What A Surprise to Be Accepted into This Juried Art Show: 2019 Portland Open Studios

About a month ago, I applied to get into the annual art studio event, Portland Open Studios, where art lovers and collectors can go on a self-guided, free tour of over 100 artists’ studios and see them work in their spaces and see how they create art. The jury was prestigious this year, including Stephanie Chefas of the Portland gallery, “Stephanie Chefas Projects” and Lisa Congdon, nationally known illustrator and author, so I wasn’t sure what chance an unknown artist like myself would have—-Wait-—-Do you even know me? Who did you think I am?——I was definitely riddled with doubt, but wanted to take the chance and see how I fared. Just having these 2 high-powered women check out my art seemed worth the risk of shame or dying alone and unknown——yes, I have a flare for the overdramatic.

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I was on pins and needles for weeks. I’d talk about it all the time. Would I get in? Did I have what it took? Did I represent what they thought was worthy of attention and recognition? Should I pretend I would get in and just start working on the things I needed to do to get done (creating new art, planning demos, making products to sell, etc.) for an open studio visit for art lovers and collectors?

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A few days ago, I got the fateful email that I had been waiting for. Did I get in? Yes. It was full of good news. I made the cut and I would be able to show people my art in the space where I created it. I’d get to do a demo for them and have them interact with me. I’d get to show them all the art I’ve been creating——it’s a lot—-that hasn’t been seen or exhibited.

With this wonderful surprise, I’m now cooking up new art and fun things for this event in October. If you want an excuse to come visit Portland, Oregon in 2019, this is the best reason to come. It will be the 2nd and 3rd weekends of October, on both Saturdays and Sundays. As an introvert, I will love the break from isolation, but I also know I’ll be exhausted after so much interaction with people. I love chatting with them, so why does it drain me of energy? Can you relate? Do you know what I mean? In any case, I’m super excited and I hope to see some of you there who love mysterious and beautiful artwork.

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***NOTE: I’ll be showing with artist Dave Benz in South East Portland, so our open studio will be jumping with many amazing sights and things to do. More details to come as we get closer to the date——but we do have some collaborative artwork to share with our visitors that we’ve never shared before. I hope you’re as excited as I am.

2 Bits of Good Art News for Art From the Strange Land of Beelaungeen

Do you get into the rut of accentuating the negative instead of the positive? I do too. I think about what I lack. I think about what I want. I think that if only I had———you name it——-and it would make my life easier, happier, better in some way. You do that too? Well, today, I’m doing the opposite and letting you in on 2 bits of good news for Art From the Strange Land of Beelaungeen—-what I mean is good news about my art——and what I mean by art is the art I create for you who likes my strange artwork.

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  1. MY “MOONS, MAGIC AND NIGHT TIME GIRLS CARD SET” WILL BE SELLING AT RIVERSEA GALLERY: This Astoria, Oregon Coast gallery will soon sell my 5 cards at their gallery. They will be sold individually for $5.00 each. I showed the gallery owner the set and she said she’d love to sell them. This is the first time I’ll have any art or products in this gallery and the first time I’ll be sell my cards at a brick and mortar business, so it is exciting.

  2. I’LL BE ILLUSTRATING THE MAY ISSUE OF METAPHOROSIS, SPECULATIVE FICTION MAGAZINE: I’ve illustrated the cover 3 times before, but it’s always fun and always good news to be doing a cover for this magazine with sci-fi and fantasy short stories. I’ve been sent a few of the stories to be in the May issue, so I can decide what to create for the cover. I think it will be hard to decide because the stories are so strange and interesting, full of fantastical imagery. I’ll be sharing the process and my progress in the weeks to come.

Do you have any bits of good news to break through the negative? Do tell. I could use some good news from you.

5 Strange Things That Happened to Me At Wizard World 2019

Wizard World Convention was a new experience for me since it was my first time having an artist table there, so granted, most things there were strange to me. But here are 5 strangest things that happened to me.

Melissa Kojima in front of her artist’s alley table at Wizard World Comic Convention in February 2019.

Melissa Kojima in front of her artist’s alley table at Wizard World Comic Convention in February 2019.

  1. What? IT’S NOT ABOUT THE ART?

    This convention was more about the T.V. and movie celebrities than anything, leaving comic books and art to take 2nd fiddle to them. This hit me as strange. I had no idea. Venders sold products with pictures of the celebrities and comic book characters on them like pillows, towels, plush toys and pins. Most of the artists there were doing the same thing if they wanted to make money. Digital art, celebrity portraits were sold at almost every artist’s table. My art was one of the anomalies because it was original and hand drawn. So as you could guess, my art got a lot less attention and sales than the others around me.

2. WHAT DO YOU MEAN MY ART REMINDS YOU OF ‘ALICE IN WONDERLAND’, BUT ‘WONDERLAND’ FANS DON’T CARE ABOUT IT?

The people who stopped by my table described my art as whimsical but dark and it reminded them of Alice and Wonderland. That didn’t surprise me. I’ve heard that before. This made me think that all those cosplayers wearing Alice in Wonderland costumes, top hats and steampunk gear would find my art fascinating and attractive. But strangely, none of them stopped by——-Oh wait! No——I forgot one of them did stop at my table. In his Mad Hatter costume, he asked me if I sold picture frames, since my art was framed. When I said no, he left without glancing at my table wares.

3. What? NOBODY REALLY KNOWS WHAT PAPER PUPPETS ARE?

I made 3 special Victorian monster creature paper puppets for the comic convention, believing people would love to take home a print of them, to cut them out and make their own creatures to play with. But I had several people ask what they were. They didn’t know that they moved. They had never seen anything like them before. I guess, I was showing them something so new, they couldn’t get their minds around it. What? You can actually move its arms, head and legs? You can make a stop-motion video with them? It was so strange to me. I really had no idea. Do you know what paper puppets are? Or are you one of the folks who is in the know?

4. MEN ACTUALLY COMPLIMENTED and liked MY ARTWORK?

Over and over, I was told that my art was beautiful, pretty and even gorgeous. I really appreciated the compliments. It usually came from women or girls. If there were men around my table, they were usually with their families or women. When groups of men stopped and looked and even complimented my art, I was surprised. I didn’t know that they would find it interesting. I’ve heard over and over again from my friends that my art looks like it’s for kids or it looks like it’s from a storybook, and not to mention, it’s very feminine, so it was strange that there were men who found value in it. What? You didn’t need to see a big, violent fight scene with aggression and violence spilling over the page to stop and look? It was nice to know that not all men needed to have that in their art to find it valuable in some way. That said, none of my sales were to men or boys.

The scary ghost twin cosplayers from the movie, The Shining.

The scary ghost twin cosplayers from the movie, The Shining.

The elegant Great Gatsby flapper cosplayer.

The elegant Great Gatsby flapper cosplayer.

5. Did you KNow MY LARGEST SALE WAS FROM A NON-COMIC BOOK CONVENTION PERSON?

Yes, women were there and supported my art. They stopped and talked to me about being fascinated by my Moon Lady Card and Haunted Head House Ladies prints and drawings. They were there with their daughters or friends. They were older or very young in cosplay furry outfits. On the first day, a middle-aged woman was there with her daughter and they bought a Lady Bat paper puppet doll to make and play with. On the last day, they came back and decided to buy a giclee print of the Haunted Head House Lady. They told me they were putting together an Airbnb rental room with a spooky theme to it, so my print would work with it. That was fun to learn, I’d be a part of it. But the biggest sale I got was from the sister of the man tabling at a neighboring artist table. She came to see her brother and she told me she’d never been to a convention before. She spent quite a bit of time looking at my original art and framed prints. She said she really loved the colors and thought maybe her grand daughter or niece might like my art. She took pictures and sent them out on her phone. The girls responded to her and it turned out that they weren’t interested in my art. I thought that was the end of that, but she finally realized she had to get something for herself, so she bought one of my framed giclee prints from my series of “Moon, Magic and Night Time Girls”. I was so happy to get a big sale. It really made my day and it made the convention less disappointing.

Mary Poppins and Burt Cosplayers.

Mary Poppins and Burt Cosplayers.

A Midieval Red Queen and King at Wizard World Convention

A Midieval Red Queen and King at Wizard World Convention

That said, I already paid for my artist’s table at Rose City Comic Convention before this Wizard World Convention, so I’ll be doing that in September of this year. I talked to a lot of people about it and they have told me it is much more oriented towards artists, alternative artwork and there is a much bigger attendance. Wish me luck. Hopefully, I’ll be able to break even or make a profit this time. If you’d like to support my art, come on by next time or buy some artwork online from me.

I changed the set up of my artist table every day of the 3 day convention.

I changed the set up of my artist table every day of the 3 day convention.

Who Else Loves Ghosts? Come See My Ghost Art at Wizard World Convention Portland!

Well, there’s still plenty of time to get over to the Oregon Convention Center for Wizard World Convention in Portland, Oregon. If you come, you’ll get to see my series of ghost artwork and more. Please use my discount code to get 20% off: KOJIMA20. I hope to see you there.

A few of the ghost artworks I have displayed at the Wizard World Convention in Portland, Oregon.  One of them is an art print for sale at $20.00 each.

A few of the ghost artworks I have displayed at the Wizard World Convention in Portland, Oregon. One of them is an art print for sale at $20.00 each.

Last Sneak Peek Before Wizard World Convention Portland This Weekend (Feb 22-24)

My 15 new artworks are framed and ready to be displayed at Wizard World Convention in Portland, Oregon. This will be the first time I have so many of my artworks displayed together in one place—-almost like a solo show. Moreover, it’s the culmination of creating an art series I call, “Moons, Magic and Night Time Girls”. Below is your last sneak peek of some of the art before this weekend’s main event and everything is revealed.

Lady Bat paper puppet will be for sale as a DIY print for $5.00 and the original, assembled art in a homemade shadow box for $300.00.

Lady Bat paper puppet will be for sale as a DIY print for $5.00 and the original, assembled art in a homemade shadow box for $300.00.

I’m not sure what to expect since this is my first time doing artist alley at a convention. But if what happened at the printer is any indication of how the convention will go, then I’m excited. I went to get a few high quality art prints and the printer loved my art so much, she bought one of my prints. I was surprised and happy at my good fortune. I hope the convention will bring just as much enthusiasm for my artwork and more good fortune.

1 of the 6 high quality art prints with archival ink and upon archival Canson Photographique paper. Titled, “Ghost Tears”. $20.00 for each art print.

1 of the 6 high quality art prints with archival ink and upon archival Canson Photographique paper. Titled, “Ghost Tears”. $20.00 for each art print.

Below is a list of all the things I’ll have for sale—-except the original framed artwork—-which is on another list. I’m really proud of this series and feel like it’s some of my best work yet. It feels like a break-though. Usually after creating art, I feel like I did an alright job and hope I’ll make something better next time. This time, I was in awe of the art I made and couldn’t wait to create more to see what I’d do. That’s a big difference.

The list of what I will be selling at Wizard World Convention Portland, Oregon, Feb 22-24. The original artwork for sale is on a separate list.

The list of what I will be selling at Wizard World Convention Portland, Oregon, Feb 22-24. The original artwork for sale is on a separate list.

Please come to see the art and visit me if you’re in Portland, Oregon. This really is a big step for me, and I’d really appreciate your support. Make sure to use my 20% off code from the price of admission: KOJIMA20. See you there.

Moons & Night Time Magic Girls for the Wizard World Comic Con (WIP Part I)

Here’s the first peek on the work in progress of one of the drawings I’m working on for the Wizard World Comic Con. I don’t want to say much about it since I keep things on the hush-hush until they are fully completed. But it is part of a series of drawings with moons and night time magic girls. I’ve been calling this one, “What We Do When We Are Queens”. I’ll reveal more in the weeks to come.

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The Secret Society of Magical Creatures Gets Strange at TEDx Mt. Hood 2018

Yes, this was one of the strangest…..dare I say, magical….opportunities that the Secret Society of Magical Creatures had last year. I didn’t get many photos to share with you of my TEDx Mt. Hood presentation, because….well, you know….I was presenting and couldn’t take photos. Not to mention, In the dark with candles on all the tables, it was hard to get a good, clear shot of the action. Officially, my presentation was called, “an action break”, in which participants could choose an activity to do between talks. The Secret Society of Magical Creatures was 1 of 4 activities to choose from. Fortunately, there was a professional, TEDx photographer to capture some of the strangeness .…er…magic.

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Another very fortunate thing was that Blick Art Materials helped sponsor my presentation. It was so nice to get some support and encouragement for this strange society which seeks to help you find your magical quest.

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I took the participants through the first few secret documents from the “How to Discover Your Magical Creature and Magical Quest Book”. You can see the cover of the book above as it was projected on a white board. Some participants got brave and shared what they discovered with the entire group, including their magical creature. I found it very touching and many of us applauded their bravery.

If you’d like to buy your own copy of this very secret and magical book…..er…maybe…strange is more accurate, I’m offering a magical discount on it for 1 week until Jan 22, 2019 . Use code MAGIC75 to get 75% off the regular price.

The Good, The Bad & The Ugly: Top 5 Strangest Things That Happened in 2018

#1 GETTING A SOLO show started the year out with a bang!

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#2 GETTING TO DO COVER ART for a sci-fi/fantasy fiction magazine was a dream come true!

#3 LOSING THE SOLO SHOW sent me into a downward spiral of depression.

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#4 CHECKING OUT OF SOCIAL MEDIA, I tried to gain some perspective & sanity.

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#5 CREATING WHIMSICAL, FANTASTICAL, PLANTIMAL SCULPTURES and getting them into the J. McVarish Gallery ended the year on a high note.

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First of All, I Apologize For Lack of Faith As I Traverse The Dangerous, Internet Forest

It’s been a long time since I sent out a message into the vacuous, internet abyss. I mean that’s how it feels when you put words and art into the electronic space and nothing happens….nothing….happpens….no replies….no response…..nothing….Have you experienced that? It makes me feel more awkward and strange than I already feel. It makes me want to withdraw and be swallowed up in the shadows and never come out again. I guess that’s officially why I create strange art and why there is a Secret Society of Magical Creatures. So for the lag in time and the lack of faith…that someone is out there….that someone cares….that someone is listening…..that I’m not completely alone in the dangerous and indifferent internet forest….let me apologize. I’m sorry.

A commissioned portrait painting for a family in Portland, OR.

A commissioned portrait painting for a family in Portland, OR.


It's That Time of Year Again....Giant Robots's Annual Post-It Show (Work in Progress)

How long have I been in Giant Robot’s Annual Post-It Art Show? I don’t know. I really should take time and look back and count the many years. Nevertheless, come every November, it’s that time to make more tiny, post-it artworks again. As you can see below, I’m starting that work. My goal is to get 9 little drawings done before I must package them up and send to Los Angeles for the art show which starts in December. I’ll post more of the work in progress in the days to come.

Nine little post-it drawings that I will color and send to the Giant Robot’s annual Post-it Art Show in December.

Nine little post-it drawings that I will color and send to the Giant Robot’s annual Post-it Art Show in December.