Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Comic Con 2007: Overview

All pictorial art is the transformation of dead material into something spiritual.
~ Anonymous

We are just back from another inspirational five day adventure at Comic Con. It has become clear that our favorite reason for attending is meeting new friends and hanging out with all our artist buddies. Comic Con is a magnet for artists working in the genre of fantastical art, whether they are there as attendees, showcasing their latest visions at a booth or promoting a project upstairs at one of the programs. This year, for the first time in the history of the Comic Con, it sold out.
The spirit of the archetypal super hero remains at Comic Con, despite the Hollywood take over. It has become crystal clear that the public adores good stories. Philip Pullman alludes to the power of story in "The Amber Spyglass", the third book of "His Dark Materials Trilogy."

Day One: Wednesday, July 26th
Our booth was located in the "illustrators" section, across from Greg's artist rep, Allen Spiegel Fine Arts. This year we had the usual bounty of limited edition artist giclees, postcards, posters and Vespertina CD's. Greg introduced a first look at the illustrations created for the children's book "The Eyes of the Unicorn" by offering large, limited edition giclee prints and a beautifully printed set of greeting cards featuring six of the images from the book. The Adorning the Muse handmade jewelry by Heartworks by Lori and my perfumes were the new additions to the collection, creating a sensorium of visual, aromatic and musical delights.

I introduced my new perfume Vespertina, inspired by the music CD "The Visions of Vespertina" created by Greg and his friend Michelle Barnes. What a thrill it was to share a new perfume at such a large venue. The immediate praise and feedback garnered is priceless. More on how this perfume was orchestrated in the next blog entry.

Day Two: Thursday, July 27th
The Con opened its doors to a swarming mass of sprinters Thursday morning, as well as every morning there after. What were these fans running towards? Booths offering free booty and Comic Con exclusives most likely.

At 4:45pm I treked upstairs to hear "Lost, Season 4" presented by Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse. Little did I know that there had been Losties waiting to get into the presentation since early that day, with a line that wrapped around the entire ballroom!!! Obviously Damon and Carlton are masters of the fine art of story telling. A special "Dharma Initiative" short was showcased with interesting clues into the work of the mysterious foundation. The Season 3 DVD will be released in early December, can't wait!!

Day Three: Friday
We met my daughter Eve and her dad Ben early for breakfast Friday morning. Eve was keen to know ALL the details from the LOST presentation. At the Con Greg took Eve on a tour to see all her favorite artists including Kinuko Craft, Dan Dos Santos, Charles Vess and Jon Foster. Lori, the jewelry artisan, came to join us at the booth, much to the fans delight. By that time we had completely sold out of all versions of the jewelry with my bee logo. What a joy to discover that the bee image utilized as the emblem for my perfume company strikes a chord with the public. In the afternoon New Line previewed a special extended trailer for The Golden Compass. See the trailer at the link provided below. We are particularly excited because we are huge fans of the book and because Greg did visual development on the film. After Con that evening we went to dinner with a large group of friends followed by late night conversations at the bar of one of the hotels. These late night evenings with fellow artists are one of the highlights every year at Comic Con. This year we had the pleasure of meeting an up and coming illustrator named Eric Fortune and Stephane Martinaire's daughter Madeline.

Day Four: Saturday
Traditionally Saturday is the largest attendee day of the Con and proved to be our most prosperous. We were graced by the appearance of several authors Greg has illustrated covers for at our booth, including Orson Scott Card and Holly Black. Due to the celebration of costuming to popular art culture, Saturday night features the "Masquerade", an annual on-stage costume competition. The exhibit hall is always filled with interesting clothed, or sometimes barely clothed attendees.

Quercus seemed to resonate most with all those who sampled the perfumes and was the biggest seller. Although all the perfumes were appreciated, this botanical oak inspired scent seems to resonate with the largest cross section of the population.

Day Five: Sunday
The last day of Comic Con began with breakfast with the artist David Seeley and his lovely family followed by Greg and I visiting all our friends at their booths and accumulating fabulous books, prints, posters and original art. (As if we need more of these items!) I took a gander at the props and costumes for the upcoming Golden Compass film. WOW! What an amazing treat for the eyes. I am a huge fan of both Philip Pullman and the trilogy "His Dark Materials." From what I have observed, the film makers seem to have done justice to the story. My perfume Lyra is named after the protagonist in the first book of the series titled "The Golden Compass."
Sunday evening, after having packed and loaded all our items , we joined our fellow creatives for dinner and the usual late night gathering. During dinner we noticed that four out of five of the women present were wearing our new jewelry!

Monday morning before departing back up to LA we had the pleasure of meeting Baron Storey and his lovely wife Petra for an early lunch. What an inspiration to be in the presence of Baron,chat with him and Petra and peruse his sketchbook (#144).

As always following Comic Con I am inspired to draw, draw, draw. The image which I am creating as the visual for Quercus has morphed. The final drawing will be posted soon with a blog entry showing the development of the idea. The painting will follow later in the year.

The artist's I tend to gravitate toward , as well as those in our inner circle of friends are quite accomplished drafts people, Greg being one of the group. Listed below are the websites of friends and other artists from Comic Con that I adore. Unfortunately Baron Storey and the upcoming Eric Fortune have no websites. Dave McKean also does not have his own site, but, between his rep and a fan is well represented on the world wide web.

Cheers to the art spirit and the story tellers!

Greg Spalenka
Kinuko Craft
Jon Foster
Stephane Martiniere
Donato Giancola
Holly Black
James Jean
Dave Seeley
Charles Vess
Philip Pullman
Golden Compass
Dan Dos Santos
World of Froud
Allen Spiegel Fine Arts
Allen Spiegel Fine Arts.com/Dave McKean

The jewelry can be ordered directly from Lori

Perfume in quarter ounce and 1ml sample sizes will be
available soon at Illuminated Perfume.

Pictures from Comic Con can be viewed here.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Comic Con: countdown

Four more days until Comic Con!! Ah, what is Comic Con you ask? It is the largest venue for popular art culture in America, taking place once a year in San Diego. Officially it's called The San Diego Comic Convention, we tend to refer to it as "the con". I was introduced to it eight years ago by my sweetheart Greg. I was reluctant to attend thinking it was going to be, as the title suggests, about comics. Indeed it began as a convention celebrating comics in the basement of the Grant Hotel back in 1970 with notable guests such as Ray Bradbury. What I encountered at my first adventure to the con was fantasy and visionary art in abundance. Artists from all over the world had gathered for the largest show and tell I had ever witnessed. Every year we attend, either with a booth or as spectators, to take in and participate in the vast creativity pulsating on both the exhibit floor and the programs upstairs. One doesn't quite "get" the comic-con experience until one attends, it's a visceral thing. Last year we attended a presentation by Deepak Chopra and Grant Morrison, titled "The Seven Spiritual Laws of Superheroes", met the infamous Yoshitaka Amano, spent time with Holly Black and respites with our fellow art buddies. This year, we return with a booth featuring new art jewelry, Eye of the Unicorn greeting cards and my perfumes. Look for us at booth 4704.

San Diego Comic Convention
111 West harbor Drive
San Diego, CA 92101
Thursday, July 26 through Sunday July 29

Sunday, July 8, 2007

Perfume, part one

"Perfumes are the feelings of flowers."
~Heinrich Heine

"When words escape, flowers speak."
~Bruce W. Currie

"To create a little flower is the labor of ages."
~William Blake

Perfume can be defined as both a noun and a verb. The noun refers to a substance or combination of substances which impart a fragrance. Perfume as a verb, refers to the actual aromatic particles that waft from the substance mentioned previously. The origin of the word comes from the latin, per “through” and fume “smoke”, thus “through smoke”. Most likely alluding to the use of gums and resins as incense or herbs strewn over fires to impart a pleasant aroma.Perfume most likely originated in Arabia and/or Egypt, refined later by the alchemists and Europeans.
The substances used to create perfume can be natural, botanical, synthetics or a combination. Synthetic compounds, created in a laboratory, became part of the perfumers palette in the late 19th century with the release of the aroma chemical “coumarin” containing a hay-like fragrance. Thus the perfume industry was born. Before the introduction of these laboratory created components perfumers used materials found in the natural world, primarily animal and plant. The animal ingredients consisted of ambergris (from whales), musk pods, civet and castoreum. Plant aromatics included essential oils, as well as infused and tinctured materials. Natural perfumers today continue in this tradition using both animal and plant based “natural essences”, however, the word natural is loosely defined. The botanical perfumer is a product of our current, modern day culture, choosing to use primarily materials of botanical origins, which are whole and complete, meaning, not fabricated in or tampered with in a lab. Occasionally a botanical perfumer may include materials that come from the ocean, such as distilled seashells, material from the bee kingdom or an obscure tinctured material. The palette of a botanical perfumer consists of whole essential oils, absolutes, concretes, c02 extractions, infusions and tinctures. Beeswax is also included in their apothecary, used for the creation of solid perfumes and balms.
The botanical perfume artist practices integral perfume, working to create beauty through the expression of pure plant extractions within the paradigm of sustainability and health.

The scratch board drawing above is from the days when I worked exclusively as an editorial freelance artist in New York. Every month, during the late eighties, I illustrated the fragrance column for Connoisseur Magazine, never suspecting that one day I would find myself in the field.

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Miss Potter

"There’s something delicious about writing those first few words of a story, you can never quite tell where they’ll take you. Mine took me here, where I belong." - Beatrix Potter

My daughter Eve and I recently had the pleasure of viewing the film Miss Potter together. Beatrix Potter, not to be confused with Harry Potter or the potter Beatrice Wood, was a writer and illustrator during the Victorian period in England. An extremely creative and talented young lady from a very early age, who had a terrific ability of translating and observing nature.
Having read Peter Rabbit and Benjamin Bunny stories to Eve when she was a tot, we found the movie delightful. The film makers choose to animate some of her characters and drawings splendidly throughout the story, adding an extra dimension to the telling of the life of this independent and best-selling author. Most inspirational, and something both Eve and I were not aware of, was Miss Potters devotion to the land.
She was passionate about conserving both land and community in the Lake District, her muse, where she spent many summers as a child. . When she passed Beatrix donated over 4,000 acres of farmland to The National Trust, a land preservation trust in England. (Similar to the Santa Monica Conservancy here in Los Angeles.) This land remains as lovely as when she began purchasing in 1905. Miss Potter was a modern woman in Victorian times committed to a strong sense of values.
If you purchase or rent the DVD, make sure to watch the special features for a more in depth look into the life and impact of this incredible artist.
An environmentalist, a pioneer, an independent free spirit...an innovator and a visionary.

Peter Rabbit

The National Trust

The Lake District