Now that all the wedding craziness is over I can get back to focusing on my artwork and working fulltime freelance from home! For practice I did two new pinups!
This cute lil' sailor girl, titled 'First Mate' I did as an exploration of different coloring techniques, including a limited palette (there's only 7 colors which is VERY limited for me!) and halftone shading. I might try and see about getting her printed as a tshirt somewhere, since now that I am liberated from my old dayjob of designing tshirts I can actually explore techniques I learned there at my own pace and on my own artwork.
This next piece I did is a portrait of one of my favorite characters from all time, Angel from Rock & Rule. This actually started out as a doodle in a sketchbook from about 2 years ago that I came across last week and decided to breathe new life into. For me coming up with the bare concept of a piece is the hardest part, which I why I so rarely just sketch. I have to have some sort of idea already in my head. But yeah, I lucked out with this little piece where I was able to fix it up and take it to finishes. Which is quite a feat for me with any Rock & Rule fanart as that movie's art style is what I ultimately want my own art to be like and the challenge was to draw the characters without the piece being derivative. I think I did pretty ok, it's like a weird marriage of both my and R&R's styles.
In non-drawing creativity I've been flexing my design muscles as the unofficial Art Director and VP of Marketing for my BFF's DIY company Little Asian Sweatshop, designing flowers and pimping her etsy store out to the masses. My husband Phil is also revamping her whole logo/branding scheme and it looks frigging adorable.
Some of the new hair flower designs I've made are ON SALE NOW!
Our wedding was a mixture of everything we love: Rockabilly music, retro lounge culture, Dia de los Muertos imagery, fancy cocktails, Elvis, all under the lights and spectacle of Las Vegas. We had a total of 44 guests, which is a sizable crowd for a destination wedding who all dressed in the theme I had suggested of 'retro spooky cocktail' or 'what you'd wear to Vincent Price's funeral'. The ceremony (as you can see above) was quick, fun, sweet and never took itself too seriously. The Elvis was fantastic and everyone working at the chapel was so excited to see such a turnout. The ceremony was followed by a lovely reception dinner at Nob Hill Tavern at the MGM Grand Hotel and Casino. Everyone had a great time.
Phil's suit was pieced together with basic separates from JC Penneys, but then dressed up with a black skinny tie, black and white creepers from TUK Shoes and a vintage red brocade Palm Beach dinner jacket we borrowed from our friend Stacey of Atomic Cheesecake Studios, who also took our fantastic engagement photos. His boutonnière was made by Little Asian Sweatshop out of Red Dead Redemption playing cards.
My dress was the Ivory Duchess halter silk sundress purchased from Vivienne of Holloway, with a skeleton cameo corset in white by Louise Black, from Project Runway over top of the bodice. I added more black lace to the dress hem and neckline to give the illusion that it was all one unified piece and hand applied over 350 black diamond Swarovski rhinestone crystals to the dress and corset myself to give it extra dazzle. I also rhinestoned my Little Asian Sweatshop hairflower and bouquet, which like Phil's boutonnière was also made from Red Dead Redemption playing cards. I also wore black John Fluevog mini-heeled maryjanes with black fishnets, black lace gloves and a black chiffon petticoat.
Our cake topper was a set of Dia de los Muertos skeleton bride and groom figurines (from MexicanSugarSkull.com) I had given to my grandmother after we had gotten engaged. She let me borrow them and my mom painted them to resemble our wedding ensembles. The cake was vanilla ganache with chocolate cake inside. Super yum! Fenny and I had prepared the favors ourselves and my mom meticulously packaged them- for the female guests I had made resin brooches with skeleton artwork that I hand rhinestoned and Fenny had made her infamous poker card hair flowers, but with an added twist of them having skull beads in the middle to be on-theme. They were a definite hit. For the fellas we gave Elvis sunglasses and a Jose Pulido Elvis Calavera sticker.
Phil's big splurge for the wedding was the hiring of videographer Michael Gebben of Gebbs Wedding Films to film the whole day for us and edit it down into a 5-10 minute sweeping, hi-def, widescreen, emotionally manipulative movie. He basically ninja'd around us all day with his fancy camera and got lots of cool shots of us. The movie hasn't been finished yet- but from what little I saw of the shots it looks gorgeous. Here's a quickie behind-the-scenes shot of us after the reception at New York, New York.
Seriously can't wait to see it. Our Best Man Ben was saying how after it's done we should record a DVD commentary track for it.
Our biggest concerns with the wedding were mostly that we had to plan alot of things sight unseen, since we live in NYC and the wedding was in Vegas. Fortunately my brother had been married 3 years prior in Las Vegas at the same chapel by Elvis but on April Fools Day (yeah my family is awesome). I had gone to FIVE WEDDINGS that year and his was by far the most fun, also I cried like a baby. My mother had even pulled Phil and I aside after the ceremony and told us that if we wanted to have a wedding like that she was all about it. So we at least had SOME idea of what we were going to do for the wedding. Also from a logistical standpoint Vegas made the most sense. My family is from Maryland and Phil's family is from Missouri, yet we both live in New York City. Rather than have the organizational and financial nightmare of having family and friends come to NYC, we figured we'd make it fair to everyone and have our wedding in Las Vegas, therefore not giving any preferential treatment to anyone and it being a sort of vacation for everyone. One of the big things about Vegas however, is how much each casino does NOT want you to leave it's enclosed gambling geosphere. Which is crazy considering how frigging GORGEOUS it was out in the desert in early November (especially when NYC had seen the seasons first slush hit the day before we left). Something else that really drove me nuts in Vegas was the sheer lack of any sense of urgency the cab drivers had taking you from point A to point B. You could get a cab pretty easy in front of a hotel, but GOD HELP YOU if you were off-Strip and had to get a car called. You'd stand there waiting for about 30 minutes before one would roll up, which if you're a bride on a tight timetable made for a VERY STRESSFUL time. Especially being a New Yorker- is this what they mean when they say us East Coasters are all hi-strung? I also had an AMAZING itinerary of stuff planned that was also located off-Strip (or just further down Strip towards Fremont Street) which I never got to do, including eating at The Peppermill, drinking at Frankie's Tiki Room and going to the Atomic Testing Mueseum and Pinball Hall of Fame. Herding 40+ people in cabs to places I've never been and not entirely sure everyone would like would probably take 2 hours just to get everyone there, then to get back to the hotel room would probably take another 2 hours. I eventually realized into the 2nd day of being there that there were plenty of bars and gathering places within the confines of the MGM itself, and that truly important thing about the week wasn't where we were going to be (as long as it was comfy with a well-stocked bar) but that everyone was there having a good time and hanging out.
It may be a cop-out but my favorite moment of the wedding day started once the wedding party all got into the limo and headed to the chapel and lasted til the end of the night. It was the first time in a year I no longer had to worry about wedding preparation and finally just went with the moment. It was here and went off without a hitch. I even got genuinely choked up was when we rolled up to the chapel and I saw so many of my friends and family all hanging out front, dressed in their retro spooky cocktail best with giant smiles all waiting for Phil and I.
The funniest moment had to be during the ceremony while Phil and I were having our awkward slowdance. Elvis was singing 'Love Me Tender', Phil and I are remarking on how utterly awkward and queer it was to be slow dancing under hot spotlights (especially since we have never danced together, nor have I ever slow danced with anyone before) and over behind my shoulder in the first row of pews, my giant 6'3" 350 pound dad is visibly sobbing in his Elvis sunglasses. It was just such an amazing scene.
The only thing totally a mystery to us was how the Nob Hill Tavern was going to handle our reception. I knew the restaurant was still going to have other patrons in the dining room and I was so worried it would be a disaster. Which would be further from the truth, Nob Hill really went above and beyond to make sure we had everything we needed. Dinner was delicious, the staff was friendly and the space was much more intimate than I had imagined and there was plenty room for people to walk around and socialize with the other guests.
The most important lesson I learned from our wedding was that even if you have a 'low key' wedding, you'll still have alot of work to do to make it come together. If anything it being a low-key, DIY wedding means I had to take on alot of tasks myself. The way I am, I personally cannot let myself do something half-assed. I'm a bit of a perfectionist, and I accept that not everyone shares the ridiculously high standards I have for things and this tends to muddle my ability to delegate tasks. I've always felt that in the time it takes to explain how to do something to someone else, I could have just done it myself. I did accept help from my best friend Fenny and my mother, who are two people who know how particular I am with things and share my OCD-riddled worldview. Fortunately my ideas for the wedding were all realistic and not impossible to do, they just required time and creativity.
In exactly one week I will be in Las Vegas celebrating my final night of being Miss Paigey and my reemergence as Mrs. Ballsy*!
This being a largely DIY wedding, I along with my BFF Fenny (of Little Asian Sweatshop) and the enlistment of friends and family including Ballsy and my mom, have been working around the clock these past few months making favors, giftbags, the invitations, my bouquet, custom alterations to my dress. Pretty much everything in preparation for the big day on Dia de los Muertos, Nov 2nd. We're already planning a giant blog entry to submit to Etsy/Offbeat Bride/whoever will take us that will be chock full of shameless self-promotion, hotlinks and PR for us and our friends.
Phil (aka Ballsy, aka futurehusband) also went above and beyond the call of awesomeness with wedding contributions and surprised me with news that we'll be having our wedding day recorded by GEBBS Wedding Films who also did his sister Holly Moran's amazing wedding video last year! OMGOMGOMG! (You can see Holly's on the Gebbs website front page) We won't be doing a same day edit as our wedding isn't exactly structured in a way where it would be feasible but we should have an amazing video to watch and cherish forevs after the wedding and an amazing opportunity to share and relive our special day for the rest of our lives.
Somehow I'm imagining this:
This week in Vegas just keeps getting crazier and crazier!!
Phil designed the retro-inspired invitation postcard along with Atomic Cheesecake's photos of us.
The Louise Black ribcage corset I'm wearing overtop of my wedding dress. I'm adding black diamond rhinestones to the lace piping along the bones to get a little extra glimmer on me for the big day.
Fenny and my mom collaborated on the bouquet, Fenny created the form, made the poker card flowers out of Red Dead Redemption cards and braided the 'stems', while my mom filled out the rest with silk flowers, beads and dice. I added in rhinestones to the silk flowers for an extra bit of glimmer. My mom had so much fun helping with this she wants to join up with Fenny's Sweatshop and start making more bouquets.
Fenny also made a hairflower for me out of the Red Dead cards- the skeletal face cards work perfectly with the theme of the wedding. I added rhinestones for extra sparkle. I've been going a bit rhinestone crazy- it looks AWESOME in the sun. Like a disco ball!
I'm giving Fenny's poker card hairflowers away to the female attendees as favors. We had a super fun day putting them all together.
I'm also making skeletal resin brooches with rhinestones for all the ladies. I really like the way these turned out, I want to sell these in my own etsy store and at my vending tables at shows once I get back into my crafting groove.
I'm giving the male attendees Elvis sunglasses and these adorable calavera Elvis stickers by Jose Pulido from his Etsy store.
Also if you would like to see the wedding LIVE on webcam- the Viva Las Vegas chapel will have it streaming as it's going on. The wedding itself will be at 4:30pm on Nov 2nd Las Vegas time. East coast time will be 7:30pm. It's a quick ceremony- only 10 minutes long so don't be late! The link for it is here and it will be in the main chapel. Make sure to download the realplayer and familiarize yourself with the site. You can also view the main chapel on earthcam Las Vegas camera #2!
(*Not that I'm actually changing my name or anything about myself! While this is an important milestone in my life, it is not the end-all, be-all of my existence! If anything I'm looking forward to life post-wedding just so shit can get back to normal and I can get back to work without this giant looming party I'm planning stressing me the hell out.)
And as is tradition, the couple has to take some professionally shot engagement pictures together to use for the wedding announcements and the like and to give an idea of what kind of couple they are to the family and friends and shit. So Phil came up with the awesome idea of using my friend Stacey Barich, of Atomic Cheesecake Studios in my hometown of Baltimore, Md. I've done pinup shoots with Stacey before and it's always a treat to get shot by her. I've even brought groups of girlfriends from NYC down to get their cheeky shots taken and after seeing the amazing and hilarious engagement shoot she did for my friend Kevin and Ida Slaughter we *knew* Stacey was the perfect fit.
Once we knew we wanted Stacey to take our pictures, I figured out the what kinds of themes would best work with us as a couple. I knew I wanted 3 different shoots, one a bright and sunny picnic type scene that would be appropriate for the family and subsequent 'Thank You' cards after our engagement parties, one that was swank with Phil wearing a fez and incorporating Stacey's giant awesome pimp chair for the actual wedding invitation and the final being completely selfish and goofy of us as Frankenstein's monster and his Bride.
This shoot started out G-rated enough, as we were feeding each other hamburgers and hot dogs with intertwined arms, aka 'Long Island Wedding'-style.
But then it started slipping into the gutter as I started salaciously mustarding Phil's hotdog.
We couldn't help ourselves. We're just filthy-minded individuals.
Classy. We used this one for our actual wedding invitations.
I really like my smile in this one, it's super genuine. Also: Phil's EPIC FEZ!!!
(Which is actually Stacey's awesome husband Frank's fez. As is the super cool cocktail jacket that we're actually gonna borrow for the wedding!)
I ADORE Phil's face here. You can really see the love and the 'OMG I'm actually marrying this crazy broad!'
Or it might be him thinking 'Please don't break the nice lady's chair, honey.'
With the crazy makeup involved, we did these last. Frank did Phil's makeup and it looks AMAZING.
This was also the shoot Phil was the most into. He got to really cut loose and be himself.
My face in this pic is also one of my most favorite pictures of myself ever. I look like I drew me.
First off let me just say:
SO IT'S OFFICIALLY OFFICIAL: As of Friday, September 2nd 2011- I have put my two weeks in at Freeze (aka the Tshirt Mines, aka Art Jail, aka my hellish tshirt design job I've been at for 4 1/2 years that was going nowhere), because I will be officially working for Kodansha manga as a freelance letterer! That's right, all- I can *finally* say it.
I *OFFICIALLY* work in comics! XD
This is a HUGE step in the right direction. It will also give me the opportunity to do more stuff for myself once my schedule regulates- more commissions, more projects. I'm hoping to actually start getting my comic together actually DOING the damn thing down the road. What's the old saying? Freelancers work 16 hours a day for themselves instead of 8 hours a day for someone else? But this is sooo much more satisfying of work. Plus I get to have my name on my work and I've got way more control over my incoming money. More work equals more pay! What a concept!
So EXCITED to no longer work in the fashion industry, even if I was in the lower rungs. The entire industry is rotten from the top and full of the worst people. No trends, no buyers, no style guides, no whims, no 'I don't liiiike purple!', no 'that isn't funny enough', no verbage, no Walmart, no cubicles, no snotty fashion bitches in the elevators, no $12 Midtown lunches....
It's just me and the letters.
'Like a fart in the wind.'
I'm not supposed to disclose exactly what I'm working on yet, but it's pretty high profile. My mom actually knows what it is, if that says anything. As of tonight I've finished 40 pages of a 276 paged book that's due at the end of September. Slowly building up my sound effect library. Only 1 approved sound effect font for this particular comic so I've gotta stretch and squash it a bajillion different ways. Once I'm done my final two weeks at Freeze and I'm free to work my full freelance schedule getting the pages done will be a snap. Plus I get to work alongside my most favorite person in the world, my future husband Ballsy. Speaking of which, these next two months leading up to the wedding are gonna be crazy!! And afterwards? Things are gonna be awesome. ^__^
Zoinks! What a weekend!! Baltimore Comic Con 2011 marks my *4th* year of going 'pro-ish'. Having a table and hustling my wares at the Artist Alley as opposed to attending shows as a fan and schlepping my portfolio around to anyone who would give it a moments notice and an ounce of wisdom or advice. With a table you have a home base, a guaranteed chair, your work out on display and an opportunity to make money as opposed to spending it. Which once you start working a convention, it's really hard to go back. I sure as hell don't plan on it.
Baltimore Con this year was busier than I've ever seen it before. I'm sure Stan Lee being there was part of it. It also being a two-day convention, that starts at 10AM both days (ouch), so you either have to get there ass early in the morning or you get there after the doors open to set up. Which when a con opens on a Saturday, it's basically the convention equivalent of being air-dropped in the middle of Panang. Especially since my last convention was Heroes Con 2 months earlier, which was a 3 day convention, starting on a Friday, which eases you into it. But yeah, not this time at Baltimore, plus my table was in a much less desirable spot than it had been last year (smack in the middle of Artist Alley, in the tightest packed row because some jerks behind us decided it'd be cool to turn their 2 tables into a makeshift booth and eat up a ton of space behind the tables), and again, it was CRAZY. So set up was pretty hectic. Pretty sure I had at least 2 panic attacks. @__@;;
Fortunately I had my BFF Fenny there to help with table hosting duties in exchange for some table space to sell her Little Asian Sweatshop hair flowers that had been such a hit at Psychobilly Luau. Which is always awesome because Fenny has an amazing infallible energy and she can schmooze and hustle with the best of them. I also hosted some items from my NYC BFF Christy's etsy store, including her famous Cupcake Eating Batman/Batgirl jewelry. Over all the table was very successful! It's a pity that the signal for the wifi was so bad in the Baltimore Convention Center, because we could have made a *killing* if we were able to use our Square credit card reader. The table was a good success though. Fenny's flowers were a hit, and we became referred to as the 'Wives and Girlfriends Table', which is definitely a niche that few have been able to fill at comic cons. Fenny was able to sell to several unsuspecting fellas while playing the angle of how either they should bring something home from the con to their girl, or if they were actually at the show, they should get them a little somethin'-somethin' for being such a good sport.
The show as a whole was good, though the added crowds were stressful and Artist Alley seems to be getting tighter. Fenny and I were discussing next year possibly getting a full-sized booth to sell our stuff at, especially with the bigger projects and collaborations we're planning on doing next year. We've got a lot of ideas for the future of Paigey and Little Asian Sweatshop and to supplement the cost of the full-sized booth we'll probably 'rent' out space to a select few of our friends as well who would like the exposure.
My illuminated table at Public Assembly on Friday! With awesome giant banner action!
What is psychobilly, you ask? From Wikipedia: "Psychobilly is a fusion genre of rock music that mixes elements of punk rock, rockabilly, and other genres. It is one of several subgenres of rockabilly which also include thrashabilly, trashabilly, punkabilly, surfabilly and gothabilly. Psychobilly is often characterized by lyrical references to science fiction, horror and exploitation films, violence, lurid sexuality, and other topics generally considered taboo, though often presented in a comedic or tongue-in-cheek fashion. It is often played with an upright double bass instead of the electric bass more common in modern rock music. Psychobilly gained underground popularity in Europe beginning in the early 1980s, but remained largely unknown in the United States until the late 1990s. Since then the advent of several notable psychobilly bands has led to its mainstream popularity and attracted international attention to the genre."
I attended both Friday July 22nd and Saturday July 23rd of the event, at Public Assembly and The Bell House, both in Brooklyn respectively. I never did an even like this, so I wasn't sure exactly what to expect. I had had a bad run of vending at street fairs and flea markets and really wanted to to expand my fan base but wasn't sure exactly what types of events would welcome work such as mine. Then my friend Laura Rebel-Angel get ahold of me about vending the Psychobilly Luau this year, which I had seen posters for in previous years but never had a chance to get out to. I'm always bad at going to shows like these just as a spectator. I don't get out much and when I do and it's a scene I admire but am greatly intimidated by and don't have much personal exposure to I often find myself awkwardly hanging out on the sidelines with friends who have no idea what's going on that I drag with me. So at least having a table set up people can come to me, see what I'm all about and I get this illusion of being involved even though I'm actually a dorky shut-in. Plus it gives me the opportunity to make a little extra scratch on the side. ;)
Meredith and I looove photobooths!!
So along with Meredith, my longtime pal from Maryland up for the weekend as my trusty helper I set up shop Friday evening at Public Assembly in Williamsburg to an overwhelmingly awesome crowd of folks who were super in to what I had to offer. My best friend Fenny even sent up some of the custom-made paper hair flowers she creates for her Little Asian Sweatshop store on etsy to sell for her. Her most popular being roses she crafts from playing cards, like the one pictured below, which were a HIT! Out of the 20 she sent me I have 2 left! Craziness! If you wanna get one for yourself head on over to her etsy store and check out all her goodies!
My BFF Fenny's Sweatshop Flowers- check them out in her etsy store
I also had my iPhone Square card reader for the show, which I still had yet to properly use (as most convention centers are lacking in phone signals). I must say the ability to read credit cards really put my vending success at the Luau on par with some of my best comic convention table experiences! I really hope I'm able to get some wifi at Baltimore Comic Con coming up, because getting that extra business would be beyond awesome, as people are apt to spend more with a credit card as we've been somewhat conditioned to think of it as not 'real' money.
New *rhinestoned* Paigey jewelry in the works!
I have been playing around with 'fancier' renditions of my jewelry, as I am fascinated with all things sparkly- especially rhinestones. I blame burlesque. So I got these super cute cameo frames that I put my artwork in, but I felt they needed a bit of extra oomph and working my dayjob in the Fashion District I'm constantly passing all these stores with excellent rhinestones and beadwork. So I eventually learned that one way to attach them to pieces is by these fun little things called headpins, and thus A NEW SUB-OBSESSION IS BORN. So now I'm concocting a separate 'line' of Paigey jewelry that's gonna be all fancy-schmancy with sparkles n' stuff. I'll be adding these new pieces to my etsy store in the coming month and you can also see them up close and personal once Baltimore Comic Con rolls around at my Artist Alley table .
Awesome setup at The Bell House on Saturday! Now if they could only get that AC working...
*Giant* table spread at The Bell House on Saturday!
More rhinestone Paigey jewelry! Look for it at my table at Baltimore Comic Con and to go up on my etsy store soon!!
Sasquatch and the Sick-A-Billies!!
I'm definitely going to be back next year to vend for the show, it was a whopping success and I'm already talking to Fenny about her coming up to vend as well with MORE hairflowers and even more goodies that's she and I will be creating between now and then.
Wanna see more pics of the event? Papermag has a great photo essay right here and Sailor Jerry (one of the sponsors) has some great coverage of Saturday on their Facebook page!