geeking out: a cat of impossible talent

One of the most exciting and rewarding things about being an active member of a creative community is all the amazing people to meet (and by whom to be inspired). Many of the artists we feature here, and befriend in real life, are multitalented individuals with interests in a variety of crafts and trades outside of the creative work they do for a living.

That is totally the case with today’s featured artist, Andrea Eames Mitchell, aka A Cat of Impossible Color. She’s a published author, brilliant cosplayer, a resourceful friend, and an overall rad human being. But the thing she does over which I’m currently swooning is this fantastic repainting and sculpting of dolls into one-of-a-kind works of poseable art.

The first pics here below are a before-and-after comparison of the Monster High doll she began with, and the fairy it became.

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When I asked Andrea about how she got started and what inspired her, she offered, “I’m a novelist by profession, but staring at black words on a white screen all day drives me crazy unless I’m also doing something involving color and texture and working with my hands. I started doing these doll repaints a
couple of months ago after seeing a couple on Pinterest.”

As someone who also dabbles in painting, and makes unbelievably detailed miniatures for doll houses, it’s no surprise that Andrea wasn’t intimidated by the new challenge. “It seemed easy
enough, so I plunged in and started work, and soon became addicted. My first finished doll was the white unicorn girl, and I have also made a variety of different faeries and pixies.”

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“People started commissioning me to make dolls — my favorite commission project so far has been Imperator Furiosa from Mad Max.”

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You guys, I have a special soft spot for Furiosa fan art, so this one make me extremely happy!

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What’s next in Andrea’s doll-altering adventure?

“Currently I’m obsessed with making a series of Game of Thrones dolls — I’ve made Petyr Baelish, Sansa Stark (the Goth version!) and Daenerys Targaryen so far, and I’m working on Jon Snow, another Daenerys and another Sansa (the not-Goth version!). I’m not sure what will be next, but I definitely see a lot more faeries in my future. It’s a fun way to express my love for a particular fandom or to create a new character.”

You can order your own doll from Andrea via Etsy, and see more of her work on deviantArt.

The artist cosplaying as a rainicorn.
The artist cosplaying as a rainicorn.

art scene: little artist BIG ARTIST 8th annual art show

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Celebrate aspiring artists in east Austin with food, drink, art, ukuleles, and bunches of fun! Tonight is the opening reception for the CHULA League’s 8th annual Little Artist BIG ARTIST exhibition.

Every spring, 5th and 6th grade “Little Artists” learn how art — such as pottery, painting, and photography — moves from a budding idea to the marketplace. “BIG ARTISTS” provide their time and professional experience as working artists to guide their Little Artists to envision, plan, and create at least two pieces of artwork during the semester. Both pieces are featured in the spring exhibit, along with a journal of their creative experiences together and a piece by their BIG ARTIST.

“LaBA is about artist mentors connecting with 5th and 6th graders through art. We provide the program at no cost to the families or schools involved, working directly in the their communities,” says LaBA Program Coordinator Jennifer Ramos. “With the support of Cherrywood Art Fair, Amplify Austin, and wonderful artists and teachers who participate, we hope to continue to grow the program because art should be accessible to everyone.”

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Artwork will be professionally displayed Mondays–Fridays, April 23–May 7, 9am–4pm with performances by student ukulele and recorder music ensembles from the participating schools at the 4/23 opening. This year’s participating elementary schools and art teachers are: Elisabeth Healey (Blackshear), Emily Leaman (Maplewood), and Leslie Vieau (Oak Springs).

The exhibit takes place at ReNEW East (2830 Real Street), home to Imagine Art, a non-profit arts incubator serving artists with disabilities on the East side of town. Recently, the organization has expanded its reach to serve the greater arts community in Austin by offering low-budget gallery space as well as studio space for artists in residency. Check out reneweast.com and imagineart.net to find out more about these fantastic resources.

Learn more about the LaBA program, and how you can get involved, by visiting their Facebook page!

austin handmade: ladybird market

Austin’s newest curated shopping event, Ladybird Market, features a hand-selected group of the city’s finest makers. The market takes place on second Saturdays from March through May (April 11th and May 9th, specifically) from 10am to 5pm at Cherrywood Coffeehouse, providing a cozy and laid-back environment for customers to shop locally-made goods and have a leisurely lunch, coffee or drink.

The family and pet friendly event is held in the outdoor courtyard at Cherrywood. A full listing of participating artists and info is available at ladybirdmarket.com.

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Here are a few of my favorite items from featured Ladybird Market vendors:

This beautiful, modern succulent planter is by BDJ Craft Works, and will be available at this weekend’s market. All BDJ Craft Works pieces are handmade in East Austin from sustainably harvested domestic hardwoods.

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I absolutely love this brain wall hanging by Curious Prints, a purveyor of vintage prints and home goods featuring fine art reproductions of nostalgic public domain images—advertisements, anatomy sketches, botanicals and other quirky finds.

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Our friend Melissa, the crafty mastermind behind Meow Kapow, is at Ladybird Market both this and next month. She’ll have original mixed media collage art like this one pictured below, as well as her signature notebooks, magnets, buttons and cards with collage images.

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Be sure to check out the other amazing artists at Ladybird Market this weekend! The “artists” page of the Ladybird website includes links to their work, as well as indicates which months they’re vending.

Ladybird Market is the brainchild of award-winning accessories designer Anne Marie Beard, who is also a former Shop Crafty organizer and Cherrywood Art Fair juror, among her many other impressive achievements and contributions to Austin’s creative community.

“Anne Marie is a veteran of the Austin craft scene. We know her as an innovative designer, an advocate for local makers, and a consistent presence in all aspects of the Austin handmade marketplace,” says Melissa Stewart of Meow Kapow and The Armadillo Christmas Bazaar.

Anne Marie’s goal? “To provide an opportunity for my fellow artists to showcase their work in one of Austin’s most beloved neighborhoods and coffee shops. Austin has such a strong community of handmade enthusiasts and I felt we needed a regular event that highlights the best of the Austin maker scene.” She personally curates the event, noting, “Each artist has been hand-selected and is at the top of their game – you can expect to find amazing work ranging from jewelry to home décor, clothing to accessories, body products and quirky art at Ladybird Market.”

We dig it! Events like this are good for the crafty community, so be sure to stop by and support indie artists during your weekend adventures.

xo
-Jen

fan art friday: harley quinn

My friends are all huge nerds. Thankfully, that means we have plenty of shared interests. Like art, and Batman. (Duh.) Over the last few years, I’ve painted several portraits of Gotham-dwellers for friends and clients, of various villains as well as of Batman. This time, it was THREE consecutive paintings of Harley Quinn, requested by two different friends.

This Harley pin-up is based on the character’s Batman: The Animated Series version. It’s acrylic paint on a 24×24″ canvas, and was shipped to Bruce, whom I’ve known nearly 15 years. (What?! That’s crazy.) I love the bold colors.

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Detail:
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After finishing the full-color HQ pin-up painting, I began working on two coordinating smaller pieces for my feisty lady-friend, Gillian. She already has an amazing art piece, purchased from another local artist, of the Joker. He’ll soon have these (shown here in progress) hanging on either side:

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These paintings are each 8×10″, acrylic on canvas. I chose the cool grey instead of white to complement the pale neon glow-in-the-dark paint color on the Joker painting with which the Harleys will hang. Can’t wait to see them all together!

Happy Fan Art Friday, everyone!

-Jen

you can’t always get what you want…

…but if you try sometimes, well you just might find, you get what you need.
RoboRoku_Terrarium
We recently entered the Global Talent Search (GTS) by Lilla Rogers. This is the second year she’s held a contest to choose a new artist to sign. Last year we didn’t enter because we were traveling for shows. I felt so out of the loop with everyone posting their work. I wanted to enter this year, even though I knew it would be a long shot for us to get picked. The creative brief was to draw/paint a Terrarium. Finding that out I knew immediately we wouldn’t pass the first round. I don’t gravitate to terrariums. It’s not something I collect, or have a passion for, and Josh is the same way. Knowing people “buy your joy” (meaning respond well when you draw/paint from the heart), I knew this was not the challenge for us. We still tried our best. I liked what we did, but as soon as I saw sneak peeks of other people’s work, I knew we didn’t push the limits on the challenge. I’m a very literal person (weird for a creative, I know), so when I read the words “draw a terrarium” I got stuck. Again, probably because my heart was not in it. Add in still working on our character style guide, completing 5 new designs for a new licensee (we signed a deal with a company to create Robo Roku tablet/cell phone cases -eep!), and daily life, and that makes for a spread thin team Robo Roku.

999 people entered the Global Talent Search, only 50 could make it to the next round, and it keeps narrowing down to 1. We didn’t pass the first round. The second round is an animal illustration for a kid’s tee, man, I wish that was the first round.

Some people were really sad about not passing, I honestly was sadder about one particular person not making it to the next round over us not making it. It would have been awesome to make it to round two, but since I didn’t expect to, it wasn’t such a huge disappointment. We don’t get individual feedback, so Lilla did a video with a bit of overall feedback for everyone. She said there were many artists she wanted to enter next year, and many that she thought would do better with another agency. I believe our piece wasn’t very strong, but that we are also not a good fit for Lilla’s agency (as much as I wish we were).

Lilla has some amazing artists that work with really cool companies. However, only one of her artists is barely close to our style, and the jobs that person gets is not really the kind of jobs we want. They’re not bad jobs, just not what we want, at least not right now. I love how Lilla’s agency works, but that’s not the place for us. That doesn’t mean we’re not good enough, it’s just all about finding the right people for your style. There are four big licensing tradeshows: Printsource, Surtex, Licensing Expo, and BLE. We fit in best with BLE and Licensing Expo, Lilla’s people fit in better at Surtex. I feel like doing Licensing Expo really led to us finding our people, and I’m excited to keep going on that path. Next year we’ll be showing our work at all the tradeshows we mentioned, and hopefully we’ll have found an agency for the US and UK that works for us. Life can be pretty great when you know what you want, and know how to get it. More than anything getting the most out of life means never giving up.

art scene: entoptic phenomena + tribal masks by william hundley at wyatt brand

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Beer, BBQ, Tacos, and Entoptic Phenomena! Sounds like my kind of party.

Artist William Hundley and the Wyatt Brand team are throwing a reception on Thursday, May 8th, at WBHQ to toast the exhibition of Entoptic Phenomena + Tribal Masks, with craft beer from Independence Brewing Co. and Circle Brewing Company, along with light bites from Lone Star Barbeque and Taco Baby. Learn how Hundley creates his otherworldly-meets-everyday images with camera and ingenuity alone, and view an exhibition of a dozen photography prints from William Hundley’s Entoptic Phenomena series and two from his tribal mask series.

In 2006 William Hundley began an ongoing series of photographs that he titled “Entoptic Phenomena” in which he photographs people jumping underneath fabrics and other various materials. The instant of the jump can be thought of as super ephemeral sculpture, lasting only a few seconds before reverting to their base components. The resulting photographs appear to have been made by computer manipulation, but Hundley stresses that “they are just photographs” and that there were absolutely no computer applications used in creating the images. He goes on to say that having “acrobatic models” is the key to the success of the imagery.

Recent works, included in the exhibition at Wyatt Brand, have focused on assembled collages and a series of tribal inspired masks with the idea of gathering objects from contemporary culture and using them in a “tribal” way. The artist is an Austin-dwelling Minnesota native, whose photography has been featured in numerous publications and countless blogs and websites. Large and small prints are available for purchase. RSVP and invite others via the Facebook event.



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