iruka toro

*Gasp* I already loved these oil paintings so much, and then I saw the photos of the work installed and, yes, my heart skipped a beat… the scale, the beautiful altars on the floor, all of it! And those ‘in studio’ images are breathtaking. This is the most recent work by Puerto Rico-born, New York-based artist Iruka Toro. This show just came down from the walls of LaCa Projects in Charlotte North Carolina, but these are their words about “THE IRUKA ELVIS SPELL”:

Transcendence. Transformation. Surrender. In her third solo exhibition at LaCa Projects, these themes are evident in Iruka Maria Toro’s new body of work, which offers deeply personal insights into her recent name change and the evolution of her work in tandem with a constant exploration of her spiritual identity. Through a system of complex but connected clues into deeply-rooted belief systems, Toro invites viewers inside her world, with references to the tarot, magic, prayer, ritual, femininity, and medicinal practices. As if painting with a technicolor lens, Toro makes visible hidden spiritual dimensions through intense, color-saturated works, intimate and careful dissections of living flora, and juxtapositions revealing a unique and important relationship, echoing her steadfast reverence to the natural environment and its undeniable connection to humankind.

Sigh. Magic.

lysa flower

So, how should we kick off this week? How ’bout with a truckload of  “retro vibes & high fives” as Canadian artist Lysa Flower would say. A ghetto-blaster bag, a cassette tape quilt, and rainbows too! {Have I mentioned that my friends and I had a club called ‘The Rainbow Girls’ when I was 11? Yes, we got together to discuss all things rainbows while eating blue whale candies and listening to Madonna on Michelle Nielsen’s ghetto-blaster. It was the best.} Also the best… the mural Lysa’s standing in front of is the work of another Canadian artist. Me! That’s some crazy ‘worlds colliding’ stuff happening first thing on a Monday morning.

“pennylane made me cry”

Yep, she does that to a lot of artists actually – not on purpose, of course – it just kinda happens. Artist consultant extraordinaire, Pennylane Shen is back on the podcast! Last time she was on we did a segment titled, “Pennylane Calls Bullshit”, but today she’s going to share the four biggest reasons people tend to cry when she shows up in their studios. I have a feeling all of you will relate to at least one of the reasons, if not all four. You can listen just right up there under an artsy chicken-or-egg situation {Okay, the photo of Penny and the plates – by Robert Therrien – came first, which then inspired the drawing of Pennylane to be included in a mural by Vancouver’s “Phantoms In The Front Yard” collective. LOVE!}. Oh, or you can also subscribe to the podcast right here.

See? Photos of Penny looking at art, inspires more art. AND, not only does she know how to look at / talk about art, she also knows exactly how to stand in front it:

They’re all so artsy and poetic! {Artists above: 1. Rajni Perera ; 2. Marigold Santos ; 3. Rudolf Stingel ; 4. Jenny Saville ; 5. Yayoi Kusama ; 6. Richard Serra at Museum Voorlinden, NLNote to self: don’t look straight at the camera and say CHEESE. I tried to do that during the Vancouver Mural Festival, but Pennylane made me climb a ladder and gaze off into the distance:

Worked like a frickin’ charm! And look, there’s even a little Liz looking up at me from the bottom of the shot… LOVE. Thank you so much to Pennylane for A. not making me cry today, and B. for being so generous with her time and information. Speaking of which, clearly I had to include a link to the “recipe” for those chip cookies… it’s in the list of links below. Thank you to the Thrive Network for supporting this episode, and huge thanks to you for listening!

Other links:

  1. Thrive Network
  2. Pennylane on Instagram
  3. TedX Nashville
  4. “Shit Arlo Says”, Modfellows Gallery March 22
  5. Chocolate/Potato Chip clusters … I mean, WHAT?


adam parker smith

I wonder if resin, steel, fiberglass, and urethane floats? I’m going with, ‘no’. These light but not light at all sculptures are the work of Brooklyn based artist Adam Parker Smith… and I LOVE THEM ALL! I want to touch one. But I won’t. Happy Friday.

{Found via The Hole NYC. These photographs are from his show there last fall.}

kristy blackwell

Oooh! This is the newest work by Toronto based painter Kristy Blackwell. I’ve written about her before {here and here}, but she continues to push her work – and herself – further and further… it’s so exciting to watch that I just had to write again! Some of her work is part of an upcoming group show which is part of Toronto FAC {Feminist Art Collective}‘s Feminist Art Fest 2020, taking place at OCADU March 5-7. Not only is there an art exhibition, there’s also a film night and conference … get tickets right here.

ps. She’s also showing her work this weekend at Artist Project Contemporary Art Fair in Toronto… and it opens TONIGHT! More info right here.

tim ferguson sauder

“An art project exploring our American identity through the creation of flags built using marks collected from the different people and places that make up our country.”

So beautiful in so many ways. This series, titled Americans Flags, is the brilliant, timely, and thoughtful work of American artist Tim Ferguson Sauder. Okay, I’ve basically copy/pasted his entire site, but I wanted to be sure I didn’t leave anything out! Here is the Why and How about this ongoing project:


This body of work has been (and is being) created in response to an interaction I had with my students a couple years ago. It was the morning after an incredibly charged US election and my class was just starting. As soon as everyone showed up and grabbed a seat one of my students raised her hand and asked, “Since this is a communication course can we talk about how I’m supposed to communicate with my family about politics when I already know we don’t agree? Especially about what happened last night?”

We talked that day about how difficult it is to be open to others’ points of view while staying true to your own beliefs when those two things differ. We discussed how it was our responsibility to work to find ways to broaden our own perspectives and share with others what we see. This work is an exercise in exposing myself to other people’s experiences in America. I’m exploring what this country means to them and deepening my own understanding of what America and its identity means to me.


… we take the [cut plywood] boards out and “gather” marks on them. These are most often collected by spraying a thin layer of fixative onto the board and leaving it someplace where people will walk or ride over the board and leave marks.

Some places/people from which we’ve “gathered” marks include: a U.S. border pedestrian bridge in Texas, American Indian craftspeople in New Mexico, workers at a strawberry farm in Massachusetts, fishermen working in the waters of the Atlantic Ocean off the U.S. East Coast and tourists visiting memorial sites in Washington D.C. 

Beautiful.  PS. Tim is hoping to show this work throughout the US… if you are an interested gallery, please reach out to him.

This project was done through his lab, Return Design, at Olin College. Tim is not only an artist, but also a designer and associate professor in the practice of design at Olin College of Engineering.

casey gray

Ah, the work of California based artist Casey Gray… they’re always like an image search puzzle … for grownups. If you want an up-close look, Casey currently has a show at Hashimoto Contemporary in San Francisco, titled “I Can Taste The Sun”. Here’s the show description:

Utilizing his signature, complex masking and aerosolized acrylic technique to create densely detailed and symbolic works, Gray has created a series of paintings, sculptures and works on paper that celebrate the simple joys in life – from the idyllic landscapes of California to a perfect summer picnic.

Drawing from the world around him, Gray seamlessly incorporates historical painting tropes alongside studio ephemera to create surreal yet plausible still lives and scenes. Each painting is an invitation to the viewer to decode the symbolism and underlying narrative or statement held within the work, like an unfolding poem. The exhibition explores “the power of nature and the outdoors to nourish and heal.”

Dynamic new sculptural works and experimental works on paper will also be debuted at I Can Taste the Sun, showcasing Gray’s multi-faceted practice. A continuation of his wavy symbol paintings, the sculptures pull individual elements such as a flower or tree into an undulating, three dimensional object. Illustrative and graphic works on paper serve as snapshots of moments between paintings, rounding out the artist’s sun soaked world.

You’ll be able to taste the sun until February 29, 2020.

tara lewis

Love, love, love… indeed! Oh my word, I love everything about this work by American artist Tara Lewis. Her latest show, titled “Hell Yes!”, is currently showing at Lyons Wier Gallery in New York until February 22, 2020. You’re gonna go, right!? Here is snippet from Tara’s site about her work:

Tara Lewis creates paintings that dive into youth culture anthropology with a pop twist.  Lewis creates large scale oil portraits of models wearing t-shirts, pageant sashes and other wearables designed and printed by the artist that center on evolving perceptions of youth, irreverence, girl culture, beauty, identity, teen trends, girl empowerment, social issues and pop culture, often referring to past decades and pre-internet sources in re-freshed and boldly mundane and relevant ways. The Preppy Handbook, Seventeen and movies such as The Royal Tanenbaums, Fast Times at Ridgemont High and her MTV childhood stand as huge inspirations and prompts for oil portraits.

Um, what else can I say except… HELL YES! Happy Monday.

“busting creative myths, 2.0”

Aloha! Yep, I’m back from Hawaii feeling refreshed, and I’m excited to bust some more creative myths with my friend, and creative guru, Andy J. Pizza. Before we get to the myth-busting though, I am doing a bit of reading… off the top, I’m sharing an email I received from an artist {and podcast listener} named Sally Podmore re: the idea of “labeling” ourselves as one thing, and one thing only. Her email immediately reminded me of a chapter I wrote in one of my books, so I read that too! Grab yourself a coffee, or settle into the studio because it’s storytime! You can listen right up there under Andy and all of his magical friends, or subscribe to the podcast right here.

First up, a peek at Andy’s super inspiring class that he recently did with Skillshare


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Gah! It’s all just so, so, so good. He’s one smart cookie, that Mr. Pizza.

So, last time Andy was on the podcast, we started a series called “Creative Myth Busters”! It was so much fun that we decided to keep it going…

Yep, we busted three myths on today’s episode, all of which were sent in by you guys: 1. “The only art worth making is the art that flows through you instantly”, 2. “You’re not legit if you’re self taught”, and 3. “Everything’s been said/done, so there’s no point in trying.” Ooof. Big ones. Okay, so what’s the best way to bust myths? Analogies! Here is one of the many we used, actually illustrated by Andy…

Ah, it’s funny cuz it’s true.

And finally, I’d like to leave you with this…

YES, let’s go do that! Thanks so much to Andy for busting more myths with me; thanks to art consultant Alissa Sexton for supporting the episode; and thanks to YOU for listening. There will be more ART FOR YOUR EAR next weekend. ps. I hope you’re about to start rewriting your labels the second this episode finishes!!! 

Other links:

  1. Alissa Sexton, Art Consultant : Website Services
  2. Andy’s Skillshare class
  3. Emily Henderson’s design Skillshare class
  4. Me at TEDx Nashville, March 20-21 {I think I talked about this, right? If not, I should have! Tickets on sale now}
  5. Your Inner Critic Is A Big Jerk {book}
  6. The list of 30 subjects for an Instagram/day challenge {so you don’t even have to think of them yourself… ie., no excuses}:
  1. water
  2. circle
  3. texture
  4. fly
  5. five
  6. new
  7. upside down
  8. horizon
  9. open
  10. vintage
  11. blue
  12. mirror
  13. cold
  14. lines
  15. noisy
  16. boat
  17. pattern
  18. fur
  19. bright
  20. sweetness
  21. balance
  22. cold {yep, accidentally included it twice?!}
  23. intersection
  24. peak
  25. grow
  26. red
  27. twins
  28. simple
  29. delicious
  30. twilight

Have fun!

amy victoria marsh

Well, these ceramics have a little something for everyone on Valentine’s Day! We’ve got some love potion, ridiculously cute fortune cookies, angry sake {if that’s how things are going for you today}, or something to celebrate the deep love you have for your fur baby… yep, everybody’s covered! And who do we have to thank? This is the hilarious and sweet work of UK based artist/illustrator  Amy Victoria Marsh. All of this work, and lots of other weird ‘n wonderful stuff, can be found in Amy’s online shop.