Majestic as F*ck

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So you guys remember when I mentioned that eagle bike I was working on?  Yeah, of course you do because EAGLE BIKE!  Well, I finished it and it made its debut this carnival season with the artist krewe of Kolossos.  My friend Katrina runs both Kolossos and The Bearded Oysters which is how I came to be involved in this project.  I put many hours into it and it was so worth it, I mean look at the picture above this paragraph from mardigraparadeschedule.com.  That’s me with four Saints super fans majestically carrying red white and blue ribbon poles behind me.  I don’t think I’ve ever felt or looked cooler.  I may never look that cool again.  Freedom!

ImageI was doing non-stop paper mache while at my shop for three days straight, eight hours a day.  I was dreaming about it at night.  Everyone that came into the gallery loved it and kept asking, “So this is for The Mardi Gras?!”  It is, I would reply and think about how it’s odd that tourists feel the need to turn Mardi Gras into THE Mardi Gras.  Then I would just keep on sopping up glue water with phone book strips.  I took her on a test drive around the quarter to make sure she was road worthy, fixed some problem spots, and brought her to the art lofts where I painted her all up.

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It only took me one day to paint thanks to Katrina having already done a base coat of white for me.  My sister Erin stopped by when she got off work and painted the claws for me.  She also brought me a slice of pizza from Pizza Delicious which was much needed fuel at that point.  Thanks Ern, shout out to you!

ImageImageMuses was the tricycle’s grand debut.  I wanted to be equally as fabulous as the bike so I made a huge feather head piece (because, necessary).  As for my dress, I got it from a costume liquidation sale from a theater last month.  It was a Donald Duck costume made for a chunky child which ended up being an almost perfect fit for me.  I chopped off the arms, added some sequin trim, and called it good to go.

ImageImageHow amazing does it look lit up?!  Amazing!  I can’t take any credit for that, I know nothing about adding lights to art trikes.  I rode it again on Saturday for Tucks and had an amazing time that day as well.  I got a lot of “MERICA!!!!” along the route and successfully started many “USA! USA!” chants too.  I’m hoping more pictures will surface in the next week or two because I was posing like a crazy lady.  The one above this paragraph and below were both taken by one of my fabulous artists from the shop.  Thanks, Loopy Boopy!  And that’s that.  Every year, when Mardi Gras ends, I’m sad that it’s over but excited to try and top my costuming and parading next year!

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New Paintings

ImageTonight is the opening of the carnival themed show I’ve got going on at the shop and holy cow, it looks like a Mardi Gras bomb exploded in the store.  Pictures of that to follow; but first, I’m SO excited to have some of my work in the gallery again.  If you follow along with my blog then you know I inherited a WHOLE bunch of vintage Mardi Gras beads from the previous owners of the house we’re renovating.  Feeling inspired by the sweet note they left me, I wanted to figure out something to do with them.  I had painted some florals for my sister’s business cards and because of that, the idea of plant based pieces popped into my head.  I most like painting people and faces so ethereal women seemed like an obvious choice to compliment the flowers.  I decided to go with indigenous flowers to base each painting off of and that the canvases would have beads sewn into them.  I won’t like when I say I’m not the best at sewing but I found my groove while working on these and I’m really happy with how everything turned out.

So with my theme in mind, I did some sketches.  I always think it’s interesting to peek inside of other people’s sketchbooks and I hope you do too!

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Laurel was one I wanted to do even though it’s more of a leafy plant than a flower.  The house we purchased is on Laurel Street so it felt like a must.  Laurel crowns are, and always have been, very popular in art and architecture so I wanted to incorporate that idea.  I got REALLY carried away with the beading on this one.  They’re all through out her crown and on her robe.  She’s wearing them as well as holding a strand as if she’s waiting to give it away.  I used one of the fabulous old hanging “Made in Czechoslovakia” tags on the hanging strand of beads.ImageImageImageImage

Camellia was actually the first sketch I completed.  I associate Camellias with the south; they’re the state flower of Georgia and hello, Camellia Grill, anyone?!  I decided early on that I wanted to do a teal background with a gold stencil on top.  They have something along those lines in the dressing room of Trashy Diva Lingerie and I’ve always loved it.  Plus they’re my neighbors at the store so it felt like a natural choice.ImageImage

Iris, with its purple flowers, lent herself to becoming the embodiment of Mardi Gras.  After decided to used a stencil for Camellia, I wanted to carry that theme through out and a Fleur de Lis felt like the obvious choice for Ms. Iris.  She ended up getting REALLY purple, which I love in conjunction with her lime green background and her gold accenting.ImageImage

Last but not least, Magnolias are basically the most Southern flower around.  It’s the state flower of Louisiana (and Mississippi) and I just love them.  I really love the way Ms. Magnolia turned out.  She’s wearing one of my most favorite strands of beads.  It’s the black and gold one with the big teal bead in the center.  Speaking of the beading I used all broken strands in the flowers and I ended up sacrificing some intact stands for the women to wear; that’s true of all four paintings.  Iris is wearing one of my other favorite strands; it’s the one in the center that’s purple, green, and gold.ImageImageImage

Finally, I wanted to have a couple smaller paintings of just solo florals with some beading worked in for those who loved the large scale oils but couldn’t afford a big one.  I ended up only finishing two of those in time for tonight’s opening but I plan on doing more.  I’m feeling happy and inspired again and I can’t wait to get back to work after the carnival season is over.  Until then I have a lot of costuming and parading to do!

Big One Year Party

Holy shit, what a party that was.  I planned our anniversary party to coincide with the Red Dress Run and Dirty Linen Night.  These pictures were all taken much earlier in the evening before the crowds REALLY started rolling in.  I’m actually impressed I got any pictures at all.  It was a wild night!  It felt like my wedding where I couldn’t really give anyone more than about thirty seconds of time before I had to say, “Thank you so much for coming,” and make my goodbye.  All in all though, it was a huge success but I owe most of that to my friends and family.  My mom and my littlest sister flew in to help out and tons of my local friends came and kept an eye on everything through out the evening.  So thank you, everyone.  I couldn’t have done it without y’all.

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Winn Dixie Grand Opening and A Face In Hole Board

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Last night was the grand opening event of the Mid City Winn Dixie and it was CRAZY TOWN crowded.  I mean insanity.  It was a lot of fun though!  My sister Megan and her roommate Reilly came with me.  They were loving all of the free food and I was loving seeing tons of familiar faces.  Plus, I got to see my design printed on the reusable shopping bag for the first time and it turned out great!  They were only able to get 500 in store in time for last night’s event but the other 4,500 are supposed to be delivered next week.  It seemed like everyone was really loving them which made me so happy!  Here’s Mez modeling hers on the way back to the car.

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I also created a face in hole board for the event.  I don’t know if there is a technical term for these things but I like to call ’em face in holes.  We will abbreviate it to “FIHB” for the rest of this post so as not to be super repetitive and so I don’t have to type it out a million times.  When I was first approached to do something for this event it was by a friend from college.  When I was working at Corks N Canvas, straight outta college, she was working for the PR company we used.  I made a FIHB for CNC during my time as manager.  I had to scour the internet to find a picture for you but here she is:

ImageWell my friend searched all over the internet trying to find one she would want to use for the grand opening and when she struck out she came to me.  The one I made for Corks N Canvas was super heavy and crazy cumbersome because we (Nate and I) made that thing to stay there.  We wanted it to be durable.  Well she wanted something that could be used again and transported easily.  I racked my brain and then it came to me, I would do it based on how my animal band (from my wedding) was put together.  Following a similar method, the board itself was made from two half inch thick pieces of foam board and set on a triangular wooden base with two pieces of poplar board to each side to add some girth; I would definitely use this method again.  A whole bunch of my friends came out to support me, because I have the best friends.  Here are some pictures I snagged from their instagrams and a couple I snapped with my camera.

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While I don’t live out in Mid City, the new Winn Dixie seems like a great place to make groceries.  I’m a Rouses’s on Tchoup girl myself, but you can bet that I’ll be bringing my new, reusable shopping bags with me where ever I go to do my shopping!

Makin’ Groceries

ImageRecently, I was asked by Winn Dixie to design something for the 5,000 reusable shopping bags they’re going to give away at the new Mid City location’s grand opening.  Needless to say, I was thrilled.  I asked what direction they wanted me to go in and they said whatever I wanted.  The only thing I was given to roll with was that some of their “buzz words” are fresh and local.  While spitballing ideas with my friend Jen, I told her I wanted to incorporate those words into a vintage looking design along with lots of local produce and seafood.  I asked if she had any ideas for me and she said, “Um, makin’ groceries, DUH!”

Duh!  I can’t believe I hadn’t thought of that sooner.  It’s because I wasn’t born and raised here.  That’s what the locals say.  They don’t say “I’m going grocery shopping,” or “I’m going to buy some groceries.”  No, around here they refer to it as “makin’ groceries.”  This is a throwback from the original French-speaking Creoles who used the verb “faire,” which means “to make” or “to do.”  Pretty cool, huh?

The finished design is very me!  I love love watercolor and when I use it it tends to be a mix between super tight and very textured.  I love extremely colorful (or stark black and white) and I love using text.  The food items found through out are a creole tomato, a yam, a satsuma, some Ponchatoula strawberries, okra, sugarcane, a blue crab, a shrimp, a crawfish, and an oyster.  Oh, and blueberries and red beans and rice scattered through out like confetti.

Because I love to snap pictures along the way while I work, here is the evolution of the finished design you see above:

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ImageThere you have it!  From the beginning stages of sketching, to the full on penned in outline, to the late night painting party at Nola Potter (my friend Jen’s shop), and finally to the front porch where I photographed it.  I then went into photoshop and made the background that bright white and added the Winn Dixie logo.  I can’t wait to see them printed and I can’t wait to start makin’ groceries in them when I do my shopping around town!

The Mid City Winn Dixie is slated to open on August 1st.  I’m doing a couple of other projects for them and I’ll be there with bells on!  So excited!