Pop Culture Princess

Pop Culture Princess
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Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Finding colorful ways to look at life

As the daughter of an artist(as well as a sister of one), I'm familiar with a lot of the cliches about "struggling/starving" artists, those who paint and/or draw and do their best to make ends meet by their pen and paintbrush.

However, Molly Crabapple's memoir Drawing Blood turns those preconceived notions inside out. Crabapple(a name given to her by a friend) grew up with a mother who worked for thankless years as an illustrator, only to be out of work when the greeting card company went out of business.

That didn't stifle her urge to draw, which she did during just about every waking moment, even on her travels overseas where she stayed at the legendary bookstore Shakespeare and Company for a time.

Coming back to the US, she took courses at FIT while doing everything she could to get her art work noticed. From a photo model to one of the Suicide Girls to becoming an activist with the Occupy Wall Movement, Molly's driving goal is to have her work speak for her as well as to others out there feeling the same way.

I'm only partway through the book right now but Molly's blunt honesty about how women in the arts have to work extra hard to make their voices heard and talents properly appreciated has the welcome clarity of truth ringing throughout the pages. All of the chapters featured her illustrations, making her words come to even more vivid life in the telling and while I haven't finished it yet, Drawing Blood promises to be a read that I'd recommend to anyone looking for an authentic portrait of artists today:

My talents in the drawing area are rather limited but I have been curious about this whole coloring books for adults craze that's risen up lately.

 So, when I was given the chance to try out one of these books for myself(courtesy of Blogging for Books), I asked for a copy of Cats in Paris and picked up a pack of coloring pencils to join in and see what the fuss is all about.

Illustrated by Won-Sun Jang, the book features a series of line drawings with the title felines in various places around the city of Paris, including the infamous bookstore Shakespeare and Company, as well as other pictures of cats suitable for adding your personal choice of color scheme to.

I'm in the middle of coloring a page that has the cover art of a cat lovingly lounging on a bookshelf at Shakespeare and Co and have to say that it's kind of relaxing to simply deal with selecting what shades of blue, green or red would look best on the books. In thinking over the many myriad of hues that I've seen on book covers over the years, that alone puts me in a mental happy place of literary joy.

Sure, some people find this whole thing silly and childish yet on the other hand, a lot of illustrators are getting well paid work out of this and more power to them. Won-Sun Jang's sketchbook designs are delightful and if you love cats and Paris, this coloring book will make you purr with pleasure indeed:

People seem to forget that art is not just meant to be displayed in museums and fancy galleys; it's true purpose is to be accessible to everyone and to be found in the most unexpected places. Whether it's a sidewalk drawing, comic book page, sugar decorated cake or the fill in the blanks opportunities of a coloring book, art is something that can be the best way to describe your inner vision of life to the world.

 For both young and old alike, art is a gateway to the realm of imagination that can color your life in beautifully sweetly strange ways that better reflect your reality. So, like a wise young man once said, stop and look around,especially at art, or you might miss what's happening right in front of you:

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