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serialkiller July 23 2014, 03:42

the shift

I really should be doing laundry and packing but no! I wrote out 10 cards, some including freshly made prints and finished up a small carving for a friend’s super secret project. Did I mention I get on a plane tomorrow? Yes, I am a glutton for punishment but that punishment is rewarding when I know the things I do will give someone a couple minutes of joy. Maybe more. I can live with that.

I have been plugging away on so many artistic levels and directions. It feels nice for a change. Usually I am all over the place with my projects and now that I have knocked out some commitments, I can focus on making my empire a little larger. I mean that metaphorically of course. Contrary to popular belief I have never been one in the confidence department and it has taken a few blows to the ego for me to realize that I need to wake up and really start believing what everyone else sees in me. It takes a while but hey, like Rupaul says, “If you can’t love yourself how the hell are you gonna love anybody else?! Can I get an amen?!”

Amen. Loud and clear. Better late than never, right?

Recently I was going through my sketchbooks and notepads and I found that I have a bunch of pieces I could totally put in my etsy shop. I won’t have the time to get them there until I return in August but there will be all kinds of odds and ends listed, mostly originals. Once they’re there I will certainly share here. Here are a couple of the things I have had in the pipe…

Within all this productivity I have found how much time was being wasted on Facebook. Fuck man. It’s like going on a diet and then going right back to cake. You feel guilty about it yet THERE YOU ARE. One thing I have been doing is using it to network, meet new people, cultivate relationships with the good ones. The rest? I have never used the “I don’t want to see this”, “hide all from…” and “unfollow…” functions as much as I have. Considering what an absolute SHIT SHOW the world was this week, it brings out all kinds of special (read: stupid) in people.

I actually went back and made a large amount of posts private or deleted them all together. Not because I have things to hide, I have never been that way. I just needed to simplify it and I find that as of late, I am more inclined to write a post on my blog. If you want to read it here, awesome! I am more than a bunch of one liners in the abyss of bullshit that is Facebook. Don’t get me wrong, I read, comment to other people’s posts but when it comes to my stuff, I am trying to keep it positive, blog posts, art, music and that’s that. You want some dirt, this is where it is going to be… and the occasional character limited rant on twitter… cause yes, I do that.

So yeah… I am going to SoCal tomorrow for two weeks. This time it’s just going to be Reza and I. I haven’t seen my family since my brother died in February 2013 and that just wasn’t under the best of circumstances. Don’t get me wrong, I would love to be knee deep in the fun that is Comic Con but this trip isn’t about that. I will see a very small amount of friends, get my hair chopped off and take off to Baja for a few days to get some grounding that only The Motherland can provide. Shift and focus, shift and focus.

All of the aforementioned, paired with a much better space with Josh are key. I am proud of the way he has been handling himself considering what we went through this month and it is that manner that is reassuring me that he is committed to making things better on all counts. I am going to miss him but I am glad that he gets to stay home, visit with Tom, have some much needed solo time to do what he wants and do some soul searching… the kind of soul searching that is hard to do when your kid is going through yet another motor mouth phase.

Reza, my god. I love this child but she cannot. stop. talking. It’s a phase just like any other and she will grow out of it. I just hope we don’t kill each other while on this trip cause on some days we are like salt and vinegar, then it turns into piss and wheaties. Don’t let the cute face deceive you.

So yeah, I am checking out for vacation. It is going to be nice… I shall go forth and conquer SoCal like only I know how: surrounded by awesome people, cool photos, good food and don’t worry, I will tell you ALL ABOUT IT.

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Originally published at beans + ink. You can comment here or there.

kore July 19 2014, 06:18

No subject

http://persephassa.com

i want to learn the names of more native plants,
so we can plant them in our yard and also for the knowing.
i recognize lots of things, like sage and oleander (not native,
but everywhere, along with jacaranda and some other things), anyhow
i just learned ceanothus, that's all over the place, too.

black tar bubbling from cliffs at the beach is very black.
and sticky.





orryn loves picking oranges at his grandparent's. we always tote home a bushel.



i want to make a fairy door like this in one of the pepper trees at the playground here.



i think orryn has nightmares about pooh, we got him a stuffed pooh and he keeps
saying "not!" and tossing it off the balcony.



mission at san juan capistrano is very beautiful



this is how i'm sitting now, hahaha my desk is in the closet

boygirlparty July 17 2014, 17:49

ICON

I haven't posted too much about ICON, but I guess now that it's over, I should. Partially so I don't forget things and partially because I need to speed up this decompressing and get back to my life! I've been home for four days and all I've done is sleep. This is what happens when you run a deficit for as long as I did, I guess!

Putting together the Illustration Conference was the shared work of an entire dedicated board of amazing artists / volunteers. As with everything with me, I threw myself completely into the planning of it and poured my heart into every detail of my involvement. I personally invited and produced main stage speaker sessions with Carson Ellis, Souther Salazar, and Chronicle Books (me, Lisa Congdon, Kristen + Christina at Chronicle); developed a program called Kaleidoscope (recruited my friends Abe Vizcarra and Robert Brinkerhoff to co-curate, landing on final applicants Julie Murphy, Lisa Brown, Andy J Miller, Mike Kerr + Renata Liwska); developed workshops with Bridget Watson Payne from Chronicle, Alexandra Zsigmond from the New York Times, and Jason Sturgill; worked with my friends at Land to curate + set up an art show for 70+ attendees; ordered over 300 hand-selected books with Esther for the ICON8 bookstore and intook consignment books from self published authors - its own added complication; moved those books ourselves to 5 different locations throughout the conference; sold them to attendees myself using my own damn phone! (as did my co-chair Esther and our amazing student volunteers); confirmed and ran author signings with Jon Klassen, Mac Barnett, Andrea Dezso, Carson Ellis, Calef Brown, Vanessa Davis, Mimi Pond, Wendy Macnaughton, Julia Rothman, Mark Todd, Marshall Arisman, Whitney Sherman, Lilla Rogers, No Brow's Sam Arthur and Rilla Alexander, The Clayton Brothers, Adam McCauley, Janet Hamlin, Justin Hall, Victor Juhasz, and I think even a few more. Managing lines for some of the above myself. And of course, the Roadshow - a pop up marketplace + portfolio show I planned with Esther over the past 2 yrs that turned out like this:

10497391_797534413611535_7959235420653251511_o
(and this is a photo toward the end of the night, I'm guessing, because the room was at capacity for much of the time. Pretty great!)

Look, I even exhibited!
10392587_10152166904201555_2997570803295340822_n

I'm really freaking tired.

I spoke on the main stage, too - moderating and participating in the panel about Chronicle Books. I hope people got something out of it or at least that it wasn't boring! One thing that's weird about a moderated panel is that not having any control over how long other people digress or become nervous or self-conscious which can break up the momentum of the conversation! But, I *think* we flowed pretty well + more than anything, it was really nice to connect with a few friends on stage since I sure as hell didn't see anybody while I was running around behind the scenes!


Hard lessons I learned at ICON:

1. People promote the shit out of themselves every second of every day and it is the most depressing thing to witness.

I didn't bring business cards to this conference, because I am the worst example of a self promoter in the world. Even fellow board members had no idea I did so much for ICON. Even my best friends in the world who were in the art show I helped bring together had no idea I had a part in it. Which is fine! Maybe I'm the problem, but seeing how much people talk about themselves all the time in all the places just got to me at a certain point.

I saw attendees and my fellow board members drop everything or put themselves front and center to introduce themselves to an art director, curator or publisher they want to work with. Good for them for their boldness! But man, that is not me.

The positive side of this is I now understand how I operate and what works for me: work hard and put your heart into it and I believe good people will take notice. It's nice that people sometimes take notice, and they're usually the people who are fun to work with anyway.

2. Very few people say thank you.

3. There are Mean Girls in illustration!!! Whoa. This one caught me by surprise. I saw them openly, rudely giggling during other people's talks and forming high school-esque cliques during breaks, shunning each other. I saw them posting their passive aggressive criticisms of other people's lectures to their well-attended social media accounts. How cleverly they put down other people! Let's give them a medal. How do these people find each other and encourage each other to be so exclusionary? I'll never understand.

There's probably a little hypocrisy in posting this observation at all, but I am just so surprised there was such negativity coming from women at this conference, when some of the women behind it are the most inclusive, friendly people you'll ever meet. It breaks my heart that I felt and noticed this, but I did.

Edit: Why am I singling out the women? I've always sensed a similar type of boy's club in illustration. Maybe now that women are breaking more and more into the field, I'm surprised they're doing the same thing, finding ways to exclude and mock each other to try to make themselves look better.

Stop it, people. We all work hard. We all wish for job security. We all want to make artwork people respond to and love. No one comes to this conference because they have nothing to learn. Putting someone else down won't make your work better.


4. You can put every bit of your energy into something benevolent as a volunteer and someone will still complain to you that you're not doing a good enough job. During and before the roadshow, I fielded complaints from a few memorable people - notably from a gallery owner who repeatedly harassed me about where his consignment book was (Apparently "I don't know but I'll find out tomorrow morning and let you know" isn't a straightforward enough way of saying "I'll find out tomorrow and let you know"?) He was rude and aggressive and self-important and selfish enough to demand I drop everything to solve his problem in that moment; he ruined my night and later shit-talked me to my friends, because he is an asshole. One person complained because they weren't allowed in the room before the show opened. And so many people complained that the room was too busy! Um… stop. Stop. Stop. See #8.

5. Related: People are sometimes self-centered and self-important and selfish and it's sad because you know someday either they'll get what they want or they'll be so lonely, and both of those possibilities are heartbreaking.

6. Most of the best people at ICON were people I already know! This isn't a "hard lesson" so much as a nice reminder I left with!

I always go into these types of events hopeful that I'll leave them knowing some wonderful new people -- and I totally do -- but the best best best people for me this week were the friends I've had long established friendships with, the ones who cared for my well-being and checked in on me and didn't treat me like I was an invisible sharpie holder for their book signing, or an avenue to the recognition they've so long deserved, a person to climb over on their way to the top.

In particular, my husband Michael was so supportive of my overcommitment this week and over the past two years and I will always love him for patiently waiting by for me to wrap up my responsibilities so I can be fun again.

Several of the people speaking at or attending ICON were just really lovely, gracious, sweet people and you just root for their continued success. Shout out to new friends Andrea Dezso (I love her as a person and I love her work), instant friend Julie Murphy, sweethearts Sean Qualls + Selina Alko, witty and wise Lisa Brown, the adorable and ridiculously talented Renata -- benevolent new friends / board members Rick Lovell and Owen Smith who helped when they could -- and of course, old friends Caitlin Keegan, Robert Brinkerhoff (near and dear to my heart + incidentally another chair for the conference), Allison Cole, Kate Pugsley, Esther Watson (my co-chair and dear friend) and Mark Todd (sweetheart who worked as hard as Esther and I did) who all kept me sane (ish) as I juggled everything. Check out their work if you haven't before.

7. Without sleep and food and some time alone where you can take care of your own needs and quiet your mind, you will break down. And I did.

8. Stop complaining; nobody cares.
I felt like people's eyes glazed over if I opened up about how I was falling apart, or if I mentioned how I hadn't slept in days, or if I made any mention of the insane time commitment ICON became. And then see #4 above. Lesson learned.

After I finish this post.
serialkiller July 16 2014, 18:35

Caliversary

It’s hard to believe that a year ago I was sitting in a house full of boxes, ready to take on another great adventure. It’s a surreal feeling. You find yourself standing on yet another cliff you have no choice but to dive off of, only this time you know there is a net at the bottom to catch you.

They say home is where the heart is. My heart was never on the East Coast, not in the two years I was there, not ever. So that morning, when the truck came to take our lives back home, I finally felt like I could breathe a little, like the anvil had been taken off my shoulders.

Everyone has their place and New Jersey wasn’t mine. It has become the embodiment and reminder of one of the more depressing moments of my life: a period of mourning, a period where I was removed from most of what I cared about. Sure, there were slivers of sunshine through the cracks in the ceiling but eventually the grey overcame and that is all it was: gloomy, dreary and full of mosquitoes sucking at your limbs. Literally.

And then the light at the end of the tunnel showed herself.

Being back in California has brought a sense of renewal, outlook and perspective. It’s not even about “California”, it’s about feeling grounded in a place where you know you belong. Where you don’t feel like a stranger, where the surrounding bodies of water and scenery cradle you with the arms of familiarity. A place you can rest your head and hear the heart beats with your eyes closed. That is home.

Stepping away from her really changed me. It brought out a maturity I never expected to see in myself. As cliche as it sounds, you never truly appreciate the things you have in your life until you come close to, or lose them all together. I lost a lot in those two years: friends, familiarity, safety, Nena, my brother, a piece of my self. It was a lot more than my fragile heart could handle despite the brave face I was putting on.

Even when times get tough, I feel sad, or find a sense of longing, I stop myself and think, “I could still be in New Jersey” and I instantly feel better. That entire experience taught me a lot about gratitude and appreciation, like you have no idea. Or maybe you do.

A year has gone by and what a good year it has been.

Cheers.

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Originally published at beans + ink. You can comment here or there.

serialkiller July 15 2014, 22:11

I got wood

As a little experiment I purchased some wood slices to paint on and yeah, I like this, a lot. I have never painted on wood so there was a little learning curve about the surface prepping but I am pretty happy with my first shot at it. I expect to be doing a lot more of this on top of all the other stuff I do.



This little guy was intended for sale but I accidentally nicked the back of the coaster when I went to make a hole for wall hanging with the drill. It’s not too bad. Now I know better, mounting solution first, then paint.


But hey, if you’re interested in purchasing this little guy here are the details: SOLD

Basswood, 3″x 3.75″ – watercolor/micron pen

Has small hole on the back for hanging on the wall

Sealed with matte water and UV resistant sealant

(larger photo here)

Originally published at beans + ink. You can comment here or there.

serialkiller July 15 2014, 21:51

I got wood

As a little experiment I purchased some wood slices to paint on and yeah, I like this, a lot. I have never painted on wood so there was a little learning curve about the surface prepping but I am pretty happy with my first shot at it. I expect to be doing a lot more of this on top of all the other stuff I do.

This little guy was intended for sale but I accidentally nicked the back of the coaster when I went to make a hole for wall hanging with the drill. It’s not too bad. Now I know better, mounting solution first, then paint.

But hey, if you’re interested in purchasing this little guy here are the details:
Basswood, 3″x 3.75″ – watercolor/micron pen
Has small hole on the back for hanging on the wall
Sealed with matte water and UV resistant sealant
(larger photo here)

drop me a line! you know you want to.

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Originally published at beans + ink. You can comment here or there.

serialkiller July 14 2014, 18:00

+/-

+In 9 days Reza and I take off to Southern CA to regroup with my family which I haven’t seen since my brother died. I haven’t seen Bee in since forever. Such are the woes of her living in Japan. They haven’t seen Reza in two years so there will be lots of amazement about the limbs she has and how it’s possible a stump like me gave birth to a tree. No joke dude, look at how long she has gotten. It’s not even cool.

photo

Headspace has been all over the place. I go through pockets where I am good, then I go from zero to cranky pretty fast. I won’t lie, I’m still edgy and shaken up from the recent going ons at home. Just as I am optimistic that we will get over the speed bump, I am just as anxious and nervous. I don’t take things lightly and while Josh has been awesome by leaps and bounds, this is the kind of thing that takes time.

+/- On the plus side, when things get rough, you learn a lot about the people around you and who your friends are. In the past month I have been bombarded with thoughtful messages full of love and support. Dare I say, some of the best exchanges came from those I expected it from the least. On the downside, I know that our putting things out there opened the floodgates for the judgement patrol. I get why people would… but everyone is different and our experiences are not yours and vice versa. But to those of you who took the time to reach out, or are still reaching out..

photo

+ I shipped off my pieces for a group show I am in at Alexi Era Gallery in St. Louis. I am still pretty stoked that I would be invited to participate in a show with so many talented artists. All piece sale proceeds are going to Honey Love to help raise bee awareness. I contributed two, multi layered paper cut pieces and as time consuming as they were to produce, they got where I wanted them to be. It’s interesting for me since I just started diving into doing shows and the whole idea of letting go your originals is so foreign to me, it’s tough but as an appreciator/collector, I know how rad it is to own the actual piece vs. prints. In any event, they’re gone and I hope they go to a good home. Here is a teaser of one. You can’t really tell but there is vellum layered under the wings. I will post better, full size photos after the show which is on the 19th.

IMG_3074

+ Been working on new art, commission work, trying new mediums. Overall it has been fun and I hope to have a lot of new things in the shop soon. The downside is I am leaving for two weeks so realistically it will have to wait to August. I don’t want to bite off more than I can chew, I have a habit of doing that. I relocated my desk and freed up some space… enough to where some certain felines have been duking it out for coveted donut space. It has been nice to have a feline partner sleeping on the desk or watching me as I work. Judas usually wins.

IMG_3036

+/- After much consideration I am biting the bullet and cutting a good chunk of my hair off. I’ve missed shorter hair for a while and I really need a change… color too. The blonde is going out! It feels like a broom anyway and well, I am going to be 40 in November and I am not doing it in a fucking ponytail. This will happen while I am in San Diego. The – is cause it’s a little scary but hey, it’s hair, it grows back. I am pretty sure I will get the “but you have such nice hair mija” backlash from the parental units. Sorry, I am not sorry.

- Stress drove me back to bad eating habits and boy do I feel it. With Reza on vacation my routine has been all out of whack and I feel like a sack of potatoes. I need to get back on the train cause I hate feeling this way.

+ Still volunteering for the kitty rescue. It’s kitten season right now and my Fridays have been full of spunky little fur balls. So many of them :( thankfully they are cute so they’re getting swooped up on fast. It’s hard to not want to bring them all home! Oh and remember the moody calico Leandra? Well, she finally found someone who just “got” her and off she went to her forever home. I will admit, I was sad to see her go but stoked she has a home.

+ I finally upgraded my ancient, slower than hell iPhone4 and got a 5s. OMG. It’s like going from a Yaris to a Ferrari. I think I am going to order this Tom Riddle phone case for it. Thankfully I had some trade in value so it wasn’t a huge hit to the wallet either.

+ Again, San Diego. I am looking forward to it like you have no idea. Only downside I arrive smack in the middle of Comic Con and I won’t have the time to really partake in the Con festivities. There’s always next year for that noise. I am just stoked to see my sisters and parents… and cutting off this broom on my head. You have no idea how nuts it is making me.

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Originally published at beans + ink. You can comment here or there.

serialkiller July 11 2014, 20:56

for posterity

A convo Reza and I had today.

We were leaving Target and there were two transexual/drag queens outside. As we walked by, one of them says, “I LOVE YOUR DAUGHTER’S HAIRCUT!!”
I smiled and thanked her as we walked to the car.
Reza says, “what did they say?”
“She said she liked your hair”.
“But that was a boy”
“But she is dressed like as a she, we address her as ‘she’ because thats who she wants to be”.
“Ok!”.

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Originally published at beans + ink. You can comment here or there.

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