medium /// books

helen, lourdes, and liz


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


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!


{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”


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:


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:


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:


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?


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:


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! 



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”


*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:


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:






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!

“i sandwich everything in that stuff”


Another Saturday, another episode of ART FOR YOUR EAR! This time I’m talking to full-time graphic designer turned full-time collage artist, Chattanooga Tennessee based Hollie Chastain. We talk materials {there is a lot of gel medium in her world}, being an artist & mother, and she even threw in a hilariously mortifying phone anxiety love story at the very end. You can listen right up there under those lovely ladies, or subscribe on iTunes. As you’re listening, take a look at the work we talked about in the order that we talked about it. Let’s start with the very first piece of Hollie’s that I ever saw/wrote about. It was the lead image in the “curated” blog post that I did for Etsy way back in the day:


Ah, I still love that piece so much! And below is the piece, titled “Afterthought”, that she mentioned when talking about using gel medium not only as glue, but also for image transfers:


I have to try that! Speaking of things I need to try… book covers! Oh, so many found book covers. Her favorites of course being old school text books complete with scribbles by bored children:


Gah! Her book cover pieces are my absolute favorites! Turns out she has a studio FULL of them… see:


Oh. Jealous! Next up, the illustration she did for The Baffler:


Mixed media, indeed! I quickly mentioned that Hollie was one of the artists in my book, Collage… this was the fantastic original she made for the book, along with a shot of one of her double page spreads:


Love. So. Much. And finally, we didn’t actually talk about her studio space, but I found this photo on her site and I absolutely love this crazy beautiful mess:


Doesn’t that make you want to make something right now!? Me too. And with that, I’ll say thank you to Hollie for joining me today, and thanks so much to you for listening {and looking}… there will be another episode waiting for you next Saturday!

ps. oh, and a link to Lisa Congdon’s book, Art Inc. & a link to Dolan Geiman’s site.

“push through the messiness”


Today I’m talking to Portland based artist, Lisa Congdon. Yep, Portland! She just moved from her long time home of San Francisco… oh, and for the ‘speed round’, please note the ‘California’ tattoo on her arm in the photo above. Alright, listen right up there, or subscribe on iTunes. As you’re listening, you can take a peek at the things that Lisa and I talked about, in the order that we talked about them. If you’re not listening, I’ll be honest… this post won’t make much sense!

Ok, let’s do this. This is the glamorous “recording studio” that I mentioned right off the bat:


Very high tech. {Oh, and I mentioned the interview she and her wife Clay just did on the Being Boss podcast, which you can listen to right here.} I asked if she still had the first painting she ever did… this is the first still life painting from the first painting class she took {just for fun} in her early 30’s. She did this in 2001:


Love it! {thanks for sharing this little gem, Lisa!} This next piece was part of the 2012 Dorothy Saxe Invitational Exhibition at the Contemporary Jewish Museum in San Francisco:


Gorgeous! And what an amazing full circle moment when her teacher stumbled upon this at that show, years after teaching her how to paint! So cool. I also wanted to include a bunch of her current abstract work, along with some of my favorites of her mixed media pieces from a few years back {that large abstract below makes me think of the “painting curve” that she talks about}


Love. And then we had to talk about her books, because there are so many of them … this isn’t even all of them! These are just the ones we had time to talk about:


Ah, they’re all so great! The new swimming book {“The Joy of Swimming: A Celebration of Our Love for Getting in the Water”} is going to be gorgeous, and will be out next Spring! Ok, next… I asked her what she loves drawing the most:


Patterns and flowers, obviously! Those images above are directly from her sketchbook. Also directly from her sketchbook? A gorgeous new line of textiles that she made with Cloud 9 Fabrics:


I wonder when she sleeps? And finally, this is the sketchbook course she was talking about:


You can find info for these classes here:  “Sketchbook Explorations” and “Line Drawing” {and there is a new “Sketchbook Explorations” class starting this fall, so keep an eye out for that} Phewf! She is a busy lady, and that was an action packed post! Thanks so much to Lisa, to Saatchi Art for supporting this episode, and to you for looking ‘n listening. The next episode will be ready for your artsy ears next Saturday.

*The top-most photo of Lisa was taken by Sarah Deragon, and the two photos of Lisa painting the large abstract were taken by Victoria Smith.

“painted into a corner”


Today I’m talking to Vincent Serritella, a very talented, highly trained {and generous} artist who, somewhere along the way, also taught himself to be an animation effects specialist … which landed him an amazing job at PIXAR! What? Yep. We’re chatting about free drawings, a bizarre artsy family tree connection, and the inside scoop about working on PIXAR’S latest film, Inside OutYou can listen right up there, or you can subscribe on iTunes. Here is what we talked about, in the order that we talked about it. First of all, a few images from his 365 FREE DRAWINGS project’… which is how I scored that awesome blow-pop above!


Obviously this is just a fraction of the 365 drawings he gave away, but these are a few of my favorites. Here is the final, self-published, kickstarter-funded book! If you want one, you can order them here, through the Children’s Creativity Museum … to which Vincent has donated 100% of the proceeds. For real. Generous on top of generous!


Alright, now on to his day job. Inside Out... have you seen this yet? It’s the latest film from PIXAR and it’s so good! Vincent is an “Effects Technical Director”, and he worked on this {very exciting to see his name go by in the credits!}. Building magically appearing trestles and cables for the “train of thought”, and shooting fire out of the top of Anger’s head… that sounds like a pretty fabulous day job to me!


Ha! Love that angry little guy! And finally, a very weird discovery that Vincent’s mom made… he is related to a 17th century Baroque painter from Spain, named Pedro Nunez de Villavicencio. Hm. Notice anything similar about their paintings:


What?! So insane! Vincent painted that self portrait years before he found out about this artsy connection to the past. Look at the pose?! And the color palette!? So weird. And amazing. And a bit spooky. Alright, and with that bit of craziness, I’ll say thanks to Vincent {who totally sounds like Mark Ruffalo, no?}, to Saatchi Art for supporting this episode, and to you for looking ‘n listening! So excited for next Saturday… my friend Lisa Congdon will be on the podcast!

“you’re in cider town”


Amazing things will happen… yes they will! Today’s episode is an interview with Philadelphia based artist, illustrator, hand-lettering master, Mary Kate McDevittWe talk about the best letters to draw, quotes from Ned Flanders, and we even have a little hand-lettering assignment for all of us at the end! You can listen right up there, under all of the amazingness, or you can subscribe on iTunes. Here is what we talked about, in the order that we talked about it. First of all, her hilarious, sweet and super fantastic 100 day project:


Love! And there are plenty more where these came from… she’s now on day 66 so there are a whole lot of people and pets in her instagram feed! Next, onto client work. Commissioned work is how Mary Kate spends most of her days. This is just a tiny little snippet {so much more on her site}:


I need that shirt. She does book covers, magazine covers, ads, you name it… all by hand. No computers, no fonts. So good. She also does a lot of personal work. These are two of the pieces that we were talking about… being a huge fan of reruns, she gets a lot of her favorite quotes from old TV shows, like News Radio and The Simpsons:


Ah, Ned. So wise. And finally the last thing we talked about was the letter l. Lovely little letter ‘L’, and so we decided to put out a creative challenge out for all of us… this is the hashtag you’ll need: #handletterlullaby

Thanks to Mary Kate for taking a break from unpacking her new studio, to Saatchi Art for supporting this episode, and to all of you for listening… the next episode will be up next Saturday!

jordan buschur


Well now I can’t decide if I’m in the mood to read a good book, or just to stack a whole bunch of them into beautiful piles! This is the work of American painter Jordan Buschur. Here is a little snippet about her process:

“I begin the paintings by creating an installation of books, photographing it, and then painting from the photographs individually or collaged together. The books are often piled, jumbled, and stacked. Through the act of painting, the arrangements become precarious, or the books larger than life- in each scenario the books are located just outside of reality.”