22 Jan

#shoutoutrevolution – Phantom Art Drop

Phantom Art Drop is a beautiful project akin to the Random Acts of Kindness movement.  Rather than dropping notes and acts of kindness, Phantom goes a whole leap further and drops her/his beautiful artwork in a public place with an accompanying handwritten note attached.

The project tickles my soul, and as soon as it stops raining so damned much I am going to join in.  Part of my fear of involvement is a fear that someone will trash my hard work, either binning it or otherwise vandalising it.  It takes a brave soul and a leap of faith to transcend this.

The Phantom Artist’s concept is beautiful, spiritual and heart blossoming.

So, I asked a few questions:

Who are you?  I’m a hopeless idealist. An anonymous artist who believes that through art we can learn to care for each other more. Strengthen the bonds of community and recognize the need for kindness without the want of fanfare.

Where can I find you?  I’m found in the Caribbean. I live a life of sand, sea and sun. In a way it influences my art. The people and the island life, it’s all apart of me and who I am.

On the web:

https://www.instagram.com/phantomartdrop/

https://www.facebook.com/fantomuartdrop/

What made you come up with your unique idea?  I can’t attest to the novelty of the idea but the reason behind it stems from the need to truly make a connection with someone. To reach out and provide both solace and inspiration.

How I’ve chosen to do it simply happened as a result of my skill set. Honestly the ‘what’ and ‘how’ could have been anything so long as the ‘why’ was satisfied.

So the art and the handwritten letters were my means of doing that. And that’s really the point. For each to take what they have as a gift or talent and give that freely to another in an effort to touch their life positively.

How can I join in?  I encourage any and everyone to take up this cause for kindness. I think we live in a time where it’s desperately needed. Love has become so conditional. Favor and kindness are typically only served if reciprocated with attention and adulation.

This is why I remain anonymous. It’s not about who does it but rather; simply; that it’s done for its sake and nothing more. So to join, do a kind thing for someone for no other reason than to see them smile. Using whatever God has given you. The Phantom Art Drop project is a notion of selflessness and giving… One that I hope we all can embody in our own way.

Note- creatives try leaving a random gift out in the open for anyone to receive. I promise it’ll give you a fresh perspective on life. 😊

Can you recommend and amazing art book?  Oh wow hmmm, I quite like ‘ The story of art‘ by E. H Gombrich (link a. It outlines how art developed alongside the people it was made for and how it helps shape and transforms civilizations. It forces one to consider just how influential and important art is or can be.

I love the style of the Phantom Artist, what do you think?

02 Jan

#shoutoutrevolution – Kathy Grillo Design

Happy New Year!

What better time to start on new voyages than the beginning of January.  Last was fairly traumatic (see previous posts) and when I have had life difficulties in the past I’ve always found that instead of getting angry and bitter, if I do random acts of kindness, I get back to the positives much more quickly.

Kathy Grillo is an a artist that I’ve been following on Instagram for a few months now and she dedicates her valuable time to supporting other artists.  I loved this idea so have just joined her #shoutout revolution and will dedicate blog posts here to finding out a bit more about some of the artists that I follow and giving them a little shoutout of my own, right here

So, who is Kathy?

Kathy Hartwig Grillo is a digital artist and illustrator from Michigan specializing  in custom pet portraits.  Working from several photos she paints portraits with attention to detail.

She is very active in the social media art community and can be found on several platforms sharing her Art and doing Live Art Broadcasts

Where can I find her?

Www.facebook.com/kathygrillodesign
Www.twitter.com/kathygrilloart.
Www.instagram.com/kathygrillodesign.
https://www.pscp.tv/kathygrilloart/follow
https://www.youtube.com/user/msryllo


I asked her what gave her the idea to help and encourage other artists?

Recently returning to creating after a 20 year hiatus I have discovered the amazing social media community. Social media is a game changer for creative people as it gives us a platform to share our Art with the world.  As much as I do share and put myself and my art in front of the people I do remember how scary it was when I first decided to do so.

Maybe it is because I am a mother that I found myself naturally reaching out to support those that were bravely showing that creative side.  I quickly learned you get what you give and welcomed answering questions and giving tips, passing along things I have learned along the way.

Then I started getting the solicitations from places offering followers and features for the small price of……..  These companies taking advantage of people who just want to gain an audience and have exposure really ticked me off. So I decided last year to dedicate myself to sharing and feature one artist every day of the year on Instagram. This has naturally  flowed over to other social  media and I have been blessed with some amazing friendships, opportunities like this, and connections around the world.”

It costs me nothing more than a few minutes a day to share wonderful art that will hopefully encourage that artist and also introduce others to the art that is being made.

Finally, can you recommend an amazing art book?

I am reading one right now that is neat.  I just bought it at the Museum book sale.  It’s all about artists, musicians and writers when they were young and just starting out.

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 Here is a selection of her amazing art:

15 Aug

ShoeTattoos – custom your life

If you are here looking for ShoeDoodles, do not worry – we have just had a little makeover, and hope that you like it.
Shoe Tattoos logo

 

Don’t blend in, stand out! Blaze a trail for others to follow in your new hand painted, custom designed footwear and apparel.  Be sure that nobody else is going to be wearing the same outfit as you, by asking ShoeTattoos to work her magic on your favourite trainers, boots, jacket or bag.  No job is too big or too weird. We like weird, here! But we are rather fond of your furry friends. Pets are good 🙂

We can upcycle your trusty denim jacket or make a pair of leather boots look spectacular.  Have a wedding or special anniversary coming up? Let us save your feet by customising a pair of Converse or Vans to dance the night away in.  Just like to be original? Let the Queen of Shoe Tattoos (awarded by The Royal Connection on October 2017) know your ideas and she will wave her magic brush and make it happen.

Check out what her delighted customers have to say on Facebook and Etsy.Queen of Shoe Tattoos

Want to see what she does? Look upwards and click the Facebook or the Instagram icon, which will whisk you away to her latest projects and inspirations.  Check the Facebook albums, which are categorised for ease of viewing.  A short portfolio is available by clicking the Portfolio tab above.

The FAQ’s above are well worth a read because they contain all the common questions that get asked :p There’s no such thing as a stupid question.

Order directly via Facebook chat, or the order now tab above.  Or order via Etsy, on which platform you can request a custom order or grab one of her one-off hand painted denim jackets.

Keep scrollin’ if you want the Blog…..

03 Aug

Easy ways to enhance your footwear

ShoeDoodles can paint your shoes any which way you’d like.  But have you thought about replacing your bog standard laces with something a bit more feminine?

These Doc Martins looked pretty good once I had finished them.Pop art poppy shoesBut once Satinribbon shoelaces added the final touches, they looked spectacular.

poppy shoes with satin shoelacesI’ve added such laces to several of my projects now and I particularly love the dual colour ones.

Double satin laces on mehndi converseWhen I first saw the laces I was concerned about snagging and wear and tear but I can honestly say that they still all look as good as new.

I really appreciate every sale I get and it helps to make our lives so much easier, as well as the joy I feel when I create something beautiful. Satin ribbon shoelaces is one of my valued customers – we met when I bought some laces from her and she is so helpful.

If you have bought from me and would like me to feature your business, get in touch.

Here are a few more pictures to inspire your lace choices:

 

23 Apr

DresdecO – apparel meets art

If you’ve not already heard of the outstanding indie brand DresdecO you really need to go and have a look. I adore the Lady DresdecO lines, in particular the Couture Shoe Illustration lines.

So it was an honour to collaborate with this great illustrator and innovator and find that his tag line where Apparel meets Art was a perfect fit with my own customised wearable art.

ShoeDoodles only wears what she can be active in, her life and art compliment and reflect each other.  DresdecO promotes movement and the fusion of art and life.

Find DresdecO on facebook, instagram & twitter.

12 Apr

We all love EWE – the breathtaking wedding show

Whoever invented the name Eclectic Wedding Extravaganza is a marketing genius.  Killer name, and it turned out to be an even more spectacular event than I could have imagined.  Over two days my pile of cards and flyers (don’t get me started on the non arrival of my fliers from the printers!) got seriously depleted and I basked in the love of the amazing people visiting my stall.

I was bricking it a little, being a newcomer to the business and a first timer at the wedding fair game.  I’d also had three weeks notice, to invent a reasonable looking stall layout and add some wedding-related shoes to take along.  I needn’t have worried beause the organisers – despite looking a bit over worked – had planned the show with such extreme awesomeness that from my point of view everything ran like clockwork.

Every single exhibitor was amazing, kind, friendly and sold the most incredible stuff you have ever seen! You’d be doing yourself a great favour if you had a look at any category from the show ( exhibitor list here) that you’re interested in – every single product that I saw was original, perfect and insanely desirable.

Every visitor was happy and chatty and I overheard some amazing comments about how EWE is the only wedding show worth going to, and how it is absolutely the best in the whole of the universe since the beginning of time. Or words to that effect.

My most perfect and massive thanks go to Jo, Sassy and Yasmin.  You inspirational, creative and vibrant trio have lifted me from my doldrums and given me hope that I can make ShoeDoodles work for me and Malachi.  I felt so at home amongst the other people there, I was not the only wierdo with funny coloured hair intent on pursuing her dream to make the world a more colourful place.  I’ve got a little tear coming up now.  Sniffle.  Anyway, ladies, you know, thank you. I feel all sheep-ish now *laughing emoticon with tears*.

Here’s some of the great pictures that Jay Emme took of my little part of the spectacular Eclectic Wedding Extragavanza and a selection of Wedding Shoe ideas.

UPDATE: check out the official EWE blog piece here .

27 Mar

There are no rainbows without rain…

And next weekend will be so full of sparkly unicorn glitter rainbows it’s untrue.  You wonder of what am I rambling about?  I am a very proud exhibitor at The Eclectic Wedding Extavaganza in Birmingham.

You might have been under the impression from my previous posts that life in the Doodles has become a bit grim but it’s not altogether so.  How can I ever be sad for long with my freaking amazing son, a job that makes people happy and an amazing handful of incredible friends?

I started ShoeDoodles to take my mind off challenging stuff, and preparation for EWE has had me so busy I appear to have regained my spark again. Yay to the little cute sheep!  I’m always happy when my brushes are damp and my living room looks like a studio.  It’s even had FunnyFunkyDoodles reaching for some paper and creating his own work.  We collaborated to upcycle a denim jacket of his – what do you think?

You can see it in person on the 1st and 2nd of April.

Cute, but fierce jacket

20 Feb

The Yin and Yang of life

Recently I have studied a little about the Tao Te Ching, just out of interest, and then had the most perfect example of Tajitu (yin/yang) happen in my own life, as if to prove the wisdom of the ancient Taoist text.

When people see things as beautiful,
ugliness is created.
When people see things as good,
evil is created.

Being and non-being produce each other.
Difficult and easy complement each other.
Long and short define each other.
High and low oppose each other.
Fore and aft follow each other.

I’m not sure if this post is about Tajitu, or the evil of the English government, or the goodness of people.  I will let you decide.

It’s fairly well known in the UK that our current government has been successful in it’s campaign in conjunction with the mainstream media to demonise the poor and divide society so that it can dismantle the welfare state that Harry Leslie Smith and his generation of people fought and died for.  The current Conservative government  promised to not cut Working Tax Credits but in reality have done so by freezing the amounts that working families receive so that they fall in relation to inflation.  In  2014 rules were introduced to rule out people who were claiming that their hobbies were a business and then receiving Working Tax credits.  The criteria in brief was that the business must be HMRC registered and carried out with the aim of making a profit.

ShoeDoodles started in 2015.  Previously to this date, I worked as a blogger and web designer and had a limited company but a stalker tracked me down using this information and forced me to close the business.  I had painted a few pairs of shoes for friends to say thank you for help and support and somebody suggested I set up an Etsy shop, because my work was good.  So I did, and to my surprise I got some orders, and some more orders and here I am today, with many happy customers, all over the world and my painting is better than ever.

The income is variable and I have not found a way to predict when the next sale is coming through.  I use Etsy, Facebook, BigCartel, Twitter and Instagram and have only recently started blogging again after the horrific on and offline stalking campaign which resulted in the stalker being put into prison, but that hasn’t stopped him.  I am still being watched, and it is still traumatic.

I was, up until four weeks ago – and like pretty much every working parent I know in the UK – receiving  Tax credits to top up my low income.  Then they stopped.  No letter, no reason.  One week I had money to pay bills with and feed my son, the next week, with no warning, it was gone.  After a morning on the telephone I discovered that I had been overpaid and they had stopped my entire regular income to pay themselves back.  No figures were given to me, no criteria, no in-depth explanation about where I had gone wrong and what I had done to deserve this brutal removal of my financial lifeline.

As a survivor of domestic abuse  I was further abused for six years via the family courts, and during this time, also stalked, constantly online and offline too, with numerous breaches of non molestation and restraining orders.  I have PTSD and chronic anxiety from this that had just started to vanish after a year of relative peace and self care.  The savage and incomprehensible removal of my Tax Credits immediately triggered my PTSD, reminded me of when I lost my job and went hungry while I was pregnant, and I am still down that difficult hole right now.

Just as I thought I had managed to begin to make a secure and stable life for my son at last, the government swept it away from under my feet with no comprehensible explanation.  I can only guess – because nobody can tell me – that ShoeDoodles has been misrepresented as a hobby in the minds of one or two civil servants who have little business knowledge and the power to destroy lives at the click of a button.

My creative spark was wiped out immediately as I fought to convince a stranger that my intentions were not to mess around with shoes as a hobby but to build a sustainable business that my son and I could run together for the rest of our lives.  I certainly would not put this much effort into a hobby!  In the past, web design was my hobby.  I went to university and ended up doing an MSc in Computing because f this “hobby”.  I have taught e-commerce and BTec Business.  I am still learning now, I have t be because the online world is constantly evolving.  I have now done all that I can do, and I can only sit here and  wait until someone who doesn’t know me or care about me and my amazing son makes the decision to keep us in poverty or restore us some dignity.

But I’m not looking for sympathy, not for me.  I’m a warrior and a survivor and I am using this tale to urge you to help others.  My story is very common – I found out this almost immediate.  Families have been left without money, immediately and with little recourse by civil servants following orders from the cruel British government.  The rise in food bank use tells our stories pretty well and I was lucky to be eligible for a voucher this week and received a very generous gift from them that will keep us from starving for way more than the three days it was intended.

Thank you Trussell Trust and to everyone who donates too.  The British media have done a great job also of demonising food bank users as drug addicts or people who cannot manage their money properly but I can assure you that this is not true.  Nobody I saw looked addicted and I know – and you do too now – that when you live on the breadline,  one click of a key in an office far away can destroy you, one emergency can destroy you.

They are only following orders….In Mein Kampf, Hitler stated “This art is the sick production of crazy people. Pity the people who are no longer able to control this sickness”.  Is my art and online business model misunderstood?  Is England a fascist state? I would like you to consider and question this, and the artificially created divisions that are apparent in the UK in 2017.

In this period of deep dark despair though, rays of sunshine  have broken through the heavy cloying, irritating smog that has filled my body and brain.  My son’s Godmother was the first stroke of luck , offering cash to help her out with some work, so we ate for another week. Vicky, Jo, Paul and my Dad, all helped make sure my direct debits didn’t bounce this month.  Linda sent me a ton of oat milk and other vegan goodies, and I don;t even know her! Aurora, Divita and Patsy all offered invaluable support and advice and pointed me towards places to go so that I can feed myself and my son.  Elaine listened and bought us a meal and took my mind off things that first impossible weekend.  Lowenna offered me space in The Pretty Pigsty.  Mum, who bakes us home fresh bread every week and gives us food treats. I am humbled by the help and generosity of all these people, some of whom are mainly “internet friends” and people who I know are struggling badly themselves.  One, is a complete stranger, only recently off the streets himself.

I’ve also become an ambassador for an amazing food sharing app that connects you with local people – I’ve met some lovely people already and had the good fortune to try home made pickles and home grown squash! It’s amazing!  If you haven’t already, download Olio and help to share food “waste”.

Maybe, I concluded, you have to have experienced true darkness yourself before you can find the light in your heart to help others without judgement or hidden agenda.  Or maybe you are just born with it.  I am blessed to have the ultimate in human kindness in my son (aka Funny Funky Doodles – he can design you a bag or some shoes as well).  At age seven, he emptied his purse and made me take all of his coins.  He told me “I don’t need classes Mum, all I need is love”.  With an angel like this in my life, the light will always be present.

His words are so perfect, I made them into a backpack bag (34*43cm).  This natural cotton bag is an unique one-off item and costs £30 including free waterproofing and UK postage.




all i need is love bag

01 Feb

Love dogs?

Love is in the air, and what better way to how it than to commission a pair of trainers featuring your faithful, loyal, incredible four legged loves?  This pair of Chuck II Converse were to celebrate the love for two dogs close to the owner’s heart, one still here and the other sadly passed.

Why not send me some of your beloved pet’s ashes so that I can mix them up with the paint?  Then I will paint them onto your shoes and they will still be with you whenever you walk.

28 Jan

Vegan shoes

Armed with new knowledge about the detrimental effect of animal agriculture and fishing on our dying planet (plus, I kind of love the animals, all of them and don’t want to be complicit in pain and torture), I decided to join in Veganuary.

Already using vegan paints and brushes, I thought it’d be helpful to find some Vegan shoes to recommend to people.

I wrote to Vans, but they didn’t reply.

Converse sent me a reply:

Dear ShoeDoodles,

Thank you for sending your email to us here at the U.K Converse online store.

At this current time, Converse does not manufacture any Vegan products due to the lack of demand for this particular product. Now this is something that Converse is looking into, and what I can tell you is that Converse is looking into designing an animal free product, although I have no information as to when this will happen.
 Thank you for your understanding, and on behalf of Converse.com, I wish you a fantastic day.

If our team can be of any further assistance, please send an email to HELPME.EUROPE@CONVERSE.COM or call us on +442035142048 (standard rates, prices from mobile may vary). You can reach us from Monday to Friday between 8am – 8pm and Saturdays between 10am – 6pm. See you soon on Converse.com.

Best regards,

Ingo
Customer Service
Converse.com


All is not lost though, because I did find Ethletic, who are an inspirational fairtrade company who produce “good shoes with good karma” and are pretty darned nice people all round.

Toms also do a pretty big Vegan selection as well as giving away one pair of shoes for each one bought for them.

Do you know of any more Vegan footwear brands that would be good for me to paint? I’d love to hear about them, so I can add them to this list.