Great small Businesses: @vedatoys !

This week I interviewed a great small business: @vedatoys !

  1. Tell me  a little about yourself.

” My name is Tim Sepulveda, I’m a designer / toy sculptor / 3d artist / other things from Chicago, I’ve lived in the city and burbs for almost my whole life, minus 2 where I was in NYC. I grew up an only child, so toys and tv shows were kinda like my best friends growing up. My grandparents took care of me growing up for a long time, as both my parents worked crazy hours and such, so they, to me, were like my parents for the first chunk of my life. I still remember how excited I was to go over to their place everyday, because my mom would drive me there, and before we’d get there we went to the same McDonald’s and I always brought my Pound Puppy with me, EVERY DAY. I’d even make it (the puppy) order food for me. Then we’d drive to her parents house, where I’d get jacked up on coffee (grandpa’s idea) and McD’s, then watch CABLE TV….. they had cable!!!!!! It was amazing, early days of Nickelodeon and stuff, just hitting my eyeballs and sparking crazy ideas.      It wasn’t until I was a little older, maybe 6-7 yo, my best buddy at the time, Herschel, was going to a summer art camp, and my mom was like maybe you should try this too. I just was happy to go cause he was going. I recall the instructor’s name but I won’t attempt to butcher that, but she was the nicest older woman ever, and she gave us homework…. yes, summer art homework. I remember one time she gave me an old Disney magazine and said choose an image from it and redraw that, so I did the sorcerer Mickey, from Fantasia or something (not a giant Disney fan), and I recall her being amazed that I could see it and just replicate it, but with my own style, so she kept letting me choose things to draw and I’d just bash these things out, that kinda was the beginning of my love for art.     Highschool came and a lot of us from my grade school went separate ways and I ended up in a really good highschool with probably the most influential person in my life as far as art, Mr. Gary Davis, my highschool art teacher. He saw I could draw decently, I was far from great, lots of things made me stop drawing, but he pushed me to keep going. One day he got a computer for the class for those interested, literally myself and one other student were into it. He got a copy of Corel Painter and Ray Dream Studio. He had no clue how to use it, so the other student and I just went at it. I created a ton of art digitally, it just clicked, like there was no real learning curve for my brain other than button commands and names of tools. I had him for 98% of my highschool art classes minus 1 semester or quarter, I can’t recall what we did, but that 1 chunk of time I failed art, lol. I had a teacher that didn’t believe in digital, she only considered art to be art if it was hand painted or made. We argued…. a lot… lol.     After graduating I had no clue what to do, so I did automotive school, and I hated that for lots of reasons, and one day I drove past an art school out here, pulled in and said, fuck it, I want to do art again, I can’t toss it away. So I applied and actually started that evening, it was kinda crazy, but fun. I graduated in 2005 and haven’t looked back, it was a combo of the best and worst schooling of my life. But soon after I got hired doing vfx in tv commercials and just kept going. In 2014 I suffered a major case of burnout from my old job. I was sick to my stomach from stress and people pulling me in different directions mentally, I felt like a kid in a divorce again, and it was NOT healthy. So I walked away from it and went back freelance.”

2. How did you come up with your business and what is the story behind your business name?

“Bridging off the first answer, VedaToys actually started off as VedaFx, I still wanted to keep the technology part of visual effects involved in what I do but in the end going with “toys” just made sense, and easier to grasp for others. Veda, is obviously the easy chunk of my last name, Sepulveda. Normally people from California know the name asap, so shortening to Veda just made it easier and more of an entity rather than a person. Working in advertising for over 16 years I’ve learned what it takes to make a successful pitch for a client to win trust and business, and I really wanted to integrate that into who I am as a, I guess, toy designer / sculptor. So branding and recognizability is always top of my list, not just for myself but clients whose work I do. I always say, “do it right, or don’t bother” and I still stick to that. If I can’t get it right, it doesn’t ship. “

3. What was the first toy you made for your line and what made you want to create that toy first?

“The first real piece I made was actually for Pallbearer Press. Craig I believe had the license for this incredibly bad / good horror movie called Rocktober Blood that I love the soundtrack to. I was at FlashBack Chicago, a horror festival out here, years back, and he saw some 3d prints I did of the Halloween 3 masks, the pumpkin, skull, and witch. I painted them and asked my partner at the time if I could throw these on the table and see if anyone wants them. He literally came by and snagged them up, all 3. Then asked me if I would be down for helping create this toy as a collectible. I said sure, scared out of my brain but I had to know that I could do this and do it well. I made, I think, 20 and things just kinda kept going from there. “

4. Can you talk a little about your process about making your toys?

” The process for what I do is a bit complex but I’ll do my best lol. So being that I work in vfx, I have used all types of 3d software for years, so that background of software knowledge didn’t just happen overnight like some think, it’s taken YEARS. Working in high-end commercials you have to make things look legit, and I mean LEGIT, animals have to look real, products real, cars real. So all that knowledge I took and moved that over to toy sculpting / design. I have several Google Docs just loaded with info about sculpts I wanna do, movies I think need toys, even 80’s toys that need to be redone in some form, so there is a never ending stream of ideas coming from me. So I use a piece of software called ZBrush, it’s basically digital clay. I start with a sphere and just start carving, pushing / pulling, like someone with a ball of clay would. Normally sculpts can take a day, or up to a week or longer depending on detail, scale, use, all of that. Once I finish the first pass, I normally have a client review and show them progress, tweak if need be then I have to prep the files to be 3d printed from resin, which I do myself. That isn’t the worst, but it is super time consuming, if I do something wrong, then most likely the print will fail, and then I have to clean up and start over kinda lol, not fun. Once I get the print made, 4-5 Hours, maybe longer depending how crazy large I go, I have to clean it properly, then cure it with uv light. From there, depending on the final use of the piece, sometimes it is a 1 off item, sometimes it’s multiple, in which case I would make a silicone mold and then cast those pieces in resin, because printing that many is kinda goofy.     Once the piece is ready for paint, I then spray prime everything in grey usually, it’s not too dark, not too light. Once that dries I move onto hand painting each piece. This is the hardest part for me, I’m very meticulous with how things look going out, my standard is prob my biggest flaw. I’ve had people tell me that if I just let the quality slip I can make more items, honestly though, that would not make me happy. I don’t like my pieces to look like paint is slopped onto something, especially for the price I charge for commissions and pieces that wouldn’t be fair.      I almost forgot that I do my own packaging too, all the art is done by myself too, printed and mounted in my small studio also. I like not just taking images from a movie and copy pasting them onto a background with words. I like to redraw and reimagine things be it hand drawn or in an oil painted style, why just give someone something basic? Toys in total take 3-4 weeks, then longer sometimes, I am almost at a year on 1 piece now due to shortages in supplies and paint, the pandemic really threw a fast curveball at a lot of artists that rely on certain paints or colors / materials. Just finding the 1 primer that I normally use has resulted in driving to multiple states searching every hobby store I can find. Even then if I do find something, I’ve been finding bottles that are over 2 plus years old, and just trash, so it has been tough in some aspects. “

5. Do you have any exciting news or events that you would like to share?

“The hobby is growing, my client list is growing, and most importantly people are excited to see what I can come up with, and I think that means a lot. I have a great friend / customer that told me something once when I was super down, they said, “Your work is something special man. You honestly have an incredible vision for items that people have only dreamed of. Figures and toys that we wish we had growing up. You remind us what it was like to be a child.” That last line is what got to me, in a good way. That is why I do this honestly. To get excited about something, being an adult blows hard a lot of the time, we cry, are stressed, and a whole bunch of garbage hits us, especially now. I like people remembering their childhoods, and not just as a way for me to make a buck, but for them to say, omfg that is so rad, then they run and watch that movie again, or for the first time ever. Sculpting goofy toys is the one thing I do really well and I definitely want to keep that going for as long as I can.”

If you would like more information. The following contact info is below:

Website: https://www.vedatoys.com/

Email: vedatoyshop

Ig: @Vedatoys

Welcome to the Insta-hood: @thejimharold!

This week I had the pleasure of interviewing @thejimharold !

  1. Tell me a little about yourself:

” I am a full-time pro podcaster. I’ve been podcasting on the supernatural since 2005 and took it full-time in 2012. I love my job and am so thankful. I love talking to authors and experts about their theories on the paranormal on my longest running show, The Paranormal Podcast. 

Even better is the opportunity to talk with listeners about their own experiences with the strange on my most popular show, Jim Harold’s Campfire.

2. How did you come up with the concept of creating so many great paranormal podcasts?

” I was a broadcasting student in college and everyone (including myself) thought I’d end up working in news or something of the like. Life happened and I ended up working in radio but on the advertising side of the business. In 2005, I heard about podcasting and thought I’d produce one to scratch my broadcasting itch. I never thought it would become a career! I chose the paranormal topic since I was interested in the subject since

I was a little kid watching In Search Of with Leonard Nimoy. I started with The Paranormal Podcast since interviewing authors and experts in the paranormal sounded neat. One week in 2009, I did not have a guest so I thought I’d do listener stories and that was the genesis of Jim Harold’s Campfire. That has grown over the years with me trying a number of shows and creating my Paranormal Plus Club which features exclusive shows in addition to all the free shows I do. This year, Jim Harold Media launched Unpleasant Dreams which is a narrative style podcast with sound design, etc. It’s a new type of show for us but it’s doing great so far.”

3. Do you have a memorable experience or two that a listener shared with you and left a lasting impression?

” The Roadhouse Saloon is my favorite all-time Campfire story. It details the experience of a woman who, with her friend, found themselves at a very strange bar that was like something out of the Twilight Zone. It seems that she and her friend nearly found themselves actually absorbed into this otherworldly place. It seemed like it was some sort of dimensional portal. I loved the story so much that I actually traveled to her home in another state with a videographer and interviewed her. You can find an expanded video version of the story (see video below). It is QUITE the story and I believe her 100%.”

4. If you had to create a movie list of 3 movies to watch for the fall. What movies would you suggest and why?

The Shining (1980)

” The Shining – Because it’s The Shining!
Rosemary’s Baby – This movie creeps me the eff out! Haha! It has such a sinister undertone throughout you just feel like taking a shower after you watch it. Everything is lurking just under the surface. I find it more terrifying than The Exorcist. It is CREEEEEEEPY and I love it!

Rosemary’s Baby (1968)


A Christmas Story – I love the nostalgia of this Christmas classic even though it is set even before my time! Plus, much of it was shot in my hometown of Cleveland, Ohio. I grew up in an old house not unlike the one in the movie. MUST WATCH every holiday season.

A Christmas Story (1983)

5. Do you have any exciting news or events that you would like to share?

” 2021 has been crazy and I was looking back and thought that I’d not accomplished much because we moved from our longtime home this year to a great area BUT upon reflection I am amazed by what we were able to accomplish:
1. Hit 60 million combined downloads of all of our shows. We’ve released about 2,700 episodes combined over the last 16 years.

2. Redesigned website at JimHarold.com which I LOVE! I hated our old design. It was so cluttered but this is super classy and it’s easy to find the content.

3. Launched Unpleasant Dreams which is the narrative podcast I mentioned earlier. It is hosted by my daughter Cassandra Harold who is doing a bang up job on it…yes, I’m biased but she has a drama background and she does a way better job with it than I ever could. We have a tremendous writer and researcher on the project, EM Hilker

.4. Relaunched our email newsletter

5. A lot of other stuff I am forgetting but I’ll remember after I close this document.
In 2022, we are going to redouble our video efforts on my YouTube channel and plan to release the sixth book in our Campfire series. 
It is busy here but I love what I do. That’s why I think we can get so much done with a very small but mighty part time team. I’m the only full time person here. I am so thankful to my listeners for making this great job possible for me. And, I’m grateful to you to be able to share my story with your audience. Thank you!”

If you like to learn more about Jim and his amazing podcasts. The following contact information is below:

Twitter: @THEJimHarold

Facebook: TheJimHarold & Virtual Campsite FB Group

Instagram: @thejimharold

Youtube: Jim Harold

Thank you so much for the interview Jim!

Until Next time!!!

Six years…

The first time I met you I wasn’t nervous. I had a good feeling about you. We went to see a movie together and you held my hand the hold time. From time to time I glanced in your direction while the movie was on. I looked at your eyes. For the first time in my life you felt like home, I felt comfort, I felt love I knew I found my soulmate….Flash forward six years I asked you if you wanted a family. You said “sure but I’m getting old” I replied with “no, I don’t believe so. I want a family with you.” You didn’t say anything else. You drew quiet. You drew back you said nothing. But I ignored it because I love you. It’s hard to described my love for you because I don’t think it needed a definition. It was a feeling a literal gut feeling that goes throughout my body. It is an indescribable feeling: a sensation that I never felt before. But everytime I say I love how much I wished you say it back. I hoped one day he will say it but that day will not come. You decided that love isn’t important or I’m not. I’m not sure….. but I can’t stay in limbo for the rest of my life. Hoping you will say “I love you “. I want to create a life, a family with my soulmate. I want meaning to someone. I want a gift or a card for my birthday, holidays or just because . I never got anything like that in the six years I stood by you. I wanted meaning in your life. You never thought I deserved it. I don’t want to wait forever until maybe you feel like you want this. I should not be an option at this point. For six years I traveled, save up money, sold my possessions, gave you my treasures because I love you and I happily gave them up freely. You didn’t want to give any of time in return. Love isn’t something you take for granted. Love is something you work on to let it grow. Please I hope you find it in your heart to allow it to grow.

Holiday cards, work, tears, and coffee: A November to remember.

It’s almost midnight and instead of catching up on some much needed sleep. I couldn’t sleep… I needed to write and listen to Electric Light Orchestra to be able to write this post.

Writing for me is something I really love. it is a way to share and discussion things in an open platform I normally don’t share. But like everything else in my life I am behind on posting in my blog. But that is totally fine. I don’t want to turn something I really like to do into a chore or give myself a deadline to turn something in show that I exist. So I have been writing when I get the urge too and recently it has been during the late night hours til early morning.

Work has taken up a lot of my time but the positive part of it has been able to meet a lot of amazing new people! A lot of people in my work place are moving on to new and exciting adventures and I couldn’t be more happier and proud for them. 🙂 Also a lot of coffee has been consumed during working hours with extra espresso shots for the can’t blink your eyes kind of feeling to get you through the day.

Card from Greenwich Letterpress: One of my favorite card stores!

In other news I have started working on sending out holiday cards early. Mostly because I do send out a high number of cards and want to make sure that I get everyone on my list a card. So if you would like a card from me and have a US mailing address, Please dm my @lady.cult instagram account your full name and mailing address. I will try my best to send out cards before christmas.

Things are sometime stressful so tears may fall this holiday season but I am human and full of emotions. The best advice I can say is that it is better to let it out than hold it in.

Also if you are wondering where to get that card. Please check out: greeenwichletterpresshop.com

Until next time!

Top five Criterion Collection Wants from the B&N sale!

Barnes and Nobles is having another amazing Criterion Collection 50% sale going on now until November 29th!

So here are five of my must have must from the sale!

Deep Cover directed by Bill Duke. Starring Laurence Fishburne and Jeff Goldblum. (Spine #1086)- I watched this movie over the summer and I felt like I was watching an old film noir set in the 1990’s. Laurence Fishburne goes from hardworking cop to an undercover agent who get pulls into the underbelly of the 1990’s LA crime scene.

Citizen Kane directed by Orson Wells (1941). Starring Orson Wells, and Joseph Cotton. (Spine #1104). This is the first movie I remember watching that left a lasting impression on me that I did many, many school papers on. This is the kind of movie that every time re-watch it you notice something new or different that you didn’t notice during the previous watch. Also I am planned to upgrade to this one because I watched this movie so many times that there are visible scratches on the disc.

Melvin Van Peebles: Essential Films. This will be a blind buy for me. I always wanted to watch the films of Melvin Van Peebles and his films have been on my to watch list. Especially Sweet Sweetback’s Baadassss Song so I am glad that I am getting this set that includes that movie and some of his other masterpieces.

Onibaba directed by Kaneto Shindo (spine #226). This is one of my favorite movies that is on the Criterion Collection. The amazing cuts in this movie makes you feel like you are in the folklore.

The Complete Films of Agnes Varda. This massively set is definitely going to be a holiday gift that I am giving myself. Agnes Varda is one of my favorite directors because she covered so many different themes and genres during her amazing career.

What movies are on your list to buy during the sale?

Comment below!

until next time!!!

Welcome to the Insta-hood : @supermagicpowers!

This week I interviewed @supermagicpowers !

  1. Tell me about yourself:

“I run the Cosmic Academy for Curious Youngsters. I project a lot of youth; kids always tell me I am not really a grown up. I don’t feel old in the head, but I do in the body. I worry about losing my magic all the time, but I don’t think it’s gone yet. I love making things my own, I love kids, and I love connecting with my core self. I think most people should look back into what made themselves happy as a child to find their core self. As the great Dean Koontz once said, “The future is the only way back.” My super true love is Billy Lilly, and he is the best magic maker I know, and is very inspiring. It’s funny because I think he’s the best, but he would stop if I wasn’t kicking him the butt, saying keep going. Behind every great man is a woman kicking them in the butt. I love my family, and I have had some truly special moments with them. The spirit of Santa is real, and that’s all I’m saying.”

2. What is Cosmic Academy?

“The Cosmic Academy for Curious Youngsters is something Billy and I cooked up when I was very unhappy with my job at a daycare. We wanted to start a program that would be for the weirdos essentially. The kids that were living life as art, but not knowing it yet. We are in a small town, and the art options for kids are VERY limited. Children are naturally artists, and we want to keep that alive in them. The energy in most schools right now zaps that, encourages everything but creativity most of the time. 

One of the huge things we push is that you do not have to be able to replicate real life. Realism is not always the goal! We hear so many kids say, “it doesn’t look like the real thing.” GREAT! That’s perfect, if we wanted the real thing, we would take a photo. 

We make tons of art with these kids, we write songs, we make videos, we teach them everything we know, and they teach us a lot too. One of our favorite things to do is write hand jives.  We have hand jives about topics ranging from dadaism to what we named our belly buttons. 

This life comes with interesting challenges too.  Most kids only draw their own gender and their race. Oh, and SKINNY IS THE ONLY BODY TYPE.  It’s crazy, not really something I thought about too much before. When you start thinking about representation, you start to notice how much there ISN’T. It’s really cool because as soon as I learn something new, I have this whole audience who I get to teach it to. We have had a lot of discussion about drawing how all people look, and the results, of course, fantastic. I do get pushback sometimes; I once got a phone call about a boy drawing Sailor Moon. It was spectacular, but not everyone thought so. Ugh, oh well, I get to experience more magical moments that anyone I have ever met. 

The kids are raw and pure, and so FUNNY. When you let the kids know, they are free to explore inside their own mind, you get some interesting perspectives. I love to play, so when a child says they have another personality, I am all about it. I take it seriously because of course, I have some characters I like to play too. One is Miss Bad Teacher, inspired by the book, Miss Nelson is Missing by Harry Allard, illustrated by the incomparable James Marshall. She’s a big hit, gets them a little too crazy, but she’s super fun in small doses. Miss Sunshine is ultra-sugary sweet, sort of Snow-White level nice but, good lord, they liked her too much, so she had to have a reboot, now she’s a germaphobe who can’t stand when the kids touch her. I had to do something; I was getting jealous!

I get sad when they start to get obsessed with technology. It’s like watching the treehouse they played with everyday fall into the disrepair. The great thing is more kids keep coming! My fantasy is that the Cosmic kids get older, and they stick around, they volunteer through their teen years (we call that being a Cosmic Elder), helping raise up the next generation of Cosmic, and once they are an adult, well then, they are our friend! And Cosmic gets bigger, and I get to hire all the Cosmic kids who stuck around, and soon we are on TV, talking about how great it is to live your dream. I mean really, most days are a dream. I spend all day playing, making things, helping kids, or planning on doing all those things. What more could I want? “

3. If you have to choose three pop culture icons (alive or dead) that best describe your fashion style. Who would you pick and why?

“Miss Frizzle- I mean she’s pretty self-explanatory. I loved how everything she had on was the part of the theme. The dresses were amazing, but the shoes! Wow oh wow! I stopped trying to squeeze my wide feet into “normal” shoes, I have embraced my cavewomen heart and am strictly a Croc person. I wish there were dinosaur themed heels that felt like a Croc, but alas.

Grandma Rabbit- I would say she is not a pop culture icon, but she was to me. She is the main figure in the children’s book called Where’s Grandma Rabbit? As soon as I saw the cover, I knew that was who I wanted to be. She is on a green and blue bicycle with one baby rabbit in the basket, and one in the bike baby seat behind her. She has on an amazing outfit; fit for the queen she is. I am sending over a picture. She falls asleep on the haunted house ride, and later ends up dancing the night away with a pilot. Grandma Rabbit knows how to party.

Pee Wee’s Playhouse- What’s not to like? The playhouse has a little of everything. I love mixing up all the good stuff. I love that it’s not just for boys or girls. It is kind of messy and chaotic. I even love when it’s decorated for every holiday at once.”

4. What is the inspiration behind the images of the sweatshirt you made?

“Last year, our Cosmic Kids had not gone back to school in the fall because of the coronavirus, so we had a lot more time with them. After online schooling was done, we still had about five hours to make things. We went whole hog into Halloween decorations, and it was very inspiring. I was doing a lot of research into vintage decorations to get ideas for our projects. I was wanting to make some Halloween shirts for myself, but I wanted something more colorful. The kids were very into clay then, and I got into it too. I have always loved the idea of something with a lot of texture and even dimension printed on to clothing, so Billy showed me how to make a shirt design, and that was it!”

5.Do you have any exciting news or events that you would like to share?

“Well, right now I am working on episode 3 of Cosmic TV, which is a short YouTube show Billy and I started making when we were shut down because of Covid. We wanted to have a way to connect with the kids even though we couldn’t be together. We aren’t shut down now, but the kids love the two episodes we have, and have been helping me with this one. It’s the fashion episode, and it’s very fun. We have some special guests, and I can’t wait to see how it turns out.

I am also working on a Super True Love sword. Since I was a teenager, I really wanted colorful weapons.    I have no idea why I wanted these so bad, but I sure did! I never really had the confidence to try to make my dream a reality. I don’t need them to hurt anyone, just give the energy I want so I am customizing fake weapons. We will see what happens haha.”

If you like to learn more about Abbigail. Here is her following contact information: https://www.instagram.com/supermagicpowers/

Question!…is it haunted?

hello everybody!!!!

Quick question I would like to write more blog posts about haunted vacation destinations. What places have you always wanted to go on vacation to and that is haunted? Comment below and I will write about some in an upcoming blog post.

thank you!!!!!

Great Small businesses: @pagesofvega !

This week I interviewed a great small business: @pagesofvega !

  1. Tell me a little about yourself:

“Call me Vega.

Vega is my last name and also one of the brightest stars in the night sky, giving off a blue-ish glow. There is a great story about the Milky Way love affair between the stars, Vega and Altair, that you should look up sometime. Vega was once the north star and will be again in about 13,000 years. It’s a very celestial namesake. 

I grew up in Dallas, TX within a mixed family of Filipino and Mexican-American heritages. The cultures are similar due to Spanish colonization and Thanksgivings were always a conglomerate of lumpia eggrolls, pancit noodle dishes, turkey, and tamales with rice and beans. Some of my favorite memories are eating pan dulce sweet bread with my grandparents and running around with all of my cousins. My first name is Natasha, by the way.

I moved to NY about 7 years ago and have been living here off and on (back and forth from TX). My jobs have mostly been in retail/sales, interior design, and as a teacher. I’ve always had a creative mindset with an appreciation for the arts, visiting museums, and reading books. All of these feel like portals; glimpses at other people’s worlds, feelings, adventures. I’m into astrology and identify quite strongly with my dreamy sun sign of Pisces. I’m also a Sagittarius moon, which keeps me moving around (I’ve lived in Mexico, Spain, and South Korea), with a rising sign of Leo (which I’m still trying to decipher). Don’t even get me started on the house placements of my birth chart!”

2. Can you talk a little about your store?

“Maya Angelou has an infamous quote about how people will forget who you are, and what you said, but never how you made them feel. I’ve thought a lot about this and have tried to adopt it into my practice for the shop, “Pages of Vega”. I hope to provide an entire book experience for the buyer. I like to add different vintage paper pieces as decorative flourishes with each order. Books in themselves are very special from the cover art, to the illustrations, and stories. It always feels like secret information that you are telling yourself. I have a fondness for 1970’s paperbacks and early 1900’s hardbacks which is evident in the shop. I am working on highlighting more WOC authors as well.

I’m not a baker, so my Covid hobby that I picked up was paper making. It’s such a process, making the pulp and the slurry, but I love all the botanicals and texture that you can add to the quality of the paper. My goals are to create stationary, cards, and other novelties like zines, bookmarks, and journals as an expansion of my great love of paper. “

3. If you had to make a top five must reads for fall. What books would you put on the list and why?

” My first top read for Fall would be, “The Plague” by Albert Camus for obvious reasons. I read it about 4 years ago for the first time and then frantically looked for the exact vintage red cover version earlier this year. I wanted to know how this ends, if this ends. It heightened and calmed my nerves reading about how others dealt with the age old crisis of plague and what they discovered about themselves; the isolation, the compassion. The descriptions of those bubonic rats are also stomach churning!

Second on the list would be, “Seven Eves” by Neal Stevenson. It’s quite a heavy loaf of a novel that begins with the moon exploding in the first few pages. WOW! A Sci-fi thriller that goes quite in depth about the technicalities of living out in space. I enjoy the layered cast of characters, strong female leads, and transition of worlds. Worth the time investment (it’s almost a thousand pages long) as it’s a complete immersion into this alternate galactic space life.

Third, “Jane Eyre” by Charlotte Bronte- a classic by all regards. It’s my cozy bedtime read every Fall season. Although I’ve read it many times, I still get caught up in the 19th century prose and Jane’s character. It has all the vibes of love, loss, self discovery, and gothic brooding. Perfect for crisp autumn nights by a faux or real fireplace. 

Fourth, “Your were Born for This: Astrology for Radical Self-Acceptance” by Chani Nicholas. This is a good intro into understanding your 3 major sign placements (sun, moon, rising) and how to work through their challenges and gifts. I know astrology is often perceived as made up, but there is a science to it.  Researching more about the special arrangement of my birth chart has allowed me to be more merciful towards myself and how I interact in the world. Learning more self awareness is always a good thing in my book, any season.

Fifth, “Martita, I remember you/Martita, te recuerdo”  by Sandra Cisneros. Cisneros hasn’t published a novel in a decade so this was a delightful surprise. Growing up, “The House on Mango Street” and her poetry “Loose Woman” were very impactful. These were stories about feeling lost in the duty of family and the struggle of becoming one’s own self from a Latinx point of view. I’m excited that this new novel is dual language. Even though I am not fluent in Spanish, I still try to read and practice. I’m also intrigued that the novel is spawned by re-discovering a long lost letter from a friend, the connections we make while traveling, and the movement of life. I admire Cisneros and will always recommend her. “

4. What is an interesting fact that not many people know about you?

“This was a bit difficult to decide on. I will share that although I enjoy living in different countries and learning about other cultures, I am pretty shite at learning languages and holding conversations in them. My Spanish is embarrassing at best and I only learned survival Korean phrases for ordering food and asking for directions. I can read hangul characters though, which is maybe another interesting tidbit, along with the fact that I have a hangul tattoo of my name on my left arm. 

So, despite all the language difficulties, I do enjoy singing in other languages. The accents and wording are a hell of a lot more forgiving with a melody. I have a few songs I like to sing in Spanish (mostly Selena songs), a couple Korean (indie) ones, and even a couple French songs. Tagalog is the next language I’m looking to add to my singing repertoire.  “

5. Do you have any upcoming promotions or events that you would like share?

“I just had my first IG “Giveaway” and pop up market experience in Albany. I would definitely like to do more of both. There will be another book giveaway happening sooner than later and I am looking into different market vending events. It’s such a great way to meet people and see your work/collections out in the open for others to enjoy. “

If you like to learn more about the Pages of Vega store. The following contact information is below:

Instagram: @pagesofvega

Hashtag: #readmorevega for complete listing of books available

Email: pagesofvega@gmail.com

Thank you so much for the interview!

Until next time!!!

My fall to read list!!!

As a new season comes so does a new and exciting list of books to read. I wanted to share some books that I currently have on my to read list.

Yours Cruelly, Elvira by Cassandra Peterson – This is my current read. Elvira has been a personal icon to me since I was nine so I was super excited when I heard her autobiography was coming out.

Link to buy is here: https://www.hachettebooks.com/titles/cassandra-peterson/yours-cruelly-elvira/9780306874352/

Fuzz: When Nature Breaks the Law by Mary Roach

Does wildlife have to respect people laws? This book dives in to some weird but interesting laws that concern nature. Just the title alone made me put this on the top of my to read list!

Link to buy is here: https://maryroach.net/fuzz.html

Confessions of a Puppermaster: A Hollywood Memoir of Ghouls, Guts, and Gonzo Filmmaking by Charles Band with Adam Felber ( Release Date November 2021). From the man who brought you such movie classic such as Ghoulies (1985) and the Puppermaster series has wrote a book about the high and lows of the underground movie scene.

Link to buy is here: https://www.amazon.com/Confessions-Puppetmaster-Hollywood-Memoir-Filmmaking/dp/0063087340?keywords=confessions+of+a+puppet+master&qid=1624619846&sr=8-1&linkCode=sl1&tag=horrorscvideo-20&linkId=4113bcbb88829ea9cffc314ca281440e&language=en_US&ref_=as_li_ss_tl

Carpenters: The Musical Legacy by Mike Cidoni Lennox and Chris May with Richard Carpenter. (Release date November 16, 2021) I don’t know much about this music duo and what I do know is from the Todd Haynes movie. So when I saw this book on the fall must read list I made sure to add it my own. Especially since it has Richard Carpenter telling his own story I am sure it will be worth a read.

Link to buy is here: https://papress.com/pages/carpenters

This is just a small sample of books from my very, very long list. What is on your to read list this fall? Comment below!!!

Until next time!!!

Artist’s Spotlight: @thepaperprophet !

This week’s artist’s spotlight is on @thepaperprophet:

  1. How did you come up with your name?

“You know truth be told, there’s not a lot to my name, which I know has to destroy some of the mystique about it. I’ve always enjoyed naming things, particularly long formal or unusual names utilizing alliterations. It’s all about how the words roll off the tongue. 

(Self-portrait 2021: mixed-media, analog and digital.)


Plus I’ve always been drawn to the idea of anonymity in art, which is perhaps a holdover from my formative graffiti days.  It’s not about me or what I look like, but rather the artwork and my ideas themselves. I like the idea that I can separate my corporeal self from the display of my art. It’s always been a consuming direction for me. In fact, I think the last bio I wrote told the story of my being a Pet Rock, that became sentient after accidentally being irradiated on the International Space Station. Even my self-portraits usually have some twist of obfuscation and anonymity to them.”

2. Can you talk a little about your big cartel store? 

“That’s not actually my store! But rather the store of a community organization I closely work with. I design logos, illustrate posters, and help develop visual messaging and Popaganda (the cross between pop-art and propaganda). They’re called “On Site Public Media”. A initiative based out of the Twin Cities that works on a variety of public programs, including community focused and publicly funded journalism and media from a ground level perspective. 

I consider myself sort of like an artistic “gun for hire”, taking on whatever jobs that speak to me on a personal level, or seem fun and challenging. Lots of illustration for posters – apparel and logos, doing book designs and album packaging, stuff like that. Most of my work is commercial in some capacity, though I’ve been getting in to more traditional commissioned illustrations these last couple years. In fact I did a series of commissions not long ago for a group of Dungeon and Dragon players, depicting their campaigns party members. There’s also illustrations for private events, portraits for people depicting beloved animals and / or family. I once made a half-sheet full color rendering of the characters Wolverine and Wendigo fighting in forested mountains.

If anyone’s interested in having me work on projects, my commissions are open. Message me on Instagram at @thepaperprophet or contact me via Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/thepaperprophet . Whatever your illustration and graphic design needs are, whether they’re for business, you’re living room wall, and everything between – I’m positive I can make something awesome for you… FOR A PRICE. Duhn duhn duuuuhhhn. Cue dramatic organ music.

(Popaganda poster for “On Site Public Media“, available for purchase at their web store.)

 

(Details from privately commissioned Dungeons and Dragons character art. Digital.)

3. What is the first art piece you remember creating?

” I’ve literally been creating art my entire life, so there’s no one thing I can point to. I remember a few really old grade school projects. Drawing stories about Mad Monster Parties, making paper mache Puppets and Dragons. Everyone including teachers would ask me to make things for them from elementary school onwards.
My entire life has been dedicated to making stuff. Writing, cooking, music, code, film, comedy, visual art, just whatever. Creativity in all facets would be the cornerstone of my personality. It’s the primordial slime from which I spawned. There has never been anything else that I’ve wanted to do other than make stuff. The one exception being Science. But in the end isn’t art just the antithesis of science? 
Like two sides of a coin, art and science sit so far apart on the spectrum from one another that they’ve come full circle and sit side by side, only the thin line of reality separating the two. It’s like Science is the exploration of the corporeal universe, where as Art is the exploration of an ethereal universe.
If I really dig deep and go back, a conglomeration of memory’s stand out. I remember being super little, sitting in the living room at the coffee table with my mom listening to music, while we busted out the coloring books. SO Many coloring books. And she was so phenomenal with those crayolas, my heart swells thinking of it. Everything was always so meticulously colored. I was driven to be as good as her, and wouldn’t be the artist I am today without her nurturing my creativity at that crucial age. In fact, Crayola crayons still remain one of my favorite mediums to this day.”

(Random sketchbook drawing. 100% Crayola crayon)

4. Where do you find inspiration when creating your pieces?

“It really depends on what I’m working on. I make art professionally, and I think it was the late-great Chuck Close who said “Inspiration is for amateurs – the rest of us just show up and get to work.” Which is something that’s always stuck with me. It’s all about getting in there and stretching those muscles. Being aware that not everything you make is going to be perfect, and the important thing is your making “it”, whatever your “it” may be. Be that writing, drawing, playing music. Whatever. You’ve just got to take the time to make things. Creativity is as much a muscle as those in your hand, and they all need to be worked out regularly.

That being said, I like to thematically pair my environmental experience to match the tone of the projects I’m working on. I’m all about curating an immersive experience for my everyday life. With mundane every day activities being reframed to go hand-in-hand, aiding the theme, work, and emotions of the day. Life should be inspiring in general, you know? So we’ve got to fight back against this soul crushing existence within the imperial core, by having fun with things.
Take the social justice art and Popaganda that I make. I‘ll watch a lot of documentaries or movies that match the tone and issues the artwork conveys, and it’s not out of the question that the music and food we consume that day match those themes as well. If I’m working on gig-posters, I’ll listen to the genera of music best representing the events set list, or the bands music itself. Perhaps while at a bar known to share the same values. If I’m working on pixel art I’m usually watching Game Historian, Code Monkeys, or listening to Chiptunes while deep-diving 80s and 90s era comfort food.”

(Commissioned portrait. 100px X 100px pixel art, Digital.)
(A collection of samples from various gig-posters. Hand-drawn, analog.)

5. Do you have any exciting news or events that you would like to share?

“I recently announced the line-up for this years Frightful Film Fest. 31 days of horror movies with weekly themes throughout October. This years themes include “Away From Home”, “Shudder” (the horror service), the “Nightmare on Elm Street” franchise, and “This is Halloween” – which is a collection of horror movies taking place around Halloween. Plus there’s a few guest curated selections to round the month off. It’s kind of like Inktober on steroids. As not only am I doing daily drawings, but I’m watching daily movies and attempting to write reviews of them. 
Initially the Frightful Film Fest started as a drink-and-draw style event, with a small group of people getting together in person for a double or triple feature on the weekends. We’d have discussions about the genera and analyzing movies over tall-boys and sketchbooks. As life progressed and people moved, the Fest evolved in to a individual affair with a focus on streaming services and smaller daily viewings, rather than bigger weekly events. I’ve been in talks recently, however, about doing a special one-night-only live edition of the Fest at a local art gallery (should Covid permit).
It’s exciting and terrifying all at once, and not just because of the horror movies. It’s an epic and ambitious amount of work. It’s rewarding though, and allows me to unabashedly delve in to one of my life-long true loves. Horror. All while giving my hands and brain a thorough work-out. If any of your readers would like to follow along with this years Frightful Film Fest they can follow me on Facebook or Instagram @thepaperprophet.