medium /// books




lisa congdon

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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:

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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”

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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:

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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:

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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}:

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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}:

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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!

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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”

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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:

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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:

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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:

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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”:

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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.





mr. dog’s christmas at the hollow tree inn… and a GIVE-AWAY!

Thank you to everyone that entered the draw for this lovely, heart-warming, made with love storybook! I could only draw one name, and that name is… MEGAN CARTY! If your name isn’t Megan Carty, you can still buy this beauty directly from the Cordes family. Visit their site, right here.

*Stay tuned because I’ll be giving away a little something, via my Facebook page, every Friday between now and Christmas!

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I don’t know about you, but I am in desperate need of a happy, feel-good story… this is it! All of this started with a decades long holiday family tradition, reading a story that is over 100 years old. This tale, titled “Christmas at the Hollow Tree Inn”, was written by Albert Bigelow Paine in 1898. The Cordes family has been reading it on Christmas Eve for generations. Such a shame that it has long been out of print… and so they decided to take it upon themselves to change that! Betsy Cordes, an art director with ideas, business savvy, licensing expertise, and a love of working with artists reached out to American illustrator Adam McCauley {really interesting video here with Adam talking about his traditional “crow quill” ink drawings}. With a lot of love, a truckload of hard work, and a very successful Kickstarter campaign in 2014, they brought Mr.Dog and his friends at the Hollow Tree Inn back to life! Take a look at this video of Betsy and her dad, Jim, talking about the sweet story behind this sweet story. ps. This was their Kickstarter video from 2014, which they finished with flying colors… so no need to pledge. Since this video they’ve printed a second, limited edition, run. Ok, now you can watch it…

Ah, Mr. Dog’s Christmas at the Hollow Tree Inn … I just got a copy when I was in San Francisco a few weeks ago, and it’s absolutely gorgeous! Red linen, gold foil, Adam’s illustrations! Want one? Of course you do! Leave a comment below and I will draw one name on Monday November 30, at noon PST…. and if you don’t win this give-away, you can still order one right here. But be quick… Betsy and her family were only able to print a limited number for this holiday season.





helen, lourdes, and liz

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Oh. My. I love this so much. The work of Brooklyn based artist Lourdes Sanchez {who I just wrote about a few weeks ago}, hand-in-hand with the best-selling book, “Big Magic” by Elizabeth Gilbert. This is the creative brainchild of art director Helen Yentus {fyi – she has designed so many beautiful books, including the now very famous cover for Eat, Pray, Love}. For this project Helen dug through Lourdes’ extensive painting archives and chose 250 pieces. She then made 250 totally unique covers for “Big Magic”. Sigh. Magical, indeed. Lourdes emailed to tell me about this fantastic collaboration, but instead of blowing her own horn, she wrote this:

“I just want to really stress that it was Helen Yentus’ vision – then rolling up her sleeves and figuring out how to make it happen – that brought this to life. My artwork being on the covers was one section of a much larger circle, {it was all work that I had done over the years, that Helen dug up from my archives} and I feel the star of  this particular story is Helen. But, it’s also interesting to me that the work of three people: a writer, an art director, and a painter – who have all been honing their craft for awhile – came together for a moment in time.

Wonderful. On every level. These special one-of-a-kind pieces can be found here.





art place japan

artplacejapan

Can you imagine a place like this? Well you don’t have to, because it’s real:

Every three years, three hundred square miles of land in northwestern Japan are transformed into the most ambitious and largest-scale art installation in the world: the Echigo-Tsumari Art Field. One hundred sixty of the world’s best-known landscape artists, sculptors, and architects create artworks in two hundred villages that dot the mountains and terraced rice fields of the Japanese countryside, with the intent of rediscovering relationships between nature, art, and humanity, forging collaborations between global artists and local communities, and connecting people to each other and the land.

Half a million people make the annual pilgrimage to witness this unique art project. Art Place Japan offers an exhaustive full-color catalog of the eight hundred artworks created during the past fifteen years. For those lucky enough to visit, this book, the first in English on the subject, also offers detailed information on how to visit the often-remote sites, with travel information and a newly commissioned map that locates the projects throughout the Niigata Prefecture.

So there you have it! And if you can’t get yourself there, this lovely new book – Art Place Japan: The Echigo-Tsumari Art Triennale and the Vision to Reconnect Art and Nature by Fram Kitagawa – can help you at least pretend!

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{1. Harumi Yukutake (Japan), Restructure, 2006-ongoing; Image credit: Masanori Ikeda  / 2. Kyota Takahashi (Japan), Gift for Frozen Village, 2011, 2012, 2014, 2015 ; Image credit: Osamu Nakamura / 3. Antje Gummels (Germany/Japan),
 Traveling Inside, 2009
; Image credit: Isamu Murai   / 4. Chiyoko Todaka (Japan),
 Yamanaka Zutsumi Spiral Works, 2006; Image credit: Hisao Ogose}

Available at: Amazon / Barnes & Noble / PAPress / IndieBound





“make piles of crap”

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Obsessive consumption, rule-based projects, impostor syndrome, telling our inner a**hole where to go, and “making piles of crap” because that’s the only way you get better. Oh. This woman. So smart, so funny, so talented. I’m talking to Portland based illustrator/educator Kate Bingaman-Burt … she always has a ton of cool things on the go, so I am slightly stunned that I was able to get her for the podcast. She tucked herself away in a quiet corner of her office at school, and we talked and talked and talked {we went a little longer than normal!}. Maybe it’s because she’s a teacher, but wow, she had so much great advice to share. Listen right up there under the swirly IKEA cone, or subscribe on iTunes. As you’re listening, take a look at the things we talked about in the order that we talked about them. First up, one of Kate’s credit card statements… hand-drawn as self-imposed punishment:

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Yep, she drew {and shared} all of her credit card statements until her debt was paid off. This is where her rule-based projects really took off. They of course led to her daily drawings… she drew everything she bought, every day, for YEARS. There are zillions of them, but here are just a few of my favorites:

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Gah! So good… and what I might love even more is her hilarious commentary on each purchase! Clearly when obsessive behavior is involved, you have to organize your zillions of drawings somehow. Enter Kate’s monthly zine, “Obsessive Consumption” where she catalogued all of these hand-drawn purchases… which then became a big, beautiful book by the same title:

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So. Good. Speaking of good, have you seen Handmade Nation? It’s a fantastic film by Faythe Levine. I love it so much, but until this podcast I had no idea that Kate did all of the illustrations for it! Who knew?

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ps. If you haven’t seen this movie, you totally should{Note to self: Invite Faythe Levine to be on the podcast}. And finally, in the speed round, I asked Kate about her favorite place to shop. I thought she might say IKEA or thrift shops, but nope… office supply stores! Apparently when Kate’s feeling creatively blocked, she wanders the label aisle to get unstuck {pun absolutely intended}. Here are a few of her purchases from the shelves that get her creative fires burning:

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Post-its. Kate loves post-its, as I’m sure you can see from the number of pads she buys at one time. Ok, I’m off to set up some rule-based projects for myself so that I can make piles of crap, and you should too … because that’s how you get to the good stuff! Thanks so much to Kate for taking the time to do this with me, thanks to Saatchi Art for supporting this episode, and thanks to YOU for listening. There will be more art for your ear next weekend.

ps. I hate to ask, but if you like my podcast, could you rate it on iTunes? It helps spread the word! xo





andrea d’aquino (and a book give-away!)

Oh my goodness! Thanks to all of you that entered to win this gorgeous book {if you didn’t win, I still think you should pick one up… Christmas is just around the corner, after all!}. I am very happy to announce that the winner is: KRISTIN LIU! 

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Gasp! Stunning! Lewis Carroll’s classic, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, made new again by New York based mixed media artist Andrea D’Aquino. I cannot get over how beautiful this book is, and I’m so excited to read it to my son. I love Andrea’s work {I featured her in my book, Collage}. Not only is Andrea insanely talented, she also happens to be one of the nicest people around! She sent me two copies of this beautiful new book {that just hit shelves two days ago} … one for my family, and one for YOU! Just leave a comment below and I’ll draw one name on Monday September 21, 2015 … anyone can enter : )

{This gorgeous book is published by Quarto, and is available to buy in all sorts of bookstores… find them all right here!}





“a pitch on a silver platter”

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*photo by  Liz Daly

Have you ever wanted to write an art book? Well then you’re going to want to listen to this episode of Art for Your Ear! I’m talking to San Francisco based book editor and literary agent, Kate Woodrow. She was my editor on Creative Block, and she’s working on my new book now {and has talked me off a few creative ledges along the way!}. She’s got four important ingredients that should go into every pitch, so grab a pen because you’re going to want to take notes. Listen right up there, or subscribe on iTunes. As you’re listening, take a look at the things we talked about in the order that we talked about them. First up, a few of my favorite books that Kate worked on during her decade at Chronicle Books:

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Um, yes, I put my book on that list! And of course Art, Inc and Blog, Inc … and there’s Mom, Inc and Creative Inc on that list too! Here is the link to the blog post she wrote after speaking at Alt Summit 2012 {where we met}, titled “From Blog to Book: How to Turn Your Ideas into Reality”. Next I totally put her on the spot and asked her to list a few of her favorite illustrators. It was hard for her to only name a few, but here is who she mentioned/the projects she worked on them with:

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So many fantastic projects! Then of course there were her answers to the speed round… two of her favorite novels that she’s read this year: All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr, and Purity by Jonathan Franzen. And clearly I had to include a link to this answer: The first slow song she ever danced to… In Your Eyes. Sigh. The light, the heat.

So… if you have an idea that you want to pitch, Kate is ready to hear it! You can find her at her new company {so excited for her and this whole new chapter… pardon the pun}, Present Perfect Dept., and she’s on Instagram and Twitter too. Oh, and if you’d like to sign up for the webinar she’s doing with Modern Thrive on September 21, 22, 23 you can find more information right here. Thanks so much to Kate for sharing all of these behind the scene secrets, and thanks to you for listening. There will be a new episode up next week!