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!
Sometimes I feel so inspired by music. Recently my inspirational music has been Fall Out Boy’s newest album, Save Rock and Roll. (You can now listen to the whole album streaming here). At first it was "The Phoenix," partly because I had just finished an image with phoenix. Now the song on repeat is the title track, "Save Rock and Roll."
I need more dreams
Listening to their words, beats and chords I just get this feeling in my chest that permeates my entire being. The sensation is all about having hope and never giving up. It tells me I need to keep creating my artwork and sharing it with the world, even if “the world” right now is only a few people. Unfortunately, I often feel like giving up. But music often renews my passion for my art. And interestingly, although Save Rock and Roll and The Phoenix do this, the music does not have to be ANYTHING to do with being inspirational, metapoetry (poetry about poetry), or related to fantasy or visual art. It’s just something about their combinations of words with the music that does it. And, of course, Patrick Stump’s voice doesn’t hurt.
Even being newly inspired, I am having some issues getting back into working because I have so few photographs left to work with. Below are two images of the early process of that I still have left, in the early stages of my process.
Paintings for my new photo
But really, I need to take some more photos, and like ASAP. I am thinking about doing a series of images focusing on characters performing some sort of rituals, although I’m not sure how that will take shape just yet. It's still just vague ideas bouncing around in my head. Often I find it works better for me to just get some people in costumes and shoot. I rarely know exactly what I want to create when I start a shoot. Sometimes I know what kind of character I want to depict, but beyond that, I let the model experiment with poses and emotions while I capture what they come up with.
I do need to take a few more photos to go with my Circus story, but I think either I (or my partner) will model for those. My story is almost done being edited. I’m still waiting for my editor-in-chief to give it back to me…but she just gave birth to her second child, so it might be a little while. Keep looking out for more updates about it!
My illustration for Neil Gaiman's August Tale
The last few weeks has been very trying. I worked really hard to finish the illustrations for Neil Gaiman's A Calendar of Tales project (if you haven't heard of this, check it out here). I was very happy with how they turned out. My favorite is to the left, and it was for the August tale. These were my first real attempt to use my mixed media art style to illustrate another writer's work. I found the experience quite interesting and inspiring. Plus, it was a really exciting contest. Neil Gaiman would actually be looking through the entries and choosing which illustrations would be published with his short stories. Thus, the prospect that Neil Gaiman would be looking at my artwork was thrilling in and of itself. And if my work got selected? It would get published! And not just published, but published in a book by Neil Gaiman!! I was so excited about this, I could barely contain myself. I told everyone I knew about it-posted the images on my Facebook page, even wrote about it on this blog. I got a lot of responses from fans. A few said they thought my submissions were way more sophisticated than some of the other pieces. So, extremely excited, I waited patiently to hear back. I figured it would take a few weeks for Neil Gaiman to sift through all the entries, so I wasn't worried when I hadn't heard anything by the end of the week.
Late Saturday night, I was scrolling through my tumblr trying to make myself be tired enough to sleep. Still curious about the Calendar of Tales project, I searched for it as a tag. The first post I see is one by an artist who had submitted a piece to the contest. Underneath their artwork, they state it has been "shortlisted." The following posts that I find are all similar; posts by artists excited that their work has been choosen as a finalist by Neil Gaiman. One even posted the e-mail they were sent. With a sinking heart, I realize that I did not receive any e-mail like that...meaning none of my works were selected as finalists, meaning Neil Gaiman looked at my work. And he didn't like it.
Needless to say, I got terribly depressed. I've never been terribly good at rejection, but this was worse. This felt personal. Maybe because I love Neil Gaiman's work, or because I felt close to him through social networking, or maybe it was just because I actually knew who was judging my work. Either way, I was crushed. So many emotions ran through me that night. I felt as if my heart had been broken, as if I had lost a friend. Neil Gaiman, who I look up to as a master of the fantasy world I am trying to belong to, saw my work and did not like it. Or, I suppose, liked others better than mine. With this single decision, I felt as if all my hopes of becoming a successful fantasy artist were foiled. It was as if Neil Gaiman himself was telling me to give up.
Now, even at the time, I knew all of those things weren't really true. But snapping myself out of this emotional turmoil was tough. However, I did recover, in thanks to my wonderful partner, Serena, my best friend Erin and my cousin Jenny, among others. Through their support, I was able to remember that one rejection does not mean failure. As Erin messaged me:
"One rejection does [not] mean failure or lack of talent. Rowling submitted [Harry Potter] to 11 place[s] before publishing so don't give up [you're] too good for that."
So after a few days of depression followed by encouragement from my family and friends, I am back to working. I will not give up. This opportunity was not a complete loss. He may not have chosen my work this time, but that doesn't mean he hated it. And even if he did, there are people out there who will (and DO) like my work. I will keep creating and I will keep pursuing my vision.
To end this entry, I'd like to quote Fall Out Boy's newest song, "The Phoenix." which has become my mantra for the past few days. I find it fitting, too, that it has the same reference to this mythological creature as the August Tale, by Neil Gaiman.
We are the jack-o-lanterns in July
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...
I've been doing quite a bit of updating to the website since I published it a few weeks ago! We now have a full gallery, some links to my favorite artists and to my social networks, plus a new place to acquire the magic of my mixed media photographs! My store, run through Paypal, is officially open for business! There are currently two new prints (in both 8.5x11 and 13x19) up for sale! Go check it out!
Plus, my Facebook page has grown! I even have some fans that I don't know! Haha, it's pretty exciting actually. It makes me really happy to find people who appreciate and enjoy my artwork. So spread the word! I am hoping that by the end of November I might be able to reach 50 fans. *fingers crossed*
In completely unrelated news (as far as the website and Facebook go), I am quite happy to report that I have been working on many new photos and even a new mixed media drawing! Keep your eyes peeled for a sneak previews!
In the spirit of Halloween, my partner and I carved pumpkins today! And what did I get distracted by? The guts of the pumpkin. I had to stop and get my camera so I could take some photos. It was all fleshy and stringy and will make the perfect addition to one of my photos, just you wait. But the pumpkin turned out pretty cool too! Happy Halloween everyone!
Welcome to my new website! It will probably take a while to get everything up to speed, but I should be updating frequently, so be sure to come back!
After some searching, I decided to start my own website again. And this one is moving along much faster than my first. Now I have spent all morning designing headings and adding things here and there. I know I've done a lot but looking at it you may not think so. Just bear with me, I promise there will be more in store soon!
But for the rest of the evening, I need to proceed to the creation of artwork. Send me inspirational thoughts!
Kendra's rantings and ramblings about various topics, including art making, events, writing, movies, music and other inspirations.