Day 22/29 Days of Giving is…

I know, I know…

this is the LONGEST 29 days ever…

life just has a way of doing that sometimes …

you will learn why, after i  can finish the 29 days and fill you in….

 i am indeed okay,  just trying to balance quite a few things and take care of personal matters…

but enough about me…

Have you met the wonderful & talented  Jodi Ohl?

If not, allow me the distinct pleasure of introducing you… and if you have, I hope you will grab a cup of tea and join us for this chat and did I mention 3 – count ’em 3 -amazing giveaways? Jodi went above and beyond donating for this – yet another reason to love her! She pushed her way into my list of favorite artists this year as her enthusiasm is contagious, her talent is huge, and passion shines through! She’s an infusion of fresh air, and I am thrilled she so graciously agreed to take part in the giveaways!

(as always, the questions are by moi, and the answers are Jodi’s)

This is the part where you give the obligatory artsy background information. I know, I know .. it’s the worst question to be asked ever – but humor us please! You can always skip that stuff and tell us what motivates you to create!

Heck no, that’s not the worst question ever, I can think of a lot of things I wouldn’t want you to ask me! 

 Okay, so a little about me: I’m a yankee transplant, landing in  central North Carolina about 10 years ago. I was born and raised in Western NY; Dunkirk, NY to be exact. I usually say, oh I’m from Buffalo because no one ever knows where Dunkirk is, but in reality, it’s a great little town right on Lake Erie and I loved growing up there. I gather a lot of inspiration from my hometown so I’d hate not to mention it!  I graduated from college with a BA in English  way back when.  I somehow fell into management as profession rather than my original dream of writing the next great American Novel (or at least  a few good trashy romances).    Currently, I run a bank in Pinehurst, NC.  Isn’t that an odd profession for someone artistic? I find it humorous and love telling my customers what I do on the side. It always surprises them in a good way. 

What else? I’m single parent with two adorable boys, ages 8 and 14.  Part of my motivation to create comes from all of these facets of my background in one way, shape or form.  Within these four walls and throughout all the roads I’ve traveled, I’ve gathered enough ideas and sources of inspiration for a lifetime. I bet many others have as well…you just have to appreciate the little moments in life and see the world  from a variety of perspectives.

Planting Roots - by Jodi Ohl - One of todays prizes!

Planting Roots - by Jodi Ohl - One of today's prizes!

  

I love that you have a distinctive style, common themes & colors throughout your work. How did you find your artistic voice? 
 
I’m still finding my voice, really. As a self-taught artist who entered into the mixed media art scene about 2 years ago, it’s definitely been a journey. I think that the last year  has been a really good time in my life and my themes have narrowed which has allowed me to create a body of work that is starting to be recognizable.  Moving to North Carolina has been a wonderful thing for me to do, but it also has been very hard for me as well. My themes of ‘finding my way home’, community, belonging, and rising above the bumps in the road, to name a few of my themes,  come from that feeling of isolation and needing to have some grounding or roots, if you will.  Living 660 miles away from my nearest family member, I find myself longing to feel that sense of security and sense of community I had in my hometown and so you see that coming out in my whimsical village and home pieces but in a positive way.   I had a really hard time a couple of years ago and without having my family or close friends to turn to, I started painting as a form of healing and meditation.  Sometimes it’s the emotional traumas in life  that launch creativity. It certainly did in me. 

I really love to add layers and textures in my mixed media paintings. I think it’s my way of saying, there’s more to me than meets the eye. There’s a lot going on here, if you just dig deep, you may just find out what that is.  I’m saying that to myself as much as I’m saying that to my followers.    As far as colors go, I love bold colors right now, but not all at once. I prefer to use 2 or 3 main colors with a splash of something surprising. I’m not sure why, it’s just appealing to work almost monochromatic to me. Perhaps it’s a way of taking something seemingly simplistic, and turning it into  a piece that has wonderful depth without going overboard.

I know you are involved in the local mixed-media scene here in NC (something my shy self really wants to make time for one of these days!)… what’s it meant to you having that artistic connection? How have you seen yourself and your work grow as a result?
 
Being involved with the Carolina Mixed Media Guild and belonging to another local group, ProArtisan Guild, has made all the difference in the world to me as a beginning artist. Anyone that is looking to take their hobby to the next level or feels the need to connect with other like-minded individuals, joining groups such as these can provide you with a support system or tribe if you will. I HIGHLY recommend searching out something in your backyard like the groups I belong to and if they don’t exist, start one!  I love the online community, too. The online art/blog community has definitely connected me with so many people as well that  I would not have otherwise met, but you have to have that face to face connection as an artist. The support I’ve  received from the friends I’ve made through the guild is unbelievable. We have artisans of all different mediums, and at a variety of different levels of experience. It’s nice to be around people who not only understand what you do, they appreciate what it took to get there!   I truly believe that one of the reasons I’ve really grown over this last year as much as I have is because of my association with other local mixed media artists!

Planting Roots - by Jodi Ohl - One of todays prizes!

Planting Roots - by Jodi Ohl - One of todays prizes!

  You’re stranded on that proverbial island, and can only bring 5 art supplies – what makes the cut?
 
Yikes. Only five?  Do my paints count as one or can I only choose one color? If it’s just one color, then I choose blue paint, any shade will do.  Gel medium is a must because not only can I collage with it, I can mix it with natural pigments and create more paint. HA!  I can have more than one paint color.  Paint brushes, of course;  oodles of  water color paper, and….oh dear, only one more choice….I’m torn but I think I’ll pick my water soluble graphite pencil. It’s one of my new favorite toys. I have them in every value and even a set of tinted ones. 

I love how fearlessly ambitious you are – can you share with us some of your goals this year? And since we’re on the subject – a lot of my readers are afraid to submit work for publication (despite wanting it so badly) -what advice would you offer them to get the courage?
I can attribute my ambition to my role model, my Mother. She raised three girls virtually on her own, worked 2-3 jobs at the same time, but always had time for us.  We may not have had a lot, but my sisters and I were taught at a very young age to be independent, work hard for what you want because life offers you no promises, and to do your best every day.  My goals for the year are numerous, more than we have time for here!  The big ones are to increase my body of work to a new level with collections around a few different themes & colors, to do a art show this year, look for new gallery opportunities,  and to continue to work on publishing opportunities.  My long term goals are to write a book and to start instructing other aspiring mixed media artists, so I am working on all of these things simultaneously.  
For those interested in submitting your work for publication, my advice is to first do what YOU love and believe in, then take great pictures of it and just go for it.  You never know until you try!  The flipside of that is, don’t take rejection personally because it may not be a reflection on you–it could be timing, so just keep trying. Every NO leads to a YES!  Read the submission guidelines, answer the reader challenges or call for art and submit away!  One thing I’ve learned over these last couple of years is that dreams are great, everyone needs them, but it takes action on your part to make your dreams a reality, so if it’s publishing of your art/writing that you want to accomplish, you just have to do it. No one else can do it for you, so be brave and put yourself out there!
 Random Question Goodness – Pepsi or Coke?
 
Actually, I prefer grape flavored water. Aquafina Flavorsplash to be exact! I’m trying to keep my girlish figure, ya know (HA!) Keeping my hands out of the cookie jar would work better than giving up soda!
Do you have a creative routine when painting? – we’d love to hear about it!
 
Because my time is limited with working a day job, being a single parent, yada yada, I paint with a plan!  I draw out a loose sketch of several different subjects, then  I work on several pieces at once, usually about 5-8.  So it does take me awhile to finish my collections, but when I am done, I have a lot to show for my studio time.  I do try to clean my area before starting a new grouping,but the reality is, I need help in the organizational end of my creative routine.  Friday nights and Saturdays are normally my art days. I have relatively little social life so that schedule works for me…haha! 
 

Artwork by Jodi Ohl

Artwork by Jodi Ohl

Tell us about the jaw-dropping, un-friggin-believable prizes you are offering one of my readers today, and make them work for it – and ask them a question you’d like to know their answers to!
 
The PRIZES I’m offering are: 

 1)  A custom 6 x 12 piece I made especially for this giveaway  (value of $79 dollars) (see the photos throughout this post)

 2)  A  $40 dollar shopping spree to my online store.

 3)  A set of 4 of my  newest collection of Sweet HeART magnets “Green Apple” (recently featured in Cloth Paper Scissors, Jan/Feb issue),  value: $24
 
Question for your readers:  What books or magazines are sitting by your bedside table or on your floor right now?

I have Mixed Media Self Portraits, Cloth Paper Scissors, The Secret12 Secrets of Highly Creative Woman, Art and Fear, and the Sunday paper which I still have not read…LOL

Now, can you see why i totally love her? A Lucky 3 of you (and once again I soooo wish I could enter my own giveaways) will each be receiving one of those prizes!

To Enter this Jodilicious Giveaway Bonanza:

  • On this post; in the comments – answer Jodi’s question – What books or magazines are sitting by your bedside table or on your floor right now?
  • Do this by: Saturday, February 28th, 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 21 still!
  • Check out the first batch of winners, the second batch of winners,  third batch of winners anddddd the fourth batch of winners!
  • Please visit Jodi’s Breathtaking Etsy store & her blog  – she has a giveaway there too !!
  •  Remember, supporting the folks who have been kind enough to donate towards the giving project helps ensure more amazing giveaways!

    Warmly, Chrysti

    My Lil’ Studio & Organizing Tips – A Video Tour on Vimeo

    Vodpod videos no longer available.

    Meet the bane of my existence today – that video above. It only ended up online, so that I felt like I completed something and the day didn’t become a waste. I did however learn alot, and tomorrow I’m sure I’ll see that …not right now though. Trying to figur eout some conversion stuff, get the widescreen format back — the waviness out…blah blah….

    SO sorry for some of the waviness in this! While I was a bit shaky while filming it (handheld) … converting it to a smaller file made the quality terrible with motion… I am still trying to learn all of the ins & outs here. Online training..here I come.

    I almost didn’t upload this, but since some of you asked.. I did. Note to self: when filming other videos, don’t talk/move for 13 minutes straight with sinus/cold stuff. You get winded & lightheaded and sound like the proverbial dofus – good thing I’m ok with making a fool of myself!

    I am learning all this video stuff, so I can bring y’all High-quality online workshops. I could just do the quick/easy way now, but I really want them to be good.  Worth more than you pay for, and yeah..I am a perfectionist.

    My Studio

    Anyway – Hope this helps a bit, or at least one person with studio organization. (Obvious I am annoyed eh?)

    Links mentioned in the video:

    Other artists whose work are in my room:

    and that list is by no means, all-inclusive! Will add to it as time permits! Chrysti

    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:-)