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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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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02_09Beginning

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!

June Bug

Mother Nature can be fickle. While the final weekend of the Three Rivers Arts Festival endured hours of wind and rain, Sunday was thankfully gorgeous. The sun allowed the festival to recover from the previous storms, welcoming plenty of guests.

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Woodpecker, Chipping Away and Fast Train were all sold. It’s always a rather bittersweet moment. As you delve into your work, like any other bond, it becomes a part of you. Yet knowing that you’ve created something that speaks to another person—to have the chance to connect with someone on such a level, is thrilling.

Three Rivers - Chipping Away

This past weekend was the 25th annual Manayunk Arts Festival. I wasn’t exactly sure what I was going to put on display since I’ve been selling so many originals lately, but I managed to figure it out. At the event, Ohitika was recognized and received an honorable mention. My booth also managed to gain attention from The Philadelphia Inquirer. Check out the article with a photo of my booth here!

Manayunk - Ohitika

Photo Credit: Philly Inquirer

Photo Credit: Philly Inquirer

At this point, I’ll be taking a break from the festival circuit for a while. I’m hoping inspiration will strike so I can fully dedicate myself to creating some new pieces to share with all of you. I’ve been getting a lot more time to organize everything and, to more importantly, draw!

Amaryllis

Summer continues to beckon, her warm arms embracing us after a harsh winter.  Not unlike this past weekend at Rittenhouse. The 83rd Annual Rittenhouse Square Fine Art Show called many—upper-class Philadelphians, tourists and art lovers alike. From June 6-8, more than 140 artists gathered to celebrate their work once again, earning the show recognition on uwishunu.
 
83rd Annual Rittenhouse Show
The weather was beautiful and the crowd large and lively.  My tent was in a great location, the perfect chance to people watch.  The artists ranged from painters to sculptors and even organic food farmers.  I was excited to be visited by my friend and photographer Howard, whom I met at the 2013 RAWards.

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I love hearing feedback from strangers about my work. Something that came up again at Rittenhouse was the tattoo industry. Many of my supporters suggest taking up the art form. Personally I would never choose to pursue it, although the work is definitely unconventional. It’s important for me to preserve that unconventionality and individualism in my own work. Through color, technique and themes of women empowerment I hope to stand out in the art world. I’m not afraid to do something “pretty.”
"Marie Antoinette" - Anastasia Alexandrin

“Marie Antoinette”

 
By the end of the show, I sold Bird of Enlightenment. Black Bird, Summer 2, Conflict of Flight and a piece in progress were also sold before the show. I’m thrilled that they all have owners and grateful for the opportunity to be a part of Rittenhouse. It was a pleasure being there.
"Bird of Enlightenment"

“Bird of Enlightenment”

 
"Black Bird"

“Black Bird”


I have been spending the past few weeks working on a new piece called Amaryllis.  Inspiration grew from the Greek myth of Amaryllis and Alteo.
 
When Amaryllis first saw the handsome shepherd, she knew she was in love. But the only way to gain Alteo’s affection was to bring him a flower he had never seen. Amaryllis consulted the Oracle at Delphi who instructed her to pierce her heart with a golden arrow for 30 nights. Each night, she would follow the same path to Alteo’s cottage, but to no avail. Until Amaryllis noticed strange petals beneath her feet, the flowers as red as the blood she had split. She offered the flowers to Alteo. Accepting her gift and her heart, Alteo named the flower “Amaryllis.” 
 
I initially intended for Amaryllis to be a triptych, a piece consisting of three panels (like Monkey). I began posting about the piece on my Twitter (@aalexandrin) and Facebook and promoting its appearance at Rittenhouse. Once I mentioned the completion of the first drawing to some of my past collectors it gained immediate interest, selling before I had the opportunity to finish the full set and why I was unable to showcase it this past weekend.

"Monkey" (1)

“Monkey” (1)

As an artist, setting time aside to draw is the most crucial part of the practice. With every stroke I’m able to explore another facet of the piece, the story I’m trying to tell. That time allows me to explore untapped aspects of the self as well.
 
I’d like to unveil Amaryllis here, so my faithful followers and fellow bloggers will be one of the firsts to see it. (Sorry for the blurry picture, but look! Color!)

"Amaryllis"

“Amaryllis”


Comment and share your thoughts. How would you interpret the drawing?
 
I’ll be in Pittsburgh this weekend (June 13-15) for the Three Rivers Arts Festival. Until then, if you’ve received a business card within the past 6 months (it has Fly Indiscriminately on the back) it has the wrong email address. Please send all requests to aalexandrin@me.com.
 

I’m so thankful to be doing what I love, though it isn’t always easy.  Like the story of Amaryllis teaches us, dedication can lead us toward the most unlikely of goals.

Art Star

The Art Star Craft Bazaar that took place from May 10-May 11 at Penn’s Landing officially marked my homecoming, my first show since my trip to Florida! Breathing in the life and history of Philly’s streets is an experience that always seems fresh and exciting, no matter how familiar.
Art Star Program

The bazaar was stunning. Countless vendors were located on the waterfront of the Delaware River, including Matt Eyer – designer of Wear Liberty and a fellow contestant in the 2013 RAWards for the fashion designer category, where he competed against Project Runway Season 12 winner Dom Streater. My vendor was placed directly in front of the Independence Seaport Museum. I was greeted by a row of international flags, reminding me of all the cultures and people thriving in Philadelphia. It’s so good to be back. At first I was a bit hesitant since it was on the outer edge, but it turned out OK. Sometimes with outer tent locations, you do better off, but almost always it’s best to be located in the middle of it all.
Art Star Tent Sign

Saturday was hot and muggy. The sun attempted to break through the thick gray clouds throughout the afternoon. The air within the vendor was heavier and hotter than the air outside. It’s funny how something as small and simple as a single step can completely transport you to a destination you haven’t previously visited or even anticipated.

The heat certainly didn’t stop guests from venturing inside to browse through my work. I was thrilled to introduce myself and my art to some new faces! Unfortunately, rainstorms cut our first day short. It was a very Florida sort of day, almost as if I hadn’t ever left the Sunshine State.
Art Star Craft Bazaar
Art Star Booth Candid

The following weekend I traveled to Scarsdale, NY for the Westchester Festival of the Arts. The event ran on May 17-18. It was a smaller fair, with more boutique vendors. The event was rather slow for me, which makes me add “boutique vendors” to my list of things to look out for when applying for art festivals. No regrets about it though! Everything is a learning experience.

Just three weeks ago I was in Florida, then I began to work my way up the coast to Maryland, back to Pennsylvania and then to New York. It’s exhausting, but I’m very excited to be wandering the northeast again.

 The fairs really fry my brain. It’s challenging having such a sporadic schedule, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. While attending art festivals, I’m also attempting to make prints available for purchase on my website and making commission requests more accessible to the public. So stay tuned!