Support the arts

The scariest bit about working in the arts, is the financial insecurity. It’s easy to ignore most of the time. Till something bad happens.

Something bad happened to my dear friend Shadow. You know, that kick ass photographer from New Orleans I periodically post links to? She fell off a mountain.

Well, ok, she didn’t fall OFF the mountain. She fell down it. Only a little bit. But she broke her leg and tore lose the muscles and tendons. Tore. Them. Loose. As in, flopping around in there waiting to be reattached.

Problem is, like all but the very lucky few artists who actually manage to make a living doing what they do, she’s got no insurance and no real savings to speak of. It’s a bad place to be for anyone. Fortunately, she’s a bad ass chick and she has lots of friends. We are all broke artists as well, but where there are many, things get done. So we’ve put together a GoFundMe page for her.

http://www.gofundme.com/32exzg

Please visit. There are some fantastic contributions from a passel of artists and performers that you can choose from, or just donate because it’s a good thing to do. If you can’t, we get it, but could you please pass the link along on your Facebook pages, or wherever you blog, and boost the signal. Remember, supporting the arts is about supporting the artists. And if five measly bucks gets an amazing artist, poet and person the surgery she needs, you’ve just done a stranger an incredible solid. Pat yourself on the karma for that. You deserve it.

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Two down, one to go

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That’s the raccoon and the skunk, respectively. I dig the way they came out. Still working on the coyote, but he’ll be ready to post in a week or so. Also got six more pigtail hats posted, four more Santa Muerte nichos started and nearing completion, and four large cow bones drilled and ready to be hung with tortured silverware. Lookit me go!

This is all in hopes that I’ll get in to the Glenwood Art Fest coming up here in August. I hear it’s quite the to do, with live bands and tons of local food. Fingers crossed.

Sunday, Sunday, Sunday!

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If you’re in or near Chicago, come on down and hang out. It’ll be my first time sampling the Pilsen arts scene, so you can explore it with me. I used to hang out in Pilsen back when I was a teen reprobate because you could always find a free punk rock show and nobody much cared how old you were. Pilsen has changed since then though. Now it’s the hub of a pretty rad grassroots-y arts scene. So come check it out!

Bones ‘n junk

I just scored 14 lbs (that’s two whole legs y’all!) of nature cleaned cow bones. Dead of natural causes of course. I don’t dig on killing stuff unless I’m eating it or it’s trying to eat me. And “nature cleaned” means exactly what you think. Lying in the woods till all the juicy bits are gone.

Lookit!

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There are a couple that are just massive, and won’t make good mobiles. Looks like I’m going to have to experiment with them as bases for some kind of wire sculpture. There are a couple with moss on them, which I intend to leave right where it is. I love decay. Not everybody loves decay, but I think the cycle of elements as they return to the earth to be reused is poetic and beautiful, and I like to bring decomposition into what I make. So mossy bone mobiles is alright by me.

Also, went junk spelunking on Friday at a church rummage sale. Rummage sales are the best for your maker of things with limited time on their hands. Sure, you could hit multiple garage sales, and you should, if you can. But church rummage sales draw from the entire congregation, which means many households. Way better bang for your buck.

Behold!

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This is a good 4 or 5 dozen pieces of antique silverware for less than $50. Take that, Ebay.

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Creepy baby head number one. Small enough to fit in the mini bird cages I found at the crafty store.

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Creepy baby head number two.

I also found a vintage suitcase for $5. I use them for display. And a seriously badass carved wood frame for $20 that would normally be in the hundreds. Whoot! The only thing I didn’t find was birdcages. So while one baby head will find a home in the wee cage, the other two will just have to keep each other company in the lab till I find them homes.

But the season is young. There are many more rummage sales yet to come.

Trade secrets

New stuff is in the works.

I made a delightful excursion to one of my favorite places for supplies yesterday with one of my favorite artist pals. It’s in Logan Square. A little place called Botanica Obatala.

Now, some makers of things are all trade secret-y. Won’t let you photograph their stuff, won’t tell you how they make it or what they use. And that’s their choice and that’s fine. Not how I roll, though. Personally? It’s the age of the internet y’all. The information is out there, and they can cut and paste anything you put up on line. So I figure why get sweaty about it. Also, my teachers philosophy (and mine too, since it seems a practical one to me) was always to go ahead and give people the information they wanted. Why? Two reasons. One, crafts, like languages, die. And they die when nobody knows how to do them anymore. So share what you know to honor your craft and keep it alive. And two, 99% of the people asking for your knowledge aren’t going to use it. Those that do, won’t use it as well as you do. And if they do? More power to ’em. This business is for love, not riches. If someone is as crazy as you are, welcome them to the fold. As for stealing my ideas? Eh, whatever. If they do it better than me, then either I should step up my game or do something else. So I don’t waste my time getting agitated about it. Which is why I share my super secret shopping spots and what kind of glue I use. I ain’t scairt.

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Lookit all those saint cards! It’s going to be another nicho factory up in heah. You can find saint cards online for a little less than at a botanica (Spanish for Wonderful and Creepy Little Voodoo Shop Type Thing), but then you don’t get the unadulterated joy of shopping in a botanica. They’re packed to the gills with mysterious powders, potions, candles, oils, statues of various sorts, bones, horns, saints in plaster, resin, paper and clay, secretos (which are like ready made spells or prayers all stapled and glued together), beads, charms, milagros, and the proprietor/es, who is usually a wealth of information. Not all botanicas are friendly places. The one across from my favorite Lebanese place charged me gringo prices last time I went there, which, hey, not a gringo, so not cool, and also, my best friends are gringos so discrimination, also not cool. But Botanica Obatala isn’t like that. Their prices are great and the lady who runs it and all her disciples that I’ve met are super nice.

Cultural Factoid: Botanicas are run by a priest/ess of the religion (whatever derivative of the original African religion it may be) and their disciples. Usually. I’ve never personally seen any other model, but there are probably some others out there.

In any case, the art supplies are not to be beat if, like me, you’re into making folk art.

I also found him…

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That’s Eleggua, Yoruban trickster and god of crossroads and paths. I have a couple of his syncretized saints in mini nichos, but wanted one that had the shell face. I picked this one because he looks like he’s smiling at you. He’s on every altar, because, like Ganesh, he’s prayed to at the beginning of all rituals and works to remove obstacles and ensure a smooth journey.

In other news, the glitter skulls are coming along…

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The two smaller ones will definitely be ready for Magi Market in Pilsen. Which, if you’re in Chicago, you should go to. All the cool kids will be there.

Skullz!

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Raccoon and skunk, respectively. They’re beautifully cleaned and preserved. Soon they’ll be covered in glitter. Hopefully in time for the Magi Market in two weeks. I’ma bust ass in that regard.

I’m percolating a couple new nicho projects as well. I found these vintage French erotic postcards…

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The images are vintage, not the cards. But I thought I’d start a line of Saints That Didn’t Actually Exist But Should Have Because They’d Be Awesome Saints. Or something like that. Our Lady of the Frilly Knickers or Saint Agatha of the Pert Bum. Saint Rack ‘Em and Crack ‘Em Sally. Hm, I’m gonna need some Mardi Gras beads if this is going to happen.