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Last month I wrote a post after I learned that The Washington Post was no longer running its annual Peeps diorama contest. The editor of the alternative weekly Washington City Paper hinted on Twitter that her paper may pick up the mantle while providing an email address for inquiries. From there it snowballed into a new Peeps diorama contest. Today is Easter Sunday so The Washington City Paper announced the winners of its first Peeps diorama contest on its website. I have to admit that everyone involved did very well on such a short notice.
One fringe benefit of the City Paper reviving that contest is that my 2013 rant on A Warning for Those Who Intend to Enter This Year’s Peeps Diorama Contest has once again risen to the top five most-read posts in my blog. It’s too soon to tell whether The Washington City Paper will run this contest again next year although I have a hunch that it’s highly likely that there will be one in 2018. Even though a different publication is now running the Peeps diorama contest, it still wouldn’t hurt to read my original rant because some points I raised in it still applies to that contest.
In any case, here are the winners of The Washington City Paper‘s Peeps Diorama Contest. If you want to view the winners in person, you can travel to the Peeps store located at National Harbor (which had been running a separate unrelated Peeps diorama contest as a tie-in with its #ThisIsHowYouHarbor social media campaign but also decided to team up with The Washington City Paper as a partner for the resurrected Peeps diorama contest).
Four years ago I wrote this rant titled A Warning For Those Who Intend to Enter This Year’s Peeps Diorama Contest after I saw a Washington Post Peeps diorama wall calendar that had gone on sale at a local store. As someone who entered the contest two years in a row (in 2008 and 2009), I realized the full implications of that release I was required to sign before I could even enter my dioramas in that contest where The Washington Post could launch spin-off products without having to pay a dime to the original artists and the artists had no legal recourse because they signed that release just like I did.
In the years since I wrote that rant, I noticed that it would become the most-read post during the time of the year when The Washington Post announced its annual Peeps diorama contest only to have it slip out of WordPress.com’s list of my top ten most-read posts once the winners were announced. In fact, seeing that post rise to the top of the most-read list is how I usually knew that The Washington Post has announced a new call for entries to that contest.
According to this article on DCist.com, The Washington Post will no longer hold the Peeps diorama contest. The Washington Post said that it has been getting fewer submissions, which correlates to the decline in readership in recent years. So, after 10 years, the annual Washington Post Peeps diorama contest is now history.
However, the alternative weekly Washington City Paper is hinting that it may pick up the Peeps diorama contest and the show could still go on this year. In the meantime there is a DC-area Peeps diorama contest that’s being held at National Harbor (which makes sense since the Peeps store is located there) but the theme of that contest is limited to depicting the new National Harbor social media campaign #ThisIsHowYouHarbor.
In commemoration to the now-defunct Washington Post Peeps diorama contest, I’ll end with post with a few videos—all of which I shot. The first two feature Peeps dioramas that were submitted to that contest by the late prolific Peeps diorama artist Carl Cordell and he later displayed all of his dioramas at the 2008 Artomatic.
The last two are my own entries to the contest that I submitted in 2008 and 2009. I didn’t even get Honorable Mention. I decided to quit after 2009 when I read that The Washington Post received over 1,000 submissions that year and I decided that it wasn’t worth working on something that would most likely get lost in the shuffle. So, without further ado, here are Peep Floyd and Pop Star Peepney Pursued by the Peeperazzi.
UPDATE (April 16, 2017): The Washington City Paper went through with its hint that it would pick up the Peeps diorama contest for this year. They pulled it off despite the short notice. Following The Washington Post‘s previous tradition of announcing the contest winners on Easter Sunday, the City Paper has posted the winners on its website today. If you’re in the Baltimore-Washington, DC area, you can view these winning dioramas in person at the Peeps store located at National Harbor. Given the response to this contest, it’s very likely that The Washington City Paper will probably hold this contest again in 2018 and in the years to come.
I went to the fourth annual Silver Spring Maker Faire. I’ve gone to the three previous Maker Faires but all those other years I had to cut my visit short due to a meeting or something similar. This year was the first year where I didn’t have anything else scheduled or other things that I needed to do that day so I could just leisurely tour the Maker Faire at my own pace.
Across the street from Veterans Plaza, where the Maker Faire was held, a group of Hare Krishnas were doing their chanting and proselytizing outside of a Chick-fil-A of all places. (It’s convenient for the Hare Krishnas that Chick-fil-A is closed on Sundays because, otherwise, the fast food chain’s Fundamentalist Christian owners would literally have a cow over this. LOL!)
I eventually dodged the Hare Krishnas and made my way to the Maker Faire, where I took these pictures.
I also shot a short video showing some of the exhibits that were either moving or making sounds.
All in all it was a great event on a very beautiful day in weather that was warm but not too hot and the humidity was low. I enjoyed myself.
People of a certain age will probably remember the View-Master, the 3D stereophonic toy that played a variety of disks that showed 3D pictures. This link makes the case for many of these 3D pictures being literally works of art that tended to be overlooked because the View-Master target audience was children.
Check out how one woman made the ultimate video game fan outfit: A Space Invaders kimono. There is even a free tutorial on how you can create your own Space Invaders kimono that’s written in both Japanese and English.
Here’s a heartfelt essay on Why Art Matters, Even in Poverty.
If you ever wonder why it’s hard to make a living as a photographer, check out Rant: It’s Too Easy for Huge Companies to Steal Photos Online. And on that related topic, here’s a story about how a photographer named Carol Highsmith has filed a $1 billion lawsuit against Getty after she received a letter from Getty demanding that she pay a $120 license fee for one of her own photographs that she had previously donated to the Library of Congress for public domain use.
An artist named Carlos Carmonamedina has been making new art each week since the start of 2016. The focus of his art is on making postcards of Washington, DC that reflect the beauty and wonder of the city that’s a far cry from what you see on official souvenir postcards. You can see more on his blog.
Read the incredible true story of how a National Geographic photographer was able to get spectacular pictures of pandas in their native habitat—by dressing as a panda herself.
Still need a last-minute Easter craft project? Here are free crochet patterns where you can make a bunny and a lamb.
Have some leftover yarn that you don’t know what to do with it? Here’s a list of 34 adorable things that you can create with leftover bits of yarn.
Drink a lot of soda from a can? Instead of just chucking the cans into your recycling bin, here’s a list of 20 genius ways to recycle soda cans into amazing DIY projects. (I think this could work with beer cans and energy drink cans as well.)
Need a creative use for your adult coloring book? If you have an Ikea table, you can decoupage those pages onto it.
Ever had a desire to create your own original amigurumi? Want to kick your original creation up a notch by writing your own amigurumi pattern that you can sell or even give away? Here’s a free tutorial showing you how you can do just that.
Browse other free tutorials previously mentioned in this blog (along with pictures) right here.
Here’s a heart-felt open letter written by a Republican titled This is Not My Republican Party where he expressed his dismay over the racism and violence that has plagued this year’s election on the Republican side.
This year is the 10th year of The Washington Post’s annual Peeps diorama contest. (It’s also the time of the year when my 2013 rant, A Warning for Those Who Intend to Enter This Year’s Peeps Diorama Contest, becomes among the most read posts on this blog until after Easter Sunday.) You can now view the winners and finalists of what is called The 10th Anniversary Edition right here.
Here’s a video tutorial on the worst mistake acrylic painters make.
Got any scrap fabric and threads that you hate to throw away but can’t think of what to do with them? Try making fabric beads, which you can then use to make jewelry.
Here’s a tutorial on how to draw distorted pictures that reveal themselves in a curved mirror.
Browse other free tutorials previously mentioned in this blog (along with pictures) right here.
If you live in the Washington, DC area or plan to visit soon, there is a new attraction that will open in the city on May 1. It’s a museum that’s unlike all of the other museums that are currently located in the District of Columbia: the Vector Gallery, a museum devoted to Satan and Satanic worship. It should provide a nice contrast to the Museum of the Bible, a self-explanatory museum that’s currently under construction and is founded by the same person who founded the Hobby Lobby craft store chain.
The U.S. has a history of legalized slavery with many slaves coming from Africa. But did you know that there were also Irish slaves as well? This link provides a fascinating detail on this lesser know aspect of slavery in America that you can use in social conversation, especially if you are planning to go to any upcoming St. Patrick’s Day parties.
Read the fascinating story about how Adolf Hitler’s nephew ended up fighting in the U.S. Navy against his famous uncle during World War II.
And speaking of Adolf Hitler, here’s a 1922 New York Times article that documented Hitler’s rise and there are some eerie similarities with Donald Trump’s presidential campaign.
Here’s a bizarre diorama that was created by artist Mark Ryden. If you insert a penny into the coin slot, the diorama will come to life where you get to see things like twin Abraham Lincolns riding on a bicycle built for two and skeletons all over the place. All of it is set against a pastel pink Gay 90’s background. You have to see it to believe it.
Here’s a fascinating BBC News story about how artists have structurally different brains.
Don’t believe the hype: Being a bestselling author on Amazon.com isn’t all that it’s cracked up to be.
Would you like to have some vintage posters that were made from the 1890’s to the late 1930’s hanging on your wall? You can now download them and print them out for free, courtesy of the New York Public Library.
Or does your personal taste lie more towards Jan Vermeer? The good news is that you can now download and print all 36 of Vermeer’s paintings (including his most famous piece, Girl With a Pearl Earring) for free right here.
Last Saturday I decided to go to Crafty Bastards again for the first time since 2014. This event was subtitled “Cabin Fever” because this event was held indoors (which makes a lot of sense when it comes to Washington, DC in February).
I took the Metro to the NoMa/Gallaudet University station then walked along New York Avenue. I assumed that the venue was within walking distance. Actually it turned out to be at least a half-an-hour’s walk from the Metro station. Along the way I took some photos, such as this structure which graces the overpass on New York Avenue.
Not too long ago it was considered foolhardy to walk alone anytime in the Northeastern section of DC, especially during the crack epidemic of the 1980’s and 1990’s. It seemed like there was at least one shooting a week in that area. I still remember when I was taking night classes in an ill-fated effort to study desktop publishing (I finished the certificate but I wasn’t able to find a job in the desktop publishing field) back in the 1990’s. One class I took included a field trip to this printing plant that was in Northeast at the time. The week before that trip we were instructed to go directly to that printing plant and, what’s more, she strongly urged us to drive there instead of taking public transportation because that area as so crime-ridden at the time. We parked in a gated parking lot. The printing plant has since closed and there seems to be a resurgence of Northeast as these pictures show.
I happened to stumble upon a really neat vintage shop known as nomad yard collectiv. I didn’t stay too long in that store because of Crafty Bastards but it sells all kinds of really cool vintage stuff.
I did some more walking along New York Avenue as I took these pictures.
After walking for a half-an-hour from the Metro station I finally made it to the venue in the Ivy City section. Hecht Warehouse once served as the warehouse for the Hecht department store chain. All that changed when Macy’s purchased Hecht and all of the Hecht stores were either converted to a Macy’s store or they were shut down (especially if the stores were located in a mall where a Macy’s already existed). Hecht Warehouse had remained empty for nearly 10 years when a developer decided to try converting it into upscale loft apartments along with building a few retail stores.
Right across the street from Hecht Warehouse is a bunch of giant storage boxes with smaller signs announcing the coming of another development known as Hecht Town.
I eventually found a sign leading to the entrance to Crafty Bastards.
Next to the Hecht Warehouse is a MOM (My Organic Market) and a sign announcing the arrival of a Petco that will come soon.
I eventually found the entrance to the Hecht Warehouse.
There were a couple of outdoor food trucks such as this one in the next photo.
The inside of the Hecht Warehouse lobby was amazing to behold. The developer took a gritty warehouse and totally remodeled it so it would look pretty upscale complete with a fireplace in the lobby.
The lobby even had a bar, which is amazing considering that the Hecht Warehouse is supposed to be an apartment complex and not a hotel.
There are a few vestiges of its warehouse past but they have been totally integrated into the new design.
I eventually made it to the area where Crafty Bastards was held. Since I arrived after 3 p.m. I only paid $5 admission fee to get in. (The regular price was $10.) Like previous Crafty Bastards this one was also a feast for the eyes and it provided a major challenge to the wallet as well. Here are just a small sampling of what went on at the Crafty Bastards Cabin Fever event.
I felt really tired by the time I managed to see each vendor booth at least once. Rather than walk for another half an hour in order to get to the NoMa/Gallaudet University stop, I decided to take the Metrobus back. Except the but I got on insisted on going all the way to Fort Totten, which was a half an hour trip. At least I got to sit down that time instead of spending all those 30 minutes just walking.
While I purchased a few things at that event, I was still very careful with how I spent my money since it’s pretty tight these days. I forgot to bring one of my cloth shopping bags from home (which is a big deal since DC has those laws where you have to pay in order to get a paper or plastic bag from any store or vendor) so I purchased this reusable souvenir bag for only $2.
I purchased this framed print from fashion designer Jay McCarroll (also known as the winner of the first season of Project Runway). I now have this print hanging in my living room.
I got this bar of fairy cakes soap from Dirty Ass Soaps, which smells wonderful.
I purchased this autographed copy of a book called Goodbye, Penguins by Greg Stones (whom I briefly met at his booth). This book is short but it’s full of twisted humor coupled with delicate illustrations.
And, last but not least, I purchased this dark chocolate candy bar from Harper Macaw, which is a chocolate candy maker based in Washington, DC. What’s really cool is that every Saturday Harper Macaw offers a guided tour of its factory for only $10 a person and it includes chocolate tastings. How cool is that? By the way, I loved that one chocolate bar I purchased.
Previous in This Series
For the last couple of weeks I’ve been re-posting old blog posts that I originally made for my online Artomatic account. I would initially write a rough draft using a HTML editor then do a quick copy and paste directly into that online blog. The only thing is that the people behind Artomatic tend to wipe the official site of old content whenever a new Artomatic event is announced. Since Artomatic is going on this year, I’d thought it would be cool to re-post some of those old blog posts that exist on my hard drive.
This entry focuses on the posts I wrote when I took part in the 2009 Artomatic event. Things were pretty good for me. I was in the process of recovering from my hip replacement surgery that I underwent in late 2008 but I had felt so much better compared to the year before. I took part in Artomatic that previous year even though I hobbled around on a cane. The organizers would put me in desk jobs for my volunteer shift whenever they saw me with my cane so I was still able to do the required three volunteer shifts.
Here are some of the posts I wrote that year.
Tired, May 21, 2009
I’m participating in Artomatic this year but I’ve been a bit on the disorganized side. After spending the past year dealing with a bad left hip, I’m now getting used to being in good health once again. Six months ago I had hip replacement surgery and it was a very slow healing process. This past Monday was my six-month anniversary of the surgery. The good news is that because I’ve made great strides, my doctor told me that I can now discontinue the physical therapy that I’ve been on since the day after the surgery. (Yes, it started while I was still in the hospital.) It was only last week when I felt confident enough to stop using my cane.
Well, in any case, I’m now able to do more than I did last year. My left hip was so bad that I signed up all of my required three volunteer shifts in the Events category because I was so unsure about being able to do either Installation or Deinstallation.
This year I signed up for one shift in each of the categories. My first shift was last night, which is still in the Installation phase. My main assignment was to patrol the 8th and 9th floors to make sure that people present were actually installing their spaces and to confront anyone who didn’t seem to be installing at all. Well, everyone who was there were doing some kind of installing so it was a pretty calm night.
At 9:30 p.m. I had to let people on both the 8th and 9th floors know that the building was going to close for the night in 30 minutes. Then I did the same thing at 9:45 p.m., except to tell them that everything was going to close in 15 minutes. After 10 p.m. I went to the 8th and 9th floors to make sure everyone was gone then I turned the lights off.
It wasn’t a hard job, although it required a lot of walking since I had to cover two floors. (There weren’t enough volunteers at my shift so a few of us had to do with two floors instead of the usual one floor per person.) I really did appreciate the surgery because there was no way I could’ve done this last year with my bad hip.
The only real snag came when I got off my shift because the Washington Nationals were playing at the stadium nearby and the baseball fans were crowding the Navy Yard Metro station. In any case, I’m pretty tired from last night plus I’m getting over this head cold that I caught last week–which is why I’ve been very slow about installing my own work.
I should sign off now and get some sleep.
Finally Finished With Installing, May 27, 2009
I spent most of Memorial Day weekend on finishing with the installation of my artwork. I finally finished on Monday, Memorial Day, itself. I was totally exhausted but at least I’m done.
I’ll update my catalogue soon.
What I’ll Be Exhibiting at Artomatic This Year, May 27, 2009
This year’s show will be a mix of new work that I’ve done while I was recuperating from undergoing hip replacement surgery last November and older work that I showed last year and will be making a return visit.
First will be the images of artwork that I haven’t actually showed at Artomatic before but I uploaded them online earlier this year because Artomatic was sponsoring a special Valentine Day’s show at a few buildings in the same neighborhood where this year’s Artomatic was being held and the entires were selected from those who had updated their Artomatic catalogues. I created and uploaded two small paintings plus one photograph just in time for the deadline but none of them were selected for the show. The two paintings will be included in my exhibit. (I left the photograph of the two dolls out of this year’s show due to space issues on my wall.) Neither one have been exhibited anywhere else prior to Artomatic. Here are the paintings:
Now for the artwork that is making a return to Artomatic this year. All of them are photographs and all of them were exhibited in last year’s show.
Here are some additional artwork that will be making its debut at Artomatic for the first time.
Here is a promo video I made for YouTube.
Dance Performances at Artomatic, June 13, 2009
Here’s a video I shot of two women who performed this dance routine under the name Hairloom.
I also shot this belly dancing performance by the group Sahara Dance.
Meet the Artists Night, June 13, 2009
I shot two videos of that night. Here is my exhibition space as it was set up on that night.
Most of the action took place on the 7th floor, where PostSecret author Frank Warren was having a book signing event. That floor turned into one large party complete with music and flashing lights. Here is what I shot on that floor.
The Sarah Palin Tribute Band at Artomatic, June 17, 2009
I shot two videos by this band called The Sarah Palin Tribute Band who, as far as I can tell, had made their performing debut at Artomatic but haven’t performed in public anywhere else since then. Here is the group doing the song “This Land is Your Land.”
And here is the group performing “This Little Light of Mine.”
Artomatic Musings, June 25, 2009
A few days ago I finally finished visiting all the floors and viewed all the artwork. How I did it was that I would devote a few hours a week to seeing art and I did only two floors at a time. I started with the 9th floor and worked my way down. Here are a few videos of what I saw, starting with the display of the winners of this year’s Peeps diorama contest that was sponsored by The Washington Post.
Here are the interactive displays I saw on the first, second, and third floors.
Here are the interactive displays I saw on the fourth floor.
Here are the interactive displays I saw on the fifth floor.
Here are the ones on the sixth and seventh floors.
And, finally, here are the ones on the eighth floor.
I saw incredible amounts of artwork. I saw lots of art that I liked but there was so much of it that I can’t remember which ones I liked. I did pick up a bunch of business cards and flyers and many of these artists have websites so I will be spending the next few months with gradually visiting all their sites at my own leisure.
A week ago I spent the second of my three required volunteer shifts watching the loading dock. I was glad that I brought my iPod Touch and my puzzle magazine along because it was a bit on the dull side. The highlight came when I helped another volunteer with washing out the recycling bins using a hose then spraying them with Lysol. All I can say is that stale beer is an absolutely disgusting scent.
But I still can’t complain about having to do it because last year my left hip stopped working and I had to hobble around on a cane. My hip got so bad that I had to undergo a hip replacement then go through a few months of physical therapy. Compared to the hell that I went through for the past year, washing out recycling bins is no big deal.
I checked out the first ever Zombie Prom and it was a riot!!! I wore this evening gown that I had originally purchased for my brother-in-law’s wedding a few years ago and I even had my face made up into a zombie. It was pretty fun. Here’s a video I shot at that event.
There are times when I wished Artomatic had been held in the spring like the last few years. That’s because this year both the Artomatic 500 Cardboard Car Race and the Peeps Diorama Reception are being held this Saturday and I’ll be out of town. My family had booked a week in Ocean City months before Artomatic announced its show and it was too late to re-schedule. I will be back next Friday, although I’m not sure what time I’ll arrive. If I arrive relatively early in the day and if I still have energy, I’ll check out the Art in Fashion show later that evening. But everything is really iffy. [NOTE: I ended up not attending the Art in Fashion show because we arrived late from the trip and I was pretty tired by then.]
The Last Entry for 2009, July 26, 2009
A couple of weeks ago I managed to retrieve my artwork from Artomatic. This past Friday I served the last of my three required volunteer shifts. I basically helped with taking down the partitions in the middle of the floors. The shift I was on managed to finish with the few that were left on the 9th floor before taking down all the ones on the 8th floor. By the time we started on the 7th floor, our shift was over. When I left there was still a lot of work that needed to be done but I’m sure everything will be eventually cleared out.
On that note, I’m going to stop updating this blog for the rest of the year. While I enjoyed myself at this year’s Artomatic, the big disappointment is that I didn’t sell a single thing. I don’t know if it’s due to the poor economy or the fact that Artomatic was moved to the summertime or the fact that it was located near the Nationals ballpark or a combination of all three. But right now I’m up in the air as to whether I will participate next year. It really depends on what the organizers do and where the event will be located and my own schedule.
But I’m really disappointed that all my efforts have amounted to naught when it came to my own sales and even lucking out on meeting influential curators or other movers and shakers in the art world who could help me make it to the next level. I’m at the point where I’m questioning whether it was worth it at all.
I’m not going to make any decisions about my participation in future Artomatics until next year. In the meantime I’m just going to pursue other opportunities and hope they pan out.
Next in This Series
Previous in This Series
Last week I mentioned that I’ve been going through some old files on my computer hard drive and I found the original rough drafts of my old Artomatic blog posts from previous years. (There was a time when Artomatic gave everyone who participated their own blogging account. For Artomatic this year, I had to step up and volunteer to be a blogger before I received my own blogging account.) It’s pretty appropriate to share some of these posts here since Artomatic is going on until next month.
While I visited a few previous Artomatics, the first time I actually participated was in 2007. I enjoyed that experience so much that when Artomatic was announced again in 2008, I jumped at the chance to participate in it again.
2008 was a momentous year for me for reasons other than Artomatic. I was born with a dislocated left hip and, as some old baby photos have documented, I was placed in a body cast for several months. My left hip joints snapped into place, the cast was removed, and I learned how to walk like an average child soon afterwards. I sprained the same left hip in a roller skating accident when I was 12 but I managed to recuperate and I walked like a regular person again. All that changed by late 2007 when I began to walk with a limp. As time went on, I had a harder time walking and by the time of Artomatic 2008, I had to use a cane to get around.
Despite my hip problems, I wanted to participate in Artomatic and I did so. That year I decided to focus mostly on photography, with the exception of this Peep Floyd diorama that I originally did for The Washington Post‘s annual Peeps diorama contest but it failed to make even Honorable Mention. Here is the original online catalogue that I put up to promote my exhibition space.
Here are just a few selected posts I made in my Artomatic account’s blog that year as archived on my hard drive. (That blog has long since been deleted since Artomatic tends to totally revamp its website whenever a new Artomatic event is announced.)
I’m Participating in Artomatic 2008, March 27, 2008
I’ve finally finished with registration. This year I’m going to emphasize my photography more mainly because I’ve been more successful at that than doing strictly drawing and painting.
Now my next task is to sift through my vast trove of digital photos to pick out the right ones to display. I am quite a shutterbug. I’m glad for the invention of digital cameras because I still remember the pain of running out of film and I had to choose between shelling out more money for film (then have to shell out more money to get them processed) or quit my picture taking for the day. I have a monumental task ahead of me so I’m going to sign off now.
Latest Stuff About Me, April 18, 2008
Last Saturday I went to the Artomatic orientation where I picked out my site. I’ll be located on the 7th floor, NE Quadrant, Area C4. I know it sounds like gobbledygook now but I’m sure it’ll become more apparent once the show opens and the maps/brochures are printed. For the time being, I’ll just say that my wall space is located right next to the men’s restroom on the 7th floor.
My Exhibit for This Year, May 8, 2008
I know that some of you who are familiar with my exhibit at last year’s Artomatic will be wondering if I’m doing anything different. Well, the answer is yes. I’m going to describe the difference between this year’s exhibit and last year’s.
Last year I had a variety of different media ranging from digital photographs to drawings to paintings. I even had a couple of dolls I customized myself that were on display in small glass cases that were mounted on the wall.
This year I’m focusing exclusively on digital photographs. That’s mainly because I wanted artwork that was more transportable than my larger art pieces. All of my photographs are either 8″ x 10″ or 5″ x 7″. Keeping the photos at those two sizes made frame shopping really easy for me since those two are standard sizes. On top of that, I’ve had people tell me that my biggest strength is in photography so I decided to highlight that some more.
The biggest challenge I had was whittling down the hundreds of digital photographs that I have on my hard disk to just 32 photos. (Sixteen of them are 8″ x 10″ while the rest are 5″ x 7″.) Then I had the additional challenge of printing since, as experienced digital photographers and computer graphics artists know, what is seen on the computer screen doesn’t mean that the print version will turn out the same. But I managed to get everything done in time for the opening tomorrow night.
I’m also pricing my photos at $10 for the 8″ x 10″ and $6 for the 5″ x 7″. I know my pricing methods may become controversial but there’s a method to my madness. If you’ve been reading a newspaper or watching any of the cable news channel, you’ll know that this country is in an economic crisis due to rising gas costs, higher food prices, and the subprime mortgage crisis. I really don’t think that people are in the mood to shell out $100 or higher for a piece of art no matter how much they love it because of the economy.
I also had an epiphany around the end of last year’s Artomatic. I got someone who wanted to buy one of my drawings but she wanted to know how much it would cost if I would remove it from the frame. Since I didn’t have any other serious buyers of my artwork last year, I told her that I would take $25 off my drawing. So I sold it to her and took home an empty frame.
This year I scoured the local big box retailers looking for the lowest frame prices. A.C. Moore had the best prices with many frames being sold for $3 and $4 and with some going for as low as $2. What’s more, the frames still looked pretty decent despite the low prices. Then I went to Staples where I bought a pack of satin-finish photographic paper for $35. I calculated each sheet as costing around sixty cents per sheet, which isn’t bad.
I even have a catchy ad phrase that I put on a sign in my area: “Affordable Artwork for Uncertain Economic Times”.
What’s more, since I have my photos on a hard drive, I can easily print multiple copies so if one person buys one of my photos and someone else wants that same photo, I can print and frame another copy and sell it to that other person.
I will have a small table next to my photos where I will have a guestbook for you to sign and a digital frame that will rotate digital photos of some of my other works of art like my drawings, paintings, sculptures, and crafts. I purchased this digital frame at Target and I love it because I can display more of my art than the space that’s alloted to me.
I will also have a diorama displayed on that table called Peep Floyd. I originally created this diorama for The Washington Post’s second annual Peeps contest but it didn’t make the final cut among the judges. I was disappointed but my husband was even more heartbroken than I was. (He felt that I was robbed.) So I decided to give my little diorama a second chance by displaying it with my artwork. I’m even putting it up for sale for only $5 (which is about how much money I spent making it in the first place). What’s even amusing is that there will be a display of the winning Peeps dioramas on the 10th floor while my display will be on the 7th floor. So if people decided to start on the first floor and work their way up, chances are that they will see my own diorama first before they see the winners on the 10th floor. Ha! Ha! Ha!
Last year I printed three photo zines that I sold on the honor system where people can put money in a box if they wanted one or more of my zines. I did it mainly as a promotional item, even if it was a pain to print multiple copies for the duration of Artomatic. (The fact that I was using a 10-year-old Epson color printer didn’t help matters much.) I thought that I would get some sort of opportunities from the zines after Artomatic in the long run so I toughed out the time spent printing, collating, and stapling the zines. I also gritted my teeth as I spent lots of money on printer ink since those zines did use up tons of ink. Even though the zines sold pretty well (some people did leave money in the box), nothing ever came of those zines after Artomatic ended. No one contacted me saying, “Hey I liked your zines and photos and I want to do some work with you.”
Basically it really wasn’t worth the time or money spent making and distributing the zines so I’m not going to do any more this year. I know that some of you will be disappointed but that’s the way things go.
The biggest change from last year to this year is myself. Yes, I am a year older but my health has gone down a bit. I have an old injury in my left hip that was repaired a long time ago but I’ve now developed osteoarthritis in it. Last year I was able to walk normally most of the time (although I did limp if I overextended myself by doing too much walking or other physical work). This year I’m walking with a limp and I use a walking stick whenever I have to walk around outside for any great distances. I’ve consulted an orthopedic specialist and he’s recommending that I undergo a hip replacement, especially since my left leg is now a little bit shorter than my right leg, thanks to the osteoarthritis.
But, before I undergo the surgery, I have to lose weight and do exercises to strengthen my hip. As a result, I’m still able to participate in Artomatic since I won’t be able to undergo the surgery until July at the earliest.
Having osteoarthritis is a bit of a bummer. I get more physically tired than before, partially because of having to take prescription version of ibuprofen (which has drowsiness as a side effect) and partially because it’s just more physically taxing to limp around. My current condition was a major factor in my decision to focus on smaller photographs than my larger canvases since the photos are easier to cart around than a big canvas. Since I decided to eliminate the zines, I will find Artomatic less taxing than last year.
I will be at the opening tomorrow night with my husband. This weekend I will be working as a vendor at the Greenbelt Green Man Festival in Greenbelt, Maryland. I will have a packed schedule.
I’m Doing Pretty Well at Artomatic This Year, May 26, 2008
So far I had someone who wanted six copies of my “Shalom Y’all” photo because she wanted to give them away to her Jewish friends. I also have one other person who may be potentially interested in purchasing something from me but I haven’t heard back from him.
So far I took part in a drawing workshop on Opening Night and I’ve also worked one shift so far. (It happened to be on the same night as the “Meet the Artists Night” so I couldn’t be at my area, with the exception of a brief break that I took around 8 p.m.) Right now I’m typing this entry from a hotel room in Charleston, South Carolina but I intend to participate in more Artomatic events once I return.
I happened to be in Charleston at the same time as their annual Piccolo Spoleto Festival—an art-filled festival that includes special exhibitions at area art galleries, special theatre shows, special musical concerts, and a crafts fair. I intend to check out the crafts fair at least. I also intend to visit the City Market, which is filled with stalls of people hawking food items and various types of crafts. It’s also where a local African-American group of people known as the Gullahs sell their speciality craft–making baskets, vases, flowers, and other items out of sweetgrass.
Well, anyway, see ya later!
My Artomatic Videos, June 2, 2008
This year I’ve been doing more at Artomatic than just showing my artwork and attending a few events. I’ve also been taking photographs and shooting video. I haven’t decided what I’ll do with the photos yet but I’ve already edited and uploaded three short video clips on my YouTube account.
All three videos are of the firedancing troupe known as Flights of Fire. I shot this during the second hour of their show on May 16. (I missed the first hour because I was finishing up the last hour of my own volunteer shift during that time.) I was pretty exhausted after working my five-hour volunteer shift so I basically went outside, sat down, and unwind a bit by watching the group perform the rest of their show. I happened to have my videocamera with me so I filmed them as they did their various fire tricks to some lively dance music.
This first clip is a general highlights reel as I focused on the troupe’s most spectacular firedancing tricks:
The second clip is a very sexy and erotic routine that is performed in its entirety:
The third clip is the grand finale that is also performed in its entirety. Imagine a bunch of people dancing and swinging flaming torches at the same time and you’ll get something like this:
Two More Artomatic Videos For You to View, June 5, 2008
I shot two more videos at Artomatic that I’ve uploaded to my YouTube account. The first one is the Peeps artist reception that was held on May 31, 2008.
The second one is the first-ever Artomatic 500 cardboard car race, which is just as hilarious as it sounds.
A Posting From Artomatic, June 13, 2008
I’ve just finished the third required volunteer shift over an hour ago and I’m waiting for this workshop on “Urban R & D: Developing a Community Research and Design Lab” to begin in a few minutes. Actually volunteering wasn’t too bad despite my totally arthritic hip (which has given me a bad limp in recent months and has definitely put a crimp on my mobility) because I was given desk jobs. (I worked the front desk on the first floor the first two times and I worked the fourth floor this final time today.)
Last night I attended the Artists’ Social. I met someone whom I had volunteered with on a previous shift and I also met up with other people whom I had met at other Artomatic events. What was cool was that I sold two of my photographs to someone who loved by two robot photos (one of the Toyota Partner Robot and the other of the Honda Asimo—both taken at a Japanese cultural festival at the Kennedy Center a few months ago).
I’m looking forward to attending Artomatic tomorrow night–they are having the first-ever Art in Fashion show, which is supposed to have fire as the theme. From the way this event is being hyped, it sounds like Project Runway on steroids.
Well, anyway, I gotta wrap this entry up and head off to tonight’s workshop.
More Artomatic Videos, June 21, 2008
I shot and posted a few more videos at Artomatic before it ended last Sunday but I’ve only gotten around to blogging about it now.
First is a video of my own exhibit, which was displayed on the 7th floor next to the men’s bathroom.
Next is a video of a couple of interactive exhibits that were done by other artists.
I previously videotaped the Peeps artist reception where I spoke with prolific Peeps diorama artist Carl Cordell. At the time he was working on a fourth diorama, “The Day The Earth Stood Peeped”, that wasn’t ready in time for the reception. I kept on going to the Peeps area for the next few weeks but the diorama didn’t make its appearance until last Saturday, the day before the last day of Artomatic. I made a short video highlighting that diorama.
I did a three-part video about the Art in Fashion show, which was the closing event of Artomatic. (It was held the night before Artomatic’s final day.) It highlighted fashions created by fashion designers in the Baltimore-Washington, DC area. I had fun attending this because I’m such a fan of Project Runway and I had never seen a fashion show in person before.
After the fashion show ended, there was a big party that included all kinds of activities. I videotaped some of it but I was running out of battery power by that point so I didn’t film as much as I wanted to. But it should give you an idea of what it was like. (Some parts of this video are definitely NSFW because it includes scenes of body painting on partially or fully nude bodies.)
Well, anyway, that’s it for the Artomatic videos.
Visiting the Artomatic Site for the Last Time, June 21, 2008
I had successfully sold yet another photo to someone and he and I agreed to meet at the Artomatic site today. After the transaction was made and he took his newly-purchased photo with him, I took down my exhibit. I felt wistful as I did it but, as the old saying goes, all good things must come to an end.
Goodbye For Now, June 23, 2008
Now that Artomatic is over and I’ve picked up my artwork from the site, it’s time for me to say goodbye to this blog until the next time I decide to participate in an Artomatic.
Three months after I wrote that last farewell Artomatic post, I underwent a hip replacement followed by physical therapy that lasted until well into 2009. In early 2011 I suffered two falls within a week that knocked my hip replacement out of alignment so I had to undergo hip revision surgery followed by more physical therapy. Right now my hip is doing fine. <knock wood!>
Next in This Series
The weekend of August 15-16 was a tough choice because of two scheduled events that I was interested in. Since I had a scheduling conflict on the 16th with the watercolor workshop at Makerspace 125, the 15th was the only day I could do something fun and I had to choose. One was the annual Intervention Con in Rockville. The other was the 60th anniversary of the day that the Enchanted Forest amusement park opened its doors to the public, which would be held at Clark’s Elioak Farm (which houses most of the attractions that were once at the Enchanted Forest, which has long been since closed and a shopping center now stands in the amusement park’s former location).
There were two factors that helped me make my decision. One was that I attended Intervention Con for one day in 2013 and all three days in 2014 (see Day One, Day Two, and Day Three). I looked at this year’s schedule and I found that they were repeating some of the same panels I went to last year and I wasn’t really interested in the other panels and events that I was less familiar with. As for the Enchanted Forest celebration, this year is the 60th anniversary, which is a milestone. I still have fond memories of when my parents used to take me there as a child. And I liked what Clark’s Elioak Farm did with the old attractions. So I chose the Enchanted Forest anniversary event instead.
The only downside of my decision is that it was the usual hot and humid weather that permeates August in the Mid Atlantic Region. (In contrast, Intervention Con is held inside an air conditioned hotel.) I later learned that the temperature reached a high of 95 degrees Fahrenheit. I made the best of the situation despite the hot weather.
It turned out that there was more to this celebration than just the 60th anniversary of the Enchanted Forest. Earlier this year I read that Kimco was prepared to get rid of the last vestiges of the old Enchanted Forest amusement park that still reside around the Enchanted Forest Shopping Center. (Yes, the theme park is now a suburban shopping center.) Last October I took this photo of the shopping center. Old King Cole continues to point the way to what is now the shopping center. Directly behind the sign is the Enchanted Forest storybook sign. Right next to that is the castle that was both an entrance and a gift shop.
Here’s a closer view of the castle, along with the lute-playing dragon on top, in its original location.
I managed to get a telephoto shot of the Gingerbread House that was behind the shopping center.
The only shot I didn’t get from that prior trip was Cinderella’s Castle mainly because it was placed so far into the property that I would’ve had to risk arrest for trespassing in order to photograph it.
Basically the castle and storybook sign were moved to Clark’s Elioak Farm while the Gingerbread House and Cinderella’s Castle were completely razed. (The two buildings were too big to move to the farm and both structures had rotted so much that the shopping center’s owners felt that they had become a liability.) These days Old King Cole with his finger pointing now remains the only reminder of the Enchanted Forest Shopping Center’s theme park past.
Even though I left for Clark’s Elioak Farm early in the morning, the parking lot was already filling up to the point where I had to go to the overflow lot. When I arrived I saw that there were not one, but two castles.
This castle is a replica of both the original castle and the lute playing dragon. Rapunzel standing on the balcony is the only one that came from the original castle. Like the original this one also serves as a combination entrance and gift shop.
When I entered through the replica castle, I noticed that a few new items had been added near the ceiling.
This is definitely a contrast to what the entrance to the pine maze used to look like. (I originally took this photograph in 2013.)
This next photo shows a panoramic view of the storybook sign, the original castle that now serves as the entrance to the pine maze, and the castle replica that serves as the entrance to the entire farm. You can also see the crowd that had gathered to a formal ceremony celebrating the move of the latest items to the farm.
Here’s a closeup of the storybook sign.
The ceremony began at noon. The speeches and proclamations from local officials were truncated because of the very hot and humid weather and the fact that the ceremony took place in full sun. The next few photos show the ribbon cutting ceremony at the entrance to the pine maze.
It’s Old King Cole standing at the turret. In a way it’s fitting that he’s there instead of Rapunzel since the original is still busy pointing the way to the shopping center.
There was one more unveiling that needed to be done. There was another sign that had been hidden. It was unveiled to reveal a sign announcing the arrival of dinosaurs to the pine maze next month.
The pine maze was well shaded so it was a definite improvement over being directly in the hot sun. There was a mix of one or two new touches with the fairy tale attractions from the original Enchanted Forest. It’ll be interesting to see how the coming dinosaurs will be integrated into this.
Most of the anniversary-related activities took place in one of the barns where they served free slices of cake on a first-come, first served basis. I managed to snag this delicious slice of chocolate cake with white icing that had a digital image of what looked like the original Enchanted Forest castle. (Much of the cake had already been cut up by the time I arrived.)
Half of the barn space was devoted to an art show where local artists created their own versions of the Enchanted Forest in a variety of media. Most of the art was for sale.
The rest of the space was devoted to vintage artifacts from the original Enchanted Forest during its heyday.
There were even a few personal family photo albums on display, which showed various people of all ages enjoying the park.
There was a mini fair where local groups and vendors could set up canopies and either sell their wares or provide free information about a particular group. I purchased one item from one of the booths that I’ll write about at the end of this post.
There were entertainment for children, such as Anna and Elsa singing songs from their movie Frozen.
There were a few new items I noticed on the farm since my last visit last year. They were relatively minor compared to the arrival of the original castle and storybook but I still noticed them nonetheless.
This next photo shows what the landscape of Clark’s Elioak Farm looks like on a very hot and humid day with full sun.
I focused the bulk of this visit on the castle and storybook, the special dedication ceremony, and all the things in that one barn. I skipped the rest of the exhibits (including the petting zoo) because I began to feel overheated after two hours so I decided to leave. I didn’t feel too upset that I didn’t see half of the farm because I’ve seen them before on prior visits. I feel tempted to return for a visit in the fall after the dinosaurs arrive, when the weather will be much more pleasant and the leaves will turn into lovely shades of red, orange, and yellow. I would also be in a better frame of mind to visit the animals in the petting zoo.
I drove to the nearby Enchanted Forest Shopping Center where I ate lunch at this bagel place that’s located there. (I’ve eaten there last year and I really like the food.) I saw the empty spots where the castle and storybook used to be located. I didn’t take any pictures because I just couldn’t stand being out in the heat and humidity any longer. (At least the bagel place has air conditioning.) Additionally, someone announced during the dedication ceremony that there will be a special plaque commemorating the former location of the castle and storybook that will be placed there within a few weeks. So I have a reason to make another trip to the shopping center in addition to Clark’s Elioak Farm sometime in either September or October.
I purchased this gingerbread man from one of the vendor booths at Clark’s Elioak Farm. The cookie crumbled in transit but it still tasted very good. It was made by a local baker called Touché Touchet, which is located in nearby Columbia.
UPDATE (August 27, 2015): Just one day after I posted this, I found an interesting story in Smithsonian magazine about both the Enchanted Forest and the moving and preservation that was done at Clark’s Elioak Farm. That link also includes a bunch of photos that includes vintage photos of the original amusement park, the attractions that were in various states of decay prior to the move to the farm, and what the attractions now look like in their current location.