Monday, June 21, 2010
Friday, June 18, 2010
But I thought to post about this since I was talking about "The Velveteen Rabbit" the other day and I got a little choked up. Also, I am recovering from the brilliance (and trauma, anyone who has seen the movie knows what I am talking about) of having just seen "Toy Story Three." Stuffed animals and stories about them have hit me hard recently!
To be honest, I'm hit pretty hard almost whenever I talk about "The Velveteen Rabbit." Because I am a softie, I suppose. Or, because it is a brilliantly crafted tale, even if rather dark for children.
This quote kills me:
"Real isn't how you are made," said the Skin Horse. "It's a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real." "Does it hurt?" asked the Rabbit. "Sometimes," said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful. "When you are Real you don't mind being hurt." "Does it happen all at once, like being wound up," he asked, "or bit by bit?" "It doesn't happen all at once," said the Skin Horse. "You become. It takes a long time. That's why it doesn't happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in your joints and very shabby. But these things don't matter at all, because once you are Real you can't be ugly, except to people who don't understand."
However, that's a famous quote. This section of the book gets me more. I literally cannot talk about it without having to take a deep breath, and carry on calmly. I remember I could not read this part in the book as a child because it would really upset me and freak me out.
A) That a toy would be burned really freaked me out (and still does), because part of me will always believe that they are (capital R) Real. And, B), it made me really sad that the boy did not even protest, that he was happy just to have a shiny new thing to play with, and did not feel any remorse that his beloved playthings were going to be burned. BURNED! Is nobody else horrified at the violence of that? And anyone who has seen the movie I mentioned earlier may be even more disturbed by this section of the book, for obvious reasons.
Forgetting my grown-up fondness for toys, I find this part of the book especially sad because of the fact that children, very often, do actually see their playthings like a friend, or at least a pet, that lives and breathes when nobody's looking-- so that the boy forgot about his original toy for a better model, to me, just always felt as if he had a beloved older dog whom he just forgot about when a spry puppy was placed onto his lap.
Also, I understand it's olden times and the toys were covered with scarlet fever germs-- and *of course, the boy's health is more important than anything. It just always made me sad that he wasn't more emotional about it. Anyway, here is the passage from the book I'm talking about:
"And so the little Rabbit was put into a sack with the old picture-books and a lot of rubbish, and carried out to the end of the garden behind the fowl-house. That was a fine place to make a bonfire, only the gardener was too busy just then to attend to it. He had the potatoes to dig and the green peas to gather, but next morning he promised to come quite early and burn the whole lot.
That night the Boy slept in a different bedroom, and he had a new bunny to sleep with him. It was a splendid bunny, all white plush with real glass eyes, but the Boy was too excited to care very much about it. For to-morrow he was going to the seaside, and that in itself was such a wonderful thing that he could think of nothing else.
And while the Boy was asleep, dreaming of the seaside, the little Rabbit lay among the old picture-books in the corner behind the fowl-house, and he felt very lonely. The sack had been left untied, and so by wriggling a bit he was able to get his head through the opening and look out.
He was shivering a little, for he had always been used to sleeping in a proper bed, and by this time his coat had worn so thin and threadbare from hugging that it was no longer any protection to him. Near by he could see the thicket of raspberry canes, growing tall and close like a tropical jungle, in whose shadow he had played with the Boy on bygone mornings.
He thought of those long sunlit hours in the garden–how happy they were–and a great sadness came over him. He seemed to see them all pass before him, each more beautiful than the other, the fairy huts in the flower-bed, the quiet evenings in the wood when he lay in the bracken and the little ants ran over his paws; the wonderful day when he first knew that he was Real. He thought of the Skin Horse, so wise and gentle, and all that he had told him. Of what use was it to be loved and lose one's beauty and become Real if it all ended like this? And a tear, a real tear, trickled down his little shabby velvet nose and fell to the ground."
(...So sue me, but even now, I could never just not care if stuffed animals of mine were all put in a bag to be tossed away, into trash-- and especially not actual, crackling flames :'-( In all seriousness, too, say the toys were sanitary and had no severe germs-- then there's no excuse not to put them to better use. I think it's inexcusable to trash toys that can still be played with, because there are countless charities and children who need them and would love them. I have donated quite a lot of toys, and I still need to donate more, back from my family's house in Nueva York. I still keep some with me here in my L.A. Apartment, in addition to Fuzzles. The guys in the picture above live here with me in my room, and help keep me sane, ish.)
Back to the Velveteen Rabbit. He is (SPOILER ALERT), right before the inevitable, luckily rescued by a fairy who turns him into a Real bunny. Which he gets to become, because the boy did truly love him as if he was Real, and the fairy explains that stuffed animals who are loved that much get visited by her to be transformed into the Real version of whatever type of animal they are. But that still gets me... as a little kid this story disturbed me enough as was, that I think I'd have had a complete breakdown if he had just burned and there was no resolution. Come to think of it, that's what happens to the rest of the toys... and I'm not one to write Fanfiction, but I would not oppose somebody re-writing the story so there's a loophole, and even the more ignored/not able to become Real toys could avoid the tragedy of Scarlet-fever contamination, and subsequent burning.
Anyway, this is meant to be a thoughtful post not a downer one. I thought of it because of how much I love my plushies and how I love Fuzzles. AND, because I went to Art Walk this month!
When I was at the Downtown L.A. Art Walk, I went and picked up some new friends for Fuzzles and Co. from Elizabeth Romo. She is a great designer and plush-toy maker, and I bought a little felt critter and a little felt Koala from her. Adorable and affordable work! Her website is http://www.elizabethromo.com/ I do declare, I think the link might just work this time! BWAHA blog tech issues, I have beaten thee.
Here are the pictures of the little guys, and their new home and new friends:
Felt Koala Friend! With me!
Critter, Felt Koala Friend, and Fuzzles.
Me being weird with Critter. Toothy? Actually, I think his name is Toothy.
Fuzzles, Felt Koala, and Myself.
Blair Witch Toothy, or something.
Also, a fellow vendor from the Downtown L.A. Art Walk Art Park (at which I sometimes vend) gave me a discount on some AWESOME vintage boots. They are actually made from jeans and have pockets you can store things in. They are ridiculously cool (and great for storing change and Metro passes, so long as one is careful) and I have never seen anything like them.
(Pair side by side)
(Blue and Orange are complimentary colors, so I took a pic with blue shoooooes, orange kitteh...!)
Anyway, that is all I have to say for now. Been working on some projects in the cafe I'm sitting at in West Hollywood... the food at this place was yummy for my tummy, but not my wallet. So, not ordering anything else and heading back home soon. I also feel somewhat out of place, dorky, etc. being the person writing and sketching and not full out fancy dinner having at a cafe like this, and/or getting my pregame on. I'm not quite out late enough to have hit the post club drinking crowd, but I still feel rather nerdy.
That said, I am actually quite comfortable in my dorky quirkiness. Somewhat evidenced by the fact I have been listening to some Disney songs on my headphones via my laptop, while sitting here and working.
Speaking of, I love the song "Belle" from Disney's "Beauty and the Beast," and the character, because she is intelligent, does not want some dude to take care of her, and kind of just wants to wander around her town and read/do her own thing. I always admired her character traits of wanting to explore the world, seeing and experiencing more than the basic goings-on around her. Anyway, neither L.A. nor the cafe I am in are at all cute and quaint French towns. But, it felt funny and weird to be listening to this song tonight, while sketching and comic-planning in a place that's much more weekend partying/drinking/Hollywood-y than the purposes for which I was sitting there.
I actually used to live in Central Hollywood, and it was particularly weird when I'd go to work (much like the way I did tonight) at a coffee shop called Solar de Cahuenga. It was next to this mammoth club, and I always felt... well, it was just weird. Lugging my bag of books and my laptop, and sometimes a drawing pad, walking down Cahuenga after midnight to go home and passing everyone who's decked out in crazy finery (or lack of, given the amount of fabric techincally there in some cases), while not being dolled up.
On a lesser scale, that's what I was reminded of tonight. Oh well, it is what I get for working on a weekend!
On one last note, thank you to everyone who came out to charity art raffle sponsored by Monkeyhouse Toys, "Birds of a Feather," last weekend! It was an honor to be part of a group of artists putting up their work for the raffle. The performances, food trucks, and people all added to it being a great time. Not sure if the link is still live, but here wast he go-to event website if anybody missed it:
Peace and hope everyone's having a "furry" happy weekend :-D
Thursday, June 3, 2010
(Silly girls at E&E! Check out clothes of win: www.enidandedgarvintage.com)
Last month, in April, Enid and Edgar Vintage had a reception for "So Long Sweet Lullabies," a show geared towards childhood, innocence, all things cute, and the darkness inherent within (that especially comes about with adulthood).
In other words, basically everything that I hold dear, and everything that I do art-wise. Maybe not everything everything, but nearly everything. I love cute/creepy, innocence/with a humorous or dark twist, etc.
(tug tug tug, I act like a wee one, tug tug tug)
So I am pleased to finally post some pictures from the opening! These are really more for fun and not pictures entirely of the work itself, but here are some pictures of myself, Sandy Teran Arellanes (head of the store), two out of her three beautiful children, and Mr. N. Hope everyone is amused by these!
(Huggy photo of Mr. N and myself)
(Not a phlattering photo, but I think we look amusing so it stays)
(Just me, blue yabba dee)
(With Sandy's kids. I was trying to look silly and I look... um, frightening.)
(Sandy and I once again)
I think the art in the show is great and I feel honored to be among the artists. Yay for this theme! It seriously validates everything in my heart, soul, being, etc.
Wednesday, June 2, 2010
Woo-hoo! First blog post with details in a while. I’m going to intersperse this with pictures I took at the Pasadena Rock’n Comic Con (more on that in a bit), so there are what I hope prove to be entertaining visuals with a decent read. Above is a picture of Fuzzles and I at the convention. He is my stuffed Koala. He is also made of awesome. Don’t judge.
(Fuzzles sat on my handmade greeting cards intermittently throughout the convention)
I love to write, but I never have time to blog. In a sense, Thank God, though, that when I was thirteen/fourteen/fifteen that blogspot, Twitter, and Facebook didn’t exist, because I would have been writing every single inane unfiltered thought that ran through my head, at every second possible. I had a livejournal during college that was dramatic enough, and as an adult, I much prefer having a blog in which to ramble, discuss things, and more importantly, write about what I am up to with the various creative things I’m trying to do. I like doing personal writings on here that are hopefully interesting to read and not totally ridiculous. I also think it’s a good way to keep a record of projects that you’re working on, especially if you show pictures from a beginning to an ending stage of a piece you’re working on. Anyway, I need to start doing this more regularly.
So, as can be seen from the photo of me in my booth… I exhibited at the first annual (if it continues? I think that's up in the air at this point) Pasadena Rock'n Comic Con. I actually had a good time, all things considered, and made a lot of great connections and friendships with other artists. The vendors were really cool. The attendees were really cool. Pasadena is really nice, and the convention center is top notch. I’m also going to include a disclaimer here that I am not trashing on the con itself per se, or those who organized it, because I am really grateful I got to be a part of it. However, things can always be improved, and I am just stating my experiences. As I’m about to discuss, my own personal experiences were pretty good.
I know that for many vendors, I am alone in that regard. Almost nobody came to the Comic Con, largely because it was not well marketed. I've heard a ton of different stories from different people as to the details of how and why this happened, but it basically boils down to some major mismanagement and a lack of communication. As an Artist in Artist's Alley, I myself (along with most other people) was never told a check-in time, when the con was supposed to start (the times were changed several times, and we were never notified about it), or where we were to get badges, etc.
Personally, I am no stranger to times being changed on me at random and have had work experiences where at the last minute employees have all of a sudden been expected to arrive three hours later, half an hour earlier, stay seven hours later, etc. However, choice as that is, at least when times are constantly changed and someone is saying, "JUMP! I demand that you inquire as to HOW HIGH," they are at least informing you that you are expected to jump in accordance with their schedule changes.
This convention was just bizarre in that we were literally never told anything. It would have been bad enough if (as I mentioned above) we were constantly having conflicting demands thrown at us. But we were never informed of anything they wanted us to do. Originally, it was a Friday through Sunday nine to five affair. It then changed times completely, with Friday being a late show and Saturday and Sunday being full day shows, which I only knew because I continued to obsessively check the website. The oddest thing was on Saturday, when all of a sudden in the afternoon they decided that the convention would be open from 10:00 AM until 10:00 PM, despite the fact that everyone was planning on breaking down at 5:00 PM. Again, I only even discovered this because I checked with someone working at the Convention Center, who checked the website--which had suddenly been changed on Saturday. Ultimately, the convention center staff kicked everyone out at 6:00 PM (I knew that as I was still there, moving my table to a better location), as nobody had stayed. This luckily meant there was no risk for things left out by vendors. However, it could have been a disaster if the center had let people wander in for an extra five hours.
(Quick break in RCC Rant: My cartoonist friend Rafael Navarro, who is awesome, came by the Con and has people draw their own interpretations of Captain America in his sketchbook. I am not a superhero artist per se, but I still made a go of it and drew my version of Captain America, with Fuzzles being villainous and bopping him on the head, as shown in the bottom three pictures. I promise, though, Fuzzles is not usually mean. Can anyone yet tell how much I like my teddy... um, marsupial?)
As for Rafael, I am a huge fan of his comic, Sonambulo. If you like detective stories, lucha stories, and/or noir, go check out his comic, straightaway!
Back to the pre-scheduled blog about the con. I actually realized ahead of time how disorganized it was shaping up to be, so I didn't freak out during the actual convention. I realized how cray cray (to use a few favorite internet slang term of mine) it was shaping up to be, so I was able to just enjoy it and not be bummed or nervous about the hot mess aspects of it. My Artist’s Alley booth was huge, and I ultimately moved to a bigger spot on Sunday because so few people came to claim their exhibitor booths, and then others packed up for the rest of the weekend on Saturday afternoon. But again, this is just how I lucked out personally. You pay a lot less for Artist’s Alley than you do for a big booth, and essentially what the Artists were given was the same booth space as that of the bigger companies. I’m not complaining because I loved my setup and lucked out, but the situation was not fair for bigger vendors. I think everyone should have been charged the same lower Artist’s Alley rate, since then more exhibitors would have probably shown, there would have been less empty space gaps, and less people would have been upset, felt cheated, and not lost out on quite so much money.
I also consider myself really really really lucky, as Artist's Alley was very affordable, and even with the lack of attendees I made enough of a profit to justify being there. I am actually stunned that I did, because so few people showed up. Forgetting money, though, it was a really great experience because it was my first time getting to work a con and exhibit my own work, as opposed to working a con for a job. I like cons regardless, but it is always best to do what is valuable for yourself. There were also really cool people, and even some Phantom of the Opera! A story that I am obsessed with, in all its incarnations. Below are pics of the work done by Casey Wong, a really cool exhibitor that I met. He does phenomenal makeup work, as you can see with the Phantom mask below!
(Casey's Myspace can be found here: http://www.myspace.com/monstermatinee)
In any event, again, I am not trying to bash on anyone. I am really grateful I got to be part of this Con, because I met such cool vendors and artists and overall lovely people. I just hope that the con can happen again and be planned a bit better, because it’s in a great location and there are a ton of great artists in the Los Angeles, San Diego, and overall Southern California area.
(Two last pics of my table, the first of how big it was after I moved locations, and the second of some pins and jewelry made of Sculpey that I had for sale)
Last, but certainly not least, here are some SHOUT-OUTS! My blog seems to never want to link things properly, but copying and pasting will always work--please keep that in mind for any links I've put in previously, and for the ones I am about to put in. So without further ado, here are the names and websites of several really cool artists that I did not already get a chance to mention:
Chance Raspberry, cartoonist and designer who does cool works of his own, as well as works for some awesome companies (he's done work on "The Simpsons!"). Here is his blog:
Carl Anderson, the cartoonist behind the very funny Geeks Comic Strip: http://www.geeksthecomicstrip.com/
Jeff, and the staff of Crazy Cat Comics--they have some seriously awesome collectibles and toys!
Karl Altstaetter, and the other cool guys who work on Stranger Comics! Here is Karl's Deviant Art Page:
Jean Kang, a member of Girls Drawin' Girls and a really cool illustrator!
Smorgasboard Productions, Dahveed, and the guys behind Super Pirate Booty Hunt! Link to the cool animation with the adorable turtle here:
John Earickson, artist, graphic designer, and head of Atomic Boogaloo:
Happy Con, to all who were involved! I hope all who enjoyed it are still riding the high, and all who had an awful time have finally recovered.