We had such a great time with Gianna that she’s back! We chat about our recent triumphs and failures and respond to some threads on the Art Advice Reddit Community!
- Music by Old Romans: https://www.instagram.com/old_romans
You can listen to the episode here (or wherever you listen to podcasts) or read the transcript below:
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Art Advice with Gianna Pergamo
Chain Assembly: Hey everyone, Nick here. I know I have been recording intros for a while on these episodes, but I just want to point out that there were some technical issues on my guest's microphone, and I did my best to kind of edit that stuff cleanly throughout the episode. So if you hear some moments where it's jumping around, it's because it got really electronic sounding, jumped in and out, and I'm just trying to clean it up. So thank you as you bear with me for this episode that I hope to do more regularly as a format, this kind of responding to messages that for people looking for advice. And so, yeah, you can always head over to the webpage for the Spotify for podcasters landing page for this project and submit your questions. Or you can just head to artforprofitsthake.com and you'll see information on how to connect with me there too. Thank you.
CA: Gianna is back with me, Gianna of the wonderful Pergamo Paper Goods and of Toad Hill Farm. And we're going to try something a little different this time. We're going to just check in on each other's businesses, see how we're doing, see what our recent wins are. And then we're going to also do some commentary on some posts I found on Reddit slash our art advice. So I had a lot of fun with Gianna, so I'm excited to have her back. So Gianna, how are you doing?
GP: I am doing great. How are you, Nick?
CA: I am doing great. Exhausted from some recent things I've been working on, but before we get to that, how have you been? I know you have a lot of conventions coming up, so what does your plate look like at this point?
GP: Okay, so last week I had some work in a show that opened in downtown St. Pete at the Werk Gallery, those lovely men you had on a couple weeks ago Matthew and Fritz They have a show up called touched by a lobster a surreal show and I have five pieces in it So I that is up until the end of November. It's a really good show And then what else is coming up? I'm gonna be doing the creative Pinellas arts annual I'll have pieces in the show as well as they're trying out doing a market this year. I actually have not done a market in a couple years, so I have to get ready for that, but I'm going to be next to John Gascot, so that should make it a little easier. And then I'm sure I have other things coming up, but I don't remember.
CA: I did see an email too about that arts... What was it? Sorry, the arts what? Arts annual?
GP: I think it's called Arts Venture Market is in conjunction with the Arts Annual.
CA: Okay. Yeah. And that's put on by Creative Pinellas, is it?
GP: And I'm going to be next to John. And then hopefully if I'm accepted to this other holiday market, I will also be next to John, which we both requested, please. If we're accepted. Yeah.
CA: So, uh, My wife is on the committee organizing that market. I organized it last year, Winter in the Wood. It was a lot of fun. My wife and I got pretty toasted, I guess you could call it, in our tents because me and a lot of the other vendors had like a little secret under the table spiced wine competition.
GP: I once had a secret under the table. I went, I drove to Gainesville to do a show and it was outdoors at a brewery so I thought it was okay to take my dog and when I got there they're like you cannot have your dog and I'm like I just drove two and a half hours to get here I'm not sure what to do. So me and my friend put her in a cart and covered her in a tablecloth and then we carted her to the table and then we hit her under the table.
CA: Yeah, it's always good to double check beforehand.
GP: It just like didn't occur to me, you know, because it was outside. So yeah, I learned my lesson.
CA: And which pup was that having the little adventure?
CA: Sophie, okay.
GP: I got a new dog.
CA: You're with Nugget now?
GP: Well, no, Nugget's at the studio with me, but I just got a new new dog. I'm calling him Francis and he's my second sanctuary dog. I think what Fluff is calling them, so I have the three girls and then we have two dogs that are like forever fosters, like hospice, but they're not actively dying, they're just real old and have health problems. So we have five.
CA: Wow, are they all pugs?
GP: No. He's the only pug mix and then Scouts are rat terrier, Nuggets a weird looking Chihuahua, Chica is a different kind of weird looking Chihuahua, and then Francis is a perfect angel boy Chihuahua. So three Chihuahuas, a rat terrier and a pug mix.
CA: But you definitely have like a size preference, I guess, when it comes to your dogs.
GP: Yeah, well I used to be in a tiny apartment, so they needed to be small, but now like Scout doesn't really like bigger dogs. They freak her out, so right now we're all small. Oh.
CA: Is Scout named after a To Kill a Mockingbird?
GP: No, I- Dan named her. It might be a little bit like that. He was an- he was an eagle Scout, so I kind of assumed it was like a Scout. And it's kind of like aspirational, like she, to make her like braver than she actually is.
CA: That's cute. That's sweet. I like that. I really want, so we've got three dogs now, so we're not getting a new one anytime soon, but at some point in my life, I want two dogs named Fraser and Niles. After the Crane boys and Fraser. It's adorable, right? Especially if they're like really fastidious and they don't like to get dirty.
CA: So I also saw some drama, I don't know if I could say drama, but you had some strong opinions online about some interaction with the recent gallery.
GP: Oh yeah, and I look like a total asshole because the stupider things he said to me were said over the phone, so I don't have documentation of them. So I only have screenshots of like our Instagram message and my text message where I got really annoyed. But I can tell you what happens.
CA: Go for it.
GP: Okay, I know, I know. And then, and I like posted my post in different groups and people are like, what are you talking about? He didn't do anything. And I'm like, no, you're not trusting me. You don't understand what happened. So I was invited several times by this guy- Is that his name? Well, we don't have to call him out. I can mute his name if you want, but. I don't care. There's a couple of buildings and there's nothing wrong with the artists. There's a lot of really good artists in there and a lot of nice-
CA: Mark Williams, who's been on the show is in that gallery.
GP: Yeah. Yeah, Mark Williams is in there, co-star is in there, Beach House is in there. It's a really nice place. So I thought really great place. This guy is asking me to exhibit on the inside walls the shared space. He Instagram messaged me for like three different shows, like come join our show, I like your work, come join our show, I like your work, this is a show we're doing, it's relevant to you. And I'm like, okay, but I'm not doing it because I have to submit pieces through cloud folios, and I'm like, oh, this is gonna take time. So finally, he gets me when I have a little free time, I think I upload all my wifi, and I'm just like, I have a little time. So I apply to the show, there's. This is a little annoying. There's like an application fee for the show. So whether you're accepted or not, sell or not, he gets 30 bucks. Whatever. That's neither like maybe a good idea. So I apply to the happy show and because I exhibit in St. Pete, right? So you would assume that he's seen my work or maybe been on my website, maybe seen what I price my pieces at. So I submit all this stuff and then he immediately starts messaging me, you need to call me, call me, whatever. So I call him and he's like, oh, I love the pieces, whatever, the price is too high, they're not gonna sell here. We can't have a eight by 10 for 250. And I'm like, can we do frame prints or something? Because I can't change the price of my exhibit somewhere for 250 and then turn around and now it's 200 or it's 150. Like that's screwed up, you can't do that. That's like pricing etiquette or whatever. Just like you can't price your stuff on your site at one thing and then sell in a store at another place. You can't like undercut. You get like a discount. It's a little cheaper than my website, but whatever. So I'm like, well, I can't my pieces is a little confusing. So I'm like, can you do frame stuff? They're $45 or whatever frames, eight by 10 prints. So he's like, Oh yeah, let me talk to whoever. So I wait and I wait. And then he talks to whoever. And then he's like, I can't do the frames because beach house is moving. And I had forgotten that like all happened at the same time. And they saw my frame prints too and he didn't want to have things for $45 because now that's too cheap. So he wasn't happy with that or that. So I'm like, well, then I guess you have to do the originals and I can't change the price, whatever. So he's like, okay, so they exhibit in the show, the show is whatever, there's some nice pieces in it. There was one I wanted that I didn't buy. But I, yeah, there was, I don't know, did you see that show? There was Long Dog in it by...Cory Robinson is fucking sweet. There's this long dog. Do you like Cory Robinson?
CA: I don't know his work.
GP: Oh my God, I love Cory Robinson. I'm a huge fan girl. And did you go to the show at Green Bench? Fun set? So he had a piece in Fun Set and I did buy that piece. It's a cat wearing Crocs. It's called like, do you like my new shoes? I had to buy it anyway. So that was an...I'm just like getting distracted by myself. But anyway, it was an okay show. There were some good pieces. There were some whatever pieces. It was a show. So then he emails us like, you gotta pick your stuff up from the show. And I'm like, okay. And I write it down in my calendar. And then I don't know, I've been really busy the past few weeks. So I missed the day to pick up my two eight by 10 pieces. And then, so I was supposed to pick them up, I think on Sunday. And then on Monday, my phone is ringing. But I'm like in a telehealth therapy appointment with my boyfriend. So I pick up the phone and I'm like, hello. And he's like, hello, Gianna. You have not picked up your pieces. And I'm like, oh shit. I'm so sorry. I forgot. Like I can come pick them up later today. And he's like, you're the only one that didn't pick up your piece. Cool. I'll pick them up later today. And like that plus the other thing just fucking annoyed me. So I asked my friend who has a studio around there if he could pick up my picture, gave him some attitude too and then I heard from some other artists I'm not allowed to like say names that's a thing but I have quotes they were things such as oh yeah asked me to lower my prices too Oh yeah, he does that to everybody. He asks all the artists to lower their prices because he's trying to get people from the brewery next door to buy stuff, which is legit, but they don't want to spend over $200 on things, which is fine. Have stuff that's less than $200. Don't ask people whose paintings are over $200 to sell in the thing. Oh, he's also the guy that had the AI and digital show together, which I didn't realize. I mean, the thing was my fault. Like when we had that like pricing thing, I could have just said, nevermind, you know? But then he was rude to me on the phone. And then when you're rude to me and I was like having a nice day, and then you're just an asshole to me on the phone. And I'm like, why did you do that? My two eight by 10 pieces were so horrible to you. You couldn't even look at them another day. You couldn't even look at them for another three hours. They like offended you so much Like I said it come pick them up right away. I forgot people forget stuff People forget stuff Anyway, that's what that whole screen grab thing was about. I wish I had audio. I wish I just surreptitiously Recorded people all the time illegally like I wish I did that but I don't so because I go into things trusting people I like try to go into like art dealings like trusting people Because I assume that other artists in the area are trying to do good for other artists in the area But it turns out maybe they aren't so you can't just trust everybody
CA: I have never applied to any of those shows Because of that theme for a show being AI and digital art
GP: I didn't realize that. It just rubbed me in a wrong way to put those two things different. Oh! Can I tell you something else I've learned? So there's three buildings, right? There's like the white building, the green building, and I forget the other color of the building. So that guy and this other lady organized the shows. and you have to pay the money and submit through Cloudfolios. He's also making the artists in the other buildings submit and pay to be on the walls in that building.
CA: Are they getting like a cut of any piece sales there?
CA: So if they needed the price to go down, they could lower their cut.
GP: I suppose they could.
CA: Interesting, interesting. I mean, like I understand a gallerist talking someone into raising their price.
GP: I could even say, you know what? Your price is a little high for your skill level, right? Like you could say that kindly. Oh, I think these should actually be $200 and these ones should be $300. And then maybe in a year, you can raise your price or something. But this is the price that I've been selling my work at. And I've raised my prices a little bit in the last couple years because 250 for an 8x... Like I'm selling some of the older ones for 250 for an 8x10, but I've raised my prices a little bit because, yeah, just because I've been doing this a while.
CA: Yeah, because you can sell it at that price.
CA: That indicates the value of the piece. If you can sell it for that price, that's what it's value is.
GP: So yeah. I look like such an asshole in one of the groups. Like...And like, I think it was Tampa Bay vendors. I like posted and everyone's like, this isn't the vibe. He didn't do anything wrong. And then I just like responded. Like I tried to respond and then they just don't respond back. And I'm like.
CA: Well, I think not to name names, but a lot of St. Pete artists are probably like, Oh, no, do we have another insert name here in the city? The insert name here being an artist who caused a lot of drama and eventually moved to Alaska. You probably know who I'm talking about.
GP: Yeah, we're friends.
CA: Oh, OK. I'm friends with her. I understand, though. I understand what you're talking about. No, I know, but we are friends. Um, so I've had shoes, but yeah, no, I like her and I love her. I love her art. I know her.
CA: Her art's beautiful. It's all over the city. But she also thinks she invented the idea of adding more than two eyes to somebody. But that's neither here nor there. We'll talk about it later. Um, I had a pretty fun win. Yesterday was the first time in my business I ever had to book freight, less than truckload or LTL freight shipping. Because I saw my most recent project I designed, Pilgrimage of the Penitent, which is a role playing game, that arrived from the factory in China last week. And it was 750 books, 200 collector's edition boxes, not 100 of those, 400 decks of cards, a whole bunch of pads of paper, a bunch of stuff. And so that arrived on a pallet from a truck and I had to assemble all these collectors edition boxes sign a bunch of things number everything and then repackage all up to ship it to my fulfillment partner in Indiana and It ended up being 18 cardboard boxes So I'm like, okay now, how do I get this to them? Because taking them all to UPS is gonna be crazy expensive
GP: Wait, why do you have them ships there originally you wanted to quality control them?
No, well, so the main item in question here is the collector's edition box. This collector's edition CA: box is a big black, I'd put it on camera if I could reach it, but a big black box that is matte, but it has the logo of the game in UV spot, so it looks really cool. And then inside the box is like a wallpaper pattern of the logo of the game. Within that box, I'm putting the hardcover book, which is the game itself. I have one of those right here. And then there's also the deck of cards, which is right here. And then a journal with the logo and then prints that I was making at home. Giclee prints as well as aluminum bookmarks. So it's like a whole bunch of things going in the box. Mm hmm. Most of it was made in China, but the prints, the books, the enamel pen and the journals all came from different manufacturers, me or other people. So I had that stuff with me in the United States already. So I had to put that stuff in the box, seal the box. And then I also wanted to sign and number each one with a card inside the box. So that's where the stuff came to me so I can assemble them and then ship them up to my production partner or distribution partner in Indiana. But anyway, so I was like, how do I book a truck to pick up this pallet? I didn't even know that was an option until like they delivered it all in a pallet because everything else had been smaller orders. So I just actually got those as boxes but this actually came from a truck on a pallet. They just put it in my garage. I'm like, oh, thank goodness I have open enough space in my garage to fit a pallet with stuff on it. But apparently Uber freight is a thing. So yeah, it's awesome. So I just typed in like how heavy all the boxes are, the general dimensions. And then it gives me a list of like trucking companies that can come pick it up and drop it off. And so it's like 658 pounds of goods. And so it's just one pallet sort of. And that to Indiana, which will be like a four day, three to four day drive. It's kind of an estimated delivery time. That is going to cost me four hundred dollars. Which is going to be I know, right? Like, that's so much cheaper than taking 18 50 pound cardboard boxes to the post office. Cool. It's a lot cheaper than I expected. So that that that gets me excited to think that like, oh, now my business is so big, I have to like actually hire trucks to move stuff around. That's kind of a fun little thing. All right, so let's chat about some of these things I found on the art advice Reddit community thread. I'm not that great at Reddit. What do you call it? I guess it would be Reddit group. Anyways. I don't know. I like use Reddit very rarely. Well, speaking of which, I was trying to run an ad today on Reddit. And some things I learned, this is my first time running an ad on Reddit, but if you have your profile set to allowing NSFW stuff, like you know, if you just turn that on so that those things don't get hidden from you, your ads you create will all automatically be rejected. So I'm like, okay, interesting, so I had to toggle that off.
GP: Wait, what? Yeah. I don't understand. Can you say that again?
CA: I don't either.
GP: If you turn off NSFW?
CA: Or you turn it on so if you turn it on so on ready if you go to your profile There's a cute little nugget there Hi nugget So if you go to your profile you can toggle on and off NSFW to see that stuff on your Reddit things or to hide it from you if you have it on and you try to create a reddit ad it will reject to the ad
CA: Yeah, I know. Okay, so I turned it off and then I recreated the ad and then I submitted it again and then it got rejected again saying that there's nudity in my ad or it's taking people to a website with nudity. And I'm like, that's there's none of that. There's no nudity anywhere on this project. So I thought that was weird.
GP: Isn't there nudity on your website? No?
CA: Well, I'm sending them to the link I'm sending them to isn't my website. I'm sending it to the crowdfunding page for the women's wheel. The new project I'm working on. And one of the cards has nudity in it, but that's not like any. I don't think there's it's probably in the little animation of the cards rotating, but there's like, you know, you're not going to see it. Half a second, half a second of tasteful nudity. And it's just it's just a couple of nips. That's it. It's not there's nothing dramatic going on. But anyway, so I contacted their support team to see if they can give it another look. But anyway, so but. One thing that is cool is it seems a lot easier to target people on Reddit than it is on Facebook. Because I think Facebook really wants to kind of like make the decisions of who gets to see stuff on their own with their algorithm. With Reddit, you can actually choose exact communities or exact, I gotta look it up because I can't remember what it's called. It's just the join button. Yeah, there you go. You can choose specific subreddits that you wanted to appear in and which ones you want to exclude. You can also do it by keywords and things like that. So I thought that was pretty cool.
GP: Nugget has a lot of anxiety so like even if she knows a person and they enter the room she freaks out. So like she knows Aaron but I have two helpers today. Thank God.
CA: So is Nugget one of them?
GP: Plus two dogs. No, two helpers plus two dogs.
CA: Alright, so let's take a look at some of these things I saw in the art advice thread. So this first post comes from user Dionysokay. I don't know if I said that right, but I'm sure I'll be messing up all of these. Dionysokay says, I've been drawing since I was little and I've basically taught myself everything I know. Back then I didn't know anatomy and I still don't. The heads in my drawings were just circles and the only time I improved was after discovering the internet and copying what I saw. Now that I want a more semi-realistic art style and need to learn anatomy, I have no idea what I'm doing. Art tutorials feel like gibberish and they never explain anything I want to know and I have no idea where to start. Do I practice one body part at a time? Which body part should I practice drawing first? Should I learn how to draw everything at once? How do I draw backgrounds? How do I even draw? I'm so lost. It's all up there.
GP: Oh my God, so many questions. I have a suggestion. I have a suggestion and I feel like young people, we're young people, but I mean like younger people, don't forget that you can go to the library. Go to the library. Get a book on drawing anatomy. Pick up a book on drawing anatomy. Pick up a book that shows like the old masters drawing. You can probably...that stuff up too on the internet. You can look it up on your library app. Go to the library. Go to the library.
CA: I also want to recommend to go check out what your local art museum has. They've always got classes or local arts organizations. I mean we're lucky here in St. Pete that we have so many things like Creative Panelist that actually have figure drawing classes or other type of art classes.
GP: Oh yeah, going to figure drawing would be so helpful.
CA: Yeah, yeah, I mean I've never been, I've only done, I mean I've done plenty of figure drawing classes in college where there is an instructor. I've never been to like a community figure drawing class, have you?
GP: We have a couple here, but they were really fun.
CA: Are they guided at all or is it just a model?
GP: That's the thing. It is helpful to go to one where there is a teacher, but if you can't get that, you can just start drawing and then maybe look for the people who know what they're doing and ask their advice. Because I'm sure someone will want to help you. And then if you don't, shh, shh, shh. If you don't have that, I mean like draw your, have your friends pose. And just like, you got to just practice and practice and just do really like quick, quick drawings. So like if, if you can't go to a figure drawing class, you know, start with, usually you start with two minutes. And then you like work your way up to like 30 seconds. And then you like, you'll do a bunch of two minute poses, then a bunch of 30, one minute poses, then a bunch of 30 second poses. And then you can do your like five, 10, 15 minute poses, hour poses, three hour poses.
CA: I also, I also recommend the website quickposes.com. It actually just like randomly cycles images based on how long, like what parameters you set. So like every 30 seconds, a new picture of a model will pop up and then you have to draw it. For beginners, I also recommend stay away from pencils and use charcoal. That'll really kind of, because you can't really do a whole shadowy side of somebody with a pencil. The charcoal's gonna fill in space quickly. You don't wanna be erasing. Yeah, you don't wanna be erasing anyway.
GP: Don't try to erase, just do it and move on. Just do it, move on. My favorite models are usually old women, they're great. They can pose for a long time and sometimes they'll fall asleep. So if you need an old pose, get your grandma, tell her to put on like a telenovela for her and throw on her for a couple hours. Like that will help.
CA: And if you're doing like, if you're trying to do portraits or anything like that, a good place to practice too is with older people because it's a lot easier when there's details on a face that become recognizable as the person you're drawing than if they have a young, smooth face. Because a young, smooth face could look like a person, but it might not look like the person you're drawing. So the more detailed, the easier.
GP: Like more exaggerated features. So like a very thin person or a person with like a lot of curves, both very fun to draw. Like an average person, okay, but like, a person with like extra like roles when they when they sit and like scrunch or you know different like like weight or like a really really gaunt old man or something where you can see the bones is like awesome.
CA: But a good rule is as far as things you want charcoal, a pad of newsprint paper and do 20, 30 second poses before you spend more than a minute on a pose. So, yeah, that's your homework.
GP: I feel like a beginner though, a beginner gets so stuck on those 30 seconds. Yeah, well... I mean, yeah, try to do 30 second poses, but I feel like when I was teaching... Do you know that for a little while I did stuff with middle schoolers? And we would do poses. So like, you know, even get a group of friends together and then take turns posing. Cause they would do that, like it was very funny. But you know, we, yeah, they did a good job.
CA: All right. I think that was pretty good. Okay. Remote Revolution 799 says, the art project is portraying an emotion that is chosen randomly for you by the teacher. I pulled bitter. We also have to convey this emotion using color. I'm kind of stuck because bitter is a hard emotion to convey because it's a mixture of many different emotions. How would you portray bitter, Giana?
GP: like, bitter is a like, it is a mush of emotions. It's like, could be like, jealousy and like, anger that's like, repressed. Is bitterness like repressed anger? Sort of? Or?
CA: I, I kind of interpret it also as jealousy. So like, I guess the way I would do it is, so in my mind, what I'm picturing is what you'll often see is like the artsy newspaper photo. Like you see a story about Trump or something in the paper, the photo that's always with it is like someone who's like staring at someone who's out of focus closer to the camera, you know what I mean? So like I would have an image of someone having a great time but they're really blurry, out of focus, and in the back is someone who's like staring at them plotting and they're bitter about that person's joy. That's kind of what I'm imagining as a scene. I don't know. Are there any colors you would associate with bitterness?
GP: Very editorial kind of illustration, which I'm bad at.
CA: Is there a color you would associate with it?
GP: I love the color green, but a gross green that's gray and deep. Gray and deep. I love the face you're making right now. It's like gray, green and brown, and orange, decaying leaves, like bitter inside you is like eating at you, right? It's like decay, like eating at you, like necrotic flesh. Oh yeah, that could be a good image too. Like some type of like cancerous growth on the skin or something could represent bitterness. That's something people say, like don't keep those emotions in, you'll get cancer.
CA: I've never heard that. Is that like an old Italian thing?
GP: No, I don't know. It's like something my mom would say. She's like you have to express your feelings or you'll It'll make you sick It'll make you sick to hold in those bad feelings So some kind of like decaying thing. I don't have like a vision for it. I would probably do something semi-abstract but I don't know what but like I I'm thinking about those colors, like kind of zombie colors.
CA: Well, I think no matter what you do, as long as you own it, you're going to be able to pull it off for the teacher.
GP: Yeah, try your best.
CA: All right. So outside AD338 says, I'm finding it very hard to accurately define the right proportions for each drawing I do. Some have perfect proportions, but then I f up the next one. Is there a way to learn how to draw the right proportions every time or a tip?
GP: of a person?
CA: It seems like it seems like they get it right some of the time, but not the other time. And they just want to know how to practice getting proportions right every time. What is it? Perfect practice makes perfect. You have to practice, practice, practice. Yeah. I don't know. I feel the same way. Sometimes my proportions are right, and then sometimes I think my proportions are right, and I look back at them like, oh, others critique your drawings.
CA: Yeah. The way I see it is first off, don't think it has to be perfect proportions. I mean, think about some of the masters like Egon Schiele, his illustrations are incredible and proportions are not even part of it. It's really about like, does the emotion match the proportion? Sorry, does the emotion match the proportion that you're seeing? Like if someone is like, attacking someone else in an image, you might want to make their hands bigger than usual because that represents the physicality of their energy.
GP: Right, it has to do with your intention. Yeah. Was Scheile intentional about his... because like, El Greco's proportions are because he had some kind of visual disturbance or something, right?
CA: Oh, okay. That's news to me.
GP: Well, all right. I have to look it up, but there was a reason that...Um, he has looked different. I don't know if it's the same with. Was Sheila. Is it, is it, am I saying it right? Sheila, Egon Sheila?
CA: German. I don't know. I always said it is Shealy because it ends with an E, but, uh, no idea. Oh, this is interesting.
GP: Okay. Also, this reminds me of, you know, like, um, Byzantine art and uh, like pre Renaissance art, all the religious art where like, you know, Jesus is really big and then all the saints and stuff are just like tiny little people or like even when Jesus, Ooh, baby Jesus, where like the proportions are like a little man instead of a baby.
CA: Yeah. Great call out.
GP: I love those. Um, but I like it. Yeah, when things are are proportional to their importance instead of actuality. Like, oh, in like Indian art, and like, East, East Asian art, I don't I, my art history is like a little spotty. But I was looking, I saw this exhibit, I think at the Met, and it wasn't Indian art. It was a country close to India. Don't be mad at me. But the proportions of like people and animals to each other was not based on the real proportions. Like, this was. Okay, so some of these paintings were influenced by Western art, where and they were looking at different compositions. But it was being interpreted through a different lens. So when everything was put back together, the proportions didn't have to do with space anymore. Mm. It's like I have, I think, a reproduction of one of the pieces. And it's just really interesting where there's a bird in it that's on a tree. And it takes up like a huge part of the frame. And then there's like all this other stuff happening. But the bird is so big. But it's like in a space. And it doesn't really make any, it doesn't make spatial sense but it makes sense for the meaning of the piece or whatever. It's just completely different.
CA: So once you take your need to have everything proportioned, toned down a notch, some tips within that is always try and keep everything compared to other parts of the image. Like if your model has their hand going from like, lengthwise from the tip of the nose to their belly button, because their hands close to the camera, try and identify that in your sketching phase. Don't ever I know when I was a young artist, I'm sure you do. You just want to quickly go to inking, quickly do your hard lines. But you're being very loose at the beginning. And during that looseness, you're going to constantly compare one part of the body to another part of the body to see where it fits sidewise. Like maybe the left foot is the same as the distance from left ear to right ear. So you'll kind of keep that in mind as you're comparing things on the figure. You're drawn.
GP: So my friend showed me something cool that I had never learned. So I always know you have your work, and you step back from it and look at it, or you put it down and go away for a couple hours and look back at it. She had me put my work in a mirror. And that was eye-opening, because you can really see how things are funky looking when they're reversed.
CA: Yeah. So that's one thing I love about digital painting too, is I have a keyboard shortcut in Clip Studio Paint that mirrors the image. I can mirror it vertically or horizontally. So tapping that on and off, I can also have an alternate view of that same piece I'm drawing, constantly like anchored to the top right of the screen and have that version flipped. So that kind of helps me see when things are off and I could just use like the liquify tool to smudge things around in my sketch phase. So yes, that's a great point. Flipping things over will let you know if something looks wrong or if something's in the wrong spot. All right, so Chris left butt cheek, or Curious left butt cheek, asks, in my college class, we are learning to use dual-sided brush tip markers. My professor is providing Blick Studio and Prisma color markers, but we can only use them in class. I want to practice outside class without breaking the bank. We are working on shading and highlighting mostly, so I don't need to have a massive array of colors, just the basics and light colors but I don't know what cheaper brands are good to buy, what would you recommend? Note that I do need a brand that all the colors blend well together due to what we are doing.
GP: I don't have a lot of experience with markers. Hopefully you do. I also don't, but like I was recently trying to buy some paint markers online. I feel like it's the same thing. Just like check the reviews on Amazon. Also, I feel like… I don't know how you feel about ordering from like Tmoo, but I am fine with it, because I feel like it's the same stuff that's on Amazon, but it's cheaper. So same thing, just wherever you're looking, check the reviews, read, and see, maybe buy a smaller pack first and test them out.
CA: Well, I am fairly confident that Tmoo exists just to steal people's identities. So make sure you use like a gift card if you're buying stuff from Tmoo and then just load up that gift card as needed because they will sell your. I need to do that. One thing I do recommend, which is definitely on the cheaper side and very fun to use in a similar situation is, I can't remember the brand, but I've got a bunch of these. They're like, it looks like a marker, but you fill it with watercolor paint. And. then like the tip looks like a marker too, but it's also like a brush tip marker, so it's flexible. So that way you can kind of create your own using watercolors and you can really slowly build up shading with that device and like the body of the pen fills up with the with water.
GP: The thing with those markers, the reason I haven't used the like a marker, I find a marker hard to use for the way that I draw. I probably could do it now, but what's hard about them is they're always the same opacity. Like the thing you're saying is you can start with a low opacity. I feel like those markers and the people that are good at them, they, I don't know how they do it because they lay down that color and then it's down. It's not like paint where you can just paint over it. It's not like collage. Oh. I find those really hard. Yeah, like I've tried once or twice. I've never sat down and practiced it, but it's yeah, it's almost like like with acrylic paint, you can still kind of blend, but like with the marker. Yeah, I know you can blend those markers because like. And I'm saying like a lot. I don't like that. And I know that. Oh, don't start. Makes you sound stupid. Um, there's some different artists that I like that do marker. Does squid vishuss use marker?
CA: I've never heard that name, but I'm going to look at it.
GP: Oh, I think she uses marker. They're good. I don't know how she does it. I just like totally decked out my water bottle, like really good.
CA: So I went to SquidVicious on Instagram and it is very erotic photography. So I might be looking at the wrong SquidVicious, but thank you anyways.
GP: They're not, they're not photography, they're drawings. So this must be a different SquidVicious then. Here, it's S, it's Squid, V-I-S-H-U-S-S.
CA: Oh, so that's how you spell vicious.
GP: Yeah, it's not like... I think these are marker.
CA: Oh, OK, yeah, I see these. These do look like some are digital, some are marker. Mm hmm. Yeah, I could see like the texture of the paper that you always get with marker where it gets kind of grainy. And then I think she might use paint marker on top of some of them. Yeah, yeah, I see that. Take it like the white. These do look like it's still very flat, though. So it's like, like I'm looking at this this woman with with like a maybe a a nut colored skin, I think of a better term. So like I see she's got kind of just the one shade for skin. And then she probably went. This one's got like a pink magic orb of like stuff coming out. OK, let me look. It's on her Instagram.
GP: Sorry. She's not colored and she has a pink orb. How far did you scroll down?
CA: This is like the second picture on her Instagram. Oh, no, the sixth on her Instagram. One, two. This could be, once again, a different vicious. This one's got a blue witch's hat. No, it's a blue witch's hat.
GP: Yeah, she uses one color for the skin, and then she like highlights the skin with like pink.
GP: And then that looks blended in. I wonder how easy it is to do watercolor over marker. Like if you use the marker to fill in the solids and then watercolor the edges.
CA: Now, one thing I don't like about marker is like you have to fill in the whole thing at one time. If you stop for a few minutes and come back later, it'll be splotchy and look like different shapes because you let one bit dry before the other bit.
GP: Anyways, so to answer your question, you either got to go all in on markers and you probably got to get good ones or just don't even bother like we do.
CA: So Hugo F.E. asks, how would one go about sealing a painting that used either one watercolor plus acrylic or two watercolor plus acrylic plus colored pencils?
GP: Well, what do you use to seal watercolor? Like spray?
CA: I don't seal watercolor.
GP: Okay, I would maybe spray it.
CA: Yeah, spray fixative is what I use for like pastels, but, or pencil or charcoal, but I don't seal my watercolors. I don't find the need to.
GP: Because you don't need to seal, you don't need to seal acrylic. Right. I mean, you can. I, I...So what I use to seal my collages. Okay, so if I have a collage where I used like acrylic paint, paper, and then maybe something that is water soluble like a marker or, you know how sometimes you can squish around colored pencils. So I need to seal it before I use like a- Right now I'm into semi-gloss, so I'll use a semi-gloss spray enamel. I don't know how archival this stuff... I would get like an archi... depending on if you care if it's archival, like a spray fix that is archival. I don't usually care about it because the paper I use in my collages is not archival because it'll just be like printer paper or it'll be like mixed with other stuff so it's not really gonna be permanent so I'll spray it with whatever a lot of people will spray things with crystal clear and that'll fix anything you can do you can fix oils with crystal clear and then paint on top of it with acrylic you can fix anything with crystal clear but I fix, I fix, I'll fix things with the spray. And then after I fixed it with the spray, I'll use a varnish, some kind of varnish or matte medium or gloss medium.
CA: In a pinch, you can also use hairspray instead of like official spray fixative. It'll work the same. But yes, I do love varnish. For a while I was doing these, digital image transfers onto wood, and I always did varnish on those, either matte, which I feel like the matte varnish is pretty similar to just putting Elmer's glue over something and letting it dry, because it looks similar, it's still translucent, or do the gloss varnish. I would always use Liquitex brand, I love those. Not a fan of Mod Podge.
GP: No, no, don't use the Mod Podge. Yeah, I used to do everything matte. And then I started using like semi-gloss and gloss. And now I like really like, oh my God, I misplaced my varnish. I couldn't find the really gooey one. And I used some other stuff on the piece behind me and now it's all streaky and it's driving me crazy. So I think I'm gonna refinish it with something like thick. My friend uses, I think resin to cover a lot of her pieces. And she said that she would show me, like maybe she'll help me do this one so that I don't screw up my first one.
CA: Is this a local artist? Cause I know a local artist who does resin on all of her paintings.
GP: Vanessa Luhvek?
CA: Yeah, Vanessa Luvick. I have one of her pieces in my living room. My wife loves it.
GP: Oh, lucky you. I don't have one yet. Yeah, but I'm really enjoying her. Did you see her log piece? I saw the show she did a few months ago because it was actually just like two blocks from my house. It's brand new. There was a show at the Potion Portal that was like nostalgia.
CA: Summer was in that one.
GP: Yeah. Sorry. Yeah. Summer did a great Furby that I want. I've been talking to her about. OK, Summer. like four pieces that I want. And she said maybe she'd trade with me. So I'm very excited.
CA: Yeah. But I've got to have two of Summer’s pieces in our bedroom. So she's great.
GP: She has a log, you know, log from Ren and Stimpy. Yes. Yeah, it's really funny.
CA: Vanessa does great stuff. Her stuff is always like it's erotic and funny. It's very there's a lot of pervy humor. But then it's also got this nice kind of 50s aesthetic. She's definitely got a great niche.
GP: Yeah, she's good. Yeah, and then the resin coating just really makes everything look amazing. It definitely adds. It makes the colors stand out because it kind of like that nice graphical quality.
CA: But I feel like you kind of lose some of the tactile nature of the piece. So anyways, going back to your original question, Hugo. spray paint or don't even bother finishing it.
GP: Spray fix it. Yeah, why are you even trying to fix it? Like, what do you think is gonna happen to it?
CA: Like my watercolors, I'll put them in a frame.
GP: Yeah, yeah, in a frame behind glass and we're done.
CA: All right, so Nurik445 asks, hi all, new here and honestly kind of taking a dive into it cause why the hell not? Been hopping around the idea in my head of seriously starting to learn how to draw characters and I don't know where to start. In general, the arts and design field really confuses me when I try to look into it, I feel like the ship has sailed and I missed my shot. I'm 27 years old, physical disability too, but I'll leave that out for now. And yet I really keep coming back to the urge to create the characters that hop in my imagination. TLDR, I wanna start learning how to draw and create characters and I don't know where to start. Hope I made any sort of sense and thanks in advance.
GP: Is he asking like how to find his style in creating a character or what?
CA: So, um, I think that's really what they're mostly concerned with is the, um, the original characters. So I have this book, um, trying to, I should have had this prepared. There you go. An amazing book I highly recommend called Designing Creatures and Characters, How to Build an Artist Portfolio for Video Games, Film, Animation, and More. It is designed kind of like a course, I guess you could say. So it's like step one, step two, step three, or like phase one, phase two, phase three. And then in each one of those chapters, it also gives you like, make it kind of video gamey. Like you'll get...gamer points for completing additional activities on top of the ones that the book asks you to complete. So a good idea of that is like, one of the first things it does is it has one of the first assignments in the book. It has you look, pick an animal, look at the skeleton of that animal, and then try and build a creature around that skeleton that doesn't look like the animal. So it's full of things like that that will help you develop like, coming up with new worlds for locations, coming up with new characters designing costumes and jewelry for cultures that don't exist. So that's a good book. I recommend The Designing Creatures and Characters.
GP: This is cool. I'm looking at it. It looks cool. It seems like, yeah, this would be good. What about for more of a beginner?
CA: So for more of a beginner, a good, I recommend just drawing stuff that you like, trying to copy things, and then mix and match parts of them. Like, get the head from one character, leg from another.
GP: I have a suggestion. Go to the library. Hey? I'm really into the library right now, if you can't tell. Go to the children's book section and pull out. Look for children's books. Don't look at the subject or whatever. Just look at books you like. And look at the illustrations and the characters and why you like, those characters. You can look up books that you used to read when you were little or new ones. Like maybe you're looking at Frog and Toad. Those are some good characters. Frederick the Mouse. Do you know Leo Leone? I love Leo Leone. I think he's Italian. I don't know. He's an illustrator. I originally thought I was going to do children's books. So I like to look at children's books. What's the guy, he's a newer illustrator, he's working now, who did the one about the hat? Like, where did my hat go? Who stole my hat? What's that one called?
CA: No idea. I'm not that abreast of the children's book scene. Maybe I should be.
CA: Oh, that's beautiful. It kind of reminds me of like where the wild things are, but a lot more. Like if you mixed Maurice Sendak's Where the Wild Things Are with. I don't know. I don't know who that is. We don't know the same stuff. Anyways, I do like that style. It's simple shapes, watercolor. That's beautiful.
GP: Yeah, I really like him. Um, I really should go to the library and take my own advice and like look at stuff. But yeah, I think yours, I think yours is a great idea to go through something like that, but like, look at, I guess, look at different characters, right? That inspire you from all different kinds of places. Like you can look at children's books. You can look at video games. You can look at real life characters and TV shows that you like or an animation.
CA: And then since they also mentioned physical disability and wanting to know where to start, a great place to start is with an iPad and with Procreate. Because you can customize the sensitivity of the screen, so maybe you don't have the ability to put a lot of pressure down. And you can still draw with fingertips if you needed to. There's amazing art being made just with fingertips.
GP: Another thing you can do I don't know what this person's disability is, so I make collages and I cut things up, but maybe you don't have like the fine motor like cutting ability, you can tear things up and glue them together. And make things big if you can. Like, don't worry about that. Some of the best art is like, like simple in the way that it's created, but like has a huge impact.
CA: So like, and there's lots of artists with physical and like mental and intellectual disabilities. So go for it. Good example is local artist David McCauley. He's quadriplegic and he does amazing paintings. All right, ownlifeguard1536 asks, I don't really draw backgrounds at all. It's not something I like to do, but the drawings always look so empty and once I'm done because of that, is there any way to kind of make the background interesting without like adding too much effort? I'm a...I'm trying my best to actually make these legible text because people on reddit don't tend to actually Proofread anything that they've written Own lifeguard 1536 says I don't really dry that I don't really draw backgrounds as it's Not something I like to do but the drawings always look so empty and once I'm done Is there any way to kind of make the background interesting without adding too much effort. Okay. I thought this would be a good question for you. Yeah, go first, because I know you do a lot of wallpaper, maybe.
GP: What do I want to do? I want to cut it out, right? You know I want to cut out whatever they did and glue it onto something else. Like you can glue the whole thing onto, yeah, gift wrap, wallpaper, a map, another painting that you did that you turned upside down. What else could you do? You could like mask off what you did and watercolor like sort of Bloop-bloop-bloop-bloop. Yeah, something like that.
CA: Do some like fun drippy techniques I recommend just looking up fun watercolor techniques and you can come up just do a whole bunch of random pages with just Swirly colors and then do your drawings on top of that. Digitally, one thing that I've done in the past too, is I've looked up like vintage high res scans of vintage Japanese magazines and Japanese newspapers and just turn those into backgrounds for images.
GP: Yeah, I mean, that's the same thing I'm doing, but physically. Yeah, I mean, sometimes I don't want to do a background either. So I feel that. But you can add like things that are just enough information. So like you have a guy and his dog. That's your picture. You don't have a thing. What do you, what else does it need? So is he in his one or two things that you can add to put him in that space like a clock and And a window so you know he's inside some clat like what
CA: It also helps too to think about what you're ultimately going to be doing with that piece. Are you just going to look at it on a screen? If so doesn't really matter as much. Are you going to print it? Then maybe pick a color that's going to match your walls. So even if you're just doing a solid color, that's going to add a lot of emotion to the scene too. So yeah, start with solid colors too, I would say. All right. So I am so T4T says trying to develop an art style. So I know it's just about practice and experimenting and redrawing, but I'm very new to art and just would like some general tips. I get stuck pretty easily in terms of playing around with stuff. I never know what to study to get better. Here's some styles I've played around with but can't seem to keep consistent, replicate, etc. and unsure if I'm happy with them. I know it takes time and practice, but I'm just like, what do I practice? Is it productive to keep redrawing the same thing incorrectly or just in a way I don't like over and over?
CA: I disagree.
GP: I think it is so it sounds frustrating and and annoying and I don't know why you don't just do something joyful instead. Just do something that feels joyful
CA: I think it does help to constantly redraw the same scene or refrodograph the same pose over and over until you feel like you've fully explored every possible aspect.
GP: Okay, I agree, but maybe take a break. Yeah, if you're getting fun, don't do it. Right. So what like, okay, so what's you're trying to find your style. And so what you're trying to find is the way of making things that feels natural and good to you that you like the way it looks. That's all that matters, right? That you like the way it looks and you're happy with it.
CA: Well, I would say that you definitely have a recognizable style, Gianna. Did you, how did you kind of fall into that style?
GP: I tried a lot of different things. I didn't have a style. I like started doing So not all of my pieces look like this, but all of my pieces for Pergamo paper goods look like this, because consistency, but I, you know, I did go to art school. I took all kind of illustration classes. I took drawing classes. I took painting classes. I took printmaking classes. I took bookmaking classes, I took graphic design classes, I took collage classes, and even while I was taking collage classes, I made things that looked totally different. I actually found a box, I'm cleaning my studio right now. I pulled everything out because Eric moved out and- And so I pulled out a lot of stuff to redo like where everything is. Um, and while I was doing that, I found a box of books that I made while I was in college and it was really fun because it's full of collage and like mixed media stuff that looks nothing like the stuff I do right now, but I still like to work that way a little bit. But how did I get to this? I tried a lot of stuff and like some of it I was good at and some of it I was bad at. I like tried this stuff that I was bad at over and over and over again, trying to make it good. And I enjoy painting and I do paint for myself and for gifts and stuff, but I found a lot of I'm gonna just say the same word, joy, in the way that I work now for this kind of art where I make the animal people, animal mermaids. Like, it is fun to me. Like, the process is fun and it makes sense to me. Like, I like to work on like six things at once. So sometimes I'm behind and I screw up and I have to work on one thing at once because it was due yesterday. But ideally when I don't have a deadline, I will work on about six pieces at the same time. And I will cut up a bunch, like I'll do all the prep work. I'll do a bunch of canvases with different patterns on them. And then I'll cut up a bunch of animals and I'll have all kinds of different outfits and pieces of clothing and accessories. And then I just make a huge, where I start combining things. And I like combine things and then I photocopy them and then I combine them and then I photocopy them. I don't know if you've ever seen, I have videos of how I work on my website. But like, yeah, I just combine things until they make me happy, or they make me laugh, or something, they spark something. So when I started, I started making animal people through collage in this way where I use photocopies, and I do everything in black and white, and then I paint it. I started doing that in my senior year of college. I started, I did it for a project where I tried a million different things for this class. I forget what it was called. It was taught by my favorite teacher, Judy Sue. I hope she's doing well. And it was a children's book class. And the assignment, it had to do with some kind of book structure. I think the structure was like a thing. a list kind of book where you list things. This thing happens and this thing and this thing and this thing. Anyway, that doesn't really explain it well. But my idea for this book was called Fish Market. You know, like you go to a fish market, except it was a fish that was going to market. So in this style, the whole book was a bunch of fish. And they weren't in 70s outfits. They were in like early 20th century outfits. The whole book was like dark browns and like greens. I think I have a copy of it. I'll show you sometime, but it was this style. And I really enjoyed making it. I made the fish and then there's the photocopies and there's all kinds of things in it with the photocopies and little worms and acorns and stuff. And then it was on different kinds of paper. Like it was a total experiment and I used handmade papers. It as some of the backgrounds, I use sounds and like all this stuff. And after I did that, I like, it like felt right. So I made some other pieces and in that way, and I was still trying other things. But I, I really enjoyed it. So this is my style for right now until I get sick of it, right? And that's also like, don't worry so much about finding your style. It might take a really long time. And then you might have like three different styles because I have this style and then I have a different style for my abstract paintings. You know, they don't look like that. They're not little animals in dresses. They look like, like landscapes or whatever. And then I have a different style for the semi-abstract collages that I do. I could say for me- I'm talking a lot. I'm sorry.
CA: No, that's fine. That's why I have you on because you're good at this. I could say for me, I don't have an overall style for chain assembly. Each-Project or publication I create I try to do a new style for that new project so that ultimately it seems like there's a whole Team of people working under chain assembly, but it's really just me so yeah
GP: I can tell when Nick made something Say
CA: but it's only because I'm standing behind it when you're looking at it
GP: No, I can see something and I know that you made it Because of the content and stuff just has a very Nick feeling to me.
CA: So when I am starting a new project, what I always do, the first thing I do is I go to color palette cinema on Instagram. And what that is is basically just, it's pictures from movies broken up into like five or six main colors from that image. So from that, I find one that has like the overall emotional state I'm trying to convey with that project. And then I will use that color palette to define all the colors within that project. That's cool. So if I need to create like a, just a one page flyer advertising something for that project, I'll make sure to just use those colors. The manual for that tarot deck will use those colors. The colors in that tarot deck will use those colors, whatever. And then I define my gammas. So that is gonna be like, this is the blackest shade of black, which is maybe a little bit warm and a little bit towards green. And this will be my brightest shade of white, which is maybe a little bit towards orange and a little bit darker. So that kind of makes sure that everything feels consistent. Every illustration I do within the project has those same blacks as their blackest and the same whites as their whitest. And I try to use all those colors that I've defined from the beginning. And then I also have consistency with the font families I picked so that I'm always using the same fonts and fonts that match within that. And so, yeah, that's kind of like where my quote unquote style gets defined at the onset of a project. And it's almost always primarily based on the colors. So if you're looking for a style, I first off, you can't really force yourself to have a style. But if you wanted to, it pick one thing, do it a whole bunch. And then if you start to have fun with something else in the last few pieces, ignore the first thing and start moving on with that second thing. Like if you enjoy putting an extra pair of eyes on somebody, do that for a while. And then if you're like, you know what I really like when they have blue lips, start doing blue lips for a while. But like you'll eventually kind of find that through line where like you stopped doing the double eyes and you started doing the blue lips. But yeah, so that's it.
GP: You have to have, you have to be creating like hundreds of pieces in order for you to have a style. You can't have a style if you're doing like one drawing a month.
CA: That's, that is true. All right, so I think that brings us to the end. We've been chatting for a long time. So thank you again so much, Gianna. Of course, our listeners can follow you at pergamopapergoods.com at toadhillfarm.com and you are pergamopapergoods on Instagram, Facebook and everywhere else, right?
GP: Yes, except TikTok, where it's just my name, Gianna Pergammo. I'm trying TikTok. I'm trying. I'm so… It's so hard, but yeah. Follow me on TikTok. Maybe it'll make me make TikToks. Maybe.
CA: I will thank you again so much. You are a delight to talk to and I really appreciate your time and all of your advice.
GP: Oh, you're welcome. Thanks for having me.
CA: You're welcome.
Chain Assembly: Art for profit sake is recorded through Riverside FM, distributed through Spotify for podcasters, and edited on Adobe Audition. The music is provided by Old Romans. If you learned anything useful or found this podcast helpful, please rate and review us five stars. If you want to learn more about me or my art, head over to ChainAssembly.com.