Running at it.

Green Man 18, Q. Cassetti, 2011, pen and inkIt is the beginning of week two—without the major computer in full function. So, I am making due with the powerbook and hoping after Baka picks up the tower of power, I can be fully operational by the end of the week. They are taking it off with them—to run diagnostics—but there might be some hard drive issues that the nice guy on the phone alluded to. Jeez. But, in the tradition of trying to make things work better, I am going to get into a quarterly review of our network, the cpus, back ups etc. with a professional (Baka) and see if we can smooth things out so the guano doesnt hit the fan as amazingly as it does when my system goes south. I find this all so tedious and tortured, I hope I can get into thinking more of my network and digital tools when they are happy and healthy, versus just on the verge of death on a regular basis. Why is it that the most obvious things never seem obvious to me?

We had a quiet day yesterday. I made some tomato sauce from scratch and a gigantic pot of Recycled soup. Bruce came over and we talked about the up and coming CMU Fest this coming weekend— trying to figure out who is coming and where we are going to put them to sleep. I put up a FB event just to plumb for engagement—and we will see if we can rouse the troops this way. We will see.

Kitty is off to her job. Alex is hanging out with Ellie. The boys are off the Unitarian Church $.10 sale. I have a publication to layout—and get some files going on some promotional materials. I am revelling in a new sketchbook (Moleskine A4 watercolor/bound on the top). The blacks are so darned luscious, I could lick the page. So so cool It could only be better if the paper was hotpress with no texture whatsoever. But, hey…its bound, and I cannot be that picky.

I really must go.

A presidential celebration!

India Inspired Sirin v.2, Q.Cassetti, 2011, moleskine and sharpiesBoys have the day off. I have charged Alex with filling bags with the clothes he will not wear so there will be room for the things he does wear. Rob is writing things for work and I am looking down the long line of projects that need to be done with emails that need to accompany them with questions, responses etc.

I was working yesterday on looking at possible covers for 3x3. There are some maybes…but there are some ideas of doing something new for it…(a squirrel with a nut?). Also jumped on some of the work for my big client…checking on some guidelines by actually haveing to apply them, finding some big gaps that we will need to put to order before we roll it out. I am worrying about these guidelines as we will be involved in implementing them, and finding some big nuggets that are missing is a bit concerning. Need to dig in.

I am listening to books on tape for the last few weeks and have been feeling very indulged—enjoying the tales and the coziness that a story can inspire…a cuddly hunkering down that is inspiring work and focus. Now, if only the books were more than lightweight trash, it would be terrific. But baby steps first. Ah.

Valentine's Day Eve

Inspired by Ganga Devi, Q. Cassetti, 2011, sharpies on MoleskineIts been busy here. Late nights and then yesterday the prep and provisioning for our Pourhouse Anniversary Party. I got off to the store to buy all sorts of this and that for the party with my dish to pass be 50 hot dogs (which were very well received by the crowd). Rob and team built a bar out of parts from around here—wood and saw horses along with a back bar and a monitor on the fireplace for the unbelieveable slide presentation that Jim Reidy prepared for the event. We had tons of people and it was tremendous fun. I met all sorts of Trumansburg and Ithaca celebrities who are all personalities with opinions, interests and ideas. To put it mildly, lots to talk about with lots of very cool people. Our friends brought dishes to share from a turkey (! perfection), to salad, lots of beautiful bread and oil, cheese and spreads, and some gorgeous desserts. And my hotdogs (which is a great dish to pass…note to remember). The band, Boots and Shorts were great…and not too loud so the music suited the house. Our final guests left at 2:30 a.m. with my getting up at 7 to get Alex to the ski bus for another Sunday of ski club.

I got home and had a nice chat with one of our guests (whose family spent the night here) about food and all things culinary as he is a remarkable chef. At 12:30, I got to work on my rush project which fell into line unlike last weekend. We are all looking at another long week maybe a little less nuts because at least the big party is not on the horizon for this week.

I am very tired, so an early night night is in order.

Looking at the weekend, already!

Indian Garden, Q. Cassetti, 2011, sharpieToday is a brilliant, blue sky day with sun beaming down on the back forty, casting long purple shadows on the walnut trees that I can see from my perch.

Speaking of perch, Rob and Mandy put together the absolutely gorgeous Martha Stewart “Craft Room” flat flies from Home Depot’s Home Decorator site>> I got three, pale warm grey “three drawer flat files” (which are subdivided drawers that you can customize the compartment shape). I know I promoted this last week, but now that we have the real thing in hand, I am even more enthusiastic. The quality is beautiful though its like IKEA times ten to put together….but if you are looking to equip a studio or need flat files (the metal ones will really set you back a pretty penny)…and you can look real, and functional without it looking industrial. Take a look. I now have a real live orderly place to put my things and try to keep my work in some semblance of normalcy. I think, I hope, I am on the edge of knowing that life is going to be more sane with this.

Yearbook was great today. The team has figured out the software and they are absolutely diving into it. I need to work with Victor on the cover as he has some high expectations with gradients and masks and stuff. Will need to see what we can do.

Need to dive into the workload. There are some things to critique. Things to specify. Some calls to make. 

Second Workday: 2011

Raggedy Ann and Andy, Q. Cassetti, 2010, sharpieI am feel a whisker better. I couldnt really breathe yesterday…and was choking and coughing like a nut. But I slept a little bit better and took some over the counter pharmaceuticals which seemed to open my head up a bit. Alex is home feeling bad as is Rob. Its in the water…or at least the air.

However, got a bunch of stuff off my desk so I could do the same today to get ready for the onslaught. I got a nice email from the new team of folks at the Baker Institute for Animal Health to talk projects/process etc. which is nice as you never know when the people change and whether the work I have done has any lasting value than the last administration. Good news. We will see.

Did a bit of research on Madhubani art. Interesting note here:

“The origins of Madhubani painting or Mithila painting are shrouded in antiquity, and a tradition states that this style of painting originated at the time of the Ramayana, when King Janak commissioned artists to do paintings at the time of marriage of his daughter, Sita, to Hindu god Lord Ram. Madhubani painting has been done traditionally by the women of villages around the present town of Madhubani (the literal meaning of which is forests of honey) and other areas of Mithila. The painting was traditionally done on freshly plastered mud wall of huts, but now it is also done on cloth, hand-made paper and canvas.”

Note the honey is part of this program too! I think this interesting image to the left, the amazing tight crop, the happy eye floating amongst polka dots, flowers and stripes with a total abandon and happiness. Look at the wiggily eye, the solids and line…no shading, no mystery added.

Gloria has left us after a few weeks here in TBurg—back to Southern California, her horse and friends. Seemed like a quick visit, but good for her to connect back up with friends and family and parents. The team is nudging a new tub into Kitty’s soon to be finished bathroom (Yay!). It is amazing that the house is beginning to be a bit more wrapped up than ever…with projects finshing, the exterior touched in every spot…without any reference to the slummy aspects of the house. The new projects are moving the needle significantly—but in the tuning of the life in this historical house versus function or no function. More later. I leave youwith pattern!



IF: Resolutions

The Cholmondeley Ladies ( cats), Q. Cassetti, 2010, sharpies, the second sketchbook projectI am resolved to be true to myself. Whatever I see in the mirror, the reflection in a dark window, the glance in a glass, is true and something I should be happy with. I will embrace my wicked side along with the one that suffers to be good. There is something in parallels that disturb and challenge. This is my resolution, to better understand that paradigm.

Advent Calendar Day 17 (bonus): Good and Interesting News!

Run, Run, as fast as you can, you can’t catch me! I’m the Gingerbread Man!, Q. Cassetti, 2010, sharpies, from the Second Advent Calendar Project

We are in full prep, full holiday mode. Instead of ribbons and bows last night, I addresses and sealed all my holiday cards while watching junky teevee. This morning, I finished the wrapping and got two boxes in the mail, got the envelope weighed and bought the stamps for the cards. Then, down to the Regional to pick up the lovely sourdough loaves I ordered (along with some goodies from the little cantina). Then back to the house to neaten, compile, compost and recycle. Now we are into the afternoon. Kitty is decorating the tree. I am decorating wreaths and the chandeliers. Next step, the weeding and sorting of the bitsy bits in the singing room along with the great posting of paper.Two nice things happened re illustration yesterday. First off, I was noticed (via Behance) by the design blog, “OK Great”. I adore the editorial: “I love these illustrations from Q. Cassetti’s 2010 Advent Calendar. They strike a perfect balance of pretty & creepy.” PRETTY and CREEPY. Wow. I am thrilled. That is exactly the box I want to be in, and I am not even trying to be there! Yay. OKgreat seems really nice…and wide ranging. Interestingly, I have only posted these images (outside of my blog) to Behance which is nice as it confirms this simple line approach (inspired by the Lubki—and their simple lines).

The second surprise came from Charles Hively from 3x3 Magazine. He inquired if I would like to be featured in the next issue…and need to supply links to imagery, a short article and pix.  How nice! 3x3 is a gorgeous magazine—and smart…national publication.  Here’s how they describe themselves:

“3x3 is the first magazine devoted entirely to the art of contemporary illustration and the only one published in the United States. Twice a year we take an in-depth look at art and environment of three illustrators. We explore their influences. How they work with clients. How they got their first big break. Each article is written by a fellow illustrator who knows exactly what our audience wants to hear. From the U.S. to Europe, Asia, or wherever, we’ll stay tuned to what’s going on the world of illustration.

We’ll feature four or more new talents in every issue, they might be right out of school or are just now beginning to make a name for themselves or illustrators we find that have a truly unique take on the art of illustration. 

Plus we’ll showcase the recent work of as many as sixteen of the best illustrators in every issue. Selection will be by invitation only. All in all it’s eighty-plus pages of the best illustration has to offer, including guest articles by artist reps Vicki Morgan and Gail Gaynin, a feature on a living artist who has made and impact on the industry, an in-depth look at a recent advertising campaign that has successfully used illustration, a profile of a leading art director and an ongoing feature where we ask our featured artists the same twenty questions.”

I am simply thrilled. More on this as we move forward on this. Need to get going on CA…and see if there are more grants I can apply for.



Advent Calendar Day 15

A visit from the three kings, Q. Cassetti, 2010, sharpies, from the SEcond Advent Calendar ProjectKitty comes home today on the bus. I am manning the phones to make sure the connections are made and reassurance is there. We rehearsed where to go, where the stop is, what she needs to do, the time she has between buses. So, we will see. She is not top of her game (still ill) and needs some time off to rest and get her stuff together. I might call the doctor so she can be seen on Monday.

Tonight is prep night for the party. Hopefully, we will see Mandy today/tomorrow. We have a tree to decorate, ornaments to hang. We have things to move and store in the upstairs rooms. Its going to be a rush after 4 and tomorrow afternoon.

Lots of phone calls and busyness yesterday. I snuck in a quick illo for my meeting with the Hangar next week. It was a curious approach as I was using a picture and cut out a few layers of color and used the blob brush and eraser to do the heavy lifting. I like what is happening (see here) with the image of Tim Curry which I found to be more disturbing than the clownish tranny pix that are out there. It seems a tad bit darker…which I like.

Need to crunch on finalizing some of these projects.  Hopefully more Hangar stuff next week. Would love to get the broad images done before January 3.

Last Tuesday of Eleven Month

Tangerine Heart for Sketchbook 3, Q. Cassetti, 2010, sharpiesIt was wildness yesterday. It was Monday, the day after Thanksgiving. So, plenty to catch up with, and plenty coming at us fast. We are wrapping up the pancake/muffin mixes today along with stuff for the Museum, for Cornell and for the Big Client. Got a fast one from the Big Client this morning— a redo of a presskit that 2 agencies have touched aready and is missing the “wow”. I pried and pushed to find out what the “wow” means…and so confounded, I am working on a cracked acrobat file with layers upon layers of vector patterns merged with the text/copy. A mess just to pry the content out of the file. Ouch. Lots of flat planes of bright color…I hope that gets us to wow. I have very little wow in my mojo…I work very hard not to have wow.

Had a great and inspiring conversation with a like minded art director with an agency in NYC that is pursuing my doing some illustration for a Dairy Cooperative in NYS. He gets my work and worked with some of the Fraktur images, the vector stuff and some of my black and white work…parsing it to “Realistic”, “Folk” and “Symbolic” drivers to the work. Plus, he married the work with some cool fonts that I have been inspired by (and bought the one, and two more yesterday—see BadTyp to the left). I totally had forgotten about FontShop. Neville Brody (wonderful Neville Brody) is one of the principals there…and thus the work is fun and inspired (along with fonts from Matthew Carter). We talked prices. We talked deadlines (all doable)…and hopefully something will happen. Could be a good project and a good relationship as I really love this creative. Great brain…and we have common sensibilities.

Am working on a bunch of black and white Matryoshka doll illustrations (Wikipedia). They are just like chips…cannot get enough of them as they are decorative and fun. Not much meaning there…but I think they could be festive.

Gotta go and move the needle.

Dark Already.

Demons rising from the Maw, Q. Cassetti, sharpies and prismas inspired by Lubok illustratioinIts that season…that happy season that girls can dream of Krampus and Ziet Piet. They can dream of Erzegebirge folk art and Russian dolls. They can think of all the lovely saints and santas. And so, the beginning of advent is almost upon us…and the drawing season for Advent Pictures almost is here.

I have been cooking pretty much full time since Thursday. We had 11 for dinner on Thanksgiving and 13 last night. In betweeen, I processed the amazing bird into lunch with sandwiches, three casseroles and a monster pot of stock for yes, Christmas’ bird which I will make all in advance like this time. I made a pair of quiche (using the leftover stuff to go into the stuffing that I couldn’t use up), a pan of toffee bars and three little ladylike loaves of nutbread. It is so critical to deconstruct and rebuild new feasts while the bird is front of mind…and the leftovers abound. Makes a lot of dishes, but I now have five whole dinners for the freezer which should help over the course of the next few weeks. Kitty has food to take back to school for her friends’ own Thanksgiving (nutbread, cheese, toffee bars, crackers, cranberries).

We went to the Corning Museum of Glass to their blowout holiday sale. They had all sorts of deals…the best to my thinking was 40% all Bodum and 80% off all Waterford (including some really beautiful Marc Jacobs designed pieces). Bruce came too, and we filled up the car with things to keep, to give away and to admire. Spangly bracelets and tea cups. All sorts of things.

I am serious about this NYFA grant. New York Foundation for the Arts presents over 100 grants to artists ($7,000) to work on projects in certain disciplines. I am going to propose a body of work  in the Drawing area around the concept of People, Personalities, Events, Occasions and Symbols in the New York State Burned Out Zone from 1700-1880. That would cover the Mormons and Joseph Smith, The Fox Sisters, Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, The Oneida Community, The Universal Friend and more. The Masons, the Shakers and all sorts of religious and political fervor reigned supreme….with all sorts of interesting things being stirred up here in Central and Upstate NY. I would pursue it in a folk style (inspired by the people of the time along with the American Puritian Gravestones, Fraktur, and Lubok styles…all within the hand). So, I have an idea. I have reference and I can map out what the images would be. So, though it is no strings other than a presentation (I would like to do it at Sagamore or here Chez Camp open to the public or the Library)…it would give me a year to work on an interesting body of work.

That is the thinking for now, at least…its something.

Windy Wednesday

Twin Cats, Q. Cassetti, 2010, sharpies, prismacolor pencils, digital.So, what can I do with the digital files of these sharpie pix? are there new lives, new colorations? new approaches I can pull out of them? I twiddled with the cat I posted yesterday to make them more delft-y and add some tome to just juice up the images. Maybe in the spirit of decorative illustration, I can layer more happy patterns in amongst these pictures…to make them more nutty. Still looks hand-drawn…and though tone is added, the hand is still there. I think I am going to go back into this picture to add a bit more depth, and highlights.  Maybe this illo can go to the Feline Health Center (they always have need of new art for their thank you/ acknowledgement cards). Would be cool to print the yellow and light blue, but to foil stamp the dark blue. Could be sweet and dimensional.

I discovered a cache of Moleskine Volant (paper bound) notebooks I bought through earlier this year (large size/set of two for $5.99). So, I can keep with this sharpie approach just to keep the images rolling. I am also going to be running two books at one time (a big one and a little one) going into the holidays. Remember the fun I had last winter with the advent calendar? I think there is another body of holiday pictures in the works in the sharpie mode just to see what I can do. Fun.

Yesterday, swept a bunch of small stuff off the desk in prep for the next month. My big client has a big meeting on Thursday so either the phone will be ringing off the hook today or quiet for the next two days or so. We are selling on Etsy (believe it or not) with the dog stuff moving. I am excited by that opportunity. The Bakery is rolling on a logotype (I think). So work will evolve with this.

Kitty will be with us in a week. I think we are appropriately thrilled to have her.

Saturday notes

Hand Eye Coordination from The Sketchbook Project 2010, Q. Cassetti, 2010There is this wonderful subsite on the website called My Moleskine where you can post what you have done with your moleskine, post images to a gallery, post videos of you and your moleskine, post “hacks” of moleskines (which are moleskine modifications of the physical form). Additionally, they have cool templates (MSK) : “MSK is a printable format for Moleskine that allows to transfer digital content like contacts, events or original associations of images and text on the blank pages of your Moleskine notebook”. They have a template to dump your calendar into, your addressbook into, and or your own content to add a more designed, focused way to show your content. I posted a bunch of my recent moleskine pix (which you all are getting bits of). There is a good link to twitter, deli.cious, stumbl, and facebook,  So, its another place to post images and get it out to the world. It also runs RSS stream of my blog too…Here it is>>You never know when something will pop up. Right?

We had dinner at the Pourhouse last night. Lots of loud music/ Rockabilly which was high energy. It was a long working day with three holiday cards done and finished (to the printer) and a long chat with Joe Sepi @ Pioneer Printing about lead type, foil stamping, letterpress, die cutting. He is so in love with printing operation and the sheer fun of running the press, the manufacturing of printed things and keeping those presses and stampers running. We talked fonts and type. We talked about recycled paper and soy based inks. We talked about clients and about end clients. It was great talking with someone who really enjoys this world of making things with paper. I think the idea of the birth certificates and other designs I want to sell…is an opportunity. I say this cause its fun, but also, I am seeing the Christmas Wish cards are selling like hotcakes these days. We sold 5 packs or so in the past three days (even to Europe). So a black lab card (big dog seller) and a birth certificate (not a common thing as a gift) could be great. Even maybe a geneology chart design too? Or a bubble diagram format that people can fill in for entertainment?

Tonight is the XC end of season dinner. I have a big Grange style pile of chicken and biscuits ready to roll. I just pulled 3 loaves of pumpkin bread out of the oven to take over too. These guys know how to eat and I am sure we will bring home a few empty pans. There has been music at the Rongo since Wednesday that is great…so Bruce and maybe Rob will put in an appearance. I am enjoying quiet nights with the sharpies.

Kitty has posted a new handdrawn animation segment>> Please note that she filmed it backwards, thus the voiceover etc. The purpose of this segment is to illustrate a few lines of a poem that her class is animating together. Her professor will be putting them all together so the poem flows with each student’s hand drawn work being a part. Kitty learned a lot relative to timing, how the drawings work, and the beauty to making things longer and shorter time in the editing process. I love the critters, and how they flow from creases and slits in the paper, how gentle and kind they are and the funny little twirly details she has going on the edges. I am biased, I know, but I am charmed. Why not? Right? She is my daughter! From my chat with her, she is getting it entirely. She is very happy and focused on her work while a bit disconcerted about what her div 2 paper will be. Frankly, given the growth we have seen in the past year (and she agrees), it will all be different next year. She needs to explore and see what is out there. It should be an interesting time at Thanksgiving.

Alex is winding down a bit. He went for a run this morning all bundled up with his five finger shoes on in the cold and wet. We had a bit of visible snow this morning, so the concept of running in almost bare feet was not my idea of fun, but stoic Alex manned up and went out for more than an hour of running and breathing. He is amazing and disciplined. The cats are all in furry piles all over the living room. It is delightful to have a quiet day to do quiet day things. I am going to let my brain stretch out and see what happens. The cooking is done and we have a deadline at 6. So, a little unwind time would be remarkable.