Category Archives: Art

New Store! New Coasters!

I’ve been wanting to launch a store on Etsy for a while now. It’s a great place for artists to sell their creations.  I’ve got a few items for sale in an attempt to ‘just do it’ and get the thing off the ground. Expect more creations and updates real soon. The store is called ‘Oh Rad! Makery.’ It’s a play on the title of this blog, and a word I made up (“makery” should totally be a word, right?)

The concept is simple. I make cool things out of common, everyday materials. For instance, the coasters pictured above started out as bathroom tiles. i have a lot of raw materials around my apartment, so I decided it was time to act. Call it creative decluttering, or profit-purging.

I want to transform the mundane into something magical. I want to change something insignificant into something inspirational.

I want to make you say: “Oh, Rad!”

Thanks in advance for the encouragement.

Visit the store.

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Inspiration for Creatives

You have a gift.

Perhaps you have thought it was in your hands. It isn’t.

It is in your vision.

Your gift is not in the brushstroke, the pencil line, or the in the shaping of clay; it is in the seeing.

Vision cannot be learned.

Perhaps you thought your gift would make the art itself easy. It won’t.

It only makes it necessary.

As you struggle for breath, you will struggle to give your vision shape and form; to move from inspiration to incarnation.

Perhaps you have feared there is no room in the world for artists. There is.

Your gift makes meaning for others.

You inform them, entertain them. prod them, and provoke them.

You show them hope and truth.

Your vision and your work honor them.

You have a gift. Honor it.



(Source: Kansas City Institute of Art Course Catalog)


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High School Musical

I’m a part-time scenic painter. This is easily the most fun work that I do. For the last several weeks I’ve been designing and painting Liberty North’s production of “Oliver!” For the uninitiated, it’s a adaptation of the classic Dickens tale, “Oliver Twist”. Unlike Disney’s 1988 cartoon “Oliver and Company,” this show features no Billy Joel songs. The experience rocks, nonetheless.

Usually I’m approached weeks in advance to start brainstorming color palettes and processes. I love working this way: being involved in virtually every step of the production —-  from selecting the paint, to giving my opinion on lighting options, coaching students in different techniques, to designing the t-shirts and the posters to coming back and doing the ‘detail’ work that ties all the pieces together to create our theatrical universe. We try to craft a believable world that the audience can be immersed in for a few hours.

We start with raw materials: plywood, two-by-fours, pieces of canvas and a library of tools. Using light and pigment, we transform 2012 Liberty into 1800s Dickensian London, with all it’s grime and patina. When you’re up close, this style of painting looks haphazard and messy, but when you step back and look from a distance, the big picture has it’s own sense of beauty and depth. I love that.

I love that I can work and then stand back at the end of the day and see actual progress. I can chart actual accomplishments, not just finishing vague widgets without understanding their impact. We have a concrete goal and the time and resources to meet that goal. I love leaving work with five colors of paint caked on my clothes and hands. I love that my favorite Chuck Taylors are tattooed with years of splatters and happy accidents.

I’m proud of the work that I do here. It involves mentoring, teaching, painting, and creative problem solving. Sometimes I work alone, with my iPod giving me the isolation that I need to get creative. Others times I’m deep in the mix, instructing, giving and receiving feedback, coordinating efforts to do together what we could never do independently.

I’m lucky. It’s rare to find work that is perfectly suited to one’s strength roles and personality. If only it wasn’t seasonal……



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St. Vincent: ‘Surgeon’ from The 4AD Sessions

Sorry Fleet Foxes. I know I voted Helplessness Blues as my favorite album/song of last year, but to quote the cast of Arrested Development, “I’ve made a huge mistake.” St. Vincent’s Strange Mercy is working it’s dark voodoo on me this weekend I hereby declare her the queen of indie cool. Lyrically, Annie Clark spills her guts, especially on “Cheerleader.” I’m relieved that she’s finally fessing up: (I’ve told whole lies/ with a half smile/ held your bare bones/ with my clothes on/ I’ve thrown rocks/ then hid both my arms). She’s easy on my eyes and ears. She’s a guitar virtuoso, simultaneously inspiring me to play my guitar or never touch it again. She’s cut her teeth playing with another one of my favorite sonic geniuses, Sufjan Stevens. It’s official:

This is high art, people.

For further arguments, I’ll refer you to her set on The 4AD Sessions. Watch this video and try to keep the awe to a minimum. There’s a breakdown/guitar solo 3:15 minutes into “Surgeon” that consistently makes me want to rock out.

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