Meet:

Meet: Jennifer Wee

We met on a rainy day. I was under the safety of my black umbrella when I was joined by one Jennifer Wee. And, here’s the thing, I’m friendly as hell, but the modern umbrella is a further expression of one’s bubble. One does not simply enter anyone’s bubble. Yet there she was, comfortably in my bosom, so to speak. Her presence has since been a welcome one, which is a less stalker version of saying I make sure we’re in at least one class together every quarter. But she’s more than a great bubble buddy, she’s an artist, too! Meet: Jennifer Wee


State your name for the record, please. 

For the Record,
I am Jennifer Wee.
jenniferwee_jennifer
What media do you work with?

I work mostly in photography, but I have been branching into video. I
also very secretly enjoy 3D scrapbook-y art collages of doom and
drawing when no one is looking.
jenniferwee_butterflymoth
Which is your favorite?

Photography is by far my favorite. In fact, it was a conscious
decision on my part to spend more of my time away from developing
other skills and interests in favor or pushing my photography further
forward.
jenniferwee_felix
What about the quality of photography helps you express yourself?

I’d like to say that the tools don’t make the photographer because
they don’t. Really, they don’t. But I’ll throw my phone at you if you
suggest I do any amount of serious work using that thing. The further
photography develops, and the more control I have over it makes me
fall in love with the medium more every time I pick up that
slightly-too-heavy camera. Who cares if I have to trek through a
forest with a giant tripod and a heavy backpack filled with lenses. It
beats a portable shit-mera. (Shit-camera. Shit-mera.) (Also, with
control, you can play with intentionally under exposure which is a
blast to work with in photoshop.)
How does craftsmanship fit into your practice?

Craftmanship? What’s that? I’m very self-taught, but I’ve been doing
this for over eight years. Naturally one of the last things I figured
out is that your camera has a light meter that saves you unnecessary
(and excessive) time/effort in Photoshop. And naturally still, since
it was one of the last things I learned, I spent a majority of those
years in frustration and unholy determination (I’m born stubborn)
working through Photoshop until I breathed it into my very essence. As
a result, a lot of my work tends to be more transformative relying a
lot on interesting Photoshop tricks and effects.
What are your favorite projects you’ve worked on, or do you even have favorites?

I always have favorites, and they’re usually my most recent, but I’m
still in love with my bugs and latex project. Actually, I desperately
want to revisit that series with more bugs and new models. In
particular, I’d love to find a skeletal sickly anorexic person for
some of my bugs, as well as someone tall with an hourglass figure and
rolls and rolls of fat. Because I want to capture the “ugly” bodies as
something beautiful and breathtaking, and just a little alien.
How did you know you were an artist?

I don’t know I’m an artist, still, so I can’t answer when I found out.
I actually want to be a fashion photographer. I love interesting
designers such as Alexander McQueen and Fendi, and I would absolutely
love to capture them with my camera. My interests have always been
fairly commercial, and I’ve gotten a lot of flack for not being
more… well… exactly opposite that. But I like what I do, and I
like where I want to take it so if that means I’m not an “artist,”
that’s fine.

Oh, she’s an artist. Yeah, I said. Ar-tist. See more of Jennifer’s work. What do you think? I dig the latex and ethereal aesthetic she’s got going on. Thanks for visiting Wrays of Sunshine, y’all. Need more? Meet: Justin Blackwell, Tamblyn Gawley, Iris Scott, Scott Dalrymple or Lauren Napier.
Photos of Jennifer by Brianna Wray, all other images provided by the artist. Go to her website! Commission photoshoots!

http://www.jweephotography.com

Meet:, Seattle Sights

Meet: Justin Blackwell

Hai guys, welcome back. Today we’re hanging out with our friend from way back, Justin Blackwell. He’s a mechanic, an engineer, just an all-around what-do-you-need-done-it’s-done kind of guy. We met here in Seattle, but since then he’s moved to Kentucky. The accompanying photos are from his recent visit. Yay!

Do you consider yourself an artist?

I’ve never been considered an artist, but there is an art form to some of the things I do.

When was the last time you danced?

I guess last night would count as dancing since I was pretty well popping and locking to Bust A Move by Young MC. LOL

What was your favorite thing about living in Seattle?

My favorite thing about living in Seattle was the music scene and the diversity of people who I was able to meet on a regular basis. Made some damn good friends out there.

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What is your favorite life advice / inspiring quote?

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Stopped in for provisions to visit Honeybee at Marketime.

Justin is the wild card character that you’re always happy to have at hand. Whatever you do, don’t ask him to smile for your camera, though. He will make this face. And he will hold it.

blackwell

 

Thanks for kicking it with us for a minute. Friends are a blessing and we are some lucky Wrays. Want more? Meet our other friends. And subscribe for more Wrays of Sunshine.

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Meet:

Meet: Tamblyn Gawley

So far my experience with higher education has been an excellent journey filled with inspiring works and even more inspiring professors. And now that I’m studying at the University of Washington, its nostalgic to look back at my time at Shoreline Community College where it all began. One of the first art classes on my transcript was 2-dimensional design with Tamblyn Gawley. If you’ve been reading my writing for the long haul you may remember a post on way, way back on Sunshine Press about critique.

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In it you’ll find this picture of Tamblyn. Can you tell even despite the darkness that she was not on board for this photo?! Because she wasn’t, but I had to document this teacher who, like me, had an affinity for painting trees and taught me so much. Now, all these years later we have the pleasure of catching up and poking around her studio. Lucky us! Ladies and gentlemen, Meet: Tamblyn Gawley


State your name for the record, please.

Tamblyn Gawley

What is your primary artform?

I spent a long time working almost exclusively with oil paint. But the last few years, I’ve focused mostly on drawing, gouache, and lithography.

tamblyngawley_albertparkauckland_2014_gouacheandlitho_38x56_web_0Albert Park, AucklandAlbert Park, AucklandAny others?

I’ve also been working with egg tempera and watercolor, and etching and drypoint when I’ve had access to a print studio.

Where did you study and how does that affect your current practice?

I received my BFA in painting from Daemen College in Amherst, NY in 2009, and my MFA in drawing and painting from the University of Washington in Seattle, WA in 2012. I studied painting in Florence for a semester in 2008, and I received a Fulbright to study printmaking in New Zealand for a year in 2014. I’ve had many wonderful opportunities to study in different places, and each one has impacted my work.  Daemen College helped me develop my skills and explore interdisciplinary concepts. The trees in Florence, especially in Boboli Garden, were the beginning of my study of tree roots and branches. At the University of Washington, I was able to delve deeper into my subject matter and explore alternative approaches. It was here that I took up drawing as a more serious medium and where I discovered printmaking. The work I am doing now comes directly out of what I was doing for my MFA thesis. The Fulbright grant was an invaluable opportunity for me to develop my art practice as an independent artist, rather than a student. I was also introduced to lithography, which became the medium for most of the work I created there. The New Zealand landscape was also a major influence in my work. While the huge driftwood of the Pacific Northwest coast inspired my high-key light-filled drawings of root structures, the majestic landscapes and skies of New Zealand inspired multi-panel works deconstructing trees and canopies.

Do you have a mentor? Or a mentee?

Throughout school, I’ve had several mentors and advisors.  Most notable was my painting professor, Felice Koenig, at Daemen College. I still keep in touch with her, and turn to her with questions occasionally. My mom is another person I consistently turn to. She’s a watercolor painter and a retired middle school art teacher. We share our work and feedback with each other, and when I’m unsure of something, she’s my go-to. I also have a very good friend and fellow painter, Carly Helen Cummings, who I turn to when I’m trying to work something out.

Does your work have a goal?

On a broad level, I try to represent my experiences with the trees; what it is that I’m seeing or feeling. I generally want my pieces to be beautiful and lyrical and the show the viewer something they may not have seen if they looked directly at the source of the subject matter. Individually, each work tries to tackle and illustrate various things. Sometimes I want it to be about the contrast between two elements; sometimes it’s the light I’m interested in; other times I want to show you the color or the form.

Gawley_2

Who are your top 5 most inspiring artists?

I have been looking at Sylvia Plymack Mangold’s work a lot lately. I love the way she handles edge quality and negative space. I always return to Jim Dine’s ability to activate the empty space of the image. The Group of Seven and Tom Thompson are also some of my favorites; you can feel their love of the wilderness. Other favorites are Cezanne, Sargent, and Whistler, and Van Gogh’s drawings.

Are you inspired more by pain or joy?

Neither. Inspiration usually comes to me from hiking or sifting through my photos of trees and one jumps out that I just have to work with. It could be the colors, the light, the composition, or a specific way a branch or root bends.  It could be something I’ve overlooked for months or years, but suddenly it grips me. I am also inspired from looking at others’ work, whether in books, museums, or galleries. I see the wonderful and beautiful things people have created, and it drives me to create some of my own.

Give us a quick play-by-play of a studio day. Are you easily distracted or do you work in a more focused way?

It depends on the day. Some days, I find it very difficult to focus or get any work done. There are days when nothing works and I hate everything I make.  And there are days when everything goes well, and I can work all day. I currently have a studio space in my apartment, which has its benefits and drawbacks. I see my work all the time, so I can analyze it, look for solutions, and add to it whenever I want. However, with a home studio also comes countless distractions: housework, pets, family. With my new studio arrangement and the fact that I work in mediums that can be set-up and cleaned up quickly, I work in smaller, but more frequent, chunks of time. I’ll spend parts of weekends, or a few hours in the evening after work.  Sometimes, I spend just a few minutes if I see something I want to change. Countless times, I’ve been about to have dinner or leave the house, and I’ll see something and stop to add a branch or change a color or value.

 

I had the pleasure of learning about 2d design in your classroom. One of the main things I learned (and has really stuck with me) from your class was a strong attention to detail. Are there any areas  that you wish you’d like to be more attentive to?

I’m not quite sure what you mean. In terms of my art, I would like to be more attentive to how the work is displayed after it’s finished.  I tend to dive into the work without thinking about framing, mounting, matting, etc., which can create a huge impact on the work. Currently, this is something I usually think about as an afterthought.

What tips do you have for conquering artists’ block?

What helps me if I get stuck is to sift through my countless photos of trees taken on various camping trips, hikes, and travels. Something will always jump out asking to be made. Sometimes, I will approach things in the other direction, coming up with something I want to tackle in my art and then looking for a composition to use for it. I also find it very helpful to look at other artists’ work or talk to other artists.

Windstream (detail)

How do you feel about Etsy, Society 6 and other internet artistic venues? Are they helping are hindering the modern artist?

I don’t have strong feelings either way about these sites. While it’s not what I’m looking for, I think they can be wonderful venues for some artists and artisans. Concerns about the security and logistics of selling fine art online have kept me away from using these services.

What, if any, lessons have you learned from your students?

I always learn from my students and from the act of teaching. Teaching foundation classes makes me reexamine the elements and principles of design and the “rules” of art. It’s easy to get caught up in what you’re doing and forget to think about things like color scheme. They are things I think about altogether when I am creating a composition, but I find it helpful when I slow down and reexamine them. With students of any age, I witness new approaches, styles, and perspectives. Everyone brings something different to the table, between their background, interests, and education. Everyone interprets projects, subjects, and materials differently. It can be very fulfilling to share these perspectives and experiences.

Are you still teaching at Shoreline?

I am not currently teaching. After returning to the US from my Fulbright grant, I moved to the Boston area.

How was your Fulbright experience?
My Fulbright experience was unbelievable. I worked at the University of Canterbury, studying printmaking and meeting with the post-graduate art students and faculty. On the weekends, I went hiking and “tramping” (backpacking) with the Canterbury University Tramping Club. I used these trips, and my other travels around the country, to obtain reference material for my art.  My supervisor at UC introduced me to a process of lithography that uses Pronto paper (polyester litho plates). With pronto paper, you don’t need the giant litho stone, and you can use Sharpie, India ink, grease pencil, scratching, etc. to make marks. It gave me the ability to work on many plates at the same time, much quicker and easier than working on a traditional stone. I was also able to connect with the other Fulbright New Zealand fellows. It was a wonderful opportunity to share our stories with each other and watch as all of our very different projects grew and developed into really interesting things.

Do you have work showing anywhere currently and/or any upcoming shows?

My work is represented by Prographica Gallery in Seattle, WA and Market Street Art Center in Lockport, NY.  I currently have work on exhibit at the Milton Art Center in Milton, MA.

Do you have a website we can link to and spread the word about?

tamblyngawley.com


Thank you soon much, Tamblyn, for sharing your skills with me in the classroom and your practice with us here at Wrays of Sunshine. It’s always a pleasure!

And thanks for checking in on our little corner of the internet. See you soon! Need more artist interviews now? Check out our last one, E. R. Saba or Dale Harkness. More still? See the archives!

xo,

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Credits: All images courtesy of the artist. Gawley in New Zealand from Prographica. Final Critique Post from Sunshine Press: https://briannabrumfield.wordpress.com/2013/12/18/final-critique/

 

 

Meet:

Meet: E.R. Saba

In Seattle, one is never far from art. In this instance, though, art was literally in my house and I didn’t know! Turns out my awesome roommates’ cool brother’s ladyfriend is also an alum of UW Art, but that’s not how we met. It just so happens that we’re both participating in the BUY ART sales event. You might’ve seen E. R. Saba’s work in that post and wondered who that talented artist was and how exactly you could get your hands on a Saba original. Well, my friends, you don’t have to wonder. You do have to scroll, though.

Ladies, gentlemen and every beautiful being in between, Meet: E. R. Saba.


State your name for the record, please. (Not really a question, but my favorite way to begin.) 

E.R. Saba 

Is there a particular reason you prefer not to reveal your full first name?

I like a bit of separation from my artwork. It is not important what my name is, what my gender is, or what presets you link with my name. It’s the artwork that is important and I want as little emphasis on me as possible.
What are your primary modes of artistic expression?

Oil paint, watercolor, ink. Things with brushes! It’s the movement and gestural language that I enjoy.

E.R. Saba_2_crop

Where does it come from? Or, to what do you attribute your artistic abilities?

It comes from my need to understand life. Art is an answer for me. It is where I ask my questions and get responses. I have used it to survive and to understand things.

E.R. Saba_3

Why UW Art?

When I applied, it was out of spite and a need to show my family that I could be just as good as my older siblings (both UW alumni). Originally I was going to be a dance major! Hahah my god am I glad I found my way quickly. The UW art cultivated my creativity; it hollowed out a perfect nook for me to find my place. I am glad I continued through the program completely. 

Can you break down your process for a particular piece (such as Fall) from the incident or item of inspiration, through the evolution the idea might’ve endured, to a finished product?
Fall-Erika-Saba“Fall” is a snap moment in time, a glimpse of a second of emotion, of a fall, of a feeling. I was working on a series of self-portraits. My own form of self-exploration. This was the 1
st of a set of 3 (Fall, Lay, and Whirl). I was driven by the idea of the moment of breathing in. It was seductive, but innocent. I decided to restrict all emotion to the mouth. I find lips to be very expressive, but a challenge to capture. As the painting evolved it took on a life of the figure falling down the canvas. The breath in was no longer still but the sharp inhale of a fall. A sudden dropping of the stomach as the figure is caught unaware. 

The floating necklace was the perfect message for gravity in the painting. I sketched the necklace out multiple ways for it to be floating in midair in the right way. I settled on the figure eight, which was a beautiful symbolism for me in the end, an eternal feeling of falling through life.
What are the most memorable responses you’ve gotten from your work?

“Your work kicks my ass.” When my art evokes poignant responses I feel a connection to the viewer. That is always memorable for me.
How do you define your target audience?

My target audience is 20-35 year olds, working to understand the modern world in art.

I’m over the moon for Daniel Smith’s house made water-soluble oil paints, they’re buttery and rich like oil, but clean up with soap and water. On the flip side Winsor Newton paints don’t make their way into my cart. Are there any paint brands / types that you LOVE or HATE?

I find Williamsburg simply delectable. Pigment, quality, texture. I don’t know what possessed me to buy Rowney Georgian Oil Colors. HORRIBLE choice. The price was low but not nearly as low as the quality of that paint. Price almost always tells you what you’re getting with oils.
Where does your art fit within the realm of Seattle arts and the larger art community as a whole?

My artwork is about identity and self-exploration. In a city full of transplants and bloodlines from around the world, culture and identity become a question. My work is a voice for the lost in Seattle. Which to me is everyone within Seattle.

E.R. Saba_6

Do you have a website where we can ogle your works? Any social media links?
http://ersaba.com/
Are you represented by a gallery?

Yes, I currently have a show going from March 3rd – April 28th at the A Gallery in Pioneer Square.
Do you have upcoming shows we should attend?
YES! Art Opening & Reception
Thursday, March 3
6 PM – 9 PM
117 S Main St, Seattle, WA 98104

How will you know you’re a successful artist?

Success for me is to show internationally. In London specifically.
What’s the #1 thing you’d like people to know about your work?

My work will not always be beautiful.


Saba takes the passionate, do-it-yourself route when it comes to making every aspect of her work down to the canvases themselves. She talks with her hands and paints with her heart. How can you NOT love this artist?! Exactly.

E. R. I thank you for taking the time to let me wander into your studio. The pleasure was all mine!

And thank you, dear reader for clicking your way to my little corner of internet. Need more interviews? Check out last month’s feature, Dale Harkness. Still need more? Peep the Meet: archive.

Brianna Wray Signature

Meet:

Meet: Dale

If you’ve been around Wrays of Sunshine for a while, you may note our number one commenter (besides Mama Sunshine) is Dale. We met in a printmaking class taught by one Natalie Niblack. We both loved it so much you can find us as paper placers in the steamroller printmaking project.

Paper People

Dale is the easiest to work with, most enthusiastic and just generally one of those people who are so multi-talented that skills seem to seep out of his pores. He can’t help it, he’s just brilliant! And he was so kind as to submit to a quick interview and show Honeybee and I around his lovely home studio.

Hello world, Meet: Dale


Anyone who walked around your lovely home for even a few minutes could see you have a propensity for making and fixing. Where does that come from?

My upbringing. I grew up in a family that valued curiosity. Questions were never frowned upon and someone was always tackling a unique challenge on a shoestring budget. Not just siblings, but parents too. I was surrounded by a get-r-done drive. As my Mom obtained upper level amateur radio licenses, it motivated me to study and pass the exam for my own license. Then, there was my Dad, a mechanical genius—his nickname was Tink. I watched him modify machinery in ways that seemed impossible. Every time, I’d say something like “Dad, there’s no way that can be fixed.” He’d respond, “Well, let’s take a look. I bet we can do something with it.” All the while I’d watch for his grin that meant he was about to share some mechanical wizardry with us. It had a huge impact on me which can be seen in how I approach life as a bit of schemer. Not in a negative way, but more in a harebrained project sort of way. Nothing is too complex or too crazy of an idea to tackle. I recall one of the first over-the-top projects I tackled. It involved dragging home an old 1960s pinball machine. How many parents do you know that would let a kid bring pieces of an old arcade game into the house? Mine did and quite happily too. Over the span of a summer I rebuilt the thing using parts I scavenged from other machines and managed to have a fully functional machine shoehorned into a bedroom. Never mind the fact it dimmed the lights occasionally. My parents certainly never minded, even with all the noise it made. Oh, what parents go through. Especially mine.

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That’s amazing, I can’t say that my parents would’ve been amenable to full size arcade games. It’s a great testament to your character that you waited and watched for Tink’s telltale smile. What are you working on right now?

MeetDale_4

Well, there’s the butterfly booklet project. I take small paperbacks and cut them in the shape of a butterfly. Initially I was carving up discarded fiction books with a scroll saw. Now I’m looking at ways to do this with blank paper so that I can fill the pages with my own stories and illustrations. Other projects include investigating ways I can use fading technology such as offset press technology (lithography) with a focus on possible ways to manipulate color separations for creating unique images. Digital might be more cost effective and definitely the way of the future, but there’s something I like about getting ink on my hands as I tinker with older machines like letterpress and offset press. It feels real, gritty and open with possibilities.

YASSSS! Digital is important for the speed and, yes, cost effective potential, but nothing beats the original techniques that laid the foundation for everything we do now. My Color Studies professor just said in lecture today, “big-name software designers must have first had the ability to make any and every transformation by hand.” And as the world relies more on that software, the skills are lost. If you had to pick one medium, which would it be and why?

Ink fascinates me. It’s tactile, it can be vibrant and sometimes it ends up everywhere you don’t want it to be, but it’s just so beautiful. Sliding a knife blade covered with deft blue across the ink disk of a letterpress is a pleasant feeling that’s hard to describe. You have to experience it firsthand to know just how much fun it is to take on the challenge of learning the personalities of ink, paper and mechanical machinery.

Dale produces all sorts of great print materials, you guys. Issue 4 of his zine, Spare Ink, is now available while supplies last. Trust me when I say you want it, nay, NEED it in your life. How can we get our hands on it?

MeetDale_1

For now, my blog Spare Ink is where you can request copies (only $4 donation!!!) or find news about the latest developments. I’m actively looking for distro to send copies to though so in the future there will be better accessibility.

With that, I’d like to say thank you to Brianna for kindly doing this interview. She’s awesome!

-DH

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Dale! Thank you so much for sharing your home and your inspirations with us. We had a blast, as usual when you’re around.

And thanks for clicking your way to my little corner of the internet. It is truly my pleasure to share artists’ stories and collect them here, where we can all benefit from such wisdom and beauty.

There’s been a HUGE gap in interviews due to some complications and scheduling issues, but keep an eye on the horizon for more coming soon. Can’t wait? See the Meet: archives.

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Meet:

Meet: Damien Cross

I am so excited to introduce you to my friend Damien. He’s a radio personality I’ve known for years, since back in the day when he was just the best buddy to watch a movie with for his perfect quips and snarky silly-gooseness. Damien’s got characters. I met Claudette, an elderly British lesbian woman, some five years ago. She was already deep in conversation about a recent date she’d had with Miss Lindsey Lohan, “my God, woman, have you been douching with cream of broccoli?!”Offended yet? No? Stay tuned and Meet: Damien.

the Offensive Line, guests

State your name, please.

Damien Cross

And what, Damien, is your art form?

I like to make people laugh. I put the Offensive Line together with people I thought would be funny and I use my characters, my voices to add to the show to keep it interesting. We have guests and it’s a lot of fun.  Continue reading

Meet:

Meet: Katherine Ramirez Massey

Oh you know what time it is. It’s time for my favorite feature here at Wrays of Sunshine, Meet! This time around we’re having a sit down with Mrs. Katherine Ramirez Massey. She’s a full-time writer and all-around badass.  We discuss the art of resting and new projects on her horizon. I can’t wait!

Ladies, fellows and everyone in between, Meet: Katherine Ramirez Massey!


Meet: Katherine Ramirez Massey

State your name for the record, please.

Katherine Ramirez Massey.

What’s your art form (and you have so many, so you’ve got to encompass them all)?

I would say communications is my art form. I love everything about it. That’s why I became a writer. That’s why I do what I do.

Continue reading

Meet:

Meet: Briana Barrett

Meet: Bree.

I met her on the corner of 44th and Evanston, about five houses down from mine. She was trimming rose bushes with gardening shears–mind you roses that were in full bloom as the ones in my yard were just beginning to bud. I wanted to know her secret, but starting up a conversation didn’t seem likely. I was on my way to Marketime, focused and determined to stay on target. On the way back with a case of Session Lager, a shallot, garlic and a serrano pepper, we made eye contact and that was it. Lo and behold, she has the same name as me–give or take an ‘n’! And is probably the only person I’ve ever met who can hug as long and as hard as I can. Maybe its a Bri thing. Cool points well-earned. Our interview was conducted almost a year later, just after a few key transitions in Bree’s life.

State your name for the record, please.

Briana soon-to-be Squirrel-Barrett

Your art form?

The art of invitation, namely helping people feel welcome. Anyone could extend an invitation, the art of the thing is making it personal, asking what they want and then getting them to do it.

Seems like an important task that might go overlooked. How do you do it?

I focus on helping people make time for what they consider important. It all starts with asking, finding out what it is and then getting excited is easy because, usually, what people want is something that our whole community needs.

How does a motivator keep motivated?

Meditation and my mantra, “I’m an invitation. Don’t forget to mention…”

What challenges to you face as an invitation?

The same as everyone, shadows and fears and asking why. That nagging voice that says, “Why do I want attention?” As if I need a reason. I don’t need a reason!

To be effective despite fear is courage. What are your outlets for channeling your fears?

I write poetry, laugh at jokes and gather together with friends.

For Bree (and for all of us, I bet) doing the thing she’s afraid of quells the fear. Bree’s amazing! She also says things like,

“The force that causes leaves to unfurl is still coursing through it even after the buds have flowered and gone.”

What other sorts of solutions help you stay on track?

I have an accountability appointment with a friend weekly. So far we’ve determined that I needed some time to rest after having been sick. It helps to have the conversation, otherwise I don’t easily grant myself the gift of time for things like healing or taking care of myself proactively. I’ve also enrolled in a 9-week business course where I will meet other entrepreneurs and build community while learning.

Bree’s business, Neighbors on Purpose, is all about community and offers a whole heap of services such as cleaning, gardening, and consignment based yard sales. Wanna get involved? Go to neighborsonpurpse.com and tell her Sunshine sent ya!

Meet:

Meet: Jeri Mack

Back in February [practically a year ago?!] I created a page called Meet: where I introduce my blogworld to my friend-family who do incredible things. I answered readers’ questions for the first one to get things rolling and then was privileged to Meet: Bree. After that Meet: sort of fell by the wayside. Without some sort of deadline, I get nothing done. Like, period. That’s not acceptable because I’m constantly surrounded by such talent, such promise and everyone should know! And so, I’m very proud to Meet: Jeri. She was one of the original people I had in mind when I started this so there’s no one better to meet now that Meet: will be a monthly thing!

So, I sat down with Jeri in her Wallingford home studio and basically giggled for about twenty minutes. Here’s what we could make out.

Meet: Jeri

State your name, for the record [which isn’t a question, really, ha!]

Jeri Adrianna Mack and I created Objects & Subjects, I design and create handmade jewelry that incorporates up-cycled materials to create edgy, feminine, industrial-chic jewelry.

Do you prefer to work alone? Also, mention how you feel about in-home studios versus resources such as ActivSpace.

I do prefer to work alone; my mind goes to a lot of places when I am working in my studio. I like to sketch out new designs and start creating something new from those sketches, but a lot of the time the shapes of the metal inspire me in another direction. I’m constantly thinking, “Well, what if I do this?” Sometimes it doesn’t work out the way I would like, but that’s how I learn. I had a studio at Activspace for a year, and I am glad I experienced that because I learned that I prefer to work from home. One nice thing about having a home studio is that when inspiration strikes, I just have to go upstairs. With the community art space, I had to get in the car and drive across town which prevented me from going there as much as I would have liked. Had I met any of the other artists in the building or took advantage of the Artwalks, it could have been a completely different experience, but I was just starting out so for me it was just my space to learn.

studiophoto by Andrew Walsh

What sort of things do you do to get in the zone?
I start out a regular day with a nice, hot cup of coffee and check my online shop to see if I have any new orders. Sometimes I check out creative blogs or Pinterest to get my mind warmed up for the day. While I’m in my studio, I like to play Brazilian music because it’s chill and up beat…it puts me in a good mood.

Where can we find you?
I started selling on Etsy a little over 3 years ago. It’s been great and has taught me a lot about running a successful business. I remember when I made my first few sales… it was so exciting! When I made my first sale overseas, I wanted to celebrate! It’s been interesting bringing my business to where it is. There has been a lot of trial and error as well as the realization of what I want my business to become, and that is all in the learning process. You always need to be working toward something new, something different.

I also sell Objects & Subjects pieces at B.(resale) shop, voted the BEST resale shop in Minneapolis. It is an urban-based, used clothing store in South Minneapolis. They carry gently used men & women’s clothing, shoes, and accessories, as well as wonderful pieces by some very talented local designers. They also sell their goods online which is very cool!

Finally, I started my own website where people can buy directly from me! I am currently working on a collection of jewelry inspired by the modern-day gypsy and high fashion bohemian styles. I plan to debut the collection on my website when the pieces are finished and photographed.
board
Go there now, I’ll wait.

As a champion of a creative lifestyle, what advice do you have for up-n-comers?
Don’t lose your drive. If you want to make something successful, you have to keep at it and continue learning your craft and never give up. Sometimes I get distracted and want to spend my time doing other things. I have to remind myself that although I can’t do everything, if I want my business to be successful I need to be consistent and continue to learn things that will benefit my craft. A creative mind is easily distracted, and sometimes I just have to refocus and reexamine my goals.


What do you want the people to know most about Objects & Subjects?
I used to work at an award manufacture and there was always a bucket of off-cuts and scrap metal pieces that they couldn’t use so they would just send it out to be recycled. One day, when I was going through my supplies, I came across a few pieces of the scrap stainless steel. It just clicked, and I got my tools out and started playing. I recycle scrap metal as well as using other kinds of industrial pieces in my jewelry. Most of the beads and other elements are from old discarded pieces of jewelry found at thrift stores or vintage markets. I love giving something that was once loved a new life, and I feel it is important to reuse and do what you can to minimize your impact on the environment.

puts the hammer down

How much time do you spend working on O&S?
Everyday I work on O&S in some way. Some days it’s just a few drawings in a sketchbook and some days I spend up to 12 hours in my studio. It’s different everyday. I work as a cake decorator and when my husband and I get a day off together we like to go out and explore the city together, but if he’s working on my days off I spend all day in my studio.



What are your thoughts on style? How do you encourage others to find their own personal style?
I feel like jewelry is the icing on the cake when it comes to putting together an outfit. Your jewelry and clothing should compliment each other in some way, but I also love statement jewelry that stands on it’s own. My go-to look is a nice black sweater with some big dramatic statement earrings. I did not always feel bold enough to get away with statement jewelry, but I always loved the pieces on their own. I finally told myself to go for it and now whenever I wear my big earrings or big interesting necklaces I get a ton of compliments and that just boosts my confidence!
Meet: Jeri
________________________________________________________________________________________________
Thanks, Jeri! I always have a ball when we get together. Unfortunately this interview ends on a bittersweet note for me as I’ve just learned that Jeri and her husband Jesse [who drums for Super Plaid] are moving back to Minnesota. Seattle will miss you in a big, big way. Honeybee and I wish you all the absolute best. All of it. Big smiles, big hugs, big love,
Sunshine

 

Meet:

Meet: Matt Wray

When I started this blog back in 2009 I didn’t know where this adventure would take me [still don’t], I was just committed to documenting it here [still am]. So, actually, you were the first to know when I met Matt, now known as Honeybee. Do you remember? I’d seen him a few times, but things clicked when he came out from behind his checkstand and hugged me when my friend died. I don’t necessarily consider it love at first sight, but I do recall that when I first saw him, I distinctly wanted to talk to him. And when I finally worked up the courage talked to him I simply had to know everything about him. He’s addictive that way. But how weird is it to formally introduce someone to your blog-life? Is that even a thing? Let’s make it a thing.

It’s a thing now. And this tardiness allowed for the proper celebration of his birthday, St. Patrick’s Day [which is also the anniversary of his proposal]. I’ll admit, another reason this Meet: is late is for the simple fact that I underestimated being so close with my interviewee. Matt’s an all-in sort of guy so as I asked him questions he’d be looking ahead at the next question. I’m all like, hey, mind yo business!

Ultimately it was a very worthwhile challenge. Why? Because there’s more to Matt than dreamy boyish good-looks. And it seems that he’s in it for the long haul. This guy wants to marry me, blog and all, y’all. So, everyone, Meet: Matt.

meet: matt

State your name for the record please.

My name is Matthew Tyler Wray. I was born March 17, 1977 in Walla Walla, Washington. [See what I’m saying?! Who says that? Tell me you wouldn’t have a follow up question?!]

Do you know why you were chosen as this month’s Meeting?

I suppose I’d have to say no. Because I’m an interesting person? Maybe.

Aside from the nature of our personal relationship, we’ve worked together for three years now making music, yes, but we’ve also collaborated on paintings as well as other projects and I want you to know that terms of professionalism and work-ethic, you’re someone I look up to.

Can I touch my interviewer?

You can touch me. Later. Where did you get your amazing work ethic from?

It’s been a bit of an evolution, but my dad has always been a hard worker. And my grandma. And you never want to disappoint people you love, so you imitate those you respect most.

Where did you study?

I went to Shoreline Community College for digital audio engineering. Before that I attended Walla Walla Community College for pottery.

For pottery?

For pottery.

Tell me about some of your pieces. What were your specialties?

Bowls, plates and vases. What’s left around the house are the pick of the litter. I would love to do more pottery and sculpture.

matt-tue

So at this point just now what are you itching to produce?

Besides music? I have my bag of tricks. I’m working on traditional Native masks.

You’re working on a traditional Native American mask? You make those?

I did make one and I attempted to make another but the wood was bad. I want to create art across all media.

Agreed. Let’s! In the meantime, tell me about your day job.

I work in a grocery store in Fremont, Seattle.

He works at Marketime. And it’s locally famous.

Yeah it’s a nice place. I enjoy working there. It’s definitely a day job, but I enjoy the people I work with.

I think everyone enjoys you working there. You were in the I Saw You section of the Stranger as Marketime Matt by an admirer who called you dreamy! And I know you thought that was me, but that was not me.

I looked at every customer for while wondering who it could be. It’s a complete mystery. But it doesn’t really matter, there’s only one person in my line who gets checked out two ways. 😉

This interviewer will not ask who that person is but I’m sure she is lucky and gorgeous.

Yes, she is. Gorgeous, I mean.

[See? This is what I’m talking about. Focus! Bah!]

What does creative mean to you?

Making order out of chaos. Be it something you look at or something you hear, you’re taking that chaos and focusing it into something different that everybody can appreciate.

What is your pattern, or trademark that makes Matt-sculpture versus Matt-music versus anything else you would create? What is the thing that makes it yours?

I just have my way of looking at the world and it translates into everything I do. I’ve just finished one big project [Super Plaid’s second album End of Daze] and I’m feeling out what’s next. It’s a process.

You’ve been at it a while, right? How many albums have you put together so far?

Officially ten. And there’s a whole slew of unofficial mixes.

Honeybee editing

Matt Editing

Then there’s at least a series worth of paintings I’ve seen you create.

Yup, but music is my favorite. Standout hits are: It’s a Chupacabra Christmas, Jericho, Lando System, and the G. I. Joe Theme Song. But it’s a mood thing, too. At this point I have a category for every mood. Or a mood for every category.

Who are your top influences?

The Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, Medeski, Martin & Wood, and Beck.

my own personal guitar hero

What would you do if you were at a table with all those guys?

Spontaneously combust. I’ve never met a celebrity before [outside of work]. Do you just avoid asking them questions about their fame? Just talk to them like a friend? I don’t know. What do you do?

Well, that’s the thing. Actually that’s one of the reasons I invented Meet: because I feel like my friends are famous people. They’re, like, famous people that people don’t know about yet. I always wanna hang out because we’re friends. But then I also wanna be like, so what’s inspring you right you now? What are you thinking about?

So, what inspires you?

Haha

You’ve mentioned before that creating music for you is a means of creating a legacy, why is it so important?

It’s not really important to have a legacy of music or even to have a legacy. But, I suppose I’d prefer to be remembered, not forgotten. Like a forget-me-not. Perhaps down the line my great great great nieces and nephews will hear my music and maybe it’ll change their life.

in his natural environment

If there’s one thing you’d like the world to know about you, it would be?

I’m rich, bitch. Um…nah.

Well, I suppose I’m out of questions.

Does that mean it’s dinner time?

Yes. Feed meeeee!

Well, there you have it folks. You’ve officially met him. He’s uncommonly kind and clean. He’s a hard worker and dreamboat. What can I say, he’s my kind of guy. He doesn’t get to hang out as often as he’d like due to crappy mid-shifts at the Market, but he’s always down for a jam. He can play almost any instrument [guitar, mandolin, cello, bass, drums, piano, lap harp, clarinet, tenor banjo, harmonica, penny whistle, glockenspiel, and the dryer to name a few] and he’s got great hair. Eh?

at cello

Yeahhh!

[Ladies this one’s taken, but he’s got a single brother. Wha-WHAT!]

xo,

Sunshine