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A Bad Day & Dessert Foods

Published April 5, 2016 by baileyquillincooper

I’ve had a really rotten day. I took my dog Grendel to the vet for what I thought would just be a routine checkup and shots update and found out that he’s not only got a nasty ear infection, but also a fractured molar. In the corrupt world of animal vet care that translates to a little over $1,4000 and countless future hours of pain and suffering for all. I would know, because about six months after we adopted our three legged dog back in 2012 and acquired our very first credit card debt as newlyweds by moving into our first rental home, we discovered that Grendel had an infected canine tooth that had been cracked up the back (possibly from the same accident that had taken his leg) and had to shell out a similarly obscene amount of money that we didn’t have and of course lots of pain and suffering…so let’s just say that I know this story pretty well by now. But you know, that’s ok, it’s not like my husband and I were already scraping together every last penny to buy our first house this year as we struggle to get our careers out of the corporate retail gutter and onto the right track at last. Oh wait!

But enough of my problems. Here’s some more anthropomorphic dessert foods that I made for work. Maybe they will cheer you up if your day was as rotten as mine. I also got to work on my book this week for a few seconds, but I will share more of that once I get those illustrations scanned.

Let’s review. The Macarons:

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Comedy and Tragedy Popsicles:

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Mochi Dudes, based off of the food mascots on the package:

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Sublime Ice Cream Cookie Sandwich; just the line work:

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Ice Cream Cookie Monster with color:

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Work in progress group photo:

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Joe-Joe’s Toucan, eating a Joe-Joe’s Cookies n’ Cream Ice Cream cone…which is probably not too safe for toucan consumption:

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Lemon Meringue Roger Klotz Pie, Chocolate Ganache Cake, and Baby Mini Pie Medley family; just the line work:

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Second verse same as the first, only now in color:

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Erupting Chocolate Lava Cake:

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Another group photo:

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A final group photo of them all on the front of the freezer case, joining some of the previous characters and lettering that was on there before:

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And that is it for the anthropomorphic dessert foods. Sorry that this just of a rehash from my Instagram and Facebook posts. Since today kinda sucked, I figured that this would still be better than nothing.

 

 

 

 

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The End

Published March 29, 2016 by baileyquillincooper

EDIT: Ahhh! I totally forgot to include the picture I took of that double page illustration I was working on in my last post after I colored it! Here it is:

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I know it’s just an oddly cropped photo and I have gotten a real scan of this since, but I’m only going to post the oddly cropped one for now to leave the rest of it a secret. Ok, back to your regularly scheduled post below!

Over the end of the past week and weekend I got a few new little things started and one big thing finished. Due to the usual bummer time constraints of last week I didn’t really get any of the projects I was working at Trader Joe’s finished, but I got at least one of them off to a good start. I’m working on a few large drawings of anthropomorphic dessert foods to (believe it or not) replace some of the older large drawings of anthropomorphic dessert foods that are on the side of the freezer case. The old desserts were drawn by another artist before me and a lot of them are of seasonal or discontinued products, so I’m just supposed to just freshen it up a bit with some new illustrations. On Friday I started on some macarons.

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I loved using that muted pastel color palette. When I ever get back to illustrating my very first children’s book story about Pinky Dandy I definitely want to use colors like that for the book.

Speaking of my children’s book work, on Saturday night I went to Comix Thing with Martyn and some friends who were sharing his table at the event. He sold a lot of buttons, and I walked around for a while and was inspired by the variety of printed indie comics, books, and zines at all the tables, as well as some other artwork and merchandise that people were selling. It made me look forward to the day when I can sell my own finished books at an event like that. I also sketched a little while we were there.

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It’s meant to be my same character, Krampus Kringle, as an adult. For some reason he kind of reminds me of Nicholas Cage in that drawing. Here’s the sketch I did later of my other character, Kris Kringle, all grown up. This one is more self-explanatory.

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The reason I decided to figure out what they would both look like older is because on the last page of my children’s book, the page that will say THE END, there is going to be a final illustration of them many years later working as partners. The drawing is based on this relatively well-known image from an antique postcard of St. Nicholas and Krampus.

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I had seen so many Krampus postcards before I ever saw that one in particular. I even own a book that’s a collection of Victorian Krampus artwork. It was that very image, however, that first got me to wondering why in the world those two dudes would be such good friends. Usually friends share a lot of common interests, unless of course their friendship goes way, way back…to their early childhood even. I’ve even seen a couple of vintage postcards where Krampus is riding a motorcycle and Santa is in his sidecar! So basically in seeing them so happy and oddly well-acquainted with each other, I came to the conclusion that they just had to be siblings…and that is pretty much exactly how I first came up with the idea for my story.

Here is my version of the postcard:

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Martyn said that older Krampus looks like Morrissey, which I guess I can see…it’s the silver streaks in the hair. I drew this on red paper with the same black flair felt tip pens and colored pencils (black, white, metallic gold, and a little bit of peach/skin tone.) It looked to me as if that’s probably how the original postcard was drawn. It was really hard to see it while I was drawing under the desk lamp because the pencil, especially the gold, is super reflective. I’m just glad that it scanned ok.

I’m going to hand letter THE END in that same German storybook style calligraphy that’s on the original postcard. Now I’ve just got to do illustrations for the book covers, the title page, and the dedication page!

 

 

My Three Jobs

Published March 23, 2016 by baileyquillincooper

So I was just going to do another illustration in progress post when I realized that I also have a few cool work in progress photos from my other two jobs. The week before last was the release of the March Fearless Flyer at Trader Joe’s. I usually have very little emotional attachment for the artwork I create at T.J.’s because it’s often so strictly regulated, overdone, and such a long shot from any of the subjects that I would willingly choose to illustrate. Also, due to the frequent impossible time restraints I sometimes either have to crank out something of substandard quality that I would never bother to post here or anywhere else, cut out lots of artwork and original ideas entirely, or just finish the Flyer artwork a week after the Flyer has already landed. This past week was the latter but at least it afforded me enough extra time to actually make some things that I could be proud of.

March is the Spring Flyer so I wanted to make some kind of visual reference to blooming flowers. St. Patrick’s Day and Easter are both this month so I also wanted to sneak in some clover and pastel, Spring-y colors. The boss wanted us to include this Victorian clip art dude from the front page of the Flyer.

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I don’t know why he is a goose-stepping scuba diver with riding pants or what that has to do with springtime…maybe a reference to a certain song from The Producers? Whatever this dude’s problem is, I did my very best to incorporate him into the seasonal theme on the template I made for all of the Flyer shelf signs.

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I redrew him in that same black and white woodcut style and colored in the rest of the template in an attempt to create that whole colorizing effect they used in Wizard of Oz and Pleasantville…like he’s bringing back color and life to the landscape with his scuba diving riding wizard staff. For some reason, something about this seems very post-apocalyptic to me.

Later I also designed a big sign of the same weird dude to hang in the entrance of the store. Here’s my thumbnail sketch:

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Here’s what the final sign ended up looking like. You probably can’t tell from the photo but the guy is somewhat 3-D and pops out from the background.

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Then, as if I hadn’t drawn that stupid guy enough, I also made a chalkboard sign for the entrance of the store. This time I only drew his helmet to mix it up a bit and suggest that maybe he eventually perished in said post-apocalyptic world and was returned to nature.

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Today I was working on a thumbnail sketch for my next big sign project. It was requested that I just make a giant garlic clove to point to the often overlooked crushed garlic in the frozen section. This will be interesting. So far I’ve drawn a Victorian garlic clove hot air balloon since this company really loves its nonsensical Victorian clip art. I might even donate one of the plastic garlic cloves that I have at home in my craft supplies to use as part of the anchor. Yes, I do have a bag full of plastic garlic cloves at home. You really can find anything at SCRAP PDX.

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After my last shift of the week at Trader Joe’s on Friday I went over to the Vine Gogh painting studio in Sellwood so that Paul could teach me the painting I would be teaching on Sunday. In case you didn’t realize, my second job is teaching part-time as an art instructor.

A little backstory: After six years of working five days/forty hours a week at Trader Joe’s while I struggled to complete my own artwork and serious portfolio stuff on the side, I had a major mental and psychical burnout. I came to the realization that I no longer saw T.J.’s as my desired long-term career, but as just a job to pay the bills and keep me afloat as I work hard on becoming who I actually wanted to be when I grow up. To this day I am still struggling to work all of that out, but my decision to cut back at T.J.’s from five days a week to four days a week at the end of last year has so far proven to be one of the best that I have ever made. At first I was terrified of the pay cut and of the possibility of losing our health insurance, so I made sure that I still worked the minimum 30 hours required to qualify for insurance each week and I found a second job to use as my financial safety net. I had never really thought of teaching art before I started teaching at Vine Gogh–but as it turns out, not only am I really good at it, but I also really love doing it. It’s a pretty fulfilling feeling when someone over the age of 60 tells you that they have never painted before in their entire life and that you have just taught them something that they wish they had known all along…and given them enough confidence in themselves to finally give it a try. After my class on Sunday a woman slipped me an extra twenty buck tip and personally thanked me for being such a big help. I’m pretty sure that I have never gotten that kind of appreciation at my day job before!

I teach these painting classes at art studios in Sellwood and in Tigard. Each class is only about three hours long, so whenever I teach on the weekend I usually still have the rest of that day to work on my own artwork. Both studios have a bar, so people will attend the classes as a social outing, order drinks, and then create a painting as I break it down for them step by step, Bob Ross style. Right now they’re building a second studio right next door to the one in Tigard called Vincent’s Loft. It’s going to have turn of the century, steampunk kinda decor and offer classes other than the usual acrylic paintings on canvas. We’ve been throwing around ideas of me teaching illustration classes, cartooning and caricature, other mediums like watercolor, colored pencil, and pen and ink, and even polymer clay sculpture. I can’t wait to see how it’s all going to turn out…it’s just really nice to have something to look forward to again!

The work in progress pictures I have from the painting classes actually aren’t of me or my painting. I just took these photos of Paul in action when he was teaching me one of his own paintings on a small canvas so that I could teach it on Sunday. I guess you could say that they’re more like my notes than anything, but it’s cool to see how he busted this quickie version of it out in like ten minutes.

This is the painting that he was teaching me, Mountain Lake:

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Here’s him working in the same sequence that I later used to teach this painting.

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Note: This is the point where, when I was teaching this painting, everyone took a drink break and let the background dry.

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Additional Note: That highlight on the mountains is a total Bob Ross palette knife technique that we modified for an acrylic paint brush. This is probably the most Bob Ross painting I’ve taught so far.

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Happy trees.

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That’s it! Seriously, this whole thing only took him about ten minutes. It took me just under three hours to teach it (on bigger canvases than this, though.)

So Vine Gogh has been a very good thing for me so far. Although a second job generally means more work, I feel that it has actually allowed me more time to work on my third, last, and most important “job” that I have–making my children’s book. I really have been treating this more like a job than ever lately because that is what I want this to eventually become. I no longer want to be stuck in this place where I have to rely on doing something that I find boring for the majority of my time in order to make a living, and as a result am forced to treat my own artwork and true passions as just a cute hobby whenever I can get to them. I’ve devoted most of my life up to this point to becoming a serious working artist with my art as my main profession, so I’m still just doing whatever I can to shift things around until I can finally feel like I have achieved that goal. It’s been a very interesting ride so far.

Here’s some few work in progress photos from my latest pages.

The pencil drawing. This photo is cropped oddly but you can see about where the center fold of the book would be (it’s going to be a double page spread.)

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Inked over the pencil:

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Pencil lines erased:

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I hope to either finish the coloring on this tonight or come really dang close to it. I will then have pages 30-31 out of 32 completed! After that I will only have the cover, title page, and dedication page art left to go (and formatting all the text…but at least I will have some help with that part!) Yup. Takin’ names.

 

 

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!

 

 

 

 

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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