What Would You Bring to a Holiday Art Exchange? (The Tiniest Ring Master in the World Drawing)

I have been invited to a few white elephant gift exchange parties, but this was the first holiday party where I was invited to do a holiday art exchange. Everyone had to bring a piece of art they created and, just like a white elephant gift exchange, we drew numbers to discover which artwork we’d bring home.

I wasn’t sure what to create. I didn’t have much time, so I drew something tiny. In fact, I drew, “the Tiniest Ring Master in the World”. She is a sight to see, triumphantly perched on top of some kind of green stag beetle. You can see the work in progress below.

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Of course, I was nervous about whomever would receive my art. Would they genuinely like it? Would they just pretend they were delighted by it? I mean, I really wanted someone to squeal with excitement upon opening it and seeing this tiny drawing.

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The gal who won mine got a kick out of my Tiny Ring Master. Others said if she didn’t want my strange, little drawing, they would happily take it off her hands. But she kept it. That made me feel satisfied that I had done a good job.

What did I win in the exchange? Well, the artist was just as nervous as me, unsure and doubting his art. It was a large, canvas, drip painting by a good friend of mine in lovely purples, blues and pink that formed a pretty lady in all those splashes and blurs of paint. Of course, I was happily surprised to receive it. Now, I need to find a frame to make it shine and proudly hang it on my wall.

Hell Yes, I'm Going to the Monster Drawing Rally!

This will be my 3rd year to participate in this Portland Art Museum fundraiser. Why do I keep doing the Monster Drawing Rally?  Is it because it raises money for the children's art programs?  Is it because it makes me feel a part of something bigger than myself?  Or is it because I just have so much damn fun?  Well, all of the above!  But really, I just have never gone and had a bad time...and I cannot say that about many things.  

And honestly....there's something magical about that evening for me.

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I'll be drawing LIVE in the first hour from 6-7PM.  You know I'll be excitedly anxious...or is that anxiously excited?.  Afterward, I'll hope to mingle with my friends and family who came to watch me and to...of course....watch all the other great artists make live art in the next couple of hours.  Let me know if you come by.  I'd love to say hello to you.

  • WHERE:  Portland Art Museum in Portland, Oregon
  • WHEN:  Friday, July 13, 2018 6-9:30PM
  • WHAT:  Watch over 100 artists make art LIVE and sell it for only $35/piece
  • WHY:  Raise funds for children's art programs and to have a hell of a lot of fun!!!

Win A Custom Retro Portrait (by me) at NW Dance Project's Silent Auction

If you love amazing dance performances and winning luxurious prizes, you won't want to miss the NW Dance Project's Silent Auction and Golden Gala, this Saturday, May 12th, 2018.  I mention it because...well, I love this dance troupe...and I'm supporting them by donating a custom retro portrait for their silent auction.  During this deliciously decadent event, one lucky winner will get a beautiful portrait by me.  Read more about it below.

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How to Get Your Vintage Fantasy Portrait Painted Here (My Donation to NW Dance Project)

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to time travel back a 150 years or more?  Have you ever fantasized about wearing top hats or corsets and frilly dresses?  Well, you don't have to wonder about it anymore.  You can get your fantasy self portrait painted here!  I'll make you look dapper and comely in all the clothing and accoutrements of the Victorian and Edwardian era. 

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I take your stories; like the moments you're most proud of, or the trips you've taken, or your favorite pet and combine them into a special painting that celebrates your life and your accomplishments. 

I do this for anyone, but right now, I'm donating one custom portrait to the NW Dance Project for their silent auction.  They are one of my favorite dance troupes so I am happy to help them raise money to keep up their amazing performance art.  If you win this portrait painting, here's what you'll get:

  1. You or up 2 people of your choice painted on an oval 16x20" canvas.

  2. Your stories, accomplishments and/or dreams illustrated in this portrait.

  3. A favorite animal or pet in this portrait with you.

  4. An in-depth interview so I can get to know who you are and what you want in this custom portrait.

  5. You painted in subdued vintage colors and clothing.

  6. A one-of-a-kind piece of artwork, valued at $650.00.

Below are a couple examples of portraits I've been commissioned to paint before.  Make sure you go to the NW Dance Project's Golden Gala and put in your bid to win this luxurious fantasy portrait.  It's May 12th, 2018!

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The Best Art Event in Portland Is The Strange & Magical "Monster Drawing Rally"

What should an art event have to be deemed The Best Art Event in Portland?  Well, it should:

  1. Sweep you away in all the excitement happening around you.
  2. Make you feel like you're in on a secret or something very rare and special.  
  3. Give you something unique that you didn't expect and that keeps you asking for more.  
The Monster Drawing Rally sign at the Portland Art Museum.

The Monster Drawing Rally sign at the Portland Art Museum.

The "Monster Drawing Rally" at the Portland Art Museum is that art event.  2017 is the 3rd time that the museum will put on this strange and magical event.  There are 100 artists participating who donate their time and talent to raise funds for the museum's children's art programs.  In 3 one-hour shifts, artists from Portland draw or paint for 1 hour, creating as many works of art as they can in that short time.  When the art is done, it's put up on a wall to behold and to be sold for only $35.00.

One row of the many artists creating at the Monster Drawing Rally at the Portland Art Museum.

One row of the many artists creating at the Monster Drawing Rally at the Portland Art Museum.

Right before your eyes, artists materialize beautiful, strange or funny art like a magician pulling fantastic creatures from his top hat.  With all the music pumping around you, so many different artists creating beautiful art each hour, and delicious food scents filling the air, you cannot help but be swept away in the non-stop fun and excitement.  Amazing sights, sounds, scents, tastes and touches thrill all 5 of your senses.  If you don't like the art move on to watch the next art being created.  If you weren't able to buy the art that you wanted, there's bound to be another artist creating another magical artwork for you.  As the artists form their creations, you're let in on the secret of how it's done.  You get to witness what's usually done behind the closed studio doors.  You have no idea what each artist will create.  It's a surprise.  Each artwork is unique and you just want the magic to keep going on and on.  Encore.  More please.  But it only lasts for 3 hours.  Hopefully, by the time the last artist stops drawing or painting, you've gotten your very own piece of strange magic from the "Monster Drawing Rally".

Melissa Kojima (me) drawing at the Monster Drawing Rally at the Portland Art Museum.

Melissa Kojima (me) drawing at the Monster Drawing Rally at the Portland Art Museum.

This will be my 2nd year to participate as one of the 100 artists donating my time and talent.  I cannot describe how thrilled I am to be a part of the Best Art Event in Portland.  It will be Friday, July 14th 6-9pm at the Portland Art Museum.  Would you want to come and have the time of your life?  Or do you need to wash your hair that night?  Come with dirty hair.  No one will care.

All the artwork I created in 1 hour at the Monster Drawing Rally sold.

All the artwork I created in 1 hour at the Monster Drawing Rally sold.

If You Love Strange Art and You're in Portland, You Won't Want to Miss This!

If you are one of those people whose heart skips a beat when see strange art with strange characters in strange lands and you're in Portland, Oregon this week, you won't want to miss the First Thursday Art Walk on June 1st, 2017 (5:30-10pm)!  Why?  Because I'm selling a bunch of my strange drawings for cheap there!  My Art Geeks Meetup group has a booth on the sidewalks at NW 8th Avenue between NW Davis and Everett.  You'll find a few the drawings below (+ many more) hanging there for way below their value (I mean cheap!).  Are you excited?  Do you hope you'll get there before it's all gone?  Yes, it's for only one night at this cheap price.  Get there quickly before there's nothing left. 

How to Create a Secret Magical Garden Out of Chalk (in 9 Easy Steps)

Yessiree!  When you watch this how-to-video, you'll discover how to create a secret, magical garden----out of chalk---in 9 easy step (okay, maybe, it wasn't so easy).

On a misty, grey October morning, it bloomed to life.  Click on the video to see it unfold before your very eyes.  

It really did unfold before many eyes because I was invited to the Beaverton Art Mix where I drew my heart out for 8 hours in front of whoever stopped to watch (Thank you friends and fans who came to watch).

I created this magical garden complete with 2 ghostly looking bunny girls. In my upcoming blog posts, I'll tell you more about the bunny girls, Claire & Dare (they have a very mysterious story).  Yep, stay tuned and I'll reveal more secrets and magic to you.  

5 Surprising & Fun Things I Discovered at the 2016 Monster Drawing Rally

I had gone to the first Monster Drawing Rally as a spectator last year in 2015.  It was amazing.  That night is one of those moments I'll fondly remember for the rest of my days.  The music!  The art coming to life like magic before my eyes!   The fun I had with friends who also were in awe of the art!   The art activities I did with children and other guests!  And the many photos I took of all the cool sights!  I thought of them all year and smiled all the way down to my toes.  I loved it so much, I asked if I could participate if they did it again.  

Well, I got my wish.  They did it again this year.  I was super excited. But as the time got closer.  I got nervous and I wondered, "Would this be just as fun as a participating artist?"

Me, Melissa Kojima, drawing at the 2016 Monster Drawing Rally at the Portland Art Museum.

Me, Melissa Kojima, drawing at the 2016 Monster Drawing Rally at the Portland Art Museum.

Here's what I discovered at the 2016 Monster Drawing Rally from the inside as a participting artist: 

  1. The Monster Drawing Rally is just as fun as a participating artist.   Yeah, I wasn't sure if it would be.  I did a bunch of "tests" at home to see if I could even complete a drawing in an hour.  When I stuck to small pieces of paper, I was able to complete 2 drawings.  I took my timer and paced myself so I knew how much time I had.  I made myself stop the ball point pen drawing in time so I could add some color with my pencils.  Even though, it was timed, I was really exhilarated and I really appreciated people watching what I was creating.  
  2. My art sells quickly at $35.00.  I had no idea what the response would be to my little drawings.  I didn't know if the right people would be there who wanted my dark fairy tale art.  Well, they were there.  They snatched up my drawings before I even had a chance to see them hung up on the selling wall.  After the event, my friends and newsletter subscribers who came told me they didn't even get a chance to buy them.  That was fun to see that my drawings were so well loved.
  3. I can help raise money with my art.  Last year, the Monster Drawing Rally raised $6000.00 to benefit art programs for children.  But this year, it raised $8000.00!  I was thrilled to learn that when I particiapted, we raised $2000.00 more than the previous year.  Hooray!  The reason obviously had to be because I participated, right?  Ok, Ok, I kid.....maybe.
  4. The scent of donuts cooking & the groovy beats of great music make me relaxed as I draw.  I was really nervous when I sat down and started drawing.  I was thinking, "Will I be able to do this?  Will the pressure get to me?"  But as soon as the donuts started cooking and the DJ started spinning music, I was in a sensual paradise.  I inhaled the sweet air and unwound to the groovy music.  I was in my element.  It was an awesome atmosphere to be in, to draw in.  I thought, "I got this.  No problem."  
  5. Connecting with art collectors is such a fun experience.  As I drew, I liked people taking pictures and also asking me questions about what I was doing.  I felt really connected to them.  They told me they loved my art and I was very humbled that they enjoyed and appreciate it.  I was so happy that they found value in it, enough to buy it.  Before I left the Monster Drawing Rally for the evening, a hip, young couple came up to me and told me they had bought my "Do No Harm Wolfman" drawing (See below).  They showed it to me and beamed with happiness.  They thanked me and told me they really appreciated what I drew.  I was sort of taken back.  I too appreciated them.  I really loved that they took the time to connect with me.  It was a great night.  I hope to connect with more of my art collectors and to, of course, do the Monster Drawing Rally again.  It's another night that I'll fondly remember for the rest of my days.
The 2 little drawing I created at the 2016 Monster Drawing Rally.  "Do No Harm Wolfman" and "Dazzling & Dangerous Bat".

The 2 little drawing I created at the 2016 Monster Drawing Rally.  "Do No Harm Wolfman" and "Dazzling & Dangerous Bat".

5 Freaky Things I Discovered from Doing This Crazy-Ass 3 Day Street Art Project

When I got this hair-brained idea to do a 3 day Chalk Drawing Story Hunt on the streets of Downtown Portland, Oregon, I really wasn't prepared for everything I encountered and all the freaky things I discovered.  I had 3 objective:

The 1st fish drawing to show you the way on the crazy-ass, Chalk Drawing Story Hunt in Downtown Portland, OR.  The fish are kind of the guides for the whole story and they mark where I started on the 3 different days. Near NW 11th & Couch.

The 1st fish drawing to show you the way on the crazy-ass, Chalk Drawing Story Hunt in Downtown Portland, OR.  The fish are kind of the guides for the whole story and they mark where I started on the 3 different days. Near NW 11th & Couch.

  1. Have tons of fun drawing
  2. Build relationships with art collectors who loved the kind of magical art I created
  3. Give people an incredible, magical, art experience like no other before 

Those things happened in a small part.  Yes, I did like the challenge of drawing a whole story on the streets in chalk.  Yes, I ended up meeting some great folks who seemed to really appreciate all my hard work and with whom I'm sure we'll continue to build an awesome relationship.  And yes, I did give folks an amazing, chalk art scavenger hunt that surprised them and made them happy.   But what happened in big doses and what I didn't expect were these 5 freaky things:

The 1st drawing for the Chalk Drawing Story Hunt near NW Couch and Park.

The 1st drawing for the Chalk Drawing Story Hunt near NW Couch and Park.

  1. Homeless folks will come  up to you and tell you their whole tragic, and scary life stories.  One lady yelled and screamed her head off, like she was reliving a harrowing sexual assault.  I wondered if it was some kind of post-traumatic, stress disorder.  Another man, kept telling me how his belongings and ID were stolen from him by people he trusted.  He repeated that story about 20 times before he left me alone, but not before he got confused and asked me to give him back his things.  The first two days that kind of thing happened which really shook me up and left me emotionally drained.  I was very happy when I was not accosted on the third day.
  2. Nicer neighborhoods and businesses will power wash away your art (even if the event I created brought in more clients to them).  That was something I didn't know was a possibility.  I didn't want it to happen.  If my drawings were erased, then there would have been no chalk drawing story hunt. No one would be able to follow and find anything.  It scared and worried me.  Fortunately, the nice building manager told me he'd power wash away my art if I drew near his building and he advised me to draw across the street.  I made sure I didn't draw near any nice buildings after that.
  3. It's hard to find a place to go pee when you're drawing on the streets for 7 hours.  That was tricky to figure out.  On the first day, when I was closer to my own neighborhood, I just took a break and walked back home.  On the other days, I had to find public restrooms.  Sometimes, I asked businesses to let me use their facilities.  Sometimes, they let me and sometimes, they didn't.    
  4. Sitting and drawing on the street makes your muscles and body sore.  I work out almost every day so I didn't know that bending, kneeling, hunching forward, getting up and down, up and down would make my body ache after 7 hours per day.  Gardeners do similar things and are prepared for it.  I had no idea.  
  5.   Even with red arrows, it's hard to follow a chalk drawing story hunt.  I really believed this story hunt would be a cinch.  There wouldn't be any challenge with red arrows pointing you on your way to the chalk drawings.  I was wrong.  Fortunately, people could post what was happening on the Facebook event page and I could try to streamline the whole thing as it was happening.  I  went back and drew more arrows.  I made them brighter and bolder.  Still, there were some folks who couldn't find those red arrows to lead them along the way.
The 2nd drawing where the mermaid sniffs something delicious in the air.  Near NW 5th and Couch.

The 2nd drawing where the mermaid sniffs something delicious in the air.  Near NW 5th and Couch.

Most people really enjoyed the event.  I have no idea how many people participated.  I thought they'd come to the after party, but not many people made it.   I created little packages for them with the story and drawings along with some, fun surprises.  There were great donations from sponsors and even cheesecake.  For whatever reason, those things were not enough to bring in a crowd.  I did enjoy meeting and hearing the experience of the folks who came.  We laughed a lot and they asked me a lot of questions about how the whole thing came about.

The 2nd fish drawing to encourage you to keep going! Near the South Side of Burnside and 5th.

The 2nd fish drawing to encourage you to keep going! Near the South Side of Burnside and 5th.

The 3rd drawing where the mermaid follows the scent until as it gets stronger and stronger.  Near SW 1st & Pine.

The 3rd drawing where the mermaid follows the scent until as it gets stronger and stronger.  Near SW 1st & Pine.

I still have a few packages left.  If you'd like one, please email me (melicious1900(at)gmail(dot)com) your name and mailing address and I'll send you some fun surprises from my Chalk Drawing Story Hunt.  You'll learn the crazy story of the Mermaid and the Devil which my newsletter subscribers helped me create.

The 4th drawing where the mermaid discovers the source of the delicious scent. Near SW 1st and Ash.

The 4th drawing where the mermaid discovers the source of the delicious scent. Near SW 1st and Ash.

The 3rd fish drawing to let you know you're doing well...in fact...you got this!  Near SW 2nd & Ash.

The 3rd fish drawing to let you know you're doing well...in fact...you got this!  Near SW 2nd & Ash.

The 5th drawing where the mermaid asks what the devil he is drinking.  Near NW 2nd & Couch. 

The 5th drawing where the mermaid asks what the devil he is drinking.  Near NW 2nd & Couch. 

The 6th and final drawing where the mermaid get to drink coffee for the first time and loves it.  Near NW 2nd & Davis.

The 6th and final drawing where the mermaid get to drink coffee for the first time and loves it.  Near NW 2nd & Davis.

The sketchbooks that show the preparatory drawings for the Chalk Drawing Story Hunt.  There are a few left and you can get one sent to you by emailing me with your name and mailing address (melicious1900(at)gmail(dot)com).

The sketchbooks that show the preparatory drawings for the Chalk Drawing Story Hunt.  There are a few left and you can get one sent to you by emailing me with your name and mailing address (melicious1900(at)gmail(dot)com).

Would you like to read the whole Mermaid Chalk Drawing Story along with the photos together in an easy to read & printable PDF?  Your wish is my command.  Get the PDF at this link.

1 Sure Way to Have Fun in Downtown Portland: Chalk Art Story Hunt!

What's a story hunt?   Well, it's what I call the event I've created for you to enjoy in downtown Portland, Oregon this summer.  Here's how it will work:

Chalk art story hunt event is going to be fabulous this June 17th.   Sign up for the event to get updates at this link !

Chalk art story hunt event is going to be fabulous this June 17th.  Sign up for the event to get updates at this link!

I will draw 5 pictures on the sidewalk all around downtown Portland.  You will need to find them in order so that you can piece together the story from them.  As the time gets closer to the event, I'll give you the starting point, then you'll follow the clues to find all the drawings.  Of course there will be a treasure at the end.  How does that sound?  Fabulous, right?  

I can't wait to draw for you!  Let me know if you have any questions.  Post them below.