Thursday, September 30, 2010

New Yorleans City

this post is long overdue... but the delay is mainly sauce's fault.  
actually, the fault can be evenly distributed amongst several culprits, none of whom are me.
the first culprit who has delayed this post, is my new job.  that's right, someone was crazy enough to hire me. big whoop, wanna fight about it? the company is  called Mpress.  and that's exactly what we do.  "we" .... that felt weird.  anyway, we are a printing company, and i was hired as a salesman.  and as soon as i learn how to talk about selling paper, i'm gonna be golden.  cause nobody believes in the power of the print more than i do. can i get an amen?
here's our website:

that new job lead me on a wild goose chase through the streets of new orleans to find a place to live (and to the second culprit in my blame game).  and i'm not talking about a cardboard box under a bridge.  oh no. i learned from katrina: cardboard won't cut it.  the real estate market here is nuts.  folks wanted $900 for a windowless basement apartment in a bad part of town.  i couldnt even get a discount if it was a crime scene.  
one day, as i was finally giving up hope on this whole living situation thing, there was a light at the end of the craigslist.  an apartment with a great location, on the top floor of a three story building for only $775.  there had to be a catch! but we couldnt find one.  not until after we signed up, that is. 
see, its a great little one bedroom.  sauce says it has character, which just means its older than dirt.  or at least pre WW2 (the big one). and it is nice.  the wood floors are great, the windows and sunroom are lovely.  heck, even the bathroom sink is cool. 

what isn't cool, is that i share the space with more roaches than i can count.  its like there's a roach factory in there somewhere, pumping out little baby roaches like they're in high demand. -and they ain't. 
so i've pulled out the big guns.  i've bombed the place, put out these things that make the roaches infertile, roach pellets, some crazy gel stuff, roach hotels, anti-roach propaganda, razor wire, and i even hired two snipers.  i'm not going down without a fight. 
said roach-filled apartment doesn't have cable or internet either, since i spend my nights deep in the trenches in my never ending war against vermin.  but once the DMZ has been established and peace brought back to the region, hopefully i'll be able to watch some cartoon network and surf the information super highway.
and even though i'm working for the man now, Cage Free is still going strong.  as soon as we find some studio space,  Sauce and i will be keeping ourselves entertained by printing.  keepin the dream alive!
word up.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Hair Cuts and Women of Ninja Warrior

So here is what happened today. Ross has a job interview on Tuesday, and we realized that the flowing locks that comprised his current hair cut were not totally "employment friendly." So today I ate a Heavenly Hash egg, watched an episode of Women of Ninja Warrior and bolstered up enough confidence to hack away at the hair I love so dearly. I felt like Delilah. But hopefully the shorter hair will give Ross the edge he needs to not only acquire full time employment, but perhaps get benefits as well... first, your before:
and then the process...

and the after...

I think it looks pretty good. :)

I promise I will post something relevant to my design work soon. But today... this. <3

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

where's my free tar ball?

greetings, Cage Free Fans, from beautiful san destin, florida! forget what you've heard, nobody's giving away free tar balls.  apparently these cats are all over cleaning up the beaches, what with the tourism and all.  too bad the Louisiana marshes aren't a money-making machine like these beaches, or they'd be squeaky clean too.  kinda says a lot about the gulf coast hierarchy, doesn't it?
alright! enough with the soap box.  
vacation with my family is always a treat.  i was afraid my job search might not allow me to go on this trip, but thankfully, i'm still unemployed and my schedule was wide open. 
our trips to the beach actually consist of very little time on the beach.  sure, we'll go sit in the blinding sun for a couple hours, mostly out of guilt.  said blinding sun caused me to purchase these bad boys:
yes, they fit over my actual glasses.  yes, they're polarized.  yeah, i bought them at a grocery store.  and yeah, they are awesome.  i feel like i could weld in these.  or pilot a space ship.  or at the very least, kick some folks around in the matrix.

we really come down to san destin for the golf and the putt-putt.  boy do we love some putt- putt golf.  there's nothing like sinking a hole-in-one after you bounce it off a brick wall, around a water hazard and through a dog leg.  the other side of that coin:  there are few feelings worse than losing to your mother on a putt-putt golf course.  it was one of the darkest days of my life.  
onwards and upwards, right? today on our customary trip to the beach, i saw not one, but two pigeons trudging through the sand.  what?? 
crazy, right? but it brought up a great memory.  mom reminded me about mine and brooks' first trip to the beach.  it was in october, and we were wearing mud boots and jackets.  we added credit to the gulf coast's nickname, the Redneck Riviera, when we mistook sea gulls for chickens.  that kind of memory is what i want to preserve. so, i sketched this one out today:

its a rough sketch, but its a start.  and i feel really good about this one.
on a similar note, i'm also working on  sketches for a piece about the helmet my mother made me wear in coach pitch baseball.  in my mom's opinion, there were two kinds of kids who played little league: her kids and kids with lice.  so i had my very own red helmet, complete with a face shield.  

she didn't really make me wear it in the outfield, but that certainly makes for a better story.
so that's what i've got going on right now at the beach.
but more importantly! check out this bad ass dessert we had today at Mitchell's Fish Market.

it's called a Shark Fin and it's the most incredible dessert on this planet.  it's what a drumstick wants to be when it grows up. this alone is worth the trip.
it's basically a huge ice cream pie. it has an oreo crust, several inches of vanilla ice cream with a chocolate swirl, then a thin layer of peanut butter and chocolate, followed by several more inches of ice cream. all of which is covered in peanuts and whipped cream.
our waiter told us that people who don't finish the whole thing have it turned into a milkshake. the whole family went glassy eyed as we envisioned our very own shark fin milkshake. unfortunately we finished the whole thing before that dream could become a reality.

further posts as events warrant.  for now, i gotta get out there and destroy some folks at putt-putt. word up.

Monday, August 2, 2010

This Computer Is No More: It has ceased to be

Expired and gone to meet its maker, it is time to bid farewell to our beloved 4 year old iMac. It is strange for a computer of ours to suffer such a fate. Negligence (possibly on my part) to plug it back in to the surge protector instead of the wall the last time we moved it caused it to suffer a logic board fried harder than the extra crispy chicken at Popeye's.

Wow, after reading that again... it's totally my fault...

Regardless of blame, it is now time to consider a hefty purchase I didn't plan on making for a while. This also means that I am without the design programs that assist me in practically every aspect of my work. (Does this mean I'll have to revert to sketching and creating things by hand?) This kind of withdrawal has gotten me thinking about our old machines. My family has been proud Mac owners since the mid-eighties when my dad brought home the best computer ever: The Apple II GS.

I adored this computer. It was the most fascinating thing I had ever seen. We had a desk specially built in our kitchen at our old house for the computer. As a toddler, I would stand right under my dad's elbow between his desk chair and the wall watch him play "Kings Quest" in all its 8-bit glory. If he would turn around suddenly, it was common for me to take an elbow to the forehead. "Jesus Christ, Allison, what are you doing hiding there?!" (Eerily, only a few months into our relationship, a similar incident occurred while I was watching Ross play a video game)

This is where I also learned to curse.

The II GS remained a functioning computer well into high school for me. While we didn't use it for word processing or the internet (although it was totally capable of doing both) it was still the central game playing hub of our household. I remember being in 4th grade and using the external CD player to amplify The Lion King soundtrack as loud as I could through the Bose quality external speakers. Hakuna Matata, indeed. The old girl finally joined the choir invisible in 2004. If I had known only a year later we would lose all the floppy disks with the games we had loved so much, I probably would have brought them to higher ground.

In 1997, McGehee introduced an experimental laptop program that became mandatory by the time I hit high school. Never having had a Window's powered computer (like the one designated by school as the proper equipment), I was not really motivated to get one, and my father, who had quite a lot of stock in Apple, was not so keen on purchasing one. Enter the Clamshell iBook. #2 in my greatest computer loves of all time. While it was impossible for me to "join the network" at school, I relish in the fact that the computer I bought served me for 4 years of high school and then served my sister, Julia for 4 more years after that. And I never had to make a visit to Mrs. Nesser or Dan-Dan the Computer Man.

Omgee... what a sweet machine. Here is where I had my first tryst with Photoshop. Who knew then that such a fruitful relationship would proceed?

When it came time for college, I was thrilled to receive a 17" iMac. It could burn CDs and play DVDs (even though all you could get at Wal-Mart in Oxford was VHS). This is still the computer I use today. It has the entire contents of my life for the past 8 years... And it is backed up accordingly. Its such an elegant machine, and the sculptural arm that can swing in every direction made it ideal for late night movies in the dorm. The display is huge. Although its age has really caught up with it for detailed design work, its great for internet and word processing. Not to mention its just damn cool to look at.
When Joanna and I came home for summer after my first year of college, we brought both of our desktops home with us. At that point, Julia was living at home having just graduated, and my dad was doing a lot of work out of the house. We took a count one day, and we had 7 working computers in the house that were all used for one reason or another. These computers ranged in birth dates from 1986 to 2003.

As for the future? Well I got my eye on that 27" iMac desktop. Now all I need is to get some corporate sponsorship...

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Rest In Peace, He-Man Woman-Haters Club

not being in school kinda sucks.  nobody wants to pay me millions of dollars to make prints, reality tv shows aren't beating down my door to follow me around and catch my wacky antics on tape, New Balance doesn't want to give me an endorsement deal (although i have been a loyal customer even when their shoes look goofy) and no one seems to want to let me live in their mansion for free.  
i think my perception of the real world might have been a little off-base... i had no idea everything cost so much money.  and did you know you have to pay back student loans?!  what's that all about?  if i had the money, i wouldn't have taken out the damn thing in the first place!
similarly, i've come to realize that this "summer" hasn't been a summer at all:  i'm just unemployed.  so, since all this stuff i need costs money or whatever, i've been trying to find a job.  my search has been geared mostly towards new orleans.  Sauce is down there, and i figured it would be easier to find one job than it would be to find two new jobs somewhere else.  and with all the luck i've had thus far,  finding two jobs would be just short of impossible.
but it's all good.  i'll find something.  or to put it another way, some business down in new yorleans city is gonna look back on the day they hired me as the beginning of an incredible chapter in their existence.  i can't wait to find out who they are.  
i feel like my future landlord will have that very same feeling, as soon as i find an apartment i can afford in a neighborhood where i won't get murdered.  once again my ignorance of the real world has reared its ugly head.  i suppose watching more HGTV with Sauce would have shown me how people try to peddle tiny basement apartments for $1100 a month plus utilities, but i just can't watch that channel, guys.  i just can't.   
you should see some of these ads for rentals.  "small basement crawl space for rent. $1200 plus utilities.  great neighborhood.  very few stabbings.  even less kidnappings.  acceptable murder rate."    living down there is gonna be wild.  good thing i'm not ever scared.

speaking of dwellings, on my way down to the crescent city, i stopped by my house to grab a few things and play with the dogs for a while.  and i remembered that we had to take the treehouse down not too long ago.  the tree limb it was perched on was starting to give way under its weight.  i hadn't seen it since the tree was cut down, and it was kind of sad, seeing the great He-Man Woman-Haters tree fortress reduced to a lowly shed.  because that treehouse was awesome.  it had a batpole, a rope ladder, a zip cord, a trap door... WE HAD IT ALL!  
it's another reminder that i need to preserve the majesty of childhood through my work.  so i took a few photos of the remains with my phone using the hipstamatic app.  i also got started sketching for new treehouse prints.  stay tuned!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Work of Art: The Next Great Artist

I finally had a night to myself this evening where the decision of what to watch on TV was up to me, and me alone. This is a rarity since I have moved home. The entertainment choices are typically made by those who purchased the TV and pay for the cable. But tonight the power was in my hands and so I noshed on some smoked salmon and rice and watched one of my favorite movies (A Life Less Ordinary, 1997). Once that was done, all that was left was one slice of
cheesecake and cable television.

I have had multiple people tell me that I need to watch "Work of Art: The Next Great Artist" on Bravo. For those who don't know, it is essentially Project Runway but for artists. They are given an outlandish assignment (typically sponsored by some fabulous brand or corporation, tonight was Audi) with an unrealistic time constraint. The ultimate goal is for each participant to create a masterpiece by the end of the episode. I can say confidently that I wont be watching weekly. Beyond the ridiculous standards by which these artists are being judged, I just don't think I need the anxiety of whether or not they are going to pull it off.

By all rights, sharing studio space and being in the art department created bonds for me stronger than any other group I was associated with in college. The only other people who I really think know me better on a personal level are the girls who I went to McGehee with (thanks to forced bonding excursions like Space Camp and Katalehia). Hell, my art department bonds are so strong I am MARRYING a fellow Meek Freak. Perhaps its being in the hot seat together every time a project is due, or maybe its letting a room full of strangers in on your deepest feelings during critique but there isundeniable comradery amongst us. Even if you don't like someone, you can respect their work. Then again, maybe this is the blurred nostalgia of an alum...

It was amazing watching the contestants on Work of Art say things that we would say in studios:
"Does anyone know where the xacto blades are?"
"Do you have any duct tape?"
"Is he still asleep?"
"Do you ever take dry brushes and just blur shit? Bob Ross taught me that..."

I don't know, it isn't a bad show by any means, and I loved Project Runway, but I think the title of "Next Great Artist" is a little much. It should be something more like, "Next Individual Who Works Really Well Under Pressure, Makes Generally Pleasing, But Not Boring Work And Doesn't Make A Mess In The Community Bathroom."

And now for something completely different:


Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Cage Free Contemporaries: Jessica Beeman

ladies, gentlemen and Cage Free Junkies:
here's the scoop, yo.  between Sauce's extended hours at her place of work and my frantic search for the right bridge to live under, we haven't made a lot of new work.  SO i came up with the brilliant idea to promote some of our incredibly talented friends.  for free!  i know, i'm a great guy.  Sauce is a lucky woman.

the first edition of Cage Free Contemporaries features Jessica Beeman, a fellow printmaker from the University of Mississippi.
this kid is talented.  her thesis work is really impressive.  the line work and attention to detail in the imagery are just spectacular.  her artist statement and each print's title add a somber, introspective  note to the work that draws you in. check out her artist statement:

"I feel an attraction to abandoned buildings.  They have outlasted their usefulness.  They are dirty and decayed.  I find a voyeuristic thrill in being the first in years to enter their bodies and explore their insides.  That thrill gives way to anxiety when discovering time's dismantling effects on the structure.  I am reminded of my own body, and its inevitable decay.

The exposed supports of this building were like bones.  The flesh had long rotted away.  The wood was cracked and weathered, and the wrought iron beams were rusted through.  The entire structure seemed to teeter on the edge of collapse.  It is hollow save a few disintegrating boxes and pieces of trash.  It appeared the soul had long departed from this stripped skeleton, though I could still feel it lingering there.

Rather than produce perfectly accurate representations of the building itself, I create portraits of the melancholy and heaviness of the atmosphere inside.  The images depict the moments in time frozen within the walls, and the profound loneliness that thickens the air.  It is a sobering fact that our bodies are just as vulnerable to the passage of time.  My prints are reminders of the ephemerality of our lives and the ease with which we are forgotten."

Jessica named her thesis exhibition Entropy.
she presented her prints in diptychs, meaning two prints share a similar name and are related to one another, most commonly by subject matter. 
the first diptych is called Alienation.
the next diptych is called Dereliction.

her next diptych is called Deterioration.

the final diptych is called Entropy, and shares its name with her exhibition.
i love these prints.  i think that my favorite element has to be the line quality.  at first glance, the lines seem rigid and precise, but on closer inspection, they come to life.  each line, though tight has great gestural quality.  the aquatint (shading) on these prints is testament to the time and effort that Jessica put into these pieces.  
i know what you're thinking.  and yeah, i think they're for sale. but you should probably ask her. here's her email address:
tell her ross sent you.  she'll know what it means.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Prints 101: Artist Statement Part Deux

I love reading Ross' artist statement. If you have ever been in a social situation with Ross you will most likely hear some of the stories he depicts, embellishments and all. Get him jolly and hear him talk.

Most of my work is based on elements of the home, both decorative aspects and the memories we make in them. Perhaps its the cottage lady in me, or maybe its that I have grown up in one of the most architecturally diverse cities in the world, but I love special details that make a dwelling personal.

I was going to post my artist statement from thesis but I don't really think it applies to me anymore. While I still dabble in the production of pattern and distress, I think my current studio situation (or lack there of) is forcing my interests to move towards a cleaner design style... Or maybe my mother is just impressing upon me that I can't make a mess on her dining room table.

So here is where I was. My wallpaper from thesis is where it brought me to, but here is some idea of where I see myself going... I am being heavily influenced currently by the giant bridal machine of everlasting happiness. It is inevitable that art will imitate life so I would rather keep things pleasant and stick with my dream landscape of color, music and love than harp on the fact that nothing make you feel chubbier than putting on a white dress.

Color, color, color. Thats where I'm heading.

Further posts as events warrant.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Prints 101: Artist Statement

Sauce and i are hard at work getting Cage Free Press up and running. we reserved, and as soon as we figure out how to make it host this blog, it will be up and running.  we're also working on putting together some awesome business cards that are gonna blow some minds.
in the mean time, we thought we'd post our artist statements, just to give yall a heads up on what our individual work is all about.  here's mine.  enjoy!  feel free to ask questions or make unreasonably large donations. ;)

­­My prints represent an oral history and explore the effects of nostalgia on storytelling, memory and emotional attachment.  As a storyteller, I am prone to embellish the facts and bend the truth in an attempt to make my tale more entertaining.  As time passes and these stories are repeatedly told, my embellishments become an integral part of the story, and in turn, redefine the memory and my attachment to it.  The end result is an idealized and elaborate tall tale that I use to captivate an audience.  I want my work to capture the viewer in the same way.
I choose to create the majority of my prints using relief methods because they allow my drawing style to define the work.  Hand printing results in movement and variation within the ink, giving each print a unique surface quality, which I find aesthetically pleasing.  I choose to print large-scale in order to convey the larger-than-life nature of the story and the empowerment of memory.  Furthermore, I enjoy the physical demands of both relief printing and creating large-scale work.
Through my work, I want to show the viewer memories ­­­of stories that have shaped the way I recall and retell my personal history.  I want them to see imagination and nostalgia at work.  I want to entertain the viewer and remind them of their own incredible stories.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

An Inviting New Opportunity

After what has probably been the longest work week of my life, I am finally gearing up for a few days off. We had a bridal event at the stationary store/bridal boutique where I work and it essentially ate up all my time. But, we have something to show for it. The store looks beautiful. Drop by if you are in the neighborhood.

Tomorrow (June 16th) is also my 25th birthday. Its quite shocking to say it out loud. I feel like I am entering the realm of real adulthood, which is different than the false sense of adulthood that college brings you where you start making life decisions, like which brand of toilet paper to buy or when you realize you like a brand of coffee that is different than what your parents drink. I'm entering the big leagues.

I can rent a car.

But its kinda nice. So many of my friends are hopping on the train to adult land too. And we are all planning weddings. I have found that weddings are ripe for the freelance design pickin'. When you start thinking about all that goes into them; save the dates, invitations, reply cards, social stationary, monograms, place cards, menus, programs, thank you notes... there is so much paper in weddings. My dear friend and sorority sister, Kelly has been the guinea pig for the majority of the wedding design work I have done so far. I am eager to do more though. I have even asked for a Pantone Bridge for my birthday (its a color picker that helps standardize what colors print no matter where you print from. Its a nerd thing.)
This was Kelly and Marc's save the date magnet (obviously some info has been blurred to protect their privacy). They had some amazing photography to work with and it was my absolute pleasure to set a tasteful amount of text to it. When they first got engaged I created this false invitation for my portfolio:

As you can see this set up is dramatically different from the funky, clean, modern design style that their wedding wound up taking but I love doing anything. It so cool to me to see the different ways that some people can use design elements to really personalize their wedding. I'm happy to report that more and more people are moving away from black ink on ecru cards.

I honestly can't wait to see what Ross and I come up with for ours. Rest assured, it will be awesome. But in the meantime, if you are engaged or know someone who is and you need a little design work done, contact me. I'm starting to really like wedding invitations.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Cage Free Press and You

ladies and gents, the Sauce Mopps has had one heck of a week, earning real money and preparing to support me, the struggling yet incredibly talented artist. so even though it's her turn to post, i'm gonna take the reigns on this puppy and hit yall with some knowledge.

i know what you're thinking: "Cage Free Press is so cool! how do i get in on this action? what's a fella gotta do to own a Cage Free original?!" well, keep your pants on and i'll tell you. and by the way, it's easy. all you have to do is give us your money!
currently, there are two ways to become the lucky owner of Cage Free artwork that is sure to impress your friends and family, and ensure that your date is thoroughly impressed with your taste in local art. (chicks dig it)
the best way to get original, personal artwork, is to talk to us about having a photo turned into a lovely silkscreen print. like these:

this print is called Bushel Britches.

this print is called Red Meat Will Put Hair On Your Chest.

so, you want one. its cool, dude! we can fix you up. let's talk shop.
here's a few things you should look for in a photo to make this thing go smoothly:

1. the photo needs a good deal of contrast. for example, in Red Meat the two figures are in the foreground with very distinguishable shirts and pants. in Bushel Britches, the swimming trucks and popsicle stand out against the dull pavement.
2. the photos need a quiet background. while the two projects you see above are not devoid of background information, they aren't crowded by, say a chain link fence, where a distinct pattern would flatten the image.
3. make sure the photo is in focus, devoid of scratches, and make sure the overall color is good. you know how photos from the 70's just look kind of yellow and brown? they look cool, but they don't make a good silkscreen print. i know, kinda sucks.

so what do we need from you?

1. we need you to pick out at least 4 photos, so we can look through them and discuss with you which one will be the most successful.
2. scan in those photos at a high resolution, and email us jpeg copies.
3. look at regular frame sizes to get an idea of how large you would like your print to be.
4. think about how many colors you would like: anywhere from 1 to 4.
5. after we talk about which photo will be the most successful, come up with a cool name for your print.

after all that, we'll talk about pricing, and while we ain't cheap, you will get your money's worth.
here's our first completed commission piece, called Sydney Boo.

in the not-too-distant future, Sauce and I will be uploading our personal portfolios with artwork for sale onto our blog as well as an Etsy account, where you can spend money to your heart's content.
knowledge is power.