News — artist of the month
It is with happy hearts that we announce February’s Artist of the Month, Emily Martin of The Black Apple! We don’t doubt that you have seen her work around Portland. You may have been lucky enough to lay eyes on her gorgeous originals at a local gallery, or fallen in love with her drawings in the pages of her many mesmerizing books, prints, and cards.
Emily Martin is a painter and illustrator, a collector and writer of books, and a creator of magical worlds. She works in a tiny nook of a studio filled with treasures & old wind-up toys. Her art is inspired by fairy tales, music, myths, illustration from the late 19th through mid 20th century, her favorite films, and the natural world.
Emily’s work often conveys an aura of cozy solitude, curling up with a pet in an overstuffed armchair with a book of fairy tales and a cup of tea, your head filling with dreams and stories. Mysterious forests filled with mist and greenery that resemble the giant shadowy trees of our own backyard, and creatures, both human and otherwise, that are sweet and enchanting.
Swing by our retail shop to view Emily’s art prints, greeting cards, magnets, & pins. We also have an array of her lovely books, including her children's novel, Oddfellow's Orphanage, which she wrote & illustrated! Also, should you need a gift to welcome a new baby, her companion children’s picture books Dream Animals and Day Dreamers make the perfect presents for little ones’ dreamy bedtimes.
Go to https://www.emilywinfieldmartin.com/ to see more of her work!
By Joanna Kurimsky
2018’s first Artist of the Month is the lovely as ever dream team, Jenn Hill + Jenny Tiffany of Robot Candy!!! They were actually our first ever featured artists to grace this blog as Artist of the Month and the featured space on our shop wall back in the days of yore. We are so thrilled they are still a part of our happy little family!!!
For over a decade Robot Candy has been responsible for helping to make Portland a cuter, craftier city with their awesome work inspired by all things mid-century. Most recognizable are Robot Candy’s famous tile coasters featuring fun, retro imagery. There are literally hundreds of designs to choose from - Portland bridges and other landmarks, crafty cats, vintage ads, sweet floral patterns, and their own unique take on the RESIST logo.
Besides the abundance of Robot Candy coasters to choose from, you can also check out Jenn and Jenny’s other lines, Chet & Dot and Automatte, which all have a warm and fuzzy vibe: needle felted fuzzy kitty necklaces and other irresistible critters, hand-sewn travel tissue pouches (great for sneeze season!), adorable knit baby sweaters, plush softies, tote bags, art prints, and more!!!
Come visit our shop to see their work in person or check out http://www.robotcandy.com/ for more info. And read on to see what Jenn Hill had to say about future projects for Robot Candy and what podcast you should be lending an ear to in the new year!
What do you predict for Robot Candy in the coming year?
We will branch out with a new product line this year - we are super excited about that!
What do you predict for the maker/art world in general?
I think the maker world is going to continue to grow and evolve. It’s been so amazing to see how it’s changed and become more mainstream over the last decade. I love to see so many people be able to do what they love for a career.
Current celebrity crush?
I don’t really have celebrity crushes, but right now I’m watching the Lucy Show from the early 1960s and so I’m rather smitten with Lucille Ball.
Current political crush?
I think I love Joe Kennedy, but ask me again in a year.
What shows are you looking forward to the coming year?
We are planning to do some out of town shows this year, perhaps Renegade, but we really love doing local shows the most. The public school sales are always lots of fun and it’s nice to be able to support them.
What are you reading/what podcast are your listening to?
I’m currently reading about natural dyes and I’m listening to an assortment of True Crime podcasts. I just finished Dirty John which was really good - surprise ending!
Homemade eggnog is a current favorite around here.
Do you carry an umbrella? What do you think about umbrellas in Portland?
I keep an umbrella in my car and I use it because I don’t like being wet. Staying dry is nice and I have never really understood the whole “real Portlanders don’t need umbrellas” thing.
By Joanna Kurimsky
November’s Artist of the Month is talented illustrator, painter, printmaker, and all around good egg, Michele Maule!
Michele is a Portland artist who is currently living the dream - she started out on Etsy many years ago, and eventually was able to quit her day job and sell her art and cards full time!
Most of her work, Michele says, is autobiographical in nature, but some of it tells stories. This makes sense as it is easy to imagine yourself dropping into one of her rich, colorful landscape paintings for a hike, or snuggling up to one of the cute critters in her greeting cards. It’s very obvious that all of her work is created with tons of care and attention.
Maule’s work often portrays familiar sights like the St John’s Bridge framed by the evergreen trees in Forest Park, or the Steel Bridge surrounded by pink cherry blossoms, with an attention to detail and a signature style that is irresistible to locals and visitors alike.
She’s also done a marvelous series of gouache portraits of Women Artists, which will be available in a 2018 calendar (each artist’s portrait corresponding to their birth month!). Our shop is super psyched to be showcasing several of her framed originals, including Patti Smith, Frida Kahlo and Yoko Ono!
You can find Michele Maule's work online at https://www.etsy.com/shop/michelemaule and also score a selection of her prints at our online store! For a little more scoop straight from the artist herself, read on:
What do you predict for your business in the future?
I've been growing a lot this year and I'm hoping to continue to do that! I'd love to have my work in more shops around the country and to have a few solo shows in galleries next year.
Who is your current celebrity crush?
Ryan Gosling, always.
Who is your current political crush?
Leslie Knope, always.
What are you reading or what podcast are you listening to?
My two favorite podcasts are My Favorite Murder and The Dollop. Those two podcasts have helped me paint some of the most tedious pieces I've ever painted and they've helped me process quite a few wholesale orders.
Favorite beer, wine or drink?
I love my friend Amy's Old Fashions. Like friendship in a glass.
Do you carry an umbrella? What is your stance on umbrellas in Portland?
I don't carry one. I guess they're okay. Unless you're on a really crowded street, and you have to do a lot of dodging and weaving in order not to have your eyes poked out.
By Joanna Kurimsky
Just in time for the spookiest, most mysterious time of year, we proudly feature a Crafty star: self proclaimed “Artist/Recluse” Alicia Justus, aka Miss Red Star Art as October’s Artist of the Month!
We are thrilled to currently have on display Alicia’s gorgeous wood-burnt Spirit boards with matching planchettes, as well as framed paintings of her “Moth Girls” - created especially for our feature - incredibly detailed paintings of women-moth hybrids with an Old World vibe. It’s worth a trip to our shop just to see these beauties up close.
Intuitive and possessing a sixth sense for finding vintage treasures and supplies with which she can work, Alicia said, “I have dreams where I’m in nature - always near water - at the edges of rivers or the ocean, where I’m digging, and I find some fabulous vintage piece in the sand - and then I go out thrifting and I find that piece. It calls to me, and I find it.”
We’ve also got handmade felt flower dolls in lovely outfits, hand-sewn down to the buttons on their boots. And of course, plenty of red-eyed white mice in wedding finery, perfectly detailed dresses with kerchiefs round their necks. Life-sized matchbook story books, paper doll books and tiny illustrated storybooks on vintage paper foretold in a dream, featuring her original character, Little Bird. It’s all got to be seen to be believed!
“It gets to me sometimes. People don’t know how old and rare things are anymore, how special these things are.”
Searching for a unique piece of jewelry for yourself or someone who appreciates the past? Come catch a glimpse of Alicia’s necklaces hand woven with antique silk, Czech beads, and 1930’s Cracker Jack prizes as pendants. Beaded button rings and brooches, colorful tulle hair clips, Dia de los Muertos paper masks, skeletons and skull brooches round out the collection. “I started designing my own paper decorations years ago. I noticed that all the paper skeletons were either too grotesque or insipidly cutesy-pie, and they all seemed decidedly male. Think about it, you never see a lady skeleton. I have some new designs this year.”
Alicia has social media now - you can find Miss Red Star Art on Instagram and Facebook, as well as at the monthly Twilight Rummage sale on SE Hawthorne, and of course, in our downtown shop and at our Art + Craft Market!
By Joanna Kurimsky
September is here and the end of summer is drawing closer (Waaah!). But Portland still feels warm and sunny, and all your garden greenery and succulents are (hopefully) still kicking. Here to capture September’s essence one potted plant at a time is our Artist of the Month, Rachel Ann Austin!
It is pretty easy to surmise by looking at her work that Rachel is a big lover of gardens and tuned in to the quiet beauty in everyday life. Self taught, Rachel has been painting full time for over ten years. Common themes of abstracted landscapes, plants, and maps are evident in Rachel’s handiwork. When not in the studio, she can be found digging in her garden and dreaming up ideas with her family. When we wondered what she’s currently working on, Rachel said, “I am reading lots of books on gardening, plants and cooking this summer - some of my favorite things.”
As someone who spends so much time outside capturing various flora and landscapes of Portland, we had to ask Rachel to weigh in on the whole issue that some Portlanders have about umbrella usage. Here’s what she had to say: “I love umbrellas! They keep you dry, are very cute, and you get to hear the pitter patter of rain as you walk. I take a lot of walks in all kinds of weather and will go back and forth on taking one, but it always makes me happy when I do. And I’m a native Oregonian and think all that umbrella snobbery I hear from people is silly. Go umbrellas!”
We encourage you to come feast your eyes on Rachel’s new original plant paintings we are lucky to have in stock for the feature, as well as woodblock prints and greeting cards that are perfect for any occasion, or find her online at http://www.rachelannaustin.com. And enjoy the rest of the summer season!
Words by Joanna Kurimsky