art, Florida

My art is on display!

Last week, I hung my art up in Kaleisia Tea Lounge in Tampa, where it will stay for two months.  If you live in the area, please check it out. If you like it, consider buying some. I priced it super low because I’m hoping to sell it all. I’m hoping that was wise and doesn’t instead give people the feeling that it’s low value. I’m new to all of this.

jay vera summer art

Kaleisia has delicious food. I’ve been mostly vegan for over year, and Kaleisia is one of my favorite local spots for vegan meals (they have non-vegan food, too). I almost always get “Vegan set B,” which contains all of the items on the tray pictured below as well as a tea. It’s too much to eat in one sitting, so I either take the veggie straws home or just sit in Kaleisia doing work and spread my meal out over a few hours.

kaleisia food

I’m trying to practice enjoying my accomplishments more, so I plan on visiting Kaleisia often while my art is up, looking at my own art on the wall and feeling warm feelings about it each time. It’s so easy to rush past accomplishments and focus instead on what’s next, what else I want that I don’t have, what other benchmarks I’m trying to reach.

A year ago, the idea of my art hanging in a local restaurant was nearly unthinkable. I didn’t even feel comfortable calling myself an artist and although I consistently shared my art on instagram, I was forcing myself to do so and felt a pang of fear and self-consciousness each time.

Even now, I can feel the striving part of my mind wanting to dismiss my art in a restaurant as unimportant. That part of me wants to say a restaurant isn’t enough for me to feel good about–I need to make money, or publish a book of art, or have my art hang in a gallery, instead.

While all of those are lovely aspirations that I hope are realized one day, I’m telling that part of my mind–the part that says whatever I have now isn’t enough–to kindly fuck off. My art is in a local restaurant and that is not only enough, that is damn exciting. That art is meaningful to me and didn’t come out easy, and now it’s hanging in a place that I love.

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art, Florida, places

I met Peter Max

peter max One of my highlights of 2017 was meeting pop artist Peter Max. I went on twitter one Friday night and saw that he was going to be at a gallery in Sarasota the next day, so I went for it and drove out there.

peter max

The gallery was small, and there was no cost to get in. Peter sat in a chair and had a line of about five people waiting to speak to him.

I have a large Peter Max tattoo on my upper arm, and was equal parts excited to show him and nervous that he wouldn’t like it. He’s in his 80s and a super famous artist, so I didn’t know if he’d consider a tattoo of his work a compliment or distortion.

I walked around the gallery admiring the art for a while. I couldn’t afford any of it. A guy gave out free champagne in the back of the room. I had a couple glasses.

peter max artThe other people walking around browsing the art were very friendly. A few of them noticed my tattoo and stopped me to talk about it. I was the youngest person there, save the guy giving out champagne. There were definitely hippies in the crowd, including a man with a braided beard. I overheard another person say, “He taught my yoga class this morning.” A woman came up to me, took her backpack off, then took her sweatshirt off to reveal another sweatshirt with Peter Max art on it. “This was made in the 80s!” she said.

It was a fun scene.

Before I got up my courage to stand in line to talk to Peter Max, his assistant spotted my tattoo and called me over. She was also the one who took the photos of us–I was nervous about being rude and hadn’t planned on asking for photos.

Peter said he loved my tattoo. He couldn’t stop staring at it. He asked who the tattoo artist was, and marveled at what a good job the artist had done. (Note: the tattoo artist was my high school friend Chris, who works at Maximum Tattoo in Wheeling, Illinois.)

I stuck around while Peter Max talked to a few other people. It was clear he has memory problems, but he maintained a happy, kind attitude the entire time. I kept thinking I’d like to age that way. Each new person who approached him had some sort of story of how they’d met him years ago, or how his art affected their life. My favorite was the couple celebrating their 30th wedding anniversary. They brought in a gigantic painting, asking if he could write a note on the back. The husband teared up when he explained the painting was a wedding gift they’d bought for themselves with money they’d received at the wedding.

 

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internet, twitter, weirderary, writing

Submit to weirderary!

weirderary logo

My friends and I started an online literary magazine, weirderary. We are reading submissions until September 1st. We’ve received a lot of good poetry so far, but really want more flash fiction, short stories, and creative nonfiction. We also accept art and comics. If you write or draw or photograph or do something else that you think we might be interested in, please send it our way! Here are the official weirderary submission guidelines. Also, please follow us on twitter and instagram.

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