Sunday, August 26, 2018

The Doll Project: 10 Years Later

In the ten years since I was first inspired to create The Doll Project, I feel like it has become somewhat less relevant to the times, and that's a good thing. Between Mattel's addition of plus-size dolls to its line and the surging interest in the body positive movement, I feel like more people are questioning the oppressive social forces that I created The Doll Project to protest against.

I think overall our culture still has a long way to go, but the fact that these conversations are becoming more prevalent throughout both traditional and social media gives me hope.

Friday, August 24, 2018

My 10 year Blog Anniversary

It seems like nobody comments on blogs anymore. Not real people, anyway. Just spammers. They attempt to, but I block them. Blogging is not as popular as it once was. Now it seems as though it's just a tool for "influencers." Sponsored posts, posts about free swag they've received, instructions on how to do this and that, blogs about blogging. If you have something personal to say, it's fodder for a social media post, or a personal essay on Medium. The heyday of the personal blog is over. But I'm still here. I don't do this as much as I used to. Part of it, I think, is because it is less rewarding than it once was.

I feel like what "goes viral" now is what's derivative, fan art, fan fiction, curation of other people's ideas and work, nothing original.

Still, there are times when I wonder if I should continue doing this because I feel like nobody reads it. When Google got rid of Google Reader (I still don't understand why), the blog comments and traffic I received plummeted immediately. The reason that I keep blogging about my art is so that I will remember what inspired me to create it and when I made it, and so that I can use the material on here for future art books. I was raised to believe that persistence pays off, but thanks to this strange new economy we live in, is that even true anymore? For now, I am still here and don't plan to get rid of my blog, but I won't lie about the disappointment and dissatisfaction I feel that the Web 2.0 medium that suits me the best is the one that is now seen as antiquated.

If this is your first time reading my blog, here are my top 10 blog posts of the last 10 years, in no particular order:

Requiem for a Wedding Dress
You Are Beautiful, Too
Myths and Unicorns
Book Cover Design, Part 1
Book Cover Design, Part 2
Book Cover Design, Part 3
What is Jeopardy?
An Open Letter to the Design Firms that Won't Hire Me
It ain't heavy, it's my dollhouse: adventures with my Kaleidoscope House
Art Block by Block: Chicago Artists Month 2012

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

In remembrance of my Aunt Thea

This is a picture I took of my Aunt Thea when we were on a cruise with our family for Thanksgiving in 2004. She would have turned 65 today.

One of my most vivid memories from my childhood is going to a movie with my Aunt Thea, my Aunt Marla, my brother, my cousins David, Gina, Tina, Danielle, and Jennifer. I think it may have been Turner and Hooch. Instead of stopping at the concession stand and getting popcorn before the movie started, we went to Burger King for our movie snacks. Aunt Thea had a big purse and she filled it up with burgers as we pulled out of the drive-thru. We smuggled them into the theater and didn't get caught. She taught me how to be resourceful, and the usefulness of carrying a big purse. 

I also remember watching her at the skating rink. When the DJ announced it was time for the kids to sit down and let the adults skate to a throwback song, Aunt Thea would be out there showing off her old school roller disco skills, gliding gracefully around the rink while the other parents just looked awkward. 

As I got older, I found my Aunt Thea to be a wonderful confidante. She was easy to talk to because I never felt like she was judging me.  When I was having trouble finding work in my field after graduating from design school, she was the only person who didn't try to convince me to work in a different field.  In fact, she tried to help me. She would have made a great career counselor or recruiter. After a few months, she put me in touch with someone at a firm that did interior design for healthcare facilities. By that time, I was back in school again and decided not to leave my program, but I was very grateful for her effort and her empathy. 

Her life wasn't easy and lot of things didn't work out the way she had hoped they would. But she still had a lot of faith. Her faith was what led her to be so charitable to others. She believed in blessing others because she had been blessed, and that God will bless you for giving. Over the years she gave me many small gifts that I have always treasured, from a little doll she bought for me at Target, to a Barbie and the Sensations doll named Belinda, to a notebook that I will always cherish because it has her handwriting in the front. 

She was one of the most generous, compassionate, encouraging women I have ever known. It is an honor to be her niece. I am going to miss her smile, her kindness, and her beautiful spirit. I hope that I can be the kind of aunt she was to me. 

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Giving myself a raise

Today is Black Women's Equal Pay Day. Today is the day that the average Black woman's salary catches up to what the average White man's salary was by the end of 2017. That's an eight month gap. 63 cents on the dollar. I was planning to raise prices at some point this year anyway, and felt like this was the right time to do it. Yes, I am giving myself a raise. These are my new prices:

12” x 16” -

16” x 16” -
16” x 20” -
20” x 20” -
20” x 30” -
24” x 24” -
30” x 40” -
36” x 36” -
48” x 72” -
48” x 48” -

* Prices apply to all textures except pods.

Pods cost an additional 10%

No one will pay me what I'm worth unless I demand it. To find out more about ordering a custom painting, please click here. To buy an existing painting online, visit Etsy. Or if you're in Chicago, contact me to schedule a time to visit my studio.

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