Monday, October 29, 2012

One Year of Mail Art - October

I had lots of fun last month putting together October's Mail Art with these vintage envelopes (that were a gift from my friend Lisa.) The theme was Spooks and Specters and the letters included ink drawings, paper ghosts and skull inspired photostrips. As per usual I included two puzzle pieces from the 24 piece puzzle I made when I started this project in June. The letters on the back of the envelopes also spell out a message once they've received all twelve months and I give them the arrangement key. 

I'm working on November's Mail Art now and I'm feeling mighty clever about it.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Camera-A-Day Project

All the beautiful cameras at A&A Studios have really started to grow on me. So a couple weeks ago I started sketching a camera whenever I had a free moment at the studio. It's been relaxing but also good practice for my graphic novel, for which I'm drawing lots of mechanical devices.

I also like the reversal of making a drawing of something that takes a picture.

All the drawings were drawn with ink and brush and coloured later in photoshop. I'm regularly updating them at my Two Hands Two Crowns facebook page, so you can follow them there.


Friday, October 19, 2012

Photobooth Workshop Series!

I'm super duper excited to be co-instructing a three week workshop series at A&A Studios, here in Chicago. Each workshop explores a different aspect of photobooth techniques and photostrip manipulation.

Here's a sample of the techniques we'll be using in the first workshop. The rest of the workshop descriptions are below. If you aren't in the Chicago area, please tell your friends that are!

Explore filters, exposure, mirrors, magnification, composition, backgrounds and costumes.

Take full body photos with a custom backless photobooth. Also explore alternative papers, chemicals, dyes and collage.

Apply all techniques to make your own large piece of photobooth art with instructors at hand to assist you.

$55/class or $145 for all three classes. 
All workshops are 10 - 5.
Unlimited Photos,  Materials Included.

A&A Studios is located at 350 N.Ogden Ave. Chicago, IL, 60607 - 4th Fl. 312.278.1144

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Incoming Mail...

About a week ago, I had a meltdown when a Photoshop file malfunctioned and I lost a weekend's worth of work. So what did I do? Well, after I held my head in my palms and rocked back and forth for ten minutes, I scooped myself a heaping bowl of ice cream and logged onto eBay.

These airmail envelopes were the damage I did that night.

Firstly, in honor of the place I'm temporarily calling home, I bought this Chicago envelope from 1986. 

Next, in the spirit of the American election, I bought an original set of these JFK envelopes. My most beloved pen pals may actually receive a letter in one.

Then I went on an international kick and bought these from Brazil, I love the yellow stripes, I don't have any others like them in my collection.

Next is this pair from Israel, I really enjoy the Hebrew text.

And lastly, these four different ones from Poland, I really like the graphic design of the postage stamps.

I have a rule that I don't spend more than $10 on an envelope, including the cost of shipping. Usually they are a lot less (the first one from Chicago was $0.25, for example.) I mention this because I exercised a whole lot of restraint by not buying this black Austrian envelope with beautiful line work and the most fiercesome stamp I've ever seen. If anyone feels like buying it for me, my birthday is only 6 months and ten days away.

You can check out other envelopes in my vintage airmail collection here.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

The Solo Act

I very rarely, if ever, write about truly personal subject matters on this blog; I try to reserve it as a space to discuss my professional and creative endeavours.  However, over the last six months or so, since I went on my first Photobooth Expedition trip, it seems like one personal matter keeps creeping up into my professional life.

I unabashedly have been single for the last 3 and half years. To be more specific, in the last two years, I have casually dated but I never considered myself to be anyone’s girlfriend. Nor have I wanted to be; my singlehood has served me well! (Just look how happy I am in this photo without a real boyfriend!)

I get asked fairly regularly, “how do you get so much work done?” And one of my answers is “SINGLEHOOD!” If you think about it, relationships, especially at the start take up an enormous amount of time; everything from going on dates to shaving your legs on a regular basis. It adds up and I’m very particular with how I choose to spend my time.

I’d like to iterate that I’m not anti-relationship and my soul isn’t bitter and shriveled.  Like many people, I hope to grow old and wrinkly in someone else’s old and wrinkly arms. In fact, I even look forward to it!

So here’s where this factors into my professional life. Usually after I finish an interview for Photobooth: A Biography and the interviewee and I have bonded over geeky photobooth facts, they often casually make a comment about my relationship status. Sometimes it’s a polite inquiry into how am I able to sustain a relationship with this type of work and other times it’s more adventitious and presumptuous.

This summer I was asked this question in some form about a dozen times. (And one time these were the exact words, I had the audio recorder going.)

“Is your boyfriend okay with you doing all this traveling?”

Oh boy, let me break that down. Firstly, it presumes my sexual orientation.  Secondly it presumes that because I’ve got my life together that I must also be in a relationship as part of that package. And lastly, it implies that this supposed boyfriend is stuck in the 50s if he’s on the fence about me going off on my own. 

I’m not so sensitive that I’ve been outwardly offended by these questions, I just simply explain that I've chosen to be single for this part of my life. And I’d like to stress that I’m not bringing this up to slight the wonderful people who’ve helped me with this book, they’ve all be fantastic and wonderful.  I expect I would get questions like these regardless of the reason behind my travels.

My issue is a societal one. One where the assumption is that a “together person” can’t also be a single person.  And furthermore, the major assumption that being in love is always preferential to not being in love.

So here’s my honest truth-- choosing to “not be in love” over the last few years has been the best thing I could have done for myself, for both my personal and professional development.  It’s not hard being single but it is sometimes difficult to explain to my loving family why they shouldn’t fret about my love life.  I would love for singlehood to be recognized as a healthy choice people are able to make instead of as a circumstance they’re stuck in.

I know there are a whole lot of people in this boat, I'd like to hear your comments about single stigmas or support too.

Friday, October 5, 2012

A little look into Nuit Blanche, the Short Film

 I spent 4 days last week in Toronto, where I acted in a short film that shot primarily during Nuit Blanche, the all night art festival. We packed a lot of work into those four days, between rehearsing and shooting. It was amazing to see the project come together and great to work with such creative and motivated individuals. The actual night itself was fun and frantic, with countless people filling the streets.

You can read more about the back story of the project here. I haven't seen the official production stills yet but my co-star Nicola Elbro shot these pictures with her iphone during the night. They give a little look into the production and Owen (played by Col Cseke) and June (my photobooth obsessed character.)

One Year of Mail Art - September

For those who don't know, I'm sending Mail Art to four recipients for one year. Each month has a theme and there are two ongoing puzzles, one with images and one with words. I started in June and I'm just about ready to send out October's letters.

Click here for the previous months.

These were the envelopes I sent out in September... though I forgot to include/ misplaced some old photographs that got shuffled around in my move... not to worry though, I found them and they'll go out this month. The theme for September was Leaves and Leaving.

I'm really excited for October's Mail Art, it's my favourite month and the envelopes I'm using were a gift from my friend Lisa Amerongen, they're gorgeous. Stay tuned for next month's!