New Work ahead
Online Greeting Cards
When I was participating in the local art markets – so long ago, in the Age Before Covid – I had a large display of greeting cards in my booth, usually prominently placed near the aisle. Featuring reproductions of my Original Collages in a 5” x 7” format, the shop had 30 individual cards and 10 card sets, plus journals and other small items. These brought many customers to me – locals and tourists who wanted gifts and souvenirs. I used to joke that this was “Deco’s Little Card Shop”.
Recently, a customer asked if I “still had greeting cards…” Goodness, yes! I have the 30 individual cards, and the 10 gift bundles, all in my two Etsy shops DECOfineartcollage and StarArtbyDeco. However, the way that Etsy displays the items, it is not as easy to find the giftable selections as when I had my booth. The Etsy shops show huge Original Collages next to posters which are next to staves, etc. I can arrange the display – somewhat…but it is not like have the 3-foot by 3-foot rack of cards available for selecting. My solution: a new Etsy shop!
Card Shop on Etsy
Today, I introduce DECOcollageCards, an Etsy shop devoted to the sale of Greeting Cards and Journals!
I have 10 card collections and 4 journals in the shop, all with my original collage designs. I plan to add more items in the next few months. Until I can have my big card display “in real life”, Deco’s Little Card Shop will be virtual. The shop specializes in the card collections – that is 4 or 5 identical or related cards bundled with envelopes and tied with a ribbon. More individual cards available as well, and I will set up a marketing plan for those – maybe a mix-and-match collection?
Of special note are the autumnal collections – it is now the season of golden aspens, and ristras and pumpkins. These images are in my two “Autumn in New Mexico“ collections – one set shows the aspens and the trees in the mountains, and the other shows the harvest in the Southwest – the red chile peppers and the pumpkins. Soon the pears will ripen – I have a whole collection devoted to my favorite pome.
I invite you to look at all the fantastic collections in my new card shop. I am also offering a coupon to my first 10 customers for DECOcollageCards. Go to the Etsy page and "favorite" a selection (click the heart) and you will receive a 15% off coupon – FIRST10
Summer is Beatles Time
A busy month in Santa Fe… Our usual summer activities have transformed and we are finding news ways to have fun.
For me, August always meant attending The Fest for Beatles Fans in Chicago and meeting with friends and family; this year our Fest was Virtual. We Beatles Fans met up in a massive 3-day Zoom Festival; we enjoyed live-streamed music, panel discussions, and interactive presentations. I hosted the “Happily Ever After in the Marketplace” Zoom Room, where we presented the Fest Store, huge Memorabilia collections, and my specialty, the Art Room.
When Fest is live and in person, we meet in a hotel – in Chicago, it’s the Hyatt in Rosemont (though some of you may remember the Palmer House in 1977) – and I am in charge of a large room dedicated to Fan Art. I receive and display Fan Art in all sorts of media, run the Art Contest, and present the Awards. This year, our Fan Art was displayed on a Facebook page, and our Zoom Room was dedicated to live events. Although our new platform was limiting in some sense, Virtual Fest was an exciting opportunity to expand outside of the usual Art Room experience.
On Friday, we showed a slide show of the Art Room from the 1970s to the present, using photos from the Fest Archives. On Saturday, three Beatles Fan Artists welcomed us into their studios, in Brooklyn, upstate New York, and the west suburbs of Chicago. The three artists - Marlene Weisman, Regina Gelfer, and Sandra Ragan - have radically different approaches, media, and points of inspiration. This visit led to a lively discussion with the zooming audience about the nature of art and what motivates action in art.
We dedicated Saturday evening to a special presentation - a Retrospective on one of our most popular Fan Artists from the Fest in Chicago, Nicole Nigh Hondros. Working with photos and stories from her husband, her mom and her good friends Danny Donuts and Barb Charteris Raudonis, as well as my own archives, I compiled a slideshow. We gave Beatles Fans from around the world the opportunity to enjoy her unique creations. Nicole started submitting her work to the Fest when she was a teen; her work explored the unusual art media and extreme scale variations. Sadly, Nicole died two years ago, and is missed by her family, friends, and all of us at the Fest.
On Sunday, I was pleased to host photographer John Hester, who has been taking photos of Fest guests since the 1990s. He showed us over two dozen of these, including Billy Preston, Astrid Kirchner, Pete Best, Patti Boyd and many others. John, who is based in New Jersey, was able to share his work to a whole new audience.
Our unique situation this year has thrust us into the present! We were able to link artists and audiences from around the world, show slides and retrospectives, which we hadn’t been able to do previously. When we meet in hotel again (Next Year!!), I can’t wait to incorporate these innovations.
A few weeks before this Virtual Fest, I connected with some Beatles fans for a charity fundraiser called Rock n’ Pies at the Wolf’s Den which helped raise some dollars for My Block My Hood My City (MBMHMC Chicago). I donated an Original Collage to the raffle, and it was won by a Beatles fan who turned out to be a neighbor in River Forest, IL, where I lived before moving to Santa Fe. I also performed a fun bit of zoomed theater, with my Troika cohorts Victoria Pichla Luz and Walter Podrazik – it involved handing a plate of pie “through the screen” to them, some 1,500 miles away! I had to bake a pie to make this comedy bit work; it was delicious! (Cherry-peach-apricot crumb top)
This is the first time I am in Santa Fe in Mid-August. I am discovering the beauty that is here in these warm days and cool nights, hitherto unknown to me. Meteor showers! Awesome! My little garden is offering its modest harvest (…praying for rain). My daughters assure me Santa Fe always had mosquitoes in August; I remain doubtful. We have weekly dinners outdoors, inspired by global cuisine – this week: poké and musubi! As lovely as these summer days and evenings have been, I am looking forward to spending my August in Chicago next year.
Love is worth the risk.
The summer is flying by!
Hard to believe that four months have passed since we received the admonition to “flatten the curve” to contain and slow down the spread of the COVID-19. We were assured that the “stay at home” order would last “at least” two weeks. What a long stretch 14 days seemed back then. Well. A lot has happened since then. We have learned the beauty of video chatting, spending more time in our backyards tending gardens, and to listen to voices we may not have heard clearly before. Our fight against the spread of the virus has not been successful (yet) and doing one’s part to protect others is now the symbol of a political divide. Some members of my family live their lives as though apocalyptic insurrection was immanent; others simply fear for their fragile health. As for me, I wear a mask when I go out, and I limit my activities away from home. I want my community to be safe and healthy—and I want the same for everyone’s community.
I do get out for walks, usually before the heat of the day and along the Santa Fe River or the dry arroyos or labyrinths (bemasked, of course). At home, I am working on my art – the current Coral Reef collage is growing and growing. I tend the online outlets where I can market my work – the two Etsy shops DECOfineartcollage and StarArtbyDeco. My customers often send lovely messages to me. Here’s a response from a recent customer:
"Your work is inspiring especially during these challenging times. Bursting with color and originality, your pieces are a beacon of light toward a better future. Art and music enrich the soul and our souls are very thirsty right now. I look forward to shopping again for an original collage."
That is a gratifying thought. Thank you!
This Rock-n-Pies fundraiser event also has a raffle with prizes like professionally-baked cakes and tons of handmade PIES, plus a myriad of Beatles collector’s items. I am donating an Original Collage as a raffle prize. Titled “Its Only Love,” it is created out of images and words snipped from a Beatles merchandise catalog. It will be mailed directly to the winner.
But you do not need to wait to buy a raffle ticket – you can purchase one now! More info can be found on the Facebook event page. All proceeds go to My Block My Hood My City Chicago.
My Block, My Hood, My City provides underprivileged youth with an awareness of the world and opportunities beyond their neighborhood. They take students on explorations focused on STEM, arts and culture, citizenry and volunteerism, health, community development, culinary arts, and entrepreneurism. Their core values are: Interconnectivity, Empathy, Hope, Civic Responsibility.
Love is worth the risk.
Love and Peace,
Shout out to my friend Leslie Cavendish!
Congratulations on publishing your new edition of The Cutting Edge: The Story of the Beatles’ Hairdresser Who Defined an Era. Learn more at https://www.beatleshairdresser.com/
We now have summer! We all are bemasked and our usual summer rituals have had to evolve, but we get to enjoy beautiful balmy days, nonetheless.
One of the traditions that I have enjoyed for the last several years is Bloomsday, June 16, the day that James Joyce fans all over the world get together and drink Jameson’s and eat stinky cheese and read passages from Ulysses. Here in Santa Fe, our celebration includes the usual readings, appropriate period music, and an art exhibit. I usually show my epic collage “Bloomsday at Molly Malone’s” and my portrait of Leopold Bloom. This year, we planned our shenanigans to roll out in George R.R. Martin’s Jean Cocteau Cinema. Alas. The silver lining, however, is that we are spared the excruciating ritual of ending the event with a sing-along of “just a song at twilight…”
Let's Buy Art
Both “Molly” and Bloom are for sale on my Etsy shop DECO fine art collage
https://www.etsy.com/shop/DECOfineartcollage, in as Original Collages and as giclée prints. In my other Etsy shop StarArtbyDeco https://www.etsy.com/shop/StarArtbyDeco, I have added new items, including Original Collages and smaller items like greeting card collections, like “Pluto: Cast Out”, shown in these three images.
I have been hard at work on my current large piece for the Coral Reef series. Here are the latest photos showing my progress.
While waiting out the worst of the virus outbreaks, I am avoiding the art markets where I used to exhibit. I am looking into the possibility of yard sales and home studio sales. Of course, I am promoting sales from the Etsy shops, but if you need help finding an item you would like, just send a message and I can guide you to a happy purchase.
Love is worth the risk.
Love and Peace.
Where do we go from here?
Hard to believe that two months have passed since New Mexico started its first shutdowns of public places. In those two months, we have grown to recognize new levels of responsibility and develop new forms of community. The pandemic has isolated us, frightened us, and shook our concepts of our society. As we shift our focus from selfish need to global healing in restructured world, the world and its people must rise together to create a new way of living, one born in empathy and innovation. The questions are “where do we go from here?” And “how?” And where is Here?
We go from Here
Here for me, is Santa Fe, where I work and grow as an artist. Naturally, I have been working on my art , the large central piece of my series Coral Reef. You can see the progress:
From here - talking
I have been using Zoom, FaceTime and Skype to keep in touch with family and friends across the country. Some of these calls are frivolous and fun and others are structured and serious, like the slow-read Shakespeare group and the James Joyce reading group. In other groups we ponder questions in open discussions – about the Beatles – were they misogynist or progressive? I talk to family who live far away, and I see how healing our phone calls can be.
From here - walking
I walk in the arroyos and along the Santa Fe River, amazed - as I am every year - at how quickly Spring leaps from pathetic sprigs on bare cold ground, to full blown explosion of leaf and color. I practice yoga, and that has help me quiet my spirit and be hopeful.
From Here to Absolute Elsewhere
And How we go from Here
Where do we go from here? We will see with the passage of time what changes are permanent. For now, Spring has the answer. I will plant seeds, figuratively and literally, tend them and watch them grow.
Deco is award-winning collage artist working and living in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Yes, the sky is that blue.
What Spring is this?
Mid-April, and daffodils are in bloom, a sudden snowstorm has killed off the abundant wisteria blossoms, and everyone in town looks like the Unabomber. Yes, it’s Spring, like all Springs …and like no Spring we have ever seen.
My daily routine has changed little – I am plugging away at my art, making steady progress. Here are the latest photos.
Shakespeare Endured Epidemic Isolation Too
I am also attending my usual literary meetings via Zoom, reading early writings of James Joyce in one group, and tackling Shakespeare’s Coriolanus in another. Coincidentally, a writer for the New Yorker made some interesting parallels with the play Coriolanus and the current administration’s response to the pandemic. Here is the link: https://www.newyorker.com/culture/culture-desk/the-shakespeare-play-that-presaged-the-trump-administrations-response-to-the-coronavirus-pandemic
Spot the Collage
In preparing for this blog entry, I looked at recent photos and I was amused that many photos look like my collages. For instance:
Can you pick out the Deco Collage Original?
Let’s make this more fun. Send me your answer plus a 10-word statement of why you should win, and I will send the winning entrant a greeting card collection. ($20 value and I will cover the shipping cost). Send your contest response via Messenger to my Facebook page @ Deco – Artist. Contest ends at midnight April 30, 2020.
Like many of you who are alert to the pandemic sweeping the globe, I have had to make some changes to my plans and routines. Trips have been canceled; appearances have had to be postponed. Disappointment and frustration rule the day. When I learned about the importance of “flattening the curve”, I knew I had to do my part. At some significant monetary cost, I have stepped away from my booth at El Museo – I had just settled in there on February 1, and was planning to complete the season. But public health and my health and the health of people I love is at risk. I choose to be proactive and creative.
Home and Studio
So….for the time being, I am working from home. My home studio is already cluttered with scraps of the latest Coral Reef piece, and I am making great progress.
I can also fill orders that come from Etsy and this website. I will be soon joining another online art gallery: Art of Giving Art, which has a charitable donation component. I will have more info on that in my next blog entry.
I have a large stock of cards, journals and posters that make terrific gifts – take a look at my two Etsy shops for ideas.
The Propitious Moment
On the last day of January, a great opportunity opened for me in Santa Fe – a booth at the Winter Market of El Museo Cultural de Santa Fe became available. I know some of the artists and artisans and other vendors of this market, so I was familiar with its layout. They offered me a booth with real walls – that means I could bring some of my big framed Original Collages and have them on display continuously, like a mini- pop up gallery.
After some hesitation, I jumped in the pool – what fun! The Winter Market operates all weekend long, so it is accessible to folks visiting The Farmers Market next door for their weekly fill of fresh New Mexican produce and goat cheese on Saturdays, and appeal to late-rising tourists and locals on Sunday afternoons.
Artist at Work
So as of February 1, I was up and running – DECO fine art collage at the Winter Market. The following weekend, I hauled in my easel and collage tools and I demonstrated my cut-and-paste technique to my visitors. I enjoy showing my approach, especially to kids who are then eager to start their own collage projects. As a delightful bonus, I get to work on my new piece, one of the Coral Reef series – another bright and flowy abstract.
I was welcomed warmly by the vendors at the Winter Market, especially by the artists on Gallery Row. I brought in my Original Collage portrait of Abraham Lincoln and put it on prominent display in my booth. I was pleased when the management asked to use the image of my Lincoln as part of their print ad campaign for the Presidents Day Weekend. The ad went into both the weekly events and culture magazine and the Saturday daily.
So that’s pretty cool. I’m not sure how long I will be doing the Winter Market – it ends in May – but I have some interesting travel planned for the Spring which will take me away on some weekends, so I will have to decide whether to keep a presence in the Market.
I will post my plans here on my website and on FB and Instagram. I have some other “irons in the fire” – exciting new ventures! and I will hear about them next week and post updates.
D E C O
Art, news and thoughts from Santa Fe, New Mexico.
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