I am always ready for a new challenge! This time it was a rowdy crowd of 10, 11, and 12-year-old kids! Woo-Hoo! We rocked! Literally! While some kids went their own way, the rest painted a cool rock guitar. Of course, we listened to Bon Jovi while we painted! Check it out!
We had a lot of fun at the Social Art Studio last Saturday. I taught a workshop on how to paint a famous painting by Gustav Klimt, The Kiss. I loved it! Klimt is one of my favorite artists. I saw his original artwork in Belvedere Palace in Vienna, Austria a few years ago, and I was blown away. Klimt used real gold and silverin some of his paintings, including the Kiss.
His father, Ernst Klimt, was a gold engraver. He immigrated to Austria from Bohemia (now Czech Republic). Klimt lived in poverty for most of his childhood, as work was scarce and economic advancement was difficult for immigrants. However, Gustav Klimt displayed artistic talent early on, and he was awarded a scholarship to the Vienna School of Arts and Crafts when he was 14 years old. He received training as an architectural painter and became a muralist. He won several major awards and had received numerous commissions for public art in Vienna.
According to some biographers, the Kiss is a self-portrait of Klimt and his companion Emilie Louise Flöge, an Austrian fashion designer and businesswoman. When he painted The Kiss, Klimt was 45 and still lived at home with his mother and two unmarried sisters - but behind the respectable facade he was a man with a ferocious sexual appetite. Klimt fathered at least three illegitimate children and probably many more. He was obsessed by women and he had a fixation with redheads. It is no surprise that the woman in The Kiss has red hair.
I am excited to announce that I will be teaching art workshops at Social Art Studio every Saturday from 2 till 5 pm. Social Art Studio is a fun, energetic place to come with friends, a date, family or alone and create a masterpiece. It is nothing like a regular art school. There are no grades and no pressure. Instead, you’ll be pleasantly surprised by a fun atmosphere, wine, cheese and lots of laughter.
This Friday was a grand opening of the studio. Below, are some pictures from Friday night.
I had so much fun this Monday! I taught an art seminar/team building workshop for Samsung employees in Dallas, TX. We were painting new Samsung Galaxy phone. The workshop was organized by Social Art Studio. I used my Social Psychology degree and my art skills to make it very creative, engaging, and entertaining. We enjoyed painting as much as we enjoyed laughter and each other’s company. It was fun!
Do you think it is feasible? I did it! I’ve created 50 acrylic paintings on 16x20 inch canvases in 50 hours!
I was approached to do some commissioned work for the Social Art Studio in Richardson, TX. They own the copyright, but I can share my artwork on my blog.
On Wednesday, Jan. 12 2011 it finally happened! After almost three months of planning, I met with the founders of Sweet Leaf Tea, Clayton Christopher and David Smith, at the company’s new office. Clayton Christopher left the company in the spring of 2010 to venture a new business, Deep Eddy Vodka, and David Smith continues to run the company.
I met Clayton at the social event over a year ago. I was touched by the company’s story: how two best friends had a goal of brewing the best sweet tea in order to share it with other people. With no specific knowledge or any substantial resources, yet equipped with a lot of enthusiasm, the two friends started their business journey in 1998. In the first four years they didn’t make any profit. They worked long hours seven days a week. Nevertheless, perseverance, determination, and faith in their products paid them back generously. Now their products are sold in all 50 states and they are expanding internationally. Nestle invested $15.6 million in Sweet Leaf Tea in 2009. Both friends have now fulfilled their long-awaited dream, to own a beautiful boat to sail to far-off places.
The company walks its talk: David and Clayton created their own opportunities and they do believe in laughter, high-fives, and good music. When I was in the office, three lovely dogs were keeping company to all the Teammates and were happily wagging their tails. Everyone I met was extremely friendly and cheerful.
After visiting the office and meeting with the founders I understand why Sweet Leaf Tea is so loved and cherished by Austin community. As an artist, I was inspired to reflect the history of Sweet Leaf Tea on canvas. I presented to David and Clayton a 36x36 inch painting with Sweet Grandma Mimi, an array of tea bottles and, of course, the two founders on both sides. David and Clayton were genuinely touched by my gift. It was a wonderful day!
What is the best way to spend Sunday morning? To throw a funky photo shoot. I wanted to cover myself and my friends with ridiculous glitter for a while, and it eventually happened yesterday!
We had out little Halloween at the back yard this Sunday: terrorizing my roommates and neighborhood children with our looks, fighting over the fake rat, licking black salty candies and posing in front of the photo camera. What a treat!
Thanks to Marcos Molina and Tetyana Gyunter for this wonderful experience. It was fun!
I became addicted to Futurama series on Netflex in the last few days. Is it bad? Well, I definitely felt guilty for watching seven episodes in a row yesterday instead of going to bed early as I initially intended. But what about good impact of this TV show on my life? First of all, I believe laughter is a remedy against any sores and troubles. It cheers you up and lifts your spirit. Second of all, I created a few painting influenced by futuristic landscapes. It would be nice to think of a third reason, but I will come up with it later.
Let’s see what else came out of my latest addiction.
I always have a hard time explaining my work. It is purely the work of my right brain and subconscious mind. When I paint, I gain access to my subconscious mind directly and channel images from there.
Some of you may be surprised, but this could be considered a painting of a Jesus Christ in Futurama world. Look, he is in the belly. Two bushes are the breasts of Virgin Mary. He has to confront evil – the scary plant with the mouth. Three tall eye-balls are the Magi. There was a star in original story, but I can create my own world on campus, right? Therefore, I give them the Sun and the Moon. Also, there is a male volcano on the left (by the Sun) and a female volcano on the right (by the Moon). It could be Adam and Eve. It all comes together, see?
I placed these paintings in Myths and Fairytales section.
I met Luis Ortiz this summer. Both of us worked at the Richards Group, the biggest advertising agency in Texas, famous for its iconic Chick-Fil-A cows and many other great ads. Ironically, I met the most creative photographers under the least creative circumstances. Thus, we met with Bill Reeves, an award-winning photographer when both of us struggled with the theories in Advanced Research Methods doctorate-level class at UT. Similar story with Luis: both of us worked in brand planning, studying and analyzing consumers to help building a strategy for effective communications campaigns. Our creative colleagues were bragging about cool shoots with the sport stars and celebrities while we, as planners, were crunching numbers from syndicated databases and screening the footage from customers’ interviews and focus-groups. Yet, fairly soon we discovered that Luis likes to take pictures, and I love to model and create my own artistic look.
It was a very fun photo session. We agreed to shoot in early morning to catch the sunrise light. I intended to radiate the mystery of the East, wearing oriental outfits, jewelry, and makeup.
In the best traditions of a Murphy law I woke up at 4 am with a gigantic mosquito bite on my face. Thus, one of my eyelids was swollen causing an overt asymmetry across my face. I tried to apply some ice and to disguise it with a ton of makeup, and I was somewhat successful in restoring my face.
We decided that Luis will pick me up at 5:15 am, expecting that we will arrive to the location and start shooting around 5:30. Both of us assumed that since it is early September in Texas, the sun raises before 6 am. When we arrived to the destination as planned at 5:30, we discovered that it was dark as in a coal mine with no sign of daybreak. We googled the weather channel, and discovered that we should expect the crack of dawn no earlier than 7 am… We tried to take some shots at night, and apparently stepped into somebody’s poop, genuinely left on the grass either by a homeless person or a dog. At any rate, we realized that we have higher chance s to run across some homeless dudes or wild animals or their doo-doos than to see a ray of light in the next hour or so. Thus, we had plenty of time to grab a breakfast before the sunrise. We began to drive around Dallas trying to find a place that served breakfast so early. After a fairly long drive, we eventually found Denny’s restaurant that was open 24/7. I graciously entered the front door in my eccentric attire. By the looks I received from Denny’s customers and staff, I felt like an alien landed on Earth. However, we began to chat about the social psychology – another topic that both of us are very interested in - and quickly forgot about being under the scrutiny at the restaurant. In fact, while we chatted, we missed the sunrise.
We rushed to the location again, and started shooting. It was a lot of fun. It was very easy and comfortable to work with Luis. I believe, he has a good eye and will continue taking a lot of great pictures in the future.
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Thousands of people came to the Live Music Capital of the World this weekend to enjoy Austin City Limits festival. Hotels were full and overpriced. My Austin friends split into two camps: ACL lovers and ACL haters. Some wanted to escape from live music, crowds and hippies while the rest couldn’t wait to see their favorite bands live!
For those who didn’t get the tickets to ACL, Lucy the Puddle productions and Cheer Up Charlie’s hosted an alternative music festival featuring more than 40 live music bands on four stages at the East 6th street. “Ditch The Fest” Fest was absolutely free and rocked from noon till 2 am on Saturday, October 9th.
Shortly before the festival, I was asked to make an artwork for “Ditch The Fest” Fest. Since it was also John Lennon’s birthday, I painted his symbolic portrait on the banner.
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Ekaterina's personal blog