Tag Archives: artist

Two More Justin Hillgrove Original Paintings

I don’t know why, but I’ve liked this artist from the very first time I met him (which happened to be the very first time I ever saw his artwork).

Seems that every other time I walk into @TwilightArt (in West Seattle), I see something of Justin’s. Last night, I became the proud owner of “Transplant” and “Beast of Burden.”

Justin Hillgrove's Paintings

I’m not the kind of guy who buys original art, mind you – I’m usually just fine with whatever’s in front of me. Justin changed all that.

Favorite Seattle Artist – Justin Hillgrove


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My favorite artist of all time is Justin Hillgrove – and he happens to be right here in Seattle. The first time I saw his work was during the Seattle Folklife Festival back in December. I fell in love with the original artwork on display, and knew I had to have some of it in my own home. Unfortunately, the originals were a bit out of my budget. However, Justin has prints and even postcard books available for people like me who wish to have something created by him.

Justin spent several years as a freelance designer and illustrator, but suffered from a huge case of burnout. He stopped painting for several years – until he inherited old canvases and art supplies from his grandfather. He received a lot of encouragement from his good friend (and fellow artist) Mike Capp, and began to paint once again. He had so much fun creating “Love the Sinner” that he couldn’t stop. Today, his artwork is found hanging in galleries all over Seattle, and he has had showings across the United States.

Justin’s artwork is fun, which is why I love it. Each piece is whimsical, and many of them bring back memories of our childhood. Not only can you buy prints and original paintings – Justin also creates designs for tshirts, books and more!

If you know of other fun artists that I might enjoy getting to know, send me a link to what they’re doing. I’m always interested in discovering something different and new.

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Monsters and Imps: Geeky Art for All

This is a guest blog post written by Imei Hsu.

No matter where you go in the world, whether staying in a four-star hotel in a world-class city, or accepting the invitation of the owner of a hut in the poorest of towns in a third-world country, the soul of humanity expresses itself in art. That art can be found in antique, handwoven tapestries, or mass-produced “kitty plates” replete with flashing Christmas lights. Nonetheless, it beautifies, and changes the feeling of the space in which it lives.

When first-year college students prepare to move out of their parent’s home, they not only go through the process of collecting what they need for their college dorm rooms, they are decorating that room for form as well as function. Granted, some do it with a bit more elegance or taste than others, but whether the wall poster is a print of Michelangelo, Warhol,or Betty Boop, the person tacking it up on the wall is declaring to the viewer what speaks to him or her.

Classes on art appreciation are useful in helping non-artists learn more about the world of artists and their messages in their mediums. But when befuddled people say, “I don’t get this piece of art,” I ask them, “What do you feel when you look at it?” This is almost always going to be a subjective process, but so is the determination of what one wants to surround herself with. Art is, in the end, what we make of it.

Ever since I heard the song, “ Darkness” by Peter Gabriel (Up, 2002), I’ve had a renewed fascination with monsters. I’ve never enjoyed movies about zombies, nor have I gone out of my way to see horror movies. There are enough things in real life to make the hairs on the back of neck stand up! But a reprise in the lyrics of this song put me on a search for representations in art that would make the feeling accessible, if not almost tactile:

walking through the undergrowth, to the house in the woods
the deeper i go, the darker it gets
i peer through the window
knock at the door
and the monster i was
so afraid of
lies curled up on the floor
is curled up on the floor just like a baby boy

The monsters we are scared of are not always “out there”. Sometimes, they are “in here”, and other times they are among us, facing circumstances of which we are all too familiar.

Last year, I bought a felted monster toy for my friend Chris Pirillo at Christmas from a store in West Seattle called Twilight. Twilight features hand-crafted art and original works from Northwest artists, and the owner appears to like geeky art in particular.

Through this store, Chris later found the work of Justin Hillgrove of ImpsAndMonsters. I recently ran into Justin and his painting pal, Mike Capp, who he credits for encouraging him to return to painting after being burned out in the world of design.

Filmed and published with permission by Imei Hsu.

Chris has his own reasons for enjoying Hillgrove’s work, but mine isn’t tethered to the nostalgia of recognizable childhood images; those images are more likely to be those of “Hello Kitty” and the characters of Japanese anime show, “Starblazers” for this Asian American kid. Instead, I love how Hillgrove allows us glimpses into the less loveable parts of life — skeletons, death, predators, monsters with teeth and claws — and invites us to own them as we see ourselves in their vulnerable and awkward life situations. Even a monster-avoidant person like me finds amusement in the world of HIllgrove’s creatures and cartoons. it makes his work a kind of geeky monster art for all.

I bought the print, “Empathy” for my psychotherapy office. To me, it represents both the ability for monsters to identify with others, and for the monster within us to to see our need for love, connection, and even — oh no! — a cuddly moment. It’s a reminder to me that our inner monsters can and do freely roam the earth. Some of them are simply waiting for us to notice… and smile.

Do you think humans can resist the appeal to make and surround themselves with art and artful design? What’s your favorite art?

B. Imei Hsu, RN, MAC, LMHC, is a nurse psychotherapist, Yoga instructor, professional dance artist, and occasional guest blogger for Lockergnome. She is the founder of HipsForHire.com, matching performance and visual artists with people who want to hire them and raise money for good social causes and charities. She’s also a musician, and is currently learning how to yoddle her cat, Charles-Monet. Imei lives in Seattle, WA. You can find her on her blog, Twitter, YouTube and Facebook.

DNSF David Newman Makes iPad Portraits


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During the recent 1C Company Another Night in Moscow 2010 event, I happened to run into David Newman. He is an artist who can do some pretty amazing portrait work – right on the iPad. I had to see it to believe it for myself, so I sat down and let him draw.

You know me – I couldn’t sit still. However, David did a pretty fantastic job capturing my likeness.

Thanks to the folks at AMD for bringing me down to San Francisco for this event.

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iPod on the iPad

Using your iPad as a music device will let you see and touch your music in ways you can’t when using your iPod. The large screen makes it so much easier to view your library, and make changes as needed. You can browse through your entire collection by song, artist, album or genre. You’ll be able to see your collection as full-sized album art. You can flip through them just as if they were physical CDs.

Tap a song to play it and the “now playing” screen shows up. It will show you the album art for the track you’re listening to. Tap on the album art to flip it over, and you will see the track list. A simple touch of your finger can pause your song, shuffle through your playlist, change to a new song and adjust the volume.

It’s really easy to add music to your iPad. Tap a button and head over to the iTunes store to find new tracks to purchase. Or… transfer existing iTunes libraries from other devices by sync’ing them together.

I’ve seen a few people make comments as to how the iPad is “nothing more than a glorified iPod”. When it comes time to listen to your music though, isn’t a “glorified iPod” a GOOD thing?

What is the Name of That Song?


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How often have you heard a new song and liked it, only to not find out the name of it at the end? It can drive you crazy trying to Google pieces of the lyrics, attempting to figure out who sings it, and what it’s called. You can’t buy the song for yourself if you don’t know the name of it. That’s where Midomi comes in. With Midomi, you can use your own voice to hum or sing lyrics to any song, and the service will find it for you. Once you’ve found it, you can watch the video for that particular piece of music, or even record a version of your own to share with the world.

Create a profile on Midomi, and sing your favorite songs. Upload them and create a playlist of searchable songs for others to enjoy. The next time anyone searches for that song, your performance might be the top result! You can listen to and rate others’ musical performances, see their pictures, send them messages, buy original music, and more.

There are more than two million legal tracks on Midomi. You can listen to samples of original recordings, buy the full studio versions directly from Midomi, and play them on your computer.

Thanks to James for sending in this screencast, so that everyone can have fun on this awesome site. Let me know what other websites you cannot get through the day without!

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How Well Can You Draw?


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Chris is an extremely talented artist. His claim is that he can draw anyone – and he proved it in this video. The way I see it is that if he can draw yours truly this well, he can draw anything.

Are you an artist? Leave a comment here in this post, and show us your work! You never know when something may strike my fancy and end up here in my blog for the world to see.

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GarageBand Tutorial


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Today’s screencast is one that is both informative and fun. Alex is a GarageBand expert, and wanted to show all of you his tips and tricks. When I’ve used GarageBand in the past, I simply clicked on a lot of things and attempted to actually make something that resembled music. However, there are actually specific things that you can do. Who would have ever guessed?!

Once you open GarageBand, you’ll want to choose “Loops”. That lets you use all of the tracks included with the application, as well as adding in your own instruments. Name your recording whatever you choose. At the bottom, you’ll see options for changing the key, tempo and beats per minute. However, it’s usually better to change it from within your project.

Choose a category to the right of your project window. You’ll see a listing of all the tracks, and you should choose whatever one you like the most. You should play around by putting a few different tracks together, to see what works well together.

GarageBand allows you to change the length of each track in your project, as well as letting you fade tracks in and out. Alex gives excellent instructions for managing this, and plays his end result for you. It’s not difficult to do. I would have never figured it was this easy!

You can also record your own voice (or musical instrument!) and add it to your track. Use your built-in mic or external microphone. Create a new track, and choose “Software Instrument”. Once you’re all set, you can start playing your tune… and then save it. Play around with the different instruments that come included with GarageBand, and even add your own singing in there if you dare!

Once you are finished with your song, click on “Share”. You can now send your creation to different applications, such as to a CD burner or iTunes. Don’t compress the song file, or you will lose quite a lot of quality.

Thanks a lot Alex for teaching this old dog some new tricks!

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