Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Re-Defining My Discipline

When asked what my discipline is, I usually answer "printmaking" without hesitation. It is what I studied in college, my concentration, and where my focus has been since 1998. I LOVE being a printmaker and sharing traditional methods with those who are curious. However, I find that as I evolve as an artist, so is my discipline......ringing to the tune of more than one of them.

I enjoy far too many artistic mediums to simply limit myself to one. I look around my little makeshift workshop at home and there are shelves full of potential: printmaking inks, oil paints, book art supplies, jewelry-making loot, paper and fabric for upcycled projects, the list goes on and on. After evaluating this reality, I've been looking closely into redefining myself as an artist....at least on paper.

This is something I've played around with in my head for some time, but it really didn't bubble to the surface until a week ago. I saw a video interview of and interdisciplinary designer. I forgot her name already. She designs home accessories, but also finds time to do poster design as well. She said she didn't like being put in a box and that it was ok to do several mediums. I'd thought this exact thing before, but it was in this moment I had a finalizing revelation: I am no longer JUST a printmaker. I am also a painter, a photographer, and a paper artist....among others. Mentioning this "Aha" moment was not surprising to a few friends, who all just responded with,"Uh, yeah.....you've been multidisciplinary for a while now." I mean, the light bulb has always been on inside my head, but that video just made it shine brighter.

I've been looking for a way to describe myself to others, ESPECIALLY since the Little Universes show. "What medium is it?" people ask. Well, I certainly can't tell them it's printmaking.

I found this little diddy the other day on Daric Gill Studios' blog site. It's broken down well...just in case you are also wondering where you might fit in.

So, it is safe to say that I will be changing my bios and such to reflect myself as a multidisciplinary artist now, instead of Tish Douzart, Printmaker.

Friday, October 28, 2016

Website/Blog Update

I let my subscription on my website host expire so dollhousepress.com does not currently work. I'm trying to figure out something else. I do still own the domain so that is not going anywhere!

So, what the hell has Tish been up to?

I'm still managing CJ Nero Gallery, a cute little gallery and gift shop in the Marigny. It's much less stressful and if there is any stress, it's the good kind. I am much happier here and I believe everyone is happy for me. We've had some great art shows, parties, and art classes since we opened and we have plans for so much more!

I had an art show in August, titled Little Universes. I finally took the leap and experimented with encaustics and mixed media! Everything exceeded my expectations! Granted, I had a few pieces that I struggled with, but who doesn't? So far, five pieces have new homes. I've developed a better sense of appreciation for my craft and look forward to further experimenting on future pieces.....hopefully much larger than before.

Halloween is Monday. I say that to remind myself that the holidays are pretty much here. Sigh. I need a couple of production days soon so I can bump up the inventory a bit. Anticipating it to be a good year! I know I've made some unfulfilled promises to myself over the last 12 months. I need to remember that things happen when the moment is right and some things are not meant to happen. But before I get too deep here...

Gonna leave it to that for right now, but I felt a quick update was in order. Things are moving around and switching over so I'll be back here on Blogger until I can figure it out.

I leave you with a few photos of my new work.

Photos courtesy of Whereyart.net. Photo credit: Josh Brasted

Monday, January 25, 2016

A Slow Time for Prep Work

So let's backtrack a bit with a proper update....

Yes, I was accepted into the Jackalope Arts and Crafts Fair in Phoenix, Arizona. No, I did not accept my acceptance. A new business venture was presented to me a bit earlier than expected so I couldn't say no. All of my time was spent on opening up the new gallery and gift shop so I didn't have any extra time to make anything for Dollhouse Press. That being said, this new role has not been for nothing! I've had an AMAZING time meeting new people, getting closer to friends I haven't spent a lot of time with, and organizing fun and lively events with artists and colleagues who see the bigger picture. Permission was granted to put my marbled notecards and magnets in the shop and I've sold more of my inventory in two months than I've sold in a year's time! I know it was the holidays and all, but damn! I'm not complaining! It gave me a nice little bonus to get some much needed things crossed off of my to do list. Much time has passed between updates, but I am really trying to get better at this.

Since January is typically a slow month in New Orleans for retail, I started prepping more paper for another long run of cards.  I'm also working up some ideas for more paper products. I'd love to get my cards in more local shops around town, two locations at minimum. Working on that as well.
My etching series, Nourish, is not completely off the table. My previous job afforded me the privilege of full access to a print shop. I no longer have this. It is a bit harder to gain access to the proper equipment and supplies needed. Actually, I do have most of the supplies, but doing it at home is a bit tricky. Most of it is toxic and I really do not want to expose myself, my best friend, and our fur babies to improperly ventilated chemicals so I've placed it all on a temporary back burner until I figure something out. I may take the time and bring the images over to the letterpress format, just to get them out there.

I finally got my website up and running! Dollhousepress.com has been live for about 4 months. The infrastructure let me connect my updates on Blogger, but that's it. It does not update itself if I post here. I'm posting in both places until I can work on a solution. The site is pretty basic for the time being, but all the important stuff is there.

Much needs to be done but today, I cut down paper.........and take down these neglected Christmas decorations...geez.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Late Night Catching Up

There's been so much going on since I last posted. I think I need to actually break it all down into several blog posts!

I was accepted into the Jackalope Arts and Crafts Fair, taking place in Phoenix, Arizona in December. As absolutely thrilled and excited as I am about attending, I had an unexpected offer fall in my lap, a job offer. I already knew about it because the opportunity was supposed to come around March. Circumstances happen, however, and the offer came sooner. I really needed to evaluate the pros and cons of taking such a great job versus preparing for a 2 day art fair. After sitting on it and discussing it with friends and family for almost 2 weeks, I politely turned down the acceptance to Phoenix. This was just something I could not pass up and I anticipated the job taking up much of what would have been production time for me. I will definitely apply for it next year though!

I am now the new Curator at CJ Nero Gallery & Gifts (actually, it's just CJ Nero, but I kind of like the additional description). We are a new business in the Marigny neighborhood of New Orleans and as of right now, are not officially open for business. Right now, we are just getting things set up, sent out, and brought in. We open on November 27th. Most of everything we'll sell is handmade in New Orleans by very talented artists. A plan is already in place for fantastic shows, events, fundraisers, and classes! I started working on Wednesday and I think I got more done in the last 2 days than I ever have in a two week period and it is such a relaxing relief to know that. I love actually being productive at work! I've been missing out on it for a while now.

I'm going to leave you here. There is a lot to cover and, well, I'm getting sleepy. Much more news in the next week!

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

I am prepping for note card production.  I've phased out my sets of 4 and now only sell sets of 5 or 10. The plan is to boost my inventory enough to hopefully last through the holidays, so I think I need to schedule a printing day once a month.  It is now July 21st.  In the least, I'd like to set up a production day for cards within the next week and plan another one for late August.  Depending on sales (which are a bit slim during summer months), I may add a day in between.  I'm shooting for 10 sets of 5 and 10 sets of 10 per printing day. If I get into the Jackalope Arts Festival, scheduled for December, I'll bump up those numbers. Until then...

...lots of measuring, folding, and cutting are in my future.....and maybe a bottle of Moscato.

I've been playing around with the idea of adding glitter to some of my monotypes. I know, it's possibly a bit cheesy, but I really think that has something to do the quality of the glitter and just how much of it is used. I am experimenting with a few different kinds of the sparkly stuff and I may be zero-ing in on a winner. I've also noticed that the shiny factor depends on the color. The darker hues do not work so well for me....I want it to SPARKLE!! I am making a trip this afternoon to check up on some more glitter and see if I can find the kind that's more like dust.  That might look absolutely beautiful! I want to do this to some of the larger monotypes so we'll see what happens. I might even think about adding glitter to some of my note cards for the holidays!

Since I am running a summer art camp in the Arts District, finding time and (most importantly) energy is challenging. Plus, it is SO DAMN HOT in New Orleans right now! No one really wants to hang out in the open air of day.  I don't even water the garden until at least 6:00 in the evening. All of this aside, I am aware that I need to get myself in gear and warm up for some serious production time. Right now, I'm just working a little bit, off and on, during the evening time after I get home. It is the only time I have to work on my own art...except for weekends...I don't think I work enough during the weekend.  That should change.

Additionally, I've tuned my mental antennae to a few Instagram accounts in order to educate myself more on how marketing works on that platform. They've been really helpful! There are also a couple of artists that I've been paying attention to and taking notes. I feel that communicating with companies/people that inspire one to put the to-do list down and actually start DOING something are extremely beneficial to those of us trying to get our own thing going.

I should have another post up in a couple of weeks.  Planning is starting to have a positive effect on my schedule.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Letting Go to Move Forward...

In order to keep things moving forward, sometimes my products and art need to move out. I've held sales before and although the last one didn't go so well, I remain optimistic.

I began making my marbled note cards as sets of four. At the time, it seemed like a decent number for the cost, but now that I'm getting to know my audience - that needs to change. I gave it some thought... and I've decided to change my set numbers. Instead of the original sets of four, I am now creating sets of 5 and sets of 10. The system will be modeled after the original quantity and they will still sell for $18 a set. The sets of ten, however, will be the deal: ten, hand-printed, one-of-a-kind note cards for $30 per set. My cards are blank inside and come with their own envelopes. These are currently in production and should be available very soon.

That being said - what about that sale?

To make room for the new, the old must go. For a limited time, you can purchase my sets of 4 for $12 each. That is $3.00 a card as opposed to the original $4.50 a card. I think this will help me move the smaller card packs out. Since Father's Day is coming up, these are perfect for expressing how much you appreciate him as well as gifting him a small work of art!

So, to review....

Marbled notecards (sets of 4 ONLY) will be ON SALE this week for $12.00 per set.  You can find them on my site at Whereyart.net.  They will remain on the site until Friday. 

There are only 8 sets left! Help me move them out!!

Saturday, June 6, 2015

My "Katrina" Block

This post is a back story on the charcoal magazine portraits from 2005 to 2006. You can see some of them on Instagram, but all 6 of them are shown below.

There are so many articles, debates, photos, artwork, and yes, blog posts, about Hurricane Katrina...and I'm adding one more to the pot. It has been almost 10 years since life in New Orleans took an unexpected detour...

I decided to go back to college and get my degree just a few months before...and already completed the summer semester. I enrolled for Fall term and even started a few classes when the call to evacuate came. Of course, I did not think too much of it so I packed an overnight bag with a few outfits and whatever artwork was already in my car (basically a sketch pad and a small collection of drawings) and headed to Alexandria, Louisiana, where my family lives.

I lived out of that bag for a month! The university was out of commission and for how long, no one knew. I enrolled at a local junior college, but honestly for what? I was in my senior year of school so what good was that? Well, I killed the time away taking art history, literature, and an oil painting class.

The university in New Orleans announced they were opening their satellite campus in October. I immediately made plans to return. I stayed with a friend for two weeks before moving into a bed and breakfast in the Irish Channel neighborhood. It was a self-serving arrangement for us. No housekeeping, no cooked meals - we used the laundry room and kept things tidy ourselves...me, some construction workers, and disaster volunteers mostly. The city had a 9:00p or 9:30p curfew and the best place to get groceries was Walgreens. The most upsetting thing was a lack of art supplies! I had on me what I left town with, plus whatever supplies we received in our art classes (donations, I was not unappreciative about this). I did not technically have a job, but I was helping with gutting homes and treating mold. In between classes and doing recovery work, I was in a small room... drawing and painting. My mind had no desire to be creative so I started collecting magazines around the house I lived in. In flipping through these pages, an urge to draw came over me. I had charcoal (still a big favorite of mine) and a large sketch pad. I drew as many models and celebrities as I could. Some of them came out great - others a little "wobbly" (as I like to say). Overall, I created a new body of work over a week's time, I think close to 15 drawings. Unfortunately, I threw away about five of them and a couple of others have just disappeared over the years... and I'm okay with that. The ones that remain with me will continue to do so. 

They are not for sale.

I like to look at them occasionally and remember.

Although I've been making visual art for more than 15 years, I kind of consider my 6 month journey through post-Katrina New Orleans my transition phase from student to artist. However, my Katrina themed artwork never came, unlike other creatives, who ran toward their art supplies and spoke their opinions in a myriad of visual and performing genres. I just couldn't find it. It wasn't there. I had my own opinions, rants, and disagreements about the news and politics involved in the current discussions of the time, but no energy to exhibit them to the public. Honestly, this probably still rings true. I have no problem talking about what happened and what didn't, what should have been done and the consequences (both good and bad) of every decision made. But ask me to create a visual representation of it all and you will not get anything out of me but a blank stare and an empty page. Maybe that's just the way it is for me. Maybe I prefer to have conversations about it all instead. Using spoken word allows for me to say what I need to say...and then it's over. To express myself artistically, having to sketch, draw, and mull over a rather depressing subject matter, just seems very hard for me to do. Maybe one day I can let it all go and finally finish something...maybe not....

...and I'm ok with that.