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.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Summer is Coming

Now that the bestie and I have caught up on Game of Thrones, there's so much time to kill waiting on the next episode!  There's no better time for art than NOW!

Summer is always challenging in New Orleans.  Everything slows down, including the retail market.  Many artists take summer jobs to make ends meet.  Others take the time to produce, produce, produce, some do both, and some take the time to travel a bit.  I'd love to be able to take enough time off to feed my wanderlust, but I have a summer camp to run so that keeps me here.....for the most part. So what is currently going on for Dollhouse Press?

Next step: The etching bath!
I'm still working on my Nourish Series.  Actually, I still haven't etched the first plate yet. I'm hoping to get that done over the next week.  There are NINE images total, so I have some work to do.  I did not get into this project thinking it to be a quick thing.  No indeed!  This is going to be a commitment!  At times, I always wonder why the hell I get myself into such time consuming ideas, but trust me...these are going to be so damn beautiful when they are done! I'll spend the majority of the summer working on this series, but I will definitely keep you updated on its progress.  Here's a little secret: I MAY have already sold a couple.....and they aren't even printed yet!

Also taking it a step further and adding these images to my line of note cards. More on that as it develops.

WANTED: ART FRAMER

I'm looking for a LOCAL framer.  Someone I can trust with my work, reliable, timely, and who will not beat me to death in cost. I have yet to commit my business to any one person, but I'm thinking now is the time....business has been good to me and I foresee it increasing over the next 6 - 10 months.  Recently, I made the mistake of using an arts and crafts store as my framing source and, not to get too detailed here, it's basically taken a whole month to get anything back (they lost my order in the system!).  PLUS, I had to request a reframe on one piece because they used a SHARPIE marker to mark my name on the wrapper paper of my framed piece...and it bled through right on to the the WHITE frame!

There are black marks along the right side!! Yikes!





Use common sense, people!  

The girls in the department were super nice, but I'm not using them again....ever! Not to mention the price was absolutely ridiculous.  Moving on...


Local art markets just have not been my thing.  I love them, don't get me wrong, but I'm finding my audience is not in the passerby crowd.  I cannot seem to make myself commit to that much time, spending money on nightly booth fees and finding myself financially behind at the end of the month. That being said, I am going to play along a little bit and participate in the new Magazine Street Art Market.  It's located in the open courtyard of Dat Dog Restaurant.  I'm only going to do it 2 or 3 times a month....depends on my personal feedback.  I participated last Friday and it was nice to get out and mingle with other artists.  I just can't do that every single week. It's exhausting.  Maybe I'm a wuss, maybe I'm a whiner, but whatever...I'm working toward another goal and local markets aren't really a part of it. However, I don't mind doing it every now and then in order to keep my name out there.  Next market dates are to be determined, as I have not finalized anything with them yet.


In early May, immediately following my Saturday print day, I was introduced to a wonderful lady from Florida, who was in town visiting her daughter. She fell in love with my work and purchased four newly printed beauties, and two sets of note cards, right out of the flat drawer!  I did not get a chance to have them photographed, but that's OK. They have been shipped and received; I do hope to do business with her in the future.

If you would like to commission a large marbled monotype (aka "organics"), just contact me. I do not have 100% control over what happens (and that's the beauty of it really), but an abstract idea/pattern can be obtained and the colors used are optional.

My site on Whereyart.net should be updated very soon. You'll get a great view of the new, large organics as well as the new 11" x 14"s I've started.  They all look amazing!  I hope you think so too.

Until next time...





Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Print Day in May

This past Saturday, I participated in a global effort to bring awareness to the medium of printmaking.  Called Print Day in May, it "celebrates the art and community of printmakers. It’s a day to get together in studios across the world to make prints." I grabbed a couple of friends of mine and we spent the day printing woodcuts and marbled monotypes.

Ms. Badass, Jessica Normington, printed up some elegantly carved woodcuts, that she so affectionately called her "mini swamps." She is participating in the art walk in Baton Rouge, LA this coming weekend and these small prints are perfect little works of art for the art lover. I think I'd like to see a series of them, all mounted on a wall next to one another.  It could be a powerful piece as a whole!

 






I continued to print out more of my marbled monotypes. I believe I printed seven 22 x 30s and four 11 x 14s. The colored paper is doing wonders for these things!  I may not go back to using white paper! I also printed five sets of notecards (sets of 5). I need to replenish my inventory over at Where Y'art, but I am also starting to increase the amount of work I have overall since I'm trying to get into some larger craft markets.




I did not have time to start etching out the first print of my nourish series. That is coming this week, hopefully.

Print Day in May was productive and lots of fun! I shot a short, 21 second video of Jessica printing her little swamp woodcuts. The video on here is a bit longer than the one posted on my Instagram account. It's not more informative...just Jessica doing a little jig at the beginning.

video

So, all in all.....Print Day in May was a success this year!  Maybe I'll do something larger for next year.  If you'd like to keep up with me, I'm on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and WhereY'art.net.

More bloggie blog stuff to come...

















Thursday, April 30, 2015

The Nourish Series: The Process Begins

I'm not sure if it's boiling down to getting older, but I have taken quite an interest in caring for myself and others lately. The garden looks great so far! We still have one more section to turn over, but there's no real rush for that yet. The energy continues to be vibrant in the yard and that's why I've spent some time either in the back or on the porch. I wanted to freeze this whole experiment in time somehow so I just started sketching these little doodle vegetables and they've turned into this big project!

The etching process is still in early phases (bevel and degrease).  I've beveled the edges of my copper plates already and tonight I am degreasing them and applying my hard ground.  Allow me to explain:

Printmakers bevel the edges of any hard plate, whether it be copper, zinc, aluminum, or even acrylic (at least they should). This is done for two reasons: One, it prevents the plate from cutting through the paper and blankets when it goes through the press.  There is A LOT of pressure when running it through the press, therefore the plates' edges can be sharp. Secondly, it gives the drum of the press a little help getting on to the plate while the press bed is moving underneath it. I liken it to a gymnast jumping onto the springboard to help them get up onto the balance beam.
Beveling a plate.
Degreasing a plate just means that any type of grease or oil, even the oil from your fingertips, needs to be removed in order for the hard ground to stick to the plate properly.  All you really need for this is some whiting (calcium carbonate) or Comet.  After this step is applying the hard ground.
Degreasing a copper plate with Whiting.
Note: There is another step in between beveling and degreasing and that is polishing.  I don't prefer to do this step.  Some printmakers like the shiny, smooth surface because it leaves no plate tone on the print, but I actually like the marks of the plate.  Tiny hair scratches or dotted marks bring an interesting aesthetic to the final print, at least in my opinion. So I skip it.

I'm not quite ready to transfer the image to the plate yet, but I will keep you updated on that process as well as the actual etching process.  More to come...


Tuesday, March 31, 2015

An Inspirational, Quick Update

I have finally listened to myself and started planning and planting a garden!  This past weekend was full of purchasing plants, soil, and tools.  The BFF and I are dead serious about growing our own food.  It's still a working list, but here is what we've planted so far:

Top, Left to Right: Parsley, dill, oregano, and basil.
Bottom, Left to Right: Meyer lemons, satsumas,
cherry tomatoes, and strawberries
Left to Right: Amaryllis flower (a gift), chocolate mint, rosemary, cilantro, and lavendar

...and that's not all!  There is a brick bed we are utilizing, as soon as we get all of the ferns out and the soil cleaned up a bit.  LOTS of work still ahead.

I must say, by doing what we've done so far.....just that stuff.....has put me in an incredibly awesome mood the last two days! It is going to be a vegetarian's dream back there!  The energy in the yard is different....even in the house!  I cannot wait until our fourth of July party!

My excitement trickled into my art too! In addition to my doodles, I started sketching vegetables.  The Things That Nourish is what I'd like to title it, if it needs a title.  Simple pen sketches that just may evolve into something more.

I feel different lately. Nothing negative at all, but something has certainly shifted. I feel it both mentally and physically.  I really wasn't paying too much attention to it for the first two months. March is waking me up to something special. There is a lot I'd like to accomplish this year and for the first time, I actually feel it can all happen. My social choices may have something to do with this. I've set aside more time for myself,    brushed off a few draining individuals, bought a few things to improve my living conditions, and - well - the garden!

I started applying to out of state art events. Yes, I've already been rejected to a large arts and crafts festival, but so what!? It only fuels me to keep trying.  My artwork will still progress and the projects I'm working on will still be finished. I have a few more I'd like to submit an application to.
 
I HAVE to encourage this positive shift to stick around! I should probably start meditating again to get my mind focused and prepared to deal with the incredible amount of amazing things to come. I don't want to anticipate too much, but I can't help myself!

I'll post another update this weekend.  I'm planning to expand the nourish sketches and work on my Maps series prep work.



Monday, March 16, 2015

Marching Into Spring

I cannot believe it's already mid-March....

A few things are going on right now. I've sold almost every single one of my marbled monotypes! I know! It's a corporate client and I really don't feel at liberty to speak too much about it at the moment because, well, the transaction is still going on through this month. It's been in the back of my mind for awhile, but I've had this idea that my work may go over better with corporate sales.  I'm going to look into this further.

So with a nice pay day on the horizon, I've decided to apply to the Renegade Craft Fair in Austin, Texas.  I know a few artists that have set up there in previous years with great things to say about it.  I think it's time to take my art and products to a wider audience. The event is in May, but I won't find out if I am going until later this week.  I also applied to share a space with AxiomNOLA, mainly because it's going to be our first rodeo and we want to be sure (for future Austin fairs) that it's worth our time and money. The space is not that big (6'x6'), however, if we are smart we should be able to use it wisely. Fingers crossed.

Some new lovelies from AxiomNOLA.
Darcy and I are taking AxiomNOLA to Biloxi THIS weekend for Coastcon 38, a sci-fi, fantasy, & gaming convention. It is crunch time, folks! We will have comic bead bracelets, necklaces, handcrafted wire-work pieces, and gorgeous chain maille for the body. Honestly, the line has shifted in concept over the past year and we are focusing more on the chain maille, slowly phasing out the wire-work.  The comic book paper beads will be a comic convention-only item.  The regular paper beads will still be in production, but sold through me at Dollhouse Press.

Which brings me to Dollhouse Press.

I mean, I've grown to like the name. It's listed with everything I do. However, one thing to keep in mind is that I have other products that do not necessarily fall under "printmaking and paper arts", such as the garlands and handmade hair sticks that I make occasionally.  The magnets are good; made with leftover scraps from marbling. The paper beads even fall under paper arts.  I don't know what I'm trying to say here.  I do know that I doubted even using DP because as of right now, I fail to physically have a press in my house/studio.  But really, it is such a minor thing to the average citizen and only printers are going to give me shit about it.  Oh, and I'm currently in the market for a decent press anyway so there's that. You know what, screw everybody else.  I'm gonna do what I'm gonna do.  I hate it when I start worrying about what others think!!!  DP stays!

I've been doodling a lot on Post-It notes. What is showing up on those tiny square pieces of paper is pretty awesome. I think I'm going to use them for another body of work...at least in a layer of many layers.


                     


I like them.

The map series is still in sketching/drawing phase.  I've started printing the backgrounds (marbled paper), but there will be a lot of these that do not make the cut.  I need to get the metal plates soon too.

Oh, and I've phased out the marbled notecards.....set of 4.  They will only be sold in sets of 10 now, which I think is more bang for your buck!

Off to make more bracelets!

Love & Light,

TD





Friday, February 6, 2015

Madness, I Tell You!!!

And just like that, Mardi Gras season is here!

At one point in time, I walked in a couple of parades.  Being a member of a walking krewe is certainly different than participating in the large, world-famous parades that splatter the covers of newspapers and magazines.  A walking krewe is the heart of Mardi Gras, at least to most locals.  Everything is handmade: costumes, float contraptions, and even the throws.  The stress and timing of making sure everything is ready for the big day can be overwhelming, but it is so much fun!  This year is the first in about 4 years, that I've actually missed being a part of all that.  So my friends and I are making it a priority to dress up in some sort of costume when we go to the parades this year.  It is fueling my longing for another walking krewe and to be a part of a parade again.........maybe next year.

It is also fueling my creativity!


Last week, we got together with a good friend of mine to decorate shoes.  She's in one of the "superkrewes" as we like to call them here.  A large krewe with huge floats, lots of fluff, and a treasured throw.  Much like the famous coconut from the Zulu parade, catching a shoe from the Krewe of Muses has become a milestone for some.  I am lucky enough to be on the inside.  I get to see the shoes before anything is done to them, where they come from, which shoes will be good enough, and.....this is the best part.....witness them become fabulous works of art! Being involved in the creation of these original pieces really brings out the creator in me...well...in all of us who sit at that craft table!


Glitter.......everywhere!  It's pretty awesome!       

I have a big idea in mind for a new body of work.  It may take a bit to plan out, execute, and get together, but I think it's going to be good.  I am way overdue for work that acknowledges where I'm from and where I'm at currently, geographically.  I've been studying maps a lot lately.  I mean, I always find maps interesting.  I like to compare old maps to new ones.  The fact that technology allows us to get picture perfect images of the world and its land is just crazy to me. I think about those guys who mapped out the stars that lead to rivers that lead to cities that lead to countries....with astonishing accuracy (in some cases, close enough).  I feel there is a pro and con to modern technology.  The pro being that it is so much more advanced, our accuracy is perfect.  The con however, is that I feel we've lost our sense of direction by relying on modern day advances in cartography. I'm going to stop there.  This could possibly be a starting point for the description of the body of work.  I'm going to sit on it for the weekend and read it later.
 
If you are in New Orleans, you should check out Where Y'art's latest exhibition, titled "Smoke and Mirrors". I am not in it, but I will have my notecards and magnets there.  Carnival themed artwork is always beautiful to look at and celebrate. I've seen some of the work for the show and I must say, WOW!  The opening is Saturday, February 7th from 5pm to 9pm at 835 Julia Street, downtown. Costumes are highly encouraged so bling yourself out, throw on a wig, and get out there!

One last thing, I am gearing up for a flash sale of artwork that needs a home.  Stay tuned for price slashes in order to make room for more art.  I don't do this often, folks, so if you find yourself in a position to do so, take advantage of this!

Until next time.........