Saturday, December 31, 2011

Something awesome near York Central Market....

Sunrise Soap Company near York Central Market.
On the left: the kitchen, where soap is made
On the right: the shop owner, pouring soap into a mold.
Visit the Sunrise Soap website!
  Over Christmas, when Michael and I were visiting my parents, we went to York Central Market. Back in the 1980s--when I was in grade school and there was a local economic boom--York Central Market and its adjacent Cherry Lane stores were the place to be, especially on Saturdays. And now they are again, with some wonderful stores opening up in the area in and around the 19th century-constructed market itself. We happened upon Sunrise Soap, which has a beautiful facade, enhanced by outdoor art--even a gorgeous painting in the transom over the door. Inside, not only was there soap (see the owner's awesome soap-making kitchen above!), there were also handmade items like lampwork glass bead earrings; wind chimes made of silver utensils; and original paintings that looked every bit like the work of Thomas Eakins. I'm so excited that Cherry Lane is making a comeback and that creative entrepreneurs are helping to make York a pretty fantastic place again. Visit the York Central Market website here and see all the amazing stores inside!

The beautiful York Central Market

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

On Red Bubble, my Drawings on T-Shirts and hoodies....

This morning, I opened a store on RedBubble, a site that caters to artists who seek to sell their work on T-Shirts, hoodies, and as stickers and iPhone covers. I know their T-shirts are very high quality, since I just bought T-shirts by two other artists for Michael and myself. The printed decal of each drawing is high resolution and substantially thick, so it will not fade with washings. Additionally, the T-Shirt is of equally excellent quality. Farbic tags, offering details about Red Bubble's mission and the artist, come clipped to the shirt tag by a tiny wooden clothes pin. How ingenious is that?  
As I continue to complete drawings (which will happen more quickly as I complete Christmas gifts here) my store offerings will continue to grow. The image originals are available in my Etsy art store.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

I'm walkin' here! I'm walkin' here!

No apologies either. It ends up being a highly philosophical take on life, no?

Monday, December 12, 2011

Let the record show I foretold this if....

Tonight, Michael brought home the Post-Gazette, whose front page bears the following headline (above the fold, no less): "Constitutional convention call gains traction". What's this mean? They're seeking to incite a movement to alter the Constitution. Let the record show that, if this actually begins to pick up speed and it is not handled with care, I foretold this development with this story, "Conceived in the New Liberty".

So, to all the journal editors who have rejected it, one of whom responded: "this doesn't resonate with us," I welcome you to think more deeply about what you feel is relevant and what should resonate with you. Contemporary literature is becoming too insulated, too inward looking, too sexually obsessed. Wake up! We can express ourselves freely only because we still have a Constitution that permits it. Start messing with it, and censorship might be the new American way. It can happen insidiously slowly, in ways we might not even realize until it's too late. Believe it, kids. I feel like I've been yelling at the top of my literary lungs over the past few years, and no one listens, no one cares, no one wants to hear it. And because I can't say it any better than my boy, social satirist George Grosz, I'll refer to his criticism of the socially detached avant-garde in the 1925 essay "Art is in Danger". Grosz, who collaborated on the manifesto with Wieland Herzfelde, wrote:
           Today's artist, if he does not want to...become an antiquated dud, has the choice
           between technology and class warfare propaganda. In both cases, he must give up “pure art.”
          Either he enrolls as an architect, engineer, or advertising artist in the army (unfortunately very
          feudalistically organized) which develops industrial powers and exploits the world; or, as a
         reporter and critic reflecting the face of our times, a propagandist and defender of the
         revolutionary idea and its partisans, he finds a place in the army of the suppressed who fight
         for their just share of the world, for a significant social organization of life. ("Art in Danger")

Shouldn't we writers be at the barricades and use our voices to advance a message that matters?

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Jane Priser and Magical Jasper...

Jane Priser, "Alien Face, Tricolor"

Etsy continues to be an amazing place for me, a hub of like-minded people doing inspiring things. Since I started creating artwork in earnest for the Literary Outlaw store earlier this year, I've 'met' and discovered atists doing some genuinely stunning work. Colorado-based artist Jane Priser is one of those people. Her polymer clay masks, with the haunting, often color-saturated eyes are, at least to my mind, somewhat like reading an A.S. Byatt novel....remember the description of the seance-conjured angel in the two-novella work, Angels and Insects? Or the description of Maud Bailey's flat in Possession? Well, like that. I am completely smitten by Priser's otherwordly beings, which seem to have depth and intelligence in those unblinking gazes.

For my part, I've been doing assemblages in cigar boxes. I've also been making illustrations, like "Magical Jasper", which is supposed to be a hybrid of our dog, of course named Jasper...only with a scaly backbone and fly-away hair (heh, like the hair doesn't fly away on its own in our house...I get out the vacuum one each day precisely because of that). Now, there is something about drawing with a ball point pen that is not unlike meditation for me. It's almost like automatic writing, and somewhat more restful that painting, although I enjoy that, too. Except, except...painting involves a certain level of anxiety. See, painting can sometimes get away from me, and I have to steer it back to a workable format, an aesthetically pleasing product, which sometimes involves reverting to safe imagery. What does that mean? It means, imagery that I've succeeded with before. With ballpoint pen (a good smooth flowing ballpoint), I'm pretty much free to do as I like, and I'm glad for that. I enjoy, too, making and developing the arabesque, nuturing the wisp into three-dimensional believability with the fantastic power of cross-hatched shaing....and then there are the eyes. The muscles of the iris, the diameter of the pupil, all totally absorbing to articulate in ink. Am I an art geek? Well, yes, I'm afraid so.

Savannah Schroll Guz, "Magical Jasper" (2011), ink on paper