Thursday, October 18, 2012

White Pumpkin and More Halloween Obsessions

Just a moment to show off the WHITE PUMPKIN Doodle Project.

Halloween is such a sickness for me. I can't stay away from the decor and I've really had to discipline myself. But at Target, they had these "craft pumpkins" that are fake that you can make things out of. I love that concept because I don't like the "pumpkin guts" that come from carving real pumpkins. And since it's still over 90 degrees all day, the idea of having a real pumpkin sitting around to decompose and rot in the sun isn't very appealing.

I grabbed one of the $4.00 pumpkins and over the course of a couple evenings goofing off on the couch, this is what I came up with. I'd love to make more, but I really have to lay off buying more Halloween stuff. It gets out of hand every year!

And this posting from the "Cultural Hall" talks about a few insights from the Utah and Mormon "culture" when it comes to Halloween.

Interesting. I never thought of it from a Mormon perspective. I’m born and raised LDS and I thought I was nuts over Halloween because I’m weird and artsy. I’m also nuts over it because it’s a holiday you don’t have to worry about balancing with “true meaning” like Christmas. With Christmas, we can get carried away, but then there are the lessons of remembering what it’s really about that make it hard to balance sometimes.

Another reason I love Halloween is because my mom hated it when I was growing up and I’m still rebelling I guess. It's not just that though. It's because Halloween is so much fun! I loved it and it was frustrating that she didn't. She was very vocal of how much she hated it and I found that weird since she loves scary movies and mysteries (and weirdly, I love Halloween but hate those kinds of movies and I don't like mysteries either! Tell me "who did it" ahead of time and I can enjoy the "journey" better. haha). Sure, it's easy to get frustrated with costumes, kids hopped up on sugar and all the expense, but like I said, it's so much fun! 

However, I know my Mom wasn't the only one who Bah-Humbugged Halloween. In my teens, we had an ultra-orthodox Stake President (the leader over a collection of "wards". Think of it as a Superintendent over a School district) who one year that came down on members for celebrating Halloween over attending the Saturday adult session of Stake Conference one year. It took place on October 31st! Sorry – but that’s when you schedule Stake Conference for a week earlier or later. But he was a real killjoy and came down on people for "not having their priorities in the right place" when there was a low turn out for the meeting.  He also came down on 18-19 year old youths who left their home wards for singles wards. He said “you’re supposed to be with your families.” He had a strange notion that every family was the Brady Bunch or the Waltons. He also didn't get the "leaving the nest" principle. Yeah, he had some things a little nuts himself, and not in the fun way. But I digress.

One thing I try to do every year is pick up a couple new Halloween decorations, despite the obsession to go nuts. But if we get a little bit each year, we can have quite the collection as getting all that stuff at once is too expensive. Some may say we have "enough" now, and that may be true for our smaller house. But when we have the Wickenburg house on all that land, we'll be glad we pick up a few things every year.
We didn't have to upgrade the spooky decor in our garage windows this year. I love the spider on the far left. I think I got that well before Mikelle was even born. It's made of corn husk and you wouldn't know by looking at it that it's falling apart and it's kept together with some black electrical tape! The witches on the right are made of corn husk too and one bit the dust, one doesn't have a broom anymore and only one is hanging on to her original broom. That's why these items are good for "window silhouette" effects. 

Our caged pirate has been with us now, for oh, 6 or 7 years?
And our cemetery is growing nicely. If we can get 1 or 2 tombstones a year, it's shaping up to be a nice big graveyard!
But Alexander's appearance certainly says "It doesn't feel like Fall." :-(
 And here's our friend Jack. He's kind of on his own on the other side of the driveway. Gosh, I think we got Jack 12 years ago?! But he hasn't aged a day.
And check out the shadow Jack leaves on the wall! Cool, huh?
New additions for this year:

And below, this is a small skeleton. I would love to have a bunch of these and do something really cool I saw in a picture (I'll include it below the skeleton), but at $13 a pop for one "smallish" skeleton, it's just going to have to be something that we can do after a few years after adding to the collection.
I would love to do something like this! Big skeletons are even more expensive, so I hope to do this with small ones eventually!
And I saw this picture and would love to work up to effects like these too!
And lastly, Thank you to my friend Emily who bought my "All Hallow's Eve" Print! My first sale of my Halloween stuff!

Friday, October 12, 2012

Two Weeks Survival

Fall Break. I almost survived it! But I'm getting ahead of myself.  When I don't post here as soon as I should, things get left out. Therefore, I'll add some recent Facebook posts to bring things up to speed. One of them is quite exciting!

Earlier today:
It's so nice to rollerblade when it's in the 70s! Oh, to live where it's like this all summer! (now to just get it to be overcast...)

But it'll be back in the 90s next week. GROWL!!!!!!!!!!

Yesterday (10/11/12):  
So I have Christian go outside to pick up doggie poo to earn part of his allowance. He comes in a few minutes later and says, "Well, now I know what happened to one of my little Lego people..."

Wednesday (10/10/12):  
I found out that Christian can go for hours and be entertained driving around neighborhoods and seeing all the different names of WiFi networks. He just needs someone willing to do the driving. His favorite one tonight? One called "Not Yours" 

Tuesday (10/09/12):  
Reading scriptures tonight, there was a part about the devil and it described him as "miserable". Chris stopped to talk to the kids about what that means. Christian asked, "You mean, like Squidward?"

lol ...

so the discussion went of how yes, Squidward can be miserable, but he's not a miserable person out to make everyone miserable and then certain episodes were cited. Too funny.

Also Tuesday (10/09/12):  
Wow! Yellow letter day for me! I dropped off my Dia De Los Muertos artwork at Sundust and Ron informed me that my original YELLOW COW sold! I don't know what day it was....but wow! I didn't expect that! Yay for the Yellow Cow! (prints are always available through me though....don't forget! More of his friends would love it if they had homes too) 
Photo of the Original Yellow Cow in Black Round Matte 
Saturday (10/6/12):  
Chris left for Priesthood early to run some errands first. Then called from a weird number to say he left his phone at home and can I text his friend Mark and tell him he's on his way to meet him at the chapel. So I did. Then I realized I needed something from Chris and texted Mark (poor Mark). The conversation went as follows:

Mark: Ok, but I haven't seen him yet, but I saw his truck out there.
Me: He doesn't have the truck. He took the other car. (I described it)
Mark: lol...Okay...I will find him. His puffy hair is usually pretty easy to pick out in a crowd.
Me: He just got a haircut
Mark: Crap. I will have to look harder then.
Me: He'll be wearing a white shirt and tie. 

Also Saturday (10/6/12): This is me this week with the Fall Break "Spring" Cleaning and painting:

Back to the title of this entry...
So today is the last day of Fall Break. The kids had two weeks. The first of the two weeks, Chris took a week off. Therefore, I was pretty much the above "gentleman" with painting projects (thanks to Alexander, the walls and a Sharpie) and other things that "had to be done". 

And yes, the original of my Yellow Cow sold! I was very surprised and excited to hear that! Things are happening!! Sure, not as quick as I would like, but they're happening. I dropped off the Original of my Dia De Los Meurtos on Tuesday. (And like the Yellow Cow, you can also purchase color prints of this through me as well):
And lastly, what is the deal with Alexander twisting his shirts like this? This is after the shirt has been on for awhile. Maybe he's trying to take the shirt off. I mean, he likes to take his diaper off (yeah, THAT is fun...), so maybe he's trying to take his shirt off and having a tough time figuring it out. But still...this twisted shirt thing is happening more and more. It only seems to happen at home though. So I don't know. He's such a goofball.


Friday, October 5, 2012

No Muggles

Back in May, I posted this entry: A Muggle's Young Women's Circle Motif. In that entry, I said that I doubted I could get my LDS-specific work into large LDS retailers like Deseret Book or LDS Bookstore because of my Muggle status. I said I would submit, but not be all that surprised at the rejection. Well, I submitted to both, and voila

I'm still a Muggle.

The Deseret Book rejection came this morning and I just shrugged. The one from LDS Bookstore was a week or so ago. While the rejection didn't surprise me, there was something that grinded on me like a pebble in my shoe. The standard "form letter" of rejection read as follows: Thank you for submitting your product. However with most art, we work with two main distributors due to the difficult nature of shipping. I think it would be good to get some more sales experience before you take on a large retailer.

So me, feeling a little snippy that day replied, "So what you're saying is it's not about the quality of the art but the sales experience and business experience of the artist?"

He replied right away. And when I say he, I mean Brandon Young, President of LDS Bookstore.  

Young? He's the President of a large LDS retailer and his last name is Young? Yeah, of course I got rejected. I didn't have the right connections or right last name. Sure, my great-grandfather x4 financed the Kirtland Temple, but he has something like 30,000 descendants by now and I don't share the same last name.

Brother YOUNG's reply is what stuck in my craw. He said, "Well... it's really a combination of a few things. Some of those being the quality of the artwork, the business experience, the price, the demand for the product, etc."

QUALITY of the artwork? First of all, he's the president of the company. He's not an art critic. Second, my prices are about what you would expect for prints. I charge less than $30 for all 12x12 sizes. The reason the YW Poster print (20x20) is more is it's so expensive to have it printed in color and for that size. So of course I'd charge more. So the price argument is a total cop-out.

My Reply:

I understand the business end of it, but as far as quality, I have some mainstream art in a gallery in downtown Mesa (Sundust Gallery) and the reason I don't have many Etsy sales is most of my sales are local so I make the sales on my own (so they don't have shipping costs), and the Etsy shop is relatively new (August 2012). I have been told countless times by fellow friends and other fans of the artwork that it needs to reach a wider population of LDS people. Please contact me when a more unique approach to displaying the temples and other scriptural elements is desired, as that is exactly what my quality of artwork accomplishes. 

And that was that. Chris thinks my last reply was too much, but I disagree. I didn't set out to do this artwork to please people like Brother Young. I don't care if he is president of the company. Plus, since then, I received a custom order from someone I do not know to make a wedding gift for a couple I do not know. That means my Etsy shop is getting more play! I completed the artwork quickly and sent it off. I don't know if the buyer has given it to the couple yet.

Not only that, but I've sold more of my bird motifs on Etsy, and locally I've sold more Temple Prints and another Lehi's Dream print. Sure, I'd love it if business could pick up, but you have to start somewhere.

I also completed a third Halloween print. I titled this one "Stay for a Spell" No one has purchased Halloween art yet, but they are sure fun to do!
Another fun one to do? This "Enjoy the Silence" Depeche Mode tribute:
I added a lengthy description where it was posted on Etsy.  

Depeche Mode released their VIOLATOR album in 1990 and with it is their iconic "Enjoy the Silence" "recorded in 1989 and released on 5 February 1990. Their timeless video directed by The Anton Corbijn takes a "Little Prince" theme (philosophical children's book) where Dave is dressed as a King who appears to have everything in the world, but is just looking for a quiet place to sit. The video with the beautiful European scenery is intercut with black-and-white footage of the band and Brief flashes of the single Violator rose. I agree with Dave Gahan's statement that this Enjoy the Silence video was "Anton at his best."

Why the reference to the World Trade Center? In 1990 a promotional video for Enjoy the Silence was shot by French TV featuring Depeche Mode lip-syncing the song while standing atop the World Trade Center at the WTC rooftop World observatory. This was 11 years before the tragic 9/11 Terrorist Attack and 3 years before the first WTC attack. Google searches can find this video, though if you are in the US, it is hard to find a link where this video is available in the US. I have found it at YouTube, but it is often taken down due to Copyright issues.

"Enjoy the Silence 04" was almost equally successful in the UK, peaking at No. 7 on the UK Singles Chart. In the US, it reached No. 25 on the Billboard Hot Dance Music/Club Play. This is another iconic and amazing video that some say rivals the original 1990 video. For me, it is close to a tie. It has some "Orwell 1984" like animation which flashes to images of the band from various ETS live performances. The building housing the animated characters (only men, interestingly enough) is consumed by what looks to be vines and thorns and blossoming flowers. At the end, all that chaos was a giant Violator Rose. It just doesn't get better than that. To not include references to "Enjoy the Silence 04" and its video in this Enjoy the Silence tribute would be an incomplete shout out to this masterpiece.

I am currently on another custom project and it is quite the adventure around here during Fall Break! Chris is off until after Monday, so we have more household projects to tackle. Must run for now...