Life Of A Dark Artist: 2017 Milestones

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wp_20170610_13_07_41_proI just wanted to thank all of you for supporting my work. 2017 has been a year of many milestones for me as an artist. Even though I have health setbacks I keep trucking along and your support helps to keep me doing what I love.

Here are just a few milestones I am grateful for in 2017…..

  • I marked a TON of Art Bucket List items off my list this year. I created so many things that I have put off for way too long. Knowing this makes me feel so accomplished as an artist. Thank you to those who always give me feedback on my work and inspire me to keep creating!
  • I enjoyed creating custom and commission pieces from both return and new clients this year! Thank you for believing that I could make your visions come to life! Thank you for all of your Freaky Fanatic photo submissions and reviews! You guys have no idea how much happiness I get from receiving these and being able to share them with the world!
  • I participated again in Woman of Horror Month which helps bring awareness and supports the woman that make the horror genre what it is today!
  • I started selling my portraits as Ghoulish Garments which have been a hit. I have been wanting to do this for years and finally found a DTG Printer that fit all of my needs. To know that you guys want to display my art is one thing. Knowing you want to wear it is a compliment on a whole new level. Thank you for all of your t-shirt orders. 2018 may open doors to even more products so stay tuned!
  • I got to meet the very talented and fun Kelly Doty at the Villain Arts Chicago Tattoo Convention and give her a Dead Girl Decay Barrette inspired by her. While I was there I was able to network with other artists. I also got my Captain Spaulding tattoo done by my very talented friend Dave Togtman of Black Devil Tattoo.
  • My “What Nightmares Are Made Of” Tim Burton and Jack art piece was selected to be put on display at the new Beetle House Tim Burton Bar in California. As scary as it was to mail off my original work, it made it there in one piece and is on display in their dining room! I am still in awe of this and hope one day I am able to travel there to finally see it on display in person. Thank you to those of you who have shared photos with me of it on display. I love living vicariously through all of you!
  • I got to finally meet Art Alexakis and the rest of the Everclear band. Even though this doesn’t directly have to do with my art it was a dream of my since the 90’s and their music has inspired me in so many ways!
  • I vended again with my fellow hearse collectors at the big Hardcore Hearse Club Show and sold double the amount I did last year! For those of you that were not able to buy something but visited my table, you are important too! You took a business card to spread the word, ordered from me online later or even just gave me positive feedback to keep me doing what I am doing! Thank you for bearing the heat with me again this year. And to my husband and my friends and family that help me each year with set up, watching my items when I need a break or making sure the weather doesn’t destroy anything.. you are my rocks and I couldn’t do this without you!
  • Thanks to helping out the hearse club, I was able to attend Days of the Dead in Indy where I was able to do more networking. I also was able to give more of my work to my dear friend Sid Haig for his birthday and catch up with him over dinner and drinks. Sid is not just a guest and not just a friend but a true inspiration to me.
  • I was “crowned” Best Horror Shop by Morbidly Beautiful Horror due to the massive support of my Freaky Fanatics who voted, posted and did everything the could to see me outbeat the big guys! I am still in awe of this and in all of you! This also allowed me to give back by teaming up with Morbidly Beautiful to give away my work to one lucky winner. And that winner didn’t just win the item. They proudly posted photos and video of what they received! Including their logo pin displayed on their bad ass vest!
  • You helped me raise money for the S.O.P.H.I.E Lancaster Foundation. The limited edition 10 year anniversary barrettes I made were sold out in only a couple of days!!! I even had a friend of Sophie’s contact me directly to reserve one so she could wear it for her wedding day!
  • I painted the 3 largest canvases of my life after being in the ER and out of work for a couple of weeks. This technically falls in the above category of commission pieces but I feel it stands alone as it was a big artistic milestone for me. They were not just large canvases but they were of a landscape which is not something I do on a regular basis. Thank you, Uncle Lou, for believing in me. Thank you to my husband for putting the canvases together, putting up with me and all the basement space I hogged up to get it done. Thank you to my Dad for all his advice and my brother and friends who kept telling me “you got this!”
  • I finally accepted Amazon’s invite for me to start selling on Amazon Handmade. I was nervous about doing this and knew it would take me forever to get my items all set up in my shop. However, my cousin Pat who is also my Accountant gave me the advice to push me forward and I am so glad I did. Since opening my shop I have had consistent orders coming through including return clients. During the weeks up to Christmas, I was packaging up orders every night after work to the point I had to stop and post a thank you. I am so happy to be able to reach more Freaky Fanatics through another outlet.
  • I entered the Rick and Morty Hot Topic T-Shirt Contest, and even though I did not win, I am still in awe of all of you that took the time to vote and comment on my submission. Some of you even followed up asking when it will be a shirt so you could buy it. I threw together a quick sketch so I could enter before the deadline. It was a vision I had for quite some time and I am glad I was able to participate. Stay tuned as I have plans for that design in 2018!
  • Frank and I did a lot of networking at Days of the Dead Chicago!! I was also able to give Sid Ghoulish Garments for him and his wife Suzie. I was also honored to give my work to Felissa Rose, Fairuza Balk, and Lisa Marie. To top it off I was able to finally meet the Soska Sisters (Jen and Sylvia Soska AKA The Twisted Twins) who remembered me from the American Mary barrettes I made them.
  • Frank upgraded my printer/scanner for my art studio for Christmas. This was something I wanted but also needed. With me getting more print orders it just made sense for me to be able to do more of them from home vs going to a printer all the time. The much larger scanner also saves me from going to a printer to scan larger art pieces. Next goal… a DTG printer of my own (a girl can dream)!

With 2017 being such a great year for me artistically I can’t wait to see what 2018 brings. One of the gifts my goddaughter Ava got me for Christmas is a really nice hardcover notebook that says “Enjoy The Little Things”. I plan to use it to jot down all creative ideas. So get ready Freaky Fanatics and……… Happy New Year!

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Stay Spooky!
LDG Nicole

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Hardcore Hearse Club Show 2016

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Just wanted to share some photos from over the weekend during my 1st vending experience at the Hardcore Hearse Club – Hearses Show. I vended both Saturday and Sunday. It was a good thing I did because the heat was so uncomfortable on Saturday that I felt ill from it and had to shut shop down 2 hours early (show ended at 8pm and I closed down at 6pm). From what I heard I was not the only one. I did pretty well seeing I was there an hour earlier then the other vendors for set up and it was already almost 90 degrees at 10 am when we packed up the car earlier in the morning.

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I was really happy how well my booth came together and got loads of compliments on it. My husband is such a god sent for helping me set it all up. On top of it taking most of it all down himself when I got sick later on. All day long he made sure I was doing ok, had enough to keep me hydrated, spraying me down with a water bottle and making sure I had a cold rag on my neck at all times. I love that man!

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One of the main reasons I had to be there earlier then the other vendors is because we were also displaying Frankenhearse. Darlene was a doll and reserved us a special area and it worked out perfectly for unloading! We ended up using the back up tarp to block some of the sun and we were actually shaded by some trees with helped a lot. Having the gas station directly behind us for washroom breaks and ice/drink runs was also very convenient! At one point when I was starting to get sick Frank actually took me over there to stand in the beer freezer while Dad and Diane watched over my booth. They came out and bared the heat with us almost all day! Such troopers!

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We made sure to put my new decal on the back of the hearse the night before and were so happy with how it looked.  Wilson Graphics never disappoints!

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Despite the heat there were a lot of people there. I was surprised because of the heat but not surprised since this particular hearse show never disappoints and is one not to miss. Lots of hearses, lots of spectators, a decent amount of vendors and the entertainment went on as planned. Unfortunately due to the heat I spent most of the day on Saturday under my shaded canopy with cold rags on my neck and trying to stay hydrated (due to my health issues I have to be very cautious of it). So I ended up missing a lot of stuff going on that day and a few things that evening when we left early but it was better safe than sorry. I was mostly disappointed that I missed my friend, Ron Fitzgerald‘s Illusion act. I was just grateful that the hotel we were staying at was right across the street. When Frank went over there earlier in the day to check us in he cranked the A/C so it had been running in our room all day! That, a cold shower and getting a decent meal in me made me feel so much better!

One of the other awesome things about this show is they never disappoint when it comes to their huge raffle baskets! This year I donated my Tim Burton Framed/Decorated Print and Jack Skellington Dead Girl Decay Barrette! They put it amongst some other really cool items!

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Sunday was so much more comfortable weather wise. The only issue we had was with the breeze which we used tarps to take care of the sides of the canopy and we were all good. I also laid my framed portrait prints down and rearranged my set up to accommodate for it. I refilled any gaps from sold items with back up items I had packed away.

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We got the same spot both days. Also this shot shows Frank’s RC Traxxas Hearse that he parked near Frankenhearse. When it was not parked he was driving it around the show with my business card on the hood! Did I mention I how much I love that man!

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We were also pleasantly surprised to find out that after we had left early the night before, that Frankenhearse had won a prize. We were voted 2nd place hearse for best of show!! Such an honor with so many amazing rides there! Here we are proudly holding our trophy!

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With the weather being nicer a lot more of our friends and family were able to come out on Sunday as well. Dad and Diane were there with us all morning and then others arrived later in the day. It meant a lot to me to have everyones support at my first vending event. My sister in law, Melissa captured this adorable photo of my great niece, Violet who showed up rocking an Aunt Nicole original in her hair!

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Our friend Cathy captured this great shot of Frank and I in my booth as well..

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The best part about vending was all the awesome new people I got to meet that paid my table a visit! Some made purchases, some networked for future events and tons of people took my card to check out the rest of my work online. I am really looking forward to working with some of them in the future. If any of you are reading this… THANK YOU!

Below is a shot that the club received that includes a little girl who insisted her Dad buy my Zombified Clown Mask. I could not be happier that it went to her. She loved it and was spotted wearing it at the show! The 2nd is a shot I took of my very first vending customer! She purchased a Dead Girl Decay Skull pin to match her awesome Cheshire Cat tank! I did not get photos of each of my customers which I am now kicking myself in the ass for. However these 2 pics sum up the range of how great the customers were!

On Sunday since it was much better weather wise I ventured out of my booth and Frank and I decided to get some more Hearse Club gear. But we also got some really killer new things for the house while supporting the other vendors. We got a Frankenstein blanket for our living room and some Frankenstein themed glasses to display on the shelf in our kitchen.

All in all we were exhausted and it was a lot of work preparing for for my first show. The heat wave put a damper on things but I am still very happy that I chose to wait to vend my first show until now. So many have asked me to do it and it meant a lot that my first show was also an opportunity to support our awesome club!

Keep an eye on my Etsy shop for new items! I had made some things to stock up for the show. Some of these items are still available and will be added soon. If you were at the show and want to know if something you saw on my table is still available, feel free to contact me directly! As always I am always available for custom orders as well!

Stay Spooky!
LDG Nicole