Wednesday, December 22, 2010

The Ramos Family

The Ramos Family
So we recently bought a fixer home.  The remodel seemed like a dauntless task but with a good recommendation from a friend we found the BEST contractor ever!  If you're in Seattle and you have a home project, I HIGHLY recommend Ramos Construction. I'll link to his website once it's up. 
I was talking with Jeff last week and he said he went to my website/blog and loved my work.  He wanted a set of family portrait crayons.  I was so excited and honored he liked my work that much.  This is a set of Jeff, his wife (and future baby ^_^) and Thomas the dog.

The Wife
The Wife:
I wanted to make a bigger belly... it was hard given the limitations of the crayon.  I really like how her curly hair turned out.

Thomas the Dog
Thomas the Dog:
He's a black lab.  I chose grey because the details show better on grey then black.  I also added a collar and tag detail after taking this pic. 

Jeff the Builder
Jeff the Builder:
I like to think this is what Santa Claus would have looked like when he was younger.  Jeff rocks the beard.  I added pupils to his eyes after taking this pic. 

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Neo Kitsch at ArtsWest

I'll have a selection of carvings in the Neo Kitsch show at ArtsWest in Seattle.  I'll be at the opening on Dec 9th.  It should be a fun show, please come if you're in town.  I believe Charles Krafft will be there as well... I've never met him in person, but I'm a BIG FAN of his work!

ArtsWest NeoKitsch
Neo Kitsch
December 5th-24th
Artists reception Dec. 9th, 6 – 7:30pm

ArtsWest Playhouse and Gallery
4711 California Ave SW
Seattle, WA 98116

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Making Money

World Currency for Riemer
I was recently commissioned to carve 10 crayons with 10 different world currency symbols on them. This was my first time working with text.  I was nervous about my lines and angles being off.  I mostly work with very organic shapes.

From left to right:
US Cent in Copper.  I chose this color for the ubiquitous penny.  The cent symbol sits atop a pillar of coins.
Mexican Peso in Scarlet.  Mexico's national colors are red, white and green.  The $Peso symbol also sits on one of The Pillars of Hercules.  It's theorized that the "$" came from the Spanish coat of arms where a ribbon wraps around the pillars.
Indian Rupee in Yellow-Orange.  This is the color of marigolds and saffron dyes.  Whenever I think of India I think of rich, vibrant colors.
Chinese Yuan in Dandelion.  Yellow was China's imperial color and is still associated with wealth and status today.  I used the Chinese word for Yuan instead of the Yuan symbol.  Since both Yen and Yuan uses the same symbol I wanted to differentiate them
Brazilian Real (Reais) in Green-Yellow.  Brazil's national colors are green and which symbolizes the country's lush forests and the country's wealth in gold.  This was the perfect combo of both colors!
US Dollar in Fern.  I chose this for the namesake of our beloved Greenback.
British Pound Sterling in Sky Blue.  Blue is one of 3 national colors in the UK.  I also think of the monarchy when I think of the UK.  Hence royals and blue bloods.  Royal Blue was too dark so I used Sky Blue.
The Euro in Orchid.  This was the hardest color to choose because the EU represents so many countries.  Tyrian purple was the color of wealth and royalty in early Western Civilization.  Modern day Europe comes from those ancient empires so I chose purple.
Japanese Yen in Carnation Pink.  Japan has many symbols, but perhaps one of the most popular one is the Sakura flower.  I chose pink to reflect the many hues of the cherry blossom.
Russian Ruble in White.  Russian Winters are well known around the world!  I think of the snow and blinding whiteouts.  Such harsh weather makes tough people.  The Russian Ruble doesn't have an official symbol yet, so I just used the most popular one.
Although I had a rainbow color scheme planned I also wanted each nation's (EU) color to reflect it's identity. 

A closer look at the Yuan vs. Yen

Peso Dollar Reais
Peso vs. Dollar
There's a bit of a controversy on who had the $ symbol first.   Here are some of the many theories.  I'm going with the Pillars of Hercules theory and that we adopted it afterward.

One last look :)
Thank you Davis and Louise!  I hope you enjoy the new addition to your collection.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

New House!

It's official, we have a new house!  Well... not so new, but you get my drift.  There's a lot to do before we can move in, this will be the first time we work with contractors.  We've mostly done improvements and repairs ourselves, but this project is well above our heads.

Scary Bathroom
Oh yes... There's LOTS to do! You can count on me for a blow by blow of the remodel.

Back yard
We also have a huge backyard! This will be the site of my future studio :) We had put a bid in on this other home, but the bank pulled the listing after we made our offer.  They decided to auction the home instead.  It was a scummy deal and we felt uneasy doing business with them.  It has been HELL dealing with the banks & escrow company.  It seems like there are no rules to the game and the banks make it up as they go. They do whatever they want and there are no other way around it. You have to just jump through their hoops and suck it up. Hopefully this will be the last time we have to do this.  No more moving around for us.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Eggs From Mum

My mother will still occasionally bring food by the house.  She wants to make sure I'm well fed.  This time we got some fresh eggs from her hen house and a huge bag of winter chard... some Vietnamese ham, Banh-mi sandwiches and some roasted pork.  I think I'm good for the winter thanks mom!

I LOVE fresh eggs.  We used to raise chickens for eggs when I was little and mom has recently taken up the hobby again.  The yolks are an amazing orange color, not like the pale yellow ones from store bought eggs.  The taste is also much richer... you can definitely tell the difference when making things like Hollandaise sauce
They are fun to keep and not too much work.  The only downside is the smell and noise... and having to decided what to do with them when they stop producing or fall ill.  You can grow very attached.  My grandfather ran a farm and my grandmother/mother have done a lot of slaughtering.  If I had the choice I would much rather kill my own food.  All of the "family's" slaughters have been done very respectfully and quickly.  My grandfather would say a "thank you/prayer" to each animal before it was killed.  The focus was to do it as cleanly and quickly as possible and no other animals were ever present.
I'm a meat eater and struggle with the idea.  I know what "meat production" is like in the US and how animals are kept and how they're killed.  We mostly eat chickens and when we buy meat we try to stay to the free range, organic, yada yada...  It's not an issue of "it's wrong to eat animals" with me, but I do have a problem with how they're treated.  We go through phases of not eating meat, but I'm a bacon ADDICT and have HUGE MEAT CRAVINGS!  Imagine a starved out vampire next to a juicy neck. LOL
Well thanks for the eggs mom!  I'm hoping to have enough yard space to have our own chicken coop one day.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

For Ryono

A recent commission for the Ryono family.  It's a surprise gift for Colin Ryono, who recently finished his first graphic novel.  I hope he's not reading this... if so SURPRISE! 

Ryono w/ Drawing
Amy in the Spring of 1990
The figure is based on his main character from the book.  Good luck with everything Colin & Mark!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

For Caren

For Caren
A recently finished crayon for Caren, it's her son playing his guitar. I had a hard time with the guitar and had to make it wrap around his body.  I hope he like it & thanks for the commission Caren :)

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Getting Back To Business

Tasty colors!
I'm getting back to work.  There are some very cool commissions coming up.  This will be a set of 10 crayons based on 10 different world currencies.

Some upcoming commissions
Some plates for a set of embroidery pieces.  I love this design, it's Poppytrial by Metlok, made in good ol' Cali-forn-nee-ay.

Thank you for being patient guys!!! 

Monday, November 8, 2010

6 Leafed Clover!

6 Leafed Clover!
Saw this while I was walking Guy yesterday.  It stuck out like a sore thumb.  I thought it was 2 clover stems twisted together but as I got closer I realized it was one mutant clover.  It was the first time I saw more than 4 leaves on a single stem.  Very cool.

6 Leafed Clover!
There are 4 main leaves and 2 smaller leaf-lets that stick straight out of the middle.  It just happened to be next to where Guy did his business. 

A nice underside shot of how the leaves come together.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Indie Craft by Jo Waterhouse

Indie Craft by Jo Waterhouse
I came home from some work travel and found this lovely book in the mail!  Indie Craft features artists, designers and crafters who bring a contemporary eye to traditional techniques.  Many of them are redefining the art of craft and I'm honored to be featured among them.  A big thanks to Jo Waterhouse, Faythe Levine and everyone at Laurence King Publishing!

The cover art is by Jenny Hart, my favorite embroiderer :)

Another book!
A few of my pages.

Congrats TaDa!
Congrats TaDa!!!  If you've not seen Tada's Revolution you're missing out!  It's always good for a Awww, Eeee, Oooo or just a plane old chuckle.

Shauna Richardson
Shauna Richardson
Unbelievably beautiful and the execution is spot on!

Erin Dollar
Erin Dollar
I met Erin last year at Urban Craft Uprising in Seattle.  It was the first time I saw her whimsical beards.  Want your own beard?  Check out her shop on Etsy.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Chau Plastic Surgery New Office

My uncle asked me to help him with some interior design work for his new office, Chau Plastic Surgery.  He's an amazing plastic surgeon in Berkley, MI (near Detroit).  I'm quite in awe of what he's gone through and his accomplishments.  At the age of 16, during the Fall of Saigon, he boarded a helicopter at the US Embassy in Vietnam to flee the country.  He was alone and perhaps did the hardest thing anyone had to do at any age.  When he arrived in the US he faced many years of discrimination and racism.  He washed dishes to pay his way through college.  He eventually ended up in medical school and became a surgeon.  He's never forgotten where he comes from, although at times I feel he's haunted by his past.  Success is a hard thing to grasp, he still peers over the fence to see how green the grass is on the other side.  If he reads this I'd like him to know he's standing on a lush meadow of green, there's no better place than the one you've built for yourself.  We're all very proud of him.
More about Dr. Bruce Chau

Back Wall w/ Lights
I picked the color palate and did a concept sketch for him.  I wasn't involved in any of the construction process.  He had the help of many friends and staff members.  Thank you guys, I'm sure you held it together for him.  

Chau Plastic Surgery
They wanted a calming and welcoming feel.  When I left everyone was very happy with this new space.  It was great to meet you all: Ashley, Maria, Amy and Allison(?)... also Dr. Barak!  Good luck with everything.

Waiting Room
Another shot of the room. 

Tree Mural
I painted a tree mural in the center of the room.  There was a column that juts out and we wanted to make it more of a feature and less of an intrusion.

Tree Mural
Close up of tree mural.

This is the space before any construction.
Concept Sketch
After/Concept Sketch:
There's more furniture in the room... but I thought I did a good job of outlining the design elements.  They still need to frost a huge wall of windows.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Juxtapoz Handmade

Juxtapoz: Handmade
I just got this lovely book in the mail!  Juxtapose Handmade is published by Ginko Press and features artwork from 24 artist who's work crosses the boundary between craft, design and contemporary art.  I'm honored to be among so many great names.  This is a beautiful book, definitely worth looking through.  Go check it out at your local bookstore!  Retails for $29.95, hardback, 208 pages, full color.

My pages
My pages
I'm blown away at the quality in this book, both printing/binding and the artwork inside!  Each artist has a good set of images and a short bio.  Thank you for including me in this project Saelee, Ana and everyone at Ginko & Juxtapoz!

Ana Serrano
Ana Serranao

Frank Kozik
A. J. Fosik

Orly Cogan

Gregory Euclide

Saelee Oh
Saelee Oh

There are so many good artists in this book I can't blog it all!  Seriously folks. 
A. J. Fosik
Ann Wood
Ana Serranao
Brendan Monroe
Caroline Hwang
Christl Hansman
Christopher Bettig
Clare Crespo
Cody Husdson
Connie Wong
Diem Chau
Gregory Euclide
Jennifer Muskopf
Jenny Ryan
Jim Houser
Megan Whitmarsh
Nicole Gastonguay
Orly Cogan
Peter Callesen
Saelee Oh
Sara Escamilla
Sarah Neuburger
Souther Salazar
Stephanie Anderson

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

New Studio?

We might be moving to a new house.  There's a 20'x20' garage in the back (pictured above) that we will convert into a studio if we get the house.  This is a BIG DEAL for me and I feel it will be world changing for my work as well.  Fingers crossed and of course I'll give you guys the blow by blow during the construction/remodeling process.
I'd like to thank a very special friend for helping us make this happen.  Without you this would not be possible! THANK YOU!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Double Rainbow All The Way!

double cloversWell, not exactly double rainbows, but I found two 4-leaf clovers.  No... I didn't go into hysteria I was just REALLY HAPPY!  Funny how such a small thing can make your day brighter.  I'm not a superstitious person... but we could really use the luck right now.  Do you hear that universe?!

May I Haz Luck?
To be honest finding this clover was a cheat.  I was looking for it and it was near where I found my last 4-leaf clover.  I picked this one and left the other one for someone else to find.

Flaming Trees
It's a beautiful fall day in Seattle.  The weather is just how I like it, cool and overcast.  These are my favorite row of trees by my house.  I'd love to walk through a whole forest of them or just lay among them and look up.

Fall Colors
My beater shoes with fall leaves.  I bought these about 5 or 6 years ago at Payless (El'Cheap-O store) and they've been the most comfortable pair of shoes ever!  I wear them almost everyday and they've outlasted 2 pairs of Camper shoes. 

A summery of the day's walk... 4-leaf clover, fall leaves and a black walnut that fell next to me from a giant tree.