As you may know, I have been working on writing and designing an art book of my Circus series. Recently, I decided the editing of the short story that I had written to accompany the images was finally finished! This meant I could start finalizing the book’s design. I had worked on the design months ago, but it turned out that the layout size I has been working with was too big to print unless I drastically increased the page size. So I spent the better part of a week resizing each page. You probably wouldn’t think that it would take that long, but resizing the page meant also resizing each photo and each text box. The text boxes were the most challenging because I had to figure out how to get my newly edited (and slightly longer) story to fit in these shrunken pages. It was tough, but I eventually got it. Almost the entire inside of the book is now set for printing, which is very exciting.
Even more exciting, perhaps, is that my so-called “circus book” now has an official title! With the help of my partner, Serena, and my sister/editor-in-chief, I brainstormed titled for over two weeks. Finally, I settled on The Ringleader. Armed with a title, I will finally be able to properly promote this project! I have started by designing a promotional postcard. Pictured above is the front and to the left is the back of the card. I ordered some test copies from VistaPrint and I was so pleased to receive them yesterday. They look pretty good, although I do want to change a few minor things about the design before I reorder.
It is more exhilarating than I can express to be getting so close to self-publishing this art book. Ever since I encountered art books like Brian Froud’s Good Faeries/Bad Faeries and Suza Scalora’s The Faeries I have dreamed of publishing my own artwork into a book. To have that lifetime goal almost complete is amazing.
While the last several weeks have been mostly about The Ringleader, I have also been lucky enough to have some new faces model for me. First was Monique, the daughter of a member at the CNY Arts Center. We arranged to actually shoot at the Center on their stage. They were gracious enough to let me use their theatre lighting as well, which was an amazing experience. I always prefer hot lighting which provided strong highlights and dark shadows. Normally I achieve this with household lamps, candles, flashlights, and floodlights. Using the theatre’s spotlight worked so amazingly—I officially need one. Unfortunately, we only had time for two sets, but I have already sorted through and found some great images I can’t wait to work on. Monique brought some awesome costume pieces! Above is an example of her costume pieces—she even brought the mask!
Next I shot with Savannah who also brought multiple outfits and props. When she got in the car with all her bags, I was strongly reminded of being a kid. Whenever I went over to my friends’ houses to play pretend, I would always bring several bags full of dress-up clothes. Since she essentially did the same thing, I could tell right away that I was going to like working with Savannah. As it turns out, I was right—she was a ton of fun to photograph! She was not afraid of being silly, although she did apologize for it both constantly and unnecessarily. The image to left is just one example of her silliness. Sorting through her footage was hard because I want to use so many of them. It’s going to be difficult to choose.
While organizing all the new photos into folders, I also discovered that I have several images that are basically done but have not been shared on the website or on my social media pages. When I edit my photos, the final stage is very tedious. I enlarge the image and go through it to make sure there are no stray pixels or noise. This step takes so much time and patience that I am often guilty of postponing it. All of the mostly finished works are stuck on this step. So I guess I should stop waiting and go finish those up, shouldn’t I?
Maybe I will use some of those new images for my entries for the 6x6x2014 show at RoCo. I also have started two small mixed media drawings for the show, although finishing them may prove difficult. As always, I have a list a mile long of things that need to get done. Such is the life of an artist. At least I'll never be bored!
My booth set up at Ryu-Kon
So it’s that time again! Time for an updated blog entry…
As usual, the last month has been a crazy whirlwind of activity. I officially have work at Lakeside Artisans in Oswego. I dropped off framed work last week. I am excited to have my work in another location. Even if I don’t make any sales there, it is great exposure.
After framing and dropping off artwork at Lakeside Artisans, I had to continue preparing for Ryu-Kon. This is an anime and gaming convention in Niagara Falls where I had an Artist Alley booth. Preparing was hectic as I had so much going on the weeks before that this event almost got put on a back burner. The trip itself went smoothly and the event was a lot of fun. I did not sell much, although I made some great contacts.
An author (named Meagan Cook) spoke to me about potentially doing a book cover for her novel, Firefly Darkness. She gave me a preview book of her novel and it sounds pretty exciting! You can check her out on Facebook here. Then a cosplay group asked me about doing group photos of them in costumes and then adding some of my manipulations on top of them. I’ve never done anything like that before but it sounds like a lot of fun. Another lady, who does Reiki (a light touch therapy), thought my style might work for a brochure for her business. In addition to these interesting project ideas, another vendor approached me about doing a commissioned artwork for her. She wanted the work to be on a playmat-a kind of big mousepad that is used to play card or dice games. She gave me complete free reign to compose whatever I wanted, which is super exciting. She also thought prints of my work on these playmats might sell at her shop, so I’m going to consider getting some printed for resale as well.
While at Ryu-Kon, I also gained 3 new fans on my Facebook page! That brings me up to 68! Which of course means I got to share my newest image, Setting the Sun! Be sure to check out my Facebook page here to see the full version!
So, all in all, Ryu-Kon was a worthwhile adventure, if a little disheartening at first. I’m not sure if I will return next year, as the event itself was more anime focused than I had anticipated. I actually had one person who flipped through my portfolio only to look up at me and say “These are cool, but do you do anything in anime style?” *shrug* You can’t please everyone.
I am definitely more excited for Roc-Con, a sci-fi/fantasy convention held in Rochester. Multiple people have told me that it is greatly attended, so that is always promising. Plus, I really enjoy cons, so it’ll be fun to go anyway.
In the more short term, my life does not slow down anytime soon. Just this week, these are my plans: I am teaching a class tonight at the CNY Arts Center called Story Time Art. It’s a class geared specifically toward 4-7 year olds. Tonight we are reading Where the Wild Things Are, which always reminds me of my big brother because it was his favorite book growing up. After my class I have to head right over to the Arts in the HeArt Gallery for our monthly Artist Meet-up event.
Wednesday I have Gallery hours, then Thursday I am attending a meeting in Oswego about the future of the Arts in Central New York. On Friday I may have 2 back to back meetings at the CNY Arts Center, and then on Saturday I’m teaching two more classes-Collage Making and Facebook: Promotion for the Arts. Somewhere in there I will also be adding some new products to etsy (stay tuned!) as well as working on some new art pieces, and keeping the CNY Arts Center’s Facebook and website up to date. I think on Sunday I may refuse to do anything.
Until next time, I hope everyone enjoys the last bit of summer!
A shot of the 6x6x2013 show at RoCo taken by Missy. Can you see my 6x6 pieces?
May turning into June proved to be a very busy time for me. The first of the month was the CNY Art Center's Open House AND the opening of 6x6x2013 at RoCo. I unfortunately did not get a chance to go to the opening at RoCo, but a friend, Missy, sent me the picture to the left of my works on the wall!
The Open House at the Art Center's Gallery went very well. I somehow managed to volunteer myself to be in charge of head count. According to my tally marks we had approximately 100 people, which was great. I got to talk to lots of people about my work. One lady and her daughter bought a print of "The Zebra Rider"! Someone else was interested in having me do portraits of their family in my style. And still another invited me to participate in a group show at the Red Brick Pub in Fulton called "Art After Dark." So all in all it was a very successful day!
My table at Arts Fest, Sat June 8, 2013.
The following Saturday was Arts Fest, an arts and crafts festival hosted by the CNY Arts Center. It was a bit slow for a craft fair, but I did get to talk to a good handful of people about my art. Unfortunately, I was not able to make up for the cost of the booth, but it was still a fun day. Especially because my mom, sister, niece and nephew stopped by to visit! I loved having them around and miss them terribly now that they have headed home to West Virginia. Although I think I get more art stuff done when Miss Livie isn't around to ask me to take the ferrets out of their cage 25 times in a row (c:
Once Arts Fest was over, I immediately started thinking about what I needed to prepare for Ryu-Kon, an anime/sci-fi/fantasy convention I am attending in July. Thankfully I have lots of prints made up now, so that is one less thing I'll need to do. Although I am also thinking about making some things to sell besides my straight art prints. Maybe notecards or journals? I don't want anything too cheesy, but I think there is definitely a market out there for my work in more practical/functional items than just prints. I'll have to see what I can come up with.
I also have now purchased a booth at RocCon, another convention (this one in Rochester) toward the end of September. Attending this one means that I'll have to miss Livie's birthday party, but it seemed too good of an opportunity to pass up. Serena and I are planning a trip down to WV to visit my sister at some point anyway, even if we won't be there for the shindig.
In the meantime, before these two conventions, I have several other things to look forward to. I have several classes scheduled over the summer at the CNY Arts Center, from Drawing to Collaging to Facebook: Promotion for the Arts to Story Time Art for kids. Check out all my classes here. I also have filled out an application to be a "consignment" artist at Lakeside Artisans in Oswego. It is an artist co-op gallery where, if accepted, I will be able to display and sell my work from their shop. I'm pretty excited about this opportunity because I know the more exposure I can get, the better.
I also have 2 public shows coming up in the next two months! One is a group show with the CNY Arts Center at a local hospice. The other was actually this past Monday-the Art After Dark show that got suggested to me at the Gallery Open House on June 1st. It was an interesting event. We set up in a banquet hall at the Red Brick Pub in Fulton. Although only a handful of people stopped by, Jesse Renfrew and I both sold work, so it turned out to be a great evening! Plus we got to spend time drawing and making paper hats with Jesse's son Ben.
After writing all that out, I realize I have a LOT going on. I am rather proud of myself for how far I have gotten with promoting my artwork. To think a year ago, I hadn't even made a new piece of art in a year or more. Now I work on new art at LEAST twice a week AND I'm getting my work out there. Go me.
If you'd like to keep up to date on all of what I'm up to, be sure to Like my Facebook page. With over 50 likes now, it's easier to find: www.facebook.com/diabolicalwhimsy. I look forward to connecting with you there!
I am finally getting to post about all the excitement that's occurred over the last couple of weeks! First, I want to talk about my trip up north a few weekends ago when I was fortunate to have the chance to FINALLY take some new photographs. I have been complaining about needing more images to work on for a while, so when we were planning a trip up to Massena, NY, I knew I just had to get ahold of my friends/models to get some shoots scheduled. Thankfully I was able to schedule two different sessions! The first set was with an old friend and frequent model-er, Erin LaVoie. We met up around dusk at a local park. Erin came with loads of costumes and accessories piled into the back of her car. It was like the good old times when we were kids. We would go over to each other's homes to play pretend and would always go with at least two backpacks jam packed with costumes.
Erin: Nothing's changed!Erin modeling as The Tightrope Walker.
We did a total of 3 sets with various costumes using flashlights, streetlights, some glow sticks and a light up bouncy ball as light sources. We had a fantastic time and I am so looking forward to sorting through and working on the images I captured. Keep an eye out for sneak peeks coming soon on my Facebook Page.
I will forever be grateful that Erin became so willing to model for me. Believe it or not, she used to hate having her pictures taken, but now she is quite enjoys it. She has gotten pretty good at it too. I think she has spoiled me a bit because she is so used to my style and ideas, she needs little direction from me. She just poses effortlessly, which is great. Although it sometimes makes it difficult for me to start working with a new model. Of no fault of their own, a new model doesn't always know what kind of poses I am looking for. I experienced this on my second photo session with the lovely Jarika Donalis.
After being friends with Jarika for almost three years, it only just occured to me to ask if she would be interested in modeling for me. She has a great sense of style-a little punk mixed with some floral prints-so I knew she could have some great outfits for me to use already. She gladly agreed to the proposal so we set up a time. We had a great time and I think I got some nice shots. To start with, she was unsure what to do, so I kind of posed her like a mannequin-right down to her fingers! As I predicted, we were able to use her extensive wardrobe to design 3 costumes. By the end of the 3rd set, Miss Jarika got the hang of it. I am by far the most excited about the last few images!
Amidst all this fantasy photo shoot mayhem, I also had a wonderful time visiting with family. The only thing that could have made the trip better would have been more time. Unfortunately, it ended all too soon and I had a long day of substituting the next day. By the end of the school day, I was exhausted. Thankfully, I had just enough time to take a nap before I had to get ready to attend the CNY Arts Center's Artist Meet-up. This is a social gathering of visual artists designed to allow us t share work, talk about ideas and just have fun. This month's event also consisted of a field trip to our new Arts in the Heart Gallery.
My work at the CNY Arts Center's Gallery.
During our trip to the Gallery, I was able to install my work there as well. I am actually the featured artist of the month! If you live in Central New York, you should stop by and check it out at 47 1st St, Fulton, NY. Visit http://cnyartscenter.com/cny-arts-center-gallery.html for more information.
Over the last week, I have been kept very busy with substituting. However, I think I have been getting better about making sure I find time to work on my own art stuff as well. As you may have seen on my Facebook page, I submitted an entry into a t-shirt design contest that I created partly with my drawing tablet in Photoshop. No word on that yet, but it got me really excited about creating illustrations with my tablet. I would expect to see more examples like that soon!
Now, I am off to the CNY Arts Center's Author Spotlight event to hear Margaret Streitenberger and illustrator Jim Arnold speak about their new book, Did the Cow Really Jump Over the Moon? It's a memoir about pet sitting that looks really interesting. Until next time...
I am excited to report that I have a lot of things going for me in the next few months as far as displaying and possibly selling my art work! First, I have just mailed off work for 6x6x2013, a Fundraising Art Show for RoCo (the Rochester Contemporary Art Center). I discovered the "Call for Entries" for this show a while ago on Facebook. To raise money for their Art Center, RoCo asked artists of all mediums, ages, and skills to submit artworks that measured six inches by six inches (by six inches if 3-D). They will be displayed at their gallery in a grid formation (all without framing). It seemed like an interesting show-and as an added bonus there was no fee to enter. I kind of forgot about it for a little while, but thankfully I remembered in time to submit some.
It took quite a while for me to figure out which of my images I could actually crop down into a square format. As a general rule, I like to create images in rectangles, because the asymmetry creates more dynamic compositions. So some of the pieces that I might have wanted to use (such as "Anonymous Goddess") just did not work as 6x6s. After some trial and error, I was able to find six good square compositions.
Each of these images will be displayed at RoCo's gallery and be on sale for $20 to benefit the Art Center. Even though I will not get any financial reward for entering this show, it will be great exposure. A lot of people attend this event-purchasing the 6x6 artworks is actually quite competitive. Every year, they host a raffle to give away early spots to pick out your artworks so no one else can buy them first. When someone purchases one of my photos, they will also receive my contact info and my website. In this way, someone who is interested in my style will be able to look me up and potentially buy more pieces from me.
Yesterday I got the prints all cropped and filled out the forms for each one. Today I mailed them out-and two days before shipping deadline! For more info on this show, go here.
As for the other events, I am planning on submitting some pieces to a show down state called "All Fired Up." Set to be held during GlassFest 2013, they are looking for artwork that was created with fire. I can think of at least a handful of images that I have created with photographs that I have taken of fire so I am hoping they will take at least one of them. The obvious one for me to submit is "The Firebreather" image from my circus series, although I am not actually sure I used photos of fire to compile that image, so we will have to see. Listen up for updates on that on my Facebook page!
I have also been looking into craft fairs and fantasy/sci fi conventions that I can go to with either my wish bags, art, or both. Unfortunately a handful of the craft fairs I considered attending happen to be on days when I am teaching classes at the CNY Arts Center so that may not work so well. However, I did find at least one convention that I AM attending this summer-my booth is already paid for! It's called Ryu-Kon and looks to be primarily an anime/gaming convention but I think my stuff will fit in just fine. This year it is being held in Niagara Falls, so we should be able to stay with my partner's family who lives in the area. Staying with family cuts down tremendously on hotel costs and means I'll make more of a profit! Plus, purchasing the space (plus 2 passes) at Ryu-Kon was only $55! I should be able to break even on this event without too much trouble. There are some other conventions I want to keep in mind for the fall and then next Spring, including EerieCon, RocCon, and maybe if I'm really lucky, DragonCon.
So this has been my exciting update about what I'm doing with my art business! Be sure to like my Facebook page and follow me on tumblr for more updates! I'm also planning a FREE Giveaway for my Facebook fans! =^.^= More details coming soon!
I cannot believe that it is March already! I have lots to do this month as my new Photo classes start this Tuesday. The first class, Camera Basics, is about learning how your camera functions. I had to do some research to prepare to teach the class...it's one of those things where I know how it works, but having to explain it to someone can sometimes be difficult. But after a couple of hours of refreshing my memory on some of the more technical stuff, I feel prepped and ready to teach!
Over the "spring" season at CNY Arts Center I have lots of classes planned. I'm teaching the photo class again in addition to two drawing classes, a class entitled Creative Block Busters which is geared at helping people break out of creative ruts, and the Facebook promotion class I mentioned last time. I'm very excited about all of them.
Over the next week, I am working on at least three images to submit to Neil Gaiman's A Calendar of Tales project. Powered by Blackberry, Neil Gaiman asked fans to answer 12 questions corresponding to the 12 months of the year. Now he has written 12 short stories to go with his favorite answers and is asking people to submit artworks to illustrate them. I will die of happiness if one of my pieces gets put in the publication. Seriously.
And to end my post for today:
Today a CNY Arts Center member asked me what my "ideal" job situation would be. When I replied "being a full time artist," she laughed at me. What she said next went something like this:
I said "idealistic" not "unrealistic." Yeah, when I was in high school I thought I wanted that too. Then I realized that being a starving artist wasn't going to work for me. So I figured I'd better get a REAL job first.
To me, it is very sad that so many people have this sort of attitude about art. Being an artist is NOT unrealistic. Being an artist does NOT mean you have to starve. Being an artist IS a real job. You just need the motivation to strive toward your goals. I thank the Powers that Be everyday that I have not lost that sense of purpose in my life. I just wish I could convince others to be as hopeful as me.
One of my students drawing with their feet!
My how time does fly...The holidays have come and gone, and even January will be out the door in a few days. Since Halloween (and my last blog entry), I have been trying to work on more art, get my book designed and edited, become ever more involved with the CNY Arts Center here in Fulton, not to mention substitute teaching a lot more. I find that I like subbing significantly more than I thought I might. The kids are pretty awesome, even the ones who give me a hard time. I once had a kid ask if instead of calling me "Miss Matott" if he could call me "Miss Tattertot." As I found this disrespectful, I responded with a firm "no." Although, apparently, one of my friends thinks it's a great nickname and have even changed my name in her phone to label me as such. Luckily, I have a sense of humor, and I couldn't really blame the kid for coming up with it. It is pretty inventive.
That is definitely my favorite thing about working with kids. They are so imaginative. One 4th grade class that I have subbed for a few times came up with this whole system of "selling" items for fake money, including having one student collect "taxes" while the "vendors" put on commercials for the class to advertise their wares. They even have a "mail carrier" who delivers notes to students in the classroom. They do all this during their free time, and it was completely on their own-their teacher had nothing to do with it. Although they did make her "Mayor" of their little town.
With all the substituting I've been doing, it has been a little bit of a struggle to keep up with working on my art. I do my best to squeeze in art time whenever I can, although some nights I am just too tired. I have been keeping a time log of all art-related things I do, which helps me understand just how much time I am actually working on photo, compared to updating Facebook or working at the CNY Arts Center. I have certainly become very active at CNY Arts Center since I moved to Fulton in June. I am now an official Facebook Administrator for their page, in addition to being in charge of updating the "Studio Arts" section of their website. I have also been recently asked to join a "Studio Arts Committee" which will plan specific events and classes. Plus, I got volunteered to be a Studio Arts teacher this summer for their Arty Camp for kids (not that I mind at all). I am rather excited to be such an active member in this group. They are very supportive and attending several of their events has opened up a lot of connections in the community for me.
While talking about being active at CNY Arts Center, I can't forget to talk about my classes! I taught my first drawing class a few weeks ago! The three ladies who took it had a great time. The one pictured in the photo above had to use markers for her foot drawing because she was wearing panty hose. It turned out pretty well though! She titled it "Influenza 2013."
I also have a photo class scheduled in March, which I am super excited about! I'll be teaching the basics of taking photos with a digital camera. Check out more details on the CNY Arts Center website. I have also been asked to design a workshop to teach how to use social media to promote the arts. I'm not sure how qualified I am for that, but I will certainly do my best.
In addition to being a teacher, web administrator and committee member, I have also been keeping my eyes on some classes that I want to attend. The first of those was actually this past weekend--"Is Self-Publishing For You?" The event was hosted by Susan Peterson Gateley, a self-published local author who shared her experiences with the self-publishing process. The event was very well attended, and the range of skill and focus in the group was very interesting. Some of the information covered I already knew, but she also covered a lot of things I had not thought of before. And now I am even more excited to get working on finishing up my book about my circus characters! I think I might go work on that now. For now, enjoy this preview...
Kendra's rantings and ramblings about various topics, including art making, events, writing, movies, music and other inspirations.