Double Happiness


Double Happiness

(Notes about my trip to the IAI conference in Atlanta)

Last week, as I was picking my way down the steep front steps of my AirBnB in Atlanta to get into my Lyft (if this sentence isn’t a complete time capsule for the gig economy, I don’t know what will be), I was stopped by a monarch butterfly. It landed on my shirt and I paused halfway down the steps- I’m not one to rush a visit with a butterfly. It lazily flapped its wings and poked about with its funny coiled antenna, and as soon as it had come, it was gone- off to another flower, or to land on another jet lagged soul. Later that night, after I had returned from a day of lectures and learning, I was sitting at the dining table talking to my host, maybe about the lost 9/11 flag, or maybe about her history as an anthropology major- I’m not sure, we were just idly chatting after a long day. I felt something land on my hand, and my immediate impulse was to shake it off (there had been an incident with a very large spider the night before), but before it was gone, I looked and saw that it was a little orange ladybug.

The next morning, I was bumped off of the waitlist into the workshop I had been most excited to attend, and in my giddiness I entered the classroom chattering, as I sometimes do, and told the professor about my visitors the day before. He smiled and cocked his head, and said, “You know, that’s what the Chinese would call ‘double happiness'”.

I’m not sure double happiness even covers how I feel about my time in Atlanta. Every day was a delightful mix of purpose, study and meeting more kind, interesting and accomplished folks than I could have imagined or anticipated.


102nd International Forensic Educational Conference

My journey to the 102nd Annual IAI conference started early this Spring, when I was reading “The Girl With The Crooked Nose”, a sort of thriller biography about Frank Bender, a titan in the field of facial reconstruction. The IAI was referenced, so I looked it up and saw that they had a conference coming up in August. I started browsing through the lecture titles, and was rolled by a class titled, “Let’s fingerprint that dead body!”- I took a screenshot and sent it to my dad, sure that he would also appreciate that funny bit of professional enthusiasm. I added that I’d like to attend, though it might be a pipe dream for this year- he responded in true dad fashion, “You are going!”. I wasn’t sure if this meant a) he believed in my ability to figure it out or b) that he was going to help me get there. It turned out to be a little of column a, a little of column b. Over the next few months we worked together to figure it out, and 2 Saturdays ago I found myself on a plane on my way to Atlanta for my first professional outing in a field I’ve dreamed of joining since I was a teenager.

Day 1

I would be lying if I said I wasn’t absolutely horrified for the 5 hour plane ride, and subsequent first 10 hours in Atlanta prior to the conference. Some thoughts included, “What have I done? Why am I here? What in the world do I tell people when they ask me what I do? Will anyone even talk to me?”- I found some answers to those questions in short order at the opening reception, where I met up with Paloma Galzi of Galzi Forensics Limited, who I had connected with through Instagram a few weeks earlier. Soon after arriving, I was profoundly relieved to find the community of artists to be extremely welcoming and friendly.

So the answers to my panicked arrival questions-

  • What have I done? Taken a huge step towards the career of my dreams.
  • Why am I here? To learn from people who have already navigated this path.
  • What in the world do I tell people when they ask me what I do? Right now I’m learning as much as I can, but I hope to be working in the field soon.
  • Will anyone even talk to me? Uh, yeah, a lot of people, so many that it’s kind of overwhelming in a wonderful kind of way.

The week was a blur of activity- workshops, lectures, the dreaded ‘networking’- the entire time I was constantly surprised at how supportive, warm, and genuine the other artists were, and how humble they are about the incredible work that they do.

Day 2

Day 2 was mostly lectures, and therefore mostly doodling and note taking.

Day 3

I had a run in with a butterfly (see above), and attended a workshop called ‘Court and the Forensic Artist’ taught by Paul Moody.

Day 4

On Thursday I got to attend a workshop called ‘Sculpting The Human Skull’, which is pretty much exactly what it sounds like. We worked from anatomical casts and had our choice of 6 skulls, 3 male and 3 female in 3 different ethnicities. I chose to work on a female Asian skull, because I liked her smile. It’s been about 12 years since my last sculpture class, and I felt it at first, but after the first hour or so of struggle it started to come together for me again.

The class was very helpful in brushing up on specific anatomy and being able to take a deeper look at what makes every skull unique and different. It was a treat to have the guidance of Dr. Daniel Marion, who is in so many ways a master in this field. Towards the end of class we had a visit from Karen Taylor (I’m not starstruck or anything), who casually walked past my skull and informed me that I’d given it the mandible of an elderly person- it was a quick fix, and it definitely opened my eyes on the importance of the subtle details involved in creating a likeness. Being able to work alongside artists who are leaders in the field compared to my nearly utter lack of experience was very humbling.

By the end of class I was so attached to my skull that I couldn’t consider not taking it home- which presented some interesting challenges. I was one of the only artists not staying in the hotel where the conference was held, so it meant that I got to carry her around with me all evening until I went back to my AirBnb, and so thusly, I named her Ruth- wither I goest, she goest! I have to say, the residents and Lyft drivers of Atlanta are pretty unflappable, and we only mildly startled one waiter.

 

Day 5

The last day of the conference was also the second most exciting workshop for me- it was called ‘The Composite Sketch Tune-Up’, and consisted of a deep dive into pushing value scales in drawing (the lightest lights to darkest darks and everything in between). I had been so looking forward to this session that I brought my travel easel with me from home- because when I nerd out, I really nerd out. So naturally, in my excitement, the morning of the workshop I promptly left the easel behind at my airbnb… Luckily I made some friends last week and one of them was sweet enough to haul my forgetful self back to go get it- thanks Jorge!

 

The night ended with a banquet, and it really felt kind of like the end of summer camp for me. I enjoyed my week so much, and all of the wonderful people I met, that I really could have just kept doing that for a while more. Fortunately, I have other workshops to look forward to next year, and of course I’m hoping I’ll be back for year 103.

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Punk Pesach

In This Issue:

  • Punk Pesach: How to have the most irreverent seder ever plus a downloadable haggadah ().
  • Worst Date Ever: A short review of a completely repulsive evening. It’s relatable! Unfortunately.
  • Eternal Flame: On “functional morbidity” and embracing the creep.

Punk Pesach

2017 has been a wild ride so far, and we’ve only wrapped Q1. With this in mind, when a friend and I started text-shouting OI OI OI back and forth one morning last month, somehow Punk Pesach seemed like a natural fit. Passover is my favorite holiday to host- something about insane standards and high stress dinners appeal to me- except this year I vowed we would ‘take it easy’ and make it into something fun. So in order to take it easy and go light on myself, I agreed to host 9 people in my studio apartment, make dinner and create an abbreviated haggadah for us to use.

For those of you not familiar with Passover, here’s a really quick run-down: It’s a roughly week-long festival, during the first 2 nights you celebrate by attending seders, which are typically super long (and sometimes kind of dull), before you can have dinner and be merry, you read the story of Passover from a haggadah, which is like a little guidebook for the seder. Seder just means order- so read this book, do it in order, et voila, you have pesach-ed.

This year I think was my favorite year ever for Pesach, I was delighted that everyone got into the round robin reading of our super short seder, especially those of my friends who created a character for their reading. To any concerned grandmas out there- we all went to a super respectable Social Justice seder the next night, so don’t worry to much about us. Worry a little bit- but not too much.

Below is the abbreviated Haggadah I created for the occasion, feel free to snag it for yourself! All content (hand lettering, illustrations, storytelling) was created by me, except for the prayers, because I’m not 1000 years old. It prints double sided and folds in half, and cost about 2 bucks at Fedex for 15 copies, so it’s economical too!

Side 1
Side 2

Worst Date Ever

 

 

Eternal Flame

One of the very best parts of the last year of my life has been embracing all the weird stuff that makes me, well, me. I’ve always heard that happens as you get older- I have to say, it’s certainly just less exhausting, and way more fun just to be myself. I’ve tried to fit into a lot of molds throughout my 20s that just weren’t for me. I think this week I’ve really reached peak ‘Grace’ though.

The first part of that was a routine trip to Powell’s last weekend, where I picked up “Smoke Gets In Your Eyes and Other Lessons From The Crematory”. If you’re into dark/funny memoirs, I highly recommend this book. In particular, I read a phrase that completely struck me- Caitlin Doughty describes her childhood as “functionally morbid”, and I thought, “Me too!”. She goes on to describe that term as being generally a normal, happy go lucky person who has some um.. different interests. I started drawing my name in bones as soon as I could spell it, and by 4th grade I had read every scary story/paranormal book in the school library. My teachers were so concerned that they called a meeting with my dad about it. I couldn’t help it- the stories scared the heck out of me, but I was hooked.

In addition to this completely fascinating memoir, I was also introduced to the podcast “My Favorite Murder”, which is 2 comedians, Karen Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstark discussing their favorite true crime stories. I’ve been completely immersed (and maybe sleeping with an extra light on). If you’ve got a slightly morbid sense of humor and a love of being scared, you should definitely check it out.

One of the things I really appreciate about the book and the podcast is the frank and open discussion of anxiety. I guess when the main subject matter is as taboo as it is, anxiety is small potatoes, but I really appreciate that there are successful interesting women out there talking about dealing with anxiety in a high profile way.

So I guess I feel like it’s all coming full circle this year- and there are more people like me out there in the world than I assumed. Functionally morbid kids unite!

The New Portlander

s-o-g-new-yorker

In this issue:

  • Field Trip: The Frye Art Museum Seattle
  • You’ve Got Mail: The Postcard Project
  • The Cartoon

Field Trip: The Frye Art Museum Seattle

Last month I took a trip to the Frye Art Museum in Seattle on the suggestion of a friend who had fallen in love with their salon style gallery.  The recommendation was apt- I fell in love with it immediately. Of course, with 3 Bougereaus in one room, how could you not? I appreciated the mix of late 18th and early 19th century portraiture, and especially some of the wilder lesser known pieces.

The Glorious Salon
The Glorious Salon
Graphite Schmutzler.
Graphite Schmutzler.
Doodle with copic markers.
Doodle with copic markers.

You’ve Got Mail: The Postcard Project

For the holidays this year my dear brother gave me the gift of an art supply spree- because he’s the best. I meant to space out my purchases and really give them thought and planning… and then I walked into You’ve Been Framed on Foster/Powell and I just couldn’t help myself. Or rather, I helped myself, to a lot of incredibly fun things I wouldn’t have normally splashed out for, one of which was a package of blank postcards. I’ve been slowly working my way through them and enjoying the small scale and finality of them as a medium. Clearly I’ve been heavily influenced by my dark wave playlist recently- why name your own pieces when you can let Morrissey and Depeche Mode do it for you?

170103-truelove

170103-stripped

170103-lastnight

The Cartoon:

A cheesy idea came to me in the office today.
A cheesy idea came to me in the office today.

Lowlights!

State of Grace Volume 1 Issue 4


In This Issue:

You Can Be Anything! Screw Society’s Standards!  Cover.

Napoleon Complex? Nah! It’s Simple! Thoughts on a recent commission.

I Wanna Be Your Dog – What’s Wrong With This Picture? A scene with the New York Dogs.


Napoleon Complex? Nah! It’s Simple!

ganderson-napoleon

I recently had the pleasure of working on a personal commission that brought together my love of classical art, and my enjoyment of silly juxtaposition. A modern take on the ultimate Dude-Bro, Napoleon.


What’s Wrong With This Picture?

newyorkdogs

Give me your guesses in the comments.

Dirt Bikes, Markers & Bridges, Oh my!

State of Grace Volume 1 Issue 3


In This Issue:

  1. Markers, Helmets & Motorbikes: Essence of Dirt. I spent a day at this ladies only dirt bike campout in Washougal, WA and got to pretend to be a super cool person for a day.
  2. The Actual Bridge of The People: Self Governed Sellwood Bridge. I commute over this sumbitch every day, I am unwisely going to share my tactics and observations for having a better commute out of far SE.
  3. Out on the Town with One-Liner! My little party game is getting brave and being played places other than my living room. Read on!

Essence of Dirt hosted by SoulCraft Moto
This is an actual thing that happened. Keep scrolling.

Last weekend I got the extreme pleasure of observing the fruits of my labor in action and watching badass ladies do even more badass things. Earlier this year I helped the genius behind SoulCraft Moto, Kandy Longstreet (pictured above) create some cool stuff (like hand lettered and illustrated posters and t-shirt designs) to advertise her ladies only dirt bike campout in Washougal. When she invited me to join the campout armed with my box of sharpies, I knew I couldn’t resist.

essenceofdirt3
Cooler ladies than me about to hit the trails.

This was my third visit to Washougal, but this is the first time I felt a real palpable energy buzzing through the trees. As soon as I pulled off the road, I was surrounded by the sound of 2 strokes and 4 strokes whipping through the hillside, all around were about a hundred women in armor and helmets, looking like the coolest tribe from Mad Max.

essenceofdirt5
I can take credit for the poster and lettering on the sticker- but my favorite new cap was courtesy of Women’s Moto Exhibit.

Being around all these cool chicks on bikes made me giddy. I got myself set up in the mercifully shaded tent to draw on stuff (they were even more badass for being in the 90 degree weather in full armor). Seeing all kinds of stuff with the hand lettering I created stamped on it got me even more pumped- usually you send off your work for a job and maybe see it floating around in pictures on the web, this time I was surrounded by shirts and stickers and hoodies with my work on it-super surreal. The only thing that would have made it better was not having 2 broken toes, but I will ride next year!

Fearless Leader modeling a custom helmet and screen printed tank- her vision, my design.
Fearless Leader modeling a custom helmet and screen printed tank- her vision, my design.

Have I mentioned that Essence of Dirt took place on International Women’s Ride Day? So not only was I surrounded by over a hundred fearless women from all over the Pacific Northwest (even Canada!), but women all over the world were meeting to make some noise.

"How about something patriotic?"
“How about something patriotic?”
essenceofdirt2
“What have I got to lose? Draw on my bike!”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The hours flew by as I got to draw on weird stuff and hang out with the stellar women who made the whole event run so smoothly. I left Washougal that evening with my ears buzzing and a grin on my face- and I only got a small taste of the full campout. Next year I’m renting a bike.

Fearless Leader takes the teeter totter on her 80 from the 80s.
Fearless Leader takes the teeter totter on her 80 from the 80s.

self-wood

Last year saw the opening of Portland’s first pedestrian/mass transit only bridge, which has been dubbed “Tillikum Crossing: Bridge of the People”. I would like to argue that title however for the Sellwood bridge, which is currently a masterpiece of neighborly self governance. Having been in a state of constant construction for the past few years, and currently boasting no stoplight on the eastern entrance, it’s a bit of an obstacle course.

When I moved to Sellwood 2 months ago I ran into a morality crisis I had not had to navigate in the Alphabet District (where the moral crisis is whether or not to leave a note when you inevitably bump into 5,000 Subaru’s while trying to parallel park). I found that my commute could be cut down by an impressive 20 minutes, if I chose not to take the main street leading to the Sellwood Bridge in order to get to my job in the burbs. It felt wrong at first, to leave everyone else stranded on Tacoma while I whizzed down Miller (and by whiz I mean carefully meander in and out of parked cars so both lanes of traffic can actually get through, while also not running over the sweet but speedy and erratic Catholic school children on 15th).

selllwood-traffic

I’ve come to terms with this moral gray area by making a compromise- instead of being super greedy and taking the last street before the bridge, I enter the fray on 7th. I feel even better if I let someone in from the 6th intersection, and I feel like a goddamn superhero if I can let someone make a left turn onto the bridge from 6th. Remember that whole no stoplight thing? There aren’t even stop signs at 6th, so drivers who take the side streets really are at the mercy of all the patient/road ragey souls who have waited their turn on Tacoma.

tacoma-driver

I would like to take a moment now to apologize to everyone I commute with- I’m sure I just sold out our shortcut, fellow shortcut takers, and I’m sorry the folks on Tacoma haven’t figured this out already- but they’re probably from Milwaukie anyway, so whatever (I’m looking at you, Enoch).


The first prints!
The first prints!

International Table Top Game Day came and went a couple of weeks ago, and I was lucky enough to score a table for One-Liner! at our local game emporium, Guardian Games. Up til now, the game has only existed as my original drawings and digital copies that I sell here– for ITTGD I made the first printed copies ever. Not gonna lie, I might have teared up a little bit when I got handed the stacks of card stock with everything looking all profesh and shiny. This was after an entire week struggling with my outdated home printer and a head cold. The visit to a real printer was totally worth it.

one-liner-4

Guardian was packed to the gills with enthusiasts and game designers- it was great seeing so many people enjoying themselves and discovering new games! My favorite part was seeing what people came up with for the latest expansion, Nerds! I honestly don’t have captions in mind when I draw the cards, I still want it to be fun for me to play, so it’s fantastic when someone writes something totally unexpected and hilarious.

one-liner-1

IITGD was a great time, I loved seeing reactions to the game- its nice to have confirmation outside of my living room that people have fun with it! Since the outing at Guardian Games went so well, I decided to take it out for another test run (with my boyfriend and co-creator) at the weekly game night at My Father’s Place, which literally looks like someone’s dad’s basement bar from the 70s.

one-liner-6
The winner: “Every wedding has it’s oddball table.”

This time I left the table entirely- not gonna lie, I freaked out a little bit at leaving the cards behind. Luckily they were in good hands with our friend, I will never doubt him in the future. I was happy to hear that the game continued to be enjoyed for a few rounds, before a drunk lady crashed the party, as they do.

one-liner-5
Personal favorite caption for one of my favorite cards: “Only poor people hide their wealth in a mattress!”

It’s pretty scary bringing this game out in public and hoping people will like it- it feels a little bit like the first day of school, or going on stage for a talent show. So far so good, thanks for being nice to me Portland!

The Tina Scale

 

State of Grace Volume 1 Issue 2


Letter from the editor:

This issue is devoted to my lady heroes, Audrey Hepburn and Tina Fey (plus some other Tina’s). I had planned one more article for this issue, with one more super awesome lady, but I over scheduled myself this week with promoting my game, One-Liner! at International Table Top Game Day, hosted by Guardian Games and having 2 broken toes. Please accept my apologies and take the next 2 weeks to ponder the true message of Billy Idol’s Rebel Yell, which I will reveal in the next issue of State of Grace (message from the future, this never happened). In the meantime, please enjoy the Tina Scale personality quiz!
tina-scale

State Of Grace – Issue 1 Volume 1

State of Grace Issue 1 Volume 1

In This Issue:

  1. What is This: A short explanation of State of Grace.
  2. Becoming an Artist: How did this happen to me?
  3. A Life Well Curated: How to live your truth & look great while doing it.

What is This?

State of Grace is a mini-mag published biweekly(bimonthly, bi-yearly?), right here, for you, by me (Grace). My friend came up with the title in a fit of cleverness, and was banned to the pun porch for a few minutes before I realized it was great. The goal of State of Grace is to make you laugh, or chortle, or at go ‘huhm.. that’s.. funny.’, which I accept as an in person response and interpret as great praise. Each issue will be modeled on a different print publication- see if you can guess!

So, without further ado- issue 1, volume 1!


Becoming An Artist

Donner Party Cartoon Grace Anderson

People come to creative professions in many ways. What I find to be a super common and effective route is to be the kid the teachers are a little concerned about (but generally like); there is a fine line between being the artsy kid, and the scary kid. During your time as a budding artiste, your parents should get a lot of phone calls about ghosts in the bathroom, strange notions about something called a ‘leather bar’ in your latest storybook, and general looks of concern when all of your school projects could have been made by Wednesday Addams.


 

A Life Well Curated

(How To Live Your Truth & Look Great Doing It, Especially In Portland, Please don’t take this advice.)

Portland Living Grace Anderson

Over the years, I’ve lived in almost every major city on the West Coast. I partied in LA while being dangerously broke (the LA dream), I lived in a tiny studio apartment that left me dangerously broke in Silicon Valley (the second Silicon Valley dream, behind being rich). Now I’m working on living the Portland Dream- which from what I’ve read and observed means being painstakingly unique by means of ‘curation’. Just like every other good Californian who is absolutely ruining this area, I would like to share with you how you too can achieve this dream! I’ve included a handy photo guide, which you can add to your vision board while you work on living your truth.

  1. Begin at home: Everything must be arranged to be perfectly charming, but effortless at the same time. This actually takes a lot of effort, but it must only look effortless. I added the cat treats to let my friends know, “I’m human too, I also leave things around higgledy piggledy.” Some friends of mine intentionally leave their laundry on the floor to give the same effect, while other leave their lawns unmowed for months at a time. This is trademark Portland empathy.
  2. Treat your look like art: Living authentically means treating yourself like a precious work of art. Your look must speak to your divine truth- and be instagram worthy while you are walking along Mississippi Ave. Everyone knows Portlanders never carry umbrellas, so I have taken to wearing a shower cap on days with a more than 20% chance of rain. I see this as a pragmatic solution, with a fashionable twist (I’ve accessorized my shower cap with a dahlia, but have fun with this idea, make it your own)!
  3. Live like every day is field day: Portlanders love quirky sports. If you aren’t part of a sport typically associated with children or senior citizens, how can you let your inner child (or grandma) out to play? Keeping your inner child/grandma caged is cruel- that is why I take every chance I can to watch my friends play bocce ball- from the sidelines, just like I did as a kid.
  4. Leave no stone left un-curated: I tried to curate my cat, but she didn’t get it. That is ok because I am gentle with myself, and I don’t let others’ feelings warp my inner truth. If Leeloo doesn’t want to be curated… that’s just her authentic choice.