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i’ve made a pocket version of my amigurumi storybook, ‘the boring life of spencer, the ennui dog’. it’s a children’s story for adults, with love, adventure, a 3-headed duck and a little backstabbing. it’s available now in my online shop. and i’ll be showing it at the fringe festival here in saskatoon, starting tonight.
back in 2006 i was invited to take part in an art book fair at aka gallery in saskatoon. i’d just started this blog. my first solo show of drawings was opening soon and i was still drawing for that show. the art book fair was scheduled just a week after my show opening. i didn’t have a book of drawings, or any other book to show. but i wanted to take part, so of course i said ‘yes’.
i’d already been making a few amigurumi animals, but i didn’t have a story. so i sat down a couple of nights after my show opening and wrote a story. i spent a couple of days going around town taking photos with my amigurumi (it was super-cold, some of the “special effects” were hard to get right, i had to go to value village to find a pink jeep for the big ending). paul and i stayed up late one night to do the layout and i got it printed the next day, at an office printing shop. i bolted the pages together and took it right to the art book fair.
everyone seemed to really enjoy the spencer book. that summer i brought it to the fringe festival and people were lining up in front of my table to read it, bringing their friends over. i thought about getting it printed professionally but it seemed like too much trouble. i always meant to make a smaller, affordable version of the book, but life kept getting busier and that never happened. i did design a set of ‘spencer’ postcards that i’ve been showing at the fringe festival and selling in my online shop. and the 3-headed maximum team power duck doll who played the bad guy in the book, made an appearance as part of a show i did at the mendel art gallery.
well, now i’ve finally made a mini-version of the spencer book that you can buy and take home with you. it’s roughly 4 x 6 inches in size, so you can carry it in your pocket. just take it out and read it when you need a little laugh. or you can come to my blog and read the whole story here. click the thumbnails to view the pages at full size or click the link below to launch a slideshow.
i’m taking part in the saskatoon fringe festival again this year, starting tonight until august 8th. it’ll be the 4th time i’ve showed there in 5 years. i’ll be selling this petit spencer book as well as my prints and postcards. come on down to broadway avenue to meet me. i’m planning to attend as many days as i can. i’ll probably have elijah with me for some of the time, since he’s having a very emotional separation anxiety these days.
hope to see you there!
“no, pat no! don’t get stuck in my hair.”
when you feed a toddler, you find all sort of food stuck in your hair. elijah insists to give me a big hug with his sticky hands while he’s eating. i can’t say no…
elijah’s books come in handy…
there is a book release party + artist signing at the cerasoli : lebasse gallery tonight.
to buy the book (US$4.95), please visit ISM website.
After two years of exhibitions, interviews and editing the ISM: Untitled Love Project book is finally finished.
We will be celebrating with a book release party + artist signing at the Cerasoli : LeBasse Gallery on Saturday, December 13th, 7:00pm – 10:00pm.
The untitled LOVE project is an emotionally influenced experiment examining the broken heart. Each individual artist revisited a past relationship through their medium.
The book features each original artistic expression accompanied with interviews, short stories, or journal entries regarding the story behind the conceptual recollection.
FEATURED ARTISTS (in book)
Allison Sommers. Amy Sol. Angelina Wrona. Anthony Clarkson. Aaron Jasinski. Audrey Kawasaki. Bradford J Salamon. Brandon Francis. Brian M Viveros. Brianne Drouhard. Camilla d’Errico. Camilla Engman. Candace Metzger. Caro. Carrie Ann Baade. Casey O’Connell. Chris Ryniak. Courtney O’Quist. Crystal Yin. Dave Chung. Dave Pressler. Dennis Hayes. Elesavet Lawson. Erik Abel. Erik Siador. Grace Chee. Haubs. J Shea. Jarrod Eastman. Jen Tong. Jeni Yang. Jesse Hotchkiss. Josh Hart. Joshua Clay. Julie Lee. Justin DeGarmo. Katy Horan. Kelly Vivanco. Ken Garduno. Kenneth LaValle. Kmndz. Kris Lewis. Kristyn Dors. Leanne Biank. Lizz Lopez. Lori Escobar. Matt Dangler. Melanie Moore. Melissa A Contreras. M Mararian’s Inky Dreadfuls. Munk One. Nekoshowgun. Nicolette Davenport. P Williams. Patrick Ballesteros. PJ Fidler. Rachel Schmidhofer. Ron Velasco. Ronald J Llanos. Sanithna Phansavanh. Sarah Joncas. Scott Altmann. Scott Chenoweth. Sheesh. Suzanne Clements. The Dead Beatnik. Tony Philippou. Yuka Yamaguchi. Yukari Nishi.
CONTRIBUTING ARTISTS (not in book)
2h. Alexis Mackenzie. Alison Casson. Anders K Iden. Andrew Hem. Brian Kesling. Catia Chien. Dan Ah Kim. Daniel Fleres. Daniel St George. Edwin Ushiro. Gabe Leonard. Jesse Kerr. Jimmy Bleyer. Jon Todd. Katherine Chiu. Kristian Olson. Lilly Piri. Marco Zamora. Marie Barr. Matthew Feyld. Mike Stilkey. Pamela Henderson. Rad Sechrist. Rich Tuzon. Rob Kruse. Scott Barry. Scott Saw. Seizer. Timothy Karpinski. Tuan Vutran. Tommii Lim. Victor Marquez. Zoso.
ALSO ON DISPLAY DURING THE EVENT
Gallery I: Evan B. Harris ‘Maritime & Mythology’
Gallery II: ‘Gifted’ Group show featuring small works of 12″ x 12″
Cerasoli : LaBasse Gallery
8530-B Washington Blvd.
Culver City, CA 90232
elijah’s first word was ‘manma’, which is the japanese baby word for ‘food’. i since learned that some english-speaking babies say ‘num-num’ meaning the same thing. he uses ‘manma’ for any kind of food but especially snack foods that come in boxes or little bags, like crackers. this started after we drove home from ontario and he had all kinds of dry snack food to eat in the car seat.
the next thing elijah started to say was ‘mama’ and ‘papa’ randomly to both of us. one morning, he woke up at 5am and started chanting ‘mama! papa!’ over and over in a loud voice, banging on the bed frame. he was so proud of himself! at 13 months old, he had ‘papa/mama’ confusion. he could say ‘papa’ very clearly, but not ‘mama’. i was so jealous! he called me ‘papa’ for awhile. it melted my heart anyway.
nowadays he can clearly say ‘papa’ to paul and ‘mama’ to me. when he wakes up in the middle of night (still…) and shouts ‘mama~ mama~! oppa~i (breasts)!’ i feel like i can do anything for him.
i’ve been saying ‘daisuki (i love you very much)’ to him for a long time. around 14 months, he started to imitate me hugging him. we’d say ‘daisuki’ and he’d open his arms wide and give us a hug. he’s recently started trying to say ‘daisuki’, but he can’t say the entire word. so he says ‘dai~, dai~’ and open his arms and for a hug. he does it to my friends and their babies as well. it’s pretty adorable.
‘dai’ in ‘daisuki’ means ‘big’. ‘dai’ plus ‘suki (like)’ becomes ‘i love you very much’. but in english, ‘dai’ sounds like ‘die’, so it sounds like he’s chanting ‘die! die! die!’ and wanting a hug. it probably sounds horrible to some people, but to me it’s the sweetest thing.
elijah’s vocabulary is increasing every day. i keep track of the words he learns in my ‘elijah word diary’ (it’s just a small agenda book). he picks up new sounds very quickly and seems to be able to associate the sound with its object. he learns so quickly that i can’t keep up with what he knows. most of the words he says are not really words, just the first syllable or sound from a longer word — but we can understand him, it’s our secret code. we are ‘oya-baka‘, so we’re convinced these are all certainly words.
here’s my elijah dictionary at 15 months:
- ai~ (from ‘ari’, meaning ‘ant’ in japanese) — he uses it for ants on the ground or flies buzzing around the window
- appu~l (apple) — he says this clearly enough for most people to understand. he can recognize a real apple and a drawing of an apple. at the supermarket he chants ‘apple!’ and points firmly at the apples. if you show him an orange he’ll also say ‘apple’
- awaa~ (‘flower’) — he says this pointing at a real flower or a picture of a flower or a field full of flowers. one of his favorite things is dandelions — he brings them to us to blow the seeds
- ashi (meaning ‘leg’ in japanese) — he says ‘ashi’ if we point at his leg or one of ours, and if we say ‘ashi’ he points at his leg
- beee (‘B’) — he has some magnetic alphabet letters. he calls them all ‘B’, except sometimes he says ‘aysh’ (‘H’) at random
- bana~ (‘banana’) — i think he just like to say this word. he doesn’t eat much banana. he’s more of a melon guy.
- be~bi! (‘baby’) — he says ‘baby’ for babies in real life and in photos and also uses the word for kids much older. i’m not sure if he knows that he’s also a baby.
- bai-bai (‘bye bye’) — he waves goodbye to papa leaving for work, sometimes too soon when paul is still putting his pants on. he also waves bye bye when we put him in the car seat and close the door, even though we’re getting in the front seat right away.
- ba~cku~l (‘buckle’) — he loves to spend time playing with the buckles on his high chair, trying to open and close them
- baffi~ (‘buffy’, the name of our neighbour’s dog) — even though we’ve lived here for more than a year, buffy is always surprised to see us and barks at us when we’re out in our back yard. so i taught elijah to say ‘hello buffy’ every time we go out in the yard. she still barks at us.
- a!ba!ba!ba! (‘bus’) — buses are very exciting.
- bu~bu~! (the japanese baby word for ‘car’) — he likes watching the cars drive by from our window. he also uses this word for his toy car.
- bey~ah (‘bear’) — he has three polar bear cuddly toys. he’ll hold them tight and lay down on the carpet.
- bah~~ (‘ball’) — he likes to run around after the soft soccer ball inside and his green plastic ball outside
- buk! (‘book’) — he is always asking us to read books to him. we go through his entire book collection almost everyday. his favorite book is dr suess’ “hop on pop”. he asks for it by name: ‘op op’
- burrrrr~ (‘bird’)– this was one of the first words that he learned. he notices birds all the time, even when they’re far away in the sky
- chapu-chap (sound effect for water splashing in japanese) — i taught him that ‘chapu-chap’ means bath. he loves the bath and he’ll point at the bathroom door and chant ‘chapu-chap!’
- chea~ (‘chair’) — he learned this word from a picture book. he was so happy to learn this word that he walked around to touch all the chairs that day.
- dami~! (‘dame’, meaning “don’t do that” in japanese) — he likes things that are ‘dame!’
- dau~ (‘down’) — he says this when he’s climbing down from something, or going down the stairs (backwards, on his stomach). he doesn’t use it when he’s being held and wants to be put down, he says ‘up’ instead.
- dahhh (‘dog’) — i guess i was supposed to teach him to say ‘puppy’. he likes dogs.
- do~h (‘door’) — we never taught him this word, but he was listening every time we yell at each other;”is the door shut?”
- do~jyo (‘dozo’, meaning ‘here you go’ in japanese, when offering something to someone) — he mostly says this to mean ‘gimme’. you’ve got it backwards, elijah!
- eapu~ (‘airplane’) — he looks up to the sky every time he hears an airplane overhead. he does a gesture we taught him with his hand “flying” around like an airplane
- e~lijah! – he says his name very loudly and repeatedly. he looks happy when he says this.
- gya~f! (‘giraffe’) — we have some giraffe stickers on the wall of his bedroom.
- hama~ (‘hammer’) — he likes to hammer things, especially when he gets to use a real hammer. we just bought him a toy hammer that makes funny sounds. so far he’d rather use his other toys (like his wooden cars) or some other things from the house (like papa’s shaving cream) to hammer on the floor very very loud.
- mama (‘mama’, me) — when he hugs me as he whispers this word he melts my heart.
- manma (the japanese baby word for ‘food’) — when he gets really hungry he screams ‘MANMA~!!!’ again and again. not very subtle, elijah.
- meyo~ (‘melon’) — he loves eating melon and asks for it all the time — either cantaloupe or watermelon. sometimes he stuffs his mouth so full that he chokes and vomits everything back up
- mimi (japanese for ‘ear’) — another body part. he’ll point at his ear when he hears music.
- myu~ (‘music’) — he can turn on the big stereo and start pushing buttons. sometimes he inserts a CD or MD (mini-disc) by himself. he likes to turn on a CD/MD player, insert a CD or MD and hit play. he loves dancing to music.
- me (not [mi], but [me], ‘eye’ in japanese) — occasionally he pokes my eye with his precious tiny finger saying ‘me’!
- nyo~z (‘nose’) — another body part he likes to name. he really likes grabbing papa’s big nose.
- no, no, no, no, no~! – he waves his hands around and tells me that’s a no no! he started saying it to himself when he knows he’s not supposed to do something.
- ahf (‘off’) — he always wants to flip the light switch by himself. our house becomes a disco.
- oh,oh! — he’s supposed to say this when he drops something accidentally. but he says this BEFORE dropping things — meaning he’s dropping them on purpose. the worst part is when he’s sitting in his high chair with his plate of food and he says ‘oh-oh!’ — BIG MESS.
- auchi~ (‘ouch!’) — he gets so much attention when he bumps his head that he’s started bumping it (very gently) on purpose, or even pretending he bumped it (we can see he didn’t). he holds his head with his hands and comes running to me saying ‘auchi! so i kiss him and look sad. he doesn’t do it to paul, because papa just laughs when he sees the obvious fake injury.
- opa~i (‘oppai’, meaning “breast” in japanese) — at night sometimes he screams and screams and screams and then suddenly says ‘oppai?’ in a quiet polite voice.
- papa — papa is elijah’s favorite. anytime he hears a noise from around the entrance, he points and asks “papa?”
- pada~ (‘panda’) — his playmate is ‘panda-san’, a stuffed animal panda from IKEA. i put a diaper, baby clothing and a bib on panda-san so he can be elijah’s role model. elijah feeds him food and holds on to him in the crib as he falls asleep.
- pee pee! (‘penis’) — he grabs his pee-pee with no mercy. i didn’t realize that thing could stretch so far.
- tachi! , do tachi! (‘don’t touch!’) — many things are ‘don’t touch’ in the house… sorry, elijah. he says ‘tachi’ or ‘do tachi’ when he’s near them, but then he touches them anyway and looks very happy.
- te (japanese for ‘hand’) –another body part. he’s learning how to do “high-five”.
- up! – he can say ‘up’ very clearly now, whenever he wants to get picked up but also he wants to get put down. so he says ‘up’ even when he’s already up! how high do you wanna go, elijah? he’s a climber. he climbed all the way up a ladder to the roof of the garage one time. where is your fear, my friend?
today, elijah is one year, one month, one week, one day, one hour, and one minute old.
june 8th, 2008. a minute after he was born…
i’ve been having an awesome time playing with elijah. we play all day from dawn til nightfall. he’s running around all the time. and he’s started saying a few words that i can understand.
elijah loves spending time outside. he’s always running up to the screen door and trying to push it open. i have to keep it locked so he doesn’t get out on his own. if i ask him ‘out?’, he bangs on the door and say ‘ahhtoh~, ahhtoh~’. if i say ‘shoes’ he goes to the entranceway and grabs his sandals, even if i don’t gesture or point. once we get ready to go, he is so proud to step out of the doorway on his own.
we go to a park a few blocks up the street from our house almost every day. he runs around on the grass pulling out the dandelions, saying, ‘ahwuh~, ahwuh~’ (‘flower’). he likes to break open the seeds of the dandelions after they go white. he points at dogs we meet, saying ‘dahh~, dahh~!!’ very loudly. he’s always noticing birds flying in the sky or sitting on the grass in the park. whenever he spots a bird, he points at it and says, ‘burrrrr! burrrr!’ and looks to make sure i notice it too.
at home, he tries to dig around in everything possible. he takes a bunch of stuff out of a dresser drawer, then puts it back in, he repeats the process many times, non-stop. he goes into the food pantry and brings me a box of something (usually the box of brita water filters). he climbs up on the low buffet table and presses all the buttons on the phone and answering machine. he’s always erasing all the messages and recording his own chatty voice as the answering machine message. he always wants to play with the non-baby items in the house: the phone (he likes the real phone more than his toy phone), the computer, the stereo, any remote control. a couple of times he’s been playing with the stereo buttons when there’s music playing and suddenly turned the volume knob all the way to maximum. that made him cry with surprise.
he wants to feed himself all the time. he pushes away the spoon if anyone tries to give him a bite. he’s not that interested in most finger foods like cheerios anymore. he wants to eat with a fork or spoon, even though he makes a big mess. his favorite food right now is apple pieces. he knows the word ‘apple’ and can say it clearly when he sees a photo of an apple, or a drawing of an apple, or a pile of apples in the grocery store. after the meal he brushes his teeth. of course, he wants to do it himself.
he is climbing up and down from things. he knows the word ‘up’ and asks us to pick him up or take him somewhere. he’ll ask other people to pick him up sometimes, like the cashier at the grocery store. when he says ‘up’ he holds his arms straight up towards us and twists his hands back and forth as fast as he can. now that he can get up on so many things (the low coffee table, the small armchair, the bench near the window, not to mention the stairs), we’ve been teaching him how to get down safely. he knows to turn on his stomach and gradually go backwards so his feet touch the floor first. he does this getting down from our bed (it’s a tall bed), even though he has to fall a bit before his feet hit the floor. he says ‘dahh’ (‘down’) when he’s doing this technique.
when he wants to hear a story, he takes all his books out of the cupboard and brings them to me one by one. when i tap on my thigh, he crawls onto my lap and i read him stories. his favorite books right now are: ‘don’t let the pigeon drive the bus!‘, ‘don’t let the pigeon stay up late‘, ‘DOG‘, ‘bossy bear‘, ‘tamahiyo doubutsu‘, ‘tamahiyo misete‘, ‘dr. seuss’s abc‘ and mama’s japanese novels. he likes it when we say lines from his favorite books at other times during the day, like when i’ll do the pigeon’s voice saying “first of all, i’m not even tired… in fact, i’m in the mood for a hot dog party!!”
i read ‘dr. seuss’s abc’ to him before he goes to bed. his favorite character is ‘itchy itchy ichabod’. sometimes i can only manage to read till the letter B before he starts saying ‘oppa~, oppa~’ (‘oppai’, the japanese word for breast/breast milk)’ and putting his arm inside my shirt to grab onto my oppai. he does that in public sometimes, so i have to be careful i’m not on parade.
after breastfeeding, it’s time for bed. he starts sleeping in his crib every night now. he usually wakes up a couple of times before coming to bed with us early in the morning. he likes to start the day early, like at 6:30 or even 5:15, so i have to get some sleep to get ready for the next big day.
(the front cover)
a production manager from arsenal pulp press, a vancouver book publisher, contacted me to ask if they could use images of my drawings for the cover of their new books catalogue. each season they print around 4000 copies of this catalogue and distribute them to booksellers and university professors across canada and the US. they like to showcase a new artist on the cover of the catalogue. for the spring 2008 catalogue, they chose me.
(the back cover)
the manager who contacted me wanted to use “the upper hand” for the front cover, because they publish a lot of vegan cookbooks and the drawing makes her laugh. she wanted to use a drawing with pencils for the back cover, so i chose “my watercolours“.
i received some copies yesterday. i’m happy how it turned out. i like the background colour she chose – that’s one of my favorite colours.
this is my pala pala book (flip book) day 4. in this episode, i am chosen to be a civilian visitor to the moon. i’m been interviewed on the departure day. of course, nothing in my life goes smoothly…
this book is 6 x 6 cm. there are 42 pages.
to read the whole stupid story of mine, you can click the images below and the large image will show up in the lightbox. you can click the arrow on the right side of the image to flip the pages of the book. pala pala pala….
(click the images to view close up)
to read the previous episodes, click here.
these pala pala books are for sale in my online SHOP.
“pala pala” means to flip in japanese. this is “yuka’s doomed life, day 3″. it looks like i’m still doomed. this is my birthday edition. i’m trying to steal a birthday cake. of course, i fail to do so…
the book is 6 x 6 cm. it weighs about 20g. there are 30 pages.
to read the whole stupid story of mine, you can click the images below and the large image will show up in the lightbox. you can click the arrow on the right side of the image to flip the pages of the book. pala pala pala…
(click the image to view close up)
to read the previous episodes, click here
these pala pala books are for sale in my online SHOP.