From Art

Painting feature in The Ekphrastic Review

Purple Night City by Meghan Tutolo

So pumped to hear my mixed media painting, “Purple Night City,” has landed in The Ekphrastic Review alongside this dope poem by Mark Ward: “College Roommate”

I’m always looking for ways to combine my words and art, so this was inspiring. And honor!

I always refer to my cities as other worlds and they do feel that way to me… perhaps I just haven’t tapped into the words part of that yet. (:

Have you ever written anything inspired by art? It’s a great exercise… I’m thinking about hitting up a museum soon to get some inspiration.

mt

2019, the year of the blog

376 W - Wilkinsburg Exit Meghan Tutolo

Ok, I doubt it. Let’s be real here… I’m always saying I’ll blog more. But what if I really did?

I have this website with my name, an active calendar, a bio in need of an update… and this years-long confessional dating back to when I was still complaining about post-grad life—as if! Why wouldn’t I blog more? Hell, if you know me on social media, you know I’m about as likely to overshare as a Gushers fruit snack—let’s just say I’m an open book. Long-term, I have always wished for a way to tie my writing world into my art world more seamlessly.

I am totally at a spot where I need to decide what my next direction is. Since I love lists, let’s make a damn list about why I’m hesitant to incorporate more of my blog into my art life (or vice versa):

1. I’m not a billboard. The last thing I want to happen is for y’all to think I’m just trying to sell my shit. What if you don’t take me seriously anymore? Of course it’s a way to talk about all the creative things I’m getting into, but I don’t want to become some slick-talking car salesperson.

2. Can I still be a human? I doubt it’s in good taste to be REAL TALK in a space where I’m also linking to my sticker collection on Etsy, you know? I just don’t play phony. How can I be real and be a brand or a business? The truth is I don’t have time to be me and then be some brand. I am my brand. But somehow, I know this will only make things more difficult for me and probably halt progress on the business front. I mean, not everyone who is interested in Pittsburgh souvenirs is going to care about my seasonal depression.

3. What the hell is she, anyway? I do too many things. I’m active in the art community and the writing community. I started the REWIND Reading Series, which I’m super pumped about. I like to take photos with my old instant cameras. Scooting/motorcycling is one of my favorite pastimes. I’m trying to learn stained glass work here soon. I’m obsessed with my smooshy faced cats. And you know, I don’t like to censor my politics, brainstorming about how to do more with art as activism. A blog can either bring all these things together in one spot or confuse the f out of someone.

What do you think? Has anyone else gone through something similar? How do you move through stuck times? Pray? Flip a coin? Pull petals off a flower?

Halp!

“Buy Some Happiness” – Sweet Pittsburgh Sticker Feature in City Paper

laptopweb.jpg

 

Two days ago late, late at night (like morning, of course), I happened to be on the internet Googling and doing a little research on my products. As I Googled, I came up with this City Paper article for back to school season, pimping out my PGH Fun sticker! Get out of town! More than my Pittsburgh vinyl sticker and a shoutout to my shop,  the article The City Paper curated stickers from a bunch of dope local Pittsburgh artists and makers. How cool is that?

Emily McGaughey’s Pierogi Dude, Yeah Yehlsa’s Go Away Heart, Zenspire’s Zentangle Pizza and Commonwealth Press’s Parking Chair... and more.

If you haven’t been tempted by the links above (already), please go back and hit them up. These cool Pittsburgh-based businesses/artists and those like them are what make this city tick. So make sure you add them to your bookmarks for the upcoming holiday season. They make excellent stocking stuffers and sweet surprises in your holiday greeting cards.

Cool Pittsburgh Sticker "PGH" Design by 1flychicken creations

JUST WHAT does one do with so many cool stickers, anyhow? Vinyl, weatherproof decals are perfect for laptops, water bottles, helmets, car bumpers, guitar cases, notebooks… just about anything you can stick ’em too.

I just ordered a boat load of new stickers and the beginning of a new project, so watch out for those. And thank you to Lisa Cunningham of Pittsburgh City Paper for the feature.

!!!

mt

Sweet-and-sassy Mother’s Day Cards

Funny, floral printable Mother's Day cards // by 1flychicken creations

Save the sweetness for dessert and give mom something better… laughter!

If you know me at all, you know I’m super obsessed with making cards. Besides painting, it sort of all started with card making. I love shopping for the perfect gift (and sometimes making the perfect gift), but I LOVE sending mail. I used to almost always make every one of my cards by hand. Just ask my pen pals! I still make them, but these days, I’m really focused on growing my collection of 1flychicken creations printable greeting cards so that everyone can pass on the fun!

This week, I’ve added three new printable Mother’s Day cards to the shop. They are super sassy and all with their own unique flower illustration. Inspired by fun and funky retro colors and a modern color block style, I drew these flower designs to be a pretty contrast to the jokes on the front. Sass comes naturally for me… especially when I grew up watching a lot of Golden Girls, you know?

Hope you love these as much as I loved making them.

Local in Pittsburgh? Hit me up for a printed version and stop by my 1FLY YART SALE this weekend!

CLICK on each to visit its Etsy listing:

Card #1: Thanks, mom.
Card #2: Not Shady Pines, ma.
Card #3: A little sibling rivalry never hurt anyone…

Funny, floral printable Mother's Day card // by 1flychicken creations
Funny, floral printable Mother's Day card // by 1flychicken creations
Funny, floral printable Mother's Day card // by 1flychicken creations

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