Sugar Coated Advent 2012: Day Thirteen

Sugar Coated Advent 2012: Day Thirteen: Lollypop Day, Q. Cassetti, Trumansburg, NY, Adobe illustratorThere is pink, and then there is pink. I like ballet slipper pink. Its a pink that is more peach than pink, with a little bit of dirtiness, but not that crazy, “I am a first grader/ pinky pink” that every little girl adores. Hello Kitty pink, shocking pink, hot pink. Ballet pink has more grace and is more of a blender than a “look at me” kind of color. However, even I find that sometimes the pinky pink is a shot that you need just to get things jingling. Betcha you didnt plan on this yap today.

Our Advent Calendar continues apace. I am learning quite a bit, and find myself cracking open the ole tutorial book to see why something is or isnt working, and then surprising myself when I apply something that I have no idea how it will work, and it does, but not in the way I had expected.

I am learning quite a bit about some interesting  Japanese offerings. First off, did you know that in the suburbs of Tokyo, the brilliant Sanrio company (read Hello Kitty etc). have their own inside theme park, Puroland, devoted to all things “Hello Kitty”? Well, now you do. You can visit Hello Kitty’s big pink house, meet her boyfriend “Daniel” (? Why wouldnt you name him a similar way: Hello Kitty, Good Bye Kanye?), see a Sanrio show, eat in their many restaurants and shop (imagine the Kawaii heaven). They even have some pretty dull rides that you can take to participate in the wonderfulness. Great concept, looks like less than strong execution. Sanrio should have hired the imagineers to come in and do their thing to take this baby over the top. It could have been more “American Doll Place”—even…but from the pictures it seems a bit flat. However, you can get married there in a Hello Kitty Wedding Dress (yes, its true) (see to the left) and then shop afterwards. Imagine the Hello Kitty reception with food made to look like the Re ment stuff—from rice balls formed to look like Hello Kitty’s head, to sushi in the same shape, to little jellyroll confections with picks in the top of course, of the little pink bobbleheaded cat we all want to incorporate into every single aspect of our lives. I have been looking at the pictures of Puroland and as much as it fascinates me to  no end, there is something scary to this place. Not a lot of pictures of people smiling, not a lot of kids, and no real feeling , no real beat of the emotion of the place. I bet its real clean, though.

I am working on a tractor illustration for a pair of musicians who are coming out with a new CD (due soon). Meeting with my friends from the Piggery to see how we can help them further their cause of affordable deliciousness—and move their newest endevor forward. Someone contacted me to use an illustration in some product labelling, so I am working on getting that designed and integrated (versus handing over the goods, I suggest I do the job for him…and more often than not, it works). There is holiday stuff, there is work stuff and of course there is illustration work stuff. So busy captures what is going on here.

Sugar Coated Advent 2012: Day Nine: Little Mother

Sugar Coated Advent 2012: Day Nine: Little Mother, Q. Cassetti, 2012The Little Mother stands placidly, with her little gingerbread house clasped in her simple hands. She is waiting for Christmas—with a lace halo surrounding her quiet way. Luckily, she does not know the cast of characters she is sharing the holiday stage with…nor do you…but for her sake, it is better that way. The shocked/bee sting expression she has would be one of horror if she witnessed who her fellow performers were. Little Mother just likes things simple, regular and plain. No spice here. Safety and comfort.

Sugar Coated Advent 2012: Day Eight

Sugar Coated Advent 2012: Day Eight: Stratosphere Santa, Q. Cassetti, 2012, Trumansburg, NY, Adobe IllustratorAlex Cassetti and I saw a show at the New Museum this summer about the way people are transported into different places (cars, trains, automobiles, bikes, underwater stuff) all shown as a series of photographs which were by their curation, compelling and memorable. I was struck with the marvel of the history of how hard people need to work to explore the world undersea, and underground. I did a whole lot of research on those suits, particularly those stratosphere suits, with little creative coming out of that study, so here is a Santa, preparing for travel. Maybe not with reindeer, but to a place far away and nearby as well. There are probably going to be a few more pop ups inspired by that show in this collection of random holiday themed/ candy inspired/ kawaii inspired images.

It is December today. Not S. California or South Carolina…it is cool, with ermine clouds and tiny reminders that the sun is shining. I like it.

Plenty to do. Plenty to fool around with. Maybe a trip to Sundrees to see if they need more cards or adornments? We will see. It is only the beginning of the holiday swirl.

Welcome to the weekend: Sugar Coated Advent 2012: Bonus

Sugar Coated Advent 2012: Welcome to the Weekend Bonus, Q. Cassetti, Adobe IllustratorAs you know, I am on an illustrator engorged time…with new brushes, new symbols, new swatches, and new tricks galore…that sometimes inbetween illos, I toss off a few of these patterny doodles just for fun. So, in celebration of a long week behind us, here is a doodle for yooudle to toast the beginning of the weekend and the progress of the week.

Sugar Coated Advent 2012: Day Seven

Candy Coated Advent: Day 6, A bouquet of Candy Corn Flowers, Q. Cassetti, 2012, adobe illustratorFriday! Goodness, where did the week go. Its a bit frosty here…enough to have a dusting of icy flakes, but not enough to run for under the bed to hide.  

Todays picture was inspired by folk art, the magic of my new tool, and the forms of artist Elie Nadelman (118-1946). I have always loved Nadelman’s forms —their simplicity and whimsey that he endows his forms. There is a lot of love, of happiness in his work which delights every time I view his work. So a bow to him, combined with a floral arrangement fraktur fused with candy corn.

Sugar Coated Advent 2012: Day Five

Sugar Coated Advent 2012: Day Five, My Sweet World, Q. Cassetti, 2012“We are star dust in the highest exaulted way…”

“The universe itself exists within us…”

Neil DeGrasse TysonDay

Five! Here is a little candy coated dream for you…with twisted marshmallow trees topped with candy corn stars, a cozy little cottage and the holiday mandala of shopping swirled with candy and calories and the insane energy we all need to put behind making special holidays for the people we love. Is the part of the Christmas world

I am spinning in my head, a kawaii world of candy and color, sugar and spice and everything nice…and a whole lot of confusion (that’s there for me). It is a world that is filled with ideas that are really out there, a space of freefall and floating, a space of stars and sky, nature and artiface.

I have been so, so taken with these amazing video poems made by the group Symphony of Science. I have been watching them as I wake up in the morning and am touched and delighted by their simple and profound messages that are delivered by scientists and physicists, and now thanks to PBS, Mr. Rogers, Julia Childs and Bob Ross (the “fire in the mountains” painter) speaking about happy little clouds. I suggest these videos as a little sugarplum…and as a little peek into some of my motivations these days….Such happy stuff.

“We are Star Dust” : Symphony of Science

“The Quantum World”: Symphony of Science

“Onward to the Edge: Symphony of Science

“Bob Ross Remixed: Happy Little Clouds: Symphony of Science for PBS Digital Studios

“Mr Rogers Remixed: Garden of your Mind”: Symphony of Science for PBS Digital Studios


Sugar Coated Advent 2012: Day Four

Sugar Coated Advent 2012, Day Four: Castle of Candy, Q. Cassetti, 2012, adobe illustrator.Here is another fantasy house—one that could not stand up nor support the candy it is weighed down with. Nonetheless, it is a little advent window for you.

As I progress in this study, I am really prodded along by a lot of learning I am doing with my tools, my thinking and the desire to keep encrusting these poor layouts with more and more stuff. Obsessively so…that this illustration still feels remarkably parsimonious and too spare for my liking but there is a limit right now for how far I can go…but maybe as we proceed, these things will get junkier and more stuffed with color and texture, pattern and form.

I am getting a bit more adept with brushes/symbols/ swatches and my new favorite tool “make with top shape” in the collection of warp tools. I wish I could take that concept of “make with top shape” and wrap it around my brain to see what odd and lovely thing would pop up in front of me. I am being entertained by the stuff that I can do that is now driving crazy illustrations and ideas. So it is technology and technique informing content and content coming back to push on technique and form to answer a need but open a door as well. Curiouser and curiouser.

Today we have a big Farmers Market meeting to review and brainstorm the past and future. Rob is still enjoying the pleasures of NYC with lots of work, meetings and grown up presentations. Our littles are still toiling at their work, studies and the ongoing personal friendships and sometimes dramas that college will present them. I am surrounded by the court of honor (2 grey cats, a half blind white cat, and a stinky big black dog) in charge of watering, feeding and taking them out. Had a nice meeting with Richie Stearns and sweet Rosie about an illustration of a tractor for an upcoming album. Am all over it. Finished a ginger illustration for the upcoming Ginger Vodka for Myer Farm Distillery. More special projects happening daily.

Gotta get to the vectors or they might run away.

Sugar Coated Advent 2012: Day Two

Sugar Coated Advent 2012, Candy Corn Roof, Day Two, Q. Cassetti, 2012, vectorHere we go! Day two with 23 more to happen! Illustration with a bow, just for you.

The brooches, pins, pendants, bracelets and goodies are selling well along with cards (the holiday cards cleaned out…with the need for me to restock tomorrow). We will be showing the same goods to another store and possibly interesting a third in valentines cards. So this crazy scheme of going retail is moving albeit slowly, but I am learning a lot about cost of goods and living it…versus the talking that I am so good at.

I need to jump off to get back of picture making. I am a bit obsessive and on fire.

See you tomorrow!

Sugar Coated Advent 2012: Day One

Sugar Coated Advent 2012, Day One, Q. Cassetti 2012Well, its that time of year…and as I have been silent and bumbling around all year trying like hell to get a groove on, keeping on trying, keeping on reading, keeping on waiting to no result. However, after stuffing myself with Kawaii, decoden, Japanese Yokai tales, and making these tiny little  pins that have gone from little studies to outright psychodelia that are being sold now in soon to be two retail establishments— I am now ready to plunge back into the world of letting my illustration push me around a bit. I am pleased to say, that I have found my groove and it is in this candy coated advent calendar journey we will be taking together this month.

I must admit that the original intent of this project was to focus strictly on gingerbread houses—but as I have been working with this concept, I am finding it morphing into something else which I am just going to go with. We will keep the candy keep the pattern, keep the holiday themes but I am going to see where it goes.. There will be gingerbread houses and fantasy. There will be gingerbread men and ladies—but why limit it as the palette can become tedious and germanically tedious/ponderous. I hit a patch yesterday that had me silently squealing with delight and am in a race to find more time to whale on it. Lets just say, 25 days to jump start next year! Yippee!


The Sims: Analog Version

Yep. In the teeny world where I am a giant, people like to relive the fun and adventure of painfilled dentistry. They like to relive it so much, they go on Ebay and buy the moment for $300. And, if they like it for themselves, there are five additional offices available to give to friends and family so that they can enjoy the dentist in old fashioned style.

I love it that one of the sellers calls themself, “Precious Places” because that truly is all that. When one searches vintage dollhouse, that is when the wonderful and wierd pops up…along with Lithuanian couples (dolls) in national costume and of course, the servant class in uniform, ready to provide you a delicious dinner or neaten up after you. I wonder if they do dental exams or whether the Lithuanians have that skill.

Then there is the magic that only the Chinese can bring to this wonderland. The view of the  these “precious places” through the asian lense is a miraculous thing indeed. There are exotic hotels, and beach houses….little vacation get away cabins, and then mansions that only princesses can live in. They have pets, and horses, and all sorts of fabulous things though it does surprise me that the fascination with bling has not manifested itself in furniture, frames for mirrors etc…but believe me, I do keep hoping I am going to hit a rich vein of absurdity sometime soon. More later on this silliness.

Just finished a wonderful read that lead me on a journey almost Harry Potteresque only instead of witches and magic, it wove technology, Google, cyberspace, antique books, codebreaking, graphic design and fonts—in a wonderful chase for an answer-to let the good guys “win”. I highly recommend Robin Sloan’s “Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore”.

“Robin Sloan cleverly combines the antiquated world of bibliophilia with the pulsating age of digital technology, finding curiosity and joy in both. He makes bits and bytes appear beautiful … The rebels’ journey to crack the code—grappling with an ancient cult, using secret passwords and hidden doorways—will excite anyone’s inner child. But this is no fantasy yarn. Mr. Sloan tethers his story to a weird reality, striking a comical balance between eccentric and normal … The pages swell with Mr. Sloan’s nerdy affection and youthful enthusiasm for both tangible books and new media. Clay’s chatty narration maintains the pace and Mr. Sloan injects dry wit and comedic timing suited to his geeky everyman … A clever and whimsical tale with a big heart.”
—The Economist

I was so taken with Mr. Sloan’s wonderful tale that I read his earlier book immediately after the Bookstore fun. “Annabel Scheme” started as a kickstarter project about the relationship of a detective and her cyber sidekick, a computer. Not as refined and as wild a ride as Mr. Penumbra, but none the less loveable heroine, loveable sidekick and a topsy turvy story that kept me turning pages at my 3 a.m. wakeup time. I wish there were more books from Robin Sloan as it was a dreamy place to go. I highly recommend both. They will be in the present box for the holidays.

More later.

My tiny world

Turkey Brooch, Q. Cassetti, 2012You know I am obsessed these days by all things tiny. I am probably the largest importer of small stuff from lands far away in Central New York…with more wonderful things to come. I am living in a teeny tiny zone…learning how to think and visualize in millimeters, learning how to search out these gems that I can turn into fun stuff to wear. I am learning about this teeny tiny world where people create their ideal life complete with paper plates and napkins to celebrate holidays, St. Patrick’s day etc—to 1:12 scale home healthcare equipment, to odd/unusual and out of reach furniture and housewares that any normal individual might not be able to afford. Living in this tiny world, celebrating holidays with little people, tiny babies, eensy boardgames, televisions and iPads—is a happy place where we can exist, own our own healthcare facilities, our own bakeries, charcuteries, and lingerie stores. This is the world where we can own pets who do not pee on the newly cleaned rugs, or puke behind the radiator, who do not eat the chicken on the stove as it cools, who quietly love and adore without any effort. This is the world that Santa is guaranteed to come, and household servants (in uniforms, no less) will serve you, bring the car around, and cook your savory dinner that includes pate, turkeys, and every form of cake, pie and fruit. This is the world of Christmas trees with real lights in every room if you want that never shed a needle, and can be weighed down with bitsy little ornaments that cost three times what they cost in the RW (real world…or at least the 1:1 world). However, I am Gulliver in this world—thudding through, collecting my batch of goodies that I can design with (with a fist filled with a squished tube of the miraculous E-6000) andHappy Party Cake Necklace, Q. Cassetti, 2012 make little confabs of iced cream cones, or veggies, or a whirl of tiny carrots and garlic. There are small breakfasts to go on your lapel, and birthday cakes that adorn glossy bangle bracelets. What fun. I have some little silver teasets that will adorn business card cases…along with candy encrusted compacts to whip out to fix your lipstick or make sure that corn silk is not hanging out of your teeth. Sickly, I am so charmed….and it has spurred me back to vectors (you got a dose last week) for fun (and happliy for profit I cannot speak of).

Now that this work is going to be at Sundrees, I am doing my own little affordable Queen of Design from Estee Lauder, Princess….and I am buying small wooden tables to display my jewels and pins, along with small black windsor chairs, and happily, some 1:12 bakery cases! Cute and sooooo fun! Forget playing in the tiny world—I love using the medium to sell the twist on the medium. Sundrees is a fun store here in Tburg filled with really wonderful and tasteful things and they have offered to carry my teensies, cameos, prints, cards, illos. I have gotten some big prints made along with some big “posters” (printed one side) that I am running through my accucut diecutter to give me 5.5” x 5.5” finished sized (two fold) cards of my farmers market wreathes. I am making a ton of cards to see what goes… and I am cutting out kraft boxes—to package all this stuff. Illustration is being layered on top…and is selling as well. So, I am keeping busy…and am psyched to see where all of this time will go.

New and Noteworthy

Detail, Fruit Brooch, Qtoo, Q. Cassetti 2012There is so much swirling around here I am just going to give you a quick note and hopefully get back on track and talk more frequently.

First, I was just voted to be on the board of the historic Great Camp Sagamore in the Adirondacks. This is ana amzing place that I have talked about from time to time, and love in my heart…so it hopefully will be a joy and blessing to be able to work for the benefit of this remarkable historic place. It is one of those historic places you can tour…and then if you are lucky, you can stay.

Second, Brand new top secret project. Thrilled to the top of my head to the bottom of my toes.

Third, I am now fully on board with Etsy. (We will get into this soon as there is so much to share). I am selling cameo jewelry, tiny food jewelry at Qtoo  ( Halloween sale going on for anything with a skull, owl or the like (20% off). I decided to split my illustration work out at Qillo,( a separate shop as they do not mingle well and it just makes sense to me. Surprisingly, these shops are selling and as I dig down into really better understanding how this all works, it is clear that there could be a nice secondary income stream that comes from this work. We have about 1-2 sales every day which doesnt sound like much, but it is getting the work out there and  we do not have much traction as these sites are less than 8 weeks old. Plus, I am looking at Big Cartel (recommended by a friend) as a second channel to get the work out. All of this is hitting for illustration far more than advertising in the Directories, and I can actively touch the people buying this stuff and respond immediately. Sundrees, the cool gift shop in town, is moving. They will be carrying my pins  and my prints. So, it may begin to pull. We will see.

I was stunned this morning in the morning thinktime in the shower. Here I had been fighting trying to get on board with a new body of work…and fighting it, I noticed that i wasnt going anywhere. I am, though, and that is back on the vector train. Huh. So, you will see new vectorstuff when I can show you…and see how it all works out. I need to just plain relax and let the fog clear.

We are having a benefit for the Food Bank of the Southern Tier this p.m. from 4-6 (invite only). So, I bought 2 dozen tiny pumpkins and gourds, 4 gorgeous (and not expensive!) goose neck gourds and 5 pumpkins along with Indian Corn and mums. The caterer is coming. The band is coming…and we are tweaking and fluffing. I am looking forward to having this finished.

Must go…as I am delaying the need to function and be nice (tough going for this girl). I would rather hide under my bed…and I have been up here to get goodies to offer (stickers/postcards)….So, I must go.