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.

you can’t always get what you want…

…but if you try sometimes, well you just might find, you get what you need.
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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: little artist BIG ARTIST exhibit and opening reception

Thursday, April 24th, marks the opening of the Chula League’s Little Artist BIG ARTIST Art Show at Pump Project Art Complex, showcasing the work of program participants. Come out to 702 Shady Lane to enjoy a reception including food, drinks, music, and art from 6pm – 8pm.

Funded by Cherrywood Art Fair proceeds, the 2014 Little Artist BIG ARTIST program pairs promising 5th & 6th grade artists from Blackshear, Maplewood & Oak Springs Elementary schools with professional ‘BIG’ artists. Together they explore the creative process, make some really cool art and discuss how art moves from an idea to the marketplace. The program and its events are made possible by many talented, dedicated and caring people—people like Program Coordinator, Jennifer Ramos. She has an amazing amount of energy and passion for this program. LaBA is such a simple concept but one that has a massive impact. Believe in our kids, provide them with opportunity, and they will flourish.

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The opening tonight is a celebration of the little artists and their professional teachers and mentors. There will be great BIG and little artist artwork, light refreshments and musical performances by the Maplewood Ukulele Choir, the Oak Springs Dolphin Players recorder trio, and SWAN (featuring students from Blackshear). It is a night to celebrate their works and nurture their talents, and the organization is excited to welcome the community to enjoy the occasion.

The artwork will be on display Saturdays 12–5 pm through May 10 at Pump Project. Click here for a map.

fan art friday: portrait print pre-sale!

A little while back, I showed off a couple of my recent paintings in a new series of greyscale artist portraits — quite a departure from my typical fun, geeky fan art style. I still have a couple of the original paintings, but am excited to announce that I’ve now got prints for those fans who can’t invest in the pricier original art.

I’ve ordered prints of these three portraits: Salvador Dali, Willie Nelson, and Kurt Cobain. Meanwhile, until they’re ready, I’m also offering discounted pre-sale pricing in my Etsy shop! Prices will increase once I’ve got the finished prints in my hands and ready to deliver.

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I can’t wait to do more of these paintings, and will also be making tiny framed art pendants out of some of them in the future.

Enjoy!

-Jen

fan art friday: willie nelson, work in progress

This week, my take on fan art is a bit different than the usual cartoon and comic book tributes I usually share. I’ve begun painting a series of black and white realistic portraits, mostly of musicians and artists. The piece on which I’m currently working is this painting of Austin’s own Willie Nelson. It’s not quite done yet, but I just couldn’t wait to share it!

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Most of the paintings in this series will be strictly black and greyscale, but this one will have Willie’s signature red bandana when it’s finished. Below is a close-up image of the eye area to show detail.

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For this piece, I used exclusively black and white acrylic paint, which I mixed to create shades of grey. It’s painted on a 24″x36″ gallery-wrapped canvas.

This Willie Nelson painting will be listed for sale when it’s complete, and I’ll be moving on to my next portrait in the series, a tribute to the late Kurt Cobain. I can’t articulate how excited I am to continue sharing these with you as they come to fruition.

If you’re interested in commissioning a particular artist or celebrity portrait in this style, please email me at jen@jenheartsart.com.

Here are a few other similar portraits I’ve done in the past couple of years.

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(Top: Dali, bottom left: Johnny Cash, bottom right: Willie Nelson)

I hope you guys like it! Who would you most like to see painted in this style if you got to choose anyone?

-Jen
jenheartsart.com

geeking out: clever novelty tea infusers

‘Tis the season for hot tea and gift-giving, and this year I’ve got my eye on a few of these fun and innovative designs.

Arta by Chef’n Tea’s Tree Tea Infuser and Saucer
Holy cow, y’all. This has got to be one of the cutest and most clever things I’ve ever seen. The premise is simple: When placed upside down on top of your teacup full of hot water, the tea infuser ball hangs from the branch and the saucer to which it’s attached traps heat and keeps the water warm. The design and presentation are brilliant, too. Perfect for the eco-friendly tree huggers on your list this year.

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Doctor Who TARDIS Tea Infuser
This officially licensed Doctor Who tea strainer is a ThinkGeek exclusive, and I know more than a few people for whom this would be an amazing present. It’s made of stainless steel with a tiny zinc alloy sonic screwdriver charm at the end of the chain.

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Of course, Kikkerland has a variety of cool designs (as they typically do), but there are a couple in particular that I love:
Robot Infuser and Drip Tray
This little guy is stainless steel, with arms and hands that move for a custom fit to adapt to your mug.

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And, also, THIS. Rocket Infuser and Drip Tray
It’s a stainless steel rocket ship. You know, for an out-of-this-world tea brewing experience. Or something. Anyhow, I want one.

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DCI Tea Rex Infuser
ZOMG, Tea Rex! Get it? TEA Rex? I’m a sucker for a good (or terribly cheesy) pun, especially in product names. This one is made of silicone and seems like a sneaky/awesome way to introduce tea to your kids. Rest assured that if I purchase one of these for my children, I’ll be using it myself when they’re not looking.

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And, last but not least, the beloved ManaTea Infuser!
Having a stressful day? Peruse the wisdom of Calming Manatee memes while your own happy little sea cow brews your relaxing cup of tea. Made of food-safe silicone.

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