The Art of the Proposal and Yes, I’m Really an Artist

Yesterday I wrapped up my last art proposal out of twelve. A couple more opportunities had popped up since my last blog and I couldn’t resist the challenge to create more art. I’ve had one refusal, but so far, three acceptances/shows, including the AKC Art Show at the Dog Show that is happening right now in Wichita, KS. I will have a weekend show at the holy grail of dog art, the AKC Museum of the Dog in July 25th and 26th, and I will again have a piece in the Stray Rescue Urban Wanderer’s show this summer. And something I’ve been working on for so long, the main reason for this blog, my steampunk art, A Midsummer’s Night Steam Steampunk Art Installation will commence on June 5th and run through the month of June at 1900 Park, Creative Space. I am so thrilled to have all kinds of my steam art available in one spot. I have begun to collect more fabric and pieces to put some great works together.

I have been chomping at the bit to get creating, but the proposals took quite a bit of my time, almost a month. Each submission had it’s own paperwork, rules, standards, ideas and formatting. My creative writing skills were well utilized, but I was really hoping to get back to the adventures of Kate Church or designing more hats. I won’t lie, I whined about it in social media more than a few times. I had to remind myself to be grateful that so many artistic possibilities were out there to begin with. Which brings me to part two of this blog.

Last year I walked away from corporate America much to the surprise of friends and family. I had already lost my full time job last spring. I found a new job in the same industry (media), but quit after a couple months. I was burnt out and my heart was screaming “do what you love”. So I decided to work part time to pay the bills which allows enough time for my art. I’ve had a website for my dog art for years and have been blogging about my steampunk art and writing for over three and half years now.

What’s funny though is I still get questions. Are you really an artist? Really? How do you find the time? Do you live in a loft? Can you make money doing that? I have to laugh at all of them. Yep, I’m an artist. I was basically a prodigy. I remember drawing before I could talk. I was gifted and had a super imagination as a kid (I still do). I’ve participated in several huge public artworks. I did move from the suburbs to the city and my view is spectacular, although it’s not exactly a loft. But I do leave the accordian door to the bedroom open which gives the apartment a nice airy feeling. Yes, I am making money, not as much as I had hoped, but things are really starting to happen. My Etsy store has over 8,000 views. I get commissions and now monthly royalties from amazon. Life is getting good.

But I have to wonder, why people ask? I mean, I have the talent, shouldn’t I use it? Maybe I don’t look like your typical female artist (whatever that is). Maybe people expect piercings and tats, a mohawk, an unconventional lifestyle? Well, I do color my hair however I like it, I wear what I want, and I am a cougar (that’s for another blog), but I pretty much have a family and buy groceries like everyone else does. I did notice that after a recent bout of eye strain and wearing glasses instead of contacts got me a lot of interesting looks and unexpected respect. I know all kinds of female artists and wonder that in the post feminism/re-charging feminism world of #HeForShe why women artists STILL aren’t taken seriously.

I recently did a small craft/art show with almost all female artists, and most of them happen to be my part time co-workers. One of the younger gals stepped away from her table for a while after her boyfriend arrived. He watched over her work so she could take a break. After she returned and they stood together, much to her chagrin, almost everyone that approached assumed that he was the artist. I confess I’d be a bit miffed too.

Beyond the feminist aspect, I also get a little angry that art isn’t taken as a serious profession. The days I’m not working the part time job, I work at home. I might post a couple posts on social media, but then it’s off to the races art wise. I can’t tell you how many times I get interrupted by all kinds of requests, general building noises, etc. I feel the pain of anyone else that works from home. I’ve gotten in the habit of turning my phone off completely when I create. Art is my passion, but it is work that I do get paid for, and it needs to be done. Sometimes there’s research and inspirational materials I need to review. And I deserve time away like everyone else. I don’t have vacation time like a corporate job, but I need a break too. Sometimes even a walk to the convenience store or a glass of wine is a small bit of heaven.

On the flip side, I leave this blog on a positive note. There is nothing like having someone see your work and marvel at it’s beauty. Or the person or client that buys a piece and doesn’t bat an eye at its price. For this, I am so grateful. And as always, thank you for reading.

-Victoria

P.S. So much good stuff coming. I am going to do many more short visual posts from my phone as I finish pieces for a Midsummer Night’s Steam. Please share and keep your eyes peeled for my vision of Victorian retro-futurism.

UPDATED 75% OFF-So Out with the Old, in with the New

SPECIAL UPDATE-I wanted to update this blog with a quick thank you to the HUNDREDS that downloaded my free books AND to announce that through 12/30/14 ALL items in my Etsy store are 75% OFF with code NEWYEARS75. Please feel free to share it. I have everything from steampunk fashion, art and antiques that MUST go in order to make room for new items I have ready to add, including photo prints, more steamy and fun hats, and of course more dog items.

Thank you as always for reading and your patronage!

Victoria

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I hope that you are having a most lovely holiday season! If you aren’t, I hope things get better soon.

And maybe some FREE downloads will help? OR 50% OFF in my Etsy store? Read on!

Today, 12/26 only, the whole Vampire’s Little Black Book Series is FREE for the last time, for volumes 1-10. The covers are redone and I am working on a compilation to be released next year. I hope you will share this with friends and feel free to comment/critique on amazon and goodreads. My link to my author page (and all my titles) is here:

http://www.amazon.com/Victoria-L.-Szulc/e/B00CDFDIBI/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1419620251&sr=1-2-ent

10 The Vamp Hit List

Not a big reader? Like to shop, like dogs, unique fashion and jewelry? Use code XMAS50 for 50% in my Etsy store. Offer good for a limited time, so please check out the store, link below:

https://www.etsy.com/shop/TheHauteHen

K7

As always, thank you for reading!

-Victoria

________

-A new photo/comic book/essay “The Heroine” is coming soon to Amazon/Kindle.

-THE LADY HAS ARRIVED AT HER DESTINATION-“Strax and the Widow” is an ebook on Amazon/Kindle. Please take a peek, enjoy and review on amazon and goodreads! The sequel, “Revenge and Machinery” is coming soon!

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-Like on Facebook-The Countess, Official Fanpage of Victoria L. Szulc

-Follow on Twitter-@TheCountessSP

-On Pinterest-Victoria Szulc (nee Schultz)

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-Fine Art America-store coming soon

 

 

Last Call for a Steam Trunk

A little over a year ago I stumbled upon a most wonderful antique-see a previous blog “Gratitude and a Steam Trunk”, link: https://mysteampunkproject.wordpress.com/2013/11/28/gratitude-and-a-steam-trunk/

I couldn’t believe my luck at this beautiful find. Yes, it needs work, but it’s a gorgeous piece of steam/Victoriana deliciousness. I debated keeping it, but put it up in my Etsy store. Well now, it’s been a year in the store and the trunk is lonely. It’s seeking a permanent home. I took it with me to a summer art show. I couldn’t help but notice it looked pretty lovely with art draped over it. And I did have space for a coffee table/storage piece in my living room….

I’ve reduced the price and have had several inquiries. So now it’s up for renewal in the store, only I won’t list it again. I had to make a decision. The trunk sells by 12/19 or I keep it and refinish it, end of story. So, if you should want to take a gander, the link is here:

https://www.etsy.com/listing/172315146/antique-steamer-trunk?

Trunk 1 Trunk 3 Trunk 2

Upcoming events:

-The Vampire’s Little Black Book Series, v.1-10, will be FREE for one last time on December 26, 2014. Please share and comment on amazon/goodreads. The compilation of all ten stories will be available later this winter in “The First Ten Bites”.

-The Creating Anna Series spinoff is in the works and the first volumes should also appear in the New Year.

-The sequels to “Strax and the Widow” are also well underway. Be prepared for more steam adventures of Kate Church. More information and links are below.

Thank you for reading,

Victoria

The Vampire’s Little Black Book series is always FREE if you have Kindle Unlimited!

-A new photo/comic book/essay “The Heroine” is coming soon to Amazon/Kindle.

-THE LADY HAS ARRIVED AT HER DESTINATION-“Strax and the Widow” is an ebook on Amazon/Kindle. Please take a peek, enjoy and review on amazon and goodreads! The sequel, “Revenge and Machinery” is coming soon!

Image

-Like on Facebook-The Countess, Official Fanpage of Victoria L. Szulc

-Follow on Twitter-@TheCountessSP

-On Pinterest-Victoria Szulc (nee Schultz)

-Etsy-TheHauteHen

-Instagram-Steampunkcountess

-Tumblr-thesteampunkcountess

-Fine Art America-store coming soon

Day of the Dead 2014

It’s been an insanely busy Halloween season. I managed to squeeze in some new creations, all with a Day of the Dead/Halloween theme. My last creation first, a Dead of the Dead, Mardi Gras bunny mask, now available in TheHauteHen Etsy store.

I built this on a pre-existing black mask, a template I have used before in “The Heroine” series.

DOD Bunny 6

After hot glue, some embroidered trim and roses, I got the result I wanted. A sassy bunny mask that’s perfect for any costume occasion.

DOD Bunny 3DOD Bunny 4DOD Bunny 5

Add a little makeup…

DOD Bunny 7

And let the photo fun begin…

DOD Bunny 1DOD Bunny 2DOD Bunny 8DOD Bunny 9

Then on to business…I had a great buyer in my Etsy store who bought my Day of the Dead Groom Hat with a few modifications…

Groom 7 Groom 8

And then she commissioned a voodoo belt for her husband, which was really fun to put together. I sent her a sketch, bought some neat pieces including a beaver skull from the Etsy store (and friend) Guiditta Testa.

Voodoo 1A Voodoo 1B Voodoo 2 Voodoo 3 Voodoo 4 Voodoo 5 Voodoo 5A Voodoo 5AA Voodoo 5B Voodoo 5BB Voodoo 5C Voodoo 6

And Elizabeth Rios and her husband looked fabulous in their creations!

Rios 1 Rios 2 Rios 3

So much more happened last month, but that is for the next blog. Thank you for reading!

Victoria

And then some style. Day of the Dead Indeed

And then some style. Day of the Dead Indeed

Will has returned in v.9 of The Vampire’s Little Black Book series, “Svetlana Red and the Chevaliers” on amazon/kindle. Volumes 1-8 are also available on amazon/kindle. They are always FREE if you have Kindle Unlimited!

-A new photo/comic book/essay “The Heroine” is coming soon to Amazon/Kindle.

-THE LADY HAS ARRIVED AT HER DESTINATION-“Strax and the Widow” is an ebook on Amazon/Kindle. Please take a peek, enjoy and review on amazon and goodreads!

Image

-Like on Facebook-The Countess, Official Fanpage of Victoria L. Szulc

-Follow on Twitter-@TheCountessSP

-On Pinterest-Victoria Szulc (nee Schultz)

-Etsy-TheHauteHen

-Instagram-Steampunkcountess

-Tumblr-thesteampunkcountess

-Fine Art America-store coming soon

Random Thoughts on Being Sick

This is a short one and not what I expected to blog for October. My car got broken into about a week ago, but they stole nothing, just busted a lock. I’ve been working like crazy. Hopefully the next blog will be filled with Halloween and costume happiness. Meanwhile, enjoy these random thoughts on being sick:

-I absolutely hate being sick. Period.

-I have now returned to my classic pre-summer vampire white skin.

-Of course we have two of the most wonderful Fall days in St. Louis. The Cardinals lost in the playoffs, but the Rams and Blues won this weekend. Yet I am stuck on the couch or in bed.

-Why does everything look so good on tv, yet I have no appetite?

-I wanted to at least severely reprimand the guy (an adult mind you) that picked his nose in the fitting room line. OK, I wanted to kill him, but I can’t afford to go to jail.

-The part I hate most about going to the doctor (besides cost, I don’t have health insurance), explaining my low body temp. Today at Urgent Care I checked in at a comfortable 97.7. Yep. I feel like dirt and have the temperature of a reptile that runs through it. But my neck is swollen like a chipmunk. I’ve had strep and the flu and not run a fever. OK, at least my blood pressure was awesome.

-This time it hit pretty fast. Went from a slight headache Friday afternoon, to not sleeping that night because I felt like I’d gargled with razor blades.

-Sleep is my friend at last. When I did finally fall asleep on Sat. morning I had to text in sick to work. Got some OTC meds and gatorade and went back to bed. Watched some tv and did a little work on my costume. Took another nap. More tv. Bed early. Slept ten hours. Text in sick again. Urgent Care and pharmacy about 3.5 hours. Home and another nap. As of 3:30pm today, I’ve slept almost twenty-four hours. Sad to see most of my waking hours were at the doc’s office or getting meds.

-Surreal sick moment of the day, got my windows open and wake up from nap to people yelling and stuff. Turn on the tv to see that the Rams won. Lookout to notice the happy traffic of fans and the leaves changing color on the Arch grounds. Another beautiful day wasted. Cursed flu, but at least it’s a pretty day.

-The Countess is having tea and a bit of a lie down as they say in the UK. Stupid f’n virus, as we say in the US.

OK, will stop groaning now. What’s coming up?

Will the vampire returns soon in v.9 of The Vampire’s Little Black Book Series, “Svetlana Red and the Chevaliers”. Since I really don’t feel like doing anything else, I will be writing a bit later on. Keep a watch on my social media links for its release.

Stay healthy my friends, and thanks, as always, for reading,

Victoria

___________

Will returns soon in v.9 of The Vampire’s Little Black Book series, “Svetlana Red and the Chevaliers” on amazon/kindle. The latest “The Vampire’s Little Black Book” series volume 8, “Everyone Looks Better Undead” by Victoria L. Szulc and volumes 1-7 are also available on amazon/kindle. They are FREE if you have Kindle Unlimited!

Product Details

-A new photo/comic book/essay “The Heroine” is coming soon to Amazon/Kindle.

-THE LADY HAS ARRIVED AT HER DESTINATION-“Strax and the Widow” is an ebook on Amazon/Kindle. Please take a peek, enjoy and review on amazon and goodreads!

Image

-Like on Facebook-The Countess, Official Fanpage of Victoria L. Szulc

-Follow on Twitter-@TheCountessSP

-On Pinterest-Victoria Szulc (nee Schultz)

-Etsy-TheHauteHen

-Instagram-Steampunkcountess

-Tumblr-thesteampunkcountess

-Fine Art America-stores coming soon

Hats Off for Dia de los Muertos!

As Halloween approaches, I wanted to do a little more Dia de los Muertos style and autumnal hats. This blog celebrates those who have left us with some Day of the Dead creativity done in photo essay style. The hats and many other unique items are in my Etsy store, https://www.etsy.com/shop/TheHauteHen  Please enjoy!

First off, a simple sun hat for fall festivals and wineries….

Autumn Hat 6 Autumn Hat 3 Autumn Hat 1

Next up, a classic Day of the Dead Katrina Veil. I decided to go with traditional “less perfect” sugar skull makeup for this shoot and focus on the hats.

DOD Veil 1 DOD Veil 2 DOD Veil 3 DOD Veil 4 DOD Veil 5 Veil Full

Then a beautiful bride’s top hat, complete with a long veil and light up sugar skull!

IBride Etsy 1 Bride Etsy 2 Bride Etsy 3 Bride Etsy 4 Bride Etsy 5 R Bride 1 R Bride 2 R Bride 4 R Bride 7 R Bride 9

Finally, the Groom’s hat, a sweet little topper, also with a light up sugar skull on top!

Groom Etsy 1 Groom Etsy 2 Groom Etsy 3 Groom Etsy 4 Groom R 1 Groom R 2 Groom R 3 Groom R 4 Groom R 5

Thank you for this quick little visual foray into the Day of the Dead. Thank you for reading.

Victoria

________________

Will returns soon in v.9 of The Vampire’s Little Black Book series, “Svetlana Red” on amazon/kindle. The latest “The Vampire’s Little Black Book” series volume 8, “Everyone Looks Better Undead” by Victoria L. Szulc and volumes 1-7 are also available on amazon/kindle. They are FREE if you have Kindle Unlimited!

Product Details

-A new photo/comic book/essay “The Heroine” is coming soon to Amazon/Kindle.

-THE LADY HAS ARRIVED AT HER DESTINATION-“Strax and the Widow” is an ebook on Amazon/Kindle. Please take a peek, enjoy and review on amazon and goodreads!

Image

-Like on Facebook-The Countess, Official Fanpage of Victoria L. Szulc

-Follow on Twitter-@TheCountessSP

-On Pinterest-Victoria Szulc (nee Schultz)

-Etsy-TheHauteHen

-Instagram-Steampunkcountess

-Tumblr-thesteampunkcountess

-Fine Art America-stores coming soon

Why I Love Halloween and Whip It Pt.1

I love Halloween, even more than Christmas; not that I don’t like getting gifts or celebrating the birth of Christ with family. Although Halloween and the day after both have their roots in religion (All Hallows Eve, Day of the Dead, Druid beliefs and traditions to name a few), it’s the combination of those roots with a more modern horror, fun and wackiness twist that make it special.

As a kid, I was lucky enough to be in a neighborhood full of families where almost everyone went trick or treating. As soon as the sun went down about a hundred kids would be out knocking on doors and ringing doorbells. Only the most curmudgeon of neighbors would turn out their lights and not give out candy. We had some great houses to visit; one house gave out McDonald’s gift certificates, another whole candy bars, not the cheap penny jawbreakers or bazooka gum that was harder than the jawbreakers. This was a time before plastic grocery bags were widely used. My mom let us use pillow cases; yes durable, ever fillable pillow cases. After hitting up our neighborhood, the one or two conjoined blocks and possibly my grandparent’s neighborhood nearby, my siblings and I would each have a sack full of candy and stuff that would make even the best dentist shudder. Our cases full of sweet delights would often be dirty on the bottom because they were so full that they dragged the ground. Way to rock Mom, although she probably got tired of one of us puking every year from over indulgence. And as we got older, mom would let my older siblings take us further out to other neighborhoods and we could fill two whopping pillow sacks full of goodies. It still seemed to disappear fast though; at least until I was old enough to realize my parents were eating some of it from each of us.

Some of our neighbors had haunted houses and almost everyone had jack o’lanterns out on their porches. My personal favorite was the house that had seven or eight teen siblings. They’d do the old witch routine urging you to feel the spaghetti guts and grape eyeballs. And when you’d leave their haunted garage, one of the older boys, dressed as a werewolf, would jump off the roof and land on a couple mattresses in their front yard. A little “redneck” perhaps, but effective; it made kids cry. I know the first time it happened I screamed and peed in my pants a little bit.

Costumes were simpler then too; a lot of gypsies, tramps and thieves as Cher would sing. Throw in some clowns and princesses and you had a party. I do remember one standout costume in middle school. One little red haired freckle faced boy did Dolly Parton, complete with the blond wig and Nerf ball boobs. It was shades to come of my favorite holiday as an adult.

I still love costumes and revel in Halloween happiness. I more than welcome the opportunity to dress up and be someone else for a few hours. In the past I’ve been a wide range of people and things: Egyptian Queen Nefertiti, Octomom, a Pirate (twice, one a la “sexy” and one buccaneer), Marie Antoinette, the Fly, Evita/Eva Peron, Glinda the Good Witch (as part of a group Wizard of Oz), Amy Winehouse (last year’s) and a Flying Nun (my male companion was a priest, naughty, naughty we were).

Sure you can cosplay anytime or make a trip to any “Con” expo, but it’ll cost you some cash and what if you can’t get away from work? I’m not degrading any conventions, they’re fantastic for people who appreciate the genres they support. It’s just that there’s something magical about All Hallows Eve. There’s an all-encompassing variety and something for everyone. For kids it’s the mad dash for candy or the more family friendly “trunk or treat”. For teens there are some truly scary haunted houses. For adults it’s “Hookerween”, drag queens and real haunted house tours.

In the Central West End neighborhood of St. Louis, at an annual “adult” Halloween street party, they regularly draw around ten thousand people. And participants don’t just “Halloween it”. I’ve seen costumes that rival the best on Broadway. The costume contest usually has around a hundred participants. There are classic horror vampires, werewolves and ghosts. Dirty adult fantasies include Catholic school girls, Playboy bunnies, and any female cop, construction worker or nurse. And not just the ladies; I’ve seen demons with realistic ahem, equipment, that ejaculated silly string, flashers and some hot male superheroes. Then there’s always the current topic costumes like a Chilean miner who stepped out of a rescue capsule, Sarah Palin (both men and women), and a gal from Avatar wearing a loincloth and um, body paint, I think. I just know that people next to the costume contest stage were salivating, she won first place and no one had a clue who she was on daily basis and didn’t care. And Elvis is always in the building, or neighborhood.  The party has even expanded to family friendly daytime events with kids and dog parades and costume contests.

Currently I am collecting pieces and creating this year’s Halloween fashionista extravaganza. I am fortunate enough to work at a year round party and costume shop (Johnnie Brock’s Dungeon and Party Warehouse) that goes bat shit crazy at Halloween. To me it is the retail/creative equivalent of crack; I can’t quit it and I really don’t want to. I have already gathered some pieces I can’t make but can embellish, including an eight foot bullwhip. But I’m not going to be a lion trainer, it’s something more current and relevant to this blog. I’m working on a whole creative Steampunk theme including my costume and a series of books. One of my book characters is talented with the whip. It starts as a symbol of her oppression but ends up as a piece of her salvation and revenge. I’ll update with another blog on my progress in learning how to crack it. The whip also reminds me of my love of Indiana Jones. I’m thrilled that it’s been rereleased in IMAX and I can’t wait to see it again.  I still have the one of the authentic replica fedoras from the early 1980’s. It reminds me of the spirit of Halloween; you can be anyone you want with the right accessories.

I’ve always wanted to be Indy.

I’ll post complete pics and blogs about the creative process later but feel free to “Like” my page “The Countess” on Facebook for updates and snippets of what’s to come. I hope for the first book to be published later this Fall.