Why does King Ghidorah have to have 3 heads? Do other artists get sick and tired of doing the same thing three times? Like gosh dang.
Yeah, so this week was mostly just chipping at the Uke Fresco but I found my focus very divided. So I took the time to catch up on housecleaning and touching base with friends. It was also nice to tune in to some talks about glass art and practice, which were very pleasant to listen to as I worked. The dates of shows and deadlines I had lined up dropped like flies shortly after the pandemic/emergency shutdown took place and it's taken me a while to revise my planner because, well, with all this time it's actually fairly hard to sit down and do. I've mostly been looking at how to improve Spicy Honey Heart.
When I finished Plague Gaffer, I released the design on Society6, Redbubble and (the one I want to talk about today) Art of Where. Like I mentioned some time ago, I got carried away and ended up creating over 600 designs on there, which is crazy considering fabrication actually closed down in response to the pandemic. But I couldn't resist, in the hopes that it would be lifted soon, and lo and behold, we have a (tentative) date. Art of Where will (tentatively) boot up production on May 11th. As opposed to S6 and RB, Art of Where is located in Quebec, Canada, which is an ideal source for my Canadian customers. I don't expect to get an order in a reasonable amount of time since they're backlogged, but I'm not at that point yet anyway.
The main reason why I bring this up though is the fact that they're looking into fabricating fashionable, cotton, filtered masks, and I have mixed feelings about it.
I have had people approach me and mention that they would love to see my designs on a mask and I thought to myself, “how is making a profit on that ethical?”. It's odd. I considered them essential items. Like, I've seen people buy plague doctor masks, but I didn't know if they were using them for practicality, to make a statement or just to be silly/cool (and yes that's a fine line). Does the fact they have a pretty pattern on them make them non-essential? Is it a joke item at that point, a fad?
Am I reading too much into it? The answer turns out to be yes.
I just had an excellent chat with an old instructor of mine, and he stated that the function of a mask is essential, but there's no issue with designing the pattern of a mask and making a profit from people who wish to don that design. He also reminded me that decorated masks have been a thing in Asia for a very long time anyway, which makes me feel silly because I didn't make that connection earlier. What keeps trying to hold me back is the idea I'm making a profit of the situation; kinda scummy, but what else am I to do to earn a living doing what I love?
It's not like I'm taking cheap one-takes that people desperately need, then painting and selling for three times their worth. And I've seen some very talented people sew their own masks, but I admit I don't know if they gave them to close family/friends for free or offered them for sale. If it was the latter... why would be bad? They made them themselves to help others in some way. To pay them for their labour is fair. They would have to price it according to their materials and time though, so unless they gutted themselves in the name of the greater good, they would be pricey. To have a print-on-demand company offer the option of making this item, it cuts costs down for those who are looking for a fashionable and reusable mask. I only make a margin of each one fabricated and sold anyway... I'm doing it because I love to see them actualized, it brings me joy. They are crafted as they're ordered, never wasted. And heck, if this was a normalized option it could encourage more people to don masks in public spaces, which has shown to be effective in flattening the curve. Why not go out with a cool motif or pattern? It brings a bit of light and expression to the situation.
I think I will set aside the semantics and just go for it. We don't know how long we're in this for and we need to adapt.I don't know who'll buy the ones I design, but to have it as an option in general would be pretty awesome. When would this ever happen again in our lifetime?
Hopefully just once.
That's all for today, just a bit of speculation. I sat down and made a list of any outstanding digital pieces I have so I hope to just burn through them before I decide to return to the studio. I'm sorry if you were hoping to see some prints or waxes, It's been a lot more Spicy Honey Heart and less Willowind, but that's hasn't been much on that front. I guess I can show you some refinement of the skull!
Take it easy out there,
I'm gonna be straight with you and say the last week has been very rough for me. After sitting in front of the computer day-in and day-out with cataloging, I developed a bit of apathy and lethargy that really killed my creative streak. When I'm separated from my projects, or even interrupted in the midst of them, I find it very hard to get back into them. I have always been brimming with ideas but I have the greatest difficulty in completing them. So I haven't been very active on social media because I don't really have much to show currently.
I'm kinda stuck in this feeling like things aren't worth completing because no one but me has a sense of its process. For example, I had many process shots of me working on The Lonely Hydra plate. But once it shattered, not only was it tiresome to work with but I set that one aside for projects I could make faster progress with. And for me, that's still very sad. The Lonely Hydra motif is very important to me so that's why it's very hard for me to let go of it, but at the same time, it's had its run and I should put it down. For the sake of my creative health, I need to choose which ones to nourish or abandon.
It's also an issue for me when I come to know of certain deadlines, like a call of submission. I will try and see if any existing works can fit the criteria, but more often than not, I'll try to make a piece specifically for that submission. As such, I set aside all my current projects and work overtime to get it done. By the time I submit it I enter a period of rest, and when I try to get back to the projects I neglected, it's very slow. The Uke Fresco is an example of that; I have to remember what I did or what layers are which. And while all of this internal conflict is going on, new ideas come pouring in. I'll write them down and sketch them out, but by the time I actually get to them, the fire is doused.
I know it just sounds like whining at this point but I am venting out my feelings to help myself come to terms with my creative process. Art is not easy. Quarantine has just made it much more apparent of all the projects I have sitting around waiting to be completed.
I guess it's just a period I have to work through. At school, I only needed to focus on schoolwork, and sometime I'd neglect housekeeping where I lived, but it didn't really matter because it was only a place I slept during crunchtime. I practically lived at the studio so it was easier to finish things, because I would spend up to 12 hours on one thing daily. Without school, I have much more to look after, many of them non-creative things, so I'll admit that I'm having a hard time organizing it all, or dedicating as much time as I used to. Making lists helps sometimes... other times they get a bit overwhelming.
I'll work through it. Maybe the poor weather's wreaked havoc on me too, and I'll climb out of this rut very soon. After all, I managed to sit down and write for today's blogpost. I think I'll just spend today accounting all the projects I had going and decide which are priority.
Thanks for tuning in,
Quarantine is still goin'! I know that some of you are feeling a little stir crazy or lost but don't fret. You can still enjoy the beautiful weather stepping out for fresh air and I highly recommend that you do. I'm lucky enough to have a dog so I take her out on little trips around my area, practicing social distancing but still greeting others when I see them. There have been a lot more people taking walks but it's no trouble keeping spaces between us. The sun and air are very good for us right now.
This post won't take too long to read. Since I'm done with informative entries it's gonna be mostly about how my week's gone, and this week I pretty much did the same thing every day. Whenever I come up with a new design (in this case, Plague Gaffer), I soak up my days just plugging them into my online shops on Society6, Redbubble, and Art of Where. It's taken longer and longer because I end up providing different iterations of the design, so with Plague Gaffer, I made 6-9 different lines of products, basically making as many options as possible. It got absolutely ridiculous with Art of Where; I ended up making 600+ products!! And the site has closed up for quarantine anyway! How it looks on each site is slightly different, so technically Plague Gaffer has ~1000 different products..
What the heck??
The launch of the design is done with, so I originally planned to go back to the Uke Fresco sooner, but then I had the idea of making a physical catalogue of my online shops to bring with me to art markets (when they start up again). So the rest of the week was me just sitting, clicking, downloading, and organizing every and all previews with these items. And I'm doing it for my entire collection... meaning every single thing I ever posted. At least it won't take this long in the future, because then I only have one product to document. It's just a drag. When it comes to the catalogue, I'll be making a document in InDesign to make plugging the images in easier.
So Redbubble documentation is done, and I'll probably finish Society6's today. I... don't even want to touch Art of Where, or else I won't be able to touch my current projects for like a month. I think I'll tackle it a bit at a time in between. Then I can move on to art stuff, an I really need to, because I have one that's time sensitive. It's a secret for the time being, but I will reveal it once the party has received it.
I'm currently waiting on a friend to send me some acid etch for making new vitreographs, so printing has been put on hold. I've still got waxes to finalize but they're for a rainy day. I'm tired of perpetually being in the prep-stages of kilncasting so I needed a break to do things I can actually start and complete, which is all my digital work. I sometimes worry that I'm spreading myself too thin, having a specialty in three disciplines, and sometimes it feels that way, but to abandon any of them would probably kill me. I love em and they're a part of me as an artist. My circumstance is what it is, and I'll keep working hard.
I hope you're hanging in there, too!!
I'm gonna end it there and get back to documenting stuff. In the meantime I hope you end up deciding to take a look at my collections if you haven't! You can visit my shops using any of the S6 and RB buttons I have planted on main each page.
Happy Easter! (or day after)
The days really meld together, don't they. I've been able to stay pretty productive in light of our circumstances. With the new makeshift studio space in the basement I've been able to dabble in both print and wax-sculpting/casting.
The little octopus core I showed you last time has since been rubber-casted so the mould is complete. It does face a complication where, because of the way it's oriented, a cavity of air will always form where the eyes are, but I've found some solutions for it. Meanwhile, I still have some skulls to finalize. Once I finish those and make rubber moulds out of them, I'll make them even more complicated with flowers and moss and all that lovely stuff!
I printed the backup Lonely Hydra plate up to the second layer but it ended up cracking as well. This time, there was a piece of tape on the bed underneath, but I'm just starting to think that it was just a cursed image to begin with. It could be as technically as the image itself providing too many stress points, but it could just very well have been a project that took far longer than it should have. It was an easy project, but the lack of resources and timing kinda botched it from the get-go. All good and well, I then purposely cracked it even more and plan to get some last prints off of it, count my losses. Luckily I bought a whole stack of papers in February before the stores shut their doors. I'll post pictures of those prints when I get to them.
I'd say the most exciting thing I've been up to is my return to digital art. My online shops and activity were neglected when I was working in the basement. My wrist was acting up again after some printing (probably onset carpal tunnel) so I decided to do some work at the computer. It's odd, because typically drawing on the computer can also mess up your wrist badly, but I took it easy at first, and my wrist was bound in a hot-cool compress. Since then it's been much better, and I've been having a lot of fun.
My next design is digitizing the back of my ukulele, which is a fresco-like mural of a few of my favourite things. I've posted pictures before, but I'm really pleased with how the remaster is going. It's a bigger canvas and less messy; more of my details are retained and refined. So far I've gotten, maybe, a third of the way down? I've also added the Termina Moon from Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask, and I'm sorta sorry I didn't have the mind to add it on the uke. That game has always made me tremor with fear and awe.
I've reached the same dilemma with it as I did with the uke, however. As cool as King Ghidorah is, the fact he has three heads makes his design tiresome to render. After I finished one head I decided to finish a very quick design to liven up my shop. It ended up being the biggest file I've ever made, but I'm very pleased with it!!
I mentioned before how I was really interested and inspired by Alphonse Mucha's work, or La Style Mucha, and I wanted to employ some of the qualities to my online work. Although still a little messy, I think this is the type of illustration I'd love to move forward with. Digital paintings like the Uke Fresco or my Gaffer Gods will still be approached as digital paintings, but I really like how Plague Gaffer came out, and I want to approach other motifs in this way.
Plague Gaffer's based on a photo of glass artist Alexander Rosenberg, who starred in the first season of Blown Away on Netflix. I haven't had a chance to meet him personally, but I've heard him speak and seen him from afar, he's a really cool guy. I found an image of him working taken by photographer David Leyes on the set of Blown Away and based my drawing off of it. The background is based on an old Art Nouveau tapestry, and the textures from a watercolour image package I downloaded. All and all, a good collection of new techniques for me to employ for future designs.
Right now I'm uploading Plague Gaffer to my shop, which is a long process due to terrible internet connections, but I'll post an announcement on my social medias when all of it is live. After that I'll go back to working on the Uke Fresco.
Stay tuned, and take care!
I'm happy to say that I've finally found structure to my days in quarantine, after last week expressing my lack of motivation. I wake up, have coffee, and walk Lusia before I go to work on studio projects. Because of the nice weather we decided to carry up stuff from the basement to the outdoors, which opens up a more comfortable place for me to work. Most of the floor is dedicated to printing, but I'm very happy that I finally have a spot to warm my wax for mold pours. I print for most of the afternoon, and then I work with waxes in the evening while watching something. I made a little octopus while watching The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance for the 6th time now. I also finally finished the last component of the claw ring, so the preparation of that part of the project is complete. Yesterday and this morning I rubber casted it along with the octopus, so I'll be able to test them out later today. In the meantime, once I upload this post, I'll go print the second layer of the Lonely Hydra. The first layer was just a blank plate, to set up for the etched image. Wish me luck!
So this time I'll be rambling about glass painting.
You can paint on glass with whatever you want, but if you want it to last forever on it (no flaking or discolouration), you use enamels. Enamels are finely-crushed glass powders of various colours, and you can get it in powder form to mix into a paint yourself or get it pre-mixed. Most people are acquainted with enamel on lapel pins and the like, it's a similar thing. There are transparent and opaque palettes depending on what type of glass and function you want, and you can either paint or screenprint depending on the viscosity of your paint. I personally like painting more than screenprinting, despite being a printmaker... mostly because, for me, it takes up a great amount of room. I would have to have a room specifically dedicated to it so that no contaminants or cluttering could interfere. There's an amazing enamel artist who actually ran a workshop in my 1st year, Joseph Cavalieri, and he sparked my intrigue in painting with glass.
However, my first serious exploration with glass enamels was frustrating. We had an experimental class in 3rd year where we picked up a technique we didn't know and worked through tests throughout a term. I did not use the enamels Cavalieri used but high-fire Reusche paint, which came in powders. Enamel painting wasn't taught at Sheridan; instructors had a gist of how to mix, apply, and fire, but it was mostly self-taught, hit-or-miss. My tests were more or less a successful endeavour, and by that I mean I gained a greater understanding of firings, but the results were still not what I was looking for. There was not really any point of choosing high-fire enamels when low-fire enamels can do a similar, if not better, trick.
When I worked for Cheryl at Rubyeyes Kraftwerks, she showed me low-fire Reusche, and it was a lot more conclusive. She showed me step by step, gave me one of her designs to try painting and get used to the application, and allowed me to make my own enameled piece. I didn't have to spend so much time on testing, which was nice for a change.
She also introduced me to silver-stain, which I immediately fell in love with. Enamel painting is technically a fusing, whereas silver-staining is a chemical reaction with the glass. The silver-stain is actually invisible; the reddish hues of the pigments are merely terracotta dust to help visually for where you want to apply it. I love the golden warmth that a window with silver stain brings in natural sunlight, even on rainy days. My time with Cheryl motivated me to have one of my thesis projects to be done using enamel and silver-stain together.
During my final year of Sheridan, anyone who needed my help knew where I'd most likely be, and that would be in this tiny room with a sandblaster and an even tinier fume hood. I hogged up that fume hood all the time, which I feel bad about since enamel painting doesn't give off fumes. The ventilation was great for sucking up any particulates, but I mostly worked there for the privacy. No one seemed to mind though, and I was always willing to move if someone needed it for spray painting and such. People joked that it was my office, and that it still is even after graduating, which I find endearing. The space was just big enough for me to work on Self-Vanitas, one sheet of glass at a time. The final ones, which were exhibited at the Sandra Ainsley Glass Gallery in Toronto, each had three sheets of glass, the image divided into fore-, middle-, and backgrounds. I also have iterations where the whole image is on one sheet, but they're not mounted yet.
Stained glass is something I truly wish to pursue, but it's the least accessible for me right now, especially during quarantine. The most I can do is prepare illustrations for when the time comes, in the same way I make rubber molds for the time I have a fully-functioning kiln. If I were to exhibit at places like Toronto Outdoor, One of a Kind, or The Artist Project, it would be with glass objects. Silver-stain windows, glass-casted sculptures and vessels, and integrated glass prints.
Man, I really hope I get there.
In the meantime I will just keep developing my skills. Right now I've been really studying Alphonse Mucha and his style, because that's the direction I want my illustration work to take. Between studio work and reading, quarantine isn't gonna hold me down.
And that concludes the last of my mediums!! I have no clue what the next blogpost will be, but we'll see when the day comes.
Step out for a little sunshine!!