Tag Archives: studio

a tangent

it’s been four months (four too [f*cking] many) and two days since i last posted on here. i have written entries during this radio silence, but upon later inspection, those entries were mediocre at best. writing an entry from the confines of another home or a coffee shop just, well, it sucks. my creative juices tend to evaporate and i am usually left listening to those around me sip overpriced lattes whilst one-hit-wonder hipster songs play over head (it’s even hard to avoid if you wear a set of headphones which i tend to not wear because i feel antisocial enough and somewhat rude as it were trapped in my world of keyboard-ness). oh and happy new year and merry holidays, by the way! i’ve been so damn neglectful of my dear readers. apologies all around!


i have not had my own personal desktop computer (i do not own a laptop) online since July. the hiatus was fine and at times quite pleasant (it’s a stellar excuse for missing emails, online bill payments, and the like – though i would never encourage that sort of behavior!). but it has also been a giant pain in the ass a bit frustrating because i realized just how dependent i (let’s face it, we) have become on this interweb luxury that we all take for granted. i have a smart phone, too. so it’s not as if i’ve been living in a remote part of the world without any electronics or ways to “reach” the inter-land. and for the record, i do find it quite pathetic just how exuberant i became yesterday when i realized that my own said smart phone (which i have had well before july) can, with a simple slide of a button on it’s delicate interface, become a “hotspot.” i.e. forget calling your local internet providers for service, just scour your phone for the hotspot option and slide the grey “no” to the blue “yes” and poof! you can get your computers, kindles, ipads, itampons (those exist now, right?) online anywhere, anytime ! hello 2013. my name is jessi and i am a complete dumbf*ck when it comes to technology. it doesn’t matter if i can operate photoshop with my eyes closed, that’s about as far as it gets for me and my competence of computers or really anything that has an extension cord, not to mention an operating system (or OS as you nerds technologically competent folks like to say).

there was a point in my life (as i am sure many people in my generation have encountered as well when computers and cell phones became what we now know them as) wherein i truly thought i was smarter than my parents merely because they appeared to have no clue about how to operate said smart phones, computers, or other new electronic gadgets. coming from a family with a father who worked at microsoft for upwards of 20 years, you’d think some tech-y gene would have landed inside my frontal lobe or where ever things like that land. au contraire, mon frère. my father has little to no understanding of technology and how it actually works, he doesn’t even own a cell phone and i’ve witnessed him, on many occasions, get so fed up with his collection of remote controls i fear they could, without warning, become the victim of his wrath by being thrown across a room or simply yelled at rather ferociously for being so stupid, those poor verbally abused inanimate objects. my mother, however, has a smart phone, an ipad, and a laptop and it’s reached the point where i truly believe she knows more about these gadgets than i do. in fact, when i was home in seattle last june for a best friend’s baby shower, i really wanted to watch a dvd at my mom’s house and we ended up watching television instead because neither us could figure out how to make the damn tv and dvd player align with one another. it was at this point i really had to reevaluate my own understanding of anything electronic. i could blame it on the fact that i haven’t had the luxury of a dvd and tv for over two years(therefore “out of practice”?, but let’s face it. i am a self proclaimed idiot when it comes to this new age of technology where a minimum of three remote controls seem to be a requirement for any television and computers and phones are getting “smarter” and “smarter” by the day. either my understanding for this stuff has plateaued or i’ve grown some seriously dumb cells in the recesses of my brain, which at this point, probably more closely resemble scrambled eggs.


i remember my father had one of those giant grey cell phones when i was a kid that not only resembled, but also weighed as much as, a brick with a thick black antennae coming out of it (that stayed out at all times, there was nothing collapsible, convenient, ergonomic, or even functional about this big grey eyesore of a cell phone (particularly compared to today’s standards)). i’m not sure how often (if at all?) it was ever used. i remember it collecting a lot of dust. i also remember those beige-ish grey apple computers (that looked more like square plastic loaves of bread) we used in grade school to learn our typing skills on. i really only had an iota of interest in those machines because i would frequent my best friend Heather’s house most days after school to enjoy hours of playing both The Oregon Trail and Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego? i can think of no other reason for those machines now. they were not computers to my generation, they were toys. they were machines that informed me of having died from cholera or that Heather was lost and that cut three days off our trip. i always thought it a bit peculiar that someone who got “lost” in that game could shave anywhere from 1 to 5 days off your travels, but the death of a family member was just a drop in the bucket. no days lost, no apparent grieving or mourning took place, no tears shed. and no proper burial/funeral never once occurred. and i’m speaking from experience. i’ve Oregon-Trail-killed plenty of friends and family members. a death was akin to an announcement like, “it’s 56 degrees and sunny.” all of sudden ‘and then there were two!’


Carved // Self Portrait // December 2012
however, i have to admit, flat out, that i think my understanding of technologically peaked at that age, hovering obsessively over The Oregon Trail waiting to see just how many people died, got lost, or sick. though my sister and best friend Heather seemed far more skilled at this game (sister, yes. Heather, debatable. (sorry Heather!))(ok, skilled at hunting, that is, because this game has little to do with skill, logic perhaps, but skill – not so much). i can’t tell you, nor would i even want to admit to, how horrible i was at hunting in that game. and an irritating fun-fact :: for any animal you shoot for food doesn’t really matter since you’re only allowed to bring 100 lbs back to the wagon at a time, even if you were to shoot ten 536 LB buffaloes, you would only get to keep 100 of those LBs.  i always thought that was incredibly lame, couldn’t the rest of my family (assuming any were still alive and not suffering from the measles) help you carry back some of your fresh meat? was it necessary to leave all of that fresh buffalo meat behind? wasteful. damn wasteful, especially considering how hungry those people on the wagon always were (it took them about two, maybe three days to consume the freshly killed meat).  and i absolutely loved the gamble you’d have to take when reaching a river crossing. do we “ford the river” or “caulk the wagon and float it across”? taking a ferry was also an option, but i don’t think we once opted for the ferry ride since it cost money. instead, we’d pick our poison, cross our fingers, and sincerely hope that one of our oxen wouldn’t perish in the process. i’ll speak for myself on this matter, but i remember feeling a great deal of responsibility over this ford versus float decision and i really took it quite seriously, as if i actually knew what any of it meant, though i did love to nod in agreement or shake my head in disdain if i felt someone (including myself) had made the wrong choice.
Screen shot 2013-01-15 at 3.11.11 PM
a good present day example to the anxiety that the “ford or float” decision causes :: being placed in the sticky position of being “the one” to choose a bottle of wine for a fancy dinner table and having a penguin-tuxedo dressed server pour just a splash into your glass, looking at you with rather bulbous eyes. positively staring at you with the expectation of your “highly trained palette” to make the call on some wine you’ve never tasted or heard of before and know nothing about (since my only “knowledge” of wine rests heavily on whether or not i thought the wine label was well designed). even when i never much cared for the taste of the splash of wine,  i never once (if memory serves) declared the wine to be “no good,” nor do i have a memory of sending food back (unless a meat dish was visibly expelling blood and/or undercooked).  i prefer my steaks to not actively “moo” while i eat them. under or over cooked veggies and/or sides will never fall into the realm of “send it back” because my standards when it comes to “fine dining” are so low, regardless of how many fancy restaurants i’ve eaten at. i am, after all, the girl who’s known for eating progresso soup at room temperature, directly out of the can, with a plastic spoon, in bed. perhaps my standards are extremely low or maybe i’m just a simpleton who considers food as fuel (though, when given the opportunity, i really do love to cook fancy meals, combining unexpected flavors and colors in my dishes. give me a full spread of food and a great kitchen, food is no longer food. it is cooking :: an art form, after all. however, in my current living situation, i’ve nowhere to properly prepare such a meal, nor do i have anyone to share it with, nor do i have anywhere to properly enjoy it as i lack any sort of dining space. my “dining room” is the side of my bed on the floor. so, now you must understand why i’ve fallen in love with my “Progresso Soup Diet” ?! plus, when you’ve no fridge, where does one store leftovers?

this ramble is so hither and thither. i’d apologize but i have so much to catch you up on. i lost my job at the art supply store i worked at for just over 2 years on November 28th of 2012. just in time for the holidays, as “luck” would have it. i will not go into detail about things because it’ll only lull you to sleep, my dear readers. i’ve made the transition from full time job to unemployed, but i have since managed to keep my head more than just afloat not only financially (by means of selling my work and also handling some commissioned illustration jobs), but also in spirit as well. i strongly believe everything happens for a reason and though i have remained a customer at that fine art supply store, i am relieved to have those days behind me. there were copious amounts of dysfunctional activities and behaviors that took place there that had made it more and more difficult to get to work in the mornings. i’d reached a point of absolute lethargy and also unhappiness which even verged on irritability (which is completely out of character for me) towards different aspects of the job and some of the people i worked with. i miss the customers. i miss the building. i miss some, but not all, of my co-workers. but since having left the place, my mood’s improved ten fold. my energy and spunk has returned. my irritability seems to have evaporated like steam from a kettle. and i can’t tell you how many friends, family, and most flatteringly, former customers of mine have wrangled around me in support (if any of you are reading this, thank you! couldn’t have picked myself up so fast or so gracefully without you! I LOVE YOU!)

nowadays? i am living life happy and free spirited and optimistic. grateful to be alive. skating upon each and every damn silver lining that seems to exist around every corner these days because when one is so dedicated to their 40+ hour a week job, one loses sight of everything else. silver linings become distant memories at best. the two days you spend off are usually a bust since you spend them catching up on both errands and sleep. i had such an incredibly wonky schedule at my last job (my arrival and departure times varied just about every day) and turned my sleeping schedule on its head. in the past few months i’d become increasingly lethargic to the point where i requested to get my blood drawn, assuming i was most certainly suffering from anemia due to how tired i’d become. i took supplements, i went out of my way to eat better and more often. when my doctor told me the only issue i had was a Vitamin D deficiency (big whoop), i was stunned. i was almost disappointed that i wasn’t anemic, because it’s easy to pump yourself full of iron and foods that contain iron. i began taking huge doses of Vit D immediately and felt no huge change in my energy levels, even after a few weeks of taking them. but then i was laid off and it was as if a spell had been lifted. my energy began to return within only a few days and i had to wonder, was all of the negative energy i had been subjected to at work causing my lethargy? honestly? yes, i think that’s exactly what happened. i’ve continued the vitamins and all that good stuff, but i am almost like a firecracker these days with my energy and motivation to work for myself. and thus far, it’s been paying off in a massive way.


welcome to Year of the Pig Studio!

so, i am signing off here. you will be kept up to date far more frequently of my adventure(s) now that i’ve gotten internet access again ! until then, don’t forget about the silver linings. once you start looking for them, you’ll be surprised just how many there are.





Filed under design, illustration & painting (both acrylics and oils), illustration (both acrylic and oilt), photography, Year of the Pig Studio // San Francisco, CA

mangaan blauw V. 2.0 & where have i been all my life ?

i just realized today that it has been one month and a day since my last post. poor neglected blog. i pity thee.

i began writing a post about two, nay three, weeks ago and promptly stopped writing it mid-sentence. it was such a debbie downer of a post. it had to do with feelings of insignificance, angst, and being smacked by a drunk old man (true story). in hindsight, i have to say that i applaud my decision to stop writing said post mid-sentence.

i bought a planner in january, right after my birthday. i had high hopes of using said planner to map my days out and attempt to organize my life. ironically, said planner was lost misplaced only a week later. the losing of the planner has had quite an impact on my life, i think. i have searched high and low for this d*mn thing and it is nowhere to be found, believe you me. i bought this particular planner at my place of work and of course when i decided, two weeks later, that i would just sack up and buy another one – we’d sold out – without any plans to order any more because after the first couple of months of the year have passed, people have the planners they need and don’t go out looking for new ones. i’ve made a somewhat concerted effort to replace the planner, but have failed in my attempts. no one is carrying them. so apparently, if you buy a planner at the start of a new year – you’d best keep it in a safe place. and that’s another thing about me, when i acquire something important that i may not use daily, but would really like to keep around on a weekly basis – i tend to keep them in ‘safe places.’ my ‘safe places,’ however, always become mysteries and once again i face the fact that i have lost something that i really needed. can i get a round of applause for that ?

so, confession time. what the h*ll have i been doing ? what has been occupying my time ?

first of all. i got sick. wait, i was sick. ok, i have to explain this a little bit and i bet you are, by now, chomping at the bit to hear what i have to say :: i started coughing on November 9th (i recall this date only because of a text message i happened to dig up that declared to someone that i had just woken up sick and was running to a drug store for dayquil/nyquil/the works). ever since i was a kid, i have a knack for having a rather obnoxious cough. even when i was battling a minor cold, my cough would sound as if a lung (or two) were quite likely to fall out of my chest and mouth. i coughed through november. and december. and january. there was a space of two or three weeks in the middle that it seemed to subside slightly, leaving me to believe i was facing the light at the of the ‘cough tunnel,’ if you will. but then, three-ish weeks ago, the cough became worse and worse. it had gotten to the point where i just expected to be awake at night to have some coughing fits. when it finally reached the point that i was waking up every hour on the hour for a good twenty minutes to dry heave on my single mattress, i decided i should see a doctor. now, my delay at seeing a doctor in the first place stemmed from two things :: 1. i hate seeing doctors. i hate making an appointment. i hate waiting rooms. i hate having to breath in and out while they place a cold (can’t they warm those things up before they do this ?) stethoscope on my back and chest. and 2. i had no health insurance. my health insurance from my work didn’t kick in until the start of february, so i was waiting it out. and even when it kicked in, i didn’t have a health insurance card in my wallet – it was in the mail (and, actually, still is). i called around to a handful of free clinics, but either the line was permanently busy or their estimated wait time was 4+ hours. to make a long story short, i finally saw a doctor a week ago, was diagnosed with bronchitis and sinusitis, received antibiotics, an inhaler, codeine cough syrup – and here i am, a week later, 95% cough free ! i really can’t tell you how excited that makes me.

poster design for ‘still floating’

and then i was part of a show that opened on february 4th. it was a group show – the ‘group’ being me and my three fellow employees at the art store where i work. so for the last week of january and the first week of february, i was feverishly making pieces for the show. we had just over a week’s warning to prepare, so i was ‘a little busy’ to say the least. the show was only up for a week, but it was a good time. the opening was fabulous :: we had wine, cheese, christmas lights, music, and lots of foot traffic. i made a sale (or two) and that was that. care to see some new pieces from 2011 ? (bad photographs, apologies) ::



“jig saw”


“see saw”

in the last week, i have hereby confirmed that i am going to be an art teacher. ok, i’ll cut the crap. i’m going to be teaching one girl some art classes once a week. i’ve had some people interested in my holding a proper ‘class’ out of my apartment – which i may still do – but for now, i have just the one client and i am incredibly excited ! she’s thirteen, home-schooled, and has had not, to my knowledge, had any formal training in art whatsoever. aware of how cliche this sounds, the chance at getting to teach a young girl about art is like staring at a big blank canvas – inspiring, exciting, and terrifying. i can’t wait. the first ‘class’ is this monday and i will let you know how it goes !

and two weeks ago, i was given permission (from my fantastically awesome roommates) that i could move my studio from my bedroom to our living room (a room we rarely use) without any further cost. this means i can now sleep in my bed and have an entire bedroom to myself – it’s still only about 10’x10′ – but when you remove two desks, a file cabinet, and copious amounts of art supplies – this former studio/bedroom, in comparison, feels not unlike a mansion. our living room is quite spacious – almost twice the size of my bedroom – and i am in heaven here. i can walk more than two feet from my desk and not run into my mattress/a pile of clothes/a turtle tank/a closet/what have you. truly liberating.

and last, but certainly not least, i was assigned probably one of my favorite jobs to date. i hate referring to all freelance work (particularly this one) as a ‘job’ because the word job implies a sort of chore – and this, my friends, was nothing of the sort. i will try and keep a long story short, but knowing my propensity for a-rambling – it is unlikely that this will be a short paragraph. about a week ago, the phone at my work rang. usually the manager or assistant manager answers the phone, but we were slammed and i happened to be the staff member closed to it ( as fate would have it, if you will.. since i do believe that all things happen for a reason). so, i answered, as usual, ‘Artist & Craftsman, this is Jessi.’ the voice on the other side belonged to a man who was looking for an illustrator. he had some specifics for a painting in mind and called our art store in an attempt to find someone, anyone, willing to complete this project. i replied, to his delight, that i went to school for illustration and would be interested in said project. so, we scheduled a time to meet to discuss the details. as usual, i had some hesitations. things like this usually start out so simple and well-meaning and end up turning into a mess – a clash of left and right brains – and leave me feeling as if i have signed some contract with the ‘freelance devil’ – meaning :: i’m getting paid to make something i don’t really want to make, but i’ll make it regardless because i could use the money (there’s a reason my professors at college considered the Freelance Illustration world a world of being an art-whore/art-prostitute – completing jobs you didn’t want to complete in the first place, but agreeing to do them anyway because there will, inevitably, be a check at the end of it all).

when i met up with him, just two days later, i knew right off the bat that this was going to be one of those ‘exceptions’ to the art-whore Freelance Illustration jobs. he was kind, funny, and open-minded. he gave me the details and told me to grab the bull by the horns and run with it. the project, in short, is an anniversary painting. one year ago (yesterday), he met a woman on a plane bound for New York from Denver. they spent the entire flight talking to each other and now, a year later, have fallen fast in love. he gave me the flight number, the airport codes, and every other imaginable detail related to this first encounter on this flight that brought them together. he wanted a painting. and a collage. he wanted to merge all of these significant details of their first encounter into one painting.

first of all, i have to admit, i melted at his request. what an amazing request – right ? being a girl (and a romantic at heart), i couldn’t help but want to jump into this project face first. so, for the past week, i have been working my tail off to complete this project because he needed the final product to be overnighted to New York City on the 24th so it would arrive on the 25th – the day that both he and she would be in NYC. today is the 24th (just, you know, for your information), so I completed this mixed media painting this morning. i spent a good deal of time with both UPS and FedEx to discuss shipping costs and, subsequently, spent close to an hour on the floor in FedEx ‘making’ a box that would fit the dimensions of the painting, packing the painting, and sending it off. i even called the hotel in NYC to request that they call me tomorrow to confirm the delivery of the painting.

and of course, as usual, i was so eager to finish this piece, pack it up, and ship it – i forgot to take a picture of it. so, when it has been received in New York City – a photograph will follow shortly thereafter, but i love the piece and i hope it’ll make their one year anniversary that much more special..

over and out. my eyes are hurting from all the computer shenanigans.

[poster :: digital design][mixed media on all of the above][iPhone photograph of my new studio]


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Filed under design, illustration (both acrylic and oilt), photography