on the 3rd day of chookooloonks ... rockstar artists

A few months ago, I received an invitation (along with several other friends) to participate in a pretty awesome project called PRIME:  a book "exploring what it looks like to be a woman in her prime."  The project, put together by Allison Hadar and photographer Peter Freed required that I contribute an essay, but also that I be photographed as well.

I was, naturally, incredibly honoured to participate.  The photo shoot was held at my friend's house, and I walked in not really knowing what to expect; however Peter immediately put me at ease, and the shoot was over relatively quickly and painlessly.

And then we got to talking.

It turns out that Peter is a serious rock star in the world of photography.  He has photographed some of the most recognizable faces in history (Ruth Bader Ginsberg!  Martin Scorcese!  Jamaica Kincaid, for heaven's sake!), and his work has been featured in Forbes, The New York Times Magazine, and Esquire, just for starters.

And there he was, sitting there at the kitchen table, enjoying fajitas with all of us.

After we ate, I asked him if I could take his photograph, to which he gamely agreed.  But even more amazingly, as I took the photographs, he quite humbly gave me a few pointers on the technical side of photography.  And you know what?  In those 10 minutes, I learned more about photography from Peter than I have in the past 5 years, no lie.

In short, he seriously blew me away.  I love it when really amazing people are also really generous people, don't you?

Thanks so much, Peter. I will forever be grateful to you.


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Welcome to Day 3 of The 12 Days of Chookooloonks, friends.  On the subject of really-amazing-people-also-being-really-generous:  today, incredibly, I'll be giving the work of some artists who I've been in awe of for some time now -- people who I was seriously stunned were happy to participate in this giveaway.  I'm so honoured, and I am seriously already very, very jealous of the winner of this giveaway.


Image courtesy Kal Barteski

I've been a fan of Kal's work for ages -- she is a prolific artist, her blog is constantly a font of positivity, and her paintings are really, really stunning.  She's also the brilliant mind behind LINKwithlove, a movement to "inspire positive change to the way art, photography, design, words, music, film and ideas are shared on the internet."  She is amazing.

Recently, she began doing stunning "brush script drawings":  framable message-art featuring her beautiful handwriting.  And bless her heart, she's giving away two prints:

So thrilled.  Here's more about Kal:

Artist's statement:  Kal Barteski is an artist who paints, designs, photographs and writes stuff. Everyday and in all sorts of media. At the moment, she’s enthralled with the dramatic scripting of her sumi brush. But, when she’s not painting letters she mixes it up with wildlife, abstract, and what ever else her heart desires. She’s like a chameleon that way. She has studied art in three provinces and two countries. Her art has been featured in magazines, on wine bottles, album covers, clothing lines, giftware and concrete wolves + bears. She’s an award-winning illustrator + graphic designer. She sees the bright side + finds it very beautiful. She won a Woman Entrepreneur of the Year award, published a book, and found out you don’t need much to live the life you dream. She’s a painter, dog-walker, mom, poet and in her spare time she drinks too much coffee.

 Photograph courtesy Gabriela Herman

When Gabriela Herman first contacted me to participate in the 12 Days of Chookooloonks, I clicked over to her site to take a look around -- and I can't tell you how excited I was when I learned that she was the creative mind behind The Blogger Series that I had read about on WIRED earlier this year:  a series of portraits of well-known bloggers, lit only by the eerie glow of their computers.  Needless to say, I was incredibly honoured that she offered to participate!

Gabriela will be giving away a beautiful print of the image you see above:  an 8x10 archival inkjet print on gold fiber silk paper, entitled "Vineyard Sound, 2011." It is #9 in the edition of 25.  Stunning.

Here's more about the very awesome Gabriela:

Artist's statement:  Gabriela Herman is a portrait, fine art and lifestyle photographer.  Her work focuses on what she knows:  herself, her family, her communities.  She invites the viewer to share in her experiences and is known for an intimate and comfortable approach with her subjects.  She divides her time between Brooklyn, Martha's Vineyard and Brazil, and holds a Bachelor's degree in psychology from Wesleyan University.  Her work has been featured in Wired, Life, The Atlantic, Esquire, Phaidon, Gizmodo, and dozens of other online and offline publications.  Clients include Martha Stewart Living, Time Out, Edible Manhattan and Sears.  She regularly shows her work in galleries and other public venues in the US and abroad.  Recent exhibits include work at the Festivale Internazionale di Roma, the Host Gallery in London, the Flash Forward Festival in Toronto, and the Denver International Airport.  In 2011, she was selected for Critical Mass Top 50 and in 2010 she was named a "top emerging photographer" by the Magenta Foundation.



And of course, you'll receive a 2012 Chookooloonks desk calendar (comes packaged in a fold-out CD case), featuring 13 of my favourite images from 2011.

Peeps, this is a seriously fantastic set of gifts.   For a chance to win, simply leave a comment below, saying whatever you'd like, before 12:00 a.m., Thursday, December 15th, US Central TimePlease leave only one comment.  Also, it doesn't matter where in the world you are.  I'll choose a winner at random using Random.org, and update this post when that person is chosen.

(For the duration of the 12 Days of Chookooloonks, please note that there is no guarantee that you will receive any items before Christmas.) 

Thanks guys, and good luck!


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AND THE WINNER IS:  According to Random.org, the winner is Amanda, who said "Oh my word! This giveaway is AWESOME! I've been reading Kal's blog for a while now and it is amazing!"  Congratulations, Amanda!  Please keep a lookout in your inbox for an email from me with instructions on what to do next.

Thanks for participating, everyone -- 9 more days left!


SongBrick house by Commodores.  This song was played during the photo shoot.  Yeah it was.