Other Projects

  • Why Stories Matter – John Green

    In this talk, John Green touches on an idea that is close to my heart:  Using stories to escape mental illness.  I completely understand what he is talking about and I think it is a wonderful technique.  It may seem like it is a way to avoid problems you are having, however I viewing life through different characters is a way to get out of your head and gain new perspectives.  A new point of view can inform other parts of your life, including difficult challenges you might face–like OCD or anxiety.  The magic of storytelling–it is an important tool to living life to the fullest.

     

    Amy DeCaussin specializes in cut paper art and animation.  View her work here,amydecaussin.com.

    For animation, image licensing, agent representation,

    and other creative projects contact Amy: amydecaussin@gmail.com.

    ©Amy DeCaussin All Rights Reserved.

     

  • Behind the Scenes of Cactus Living

    A few months ago, I devoted some time to a project called “Cactus Living.”  This is a behind the scenes look.

    cactus-living2-web

    The inspiration behind the project stemmed from my constant desire to be out in the middle of the wilderness.  I love being on a trail (or off the trail) in the mountains, or on a boat in the water, soaking up my surroundings and filling my soul with creation.  I especially like to be as far away and secluded from civilization as possible.  There, I can clear my head and find peace.  I also wanted to do a project that took advantage of the Arizona landscape.  This project included nature and macro photography–which I LOVE.  Ever since I was a young child, I’ve loved the idea of creating tiny fictional worlds deep within the woods.  I used to write stories on that theme, climb trees, play with dollhouses and day dream. What fun to revisit this!

    cactus-living16-web

    The process began in the studio.  I created the house out of paper was painted with watercolor and embellished with colored pencil.  I added scraps of paper to it, glued and sewed different parts to make the whole piece.  The colors were chosen based on what I thought would contrast well with the colors in the mountainous landscape.  The house took multiple days to create, but once it was complete, it was time for the adventure to begin.

    cactus-living10-web

    I drove to South Mountain with enough time before sunset to scout for a good location.  I parked the car on the side of the road and went walking onto the terrain.  Once I found the place I wanted to shoot, I went back to my car to get all of the equipment.  This included my camera pack, the fragile paper house in a box and a big bottle of water.  As predicted in Phoenix, it was hot.

    IMG_1922

    A shot of the scene. (Note that this is not a finished photograph in the series, just a behind the scenes look.)

    A big challenge was realized as I began to settle into the location.  I wanted the house to sit on a cliff with spectacular views of the sky at sunset.  I ended up working literally on the side of a mountain.  I easily slid down the rocks.  I would grab onto a rock only for it to break lose from the ground and fall.  The way down was about 40 feet to the road below.  Trying to prop myself up while holding the camera took all of muscles and energy.  I had no idea that the task was going to be so physical.  I appreciated the flexibility I have from my background in dance when, at one point I laid backwards a rock backwards, shooting the scene upside down.  Since I am not native to the southwest, I had no understanding of the danger the cactus can pose.  I brushed up against the cactus several times only to learn just how damaging they can be.  At one point I panicked, afraid I wasn’t going to be able to pull the barbs out that were deep into my skin.  Everything worked out, but it definitely caught me by surprise!

    e2d06b32-17f6-4428-89aa-15a75938e8c9

    I think it was about 40 feet down to the road.

    On top of the physical challenge, shooting at sunset is working against time.  The color changes with every second and there are many angles to consider.  As I packed up “camp” and left, I felt exhausted, but accomplished.  I was able to capture what I set out to get.  I walked back to my car only to find a ticket on the windshield.  Apparently I didn’t park in a designated area.  Note that there are no parking areas on South Mountain that have signs designating them as such.  Unfortunately, I had to pay the fine.  The price you pay for adventure.

    cactus-living17-web

    Although it was a big challenge, I’m proud of this project.  I learned a lot too.  I learned that I may not want to create something quite as three dimensional in the future, but allow the watercolor to be the central focus.  I still think that any excuse to go and enjoy the natural landscape is a good excuse. Through all of the challenges, it is so rewarding to look at the images and perhaps be transported to a little fantasy world.

    You can see all of the final pieces in the series by clicking here.

    If you would like to order a print of this illustration, please contact me at amydecaussin@gmail.com

    Amy DeCaussin specializes in cut paper art and animation.  View her work here,amydecaussin.com.

    For animation, image licensing, agent representation,

    and other creative projects contact Amy: amydecaussin@gmail.com.

    ©Amy DeCaussin All Rights Reserved.

  • Life: Love & Collaboration – John Green

    Life is about love and collaboration.  John Green says it so well.

    “Everything will be easier, if you see yourself not as the protagonist in your own heroic journey, but instead as a collaborator in a massive sprawling humane epic.”

    “In the end we’re making humanness up together.  It’s a collaboration.  All of these so called horrors of adulthood emerge from living in a world where you are inextricably connected to a world where you must listen.  Those conversations are how we are going to get through together.”

    And getting through together is what life is all about.  Life is about building relationships.

    Amy DeCaussin specializes in cut paper art and animation.  View her work here,amydecaussin.com.

    For animation, image licensing, agent representation,

    and other creative projects contact Amy: amydecaussin@gmail.com.

    ©Amy DeCaussin All Rights Reserved.

     

     

     

     

     

  • Joy in the Rain

    For this illustration, I painted individual patterns along the same color theme to create the different papers that make up the umbrella.

    umbrella-pattern1-web umbrella-pattern2-web

    umbrella-pattern4-webumbrella-pattern3-web

    The different patterned papers were cut out and collaged together. Some parts were hand sewn.  This piece was created on masonite.  I also used plastic wrap and embroider floss, ink and acrylic paint.

    joy-umbrella-web

    Amy DeCaussin specializes in cut paper art and animation.  View her work here, amydecaussin.com.

    For animation, image licensing, agent representation,

    and other creative projects contact Amy: amydecaussin@gmail.com.

    ©Amy DeCaussin All Rights Reserved.

  • No Fear

    This collage illustration is very personal to me.  A struggle with fear stunts growth in my life and work.  In the last year, I came to realize just how all of my fears were holding me back.  I have been afraid of what people think, making decisions, creating art, letting my art be personal, including human characters in my art and even talking with others about my work.  And these are just the fears on my list that pertain to my art!  Creating this piece is part of the effort to cast away my fears so that I can move forward.

    Truth be told, our fears hold us back, whether you are aware of any fear you might have, large or small.  Whatever negativity you hold inside of you will hold you back from being more amazing than you already are.  It is important to acknowledge those concerns and find ways to overcome them if you want to grow in your life.  Identify your fears, think of a way that you might work to overcome them, and take action.  You don’t have to take giant leaps, like jumping out of an airplane.  What you are trying to accomplish may require smaller steps that build towards an end goal over time.  Adding a small habit to your daily routine, such as a prayer in the morning, or writing in a journal at night can be a wonderful way to slowly work on overcoming your fears.  For me, making this piece of artwork was attacking much of the problem in one project, but I have many techniques that I use on a daily and weekly basis that address my fears step by step.

    The process of creating this has been cathartic.  I forced myself to make decisions in the composition and color palette.  I chose the subject of water, because it is one of my favorite things, adding a layer of comfort to the idea of facing fears.  My fears tend to go away when there is a sense of adventure and exploration to be had.  This piece embodies the essence of that enchantment in the natural world–my favorite place!  Just imagine everything that is possible when you let go of fear!

    This illustration is on masonite and has an acrylic paint base.  Ink, cut paper, colored pencil and watercolor on paper are added.  The goggles are sewn onto the character’s face.

    I am so excited to hang this piece up so that I can look at it every day and remind myself to let go of my fears.

    If you would like to order a print of this illustration, please contact me at amydecaussin@gmail.com

    no-fear-web

    Amy DeCaussin specializes in cut paper art and animation.  View her work here, amydecaussin.com.

    For animation, image licensing, agent representation,

    and other creative projects contact Amy: amydecaussin@gmail.com.

    ©Amy DeCaussin All Rights Reserved.

  • The Mini Violin in Three Dimensional Watercolor

    violin2

    I started playing the violin when I was eight years old.  Learning to play demanded lots of focus and discipline.  I have a weird obsession with repetition.  If I like a movie or a song, I will watch or listen to it over and over again.  If I write something–anything–a story, an email, even a text, I read it several times before moving on.  When I was coaching a dance team, I think my students knew I was notorious for making them “go back to the beginning and do it again.”

    As for the creation of this piece, I am exploring a more focused direction in my work, recently.  I am very interested in creating work that integrates watercolor with collage and three dimensional elements.  I have always had an obsession with miniatures and photography.  I love macro photography.  This violin is only about two inches tall and made out of watercolor paper, painted and cut out.  It is hand sewn together.  The strings are made of fishing line.  This style is the direction that I am planning to take my work in.  Stay tuned! –pun initially unintentional, but definitely intended.

    Amy DeCaussin specializes in Illustration.  View her work here, amydecaussin.com.

    For illustration, image licensing, agent representation,

    and other creative projects contact Amy: amydecaussin@gmail.com.

    ©Amy DeCaussin All Rights Reserved.

  • Happy November

    give-thanks-web

    Happy November!  I created this little tablescape with cut paper.  I also included hand painted watercolor, machine sewing and embroidery.  This piece was photographed to create an illustration diorama.  I’m looking forward to Thanksgiving!

    Amy DeCaussin specializes in Illustration.  View her work here, amydecaussin.com.

    For illustration, image licensing, agent representation,

    and other creative projects contact Amy: amydecaussin@gmail.com.

    ©Amy DeCaussin All Rights Reserved.

  • Happy Halloween

    -web

    Happy Halloween!  I am really excited to do more work like this.  I really enjoy incorporating other elements into my watercolor.

    Amy DeCaussin specializes in Illustration.  View her work here, amydecaussin.com.

    For illustration, image licensing, agent representation,

    and other creative projects contact Amy: amydecaussin@gmail.com.

    ©Amy DeCaussin All Rights Reserved.

  • A Day of Dual Events; Friday, March 6th 2015

    Whereas my husband Cam and I often enjoy working closely together on our creative ventures, next Friday, March 6th, we both have big events happening on opposite sides of the city.  If you are in the Phoenix area next weekend, I encourage you to go for a drive and check them out.  If you are not in the area, you can read about the ‘goings on’ here.

    In Scottsdale I will be at ASU’s event Emerge at Skysong Center.  It is a “festival of artistic and scientific visitations of the future.” The whole event runs from 3pm – 12am and is free and open to the public.  The event is featuring NPR’s Radiolab founder and host, Jad Abumrad who will be on the outdoor stage at 7:00pm.

    10968592_692743430834442_3646095115337063258_n

    In this project I am working as the Production Manager for the Set Design Team.  We have been hard at work creating a blank canvas for all of the performance and interactive teams we call “visitations.”  Each team will have a designated space on our “set” to present their projects in.  Our design team includes Stage Manager Cooper Sanghyun Yoo, Lighting Designers Hailey Featherstone and Jamie Arakas as well as Projection Designer Ian Shelanskey, Set Designer Mahya Najafianrazavi, Technical Designer Michael Blaney, Technical Director Max Evjen and our Co Director Megan Halpern.  It has been fun to take a different seat in the creative process.  I have enjoyed the collaboration as well as working more closely in the field of performance art.

    On the other side of town, as part of the “Art Detour” weekend, {9} The Gallery will be hosting  the artwork of seven Master of Fine Art Painting students from Arizona State University.  My husband Cam DeCaussin will be one of the featured artists.  The reception for the show will be on Friday at 6pm.  Cam will have several oil paintings in the show.  This event is also free, but the work will be for sale.

    11025668_877021269023197_3430309833296808934_n

    The show will also feature the work of Travis Ivey, Swapna Das, Joe Holdren, AJ Nafziger, Rory Alan MacLean, & Lisa Hoffner.

    If you take a walk next door to the gallery, you will find “The Lodge Art Studio” where the closing reception for “Being Human” will be taking place.  On the outside of the building, you will be able to spot the freshly painted mural by Rebecca Green that I recently assisted with.  You can read my blog post about that project here as well as Becca’s blog post, and the Phoenix New Times article too.

    For more information about each event click the links in this post.  You can also check out Emerge on Facebook & Twitter as well as the Facebook Event Page for 7 @ 9

     

  • The Painted Desert with Rebecca Green

    becca-20-web

    Last week I had the privilege of working with illustrator Rebecca Green on her mural project “The Painted Desert.”  She flew in from Denver, Colorado to sunny Phoenix, Arizona for the occasion.  Painting a mural is a large project to tackle and takes several days to finish so Becca had a team of creative folks helping her along the way.

    becca-18-web

    On the first night Becca took her final sketch and projected it onto the side of the building, The Lodge Studio, where Becca used to work when she lived in Phoenix.  There was a little bit of chaos moving the bulky projector around to get it placed just right.  It sort of ended up in the street.  Studio mates Abbey Messmer and Rafael Navarro were there to assist as well.  Once in place, we used thin brushes to apply the outlines of the sketch to the wall.

    becca-17-web

    becca-11-web

    As I said before, the process took several days.  I was not able to be there to help Becca the whole time, but when I was it was really fun.

    becca-14-web

    I learned a lot about color.  Becca used a limited color palette.  The first layer was monochromatic and she added bright colors over it to accent the whole piece.  Choosing the colors was an experiment.  The time of day effected how the colors looked with the direction of the sun.  The colors needed to be mixed just right so that they all married well together in the composition.

    becca-6-web

    Becca said that she was afraid of using bright colors and I laughed because I have always struggled using muted colors.  I am learning that muted colors are very important to composition.  They help balance the color composition.  I am learning that they are not as boring as I used to think because they make brighter colors look their best.  Together they can create magic.

    becca-4-web

    We went out for a drive in the warm sun and chatting it up and losing ourselves in great conversation as we made pit stops for paint and supplies.  When it was time to paint, I really enjoyed standing on the scaffolding barefoot painting in the afternoon sun.  We talked about art and life and everything in between.  Although Becca and I are only about a month apart in age, and we both grew up in Michigan, we have had very different experiences in our lives that have brought us to where we are today.

    IMG_5577

    There is a local vegan restaurant across the street from The Lodge called Bragg’s.  They generously offered us a piece of pie 🙂  We both had a slice of blueberry almond.  It was delicious!

    becca-19-web

    The mural is now complete and it looks beautiful.  It has been a pleasure to assist Becca with this.  I will smile every time I drive by “The Painted Desert” mural at The Lodge studio.