Welcome to the Funamals Blog

Welcome to the Funamals Blog
Funamals is a company that represents the whimsical artwork of Amy DeCaussin.

Friday, June 29, 2012

La Fille Gallery

Last weekend, after attending the SCBWI illustration conference in Lansing, Michigan, I wandered around downtown seeing the sites.  I happened upon a lovely gallery that was having its grand opening.  I had to stop in and see what was going on.

Artist/Owner Tiffany Klein holds up her banner
 As it was late in the day and the event was winding down, I had a chance to meet and talk to the artist, Tiffany Klein.  My initial thoughts were how does one sustain a one-woman-show gallery in the heart of Michigan, one of the toughest markets in the United States?  What I learned very quickly was that Tiffany is very business savvy, and although young, she is armed with fifteen years of experience in the business of art.  Having traveled to places like Italy and studying some old world techniques, she is both a fine artist as well as an interior designer.  The work goes very well together.   Tiffany has made a living doing her work for clients all over the country, and recently added a local base in Michigan allowing her to finally open up her public gallery and studio space.

 The La Fille Gallery is made up of three floors, the top floor being her studio space and office.  The space is designed entirely by the artist herself.  The flooring, walls, ceiling, furniture and all the fixtures were carefully created to add to the space as a whole.  The artwork on display is her's as well.  Every surface you see is a sample of something Tiffany could design to fit your needs.  It is hard to imagine all of the work that must have been put into the makeup of the gallery alone. 

The gallery is filled with lots of spaces to look at and enjoy.  There is a whole section in the back just for artwork of which she specializes in carving multi-medium relief sculptures.  Many of her pieces are flat and hang on the wall, but also have a three dimensional element to them.  Another room set up for design consultations.  There are a variety of options to choose from to make every element unique to the client's space.  The gallery features products that are made in the United States.  I feel there are few things that make me more giddy than seeing a small business shine with success in all of its greatness.

  It is always a pleasure to meet another working professional artist.  Many have a wealth of knowledge and experience to offer and are wonderful supporters.  They often know just what to say to keep you motivated and your creative spirits up.  Tiffany is no exception.  I could immediately tell that she has a kind heart, and is also very honest.  She showed me her studio space, and even her office.  I could tell that her work fed off of the ability to be open to new ideas and experiences.  I felt that we had a connection, especially since we both studied art in Italy.  (I went to John Cabot University in Rome).
Tiffany in her upper studio
on the show room floor
  Ofcourse, I am always drawn to bright colors, and the space shown above is definitely my favorite.  I have a weakness for nice wood floors too, especially in a studio space.  The carpet on display is made from another designer and then Tiffany makes the pillows and artwork to match.  She has a way of elegantly incorporating other artists into her business and supporting their work as well.  I happened to have my portfolio with me, so I showed it to her.  She loved the watercolor and plans to show my work in her space at some point.  I thought that would be lovely.  I'm so glad I had the opportunity to check out the La Fille Gallery and see Tiffany's work.  I must say, strolling around a city, you never know what you are going to find!

Check it out!

La Fille Gallery
336 E. Michigan Avenue
Lansing, Michigan 48933

Some new work...

Click the images to view them larger

Monday, June 25, 2012

Turtle and Giraffe Meet Adventure

click the image for a larger view

I just finished this painting this morning.  I am looking to get some of my work made into prints to sell.  I am wondering if this one would be worthy of printing.  If anyone could give me some feedback on whether I should print it I would REALLY appreciate it.  You can leave your comments here or email me at funamals@gmail.com.  Thanks!

A Huge Honor...

Well I went to "Shine 2," a state wide portfolio review and competition for children's book illustrators.  (Writer's attended too, but they had their own conference).  The conference was ran by SCBWI, or the Society of Children's Book Writer's and Illustrators and held in Lansing, Michigan.  A panelist of judges, successfully published illustrators, Cyd Moore, Wendy Anderson Halperin and Aaron Zenz reviewed each portfolio.  There was a ton of talent and the feedback was wonderful.  I took LOTS of notes!

At the end they announced the winner of the illustration competition "Illustration Idol."  The winner was Bradley Cooper who received a one year mentorship with Wendy Anderson Halperin.   I received 1st runner up!  I will be getting a one hour session with Wendy to discuss my work and the future of my career!  I'm so honored to receive this award and very excited to work with Wendy.  I will be in the studio all this week working on applying all of the feedback I received at the conference.
Wendy Anderson Halperin, Amy Hofacker & Ryan Hipp

Friday, June 22, 2012

I'm Ready! Children's Book Illustration

I am all ready for a conference I am headed to in Lansing, Michigan tomorrow for children's book illustration.  I have three printed copies of my new portfolio.  I sewed the sheets of paper down the middle to make the book. 

I took some left over postcards from my last gallery showing "Don't Think, Don't Blink" and sewed fabric and new information to the backs of them.  Now they are repurposed into what we call "leave behinds"--something to give to someone for networking or a potential client.  I got a fresh set of business cards printed too as I was really low.  

I just received my official membership card in the mail for the Society of Children's Book Writer's & Illustrators. 


Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Introducing: Cam DeCaussin

I would like to formally announce my engagement and introduce you to my other half and fiance, artist Cam DeCaussin

Amy Carroll Photography

It is important to me that my viewers know this because we are both artists and I can definitely say that I would not be much good at my work without him.  Together we work as a unit, not only as a couple, but also creatively.  We brain storm together and work in the studio together.  We go to art shows together and critique each other's work.  In fact I will rarely send out a painting for a client unless it gets Cam's approval.  Cam knows my work better than anyone. 

Cam is an artist too...a photo realistic oil painter, we could not be more different in both the medium, process and style.  

"As he passed through the doorway, he caused a reflection." oil painting on canvas.  (30" x 40") To see more of Cam's work click here.
Cam at his recent gallery showing at Central Michigan University "Continuum" in February 2012.
Amy Carroll Photography
 An Artistic Journey Together...
Cam and I met while studying art & design at Grand Valley State University.  At first we were just friends and then classmates working and studying together in the studio during all hours of the day.  Cam is the reason I got through my first and only oil painting class.  I helped him when it was time to study watercolor too.  We fell in love in the painting studios.  We both graduated from the Illustration program and received our BFA (bachelor of fine art)I graduated in 2009 and Cam in 2010. 
Amy Carroll Photography

Cam and I will be married in the church we claim as our own, Immanuel Lutheran Church of Grand Rapids, Michigan in September 2012.  Together, we stand on our solid foundation, Jesus Christ.

Amy Carroll Photography
Amy Carroll Photography

My new name will be Amy DeCaussin.  I'm excited to change it, but a little nervous about my professional career because I'm afraid people won't recognize me anymore.  This is why I named my company Funamals, but my name is often still used with it too. 
We got this wonderful sign for our home from our friend Jennifer Chiodini at Click & Create Alphabet Photography.  It is really cool to have something personal in our home to recognize what we will become.....The DeCaussin's
Amy Carroll Photography
 I feel that in addition to knowing my work, by knowing Cam and his work one can fully understand me better as an artist.  Without him, you really only see half of the picture.  I'm so glad to have this opportunity to share with you our life as it evolves.

Amy Carroll Photography

Friday, June 15, 2012

Mini Booklet

So I have been working on my Children's Book Illustration Portfolio and I needed to get my work printed professionally so that it is presented nicely to potential clients and the like.  I have 8 pieces to show in this collection, all laid out in a book.  The finished product will consist of three copies of what you see in the photos, but on a much larger scale.  To make sure that it is done right, I printed a mini version of the pages and pieced it together.  The result was a cute little booklet not much bigger than an inch square.  I thought it was deserving of a photo shoot. 

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Ants :D

Just finished an illustration that I have been working on all day.  It is a double page spread for my portfolio for children's book illustration. (click the picture to see it larger).  I chose to illustrate part of a story I wrote a while back.  It is about ants trying to survive when the rain comes.  The work is still very fresh so there might be a lot of adjustments to it yet...we'll see.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Possum, Joey and the Tree

A Short Story by Amy Hofacker

Joey always took chances but he had the most fun too.  Throw him in a campfire and he would dance in the flames.  Possum took the rope and tied it tightly to hold down the fort they had built with sticks, leaves and mud.  The wind was picking up and Possum was on edge, just sure the destruction of their newly founded abode was imminent.

The rain came after the first wave of wind.  Joey and Possum scrambled into their hut.  Joey began to sing a song, much like the guys on the boat in the movie "Jaws," by Steven Spielberg.  Immediately annoyed, Possum put his paws over his ears.

"How can you sing at a time like this?  We're going to blow away!" Possum cried.  Joey sat on the ground, no physical response to Possum.  His eyes were closed and he was rocking back and forth with a grin on his face.  He seemed to capture the essence of a hippy rock star known as Bob Dylan, an artist much older than Joey himself.  Eventually Possum gave up on trying to spark a reaction out of Joey.  He huffed as he turned back to his corner, curled up and eventually fell asleep.

Possum woke up the next morning with the sound of chirping birds outside.  The storm was gone, although the ground was still wet.  Much to his surprise the hut was still in tact.  A few leaves had blown off, but otherwise it was still in good condition.  Joey was outside cooking up some breakfast.  Grubs were Possum's favorite and Joey had his own unique way of preparing them.  They were as delicious as buttered popcorn mixed with basil and honey. Possum licked his paws clean and thanked Joey for the hunger fix.  Then Joey looked up at a tall pine tree nearby, as if it had suddenly called his name.  Unaware of Joey's change of interest, Possum slumped down near a log and closed his eyes.  He thought now was a good time for a nap.

"Hey, Possum.  Possum!  Do you see that tree over there?" Joey asked.  With as little energy as possible, Possum cracked open one eye, looked at Joey and then gazed over at the tree.

"Yeah its a nice tree hum ding umorfel" he mumbled.

"I think we should climb the tree" Joey said.  Possum did not respond.  Joey trotted over and surveyed the tree.  It was a very tall pine tree and probably very old too.  It resided next to a peaceful brook, the rush of water eddying through it.  He stood right next to the trunk and looked way up at the top and smiled.  Joey loved a good challenge.

"Urmpf!" Possum was jolted out of slumber as Joey pounced on him.  He pushed him back and forth until he was wide awake.

"Possum!  We have to climb that tree!!  Come on!" he shouted.

"What do you wanna do that for?  What kind of crazy goes and just climbs up a tree when he can stay perfectly safe right here on the ground?" Possum was disgruntled.

They both stood at the base of the trunk, peering up at the top of the tree.  The very top was thin and swayed in the breeze.  Joey began to climb the branches.

"Joey WAIT!" Possum jumped up and grabbed onto Joey's legs.  Now he was stuck in an awkward position, dangling from a branch unable to move with Possum weighting him down at the bottom.  Possum let go and Joey jumped down.

"WHAT is your problem!!?" Joey shouted, out of breath.  Possum cowered down for a moment, then gathered his wits and pointed one claw towards Joey.

"You always do this!  You always think you can go and do whatever you want and the world is just going to be fine with it!  You just expect mother nature to bend all the rules for you--that you can climb a tree that is way too high with pointy needles and achieve some sort of zen or something?" Possum fumed.

Joey laughed, "whatever," he snorted.  With that he picked himself back up and began to amble up the branches of the tall pine tree.  Possum sat with his back against the tree trying to calm down.  When Joey got to the top he was really excited.

"Possum!" he shouted, "There are some really neat grubs up hear!  Ooh and they're tasty too!  They would be really good in my grub stew!"  Possum turned to look up at Joey.

"You're just saying that to get me to come up there." Possum snuffed.

"No I'm not.  I wanna bring them down but I need help.  Fetch me a sack and bring it up to me." Joey instructed.  Possum, hesitant at first slowly went back to the hut to get a sack.  He brought it back over to the tree, put his paws on the base of the trunk and looked up.

"How do I know its going to be okay?" Possum asked Joey.

"What's the worst that could happen?" Joey asked.

"I could fall!" Possum replied.

"Okay.  So now you know.  That's the worst thing.  So just go for it now." Joey answered as he was picking off the grubs.  Possum began to climb up the tree.

"...I could die, too." Possum grumbled under his breath.

When he got up to Joey he shuttered in fear.  Joey told him not to look down.  They began gathering all the grubs that they could find.  Possum couldn't wait to have some of Joey's delicious grub stew when they finally got back to the safety of the ground.  Each one looked so delectable.  There was a grub hanging out on a branch away from the stability of the trunk.  Slowly and carefully Possum reached for it.

"Woah!  Look at you taking all sorts of chances today!" Joey said.  He was delighted to see his friend finally living in the moment.  Possum was so close to the little creature.  His mouth watered and he was almost there.  Suddenly a twig snapped and Possum went plummeting down towards the earth, screaming the whole way.  Joey's stomach dropped as he saw his friend take a dive.

Splash!  Cold.  Rough.  Moving!  Possum had landed in the brook.  Disoriented, he tried to maneuver his head above the water so he could breath.  Then he realized that he was being whisked away by the current and he didn't know how to swim.  Possum had never been in water before.  He kicked and splashed.  The water had all control over his body.  He floated along down the current for what seemed like forever.  A loud whoosh filled Possum's ears and he felt like he had been punched in the stomach.  Then he realized that he was being carried and before he knew it, he was resting on the bank of the river looking up at the leaves on the trees.  Shocked, he laid there coughing and catching his breath.  He was numb from the cold water.  Now the sun was warming him back up and as it did, his mind came back to him too.  Joey had rescued him from the water.

"Thanks Joey," was all Possum could muster.  Joey was out of breath too, struggling to speak.  He told him that he had lost all of the grubs on the way down the tree.  Possum's mouth went dry thinking about how he wouldn't have any stew tonight.  Joey picked him up and helped Possum back to the hut.  Safe at last and exhausted, a calm came over them both.  They sat, leaned up against a log.  Possum was reflecting on the days events, playing them over and over in his head.

"Well what do you think?" Joey asked him.

"I...I think I really like swimming." Possum said, surprised by his own response.

Children's Book Illustration...a new adventure

So I really want to be a children's book illustrator.  Last week I met a really awesome artist, and a supporter, Ryan Hipp who has been giving me a lot of pointers.  I joined the Society of Children's Book Writers & Illustrators and am headed to a conference in Lansing, MI in a few weeks.  I am working on building my portfolio and there are a few things that I really need to improve on.  I need to make my work more narrative, and this adventure has been really fun.  I also need to show that I can paint children, and people.  These paintings are what I have been working on in the studio to improve these things.
This is part of a full spread illustration.