Friday, June 24, 2011

Stone Arch Festival of the Arts weekend

Another huge event for me this year was being chosen to do the Stone Arch Festival of the Arts poster and exhibiting as a guest at the Festival on Father's Day weekend.  For those of you who don't know, there are 250 artists exhibiting, bands perform, food is served and thousands of visitors flock to the site along the Mississippi River in Minneapolis.  It was the biggest event I've ever shown my work at and I had a prime location at the center of the activity.

Artistic Indulgence who's booth was next to mine, helped me to 'waterproof' the tent on Friday which proved quite useful for the heavy rain that fell during the event.  I'm grateful for their assistance or it could have been a disaster with all my prints and cards.

Saturday started off with a bang. People, kids, dogs, (lots of dogs) came by to check out my poster and the art I brought. I brought along my sample pencil drawings, scans and explained how I build my shapes and fill them with color in layers in Illustrator.  The poster was printed by Ambassador Press in Minneapolis who also prints all my cards.  They did a fantastic job with the quality and the colors.  I signed and numbered 100 limited edition posters which were sold at Artistic Indulgence's booth.  It was exciting to hear people tell me how much they loved the poster. I told people I created a poster that I would want to hang in my house.

I loved meeting all the people including some of my art college friends, business friends and tons of new contacts. I liked the lady who bought a Columbine print because she had a beautiful columbine tattoo on her shoulder, the Concordia grads who bought my corn cards because they are 'cobbers', the people who love 'poppies' and 'ginkgo' art, and was surprised when people wanted to buy my vinyl decorative banners hanging in my booth.  It was fun to tell people how I make patterns of my art and create fabric thru Spoonflower, how I work with Rug Rats to make my rugs and evolved my Etsy shop into a growing business in two years. I'm a long time freelance illustrator but my personal Arts & Crafts inspired art is breathing new life into my career.

The best weather was on Sunday afternoon when the sun finally came out and we took the back wall off the tent to allow some sun in and a beautiful view of the Mississippi. Thanks to those of you who stopped by and thank you to Sara Collins from the Stone Arch Festival for the opportunity to do this year's poster. It was an unforgettable experience!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Louie Louie Louie Wow Wee

Alan Friedman, Great Arrow Graphics & me
The Louie Awards are like the Oscars for the card industry.  The best cards in each category are announced and awards are presented at a gala during the National Stationery Show in May each year. The Surtex Show where I was exhibiting runs at the same time at the Javits Center in New York City.  Imagine my surprise when the staff from Great Arrow Graphics stopped over to say my firefly card I illustrated for them was nominated for a Louie Award in the Anniversary category. I rushed to the display and stood there grinning. My friend Rich Sherman of J.Ames Greetings was nominated as Rising Star.

Alan Friedman, president of Great Arrow came back the next day to say it won.  I told him it was a dream come true for me.  Great Arrow is a special card company because all their cards are hand silkscreened. (Click link to see their work.) The card I designed had a gold metallic ink which made it even more beautiful. The inside verse said," you still light my fire! Happy Anniversary."  Alan said it was a sweet card and was popular with retailers.  I asked for a picture with him and the winning card since I didn't go to the gala.

If you are interested in what the judging is like for the Louies, here's a video you can watch.  The card industry understands the competition it faces with online communications and how cards keep people connected in a different way.  I still feel it's the handwritten message along with the card that shows people you care.