WTF Does This Have To Do With Anything?

When I was a kid, I used to draw all the time. I always carried a sketchbook around school, just hoping someone would ask me to see it. They’d flip through my fantastically life-like pencil drawings of celebrities (my favorite subject) and say, “Like, oh my God! These are so awesome! You’re, like, so talented!” (That’s how we talked back then.) Then I would say, “I know, ryte?” It always made me feel good. I’m an attention whore from way back…

(Donna Martin graduates! Donna Martin graduates!…)

Um… yeah. Anyway…

I thought I might like to draw for a living, so I went to school to study illustration at the (relatively cheap, yet highly respected) Fashion Institute of Technology in NYC. It was there that I got way (waaaaay) better at drawing…

And also where learned how to paint like a boss.

I know. I’m amazing. Feel free to tell me so in the comments.

In my sophmore year, one of my professors gave my class a project he called “Guns, Cigarettes, Sex & Fashion.” We were to illustrate our interpretation of his concept for a (pretend) cover of The New Yorker magazine. If we so chose, we could take the project a step further and actually submit the piece to the real magazine, just like a real illustrator would in real life. Really.

I made a bitchin’ collage. I think I may have been the only one in my class to be deluded enough to actually submit their art to The New Yorker. I knew, of course, it would be an exercise in futility. Except that it wasn’t

Somehow, after submitting my work along with all of those real illustrators, I found myself sitting in the office of the art director in charge of covers. Covers. For The New Freaking Yorker. Her name was Françoise. (Frahn-swah.) She was French. Like, from France.

That’s really her in her office. I was there. That’s how I know.

Françoise was impressed with my piece and invited me to submit cover ideas to her whenever I felt inspired. She gave me her direct fax line and everything. So I started faxing her sketches. They mostly sucked, but one of them, she actually liked and commissioned a piece. I can’t show it to you. She never returned it. It wasn’t that good anyway. (Or maybe it’s hanging in her house… Who can say for sure?) The magazine never printed it, but I did get paid for my work…

In the end, I decided to become a graphic designer, so that, right there, encompasses my whole career as an illustrator. One job. As a student. The New Yorker magazine. :mic drop:

So wtf does this have to do with my crappy house? Um… nothing? Actually, no wait. I’ll probably hang some of my art on my crappy walls at some point.

Boom. Relevance.

This post can end one of two ways. You can either be mad at me for going off topic and break up with me… Or, you can accept that I am like the weather: Unpredictable and, occasionally, (aww, who are we kidding… often) awe-inspiring. Take your pick…


OK. Four ways.

Here’s some more art. Just because…

I promise I’ll be back to business next post. Please don’t leave me.

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  • Lorraine

    What fabulous talent and what a timely post for me. I just wrote about how my daughter (a digital artist/animator) just completed two years of college and will only be getting a certificate, not a degree. Do you think a degree is necessary to get a job in the art world?

    • My Crappy House

      Speaking from my own experience, NO! What matters is having a kick ass portfolio. No one has ever cared about my degree. In fact, my illustration portfolio has gotten me jobs I wasn’t even qualified for! I’ve never sought work as an animator, but if she’s got a great reel, I bet she’ll be fine

    • Lorraine

      Thanks so much for your reply and also for your comment on my blog. I forwarded everything to my daughter so she could see what you wrote. I also read your comment below about how painful it is to work on a piece of art. I think a lot of artists have those same feelings regardless of their talent.

    • My Crappy House

      Every time I find an article about a creative person torturing themselves, I save it. It’s definitely comforting to know I’m not alone. If your daughter has any questions about getting out into the field, I’d be happy to try and help out. My email is under the contact tab above – it goes directly to my gmail account.

  • GG

    You are wicked frickin talented, lady (this is how we talked in high school). I’m stunned. I hope you continue to make and share more artwork and hang it on your walls for all to see.

  • Le


    That’s how we talked in high school. =P
    I knew you were talented already, before all these other people. Winning.

  • ChrisB

    1. I can’t draw a stick figure.
    2. Everyone has a unique talent, even if it’s opening a door with their toes. (No, alas, I can’t)
    3. I find your musings interesting or I wouldn’t subscribe.
    4. How’s Egor? My cats say hi.

    • My Crappy House

      I can pick up a quarter with my toes. I have been blessed with many gifts…
      Egor is awesome. He says hi back!

  • Teena Free

    Do you have any you would be willing to sell? Like the snake (we have about 50 snakes upstairs, yes, someone really likes snakes) I would love to have something you did on my wall! (Other than the snake, that’s not for me)

  • Sharon Turner

    Well, what can I say. Jealous much? I guess what I don’t understand is why someone with a great deal of talent isn’t at the drawing board every day. I thought that artists were driven by their passion for creating art. When I was teaching myself to draw, I just couldn’t stop. I eventually did, of course, cause I wasn’t any good at it … but you! Shame, shame, shame. Now I’m doubly pissed off … you’re not doing any work on the house, and you’re not creating any art. So, what the hell are you doing (besides playing with lovely Egor)?

    • My Crappy House

      You seriously made me laugh out loud!

      OK, so here’s my deal. I’ve always been creative and yes, I do need the outlet. I get it with my job and designing in 3D, and also with my house and even writing this blog. What I discovered in college was, though I was proficient in it, I didn’t really enjoy painting very much. Each piece was torturous actually. My process was to stress while staring at the blank board, struggle to come up with an idea, cry because the painting is coming out awful, convince myself that I am a fraud and every successful painting I’d ever done was an accident, keep doing that for 80% of the painting, then see it start to come together, then enjoy the last 10% where I just add the finishing touches. It was clear that a career in illustration would not be enjoyable for me. Like at all. So I switched my focus to the computer and now I beat myself up in whole new ways, but I enjoy more of the process. If I ever do start drawing and/or painting again, I’ll do it just for me because I want to, not because I have to. I think college and the prospect of doing that for a living killed the joy.

      As for my house, I’m totally working, but I can’t very well write an entertaining post about unpacking boxes. That’s just boring. I promise I’m not being too lazy over here Thanks for the smile. Egor says, “meow.”

  • Ellen

    You are very talented, funny, and you can draw and paint rings around me. Therefore, I admire your work so much. I hope you do post more of your work as you hang it (or not). Do you ever sell any prints of your work?

    • My Crappy House

      Thank you I haven’t ever sold prints, but that’s something I might consider when I find more time.

  • Miz Kizzle

    I like your art and the fact that the art director in charge of covers at The New Yorker was named Francoise kills me dead. She’d have no hope of landing that job if her name was something white trashy like Tiffany or Kynleigh.
    You know what I like about the New Yorker? The cartoons. Gahan Wilson and Roz Chast are my faves.

    • My Crappy House

      I feel like The New Yorker is what the upper crust reads. I’m not upper crust. I’m middle crust. Or pizza crust.

    • My Crappy House

      So you feel me then. Stressing over deadlines all through college killed the joy. I’ll get back to it some day.

  • Vicki

    So. You’re a talented artist and a cat lover, and yet I see no cat art. What’s up with that? BTW, that New Yorker cover is pretty darned cool, but still not as cool as some cat art.

    • My Crappy House

      Haha, you know, that’s true, however, I didn’t know I was a cat lover until I adopted Egor almost six years ago. I haven’t painted in over 15, so that’s explains that.

  • Margaret

    Your work is fantastic. I’m extremely jealous because I don’t have one creative bone in my whole body. But I must say I do appreciate talented people. They are all around us and I’m glad to know you are one of them.

  • rich vastola

    Vicki you are truly a gifted person.its shows in all you say but mostly what you do ,like your art and also your self home construction.and I heard your pretty good at the pool table too.
    I am so glad I had the pleasure of knowing you a whole year before you bought your house and to watch as you amazed at your art work,i had no idea,just awesome.hope someday you go back to it.

    • My Crappy House

      Thanks, Rich! I might not have a house if I had met you sooner. You were the best landlord ever. I’ll come visit soon

  • Judy

    Sorry about previous post… Chihuahua Ruby leapt onto my iPad…sigh!
    Your art seriously ROCKS!
    Smother the walls of your house with it!
    Get some prints done and SELL the freakin’ things!
    There’s some cool stuff there that folks would love to buy.

    • My Crappy House

      I know a Chihuahua named Rudy. Cute!

      Thank you so much. I hadn’t thought of selling prints until lately. Making money on work I’ve already done would be pretty sweet!

  • mom

    I’m so blessed to have such a talented daughter but before your aunt Teena gets a painting I feel your mother should get one first. I’m just saying. Ps you have to tell me what Le said and don’t tell me to Google it:p

    • My Crappy House


      (You had to know that was coming…)

  • mom

    Lol no,I had no idea you could be that mean to your old white haired Mother. I will ask my daughter in law to translate for me. Now get started on my picture while I ponder revenge….

  • Cheryl

    You’re amazing!! What talent. My fave of these shown is Jack. I was reading through your comments and I agree that you should only do this if it makes YOU happy and I can understand the stress you probably went through in college. I took art/photography and beat myself up. I remember in one of my art classes I was 18 at the time and there was this (old man) sorry, to me that’s what he seemed like. Anyways, he was in his 50’s or 60’s and his talent was unbelievable. I remember that I felt so inferior and wanted to give up.
    Love how you and your mom communicate. I also wish I could afford one of your paintings, I would buy one. Or two, maybe three, lol. That is so awesome about The New Yorker!! How many people get to say they did that or got their work noticed!!
    You are totally awesome!! Glad you found something you like doing, if you don’t, find something else that makes you happy!

    • My Crappy House

      I think a lot of artists compare themselves to other people and their talent. I do that all the time! One good thing about that, I guess, is that it makes me strive to do better. Sort of… lol

      Anyway, thanks for the kind words and positive message. You’re awesome too

  • Amy Feral

    Wow! You are an awesome illustrator,& painter(despite your dislike of the medium, you ARE) I have been surrounded my ENTIRE life with great artists. It drives me absolutely batty they do nothing with their talents. In fact, I married an artist , who has chosen for his career to have nothing to do with art. I can’t quite understand having these talents ,& not using them?
    You still remain in the realm of art with 3D design. I see it expressed through your home.
    I would LOVE to have one of your originals! That Jack Nicholsen ROCKS(as we would say in H.S), along with the rest, but he struck me in particular!
    Amazing lady can write, redo a house alone, & now to know you’re a talented artist! Thanks for this post,it’s your blog,& it’s not entirely off-topic, it fills you out knowing abt your art&schooling. Your home choices reflect that of an artist. Your home will is the masterpiece-in-progress which shelters you!=^_^*=

    • My Crappy House

      What a nice comment. Thank you! Some day I will get back to drawing and maybe painting too. There’s just so much other stuff to get done!

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