2 Big, Bad Art Events I'll Participate In: Coming Real Soon!!!

#1— ROSE CITY COMIC CON AT THE OREGON CONVENTION CENTER: SEPT 13-15

As you may recall, I’ve been anticipating the Rose City Comic Con for a long time because I paid for my artist table early to get the discounted rate and before all the tables sold out. I’ve talked to other artists who have similar art to mine and they’ve told me this is a good event for them. I’m hoping that will be true for me too. Wish me luck at this big, bad comic book convention, or come by and make sure I have a successful event by dropping by, cheering me on and partaking of my strange art wares. I’ll be at table O06 as you can see in the map below.

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#2— THE ANNUAL DAY OF THE DEAD SHOW AT GUARDINO GALLERY: SEPT 26 - OCT 31

This will be the lucky number 13th time that Guardino Gallery will be hosting this big, bad, day of the dead group art show. It will only be my first time to participate. Would you expect me to have candy skull art or skeletons in my artwork? Well, I don’t. Mine is a little bit different and strange than the other art, but hey, would you really expect anything less of me? Come by to see all your favorite kinds of spooky art and a few new, surprising ones like mine. Details are below in the poster.

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Top 3 Best Things That Happened at The Creeping Museum's Artist Market (Aug 2019)

Yep, a lot of great things happened at the Creeping Museum’s Artist Market (August 24). Artist Dave Benz of Benz & Chang Studio and I both had a very successful time at the event. Here are the top 3 best things that happened to me:

#1— I SOLD MY STRANGE ART BOOK, STICKERS AND MUSUEM QUALITY PRINTS:

Yes, I was so happy that right away people at the event responded so positively to my art. Once, the doors opened, I was flooded with customers who were very interested in my art. It was non-stop all that afternoon and evening. My new art book with a selection of artwork from the past 3 years sold several copies (you can get my art book online at the link <——-) I also sold several of my stickers and sticker sets ( you can get them online ——> stickers here). Plus, my museum quality art prints sold several too (especially “Ghost Tears” art print and “Why Couldn’t She Ever Get Warm Enough” art print which you can get online at the links above).

Dave Benz and Me at our Artist Table at The Creeping Museum Artist Market.

Dave Benz and Me at our Artist Table at The Creeping Museum Artist Market.

#2—PEOPLE LOVED AND BOUGHT MY CREEPY PAPER PUPPETS:

In previous artist markets, people didn’t seem to understand what my paper puppets were, even though I displayed them in shadow boxes. This time, I tried displaying them on sticks above the DIY prints of them and that seemed to do the trick. They understood, played with them, and wanted them. It felt really good to have such a great response (you can get my paper puppets online here).

Our artist tables with our signs and art displayed attractively, ready for the onslaught of customers.

Our artist tables with our signs and art displayed attractively, ready for the onslaught of customers.

#3— I FIGURED OUT WHO AND WHERE MY AUDIENCE IS:

If you’ve been reading my blog, you’ll have read posts about how frustrated I’ve been, not knowing who or where my audience is. By the end of an exhilarating and exhausting day, I finally understood that this is my audience. They too understood what it meant to be strange, to have a pension for antique gothic things and a bit of a macabre sense of humor. There was such an amazing community of people there; the venders and customers, the enthusiast and the attendees who waited in the line around the block to get in (1200 people came to this artist market). I went home feeling apart of a great group of people and have been keeping in touch with them online. I feel so grateful and thankful for all of this.

Our art intern, Ella Jones helped with the artist market table. A big thanks to her.

Our art intern, Ella Jones helped with the artist market table. A big thanks to her.

What Does Cellar Mean to You? A Strange Evening of Shared Creation & Shared Artwork

What does the word cellar mean to you? What images, stories and memories does it conjure up? What would you create with that word as your prompt? Could you finish your art creation within 2 hours?

I was invited to do just that when I attended the Portland, Oregon SHARE which is an invitation only “ bi-monthly event that brings different groups of artists together to create from the same prompt. Artists have two hours to work before sharing their creations.” Below is my drawing for the evening. I didn’t know I’d feel so strange or have such a struggle coming up with artwork for cellar. If you go to their website, you’ll read what made it so problematic for me, plus you’ll see the other artists’ creations from the prompt, cellar.

Melissa Kojima’s drawing from the prompt word, “cellar”.

Melissa Kojima’s drawing from the prompt word, “cellar”.

For me, the best things about the evening were sharing my process/struggle and meeting new creative folks. When we shared, I realized that I wasn’t alone in my art-making experience. Everyone had ups and downs during it. We gave each other hugs at the end before we parted.

Since the evening, I’ve gone to some of their local art events, like gallery opening receptions and art sales. It feels really good to support my fellow artists and expand my world a bit more.

If You Ever Forget What's Happening, Go to the New Events Page

Things have been heating up for me as an artist. I think it’s because I’ve gotten a lot of support from fellow artists, art event organizers, and galleries to name a few of the people who have helped me and who I’m grateful to. Because of the rising heat, I have events that overlap each other, so I’ve had to really keep close track of everything. I put them on my phone calendar and then I created a new page on my website, “New Events'“.

I’ll be adding all my strange art happenings to this calendar page. If you are ever trying to keep track of what’s happenings, you can always go to the page and find out. BONUS: What’s also great about this calendar is that you can click on any event and then add it to your phone or desktop calendar. I added the location for each event too, so you’ll have the address when you add it to your phone or computer. If you check the months ahead, you’ll see that October will be the craziest month for me with 3 concurrent events. As my art happenings gets closer to the date, I’ll be sure to let you know more.

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Who Else Feels Strange? My Artist Talk About Being Strange & Creating Strange Art

I came, I saw, I kicked ass….or at least, that’s what I’d like to say about my artist talk last week. Instead, I came with strange questions and left behind some strange answers. I felt fine, during it, talking about being strange and creating strange art. Afterward, I felt awkward and vulnerable and like…like….I dunno…..like…I didn’t fit in. I guess that’s just the risk you take when you put yourself out there. Maybe, that’s just sort of the postpartum depression after giving birth to a talk. I dunno. I didn’t expect that. Let me know if you watch my talk and what you think of it. You can see it by clicking on the photo below.

Melissa Kojima at her artist talk on August 9, 2019 at PDX Commons.  Click on the photo above to watch her full artist talk.

Melissa Kojima at her artist talk on August 9, 2019 at PDX Commons. Click on the photo above to watch her full artist talk.

Rehearsal & Count Down to the Creeping Museum Artist Market & Fairytale Salon

I have been busy getting ready for the Creeping Museum’s Artist Market & Fairytale Salon. Besides making many amazing artworks and art goods for this art event, I just did a “dress rehearsal” for it last night. That doesn’t mean I got into a costume and ran through some memorized lines. No, it means I set up my table with my table mate, fellow artist Dave Benz (of Benz & Chang), and we figured out how to make our table look good, fitting in all our art goodies, and realizing what was missing.

We still have a few more things to get done, but we are feeling more prepared than before the “rehearsal”. We’re definitely excited to show you all our eerily, strange and beautiful artwork. See below for a sneak peek of some of the things I’ll be bringing to the artist market.

We hope you’ll join us on Saturday, August 24th, 4-9pm at the Alberta Abbey, 126 NE Alberta St. in Northeast Portland, OR. There will be about 40 artists/creatives with all kinds of magical things. The shared artist table for Dave and I will be at the far wall, opposite the stage. See the maps below. The count down begins, so we’ll see you in less than 2 weeks (eeek!).

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The Voice of Gothic & Creepy Art: My 4 Minute Interview at Monster Drawing Rally 2019

While at the 2019 Monster Drawing Rally, I had a little interview with the Portland Art Museum’s Podcast, in which I answered as many questions as I could within 4 minutes. We chatted about memorable moments at past events (this was my 4th year participating), the kind of art I create (gothic and creepy, of course) and how I deal with the challenge of the limited time to make art during the Monster Drawing Rally. Listen to my answers, laughs and sighs by clicking on the photos links below.

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You can also see a little video blurb that OPB did on the Monster Drawing Rally by clicking the photo link above. I didn’t get in their video spot, but this was exactly what I saw, heard and enjoyed during my time there. I even talked to the lady that said she draws women who ruled the world. This was my last year doing it. For most of my 4 years of as participating/donating artist, I really enjoyed it. This year, I realized it’s changed for me and the magic is no longer there like it was before.

Ghosts, Being Awkward & Other Strange Things That Shape My Art (In My 1st Artist Talk)

I am strange, you know, so I have actually always enjoyed talking in front of people (it’s written in my astrology, in my stars). Given that, it should be no surprise to you that I’ve always wanted to give an artist talk. In some other life, I suspect I was a stand up comedian, hamming it up in front of a live audience. In little over a week, on Friday, August 9th, between 5-7pm, I’ll be giving my 1st ever artist talk at PDX Commons, making my wish come true and perhaps giving me the chance to ham it up in this life too.

This is where I’ll be showing 2 of my larger drawings along with about 20 other artists’ artwork. These artists are my fellow South East Portland Open Studio artists. It will be the only time to see all our art together in one place before the actual studio visits in October (2nd & 3rd weekends).

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I’ve been asking people on and off the internet what questions they have for me. So far I’ve gotten some good ones and will answer them in my talk. They have asked me how do I come up with my characters and what is my medium and why do I work in it. If you have questions, please let me know and I’ll be sure to answer them. If you are not in the Portland, Oregon area, I’ll be posting a video of it afterward so you’ll be able to know what I replied to whatever you ask.

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I definitely plan on talking about the significance of ghosts, being awkward and other strange things that shape my artwork. I think it will make me feel very vulnerable to talk about these things, making me tearful or trembling my hands and voice. Still, isn’t that kind of authenticity what makes a talk feel intimate and profound? I hope so. I’m sure there will be a few laughs along the way too. Wish me luck. And I hope to see you there. Details are below.

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My First Ever Artist Intern to Help With the Portland Open Studios Art Tour

Artist Dave Benz and I are slowly, little by little, preparing for the Portland Open Studios which seems a long ways away (in October), but will be here before you know it. Portland Open Studios’ whole mission is to educate the public about how artists work which is why you get to come to our studios and see us creating amazing artwork. Inline with this mission, they also ask the participating artists if they’ll volunteer to take a high school artist under their wings as an intern to mentor and guide.

My first ever artist intern, Ella Jones.

My first ever artist intern, Ella Jones.

I loved this idea because if I had been given this kind help when I was a high school art student, I’m sure I would have been able to avoid some of the (many) artistic mistakes I made and I would have gotten the art support I sorely needed (without the years of pain and loneliness). Of course, I said YES! I wanted to help and I thought I might just have something valuable to pass on and share. Dave Benz felt the same way, welcoming this special opportunity too.

Above is a photo of my first ever artist intern, Ella Jones. Isn’t she a cutie, so bright and happy? I hope I can be a valuable mentor to her. She primarily paints in oils and her subject is mainly women, including, maybe even, a witch. Check out her art website here. She’s just getting started, and it’s a very good start indeed. We met for the first time a couple weeks ago and we are having a great time learning from each other. Her energetic and curious personality makes her a joy to be around. I will let you know more how it’s going in the weeks to come.

One of Ella Jone’s paintings from her website.

One of Ella Jone’s paintings from her website.

Along with Dave and me, Ella will also be displaying at least 3 of her art pieces in our shared art studio. We will guide her in making these 3 new pieces. I have no idea what she’s going to make. More witches? Something magical or something spooky? She does love creepy gothic things just like Dave and me, so who knows what will happen. It’s an adventure for all 3 of us.

I may even ask her to write a post or two on this blog, so be on the look out for another contributor to Art From The Strange Land of Beelaungeen with her own strange thoughts and opinions on art and life.

Last Minute News! I'll In The 2019 Monster Drawing Rally

It’s only a few days until the Portland Art Museum’s Monster Drawing Rally, and I only heard back this morning that I’ll be a participating artist. I wasn’t sure if I would be one or not, since the spaces are limited for returning artist this year. This is their 5th Annual event and this will by my 4th year as a participating artist. It will be held this Friday, July 12th, 5:30-9:30pm.

I always love drawing in front of a crowd and raising money for children’s art programs, so this is a real treat to be a part of this event. If you like helping children’s art programs too, please come and watch me draw and then buy the art….mine….or any of over a 100 other Portland artists. I’ll be drawing in the last round of artists from 8-9pm. Will you make it? If yes, please come say hello to me. More details are below.