Monday, June 21, 2010


Last Thursday job-job took us to the zoo!!! What the what? Yeah. THE ZOO.
Childhood aspiration achieved.

Was it the best day ever?

Most definately.

Did it make me want to kidnap baby animals?

Of course!

Did this trip reveal never before seen wonders, such as finally allowing me to see the red-panda, something that I attempted to do every other weekend for two years?


The red panda actually exists!

Did I laugh at Monkeys?

Silly monkeys.

Did I remember how cool giraffes are?

Seriously. they look like aliens.

Did I laugh at more monkeys?


Did I wish I had stripes?

Just a few next on my ankles. Why can't we have markings too?

Did this guy's face make me forgive him for eating bugs?

Awww, what a face.

Did I squint to see this "leopard's" spots?

Woh, they are so camoflauged!

DId I freak out at this pile of otters?

SERIOUSLY!? A pile of otters?! Soooooooooooo cute. Like cuter than Hello Kitty cute.

Was I totally crazy jealous of this seal?

You bet. How come he gets to live here? It is amazing.

Did I want a pignosed turtle?

Did I sing about it Veruca Salt style?


See, perfect day at work ;)

Friday, June 18, 2010

Dolphin Paisley

is there any other kind?

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Every Little Thing We Can

When I was 22 I fell in love for the first time. I couldn't believe the magic that I felt was everywhere around me. When I tried to explain it to the boyish object of my affection, the only way I could describe it was

"I feel the same way about you as I feel about water."

To me that is what love is.

To this day, nothing has driven me in my life and my work more than my love of the sea.

I grew up on the North Shore of Oahu. My bedroom was closer to the Pacific than it was to the living room. My entire adolesence, every frustration and every horrowing (now hilarious) pain was always washed away by ocean waves. The sea has always been one of my closest confidants.

When I came to New York after graduating from Kahuku High School I couldn't sleep at night without the pounding of the waves on the sand. I longed for the Pacific the way I longed for my family. I am always homesick for the ocean.

When 9/11 happened I was close enough to watch the towers in the distance. I walked in Forte Green Park and had ash fall into my hair like snow. I felt the hollowing absence everywhere I went. I felt like nothing could ever be OK again. In my pain I was angry at the nation for feeling like they owned this tragedy. It had happened right in front of me, in my adopted home. How could anyone not watching in person feel the pain I felt?

On September 14th I went to Coney Island and sat on the boardwalk for hours, quietly staring into the horizon. That day my love affair with the Atlantic officially began. Through every heartbreak, and every outside stress, personal or public tragedy, nothing ever heals me like the reassuring calm of the sea.

This spill in the Gulf weighs on me like nothing has in years. I try not to think about it, and then feel guilty for protecting myself from that pain. When it washes over me it feels unbearable.
For the first time, I truly understand National Tragedy. I see how it touches all of us as Americans.

I hurt to hurt the Ocean. I realize that my loss is not the loss of fisherman and families watching the damage happen moment to moment. My home is not immediately threatened but it feels as if my heart is. I love the sea. Nothing is more sacred to me. We can help in little ways though we may be far away.

This Baby Mermaid illustration will be up for purchase with lots of other amazing art donated at

later this week you'll be able to find larger prints of it at Etsy's Help the Gulf Coast Shop.

In both cases 100% of the money raised goes to Gulf Coast charities.
Please pull out your wallets or your paintbrushes and contribute to this cause in your own way. With a problem this big, we all need to do every little thing we can.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Onion Curls

I wish that you could see the way these curl girls started, just a swirl on a piece of paper that needed pants, and then a face, and then hair of some sort.

The duchess of justice leaned over after a small army had started to materialize, "Are those onion girls?," she whispered. Oh yes. Yes, they are.

The insight that someone not holding the pencil can provide when it comes to your drawings can be prolific, well especially when it comes to the Duchess' insight.

Just as I was closing my sketchbook Logan leaned over and said
"Those should be Olympic Mascots."
Oh yeah they should!

If you know a guy who knows a guy they make sure they call me. I can be emailed at info (at)

It's not like it's a secret, there is no greater aspiration I have in life than to participate in the Olympics and since I have poor depth perception, a low tolerance for physical pain coupled with a fear of heights and high speeds, it seems like this would be the perfect match ;) After all, it's not like I haven't been working towards this since I was three years old.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Cow Country

And I'm back.

Friday, June 04, 2010

There and Back Again

Something about Surtex always makes me feel like I'm falling down the rabbit's hole. It takes me a while to righten myself, dust my ric-racked apron off, and find the elixir that's going to get me back to "normal".

Here are some photos from my three days of bliss, business and exhaustion.

You would think two years of Surtex-ness would prep me for the sparseness of these 8' walls, but somehow I'm always a bit shocked. Look how white they are?! Are they always this big!?

I had the big guns step up in force this year. My set up was as painless as possible, that being said, it still hurt ;) Here's Tim pounding grommets into my vinyl banners. He made them shower curtain-y for me! Mind = blown.

Sean cut the mass of foam core that went under the art that lined the walls that went up on the booth that ... I sat in for three days with a line of people who came and came and came to help.

This year's show, much like last year's, was a celebration of friendship and goodwill. I had a fleet of friends step up and pick up my burdens and share my strife. My life is one of those rare kind that is blessed by people willing to give of their time and their support. It's always the hardest thing to give, I am sure it is easier to write a check, to pick something up at the store, or to say you'll be there in spirit. Yet my friends are always so willing to be there in body and to stay until the job is done. I'm the luckiest.

Also, I would have cried and pulled my hair out and then collapsed in a heep of tears and wailing if they hadn't been there... I never really go into this show well rested or rational. Haha.

During the show I had friends come by and take their turn chatting and helping in the booth. I try as hard as I can to keep people in the booth with me. For practicality reasons it makes sure that when the booth fills up with people I can be talking to potential clients and not lose other people. It allows me to focus on market needs and tailored expectation for each person I'm speaking with. I don't get that 'one bird in the hand' look on my face because I know everything's being tended to by my friends.

On a *TRADE SECRET* note, when I was a struggling artist I used to pull money in at Victoria's Secret selling my soul bras. I made a killing compared to other girls because I would leave a customer alone, sweep in and say "I'm Amber and if any one is bugging you just tell them I'm helping you. I'll be in the PINK section if you need anything." Then I'd ignore them and let them shop armed with my name as a shield against evil commission seeking biddies who overwhelmed and scared them. People who'd shopped unhindered by girls throwing measuring tapes around their torsos and begging them to let them get them something in their size would gush about my "help" at the cash register, splitting my work in two and doubling my take home pay.

Much of the knowledge I learned at Harrold's Square has helped in my approach at trade shows. I don't force people to talk to me. I let them take things in and then come to me in their own time. By keeping the booth high energy by making sure I'm not staring at them like a vulture they usually get very involved in the art before they get involved with me, and afterall, the art's the thing. I have friends that I get to catch up with after my typical month long hibernation in my art studio prepping for the show, and I don't make anyone feel like they are being hunted. I'm busy having fun and they can be part of it, if they just step into the booth. Of course, these are the things Surtex attendance by a Brooklynite affords. Lucky Ducky.

This year I owe cookies and a trip on the Yacht to Rachel, Jenny, Tess, Keith, Valerie, Ashton, Tim, Breanne, Sean, Jen, Julian, Scott, Annie, Ashley, Myra, Grace and my Dad.

This year's show was extra special because my dad flew out to see what it is that I do and to help like a man of steel. He carried and cut and planned and got everything up on the walls. He was there when I unwrapped the vinyl and there when we pulled it down at the end of the show. Parents who don't drag you down but always lift you up are a commodity these days. Mom and Dad assure me that they will be pains in my butt in the future but for now I'm soaking up the benefits.

Dad flew out courtesy of my kid brother, Ashton, an airline benefit boy of wonder, who showed up for break down with Keith and Tess on the last day of the show. Here Tess and Ashton are working the system. They appear to be working like sweat shop children but in actuallity I discovered upon closer examination that they are in fact playing Bananagrams. This was the last day of the show, which was quiet as a mouse and afterall, Bananagrams is the greatest game of all time, so who can blame them? Not I. Especially when they contributed to the easiest break down, EVER. Three cheers for helping hands.

This year was sooooo awesome. I felt like there were less people at the show but that the people who were there were decision makers ready to wrap things up as soon as possible. There were way less people asking me to send samples so they could show them to their art director and teams and more people saying 'I'm the art director, and I want that --->"
So that's a tickle me pink occasion.

Yay for friends! Yay for family! Yay for art! Yay for cool new people to work with!

Just like that a year of planning and anticipation is over and like, my pal Jay-Z says, it's "on to the next one! ON TO THE NEXT ONE!"

Word up. Follow up.


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