Friday, November 30, 2007

Homage to Squirrels

Out of all these images, only the first one did I find new for this post (from Elsewares). All the others are somewhere hidden in my collection of necessary-pictures-to-keep-me-smiling. I save images I find on the internet and most of them eventually find their way into my "wallpaper" folder that my ibook links to every 5 minutes for a new picture on my desktop. Always inspiring!

It's the second image in this post that inspired me to blog about squirrels today. The artist's name is Cecilie Ellefsen and she is a very talented illustrator whose work makes me smile from ear to ear. You can buy this print and other clever creations at her Etsy site.

Unfortunately I'm not very good at always recording my sources of images found and so all the credit I can give for pic 3 is somewhere on Flickr. I am pretty sure that the two photographs of actual squirrels were "borrowed" from LOVE THAT SITE!

The digital image of the squirrel with woodgrain is from Kirsten Ulve, another long time favorite illustrator of mine. I want this image on a tee, I'd wear it on every squirrel outing, I promise.

Last but not least is Johnny Yanok's "Orange" Kokeshi squirrel. If this piece isn't bought soon, I swear I am going to claim it as my own. It's just too wonderful! I adore Johnny's work and to have it mixed with a wood Kokeshi is simply brilliant.

So... to squirrels everywhere, this one's for you! Cheers!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

CELËNE: Seasonal Disorder Dec. 1 - 22

The Playa Gallery in San Diego, CA will present an exhibition of paintings by celëne entitled, 'Seasonal Disorder.' The exhibition will open December 1st and continue through December 22nd 2007 with an artist reception December 1st from 7-10 pm. It will be the first opportunity for the public to view these works in person.

The Playa Gallery is located at 2938 Adams Ave. San Diego CA 92116.
The gallery will be a view by appointment show after the reception December 1st. For further information please go to

San Diego band A Beautiful Noise will spin their favorite vinyl while liquid refreshments and snacky treats will be served.

For further information visit

This is the incredibly talented celëne. Be sure to stop by her show and say a "Hello".

Celëne: Front
celëne's enchanting Kokeshi available through Subtext.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007


I haven't seen my father in 2 1/2 years so I guess it was time for a reunion. But San Diego is WAY more fun than Fort Worth so I managed to get a visit during Thanksgiving... it's been a VERY long time since we spent a holiday together and this was a very nice treat. Thanks Olga!

The Arrival:
First stop Subtext to show dad the Kokeshi show that has me walking on clouds. A very proud moment and I think dad was impressed. :)

Aubergine Friday Sushi Specials to die for! How have I gone on this long without knowing about this gem of a deal??? Met up with my sweetheart of a friend, Macoe, at Aubergine. We planned to visit the GRRRRRL Power show afterward but time was not our friend that evening, sorry Grrrrrrls. :(

Day 2
On the way to meet dad at Hash House A Go Go I spotted this lovely chirping hummingbird... reason #5,004 of why I love my city.

Hash House A Go-Go with plates bigger than your head and enough food on one plate to feed a small family. Seriously, don't miss this eatery. Order lightly. :)

The only proper way to follow mass eating is with mass shopping and Kobey's Swap Meet is the best place around to fill every shopping list you have and get your exercise in. This place is huge and you always find stuff you never knew you needed.

Day 3:
Dad suggested we visit Old Town, I was hesitant but thoroughly impressed when we got there. It has been awhile since I was last there and it really does have a lot to see. Yay, Old Town! Definitely check out Old Town Mexican Cafe when you're there, fresh torillas being made right before your eyes.

Met up with Spicy Brown's Scott Brown and his adorable family at Subtext to talk shop. What could be in the works??? Stay tuned!

Dad suggested finding things to do that I never treat myself to. I love a good comedy and theatre is always fun. The San Diego Rep always has something good going on so I picked "Sweet 15" which was comical and had fun costume changes. Worth a try!

Day 4:

Dad likes his port... but only Orfila's will do. We visited two wineries on the way to Temecula. Never made it to the locations on the map above, but, be sure to stop by all the lovely wineries in Temecula, only a short drive from San Diego (45 minutes).

Ended the evening with Thanksgiving meal shopping and then a stop over at Landmark Theatre in Hillcrest. I love living within walking distance of this place, always plenty to discover. We saw Darjeeling Limited, another charming Wes Anderson film. Royal Tenenbaums is still my favorite, but you can't go wrong with Wes Anderson.

Day 5
LOL, this is what I "hoped" our day trip to visit Los Angeles would include. I narrowed it down from 9 anticipated art stops to 3 and we barely made the last one. L.A., this place is so not practical.

Catalina Estrada at La Luz de Jesus Gallery. Beautiful with intricate details. More photos can be found here.

Close-up of one of Cati's paintings. Her Kokeshi fits in perfectly with this show. All the texturing begs for petting. I promise I didn't touch, except the Kokeshi... heehee.

Munky King Melrose currently has a yummy plush show called "Stuffed". Food never looked so friendly.
Canned Ham aka Haminal, hence the sqaure body shape. A pig never looked so happy to be "served".

Last place we visited was Storyopolis. But I was sad to see that it has changed owners and location and it's just not the same place it use to be. I was anticipating seeing Ana Juan's original paintings there but they had just been sent to Miami where a collector bought all but one painting Storyopolis had of hers. They were kind enough to bring out the one last piece so that made up a little. They had a lovely collection of original Nicoletta Ceccoli paintings. I was so rushed I was hardly able to appreciate the collection of illustrations in their gallery. Guess the place has good intentions afterall. They just need some magic to bring the place alive a little.

Six Flags!!! This map is your only guide through the park and it's as disorganized as it looks... the designer must have been having a bad day. It was painful to keep referring to. Just walk and ride and you'll do alright! Maybe take a breather if you're over 30, I don't remember rides shaking my brain and tummy so much. But it was still a fun day!

The Tatsu, my favorite!! It would take 2 people to hug these poles near the bottom, hopefully this gives you an idea of the height of the roller coaster.

I couldn't resist this last pic. Dad thought he was so cute buying the first photo of us on the Goliath but the next ride photo was too hilarious to pass up. Thanks Dad!

Day 7:
HAPPY THANKSGIVING!! My friend Justin made a delicious 19lb turkey and I whipped up the rest. I somehow screwed up the stuffing so I guess next year I'll just be a guest and not the chef. ;)
Dad and Justin anxiously awaiting to eat pumpkin pie. It was a lovely Thanksgiving and we learned a lot about dating Uruguayan style... thanks Marisol.

Dad left the next morning and I have been trying to get back to reality since. Thanks dad for all the fun and laughter. xox.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

I heart Kelly Tunstall

Glinda, The Good Witch of the North • Acrylic on Canvas • 12"x 16" via Suite 100 Gallery

via Kelly's MySpace

Studio via Kelly's MySpace

Robe • Collage in Shadow Box • 6.5" x 8.5" via Double Punch

I love coming across artists whose work I've never seen before, and I love me some Kelly Tunstall.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Insight to Kokeshi Project

A while back I was interviewed by Hoa Quach, a journalist for a local Asia based newspaper. These are my answers, unedited and off-the-cuff. Enjoy!

History of Cultural Day (Bunka-no-hi):
My blog entry for Bunka-no-hi.

What made you decide to get into this?

I have been slowly collecting designer vinyl toys for the past several years and have always wished there were more feminine, positive images and varied art styles being applied on the ‘toys’. I grew up loving Hello Kitty back before you could easily find items with her image. Now it’s everywhere, I’m a bit more grown up and I want to surround myself with items that have a deeper value than just a cute character and something you don’t see everyday. Don’t get me wrong, I still appreciate “cute”. :)

I love the idea behind designer vinyl toys: artists creating limited runs of designs on small toys. It is always inspiring to see the pieces that are completely unique, the custom designs where the object has been painted directly on. I’ve always been a fan of tactile art and especially love work that is straight from the artist’s hands. The Kokeshi is a perfect combination of the two.

My personal collection, the middle sized 2 in the center are the Kokeshi dolls I brought back from Japan. Since the custom Kokeshi show my collection has grown just a little. :)

The inspiration for working on the Kokeshi was from my personal collection (a whole TWO dolls) and wondering why it hadn’t been done before. It’s the ultimate ‘designer toy’ only most of us are unfamiliar with the Japanese artists that are associated with them. There’s even a yearly festival where the prize to the best Kokeshi is awarded. The Kokeshi group show came about when I approached a local gallery, Subtext, with my idea. 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. I had no idea the response to working on Kokeshi dolls would be so positive. If the artist I contacted had never heard of the doll then they suddenly were very excited about this “new” art form and for those that were already aware, they have collections of their own and a couple had already painted customs for themselves. Small world.

How long have you been doing this sort of art? Art in general?
My background is in Art Education, I graduated with a B.A. in Visual Art Studies and a minor in Education from the University of North Texas in Denton. I taught art to K thru 8th grade at a private school in Las Vegas, NV, before turning to graphic design when I moved to San Diego 7 years ago. Currently I am a full-time graphic designer and illustrator, with a strong emphasis on surface pattern design. I have always been involved with art since I was little. My mother was an artist and we were always making collages, our own coloring-books, sewing and drawing. She was exceptionally talented and I owe her so much for giving me this creative outlet turned career. Besides working digitally for my design work I also enjoy painting, photography, mosaic work and just about anything to do with paper. I started a networking group in SD for fellow creatives called ‘San Diego Social & Creative Network’ and currently I am a member of the art collective GRRRRRL Power.

How did you get 75 people from all around the world to the exhibit?
Have you done exhibits at such a large scale
before? How do you feel about it? :)
Originally I thought I might have around 30 artists in the Kokeshi show. I had high ambitions of getting more, but wasn’t too concerned if I was left with blank dolls, I knew I could paint them and give away as gifts for the next few years... lol. But, the response was so positive I quickly saw that I could start getting many more artists if I wanted... which was really nice because there are so many different people I wanted to include and I didn’t worry about where anyone lived, the postal system and internet made communication relatively easy.
Eventually we realized we needed more space so we reserved the connecting gallery then promptly managed to fill it’s space too. We didn’t want to crowd the dolls so I had to put a limit on the number of artists I could accept. When Subtext Gallery proposed making the show an annual event I could relax about not being able to include everyone I wanted this year. At final count we have 78 artists and 85 custom Kokeshi dolls for the show. I already have a list of over 60 new artists I want to invite next year.

This is the largest show I have curated, but really I have only worked on couple before this one and so I do not have too many to compare it to. I love working with this many talented artists, everyone is very friendly, responsive and disciplined, there haven’t been too many stresses just yet (keeping my fingers crossed).

Why is it important for people to see this? What makes it important for Japanese culture?
The reason I want to share the Kokeshi project with as many people as possible is multi-fold: Celebrate living artists and push their boundaries, Recognize another culture that has greatly influenced today’s art and toy design world and to bring non-traditional viewers of art together, all ages, backgrounds and interests. I especially love that so many artists from different cultures are working on this one very specific Japanese tradition. I have always had a soft spot in my heart for most everything Japanese. I visited Japan with my mother when I was a year old. We were visiting my father who was stationed there, he fully immersed himself in the culture and besides learning Japanese, he brought back many small treasures that decorated our home while growing up. Eventually I was able to visit Japan again 2 years ago and bring back my own lovely souvenirs, including the two inspiring Kokeshi dolls.

Do you think in this day in age, we, as a society, are losing an appreciation for the different types of cultures?
Regarding Kokeshi, it’s an art form that is underappreciated outside of Japan. I wish artists were respected in the States as much as they always have been in Japanese culture.
Fortunately, within the United States we have immediate access to many different cultures since almost everyone originally came from elsewhere in the world. But, I think as we lose connections with our own family history many wonderul things are being lost and forgotten. Talking to grandparents and relatives outside of the States helps keep a custom alive even if the participants are no longer living in the country of its original. Cross-over of multi-cultures helps inspire us and sometimes take a deeper look into our own family’s history. I know as a 3rd generation “mixed mutt” I wish I knew more about my own families traditions, but I’m so removed we’re not even sure if we’re part German, French... there’s some Swede in there and who knows what else. Appreciating other cultures that are I am aware of helps keep these traditions alive for many other people besides myself.

Are many Japanese Americans familiar of this type of art?
I really can’t say. Seems half the artists I contacted were aware of the Kokeshi and the other half happily introduced, but I really don’t know how many participating artists are Japanese Americans. Honestly, I never considered anyone’s background when inviting artists, if I was impressed with their work I contacted them. It’s a bit of a coincidence that a lot of the artists have Asian backgrounds. It’s never intentional but I often find I’m attracted to work that ends up having some Asian influence. I often joke that I must have been Japanese in a previous life.

My dad and me, Japan 1974.
My mom and me, Japan 1974.
Not too many blondes visiting Japan back in 1974, my mother caught lots of attention, often times being photographed by strangers. There's a photo I cannot find right now with her and me surrounded by Japanese photographers, I think my dad took this photo during that moment.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Inside Subtext

Without the crowd, Subtext space with Kokeshi show up. Starting today all pieces will be in the Subtext main space (the second room was rented for a week to accommodate the anticipated crowd during opening night). It's a lovely shop too, wonderful book selections and fun collectibles, drop by any day from 1pm to 7pm.

680 W. Beech St. No. 1
San Diego, CA 92101
T: 1 619 876 0664
F: 1 619 234 2062

Kokeshi Art Opening @ Subtext

Miss Mindy as cute as ever... with her lovely Kokeshi "Chicken BoyFriend".

Celëne all smiles with her pretty pretty Kokeshi "Into The Woods".

Florence Pacho dutifully proud of her sweet and shy untitled Kokeshi.

View of main gallery space and guests.

View of extended gallery space.

Me and artist Celëne caught discussing important matters.

Regretfully I do not have photos of every artist that was able to attend the opening. It only occurred to me after the socializing and many had already left. I have been waiting to post this event because somewhere out there supposedly there are more professional shots of the opening... but I couldn't wait any longer and I will post those on the Art Shoppe flickr page asap.

THANK YOU TO EVERYONE THAT CAME TO THE OPENING!!! It was a fabulous night and I am very proud of this incredible show. My warmest thank you to all those that made this project possible!


P.S. To see full images of all pieces click here.