Thursday, December 27, 2012

AV's having a new contest to ring in the new year!  
The contest rules are as easy as pie:  

Vote on your favorite image from AV's newest batch of photos (Snow Daze), and the photo w/the most Likes will become AV's next main image. ^_^  

A winner will be randomly selected from ALL the voters (throughout the album, not just on the winning image), and they'll win a handmade, ice & snow inspired sparkly, made of clear stones & beads from AV! 

Pass the word around, and have fun voting! ♥

Sunday, December 9, 2012

So.. this Thursday I'm gonna be performing at the Red Palace, in their DCVariety Open Mic- December Rocks Edition! :D  I am SUPER excited (and admittedly, not a little nervous), as I'm gonna be both dancing AND singing at this HUNORMOUS opportunity. XD  

So, in anticipation of the event (and trying to luuuure people into coming to see the show), I made a thing. :)

I hope you enjoy, and please, feel free to spread it around if you like it! ^_^  Tweet it, Tumbl it, FB it, LJ or WP it, whatever you like.  (And feel free to comment on the video page as well, if you so desire.)  We need people in the seats, so the more word that goes around about the show, the better! :)

..Besides, this might be one of the last open mic events the Palace ever hosts (though I'm dearly hoping they find another venue soon), so we need YOU to come on out, n' help make this night a truly GREAT one! ^_^

Aaaannyhoo, hope you dig, and that we'll see you there! ♥♥

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Giving Thanks

Today, when it comes to my business, I am thankful for the Creativity with which I am blessed, the ability to craft the things I envision, and the skills and talents which I have cultivated over the years which allow me to create each and every thing I make, beit drawing, clay piece, polymer goodie, beaded piece, wire art, dance, song, or any of the other artsy-fartsy things the Heavens have allowed me to do.

I am grateful for the sight I still have which allows me to draw, the hands that allow me to work (and play), the breath in my body which allows me to move, and allll the bits n' bobs inside me which facilitate that moving, making, refining & creating. I am grateful for my voice, my mind, and all of the talents God/dess has blessed me with, and for allllll the things (and people) that inspire me.

I am thankful for the kind voices and gentle hands that've lifted me up and kept me going when I was down, supported me in the hours where I felt all my efforts were for naught, and I am thankful for each and every one of you who support me in this crazy, mixed up, merry (ad)venture. And of course, I am thankful for my family, friends, and blessed kitties, w/o whom my heart would have no home. Thank you for ALWAYS nourishing my spirit.

And to all my readers, supporters, customers and colleagues, thank YOU for being part of this Journey, and for supporting the Arts- in all its many forms. Thank you for supporting small business, independent crafters, local "mom & pop" merchants, & of course indie performers who carry on and keep thriving, even w/o the aid of big business backing them. You are amazing, wonderful, and bigger blessings than I think many of you will ever realize. Thank you for your support, your re-posts, your interactions, comments, purchases, participation, warm words, warm smiles, open hearts, and in general, just for being you.


Happy ThanksGiving,


Believe it or not, this is my version of a Thanksgiving "Turkey." ;) (Note the "wattle" over her nose, the plumage in her hair, and the "tail feathers" in the back. ;))
Happy Turkey Day, everyone! ^_^

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Made last night w/MS Paint and a mouse. :)  Now, go dooo eeeeeet! ;D

Saturday, November 3, 2012

It's an AV Hallowe'en! XD

What did YOU do for All Hallows and/or Samhain..?  Did you go out trick-or-treating?  Did you hand out candy, or hit a party?  Or did you attend a Samhain gathering, hold a private circle, or just go somewhere quiet to remember your ancestors..?  Do you celebrate Dia De Los Muertos?  Do tell!

This year goodies were made for both Samhain AND All Hallows, and I was lucky enough to spend this special holiday with my WONDERFUL grandma.  She is like a second mother to me, so being able to be with her during my favorite holiday of the year was an extra special treat.  ♥♥♥

Here are a few images of my Halloween this year (2012).  Do you have pics of yours?  If so, please share!  I'd love to see what you've done to celebrate! ^_^

I hope you enjoy, and Happy Hallowe'en! ^_^

Thursday, October 25, 2012

How to Fake Gouging Your Eyes Out (in 20 Easy Steps or Less)

First let me preface allll of this w/one thing:  I am NOT in ANY way a professional MUA (makeup artist).  I have ONE class of theatrical makeup behind me, and have simply experimented w/makeup throughout my adult life.  I've run 3 Zombie Lurches, love Halloween, did an indie vampire movie once, annnd adore pretty much all things fantastical, spooky and/or theatrical, but that's about it.  I go to web sites, I watch videos, and pretty much learn whatever I can, yes.  But I am in NO WAY an authority.  I'm just an Ylluria, as grand or as low as you may feel that to be. ;)

So, if you read something here that doesn't gel w/you, or if you find a step below that doesn't make sense w/something you heard from someone who actually knows what they're doing, by all means, do whatever YOU feel is right!  These are just guidelines, & I’m simply taking my 2% of knowledge and running around like a nutcase w/the rest of the 98%. :)

Now.. on to the fun stuff! XD

You'll need:

  • 1 latex "eye gouge" prosthetic (available at places like Cinema Secrets, Ebay, & other costume/makeup sellers)
  • 1 container of liquid latex (I'd say at least 4oz., just to be safe)
  • At least 1 small set of makeup applicator sticks (spongy-ended doodads that look like Q-tips- but aren't)
  • 1 stippling sponge
  • Fake blood (I used 2 types- semi-coagulated/gel blood & good ol' Halloween aisle stuff- available in any store)
  • 1 "trauma" or "injury" stack (This is a set of makeup colors, available through places like Mehron, Ben Nye, etc.)
  • OR Red, dark (bruise) purple, sickly yellow & gruesome green eye shadows (to be used in lieu of injury stack, should you not have one handy)
  • 1 German sponge 
  • OR 1 small, crappy 1-time-use paint brush (a kid's paint brush or other cheapie brush works best for this)
  • Makeup sponges (wedges work best, but rounds will do okay too)
  • 1 glue stick (spirit gum will also work here- used for smoothing down eyebrows)
  • Your choice of skin-matching foundation (Make sure it will work agreeably w/latex first- BEFORE application- so as not to ruin your woochie)
  • Translucent powder
  • OPTIONAL:  black eyeshadow or theatrical makeup, and/or black sclera lenses (for covering your lids and eyes to deepen that "socket-like" appearance)
  • OPTIONAL:  Scissors (for trimming your prosthetic's edges, should the need arise)
  • OPTIONAL:  Concealer in your choice of color (if needed)

1. First off, WASH YER MUG.  (And we ain’t talkin’ ceramics here, people. ;))  Use soap- not just water (yes, some people actually do leave it at that *shudders*) and pat that mug dry.  If there’s any oil or water left on your face, most makeups (and the general goos that we’ll be using here) will have trouble adhering to your skin.  So start off w/a freshly washed, clean & DRY face.  (..And I don’t have to mention getting all the hair out of your face, right..?  Hair + things like makeup and adhesives generally make for a bad story, so don't forget to pin those glorious tresses back. :))

2. Next:  Time to lose those eyebrows!  Choose whichever method you prefer to tack down & safeguard your brows from the craziness that is latex & other fixatives.  There are multiple methods for doing this, but I prefer the glue stick method, 'cause we're goin' for function rather than form, and glue can be less intense than spirit gum.  (This way your brows won't be in danger when removing your prosthetic, and you don't have to worry about them getting in the way of your prosthetic application.)  You'll find a great method for Elmering your eyebrows here.  (No need to worry about concealing or spackling w/glue for visible texture though- as this'll all be covered by your prosthetic.  Just make sure they're nicely covered and back, so they're safely out of the way.)

3. Now take your prosthetic and decide where you want it to go.  Play with its position until you find the best place for your face shape.  Make sure you can see, move, speak, BLINK, etc. w/o trouble.  But DON’T ADHERE YOUR PROSTHETIC YET.  NOTE:  If your piece has large edges that go over your hairline or which make it difficult to fit, you can trim it, but be verrry careful.  You need tapered edges so they’ll be easier to cover, and if you cut too much, you might damage your prosthetic.  So if you choose to trim, start on the outside and go in.  You can always trim more later, if need be.

Option:  Some might like to put black eyeshadow or theatrical makeup on their upper & lower lids at this point (in an effort to increase that "empty socket" look.  If you choose, you can even put black sclera contacts in here, to go along w/the black-colored lids behind the mesh of the prosthetic.  I didn't try those though, and have no idea how much the contacts might impair vision alongside the mesh, so I've omitted those steps here.  But if you choose, these might be options you could try to REALLY amp up that empty-head look. ;)

4. Next, mark where you want your prosthetic to go.  You can do this one of 3 ways:

  1. "The Idetic."  If you're SUPER confident (or super-rushed), you can make a verrrry careful mental note of where you want your piece to fit.  Just hold the prosthetic down & mark a few key places on your face w/your hand while you remove the piece & do the next (adhesive) steps w/the other.  The adhesive should give you a few moments of slide-around "play" time, but this is the most daredevil option of the 3 here, so just keep in mind that if you do this wrong, it can be a BIG time waster in the undoing and fixing; so choose wisely.
  2.  "The Dirty:"  While holding it in place, dust a generous amount of TRANSLUCENT powder over the prosthetic's edges.  Slowly remove it straight up off your skin (being careful not to drag it in any one direction) w/a gentle pinching motion.  This'll leave a nice outline for placing it down again, in the next step.  
  3. "The Chalk Outline:"  While holding your prosthetic in place, use a verrry light eye pencil or other light marking tool (like an eyeshadow- which can also be good for precision & easy to wipe away) either gently trace around your prosthetic, or use small dots and lines to note your prosthetic's placement.NOTE: 

Both 2 and 3 can be wiped away, or brushed off w/a clean kabuki brush once your prosthetic is down.  Or, if traces of them are still left after, can be covered easily enough w/the latex that you'll use later.  Just remember to be gentle when doing all of these- 1, 2 or 3.

5. Using a makeup sponge, "German sponge," or a crappy paintbrush that you won't mind losing after this, apply a light-to-moderate layer of adhesive onto both skin and prosthetic.  Working quickly (but w/care to thoroughness), dab gingerly (like you're doing a stencil), and be sure not to "swipe," "scrape" or "scoop" (which may leave adhesive-less, non-adhered places under your prosthetic).  Use up & down motions, making sure to get the whole surface, & ensuring that the adhesive is applied evenly from edge to edge.

Option:  If you're using a German sponge, you may choose to round off the corners w/scissors for smoother edges prior to application. It doesn't make a huge difference to me personally, but some people feel it makes fewer hard edges in the application. (However I don't care one way or the other- as it aaallll gets covered w/the prosthetic. ;))

6. Make sure the adhesive has begun to get tacky, and starting at one point, `slooowly roll your prosthetic into place, moving from one edge to the other.  Start it at one spot and gradually move out, smoothing as you go (kinda like you would w/wallpaper).  Make sure it's tacked down firmly from edge to edge, and if there are any holes or flouncy-looking, droopy edges, don't be afraid to add a bit more adhesive.  Just stick your brush (or a Q-tip, if you used a sponge) on in there w/a bit of adhesive to make sure it's allll tamped down nice n' secure.  (Better safe than sorry, right?)

7. Once your new "mask" is secured and you're sure it's disruption-free, hold it in place for a while, being sure not to fidget w/it or pick it up & replace it too much.  (So you don't accidentally move the prosthetic or uproot the adhesive.)

8. When you're sure it's dry (you'll have a tight-feeling- that's the adhesive holding on for dear life ;)) time to reach for the liquid latex!  Using either a sponge-tipped applicator or wedge sponge, dab on thin layers of latex, building up & smoothing out the margins between the prosthetic's edges and your skin.   You want the edges to be as smooth & seamless as possible, since makeup, powder and gore will only cover up so much.  I find it helps to start on the skin just outside the prosthetic and gently move inward, so the latex builds up at the prosthetic's barrier.  That way you're kind of filling up the cracks as it were, and can smooth over the difference (like spackling mortar), from one level to the other more easily.  This creates a better, more "seamless" look.  (At least when all your makeup is on.  At this point you'll look hella funny, but if you closed your eyes n' felt around your face, you shouldn't feel a distinct line between where your prosthetic ends and your skin begins. :))

9. Once your prosthetic is on and everything looks & feels niiiice n' smooth, It's time to begin the fun with color!  Snag your foundation (one that matches your skin) and apply it all over your face- including onto your ears, under your chin, and as thoroughly as you can get it onto the prosthetic.  We wanna avoid the Kabuki look, as well as the "look at the giant latex lub on my face!" (colorless prosthetic) appearance. ;)  So get color into alllll the crevices of the torn latex eye flaps (mmm.. yum!) and even inside the fake fleshy bits facing you- if you can (but not inside the mesh).  -And yes, do this eeeeven if your prosthetic just happens to be -exactly- the same color as your skin.  (The foundation helps w/the look of texture too, so dooo eeeet. ;))  -Oh!  And don't forget to cover your neck & decolletage, should you be prepping to show that, too.  We wanna keep from having a distinct line of demarcation here, wherever we can help it.

10. Next, POWDAH!  Add a layer of translucent powder to everything you just covered (again, aside from the black meshy eye holes), using either a puff, a kabuki brush, or whatever other weapon of choice you may have in your arsenal.  This helps to set everything in place, plus it reeeeally smooths out all the imperfections in your skin (both real & newly-faked).  You'd be AMAZED at how much a good dousing of powder can cover.  (Mind you, don't go CRAZY with the stuff, but if you notice a weird spot, you might try a little dab or two of powder first, before you totally declare this whole project lost.)

11. If you have blemishes or other places you wanna cover, snag your concealer, and w/whatever applicator you normally dig, go about your business, as ya do (just do it CAREFULLY). ;)  I know it may seem like we're doing the same stuff we'd do to get ready on a normal Saturday night, (yanno, beyond the whole giant gaping face-wound thing..) but trust me- we're getting to the good part! ^_^  (And hey, just look at yourself in the mirror now!  Even w/o the gore and goop, seeing yourself eyeless has GOT to be freaky- at the very least! :D)

12. Arright, here comes the best bits!  Say it w/me:  "Color and gore!  Color and gore!!" ^_^  *giggles* Using either the injury stick or your red eyeshadow, take your sponge sticks (those things that look like the Q-tips- but aren't) and go into the inner crevices of the torn eye sockets and thoooroughly color those interior tear flaps up.  They should be a nice solid red, w/their outermost edges left to the bare nude tone.  (You know; where the torn bits end.)   Be thorough, but be careful.  You're starting to add that raw, deeply gaping & bloody look.  (And these are your eyeballs, after all. )

13. Next, take a light daub of that red and apply it into the crevices BETWEEN your torn eye flaps.   (Where each gruesome, hanging skin-tear meets, often close to your eye socket.)  Get between each "v" that the flaps make as they meet one another, and use a light, soft bit to accentuate the valleys in the outer bases of the torn eye as well.  (We're trying to make the tallest peaks in the flesh flaps reeeaaally stand out, and give the base of the flesh a -seriously- traumatized, abused look.  -Mmm tasty!)  Blend these shadows out, stopping just before the highest peaks of your torn bits, so the color really accents the depth of the tears.   Tip:  Try to keep the darkest reds in the deepest parts of the "valleys" of skin, and the higher parts, where it looks like the skin has puckered or pulled away a bit, lighter.)

Option:  If you like, you can also use a touch of red to create some bruising at either side of your nose, just underneath the main site of tearage & trauma.  (Above your nasal flaps, where the capillaries would be broken & other connective tissue might be sagging if the skin around your eyes had just been violently pulled away.)

14. Now use a delicate hand to add artful, precise accents w/the dark, bruise-y purple.  This'll add some depth & ghastly lowlights to your pain(t) job.  Line the interior base of your "eye sockets" w/your purple hue (around the mesh- where it stops and the inside base of your latex eye holes start).   Add just a touch to the base of each reddened "v" (where each torn flap of flesh meet, 'cause in life they would -not- just separate cleanly w/o bleeding or suffering damage) and use a verrrry gentle hand to add small touches to the valleys of bruis-y red that you placed outside the torn flaps, heightening that puckering, loose & traumatized flesh look.  (And again, if you used red to make the skin around your nose look saggy and damaged, use a tiiiny bit of this dark, blackish purple to increase the look of loose folds of skin around that area.   We're creating highlights & lowlights here, and the illusion of fleshy bits where fleshy bits aren't. :))

15. Now use smidgeons of your green and yellow to accentuate certain places in the peaks and valleys of your new makeup grossness.  Use a bit to mix w/around the purple in the red outer "valleys" to create a sickly, deteriorating look.  Maybe touch small bits to the high-most corners of your torn flaps, to increase the look of ill flesh.  Or take a bit and dust the undersides of your cheekbones and fade out the edges of those saggy nose folds (if you did them) w/these.  No matter which color you're using at which step  here though (until we get to the part w/the blood), don't forget to blend.

Option:  Now if you like, take a concealer (preferably a touch lighter than your skin tone) and dab it at the highest points of your eyeflap tears, your cheekbones, or whatever other surfaces you'd like to highlight.  This just creates a heightened sense of 3-dimensionality, but it's definitely just icing on the cake.  If you're afraid of messing up your design or don't have time (let alone 2 different tones of concealer), don't do it.  (I didn't do it on my original makeup, but realized later that it might be a fun touch, just to.. *snigger* .. make your eyes really pop. *lol*)  But if you do choose to do it, don't forget to lightly, carefully blend!  (Unless you're intentionally making contours, hard lines & edges are NOT normally our friends.  ♥)

16. At this point you should look pretty properly horrific, even w/o massive amounts of blood dripping from your extremities.  But if you'd like to increase the deteriorating, (un)dead look, you can also choose to take a little of the bruise-y purple, perhaps some of the red, (or any of your other sick'ning trauma stick colors) and smear just a bit across your mouth, drooping downwards at the corners to create an appearance of saggage.  Don't be too heavy handed, and don't worry about staying inside the lines.  You're creating the look of further roughed-up flesh, and don't need to be too precise.   (However if you'd like to add some effed-up lipstick to this design after you're done bruising the living crap out of your rotting maw, go right ahead!  Make it jagged and piecy, like you've just been eating someone fabulously tasty! ;D)

17. BLOOD, BLOOD, BLOOD, BLOOD, BLOOD, BLOOD!  Since we have 2 kinds, we'll start with the coagulated blood gel.  Carefully begin painting some on the inner sides of the torn eye flaps.  (Yep, this means right over your lovely red & purple shade-work, near the black mesh eye holes.   But don't worry!  Your awesome workmanship will still show through. )   You wanna make all these torn bits look niiiice and juicy, but you also don't wanna damage your careful paint job, so just be light-handed and try not to glop toooo much on there.  If you'd like, you can also use your applicator brush or a toothpick and add tiny bits to the inside "v" of each tear.   (But don't sweat it if you're not comfortable w/doing something so tiny.  Best to be sparing w/this stuff, as it's hard to get off w/o some major undo-age once it drips.)  Like before, start small and build up, bit by bit, inch by inch… ;)

Blood Options:  At this point, you can take the blood as far or as sparingly as you'd like it to go.  Use a bit of gel blood (the coagulated kind) on a stippling sponge and verrry lightly create a broken blood vessel or splattered effect along your forehead, across your nose, mouth, or cheeks.  Take a small droplet of the stuff and let a bit peek out of the corners of your mouth as if you're still snacking on a juicy morsel, or ad some to the (OUTSIDES) of your earholes, to make it look like you're bleeding from within.  (But please, do NOT stick this stuff INSIDE your ear canals!!!)  Add a droplet or two out of the "corners" of each eye socket to create more pronounced runnels, or dot it along certain strategic tear folds to make it look like the tears are running further across your head (say into your scalp).  Be creative, use your imagination, and do whatever's right for you.  Just remember, start slow and build up, 'cause you don't wanna have to undo an innocent patch of your hard shading work should an errant drop spill!) ♥  I like to use this stuf as a pseudo lipstick on my gorier looks.  It stays put better than the cheap stuff, and should it get on your teeth, who cares?  (It's non-toxic, and you're dead/a zombie! ;D)

18.  The cheap stuff!  Yaaaay!  We're almost doooone!!!   *happy Kermit-the-frog flopping about & general arm-flailing*  Now comes time to whip out the Wal-Mart/Target/K-Mart/cheapo-blood-in-a-tube.   While I wouldn't recommend the stuff that's so cheap the container doesn't close (those things - always- make a ruddy mess- and never seem to look quite right anyway), you can use juuust about any kind of pseudo-gore there is out there at this point.  This is the part where you reeeallly get into the wet stuff, so if you tend to be liberal w/the roop (that's "red goop," for those of you who don't speak Yllurian), you might wanna wait until you get to your chosen venue before adding these last touches to your 'do.

Again, here you can use as much as you want, or, practically none at all.  (I tend to use a lot, as I'm always of the mind that if you've had something recently ripped out or torn off, it should well near be pretty gushing.)  But some don't wanna ruin their new makeup jobs, their clothes, or make it toooo frickin' gory (though I'm not sure how you'd do that exactly in this case.. as you're already walking around w/your eyes torn out…), aaand that's perfectly okay too.  Just use your imagination, and do whatever "feels" right to you.  (Or, if you need to cover up a makeup woops, an ugly prosthetic seam, or just a place that you think is bare, blood can be great for that, too. )

Some might want gore coming out of the corners of where their eyelids used to be, while others.. maybe wanna put red runnels right down the center of each cheek.  (Yanno; coming out of each eye, thus creating a gory waterfall effect.  ..Which is logical; given that's likely where your eyeballs might have hung...  -Assuming you didn't have them plucked from your head- or crushed like jelly & forcibly mixed into your unsuspecting, now-quickly-deflating & increasingly soupy bits of grey matter. ;))  If you want to, you can have blood coming out of your mouth, out of your ears, out of some anomalous head wound…  Go for it!  Or keep it neat n' tidy, as you like.  If you wanna add blood to your clothes (depending on whether or not the direx of your blood says it'll stain- depending on whether or not you care ;)), do it!  If you wanna add handprints or runnels to your bod, do it!  Just be respectful of the people & property around you. :)  Really, these last 2 steps are truly the most fun, so (I think) you should be as creative, clever, or (respectfully) humorous as you wanna be. ^_^

19. Lastly, HAIR.  If you couldn't quite get the side seams on your prosthetic to vanish quite right, or if your forehead just isn't lookin' as you'd like it, the hair for this can be your saving grace.  I say go messy and mussy, n' then spray it to keep it out of your face (so it doesn't drag on your nifty new makeup job), but again, this is entirely up to you.  As w/the rest of this look, keep the circumstances of your victim or zombie in mind, and create from there.  How long have they been rotting?  What'd they go through to get to this point?  Should you have a li'l bit a' mud encrusted onto parts of your melon?   Maybe an errant bobby pin or two, coming out of what was once a fine lady's hairdo?  You're pretty much  making a character here, so why not be creative with it..?  Heck, even make a little story in your head for your "character" if it helps.  When I did my version of this look, I made an '80s biker chick, so I did a high flip on my bangs, n' muuuussed the living crap out of it.  -Like an old-school perm gone wrong- and undead! :D

And that's it!  Once it's aaaallll together, you're DONE!! ^_^

Now, go out there n' (thoughtfully, considerately) SCARE SOME PEOPLE!!  ^_^


While I'd think that those who have problems w/gore would lack the inclination to try this, nowadays it's better to be safe than sorry.. SO:  If you get grossed out easily or otherwise have issues w/things like (fabricated) violent-looking yuck, PLEASE do not attempt this project.  This is ALL in the spirit of fun, but the above may prove disturbing to some, and may not be appropriate for children or the faint of heart.

And finally, to those rules/physics/logic/I-need-to-feel-important-and-show-that-I'm-so-smart-by-shoving-it-in-peoples'-faces-n'-criticizing-things fanatics out there:  Please try not to let your brains push out the fun of this creation.  This is meant to be entertaining, creative, and above all (if gory and macabre) SILLY.  So while it CAN be educational and it's NICE to have a basic idea of anatomy so one can better execute the look, no one neeeeeds to have a doctor's (or mortician's) knowledge-base to illustrate, affect, etc.. the above.  This Is meant to be FUN, so I say "play with it."  ..And If you neeeeeeeeed to attack people over how inaccurate someone's PRETEND physiognomy is, you can go play with something else.. if you catch my drift. ;-)


Sunday, October 14, 2012

Hooray for (Fake) Zombies!! ^_^

Yesterday I went to a zombie walk, hosted by a comic store called Comic Toast.  It has been a LONG time since I got to whip out my zombie makeup, this was a blast!  

Didn't have quite the kind of time I'd expected though, so this was a teeeeensy bit rushed.  Nonetheless it was a BLAST to do, and people seemed to really like it!  I got LOTS of great reactions during the lurch on the street (from cars and passersby alike), and like 4 different groups of people asked me to get photos w/em. :)  

For those who're interested, I'll have a tutorial coming soon on how to create this look, as I've had a few requests. :)  Until then...

Hooray for faux zombie goodness! ^_^

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Ooh look!  It's a Critter Claw!  Any gamers, LARPers or Halloween costumers want? ^_^

Friday, September 7, 2012


Please Note:

From here on out, AV will no longer be accepting/offering non-compensated "commissions." Translation: Outside of equal artisan trades, gifts to loved-ones for birthdays, holidays, etc., personally-implemented projects, and the donation of works to official, non-profit charities, this means "no more freebies."

However, THIS DOES NOT INCLUDE PRIZES OFFERED BY AV FOR OFFICIAL CONTESTS of course. (These fall under "personally-implemented projects;" so to those of you hoping to win AV stuff in future, worry not! ;D)

But to those who'd like free work done, please know that while your interest is -greatly- appreciated, an artist's time, energy & efforts are worth market-value remuneration, and I will no longer continue to devalue myself & my art by offering it to others (businesses & individuals alike) for free.

Frankly, it's simply not worth the stress, for one. If I'm gonna freak out about a project and deadlines and bend backwards to satisfy my "customer" by attending to their needs like a proper artist would their client on a commission, why should I not be properly paid to do so..?? And secondly: These agreements tend to get messy and ruin what might be otherwise decent relationships (both working and personal), and I do not want to keep muddling the waters between business & friendship, & potentially end up fretting endlessly over a project which earns me nothing but time, energy, materials, and friendships, lost.

Furthermore, AND MOST IMPORTANTLY: Artists' services are just like -any other- professional services you may receive (think barbers, dancers, trad. business employees, etc.), and you wouldn't ask your tailor, barber, or IT technician to work for free, would you? They have spent time & money to receive an education for what they do. They spend their own money on materials, other business supplies and facilities to run their businesses, and they are trained to offer a level of skill you can't conjure yourself; which is precisely why you've enlisted them for their services.

-And whether you see those behind-the-scenes elements or not, artists, craftspeople & other creativity-based business owners do -exactly- the same. And more often than not, they also do so w/o health insurance, paid sick days, work leave, kickbacks from their bosses, or perks paid for by their parent companies. More likely than not, they have no company gyms, babysitters or paid time off, and they pay for every stapler, ink pen & parking pass.

For example: I spend money on business cards, web-hosting, technology (assistive and otherwise), art/crafting materials, vending booth supplies, and fair, gallery, vending, entrance & jury fees. (Some of which you pay to get into just to be SEEN, regardless of whether you get in or not. -And sometimes, they charge you more to reserve table or booth space, once you're actually accepted in! o.O) It costs real-world funds to pay for equipment, web access, utilities, transportation, and beyond; and whether people see it or not, that allll comes out of my pocket- just to operate, in HOPES of getting business, regardless of whether I get any or not.

So, if you think of it logically, if nothing else: If one has to pay for alll that, why would they keep giving away business..?

In addition, I have paid for education and spent countless hours refining and practicing and learning my craft(s). I have been working my whole life to achieve the skills I have today, and that time is worth remuneration, too. You wouldn't go to a stylist who's only been in school a day, right? Well the same goes for artisans. Unless you're looking for the "my kid painted this" look, time and experience is worth something. :P And when it comes down to it, I'm not going to pay my bills or make enough money to move across the country by doing free commissions. :P Being nice has not gotten me anywhere so far, so i guess for now, it's time to be a little ruthless. I hate to be mercenary, but frankly, that's the way it is.

Moreover, regardless of whether my work takes an hour, or days upon days upon days (it al depends on the size & complexity of a project), that's time, energy & effort I'm devoting to YOU; often to the exclusion of all else. If I'm going to do a project for free, it will get done on MY schedule, when I have time to devote to it. But since that doesn't seem to work very often, I'm just scrapping the whole, muddled idea entirely, and coming to the realization that my time is worth a proper wage. Period.

I may be a beginning bellydancer, but I am a trained, experienced artist, and I deserve to be paid for the work I do, even if others don't view it as "work." It takes time and care and money and tons of training, (not to mention yeeears of practice) to do what I do, and if I'm good enough to come to for a freebie project, I'm good enough to come to and get paid.

I have seen many artists put out notes like this, but never really knew the value or reasoning behind them until now. I hate to sound harsh or come across as nasty, but I've come to learn the hard way that this is the way it has to be. And frankly, in the end (from what I've seen & heard in others' similar situations), it's better this way for everyone.

Thank you all for understanding, and have a good night. ♥

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Spooky AND Bellydance-Inspired; Wahoo!!

In working on a reminder post for my Tumblog's Creepie Compendium (a listing of all Hallowe'en & Samhain-themed bellydance events coming up in October), I realized I needed a new image to catch peoples' eyes. ('Cause unfortunately, it doesn't seem many Tumblrs pay much attention to text-only entries.)

So, not wanting to steal someone else's art, I decided to try n' find my old pic for an event I used to put on, called the DC Zombie Lurch. Years ago (when I'd just started getting bitten by the bellydance bug), I made a Lurch "poster" that was VERY spooky and bellydancy, so it was right perfect for this blog. :)

But when I found it, it needed a little.. something...
So last night, after a little color correction and some playing about w/my only photo manipulating program (Windows Live Photo Gallery), I made this. :) Mehopes you enjoy, and if you ever want me to do a pic of (or for) you, let me know! I'd really like to start working w/paid commissions. :)


Sunday, September 2, 2012

Congratulations, Lorraine!

Hi Everyone!

Guess what?  Lorraine A. is the winner of Alternate Visions's first contest! :D  Huge congrats, lady!  ^_^

To those of you who entered but didn't win, thank you SO MUCH for participating!  Your entries were awesome, and SO VERY appreciated! ^_^

Here's the image that Lorraine chose, which will now be AV's newest cover image on the FB page, the new album cover of the Nanny Ogg photo album on FB, as well as the main pic to advertise AV's newest, uber-creepy wares:

But if you didn't get the chance to enter, or if you played and didn't win, do not dispair!  AV has a new contest coming up soon! ^_^  Just tell me here or on AV's Facebook page what YOU'D like to win next (it can be anything AV makes), and maybe that'll be the next prize offered for the upcoming contest!

Thanks again for everyone's participation, and hope to hear from you soon!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

New Pics, and AV's First Contest!

Guess what?  I have a TON of new pics; featuring some gloriously gruesome goodies (that were made for a faux vlog character I'm working on), over on FB! ^_^  And since Halloween is coming (and there are SO many photos to choose from), I thought it might be fun to take all of the above factors.. and roll 'em up into Alternate Visions's first official contest! :D

To enter, just reply to this message with a link to your favorite photo(s) (amongst the claw, tooth and finger photos over on Facebook- in the new Nanny Ogg photo album), and tell me what kind of grisly goodie you'd like, should you win. Whomever picks the winning photo will get their own specially-made tooth, finger or toe, created just for them by AV- FOR FREE! (And yep, that includes postage!) :D

If you're not sure how, (given FB's new formats and all the add-ons that people are using nowadays to undo them), just right click on the image and hit "Copy Image URL," if you're in Chrome.  If you use IE, right click, hit Properties, and right-click Copy the link there.  And if you use Mozilla, I thiiiink you can right click and save URLs in the same way as Chrome. :)

Now, let's hear which images are your favorites, and what kind of goodie (color, shape, etc.) finger, toe or tooth you'd like, should you win!  I can't wait to see what y'all come up with! ^_^
The contest will end on September 1st (just four days before me birffday! :D), so enter now, n' let me hear YOUR booful voice. ^_^


Monday, July 16, 2012

2 Updates!

First, though I didn't sell anything at my vending booth, I had a -great- time at B-burg's Summer Solstice Fest. :) For pics of the event, pop on over to my Tumblr page, at: :)

Plus, last night I finished a drawing!  Check out the new and improved "Do Not Think That I Am Anything Other Than My Own." ^_^

Things are kind of crazy right now as I'm in the middle of a move, but I'll be sure to keep you posted on new goings-on and new creations as they're made. ^_^

Thanks for reading, and Bright Blessings!

Friday, June 22, 2012

Getting Ready for the Blacksburg Summer Solstice Fest!

Hey all!  I hear that my FB window makes it look like the page here just isn't being updated, so I plan on changing that! :)  More pics of my work are soon to come, but for now, I'd like to personally thank Avery (the paper people) for helping me out tonight. ^_^  So saying:

Oh thank HEAVEN for Avery and their new tooblar!!  (And, as odd as it may sound, for being a bit of a pack rat. ;D)  I've had these business card blanks w/me for EONS, and realized tonight that I reeeallyy needed b-cards for tomorrow.  So into the paper box I went, et voila!

I was reticent to install another toolbar onto Word 2010, but man am I glad I did!!  Now thanks to Avery, I was able to format all the data on the cards ALL AT ONCE (taking a HUGE project for the night down in time TREMENDOUSLY), and after a little folding & snapping (which actually was kinda fun :D) I have cute, presentable little temporary business cards!!

Here I come for the Burnt Creative Community Booth tomorrow, and my 2:15 bellydancing gig! XD WooWOOwoo!! ^_^

You're comin' right? They're both at the Blacksburg Summer Solstice Fest, and I know it's gonna be a great time. ^_^
*does a little dance*

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