Thursday, March 27, 2008

New Work! More Signs!

Just in time for Mother's Day! Series 4 of the By Order of the Management Series is complete. Now the entire series is 32 signs covering all kinds of parental mandates.

As seen on Etsy.

Friday, March 21, 2008

New Work! Girls Vs. Boys!

I thought to myself, "Why should grown-ups get to make all the rules?" These 2 signs should say "By Order of the Junior Management."

Available on Etsy.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Mark Jenkins

I think the less I say about this the better, except that it is genius! Go find out for yourself what it is.

Mark Jenkins

A little fun via Jackson Pollock and the folks at

Jackson Pollock was my very favorite artist when I was younger. Last week, during Jury duty, I was chatting with another juror about the Museum of Modern Art in New York. And she told me about the first time she stood in front of a painting by her favorite artist. She got chills.

The funny thing is, I had the exact same experience the first time a stood in front of a Jackson Pollock, in the very same museum.

The folks at have a really neat little application on their site that lets you let your inner Jackson Pollock out. See it here.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Back from a week of too much bad stuff, but just enough good...

Sorry for the dearth of communication this past week. I received a Jury Duty summons and I guess, despite my soul patch and need of a haircut, I exude fairness and impartiality. I was immediately chosen for the first jury pool, was one of the first 12 chosen for questioning, and got picked on the first go-round.

That trial ended in a plea without the jury being empaneled, so the Judge asked us to come back the next day, in case we were needed for another trial.

Once again, first pitch, out of the park. Chosen, picked, seated, and this time, empaneled. So for the rest of the week and half of this past Monday, my fellow jurors and I listened to evidence meant to prove or disprove that a man in his 60's had committed sexual battery against one of his daughter's 16-year old friends.

It's hard stuff to listen to, and a hard decision to make as to which party is telling the truth. In the end, we all agreed that the state's evidence proved that the guy did it.

I dreaded going to Jury Duty, but I met some really interesting people. Since we couldn't talk about the case, and we spent several hours a day outside of the courtroom talking about each other while matters were discussed outside of our presence.

One man's son just made captain in Iraq, and also just received the Bronze Star. His pride in his son and his service shone on his face, but what was just as evident is how worry for his son's safety was constant.

This week in Atlanta, near my old neighborhood, in fact (I lived in Grant Park for 2 years in the late '90s) a tornado did a lot of damage. It passed just 4 blocks from my last place of employment, broadcast design firm Primal Screen. I saw pictures of damage to buildings I used to drive by every day to and from work, so I was worried for my friends still living there.

I had not had an opportunity to talk to any of them much over the last year, so it gave me a little bit of a chance to catch up with some of them, and a chance to thank my old boss for surrounding me with tin toy robots for a couple of years. That and his example that it's never too late to do something you love have helped me out a bit. And I found out one of my friends is about to have a baby.

So somewhere, a guy just received a sentence (don't know yet what is was) for doing something stupid and inappropriate. Most likely, he will have to register as a sex offender, which means all his neighbors will get a letter telling them of his status. The parents of his daughter's friends will have to consider whether they should let their daughter go over to his house, or even associate with his daughter. And that's all bad for his family. But it's less likely that he'll ever do what he did again.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Carson Ellis - Artist/ Illustrator

Very cool interview with Carson Ellis an artist/Illustrator who has done work for the Decemberists, one of my very favorite Bands.

And, just for good measure, a cool Decemberists video:

60 Second Sketches

Part of my new world-wide campaign to get the word out about my work and spread John W. Golden goodness all over the place...Try to guess what the subject is before the end.

If you like these videos, feel free to share them with all your friends. All of them. Yeah, even that guy. Seriously.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Rob Kalin quoted on NPR...

NPR had an article with some interesting info about Etsy and making things for a living. You hafta scroll down a bit. Good to know.

Read the article here.

New Lunastrella: Headphones

I love putting on a pair of headphones and hearing little audio Easter eggs I never knew were there. And while this new little earbuds are great, there is nothing liking slipping a big padded pair of cans and being separated from your surroundings.

Available on Etsy.

New Lunastrella : Instant Camera

Got this new piece together this morning for my Lunastrella Series. Who hasn't put a piece of instant film under their armpit to speed themselves toward a moment captured in time. Okay, well now you know that secret. I think it also helps to make the film develop more evenly.

The text in this one, like all the Lunastrella pieces, has meaning beyond the obvious.

This one's over on Etsy. Sorry, does not come with that satisfying whirr as the film spits out.

Saturday, March 08, 2008

What to do on a Saturday Night?

I'm gonna try to watch a movie that my wife and I have had for 5 days. We got it out of Redbox, which only costs a dollar a day. Which is only a great deal if you actually watch it quickly. We also sometimes use UnBox, which lets us download movies to our Tivo. That's better suited for our habits.

Prospects are good for actually watching the movie tonight though. Two younger kids are already in bed, and the oldest will entertain himself. I'll wait to see how good it is before I reveal what movie it is, 'cause it looks good, but I have seen some stinker reviews.

Right now, I am trying to watch a so far beautiful film called Heima by the Icelandic Band Sigur Rós. It's kind of a tour doc, with lots and lots of amazing shots of Iceland. I have only seen 20 minutes so far, but already I want to recommend it.

You can watch it all on You Tube.

Transferring videos

I finally got around to converting 11 years worth of home videos to digital files. This was the funniest one. This is my son being perplexed by a video camera's LCD screen.

Friday, March 07, 2008

Must Be Something in the Water... Candy L. Pegram

Something in the Water is a series meant to showcase Etsy artists living nearby me. We've got a lot of talented people round here, and if I can help shine a light on those folks, great!

Original Monkey Face Painting on Wood

© Candy L. Pegram, 12"x12"

I first came across Candy's work at a local show held here from time to time called "Art for the Masses". Her work really stood out among the huge crowd there. She had these great superhero paintings that I just loved, and more importantly, I knew my wife would love. She (my wife) does, and she is a far better judge of art than I am.

Sadly, I did not snatch one up, and I'm not sure that she still does them. Candy combines her personal way of seeing things with a warm folkish technique that is very appealing.

Her Artist Statement:

I begin each painting with a naive idea of what the final outcome will be. Consequently, a piece will evolve through layers of color, often sanded off several times to achieve a desired depth of feel. I favor images with hefty strokes and bold outlines, new yet familiar, evocative of a powerful collective pop culture memory of childhood toys, cartoons and characters. Currently I use wood as a canvas for its unique texture and inviting irregularity which tends to forgive my doubt and reward my instincts. My paintings tend to strike a random yet unidentifiably familiar chord that hopefully reminds us of our youths; when life was saturated with color and endless wonder.

Get them while you can at her Etsy store.

What's behind the bird collage series....

A deep-seated fear of all things avian. Just kidding. Really I am drawn to the design of birds, in general.

This series really began about 18 years ago, when I found a book, which will remained unnamed, that had lots of cool old illustrations in it. The book, at the time, was not yet part of the public domain, so I waited a long time for that to come to pass.

Prior to the birds, I wasn't really doing a lot of collage, and I didn't do any that used public domain images. If I collaged it, I had created the image from scratch.

I don't like to use found public domain images as I find them, so for the birds, which start out really small, I alter the image as much as I feel I can without changing the antique feel. Then I create the background using several layers of images of urban textures that I have taken.

Once the bird and the background are in place, I paint some color onto the background using my custom photoshop brushes. And that is pretty much it.

I have been a little surprised at people's love for birds and for this series. Of course, actual birds can be beautiful, but I sense that there is something deeper to people's affinity for birds. Someone suggested to me that maybe it is a friendly envy of birds ability to fly. I don't know. No answers here.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Blog comments are my new message from a stranger?

So I finished my little novella about finally getting around to making art for a living.

I think if I boiled down all the words in my "Getting what you wanted posts" to a single point, it would be that you don't get what you want until you are ready to do what you have to do to have it. And by that I mean fully commit to it. That means agreeing with yourself to complete tasks that you aren't aware of yet. To do the less exciting aspects of being an art-based business. To leave the certainty of a regular paycheck and trust that your decisions will move you forward on your path, and when they don't, trust that you will be able to recognize your mistakes and minimize their impact.

In writing about some of the parts of my progression to becoming a working artist, I covered some of the less tangible things that occurred along the way, like the message I received from a stranger, etc. that I felt were less common experiences in such a process. I think everyone has those moments, or at least I hope they do, that allows them to grow either personally or professionally. It's whether or not you are fortunate enough to recognize those moments and take something positive away from them that is different for each of us.

The most common experience, in getting what you want is, in my opinion, working hard for it. There are some people who get what appears to be what they want with what looks like little or no work, but I think those folks pay a price that we don't see, in terms of happiness, privacy, etc. I also don't think they get to have and enjoy what they want for as long as the people who take a longer, harder path to it.

Someone commented on this blog that I was fortunate to have this success fall into my lap, and while I have been very fortunate, it has never really felt like success was falling into my lap, so to speak. If you read a good amount of artists bios, you will find many artists who did not know that they wanted to be an artist until some gift of art supplies or a life-changing event opened their eyes to the possibility. I have always seen myself as wanting to be a full-time artist, as knowing that being an artist was what I wanted to do. And until something like Etsy came along, that just wasn't a possibility for me. So I tend to think that I worked toward this moment for a major part of my life.

But maybe I didn't. Maybe I stumbled upon success. I know I still have a lot left to do, and I think I am not sitting around admiring my "empire".

I have never thought myself to be an accidental artist. Not because I don't like accidental artists, but because I have been trying to be an artist for so long that it certainly is not an accident. So when someone tells me that it kinda looks like I am, I take notice. I thought about this for several weeks, and toward the end of that time, I began to wonder what purpose that comment and my subsequent thought about it is supposed to have for me.

And it finally occurred to me, maybe I am (figuratively) sitting around admiring my hard work. The daily grind of running an art business could be fooling me into thinking that I am progressing and doing all I can to get my work out. Perhaps even though I know I have more work to do as an artist, I'm not really necessarily doing it.

My works hours are quite a bit less than they used to be, and where there once used to be no separation between work and home life (because it was almost all work life), there is separation now. Most of work stays at the studio, and time at home is spent being at home, instead of toiling away to all hours of the night.

So, here again, someone I don't know has said something to me that has snapped me out of my stupor. Thanks stranger.

Monday, March 03, 2008

Newsletter Re-Launch – $100 Shopping Spree Contest

I am preparing to relaunch my e-mail newsletter, which features more info about my work and the work of other Etsy artists. There will also be some serious Etsy Seller Tips, new work announcements and shop updates.

As part of the relaunch, I am holding a contest: Everyone who joins before March 31 has a chance to win a $100 shopping spree from my Etsy store, johnwgolden. After March, there will be a monthly drawing from the subscriber pool for a Free Print up to $30 in value.

Fine Print: I hate to have to say this, but due to the varying laws regarding contests in various countries, the shopping spree contest and monthly drawings are only open to U. S. residents. No purchase is necessary and this contest is void where prohibited.

Visit my Website to subscribe.