My Fine Art America Gallery

I’m testing the waters at Fine Art America, a website that offers fine art prints on paper, canvas, and metal, as well as greeting cards and mobile phone cases. Please visit my profile and gallery.  If you happen to see something you like, you know what to do. If you’re interested in acquiring the original, contact me directly regarding availability. These four pieces are 2.5 “x3.5” watercolor paintings with ink embellishments.

  • The Crown Prince of Steam
  • The Crown Princess of Steam
  • Professor Skeptical is Skeptical
  • King of the Steampunk Bunnies

WIP: Greeting Cards

I don’t buy greeting cards. I make them. It lets me be creative, and I never have to fret about Grandma receiving the same card from us and from one of the cousins. (It also gives me an excuse to horde decorative paper, but that’s fodder for another post.) My cards may not be as sappy or as snarky as the ones you buy down at Walmart, but they do come straight from the heart. About the photos below:

  1. This Hello Baby! card welcomes my new nephew to the family. When inspiration fails, add adhesive alphas and outline them using sparkly gel pens.
  2. I love this “Handmade Card” stamp from Cat’s Life Press Rubber Stamp Company.
  3. Dirty Little Secret #1: The patterned paper on the back of this card hides an unfortunate smudge.

Cards

Cards

Cards

My 2014 Convention Schedule

Con season is fast approaching. Here’s my convention schedule:

  • Spectrum Fantastic Art Live, Kansas City MO, May 9-11, 2014 (just visiting and soaking up as much inspiration as possible)
  • ConQuesT, Kansas City MO, May 23-25, 2014 (attending, art show, programming)
  • The Campbell Conference, University of Kansas, Lawrence KS, June 13-15, 2014 (just visiting)
  • SoonerCon, Oklahoma City OK, June 27-29, 2014 (attending, art show, programming)
  • Contemplation, Columbia MO, July 11-13, 2014 (tentative, just visiting to support my BFF and Evil Twin — ConBarbie herself — Sherri Dean! She’s the Fan Guest of Honor.)
  • Archon, Collinsville IL, Oct 3-5, 2014 (attending, art show, programming)

Now, off I go to make art!

Geek Princess Gets Some Press

AllisonSteinBioPic2014

I was honored to be featured last week on Talking With Teri, a blog written by Teri Ehresman, current president of the National Federation of Press Women.

I’ve been involved with NFPW for over 25 years, during which I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know some fascinating women communicators from all over the country. (Hi, Cathy! And you, too, Cynthia! And so many more I can’t possibly list them all here.) Pop on over the Teri’s blog to meet some of these fascinating communicators! And visit NFPW.org to learn more about the organization.

SoonerCon 22 was Awesome!

SoonerCon 22 (2013)

Laura J. Underwood and Selina Rosen

Another SoonerCon is over and done, and a fabulous time was had. Of all the conventions I attend each year, SoonerCon is my favorite. Big thanks and a shout-out to Leonard Bishop, Matthew Alfred, Aislinn Burrows, Jerry Wall, Kimber Chessmore, and the entire concom team for all their hard work.

Thanks and hugs go out to them as well for making me and the rest of the Yard Dog Press pack of feral chihuahuas feel welcome and appreciated. There were more than 20 of us Yard Dog authors and artists on site, and you couldn’t throw a rock (not that you would, of course) without hitting a member of our pack wearing a yellow fedora, bandanna, or button. (Branding works, ya’ll.)

SoonerCon 22 (2013)

Sherri Dean

SoonerCon’s biggest change — their move to the Reed Conference Center and Sheraton Hotel in Midwest City, OK — was all for the good. The facilities were clean, comfortable, and functional.

There was no traditional consuite this year, but food was available in the conference center at a reasonable price in the 10 Forward Lounge, there was a cash bar at the evening events, and they even arranged for two local food truck vendors to set up shop right outside the conference center door on Saturday evening. The egg roll man rocked, and his cherry pie dessert egg roll was very yummy.

(FYI: Do not inhale while attempting to eat something covered in powdered sugar. Don’t ask me how I know. )

The dealer’s room was so packed with a variety of goodies that traffic flow was a little congested, but that’s not entirely a bad thing — all the more pretties and baubles to select from. The Yard Dog Press table was front and center, and I’m told we had one of our best sales weekends ever. (Another big thank you to everyone who bought our books!)

SoonerCon 22 (2013)

Lynn at the Yard Dog Press table, displaying Selina Rosen’s new book.

The art show was again the smoothly run event I’ve come to expect, and they made great use of the space and lighting to show off our work. I had to dash off to my first panel before I could complete the traditional artist check-in, but I was confident that I could leave my paperwork with them to finish the job and it would all be fine. And it was.

I sold a couple of my new pieces to my biggest fan in Oklahoma, who gave me some neat ideas to ponder for new work. (Thanks, Telia!)

SoonerCon 22 (2013)

Good morning, SoonerCon! Some people are entirely too perky for that time of con.

The programming was plentiful and broad, and the quality was consistent with that of previous years. Topics covered art, comics, music, cosplay and costuming, media, and more, ranging from a discussion of cryptozoology to e-publishing to propaganda to cyberpunk to superheroes.

There were also plenty of non-panel events — films, fan gatherings, gaming, masquerade, music, and an art show reception. Even the hallways were packed with people, including the maker’s alley (artists, authors, and others) on the first floor, and the fan group tables on the second floor.

SoonerCon 22 (2013)

Bland Lemon Denton and The Honey Badger

Finally, I really enjoyed the music stylings of Bland Lemon Denton and the Honey Badger of Awesome on Friday night. I wish I could have made time to see David Lee Anderson and the Starcruisers, but there was so much going on that night, including the Art Show reception.

Bottomline, SoonerCon was great! I’m looking forward to attending SoonerCon again next year. Mark your calendars for June 27-29, 2014: Same bat time, same bat channel.

My SoonerCon Schedule

I’m looking forward to attending SoonerCon this weekend in Oklahoma City. I will have art in the art show, including several new small multimedia pieces. Yard Dog Press authors and artists will be there in abundance! Look for the bright yellow fedoras, and ask us for Coupons of Great Value to receive discounts on our books at the Yard Dog Press table in the Dealers Room.

One thing I truly love about SoonerCon is the programming. The fine folks in charge have put together a thought-provoking selection of panels and assigned me to several intriguing topics:

  • FRI 4PM-B – Metropolis, A Brave New World, 1984, Fahrenheit 451: The Foundations of Cyberpunk. Angela Lowry-M, Cyn Burton, Allison Stein, Tim Frayser
  • FRI 5PM-F – Out of Darkness: The Iterations and Resilience of Gene Roddenberry ‘s Star Trek. Larry Nemecek, Zo Leavy-M, Neal Hallford, Allison Stein, Evan Wardwell
  • SAT 2PM-A – OBEY: Everyday Propaganda. Marci Bull, Allison Stein-M, Caroline Spector, Mark Finn
  • SAT 3PM-Theater – YARD DOG ROADSHOW
  • SAT 4PM-E – But Is It Art? Felix Matos, Cyn Burton, Alain Viesca, Dell Harris, Scott Zrubek, Allison Stein-M.
  • SUN 11AM-E – Digital Art as the New Norm. Alain Viesca, Larry Latham-M, Angela Lowry, Scott Zrubek, Allison Stein, Dell Harris

While I could talk all day about cyberpunk, Star Trek, and art, I’m especially looking forward to moderating the session on propaganda, which is especially relevant today when everyone has an agenda, a message to sway you, and the means to distribute it worldwide with a click of a button. The power of propaganda to influence thought and behavior fascinates me, and its ubiquitous use in modern society chills me to the bone.

If you’ve ever copied a status update as your own that challenges someone to “copy this status update” or “share this photo” if you believe in [the cause of the week], you’ve been both a victim of propaganda and a purveyor thereof.

Every message you encounter — from your info-tainment provider of choice, the memes and pages you “Like” on Facebook, and the article and video links you choose to follow and share — uses propaganda techniques to attract your attention, build your trust, separate you from your money, influence your thoughts, and direct the choices you make.

Fox News is notorious for using proven propaganda techniques such as fear, prejudice, flag-waving, half-truths, loaded language, distraction, repetition, and others. Even our local Kansas City news channels use these propaganda techniques to build viewership: one uses fear (of crime, of bad weather, of being ripped-off); another uses authority (claiming to be the metro’s news leader and have the most accurate weather forecast). And on Facebook, there’s the previously mentioned challenges to “copy this status update” or “share this photo” if you believe in [the cause of the week].

That’s why critical thinking skills are more important than ever. If you can’t recognize when propaganda is being used to influence you, you won’t recognize that you’re being manipulated. Don’t be sheep. Consider the source of the message, and learn recognize the propaganda techniques the source is using to mold your thoughts and motivate your actions.

Want to learn more about propaganda? Start here:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Propaganda_techniques

Paper Crack

Paper

I am addicted to paper. Some artists “collect” fabric, others yarn. I collect paper. The worst thing that ever happened to my wallet was the day I discovered decorative scrapbooking papers. Put it on sale and it’s like crack for me. I always need more. To be fair, there is so much I can do with it. I glue it to the front cover of my sketchbooks and spiral notebooks. I tape it to empty jars and cans to create upcycled desk accessories. I use it in my art journal. I make greeting cards with it. I collage it to canvas board and small canvases as background for my art. I may have more paper than I’ll ever actually use, but hey — it’s paper. It’s important.

New(ish) Blog!

New Sketchbook

When I start a new sketchbook, I open the front cover and write my name and the date on the first page. Sometimes I’ll write “NEW SKETCHBOOK!” or add a random color. It’s my way of overcoming first-page paranoia, in which the artist obsesses over what to draw on the first page of a new sketchbook and what to do if the drawing “isn’t good enough”.

So now, as I open the front cover of my brand-new consolidated website and blog, I’ll write my name and the date:

Allison Stein
February 10, 2013

Older posts from this point back are cobbled together from my old Blogspot art blog, my old Live Journal personal blog, and some tweets that were cross-posted to one or the other. I’ve also salvaged and updated some biographical info and other items from my old website. Unfortunately, some of the old art and photos are not making the move. I may upload some of them to Flickr at some point in the future.