Day 17/29 Days of Giving is…

so um .

*looks around nervously*

yeah, the time i allotted to write this post?

it’s gone. burned up. deceased. vanished. taken flight.  down the drain. extinct. disintegrated into the vast emptiness of the world around us. spent. no more. nada.

it just, well in the words of a 3 year old. .. went bye-bye ….

yup. yours truly spent over 2 hours searching for these damn darn pics

that you shall see adorning today’s post

 (you better like ’em or at least pretend to! )

and i best finish organizing all these old files

(over 100,000 of them – you’d procrastinate too)

scattered across 3 friggin’ computers …

talk about poor time management and inefficiency

sheesh! bad chrysti!

so as you may have now guessed

there won’t be much writing accompanying this post

unless of course i start rambling

which lets face it … tends to happen alot

sowwy.

MMSP

SO (she tries to state in an eloquent non-rambling, reader’s digest sorta way) today’s giveaway, is one you should be familar with already since it was the Day 1 giveaway too!. I HIGHLY recommend you go back to that post and check out the interview I did with Cate, and read the AMAZING discussions that took place in the comments. True inspiration and eye-openers there.  In the near future, I plan to elaborate on some of your remarks as well – it fascinates me!

I told ya, y’all inspire me daily. Love that.

 Moving on … if you took my advice, and re-read Day 1 … then you’ll know I was honored to be a part of a truly inspiring, and groundbreaking book  last year: Mixed-Media Self Portraits.  In it, I teach you how to create your own self-portrait assemblage, sculpture mask. (it’s alot easier than you think) A super cool background technique, the mask itself..and more. I talk (very personally) about what brought me to creating them. Why I create them, and why i want you to create them.

I’m interested in those of you that may have this book already – what did you think of my piece? Have you tried it? If not, why not? It’s truly not as complex as it seems in print. Claustrophobia isn’t an excuse either – I get panic attacks easily when confined, and actually did a-ok making these. On my own I may add and with no help. (said in my big girl voice) Though admittely, it’d be more fun with a friend. Pair up Ladies!

but here.. take a look at a few in-progress shots as I worked on them…

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Chrysti - Plastered

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Proof I indeed went outside like this!

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Saran Wrap + Vaseline makes for a hot head of hair.

 I want to see YOU like this. Yes – YOU! I want to see artists everywhere slathered in plaster and exploring a medium they may not be used to. I want you to expand your creative horizons – and see what happens as a result. What have you got to lose?

My entire purpose with this project was to challenge not only  myself but to challenge you. It was to create a self-portrait that captured who I was on the inside (and the many moods i experience)– with a loose, rough, raw abstract form. I wanted to teach a mixed-media project that you don’t see very often. I wanted to get to know myself better, I craved a bit of that oh-so-awkward-uncomfortable-squirmy feeling to work with, as it’s usually where I make the most profound insights.

I also found a few detail shots of the masks featured in the book, someday I’ll get the rest of the shots up too… the quote at the top of the post is part of the mask ‘raw’ … and here’s a few other shots for your viewing pleasure …

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I want to know your honest thoughts – constructive criticism included – let me have them, and you  just may win a copy of Mixed-Media Self Portraits yourself! One person will win a copy, with my project signed… and if my studio sale pieces on etsy sell out this week – I’ll order another copy for another lucky receipent or two – you never know just what I’ll do! Heck, I don’t even know what I’ll do half the time… 

To enter today simply…

  • On this post; in the comments answer one or more of these questions: What stops you from making your own Self-Portrait Mask?” or if you have created one tell me how the experience was for you  or what you thought of my piece, these glimpses – ie feedback folks!  Extra Credit if you tell me how hot i look smothered in plaster & vaseline. It’s the stuff fantasies are made of kids! (god i hope not) 
  • Do this by: Sunday, January 18th, 2009
  • PLEASE keep Spreading  the word! Blog it, Tell your friends — the works! I’m amazed daily at the impact this project is having on people. I want it to be contagious, plus it fuels me to make it bigger & better! 
  •  Enter Day 0 & Day 16 still!
  • Check out the first batch of winners, the second batch of winners and the third batch of winners!
  • Review, or Buy Mixed-media Self-Portraits if you haven’t already too! (I know, shameless) Enter even if you have it — you can pass it on to someone else!
  • Sincerely, The plastered Chrysti

    Day 1/29 Days of Giving is…

    drum roll please…..

    ….. sparing you the link to a you tube drumroll

    i should be commended for that…..

    … it’s terribly difficult for me to restrain my cheesiness sometimes

    which reminds me of a story…

    … ok. FINE!

    i’ll get on with it already…

    … i proudly present you with ….

    The Final Mystery

    (That self-portrait is a clue folks!)

    ….. an interview with the fabulous Cate Coulacos Prato, author of Mixed-Media Self Portraits, Features editor extraordinaire of Quilting Arts Magazine & Cloth, Paper, Scissors Magazine as well as the editor of Cloth, Paper, Scissors, Studios Magazine (we’ll talk about that in another post…) and one of the infamous Quilting Arts Go-Go Dancers (ya gotta see that video)! She’s also a mother, wife, flea market connoisseur…hmmm… this is really beginning to sound like a personals ad. Sorry Cate’s hubby!

    As I mentioned before ( here & here ) I was fortunate enough to be a part of this seriously amazing book (something I really don’t say lightly) and obviously jumped at the chance to be a part of Cate’s Blog tour. Kelly Rae Roberts, ArtGirlz, Studio 490, Random Arts, Janeville, & Cheryl Prater  are some of the folks who have also taken stops along the blogosphere.

    Besides, who else but moi – would tackle those ultra-important, pressing questions – like what’s in your fridge? I had to participate; if merely to stand up for those of us who are far too curious and secretly peek inside people’s cabinets and fridges. (I totally just lost dinner invites now eh?)

    If you haven’t figured out today’s giveaway yet, read on. Even if you’re suspicious – you’ll need to , since we’re making you work a lil’ for this one! Plus – Cate shares some tips on getting published, getting past ‘blocks’ and more – I think the information and insight alone is a ‘giveaway’ to us all!

    In case it needs to be said -the bold questions are all from lil’ ol’ me, and the responses in the reddish-brown are Cate’s. Not that I think anyone didn’t get that, just ya know… making sure.

    Mixed-Media Self-Portraits was an ingenious topic for a book (I’m still mad I didn’t think of it first!), and had never been done before. What inspired you take on this fascinating project?

    First, the 2005 Creative Self-Portrait Challenge in Quilting Arts Magazine. We got hundreds of responses—funny, poignant, beautiful, strange. It was wonderful. Then, blogging became a thing, and the weekly Self-portrait Challenge tookoff among artists and we thought it was the right time for this book.

    One thing that really struck home with me when reading this masterpiece (particularly pages  92-99 *cough* ) is how it really is an exploration of self, creative journey (like Donna Anderson’s piece)and the effects that has on all different facets of our lives. The glimpses into the contributor’s souls are so present within these pages – What did you discover about yourself through the creation of this book?

    About myself? I discovered that writing a book is hard work! And that as self-centered as I am, when it came to do my own self-portrait, I went through all the stages the contributing artists went through: Denial, bashfulness, indecision, hand-wringing, cringing, and finally, acceptance and enjoyment.

     Just because I enjoy a good random question: what would we find in your refrigerator right now?

    Milk, mayo, sliced turkey, about 8 containers that read “cottage cheese” or “cream cheese” but actually have various leftovers in them, a drawer full of vegetables waiting to be made into minestrone, and a single piece of strawberry rhubarb pie (unless my teenager ate it last night).

    Mixed-Media Self Portraits has an amazing array of creative prompts and exercises to jumpstart folks when they are feeling ‘blocked’ or otherwise just need a fresh perspective. What rituals do you have when creating? (and yes, writing IS creating.) How do you get the words to flow when you feel stumped?

    I get up and move around. Do something mindless like taking a walk or even just putter around the house doing random chores I would otherwise not do. Whatever is the opposite of sitting in front of the computer, so long as it’s not reading or watching TV. When I move and think about something else, the words start to move around in my mind, first aimlessly, then they start to glomtogether, swirl around, and take shape. Then I race to the keyboard to get it down before the words evaporate. When I start to get on a roll and in the zone, the writing just flows. But if I get stuck at that point, it usually means a trip to the kitchen for a snack, preferably something that I can keep popping into my mouth, like popcorn or raw baby carrots or–OK, ya got me—chocolate-covered peanuts. Somehow, that slight distraction jars me off the “stuck” track and gets the thoughts flowing again.

    Aside from how amazingly inspired and original pages 92-99 are, what do you most hope readers  will gain from this book?

    Well, I’ve always been into self-help and self-discovery, so aside from the practical aspects of the art techniques and forms, I hope that readers will use the exercises and the process of making self-portraits to learn something about themselves.

    I love the creative fearlessness this inspires – was it at all scary opening yourself up and going through this process? Do you have any irrational fears? (I’m afraid of fans. And of whatever might lurk deep inside the dark mailbox. Someone really needs to invent a mailbox light. Seriously, sumthin’ could bite one’s hand off in there! ) Oh – back to you- Irrational fears? Process Scary?

    Well, here’s the funny thing. In people’s reaction to the book I detect an irrational fear of being self-centered. “Who me? A self-portrait? What would people think?” Like that. But, you know, you don’t have to show anybody. It can be just for you. Plus, isn’t art a form of self-expression? So what’s so different about making a self-portrait? As for me, I have an irrational fear of vacuuming at night. Someone might sneak up behind me. Really. I only vacuum during the daylight hours.

    Speaking of scary. The piece featured on page 95 is rumored to have scared a child. What was your reaction upon seeing it?

    Well, by the time I saw the mask that appears on page 95, I knew what to expect. I had already seen the one on page 93, and I have to say, I was a little taken aback when it emerged from its obsessively packaged cocoon. The red and black? Hmmm. But it grew on me, once I really looked at it and saw all the layers and the writing. I especially like the view of it partially open. I think it’s one of my favorite images in the book.

    Sidenote from Chrysti: Actually, I couldn’t stand the red & black. I had envisioned the frame as an integrated part of the piece, but time & deadlines didn’t permit it. I had planned to alter it, once it was returned — and then I liked it. Weird how that works!

    Why are manhole covers round?

    I have an answer, but I don’t think you can print it.

    One of the most frequent questions my blog readers ask me – is how to get published. What advice can you offer people who want to shamelessly promote their own pages 92-99? (Aside from having it done yesterday – ha.)

    Just put yourself out there. We are always looking for fresh art, new techniques, or new results from old techniques. The worst that happens is that we’ll say “no.” If so, don’t take it personally. It doesn’t mean your art is bad. It may mean the editor has already planned a similar piece. We work months in advance. If we say keep in touch, or we want to see more, we mean it. Keep trying. This idea or piece of art might not work, but the next one might.

    One thing I will say is, a lot of people get stuck in the trap of thinking, “Well, they just ran a piece on how to make gelatin prints, so I’ll send them MY gelatin prints—they’re just as good.” As a former freelancer, I’ve fallen into that trap myself. The reality is, if we just ran something like it, we probably aren’t going to want to do it again for a while. However, if you’ve got a fresh twist on the technique or your prints look like no one else’s, bring it on.

    Another barrier I should bring up: bad pictures. The most beautiful, insightful, earth-shattering art in the world is not going to get noticed or accepted if you present it in photographs that are out of focus, too dark, too light, or the image is obscured by the glare of a flashbulb. If you can’t take good pictures or don’t have a good camera, find a friend who can and does.

    Otherwise, blog, network, do swaps, send stuff to publishers. And if you have an idea for a book—don’t sit on it. Media moves too fast these days. Chrysti’s Note: Submission Guidelines are here!

    Is it true you are giving away a SIGNED copy of this book to one of my lucky readers? Why wasn’t my copy signed? I think you should make them work for it and have them answer a question to enter – so shoot – what question would you most like to see responses to?

    This is true! (Yours wasn’t signed because it came directly from the publisher; sorry!) I like the “work for it” concept. My question is: What’s stopping you from buying my book? Just kidding! Actually, my question is: What’s stopping you from making a self-portrait?

    So there ya have it my friends. To enter today’s giveaway –

    • Leave a comment on this post, answering Cate’s question: “What’s stopping you from making a self-portrait?”
    • If nothing is stopping you from making a self portrait then answer one of these 2 questions: What is stopping you from purchasing this fabulous book? or Why are manhole covers round?
    • Do this by: Tuesday, December 9th. Winner will be announced then!

    If you already have the book, enter anyway — this copy will be signed. Besides, that extra copy may just make a good giveaway of your own this holiday season! I love when people pass on the kindness – it may just be the one thing, we can’t over-indulge in.

    I also thought Cate’s question “What’s stopping you from making a self-portrait?” is an interesting blogpost all it’s own. So, if you are inclined – go more in depth with it on your blog – and leave the link in the comments as your response. What fun!

    Next week, the behind the scenes peeks I promised you, and my thoughts will be put up here in conjunction with another giveaway .. so stay tuned. And, it’s not too late too spread the word about the 29 days of giveaways, or enter to win the $100.00 Gift Certificate! Just read here, and comment there to enter.

    Chrysti …….. who is feeling extremely blessed, touched, and inspired by each of you today.

    Overheard at The Self Portrait Show

     Visual Art Exchange

    Right there — yep, just beyond that pretty window — is a fabulous, non-juried exhibition at the VAE Gallery right here in the heart of Downtown Raleigh, NC … and yours truly actually got my piece down there… just in the nick of time to be a part of it.

    You heard me correctly : On. Time. Yes, me.

    Go on, I’ll hold while you dish out the applause — cause we all know, that making a deadline truly is a miracle right now for me; given how many directions I’m being pulled at any given moment. Oy.

    Here’s the nitty gritty on this fabulous, diversified exhibit: (copied from here)

    People You Know August 1-28, 2008

    Self portraiture is a time-honored tradition. Painters like Rembrandt, Van Gogh, and Kahlo documented their artistic and biological maturation through countless portraits and interpretations of their physical selves. People You Know is a non-juried exhibit of self portraits, featuring artwork that creatively explores the artists’ likenesses.

    When I initially saw the call for artists on this show, I was ecstatic since I actually had just received back one of the pieces that are featured in the upcoming Mixed Media Self Portraits Book. (If you missed my post on it, take a gander over here..)

    Which is also why I can only show you a tiny portion of it until the book is released. The nerve of publishers making you sign those pesky consent forms

     'Tis Me

    One of the things I most enjoyed at tonight’s reception was remaining anonymous. Standing around listening to people comment on my piece… I abso-friggin-lutly LOVE the honesty that I hear this way, when people aren’t afraid to hurt my feelings. I have pretty thick skin, and when I create any piece — I know there are three reactions I will inevitably receive upon sharing it:

    ” I LOVE it! “ or the inevitable, and less desirable “I Hate it!” and let’s not forget the … “I could really care less; I just don’t get it” remark.

    All of which are a-ok with me. It’s just part of exposing yourself, it’s unavoidable (you know what they say about opinions..) besides, I rarely create anything seeking someone else’s approval. Creativity is one of those sacred kinda things I do for me. Mostly, anyway – sometimes, bills really do just need paid.

    There I go, getting sidetracked again — My point being, I know I did something right If my piece evokes any kind of emotion from the viewer. If it makes people feel. Whether it’s happiness, sorrow, that squirmy-kind-of-uncomfortableness we all experience at some point, humor … or anything in between — if what my lil’ hands created gets a reaction, any reaction – if I somehow made that connection with another soul, made someone think – I feel I was successful. That’s all there is to it. Simple, eh?

    My piece is placed in the middle of the gallery, on it’s own panel. Kinda cool, almost seems prominent (or it just didn’t fit in with the others on the wall...) … but I’ll just delude myself into thinking that’s something of importance. Why Not?

    Anyway… you might be wondering what I heard tonight as I stood there looming, and invading people’s conversations with my eavesdropping… here’s a small sampling of the remarks overheard.

    <deep sigh> “mad brilliance” <typical gallery head nod in understanding followed>
    “I just don’t get it”
    “The artist is definitely tortured inside, conveyed so well.”
    “I want to learn to do this!”
    “The depth, and layers to this… wow.”
    “Umm. Ok. Weird.”
    “Now that is truly original. Unique.”

    You get the idea — people loved it, were freaked by it, fascinated by it. By far though– the best reaction I witnessed was from a child, who I would venture to guess was around 9 years old…

    ” DADDDDDDDDDDDDDDYYYYYY … what IS that? ewwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww… creepy, I’m scared!”

    I couldn’t help it, I was chuckling..and chuckling to myself.

    I think the coolest part of it all was watching how nearly everyone – really – it amazed me… stopped in their tracks to turn and study it. It definitely got some attention, and drew stares… which is ever so satisfying.

    The self portrait piece I titled ‘Raw’; well, It made folks curious. It made folks feel.

    Misson Accomplished.

    Chrysti

    P.S. Go check it out if you’re in Raleigh, and let me know what you think! I promise, to share more photos once the book is released and it’s all legal-like for me to do so:-)

    Self-Portrait Book – My Scary, yet thrilling ride!

    I dunno, recently it seems as if so many of the new mixed-media books that are emerging, are well, all too common… techniques/ideas that have been done in umpteen other books or publications.. and just, well they aren’t really fresh – (and I am a big advocate of that fresh feeling.) I stopped buying many of the new books as they left me with that… been there, done that feel. I suppose I am always seeking that special something that will challenge me, make me think… and help me discover a new direction, or hone a skill. Am I the only one that feels this way?

    So when I first heard about ‘Mixed-Media Self-Portraits: Inspiration & Techniques‘ I was instantly intrigued, and my inner muse danced with delight at merely the thought! Here is something that has yet to be done — and man, was I ever mad I didn’t think of it first!

    Mixed-Media Self-Portraits Inspiration & Techniques
    By Cate Coulacos Prato

    Get all the inspiration and techniques you need to partake in the hottest trend in mixed media and collage: creating artistic self-portraits. Self-portraits are not only a way for mixed media artists to learn about themselves and their art but also about each other.

    Mixed-Media Self-Portraits features a wide range of artists and contributors who explore creative self-portraits through exercises, essays, and gallery art, offering readers inspiration plus mixed-media, collage, and fiber-arts techniques. Essays throughout the book by a variety of mixed-media artists provide an artistic guide to personal self-discovery. Working in mixed media freed many of the artists featured to express themselves in unusual, un-representational ways, allowing these artists to reveal even more about themselves in the process. The book guides readers through different approaches to creating self-portraits, from jumpstarting the creative process to step-by-step techniques to get ideas flowing on paper and fabric in a variety of media and forms from art quilts to assemblage to paper collage, and more. Filled to the brim with a wealth of inspiration, creative prompts, techniques and compelling artwork, this book is an artistic guide to representing yourself creatively in mixed-media work.

    Thankfully, my anger was short-lived since Cate was asking me to be a part of this amazing book! Moi? I was like seriosuly oozing with glee folks. Ok, maybe not oozing exactly– but radiating, yes I was radiating glee! No, not liking that adjective either… let’s just move on. It’s far too late for me to fret over writing.

    The thing is, this assignment terrified me. I initially pitched an idea that was totally within my comfort zone, merely to get it done. If you know me though, you realize that is never enough for me. Rarely do i just ‘do enough‘ to get by… it’s beyond difficult for me to accept less then my best. So, I decided to stretch my wings a bit — and came up with, what I think will be a fresh take on an ancient technique. I hope you’ll find my project to be inspiring,challenging, and maybe even a lil bit life-changing. It certainly was for me.

    I can’t share my project yet, nor photos of it — you’ll have to wait to see it in the book! I promise, to share some behind-the-scenes shots though once it comes out. It’s oh-so-hard awaiting this – hands down, this was my ab-so-lute favorite venture last year. I am eternally grateful to Cate for making me a part of this. The list of contributing artists is thoroughly impressive — talk about good company to keep! I am so, so honored to somehow be worthy to be among them. Juliana Coles, Linda Edkins Wyatt, Kelly Rae Roberts, Kelli Perkins, The ArtGirlz and Cheryl Prater are just to name a few. Can’t imagine why i feel slightly intimidated appearing between these talented folks!

    C’mon – check out a sneak peek of this inspiring, must-have read here! Tell me, are you as excited as I am? I want to hear your thoughts!

    The extremely tired, not-so-sure-this-post-is-coherent, so I’ll talk more about it later!

    – Chrysti

    29 Random things about lil’ ol me…

    Alone – Self Portrait – March 2007

    “Self is the only prison that can ever bind the soul.”
    ~Henry Van Dyke, The Prison and the Angel

    Alone

    ran·dom (ran’d?m) adj.

    Having no specific pattern, purpose, or objective: random movements.

    “You grow up the day you have your first real laugh, at yourself.”
    ~Ethel Barrymore

    Hop on over to my Myspace Blog to check out 29 things you probably didn’t know about me..

    Click Me! 29 Things ! Click Me!

    No, nothing there will change your life — but it just may make you smile.

    While you are at it .. I’d love to see yours! Leave a comment here so I can go check your list out!

    — Chrysti