Friday, November 20, 2015

Dumpster Delights

It probably doesn't surprise anyone that if I see a Dumpster (or just a pile of stuff on a curb) I rubber-neck to a dangerous degree.  If I'm biking, I'll stand up on my pedals or just jump right in with my helmet still on.  Generally, if there's anything good in there, I huff it home, grab the truck, and bee-line it back to the honey hole...with gloves, if I remember.

This summer and fall proved quite fruitful for all things Dumpster and curbside.  My shed is already really packed, but that doesn't stop me!  I took some booty pics of my adventures, but not all of them.

After hitting two INCREDIBLE Dumpsters on Holmes.  One was full of clean pieces of
MDF, the other had lots of dirty pieces of wood from a bathroom tear-out and porch demo,
along with adorable picket fence posts and even a boardgame.

Look at this beautiful chippy porch ceiling!
Cut down pieces of the picket fence for small lady faces

From an alley near 31st and Cherry...more clean lumber and plywood!

From 33rd and Troost.  A brick building was getting demolished and there was lots
of loose, wrecked lumber everywhere.  These pieces had the best story with
nicks and paint, so home they came.

And tonight in Mission, Kansas, I took an early turn  on my way to my cousin's house

They're a little grimey but I can deal with that.

I didn't get pictures of the great group of stuff I found in a Dumpster in Janssen Place (the super fancy sub division in the middle of my 'hood with $1M+ mansions), but it included 500 Kodak slides from the 1960s, interesting household things and planters, and some homemade drawers/boxes that I was able to break down and use in my art as backgrounds.  The neighbors walking by were happy I was recycling and thought someone was cleaning out a basement.  Fine by me!

I also got a truckload of lumber from a rehab near 36th and Cherry that included super long-ass boards and pieces of a burned garage.

Square One studio at 31st and Holmes occasionally puts out free wood and MDF panels under a big sign that says "FREE WOOD" and I hit the mother lode this summer.  I could barely get all the 4 x 8 foot pieces in the truck, especially since I now have the camper shell.  I only took what I could lift myself, but that was about 8 whole panels that I had to break down into four pieces each before I could fit them in my shed.  This is what my desk clocks are made of and I have enough material to last a lifetime now!

Oh!  Almost forgot the pile of wood and metal rods at Armour and Holmes that I walked back to my house on top of my head (don't do that, even a few blocks will mess you UP!) and the neighbor who gave me his entire 100+ year old staircase (with risers!).  

Right place, right time.  I do regret that I couldn't get back to an apartment building that my friend used to live in at McGee and 41st that was getting razed, but you have to triage your time, and I was on my way to Omaha.

A Sterilite box saved is a Sterilite box earned!

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Like a Real Artist

At Art Westport, just down the road from my house, I finally sold some big capital-A Art!  It felt damn good and has motivated me to make more and push myself.  I have so many ideas and I really just need to be able to split myself into two workers (three would be better) so I can make art, make clocks, and sell both.  I had some wonderful conversations with people that helped me work through my ideas and concepts, as well as get feedback on what is really "speaking" to people.  It's surprising how many of the same pieces sparked something in a wide swath of viewers.  

Aside from SO MANY HEARTS that went out into the KC community, I said goodbye to some of my favorite creations...
Close Your Eyes 'Til You're Blue in the FaceBundled with the one below!
Salvaged flooring, paint, paper dots from 1960's Prevention  mag, vinyl.
Approx. 16 x 34 
The Pink BowSad I didn't get a proper product shot of this one.
Salvaged wood, tea bag papers, paint, vinyl, colored pencil.
Approx. 11 x 20

Forgot My Wallet
Sold to a teenage girl who had to call her mom to get permission to buy it.
Salvaged wood, 1970s STL Post Dispatch,  paint, vinyl.
6 x 16 inches
One and Two Girls/Two Girls Looking
Sold this to a woman who really wanted the large version with four faces but couldn't afford it (me neither, girlfriend!).
Salvaged wood, paint, paper dots (vintage and fabric paper), vinyl.
Approx 10 x 12 inches
Siren (Study)
This resides just a few blocks south of my home in a neighbor's dressing area now!  This piece, as well as the one above, has sparked so much in me--it was hard to say goodbye but I'm so happy she's in her "forever home."
Salvaged wood, paint, paper dots from 1970's workbook, vinyl.
6 x 16 inches

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Weird is Good

Sometimes/all times when I'm using my digital cutter I nest images I want cut inside each other so as not to waste vinyl.  And sometimes what I have done out of necessity sparks a new idea for a piece or design.  Sometimes things are just weird.  

This morning what I was peeling away seemed weird, and I like it.  
That's a cow skeleton inside my grandma's face.
Then I kept peeling and now I'm wondering if I even need to do anything more!  Just frame this baby up!
Thanks, Roy, for ruining dots for everyone who knows a minimal amount of art history.
No, I have plans for at least some of this stuff.  Stay tuned.

I've joined all high schoolers circa 2012 and am finally on Instgram.  Since Facebook has made it almost impossible for a business my size to share stuff and actually be seen without paying to "boost" the post, my Instagram feed is perhaps a better way to see works in progress, source material...and my cats.  Sorry.

Next week!  ArtSarBen in Omaha!

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Fall Shows!

This weekend I head to Sioux City, Iowa, for ArtSplash.  This show kicks off my Fall Time Art Show Whirlwind when I will have five shows over six weekends.  Yikes!

5 x 5 black with blue heart
Like ArtSplash, I will be going to ArtSarBen in Omaha for the second year in a row.

5 x 5 cream with orange and turquoise orzos

For the first time Art Westport has accepted me--a show that only takes artists from a 40 mile radius of the show's zip code.  I live 1.6 miles from there but I might as well have lived on Mars for the last decade because the judges passed me up year after year when I applied with my clocks.  For a few years I boycotted the show (both going and applying) because of hurt feelings and general WTF-ness.  This year I applied with mixed media ladies and they asked me to show.  So it better be good!
funky legs

There are two other shows I've never been in--CRAFT and Barstow Arts Festival are first-year shows, but they're in Kansas City proper, so I thought I'd give them a shot.  If things don't go well, at least I will be sleeping in my own bed!

8 x 8 turquoise with white dino

Later in November I'll be selling at the Lake Quivira Holiday Bazaar for the second time and then gearing up for our big Studio Sale at Meya Ceramic Studio through the KC Clay Guild the first Friday weekend of December.  It's our fourth year!  

I'm excited that my shows are relatively close and packed together, because then I'll be able to see just what many of my friends go through when they're showing every weekend.  I might hate it!  But what if I love it?  I don't have to drive more than 4.5 hours to any location, which I can definitely handle.  I'm looking forward to meeting new people and finding new ice cream joints along the way!

pink barn

Monday, July 27, 2015

New Mixed Media Work in Boulder, CO

I went to Boulder for the Pearl Street Arts Fest, Aug 18 and 19.  The show was well-attended and the volunteers kept the artists hydrated and fed.  The town is beautiful and very cool, but a "working vacation" didn't really give me much time to check it out.

I thought I'd share a few shots of my booth since it is clock-free..


I mixed abstract and imagery together since I was juried in with the abstract pieces only.  The application was due before I had made any imagery work and I decided to bring them since I love them so much, and they're made in roughly the same way.  It is possible that the mix confused spectators or that I shoved way too much work in my booth, but every show is a dress rehearsal for the next one and continually evolving, so next time I show this line of work (Art Westport here in KCMO) will be different.

My next show is in Loring Park in Minneapolis for the third year.  I'll take my clocks and see if I can talk some people and/or galleries into keeping them in their temperate climate!  I look forward to seeing more of the city and seeing some friends along the way.  

This weekend I uploaded images to Fine Art America for the whole wide world to peruse and order reproductions of certain works, including some purely digital things and sold pieces.  You can get a giant anatomical heart on a tote bag, shower curtain, or printed on aluminum!  Check my profile page out here.  I plan on adding new work as I have time.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

What's the deal with the hearts?

I started making small mixed media pieces with an image of an anatomical heart a little over a year ago.  They were debuted at the OKC Festival of the Arts, and with that came the question, over and over again,

"What's the deal with all the hearts?"

I wasn't prepared for that.  I'd been seeing anatomical diagrams used in art for a long time, especially collage, and had even been selling some bovine medical imagery through The Retro Ranch, so I just thought it was cool and everyone understood it.  Silly, silly artist.  You live in the monkey house!

It started with trying to get over my fear of "cheating" by doing the same design twice.  I have this great digital cutter now, so using the images I've worked hard on in multiple ways only makes sense.  Printmakers do this everyday, so what's the problem?  I can mix it up, add different colors and textures, and each piece is its own individual entity.

This exercise has also been a bridge between my picking life and my art life, and a real stepping stone to my newest line of work, especially the imagery.  Using the wood I had from a worn, defunct fence from my own backyard, no one was there to stop me from using all the sanding pads, leftover paint, and "fabric paper" I had to make something new.  Also, it turns out that I really love woodgrain.

What happened when I started talking to people about how THEY felt about the hearts was enlightening.  My customers and visitors brought much more to the pieces and images than I had ever imagined.  One of my first sales was to a woman who wanted to commemorate her husband's TWENTY-FIFTH anniversary of a heart transplant.  (I get goose bumps every single time I talk about it!)  Some love the color combinations, others are drawn to a particular design or piece of music that I have on the paper background.  In any case, I learned so much more about how a simple thing can become a very meaningful thing in someone else's eyes.

Okay, enough with the words--pictures!

Here's how they're made...
1) Cut out the shapes.  I feed the vinyl sheet into the vinyl cutter and my
blade is run digitally by a computer.  I nest them together as much as possible
to limit wasted material.

2) Take a painted piece of wood and adhere to that a piece of
paper cut by hand in the heart silhouette shape.

3) Place the cut vinyl over the paper to fit appropriately.

4) Take application tape and...

...peel it back, picking up the vinyl decal. (It's sticky like masking tape.)

5) Move decal background out of the way and get ready to
stick that sucker down.

6) After laying decal on paper, carefully pull back application tape so only the
decal sticks to the wood and paper.

7) Stand back and smile!

Make and make and make!

I've had requests for hearts on clocks, so sometimes those make an appearance in my Etsy shop or the walls of my booth. 

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

OKC Year Six

It's the end of April, and that means that my studio is a mess, my back is out of whack, and I am recouping from a six-day show in Oklahoma City.  Unlike previous years, I didn't drive around the Monday after the show and take pictures of the town...I just wanted to get home to my Clover (and see the guy I live with, too).  I was invited to attend this year, unlike last year, when I drove down the day of set up without knowing if I was actually going to be in the show--waitlisted up to the last minute!  But it paid off and not only did I get the relief of planning my inventory knowing I'd show, I also get to show next year, too. are some pictures of my little spot at booth 23A...
That's a lot of stuff.  I packed it in with both bodies of work.
(The clocks are what people wanted this year, as it turns out.)

My neighbor, roommate, mentor, and friend Laura Nugent.
She is normally not as wind-blown.
(Also, all  photos of me were taken by her.)
 Let's talk about the weather...just kidding.  I think these pictures say enough.

Sold all my heart clocks!  This was the last small one, and it was gone by Thursday.
There is a large cardiac center in OKC, which I forgot to take into account...

I took this while it was raining and water was jumping onto the clocks.
Here's proof that my clocks can take some weather.

Over half-way through the week.

What a business woman I am, unwinding from the day with a laptop and some pistachios!

A repeat customer came and almost cleaned me out of small hearts
 for his macabre dining room.
Repeaters are so wonderful!  He also scored the skeletons above.
I ate many, many, MANY sweets over the week.  The OKC Arts Council makes sure that the artists are full of calories in refined sugar and bleached flour form.  I had a few apples as well, but, you know...when in Oklahoma.