Breaking Down, Pumping Up

Imagine your car has broken down and you’re on a deadline to get somewhere that’s almost 20 hours away. It’s a hot, dry day and you’re by yourself without any car knowledge. Do you break down and convince yourself you’ll never make it? Or do you pump yourself up because you know it’s just another challenge that will make you stronger?

If you follow me on Twitter or liked me on Facebook, you’ll know I was in this exact scenario. I chose the ‘pumping up’ route and decided to stay optimistic! I was so grateful that it happened a mile from where I was staying, in a city and rather than in the middle of the desert.

It happened on the day that I was to drive 16 hours from Phoenix, Arizona to Texas. I was supposed to arrive there on April 2 to set up for the Deep Ellum Arts Festival that Easter weekend. Set up was from noon until 6 p.m. that day and if a participating vendor doesn’t make it during those hours, the booth spot is up for grabs by last-call artists who might have applied late. As I drove out, I heard a rasping noise and it continued to get worse. I pulled over at a gas station and tried to figure it out, only to conclude that I am not a mechanic and will need to call AAA for help.

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It was a very hot day in Phoenix and after a few hours, Dale (the AAA guy) came to my rescue! He had a crass and sarcastic sense of humor that jived well with the whole scenario. I couldn’t help myself but have some fun! I watched him try to attach special contraptions to his vehicle to tow my little Scamp trailer. Another tow truck guy came and they worked pretty hard and I laughed to myself at the situation I was in.

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People stopped and asked about the trailer. They talked to me, offered to take me home, offered to buy the trailer with cash on the spot… I appreciated their generosity but I was on a mission and I couldn’t be stopped! The gas station attendant kept me company for a few hours as the AAA heroes worked on my car. It was an unexpected kind of day and I wondered if it was even possible to get to Texas in time. At this rate, I would make it just at 6 p.m. But worrying wasn’t going to get me there faster, so I towed my Scamp back to the RV Park then towed my car to the mechanic.

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Later that night I was told it had something to do with the fans. Of course I don’t know any specifics, but it was dying and I know I wouldn’t have made it through the desert without it. So a few hundred dollars and a day later I was back on the road!

Hours and hours later, I pulled up to the Deep Ellum registration. I took a look at my clock and was relieved to find out I made it ten minutes before the cut off time! Whew!

The adventure wasn’t over yet. I still had to set up my booth! The wind was super gusty and I thought my tent was going to fly away before I got the weights hung. But somehow, I made it. Fatigued and in a daze, I made it.

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At Deep Ellum, I had the best artist neighbors. One man, Billy Sunday, made instruments and played them in his booth. The music attracted amazingly talented people to his tent and I had the privilege to watch them perform.

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Another artist made elaborate puzzles with intricate designs out of wood. There was also an artist who made jewelry out of stones he found. The company was great! The weather was fickle. The crowds were wanting. I saw a parade of dogs and animals in costumes, people dressed up for Easter and I saw an old friend from my college years in San Francisco. 12 years passed since we met and it was great seeing a familiar face! Plus I got to eat some amazing Thai food!

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If I would’ve chosen to break down with my car, I might not have been able to meet all of these wonderful artists. I learned so much from them that weekend and I am forever grateful for that experience. Artists are incredible beings. I am truly lucky to be surrounded by them.

Fast forwarding to today, I just wrapped up the weekend at the Atlanta Dogwood Festival and it was another pleasurable experience. With all of the recent events of my car and traveling a long distance in a short period of time, I would like to apologetically announce that I will not be attending the Fiesta Arts Fair next weekend in Texas.  It’ll be a lot easier for me to drive to the Inman Park Festival from Atlanta. This traveling artist needs a break!

Until next time, please enjoy this photo sent in by a fan of his newly purchased “Girl in a Hat” series. If you’ve purchased some of my work, please take a photo and email it to me at aalexandrin@me.com to be featured on my social media accounts! And don’t forget to tweet with me on my road trip at @aalexandrin with the #GoAnastasiaGO hashtag.

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Move Along

Last weekend I was in Scottsdale, Arizona for an art festival and I’m ready for the next! Next up is the Tempe Festival of the Arts and I have a really good feeling it’s going to be the best event I participate in this month. Right after Tempe, I’m heading straight to Texas for the Deep Ellum Arts Festival. It’s going to be a busy next few weeks!

Scottsdale Arts Festival

Scottsdale Arts Festival

Scottsdale Arts Festival

I’m not sure of what insight I can give this week. Each art festival I attend teaches me something new and I like to reflect back on my experiences to help me grow. The good experiences are great, but realistically not every fair is going to be an amazing turn out. I think what I can share with you is to not give up even when you think you’ve hit rock bottom. People are there to support you and a new day is just ahead of you.

So in the meantime, work to what you want to become and stick up for what you believe in. Give the meaning your life deserves and remember there will always be someone there to catch you when you fall.

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Make sure to follow me on Twitter (@aalexandrin) and cheer me on with the hashtag #GoAnastasiaGO! I’ve also joined Pinterest! Follow me here: https://www.pinterest.com/aalexandrin.

 

What Inspires You?

As an artist, the question of what inspires us is asked often. What inspires us to create? What is the reason behind drawing this over that? What motivates us to continue being an artist?

Looking out into the wondrous mountains, Arizona shares a lot of what I’m looking for as inspiration. It’s hard to find the words to describe just how beautiful the nature is out here. Sometimes the thing you’re searching for will appear when you least expect it to. I’m a black and white artist. I use color minimally and never intended to do so otherwise. I was never in search for colors that would leave me in awe like the ones here did. I didn’t even know the feeling existed, but these colors in the mountains became engrained in me. I felt like the world stopped and the colors were soaring around me endlessly. Blues that were so blue and pinks that were so pink… it made me want to paint again.

Sedona, AZ

Sedona, AZ

Sedona, AZ

Nature is often inspiration for artists as it is for me. People are another source of inspiration for my artwork. Everyone I’ve met so far in Arizona is so nice and courteous. A simple smile as you walk by a stranger will turn into a full conversation and next thing you know, you’ve made a friend. They tell stories that show how much history the state is built on. I’m not sure if being called a Sun Child is a compliment, but I’ve been getting it a lot here. I’m sure it is and it’s amazing that everyone keeps the Native American traditions so closely to their hearts.

NEW! "Niyaha" by Anastasia Alexandrin

NEW! “Niyaha” by Anastasia Alexandrin

The people of Arizona are free spirits. They’re relaxed and they go with the flow of things to land wherever it is they may land. I like to pretend I fit in as my art does the same. It takes me to new lands and introduces me to new faces. Whatever the world has in store for me, I follow my art wherever it goes.

It’s a different environment, but it’s been helpful for me to relax and draw. I’ve created new drawings of “Owls” and finished them more quickly than I thought I would. Can you help me think of individual names? Make sure to comment below with your ideas!

Owl1 by Anastasia Alexandrin

Owl2 by Anastasia Alexandrin

Owl3 by Anastasia Alexandrin

Maybe Arizona is onto something with its way of living.

#NIKITAnation

Make sure to follow me on Twitter (@aalexandrin) and cheer me on with the hashtag #GoAnastasiaGO! I’ve also recently joined Pinterest! Follow me here: https://www.pinterest.com/aalexandrin.

The First of Many

On the early morning of Monday, February 9, 2015, I said my goodbyes, got into my truck and drove my camper out of the parking lot for what would be an 8-month road trip.

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I was filled with excitement. I couldn’t believe it was actually happening. I don’t know if it will ever sink in that we were able to make this camper possible. Looking around me and having it settle in, I drove through the streets of Philly to begin my adventure.

I made one pit-stop along the way in North Carolina. It was a Walmart parking lot and a perfect place to get some rest. To think that if this was only two months ago, I would have had to spend hundreds of dollars for a hotel room or have had to bare the cold and sleep in my car. I can’t thank you all enough again.

The first night was a learning experience. I had to figure out how to get comfortable, how to turn things on, how to work my heat/AC… thankfully I was able to manage it all. I sat still and stared at the ceiling, thinking about how far I’ve come. I’m so grateful for everyone’s help. I would be lost without it. I could feel myself cracking a smile as I got myself comfortable for my first night’s rest.

After a total of 22 hours, I made it to Florida. The sun was beaming and I was so happy to make it when I did. (I heard Philly wasn’t as fortunate with its crazy winter coldness!) I first decided to go to the city of Okeechobee. Such a fun name to pronounce!

When you’re in a certain environment for a long time, you feel so inspired by different sights even if you’ve seen them before. The nature out here was beautiful. I found a bike path and decided to take a ride down it. The view was amazing. The wind moved through the grass and I breathed it all in. Like the blades of green, I travel where the world leads me. As an artist, I flow with the ideas that come to me from inspiration wherever I may find it. The lines of my work fall as my wrist lightly pulls away from my canvas.

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I saw amazing creatures in Okeechobee. First were the pelicans hanging near the friendly local fishermen.  I gathered near and spoke to the men. They told me how the pelicans have had to change their ways of eating. They used to be able to swim freely and fish for themselves. Now with changes in the environment with pollution and water levels, plus the growing population of alligators, pelicans had to adapt. They try to swim near the edges of the water as much as they can without predators attacking, but it remains a challenge for them.

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Fascinating what techniques animals use to adapt to our ever-changing environment. I watched the pelicans for a long time and thought, “Am I becoming a bird lady?” If I am, it’s all for good reason.

I continued my sight-seeing for a little longer and then decided it was time to set up at the campsite.

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Yes, I had the smallest camper there. I was next to huge RV trucks and people who were professionals at reversing into tiny spaces. I felt so inexperienced (because truth be told, I am!), but everyone was really welcoming as they always tend to be down here in Florida.

The next day, it was time to get down to business! I had to prepare my prints and drawings, cut more matte, organize my tent, everything! My first fair was in less than two days and I had a lot of work that needed to be done. When the day came, I was somehow able to have everything set in time.

The 2015 ArtiGras Fine Arts Festival was held on February 14 in Jupiter, FL. In 2014, it was voted the Best Art Fair by Art Fair Calendar, so I had high hopes for how this would be and lots of interest in checking out some of the other artists at the event.

One artist at the ArtiGras Fine Arts Festival was a dear friend of mine, Jason Brueck. From his Alter Images, Jason creates prints, posters and t-shirts of his incredible modern art. It was so nice to see a familiar face. Here are a few samples of his work. Please make sure to visit his website to check out more of his pieces here: http://alterimages.net/

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“Ride Em Cowboy” by Alter Images

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“The Right Stuff” by Alter Images

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“Catbird Seat” by Alter Images

The festival was a big success. I think with the combination of Valentine’s Day weekend, Presidents’ Day weekend and the reputable name it turned out to be a great start to my trip.

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Now that the first fair is over, I have driven to Tampa, FL to visit a few old friends. (Everyone is really anxious to see my Scamp trailer!) My next event is the Scottsdale Arts Festival in Scottsdale, AZ and I can’t wait to share more of my adventures with you. Wish me luck!

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To share the experience more, make sure to follow me on Twitter (@aalexandrin) and cheer me on with the hashtag #GoAnastasiaGO!

  • February 14-16: Artigras, FL ~ Done!
  • March 14-15: Scottsdale, AZ ~ Next up!
  • March 27-29: Tempe, AZ
  • April 3-5: Deep Ellum, TX
  • April 9-12: Dogwood, GA
  • April 18-19: Fiesta, TX
  • April 25-26: Inmann/Atlanta, GA
  • May 2-3: Bethesda, MD/DC
  • June 6-7: (Rittenhouse Square) Philadelphia, PA
  • June 20-21: Manayunk, PA
  • July 24-26: Seattle, WA ~ New!

Here I #GoAnastasiaGO!

As of January 28, 2015, my Kickstarter was able to raise a total of $7,791 (that’s 259% of the goal funded!) Thank you all who have pledged and shared the page. I am beginning my 8-month trip tomorrow and am scared, but excited for what’s to come.

Kickstarter Goal Met

View the behind the scenes video: Meeting the Scamp! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bybfU5rmHBU

I can’t put into words how excited I was to first see the trailer. I was thrilled to see it was exactly like I imagined and more. Thanks to my Kickstarter backers I can now eat, sleep and draw safely on the road. My challenge now is packing and getting used to reversing with the trailer. It’s been quite the adventure already and I haven’t even left the parking lot yet!

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The trip all started with me applying to be in some of the top art festivals across the country. I’m still waiting to hear back from a few other fairs, but for now, my list of cities I’ll be showing my work in is as follows:

  • February 14-16: Artigras, FL
  • March 14-15: Scottsdale, AZ
  • March 27-29: Tempe, AZ
  • April 3-5: Deep Ellum, TX
  • April 9-12: Dogwood, GA
  • April 18-19: Fiesta, TX
  • April 25-26: Inmann/Atlanta, GA
  • May 2-3: Bethesda, MD/DC
  • June 6-7: Rittenhouse
  • June 20-21: Manayunk, PA

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If you’re in these areas, make sure to stop by my tent! I’ll be posting the specific art fair names as the dates approach.

It means a lot for me to be traveling like this. It takes me to new places and new sights. Finding inspiration on the road is so much easier than staying in my studio all day. Being away from Philly takes me on both an emotional and spiritual adventure that makes me think about everything I thought I knew. Ideas I once had turn into completely different concepts that transform my drawings and help me grow as an artist.

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"Zero Gravity" by Anastasia Alexandrin

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So hang tight for my next set of stories to share! If you didn’t get to take advantage of the deals offered through my Kickstarter, please feel free to check out my website below for some prints and original drawings. And don’t forget about my social media of course!

Websiteaalexandrin.com

Facebookwww.facebook.com/AnastasiaAlexandrinArtist

Twitter/Instagram – @aalexandrin

Less than 24 Hours Remaining!

We’re in the last stretch of my Kickstarter campaign! Thank you so much to those who have pledged and shared my fundraiser. If you haven’t checked it out, I highly recommend you do! There are lots of drawings available EXCLUSIVE to this campaign.

I recently finished a new tryptic titled, “Magpie.” With less than 24 hours left, I decided to add a print as a reward! The piece represents the Australian magpie bird and how it is one of the few animal species that can recognize itself in its own reflection. The drawing takes a step back to analyze how we look at ourselves and learn who we really are or we see ourselves as.

Magpie (2015) Charcoal by Anastasia AlexandrinFind out more information here and stay tuned for updates on my journey! You, my followers, are truly special to me. I write my most in depth descriptions of my journeys across the country here and I can’t thank you enough for your continued support.

NEW Website and Art Available to Purchase Online!

Hi everyone! Just a quick announcement to make. My website has been completely renovated. Check it out here: http://www.aalexandrin.com/.

aalexandrin.com

Also, you can now purchase my drawings online! I made a Saatchi Art profile which allows people to view different drawings and purchase with a bunch of print variations. It’s pretty cool. There’s even an option which allows you to view a piece in a virtual room! Let me know your thoughts. I’m really excited about it and hope you are too! Check it out here: http://www.saatchiart.com/aalexandrin.

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Until my next post, stay warm and best of luck getting ready for the holidays!

To keep up with my latest news, ‘like’ my Facebook page and follow me on Twitter/Instagram!

#AskAnastasia and HUGE News!

We often come across questions in life that make us stop and think. On my Facebook page, I’ve encouraged people to ask me any questions that they have regarding my art, my life and really anything else they could think of. Thank you to all who have submitted questions to #AskAnastasia. Find out the lucky three I’ve chosen to answer below!

Q: “What is your preferred paper to work on and where do you get it?”

A: I get my paper from Daniel Smith, an online fine arts materials outlet. I typically like the Coventry Rag paper, but they come out with a lot of new kinds of paper all of the time that I like to experiment with. It’s very affordable and they make their own paper.

Blank Paper

Q: “Could I get a t-shirt silk screened of your work I purchased?”

A: People have asked me this before. I’ve looked into putting my artwork on apparel, but unfortunately I haven’t found the right venue to silk screen my art yet. I’m looking for a high-quality venue that can represent my art and all the symbols associated with it well. There are also business factors that come into play too, like how many people would actually be interested in purchasing.

Q: “Artistically, what are you afraid of?”

A: Good question! I guess the fear of not fully seeing what I draw, like if it’s right or wrong. I fear if my imagination were to ever stop working or whatever it is that keeps my artistic juices flowing stopped, what would happen? Burnout is something very real when pursuing art as a full-time profession. It’s not like another job where you can repeat training or have someone remind you how to do something. I’m afraid of not evolving as an artist too, of becoming a slave for what everyone else wants to see. I never want my art to be fully about the people, I want it to be true to the style I have and the messages I want to share. I don’t want to draw just to make money. I want it to be for me and for those who can be inspired from it.

#NikitaNation

If you’re interested in finding out more about me, feel free to leave more questions on this post! And don’t forget to ‘Like’ my Facebook page. This went well and I’m looking forward to doing another round of #AskAnastasia.

Also, I’d like to proudly announce that I am completely renovating my website! Thanks to everyone who has critiqued my current, old site. Without your opinions, I wouldn’t have been able to create this beauty! It should be published sometime this week. Stay tuned!

Website Reconstruction

10 Things I’m Thankful for this Year

Happy Thanksgiving, everybody. I’m sure the weather has been messing with everyone’s plans, but I hope you all had safe travels and good fun during this holiday season. I encourage you to write to me below and add on to my list 10 things I’m thankful for this year, and share what you are thankful for!

#NikitaNation

I’m thankful for..

1. My friends, for the laughs and the silliness

Happiness is what makes the world go ’round. When you’re feeling down, just smile. Life is ours to enjoy to the extent we want to enjoy it. I’m so thankful that I have friends who give me more of a reason to smile.

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2. The random acts of kindness from strangers

One friendly, “hello” from a stranger can make my day turn from bad to good. We’re all human and we all have our ups and downs. I’m so grateful to the kind people I’ve encountered who have given me hope for the world.

3. Furry animals

Thank you if you have ever stopped your walk to let me pet your pets! Yes, I’m THAT person.

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4. All of the love that I never expected

When I get the chance to stop and think about those who love me, I am in awe of how many of you have given me your heart and soul. It’s not something you can explain and it’s not something you can measure, but you know it’s there to guide you through the decisions you make in life. Thank you. I love you all.

5. My health

Those of you who know me know that I have struggles with my health for the last decade or so. I’m happy to report that I am 100 percent! I’m also grateful for the health of those around me. For those who are struggling with their health, don’t give up. You can do it.

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6. Philly

To a city I have grown to love very much, I’m thankful for Philly being Philly. It’s one of a kind and has such character and spunk. I’m glad my art and loved ones have taken me here.

Image from Google Images

7. Everyone that helps me along the way

You know who you are. Thank you for everything.

8. The journey I’m on

I’m grateful to be living life as an artist. It has its challenges of course, but it wouldn’t be the same if it didn’t. Every mistake I make is one step closer to perfection.

The Drive to Wyoming

9. Those who have inspired me

Art runs on inspiration. If you’ve told me a story of something that happened to you and thought you were babbling and wasting my time, you weren’t. Thanks for being you and continuing to expand my artistic horizon.

10. The support of my fans and friends

As always, I owe you all the most. The ones who follow me on social media, the ones who share my work with others, the ones who give me your input on my drawings, thank you. I hope you know you have my full support in your pursuits of happiness as well. Best holiday wishes to you and your family. Thanks so much for making my work what it is.

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