October 23rd, 2014
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—
and has since expanded to a series of detailed features on some of my favorite roadside oddities.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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!
October 20th, 2014
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.
October 17th, 2014
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.
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.
For one thing, we found a poster I designed already hanging in the basement—
—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!
October 14th, 2014
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.
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.
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
Put on your walkin’ shoes, and we’ll fire up the press—see you on Thursday!
October 12th, 2014
This weekend was the biggest and best Studio Tour yet—and I even remembered to take pictures!
Well, sort of, anyway. I managed to document my space for the last time,
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!
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!
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!
October 9th, 2014
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…).
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!
October 2nd, 2014
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!
September 15th, 2014
‘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!
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).
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.)
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!
September 9th, 2014
At this time of year, the rainy season looms just ahead, waiting to drop like the proverbial other shoe. So any extra warm sunny days we’re given feel like a huge, magnanimous gift. And since this little slice of Indian Summer fell on a weekend, it felt like I just had to get out on the water, while I still had the chance.
Clearly, I wasn’t the only one.
In fact, it seemed like everyone and their dog had the same idea I had—but that’s fine with me. It seemed appropriate to share Lake Union with half of Seattle—after all, at this time of year, we’re all in the same boat.
September 1st, 2014
For those of you who have been reading my blog for awhile, you’ve probably noticed the change of decor around here. Well, more than that, really—this website has been completely overhauled from stem to stern (big thanks to Erik and Kevin for making that happen!). And it’s not just because I needed a change of pace—I did it to mark an occasion.
Anagram Press, my little business and studio moniker, is now ten years old. Ten! I can’t believe I’ve been doing this for a decade already—it still feels like I’ve only just started. (It definitely feels like I’m still figuring things out!) 2004 doesn’t seem so long ago to me, but I didn’t even have a website then—nor even a studio space to call my own. I spent the first few years balancing my work with a day job, and only went full-time with my business after a cross-country move to start over in a place where I didn’t know anybody. (Pro tip: that is the absolute hardest way to start a business.) Yet somehow, it worked out, and here I am, happily drawing and painting and printing away, as ever.
No matter how much time has gone by, or how much experience I’ve gained, my business would be nothing if not for you. Some of you have been along for the ride since the very beginning—others have happened here just recently (welcome!). As a little thank-you for your support, I’ve set up a coupon code for my new online shop: 10% off all letterpress prints and cards,* through the end of September. To use the coupon, add your item(s) to your card, then simply enter the code “tenyears” on the Shopping Cart page and hit the “Apply Coupon” button.
Thank you so much for joining me on this little journey of mine—I can’t wait to see what the next ten years will bring.
* The fine print: coupon is only good on items in the “letterpress prints” and “cards & stationery” categories. Does not apply to tax or shipping. Expires on September 30, 2014.