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All posts for the month February, 2016

More Book Progress and Upcoming Excitments

Published February 28, 2016 by baileyquillincooper

It’s been a couple weeks since I last posted and a lot of things have happened. I want to get back into my one post a week routine, so this one is just going to be a fairly brief written summary with mostly photo explantations in an attempt to catch up.

So what have I been up to? Making new friends:

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Photo taken on Valentine’s Day at Lovecraft Bar during my husband Martyn’s Glam Rock D.J. night, Whips and Furs. In the picture is Mike Wilcox, our new friend who we met at the Bowie Sendoff at in Pioneer Courthouse Square, and Monika Wolf, another new friend who we met that very night. She ended up becoming our official stagehand and backup dancer. Well, more like the best dancer in the whole joint who got a lot of other people to get up and dance by the end of the night.

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She’s a lot of fun, and perhaps a little accident prone.

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We still to this day have no idea how she cut her hand and got blood all over the place. She still made the most of it, I suppose.

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Whips and Furs was such a success that Martyn is now on the permanent roster for the Lovecraft event calendar, so his Glam night is now going to become a monthly event!

What else have I been up to? Saw a couple of movies–The VVitch and Deadpool in the same weekend. Was so pleasantly surprised by both, and both were so refreshing for the overblown, overdone genres that they represent. The VVitch was hands down the best and most visually inspiring straight horror film that I have seen in a very long time. As a former strange child who spent a good portion of her middle school years in the library poring over every book on the Salem Witch Trials, The Occult, and American Folklore that was available to me, I can also give my full endorsement that the director got everything so right and as accurate as possible!

I also was finally given the opportunity to finish up a few more long-awaited projects for Trader Joe’s. Behold the belated frozen chocolate banana slices sign for Chinese New Year, Year of the Monkey, based off of some traditional Chinese paper cutout decorations that I had researched:

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He looks particularly cool whenever the light shines though him.

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Also at long last I finished the last permanent illustration for the backs of the new chalkboard endcaps. The King, trapped behind the soulless and terrifying brown paper mask of Trader Joe:

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Here’s a close up shot:

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And here it is pictured next to the endcap back that I finished before it, more monkey art coincidentally:

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I got the idea to draw an Elvis chalkboard because I had already had to do this very same private label end cap concept a few years ago at my old store back in Atlanta. The last board I designed for the subject matter was Andy Warhol’s Marilyn Monroe:

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I was proud of how that one turned out, even though it was a little tedious hand drawing the same face twice in a row. Anyway I didn’t really know to follow that one so I figured, what else goes with Marilyn? Oh yeah, Elvis. Sometimes when your job is to literally make the same boring things over and over again you’ve just got to find new ways to entertain yourself.

Speaking of which, yesterday I had to make a sign for Shaved Brussels Sprouts so this is what I came up with:

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The funny thing is that’s like the fourth time I’ve drawn that anthropomorphic Brussels Sprout. I guess he’s kind of a reoccurring character.

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Virgil Collage

While I was doing all this other stuff I’ve still been teaching my painting classes at Vine Gogh and making progress on my children’s book. The new Vine Gogh Tigard studio, Vincent’s Loft, is still a work in progress as they finish up the last few details of the construction, but it should be finished very, very, soon. Once that’s done I’m going to be able to start designing my own classes. I work in a lot of other mediums besides just acrylic painting, so it looks like I’m gonna be the one to come up with some of the crazier and more experimental classes…stuff that nobody else is teaching at any other artist bar type places right now. I think I can see classes in illustration, cartooning and caricature, and polymer clay/mixed media sculpture in my near future!

As for my book, I’ve been just plugging away at the illustrations in an attempt to put it all together and get an initial first test copy printed by the end of May. The reason for that particular timing is because that is when I will be attending the annual SCBWI Oregon Spring Conference, Between the Pages, and I would like to have something a little more polished and comprehensive than a super rough dummy book to show potential publishers and agents. I plan to use crowd funding to self-publish the book regardless, but just in case any traditional publishers are interested I’d like to present something nice for them to look at. If nothing else, maybe an attractive debut piece might catch the eye of an agent that would want to work with me on other freelance illustration projects in the future. I’d really love for either of those things to happen and I know that the best thing I can do is to just work hard, go to these events, and keep trying!

So here’s a couple of work-in-progress photos I snapped of page number 27 of 32…the pencil sketch:

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The inked line drawing:

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My dog Grendel yawning and being bored as I try my best to ignore him and get some more work done at my art desk:

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Grendel and Miss Loon, The Black Babies. They somehow can make doing what I love very difficult.

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I have to make myself a super nutritious lunch to break their power over me…

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Fishcakes, fishcakes, roly poly fishcakes…

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…And back to work. Sometimes my coloring process somewhat resembles a printing press, with all of one color at once and then so on. Here it is with just red.

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Then I started adding all the green.

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I’ve done a lot more to it since that last photo…it’s not quite finished yet, but as soon as I get another minute to myself over the weekend I’ll have it knocked out in no time. I’ll post more pictures of my progress very soon, and I definitely won’t wait so long this time!

The last little bit of upcoming excitement that I will mention before heading off to bed tonight is that over the past week I was able to sign up for a now sold out Toby Froud rod puppet Workshop at The Fernie Brae in April!!! Some of Toby’s past creations to give you an idea of the kind of work he does:

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The Frouds have been my number one artistic inspiration ever since I discovered my very first Faerie book in middle school. I can collectively credit Brian’s paintings, illustrations, and concept art, Wendy’s dolls and puppets, and their son Toby’s puppets, short films, and current work with Laika Studios for teaching me how to layer colors together, how to make flat two-dimensional paints appear to glow, how to draw and sculpt fantasy characters that still somehow tell the truth and appear believable, how to sculpt professional art dolls in polymer clay, and how to make the seemingly impossible dream of handcrafting puppets and movie magic akin to the Jim Henson fantasy film heyday in today’s time possible. Probably some other stuff too that I can’t even think about right now. Just know that going to this Toby Froud workshop is not only a dream come true and a big deal for me, but should also prove to be very important and inspiring for my future career. I’ll be sure to post more about that, as well as some other very potentially exciting news, very soon when I feel that the time is right. Until then…goodnight!

 

 

 

 

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Final Illustration Scan and a Whole Lotta Meat

Published February 13, 2016 by baileyquillincooper

Here’s an end-of -the-week, beginning-of-the-weekend post to show you what I’ve been up to. First up is that final illustration from my last post, only a much nicer scan instead of that cruddy phone photo I posted.

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I’ve even done another spot illustration since this to go beneath it on the same page…but I purposefully cropped it out to keep it a surprise (no spoilers!)

Also, I don’t usually like to post a lot of my Trader Joe’s artwork unless it’s something that I particularly like…however,  I did do a series of steak and red meat “portraits” over the past couple of days that I think turned out rather well. As has become the unfortunate standard, I wasn’t given nearly enough time to complete this enormous project that was to become a permanent fixture for the meat section. This project that was originally due “whenever” was suddenly bumped up to a Valentine’s Day due date–which was in a mere couple of days–making it yet another sign emergency to tackle while I was also scheduled on a register for three hours each day. I don’t even want to say any more about how I feel about it because that would be unprofessional, and I’m sure it’s plenty obvious enough as it is. ANYWAY despite the extreme rush job of the whole thing, which ended up being less that two seven and a half hour shifts, I still think I did a pretty good job. Here’s the group photo of the first round of steaks: Flat Iron Steak, Fillet Mignon, Top Sirloin, New York Strip, and Ribeye; all paint marker on foam core and larger than life-sized.

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Five out of six of them were painted in one shift and I saved the beef brisket and the next five for the second day. Here it is with the brisket finished:

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Close up of the Brisket:

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Close up of the Flat Iron Steak:

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Close up of the Filet Mignon:

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Close up of the Top Sirloin:

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Close up of the New York Strip:

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Close up of my favorite steak of all and also the most fun to draw, the Ribeye:

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Here’s the group shot of the rest of that second round of meat that I made yesterday; Tri Tip Roast, Steak Tips, Pot Roast, and Flank Steak:

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Even after I volunteered to stay forty minutes late to work on this, I still wasn’t given enough time to finish the very last illustration, Stew Meat. I was kinda sad about that but as usual, nobody cared. Luckily another artist I work with finished it for me and it ended up looking really good.

Close up of the Tri Tip Roast:

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Close up of the Steak Tips (fajita steak!)

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Close up of the Pot Roast (the hardest one to do in so little time.)

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Close up of the Flank Steak:

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That’s all I got. Oh, and everyone happened to find the state of my desktop right now to be quite amusing and disturbing.

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I’ll be an awful and lazy person and quote my own Facebook post on the subject…

Some points worth noting:

1. My choice of background image on my desktop right now and pretty much always is Rick Baker’s masterpiece from An American Werewolf in London.

2. My desktop is full of stock photos of children comforting each other because I needed some reference images for a particular pose in the book that I’m illustrating.

3. My desktop is also full of images of steak and slabs of red meat from the Valentine’s meat display project that I was just working on at Trader Joe’s. Also a few pictures of people wearing creepy paper masks and a file entitled “Brown Granny Boots” for some shoes I was going to list on eBay.

See, so it’s not what it looks like…but I think if Little Red Riding Hood stole my laptop right now, she would probably give it back.

 

 

 

 

Another Illustration in Progress Sequence

Published February 10, 2016 by baileyquillincooper

I just wrote another “odd happenings” post, so just like last time I’m going to follow it with another work-in-progress photo sequence of my latest illustration from my children’s book “Kris & Krampus Kringle”. Again sorry for the poor photo quality. I’ll probably post the much better scanned version of it later…or maybe I’ll be a big meanie and just make you buy the book.

Here’s what I was able to get with my phone to sort of give you the idea of my process. First the final pencil sketch. It was a more complicated one that required me finding a lot of reference images online; taking me almost five hours to complete from scratch.

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Next I inked it, which took me about another hour. You can see that this photo was taken before I attacked the whole thing with a kneaded eraser to clean up all the graphite, so you can see both the pencil lines and the inked outline simultaneously.

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I let the ink completely dry overnight this time before I hit it with the eraser. It’s not necessary to do that and usually I’m not even patient enough, but the ink from these pens can dry deceivingly slowly. The heat of my desk lamp probably doesn’t help the situation, and there’s nothing worse than cleaning up my nice perfect ink outline with an eraser and dragging a big black smudge across the page in the process. So pretty much if I’m at a place where I can either take a break or let it dry overnight, I always try to do that.

Here’s the inked outline with the pencil lines erased:

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Then I started the coloring with my faithful Prismacolor markers. I colored Kris and Dasher first, and also a tree for some reason. My desk was a mess.

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Then I started on the underpainting of the snow:

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Maybe you’ve never thought about it before but snow is never just white (insert yellow snow joke here.) Seriously though…because of the way it reflects light and shadows snow is actually pretty colorful. Here’s it after I added more layers of color to the snow and also some of the shadows:

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Then I realized I hadn’t colored in the frozen creek yet, so next I did that.

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Then I did a bunch of other stuff because I couldn’t stop. I basically finished the entire illustration, minus the falling snow from the blizzard.

Before Snow

Yikes, the colors look horrible in these pictures. The scan will be much, much better!

Here’s one more crappy photo of the final piece. In case you were wondering, I painted in the snow with a white-out pen in order to give it that classic Rankin/Bass look. All of the coloring took me about five hours to do, so all in all this is about an 11-hour illustration. Yep, contrary to what so many may unfortunately believe, quality artwork takes time!

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Oh well, what did you think you were gonna get for free anyway?

 

 

 

More Odd Happenings: A Tale of Two Parties (Bowie Tribute and Groundhog Day Hogabilly 2016)

Published February 10, 2016 by baileyquillincooper

I wasn’t going to do another one of these “odd happenings” posts, but odd things just keep happening to me. This past weekend was also great and very productive (see my next post) and for once I finally got to go to a Bowie tribute night dressed as Marc Bolan. On Friday night Martyn had to babysit the Little Pigs so we got to Club 21 a little late but definitely not too late to party. Local bands were playing Bowie until just about closing time. Martyn wore his Halloween Jack getup again, putting all the Party City red rocker wig Bowies to shame, and I actually for once was recognized as Marc–multiple times even–and got mad props for looking disturbingly like him and doing something a little more outside of the box. Speaking of the box…I even saw a Bowie incarnation from his poofy sleeve mime days (haha, you see what I did there?) There were also plenty of other Bowie incarnations besides Ziggy and not a single Goblin King. I saw a more recent Lazarus Button Eyes Bowie, a 90’s goatee type Bowie, The Thin White Duke, and a big floppy sunhat that might have been an even earlier Bowie but I only managed to see the hat. I also kept seeing Metal dudes that had long blonde wave hair and mistaking them for The Man Who Sold The World, which is something that they totally should have done with the already having hair like that, but instead of a long flowing dress they were just wearing their boring Metal band vests and jeans which was a big disappointment. I would have liked to see all of the Bowies arranged in chronological order for a photo if the event was any sort of place for organization…which it totally wasn’t! I didn’t even think I took any photos from that night but then I found this hideous thing on my phone:

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All I can make out is some guy I don’t recognize, my chin, Halloween Jack’s eyepatch, and I think that’s Brian Crace from The Cry on the right, who we were hanging out with all night…but it’s really hard to be sure.

The other strange and delightful happening of the past weekend was when Martyn and I went to a party at a stranger’s house on Saturday night. We had been invited at least. Actually it during at a previous fun Club 21 event (one of Martyn’s D.J. nights as D.J. Marty King) that we were invited. A sweet couple that were both much older than us but were still partying hard had come up to the D.J. table and complimented Martyn on the music. The woman then told me that she was going to be throwing a fab themed party at her house on February 6th for Groundhog Day, and that this is something that she does every year. Every year it’s groundhogs but with a different spin…last year was Hoggy Stardust and the Varmints from Mars, this year was Hogabilly, so rockabilly groundhogs. She told me the party was going to be really big and really crazy, and because she liked the look of us we were both invited, since she likes to “collect people.” Going on a gut feeling that this was a good thing and not a creepy House of Wax thing, I had saved just the date and the intersection of the two streets nearest to their house in my phone.

So the day of the party finally came and my curiosity would not let me just leave it alone. I had no name, no phone number, and not even the time of the party to go on. At 10:30 that night we decided to just find the intersection on Google Maps, drive there and look for a house that was obviously having a party, park somewhere, and walk right on in based on the assumption that it was hopefully the right place and there would be no weird sex stuff going on when we walked in the front door. Luckily that’s pretty much exactly what we ended up doing…and there was no weird sex stuff happening by the way, just about a hundred assorted guests partying and a professional live rockabilly band playing in the parlor of this gorgeous and grand victorian mansion of a house. People were all swing dancing while decked out in their full rockabilly attire, putting my leather jacket and couture party dress handmade by an indie designer in Asheville, NC to shame! The best or at least most unique part of it all wasn’t even the party itself, but the hostess’s extensive collection of original groundhog art. Everywhere you looked in her very big house there was groundhog paraphernalia, most of it obviously handmade by artists, friends and family. I asked her how long she had been collecting the hogs, and she told me at least for as long as the party has been going on, which was 19 years and counting! Somehow we had stumbled upon a real Portland tradition just by looking cool or something, and it made us feel very special to be a part of it.

Here’s a couple of pictures I managed to snap of the groundhog collection while I was there. Some of them are blurry either because my phone sucks, I was kinda drunk, or someone bumped into me at the exact moment that I took the photo. That happened a lot due to all the crazy dancing and the sheer amount of guests that were at this party.

This is just the front door.

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I think I took that last one of the poster inside the house, because you can see some of the paper groundhog garlands that were all over the parlor/living room. Also, not a groundhog, but check out this sweet clarinet chandelier!

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Past the parlor there was big table of previously attacked snacks with a giant handmade groundhog cookie jar for a centerpiece, as well as what appeared to be messages in Latin. I’m a rebel so I read the Latin, or at least I tried to. I think my pronunciation must have been really bad because no undead groundhogs rose from the grave to get us. You can also see the Hoggy Stardust poster from the previous year’s part in the background.

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More groundhog artwork:

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A big dead stuffed hog on the floor that had been squished from all the dancing:

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A hog totem and some hoggy wine:

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Some more posters from groundhog parties past:

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Weird Hog News by the bathroom. Martyn looks very confused.

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So yeah, what an awesome and fascinating night. I feel like we were taking part in a little piece of Portland history by just being there and I felt very honored and inspired. I really hope we get invited back next year…now I’ll just have to remember her name!

 

 

Four Paneled Illustration Completed

Published February 4, 2016 by baileyquillincooper

Over the past weekend I also finished those last two panels of that four paneled illustration I had been working on. I don’t have a lot of in-progress pics but I did get a few. My last post was mostly a lot of words, a couple of photos, but nothing actually from my book, so I’ll just make this one start out a lot of pictures of my book illustrations in sequential order.

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Oh and here’s an actual scan of it that I got yesterday after I took off all the tape:

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The painter’s tape actually tore up the borders much more than I thought it would when I removed it, but I suppose that’s nothing that I can’t fix up later with the computer.

I’m not going to post every page from now on like this because I still want the storyline to be a surprise, but I’ll probably be posting some more in-progress stuff as I go along. Next I’ll working on page number 26 out of 32…getting much closer now!

 

Just Some Odd and Inspiring Weekend Happenings

Published February 3, 2016 by baileyquillincooper

For this post I am trying something new. I decided to just write about some of the odd happenings that I experienced over the past weekend so you can get a little glimpse into my world and the sort of things that can inspire me and influence my thought process. I had a very busy and chaotic week followed by a really nice and productive weekend. Well, I suppose that Friday night was still pretty stressful and didn’t go so well. First I worked the early shift at Trader Joe’s, but had to stay late in one last attempt to finish a big foam core mobile for the February/Valentine’s Fearless Flyer, something that I had been trying to do all week long but was never granted any decent measure of uninterrupted time in which to do so. It was suggested to me to just keep with the Victorian clip art that is always present in the Flyer, so I made a smug Victorian couple eating Trader Joe’s Sriracha potato chips while sitting on a lecherous crescent moon. For some reason aristocrats with stuck-up, punchable faces are among my most favorite subjects to draw. I based my design off of this Victorian era Valentine card:

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Although I definitely do get tired of the same standard Victorian public domain art that I am so used to working with now, I still love Victorian Valentine’s cards (as well as the odd postcard art from other holidays) because they always somehow manage to keep an element of the surreal and unexpected. A lot of them are really quite trippy if you look through them in an image search, lots of defying gravity, a weird sense of scale and proportion, a lot of anthropomorphic animals, objects, and I guess in this case celestial bodies. I think there must have been good money in the postcard business once upon a time, because it seems like the artists were always trying to outdo one another. Here’s my attempt at either referencing or outdoing the original…and sorry for the lower quality Instagram photo:

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I don’t know if you can even tell from that photo, but my Victorian woman even has potato chip crumbs mingling with the rose petals and a grease stain on her lap. The part that I still could not get 100% finished even after staying half an hour late was the little extra dangle heart hanging from the man’s foot that says, “T.J.’s Fearless Flyer is here!” The first heart I had made was such a rush job that the letters were not quite up to my quality standards and the paint couldn’t even dry in time, getting all smudged and ruined. I was so frustrated that I had to just throw it away and just make a new one after I returned from my weekend, but sometimes that’s just how it goes.

After finishing my work at Trader Joe’s I had to battle the second bout of rush hour traffic in order to get to the Vine Gogh Sellwood studio and teach an evening class, pretty much having to go straight there without any break or a bite to eat since breakfast. Although it was a painting that I was familiar with, it was a full house and the noisiest class that I have ever taught. The Sellwood studio is very small and the little stage where the painting instructor stands with their easel is just a few steps away from the rest of the class. Still, with my mic turned up as loud as it could reasonably go and me shouting until my voice started to get hoarse, I could barely get a word in over one particularly raucous group of people that made it nearly impossible for the other half of the room to follow along with what I was saying. Due to the painting itself, the nature of the crowd that I taught that night, and the amount of accidental spills, dirty brushes, dirty palettes, and dirty dishes, the bartender and I both ended up having to stay very late.

Normally I wouldn’t have minded whatsoever, but I knew that because of all of this I was also going to be running extremely late for a Bowie tribute dance party that I had been looking forward to all month at The Lovecraft Bar. Lovecraft is a great venue in general, and this particular event was a costume party with a suspiciously high number of positive RSVP’s on the Facebook page. I had been really worried about getting there on time in case they had to the limit admission later. I was going as Marc Bolan and Martyn would be dressed as David Bowie’s Halloween Jack persona, which added one more later of complication to the matter. The costumes I had already made in the past were just fine, it’s just the finding the time to get dressed up that is often the most difficult part. Luckily I had anticipated this and even planned everything out to work with with my tight schedule–Martyn was already dressed and ready to go by the time my class was over, and I was already wearing most of my Marc Bolan costume all day and just needed to quickly throw on my corkscrew hair, top hat, and some extra glitter before we set off. We still got there a little over an hour after the show had started, waited in a long line outside in the wet cold, and then finally had the doors closed right in our faces upon the discovery that the party had just been shut down by the fire marshall for exceeding capacity. Let me remind you that this was after I worked for over twelve hours that day and had still not had anything to eat since breakfast. I guess it was just one of those days. Here’s my favorite picture of us from the night, taken before we got there obviously:

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After the big disappointment we ended up roaming down to a little dive bar down the block called My Father’s Place to join up with the rest of the miffed but beautifully outfitted Bowie fans. At least the place had two of our favorite meals on the menu–Eggs Benedict and Liver and Onions, with Espresso Stout and Gin & Tonic to drink…and man, did we ever need it at that point. Also The Thin White Duke was there too, which I thought was pretty cool. He even admitted to hijacking the jukebox so that it would only play Bowie songs for the next several hours…what a guy!

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Thankfully Saturday was a much better day. Martyn and I went with our friend Chelsea to an art show opening at a gallery in North Portland called Disjecta. Chelsea knew some people involved in the show and had heard that there would be some Norwegian troll costumes involved. I have a thing for Nordic trolls (like, actually) and had been wanting to see some more art shows around town, so I happily obliged. It turned out to be both an amazing and inspiring experience. Here’s some info about it I got from Travel Portland’s website:

” A Mortal Song is an exhibition with performance elements by Norwegian artist Tori Wrånes and Portland-based artist Caley Feeney. Both artists use intimate symbol systems and idiosyncratic languages to traverse contemporary landscapes. Weaving together influence from pop-culture, special effects, dreams, noise, and the subconscious. A Mortal Song will include installation, large sculpture, works on paper, and sound to create an imagined world that collapses in and out of our own.

Part of the Season 5 Curator-in-Residence program, Sound is Matter. ”

It’s difficult for me to really describe all of the layers of what I saw. There were some strange and intriguing splatter relief paintings on the walls–weird clashing colors and textures on plain whitewashed wooden panels. There were latex and multimedia sculptures of fragmented body parts like partial faces, bodyless clothing hanging from the ceiling, and a colorful cast hands all in a big pile. There was a very haunting musical performance with simple melody that you couldn’t get out of your head, performed by a vocalist, a keyboardist, one electrical guitarist, and a guy clicking drumsticks together. Then there was the best part of all, that made all of the previous works kind of come together and make a lot more sense–the big performance/installation art piece. The place was completely packed by the way, with the audience all crammed into the space and kneeling next to each other on the floor. The whole room got silent and a fog machine filled the air with a thick swirling white mist. A booming audio track of a pulsating, foghorn type sound played through the surround speakers as the performers slowly entered the room. When I mean slowly…I mean completely in slow motion, and mostly hidden in the fog. All dressed in long white fur costumes, you could see a mess of twisting limbs that rolled along the floor perfectly slowly and in synch with the movement of the fog. At first it was impossible to even tell how many performers there were, because they were all moving on top of one another as if they were one being. One by one five performers emerged in their strange yet beautiful troll costumes, with makeup prosthetics on their faces, hands, and feet that probably explained all of the colorful latex fragments used in the other art pieces from before. One which I could only presume to be Mama Troll made music with a long wind instrument and her voice, which was somehow very communicative even though I don’t think she ever spoke any in any particular language. Some of the trolls had little glowing blue lights hidden in their fur, and two of them had long swinging white braids with weighted humming noisemakers at the end which would buzz and sing as they helicoptered them through the air. Like I said, I can’t really describe any of this without sounding really dumb. Let’s just say that I highly recommend seeing it if you ever get the chance! An image from Disjecta’s Twitter page:

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I think the only downside to the show was that there was a socially awkward dude with a man-bun roaming around the gallery afterwards, bothering women by taking their hands in his and claiming that he could read their dragon energy or whatever kind of lame New Agey excuse he was using to extract unsolicited female contact. He wasn’t with the show; he was just that one of those in every crowd type guy. We promptly left after that anyway, got half a dozen donuts from Heavenly Donuts, and ended up staying at Sandy Hut for the rest of the night because Martyn had a D.J. gig. I think I had some really weird dreams that night.

The last thing that happened over the weekend that was both inspiring and a little painful was Martyn and I went back to Oddball on Sunday to get a couple more tattoos from Sarah Crosley. He got his pinball machine Elvira, I got my five little plastic piggies, and we both got our matching Blackstar. It’s kind of a long story actually, so I’m going to just be lazy and paste this all from my Instagram. If you’ve read it already, good on you, because I am done writing new any content for the night!

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When I was a kid my Dad used to do a lot of traveling. He was gone a lot and I didn’t always know where he was, but whenever he did come back home he would bring me and my siblings little trinket souvenirs from his travels. One time he gave me five tiny plastic pigs in a ziplock bag that came from a magic shop in Chinatown. When I asked him what they were for, he just sort of shrugged and said, “I dunno, I just thought you would like them.” Many years later, when my Dad was sick in the hospital for what would be the very last time, I decided to start carrying the little bag of five pigs in my wallet so it would be with me at all times, and that’s where it has remained ever since. My Dad was the fifth person in my family and it has now been five years since he passed away, giving the little piggies even more significance in a way. They were also the inspiration for one of my latest tattoos, which I will reveal next.

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Five little piggies. Thanks @sarahcrosley!

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I like how three of the five piggies are dancing around the black flame #witchbitch skull candle. Now I have a wolf, a wishbone, some pigs, a spider with something spelled out in its web and a chicken foot…my right arm is like some weird cross between Charlotte’s Web and The Brother’s Grimm.

While @powerpoppins and I were at @oddballtattooery, we also both got matching#blackstar tattoos. I was already preoccupied with the five year anniversary of losing my Dad to a terminal cancer when we also lost David Bowie to the same thing. I had actually just gotten home from making my tattoo appointment for the five piggies for my Dad when I heard the sad news. I don’t really even need to tell you how much that guy meant to us, because it’s the same with so many other people all over the world. I will however share with you the lyrics to the Elvis song that the final album Blackstar made reference to when it was released on David Bowie and Elvis Presley’s shared birthday, because they helped determine the placement of the tattoo and I happen to think that they are beautiful:

“Every man has a black star
A black star over his shoulder
And when a man sees his black star
He knows his time, his time has come

Black star don’t shine on me, black star
Black star keep behind me, black star
There’s a lot of livin’ I gotta do
Give me time to make a few dreams come true, black star.”

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From Sarah Crosley’s Instagram:

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Oh yeah, and Martyn’s other tattoo…he got the design from a cartoon we saw on the Elvira Pinball table!

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