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.

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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.

Hibernation

There’s something about the chill in the air that reminds me of the wild. Creatures prepare for hibernation in the forests just as the pre-holiday rush engulfs our own domain. It is our last attempt to collect both our necessities and luxuries before the long lull between seasons. Yet, I seem to find myself most captivated by the ideas drifting through my mind. My task is to understand and structure these thoughts, and as I express them to others through images, I feel a tranquility that would rival the deepest sleep. I hope to spend the next few weeks doing exactly that.
Life, whether it is chaos or calm, is meant to be lived with purpose – but I believe that purpose is of our own design. With the steady flow of sales and festival circuits beginning to slow, I am remembering that art is not simply my career. Drawing is the key to my sanity. It is my lifeblood and my purpose. I am eager to continue down this path and so lucky to have all of you with me.

Been There, Done That

Thank you everyone for your patience and support during this busy time. As I mentioned last month, I’m still organizing my Kickstarter that will allow me to display my work to many new audiences on the west coast.

With this new festival circuit on the horizon, I thought I’d share some insight with you regarding art fairs. Firstly, if you’re planning to have a vendor it’s important to contact the promoters of the fair and inquire about the types of resources, such as press releases or flyers, that you may use. Next, and I believe this piece of advice is useful for artists of any medium – know your audience. What demographic will you be reaching at a given event? How old are they? Are they locals or tourists? Research the area – is it urban or suburban? Personally, my work seems to reach a rather young and edgy crowd, but I am often surprised at the different places in which my work does well. Coastal locals seem to like colorful portraits whereas city fairs gravitate toward a more modern, minimalist style.  Once you have determined your market, tailor your work. That doesn’t mean alter your style, it simply means modify your pieces to suit the proper audience. For example, if you’re attending a fair at a beach, add color matte. If you find yourself in an upper-class area, spend some extra time on your framing.

When planning for a fair it is of course crucial for you to examine your finances and plan accordingly. What will it cost to get there? What is the application fee? What is the break-even cost or at what point will I be making a profit? And finally, budget your time wisely. If the festival circuit has taught me anything it is that they days slip away far too quickly. You may think you have plenty of time to prepare for another fair in four days, but realistically, it isn’t always enough. Preparing for an art festival means ordering more prints, buying more frames, packing up and shipping artwork, sometimes making new pieces entirely, and there are still orders to complete outside of the fair. Pace yourself.
 
It is far from easy, but I always find the most difficult days of preparation and organization yield the best experiences. Over the past few weeks I’ve visited Virginia and showed my work in Connecticut and New York. Even with prioritization, it’s difficult to stick by a set schedule. But that’s the life I chose for myself. As an artist, there’s no typical 9-5 work day. No weekends off or vacation days. No stability. I sometimes have to question whether I’d be better off following a more traditional route. But when I visit the fairs and see what other artists are sharing, I’m completely inspired and I remember how wonderful my job is.
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“Monarch” – 2013 (Charcoal)

Once again, be on the lookout for my Kickstarter! Make sure to “Like” my Facebook page to keep up with the latest news and special promotions going on. Some of you may have already seen the $20 deal for a print of “Monarch” posted on my page last week.

Until next time!

Spontaneity

It’s strange to think how much can change in just a month, but even stranger to think how much stays the same. Since June I’ve embarked on several journeys both inside and outside of my studio. Three weeks ago I returned to Florida on a whim. Although unexpected, it was a renewal of inspiration as I was reminded how liberating spontaneity can be. While we cannot always peer through the veil into the future, we can either excite or horrify ourselves with the thought of what lies behind it. I choose not to fear, but to relish all of the possibilities.

After visiting Florida, Adam surprised me with a trip to Utah. If you ‘Liked’ my page on Facebook, you probably stopped trying to figure out where in the world I am. Seems I can’t stay put in one state for too long. We also traveled through Idaho, missing the opportunity to walk through the Idaho Potato Museum which was sadly closed yet still managed to provide us with some wonderful photo ops.

The Drive to WyomingThe Drive 3The View - WyomingAdam and Me - IdahoMe - Idaho Potato MuseumThe roads and landscapes of Wyoming seemed endless, yet somehow simple – as if they were shaped specifically for Adam and me, resembling love in their intricacies, contradictions, imperfections, and overall beauty. What’s most remarkable, to me, is how peaceful such a profound feeling can be. With the weight and worry of tomorrow gone we only had each other and our life together to enjoy.

Me and Nikita

Thanks to Nikita Clothing (nikitaclothing.com) for making me look this good randomly standing on top of a car!

The Drive 2And as we celebrate life, I’m reminded of my grandmother, whose incredible strength rewarded her with a 90th birthday. She is yet another source of light and inspiration to me as she endures along with her unconditional love and support.

08_16_14 GrandmaIn the time I’ve been home I’ve begun many new pieces. Bold, romantic, and heavily influenced by my thoughts and adventures over the past month.

IMG_1315 Anastasia AlexandrinIMG_13152 Anastasia AlexandrinIMG954410 Anastasia AlexandrinThis coming weekend, I’ll be traveling to Pittsburgh once again for the 17th Annual Shadyside Arts Festival on Walnut. Two of my newest pieces will be displayed. I’m excited for you to see them!

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!