Friday, January 14, 2011


Trust that as an artist there are many times that you must stop. By stopping, you end something, and simultaneously begin something new. By stopping you say no more to sitting down, and you begin your creative work. You end a relationship. You start a new one. You finish a project. You pick up another. Life is always going at a fast pace. In order to create, to find your own voice, at some point, you have to know how to stop.

Often times, we have a negative association with "stopping." We think "red lights." Danger. Stagnant. An End. Or that we're quitting (and quitting is "BAD"). But without "stopping" we don't know that we need to quiet the everyday chatter and begin our creative work. We don't know how to put down the day job and pick up our art. Or to let go of the things that are hindering us from what we really want to do.

Stopping is like saying "no." No more compromises with our time and art. No more negative thoughts and procrastination. No more mindless existence.

What are things in your life that you need to stop? What are projects you need to complete and end? What are the jobs, housing, hobbies, activities, projects, or time-intensive activities that you need to stop?

Now breathe long and deep. Conscious of every breath. And STOP. Can you hear your own voice now?

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Winter Cleaning

While we know it's still technically winter (and gosh, the weather most definitely agrees), we decided that we needed to do a major clean of our studio/apartment. While we are not super tidy people, there gets a point where clutter, reclaimed art supplies that were never used, and various other things make it difficult to work.

We actually believe that your workspace should fit your own working styles and levels of tidiness - if you're a super neat person, then keep your space that way. If you aren't, then let those paint spots go uncleaned and do your thing. While we don't believe it's necessary to keep a super-clean-white-glove-passing workspace, we do believe in cleaning house once and a while in order to allow for more work and new inspiration to move in.

Going through piles of sketches and preliminary drafts, even stacks of finished paintings, can be very interesting. We actually found some fairly old drawings, and it was interesting (and reassuring) to see how far we've come since we first started pursuing art seriously. While some of our old work we're definitely going to keep, we've also made the decision to recycle a lot of it.

If you end up hanging onto your old work, it's hard to move past it. There is a definite fear that perhaps you might never never do a sketch that good again, or that you really did a great job getting a likeness down. However, as an artist you should always be looking forward, and you should strive for having your best painting always being the next one you're working on.

By cleaning out a lot of older work, you're making both physical and emotional space to create more. Besides the physical constraints of not having all that much space to paint new things (or to store finished paintings), if you still are holding onto a lot of old work, you're going to have a hard time to move on and really let yourself go in your next work.

Monkey + Seal will also be having a sort of house-cleaning super sale on a lot of their old studies and paintings from years ago later in February. Don't get us wrong, we love these paintings and some we would love to keep, we just don't have enough space for new ones. This is probably one of the rare chances to score original Monkey or Seal paintings at an affordable price. Stay tuned and we'll definitely keep you updated!

Anyone else doing some winter/spring cleaning? How do you keep your workspace fresh?

Monday, January 10, 2011

9/11 Heartbreaker

We were approached a while ago to do a review of a comic called "9/11 Heartbreaker" and while we read it a while back, we finally got around to writing out all of our thoughts.

9/11 Heartbreaker, by Craig Staufenberg is quite the poignant read. We think that it's more of an illustrated novella rather than a graphic novel (as it's can lean a bit text heavy), but the storytelling is the strongest part of the comic, so no worries there. Bouncing around in time, the comic reads as a collection of memories and they way historic events have tremendous reverberations generations later.

The style of the art fits in with the conversational tone of the piece, and the book, in a very Tomine-like style of storytelling, leaves you with a quiet sense of reflection and hope. It was an enjoyable read, offering a very personal look into the way that 9/11 has affected us as a nation. There are also great parallels to other historical events, as well as a haunting look into the current state of the country in the midst of an economic recession.

Our biggest criticism of the book was that we wished it was longer as at times the integration of text and image could have been stronger, and the book would have only been made stronger by lengthening the book and adding even more storytelling frames. Also, the handwritten text, while adding to the charm of the book, can be a bit hard to read at times.

The book is available via physical copy as well as a pdf download, and for $2.99, it's definitely worth a quick download. Check out out at the author's site (scroll to the bottom to order!).