Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Whoa, man! It's been a long couple of days/weeks here in my little bitty apartment!

We just bought our house, which is what I posted about a little bit ago, and its definitely a fixer-upper. The house is well over 100 years old, has TONS of beautiful architectural details, wood floors and space, but there is also a lot of work that comes with all of that.

The running total right now that we have to get done before the end of the month is out of control. We still need to fix the plaster on the walls in the bedroom, kitchen and living rooms. Everything still needs to be painted. And I mean EVERYTHING. There isn't a single room in this place (of which there are 9) that doesn't need at least a coat of paint. The kitchen will need many coats of paint.

My office is well on its way to getting a stamp of approval though. I have primed (almost) all of it and I put up a swatch of my robin's egg blue paint last night. I love it on the wall, and today I will paint for a bit to start to see some forward movement in this GIGANTIC undertaking.

I've been pinning like a madwoman, and I'm starting to get a feel for what I'm going to want in my place, which will sort of be a victorian-shabby-chic. I love the old feel and details of the victorian, but I also like the worn look of the shabby-chic. If I put them together I should be pretty happy with it.

My mother is going to kill me though. I've decided to paint the trim work in the house white. I know it sounds boring, but hear me out! The wood in the house is old... like 100 years old. The stuff has not been well taken care of. There are holes all of them from where previous owners have drilled into them, and all of that will have to be cleaned, wood filled, sanded, primed and painted before it will start to look pretty at all. I will have the added bonus of the house looking bright and shiny and welcoming instead of foreboding (like it does now.)

I will post some before and after photos pretty soon. I've just found the camera again, and gotten the sucker charged. Now I can get some documentation going. :)

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Being Normal

I entitle this post "On Being Normal" because sometimes I lose track of that. I've recently watched an interview with one of my favorite artists, Emilie Autumn, who is bipolar (like me) who had some interesting things to say about being "normal."

I was on medication for a large part of last year, and have recently taken myself off of it because of budget concerns. You wouldn't believe the cost of psychiatric care in this country, even if you have insurance. During the time that I was on medication I found myself very much incapable of finding this PLACE inside my head from which I create. There is the headspace, and in that place I am able to look at a blank piece of paper or canvas (or even the margin of a brochure about plants) and know what I need to put there. I am usually able to draw quickly and execute an entire thing with little effort.

When I started on medication I wasn't able to get there anymore. I had to relearn how to create in that space again, and I wasn't sure where to start. This is when I started to draw my Greek Goddesses series, which at the time were my happy place, but I look at now, and I'm feeling a disconnect. I'm wondering if this disconnect is because I'm no longer on medication and can no longer connect to those characters that I felt so close to at the time.

Every time I pick up a pencil and think about drawing lately I'm feeling bad because I know that I've created some what of a following online for this style that I've been doing, but my change in headspace has changed my motivations, and I'm not sure where to begin. I want to draw ugly, disgusting things. I want to draw things that I feel, but don't know how to explain in words. I have a fear of showing those things to people and them saying, "Meh, not as good as your older stuff."

I want to get my hands dirty and break things. I want to get in touch with this inner goth kid that I've been squelching for the past year because I've been wanting to fit in again. I've wanted people to approve of me. I want to be in touch with me again. And I don't know where to begin with it.

Being normal is not me, and it has been hard pretending. I don't want to play anymore. I want to scream.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

It's ours!

These past couple of weeks have gone by in a whirlwind. I have been constantly busy and constantly working my ass off. We bought a house yesterday. Then, we started working on it. I have been working on the dining room and kitchen first, since they are the most immediately accessible. I am exhausted. I'm trying to come up with something witty to say, but I haven't been able to come up with anything yet. I'm going to go take a bath. :)

Saturday, April 27, 2013

You can do it.

Once upon a time I was in my very first art show. It was terrifying and exciting and wonderful. I left the show feeling like I was on top of the clouds, flying around. My life's dream was finally coming to fruition after years of hard work honing my skills as both an artist and a business woman. Cloud 9 doesn't begin to cover it.

Once I stepped out of the show and packed up the car I stopped in my tracks and looked to my fiancee and told him, "This is what I want to do for the rest of my life." In the high of this night I went home and fervently began planning my next show. I sent the woman who had planned my first show an email. I guess I was hoping for encouragement, or even a bit of information on how to break into the business from someone who was really making it.

What I got back in response was so very different, though.

What she sent me back was that, "Artists can't make a living in Michigan." She went on to explain that no one in Michigan can possibly make a living in the art world, and that even making a go of it is borderline insanity. She said that artists are less than a dime a dozen.

A kick to the pants much? I read the email and couldn't even breathe. I'd felt like someone I barely knew had just told me that I was worthless and incapable. Besides! What did she know about me and my stubborn ability to do whatever I set my mind to?

I started planning doubly hard. I booked shows for every weekend of the summer, I got my art put up in galleries and coffee shops and everywhere else that I possibly could think of.

And I began to make it.

I'm not there yet. I'm getting there. Week by solid and sordid week I pull myself closer to making a living at what I love. Some days I feel like I can't do it. Like I must be crazy for trying, but in my heart I know that I can do this. I can make a living--a good solid living-- at what I love. I can be successful, and NO ONE has the right to tell me otherwise.

Friday, April 26, 2013

On being an artist in the age of the internet

I want to rant a bit right now, and I'm trying to reel it in so that I'm not too out of control on here. I won't lie to you, though, sometimes being an artist is ridiculous. I'm thinking in particular of being an artist and on the art of how much to charge.

Now, I know that most people are looking for a "hook up." They know that art doesn't always take a long time, though that's not always the case, and they know that I "just use markers" to color my pieces. What most people don't understand, however, is that each little thing adds up in cost and if I ever want to even break even on utilities, I have to charge what I do.

In this instance, each marker that I use is about $8 for the marker, plus the ink refills depending on how large the piece is. I probably use about 9-15 markers for each and every piece. I may not use an entire marker, but I probably use enough ink to justify one marker completely gone for each piece. So there's $8 spent on my end already.

Then paper. Because of the types of markers these are, I can't just use any paper I come across. I use Bristol. Not crazy expensive, and sometimes I can even get it on sale, but its still about $20 for a pad of 50. That's $.40 per page, plus a few pages in my sketch book getting it all together, and figuring out what I'm going to make the piece look like.

The ink pen is $5 each, and I probably go through 1 every other piece, so let's say $2.50.

Then I have to factor in the cost of prints, of paper for the prints, of packaging, of marketing, of table rent at shows, of gas and food for being at the shows, of making the necklaces, of bookmarks and keychains. Every single piece I make has the propensity to make a lot of money in merchandise, but each thing also comes with a cost of getting started.

When you ask me to "hook you up" it makes me feel like I'm not worth anything. It makes me feel like I don't deserve to at least break even on this endeavor of mine, and I just wanted to share that with you all.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

I found a couch!

I live in an apartment complex, for just one more month. Add to that, in the world of Ann Arbor, MI this time of year means it's Hippie Christmas. This means that all of the students at the local Universities are going home to their parents' for the summer, so they are leaving all of their furniture on the curb for everyone else to take back to their abodes. I have pretty much decorated my house on Hippie Christmas finds, and it is awesome to live in a place like this where I can find everything that I want and need on the side of the road.

Today in the finds there was a very old leather reclining chair. It was rainstorming outside, but I just couldn't pass it up. The chair was completely un-salvageable, but the leather on it was in pretty good shape. I took a knife out to the trash bin and gutted all of the leather off of it.

I'm feeling pretty good about this decision.

When I got inside I took the hair dryer to a couple of smallish pieces so I could whip up a little necklace that I'd been seeing on Pinterest a lot lately before we went out for date night. It was great! Super fast to make, and I can make it in a few different color schemes to go with different outfits.

I hope I can find another couch soon in a different color! That would open up a whole new set of things for my wardrobe!

Monday, April 22, 2013

Festival Season is Afoot!

For the past couple of weeks I have been completely stuck working on things that I don't want to work on. I enjoyed the shows (Anime Park and Michigan Comic Expo) but I had a lot of grunt work that I had to do in order to be ready for them.

After that, I had to focus on my exams for the end of the semester. I am at Denny's right now, I'm supposed to be studying, and I don't wanna. I'm taking a break just for a couple of minutes to give a blog post about it. Procrastination much?

Anyway, I have a bunch of shows in the works right now for the festival season. Most of them are small one day engagements in Detroit that I'd like to get done with, but I'm also looking at doing some of the big art fairs if possible.

This is a lot of hard work, but I'm hoping it will all pay off in the end!

Here's a picture of the new table layout that I was working on, pre-Anime Park.
What do you guys think? What could I add to it?