Category Archives: Publishing

Interview by Kess InHouse – AlyZen Moonshadow

I was honoured recently to be interviewed by Sara Gupta (now Sara O’Neill), co-founder of Kess InHouse designs. Kess were kind enough to take a chance on me and offer me an Art Licensing contract for my mobile photography art. I have a number of pieces with them, and continue to submit more. Kess’s products include duvet covers, pillow cases, shower curtains, fleece blankets, place mats, desk mats, cutting boards, rugs and pet products, including dog beds, pet bandannas, feeding mats and bowls.

Answering Sara’s questions was an interesting exercise in retrospection. I never realised how far I’d evolved from the starry-eyed ingenue behind my first iPhone in 2010.  It was a walk down Memory Lane for me, and reminded me of my various experiments and love affairs with different Apps, filters and effects. Has it really been 4 years since I started my mobile photography adventures?

Here’s the link to the interview,
http://www.kessinhouseblog.com/artist-spotlight-alyzen-moonshadow/

And here’s the transcript:

KIH:  Your artwork has a fun blend of mobile phone photography and graphic design flair.  When did you discover your passion for photo manipulation?

AlyZen Moonshadow: I bought my first iPhone 3 in 2010, shortly before I emigrated from Ireland to Australia. Whilst job-hunting in Australia, I decided to experiment with photo editing on my iPhone. I started out with some Apps for Lomographic effects, then got into textures and grunge, and the whole thing snowballed from there. I practised a lot in the early days, averaging between 5-10 manipulated images a day.  The more I practised, the better I got, and also the more selective about effects and filters. In 2012 I discovered some graphic design-type Apps, and for a while I was really into Swiss-style graphics. I even designed some mock CD album covers using these, and some t-shirts. In the same year, I switched from the iPhone to a Samsung Galaxy S3, and discovered Android Apps. These days I use my Samsung Galaxy S4 and my iPad 2 for my photo manipulations, so I really have the best of both worlds.  

KIH:  Your pieces are very colorful and use unique color pallettes.  How do you find color effects your art pieces and how do you develop color choices while making a new composition?

AlyZen Moonshadow: I usually start by uploading a photo to an image editing App on my Samsung Galaxy S4, then just playing around with various filters and effects. When I find one that appeals to me, or that I think merits further processing, I then move on to the next step, which is finding other elements to add to the image. Sometimes if I’m not satisfied with the colour scheme, I will edit it again to change the hue or saturation, until I’m happy with the result. I went through a brief phase early on in 2011 when I tried faded, vintage, old postcard styles, but found I’m more drawn towards bright, vibrant colours. This may come from my love of flowers in natural surroundings. If I have a favourite colour, it would be turquoise. Whenever I find a filter that gives me the colour turquoise, I try my best to keep it in the final edit. I like colours that are translucent rather than matte, so whenever possible I try to create my pieces with a sense of depth in them. I also like an element of randomness in my work. I have a folder of colourfield backgrounds that I created using photos and a very simple Android App called “Impressionist Fingerpaint”, which gives me the colours I need. It’s perfect for giving me 2 things – a sense of depth and translucency, and the element of randomness when blended with other images.

KIH:  Your latest collection of art pieces showcase stacked teacups as an homage to Alice in Wonderland.  Where did your interest in this subject spark?

AlyZen Moonshadow: I’ve always been fond of Alice in Wonderland since I was a little girl, and I got the idea of stacked teacups from surfing Pinterest online. I had a couple of teacups and saucers lying around, and some real and silk flowers, and I posed them together and edited a number of images. The flowers soon fell by the wayside, as I decided the teacups and saucers made very interesting subjects in themselves. I went through a phase buying vintage teacups and saucers on Etsy, then stacking them up higgledy piggledy for staged photoshoots. I had the idea of creating my own Mad Hatter’s Tea Party (I spell my series The Madhatter’s Teaparty), so an entire series of 100 images was born in 2012.

KIH:  What is your favorite piece (on KESS)? How did you develop the composition?

AlyZen Moonshadow: It would have to be images from my Madhatter’s Teaparty. For the photo manipulations, I used predominantly Photoshop Touch, especially the “Difference” filter to bring out the colours and to introduce an element of serendipity, as I was never sure what the results would be using that filter. Before Kess InHouse found me and my Madhatter’s Teaparty, I’d printed 35 of the images onto stretched A3 canvasses, varnished and all…in case I ever held an Art exhibition. I like to think that Alice herself would’ve been proud of my teacups!

KIH:  Your artistic process generally starts from your mobile phone.  What do you enjoy the most about utilizing cell phone cameras and applications when creating your artwork.

AlyZen Moonshadow: I think the best part is the portability of it all. I have my entire Studio in the palm of my hand, literally. No expensive paints or equipment to buy, no messy paintbrushes, no splatters on the carpet, no clearing or cleaning up to do. If I make a mistake, or if I don’t like an effect, there’s the handy Undo button, or even in extreme cases, the Delete button. I can transfer my work between my Samsung Galaxy S4 and my iPad2, or even to my desktop Mac for resizing. I can work almost anywhere, anytime – on the bus, on the train, while waiting for my coffee to percolate. Every now and then I download an App and test it out; if it adds anything to my creative process, I keep it and use it. If not, I uninstall it. Some of my fellow mobile photographers like the idea of having thousands of Apps to utilise, and bemoan the fact that the Android platform does not have half as many Apps as Apple iOS. However, my personal view is that in reality, you only need a dozen or so decent Apps to be able to create a wide variety of effects. The magic is in finding the right combination of effects. Sometimes less really is more.

KIH: Many of your pieces have abstract textures and psychedelic imagry to build up the subjects of the piece.  Where did you pick up this artistic style and what other artists made an impact on your work?

AlyZen Moonshadow: Colour is important to me, followed closely by depth and texture. I like to introduce an element of the surreal into some of my pieces. An early series that I created in 2011 is titled “Dalienutopia” and is based around photos of the Baigup Wetlands near where I used to live in Perth, Western Australia. The title is a combination of my homage to the artist Dali, and the words Alien and Utopia…and the images are surreal and weird. Another series titled “Surrealism” in 2012 came from when I was experimenting with strange objects and juxtapositions. I learnt about Dali and his contemporaries funnily enough in Music History when I was a student at college, and the ideas just stayed with me. Another artist that inspire me is Georgia O’Keeffe, you can see her influence in my photo manipulations of flowers. When I was creating my flower photographs, some friends told me my images reminded them of Georgia O’Keeffe’s paintings.

KIH:  Where do you do most of your work?

AlyZen Moonshadow: My trusty workhorse, the Samsung Galaxy S4, is rarely out of my hands, and it is also my portable Studio. So basically, I can and do work almost anywhere. For printing purposes, I have my printers (an ink-guzzling Epson Artisan 1430 and a mellow Canon Pixma MX870) in the spareroom/storeroom, which during the summer months is shared with an ongoing succession of baby Japanese Quails, that I incubate, breed and sell. The room is too small for a proper worktable, so I simply spread butcher paper over the carpet on the floor, lay out my prints on that, and do any gluing, varnishing, etc right there. It’s easy enough to tidy away again afterwards. Someday I hope to have a traditional gypsy caravan installed in my front garden, where things can be more permanent.

Couple in Love(This is my “Couple in Love” image, available on Kess inHouse here)

A new creative project: Steampunk Art

This just came in the post today, yippee!

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It’s Dover’s Steampunk Sourcebook, which I bought from The Book Depository (a great online bookseller, especially if you live in far flung places, as all their items come with Free Delivery as standard). This book comes with a CD-ROM, so I can load all the images therein onto my computer, for future reference. I’m already a fan of Dover Pictura, the division of Dover that specialises in selling royalty-free images for online download.

I’ve already amassed a collection of copyright free Steampunk images from the British Library’s archives. Add this to my arsenal, and a few other images from my collection of scrapbooking papers, and I should have the makings of a Steampunk Lenormand cards deck. Or even a Steampunk Oracle cards deck. Hmmm, I might even create some t-shirt designs or canvas art using these images. How exciting!

Here are a few photos showing the contents of the book, to whet your appetite.

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WordPress Sent Me This

This is WordPress’s Yearly Report which was emailed to me on New Year’s Day. Click on the link below and be transported to a magical wonderland! 😄

http://alyzenmoonshadow.com/2014/annual-report/

Interesting reading, and good to know which posts were the most popular, and which days were the best for capturing viewers. (I let them go again, of course, after capturing them, poor little hummingbirds). After a solid 365 days of continuous blogging every single day, (give or take a few mishaps with time zones and accidental deletions), here’s what I’ve learnt:

1) it takes months to raise your profile. My viewer stats jumped from the low dozens to over 100 after 6 months of consistent blogging. It’s levelled off now at around 80 a day. I must be making the coffee right. I need to work on my cupcakes, I think…then perhaps my blog will get read daily by thousands of people around the world, not just a hundred. If that happens, I shall blame my mouthwateringly delicious, yummy, moreish cupcakes. And run out to the shops for more eggs, milk, sugar and flour.

2) don’t ask me how some bloggers can post up one simple photo without even a caption, and get viewed over 30000 times immediately. I don’t know how and that has never happened to me. I think I would faint if it did. Besides, a good image always deserves a good caption, the punnier the better.

3) also, don’t ask me how bloggers get into the golden circle of Blog Awards. I have never been invited and I don’t think I swim in the same ocean as these super bloggers. I’m a squid. I write with ink.

4) blog readers have busy lives too, so on weekends and public holidays, expect to see your viewer stats take a nosedive. Unless you’re Santa Claus writing from the North Pole, of course. Then I’m afraid your busiest times will be from September to December, but you might as well go surfing the rest of the year. I hear Western Australia has excellent beaches.

5) it’s always fun to plunder Google Images and Pinterest for a compilation of cute, artistic, unusual or funny images that you can curate and present on a different platter. YouTube throws up some video gems too, sometimes. Other times it just throws up.

6) try to link up your Social Media sites to automatically share your award-winning writing with everyone you can think of. But be careful when connecting the dots, don’t overdo it. One mistake I made was linking up too many sites so that my posts ended up pinging off each other and triplicating all over the place, like Triffids. I was never good at programming electronic circuitry.

7) always try to have an image or more in your blog posts. This really helps when sharing your post to other sites, as many Social Media sites like to use images to pull in the punters, so to speak. A hook to hang your hat on, in other words.

8) I seem to have picked up a penchant for making lists. Yay, me!

And here is today’s token image, courtesy of Google Images:
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My favourite artist Lenormand deck

I just received in the post what has to be my favourite Lenormand deck. This one’s by Lauren Forestell and it’s aptly called the “Destroyed Dondorf”. The Dondorf design is perhaps the most recognisable design of all traditional Lenormand cards. It is readily available online through the usual suspects, and there are many variants of it as well.

Lauren’s story on how the”Destroyed Dondorf”, or, more precisely “Le Fanu’s Destroyed Dondorf” came to be is intriguing. Basically, a tatty old deck of Dondorf Lenormand cards fell into the hands of a chap called Le Fanu, who then showed it to Lauren, who then proceeded to restore the cards digitally. Read about it on Le Fanu’s blog My Curious Cabinet.

I have taken some photos of my newest acquisition, for posterity. They really are the most intriguing, meaningful and enchanting deck of Lenormand cards I own. I’m inspired to create my own tattered well-worn deck, which should be fun, as I’m a big afficionado of grunge and texture in my own artistic endeavours.

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Lenormand moves

…in the right direction, hopefully ;). I’ve been in a creative frenzy lately, creating decks of Lenormand cards. What started out as research rapidly escalated into a full-blown obsession and passion for these seemingly inocuous divination cards which traditionally utilise playing card pips as insets.

And now Bobbie Kelley aka the Rogue Perfumer aka Psychic Twin Bobbie-el, based in Maui, Hawaii, has caught wind of my Lennies (as they are fondly referred to in the Lenormand community), and will be reviewing them on her YouTube channel. Yay, happy days!

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Bobbie asked what my thoughts were or what I’d like attention drawn to, for when she reviewed my decks, beginning with the Moonshadow Lenormand, my very first. So I sat down and wrote about my approach to Lenormand.

Here’s what I wrote, for your ease of reference:

Well, I’m relatively new to Lenormand. I was drawn to Lenormand because the playing card insets intrigued me. My first deck was a Piatnik, followed by a mini Ukrainian deck, a Laura Tuan Dondorf deck, and Ciro Marchetti’s   Gilded Reverie. Then I discovered  artist self-published decks…

I’m a digital photography artist and my “studio” is my Samsung Galaxy S4. I’m also recently a licensed artist with several companies in the US, Canada and the UK. I sell my Art also on Society 6. When I discovered I could create my own physical Lenormand card decks, and not just virtual art, I was inspired to try my hand at making my first Lenormand deck. This rapidly became a passion and obsession, and I’ve since then created 7 Lenormand decks, and am concurrently working on my 8th, 9th and 10th! Yes, I’m very prolific 😄. You can or will soon enough find my Lenormand card decks on my eBay and Etsy pages.

I learn by doing, so with each individual Lenormand card and deck that I create, I’m finding new nuances and perspectives. I’m also learning new aspects of my chosen format (digital mixed media photography art) as I go – freestyle design in one, using frames and templates in another, creating one card at a time, or creating an entire deck one layer at a time. My Lenormand decks utilise my own photos and public domain/copyright free images and clipart. I’ve built up quite an archive of Lenormand archetypal images now, on my Samsung Galaxy S4!

So, my approach towards Lenormand is two-pronged – 1) from wanting to learn a new esoteric language and 2) from an artist’s viewpoint. Now that I’ve created several decks in various styles – eclectic, modern, geometrical, plain and simple, time-worn, half-tone, etc I feel the need to share them with the rest of the Lenormand community. I’m sure that whatever style you prefer, or if you’re a deck collector, you’ll find one or more of my Lenormand decks that suit you!

You can catch Bobbie’s videos on YouTube, under her name “Rogue Perfumer”. http://youtu.be/CIHncKg4Vpg

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More Videos of my Lenormand decks

Yesterday I posted up videos of 3 of my Lenormand divination card decks. Since then, I have created slideshows of 3 more of rhe decks I’ve made, using the moviemaking App “Videoshow”.

And here they are, for your viewing pleasure. Enjoy! (All rights reserved AlyZen Moonshadow).

1) The Time-Worn Lenormand

2) The Geometrical Lenormand

3) The Eclectic Lenormand

All my Lenormand cards were created using only my Samsung Galaxy S4, Android Apps, and my own photographs or images from the public domain and clipart.

These decks are, or will shortly be, available for you to purchase on my eBay and Etsy store listings. Just search under AlyZen Moonshadow, AlyZenM, or simply type in the names of the decks. :)

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Sneak Preview of my 2nd Lenormand deck: The “Eclectic Lenormand”

These are some of the cards from my 2nd Lenormand deck, the “Eclectic Lenormand”. Creating this deck was easier the 2nd time round, as by now I’d found more sources of public domain and copyright free images I could utilise.

(Click here for information about Lenormand).

I haven’t put this deck up for sale yet on my eBay and Etsy stores. But I will shortly :).

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As you can see, I’ve employed several different styles in the creation of this deck. Hence the name “Eclectic Lenormand”.

I hope you like it!

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

The Making of the “Moonshadow Lenormand”: Part V

This is the final part of my “The Making Of” series, showing the last 18 cards of the Lenormand set. (Yes, there are 2 each of the Man and Woman cards, so substitutions can be made for same-sex relationship readings).

My “Moonshadow Lenormand” can be purchased on eBay and Etsy, via these links:

http://m.ebay.com.au/itm/261630354440

https://www.etsy.com/listing/207677660/the-moonshadow-lenormand-card-deck-by

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And an explanation of the card meanings:

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For further information about Lenormand, check out this list of recommended books and videos:

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Introducing the “Moonshadow Lenormand”

I have finally completed my debut Lenormand card deck. And decided to self-publish it through Printer Studio. It was a choice between Printer Studio and Game Crafter, and as I couldn’t get my head around former’s templates but found the latter’s very user friendly, I went with Printer Studio. The company is based in Hong Kong, so I expect turnaround to Australia to be 14-21 days. That’s when I’ll get my hands on the “real” cards, and can assess the card stock and printing quality. I have a couple of decks by other artists, from the same printer, and their cards were nice and smooth and excellent quality.

Here are the links for both Printer Studio and Game Crafter.
Printer Studio
The Game Crafter

So here is a teaser page showing the fronts and backs of some of the cards in my deck.
Moonshadow Lenormand
If you are interested in purchasing this deck, you can find my eBay listing here:

http://m.ebay.com/itm/261630354440

Introducing the brand new Moonshadow Lenormand by AlyZen Moonshadow. The Lenormand divination system is named after Marie Anne Adelaide Lenormand (1772-1843), the great fortuneteller who read for the likes of Napoleon and Josephine. Although Mlle Lenormand never designed or created the system that carries her namesake, the Lenormand divination system is faithful to the imagery of the Sibylla of the Salon, who read in the cosy parlours of the gentry, giving practical advice with regards love, romance, finance and even war. It is a very different system from the Tarot.

This is my very first Lenormand divination card deck, created using only my Samsung Galaxy S4 smartphone and Apps, and using either my own photographic images and clipart or images from the public domain.

The accompanying images show the front and backs of all the cards in the deck. There are the usual 36 Lenormand cards, plus an extra Man and Woman card for same-sex readings. Included in the deck also are 2 cards showing some card meanings, and also a card of recommended further reading. 42 cards in total. Your order will come directly from the printers, fresh off the press, in a clear acrylic case. Please allow 14-21 days for delivery, as this is beyond my immediate control.

Postage is Free to wherever you are. Please contact me directly if the item is meant to be sent to someone else, so I can change the delivery details. Thanks for looking!

And here is the listing on Etsy:

https://www.etsy.com/listing/207677660/the-moonshadow-lenormand-card-deck-by

LENORMAND CARTOMANCY

Some of you may be aware that I’m currently creating a deck of Oracle Cards to be either self-published or submitted to various publishing houses to be licensed. Click here to find out what Oracle cards are, and here to see examples of my ongoing project so far.

What you don’t know is that behind the scenes, I’ve also been researching, learning and practising another cartomancy system known as Lenormand. This is a lesser known system than Tarot or Oracle cards, but equally important, I think.

So, you’re asking what Lenormand cards are all about? As I’m still a student of this fascinating system and still learning the intricacies of its “language”, I’ll let others with far more experience do the explaining:

From Aeclectic Tarot forum:

The Petit Lenormand deck is based on a regular playing card deck that has been reduced from 52 cards to 36 cards by removing the 2, 3, 4 and 5 pip cards in each suit. The cards are illustrated with various symbols and traditionally also include a miniature of the playing card associated with each symbol. Little seems to be known or understood about the significance of the playing cards, other than that the court cards can serve to describe people in a reading. There are also regional and personal variations throughout Europe in the card meanings.

Several decks named after the French cartomancer Marie Anne Adelaide Lenormand (1772-1843), including the Petit Lenormand popular today, were published after her death. However, the Petit Lenormand appears to have been modelled on a deck of cards published much earlier as part of a game of chance, called “The Game of Hope”.

A fellow blogger has written a comprehensive description of how Lenormand cartomancy works, with examples of spreads and explanations of the meanings of the cards in readings. Definitely worth a look and bookmarking, if your interest has been piqued:

http://benebellwen.com/2013/06/10/the-lenormand-nutshell-summary-of-the-petite-lenormand-from-history-to-practice/

My first Lenormand deck purchase was Ciro Marchetti’s “Gilded Reverie”, check out his website for more information. Ciro’s site also sells spread cloths, if that tickles your fancy. Also, you can for the princely sum of $1.50 download a PDF full-length 144-page book on how to read the cards. I highly recommend the “Gilded Reverie” (which you can also easily find on Amazon and eBay), the artwork is detailed and sumptuous without detracting from the meaning of the cards.

image(Photo is of Ciro’s spread cloth illustrating the “houses” of the numbered cards. Just to give you an idea of how lovely the artwork is)

Actually, my first Lenormand deck was one by the brilliantly zany Titania Hardie, nearly 15 years ago. I had her “Titania’s Fortune Cards” for a long time, then they got lost in a series of house moves (I’ve moved 7 times since the year 2000, or 22 times in 44 years, go figure!). I recently tracked down and purchased the same deck again on eBay, and got reacquainted with it. The reason I didn’t initially make the connection between Titania’s cards and Lenormand cards was because her cards have no numbers on them or playing card pips. The images however, are the same archetypes as in any Lenormand deck. It was only while I was first learning about the Lenormand cards recently that I realised there was something strangely familiar about the images – Rider, Ship, House, Stork, Dog, Man, Woman, Child etc, and made the connection.

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(Photo shows Titania’s “Fortune Cards” in a classic Grand Tableau spread)

Concurrent with my Oracle Cards project, I’ve been busy creating my own deck of Lenormand cards. I figured what better way of learning than by doing? And what better way of doing than by utilising my digital mixed media photography skills on my Samsung Galaxy S4.

The Oracle Cards project is taking longer, as I intend to do a 52-card deck, with explanations. For the Lenormand, though, there are only 36 cards, so…I’m happy to be able to say that I’ve recently completed my own very first deck of Lenormand Cards, yay!

Watch out for further posts in the coming days, as I will be posting about my Lenormand cards, as well as updates on how the next phase is coming along – where I get my cards printed.

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