Monday, March 28, 2011


Photographer Liza Dey was born and raised in the East Village area of New York City. She is a self-employed freelance photographer and a former dancer. Her memories of the East Village neighborhood include anti-war demonstrations and hippies in the 60’s; the tough neighborhood and urban decay of the 70’s and 80’s; and the gentrification of the area starting in the late 90’s into a hip, trendy area. She says, “growing up in a neighborhood like that and having always lived in what would be called ‘cusp’ neighborhoods – always caught in transition from an old, rundown historical area to a new, trendy area with lots of galleries and cute shops – has shaped who she is and influenced what she is interested in shooting and her view of New York City, old and new; good, bad and in between; but always real”.

Liza enjoys reading and is very interested in history, especially the history of New York City. She likes to hike and explore, and Fire Island – a barrier island off of central Long Island – is one of her favorite places in the world for vacationing and for photography. She enjoys watching figure skating on television when it is on and likes to work around the house and do crafts.

Growing up, Liza was surrounded by artistic expression of all kinds and all her extra-curricular activities involved the arts. She dreamed of being a tight-rope walker in the circus or a ballerina and an author. After seeing A CHORUS LINE on Broadway the summer she turned 12 she became obsessed with dance and music. She studied jazz, ballet and tap and started a career in theater in her early twenties. Over the years injuries and burnout took their toll and she built a new career by taking her photography hobby to a profession.

A fan of figure skating from the 1970’s on, Liza began to attend live skating events with her mother in the late 1980’s when figure skating was entering a boom period. She took her camera with her to the first couple of events she attended. Having little experience with that kind of photography the results were less than stellar. Liza got a super zoom lens, worked on her techniques and soon started getting much better photographs. Early on Liza met the publisher of one of the top skating publications and got his card. She submitted her photographs to him and they were published. She then submitted photo’s to other skating publications, books and programs for publication and began selling prints to skating fans through classifieds in the skating magazines. This all coincided with Liza’s exit from working in theater and dance and she made the transition to working as a professional photographer.

For over a decade Liza worked primarily in the world of figure skating. She viewed herself as a theatrical photographer who happened to be shooting skating, rather than a sport photographer, as she views skating as an extension of dance. She shot at events, tours, shows, pro competitions and amateur competitions throughout the eastern U.S. and Canada and sold her work to skating publications, skating shows and books. She also sold prints of her work to collectors worldwide. Skating is not as popular now and the last event Liza attended was in 2006. Liza’s creative focus now is city scapes, landscapes, still lives, floral and wildlife photography.

Liza discusses her inspiration:

“I think I've really always been very visual; most of my earliest memories are images, mental snapshots of moments or places, and I think I just want to record and share those things that attract me; that I find beautiful, or that speak to me in some way. I've also always been fascinated by old photos. I'm really lucky that both sides of my family have, what I've come to realize is, an unusually large collection of old family photos, some going back to the 1800s. I've recently worked on restoring some of these digitally, and I love to crawl inside of them mentally, to live in them and that long ago world, to see the details of the moment and feel the reality of them. Even old photos of people or scenes not connected to me personally have always fascinated me.

My skating photography has definitely been influenced by the work of the many great theatrical photographers, whose work I saw when growing up attending Broadway shows. Most notably of these is Martha Swope, who was the preeminent Broadway photographer throughout the 70s and 80s. I love how she captured the excitement of Broadway during those golden years, and especially how she captured the color and lighting of musicals. I'm also a huge fan of almost any photo I've ever seen of the Alvin Ailey dance company. I find their work particularly dramatic and photogenic. My own dance background definitely influenced my work, as did the experience I had in school working with theatrical lighting. I definitely preferred theatrically lit skating events, and enjoyed highlighting the connection between dance and skating.

My scenic and landscape work has been influenced by my love of the Impressionist painters. I'd love to visit the Provence region of France someday to photograph where Van Gogh and the other Impressionists once painted. I really like to have a sense of texture to my photos that echoes the texture you might see in paintings. My New York City photos are definitely influenced by my love of New York history, as well as the wonderful, stark black and white photos of New York in the 20s, 30s, 40s and 50s; the work of photographers like Bernice Abbott and Lewis Hine, as well as by lots of the great paintings from this period. One of my earliest New York City photographic influences was the work of Jacob Riis and his famous book 'How the Other Half Lives'. I first read that book when I was about 13, and his images of the old, rundown, poor immigrant Lower East Side of the turn of the century are never far from my mind, whether I’m behind the lens or not.”

Liza tells us a little about how she works:

“I work mostly straight realistic photography, perhaps with a sort of impressionistic bent. I do like it when my images have a painterly quality to them (the frustrated painter in me, I guess!), and I'm really drawn to shadows, reflections, silhouettes and strong contrast, particularly in Black and Whites. Until recently I've still shot primarily with film, partly as some long-held photographic socio-political old-fashioned stance, I think. Now I continue to use my film backs for real zoom work, like wildlife, but I'm using a 10MP 3x zoom fixed lens digital much of the time for more wide-angle work, and I have to say, I love it! Not having to worry about ‘spending’ film has really freed me up to be way more creative and experimental. I'm currently saving and looking around for a really good digital camera with more megapixels and a greater zoom or detachable lenses.”

Liza started studying photography as a high school senior when she took a photography elective course. She started out using an SLR she rented from the school. Her enthusiasm prompted her parents to give her a camera of her own as a graduation present. It was a completely manual film back Yaschica with 55mm and a 28mm lenses. Liza uses that camera to this day as a back up, and until she started shooting primarily with a digital camera, she regularly used the 28mm lens and the Yaschica in much of her shooting.

In college Liza minored in Photography and majored in Theater. Beyond the photography techniques she learned in college, she is self-taught.

During her years of photographing figure skating Liza had several of her photographs included in two group shows at the Times Square Lobby Gallery in New York City. One of those shows had a focus on images of the performing arts which pleased Liza as she views figure skating as a performing art as an extension of dance.

Creatively Liza has been experimenting with some new techniques and styles recently. She is applying digital technology to her photographs to achieve some exciting results. This involves working in image editing software and experimenting with manipulating contrast, saturation and other variables to edit her photos. She says she is creating hyper reality. Some effect combinations create digital paintings that are intended to echo the look and feel of artists such as Hopper and Cezanne. Others create effects reminiscent of psychedelic rock concert posters of the 60’s and 70’s or give an image the look and feel of authentic vintage photos. In addition, Liza has been expanding her product offerings in her online shop on Zazzle. She has added a line of iPad cases and will also be adding iPhone cases to her CREATIVE CASES product category in the shop.

Over the next few months, in addition to adding more images and products to her Zazzle shop, Liza will be making fine art prints of her photography available on Fine Art America, Imagekind and Redbubble. As well, original prints will be made available through Etsy at some point. Liza would also love to have products featuring her photographs available in some of the many little gift and clothing stores on Fire Island in New York. Liza is also in the planning stages of a couple of exciting joint commercial projects, for which she will be doing the photography.

Liza markets her work under the names Liza Dey and Liza Dey Photography. She currently sells her work through her shop on Zazzle THE FLYING PIG GALLERY. Within that shop she has several product lines that include paper products, listed under The Flying Pig Press; Coney Island products, listed under Dreamland Gifts; and Apple iPad and iPhone cases, listed under Creative Cases. There are many other product categories to browse. Liza also has a Painet stock photo shop.

Liza Dey Photography Website

The Flying Pig Gallery on Zazzle

Liza Dey Photography on Painet

Liza Dey on Absolute Arts

Liza Dey on ArtWanted

Liza Dey on Artist Rising

The Flying Pig Christmas Shoppe on Squidoo

Dreamland Gifts on Squidoo

Join Liza Dey Photography on Facebook

Join The Flying Pig Gallery on Facebook

Follow Liza Dey Photo on Twitter

Liza Dey Photography on Myspace

The Flying Pig Gallery on Myspace

All images Copyright Liza Dey, All Rights Reserved

Written and edited by Ruth J Jamieson, All Rights Reserved

Monday, March 21, 2011


Jessica Christian moved to Seattle almost 14 years ago with her growing family. That move was her motivation to name her first store ‘Jessica in Seattle’ when she started on Zazzle over three years ago. Since then she has added three more stores to her group and found that life seems to always present new ideas for new designs.

Jessica’s four children range in age from four years old to early twenties. She finds that being exposed to this age range provides her with a vast perspective on what is in style. She says they spark her imagination and her life with positive energy and this is reflected in her art. The love and support of her fiancĂ© also inspires her and she feels abundantly lucky to have such a wonderful family and inspiration.

Jess’s hobbies include sketching, painting, playing the flute, learning to play the piano, fixing anything from a faulty wire to a sagging hinge, refurbishing furniture, running and taking photographs while she is out running through the beautiful City of Seattle.

Unlike many artists, Jessica did not start drawing or painting as a small child. She has never taken an art class and she never really thought of herself as an artist until very recently. Jessica dabbled with chalk pastels when she was eighteen, did her first sketch when she was nineteen and then she didn’t do another one until she was in her early thirties. A couple of years ago art truly caught Jessica’s fancy when she started sketching, and her oldest daughter took her to an art store to get some ‘real art supplies’. The rest is history.

Jessica says that her style varies so vastly that she doesn’t believe that she really has one. Writing has been a passion since Jess was young and many of her designs are just words, so the writer in her comes out in her work. Jessica also works with photographs; digital art; charcoal; tempera, oil, watercolor and acrylic paints; her trusty no. 2 pencil, white pencils, colored pencils, crayons and oil pastels. She says that her hands are usually covered in whatever medium she is using. Recently Jessica purchased Photoshop and began learning how to use it.

Life, children, love and nature are all inspirations for Jessica. She has a list of ideas so long it could circle her house several times over. Her children inspire her almost every day and some of her photographs have her children in them. Nature is a huge inspiration for Jessica. Many of her photographs are of places she has visited in her travels to the Caribbean, Costa Rica, ocean areas of the west coast of the United States and right in her beautiful city of Seattle.

Jessica has no formal artistic education but when she can’t get something worked out quite to her liking she has used YouTube videos a bit to look up techniques.

None of Jessica’s art has ever been displayed in a gallery and she doesn’t even know if that is one of her aspirations for her career. She has never given it a thought before.

Recently, Jessica opened a new store on Zazzle and her art took a more ‘psychedelic’ turn from anything she had worked on before. These works are purely digital and are available in her store 'Vicodin Dreams'. Creating these twists, turns and what she supposes could be called fractals in her art has been incredibly exciting.

In recent weeks Jessica has been learning how to use Photoshop and she has made good progress with it. She is planning to create more digital art. She also has an incredible backlog of photographs she plans to add to her main store ‘Jessica in Seattle’ very soon. She is also absolutely loving altering her photographs into something that is unrecognizable as the original piece and expects to do more of that as well.

Jessica’s support and involvement in the LGBT community also inspires her to create new designs that incorporate rainbow themes and messages in support of this community. As well, Jess has been close to many people who have experienced breast cancer and that drives her efforts to create designs to raise awareness and support for this issue. Every year Jessica donates 50% of the proceeds from all of her ‘Pink Ribbon’ products. The donations go to the University of Washington Tumour Vaccine Group, which is an industry leader in the search for a cure for breast cancer. They are part of a very large team of researchers in Puget Sound and globally. Sales of these products and therefore donations have grown exponentially over the past three years and this fires Jessica to continue to create more ‘Pink Ribbon’ products.

Jessica’s art is available exclusively in her Zazzle stores on almost all of Zazzle’s available products. The selection of products continues to grow as Jessica creates new and exciting designs and as Zazzle adds more products. Original art is available for sale on request.

Visit the 'Jessica in Seattle' store on Zazzle

Visit Jessica's store 'Onomonopia' on Zazzle

Visit Jessica's store 'Intimate Design' on Zazzle

Visit Jessica's store 'Vicodin Dreams' on Zazzle

Visit the Jessica In Seattle Website

Join Jessica in Seattle on Facebook

Follow Jessica in Seattle on Twitter

Follow the Jessica In Seattle Blog

Monday, March 14, 2011


Cherie Balowski is from a small town in south central Michigan, land of the lakes. Cherie’s family is very musical. Everyone either plays instruments or sings, or both and they have a great time playing and singing together.

Cherie says that she was born an artist. Her passion for art, creating crafts and singing started at a very early age. Cherie started making art with crayons, watercolors, pencils and chalks and moved on to modeling clay and other mediums.

This small town girl loves good guitar music, classic rock, singing and playing her guitar, riding her motorcycle, visiting her son and two grandsons in Arizona and art, ART, ART!!!

Cherie’s first 'crafty type' projects were sculpting and painting on clay. She also carved rubber stamps, embossed copper plates, learned macramĂ© and made paper mosaics and collages. In high school Cherie started sewing. Then she started painting anything she could get her hands on. Once she discovered the computer, a whole new world of digital art was opened for her and she started designing for various P.O.D. (print on demand) sites such as Zazzle, RedBubble, Greeting Card Universe and more.

Cherie is inspired by the beauty that surrounds her, her love of music and her quirky sense of humor. She also loves Halloween and a little of the spooky side of life.

This versatile artist works with whatever medium she is in the mood for that day! She enjoys creating art in many forms, from digital art collage sheets, digital clip art and digital scrapbook pages to hand painted gourds, baskets, beaded jewellery, paper mache, felting and everything in between.

Cherie especially loves creating ACEO’s...they are Art Cards, Editions & Originals. There are quite a growing number of artists and art collectors who see that these wonderful 'small format' works of art are fabulous collectibles! They are in the standard trading card size of 2.5" x 3.5" (just like baseball cards) and can be purchased in as many art forms as you can imagine. Altered, sketched, 3-D, photographs, digital art, fabric, mechanical, beaded, pencil, ink, acrylic, oil...the list is endless. As long as they are the standard size, they are considered ACEO’s.

You will find many art styles and themes in Cherie’s Zazzle shop as well as photography. Cherie’s sense of humor is apparent in many of her designs as well.

Cherie enjoys meeting fun 'creatives' online at Twitter and FaceBook. You can join her at many of the online art groups that she is proud to be a member of like Mixed Media Workshops and Magical Holiday Artists.

Cherie’s Arts ‘N Crafts on ETSY

Cheries Arts ‘N Crafts on Soopsee

Cherie’s Art on Bonanza

Cheries Art on Artfire

Cheries Art Card Store

Cheries Art on Printfection

Cheries Art on Zazzle

Cheries Art on Picture Trail

Cheries Art on YouTube

Cheries Art on Ebay

Art by Cherie on Skreened

Cheries Art at Redbubble

Cheries Arts ‘N Crafts Blog

Cherie’s Art on Facebook

Cherie’s Art on Twitter


Written by Ruth J Jamieson, Copyright Ruth J Jamieson, All Rights Reserved

Monday, March 7, 2011


In the mid-coast area of Maine lives an artist whose delightfully whimsical imagination comes to life in her remarkable artwork. Rebecca Bowker Czosnek is this artist. She and her husband and family operate a local business there and in addition Rebecca also works as a nurse.

Rebecca’s inspiration is her life experience and the people around her. Rebecca says she was born with a smile on her face. She is inspired to find the good in everything, it is her way of dealing with life’s ups and downs. She lives by the rule of staying honest and true to herself and those in her life and she learns from both the good and bad in life, and takes those lessons on with her into tomorrow’s adventures.

Rebecca creates ink drawings, acrylic paintings and graphic art. Her color choices are vibrant and her work is incredibly detailed and whimsical. She says she loves to add an odd imagination to her art.

Maine is a beautiful state, and Rebecca says Nature has it's glory there! She says the summers are short and so very beautiful and the winters can make the days seem like years. Rebecca cannot imagine life there without hobbies like her art to get her by. A prime example was the Ground Hog day storm that covered most of the United States this week. For Rebecca the best part about winter is that sometimes you get stuck at home. Her life is so busy that a snow day is a reward! She is always looking for something to draw that relates to her day! This week she is working on artwork of a pile of snow with a ground hog digging himself out from below. So living in Maine has a wonderful effect on Rebecca’s artwork!

Because Rebecca’s life is so full and busy, she has limited time to work on her art. She is working slowly on a few paintings right now which she expects to be completed in a few weeks. As well, she is learning to use Adobe Creative Suite CS4 by studying with some great lessons on She is interested to see what effect this will have on her work in the future. Corel Draw has been her working software up until now.

If Rebecca isn’t busy enough already, she is also studying photography. Her hubby bought her a Sony A55 camera. Blogging was Rebecca’s inspiration to have a good camera and learn to use it. She says she didn’t realize how much she was going to enjoy taking photographs! The Sony A55 is perfect for her, she thinks it came with it’s own brain. Every day Rebecca learns something new about photography and her new camera.

Rebecca says if she could do one thing in this world she would encourage everyone to tap in on their artistic ability, no matter what it is. She says almost anything is an art and she has yet to meet one person that does not have a unique ability to do something artistic that would be that inner soothing moment that they need.

Rebecca’s comfort is to draw, paint, cook, read and most of all be with friends and family! Her day begins with the care of her Yorkies and her family, and in between working as a nurse and in the family business, she finds time to draw and paint as well. Cooking is a favorite passion and Rebecca is working on a cookbook which she thought would be finished 3 years ago. Blogging is another new activity that is keeping this artist busier than ever. It is a fast paced life with so much to do and Rebecca says she is looking forward to slowing down a little at some point, however she enjoys her life and it’s mad reality.

You can find Rebecca’s artwork online in her shops on She has two shops, Peppers Polish Mafia; and Samantha Cat, which she shares with her daughter.


Connect with PEPPERS POLISH MAFIA on facebook

All images Copyright Rebecca Bowker Czosnek, All Rights Reserved

Written by Ruth J Jamieson, Copyright Ruth J Jamieson, All Rights Reserved