USPS 2014 First Half Schedule

Love: Cut Paper Heart

The Cut Paper Heart stamp adds another romantic entry to the beautiful Love stamp series. This fanciful stamp takes its inspiration from the folk traditions of papercutting. This digital illustration depicts a large white heart enclosing a smaller pink heart with a saw-toothed edge along its left-hand side.

Art Director: Antonio Alcala
Illustrator: Q. Cassetti

First Day of Issue: TBD
Image to come.

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Little Gems, Q. Cassetti, 2013, Trumansburg, NY, Adobe Illustrator CC

Little Gems, Q. Cassetti, 2013, Trumansburg, NY, Adobe Illustrator CC

Wow. So study hall at the Luckystone manifested rest and quiet for the both of us...with a nice dinner and a newly jiggered website/ blog/ portfolio for me with the hope of opening another retail outlet via this site on the near  horizon. I was so "off" Squarespace. I was feeling limited by the template and its lack of flexibility that I think this added to my malaise about writing to all of you. But, after a little searching around, I was able to change my template to a far more flexible tool, and with a little alteration here, and there, I am closer to what makes me happy--and will be a better tool to communicate with.  So, please be patient and you will have a little Q. store to shop, and a list of my favorite, most interesting and thought provoking resources I use (and will share) on the web.

Today I have an interview with an independent writer about my Valentines thesis which should be interesting. I have jotted down a few bullet points to make me sound a bit sharper than I am...and tried to recall the reason for Valentines for me. It boils down to a basic Q.Dna thing. I love symbols. Symbols are pictures chock filled with meaning...often related to tales, folk legends, and events. Those symbols are generally visual with some sort of ceremony, food and ideas that build a community (in the know) around them. My pictures are more often symbolic as are my logotypes. Even letterforms are symbolic. I came to this originally through the holidays and annual events which then morphed to an obsession with Christian symbology (art nerding out at museums and churches trying to find the most obtuse and odd symbols in murals, paintings and sculpture)> I am always on the lookout for symbols, for meaning and for faces. Just seems to poke out of everything I do.



When Worlds Collide

My America: Kacina Studies, Q. Cassetti 2013

My America: Kacina Studies, Q. Cassetti 2013

"Nothing has ever been outside the solar bubble before. Nothing."

"It's a whole new journey of exploration," Stone said. "It's the first journey between the stars. It's like sailing on the ocean for the first time after leaving land. We're out in this cosmic sea. Most of the universe, by the way, is this kind of interstellar stuff. This will give us information about most of the volume of the Milky Way."

Ed Stone, chief scientist for the Voyager Mission.

Appropos of nothing, I love the news that NASA's Voyager has gone into deep space.... with significantly less memory than our current cell phones(240,000 times what the little Voyager has)--answering hopes of scientists. Another scientific "Little Engine that Could" story much like the adorable Mars rovers who surprised us all with their nimble, unplanned for long lives and the information and treasures they beamed back to us on this small planet we all spin on. More dreams made real (and more often better than our expectations) courtesy of our fellow artists (who can do math and physics) the scientists.

I have been digging around in the world of Hopi and Zuni Kachinas as well as kachinas rendered (with symbols) in jewelry. I am very charged up about it...and am working on a few illustrations to go into My America as this is the best stuff from the original people. Kachinas, if you are unfamiliar with them are: (from Wikipedia):

Kachinas are spirits or personifications of things in the real world. A kachina can represent anything in the natural world or cosmos, from a revered ancestor to an element, a location, a quality, a natural phenomenon, or a concept. There are more than 400 different kachinas in Hopi and Pueblo culture. The local pantheon of kachinas varies in each pueblo community; there may be kachinas for the sun, stars, thunderstorms, wind, corn, insects, and many other concepts. Kachinas are understood as having humanlike relationships; they may have uncles, sisters, and grandmothers, and may marry and have children. Although not worshipped,[2] each is viewed as a powerful being who, if given veneration and respect, can use their particular power for human good, bringing rainfall, healing, fertility, or protection, for example. One observer has written:[3]

"The central theme of the kachina [religion] is the presence of life in all objects that fill the universe. Everything has an essence or a life force, and humans must interact with these or fail to survive."

Kachinas are live and dance for special tribal events and are rendered as dolls (Katchina Dolls) and are used to educate children about historical events, things in nature and about life and living. The more I engage in these symbolic characters, the more I fall in love with their stories, their ideas, their link to the land and the Southwest. Interestingly, they also could be grouped in with my love of Erzgebirge Angels and Miners, Nutcrackers and truly in parallel, the Japanese myths, legends and characters rooted in Yokai. The parallels are that there are these folk characters who are used to explain everyday life, those things spiritual, and those unexplainable cultural circumstances that as a parent, the unsatifactory answer is " well, because I say so" (otherwise no answer). I am charmed by the overlap despite the extreme differences in culture and look forward to thinking around the comparisons and the work that could evolve from this. I have Val T. to thank for this delve because of his excitement around the topic for his own work which will be sublime, smart and amazing. This is just me messing in his sandbox a bit...but he will OWN it.

Lunch beckons. 


I am sitting on top of the clouds, right now… over amazing landscape that most of my fellow passengers are oblivious to.The earth wrinkles and bends… some of it green, some of it brown with lovely irrigated patches giving me polka dots on the horizon. It is quickly moving from rolling to abrupt with fewer and fewer roads and rivers in sight. No storm clouds like we have had all summer in the Finger Lakes. We had a master blast of rain over the course of the last few days, swelling our streams and causing Taughannock Falls to rage at higher than early spring levels. Not many brown or red leaves in sight yet--as we are slowly cooling in the evenings, but keeping the days warm and remarkable. But, for now, that has been left behind for desert climes. As I look at the crop circles below, I wonder where their water has been piped from? I wonder if our aqueous climate is as startling as this dry, tan and red environment I look forward to seeing from below as much as I am thrilling to it from above. 

My fellow travelers have their game books from the grocery store, others--at ten a. m. in the morning are slugging down scotch with other little bottles in reserve at their elbow.Some are plugged in. Some are zonked out (I was for a little bit). There are lots of Coach bags on ladies arms as well as high high heels in every color of the rainbow, and every conceivable shape. Lots of maxi dresses with deep cleavage--and golden shoes at 5:40 a.m even in Ithaca, home of the boho, low chic. I know I have gone into total Rip Van Winkledom as I am stunned at the world outside of my little hamlet. Well, why shouldn't I be stunned, I am on the way to Southern Utah University to talk about design and illustration (with a demo) by way of sin city, Las Vegas! So bring the bling, the golden shoes and feathers, the high high heels, the sparkly dresses, the bottle service and hair extensions. Bring on the life that we love on Reality TV, and time to get my head out of my Qmade clouds…and soak it all in.

Station Break: Outside my window:

Right now, it looks like the God Damned MOON outside…with no buildings and these mountainous eruptions that poke up over the dusty flat land…..that then seriously has a gradient from tan to grey… and now we are back into, what….greenery again? I think we are getting closer though "our captain" has not  alerted us to the approach--and admonishes us to get the seat backs up and the tray tables stowed. Just looking at the ground makes me want to bolt as much water as I can possibly inhale prior to landing. Here comes a steward with another garbage bag. That has meaning, right?

Right now, we are back in the land of tan and red. Terracotta. Cooked earth. There are remarkable canyons, could they be the Grand ones? Deep, deep crevices scoring the earth…in a very linear and yet willy nilly way. No one dares to live here. Even roads seem pretty rare right now.

Ears popping a teensy bit. Maybe I will get my hearing back. Wouldn't that be a delight?

A scootch of turbulence. Promising. The galley doors are slamming a ton right now.

Back to me blabbing:

I went through my slides this morning. Rob asked me if I had 50 or even 75 slides. I said many many more (read, 180). So I edited big time. I feel very smart as I had output of the slides so I could do it during the "electrical devices off" period of the morning. And have not wrangled it down to 75…but my show is more about looking and less about chatter that I think I can have more, but certainly not as many as I started out. I hope this stuff will entertain (I am amused, but aren't we all fascinated with our navels?). 

I spent a little time yesterday thinking about the demo (illustrator) and remembered how I loved finding out how to create derivative palettes from preexisting artwork that I learned at Hartford. How many versions of Illustrator was that ago? Go I went online to find out that the improvements to Illustrator (CS6/CC) smoothed out all the hinckiness--and made this novel little trick something that wasn't referenced by anyone. I goofed around with  CS5 and then started pulling the levers and pulleys in CS6 and dang, if I didn't relearn the new way to do this. So, the students are getting that along with partying with brushes, symbols, patterns, palettes and patterns. How to get a lot of bang for your decorative buck. And, we are going to pretend we are, yes (to quote Rachel Maddow) "wait for it"--LISA FRANK. I grew up with Lisa Frank (for the second time with Kitty and Alex). Kitty loves Lisa Frank (this is not a past tense)--and when you begin to peel this bizarre art apart, there are cool, almost psychedelic palettes, ideas (I mean, a banana wearing sunglasses?) that though "its the nineties, Mom..!" resonates with me, with the crew of students I will meet (they are Kitty and Alex's age….I know these folks) and kind of bumps up against the sixties in an interesting (read fluorescent) way.

Bell went off… a little shaking and turbulence. Now the ground is not so apparent. We are now above some soft and white clouds, "standing clouds" as the captain says. Twenty minutes out.

Need to shut the powerful powerbook off.  More later once there is WiFi and time.


Las Vegas is kinetic wild and wonderful…at least the airport is, and the view of the strip from the airport is pretty crazy too. Las Vegas redefines my idea of big, bold and bling and surprisingly, right now, on the edges, I like it. Yes, there is gambling in the airport blended with drinking and lots and lots of gigantic advertising either still or moving with lots of dance music to get the gals collecting their luggage to dance a bit. I must admit, I would love to see the scene at Signature Flight Support/ Signature Aviation (private planes only) and what happens there…as this would be the place for all the Jimmy Choo shoes, bling and fabulousness. Instead, I had to amuse myself with Cinnaabon and bars, bells and flashing lights.

On the way to Cedar City, Q. Cassetti, 2013

On the way to Cedar City, Q. Cassetti, 2013

Ron Spears picked me up at the airport and we had an amazing drive through the desert of red rocks, amazing natural architecture and storm clouds hovering. This is a place of terra-cotta, peach, cream, grey and very little green, though the sky is big big big and blue blue blue. It is great seeing Ron, hearing about the painting and teaching he is doing and what he is doing to move the needle for his illustration students (I want to be one!). I have a minute to myself to prep my files and then we go live at 4 with students and a demo (per earlier). Tomorrow, we may talk about promoting yourself, using resources on the web to promote and/or move your work forward. Should be good.

Let me see what I can share with you on my camera!

Later…here comes the thunder and lightning.


This and That

And Liberty and Justice, for all, Q. Cassetti, 2013

And Liberty and Justice, for all, Q. Cassetti, 2013

My printer is going a mile a minute. I have 50 gliclees to print for Gold Dust Lounge's Kickstarter promotion. See here>>  Russell is quite the PR Man and has wrangled some nice press including this article from SouthFlorida.com. I hope he can raise the $15,000 to promote and produce his newest album, "Lost Sunset". I love Russell, his energy, humor and intelligence as an artist and person-- and wanted to help him during this endeavor. The print is a South Florida colored skull with type that says "GoldDust to GoldDust". The ink is laying down nicely--the paper is behaving and the humidity today is cooperating. I printed a slew of cards yesterday from my illustrations to a few from the Ulysses Fair Fotosafari. Best image is a fried twinky with a little flag stuck in it to indicate that yes, this fried lump is a fried Twinky. A perfect "feel better" card!

Speaking of printers, we are going to move forward and buy an Epson 3880 to print Alex's work. If you balance the price of c print against the cost of the machine, it pays for itself in one portfolio, plus with FOUR blacks and an extra vivid Magenta!....it lays some serious ink down...and maybe I could print a few of my own photos! Imagine!

The printer purchase is an outflow of the work Rob and Alex are doing on preparing Alex to go show his work at NYU, FIT and SVA. Rob did some serious work with Alex on his portfolio--coaching and guiding, helping him to think out the process and move the work so that it shows well. Alex is a bit dumbfounded as he has yet to see his work printed and organized which is a delight and surprise. He wants to talk about his portfolio, how he is going to present it, the stories and patter that surround the images. He is looking for coaching, and we are so happy to be able to help. He also recognizes the leg up he has with visual parents--over the kids with families who are "muggles"
...and views it as a real boon. To think in a few days, we will have had Alex for 21 yrs. (he is turning 20!).  No baby commander anymore!

I have a demo to do in Utah and versus really winging it, I think I will be a bit more prepared with a sketch, an idea and then do it for them...which would include making brushes, patterns, symbols and the like. I am thinking an American Vehicle using some of the bombs as part of the machine. Another thing would be to work on some Elsie the Cow symbols to fuse with this stuff. I have a few days to think. I look forward to a little time to do some thumbnails and think out of the box. I feel so chained to my desk, the work and the work of managing the work so a little quiet time is welcome.  I welcome the change in season, the back to school quiet, and the on coming apple crop!

Beauty Business

My America: American Royalty, Latrice Royale, Q. Cassetti, 2013, Trumansburg, NY

My America: American Royalty, Latrice Royale, Q. Cassetti, 2013, Trumansburg, NY

New haircut. Rob found the perfect picture of my soon to be hair --a current picture of David Lynch--with long wavy hair on the top and short on the sides. Mr. Lynch and I have similar hair...and I have a wave too, so Emma was charged with this direction. My hope is that by Christmas, the hair will be 100% there. And, my thinking is that we go for foils to make stripes of white... just to really jazz things up. I cannot be as fabulous and gorgeous as Latrice Royale ( a contestant on "RuPaul's Drag Race" who both Kitty and I admire). We'll see. But this is the latest beauty and fashion update.

I just stopped by Sundrees to see that the rack of my cards are severely diminished...so I need to crank up my printer and get things going to fill those racks. I am so surprised that these cards are selling so well, but it is little business worthy of nurturing. To that, should I be considering going to the stationery show and seeing if there is more to it than this little business I have going here on our beautiful plateau?  Should I just spread my wings locally a bit more to see if there is traction? How would I need to staff to make this happen? Could cards do well on Etsy? Boxed or singletons? More on the retail front: We also worked up some inexpensive little neckaces of teacups and of teapots...and it seems that these are selling as well. I have Kitty's retail intuition to thank! Maybe I can put jump rings on things as I travel out to Utah next week?  I have resin gummy bears that need little hooks and jumprings as well as silver teasets and slices of cake. There may be a bit of traction re: skeletons etc. as the black and orange holiday is on us.

Four months to Christmas. Time to update my mailing list.