My name is Erika. I'm in love with making art, collecting old things & chasing after my two kiddos. This blog is a peek into my happy accidents & plots of total world domination.


Thursday, March 31, 2011

What happened to March?

Seriously.. What happened to March? Trees are getting little leafy buds and flowers are springing up and it's been pouring rain. RAIN!  I know the plants need the water but it's been pouring! The weather has been cold.. gray.. grim.. I am ready for sunshine.. 80 degree weather.. flipflops.. and summer dresses.  :)  I leave for Asia in about a month and I have so much painting to do!
This is a little something that I have been working on.  1952 Dictionary pages collaged on wood which have been scrapped from the lumber mill.  I oil painted a few people getting ready to ride the subway.  I loved painting their faces. 
If you are in P-town (I am so 90's) then come check out one of my shows for April.  There are only a few more days for my kickstarter project, check out the video.
Where: Urban Grind Coffee
2214 NE Oregon St. Portland OR 97232
When: Opening Reception: Saturday, April 2nd 6pm-9pm
On display for the month of April: Mon.-Fri.: 7am-5pm; Sat.:9am-5pm
Early this year, 24 artists got together and exchanged photographs of themselves for the purpose of painting portraits of each other. None of the artists know who is painting whom. Artwork will be revealed at the opening, April 2.

Annual Chair Affair
The Chair Affair raises funds for Community Warehouse so they can continue to help low-income people improve the quality of their lives and become self-sufficient by providing them with basic household furnishings.  I donated a gorgeous chair.
Two nights:
Thursday, April 28, 5:30-8:30 p.m. “Reserved Seat” dinner party
Friday, April 29, 5;00-9:00 p.m. Our “Standing Room Only” party where you can meet the artists, enjoy a “Hot Seat” cocktail, bid on chairs+, have great food and wine, and participate in creative ways to show support for Community WarehouseFor more information about attending the event visit their website.

25th Annual Cascade Aids Project Art Auction
300 artists donated artwork for this event and it goes to helping preventing, educating and assisting individuals with HIV/AIDS.  I donated an oil painting for this event. 
April 30th 
6:00 pm - Patron Event- $250 a ticket
8:00 pm - Grand Event $100 a ticket 
For more information please visit their website.

My Kickstarter Project

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Water for Elephants

Have you read the book Water for Elephants?  I read it recently and they are coming out with a movie with Reese Witherspoon.  I totally loved the book, and it seems like everytime I fall in love with the book, I end up hating the movie. The book is about a journey of a young man and his adventures with love, the circus, and finding himself.
This year I am a participating and donating a chair in the annual Community Warehouse Chair Affair.  Artists refurbish chairs and then people bid on the chair in an auction and all the proceeds go to Community Warehouse. CW is an organization that collects and redistributes furniture to low income individuals and families.  I wanted to paint a chair that had a little bit of spring, circus stripes, and the romance of the book.
I collaged 1950's dictionary pages on the chair and painted peonies on the seat and back.  The circus stripes are a scrumptious aqua and glittery gold.  I did a coat of resin- so can sit in the chair :).  Happy Hump day!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Got Art Mail?

I have been hard at work on making and sending out art mail.  My art mail list keeps growing and I hope I can keep up because I just love having little pieces of art going out into the world.  Don't you just love getting snail mail as much as I do? I think it's the TLC.   Also I am a little selfish because I love receiving art mail- its like getting a special surprise when you least expect it.
Want some art mail? If you make a small pledge to my amazing kickstarter project- I will send you a special piece of art mail all the way from Hong Kong and beyond. :)

Monday, March 28, 2011

Motivation Monday- The Glitz

Did you have a good weekend? Mine was filled with cuddly little pugs, reading, sipping on coffee, and a delicious sushi date.  I started working on my crazy to-do list for this week and already have a feeling of accomplishment that I even started on a to do list. :)
Do you know that feeling when you get an idea? I am talking about that little spark.. that little wish of an idea.  That little sparkle of possibility.  I know life can be tough and not always easy.  Don't let that spark float away.  Don't let that energy get away from you and do not let doubt and discouragement in.   Enjoy that energy, that's what it's all about.
Happy Monday!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

SXSW it's a wrap!

 SXSW was simply amazing and I think looking back the thing that I want to hold on to the most about the conference was the magic.  Even though we have been back for a little over a week- it's almost as if your life goes on hold for SXSW and then you come back and rejoin life.  :)  I learned a whole lot and here is a few things that I learned over all.
1.  How important it is to make your mark.  I have never meet so many passionate people all in one place and I know in regular life people aren't always as positive and passionate.   SXSW made me realize that you need to think about your greater good and don't let other stuff drag you down. It's about remembering what's important.
2.  Finding your voice.  I know that you all are my friends but I work really hard to try and bring my personality to my social media.
3.  Power of twitter.   I know twitter has been around forever and there are so many people who have a million more followers than me.  Well I want to admit something,  I didn't really get twitter.  I understand the basic purpose of twitter, you follow your friends and make some new friends.. you follow famous people whom you want to know what they eat for breakfast.  I often thought, where do I fit into twitter?  I don't really read the news- I mean if aliens landed on earth- then I read the news.  SXSW opened my eyes- its about meeting like minded people that are interested in the same things you are and it's also about putting yourself out there. I knew the light bulb was bound to turn on sooner or later.  Want to talk with me on twitter?
Have a super weekend! :) There is a big rumor there could be some sunshine in Portland this weekend but who knows I live in the land of the gray and rain.  Motivation Monday will resume on Monday.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Lets talk- SXSW part 2

One of my favorite talks of SXSW that stood out to me was Gary Vee.  My husband has mentioned him before but of course I never really paid any attention.  :) Funny story someone came up to me at the conference and told me my husband is brilliant.  I told the person- doesn't that make me a genius?  lol
Gary Vee, is in the wine business and he has turned a small wine business into a 60 million dollar company , and his goal is to buy the Jets (the football team). He loves wine but he is a hell of a marketer and curses quite a bit.  They even kept track of his cursing during his talk and during question and answer they let him know what the tally was.
One of the highlights of the talk was during the question and answer portion and a graphic designer gets on the microphone.  He introduces himself and says that he participated in Gary Vee's contest for designing the cover of Gary Vee's latest book The Thank You Economy. The designer sent off his work and didn't hear back from Gary for quite some time.  This was a project that the only prize was to be on the cover and the winner would only be getting publicity from the book.  So the designer hears back and he didn't get the cover and he was a little bummed.  He goes out and decides to buy the book when it came out and starts flipping through the book.  So guess what? Everyone who submitted for the cover got their work in the back of the book in glossy and in color.  The graphic designer thanked Gary and he let Gary know he was getting quite a bit of work from it.  Gary told him that the publisher wanted to cut the color and glossy because it was cutting into their figures but Gary wanted it in color and glossy.
Fine, I drank the kool aid and it was delicious.  He was an amazing speaker and I was inspired.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

5 interesting facts about Hong Kong.

I am researching Hong Kong for my kickstarter project and I wanted to share with you some amazing fun facts.  :) Be warned #4 is a little gross.. but interesting.  I may be a tiny bit obsessed with finding out as much information as I can before I go.
 1. A bun festival is organized on Cheung Chau Island, between April and May, every year. It is intended to appease the hungry ghosts roaming around the island.  They make bun towers and you go up and snatch a bun,  but since 2007 it's made of plastic buns.  Can you imagine a tower made of real buns? I wonder what's the shelf life. :) The higher you are able to grab a bun, the better fortune you will have.
2.  Hong Kong has more Rolls Royce’s per person than any other city in the world.  I think I have seen maybe 1 Rolls in my life and soon to be surrounded by them.
3.   If you eat Noodles on your birthday- it will extend your life.  I wonder if I can start eating noodles now and I can catch up on my non eating noodle birthday years.
4.  Hong Kong is considered the most densely populated city in the world. One of Hong Kong's major exports is human sewage, which the Chinese use to fertilize farmlands.  :) I warned you about this one.
 5.  Residents of Hong Kong are referred to as Hong Kongers.   
 Happy Wednesday! Can you believe almost weekend time?  

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Bottoms Up! - SXSW Part 1

What is interesting about the whole SXSW experience is looking back and remembering and seeing what really you remember.  It's a little foggy! :)
One of the big reasons why people go to SXSW is for the parties.  I have been to other conferences and this is unlike anything that I have ever seen before.  Basically the conferences start around 9 am and goes through out the day.  There are many different companies that set up tents/trailers and loungers all over down town Austin with free booze and goodies.  ( I am a sucker for swag.  Give me a paperclip with a company logo and I am so there. lol).
Then at night the parties happen, and most have free booze and amazing bands and tons of people.  I have never been to a conference where you meet SVPs, CEOS, co-founders etc and they listen to your elevator pitch of whatever you do.  This is a photo of the amount of business cards I received and all the amazing and talented people I met.
I also have never seen so many smart people in one space- in fact I felt a little dumb. lol.  Also this is the largest this portion of the conference that it has ever been.  It was a ZOO!  It was a complete zoo from going to the talks and staying out till 3:00 am every night.  I felt like a 21er all over again.  (Don't judge me, yes I was that crazy but that was a long time ago.. well maybe I am still a little crazy.) I have no voice, but I am so thrilled about the over all experience. 

Monday, March 21, 2011

How I want to help Japan.

I am at 16 days in to my kickstarter project and I am going to do something special this week.  I know that a lot of my thoughts are with the people in Japan because of the devastating earthquake and tsunami.  Please pledge to my kickstarter this week, I plan on donating 50% of the proceeds that are pledged this week will go to helping the Red Cross in Japan.  I would love the opportunity for my art to make a difference.
The reason why I started my kickstarter project was to fund an IPad/coffee table book of photos and paintings of my self made artist residency in Hong Kong.  I am obsessed with painting subways and tunnels because of the movement of the subway and capturing the diversity and culture of all walks of life.  Japan is a neighbor of Hong Kong but aren't we really all neighbors to each other?  As an artist I feel that it's my responsibility to capture life now and the more I am able to raise the more I can help.  Thanks for reading :) and Happy Monday.

Friday, March 18, 2011

something new

Is it cheesy that I missed blogging? I view my blog as a little bit of a record keeper of me chasing after my life goals and that is to make art and be able to support myself with my artwork.  SxSW interactive gave me the chance to meet so many like minded people that enjoy and are passionate about making things.  I can't even express to you how many creative and talented people I met this trip.
I have also decided that I am going to introduce something new to my blog.  I consider myself and my husband a creative couple.  We want to make sure we take as many chances and experience life to the fullest.  My husband won a contest at his work which is why we are able to go to the conference. I wanted to tell you why I wanted to go.
#1 I want to spread the word about my kickstarter project.
#2  To go to the actual conference.  SxSW interactive portion is where you can hear people speak that are make more tech related things.  There are lectures/panels/discussions/keynotes from everything to blogging to social media to web development and much much more!
#3 To meet like minded makers and doers.
I fully left my corporate finance job about 9 months ago to pursue my love for painting.  Well with me leaving my job, I knew I had to take on a little bit more responsibility with my home and my husband's passions.  My husband is a web developer (big geek) by day but we started a tech start up called ELan3 and my husband co-owns another start up called Backabit with a business partner.  Since I am good with numbers- I handle the books and paperwork for both companies.  Yes, they are both real life LLCs.  We do have help with the year end taxes with a CPA but I do all the accounting, licensing, and paperwork.  I also step in when they need some business help.  I do this because I want my husband to be able to focus on being creative with his work.  If he is helping me with my dream shouldn't I help him with his?   I really deserve flowers more than 2 times a year from my husband for all my hard work.  :)
So I have decided to incorporate under tips/tricks/diy- business and finance tips  on my blog.  I am no CPA or tax professional but I did work in finance for 6 years and was really great at it because I cared about my clients and wanted them to make good choices that were best for them.  The majority of the advice is not about making a quick buck because I am not psychic but just practical advice to help you make good choices.  I know you need to take big risks to receive a big reward but that's really not true for taxes/lending or any other kind of government related industry.  If you mess up on this stuff, they will come for you! lol  Really you need to educate yourself at at least understand your business choices. 
One of my personal successes when I worked at the bank and it was around when I first started.  I was helping a woman with her paperwork  and I was the fourth person she was dealing with.  She was really nice and a little emotional.  But wouldn't you be upset if you were getting or feeling like you were getting the run around with your money?  To make a long story short, I took care of her paperwork and I made sure she understood what she was doing.  She ended up crying and told me how great of an experience this was.  I was just happy to help because what if it was my money?  If I felt like that even if I was getting ripped off  five bucks, I would be pissed.  I realized that especially with finance you can make a few smart decisions that you can really help yourself from not getting screwed and maybe even come out a head. 
So of course my blog will always be about what inspires me and my love for painting but I think it's really important to send out little nuggets of knowledge into the world of the business side of things.  It is never to early or too late to learn about this stuff and it will really benefit your life.  I'm always learning new things to support /market all of our businesses.  I am not perfect but I can help and why not share?
Next week I am going to be doing a series of all SxSW interactive and all the amazing and wonderful things I wanted to share and learned.  There is also a special surprise next Friday for you!   Have a super weekend! I am up to my ears in work and cuddling with my pug monsters who I missed so much.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Love from Austin

Hello from SxSW! I am still in the zoo and let me tell you how incredible of an experience this has been.  I can't wait to share everything that I have learned along the way. 

We fly home soon and here is a little snippet of one of the most amazing bands we saw Headintheheart.  This is from the Internet Explorer 9 Party! Lots of Hugs from Austin.  :)

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Beep Beep! Next stop Austin

I am so excited we are going to Austin, TX for SxSW, just the interactive portion.  My husband is going for work and of course I am tagging a long.
Hopefully this will give me the chance to drink my weight in margaritas and help promote my kickstarter project.
I have gotten a few tips and pointers from one of my favorite traveler friends Nicole from Noodles and Waffles who has been everywhere including some destinations that I am not sure are on this planet. 

Happy Thursday!  If you know of any must do's in Austin! Please tell me :).

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

DIY- Resin

Yes I am unlocking the secrets of resin! I know that resin can be a really intimidating thing but I am going to share a few tips and tricks to make it a little easier.  If I can use it anyone can use it.

1.  Resin- I use envirotex lite :) with a Micheal's coupon you can get a box for a good price.
2.  Popsicle sticks- I got mine from the dollar store.
3.  2 plastic cups- clear
4.  a pony tail holder- extremely important
Step 1- Use the pony tail holder if you have long hair to put your hair in a pony tail.  This is crucial.  The first time I used resin I had it stuck in my hair.  :( not cute.
Step 2- Place your 2 plastic cups side by side and fill less than inch or so in each container of the mixture.  It is really important that you fill them in equal parts.  If you don't it will mess up the whole formula.  So super important!  Another tip is that you don't want to use too much.  If you use too much it can overheat. 
Step 3- Combine the mixtures from the cups into one cup and make sure you get all the mixture.  Then you take a popsicle stick and mix.. whip the crap out of it.  :) You will see bubbles.  Do this for a minute or two.
Step 4- pour onto desired surface- now take a popsicle stick and spread the resin like frosting a cake.  Less is more- you can always add more resin.  Pop any bubbles.
Step 5- let it dry.  in a dry... non dust place.  If you need it done in a hurry it will be fine after 24 hours but would recommend letting it sit for 48 hours.
I wanted to add the resin to add that candy coated 3d effect to some of my paintings.  This painting I am entering in juried show at the Froelick Gallery and the theme is horses.  :) Who says there can't be a horse stuck in a subway.  Fingers crossed I get in.
© Erika Lee Sears