Artist Spotlight in Almost Real Things (+ We Got Issues Release Party)

A.R.T. We Got Issues 13 & 14

Woot woot! Your girl got herself a print feature.

Several of my Krystalline Kweens have graced the pages of Almost Real Things’ 13th issue all about Identity. Come out and celebrate the issue release with me and grab your copy!

About the Issue & Release Party

What is Almost Real Things?

Almost Real Things (A. R. T.) is a local non-profit quarterly mini art-zine, providing a free platform online and in print for creatives of all kinds to showcase their craft.

What’s the Issue?

Issue 13 was focuses on identity and explores the relationship between creativity and the self. It navigates through a few of the many layers of this concept — identity fluidity, perception, how art relates to the artists, anonymity — while giving contributors a platform to express who they are.

Last November, I did an eight-part portrait series featuring women who have inspired and supported me throughout various points in my life, as well as a self-portrait.

Based on cards from the Rider-Waite tarot deck, I selected four major arcana cards to illuminate and explore the individual identities of my mother, sister, childhood best friend, and myself. Additionally, my four minor arcana queens were matched with the identities of female entrepreneurs who’ve inspired me. My self-portrait and a couple of the minor arcana cards were featured in this issue of Almost Real Things.

As a portrayal of myself and those closest to me, identity is heavily reflected throughout this series. I have a plan for future series, expanding into an entire fully-inclusive deck at some point, with each card focused on unique personalities of people from all walks of life.

We Got Issues Celebration: 13 “Identity” & 14 “Vivid”

Where:
Soma Vida
2324 E Cesar Chavez St
Austin, TX 78702

When:
Friday, June 21, 2019 — 6pm-10pm
Happy summer solstice!— Please, come say hi, but keep in mind that I will also be working. Don’t forget to wear your sunscreen.

Cover:
General Admission — Free
Supporter (2 drink tickets)$10
VIP (Unlimited drinks & welcome gift including: flamingo koozie, stickers & selection of magazine issues)$20

Info:
All ages outdoor event. Limited metered street parking and garage parking available in area.

Spring 2019 CraftHER Market Recap

Sam and Jess at the CraftHER Market

The CraftHER Market was a great success and such a wonderful way to start out my 32nd year!

It was such a busy, busy day and and it all kind of feels like a blur (with so many wonderful faces of friends, new and old, spattered throughout). I wanted to take a moment to reflect on what an amazing experience it all was.

Additionally, I wanted to show some gratitude to the people who helped me make this day a reality, share my learning experience, and shout out some of the other makers I met through the process.

My Spring CraftHER Market Experience

To start out, here’s a small collection of photos of my set-up at the market, followed by a little video of my booth. We were stuck behind the booth so I didn’t get many photos at this event.

Spring 2019 CraftHER Market Booth from Samantha Soper on Vimeo.

BIG Women Supporting Women Energy

The whole experience really did take a village. Yes, I did many, many hours of solo prep work in the months prior to the pop-up: from pressing buttons to decoupaging matchboxes to making my own signage holders and designing table signage. But there were a few women I wanted to call out specifically for everything they did to help me make this market a positive, successful experience.

As a small business owner, I think it’s important to mention that, even though they are my friends, none of these women were helping me for free, because I strongly believe in fair payment for an individual’s advice, services, and time. And it doesn’t make me any less grateful for everything they did to assist nor does it make them any less worthy of a shout out.

I had the best booth help in the world thanks to my sister, Jesseca.

Honestly and a million times over, this market would not have been as much of a success without her help.

From having a large enough vehicle to transport everything to helping me set up the displays to single-handedly running the register on her iPad, she was everything (and more) that I could have hoped for from a booth partner. She even kept on me about putting customer’s items in the nice little bags I got with an issue of Almost Real Things, featuring my Krystalline Kweens series. She communicated awesomely with me the whole time and was so friendly to all of the visitors to my booth!

She’s also an artist! She does digital illustration under the pseudonym Third Eye Monsters. Please go check her Threadless shop and follow her on Instagram.

My display looked amazing with thanks to my super skilled friend, Amber.

When I got word that I’d be doing this market, I knew I needed to elevate my display game, literally (like in the sense of getting my merch higher up off of my table). After a little research into what I wanted, I commissioned my friend Amber Draper, owner and operator of Draper Construction, to build me some custom collapsible display options.

She was super dependable and reliably flexible when I asked if I could get the displays a little early. Additionally, she got it done, even though she came down with pneumonia. That’s a tough babe! The wood working on the display pieces was absolutely beautiful and the designs were unique and efficiently designed.

If you’re local to Austin, I highly recommend her work. She can do a wide variety of construction contracting, so get at her for your home improvement needs.

I had a great merch selection thanks to my friend, Panda.

While she’s been my artistic muse a couple of times, the motivation and inspiration she brings me from a practical retail standpoint is beyond reproach. Back in November, she brought me to a local Austin gift store to point out suggestions of practical, useful things I could do with my own art, like matchboxes. She enabled me to make buttons with my illustrations, by allowing me a trial use of her button maker so I could gauge the return before making the investment. It was so worth it and I’m buying it off her.

One of the biggest keys to my success with this market was the variety of differently priced merch I had at my table. The buttons were one of my highest selling items the day of the market, which I wouldn’t have had if Panda hadn’t offered me the means of self-production.

Some day she’ll be a famous nail artist, so you should follow Hexcellent Hands to keep tabs on her journey.

I have to give thanks to the team at Boss Babes ATX, especially Natalia Rocafuerte, for the entire amazing experience.

You know when you are trying to break into a new social group or trying to make friends at work and you’re worried that maybe you’re not cool enough? I’ll admit, I often get a little intimidated and worried about being accepted into creative groups around the Austin area.

This was my second time applying for the market, so I was a little self-conscious about reaching out, even after I got in. But I know not putting myself out there, wasn’t going to get me anywhere. I contacted Boss Babes ATX to volunteer interest and openness to CraftHER-related blog interviews or social media take overs, when I had noticed a few other makers being featured.

In response, Natalia was warm, friendly, and receptive to future volunteering, though they’d already locked down their pre-market content calendar. However, less than a week later they came through with the amazing opportunity to appear alongside them on CBS-Austin’s We Are Austin segment. If you missed it, you can watch that below!

Natalia Rocafuerte does some really cool audio-visual work. They’re also a DJ and they do work with various organizations, like Boss Babes ATX and Chulita Vinyl Club, to help foster communities for female-presenting and non-binary creatives and people of color.

Always Love a Good Learning Experience

This section is part reminders to myself, part a communication of my creative goals to my readers, and part advice and solutions for anyone interested in doing pop-up shops in the future.

I need to do a Drag Race Legends series.

Several people walked up to my booth, excited to see that I had RuPaul’s Drag Race illustrations, only to be let down after asking if I had portraits of Katya, Alaska, or Bianca. I definitely took notes every time someone asked for a queen I didn’t have to do a Legends series in the near future.

I still need to get through season 11, but keep an eye out for a Legends series after that. ;D

Never give up and keep on growing.

As I mentioned previously, this is the second time I have applied to this market. After my first rejection, I was discouraged and felt a little bitter. But I got over it and I continued working on building up my brand and my content. I am happy that I kept growing, kept making, and kept trying because my hard work paid off.

If this is a market you dream of participating in, keep working at your creations, diversify your merchandise, and solidify your messaging. Know that sometimes recognition comes slow, but don’t give up on your creative dreams. With continued effort, your work and creative brand will grow, mature, and will inevitably get where you want. Just keep growing!

No one knows you’re interested unless you speak up.

I was super glad I set my self-consciousness and rejection sensitive dysphoria aside, in order to reach out and express interest in market-related PR opportunities. I had never had a particular goal or bucket list item to be on TV, but it was an experience I will never forget. It almost felt like a dream, but it did happen, and it happened because I showed interest.

When I asked, I knew there was a good chance that they had already created all of their feature content. Setting my expectations with that in mind, I knew it didn’t hurt to ask; just in case. Additionally, there was no way for them to know I’d be interested, unless I asked. I am so glad I did because it opened up the opportunity of a lifetime. Don’t be entitled, just be excited for potential!

Display racks with feet should have proper markings.

People kept tripping over the stands on my art display racks. This wasn’t a great experience for anyone and disrupted the flow of traffic to and from my table. I’m sorry if you were one of these people.

To solve this, I’ll be wrapping my stand feet in bright yellow tape so, hopefully, they are more visible. I’m also looking into different configurations for my display racks where I don’t need to use the feet, at all. If anyone has any suggestions, leave them in the comments below!

6’x6′ is not as big as you think it might be.

As I mentioned earlier, Jesseca and I were stuck behind the table the entire day. Of course, I had an idea in my head about how I wanted things set up. When Jess offered a suggestion about the layout that would keep us from being stuck behind the table, I was stubborn because of ~*~My CrEaTiVe ViSiOn~*~. In retrospect, she was definitely right. While completely necessary, it’s always humbling to admit to yourself, especially to your younger sister, that your creative vision is maybe dumb and inefficient.

Another great piece of advice, that I regret not taking, was to set up my entire display in the measured space prior to the day of the market. This advice was given to me by my grandmother (a legend in the Florida craft show scene) and suggested by several of the market organizers prior to the pop-up. Note to self: It doesn’t matter how many times you do this, don’t get cocky about it.

Huge thanks to those that came out to celebrate this big day with me

I am so grateful for these friends who took time out of their Sunday to come see my work and wish me a happy birthday. It was really fun to see so many familiar faces at this event. THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR COMING OUT!

Per usual, I’ve listed these angels out below, with links to their businesses, projects, and portfolios, as applicable. (Please let me know if you have a project you want me to link.)

Want to get a reminder for my next show or event?

A Selection of Other Makers from the Market

As always, I like to give a shout out to some of the other creators I meet at and in the process of preparing for these events. I like to lift up other makers, especially those who are nice to my awkward self.

1937 Apothecary

I was excited to work the market with this vendor, because the owner, Sarah Kerver, and I once worked together in the creative department at Golfsmith. It was neat to see one of my old coworkers at a market, where we are both now creatively supporting ourselves independently.

She and her daughter had some absolutely delicious CBD popsicles available at the market. They have a ton of pop-up shops coming up, so check them out for your CBD needs.

Adrienne Rivers

I met this awesome illustrator at the CraftHER Market vendor meet-up. She has such a gorgeous illustration style and features so many different body types throughout her portraits.

Chef J-Rodi with 3 Small Plates Catering

Chef J-Rodi exudes a bright and friendly energy that is completely contagious. I met her at the vendor meet-up, where her cheerful attitude calmed my networking nerves.

At the market, I got the chance to try her Caprese panini and limon tea cakes, both of which were absolutely delicious. Check her out next time you need a caterer.

Allie Eileen

I’ve featured Allie on my blog before because she was my display neighbor at the Chocolate and Art Show. It was fun reconnecting with her and seeing how each of our illustration businesses had evolved since September.

Fox Lash

The compassionate babe on the right (in the picture below) does some amazing work with animal-friendly lash artistry, including extensions, tinting, lifts, and facial waxing. And she was real sweet to me at the networking event!

View this post on Instagram

Guess who will be at the @bossbabesatx CraftHER Market next weekend?… YOU! You're gonna be there! • Why? Cause I'll be there with @blondinatorpaige waxing brows + braiding hair for F R E E ! Swing by and say hello at our super cute tent! Event will be held at the Fair Market on April 14th from 11a-5p (1100 E 5th Street, over on the East Side!) • As a side note, I've recently gotten a TON of new followers, and I'd love to introduce myself for those who arent a Lash Baby of mine quite yet 😉 • My name is Alex (the blonde girl on the right)! I'm the Owner and Lash Artist here at Fox Lash. I've been a Licensed Esthetician for 4+ years, and lashes are my biggest passion. • I opened Fox Lash with the intention of creating confidence and beauty for clients of ALL ages + styles with gorgeous, animal-friendly lash art 🖤 I prioritize educating my clients on safe, effective, DAMAGE-FREE Lash care + application, so you can get the most out of your investment here with me! • Fox Lash is growing like crazy and exceeding my expectations more and more every day. I'm still accepting new clients for now, so get yourself on the books ASAP! To book an appointment at your own convenience, check out our website foxlashatx.com (link in bio) and click the "BOOK + CONTACT" tab on the far right side of the page! • Thanks for reading, y'all! Hope to meet you soon! 😘 . . . . . #bossbabes #atxlash #atxbrows #solopreneur #thingstodo512 #austin360 #atxcalendar #craftfair #texasmakers #eastsideaustin #veganbeauty #cosmetology #esthetics #atxlife #downtownaustin #austinliving #atxlifestyle #freeaustin #thingstodoaustin #texasgirls #affordableaustin #atxbeauty #atxentrepreneur #fem #womeninbusiness #bookedbusyblessed #bossbabesatx

A post shared by Fox Lash • Damage-Free Beauty (@foxlashatx) on

Jewelry by Hamaila

Her booth mate spent a bit of time talking to us at my booth, so I went and checked her out as the market was ending. Hamaila had some elegantly minimalist 3D geometric jewelry.

Curly Executive

This mega-ambitious multi-business owner, Mélissa Peng, came by my booth to tell us about the grants for women creatives in Texas she was sponsoring on her site. I will definitely be applying for one of them, because it never hurts to try.

If you are a female creative entrepreneur, most especially a woman of color, you should go check out and apply for the grants. As stated previously, no one knows you’re interested unless you tell them.

Find me at the CraftHER Market: Spring 2019

Being my second time applying to the event, you can imagine my excitement on being accepted into the Spring 2019 CraftHER Market. It really feels like all the work I have done since November to help mature my art brand, generate more content, and build a wider audience has really paid off.

Just another wonderful reminder that if I keep trying, evolving, and working hard to follow my illustration dreams, things do start coming together eventually. Also, something to keep in mind if you are pursuing some creative dreams: sometimes you just need a little extra maturation time, so don’t give up!

It’ll be happening on my birthday and I would love to see your smiling face there!

About the Market

For a quick introduction, check out this KEYE/CBS We Are Austin segment I had the privilege of doing with Natalia Rocafuerte of Boss Babes ATX, on April 9th. This was so exciting and I am so happy to have had this opportunity.

What is the CraftHER Market?

CraftHER Market is a bi-annual pop-up market, put on by #bossbabesatx, showcasing the talent of women and non-binary makers throughout Texas.

Open to the public, this community event features entrepreneurial panels, opportunities to support local nonprofits, and family-friendly activities. Additionally, over 125 vendors, reflecting a myriad of women and nonbinary artists and creative entrepreneurs, gather to exhibit their craft and sell their wares.

Event organizers #bossbabesatx is a nonprofit centered around sustaining communities that care about gender equality and supporting local, creative businesses.

CraftHER Market, Spring 2019

Where:
Fair Market
1100 East 5th Street
Austin, TX 78702

When:
Sunday, April 14, 2019 — 11am-5pm
It’s on my 32nd birthday! — Please, come say hi to me, but keep in mind that I will also be working.

Cover:
Free

Info:
Family-friendly, dog-friendly, and people-friendly event. Limited metered street parking and garage parking available in area.

What will I have there?

I plan on having a wide variety of merch options, covering diverse price points, available at the event. These items will feature various illustrations I’ve done, including my tarot series, RuPaul’s Drag Race portrait series, Inktober postcards, watercolor studies of birthstones, flowers, and David Bowie‘s lifetime of style, and many others.

Below you’ll find a list of some of the types of merch you can pick up at my table:

  • Framed original illustrations, including All-Stars 4 and Krystalline Kweens series
  • Original Instagram challenge postcard illustrations (MerMay, Inktober)
  • Art & postcard prints
  • 1″ pin-back buttons
  • Hand-decoupaged matchboxes

Afterhours ATX Canvas Battle Recap

Afterhours Canvas Battle 2018

This past Friday night was the Canvas Battle at the 2018 Afterhours Poster Show Opening and it was such a fun and unforgettable experience. It was a really exciting start to this year’s East Austin Studio Tour (E.A.S.T.).

The Canvas Battle

At 8pm, down on the sidewalk in front of Wright Bros Brew & Brew, we were given the prompt “GROOVY!” and the battle began. We had until 9:30pm to concept and create a 24″x36″ artwork with only the supplies provided: an art board, a small sketchbook, an eraser, and a variety of paint pens, pencils, markers and pens.

I went with a peace-loving roller skate babe, reminiscent of Cher’s style from the late 60s, with radiating auras of patterns and shapes. Check it out, with some other shots from the battle, in the gallery below. Major thanks to Liz, Kristen L., and Kristin H. for capturing and sending me these great photos and video!

Canvas Battle 2018 from Samantha Soper on Vimeo.

Congratulations to the Winners!

First place: Trish Monsters

The votes were tallied and Trish Monsters was crowned winner of the Canvas Battle. 

Trish Monster Canvas Battle

Second Place: Aaron Hamilton

Aaron came in with the second most votes for his super cute hippie bus. flying through a psychedelic cloudscape.

Special thanks for showing up

Drawing as live entertainment can be nerve-wracking, especially on a time limit and competing against three other amazing artists. It was great to see some familiar faces at the show cheering me on and helping me bag a few guaranteed votes from the audience. 

As with my last show recap to show my appreciation, I want to make a brief shout-out to all of these people that came out to support me, with links to their businesses, projects, and portfolios, as applicable. (Please let me know if you have a project you want me to link.)

Want to get a reminder for my next show or event?

Canvas Battle: 2018 Afterhours Poster Show Opening Night

Canvas Battle at Afterhours Poster Show Opening Night

So hyped right now. Also a small ball of electric anxiety.

I was one of the four artists selected to compete in the Canvas Battle at the opening night celebration for the Afterhours Poster Show, part of East Austin Studio Tour (E.A.S.T.) and hosted by the AIGA Austin.

About the Event

What is a Canvas Battle?

They come in many forms, but for this event in particular, we’ll be given a prompt, a 24″x 36″ art board, a handful of black markers, and 90 minutes to create a unique piece of art. The audience votes on the canvases and one artist is declared winner of the canvas battle!

The artworks are then raffled off, with all proceeds benefiting a selected charity. This year’s non-profit partner is Kids In a New Groove, an organization providing music mentorship programs to children within the foster care system.

Afterhours Poster Show Opening Night

Where:
Wright Brothers Brew & Brew
500 San Marcos Street #105
Austin, TX 78702

When:
Friday, November 9, 2018 — 6:30pm-11pm
Canvas Battle runs from 8pm-9:30pm — Please, do not come say hi or try to talk to me during the canvas battle.

Cover:
Free

Info:
All ages event, Limited metered street parking available in area — Ride share suggested

Fellow Canvas Battlers

These artists I’ll be competing against in the Canvas Battle are absolutely amazing. These are just a selection of each of their works that I really liked, but you should go check out all their cool art and give them a follow!

TrishMonsters

Chase Quarterman

Aaron Hamilton

Chocolate & Art Show 2018 Recap

Chocolate & Art Show photo by Betty Soper

This past Friday and Saturday night were great and I am riding the wave of love and positivity this week.

I had so many people who have showed up for me in so many different points throughout my life come out to celebrate the debut of Kystalline Kweens with me. I also met a lot of amazing artists and got to introduce myself and my work to some new people. I even sold my Queen of Cups portrait!

Hearing from so many friends and strangers that they’d like to see the series become a full tarot deck, book or coloring book was incredibly encouraging. If you want to help me on my way to making this dream a reality, consider making a monthly donation via Patreon.

I hope you enjoy these photos from the show and keep reading for a special thanks and some artist shout-outs! Much love to everyone who sent me their photos.

Thank you for making it an amazing experience!

It means the absolute world to me that people are willing show up for me. I get really anxious about putting myself out there, so having everyone that came through this weekend made all the hard work and anxiety so completely worth it.

To show a little appreciation, I want to make a brief shout-out to all of these people that came out to support me at the Chocolate & Art Show, with links to their businesses, projects, and portfolios, as applicable. (Please let me know if you have a project you want me to link.)

Friday

Saturday

Want to get a reminder for my next show or event?

Artist Discoveries

As I mentioned previously, I met a lot of other really talented artists at the show, as well. Check out their Instagram accounts below and give them a follow!

Roni Zulu

I was floored by this guy’s talent with oil paint. Also, I felt he was a kindred spirit because both of our series featured portraits of our friends and loved ones.

miboland

This guy has some gorgeous geometric aluminum mini-structures, that resembled natural horn mounts. He also was handing out some cool stickers and bandanas he designed!

View this post on Instagram

little minis available this weekend! @chocolateandart

A post shared by mibo (@contentbymb) on

Allie Eileen & Jeff Miles Jr.

A super cute artist bff duo that were my neighbors at the show.

View this post on Instagram

Taking mixtape titles…

A post shared by Jeff Miles Jr. (@jeffemiles) on

Calloway Studios

He displayed across from BAMFaktory a couple of years ago at RAW: Trend, but it was great seeing him again. And I picked up this super cute whale tail keychain from him!

Celeste Munoz

Another sweet show neighbor, who had some beautiful Prismacolor work.

Nicole Clauder

One of the live painters at the show. She was working on the nifty florescent cat piece in my photo gallery above!

Crystal Anastasia

I met her sister, Crimson, because Crystal had a big event in Dallas. Her hair techniques were phenomenal and so many of her pieces had cool, acrylic transitions outside of the frame.

Reverie Fabrications

She had so many naturally beautiful crystal jewelry pieces with organic-looking melted metal settings.

MoonPower

For something to channel your inner unicorn, this lovely lady had holographic crystal jewelry creations.

Sincerely Whimsy by Ty

Her whole set up was so cute and creative!!! She had some really crafty pop-art jewelry.

Krystalline Kweens: Debuting at the Austin Chocolate & Art Show

Chocolate & Art Show — Austin

I’m super excited to announce that I’ll be debuting a brand new 8-piece illustration series titled Krystalline Kweens at the Chocolate & Art Show in Austin on the evenings of Friday, September 7 and Saturday, September 8.

About the Debut

Krystalline Kween Series

This series will feature eight portraits of inspirational queens in my own life with elegant crystalline growth, based on feminine tarot cards. This first set in a future full tarot deck focuses on three women who have walked with me throughout my life, four women whom I respect for their entrepreneurship and empowered pioneering of their own lives, and a self portrait (always remember to be your own inspiration ^_^).

Here’s a sneak peek at the half-size, outlined thumbnails of what I have planned for the show:

Outlined thumbnails for Krystalline Kweens

Stay tuned on the BAMFaktory Instagram and Facebook page to catch updates and live streams while I am drawing!

Chocolate & Art Show, Austin

Where:
Fair Market
1100 East 5th Street
Austin, TX 78702

When:
Friday, July 20, 2018 — 8pm-2am &
Saturday, July 21, 2018 — 8pm-2am

Show dates have changed. The new dates are:
Friday, September 7, 2018 — 8pm-2am &
Saturday, September 8, 2018 — 8pm-2am

Cover:
Pre-sale: $15
Doors: $20

Info:
21+ event, free street parking

Inspiration

Muscial

Visual

Rider-Waite Tarot Deck


Julie Mao The Expanse SYFY
Early stage protomolecule reference from The Expanse TV series