Wednesday, May 25, 2011

AIGA DC Urban Forest Project Interview Films

A few months ago, AIGA DC board members Dian Holton and Kerri Sarembock worked with Joe Carabeo from Astray Productions to produce over 25 interview films based on the artists who took part in The Urban Forest Project. I worked as sound mixer for about half of the interviews.

The Urban Forest Project is a series of unprecedented outdoor exhibitions taking root in cities around the world. This unique environmental, public arts and educational initiative calls on artists, designers and students in each location to employ the idea or form of the tree to make a powerful visual statement on banners that are displayed throughout the community.

Sit back and enjoy causal and spontaneous conversations with the AIGA DC Urban Forest Project artists. You can view all of the films here:

Plus keep an eye out on the streets of DC for the banners in spring of 2011! AIGA DC has set up a Flickr group for UFP DC where you can upload your own photos of the banners:

Here is my Urban Forest Project Submission, which unfortunately did not make the final selection to be produced as street banner:

The Urban Forest Project is brought to you by: Downtown DC Business Improvement District, The District Department of Transportation, DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities, AIGA DC, Worldstudio and USDA Forest Service

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Jason Mewes and Kevin Smith Talk about Curls Studio

Curls Studio is a sponsor of S.I.R. (SModcast Internet Radio). Jason Mewes and Kevin Smith talked about Curls Studio in the Monday, May 23, 2011 episode of Jay and Silent Bob Get Jobs.

Have a listen to a very cool part of Jay and Silent Bob Get Jobs. The audio is hosted with Astray Productions at:

This is not our first interaction with Kevin Smith. We got to meet him on my birthday in 2010. Above is a photo of that moment. Kevin is holding a script of the latest feature film from Astray Productions, The Incident In Tesla.

Recap: Handmade Mart 2011

On Sunday, May 22 Curls Studio exhibited at Handmade Mart in Silver Spring, MD. We are thankful for a nice day since it was an outdoor show. It only rained for five minutes! Thanks to Hannah and Lindsey and Matt for dropping by the booth to say hello.

We premiered my Hourly Comic in print form, which is now available at the Curls Studio Etsy Store.

Photos of the event can be viewed in the "Handmade Mart 2011" album on the Curls Studio Facebook Page. "Like" us to keep up with all the latest news.

Monday, May 23, 2011

World Turtle Day

Just learned today is World Turtle Day. Celebrate with Turtle Neck from the Curls Webcomic. You can't deny a turtle who likes wearing turtle necks. Check out some of THE BEST OF TURTLE NECK:


Thursday, May 19, 2011

Curls: The Webcomic

I don't post my Curls Webcomic to this blog very often, but I figured every once in awhile I should remind you about it. Curls can be found at and it updates every Monday and Thursday.

This wonderful and purely fun with a side of insanity comic strip is about a gal with mitten hands, who runs into adventures with her best friends:
• A life size slice of Toast named Toast of the Town
Applause, a Siamese Fighting Fish who is the boxing world champion in the waterweight division
Turtle Neck, a turtle who wears turtlenecks
Pitter Patter, a penguin waiter
• And more!

Carolyn Belefski was nominated for a Friends of Lulu Award in 2010 for Most Talented Newcomer to recognize cartooning work by women. You can check out a brand new Curls webcomic every Monday and Thursday at

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Handmade Mart is May 22

Curls Studio was recently accepted to be a vendor at Handmade Mart in downtown Silver Spring, MD! We hope to see you at booth #64 on Sunday, May 22 (see where we'll be located in the handy map image below). You can check out our Q&A on the Handmade Mart blog and take a look at what other vendors will be selling.

Hands-on workshops will be hosted by the Pyramid Atlantic Art Center. Their workshop booth will be located in the front of the main stairwell, next to the fountain. Pyramid Atlantic will be leading workshops in paper-making and screen printing.

WHAT: Handmade Mart
WHEN: May 22, 2011 from 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM
WHERE: Ellsworth Drive in Silver Spring, Maryland (between Fenton and Georgia Avenue)

This event is FREE to attend and fun for all ages! Stop by and say hi to us. See you this Sunday!

Valuable parking information:

May 18 - UPDATE: Downtown Silver Spring is no longer allowed to have booths located on both sides of the street during any of their future events. This ruling came from the Fire Marshall's Office, so booth #'s 59-71 had to be moved. The second development is that the large stage, which is usually located in front of the breezeway, is still up. Apparently there are a few mechanical problems with the stage, so it cannot be taken down in time for the Mart. The stage itself won't affect any vendors booths, but the organizers have decided to move the Handmade Mart booth onto the stage, instead of in front of the fountain. The map posted yesterday has been taken down and replaced to represent this change, so the map above is correct.

Monday, May 16, 2011

10 Questions with Rafer Roberts

In this second installment of "10 Questions with..." we feature Rafer Roberts. Above is a photo from last year's SPX of Rafer in the center with the Carnival Anthology carnies. Rafer has a new trade paperback out now called Plastic Farm: Sowing Seeds on Fertile Soil, which you can pre-order on Amazon or ask comic retailers to order it from Diamond using order code APR110754. Read on to learn more about Rafer and Plastic Farm.

1. How would you describe Plastic Farm to someone who has never read it before?

PLASTIC FARM is the life story of Chester Carter, his slow descent into complete insanity, and how that madness is reshaping reality in many strange, terrifying and hilarious ways. It is written and mostly drawn by me, and walks the delicate line between a serious treatise regarding the nature of humanity and our relationship with the sublime with dick and fart jokes.

We just released a new collection of the first 12 issues and folks are encouraged to pick that up from their local comics pusher.

2. Which cartoonists do you consider to be huge influences?

I'm not sure how much of it comes through in my artwork or storytelling but Dave Sim, David Lapham, Jack Kirby, Mike Mignola, and Ted McKeever all come to mind.

3. What are you inspired by outside of the art and comics world?

I'm a fan of crappy speculative documentaries about bible stories and the approaching apocalypse and I've been known to speed read the occasional bullshit new-age philosophy book. I've listened to a ton of Alan Watts lectures (who I actually enjoy) and I enjoy staring at the sky. Little snippets of overheard conversations, images from half-remembered dreams, old college sketchbooks filled in while a much younger me was out of my mind, and mis-read newspaper headlines all fill my brain with story bits. These bits float around my mind like rocks in a cement tumbler until they coalesce into a story or until I've ground them down to powder.

4. When did you start creating comics and what has kept you going after so many issues?

I started making PLASTIC FARM in early 1999, but many of the characters were appropriated from the comics I had been making since middle school. I don't know why I keep going. It's not like I'm getting rich doing this. I suppose I just have a story I need to get out of my head. I also enjoy the act of drawing; the zen-like act of sitting alone in a room making a series of lines that eventually approximate the form of a person or a building or whatever is very satisfying and keeps me sane.

5. You are the editor of Washington, DC's comic newspaper, Magic Bullet. What have you learned from this experience?

I've learned that being the editor of any sort of anthology project is a difficult and time consuming job. I've enjoyed my time as editor of MAGIC BULLET and I am damn proud of the product we have put out, but I've also realized that in order to steer the paper other projects fall by the wayside. I'm thinking that the next issue, MAGIC BULLET #3, will be my last as editor. I need to refocus on PLASTIC FARM if I'm going to finish it before I die.

6. What books have you recently read or are currently reading?

I'm terrible at this. I pick up so many books at shows that look great and they just sit in a pile unread waiting for me to have time for them, That said, I always have time for The Walking Dead. I wish Young Liars could have gone on longer (though I really wish Lapham could find a way to go back to Stray Bullets). I also highly recommend a book called The Signifiers by Michael Neno. Folks should go hunt that out.

7. You have been to many comic conventions recently. Do you have any fun stories from the road?

Yes, but most of them involve other people and I'm not sure I should talk about this stuff on the internet. Most of my stories actually involve me getting too drunk and making an ass out of myself in front of creators that I admire and respect.

8. Do you have any tips for someone interested in getting started in the comics industry?

Give up now. Go into banking.

Or, I suppose, take professional art lessons. That's the one thing I wish I had done and the one thing that has hurt me the most.

9. What upcoming projects do you have up your sleeve?

Hoo boy. There's two different anthology projects coming up that I'm not sure I can even discuss yet. I've got a short story in the upcoming FUBAR 2 World War 2 zombie anthology. It's a fun story and I got Jake Warrenfeltz to do some beautiful greywashes over my artwork. Jake and I are also working on another sort story written by our friend Stephen Hines. I've got some more Nightmare the Rat newspaper strips to draw, and of course, there is more PLASTIC FARM.

10. Where can people locate your comics?

Folks can find me at and the latest PLASTIC FARM collection is available in finer comic stores and bookstores everywhere, as well as online.

Now that you've read my interview with Rafer Roberts, stop by his blog to read his interview with me. Ten Questions with Carolyn Belefski:

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Recap: We Are Monsters

Last Friday, May 6, 2011, we attended the "We Are Monsters" art show opening at Pleasant Plains Workshop in Washington, DC. It was a fun night and many people attended the show. I am excited to see so many inventive monsters by the top artists in the DC area.

I got to premiere my monster, MASER, and hopefully he has not killed anyone in their sleep for calling him cute.

Make sure you check out more of the photos we took on the Curls Studio Facebook Page and "like" us while you are at it!

If you missed the opening and want to check out "We Are Monsters" in person, Pleasant Plains Workshop is open to the public on Fridays 2-7PM and Saturdays 1-6PM at 2608 Georgia Avenue, NW.

Thanks to Anthony Dihle for organizing the show.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

AIGA DC Farewell

It was a tough decision to make, but I recently decided to roll off the AIGA DC board of directors. I have served on the board for four years, but my history of AIGA started in 2002 when I was a student member at Virginia Commonwealth University with the Richmond chapter. As a student, I served on the student chapter board. After graduation, I moved up to DC and started volunteering at many AIGA DC events, hoping to catch the board's eye and be elected to the DC chapter at the professional level. It took me two years of volunteering until I got on the board.

AIGA describes itself as: AIGA, the professional association for design, stimulates thinking about design, demonstrates the value of design and empowers the success of designers at each stage of their careers. AIGA’s mission is to advance designing as a professional craft, strategic tool and vital cultural force. Founded in 1914, AIGA remains the oldest and largest professional membership organization for design, and is a nonprofit, 501(c)(3) educational institution.

My first position on the board in 2007 was working with Dian Holton on AIGA 50, our biennial juried exhibition. Here are two blogs where I previously wrote about this position and the event reception at National Postal Museum.

Then a brand new position opened to the board revolving around our Design Continuum Scholarship program, which I held for the next two years. As Continuum Chair, I worked with our Advisory Board, Mira Azarm and Jill Spaeth to create fundraising events and dinners to raise money for the scholarships. Some of these included a summer party, a wine pairing and tasting event at The Art Institute of Washington, a private event with Michael Osborne and more. The position also involved promoting the scholarship to media outlets and schools to let educators and students know about the application process. We also started the Continuum Fund Button Campaign which involved getting original designs from Stanley Hainsworth, The General Design Company, Michael Osborne, David Franek and Nathan Hill for buttons promoting our scholarship opportunities. We have given away five scholarships to young designers.

This past year I attended the Leadership Retreat in Chattanooga, Tennessee and then served as Special Projects Coordinator. AIGA DC will soon be premiering a new blog site. We will let you know when the site is active, but I can tell you Ripe is doing a great job working on designing and programming the site at this very moment. Having a blog where our members can write about design and recap our events is something our community really needed. You can read all my AIGA related blog posts here:

Being on the AIGA DC board is a time in my life I will remember forever. The people on the board are awesome and we make a great team. Through the board experience, I learned to organize projects, write press releases, promote the chapter's activities and plan events. I enjoyed meeting many designers in the area and connecting with the community in ways I never imagined.

Next time you go to an event, look around you and take in the effort of people working the event. Someone organized a speaker to travel from New York to speak to you or a sign language interpreter or set-up the registration table or volunteered as an event photographer. It all adds up to create the magic that you aren't supposed to notice, that should be flawless. Many people do not realize this but it's important to stress that no one on the board gets paid. We are all volunteers who devote our time and energy to advancing the design profession. Not just time, but also expenses. It costs me $13.45 to park and commute to each board or committee meeting (each commute to DC). That may not seem like much, but over a year's span that's at least $200. In addition to commuting to meetings, professional membership is $315. AIGA DC board members are very devoted beyond the need of themselves to providing our membership with great resources and events.

The best thing besides working with the people on the AIGA DC board is the ability of seeing results. All too often in my design jobs, I never know what happened to the work I created. As a cartoonist, I work alone when I draw and it takes months to create something and get feedback. I usually only get to speak to people face-to-face at comic conventions. With AIGA a majority of the projects we have work on get instant feedback. For example, we got to give away scholarships or we know when an event sold out. The results are what keep us going.

I'd like to thank the two past presidents Mira Azarm and Jill Spaeth for their dedicated support and assistance with everything in the past few years. They are truly amazing stars in the world of design. The DC area is much stronger with their positive example of running the chapter.

It is my time to exit and open a slot to a new fresh board member. If you know of someone who has productive energy and time and commitment involved to be on the AIGA DC board, please apply by May 6, 2011. For more information, visit:

I'm excited to use my limited "free time" to take my storytelling and comics work to a new level. I plan on giving more time to my Curls webcomic, other Curls Studio endeavors and taking over the world. Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, here I come.