Thursday, March 24, 2011

Eye Candy for Everyone

Playing with photos and texture. Some of my design work feels
more like "painting" than some of my oils and acrylics.

Jpeg files never look as good as the original to me. It's too bad, really. I feel pretty ultra sensitive to color sometimes, and when the file of a painting online seems off, I almost feel like the compression is misleading my viewers. (I know, boo-hoo.)

Life has been a whirlwind lately, both good and bad. When it rains, it pours I guess. Anyway, I've been thinking more about painting than I have actually spent time holding a paintbrush, so I wanted to contribute a little eye-candy to the blog world. I feel like it is my responsibility and mission to keep this thing interesting and updated often enough, even if I only have minimal readers still. I will write in this thing until someone notices, dammit.

If anyone is interested in buying any prints, I am putting in an order very shortly at Silicon printing - a place recommended by a friend. I am all about the recommendations - I feel that if I have awesome service somewhere or know someone that works there that I enjoy or am friends with - I pass it on. I want to know where the best place is to get A or B, or know that Gilbert at the art store will take care of me and not bullshit me because we used to work together. Helpful, courteous service is rare these days and under appreciated. So - that said, if someone tells me where to go to get something done - like prints- I will totally go there. Let's hope it's worth it. (Somehow, getting bad advice happens. I'll let you know.)

Orders go in soon. I can make prints of every painting on display at The Lola Bean right now as well as most of the things on my website. Please excuse my website. I need a new design, and a whole new setup - coming soon. I have lots of web developer/website designer friends but they are busy people, too. Right now I am aware that I can only post 10 images per section, and I have far more work than that on the server, floating aimlessly in the vast galaxy of cyberspace.

I wanted to post a link to a video of the Addy Awards shot by the fabulously talented Peter Parker, but you may just have to friend him first to see it. It was POURING down rain the entire time, so my crew was forced to spin non-fire toys inside and do minimal tiny fire tools outside under a tent. (Which felt additionally dangerous but was fine.) Still, I got paid to do what I do, which is an amazing feeling, no matter what.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Thank you Mama & Papa C-Bone

I'm in the middle of 8 million things right now - cleaning, making Trash Soup, following up with emails and media-internet junk, trying to think of names (I need a burlesque stage name and my bellydance/fire troupe needs a name) ... and I still need to shower and wash my hair (the washing hair part only happens ever so often so - it's a significant kind of day.)

But I wanted to take a moment and say thank you to my parents. I look at other children or teenagers I am somehow exposed to - through my in-laws massive family, friends, neighbors, whatever - and feel so grateful that my family was supportive of my art and creative interests and allowed me to pursue my own path. They certainly didn't have to.

They didn't have to help me buy art supplies, or help send me to college. They could have sent me to UM or FIU for English or business or something equally uninspiring. (In retrospect, some business classes probably couldn't have hurt.) They could have kept art as a hobby in my life instead of a "career" or whatever this is. I could have a "Real Job" right now too, and be a totally different person.

So thanks, Mom & Dad - for not insisting I become a bio-chemist or doctor or lawyer. I would probably be terrible at all those things, anyway, and even though I may never become a rich and famous artist, at least I can maintain my integrity and happiness. This is what I am and I will always be, and it's become less of a choice and more of a mission. It's clear that I have to continue down this path right now, no matter how poor I am. (On that note, I'm putting in at least one print order soon, so at least I'm selling some-sort-of-thing.)

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Finally - a win on Craigslist

I've been searching for a dress form for some time now and FINALLY found on on Craigslist - picked it up earlier today for a whopping $10. It's definitely rusty, and needs new fabric. It's adjustable but at the moment it's pretty rusty all around, so I'm trying not to mess with it too much. I'm just so happy I found one - and that one of the many people I try and contact via Craigslist actually responded to my inquiry. It was a little far to go to get, but I didn't have a whole lot else I had to do today. At least it was nice out.

I've been making costumes for years now, but only in the past two or three I've been making them again for myself to wear - for performances, parties, Halloween, or just for fun. And I generally don't sew too well (or at least correctly) but I'm getting better at it. Having one of these
to use is definitely going to help.

...Other than hunting for free/cheap shit on CL, I've been painting Venus Flytraps, making feather earrings, and practicing my fans/spinning fire. Check out the facebook page (AND "LIKE" IT!) for my burlesque duo, The Penny Treats. We just started our marketing and web media this past week, when we performed at Philadelphia's Addy Awards last Thursday night. It rained so it wasn't the full on fire show I had hoped for and expected - but it was still tons of fun and great to be in that space and perform. To many more gigs in the future... and some nom nom fire.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

This just in:

Intern wanted! Successful group of performers, designers, and artists seek media intern to keep up with all the facebook/blogging/media promo/marketing crap so we can keep doing our thing.

(Seriously though, I dream of the day I get to employ an intern for little or no pay. I will offer all the college credit I can sign for, however.)

Anyway, my art opening last Friday at The Lola Bean was a huge success! Great turnout, great time - lots of local folks wandering in that I didn't know, as well as friends came out and heard Miss Gina Ferrera play some awesome tunes while enjoying the free booze & snacks (can't have an art opening without free booze and snacks) and I got a lot of great feedback on my work. Some people have even contacted me about prints, although for some reason random emails keep popping up in my spam folder instead of my inbox. (Bad for networking. Boo.)

Here are some pictures I took at the event. They are, of course, kind of crappy, and for that I apologize. I generally have a strong resistance against ever using a flash - we turned it on for a couple of candid pics of the two lovely ladies that own The Lola Bean, Mary Button and Erica Zito, who were absolutely awesome about hosting music, beverages, and all my messy-ass friends (kidding, we're burner-types, we generally clean up after ourselves.) Thank you ladies for hosting the event in your shop and helping to make the night happen!

Shot from just outside the front door of The Lola Bean. They have a couple walls painted this kickass bright pink color that really complimented all the bright colors in my paintings.

Myself and the lovely Gina Ferrera, our (also very local) musical guest for the evening.

Erica, myself and Mary, the owners.

Full of people! It's a tiny place but we managed to fill it to the brim with no trouble at all.

One of the corner walls, with three fairly new pieces.

I had been saving this great shadowbox (found on the uninhabited, slightly dangerous third floor of Plaza Art Supply, the art store I worked at in Towson, Maryland, before I moved to Philly) and my little rockfish painting finally found a great frame and home in it - it fit perfectly (top right corner.) Here is a detail of the shadowbox with the painting inside of it: (Once again I apologize for the angle and quality...)

"Rockfish", inside it's new shadowbox home

Also new - the painting on the left, which I finally titled "Jim's Moon." It's a view from a photograph of the garage/street light across from my house. "Jim" is the guy who owns the garage. Thanks Alex, for a clever title. It's a pretty significant image, one that has been etched in my brain over the three and a half years I've lived at this spot. Before the wrought iron gate was replaced with one constructed from metal siding, we all used to sit out on the patio and this was part of our view. My dear friend Kezner (who married Alex and I, and used to live in my building) was one of the guests who came to the opening that night that was able to share this sentiment with me.


And then here is the main two walls of work, featuring
the largest (and most expensive) paintings I have on display.

Anyway, more pics from that night can be found on my facebook artist page, Art by Xtina.
Speaking of social media - I've found so far that having that page is actually a great way to quickly expose the world (and my fans) to new paintings, photographs (like from this event) and network in general. That's how I was able to hang my work at The Lola Bean - I was a fan of their business on facebook and when they put out a call to artists, I replied and they liked my stuff. Easy. Also very simple to create an event and invite tons of people at once. Great, super. What boggles my mind every single time I look at it, is the number thing.

And I understand, believe me I do, that these requests come in day and night, for events, suggestions on artists/musicians/businesses whatever to publicly "like", to be part of groups, random creepazoids wanting to be your "friend" - I get it. The numbers are what bugs me - I have 371 friends, and only 184 of them "like" my art page. Who are these 187 people and why don't they like my art? I'm sure it's nothing personal - however, since I run a few of these pages for various facets of my art and performance persona's, I make a point to support all my friends who also have them, be it for their business, performance group, or whatever. A total of 254 facebook users "like" my art page, which is great... and I'm going to need to hire that intern at some point to get that number a little higher. I'll be satisfied when I'm in the thousands like my talented friend Cannibalized. (Check her out if you get a chance, her photographs are PHENOMENAL. I want to own some of her prints -- soon -- as well as have her take my picture. Someday. Sigh.)

Thursday, March 3, 2011

The Lost Buddhas

The Scarab / acrylic on board / 9" x 12"
© 2010 (NFS - private collection)

Just in time for my show, a new painting that most of the world hasn't seen yet. (Unfortunately, most of the people reading this blog probably have. I keep hoping that my audience is bigger than I think it is. What better way to prove me wrong than leave a comment.) I painted this scarab for a friend of mine, who has temporarily loaned it back to me so I can hang it in my show at The Lola Bean, whose First Friday festivities are tomorrow evening.

The Green Buddha (set me free) / acrylic on canvas / 10" x 12"

© 2006 (NFS - private collection)

I recently acquired good scanned images of both paintings above. The Green Buddha is an old one - and Buddha #2. (Buddha #1 is on the other side of the country.) When I started painting them, I gave them to my friends as gifts. This one was the only one that was "mine" during that time period. It sat on my "altar", my token special-thing shelf, for years... along with an odd mixture of figurines, incense, dried plant material, and a pink Japanese parasol - not to mention a fair amount of shiny rocks and a giant hunk of deer antler.) Then it framed our bed on one side, the other side mirroring it with the buddha painting that belongs to my husband. The other ones, the lost buddhas - are scattered across the country and I don't have good pictures of any of them, really. Some of them are fine enough for posting on the internet, but for any printing purposes are kind of poor quality. Despite the small loss of being able to show and share with the rest of the world, I am kind of okay with that setup. They are each fairly small, very personal paintings that I gave with intent to the friends that received them. Not everyone I was good friends with got one (and yea, I still feel bad about that for a few) and some people got buddhas that I've either drifted away from since or are in flux situations and I haven't heard from them in awhile. I may never see them in person again. I may never have a picture of them to show anyone. The Lost Buddhas - they're intriguing... nothing but a flash of colors and a fading memory. And then when someone (if someone) finds them, they'll be treasures.

“Those who danced were thought to be quite insane by those who could not hear the music.”
-- Angela Monet

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Buy Local

My business cards are back from the printer! (I just realized, though I was trying to take a "nice" picture of the actual cards on white paper, avoiding the glare from the light... and it looks almost exactly like the digital file I posted of the designs in my last post. Um, guess that's a good thing?)

And the lovely Gina Ferrera has confirmed as my musical guest for this week's First Friday event. It should be totally rad - local artist, local musician, together at a local coffeshops First Friday art event. And a ridiculous amount of our friends live in this neighborhood, and could probably walk there. Hell yea.

Other than that, I'm taking part (as the model) in two photo shoots this weekend ; one for Le Pavot Rouge (a friends accessories and floral design company), and the other for The Penny Treats, my yet-to-be-fully-developed burlesque duo - no website yet. It's going to be a fun and feathery weekend.