Artwork, etsy shop, Fiber Arts, hair bows, handmade artwork, Star Wars, Travel

Retro Star Wars Pencil Cases, Toiletry Bags

I’m proud to announce my new favorite  little bag! Now available in my Etsy Shop are some super cool RETRO STAR WARS Pencil Cases and Toiletry Bags! There are now TWO sizes available: One Boxy Bag ( think DOP Kit) and a smaller pouch (for pencils or makeup).

 

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The bags are of durable construction and fully lined. The bags are sturdy and quilted with an interfacing to maintain their shape. The boxy bags will hold up in your carry-on or your suit case  on travel trips. Tuck one in your book-bag to keep your computer chargers, stylus, and mouse all in one place!

 

Awesome Retro Star Wars Comics fabric makes these a great gift for girls, boys, or adults!  Also shown are the matching hair bows/ bow ties. Get a complete set for a Christmas or Birthday gift! Available online  and at my upcoming craft fairs this summer!

Photography, Travel

Giving Thanks

Wisdom Tree
We couldn’t have asked for a better day!

This Thanksgiving my boyfriend and I spent the morning hiking to the Wisdom Tree on the Cahuenga Peak/ Mount Lee trails. I’ve seen the “Wisdom Tree” watch over the valley for years now and I figured it was high time we go and pay it a visit. You can see the tree perfectly on my daily route, and I’ve heard from several people that “when the time is right” you will go and visit the tree. The weather has been pretty toasty lately, but Thursday morning was nice and cool…a cold front was making its way through the area. I had the day off work, so we left pretty early on in the day.

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Look how steep that hike is! I believe that is the Hollywood Basin down below.

According to legend, it’s the only tree that survived the devastating Hollywood Hills Fire in 2007. It’s over 1,000 feet in elevation, and most of that ascent is within a very short distance. I’m in decent shape and I got pretty winded on the way up!

City in Distance
You can see downtown off in the distance. Beautiful.

The hike gives you an incredible view of the city. I really wish that I had taken this hike earlier…perhaps a right when I moved to the city? It’s an absolutely breathtaking view. I love, love, love Griffith Park, but this was one of my favorite outdoor adventures in LA. The main area of Griffith Park is perhaps a little more versatile and a little easier (you can drive or ride your bike many places within the park and it is right by my apartment!), but you can’t beat this view.

hollywoodsign
The ridge and a tiny peek at the Hollywood Sign in the distance.

You can even see a little corner of the Hollywood Sign in this picture (right in front of the radio tower). Sadly, this is the closest I was able to get to the Hollywood Sign in the years I lived in LA. I’ll have to go back and visit so that I can see the sign up-close!

After the hike we, of course, had some delicious foods that I prepared for my boyfriend and some of our friends. Nothing fancy (Chicken, rice, potatoes, tofu and, of course, pie.) But we were quite hungry after our workout, so a big Thanksgiving Dinner really hit the spot.

Artwork, Cats, Screen Printing, Travel

Spilling the Beans: Inspiration Post Rocket Dog and Cat

I’ve had a lot of people ask me where I get my inspiration from. That is a hard question to answer for many artists and, many times, one illustration can be inspired by many different sources. I know some people who make work about their own experiences, others who are inspired by the programs and movies they watch, the foods they eat, and the list goes on and on. Many of my pieces are inspired by my love of animals and nature, history, food, and, well, my list goes on and on too! Today I thought I’d share my inspiration for my Retro Rocket Dog and Cat Prints.

Rocket Dog Tote Bag

Cat Rocket Postcard

When I was in college, my senior thesis project was inspired by vintage postage stamps and match boxes. I did a lot of research and made a series of prints featuring extremeophiles (animals and insects that can live in extremely hostile environments). My favorite extremeophile, the Waterbear, is able to survive in space! They are able to go in to a state of extreme hibernation and are able to be revived back to life by a drop of water. No kidding!

waterbear

The famous Waterbear!

In researching other space-traveling animals, I found inspiration in Laika the Soviet Space Dog. She was the first animal to orbit the earth on November 3, 1957. She sadly died due to overheating of the spacecraft, but her story lives on in stamps, sculptures, books and more!

laika-stamp

I love the idea of making a print inspired by a real animal who helped advance our knowledge of space travel and its effects on living things. I also love the design of old space crafts, so that was a no-brainer for me to design a print inspired by those. I’ve been hand-drawing retro-rockets on bags at my other job for over 3 years, making a screen print is the logical next-step!

Candy shop bag

Candy Bags make everyone smile, young and old! Every purchase comes in a hand-drawn rocket bag!

Hungary-1963-Space-Laika-Dog-Gagarin-Rockets-Stamp-on-Stamp-12v-set-n24046

Retro-future rocket stamps!

Sputnik 2 was eye-catching, but I wanted something more flashy, so I gave my “Puppy Stardust” a different rocket inspired by retro-future illustrations of the late 50’s and 60’s. There were many designs I liked that were memorialized in stamps and postage, but my favorite rockets are the old Tin Toys that I’ve always coveted. Hoping that kids would like my design, I drew inspiration from those toys: their simple shapes and bright colors.

Retro Rocket Space Ships

Space-Z-Rocket-Blue-Wind-Up-Tin-Toy-in

An assortment of retro Tin Toys.

And now you know where I got the hair-brained idea to make a Rocket Dog and Rocket Cat. I don’t know of any cats who orbited space, but as a Cat Mom of two silly cats, I thought it would be unfair to leave them out. The “Rocket Cat” design is inspired by my cat Ferdinand who, I think would make a fine AstroCat.

Cats, Drawings, New Artwork, Screen Printing, Travel

Sneak Peek of New Projects

Howdy! It’s been a while since we last chatted. I’ve been quite busy with work and also had family visiting, so I apologize for the delay.

A sneak peek of a new project! Stay tuned for more info!
A sneak peek of a new project! Stay tuned for more info!

I’ve been working on a few fun new projects recently and I’d love to share a sneak peek of one of the newest projects I am working on! This is a new drawing that I will be printing very soon! Stay tuned for more process photos and other sneak peeks of other projects in the same “series”!

Photography, Travel

Trip to Guatemala: Visiting the Mayan Ruins

The Last day we were in Guatemala we visit the Mayan Ruins of Iximche. They are located about an hour-or-so outside of Guatemala City. Our earlier flight was canceled or delayed, so we opted to visit the ruins before heading to the airport for our evening flight. We had a wonderful time seeing the ruins. We hired a young man who is knowledgeable about the ruins. Our contact at the company who went with us to the ruins said that he believed the young man to be of Mayan decent. Our guide gave us a verbal history of the ruins. I was able to translate most of it from Spanish for my boss to better understand the history of the place.

It was a  place full of memories. I took a number of photographs of the ruins, but these are my favorites.

We’re getting closer!

Almost there!

“Welcome to the ruins of Iximche”

Just outside the entrance to the ruins.

A model of the ruins as they once stood.

Before visiting the ruins, we stopped in their small museum.

They had a number of artifacts excavated from the site as well as this model.

It shows the size and scale of the city as it once stood.

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This poor fellow was not injured by the Spaniards, but by his own kin during a game of Pok Ta Pok.

In the far left corner you can see burn marks on some of the stone where the city was burned to the ground by the Conquistadors.

Entering the ruins. You can feel the energy of the place.

Temple in the ruins. There were a number of temples in the city.

One for the sun and one for the moon… and several others.

Close-up of temple.

Can you can see the burned rock at the top?

That is where the Spanish Conquistadors burned the (wooden structures of the) city to the ground.

“No climbing the structures”

The “Tree of Life”

Tree of Life:

This tree sprouted up from the ruins after the earthquake of ’76.

Our guide suggested that the seed had been buried in the ruins when they were destroyed hundreds of years ago, and that the earthquake made it possible for the seed to grow. It is the only tree of its kind within over 200 miles of the ruins. He also suggested that the Mayans either brought the seed to Iximche or it was a gift from far away.

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Breathtaking.

An Altar

Circular Altar:

Many sacrifices were performed here. Next to this altar there was a small hole almost like a small well. Our guide said that the hole was where the “liquid offerings” were presented. Often the blood from this altar was poured down there.

The threshold into the unknown

Only part of the city was excavated. The man who started excavating the city passed away before further work cold be done…apparently there is not enough funding to continue. The further away you got from the entrance of the city, the more earth covered the rock. They said that over 50% remains uncovered!

Our guide said that the city was home to at least two “ruling families”. They were peaceful people and, he said, that ultimately lead to their downfall when the conquistadors came. They took them for friends and welcomed them. I’m not sure how long after, but they eventually took over the city, killed many of the residents, and burned it to the ground.  Our contact at the company suggested that had the Mayans in neighboring cities not been either too proud or too stubborn, they could have easily banded together to form an alliance and defeat the Spaniards. Unfortunately that was not the case and history happened as it did.

Photography, Travel

Trip To Guatemala: Art in the City

In addition to hundreds and hundreds of hand-painted signs on businesses edifices, there was a lot of cool street art in Guatemala. I really enjoyed seeing the various murals around town. It reminded me of my time in Barcelona where street artwork is more-or-less encouraged. There was a more tasteful graffiti there than in the states, and I think that Guatemalan graffiti (at least what I saw and photographed) is more like that. These are some of my favorite paintings and murals:

I really liked this combo. The Storm Trooper and Hobbes, or is it Tony the Tiger?
I wish this one weren’t so blurry! I love the grinning calavera.
Cool characters and tagging!

The way my camera exposed this photograph is pretty cool. Although unintentional, it works well with the artwork.

There are some neat characters here!

This painting was on the way to Antigua. I love the colors! I like that it is a playful painting too, a bright contrast to the (sloppy) tagging to the left of the kite.

A colorful kite. Who says graffiti has to be edgy and dark?

We passed this painting on the way to work every day. I almost missed the opportunity to snap a photo of it. Fortunately we got stuck in traffic on the last day and I was able to get a good photo. “Soft” had work all over town. I am not sure who the artist is/was, but they are very prolific!

My very favorite.

This was my favorite “soft” piece, though. I really like the colors of this last photograph.

Stay tuned for my next post: MY TRIP TO GUATEMALA: A TRIP TO THE MAYAN RUINS!

Photography, Travel

My Trip to Guatemala

¡Hola! ¿Qué Pasa?

We got back from Guatemala over the weekend. Wow. What a fantastic trip!

I took TONS and TONS of photographs throughout the trip, and I would love to share some of them. This was my first time to Central America, and I had a great time. We worked hard every day that we were there, except for the last day when we got a chance to see MAYAN RUINS and Antigua. These are photographs that I think are the most worth sharing.

A week in  Guatemala City through my eyes:

MOCAP: Let’s start off with the actual work. I can’t share much, but this is what *I* was doing most of the time that we were in Guatemala. Monitoring the motion capture process and making sure that all data recorded was as close to perfect as possible. If you’re not sure about how motion capture works, feel free to ask me or look it up online. It’s an awesome process and the technology we use is cutting edge.

Staring at screens: This is what I saw for 9+/- hours a day for 7 days!

A shot of the Motion Capture Process in action!

MUSIC: Without going in to too much detail on this either, the music in the game will be made using these Mayan Flutes. We were able to hear a historian and musician play almost all of these incredible flutes. Each one has a completely unique sound, many are inspired by the actual animals that they are supposed to sound and look like. The Murciélago (or Bat) was the most interesting, mysterious, and beautiful. I wish that I had recorded a video with my camera.

Ancient flutes. Some are thousands of years old.

All of these Mayan flutes were made by hand and are originals or replicas. Each has a different sound.

God of Maiz (corn) Flute.

The City: Never being to Guatemala, but hearing many stories before I left, I thought that the entire Guatemala City…and likely the whole country would look like this. Although there are many people who live in poverty, there is a large middle class that lives in homes and apartments that, from what I’ve heard from the young men and women working at the studio, are not too different from where myself or my friends live in L.A.. True there is a disparity between the classes, but it was good to know that the standard of living in Guatemala City seems to be improving for many.

Homes of some of the poorer residents in the city.

Residential. Visible on the drive between where we stayed and where we were working.

Farmland on the way to Antigua.

I thought this is what most of Guatemala would look like. On our way to Antigua.

Radio Stars: One evening after work, we were invited to be on a radio program that is very popular in Guatemala. The host Phantom, the gentleman wearing the skull mask and Darth Vader shirt, was a pretty funny guy. We were all interviewed about what we do, why we are in Guatemala, and more. There aren’t many companies doing what we were doing, so this was a first for the radio show. Our contact at the studio has been on once or twice, though, and he translated for us.  We had a great time. We were instant stars.

Radio Stars

Downtown: We spent most of our time in Guatemala City. The city is like any other metropolitan city I’ve been to. I was pretty impressed both with the architecture and the roads. There were few stop lights and very few road markings (lines, lanes, etc.) but we saw very few accidents. Here in L.A. accidents are a dime a dozen. I was amazed that we only saw two cars broken down on the road, and it looked like one had a flat. The other seemed to have engine trouble. Maybe we just missed the accidents, but I was impressed that, despite the lack of lanes and “rules” that we seem to have in the States, everyone was driving along just fine. I was terrified, though.

I love this blue roof on this large church in downtown Guatemala City.

A lovely garden on the front lawn of a municipal building in downtown Guatemala City.

On the grid! This has to be a fire hazard!
An amazing view from the glass windows and ceiling at our hotel.


There were things that were the same, but different. Take stop signs for instance:

Traffic light and stop sign in downtown Guatemala City

A lovely urban garden. Look at all those plants!

Thank you for viewing the work/travel photos I took while in Guatemala.  Coming next: ART AROUND GUATEMALA!

Stay tuned for the next post!