Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The Art of Jerome Arizona

This past weekend was our fourth wedding anniversary. My husband and I were married in Jerome Arizona 4 years ago on September 23, 2006. We honeymooned in room 1 of the infamous over-a-hundred year old Connor Hotel, which is the corner room directly above the Spirit Room bar. This weekend we celebrated 4 years of marriage by going back to Jerome. We stayed in the same room of the Connor again.

For those of you who are not familiar, a little history lesson. Jerome is one of the most famous historical ghost towns. It was founded in 1883 and was the first billion dollar copper mining camp. Copper and silver ores were mined until the last smelter shut down in 1953 and the town was deserted. In the 1960's - 1970's Jerome was named a National Historic Landmark and much of the architecture was preserved or restored. The town was brought back to life and preserved by the many bohemians and artists who repopulated the town. Today Jerome is a thriving tourist attraction and artist community.

One of the most unique things about Jerome is that it is all built into the side of Mingus Mountain on Cleopatra Hill. The main street of town winds down the hillside, stairways go up and down in between houses and structures built into the steep hillside with support beams. It is called the "mile high town" as the elevation is at 5,000 feet and overlooks Clarkdale. Notable residents are said to include Maynard James Keenan of Tool, A Perfect Circle and Puscifer. I've been a fan of this music for at least half my life. Though I've been to Jerome many times, which only has a population of 400 people, I can't say that I have glimpsed him as he is a very private person and often goes out with disguises and uses a fake name. However, during this visit I did stop by the Puscifer shop and I did read an interview written by a Jerome resident about MJK's vineyards and wine that he produces in Jerome.

I am always inspired by Jerome and it's artists. It is a very liberal community, nestled in conservative Yavapai county. Some residents are old hippies, some are gallery owners and managers, many are artists. How nice it would be to live in one of these fantastic historic houses, have morning coffee on a balcony with the view of Clarkdale and Cottonwood, make some art in any of the community studios all within walking distance, and display the art in any of the community galleries. And then as the day winds down and the sun sets, relax with a glass of wine and enjoy the quiet that comes over this little community each night. My husband and I took a night time stroll through Jerome and felt safe as houses, enjoying the tinkling sounds of fountains and the luminous glow from all the sculpture gardens. I took many many pictures, which I will talk about now.

In every nook and cranny of Jerome, you can find some art done by the locals, or some nice little touch of antique restoration or decor. This drawing was actually in the bathroom of our hotel. It is a drawing of the apartment buildings of Jerome. They are now shops though on the bottom floors, and the apartments are on the top floors. There is a smoke shop called "Puffin Stuff," The Puscifer Shop, a coffee and sandwich and book store all rolled into one. All of the owners are kind and my husband and I have enjoyed sandwiches, books and coffee while being entertained by live musicians at The Marmalade Cafe. Below is a side view of the first level of the apartment buildings.

This picture is taken from the top of the stairway in The Connor Hotel that led to our room, there are paintings on display. Just around the bend from the bottom of this stairway....

Was this! It might be hard to see from this photo, but this was a very large piece of metal work, at least 6 feet tall hanging on the wall above our heads.

Another drawing that was hanging in our hotel room. This is an artist's depiction of Jerome and Cleopatra Hill.

As we started our night time stroll, the first thing that caught our eye was this. There are old antiques and preserved historic items all over Jerome. This is an old movie house projector.

Many of the shops in town have a large inventory of Dia de los Muertos art. I cannot remember the name of the shop where I snapped this picture of the art in the window. I'll have to come back and edit this blog when I find the information. Regardless, there is lots of colorful, beautiful Dia de los Muertos art around Jerome shops, especially this time of year. Edit: Thanks to Erica, who reminded me that this shop is called Magdalena's Bazaar.

Jerome tends to have themes for street decorations. One of them is sundials. There were many of these on the corners of streets, but this one was my favorite since it is a hat tip to The Bard. More on themes in a minute.

Here is a shot of the Raku Gallery from the outside. This gallery is huge and multi-leveled. This is just a picture from the street of the patio and stairs. Their website is currently under construction, but I do suggest visiting it and bookmarking it for later.

I really wish I knew what the thing with giraffes is all about, but I was only in town for one night and did not get a chance to ask any locals. However, this seems to the second theme I noticed decorating many of the gardens. I saw giraffes all over the place. Metal work giraffes, bushes sculpted into giraffes. This is just one of the many giraffes I saw, right outside of the old whorehouse which is now called "The House of Joy."

This is one of my favorite things in Jerome. It's private property and I do not know who the owner is. But it's just so fascinating to me. It seems to be some sort of garden full of odds and ends, sculptures and whimsical things. I love it. It is right next door the House of Joy.

The House of Joy is definitely beautiful and colorful to see at night, with the red lamps, an obvious sign of an old brothel. This second story window features a beautiful display of The Virgin, which is tells you two things: One, this town has a sense of ironic humor. And two, perhaps it's another hat tip display to the old Spanish settlers and missionaries of the old days of Arizona? As well as the Dia de los Muertos art.

Another view of the House of Joy patio. This Buddha statue is next to the giraffe from above. And in the lower left corner of the window is a portrait of the infamous Mae West.

There isn't anything I could say about this place that these folks couldn't say very well themselves, so here is a link to their website.

Down the road aways, is Gallery 527. This gallery features many many different artists, and next door to it, is the the sculpture garden. This sculpture garden looked so amazing at night! This guy who appears to be licking the flowers was so cool looking!

This giant, blue paper mache head looked a little scary and luminous in the night time garden lamps. I had to capture a picture of him.

I loved this lady with the heliotrope head towards the back of the garden. Also, there were metal work giraffes a little ways back.

Metal work spiders in the garden, just in time for Halloween!

Another angle of the paper mache head, the spiders, and the flower licking guy.

To end this blog, I just want to include a bunch of links to the artists and galleries for those of you interested.

Thanks for reading,

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Religious Vending Machine

I recently did a piece that I was at first afraid to put up for the public to see. I didn't want to alienate or offend people that I care about. But after having a chat with Amy today it was decided to post a blog about my thoughts on this piece. Most of the pieces I have done so far have been very fun to do and maybe very fun to look at. But there is a lot on my mind that I have carried with me for a long time and I've decided to start channeling these thoughts creatively. Over the past couple weeks I've dedicated myself towards dwelling on what art is really all about: communication. Communication goes both ways. What this piece means to me is personal and may be different than how you, the viewer, interpret it. My goal with this piece was not to give you a one-sided biased opinion of my own. If anything, this piece could be a mirror to some people.

Pictured below is what I consider the second installment of this piece. Religion is a very big world wide thing and a very personal thing at the same time. Your thoughts and opinions on this piece are your own, not mine, and they were wide and varied, so I would consider this painting a success in meeting it's objective. I know that some people didn't like it or didn't get it, and that's ok. This was not a poster telling you what I think you should think.

My inspiration for this painting came from someone making a comment that reminded me of one of my favorite sayings which goes "If you think religion (or life or faith) is a vending machine in which you insert virtue and receive happiness, you're going to be very disappointed." So that's really where it all starts. This painting represents, to me, the way I think many people think religion works. I think that many people have a leftover conditioning from childhood where they expect that they are going to get what they want, and fail to understand situations where they don't. (Not that I'm saying you should be happy when things don't go your way, but it might explain why we are such a law-suit happy nation.) So I tried to paint all the things I thought represented happiness, success and status coming out the vending machine. I also liked the idea of it being treasure, like a pirate's loot. And that's really what it's all about to me. The rest of this is just little thoughts I had about the individual details, but not the meaning of the painting, which is open to interpretation.

It's also my opinion that religion, like everything else, has become very commercialized. That is why there is a copy of Twilight in the chalice, and also the "Everyday Low Price" Wal-Mart smiley face resting in the gold. Because Wal-Mart is a corporation that claims to be a "family business servicing families." Which is why some Wal-Marts in different regions of the country have (for example) entire DVD sections that carry nothing but religious movies, depending on what region you are in. The corporation upholds the image that "good god-fearing families raising children will shop here and they will get the best deals (because we import from China and don't pay those same family raising people squat.)"

I painted the pill bottles because it always tends to bother me when people don't give credit to medical science and instead credit a health recovery to religion. Playing devil's advocate, wouldn't you also want to thank God that you live in a country where healthcare is available, that you went to a clean hospital with specially trained doctors who are gifted with brilliance in surgery and were able to attend medical school for over 12 years? There is countless people who are very smart and very educated who developed your medications in labs, performed your surgery, changed your bandages, drew your blood, and the list goes on. This doesn't cut God out of the equation, but it's just something that bugs me.

Maybe because of the picture size, it's hard for people to see that the vending machine says "Insert virtue" but I think that kind of ties the whole meaning of the painting together. Again, it comes down to people trying to get what they want, and when they are denied, the confusion comes from rationalizing that they did the "right thing" so they "deserve it" or they should have it, the idea of "But I am a good person, so this is not fair." This isn't exclusive to religion, the same thing occurs in customer service "I'm paying good money, so give me what I want." Which is another reason why I painted gold and money and made the virtue the currency of the vending machine. Also, there is a puppy.

I think the wedding cake threw people off, and most of you probably thought I was making a statement about marriage, or my marriage. If I was going to paint an image displaying my thoughts about marriage, specifically my marriage, it would not look like so much of a fantasy or look so pretty. I'm not saying it would necessarily be ugly, I guess it would be a lot more "real" is what I'm saying. The wedding cake is simply another way for me to represent how I think religious "moral values" have become commercialized through the bridal industry. First note that the wedding cake is obviously for a heterosexual couple. Second, the table and the gifts. It's not necessarily saying that marriage will come from the vending machine, but a heterosexual "perfect wedding" might. If it represents marriage at all, it is simply saying that heterosexual marriage seems to be a status of virtue and success in our culture.

The yacht, or "saleboat" represents two things. On the one hand, it represents wealth and status. Having a boat is a status symbol in our culture. On the other hand, it represents Christ. The life preserver is often used as a metaphor for God or Christ, the anchor on it represents being secure. Christ was often traveling on boats with his buddies in the bible as the apostles were fishermen.

So those are my own thoughts that I was having as I did this painting, but it's really open to interpretation. In some ways it looks like a sarcastic dig at religion, but on the other hand, the painting is very colorful and cheerful and almost looks like an endorsement.

Anyway, I thank you for all your comments and support and I hope to do more paintings like this in the future.

Thanks for reading,

Monday, August 30, 2010

Public Display

This is just a quick update to say that I now have five paintings up for sale in Dora's Beale Street Deli. They are in the hallway towards the back room. This hallway is a bit narrow for taking photos, so I had to stand to the side and take the photos at an angle. But as you see, each painting has a little card underneath it with the title, price and contact info.

This is kind of a big deal to me, I've never had my work displayed for sale before. I'm really happy and plan to continue onward from here. I'm so happy not only to have my work displayed, but to have it in a space owned by a member of my family. Thank you so much Dora.

As you might have noticed, there is a fifth piece added, which is the hot air balloon. I finished this piece finally on Friday night. I started it sometime over the summer, then I wasn't sure which direction it was headed, and finally completed it over the weekend.

I titled this piece "Hot Air." Over the past year, I've dealt with different relationship issues and I decided to channel some of that into this painting. Love and relationships are confusing to most people. Sometimes you're not sure if you should lean on someone for support or if you should stand alone and sometimes you're left with not much choice either way. Romantic love takes you to extreme heights where the world looks different, much like hot air balloon ride. But sometimes you're not sure if the vision you see is shared another. The painting can be interpreted in different lights. The sky is sort of cloudy, the colors are both dark and also cheery and colorful. The man in the balloon is alone by himself. Is the balloon the symbol of the lover, carrying him to these amazing heights on this adventure? Or is he really alone and his idea of relationships is just a bunch of hot air? It's a personal expression of my own feelings, but also open to interpretation of the viewer.

Thanks for reading,

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Getting to know Amy, Q and A

Today this blog will be about a very important person, the other half of Alice's Address and my creative collaborating partner and best friend, AMY! First, why is Amy so mysterious? Well, if you spend 99% of your time on the internet, you will not find her, for she exists 99% of the time in a realm that may be strange to you known as "offline." You see, she does not have a facebook, and no one uses its predecessor site anymore. (What was it called? myspace?) So today we are going to get to know the other half of Alice's Address with a little introduction about her, and then a Q and A with questions written by yours truly, and answers patiently filled out by Amy herself. It should be noted that the name Alice's Address is Amy's idea.

As I have stated, Amy and I met back in the 10th grade, but our adventures together through adult life are probably far more noteworthy. Life has a way of "happening" as you probably know, and there are great highs and heart-breaking lows. Since Amy and I have reconnected, we have been there to help each other welcome new additions to our families when each of us were pregnant with our youngest children. We've also stood by each other's side when the bad things happened as well. And through it all, Amy's consistently lifted my spirits, turned my head to face in the direction of hope rather than despair, and celebrated with me when the good things happened. I'm proud to call her my best friend. So without further ado, let's turn it over to Amy now and talk about what this blog and Alice's Address is all about.

Amy and I at my wedding

So Amy, would you like to tell us about your house hunting that you've been up to lately?
Meh, the house hunting is everything everybody says it is. Complicated and stressful, and you argue with your husband and unintentionally neglect your children. It's a challenge, but we have faith that God cares about a home for us and he knows which one will suit our needs best. We have seen his hand working in the details and know that once it is all done, it will be worth it. Out of all the emotions I feel about it right now, excitement is in the lead.

Which art medium do you enjoy the most?
Even though I'm not a musician, and I'm not even *really* a music buff, I really feel music is the art that connects with a more wide array of people the most. Nobody cries when they see a great quilt, *some* people will cry when they see a painting, but just about everybody can remember at least getting teary eyed listening to a song. And it's not just that. It's laughter, and relaxation, and triumph, and political angst, and so many things. I think movies come close to this, but music takes it all.

Which art medium do you feel you're most talented or proficient at?
Theater. Even though I haven't done it in a while, and interior design is really what I occupy my time with more and am learning more, (and still probably even love more). Theater is the only thing in my life I really didn't have to try at. Even down to memorizing lines. Where I don't really have a good memory for other things, (like historical facts or even my own darn childhood memories), I could always memorize a monologue in half an hour.

Which art medium are you clueless about but have always wanted to dabble with?
Dancing. I love dancers and dancing and dances and other dance-esque and dancibility type things.

Any other non-arts and crafts talents you'd like to talk about? I heard you were like, President of the Drama club back in the day or something? I also heard you were into Judo.
Yup. Both those things.

What do you like best about Holly and why did you decide to collaborate with her?
What I like best about my Lollipop is really how unique she is. Holly does not fit into one category of mom or artist or feminist or misspent youth. She is always surprising me and the people around her with how many layers she has (like a smelly onion) :P It seems many people try so hard to be unique these days that being unique has become a stereotype in itself. I think that comes out in her art, too. You see all different things in her paintings, from romance, to hip hop, to whimsy, and drama. So cool. If I'm being honest, I decided to collaborate with Holly because she sat in front of me, and batted her big, beautiful eyes, and said, "I just want to make art with my best friend in the world. And damn making money, and damn the stigma around being business partners (because my point was that being business partners may ruin a friendship), our friendship is stronger than that, and I know we can make art together and be happy the rest of our days and it will be like living in Disneyland and having pet unicorns and rainbows will spring from our alarm clocks as we wake up every morning..." Something along those lines...but she just wanted to make art to make ourselves and other people happy, and I believed her, and so far she's been right.

Amy in the office she decorated

What are some inspirations for your creativity?
The people around me. I am visiting one person who's a geek and likes technological things, so I make something with the Linux penguin. I have another person in my life who enjoys something whimsical, so I make something with flowers and bees and olive juice; and another who is childlike and fun, so I make a luchadore or a ninja. Everything I have created thus far I have had a specific person in mind while creating it, and it makes it hard not to just give them all away to my friends and family.

What's some of your favorite colors?
I don't believe in color favoritism. All colors have their place. Black is a very flattering color for a pair of dress pants, but not very flattering on your teeth. Purple is a beautiful color on a flower, but not very appealing as a carpet. And blue is a beautiful color for a dog to be, but it's retched in the sky, don't you agree?

Quick advice for aspiring young artists?
I *AM* a YOUNG aspiring artist! So, I will give advice as a peer, and not an older, wiser, more seasoned artist. I will simply say, "Without vision, the people perish." Proverbs 29:18. (Now for any Biblical scholars out there, I know this refers to the Word itself being the vision, but I feel it is pertinent in more than one way.)

Pictured: Amy's husband Robert in their beautiful home

Last question: Who are some of your personal favorite crafters or artists besides Holly and Lalo?
For artists in my life, my husband comes to mind. Although my husband and I have differing tastes in art, he helps me to see that just because a particular art form is not quite your taste, it doesn't mean that somebody isn't talented. For instance, if you prefer tasteful simple art of children practicing ballet and or lovers walking in the rain (probably me)...try to refrain from snickering at a painting of a half naked lady battling a three-headed dragon (Robert). It's awesome in its own way. And more often than not, we allow ourselves to get so caught up in dismissing the subject that we MISS OUT on learning something. Something small, delightful detail in the art that we didn't see at first glance. Or learning something about the talent that it took to create it. Perhaps even a new technique we have never seen before that we could use. I see this first hand in watching my husband create, and seeing what steps he has to take, and what determination he has to create a finished product. He tells me about the tiny details in the piece about how he had to lean the leg this way, or use this tool for the hair. I once had a teacher tell me, that in order to fully appreciate music, you must appreciate a little bit from each kind. I think that's true, and I certainly think it applies here too. It's all groovy, man. (You guys were with me until I said, "groovy, man", huh?)

Also, I must mention my second mother Sue, who is an artist at heart but has most of all been an example to me of working hard, pressing forward, and making a product not to just satisfy boredom or fill a space, but to really create something that truly lasts and brings happiness for many years. This is a true Renaissance woman who does everything from making wedding cakes to crocheting to sewing to home renovation to upholstering her own furniture...I could go on. Whenever I have the other people in my life saying, "it can not be done that way", or, "just throw out that old chair, it's junk now", it is Sue I can turn to who will see the potential and team with me to work out the problems. She. Is. Awesome. Truly one of a kind.

Awesome, and thank you Amy for letting our readers get inside your head a bit and get to know you!

Thanks for reading,

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Featured: Laughin Lalo

Since this is an arts and crafts blog, it is time for my very first "Feature a fellow artist/blogger" blog. This feature blog goes to the very talented, witty, hilarious, compassionate, and beautiful Laughin Lalo. I'm pleased to introduce you to Lalo:

First of all, if you check out Lalo's blog or her art blog, you will notice right off the bat that Lalo is a very talented photographer and she's not afraid to experiment with new lenses, new cameras and all kinds of different styles to achieve the beautiful photos that she does. I don't know anything about photography and I'm terrible at it, so I can't critique it well other than to say "It's very very very very pretty!" But IN ADDITION to that, Lalo is also a painter and stand-up comedian, which are two passions she and I share in common.

I actually met Lalo and Amy together on the same day way back in the tenth grade. It was in P.E. Our three lockers were all next to each other and everyday I was splitting at the seams with laughter while we dressed out for P.E. Lalo and Amy have remained very close ever since high school, although Lalo and I haven't seen much of each other in the last decade mostly due to both of us living in different states outside of Arizona. However, Amy and I are close, and Lalo is dear mutual friend.

TRUE STORY: Back in the tenth grade there was this "not very nice girl" who may or may not have been about 7 feet tall and may or may not have been kinda manly looking. But she definitely did have was some sort of anger management issue and almost everyone was afraid of her (given that she was amazon size as well as mean.) One day she was being her usual unpleasant self and Lalo quipped something to effect of "You don't have to always be so mean." As soon as she said that, I thought she was so brave, because I also knew she was in for it. So this girl then intended to squish Lalo into a bloody pulp, and went about letting Lalo know this in the usual violence-threatening way that people with "anger issues" do. So then I stepped up to this girl and told her to back off, which as you would predict, got the attention off of Lalo and onto me. Sort of like in Jurassic Park when Dr. Grant lights the flare so the T-Rex will notice him and forget about the kids. Yep, this is totally a true story. I thought Lalo was such a rad chick I volunteered to take her place for a traditional high school bully beat down. Fortunately, this story has a happy ending. The bully forgot all about little ol' me and Lalo, so neither of us got our heads kicked in, and Lalo painted me a picture to say thanks, which I still have to this day.

And I still think Lalo is rad! This woman is also a passionate writer and vocal person who's not afraid to express herself and what's on her mind through blogging, stand-up, photography, or painting.

If you browse her blog, you may spot a picture or two of the mysterious Amy we both speak so highly off.

Here are two of my favorites of Lalo's work

And here is a painting that Lalo did that you can see featured on her art blog. So check her out, there is TONS more where these came from!

Thanks for reading!


Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Dora's Beale Street Deli

Greetings! Have you heard of the new place in town? The Beale Street Deli? No? Well, allow me to introduce you to the owners...

This is my Aunt Dora standing next to manager Wade Stephens. Some of you may know my aunt as Dora Manley. For you locals of Kingman Arizona, you may remember the previous establishments my aunt owned and ran: The Old Town Coffeehouse and The Kingman Deli. (Those of you *even closer* to me personally may remember a certain delivery driver for the Kingman Deli and all his wild antics. That would be my brother.) Well Dora is back in business! Dora's Beale Street Deli held it's grand opening on July 13, 2010. And if you haven't been downtown to try a "Manley" yet, you are missing out on tasty creative sandwiches (mmmm sammiches) wine, dinners, community events, great colorful atmosphere, a lovable and hilariously entertaining owner, and a thing I am still not familiar with called "High Tea." But lucky for you, I submit photographic evidence of the charm and style this (more than just a) deli place has to offer.

Here is the wall behind the front counter where you may browse the menu and order deli sandwiches.

Behind this deli case is where the (magic happens) sandwiches are made.

Inside of this deli case, you may see some delectable CUPCAKES!

And let me tell you, these cupcakes not only look magical as each one is sprinkled with eat-able glitter, but they TASTE magical too! These little babies featured in this photo are either carrot cake flavored or red velvet flavored. (I'm not sure, I loved them A LOT and took quite a few photos.) When you visit the deli, be sure to ask Dora about her cake maker Siuming Lee, who also makes wedding cakes.

Heading towards the back is this absolutely beautiful room, appropriately named "The Back Room." Here formal dinner parties, wine tasting parties, and "High Tea" are served. Some of these events are invitation only, so call Dora for reservations!

On July 13, Amy and I attended the Beale Street Grand Opening. There was such a HUGE turnout, the place was packed! I was so happy for my Aunt Dora, I felt like my heart would burst every time I looked at her. Here is a shot Amy snapped of the crowd that turned up at the grand opening.

Lucky for us, we arrived just in time for the ribbon cutting ceremony outside the front doors. This was a huge moment of success for Dora, I am so happy for her. Here she is standing next to business partner and co-owner, Donovan Schmidt.

This might not be the most photogenic photo of my aunt since the wind is blowing her hair all over the place, but this is her getting a kiss from her husband Kurt Manley. You may happen to meet Kurt if you ever go to fast tracks.

And this is the group standing outside the front entrance. Memorize this image of the front entrance. As you drive down Beale Street conducting your usual business, see this building and stop there for lunch. Repeat as many times as necessary for maximum enjoyment :D

I have my own small piece of news to share about this deli. As of next week, my paintings that are for sale will be displayed in the deli for viewing and sale. You may purchase the paintings there or purchase them on my website. I'm really excited about this, this is the first time I have ever had the opportunity to display my work for sale in a public establishment. So thank you so much Dora, I love you!

This is my wall in the deli, down the hall toward the back room. Behold:

You can find more information, menus, contact info and the like on Dora's website www.bealestreetdeli.com and also be sure to add her on her facebook for updates!

Thanks for reading, be sure to stop by the deli and view my art while enjoying a sandwich or glass of wine!