Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Gerber Daisy Babies

I miss Spring. It is now Summer. That's pretty much the dish.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Hold It Against Me

I hate rules. I have two in my home. While assembled with more than 2 people at the penthouse at 302 Court no one is allowed to discuss politics and no one is allowed to discuss religion. I bend these rules, but I rarely break them.


I have a lot of beliefs that are just me. They're not attributed to any religion, political affiliation, creed or moral belief system. As a result the house rules were created for a similar reason to the military's famed three on a match. You wanna stay out of the cross hairs.

A couple of weeks ago I finished David Finkel's The Good Soliders. I don't really blog about the books I read - but as the week has gone by I realize that I am more changed by this book than I have been since by anything I've read since Man's Search for Meaning in the tenth grade.

I've been obsessed with both the Civil War and World War II since I was pretty young. I get excited reading about the passion, strategy and cold thinking that goes hand in hand with each battle. So many of my favorite films document internal conflict during these time periods. I always want to soak up and learn more about them and the people who lived during them. At this point, I've read so many different accounts and perspectives on them that I feel like I know both inside and out

I am embarassed to admit, that even though I have had friends serve in Iraq and Afghanastan, I've really allowed myself to ostrich my head in the sand about what is going on over there. When I saw the towers fall I made a conscious decision that I couldn't get too involved. I hate so much about what our country is doing and what is happening right now. I've felt like getting too invested is risky behavior - for me.

David Finkel's impartal account of the Surge that happened in Iraq a mere four years ago got me thinking more about patriotism than I have in ages. This book really woke me up. I recommend it as highly as I recommend Anne of Green Gables, which is to say, you must read it as it will change your life.

Even though this Memorial Day finds me doing the things I always do, I'm doing it with a fresh perspective. I'm visiting a grave. I am shedding a tear. Instead of thinking mostly of the men and women who have fought battles long ago, I am thinking about the men and women serving right now.

I am realizing more and more that they are exactly like me - as young and as hopeful, as excited about voguing along to Madonna - but strong enough to think of their country before they think of themselves. I'm more thankful than ever for soldiers who stop their lives and truly sacrifice to allow me the sanctuary of a safe home, a sound sleep and a space that still feels free.

Here On the Street Where I Live

but not those things.
On Thursday I ran out the door on my way to work. I passed a gorgeous rimmed taxi cab. Then I passed an impeccably well kept powder blue station wagon. On the corner there were two more vintage cabs. Next I passed a red finned sexmobile convertible that audibly screamed 1959... Hmmm...
I wish I could have recorded this moment on my face. It was a wait. a. minute. face. It was an 'Elmer Fudd just realizes that the sexy cocktail waitress is in fact Bugs Bunny' face. I am thankful I live in a neighborhood where nothing seems amiss until you hit the fifth flawless vintage car.
See that little purple building on the right at the very edge of this photo? That's the boutique I live above. It's next to the old school magazine candy shop and beside the spa and bakery next door.


It's a charmed life.

Further investigation resulted in this find:
Oh i see. I see how it is.

It wasn't long until the faux subway stops started catching my eye. This is a real stop where I normally catch the R train in to Manhattan. If you were over the age of 40 you are lined up on this side of the stop wondering loudly where you can CATCH THE 'R' NOW?!
"IS THIS NOT BROOKLYN? AM I IN QUEENS?"

It has become clear to me that they are going to lie, the way films about aliens sometimes do, and call my beloved Brooklyn - Queens. Ick.
As if anything in Queens could ever be this lovely.


This is a lie too. That train station is 100% fake. They built it from scratch. Oh how I wish I could catch a train on Court. Sigh.

My favorite part of this whole ordeal was spotting the smaller details all along the streets. Where new age hipster bikes usually lounge, beautiful 50 pound Schwinns lined the walk. Newspapers with 1958 stamped on the front page were stacked on my corner. Street signs were swapped. It was like a dream. I blinked and suddenly everything just went vintage -- a skill I've practiced with little success for the last ten years.

This photo was snapped after I got back to my bedroom. I was laughing in a delicate flower kind of way with a dreamily dressed boy when finally discovered and eventually removed from set around three in the morning. I thought I was perfectly camouflaged in my yellow bell skirt and vintage pearls.
Apparently the "true extras" in this scene were scanty and were also all men. My take on that goes like this:
'BRING ME A PICNIC TABLE AND LET'S FIDDLE DEE DEE THIS ISH!'

As if 50 years ago women weren't interested in eating pizza and watching drag races?
*puts on best Alicia Silverstone face*


Anyway, the view from my bedroom was pretty great.
I would have posted about this bit of Hollywood Glamour sooner but I was busy writing to the mayor, Macys and God in triplicate to ask that the Thanksgiving Day Parade now start on this particular corner in BK town.
To give you an idea of the scope of this thing, here's a photo a friend sent me from a different bedroom window in Downtown Brooklyn, a 15 minute walk from the penthouse at 302 Court:


And here's a photo I found while reading the ahem, New York Times this morning. It is my understanding that they have a better camera than I do ;)

photo credit: Ben Russel

Long ago, during a unfortunate Toby McGuire crush, I realized that maybe I wouldn't LOVE living in the 60s. My week long stint walking home amongst some of the prettier things whilst not being judged for my persimmon pout, makes me realize that no, I was wrong. I was basically made for Pleasantville.
After hearing me rave about it for the last four days, the boy decided to try my walk-the-walk. Tonight he arrived on my doorstep with a raw chicken in a pot and his momma's recipe for Rosemary Roast Hen in his back pocket . He handed both over, pulled a newspaper from the crook of his arm and demanded I remove my shoes. OH SNAP! I'm sorry. Do not ever try to trump me. I'm from Hawaii and barefoot in the kitchen is kinda my thing.
When and where would you most like to live? I'm not going to cross Pemberly off the list, but you know, in the meantime...

Friday, May 27, 2011

NotSleeping on the Job

Life is something that happens when you can't get to sleep. ~Fran Lebowitz

This is a fave of mine. I'm a six hours a night girl. I suck at sleepovers because by dawn I am pretending to accidentally wake people up. OOPS. I slammed that door too loudly on my way to make toast? Sorry. By 7am I've been up and waiting for them to play for way too long.

Typically this goes the other direction though. Without the perils of over night entertaining I'm up til 3 drawing, doodling, putting together comps for clients, and lately catching up on Glee. I however live for naps. Here's the way I imagine it'd happen if I were an animal of leisure instead of a girl on a mission.

Piggy naps.


Bunny naps.

This is gonna get a spin off... I can just tell.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Lady Bugging

Before we moved to Hawaii we lived in Astoria for a blink of an eye. Since I was four when we were NYC based and five in Hawaii, my memories of NYC prior to my epic return in the Fall of 2000 are hazy and magical in the way a very big big city is for a very small small girl.

One of the clear as day, pin point sharp memories I have of those New York days is of a ladybug explosion. My mom was pushing my baby brother in his stroller and I was walking along side her, sporting my go to sun hat. (Even in my youth I was fabulously stylish.) We turned a corner and walked smack into a fest of hundreds and hundreds of ladybugs. They covered the sidewalk, they covered the walk signs and the street lights. Ladybugs as far as the eye could see. In seconds they were in our hair and on my hat and dancing along my arms. In retrospect it was possibly rather macabre, but for me it was a moment of pure magic.

My desires to ride unicorns barebacked or sprout a mermaid tail and never walk on dry land again were just inklings at this point, but it's sure that this moment as ladybug tamer was a lead in to those life long fantasies. This print, Ladybug Love, is inspired by that blisteringly hot day when I was very small and covered head to toe in polka dot magic.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Show-mance

Every year I do this show, it's my fourth, I do a long recap about what worked, what didn't, what I learned and so on and so forth.


As much as I would love to do that this time around, facts is facts and I don't have time to do that this year. I'm too busy. I've got contracts to review and art to send off to prospective contract clients between cartwheels that I apparently have to turn down my hallway. Who saw that coming?

So here are some pictures.



Three cheers for the easiest set up and breakdown of all time.
By George I think we've got it!



Infinite thanks and strawberry-shortcake lemon bars are owed to Tess, Sandra, Sarah, Bryan, Joe, Sam, Polly, Mika, Jason, Mike, Ashley, Jill, Chad, Jennifer, and Ashton - who actually flew in for the grand occasion.

They trekked all the way out to eleventh ave where they held my hand, fetched me water and kept me sane.

Extra much thanks to the friends and fambam all over the world who kept me buoyed with texts, calls, flowers, cards and good - good vibes.

I really don't know what I'd do without my cheering section. In some ways I'd probably be better adjusted. You all make sure that I rarely fear a fall. It's nice to wake up in the morning (when one actually sleeps) feeling like one can fly. You surely keep me one of the happiest little artists I know. > ^.. ^<

Friday, May 20, 2011

Soaked

Lately all my twitter updates ( http://twitter.com/#!/SheSureIs ) have had to do with wanting to stab NYC's torrential rain. It's not MAY showers, people. grr. So you would think something of the like would be the natural 3 minute sketch for Illustration Friday's 'Soaked'.


I however grew up with the world's greatest dog. No. Seriously. In the history of the world no quadruped has been greater. Pal was a Christmas puppy the year I turned 8 and for the first couple years of our relationship, when it came to bath time. I was totally whipped. This is a quick homage to the buddy I miss more often than I miss most old friends.

Happy Friday, yo!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Sketchbook Retirement - #12

Who: Moleskine
What: Cardboard Cover, Rounded Corners, Inner Pocket, Ribbon Bookmark
When: September 3, 2006
Where:
The Field Museum / 1400 S Lake Shore Drive /Chicago / IL 60605

Why: I wanted something portable for the rest of my trip in Chicago. I liked that it would fit in my pocket, carry my ID and some cash and that it was black.
Incidentals: At that time I wanted EVERYTHING to be black. If this photo had been taken that day at the museum, my nails would have been black to match. This is my first Moleskine. A hallowed event for sure.

Underlying Unintentional Sketchbook Theme: Inklings of ideas. Half baked thoughts. Baby Mermaid Development, Poetry. Appointments and People.

.....................................................................................

Dearest #12,
I remember that freezing September day when I first saw you sitting in a Natural History gift shop. I marveled at your compact size. I asked the sales boy all about you and he said that real artists loved you more than all the others. I knew that was what I would like to be best of all and so I picked you up and plunked down what then seemed like a monumental amount of cash for your 3x5" dimensions.



My travel companions were all jonesing for a smoke. I christened your pages in a freezing park while they filled their lungs with their cherished tobacco and I filled mine with what felt like shards of glass in that icy Chicago air. There were pigeons and babies and this is what I drew on your pages the first time my pen ever met your acquaintance.

Because you are mine body and soul, your pages are often fish laden, although you can see that these fish happened before I really hit my cold blooded stride. I guess I wasn't a "real" artist quite yet. Your fish are kind of awkward, albeit charming.


I was leafing through your pages and I found a portrait of my new, now old friend, Rachel. This must have been before I flat out refused to draw people I know for their base entertainment. So it was before I had airs, or at least 'the airs of a real artist.


Since this was before the days of a full time artist life, there are gems like this from public parks, without coffee, because back then coffee was too expensive.


This conversation reads
I see a scooter!
-- I see a sign!
I see a tree!
-- I see a million trees!
I see your butt! AUGHHHHHHHH!!
--AUGHHHHHHHH!!

Genius.


Of all your pages, perhaps this is my favorite. It reads: "How bad (not badly - apparently I wasn't so concerned with grammar on these particular tombs) do you want to do it and how bad do you want to do it in New York?"


I am reminded of how close I was to leaving my beloved Brooklyn, broke as a street urchin and working my charcoal scuffed fingers to the bone. I am impressed by you, #12. You remind me how much things have changed and how much they have not.

I am still fully invested in Burlesque bars, even if they're now en vogue and can be visited in every part of New York and I no longer have to travel to any seedy underbelly of society.


Your pages hint at coming brilliance. The development of a line of Baby Mermaids is begun with real promise here. So I owe you a lot. Who knew how far that would stretch?



How could I know that this unrestrained madness in your first few pages



Would later translate to this in the swan song of your last few pages?


And in years from then to this:

Yes, in my career as a real artist, your pages have mattered. I can see what that boy in the shop meant.

Thank you for your contribution to my lovely "real" artist life.
Yours,
Amber

P.S. With my coming show I am transitioning a large amount of sketch pages and random bits of paper. Somehow #12 was unearthed in the tumult and I was reminded of our relationship and it's bittersweet nature, teaming between innocent ideals and bitter artistic frustration. 20/20 hindsight has been good to us here. I felt that #12 deserved a proper retirement, She Sure is Sketchy style.

As always, thanks to Valerie Best's brilliant T-Shirt Project for giving me the inspiration to begin this tradition here too.
Listening to right this second: Happiness is a Warm Gun by the Beatles

Monday, May 09, 2011

Nude on Kraft























30 second - 2 minute poses,
scroll of 14"x 56" Kraft paper, wax crayon, chalk pastel and Tomboy marker
Listening to right this minute: Valerie! by Amy Winehouse

Saturday, May 07, 2011

For Babs:


You know I say, "YAY!!!!"

Friday, May 06, 2011

Start at the Very Beginning

personal experience, natch.



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