Thursday, February 24, 2011

Almost TGIF in the Studio

OMG, what a week! I've been trying to squeeze studio time in-between volunteering at school, shuttling kids to and from playdates and activities, dealing with yet another snow delay, and having the remaining hours sucked into the black hole of Daily Life. And so, the battle continues between Art Mom and Daily Mom. It's anyone's guess who's winning at this point.

However, here's what I've been able to accomplish in a series of 15-minute increments in the studio this week. All will be available at Art Carnage III on Saturday night. Enjoy!

Countdown, graffiti fusion collage on cardboard

Original graffiti dogtag pendants. I may add affirmations to the reverse sides.

Looming, graffiti fusion collage painting on canvas

Also, I'm happy to report that the first in the Graffiti Reef series -- In the Chillout Lounge -- was recently featured in the Hip Hop Hoooray! Treasury by Marshall Couture (Calmplex) on Etsy. Thanks, Calmplex!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Handmade Business Card Tutorial

Handmade business cards are a great way to put your art into the hands of potential buyers. They're relatively easy to make, totally customizable, and worth the effort. Although I'd used traditional business cards before, they really didn't communicate graffiti fusion, at least the way I wanted them to. If people ask what kind of art I do, usually their next question is, What's graffiti fusion? I can describe it, but the better option is showing them an example.

So a few months back, while doing an exercise for Traci Bautista's Discovering Y.O.U. Art Marketing Course, I decided to play around in the studio and make my own with materials on hand.

For this batch of business cards, I first made layered graffiti backgrounds on manila folder. It's one of my favorite materials to paint on, and provided a large surface area for this project. These backgrounds were still in work at the time this photo was taken.

On the reverse side of the manila folder, I glued a transparency I'd painted previously, then added accents with colored tape. This shot shows both sides of the folder. Inspired by something I'd seen around my neighborhood, I bought some "Hello" labels and found a free urban font online, then printed out my business information onto the labels.

Front and reverse of finished cards. Although they're slightly bigger than traditional business cards, each one is a unique piece of art.

I also experimented with different textural backgrounds. This photo shows the labels on dyed paper towels, which were adhered to the manila folder.

For this batch, I stuck labels on a collage of Citrasolv-treated paper and dyed paper towels, backed with manila folder.

If you're looking for a different option than using original backgrounds for your business cards, the following instructions may be a bit quicker.

It's helpful to take digital photos of both your finished work and works in progress. Make photocopies of your work at the copy store. You can then use them for a variety of projects. For this batch of handmade business cards, I adhered a photocopy of my original work with Aleene's Collage Pauge Instant Decoupage to cardstock.

On the reverse, I adhered a black-and-white copy of some original work, and then collaged color copies over it for contrast.

Use colored pencils to highlight a few areas.

Add the labels and maybe a few embellishments...

Then cut them out.

Try making your business cards on a variety of surfaces, incorporating different looks and textures. The idea is to have fun communicating who you are as an artist through the cards. Since making these, I've also designed other reversible business cards that double as ACEOs, using a deck of playing cards. They're just big enough for the Hello label on the front and an original background or photocopy of my original work on the back. Look for these ACEO business cards in The Soundry's Baddie Bags, for the first 25 people to enter Art Carnage this Saturday night.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Sneak Peek -- Graffiti Reef


While out walking the dog yesterday and enjoying the 70-degree weather, I was thinking that maybe the groundhog was right, and that spring would be coming early after all. On the way back, I noticed a daffodil beginning to break through the ground. Now they're forecasting snow showers and highs of 33 degrees for Tuesday. We'll take what we can get until then.

I've been working on several projects for the upcoming Art Carnage at The Soundry on February 26. A trip to the Bahamas last summer inspired me to create a new line of paintings called Graffiti Reef. I've always loved sea life, and wanted to do a fun new twist on it, incorporating graffiti fusion.

In the Chillout Lounge, the first in the Graffiti Reef series, available at I've also incorporated elements from this design into my pendants, bottlecaps, and magnets. My signature is the graffiti fish, which I often work into my original art headband designs as well.

For this work in progress, I upcycled a cardboard panel that had been part of the packaging for a closet drawer. (I'm in the process of reorganizing my studio.) It was my first time painting on cardboard, and was actually a lot of fun, look for more of these panels in the future.

Next, I added accents with marker to the coral on the bottom and used heavy-bodied acrylic and rubber shelf liner to make the kelp. It's far from done, but off to a good start.

For this painting, I decided to add a three-dimensional feel to the coral, using modeling paste and old paintbrush handles.

When the paste had hardened, I painted it with acrylics. Still not sure what other sea life I'll be using for this one.

A postcard from The Bahamas inspired this next design.

With this painting, I recycled a previously painted old canvas that I'd abandoned several months back, unsure how to proceed next with the colors. This time, I experimented with an orange wash on top of the original sea green wash. On the bottom, I mixed up an earthy color and painted over the original lavender, then used chopsticks to carve into the paint. Some of the original color shows through, and I like the effect.

And, of course, I HAD to do something in purple!

I also made new graffiti-inspired backgrounds from the ton of old scrapbook paper lying around the studio. Scrapbook paper is great -- I often simply paint over it, add layers, and then rip/cut up the new background to collage into my paintings, or to make other projects.

For this last background, I was playing around with dimensional paint to make a seahorse.

I've got lots more to do on these paintings, so stay tuned!

Music in the studio this week:

-- Ibiza Chill Out, Vol. 2 (various artists)
-- The Suburbs, Arcade Fire
-- How to Operate With a Blown Mind, Lo Fidelity Allstars
-- Gothic Rock, Vol. 1 (various artists)
-- The Distance to Here, Live

Back to The Reef!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Current Exhibits at ArtSpace

Recently I stopped by ArtSpace of Herndon to view the gallery's two current exhibits. From the Woods features the natural sculptures of Diane Black. Four contemporary artists -- Sherill Anne Gross, Sean Hennessy, Sean Lundgren, and Alexandra Zealand -- are showcased in Elements. In the latter exhibit, the four elements (water, earth, fire, and air) are used as part of the artists' mediums, rather than as the subject of their works. Interesting stuff! Both exhibits run through February 27.

Some snapshots from the exhibits:

Visit ArtSpace of Herndon at:

750 Center Street
Herndon, VA 20170

Saturday, February 5, 2011

A Tentacled Trend

Thanks to all who stopped by to support Art Carnage at The Soundry last Saturday...what an awesome night of shopping and entertainment! It was great to see some familiar faces, and a lot of new ones, too!

Despite the bitter cold and ice, The Soundry was packed! Yes, those parking spots were worth the wait.

Nadine from Simple Girl Designs had her booth across from mine. I like how she paired tags bearing words like "kindness" and "amore" with her vintage-inspired jewelry, influenced by 1940s-1960s fashion.

Soundry studio member Lisa Wagner weaving at her loom, where she creates woven yarn pendants.

A number of vendors were discussing a current craft trend, for sale on several tables at the event -- octopi. "It's this year's owl," said Cara Salvatore of Dopo, referencing last year's popular item.

Dopo's handcut paper modern art includes an octopus design.

Assorted octopi hanging out at Ika Ink and atomic cate's table.

Sweet Chloroform sporting felt octopi -- and owls, too!

We're already gearing up for the next Art Carnage, to be held the evening of February 26th. That day, Melissa Lew will be holding a series of seminars for the career-focused artist/crafter. Check out The Soundry web site for further details.