Category Archives: design

composition, typography, spot colors, use of a computer, and all things to do with placing different shapes, letters, and messages in aesthetically pleasing ways while maximizing one’s space. “less is more” after all.i believe in this theory strongly.

the dalai lama.

did i ever tell you about the time i once ran into the Dalai Lama ?

i’m not kidding.

in two thousand and four, i went to central park with a friend of mine to see the dalai lama speak. we bought fresh doughnuts at seven in the morning, caught the F and then the 6 train uptown, and waited in a line for a few hours. a line that wrapped around the park. we were one of thousands of people waiting to listen to the dalai lama speak. during his speech we were far away. we could see the stage, but he was a mere speck on it. and his accent with so thick that the words of wisdom pouring from his mouth were a little difficult to understand. i remember closing my eyes tightly in an effort to understand him better. i’ve heard that if you loose one sense, your others will grow stronger. by shutting my eyes, i thought that my hearing would improve. it didn’t.

we left central park after he spoke. i wasn’t let down because i did understand a fair amount of what he said, but i was sad that i was unable to hear all of it. it was as if i was standing in front of some oasis in the desert. every drop of water would count for quenching my thirst and keeping me alive. but i was unable to reach most of the water. i think this had less to do with his accent and far more to do with how far away i was standing from the stage, huddled next to a plethora of new yorkers who did not believe in deodorant or simple hygiene. maybe i was an unlikely candidate for this event given what i’ve just written. but i waited in line, i did my best to listen, and i even shed a few tears from the few things i heard him utter.

after the event, me and my friend parted ways. he was bound for grand central station and i was bound for the six train that would take me back to my apartment. on my way to the subway i passed by a hotel that had a gathering of photographers and journalists stationed outside. they were crowding the sidewalk. taking pictures. notepads out ready for scribbling. i politely asked them what they were waiting for and the journalist i asked looked at me with raised eyebrows and disbelief.

well, this is where the Dalai Lama is staying. we’re waiting for him to come out from the hotel.”

ok, ok. this made sense. it was logical. it was the right timing, i suppose. i hadn’t expected the media to gather around him so quickly, but whatever. good for them. get your pictures and ask the questions that will most likely never be answered. i’m going to keep walking to the subway. the idea of seeing him up and close in the flesh was very appealing, but i did not want to be part of that crowd. so i kept on walking past the entrance to his hotel and took a left at the corner, headed for the subway. 

it was at this point that i became distracted by the intersection lights and i remember looking down at my cell phone, responding to a text from a friend.

it was also at this point that i had turned the corner, headed north, that i ran into the Dalai Lama. literally. i made physical contact with him whilst looking across the street and consulting my cell phone. you can’t make this shit up.

he’d been lead out of the hotel by the back entrance to avoid the onslaught of people i had just passed and scoffed at.

his bodyguards pushed me away immediately and with a great deal of gusto (BIG f*cking guys – footballer player size). i’m surprised i didn’t fall backwards actually. i think it was clear to them that my running in to the D.L. was an accident, so they did not push the matter. i simply stood there, with my mouth agape, and watched his holiness step into the back of a black limo that had been waiting for him parked at the curb. the limo drove away and i remained there, curbside, not quite believing what i had just encountered.

i’ve told a handful of people this story. i’m not sure if any of them believed me, but i believe me. it did happen. i ran into the Dalai Lama. and the only thing i had to say to him ?

“i really liked your speech.”

it’s pathetic, i know.  but when you crash into the Dalai Lama without warning after listening to him speak in central park, what the hell else are you going to say ? it was the best thing i could come up with at the time. we made eye contact. he bowed in my direction, as if to say “i bless you, child,” nodded at me, and climbed into the back of the black limo.

but that’s New York. you never know what will happen to you there. which is one of many reasons that i still miss it so much.



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links (unrelated to sausages)

it’s HIGH time i add some links here. i know far too many talented friends and my not mentioning them is downright criminal ::

(in no particular order)

Devin McGrath // one of my best friends. one of the most talented people you could ever meet. he’s australian. his humor is dry, sharp, and dark. and he’s made me pee my pants on several occasions (true story).

Ignacio Hinojosa // one of my best friends. he’s from Madrid and likes to say things about “your face.” as in, i miss your face. his oil paintings put rembrandt to shame and his illustrations ? words cannot do them justice.

Christina Sheppard // my former new york roommate and also one of my best friends. her favorite colors are lime green and purple. she made up the dance move, “the pizza cutter.” describing her and her work as awesome is a major understatement. [website unavailable].

Amanda Harris // one of my dearest new york friends. she’s from long island, is a crazy talented print maker and illustrator, and has been known to make me laugh so hard that both cake and soup come out of my nose. [website unavailable].

Jackie Fleckenstein // one of my best friends. her talents in drawing and printmaking make me sick. in a good way. she’s dark, sarcastic, and far before charlie sheen coined the term, she = winning.

Ed Chow // one of my closest friends from new york. he’s into robots, kittens, and blood. you can usually find him sporting a pink stripe in his black hair while he’s making graphic illustrations on his computer that make us all turn green with envy.

George Harbeson // engaged to the Christina mentioned above. his conceptual skills are unparalleled. as are his drawing skills. he’s from texas. he likes to wear cowboy boots and he’s one of the most vulgar people i’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting.

Gabe Tick // a close friend from new york. he’s charming, sweet, and uber talented. he has mastered computer programs that make me dizzy just thinking about and his work speaks for itself. he also happens to be one of the goofiest people i’ve ever met.

Maggie Brophy // i think i have only ever seen her wear black. her laugh is contagious. and her drawings are ridiculous. ridiculously stunning. she could probably draw an entirely lifelike portrait with her eyes closed.

Adam Mignanelli // a great friend of mine. he’s hilarious. he’s sweet. and he’s sarcastic as hell. and he can design the pants off of pretty much anyone i know. and lest i forget, he’s a damn fine cook.

Matt Mignanelli // adam’s brother. crazy talented painter who uses one hair brushes, people. i’m not sure where he finds the time or patience to do what he does, but he kicks major ass at it. and, like his brother, is a mean cook.

Jonathan Jay Lee // i call him jon jon. he’s from hong kong. he’s a comic master and one of the kindest people i’ve ever met. and he, like so many of my friends, loves the dark, bloody, and gory side of animation.

that’s the short list. i have so many more, but that’s a start and if you ask me, a damn fine start at that.


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enter title here

pizza was just ordered.

two large pizzas. one pepperoni. one cheese. we have three guests staying here. all of them from atlanta. which means there are seven us, in total, in our apartment. it’s somewhat loud, completely hilarious, and lovable. i love how many people crash here all the time. some may find it to be a nuisance, but i find it to be great company. we’ve yet to have one disrespectful guest. honestly ? every few weeks i get to meet one to three amazing people for a short period of time who demand nothing from me, know how to party, know when enough is enough, and that’s that. and more often than not, they usually offer up a homemade meal or two.

the only draw back is that, at this time, i can’t hang out with them. i have a show opening this friday the fifteenth of july. this means i need to make a few more pieces. which is all well and dandy. except. except. i don’t really have the time. so, i’m having to make the time. and that means i must lose some sleep. i must paint until my eyes are barely open, a slip of eyeball barely remaining.

i push on. and on. i am doing what i love and therefore i cannot complain. i repeat, i am doing what i love. and will continue to. even if it means i fall head first into my keyboard, absorbing some acrylic paint along the way.

i’m currently watching Fight Club. an amazing film with an amazing soundtrack and an even more amazing message.

so, with that, i will leave you with the image of a cornflower blue tie. “it must be tuesday.”




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happy birthday

i haven’t told you the birthday story yet. this story is from the middle of april and explains why, when my my fellow employees and i are experiencing a particularly high level of frustration or chaos we will look at each other and sarcastically exclaim, “happy birthday !”

during the middle of april, the thirteenth to be exact, two of the four people that i work with were going to be out of town for five days. the two people leaving were my manager and assistant manager. they were leaving for arizona for one of the biannual manager retreats that our company holds. this meant that me and my coworker nick were to be in charge of the store. he and i had only so much authoritative power since we were both, at the time, considered to be just clerks. when the managers go away to a retreat it is understood that they will be hard to contact in case of emergency since they are busy 90% of the time and much of that time is spent talking to the big wigs from corporate (who are actually all very cool people) and cell phones are likely to be off or silenced at almost all times. that said, we have seventeen stores nationwide and in the case of an emergency, we have sixteen other stores we could call for help if need be.

now, running an art store is no easy task when the manager or assistant manager is around, but between nick and i we both felt confident that we could handle any curve balls that were thrown our way. and to be honest ? aside from keeping the store running smoothly, the customers happy, and making money – nick and myself just wanted to make sure that the real basics were covered. as in, don’t set the store on fire, try not to get robbed, avoid serious injuries, and pray that no natural disasters hit during the five days that the boss ladies were out of town. it was just five days, how hard could it be to keep our ship from sinking ?

the first day was a wednesday. the store was opened on time, we made some good money, and everything went as it should. i like to consider that particular wednesday, april thirteenth, to be the calm before the storm.

on thursday morning i woke up around 7:30am to start getting ready for work to arrive at around 8:30 so that i could be ready to open the doors by 9:00. it just so happened that that was also nick’s birthday. he was scheduled to come in at 10:30 and i was prepared to get balloons and a card before work from safeway so that he’d have a little fun on his birthday at work.

at 7:45am with a bare right foot, i stepped on a glass pipe. it wasn’t mine, but i guess that doesn’t really matter. all that matters is that i stepped smack in the middle of a twelve inch glass pipe. it promptly snapped when i’d applied my full weight on it. the pipe itself was a dark color, as was the rug that it was sitting on – which was why i didn’t see it in the first place. not to mention the fact that i was a little sleepy eyed and i am also a professional klutz. i run into things all the time, but in my defense this was the first time i’d ever snapped a glass pipe in half with my foot.

when you step on a glass pipe and hear a loud POP! you may think that a serious amount of blood and pain will be involved – and it is – but not if the gash is well plugged. i’d managed to slice open the bottom and side of my foot, so i actually couldn’t really see the damage. i stopped dead in my tracks, looked at the floor, realized it was the pipe i’d stepped on, and promptly sat down on the couch that was directly next to me. i saw no blood and felt little pain, so i figured i was lucky. it was at that point that i twisted my foot just so so that i could get a better look. sure enough, there was a large shard of glass in my foot. without a second thought, i pulled the piece of glass out because really ? who wants to walk around with a piece of glass in their foot ? at the time, i immediately remembered the tale of the little dutch boy who stuck his finger into a dyke when he noticed a leak on his way to school. however, unlike the little dutch boy who kept his finger in the dyke and heroically saved his town from flooding, i removed the shard of glass from my foot and a river of blood began to flow from my foot which was now, by this time, feeling pretty darn sore.

a small pool of blood formed on the carpet and i pulled a small trash can under my foot so that i at least had a receptacle to contain the obscene amount of blood gushing from my foot. it was at this point that i called to the person who was with me (who had heard the POP! and asked if i was ok – to which i had first replied, “yeah, i’m fine”) and told him that he’d better come help me out. he saw the damage, gasped, exclaimed he saw bone (and so did i), and ran to his bathroom to retrieve gauze pads, a cotton bandage, and an ace bandage. i have to admit, if this had happened in my house i wouldn’t have been so prepared. i would have been lucky to find enough to paper towel or toilet paper to absorb all of the blood coming out of my foot.

while he frantically bandaged my foot (and props to him because he was on it like white on rice), i kept saying, “i need to get to work.. i have to open the store by nine..” – come hell or high water i had to make sure the store would be open by 9:00am, despite my current condition. he informed me that i would need stitches. i more or less scoffed at this because i wanted to consider this a flesh wound. there’s no good time to get stitches in your foot, much less when you live in a city that requires a lot of walking. much less a city with painfully steep hills that are a b*tch to climb when your feet are free of stitches. so, i called nick. and then i called him again. i called him five times. no answer.

at this time, nick happened to be staying at my apartment because he was between apartments. i have three roommates so i called one of them. then another. no answer. i called my final roommate, the one i figured the least likely to answer, and as luck would have it – he answered. eureka ! i asked him to wake up nick and give him the phone so that i could deliver the news and ask nick, on the morning of his birthday, to wake early and do what i could not do because i was a cab ride away from the nearest emergency room. and during this rushed phone call i completely failed to wish nick a happy birthday. i still feel guilty about that.

it was at this point that we called our manager to let her know what had happened. it was an injury and therefore fell into the “call the manager” category – manager’s retreat or not. and believe it or not, the store was open by 9:05am. go nick !

the E.R. happened and eight stitches later i rather awkwardly gimped out of the hospital and hailed the first available cab. instead of giving him my work address, i asked him to take me to safeway. i still had birthday balloons to buy, you see. my friends are my heart. i will never miss an opportunity to celebrate them on their birthdays even if i have fresh stitches in my foot. in the cab i called nick to let him know i was on my way. his only request ? “whatever you do – please make sure that i have a TIARA to wear.” done and done. thanks be to god for walgreens and their kid’s section which offered a princess glamour set. tiara and balloons were acquired. i limped to work with these items in my arms and received many stares. not good stares. but more like, “oh that poor crazy person” stares. i’m okay with that. at that point, i think i was crazy-person qualified.

i arrived at work with balloons and tiara in tow. nick was happy to see all of that, but he was a bit preoccupied. you see, the computers had decided to go down for the morning. there were about ten people in line impatiently tapping their feet because the register was not cooperating. because this involved money, we had to place phone call number two to our manager. happy birthday.

after two plus hours on the phone with tech support, the matter was resolved. by this time, a few deliveries had arrived and i’d already spent the better part of the day just ringing people at the register with my foot elevated. any and all deliveries were (and had to be) received by nick because i could barely walk around the store, much less up and down a flight of stairs.

thursday came and went, the silver lining being that since nick had opened the store (instead of closing it) that afforded him to leave earlier than first expected which meant he could begin drinking sooner than expected. and boy oh boy did he earn every cocktail he drank that night.

on friday morning i opened the store by 9:00am, elevating my foot as often as i could before nick arrived at 10:30. since it was his birthday the day before, he’d done a fair bit o’ partying and was a wee bit hungover come friday morning. just after noon a man came downstairs. we receive deliveries on a near daily basis. most of them requiring signatures. when he asked for mine i blindly signed it without too much thought before asking what kind of delivery we had. it was at this point that he informed me he was not delivering any merchandise, but rather a summons. as in, lawsuit. happy birthday.

because our old location was in a basement, we had no wheelchair access. a couple years ago the city of san francisco passed a law that stated that all retail spaces must be wheelchair accessible a.k.a. ada compliant. at the time the law was passed, we asked our building manager if we could install a wheelchair ramp (at our own expense) to an elevator we had in the back of the store. our request was denied and that was that. as i later learned, we were not the first person to be hit with a lawsuit from this particular person. who, by the way, also happened to be a customer. someone who we had, in the past, run baskets of supplies up to in order to accommodate him as best as possible from our underground location. so, with that, we placed our third (and final) phone call to our manager.

on this same friday, at 2:30pm, not one – but three – pallets of canvases and wood panels arrived. at our old location, large deliveries like that would be placed on the sidewalk out front so that we could bring them in over the course of the day. with only two employees working, receiving that many pallets was daunting to say the least. with only one employee capable of walking up and down the stairs and carrying all of those panels and canvases was just, well, absurd.

i am usually a trooper when it comes to things like that. i will work through the pain and get the job done. and although i did manage to do some lifting, i really did not contribute much. i just couldn’t walk. i couldn’t put any weight on my right foot and hopping up and down the stairs was out of the question. not to mention the fact that we had customers and i was the designated cashier (for obvious reasons). so, nick heroically brought in three pallets worth of heavy wood panels and canvases in a three hour window of time. if we gave out gold medals or purple hearts, he’d have one of each. he’s a total champion.

so. upon my bank fiasco that just took place in the last twenty four hours i walked into work this morning greeted by a “happy birthday!” from my fellow employees. and even in the midst of such an event, i have to laugh because at the end of the day i have this theory we have a choice to make when faced with all things bad and out of our control. laugh or cry. and i do believe there is always a time and a place for a good cry, it’s so much easier to laugh. so, to anyone facing a something stressful in their life, happy birthday ! trust me, you are not alone.


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bank fraud, say what ?

it’s a strange thing when you are forced to sit on the fact that $4,500.00 (that you did not withdraw) is in the process of being withdrawn for your bank account a.k.a your life source.

in less than twelve hours i will know whether or not i have been a victim of bank fraud. it’s terrifying. but at the same time ? there is nothing i can do about it right now than wait it out. as of tomorrow morning i will know whether or not this withdrawal has been honored and where this withdrawal originated. so for now ? i get to sit on this rather unsettling fate for the evening and hope that my bank has enough common sense to throw up some red flags and prevent this transaction from actually taking place.

but to be entirely honest ? this situation is not entirely scary. i mean, it is only because i have paid both bills and rent in the last week. all of these checks are due for deposit any day now and they will bounce if, come tomorrow morning, my balance remains at zero. this will make me look like an unreliable tenant and customer and roommate. i want nothing to do with any of the above. but, what can you do ? what happens happens and aside from leaving voicemails and sending emails, there’s little i can do. so be it.

it was a strange contrast to have this happen after learning that last night my father experienced a house fire which forced him to spend a few hours in the E.R. (with his wife) and nurse some minor burns to his face.

i immediately kicked into protective parental mode. as most children experience in their lifetime, there is a time when you take on the role of parent to your parents. i can’t say that i’ve done this many times over, but every once in a while i feel it necessary to scold my mother or father for acting somewhat foolish. in this case, i gave my father a good earful. telling him to be more careful with his cigar ashes in his wine cellar. i mean, really ? hot ashes, wooden crates, and alcohol. is that not a recipe for disaster ? it really doesn’t matter at this point. all that matters is that he and his family are all safe and sound and that the fire that came to life in their basement was extinguished in a timely fashion.

i can’t say that i am too familiar with life and death situations. that’s not to say that my father was moments away from death’s door, but one cannot deny the fact that had he and his wife left the surrounding area for a few extra minutes, his house may have been engulfed in flames and he and his family may have been severely hurt.

all of that said, the fourth of july just passed. i spent the morning sleeping in a dark room. and then i headed to a motorcycle shop. a shop that rents harleys. by one o’clock i was drinking out of a red cup admiring some ribs that had been smoking since nine in the morning. by three, i enjoyed said ribs and sat quite happily in the sunshine, only to receive a memorable burn. a tan line that started on the upper ankle and extended to my feet (and don’t forget the amazing flip flop tan that accompanied it).

the fourth came and went. as did my father’s house fire and the bank fraud i am sure to be a victim of. it is a tuesday night and i am at home watching Volume 1 of Kill Bill. in ten days i have to hang my work up at a bar/gallery space. i don’t feel entirely ready, but i am getting there. i suppose though, if i have no funds and an excess of art supplies (and good entertainment like Kill Bill), i have no choice other than to make some great work.

it’s nearing one in the morning. painting will have to wait until tomorrow, but i am hopeful for the future – regardless of what my bank tells me tomorrow. i have my family. i have my paints. i have my canvas. there’s little else that i need to keep me happy.

over and out.


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i am an artist. i also happen to work at an art supply store. it’s actually pretty handy. i love my job and receiving a special employee discount is merely a perk. but i know that regardless of whether i worked where i work now or if i were some random waitress waiting tables at a local cafe, all of my money would go into buying art supplies anyway. rent, food, and art supplies. that is my financial existence and although i live paycheck to paycheck, i am happy. i’d much rather be poor and happy than rich and unhappy. or even worse, alone.

it’s pretty awesome when you can turn to a fellow employee and exclaim that you are sincerely excited because you bought this container and you have plans to spend the evening chromatically organizing all of your pastels – and that fellow employee does not look at you (with disgust) like you are some being from another planet, but rather he actually jumps for joy and claps.. completely understanding why this activity would be exciting for me and worth looking forward to. hot d*mn i love my job ::

[pastels in box. photo courtesy of my iPhone.]


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in over fifteen years

i mentioned in my last post that my sister and a special someone is coming down to San Francisco this weekend to see me. his name is Nils. he is from Germany and he is my half brother, one of my father’s two sons from his first marriage.

i haven’t seen Nils in over fifteen years. i spoke to him on the phone the other day for the first time in over fifteen years. if you’ve never had an experience like this, there are simply no words to describe it or do it any justice. it was exhilarating and completely surreal. for the first time in over fifteen years, my sister (Svenja), Nils, and i will be sleeping under the same roof. i keep pinching myself because i never thought this day would come.

when you grow up like i did, you get used to not having an extended family. my (blood) family in the states has only ever consisted of me, my mom, my dad, and my sister. a family dinner never extended beyond the four of us. i’ve never had one of those christmas days where you shuttle around from one relative’s house to another because there were never any relatives to pay a visit to. there were only boxes to pack and send across the pond to our extended family, with high hopes of christmas and birthday pressies alike reaching them in time. and i give my mom full credit for doing all of that.

this weekend will be amazing. i need to purchase a roll of film (ok, rolls) pronto because i need to record it as best i can.

i went to the doctor today. as i had suspected, i have both bronchitis and sinusitis. antibiotics are already swimming around my stomach and a bottle of codeine infused cough syrup is on hand for enjoying a night of cough free sleep. i am also eating vitamins and cold medication like it is going out of style, so if this post seems a little foggy and lacking my usual gusto – that’s why.

the above drawing was inspired by a song my roommate shared with me. it’s a love song, in case you couldn’t tell by the one lyric i wrote down next my drawing of a cow, er bull. why didn’t i draw a bear ? beats me.

i was also told that if were to ever have a child it would come into this world wearing sunglasses and a scarf. two things you will rarely find me without even on the warmest and most cloudy of days.

time for a nap. over and out.

[micron on paper]


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danger and a ceiling fan blade

i mentioned this sign in my last post. i hope you can fully appreciate the humor ::

[i fully support the graffitied ‘what?’ below]

so, this evening was a little weird. such weirdness led me to do something, well, weird. i recently acquired five sets of “Toob  Animals.” they were originally sold at around 11$ a pop, but due to our discounts.. they were marked down to 98 cents per tube (and a Toob Animal is a plastic tube of animals, intended for children – farm animals, birds, horses, etc.). which is, aka, AWESOME. i have had a blade of a ceiling fan lying around my apartment for a few months. there was technically a painting on it, but the painting consisted of chicken scratch marks made be a drug inclined fellow in the area. not to undermine his work, but i felt this ceiling blade fan could use some seriously love. and seriously – the ceiling fan blade is kind of an awesome canvas. since having just acquired an obscene amounts of plastic animals.. i felt inspired to hot glue them to the blade. i’m actually pretty stoked about the outcome and although i know that it will never truly serve as an aerodynamic ceiling blade again in its life, it will hang with pride on my wall. so, please enjoy ::

that’s all folks.

[iphone photo][spray painted ceiling fan blade with hot glued plastic animals]



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moving, muscles, and m’lady

things have been a little absurd these days. absurdly crazy, that is.

the art store where i work is relocating and it truly is beyond exciting. our current location is underground. i refer to it as ‘the dungeon.’ there are no windows, therefore no natural light or airflow. thanks to very colorful walls and excessive lighting, it’s not dark down there. however, when someone comes in after i’ve been down there for a prolonged period of time i tend to inquire about the weather ‘out there’ in the ‘upstairs world.’ it could be snowing or sunny and i would be none the wiser. which explains why i am grateful for when i see someone wander in in a t-shirt or holding a wet umbrella. it gives me an impression as to what is happening outside. that said, the lair in which work is quite cozy, but i miss daylight. i miss looking out the window for a weather report. and in our new location we are above ground. even our basement is above ground. my manager said it best when she exclaimed, “i felt a breeze in our new space !” and seriously, i moved from Seattle to San Francisco. i not only expect, but also feel that i deserve, some sunshine in my life.

so, this means we’re moving an art store. i’m not sure if you understand what kind of an endeavor that is. when a 4,500 square foot place is packed from floor to ceiling (literally) with art supplies, it’s a little difficult to imagine moving it to another location. i have been a wishin’ and a hopin’ and a prayin’ for a magic wand to miraculously lift our current stock into our new store, but it hasn’t happened yet. i’ll keep you posted. since we still have a huge amount of stock at our current location we are liquidating it. we are, essentially, giving away art supplies. no, they aren’t free per say, but they might as well be considering the deep discounts we’ve been doling out in an effort to rid ourselves of our current stock. while i’m on the subject, if you live in San Francisco and you (or anyone you know or anyone that they know) is an artist – you need to get here immediately. seriously, get to this store without any further ado because our sales are ridiculous, nay – downright obnoxious.

so, the new location required a serious paint job. not because the existing paint job was sub par, but because our stores are multicolored. some may refer to it as some sort of latex paint explosion, but i like to think of it more as a unicorn that vomited multiple rainbows onto the walls. however, it’s not just some random hodge podge paint job, there is quite a bit of structure and planning involved (and, by the way, it looks amazing). i was afforded the opportunity to take an over sized roller, dip it into a pan with not one, but three, different colors, and roll the walls and ceiling. and i got paid to do this ! we listened to Johnny Cash and laughed and celebrated the new space. the only draw back being that when you are a somewhat scrawny girl (me) holding a somewhat large and extended roller and you are painting fourteen foot ceilings, there is a price that you will pay.

that price was not only complete disorientation (seriously, looking up (for five hours) at a ceiling with a roller in hand that might weigh more than you is liable to cause a serious case of vertigo). i’m not complaining because it was a blast to be a part of this whole experience, but i’m just sayin’. i was more than just a little dizzy after that sort of labor. but the complete loss of balance is nothing compared to the muscle, or perhaps ligament?, that i tweaked in the process. i still cannot laugh, sneeze, cough, breath, or lie down without an incredibly sharp pain in my upper left rib area. who knew painting could result in a ‘work related injury’ ? i wasn’t expecting it and i, personally, find it to be rather hilarious despite the pain.

i was also there the day some two tons of steel were delivered. steel, people. i aided in the movement of said steel down into the basement area. there’s no elevator. there are stairs. we did construct a makeshift ramp from some ply wood that made the whole experience far easier to manage, but lifting and heaving steel around when you have a seriously tweaked something in your torso is not incredibly comfortable. and it’s particularly uncomfortable when you drop a pile of said steel on your foot, causing a rather impressive bruise to form thereafter. what can i say ? moving this store is, truly, a labor of love.

i realize that i have, by now, rambled on for far too long. i have one more story to tell (which is quite amusing), but it can wait. it’ll have to because i’m not in the mood to bore you any further. plus, i’m not even finished telling the stories above because the new location we are moving into holds so much amazing history, i would feel criminal keeping it from you. but i will leave you with this post for now. it’s just about nine o’clock and bed is in my near future.

[‘m’lady is called ‘Filling the Void.’ she is acrylic and mixed media on glass. she was just displayed at a drag show fundraiser (yes, this is what happens when you live in San Francisco) and i shared her last week, but the picture was sub par so i figured i’d re-share her this evening. so, please, enjoy.]



Filed under design, illustration (both acrylic and oilt)

the beaver cake, a story of stacked sugar

i never told you about the beaver cake.

a well known illustrator and artist in the area, by the name of Jeremy Fish, frequents our art store for all of his supplies. unlike most well known illustrators and artists, he’s actually not an asshole. he doesn’t have an inflated ego (even though, technically, his work could back him up if he did because he’s amazingly talented). on the contrary, he’s one of the nicest customers that we have and also happens to be completely hilarious. he’s a good egg, if you ask me.

so, when his birthday came ’round (about a month ago), we wanted to do something special for him. we, as an art store, wanted to give him a great gift. so, we collectively decided to give him a sort of ‘super market sweep’ of our store. we even locked the top gate of the store to ensure that no other customers would interfere with what turned out to be a rather epic event. the ground rules were simple ::

1. chug a Tecate – to ensure a certain level of inebriation

2. put your head on a bat (rested on the floor) and spin around three times – to ensure disorientation, dizziness, and loss of balance

3. take two full minutes to run around the store (without the aid of a basket or staff) and collect all the items that you desire (in his case, it was mainly brush packs and pencils)

4. at the two minute mark (which we not only counted down out loud, but also counted down by playing Iron Maiden’s ‘Run for the Hills‘ as he sprinted throughout the store), make it back to the main counter and hit the bell

5. please, don’t bankrupt us by taking hugely expensive items

this birthday extravaganza was a great success. he was surprisingly coordinated and thoughtful. i say ‘surprisingly’ only because my manager did a test run (we were trying to figure out just how many minutes we should allow Jeremy to have to raid our store) and during this test run (minus the Tecate), she managed to knock down several displays and drop a handful of items. it’s actually kind of a miracle she didn’t crash head first into one of our brick walls.

now you have to understand, if you are a friend of mine and it is your birthday, i will bake you a cake. sure, the cake will be baked from a box mix, but it will be a very special cake. i ask for only three things :: 1. flavor 2. color & 3. animal.

Jeremy’s requests were as follows :: 1. vanilla 2. brown & 3. beaver.

a lot of people ask me how i construct these cakes because they aren’t just 9 x 12 ” cakes with a drawing of an animal on top. i actually make the animal. it is an entirely three dimensional cake. i’ll bake two 8 ” circles and carve out what i need to stack the layers accordingly to make the animal. i’m actually quite proud of the birthday cakes i’ve made even though most of the time they look like the result of cake making amateur hour. it really is more about the thought and planning and love i put into the cake than it is about the cake itself. regardless, i’ve made some great cakes over the years (yes, that was the sound of my ego inflating). 

with the help of a box of vanilla cake mix, frosting, chocolate sprinkles, marshmallows, and oreos, the beaver cake was born. it’s just as ugly and awkward as it is cute and endearing. it was a labor of love and i am still very proud of it.

so, Jeremy came into the store last week and the first thing he said, er asked, was, “you want to hear something heart warming ?” our answer was, obviously, “yes.” he then told us that on the day of his birthday, when he received the cake, he had had a party at his apartment that night. he had planned on consuming the cake with his friends, but because he got so plastered he decided against the idea of cake in an effort to avoid throwing up cake on his walls. so the cake remained, untouched, in his refrigerator. one day passed. then another. and another. the cake remained untouched since it was not only an adorable little critter of a cake, but also the birthday had passed. how could he eat his own birthday cake several days after his actual birthday and party ? so he left the cake in his fridge, unsure as to what to do with it.

at this point he alerted us to his ‘bachelor status.’ saying that at any given time his fridge really only holds beer and a small selection of condiments. he said he might have a friend over from time to time, ask for them to a retrieve a beer from the fridge, and the friend would – without fail – make a remark at this strange cake in the fridge. “what THE HELL is this ?” he’d explain the circumstances and that was that. until a friend claimed that this cake was going to ‘go bad.’ now, the cake may be incredibly stale by this point, but as Jeremy said, there aren’t “maggots crawling out of it.” it’s just sitting there, in his fridge, preserved as a stack of sugar in the form of a brown vanilla flavored beaver. he went so far as to call his mom to ask her if this cake could go bad. should he throw it away even though it doesn’t seem to pose a risk to his health or the cleanliness of his fridge ? she said it was most likely just fine staying there until, of course, it showed serious signs of deterioration, mold, or otherwise. 

so, with all of that said, Jeremy came to the conclusion that my cake is proudly on display in his fridge, well preserved in it’s perfectly chilled environment. it was only then that it hit me, i have a cake on display in Jeremy Fish’s apartment. of all the cakes i have constructed over the years (this birthday cake endeavor began in 2004), i am most proud of this one which remains untouched, uneaten, and on display in the fridge of an illustrator and artist that i admire not just a little bit, but a lot. and that’s pretty f*cking awesome if you ask me.



Filed under design, illustration (both acrylic and oilt)