Artist Spotlight: Lisa Battles

Lisa Battles is a friend and coworker who I had the pleasure of spotlighting this month! I’ve seen her edible candy mice and frog cupcakes for special occasions and received a glass she painted this past Christmas. She’s one of the most talented and creative people I’ve ever met, and I’m excited to introduce her work to our awesome readers.

Be sure to check out her Etsy Wineglass store, and show some love!

Materials used: Wine glasses, water-based acrylic enamel, rubbing alcohol to prep the glass, variety of tiny paint brushes, wine (optional).

Raven glass - Lisa Battles
Yours truly. My awesome Christmas present last year!

1. Where did the idea to paint glasses come from?

About 10 years ago, my sister, Lana, gave me a set of four glasses she bought from a novelty company. Each glass was pre-painted with a woman – a blonde, a brunette, a redhead and a dark brunette. I still have three; I broke the blonde while washing it, unfortunately. I decided to paint a more customized redhead on a glass for one of my favorite redheads, Courtney Hodge Evans, for her birthday one year. She kept it for six or seven years, and then sent me a text around Thanksgiving 2014 that after keeping her glass for so many years, she’d accidentally broken it. I asked her to take a clear photo of it, and I’d paint a replacement for it. I did, and since it was almost Christmas, I thought that would be a fun gift idea for many of my girlfriends for holiday gifts, birthday gifts and hostess gifts. So I ended up painting at least a dozen for friends over the holiday season. People loved them, and I had several friends tell me I should sell them. So I did. I set up an Etsy shop early in 2015. So far, including those holiday gifts and several orders, I have painted about 40 different glasses and have about a dozen in the works right now.

2. What is your favorite glass?

I don’t really have a favorite; I like them all for different reasons. That’s probably because I have mostly painted these for friends, and when I feel like I have captured the personality of someone I love already, that makes me love the little portrait as an extension of that. I have done a few for people I’ve never met, and I feel like I have kind of gotten to know the person (and sometimes their pets!) just from studying their photos so much. Even though they are more time-consuming, I think I like doing sets. Seeing the “interaction” of a mom and siblings, groups of best friends, etc. all lined up is really funny to me, especially after a couple of glasses of wine. I gathered together many of the Christmas gift glasses while I had them all together on my table, and it was almost surreal to see so many people I knew “looking back at me” in one spot. If I HAVE to pick, I think the set of draft glasses depicting my Dad and his former law enforcement partner Bill Rhegness in the early 1980s during a spoof Olan Mills shoot may be my favorite. I did a set for Bill at his request, and then of course, Dad wanted a set, so I replicated them. My Dad has been courageous and determined fighting the effects of treatment for Glioblastoma Multiforme (GBM), an aggressive and usually fatal type of brain cancer, the past two years, and Bill has been up to visit him several times during this time. Giving the two of them a laugh over those glasses was rewarding.

Lisa Battles glass
Lisa’s dad and former law enforcement partner Bill Rhegness.

3. Are there any famous people you want to paint glass for?

Dad and Bill were pretty well-known for their detective shenanigans in North Alabama! HA … I guess anyone with a colorful or unusual look would be fun — Johnny Depp would have a lot of accessories. But seriously, I can’t think of anyone in particular. A friend who was a music idol to me when I was a teenager in the 1990s ordered a glass with his band’s album cover on it, which I thought was cool of him to order. We were both pleased with how it turned out. I probably put in more hours on that one than any because it was more of a graphic thing to replicate than a photo interpretation. I have another order in the hopper from a different band, but don’t know how soon I will get around to doing them. They will be on beer glasses and pretty cute when I finish them.

4. You have lots of art projects, what are a couple of your favorites?

I enjoy painting the most, whether it’s on wine glasses, beer glasses, a canvas, a piece of wood or whatever. I also prefer this kind of untrained, caricature-type painting, where you can take liberties with how true-to-life it has to look. I have always enjoyed painting and drawing as much as I have writing, at as early an age as I could do any of them. The difference is that while I am excellent about studying, knowing and following rules in writing, I have the opposite opinion about having rules in art. That is probably why I have always preferred to keep it as a hobby and didn’t pursue it as a career: When you have to do something to pay your bills, sometimes you find yourself having to follow rules set by others instead of going with your heart. Keeping it just as an outlet gives me one of few things in life that’s still 100 percent enjoyable to me, because it’s something with which I can do whatever I want and however I want to do it. That luxury seems to get rarer as you get older.

Lisa Battles glass
These pets are the size of a dime or smaller.

5. Do you have any advice for other creative types?

I used to think it was a compliment when people would say, “You are so creative. I am not at all.” I still believe the first part of that is intended as a compliment, but I make sure to ask them to think a minute about that second part. I believe that everyone is “creative” with art if they make any piece of art just for the sake of creating it or expressing themselves. If your artistic expression comes out as four crooked lines in different colors you chose, to me that’s your artistic expression for the moment. In other words, I just don’t think there’s a way to “do it wrong” if you’re creating for the sake of creating and not trying to pass yourself off as some virtuoso. While I definitely see the value in people studying art to understand design principles and the work of great artists throughout history, I don’t think the more formal approach to art should scare people away expressing themselves artistically. Unfortunately, I think it does. Creating art can be fun, whether you are “great” at it or not. It doesn’t have to be a competition. If you have fun creating art, then you are creative.

 

If you’d like to contact Lisa for a glass, feel free to visit the shop, or leave a comment below!

 

Artist Spotlight: Brad Trombley

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Hobbies are a great way to relax, escape from the world, and show your creative ability. They can be lots of fun and a special way to show someone you care when you make them a one-of-a-kind gift. This month, we’re featuring an artist who includes art as a hobby. Not only that, but he also has an ecommerce business, which could be considered a hobby as well — a hobby that pays! We want to thank him for his time, and feel free to share some art love in the comments below!

RevPub: What are the things you make/create?

So far, I enjoy making paintings using wood. I love being able to cut the wood in any shape and then painting the details on it. I’ve also done Perler Beads, but these are less works of art and more of following patterns.

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RevPub: What do you enjoy about having art as a hobby, and do you ever sell your stuff?

I love having art as a hobby because it takes my full concentration. If I’m thinking about something else or stressing about something, my complete focus is on my works of art. I’ve never sold the stuff I’ve made for me, but I have sold stuff requested by other people.

RevPub: How do you get the ideas for your art?

Usually I get my ideas for wood by seeing a really cool picture and thinking, “Oh hey, this would look really cool in different layers of wood.”

RevPub: What’s your favorite thing you’ve built/created/painted and why?

My favorite thing I’ve created would either be a Playstation door knocker that I have hanging outside my room or my Majora’s Mask painting.

RevPub: What do you sell in your ecommerce business?

I mainly sell books, but I’m starting to learn more about VHS, DVDs, and CDs.

RevPub: Would you recommend others sell things on eBay/Amazon?

If you don’t plan on doing it as a main job, I would recommend selling on eBay for most people. It’s easier to learn, there aren’t nearly as much fees as Amazon, and the auction system for eBay is amazing if you don’t know how much you should charge people for something.

RevPub: What’s the coolest thing you’ve sold?

I don’t really have a coolest thing I sold. Most of the books are the same. I did find a book on How to Train Your Miniature Donkey that sold for about $40, which was pretty great.

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(Photos courtesy of Brad Trombley)

Artist Spotlight: Kevin Litwin

Happy October! To kick the month off, we’re spotlighting Kevin Litwin, author of Crazy Lucky Dead and a number of great short stories. Be sure to check him out and like him on Facebook at Crazy Luck Dead!

RevPub: How long have you been writing, and why do you enjoy writing horror?

I’ve written professionally for 20 years but have only penned my dark “psychological torment” short stories for the past four. I don’t really classify my stories as horror, which to me evokes images of slashing, blood, and guts all over the place. Cutting a character on the face so they’ll see that scar in the mirror for the rest of their life…that’s what gets my interest.

RevPub: Who is your favorite author and why?

I rarely read – wish I did – but my favorite author is Edgar Allan Poe, and a major reason is because I received a book of Poe short stories for Christmas a few years back and loved it. Until then, I hadn’t read a book since The Great Gatsby in 1994. Oh, I recently read Stephen King’s On Writing, which has good tips for any writer. It made me quit adverbs.

RevPub: What is your favorite piece you’ve written and why?

I like several – Murder Day, Thankless, To Son, To Daughter come to mind – but perhaps my favorite is The Adam’s Apple, one of my first efforts. It’s written from the perspective of a cat, even though cats creep me out.

RevPub:If you could be any fictional character, who would it be?

I recently read Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. Being that big monster would be kinda cool, and I’m 6 foot 5 anyway. Plus, I look good in a suit coat.

RevPub: What scares you?

I watch those Swamp People alligator hunter shows on TV, so I hope to never come across any gator. Snakes I can also do without – maybe all reptiles bother me. Not much else does.

RevPub: What does a writer need in order to write horror? Any advice for those wanting to write in the genre?

I keep saying that I don’t read much, but I do occasionally search the Internet to find bizarre, murder/suspense-related scenarios that occur in this big world. In addition, I used to be a newspaper reporter and covered a criminal/police beat, and I recall several life-in-the-shadows stories from those days.

I just keep my eyes and ears open. For example, I thought of a story called Blind Date while eating lunch outdoors at a Florida restaurant that fronted a canal, and that became the setting for the story. I also give credit to my parents, who always corrected us kids whenever we used incorrect English growing up. That might have led to my English degree, then my interest in writing. Thanks, Sylvester and Patricia.

And for any writer, having a good editor is vital. My editor is actually this interviewer, Raven Petty, who always edits my short stories before they post, helping to turn my proverbial swine into pearls.

Artist Spotlight: Ciciley Bailee Hoffman

What do you think of when you think fashion? This month’s artist spotlight may change that.

We are pleased to have stylist and image consultant Ciciley Bailee Hoffman of mode. as out artist spotlight for August. As a long-time friend of the RevPub founders, Ciciley is one of our favorite people ever. She has style, grace, and an awesome presence that we hope you enjoy!

ciciley bailee hoffman

RevPub: What made you want to become a stylist, and how did you get your start?

Art, music, writing, design, dance, and film were a big part of my growing up —  I have four parents who all have different but well-cultivated tastes in such things. I was well surrounded by expression and given ample opportunities to find the form that was right for me. After being admittedly mediocre at painting and music, I found theater. I bounced around from acting to lighting design to set design before eventually landing on costumes in high school, by which time I had fallen in love with fashion and vintage aesthetics. Costuming in theater allowed me to travel from the past to the future to places that lived only in the mind — while existing alongside music, dance, etc. other forms of expression i adored — and I was head over heels. In the meantime, I gained a reputation for being an honest and chic second opinion on things like prom dresses and band looks, which became the personal fashion consulting and artist image work I do now. Theater became films, advertisements, and editorials. I learned to sew in college, and that was the clincher; sewing is a zen paradise to me, and along with the rest, everything just … fit (not to make a bad pun).

RevPub: If you could dress/style anyone (dead or alive) who would it be and why?

Tilda Swinton. She is amazing. She has this fascinating, androgynous look and is notoriously open to avante garde fashion and experimentation. She’s also a feminist, art lover, and a damn good actress. She’s so interesting; I would love to see what we could do together.

As far as films, I would love to style anything directed by Jean-Pierre Jeunet and/or Marc Caro. They’ve done fabulous work together (The City of Lost Children and Delicatessen), as well as individually, in which entire fantasies are created and executed. And are quite delightful their aesthetic is incredible, their understanding of composition and color is unparalleled. I’d love to add my voice to their visual symphony.

DangerousPetJulie

RevPub: What are your favorite pieces you’ve designed?

Tied for first are a fabulous purse I made myself in college (it’s made out of an upholstery bolt, and I used an industrial sewing machine to get through the thick fabric) and a Captain America costume I made for a film called The Once Mighty with Fighting With Forks. I was approached, designed, and made that piece in five days for under $50, while working full time on other things, so i am proud of it … but I was also bribed with a Lite Brite to pull it off.
But that said, I don’t consider myself a designer. I could never create and execute 12 seasonal cohesive looks with a point of view for runway. I can design and make individual costumes for particular needs, but most of what I do is styling, costume, and wardrobe supervision — meaning I put looks together from pieces made by other people. My favorite piece in that regard is an as-of-now unreleased video I called Dangerous Pet with Chad McClarnon of Best Part Productions; the direction is on point, the two actors are fantastic and gorgeous, and we had classic cars to boot, so the vintage duds I put them in look outstanding.

RevPub: What are you most proud of? Was there anything you really didn’t like after the fact?
I’m most proud of Lime and Davenport, a short film I made in the 48-hour film project in 2012 with Paper Ghost Pictures directed by Motke Dapp. The 48 is a competition that takes place in cities all over the world wherein film making teams are given a genre, character name, prop, and line of dialogue and then two days to write, shoot, edit, and score an entire short film. We got fantasy, and the story is of an unhappy thrower of a lame party who discovers that she can begin the shindig over by squeezing a magic atomizer. Every time she does so, all of the costumes change to help indicate the restart to the audience. The result is around 75 costume changes in seven minutes, which pretty much encapsulates my preferred aesthetic when left to my own devices. If a producer asks me for a demo reel, i send them “L&D.” You can see it here http://vimeo.com/45842050.

TheOnceMightyAccomplishment-wise, however, I am most proud of the fact that I did wardrobe for four films that were selections of the Nashville Film Festival in 2014. Not only is it one of the oldest and most respected film festivals, it’s my hometown festival, too, so that was a thrill. (The films are The Upside of Down, To Be Loved, Bear With Me, and Sorry About Tomorrow).

If I’m ever disappointed in a final product, it’s usually because one cannot see the hat or necklace or another fastidious detail of something I have styled. I am meticulous about each element in every costume I design and exacting about checking test shots and camera monitors to be sure things look as I (and the client) want them to before they go to print or screen (this is why i insist on options and backups). That said, I have a particular fondness for shoes … unfortunately, footwear is generally what ends up on the cutting room floor during editing. Most people don’t realize it, but in films and commercials, the entire bodies of actors are rarely shown. Even shots of people walking down streets and stairs are not generally from the ground up. Fashion editorials tend to show the whole subject, so if Ive got some gear I really want showcased, I bust it out on those.
LadyElvisEditorialForTheDoubleStandard

RevPub: What would you tell someone who wanted to get into fashion?

Hone your style and craft. Start with yourself; be true to what you like and how you want to look, not to trends. If you want to be a designer, draw/draft as often as you can and learn how to make clothes with skill. If you want to be a stylist, style your family. Style your friends. Style everyone who will let you and get adept. Learn to sew. If you want to be a costumer, learn the history of fashion, learn construction, and watch all the good movies, videos, commercials, and television you can. But regardless of what part of fashion interests you, be part of the community and do so confidently. find and use your voice. Oh, and weird doesn’t mean fashionable. Don’t ever mistake overdone or a designer label for style.

 

*All photos courtesy of Ciciley Bailee Hoffman.