Archives for the month of: January, 2010

It’s that time again – time for another installment of meet the artist.

I found this artist again through her Etsy site which can be found here. She has completely amazing work.  The colors are bold and the images are so imaginative while still keeping an air of playfulness.  I am so inspired by her work…there just aren’t words for how great it is!  I’m so happy she took some time to answer my questions and share a bit of her experience with us.

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Give us an idea of your creative process.

Throughout the week, I see a lot of different things during my travels all over New York City. If you look closely, you will see that there are patterns just about anywhere and everywhere: in the sidewalk, on the sides of building, clothing, billboards in the subway, books and magazines, online, etc. My head is filled with all kinds of things that I feel compelled to replicate, so I’ll immediately take a photo of whatever object has my attention at that moment, or I’ll sketch it on some scrap of paper in my purse so that I can use it later when I’m working. Then, I simplify that imagery and convert it into my mental picture of what the finished piece should look like.

At other times, when I’m having some sort of creative block, I also get what I can only describe as a “flash visualization” when I’m about to fall asleep. I have to jump up immediately and sketch it before it’s gone from memory

  

What do you find inspiring?

Graffiti, window displays, and the fabrics and textures of fashion. I’ve been taking photos of graffiti murals since I was a teenager growing up in the suburbs of Philadelphia. Now that I live in Brooklyn, it’s all around me. I love the color combinations, the outlining, the perspective, the characters, and the various fonts that people come up with out of their imaginations. I really admire the talent that is involved, and the surprise of seeing a piece of art on a wall that was empty the day just prior.

I really look at a lot of window displays on Fifth and Madison Avenue too. It’s almost like going to an art gallery with concepts and colors that change every month. It’s a true artform. I’ve also been fortunate to attend fashion shows during New York’s Fashion Week, and get a glimpse at what will be on the streets of New York in six months’ time. The fabrics and prints really give me a creative buzz.

You use fascinating geometry in your work on Etsy, were you a good math student? 

Absolutely not! I still have trouble balancing my checkbook. Even though I was in an accelerated course, I really hated math. It was a constant struggle that never seemed to end during life as a student. My dad was an electrical engineer, so numbers and mathematical functions came easily for him. I always had to get his help with my homework. Ironically, I did a project consisting of fractals years later in college.

I started my college career as a pre-med student. As a break from all of the hardcore science classes, I broke up my schedule with some kind of art class every semester. This class always felt like a huge relief; as if I were going back to my roots. Painting class always felt so easy by comparison. At one point, there was an assignment to create a series of pieces with a theme. My dad informed me about this relatively new (1975) discovery in the world of mathematics; something called fractals. As timing would have it, there happened to be a very big article about them in his current National Geographic. As I looked at the article, I saw a distinct relationship to nature, and found the vivid colors endlessly fascinating. From this idea, I created a series of works based on the various fractal types, and also worked with a mathematics professor to understand how certain math functions created the archetypal shapes.

I also use a lot of pattern from textiles, tiles, pottery, and other handcrafted items that recall my travels to Morocco and Romania.

If you could describe your art in one word what would it be?

Dynamic!

When and how did you decide to use book pages as the background for your work?

I was cleaning out my studio last year when I came across a couple of small pieces that I’ve always loved. I have a hard time working small (anything less than 5 feet), but despite their small size (5 x7 inches) I felt that they were somewhat successful. They were made with gouache and with the imagery that has come to be my signature vocabulary in almost all of my recent work: biology and science. I never dated them, but I think they’re from 2005. 

For the past two years, I’ve felt completely overwhelmed with health issues and the day job, that it seems that I just never had time or energy to make my large paintings anymore. I haven’t felt the fulfillment of actually completing a significant piece of artwork in quite some time, and this was the whole reason I moved to New York in the first place. I pulled out those small gouache paintings and used them as a model for the pieces that I’ve been doing recently.

These new works are much smaller, but I truly feel a sense of satisfaction in being able to complete several of them over the course of a week. They are a way for me to purge from my head all of the designs and patterns that I see daily and translate them into works of art.

What’s your favorite part of creating art?

I like the process itself; having some quality alone time, really listening to music, and just getting into “the zone”. I also like standing in front of a large blank canvas, ready to work and put my whole body into the creation of a new work as it almost swallows me in its grand scale.

Even better than the process, is the moment when you stand back, and you just know a painting is finished. This moment is very satisfying.

What is your biggest frustration?

I never feel that I have enough time. I want to be able to experiment more, be wild with the paint, and take risks. When you’re a student, you don’t realize it, but you have the luxury of time to be able to play with possibilities. I work full time, so trying to support myself, balance a social life, and then try to do something I love is all very challenging and exhausting. Other obligations come up all the time, so making time for art can often be very difficult. I often have to be selfish with my nights and weekends. 

I would also love to have a real studio with natural light where I can spread out and continue to work big someday. I hate restrictions, so a bigger space would mean more interesting work.

What does your workspace look like?

It’s a huge mess and very cramped! I live in a ‘railroad’ or ‘shotgun’ style apartment, so it’s very long and very narrow. Aside from the new book page pieces, I like to work fairly big. Other New York artists I know (and family members) always laugh at me, saying that if I keep making these incredibly large pieces, one day, the paintings will take up all of what’s left of my apartment, and I’ll be forced to live in one small corner of it.

A lot of artists in New York have a separate studio, but I work at home in a room that I designated as my work space. The apartment has a lot of really nice old architectural charm with decorative doo-dads in unexpected places. What it lacks for in width, it makes up for in height. I have very high, beautiful tin ceilings which make the space feel much bigger than it actually is. My landlord was supportive about me having some workspace within the apartment, so he installed some drywall and extra lighting for me. I have very little natural light. One side is storage, and the other side is where I work. The whole “studio” is covered in postcards, photos, fabric swatches, and tear sheets from magazines or newspapers for inspiration. The floor is completely splattered with all kinds of paint from the last 10 years. It looks like a huge Jackson Pollock painting.

What art-related compliment are you most proud of so far?

The biggest compliment you can possibly get is when someone decides that they want to buy something that you made because they want to live with it in their home and look at it every day.


Do you have any advice for other creative-souls out there?

Keep working, make time for your passion no matter what, tell people about it, and be proud of what you’ve done. You don’t want to be the best-kept secret hiding in your own living room.

Anything else you’d like to share?

 I used to take Saturday art classes at a school in Philadelphia ever since I was about five or six. A few years later, I had a drawing of a circus in a gallery for kids, and someone bought the piece for about ten dollars. I thought I was suddenly rich, famous, and independent! I never had ten dollars of my own before. I think I tried to take my parents out to dinner that night. How intoxicating….it’s almost like printing your own money. That moment really stuck with me and was an incentive to keep making things.

My most recent project consists of working with Barneys, a New York department store known for out-of-the-ordinary displays. For the past three and a half years, they’ve used my paintings throughout the store paired with the most amazing dresses. I have also done special projects for particular designer areas in the store that are coordinated with New York’s Fashion Week. It’s been a great relationship, and I love seeing what their visual department comes up with when they integrate my pieces into their displays.

As I mentioned earlier, I was on the pre-med path for a while in college. One weekend, the art department arranged a bus to New York to visit a couple of museums. The Whitney was having a retrospective by Terry Winters. I was blown away. The work was everything I was studying and researching at the time, but it was done in such a beautiful way that was so unlike my textbooks. I had never seen all the scientific shapes rendered so expressively. That was an epiphany moment because shortly after that trip, I changed my major from science to art. I thought my parents were going to have a stroke, but they were supportive in a reserved way. 

Even though I made my first “big” sale as an eight year old, I didn’t know that making and selling art could be a real career. I just thought it was something you did to pass the time on rainy weekends. I also thought that everything you painted or drew had to look like a photograph, and so it was really frustrating when my masterpieces didn’t qualify as perfect. My mom always liked Norman Rockwell, so she had a couple of his books in the house. I had no idea that art could have so many possibilities and styles besides photo-realist illustration. Art has so many challenges, but I don’t really want to do anything else. I didn’t choose this as my path in life, it chose me.

Thank you for the interview, and for the opportunity to tell my story to the world!

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No – thank you for sharing a bit of your creative mind with us!  I don’t even have words to explain how much I love her work.  It is perfectly pleasing and down-to-earth.  Plus it would look fantastic in my house. 

Check out her Etsy site: http://www.etsy.com/shop/kipi

Check out her new blog: http://kipiboo.blogspot.com/

As well as her website: http://www.kipiski.com/index.html

Prepare to be inspired!

This is perhaps the quickest sneak peek in the history of sneak peeks (well mine at least).  It’s been hectic around these parts…and will continue to be so.  But I did want to share a few (I mean few!) pictures from April and Matt’s beautiful wedding last weekend. 

Let’s start with the church:

I know – that hardly qualifies as “just a church” – more like “one heck-of-a-church”.  Wait – is it ok to say that about a holy place.  Well I’ve always been a rule-breaker.

Onto some receptions details.  Mind you these are straight out of the camera. (Minus the putting them into a little grouping for your viewing pleasure) No time to edit much this week.  But these were too purdy not to share!

It was a beautiful wedding – and it was so nice to see everyone!  It was a Streator-Girl reunion.  More photos to come … soon-ish.

So I wanted to share a few items that I love (and I mean LOVE) from some very talented Etsy sellers:

The first is by girl in gear studio.  This Etsy shop has great, great items!  But these are my favorites:

It’s a set of gorgeous mini-valentines. 

(I know because I’m the proud owner of a set)

Want to know the best part – you can plant them and grow your very own wildflower bouquet.

I know – I told you they were great.

And look at those cute little brown envelopes!

If that’s not enough – check out this card from the same site:

Perfection!

Next I’d like to introduce you to another favorite Valentine’s day item from PrinceDesignUK.

Wouldn’t these be perfect on your nightstand to hold jewelry – I thought so too!

Happy Valentine’s Day shopping!

Another weekend trip is over.  The suitcases are unpacked – laundry is in the washer – emails have been checked – in otherwords…I’m tired! 

Traveling wears me out!

I do have lots of great pictures from April and Matt’s South Bend Wedding.  I have loaded them on to my computer and flipped through them a few times.  I just don’t have the energy to post them tonight. Sorry April!

I will however try to post some this week.  I also have lots of other exciting posts: an artist interview, great Etsy finds, a tasty cake recipe.  Stay tuned friends; it’s busy and slow posting, but I think it’ll be worth it! Hope you think so too!

I feel like I start so many of my posts with “I was antique-shopping in Lebanon, IL and look what I found” that I could start a whole blog of just these posts.  But this find – this find was spectacular – it was exciting – it left me researching the internet for hours.

Let me keep you in suspense and tell you the whole story.  So I talked someone into going to Lebanon several weeks back.  We went into some stores that I hadn’t yet been too.  One store was in an old house and had a back garage that also was filled with stuff. I was poking around…not finding much.  Then on the back of an old, dusty set of shelves I saw a glass milk bottle.  I have a habit of looking for the Owen’s Illinois imprint and the Streator plant number whenever I’m out finding old stuff. 

Side Note: For my non-Streator readers.  Streator used to be a huge glass manufacturing town.  Everyone from my home town has a relative who worked for the Owens glass factory.  My father did, his father did…you get it.

Anyways…I notice the milk bottle says “Illinois Valley” on it.  I got excited  – that’s where I’m from afterall – and then I saw the whole thing:

Oh yes – It says Streator right on the bottle.  I immediatly purchased it and called my father as he is my local Streator historian.  He told me where the Illinois Valley Ice Cream Co. was located in Streator.  I was even more excited. 

This bottle was manufactured by Thatcher’s Glass (who also had a factory in Streator) and was probably manufactured between 1942 and 1944 from what I can find about the markings and because it has an ad for war bonds on the back.

I now have  a thing for glass bottles.  Because I need more stuff.  But wait until later this weekend when I show you what my man brought home for me…it probably tops this (maybe)

The Pioneer Woman – aka P Dub – is hosting another photography assignment.  Please don’t tell me you don’t know who she is – you don’t!  Check out her blog here…grab something to eat because you’re gonna get hooked and there’s a lot of reading to catch up on!

Anyways – she wants to see your sunrise/sunset photos.  Looking through mine I found two and I thought I’d share them here:

This first photo was taken in Rhode Island.  It as a fantastic day during the best summer I’ve ever had!  I was surrounded by lots of fun and the best people ever!  The sunset doesn’t have a lot of color, but I love the cloud formations and the little fishing boat you can see in the lower left corner. 

This photo I took a few years ago from my car on the interstate – well it was an exit ramp and no one was behind me – either way – it was poorer composition but a fiery shot none-the-less.   Post a link to your sunrise/sunsets…I’d love to see ’em too!

When I was in my photography class in college we had to do a final project.  It could be a study of anything or anyone we wanted.  The idea for my final project started with this photo:

I shot this from the hip in the Chicago Art Museum and I loved the way the man was shilouetted against the fine art.  This was part of the inspiration behind my final project.  The second piece of my inspiration was a complete accident.  Somehow my camera accidently shot two photos on the same place on my roll of film (thus double exposing the image).  I decided I would do a double-exposed self-portrait silhouetted series. (say that 5 times fast!)

Some of the results:

One thing I really liked about this series is that I didn’t have much control over how the photos lined-up.  It was a good exercise for me and I really liked not knowing what exactly I was going to get.

Now with Photoshop you can faux-double expose.  I played around with that a little today.  Here were the results!

I used some of my photos from Vegas and The Flamingo with Brandi and Cody’s engagement pictures.  It seemed fitting since they are getting married there and they love the Flamingo!  Too bad I didn’t get any pictures with the Vegas lights…those would’ve been nice to have now!

The next one is my favorite

Double-exposing is still fun!  Now I have a little more control.  I think I prefer the film method.  Although it’s much more difficult.  But this still gives some pretty good results I think!

I talked about my need for wall decorations earlier and I think I figured out what I’m going to hang above the bed.  Here’s a sneak peak:

Mysterious… I know

What could it be?  You’ll just have to wait to find out!  I’ll post the finished product as soon as it’s finished (things are busy…it could be awhile)

I’m excited to introduce a new section to this blog: Meet the Artist

I love all types of art and creative ventures and so respect others who do too.  I want to take some time every so often to showcase an Artist and do a little interview with them so we can all learn a bit about how they work and what inspires them.

Let me start by introducing RaspberryKidz.  Her work is completely charming and wonderful!  If you have kids or know someone who does…you should buy a piece  as a gift (she does custom work!).  They will love it forever – I promise!  I think what she does is pure genius.  I love every-single-piece!  You can read her blog here.  And don’t forget to check out her Etsy shop!

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Give us an idea of your creative process.
First I enter the child’s artwork into the computer by taking a digital picture of it. I then outline it in Illustrator and add color in Photoshop. I copy and paste sections that I want to “pop” out, and then I print. I cut out those extra bits and reapply them to the original, using poster tape, to give the artwork a 3D quality.

Original Drawing

A RaspberryKidz original from the drawing above

Where did you get the idea for RaspberryKidz?
I started Raspberrykidz with simple pictures I created myself on the computer of kids in my son’s first playgroup. Once my son was old enough to draw, I loved what he was producing and, like many parents, I didn’t want to throw anything out. I saw beyond the scribbles and enhanced his pictures on the computer. I always had trouble with coming up with ideas, and he never did. So I just used his art as inspiration.

Where did you come up with that name anyways?
When I did the art for Ethan’s playgroup, I came up with Raspberrykidz. A raspberry, to me, has always been that fun thing you would do on your baby’s tummy with your lips that almost always guaranteed a giggle, or at least a smile. I’d love my art to have the same effect.

BallerinaPig – Original Drawing

BallerinaPig – RaspberryKidz


Since your work revolves around children’s art, what was your favorite art project as a kid?
Oh, I had so many! I remember creating a piñata with my best friend, illustrating stories I wrote, drawing “beauty pageant girls” with my sister, working on report covers with my dad’s help and designing posters when I ran for office in junior high. Everything was an art project.

If you could describe your art in one word what would it be?
whimsical (though I do think that word is overused)

Princess – Perfect for a kids room!

Alex

What’s your favorite part of creating art?
I finally figured out a process in which I love every part. From the outlining to the taping at the end. I enjoy it all.

What is your biggest frustration?
I can’t think of anything. Maybe just finding the time to create and promote. When I’m trying to market my work, I feel like I should/could be working on something. But if I spend all of my time creating, nobody would even know about it! Yeah, that can be frustrating.

What does your workspace look like?
I have a little loft area off my bedroom. I go up a 7-step ladder (which I fell down a few weeks ago….12 stitches later, I’m much more careful), and I’m in “my space.” I have my dad’s old drafting table, which I took as mine in college. The space is super cluttered, as I have so many projects going on. When I do get around to cleaning it up every now and then, I’m much happier.

 Girlpower – Original drawing

Girlpower – RaspberryKidz original art

Girlpower – Showing 3D accents

Besides creating, what do you spend your time doing?
I love working out in the mornings and reading in the evenings. I enjoy watching movies with my kids, and I love to bake (though that is creating too, isn’t it?)

Do you have any advice for other creative-souls out there?
Just do what you love. Don’t try to be like anyone else. Being inspired by someone else is one thing, but you want to show your own original perspective.

Audrey in Plaid – Original Drawing

Audrey in Plaid – RaspberryKidz Original with 3D accents

Anything else you’d like to share?
I’d love for people to check out my web site:
http://raspberrykidz.com/
my blog:
http://raspberrykidz.blogspot.com/
my giveaway:
http://raspberrykidz.blogspot.com/2010/01/help-vote-for-raspberrykidz.html
and my etsy shop:
http://www.etsy.com/shop/raspberrykidz
you can also find me on facebook:
http://www.facebook.com/pages/Chicago-IL/RaspberryKidz/19844302479?ref=ts

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A big thank you to RaspberryKidz for answering all my questions and spending a little time on my blog!

Disclaimer: This post is not related to my photos in any capacity

That being said…the walls in my house are sad.  Very sad.  This is even sadder considering I take & sell photos.  There’s just something though about looking at my photography on my walls …. I don’t know.  It’s a hang-up I guess.  The only thing hanging on my walls is a bass (oh yes – I’m talking about a once-living, now stuffed fish).  Don’t even ask!

Anyhow – this led me to think about what should I hang up…On a BUDGET!  Not a couple hundred dollar budget either!  I found some photos browsing Desire to Inspire blog that would break my bank but I think are awesome for lots of reasons! Inspiration!

By: Jac de Villiers

I love how there are framed pictures hung so closely together – and so many of them.  This is one of my favorite looks!  I also love the antique colors in this one.

By: Atlanta Bartlett

Love the old leather with the great floors! Oh those floors are calling my name!

By: Aaron Hom

Now this one! 

What can I say about this one…I love the slightly cluttered look.  Those of you who know me personally get that!  i like the bookshelves that contain lots more than just books.

Looking at these all together, apparently I have a thing for white walls – Who knew?

I’ll keep you posted once I figure out something to hang up – it might be awhile – I may be lost forever in Lowe’s