Friday, February 27, 2009

new markers and little monsters

why did it take me so long to discover copic markers? i picked up a few .01 black pigment liners this week at creative coldsnow in kansas city and i was an instant addict. and to my surprise they produced some new friends in my moleskine. i played around with the color digitally yesterday and rotated the angles here so you won't have to pull a muscle in order to meet them all. now i'm working through a dose of high-octane coffee because i had one hell of a time trying to fall asleep last night after doodling these little guys. they kept dancing around in my head and then eventually turned into something far more sinister which kept me wide-eyed well into the night. a thirty eight year old scared by monsters in the dark - do NOT tell!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

an escape to java break

birdiegirl and i split a yummy raspberry vanilla cream soda this afternoon at java break, an offbeat little cafe in the basement of a old building. but don't tell my six year old! this is our special weekend hangout and she'll have a fit if she finds out we went without her. here she likes to mix her reeses puffs with cookie crisp at the cereal bar, watch vintage cartoons, and wander through the slightly creepy labyrinth of rooms where students hole up to study 24 hours every freakin' day.

Friday, February 20, 2009

airing my dirty laundry

update 2/23: no time for a post today, but i wanted to let you know the winners, courtesy of the random number generator (based on the order in which you commented.) and since i have SO many of these to give away, and i like to change my mind, i chose six winners instead of four. so: lori anderson designs, stampmaiden, vantiani, valentina, veja cecilia, and sharon - please send me your addresses at artsyville (at) and i'll send your little clothespins packages to you this week! :)

well, OK, i'm not going to air my dirty laundry here, but i certainly could if i wanted to, because i just collaged 300 clothespins - the pictures above just show a few of them. i've been very scattered in artsyville this week (sorry, i haven't done many blog visits either) and the time was ripe for a creative explosion to put things back into order. and one happened. ricё sent me a stack of random magazine pages a few weeks ago, and while i was cutting them up, a hazy shot of some simply adorned clothespins in somerset life caught my eye. i couldn't find the photo credit or otherwise i'd mention it here.

anyway, i'm not sure how that artist did it, but here's what i did. i had a glass of wine, grabbed a stack of magazines, and went scavenging. this is my favorite part of collage - finding those little details that have the chance to shine on their own once they're liberated from their sources. i glued the pieces on cardstock to firm them up a bit, trimmed them to 1/2" x 3/4" with a paper cutter, and then glued the pieces to the top of the clothespin. the process was so simple and relaxing - just what i needed to get realigned. of course, for me, no project involving a paper cutter is complete until i've sustained an injury, and now my left thumb is under wraps. it got a little too close to the paper cutter. poor clumsy thing just wanted to be involved in the fun.

but never mind that, now i have lots of little pins to hang my memories and bits of inspiration, including some awesome tags from jess and a few beautiful tiny red drawings that arrived with thereza's zine a few months ago. and, with over three hundred of these things, i have more than i can possibly use for myself, so if you'd like a set of six pins, please leave a comment over the weekend and i'll draw four names on monday. this could be your lucky day! don't delay - enter now!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

spirited endeavors

time for a round of mindless word fun! the belgian gypsy, which i found in a newspaper from the 1920s, didn't need to be touched. it was surreal enough on its own. the 'agents of change' i did with someone special in mind, but i thought i'd also post it here as a little encouragement for others who often find their creative ways and innovative ideas being squashed by a big bureaucratic foot.

have you seen jess gonacha's new happy blog, pecannoot? if not, stop by and be prepared to smile.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

the cuppa cuppa tree

this morning i was feeling scatterbrained and not much more than an occupant of space, and then i found out why! i was already hard at play somewhere else. i went over to bella's world to say hello, and to my great surprise discovered i was already there! i was dawdling on a tree swing, holding my treasured coffee cups and wearing my favorite rose and hat. bella even put me in the right place - surrounded by friends, but on the periphery, lost in my own world and gazing at something in the sky. just where i'm the happiest. bella is on the left, giggling over a big cuppa. ces, the brilliant abecedarian illustrator who has a fondness for tossing brightly colored dishes in trees, is celebrating over an even bigger cuppa in the middle.

thank you, bella, for this irreplaceable drawing and for sharing your talent and friendship with me. from now on, when i look at this picture, i will operate under the illusion that i'm as sweet as this girl in the cuppa cuppa tree.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

the art of dj kennedy

today i'd like to introduce you to a good friend and an outstanding artist, dj kennedy. i met dj in the early 90s, when i was an assistant buyer for neiman marcus in dallas (a fascinating experience worth its own post), and we went bonkers over his exquisite line of handcrafted writing instruments. collectors went nuts over it too, and his sales went through the roof right away. so i got to know dj and julie, his business manager/mate at the time, very quickly as we were working together on a near-daily basis to satisfy the demand for his resplendent pieces. we all clicked instantly and had the good fortune to see each other often long after i left the company.

although i got to know dj through his pen craftsmanship, this doesn't even begin to describe the range of art he creates. he is not an artist who clocks in and out of his studio each day. he lives it and breathes it; art is his life, his skin, his way of being. not much is off limits in his creative exploration. but you won't find dj's name all over the place in a google search. he doesn't advertise his work on the internet, i imagine because he's busy doing other stuff: working on a commissioned pen, crafting a pair of earrings, writing poetry, creating accessories for a friend's clothing line, experimenting with precious metals i've never heard of, inventing things and theories, painting art cars, playing in trombone festivals, sketching people, scavenging and using every last piece of found material, discovering new uses and ideas for everything that crosses his path and mind.

somehow he has kept up with our address changes through the years. i've lost count of the postcards and letters we've sent back and forth, and every once in a while the wind is knocked out of me when i find one of his precious pieces of art peeking out of the mailbox.

these are two dj pens i'm proud to call my own - the #261 garnet ballpoint and one of his baby ballpoints that is worn as a necklace. my lousy photography doesn't do justice to these beauties. fortunately i kept one of the many promotional mailers we did at neiman marcus featuring his work. i believe this one is from 1996.

here's a snippet of one of the many articles written on his work during his pen boom in the mid 90s. now those pens are traded and sold as collectibles. i'll never let go of mine - no way, no how. these are heirlooms.

a few days ago these gorgeous earrings appeared in my mailbox and i shot upstairs to show my husband. when something from dj arrives we inspect every angle of whatever he's sent - if we don't, then for sure we miss something. look closely and you'll see stampings in the metal - these say "aimo" (my nickname to many people), "artsyville 2009", "titanium", "niobium, ew" and there's probably something else i haven't noticed yet. what a beautiful gift. in almost every piece of jewelry he creates, some thought or remembrance is etched in the metal.

over the last fifteen years i've received letters on the backs of beer cartons, financial statements from the county hospital, thirty year old court documents, little debbie snack cake boxes, pieces of shopping bags (with the handles), shoe boxes, and anything else that holds ink. his artistic style has had an immeasurable impact on my own, particularly his stream of consciousness writing and the way he hops from topic to topic. one moment he contemplates the meaning of the universe and the next he groans about an overdose on pringles. being exposed to the freedom of his thought process through the years has helped me to unlock my own way of creative expression.

dj in his studio about 10 years ago.

here we are on the set of channel 5 in phoenix around the same time - he was doing a series of early morning TV shows in the area. i was just along for the ride. actually, he and julie were staying with me so i think i WAS the ride - otherwise i would have never been up that early.

a portrait he did of me after one of those morning shows. dj often draws people in public and then gives the sketches to them. he is one of those exceptional people who shares his art and life with nearly everyone he meets; i feel so lucky to know him. and he didn't mind in the least when i asked him if i could share these photos and memories with you.

speaking of exceptional people, my fabulous roommate from the 'half' made a delightful surprise appearance in the commentary - the only person who could have made that half post whole!