Friday, February 27, 2015

Steampunk Miriam

I think I warned you that I would be re-visiting Miriam Angel.  It's a process.

Something gets stuck in my mind and I have to work it out.  I have now created three Miriam Angel themed pieces, read numerous articles, and managed to find and read two books about Israel Lipski, the man convicted of murdering her.

My first instinct when I heard the details of the case was to be outraged about the scant attention paid to Miriam herself.  I've unearthed more details about her.  She was 22 and pregnant with her first child.  She was having a difficult time with it, but still managed to breakfast with her mother in law every day after her husband had gone off to work as a boot riveter.

She was asleep in her bed, clearly visible through a hall window when the killer / killers came in and the murder occurred.  

As I worked my way through the information I could find about the case, the focus was always on Israel Lipski.  I can absolutely see why.  Based on the evidence, I really don't understand why he was ever even bought to trial.  

I suppose it came down to a case of his word against those of his two employees who pointed the finger back at him.  He was at the scene, bearing similar burn wounds in his mouth and throat as those inflicted to Miriam Angel, but the police chose to believe that the wounds were self-inflicted out of guilt.

Despite his swift conviction, enough doubt remained that the local Jewish community managed to have the execution put on hold until another police inquiry could be conducted.  While the investigation was under way, however, strangely, Israel Lipski confessed to the crime.  

As to be expected, he was hung in due course, but the trial and conviction remain controversial. 

Admittedly, I took a bit of a surrealistic bent on the crime as I did in my other two pieces featuring Miriam Angel.  

For whatever reason, my interest lingers on all things Victorian London, at least, those concerned with crime.

I live in south Louisiana.  Much local art features swamp landscapes and sea creatures.  Mine does not.

Admittedly, I didn't grow up here, but I also didn't grow up in Whitechapel at the turn of last century.  I did grow up in a world in which Victorian London seemed to represent all things magical and beautiful.  Remember "Mary Poppins"?  "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang"?  I grew up on such classics so I think maybe the contrast between the Disneyfied version of that reality and the gritty contrast of what that world was really like is what draws me in.

I am wrapping up my Jack the Ripper series, but just know I will be back with at least one more Miriam Angel piece.  I read the title "East End poisoner driven to murder by Angel Lust."

How delicious and dark is that?  What exactly does Angel Lust look like?

As soon as I figure it out, I will share it with you!

Monday, February 23, 2015

Kate Kelly the Fourth

Kate Kelly is the fourth in my series about Jack the Ripper.

I was surprised to realize that it has been over a month since my last posting on this series.  I put up my Long Liz piece all the way back on January 19th.

In some ways,  Long Liz and  Kate Kelly are eternally joined in the mind of the public and, especially, to the Ripperologist.

Catherine Eddowes aka Kate Kelly was killed only an hour after Jack the Ripper murdered Long Liz.  The murderous night became popularly known as the double header.

Reading up on Catherine Eddowes, I was fascinated by her character.  If ever a woman lived the life of the mayfly, it would be Catherine.  She was described by friends as always jolly and singing.  The difficulties and poverty of her life seemed almost to be of her own making.

The four other victims of Jack the Ripper all survived their difficult lives, at least in part, through prostitution.  Catherine Eddowes might well have been the exception.  Of course, walking home from jail at one in the morning through the dark streets of Whitechapel, whether she was actively soliciting or not, made her an ideal victim for Jack.

  Catherine Eddowes was born in Graisley Green, Wolverhampton on 14 April 1842. She one among ten children born to her parents, tinplate worker, George Eddowes and his wife Catherine (formerly Evans), The family moved to London a year after she was born.  Growing up, she was known affectionately as "Chick".  Later, she moved back to Wolverhampton to take up work as a tinplate stamper.

She spent twenty years as the common law wife of ex-soldier, Thomas Conway.  The two had a daughter and two sons together before her increasing drinking created too many problems in their relationship.  By 1881, she was living with her new common law husband, John Kelly.  The two lived a hand to mouth existence in the poverty stricken area of Spitalfields, London.  As soon as they earned money, it was spent.

Catherine, John Kelly, and their friend, Emily Birrell, made some money picking hops in the countryside.  Within a day or two of returning to London, the earned money was gone.  Catherine Eddowes and John Kelly were forced to pawn his new boots just to pay for their breakfast.

On Sept 29th, the pair split up, Catherine to see if she could get some money from her daughter while John Kelly  settled into a lodging house.

By 8:30 pm, though, never having made it to the home of her daughter, Catherine Eddowes was well into her cups, arrested for lying drunk in the street. She sobered up in jail and was released at 1 am.   By 1:45 am, she was dead.

Interrupted in his killing of Elizabethe Stride, Jack the Ripper inflicted a far more gruesome and mutilating death on Kate Kelly.

Catherine Eddowes was a woman who danced through her life, taking one moment at a time.  She may have enjoyed her drink a little more than she should, but certainly deserved a better end than the one she was given.

Rest in Peace, Kate Kelly  
(14 April 1842 – 30 September 1888)

Friday, February 20, 2015

Is it Spring yet?

I haven't had as much time to devote to my art of late as I would like.  I was super pleased to be accepted as an artisan at the Lafayette Farmers and Artisans Market at the Horse Farm and intend to be there the third Saturday of every month for their handmade and artist weekend  (so I will be there tomorrow!)  

Buying the mesh sides for my tent was definitely a wise choice.  I wasn't certain about taking the next step, but if I am going to be doing three art markets a month, I definitely need to bring my best professional artist game with me!

The continued cold days and grey skies of winter are not my favorite.  I don't mind as much when the sky is blue and brilliant, but we don't seem to get enough of those.  I find myself longing for the warmth of spring.

What comes with spring?  

Why, the Easter Bunny of course!  

I shifted through the photographs I took of the Bluebonnet Swamp Nature Center the last time I was out there and located what seemed like the perfect image of one of my Voodoo Goblin bunnies.  

 I love combining the fairy tale adorableness of the little girl with something just a little creepy.  Bunnies, especially stuffed toy bunnies, really just should not be so large!

 I've made some progress with some of the pieces for my Whitechapel series, but they aren't quite finished yet.  I think I may have one more image of Jack that I want to finish and then I can lay those ghosts to rest.

Miriam Angel still lingers in my mind so I will be returning to that series after I finish with Jack.  

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Markets Markets Everywhere - Getting my Work SEEN

If you follow my blog, you may remember that I took a class last spring - "Artist as Entrepreneur" through the Arts Council of Greater Baton Rouge.  I learned a great deal, including that I had been undervaluing my own work and its potential.

I learned about the competitive world of juried art shows.  I learned about taking your work directly to the world through local art markets and juried art festivals.  I discovered that there is a solid series of steps to follow if I want to work to place my work in galleries.  The potential is there.

So, I started walking the steps.  I applied to the Art Market in Baton Rouge and then the Art Market in New Orleans.  My setup for the markets was minimal and less than eye catching, but I started improving and upgrading.  

I had a tent, a few grid walls and some prints.  I soon realized that many potential buyers were walking by my booth without even noticing that it was there.

 I printed up some fabric hangings and a colorful banner and more people started stopping and noticing.  I realized though that, if I wanted to continue down the path of selling at art markets, I needed to upgrade to a more professional set up.

So, I finally broke down and upgraded my tent to my current set up.

It's definitely professional and my work is at the fore front.

As an emerging artist, I share the dream of most such artists, I want to make a living at what I love.  I feel as if I have something interesting, something different, something of significance to say with my work and I can best express that by being able to spend more of my time actually making art.

I am following the steps.  I am working on my website.  I am applying to and being accepted into juried shows.  I haven't been walking down this art path for very long so I know I need to be patient.  Most artists in my age bracket have been working toward success for decades.  Becoming established takes time.

So I making the most of mine!

If you are interested in seeing my work in person, I am currently selling at the Baton Rouge Art Market the first Saturday of every month;  the Lafayette Farmers and Artisans Market at the Horse Farm the third Saturday of every month, and at the New Orleans Art Market in Palmer Park the last Saturday of every month.

I also have work currently on display at the RRAA Depot Gallery in Gonzales as well as at the RRAA gallery at Houmas House.

Finally, I will be participating in an exciting art event in Baton Rouge which opens on the evening of March 7 - more information here!  

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Watch it Burn

The beginning of February and another cold, grey day.  
Winter feels endless.

What is the sane response to the rainy misery of winter?

I feel a streak of despondency, a touch of despair.  
Will there ever be another beautifully 
blue day with warm breezes?

The ground is muddy and the landscape is 
an endless mirage of brown leafless sticks.  
I feel a little more disgruntled, a little less sad.

Should I crawl into a soft warm bed and wrap myself 
in cozy, comfy blankets until the spring arrives?

Should I stomp around the house and spread 
my general ire at the world?

I chose the saner method and expressed 
my inner discontent.

What sort of redhead dresses herself to the nines 
and stands back while the world burns?

An irritable, petulant redhead who is 
tired of grey winter days!