Monday, April 26, 2021

First show I attended in 2021 - Strawberry Swing at Powell Gardens

Just over 60 vendors were set up, just a short distance from the main building of Powell Gardens.
Do you know how just bizarre it is to sit down and write about attending an art show of any kind? That seems like a hundred years ago that I did any sort of review like this. This won't be over the top, just a small review, but here you go!

Now, small disclaimer, I DID attend a small pop up event for Strawberry Swing a few months ago, which was also a bit surreal. I don't know about you, but going anywhere there are large groups of people still gets me on edge, and upon getting to Powell Gardens, I was more than a bit overwhelmed by how many people, (thankfully almost all wearing masks) showed up to shop at the show. In fact, talking to one of the vendors, evidently people had already shown up in large numbers while vendors were setting up.

It didn't take long for me to start missing doing shows, the tents, the work going into creating displays, setups, all of that, and the familiar buzz of conversation between vendors, amongst shoppers, all on a day that held a great constant early breeze, warm sun, and blue skies.

There were a LOT of jewelry vendors, and a lot of t-shirt/lifestyle product sellers. As far as original art, there were maybe 3 or 4 artists in the show total, of which one, I picked up an art reproduction from.
The food trucks that had shown up early also seemed to underestimate how many people would be in attendance, as they ran out of food by 1pm.
The factor of getting out to attend a show was an overwhelmingly positive experience, as it helped me on the whole aspect of understanding what a show in this sort of Covid time period could play out like.

Now, understandably, Strawberry Swing is held outside, which allows for a lot more room for attendees to spread out. But it also appeared that people were just happy to attend something that gave them some level of normal interaction, engagement, and pursuit. As normal as it can be these days. 
So many little bees bumbled about, legs covered in pollen, all about the blossoms in bloom.
It certainly did for me, and I did take time to speak to a few of the vendors, and for the most part, they all seemed to be in good spirits (though to be honest, many, including myself, have presented a "show face" when interacting with people in public).
I picked up three things from the show, a resin cast pin of the word "survivor", a geode sample, and a hilarious and awesome bit of artwork back, to remind me of the little possum I got out of traffic a few months ago.
The "survivor" pin by Godfrey Riddle, whom I met at the show, and for it being his first show, he had a great setup and some cool offerings for sale. The geode I picked up from the vendor, Glo.Bowl, and the awesome possum art I got from illustrator Matthew Hawkins. All three are great additions to the studio display (I've already got the possum framed, and the pin put in my collection case, now to find a similar display option for the geode!).

Strawberry Swing has announced a series of smaller pop-up events to happen over the next few weeks, which I sincerely hope works out for the vendors that do them.

I myself, do not have a show until Labor Day, when NakaKon is aiming to rejoin other shows, and re-open it's show. I also have a LOT of work to get done before that show comes up, but I am excited and hopeful that things will keep going towards a positive future.

WHICH, on that note, I am on TikTok now, and my Etsy store is up and fully running, you can click on the icon links right below this post to be taken to any and all of the social media and sales outlets I have. I want to thank those of you that picked up stuff from Etsy here recently!

Also, here is the latest episode of my podcast, where I cover some stuff on "Stress". Just crossed 2,300 downloads, which is crazy for my little one man effort. Thank you if you do listen to it!

Until next time, remember to support artists and local businesses. Be kind to your fellow beings and always take the path less traveled. We all may live in times uncertain, but kindness, understanding, and believing in the good that is in most each and every one of us is what can bring about better days!

Mario, the Artisan Rogue
Illustrator, Voice Actor, Writer, Animal Rights Activist

Friday, March 12, 2021

Radio74: Season 4 Episode 8 - Reality

The latest podcast for Radio74 focused on something that seems ever so fluid these days.


A word that can be both comforting and jarring. Not necessarily in that order.

It’s a concept that by it’s very definition, is “something that is neither derivative nor dependent but exists necessarily”.

In recent years, I have struggled with what that word has come to mean across the board, from the ever present levels a large majority of people succumb to via media infusion from magazines to books, to focused or curated reality that we see via social media, to even the current state of political events and what we take from it.

Until next time, remember to support artists and local businesses. Be kind to your fellow beings and always take the path less traveled. We all may live in times uncertain, but kindness, understanding, and believing in the good that is in most each and every one of us is what can bring about better days!

Mario, the Artisan Rogue
Illustrator, Voice Actor, Writer, Animal Rights Activist

Wednesday, December 30, 2020

The longest post ever...

I have half a mind to keep my mini tree up for the entire month of January. Just for a bright bit of cheer.
This is the first time this has happened as long as I've been keeping this blog running. I had started this update some month back and abandoned it, not choosing to update this for quite a long time. As things moved onwards, I wanted to make one last post before 2021 came in.

I left the first draft part, because it is exactly what was on my mind then, and I can finally finish my thoughts, in this forward time traveling sort of moment. 

July 5th, 2020

The other evening, as I sat awake around 2am, had finished up some late night work, and went into the living room to sit and think. I started to play some Fire Emblem Heroes on my phone, but really was just going through the motions, so I switched over to checking the socials,... Twitter, then Instagram, meandering over to Facebook... but after a few bland minutes of just staring at the blue glow, I just turned the screen off.

Sitting there in partial darkness, with just the porch light filtering in through the edges of the blinds nearby, my mind started to wander and think. 

I thought about the previous post about where we would go, moving forward. Emotionally. Physically. 

Over the last few weeks, we've all seen the ups and downs of what is happening these days. Covid19 isn't going away. Now, I know that there are a fair amount of people that will read this post, and decry "fake news", or feel that I am being overly cautious, or maybe even playing the part of a doomsday enthusiast.

The numbers, the data, all of the information you could need is out there via the CDC. The fact that people have died from this, period, is all the reason that matters. Even unto the ones that have "recovered", I feel that's in part, a not completely truthful assertion. The long term effects of this disease, are only in the last few weeks showing just how damaging and unpredictable this is becoming.

But none of the above is directly about what I am here to write about today.

Most people reading my blog, are people that either are or know artists/vendors that create things that they may sell online, but more frequently, rely on the access and sales they get from doing various shows.

It occurred to me that, as more and more shows begin to fall by the wayside this year, there are still a few stalwarts that look to be standing, or hoping, that things will "go back to normal". Thankfully, if that is the word that can be used, others have either relented and focused on shows moving to 2021, or they have taken the stance of a longer waiting game.

The fact is, everything is uncertain. Nothing is normal. I don't believe it will go back to whatever we deemed normal before...
The clouds over the highway as I made my way to Columbia, Missouri.
December 30th, 2020

It's about 12:30 AM as I start back in on this. To say this has been a strange year, would be an understatement. I halfway expected an alien invasion from outer space, or for Sasquatch to be discovered. It would not have been out of place. It would have been so on brand for 2020.

I can go on about so much that has happened this year, but it's almost too much to cover.

So for now, to keep this post simple, here is a short list of some of what I went through:

  1. Was hired as an overnight security guard the first day the Nelson Atkins Museum of Art closed it's doors to the public, quit the day before they readmitted the staff and started small opening times to the public.
  2. In working at the Nelson, I saw more art history than most people may ever see, a lot that has never been shown to the public, and some that will debut in years to come.
  3. I worked there the weekend of the Black Lives Matter demonstrations in downtown KC. I went through some things that not only changed how I felt about KCMOPD and the Nelson, but also myself.
  4. I won my first design industry award ever. For a freelance design project for Infinity Foils. It is still a bit weird, but I am happy. The last time I won an award was seriously at a high school art show.
  5. I started up doing therapy with a renewed vigor and hope to face up to so many things that I have as walls and challenges in front of me. 
  6. I started a Hero's Journal, which was one of my two favorite gifts this holiday, and I'll be reviewing it soon. I truly believe it's been a help to me that I never in a million years would have done on my own.
  7. Hallmark, let more people go, in the wake of Covid coming through. I as a contractor, recently had to go and empty out my desk, to work permanently from home. It was a surreal bit of time to be in there packing up again, and seeing all of the empty cubicles. I hope for my friends that are left there, that it holds as it is, if not grows once again in the near future.
  8. I started an online weekly show with a friend of mine, that we've now done for 20 weeks. It has been cathartic, fun, and helped me get over live feed performance.
  9. After years of holding out, I started up an Etsy store, which will hopefully help me out in this coming year, as art shows and conventions still seem dodgy at best for happening. 
  10. Many scary and personal close calls happened as well, almost losing my two cats, losing other pets that lived at my parents' house, and losing some friends and acquaintances to Covid this year, really hit home.
  11. Supporting more independent artists and small businesses this year than I have in the past.
  12. A lot of highs and lows when it came to daily life. Thankfully, depression has become far more manageable, but other shadows of the mind still wander around.
But along with that, because of the rise of more time spent texting, working online, and seeing more social media posts, following more people on instagram, I saw so much more come across. 
The very quiet halls.
It's been so hard to put into words so much of this, and especially when as introverted as I am, to not be always able to reach out to people I cared about and be there for them when the time mattered.
Four of the reasons I am grateful to be home.
I don't know what to expect of this next year. I don't do resolutions. I don't really adhere to the idea that things suddenly change just because a man made calendar flips over or ends.
The second set of illustrations I put up on Etsy.
That's not how life works. But the symbolism and anecdotal aspects of that, are firmly implanted in who we are.

I've had a lot of time to spend looking back on things, not only because of therapy sessions, or because freelance and contract work is dead at the moment for me. In part, I end up looking for things that are comfort zones for me. Regrettably, one of the things has been a new rediscovery of my desire for late night college level food...
No seriously, am I the only one craving a seven layer burrito right now?
Not a great way to crash into 2021. 

Until next time, remember to support artists and local businesses. Be kind to your fellow beings and always take the path less traveled. We all may live in times uncertain, but kindness, understanding, and believing in the good that is in most each and every one of us is what can bring about better days!

Mario, the Artisan Rogue
Illustrator, Voice Actor, Writer, Animal Rights Activist