Day 1/29 Days of Giving is...+ An Interview With Cate Prato
drum roll please.....
..... sparing you the link to a you tube drumroll
i should be commended for that.....
... it's terribly difficult for me to restrain my cheesiness sometimes
which reminds me of a story...
... ok. FINE!
i'll get on with it already...
... i proudly present you with ....
(That self-portrait is a clue folks!)
..... an interview with the fabulous Cate Coulacos Prato, author of Mixed-Media Self Portraits, Features editor extraordinaire of Quilting Arts Magazine & Cloth, Paper, Scissors Magazine as well as the editor of Cloth, Paper, Scissors, Studios Magazine (we'll talk about that in another post...) and one of the infamous Quilting Arts Go-Go Dancers (ya gotta see that video)! She's also a mother, wife, flea market connoisseur...hmmm... this is really beginning to sound like a personals ad. Sorry Cate's hubby!
As I mentioned before ( here & here ) I was fortunate enough to be a part of this seriously amazing book (something I really don't say lightly) and obviously jumped at the chance to be a part of Cate's Blog tour. Kelly Rae Roberts, ArtGirlz, Studio 490, Random Arts, Janeville, & Cheryl Prater are some of the folks who have also taken stops along the blogosphere.
Besides, who else but moi - would tackle those ultra-important, pressing questions - like what's in your fridge? I had to participate; if merely to stand up for those of us who are far too curious and secretly peek inside people's cabinets and fridges. (I totally just lost dinner invites now eh?)
If you haven't figured out today's giveaway yet, read on. Even if you're suspicious - you'll need to , since we're making you work a lil' for this one! Plus - Cate shares some tips on getting published, getting past 'blocks' and more - I think the information and insight alone is a 'giveaway' to us all!
In case it needs to be said -the bold questions are all from lil' ol' me, and the responses in the reddish-brown are Cate's. Not that I think anyone didn't get that, just ya know... making sure.
Mixed-Media Self-Portraits was an ingenious topic for a book (I’m still mad I didn’t think of it first!), and had never been done before. What inspired you take on this fascinating project?
First, the 2005 Creative Self-Portrait Challenge in Quilting Arts Magazine. We got hundreds of responses—funny, poignant, beautiful, strange. It was wonderful. Then, blogging became a thing, and the weekly Self-portrait Challenge tookoff among artists and we thought it was the right time for this book.
One thing that really struck home with me when reading this masterpiece (particularly pages92-99 *cough* ) is how it really is an exploration of self, creative journey (like Donna Anderson’s piece)and the effects that has on all different facets of our lives. The glimpses into the contributor’s souls are so present within these pages – What did you discover about yourself through the creation of this book?
About myself? I discovered that writing a book is hard work! And that as self-centered as I am, when it came to do my own self-portrait, I went through all the stages the contributing artists went through: Denial, bashfulness, indecision, hand-wringing, cringing, and finally, acceptance and enjoyment.
Just because I enjoy a good random question: what would we find in your refrigerator right now?
Milk, mayo, sliced turkey, about 8 containers that read “cottage cheese” or “cream cheese” but actually have various leftovers in them, a drawer full of vegetables waiting to be made into minestrone, and a single piece of strawberry rhubarb pie (unless my teenager ate it last night).
Mixed-Media Self Portraits has an amazing array of creative prompts and exercises to jumpstart folks when they are feeling ‘blocked’ or otherwise just need a fresh perspective. What rituals do you have when creating?(and yes, writing IS creating.)How do you get the words to flow when you feel stumped?
I get up and move around. Do something mindless like taking a walk or even just putter around the house doing random chores I would otherwise not do. Whatever is the opposite of sitting in front of the computer, so long as it’s not reading or watching TV. When I move and think about something else, the words start to move around in my mind, first aimlessly, then they start to glomtogether, swirl around, and take shape. Then I race to the keyboard to get it down before the words evaporate. When I start to get on a roll and in the zone, the writing just flows. But if I get stuck at that point, it usually means a trip to the kitchen for a snack, preferably something that I can keep popping into my mouth, like popcorn or raw baby carrots or--OK, ya got me—chocolate-covered peanuts. Somehow, that slight distraction jars me off the “stuck” track and gets the thoughts flowing again.
Aside from how amazingly inspired and original pages 92-99 are, what do you most hope readerswill gain from this book?
Well, I’ve always been into self-help and self-discovery, so aside from the practical aspects of the art techniques and forms, I hope that readers will use the exercises and the process of making self-portraits to learn something about themselves.
I love the creative fearlessness this inspires – was it at all scary opening yourself up and going through this process? Do you have any irrational fears? (I’m afraid of fans. And of whatever might lurk deep inside the dark mailbox. Someone really needs to invent a mailbox light. Seriously, sumthin’ could bite one’s hand off in there! ) Oh – back to you- Irrational fears? Process Scary?
Well, here’s the funny thing. In people’s reaction to the book I detect an irrational fear of being self-centered. “Who me? A self-portrait? What would people think?” Like that. But, you know, you don’t have to show anybody. It can be just for you. Plus, isn’t art a form of self-expression? So what’s so different about making a self-portrait? As for me, I have an irrational fear of vacuuming at night. Someone might sneak up behind me. Really. I only vacuum during the daylight hours.
Speaking of scary. The piece featured on page 95 is rumored to have scared a child. What was your reaction upon seeing it?
Well, by the time I saw the mask that appears on page 95, I knew what to expect. I had already seen the one on page 93, and I have to say, I was a little taken aback when it emerged from its obsessively packaged cocoon. The red and black? Hmmm. But it grew on me, once I really looked at it and saw all the layers and the writing. I especially like the view of it partially open. I think it’s one of my favorite images in the book.
Sidenote from Chrysti: Actually, I couldn't stand the red & black.I had envisioned the frame as an integrated part of the piece, but time & deadlines didn't permit it. I had planned to alter it, once it was returned -- and then I liked it. Weird how that works!
Why are manhole covers round?
I have an answer, but I don’t think you can print it.
One of the most frequent questions my blog readers ask me – is how to get published. What advice can you offer people who want to shamelessly promote their own pages 92-99?(Aside from having it done yesterday – ha.)
Just put yourself out there. We are always looking for fresh art, new techniques, or new results from old techniques. The worst that happens is that we’ll say “no.” If so, don’t take it personally. It doesn’t mean your art is bad. It may mean the editor has already planned a similar piece. We work months in advance. If we say keep in touch, or we want to see more, we mean it. Keep trying. This idea or piece of art might not work, but the next one might.
One thing I will say is, a lot of people get stuck in the trap of thinking, “Well, they just ran a piece on how to make gelatin prints, so I’ll send them MY gelatin prints—they’re just as good.” As a former freelancer, I’ve fallen into that trap myself. The reality is, if we just ran something like it, we probably aren’t going to want to do it again for a while. However, if you’ve got a fresh twist on the technique or your prints look like no one else’s, bring it on.
Another barrier I should bring up: bad pictures. The most beautiful, insightful, earth-shattering art in the world is not going to get noticed or accepted if you present it in photographs that are out of focus, too dark, too light, or the image is obscured by the glare of a flashbulb. If you can’t take good pictures or don’t have a good camera, find a friend who can and does.
Otherwise, blog, network, do swaps, send stuff to publishers. And if you have an idea for a book—don’t sit on it. Media moves too fast these days.Chrysti's Note: Submission Guidelines are here!
Is it true you are giving away a SIGNED copy of this book to one of my lucky readers? Why wasn’t my copy signed? I think you should make them work for it and have them answer a question to enter – so shoot – what question would you most like to see responses to?
This is true! (Yours wasn’t signed because it came directly from the publisher; sorry!) I like the “work for it” concept. My question is: What’s stopping you from buying my book? Just kidding! Actually, my question is: What’s stopping you from making a self-portrait?
So there ya have it my friends. To enter today's giveaway -
- Leave a comment on this post, answering Cate's question: "What’s stopping you from making a self-portrait?"
- If nothing is stopping you from making a self portrait then answer one of these 2 questions: What is stopping you from purchasing this fabulous book? or Why are manhole covers round?
- Do this by: Tuesday, December 9th. Winner will be announced then!
If you already have the book, enter anyway -- this copy will be signed. Besides, that extra copy may just make a good giveaway of your own this holiday season! I love when people pass on the kindness - it may just be the one thing, we can't over-indulge in.
I also thought Cate's question "What’s stopping you from making a self-portrait?" is an interesting blogpost all it's own. So, if you are inclined - go more in depth with it on your blog - and leave the link in the comments as your response. What fun!
Next week, the behind the scenes peeks I promised you, and my thoughts will be put up here in conjunction with another giveaway .. so stay tuned. And, it's not too late too spread the word about the 29 days of giveaways, or enter to win the $100.00 Gift Certificate! Just read here, and comment there to enter.
Chrysti ........who is feeling extremely blessed, touched, and inspired by each of you today.