Artist of the Day: Fire Bad Tree Pretty - Devin Wais

fire bad tree pretty  oooohstichy  devin wais
artist bio: I have a short attention span. So, after spending a few years making & selling jewelry, I wanted to try something new. And so OooohStitchy was born. My main focus is ridiculous pop culture, but I also enjoy collaborating with other Etsy artists as well as trying my hand at original designs. Some have been hits, some have been misses, but the main point is - I'm having fun.
I saw this piece by Chesapeake, Virginia-based artist and master embroiderer, Devin Wais, and thought it spoke to the moment.

Fire is a terrifying force. As for trees, well, there are a lot fewer of them, and a lot of homes have gone up in flames these last two weeks. It's devastating.

There are six major fires burning across the state at this moment. The majority of the wildfires are far down in Southern Utah, but it smells like smoke and the sky over Salt Lake City is hazy.

The West is on fire. Colorado is nothing short of an inferno.

This Moment: 1:28 P.M. Val & Ann Browning Cancer Center-Utah Hematology Oncology

I have escaped to the serenity garden outside the entrance door. A nurse is sitting behind me in a wheelchair texting her impressions to someone, just as I am. The white noise of the bubbling fountain soothes the undercurrent of emotion I am pushing down. This is not how it ends, is all I can think. A cool breeze stirs the narrow trees and is a relief from the heat. I have my single shot, no whip, mocha latte next to me on the bench. Details are important. He is in Exam Room 3. The nurse behind me is complaining about how the person on the other line answered her call. The doctor told me it would be better if I waited outside while she did the procedure. The sky is nearly cloudless. I cannot keep all the tears inside my eyes any longer.

Song of the Day: Where I End and You Begin - Radiohead

Where I End and You Begin

There's a gap where we meet
Where I end and you begin

And I'm sorry for us

All things end. That's the reality of life.

I'm okay with change, with impermanence. What I have trouble with is giving up on something, or on someone.

Sometimes I think I am like a captain of a ship holding to the wheel while the waters rise. Difference is, I hold on, not because of honor, or tradition, but because I am incredibly stubborn and think that if I try just a little harder, extend more effort, I can keep the ship from sinking.

Some ships are meant to sink.

Artist of the Day: Watercolor World Map No. 11 - Jessica Durrant

watercolor world map no. 11 jessica durrant jessicaillustration

artist bio:  My name is Jessica Durrant and I am a full time freelance illustrator and art instructor from fabulous Las Vegas. I now reside in the beautiful Atlanta area. I studied Illustration at Southern Utah University where I received my Bachelors. I specialize in fashion, travel and lifestyle illustrations.

I feel so happy and grateful to know that things I've created in the comfort of my own home, are being bought and shipped allover the world to awesome Etsy buyers! :)

My work has been seen on,, Westfield Malls, Rue Magazine, UK's Livingetc Magazine, The Little Green Notebook, ELLE Brazil, The Glamourai, IN London magazine and publications worldwide. My art is inspired by my passion for all things fashion, my obsession with traveling, Japanese illustration, rock n' roll music, a zillion magazines, and fellow artisans. My favorites include the greats like David Downton, Rene Gruau, Sharon Pinsker and Stina Persson. They heavily inspire me and I've created a few homages to them in my personal work. My website and blog are found here:
Former Utahn, (she studied art at SUU), and Atlanta, Georgia-based artist, Durrant's world map paintings are a reminder of the beauty of our little home in the universe.

Song of the Day: Long Journey - Allah Las

Allah Las
Long Journey

This band has the retro beach California-culture sound I am loving this hot!hot!hot! summer.

Can I just tell you I want that van? I am experiencing major Volkswagon bus envy!

Earlier this morning I was sitting with my daughter at the local cafe, when a battered and faded turquoise bus with two surf boards strapped to the roof went up the road. Real wooden surf boards! Not that I'm a surfer, or have even surfed other than body surfing, but there's still time. And another trip to Hawaii.

I had the impulse to get in the car and follow them.

I know a lot of you are heading down the highway on family trips or to family reunions. Good luck keeping a grip on your charm and sanity. Here's to having a good time with your nearest and dearest!

Our family took at least one road trip every summer. On the way to Grand Canyon, I remember drawing a boundary line down the backseat of the family car and telling my sister not to cross it. She immediately finger-walked over the line, and I probably put my foot on her side of the line, or probably took her book away and wouldn't give it back, or probably told her her toes looked more like fingers, gross!, or probably pinched her thigh until she cried and told on me, and then guess who was in trouble? Well deserved.

After a brief fight-free break, it would start all over again. It's a wonder our parents kept taking us on road trips. Maybe that's why we started flying for our family trips.

Kids can be such miserable little beggars, my mother used to say. If we were really annoying, she'd call us little shee-ites. Not shits. Shee-ites.

When it got too much, my father would take one hand off the wheel, swing it into the backseat and swipe whoever was closest. If somebody complained that it wasn't them, he'd just tell them, you deserved it.

It's funny now looking back. I can't tell you how many times I lost my religion driving my daughter and her friends around when they were kids.

My favorite memories from that Grand Canyon trip are of the dizzing effect of vertigo walking on the narrowiest of trails, looking down and thinking I would live if I fell all the way to the bottom, the trouble my elder brother got in for loading up his plate at the per ounce buffet, and the candy that looked exactly like rocks that I took for show and tell, and that I didn't have to share.

Poem Therapy 10:32 P.M. 26 June 2012: Identiy Crisis - F. D. Reeve-

Identity Crisis

He was urged to prepare for success: "You never can tell,
    he was told over and over; "others have made it;
    one dare not presume to predict. You never can tell. 

Who’s Who in America lists the order of cats
    in hunting, fishing, bird-watching, farming,
    domestic service--the dictionary order of cats

who have made it. Those not in the book are beyond the pale.
    Not to succeed in you chosen profession is unthinkable.
    Either you make it or--you’re beyond the pale.

Do you understand?"
                   "No," he shakes his head.
    "Are you ready to forage for freedom?"
                                          "No," he adds,
    "I mean, why is a cat always shaking his head?

Because he’s thinking: who am I? I am not
    only one-ninth of myself. I always am
    all of the selves I have been and will be but am    not."

"The normal cat," I tell him, "soon adjusts
    to others and to changing circumstances;
    he makes his way the way he soon adjusts."

"I can’t," he says, "perhaps because I’m blue,
    big-footed, lop-eared, socially awkward, impotent,
    and I drink too much, whether because I’m blue

or because I like it, who knows. I want to escape
    at five o’clock    into an untouchable world
where the top is the bottom and everyone wants to escape

from the middle, everyone, every day. I mean,
    I have visions of two green eyes rising
    out of the ocean, blinking, knowing what I mean."

"Never mind the picture, repeat after me
    the self’s creed. What he tells you you
    tells me and I repeats. Now, after me:

I love myself, I wish I would live well.
    Your gift of love breaks through my self-defeat.
    All prizes are blue. No cat admits defeat.
The next time that he lives he will live well."
I can't say that I'm having an identity crisis, rather, an identity clearing.

Lately, I've been feeling a little like a hoarder who one day looks around and thinks, what is all this junk doing in my house? I need to have a yard sale. I need to donate all of this stuff to the Goodwill.

What I'm discovering is that all the "stuff" I thought I needed to be who I am, well, I just don't need it anymore. And, I can't really remember why I needed it in the first place.

A lot of who I thought I had to be to be successful, is about as useful as the excruciatingly uncomfortable high heels from five seasons ago, that I haven't worn for forever. I bought them because they were the "it" thing. Now that they are out, why do I still have them?

What I am discovering lately is that I'm finding it difficult to artiulate through writing. I can't find the words to express this impulse to shed all the layers, strip down to only what is necessary, only what is truly needed, the impulse to clear out anything extraneous. It is  music and the natural world, that is speaking for me. I know the words will come back, but for now, I want to be still, and listen.

Perhaps, I am blue, the color, not the emotion, like the speaker of the poem.

Song of the Day: Grown Ocean - Fleet Foxes

Fleet Foxes
Grown Ocean

I am feeling the draw to the ocean today. 

About this time last year I was getting ready to go to Hawaii. We stayed in a condo right on the beach and I kept the sliding glass door open so I could hear the waves crash all night long. I remember thinking that if I lived here, I would spend all my free time in the water. I talked with a few locals who said they didn't spend too much time at oceanside. I couldn't believe it.

I suppose it's the same no matter where you call home. I live in a beautiful flyover state. The Rocky Mountains and excellent hiking trails and are less than fifteen minutes away. Also, I live less than fifteen minutes from the Great Salt Lake.

Tourists from all over the world come specifically to hike or for a float in the salty water. I haven't done either this summer. Yet

The salty sea I live by has been making its presence known these last few strangely humid days. My daughter remarked that  It stinks! It smells like brine shrimp!

I think I'll pack up the car and spend the day on the beach.

Artist of the Day: Joshua Tree National Forest - Christine of 9th Cycle Studios

joshua tree national forest christine 9thcyclestudios
artist bio:  I am a self taught photographer who has no defining style. I just love taking photos and, often times, transforming them to suit my tastes. Sometimes it's to convey a particular message and/or theme, and sometimes I just want to present things in a very visceral way. As a whole, my work varies in tone and character because it is a reflection of myself and, like everyone else, my moods can run the gamut. My inspiration comes from many sources. Music, film, people/society, nature, books... The good, the bad, and everything in between. My eyes are open and I want to capture it all.
Can't you just feel that freedom on your face as you fly down the road?

Song of the Day: Head Full of Doubt/Road Full of Promise

The Avett Brothers
Head Full of Doubt/Road Full of Promise

And your life doesn’t change by the man that’s elected
If you’re loved by someone you’re never rejected
Decide what to be and go be it.

These lines from the song are a lifeline to cling to in this pre-election malestrom.

I don't necessarily agree with the first line, because as history shows, a president's decision will certainly affect your life, as well as the whole world. Enough said. How about we let the politicians sling mud for the next few months, while we enjoy our lives. Mud fights are better left for the dirty players.

The second line of this states what every living being wants: to be loved for who you are.

And the last line reminds me of George Elliot's quote that, it's never too late to be who you might have been.

Can somebody give me an "amen" to that!

Utah Arts Festival: Chris Roberts Antieau

Chris Roberts-Antieau began her career in art by walking out of an art class.

On her very first day in art-school, the instructor had given the class an assignment to draw an ink bottle. The other students drew literal, realistic sketches. Chris drew a blocky, childlike bottle that took up the whole page. The professor singled it out for mockery in front of the whole class, asking her, “Who told you you could draw?” Chris walked out and never looked back.
Marriage and the birth of her son, Noah, put her art on hold for a few years. But when Noah was old enough to hold a crayon, the two of them began to draw together. Chris found herself fascinated by the raw childlike vision she saw in her son’s drawings, and it wasn’t long before she herself was ‘back at the drawing board,’ creating fanciful cloth sculptures for regional art shows. Her first sale: a trapeze artist, which took her two days to make, and sold for $18.

Barely a year later, a visiting artist ran across Chris’s work and suggested that she take a crack at creating designs for the then-hopping wearable art market. Chris took her up on it, creating 2 jackets and 3 vests, which the two took to Baltimore, for the American Craft Enterprises event—Chris’s first show ever outside her home state of Michigan. The response was overwhelming. Buyers crowded a dozen deep around the makeshift booth, elbowing each other for place. When the smoke cleared, Chris had hundreds of orders from stores across the country—including Neiman Marcus. She returned home, hired a staff of fifteen, and set out to meet her commitments—doing the complicated and time-consuming detailing on each garment herself.

“I’m An Artist”At the end of that year, Chris had a thriving business, but she was miserable. She wanted to be an artist, not a manufacturer. Wearable art took up an enormous amount of time in management and production. And it wasn’t like other fine art: people didn’t just care about the design–they wanted it to match their new shoes, or favorite sweater, too.

So despite her remarkable success, Chris left the wearable art world and spent the next year exploring other options from her Ann Arbor studio. Again, it was a chance comment from a friend that set her on a new track. Chris had been struggling to find a medium, torn between her roots in sculptural objects, and the freedom she’d found in her flat designs for wearable art. “It doesn’t have to be on a jacket to be flat,” her friend suggested. “Why don’t you make something to hang on a wall?”

“Fabric Paintings”The next year, Chris returned to Baltimore’s American Craft Enterprises show with the pieces that have now become her hallmark: “fabric paintings” composed from freehand-cut cloth shapes, hung behind glass in hand-painted frames. Response to these unique pieces was strongly positive as well. Today, a dozen years later, the best folk art galleries across the country offer her work, which has also won major awards at the prestigious Ann Arbor and St. Louis Art Fairs, and the attention of HGTV and Mary Engelbreit’s Home Companion Magazine.

True to her roots, Chris’s gaze is still distinctly child-inspired. Her compositions have the delightfully off-kilter feeling of children’s drawings, and the subjects sometimes seem to be a child’s choosing as well: “Playing With Dolls”, “Bad Dog”, or “Bug Jar”. But like her better-known inspirations, Picasso, Miro, and Van Gogh, Chris takes the honesty, freedom, and new perspective of children’s art to a new level. She doesn’t just mimic a child’s style—she applies a child’s eye to adult realities, reminding viewers not to take themselves too seriously, and giving them a chance to remember again the wonder and joy that children find in the everyday.“People always want to know what my work is about,” Chris says. “But I’m an artist, not a writer. If I could put it into words, then I wouldn’t have to make the pictures.” Everyone who sees her art brings something different to it, she believes, and she’s happy with that. But while the meaning of a given piece may not be clear-cut, Chris does have some sense of what she’s trying to get across. “My vision of the world is joy-based,” she says. “Even when awful things happen to me, I’ve found wonderful things along the way. That’s what my art is about: the joy and wonder and humor that’s all around us, every day.”

You won't find Roberts-Antieau, but you will find her gorgeous work in Booth 46

Utah Arts Festival: Hayley Nolte & Scot Ray

Hayley Nolte and Scot Ray are mixed-media artists who make applique-like art using recycled materials form a cache of over one-thousand tins bequeathed to them. Their process begins with   recycled tins, cans, roofing metals, & distressed copper that are then hand cut and layered and nailed to a wooden base.

I purchased a fabulous bird-themed key holder from them. I really wish they made jewelry, especially earrings. Or bracelets using rivets instead of nails.

Here's hoping they'll start a jewelry line. And that they get a website!

You can find them in Booth 28.

Utah Arts Festival 2012: Cat Palmer

cat palmer was born and raised in orange county, california. she got her passion for photography from her grandparents, who raised her, who had a small black and white dark room in their house.
cat was drawn to capturing the beauty she found in people. at the age of fifteen, her photography teacher told her that her work reminded him of diane arbus. he sent cat to look her up, and cat fell in love. arbus too found the beauty in people. cat started shooting different people who intrigued her - anyone from the people on the streets of mexico to the homeless people in los angeles.

cat studied photography from 1995-1999. cat used to only shoot 35mm black and white, but she joined the “dark side” of professional digital in 2005. it will never truly be the same – she misses those smelly chemicals. cat has exhibited all over the salt lake valley and has won many awards for her art and photography including 2007, 2008 & 2011’s Arty’s award from city weekly. she won best in show at the utah arts festival in 2009.

women are cat’s main subjects because, to her, they have such beauty and strength. since 2007 she has been focused on art with a message. some of her themes have been: self-esteem, peace, self-reliance, i am human, there’s no place like home, peace to the middle east, age of aesthetics in defying societies definition and super hero women. her next project is 'i have a secret'. she has been collecting secrets from women all over the world for over a year.

You can find her in Booth 95.

Utah Arts Festival 2012: What Would Street Jesus Do


I love this pin.

When I picked it up at the festival, I thought it was a spin on the original WWJD. Turns out Salt Lake City has its own Street Jesus, who is the owner of hip-hop store Uprok and DJ for Sunday Night Soul at the Bourbon House.  

Months ago I watched an indie music video I swear was titled Street Jesus, so after I met Uprok's Street Jesus briefly yesterday in the Urban Yard, I thought it was him. It wasn't.

If you run across the video or band or song, will you please leave a comment since I cannot find it anywhere.  

Anyway, I found this interview by Urban Media Episode 6: Uprok Street Jesus and that Aerosmith's new album will feature a song titled Street Jesus.

If you want a What Would Street Jesus Do pin, pick one up at Uprok.

Utah Arts Festival 2012: Photo Essay

Urban Yard graffiti art wall Open Road Project

Shaman blessing the festival Chickamagwa Chickamagwa

Superman and Mini Me

Sand artist

City County Building Park entrance

Washington Square Grounds
SL Public Library Arch entrance

Children's Art Yard
Malen Pierson Booth 148

Vanessa Dobson, Queen of Pop

Batman, Catwoman, Supermen at Night Flight Comics Library entrance

Artist booths

Dance exhibition & class

View from inside library

Children's Floor Kearns High School paper machie monster exhibition

"Frida" front view - I adore this piece!

back view

Expressions in Color Pilar Pobil Exhibition
Woman from the South Seas

El Gato

In the Garden

Magnolias Rosa

Views of Salt Lake City from library 4th floor

Stairwell to parking lot

Salt Lake Roasting Company

Salt Lake City from I-15

Headed home