“Tiny Things:” Full Fucking Circle

Remember me? My name is Olivia, and sometimes I write fun little posts about whatever pops into my head. Well, today, there isn’t anything little about this post. That’s because this particular post has been 18+ months in the making.

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A watercolor sketch of a New Orleans shotgun house, that I would later base a series of print from

I attended Regis University and received a Bachelors of Art with a focus in printmaking and digital design. Regis so graciously reserves its gallery space for alumni each summer. So, what seems like a million years ago, I wrote up a proposal and put together a powerpoint for a show I wanted to call “Tiny Things.” After presenting my idea to the core members of the art department, there was some concern as to whether or not I would be able to fill the large gallery space – being that I worked at such a small scale (whatever). Because of this, another printmaker was brought in, Angel Estrada.

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Angel and I close out one of our earliest meetings regarding the show

This isn’t the part where I get mushy, but trust me, it is coming. Angel also attended Regis, and like me, he spent his time in the art department focusing on printmaking. I had taken classes with him, but didn’t know him well. However, I was very familiar with his work as well as his philosophy on printmaking, and art in general (read more about that here), and so I was more than happy to work with him.

When he was asked to join by our mentor, Gene, Angel wasn’t given very much information about my original proposal, other than the focus on smallness. Prior to working together, Angel had been working on very expressive, abstract landscape monotypes. So, with the idea of “smallness” in mind, he scaled his prints way down.

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Angel’s early work for the show

In contrast, I had been working on linocuts with very straightforward, recognizable imagery.

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An inked linoleum plate of mine

Though our styles were very different, we found a shared love of the process of printmaking itself. Early on we decided that we wanted “process” to be a central focus of the show. At the time, we envisioned that as a literal explanation of the various steps involved in creating a finished piece. Later, we came to view “process” in relation to our show as something very different.

As we worked together on the show, I found that Angel and I had formed a partnership. We were no longer two artists creating separate work a shared space; we were collaborators working together to create one cohesive body of work, though it wasn’t yet clear to us how exactly our work fit together. And as time went on, this partnership transcended beyond our work on the show. We began to include each other in our various independent creative indevers, and seeking out the other’s criticisms for work unrelated to the show.

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My and Angel’s booth at the Broomfield Brewhaha

Angel’s work for the show began to evolve from very abstract and expressive to much more literal. He began playing with the repeatability of intaglio and relief printing to express the same landscape, but using varying ink, registration and watercolor to convey the different times of day.

In its early inception, a show built around the idea of the work’s process would look something like what you see below. We also played around with the idea of including our sketchbook pages, notes and possibly imagery that inspired the work.

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Stage 1: carving the plate

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Stage 2: printing the image

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Stage 3: adding watercolor

While Angel was reinventing his strategy, I, in turn, was reinventing the presentation of my existing imagery. My use of the linocut medium remained consistent throughout my work on the show. Instead, I looked for ways of changing the presentation of and reusing the same blocks.

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“Save the Bees”

After a while, I hit a plateau where I was printing old blocks without much of a rhyme or reason, simply to build up my body of work for the show. I think that maybe both of us had lost sight of our concept, and therefor had stopped making work that fit into its constraints. I don’t see this as a bad thing. I think it was important for us to step back from trying to make our work fit into any one idea, and let the work speak for itself. To be completely honest, in the 18+ months we worked together, it wasn’t until all of our work was complete (about two weeks before the show) that we were clearly able to see what the show was truly about.

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Angel’s experimentation with registration

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Progress

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More progress

Angel has a studio space that he has been kind enough to open up to me. To celebrate March, the Month of Printmaking, the director of his studio allowed Angel to curate a communal gallery space in the building to showcase some of the many different kinds of printmaking. Angel invited me to participate, and we used the center of the space to test out our ideas for our show. Though it didn’t actually convey our initial ideas for the show, it did remind me of our dwindling timeline, and reignite my excitement and anxiety.

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Angel and I celebrating the Month of Printmaking at the Studios at GRACE

Towards the end of our collaboration, we started to notice that Angel’s work started out very abstract and expressive and slowly evolved into recognizable imagery in a very traditional printmaking format. Conversely, My work started out in a very traditional black and white format and evolved into more colorful and expressive work.

From there we started to connect the dots to what process really meant for us. It wasn’t  the physical process we had initially planned for, but instead, the mental creative process. Angel had a concept that he was constantly trying to reinvent. I had an image that I was constantly trying to reinvent. While Angel’s process read left to right, mine read top to bottom. And we began to see, maybe for the first time, a very clear picture of the show.

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Some of the last work Angel created for the show

From the very first time we met to discuss the show, Angel and I decided that we wanted to somehow incorporate bees into the show. We loved the idea of a hive mentality – not in a 1984 Orwellian loss of free will and individuality type of way, but rather multiple parts moving instinctively at once to accomplish a common goal. To us, this exemplified how our show would come together.

Throwing around some ideas as to how we could incorporate this theme, our mentor Gene suggested an installation, possibly a mobile. From that point on we knew it had to be done.

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Bee imagery for our instillation

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A close up

Now that we had a complete body of work as well as a concrete explanation of how it all related to each other, we could finally begin working on the final phase; the presentation.

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Organizing the gallery space

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My and Angel’s complete body of work!

After about two straight days of cutting, taping, stringing and mounting, we delivered our work to the gallery space.

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Installing the bees

And finally, on June 15th, the evening we had prepared for for what seemed like forever had finally arrived. It was the opening reception for the show “Tiny Things.” The show will be up in the O’Sullivan Art Gallery at Regis university through July 22nd. If you happen to be in the Denver area, go check it out.

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A portion of the gallery

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Angel and I toasting to a successful evening

Now, as promised, the mushy part. I am very thankful to live a life in which I am able to devote so much time to creating art. This has been especially true over the course of time I’ve worked on this show. I’m endlessly grateful to my family and friends for their constant support, and to Angel, whose partnership has been invaluable. Not only has he had a major impact on my work, but he has also challenged me to push myself and inspired me to see the world in different ways. What began as a simple pairing of artists has blossomed into a truly beautiful friendship that I am immensely grateful for.

Finally, I’ve had a handful of teachers and mentors in my life who have helped me to see my potential as an artist, but none have been more influential than Eugene Stewart. Whether he’s helping me learn a new technique or making me a fancy cup coffee, he never ceases to amaze me. Gene brought Angel and I together, and I think I speak for Angel and myself when I say this show wouldn’t be what it is without his guidance.

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Angel, Gene and myself at the reception of “Tiny Things”

Month of Printmaking

Last night was the opening of the show “Exhibition” curated by my friend Angel Estrada (see post My Artist Friends) celebrating March, the month of printmaking. The show is composed of art created by several different local printmakers, including myself. Printmaking is a broad term that encompasses many sub categories of different techniques and methodologies. Angel did a fantastic job of representing a wide variety of the many types prints.  “Exhibition” will be hanging through the 31st of March, and I absolutely recommend checking it out if you’re in the Denver area. It’s located at the Studios at GRACe 888 E 50th Ave. It’s a tricky spot to find but definitely worth the trip. Most of the art can be purchased, and why not support some extremely talented locals??

#metoo, but…

I’m going to try and keep this as coherent and on track as possible without getting overly analytical. I have a lot to say about this topic, but I’ll try to keep it concise. Bear with me.

My mom called me the other day to express how sad she was about the recent sexual harassment allegations brought against James Franco. I found it odd that in respect to claims against Trump and Weinstein, all around garbage humans, she was disgusted. But in response to Franco, someone she gushes over at every opportunity, she was sad. It was a reminder to me that in the coming weeks, months and years, as more and more instances of sexual assault and harassment are brought to light, we can’t simply villainize the perpetrators who are easily condemned. Those who are outwardly creeps. Because there are going to be “good guys” who disappoint us too; the guys who attended the women’s march, politicians who vote pro choice, and actors that we can easily project our perfect man onto. These men will also let us down, and it’s important to hold them just as accountable as the pussy grabbers of the world.

I’ve experienced countless instances of being touched by men in bars that I have not given permission to touch me. So much so that after a while, it seems to just come with the territory, I don’t think twice about it. I think many women can agree with that statement. And that’s wrong. In that same vain, I recently read something along the lines of “a lot of women will be able to relate to the encounter, and most men won’t see what’s wrong with it,” of the accusations made against Aziz Ansari. Whether or not what he did should be considered sexual assault, it’s a good point. It’s something I’ve been thinking about quite a lot lately, and it opens the door to a larger conversation that we should be having; what constitutes as completely consensual sex?

I’ve read time after time about women who are hesitant to label their experience rape, or themselves a victim. Whether it’s because as a whole, we’ve become desensitized to this sort of thing, or it’s an act of self preservation, I’m not sure. But it’s something I have some experience with as well. I won’t get into the details, but essentially what happened is this: I was on a date with a guy I’ve known for a long time, someone I considered a friend (and still do?). On the date we had a few drinks with dinner and then went back to his house, where we continued to drink. Full disclosure, I was pretty drunk and needed to stay the night. However, I stated clearly and more than once “I don’t want to have sex tonight.” I don’t remember much after that, but I woke up early the next morning naked in his bed. We had clearly had sex.

There are a lot of things I could say here. It’s really hard for me to reconcile what happened that night. But I went out with him again after this incident, and we still talk on occasion. If I was reading this story as someone else, it would be clear to me that this girl was raped. But I still stop myself from calling it by that word. Maybe it’s because I’ve had my share of drunken sex. I will say, when I woke up that morning, this felt different. Something in the pit of my stomach told me something was really wrong. And when I reflect on that night, I get the bad goosebumps that I have to shake away.

This is not a ploy to gain attention nor is it an attempt at revenge– I’m writing this without any ulterior motives. The fact that I have to say this shows how far we still have to go. However, my point is, this sort of sexual encounter is normalized. So much so that it’s almost expected. And if a woman is shocked to have experienced it, we call her naive. Normalizing this sort of behavior is exactly why even the good guys are now letting us down. It’s possible to be a good person in most respects, and assault a woman. This doesn’t make their actions any less despicable than a dirty business man or the pervy politician that mall security has to look out for. Both are a product of our culture. One with schools that tells 11 year old girls to cover up, instead of telling 11 year old boys to respect everyone’s personal boundaries. One that tells a woman she’s asking for it, simply by wearing a tight shirt. One that says “boys will be boys.”

I’m not saying that all men are evil. As a society we need to do better at educating everyone about boundaries and respect. This isn’t anything that hasn’t already been said. Having to explain and re explain it almost feels like screaming into a void, but it’s important that we do. We need to keep talking about it. That’s the only way we’re going to affect change.

 

International Print Exchange 2017

“The International Print Exchange is an unjuried print exchange with no assigned theme, open to all, that celebrates fine art printmaking.”

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A few months back, I was looking for ways to connect with other printmakers and build up my art collection. I’d heard of small batch print exchanges and thought that sounded really interesting. In a very brief online search, I came across the IPE where artists from all over the world submit ten editions of a print to be displayed in a an exhibition and exchanged with other artists. Super interesting, right?!

A few months later, I’m sending my prints to the UK (in an extremely expensive package, I might add. Note to self: stop procrastinating). Which, in itself, I found pretty cool. My art was becoming more worldly than myself.

Last week, after MUCH anticipation, I finally received my assortment of prints (shown below).  The prints themselves are really beautiful, but I’ve been the most delighted to learn about where they came from and who made them. A quick search on the IPE website provides some artist info, professional websites, instagrams and facebook pages. It might sound pretty stalkerish, but over the past few days, I’ve dedicated a LOT of time to learning about the artists who created my new print collection.

I’ve been nerding out pretty hard ever since I learned about this particular exchange. And I have to say, I haven’t been this excited about a project in a long time. I think this is a really awesome and unique opportunity to collect art and connect with artists who share my same passion all over the world. I can’t wait to do it all over again next year!

Below are the prints I received. You can view the entire exchange and exhibit on the IPE website: www.internationalprintechange.org

 

Laura Finella Welburn | UNITED KINGDOM

“Hench” Linocut

 

Larry B. Prestwich | UNITED STATES

“There was a Record” Solar Etching

 

Alan Jenkins | UNITED KINGDOM

“Found” Drypoint

 

Veronica Caranza Lopez | COSTA RICA

“Esperando Las Tres De La Manana” Xilografia

 

Gajraj Chavan | INDIA

“Rhythm” Linocut

 

Saeko Matsushita | FRANCE

“Enchanted” Etching

 

Stacey Cox | AUSTRALIA

“Dancing Spirit” Linocut

 

Maureen McAdams | UNITED KINGDOM

“Poverty” Hand Letter Press

 

To find out more about the exchange and its participants visit their website:   www.internationalprintexchange.org/

 

My Artist Friends

I have a lot of extremely talented creative people in my life. It’s important for an artist to be surrounded by other artists, since they are a constant source of inspiration and critical evaluation. For me, it just sort of happened that way. I’ve met all of the people mentioned below at various points in my life, and they’ve all had a major influence both in my art and on who I am now. I asked each of them to describe the work they do and why they love it. We all create very different kinds of art from one another, with very different philosophies and methodologies, but we all share the same passion. It’s crucial for an artist to surround herself with other people who share the same passion. They serve as a constant source of support, unconditional love, and understanding.

Sarah Martin – Photogropher

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“As a photographer I love that my camera is an extension of myself. While a camera is perfect for capturing those Kodak moments, it’s the imperfect moments I find so special. I prefer to shoot candid portraits or street photography, to capture the beauty of people, women in particular, in their most honest state (when no one is watching).” 

I met Sarah in college on the first day of 2D Design. She told me that she liked my Steve Madden boots, and the rest is history. We’ve seen each other at our best, but more importantly, we’ve seen each other at our absolute worst. She is my life partner, maid of honor, godmother to be, etc etc. Sarah has had one of the biggest influences on me as in artist, but also as a person. She inspires me every day to pursue my passion, no matter what else might be going on. She has a full time job (actually a really amazing job), but she picks up odd jobs here and there photographing and writing – not for the money, but because her life would not be complete without these pieces. Because of her, I know that I am first and foremost an artist, no matter how I actually earn a living. She’s taught me that a “career” does not define my life. In so many ways she’s taught me to forget about my insecurities and just love myself – that as long as I’m happy, the rest will figure itself out. Because of Sarah, I’ve spent the last two years making prints on kitchen counters with spoons and rolling pins, all because my life wouldn’t be complete without art. She reminds me of this daily. Her drive and persistence are some of my favorite things about her, and it’s pushed me to persevere as well. Sarah lives a full timezone away from me these days. Modern technology makes it incredibly easy to stay in touch, but some days I still feel like I’m in a long distance relationship. Much like a true couple, we have to work hard at our friendship. But we make it work, we have to, because our lives would not be complete without each other. I don’t believe in soul mates, but if ever there were such a thing, she is mine without question.

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“Jeune Femme.”

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“Sur la Seine.”

Click here to see more of Sarah’s work.

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Stephanie Bianca – Fashion Designer

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“I design & create custom clothing & swimwear using a mix of sustainable design techniques & materials. I started with a focus on custom swimwear and since then have evolved to designing luxury streetwear. My design process starts with an idea, a vibe, a color… I allow my creativity to flow to create something unique and personal. I love making clothes that evoke emotion and show personality. When you wear clothes that speak to your true self – it’s a fucking amazing feeling that I think everyone should be able to enjoy.”

I met Stephanie at Pratt. We were both doing a pre-college summer fashion program (this clearly worked out for her. For me, not so much). We ran around New York like you can imagine a couple of teenagers let loose would. We acted like assholes on the subway, and we bought the most disgusting rum punch you can imagine to drink with our Oreos. Apparently to other girls in the program, we were the “mean girls.” Honestly, I just thought we were funnier than everyone else. That was about 8 years ago. Since then, Stephanie and I haven’t stayed especially close. Our small group of friends from Pratt all but lost touch. Stephanie and I have kept tabs on each other via social media where we’ve exchanged the occasional pleasantries. So when she told me she was planning on moving to Denver, I was pretty excited. Ever since graduating from college, my core group of friends in the Denver area have slowly begun moving away, and I’ve started to feel a bit lonely in the city I’ve worked so hard to make my home. So you can imagine how thrilled I was to have a familiar face back in the city. To be honest I was afraid it was going to be awkward the first time we made plans. You know those friends who you don’t see often, but when you get together it’s like no time has passed? Well this is the most extreme instance of that I’ve ever experienced. 8 years! And it’s seriously like nothing has changed. She also made me THE MOST DOPE sweatshirt that I’m actually wearing  right now. I haven’t really touched on her talent, but believe me, she has a gift. I’m so happy we finally live in the same city, and I can’t wait to get to know her all over again.

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“Erica Hoodie.”

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Custom Bikini.

Click here to see more of Stephanie’s work and shop her collection.

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Mathew Brian – Painter

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“My mother helped me discover my interest in art.  She mainly worked with watercolors which is how I started painting.  From there I moved to pastels and charcoal pencils.  I stopped painting as much to focus on swimming year round then picked it up when I moved to Denver in 2007.  My aunt and uncle had a gallery in the highlands near 38th and Yates that they owned until my uncle passed away in 2009.  Uncle Bob had a lot of influence on my venture into abstract painting and landscapes.  I would describe my work as modern eclectic based from a mix of abstract expressionism and fauvism.”

I met Mat on my first day of work at Hanna Andersson. He asked me if I knew how to board fold…in a demon voice. It was love at first sight. We bonded instantly over our creative natures as well as plans to attend the Women’s March. I rambled on about my then boyfriend’s unwillingness to accept me for who I was, and he showed me all the best wallpaper Instagram accounts to follow. I learned very quickly that Mat is a very passionate person. Much like colors in his paintings, Mat is very highly saturated. His heart is fully in everything that he does, and he wears his emotions on his sleeve. Mat works tirelessly to realize his privilege, thinking about how he can use that privilege to help people without a voice. Mat doesn’t just advocate for whatever social cause is in the spotlight that moment. He is an advocate for everyone, all the time. He never turns it off, which sometimes seems impossible because the ferocity of his passion burns so brightly, but it really is constant. In that same respect, Mat is an extremely fierce friend. Not just when he needs to be; when he sees me going through a hard time, or when he’s celebrating my good news. He’s an advocate for me all day, everyday. He also doesn’t take compliments well – they make him feel awkward. Which is why I’m so thrilled he agreed to be a part of this post. He deserves all of the support and attention that he provides to everyone else. Mat makes me want to use every platform at my disposal to build others up and make sure their voices are heard too. I think his paintings are a perfect representation of himself: bold, pure, and genuine.

“Captain.”

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“Sunday Morning.”

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Angel Estrada – Printmaker

img_6930“Landscape is a subject matter that is universal enough for anyone to find meaning within, whatever that may be. Allowing the viewer to travel in the image is what I aim for, the invention of a place in a picture for someone to get lost in if they so choose. The landscape has been ever present for me and I thought it would be the best muse for the pictures I am trying to put into motion. Abstraction, it is the vehicle that I have choose and deemed best for me to invent these landscapes. The abstraction isn’t completely void of representation. Composition, color, and lines are there and they help shape the horizon, the forms and shapes of the land but still leave it open to the viewer’s interpretation. I want the viewer to have a conversation with the piece that they see. Tell me what you see, don’t tell me, hold it and keep it. Lock it away in your own vault of experience. That is why I invent pictures. Communication that is silent but effective for the viewer. I am not calling them to struggle, to pick the image apart or try to figure out if there is a deeper message. It is theirs, no one else’s. If they hate it, love it or fall somewhere in between, that is theirs and no one can steal it from them. I feel that land is experienced in the same way. A person can look out on the landscape and feel whatever emotion comes to them in that moment of looking out. I am trying to invite that type of experience into the prints I am making.”

Last winter I applied for a solo alumni show at the O’Sullivan art gallery at Regis University. After a lot of thoughtful consideration, the art department at Regis granted me a duel show with Angel. I’d met Angel in a Printmaking studio class, and occasionally saw him in passing outside of class in undergrad, but that was the extent of our relationship. I did know that I found his work very striking, and unlike a lot of our peers, I was impressed with how he talked about his work and gave critical feedback to others. So, if I was going to do a show with anyone, I was pleased it was him. Since them, I’ve spent a lot of time with him, I’ve gotten to know him better, and I’ve forced him to sing karaoke to a large group of vacationing gays. And now, I can’t think of a single person I’d prefer to be sharing a gallery space with. We share a similar love for the process of printmaking that makes it hard for either of us to discard pieces that are less than successful. But more so, he offers me open honest feedback on my prints, which is invaluable while preparing a cohesive body of work.  I’m endlessly amazed at what Angel is able to achieve with very minimal mark making and how his experimentation results in just the most stunning color pallets. His work  makes me want to push my art and try new things. I am also immensely grateful for Angel because, whether he knows it or not, he forces me to be accountable. Working with him makes me want to be more reliable, more responsible. All the while, he’s accepted and really embraced me for who I am. He’s allowed me to be completely myself in a show that is only half mine, and I love him so much for that. I’m so overjoyed this show brought us together.

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Landscape Series 4

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Landscape Series 2

Click here to see more of Angel’s work.

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Lucienne Christman – Hair Designer

img_6927“On impulse, I decided to combine my art school training with my love of high fashion by entering the world of craft hairdressing. To me, manipulating hair is like working with the finest silk fibers; tinkering with lines and shapes to create weight or airy movement on a live canvas. When it comes to hair design, I’m heavily influenced by the geometric mod looks from the 60’s  in both my shorter cuts and editorial styles. However, the collaborative element that comes from working on a live model is what makes it the most stimulating and rewarding.”

Lucie. There are no words that properly do her justice. I mean that in the best and worst possible way. She’s my off the wall friend that I have always been able to count on in supporting any and all of my truly terrible ideas. Everyone needs this friend, especially every artist. Because what is art without taking risks, what is life? Lucie is always her most honest self, all parts of her equally magnified at all times, and she does not apologize for this. Her fearlessness has always been inspiring to me, even when it’s been hard to watch. Almost out of no where, she decided  to dive into a career in hair, and when she did this, she found her passion; her way to do what she loves and get paid for it. This sort of leap of faith is something a lot of people are not able to make. Maybe because it isn’t cautious or well thought out, but caution has never been Lucie’s style. And her spontaneity has gotten her to where she is today; a successful hair designer, living her best life. Me and Lucie have always seen ourselves as sisters, twins even, but the older we get, the more we fall in line with the grown ups we are meant to be, I realize we’re not sisters at all. Lucie is my alter ego, she is the person I wish I had the courage to be. We’ve had almost symmetrical lives in our upbringings, education, appearance, style and friends. But as we go through life parallel to one another, she has the capacity to think and act in ways that I do not. When I replay a scenario in my head, I play it out how Lucie would have handled it, bold and unapologetic. I strive to have even a fraction of her nerve. Like I said, sometimes it’s been hard to watch Lucie throw herself all in to her spontaneous, and sometimes insane, ideas. But when I saw her successfully finish hair school, and when I listened to her talking about her future plans, I’ve never admired her more. I’ve never been more proud of this grown up version of my alter ego – which gives me hope for my own future, the grown up version of myself. And Lucie, I thank you so much for that.

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Olivia Williams – Graphic Designer

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“I spent 10,000 hours in college to become a Graphic Designer, perfecting my craft and learning the different elements of design. I love being able to express myself through a computer because I find that there are endless possibilities to what I can create. I love incorporating my love for fashion, music and art in to my designs and collaborating with other creatives who have the same passion. Whether you are a creative who loves to paint or a creative who loves to sing, the most important thing is to create something every single day. We are meant to use our minds that way and share it with the world, and thats the best part!”

I’ve known Olivia (actually, that sounds weird. It’s really just Livi) since high school. In 2009, Livi missed the first week of school because she had swine flu. This might seem irrelevant, but it’s not. All day everyday that week, she and her sister Zoe (who also had swine flu) sent pictures and videos of the two dancing and acting just as insane as they always did. Here, this girl had the flu, a really weird flu that everyone was freaking out about at the time, but she refused to lay in bed feeling sorry for herself. So she got up and danced. This, to me, perfectly sums up Livi Williams. I was friends with Livi’s sister Zoe, but as anyone who knows the Williams sisters can attest, they are a package deal. So I became friends with Livi as well. For as long as I’ve known her, she’s danced over every roadblock that comes her way. Her style and her creative eye have always been entirely her own. When she wasn’t outright embraced for this, she embraced herself. She built this stunning website to showcase her talent. She continued to push herself to keep creating, she invested in herself. And it paid off because now she is living every graphic designer’s dream in NYC. She has helped me see the importance in owning my craft, even after being turned down from job after job. She has shown me I can’t wait around for big things to happen, I have to make them happen. Because eventually, if I work hard enough, my craft will spill over into my career. That’s exactly what she’s made happen for herself. And I think that’s a lesson every artist needs to learn, because no one is going to get you to where you need to be except you. And Livi danced herself all the way to where she is now.

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The Wall Series

Click here to view more of Livi’s work.

HÄUSER

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In t minus one year, me and a former classmate/ fellow printmaker will be co-hosting an alumni show at Regis University (more about that later). Over the summer we’ve been working together on various type of printmaking. A week or so ago we had a chine collé day. I decided to revisit the shotgun homes with some of the colorful tissues I have laying around. From there I added accents with acrylic paint. This is the result.

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Advice For Men on Bumble (and other observations about modern dating)

Being that I’m a single woman about town, and being that my last romantic experience was less that successful (see previous post) I’ve decided to join the world of smart dating (which is an extremely misleading name by the way). Do you like how this blog is quickly veering away from my art and hurdling towards a more wannabe Sex and the City meets Penthouse vibe?

Bumble is an extremely simple app. It requires very little information from a person. Anyone is capable of selecting 6 decent pictures of themselves and providing minimal personal details that don’t make them look like an idiot; there’s little room for error. My dog could do it. And yet, here we are. There are so many things people don’t need to get out of a first impression. For instance, right now I’m siting on the couch, sans pants, eating a loaf of french bread for dinner and watching Locked Up Abroad. Do you think I took a picture of that and posted it on my Bumble profile? Absolutely not. Is it something I do? Obviously, but I don’t advertise it on social media (oh wait). The point is, it’s very easy to pick out the best parts of yourself to display on this sort of forum. So if you are making any of the mistakes listed below, I want you to delete bumble, work on yourself, and then come back when you’re actually prepared to interact with women. (Note: be aware that these tips are very specific to my own personal preferences. Other women are much less judgmental than myself.)

 

1. All of your pictures are group pics

We’ll start off with a no brainer. This is a scenario in which 99% of the decision is based off your face. YOUR face. If every single picture is with a large group, how on earth am I supposed to know which one is you? Either you don’t understand how Bumble works, or you’re trying to camouflage yourself; neither of which make you especially appealing. Next.

 

2. All of your picture are goofy AF

Your profile reads “looking for a serious commitment, no hookups,” and yet, in your profile pic, you’re making world’s derpiest face while wearing a sombrero and a cape. You’re sending me mixed messages, bro. And in this fast paced game of swipe, I don’t have time to sort it out. Next.

 

3. Jorts

This doesn’t just apply to bumble, it applies to life. If you have them, burn them. And certainly don’t post pictures wearing them. Unless you’re a dad at a BBQ with your Salt Life t-shirt tucked in, wielding an NFL themed spatula. In which case, you’re probably not within my parameters anyway. Next.

 

4. All of your pictures are selfies

Do you have friends? Negative points if it’s a gym selfie. This might seem to contradict the “all of your pics are group pics” rule, but really, I’m just looking for variety. And please PLEASE don’t stand in the mirror wearing a towel very low on your hips. I’ve never met a girl in the history of bathroom mirror pics who didn’t find that setup hilarious, and not in a good way. Next.

 

5. Your bio is some sort of clever joke or limerick 

You’re quoting Dwight from The Office? How hilarious are you. You copy and pasted some silly wordplay you found on GQ’s website? So original! This tells me NOTHING about you except that I hate your brand of humor. I need my men to be sarcastic and cynical, not living versions New York Times comics. Next.

 

6. There are girls in your pictures

Ok, she’s your sister. How am I supposed to know that? All I know is that she’s cuter than me, and I don’t want to deal with it. Also, why are you embracing in a hammock while looking into each other’s eyes? Do you know anything about women? Next.

 

7. You appear to be a pseudo model

Looking away from the camera? Black and white (or better yet, sepia)? Mysterious wind blowing through your mostly unbuttoned white linen shit? I’m not sure why you’re standing against this cement wall with seemingly no other people around in what appears to be an alley in Barcelona deep in thought. If I go to Barcelona, I certainly don’t want to spend my time as your personal photographer. Next.

 

8. You’re holding a fish/gun

Oh, I see you’re a real man. Thank god, now I know you can hunt and fish while I forage for berries and tan your furs. Next.

 

9. Your Mom and/ or a (any) baby is in the picture

I’m not biting. What you’re doing is obvious and a little bit twisted. Now, do you have a dog? Please, tell me more about this dog; post as many dog pics as you’d like. That I’d be into. Mom? Not so much. Next.

 

10. You’re playing a guitar in your pictures

This is a tough one. I say that because only under an extremely specific set of circumstances does this do it for me. Otherwise, you come off as pretentious. I’m already having nightmares about the truly awful song you wrote for me that I have to sit through, with the backdrop of your Urban Outfitters tapestry and empty Busch Light cans. Next.

 

11. You’re “looking for a cuddle buddy”

This is the most important rule of all. Nuff said. Next.

 

For the sake of being fair, this is my profile. Judge away.

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If we’ve matched, congratulations! You’ve made it past my impossible and unreasonable standards by which I choose a partner. (I’d like to think my expectations are realistic, but let’s all be honest here; I’ve pooped in a bucket, I deserve to be alone forever).

One interesting aspect of Bumble is that (for straight couples) the woman is the one who makes the first move. The downside to that is that it creates a whole new way for me to be rejected. This is to say that too often I’ll match with a dude, say hello and get no response. Which is confusing to me but simultaneously makes me a giant hypocrite. While I can’t fathom why you would swipe right only to ignore me, I frequently match with someone and then knowingly run down the clock without making contact. I contradict myself in most areas of life and Bumble is not an exception. I’m infuriated by men who ignore me in this forum, but frequently ignore men who have matched with me. I guess we all get a little trigger happy with the swipe right?

If and when you do proceed to conversation, it’s usually a few lines of (somewhat) witty banter followed by the inevitable “wanna grab coffee/ a drink sometime?” At which point you say yes, and then text everyone you’ve ever met your location alongside this man’s Bumble profile pic. Is it only my mom that panics at the thought of a Bumble encounter IRL? In my opinion, it’s just like any other blind date, but in the age of technology, everyone has the potential to be a serial killer.

Once you’ve met, and established you’re in no imminent danger, it is in fact just like any other first date. There’s the semi-awkward smalltalk, followed by family history and so on. It’s interesting to me the ratio of people who are on Tinder/Bumble/Hinge/Grinder etc. versus the number of people who disclose having met a sig o via one of these apps. I can’t believe that there are millions of people who use a service that results in absolutely no relationships, however minor. Which basically tells me that no matter how prevalent it may be, online dating of any form is still taboo.

We literally do every single thing via apps. Order coffee, pay bills, adopt dogs… Last month I ordered an HDMI cord and a Three Musketeers bar via goPuff at 1am. So it only makes sense that we can now order dates like Chinese food with one swipe. I myself pride myself in my ability to operate my entire life almost exclusively through my phone. But if a guy on Bumble did fit my extremely specific criteria, and we got married and had children, would I tell my kids the real story of how I met their father? Would I tell anyone outside of my immediate friend group? My parents? I don’t have an answer for that right now. Revise your Bumble profiles and I’ll get back to you.