Kiersten Essenpreis: I’m a freelance illustrator and gallery artist living/working in Brooklyn NY. I do work for various magazines, newspapers, and books as well as paintings for gallery shows around the world.
I decided to open my Etsy shop as an accessible alternative to the gallery scene.. a way to offer small, fun, and affordable pieces that anyone can own.
Shauna Thomas: I studied surface design at Bloomsburg University. In 2006 I attended a Surface Design Conference in Kansas City with my professor, which is when I truly realized my love for the medium. I began working on wearable art with the intent of just making beautiful fabrics. All of my fabrics are designed by hand. April 2007 I won Best In Show at a local wearable art extravaganza. I now work from home, where I live with my husband and our beautiful son.
That’s right, artist Greg Stones can make poop into a funny subject matter in his sharp landscape paintings.
Maybe it is because a penguin is pooping? Wouldn’t you have the same reaction if a huge reptilian monster was coming after you from behind the hedges? I think so. This little penguin thought he was just off for a romp in the woods, maybe coming upon a lake to catch some fish for dinner. Then the big green monster appears. What do you think happens next?
It seems we never know what to expect with Greg. He is able to create these quite serious looking landscapes. Ones where you expect to witness some stunning feat of nature. But isn’t bigfoot one of those stunning feats? This scene reminds me of King Kong where the damsel in distress is always trying to flee the man who loves her. Isn’t it sweet that the sheep escapes by a little red balloon. This scene is quite a fairy tale. Or do you see a tale of human loss? A child running for the red balloon he let slip away. The artist may have a sense of humor, but he gets us thinking about the story he is trying to tell.
Stones has a great formula here. He describes his process as: “I start with a basic landscape or figure-study sketched in pencil. Then I add a light wash of watercolor. And then I try to think what would make the painting especially awesome. In most cases, this means creating a frozen, transient moment where either something has just happened, or something is about to happen. A few hours and many layers of paint later, a new piece is ready to be framed and sent out into the world like a bat out of hell. (I don’t know what that means, exactly, but it sounds cool.)” I am grateful Greg started to add some humor to our lives. ‘Zombies Hate Clowns’ has become a classic in our little state, my husband has this one hanging in his office. We need smiles brought to our mundane work days.
I thought the flashers were my favorite series, until I saw the new work posted on Greg’s site. Now I am in love with the sock monkeys. Who do you think wins, the sock monkey or the reaper? My money is on the sock monkey. They seem like survivors to me.
I am glad Greg Stones found his voice in his paintings. As most educated artists stumble trying to make something they love and something that sells, Greg did the same: “When I first started out, I painted lonely self-portraits, landscapes, and animals. I was strictly a nostalgic and technical artist. Not to mention an isolated artist who rarely did anything more exciting than watch cartoons and nap. And possibly eat pasta.
At some point along the way, I remembered that I had wanted to be a cartoonist when I was in college, and I started tossing a little humor into the paintings. Flying people? Hungry sharks? Nude blue alien women getting picked up by UFOs? You bet. And for reasons that I cannot explain, meeting the stunning woman who would become my wife somehow led to the addition of penguins, robots, zombies, flashers, and poop. In fact, these elements have become such a dominant part of my work that people are actually shocked and horrified when I resort to my old ways and create a landscape where no pooping penguins are killed by topless robotic zombies. It’s pretty cool.” I would like to thank Greg for imposing his sense of humor on us. We all need to remember to be less serious and have some fun.
For more prints, paintings, books and notecards visit Greg Stones’ site. Try not to laugh too hard.
Last week I wrote about how much I love winter and how excited I was about the coming season. Well, scratch that. As you may have seen, the UK has been hit by snow this week, which may not seem like a big deal, but as we’re always completely unprepared for bad weather, it has of course sent the country into turmoil. I’m trying to maintain my enthusiasm for winter though, so this week’s column is dedicated to the beautiful, unexpected and disruptive phenomenon that is snow.
It started while I was at work at my day job. Most people wouldn’t have noticed the flakes as there was about a mile between each one, but I have a spidey-sense about snow. It was pretty exciting, particularly as it’s quite unusual for us to get snow in November. My excitement was short-lived however, as not only did the snow not settle, but it stopped altogether.
Over the next few days, I watched enviously as the news reported huge snowstorms everywhere in the UK except for my region. So, imagine my delight when I opened the curtains one morning to see a white blanket covering the street! I immediately wrapped up to walk to work, hiking socks, boots and all and gleefully, if awkwardly, made my way to work.
The snow-related exhilaration lasted about two days. That’s just long enough to nearly fall about 70 times, stand in the freezing cold sweeping a foot of the stuff off my car, try to clear the windscreen while driving only for the liquid to freeze solid, and spend the night shivering because the winter duvet is at the dry cleaners.
Like I mentioned, the UK was totally unprepared for the snow, just like earlier this year when the same thing happened. The disruption has been bad, though I’m sure that people living in places where snow is more frequent are laughing at us right now! We do like a good drama in the UK and the snow sure has delivered.
Over the weekend, the snow has melted into grubby slush, which is not quite as appealing as its beautiful predecessor. I’m not sure whether it’s due to snow again or not, but to be honest I could do with a bit of a break! Still, I’ve got my fingers crossed for a white Christmas…and this year I think it might just happen.
I’m a total sucker for cute and kitschy accessories and Cute Creations certainly fits the bill. Kate, the woman behind Cute Creations, is a graphic designer from the south coast of England and creates acrylic jewelry and accessories that she sells online and through local craft fairs.
Kate has been into arts and crafts since school, where art was her favorite subject. She’s been creating since she was a child, making anything and everything from Christmas decorations to papyrus paper for a school project on the Egyptians! As an adult, Kate became fascinated with “cute” things and started by experimenting with charms made from clay and acrylic paints. These turned out so well that in February 2007, after some detailed research, she decided to sell online via Etsy.
Kate squeezes crafting into her life, quite literally! She is currently living with her boyfriend and her family and has only a small desk to work on. However, she doesn’t let this stop her and finds working in front of the TV or while listening to music relaxing. Kate also crafts part-time and fits it around her full-time job as a graphic designer. Like many designer-makers, at the moment it doesn’t make financial sense for her to craft full-time.
Like me, Kate’s least favorite part of the crafting process is getting the products ready to put up for sale online. I find it so difficult to get good photos and always, always need to do extensive Photoshopping! I’m trying to take comfort in Kate’s view that all the hard work is definitely worth it. Also like me, Kate loves getting customer feedback, especially with repeat business.
Kate’s inspiration for Cute Creations comes from Japanese characters, like those created by Sanrio and San-X. Already enjoying success in accessories, Kate is also planning on branching out into other areas such as plushies and homewares, eventually aiming to craft full-time. I don’t know about you but I’m brimming over with Christmas present ideas!