Sunday, September 30, 2007

** Spotlight Artist: Ken Garduno **

photo borrowed from Tom Haubrick, another talented artist from Comic Con (center).

I randomly stumbled upon Ken Garduno's work at San Diego Comic Con this year (he's the fella outlined on the far right of the photo above). It was towards the end of my day long trek through the convention center seeking vinyl toys and a table at the end of one of the rows caught my attention, I was immediately in awe.

Ken works mostly with pen and ink, flavoring his drawings with bits of color every so often. I love his style, rather reminiscent of Albert Hirschfeld, beautiful in its line simplicity and color. Ken and I have become friends so I can't say too many more kind words, I have to play it off that he's just "kinda talented" or I'll never hear the end of it. Yea, Ken's alright.

This is the lovely drawing I bought from Ken that fateful day at Comic Con. Now I need more and supposedly he's hard at work on a custom piece I hear will be AWESOME and his best drawing yet! You can enjoy his work at subtext come November 3rd for the Kokeshi show where Ken has created two custom dolls. Word is more of his drawings will be gracing their walls in-between shows too, congratulations Ken!

Friday, September 28, 2007


Hee hee, I was just sent a link to Neiman Marcus, it's very cool to see my work for sale. :)

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

**KOKESHI** @ subtext Nov. 3, 2007

In celebration of Bunka-no-hi – a Japanese national holiday promoting culture, the arts, and academic endeavour – Subtext and guest curator, Christina Conway, have carefully selected over 75 artists from 13 different countries to customize traditional Japanese Kokeshi dolls. The Kokeshi doll is a traditional folk art form of Japan, dating back to approximately 1830. Originally made by craftsmen during the winter months for sale to tourists, they have come to symbolize Japan to people around the world. Featured artists include Audrey Kawasaki, Marcos Chin, Julie West, Brandi Milne, Calef Brown, Camilla Engman, Catalina Estrada, Fiona Hewitt, Gina Triplett, Jeremiah Ketner, and many more.

A complete list of participating artists can be found here:
**Kokeshi Artists**

Flickr overview of project as it unfolds can be found here:
Kokeshi Project Photos

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Stuck in Sunny San Diego

For those of you following my little career, I have good news and bad news. Seems my interview was well received, my enthusiasm and creativity wonderfully noticed, but the job needing to be filled requires more apparel industry experience. I'll be trying my best to stay in their database as an awesome designer that they can't live without. Wish me well... and if you have any fashion related projects, BRING 'EM ON! :)

I came across these comic strips through a useful website I bookmarked ages ago, called Freelance Switch, it's always chalked full of great articles and helpful info. Coincidentally, the comic strip artist, N.C. Winters, is also from Southern California and I just found out he created pieces for the recent custom Qee show at Subtext( the gallery I'm currently curating for), small world.


One of my favorite design blogs is Jaime Kopke's designklub, where I recently discovered the work of Dutch artist Ferry Staverman. Using bee board (cardboard with a honeycomb core) and thread, Ferry makes beautiful organic shaped sculptures. The repeated patterns are incredible and I love her color palette. (via designklub, via yatzer)

Saturday, September 22, 2007

It's Gettin' Hot in Here

This is awesome! A new friend I made this year is Mandy Jouan of SappyMooseTree. She's an extremely talented and wonderfully funny young lady. She's part of a group I put together in January called San Diego Social and Creative Network. Another creative and unique woman I met through SDSCN is Shayna Yates of Well, fate had it planned that Mandy and Shayna should meet and the result is a sweet collaboration you can view in the video above.

Mandy, along with her close friend Tess, created the polar bear costume for the video of Jenny Owen Youngs' "It's Getting Hot in Here," a cover of an original song by Nelly. Shayna made the singing animal heads above the fireplace. You can find photos of the polar bear's creation and behind-the-scenes shots of the video creation at Mandy's flikr site. Tess played the bear in the video and I hear it was beyond "hot in (t)here" and Mandy played around a bit in the Sasquatch suit. What a talented pair!

"octopus fascinator part two" modeled and created by Shayna Yates

Shayna is also one of the artists that will be creating a custom Kokeshi doll for the Subtext show Nov.3. Check out her flickr site and to see what a muliti-faceted talent this girl is, she does it all! Draws, paints, makes comics, sews and has a wonderful fashion style this is all her own. This chick rocks!

"Grandfather Beetle Got More Than His Share of Birthday Cake" ,20" x 24", oil on canvas by Shayna Yates

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Bunka-no-hi/ Culture Day

文化の日 / Culture Day
Bunka-no-hi, pronounced boonka-no-hee, is a national holiday celebrated annually in Japan on November 3rd. English translation is "Day of Culture" and it exists to promote the arts and various fields of academic endeavor, typically there are art exhibits, culture festivals, and parades held in honor of this holiday. "Since 1937, the award ceremony for the prestigious Order of Culture has been held on this day. Given by the Emperor himself to those who have significantly advanced science, the arts or culture, it is one of the highest honors bestowed by the Imperial Family. The prize is not restricted to Japanese citizens, and for instance was awarded to the Apollo 11 astronauts upon their successful return from the moon."*
*text taken from Wikepedia.

Order of Culture Medal

"Established in 1937, the Order of Culture medal features the five petals of a mandarin orange blossom with three magadama (comet-shaped stones) swirled in the center. The attachment features a mandarin orange and leaf.

*Note: An indeciduous mandarin orange tree was planted in the south garden of the Kyoto Goshou Shishinden in the Heian Era, and has thrived ever since. Its position in the garden is immortalized by the phrase Ukonno tachibana. Prized from ancient times, the mandarin orange tree symbolizes eternity. It is said that the mandarin orange tree is used in the Order of Culture because this symbolism connects deeply with the timelessness of culture.

Curiously, Culture Day is statistically one of the finest days of the year. Between 1965 and 1996, there have only been three years with rain occurring in Tokyo on Culture Day." *
*photo and text taken from

Mandarin Orange Tree, photo courtesy of Natasha

Why am I posting about this Holiday?
The Kokeshi show I'm curating will be held in honor of this day. Opening night and artists' reception will be Saturday, November 3, from 6pm to 10pm. Subtext Gallery is located in San Diego, California at 680 West Beech Street, zip code 92101. Official postcard for event will be posted soon.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Pattern Play

All images ©2007 Christina Conway
New patterns I recently created and experiments with different color studies.

Starving in the Belly of a Whale

(Click on image to be taken to video.)

Illustrations and animation created by Gal Shkedi, music by Tom Waits and Kathleen Brennan. Graduation project for Shenkar College of Engineering and Design, Israel 2007. Gal is one of three members of Tea Party Studio, check them out!

My Favorite Mino

One of my favorite Kokeshi reminds me of the little boy in Yannick Puig's animation "I Lived on the Moon," (posted below). The artist's name is Muhitsu Yokige. The outer wrapping of the doll is called a "mino", sometimes actual straw is used and other times, like the example above, the wood is carved as a separate shell.

"(The mino) is an article of clothing worn to protect the farmers and rural peoples of the mountains from rain and snow." - Kokeshi: Wooden Treasures of Japan
I came across this specific doll in the book, "Kokeshi: Wooden Treasures of Japan". The authors/publishers are two ex-professors and the owners of Vermillion Asian Arts, Michael Evans and Robert Wolf. I recently spoke with Wolf about his book and he shared some stories regarding it's creation. One thing I found especially interesting is that it's the only English language book on Kokeshi. I hope to change that by having my own book published with all the the art from the Kokeshi group art show I'm curating. (Detailed information regarding the Kokeshi group show will be posted.)

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

I Lived on the Moon

Video animation by Yannick Puig, inspired by Kwoon's, "I Lived on the Moon" from their album "Tales and Dreams".

Simply beautiful.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Kokeshi 101

Kokeshi is a traditional Japanese doll usually representing a woman or girl. Made from wood, they are originally believed to be created for tourists visiting hot springs in the Tohoku region of North Eastern Japan. There are two types of Kokeshi, 'Traditional' (Dento) and 'Creative' (Shingata).

'Traditional Kokeshi' production has been handed down from teacher to pupil, during the Edo period (1603-1868) to the present day. A set technique in creation and painting style sets itself apart from the 'Creative Kokeshi' which is based on the artist's creativity, these are one-of-a-kind pieces inspired more from the imagination than tradition. Creative Kokeshi become popular after WWII.

Here's a short video from that shows how a 'Traditional Kokeshi' is made:

Wikipedia has a brief summary about the history of Kokeshi and you can find more information from Japan Atlas. sells a wide variety at their online store (I have never purchased from Wahooya so I cannot guarantee the service they provide) and Ebay is a great place to find all types of styles in every price imaginable.

Kokeshi Artists

I've been working on a project since late July that I feel is ready to be "let out of the bag". I started a flickr page where I could put all the artists involved in one place. The collection has blossomed into this set of amazing and note-worthy artists. I never thought my little idea would grow into something so incredible.

I approached a local gallery, Subtext, with an idea I had for a group art show. It was really just an off-shoot from a project I thought I might do with a fellow artist. I thought the show would be more interesting if there were additional artists included. I started selecting local artists I admired and then including Los Angeles artists I didn't know well, but had met briefly in the past.

The response was overwhelming. What started as a group show for maybe 30 artists has now turned into a group show with 78! At last count, we are expecting 85 pieces of custom art to be shown at Subtext Gallery.

What is the show about? The beloved Kokeshi doll.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

** Spotlight Artist: Miss Led **

I first came across the work of Joanna Henly aka 'Miss Led' through her MySpace page at least a year ago. Miss Led lives in East London, she's a talented illustrator who has a special and wonderful knack for portraiture.

Recently, Miss Led participated in the 2007 Secret Wars battle, a graffiti based contest held in the U.K. Not only was she the first female to compete, she was also declared the winner! Congratulations Miss Led!!!

You can find more of her work and additional photos of Miss Led's Secret Wars event at her flickr page.

Same Time Different Day

Exactly one week ago today I was getting ready for a two day trip to Minneapolis. I have never been to Minnesota, but from what I could squeeze out of friends it seems to be a lovely place. Very art oriented and everyone is "Minnesota Nice" so that can't be too bad.

Why Minneapolis? Well, it seems a wonderful little company had discovered my work online and thought I might be a good match for a couple of textile design positions for their girls clothing lines. Flattered to bits, I jumped at the opportunity to find out more! So last week this time I was finishing up a project they gave me and preparing myself for a full day of interviewing and assessment testing. Well, let's just say I prepared for the interviews... the testing was a whole new ballgame. Remember the S.A.T.? I don't remember tearing up when I took it in highschool. :(

The next day, I was lucky enough to get a guided tour of the city and instantly fell in-love with all the beautiful brick houses and amazing parks, each with their own lake of course! How cold can it really get? Well, it seems the lakes freeze over, people drive their cars on them and even set up little huts to do some ice fishing. That seems pretty cold. Thank goodness I crochet, finally a place that appreciates a good hat with earflaps!

Everyone is in Europe right now so I still do not have an answer if I will be getting the job offer, so keep your fingers crossed for me. As much as I love San Diego and the projects I get freelancing, for the right position I can make most anywhere home. Bummer if I end up still stuck in San Diego!!

Saturday, September 15, 2007

First Blog

You would think that with as much time I spend on the computer (I am a full-time freelance graphic designer and illustrator) and considering the expansive collection of websites I have bookmarked, regularly checking up on due to the lovely system called RSS Feeds, I would not have waited until the later third of the year 2007 to start my own blog. But I'm not a writer (as you can already see from my excessive run-on sentence from the get-go) but I do love the accessibility and resourcefulness of a good blog... so I might as well capture my daily musings all in one place too. Surely I don't have enough things to keep me busy already...