Category Archives: lifestyle

Help from You. :)

Hello again friends.

(Flower Sculpture, soon to be available at Auguste Clown Gallery)

(Flower Sculpture, soon to be available at Auguste Clown Gallery)

Sorry I haven’t posted much lately, I’ve been pretty busy shipping lots of work out.  I’m pretty excited to let you all know that my Solo exhibition at the Auguste Clown Gallery in Melbourne, Australia opens up this month!  Lots of new paintings to see there.  More on that (with pictures!!) later.   That excitement aside, Right now I am calling upon friends, family and strangers to help me get my learn on.  I’m going through some major life changes, both personal and professional, and i’m making some drastic moves to improve and strengthen my skills and broaden my horizons.    I have been taking some classes with the financial aid of strangers, friends, and family.   I cannot afford full classes at a school so I am pursuing independent classes.   As a “self taught” artist (I don’t like the term self taught, more on that later as well…), I have hit a wall where I have exhausted my resources and I cannot teach myself any more with the tools I have.  My solution to this is to source education through various classes and independent studies.  My first class has finished and now I am trying to raise the funds for my second class.  This is where you come in!  😉  I am trying to raise 250.00 for an advanced and sculpting ceramics class and ceramics studio access.   I would like to build up the 3 dimensional side of my portfolio.  (Yes, I sculpt things sometimes…)  Unfortunately as a young mother and emerging career artist, it is difficult for me to delegate money to these endeavors as the cost of raising a child and producing and shipping my work is already huge.    But, if I can raise enough, I will have access to a clay studio and Kiln which will be super great for the production of new work and I’ll get to do some learning, experimenting and producing…

Basically, I’m canvassing you.  (sorry) I’ve never been super good at asking for help… But I’m going to get over myself and just do it.

Here’s the Deal:  You donate $50.00 to my cause, and when my class is over, I will send you a ceramic surprise (with some other goodies) worth equal or more than $50.00 along with a signed certificate and thank you note.    This is a cool way to help me out and to get your hands on a signed original ceramic piece of my choosing plus some desirable freebees.  I can’t say exactly what i’ll be making until the inspiration strikes, but I promise I won’t send anything out unless I feel that its absolutely magical.  😀

How To Donate:

1.  Send me an email to rudyfig@yahoo.com

2.  I will send you a request via paypal for $50.00USD.

3.  Then you can immediately feel awesome for donating to my cause.

4.  Then in October, (or maybe even sooner) when the class ends I will contact you and send your piece (Shipping is on me!!)

I have been extremely fortunate to have such a loyal and awesome group of fans, patrons, strangers and family that have helped me to move forward with my independent studies this year through random donations.  I just want to thank you for being here on my blog.   Please know I hugely appreciate each one of you.   I appreciate your time and I thank you for supporting my work and artistic endeavors   Shine on you crazy diamonds!  Please feel free to share! (Insert psycho face)

I’ve also finally added the patches to my web shop!  YAAAY patches.  They are cotton iron on patches designed from my water color illustrations.  You can put them on lots of different materials from leather to wood and I have lots of different designs, or you can get a deal on the 4 pack!    There are also a few zipper pouches.  I have a very limited number of zipper pouches so it’s not likely that I’m going to have more of them.  Snag them up!

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Decals, Dolls and Jewels, Oh my…

Exciting news everyone!  The nail decals I’ve been hinting about are finally ready and available.  They  turned out super cute.   I have a limited number of them so if you want them, snag ’em up!  You can find them right here in my etsy shop.  They are loaded with kawaii cuteness, kittens, bunnies, cupcakes, pills, hot air balloons and smiling bones.  Each sheet has 80 tiny decals so you can share with your friends!  🙂

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I also finally have these cute necklaces available.  Each one features a tiny print from one of my paintings under a tiny glass bubble.  They also have little key charms that match.   It was hard to get a crisp photo with the reflection in the bubble glass!  There are only a few necklaces left!  I’ve also added some special kokeshi dolls to my shop, there are only two!

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Stay tuned for more exciting news, I have lots of things to share, including some sneak peeks of the new work for my Solo show in August at the Auguste Clown Gallery in Australia.

xoxo

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Tea Time!

I have so many little things going on in my studio that I cannot see straight.  Most of the things i am working on are still in top secret mode, so Instead of sharing what i’m working on, I’ll share some things that have been inspiring me as of late.  I am super spongy and easily inspired, so here are a few things that I have been googling over. Let me know what you think.  I am trying to write blog posts more often, do you like to see my inspiration posts?  I’ll do them more if you like them!

il_570xN.328434305birdcage2Succulents:  I’m super in love with succulents.  Living in Minnesota means that I like to keep plants that I can bring indoors in the winter.  These plants are very hardy and even though they are kind of like cacti, some varieties can  survive our hellish winter season when left outdoors.  They can also come in for the winter, which is nice if you are a house plant addict like myself.  Succulents are nice and juicy looking and they come in lots of different colors.  The other cool thing about succulents is that the reproduce pretty quick and before you know it, you have a big plant instead of a little clumping. These ones in the photograph are right here on etsy.  Also you can do a lot of really fun things with succulents, they can grow vertically on a wall or you can put them in a birdcage like the image above.  They don’t require much water and they are very easy to keep alive.  I’ll be planting some next week.  (Sorry I don’t know where the birdcage image is from, let me know if you know and i’ll credit the image!)  Watch out for succulents in my upcoming paintings!

Pink Vanilla Pocky Cake1

Adorable pocky cake: mouth watering eye candy for the gullet.  Have I posted this cake before?  It is so freeking cute I could just barf.  Someday I would like my front yard picket fenced with pocky sticks… that would be ideal…

Steiff Felt Swan circa 1900

This Antique felt child’s toy is making me extra happy as of late.  Those of you who know me know that i’m a sucker for creepy old toys… This one is perfect because it looks like if you whacked it on the side a bunch of ancient children’s dandruff would puff into the air, maybe sending you into some sort of fit of nostalgic asthma.

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Post Mortem Photography really fascinates me.   Like… A lot.  There’s tons of it online if you want to see/learn more.  The woman on the left is dead.  So creepy and Awesome!  I’d post more… but i’ll let you explore that one on your own…   Do it. 

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Oh… and if that was too dark for you, here’s Elle Fanning photographed by Will Cotton

I’ll be back soon with more art pictures and maybe a sneak peek of a few pieces for my upcoming solo show.

OOOh, and just in case we haven’t found each other yet, I’m on instagram and Vine now… (my handle is Rudy Fig)

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On Being an Artist and a Mom… Momifesto

OOO.  I’ve neglected this blog for a while!  But So many exciting things have been starting to happen that I simply haven’t had the time!  My paintbrushes are drying right now so I have a moment of clarity to get a post in!  I have read a few things floating around the web lately about how career oriented people shouldn’t or don’t want to have children.  With mothers day coming up, I just wanted to say something about being a mom and the huge, but positive changes it has had on my life.  I used to be one of those people who swore against having kids, but its funny how things change.  People change.  Life changes.  Motives change.  Anywho, I just wanted to share my experience as a mom and a career oriented human.  Of course, to each their own, I have nothing, NOTHING against people who don’t want kids.  I just want to say that you can have a serious career and be a mom too.

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The chaos. THE CHAOS!

People seemed to be worried when I first became a pregnant, self employed, 23 year old  that I would not be able to paint any more.   As if becoming a Mom would cause my hands to become gangrenous and melt into oblivion, rendering me unable to articulate a paintbrush.   I had a friend who cried when I told her I was pregnant, she thought I wouldn’t be able to paint anymore and I laughed because nothing will stop me from working… but she was dead serious.   Several family members spoke with me in a tone that suggested that I would not be able to carry on as I was and I laughed at them too.   It was a patronizing “Oh we’ll see when it happens…” kind of tone.   I was extremely nervous about the future, but it didn’t take long into my pregnancy for me to realize that, no, I will always be an artist.   Nothing could ever stop me from doing what I do or I would simply go bonkers.   Becoming a parent is a big change, but it doesn’t rip the purpose or creativity out of your soul and epoxy a steely apron around your waist for your new life of nursing babies and domestic simplicity.  No.  Ridiculous.  But that was the notion that continued to spiral in my direction.

Yes, it turns out, becoming a parent does change things, and for a few months after having Vincent, it was very difficult to find time to paint, But on the other side, I was totally enamored with my new family member and I learned that there was more to life than making things (shocking, i know).  After working out the routine of having a North American Red Screaming Poopoo Beetle and recovering from birth (that shit hurts…), I slowly started painting again, more and more.  For a year and a half I   spent the days being a mom and Painting into the late hours of the night.   Sleep is for the dead, right?   I managed to crank out a solo show, plenty of dolls and managed to carry on but I could definitely feel the change.  I was burning out, overworked, exhausted, and my productive streak was slowing down in spite of my efforts.   I was tired, REALLY tired.   After welcoming  “Meat Bug” into my life, I really scrambled to find the balance between being a young mom and being a career artist.   For some reason work started to really feel like monotonous work instead of fun.  I was my own cranky douchebagface boss and I made the mistake of working for works sake instead of working for creative freedoms sake.   Turns out that I needed to make some changes to my career and routine.  I had to nurture my creative side AND an infant and the pressures of both started to consume me for a while.  I was juggling and needed balance.  I found that instead of scrambling to be with my son and scrambling to work, I needed to stop trying to do everything at the same time.  Dedicate specific time to specific tasks and give each your full concentration when you are in pursuit.   Be the best parent you can and Work as hard as you can on your own things too.

Being an artist is sort of a selfish job, you paint what you want for the shows you choose and you work at any pace you like.  It’s hard work, but there is an element of excitement in having that kind of control of your life and doing what you like to do.    Being a mom is completely selfless, there are no breaks, it is totally awesome but it is a huge contrast to fully focusing on work and doing whatever you want when you want.   Being a parent also brings a change to the very nature of being a career artist.   It is a financial change, I am now supporting another person, so I cannot be lazy.  I need to paint with gusto and save money.  At the same time I need to enjoy working and innovating to keep shit fresh.  In the past I could laze about, go hungry in exchange for expensive shoes, Stay up all night, party like an idiot, and these things still happen on occasion (especially the shoes), but my focus has changed.  Or rather, my focus has broadened.   People have this idea that you can’t be a mom and be completely invested in a career, but I think people can do anything if they want it badly enough.   It is a question of how hard you are willing to work.   Now I work with the intention of supporting my family AND having fun, I used to simply Paint to paint and felt lucky that people bought enough paintings for me to pay my bills and i felt lucky that my career was moving ahead so fast.   Now I paint ferociously to move forward, save and support my family.   For so long i was so focused on only painting, only shows, only work related things, that I got so used to doing what I was doing that the fun started to burn out.   Becoming a parent has opened my eyes to how lucky I am to be able to pursue a career of my choice.  It has given me new reasons to try hard, new inspirations and new ideas.   And, I have even become less of a hermit, which is a good thing.

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CHECK OUT OUR BOOGERS!

So, naturally, finding a balance between “momming” and painting hasn’t been the easiest thing, and i’m still working on it, but this year I feel like i’m getting the hang of it.   I love being a mom and I love painting, so it seems like things are getting better and better around here.  This spring is bringing in wonderful new projects and changes that I am super excited to share.    “Meat Bug” has given me fresh eyes on the world and inspired me to work my ass off for fresh new reasons.   I appreciate every moment of being a mom and every moment of work, even the crappy moments.   I have two jobs.   I am a Mom and I am a career oriented fine artist.  Neither jobs are lacking and both are completely fulfilling.   I am extremely invested in my work as both a painter and a parent.   I am not without hard times but I have never been happier.  Happy Mothers day to all the Mamas out there!

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I think i’ll keep him!

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Frame Hunting!

This was a headboard for a bed.

This was a headboard for a bed.

OKAY.  So a ton of people have asked me where I find the frames that I use for my work.   Here is a list of my frame hunting sources.    IF you want to find the good frames and don’t have a regular source, you should make frame hunting a normal part of your routine.

First:  Before you start your frame hunt, you need to know what it is that you are looking for.  What style of frame fits your work the best.   Do you have a sleek, modern aesthetic, or maybe something crazy and Nouveau would better suit your work?  Also, before you start, remember that if you take your work in to be framed professionally, it is likely that you will spend a pretty penny, don’t skimp on cheapo frames, it will show.  I learned this the hard way so take my advice and treat your work the way you want to be treated- with a nice frame.    Set a budget ahead of time, after a few years of frame hunting, you will be able to tell what frames are worth like a pro, but for now, watch your wallet, but at the same time, don’t be afraid to shell out a little extra cash for that PERFECT antique 3 panel vintage amiore mirror, it is not likely that you’ll come across it again.  Also, remember that sometimes older pieces need to be fixed up before you can use them, so that will cost a little bit of money too.  Also, if you work on paper, definitely matte your work.  It makes a huge difference.  If you are a painter, you generally won’t need glass over your piece.

Also, when you see frames, try to visualize them in other colors, you can repaint and refinish frames that you find, so don’t poopoo something if you like the style and but the color.  You can even modernize vintage pieces and give antique finishes to newer pieces, so pretend all the frames you see are grey.

Here's a little rococo style frame...

Here’s a tiny little rococo style frame… Sorry about the bad phone pics!

Craigslist:  Give it a whirl.  But be careful, craigslisters can be creepy.  I’ve found a ton of great frames on craigslist.

Ebay:  About half of my frames I use,  I find on ebay.  Yep, it’s true.  A lot of them start out as mirrors, I chuck/recycle the mirror and then use the frame.  I have a few keywords I use in my searches that help me narrow down and find the specific styles I need.  After some searching, you’ll see which ones you like and which ones you don’t and you can make your own list of keywords to use in your searches.  You can save your searches so you can check them the next week.  I do a frame hunt on ebay every couple weeks.  The nice thing about ebay is that its contents are constantly cycling, so there’s always going to be something you haven’t seen yet if you are willing to take the time search.

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Found these plastic frames for only 4.00!

Estate Sales:   Old people have the best stuff!  I love estate sales, one time I found a HUGE hand stretched, linen  gallery profile canvas for like 20 bucks at an estate sale.   But, that is besides the point, at about half of the estate sales I’ve been to, there has been a decent assortment of frames/mirrors.  The other cool thing about estate sales is that you can usually haggle.  I one time found a HUGE museum style  baroque frame for 45.00, which would have been at least 400.00 if it had been purchased new.  Also, Beware of Fondue pots, estate sales are riddled with them.  It’s cute, but are you really going to use it?  NO!

Bought these with Mermaids in mind....

Bought these with Mermaids in mind….

Sometimes if your lucky:  Occasionally you’ll run into an old syrocco frame at a garage sale or second hand store, it doesn’t happen often, but you never know what you will find.  The second hand stores in my area are always picked over and garage sales are a total hit or miss.  I didn’t want to leave it off the list though because it can happen.

Mirrors:  Mirrors make awesome frames for paintings.  Just Sayin’.  Antique dresser mirrors are the best thing ever.  Ever.

Tell People:  My close friends and family keep an eye out for frames on my behalf.   The frame game is hit or miss, so sometimes while your missing, a friend will hit.   On many occasions I’ve had people come to my door with frames.  It is great!

(This started out as a mirror)

(This started out as a mirror)

Obviously:  Be ready to wrestle rusty nails and non shatterproof glass out of crusty old frames.  Be careful.  Use tools, not your hands.  Spring for the expensive nail polish if you don’t want to chip your nails.  If you can’t remove glass from a mirror and breaking it out is your only hope of removing it, put it in a garbage bag first and then smash it up, that way you won’t have a shardy mess of shimmering death to deal with.

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I hand painted this plastic frame, Took a little longer than expected….

Before you Repaint:  If you are going to paint an old frame with gesso work or ornate details, clean it up first so you don’t get bubbles and crusties in your paint.   Use a a cotton swab to clean out all the nooks and crannies.   If you’re fixing up something fragile,  KEEP IN MIND that it will be hanging on a wall and it needs to be able to support the weight of itself as well as the weight of your work.  Prime before spray painting.  Don’t work in a dusty area.   You can whitewash and antique your frames with a rough bristle brush or you can leave them as they are.  Crackle paint them, gold leaf them, make ’em black, so whatever you want. The options are endless.  

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Ebay Finds… All of these started as mirrors…

TIP:  If you have a round or unusual shaped frame, remember to keep the glass or paper insert so you can trace it when its time to prepare your canvas/panel/paper.

Cracks and chunks: Fix cracks with epoxy putty or bondo.  Be sure to sand and refinish when your done an no one will know!  IF an old gesso frame is missing chunks, you can actually make molds and replace them.  I’ll post more about that another day.

Another Tip:  If you think it looks like shit, other people will probably think it looks like shit.  Do not hang your art in a gallery if you think the frame looks like shit.  Your better off with a simple frame than with a DIY antique frame that isn’t cutting it.  If edges of your work are showing because the frame is to shallow, for the love of god please at least paint them black so they are hidden against the wall.

Good Luck on your frame hunting journey friends.  I hope this has answered questions and helped someone.

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Monday Juicies

Here’s the next round of Monday Juicies for ya!

Fashion + Pokemon = Yes

Check out this tutorial for ‘slice of cake’ postcards.  They are really easy and super cute!  I discovered the link to this tutorial on Jenny Holiday’s blog.

And for all of you who did didn’t know, there is sugar in space!   … Black Holes too!

As an artist I am super receptive to color, I thought this was really interesting and thought i’d share!

And while were slightly on the topic of Pokemon, Glaucus Atlanticus is like a real life pokemon… YAY.

Holy Sequins: Louise Gray’s Topshop collection is out!  You know, Just in case you like to dress like a psychedelic disco ball…

And a Silly Symphony:

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