Birthday wishes achieved!
Walk as though you're kissing the earth with your feet.
While walking on the beach with my mum, I found this concrete cube in the sand. So, instantly, it turned into a die with some imagination. I took it home, and painted it.
It's now back in the town, as a piece of street art! Who knows, maybe someone will even use it to play a game?
I've discovered the joy and simplicity of illustrated pattern-making! This is actually so much fun.
(The theme I had going here was popular foods that tend to be associated with meat, but are just as delicious as a vegetarian/vegan version!)
Sketches from our road trip through Morelia, Guanajuato and San Miguel de Allende
A few weeks ago I had the absolute pleasure of ticking this off my bucket list....witnessing a part of the monarch butterfly migration.
This generation of monarchs that I got to meet, (known as the "super generation") flew to Mexico and kept living for many months to fly down to here, until there are so many of them that the branches of the pine trees they rest on, tend to sag down. Now, the ones that are heading back north this spring, will only make it as far as northern Mexico or Texas, to lay their eggs and die. Then, the next generation will continue the journey, typically surviving for 2-3 weeks. It takes about four generations to get back to Canada. The caterpillars solely feed on milkweed, and that's why it's so important that we plant more and more of this wildflower (or just let it grow where it is) and stop our use of pesticides from our gardens, to our farms. The number of monarch butterflies have severely diminished in the past few years and we can't have such a beautiful phenomenon disappear. After all, these butterflies help pollinate our world.
Currently, I'm actually working on a project with a great company that is going to work towards helping plant and preserve the forest where these butterflies rest for the winter. I can't reveal anything yet until published, but I get to use illustration to indirectly aid these butterflies. I'm so in love with how ideal this project is! (Will possibly be out next year sometime.)
But in the meantime, when I get back to Canada, I am going to plant the shit out of milkweed. If you're interested in participating and happen to be in Toronto, check out the Homegrown National Park's Got Milkweed campaign and get ready to order some milkweed this April! x
I made my own reusable drawstring veg bags today! Lately I've really awoken to how much waste I would contribute to, even without intending to. Now I'm super passionate about reducing waste, especially when it comes to packaging.
I made these cute little bags out of old curtains and an old cord from a set of blinds. Three large ones, and a little one for mushrooms or herbs. Definitely taking them with me food shopping from now on. (I should probably make more, but I ran out of cord.) If you're interested in making some yourself, I made a little info-graphic on the University of Creativaty!
This past Valentine's Day I've realized that we've been having it all wrong! It's not for couples, it's for Mother Earth! Let's turn those hearts green and remember to show our love to the Earth, because without her, there wouldn't even be a place for our loved ones to live. x
This isn't me going completely off grid and refusing to support capitalism, BUT I've happily realized that I'm never going to go clothes shopping ever again. Once it clicked, I realized that there is absolutely no reason to buy brand new clothing. Unless it's from a charity/thrift shop, a clothing swap, a market, or a unique company with a positive impact, I ain't buying it.
There is so much clothing out there, it's ridiculous. I don't even know where all those old pairs of underwear go. (Can anyone tell me?)
Basically, you just have what you need, and that's all. When you feel like changing it up a little, host a clothing swap party! Or find something unique at a charity shop. Or support a vendor at a market. Or make sure your money goes to a good place by buying from a company that has a positive purpose. (Like tentree that plants ten trees for every purchase. - let me know about some more cool companies, please!)
We all have so much clothing that we don't even wear, but keep holding on to. Time to do a clean up of our closets, donate all those unloved outfits, and find fun alternatives!
Wish I did this sooner! It feels like such an utter relief to never shop at a mall again.
Leaving the UK, I got a one-way flight to Mexico. Not sure how long I'll be here, or what sort of adventures I'll go on, but I made sure to pack my suitcase full of books and paints. Really going to make an art focus out of this, most of it will be documented on the University of Creativaty site.
I've also been offered a job at a local taco stand, to be paid in Spanish lessons. Just might go for that too.
I just realized that black pants are actually just wearable chalkboards!
It started out with this little seed bomb we bought in a shop (below) while looking for a place to plant it, we realized that this little piazzetta we were standing in was pretty abandoned, and uncared for on the account of all the broken liquor bottles, the non-functioning water fountain full of garbage, and the dead plants.
We thought it would be a fun project to clean the little place up, put in some plants (maybe paint some benches) and just give a little love to this neglected neighbourhood spot.
We started sweeping and picking out all the garbage in the morning and besides the people who looked on with odd curiosity, we got a load of compliments as well. One lady even gave us 5 euro as a thanks / to buy drinks or gelato. I hope it inspires other people to clean up spots around their homes too!
Here's the broken water fountain, with an ivy plant in it now! Hopefully this little guy will keep people from throwing trash inside.
So this week I've officially withdrawn from my masters program.
I came all this way to the UK for a masters in illustration, which I was really looking forward to. Unfortunately, the program didn't prove its worth for me; it was supposed to be a taught degree, but turned out to be more of a self-taught degree instead...there weren't any life drawing classes, art history...nothing of the sort. You basically just got a table, had to choose one specific topic, and tailor all your work to that. But got no assistance along the way.
I've heard that the UK system is different from the education system that I'm used to, so I suppose that's partially at fault. But I was really disappointed in the fact that I would have had to pay incredibly high tuition fees, still buy all my own art supplies, AND not have anyone teach me anything.
So it just made me ask, "Wait...why would I have to spend CAD$30,000 if I can do all this on my own anyway?" So I decided to quit, but stay in the lovely city of Edinburgh, with all the lovely people I've met here.
And for my own project to become focusing on myself and to developing my work. So I made my own university! A D.I.Y education.
Classes I want to attend, essays I'll never have to write, and field-trips I can take anywhere!
Visit the University of Creativaty here.
I haven't been posting for a while, but since October I got a job at a little shop across the street from my flat called Natural Foods Etc; they've got fresh organic produce, health products, a café, and a therapy centre downstairs. I also get to help out with their social media, and the Instagram account that we just started up. It's fun because I'm getting to take my own photos and edit them and occasionally make graphics to build up the brand more on social networks.
I've never considered doing social media work professionally at all, I only do it for myself for fun, but it's a great way to combine things that I like to create visually, and use it help a brand. I'm especially happy to do it for a company that I know and love, that are doing good in their own little way. Art + a good cause makes a happy Iva.
After living in a ceiling bed for a week, and a couch for another, we've moved in to a flat! I was mostly excited to get decorating, and to make a good workspace for graphic design and illustration, with inspirations pasted all over. And a plant, of course! Quite happy with how it turned out.
*Not pictured: new mug that looks like a VW caravan that I found in a charity shop
So now it's been exactly two weeks since I've arrived in Edinburgh; (well I didn't have proper internet so has been published a week later) without knowing a soul here. And throughout these two weeks I've already met friends, people I can bump into on the street, and familiar faces I can see when I walk around. In these two weeks I've been shown so much hospitality, had two couches to sleep on, been offered another, have had amazing shared dinners, nights with a group of us on the sofa eating out of a tub of ice cream and watching a film, been given a lift with my luggage at night by a kind old man when the buses stopped running, and went to a flat party full of fun people and a delicious potluck.
I guess what amazes me most, and keeps me so happy, is the thought that you can go anywhere in the world and make it a home, and so quickly. I might have even ditched my original plans to get a masters here, which means that I basically moved to this city across the ocean on my own for no reason. But it's a good a reason as any, and I wouldn't want to go back.
I was commissioned by the City of Toronto to paint on two traffic boxes, just to add more colour, art and fun to street corners. Tons of artists are doing it. This one location was a little sketchy, and as it was on a main road, I would get a lot of honks from cars, including a guy who kept yelling out at me: "That's vandalism! You're vandalizing! Hey! HEY! That's illegal!" A handful of comebacks raced through my mind, including calling him a variety of things, but I only chose to ignore the fellow, no matter how much he irked me.
It made me think about street art that is done without a permit like mine. Obviously illegal, but yet, it can add so much to a community. Amazing murals, done by talented people, add so much colour and identity to an area. So what the hell if it may be illegal. People should express themselves, and we shouldn't always shy away from adding something to our neighbourhood just because we're afraid of the law. On the other hand, tags on private property and beautiful buildings kind of make me sad, it almost shows hatred onto a piece of architecture. I think that the city actually started asking artists to paint on these traffic boxes because they wanted to discourage graffiti. It's a bit strange to combat art with art, but it makes sense.
It's almost as if graffiti tags are being placed around by people on neglected areas, to point out a spot for everyone to see the potential for art to go up.
Big thank you to my mum and dad for helping me paint!!
My friend got some documentaries for her birthday, and we watched this one just the other night. Great film, and it really reaffirms everything I know about how happiness is reached. Sadly though, I haven't been fully there lately, and if I would measure my happiness on a scale currently, it wouldn't score very high. Which makes me upset, because I'd like to think of myself as a happy person, and I have everything I need and more.
There's this strange loop that humans reach, that once they get to a point, they become accustomed to it, and then want more from there. Throughout the film, you see examples that you don't need to own more things, or have more money in order to reach a constant level of happy. They are in fact, free things. Social connection is also something that is extremely important, and that mirrors the ways in which our cities are built and how they function. People need to be close to one another, have communities, and have people to rely on.
I'm going off on a tangent, but basically, I'm upset at myself for not feeling full gratefulness for what I have. I always think of what else there could be that could bring happiness. I don't think I'm alone in this dilemma.
Also, I wish that topics for films like these were more widespread. THIS needs to be a box office hit, not another racing-cars-hot-chicks-explosions-guns movie.
Open Streets Toronto happened today! Ahh it was such a dream. Beautiful day, streets open to the people, and you could just feel the freedom that everyone was experiencing to walk around with so much space.
Happy event, happy day, happy g is here, happy to see my logo so big, woo!
Happy happy happy