September 27th, 2018 - November 7th, 2018 // Favorite Books

I can't share the specifics of why yet, but my last few months have been a season of recognition; meaning that my efforts have become something significant and when I make and share my work, it no longer feels like it's me screaming into the void. Seasons like this make me especially proud of the fact that I am a self-taught artist.

But while this path is entirely valid, it does mean you might have to bumble around with figuring out what goes on a CV or how to structure invoices a bit more as you begin as an emerging artist.

Over the years I have collected a few gems of resources, that I have relied heavily upon and found success.

I know many of my followers who also are pursuing the arts, who like me, are doing so without an academic background, so I thought I would quickly share the books I keep with me at all times.

Nothing beats just trusting your gut though. So take all of these recommendations with a grain of salt. What works for me may not work for you, and that doesn't mean that either is wrong or right.

"Nature and Its Symbols" written by Lucia Impelluso, translated by Stephen Sartarelli.

This is part of the "A Guide to Imagery" series of books I have been slowly collecting over the years, in my experience, this particular title has been the most difficult to find. But if you use natural motifs, it's worth the trouble, because this book is tailored to you. So often I flip through this book to find inspiration. And while someone working outside of this subject matter might not find this particular book valuable, I bet any artist will find something useful in any of the other books in the series, which vary from everything to the depiction of magic in art to symbols of power.

I love this book so much I buy it any time I find it and often give it away.

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"The Artist's Guide to Grant Writing" by Gigi Rosenberg

This book is a bit older, but non the less, incredibly useful. (All though I do wish there is an update) If you are an artist and are uncomfortable or unfamiliar with the grant process, this book will walk you through it and by the end of it, you'll have a foundation that will be useful for the rest of your life. I became a better communicator after reading this book, in every way.

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"Art/Work" by Heather Darcy Bhandari and Jonathan Melber

The holy grail.

Get a request for something you have never done before?

Look it up here for best practice.

Don't know what insurance to get?

Look up what to look for here.

Curious to know how to make a living?

Yeah, it even goes over how to do that.

The brilliance of this book is that is simple, straightforward and allows room for growth and for YOU to make informed business decisions. I value this book so much that I take it on vacation, just in case I get a tricky email and need to reference it quickly. I'm getting a second copy just because I'm a worry wart and I don't want to ever be without it.

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I've linked each title to where you can find them to Amazon, and these are not affiliate links, if you can find them in a local mom and pop shop, please do.

Enjoy.

August 9th, 2018 - September 26th, 2018 // Summer Details!

The last few weeks have been frantic as I am finishing up shooting late summer blooms and finalizing my schedule for this fall and winter.

I don't have much to write about today, as I just wanted to highlight some of the beautiful things I have been privileged to photograph this summer. I couldn't wait to collage them before I shared them with you.

The next time you see these images, they will be in the finished work. And hopefully, I'll remember to update this post with links to where ever these end up!

-MJ

July 3rd, 2018 - August 8th, 2018 // New Website!

If you follow me and my process, you probably know that my summers are harsh; I have to photograph all of the botanicals I use to make my digital collages during the warmer months because it's the only time it's affordable to do so. (And has the most options.) It's also the season I show the most and get the most inquiries. In short; I'm always busy.

Because of this, I usually end up a bit burnt out by fall. So this year, I decided to take a month-long social media sabbatical, a gift to myself for my birthday earlier last month. I made use of that extra time by finally sitting down and tackling something that has been on my to-do list for months. Re-branding my website.

I have been wanting to update and re-organize this space for about a year or so now. Every time I set aside time to tackle it, something came up, or I had something I wanted to get done first. It was a priority, but not enough of one, after all, my previous website was technically fine, just not what I wanted.

That said, I'm so glad I finally made time.

A friend of mine who checked out the new site said, "... it's a magical world I would like to live in" and thats exactly how I feel about it too. (All though, I probably do live in it a bit.)

If you haven't yet, please check around and let me know what you think.  And keep an eye out for some hidden little details along the way.

-MJ

 New logo; make sure to keep an eye on it.

New logo; make sure to keep an eye on it.

June 22nd, 2018 - July 2nd, 2018 // 31st Birthday Self-Portrait

For the last five years or so, I have made a self-portrait around my birthday, however this year I wasn't entirely sure I would be able to fit it in. The last week of my 30th year felt like an entire month's worth of ups and downs and running around. So taking an afternoon mid-week to pull this together felt a bit selfish and as if I didn't have my priorities in order; I had to keep reminding myself that when I feel overwhelmed, it is the right time to stop and make something because making is essential to my well-being. 

In this case, I had decided earlier this month to make myself a pink Rococo wig, for no other reason than earlier this year I made a big fluffy Marie Antoinette inspired wig for another project and really struggled with that process, so I wanted another shot at it to put into practice everything I had learned. 

My first wig was part of a personal project series named Commoditize, which I suspect I'll be posting more about when I wrap up the final image and write an overview of the entire series. Until then, you can view the wig here. 

That wig took me months, and a docked me a few ego points. This wig took me a day and recouped a few of those ego points. I don't plan on making another pompadour style wig, but it's nice to know that I have that in my bag of tricks now. 

While I was planning on semi-cosplaying as an 18th French Queen, I still wanted something that was defining of myself. So I designed the wig using some recycled silk-flowers found at Seattle ReCreative, because, could it be a portrait of me without flowers? The answer is no.  

Making the image was simple; I just set up my Oliphant backdrop (one of my favorite possessions ever) near my north facing window, set up my tripod and spent the afternoon experimenting with different poses. 

I wasn't expecting to really love the resulting image as much as I do. It may become my new bio photo. 

-MJ 

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