Saturday, March 31, 2012

Shiny and New!

A few months ago I started designing a new product that could hold earrings in an interesting way. I don't have too many pairs of earrings, but I have always had problems figuring out how to store them. For years I have just neatly lined them up in a jewelry box, and they all get completely tangled and jacked up every time I accidentally jostle the box.

I came up with a simple design and started researching how I could manufacture it. After a few strike outs, I came upon a local laser cutting studio, makeatx.  Here is a piece of wood just after the laser worked its magic:

 Here is my design, freshly cut:

Before cutting, I painted the wood with non-toxic, no VOC Milk Paint.  I then took the final cut pieces and mounted them each onto a piece of MDF that is routed for easy hanging. Sandwiched between the two pieces of wood is an image that I designed and sealed. 

The final look has a sort of modern meets rustic flavor. Milk Paint is a chemically safe, environmentally friendly product that stains the wood while allowing the texture of the wood to still be seen. This gives each piece a little character. 

The piece mounts flat against the wall and holds 13 pairs of earrings.  10.5" x 4".  Available at local Austin stores and at my ETSY store.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Me in ORIGIN magazine

I make a small showing in the March/April issue of ORIGIN magazine in their artists section; they invited me to be a part of the artists from Austin that they are featuring as part of their SXSW special.  The magazine is available at Whole Foods nation wide.  

RIP Trayvon Martin

The death of this innocent young man is a powerful symbol of how much racial healing still needs to be done in this country.
Image by Quazi'

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Hang That Stuff!

I have been working the past week or so on some new jewelry/key racks that are hand painted on wood. Here is a glimpse into the process of making a few dozen:

First I picked two pallets: oranges and blues, and went to work painting layers of colors in an expressionist fashion (which is just a fancy way of saying that I pretty much just grabbed whatever color I wanted and slapped it on the image).

Next I developed a few simple designs that I could easily replicate.  It's no surprise that this largely involved birds, which means that anyone with a bird phobia, like my friend Mae, will probably never buy this art!  Sorry Mae!
I got really excited about painting these little peacocks.  I love Persian miniature painting, and while my skills and patience level are in no way high enough to replicate one of those, I think these little birds at least hint at the style of a Persian miniature.

Here are some of the final results, available for sale in local stores in Austin, Texas, and at my etsy store!

Monday, March 26, 2012

Art and Words

I have long admired the photography of Layli Samimi-Aazami.  It turns out, this multifaceted little lady is also a poet, and she started a weekly segment on her blog where she added quotes and poems to her art.  I asked if she would be interested in adding words to a piece I made recently that reminded me of the Black Hills/Badlands area of South Dakota, where my family used to vacation.  Have you ever asked yourself how many people you know who have lived in South Dakota?  Well I have.  It turns out Layli and her husband are the ONLY people I have ever known who have actually lived there! 

Here is my art with her words over it:

In truth, we are all missing out by not living in South Dakota because the landscape is freaking beautiful, plus there are these majestic (and also large, scraggly and frightening) creatures known as BUFFALO just freely roaming about.  And here is a litle fun fact: a buffalo can outrun a horse!

When I read these words that Layli suggested for this piece, I immediately clicked with them.  The Badlands are a place where you feel the power of nature.  Beneath the gigantic sky that can darken into a storm in a matter of minutes, you are given the space to get back in touch with who you are, and to grapple with life's big questions.  Or you can just check out the prairie dogs and buy some fool's gold at the Mount Rushmore gift shop. The choice is yours!

This piece can be purchased, sans words, at my ETSY store.

L.A., Here I Come!

Beaches, boardwalk rollerskating, palm trees, endless traffic and high density smog: Here I come!  Figuratively speaking, of course.  I’m now a featured artist at 8 Limbs, a cool sewing/art studio/boutique in Echo Park.  I spent this past week preparing some west-coast-bound schwag:

I also had to keep up with the action here in Austin.  Luckily we had a streak of super warm weather and I got to work in our open air patio.  This was both a blessing and a curse, because amidst the gentle blowing breezes and happily chirping birds, I had to listen to the incessant shrieks of my neighbor who is trying to remodel his house: “JUST GET THAT F’ING SH*T OUT OF HERE!  OH GIVE ME AN F’ING BREAK!!”  Below:  art mounted on wood and drying, waiting to be sealed.

I reconfigured a little piece of art that I had designed a while ago and I really like the way it turned out.  I mounted it on wood and added hooks to create a small jewelry/key rack.  The quote is by ‘Abdu’l-Baha and says: When a thought of war comes, oppose it by a stronger thought of peace. A thought of hatred must be destroyed by a more powerful thought of love.

Jewelry/key rack available at Parts and Labour in Austin, TX

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Making a Piece of Art

Have you ever looked at a piece of art and wondered how the artist went about creating it? Where does she even start? Were there any elements originally placed in the piece that were later removed or covered up? Most of all, how does she know when it’s done?

This video gives a glimpse into the process I took to create one of my pieces. I made a conscious effort to take screen shots of the piece as it developed (a formidable task for an artist in “the zone!”). Hopefully it gives you an idea of how a final piece comes together after a lot of maneuvering. As for how I knew when it was done, you can decide for yourself what you think about the final version compared to every other step along the way!

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