Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Shakas, Tattoo Illustrations, & My Adventures As An Amateur Surfer

[ Shaka X-mas Illustration. ©Amy Hood ]

I've been doing a lot of sketching lately for various projects. It's been fun dusting off the old pen and pad! Here's one I really want to rework and smooth the wrinkles on. It's a rough sketch for a Holiday Guide Jen and I are designing for LOCALE magazine. We were trying to think of clever ideas to depict just how unique Christmas in SoCal is since it's sunny and people are surfing instead of scraping ice off their frozen windshields. After watching the Billabong Pro Tahiti all this week, I thought it might be fun to draw a hand throwing up a shaka with tattoos spelling out our title. 

By the way, working while watching LIVE surf competitions is great. I've always been intrigued by surfing. I grew up in "Surf City" Huntington Beach (well there's a debate on that isn't there?) as well as San Clemente, so a lot of my dear friends take part in the pasttime frequently -  and to much enjoyment. I even got thrown into the industry a tiny bit through a friend who brought me on for design work on a couple projects for some action-sports-centric companies. But I was always very confused on it all still: The names of the moves, the lingo, where to go, how to do it, how it's judged professionally. It was all shrouded in a thick cloud of mystery.

I learned all the rules and nooks and crannies of basketball by listening to commentators call the game and now I plan to do the same for surfing. After listening to some of the LIVE webcasts for this years World Tour I'm finally starting to get my footing. Not literally of course. I got my surfboard out of the garage the other day and took it down to Riviera Beach in San Clemente with my friend (and great surfer) Katie Hanten; I can hardly say I had my footing out there that day, but it was the first of many trips. Watching the Billabong Pro Tahiti may help though. After watching the likes of Josh Kerr, Jeremy Flores, Kelly Slater and Owen Wright tear it up  at "Chopes" (what they call Teahupoo apparently - see I'm picking up the lingo too!), not to mention the mini-clips in dedication to the late great Andy Irons and his fearlessness AND the crazy tow-in session (woah), maybe inspiration will strike out in the water for me next time and it'll all just click. Even if it doesn't, I'm gonna keep on trying because it just looks like a blast and even though I'm terrible, I'm already having so much fun just being out there. The only downside: I feel like I may be growing pectorals. From all the paddling. I really don't want pectorals.

- Amy
Listening to: "Part of Your World" from The Little Mermaid Soundtrack. Disney music is really good to work to actually! 

Saturday, August 27, 2011

The Beatniks, The Bastards, & The Saints: Jordan Sabolick

 [ "The Beatniks, The Bastards, & The Saints: Jordan Sabolick." 32"x24". Acrylic on wood. ]

It is finished. 

You can all heave a sigh of relief. You will no longer be wearied with posts about the crawling progress of my painting of Jordan and the many woes and setbacks therein involved, because it is finished. And I love it. Well, as much as a person can be in love with a piece of plywood covered in paint and gold leaf. I was really stoked on it after I finished all of Jordan's face, but it was touch-and-go there as to whether I ruined it after I finished the shirt... and then again after the background... and then again with the halo. But all was recovered in the end and all the mistakes blended together into something grand.

This was my first painting on wood and it's the biggest I've done yet. The wood was much smoother than canvas making it easier to get fine detail. Working larger scale also made it easier to really get all the nooks and crannies in there (I got every freckle, Jordan... Every. One.). Now I'm pumped up to start my next one! I'm either going to start on one of my Frenchie friends who visited last summer - a dapper group of chaps who all lead lives of adventure and intrigue (one is a med school dropout turned professional poker player, one is a professional Street Fighter player, and the other is my old friend from highschool who studies abroad in foreign countries and is starting his own shoe company). They really embodied the spirit of my series and it would be fun to do a painting featuring multiple subjects. It's either that, or I've found my first female subjects for my series! 

Meet Jordan Sabolick - the man, the myth.
Many of you know my severity upon my own sex (refer here for my schpeel), so it was hard for me to think of women who had the look and personality I wanted to portray. Then I realized I had the answer right under my nose - I just couldn't see the forest for the trees. (Enough analogies? Did I even use that last one correctly?) I'm proud to announce that one of my first female muses will be my dear, dear friend, the lovely and talented Sara Wilkins. She's been talking about getting a full sleeve for as long as I've known her, so we're going to paint her with one and let her live vicariously through the painting while she continues to mull it over.

Enough yammering. Below are some shots of the final piece. A big shout out to my friend Jordo (see left) for letting me paint his mug! And also, as cheesy as it is, thanks to everyone who's supported/critiqued/encouraged me along the way. It was so helpful (and encouraging) getting everyone's feedback as I posted progress shots on facebook and instagram. We artists are fickle folk, in constant need of feedback, and I know I never would have finished this monster if I hadn't had all that positive feedback. 

- Amy
Listening to: "Broken Throat" by Adam Arcuragi

 [ Left: My workstation shelfs. Right: Jordan Pre-halo. ]

 [ Left: My halo stencil: a saucepan lid. Legit. Right: Jordan Post-halo. At first I was really frustrated because the halo was too small, but after walking away and some positive feedback from friends I realized "go big or go home" and I just went all out on the halo. Seen next photo. ]

 [ Giant, sunray halo bursts. ]

 [ Left: Detail shot of the shirt. It always amazes me when you look really closely at a painting and it's really just a bunch of blobs and shapes. Right: Detail shot of my signature. I never do the same signature twice. This probably isn't a good thing. ]

 [ Detail shot of Jordo's face. ]

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Music Pour Toi

Want to hear some good tunes today? Head over to my design studio and you will find just that. A playlist of songs we're jamming to in the studio today.

- Amy
Listening to: "Don't Look Back Into The Sun" by The Libertines

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Painting Sabatoge, DIY Earrings, & Special Agent Dale Cooper

[ Fig. 1: Foreground: Yours truly in my snazzy new DIY earrings (plus new sweater via Old Navy - I know, who'd of thunk?). Background: The painting with the dreaded halo as it stands now. ]

I've been on a Netflix spree of recent. I got tired of listening to music while I was painting so I started watching television shows. I re-watched all of "Twin Peaks" [see Fig. 2], which if you haven't seen your life is not complete. It's suspenseful, funny, and just plain weird. Well, it's David Lynch. So there you go. Next I'm conquering "Damages." Which looks really gnarly. Glenn Close is terrifying just to look at.

[ Fig. 2: Agent Dale Cooper (left) with Sheriff Harry Truman (right) of Twin Peaks. I have an unexplainable crush on Agent Coop. You will too, be you man or woman. Don't believe me? It's on Netflix Instant Watch. Just do it. ]

My painting is SO close to being done. A slight wrench was thrown into the machine when I ruined the halo [See Fig. 1]. I made it too small. I couldn't find anything bigger than the saucepan lid in my kitchen to use as a circular guide, and I thought it would be big enough, but alas it was not. I'll figure it out. I just had to walk away from it and cool my jets before I did something compulsive that I would later regret. 

 [ Fig. 3: Dangly, feather earrings. ]

So instead of painting last night, I got crafty and made some earrings. I used to have these great black feather earrings, but I left them somewhere. I wish I could remember where that somewhere was. So I decided to make some new ones. I bought feathers, silver chain, and ear hooks, and busted out my pliars and clippers. It only took about 30 minutes - if that. And voila - long, daingly, fun earrings [See Fig. 1 & 3]. I need my own show on HGTV.

- Amy
Listening to: Middle Brother's "Blue Eyes"

Friday, August 19, 2011

Garter Chains, LA vs. OC, & Apple Pie

I want one of these. It seems like something you could ony pull off in LA, but I want to get one and see if I can rock it here in Orange County. It's funny how you could wear pretty much anything in LA and no one would blink twice - but I feel like everyone is constantly asking me here, "what are you wearing" or "why are you so dressed up?" Clothes are fun! It's just another canvas and means to being creative, so I like going out on a limb and trying new things. And I like dresses. So sue me. It's my grandmother's years of brainwashing. I think it might go over better than I thought because after bookmarking this chain garter on Etsy a while back, I saw that Volcom had their models sport similar thigh chains in their 2012 Swim Fashion Show. And Volcom is as Orange County as Apple Pie is American! So maybe OC is ready for this. I'll let you know how it goes over. Ordering... now.

Etsy, you've won again.

- Amy
Listening to: Page France's "Goodness"

Friday, August 12, 2011

Glamor Shots, New Pretty Things, & Shameless Shout Outs

Just as I had given up hope in my search for a pleated, sheer, maxi skirt (remember my post a few days ago?)- there it was. At Pretty In Pink Boutique in Costa Mesa, CA. I'd like to take this moment to thank Locale Magazine for assigning Jen and I the story that led us to Pretty In Pink because it is now hovering around the top of my list of places that I would love to call "my closet." They had so many cute shirts, dresses, shorts and earrings, it was all I had not to buy half the store. But what I did buy was the below gorgeous grey skirt and turquoise blue top. Both of which I will lovingly wear through the rest of summer and fall. All you ladies, check out Pretty In Pink. They have a monthly "Ladies Night" where you get 25% off anything in the store. Yeah. I'm following them on facebook now so I don't miss the next one. It's a down economy here. Plus they are right next door to one of my other favorite shops, Dee Lux, which carries new and used items for the best prices (not to mention an impressive and eclectic selection of the best sunglasses). And now a few glamor shots in my pretty new things.

- Amy
Listening to: Jimmy Durante's "As Time Goes By"


Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Awesome Tattoos, Hoarders, & The Ramblings of A Tired, Buzzed, White Girl

I found this photo on Pintrest today. Yes, I am a proud new member of I actually discovered it because people were pinning my Constellation Tattoo Posters on their pintrest boards. Pretty cool, eh? It's a great way to store ideas and inspiration! My "Inspiration Folder" on my mac is so unorganized and cluttered. It's worse than an episode of Hoarders in there. Pintrest is like hiring an organizing specialist... or one of those people who redoes your closet.

Crap. I just broke a nail trying to open my giant Redvines container. #WhiteGirlProblems
I digress.

Anyways... Pintrest is awesome. And I found this amazing photo of a sleeve. I cannot for the life of me find the tattoo artist. One of the downfalls of sites like tumblr and pintrest is that crediting authors/artists rarely happens correctly. I google searched my heart out to try and find the tattoo artist so that I could credit his fine work. But, alas, to no avail.

Oh wow. Demi Lovato just came up on my iTunes shuffle.
#Shame #WhenGoodPeopleListenToBadMusic #ItsTooDamnCatchy #WhiteGirlProblems
I digress yet again.
[Note to self: Never blog when groggy and at the bottom of your glass of vodka-and-mango/pineapple-juice.]

To wrap up this horribly dishevelled and unorganized blog (another metaphor for my inspiration folder? Bringin' it full circle, baby), this tattoo is amazing and it makes me want to get more, against my better judgment. I really think I will try and pick up tattooing. I think I might make a good tattoo artist.

- Amy
Listening to: Le Blorr's "Boy You Need Jesus" (To redeem me from the Demi Lovato reference.)

Caleb Followill, Southern Livin', & Lessons In Publicity

I recently did an illustration of the skanky-yet-handsome Caleb Followill, lead singer of the Kings of Leon and apparently the reason they had to cancel the rest of their U.S. tour. I wish I had a crystal ball to see that one coming as I don't think these prints will sell as well as they might have under different/better circumstances. But as Donald Trump always says, any publicity is good publicity. Maybe the throngs of people googling his name for answers to why the tour is cancelled or for forums to post their disgruntled rantings on will stumble upon this blog because of it. If you want to see photos of the evolution of the illustration read a more indepth post on the Hoodzpah site. If you still love Caleb Followill despite his indescretions and want one of these pretty prints of your own, head to the store. They fit perfectly in a record frame. If you're looking for some tunes for this perfect Wednesday (all you fellow Orange Countians know what I'm talking about), check out KOL's recent CD, Come Around Sundown. I didn't hear much about it, but I really like it. It's mellow yet driving. Perfect music for drinking iced tea on a wrap around porch at dusk while the lightning bugs flicker around. Sometimes I miss Southern livin'.

Happy Wednesday.

- Amy
Listening to: Kings of Leon's "The End"

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Elvis Costello Look-A-Likes, Dive Bars, & The Inspiring Mickey Smith

I was chit chatting with this hilarious New Yorker who looked like Elvis Costellos' long lost twin (horn rimmed glasses, hair, teeth and all) the other night at this local dive bar I like to frequent. We were talking with this other couple, who were also sharp-tongued New Yorkers, about Ireland and England and how beautiful they are. Then somehow the conversation jumped randomly (as typical incoherent, hard-to-follow bar conversations often do) to surfing. It reminded me of a video my friend had posted a while back from Cornish surf photographer, Mickey Smith called Darkside of The Lens. [Finders fee to the talented Chris Steblay.] I was raving to these New Yorkers about how beautiful this short film was and how they had to go home and google it. I was only one heffeweizen in, but Elvis was on his 3rd Merlot and the lovebirds were each on their 4th Lemon Drop, so whether or not they followed my eager recommendation I will never know. But I am here telling you dear readers now - who I assume are sober, reasoning adults/tweens/chillun' - that you should watch the below video. It has passion, beauty, danger, and the deep reveries of an artist recited in a thick Cornish accent. All the elements that make for inspiration.

Be inspired. 

Listening to: The Pogues' "Fairytale of New York"

DARK SIDE OF THE LENS from Astray Films on Vimeo.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Vêtements à la Mode: Rosie Huntington-Whitely

Rosie Huntington-Whitely wearing some lovely things I wish I had in my closet. I have some retro circular glasses and a braided belt, but no lovely, flowing pale blue skirts. Alas, I'm too short for long skirts anyways. 

I love that she's dating Handsome Rob/Turkish. She's so cool.

- Amy
Listening to: Cat Power's "The Greatest"

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Poster Art Giveaway! FREE SHWAG BABY!

What two words are sweeter than "FREE SHWAG?" Let's be honest? Well maybe "FREE ART". I'm promising both here. Yes, today Jen and I are doing a poster giveaway for some of our art. One lucky winner will geta free poster of their choice from our etsy store! (Check out the goods by clicking on the shop tab.) All you have to do to enter is like the Giveaway "post" on our Hoodzpah Art + Graphics facebook page, leave a comment with the poster you want, and voila! You are entered! To get a double entry, share the link with your foxy facebook friends. We will announce the winner Friday morning at noon via Facebook. May the best man/woman/child/sheman/manchild/tranny win!

- Amy
Listening to the Rolling Stones' "Mixed Emotions"

Diverting Doppleganger: Alec Baldwin vs. Marcus Mumford

Is it just me or does the frontman of Mumford & Sons look like the bastard brother of the Baldwins? Think about it. Which also reminds me, can you believe he and Carey Mulligan are hitched? Apparently it's only been like 5 months! Not that I've been reading US Weekly or anything. (Long awkward pause.)

Listening to: Mel Torme's "On The Street Where You Live"

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Painting Progress: Jordan Sabolick

More progress! He has hair! Tattoos and shirt to go. I started painting the shirt a turquoise blue and so far it is hideous so I refuse to post photos. Hopefully I can fix it. Oye.

- Amy
Listening to: Dashboard Confessional's "Living In Your Letters" (sue me.)

[Click to enlarge.]

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