Space Koyote

Space Koyote Art Hunt, Endless Series: Despair

Despair gets a pretty raw deal in the Sandman, as you might imagine. It’s hard to be the anthropomorphic personification of the loss of all hope.

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I felt a strange, Winnie-the-Pooh-esque desire to cheer her up, ironic as that may be. And while we’re being ironic, I thought it might also be fun to make her a pinup girl. Because why not?

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In keeping with the theme, I put her sigil in the word balloon, and of course had to put in her rats.

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I left the first one at Therapy in Berkeley. The setting was too rife with irony to pass up– I mean come ON!

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…and it was quickly snapped up by @ass666beater, who definitely wins the instagram handle award for the day.

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The second one I left at Dr. Comics and Mr. Games in Oakland. Comic books stores just seem like the right venue for these guys.

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This one was nabbed by Jazz Tigan, who has the perfect home for her all set up. IMG_2966

The last one I was going to hide a bit better… but I didn’t. It’s a tricky balance between hiding and plain sight. Eventually I’d like to hide them more, make this harder/more fun, but I’m concerned that I don’t have enough followers yet and I don’t want them to be hidden and never found. So they’ve been more on the plain-sight side, but I promise I will start hiding some more sneakily, for you intrepid followers out there.

My friend Ryan came along with me on this drop and we drank tea while scoping the area like polite British spies. I think I may have gotten him hooked on the art-hunt– you feel so clandestine, despite not actually doing anything illegal.

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Matt snagged the last one, and we were 3 for 3 this time with none disappearing into the ether… which makes me SO happy.

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Thanks for playing, everyone. Next up, DESTRUCTION (dun dun dunnnnnn)!

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Coats, Works in Progress

Stardust Coat: Part One

On to the next coat!

I am also working away on the personal statement to accompany these in my grad school applications, which is like moving mountains with my brain. I haven’t had to write an artist’s statement, or any sort of solid explication of my work and motivations, well, since graduating last time I guess. It was always my least favorite part, prone to causing tantrums and rage, but I’m all grown up now or something, so no stomping feet and crying. Ok maybe just a SMALL tantrum.

The next coat has been dubbed the Stardust Coat. It has occurred to me that all the ideas I have lined up so far are all inspired by books or characters in books, which, given how much the aforementioned personal statement talks about the importance of STORY in my work, seems appropriate.

Since the last one was all blacks, it seemed right to make this one of light tones. I was originally going to work in straight WHITE, but I found this pretty pearl-color upholstery velvet and had to get it. Guess all-white will have to wait.

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The Dream coat was worked in individual pieces, all the applique running vertical. I thought this time I’d try running some applique across the body. This is somewhat tricky, running cross-ways across curved seams, but I’m giving it a go. Here’s some layout experiments. I did this for about an hour in different combinations, then scrapped the whole thing.

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Eventually I settled on a few pieces of applique, with more focus on the stitching, trying some new things from the last one.

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Added in some hand-drawn elements on this one, too. These are the back pieces…
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…and a similar treatment to the front.

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Here’s the body so far. Back and sides are sewn together, with iridescent contrast panels in the back vent and box pleat. Pocket are installed, with contoured welts. The body stitching is done in either plain white or silver iridescent thread, and all the seams are top-stitched.

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Next up, the sleeves and hood attack!

xo

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Space Koyote

Space Koyote Art Hunt Endless Series: Dream

For the newest addition to my art hunt project, I thought it might be good to do a series. My dear friend and inspiration for this project, PonderMonster is doing a rainbow one, and how cool is THAT?

If you have read any of my recent posts, you know one of my biggest artistic/life inspirations has been Neil Gaiman’s Sandman series. Now I am a rabidly loyal Neil supporter and will love, or at least read, everything he does as a matter of principle, but this particular work stands out as massively, pinpointedly life-changing.

I wonder if Neil gets tired of people ranting about Sandman.

I hope not.

The series is a perfect storm of myth-blending, world-creating, vibrant characters and just a really compelling story. I discovered it through the first boy who ever really broke my heart. I wouldn’t even say he was my first boyfriend, because we only “dated” for a month or two, over the summer between my freshman and sophomore years of high school, but he was for sure my first heartbreak. He was an older man (a sophomore!); tall, dark and handsome, with flowing locks and long purple fingernails. Did I mention I was a bit of a gothy teenager?

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And this is AFTER I grew out the black hair. Pity.

 

We had a short and fairly awkward teenage love affair, followed by several years of flirtatious friendship, heartache, general teen angst, and, strangely, actual love and loyalty. I still consider him a dear friend. He swept me off my combat boots and broke my black, tender little heart, but we did have some grand fun.

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I know. Total dreamboat. What was a girl to do?

He introduced me to Twin Peaks, Ben and Jerry’s Cool Brittania (eaten by the pint, always keeping the top smooth and flat), Sisters of Mercy, and, of course, Sandman. I would spend hours reading them voraciously in his cave-like basement room, hiding from the sunlight (hissssss!) while he made mixtapes– it was a short but golden era.I was a mope-tastic gothy teen, awash in synthy bass-beats and my own gloomy importance, lost in the twilight netherworld of my  adolescence, and this, THIS was my goddamn bible.



All of this is to say that Sandman has deep personal resonance for me, that goes far beyond the actual work itself and plugs into a very specific time and place in my evolutionary continuum, and as such continues to form the base for a lot of inspiration and creative drive.

Clearly I must do a Sandman series of little art pieces. It is only right. You like how it took me this long to get to the point? You’ve been very patient; here’s some pictures.

Sketchy-pencil times. I decided to stick with the theme of the speech bubbles, so it seemed right to have my Endless with their sigils. Dream would like his hat back, please.

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I think there’s a hint of Le Petit Prince about him.

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Et finis.

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It seemed only appropriate to leave these around comic book stores, plus I was hoping that would up the chances of them being found by people who would get it/know the character/appreciate it. I guess I can’t expect EVERYONE to know the reference of a comic series from the early 90’s.

I dropped the first one in Berkeley at Fantastic Comics, hiding in the window ledge.

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This one was the fastest turnaround yet– Suzageddon nabbed it in about 5 minutes. Awesome.

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The next two I took on an outing to the city. I went on a Wednesday, which seemed appropriate as it’s new comic day. It’s also when I had time. Art vigilantes lead strangely-scheduled lives. 

I ventured to one of my favorite SF shops, Isotope Comic Book Lounge, and enlisted the help of this dapper gentleman:

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If you haven’t met James Sime yet, you should. He agreed to help me in my schemes and I left the painting inside the front window with James as Gatekeeper.

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It was found later that evening by Gamoid–well done, sir.

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The last one has apparently disappeared into the ethers, as little left paintings are apparently wont to do. This round was 2 for 3 though, so that’s a step in the right direction. I may have made a bad decision in my hiding spot, but I couldn’t resist.

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City Lights Books is just so wonderful and I get swept up into a creative-romantic flurry every time I go in. I also was experimenting with leaving them inside, thinking that might make it easier for them to be found by the right people (book-loving beatniks vs. meth-head street-wanderers). It occurred to me later though that perhaps this was not wise, as people might think it was merchandise, or even if they didn’t, who’s going to want to slip something into their bag in a store? On the other hand, it’s a store that sells radical zines and Steal This Book, so come on now. Perhaps I should have asked permission of the shopkeepers, but that hardly seems very art-vigilante, plus I get nervous making a damn phone call, so can you imagine the anxiety of that conversation?

“Hi, can I leave a painting here”

“We don’t buy art”

“No I just want to leave it to give away”

“We’re not a gallery, dude.”

“No no I don’t want to SELL, it, I just want to hide it for someone to find.”

“What? Go away.”

Yeahhhh… that seemed too risky to my poor anxious soul, so I just left the thing. It seemed so cozy, hanging out by Patti Smith and Allie Brosh. Plus, I left it right by Neil’s Make Good Art. How’s that for an easter egg, people?

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Apparently not very good, since I never heard from it again, but I like to think it found a good home. Or maybe Jack Kerouac’s ghost took it.
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That’s it for this installment of art-hiding theater. Good night, and good luck. 
http://instagram.com/spacekoyote

 

 

 

 

 

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Coats

The Dream Coat: Part Four– Finished!

The beast has been vanquished, and the Dream coat is finally done! Overall I’m quite pleased with it. I learned a lot: messed some things up, asked and answered a lot of questions, and then made more questions. It’s very comfortable to wear and feels solid like armor with all that quilting. Dream armor. I hope it lives up to its inspiration. I wanted it to feel like a story; like every time you look at it you notice some new detail, some new secret.

Here’s a shot when it was still missing collar and sleeves. You can see some of the quilting of insanity.

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Detail shot. Note the pocket flaps– I think they turned out pretty nicely.

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I also inherited some wonderful brass buttons that seemed to have arrived just for this project.

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Here it is in all it’s glory:

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Sleeve detail. The two stripes are a bit of an artist’s mark– I thought I might make them a common thread (haha) on all the coats. They represent the old magpie rhyme:

One for sorrow,

Two for joy,

Three for a girl,

Four for a boy,

Five for silver,

Six for gold,

Seven for a secret,

Never to be told.

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Truth be told, I rather liked the secret-never-to-be-told, but seven was a bit more than I could deal with. So joy it is.

Back detail. I vented it in the shoulders and gave it a box pleat at the tail. I drafted both of these into the pattern and they were one of the toughest parts, having never done them before and adding them in– there was a lot of “what the hell am I doing… please please please don’t let me mess it up”  Hopefully the next ones will be a bit more graceful. Many thanks to all the wonderful bloggers out there whose tutorials, tips and tricks helped save my sanity on this.

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Some lining detail. You can see the top on my hem facing there because I fucked up. Pleat fail. Everything is ruined.

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The front facings are more simple and have silver flames and stars embroidered on. There’s a bit of ribbon piping between lining and facing as well.

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And here you can see the hidden inner pocket. Because pockets!

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Detail of the inner collar. The collar stands up, so this is rarely visible. It’s meant as a secret moment just for the wearer; something just for you. It’s a quote from Sandman and reads:

“Sometimes you wake up.

Sometimes the fall kills you.

And sometimes, when you fall, you fly.”

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So it’s done. Sweet dreams.

xo

 

 

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Coats, Works in Progress

Dream Coat: Part Three–Fabric Explosion!

I’m started on the outer layer of the coat. I found a nice black-patterned bottomweight for the base layer and have cut out the MILLION pieces, so now they are ready to get all artsy.

Laying out fabric like a bawss.

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So many pins… so very many pins…

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This was my workspace/bed a few days ago…

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…and this is it a few days later.

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This part of the work is not exactly tedious, but it’s this weird, non-verbal sort of brain work. After a day of this I am pretty incapable of coherent speech. I communicate largely through strange sounds and hand gestures. I am pretty much an ewok.

The good thing is I get to listen to a lot of audio-books while I do it, just to remind my brain what words are. So far I’ve “read” The Giver by Lois Lowry, The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman (how appropriate),  Telegraph Avenue by Michael Chabon, The Casual Vacancy, by J.K. Rowling, and Heart-Shaped Box by Joe Hill. Several of these were read by British narrators, so at least my squeaky ewok noises sound posh and classy.

I’m attaching all the strips and scraps with lots and lots of stitching. Ungodly amounts of stitching. I may actually be liking the back more than the front at this moment.

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Here you can see the chalk layout for some of the quilting:

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Then, because I can’t get enough quilting action, apparently, I thought I’d try sewing flame patterns on the bottom section of the pieces. Remember that whole bit about Dream’s cloak being all flames inside? I wanted to bring a bit of that to the outside as well, so I stitched in flames in red metallic thread. I don’t have a picture of that yet but here’s the chalk layouts.

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The red thread is much more subtle– you  have to really get up close and look before you notice that it is laying out flames. I felt a little torn on putting in so much stitch work that is so subtle, but it’s all a learning process, right? If I hate it or it isn’t worth it I won’t do it again. And in any case I’m taking the attitude that all these details, however subtle, are adding to the overall majesty of the piece. Right? Of course.

That’s all for now. It’s weirdly hot-yet-cloudy in Boulder today, which I think is a sign that ice cream should be sought. OBVIOUSLY.

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Coats, Works in Progress

Dream Coat: Part Two–Lining

I started in on the lining first– seemed easier, I think. I was probably wrong.

I thought it would be nice to work the flames inside Dream’s cloak into the lining, so I decided to hand-dye it. I got a really nice flannel-back satin for the lining, which I KNEW was going to be hell to dye but I decided to go for it anyway.

I apologize to my husband and kitchen.

Here’s the first go. I used a mix of I-Dye Poly and Rit, to try to deal with the mix of poly and cotton in the fabric.

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Note the curious dog face in the corner.

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I was tricked by the “wet fabric” effect into thinking that several colors were darker and more saturated than they truly were. As a result, I re-dipped several sections of the lining and the whole process took about two (long, messy) days.

Second dip!

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Once it dried, it was a lot lighter, of course, but it turned out rather pretty overall, I think. The flannel-back satin has an interesting effect because the flannel backing takes the color much better than the satin, so there is a sort of interesting sheen effect of the light satin with this darker base.
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The pictures didn’t capture the orange bottom very well–it is light but is much richer and prettier than it is appearing here.  Bah.

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Next: Into the abyss of fabric experimentation on the outer coat. I’ve realized I’m a bit paralyzed with uncertainty, so I’m going to take a slug of bourbon and just start. Caution to the wind! Into the breach!

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Coats, Works in Progress

The Dream Coat (yes, THAT Dream)

To use the most-uttered statement in the world of WordPress–I’ve been remiss in my blogging.

I’ve been working. And taking pictures. But they have been just sitting on various devices, making rude faces at me, building up into a big ol’ guilt-mountain. UNTIL TODAY. Today, gentle reader, I have ventured into the wilds of Pekoe Sip House, where dude-bros discussing au pairs and Muy Thai rub elbows with white women in head-scarves doing dramatic chakra-blessings over their rooibos. I am not kidding. And it is only 8:30 am.

I have fueled myself with chai (with real milk, because I am going promptly to hell) and will now endeavor to sort out some of what I’ve been doing lately. I may need more chai.

A bit of foundation– feel free to skip this and go straight to pretty pictures. I’m in the process of building up a portfolio to apply to grad school, to continue to study the sartorial arts, or the artsy sartorials. One of those.  I’m building the crux of this portfolio around coats– sort of a conceptual bee I’ve had in my (shiny) bonnet for quite a while and have probably talked at you about before. Basically I have some ideas for pieces that are both art and garment, but it’s a lot of ideas in a lot of uncharted territory and I pretty much have no idea what I’m doing but I have faith it shall be, if not awesome, at least interesting.  So that’s the WHY of it.

I started with the Purple Scrappy Coat, which I still haven’t finished. It pretty much taught me just enough to know that I wanted to make the whole thing from scratch and have control over the shape and style of the coat. I may have control issues.

So I made the Piped Damask Coat to begin learning about that. I should mention that I am not, at this present moment, expecting to become a master tailor. Tailoring is an intense craft that, frankly, scares the shit out of me, so while I intend to pick up as much knowledge and skill as possible, please don’t mistake this for me being all “I’m a tailor now!” That’s like drawing a stick figure and then introducing yourself as an artist.  But I digress…

The newest project is inspired by The Sandman. That’s right, this guy:

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Isn’t he just DREAMY?

(i’m sorry.)

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If you don’t know the Sandman books, go read them all, right now, then come back. These books have been HUGELY influential in my life, and if I could pick ANY ONE LIVING, FAMOUS PERSON to be friends with, it would absolutely be Neil Gaiman. I have even drawn this wonderful alternate reality: It’s me and Neil drinking tea and discussing books and dogs and the magic of small things, all while taking a lovely jog, and we don’t spill a drop, no not a one.

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Right. Fangirling over. I am so embarrassed.

I thought to myself, “If I were the Lord of Dreams, what would I wear?” so it’s the Dream Coat… no technicolor involved.

Here’s some of the first sketches.

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Lots of doodle of pockets and sleeves…

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Dream is pretty much tall, dark and handsome. Emphasis on dark. He’s a bit of a mope sometimes, but you love him anyway. He makes my inner goth very happy. He’s always in black, so I’m thinking black on black on black for the coat, clearly. However, his cloak is all flames on the inside, so I want to work in an element of that as well.

I picked a very nice Burda pattern as the base pattern to mock up a muslin in. I’m basically taking the shape and sleeves of this coat and altering the hell out of it.

Point A:

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 I drafted a new collar, added a hood, lengthened and changed the sleeves, added inseam pockets, added pleats to the back and changed the hemline. Pray for me that it goes together alright at the end.ImageImage

Lots of alterations and bourbon went into this pattern.Image

It should be a lot closer to this now.

Point B:

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Next– into the (fabric) breach! Stay tuned!

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