Wow, so... this is the second time I'm writing this. The first time I wrote it, I asked how you were doing and then replied, "I'm fine, thanks for asking." as if you were there in the same room with me.
I then went on to tell you all about the things I've been working on, like the newest Kickstarter and things I plan to work on in the near future like the Last Resort series of paintings, possible Qickstarter projects, and new enamel pins.
I even posted progress photos of the largest painting!
So, how are you?
I'm fine, thanks for asking!
What's been going on?
The latest Kickstarter just wrapped up!
The Rememberings project just came to a close and was fully funded thanks to all my lovely backers (that's you guys <3). Now comes my favorite part, the making something special for someone special part!
To be honest, I was pretty worried that I wouldn't be able to get this one produced, since I didn't have the trendy-ness that is enamel pins to rely on. It's always scary when you do something that other people aren't really doing that is also something that people aren't expecting you to do, something that's divergent from what they know as your normal. You never know if anyone else is going to "get it" and I think what most artists are looking for, is that connection between themselves and the viewer/consumer. At least that's what it's all about for me.
So, I've started working on everyone's rewards and it's getting close to time to do the first fire. I'm a bit nervous because surprises can happen in the kiln. Those can be amazing surprises or they can be disastrous. I want to make sure I don't have to re-make anything since it's a time sensitive project, so that means making multiples of everyone's rewards just in case something breaks (explodes) in the kiln, I'll have back-ups.
The gemstones in the video above were purchased as an add-on for one of my backers. He wanted to do something special for he and his wife's 10 year anniversary; I am so honored that he trusted me to make this very special reward. I mention this because in case anyone is interested, I am able to pick up any gems you might want from my vendor on Sundays at the Feria Tristan Narvaja, the oldest and largest open market in South America. He comes from Brazil every Sunday and brings lots of beautiful sparkly things with him. I was able to help Tony choose his perfect stones through the power of Instagram live, which was a lot of fun for me because I love shopping for shiny things.
A little background, the feria was started over 100 years ago by Italian immigrants and has just gotten massive over the years. It now spans the length of every street for a square of about 15 city blocks. They have just about anything you could want to find: antiques from WW1 + WW2 immigrants, books up the wazoo, fruits and veggies, gems and stones, cannabis oils and pot brownies (it's been legal here for years), clothing, instruments, leather, animals for food or pets... friggin' everything. If they don't have it you can easily find someone who can get it to you later. There's also musicians on almost every corner and the drummers that walk up and down the streets playing candombe, the traditional music of Uruguay that was created by the African slaves that were brought to Brazil, Uruguay, and Argentina. It's a magical place. I like to wear my headphones and spend the whole day looking at other people's "junk". The headphones help me to not get completely overwhelmed and claustrophobic. There's so much going on all over the place that it can be hard to focus if you're looking for something specific. It's also incredibly difficult to walk in a lot of places because there are just SO many people, unless you get up super early.
I've also been slowly but surely working on my largest oil painting to date. It started out as just a tiny little sketch, oil on a 6"x4" on fiber board, but then something said I should make it bigger and add more details, and to make my life more complicated than it already it, lol... So it's happening.
The goal is to make about 20 of these paintings (though not all this big) and then organize a show with the Ministry of Cultural affairs here in Montevideo. The paintings are a mix of city sky-scapes and the homeless migrants I see sleeping in the streets literally everywhere here. Yes, I take and use my own reference photos for these painting. The people are real people that I see in the street. They have mostly come from the chaos in Venezuela, but also from Cuba, and Columbia. This is because Uruguay has a lot of social benefits and human rights laws. Everyone here is entitled to free public health care, though there are private health care co-ops. There's also free public education for any permanent resident or citizen. The migration is definitely having an impact on this tiny country and we're about to have elections here, so I'm a bit nervous that the "right" is going to gain some ground and start reversing protections for marginalized people, as has happened in several other countries in recent years.
What's up with the big blue block?
This color blue is the national color of Uruguay, it's called Celeste (sky blue). I use it to balance the visual weight paintings and also as a representation of the country and the hope it gives to the thousands of migrants who are coming here to try to make a better life.
So, I was going to do a burnt orange Pelosi Jacket, but then saw that her team has already done a pin/poster/shirts/stickers and I don't want to be accused of copying someone else's design/idea, so probably won't go through with that one.
My daughter has requested that I do some "litter critter" pins that focus on pollution and the impact it's having on wildlife, which I thought was a good idea and may do if there's interest.
I have also finally sold out of all the Bill Nye and Carl Sagan pins. They were designated as limited editions, they were the very first pins I designed and also were the first Kickstarter that got funded. So I was thinking about adding some new scientists to the collection, again, if there's interest in them, y'all let me know. I'm also open to suggestions as to which scientists to do. Someone mentioned Ada Lovelace, so I thought about doing an all woman collection.
I do have another ceramics based Make 100 Kickstarter already completed, waiting to be launched, but wanted to see if my smaller project would even work. This one is for "tiny houses" in tiny neighborhoods that are grouped together by environmental themes like "Under the Sea", "Arctic", "Rainforrest", etc... some, like the jungle ones and some under the sea ones will double as planters, while the idea for desert ones would be to double as candle holders, and things like that.
Here's a picture of one that I've started:
When finished, the idea is to have gold and crystals where the barnacles are.
I'll continue to work on the paintings and will post progress photos as I actually make progress, haha...
I'll also be back in the US in May to pick up my daughter for the Summer and to ship out those rewards.
That's about it for now, I suppose. As always, my inbox is open in case anyone needs/wants to chat about anything.