Saturday, January 30, 2010

Looking for Myself in Another Man's Face

I can count on one hand the times I remember being in the same room as my father. Unfortunately, the most intimate part of those meetings consisted of a few awkward minutes on a bench, in a hallway outside of a courtroom. Child support (or rather the failure to pay it) is a great way of bringing a family together, if only for an hour or two and in the presence of a judge and a couple of lawyers.

I was born out of wedlock. Well, that's only part of it. The part you're supposed to tell people to avoid uncomfortable questions or bringing the conversation to a halt. Most importantly, to avoid them passing judgment on the person who gave all she had to protect and nurture you and whose amazing spirit made you the person you are today (warts and all). I was the product of an extra-marital affair.

I imagine it is because of this that my mother didn't have any photos of my father. As time passed, and I no longer saw my father in court, his face became more and more blurred in my memory. So much so, that even though my mother always said I resembled him, I feared I would simply not recognize him if we were to find ourselves in the same room one day. She never spoke poorly of him. In fact, she always told me that if I wanted to spend time with him or have him in my life, in any way, I could. She even encouraged it. But when your encounters with your father have been as limited and of a less than positive nature, or your thoughts of him consist of mostly wondering why he doesn't have any interest in you... you're just don't feel comfortable enough to attempt a connection.

The internet is an amazing thing. Though I never met any of my relatives on my father's side it has made it possible for me to connect with many other Gascots. Some have found me through my website, but most have reached out through Facebook. Most have been distant cousins. The closest (to my knowledge) until recently was the wife of one of my brothers. Some have seemed happy to communicate with me at first, but when I share my place in the family tree, or my true feelings about my father (which are in actuality not negative, I simply refuse to romanticize him), they seem to stop writing.

Over the past two weeks I have been emailing back and forth with a first cousin (daughter of one of my father's sisters). She seems like a truly wonderful person. She said, like my mother so many times before, that I resemble my father. I explained that I have no detailed recollection of his face and that though I seek no reunions, I would love the chance to see his face. I suppose this was my way of asking if she had any photos she could share with me without asking bluntly for one. I can't say I understand this sudden desire to see his face. Maybe I realize that though he had nothing to do with shaping the person I am today, he had at least half to do with the fact that I sit here typing this at all.

A few hours ago I received a photo of him (and his brothers and sisters) from my cousin. I never anticipated what it might feel like, looking for myself in another man's face. Or having my fear of not recognizing my own father confirmed. It is all very strange, but I am extremely grateful. Though virtually a stranger, my cousin has given me a gift no one else has ever been able to (or offered to). I still don't know what to make of it all, but I hope I will get more photos of him. For now, I think I will keep staring at that face, searching for that resemblance everyone always told me about.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Greetings from England!

I love it when clients send me photos of their Gascots.
I always refer to my paintings as living beings (him, her, he, she) and always talk to clients in terms of the pieces going to live with them. It may all sound a bit strange, but most people don't seem to mind.
It is because my paintings are like children I'm sending off into the world. A few collectors even refer to their purchases as "adopting" a Gascot. LOL

Here is a shot of a recent painting "Zen" with his new family.

Val & Selden with "Zen"

Val had her eye on a Buddha print I have on Imagekind. When her sweetheart of a husband got wind of this he quickly contacted me and we schemed up a story about how I was going to be carrying the prints myself in a few weeks and would let her know when I had them to sell. Emails were flying back and forth simultaneously. I'm so glad I didn't screw up the surprise by sending the wrong information or question to the wrong person. Instead, of course I painted an original piece for them. I was thrilled to see her reaction (he even taped it for me). It meant so much as an artist (and friend).

Enjoy "Zen" for many many years, guys!
All my love.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Latest Giveaway Winner

Almost every month (I think I've only skipped December since I began doing this) I give away some art on my Facebook Artist Page. Sometimes I give away an original painting. Sometimes I give away a print. Sometimes I get caught up in the fun and give away a few items.
Here's a recent winner, showing off her Gascot.

Thanks for sharing Miranda!

Monday, January 25, 2010

The First Cut

I promised myself I would wait until I was done with my current commission (which I almost am) before diving into my box of linocut goodies, but like that corny old saying goes, some promises are meant to be broken.
Last night I could no longer wait so, sitting at my desk, in front of my computer (watching linocutting tutorials on youtube), I carved my first block. There is still much for me to explore and master, but I can already tell it is a medium I will enjoy greatly! I am so excited at the possibilities that lie ahead.

I began by not carving deeply enough and using entirely too much ink.
After carving the block further and easing up on the ink here's what I achieved:

Day & Night/print #10

Not too shabby for my very first attempt, I think.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Art for Haiti

Ever fabulous and inspiring artist and blogger, Martha Marshall made me aware of the art4haiti movement. If you are not already familiar with this movement, you should check it out. Many artists are offering portions of the proceeds from sale of their art to the Haiti relief effort. On Twitter, the search term to find all these wonderful artists and their offerings is #art4haiti.

9 items from my Etsy store have been designated to this cause. 100% of the proceeds of the sale of these items will be donated to the Clinton/Bush Haiti Fund.

Enjoy this great opportunity to pick up some original art and help a good cause.


Some of the items I'm donating to the art4haiti effort:

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Latin Pop Shop Blog

I debated whether I should start up another blog (this new one makes 3), but decided that Latin Pop Shop should have it's own. While initially I intended to discuss the journey of building and growing the business on here (and still will, certain aspects), I would prefer to keep this blog dedicated to my own art and experiences.

In Latin Pop Shop Blog I will not only discuss the business but feature the artists it represents as well as upcoming promotions and maybe even style and trends as they pertain to our inventory.

Should be fun, be sure to bookmark us!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Artistic Goals for 2010

Latin Pop Shop will take at least 50% of my time this year. I am already sure of it. Yesterday I had every intention of getting into the studio to finish a commission and start another and before I knew it the day had been filled by conversations to insurance agents and merchant account reps and answering artist submissions. It am not complaining, it was wonderful. I just need come up with a strict studio schedule to assure I get in there.

It is important that I not let my own art become secondary to Latin Pop Shop. I am one of the artists it represents after all. In an effort to do this (and because I plain wanted to) I've set a few artistic goals for myself this year.

I'm taking the leap! I have wanted to for quite some time now as I think my work will translate well into this medium. I received my first batch of materials over the weekend and I can't wait to start working with them.

Self Portraits:
At least one. I've been asked several times over the past year about them. I was even forwarded a Call for Artists for a self portrait exhibition just the other day. It's time.

Solo Cyber-Exhibit:
I've discussed this with a handful of people over the last two or so years. Most folk know I am a die hard Prince fan. DIE HARD. His music can be heard in my studio almost daily. I couldn't even tell you how many paintings I've created to his music. I belong to a few online Prince fan communities (Doesn't that just sound so teeny-boppery awful? LOL. It's not actually, I've met incredible lifetime friends. Thanks Mr. Prince!). This year I will put together a show comprised of 10 pieces (I like this number, perfectly achievable and I can always build on it if need be). Each piece will be inspired by a Prince song. I will hold a Cyber Opening Night Reception at one, possibly two, of the fan sites. If I get the opportunity I will hold this show at a physical location as well. The show is tentatively called "Songbook".

My first stash of linocut goodies arrives. candy!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Lola the Grouch

Yesterday Lola went in for a dental cleaning. While anesthetized they also removed a benign tumor from her leg. We wouldn't have bothered, but she started messing with it about a week prior so it seemed best to take it off and avoid it becoming inflamed or infected in the future.

Lola was not a happy camper. She snubbed me when I picked her up from the vets. To add insult to injury she looked at me with "fuck you!" eyes and went (tail wagging) directly to a stranger.
She was whiny and grumpy all evening and got me up a few times during the night. Finally, at 6 am I picked her up and put her in the bed with me (Ron was up and dressing for work), where she settled and slept soundly pressed against my neck and face. So what if I could not breathe and the circulation in my left arm was cut off?

The vet said she could appear "depressed" for a day or two due to the anesthesia. Fun.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

2010: The Year of Latin Pop Shop

2009 was a pretty good year, overall.
We moved from less-than-adequate accommodations into a house we truly love. We were blessed with good health. Our Saint Bernard rescue, Bogart, joined our crazy family. Most importantly, we enjoyed these things together. So, while I'm looking forward to 2010 being a stellar year (we will make it so), I have no real complaints about '09.
Last year I began toying with a concept for an art-related business. I came up with something that still allows me time behind the easel but will also allow me to reach out to other artists as well as the community. Something that speaks of who I am as an artist and a person. Something that honors my heritage. I came up with Latin Pop Shop, named after "Latin Pop", the term I've used to describe my signature style of painting for years.
Latin Pop Shop is a new online retail gallery/boutique representing Latino and Latino-American artists and artisans. It will specialize in art, jewelry and apparel, but will not be limited to these alone. If it’s bold and colorful and depicts or celebrates Latin culture, made or painted by Latin hands, conceived or written by creative Latino individuals…Latin Pop Shop will probably want to share it with the world!

As a full time artist, I know the “struggle-juggle” of creating art, finding representation and of course, selling. As an artist of Latin descent, I yearn to bring our multi-faceted culture to the masses. And as an art lover and former gallery director, this is simply all I know and love! Latin Pop Shop is the combination and embodiment of my passions. It is a concept I am willing to put my hard work behind because I truly believe in its great potential.

Latin Pop Shop is being launched as an Online Gallery and Boutique but we also are considering “physical” representation of our artists in the form of art festivals and trade shows. Perhaps even Latin Pop Shop Tour event! Another goal for the future…Latin Pop Shop storefronts! For now, we will direct the bulk of our efforts and resources to e-commerce and take each step that follows wisely and logically as we grow. We are committed to representing our artists in ways that are sensible and well-planned.

It's been so exciting, starting the year off with a clear goal. Building it piece by piece. I look forward to watching my baby grow into a big success!

I'm dreaming big and I'm committing to my dreams.
2010 will be the year of Latin Pop Shop!

Broken Embraces

No puedo esperar! Almodovar es un genio total. De todos los directores trabajando hoy, my favorito.
Sus peliculas son como pinturas que se mueven y hablan en poesia.

I can't wait! Almodovar is a total genius. Of all the directors working today, my favorite.
His films are like paintings that move and speak in poetry.

Saturday, January 2, 2010


This morning I woke from a wonderful dream.
Somewhat odd, but wonderful.

I was in high school, or at least a high school setting, since I was already physically an adult. During class, I got the news that I'd been nominated for a Best Supporting Actor Academy Award. An incredible rush ran through me as I walked the packed hallways, trying to keep composure about me, on my way to lunch.
In the cafeteria, which was vast and modern and very little like my old high school's cafeteria, I sat with friends. Among these friends was Tim, who in real life I didn't meet until 3 or so years after I'd graduated. I had an i Phone, on which I kept checking the news to ensure my nomination had actually occurred.

There was a bridge, not the type that allows one to walk over a body of water, but the type that connects two wings of a building over an atrium, on one side of the cafeteria. From the far end of the bridge I saw her coming and I sprung from my chair. My mother!
As she approached, my grandmother, wearing a black and white brocade coat, walked through the scene. She seemed to be headed towards my mother, but walked on past her instead.

Soon, my mother stood before me, looking her most beautiful.
She had received news of my nomination and rushed from work to see me. We walked over to a table and as she sat she said, "I wouldn't be surprised if someone's proud mother has to accompany her son on stage to accept an award."