Tagged art

3 big things

Moto views in Pittsburgh // photo by Meghan Tutolo

Had my younger self caught wind of all the big things going on in my life right now, she never would have believed it.

My preteen self would be awfully disappointed about the way things shook out. I am not a famous Broadway star. I have not had any plastic surgery. I do not own a swimming pool with a huge deep-end nor an Icee machine of just red and blue. Most years, I miss out on going to Kennywood (even though I now live within a few miles of the joint). I have not tried to find out where any of my celebrity idols live and casually run into them at local bars and restaurants. What a waste of adulthood!

Really, though, I’m not talking about this self. She was a baby and kind of out-of-touch with reality, no? I’m talking about the younger adult me… even who I was 7 years ago wouldn’t have fallen for this shit.

Every once in a while, I have these moments where I can see myself so clearly—objectively almost—as an outsider would. More aptly explained: it’s like I am the observer seeing someone else entirely. I’m not sure if this is common or normal or anything, but it isn’t something I do on purpose. It’s like my brain is thrust just out of frame. (Dissociate, much?) As weird as it can be, it’s been a useful tool, like superhero-strength awareness.

Anyway, this happened the other day after I parked my wheels, as I was taking in the events of the day, taking inventory of the worries and thoughts circling upstairs.

Holy shit. Who am I? None of these things sound like the me I knew.

I have to admit I got a little panicky. I mean, if this isn’t who I thought I’d be and what I thought I’d be doing… is this actually what I want? As I write this here, I’m realizing just how melodramatic this all sounds. Ha! But you have to understand, I live my life at a pretty fast pace. At the beginning of our relationship, A used to laugh astonished at “how many days we had” that day. She caught her first glimpses of how much goes on in a day when you spend it with me.

Because I live this way, it seems more likely that I might wake up one day like “OMG, WHERE AM I? HOW DID I GET HERE?” That shit is terrifying.

Exhibit A. Motorcycle

Black Suzuki TU250x 2019 // Photo by Meghan Tutolo

Yeah, you heard it here, folks. The “chicken” is rolling around on two wheels. As of recently, I have graduated from the scooter—which was already a mind fuck, to be honest—to a motorcycle. I never ever ever ever wanted to ride on one, let alone own one. I thought it foolish and frightening. I mean, why would anyone put themselves in danger like that? And unnecessarily so? I know now.

Exhibit B. Stained Glass

Round panel stained glass creation in the studio // photo by Meghan Tutolo of 1flychicken creations

It’s not that stained glass isn’t beautiful. I’ve always found it fascinating. I got a taste for it in 11th or 12th grade, when I went with the Art Club to a local stained glass studio to learn how and to make a suncatcher.

But let’s be real: I can barely wash the dishes without cutting myself. Glass? Lead? A 600˚F soldering iron? Get out of town.

I know there are more dangerous arts and crafts, but this one is certainly up there for the likes of me. Besides it being risky to the digits, creating stained glass takes some serious time, practice, money, attention span, etc. But here I am and I’m loving it. I started producing it for 1flychicken creations and selling my suncatchers at art events and online.

And the coolest part about it is that people seem to be digging it as much as I dig making it. I am so excited about it. It’s bananas.

Exhibit C. House?

Instant film, new home in Pittsburgh // photo by Meghan Tutolo

No way. I still can’t believe it. I have flat-out told people—even just months ago—that I would never buy a house. I don’t even watch HGTV. Nope. Hell no. And don’t you even try to talk me into it.

Why was I never into the idea of buying a house? BECAUSE. I. CANNOT. BE. FEELIN. TRAPPED. IN. ANY. WAY. More debt? Unforeseen issues I may have to shell out for? There are so many reasons to be absolutely terrified of owning a home. I am not rich. How do people do this?

But would you look at the damn thing? It’s incredible. We fell in love instantly. It’s just as charming on the inside, if not moreso. It’s perfect in so many ways, not just because it’s so quirky and fun looking… but I’ll stop here, because this could easily become a tribute to my new digs.

So listen. Besides the threat of losing the house in some way or having to sink a ton of money into it, my worst fear is becoming on of those people, the middle-aged, handy home-improvement types. You know who they are. They always have a project going on, always in the home improvement stores and aisles, always wanting to talk about what they’re doing to their house like anyone cares.

Likewise—and these folks fall into the same category as the people whose lives are dictated by their dogs’ bathroom routines (sorry!)—I just refuse to spend so much time on the house that I never leave to have a life/socialize. You know the type? If you’re not sure, just ask them what they’re up to this weekend. These hermits are likely to respond in one of the following ways:

“Welp, I’ve got to stain the deck this weekend.”

“I’m probably going to re-grout the tile in the bathroom.”

“I’ve got some plans to sand, stain and refinish the kitchen cabinets.”

Nooooo! That sounds awful and boring and isolating. I don’t want to miss out on life because I’m too busy working on my house. That’s exactly what I don’t want to do. But I know me. I know that I take care of things, that I like to learn new practical skills, that when I put my guts into something, I go all the way… please don’t let me become a home improvement hermit? I’m counting on you.

Are you a home improvement hermit? How do you manage your time? Do you hire out for your maintenance work?

Gulp.

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

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

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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

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).

Repeating remainder

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Damn.

Maybe it was after Robin Williams’s death that this truth really smacked me. More likely his death was a reprisal of some other thing. I’m sure the initial feeling announced itself one of the many times D was praising my art or my writing that I came to this epiphany. Prior to her, praise was in the form of penned stars, circled descriptions and meetings with professors and advisors. I mean, a few close friends of mine(who were into such things) definitely enjoyed my work on occasion. But they were friends, they were writers or painters… it was in their realm of understanding. Besides, I dated a science major who “hated poetry”—or so she told me one night after a reading. Clearly that didn’t work out.

So I guess this truth unraveled itself when I was near someone who didn’t have that much stake in me. A visitor into my world, my worlds, whatever realms those art people live in. I never knew that a compliment could hurt.

Let me explain before things get silly. Some of the deepest pain I’ve felt came during those years… 2012-13. The end of the world. I was discovering all of these parts of myself, bleeding inside a lot. I was pretty messy. Anyhow, this was also a tremendously prolific time in my world as far as writing and art went. And so every time she grinned at my paintings or poked around in my poetry, it felt like she had an eye on my insides.

“It’s like excrement, though,” I told her.

“What?”

I explained that the process was pain, that it was like a black hole at my center. And maybe the stuff that came out was pretty. (Quasar talk again.) But what went into it wasn’t.

“I don’t care. I still like it,” she’d say.

She didn’t get it, of course. Or maybe she didn’t want to. It would ruin the thing—words or acrylic—and who would want to tarnish something so visual, tangible, aesthetically pleasing?

It’s just been on my mind. Sometimes it’s hard to see my work, have people praise it—especially writing. Because what went into creating it was hard and almost (I wonder) not worth it? At the same time, someone praising you, believing in you, supporting you… that makes it worth it, makes you keep going. It’s like some strange kind of solace and they don’t even know it’s happening. I don’t know what kind of monster that makes me.

Artists and their repeating remainders: what doesn’t fit neatly, all these pieces and parts of ourselves… we keep going, keep creating. That’s how we hold it together.

mt

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.

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

To the moon. One shot.

The poem-a-day gig is leaving its indent on my days. In fact, I spend much of my time determining a suitable time slot for versing it up. Sunday: between grabbing dinner and visiting with a friend [Walking Dead time]—I pulled into a Baptist church lot to pull a poem from me. Felt odd. Sadly it didn’t end there. I spent another hour later trying to hone it in, just touching noses with the midnight “deadline.”

Alas, a poem is born. I’ll share one soon. The prompts have been pretty accessible. I’m sure something, at least, will come of it. (:

I thought, in spirit of my doodle madness, I’d share some squiggles with you all. And namely, there is this master toy-maker (aka A-Fred) to whom I’ve been promising a post!

Not much on this gadget, but…

<3
mt