Tuesday, May 7, 2013

It's raining, it's pouring...

... and life is anything but boring.

So far, things are going well in my little world. Better than expected. And though I still am hesitant to start screaming my accomplishments from the rooftops, it's time for an entry so I can share with the world all the exciting things that have been going down.

The shift has come -- no longer am I holed up at the desk in my studio, quietly making work that I'm never sure if anyone will see. Nope. I almost WISH I had time for that right now. Instead, I have a painting commission in progress,  5 pairs of feather earrings ready to sell (and one sold pair to a sort of VIP customer), just received the design fee to start designing a large scale public outdoor mural, and I can't tell you how many people (friends, acquaintances, random strangers) have been contacting me asking if I want to hang my work in restaurants, bars, and cafes all over the city. And even if I did have the time to organize a show in the next couple months, I wouldn't have very much work I still own to hang on the walls of whatever venue, because I've sold some of my more popular paintings recently and there is a noticeable gap in my personal collection (ie, personal artwork storage.)

I know it's not a terribly exciting photo... but I had to put one here. 
This boring little building will soon be the site of my first outdoor mural project!

I've been "discovered"

One of the most exciting things so far this past month was that I finally got my sh*t together and sent in images of my paintings and bio to Anna over at SacredGeometryArt.com. She contacted me recently, asking if I was interested in having my work displayed on their website, to which I replied YES, absolutely!

Check out my page over at Sacred Geometry Art.

Sacred Geometry Art is essentially an international artist's collective set up in web gallery format, featuring over two dozen artists from all over the world. From their homepage;

Displaying the artwork of artists who are inspired by and work with 
Sacred Geometry, Symbols, Science and Spirituality.
Artists experience a visionary world which informs their expression and the end result is their artwork.  The chosen media is simply the tool that artists feel can best represent their experiences and visions at a certain time in their lives.  The purpose of this website is to display work across any media including; digital art, design, sound and motion as well as painting, sculpture, drawing, photography, mixed media and jewellery.

What else? Oh, there is more. Much more.

The Workshop

I am thrilled to announce that I will be teaching an art-related workshop at this year's PEX Summer Festival in Darlington, MD. The Mandala: Sacred Art & Creative Expression will be open to anyone regardless of artistic level or experience. 

Here is the workshop description (the long one, that actually explains what the workshop will consist of -- I had to squish this into 15 words or less for the printed guide distributed at the gate during festival weekend):

The Mandala, the design of the universe --a spiritual tool for meditation...a therapeutic method of creative expression...or a thoughtful work of art? Through visual & verbal presentation and hands-on techniques, we will explore the history and meaning of the Mandala as a sacred art form. We will learn some of the basic principles of sacred geometry as well as discuss the general art & design elements that make up Mandala imagery (such as symmetry, color, and balance.) Then, we will examine how we can translate this ancient symbolism into a form of creative meditation through what we've learned. Students will create their own personal Mandala drawings, balancing the left and right hemispheres of the brain in harmony as we practice this ritualistic exercise in creative expression. 
This workshop is open to anyone regardless of artistic ability, but some interest/knowledge in art/sacred geometry is welcome and encouraged.

It is a Christmas miracle that I was able to get the paperwork for this workshop in on time. Some glitch in the system/my computer/internet connection failed to properly send my original application. Thankfully I had mentioned wanting to teach it to one of the workshop coordinators months ago, and when she noticed mine wasn't in the stack of applications (metaphorical stack, because this is all obviously digital) she contacted me and I of course had not saved half of the information properly and stayed up entirely too late one night trying to re-create the whole darn thing. But I did it, and I got it, and I will be teaching it. Hooray!

My Lovely Luxies

Other than all that, my troupe Lux Arati has been doing fantastic. Every group like that goes through changes, and the past year was a major one for us. We lost three of our performers that had been with us since Lux Arati's inception, taking the total group # down to a measly 3. However, there is no shortage of lady performers in the Philly area interested in joining. We invited four new girls to be a part of the group, all with different levels of experience and a variety of backgrounds in dance or performance. Thankfully, it has been going very well -- even though we still have a lot of work to do to get ready for the summer performance season, it has blown me away how fast some of these girls are picking up the choreography and taking to working with fire. Everyone is enthusiastic about being there, everyone is practicing at home, and everyone is bringing their own contributions to the group as a whole.

We had quite a successful performance this past week at the Rotunda in West Philly, the first performance we've done with the entire troupe present since the new girls joined. We had a ton of people come out to the event just to see us... we had people who found us online randomly, friends driving from hours away... I even had a regular customer at the Cafe and his 16 year old daughter (who works with me sometimes at the Cafe on the weekends, a dancer her whole life) come out just to see us perform. It was not without it's small hiccups, but for what it was... a 20 minute showcase of solos, duets, fire, non-fire, bellydance, burlesque, "crunking"...totally come together in a short amount of time and look pretty darn decent. And the audience LOVED US. Yes, things are good.

Check out the amazing shot below (photo courtesy of Reagan Lam) from our performance at the Rotunda, May 1st for Poet-tree en Motion Spring Performance Series. This is a move that Lux Arati has done before... from our first fire performance at PEX Summer Festival in 2011, with a whole different cast of performers. We call it "The Flower" --  we come into a circle and then fan out (literally, with our fire fans out, haha, bad pun...)  We rotate in a circle, with the highest point in the back and the lowest point facing the audience... creating the effect of a giant flaming flower! This particular move has it's roots in traditional Japanese fan dance choreography, something we almost always end up referencing since we use fire fans quite often with our group pieces. At any rate, the audience always goes nuts when we do this move. We hear a lot of "Oooohs" and "Ahhhs" and that sort of thing. 

The Show

Speaking of performing, I'm also working again on the team organizing this years Russian Roulette Variety Show for PEX Summer Festival 2013. I suppose at this point my role is something like co-creative director/co-producer, and along with my dear long-distance friend Jexi we are making it happen this year, rain or shine. We have two shows planned for the weekend (Thursday and Friday night) and proposed a rain date JUST IN CASE. We will NOT be rained out again!

Aside from co-directing and co-producing the show, I'll likely be performing in it with Lux Arati and I've taken on the role of graphic designer. Whatever we'd had from previous years was somewhat unfinished and needed to be updated. Below are what came of that assignment... a new logo and the rectangular graphic is for our Facebook page cover photo. Not to shabby, eh?

New logo for The Russian Roulette Variety Show for 2013

RRVS Facebook cover photo graphic

Besides being incredibly busy and finally feeling successful in my art and performance outlets... I've been able to handle most of the unnecessary drama that goes with my life (evidently) in stride, so far. In case you couldn't tell from my paintings, I am a serious perfectionist, and more often than not this curse-blessing can stress me the hell out. I pay the same amount of attention that I give my detailed, mathematical geometrically perfect paintings to the costumes and accessories I make, "rough" sketches for bigger plans, graphics and everything else. It can be really intense, and I am definitely my own worst critic and judge myself harsher than anyone else on a regular basis. After nearly giving myself a nervous breakdown this past weekend over some simple costumes (for our long-planned Lux Arati video shoot day) I decided that I have enough anxiety in my life, and if I can avoid putting extra stress on myself for things that just aren't worth it, I will try my hardest to do so. (For example -- instead of trying to make things when I really don't have time... I promised myself to try and find something I already have to use, or go buy something. It won't kill me to not have a completely new, original, beautiful costume piece for every single performance. It just won't.) 

On that note, I have loaded but not edited all kinds of pictures of some of the earrings I've recently made (sold 1 more pair to a Lux Arati member and friend of mine, thank goodness), painting commissions in progress, and other random things that need documenting. Going to try and post more entries, even if they are shorter in writing and just a lot of photos. People like photos. People hate reading. People... are in general dumb. Not that anyone reading this is dumb. If you get this far, I freaking love you, man. I do. Thank you for listening to my ridiculous rants and musings. It means the world. <3