medium /// books




mirim seo



Philadelphia based artist/designer Mirim Seo sent her Special Sashimi project to me last week. For the first two or three pages, I thought “Oh, cute. A book about Sushi” … and then a few pages later, I gasped.

“Special Sashimi is about the slaughter of dolphins in Japan. The story topicted in this book is true. Each year Japan fishermen kill around 2,300 dolphins as a form of pest control, which has been accepted as tradition. And the killed dolphins end up in freezers and served sashimi in Japan. Illustrated with hand-sewing and watercolor on fabric. With this book, I hope to spread the true and help stop the senseless killing of the Taiji dolphins.”

Such a sad story, so beautifully told. If you’re interested to learn more, please visit this project on Mirim’s site.





COLLAGE: a peek & a project

It’s here! After two years of work, COLLAGE finally hit shelves on Wednesday! I love, love, love collage which is probably why Chronicle Books asked me to do this! I chose 30 very talented collage/mixed media artists from around the world, but I didn’t want to just show their amazing work… this book needed a little twist!

I absolutely love found image collage, and could spend hours looking through old books in thrift shops. When I find an image that I love, it only takes me a second to make a cut n’ paste plan in my head – but what would other collage artists do with that same image? People like Jesse Draxler and Xochi Solis? Enter the twist! Not only did I feature 8 to 10 plates of each artists’ work, I also gave all of them the same starting image – a mustache-clad accordion player and his little bearded cowboy brother – and asked them to create a completely new, totally unique, original collage using all or some of that photo. And they did…

Gah! So good, right?! In some of them you have to work pretty hard to find the original image, and in other pieces it’s the star. I love that every artist took this image and completely made it their own. And so, I want you to be able to do it too! Here’s the photograph {which, by the way, is my dad and my uncle in 1958!}… Right click on it / Save it / Print it / Make a collage!

ps. Thank you to Chronicle for inviting me to do this, and for designing such a beautiful book! Thank you to the 30 amazing artists who made this book into a gorgeous collection of contemporary art.  To my dad and Uncle Bill for letting us use this hilarious picture, and for not making us pay any royalties! And, I absolutely have to send some love to UK based collage artist Anthony Zinonos. Not only was he one of the featured artists, but he also wrote the funny, touching, inspiring foreword… xoxo!

{work above by 1. Me  2. Hollie Chastain 3. Jesse Draxler 4. Bill Zindel 5. Xochi Solis 6. Anthony Zinonos}





anna kövecses




Isn’t this the sweetest alphabet book!? And it’s even sweeter when you find out that Hungarian-born, Cyprus based artist/illustrator, Anna Kövecses, made this for her four year old daughter, Rebeka. Here is Anna’s description:

“This book is the result of a very personal project aiming to introduce a little girl to the 44 letters of the Hungarian alphabet. Illustrations were carefully designed so that every subject that appears in this book is something she’s currently very much interested in. So in one way this book is not just a tool but also a diary documenting a four-year-old little girl’s world in the summer of 2013 on an island in the Mediterranean Sea…”

What a wonderful mom… and an insanely talented artist! These were just a few of my favorite pages, and I have to say, the Canadian in me thought it was pretty awesome that ‘Yukon’ made an appearance! Anna self-published this lovely project through Blurb, so if you want to learn the Hungarian alphabet, or like me, you just really really want a copy of that campfire illustration, you can buy the book here.





art inc. (one for me, one for you!)

And the winner is…. KIRSTEN MORAN! Congratulations Kirsten! I’ll be in touch later today to get your mailing address.

Thanks to everyone that entered. It’s a really interesting/helpful read so if you’re looking for an new addition to your art library, I’d suggest buying a copy (it’s only $16.95)

Amen! Very smart words, from a very smart book, written by a very smart lady. Yes, as of today, Art Inc., by San Francisco based artist/illustrator Lisa Congdon hits shelves! You guys… it’s so good! Basically it’s all about how to turn your art practice into a business. Lisa did it. Lots of other artists have done it. You can too. It’s a really easy read, with very helpful advice – and what I love so much is that it makes you realize that this “dream” is not ridiculous. At all. Lisa, and the full time studio artists interviewed in the book, break it down in chapters like “Promoting Your Work”, “Selling Your Art”, and “Illustration & Licensing”. They give real world advice/examples of how you can turn your “dream” into reality. And then of course, once you’re a raging success, you’ll need this chapter:

YES! So good, right? Oh, and speaking of good, this book even has it’s own trailer {you gotta love that!} featuring illustrations from the book, by Karolin Schnoor… have a look right here.

{Art, Inc is now available anywhere that books are sold, but if you’d like to buy it online, please visit Chronicle Books or Powell’s Books… you can also enter MY GIVE AWAY! [another one so soon? yep!] I’ve got one copy for me to read cover to cover, and one copy to give away, so leave a comment below and I’ll draw one name on Thursday August 14th at 8am PST… good luck!}





‘o’ is for oprah

A few weeks ago I put up a very vague ‘O’ post on my Facebook page. I had exciting news but couldn’t say much… until now:

Yep! My book, CREATIVE BLOCK, is mentioned in the current issue of O, The Oprah Magazine! It’s the “Breakthrough” issue, so I am ridiculously honored to have the book be included. Down the left hand side of page 100 you’ll find three of the unblocking projects – one by painter Martha Rich, another by multi-disciplinary artist Kelly Lynn Jones, and a road trip idea from photographer Jennifer Altman – they’re all such smart, creative women! Have a peek:

Amazing! But wait, that’s not all!!! They also asked me to come to LA and shoot a few segments for #OWNSHOW. Um … I SAID YES. I was so nervous. Excited, but yes, nervous. Luckily I didn’t have too much time to overthink it, because about a week later, I packed my suitcase and was on my way. It turns out, there was nothing to be worried about. I have never met a nicer group of people. So fun, so encouraging, and so professional… what else would you expect though, right?! I ended up shooting five segments with their lovely #OWNSHOW host, Danisha Danielle Hoston. Thanks goodness for Danisha – she instantly made me feel comfortable. Anyway, we talked about shame, inner-critics, blocks, and finding a way out of all of that. I think everything went pretty well … wanna see them? (they’re all less than five minutes each, I promise):

No.1  How Artists Handle Self-Doubt:


No.2  What Artists Know About Creative Blocks:


No.3  How Shame Stifles Creativity:


No.4  Three Ways to Find Inspiration:


No.5  A Simple Way to Free Your Mind:

Ahhh!!! Craziness. Thank you so much #OWNSHOW – I loved every minute of my time with you guys, especially drawing those flowers!

So, next stop? Super Soul Sunday with Oprah herself. Ok, that’s not actually happening (yet!) but I’m going to put it into the universe anyway, because, hey, you never know!





maira kalman & daniel handler

CONGRATULATIONS to Erika Rier… a copy of this lovely book is coming your way! {thanks to everyone that entered… and I hope that some of you made it to MoMA yesterday for the event on the lawn!}






I love this, probably because I love New York based artist/illustrator Maira Kalman so much, not to mention my love for vintage photographs of girls standing on lawns… oh, and would you look at that, that’s the name of the beautiful book that Maira Kalman and writer Daniel Handler {a.k.a. Lemony Snicket} created together! The first, very poetic, page reads:

One morning
we found some photographs.
One morning
these girls stood on lawns.
We looked at the pictures,
and we got to work.
There’s no use standing around.
You should do something.
This is the whole thing.

That really is the whole thing, isn’t it… LOVE! On Sunday, June 1 at MoMA {who actually published this little gem}, Maira Kalman and Daniel Handler will celebrate their new book, Girls Standing on Lawns, with a garden party featuring 1930s-style Parisian jazz from the Hot Club of Flatbush. From 3-5 p.m. in The Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Sculpture Garden. {Free with Museum admission}

ps. I have a copy of this book for myself, and… I have one to give away! Leave a comment below and I’ll draw one name on Monday morning at 8am PST. Good luck!

………………….





a lovely letter

When Kate Woodrow, an editor at Chronicle Books, approached me about writing a book, one of the first questions she asked me was “Why do you want to do this? What do you want to get out of it?” My answer was pretty simple. I told her that I wanted to write about blocks, and inner-critics, insecurities… and of course a way to break through all of those things. I said, “If I can make just one person feel better, less alone, not so creatively broken, I would consider this project a huge success.” And yesterday, I got this letter {that made me cry – twice} from a woman named Claire. I asked her if I could share this letter with you, and she said yes:

“I am writing to thank you for the most amazing book I have ever read… next to the Velveteen Rabbit and the Secret Garden.

About 14 years ago when I was at college studying art, I had just passed my driving test and went to a job interview at a newspaper for some work experience. All my work was in the car, portfolios, sketch books and exam certificates – I wanted to get it right. My work was deeply personal and I was very proud of it, it was who I was. Anyway I went for the interview and then went on a date, the first in two years. I went back to the car park to get my car… no car… it had been stolen with all my work in it… NOOOOOOOOOO! The car was eventually recovered a week later, but no work in the car. Everything I had produced in ten years was just gone. After that I could not make anything. I couldn’t paint, think, draw nothing would come. Then eventually I had my son, and needed to work for myself. My art qualifications were my main qualifications, so I started doing commercial work, and slowly my soul felt like it was being hoovered of all creativity. I just produced work that thought would sell and could not produce anything personal or anything I felt proud of… or that I felt was valid.

So, that has been me for the last 14 years… sad but true… anyhow,  just after Christmas I got really sick and have been in bed pretty much since then. I had an enormous amount of time to think about stuff, and my artistic practice, and what that means… and slowly my brain started to remember that girl who produced work with passion and vigour with no thought for what anyone would think of it. I made because I had to. I had to get it out… and then I saw your book. I have followed your blog for ages, moved by all the work on there. Then your book arrived, and I cannot thank you enough, and all the artists in it, for their honesty and candour. It has moved me and shaken my stuck little world, and today for the first time in 14 years, I made some work… which i am proud of. It is just the start, but it is a start. I have quit all the commercial work and I feel like my block is over. I can make work that is personal, that matters, that I believe in… because I have to… otherwise it’s just half a life.

I just wanted to say that your book has given me a great gift and has really aided my journey back to my brushes. I was on that path and your book has given me some more courage and tools… thank you… seems small, but it has meant more than I can explain.” ~ Claire

Thank you so much, Claire. This means more than I can explain. I think what moves me so much about this is that I feel like this is my story too, which makes you start to realize that there are lots of stories like this out there. When you’re in it, you feel like you’re the only one who has ever felt like this… until you share your story and suddenly you realize that you’re not alone at all. Having blocks just means you’re part of a very elite, creative club! You can’t have a creative block if you’re not a creative person, right? I’m so glad to be in this club with Claire, and all of you.

*artwork by Rachel Castle





julia rothman… again

Gorgeous. This beautifully illustrated love letter to New York hits shelves TODAY! Hello NY is a gorgeous passion project by Julia Rothman… a talented designer, illustrator, and of course, New Yorker. She wrote a very honest, heart-felt post about the ups and downs of creating this book on her blog, Book By It’s Cover – give it a read, and then go pick up the book. I’m going to need a copy because I’m heading to New York {for the first time in my life… WHAT?!} in a few weeks for my NYC book event! Oh, and it just so happens that Julia is one of the artists interviewed in CREATIVE BLOCK! If she’s not too busy promoting this lovely piece of bounded art, she’ll be stopping by the CB party on April 2nd. I hope she has a pen ready to sign her lovely pages!

ps. there are still a handful of tickets available to the NY party, so if you want to come, grab your ticket here.





that time i went to PIXAR to talk about my book (?!)

So this was a crazy day. This is what I saw as I walked into the main doors at PIXAR last week… life-sized LEGO sculptures of Toy Story’s Buzz Lightyear and Woody… and a poster with my book on it. Mind. Blown. No time to think about it much though because my talk was starting in about ten minutes. As I was setting up, I was told that the last presenter hosted by PU {PIXAR University} had been JJ Abrams. Hm. No pressure. Quick, could I make one of the books explode or something!?

Alas, nothing exploded, but I did get all set up in a gorgeous theatre with a really, really big screen {of course, it’s PIXAR} and talked my little heart out. I told the story of how my blog was born {which included a cameo by my son, because if it weren’t for having him I never would have started this site}, and how the book came about. The main point of the talk though focused on the big lessons I learned while writing CREATIVE BLOCK. We covered blocks, inner critics, public critics, and then getting through all of that so that you can get back to the joy of making work… work that you’re really proud of! I have to admit. I was nervous. I was in a room full of creative geniuses and I was worried that they’d be like “Uh-huh. Yeah, we never get blocked, lady.” You never know?! But no. That was not the case, because as it turns out they were all human. I spoke for about forty minutes, followed by a Q&A. Everyone then went out into the lobby so I could sign a few books {sign books?!?! very surreal, I have to tell you!}. The feedback I got was amazing. AMAZING. I had no idea who was in this line up and as I asked each of them what they did at PIXAR and what kind of art they did on their own {because all of them had something going on the side} I felt like a total fan girl! I mentioned to two of the guys that my son’s favorite movie is UP… they both worked on it! A few people told me that while they’re very confident in what they create at work, they really miss drawing, or painting, or [enter medium here] but felt a bit blocked when it came to getting started again. Several of them said this book was coming at the perfect time for them… it almost made me tear up a tiny bit, but I held it together because I was pretty sure that JJ didn’t cry while he was there.

Lunch time! I had a giant celebratory cheeseburger, and more fries than one person should ever have, with my amazing PIXAR host, visual-effects expert / fine artist Vincent Serritella, and my good friend Cariann Nesler. She came along as my cheerleader/photographer/book seller/driver, thank goodness! Vincent gave us a tour of this insane campus, which included their current in-house art show. Yes, they curate shows using the personal work of their staff – how amazing is that! {that is a close-up of Vincent’s fabulous self-vandalized self-portrait below}. We met a few famous friends along the way, and then, after a lovely full afternoon, it was time to say bye bye…

*Leaving PIXAR. Thank you so much for having me, PIXAR! Hope to come back through those gates again soon.





a book, 5 years, a give-away & a challenge

Thank you all soooooo much for entering! The winner of today’s give-away is Erin Candela! I’ll pop it in the mail tomorrow, Erin!

But wait… I have to give more away, right?! Right! Stay tuned, as more give-aways are coming in the next month or two {ps. thank you for all of your support, lovely comments, and mostly, for actually wanting this book! I am totally and completely overwhelmed xo}

ps. A few of you asked how to get a copy if you don’t live in North America… it will be on shelves world-wide, but if you can’t find it in your area, you can also buy it through amazon.com or through chroniclebooks.com : )

A BOOK:

Boy oh boy, I love these artists so much! Gorgeous work, and such funny, smart, touching advice… I can’t believe that CREATIVE BLOCK is finally out in the world. Thank you so much to everyone that made it happen, and thank you so much to everyone who plans on reading it! xo {and a big thank you to Leslie Fandrich for these gorgeous photos!!!}

5 YEARS & A GIVE-AWAY:

So, tomorrow, February 22, will mark five years since I wrote my very first post on The Jealous Curator. It also just so happens that my very first book, CREATIVE BLOCK, hit shelves all over the world this past Tuesday… needless to say, it’s been quite a week over here! And so we have to celebrate, right? How about a give-away!? Leave a comment on this post, and on Monday at noon (PST) I’ll draw one name and send that person a signed copy of the book. Deal?

A CHALLENGE:

I’ve heard from quite a few people that they plan to go one by one through the creative “unblock” projects given by each of the 50 artists in the book. So fun! If you do one, snap photo of whatever you make, pop it up on twitter or instagram and hashtag it with #creativeUNblock … I’m going to keep an eye out for them, and then I’ll set up a Facebook album to share some of my favorites from each month. I can’t wait to see what you make!

ps. BOOK EVENTS: I’ll be in San Francisco on March 5, and LA on March 22 and NYC on April 2 {links on the left sidebar}. The book will be available to buy in SF and LA because the events are at stores, but the event in New York is not at a bookstore, and is limited to 100 people so we’re selling tickets to it… right here {the ticket is $25 and gets you a book, drinks, snacks, and a super fun evening!}. More info coming soon on the May 15 Vancouver event.