2014 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 7,500 times in 2014. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 6 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

Let It Go

We’ve had unusually mild weather here and that’s been great!  I got the green Christmas I asked Santa for and yet I’ve been kind of Frozen lately.

I finally saw it – a student let me borrow the video and I can completely understand its broad appeal.  Boys and girls seem to like the message equally.  I’m thinking just about everyone can in some way identify with Elsa.

We all have something that makes us feel both powerful and powerless depending on the way we handle outside influences.  The song Let it Go is about the freedom of being okay with whatever that thing is.  Elsa runs away and when she’s alone, she creates an amazing environment and in that moment, she feels extremely happy in isolation because no one is there to criticize her or make her feel like she is wrong, and she’s just not afraid anymore.  She can be exactly who she is, good, bad, ugly or what have you, and be okay with it.  It is such an empowering moment that transcends the boundaries of a cartoon character’s angst and becomes a theme song for everyone who has ever felt alone in this world.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L0MK7qz13bU

I tend to feel happiest when I don’t let the outside world influence my decisions, but let’s face it – that is very difficult.   1997 was probably my most productive year as an artist or maybe I just feel that way because it was the year Jasper was born, the year I was finally solvent enough to be on my own again and the year I created a series of paintings that I called Messages From the Other Voice, in which I incorporated poetry infused with positive messages.

Karen Tashkovski, Power, 18" x 36", 1997, $675
Karen Tashkovski, Power, 18″ x 36″, 1997, $675

I have the above painting in my bedroom.  The sentiment is still incredibly relevant to my life.  It is a message for me to stay on the path I’m on and not give up on any dreams.  Almost like another me telling me not to worry, which is something I pretty much need to remind myself when I have one of those weird days when nothing seems to be going my way.

I call those days comedy gold, of course, because I assure you, I always have time to laugh at all the stupid things I say and do.  Maybe not right away, but eventually.

Karen Tashkovski, Strength, 18" x 36", 1997, oil & collage, $675
Karen Tashkovski, Strength, 18″ x 36″, 1997, oil & collage, $675
Karen Tashkovski, Peace, 18" x 36", oil & collage, $675
Karen Tashkovski, Peace, 18″ x 36″, oil & collage, $675

I’m not sure what to do next in regards to this art career, to tell you the truth.  I guess just keep doing what I’m doing.  I have a goal of having 3,000 Twitter followers by New Years Day.  I have almost 2,800 now so that is not outside the realm of possibility.   I know I need to upload more artwork to my Shopify site.  Why I haven’t done that yet is to do with my inability to move forward.

Karen Tashkovski, Hindrance, 1997, oil & collage, $675
Karen Tashkovski, Hindrance, 1997, oil & collage, $675

The painting above is about a specific person, really.  Someone I had a hard time letting go of and so, he was a hindrance, which is the title of the painting.  It stopped me from moving forward and yet, whenever I look at this painting I’m reminded that it is okay to feel, whether it be love or loss…or love lost.  I see my old self telling me she won’t let me down and that gives me the courage to just be that fearless person that I should be.

I have a lot in common with Frozen’s Elsa so that shouldn’t be a problem.  At it’s core, the movie is a story about the love between sisters.  Within a day of uploading those paintings to rebubble.com, my sister Sophie purchased a cell phone case decorated with one of my images.  She is always right there with me.  My first and best customer, and greatest supporter.

Breeze

http://www.redbubble.com/people/karentashkovski/works/13226854-breeze?grid_pos=1&p=iphone-case

Last year, in January, we had serious below zero frigid temperatures.  I’m not sure when the weather is going to turn colder around here.  But I don’t care.  The cold never really bothered me anyway.

 

 

 

 

The Dada in Me

The hardest part of this Shopify business is reading the instructions.  I’ve been working on it all afternoon and it’s still not in any way perfected.  I just get really frustrated with my lack of computer savvy, which means I definitely need to take a break.  I have uploaded twelve paintings to the site, but I’m confused about how to use their templates and I’m sure it is the simplest thing in the universe, and…blech.

Domino, 18" x 24", 2008, mixed media
Domino, 18″ x 24″, 2008, mixed media

Hopefully, I will get it together and it will all be good.

Perfect Fit, 18" x 24", 2008, mixed media
Perfect Fit, 18″ x 24″, 2008, mixed media

Here is the link to the sugar shoppe – http://karen-tashkovski-visual-artist.myshopify.com/  I uploaded the Talisman paintings.  There are twenty-four in the series but I only picked twelve.  The challenge will be getting those paintings to the customer with as little erased chalk as possible.  But when I added the chalk text, it was inevitable that the paintings would eventually erase.  The idea that love is fleeting, I guess.

4 Ever, 18" x 24", 2008, mixed media
4 Ever, 18″ x 24″, 2008, mixed media

What is your opinion about the duration of art?  Because these paintings have more than one fragile element.  I decided that I would not allow returns.  Not sure if that’s a bad idea – I mean, I can always change it – but who buys a painting and then thinks it is disposable?  The artwork could get damaged.  Pieces could fall off.  But I am not the art repairman, am I?  I know that Jasper Johns doesn’t offer to repair the found objects that break off his art.  If they do at all.  I’m pretty sure they are handled so carefully by art gallery and museum minions in white gloves.

It is the Dadaist perspective, like when the glass broke in that Duchamp piece, and he actually thought it enhanced the work.

to be looked at (from the other side of the glass) with one eye close to, for almost an hour

I would need to find the kind of patrons with disposable income who really understand this mindset and their responsibility in acquiring art.  I see the new owners as the guardians of…I was going to say my children, but that sounds so cheesy even in written form.

But if they are like children, then the analogy is the one out of SATC, when Miranda tells Steve, you try not to kill Brady when he’s with you and I’ll try not to kill him when he’s here.  I’m paraphrasing – can’t remember the exact line, but you get the gist.

 

 

The Scholastic Game

Since my recent website update, I have been experimenting with different themes.  Lots of redecorating.  I’m sure I’ll change it and change it back a few more times before the year ends!  It’s fun.  I ❤ wordpress.com!  What do you think of the place?

I had a snow day today, which consisted mainly of snow-blowing the driveway (twice so far – I think I’ll go out there again in a couple hours).  I also cleaned the house.  I had every intention of doing more art career stuff but got sidetracked by a couple hours of pilates and sit-ups, as well as flopping around reading fashion magazines and perusing Facebook then finally uploading the last pictures of my students’ artwork for Scholastics.

The regional deadline for the Scholastic Art Awards is right around the beginning of Christmas vacation.  Artwork is judged via JPEGs the first week of January.  I’m entering ten pieces this year.

Fayetteville NY Bulletin 1981 – 1087 

For me, winning those awards as a student  was more or less the springboard into this art journey.  I had been getting only packets for engineering colleges in the mail during my junior year in high school because I was in accelerated math classes.  All of my classmates are now CEOs of major companies or prestigious doctors, but no matter.  I still can’t tell you what an engineer does, lol.  I won a blue ribbon for my senior portfolio and three awards for my three individual entries – two more blue ribbons and a gold key.  And that sealed the deal for me.  I thought it meant something, like a sign that art was the right direction for me.

my Scholastic portfolio 001

I shouldn’t say it like that.  I didn’t pick art on a whim or because of some dumb magical thinking scenario.  I knew it was the right thing for me.  I think we’ve had this conversation before.

My students’ art is way better than this stuff but they don’t always win.  Competition these days has been taken to an otherworldly level and it will always be disappointing to at least one someone who is uber-talented.  There’s no way around that.  But the dreams are very much alive and the excitement is building!

 

 

Consumation

When I was in college, my fashion design professor gave this bit of advice.  Always start a conversation, whether it is in a cover letter, job interview or any networking opportunity, with the following statement:

My life is consumed with fashion.

The truth is that I am consumed with a lot of things – consumed, obsessed, whatever you what to call it – but what happens is I get an idea in my head and get all gung-ho/coo-coo-munga on it.  The fashionista in me got into a lot of financial trouble this way, which happened the moment I found a kindred spirit in Trina Turk whose size 2s fit me to perfection.

With teaching, I would get an idea for an extra-curricular project and run with it to the point of extremes where it would usurp my personal life.  There were many years where I would work 12-hour plus days in order to prep extra lessons that I technically did not need to do.  As of recently, I’ve learned to figure out a better method of time management.  Of course, that took me twenty years of trial and error, but now everything seems so manageable that I have time to pursue something else.

Which leads me to this blog – website and my art career.

I’m still working out details of selling art on-line, but yes, it is starting to happen.  Shopify will wait a bit longer, as I pursue my friend Sheri D’Elia’s (ArtistShera.com) route – redbubble.

www.redbubble.com is a site that sells merchandise with artwork on it.  I spent the better part of last night uploading some watercolor paintings and I’m just so excited by this endeavor.  Even if I don’t sell a thing, I feel enormously successful, because I took the leap, finally, and put myself out there.

Ocean by Karen Tashkovski     Doorway by Karen Tashkovski     Black Walnut by Karen Tashkovski

The paintings look incredible on those cell phone cover things. Makes me want to go out and get a cell phone.  Yes, that’s right.  I am so last century when it comes to personal technology that I seriously am in danger of becoming an anachronism.  I’m planning to get an I-phone soon, mainly to extend my social media take-over (lol) to include Instagram, where I have read many artists have launched their careers into the stratosphere of financial success.

http://www.vogue.com/872448/buying-and-selling-art-on-instagram/

I’m working on having 2,000 twitter followers by midnight.  I’m at 1,959 right now and that seems an achievement in itself since I started tweeting only about six weeks ago, something like that.  People have been so generous with the re-tweeting and so on.  I feel incredibly lucky/blessed/grateful – whatever you want to call it, that this stuff is all happening now.  I almost feel like I wasn’t ready before, if that makes any sense.

https://twitter.com/karentashkovski

I’m a late bloomer.

What consumes you?

Iris by Karen Tashkovski