The New Adventures of an Old Magazine

When I saw Domino Magazine on the newsstand again I nearly fainted. My favorite magazine was back, resurrected from the dead! Oh happy day! Dance of joy! But just as soon as I began rejoicing, I remembered that Domino was only back for two limited editions: Spring/Summer “Quick Fixes” & Fall/Winter “Best Rooms.” Suddenly, its presence was a little more like seeing your best friend as a zombie, knowing they have to be killed shortly after.

A few disappointments prevail: both issues consist of mostly recycled material from the magazine’s 4 year run, so there isn’t too much that is new, and it’s $11 to boot (those of us who renewed our subscription lost out 3 years back when the magazine cancelled, joining the ghosts of Blueprint and ReadyMade).

However brief though, it is nice to see our beloved magazine sitting among the other home decor magazines, some of whom have lived long before and after Domino, some whom I hope will survive.

I still love paper magazines. In my collection are art magazines, graphic design, home design, illustrated J. Peterman catalogs, Anthropologie catalogs, and the ever-precious Domino. I also hold onto the first (and possibly last) issue of Living Room Magazine, Fall 2000, with one of my favorite decor covers (illustrated birds!)Though I mourn the loss, I’ve had to move on. These days, I browse through Lonny (which is by far the best substitution I have found for Domino so far), Rue, Living Etc, Dwell, Elle Decor (preferably UK), Home & Decor (Singapore), HGTV, Flea Market Style, Flea Market Decor, and House Beautiful…just to name a few. Not to mention all the design blogs, but don’t even get me started on that long list.

At any rate, Domino, I miss you… perhaps this little resurrection is a test to see how well you fair in this new market, with the economy on the rise, with the constant growing interest in home design. Perhaps you will be back after all. And if not, a girl can still dream.

magazine display photos © 2012 Andrea Sparacio (artsparrow); Living Room Magazine © 2000 Better Home & Gardens; all other photos © Domino Magazine

Bushcraft: Piñatas & Animal Heads

Usually I come to Bushcraft ready for spontaneously unplanned artist playtime, a real divergence from my daily life. But I’ve had a long-standing professional interest in learning paper mâché, so this time I arrived armed with ideas + a (sort of) plan on how to execute it. This month’s theme was piñatas, with the intention of smashing them next month at Bushcraft’s one-year anniversary party. Here are my sketches of animal heads that got me started:

The first thing we did as a group was collect newspaper, toilet paper rolls, cereal boxes, egg crates, etc, in between last month’s Bushcraft. I don’t recall ever making paper mâché as a kid, so this was all pretty new to me. The rest goes a little something like this:

Stay tuned for more paper mâché updates! You can also check out my Flickr photo set here.

photography & sketches © 2012 Andrea Sparacio (artsparrow), karaoke photo © 2012 Declan Zimmerman (motiongraphicsnyc.com), Bushcraft group shot © 2012 Laura Lee Gulledge (whoislauralee.blogspot.com)

Out to the Sweet Unknown

“So I took off running / I ran over the hills / My odyssey through concrete and steel / Gonna keep on going / I don’t wanna stand still / Gonna keep on going / I don’t wanna stand still.”

I thought an appropriate way to start this new column would be with something known my whole life, family, which has become an unknown due to the dismantlement of the matriarchs.

Today was grandmother’s birthday; Thursday marked the four-year anniversary of my mother’s death. While I’m not ritualistic or big on cemeteries, I felt a strong desire to visit their shared plot. And while I’m not usually superstitious either, I have noticed the number 11 having a significance throughout my life; their plot location at the very meeting of these two important numbers.

The cemetery, located in Middle Village, Queens, is also within walking distance from my grandmother’s house. My grandmother died just 4 months before my mother, both women suffering from Dementia and Alzheimer’s respectively, nearly 30 years apart in age. My aunt, uncle and cousin still live there, keeping my grandmother’s apartment on the second floor eerily intact. Lately I have been having reoccurring dreams about this house; I knew eventually I would have to go back.

Having been raised here almost as much as my own home, there are so many memories living within these walls. The dolls behind glass looking out at me, chachkies and knick-knacks; everything still in its place. The lingering smell of Sunday dinners, holidays, and cooking; stored within these familiar dishes.

This is the mural I stared at for hours as a kid, hands tucked under my head as I lay on the floor, feet propped riskily on top of grandma’s perfect sofa. Without younger siblings or cousins to play with, I would create scenes within the wallpaper’s landscape again and again; its beauty still vibrant and as fresh as the day she got it. The origin of my obsession with chandeliers still dangles just above it.

I was also surprised by something so familiar and yet foreign to me now: homemade tomato sauce made by my aunt and shared with my cousin, just like the good old days of long ago.

This Heartless Bastard song not only kick-starts what I hope to be more exploration, but every word rings true as this particular point in my currently transitioning life: “Oh, I’m longing to be, out in the sweet unknown. I’m gonna keep on going, I don’t wanna stand still. Out in the sweet unknown.” 

While I nostalgically dream about these known times that have long since passed, one thing I do not miss: being that scared little child, so afraid of everyone and everything. Here’s to the risks and the adventures; to finally embracing a life less travelled and enjoying the journey, wherever it may take me. Here is to the sweet unknown.

“I could do all these things. Oh, I have the power.”

photography © 2012 Andrea Sparacio (artsparrow); song lyrics & album cover © Heartless Bastards 

Jugs & Capes: American Born Chinese

For our August Jugs & Capes meeting, we decided to read something light & summery: Printz & Eisner award-winning graphic novel American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang. A majority of the group felt that they “almost loved the book” (<–thanks to Oriana for coining the phrase!) but perhaps Yang’s character of Chin-Kee’s was a bit of a drawback. We wondered whether this over-the-top sitcom stereotype was necessary, much like Long Duck Dong of Sixteen Candles or Mr. Yunioshi of Breakfast at Tiffany’s, and didn’t find his scenes as interesting as the others (ie. first love & monkey kings). Could Chin-Kee have been played more subtly? Realizing this overstated character was created for a purpose, we still wondered if the Young Adult target audience played a part. Most of us also agreed that the ending was a little abrupt, though we did love the art and humor.

And speaking of overstated, ever since our book club moved from weekday nights to Sunday brunch, we have been enjoying some seriously delicious & well-themed food spreads. Special thanks to Amanda Bullock for picking up those yummy dumplings & den den mein at M. Noodle in Williamburg.

One of my favorite pages (below); Jin’s expression is priceless!

Last but not least, this is how we artists drink: Exquisite Corpse games + free shots! Thanks to Sam (of Lady Jay’s) for contributing with me & Miss Laura Lee. The rest are hanging up in the bar. xo, artsparrow

book images © Gene Luen Yang & First Second; food photography © Oriana Leckert & Amanda Bullock

Bushcraft: Finger Painting at Low Brow Artique

We have moved Bushcraft from Bishop’s old loft to his brand new gallery/retail store in Bushwick called Low Brow Artique.

Check out this great write-up on Low Brow Artique in Bushwick Daily here + awesome photographs of the store.

This month we played around with Finger Painting! Laura Lee & I have finger painted before (see previous post), and I always love creatively loosening up by working with my hands. It’s definitely a much needed break from staring into the endless glow of my computer screen, fixing tedious CSS stylesheets, and using size 000 detail brushes.

Above & below are my two paintings; I got a little spontaneous with rubber bands, paper clips, scraps, bottle caps; topped off with an even more spontaneous trip to late-night karaoke at The Cove.

The group’s final pieces:

Low Brow Artique is located in Bushwick, Brooklyn, 143 Central Ave; open Wednesdays through Fridays 12-8PM, 11AM-7PM on Saturday & Sunday.

photography © 2012 Laura Lee Gulledge (whoislauralee.blogspot.com) & Declan Zimmerman (motiongraphicsnyc.com)

Inside the Portrait Studio: Louis C.K.

Louis C.K. is my late night little secret. I listen to his stand-up while I’m up working alone in my art studio until the wee hours, savoring his intelligent take on modern life. I love Louis C.K. for a variety of reasons (funny, witty, raunchy, smart, real), though most of all I love him because he’s important. Not to put too much pressure on him or the word, but I feel his voice is an extremely important reaction to the society we live in. His comedic style is raw & honest, and he challenges us to examine the ways we think about things, the ways we live and what we believe. He’s creating a discussion about life, all while making us laugh our asses off. Much like the Mad Men portraits I did because I couldn’t watch Season 5’s finale until the following day (I don’t have cable), I did a color pencil portrait of Louis C.K. because even though I’m SO excited for Season 3, I have to wait until they post it later on HULU. I’m dying to go to one of his live shows too but just can’t afford it right now. So instead of dwelling on making money…make good art!

For the illustration, I originally thought I would be adding text like the sketch (above), but then I realized Louie’s show graphic is too much like that already (below). I decided to go without any typeface in the color final and I like it even better. I really just wanted an excuse to repeat “Louie, Louie, Louie!” because of the theme song, Brother Louie (Ian Lloyd of Stories), that plays during the opening credits (while Louie eats the most delicious-looking slice of NYC pizza I’ve ever seen), which can also be used in reaction to most of the scenarios he gets himself into, “Louie, Louie, Louuuuieeee!”

This quick little comic was Louis C.K. inspired. To quote his Hilarious special, “Hmm, maybe something nice will happen?” only to follow it up with, “Why the f* would anything nice happen!?” Tim & I had a nice day in the park, but much like Louie I too play strange “what-ifs” in my head for nearly every occasion. There was a group of reckless kids playing kickball near us; what’s the worst that could happen?

To check out Louis C.K.’s show, click the FX image (below) and be prepared to have your mind blown!!! Enjoy, xo artsparrow

illustration 1, 2 & comic © 2012 Andrea Sparacio (artsparrow); for Season 3 of Louie, click FX Networks here

Bushcraft: Street Art

This may have been our best Bushcraft yet. We borrowed spray paint from graffiti artist Bishop 203, spaying on a big blank wall on Grattan Street, between Knickerbocker Avenue & Porter Ave. Above is my bird stencil that I made on the fly (pun intended).

Awesome art pals from left to right: Andrea Sparacio (me), Alyson Greenfield, Jasmina Tomic & Bushcraft’s brainchild Laura Lee Gulledge.

(below) Bishop 203’s awesome reminder on Grattan Street: M A K E  ★ A R T !

Afterward, we spent hours watching music videos, drinking beers, and sharing our last time in Bishop’s apartment before he moves. Here was one of my favorite videos of the night:

For more street art photos, check out Laura Lee’s blog, as well as my Flickr set here.

photography © 2012 Andrea Sparacio (artsparrow)