Friday, September 14, 2012

Meet Toni Zaza, Of Toni Girl Whimsical Art

I've never met a cupcake I didn't like.  Cupcakes are one of life's great pleasures...ooey gooey chocolate icing, caramel filling all over my face.  Cupcakes are probably nature's most perfect food, they lift my spirits, they make me happy and smile.  When I came across Toni Girl Whimsical Art on Etsy and I saw her cupcake prints, I knew I had to know more about the artist.   How can you not like an artist who tells you to eat more cupcakes?   And the way to solve the world's ills......Peace, Love, Cupcake!  It works for me.  ;)

Then I saw her Warhol-esque skull and crossbone cupcake drawing and I decided I had to know more about her whimsical mind. Toni has an interesting story, she is a take no prisoners can do person who overcame a lot of obstacles in her life.

Me:  How did you get started?

Toni: I got started accidentally, when I decided to go to school for interior design in 2009. I had to take some basic drawing classes, which I totally had no idea would be such a big part of interior design! I was petrified and thought that I was going to be humiliated with my stick figure drawings. But it turned out that somewhere deep down inside me was an artist waiting to get out. I LOVED all my drawing classes. I loved the painting classes. I loved them all so much that I decided interior design didn't have enough of that so I dropped it and went to Graphic Design for a year. I ended up having to stop all of it, but that's where I fostered my love for art.

Me:  Where do you get your inspiration?

Toni: My inspiration comes from bright colors and a love of unique, whimsical objects and art. I love the bright pops of colors that you see in comic books and I LOVE Andy Warhol pop art. I don't really look at anything and think, "I have to draw something like that." It's more like the things I end up creating come from a need I have for a piece that just doesn't seem to exist anywhere else but in my head. :)  

Me: What is your proudest achievement?

Toni: My proudest achievement right now, as far as art is concerned, is the commission sale that I had. It was very validating to know that someone chose ME out of all the possibilities that were available to them on Etsy. The customers had some great ideas and I added my own to theirs and the posters turned out awesome! The coolest part is that they're hanging in their new frozen yogurt shop in Texas, so lots of people will get to see them. It made me feel like a REAL artist lol!

The proudest achievement in my personal life is that I'm in school again. When I was a senior, I dropped out of high school to get a job and help my mom pay the bills. From the moment, I knew it was a mistake but life kind of took over and I was working full-time and struggling and didn't see where school was ever going to fit in. In 2009, I decided I couldn't keep labeling myself as a "high school drop-out", so I took my GED and passed. I went to the art school until I couldn't afford it; now I'm going to Community College, but what matters to me is that I'm in school and I'll have a degree in a couple of years.

Me:  How did you get started on Etsy?

Toni:  When I moved with my boyfriend at the end of last October, I had a lot more time on my hands. I went from working full time as a retail store manager to not working at all for about a month, and then only working 20 hours a week. With all that free time, I discovered that I LOVED creating things! Everything! I refinished and distressed a huge dining table, repainted and distressed my boyfriend's super old and worn out dining chairs and reupholstered their seats, I made art work for the walls. Pretty much, you name it, I did it, right down to learning how to bake things from scratch. Having gone to an art school for a year before I moved, I had awoken some creative nut job in myself. I could not be stopped and things were starting to pile up everywhere after I'd already filled every wall to capacity. So what could I do? I couldn't just stop! Sheesh!

Another interesting facts about Toni:   She's a dog mom to two dachshunds, one a baby pup. 

Toni's Uber Neat Studio

How's this for a motto for life?
Day of the Dead Sugar Skull Series

Toni's original print coasters

These coasters are all custom, you get to choose from her original designs!

 I think Toni's coasters would make an amazing wedding, bridal shower or housewarming gift.  We all NEED coasters, we don't need half of the stuff on wedding registries!

 You can find Toni here on Etsy:   Toni Girl Whimsical Art

On Facebook: Toni Girl Whimsical Art

On Pinterest: ToniGirl83

On Tumblr:  ToniGirl

On Twitter:  Tonigirl83

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Meet The Flying Crabbit

I don't know what attracted me to the Flying Crabbit on Etsy.   Maybe it was the name, maybe it was all the cool vintage Asian items in the shop.  Or maybe it was the collectors glassware.

I first checked out the glassware.  My dad was a glass collector A fun day as a kid was traveling to southern Ohio to visit the glass factories and watch them blow and create glass in rainbows of colors.  (kept me out of the fabric stores with my mom)   This pic brought back so many memories.   I think it would look so good on an antique dressing table full of dusting powder with a great powder puff. 
Hand Blown Cobalt Blue Trinket Jar

Japanese Chokin Decorative Plate Harvest Cart in Fall Colors 24 K Gold

The Flying Crabbit has some amazing vintage Asian treasures at a really unbelievable prices. The plate above blows me away, it would make a focal point in any room....and its only $10.00!!  Plus there is a coupon for 15% off, which makes this collectors plate only $8.50.   This would make a great gift for a wedding gift or shower gift, and no one will ever know how little you spent on the gift.  Plus, since its collectable, it will appreciate in value over the years.  Win/win situation! 

So where does the name Flying Crabbit come from?   I contacted the owner of the shop, Jules and here's what she said in her own words:

"My buddy is a japanese bobtail. He looks like half his body is a white rabbit's, and the other half is a cats. Cat + rabbit gave him the nickname crabbit. He also continually jumps into my arms and lands like a butterfly...he's very good at this and looks like he's flying. Then, one day I shot that picture of him wearing some angel wings i had bought for my own halloween costume. and the flying + the crabbit came into my mind.

Also...the japanese bobtail is Japan's only pure bred cat and were once only allowed to be kept by royalty. The "maneki neko" cat that you'll see in the "about me" section on crabbit's fb page is legendary in japan and china and dolls and collectibles are sold by the million. it is said to bring good fortune when it waves at you."

The Flying Crabbit

I had seen the waving white cat in a lot of Japanese art and web sites and never knew what it meant.  Now I know!

The Crabbit has its own facebook page.   Check out the Crabbit. 

This pic cracks me up.   Love the  Crabbit's facial expression. 

The Flying Crabbit's Etsy shop is also on Facebook, stop by and give Jules a big like!  Flying Crabbit on Facebook
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