Monday, November 28, 2011

On my own two feet

"My own two feet" - Acrylics on burlap

This piece really has a presence in real life. It's modeled directly from observation of my own feet and was done with acrylics and india ink. My favorite part is the harsh texture of the surface. I achieved this by piecing burlap scraps onto particle board.

Also, the board is a somewhat unusual shape. It's not perfectly square around the sides but instead crooked and frayed. I wanted the work to mimic an old weathered scrap of fabric, while the inside details looked more like patchwork.
Another special thing about this piece is that it can be turned any which way and still "work." It all depends on your personal preference which direction you want the feet to be facing,

This piece was also featured in my post about getting art supplies on a budget. I can proudly say everything besides the paint and glue is a recycled material!

If you're interested in buying the original, contact me for a negotiation of price.
Prints are also available. Each print is signed personally by me and come in a clear plastic sheet protector.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Death's Designer Shoes

I will admit that this is one of my favorite artworks I have ever done. There's just something about it that seems to speak to me. I think I relate to it... perhaps it's even a self portrait?
When I designed it I imagined an trendy "modern kid" lurking in his favorite indie coffee shop, doing what they do best ( which is drinking over priced lattes and chain smoking). And of course since this guy is malnourished and "dead inside," I made him a skeleton.

The lines were done with india ink, and I believe the browns and red are watercolor pigment. The whole thing was done on a tiny piece of scrapped wood that was likely a piece of a cabinet or furniture at one point.

I guess this is a "successful" piece because it was stolen from me shortly after it was created. Naively, I allowed it to be displayed on the wall during a school function, and the day after that it was gone. Whoever has the original, I hope you're enjoying it! The funny thing is, I probably would've made them something equally as good and free of charge just so that they wouldn't have taken this piece.

The concept sketch behind the coffee shop skeleton.
Even so, I still wonder about who has the original. I would love to meet this person. I'm not even mad, I take it as a compliment! I just wanna know what happened to it, where did it end up? Is it in a college dorm room now?  Was it a gift to an ironic hipster who has it hanging on the wall in his living room? Is it in the city dump? One day I hope this person is brave enough to step forward and admit that they liked my work so much they stole it straight off a wall. I would be tickled pink.

This piece was also featured in my post about getting art supplies on a budget because of my awesome scrapped wood find.

High resolution 8 1/2 x 11" glossy prints are available. Contact me for more details if you'd like a larger size.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Revamping a raggedy pillow (Harry Potter edition!)

I would say that most people have a favorite pillow. Imagine yours..It's the comfiest to sit on, it gets you to sleep at night, and its probably the best food tray you've ever used. And like most of our favorite things, it's immortal. Well, so we'd like to assume at least. Unfortunately, years of wear and tear will eventually deteriorate any item you use every day, even old faithful pillows. So what happens then? Do you dare throw out your tattered but uber comfy pillow? Don't do it! That would be a waste of a wonderful opportunity to give your loyal friend a brand new makeover. All you need is a seam ripper and a little bit of sewing magic and your pillow will keep kickin' for another 10 years or more.

 My mom inspired me to do this project when she pointed out that our living room pillow was in bad shape. And honestly, that was an understatement. Firstly, I must say it's the raddest of pillows..(Geek out time!) It's an exclusive and official Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone pillow, one you can only order from those "fancy pants" magazines. It features a very young Harry Potter, right when his zany wizardy adventure was just starting. We acquired this in the heat of the first Harry Potter craze, nearly 14 years ago. This thing has history attatched to it, so there's certainly no way we were getting rid of it!

Anyways, this pillow had seen its better days. Here are the pics from right after I gutted it. It was seriously this bad before I even opened it up:
As you can see, the cool Harry Potter print is still in amazing quality but the back is dry rotten and full of holes
The corners and edges were completely shredded. 
Holes where the print was poking through the back! The horror..
 So, clearly I had to start from scratch when it came to the back of the pillow. Fortunately, the gorgeously weaved Harry Potter print on the front was still in really great shape, so I didn't have to worry about repairing it. All I needed to do was separate the trashy back fabric from the print.

I used my little tool called the Seam Ripper to do this. You could easily just use scissors and cut away the edging to your pillow, but carefully ripping out the thread seams improves the likelihood that your print wouldn't be damaged or cut off in any way.

Admittedly, I am still somewhat a novice at sewing and only recently discovered the seam ripper.

My trusty mini seam ripper.
 How did I ever possibly undo stitches without one before?  Oh right, usually I just tried to rip out the unwanted stitches by hand, tore my project and had to start over. The seam ripper has saved me many of times now since I "discovered" it. It would've been especially useful when I first started machine sewing and was constantly having zany mishaps. If you're just starting out sewing, I definitely recommend keeping one of these near by. If you don't already have one lying around, you can get them from any craft store, wal-mart or even a decent dollar store.

With my seam ripper, separating the pillow was a piece of cake.

After that, it was simply a matter of selecting some new fabrics for the back and putting it together.

That, and of course ironing.

Personally, it isn't my favorite thing to do, but ironing out the wrinkles in your fabrics before you sew them onto your project will make a world of difference in the quality of your work.
The iron is beneficial in many ways. For example, if you added any dyes or paint, it will permanently heat set it and make it washer machine friendly. Using an iron will also improve the neatness of your sewing. You can achieve nice flat and crisp seams and a professional finish to your work. Some of my projects require me to iron at least 3 or 4 different times to get the look I want... It's a pain, but it's totally worth it.

 Once ironing is complete, all you have to do is cut out the new fabric in the size you want and assemble your brand new pillow. All that technical stuff will have to wait for another blog post... In the mean time I'm assuming all of you already know how to sew together a pillow. I would strongly recommend using a sewing machine to do this kind of project. In fact, a project like this would be perfect for practicing your sewing machine skills if you're still a beginner. Sewing machines provide faster and stronger stitch work. A project like this, which would take hours to hand sew, took me only 45 minutes or so with the machine to completely finish the sewing process.  If you don't know how to use a sewing machine yet, it's never too late to learn! It may seem like a daunting task but it isn't as hard to learn as you might think. It's a skill you can use for the rest of your life.

Anyways, here are the finished results, in all their Harry Potter Glory:
I had a lot of this fabric and it goes perfect with the print. (back)

Look out for that demonic beast!!
I think it looks much more neater and clean with the make over! My family members agreed that it was an improvement.  In fact, they can attest to you how comfy it is now....

As always, if you did this project for yourself, I want to see the results!