Fly Away

I guess it speaks for itself. Or it’s quiet for itself.

They gave me another bulletin board so I made this monach butterfly, which is a good choice for autumn in the desert. The monarchs breed here, especially if there is enough rain, and they are also thematically appropriate for Dia de los Muertos. There are people who attend the All Souls’ Procession dressed as monarchs, or in costumes covered with hundreds of (replica) monarchs.

I couldn’t think of a good tag or phrase or anything. Kept meaning to come back to it but I’ve moved on and I guess it’s fine by itself.

If you know me, you might know that I have a psychologically difficult time with the autumn in general. It’s nice to hold on to symbols like this.

Around the time I made this butterfly, some guy who didn’t know anything about seeking asylum in the US but felt compelled to make some ridiculous marks about it nonetheless boxed himself into a corner during an online discussion about the subject and, unable to make a cogent argument, resorted to looking at my profile and then, I guess, attempting to insult me personally. One of his remarks was, “I work for a living,” presumably meaning that art is not work. Even though I spend between 4 and 17 hours on every single on of these ephemeral paper works, and my back and hands hurt when I am done, and I have to take breaks due to the sheer amount of pain I’m in.

It’s odd that someone thinks “I work for a living” is a flex. When I hear that comment, my thought is, “You’ve a slave to capitalism and you’re proud of it.” Nobody I know thinks that working is a flex; everyone I know would prefer not to work, or, at least, not to work under the fist of capitalism.

How much nicer would the world be if we divided all tasks into “essential” and “voluntary,” and then EVERYONE did SOME of the essential tasks. It’s not right that there are people who do nothing, or who only work for their own enrichment without contributing anything of value to the world, and then there are people who carry the whole weight and are barely compensated. It makes no sense, for example, that schoolteachers work full time, plus many unpaid hours, with little support, for little money. Nobody should have a classroom of 30 kids they have to manage by themselves 5 days a week. Everyone with the inclination and skills should participate in educating kids; this is one of the most important jobs there are. Nobody should work 40+ hours a week in a factory, or a fast food restaurant, or as a plumber (unless they really, really want to). We should all share the crappy jobs, and then we should all have ample time for the fun ones. Nobody should get rich playing football or designing couture gowns, but everyone should have the opportunity to play football or design couture gowns, in the hours that they’re not doing essential jobs. That should be what civilization is about.

It’s true that I don’t get paid a lot. But I do work. I work harder than a lot of people. And I make the world a nicer place for a lot of them. But I guess I make it a less nice place for certain unbearable people.

Age Is Relative

You can always set an example for your children. A bad example is still an example.

This comic is basically a Facebook status that I read many months back. The person who posted it gave me permission to turn it into a comic. The fact that the person who posted it is the wife and mother of these characters and not directly involved in the anecdote obviously doesn’t bother me at all.

Sonoran Switchplate

This one matches its environment.

That’s 4 down, 3 to go. I like this one better than the ones I did the other day. The green pens are still acting weird but at least I got the paint to flow out of them. Unfortunately, it flowed into a puddle, but I made it work, more or less.

This design fits with the other decoration on the wall near it. I think I’m going to move the zentangle into my office and make the one in the front a sunset landscape. And then the one in the den will match my ketubah. Not sure about the kitchen; you can barely see that switch to begin with.

anyway, this is how it looks where I live.

Folksy Switchplates

I’m an adult and this is my house.

Somewhat randomly, I decided to decorate some of my switchplates using these Artiqo Paint Pens The Man gave me a couple years back. Apparently, I hadn’t even opened the box yet because they were all still shrink wrapped. I really liked this product, which was easy to use and dried fast. My only complaint is that both the light green and dark green pens had a watery consistency. I suspect something about the green pigment degraded the paint. They were still usable but the color is not as smooth or bold.

The big zentangle one is the switch by the front door when you come in. The fish are for the bathroom (that glow-in-the-dark star was already stuck on there as part of a larger decorative scheme) and the rainbow mandala is for the bedroom. I was intentionally going for this imperfect folk art look so I wouldn’t get angry at myself when they didn’t come out perfect.

Plastic switchplates are like 79 cents so if I don’t like them I can just replace them. But I think I like them. I have 4 more switchplates I could decorate. I’m really thinking about painting giant mandalas on the walls—a big complex one in the living room and the sacred geometry chakra chart one in the bedroom—and this fits that aesthetic. Painting is just a whole megillah and not my strong suit, but I think I’m moving in that direction. I always hated the paint job in this house but, again, painting is a whole megillah.

These pens might be dangerous. They write on pretty much everything. Who knows what I’ll draw on next?

Back to School 2022

You’re a shooting star. That is what you are.

People kept telling me, “Welcome back,” and I’m like, “I never left.” This is the fourth project I worked on there over the summer. School starts Thursday but I won’t go back till next week.

I glued the K on upside down. It’s fine, I realize that, I just like things with strong foundations. I don’t like the idea that a letter might fall over under its own weight.

This one probably won’t stay up very long. The rainbows are construction paper, and the colors fade very fast. Plus I didn’t glue it very well. I would have made it more elaborate, but the humidity was brutal. I just couldn’t stand outside anymore.

In other news, the new office manager wants to give me control of two more bulletin boards! We’ll see how that goes. I’m hoping I can get kids to collaborate with me on one of them. It might be more work over all, but it might be less of certain kinds of work.

Also, in other news, the client who bought the giant fantasy mural has received it printed in its full scale 8 ft high and 30 ft long. They were kind enough to send me a photo of one small detail and it looks great. I’m really pleased with the work, and if you happen to go to burning man, you might get to see it in real life.

Fantasia in the Dust

I think this one speaks for itself.

I haven’t posted in a while because I spent a couple months working on this commission! And now it’s finally done and the client said it’s OK for me to share, and I’m very excited to share.

This image, which took me about 50 hours over the space of 2 1/2 months to draw, is going someplace I likely will never go, Burning Man. (Some of it sounds fun, but not so much fun that I’m giving up indoor plumbing for 10 days.) It will be a room wrap, hanging inside a box van. The full size image is about 2 feet high and 8 feet long, but when vectorized and printed on a tapestry, it will be about 8 feet high and 30 feet long. (I would have drawn it full scale but my 5-year-old MacBook started complaining when the file was ~4’x15″ and the client said they would vectorize it themself, so I took pity on the machine; I do not know how to vectorized images). The person who bought it will be able to sleep inside their kawaii rainbow animal fantasy.

I actually have another commission I should finish next week, and I will share that one too, although it’s substantially less interesting than this one. And after that, there will be a new bulletin board! And I even have a comic script all laid out and ready to illustrate. I will try not to let the blog lay dormant this long again.

These Cherry-Blossoms

Let me count the things…

For my spring bulletin board I was inspired by images of lush cherry blossoms. After deciding that I wanted to recreate one branch, I knew that I needed a Japanese haiku to accompany it, and turned immediately to the words of Basho, whose poetry you probably read in school. I considered some other cherry-blossom haikus but ultimately thought this one the most accessible to schoolchildren, although it’s really about the fact that Basho is, at the time he wrote it, an older man recalling his childhood.

I cut the flowers from 4 different types of paper I found around the school. They often change suppliers so I’m never quite sure what I’ll have, but this offered a nice effect. I cut them all from a single stencil, and created the anthers from 5 staples for each flower. I estimate that I used 1500 staples here, so maybe 300 flowers?

First, though, I cut the lettering. I wanted to make it look like it was done with ink and brush, so after cutting the basic shapes, I went back and snipped at the edges and I have to say the effect is perfect. I’m so thrilled with this one and would like to keep it, but I don’t know how to deal with the 1500 stapes, and half the flowers are construction paper, which tends to fade in the sun anyway. Japanese people use the time of the Cherry Festival to reflect not only on the beauty of the cherry blossoms, but also upon their fleeting, delicate, and ephemeral nature.