Happy 5th Birthday Junket!

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This weekend, Junket: Tossed & Found is celebrating its 5th birthday and I’m very excited to be a part of the festivities! Friday night I’ll be hosting a special, extended Creative Journaling class from 5:30-7:30pm. First, we’ll be diving into an amazing stash of vintage papers to make our own junk journals. Then we’ll get started filling the pages and prepping backgrounds to work on later. There are still some tickets available, click here for details. And be sure to stop in on Saturday for more fun birthday celebrations! Check their website or follow Junket on Facebook or Instagram for more details.

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30 Days of Found Object Art

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I make art every day. Somedays it’s a quick 5-minute collage. Other days I’ll have an hour to work on a single piece or a few at a time. But at some point every day, I schedule time to do something creative. I credit this habit to the monthly challenges I started in January of 2016. Creativebug was offering a month-long drawing challenge hosted by Lisa Congdon. I love her style and I’ve always wanted to develop a drawing practice so I decided to join in. And for extra accountability, I posted my work on Instagram. It was way outside of my comfort zone and literally made me feel sick to my stomach every time I posted one of my sketches, but eventually, it became more about the practice of creating the drawing than it did the worry of what people would think. I later joined another month-long drawing challenge hosted by Pam Garrison. Then I participated in Index-Card-A-Day (ICAD) hosted by Daisy Yellow where you create something, anything, on an index card every day for the months of June and July. By mid-year, I could feel the habit forming. It was no longer a task on my to-do list, it was something I craved and I couldn’t go to bed without completing my piece for the day – and not because I felt guilty if I didn’t, but because I felt incomplete.

By the end of 2016 I was hooked and decided to step it up a notch. I committed to a 365-day challenge. I’ve added other monthly challenges in throughout 2017 as well, but my daily project has given me something consistent to work on, something that will be there for me every day. The book I’m working in is very small so it doesn’t feel overwhelming to commit to completing a page in it each day. And I didn’t limit myself by giving it a specific theme. I decided I’d simply find something that inspires me each day and use it to create a page and tell a story. This practice has made me more aware of the world around me. I see the little things I used to overlook (like 4-leaf clovers in the park), and I’ve realized that just about anything can provide inspiration, even the junk I find on the ground or the annoying/difficult things that happen in life.

After participating in so many challenges hosted by other artists, I knew that someday I’d like to host my own. So I decided to take that idea for a test spin and in honor of the launch of my Etsy store, I’ll be using the month of November to create 30 Days of Found Object Art. Every day I’ll create a piece of artwork that was inspired by something I found either on my morning walks with Murphy in the park, in a parking lot, at my kids’ schools, or around my house. Some items will be used as tools, others for color or pattern inspiration, and some may become a story starter. There aren’t any prompts for the month, I will simply respond to the “junk” I find throughout the course of my day. I’ll be posting the artwork every day in Instagram and you can find me here or by searching for my account @mrkanthony (there is also a link on the left side of my blog). I’ve completed the first four days and you can see them below.

Day 1:

 

Day 2:

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Day 3:

Day 4:

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I’d love to have you join me! Don’t worry about catching up, you can start any time you like. Just create something inspired by a found object. If you post your work on Instagram, don’t forget to tag me (@mkranthony) and use the hashtag #30daysoffoundobjectart so that I can see your work and follow your journey. And by the end of the month, you’ll have a new habit of looking for inspiration in unexpected places all around you!

Let’s go exploring!

Join me for Creative Journaling at Junket: Tossed & Found

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Earlier this year I began teaching a monthly Creative Journaling class at Junket: Tossed & Found, an antique and resale store in Minneapolis, MN. Junket not only offers an amazing selection of vintage and second-hand items, but also promotes creative thinking in how we reuse and repurpose materials by offering a wide variety of classes and workshops. I am honored and ecstatic to be a part of that creative team.

My classes are offered on the first Friday of every month from 5:30-7:00 pm (see the Upcoming Events tab for a full list of my classes). Each month I introduce a new creative journaling topic with an emphasis on reusing and repurposing both old and new materials we have in the world around us. There are still a few tickets available for this Friday’s class and they can be purchased by clicking here and selecting the option for the Creative Journaling class on Friday, November 3rd. I will also be teaching a special class on Friday, November 17th as part of the 5th Birthday Celebration for Junket.

I’ve developed a tradition with my classes and at the end of the night, I collect all the paper scraps left behind by participants and bring them home to make a collage for the 365-Day Project I’ve been working on. It’s a great way to remember the evening, the amazing conversations and the lessons I took away from the night. A sample of those collages can be seen at the top of this post and here:

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I’d love to see you at an upcoming class! We always have a great group of people join us who are friendly, welcoming, supportive, encouraging and excited to learn and share ideas. If you have any questions about my classes or Junket, send me a message and I’d be happy to help answer them.

Thanks for stopping by!

Opening Day!

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I’m very excited to announce that my Etsy store is officially open for business! I am slowly working on getting it fully stocked, but I do have a variety of my Found Object Creativity Kits available for purchase.

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Each kit contains:

  • A Found Object Creativity Kit Guidebook – a 14-page book that explains how to use the tools in your kit, provides a list of prompts to get you started and explains how to go on your own found art walk and add to your collection
  • A unique assortment of carefully cultivated found objects to ignite your imagination (there is a combination of both natural and man-made objects included)
  • A packet of paper scraps
  • A handmade book from reused materials for note taking and mark-making exploration

Each object in your kit, including the container itself, can be used as an art supply. For example, the jar can be filled with water for painting, the lid can be turned into a paint palette and the envelope with the paper scraps can be glued into your journal to hold treasures you collect on your own found art walk.

You can click here to visit the store or you can search on Etsy for the store name: TheFoundArtWalk.  I have more items that will be listed soon so check back for updates!

Join me Monday at the Minnesota Center for Books Arts!

I’m excited to share that I will be the guest speaker on Monday, July 17th at the monthly meeting for the Visual Journaling Collective at the Minnesota Center for Books Arts. I’ll be sharing my story about The Found Art Walk, my passion for using found objects in my work and my current project: The Found Object Creativity Kits (if you’ve been following along on Instagram, then you may have heard about these. If not, I’ll be making an announcement here soon so stay tuned!) I will also be bringing a portion of my collection of found objects for people to try out. Bring your own journal to work in and I’ll provide the objects, paint and other tools. There is no cost for the meeting, it is free and open to the public (adults only, sorry, no children are allowed at these meetings). I hope to see you there!

Monday, July 17th
7:00pm – 9:00pm
Minnesota Center for Book Arts
1011 Washington Avenue S., Suite 100
Minneapolis MN 55415

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Lost & Found

Hello again! It has been a long time since I’ve written here. If you’ve been following along on Instagram, then you know I’ve been busy during my time away. I found that it was easier to complete work and post it there than it was to compose and format a blog post here. And with limited time, I needed to be efficient with the few free moments I had. However, I found that more often than not, I was stretching to the limit for length of Instagram posts and editing them down was becoming more time consuming, and sometimes difficult, which made me realize that I needed to writing blog posts and not trying to squeeze all my thoughts into 2200 characters.

I feel that all of my recent growth as an artist can be attributed to challenges. It all started when I participated in the monthly drawing challenges a year and a half ago hosted by Creativebug. They kept me accountable and gave me a goal to work towards. I was also able to build a community through Instagram and connect with others who were working on their drawing and painting skills as well.

By the end of the year, I didn’t’ want to lose any of the motivation and momentum I had gained so I decided to take on the goal of completing a 365-day challenge. I was incredibly lucky and won a giveaway that Tori Weyers from @drawriot was hosting which included a tiny daily Moleskine journal. I never would have chosen a book that small or with that type of paper, but that little book quickly became one of my most cherished possessions and I absolutely adore it.

On January first of this year, I created a page and wanted to add a message so I stamped a word on top of my artwork. The next day I wanted to continue the thought and did it again. I never intended for that to become “my thing” for this project, but it stuck and every single page has a word on it that has something to do with my post for the day. Most of them are stamped with a tiny alphabet stamp set I have, but there are a handful that have words from a printed piece of paper (newspaper, a fortune from a cookie, etc…).

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I had only been writing brief posts to accompany my journal pages. A few words to describe the process or style, something vague and generic. I was too scared to get too personal or reveal too much. It was easier to hide behind my artwork. But the more I connected with people on Instagram, the more I realized it was because of their stories. I learned that I had a lot more in common with the people I followed and admired than I ever thought possible. And it was through their stories that I found strength and inspiration. So, I decided to be brave and started to share a little more of my stories. Then they became longer, longer and longer. I never imagined that anyone would read them, but they did. And I started connecting with people through those words. My words.

I have always loved writing. I have always wanted to be “a writer.” But fear and lack of self-confidence have always seemed to talk me out of it. Many times, I have set my writing aside. But it finds me. It always finds me. It doesn’t give up on me even when I give up on it. And through all those challenges – the drawing, the painting, the collage – somehow, words are what rose to the surface and emerged through all my layers of color and paper. This realization does not mean that I am giving up on my other art, not by a longshot. In fact, I’ve learned that I need them both. They need to work in tandem, that’s where they get their strength. That’s where they belong.

Thank you for following along, for taking the time to read all the words, for pausing to look at the pictures, for commenting, for connecting. We, like art and words, are all stronger together. I wouldn’t be doing what I’m doing today if it wasn’t for the community I’ve discovered on Instagram. I was terrified to post my work, worried about harsh criticism and cruel comments. But all I’ve gotten are friendships, support, encouragement and the most amazing inspiration. And that’s what I hope to give back. My dog Murphy and I are still taking walks in the morning, still finding lots of amazing stuff and I have a lot of exciting news to share, places I’ll be and stories to tell, but for now, I just wanted to say hello. And thank you for stopping by.

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Weekly Color Palette Inspiration

Color plays a huge role in everything I do. It influences my art, what I wear, magazine and book covers I’m drawn to and how I decorate my house. I have my go-to palette – those colors I absolutely adore and can’t stop using. But sometimes we need to shake things up and break out of our typical color palette. It can be hard. I’ll scroll through Pinterest or Instagram to see color combinations other people are using, but the best inspiration is from random encounters with color in my daily life. Some of my favorite combinations have come from litter I see in the park on my walks with Murphy and how it is randomly blown together by the wind to create a beautiful palette of colors I never would have thought to use.

Each week I’ll share a combination of colors that I’ve found to help inspire you to try some that you may not typically use. This week’s palette was collected from the park where I walk and the parking lot at my daughter’s daycare.

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I’d love to see how these colors inspire you. Use #thefoundartwalkcolors if you post them to Instagram. I’ll share my own creations on the blog and on Instagram later this week.

Have fun playing with color this week!