A Mixed Bag Of Epic Battles, Social Networking, and Therapeutic Craftiness

So, this update is going to be a bit all over the place. First off, I will be participating in Do-All of Bay City‘s Art Clash for the third year in a row with a new(ish) friend I met through teaching at Creative 360. Heather is a wonderful artist and keeps an art blog as well, so be sure to check her out! We had such a great time last year. It’s crazy for me to create a piece of art from scratch completely live, since I usually don’t even share idea sketches with anyone but (occasionally) my parents and boyfriend, and in progress works in my studio area are hidden when people come over to my apartment. An example, back in college I spied a friend that was over flipping through my sketchbook (Without even asking! The audacity! – other artists, you know what I’m talking about!) on the other side of the room and I took a running start and tackled him WWE style to get it back ASAP. A fun fact about me; I basically dislike all sports, but I flat out hate wrestling, and honestly find any activity whose basis centers around causing bodily harm to another human being to be fundamentally disturbing. Despite this, apparently in the right circumstances…

The vulnerability of allowing others to see your “in progress” work all the way through, even in its awkward phases, coupled with a pretty short time limit of only 3 hours makes this kind of event something I always swore I could never do. Then, in 2013 I forced myself to try it specifically because I swore I couldn’t do it, and now I am addicted. Art battles are everywhere, but the cool thing specifically about Do-All’s art battle is that 50% of the proceeds from finished pieces auctioned at the event go to Do-All, an organization that provides activities and services to people with disabilities – pretty cool! Many of the students from their Do-Art program also participate in the battle, so you’re immersed amongst all different types of people from all walks of life which makes it a really fun environment. Last year, my piece even made it into the top 10 award winners which was super exciting. I have an idea prepared for where I want to go with this year’s piece, but it cannot be revealed at this time :). I’ll post the finished product after tomorrow evening!

Transformation, 18x24 Mixed Media, Do-All of Bay City's Annual Art Clash Award Winner

Transformation, 18×24 Mixed Media, Do-All of Bay City’s 2014 Annual Art Clash Award Winner

Next bit of news, as if I don’t have enough social media accounts … (I just finally made a twitter after discovering that there is actually a ton of interesting information and inspiration bouncing around on there, and not simply “hey guys, I just made a sandwich!” which was my initial assumption. @AlliseNoble, get at me!) I recently discovered Artistically Social, and of course since it’s completely free, I couldn’t resist creating a gallery. It’s a bit bare bones right now, but I’ll be slowly adding more prints and hopefully a lot more originals for sale as well, so please check out the gallery.

I need to finish quite a few new pieces by the end of this coming summer for some solo local exhibits around town, but I had just been feeling really burnt out lately from doing so much *serious* fine art work and longed to work on some creative pursuits that were just crafty and fun. My paper dolls and stuffed creatures for sale at Imagine That, a local handmade gift shop in Midland, also got pretty cleaned out in March so I have a legitimate excuse. I’ll post photos once I get a little further on the new paper dolls, and also introduce you to some monster friends. Another “for fun” project I’ve been working on is the amazing Artist Leesy pop vinyl! I really don’t need anymore plastic toy clutter around (if you saw my apartment, you’d understand) so I’ve restrained myself from actually buying any, but I love Funko’s Pop! Vinyl characters so, so much. After Christmas, I was at the mall perusing all the after holiday discounts and I discovered they actually had DIY blank bodies. They were on clearance, and I had a Barnes and Noble gift card – score. I did buy actual books as well, not just toys, I promise. My little mini-me muse will grace my desk from this day forth.

3 of many monster friends who have found good homes

3 of many monster friends who have found good homes

So far just the paper mache hair! (Yes, my kitchen is very green)

Vinyl Pop! Leesy: So far just the paper mache hair! (Yes, my kitchen is very green)

Adding some color (complete with freckles)

Adding some color (complete with freckles)

My characteristic magical silver slippers are a go, and all painting is done - now for the details.

My characteristic magical silver slippers are a go, and all painting is done – now for the details.

Artist Leesy and her trusty resurrected brontosaurus companion, all in a day's work.

Skirt, check! Hair bow, check! Drawing utensils, check! Artist Leesy and her trusty resurrected brontosaurus companion, all in a day’s work.

Wish me luck at the Art Clash tomorrow, photos soon!

No Canvas, No Problem! – Using Unexpected Materials

I first discovered my love of corrugated cardboard when the movie “The Science of Sleep” came out. If you haven’t watched it, it’s an extremely visually fun movie and you should check it out. If you have, the various imaginary cardboard-based sets depicting the main character’s dream worlds, such as the car chase sequence or the cardboard cityscape, attracted me to corrugated cardboard’s simple, whimsical, DIY charm. I started using it for projects in college not only for the charm itself but for utilitarian reasons. After having to buy so many canvases and large pieces of illustration board for studio assignments, by the time I got around to my own personal projects I simply didn’t want to have to buy another damn thing! It was light and easy to transport for painting outdoors on nice days, and was readily available at no cost.

Cardboard also offers more easy textural options than canvases simply by layering or ripping away at its surface. Tearing away at the cardboard’s outer layer reveals the interesting ribbed texture beneath to be used as a design component. Layering torn edges automatically gives your piece an industrial, time weathered feel like the monochromatic cityscape below. Scraps can even be used to roll, crinkle, and fold 3D elements, such as the rosettes at the bottom of my fish bride piece. There is a story to this one; my roommates and I had 2 feeder goldfish we rescued from the tank at the grocery: Mr. Mustache and Mistress Bouffant. This is why I don’t have pets. Even the death of this tiny, normally dinner to bigger fish, goldfish caused distress, and I decided I needed to immortalize her. I used broken glass as bubbles due to the clear, reflective nature of the pieces. I still remember smashing bottles with a hammer on the front porch of our apartment. A neighbor asked what I was up to, to which my quick answer was, “Our fish just died.” I only realized in retrospect how that must have appeared, me furiously hammering away with that statement as my only explanation. No wonder they were never too chatty with us.

I’ve included some photos of my own experiments as well as some cardboard art by other artists as inspiration. The next time you get a package in the mail and have some extra cardboard laying around, I’d encourage you to give a project like these a try.

RIP Mistress Bouffant, Mr. Mustache will morn your absence. (A side note, the other goldfish really did have a black marking above his lip that looked exactly like a drawn on mustache.)

RIP Mistress Bouffant, Mr. Mustache will morn your absence. (A side note, the other goldfish really did have a black marking above his lip that looked exactly like a drawn on mustache.)

Painting on layered cardboard, using the texture of the corrugation as part of the design.

The flawless, traditional black and white portrait contrasts with a work surface left rough; with dents, tears, and even leftover paint smeared here and there as if the artist was cleaning off their brush.

Valery Koshlyakov – High-rise on Raushskaya Embankment (2006) – Tempera on Cardboard

Retro Barbies, acrylic on cardboard

My retro Barbies, acrylic on cardboard