Monday, February 29

High School Me

I was the editor of my yearbook in High School, and I was recently asked to do an interview for this year's edition. You know, in case you are dying to see another interview with me :)

This piece isn't from High School, but it was experimental for me back in 2012! 

1. How has Harrison contributed to your success?
Being on yearbook at Harrison was probably the biggest influence on me because I am still working in the arts. I have a masters degree in branding and graphic design and I learned about graphic design at Harrison. Overall though going through High school, no matter what specific influences it has on your future career can be a transformative experience, as it was for me. I learned a lot about who I was by making a lot of mistakes and forcing myself to be someone I didn't even know I didn't want to be. I didn't trust my intuition and it got me into trouble, I didn't believe that I was worthy of true friendship and I suffered through many frenemies and icky boyfriends. In general I think the high school years are for experimenting with who you want to be, and my memories of feeling out of place at that time remind me of the importance of being true to myself. I feel like that lesson is more important than any skill I learned because I learned to have the confidence to trust myself and I know that is the real key to happiness and success. 

2. Looking back, as a high school student, did you think you would be where you are now?
No. When I was in high school I thought I was going to have some high powered job where I get wear nice suits, and say things like "Becky get me last nights stats and send Leonardo some flowers". I can see now how silly that was because I overworked myself at that age, and I think I was pretty unhappy about it but I fed into that culture of overachieving. I didn't believe that if I just made art, and focused on honing my creative muscle that I would make a living in art (which is what I always really wanted, but seemed like an impossible dream). I would tell everyone in High school now to think about who you really are, and let that lead you toward your future. I am much happier working in my sunny studio with my friends or alone all day than I would have been in a job that requires punctuality or conforming to long hours or having a boss. I am my own boss and always will have been. 

3. Looking back at high school, who specifically would you say impacted you the most? 
There were so many insightful, inspiring and thoughtful adults and teachers who guided me at that time of my life. My yearbook editors gave me leadership responsibilities and creative license. They trusted my ideas and then held me accountable for them, what a gift. My orchestra teacher believed in me and encouraged me to try out for programs that would help me hone my cello playing, and then when I set aside playing in the orchestra to devote myself to the year book, she was happy for me. My math teacher would take me to school very early with her in the mornings so she could explain the complex ideas to me in a way that I could grasp. My Spanish teacher allowed us to be creative and humorous and didn't punish me for having disruptive laughing fits in class (I was sleep deprived from working on yearbook after all). She was like our den mother and I always felt happy to be around her. I still remember my Social Studies lessons, and the history I learned in those classes mostly because I love History (you get to use your imagination! Awesome!) but also because she was really passionate about us learning and so happy when we succeeded. Harrison was, and I am sure still is, a laboratory of great inspiration and I was a lucky girl to get to go there.

4. What does your job entail?
I am an artist. I create works large and small for designers and also for private collectors. I work with galleries and stores and I also sell work on my own website. I create work specific for each space or partner I work with and also create work that is a response to current trends and styles. I designed my brand, and my website, control all social media and public relations and I also work with companies around the world to license my work for household items, clothing and mass produced artwork. I decide what partners I want to work with and pursue them and create opportunities for myself. I also run my business to make a large profit so that I can maintain a roomy, bright studio and host events, donate money to charity and experiment as much as I want with  new ideas, mediums or tools. Currently I am designing some brass sculptures that will interact with my paintings, and designing rugs and a new series of almost all white paintings. 

5. What about your job inspires you?
Its relentless and so much bigger than me. I am just a part of a huge wave of artists, all striving to survive, and our culture is constantly evolving and changing except for the fact that I must hone my creative muscle and intuition. In other words, is a huge responsibility to be required to be quiet enough in my mind to find the gems of inspiration that drive my success. I have learned that if I project positive energy and effort into my paintings, and into the relationships I make through my work then good things come back to me ten fold. I have seen it happen again and again and its so inspiring to be a part of it. 

Thursday, February 18


Is it too much to go from bitching about how hard I am struggling to be awesome to show you pictures of my awesome vacay? Hope not! Anyway here we go.

View from our nice private patio where we worked out every day. 100 squats a day keeps your booty ok!

simple, elegant, restful and stylish
We have been to Tulum, Mexico twice now. Both times with basically no planning and we stayed for a few days. This means that we didn't do a ton of exploring like we normally like to do, but the next time we go (in April) there will be much exploring! You just fly to Cancun ( sidebar: to let you know that I had written this whole sidebar about the airport in Cancun. Twice. Actually three times. Just deleted the forth attempt.... You'll see. Then you rent a car (don't let those guys waylay you into the talk about time shares or whatever. Just firmly say NO!) and then drive about 1 to 1.5 hours to Tulum! Also, the rental price when you rent a car online for Mexico is a lie, straight up lie. You will pay between 150-400 usd for the "insurance." But I haven't found another way to get a car there, I wish they has zipcar or something. Tulum is a small downtown, and a long jungle road with properties on either side. Thats it. At some point the road ends and becomes a dirt road and legally you are supposed to be allowed to just access the deserted beach anywhere you like, but that is getting harder and harder to do. We still did it though! Probably in a few years Tulum will be a different place. Also, no. We didn't go to Hartwood. You can't make a resi so you start standing in line around 3pm to get a resi, then you come back and stand in line again to get your table. No thanks. I am sure the food is amazing, but its really hyped up and thats not my thang. We like this hippy beach bar called Eufemia (or as we call it "fucking tacos"). Also really loved this place.

This trip was my Christmas gift to O. He has had a very busy year, and has been working day and night. I could tell that he needed some time away, in a place with slow internet, and no kid or gutters, or dishes or making dinner....

tequila shots in bed. YASSSSSSSS
Imagine the breeze rusting through the palm trees, the sound of the ocean, the scent of that amazing Mexican detergent (I love that stuff, what is it?) and cool sheets to lay your sun tired body on. ahhhhhhhh

We stayed in our favorite spot, this is our second visit to Encantada Tulum and just one of many more we hope. Its a no-kids-allowed total relaxation, quiet, romantic, amazing place. We booked at the last minute so we were lucky to even have a room available since this property only has eight rooms. It was heaven. We love the staff there too, they are all so sweet. When we were leaving we just couldn't get out the door, it was just teasing and laughing and joking and we had to hug everyone.
We always choose the same beach chairs and we think of them as "ours" now. Nice view huh. At night we sit here too and the stars above are amazing! You can see soooo much. 

Carlos kept bringing me different drinks. My favorite though is the Mezcal Margarita on the rocks. 

I am so grateful to my wonderful parents who take Alia when we need to get away. We facetime as much as we can and my mom sends me status reports (you know, what poops she had and how she slept and what cute new things she is doing like giving all the dogs a hug. Yes... hugs for dogs it is indeed heartbreakingly cute.)

I mean, how am I not there right now. I love love love all the palm trees. O does too. Natch.
We did get to zip along in this little pretty. We were supposed to snorkel and see a nature preserve but I got seasick. Boo. It was so much fun just being on the water though. 

Tulum is also know for the amazing Cenotes around. Actually all of Quintana-Roo is (the region in Mexico where Tulum is located). There are amazing ruins of archeological sites that we saw plenty of last year (and inspired so many stacking shapes paintings!) Incredible jungles to visit, off-roading in jeeps (yaaassssss) and basically anything you want if laying around on the beach and swimming in the big waves is not fun for you (um, its ok, nobodies perfect.) Its not like Tulum needs a shoutout or anything. This trip has solidified my desire to visit even more of Mexico, there are so.many.places I want to visit that I am scheming a huge all over Mexico trip. Doesn't that sounds like crazy fun!! Honestly I really love Mexican people, and getting to chat with them is one of my favorite parts. I do speak Spanish, remember. So learn some, its soo easy!! Much much easier than English anyway.

Wednesday, February 17

On the Other Side

Warning: This post is full of my bitching, but also full of pictures of an adorable toddler named Alia so its misleading mkay?

One of my favorite pics of her and her sweet smile. She is like a disney cartoon of a baby most days, until she isn't.
Alia is one and a half years old!!! This is totally blowing my mind right now because I still don't feel like I have both feet under me, and I think its because I became a mother overnight basically (three weeks if you will recall) and I realize now that I really haven't, like you know, settled into it or something. And how has it been a year and a freaking half and I am just now thinking to myself "ok, this is permanent and I need to figure out how to make my life work better." When you have a newborn its like all hands on deck for a while, but then it gets easier. I just went right back to work when she was around five months and have been trying to get my shiz together ever since.

My girl loves cheese! Also, O dresses her most days so he tends to choose the least pretty clothes she has. natch.
Truthfully O and I have been doing a really great job. Our girl is healthy and so happy and loved and we are sharing responsibilities like real modern parents. Exactly as I hoped for when I was a youngster day dreaming about having a husband and a family. I just can't shake the feeling that since Alia has come into our lives I have been coasting. I didn't realize how tired I was, how chronically sleep deprived, how distracted and listless until my friend pointed it out to me. Thank goodness for friends who can see you for how you really are right? I mean, at the end of the day I am wiped out, like just throw myself down on my bed...more like I need a glass of wine, or two every single night to deal with a cranky, crying or screaming toddler, making dinner, dogs all over the place, a messy house and hey, I still have work to do after this little one goes to sleep finally. Add my autoimmune issues into the bargain and well, it isn't a pretty picture. Not to mention we have been ordering dinner, and groceries in way too much, I wasn't eating my healthy diet, did I mention drinking too much, avoiding really doing any self reflection or growth because it has just been easier to try to distract myself from how miserable I have been feeling. I have even struggled this year with my workouts! I mean, I have to cancel going to the gym every other time it feels like due to some malarky or another. Wha Wha

I am growing her hair so we are in this amazingly adorable strange hair faze. 
Mothers: when does the constantly getting sick from your kids end? I am at my wits end guys. I have been sick FIVE MOTHER EFFING TIMES! since Christmas, which was hard for me to enjoy b/c, you guessed, I was sick. I honestly think that Alia will be an only child because the thought of going through this again with a baby and toddler is just too much to even imagine. Its like a bad nightmare.

First thing in the morning.

So what? Is this a bitch fest Michelle? Yes and No. I am making positive changes, being proactive about eating Paleo and reading some great stuff. I love When Things Fall Apart. I am trying not to beat myself up about gaining weight even though I feel old and nasty every day. That is until I give myself my usual pep talk/ mantra and I feel better. Honestly. Other great things: I have a few shows that I am excited about scheduled so far this spring. Most importantly, I know that when I reach this low place I always push through and feel better for it in the end. I just wish I could fast forward and get to the part where I am spinning around like one of those girls in a diet yogurt commercial. Sigh. 

Alia and her "Abuelo" my daddy. He is teaching her how to fist bump. I am so grateful for my folks who take Alia not just when we are sick but anytime we need (read want to) take a trip, visit friends or need a break. 

Now comes the worst part. You know when you feel miserable, and ugly and stupid? You know that feeling? Then you start to doubt yourself in your work and you look around you and see how perfect and happy and brilliant and beautiful everyone else is and then...major sad face. This comparing myself, feeling inadequate and having no confidence business sucks. SUCKS I TELL YOU. I am finally starting to feel better, thats why I am able to write about it and joke about it. But you know what? I bet someone is looking at my instagram right now thinking "this bitch has it all, and my life sucks." Hopefully they will find this post and feel better knowing that this bitch feels like a crusty ol bottle that someone left behind the sofa for a month sometimes too.

How do you pull yourself up when you fall down the comparison rabbit hole? ... and land in a pile of rabbit dung?

Tuesday, February 16

Blog 2.0 (also my new studio)

I have a HUGE desk/work table. The canvas laying on it is 40x40 inches. It still isn't big enough through.

I have been writing this blog for ten years.... Lets just let that sink in for a mo shall we? I sort of dropped off writing here because it feels like instagram is easier. It is easier. But its not the same. And you know what? I miss blogging, like the old fashioned blogging. Not the sports car with a naked model on it version of blogging that it seems like blogs have to be today. My version of blogging. A regular like suv nice car type thing with a normal lady driving it zoned out a little and talking to herself. ok? Lane change with no blinker: 

Can I call it my new studio if I moved in the summer time and now its almost spring time? Lets not overthink it. Yes I can. Despite the fact that I have finally (I am almost positive) decided what the future of my studio is going to look like and it isn't in this building, I am very happy here for now.
Is nice and big and bright, even though this pic is lousy.

This is what my studio actually looks like, no fluffing it up to look all pretty. I guess its pretty neat, but thats how I need it to be in order to work. I should have fixed the blinds though. Ouch.
I have so much more room for large paintings than I did at my old place. I like to be organized.
My trusty ol easel. I should name her I think. 
I know you are wondering about my white furniture. Yes, it has paint on it, but only a tiny bit. You would expect more. Also those huge shelves are amazing, I bought them form a warehouse supply place and have three scars, major ones, on my hands from hurting myself on them through the years. 

I have so much light, plenty of space, I am in the same building as my dear friend Jessica , its close to my house and I love being in Decatur. There are downsides to this place but I feel so happy every time I walk in the door! I never did throw a party here like I thought I would. Maybe a sample sale like we did when Alia was born, that was great. 

Friday, February 5

Looking at Lofts

I have been going over and over in my head all of the possibilities for a future space for my studio. Do we build out our attic? Do we build something in our backyard? Do I buy a loft space near my home? You know after I look at how much I spend in rent every adds up. I would rather put that money into a space that I can sell, and I am ready to really be able to mess up a place. Get paint anywhere it damn well wants to fall! Also the building I am in now is run by a bunch of greedy bastards who would care less if you fell off of the rusty, slippery stairs walking up six flights to your unit b/c the elevator is broken for the sixth time this month. Know what I mean? Yeah, you do.

I think I have finally settled on a loft space, and naturally I just want to look at beautiful listings that are way out of my range. Lets day dream together shall we? This one below is actually in my price range, and in my preferred area (its walking distance from my house! Has a pool! No elevator!)

I would paint everything white, except for the cement floor.

Damn. Imagine it all white!

I love the feel of this one.

This one is in a great location (next to an art store!) but I do have to drive like maybe 10 minutes to get there. Its two bedrooms! I would take down some walls, and again, paint it all white. It is a corner unit, and has two balconies! Its in my price range...but gone already.

OMG. Shit. The downstairs would be for shows and events. Upstairs I would paint and work:

This place is huge HUGE. and wayyyyyy out of my price range... sad.

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