From Art

Building bridges and taking risks

Money Raised for Planned Parenthood (so far!)
Money raised for Planned Parenthood as of Feb. 25th, 2017.

I can barely believe it.

Over the course of a few months, my Build Bridges Pittsburgh design has raised nearly $8k for PPWPA. What started as a hopeful venture with no guarantees— an order of 50 t-shirts from Tiny Little Monster— turned into an epic movement. With the help of Tiny’s web store option, I was able to sell the unisex tees PLUS  a variety of Build Bridges gear, to include hoodies, onesies and totes.

I finally finished up with web sales through Tiny for now, but a limited supply is still available at Biddle’s Escape—my coffeeshop home-away-from-home in Regent Square. I might consider selling them on Etsy for the summer to help start up my shop business and to make some money of my own.

Speaking of Etsy…

1flychicken creations Etsy Shop
The not-so-fully-stocked Etsy shop I finally made, 1flychicken creations.

I finally worked up the nerve to launch my own Etsy shop, 1flychicken creations. There are only a few things up as of now, but I hope to expand my physical collection as well as my digital download offerings. If you have any ideas for either (anything you may have seen me doing lately or want to request), hit me up. I’m working on creating and scanning in some watercolor paintings to get greeting cards printed. I know cards are no moneymaker, but I love making them and the idea of sending sweet, thoughtful notes to people who might need a lift. Cheeseball, I know.

 

Build Bridges Pittsburgh - Billboard by Meghan Tutolo
Joe, owner of Biddle’s Escape, used his own funds to help spread the positive message.

One of the most surreal and incredible moments of this fundraising journey has been to see this guy on a billboard: my design and the positive message spread by yinz guys! #LOVETRUMPSHATE (And isn’t this proof?)

For as much as the last few months have disgusted and disappointed me (politically), this message and those who have helped to carry it have astounded me with their hope and generosity. Thank you. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. I hope we can continue to build upon it and to take care of one another.

xo

mt

 

 

T-shirt for a cause, yinz guys

BUILD BRIDGES, NOT WALLS // Pittsburgh T-Shirt Design by Meghan Tutolo ©

 

If you know Pittsburgh, you know the implication of bridges.

Not just that they close for repairs causing confusingly intricate detours or that they clog at rush-hour in a stampede of homebound yinzers, but the meaning in it all (even in the frustration) is that they are so very important to us.

“City of Bridges,” we’re called.

Built on industry and the treasures of the mineral-rich Allegheny Mountains, Pittsburgh is situated at the confluence of the Allegheny and Monongahela Rivers where they merge into the Ohio—the three rivers form a triangle, if you can imagine it. With 446 bridges at last count, “City of Bridges” is an understatement, really. We’re utterly dependent on them.

The past year has been one for destruction, it seems: from the demolition of the Greenfield Bridge last December to the epic and nearly irreversible fire damage caused to the Liberty Bridge (in the midst of an $80 million reconstruction, no less). But the real threat to our everyday (in Pittsburgh and beyond)—detours and delays aside—has come from a not-so-concrete source: a certain president-elect’s campaign.

Like many, I have spent the last few weeks in shock and horror. Not just because my candidate didn’t win, but because we have elected an unqualified, overinflated and narcissistic hatemonger. Whether he believes in the bigotry and intolerance himself is irrelevant. He used a group of people—the hopeless worn-out underbelly of this country’s dying industry—as a means to his own end by scapegoating, making impossible promises and inciting violence and hate.

(Really, I don’t want to hear that you do not align yourself with such values, Mr. Almost-President. In fact, your “just stop it” admonition on television was as weak as it was hypocritical. You did this. You can’t just hit the stop button.)

I won’t lie. I’m angry, fed up. I’ve deleted Facebook friends. I’ve ignored. I’ve blocked. I’ve holed myself up in a bubble, comfortable only at my local coffeeshop and my apartment (with my two smooshy-faced cats and my partner.) I’ve wanted to punch out family members, pelt eggs at signs, scream at the top of my lungs, ram into the car in front of me just for donning the wrong bumper sticker… but I know it won’t help, that I will just be feeding the thing I am fighting against.

“I’m done being nice,” I’ve said, over and over. And I mean it.

But what I mean is… I refuse to be quiet, to be passive, to let this be normal, to watch people I love be badgered or bullied. No, I won’t clock the conservative with the “Make America Great Again” hat in the checkout line, but I won’t shut up either. So I made a t-shirt.

“Figure out a way to use your art,” said a wise man and fellow fixture at Biddle’s Escape, responding to the expression of my post-election helpless-hopelessness.

I created the BUILD BRIDGES NOT WALLS design because I needed to do something. With the help from my friends and their realized dream, Tiny Little Monster, we were able to create a snuggly soft tee with a powerful message. The best part? I will be sending all of the profits for t-shirt sales to Planned Parenthood of Western PA.

My hope now is that we’ll only get stronger from this division, that somehow this brigade of big hearts will triumph. Just as the Greenfield Bridge replacement takes shape over 376, just as the Liberty Bridge has been recovered from its near-collapse… we keep moving, we keep finding a way to the other side.

 

BUILD BRIDGES, NOT WALLS // Pittsburgh T-Shirt Design by Meghan Tutolo ©

Get Your T-Shirt

BUILD BRIDGES NOT WALLS shirts are available to pre-order online (shipping out February 7th) or drop by Biddle’s Escape in Regent Square to pick up a shirt and a French Toast Latte.

For special orders or ideas, drop me a line.

<3
mt

 

 

*Special thanks to Tiny Little Monster for their cause-loving discount which has allowed me to donate over half of the money from each purchase to the cause. 
**Also, a big thank-you to Joe Davis (a.k.a. Mr. Biddles) for believing in me and the cause (always).

Pumpkin candles, Blood-Moon stalking and an interview with Blast Furnace

So many things have been going on lately. Namely, this new blog/website. Dig my digs? It’s been so exciting to create this space (including my logo). I don’t know what I’d do without Shane. It’s a work in-progress, of course, but so am I. And who doesn’t love to piss around with WordPress.org and impossible code?

Speaking of impossible… can you believe it’s October? I’m obsessed with fall. We know this. And now I’ve gotten my grubby mitts on heavenly pumpkiny candles, so I’m even more in the spirit. Isn’t it amazing how just the smell of something affect you. I swear my heart is tied to my nose! Do you feel that way? Any smells in particular? Tell me I’m not alone.

Then there’s the moon. If I can manage to hang in there until 5:15 a.m., I’ll be stalking the blood moon. It’s quite an event—one I have yet to truly experience. Damn Greensburg and it’s cloud shield. Still, I have to try. Look how amazing this looks!

As seen outside of Tokyo, NASA
As seen outside of Tokyo, NASA

And then there’s good ol’ Becky Clever. I’m not sure why she’d want to interview me, but she and I got coffee and pretty much spilled our guts all over a Crazy Mocha. She heads up Blast Furnace, an indie literary publisher, but also an amazing destination on the interwebs for literary fill and awesome interviews. It was an honor.

Check out the interview here.

Well, I better get a quick snooze in to wake for this spacial spectacle.

Post-holiday meditation

The holidays are over. It’s officially 2014. I know I said it last time this season rolled around, but I’m so ready for a reprieve from the bullshit. Was 2013 been good for anyone?

It sucks because there were so many good things and good people and good, good adventures to come in 2013, but it seems it was overshadowed by the worst: loss. I’ve abstained from writing about D, because I’m sure it is old news. But I miss her. And 2014 hit me like a bag of potatoes, square in the gut.

And then there’s gram.

It is harder to watch those you love grieve than to actually grieve yourself, I think. This Christmas we spent at my uncle’s—something new entirely. But it was ok. I mean, as ok as it could be for my family who desperately missed their matriarch.

On a bright note, I made many gifts this year. It wasn’t as stressful as I thought it would be. I took my time and I really planned it out. Block printing is a new love of mine. I made this guy for my mom. I painted that frame too! (: I hope to get better at it… it’s just so-so. But boy how fun is it! Abbie and I both have gotten into it.

I know you’re waiting for my resolutions. Every year I railst on about all the things I want to change, how I want to be stronger, etc. Boy, do I have some resolutions. Everyone should, right? I think you have to keep growing, keep trying to grow. So by the time you’re 80… you can be awesome. HAHA. I mean. (;

I did make a little doodle, but I have a real list to come. We’re going to save that for another post. I still have some mad reflecting to do.

What are your resolutions? Have you reflected on the year?

Soon, kiddies. mt

Triumphs and wrecking into walls

Ugh. I’m ok. Everyone is all right.

Life continues to test me… Maybe? If I were religious, I’d fall back on the solace:

“God doesn’t give you what you can’t handle.”

A friend said this once, and though, I don’t subscribe, it stuck. I’d like to believe it. Hell, I’d like to believe there is nothing I can’t handle. And after this year (the past two years, really), I’m thinking something otherworldly is going on. Or I’m being Punk’d. And Ashton Kutcher is about to pop up at any moment to apologize and laugh. We can all laugh. I’m already laughing…

So last Wednesday (Abbie’s birthday, by the way) whilst parking, I rammed my car into someone’s retaining wall. Up over a sidewalk, bending my wheel and flattening my tire, then SMACK…er CRUNCH. Like I said, everyone is ok; it’s being handled. Still, the money and the nuisance of it are enough to have me thinking I’ve got some kind of curse going on. Abbie tells me 25 and 27 are transitional years and planets are shifting and rocking their orbits. Something. I don’t know. I’m now 28.  The jig is up, Universe.

But along with the grief and the loss and the changes and the confusion and the theft (yes, there was some credit theft thrown in there too)… there have been good things. Great things even.

This weekend was my art show at The Headkeeper in Greensburg. I’m always so humbled by the turnout—the friends and acquaintances from every part of my life coming together for me and my paintings. I find that after two shows, this one being my second, there is no greater feeling than that type of appreciation. Who knew people would come to like my scribbles?

I’m lucky.

That’s what everyone wants to hear. And they are right. I am. It’s not that I don’t appreciate it all, because I do, but all of my good fortune seems to be overshadowed by (or at least in battle with) some really grey clouds.

I come here to bitch. I come here to ask WHY of the world. Who knows. I’m blogging today, you know, and I’m reminded to look up this “Job” character from the Bible. Kelly keeps telling me to read about him. I did. I don’t know… I mean, we know how I feel about religion. But I like the gist—I like what it’s telling us, according to some author trying to analyze:

If the Book of Job reaches across two and a half millennia to teach anything to men and women who consider themselves normal, decent human beings, it is this: Human beings are sure to wander in ignorance and to fall into error, and it is better — more righteous in the eyes of God — for them to react by questioning rather than accepting. Confronted with inexplicable injustice, it is better to be irate than resigned.

William SafireThe First Dissident[3]


Irate! iRate? iResign?

Listen, everything is going to be fine. I keep saying it. I keep saying it to tell myself. Assure.

On another note, I finally got my moon phase tattoo… on D’s birthday. She hated tattoos. She hated the idea of my inking myself; however, she grew to love my paper plane after some time. And since she always said I was the moon… I think it’s ok to have something that reminds me. That I am. I didn’t get it solely for her or because of her, but I got it FINALLY after over a year of loving on it.

I’m phasing. I swear… this has to turn out on its upside, yeah?

Be good,
mt

Art-drunk & Inspired: Local artist Gabe Felice makes memories at Headkeeper

Last eve, at Headkeeper in Greensburg, Gabe Felice had his gallery opening. Sweetness! This kid has it going on as an artist, man. No joke. Sometimes I wonder if he’s been peeking in at my brain and painting it. His art is bold, intricate and nearly intoxicating: lines, colors and distinct faces that peek at you from everywhere. Go Gabe!

Along with the surreal nature of Gabe‘s abstract musings, the night seemed just as fantastical with an interesting mash-up of banjo and electric guitar—that you couldn’t take your eyes from—and a man giving free tarot card readings.

Cuban-inspired pizza with diced pickles! Swoon-worthy!

Headkeeper, located in downtown Greensburg, PA, is a local tapas bar with a tasty, ever-changing gourmet menu and a wall of over 600 kinds of beer, both imports and domestics. I won’t lie, the wall of beer is what had me hooked since the dawn of its inception. Hey, I like options: buffets, a plethora of Pandora radio stations, t-shirts in every color, a draw spilling over with pens. It’s true!

Since its inception, this dreamy hangout with its industrial decor, colorful culinary creations and all-around sweet vibe has really given Greensburg a shove in the right direction. To think, just a few years ago, my friends and I were stopping by the same locale [the adjacent six-pack shop] to pick up 40’s of Mickey’s. These days, Headkeeper hosts art shows, live entertainment and even beer-tasting events. We really got lucky with this one, fellow Greensburgers.

On a more personal note, one of the highlights of the night for me was getting my cards read.

Image from the Rider-Waite deck.

I’ve read cards since high school, so I mean, I’m no newb to such things. But! To have someone else read them is always much more beneficial. Besides, we all have different energies, right?

I am the moon! Mister tarot reader tells me it’s my “super power.” I’ve been telling my friends this for, like, a year, at least. Even if I’ve got the fire of the sun, Leo, in me, I’m mostly moon. I think Atwood’s poem, “Tricks with Mirrors,” is a great way of highlighting some of the negativity I feel about being “the moon.” 
“Don’t assume it is passive/ or easy, this clarity/ with which I give you yourself.” —Atwood

He made some good points, though: the phases; the fact that the moon is great at observing patterns—a helpful way to learn from the cycles of life and myself. Still, the moon’s secretive otherworldly darkness and ability to reflect the brightness of others is where my real truth lies.

So what?

A little nugget of validation is all. That and lots of “truths” that eve. I suppose that was the most lively Sunday night in a long time: mystical insight, gabs with friends, colorful art staring back at you and a boy beating sounds from a banjo.

mt

Don’t count the stars, she says…

“Everything about you is extreme.”

This is what the tarot-card reader told me a few months back. “No shit, lady,” is what I wanted to say, but instead wore a smug grin, the occasional laugh escaping. I tried to hide my disbelief while I took notes in my book. I wrote everything. Extreme…

So what?

This is a question I’m often jotting in the margins of student papers. It’s so easy to use heavy words, concepts really, without definition: words without the picture-frame-like backs to hold them up. But she was right. Everything. The broad works here.

I feel a chapter ending. I feel… confused. I feel like I don’t have many chapters left to go if I keep burning through them so quickly. One person can only do so much. And I know it in my heart, yet feel I need to be superwoman. Even if I were—cape-clad and toting otherworldly powers—it still wouldn’t be enough.

On Tuesday, I left class and walked to my car alongside a very kind student of mine. She is from a middle eastern country, and so, startled by the bright eye of the moon [as always] I turned to her and asked if there were any myths or stories about the moon in her country.

“Sorry. I’m just sort of preoccupied with the sky a lot.”

She understood and stopped at the top landing of the cement stairs, our unspoken point of departure: “Let me think… no, but there is something with the stars.”

At this point, I may have been drooling. Something about the universe just does it for me. I guess I’m both THAT simple and THAT complex.

“My grandpa always warned me not to count the stars. I don’t know what, but something bad would happen. I always wanted to, but was too afraid to look for too long.”

After some later goose-chase online, I found what I was looking for: http://rosmee.wordpress.com/2009/09/02/count-the-stars-dhofar-sinkhole-shihait/

One blogger had an answer. While it is a fantastical folktale or not, I gleaned my own truth. What is the moral? What am I to learn? [The exact topic I’ve been lecturing about in class: the folktale.]

With no idea of it, this student gave me my own lesson. It wasn’t anything she said, but everything I knew that she didn’t need to say. I’d been stargazing too long. Wrapped up in my own head, striving for my own definition of “success”—essentially the unattainable. Time to come down to earth, lady.

It’s time.
mt

Lights out on Greensburg: “Weirdo”

It’s not every day, or any day actually, that this girl goes to the bar. Um… The “Errybody-Let’s-Get-Fucked-Up” gene must’ve skipped this pool. Trust me. I’ve got enough bad habits. I enjoy being social and gabbing and laughing and getting rowdy; it’s just… I prefer it over a latte. Besides a drunk chicken gets herself into a lot of unsavory situations: reckless flirting, a false sense of invincibility, vomiting and [often by the end of the night] end-of-the-world weeping. And for the love of Titan, keep me away from my phone.

All this said, I decided it was time to shelf my need for productivity and join some friends at a bar downtown. My new pad allows me the ability to walk and so I thought I’d stroll down. A lot farther than I figured, but I’m happy for that little feature on my iPhone’s map app that allows one to route by foot.

So as I’m making the turn off of Main Street and toward Harry’s, an ambulance whizzes by and I make my decent into… complete and utter darkness? No street lamps. No neon bar signs. Even the stoplight is blacked out, hanging from its rope like three dark eyes glaring an omen. I stopped in the sidewalk and waited. Listened. From the unlit guts of another local bar came an outpouring of stumbling 30- somethings.

I hesitated in midst of all this, of course, but ambled down the hill towards Harry’s anyway. What the hell. It was definitely more exciting than what I’d been doing previously. When I got there, a few loud drunkards were rolling out the door, beer-in-hand, apparently just as excited. But guess what?! There was light inside the joint!

It was my first time at Harry’s and I must say, probably one of the most memorable bar experiences. Maybe it was because I decided NOT to drink after all [sooooo lame, I know.] But I really believe it was the setting: the bar lined with tiny candles, the shadows of people laughing an harassing one another, the group of new and old friends that I hadn’t seen for quite a while, and even my own thing I had going on—doodling by a wee flame, taking it all in.

The owner, in his attempt to razz just about every warm body at the bar, came over a few times to shine his flashlight on my doodle, snatch it from me and then proceed to show it off to everyone at the bar. But, at some point, this sweet, somewhat gruff gesture was followed by a “Damn, weirdo drawing pictures at the bar,” at which I cringed and got a little blue for a moment. But then smiled because I knew he was just being a jackass, but also because I was having fun and I didn’t give a shit, you know?

I’ll be the first to admit that I’m strange, and sometimes it makes me feel 900x more alone. But most times it’s ok. And I realize the best strange is being strange with strangers. Ha. Make sense? Maybe it doesn’t. But I had a good night, even if the power never came back on. Probably because of it.

mt

Flavor Drop Update.

Some news. First of all, remember those Capella Flavor Drops that I blogged about a few weeks ago? Utter shit. While two of the five flavors I purchased, at least, have some flavor, the others are total duds. Unless you plan on putting like 10x the amount of drops recommended; in which case, maybe you should just poor acid on your tongue, too. The chemical-y taste is a bit too much to bear.

And to top it off, I wrote a pretty nice email to the chaps, just stating what I had found to be true—in a nice way. I didn’t request or demand FREE MERCHZZZ! or my money back. Just wanted to give them my piece. Forkers didn’t even respond. LAME! And before I get off the subject of these horrible little caustic, flavorless drops…

Word of advice: if you get a drop on your finger… DO NOT LICK IT.

Quick replay:

Note: zombie walk, baggy eyes, and the only positive thing about this picture (the coffee!)

And then I realize my order of tasty, sugar-free drops came in the day before! I couldn’t wait! I possibly didn’t sleep at night thinking about them. Kidding.

One of my favorite flavors OF ALL TIME… coconut! (: Perfect summery coffee flavor, no?

Not sure why I thought it was ok to lap up the rogue drop with my tongue, but um… it smelled good, right?

Just don’t do it. It was a combination of rubbing alcohol and tequila… and I’m pretty sure I received chemical burns on my tongue. The end.

A former colleague of mine (oh my god does that sound trite), Jason, runs an online lit mag called decomP. Kudos to him for that, first of all. But yea, he used one of my paintings (“earthbound”) as the monthly cover thang. How cool? Thanks for the pimp action, Jason. (:

Time to get ready for some Independence-style partying. Hope everyone has a great holiday weekend!

xx
mpt

ps: If you didn’t click the “Forkers” link, you may want to do that.
ps2: For you all, I refrained from CASEY ANTHONY bs. The trial has suddenly taken over my life.

Day 2: Desperation (already)

I’m sad to report that I’ve been struggling with the no-sweets deal. In fact, I probably should’ve clarified the No Goodies list before I began… because since Holy Day, I’ve had animal crackers, fruit snacks, and Twizzlers. I know. I mean, these are all things that could be deemed sweets, but I guess I had more of a no-cake-cookies-or-ice-cream thing in mind. I’ve been getting grief from those around me. That’s the thing with abstinence (from anything). It’s not just pressure from yourself you deal with, daily, but the pressure of those around you, prodding and poking like they’ve never tried to give up anything before. This is why I fail over and over again with the smoking crap, among other silly habits (hair-twirling, saying “psyche” after things–I stopped, I swear…etc).

I’m not good with pressure. I’d like to say I’m one of those cats who holds her own under a deadline or habit-breaking, but to the contrary, I crumble like a boneless otter. Bah. To compensate for my lack of “sweets,” I’ve begun gorging on my meals, eating seconds (even thirds). From past posts, we realize this is nothing new. I get in phases where I need to eat until I want to puke. Plus, I think knowing that I can’t do something is making me want to do it. Classic, right?
Due to this whole thing, I’ve been aimlessly making laps through the kitchen with x-ray vision, imagining all the goodies my shelves contain, as if they were going to pop out and jump down my throat. I wish. It’s fine, though. I mean, the only time I really crave chocolate is… who am I kidding? I crave it all the time. Bad, Chicken.
So yesterday, which was Day 2, I thought I had found the loophole. I pretty much thought I was brilliant. Chocolate Mini Wheats.
Teesh, probably feeling cheated by her own chocolate-depravation, caught me “left-handed”–as my coworker’s kid called it one day. Obviously, I made the rules, so I decided right then and there that I was allowed chocolate cereal. The first bites felt a little like heaven. Pathetic.
I refused to stop then. I devoured biscuit after biscuit as she scolded me. I even poured myself a glass of milk. In my defense, it is cereal. And though Teesh wasn’t having it, I just kept screaming the same desperate line over and over:
I guess that’s the end of my tale. Sadly, Teesh and I were at odds for the rest of the night and we ended up tackling each other, then boxing. Boxing. It’s a new hobby in our house. Sort of like Fight Club. That’ll be saved for the next entry.
So long, kids. <3