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How classic cartoons created a culturally literate generation.

People are furious at these new shirts from Kylie and Kendall Jenner.

Kylie Jenner and Khloe Kardashian are accused of stealing ideas from indie African American designers. 

See photographs of figures in Russian history rendered in colorized portraits, such as Tolstoy, Chekhov, and more.

This artist is brining out the beauty in stretch marks.

The rise in art protests: how the gallery became a new battleground.

What it means to be on the left.

Interactive Periodic Table of Elements shows how the elements actually get used in making everyday things.

Someone called this white girl’s Japanese tea party racist on social media but then this Japanese user stepped in.

Gorgeous color autochromes of American women from over 100 years ago.

Creative mom dresses up in amazing cosplay to represent older women characters.

Fender custom shop recycles Hollywood Bowl bench boards to make $12k guitars.

Rural America is stranded in the dial-up age.

Director Michel Gondry makes a charming film on his iPhone, proving that we could be making movies, not taking selfies.

This man spent 6 years crocheting a Super Mario Bros map blanket.

Neoliberalism has conned us into fighting climate change as individuals.

Transgender soldiers of the American Civil War.

The 11 most unintentionally hilarious religious paintings.

Meet the unconventional family who lives in a 1940s time warp.

$330,000 in financial aid bought this person a slot in the American meritocracy. He writes about the flaws in that system.

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Late last week I finished my latest animation, which is based on the song “Jack Sprat (aka Butcher the Hog)” by The Bachelor and the Bad Actress. Here is the video. I’ll write more about how I made it below.

I’m pretty friendly with a few local musicians. (None of them are major stars and all of them have day jobs since they don’t make enough money from being musicians to pay the bills.) A few months ago I did a short animation to Phil Shapiro’s song “Open Source is Yours and Mine.

Among my musician friends are a husband and wife duo known as The Bachelor and the Bad Actress. (I even went to their wedding that was held during the Crazy Quilt Festival in Greenbelt, Maryland a couple of years ago.) At one point I was communicating with Joe the Bachelor on Facebook (yes, he’s married now but he’s still known as The Bachelor because, well, old habits die hard [LOL!]) and I linked to the “Open Source is Yours and Mine” and I joked about offering to trash one of his songs the way I “trashed” the “Open Source” song. He really liked the video and was open to the idea of an animated music video to one of The Bachelor and the Bad Actress’ songs.

Meanwhile I’ve been going to the weekly animation meetup at Makerspace 125 and there is talk about all of us collaborating together on one animation but nothing has happened yet along those lines (as of this writing). When I mentioned this to Joe the Bachelor, he offered to let those of us in that meetup to each take one of their songs and animate it.

I brought it up with the meetup group but it was met with indifference. I decided to do one of their songs on my own and show it to the other meetup attendees just to show that it’s possible. I picked “Jack Sprat (aka Butcher the Hog)” because the lyrics were straightforward and I figured that I could do a comedic animation that’s reminiscent of the old Warner Brothers Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies shorts from the 1940’s and 1950’s.

I used Moho Anime Studio Debut for the bulk of the animation. There were a few times when I had to use Adobe Photoshop for some scenes where using Anime Studio would’ve been frustrating. (Like most graphics programs, Anime Studio Debut uses layers. Unlike the other graphics programs, you literally cannot control the opacity in those layers. So I switched to Photoshop for those times when I needed to control the opacity of certain layers, exported the graphics as a .jpeg, then imported it into Anime Studio Debut. I’m going to stop here on the technical stuff since not everyone is interested in such details.)

This animation was my first foray into actual lip-synching. Anime Studio Debut recommended this free open source software called Papagayo, which churns out lip movements based on both audio recordings and what you type into the application. If you want to know more about this, I suggest getting it yourself, since it is free to download.

I originally planned on doing the entire thing in Anime Studio Debut while I would use iMovie only to put in the opening title and closing credits. There was a snag when I discovered that Anime Studio Debut can’t go any further than 3,000 frames and the song lasts longer than that. I was basically using the app’s default at 24 frames per second. If you do the math, you’d know that the maximum run time that the software can handle is 125 seconds or two minutes and five seconds. The song runs for two minutes and 31 seconds.

I found a workaround when I brought the song into Audacity and broke it up in two. Then I created two separate animation files, exported them separately, then brought them into iMovie where I managed to patch everything together into one file.

While I was working on this, I found out that Moby had been releasing animated music videos. The first one is a statement about people being addicted to their smartphones. The second one has become controversial because it makes an unflattering statement about President Donald Trump but that’s another story altogether. I was influenced by the end titles in both videos and they were my inspiration for how I created the end title in my own animation where I showed people where they can download or stream The Bachelor and the Bad Actress’ music.

Speaking of President Trump, I added some imagery of my own about The Donald along with a quote from George Orwell’s book Animal Farm. See if you can spot them while you’re watching my video.

I have to admit that this was my most ambitious animation to date and there were times when I was on the verge of burnout. And that’s because I was also doing some major job hunting using tips from a book that I had recently gotten a hold of.

I finally decided that doing two big things at once wasn’t good for my health. With the Fourth of July holiday coming up, I decided that I would finish the animation first then resume reading the job hunting book after the holiday. (If this book works for me and I end up getting a new day job to pay the bills, I will write another post praising this book and urging all my readers of this blog to buy it.) With another finished animation under my belt, I now have something recent I can show to any potential employer interested in my animation skills.

I’m also toying with starting a Patreon page where I would make short animations (meaning less than five minutes) for anyone willing to give me some money. Working on this animation has shown me what I can realistically do for a potential patron while setting a price that’s reasonable for the patron while not pricing myself so low that I end up making $1 or $2 per hour (which is impossible to live on anywhere in the United States of America).

By the way, if you like the song, “Jack Sprat (aka Butcher the Hog),”  you can purchase it or stream it through The Bachelor and the Bad Actress’ Bandcamp page.

Ramadan

The Gig Economy won’t last because it’s being sued to death.

Fourteen artists proving that Black Americana is real.

How a British artist visualizes the microbiome through handmade embroidery.

Adorable robot friend Kuri can now find its way home to charge.

Hell on wheels: New York City’s subway system as seen in the 1970’s and 1980’s.

Patches available at a jean jacket decorating party hosted by Harper’s Bazaar included ones that were made without permission from the original artists.

What an apple-picking robot means for the future of farm workers.

Meet Valkyrie, NASA’s space robot.

Independent retailers are struggling to survive in Washington, DC.

A look at a 2,000 year old computer called the Antikythera Mechanism.

Five obscure anime you should definitely check out.

San Francisco tries to ban delivery robots before they become a public safety hazard.

49 photography blogs worth following.

Man who struggled with Photoshop decided to spend 10 years mastering Microsoft Paint to illustrate his book.

FilmNation ventures into animation with sci-fi reimagining of Charlie Chaplin’s The Kid.

This open source AI voice assistant is challenging Siri and Alexa for market superiority.

Why open source AI voice assistants pose little threat to Amazon’s Alexa and Apple’s Siri.

10 photography tricks you can do at home without having to use expensive camera equipment.

Plush sports-doll maker Bleacher Creatures files for bankruptcy.

The Internet isn’t killing shopping malls—other malls are.

NBCUniversal is buying the DIY craft tutorial site Craftsy.

Phony WordPress domain steals cookies to fool web admins.

Infertile mice with 3D-printed ovaries successfully give birth.

Happy Earth Day! Here are some links for you to enjoy! 🙂

Donald Trump’s modeling agency is on the verge of collapse, say industry insiders. It will be the latest in a line of failed ventures like the Trump Taj Mahal, Trump Steaks, and Trump Vodka.

The original sculptor of the Charging Bull statue on Wall Street says that the Fearless Girl statue facing his statue distorts his work so much that he is considering filing a lawsuit.

Cannabis industry attracts more mainstream investors as business grows.

A mass-market shoe with 3D-printed midsoles is coming soon.

Eight-year-old boy learns to drive on YouTube then takes his little sister on a joyride to McDonald’s.

Microsoft Office vulnerabilities mean that no .doc is safe.

You’ll be working with robots sooner than you think.

Are you a photographer who needs a light box but you are currently short on cash? Here’s a video showing how you can make your own light box for less than $10.

Google’s new AutoDraw web-based drawing tool is a better artist than you.

It may be time to say farewell to the Pentax camera as Ricoh shrinks its camera business.

Chinese doctors use 3D printing to prepare for facial reconstruction surgery.

Microsoft to offer self-service refund for digital games.

How to stop Microsoft Office hackers from stealing your bank account.

12 ways to study a new programming language.

How Bill Gates, Oprah Winfrey, and Warren Buffet adhere to the Five-Hour Rule where they set aside at least one hour a day (or five hours a week) devoted to such practices as reading, reflection, and experimentation.

Exiles from the war-torn areas of Syria, Palestine, and Afghanistan form a theater troupe in Germany.

Why Kickstarter decided to radically transform its business model.

How Steve Bannon’s multimedia machine drove a movement and paid him millions.

Microsoft will unveil the most powerful gaming console it has ever made on June 11.

Beware of “drive-by” computer scam.

Fake SEO plugin used in WordPress malware attacks.

Yes, some businesses still run Microsoft’s much-maligned Windows Vista.

Ohio inmates built and hid computers in prison using recycled electronic parts.

Dear Microsoft, stop blaming girls for not pursuing STEM careers.

Artist Hasan Elahi discusses racism in the digital art world.

Take a weirdly hypnotizing tour of America’s dying malls.

According to a recent survey, British women said that they prefer knitting to sex to help them relax from stress.

For photographers on a very tight budget, here’s a video showing how you can make your own DIY photography studio in your own home.

Disney files patents to bring humanoid robots to its theme parks.

Gizmodo reports on why people still use Microsoft Word.

Disney launching new animated Star Wars series on YouTube.

Black girls have been playing with white dolls for a long time.

Paper horror houses (including the Bates Motel) that you can download, print, and build for free.

Passover

There’s no glory in overworking. It’s just imminent burnout.

Tesla is now worth more than Ford and Elon Musk is already rubbing it in to everyone who ever doubted him.

14 stunning embroidery Instagrams.

Magic moments marking 170 years of British photography.

A Singapore man who lives with more than 9,000 Barbie dolls.

YouTube will now block ads on channels with under 10,000 views.

This robot will literally make you a salad.

A beginner’s guide to microblogging on Mastodon, the open source alternative to Twitter.

An interesting story on how writing on Medium each week has changed one woman’s life.

A 27-year-old entrepreneur talks about how he launched a seven-figure snack business in 18 months.

3D knitting brings tech to your sweaters—for a price.

There’s more to tech stock photography than hokey gold bitcoins.

3D printing in-store is very close and retailers need to address it.

A comparison of six free web-based SVG editors.

Nine anime things that Astro Boy did first.

Chinese man “marries” sex robot he built for himself after he failed to find a girlfriend.

Seven integral WordPress plug-ins.

White toddler girl defends her choice of a black doll to a cashier at Target.

Animated vloggers like Kizuna Ai could be the future of YouTube.

Chobani founder, who immigrated to the U.S. from Turkey, stands by hiring refugees.

Brands see the future of fashion in customized 3D-knitted garments produced while you wait.

3D printing: Don’t believe all of the hype.

Five free graphic design tools.

Top 10 WordPress plugins for business sites in 2017.

Hollywood’s whitewashed version of anime never sells.

New robots just want to be your child’s best friend.

How to make a coin sorting machine from cardboard.

How Harvard Business School has advocated the propagation of immoral profit strategies.

Photos showing 100 years of people knitting.

Talking bendable Justin Trudeau doll for sale.

WordPress for Google Docs lets multiple users collaborate on content in real-time.

Six of the most innovative 3D printing companies.

GIMP is crowdfunding critical updates like high bit depth and layer effects.

This man makes amazing surreal animations from famous artwork.

Open Collective is a GoFundMe-like service for open source projects.

Philadelphia museum showing glass bongs as high art. The museum’s directors say that this exhibit is less about potheads and more about allowing an underground community of artists to showcase their work without fear of being stigmatized or prosecuted.

A look at one crafter who renders pop culture figures in embroidery.

Knitted knockers for breast cancer survivors.

A girl who lost her eye to cancer got the best lookalike doll.

Adobe is currently developing AI that turns selfies into self-portraits.

60 free and easy Easter crafts to make for this holiday weekend.

Improvisation is the heart of Cuban animation.

Researchers are working on robots that can monitor and care for the elderly, such as the animal-like MiRo.

As the ballerina moves, this robot paints the dance.

The reason why we all should referring Sally Hemmings as Thomas Jefferson’s “mistress.”

How a small craft shop can build a community.

Your kid’s favorite toy may be spying on you without your permission.

A provocative rant that says that people who are obsessed with getting top-notch camera gear tend to be relatively bad photographers.

Here’s Why Who Framed Roger Rabbit? is the most impressive animated movie of all time.

For those of you who use the open source alternative to Photoshop known as GIMP, here’s a tutorial on how to use Photoshop plugins in GIMP.

A look at slavery-era embroidery.

Are we knitting too many tiny sweaters for animals?

9 sex-positive embroidery patterns for people who want to go beyond the pussy hat

Crochet octopi comforts preemies in hospital NICU.

An interview with Derek Conrad Murray about a style of African American art that he defines as “post-black.”

A story about a type of art derived from computer/smartphone screen-tap culture known as “Like Art.”

How glassblowing has gotten easier for amateurs to learn.

What is Embroline and will it change the embroidery industry?

A retired Unitarian Universalist minister has made knitting pink pussycat hats her personal crusade.

How to break free from your photography slump in five steps.

A photographer writes about why he loves doing wedding photography.

Mom dyes a doll’s face so it’ll look like her daughter with a facial birthmark.

Adobe Illustrator has recently celebrated its 30th birthday.

A list of Disney’s most subversive animated movies.

The dangers of remaking anime as a live action film.

I’m writing this blog post instead of watching the Super Bowl this year. None of my friends and acquaintances were throwing any Super Bowl parties and I’ve ditched cable a few years ago because I grew tired of Comcast increasing my bill from $79 per month to a whopping $200 per month. (I wasn’t watching any pay-per-view shows at all. Comcast likes to lure you with a low “introductory price” bill for the first year or two then start to jack up the rates really high.) I haven’t gotten around to buying rabbit ears so I can watch network television. These days I use my TV set to watch videos and play console games. So I’m spending Super Bowl Sunday doing something else.

Yesterday I had a whole bunch of stories crop up in my Facebook newsfeed about this 13-year-old girl named Danielle Peskowitz Bregoli who became an Internet sensation after she appeared on The Dr. Phil Show and uttered this phrase: “Cash me outside, how bow dah!”

Danielle had appeared on an episode titled “I Want To Give Up My Car-Stealing, Knife-Wielding, Twerking 13-Year-Old Daughter Who Tried To Frame Me For A Crime.” Having seen video excerpts from that episode posted on that last link, it’s obvious that this girl needs help. I’ve long cringed at Dr. Phil putting minors on his show when these troubled teens would be better off seeing a therapist where they could work out their issues in a private office. That’s because I’m not sure putting these kids on television really help them in the long run and there’s always the chance that their classmates will see that troubled teen on TV and they’ll use that show to taunt and bully the kid at school.

Danielle can be hard to understand because she has chosen to speak what she calls “street talk” where this white middle class girl from the suburbs tries to talk like she’s from the inner city hood but she fails miserably because I doubt she has actually had any kind of exposure to real inner city residents. Shoot, I’ve heard real inner city residents in both Baltimore and DC talk more clearly and eloquently than her! Danielle acts tough but I would be willing to bet that she wouldn’t last even fifteen minutes in a really tough hood like this one before she either gets shot, beaten up, or she has a total meltdown because the real hood didn’t conform to her fantasy idea of what a hood is like.

Danielle isn’t the first troubled teen who has ever appeared on The Dr. Phil Show but, for some reason, her phrase “Cash me outside, how bow dah” resonated with someone enough that this person made a meme with her face and her quote. That led to other people making other memes featuring the girl and her quote and, before you know it, she has become the latest Internet sensation. She is known as The Bhad Bhabie on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram and she has opened her own store on Shopify where she’s trying to cash in on her unexpected Internet notoriety. What’s more, she’s scheduled to make a return appearance on The Dr. Phil Show this week.

Frankly I just don’t get the Internet exalting Danielle like this. She’s not some prodigy where she’s a whiz at music or dancing or art or chess or some other field. She’s just a 13-year-old girl with an average intellect who has serious issues and someone needs to put her in some kind of a therapy situation before she ends up either becoming a teen mom, a jailbird, or dead. Based on what I’ve read, it seems like she’s thrilled with being an Internet celebrity but I hope some responsible adult is telling her not to expect this kind of fame to last forever because she will ultimately be replaced by the Next Big Thing on the Internet. So far she has been seen threatening paparazzi in Hollywood as if she is some kind of a major celebrity.

There is even a video game called Cash Me Outside that’s available for iOS and Droid.

The whole thing is just crazy. In fact, I did my own parody meme that I’ve just unleashed on various social media sites where I used an image of Grumpy Cat.

grumpycatcashmeoutsideparodymeme

Five years ago I wrote this Twitter rant about the scandal surrounding then-Congressman Anthony Weiner when it was revealed that he was tweeting pictures of his, uh, wiener to women other than his wife. He ended up resigning from Congress in disgrace and he faded from the public spotlight for a bit as he vowed to work on his marriage to Huma Abedin, who also happens to be among Hillary Clinton’s closest staffers. In time the couple had a son together and they tried to portray themselves as a close-knit family.

Two years later Anthony Weiner decided to revive his ruined political career by running for mayor of New York City. But then it was revealed that he had not only resumed his sexting habit but he was sending pictures of his dick under the name “Carlos Danger” to women other than his wife—one of whom was named Sydney Leathers. Not only did I write a sequel to that earlier post, I even created this mixed media piece that played off of comic books and his Carlos Danger alter-ego.

Amazing Fantasy Featuring Carlos Danger

Amazing Fantasy: Introducing Carlos Danger
Mixed-media (computer graphics, ink, colored pencils, watercolors)
8 inches x 10 inches
20 cm x 25 cm

To learn more about how I created this piece, see the post I originally wrote on July 27, 2013. This piece was on display at the 2013 Station North Arts District Salon show in Baltimore but no one purchased it. After the show ended Anthony Weiner lost the New York mayoral election and he slinked out of the public eye while his wife continued to work for Hillary Clinton as she left the State Department and began her current campaign for President of the United States.

A few days ago Anthony Weiner was back in the news as The New York Post revealed that Anthony Weiner had not only resume his sexting habits but he was sending his dick pictures to a woman who’s a Donald Trump supporter. What’s more, one of those dick pictures he sent included his young son lying nearby as he slept—blissfully unaware of what his father was doing next to him in the same bed.

This time Huma Abedin has had enough as she announced that she was separating from her husband and taking their son with her.

It’s obvious that Anthony Weiner has a major problem since he keeps on doing stuff like this and he definitely needs professional help. The only silver lining to this latest episode in Anthony Weiner’s life is that my 2013 blog post about the making of my original Amazing Fantasy: Introducing Carlos Danger piece is now among the most read blog posts for this week. If anyone wants to purchase this piece or even look into licensing it for use in a publication or something similar, please send an email at kimstark61 at gmail dot com.

Ramadan

I know I wrote a few days ago that I wasn’t going to do any kind of online memorials to that awful shooting in Orlando that happened at a gay nightclub known as Pulse because I’ve seen it all before in previous mass shootings. I’ve softened my stance somewhat after I’ve seen flags everywhere being lowered to half-staff after President Obama ordered this in order to honor the victims of that shooting. I even made this drawing in my sketchbook about the tragedy that I’d like to share with you.

picture23

I could write more about what happened in Orlando and how horrible it was in this post. But instead of writing maudlin sentences over how horrible this tragedy was, I’m going to show the Orlando I personally know.

I made my first trip to Florida on my honeymoon. Prior to the wedding my fiance and I were originally planning on a weekend honeymoon at a local place like Williamsburg or Ocean City until my cousin, who was dying to have more family members come visit her and her then-husband at their home in Cocoa, offered my husband and I free room in their home. So after the wedding we spent the week with her and her now-ex-husband and their two dogs (one was a standard poodle while the other was a tiny toy poodle). The four of us spent the first day at Wet and Wild but, after that, my husband and I were on our own regarding exploring the greater Orlando area mainly because they had to work and they didn’t have much vacation time. I remember my husband and I spent the majority of time visiting Walt Disney World, which only had two theme parks at the time: the Magic Kingdom and Epcot. (Walt Disney World has since expanded to include more theme parks and attractions along with a lot of hotels.)

We loved that area so much that we ended up making several return trips to Orlando over the years. I have a lot of photos from those trips but most of them need to be digitally scanned because I shot a lot of them back in the day when film photography coupled with printing paper photographs was the dominant method of photography. I have a few digital photos from my last two trips to Orlando that I’ve previously posted in this blog. I’ll repost just a few of them along with links to those entries if you want to see more.

Here is a photo of a bald eagle that I took at Disney’s Animal Kingdom on August 14, 2010.

15-aug14

Here’s a photo of Cinderella’s Castle that I took at the Magic Kingdom on August 15, 2010.

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These two jumping dolphins were taken at Sea World on August 17, 2010.

64-aug17

I shot these two alligators making a snuggle sandwich with a turtle in the middle at Gatorland on August 19, 2010.

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Here’s a recreation of the R.M.S. Titanic’s grand staircase that I shot at Titanic: The Experience on August 19, 2010.

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Here is a view of Epcot that I shot on February 15, 2011.

Epcot

This African man was working on a wood carving at Epcot on February 15, 2011.

Epcot

Here are a couple of photos of Downtown Disney that I shot on February 18, 2011.

Downtown Disney

Downtown Disney

Here’s a photo of a row of cupcakes that I shot at a bakery in Downtown Disney but posted shortly after my 2011 trip to Florida ended on February 20, 2011. If you look close enough you can see sprinkles shaped like Mickey Mouse.

Downtown Disney

I have to admit that most of the photos were of the tourist attractions. The only photos I took of the Orlando area that even show how the locals live their everyday lives are the ones I took in Longwood, which is located just outside of the Orlando city limits. I was enchanted by the Victorian architecture such as the building in this photo that I shot on February 18, 2011.

Longwood, Florida

During one of my many trips to Orlando I purchased this cell kit from Walt Disney World where I painted animation cells of Mickey and Minnie Mouse then placed them over the provided backgrounds then put them in these cheap cardboard frames that also came with the kit. I later donated the completed cell paintings to a yard sale that was put on by my support group for people who are separated or divorced. (I originally wrote a post about these two on September 25, 2014.)

IMG_20140925_150902235

IMG_20140925_150913563

And last, but not least, here is a drawing I did of Minnie Mouse when I took a 30-minute workshop on how to draw her on one of the provided computers at DisneyQuest, which is located in Downtown Disney, during my last trip to Florida in 2011. I still have the drawing buried somewhere in my home.

Minnie Mouse

The only reason why I haven’t been back to Florida since 2011 is tight finances, which became a problem for me after my divorce. I would like to go back one day and I would definitely go right now if I had the chance despite that Pulse nightclub shooting.

Getting back to that Pulse shooting, I know that it’s horrible that 50 people died. (Most people are saying that 49 have died in order to not count the 50th person—the shooter himself.) But for people to say that the Pulse shooting is the worst terrorist attack or worst mass murder ever perpetrated on American soil is a bit much because there have been other violent events in U.S. history where the body count is either equal to or way higher than the Pulse nightclub shooting. In order to get some perspective, here are some links to these other events that all happened on U.S. soil.

Wounded Knee massacre in 1890

East St. Louis in 1917

Elaine, Arkansas in 1919

Tulsa race riot in 1921

Rosewood massacre in 1923

Oklahoma City bombing in 1995

September 11, 2001

Passover

Yesterday was the 90th birthday of Queen Elizabeth II, which got quickly overshadowed by the unexpected death of Prince. In any case, living to see 90 is pretty rare these days so I have to give my congratulations to anyone who manages to live that long. As I reflect on that latest birthday, I also have to reflect on the fact that Queen Elizabeth is the only British monarch I have ever known because of her longevity. I can only imagine what it will be like once she passes away.

On this occasion, I’m going to re-post this mixed media piece on Queen Elizabeth that I originally did back in 2002 when the queen celebrated her Golden Jubilee.

Queen Elizabeth

It’s the third time I’ve posted this art in this blog. I originally made a post about it back in 2010, along with the details about how I created it for this art show, then I re-posted it again last year when she became the longest-reigning British monarch in history. I know I’ll re-post this again in the future once she dies.

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