Sass, wit, red hair and a little Wonder Woman. That's what Jessica Elam is made of. Oh and she does some pretty swell paintings, too. Her artwork has been featured in several galleries. We think that her paintings are the bees knees. And we know you'll agree!
Jessica Elam grew up in the suburbs of Portland, Oregon where spent many a day staring at her great grandmother's impressionist paintings, watching her grandfather grow as an artist and doodling up little scrapbooks and drawings of family trips inspired by Disneyland. She was born with the name Jessica Moon. She'll always be a Moon Girl, but now she bears the name of Elam and is based out of the Coos Bay area. You can see her art sometimes featured in galleries at the Coos Art Museum and on display in Sharkbites Cafe. If you're ever on the Coast, and in the Coos Bay area be sure to visit Sharkbites to check out her work and the work of various talented artists in the area. Not only do they have great food, they have great artwork.
While Jessica has no one style that she enjoys the most, she does enjoy using acrylic paint and most of her paintings feature that medium.
The Story of the Hummingbirds
Before Jessica became a fairly well-known artist in the community, she hadn't done any shows or entered her work into galleries. She illustrated children's books and did a few little pieces here and there, but her first gallery-quality (her words) painting that she did was Hummingbirds. This piece is a personal favorite and a print actually hangs in my living room. The curator for the gallery asked Jessica to enter a piece. Being her first gallery-intended painting, this bright yellow image with fluttery hummingbirds made her nervous. She painted this over the course of a couple months. While listening to Billy Holiday and the album The Stadium Arcadium by the Red Hot Chili Peppers.
Painting Her Favorite Work
This question was a pretty tough one for Mrs. Elam to answer. She has a strong emotional attachment to her painting "Hummingbirds" because it was her first gallery quality piece and the first one to be sold. After contemplating just which one was her favorite she decided that "Evergreens Against Shimmering Moon" was it. She says that it was one painting that didn't have much direction in the beginning. There was no planning stage, there wasn't any light at the end that said she'd be finished when she was. Just canvas, music and a little brush. Once she was done with the painting she took some time away from it to come back later and decide for sure. When she came back, she was glad she hadn't fiddled with it any more. And it was done.
Inspiring Wonder Woman
Growing up in Portland, you're naturally submersed in a world of art, poetry and literature. It's a wonderful city to be. Jessica had the fortune of having some of the most beautiful artistry around her to inspire her current style and form when it comes to painting. Her journey as an artist started in her family culture, of course, and the city was her incubator. Places like McMennamin's inspired the bright color usage and intricate detail. When she moved to Coos Bay, talented artists here like David Castleberry further inspired her. Castleberry's work moved her to start showing her own in art shows locally because their art was similar in style. Overall she has appreciation for the big artists like Monet, Picasso, Van Gogh, and Gustav Klimt and also the little guys that aren't as well-known to society.
The biggest inspirations for Elam come in the form of nature. Branches, water ripples and sparkles, the bark on trees, and the way that wind looks across prairie grass. Her paintings often feature birds, and she says that she loves the feather patterns on them. You'll often see patterns and meticulous dots, lines and dashes in her work. "Meticulous is calming to me. I can spend 8-9 hours doing it and it clears my mind. It's like meditation to me".
Tools of the Moon
These paintings don't really come from anywhere. With the inspirational backing that Elam has, there are also tools that she uses for the trade. Canvas, acrylic paints in bright colors, and--well, paintbrushes. When asked what tool she couldn't live without, she laughed and said, "I guess my paint brush--which sounds basic, but I have this paintbrush that I do all my dot paintings with and it’s been with me for years. I clean it off after each three dots to keep them uniform. Other than that, music." The music she listens to for paintings varies and is surprisingly very different for each one. As you read above, she listened to Billy Holiday and the Red Hot Chili Peppers. For her Evergreens painting, she listened to Nick Drake and Pink Floyd.
As an artist myself, Jessica certainly inspires me to be the best that I can, and I adore all the work that she's done. Her work resides in my own home, and I'm proud to know and love such an amazing person and artist. It takes a Wonder Woman, and the world has certainly found her.
-Edit- We have had a couple folks asking about getting prints from Jessica featuring her amazing pieces. While we cannot sell those for her, we'll be contacting her soon to see if she is interested in selling prints. If you are interested in a print please e-mail us and we will direct your information to the artist.
Wow. Our show was amazing on Saturday. Biggest number of stickers sold YET! We also opened up new stickers on Sunday and have more coming out this upcoming week. This printer we have makes so many things possible!
ALL of our stickers that we've been waiting on have been put into our shop. The really great thing about this printer is we can doodle up custom graphics a LOT faster! Turn around time from time of order to shipment is less than a week instead of 6-8 weeks! It's so freeing! For custom orders it's more like 1-2 weeks, since we have to draw the item.
Next Week's Doodles
We got a commission for another crestie! And while we're at it we're going to be making a ton more morphs, too. Expect to see these expanding soon. You'll be able to see a morph of your crested gecko in shop soon. Same for ball pythons! We'll have SEVERAL ball python morphs. That's what the month of August is focusing on. We'll still be doing our monthly species, too, though! We took off two weeks of commissions so we can focus on shop stickers.
Next week expect our pancake tortoise and blue tongued skink to get done. Then we're doing one more gecko and hopefully a tegu. We really wanted to get more species than we have done finished, but a couple unexpected occurrences happened. Set us back quite a bit. No worries, though. We're dedicated to continue drawing and trying to pump out as many species as possible! Including more rare ones. And now that we've dialed in our new printer and got that down we shouldn't have any more trouble getting out more species instead of using that time to figure out our new equipment!
Check out this photo of our first set of Mini Magnets. We are not die-cutting the minis because it's extremely hard and time-consuming to create such a small die-cut magnet. Well, they aren't even die-cut, we are just cutting them out by hand. But these little things are oval-shaped magnets (some will be circles) at 1.5 inches wide. Super cute. I love these. I will toss singles of these or our mini sticker sets as freebies in orders over $10.
Feeder Announcement and Dishwasher Magnets
We got more magnetic material and have these bad boys in stock again! We have five species available in the dishwasher magnets, and the feeder announcement magnets are 100% customizable right down to the species, morphs, name, color and font that you want! As long as we've doodled it, you can get it on this magnet!
New Products in August
August will be a HUGE month for us. We have an expo in Portland, but we're also bringing on those shirts finally! Shirts, static clings, clear vinyl decals, and also window decals that are simple black or white outline work. Our sheet stickers will begin in August, as well as hopefully opening up our secondary shop with non-reptile stickers in it. All kinds of things will be going in there!
We'll have a coupon to use, too in case you want to order from both shops so you don't get charged for extra shipping. All of these items are made right in our own homes. Printed with eco-friendly inks, cut out with a professional die-cut edge and shipped to you to-order!
We also hope to do some fine-art prints, too. They'll be some limited edition stuff with 25 prints of each available and will come with a matte frame. We'll do one of those every couple of months. Our first piece is of a Hainan Cave Gecko. So far it looks pretty good, but we have a long way to go and all the stickers and commissions come first! We'll be printing these fine-art prints right here, just like our stickers, and our matte frames come from a local framing shop.
Do You Do Custom Art?
The short answer to this question is: Yes. We do custom art. We can do custom artwork from existing outlines in our shop, (morph request) or as a 100% custom piece with all new line art and color.
The long answer is that we are booked through September and we've closed taking new commissions for awhile. Now that we have a printer, there is a lot more stuff going on behind the scenes. We still have to set up all our files, draw new items, print them, punch them out, cut out magnets and get orders out in a timely fashion. That's a lot to take on when it used to be: we got our stickers from another printer and shipped them off. We're working 16 hour days right now to get everything done, including the 8 hour work day from our day job. We used to try to ship items out the day after you ordered them. Now, since a lot of stuff is customizable, like our Feeder Announcement Magnets we're shooting for 2-3 days, but have that 5 day buffer. It's our priority to make sure we provide you with QUALITY products in as timely a fashion as possible.
For a guide on custom art, though you can still check out our page on this website regarding Custom Stickers and More.
Thanks for reading! THANK ART IT'S FRIDAY!
Tumblr fans, Etsy fans and even just "I've seen your stickers everywhere!" fans!
Our Tumblr Family
I met quite a few of our fans from Tumblr. I didn't even realize how many fans of our stickers there were there. And you're all amazing individuals! And apparently most of you live in California, too. We had a serious blast hearing about your pets, about where you're sticking your stickers, and who you're telling. If you mention us on Tumblr with your stickers on tubs, tanks, laptops or WHEREVER, we'll always reblog it! Thank you! THANK YOU a hundred times over!
This last week or so we have grown a lot in Tumblr followers, too. And so we'll be doing a special Tumblr giveaway for our followers some time next month. So keep an eye out for that. :)
Excitement at Our Table
It was very awesome to meet several of you--and also to see so many of our buddies who live in California that we rarely get to see or that we have never met before hand. We met several folks! It was nice to be able to do that. We rarely make it south of the Oregon border, so it was a whole different group of people to meet. Lots of hugs and handshakes and squealing occured in Redding. The show was a pretty big success, especially being a show in it's first year! We'll definitely be back next year.
This show we sold the most amount of items than we ever have! I'm sure part of that is because we have so many more to offer, and also because we've got more products compared to our last show. It was so great hearing people who don't even follow us say that they've seen our stickers everywhere. We also got some really great ideas from all of you! Thank you for your requests on species, morphs and also for new products you'd like to see! Your requests and stories are a big part of our company!
Fun With Other Vendors
We also got to meet Marcy from MS2 Feeders (GREAT feeder chow!) and Marcia from Golden Gate Geckos. I love them both! I was honestly a little nervous to meet Marcia because... well.. she's the leopard gecko queen. She's been in it for years! Come to find out she's pretty awesome in person, too!
What We Brought Home!
Are you ready for this? ......................
We didn't bring home any animals.
Soak that in for a minute......
Okay. Good. Now that we have that all out..... What we did bring home, though were some feeders, manzanita branches for our geckos, and this beautiful piece of artwork. Marcia had these at her table and I just could not go home without it. We're going to do a blog post just on this piece once it's framed, matted and hung up in our home. The story behind it is absolutely beautiful. To have such a gorgeous piece (by story and by work) is an absolute honor. Plus, it looks a lot like our Tiger Lily.
Thank you ALL for coming out to the show! And thanks for reading our Expo blogs!
All our machinery has finally been dialed in! We will begin shirts next month, have our printing schedule on super fast and are gearing up for our next reptile expo--which is TOMORROW!
Redding Reptile Expo
This show is coming up tomorrow!! We'll be on our way down today with our newest stickers. There are some really awesomely awesome people who are going to be vending at this show including Late Night Leos, Golden Gate Geckos, Ms2 Feeder Chow, Pyrate Pythons, and MORE. So many awesome people that I cannot even remember them all. We hope to see you there!
Beat the heat and visit with us in this awesomely air-conditioned show. Because Redding California is pretty hot--compared to Coos Bay, in any case!
New Listings and Soonly New Listings
The stickers that we just listed were a few that weren't pre-ordered. We didn't offer them up. So we listed them today! The Malaysian Cat gecko, Boa Constrictor Constrictor, two new Axolotl morphs, and the Mourning Gecko are all available for purchase in our Etsy shop now!
Now, we have a show coming up. We've been printing like mad to get enough stickers for this show. Stocking up is important. While we have a few items that aren't available yet in our store, like the Satanic Leaf Tailed Gecko, all the Dart Frogs, Pacman Frogs and the Albino Red Eyed Tree Frog, the Steppe Runner and Frogbutt Crested Gecko. Be one of the first to get them!
Come next week, after the show, after all our pre-ordered clients get their stickers we will post all our newest stickers up for grabs. Then we'll be doodling and putting more more more stickers in our shop. Now that we've dialed in all the settings for our printer to make these awesome stickers, we're able to just throw whatever we want into the store.
Printing Services OPEN!
Our printing schedule has already started! We've got lots of inquiries and orders so far. If you want to get stickers for your own Etsy store, or even just to get your business name out there WE CAN DO IT for you! In order to get a proper quote we need a little information from you, though. We need the artwork you plan to use, the width of the artwork you want, an accurate number of stickers you need, and when you need these by. Printing can take 2-3 weeks before shipment occurs, especially with our busy schedule.
We also take work from anyone! It doesn't have to be a reptile, it doesn't even have to be an animal.
Mini and Micro Mini Sticker Sets
We finally got our minis back in stock. Proud to be able to provide these to you again! We also have mini magnet sets, at 6 magnets of your choice for $4. Our magnetic material is cut out by hand, but the vinyl is cut out with our professional vinyl cutter.
More Stickers By Rachel
You've got that right. I'm going to open up another shop with non-reptile stickers in it. We don't have it open yet, but we will by the end of August. Everything and anything will go in this shop. Although there isn't a shop yet, you can like this new page on Facebook and get updates from now till the shop opens, and then regular updates after that if you so choose!
This shop is our secondary shop, so it's not our priority. The reptiles are definitely the priority for us. We won't even have a separate website for our second shop, however we will post links to it on our social sites.
So, do you like fur babies, cupcakes, comic books, birds and fish? Well, you'll be able to see all that and more in this shop.
The Sticky Situation Quilt
Seri updated us on the final block that was finished and also on what fabric is going to be used for the backing of this quilt. It's a very geckoey quilt. We're excited to say that Happy Gecko Sticky Situation is going to be vending at Tinley, too where this quilt will be raffled and all the proceeds to the raffle will go to USARK.
So glad to be able to go to Tinley to see this in person before one lucky person gets to take it home. Keep an eye out for raffle tickets. We'll be selling those soon here on this website in our store.
This week has been full of excitement and a little heartbreak for us. We got our printer and cutter and are calibrating it as we speak! Tonight will be a long night to try and get these stickers cut out properly with our cutter and get them sent out by Saturday! Wednesday was a pretty hard day for us, though. We lost one of our geckos.
Sadness in Our Home--The Loss of a Loved One
With this week being a little weirder than most, we didn't really get any doodles done. From Monday to Wednesday our focus was on trying to keep our gecko girl comfortable and hoping she would pull through. Sadly, she didn't. She had been injured somehow in her tub and her tail had become paralyzed. She was biting her tail and feet, so our reptile vet recommended some pain therapy for her. Administering pain meds further harmed her and paralyzed her entire body. It was a very hard decision, but we decided that euthanasia was the best option for our little girl. She was the second gecko we ever brought home, and the first girl who ever laid eggs for us. Our "Momma". Rest in peace Sallymander--you were very very loved and are very missed.
First Line Of Business: Pre-orders and Volume Orders
We have a couple volume orders to fill and of course all those awesome pre-orders you all made! Before we even stock our shop those are our first priority. Getting to printing those out and sending them by Saturday, so you should see them soon! If we are able to perforated cut our stickers then that will be great!! But if we still aren't able to before then, we will still send you kiss-cut stickers and hand-cut magnets. :)
We have begun printing and cutting out our stickers. Each sticker has to be input into a program for this to happen. While we've figured out the proper way to kiss-cut the vinyl, we're still trying to figure out how to perforate cut through the backing of the stickers. Until we're able to properly calibrate our machine to perforate cut without damaging our stickers, we may just have to cut the backing ourselves for awhile. So for the time being we might send stickers on a small square with just the sticker cut out and not the backing. The perforated cut WILL happen, as soon as we are able to reign in the beast that our cutting machine is.
Still Coming Up
Monday will be the day that all our sticker that were not up for pre-order will hit our shop. All our new axolotl morphs, the ball python morphs and the frogs we've been waiting to debut. Our Pancake tortoise and Blue Tongued Skink are still not complete yet, but we hope that next week is the week for both of those, along with one more beautiful gecko. Once we figure out all the ins and outs of our new shiny printer we'll be able to draw a lot more again. Our goal for 15 new species is STILL on it's way!
We also started work a new shop! While our new shop is not yet open, we hope to open it up in August or early September. It's going to be a shop full of non-reptile items. We want to keep our reptile sticker store very reptile-related but we've got a lot of other requests for stickers that are not reptile-related! Once we have ten items to put in that shop, we'll open up. It'll be called More Stickers By Rachel and you will soon find it on Etsy.
Name That Leopard Gecko Sticker
We're naming our Normal Leopard Gecko Sticker on Saturday!!! Vote for your favorite and keep an eye out for future contests. We'll do one every two weeks. If you want to see a certain sticker named soon, let us know!
Artist in Question
Expect to see a new blog post on a wonderful artist in our local community. Her name is Jessica Elam, and we think she's the Cat's Meoooooow! She does some pretty intricate and beautiful acrylic paintings and has been featured in several art galleries, shows and even in a show of her very own.
Thanks for reading!
We finished quite a few doodles this week! YAY! We also got our new printer, inks, vinyl, paper, and vinyl cutter machinery on it's way, so we've begun adding new items to the shop! What a week! Been doodling like crazy! Our goal of 15 species for July is well on it's way!
We may have given you a little bit of insight about the agricolae last week during our WIP update on the squig. These little geckos are catching on in popularity, and for good reason! They're pretty personable, tiny and they puff up like little angry dragons when they get mad or scared.
The Boa Constrictor Constrictor. We consulted a pretty keen and knowledgeable keeper on this pretty thing. He suggested we do this locale, since it seems they're the most popular. He also helped us with line-art consults to make sure that the body and head were accurate to the species. I'd like to thank Michael Tiller for helping us out with this one! He really loves the boas and it shows in how chatty he can be about them! I love talking with him about them--I always learn something new and interesting.
I've only met a few boa constrictors in person, but those that I have met are all so sweet. My favorite part about them are the little mustaches they all have. So adorable. And much like the burmese pythons, I LOVE their giant forked tongues.
While we are trying to focus more on species to doodle, we did leave open a tad bit of time to squiggle up some additional morphs before the next show. It was ALBINO week. Lots of albino things. It wasn't planned that way, but that's sort of how it turned out. Enjoy these new doodles and expect to see them in shop in a couple weeks
Commissioned Doodles of the Week
Commissioned doodles are expedited stickers that come with stickers. Anyone who commissions a piece gets their stickers before anyone else can buy them! This was a commissioned doodle from Star, a loyal customer who we appreciate in so many ways. She was excited to book a commission with us and share a few Steppe Runner photographs so we could doodle this cool little lizard. Pretty neat things! I hope you guys enjoy this new addition to our shop! We'll have him available once Star receives her package.
We lost a member of our motorcycle family last week. I didn't personally know Chris, but any loss in the motorcycle community hits hard with every racer. So much love has come of these decals. It was an honor for me to be designated as the artist for them. Rest in peace, Chris Knauer #74.
Next Week's Doodles
This one was a request from a little lady who asked for a booking long before we began booking anything for custom stickers. It wasn't a commission, but I decided to take this doodle on and put it in my shop since she was so patient and sweet about having to wait. Her enthusiasm really sparked my inspiration. He's not quite finished but we'll get him done by next week's TAIF!
We never got to our little gecko we planned to have done by this Friday. Hoping Monday we'll start that one. It's one of my favorite geckos, so I'm pretty excited to do it and feeling very antsy to get it done. I made it a goal-gecko so I could look forward to drawing it, and I am almost at that goal, I just have to finish this tortoise and the blue tongued skink first!
We just started our new line of DISHWASHER magnets! We've been stewing on these pretty things for months now, just waiting till we had the means to be able to make them. These little guys are made-to-order and printed and cut in our own home! :) They're not produced in large quantities, but they are cut out professionally with some spiffy equipment to leave you with a really clean edge. Soon we'll have more of these in our shop. Just have to divvy up the designs and get them out. We're also waiting on more magnetic material. We posted these for sale on Tuesday and they were sold out by Wednesday morning. We'll have them in stock again soon!
Mini Sticker Sets!
These will be back in stock on Thursday of next week! We miss having these around! These little mini sticker sets will also be given frequently as freebies for our amazing clients who purchase at least ten dollars worth of stickers from us. For the minis we're doing them as restickables or as the little permanent decals. You can stick and restick or just stick and leave it. The size of these will also be a tad bit larger than they used to be since we have the convenience of having a printer right in our own home to make them with. Also! You can pick the eight stickers you want in the mini sticker sets or just have them random. They are printed to-order so we can print whichever you would like!
We just opened up printing services! We can print stickers on glossy paper, restickable matte vinyl or on glossy permanent vinyl. Whichever you prefer! Our inks are an eco-friendly kind with a Green Guard certification for low-emissions. That's GREAT for the environment and makes the printing process for me safer than standard inks!
Static Clings and Clear Vinyl Stickers
Yep! We will have static clings and clear vinyl stickers in shop next month. We're waiting on the static cling and clear vinyl media to come in but with our new professional printer we can totally print on clear media. The ink stays fast on there!
The Sticky Situation Project Updates
Seri is ALL DONE with blocks! Now we're just watching to see her finish stitching together all the blocks together and finishing the quilt. Now our next goal is to sell enough stickers to get to Tinley in October so we can be there to see it. In order to do that we've got lots of new designs coming up and some new ideas to keep our shop fresh. Crossing fingers!! We really want to see everyone there and see this fundraiser quilt in person!
Rachel is the owner of HGSS and Geckos on the Beach. She has a big love for all things reptile and amphibian.