Finally finished sewing @glossmyeyes design onto my vest it looks rad as heck
Finally finished sewing @glossmyeyes design onto my vest it looks rad as heck
"Crying" inspired drawing for Hunter Valentine.
I heard that people didn’t understand the concept when they see it with the merch stuff. ….But how?
Kiyomi rides the stage monitor
This is me signing my first autograph on the last available poster for Brittany.
Thank you for your kind words about my art. Thank you to your girl friend and best friend for their kind words, too. I hope to see you guys again at another show!
I’m thinking about February of last year.The first time I saw Hunter Valentine (it was their tour with Vanity Theft). It was a rainy night. We even had some hail. Traffic was terrible.
I first remember recognizing Laura, she was taking stuff from the band’s van and bringing it inside. And then Steph pointed out Kiyomi. I remember being so afraid to talk to Kiyomi. I remember getting in line for the Roxy at the right moment when they were outside bringing equipment in. I remember not knowing what to say, or even forgot how to call out her name. I remember squeezing my fists around the plastic bag that covered my two drawings that I wanted to give to them. I remember being anxious the moment she turned around, recognized me and came over to say hi. The crowded line at that moment disappeared. I shoved my drawings forward and said it was for her. Adrienne came out to say hi and introduced herself. Kiyomi asked for a hug after looking at the artwork.
That artwork—that charcoal portrait of her on the guitar that I tweeted to them is what made this all happen. That was when they were looking for new merch designs so I designed the “Revenge” inspired shirt with the naked girl holding out a knife. And it happened.
I remember sitting inside Sushi Boy when I got that tweet on my phone. About how I felt about a black shirt with white ink for my design. Amy and Craig were there with me, and so was all of our delicious sushi. I felt like passing out from excitement.
And there I was, my first time in the Roxy. Wet from the rain. My skin sticky and mad that security wouldn’t let me take my camera in. I looked over to the merch booth that glowed in the darkness. There it was. My first shirt. I screamed. I grabbed Amy and Craig and I screamed. Prior to that, I have seen the shirt on photos from other fans that bought it (that also elicited some internal screaming). Now I finally got the chance to see it myself. I saw Kiyomi again inside, gesturing for me to come over and get my shirt. Amy took a picture of me holding it. I couldn’t control my face—I forgot how to smile. The rest of the night was wonderful, despite the tallest couple standing in front of me.
Then it came to September of last year. The Lady Killer Tour. Infamous Lady Killer Tour. Oh that night. The night of all nights. This time I knew that I had to be front row for the show. I had someone take over my piano schedule for that day so I could guarantee that no tall person would obstruct my view of the stage. I also knew that Tucky was going to come out to LA for that show too, and I had been working on a charcoal portrait of her to give to her. I remember holding the shirt Alaura spray painted for me (LADY KILLER TOUR) and waving it around. I remember seeing Lou and her group of friends climb out of the suburban as the second group to arrive—not knowing we’d be far from strangers in the present. I remember Laura coming up in a taxi cab and talking to her. The rest of the girls came by shortly after that. By now I felt a lot more comfortable around them—and they remembered me (despite the drastic hair change).
Things were a bit different now, but in a way it was still awesome. That was Vero’s first tour with the band—and I really liked her. I was pretty buzzed that night—it was a wonderful line up to see Vanity Theft, Hunter Valentine, and Sick of Sarah all in a row. That was also the first time I saw Life Down Here not knowing that one rainy day would be spent in a random warehouse as an extra for “All That You Are”. I was dressed in my bowtie and suspenders (Dan, the production manager remembers me because of that). At the beginning of Hunter Valentine’s set I held up the “LADY KILLER TOUR” shirt, Kiyomi took it and held it for everybody to see. There’s a video of that somewhere.
After the show, I was taking pictures of Kiyomi and I was showing my lady killer inspired drawings in my sketch book. She asked me when I was going to make a new design. I didn’t know I was able to or else I would have. She then said that I should draw on her and that if it was good enough she’d get it tattooed that night. (I remember that night her sister just got Kiyomi’s name tattooed on her). I had no idea what to draw. I was overwhelmed with emotions because just a few moments before that I had Kiyomi sign my boob.
She started to flip through my sketchbook for ideas and saw a skeleton face that I drew. She pointed at it and said “Draw that on me. No pressure”.
A lot more happened that night, things that I have already talked about, and things I should not talk about. The things that happened backstage, and the things I witnessed from the balcony.
And then a few months ago I was contacted by Kiyomi. The girls were starting to gain some more fame through the season of The Real L Word. It was different for me. It was a new side that I had to get used to. They were getting the Collide and Conquer ready, and that’s when I got another opportunity to design some merch. The skeleton faces were used for shirts, pins, posters and stickers. And then there is another poster, this one was a much more rendered drawing of a girl crying (For their song, “Crying”).
And there I was this Saturday. Waiting outside the Roxy again—excited to see how the shirts and merch turned out. Again, first to be there at the door. This time Lou was with me because we’ve been together for almost a year, and now instead of being far from each other inside, we were going to be right next to each other to enjoy our favorite bands to watch live. But things were different. There was a different ticket—a much more expensive ticket—for a meet and greet. I went from being at the door to all the way back beyond the parking lot. Amy and Craig couldn’t be there with me—so it felt really weird. Lou and Victor were waiting in the will call line for their tickets. I watched the meet and greet line go in. One by one they started coming out. I saw some merch in their hands. I saw my poster with the three skeleton faces. I even saw someone with a shirt. I thought the “Regional Rep” shirt would’ve been more popular, but I guess I was wrong.
Kiyomi comes out, hugs me and talks to me, saying that my name was on the guestlist so I didn’t need a ticket. So she said that I should give my ticket to someone else who needs one because the show is sold out. She also tells me that stuff has been selling out. I started to get nervous—did that mean I wouldn’t get one tonight?
But when I went to the will call line for my ticket, and they were finally letting people in doors… the lady did not find my name. I was greatly confused. Kiyomi and the girls were nowhere to be found, and I was trying to call them—but no answer. It was a bit unbelievable that this was happening. I stood there, on my phone, watching the line push into the Roxy. Why was this happening? We just gave our extra ticket away. I called Lou, who went inside while I waited in the will call line, told her what happened, and she could not believe it either. I tried calling again, but there was no answer.
Magically, Lou came running outside to me. I was confused. She had a ticket in her hand. “Take it! Come on!” I was a bit frozen. Where did it come from? It wasn’t used. Some awesome and kind person had an extra ticket and gave it to us. So I got in. Finally. I was a little upset, but at least I was in. And we still managed a spot in front—though not as optimal for photographs like where I was last time. I got there and a group of people (and Victor) screamed for me. I felt more relieved. But also needed a strong drink.
It was a great show. I met a bunch of wonderful people. We diffused some fights, or I at least ignored the negative. I was too busy taking about 800 photographs. I was also slightly buzzed, and by the time Hunter Valentine got on stage I was pretty terrible at getting good shots. Especially because we shifted to the side a bit from people trying to squeeze their way to the front. It’s okay, I don’t blame them. I was still happy, snapping photos on my camera from where I was. I was with my love. I had drinks in my system, and drink straws shoved in my face.
At the end we were waiting in the merch line, and I was wondering where the girls were. They usually hang out at the end and just talk to everybody that they can. That made me a little sad. I went up to the merch booth and asked Sha about my shirt. All sold out. I was sad, but also humbled. That means people really liked it. I couldn’t ask for more.
Then someone with my poster came up to me. It was the last poster available—the one that hung on the merch wall. She asked if I made it. I said yes. She said that she thinks it’s one of the best band designs she’s ever seen. I was so moved. I asked if I could hug her, and she said of course. Her two friends were with her, and they were also showering my art with compliments and how they wished they could get the shirt. But they said that they would order it online the moment they could. I hugged them too. And then the girl with the poster came back with a sharpie and asked for my autograph.
"Really?" I said. "Yes, it’s your work, and I want your signature on it" And so I found a dry spot on the floor. The sharpie felt comfortable in my hand. My wrist flowed on the poster—almost too fast—Lou said, "Sign slower!" as she pulled out her phone to get a picture of me signing. So I mimicked signing slower over my signature. And then I added the date, and wrote "thank you! =]" in the corner. It felt so wonderful. I still cannot believe it.
More things happened after that, but that feels like a good place to end. Or at least pause for a moment.
That was my first autograph.
Hunter Valentine @ The Roxy
Babes and I. Happy at The Roxy to see some of our favorite bands live again. <3
Tonight. At the Roxy.