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Posts from the ‘Octavine Illustration’ Category

The Dresden Dolls, Steampunk, Octavine Illustration and an Apology

4 September 2008


Created from the gears of industry, Steampunk is an expression of a desire to return to the elegance of tea-parties, ball gowns and the glamour of a more formal, ordered existence.

Steampunk fashion celebrates industrial beauty as pocket watch mechanisms and typewriter keys find new meaning in jewelry, adornment or collage. It is in direct opposition to the mass-produced, made in China, sleek minimalist look of the Millennium.

The Dresden Dolls, a Steampunk cabaret duo, embody this new fashion phenomenon. Their large, loyal fanbase seeks to portray this neo-Victorian aesthetic through Dresden Dolls inspired paraphernalia.

By returning to handmade, artisan crafted merchandise, the Dresden Dolls’ new website, Post-War Trade, seeks to provide hand-wrought items commissioned specifically for their fans.

Contacted personally by the Dresden Dolls with a vision for a notecard based around lead singer Amanda Palmer, I sought to create an aesthetic of old Hollywood glamour. With Dresden Dolls song lyrics and my own image of Amanda Palmer, these notecards are designed, hand-screenprinted and hand-painted by yours truly and can be purchased directly through the Post-War Trade website.

In other news, please accept my apology for my long absence. Vacation and weddings ruled the month of August leaving me little time for blogging.

I was however, featured in a wonderful eco-blog, The Organic Mechanic, with a lovely interview all about me and my art along with many ecologically minded details.

In addition, my “Career Gal” painting was featured on a major London travel site, The Londonist. And, of course, when not dancing at weddings or at a reunion, the was month spent working my little fingers to the bone creating Art Deco wedding invitations, an Art Nouveau inspired Ketubah as well as a couple new Moleskine and notecard images such as “London Mod.” I hope to get everything posted soon. And I promise I will not be gone for so long again. I missed you all terribly.


The Scenester

8 May 2008


My sister is a scenester. A scenester is defined as one whom is always where the action is and whilst there, on the hunt for more. A friend recently sent a picture with a gal wearing a tee with the words, “I listen to bands that don’t even exist yet” emblazoned across the front. A most fitting description of my sis.

Recently, our free alternative weekly, The Willamette Week, featured Portland’s top ten local bands as voted by members of the music community. My sister, as one of the town’s music bookers gave her two cents. As luck would have it the band she chose, The Builders and the Butchers, was voted number one thus her quote selected:

“The first time I saw the Builders and the Butchers was about a year ago at one of those free afternoon back-patio shows at Rontoms. There were these intense storm clouds above us, and we all knew that it would POUR any second. As soon as they started playing, big fat drops came comin’ down—a warm spring rain. Thunder was crashing, lightning flashing off to the east like a high desert storm. The more soaked all of our bodies became, the louder the chorus of wailing voices became—a religious fervor set in. The crowd flailed around, dancing, shouting along to the chorus, ‘When it rains!’ Truly a rock-’n’-roll baptism.”

The musings of a hipster. Tee hee.

In addition, two other bands were chosen in the top ten, Loch Lomond and Nick Jaina. A few months back I illustrated their CD release promotion concert poster. All the fonts are hand-wrought and the image in a French New Wave style.

Although not a scenester myself, (although I do love to go to the concerts of my favorite bands, I find I usually prefer an evening of Masterpiece Theatre and a pint of ice cream to the bars) I may live vicariously through both my art and my sis.

This Old House

17 April 2008


I was born and raised in the beautiful state of New Mexico. Hailing from this “Land of Enchantment,” I believe, creates part of my need for space and time. I deplore the notion of being caged in by my surroundings; and the open sky and few people, endless desert and cowboy mentality allow me to breathe freely, openly and privately.

Everything is old in New Mexico. Not like in Portland where everyone lives in a Victorian, but rather old as in “old as dirt,” literally. Many homes are built of mud and straw and many date back three hundred years and more.

The image pictured, done in the style of a 1940s postcard, is a piece commissioned by one of the members of a Boston knitting group that was screen-printed onto Eco-totes for use as knitting bags.

The retreat was held at her family home in Tularosa, New Mexico. This southern New Mexico home was an actual military fort used by the Spanish and has served as the family’s private residence for three generations.

Listed on the National Historic Register, this centuries old adobe is essentially a fortress with walls three feet deep and window slats used to aim rifles through. The illustration pictured is based on this historical and architectural gem and is my first foray into architectural rendering, Art Deco style.

My First Album Cover Part II

15 April 2008


First approached by Brian of Jive White Boy (don’t let the name throw you) through my myspace page to illustrate his debut album, I held zero reservations as this has always been a dream of mine.

Part Eliott Smith, part Leonard Cohen, this local Portland singer songwriter’s music is darkly folky, sweetly biting. A fan of Art Deco and Art Nouveau style, he felt my illustrations lended a classic yet slightly sinister quality to his indie rock musings.

The inspiration came from listening to his songs on repeat whilst sketching. The 1920s Jazz Age style image seemed an appropriate one and was also reminiscent of Brian himself. The CD should be available sometime this summer, hopefully in a wide release (or at least it may be purchased globally through the internet; I will provide a link on this site when it is released).

I am most proud to present this illustration as well as the back cover song list (all fonts wrought completely by hand in the Art Nouveau style of the early 1900s and of my own alphabet, of course) as it has been long in the making. I can’t wait to see it on the CD itself. A dream come true. Thank you so much, Jive White Boy.

A 1930s Gentleman and The Birthdays

30 March 2008


I never knew my Grandpa Charlie. A tailor in the garment district of New York City’s Lower East Side, he died two weeks before my little sister was born. She was named Caroline in honor of him.

My grandfather exists in my mind through Grandma Minnie’s wedding pictures–quite the 1930s gentleman with a flair for fashion, a confident gait and a sly look.

Delivered in the hospital on my third birthday (yes, we are exactly three years apart), Caroline’s birth is my first memory.

Aware it was my birthday and the importance of having one as well as the fringe benefits associated, one can imagine my devastation at the conspicuous absence of both my parents. Rather, my great Aunt Octavine celebrated with me. I received first a Fisher Price record player, and then a baby sister.

Forced to then share all birthdays following, every year “our” birthday celebration included all the neighborhood children. With the Fisher Price record player in tow, we endlessly played musical chairs outside. My mother dressed us in matching Victorian style dresses in differing colors and put our hair in ringlets. Great Aunt Octavine made a cherry cake (white cake with maraschino cherries in the batter and pink icing and maraschino cherries on top) and we would blow out the candles…together.

Most of the presents consisted of Barbie and Tracy (Barbie with brown hair–a favorite among us brunettes) dolls. My mother, not thrilled with the whole Barbie idea, only let us keep one each. My father then stashed the rest. To this day, hidden in the depths of some closet lie various late 1970s and early 1980s Barbie and Tracy dolls, still in their original packaging.

My sister and I are very close and live only minutes away from one another albeit not in our hometown. We still celebrate “our” birthday ever year together and sometimes even wear matching outfits. I think Grandpa Charlie would laugh.

Disco, My Mother and The Brazilian Stacked Heel

26 March 2008


I love fashion. And I love shoes. When I was little my mother had a pair of Brazilian stacked heels. It was the 1970s and they were black suede with a cutout toe. I used to play dress up in them. They were so beautiful.

But my mother is not a packrat. She does not carry that gene which forces one to keep everything out of sentimentality or a need to hoard.

As a small child, I vividly remember finding garbage bags destined for Goodwill containing her wedding dress (a red velvet mini later worn to my Junior Prom), various early 1970s formals and innumerable pairs of high heels. Apparently she no longer had a need for such things as a mother of two in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Salvaging what I could in the back of the car en route to the donation center, I managed to save much of the lot. But the shoes were lost; destined to exist only in my memory.

So I present to you my mother’s Brazilian stacked heel disco shoes (now in red), a beret (from my great Aunt Octavine) and a Diane von Furstenberg wrap-around dress I remember my mother wearing when we went out somewhere fancy.
My tribute to fashion through my childhood self.

Maira Kalman, Mice and the Movie Star

25 March 2008


Despite an ever present drizzle (I must remember not to complain however, as I am the one who chose to live in Portland), today was most sunny. I was on the front page of Etsy and read a most wonderful interview on Inspiration Boards with one of my most favorite illustrators, Maira Kalman.

My father first introduced me to Maira Kalman’s work through her New York Times column. Her illustrations provide social commentary and speak to the mundane aspects of life which fleetingly take on great significance. I suppose I find her most inspiring as her illustrations are not comics nor cover designs nor pictures in a book but rather form a column, a consecutive series of thought meant to observe and comment, to titilate and anger, to provide a conscience and put forth an opinion.

And I found this painting entitled “Devasting: The Movie Star.” (See her real identity revealed in the comments section thanks to a most observant reader!) It had fallen behind the bookshelf and forgotten about. Two others were found as well. I suppose having mice in my studio (the impetus behind the cleaning) has a sunny side as well.

Show Me Some Leg

22 March 2008


When I’m totally broke (usually the case as a working artist) I cannot, I must not succumb to my most favorite of obsessions: impractical shoes.
As a size 35 European, my choices in footwear are limited to old lady loafers with tassels, children’s shoes and couture footwear from discount department stores. I choose the latter most emphatically.

In my recently cleaned out closet(s)–I am also a clotheshorse as well–I found my beautiful Dolce and Gabbana black and white genuine cowhide slingbacks. Still in their box, I have only worn them once, but no matter. I own them to own them. To admire them. To create my own little shoe museum.

I have little occasion to don haute couture fashion. Usually in cotton leggings and my father’s ancient oversize promotional tees from various marathons in the 1980s whilst in the house and only a pair of galoshes to spice up the outfit when I venture out, high fashion eludes my day to day activities.

Without money to spare, yet with an itch for couture, I draw. I draw the shoes I want to own, I paint the outfits I want to buy. Creating fashion through my imagination relieves a bit of my fashion anxiety and most thankfully saves my pocketbook from total destruction.

Art Nouveau, Relaxation and Pretty Pictures

5 March 2008


Last night my dog got out. Neighbors across the street sought to corral her back into my house lest she run into the street. Run into the street she did whilst a large truck approached. The truck stopped just in time, but poor Belle was so scared she ran right into the parked truck. She’s fine, but I’m shaken up.

My nerves still in an uproar, I sit at the computer, drinking tea trying to calm down a bit. When in these moods, I hearken back to a simpler time by going inside my paintings, seeking solace through Art Nouveau styled organic lines, matte colors, haute couture fashion and pretty faces.

Pictured is one such image. I find her countenance peaceful, her expression calming. She has a certain nobility about her, yet no pretension; her life maybe less complex, less trying than her modern day counterparts. I pretend myself there, and somehow I feel a bit more relaxed.

The Sunbathers

3 March 2008


February in Portland means heat wave parties. Donning your bikini, flip-flops and sunglasses in the middle of winter is only an activity those absolutely starved for Vitamin D will do.

Last night I attended one such party. My wonderful friend Neal turned the heat up to 85 degrees, queued up various surf themed LPs, and mixed pina coladas. February in Portland was never so tropical.

Pictured are The Sunbathers. I proclaim to be an avid sun-worshipper and have spent many a hot summer’s day cooking myself to a nice golden crisp. I drew this picture in honor of us leather-chesters. Seeking to capture that perfect sense of gluttonous behavior, note the slight snarl on their beautiful faces. Thus I present
Hedonism and Vanity: the sunbathers.

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