Art Award at Juried Student Exhibition

Hello friends! I wanted to announce that on March 18th—my birthday no less—I received the Pioneer Award for a piece at the Juried Student Art Exhibition at Sierra College!

A bit of history: last year, my poster design was chosen out of many in a contest to represent the student art show:

Design with original illustration for Sierra College poster contest

Design with original illustration for Sierra College poster contest

That was a huge honor for me. Not only did I win a small monetary prize, but the dean of the art department told me that I would make an awesome graphic designer. I hold those words near and dear to my heart—especially during exam times!

Last year, I also had a piece selected by a jury for the student show:

"Death and the Sun," 18x24 Hand-Burnished Print

“Death and the Sun,” 18×24 Hand-Burnished Print

These Juried shows are tough to get into, so I was honored to have a piece accepted. In fact, I had done a whole solo show of my hand-burnished prints a few months prior to the student show; if you are interested in my process, you can check out this nifty little youtube of me making the art:

And now, fast forward to the present!
For this year’s show, I was honored to have all three of my submissions accepted, which really blew me away. It is really hard to get into these shows, and the judges are known to be picky. Here are my three paintings:

artpromo-2015studentshowWhen I looked around at all the submissions to the show, I saw that there was some serious competition. I thought to myself, just getting three pieces into the show was reward enough, and I tried not to hope against hope that I might win an award.

I was absolutely flabbergasted when my name was called, and stunned when I received the Pioneer Art Club Award for my painting, “Birdcage.” Not only did I receive a monetary award, but I also was gifted with a year’s membership to the Pioneer Art Club.


I am so grateful to Sierra College and the Pioneer Arts Club for renewing and inspiring my painting and design creativity! And thanks to all my readers and friends who have supported me throughout my creative journey:)


Cover Design for “No Punchline” By Jeff Suwak


Cover for “No Punchline.” Copyright Jeff Suwak, 2014

I had the pleasure of designing the book cover for Jeff Suwak’s short story, “No Punchline:
Or, The Night Chale Thayer Blew his Head off at the Punch Drunk Comedy Club.” This was a really exciting project. Not only do I resonate with Jeff’s writing, but I found the subject of this short story to be particularly interesting. There is darkness in it, but also lightheartedness; humor, as well as extreme human pain and suffering; and tenderness juxtaposed with violence.

For the design, Jeff wanted a very simple approach where images were used minimally, if at all—an approach that relied more on typography to get the feel of the novel across. I can’t tell you how excited I was to get my hands on this project!


My crazy studio as I worked on "No Punchline"

My crazy studio as I worked on “No Punchline”

Over the course of a few weeks, I sketched out thumbnails and drafts, created multiple layouts, and finally narrowed the design down to the final image. In the end, I created the cover by hand using pen and ink on medium textured paper. There is something about Jeff’s short story—the humanness of it all, the suffering, the immediacy of it—that made doing the artwork by hand very important.

I am so pleased with the result, and I know that Jeff Suwak is too. Not only has he been a great client to work for, but I am so thrilled that my artwork is being used for such a fabulous story. Jeff has this habit of just knocking my socks off with his writing, and this story is no exception. I really encourage you all to go and give it a read—you’ll be glad that you did!

If you need some convincing, go ahead and read my Amazon review:

Jeff Suwak is a mad genius. I have been chewing over the meaning of this short story for about two months now, and it has still got me thinking. I think the topic is especially germane given the recent suicide of comedian Robin Williams. What is the purpose of life? Why are we here? And what happens when something so insanely irrational occurs that logic fails and we suddenly get the joke?

Gritty, poignant, and darkly funny, this is the kind of story that I keep returning to, and I find new meaning in it every time.

What I love about all of Suwak’s work is that good and evil are never as black and white as we think. We are taken beyond a shallow, mundane understanding, beyond logic itself, and are given something more real and meaningful than we had thought possible.

If you haven’t read Suwak’s work yet, you are in for a real treat.

Go read Jeff’s story at:

Jeff Suwak: best client ever:) Thanks again Jeff!

From Facebook. Jeff Suwak is the best client ever:) Thanks again Jeff!