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NOLA Rising vs. the Grey Gangsta

So as an addendum to my post below about NOLA Rising, it seems a battle between the street artists like Michael Dingler and Fred Radtke, aka the Grey Ghost (who we are now referring to as the Grey Gangsta, as he's clearly lost his mind post-K), has been brewing... and is exploding as I type.

To back up and explain for those who don't know, Fred Radtke has been a sort of one-man vigilante movement for years, long before Katrina. He's taken on as his personal mission in life to cover up with grey paint - big blotches of paint-rollered grey paint - any and all graffiti, tags, stencils and other street art, whether it be on public or private property, all around New Orleans. For years. Without anyone's permission or request. Somehow, though, he got the reputation as a do-gooder, and at some point, the city (as well as various neighborhood associations) even recognized him for this stupendous "civic duty" and gave him some funding to keep his crusade going.

He's long been the nemesis of the street artist, but now things seem to have really escalated and I think the post-Katrina funk that most in New Orleans suffer from has gotten the best of old Fred. He has now allegedly assaulted someone for merely trying to take a cell phone picture of one of his associates doing some grey paint rolling. A police report was filed, and the young man who was assaulted ended up having to get stitches in his skull. Meanwhile, Fred continues to roller over everything he deems offensive, including many of the beautiful street signs and markers that the NOLA Rising movement has spawned - none of which are offensive or defacing. Just to point out the level of his ridiculousness... the Grey Gangsta would rather roll over with grey paint a posterboard sign that is stapled or taped up to a poll, than tear it down, which by all rules of common sense, would be easier and a more complete "removal" of the so-called offending item. But no, he'd rather make his OWN mark with grey paint, which just goes to prove that this guy is more of an anarchistic, defacing nuisance than any street artist or tagger.

Sorry for the long rant, but people like Fred piss me off. Projects like NOLA Rising are only trying to spread a little love and joy via art to a depressed, beat-down population... and he ruins it and replaces it with more depression and drab. So I feel like it's MY civic duty to pass on info about the movement against him. Visit the new MySpace page for the Radtke Reaction, where already more than 100 New Orleans artists and supporters have signed on to voice their opposition to the Grey Gangsta. Be sure to look at the pics. And for a more militant response, there's also the Grey Ghost Busters, which appears to be a call to all taggers, graffiti artists, wheatpasters and stencillers to step up the battle against Fred. I'm all for doing whatever it takes to get crazy Fred off the streets of New Orleans, short of any kind of violence, of course. Doesn't he have anything better to do with his time? Like, say, helping the effort to rebuild his fucking city?

Freret Street Market

I just found out that I've been accepted to vend at the Freret Street Market on October 6th, while I'm down in New Orleans! Hooray!

The Freret Market is one of the newest of the neighborhood outdoor markets that have been popping up all over New Orleans since Katrina. They apparently had a smashing debut earlier this month, so with the weather even nicer in October, I anticipate large crowds and a lot of fun! Art for Art's Sake is later that night, so what a great way to start the art-filled day! The market runs from 12pm til 5pm, and is located at the corner of Napoleon and Freret, Uptown. 65 vendors including food (fresh produce and seafood), art and craft, and flea market items. There's also local restaurants offering yummy food, live music, kids activities, and goodness knows what else! I think it sounds like a good time! I'm very excited. So, um, come hang out with me!

NOLA Rising

So I want to tell y'all about a street art project going on in New Orleans that I wish to god I was around to be participating in, cuz I think it's really cool. It's called NOLA Rising, and it was started by this guy, Michael Dingler. I'm not exactly sure when it began, but in the past two years sometime, since Hurricane Katrina.

He started doing pen and ink/marker drawings on pieces of cardboard/poster board, all with the theme of "NOLA Rising," and would tape or staple them up to light posts and electrical poles around the city - beginning, I think, in the Lower 9th Ward. Such a simple concept - public, but removeable and non-defacing, art - with a positive, uplifting message for the struggling people of New Orleans.

It's now grown to include hand-painted colorful signs, which are often group efforts, the product of painting parties sponsored by Dingler and his friends... like this one. He's not the only one who's been making colorful hand-painted signs around town since Katrina - I've seen lots in many different neighborhoods, from simple street name markers to more involved artistic statements. But Dingler's NOLA Rising project has continuity yet embraces individual expression - and his shear numbers are more than impressive, having distributed literally thousands of posters and signs around the city.

Well I feel like this guy and I are kindred spirits. I have never been able to do any public stenciling of my "Rise Up New Orleans" design that I put on clocks, signs and clothes, but I've certainly thought about it since I created the design in the fall of 2005, in those dark limbo days post-Katrina. And my intentions were similar, when I made it - to lift the spirits of folks in New Orleans. (And myself!)

I did get my start doing all this crazy stencil stuff actually DOING street stencilling, for a short while... way back when. But I'll admit I was conflicted about defacing public and/or private property. So I eventually stopped, and turned my interests to more portable surfaces like the clothes and clocks and scrap wood signs. But Michael's got a great thing going... and I think maybe the next time I'm down in NOLA for any length of time, maybe I'll try to get some of my "rise up" stencils out into the world NOLA-Rising-style.

Strange Folk Fest recap

Wow, Strange Folk Festival was so much fun! I had a great day of sales, and really enjoyed hanging out with Maranda of ZeVin Creations and Kelly of Claverie Crafts (who was staffing the New Orleans Craft Mafia booth). Attendance nearly doubled this year, and the weather was gorgeous (if a bit hot). It was a very well organized and executed indie craft fair, which I as a vendor really appreciate. Big thanks to Autumn Wiggins and her crew that organized the fest! I hear that next year, they are going to do a two day festival with even more vendors! I look forward to that, if I'm still living within driving distance.

Here's a couple of pics. First, my booth:

And then Kelly, with the New Orleans Craft Mafia booth:

Craftland! and Strange Folk Fest

I just got notice that I've once again been invited to participate in Craftland, in Providence, Rhode Island. Yay!! Craftland was a very successful show for me last year, and now that I've done it once, I'll be even better prepared for it this year.

Of course, before I have to start worrying about Craftland, I've got Strange Folk Festival in St. Louis coming up next weekend. I can't wait!

Handmade Invasion

Finally, a cool indie craft event happening in the deep south! My friend Mallory, who is in the Etsy videos a few posts back, and who is aka Miss Malaprop and dismantled designs, is the mastermind behind the Handmade Invasion - a holiday indie craft market to take place at her mom's flea market in Pass Christian, Mississippi.

According to Mallory, 'The flea market has been there for over 10 years and is located right on Interstate 10 (Exit 24), so there is already a good flow of traffic, plus I'll be doing additional marketing for this event. More about the flea market here."

The event will take place the first weekend in November and then every weekend between Thanksgiving and Christmas. There will be a special "handmade only" area of the flea market, but the flea market itself will continue to take place at the same time. Booth prices are very reasonable, and you can sign up for one or all of the dates, or any combination in between. Check the site for all the details.

Craft My Ride!

OK, how cool is this? Scion is doing a Craft My Ride contest, asking indie crafters to hand-make unique car accessories for a Scion. And the winner gets a 2008 Scion xD! (1st and 2nd runners-up get cash prizes.) Woo hoo! All the details are on their site. You've got until October 22nd, so get crafting!

I've been racking my brain since I first heard about this trying to think of something that I could enter, but since I don't sew or knit, I'm having a hard time. Maybe a stencilled floormat? Or seat cover? But those both sound challenging to come up with, since the actual object must also be hand-made. Their other suggestions of key chains and/or steering wheel covers aren't really ringing any bells for me. What other kinds of car accessories are there, that could be hand-made? Maybe I should just make a special Scion CD ornament that could hang all glittery-like from the rear view mirror? I doubt it would win, but it would be fun to make! I'll let you know if I end up doing it... (and yes, of course, I'll post pictures!)

Original Highlands Festival Re-Cap

Wow, what an incredible day I had yesterday at the Original Highlands Festival! Big thanks to everyone who stopped by our booth and/or shopped with us. We had a lot of fun and enjoyed getting to meet and talk with so many wonderful people.

If you're visiting my site for the first time because you picked up a business card or made a purchase, welcome! Please poke around the site and see what I have to offer... and if you don't see something, feel free to email me. And don't forget to visit my booth-mate's site, too, Maranda from ZeVin Creations.

One More Etsy Article...

So of course, right after I posted the last entry, I got an email from Erin at Etsy saying the first article in her series on New Orleans is up on the Storque. And it has the video that I posted, of her introducing all of us (where I look like a complete dork cuz I didn't realize she really had the camera ON!). Anyways, read the article - it's interesting. I liked hearing her observations on post-K New Orleans, and her own personal background/history with the city. I can't wait for the rest of the articles in the series!

The Storque Is Finally Here! (Lotsa Links!)

Etsy's long-awaited Storque blog has finally launched... and that means, I have lots of links to share with you.

First, here's an article by my friend Mallory, aka Miss Malaprop, aka dismantled designs, that she wrote about her trip to Bazaar Bizarre/Maker Faire in California a few months back. Mallory won third place in the Etsy Upcycling contest, and due to the second place winner being unable to attend BAZBIZ (which was their prize for 2nd place), Mallory was given the opportunity to go. Being the saint that she is, she offered to represent the New Orleans Craft Mafia there and staff a table with all of our stuff! So this is her report on how that went.

And, here is a video interview with her about winning the contest and going to BAZBIZ:

Pretty cool, huh? If you look closely, you can see my "RIDE" tshirts on the table in our booth at BAZBIZ!

Lastly, I also found this video while poking around Etsy's page (which hosts all their videos). Some of you might remember me mentioning last February that Erin from Etsy had come down to New Orleans to meet up with all the area Etsians, and that she was making a video documentary of her trip. Well this is the first part of her video, just a short snippet where she meets all of us for the first time at Flora's Cafe in the Marigny:

I'm certainly hoping there will be more coming from Erin, as she shot interviews with all of us in our studios (which for me was outside in my friend Rachelle's backyard, since I was basically working out of the trunk of my car). She did a how-to piece with me, on stencilling and making t-shirts/clocks, so I'm of course wondering if that will ever see the light of day. Who knows! Guess I'll just have to keep checking back.

Anyways, that's all for now, but definitely poke around the Storque pages, cuz there's lots of good stuff there... articles, videos, how-to's, interviews w/crafters, and many an inside look behind the scenes at the Etsy Labs in Brooklyn.


Upcoming dates: Next Saturday, September 8th, you can find me at the Original Highlands Festival, from 11am til 11pm, in the 900 block of Baxter Avenue, here in Louisville. I'll be sharing a booth with my sister mafiosa, Maranda, of ZeVin Creations, and there'll be live music, food, arts & crafts and ROLLERGIRLS! It sounds like a lot of fun - hopefully the weather will hold out.

Later in the month, on the 22nd of September, I'll be road-tripping to St. Louis for the Strange Folk Festival. I've only done a few out-of-town shows before, so I'm looking forward to it.

Also, I've been making some updates to the site, here and there, and adding a bunch of stuff to my Etsy shop, including cuff links, ties, and one-of-a-kind clocks and clothes. So definitely poke around, and if you don't see something that you know I make, it's probably just 'cause I haven't gotten around to getting it up online yet - definitely email me and we can work something out.

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