what art has done for me

Art has helped me figure out who I am.

Is there something you’ve loved your entire life? That sounds like a big question because it is. Human nature and survival instinct demands that our personality and sense of self evolves with the world around us. However out of all the phases I’ve gone through, one thing I know that has always been true about me is that I love art. I love recreating, creating, and everything around and in-between. In elementary school, that looked like drawing an underwater landscape that got proudly displayed in the hallways. In adulthood it looks like… well, this. Out of all the words people have used to describe me, the only one that has always felt right has been “artist”. My relationship to this identifier continues to grow stronger with every stage in my life and it’s where I go when I lose my sense of self in other pursuits whether academic or professional. I come back to this word because I know it and I live it. I know who I am as an artist and it is exactly who I am as a person – complex, emotional, meticulous, compassionate, beautiful, and always yearning for connection.

Art has given me the tools to manage my emotions and learn how to communicate.

Maybe all of us go through this, but I think when I was younger I was often overwhelmed by my emotions. I don’t think it’s in the parent handbook to teach your child how to manage anger, sadness, grief, or envy. And when you’re a naturally shy and introverted child, these emotions can really wreak some havoc on your heart especially when you hit puberty. When I read my old livejournal blog posts, they’re like… insanely depressing. Like ridiculously melodramatic. But that was my reality! That’s really how I felt in that moment back in the day. This is when I truly found sanctuary and solace in art. My art teachers were sort of like second mothers to me, teaching me how to express myself effectively and manifest my energy into something worth sharing.  Continue reading

howard finster’s paradise garden

Sitting down to write this, I realized the for all the art I’ve taken in over the course of my life… I still feel challenged when expressing my thoughts or feelings about it. Food is easy, style is logical, but art – perhaps because it’s what I feel most deeply about – doesn’t translate to words. So while I’d love to say to you that I can help you navigate the arts scene in Atlanta, it’s probably the last thing I’d be able to help you with.

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It took me way too long to find the time to take the drive to see Howard Finster’s Paradise Garden. And of course I ended up forgetting my real camera, so please enjoy these photos from my crappy old phone (lost my iPhone recently). It’s the best I could do, but really nothing can do this justice. Or really, any art justice.

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Art HAS to be experienced in real life. Digital reproduction will never be the same as seeing something in front of you.  Continue reading

5 thing i’ve learned from doing festivals

Now that I’ve completed my two craft festivals for the season (that’s the max I can handle right now), I wanted to put together a short list of the big takeaways I have from doing craft festivals. Take these with a grain of salt, because everyone has a different experience and I’ve really only done a few. Things may be totally different in different cities or with different organizers, I’m not sure.

photo via Capture Life Through the Lens by JONATHAN PHILLIPS

The very few I’ve done are Indie Craft Experience (Holiday 2015 and 2016), Root City Market (Holiday 2015), and American Field (Atlanta 2016). I mainly sell art prints of my own artwork so that may also affect my experience as a vendor. But I feel somewhat confident that if you are at all interested in doing shows like this, these things will be useful for you to know before going in.  Continue reading

my routine breakdown

Hi. Have you met me? If you have, then you know that I go through a mental/creative breakdown about once a quarter… lbh, maybe more like once every two months. I’ve gone through it so many times that I know it’s all part of the process, but it still doesn’t make it hurt any less. It still burns my eyes and my heart gets real heavy, wondering “what is the true purpose of it all”?

The questions I have are questions I’m sure every creative has. Does it matter? Am I just part of a makers-gonna-make fad? Why am I doing this? I’m young and free so maybe I need to spend my time living life and being outdoors instead of twiddling around on the computer color correcting a piece for the tenth time. How long does it take before I feel like what I do is actually inspiring change or making any real impact in the world?  Continue reading

creative makers: lauren friday

Boy, it’s getting harder and harder to write introductions that do my subjects justice. I’m surrounded by so many creators in my life, amazing women who conquer fears every single day and inspire every person they know. I don’t want to start sounding repetitive but there are just not enough words. Not enough words. This particular darling of a gem is someone I’ve admired from the day I met her; she has always had a fearlessness about her (although I’m sure she’d argue otherwise), a confidence that was so evident yet still humble. She’s just one of those people who loves people and you can see it radiate in how genuinely she presents herself. I strive for that sort of graceful transparency, and I couldn’t do it without role models like Lauren.

creative-makers-lauren-friday-12 Tell me more about what you do.

I currently work for a brand new educational business named The Callback Company. It is a company focused on training students of any age how to audition well based on their own skills. We provide Broadway masterclasses, seminars, cabaret performances, local showcases and NYC showcases to help broaden our students horizons and give them the skills needed to succeed in the professional world. We also help high school students prepare for their college auditions so they have an even bigger shot at getting into their dream program. It has been an amazingly fulfilling experience.

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So what’s your average day look like?

To be truthful, I don’t feel like I have an “average day”. Since I have so many different projects, it’s all about prioritizing and multitasking. Every day begins the same, however, with a bountiful amount of coffee.

What inspires you? How do you stay motivated?

I have to find the tiny joys within each day. The small victories often lead to giant ones. I also have an amazing support system that surrounds me. I try to fill my life with the most creative and positive people there are and gain strength and motivation from their encouragement and talents of their own. Inspiration is all around me, I think. I can be inspired by commotion or stillness. The challenge I face most often when it comes to inspiration is being in the correct mindset to see it. I feel like as an artist living in this world as it is today, it is hard to take yourself out of the daily grind long enough to truly experience your surroundings. This is something I am working on. The tactic that works the best for me is changing my scenery and other elements in my environment.  Continue reading

creative makers: anna oh

Something that I really love and want to get back to is interviewing other creative and stylish individuals. The connections I get to make in this city are more inspiring than anything else could ever be. I do tend to make connections with other women, not because I particularly choose to, but because there’s a deeper understanding between us about how our creative pursuits really affect the trajectory of our success – both professionally and personally. As women we are carriers of the responsibility to nurture families and raise the next generation. That added layer of pressure on top of trying to chase our dreams makes every step feel that much more crucial; every success and every failure is that much more important. Anyways, I digress.

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Today I introduce you to Anna, a fellow artist who is brimming with talent and just trying to make her way up in the world. She’s already got the hard part down, I mean just look at her illustrations. Now all she has to do is be patient and wait for the world to pay attention. I have no doubt that soon this girl’s IG followers with explode and I’ll be seeing her drawings all over the industry. Her work is effortlessly precise yet loose, a striking balance of form and free strokes.

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When did you start illustrating? How did you decide that pen and paper was your destiny?
I started drawing early in grade school–really the same time anyone else starts drawing. Nothing else really “clicked” with me like art did… and I threw myself into it wholeheartedly. Maybe art found me 😉 I haven’t stopped drawing since. Continue reading

transforming fashion

All too often art exhibitions will pass through this city before we get the chance to experience them. I know I’m guilty of missing out on some pretty incredible collections just because I let it slip my mind. But let me do you a favor and remind you of one you should make a priority before it vanishes! This past November, Iris Van Herpen’s Transforming Fashion opened at The High Museum in Atlanta and I was honored to be invited to a media preview and walk-through with the designer herself. The exhibition will be open until May 15th, 2016 so you’ve still got a few months to check it out (spoilers below)! Without further ado, here’s a peek at Iris’ innovative designs:

iris-van-herpen-transforming-fashion-16airis-van-herpen-transforming-fashion-7airis-van-herpen-transforming-fashion-4aTransforming Fashion marks the first museum exhibition of Van Herpen’s collections in the US. In addition, this also is the first ever exhibition at the High to feature fashion design. It’s the single form of art that I think almost any one can relate to. We interact with fashion every day in the sense that what we choose to wear is the image we choose to present to the outside world. So we find it much easier to feel a certain way about a piece of clothing than we do about a performance piece or an abstract sculpture.iris-van-herpen-transforming-fashion-14airis-van-herpen-transforming-fashion-3airis-van-herpen-transforming-fashion-9aBut of course, this is not your everyday button-down and jeans. The pieces in the exhibition come from the entire range of Van Herpen’s collections, each inspired by a different element of the world (but I guess you could say that would be anything). From materials like water and metal to chemical phenomena like magnetism and smoke, her designs are as familiar as they are foreign. I don’t envision myself actually wearing these things, much the same way I don’t envision all art I admire being the art I put in my home. They’re a statement. A meditation on the relationship we have with our world, making the invisible visible.iris-van-herpen-transforming-fashion-5airis-van-herpen-transforming-fashion-13a

This post is sponsored by The High Museum of Art; however, all thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.

everything i got

I’ve been pretty quiet on the blog front, but it’s not for a lack of desire, interest, or content. I’ve been spending my free moments over the past few weeks being a maker – doing things instead of dreaming of doing them.

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Earlier this year I applied to Indie Craft Experience’s Holiday Spectacular thinking that getting into this event would light a fire under my butt and.. boy, did it ever. Feeling under the gun, I’ve been making decisions and spending money on new products without second thought. I leapt.

I don’t want to count my chickens before they hatch, but I want this to be it. I want this to be the real actual start of me feeling like I’ve got a direction. It’s never felt so close to being real and I don’t want this to stop. As exhausted and scared as I am, I am happy that I’m willing myself into this. More to come soon.

iris van herpen at the high museum

As much as it pains me to say this, I recognize that museums aren’t always the most exciting activity for a lot of people. Most people would much rather go see a movie, shop the mall, or walk the Beltline. And while all those things are just as enjoyable and just as stimulating, I think people all too often are missing out on the chance to experience a unique sense of awe that you can only find within the white temple of the art museum. It does require a willingness, a desire to remove oneself from all the media crap out there and focus in on a moment. A visual record of a moment of individual (or collective) inspiration to create something out of nothing.

Sometimes it can be easy to find that awe, standing in front of gargantuan Rothkos or among rows of classical carrara marble sculptures. Other times it takes explanation, reflection, and thinking outside oneself to find meaning. The High Museum’s mission is to cultivate a community where art appreciation and education can thrive so that this kind of museum-going experience becomes a shared one. Their recent programming aims to entice the broader Atlanta audience and in their upcoming exhibition, they do so through the glossy lens of fashion.

EXH_1149 VanHerpen 17 Hybrid HolismIris van Herpen: Transforming Fashion blurs the line between form and function and will be The High Museum’s first ever fashion design exhibition. Dutch fashion designer Iris van Herpen is known for creating sculptural couture looks which feature various media, everything from magnets to synthetic boat rigging. It’s no wonder she was the first to introduce 3D printing technology into the world of fashion! The integration of this new technique with traditional handiwork results in a collection of pieces that feel at once both out-of-this-world and of the body.

Magnetic Motion - 31 - Copyright Yannis Vlamos

Join me at the opening party for this exhibition on Friday, November 6th from 7:00pm to 10:00pm! The event is free and open to the public, complete with a dance performance from the Atlanta Ballet, music by DJ Speakerfoxxx, and most importantly… Iris van Herpen herself! The exhibition opens officially on November 7th and runs through May 15th 2016, giving you plenty of time to see these extraordinary pieces.

Capriole - 19 - Copyright Michel Zoeter

This post is sponsored by The High Museum of Art; however, all thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.

creative masters: ashley buzzy of press shop

I think once Ashley reads the word “master”, she’ll probably chuckle in humble disbelief. She and I have met a grand total of two times and within those two conversations, I became convinced that she’s got it all figured out. Not in a “got all of my ducks perfectly in a row” sort of way, but in a “real person with real expectations yet still a dreamer and a doer”… sort of way. Her studio, Press Shop, is filled with natural light and is quiet yet welcoming (like Ashley herself). I sat down with her one morning as she elegantly free-handed Happy Birthday using pink and orange brush tip markers. Her down-to-earth candor and entrepreneurial courage is exactly what you’d expect out of a seasoned ladyboss. I greatly admire her willingness to take risks as well as her ability to determine where desire meets capability and compromises with circumstance.

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First things first – why printing, why letterpress? How did you get into this medium?
After taking lots of various printmaking classes in college, I realized in my professional life that I missed the process of actually using my hands to see a design or idea come to completion. Since I was already in the design and stationery business, I decided to invest in having my own letterpresses – they are the most commercially usable presses, don’t take up too much space and require very little maintenance. I love all kinds of printmaking, but letterpress seemed like the best press to personally own and operate a business with.

Flash back to ten years ago, or even just five. Did you envision that this is what your life was going to look like?
I’m not the type of person who envisions things, haha. If you asked me five years ago what my life would look like now I’d tell you I couldn’t care to think about that when there’s so much to get done today. That’s exactly how I would answer today if someone asked me about 2020. I think the key to my life has been to just keep making the next right choice and saying yes to the next opportunity that feels right in your gut. Not all of those choices have brought success or forward motion, but if you just keep trying different things, your gut will get a lot smarter about what to chase.

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What do you think is the biggest misconception people have about running a creative business?
That it’s any different than running any other kind of business. I always tell people that running a business is 10% being really good at something and 90% learning how to do new things. People look at my work and assume that the majority of my day is spent creating beautiful things. Nothing could be further from the truth. 10% of my time is spent creating and 90% is managing administrative tasks, email, bills, legal/accounting stuff, logistics, the studio, etc. I spend a lot of time cleaning. When you run a business you are everyone from the CEO to the maid. If you think you’re gonna get to skip the maid part – sorry dudes!

Describe a typical work day for you.
I try to tackle on “physical” project as soon as I walk into the studio. Whether that’s cleaning up my mess from yesterday, printing a small order, getting some calligraphy on paper that I’ve been procrastinating on, etc. It feels good to get one of those to-do’s off my list before I get trapped in the black hole of email and errands. I try not to spend all day on my email – although it can be INCREDIBLY tempting to do that because it feels like being productive even if you never get any actual work done. Usually I spend a couple of hours in the middle of the day running around to the paper supplier and the post office, etc. I usually end up staying late if I’m having a creative moment. Most of my original content is created at the end of a workday when I’m doodling and ignoring that I’m hungry and should go home.

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What are you inspired by? What is fulfilling to you?
I’m inspired by problem-solving. My favorite thing about running a business – or what keeps me interested in having a business – is creating business models or strategies and testing them. I really love to do that for other people too. I think being creative is great and all, but at my core I’m a business lady. I care less about WHAT I make and more about HOW I reach people with it.  Continue reading