Monday, June 30, 2008

postcard #5

The first matt pond PA song I ever heard was "Measure 3," from The Green Fury. I remember it. It was December of 2003, right before Christmas and at that time I had a white 1991 VW Passat named Cecelia. She was beautiful and she had a tape deck. It was my 22nd birthday and I was wearing a long sleeve powder blue shirt. Adam was working so I drove north from Portland for an hour and spent the afternoon at my parents' house. They bought me a slice of strawberry cheesecake for my birthday. When I left their place I drove the few miles of back roads to my best friend Laura's house. Amanda and Mandy were there too. They all gave me wonderful hugs (they are my favorite huggers) and we sat in the kitchen. One of my gifts from Laura was a mix tape. The first song was by matt pond PA. I listened to it on the way home. I put it in while I was still in her driveway and after listening to the song once, I rewound it and listened to it again. I was hooked. And here I am.

(I just want to note that while I can remember all these things about my birthday four and a half years ago... there are far more important things that are always slipping away from me. Math equations. Details about being in labor. Names of streets I used to know like the back of my hand. The middle names of my friends. Remembering to return phone calls. When The Office plays in syndication on TBS.)

I made a "Measure 3" postcard this evening. I'm not going to lie; I really like it. And I like it when I can surprise myself. Although it kind of made itself.

I'm not sure which photograph I took of it looks better so here's both. I need a scanner. Yes I do.



"So we know more now than we'll ever know and we're holding back so we won't explode." Words by Matthew Pond, copyright 2002 matt pond PA. Paper and ink collage by Courtney, copyright 2008 Quiet City.

Can I just say- I like it when I envision it one way and then it turns out differently, but better.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Ryan Eyestone interview

Once upon a time, I was a communication design student at the University of North Texas. The semester before I withdrew I took a career development class and as part of my final project had to choose someone in my intended field to interview. I spoke with my friend Ryan Eyestone, who at the time was a working artist and new media student at the University of Maine at Orono. He is an amazing artist and found the time to answer my questions (which were standard for the project; I didn't make them up), giving me some insight and inspiration from The Field. This interview is about two years old but I think Ryan's words hold a lot of weight still and are a good reminder to me... make art every day, no excuses. I'm working on it.

1. What is your name and where do you work?

My name is Ryan Eyestone. I work for the health center on my campus doing graphic design, and in my free time, between work and classes, I do freelance illustration for bands and labels.

2. What is your current title?

At the health center, my title is Student Consultant Level 3 or something like that. For my freelance work, I [am] an illustrator.

3. How long have you worked in this field?

I've been getting paid to do graphic design since 2000. I worked for the Digital Graphic Arts program in my town's Vocational Center. I even got to design the Welcome sign for the town. Skowhegan, Maine. Check it out.

4. How did you become interested in this field?

I've been drawing since I was born. I have drawings saved from when I was 1.

5. Describe your typical work day.

Well, the health center where I work just went through some major internal-restructuring, so my job will no longer exist in 2 weeks. I am only working there now because my boss is a good friend, and he kept the job around for me...but the health center is doing all of their GD/Print work out-of-house now. So I do some little jobs for whomever, but things are pretty slow. As for my freelance work, I have 2 jobs going now, which I work on when I don't have homework or studies.

6. What are the educational requirements to work in this field?

For my job at the health center, I got in with a solid portfolio of my illustration work, and a really good interview.

7. Besides a formal education, what other training or experiences should I pursue to help me better prepare for the work field?

For illustration, draw every day, study, draw from life, and absorb as much artwork as you can. Find artists you like, learn from them, and grow and grow. If you find it difficult to draw regularly, you're in the wrong field.

8. What are the professional skills and personal characteristics you possess that make you successful in this field?

For freelance work, it pays to be able to work fast, have good communication skills, meet deadlines (still working on this one) and just be real with your clients. A diverse set of skills and styles helps too.

9. What are the characteristics, expectations, or aspects of the job that you like the most? The least?

The thing I like the most is when a client sees the finished product and loves it. That is an amazing feeling. The least favorite thing is when you're working for someone that doesn't appreciate/understand art or are just not creative. Working for bands in the punk/hardcore/metal community brings a lot of requests for skulls and zombies and guns and stuff like that, which is really starting to get played out. I love drawing zombies, but I really love bands that are willing to be the first to try something new with their art/image.

10. What are the job prospects for new people entering this career field?

Well, struggling/freelancing, or working for an agency are the initial options. If you have some experience under your belt, you can go from job to job pretty comfortably. That's my goal when I get out of school.

11. What are the opportunities for advancement once you have entered the field?

Better paying jobs come along when you get your name out and build a solid portfolio.

12. What skills and personal characteristics would you look for if you were hiring a new college graduate for a job in this field?

Good art. Humility. Legitimate creativity and skill, not just photoshop bullshit. If you can actually draw, you have the upper hand. And a good work ethic.

13. What are some of the future challenges professionals in this field will face and how can they best prepare to handle them?

The digital age presents a potential shift in what defines art, but there will always be a need for illustration. Truly amazing art cannot be made just by pushing a button. Anyone who says otherwise is probably a hack or charlatan. Integrity is always important.

Please take a look at Ryan's art: Ryan Eyestone Illustration

zucchini bumblebee

When my son was very small, more like a newborn, I made up a silly song for him that would, under favorable circumstances, calm him down when he was fussy. I am pretty sure it had magical powers. My husband used it as his secret weapon when nothing else would work. The song is about how cute he is and in it I call him my bumblebee, which lead to his first nickname. For his first birthday, which was in the first week of this month, I made a bumblebee cake for his birthday. It was a zucchini cake recipe I found online and changed up a bit.

These are the delicious ingredients. I mashed the bananas and then remembered to take a picture.

Mashed, grated and measured.

It made my kitchen smell like a little piece of heaven while it was baking. (I also poured out a little into a star-shaped cupcake mold for him to eat on his own.)

And here it is, in all of its fresh-baked goodness. I forgot to rotate the image in PhotoShop but. You get it.

Upon reviewing these pictures I realize I should improve my food-photographing skillz before I share them again.

The next day I cut down one of the circles and cut out a notch so it'd fit right next to the larger circle. That little notch became the wing, and the bee is decorated in vanilla frosting (gel dyed yellow) and licorice. As it turns out, licorice is nicely bendy but it prefers to lay straight, so the bee grimaced more than he smiled that day. Surely he knew of his fate. But he was cute, no?

The recipe as I used it:
2 1/2 cups grated, peeled, fresh zucchini
2 ripe bananas, mashed well
1 cup canola oil
3 cups flour
2 cups sugar
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. soda
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. vanilla

"In medium sized mixing bowl, combine zucchini, bananas, oil, and vanilla. Stir well or beat with electric mixer if you want to be fancy. In large bowl, combine all remaining ingredients. Add wet mixture to dry, mix well. Pour into lightly greased and floured bundt pan. Bake at 350 for 45-60 minutes, until toothpick or knife inserted comes out clean. Let cool upright 15 minutes, then invert onto cooling rack. Allow to cool 30 minutes before tasting. Enjoy!" -

I used the suggested quantities PLUS one half of every amount, so I could fill my two round cake pans and it cooked in less time.

It also calls for walnuts and chocolate chips, which I didn't add. Trust me, it was perfect the way it was. It would make an amazing bread, and I plan on using this exact recipe in the coming days to make (unfrosted) zucchini bread- I'll have to adjust the banana in it as it acts as the binder in this eggless recipe but I want it to taste less banana-y. Usually I use a baking soda/water mix for egg replacement.

Locate the Pieces

My latest postcard design is for the matt pond PA song "Locate the Pieces," from 2007's Last Light. With the exception of the porch railing, I illustrated and cut out all of the other pieces. It still managed to be less time-consuming than the previous three postcards, if you don't count the break I granted myself for the hour-long nap I took after my veggie burger dinner, and wading through the foggy head I had when I woke up at 9 pm. Anyway.

As with the birds from the Giving It All Away postcard, I like the look of drawing an image in black pen or Sharpie and x-acto knifing around it, leaving a border of the original page.



"The hardest part is trying to hold on." Words by Matthew Pond, copyright 2007 matt pond PA. Paper and ink collage by Courtney, copyright 2008 Quiet City.

It feels sad/hopeful and summery to me- the summers of summers past- innocence like feet flattening grass at night, catching lightning bugs in jars and hoping they're still there and glowing in the morning- and the crushingness of reaching for someone's hand, only for them to pull away. Literally or figuratively.

(Crushingness is officially a word now, right?)

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Two More Postcard Designs

The two newest postcards were inspired by the 2004 song "The Butcher," which is from the Emblems album, and "Giving It All Away," from 2007's Last Light.

"The Butcher" is the first image that ever popped into my head, pushing me in the direction of this project. The song kind of haunts me and has brought me to near-tears before. In it, the cello sounds like a ghost. I don't know if that makes sense, but it's a relief to finally have it on paper.

"From under the covers he thought you whispered you want more." Words by Matthew Pond, copyright 2004 matt pond PA. Paper and ink collage by Courtney, copyright 2008 Quiet City.

Paper, ink and charcoal collage by Courtney, copyright 2008 Quiet City.


"Open up, let me out please. All I've ever wanted is to leave." Words by Matthew Pond, copyright 2007 matt pond PA.

Thursday, June 19, 2008


Awake at times when I shouldn’t be- sometimes because a toddler has kicked my neck, or flung a heavy hand over my nose as he flails in his sleep, making the crib seem delicious- sometimes like now when I am too tired to get up and go to bed. Brushing my teeth takes work and I have to work up to that.

Today was all fluffy clouds mingling with stormy grays; instant on-and-off showers and fat drops, expectations of rainbows. I found none, but my son smiled a lot.

Today was all hugs and familiarity and love. My best friend is home for now and there’s comfort in that. We are both in the area we grew up- separately and together- for the first time in five years. It’s summer, and that’s always been our time. Ever since 1997. Ups and downs, side to side.

She made a beautiful picture frame for my son, constructed out of an old children’s book cover and a crocheted ribbon. She is the master. I would love to share it with you but the batteries in my camera are so well-loved that they don’t even have enough juice to be recharged.

I would also love to share my last two card designs with you but again, the batteries.

She asked me if I have done any Maine things since I’ve been home. I mentioned Old Orchard Beach, Range Pond and lighthouses while I ached for Bethel and my grandparent’s house there. They don’t live there anymore but I will always have Bethel- their road, the cemetery at the end of it, Mollyockett Day, bubble gum ice cream, the wood shop, lightning bugs and hide-n-seek in the field with my cousins, and fiddleheads.

I forgot to mention the Old Port, Great Falls and Nezinscot Farm. I forgot to ache for Fort Williams, Granny’s Burritos and Popham.

Awake at times when I shouldn’t be- I wander. My mind weaves, my eyes play tricks. Oh, what tricksters.

I should go brush my teeth now and sleep. This is when the toddler sleeps in one position.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

postcard project, part one

I've begun my long dreamed-of postcard project, which is inspired by the music of matt pond PA. Because I can't NOT draw pictures in my head when I listen to their music.

(Please visit and


Close -up of the words:
"You'll let your hair down- You're letting go." From the song "Measure 1," which appears on the 2000 album Measure. Words by Matthew Pond, copyright matt pond PA 2000. Paper and ink collage by Courtney, copyright 2008 Quiet City.

Here's a shot of the my practice run next to the finished product:

I don't usually do such pink things, but I saw that pattern and had to use it for a pretty girl's hair.

I will be doing a total of 10-15 designs for this project, all incorporating words from matt pond PA songs from the earlier albums like Measure, up to their latest, 2007's Last Light. I'd like to thank Matthew Pond for supporting this project and sharing his own form of art with me (and you).

Please keep checking back here as I update with more designs. When the project is complete the postcards will be available to purchase in my Etsy store... which is opening soon.

You can also visit me on MySpace.