Thursday, March 21, 2013

Art News To Muse

"To Relax or Not To Relax" part of SWAN at the Dayton Metro Library Gallery- February 17-March 30, 2013.
It's been a long time, but there's a score of exciting news to report!!
One of my drawings from the Roy Lichtenstein Appropriation Series, Soapy Hair Stories is being displayed at the Dayton Metro Library in the Support Women Artists Now (SWAN) Exhibit and the Big Event that includes writers, performance artists, and poetry reading is March 30- International Woman's Day.
I have recently accepted the cordial invitation to join the exciting feminist film/TV/media Bitch Flicks blog as a weekly contributing writer starting next month (whoo hoo! such a kudos). So expect Fridays to be put on reading blast of the lady centric point of view variety! ;)
I'm really excited to also announce that there's another social media night at the Dayton Art Institute tomorrow from 5:30PM-8:00PM. The next upcoming blog post will summarize "Storm, Watershed, and Riverbank," photographs and paintings commemorating the 100th anniversary of the 1913 Dayton flood as well as shed highlights on newly constructed museum store and restaurant!

A storm painting by April Gornik at the Dayton Art Institute.
Afro Vegan Chick is doing incredibly well. In fact, it was included in a little compiled list by Ms. Magazine on their article on Feminist Foodies. Read all the biographies from the ladies breaking the mold of food politics here. A friend suggested that my blog may turn into a glamorous cutesy recipe book with stories, anecdotes, drawings, food photography, and natural hair love, but alas everyone knows that The Yellow Trolley Chronicles has to be finished first. It's a baby that has been in my belly for way too long. One day it'll be completed. One day....
Anywho, I must take in all the Dayton sights before the end and there is a lot to write about. Amazing art in the city (including two beautiful James Pate led murals at Belmont High School), my own personal investigations into figure design, and the other terrific challenges coming my way.
The biggest change is the eventual fall move to Philadelphia to study at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art, a prestigious institution that has graced one of my favorite painters- Henry Ossawa Tanner, the first African American student ever to attend. I have been accepted into the post baccalaureate program which is a 9 month intensive learning experience that builds a deeper, more enriched portfolio for the MFA degree which is my next step. So far, I have acquired a much appreciative $4,000 merit scholarship and continue to search for more grant monies seeing as PB is not necessarily as easy to reward as an undergraduate or graduate education. Still my excitement isn't tarnished and it's such a wonderful opportunity for artistic growth and nourishment in a great, bustling city!
So yes, huge milestones are finally happening and I couldn't be any more thrilled right now.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Suppport Handmade At Local And Fellow Etsy Shops

Support crafty handmakers by shopping local and on etsy.
Hello there.
Hoped that everyone had a marvelous, very stuffed Thanksgiving and kicked off the holiday season in a kind, thoughtful, nonviolent strategy.
The Rendezvous. Watercolor on Arches.
If you're like me, bidding time and playing the waiting game until the really perfect gift comes along- this masterful practice requires the virtue of devout patience. 
However, I'm not sitting at home avoiding the mall crowds or big name retailers such as Wal-Mart, Target, Kohl's, and T.J. Maxx. 
I have another plan cooking.
Why Shopping Handmade Effects You & Our Economy
^ Shana of Rubbish Love wrote an inspiring little article about the importance of handmade shopping.
This year and for every other holiday season after, I will be conducting most of my buying online and at local Dayton shops like Cachet G!, Peace On Fifth, and various thrift stores while also making gifts for family, friends, and my etsy shop.
Handmade art just adds a more sentimental touch to a holiday gift.
African Queen magnets-  Prismacolor colored pencils on 4" oval shaped wood.
I've been browsing soaps, shampoos, candles, and other present ideas that certain people would cherish because they're unique, one of a kind items that aren't mass produced. Independently crafted merchandise reasonably priced with that money going towards that creator's own pockets for not just sole profitable gain and not some humungous penny pinching corporation. These artisans make things that they personally love and put out their products because they know other people will adore them too.
That is simply called sharing the wealth and fruit of their labor.
Queen Lioness Prismacolor pencil drawing sold for $40.
Speaking of which, my etsy shop will be hosting a sale soon. Once I finish adding more prints, paintings, and seasonal holiday cards, the details will be set in stone. Also there is now a link in my etsy shop for personal requests. Though I have a few animal portraits left on the roster, I have ample time to create other custom commissions, especially for those who would enjoy a lovely little glossy painting or drawing of a beloved pet pal or family member as a wrapped treasure.
My motto for this joyous season- think indie, small, and remember what this is all about. I'm writing my list and checking it twice, and knowing which gifts would be quite nice.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Social Media Night At The Dayton Art Institute & Stephen Knapp's Lightpaintings Exhibit!

Always a welcoming sight.
On a lovely autumn evening, before setting forth on the Stoddard Avenue Pumpkin Glow two weeks ago, I was fortunate and most honored to be invited to another Social Media Night at the Dayton Art Institute celebrating the opening of Stephen Knapp's Lightpaintings exhibit.

Stephen Knapp's Lightpaintings the highlighted exhibit featured at DAI until January 6, 2013.
Very, very exciting things coming up at one of the most cherished art museums in Dayton history.
By November 21, local artists can donate handcrafted ornaments to put on the DAI tree located in the General Motors Rotunda Entrance that will then be included in a special silent auction with proceeds benefiting the amazing DAI Summer Art Camp Scholarship Program. Further details here: Decorate The DAI Tree!
Other big changes and wonderful surprises afoot include renovation of The Cafe featuring new menu items and The Museum Store merging together into one beautiful cohesive gathering space opening in early December. It was quite impressive to get a sneak peek view of the construction- black and white elegance and brilliant orange-red interior that will likely draw more people into the up-to-date classy atmosphere meant to be enjoyed in an unhurried sense.
At the intimate social media party, thoughtful gifts were raffled and everyone was awarded a special sentiment (I got an awesome lime green t-shirt proudly boasting "Art Changes Lives!") and Aimee Marcereau DeGalan, DAI's new curator whose background stems from American and British painting, made introduction, coquettishly implying about upcoming exhibitions, telling us all to, "stay tuned."
Now onto Stephen Knapp's Lightpaintings....

Shadow Musing from 2005 greets us with its straight out of the rectangular, wide screen television format. With strong line direction and graphic black outline, the negative space is primarily filled by dark, engaging shadows that aren't truly absent of color as brilliant dominance of light comes forward.
Close up of Shadow Musing.
An eye catching close up that captures bold intense color & movement of graphic line.
"Lightpaintings are the intersection of painting, sculpture and technology, exploring color, light and space and are a harbinger of the future of painting."- mentioned in front page of Stephen Knapp's website.
So with that being said, my curiosity was piqued for good reason.
Lightpaintings? A man painting using only light? What on earth....
"What is it like?" I had asked Eric Brockman, Marketing and Communications Manager of the Dayton Art Institute and one of the parties responsible for putting Dayton Art Institute's Social Media Event together.
"There are no words to describe it," he replied. "You just have to see it!"
He was completely right about that.
Stephen Knapp's constructive, straight out of the box, Lightpaintings are the most intriguing artworks I've had the pleasure of viewing in a while.
Part interactive sculpture. Part celebration of light.
These nearly life sized "paintings" are more than holographic like images displayed on the wall.
Taking light in crisp, sharp edged line formations and a special kind of hand cut glass, the lush spectrum of glorifying colors depicted in each carefully articulated installation piece invites viewers to analyze and come to their own personal conclusions as to what Knapp embodies in these mesmerizing compositions that play with the same elemental hierarchy that a painter does- realistic interaction of light and shadow topping that list.
As an added treat, people can also engage in stealing the light's direction for the one sole light bulb hovering can be intentionally blocked, taking some or all color away.

Forward Green, 2005 is spring season sophistication with curved elements and captivating golden orange and vivid green colors that joyously dance on the darkened wall.
Side close up view of interactive Forward Green.
Serenata, 2008 is even more eye catching. With delicious poppy candy color and chaotic prisms making diagonal criss crossing pattern, the brilliant scheme of this piece is absolutely phenomenal in all corners of view.
Pink, purple, turquoise, and yellow are just some of the colors working harmoniously together to create a dynamism that is irresistible enjoyment to the the naked eye.
A close up of the spectacular glass structures in Serenata.
Another close up of Serenata.
Introspection from 2012 uses a melodic pastel palette that is much different than the others displayed in the gallery. A contrasting anomaly, the softness of this piece gives an alluring, tranquil sense of poignancy and hope as the light moves in infinite directions, making stark, vital shadows on the wall.
The close up shapes captured of Introspection are quite reminiscent of stylistically rendered winged insects floating into beguiling space.
Into Morning from 2007-2011 brings celebratory radiance, taking up a substantial amount of wall space as it livens up the atmosphere with bright, electrifying luminosity.
The close up of Into Morning illustrates Knapp's innovative way of weaving light fragments into an astonishing painting that is quite a three-dimensional masterpiece.
Just a taste of the grand scale of Into Morning, one of Knapp's larger works.
Another astounding close up of Into Morning.
Capriccio from 2003 is another vivid splendor using an array of amazing color. The free flowing shapes almost circle the pink and red center, creating almost a rather intriguing abstract flower.
A close up of Capriccio in all its fetching glory!
For further information about Stephen Knapp on the web visit: Stephen Knapp OfficialLightpaintings.
But most importantly, please check out his amazing sculptures at the Dayton Art Institute.
Photographs and description alone cannot do the justice required to truly experience the majestic breadth of this beautifully crafted, interactive artwork.
It's pure genius and refreshing fun that the whole family can enjoy.
Connect with DAI to find out more about Lightpaintings and the exciting events coming up!
Official Site

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

40 Years Of RTA Plus Awesome Prize Pack Equals Thank You!

I was the queen of envy when "driving" & squeezing this awesome foam bus in drawing class today!
Just last week on RTA's coveted 40th anniversary date- November 6th, the fares were 40 cents all day long- a much needed treat for passengers. Now we're on day 9 of 40 Facts About RTA, a special contest running on Facebook and Twitter for RTA rider fans.
Very excited to learn about this exciting promotion, I found these unveiled historic trivial bits quite interesting, especially considering that I have been a coveted bus fan (go trolley!) and have made some very kind driver friends over the years.
So here are the 9 exciting facts so far:

1.) The publicly-owned Miami Valley Regional Transit Authority (MVRTA) formed in 1970 and was controlled by trustees from Dayton, Oakwood and Kettering.

2.) During prolonged negotiations in the early 1970s, City Transit agreed to sell its property to the Miami Valley Regional Transit Authority (MVRTA) for under $3 million.

3.) On November 6, 1972 the Miami Valley Regional Transit Authority took over the operation of privately-operated City Transit. *

4.) The first women drivers were hired by RTA in 1974. Joella Rooney and Mary Crowder began training as operators on February 19 that year. 

5.) To afford the cost of providing expanded service throughout the county, the Miami Valley Regional Transit Authority passed a county retail sales tax in 1980 and began negotiations with several small bus lines that had been providing limited suburban service.

6.) County-wide service began in 1980 and eventually the original service to Dayton and Oakwood expanded to 21 suburban cities, villages, and townships, as well as Wright State University and Wright Patterson Air Force Base in Greene County.

7.) RTA became one of the first transit properties in the country to become fully compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requirements by installing wheelchair lifts on all of our buses long before the required date.

8.) In 1995, a new fleet of trolley buses, built partly in the Czech Republic and partly in Baltimore, Maryland, arrived in Dayton.

9.) Dayton, Ohio’s RTA is noted for being one of only five cities in the U.S., and the smallest city, to continue offering electric-powered transit options in addition to diesel buses....

Only 31 more days left and I cannot wait to read more. This is sooooooo amazing and fun!

So I'm giving a big "THANK YOU!" to my pals at the RTA. After retweeting and Facebook sharing my first RTA fact (number #3 that is), I won this lovely prize pack- a treasure for one of the biggest bus devotees!
Thank you! Thank you! Thannnnnk yoooou!!!!
Much love to the drivers and other staff at the RTA for making such a dedicated commitment to regional transit, for steering those beautiful buses to go places all over beloved city. RTA has been an amazingly significant part of my life since childhood. :)

Not only receiving a $25 Kroger Gift Card, but a mini route map, two balloons, a thermos mug to hold my Starbucks hot chocolate, and a coaster were also included. However, the best part inside of the lime plastic bag was the foam bus.
With sweet prizes just in time for the holiday season like gift cards and wonderful RTA treasures, best of luck to all those who enter. But sorry, I believe only residing Daytonians are eligible to win. 
One can still enjoy the infectious spirit and fruitful knowledge about the history of Dayton's public transportation.
Follow the excitement with these RTA links and learn more about our regional transit system here:
RTA Offical Site
RTA Facebook
RTA Twitter

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Happy Belated Halloween & the Stoddard Avenue Pumpkin Glow Highlights

While ladies gave out leftover candy from their ghostly buckets, Batman & Joker also made surprise guest appearances amongst the crowded pumpkin spectacle, spreading further joy to delighted children and some adults.
Happy November!
Hope everyone has had a pleasant Halloween- partaking and enjoying the magnificent costumes as well as candy galore, especially the marked down sugary madness soon to be happening at every grocery store.
Lord knows I cannot wait....
After a lovely evening at the Dayton Art Institute, I ventured right behind the museum for the traditional Stoddard Avenue Pumpkin Glow located atop of Grafton Hills, but since I foolishly forgot my memory card only a few pictures were taken of the splendidly carved pumpkins with their sweet cinnamon scented tea light candles wafting through the cool autumn evening.
Every year, it gets more and more wonderful just to see the wide range of talent and knife chiseling precision.

A lovely rose.
A werewolf or a fangy kitten?
Bowling pins waiting for my gutter ball. Seriously. I'm terrible at the sport.
Diamond, heart, spade, & clover playing card design! Yes!!!
Fitness inspiration. I heard that Zumba is the cat's meow! Still haven't tried it yet.
Roman numerals.
The hill view featuring all sorts of cartoon, comic book, and movie characters as well as the traditional carving.
A beautiful lion!
And of course the crazy Mad honcho! Pretty well done. :D

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

President Barack Obama & Vice President Joe Biden's Dayton Visit

"Vote Early" was just one agenda on the menu today.
With fickle autumn morning drifting between warm, chilly, and hot and crisp, beautifully colored leaves raining from wind blustered trees, it set an idyllic preparatory tone for President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden's joint campaign visit to little Dayton, Ohio.
At eleven A.M., I sat on the very first charter bus making its way towards Triangle Park, face staring out at the season's rich earthy loveliness, excitement filling entire body amongst cozy, cushioned rainbow seats.
Yesterday on a normal walk from drawing class, ran into old friend, Latoria King who pointed me into destiny- acquiring that coveted blue "golden" ticket straight from the democratic headquarters in the Oregon District!
That joyous elation continued building into a stronger anticipation well into last night's cheer induced slumber.
It was really happening.
I was going to see the President, live and in living color!
Even as stomach cried over the rush to leave home without breakfast, even as trembling feet stood in a line for two hours, and even while waiting another three hours for the gentlemen to arrive, this experience would be far different than anything ever expected- greater than any concert, theatrical play, or phenomenal poetry reading, my whole life waited for this defining moment of pure clarity.

President Barack Obama encouraging the engaged crowd to listen to wisdom & vote.
After five, tumultuous hours of desperation, hunger, and glee, the event kicked off straightaway at four P.M. with everyone in the crowd reciting the Pledge of Allegiance, the national anthem sung with graceful eloquence by an amazing vocalist, and a bittersweet introduction by an Obama campaign volunteer.
Vice President Joe Biden came out first, filled with fiery spirit and hilarity, making light of last evening's final presidential debates between President Obama and rival, Governor Mitt Romney and getting the campaign trail kicking by chatting about lies and seeing through facades.   
Once President Obama arrived on stage, my ears and eyes went numb.
This wasn't some swoon worthy, drool infested lapse in time.
This was special and rare- an event meant to be savored.
He exuded such a charismatic presence, speaking heartily to the boasting crowd like one does an old, familiar friend, talking of plans for another four years of burgeoning hope ripening into replenished fruit, of creating more employment implanted here in glorious America not shipped overseas, and of making the commitment to being an honest politician, keeping his promises.
Yet stating in firmly passionate conviction that love shouldn't be hidden in secret closeted shame, especially amongst the troops fighting to protect our country, President Obama caused mistiness blurring vision and renewed vigorous belief that anyone should be married if they chose to be regardless of gender roles.
There are far more disgusting circumstances in this ugly, hypocritical world, a lot of unnecessary hatred and callous judgement. A life is too short and perilous for certain individuals condoning and refusing the bonds of marriage to those choosing to want that certification, that piece of acknowledgement that their love is acceptable.
Other than articulating tender and sentimental prose, he fulfilled the gift of his visit, evoking his devoted followers with fire in their hearts. As he waved goodbye to the crowded sea of chants and screams, amongst the alluring wonder of poignant nature, I would never forget this experience, being in the same vicinity with the most powerful man in the country who energetically inspires millions of individuals to propel onward to better opportunities, to a brighter, promising future than they ever thought to deserve.
So as I've learned at the end of this glorious day, of standing in the awarding fall heat, listening to the gospel of a remarkable leader, not to label myself as an artist, writer, advocate, vegan, feminist, black woman.
I am only just a full blooded American through and through.

 From teacher loving to "Romnesia," President Barack Obama gets the audience pumping with humor, intelligence, and escalating desire to remain the chief! 
*Sorry it's mostly cameras in the air & not enough pres, but you can hear his messages loud & clear!
Latoria & I meet after the speeches!
Such a great time!
And there goes Air Force One.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

The Formal AfroVeganChick Blog Introduction

Brown rice topped with carrots, broccoli, tofu, & avocado.
Where are my manners???
My 2nd blog, AfroVeganChick started off as a New Year's Resolution in January.
After being a vegetarian for 14 years, I finally wanted to graduate to the full fledged step veganism which means to exclude all animal related products from diet altogether- milk, cheese, eggs, and honey.
2012 is almost over and the blog is still documenting the challenging journey, but somehow I forgot to add the link and talk further about this newfound kitchen creativity and unlike Sugarygingersnap, it has an About Me page which introduces a very goofy, often updated pictorial bio story of yours truly.
I love creating with words on Microsoft Word and in many journals and experimenting in the artist studio with a variety of mediums and surfaces, but in the kitchen, it's all about using the pantry, the fridge, and freezer in another unique relationship via stove, oven, or without heat.
In these ten months, I've made horribly atrocious food and very wonderful, deliciously addictive food.
Thanks to various vegan blogs, helpful reading material focusing on getting proper nutrients especially finding protein in tasty items such as tofu, tempeh, quinoa, kale, and nuts, and an inspiring documentary called Forks Over Knives, I have enriched my eyes, ears, and tongue, further crafting recipes and engaging in making the kitchen another "studio" space where every meal is an attempt at innovative, yummy masterpieces on a plate. 
I highly doubt that I'll return to dairy.
Veganism sensuously sexy enjoyment- inside and out, is officially the longest running, most dedicated New Year's Resolution ever made and I love every last, appetizing moment.
The below 5 are some of my favorite recipes with the links added, but I admit comforting foods such as macaroni & cheese and various kinds of pizza are also featured on the blog.
I commend Daiya and nutritional yeast for making that possible.

Fried Tofu Strips Over Basmati Rice & Broccoli
Vegan Chocolate Raspberry Cupcakes
Frozen Chocolate Black Bean Walnut Brownie Sandwiches With Strawberry Banana Icecream Filling
Black Bean Burger With Cauliflower "Cheese" Sauce
Baked Pretzels Topped With Nutritional Yeast & Italian Seasonings
The blog isn't just about cooking, sharing recipes, and product/restaurant reviews, I link inspiring future Hair Ideas, showcase thrifty fashion advice, share homemade beauty product recipes, have little celebrity encounters that bring out the inner crazy fangirl, and reveal the progress of my afro, which sadly enough is still covered territory unless inside the safety of home.
The purpose is to inspire and hope that someone else sees the progress of these "travels," yearning to do the same.
Why does it always take a new year to take a chance?
I'm taking the plunge by being me and not ever looking back...
In the world's most adorable bathroom, about to take off the security blanket. But it's all revealed here & your eyes will never be the same: OMG The Afro!
Is there some kind of art related to all this mumbo jumbo????
Why yes! Of course! A vegan bespeckled lady holding a bowl of salad with a yellow rubber ducky in her afro.