Updates: Shows, Morpheus Ravenna, Totems, and more!

Greetings! I am busy as ever, and I am thrilled to announce the following updates. I will blog about each of these projects individually as they unfold, but in the meantime here is a dangerous barrage of updates!

Isis - work in progress. Valerie Herron 2014

Isis – work in progress. Valerie Herron 2014

I have 2 shows coming up in the next 30 days! I will be showing my soon to be finished Isis piece at Gargoyles Statuary in their Goddess show on June 20th. If you are unfamiliar, Gargoyles Statuary is Seattle, WA’s one stop shoppe for all things dark and dreamy. They have the best selection of gothic statuary that I have ever encountered, as well as beautiful art, handmade fragrances, jewelry, and all manor of accoutrements for the dark arts and decor. If you can’t make it to the show, be sure to check them out online!

Custom Cranium storefront. Sign art by Stephan Maich, photo by Darien.

Custom Cranium storefront. Sign art by Stephan Maich, photo by Darien.

I will be at the grand opening of Custom Cranium in Eugene, OR on July 1oth with originals, prints, and cards. Custom Cranium is owned and operated by the most fabulous Darien and Adam Prawlocki, proprietors of Custom Cranium online. Be sure to check out and support your local taxidermy artist 🙂

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This is the first of a new line of creations I shall be making, 6″x6″ mixed media on canvas. This one is already sold, but I will be making more. My vision for these pieces is that they will be totemic paintings, shields, and charms. I can already see a million animals, plants, runes, and more items that I will feature in these apotropaic images. Soon I will also be open to taking commissions for these totemic images. I will keep posting them as I create them, so stay tuned!
Perhaps the announcement I am most excited about: I am thrilled to be illustrating in the upcoming book by Morpheus Ravenna : The Book of the Great Queen. Soon to be published by Concrescent Press, this is a book about the Morrígan, Irish raven goddess of sovereignty, battle, and prophecy (also my personal Matron. DREAM PROJECT.) 

The IndieGoGo campaign to fund this amazing tome is at this link. I encourage you to contribute! Support independent authors and publishers, and you know, illustrators 😉

 

I will try to find time to keep you all updated in the midst of all this madness!

 

Obsession and the Equinox

Not an Allegory.

My current assignment for Advanced Illustration is to create an illustration in collaboration with B:Light Magazine (pronounced either Be Light, or Blight. See what they did there?) The art director, Lauren Schaefer, came in and spoke with our class about B:Light and to give us our illustration prompts.

B:Light is a project within PNCA’s MFA Collaborative Design program.

B:Light seeks to acknowledge and explore realities that are largely ignored, misunderstood or under-analyzed by mainstream cultural media. We hope to enhance literacy regarding such issues in hopes of motivating readers and out community to further inquiry and/or action. Our second issue of B:Light attempts to understand the omnipresent yet elusive complexities of addiction while pointing the finger back at ourselves, realizing that on some level we are all obsessed/addicts.” – Lauren Schaefer

This mission statement makes me want to mail them my thesis when I’m finished with it.

There were two articles to choose from, one about Portland, OR and another about Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. I was most interested in illustrating for the latter. We were asked to make the illustration not too dark to avoid alienating the reader (damn it) but still honest and not “glamorizing” the condition. Does that happen? Do As Good as it Gets and Monk really count?

I find the biggest disconnect between people with forms of neurosis like OCD, as well as other intense anxiety disorders, and the people that do not have them would be in empathy. It is extremely difficult to explain to someone what a panic attack is, or why it is happening, or why why isn’t even in the equation since they can happen at random. Many people have no reference for that sort of experience, and it can be frustrating to try and understand why your friend or loved one has to suddenly leave the grocery store or a party. At the same time, it is insulting to that friend to be asked to justify what is happening to them on a chemical level.

For the few people in my life with OCD, I know they experience the same frustration when trying to convey the anxiety that they experience over their fixations, and when they are not respected. They do not want to have to explain why they can not concentrate in a room with cupboard doors open, or have to justify why they have their apartment arranged in a very specific way and can’t handle things being out of place.

That disconnect, which can seem like a small thing, can be extremely alienating. Whether someone is unable to get out of bed because of clinical depression, unable to leave the house because of agoraphobia, or perpetually stuck in a compulsive ritual, it can feel like life just goes on for the rest of the world around you and you will find little compassion extended to you.

Considering all of those things, plus the criteria that Lauren had given us, I thought I would try to work from a form of obsession that everyone can relate to and push it to severity. But I did keep it light:

line work for OCD editorial© Valerie Herron 2013

line work for OCD editorial
© Valerie Herron 2013

I wanted to illustrate the concept of obsessive-compulsive nature in a dignified but fictional/conceptual way, and in a way that was relatable at the same time. As much as I like this drawing, I think the concept did get away from me a little bit. To reinforce the compulsive-ritual element to the piece, I created a wall of numbers with a brush pen and I plan on incorporating that in the background if the figure’s all consuming ritual of pulling off petals and her inability to stop doesn’t scream “psychosis!” to the art director.

numbersWP

We’ll see what happens. I will post the final illustration when it’s finished.

 

boxing hares

boxing hares

Happy Equinox! I started a tradition this year: The Ostara Rabbit Graffiti Challenge. Go draw a bunny somewhere you aren’t supposed to.

Ostara bathroom graffiti. MAYHEM!!

Ostara bathroom graffiti. MAYHEM!!

I seem to be the only person that has taken myself up on this challenge so far, though my uncle drew a rabbit in his office and my boyfriend drew on himself. I will strive for more clarity next year.

 

 

Thesis Progresses and other New Developments

Hello friends and fans of my art! I have surfaced once more from the insanity of thesis and other projects to give you some updates.

Endurfæða after some finishing touches
Valerie Herron, 2012

My Endurfæða piece is in a studio show which opened yesterday for Portlands official Design Week. I was honored to take place in this show with selected PNCA illustration students, the most talented people I know!

Second, I am so excited to announce that I have been hired into a new internship: I am now the social media intern for Faerieworlds LLC! This is an enterprise that I have followed for years. They produce gigantic events on the east and west coasts that coalesce art and artist, musicians, vendors, and workshops and a multitude of other romantic expressions fantasy. I’ve participated in their events for years now, and I’ve even vended at a few. I can’t say enough good things about these folks, and I urge you to check out and follow their various outlets on facebook, tumblr, and pinterst.

Be sure to check out FaerieCon East! It’s coming up next month 🙂

I am very excited to start an artistic collaboration with The Hermetic Library. The enigmatic “Librarian” describes the Hermetic library simply as an endeavor for “Archiving, Engaging and Encouraging the living Western Esoteric Tradition.”  The Hermetic Library releases quarterly music anthologies, songs are submitted by musicians who are inspired by the occult. I am in the beginning stages of working with the Librarian on illustrating and designing anthology covers. I will keep you posted throughout that process, in the meantime, be sure to check out The Hermetic Library at their official blog, tumblr, and facebook.

Thesis marches on! As I mentioned previously, my idea for my senior thesis project was accepted. I am now in the process of creating preliminary sketches and mood boards to nail down the visual language of this project. I also am starting the process of writing my thesis proposal, which I will be presenting to school in 8 weeks.

two of my moodboards in process

Ok, back to work! I want to thank everybody who has helped me out, as well as everyone who has taken an interest in my art over the years. I would not be able to keep up this volume of work if it wasn’t for all of the encouragement I receive from loved ones and even random people online who simply like my drawrings! Thanks 🙂

I leave you with this classic song to commemorate the birthday of the Megatherion himself. Herron Out!

Classes, Thesis, and Faeries

Hello, everyone! I think I’m finally warmed up and ready to face thesis year. Here are a few updates as to what I am doing myself:

Both of my literature seminars are extremely captivating. I’m currently reading Blood Meridian by Cormac McCarthy for my american gothic lit class – I’ve been listening to a lot of Nick Cave while doing so for the full Western Bloodbath effect. I just finished episode 10 of The Wire. I knew I wouldn’t escape that show emotionally unscathed. The 1st season isn’t even over!

I’m at the halfway point on my icon assignment for my Advanced Illustration class. I finished inking the line work and scanned it in so I can create some digital magic with it. Here is the line work I finished this weekend:

linework for icon piece
Valerie Herron 2012

I’m not sure, but I think my professor mentioned something about this piece being in a gallery show once it’s finished? Stay tuned!

I somehow managed to keep up on all this work on top of rehearsing and performing in my dear friend’s wedding ceremony. Congratulations Chris and Terry Hartgrove!

I pitched my basic thesis idea yesterday, and it was approved! So I will be spending the next several months researching allegories, demonology, and the Romantic & Symbolist painters. Woot! I will reveal my thesis idea when it is a little more realized.

The Nightmare
John Henry Fuseli 1781

Last but not least, for fans of the Faerieworlds/FaerieCon events: it was announced today that a new feature has been added to the upcoming FaerieCon East, The FaerieCon Book Club! The FaerieCon Book Club will give people a chance to join a discussion with fellow FaerieCon participants, hosts, and fantasy authors at the next FaerieCon East. You can find out more details about the book club at the FaerieCon East website, and you can join the discussion early at the FaerieCon Book Club Facebook page.

That’s all I have for now. I will continue to keep you all posted as thesis and the rest of these projects unfold 🙂

Anna Fidler

Hello! I am back from a few weeks of birthday revelry interspersed with a billion projects. I hope the Summer has been as fun and productive for the rest of you. To kick off her newly renovated website, as well as her current exhibition down in Oakland, I wanted to write a bit about the awesome lady I’ve been an artist assistant for for the last few years.

Anna Fidler in the studio with daughter Willow
photo by Sabina Samiee

I first met Anna Fidler my freshman year at PNCA. She was one of my drawing instructors, and at the end of the semester she offered me an internship to work as an artist assistant for her. I have been working for her on and off ever since.

See all those lines? They took months to draw.

In my time assisting at Anna Fidler studios, I’ve helped work on a couple of different series. The first is comprised of several portraits of Victorian Oregonians, the second is centered around iconic women, but I can’t really reveal any more about it for the time being.

As an artist assistant I’ve done everything from research at the Oregon Historical Society, paint pours, transferring line work, applying color and texture with prismacolors, repair, prepping pieces for gallery display, and assisting in physically setting up gallery shows, and I’m sure a bunch of other things that I’m forgetting.

Anna’s style and process of creating these mixed media pieces is unique and fascinating, and I must admit it has definitely rubbed off on me in my own work.

Mister George, by Anna Fidler
20.25 x 15.25 inches Acrylic and colored pencil on paper 2012

Pieces from the 1st series, Vampires and Wolfmen, are currently exhibited at the Johansson Projects Gallery in Oakland, CA. The series will also be exhibited in Portland at the Charles Hartman Gallery later in the year, and in September the series will be exhibited at the Portland Art Museum. I will announce the dates as they come in. I urge everyone to go see the work in person. And once again, you can find out all of her background info and about her other work at her website: http://annafidler.com/

I must now get back to watercolor studies and writing comics. Soon I’ll have something I can actually share 😉

Conjure Oils! and other updates

Hello kids! I hope your summer is shaping up to be as magnificent as mine is. One thing is for certain, having a magnificent summer is distracting. I have to bring myself back inside from my woodland mirth-making and Venusian inebriation to actually get some things done! With that, I bring you my review of :

CONJURE OILS! graphics by Vajra Conjure

Now, it is no secret that Vajra Conjure is a personal friend/one of my favorite people on this planet. I would like to point out, however, that our friendship started because I sought her out to tell her how baller I thought her oils were! She truly is a genius parfumier. She is also a liscened councilor, and an art school graduate. I actually really aspire to her level of talent in design.

the beautiful and talented Vajra. Graphics by Vajra Conjure.

Vajra’s business is Conjure Oils. It is a local (Portland, OR) company that makes and sells perfume oils, soaps, and lotions. I used to get my perfume oils wherever I could, but now I really can’t bring myself to use anything other than Conjure Oils. Seriously, they will ruin you for all other perfumes. I have quite a few of Vajra’s products, but I will review the few that I had intended to review awhile ago. I will certainly update with reviews of her other products as I purchase them, but I encourage you to go to the website to check out her entire inventory, as I guarantee you that you will find something that you absolutely can’t live without!

Conjure Oils merch. Photography by Valerie Herron 2012

 ~~~

Circe: oil by Vajra Conjure.
Photography by Valerie Herron.

  CIRCE

{Master Sorceress}

Hypnotic star anise, narcotic opium and black ice mesmerize the senses. Pure magic.

This perfume unfurls like a narrative. At first it comes across as dark, cold, sweet scent that brings with it imagery of deep, coastal grottos and lurking Nerieds. As you wear it through the day, the scent transforms from a powerful anisian aura to a trace of something similar to Baby Soft, but much more stunning. Oh, and you may recognize that graphic on the bottle 😉

Morrigan: oil by Vajra Conjure.
Photography by Valerie Herron

MORRIGAN
{Celtic Goddess of Death & Magic}

“Murders of ravens shriek hungrily over a battlefield: Smoky amber, white narcissus and bloody rose blossoms wilt in the night air”

 Sorry to disappoint, but this perfume does not smell like a bloodied field of sundered Celts. It does, however, smell fucking amazing. First you will notice a misty hint to this blend that is reminiscent of a rainy forest. It reminds me of walking around in the Pacific Northwest. Next comes a subtle note of  rose, and it is then encapsulated in a bite of something that makes it all smell antique. It’s how I imagine women of the Unseelie Court smell, and I slather it on regularly.

Aradia: oil by Vajra Conjure.
Photography by Valerie Herron.

ARADIA
{Bella Strega}
“Italian holy daughter of Diana who was charged with the protection of the oppressed and the guardianship of her subversive witches. 13 sacred ingredients grace her perfume including rue, Tuscan bergamot, olibanum, black myrrh, artemisia, thick nocturnal musk and incense burned in the light of the full moon”

This blend is definitely on of my favorites. It is spicy and summer-y. Sniffing it straight from the bottle, it smells similar to Circe, but more savory. After rubbing it into my skin the scent turns into a candied bouquet of witchy plants. You will smell like a witch’s spice rack, and probably get more compliments on your perfume than ever before. I certainly do whenever I wear Aradia.

Eve: oil by Vajra Conjure.
Photography by Valerie Herron.

EVE
{Biblical Temptress
}
“Red apples, green serpents, fig leaves and other forbidden fruits and flowers in the Garden of Eden”

When I first smelled this, I was so stoked. This is the perfect “medieval” perfume I had been searching for. Sniffing this blend will fill your head with tart apples, mulling spice, and the colognesque scent of distilled fig. MADRIGAL!! I love this blend so much I somehow managed to spill it all over my altar 😦

Wear this to accentuate any medieval costumery.

Whore of Babylon: oil by Vajra Conjure.
Photography by Valerie Herron.

WHORE OF BABYLON
{Sacred Slut
}
“A wanton blend of a fallen starlet: scorched vanilla, champagne and pink diamonds. Our most popular fragrance has been restored to is former glory!”

With good reason, this is Conjure Oil’s most popular scent. Even my Mom (who is a Baptist) LOVES this perfume and hints at me constantly to procure more for her.

How to even describe this masterpiece? It’s like being in a bath full of fragrant herbs while naked priestesses are poring candied sangria into your mouth. It’s like Mickey Avalon in a bottle, minus the sleaze. Perhaps I should say Dionysus in a bottle. And one can not help but feel irresistible when wearing it, people will seriously sniff you as you walk by. It makes me wonder if Vajra put pheromones in it.

Spellbinding Soap: by Vajra Conjure
Photography by Valerie Herron

I have the moodiest, sensitive skin. I look at soaps with fragrance in them and I break-out and dry up. I don’t think I’ve ever been able to use fragranced soap without some sort of annoying skin problem, with the exception of Conjure Oils Spellbinding Soaps. These soaps are amazing. Vajra handmakes them, whatever scent or color you want. I have used  “Sweetest Strawberry” and “Whore of Babylon”, and both made me feel like a goddess. More importantly, they both made my skin soft and in no way irritated.

So there is my long overdue review of some Conjure Oil products. As promised, I will share more reviews in the future of Vajra’s products, as I will inevitably buy more.

Be sure to check out the Conjure Oils website, blog, facebook page, twitter, livejournal, and forum. Like me, Vajra is all over the interwebs.

Quickly, here are some personal updates: I am spending the next week reclaiming my house from clutter and working at my internship. Then I will start work on round 3 of Eleanor‘s portrait, and some video work for Raqs Obliettes. And somewhere in there I have a birthday.
Goodnight!

The Dark Fairy and Fantasy Ball

Hello everyone. I’m a bit late to blog this week, but I am now all caught up after vending, and I am so ready to report how the Ball went.

The Dark Fairy and Fantasy Ball was a total success (good job Joe, Aaron, and Jesse!) It had a great turn out, and it was a lot of fun. Here’s the breakdown of my day at the event:

Set up

We got there around 2:30 pm to set up the booth. As you can see here, the organizers supplied me with a table and two walls to hang my work:

Val's booth Before

hallway for the artists

the main room and stage

the lounge for the venders

If you ever find yourself vending at an event for the first time, be sure to give yourself as much time as possible to set up. It takes a surprising amount of time to set up, and you will inevitably forget important things at home. Everything looked pretty good after we set up

Fred and the booth

high end prints

booth

booth

originals

my originals

 Artists and Vendors 

Unfortunately I didn’t get pictures of everybody, but here are some of the super talented artists that were in this event:

the work of Jesse Lindsay

Jesse Lindsay, Becky, and Dan Boles

Wes Rogers

Sushila reading tarot

Luke Green and his work

vendors in the lounge

Lupa's sweet booth

Aaron Shallock’s Aerial Performance

This was the only performance I got to break away from the booth for. Event organizer (and my Buddy) Aaron Shallock did his first public, aerial performance here at the ball. Since I had never seen him do this before, I found myself worried that he was going to fall on his head at several points. It was a beautiful performance, no accidents nor injuries, and he looks like a freakin’ saucy vampire in these photos:

Costumes

Fred dressed as Pan. He makes a sexy Satyr.

I wore antlers, a medieval dress, and was fabulous.

Fred and I had a great time, and we even made some sales!

Alright, back to the grind. I have 2 weeks left of school and it is officially ultimate crunch time. I would like to say congratulations to all of my school chums that either gave their thesis proposal or defense this last week. Everyone who I got to see present did an amazing job. I’m so proud of all of you, and I hope I can be even half as suave when I present in the Fall…