Friday, September 7, 2018

Workspaces, Dreams, and A Whole Lotta Diapers

You guys.  I haven't blogged in over a year.  "WHAT HAPPENED?!", you may ask.  Well, I'll tell you exactly what happened.  I had a small bumper crop of children.  :P Just typing this post feels foreign.  I can barely remember how to format this crap.  What font did I normally use?  Oh my stars.  Here goes nothing.

As a new mother to two tiny humans, my life is so, so different from the way it was when I started this blog.  If you recall, I started this whole spiel back in 2015 as a means to figure out what I wanted to do creatively with my art, etc. and it all just sorta...came together organically somehow.  I blogged pretty religiously, too.  It was cathartic.  I look back at my old posts about my artistic meanderings and cringe/smile/cry/rock out (I had some badass musical jams in there!), but mostly I reflect on what a wild ride its been and how grateful I am for all the experiences and the people I've met along the way.

My artistic journey began when my husband and I relocated from Minneapolis, MN to Rapid City, SD and I was essentially searching for the strength to follow my artistic dreams. I got lucky with finding an incredible space in the heart of downtown Rapid City.   For practically peanuts, I paid a kind gentleman to rent a 2nd floor loft-style office in his restored historic building.  I even had my own mailbox at the bottom of the stairs and my name on the building's information board.  It felt unofficially official and I was beyond excited to have my first art studio. 

View of the alley from my 2nd floor studio.  I was there daily, rain or shine.

Painting in the amazing natural light

 After having my first art show (thank you so much, Sturgis Center for the Arts!), creating a wide variety of commissioned works, and meeting some incredibly talented local artists, it was time to hit the dusty trail.  We moved back to Minneapolis, and I was ready for anything.  

My next art space was in a funky extra room/walk-in closet space that connected the main house to the carriage house we were renting.  Since it was originally the "end" of the house before the carriage house was added, it had interior windows that looked into our rental space.  It was totally charming and I loved it so much.

Setting up some inventory and enjoying a cuppa ;)

Working on something or other :P

My time in the carriage house studio was very special, mainly because I said "yes" to tons of opportunities that opened many new doors.  It was a circus.  As a self-taught artist, I was trying to build my portfolio, and I was BUSY!  I couldn't believe I was getting accepted into juried exhibitions and getting accepted to was a fricken blast and some of my most creative time.

And then...I had to slow my roll, so to speak.  I shifted my focus and put my art on the back burner.  My life was now 100% my family.  We relocated again, and I had a small shared basement office with my husband.  It worked just fine for what I needed it for, which was honestly not a lot.  I tried to revamp things after my son was born, but I really struggled to make the time.  But that was ok.  My energies were needed elsewhere :)  I had a small window of creative rejuvenation for some commissions shortly before I found out I was pregnant again, and that was wonderful!  But again, my focus was redirected to mom life.

This leads me to my latest venture!  Finally, I'm at a place where my mom life and my creative life are ready to tango.  I'm super excited to be setting up shop in a brand new space -- this time in one of the spare rooms in our new home's basement (yes, we moved yet again and are happily living in our longterm home).  More photos to come, as I'm still ironing out some details about the wheres and the whats.  But the chandelier is up, so that's a start. 

Chandeliers are very important to me, you see ;)

I cannot wait to use this space to curate something brand new.  My next artistic pursuit has essentially been 4 years in the making.  I wouldn't be able to attack this idea without meeting the people I've met and doing all the wacky things I've done with my art.  Its been an ongoing learning experience and this is a dream that I cannot wait to make a reality.  Slow and steady.
Gotta go change a diaper ...


Tuesday, June 6, 2017

A June Update


My, my, time flies...somehow the wee babe is already 2 months old!  As I slowly emerge from the newborn phase (the sleep deprivation is REAL, people.), I'm so excited to launch my artwork again!  I've just started squeezing in art time during his naptime or after baby bedtime, and it feels fantastic to be back at it. Yes, there are typically lots of interruptions, but this is my new normal and I love it :)  If anything, the frequent but shorter creative sessions have been helping me create smarter -- I've found that I dawdle a lot less.  I still dawdle, of course!  That's how I come up with most of my art ideas, but the dawdle quality has improved.  Does that make sense?  I suppose it's more purposeful dawdling :)  I digress.

After relocating from my old studio space last September, I've encountered a bit of a down-scaling challenge.  I was pretty spoiled in my last studio -- there was so much storage space that I could squirrel away lots of things.  In order to get my new space to work, I knew I had to skinny down and only keep the essentials.  After some major sorting and parting with a lot of excess junk, I have a studio space that I actually enjoy more!  It still has the natural light that I adore and it has just enough space to create what I love.  Everything that I need has a tidy little home.  Take a look...

Desk with my beloved white chair & original pillow design from my 2016 'Life & Style' collection

I truly hate parting with any art supply that is still potentially usable, but I knew I had to move several items along. As a result, I can actually see (for the most part) all of my supplies in one place. !!! This really comes in handy when I need a particular paint or brush immediately.   It has certainly sparked some new ideas :)

Paper-less shmaper-less.  Truthfully, I don't know how to organize my life without a file cabinet.  Just makes managing paperwork that much easier -- for running a small business and for life in general :) 

Stick around!  New stuff to come :)  Today's musical selection is from last week's closing credits of Silicon Valley.  Can't get enough of that show (mostly Jared):

 Walking on Sunshine (Estoy En El Cielo) - Silicon Valley (End Credit Song) via Youtube


Friday, December 9, 2016

OJD: Life & Style


Well, I've been majorly off the grid since August -- you could say that life just happened, I suppose.  We moved homes, I started a new job on the side, and then on top of that . . . we discovered I was in the *family way* :)  So excited!!  Due in March.  Oh boy oh boy oh boy  <3

Anywho, I wanted to share with you one of the projects I was just wrapping up at the end of the Summer before things got nutz around here at Olivia J Designs.  I'd chatted with a few awesome people about expanding my work into the homewares branch of design, and after collaborating with some buddies who were willing to share their lovely home, original music, and photography talents with me (thanks Jen, John, and Paul!), I created a video to showcase some of my "paintings-turned-homewares" designs.  I'm calling it my "Life + Style" Collection.  Take a peek at OJD Summer 2016:


Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Pop-Up Shop & Closing Reception at Black: Coffee and Waffle Bar

Hello there!

I'm excited to announce that Black: Coffee and Waffle Bar is hosting my Pop-Up Shop and Closing Reception next week!  

I'll have lots of original paintings for sale -- *all different sizes* on both canvas and paper.  Swing by for some tasty waffle creations, Dogwood Coffee, and the local jazz/funk sensation The Very Trio :) 

See you Wednesday, August 31st from 5:30 PM-8:00 PM!


Thursday, July 7, 2016

"The Best" Group Exhibition at Artists on Bailey Park

The official screen-printed invite created by gallery owner and artist, Kevin Robert Kapla.


I wanted to share some photos from the June 10th grand opening reception of "The Best" at Artists on Bailey Park gallery in Baldwin, WI.  

This was my first show in Wisconsin and technically my first new art gallery opening.  A wide variety of work was on display: mixed media, photography, oil on canvas, textiles/garments, screen prints, and more.   

Check it out . . .  (!)

There was a lot to see.  Here is a sampling of the art from the group exhibition:

Photography by Aethan Hart
"Three Coco Chanels" by Kevin Robert Kapla

Check out that TEXTURE !
Art by Kelly Larson

"Gambler's Daughter" (inspired by the songs and riverboat imagery of Bob Dylan) by Dolly Reese-Mraz
Art by Mitchell McCarty

Art by Kevin Robert Kapla (I tried to capture the antique-like crinkles on the canvas. Love how he made this painting look so old!)

And finally . . .  here I am with my abstract piece "Beach Day":

Yes, I attempted to match with my scarf.  That green cup was a fabulous coincidence :)

A lovely show and a successful gallery opening, I do believe!  I was asked to participate in the upcoming show "The Dog Days of Summer" this month, and I'm excited to share my pieces for this unique theme!  HINT: it will be my classic abstract look with a *pop* of canine whimsy ;)  Stay tuned.

I think an appropriate song of the day is "Wolf Like Me" by TV on the Radio, seeing as wolves were technically the first dogs . . . enjoy!

"Wolf Like Me" by TV on the Radio via YouTube


Wednesday, July 6, 2016

"Community" Group Exhibition at Sen Yai Sen Lek in Northeast Minneapolis

Opening Reception of "Community" at Sen Yai Sen Lek in full swing


Before the exhibition closes on July 15th (still time to check it out!), I wanted to share with you photos from May when Sen Yai Sen Lek hosted a lovely opening reception for their group exhibition, "Community" . . . 

A lively bunch!

The exhibition artists include Melissa Reuter, Nicole Pappas Stanoch, Dylan Shepard, Witt Siasoco, Alison Yager, and myself.  A truly wide range of styles and expressions of community -- ink on paper, oil/acrylic on canvas, acrylic on cardboard, photography, graphic design/illustration, and assorted mixed media.  
Take a look . . . !

Art by Alison Yager
Art by Dylan Shepard               

Art by Nicole Pappas Stanoch
Art by Witt Siasoco
Art by Melissa Reuter

Art by Olivia Jakel

A beautiful collection!  

And don't get me started about the cuisine at Sen Yai Sen Lek . . . fresh, tasty, traditional Thai at its finest.

I noshed on the Pad Kee Mao and coconut juice. Scrumptious
A BIG thanks to the kind and talented people at Sen Yai Sen Lek for hosting this group exhibition and supporting local art.  

Instead of my typical song of the day, I found this cool collection of Thai music.  Enjoy!

 Thai Traditional Music by Avorta Song Collection via YouTube



Wednesday, May 18, 2016

May Happenings . . .


Suddenly it's May 18th and I have no idea where the month has gone . . .  yikes!  Why don't we do a recap of recent activities and get you all up to date on upcoming events.  Let's get started :)

Last week I participated in Inter(ART) with a super talented group of artists from a wide variety of fields.  Here's a look at the who's who and the what's what:

Setting up shop . . .
The natural light in my space was so lovely 

The progress of my painting:
Action shot >> CLICK
Work In Progress >> CLICK
 Finished Piece >> CLICK

Mind-blowing assemblage by collage artist Dan Hartman
DJ I Roach pumped the beats
Artist Jake Herrick working his magic on a new creation
A massive coloring wall (!!)
Prince <3
J Roots Art is so inspiring.  Definitely a new fan.
Cristina Ziemer (the busy bee on the right) created some gorgeous looks on the Inter(ART) models.  Check out that gold leaf!
Guest artist Jimmy Longoria's paintings are dynamic. 

Textile designer & creative, Luci Kandler, screen printed beautiful designs on these Target blush + ivory dresses.  Also loving her floaty femme astronaut fabric <3
Yarn Art!
Fiber artist, Marjorie Fedyszyn, demonstrated a wet felting technique.  Very unique creations!

A big thanks to Erica Rubio and her team at Target Corp. for putting this event together!  For more photos from the event, check out the Gallery here.

>> Next order of business: 2 NEW Exhibition Announcements!  As if June wasn't busy enough, but I couldn't resist saying yes to both of these . . . 

 For a complete list of upcoming events: CLICK

That's it for now!  Stay tuned for a recap of this week's opening reception of the "Community" art showcase at Sen Yai Sen Lek.  Better yet, swing by during Art-A-Whirl this weekend to check it out & nosh on some tasty Thai :)

Today's musical selection is Lissie's acoustic version of "Stay" . . . still very obsessed with her new album My Wild West . . .

 "Stay" (acoustic) by Lissie via YouTube