An Emotional Project

"Eleanor" A portrait of my Grandma by my Great Uncle Alan AlexanderAbout 2 weeks ago my Grandma sent me an email asking me to help out with a project (she's pretty tech savvy and an avid follower of my blog - Hi Grandma! I love you!). She had gone onto Yahoo and on a hunch entered Alan Alexander, my great Uncle and an artist. She found he had a website under construction that was being put together by his son Bryce. Bryce was asking for anyone who had copies of Alan's paintings to take pictures and send them in for the sight.

Naturally, as a follower of my blog, Grandma knew I had just gotten my fancy new camera and was learning how to photograph my artwork. She asked me to help take pictures and I agreed.

Last sunday I took the photos of the pieces she had in her home, and arranged with my Aunt Judi and Aunt Sue to get photos of the other two paintings our family had in their possession.

As I photographed the artwork, it was the first time I really looked at the paintings. How had it escaped me that someone in my family was this talented? How had I not taken the time before? His paintings are beautiful, and he was immensely talented. 

Today, I sat down to crop the photos and send them to Bryce. In typing the email, I found myself becoming very emotional and missing my Grandpa so much. I miss him so much. He was a wonderful grandpa and I loved him with all my heart. I loved his grandpa hat that he wore, how he cursed all the time, how he loved candy, and had a grandpa smell. I miss his laugh too and getting to see him.

I also wish I had been able to know my Great Uncle Alan. I wonder what I could have learned from him and what he might have thought of my artwork? I wish I had appreciated his talent when he was alive so that I might have been able to get his insight on some of his pieces, on where he got his inspiration.

None of this can be changed though, and all I can do is help with collecting photos of Alan's artwork. And as I do this I can watch as his site grows and draw inspiration from his pieces collected together. I can hope that my artwork will be as wide spread one day and I can remember all the wonderful memories I have of my Grandpa, Alan's older brother Al, and find peace and love in that.


Nursery, Hatred & Isolate: The Canvas Project


A couple months ago, my friend and fellow artist, Theresa (Art by Tre on Facebook) introduced me to The Canvas Project. It was a different kind of art project, where you paid to enter and they sent you 3 words and 3 canvas. You then painted each canvas based on each of the words, sent it back, and the people at Art House Gallery compiled a book and held an art show displaying every canvas. It was a reasonable price of around $32 and has 417 participants. I am one of them.

About two weeks ago I received my 3 canvases (each 4x4 inches) and my three words: Nursery, Hatred and Isolate.

Today I finished the first one, Nursery:

It's definitely simple, but I like it. It will most likely be the most upbeat of the 3 (not surprising with Hatred and Isolate being the other 2 words) and perhaps the easiest to paint. I have painted flowers before. 

I find I am have lots of ideas for isolate but am totally stuck on hatred. Maybe I just don't have a lot of hate in me right now? I generally find it difficult to paint when things are not going terrible, and right now I literally could not be happier (maybe if I won the lottery and never had to work again - but otherwise, couldn't be happier). I've had a great summer so far. Last week my parents went away and I got to play house with my best friends in the whole world and my uber cute and awesome boyfriend - who told me he'd rather just hang out with me like that forever, rather than have my brother come home (YES! I finally got picked over my brother! Huzzah!) Also, upon the return of my parents, I asked if Ryan could sleep over once a week in my room. My dad said yes - if we left the door open! Another score! Larry, you're the best! That just makes me feel young at heart because at I may be 25 and paying rent, but I could not be more excited that I got permission to have my boyfriend sleep over! Yay for sanctioned cuddling time. And then on top of that, I'm kicking ass at work and loving my job and the people I work with, painted my awesome Bob Marley painting, just got a show at The Downtown in Red Bank, my film project is going well, I got recruited to join another project, my friends rule, Lydia is moving to New York, and next week my cousin Melissa is coming to visit. I seriously can not think of "hatred" right now. So, this Nursery painting was just perfect for the moment. Simplistic happiness on a beautiful sunny day.

This is my plea: I ask if anyone has an ideas, let me know. I need them right now. I'm in too good of mood right now. So if life is shitting on you currently, like it clearly was to me up until the past couple months, let me turn your pain and suffering into art. Share the misery with me and inspire me. Then, once I've created something awesome and made your pain into something beautiful, I'll do my best to cheer you up. Because life is awesome. And if you just endure the pain and try to smile as best you can throughout it, it will eventually break and things will be great. 

The Canvas Art Show will be held at the Brooklyn Art Library on December 3rd, 2010. I will be going for sure and would love to have anyone who like to attend with me!


Everything is Irie: Julie tries Rastafarian Art

This past Thursday I went into Jamian's to help celebrate local artist Travis Redcliffe's solo show. He's an incredibly talented artist and an all around awesome dude. He's also the person who set up my March art show at Jamian's. So naturally upon learning about his show, I really wanted to show up and support him in his awesome achievement. 

While there we talked for a while, specifically about the artist I shared my show with, Keith Feldman, and how we both bought a piece of his art. This is the one I bought and makes me extremely happy to look at:

Painting by Keith Feldman

I saw it the first night our of show and knew I wanted it. I tried to resist as I didn't quite have the money for it, but 2 weeks after our show was over it was haunting me, and I need to make it mine. So I did.

After Travis and I gushed about Keith's artwork, he mentioned that in November Jamian's was going to be holding a group art show where past artist's where invited to contribute pieces of artwork based on Bob Marley and the principals and ideals he stood for. Having recently hit a major art block, I liked the idea of having a theme. It was also a theme that was very specific: Rastafarian art. I already had the colors for the background- red, yellow and green. I just needed the rest of it.

So I hit up Google, the best search engine ever. I typed in Bob Marley and after surfing the net I had my idea already. I immediately set up in my room and did the background.

As can be seen to the right, I did the traditional fading colors of green to yellow to red. 

Thus far, I am EXTREMELY pleased with the outcome. Honestly, I could walk away from the painting now and I think I would be happy. But this took me literally 20 minutes to do and what I plan to add to it will only make it more awesome. (I know what you are thinking, how could this possibly get more awesome, right?)

Anyone who is familiar with my art, or anyone who takes 20 seconds to browse my galleries, can tell I like doing black outline and black swirls. My plan for the painting is to do a black outline of Bob Marley's face with a bit of black splattering in the bottom right corner. Then, in the upper left corner painting black swirls, hearts, music notes, and possibly a peace sign. Basically all things that I think uphold the theme of peace, love, happiness, and freedom.

This is proving to be an exciting project. I feel this is an entirely new imagination of any art related to Bob Marley. It's also exciting to have a project that I am excited about. Waiting for this to dry in order to move on is proving torturous.

Luckily I have some kick-ass friends who came over to hang out with me in the pool. Now I am so tired from all the sun, swimming, and diving, that I can just type this up and then take an awesomely satisfying nap and then watch some NCIS.

Tomorrow, I will wake up refreshed and excited about my Monday off from my day job and dive head first into this painting. I think it's going to be awesome. I think it is going to be one of the pieces that, come November, blows the audience away and scores me some moolah. I also hope it is a piece that my peers, Travis and Keith, think is awesome. I love both their artwork and want them to love mine. Or maybe I just want to be as cool as them and have a Bob Marley painting in my repertoire. Either way, I think I'm off to a good start to achieve both. 

(Note: It also adheres to the theme of me only painting awesome things while upset. I had a bit of my first fight with my current boyfriend last night. As a self-proclaimed Cry Baby, I was crying while painting this. Finding humor in my own life and turmoil, I listened "No Woman, No Cry" while painting. Laugh amongst yourself now.)


Quit Playing Games (With My Art)

As you may have heard, I was recently promoted at my day job. I have officially been an Underwriting Assistant for about 2 months now. And might I say, I'm pretty flipping good at my job. It just makes sense to me and I genuinely enjoy doing it. I've become an insurance nerd.

Little did I know, that in the promotion there would be an added bonus I could not have foreseen: I would develop a friendship with one of the coolest people I have ever met, the enigmatic Kyle H. Seriously, he is one of the coolest dudes I've ever met. Together, with the lovely Jennifer Rose, we have formed our little unit of awesomeness. We are the Teen Royalty of Markel. How fetch.

One of the many things I really admire and like about Kyle is that he tries to find the good and the interesting in everyone. And its not like he tries to be-friend strange people out of the novelty of it, he really genuinely cares and knows all about these people. He takes a personal interest in their lives and he impacts everyone he knows in a very positive way, myself included.

The point of bringing him up - aside from the fact that I love to brag about my awesome friends because I think it makes me cooler by association - actually has to do with art and my plan to deal with my feelings of desperation in regards to inspiration.

It all started with this painting:

Weighing the Gold, Watching You Sink 2010


Kyle moonlighted as my “Titler” on this piece. This is a job that is normally held by my brother Ellis, but for this particular piece it was Kyle. 

Now Kyle has AWESOME taste in music and has made me some kick-ass mixed CDs. One of them contained the song “Fools Gold” by The Stone Roses. I this I was subconsciously influenced by this song. I never paint with gold, EVER. Yet one day I felt I HAD to. So I did. The entire time I felt drawn to this song and eventually wanted to name the song “Fools Gold”. That seemed too obvious though, so I instead took lyrics from the song, naming it “Weighing the Gold, Watching You Sink”. The next day at work, I emailed Kyle informing him and sending him a picture of the painting.

Kyle loved it and loved his role as my official painting Titler. He proceeded to forward the picture to a painter friend of his down  and eventually told me to said an email to this individual, one Jared Gaines. I had seen his name pop up in bind requests being routed to the Casualty inbox and was immediately intrigued. Kyle informed me that not only did Jared paint, but he liked zombies too. I was sold. I checked out his artwork (which is awesome and can be seen HERE – my favorite is the wolf on the porch) and emailed him. 

After a couple weeks of emailing back and forth – me recommending he read the Walking Dead comics, him recommending the TV show Adventure Time - Jared made a couple comments about how some of his friends go about their art. He said they just accumulate pieces all year and then do one big show at the end with all of their pieces.

So simple, yet it never occurred to me. I was too wrapped up in the idea that if I wasn’t getting out there I was wasting exposure opportunities. I cannot think of a better approach then that. No more playing games, I'm getting down to business in a totally de-stressed way. I don’t need to worry about having one show one month, selling several of the pieces and then having nothing for the next month's show. That is exactly what happened and made me kind of crazed. Selling a lot of my pieces in March really messed me up.

Plus, I know my friends and family support and love me, but who honestly wants to be going to an art show every other month, looking at the same pieces? It’s my work and I don’t even want to be doing that. 

So I’ve decided for the time being, I’m just going to take it slow. Summer is about partying and I am going to paint when I want to and not stress myself out that I don’t have enough pieces for an upcoming show. I’ll just wait and accumulate another 20 or so pieces and then have a huge show, where people want to attend because it is new art to look at and it isn’t the same event over and over and over again.

And I already know where I want to stock up on art and display – Asbury Lanes. The ambiance is perfect and totally my laid back style. I’m feeling better about all this already. I’m almost done with my Charlie Kelly “Wildcard BITCHES!” painting and bought about 24 new canvases. I’m ready to roll and have a blast this summer partying and relaxing and creating.

Also, totally unrelated to painting, I learned how to open a beer bottle off a ceiling:





Dream Enablers

Photograph from Thesis shoot 11/2009Last night Gus and I held our Investor's Dinner at my house. We invited our families (and Megan) over to view our completed short film Wreckage. We wanted them to be able to meet us, talk to us about what it is we had been working on for past year and three months, and then ask them if they wanted to invest in our dream. 

That is what Thesis is. It is our dream. Our dream to make films and be the deciders of our own destiny, to be able to do something creative every day and love every minute of every day. It is something we have been working on for a year and three months now, incorporating all our passions into. Something that we have poured our blood, sweat, and tears into. 

Showing our short was nerve-racking. Wreckage was my muse in January. It was the beast mask made by Paul, Gus, Mike Bruno and Paul's friend Kat that inspired the idea for Mother. I had the emotions and the strife boiling within me, I was just lacking the focus. Wreckage gave me that focus.













Yet I didn't have the emotional or time investment in it that Gus had. Poor Gus. It was not easy for him to show it to Matt, Pat and I. We were harshly critically, but Gus took it well. He took it and Paul and he created an amazing film. One I was proud to have my name attached to and couldn't wait to show to the people who were important to me.

Despite my excitement, as Gus and I stood in the back watching everyone watch it I broke out in a full sweat. It was gross, but I just got so nervous and so scared about what everyone would think that I couldn't control it. What if my family thought I was wasting my time? That we didn't have anything worth while here? What if they hated it?

Luckily, that is not the reaction we received. In fact, the complete opposite. From their words, questions and their investment (we raised 88% of our set goal in one night) it was clear that we were doing the right thing.

The question arises though, how do you repay someone for essentially making your dream possible? Without the contributions of my family members and Gus', making Thesis would be extremely difficult. All the members of the crew have already contributed to the film financially as much as they can, and several of us have pledged to invest more when the time comes, yet that last chunk was going to be difficult to come up with without the aid of others.

Knowing that these people - my Aunt Kathy, Aunt Sue and Aunt Judi, Paul, my Grandma, Matt's parents, Megan, and my Dad - believe in us and are willing to help us in this way, is overwhelming. What they have given us is unbelievable. And the only way we can show our gratitude to them is for us to do it, really do it, to make Thesis, and make it AWESOME. We will achieve the dream that they believe in and that we believe in.  

The pressure's on, and we will definitely rise to the occasion.