Art is a gift to be received and shared and comes in many many forms. Paint, Cook, Travel, Poetry... you name it, if you're sharing creative energy, that's an Art. ~Steph

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

ON THE AIR!

Hi everyone! :-) The first online episode is up! :-) Drop a line if you can ok? Much Love!

Friday, March 26, 2010

The Academy Reward goes to...

KYLE McGUIGAN

One of my favorite things to do is interact with young people that are Artistic, Creative, working on making life better for themselves and those around them more colorful.

Kyle McGuigan is one of those Souls. Kyle is full of what he calls 'BAM'! Brains and Motivation. He also video journals his progress, projects, lessons in life, etc.

When Kyle and I discussed his interview he suggested that a Video Interview may be the way to go. It was! And it was a learning experience for the both of us. So expect to see other Video Interviews thanks to Kyles inspiration :-)

Check out Kyles Interview. Go Kyle!!!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

TOY!!! TEEOHWHY

TOY!!! 
 
Usually I think up a memorable but connecting Interview Title. I laughed a lot while posting this one and forgot. LOL And then realized... TOY!!! This lady is truly on fire! Toy is all over the place, Singing, Acting, Voice Overs, keeping it funny. Her career is on the move and so is she! Her energy is sure to get anyone motivated and her outlook on life is full of positive funk and we love it!  With her upcoming CD and more I was fortunate to catch up with her for this interview.

TOY !!! What a ball of fire you are! Talking about Living in Color! I think I have to ask first and foremost…what fuels that fire in you?

My mom says I was born a hot rod, I don't know... maybe we should FIRST interview her to see what was fueling HER when I was born. :-) Just Kidding. Really, I can't say exactly WHERE it comes from other than I've just always known what I've wanted to do, and that has kept me excited about life. Also, I love people. PEOPLE fuel me. I love to relate to them, understand them-- what makes them tick, what makes them happy, what hurts them, why they do what they do... As far as I can clearly recall (probably as early as about 3 or 4) I was always drawn to the stage. I just remember feeling compelled to reach people... to talk to them, touch them, entertain them... Life itself and especially LOVE... and the Human Experience... all of that fuels me.

You have so many things going on, Voiceovers, Comedy, Singing, An upcoming Album… is there anything you want to do that you haven’t tapped yet?

COMEDY??? REALLY?? That one I’ve only recently been made aware of! The quirky sense of humor runs in my family on BOTH SIDES though, so I can't help it. I've never viewed myself as anything close to a comedian and I'm afraid to imagine how that might turn out if I TRIED to be funny for a living :-) But...

1) I would love to get into my writing more seriously and consistently. Writing was one of my first loves and I express myself more colorfully through writing more than speaking-- be it a blog, a song, a short story, a book, a tweet, a FB status :-) No one can interrupt you, argue with you, or question you when you're writing. You have time to think and re-think and formulate EXACTLY what you want to say. Plus, I think MUCH faster than I speak so, naturally I feel much safer putting my thoughts on paper... :-)

2) I'm looking forward to doing a lot of on-camera work. A film even! Actually, I would LOVE to do an action film! EVEN BETTER, I would love to do an action film with a hardcore fight scene!! I need to whup some *ss on film. That would make me happy. :-)

3) I have a few projects/websites that are not in the LEAST bit music or voiceover related that I'm very excited about. I'm looking forward to sharing myself & my ideals from different platforms that people are probably not expecting. Keeping my entrepreneurial spirit alive offstage and off-mic is very important to me, so I look forward to developing those things.

A Preachers daughter… How did you get here?

Many preachers' kids in entertainment get their start in church, so yes, that was my story also. But, mine went a little different in the sense that it was first by MY OWN initiative and not my parent’s idea. I was playing piano and singing at about 3 and while church was the natural outlet to do so, it didn't last very long for me, though. As soon as I was old enough to become self-conscious and develop my own opinions, I stopped. I was very strong-minded, I had a lot to say, and early enough I realized that church was probably not the best place to start a fight and vent my frustrations to music, LOL... I ended up writing a lot of poetry which eventually turned into writing raps, and by about age 15, I was a local "success" opening shows for a few major rap acts and selling my own tapes at school! My uncle helped me start my own "label" and he trademarked my name--MC TOY (shut up, LOL)-- then after college the journey to NY began, and then came songwriting and singing, and so on and so forth.. And here I am still.

But after a certain age (high school), other than continuing to help guide me in the right direction spiritually, my parents gave me freedom to make my own decisions, which I always appreciated.

What was it like as a child and what effect did being a Preachers daughter have on your Journey?

Well much like now, as a kid I spent a lot of time IN MY HEAD and in books. I was never ever ever without a pen & paper & books WHEREVER I went--even carried encyclopedias & dictionaries back and forth to school in kindergarten...(weird, LOL) I only wanted to learn and to write and the more I knew and wrote, I felt powerful. I felt like I could create anything I wanted to, which I think is a very important attitude to have as a child. As a Preacher's daughter, I got a very stable spiritual foundation to go along with that attitude. I loved that my parents taught me about having a relationship with God (and lived by example), taught me right from wrong, set up some basic rules, and then left me free to be MYSELF & choose my own path. That's the best gift they could've given me. I was a quirky, flamboyant, independent, intense and very sensitive (middle) child, and they gave me freedom—never making demands on what I was to be interested in or controlling my pursuits, they just supported. 

I remember once at about 8 years old responding via phone to a casting call out of town for a major stage play and setting up my own audition all without their knowledge. I only asked that they drive me to the audition 1 hr away, and I went and booked the part! And around 10 I remember writing "a novel" and mailing it off to be published (which the publisher politely rejected, LOL). I was very headstrong, and my parents always supported and rarely tried to restrict my creativity/free-spirited nature. I'm most grateful for that, and for their instilling a sense of spirituality in me...that's the only way I make it through everything else that goes with having a personality like mine. :-)

Of the many things you do, what is your favorite?

Music and writing were my first passions, but everything I do relies on and feeds off the other to help keep me interested and balanced. I can be so focused and intense at times, I think I'd become easily overwhelmed if I only did one thing. I like having many outlets, and they all play well together.

Tell us a little bit about your Charity and where people can get more info on it.

The charity, called The TOY!!!BOX Music Project, was created to inspire youth towards music education and learning live instrumentation. I also do annual live benefit performances around the holidays to collect musical toys for underprivileged kids. Right now I'm in the process of completely restructuring the organization... I'm looking for another angle now, somehow using music to aid kids in coping with their day to day experiences. I want to find an angle to help them deal with their emotions. I'm still working out details, but for now the annual benefit portion still remains.

I love your song ‘He Don’t. Got me to booty shaking in a happy happy joy joy way. Did you write it? 

Funny you should ask. That is the only song on my project I did NOT write. Haha! (Hmm are you trying to give me a hint, Stephanie LOL.) The song was written by Josh Dicker and Joe Pedulla, who had initially approached me to reference the song as a demo to be shopped and pitched to another artist. People still recognized my signature sound despite my trying to deliver a straight reference, and responded favorably to the demo. Two years later the song was still available so I asked them to let me include it on my own project. 

I've always preferred to write my own songs because of my own needs to express what drew me to music anyway. But I really believed in this one and was attached from the moment I heard it-- I had to have it. I secretly think my strong attachment vibes may have possibly blocked that song from anyone else's claws for those two years. Ha Ha! I just had to wait it out & wear them down, right?



'I’m Fire' is a funky jazzy number. It’s you isn’t it? (Right on! LOL)

Yes! It’s my funky theme song. On my down days I hire a band to follow me down the street playing it as I run errands. It'll get you your groove back... try it, it works. :-)

Who are some of your influences in life?

My mom is the biggest. I live by the WWMS (what would mama say) as well as the WWJD (What would Jesus Do) philosophy, Ha Ha! I admire and respect her more than anyone else in the world... she's my BFF AKA MOM. :-)

TOY!!! Your are a bundle of energy. What keeps you going and what slows you down?

I'll have to say that I am extreme on both ends of the spectrum (up & down) and that I am the cause or motivator for both... (mood swings, LOL.) I tend to live in my head, so whatever perspectives my thoughts and attitude have taken on are pretty much responsible for my energy (mood swings, LOL). Feeling like I have the power to influence or impact or inspire usually drives me (gives me energy). Feeling misunderstood, impatient, confused-- that slows me down... (mood swings, LOL).

You do a lot of Voiceovers. What do you think would spark most people’s memory of your voice over’s?

Probably the one that is getting most exposure right now, the Old Navy Supermodelquins campaign, where I play the voice of Michelle. That character is very close to my own general attitude and sense of humor in most cases. Art imitating life, huh? :-) 

Maybe they'll remember my voice from a couple of the VH1 Hip Hop Honors shows or narrating a Video Vixen documentary a few years back? Or voicing a few video games recently (Need 4 Speed- Undercover and Midnight Club LA) or (UNCF's) An Evening of Stars Tribute to Patti Labelle and one to Lionel Richie ... Or "Go Diego Go" on Nickelodeon?

There’s a soon to be CD. What other things can we look forward to from you as far as projects?

Well, you'll have to keep watching and listening to find out... I'm quite a spontaneous creature. *muahhahahaaaaahh*

Where can readers find out more about TOY!!! and listen to your Music?

My main site TEEOHWHY.com will be relaunching soon along with music/video release
and ALL details, updates and EVERYTHING TOY!!! will be there as soon as it becomes available!

Thank you so much for chatting with us TOY!!! It was a pleasure to interview you! Make sure to update us on the release of your CD and other events!

See you next interview! Live In Color!
Steph

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

COLOR ME BLU...SUZI BLU!

Most people in the Mixed Media Art world know who Suzi Blu is, and I’d like to introduce her to you. This lady is full of energy and fun. Her Art Videos and Workshops are sure to grab at the kid in you and bring out the fun artistic side of you. Check out her fun, colorful and unique style.


How are you today Suzi?

I'm good. I just had my hair done so I'm happy. (I'm a Leo. I am nothing without a mane of hair).

Are you working on any special projects at the time of this interview?

After this interview I am scanning in the final sketches for a line of art stamps I am designing.

Then onto filming a few free journal video classes. But thee BIG project is the sequel to Goddess & The Poet. Its called PIETY AND PASSION. But its a secret. I can't talk about it yet. 

So what brought you to this point in life with your Art?

I do the next thing that is in front of me and I don't think about it. That is the only way I can describe how I got to the place where Im living my dreams - making art everyday and getting paid for it. I don't do anything that I don't want to do and that is my best advice. Focus on what you truly love and put all of your energy towards that. Anything that comes your way that has to do with furthering you to your dream goal DO IT. Don't question, "Oh, but can I?" Do it. And if it sucks, do it again until it doesn't. Then go onto the next thing.

What’s a typical day with Suzi like?

My boyfriend should be answering this ha! If you ask me I am not much fun to be around. I have a lot of projects and my day is split up into priorities. Whatever is pressing gets done and everything that is not urgent today doesn't, unless I have extra time and feel up to it. So today that means the stamps have to be finished. Have to. It is also Critique day at my school so whatever else I might have planned, videos, new classes, laundry, none of it will be touched until after I have given full attention to my students work and helped them as much as possible. Then I go on to the next thing on my list. Today that means an art journal video that will take a few days to make so I can fit other things in too, like walking on the beach or going to a bookstore. Because I document my life in my videos I get to do fun things while I'm working because its all part of the whole. But usually, Im hunched over somewhere either editing or getting messy in the art room, eating dinner my sweetheart makes for me, then passing out at 11:00 either watching a movie or playing Paradise Quest on my iPhone.

What types of things motivate you to create?

I could never not create. Something inside of me is unable to do normal things for the majority of the day. Its on a cellular level that's all I can say. DNA. I am incapable of doing anything else because its in my blood, at my very core, I have to express and play and experiment and that is all I want to do. I am quite stubborn and selfish. I take it very seriously that this is 'my life'. I don't waste it. If what I want to do is drip inks onto oil pastels then I will do it. I am in control of my life. At the beginning that meant giving up a lot of things and I was very poor for a long time without any security. I had a lot of problems because of that but in essence I was happy. That is the power or creating. Be it a song or a doodle, its magical and keeps me doing it.

Talk to us about your Art Journal Playshops. These Playshops have not only Art but Inspirational Messages.

This is my philosophy when it comes to dealing with people: whether you are a banker or waitress or financial advisor or art teacher, it is all about giving and receiving love. Getting people to love themselves is what is really going on and the way to do that first is by giving them love. Create a safe place for people and watch them grow. If you are doing something just for the money your customer will feel let down. Put love into it. Make them feel great and watch the results. Encourage people to be the best they can be. That is what is needed before you can even think about teaching or selling them something. Open your heart and then they will open theirs. Then magic can be let it. So when it comes to art I am not going to teach you something if first I don't make sure you are ready to learn. If you tell yourself, "Oh, I can't draw a line. I suck." Then my time is wasted because you aren't going to pay attention to the techniques I show you. My job as a teacher is to make sure you first feel worthy and KNOW you have the right to make your mark, whatever mark that is. Only then will you be able to learn.


Your Art is full of wonderful pictures of soft yet powerful female faces with a distinctive style. Talk to us about that.

Faces interest me. I cannot have an abstract painting without a figure in it. I don't want to paint like that. Art for me is about tapping into the spiritual. Painting is highly spiritual for me and is my church. The figures I create are born from that and are extensions of my feelings about what is god, love, whatever that thing that spirituality is. My paintings are usually not narrative, they tell no story. Rather they are company. Faces staring back at me telling me it is ok, they understand, that there is more to see. They remind me of spirit when I look at them. I think that's what prompts me to create them.

What is the Art Skool Underground about? Can we talk about it?

If you have been to any formal art class then you know how it feels - stiff. Hard chairs, fluorescent lighting, it feels defeatist before you ever put pencil to paper. Even in 101 classes in a Community College teachers promote competition. If you don't come in with natural ability then you are discouraged to continue. I asked my teacher if I could be a 'real' artist and she said I don't think so. She said I worked hard though so you never know. There is a lie that is being spread in the art world, perpetuated by the people in it. I say Art 'Skool', purposely spelled wrong because I want people to know off the bat that mistakes and being a beginner are allowed. Not only allowed they are encouraged. Case in point, I was so excited when I created my first online class, and hurried to make it's content, that I did not proofread pdf's before I posted them. I spent hours making them visually striking and the words meaningful, I did not care about the spelling.
And well, there were a lot of mistakes in there. No one cared. They laughed and cried and it was the content that mattered. They said it felt like a note from a good friend and in notes spelling doesn't count. That is the informal and emotional environment I want in my classes.

How you feels matter more than what you do. And it's easier to do things in a space that isn't scary.


You do a lot of workshops. And fun Videos. I’m curious, what is the youngest student you’ve had? How young were you when you realized ‘This is it?’ I mean as far as the Career was Art?

I have students whose kids love Suzi Blu and want to create. My youngest fan was a boy 2 years old who would mimic what I said in the videos to his cat. As far as for me and this is it, this is not it. I have no idea what IT is. I know I want to create fabulous art journals with personal writing and publish them. That would be it for me, I think. But who knows. I have dreams of a real school. One with walls and a bell and where everyone can wear pink wigs. Like everything else that big I don't know how it will happen. For now I'll just keep doing the next thing in front of me that leads me to my goals. I could never not do art all the time though.
I just can't. It never was an option to do anything else.

What is SuziLand?

A place where my free videos are so when life is getting on you, doesn't understand you and is mean, you can go to SuziLand and feel warm. I love the idea that I have control over a space and fill it only with love.

Your Art is unique, touching. Is there a very personal element to it?

I can't not be authentic its just who I am. You may not like where Im coming from or how I am behaving but Im truthful about it. My gifts and my faults, I lay them out side by side. Although by teaching I have learned to be professional, I do not burden students with my trivial things, it hurts me to not connect with people. Which makes me insecure. I do want you to like me and try not to take it personally if you don't. It never stops me from putting it out there though.

I know you have a lot of fun your Art and your Blogs show that. What kinds of fun do you have with your Art?

With all of my projects its easy for the fun to turn into work, which is why Im going back to free videos in addition to my classes. All work and no play is bad for me. I started all of this as creating a space for myself that was fun, as an outlet for full time school. I want to go back to that feeling. Creating workshops for a year, while is fantastic, I had to concentrate on making quality products. I miss things that don't mean as much. Where I can just let off steam and make fun art without worrying whether its explained. I want to do both.

Look for my line of Stamps, I will be selling them on my website in March. And free tutorials as well. I will also be in the book "Art At The Speed Of Life" by Pam Carriker. It comes out December 10. And all new online classes. 

What a busy Artist! Thank you so much Suzi! We will look forward to your stamps and the Book!  Find out about Suzi and her workshops at http://www.alovelydream.com/site/Welcome.html

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

A Style of His Own. Randy Chiurazzi


San Diego-Based guitarist Randy Chiurazzi has created a style of music that’s his own. With his guitar he creates a unique sound of western and eastern flavor for children and adults. He also focuses on creating interactive learning songs for kids which they love and he does fun live performances and weekly BlogTV. His music is fun and touching and definitely adds sunshine!

Randy, what was your childhood like and did it have any influence on the style of music you play now?

My childhood was very typical in many ways. Not a lot of musical influence in my home, but great parents who encouraged me to travel, and keep an open mind.The part that influences how I play now was my young adulthood. I spent two years studying Guitar Craft with Robert Fripp in Europe. 

Your songs are very unique, do you write all of your own songs?

Yes. I have always wanted to write my own songs.

These songs have a lot of personal feeling to them. Are they emotional for you? What inspires you to write?

I love to get behind the song and make it everything it can be when it is performed so I focus on getting into it emotionally.I am inspired by things that strike me as phenomenal. Sometimes, they are things a lot of people think are amazing, and sometimes not. I like it when a phrase or concept enters my mind that makes something mundane seem amazing to me. I also like when a concept enters my mind that makes something amazing seem mundane and commonplace to me. 

Most of your music is based around your guitar. Do you play other instruments?

I play all of the instruments on my Children's CD, "Let's Go to Africa", but it was difficult. So, yes, but with a lot of effort.

I went on a mental vacation when I heard “Brush Strokes”. Where does that song come from? What made you name it ‘Brush Strokes’?

On that day, I liked the tone quality of the strings when my fingernail brushed across them; then, the main riff of the song started to take shape. I took the time to develop the idea into a song because I wanted something instrumental to play on stage. I am inspired to write instrumental music. I have written a score for a play, http://setinvenice.com/music.htm so I was glad that Brush Strokes came along.

Did you write all of the music for ‘Set in Venice’? How do you get there in your head? I don’t think I could ever sit down and connect the music with the scenery as you did.

I wrote all of it. I spent some time studying music composition at Duquesne University and Carnegie Mellon University music schools in Pittsburgh. I developed a love for composing and have been listening to a lot of modern symphonic music ever since. I developed an approach to instrumental music that I explain at my website http://randychiurazzi.com. When the Setinvenice writer, Greg Hohman said, 'I want you to really explore the ideas you have on your experimental music page', I was inspired to spend the many hours it has taken to realize the score.


What is ‘Let’s Go to Africa’ about?

That is how I combine my love of teaching and music. A friend of mine said, ‘you should write children's music'so I did! In fact, "Let's Go to Africa" is the first episode of a children's music video show. I made a low budget version of the show so potential producers can see the concept. The videos are on YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/user/thegoshowonline. My dream would be to host a travel show where I write and perform music with and for kids. I have performed the show at schools and parties with puppet man Scott Masters. At the website you will find the lyrics and ideas for making instruments.

Where do you perform live?
I perform at an Open Mic on Tuesday nights at a fantastic Portuguese restaurant called Portugalia in San Diego at 4839 Newport Avenue, San Diego, CA 92107

It is hosted by excellent San Diego songwriter and promoter, Jefferson Jay-jeffersonjay.com. I play longer sets in the showcases that Jefferson puts together. 

What Inspiration would you offer our Creative Souls out there?

I would say to get the most enjoyment out of your art. Learn how to relax about your technical level at any given time. Learn how to play at that level with the highest quality. Anyone who sounds great is doing just that, no matter how technically brilliant they are.

I have been very fortunate to study with some of the best teachers in the world. That is the best training I have received from them.

Be sure to check Randy out and http://randychiurazzi.com and live on Blog TV at  http://www.blogtv.com/people/randychiurazzi   

Thank you so much Randy. We wish you a fun and musical Journey. 

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

PAUL SPENARD, MIND BENDER

Remember Paul? I interviewed him several weeks ago. Paul Spenard

Paul has shared his wonderful magic with us :-) Check this out!


Pin vs matchbox from Paul Spenard on Vimeo.

Thank you Paul! I can't wait to share more!

Dreams -Photography by Kate Magendie

Previously I interviewed Wordy Goddess, Kate Magendie. I have to tell you that this lady is one of those people that enriches life by her very presence. Aside from being a sensitive and enticing Author she is also a wonderful photographer.

Take a break and let this beautiful photography work its wonder on you!


http://www.kathrynmagendie.com/

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(c) 2009 - 2011
Stephanie Jordan, Diviacity

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