Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Wonder Woman Body paint for Domestic Violence!

8x12 Photo with original ink drawing by my DH in an auction to benefit Domestic Violence shelters and crisis line.
Body paint & photography- RoByn Thompson
Ink - James W. Fry 3.0
Penciller on Batman Adventures, XMen Unlimited, Slapstick, Liberty Project, Star Trek, Sonic the Hedgehog

LUST OBJECT Visionaire magazine: paper-engineered issue

I want to play with paper engineering. Back in the day, I made my Sweetie a Valentines Day card featuring Elvis with swivel action hips.


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via Boing Boing by David Pescovitz on 9/29/09

Visionoairrr-1 Gurskyyyyy-1
Issue #55 of ultradesigned fashion/art/culture magazine is a gorgeous slipcased collection of pop-up designed by the likes of Andreas Gursky, Steven Meisel, Sophie Calle, and engineered by Bruce Foster. As Mark F said, watching the lovely promotional video on the Visionaire site is probably nearly as satisfying as actually owning a copy of the issue, which sells for $250. Visionaire: Surprise (Thanks, Gareth Branwyn!)


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Tuesday, September 29, 2009

A quick plug for my photography mentor, Ricardo Muniz
I love what Ricardo does with natural light. I found it invaluable to have a mentor when I was starting photography. Find someone whose work you like and whose ethics you respect.
Hi Baby!

Another image from my NYC Fire Escape series

My Artist's Statement

I’ve been face and body painting for many years; I was instantly seduced by the possibilities of the transformations and the colors. After working with several photographers, I needed to learn their craft to give voice to my own visions in a way that was less ephemeral than the body painting alone. Photography to transform the body painting, not just record it. Shooting my work is a relatively new experience for me. I love being able to take the process from an idea to a tangible photograph. I’ve been blessed to have some great mentors for photography and am feeling real growth in my abilities.

The magic and the transformation of the body paint process transfix me. Very often my models tell me that they don’t recognize themselves or remark on how beautiful I made them. I’m enchanted by the ability we have to reinvent ourselves, the changes that happen when we don a disguise or become other than our normal self. I like to take what is inside and make it visible. I want to make the unseen other-self tangible. I cannot do what I do without the model providing the canvas; it is very much a collaborative process. Respect is a key component of my work: if the model doesn’t feel respected and safe, they aren’t going to respond in front of the camera the way that I need them to. Frequently I ask a model what his or her passion is so I can have a theme that will fit them. Often an idea will have to be reworked because of restraints imposed by the model, time, and external forces. I love that there is an aspect of spontaneity and having to think on one’s feet to what I do.

I love spirals and swirls, how they caress the curves of the model. I like mystery in an image, uncertainty about what you are seeing. I have a need for an intensity of color. The more saturated the better. I can’t have a favorite color. That would be like asking a mother to choose her favorite child. I remain fascinated by the power of color to evoke an emotional response. I love my brushes. When the point of the brush makes contact with the skin is when things happen. It’s that moment of creation.

For me the process of creation process is timeless. Timeless as in nothing else seems to exist for me while I’m painting and shooting as well as timeless in that since prehistory, people have been painting one another.

I hope for people to have a reaction to my work, be unsure, feel a connection to something larger and feel the magic of the transformation.

This helped me get unstuck about writing my artist's statement

How to write an artist statement
Writing Your Artist StatementRecommended ReadingSample Artist Statement

Your artist's statement can be a moving testament to your creativity and integrity. The expression of this commitment will vary, but the effectiveness of your artist's statement stems from the authority with which you write it.

Our words "author" and "authority" come from the Latin root "augere," which means "to increase, to create, to promote." This implies that the notions of creation and promotion are compatible! The more I muse on the meaning of working from my authority, of being the author of my work and of my conduct, the more I understand that authentic communication about my work is a powerful tool for creative growth as well as for business success.

The exercises in this section will get you centered and in touch with your own authority. When I write promotional materials for artists (or any kind of business) I always have the principal people involved do these exercises first. I use the words and phrases they generate to compose compelling artist's statements on their behalf. This way their creative authority is incorporated in the finished product.

Think of your artist's statement as a nourishing stew. The rich flavors and inviting aroma will feed your spirit and summon wonderful people to your table. You'll want to make sure your stew is made from the freshest, finest ingredients and that it has been simmered and seasoned with care. Do this, and you will be proud to share your creative vision – your authority – with others.


You'll need pencil and paper, a dictionary, and a thesaurus.

STEP ONE: Assemble the Ingredients.

1. Take five minutes and think about why you do what you do. How did you get into this work? How do you feel when work is going well? What are your favorite things about your work? Jot down short phrases that capture your thoughts. Don't worry about making sense or connections. The more you stir up at this point, the richer the stew.

2. Make a list of words and phrases that communicate your feelings about your work and your values. Include words you like, words that make you feel good, words that communicate your values or fascinations. Be loose. Be happy. Be real. Think of these as potential seasonings for your stew. You don't have to choose which ones to use just yet, so get them all out of the cupboard.

3. Answer these questions as simply as you can. Your answers are the meat and potatoes of your stew. Let them be raw and uncut for now.

  1. What is your favorite tool? Why?
  2. What is your favorite material? Why?
  3. What do you like best about what you do?
  4. What do you mean when you say that a piece has turned out really well?
  5. What patterns emerge in your work? Is there a pattern in the way you select materials? In the way you use color, texture or light?
  6. What do you do differently from the way you were taught? Why?
  7. What is your favorite color? List three qualities of the color. Consider that these qualities apply to your work.

4. Look at your word list. Add new words suggested by your answers to the questions above.

5. Choose two key words from your word list. They can be related or entirely different. Look them up in a dictionary. Read all the definitions listed for your words. Copy the definitions, thinking about what notions they have in common. Look your words up in a Thesaurus. Read the entries related to your words. Are there any new words that should be added to your word list?

6. Write five sentences that tell the truth about your connection to your work. If you are stuck, start by filling in the blanks below.

When I work with__________ I am reminded that___________.

I begin a piece by______________.

I know a piece is done when__________________.

When my work is going well, I am filled with a sense of _____________.

When people see my work, I'd like them to ________________.

STEP TWO: Filling the Pot.

Write a three paragraph artist's statement. Keep your sentences authentic and direct. Use the present tense ("I am," not "I was," "I do," not "I did.") Be brave: say nice things about yourself. If you find that you falter, write three paragraphs about an artist whose work you admire. Then write about yourself as though you were an admiring colleague. As a rule, your artist's statement should be written in the first person. Refer to yourself with the pronouns "I, me, my." If this blocks you, write in the third person, then go back and change the pronouns as needed when you get to Step Four. Use the suggestions below to structure your statement. Write three to five sentences per paragraph.

First paragraph. Begin with a simple statement of why you do the work you do. Support that statement, telling the reader more about your goals and aspirations.

Second paragraph. Tell the reader how you make decisions in the course of your work. How and why do you select materials, techniques, themes? Keep it simple and tell the truth.

Third paragraph. Tell the reader a little more about your current work. How it grew out of prior work or life experiences. What are you exploring, attempting, challenging by doing this work.

STEP THREE: Simmering the Stew.

Your artist's statement is a piece of very personal writing. Let it simmer overnight before your reread it. This incubation period will help give you the detachment necessary to polish the writing without violating your sense of integrity and safety. While your statement simmers, let your mind wander over the ingredients you assembled in Step One. Allow yourself to experience the truth of your creative experience. Marvel at the wealth of seasonings and abundance of vegetables you have at your disposal. Enjoy the realization that your work is grounded in real values and experience. If you think of things you might have left out of your statement, jot them down, but leave the statement alone.

STEP FOUR: Taste and Correct the Seasonings.

Read your statement out loud. Listen to the way the sounds and rhythms seem to invite pauses. Notice places where you'd like the sound or rhythm to be different. Experiment with sounding out the beats of words that seem to be missing until they come to mind. Do this several times until you have a sense of the musical potential of your statement. As you read your statement, some phrases will ring true and others false. Think about the ones that aren't on the mark and find the true statement lurking behind the false one. You may find that the truth is a simpler statement than the one you made. Or your internal censors may have kept you from making a wholehearted statement of your truth lest it sound self-important. Risk puffing yourself up as long as your claims are in line with your goals and values.

Keep reading and revising your statement until you hear a musical, simple, authentic voice that is making clear and honest statements about your work. Refer to your word list and other Step One exercises as needed. By now your taste buds are saturated. You need a second opinion. Choose a trusted friend or professional to read your statement. Make it clear that you are satisfied with the ingredients on the whole, but you'd like an opinion as to seasoning. In other words, you alone are the authority for what is true about your work, but you'd like feedback on clarity, tone, and such technical matters as spelling and punctuation. Once you've incorporated such suggestions as make sense to you, make a crisp, clear original of your artist's statement. Sign and date it. Make lots of copies, you will have lots of people to serve it to!

STEP FIVE: Summon the Guests.

There's little point in concocting a fabulous stew if you don't invite anyone to dinner. Every time you use your artist's statement you extend your circle of influence and build new branches of the support network for making, showing and selling your work. Enclose a copy of your artist's statement whenever you send a press release, letter of interest to a gallery or store, or contact a collector. Send it to show promoters and curators. Enclose a copy with shipments of your work so it can be displayed wherever your work is exhibited. The rest of this manual will suggest many opportunities for using your artist's statement to express your truth and support your presentations.

STEP SIX: File Your Recipe!

Save all the notes and drafts that you've made. You'll want to revise and update your artist's statement from time to time to reflect changes in your work.

Still, it is likely that many of the underlying expressions of your authority will remain the same. Having access to the "recipe" for your original statement will help you generate better revisions and will give you a sense of creative continuity. Whenever you need copy (for announcements, packaging, exhibit catalogues, etc.) return to your warm-up exercises. The words and phrases there will help you write openly and honestly about your work. And repeating the exercises will help you chart new creative territory.

* * *

Molly Gordon, Master Certified Coach

Does the need to market your work steal joy from your creativity?

Are you looking for a way to promote yourself without selling out?

"Molly hits the nail on the head every time with her newsletter. As an artist, there is always struggle between the making of work and the selling/marketing of product. Molly Gordon hangs it out there for all to see and follow by example. She is a teacher of authenticity, knowing yourself, feeding your business and thriving as an entrepreneur. She is a North Star in my humble opinion. I HIGHLY recommend and encourage everyone to sign up for her newsletter and check out all she has to offer on her many links."
Nicole Strasburg, Artist, Santa Barbara, CA

Learn how marketing can be a creative and transformative process, part of (instead of competing with) your work -

Click here to subscribe to Molly's Authentic Promotion Ezine! | Phone: 360.697.7022 | Fax: 206.201.5020

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Molly Gordon, MCC, is a leading figure in business coaching, writer, workshop leader, frequent presenter at live and virtual events worldwide, and an acknowledged expert on niche marketing. Join 12,000 readers of her Authentic Promotion® ezine, an invaluable self promotion and small business marketing resource, to grow your strong business while you feed your soul.

Monday, September 28, 2009

15 Open Source Tools For Art & Design Students

Good freeware resources if you don't want to make major investments in software.


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via Online College Tips - Online Colleges by Site Administrator on 1/28/09


So, you're set to wow the world with your visual design skills. But after you've paid for your college classes and books, there's not much left over for software – unless you sacrifice your *ahem* study sessions at The Keg. Well no need to sacrifice. There's a ton of free and Open Source software that you can use for art and design, and much of it rivals paid software. Here is a suggested tool kit. Where possible, we've tried to suggest multi-platform (Mac, Windows, Linux) apps. Apps are arranged into 15 categories.

1. 2D vector. Adobe Illustrator might be nice but it's also expensive. Inkscape offers many of the same features, plus a few extras. If you simply need something to draw diagrams with, consider the web-based Gliffy.

2. 2D raster. Photoshop and its cousins might rule the paid territory for graphics editors, though the free, Open Source  GIMP does quite well itself, thank you very much. While it might be a bit awkward in interface if you're used to Photoshop, regular use will cure you of that. If you still miss the Photoshop interface, try the GIMPshop modification. 3. 3D vector. Often overlooked in this category is POV-Ray, a "ray tracing" program that is capable of producing amazing photorealstic scenes. There are also a number of advanced 3D modelling plugins for POV-Ray, as well as some modified versions released by third parties under different application names.


Bryce (MS Windows), which is usually a paid option, is sometimes released for free online in older versions. If POV-Ray's code-driven interface isn't your thing, you'll enjoy Bryce's visual interface. Get Bryce 5.5 at 4. Collaboration. Got a project that you have to collaborate on with one or more fellow students? Campfire (free and paid versions) lets you have online meetings. In addition to Instant Messaging, you can share images, code and other files in real-time and discuss them. Another option, using a different paradigm, is Scriblink, which is a "digital whiteboard." It offers in-screen chat and VoIP conferencing in the web application itself, as well as file transfer. 5. Design brainstorming. Whether you collaborate with teammates or work on your own, brainstorming designs or sketch ideas gives produces options without stress. Mind mapping applications are ideal for brainstorming, and you can even attach image snaps to map nodes for comparison. Mind mapping apps come in two flavors, desktop and web-based, and come in free and paid versions. Top of the line in the free category are FreeMind, XMind and basic versions of, Mindomo, and Mindmeister, amonst others. (The latter two have free and paid versions.) 6. Modeling and animation. Both POV-Ray and Bryce, listed above, have animation features, but Blender is simply designed for 3D animation. Alternatively, DAZ 3D, who offer the aforementioned Bryce, also offer the free DAZ Studio, which is more comparable to Blender. DAZ Studio integrates well with Poser, for producing animated human models. 7. CSS templates and blog themes. A number of the most popular blogging themes (particularly for WordPress) are inspired by free CSS templates available at Open Source Web Design, Open Web Design, and Open Design Community, amongst others. Their license use allows you to tweak templates found there and share with others, so you can create blog themes out of the CSS templates as well. 8. Web page layout and design tools. There are far too many apps in this broad category, but here are a couple.

  • Web page grid framework libraries. It's fine to use CSS templates, but sometimes you need a unique page design. Save yourself some design time using one of the several "grid framework" options, including Blueprint and it's spawn 960.
  • NVU. NVU is a free, multi-OS web page layout/ design environment that's comparable to FrontPage and Dreamweaver.

9. Web page scripting tools. Page design is great, but if you need a website that does more than look pretty, you'll want to implement various types of user interactivity. One of the most powerful yet time-saving ways to do this is to use a JavaScript library such as jQuery, Prototype or Also check the Javascript Libraries website for a list of other options. 10. Photo hosting/ sharing. There are probably dozens of photo/ image hosting and sharing sites available. While Photobucket is probably one of the most popular, Flickr arguably has more of a community base and more social features. Both are free, though Flickr does offer a pro version. 11. Presentations. Do you have a project presentation in MS PowerPoint or similar form? If you want to share online, SlideShare is one of several options. It even allows for clickable hyperlinks from within the embedded player, so you can even turn your presentation content into lessons. 12. Video tools. If you get the desire to produce a screencast video demonstrating some of your art or design techniques, look to Camstudio, which is an entirely free, Open Source alternative to the powerful but relatively expensive TechSmith Camtasia Studio. Note that TechSmith does have the free JingProject, which combines a desktop app with online storage. For additional free (and paid) screencasting options, please see Mashable, Just Skins, Digital Inspiration, Wikipedia, and Coding Horror. 13. Video sharing sites. Once you've produced your screencasts or design reels, you're going to need somewhere to host them. While YouTube does in a pinch and is a popular site, SplashCast offers an arguably superior interface and embeddable media player. If you do want to take advantage of multiple video sharing sites, try TubeMogul for simultaneous upload. 14. Web browser. Today's design and art students probably can't get through college without being online, even just for research. A good browser with extra features goes a long way. If you're designing web logos or pages, you'll also to have the option of adding whatever plugins will help you in your work. Mozilla Firefox. Not only is Firefox one of the most popular web browsers, it has hundreds of addons (plugins) – many of which are suitable for web design and development. Some Firefox addons of interest:

  • MeasureIt. For web page design, to measure distances/ areas in pixels.
  • Web Developer. A whole suite of tools for web page development, but also handy for page design.

Google Chrome is being touted as an alternative to Mozilla Firefox, though it has a ways to go have all the power of the latter. 15. Web publishing. Do you need to publish your portfolio online, or want to show off your content with others? There are at least a half-dozen website/ blog publishing options, if not more. Here are two of the most popular, for self-hosted blogs and websites.

  • WordPress. WordPress isn't just for blogs. It can be used as a low-end CMS (Content Management System), and with a few plugins or some custom tweaking, it can make for a great online gallery or portfolio for your visual work.
  • Drupal. Drupal is in many ways more powerful than WordPress, but installing and configuring it might require a bit more technical expertise than for WordPress. If it's worth it to you, it has "online community" features out of the box, whereas WP requires using additional software and plugins, particularly WordPress Multi-User and BuddyPress, combined, or one of the various online forum apps (e.g., BBPress or Vanilla).


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From my NYC fire escape series

Sometimes the fire escapes are obvious. Sometimes not.

Art Career by the Numbers

Thought that Barney Davey had an interesting perspective on measurements of success for artists. Be sure to check out his blog.


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via Art Print Issues by Barney Davey by Barney Davey on 9/28/09


Recently, I needed to revisit a guest blog I wrote for titled, Art vs. Marketing - Making Hazel Dooney Cringe. Rereading the post reminded me it mentions Andy Warhol's "Do It Yourself (Seascape)."  It is an example of how many believe his best work was expressed in the form of clever jokes on high art.

Warhol is oft-quoted for his pithy and spot-on sayings regarding the art business. Obviously, he had no problem connecting business and art. 

In my most recent guest post, titled Welcome to the Wilderness, I comment that an art career can be quantified.  While such a thought may be anathema to some artists, I'm sure Andy Warhol would not have been one of them.

Visual art careers can be successful with fewer patrons than other arts

One of the points regarding quantifying an art career in my recent post was, of all the arts, visual artists require the fewest patrons to enjoy a successful career. For the most part, authors, playwrights, actors, musicians and performers require large numbers of paying customers to make a successful career. Not so for visual artists. There are obvious reasons, such as differing consumption rates and price points between art forms. As an example, for the price of original works and higher priced prints, one can buy opera season tickets, boxed sets of The Beatles and Bob Dylan, or see lots of films, et cetera. 

By comparison, a successful visual artist arguably may only need a thousand, or fewer, consumers to purchase their art in the trajectory of their career. Of course, those who end up in the mass market with posters may end up with tens of thousands of buyers of their art. Posters and open edition prints aside, by most standards, a visual artist who gains 1000 collectors would be considered very successful.

What is your projected body of work?

I speculated in my piece on that a prolific artist might make 100 paintings a year, which over a 30-year span would create a 3000-piece body of work. You naturally would adjust the numbers to your situation. Regardless, you can ask and answer these questions. What would it take to sell all my work? How many collectors? How many shows? How many galleries? If you have been making and selling art for a while, you have the data to plug in a spreadsheet. The raw results will you a good indication of how your current marketing stands up.

You can use such quantified information to help create a marketing plan for improving your sales. It will help you create "What If" scenarios. If a gallery gets 50% and your additional costs to ship and work it are say 5%, you net 45%. If you sell direct, (I recommend to never cut your direct sales prices. Doing so has nasty implications on your work's value and your worth to a gallery.) your net is 100% less your marketing costs. A figure of 25% - 30% for marketing on average is conservatively reasonable, as it could easily be much higher.

Although you may have symbiotic relationships with galleries, dealers and designers, you are still looking out for number one. As such, you need to get a finger on what is working regarding how you get your art to market. The question you ask is can my galleries move my inventory faster than I can? Or, should I go it alone and sell direct through shows, Web sites and alternative spaces?  You have, or will gain through experience and exposure, enough information to guide your decision.

You can turn raw numbers into actionable plans

The above is just one example of how you can think through what works best for you. Here is another one. I worked in gallery in Scottsdale that, while open to the public, primarily catered to the design trade. Its best artist was a very pragmatic fellow. His work was impeccable and he was very productive. In his 60s, he still painted with a passion. He told me his work had sold for 3-5 times greater prices than ours in higher end galleries. He wasn't in them any longer because he had found our gallery would pay in full on delivery. He was happy to trade $4000 - $5000 far in the future dollars now for $900 today. Because his work was so good and priced so right, it never stayed on the floor for long.

Would such a deal work for you? It doesn't matter. What is important is this artist found a way to work steadily and be paid regularly. He was not worried about his legacy. He figured it would be what it would be and decided after he was gone. He had run his own numbers and found this distribution system suited him. For others who paint slower, or whose work is less accessible, this may not make sense. But, there in the numbers somewhere is a way for any artist to quantify their career in ways that can help them make smart informed decisions about how to enjoy a successful calling as an artist.

Artists — Get Recognized, Exhibited, and PAID what you deserve!
Check out the smARTist® Telesummit — Barney Davey will be presenting at the best art career conference online or off!


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Sunday, September 27, 2009

great tutorials on drawing illustrations and cartoon art has some great tutorials on drawing illustrations and cartoon art.

Painting with water?!
shows an incredible painting with water technique that I'm very curious about. Emmanuel Guibert has done a graphic novel using the technique. I've not seen this before. Do you know how it's done?

I'm using the internet as my mfa program.

The economy tanked. I didn't get accepted into the cheap/local mfa program. Going the autodidact route.
Things I'm interested in learning about include computer graphics (specifically Photoshop & Illustrator), digital photography, painting (esp. water color & sumi).
I spend too much time with Googlereader but I find some great stuff so I will be sharing.