Tag Archives: Wizard World Madison

Summer Ends

20. Touched with Fire – Kay Redfield Jamison
The title comes from a line in the Stephen Spender poem “I Think Continually of Those Who Were Truly Great.” The subtitle of this book is “Manic Depressive Illness and the Artistic Temperament.” After finishing this book, I know two things: 1. I am not manic depressive. I have never been manic in the manner described in Touched with Fire; although perhaps in retrospect it will seem like I was when I finished so many creative things this year. And I haven’t even put all of them up in my store . 2. I relate more to Henry James than I like. I hated reading Washington Square, now I begrudgingly respect it. Actually, I still have that “ugh” feeling in my gut thinking about reading it, so it may mostly be a product of whatever mental state I was in at the time.

One of my favorite aspects of Touched with Fire is the list of artists, composers, and writers who were either manic depressive, had probable cyclothomia, or had major depression. It’s marked with who was hospitalized, who made a suicide attempt, and who committed suicide and it was super interesting seeing who did what. Like extremely late to the party gossip.

There was also a section of shorter biographical pieces dealing with the family histories of “madness” of famous artists and writers called “Genealogies of these high mortal miseries” after a phrase by Herman Melville that I truly love and that was the section that resonated with me the most. Writing and art are both solitary pursuits and when you consistently wonder if anyone is ever going to connect with your work or why you should care or if you should really be doing this work when you’re not that stable financially and it’s not really helping with that and you know that it’s all you’d like to pursue regardless but you can’t put aside everything you care about aesthetically just because people tell you should if you want to make money… well, that whole section just provided a lot of material for me to relate to. There are a lot of differences between the time period when Herman Melville was writing and now, but, those differences are easily bridged by the mental anguish a large swath of artists and writers feel on a regular basis.

Personally, I remain true to my artistic vision regardless of what anyone tells me; which doesn’t mean that I don’t listen to criticism. I just look for relevance in the criticism. Sometimes you’re doing something people don’t get, and the main thing to consider in that case is whether or not what you’re aiming for people to “get” is coming through. If it’s not, there’s work to do. If it is and they don’t like it, that’s a different story altogether. You’ll have to beat them to death with their own shoes. Or not. To be fair, I know that many people are not ready for guinea pig domination or ladies being clever in realms where men are used to being the only clever ones. I would like things to be different and therefore I create. And I had a shitload of catching up to do after my on and off dealings with depression over the past thirteen yearsish. I proved to myself that even if I’m very stressed and very depressed I can write and paint and when I can focus, I can write and paint A LOT. I did drop one giant amount of baggage between last year and this year, which enabled me to focus on myself and what I want and apparently that was to finish manuscripts, print, paint and paint and paint, print some more, and actually execute some of the ideas I’ve had for so long while still working full time in a job that can be really stressful in so…many…ways. And I can’t say that me doing all of this has been met entirely positively. Some people really want you to stay in the place they expect you to be. But it’s not up to them and I have also received a lot of very encouraging sentiments too and I do want to specifically thank everyone who came out to see me at the Wizard Worlds I participated in this year, it made it clear to me that my work is unique, and, Cute, – and a special additional public thank you to those that facilitated me actually being able to participate. Overall, my experience reading Touched with Fire worked like a door through the darkness I get overwhelmed by sometimes and reminded me that I’m not the only one like this, even if I’m on the major depression side and not the manic side. To borrow a phrase from Mr. Presley, I’m a bit more “Filled with fire” now than anything else – no touching-; although that fire has turned to a smoky haze quite often in the past. No phoenix metaphors, it was there the whole time.

I also have muse-pigs to honor and I'll never let them down. Danger Crumples, perpetual muse-pig, stepping on all my journals, would personally thank everyone who purchased images of him and expressed how adorable he is, if he was available.

I also have muse-pigs to honor and I’ll never let them down. Danger Crumples, perpetual muse-pig, stepping on all my journals, would personally thank everyone who purchased images of him and expressed how adorable he is, if he was available.

 

My little unexpected muse-pig Peregrine and the start of my Pigoween painting. She (and Merricat, their relationship was very Duke of New York-Snake Plissken) was very much the inspiration for my John Carpenter's Guinea Pigs series of paintings.

My little unexpected muse-pig Peregrine and the start of my Pigoween painting. She (and Merricat, their relationship was very Duke of New York-Snake Plissken) was very much the inspiration for my John Carpenter’s Guinea Pigs series of paintings.

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I’ve finished 47 paintings, 8 silkscreens, put out 1 e-book, and carved out my own little corner of an online store so far this year. Last year I did a little less. A little.

Seventeen of the eighteen "blind paintings" I finished. All of these will be available for an adorably low price at Wizard World Chicago, but they will also be wrapped up so no one knows which painting they're getting. Drawing and painting eight animal and bird skulls in one weekend is not something I advise anyone to do, regardless of how much they used to like painting skulls.

Seventeen of the eighteen “blind paintings” I finished. All of these will be available for an adorably low price at Wizard World Chicago, but they will also be wrapped up so no one knows which painting they’re getting. Drawing and painting eight animal and bird skulls in one weekend is not something I advise anyone to do, regardless of how much they used to like painting skulls.

 

All the printing for Chicago! I do think my Army of Dangers tea towel is my favorite of the five images I've printed on tea towels this year.

All the printing for Chicago! I do think my Army of Dangers tea towel is my favorite of the five images I’ve printed on tea towels this year.

 

Postcard swag.

Postcard swag. After the reception my images received at Wizard World Madison, I wanted to make it more possible to take home my aesthetic and I’m pretty fond of postcards.

Some of the images on these are no longer available in any handmade format… all three Danger Crumples takes over for Christopher Pike paintings went to a good home. And the one of Danger with the white starburst behind him was solely a commission. But! Fear not, anyone who picked up my cute little Merricat with the Zebras record, turned it over looking for a price, and then had to ask me only to recoil in slight shock (I like that one too), I had both postcards made AND posters. The poster is bigger than the painting, but still looks sassy thanks to my friend Rebecca’s skills.  Enjoy McWikken, Army of Dangers, Danger Dixon (not pictured, previously posted), and both Danger Who paintings (“) are also now available in full color posters – I didn’t get very many made, and of course, they are only purchasable in person from my booth at Wizard World Chicago August 18-19-20-21.

AND, to keep going yet longer, I also made several of my images available to be purchased on a variety of things via Redbubble . A link to my profile page is at the bottom of my blog, also on my About page, and I’ll have a more thorough post coming about my store in a few days so I can showcase all the products I think are particularly amusing. Here is a teaser photo –

The real reason I chose to put stuff up for sale besides being asked quite few times if I sold online (I sell handmade things in person, non-handmade online), I can now get Merricat on a throw pillow. And Horace. And Pere. And I can get a guinea pig skull duvet cover. It's ridiculous.

The real reason I chose to put stuff up for sale on Redbubble besides being asked quite a few times if I sold online (I sell handmade things in person, non-handmade online), I can now get Merricat on a throw pillow. And Horace. And Pere. All the throw pillows! And I can get a guinea pig skull duvet cover, or Finny as the antichrist on a duvet cover, or the golden Danger Crumples (not pictured). It’s ridiculous. I could have the weirdest couch decor ever. So could you, gentle reader. So could you.

 

47 Paintings, 8 Silkscreens, 1 Link – Wizard World Chicago profile

For those who cannot come to Chicago and wish to work on the amount of guinea pigs visually available in their home – my Redbubble profile

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Did I ever tell you my favorite color was blue?

In the Mouth of Madness is one John Carpenter movie I won’t guinea pig-ify- because it is just too close to home sometimes. As a writer, who has written while watching In the Mouth of Madness, and who writes horror things that could be considered ridiculous under certain circumstances, and who decided that it would be a good idea to finish her Squirrelpocalypse Trilogy before Wizard World Madison started, I can relate to the “Did I ever tell you my favorite color was blue?” scene from both Sam Neill and Jurgen Prochnow’s perspectives. When I finished Night of the Squirrels, I yelled the same way Sam Neill does. And I wanted some Cheetos, if you read it, you’ll be able to tell that I wanted some Cheetos.  I did not have any Cheetos and it was late enough at night that I decided not to go out for some. Such a dilemma.

Anyway, Night of the Squirrels is up and ready for purchasing via the usual ebook retailers, I’m waiting for distribution to finish to a few retailers, and it’s currently easiest to find via my Amazon Author Page (Who knew that title would be so hard to search for? Me. I am a librarian, so I know some searching, but, still, that’s why I also decided to use “Squirrelpocalypse” repeatedly and I should have used it when I printed the first cover…damn the permanence of printmaking!)

It's all three covers together at last!

It’s all three covers together at last! So squirrely.

 

Of course, I’ve also done some paintings and prints related to my series (I have a few sets of all three book covers, several of the Day of the Robots cover, and several of the Night of the Squirrels cover – all in multiple colors) for Wizard World, today is the last day, so…  Merchandising, where the real money from the novel is made!

 

 

I've always been inspired by the WPA posters. Not only because if I was alive during that time period, I would have been angling for a printing job, I'm also just super fond of the typography. This one recreates a scene from Night of the Squirrels. The travel poster, McWikken style.

I’ve always been inspired by the WPA posters. Not only because if I was alive during that time period, I would have been angling for a printing job, I’m also just super fond of the typography. This one recreates a scene from Night of the Squirrels. The travel poster, McWikken style.

 

Another WPA inspired one (oh, and although I am a printmaker, both of my WPA inspired works are paintings), this time in honor of Babette and Louis. Shiny purple!

Another WPA inspired one (oh, and although I am a printmaker, both of my WPA inspired works are paintings), this time in honor of Babette and Louis. Shiny purple!

 

They call her Regan Brite. This one is a silkscreen also available in glow in the dark green. This print was so involved that I barely came away with any to sell - and so I made some postcards of this version. A few.

They call her Regan Brite. This one is a silkscreen also available in glow in the dark green. This print was so involved that I barely came away with any to sell – and so I made some postcards of this version. A few.

 

Will you endure the placement of this link with me, one last time? my profile on the Wizard World site

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Filed under Books, Dawn of the Interns, Day of the Robots, Night of the Squirrels, Writing

In which Peregrine becomes a bad babysitter.

Today is the first day of Wizard World Madison ( my profile on the Wizard World site ). There are only two days left to see my half-smiling face behind a table, unless I’m not there because I escaped to track down the Phantasm t-shirt I regretted not buying last year or I’m jumping through a wall of Funko Pop boxes like the Kool-Aid Man out of sheer joy.

Last, but certainly not least, in my “John Carpenter’s Guinea Pigs” series is Pigoween (Halloween, such a difference a “pig” makes). This one has my favorite title card painting and features my Wisconsin-pig ladies Merricat, Ozma, and Peregrine – and Peregrine’s comically-sized phone. Also Michael Myers. Stalking babysitters has never been so cute.

The Pigoween title card. Lady pigs Merricat, Ozma, and Peregrine walkin' down some foliage-lined street.

The Pigoween title card. Lady pigs Merricat, Ozma, and Peregrine walkin’ down some foliage-lined street.

 

Merricat, suddenly cardigan-less, being stared at by Michael Myers.

Merricat, suddenly cardigan-less, being stared at by Michael Myers.

 

Peregrine is On. The. Phone.

Peregrine is On. The. Phone.

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Consider the Dangers.

My little man.

My little man.

Danger Crumples was the most important guinea pig I’ll ever have. I love all my pigs, they’re all so completely special to me, but Danger Crumples always stood out. He was very clearly the star.  As far as I’m concerned, he always will be. There’s no denying his charisma- I can’t think of anyone who saw him in person that didn’t want to pet him or didn’t try to get his attention. He’s pretty unforgettable.

On January 22nd, he passed away after a relatively swift decline. I stayed with him the entire time, making sure my best friend and the most consistently inspiring of all my muses knew how important and loved he was and still is. I also had him cremated so that he has to come with me wherever I move for the rest of time. He’d already lived in three states with me and taken every transition remarkably well, so, now he’s stuck in his bamboo box with a fly nameplate.

I was working on drawings of him for paintings and prints to bring to Wizard World Madison when he passed. As usual, he took some major roles – the tenth Doctor, the eleventh Doctor, the captain of the Elizabeth Dane-ger in Pigs in the Fog, an infected expedition member in The Pig – so he’s The Pig aka The Thing, anyway, YA author Christopher Pike, 1990s YA book cover model for said Christopher Pike takeover, and a little bit of the role of his not-real twin spirit- Hello Kitty. It’s very hard for me to draw and paint my pigs after they pass, so I left the painting of the Dangers until practically the last minute of my painting “schedule” and ended up painting seven Dangers at once. That was hard.

The seven Dangers.

The seven Dangers.

 

The Danger Who original paintings and Hello Danger.

The Danger Who original paintings and Hello Danger.

 

The Christopher Pike-Danger Crumples takeover. Danger Crumples Is Pigture Perfect.

The Christopher Pike-Danger Crumples takeover. Danger Crumples Is Pigture Perfect.

 

Being both the author and cover star made it seem appropriate to make the titles a bit more literal - Danger Crumples...In a Car with a Skeleton.

Being both the author and cover star made it seem appropriate to make the titles a bit more literal – Danger Crumples…In a Car with a Skeleton.

 

The biggest one - where Danger Crumples is joined by friends Ozymandias and Horace - Pigs in a Graveyard

The biggest one – where Danger Crumples is joined by friends Ozymandias and Horace – Pigs in a Graveyard.

 

( my profile on the Wizard World site )

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Gotta have you on my wall, ’cause-

I love skulls. And bones. At one point I was tempted to call this blog Guinea Pigs, Books, and Skulls because those are the three things that I’m interested in artistically, but at that point I didn’t think I was going to feature my paintings on this blog- Ha.

The four paintings below are going to be available for sale at Wizard World Madison April 8-9-10 ( my profile on the Wizard World site ).

The star painting, I also have prints of my Bye Bye, Li'l Sebastian design.

The star painting of the most important mini-horse skull. I also have prints of my Bye Bye, Li’l Sebastian design.

 

My signature piece, Guinea Pigs are for Life. Now one person can also have a guinea pig skull painting (I kept the first one I did) and about six people can have guinea pig skull prints. Sometimes I don't have very many available because printing is not always a sure thing when you do it all by hand.

My signature image, Guinea Pigs are for Life. Now one person can also have a guinea pig skull painting (I kept the first one I did) and about six people can have guinea pig skull prints – sometimes I don’t have very many available because printing is not always a sure thing when you do it all by hand.

 

This is what a Columbian Ground Squirrel's skull looks like...when I paint it.

This is what a Columbian Ground Squirrel’s skull looks like…when I paint it.

 

The skull of the other mammal I'm regularly associated with, the squirrel. I made its teeth less scary in this painting than the teeth featured in Night of the Squirrels.

The skull of the other mammal I’m regularly associated with, the squirrel. I made its teeth less scary in this painting than the teeth featured in Night of the Squirrels.

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Filed under Dawn of the Interns, Day of the Robots, Night of the Squirrels

Are guinea pig parody paintings better than movie remakes?

My answer would be: probably. I would certainly enjoy a remake of The Fog starring guinea pigs, which is why I made The Fog the second target of my “John Carpenter’s Guinea Pigs” series of paintings, available at Wizard World Madison April 8-9-10 ( my profile on the Wizard World site ).

Once nice thing about Carpenter's often short titles - they really leave themselves open for guinea pig parody. Also, Danger Crumples would have been an excellent pirate captain.

Once nice thing about Carpenter’s often short titles – they really leave themselves open for guinea pig parody. Also, Danger Crumples would have been an excellent pirate captain.

 

Horace and Ozma face a leper pirate inside their awkwardly spaced truck.

Horace and Ozma face a leper pirate inside their awkwardly spaced truck.

 

When I chose Merricat to replace Adrienne Barbeau's DJ character Stevie Wayne, I knew that she wasn't going to be playing jazz records in between warnings about the fog... She's got Zebras' The City of Sun, one of my favorite records from last year by the best band from(ish) Madison in my favorite of all my John Carpenter's Guinea Pigs paintings. Not priced to move.

When I chose Merricat to replace Adrienne Barbeau’s DJ character Stevie Wayne, I knew that she wasn’t going to be playing jazz records in between warnings about the fog… She’s got Zebras’ The City of Sun, one of my favorite records from last year by the best band from(ish) Madison in my favorite of all my John Carpenter’s Guinea Pigs paintings. Not priced to move.

 

Despite the obvious futility, I always try to photograph the pigs featured in my paintings next to the paintings (unfortunately, neither Merricat nor Danger Crumples were available by the time I finished these). Horace and Ozma are not interested in my work. Of course they aren't. They don't even know I menaced them with leper pirates.

Despite the obvious futility, I always try to photograph the pigs featured in my paintings next to the paintings (unfortunately, neither Merricat nor Danger Crumples were available by the time I finished these). Horace and Ozma are not interested in my work. Of course they aren’t. They don’t even know I menaced them with leper pirates.

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Tea towel-palooza

So, this one time, in order to make things to sell at Wizard World Madison – my profile on the Wizard World site – I decided that I should do a massive amount of screen printing in one day and I deemed that day “Tea Towelpalooza,” the results of this lunacy are displayed below. I will be bringing all the successful prints I finished that day to Wizard World Madison on April 8-9-10, and as I am a big fan of unusual kitchen things (especially novelty tea towels, ever since I didn’t buy a Nick Cave tea towel the first time I ever saw one at a show in Manchester in 2005 – Never again will I refrain from buying a Nick Cave tea towel! No more regrets!), thirtyish of those successful prints are on tea towels.

This is the end of having available space in my living room until the prints dried.

This is the end of having available space in my living room until the prints dried.

 

That's right, it's Parks and Rec fan art tea towels. I do love a skull or a mini-horse, and this has both; so, Bye bye, Li'l Sebastian, you're 5000 candles in the wind and this is my tribute.

That’s right, it’s Parks and Rec fan art tea towels. I do love a skull or a mini-horse, and this design I created has both; so, Bye bye, Li’l Sebastian, you’re 5000 candles in the wind and this is my tribute.

 

I hand painted in the red side of every pair of 3-D glasses. It was meticulous. I will never do it again. David Tennant is a major super awesome guest at Wizard World Madison, so I hope he likes my guinea pig parody of his turn as Doctor Who.

I hand painted in the red side of every pair of 3-D glasses. It was meticulous. I will never do it again. David Tennant is a major super awesome guest at Wizard World Madison, so I hope he enjoys my guinea pig parody of his turn as Doctor Who.

And here's Danger Crumples in red as Matt Smith's 11th Doctor. Putting a fez on Danger was impossible to resist. He also has a bow tie.

And here’s Danger Crumples in red and blue as Matt Smith’s 11th Doctor. Putting a fez on Danger was impossible to resist. He also has a bow tie.

 

The dissolving of the Danger Whos. I will only print these images once - some of them went badly and I had to re-paint my screen filler and print them again, but, there's still a serious level of singularity in that these hand pulled prints and tea towels are going to be available at Wizard World Madison first and it may be the only time my hand pulled, hand packaged versions of them will be available.

The dissolving of the Danger Whos. I will only print these images once – some of them went badly and I had to re-paint my screen filler and print them again, but, there’s still a serious level of singularity in that these hand pulled prints and tea towels are going to be available at Wizard World Madison first and it may be the only time my hand pulled, hand packaged versions of them will be available. Also, I know it’s weird to see my human kitchen. I’m a person who displays a still packaged coffee cup for squirrels. I’m not going to open it and make them coffee, I barely know how to make coffee.

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This is my design.

As I have been preparing mercilessly for my Artist Alley table at the Madison iteration of Wizard World ( my profile on the Wizard World site ), I haven’t been posting as much and now I’m posting without very many words…unusual for me. Anyway, the guinea pigs are making their public debuts in a couple of series I’ve painted and I’ve done some prints, and the end of my Squirrelpocalypse Trilogy will be coming out soon, and I’m going to share some painting pictures and some dear god what did I do to my living room printing pictures throughout the month of April, and let’s face it, probably also May because my hands and brain are tired. First up, The Thing-part of my John Carpenter’s Guinea Pigs series. All these paintings will be available at Wizard World Madison – April 8-9-10 at the Alliant Energy Center.

 

Danger Crumples has always been from another world, his role in my guinea pig version of The Thing just confirms it.

Danger Crumples has always been from another world, his role in my guinea pig version of The Thing just confirms it.

 

Peregrine gets to be Kurt Russell by virtue of having the middle name "Plissken." Here she is wearing the wrong jacket for the MacReady character adorably.

Peregrine gets to be Kurt Russell by virtue of having the middle name “Plissken.” Here she is wearing the wrong jacket for the MacReady character adorably.

 

And here's Peregrine as MacReady with the head monster, which ended up looking a mite Trumpish, not sure how I feel about that. I blame yellow ochre.

And here’s Peregrine as MacReady with the head monster, which ended up looking a mite Trumpish, not sure how I feel about that. I blame yellow ochre.

 

Blood test! Horace, Ozma, and an unhappy Danger Crumples await the sizzle noise in their sweaters.

Blood test! Horace, Ozma, and an unhappy Danger Crumples await the sizzle noise in their sweaters.

 

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Filed under Dawn of the Interns, Day of the Robots, Night of the Squirrels