Just Around The Corner

It is hard for me to believe that in less than two weeks I board a plane for Germany to begin a two week adventure that is way outside my comfort zone. An idea created earlier this year to gather like mined European toy photographers together to share ideas, shoot together and create some amazing memories is just around the corner. Continue reading Just Around The Corner

A Morning Well Spent

This past Saturday I had the absolute privilege to meet up with nine other local toy photographers and spend a very quick two hours running around Seward Park taking photographs of toys. This group was made up of people I admire, people who are my friends and people who I want to get to know better. It was a morning well spent. Continue reading A Morning Well Spent

PNW Toy Photographers Meet Up

In one week, on June 6th, we have planned the largest gathering of PNW Toy Photographers yet to assemble. We will be meeting at Seward Park at the Audubon Center, near the main entrance, and we want you to join us!

So far we have eight people (@Dinoczars, @Wiiman, @sunnymartini, @ThisBrick, @stephrcdore, @gwenji_,  @camrc_ and myself) have committed to coming out with toys and cameras in tow.  I know there are still a few people on the fence and I am hoping we can reach the magic number of ten. We have come along way since three strangers (@bricksailboat, @Dinoczars and myself) met in a Ballard pub over two years ago. I had no idea that this inauspicious beginning would grow into some of the most wonderful experiences I have had the privilege of participating in. These have included a stellar day on Mount Rainier, the incomparable Las Vegas Toy Safari and the Photo Walk that was part of the In Lego / We Connect week of festivities. Not to mention the numerous casual gatherings with BrickSailboat, Wiiman and Dinoczars as we have discovered various parks around Seattle.

When toy photographers gather in any numbers, good times are sure to follow.

So, if you are in the Seattle area I hope you will consider joining  in the fun; all ages, toys, and camera types are welcome. We will be gathering at 10:30 am for about two hours of toy photography fun.

If you decide to  join us, I promise you a morning of fun, friends and toys… lots of toys.

-xxSJC

If you live in Europe and are interested in joining Me2, Avanaut and myself in Stockholm on August 28th, then please check out our plans for another epic toy photographers meet-up

Everything is more fun with friends
Everything is more fun with friends

Epic Toy Photography Safari – Stockholm Edition

When Dinoczars and I organized January’s Epic Toy Photo Safari in Las Vegas we set in motion something bigger than just your regular run of the mill photo walk. We gathered  together an amazing selection of likeminded plastic photographers from across western North America for an incredible weekend. Little did we know where it would lead when we repeated this grand experiment in March while Vesa and Me2 where visiting me in Seattle. Now it seems that the old continent has been left out in the cold and wants to get in on all this awesome toy photography goodness.

I know my good old counterpart (Me2) has been talking to some of you in Europe about creating a photo walk on the old continent, and so I have decided to turn ideas and vague plans into a reality. I will be journeying to the old continent and we will be having our own  Epic Toy Photography Safari on the other side of the pond, in Stockholm, Sweden on August 29th.

All the details are still unclear and Me2 and Crew are working on these exact  details (it looks awesome, we just need to get our proverbial ducks in order) but for now, we can already tell you this: reserve the date and be ready to meet me and the rest of the creative collective in Stockholm on Saturday August 29th.

This event will be  open to any toy photographer who is interested in shooting with like minded people for a day. If past photo safaris are any indication we will share toys, trade photography tips and tricks, create group shots and generally geek out as only a group of toy photographers can. In short, it will be EPIC!

I hear rumors that Balakov and Me2 will be teaming up to do an advanced class with strobes. Seriously, could this get any cooler?

So save the date, August 29th, and join Me2, Avanaut, Balakov myself and few other intrepid toy photographers for this special weekend. If you have any interest in attending please let us know in the comments so we can plan accommodations.

We will post periodic updates to let you know how our plans are developing. In the mean time, I hope you will check your calendar and begin making plans to join us in Stockholm on August 29th.

~ xxSJC

This event is family friendly. Me2, Avanaut and myself will all have family in attendance.

If you have any questions please leave them in the comments or contact me directly. 

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Is this the way to the “Old Country”?

The Bryan Ohno Gallery

We have talked much about the photographers behind the LEGO photography show In LEGO, We Connect, but we have not mentioned the man who has made it all possible: Bryan Ohno of the Bryan Ohno Gallery. I would like to take a moment to talk about what led to this partnership as well as to thank him for his own leap of faith.

Bryan and I go way back to a time when I was creating beautiful sensual underwater figurative photography. We had worked together for a few years in the early 2000’s; which seems a life time ago. When Bryan contacted me in the summer of 2013 to ask me to show my work in an upcoming show on sensuality, I was both surprised and pleased to rekindle our friendship. I had to explain to him that my energies had moved away from figurative work and I had discovered a new passion – toy photography. Although I decided to participate in the Get Naked show, I knew that I ultimately wanted to show my LEGO photography in his gallery. I would just have to prove to him it was worthy of his time.

I really like Bryan’s motto: “to feature works that blur the line between art and science, challenge art traditions, and embrace evolving cultural intersections.” I really feel strongly that what Me2, Avanaut and I create with LEGO falls squarely under this philosophy. It really felt like a perfect match of gallerist and artists.

If you have ever had the pleasure of meeting Bryan he is full of boundless energy. He is quick to smile, easy to interact with and makes the whole process of collecting art fun and never intimidating. I have spent many an afternoon engaged in spirited discussion with Bryan about whoever he is currently showing. My favorite was his recent showing of Yumiko Glover. I am still pondering her work and its multiple meanings.

When I presented my idea of a group show of only Lego toy photographers back in the summer of 2014, Bryan will be the first to say it was my passion for this project that piqued his interest. Over the course of a few months we had several conversations regarding the state of photography, Lego, and talked about calendar placement. I did my best to educate him on everything I knew about toy photography, Instagram and the amazing Lego community that I am a part of. By the fall of 2014 we knew when the show would open and who our major players would be. (Trust me when I say I had to take my own leap of faith when I approached Avanaut to participate.)

I tell you all this because this show is a true partnership of artists / curator and now collectors. Me2, Avanaut and I would love to have the opportunity to do this again both at Bryan’s charming gallery, or some other gallery in this big wide world. But to do that, we have to show that there is an audience for our work.

If you get a chance to check out the gallery and the show in person, be sure and take a few moments to get to know Bryan. Thank him for  taking his own leap of faith in presenting this unique show. And if you have the wall space, I hope you will consider supporting his gallery by purchasing some LEGO photography. By doing this you will ensure that he will continue to present interesting shows that reflect and embrace these evolving cultural intersections that Lego photography inhabits.

~ xxsSJC

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Opening Night

Opening night is an evening that is both dreaded and anticipated by any artist. I spent much of last week ignoring opening night (denial is not just a river in Egypt), but the appointed time did arrive and we all made our way to the Bryan Ohno Gallery.

I am not going to bore with my ramblings on what was a fast paced evening and a blur of people stopping by to see the show. But I will share with you a few photos from the amazing Jim Bennett who was kind enough to photograph the evening’s festivities for us. You know what they say…a picture is worth a thousand words.

~ xxSJC

The show continues through April 11th; I hope you will get  a chance to see the work in person. I know I speak for all three of us when I say we are very proud of what we created. 

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Photo Walk

One of the events that we organized around the opening of In LEGO, We Connect was the Saturday afternoon photo walk at Seattle Art Museum’s Olympic Sculpture Park. Originally this was going to be an event aimed at meeting up with existing Instagram friends, but we opened it up to anyone who was interested. This ended up being a terrific decision.

The photo walk was a great way to avoid the inevitable let down that occurs after a major event, like a gallery opening. It was good to keep busy engaged in the craft that we all love – photographing toys. Doing it with friends was an added bonus. Eventhough I have engaged in this activity before, most notably the Epic Las Vegas Toy Photo Safari, I believe it was a relatively new activity for Boris and Vesa.  They appeared to jump right in and had a great time

Since this event was publicly advertised we had a few new recruits who embraced the whole concept with gusto. It was so much fun seeing local rock photographers Sunita and Stephanie, as well as 16yo Cameron and 10yo Ava get down and dirty with their toys as if they had been doing it forever. According to Ava’s mom, Ava felt it was the best day ever, getting to photograph along side the “big dogs”.  Even though Sunita and Stephanie didn’t bring any toys along, there was plenty to share. Toys were arranged, photographed and borrowed through out the afternoon.

It was a beautiful sunny day on Puget Sound and there were plenty of smiles to go around as everyone enjoyed the fun that only photographing toys with friends can provide.

A personal highlight for me, beyond mentoring Cameron and Ava, was watching Avanaut walk off with my newest raptor to take a few photos. Not exactly what I would have expected from the king of Star Wars Lego photography, but I am looking forward to seeing the results.

As the past weeks excitment fades into a distant dream, I know that any feelings of depression are going to be mitigated as I begin the process of editing all the photos I took throughout the week. I am also looking forward to taking a few of these new converts out on another toy photo adventure and continue to grow our community well into the future.

~ xxSJC

Feel free to contact me if you want to arrange a photo walk here in Seattle. I’m always up for a toy photo safari. 

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Vesa playing with his new friend.
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Wiiman showing the newbies how its done.
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Cameron and his mom Gwen.
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As Boris captures some excellent bokeh, Vesa encages in a popular photo walk activity – sniping.

TheGeekParent

I just wanted to give everyone a heads up that I will be doing a quick  phone interview with TheGeekParent on Thursday, March 5th at 7pm EST (3am London).

I will be talking about my process, history, inspiration and the road that has lead us all to be exhibiting at the Bryan Ohno Gallery. Here is a link that will take you directly to the site if you care to listen in.

This has been a heady week of meeting old / new friends, as well as a lot of hard work from all three of us, coming together all at once. I have been more than a little overwhelmed. I am grateful that ME2 has been able to keep his head in the game and keep everyone up to date on our activities.

I promise when the week is over I will have much to say on the whole process. In the mean time I am going to keep my feet on the ground and enjoy the moment.

So come listen to the interview on Thursday (or check out their archives if you miss it) because in my mind I will be speaking to you, our amazing friends and supporters.

~ xxSJC

 

Promotion: the Artists Achilles Heel

I think a lot of artists are under the assumption that creating a body of work for a gallery show is the hardest part of any exhibition . I would like to propose that creating the work is actually the easiest part;  while promoting it is the most difficult part.

Promoting ones work is never easy for an artist; it feels weird to blow your own horn over and over again to get noticed. But in this new reality of everyone being an artist and every artist being a small business person, a part of the emerging creative class, that is exactly what you have to do. Blow your own horn; time and time again.

The idea for this show was a pipe dream of Me2 and myself over a year ago. It wasn’t until I pitched the concept to Bryan Ohno last summer did we have any chance of it becoming a reality. Since that fateful pitch,  I have been laying the ground work for promotion. I have been trying to be an active member of the gallery, creating connections with like minded friends, letting existing friends know what I would need if it all came together and  then not being shy about asking for it, giving away my work to promote interest and of course building up my social media profile across four separate platforms.

And this from the person (me) who quit all social media except Instagram over a year ago because it was ruining my life. Now I find myself so deep down the social media rabbit hole I wonder if I will ever escape again.

Yet I have been overjoyed by the response from friends both online across all media and in real life. Friends are putting up posters around town and on the Eastside (read Microsoft campus), other friends are using their own business and personal networks to get the word out, many friends are sharing the event via Facebook, I have received lots of personal responses to e-mails expressing congratulations, regrets and of course a few “Yeah! We wouldn’t miss it!!”

I am definitely reaping the rewards of having spent a good chunk of my life’s energy on the internet and in real life creating connections and I feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

So if you are one of those mentioned above, thank you!
Thank You !!! Yeah right, Thank You, You Rock !

Yet I feel it won’t be enough and I am asking for your help. We have joined our respective boats together here on StuckinPlastic and for this I am grateful. Now we need to make some waves with this amazing toy, plastic, LEGO, friendship boat we have created together.

I want you to share the information about this show with your friends, circles, groups and connections. We are a global community and our reach is incredible. It will be fun to see exactly how far we can spread the word and make our collective plastic, fun loving voices heard.

Why ?

Because we know you care, you care for the toys, for toy photography, for the creative toy revolution we all stand for.

This show is as much about YOU as it is about us; you who have supported us , you who want to join us next time, you who want to stand proud when you are with family and friends taking a toy photograph.

Help spread the word. The more waves we make online will only lead to more interest, (hopefully) national press, international awareness and put toy photography right where it belongs…in the spotlight. Because the world needs a little more joy and a few more smiles.

~ xxSJC

So, how to help us get the word out ? Just download this image and share it on the social media platform of your choice and link it to us and tag it with #ohnolego here on the web, on FB, G+, Reddit, Tumblr, … 

If you know of anyone who we should contact, please let us know in the comments. No lead will be overlooked and TLC will be included.

Rest assured we will repay all your efforts and energy by paying it forward! We believe in good karma. 😀

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An Oasis in the Desert

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Eight months ago, Shelly (@xxsjc) Paul (@bricksailboat) Nick (@wiiman) and I sat at a bar in Seattle, enjoying a cold beer on a warm afternoon, having just finished a group photography outing. We marveled at the engaging experience our photo safaris tended to be and decided to invite others to come meet us… in Las Vegas.

Last weekend, I found myself in the beautiful Nevada desert taking photos of toys with a dozen other people. They had traveled from miles away to hang out (and in my case bunk) with folks they had never met. Each had their own artistic abilities, interests and styles, but the rocky landscapes seemed to bring out everyone’s best. Figures were borrowed and techniques were discussed, all with a peppering of laughter and playful competition. We got to know each other throughout the weekend, but nothing was more impressive to me than the positive attitudes and good-natured sensibilities that I encountered from this amazing group of artists.

While waiting to board my flight home I thought about why I felt so good. Why did I have such a strong sense of pride about a silly little meet-up? Two things come to mind. First, because we actually did it. People talk all the time about things they ‘want to do’ but we just did it. That is tragically rare and utterly awesome. Secondly, because I have been fortunate to photograph toys with my friends and it was wonderful to help others see how great that can be. Photography tends to be an isolating experience in many ways, but if you can go shooting with another person it becomes altogether different, if not improved.

We’ve begun talking about the next #toyphotosafari and I look forward to seeing my friends again, but nothing has me more excited than the thought of adding to our numbers. Finding others who love to take pictures of toys, bringing them together and share the fun of group photo sessions; that’s the new challenge and reward ahead.
That’s why I feel so good.
Jaiken – @dinoczars

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