New York, New York!

It’s been a whirlwind of a month, but I was fortunate enough to be able to attend the opening reception of the Student Scholarship exhibit at the Society of Illustrators in NYC, in which my illustration was a finalist. It was super surreal to see one of MY pieces hanging in an exhibit in NYC. I did not win any awards at the reception, but it was fantastic to be there and I’m really honored and humbled.

I took terrible photos (it was a very crazy, chaotic 24 hours that I was there) but fortunately, some of my former classmates traveled to NYC last week and they stopped in at the museum. One of my former teachers took these photos of my piece, and I am very happy to have nice, quality photos of it hanging in the gallery!

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I also  happened to be BACK up in NYC over Memorial Day weekend to attend a few Broadway shows with my sister. We saw Cabaret (with Alan Cumming!) and Hedwig and the Angry Inch (with Neil Patrick Harris!). I love Cabaret, and I was so excited to be able to see Alan Cumming reprise the role (and he stood like 4 feet from me in the audience!) but… I was especially excited to see Hedwig. My first tattoo, on my hip, was the Origin of Love symbol used in the film. The show.. blew away my mind and both elated and destroyed my heart. The movie is fantastic, and I was skeptical that the show would give the same feels. But Oh. My. God. The show blew the movie out of the water. It was meant to be a stage show. Everything made so much sense. NPH played both the role of Hedwig and Tommy and after seeing that, I had a metaphorical head slap moment of going, “Of course he plays both roles. It makes so much sense! It’s his other half! He is his other half, is other half is him.” I still adore the movie, and I immediately watched it the first night I got back, but I don’t think anything will come close to what the show made me feel.

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I love NYC and I have enjoyed my time up there this past month, but it’s also a city that really stresses me out. And it’s expensive. I’m looking forward to a few trips and visits this summer, but keeping it fairly low key from here on out. It’s very hard to save for a wedding when you’re traveling. Time to simmer down.

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Don’t Blink!

 

News!

Well, this is a surprise.

I received an e-mail from an instructor of mine at The Art Institute of Pittsburgh that apparently a piece of mine was accepted into the New York Society of Illustrators 2014 Student Competition! I wasn’t aware I even had anything entered, as only faculty can submit. I was apparently the only AIP student to make it into the show and I’ll admit that, until he confirmed which piece it was, I thought he may have the wrong girl. Confidence has never been my strong suit, which he knows. So I am extremely grateful to him that he had my back and submitted this piece without my even knowing!

The piece that made it into the show is my Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix Mini-Cooper illustration. I’ve posted about that piece before. It’s funny – the piece itself didn’t win the competition it was created for, but it has earned me a freelance opportunity for a similar poster and now has earned me a spot in a show produced by the prestigious New York Society of Illustrators.

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I’m extremely humbled and happy!

I will hopefully be able to attend the event in New York in early May, where my piece will be hanging in the show. Awards are given out and I will have the opportunity to tour the Society’s museum, which has original Rockwell and Wyeth’s just hanging on their walls. Dream!

You can view my piece, and all of the other winning entries, here!

It’s a very exciting opportunity and I’m grateful that, despite my own lack of self-confidence, I apparently have supporters who believe in me and my work. I have been struggling a lot with my art lately, as I’m so out of practice and it’s discouraging. But this has given me the spark I needed to get back into art shape. I may design for a living, but there was a time when art was also my hobby and a day didn’t go by I wasn’t at least sketching. I need to get back to that place, because I was much happier when I was there. Project “Art from Sun Up to Sun Down” – GO!

[Late] Sunday sketch. More like Monday.

Here’s the thing:

Doing what you love for a living is fantastic. It’s great and I wouldn’t trade it. But, when it’s a creative field.. sometimes that means you can get burnt out and not want to do any personal work. I design allllllllllllllllllllll day long and it’s a dream – but it also means that when I come home, I don’t want to be anywhere near the computer or think about much art at all. I’ve been way out practice with my drawing and it’s been ages since I did a digital illustration.

I’ve been working on this freelance project for months and months – or I should say, it’s been in the works. And I’ve just dragged my feet on it. Not because the project isn’t cool, but because when I get home from work – I’m lazy. Period.

But, deadlines happen, as they so often do, and I have been pulling some late nights to get caught up on my workload – it’s a bit too soon for me to have this feeling of being in school again, losing sleep, but at the same time… it’s a little fun. But it also takes away from my previous commitment to posting a Sunday Sketch every week.

So, in lieu of that, here’s a very rough sneak peak into what I’m working on: cars! Not really my forté, but.. at least it’s art.

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I win the award for messiest, most vague layers.

P.S. You’ll find that this design is very similar to my mini-cooper design – and you would be correct! That is how the client heard of me and asked me to create them something very similar to that. Since my mini illustration was not chosen for the contest it was created for and therefore never published, I figured… why not! It’s also inspired me to do a series of posters in this style.. except, probably not more cars. I’m really not a huge fan of cars. I think I’d like to do other objects and perhaps even animals if I’m feeling adventurous enough.. hmmm…

I’m not dead, yet.

I promise. I’m still alive.

I do have an excuse or two for why I have been completely absent from my blog.

I will keep it short and sweet. Or as much as I can.

1) On October 31st, my boyfriend of 5.5 years proposed to me. It was very sweet, and very low key. It was just us, in the privacy of our own home. We were lying in bed together, talking about when we first met. It was at a Halloween party, in my old apartment with my all-male roommates, who had gone to school with him. He was dressed as the Punisher and I was a half-assed pirate. We drank a lot and spent the evening seated on the back of the couch, lost in a conversation with each other. There are even photos of us together that night.

Me being the brilliant one that I am, I didn’t realize the significance of the date until a family member mentioned to me that she thought it was sweet, when he told her the story of our first Halloween. And THEN it dawned on me. I was going to save it for our wedding vows, but I wanted him to hear it that night he proposed. So I read to him from my journal that I wrote in that first Halloween night, proof that love at sort-of-first-sight does exist. I – drunkenly – wrote about how I “met someone” and we had an amazing conversation. I wrote that I wasn’t sure what but “something happened tonight.” I proceeded to write about him, how I was very intrigued by him, and I concluded the 3 a.m. entry with, “I could fall in love with someone like him.” And I did. It hasn’t been a Disney fairytale, it didn’t happen over night, and we haven’t led a charmed life – but we have done it side-by-side, and although our story may not be perfect, it is what I like to call an “epic love”.

2) I got a job! I am now an art director at an agency here in Pittsburgh. I work a 15-20 minute walk from my apartment. Amazing? It gets better. It was the very first place that I interviewed with, the Monday after I graduated. It took them about a month to call me back, but well worth the wait! I am working with a very prominent client in New York City, I am published in the New York Times, I have banner ads on Ebay, I have work hanging in NYC. I may even have a freelancing opportunity with a prominent car company, which I’m keeping on the down-low until it’s confirmed!

Life is not too shabby.

Apart from work and trying to figure out where to start with planning a wedding, my Etsy is doing decently! Christmas is coming, so people want nerdy ornaments. It’s a lot of work, it takes up pretty much all of my free time, but it’s fun and I get to create things! I am currently working on some prints to put up, related to the figures I make.

In the mean time, enjoy some photos of my figures! And head on over to my Etsy to shop for your own and to see even more characters! I have more in the making, just have to find the time, so keep an eye out for even MORE of your favorite fictional people!

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© Konfusedfae 2013

Equaliphants (Elephants for Equality)

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This was a spot illustration I did for a political article that was highlighting Republicans in support of same-sex marriage. But no matter your political party, these are a pair of adorable, gay elephants everyone can love!

Digital illustration.

Buy a print here!

Fae Day!

I am feeling the pains of post-graduate life. And by me, I mean my bank account.

Although I’ve applied a million places, have had a few interviews, and it’s only been two weeks since I graduated – I am feeling a bit lost. I’ve admitted bank account defeat and have returned to my retail job. It’s not that I don’t enjoy that job, I do, but I was really hoping to be one of those lucky few who gets a job in my field right out of graduation so that I could breathe easy.

But I have not found a design job yet, and I need to pay bills, so it’s back to work for me. I am very grateful that I have a job that let me take a month and a half off to focus on graduating and got me back to work the very next day after I called and said, “Hey, I’m still alive – can I come back to work?” They also already have me working overtime and got me a raise, and are working on getting me a promotion so they can get me a second raise. I realize how incredibly lucky I am.

However, I’m already exhausted after coming home from 10-12 hour days again where I usually don’t eat or sit down until the 9th hour of those shifts. It’s hard to come home and find the energy and brain capacity to be creative.

So I’m going to promote the shit out of my work and hope that you, dear readers, will be inspired to purchase my work from my Etsy – which will in turn, inspire me to do more. 😉

S.O.S. – Job Searching!

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The Boy keeps reminding me that it hasn’t even been a week since I graduated, and yet I am having a bit of a panic session thinking I may never find a job.

I have been keeping a notebook of the jobs I have applied to. It is a lot, but I haven’t even been applying randomly – I’ve been choosing places I admire, that I am familiar with, and can see myself being a part of. Although I currently reside in Pittsburgh, and would not object to remaining here, I also have this urge to travel. I feel that if I’m going to relocate, now is the time to do it, and so I have been applying all of the states – and the world.

Some places have been local, some are smaller boutiques across the East coast, some are gigantic shots in the dark – such as Disney Parks and the Royal Albert Hall in London. But a girl can dream, can’t she? And no one ever got a dream job by not applying.

Here is my question though – in this day and age, when everything is digital and often things are done by personal e-mails – is a professional cover letter, yay or nay? Cover letters can be personal but no matter how hard you try, they often sound a bit stuffy and egotistical. I know large companies appreciate that level of professionalism – but is it a viable option to keep e-mails of a job inquiry nature more personal for smaller businesses?

Any fellow job searchers – help?

I am very eager to begin my career as a designer. I am still searching freelancing opportunities, and diving into the piranha pond that is 99 designs, but I would really feel better if I had a job to back it all up. I would really like to not return to retail, please!

Any tips or shared experiences would be greatly appreciated.

Good Design Alert: Lady Dinah’s Cat Emporium

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I was discussing with an acquaintance living in England how I would really like to relocate to Europe and find myself a job. Although he didn’t know of any design jobs in particular that I could apply for, he did send me a link to Lady Dinah’s Cat Emporium, the world’s first cat cafe, and told me that if I did perchance find myself in England – I must visit here.

I would absolutely concur.

Upon checking out their website, I found myself not only overly excited about the prospect of visiting this place next time I’m in London, but also loving their design. And so I have decided to start Good Design Day on Wednesday’s. Now that I am out of school it’s even more pertinent that I stay inspired and up-to-date on trends and fresh designs. So to kick off this tradition, go on over and check out Lady Dinah’s Cat Emporium and admire the Victorian tea party (with kittens) web design!

As the girl who is often told that her personal Facebook contains more about her cat than herself; the girl who almost cried in the pet store the other day because she couldn’t adopt every single cat and take them home to give them squeezes: I fully appreciate a cafe devoted entirely to cats. Besides, who doesn’t want a mug with cat whiskers on it?

Always a student, never a graduate.

I am officially a graduate with a Bachelor of Science in Graphic Design from The Art Institute of Pittsburgh.

I received a 100% on my final portfolio grade, at portfolio review I received a Merit Award for academic excellence for my portfolio and I graduated with my 4.0 GPA in tact. You may call me an overachiever, but achieving those goals feels incredible.

I am the first in my family to graduate. It took me a decade to do so.

Let me tell you a little story about why it took so long and why it is such a huge personal accomplishment to finally earn my degree.

I graduated high school and began college in 2004 at 17-years-old. I was always the youngest in my classes and I was often told I had a lot of potential and was ahead of the game. But as it inevitably does, life got in the way. I attended community college for two years. I was home schooled my whole life and so I started my college life with baby steps, first attending a dual enrollment program at a community college during my junior and senior year of high school, and then by taking only two or three classes per semester while also holding a job or two. I was focusing in general arts and taking English/Creative Writing classes, as well as a photography course or two, on the side for my own pleasure. In 2006, I applied for The Art Institute of Pittsburgh – I was interested in Photography, but after seeing my drawings, they talked me into enrolling in the Graphic Design program. I was there for one quarter, and then life happened and I had to drop out due to financial reasons. It was a really hard move for me to make and the black cloud of failure followed me for years.

I spent the next few years working as a teacher and manager at a local art school that I had been working at since I was 16-years-old and attending lessons at since I was 8-years-old. I had the opportunity to build a life through that art school; I could have taken it over and been owner. But I always had that lingering feeling in the back of my mind and heart that told me I wanted to go back to school. I have always had a hunger for learning, I’m one of those girls, and I desperately wanted to be back in school and to earn my degree.

In 2010, I made the big decision to return to school. I worked my butt off to get my portfolio together and apply for a few choice schools. One of those schools was the Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore. I applied for their Illustration program, and I was accepted. In August of 2010, I moved to Baltimore on my own. I had never lived outside of Pittsburgh (although I’ve traveled all over the world) and I was choosing to leave my family and my long-term boyfriend back home. I was terrified and it was – at the time – the hardest thing I’d done. Although I loved MICA, I was miserable in Baltimore. I was so alone and so lost. I was the oldest in almost all of my classes, felt so awkward and out of place, and I absolutely hated doing a long-distance relationship. But I had fought for it, and I was determined to see it through. I was going to best that black cloud of failure and not let it in my life ever again. I was not going to leave another school, no matter how unhappy I was there.

And then in January of 2011, when I was home over Christmas break, my boyfriend and I were in a terrible car accident. That is an entire post of it’s own – maybe one day – but to make an incredibly long story short – we were hospitalized for awhile, we underwent multiple surgeries, we both had to have in-home nurses tending to us for months after the accident, the hospital bills went well over $100,00. Each. I had no choice but to drop out of MICA and move back home to Pittsburgh. I needed my family’s help – emotionally and physically – and I could not be away from my boyfriend after coming so close to losing him. On top of all the physical and emotional struggles I went through following the accident, I now had that black cloud of failure over my head again. It seemed I was not meant to graduate from college.

But in July of 2011, still recovering from the wounds I suffered in the accident, I was at a very low point in my depression. I was unemployed, I was out of school and I was scarred from the accident – mentally, emotionally and physically. But I had fought so hard the year before to return to school, I wasn’t about to just let that all go to waste. So one summer day, I took a walk down to The Art Institute of Pittsburgh on a whim and I spoke to admissions. Two weeks later, I started the Summer session there, pursuing my Bachelor’s in Graphic Design.

Two years and then some later, nearly a decade after first beginning my journey in college, I have finally graduated.

It wasn’t easy. I worked multiple jobs, I held an internship, I wracked up debt while also paying as much as I could out of pocket. I struggled with always being the oldest in my classes. I struggled with feeling inexperienced. I struggled with making friends. I wondered often if I was in the right place, doing what I was supposed to be doing. I have never had a lot of self-confidence and I battled with that many, many times throughout the past two years. But I was fortunate to have incredibly supportive instructors who – whether they know it or not – convinced me to stay in school and to follow it through. They believed in me and it gave me the courage, and maybe a little bit of confidence, to do it.

And here I am.

Finally a graduate.

It’s a special thing for anyone to graduate. But for me, it feels a little bit more of a personal achievement due to the incredibly emotional journey that it has been. It wasn’t just about getting a degree. It was about finally proving to myself that maybe, just maybe, I have something worth sharing. And that sometimes, we really can achieve our dreams.

And now I’m going to sleep for a week.