MEANWHILE…

Well, hello again! I’m really bad at the whole regular updates thing, but oh well! I’m a busy gal! I’ve been lucky enough to have a lot of design projects on my plate lately. Ones that have thoroughly entertained me and haven’t at all been a total burden, which is awesome! I think part of that has to do with the fact that I feel like my creative energy has been completely reinvigorated (hooray!). I think I’ve discovered that the trick to being able to pump up the creative juice, at least for me, is to work on each and every project like it’s your personal passion project, wake up super early, and (this is the biggest one), take advantage of sites like Creative Market, Graphic Burger, and other designer’s tools sites. I’ve spent way too much money at Creative Market lately, but it has been 100% worth it because my designs look more polished and put together now.

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When I haven’t been developing an ad campaign or a magazine cover or logos for local businesses, I’ve been working on a personal project. It’s been a way to play around with new tools I’ve downloaded from the aforementioned sites,  and it’s been a way of keeping me sane. If I ever got just overwhelmed with a client’s project, I would take a break to work on this t-shirt design (and some other works in progress that I have up my sleeve). I’m extremely excited about this shirt, though, guys. It’s a little in-joke from the town I grew up in and currently live in. In 1882, the USPS unintentionally misspelled “Arad” (as in Arad Thompson, the founder of my town) as “Arab”, and we just kind of… accepted it, and we’ve been Arab (pronounced Ay-rab), Alabama ever since. So, yeah, we’ve embraced that typo since 1882. I’m getting the shirts printed on American Apparel unisex tri-blend t-shirts (because they’re the best t-shirts ever and I’m not getting my design put on cheap, uncomfortable Gildan shirts that aren’t flattering or good quality) and selling them for $25 apiece. The money I make is going to go toward my next big purchase, an iMac. My MacBook just isn’t cutting it for all the design stuff I have to do anymore and I need a desktop. So, I’m really pushing these sales! It’s been pretty successful so far, and I’m hoping once the first batch arrives, people will see others wearing the shirts and ask where they got them, and maybe I’ll have more orders to make! It’s been a really fun project, and people seem to like it, so I’m happy.

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I decided I wanted to start tending my own plants. My dad has always had plants around our house and he’s definitely got a green thumb, and I wanted to try my hand at it. I took it EXTREMELY easy and got a little cacti and a jade plant. I put the cacti in a plain white concrete planter by Threshold for Target, and I put the jade in the dog domesticated trinket dish by Marta Turowska from Anthropologie. I’m really into it right now, and I can’t wait to take care of these plants!

I’m considering opening an Etsy shop, I’m teaching myself to make woven wall hangings, I’m going to start making my own brooches, and I’m designing all the time. I’ve been very happy lately, and I hope you have too! What’s been going on in everyone’s world? Fill me in!

LET’S TALK ABOUT MILEY CYRUS’S VISUAL ART

As someone with an art degree, I take art very seriously. I also try to take an objective view of the art that I see. Lots of celebrities have ventured into the art world, Jay-Z, Shia LaBeouf, George W. Bush, and, of course, James Franco, to name a few, have tried their hand at visual art. Not a single one of those celebrities have elicited such a negative response toward their artwork like the controversial Miley Cyrus.

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WATCH THIS NOW: SHORT TERM 12

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About 30 minutes into Short Term 12, I started crying. I don’t mean “tears welled up in my eyes”. I mean “tears welled up in my eyes and then they started dropping until I had to get a tissue”. This happened because of a particularly poignant scene (that we’ll talk about in a bit), though Short Term 12 is full of them due to the top-notch acting done by lead Brie Larson. Larson is Grace, the supervisor of Short Term 12, a residential treatment facility. Grace is “secretly” dating her co-worker Mason, the goofy and charming John Gallagher Jr. It’s alluded to relatively early on that Grace is harboring some demons of her own, but the focus of the movie doesn’t shift to that until later on. In the beginning, we’re lead to focus on the demons that the kids in the facility face, most notably, Marcus, played by Keith Stanfield with so much heart and believability that you’d think that the character of Marcus’s truth is Stanfield’s truth. Marcus, approaching 18, is set to be released from Short Term 12, which has become his home. This would-be cause for celebration is anything but for Marcus, due to his fear and hatred of his mother. In a heavily emotional and touching scene (the poignant one I mentioned earlier), Marcus runs some new rhymes by Mason. This scene is when I cried. This is the moment I knew this movie was going to be powerful and really affect me.

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Short Term 12 is written and directed by Destin Cretten, who also wrote and directed the short film that inspired the full-length feature. Cretten has few directorial credits, including the lesser-known I Am Not A Hipster, but Short Term 12 is definitely his breakout piece. I anticipate great things from Cretten, though he has no upcoming credits listed on IMDb.

Short Term 12 has an 8.0 on IMDb, a 99% on RottenTomatoes.com and a MetaScore of 82. It won the Audience and Grand Jury awards for best narrative feature at SXSW, and the Audience Award at the LA Film Fest. Short Term 12 is available on blu-ray and DVD, and on Netflix Instant.

TO PORTLAND: I’VE LOVED YOU FROM AFAR

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I crave the Pacific Northwest. I’ve never been there. In fact, I’ve never set foot on land farther west than Mississippi. For some odd reason, though, still, I have a crush on the Pacific Northwest. 

It started when I was a sophomore in high school and I discovered Nirvana. 

“Kurt Cobain is from Seattle. It’s usually cold and rainy there. I need to be in Seattle” were sentences that ran through my mind on a regular basis. I thought Seattle to be awfully romantic, and I, of course, romanticize Kurt Cobain, it’s hard not to. Keep in mind, I was chin-deep in teen angst at the time and I thought the idea of sublime artistic suffering while watching the rain fall with a coffee mug in hand and blanket wrapped around my cold, frail (I say frail because in this particular daydream, I was a starving artist. I am by no means frail, mind you) body, listening to the emotional strain of Kurt Cobain singing over and over again, Something in the way… Something in the way… was the direction my life needed to be heading toward. I decided I wanted to be a music producer and after college, I would work for SubPop records. Easy as that. 

The teen-angst ended, luckily it didn’t involve me doing anything my parents would disapprove of- I basically just listened to a lot of 90s grunge and discovered the indie scene and art house films. While I still love Nirvana, the complete obsession died out, too. I forgot about the PNW for a while and focused on other things, like boys, high school melodrama, and my budding music production career. Once in college, I realized music production was not for me and I pursued graphic design, which was very much for me. I graduated from high school in 2010, and then, in 2011, Portlandia premiered.

There’s something about the name, Portland. The syllables hit hard, almost like a staccato, before exiting the mouth. Port-land. Elliott Smith was from Portland. Mark Rothko was from Portland. Gus van Sant is from Portland. Portland. I developed an idealistic perception of this dream land where I wanted so badly to be. In Portland, I would be free to be a liberal without having to explain myself and argue with anyone who asked my opinions on political and social issues. In Portland, I could say proudly that I’m a feminist and support gay rights without being accused of being a lesbian- the two don’t coincide, guys! Straight people can support gays and lesbians, too! Look at me, I’m straight, I think everyone should be able to get married! In Portland, I would never be more than 5 minutes from a record store. In Portland, I could dye my hair lilac and receive compliments instead of dirty looks. In Portland, my boyfriend and I could ride bikes everywhere and have an adorable Siberian Husky named Ripper and a gray cat named Tattletail. In Portland, I could do anything I wanted and succeed, because I would be in Portland. 

It’s strange, isn’t it? It’s almost like I’ve become Jay Gatsby and Portland is my green light; my Daisy. The truth is, I know nothing about Portland. I’ve invented my idea of Portland. I’ve conjured it up completely on my own. Sure, I’ve done research and read PDX Blogs- I think I follow more Portland-area twitter accounts than I do Huntsville-area twitter accounts- but I’m okay with that. Because as long as I’m in Alabama, I’m going to continue dreaming about Portland, and maybe one day, I’ll get myself there. 

 

 

ARTIST SPOTLIGHT: MARC JOHNS

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Marc Johns’ illustrations are, and I’m not afraid to say it because it’s completely true, the best. I adore them so much that I ordered a signed 8×10 of Marc Johns’ Orange Reading David Foster Wallace (pictured after the break below) and I’m anxiously awaiting its arrival. If you’re looking for art that makes you giggle and feel inspired and possibly revives the flame of creativity inside you that is slowly flickering out, Marc Johns is the way to go.

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