medium /// books



Well that was hilarious and fun! I had Philadelphia based artist Martha Rich as my guest on the VERY FIRST Art For Your Ear, 71 episodes ago… annnnnd, she’s back! The book we worked on together was just released this past Tuesday, so what better way to celebrate than having Martha come on the podcast to talk about inner critics, pantyhose, and the possibility that armadillos are actually dinosaurs that still roam our planet. For reals. You can listen right up there, or you can subscribe on iTunes.

First, a few of my faves… and no little kitty, we will NEVER stop talking!


Hell yes, indeed!

Martha was saying how crazy busy she is these days (YAY!), but that her crazy projects have been taking a backseat. You know, things like painting on rocks and leaving them around Philadelphia to be found by passers-by, and also working on a painting a day for a year type of projects:


How badly do I want the finger rock!? Sooooo badly.

And now, onto the book… “Your Inner Critic Is A Big Jerk”. We worked on this for almost two years, and had so much fun together… mind you, we both also had a few very meta moments when our inner critics told us there was no way we could pull this off. Luckily we ignored those jerks and got it done! Here’s a few pieces from the book {including the “speech bubble coming out of a butt”}, and some of Martha’s sketches:


LOVE! Those final two paintings are the pieces that got into this year’s American Illustration Magazine! Very big deal in the illustration world and so exciting for Martha {and me… living vicariously}. I wish I could be there this November to see them hanging on the wall at the big par-tay, but at least I got to be there last year. Here’s a few Instagram shots of me and Martha being very New York fancy/pink:


Isn’t that stunning? Quite a venue for a party {ps. I think Sarah Jessica Parker got married there.}

Next… SPEECH BUBBLES! I love her wooden bubbles oh so very much:


Weird and wonderful! And, that little guy is a perfect segue into one of the not-so-speedy speed round questions… favorite animal to draw? We all knew it was either going to be a lobster or an armadillo:


… what I didn’t expect was our crazy tangent about armadillos being dinosaurs. Oh my word, hilarious! Please don’t judge us!!! Oh no, prom photos are up next, so not judging us is totally out of the question now:


Hm, where’s Martha’s photo? Conveniently, she “couldn’t find it”, so now I’m forced to make a guess as to what she and “Mark” looked like at their Senior Prom. I bet this painting is pretty darn close!

And the final question in the not-so-speedy speed round… would she rather “wear pantyhose everyday for the rest of her life, or shave her head”. She voted for “shave her head”:


Bahaha! Pantyhose. She really does hate them so much. And with that, I’ll say thanks to Martha for doing this with me, AGAIN; thanks to Saatchi Art for supporting this episode; thanks to for making my new book into an audio book – it will be out on October 25th! To preorder a copy for FREE {or to pick up any other book you might want} just use my link: And you know it, high fives to you for listening… there will be more art for your ear next weekend.

Other links:

  1. Episode no.1 with Martha Rich
  2. Atlanta Magazine
  3. ArtCenter College of Design, LA
  4. Clayton Brothers
  5. FIT, New York
  6. Natural History Museum of LA County
  7. American Illustration
  8. Skylight Books, LA


andrea d’aquino … and a giveaway!

Thanks so much to EVERYONE that entered to win this gorgeous book… if I didn’t draw your name, you can always buy a copy of this beauty right here. BUT, if your name is Frances Soosman, there’s a copy coming to you! More giveaways coming soon xo


Oh my word! This book is AMAZING!!! I talked to New York based artist Andrea D’Aquino on my podcast earlier this year when she was still working on “Once Upon A Piece of Paper”. Well, it’s officially out in the world and it is SO GOOD. Brilliant words of wisdom, tips and tricks for making, and actual step-by-step demos. Oh, and there’s more… a second book filled with paper for you to USE for your own collages. Seriously. So good.

Hm, and as luck would have it, I have one to give away to one of you! Leave a comment below and I’ll draw one name on Monday October  10th. Good luck! {ps. Anyone can enter! Thanks to Quarto Publishing for making this happen xo}

marina luz


What’s the name of that book? You know, the one about the guy with the face? Exactly. These paintings are the hilarious work of California based artist Marina Luz. This ongoing series is titled, IF I DON’T FIND THIS BOOK I WILL DIE, or, How We Describe Books When We Can’t Remember the Title or Author. The idea for this work came to her while trying to track down one of her favorite forgotten books. She searched for “Iceberg Shows Up Overnight in Front of Hotel”, hence the final book above, “ICE was in the title” … and FYI she still hasn’t figured this one out. Any thoughts?

{via Chronicle Books’ blog}

ramon todo


Books… filled with GLASS. Oh my word (no pun intended), I absolutely love this series by Tokyo-born, Dusseldorf-based artist Ramon Todo. Most recently he’s been slicing rocks in half, filling the gap with bluish-green glass, but these books. Oh, these books have my heart. Happy weekend.

caitlin metz


I need to hold this in my hands, and flip those hand-made pages, and peek under the delicate layers of tissue. Sigh. This is a collage about gender – in the form of a tiny paper book – and it is the work of American artist Caitlin Metz. That suit jacket. That corset. And I’m pretty sure I can smell those roses. Love.

ps. if you’re a babe who’s into art, check out this group she runs called “babes send things” 

michelle maguire


Hand-printed images, Great-Aunt Doll, and a beautiful limited edition book titled Salami Dreamin’ – a not-precious artist’s book about family, cured meats, pro sports, and more. Oh. I’m so happy right now. This beautiful ode to Great-Aunt Doll is the work of Ohio based couple Michelle Maguire {images} and Aaron Beck {words}. I know what you’re thinking… Who is this Aunt Doll? I’ll hand it over to Michelle and Aaron:

“Aunt Doll, age 84, has lived in Canton, Ohio, her entire life. She curses, loves cured meats, knows more about the NFL than you do, plays strip mall slot machines with her vegetarian hairdresser of 42 years, isn’t trying to be funny but is, worships the sun from her concrete-slab patio, and frets about nothing except her beloved Italian bread packing on the pounds. Aunt Doll makes the most if it. The gist of her story: enjoy every chicken wing while you holler at the Cleveland Browns on your gigantic analog TV, because we aren’t here forever.”

Love. So much love. {ps. I included a few one-off prints in there too – something fantastic about screenprints that don’t line up.} Now, if you’re wondering… can I buy this book? What about the prints? Yes, yes you can! Pop over to their shop for all of your Salami Dreamin’ needs.

lisa congdon


Ready to dive in? Me too! “The Joy of Swimming”, by Portland based artist/illustrator Lisa Congdon, hits shelves today! Gorgeous illustrations, beautiful hand-lettered quotes, and really interesting facts/stories about all things swimming. Lisa brings passion to everything she does, but this project is near and dear to her heart, because she’s been a swimmer since she was little … see:


Aw, so cute! Congratulations Lisa… I’m so thrilled that you had a chance to totally jump into this project {see what I did there?}.  If you love swimming – or water, or beautiful artwork, or Lisa – pick up this lovely book. Oh, and Lisa is going on the road with this one so if you want to meet her/have your book signed, you can find her right here:

April 26, 7-9 pm California College of the Arts (San Francisco)
May 8, 2-4 pm 
Strand Books (NYC)
May 11, 7-9 pmPowerhouse Arena (Brooklyn, NY)
May 13, 9-10:30 am Creative Mornings (Minneapolis)
May 17, 7-9 pm – Broadway Books (Portland)
May 24 7-9 pmUniversity Bookstore (Seattle)

“discipline … and a bit of chance”


Found bits and pieces of wonderfulness. Today I’m talking to New York based artist/illustrator Andrea D’Aquino. She is just as lovely as her work, and almost as carefree. She talked about being disciplined in the studio {ie., getting in there and doing the work}, but she also talked a lot about happy accidents and chance. I loved this conversation and I hope you do too. Listen on the little player right up there, or subscribe on iTunes

First up, the original piece that she created for my book, Collage. Clearly she was drawn to the mustache in the starting image I gave all 30 of the artists… or the death of it:


So fun, as is all of her work! Fun and quirky and odd and wonderful… perfectly imperfect you might say. Here are a few of my favorites … oh, and when she said she’s been drawn to color since she was little, well, I was not surprised. Take a look:


Oooh, I love all of those random bits and pieces. I really do want to go for a walk around New York with her and see what we find on the street to add to a collage!

You might remember this from a few months ago. I wrote about this beautiful book, a gorgeous version of Alice in Wonderland that was illustrated by Andrea, and published by Quarto. It’s absolutely wonderful, and I love that she was able to put her stamp, or style you might say, on a classic {tough task, but Andrea nailed it}:


Sigh. The end. Well, almost… Andrea sent me a few photos of her studio! UHU stick, kinda color-coordinated piles of found stuff, and a sneak peek at the cover of her new collage book, “Once Upon A Piece of Paper”, {due out this fall}:


Ok, now it’s the end. Thanks to Andrea for doing this, thanks to Saatchi Art for supporting the episode {and generously giving away two VIP tickets to the Affordable Art Fair in NYC next week… enter here because I’m drawing the winner at noon on Saturday March 26th}, and of course thanks to you for listening. There will be more art for your ear next week.

Other links:

  1. Quarto {Publisher of Andrea’s books}
  2. Stefan Sagmeister


susan o’malley

Thank you so much to everyone who entered yesterday’s give-away! This is such a beautiful book/project, with partial proceeds going to the Susan O’Malley Memorial Fund for the Arts, so if you didn’t win feel free to pick up a copy via Amazon,  Chronicle Books or in any major bookstore. Ok, enough suspense… the winner is… Jess Carter {Jess Carter ceramics}! Congratulations Jess, and again, thanks to all of you for amazing comments and allowing this story to touch your heart. And remember, ART BEFORE DISHES!


Beautiful, funny, inspiring, and unfortunately, heartbreaking. This gorgeous artsy book, titled “Advice from my 80-year-old- self”, officially hits shelves today … and now I’m not sure what to say. I’ve been sitting here for about five minutes staring at the screen trying to write about this project, and the woman behind it, American artist Susan O’Malley. She’s an artist known for her text-based work that is filled with color and positive messages. Very sadly, while she was working on this project, early in 2015 Susan died suddenly and unexpectedly at the age of 38. She was less than a week away from giving birth to her twin daughters, Reyna and Lucy, who also passed away. Devastating. This book was already filled with amazing, inspiring advice – from 100 people ranging in age from 7 to 88 – but now it seems like these words of wisdom are even more important. “Try new things, it’s ok to make mistakes” ~ Emilia, 12 ; “This is your life, love it” ~ Alicia, 37  ; “Art before dishes” ~ Lea, 62… and of course, “Live each day as if it’s your last” ~ Abdul, 73. It’s a tragedy that Susan left this world far too early, but we can listen to these beautiful lessons and apply them to our own lives. For Susan.

Chronicle Books will donate partial proceeds from this book to the Susan O’Malley Memorial Fund for the Arts. You can find this book on Amazon, or at Chronicle Books… and keep your eye out in bookshops all over the world.

ps. I have one copy of this beautiful book to give away… just leave a comment below and I’ll draw one name tomorrow, Wednesday January 13th at 9am PST. Good luck xo

“hoozy thinky iz”


Hoozy Thinky Iz? Wayne White, that’s who. Ok, let me start by saying that Wayne is one of my favorite artists ever. I tried to be cool, but alas, I spent the first quarter of this episode having a fan-girl panic attack, and I’m pretty sure you’ll be able to tell. So, to make it more entertaining for yourself, please feel free to take a shot of tequila every time I say, “WOW!” or “relaxed”… (sigh)… yep, embarrassing – but not the beautiful kind. You can listen to our conversation right up there, under that embarrassingly beautiful painting, or you can subscribe on iTunes.

So, I could have talked to Wayne for five more hours, I had so many questions. I wish I’d asked about his amazingly talented/creative wife, Mimi Pond (pictured below hugging Wayne in a giant LBJ puppet head). I didn’t even get to the part about his work on the Smashing Pumpkins Tonight, Tonight video or Peter Gabriel’s Big Time video… and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Oh well, just go watch his film, Beauty is Embarrassing (directed by Neil Berkeley) and you’ll get the gist. Oh, and try not to cry. This is one of my most favorite movies of all time, so that’s where I jumped in:


It really is such a great documentary. Yes, it covers his work and his life, but it also hits all sorts of nerves about getting burnt out, self-doubt (hoozy thinky iz), and finding your way to a place where you’re just creating work that makes you happy. Yep, I cried at least three or four times as I thought, “Yes! Me too!” … and don’t even get me started on Mrs. Stoddard, or when Wayne’s dad starts crying. Yeah, you’re going to need a tissue.

Ok, now for all of you kids from the 1980s, you’ll remember this from Saturday morning TV … Pee-wee’s Playhouse! Wayne was part of the team from the beginning – designing sets, puppets, and he even did a bunch of the voices (Dirty Dog, Randy, one of the flowers, etc etc). Hello, childhood flashback:


Oh, Pee-wee. Good times. “Beauty is Embarrassing” covers all of this so well (including the pre-cursor to Pee-wee’s Playhouse, a Nashville Kids’ Show called Mrs.Cabobbles Caboose)… so again… go watch this movie!

And of course, Wayne’s thrift shop landscape word paintings that I love more than I can say. He does all sorts of amazing things (sculptures, puppets, drawings etc) but these paintings have definitely become something he’s known for:


So hilarious! I have a thing for funny art, probably because it’s pretty hard to find. I just love that he’s taken these forgotten landscapes and turned them into beautifully painted text pieces… text pieces that allow him to say whatever the hell he wants to say! You know, things like “all that fake laughin for nothin”, “just a picture / shunned by scholars / now it costs ten thousand dollars”, and one of my favorites… “just leave the awards on the kitchen table / i’m back here paintin a fuckin masterpiece” … Ha! That makes me LOL, as the kids say.

And finally, this is the book we mentioned a couple of times. Designer Todd Oldham loves Wayne’s work too, and one of the results of that is this beautiful book, “Maybe Now I’ll Get The Respect I So Richly Deserve”:


And that’s that. I am so thrilled that I got to do this with him… and I hope you enjoyed all of your many, many tequila shots. Next time I’ll be super cool. Maybe. Thanks so much to Wayne for taking the time to do this, and thanks to you for listening. There’ll be a special holiday podcast next weekend, but until then, please sit back and relax to this little gem that came out of the good old speed round… the first song that Wayne ever slow danced to: “Poor Side of Town”. Enjoy.