Blog

Share it!

One down, 49 to go

Washington state cards by Chandler O'Leary

Well, I know I have a lot more prints to add to my 50 States series, but I couldn’t resist starting a card series to go with it. Eventually I’ll have all 50 in my collection, but for now I’m starting right here at home with a little Washington souvenir. You can find these cards in the shop—or if you’re local, catch me this weekend at Tacoma is for Lovers, our beloved, weirdly-named holiday craft fair.

Tacoma is for Lovers craft fair
Saturday and Sunday, November 22 and 23
11 am to 4 pm, free!
King’s Books, 218 St. Helens Ave., Tacoma, WA

See you there!

Share it!

Starting with the corners

Home photo by Chandler O'Leary

Slowly but surely, this place is beginning to look like home.

Tacoma photo by Chandler O'Leary

Good thing, because the days are absolutely flying by,

Studio photo by Chandler O'Leary

the weeks passing me in a blur of time.

Home photo by Chandler O'Leary

Neither the Tailor nor I could really take any time off from work for our move, so we can only settle in a little at a time. There are so many boxes to unpack, fixtures to mend, hidden spots to clean, surprises to deal with, infrastructure to set up—a million things to build and scrub and fix and dismantle and assemble and purchase and beautify and polish and rewire and dig up and plant and patch and strip and undo and restore and set up just so. Some parts of the house are perfect as they are; others need attention immediately; still others will just need to be lived with as-is for some years, until we can get around to tackling them. If I think about any of it too long, I go a little mad.

Home photos by Chandler O'Leary

So for now, we’re focusing on the corners. There isn’t a single room that’s done yet, but little corners here and there are starting to shape up nicely.

Steller's Jay photo by Chandler O'Leary

These images, then, are little glimpses of what my days have been like lately, of the moments that have alternately focused and fragmented my attention.

Home photo by Chandler O'Leary

Studio photo by Chandler O'Leary

Constellation illustrations by Chandler O'Leary

Through it all, work goes on, as close to uninterrupted as I can make it,

Home photo by Chandler O'Leary

while the hum of everyday life picks back up around me.

Home photo by Chandler O'Leary

I’ve gotten in the habit lately of keeping my camera on a shelf behind my work table. It’s a good reminder that while forward momentum is nice—

Home photo by Chandler O'Leary

—I need to remember to stop every now and again and take a good look at where I stand.

Share it!

Double features

Atlas Obscura feature on Chandler O'Leary

 

I wanted to let you know about some fun online articles I’ve been a part of lately. First up is one I’ve mentioned briefly before: the folks at one of my favorite travel websites, Atlas Obscura, have been doing a series of features on roadside attractions, featuring some of my sketchbook drawings. The series started with an interview about my Drawn the Road blog—

Atlas Obscura feature on Chandler O'Leary

and has since expanded to a series of detailed features on some of my favorite roadside oddities.

Atlas Obscura feature on Chandler O'Leary

My favorite part is watching their ever-growing map dotted with pins representing where I’ve sketched things. I hope to see that thing peppered with dots before long! You can find all the features to date here. Many thanks to Allison Meier for devoting so much good ink to my sketches!

Roosterwax feature on Chandler O'Leary

The other series I wanted to share is one on a local architectural studies site for kids and teens called Roosterwax. When their president, Lauren Hirt, asked if she could feature some of my sketches on the site, I said yes simply because I was excited about Roosterwax’s mission. But I had no idea just how wonderful a thing I was in for when I went to look at the first post.

Roosterwax feature on Chandler O'Leary

Each week Roosterwax features a different architectural sketch of mine—but the sketch is merely the starting point. Lauren writes a thoughtful and detailed post to go with each sketch, and analyzes my work the same way an art historian might—breaking each piece down into its technical and compositional details for students to investigate.

Roosterwax feature on Chandler O'Leary

The result is both flattering and humbling for me (and maybe a little nervewracking, since my drawings always have mistakes in them!)—I’m used to analyzing the work of others that way, but I’ve never experienced it myself.

Roosterwax feature on Chandler O'Leary

Most of all, I love reading each post because it gets me to think like a student again. After a lifetime of drawing, many of the skills and tricks I learned in school (and afterward) have become ingrained, but I always feel like my sketches could be better. Reading each Roosterwax post is like having my own little private (and super kind) critique each week, giving me lots of ideas for improving as an artist. I can only hope that together we can inspire some aspiring architects, as well!

You can follow along each Friday, on the Roosterwax site. Thanks so much, Lauren—looking forward to the next installment!

Share it!

The hardest hue to hold

Tacoma autumn photo by Chandler O'Leary

We’re all moved into our new house, and fully in the thick of unpacking and setting up our lives again. But despite a pile of work to do that stretches from here to next year, I didn’t want to miss my favorite season. So every chance I get, I’ve been sneaking out to take walks among the autumn colors. And all the while, a snippet of Robert Frost plays on repeat in my head:

So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay.

Tacoma autumn photo by Chandler O'Leary

Share it!

Home sweet home

House photo by Chandler O'Leary

In a season full of big events, tomorrow is the biggest day of all, because that’s when the Tailor and I move into our new home. I can’t tell you how excited I am about this—we’ve been saving for years and looking for months, and we finally found the house (and studio!) that is absolutely perfect for us, in every way.

House photo by Chandler O'Leary

It’s going to take a goodly bit of time, elbow grease and TLC to preserve our little piece of historic Tacoma just the way we want to, but we’ve had a lot of good omens to remind us that we’re headed down the right path.

House photo by Chandler O'Leary

For one thing, we found a poster I designed already hanging in the basement—

Tacoma photo by Chandler O'Leary

—and for another, we’ll get to come home to this every day.

I’ll be whipping my new studio into shape over the coming weeks and months, so I’m sure I’ll have photos and stories to share as I go along.

* * *

Thank you to everybody who came to my reception yesterday! We had a massive turnout—I think we gave the library staff a nice surprise by filling up that gallery. Many thanks for all your smiles, hugs and support, especially on the eve of the big move!

Share it!

Two shows, one night

Exhibits by Jessica Spring and Chandler O'Leary

Both Jessica and I have solo shows on display right now, and while they deal with different topics, our similar personalities and interests made for a surprising number of overlaps. While we were marveling at how much our shows had in common with each other (which was especially funny, considering that neither of us saw the other’s exhibit until both were installed!), it occurred to us that it might be fun to have our receptions on the same night.

Exhibits by Jessica Spring and Chandler O'Leary

So we joined this month’s Third Thursday Artwalk and created a mini gallery crawl of our own. Here’s how it works: stop by my reception at the Tacoma Public Library first and pick up a letterpress keepsake. Then take your keepsake down the hill to Jessica’s reception at the Old Post Office (which is exactly 5 blocks from the library), and print a phrase on it with her antique printing press. Both events are free and open to the public. We’ll also have a small pop-up shop at Jessica’s reception, stocked with goodies related to our shows and also featuring guest artist Mare Blocker.

Artwork by Jessica Spring and Chandler O'Leary

Here’s the skim milk:

Third Thursday Art Walk: Dual Exhibition Receptions

Stop 1: Drawn the Road Again
Solo exhibition by Chandler O’Leary
4 to 5:30 pm
Tacoma Public Library Handforth Gallery
1102 Tacoma Avenue South

Stop 2: reCollection
A Spaceworks installation by Jessica Spring
5 to 9 pm
Old Tacoma Post Office, north end of lobby
1102 A Street

Exhibits by Jessica Spring and Chandler O'Leary

Put on your walkin’ shoes, and we’ll fire up the press—see you on Thursday!

Share it!

Full house

Tacoma Studio Tour 2014 photo by Chandler O'Leary

This weekend was the biggest and best Studio Tour yet—and I even remembered to take pictures!

Tacoma Studio Tour 2014 photo by Chandler O'Leary

Well, sort of, anyway. I managed to document my space for the last time,

Tacoma Studio Tour 2014 photo by Chandler O'Leary

but then chaos took over. It’s a good thing I bought just about every last organic jellybean in the city of Tacoma, because we needed them!

Tacoma Studio Tour 2014 photo by Chandler O'Leary

This was the only “action shot” I managed to grab all day—most of the time it was so packed there wasn’t room to stand on anything to snap a quick photo. We blew last year’s record out of the water, with well over 200 visitors this year!

Tacoma Studio Tour 2014 photo by Chandler O'Leary

And then afterward the only photo I managed was the view from the floor, where I lay in a heap.

To everyone who came to bid the old house farewell, as well as the many new folks who stopped by for the first time, thank you so much for making the weekend an enormous success. It feels so good to be a part of such a supportive and enthusiastic community—I would not be able to do what I do without you.

And I’m already thinking up ideas for 2015. See you next year, at the new studio!

Share it!

Last hurrah

Moving boxes photo by Chandler O'Leary

I know I’ve been a little quiet online lately, but it’s certainly not quiet around my house. This is the state of things right now—at least in the back half of the house. The Tailor and I are moving to a new house/studio in just over a week (still in Tacoma! Just a couple of miles away is all…).

Anagram Press studio at the Tacoma Studio Tours

To give my studio of the past six years a proper send-off, I’m doing one last Studio Tour at the old house, this weekend. (Don’t worry, this isn’t my last Studio Tour—next year it’ll be at the new house.) Since the event is a month earlier from now on, we’re all crossing our fingers for better weather! I’ll have my fancy hand-crank die cutter set up for folks to make a take-home keepsake, and there’ll be new artwork and goodies for sale, as always. Here are the details:

13th Annual Tacoma Studio Tours
Saturday and Sunday, October 11 and 12, 2014
11 am to 5 pm, free!
(Anagram Press studio is #18 on the tour)
More info and maps available here

See you this weekend!

Share it!

Art is in the air

Tacoma Old Post Office building photo by Chandler O'Leary

Tonight was the kick-off party for the annual Tacoma Arts Month (formerly known as Art at Work Month). Everything is a little different this year. For one thing, Arts Month is now a month earlier. (The folks in charge figured that October would be better than November, since there aren’t any major travel holidays, and since National Arts Month is the same month.) For another, this year’s party was held at the newly revamped historic Old Post Office Building downtown. The huge turn-of-the-century space was transformed by contemporary pop-up gallery shows, performances, installations, and this fabulous light display. It was the perfect illustration of the mix of old and new that’s everywhere in this city—which makes Tacoma such a great place to live and work as an artist.

If you’re local, I hope you’ll join us for the many arts events coming up this month—starting with Studio Tour, coming up on October 11 and 12. See you soon!

Share it!

Fiberglass and frames

Installation photo of "Drawn the Road Again" exhibition by Chandler O'Leary

‘Scuse the bad photos—all I had on me was a mobile phone and a shaky hand. But that’s okay, because if you’re local, you can see the real thing. I just finished installing my newest solo show, featuring sketchbook drawings of roadside attractions!

Installation photo of "Drawn the Road Again" exhibition by Chandler O'Leary

I went for a wide variety of favorite fiberglass and concrete monuments—not just here in Washington, but all over the U.S. (and even in Canada). The result is 30 drawings of roadside kitsch, from giant food to warring twine balls to bovine behemoths. Here are the details:

Drawn the Road Again: Roadside Attractions sketched by Chandler O’Leary
On display through October 25, 2014
Handforth Gallery, Tacoma Public Library
1102 Tacoma Ave. South, Tacoma, WA
Reception: Thursday, October 16, 4 to 5:30 pm

For the reception on October 16, I’m trying something a little different: instead of an opening reception, it’s more of a closing one. And that’s because I’m teaming up with my buddy Jessica Spring to do double receptions that night, with a joint keepsake! Here’s how it works: stop by my show first and pick up a commemorative illustrated postcard. Then head down to Jessica’s reception at the Old Post Office (which is just a few blocks down the hill at 1102 A Street), and print a saying on your postcard with Jessica’s antique platen press. More details on her show can be found here (scroll down).

Installation photo of "Drawn the Road Again" exhibition by Chandler O'Leary

Many thanks to David Domkoski and the Tacoma Public Library for hosting me and providing such a great and visible space, and to Mary-Alice for helping me hang the show and stay sane! (Also for wearing the best Chuck Taylors I’ve seen in years.)

Sharky's Souvenir Shop sketch by Chandler O'Leary

One more thing—if you can’t be there in the flesh, you can find all the fiberglass on the Drawn the Road Again blog! I’ll be featuring roadside attractions from now through the end of the show (new posts every Monday, Wednesday and Friday)—many that are in the exhibit, and some extra goodies that are just online.

See you there—in the meantime, watch out for sharks!