Saturday, September 17, 2016

Blog On Pause

Hello! Just dropping a line to let you know that I will no longer be updating this blog regularly.

I'm still actively publishing on these channels though:

XO, Jill

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Marcia Rondello

Do you ever think back to your early education teachers? Did you learn something that has always stuck with you? A story? A memory trick? The solution to a math problem you thought impossible?

Mrs. Rondello is the first dedicated art teacher I remember. She was a whiz at everything and taught us all of the art tricks. She talked funny, but we loved her all the same.

Mrs. Rondello, Marcia Rondello, sticks out in my memory mostly because of the year (in either my 5th or 6th grade) that she taught both art and English, my two favorite subjects. She had us memorize the Jabberwocky, which I can still recite to this day, and other poems of our choice, some of which I still remember.

I recently had the opportunity to talk with her again, 28 years later, through a strange twist of luck and I had so much to ask her which I'll share this Winter but, for now, let me clarify the 'we thought she talked funny' bit. Turns out Marcia Rondello was born and raised in New York. That was - is - a New York accent, at the time completely alien to a bunch of kids from Northern Wisconsin. She still has the accent and the sweet temperament I remember from my childhood.

Marcia Rondello, her husband and first born child.

It was wonderful to get to know Marcia as a person so many years later and to have the opportunity to learn about her as an artist. This is one of Marcia's amazing paintings she shared with me during my recent visit. Truly great art doesn't 'age' and I think this piece is a testament to her body of work.

Marcia was born to a family of journalists and artists and this is a self-imposed project she, her mother and her sister created to while away an afternoon. The theme to create to:

This was her mothers interpertation:

This was Marcia's interpertation:

And this was her sister's interpertation:

Amazing doesn't even cover it.

To me this demonstrates the true value of an arts education! It demonstrates the ability of three like-minded people, given the same theme, delivering three vastly different, or shall I say original, interpretations. Not wanting to peer over one another's shoulders and deliver some homogenized, morphed recreation of the others work, but truly delighting in creating an original piece of work out of their own imaginations.

Now go forth and rediscover an early mentor!

Monday, June 6, 2016

HODAG : A Happy The Hodag Book

Announcing my new book titled HODAG!

If you've been following this blog you'll know this has been a long time coming. A lot of time and effort went into my newest hodag book and I hope you'll LOVE it!

Pick one up here:

Watch the book trailer:

16-HODAG-Video-Neutral-Small from Jill Kuczmarski on Vimeo.

XO, Jill

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Mother's Day

This post is a week late but because I was spending the actual day with my mom last Sunday, which is how it should be ;)

I love art. My love stems from formal education and art museums to galleries, friends, the internet and really, anywhere you can find art, which is everywhere. The styles are vast the talent endless.

I have had wonderful teachers over the years and all of them have left a lasting impression, but where did my love for art start?

My mother, of course.

She bought me my first how-to-draw book when I was a 4th grader after a fellow artsy friend at school brought me hers to look at. She drove me to clay pits to get fresh clay and supplied me with endless art supplies and support. She put up with me dulling her scissors, commandeering her fabrics and making a general mess in the name of art. She also took my siblings and I to the library once a week to fill up on books, which is how I fell in love with reading and then writing.

An artist in her own right, I discovered my mother's high school sketch books when I was a teenager and was surprised. While she had tackled ceramics, was a pro at stained glass and a master seamstress, I never saw her draw.

How sweet are these portraits she did of her school friends?

And so as I prepare to release my third independently published book, I have to say thanks to my mom. I am blessed to have been raised by parents who encouraged creativity and gave me the courage to tackle such things as Happy the Hodag.

Thanks mom, I love you to the moon and back.

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Hodag Street Team

As I work double time on my new book, juggling marketing plans, new artwork and lists, so many lists of little things — I am ever so thankful for my team.

My team? You may ask, and rightly so seeing as this really is an independent, low income generating venture. But by team I mean my friends and family, of course.

Before the buzz phrase and marketing tactic 'street teams' was identified, I already had one. Inherently built into growing up in a small town is a street team of all of my friends, my friends families, immediate family, extended family, in-law family (my husband and I grew up in the same small town) and Happy the Hodag's fans, of course. Not to mention all of the other wonderful friends and families I became a part of as I branched out and lived in other places. That's a big crew.

Today I just want to give a big thank you to my vast and loyal street team, but most specifically to my parents who are faster than Amazon at pick-ups, drop-offs and overall support of every independent venture I have ever endeavored to take on. They know it's hard work, time-consuming and above and beyond my career obligations and so help me whenever they can. Honestly, it gets me a little emotional knowing I have that level of support, it's an anchor in a sometimes turbulent sea.

Small Town Life: The Good & The Bad, But Mostly The Good

The other thing that comes with living in and growing up in a small town is that everyone knows you and your car. Which means that as soon as I roll into town I start getting texts; my parents tell me I've been spotted by the theater, invitations to dinner because so-and-so just told so-and-so they saw my husband at the grocery store and we should get together.

I will be totally honest when I say the thing I most enjoy about living in a bigger city is the ability to be invisible. Being able to get a parking ticket while I'm stuffing my face at a McDonalds without it trickling down and out that I'm an irresponsible slouch heading toward a size 14. That's a truth everyone lives with in a small town.

However, knowing you are surrounded by friends and family is incomprehensively wonderful, outweighing any negatives by far. Running into friends and family all over town is a true heart warming joy and sharing our lives as we grow older regardless of where we are currently living, a true community.

Hodags Forever!

Now for some random memes, these are up on Happy the Hodag's Facebook page, head over and like him if you haven't already. Come on, join my team!

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Getting Happy

I have a -12 degree reason to go nowhere today, just like yesterday. But that's okay because I'm getting a lot done in the studio, it's why we're so damn productive up here in the North.

I finished up my web redesign of Studio JKD and Happy the Hodag this weekend, having that checked off of my list is a pretty big deal for me. As an Art Director, the fact that my web properties were in a certain state or rather a lack thereof, was not reflecting on me very well professionally. SO exciting to have that taken care of!

But not as exciting as the new collaboration I'm currently working on, soon to be revealed, but super top secret right now. Seriously, my brain might explode with excitement, it's such a relevant thing to do and I'm kicking myself for not initiating it sooner, like 10 years ago! Stay tuned on Happy's FB page:

Alrighty then, back to it, my lists aren't getting any shorter!

Stay warm out there!

Saturday, January 9, 2016

The New Year List

Do you have a to-do list for 2016?

In addition to my new book projects I've also created a short list of must-do's:

1. Play with my Bray Clay and finish it with a backyard pit fire! Who wants to join me!?

2. Get back on my 1901 letterpress and create some fun new projects, I also need to reprint my business cards, I'm running low.

3. Yoga!

Friday, January 1, 2016

Happy New Year!

It's going to be a big year for Happy the Hodag, and me, of course.

Unlike my husband, who likes to keep all of his lists for posterity, I only keep dated sketches and notes having to do with the creation of projects for copyright purposes, and even those are organized and filed away. And so today, the first day of 2016, I'm sorting out project piles, making new lists and throwing out loads of old lists filled with tiny, time-consuming to-do's that are complete.

It feels awesome to get reorganized for the new year, even though my new lists are filled with even more time-consuming to-do's. Not to worry though, nothing is impossible as long as you keep ticking off the list, one-by-one, day-by-day.

If you haven't already, head over to Happy's Facebook page for all of the BIG news this year!

And a HUGE thank you to everyone who has supported Happy over the past 10 years! We hope everyone has an absolutely FABULOUS new year with many more to come!