Monday, September 29, 2008
I worked on this all week and I'm happy that it's finished on Jewish New Year's eve! It's a wall calendar filled with illustration of important and interesting historical events. I love useless trivia and this calendar definitely fit in that category...
I'm so happy with how it came out!
You can see it here
Saturday, September 27, 2008
My second whole sale order! How cool is that! an Etsy seller who also have a store in LA saw the listing of the first wholesale order and asked for something similar. I was really happy to make them. It was a strange mathematical problem, realizing I only have 6 vases more because 8 went to the trunk show. Luckily, 4 came back from the trunk show (4 actually sold) and I could complete the order.
It's ready to be send tomorrow.
It's 6:40, I was working on a new and exciting project all night, I'm so tired now.
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
Before I met Ned I never knew what a fashion shoot involved, working in graphic design I did know part of the computer graphic manipulation a photo can endure to make it magazine presentable, but I do find that following the whole process of fashion photography to be both fascinating and a little depressing. The amount of effort that go into making a model look beautiful on a photo and all that it involve and the way, that looking at fashion photographs sometimes makes me feel inadequate, not beautiful, tall, thin, young enough.
Even though, since now I'm a part of this process, I do feel a lot less incline to want to look like those girls in magazines, and I think that being on a fashion photography set and following the whole process could be an important part of curing eating disorder as well as just making non-model women feel better about themselves.
So, I thought I would share some of this process, or at least my view of this experience, and how we get from wanting to do a shoot to an end product - a fashion story.
Before we even start any shoot, we sit around talk and think, usually, this will start with both me and Ned just wondering aimlessly around the internet looking for a visual starting point. In this specific shoot, I was looking on some extremely contrasty black and white images that were really beautiful to me, which led me to think of the art of aubrey beardsley, especially the illustrations he did to Oscar Wilde's Salome. I looked at some photos, talked to Ned and we realized that what's interesting to us about those images is the amount of black vs. white and also the amount of details vs. flat plain surfaces. We also talked about the story of Salome and the power play of women and men, money and sex and objective and subjective within the frame of the story and photography.
Then we contact our stylist, and make up artist, it turns out that our usual hair stylist is not available, but the case is shorty, though pretty stressfully get resolved because the make up artist have a friend - work buddy that can fill in. Next we contacted a couple of model agencies we work with to see who's in town and free to test with us. We talk to the booker who wants to send over a girl we shot with in the past, which we thought would be perfect for this shoot and who needed some more elegant and womanly photos for her book, her style up until now was very girly and cute and the agency is trying to expand her abilities and type of projects she's getting.
After talking to the crew and making sure everyone's in the studio in time, start the worse part of the project - the cleaning of the studio... Since we live and work here and since my craft and art is really messy, and since we were in a sort of messed up period in life anyway, it took about 2 days to make enough room in here for a shoot... It's a good thing cause it makes me throw out a lot of crap I don't need and to finally clean my desk remembering half tended projects and things I didn't take care of.
The night before a shoot, we always plan to goto sleep early, but somehow between cleanup and setting the lights and trying to finish a whole bunch of things, we go to sleep really late. In this evening, we found ourselves going out to the only open late Williamsburg spot which is a pretty crappy bagel store. We go over some of the images we found as inspiration and talk about the shoot again making sure we know what we want out of this. I think one of the biggest challenges, for me, is to have a plan, or an idea and then not get fixated on it, so that I have guild lines but not an entire script written down. It's hard because unlike painting which is what I'm more used to doing, photography involves a lot of people each with their own vision which is often more surprising and interesting then mine, and letting people get their own say in the process, makes the photos more rich and interesting then just what I had in mind.
Also, since Ned's the photographer and I'm somewhere between an art director and an assistant, I have a lot of work to do before and after the shoot but in the actual day I sometimes feel a little redundant, so it's a bit of a challenge for me to just sit back and let people do their jobs.
We eventually went to sleep at about 5:30 that day, knowing we need to get up at 10:30, for people to come in at noon.
At noon, the hair and make up crew get here, they are setting up their equipment, and then the stylist gets here, she unpack and we have first look at the outfits, usually, I like doing that a couple of days before the shoot, but it just didn't work this time. So as she unpack, I get to finally see them, she really got the colors and shapes that I wanted, but suddenly this shoot get a whole new layer of, I don't know - German film noir?! I'm not quite sure what to call it, she was trying to find more contemporary pieces but somehow the vintage stuff just came popping up. We talk about different combinations and how it would look, Ned set the set paper and start setting up the lights.
I go out to get some shoot food because it's going to be a long day, when I get back the model is in and already being worked on for hair and make up, while the stylist is deciding what to go with first.
The first hair and make up set is the most frustrating time in a shoot for me, I just want things to start already and to see how everything looks together, but there's about 2 hours of work before even the first photo is being shot! I don't wear makeup myself, and the most complicated thing I do to my hair is braid it so it's out of the way, I've never really learned how to blow dry or curl or put eyeliner and concealer, I'm not even sure what all those tools and paints and chemical do, so the work of the hair and make up people always seem like magic to me, I love looking at how they work and the way they can transform a face to look like something very different then how it looked before.
Eventually, at 3:00, we start shooting. I don't know if it's all fashion sets, but when we shoot the 2 first outfits always take a really long time and usually yield the less exciting photos, it takes time for the model to loose up and feel good about herself and for Ned to take charge and direct her more and for everyone on set to really get into the pace of working.
Every change in make up and hair takes about half an hour to an hour, in some outfits, we keep the make up and just do touch-ups and change things very subtly, This hair stylist is really good and were able to make beautifully constructed hair looks free and loose, it's funny to realize how many pins it take to hold all those hairs in place!
We change to a different outfits, some of them works right away, on some Ned doesn't like parts of it and change, it's hard to try and make everyone happy - the model, the photographer, the stylist, AND make sure we get the good shots, sometimes even though I know something doesn't work, I will let it get shot for a while and then ask to try it on without the jacket, or with a lighter lipstick, just so that the crew doesn't feel criticized or let down, we are really lucky to work with a group of people who are really committed to what they do, and so we have a full day to shoot in which we know everyone will stay for as long as they can, which leaves time to experiment and try things that might or might not work.
I think we shot 6 outfits in this day, which is pretty good, but not an amazing amount, toward the last one, we all get tired and we decide to stop even though there was at least one that we could have shot.
Ned's camera is connected to his computer so that as the shoot goes, we can look on the screen and see the photos, it's a really great way to see what looks great and what isn't, usually, at least one person (which is generally me) will sit at the monitor, check the focus and crops, and whether anything need to be changed.
After everyone pack their stuff and leave, at about 9:00 Ned and me and the stylist sit for a bit, then go out for coffee and cake for a bit of rest and trying to plan for a shoot next week (though we are all too tired and distracted) Ned and me go back to the studio and start editing.
There are a little over 500 photos! we are trying to form this to a possible fashion Editorial, which means about 8-15 photos, sometimes less, and a couple of closeups for the hair and make up crew, that means giving up on so many amazing shots! we have to flip our minds from being really positive, excited and supportive about the photos, to being really critical and negative, or else we'll keep more then half of the images...
When editing the photos, it's not just about getting the best few, but also make sure that they are cohesive and show progression, sometimes wonderful shots got rejected cause they don't match the feel of the other pictures or because there's another great shot of the same outfit. We narrow it down to I think 14 photos, look at the clock and see it's 4:00 AM.
Over the next few days Ned will retouch and color correct the images. He's really awesome with photoshop and works very fast, but it will still take about 2-4 days to finish everything.
It's really amazing to realize how, even though we started with a really beautiful, young, skinny talented model, it still takes so much time and effort from a whole group of people to make the shot looks so damn perfect.
Monday, September 22, 2008
Pretty crazy weekend in NY - we were a lot more social then usual, going to a birthday party, a brunch with friends, both in the city, and a brunch again today with a different friend (In Williamsburg, thanks god!) It feels like just those 2 days with no real working was a very long break from doing anything of substance.
Today, we started cleaning the house for 2 shoots next week, which I'm very excited about, though not at all excited about the clean up, it took me an hour and a half just to get the fabric corner and my desk in order. Also, I manage to draw for a couple of hours when Ned was at the gym. And, to finally shoot 3 of the 5 bears I made for the Trunk show. One sold without me ever getting a photo opportunity, and the 4th will be shot tomorrow.
So, I'm glad to introduce Angeline, Shawn and Peter!
Saturday, September 20, 2008
A couple of days ago I got a really nice e-mail from a buyer who asked me if I still do bondage paintings, I thought about it and realized that I used to do a lot of those at the end of my last relationship, when I was very sexually frustrated and felt trapped in a life that just didn't seem right for me.
It's strange to think about how, at that time, the fantasy of bondage actually symbolized freedom for me. Accepting the fact that I can wants things that are not necessarily everybody's cup of tea, also, when bound, the burden of responsibility is almost magically removed - I can no longer do or act, I'm not expected to do anything aside of just be there, in my body, and though being kept in one position can sometime be physically difficult or painful, my mind just seem to calm down and float is this serene state.
I decided to try and make a few new bondage drawing, I made 4 small ones in a series.
The same day I made those drawings I had a dream about my ex, in my dream, I was single and back in Israel, I met him to talk about getting back together, but I didn't really want to get back together. He was really cynical and criticized me all the time. I said "If you are going to say one more nasty thing, I'm going to just leave" we went on talking, he accused me in cheating on him, and I said "No, I didn't" and I said "Do you realized that in the last year of our relationship we only had sex 3 times" I was angry and he said "Well, maybe that's for the best" As if me wanting more then that was somehow unhealthy or out of the ordinary and by avoiding sex and learning to control my urges I'm becoming a better person.
I turned back and started going out of the room. He asked me where I was going and I said "I told you that if you say one more nasty thing I'm going to leave" and even though he was calling me, I just walked away.
We don't live an SM life and bondage is a very small part from our sexual life, but just knowing I have a partner who I can express this side of myself with every now and then is really important to me.
Friday, September 19, 2008
I started focusing on my Etsy store and actually making my first sale after a down period in my life, I was trying to get my art seen, exhibited and selling, but dealing with Galleries, market pros and business people, as well as the notion of rejection was just too depressing, and for every submission I manage to do, I would get so upset, it just wasn't worth it.
I really love the fact that the store's out there, with prices and all, and if people what to by my art they can, I don't get rejected, but I do get to shoe my art and share it with people as well as make some money off selling it, without having to face any professionals in the process.
But now that change! because I did manage to finish the whole process of dealing with some pros! It was really hard and though I was happy with the idea of making a bulk sale, the notion of dealing with another business was really difficult and I just couldn't bring myself to consider that this will actually happened.
A couple of weeks ago I was contacted by a nice woman who owns a beautiful store called Flora Grubb in San Francisco, and who wanted to order 10 vases, I had to do the math, find out about shipping and worry about non of this working out, but eventually! It did, I got paid and tomorrow a package full of vases is going to the post office. I just hope non break in the mail.
The coolest thing is that in the meantime, another store, who saw the listing for the first order, wanted the same deal! I'm going to make a lot of vases tomorrow!
I'm excited and a little freaked out...
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
Aren't those Beautiful?!
I made 8 new small art kits containing 2 small pencils and a 6"X4" hand bound notebook with one of my inspiration cards on the cover, all fit snugly in a quilted case made of colorful cool fabrics.
I'm giving them away to anyone who buy something from my Etsy store and send me the code "artkitgalore" in the "massage for seller".
There only are 8 of those so get them before they are all gone!
Thursday, September 11, 2008
It's just what I'm feeling this week, cluttered, my mind is working so fast it doesn't get anywhere, I'm tired and wired, the apartment is a mess and so is my head.
I hate this obsessive way of thinking, it feels as if I'm running around in circles.
I miss some peace of mind. A couple of really nice things happened this week and I'm s obsessed with everything that didn't get done, I can't even bring myself to enjoy any of it...
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
I've been so busy over the past couple of days. Ned's mom is having another trunk show in her apartment, and suggested that I bring some things again. I was very happy to participate and then forgot all about it, remembering on Friday that it's actually starting on the next week...
So, I was crafting like crazy, I made - 2 small bears, 2 medium bears, one huge bear what's made of cool red sweater. The, 5 vases and another large one, and a bunch of tiny notebooks (maybe 8? I can't remeber) And brought in a few other items from the store.
Yesterday, after the first truck show day, Ned got an e-mail from his mom letting me know that 3 vases and 1 teddy bears were sold.
Other then that I was taking care of my first large order, a gardening store asked me to make 10 vases for them. Suddenly, the box that contained over 30 vases and were sitting under the dining room table seem to be close to an end of it's supply...
So with all this activity, it feels like I had no time to just sit and make things for a while and so the other night when I couldn't sleep, I decided to get out of bed and I made 3 little ornament birds. I made those last year for Christmas when I just started to post more often in my shop. And I'm really happy to be making another set.
Monday, September 1, 2008
Yesterday I was reading a blog day article somewhere, it was a bunch of cool blogs and one of them was a beautiful cook blog by and Israeli designer and awesome food photographer. I
spend half the evening reading her recipes that are written with humor and looking at the beautiful pictures.
The cool blog made me want to do 3 things - cook, take pictures and blog. So this is the result! today's lunch. Also, since it is memorial day, this is perfect picnic or barbecue salad. it lasts really well, it's healthy and very easy to make.
lentils and Potato Picnic Salad
Ingredients for 2 people as a meal or 4-8 people as a side dish
8 small purple potatoes (or white ones)
half a cup of green lentils (also called French lentils)
a small onion
a tomato (I used a yellow one, but red is fine)
2 table spoons olive oil
1 table spoon balsamic vinegar
1 table spoon mustered
1/4 cup of water
2 table spoon of yogurt
fresh ground pepper
How to make it
dice the potatoes, chop the onion and add the lentils to a pan. Cover in water and let cook for about half an hour on medium heat until the lentils and potatoes are soft but not mushy.
While it cooks, make the dressing, in a cup mix all the ingredients and whisk for about 2 minutes until the olive oil and water blends. then slice the tomato into segments.
Once the lentils and potatoes are cooked. strain until all of the water are out, and while still hot, pour the dressing over them. the heat makes the dressing soak really well in the potato.
when serving decorate with the tomato slices and yogurt.
A couple of pointers:
We are trying to cut down on cholesterol, so no salt for us, but it can be added to the dressing, also, you can replace the yogurt with cream cheese or ricotta.
We eat it warm, but it's also really good cold, and can keep in the fridge for a week or so.
After 2 months of being sick and busy and realizing I'm becoming a true social hermit. This week came along, it feels like all of our friends who were likewise, being social hermits crawled out of their holes and want to play... we mat people every single day this week, went to 2 parties one day after the other and actually gone out in Manhattan to meet a friend in a bar.
It sounds like the most casual and regular thing in the world, but it seem to take a massive amount of effort to get us to go out those days and crossing the water into the city seem more difficult then ever.
It's not even laziness, at least I think it isn't. I remeber how when I worked in the ad agency, almost all social events were better then work, but now, I like what I'm doing so much, that making the effort to interact and spend time and energy on people seem to take so much out of me. On one hand, I enjoyed it a lot, and it was so nice to catch up and see some people and realize that I do have friends here, and on the other hand, I'm almost resentful toward them from taking me away from my sketchbook and computer and what I do around the apartment.
I made a series of 3 large drawings for a magazine submission and I want to make more of the same series and see if I can get a show out of it, it's hard to get myself to paint in the mornings, but then when I start it's hard to leave it behind and go talk to people and interact more then I'm used to. I feel so out of practice and totally self conscious when I try.
Tonight, we went to a barbecue for a friend's birthday. I was really happy to see them, cause it's been a really long time, but after a short time I realized how hard it was for me to just handle the small talk chit-chats of this party. I felt like i'm just sitting there contributing nothing.
The party started at 6:00 and at 9:00 we were all supposed to go see a concert, However as we were cleaning up the roof from the food leftovers and beer bottles, Ned slipped on a stair and hurt is shoulder and hip. We decided to go home instead so he can rest in bed. He's feeling better now - but I think we were both relieved to have a reason to just go home and not feel so self conscious about our lack of social skills.