Thursday, August 16, 2012

Switching Gears For A Moment

Being self-published means you, and you alone, are the marketing team. I liken this endeavor to being a street performer. Sometimes the fact that I'm juggling a chainsaw, a bowling ball, and a flaming torch all at the same time attracts a small but enthusiastic crowd. Other times, I'm just out there performing for myself and maybe one homeless guy wandering by. 

Needless to say, it's easy to get burned out. Sometimes it's good to take a little break from the whole Indie author scene and create something completely different.

Traditional Mexican paper mache is known as cartoneria. I learned the craft from master cartoneria aritist, Ruben Guzman, at the Crucible in Oakland, California. 

Initially, I made Day of the Dead figures known as calacas but my first Corazones Apasionados (passionate hearts) were inspired by the huge thorns that grew on the roses in our yard in San Rafael, California. I harvested and dried the thorns then painted them gold to make my first heart with thorns for an altar installation I was asked to provide art for.

In addition to thorns, I often incorporate other found objects and I'm currently making good use of a small lot of tin I came across. I love the way these pieces of metal accent the hearts. I'm a huge fan of three dimensional art and I like that these pieces are ready to hang on the wall. 

As we come into fall and Day of the Dead draws near, I will likely return to making some of my calacas. But for now, I'm enjoying crafting these Corazones Apasionados. They are keeping my hands busy and my mind free to come up with the next creative marketing strategy. Or better yet, a new chapter in the next "Legend" installment. 

Each one is handmade - I never use mass-produced paper mache forms, so each heart is unique and perfectly imperfect. What's inside? Any kind of recycled paper that's around, be it newspaper, a grocery bag, or even shredded pages from a manuscript.

Unlike writing a novel, with folk art there is perfection in imperfection, which provides a nice balance to being an Indie author and all the marketing that goes along with that gig. 

Okay, back to juggling the chainsaw, bowling ball, and flaming torch.