minds and bodies, not just eyes.

    To find out more about the program, visit:
    And read more about Public Architecture here:

    Saturday, July 11, 2009

    My work is being featured at Shorty's Children's Boutique

    This is my first time showing my work in a retail setting. I am so excited to have an opportunity to show so much of it at once! Remember how I was saying I had to clear a lot of stuff out the studio? Now many of my pieces have a new temporary home. I will be exhibiting several pieces from my Post-Consumerism series as well as New City and some pictures from The Doll Project which hopefully will not scare the children away. The reception will be from 6:30-9 on Friday, July 17th. Shorty's is located at 1240 North Milwaukee Avenue in Wicker Park in Chicago. If you want to take public transportation, take the Blue Line to Division and you'll be right around the corner. If you want to ride your bike there, you'll be in good company since Milwaukee Avenue has bike lanes. And if you can't make it on Friday, you can still see my work there until August 5th.

    The boutique features really cute clothes, toys, and accessories for kids, so if you're a parent or need to get stylish onesies for a baby shower, you have another reason to stop by.

    Shorty's website

    Thursday, July 2, 2009

    Bravo's Untitled Art Project

    I hate reality television. I think I know why. Back when I was in high school in the mid 1990's, watching music videos was very important to me. I liked to watch MTV, VH1, and BET after school every day. Then one day a new show called The Real World made its debut. I resented it because it cut into my music video time. I felt the time they spent broadcasting the shenanigans of a bunch of 20-somethings cohabiting in a house could have been better spent showing Tyson Beckford in the "Un-Break My Heart" video, or the drama of Gwen and Tony's failed romance in the "Don't Speak" video, or the tragedy that ensued when Pearl Jam's "Jeremy" spoke in class, or Alanis Morrissette with one hand in her pocket, or Aaliyah's dance moves.

    But by the time I graduated from college, reality TV had taken over all 3 music networks and was starting to infiltrate other major networks as well. The aspiring screenwriter in me was disheartened. Instead of dramas and sitcoms with talented actors in starring roles, there were people who could have been my neighbors and classmates hamming it up for the cameras in the most banal and predictable ways. And Survivor and Fear Factor were only the beginning of the invasion. Game and talent shows weren't enough. Pretty soon, there were even shows about people trying to find jobs. Chefs were battling in kitchens to become Top Chef or The Next Food Network Star. Fashion designers fought on Project Runway. And even HGTV got in on it by creating Design Star, which Bravo quickly cloned in the form of Top Design.

    I entertained the possiblity of auditioning for the interior design shows very briefly. Then I thought, why must I humiliate myself on national television just to get a job? Hadn't I faced enough rejection without having it exposed to an audience of millions? And besides, I'd rather just work for a firm than have my own tv show, which was the grand prize of Design Star if I remember correctly.

    And so I was very skeptical when I read the announcement that Bravo is now creating a reality show about artists. It has the very artsy-sounding working title "Untitled Art Project" and the auditions will be starting soon. I suppose it was inevitable. After all, the prophetic words that "in the future everyone will be famous for 15 minutes" were spoken by an artist, Andy Warhol. And why shouldn't artists want to be famous? Why toil in anonymity when you can put yourself out there and get mass exposure?

    Still, I feel ambivalent about this. The show has the potential to share the work that artists do with a much greater audience, though at the same time, I have to wonder if the artists who participate in the show will be looked down upon as sell-outs and panderers? Will they still be taken seriously once the show is over or will the art world snub them? Will they be tainted by the stigma of reality television?

    I don't know the answers to these questions, but I do know that there will be a casting call here in Chicago 2 weeks from today... and I am thinking about going.

    They are also scouting for artists in Los Angeles, Miami, and New York. Go to for all the details.
    Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

    Share This Post