Category Archives: Business

All Done With Mirrors

I’m in the midst of not one but two concurrent projects creating Oracle cards and Lenormand cards. For my Oracle card shenanigans, read here. I haven’t blogged about Lenormand cards yet, or indeed about my Lenormand cards project, as I’m still learning about that divination system myself. Rest assured all will be revealed in due course.

So, my idea is to create a deck of Oracle cards, which I will then either 1) approach a publisher to license or 2) self-publish through a Print-on-Demand site. Still having a think about how to get a package together consisting of the deck of cards, a box and what those in the trade call the LWB or the “little white book”.

My Oracle Cards project has passed the 40th mark, out of a potential 52 cards, so it is well on the way.

As for my Lenormand Cards project, I’ve done 12 out of the 36 cards that make up a Lenormand deck. I’m taking my time with this project, as I’m learning about the symbols and meanings as I go along. Fascinating subject, which I will blog about soon enough.

All playing cards have a front and back, right? My digital mixed media photography art will go on the front of the cards, and now I need to create some designs for the back too. Here are some potential card back designs that I created using the App PicsArt, mainly playing with its “Distort” filter which offers image mirroring on X and Y axes, easily creating symmetrical designs.

PicsArt for Android

PicsArt for iOS

Enjoy! (All images copyright AlyZen Moonshadow)

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Conscious Living Expo, Perth, Western Australia 2014

Well, here I am today at my first big Mind, Body, Spirit Festival ever. This one’s called “Conscious Living” and it’s held this year at Belmont Racecourse in Perth, Western Australia, from 16-19th October.

I don’t really know what to expect. I’m hoping to see stalls selling crystals and Tarot/Oracle cards, as well as clairvoyants and psychics of all kinds giving readings. Those are what I’m going to the Expo for. I doubt I’ll be able to afford a reading of any kind, as their prices tend to start from $50 for a half-hour reading. But I want to see what’s there, and if there’s any unusual type of readings on offer, e.g Lenormand cards. And if there’s any Oracle card decks for sale there that I have yet to add to my growing collection AHEM. Or books, one must absolutely have books, of course!

The main attraction, however, is Braco from Croatia, who apparently has a soothing and healing power of people, just by using his loving gaze. For more information about Braco, read here. Here is a photo of Braco in action, taken from his webpage.

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(I missed out on the Early Bird special which included a “gazing session” with Braco, so if I really want to go see him, I’ll have to pay extra for it, if it’s not booked out already). For those who are already familiar with Braco’s Gazing, it’s his birthday on 23rd November, and he’s offering free Live Streaming sessions here.

The website for the Expo http://www.consciouslivingacademy.com/demo/index.php/visitor-information has a downloadable PDF document showing who some of the exhibitors are, as well as a floor plan. I’ve printed that out to help me get around.

Here’s the PDF document, if you’re interested:

http://www.consciouslivingacademy.com/demo/images/PDFs/CLE-Perth-2014-print-standard.pdf

So, for today, it will be just a quick snapshot of what’s happening at the Expo, then if I find anything else that’s of interest, I may expand on it in a further post. Meanwhile, enjoy the pics! :-)

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Let’s go LEGO!

Here’s a name that needs no introduction. You’ve played with it, your children will play with it, and all being well, your grandchildren and great-grandchildren will play with it too.

LEGO. (Yes, I know it should have the copyright symbol after every iteration of it). Yes, we all have fond memories of playing with these little coloured bricks. And one Maths teacher from Cleveland, Ohio, has taken LEGO to dizzying heights by using his mathematical prowess to design programmes that enable him to create domes and spheres etc.

Here are the facts, in a nutshell:

Arthur Gugick, 54, from Cleveland, has built hundreds of scale miniatures using just the colored bricks

Each model contains 5,000 to 20,000 pieces and Mr Gugick owns more than one million overall

The father-of-two has never used glue to hold pieces together and avoids using shop-bought models

He balances the hobby with his day job as a maths teacher at Beachwood High School in Cleveland, Ohio

(Source: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2782102/Maths-teacher-recreates-famous-artworks-portraits-iconic-buildings-using-LEGO.html?ito=social-facebook)

I’ve pulled together some of Arthur Gugick‘s creations from Google Images, so we can all goggle at them together.

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My soon-to-be 12-year-old son is a LEGO addict. You can never have enough LEGO bricks, it seems. No matter how many bucketloads you buy of the stuff, it’s always just a drop in the ocean.

If you’re at all interested in LEGO, there have been several books published about it recently, some of them showcasing Arthur Gugick’s creations. Mind you, there are dozens of books on LEGO aimed at a younger audience; the ones mentioned here are intended for a more serious and mature practitioner:

Beautiful LEGO https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1593275080/ref=cm_sw_r_awd_MLonub1MEFP0R

Brick City: LEGO® for Grown Ups https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/184533812X/ref=cm_sw_r_awd_kPonub17KF92E

Brick Wonders: Ancient, natural & modern marvels in LEGO® https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1845338871/ref=cm_sw_r_awd_7Qonub19YVBBK

The Art of LEGO Design: Creative Ways to Build Amazing Models https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1593275536/ref=cm_sw_r_awd_BUonub02JTJPW

The LEGO Neighborhood Book: Build a LEGO Town! https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1593275714/ref=cm_sw_r_awd_OVonub13YC8MQ

Build Your Own City: The Big Unofficial Lego Builders Book https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/3868526587/ref=cm_sw_r_awd_.Xonub0HGW4GW

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Artist Inspiration : IRIS GRACE

Her paintings sell for hundreds, if not thousands of dollars. But money is not the motivation here. In the case of Iris Grace, Art is how she expresses herself. Iris is autistic and has never spoken, but her paintings speak volumes and stir emotions in those that see them.

(All photos are copyright of Iris Grace).

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Iris Grace is 5 years old.

I first saw Iris’s work on http://www.boredpanda.com/5-year-old-painter-autism-iris-grace/

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Wow! Her paintings remind me of the Impressionists, particularly Monet and his water lily series. Her parents, Peter-Jon Halmshaw and Arabella Carter-Johnson, bought art materials for Iris on the advice of her psychologist, and like any proud parents, they thought her paintings were beautiful. But then their family and friends started going crazy over Iris’s art, and it snowballed from there.

All proceeds from Iris’s art sales goes towards her ongoing speech therapy, music therapy, yoga and of course, now art materials. It is also hoped that Iris’s paintings can help raise the public’s awareness of Autism, which affects 1 in 100 people in the United Kingdom.

You can follow Iris Grace on her own blog http://www.irisgracepainting.com There are several video clippings on her blog that show Iris Grace at work.

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Photo of Iris Grace with her faithful companion, Maine Coone kitten Thula. They are inseparable.

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I’m seeing Raccoons…

Sometimes, strange things happen that make you sit up and pay attention. Mostly it’s patterns – once I noticed 3 women with casts on their right legs, all in the same town as I was cycling around. Another time there seemed an inordinate number of pregnant ladies around. Then there were the 4 men in the same t-shirt in various different locations. Sometimes it’s numbers – repetitions of 2, or sequences like 7171, or I wake up at 3:33am, 4:44am etc.

Today it was Raccoons.

1. First, a friend on Facebook posted up some photos of her visit to a Birds Of Prey centre in Ireland. One of the photos showed her petting a raccoon. I especially noticed it because raccoons are not native to Ireland, and besides, it was a Birds of Prey centre.

2. Another friend on Facebook posted up a video of a raccoon stealing the cats’ food. http://youtu.be/FTcjzaqL0pE

3. Yet another friend posted this up. “Raccoons are Awesome” http://youtu.be/jlYKZmTvzi0

4. Here’s another raccoon related post I saw just before bedtime last night.

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Too many raccoons to be a coincidence. So I looked up Raccoon in Steven D. Farmer’s “Power Animal Oracle Cards”. I wasn’t familiar with the deck, having only received it 3 days ago. So I wasn’t sure if there would be a Raccoon card in it.

But there was! And it said “You have all the RESOURCES you need”.

I’m taking this as a sign that my Oracle Cards and Lenormand Cards projects, which are running concurrently, are achievable. I’ve done enough research into the logistics and practicalities, and I’ve also created some of the cards already, on my smartphone.

Either that, or Facebook is testing out some new algorhithm on its users, and bombarding images of raccoons here and there, for people to pick up and share.

And now…just to seal the deal, I’m off to watch Resident Evil on DVD, not sure which one from the 4 movies, but I like them all. Oh hey, guess what…it revolves around wait for it…Raccoon City! 😄

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Art Licensing Caveats – from Joan Beiriger’s Blog

Since some of my Art is licensed with a number of Art Licensing Agents, I subscribe to Joan Beiriger’s blog, to keep up to date with the industry and also to chase up any leads Joan may introduce.

Joan has just written an editorial about what to watch out for when dealing with Art Licensing Agencies. If you are an Artist looking to get your Art licensed, or even if you are already a licensed artist, the following can still be useful information to bear in mind. I have taken the liberty of simply reposting Joan’s entire article here verbatim, for your ease of reading, in case you’re not subscribed to her blog. Joan is an expert on the subject and I’m most certainly not, so the purpose of this post is to simply disseminate Joan’s message to those who may not already know. (Note: Hyperlinks to books and resources mentioned below are clickable on Joan’s blog, but not on this page).

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From Joan Beiriger’s blog:


Art Licensing Editorial: The Truth About Art Licensing Agencies

WARNING! This is not an upbeat article and is depressing because the art licensing industry is like other industries where people sometimes take advantage of others. The purpose of this article is to warn artists that they need to make sure that they are signing a fair contract or at least know the repercussions in signing an unfair one when they agree to have an art licensing agency represent them.

The truth about art licensing agencies is that there are MANY agencies that are honest, professional, have a fair artist/agency agreement (contract)* and work hard to represent their artists. BUT, there are SOME that are unethical, and/or are not professional in dealing with their artists, and/or have unfair contracts, and/or have poor business practices. Sounds alarming, huh? Well, it is! And, that is why an artist needs to do her/his homework before signing with an art licensing agency. Read the following so that you do not make a bad decision and sign a contract that negatively impacts your income and even worse allows an agency to have control of all your art so that you lose your rights to it.

In the fifteen or so years that I have been in the art licensing industry, I have heard many complaints and some horror stories from artists about the agencies that represent them. Unfortunately, those artists with the horror stores were so pleased that an agency wanted to represent them that they did not read the contract closely enough, understand all the terms, or realize that some terms that should be in the contract were missing. The artist’s big mistake was not to acquire information about the agency’s reputation and business practices by asking other artists and not having an attorney that is an expert on art licensing contracts look the contract over before the artist signed it.

* The artist/agency agreement is a contract and is referred to as a contract or artist/agency contract in this article.

Common Artist Complaints about Agents
Most of the complaints I’ve heard about agencies are not as drastic as unethical agencies and unfair clauses in the artist/agency contract but about the lack of communication between the agent and artist, poor business practices, not getting enough or any licensing contracts with manufacturers, and not receiving enough money from the contracts. Some of these complaints were because the artist had unrealistic expectations such as earning a lot of money from each licensee contract. Read below for more information about agency complaints.

• Lack of communication
Lack of communication and not being on the “same wavelength” between persons is a common human foible. It often results in frustration and may be intolerable when working together. Some artists want to be in constant communication with their agent and feel adrift and slighted if the agent does not immediately answer their questions or respond when new art is sent. Other artists realize that agents are busy and will respond as soon as they have time and are not upset when they do not get a quick response. Although, it does not go over very well if the agent does not respond at all. No one like their emails or art to “drop into a black hole” and not know if the agent received it. Note: Some artists find that if they phone the agent they will get a faster response than if they email her/him. Agents may not have the time in their busy day to sit down and write an email but find the time to chat if their artists phone them.

Some artists expect agents to provide art direction, to send them the latest in art trends, and give feedback from the licensee when art is submitted. Or, there are personality clashes where communication between the artist and agent does not work because they are not on the same wavelength. Not all agencies provide art direction and some depends on the artist to keep up with trends. That is why it is important for the artist to talk with the agent before signing with the agency to see if there are any communication problems, if the agency provide the services the artist expects, and how the agent envisions the artists work will be used on products.

Artist Jill Meyer describes the process she went through in selecting an agency in her very informative article “Finding a New Agent.” An important part of Jill’s process in selecting an agency was talking and asking lots of questions of the agent before considering hiring the agency to represent her. Also important was talking to other artists about the agency and having an attorney familiar with art licensing agree that the artist/agent contract was fair.

• Poor Business Practices
SOME agencies do not have the best business practices. They are negligent in submitting art, do not make adequate follow-ups, do not keep track of art already submitted or licensed to manufacturers, and do not respond to emails from licensees or send signed contracts back to them in a timely manner. Any of these will damage the creditability of the agency. The following are some complaints I have heard from other artists and licensees.

1. Poor method in tracking art
– Some agencies do not keep track of the art they submit to licensees and thus submit the same art time and time again. Licensees are looking for new art; not art that they already have seen.

– Some agencies book keeping abilities are not very good and they do not keep track of the art that have already been licensed. Thus, they are at risk in licensing the same art for the same product to different licensees and breaching the terms of the contract granted to the first licensee.

2. Poor response to queries and return of contracts
Some agencies do not reply to licensee emails or return signed contracts in a timely manner. Art directors appreciate quick responses and it shows that the agent is professional which helps in promoting future business. Also, a slow reply to a query can mean missed opportunities to license and promote art.

3. Poor follow-up
– Some agencies do not follow-up frequently when licensees show interest in art and thus they may lose the opportunity to license it.

– Also, some are poor in following up when payment of licensing fees are late or contracts do not arrive when expected.

4. Poor method in submitting art
Some agencies submit their artist’s work to their entire client list in what I call a “shot gun method” in the hopes the licensee will be interested in some of them. Instead they should be submitting only the appropriate art for each manufacturer. Licensees do not appreciate getting a ton of art that is not suitable to be put on their products and will eventually not open emails from agencies that submit art that way.

• Not enough deals or pay enough
Artists may not get licensing contracts because the agency does not have a list of licensees that is suitable for the artists work. Of course, the agency should never have signed the artist for representation if they did not think they could license her/his work. Or, it could be due to the impact on the licensing industry with the change in consumer spending and also the increase in competition of artists vying for licensing deals. The change in consumer spending has drastically changed the way retailers sell products. Retailers now order lesser products from manufacturers and the shelf life is shorter. Thus, licensing revenue per image is less than it was before the recession struck in 2008. Consequently it is not the fault of the agency to now get fewer and not as lucrative licensing deals for their artists.

Artists and art licensing agencies are struggling to get contracts and bring in revenue. In the article “You Are Not Going to Make It in Art Licensing” art licensing agent Jim Marcotte of Two Town Studios wrote, “Art licensing today is an industry in search of a workable model. The scramble is on – agents and artists who used to make their money by licensing art are now finding ways to collect from (mostly newbie) artists in ways that run the gamut from coaching to holding contests. Some agencies are accumulating artists, hoping that more people earning less money can make up for the reduced sku counts and short market runs. Branding agencies are taking on artists and art agencies are promoting brands, and both are consulting for manufacturers who are buying art worldwide and licensing art only when they have to. It’s a wild time in the biz.” Jim’s article is a very “tough pill to swallow” but his aim is not to discourage artists so they quit trying to license their art but to energize them by trying new ways to license it. To get Jim’s perceptive on licensing art in today’s market, read his article.

Note: I recommend that you read Belgium surface designer Ine Beerten’s article “The Big Contest Dilemma” if you are interested in entering a design contest. Ine wrote a really thought-provoking article about contests. She ended her post with “So what do I hope you take away from this post? I hope you think careful when you enter a contest next time, think whether it’s just an easy way for the company to get free artwork and cheap marketing and whether the prizes are truly fair, or if you can really gain something that is actually worth something to you. By entering these bad contests you only help them devaluating your own and other artists’ work!”

Artist/ Agent Contracts
In “16 Art Licensing Agent Agreement Essentials” by licensing consultant J’net Smith, she states that “It’s easy to get excited about the prospect of finally signing with an agent and forget to make sure that the contract is not only fair to both of you, but includes everything you need. . . Don’t accept the first contract you are given without understanding all the obligations and ramifications of each clause. It may be your first and the most important contract you will ever sign.”

Artists may interpret the terminology and meaning of legal terms or poorly written clauses in a contract incorrectly. And, if clauses that should be in the contract are missing such as the date and terms specifying termination, the artist may be obligated that the agency continues to represent her/him forever. That is why it is recommended that an attorney experienced in art licensed legislation look over the contract before the artist signs it. It is less expensive to pay an attorney to make sure the contract is fair to the artist than to pay him/her to try to free the artist from a bad contract even if it is possible.

• Unethical business practices and contract terms
What I deem unethical is when an agency does not pay monies due to artists for licensing their art or taking advantage of artists by having clauses in their artist/agency contract that takes control of the artists work and denies the artist usage of their own work.

Several years ago two artists told me that their agencies were not paying them revenue for their art being licensed. Their agents insisted that the art had not been licensed and yet the artists saw their art on products in stores. In one case, the artist was able to get monies owed by hiring an attorney. In the other case, the artist found out that her copyright was infringed upon and the art was illegally used. It is important that artists be constantly looking for their art on products in stores and on the Internet. And, getting their friends to help. That may be the only way that an artist finds out that their copyright has been infringed upon.

In the article “Hot Words to look out for in contracts” art licensing agent Lance Klass of Porterfield’s Fine Art Licensing discusses the word “assign” and the consequence when used in any art/agency or licensee contract. He wrote “. . . when you see the hot word “assignment”, make certain that you’re not assigning the copyright or all reproduction rights to your artwork as a part of the agreement. If you do, it’s lost to you forever. Other people will control the reproduction rights to your art, and you’ll actually have to ask their permission to reproduce the art that you created.”

Lance relates a couple of horror stories that artists endured by signing bad contracts in his article “How to Avoid the Most Common Mistakes in Licensing Your Art”. In one example, Lance said “. . . This agency, which just happened to be owned and operated by the same people who owned and operated the publishing company, gave itself the exclusive right to publish any or all of the artist’s work for the next five years and to sublicense his art to anyone they wished, whenever they wished”. He stated, “If there’s any one piece of advice I could give an artist about to enter a legal agreement, it is to read every single line in the contract and make sure that you totally understand it. I know that isn’t easy for most people, but don’t get in the water if you don’t want to get wet. If you find that there are sections or sentences that aren’t written clearly, don’t say what you want, take away a bit more of your rights than you feel you want to give, or if any of it seems confusing or contradictory, have the company rewrite it in plain English. . . . But don’t let this stop you from promoting your art for license. Most companies are quite reputable and many contracts are completely understandable by the average human. Just make sure you read every word, and know what it means”.

• Unfair contract terms and business practices
Not all agencies have unfair terms in their art/agency contracts but some do. Terms that seem unfair to artists are usually in the contract because of the way the agent decides to operate the agency. For instance, a clause in the contract may state that the agent will make all decisions in licensing the art. That means that the artist has no say-so in what company manufacturers her/his art, will not have the opportunity to approve or not approve the licensee contract or even see it, and cannot approve the amount of royalties or flat licensing fee that will be paid for the use of the art. That is unfair to the artist. But, the artist may trust the agent to do a good job and is willing to sign the contract because she/he wishes to be represented by the agency. What is NOT acceptable is if the artist is blindsided and not aware that the terminology in the clause gives the agency that right. And, that is the reason why an art licensing attorney should be hired to point out unfair terms in the contract before it is signed. Note: Yes, there are agencies that have that clause in their contract.

Below are more contract terms and business practices (may not be in the contract) that may be construed as unfair to artists.

1. Artists do not get to see licensee contracts
A variation on the above unfair term is that an artist does not see the licensee contract but gets to approve or not approve the contract. The agent sends a form to the artist with the basic terms of the deal so that the artist can sign it for approval. Just like the above term, the artist must trust the agent that she/he makes sure that the clauses in the licensee contract is fair.

2. Agencies continues to receive commission after termination
Most agree that the termination clause is the most important clause in the artist/agency contract. In his article “The Artist – Agent Relationship” art licensing attorney Joshua Kaufman states, “The greatest issue of tension and dispute between artists and their agents surround post-termination issues. . . . The issue of how long an agent is entitled to keep receiving its commission after the contracts terminates, is one that is strongly negotiated. Agents of course, wish to be compensated for not only the full term of their contract but for the term of the licensing agreement and of all extensions and renewals. The artist wants to limit the payment to the agent after their contract expires. Agents believe that they secured the contract, they work long and hard, had to wait for their money and should be entitled to their receipts throughout the term of the contract. ” Note: Most contracts do give the agency the right to continue receiving commissions from the contracts they obtained for the artist until the contract expires and no renewals are requested by the licensee.

3. Agencies continues to represent the artist after termination
Some agencies have clauses in their contract that allows them to continue representing the artist after the termination of the contract. The representation is for an additional several years after termination and is limited to those licensees that the agency obtained contracts for the artist’s work during the term of the contract. There are questions on the legality of this clause according to attorney Joshua Kaufman in his article “The Artist – Agent Relationship”. He states “One finds in many agreements prohibitions against dealings by an artist, post termination, with the agent’s clients. First of all there is a question (which depends on which state law applies) whether those clauses are enforceable and to what extent. . . If the agent’s client list is very large, and there is a blanket restriction against dealing with the agent’s clients, and this precluded the artist from doing business or greatly hampered their ability, many states will disallow the restriction.”

4. Do not allow any interaction between the artist and licensee
There may not be a clause in the artist/agency contract but some agencies do not allow their artists to interact with licensee art directors. All licensee requests for high-resolution art are sent to the agent who forwards it to the art director. And, all requests for editing of the art go through the agent. This is awkward and frustrating to the artist. It is much easier and faster for the artist to make art changes if she/he works directly with the art director.

5. Artists do not get to approve samples
Not all licensing contracts allow the approval of art on the products before they are manufactured. But if it is in the licensee contract, the agent normally approves the samples and not the artist. That restriction may not be in the artist/agency contract but because of licensee time restrictions it is not usually possible for the agent to ship the sample to the artist for approval.

6. Artists are required to pay part of booth and marketing expenses of the agency
Many agencies do not require artists to pay any of the agency expenses. But, if they do required their artists to help with trade show and other agency expenses it should be clearly spelled out in the artist/agent contract according to art licensing consultant J’net Smith in “16 Art Licensing Agent Agreement Essentials”.

Summary
There are many good art licensing agencies. But, do not get blindsided and sign a bad contract. Do your homework and ask agents for recommendations of artists in their agency to talk to and/or look at agency websites for the artists the agencies represent. Select a few artists and find out their contact information from their own website, Facebook or LinkedIn. Either phone or email them to ask questions about the agency. Make sure that you fully understand all the terms in the artist/agency contract. And better yet, hire an attorney that knows the ins-and-outs of art licensing to look over the contract and point out any unfair clauses before you sign it.

For a list of agencies, read “List of Over 50 U.S. Art Licensing Agencies”. But, you need to research the agencies yourself because I am not familiar with all of them or their artist/agency agreements (contracts).

Resources:
The above post mentions quotes from the following articles. I recommend that you read these articles because they contain a lot of important information you should be aware of.

• “Finding a New Agent” by licensed artist Jill Meyer

• “You Are Not Going to Make It in Art Licensing” by art licensing agent Jim Marcotte of Two Town Studios

• “The Big Contest Dilemma” by Belgium surface designer Ine Beerten

• “16 Art Licensing Agent Agreement Essentials” by art licensing consultant J’net Smith

• “Hot Words to look out for in contracts” by art licensing agent Lance Klass of Porterfield’s Fine Art Licensing

• “How to Avoid Mistakes in Licensing Your Art” by art licensing agent Lance Klass of Porterfield’s Fine Art Licensing

• “The Artist – Agent Relationship” by attorney Joshua J. Kaufman

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They Have Eyes But Do Not See

…or rather, they choose to see only what is in front of them. I’m talking about Materialism in this sorry old World of ours.

Nevermind the Apple vs Samsung or iOS vs Android debate. Today I went into the city to buy some of my favourite coffee. (Cubania by Nespresso, limited edition while stocks last only). Yes, I do like my coffee, but it’s my only worldly vice, apart from wanting to buy every oracle/tarot/lenormand card deck there is ahem!!

So up to Perth CBD on the train I go. I’m walking along Hay Street towards Elizabeth’s Secondhand Bookshop (where they have a nice little New Age/Spiritual section), and I notice some men in high-visibility vests conducting crowd-control. For yeah, there was indeed a crowd on the street. Ahhh yes, the penny dropped. Today was the day Australians got to see and/or buy the new iPhone 6 and 6 Plus. Hurray for them!

imageThe front of the queue on the road. These are people who are buying the new iPhone.

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imageInside the Apple Store. A multitude of people gawking at the new iPhone models. But, if you decided you just Have to get one today, haha Mister, join the queue, literally!

imageThis is the iPhone 6 actually, not 6 Plus. Only a man could call something 5.5 inches a “6 Plus”!

imageSuckers Customers buying the iPhone 6.

imageThe iPhone 6 Plus. Well done, Apple for finally catching up with the competition!

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imageSome people had actually camped outside overnight. So sad. I was also embarrassed to see that 95% of the desperados queuing up were Orientals. It looked like the entire Asian population of Western Australia had descended on the Apple Store today.

Materialism gone mad. On the one hand, we have all these people wanting the latest gadget in their hands. They don’t know why, it’s not something necessary to their lives, they certainly don’t Need it. But they Want it. Because they believe that it will bring them happiness. Hello? Things can Never bring you happiness. $1000 for a badic iPhone 6? That can feed a family of 4 for an entire month!

On the other hand, and in the next street, actually, I befriended Shane, a homeless man, and bought him a chicken and mushroom flaky pastry, orange juice and a bottle of water. I had a pastry and a cappuccino. We sat on the bench and talked. We talked about Life, what was important and what wasn’t. We spoke about Shane’s personal circumstances. I encouraged him to get himself together once the City Council had found him a home (he’s 4th on the waiting list). I showed him photos of the queue outside the Apple Store, and we laughed ourselves silly at the thought of psychologists labelling Shane crazy, when out there in the very next street were possibly over 2000 lunatics queuing up for an expensive toy!

Shane was pretty clued up about things, for example, he’d read and heard that cannabis oil cured cancer. So we talked about the efforts of some groups to decriminalise cannabis. I showed him Rick Simpson’s video on how to make cannabis oil.

I also showed Shane a couple of Tarot/Oracle card Apps on my Samsung Galaxy S4. His cards came out really positive – 2 of Cups, 7 of Pentacles and 10 of Cups. I told him those were the cards he’d chosen, and he now needed to put himself in the path to make it happen. I said he shouldn’t think of himself as down and out, because Up was the only way he could go from here. I gave him a big hug before I left.

I know who I’d rather have as a friend in this world. Not any one of those people in the queue, that’s for sure! They have eyes but they do not see.

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http://www.alyzenmoonshadow.wix.com/alyzenmoonshadow

MY ORACLE CARDS PROJECT: THE JOURNEY SO FAR

A short while ago I hatched a grand plan to create my own deck of Oracle Cards. I blogged about it here.

Now I’ve created about 20 such virtual cards, so I’ll share them with you. You can see how some work better than others, I’m constantly learning as I go along. Creating the imagery is only part of the whole process. I still haven’t gotten round to writing the explanation or meaning of the imagery. That will come. Also, I have to research the practical logistics of getting my cards into print.

So, here are some of my “Practice” Oracle Cards. They may or may not be the end product…I might add a black border all around each image, or more key words at the bottom.

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http://www.alyzenmoonshadow.wix.com/alyzenmoonshadow

Artist Inspiration : JACKY PARKER

Jacky Parker is another photographer after my own heart. Her beautiful flower photography serves as an inspiration to me. Jacky only took up flower photography in 2005 whilst studying for a diploma in horticulture. By 2008 she had already garnered so much recognition that she was awarded the “RHS Photographer of the year” title.

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Click here to visit Jacky’s website.  Those wishing to license Jacky’s images may do so on these sites:

GETTY Images : http://www.gettyimages.co.uk/Search/Search.aspx?assettype=image&artist=Jacky+Parker+Photography

ALAMY STOCK http://www.alamy.com/default.aspx

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A selection of Jacky’s work on canvas can be purchased on these sites:

GOOD EARTH CANVAS: http://www.goodearthcanvas.com/hakusha/

FOTOVIVA ART PRINTS http://www.fotoviva.co.uk/

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Photographic Prints and Canvas of Jacky’s photography are available from:

FINE ART AMERICA : http://fineartamerica.com/art/all/jacky+parker/all

SOCIETY 6 http://society6.com/JackyparkerFloralArt

 

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Spaces

I stumbled upon Frankie Magazine’s large format 2010 bookzine SPACES – WHERE CREATIVE PEOPLE LIVE, WORK AND PLAY at my local thrift shop. It was a real steal at $2.(RRP $24.95).

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Inside was a cornucopia of delightful photographic images showing well, how creative people live, work and play. The bookzine is divided into 5 sections: The Home & Work Place, The Wall Space, The Studio Space, The Tea & Coffee Space, The Living Space. Each section showcases several individuals’ personal areas, with the owners of each space explaining why or how their space is the way it is.

Sadly, I have been unable to source SPACES online for anyone wanting to purchase it. There are several references to it on booksellers’ sites, however they all seem to indicate its unavailability. So, this is a rare book to have and cherish. If you see it, grab it.

I was drawn to this bookzine as I was curious to see how other artists from around the world live and work. My own “studio” at home is a shared space during the warmer months with baby Japanese Quail chicks. It is also the spare room, the store room, the general let’s-dump-it-there-til-we-can-figure-out-what-to-do-with-it room. My Canon Pixma MX870 and Epson Artisan 1430 printers reside there. So do boxes of books, linen, clothes, scrapbooking paper, canvasses and other substrates for my printing experiments, our sofabed for non-existent guests. My work area is the carpeted floor, where I simply spread out layers of butcher paper and lay my canvasses or wooden frames over. Luckily, my medium being digital and print, there’s no (not much anyway) painting paraphernalia involved, only bottles of acrylic medium which I use as an adhesive, spray cans of car gloss varnish and workable fixative, a brayer, scissors, a tube of black acrylic paint for painting over borders, some foam brushes and a couple of bristle brushes. Nothing to shout about, really. Certainly not worthy of showing off here :-).

This link takes you to a webpage showcasing several famous artists’ studios. Specifically that of Francis Bacon, Henry Moore, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Jackson Pollock and Paul Cezanne. This site shows the spaces of more contemporary artists (cheekily throwing in Francis Bacon and Henry Moore too, just to make sure the reader is awake and paying attention!).

Looking at an artist’s workspace or studio is like looking into someone’s refrigerator, or at their bookshelves – very revealing about the person’s tastes in food or books. Some day I hope to visit people’s homes that have magnificent book displays, and make a photo book out of the project, but that is another story.

Meanwhile, feast your eyes on some of these wonderful artist workspaces.

http://www.allworknowplay.com

http://www.resourcemagonline.com

http://www.wejetset.com

http://balzerdesigns.typepad.com

http://www/bundaberg.qld.gov.au

http://www.mmo-champion.com

http://workspaces.tumblr.com

http://potd.pdnonline.com

One thing I’ve learnt from looking through all these studio workspaces – they can be messy, they can be neat, they can be minimal or cluttered, big or small, modern or traditional…but they are all unique and most of all, comfortable to each individual artist. These days, as both my printers are either acting up or have run out of ink, I’m concentrating mainly on creating my artwork…and to me that means working primarily on my Samsung Galaxy S4 smartphone. Which allows me to work literally everywhere and anywhere. For which I am eternally grateful.