Honoring an Artist’s Wild Spirit

It’s so important that artists & creatives support each other!  Although my long-time friend, Australian artist Lina Eve, & I are literally across the globe from each other we have stayed in touch and supported each other’s work.  Aside from being an amazing painter, Lina is a talented film maker and writer and is now trying to fund a YouTube project that honors a true artist’s wild spirit, Vali Myers (1930-2003).  Lina introduced me to the inspiring and bold work of this way-too-overlooked, unique soul years ago and now she wants to share Vali’s artistic legacy with the world, so please read on about this fascinating project and visit the link for more info and to find out how you can help make Lina’s dream a reality!
Lina Eve:  for my talented and lovely friend, Lauren Curtis
1999: Whilst browsing one of my favorite 2nd hand bookshops, I chanced upon Vali’s beautiful book of paintings and writing titled , “Vali Myers”.  A day or so after this rare and fabulous find, I heard Vali being interviewed on ABC Radio National.  Her unique Aussie accent, her raw and earthy take on life, combined with the amazing artwork in her book, had me toasting her talent and fierce honesty.
Vali and I eventually met in her studio in Melbourne some months later.
We had only exchanged a few letters and chatted on the phone, 
but when we met there was instant rapport. She introduced me to the Turkish spirit Raki, and we got pretty legless on it.  At least I did.  Vali would have been able to drink most people under the table! Spending glorious afternoons with Vali, filling our glasses and talking about everything under the sun became my ritual every time I traveled to Melbourne from then on. “
lina-eve-vali-myers
(Lina, left…Vali, right)
“Vali died in 2003 and although she had a loyal following of fans, her work is largely unknown around the world. Vali’s work is highly personal, and therefore, like other amazing women artists, was not picked up by the media for the truly unique art it is.  Now I’m  trying to raise funds towards a YouTube tribute video about Vali  …..a beautiful friend, who created a whole world of powerful and magical art.”
valis-moby-dick
                                                            “Moby Dick” (c)Vali Myers
Wikipedia:    “Vali Myers (2 August 1930 – 12 February 2003) 
was an Australian visionary artist, dancer, bohemian and muse whose coverage by the media was mostly in the decades of the 1950s and 1960s in Europe and the United States.”
I’m now collecting permission from the photographers  of my favourite portraits of her, and already have permission ( from the Vali Myers Trust) to use all her images for the video
If you can help with a donation, that would be wonderful and if you could also please pass on my Go fund me link, it would be very, very much appreciated!
  “Vali Myers : Wild Spirit”

THE NEED FOR EDITORS

Author/editor Kathryn Nevin & her adorable dog Emmie Lou

As an illustrator, I’ve had the pleasure of working with many authors and publishers, so I know about the importance of editing. One of my most recent clients (and now friend) is the talented Kathryn Nevin (we’re doing a children’s book about her adorable dog Emmie Lou!), who is both an author and professional editor.  But being I’m the artist and not the writer, I’ve asked Kathryn to share her views on the need for good editing.  Here’s her words about your words….

Author/editor Kathryn Nevin & her adorable dog Emmie Lou

Author/editor Kathryn Nevin & her adorable dog Emmie Lou

THE NEED FOR EDITORS

by KATHRYN NEVIN

Lately I’ve been interested in polling internet literature regarding the art of editing. Despite the outright dearth of related articles, what does exist seems to suggest that editorial review is not always necessary, complete with a whole range of tips on “do it yourself” editing. If you’re a good enough writer, most articles suggest, then you just don’t need an editor. Multiple programs to catch spelling and even grammatical errors litter the market. Although the reasons for hiring a professional editor vary, here are three good reasons to seek out editorial review: missing words, extra words, and repeated sentences. No matter how polished the writer, these blunders happen, and that’s where the human touch of editorial services comes in. You simply can’t turn in any document without having it professionally checked by a real-life person. Imagine your chagrin at missing something as simple as a cut and paste error! Imagine losing that job interview or scholarship over simple mistakes.

In addition, only a human reader is qualified to assess meaning. The author knows what she means to say, but does the reader? It’s easy to think we are communicating what we mean to say when we’ve been mulling it over and writing about it for hours or days. But is what you mean to say really coming across? Whether I’m a student or a business magnate, I aim to be understood. It’s crucial to my academic success. It’s paramount to my marketing campaign. I want people to get my message and I want to be sure the message is clear. If my reader grapples with any confusion as to why my notion or product can help them, it’s just not going to sell. I can run my message through spell check and a number of other programs, but the bottom line is: meaning requires human response. There’s just no getting around it. Editors are vital to the writing process and finished product. Without us, you may never know the power and the glory of an author’s intentions.

My online editing business, Eagle-Eye Editing, ensures that these mistakes and blunders will be caught. In addition to correcting spelling and grammatical errors, I have a particular ability to: – clean up clumsy sentence structure – simplify lengthy passages into clear, concise text – transform passive or stilted language into lively, active prose – ensure textual consistency, providing an even flow and tone of language.

Editing, then, is not just about catching mistakes. It’s also about refining and finessing language so that your particular voice as a writer can sail through clearly. My precision-driven style does all of the above, providing exceptional results. I work fast, but with great attention to detail, and always with an eye to achieving your goals.

I’m always happy to provide you with a resume, reviews, and a sample edit of your work to make sure you feel confident about using my service. To reach me, simply send an email to: klnproofer@gmail.com or if you prefer to call, my number is 302-384-3424. And be sure to catch me online at: http://www.facebook.com/eagle.editing. I look forward to working with you!

Best Regards,

Kathryn Nevin, MSW

Sneak peak to the up-coming children’s book Kathryn & I are doing…

My Name Is Emmie Lou (c)2015

My Name Is Emmie Lou (c)2015

EmmieLouCoverJune2015sm

Your History is Your Personal Story

Just Judy, novel, cover design by Lauren Curtis

One of the best things about being a full time freelance artist is creating work for some talented clients from across the globe!  Some of my favorite clients to work with are authors as it’s very cool to bring someone’s story to life with artwork!  I recently designed a book cover for author “Just Judy” and when we started chatting about what we do, I found her own story so interesting, I invited her to be a guest blogger here….aside from her novels she also compiles stories based on people’s actual family histories and creates unique books just for them!  Below she shares her inspiration with us about this fascinating project and included is her contact info. if you’d like to have this done for yourself and your own family…..

JUST JUDY; author, personal historian

JUST JUDY; author, personal historian

Personal History and the Circle of Life

Imagine a special shelf on your bookcase, displaying a few old, faded cloth covers with frayed corners, the packages of words written by your grandmother, or grandfather, or better yet, both. There would be pages filled with their stories of life’s pivotal moments and challenges, their anecdotes of parenthood, a short section for favorite family recipes, and maybe a remembrance of the day you were born: “We became grandparents today,” one would joyously announce. And, there would be pictures, just a few, of times long gone, before the days of images in color. The infant, you, may be sitting in a bassinet in front of your parents. Behind would be two stolid, stone-faced seniors, unfamiliar with this newfangled device called a camera, hiding the wide grin they wear within.

For me, words are music to my soul and art makes my spirit soar. A day spent reading such old cloth covered books would bring a warmth of emotion and a strong sense of what it means to be me and from whence I come. The record of one’s life is a gift that lasts and in the writing of it we gain perspective and strengthen our feeling of self within the larger picture of life.

It’s not all about us. It never was. Every writer of a personal history starts out with information of others, their parents and grandparents, aunts and uncles. We come from a fountain and from us flows new beings. There seems to be no end to this circle of life?

JUST JUDY;  Holy Joe

JUST JUDY; Holy Joe

I am a personal historian. This is a new gig for me. I’ve always been a reader and writer, but now I am hooked on life story. I help people mine their memories and record and arrange these images in a logical order. When the writing is complete, we are left with a unique package, so I help coordinate the cover art and short-run printer. Mostly, I keep the project on track and see it through to completion. I know that every life has a story to tell, and the world needs such stories.

If you leave this reading with a mental image of your own special bookshelf and awareness that there is such a thing as a personal historian, then I will be satisfied. There aren’t many of us; six-hundred-fifty members worldwide. But, we are growing. Not everyone is a writer, but everyone has a story to tell. I’m truly excited about this new career. It’s another expression of art and a mode for celebrating and preserving life.

Just Judy, novel, cover design by Lauren Curtis

Just Judy, novel, cover design by Lauren Curtis

Just Judy, Personal Historian (justjudy4@gmail.com)

Just Judy, Keepers of History (keepersofhistory.com)

Nationwide: The Association of Personal Historians (personalhistorians.org)

How your story & archetype effect your brand

So many of us entrepreneurs have trouble with the concept of marketing our “brand“, or what our business portrays to the public,  so I thought it would be helpful to post this fascinating article on the subject by my long time friend and “Renaissance Woman Extraordinaire”, Conny Jasper.
Conny is a writer, marketing Guru, creative person…the list goes on…and here is her article to help you grow your business, whatever it may be. For more information or to contact her, her web link is at the end of the article.
Conny Jasper, August 2014

Conny Jasper, August 2014

Your Brand, Your Story, Your Archetype
Images and stories have always been a part of human culture. They have also been used to convince people to think and act in certain ways. For instance, rulers throughout history have known and employed the power of imagery and storytelling to achieve their goals for their regime. Additionally, the old medicine show gave people a song and a dance before selling their wares.
With the widespread use of media, merchants made use of these avenues with catchy slogans, songs, pictures, and mascots. Every brand symbolizes something. In particular, archetypes are patterns of thought and behavior that influence your presentation and activities. How you identify yourself and your brand are important aspects of marketing and sales.
The following are 12 of the most popular archetypes:
1. Hero –
The hero is a rescuer or winner, the one who commits courageous acts and defies all odds to champion a cause and/or achieve greatness. Every product or service fulfills the hero archetype, because it is your brand that saves the day. When someone has a need, it is your brand that fulfills that niche.
2. Seeker –
The seeker, however, is an archetype that exemplifies a quest for some knowledge or thing that will provide a sense of fulfillment or accomplishment. The quest is not followed for heroic purposes but to gain understanding or improvement. When your brand personifies this archetype, you are providing ongoing assistance in your customer’s pursuit of goals.
3. Guardian –
Preserving and upholding the safety of the group and/or time honored customs is the role of this archetype. The guardian is the protector or caretaker of others or of traditions and values. A brand that characterizes this role exhibits responsibility and duty to the service of caring for others and keeping them safe.
4. Mentor –
The mentor is the teacher or guide who supports and encourages learning and development. This archetype is a leader who embodies experience and knowledge. Your product or service symbolizes the mentor when you offer ongoing solutions that lead the customer to his or her goals.
5. Messenger –
The messenger brings news or offers predictions to others. A brand that demonstrates this archetype delivers information and forecasts. Your product or service provides a way for people to gain useful knowledge, understanding, and/or returns on their investments.
6. Trickster –
Playing games and making jokes are the domains of the trickster. This archetype must be performed well in order to be effective. The use of cunning and wit must be crafted and delivered with finesse. The trickster has many guises including the comedian, the magician, and the game player.
7. Orphan –
The orphan is the abandoned child, the stray dog, the lost soul. This archetype is exposed early to the hazards of life and forced to find independence. The orphan gains strength from adapting and meeting the challenges of hardship. A brand that adopts the symbolism of this pattern gains a powerful advantage in the marketplace, because it appeals to us on many different levels.
8. Magician –
Making things happen in an organized way is the domain of the magician. The magician makes it all look smooth and easy, while behind the scenes, it took blood, sweat, and tears to perfect it. When your brand embodies the magician, it changes a situation and provides some relief, even if it is only momentary.
9. Warrior –
The warrior is an archetype that embodies strength, confidence, and resolve. When your brand expresses these qualities, you have a powerful focus and a great sense of intent. However, this energy needs to be exercised with caution and judgment, because the drive for conquest can overpower the original purpose. A superb warrior chooses his or her battles wisely.
10. Ruler –
Leadership and responsibility are the domains of the ruler. This archetype has a vision and the resources to achieve these aspirations. A brand that personifies this archetype provides guidance and keeps others on track. The ruler provides the expertise, the ability to delegate, and the background to influence others.
11. Healer –
The healer is the caretaker, the one who provides support. A brand that personifies this archetype transforms pain into well-being. Your product or service provides relief from the burden of discomfort or stress and assures your customers that all is well. This is an archetype that gives people hope.
12. Villain –
Every story has a villain, the scoundrel who threatens to foil the plan or who must be stopped from wrong-doing. In marketing, the villain represents the problem that has to be overcome, and your product or service is the solution that conquers the villain. Otherwise, your brand may play the role of the bad boy, the underdog, or the outsider.
 

 

Horror Punk with guest blogger Johnny B. Morbid

It’s not Halloween yet but for those of us in the goth/punk/metal scenes, Halloween is always in season!  Thought I’d bring a little chill to you during these hot, summer days so I invited my latest guest blogger, Johnny B. Morbid, to tell us about his unique, horror punk band…read on if you dare…

JOHNNY B. MORBID

JOHNNY B. MORBID

The NJ-based, horror-themed, metal & punk band Johnny B. Morbid was established in the summer of 2005. They have since supported such acts as The Offspring, Bad Religion, The Misfits, GWAR, Pennywise, The Vandals & many more. They have since released six full length albums independently, all of which are completely written by Johnny aside from some guitar solos and the drum parts. The first five were recorded in a basement and the first three were completely written, recorded and performed by Johnny himself. The first Johnny B. Morbid album ever to be recorded, mixed and mastered professionally was 2013’s “Welcome to Die!” which was made possible by a loyal fan base and a successful Kickstarter campaign. Now approaching their tenth anniversary, Johnny B. Morbid is once again setting out to fund a new album as well as tour van repairs and a music video via Kickstarter! The upcoming album is called “Fall of the Cicada” and will feature ten new tracks plus one bonus track which will only be available on the physical version. Listeners can expect this album to be an audible representation of the final stage of Johnny’s song-writing capabilities which have been evolving steadily since 2005’s “How to Wake the Dead.” This album will smoothly blend elements of punk, power metal, pop punk and death metal while also providing catchy and melodic vocal hooks to leave the listener humming these tunes for days on end. This will only be possible if the Kickstarter is successfully funded by August 23rd, 2014.  If the goal is not reached, then the album will unfortunately not happen because Johnny does everything completely on his own.  He writes all of the songs, does all promotion, books all of the tours and pays for all fuel, tolls, lodging, merchandise, recording, mixing, mastering, pressing and distribution. It is impossible for Johnny to do this all completely alone which is why Kickstarter can be a very useful tool.  For those who are unfamiliar with Kickstarter, it is a fundraising website in which people can financially help support a project they take interest in by selecting different pledge levels rather then just donating. It is a way for people to pre-order the new Johnny B. Morbid album as well as much more such as being able to receive private music lessons via Skype, have Johnny give someone you know a prank call, or be in the Johnny B. Morbid music video just to name a few. Please go check it out for yourself, contribute if you can and share the link so others can see what Johnny has up his sleeve!  http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/24477271/johnny-b-morbid-welcome-to-die

JOHNNY B. MORBID CD

JOHNNY B. MORBID CD

The Art of Nick Rosal

My goal for this art blog is to not only introduce you to and update you on my own artwork but to expose you to other creatives out there so we can all share our work and artistic experiences.  So, for the 2nd time this year, I’d like to share another artist friend’s work and words with you.  I’ve known painter, designer and gallery owner NICK ROSAL for many years…way back to those mystical times known as the 80’s when we both worked for the corporate gallery machine in Woodbridge Center Mall in NJ!  Now we’re both professional artists and we’ve learned from the many art and non art related jobs we have had which, good or bad, lead to our own creative development.  To share his story, here’s what Nick has to say about his career…

MY AD CAMPAINTING

by Nick Rosal

Art is self defined. Artists will define it differently from the audience due to the separate experiences of artists pushing their own creative boundaries and the audiences’ personal experiences and interaction of their own arts culture. Because of this, I believe the definition of art has a life of its own as it gets realized, redefined and debated. But in my definition of art, communicating a concept is paramount. Without that articulation, the painting (or whatever chosen medium) becomes a simple exercise of color and form for me. It was the commercial art field I left that helped me focus on communicating my concepts; to help me communicate with my audience.

My original major at Pratt Institute, Brooklyn was graphic design and advertising. In my third year of art school I started working in a small design agency in NYC and decided, after a year of working in my trade, that I hated it and left. I didn’t even finish art school. At the time, I had found the “creative process suffocating”, the concept of “focusing on your target market” akin to having blinders on and had a problem with art directors (aka authority). I blame it on youth.

Nick Rosal, Get Rid Of Old Friends

Nick Rosal, Get Rid Of Old Friends

However, my learned theories of communicating to the audience through advertising design influenced not only my imagery, but my approach to the audience with a narrative. Not only was I using symbolism in my figure paintings to tell my story, I was starting to use typography, collage and graphic elements in my painting as well. I actually learned something from art school! In my painting titled “Inventory”, (oil on canvas 40″x55″ © 2014) the chrysanthemums were purposely chosen to symbolize the figure’s relationships; even the color of the flowers, drapery and position of the figure are all intentionally placed to subtly communicate the story. In “Get Rid of Old Friends Acquire New Enemies” (mixed media on canvas 20″ x 48″ © 2010) I used newspaper clippings of the U.S. involvement with Afghanistan and juxtaposed them with gaming ads to create commentary on violence in role playing and the real world. Both images are my efforts to communicate my feelings on personal and social issues.

I continued to use imagery to comment on social observations when I had the luxury of owning a gallery space in NYC by inviting artists to address the themes I presented to them. Because MH Art & Framing was primarily custom framing and art services with a large gallery space, I wasn’t forced to find a niche market like other galleries that focused on their specializations. I had the freedom to create a dialogue with my audience again, but not just with my paintings, but with other artists that could successfully articulate the motif of the exhibits. My canvas was now the gallery walls covered with a mosaic of eclectic images from individual artists with their own definitions of art. All of these independent visuals invariably became a point of convergence in the exhibit’s theme.

Nick Rosal, Her Inventory

Nick Rosal, Her Inventory

It’s with the disciplines learned from a parallel profession early in my art career, that I created a dialogue with the viewer. With the benefit of that early experience in advertising, I continued to hone not only my fine art painting techniques, but the ability to share and communicate my observations, beliefs, tales and mythologies to the audience.

You can see the work of Nick Rosal at http://nicholasrosal.com/. The two images are described at length here (http://nicholasrosal.blogspot.com/2010/10/get-rid-of-old-friends-and-acquire-new.html) and here (http://nicholasrosal.blogspot.com/2014/01/inventory.html)

Romance in Poetry & Art

This is the month of romance for many so I thought it’d be the appropriate time to introduce my 1st guest blogger of the year, author, poet, mystickal woman, LAURA STAMPS.  Laura and I have been long time internet friends and have supported each other’s creative endeavors, so I felt who better to guest blog in February as her work is seductive, romantic, erotic, creative and artistic!  She writes magickal poems, erotic novels and much more (see bio below).  So here’s an original poem by Laura accompanied by my artwork that I selected because I believe it illuminates her beautiful words….so enjoy this pre-Valentine treat!

“Actually, She’s The Friend Of A Friend Of My Best Friend” by Laura Stamps ©

“Don’t worry,” he says.  “It’s true.  I’m

older than I look.”  How did he know

I was thinking about that?  I study his

face again, the smiling face of this stranger

I’ve just met.  Maybe I missed something. 

Maybe it’s that odd ruggedness lurking

beneath his youthful features, those sharp

edges softened by playfulness.  They tug

at me.  It’s as if he’s experienced more

hardship than he would ever admit. 

Although maybe he just did, maybe this

age comment is his confession.  Still,

he doesn’t look a day over thirty. 

“You can read my thoughts?” I ask. 

“No,” he says.  “But your eyes are very

expressive.  It makes you easy to read.” 

I snort.  “Hardly,” I say, as I gather up

the cat toys in my display.  It’s after

six o’clock, and the Mayfest Arts and

Crafts Fair is officially closed for the day. 

When it’s done, I’m done.  “Are you

a Witch, too?” I ask, grabbing the plastic

storage tubs hidden beneath my table. 

“No,” he says.  He sets the bag of cat

toys he just purchased from me in an

empty chair.  “But my brother is married

to one.”  I fold the tablecloth and tuck

it into a tub.  “Who is your brother?”

I ask.  “Drayton Manigault,” he says. 

“He married Sara Gadsden last month.” 

He turns the display table on its side to

collapse the legs.  I smile.  I guess he

was serious about helping me pack up

my booth.  “Ah,” I say.  “I heard about

that.  Sara and I have mutual friends.”

(This poem first appeared in the literary journal, “Bactrian Room”)

Goddess of Gratitude & Greenman (c)Lauren Curtis

Goddess of Gratitude & Greenman (c)Lauren Curtis

gratitude2sm

Laura Stamps is Wiccan, Seelie Fey, and a Fey sorceress twirling joyfully on pink wings. Bestselling author of Pagan novels (positive, empowering, many are romantic: Witches, vampires, faeries). 58 books published in 26 years. Her fiction and poetry have appeared in over 1000 literary journals and anthologies worldwide. She is the recipient of many literary awards, including a “Pulitzer Prize” nomination and 7 “Pushcart Prize” nominations. She’s also a runner, vegan, feral cat rescuer, and an avid gardener.  You can find her every day at her Tumblr blog:  http://laurastampserotica.tumblr.com/