Friday, March 13, 2009

Sources of Inspiration - Friday the 13th

As an artist, sources of inspiration are all around me. Tonight, these are my top picks for artistic inspiration throughout the weekend...

* Frances Trammell, my grandmother (that I never met) and an accomplished artist. Oddly enough, had a dream where I spoke with her the other night. Woke up extremely emotional. The next day sold a painting (for the first time in two years) and have experienced an interesting trend of artsy good luck since.

* Recent painting I'm working on in reds and yellows - title to be determined.

* Douglas Bean, pug extraordinaire and expert at sneezing on things. My dedicated sidekick. AKA drag queen pug, Deebleton, Deebey, Doug Bug, Ms. Douglas, etc.

* Pineapple Lick, favorite self-portrait. Did when I was 18 in my first year in college. Pineapple 'found' object from thrift store. Expensive purchase at all of $0.30.

* Oates, named of course after the infamous John Oates (Hall and Oates).

* Naughty Face. Me, as a drag queen, of course, putting on my face in the mirror.

On that note. Happy Friday.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

This evening's artistic inspiration

I explored my art desk at home to find lots of small sources of inspiration this evening...

paint chips, photograph from Durango trip where I discovered gargantuan dandelions, selection of hand-made cards I've been working on resting on top of a rusted box recently purchased from a thrift store, paint brushes against my Super Friends lunch box with ET lunchbox underneath, napkin art gift from Bruce McCullom, and picture of my Aunt Sally in her teens as a professional dancer seeming to float over a rose garden...

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Life's Soundtrack (at the moment)

Feeling very 'High Fidelity' at the moment, I'm inspired to try to determine top tracks that not only represent my life to date, but if I were stuck listening to a soundtrack of my life - what would it be? Admittedly, a work in progress, this is the list of top tracks of my life as of today, March 5, 2009:

* 'Mad Word' - Fears for Tears: 'Donnie Darko', a random flick, now top ten favorite films, solidified passion for this song.

* 'Just What I Needed' - The Cars: It rocks, need I say more.

* 'Crocodile Rock' - Elton John: nod to my childhood, dancing on a trampoline to Elton John (being played on vinyl), often with my rocking pops (Jim, aka 'Doodah') dancing with me at midnight when I should have been long asleep.

* 'Moonshadow' - Cat Stevens: pure nostalgia. Childhood memories + favorite album on vinyl + loving 'Harold & Maude'. I dig.

* 'I'm a Different Person - Turn My World Around' - : viva living in Boystown in Chicago for one of the best years of my life. Honestly. Kyle... best year ever. Rum & Diet, glitter, drag queens prettier than most females, identity, Roscoes on Sundays for 'dance-offs', what a great time period.

* 'Had I Known You Better Then' - Hall & Oates: Where do I start? Mike = pure, ruthless, Hall & Oates addict. We went to show in Denver to hear Oates. He played this song, and it was already one of our favorite tunes, but the experience solidified it. After the concert, I thanked Oates in person for playing this obscure song. To add to the myth of the song, when Mike proposed to me this year, he had this song in the background.

* 'Such Great Heights' The Postal Service: music that helped me find me, and in turn, my artwork. Three of my favorite paintings were developed after listening to this song on repeat. Simple. Concise. Transparent. I like.

* 'Scarlet Begonias' Grateful Dead: Oh, college years. This song fits and reminds me of my best bud, Kate. This song also inspired one of my favorite paintings ever... and somehow I blame this song for me going skydiving my freshman year in college. It's all good.

* 'Can't Always Get What You Want' - Rolling Stones: I remember singing this song out my window of my CRV with Kate, of course, my freshman year in college, roaring through neighborhoods in DC. It not only fit for the time period, but is a good song to keep in my back pocket for life.

* 'Girl from Impanema' - Astuad & Joao Gilberto: Grow a soul if you don't love this song.

* '1812 Overture' - Tchaikovsky: my childhood, my beloved old man with glass of Jack Daniels in hand, simply, honestly, intending to lead to the orchestra through this intimate piece. Perhaps, this song could be, the most appropriate piece to salute my dad, in all his glory? I just love the memories of climax of this piece with cannons & reminiscing about seeing splashes of cocktail in hand conducting an invisible symphony.

* 'Small Things' - Blink 182: Sadly, proudly, I used to 'heart' Blink182. Claim to pretend egotistical fame - I met them at Warped Tour in 1998 and have pictures will all band members minus Travis (drummer).

Such a tough topic... more modifications to this list to come...

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Beauty in the chaos

We've lived in Albuquerque for 2.5 years now - it seems like just yesterday I was in Chicago walking up seventy-five steps to get to my tiny studio apartment that had such poor water pressure, we had to use a spaghetti pot with water to help flush the toilet. Ah, memories.

Lately Albuquerque feels more like home than previous homes including both Chicago and even Maryland. We're in love with the weather, mountain views with plateau sunsets, smokey green chile local food, down-to-earth residents, and overall enthusiasm towards life out here. Things have fallen into place for us we feel largely because we followed our instincts to move out here together (yikes - after only knowing each other for four months).

I find pleasure in the small things in life - the random chaos that seems to weave throughout my entire day of lots of small, unique connections if less awake I'd miss. As a web geek, largely my recent 'wow' moments have been inspired by online experience that trickle over into 'real' world.

In Albuquerque, there is a local community site, Duke City Fix. The site was started by a small group of locals that had a vision to connect the community in an online meaningful format. The result - the site is up to 4,000 avid participants (out of a city that is 800,000 residents) and drives real world connections in meaningful ways.

Last month I planned a networking gig that pulled LinkedIn contacts and invited them to connect in the 'real' world for a happy hour. It drew about 60 local professionals out after work, and was a great success. However, after four hours straight of intense discussions and fake laughs, one can't help but feel a little drained.

On my way out of the bar, a stranger tapped me on the shoulder and handed me a napkin - with a portrait of me on it. It is a deliciously wonderful gesture, something that made my whole night, and the words written around the edges of the sketch were raw - "A night, an evening, time spent, time lost, begin again." I could not have summed up the networking experience better myself, and here, a breath of fresh air stands Bruce McCollum, a local napkin artist and musician in the band Martini Tones, making my night.

Inspired by the interaction, I zipped home and blogged about the experience on Duke City Fix. The post gets featured on the homepage, and feedback starts rolling in. Lots of people in Albuquerque have met Bruce, loved Bruce, and been lucky enough to receive a napkin portrait as well. There's more - a local gallery, Wooden Cow, exhibits his work - both the napkin sketches and the sketches blown up on canvas. Then, even better, Bruce himself catches wind of the online fervor about his work, joins the site, and gets the positive feedback that there are tons of locals who love him. Full circle.

Simultaneously, I enter a random "I love Albuquerque" contest where within twenty-five words you have to write a love poem to the city. I type out a sarcastic entry, hit send, and get a phone call a few weeks later - "Ms. Marshall, you're a finalist in our contest". Oh shoot, should have put more energy into it, and hope I can remember what I wrote!

The hosts of the contest, Local iQ (an independent arts publication) and AIBA (Albuquerque Independent Business Alliance), throw a party at a local Irish pub on last Thursday. Not only do I go, but I of course rally a group of pals to come along with to part take in the shenanigans.

Upon arrival, I run into lots of people that I know, and meet a handful of new, wildly interesting people. One of which is Raine Klover, the owner of Wooden Cow Gallery and one of my Duke City Fix pals. She recognized me from my 120x120 pixel image on the site - small world. One thing leads to another, Raine mentions that my artwork (martini women) might be a fit for her gallery, and now I'm in the process of organizing some pieces to submit for review.

Oh, and to add to the 'pay it forward' karma train, after the poetry party I had a vivid dream that my deceased artist grandmother, Frances Trammel, visited me and we had a long talk about art and continuing to paint. Then two days later for the first time in two years I sell a painting through a wonderful new connection I made on Twitter.

Beauty in the chaos. Wonder in the small details. There is something to say about a city this size filled with people that wear their hearts on their sleeves.