#LoveMe Challenge: Day 21

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Something you are proud of.

Today? Right this moment I am proud of this:
beading

To be more specific, I haven’t been creative (outside of cooking or doing these posts) in weeks. To be clear, I just haven’t put any ideas in motion. This was the first one that I made time for. And so far, so good.

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#LoveMe Challenge: Day 9

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Share something beautiful.

art wall

clockwise from upper left: artwork by Amarah, modified estate sale find from Eric Pisani, painting by Salam El Zaatari, and painting by Xavier Evans

worship altar

Not one, but two Cthulhu figures on my altar..

books

My witchy books, handmade runes, tarot cards, craft books, candles, etc…

Also these guys…

Renfield and Pork

The love that dare not speak its name.

Renfield and Pork

They almost make a little heart…

Renfield and Pork

Glamour Shots

How could you not be in love with those faces?

I (Finally) Did It!

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I finally finished that goddamned basket.

Our story begins in high school, really. That’s where I learned this basket weaving technique. It’s essentially a coiled basket, but it’s made by attaching the new layer to the old by looping back onto itself every so often. Yes, I’m horrible at actual explanations. Just like I’m pretty shit at directions.

This lady seems to have some good tutorials, though I couldn’t get any sound on the first one for starting it, but you can get the drift from watching it. Once you understand the basic premise, you can do all kinds of stuff. You need a sturdy base to wrap around, I’ve used rope or thick twine, and yarn (or the likes – I’ve also used hemp for a larger sturdier project). I made a small basket like this:

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I also made a mat to go underneath the litter box that was just a large flat coil, so it doesn’t even have to be a “basket”. I guess kids learn this stuff in grade school and make pot holders, from my understanding. But I made a fancy pants basket that took far too long. It started somewhere around December 2008/January 2009. I wanted a rectangular shape, instead of a circle. So this is what the bottom ended up looking like:

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You can see I coiled around for a few rounds, then I went back and forth to get the shape I wanted. Then I started building up the sides.

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It’s hard to remember back that far, but I think I got the yarn on sale, intending to knit. And then discovered I’m not really awesome, currently, at knitting. I don’t like to waste things. Who does? So I “re-purposed” the yarn into this project. I like the color scheme, though. Then as I went up, I added some wooden beads. I just looped through with the yarn while I was looping around the twine.

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There’s a pretty big time gap here. After getting all the way up to that large round bead on the last coils towards the top, I began trying to think how I wanted to affix a handle or strap. I was going to create one out of similar colored embroidery floss, but it was taking forever. Eventually this project sat in my closet for years, so near completion, yet so far… It would make eventual to-do lists, but never the priority. Until I lost my job, then I pulled it out and decided to just make a lid and screw the handle.

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I did the lid as almost a reverse of the bottom. The base you start from the center and work outward. For the lid, I decided to work from the outside in to the the shape I wanted.

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Then, finally it was done. I don’t know where it’s going to go, or what purpose it serves. I don’t think I could even legitimately “sell” it, because it took me 5 years to make and I think the lid is kind of wonky. But I’m glad I finished something, anything, to feel like this “time off” wasn’t a waste of life. Next? Maybe the quilt of doom? Oh boys and girls, the future is unwritten.

Compliments and Criticism

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(Or, “The Artist As A Starving Little Child”)

I think about this a lot. And by “a lot”, I really mean frequently. Performing and creating seem to be the only disciplines where you need kudos to carry on. I guess “need” is a strong word. You could get up there and sing an operatic solo and then dance your heart out, hear crickets, and continue onward with your life. But the goal is, in some way, to please and receive praise. You don’t really catch a CPA standing there after a dashing tax deduction waiting for the slow clap to begin… Not that all humans, as fairly basic animals, don’t want to be appreciated, but seems that the artist (and for the purposes of our discussion all singers, dancers, actors, performers, musicians, and makers of things will be called artists) is the eternal inner child standing up and saying “Look what I can do!”

Not all of us had crappy childhoods. Some artists come from loving homes with 2 supportive parents, and no history of abuse or neglect to speak of. So I cannot say definitively that it’s “Daddy Issues” that make us seek praise. Some artists are compelled by a force inside to speak, at all costs. I know that for myself, a life without a creative outlet is no life I want to live. I have to make things. I have an opinion to express. When I see materials, I start to think about how they go together and what they could become. 

But at the end of the day, you’d like someone to want to have your artwork (most times), or come to your play, or read your book. You are not doing this as a solo, masturbatory, experience. I want you to see what I have created. Is it that I want you to understand me? Is it that I want you to have the same thoughts and feelings that I do at a given time? Sometimes, honestly, I just want to feel like it’s worth it. I guess for the working artists, the ones that get paid for the services, or see more direct results, maybe this isn’t so much of a gaping maw. I don’t get paid. Most of anything that I’ve made that has left my hands and ended up in another’s has been a gift. Recently, I can say I’ve sold a little bit of what I’ve made, but it won’t replace my day job any time soon. I want to feel appreciated. 

Speaking solely for myself, I know that my insecurities are the Sarlacc Pit waiting to devour me. I need to be told I’m pretty, so to speak. I see so many amazing, talented people. People that can paint photo realistic portraits. People with amazing, brilliant minds that come up with incredible concepts that blow me away. I never see myself in that league. I have photography that’s won awards, I’ve won places in shows. I am worthwhile, and I have to remind myself of that constantly. I have to tell myself that the inner voice is comparing apples to oranges, and the only thing I need to be concerned with is doing the best possible work I can do on any project at any given time. No one else can create what comes from my hands. 

The other side of this coin is the criticism. Now, I don’t want anyone to hear their voice in any of the words I’m going to say, so please try to remember that this is a generalization. I do remember compliments. I’ve taken certain ones to heart. But I also remember the criticism. Let’s also preface this by saying it’s healthy. No one is done growing and learning. You have to put on your big girl/boy/third-or-non gender pants and deal with it. Sometimes you have to look for it. If you never edited anything, ever, a lot of what you would produce would effectively be pretty shitty. But if you are a person with already admittedly pretty abysmal self esteem, that shit can spiral around your head and make you uncertain of every decision. And it can’t. Because those motherfucking decisions need to be fucking made, goddamn it. You can’t walk away from everything. There is no satisfaction, and no growth, from abandoning every attempt. It’s like always having sex, and never, ever having an orgasm, for either partner. Just a constant state of foreplay. I don’t know about you, but that’s not how I want to live, either. 

Even though it can feel like the whole process is a childish endeavor, I have to subscribe to the belief that there is a greater purpose to art. It has saved lives and moved nations. Its motivations are vast and elusive. Dissecting the Muse is probably a bad idea. Understanding yourself, and your purpose, can be helpful; but you should try not to be so unkind as to reduce the whole of your drive to a dysfunction. I hope to have a long, productive future of making things that may or may not sell, may or may not be appreciated, and may or may not be loved by anyone. Though I’ll still say, every girl wants to be told she’s pretty. 

Creating a Muse

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Hi! Remember me? I used to try to write a blog post every week. It’s been over a month. There were ups and downs along the way, but I think it might be a good time to get back on course.

For my birthday I received a mask from my housemate. It’s blue and gold and has bat wings on the side. Shortly after, I got this idea in my head for a photo shoot with it. I wanted to portray a kind of wild, muse like character. The Reveal the Real event was proving to be a success, and it was encouraging. I was also inspired by the elaborate make up and design of Kirsty Mitchell, who takes up to 6 months to create a photo, and fabricates most of the elaborate costumes and make up on her models:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2145760/Wonderland-Kirsty-Mitchell-heart-breakingly-beautiful-photographic-series-memory-extraordinary-life.html

And Ryan Burke, who spends up to 8 hours creating these looks on himself, with no end game in mind, and they are fantastic:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2513315/Ryan-Burkes-self-portrait-series-reveals-photographers-elaborate-party-looks.html

I’m nowhere close to those levels, but I had some ideas and some time and I did a practice run:

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Please excuse the fact that these are all cell phone “selfies” in my bedroom….

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For the lips I used 3 different products. First I used Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetic’s Lip Tar with a lip brush, then I lined it with Costume Maker’s black (with a brush again), and then I added some silver glitter.

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After I did everything else, I went back and cleaned up the lip line with concealer, which is a trick I read about for doing red lips, but I figured I could use it here.

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I think everyone who wears make up love the eye products. I used primer, 4 different eye shadows, 2 eye liners, blue mascara, brow pencil, and brow gel.

After you apply the primer, I usually apply the mascara so the primer can dry, and then the first coat of mascara (if you are going to do multiple coats) can dry while you apply shadow. I used a gold yellow on the outer upper lid under the brow bone, a vanilla yellow across the brow, a shimmery turquoise across the lid, and a white highlight inside the eye by the nose. I wet the brush to get a more solid coverage. There’s a gold glitter eyeliner on the upper and lower lash line, and a blue eye liner above the lower lashes. Be careful, even glitter eyeliner specifically for your eyes can be an irritant, as I discovered. I always forget, until I use it again the next time and I like it too much to throw it away.

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I tried to curl my hair, but I didn’t want to add product because I had just washed my hair in the morning and didn’t want to have to wash it again. So the curls just laughed at me and fell flat. Maybe next time I’ll crimp and back comb it, or something. I also tried to do highlighting and shading on my cheekbones and my nose, but I don’t think it really worked. At the last minute, I decided to use some of the gold eye shadow I have on my forehead to blend it in a little to the mask.

The “toga”.. Well that, kids, is just a bed sheet. I used a gold belt to give it a waist and decorated it with a crescent moon belt buckle I’ve had from a local arts festival years ago. I went the red shoes for a pop of color and something fun.

I’m hoping to do more stuff like this. I was reading about adding color to a moisturizer, and I’m wondering if I can kind of do a face paint look…. Well, we’ll just see what I can come up with.

Also today stumbled upon the “neo-dada” movement of Fluxus:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fluxus

And I’ll even excuse it having Yoko Ono among its ranks. I still got some ideas. 🙂

More to come, hope you’ll keep reading.

Shameless Self Promotion

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So I’ve been yapping about it for months now, but the week is finally at hand. This Saturday will be my first time to put my big girl pants on, sit at a table, and suffer the humility of trying to actively sell something I made.

The Pittsburgh Art Car Show will be on Saturday, September 28, 2013 on Penn and Winebiddle. It’s organized by Nina Gibbs and Jason Sauer, owners of Most Wanted Art Gallery, and has a ton of local sponsors.

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There will also be a pin up contest. You bitches better realize how lucky you are that this sexy beast is working a table, and therefore won’t be signing up. Heh. But I expect to see the rest of you looking sexy on some hot rod, or the likes.

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And now that I’ve pimped the show, I will pimp out the stuff I have for made to sell so far. I had hoped to make some jewelry to sell, as well, but I don’t think that’s going to pan out this time. Perhaps next time. All proceeds from this attempt to sell shit go either to a new tattoo, or to take a vacation not entirely based on credit that I can’t actually afford. Thank you for taking the time to look. What ever doesn’t sell at the show, I’m thinking will go up on my Etsy store.

I’m going to try to sell this recycled box for $20.

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These boxes are going for $10 each.

Tea and Roses Box:

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Type Box

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Zombie Box #1:

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Zombie Box #2:

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I have 3 more boxes that need finishing touches, and one yet to be “touched” that need to get done by Saturday… gulp.

I’ve also managed to get 32 cards made. I’m intending to sell them for $2 each, market willing. These photos are from the first batch.

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Updates (new photos and “products”) can be found here as we get closer to “go time”.

https://www.facebook.com/victoria.maize/media_set?set=a.10151679557927817.1073741833.617352816&type=1

(Someone let me know if that link doesn’t work, okay?)

Alright, flagrant money whoring aside, I hope you like the stuff I made and it would be really cool to see anyone who comes out.  I’ll be hanging out with my awesome mother, who is helping me set up and hock my wares. I’m sure I’ll be tweeting and posting statuses during the show to badger anyone and everyone into coming to see me. Come say hello, if you can. I’ll post a recap next week, so be looking out for that!