Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving! I spent the day delivering Thanksgiving meals with my church Harvest Bible Chapel and then hung out with my family. I'm off from the tv show today, so I'm headed over to the coffee shop to try to tackle as much art stuff as I can.

How was your Thanksgiving?

Now that I'm 32

I recently celebrated my 32nd birthday, and I'm so excited to see what comes of it. I even created a birthday video. Originally I made it just to post on Facebook but it was so fun, I was like I'm just going to share this with everyone. So I hope you enjoy it! Thanks so much for being here



Behind the Scenes: Photographing Lorenzo

I spent the day making images of my buddy Lorenzo with my girlfriends and fellow photographers/filmmakers  Lauren and Kaira.  It was a blast working with my friends as we threw out different shot ideas with each other, made images, directed video, and excitedly shared that backs of our camera screens  sharing what the each of us captured.  It felt like high school again setting up photo shoots for no reason other than I just to make pictures.

Lorenzo is a graphic artist and DJ so outside of maybe a fun new Facebook photo he can actually use the image for promotions but there were no client expectations today. I allowed myself to be free in the moment, play with light and have fun. 

Do you ever just take time to have fun with your craft just because? It had been a while for me but I'm glad that I did. If its been a while for you, I encourage you to do it right away!

Pictures are fun, so here are a few behind the scenes images and actual portraits I made from the day.

Lauren and Kaira!

These are a few of the photos I made a few photos I made:

Happy for Fall!


I get so excited for the fall season, its truly my favorite time of the year. I love the colors, solid color tights, hayrides with my girlfriends, and my birthday is in October Whoop!! 

We are coming around the last few months of 2014 here so we have to end with a bang, and there is still time to cover a lot of ground, so keep going!

Happy Fall!

These Three Things: Podcasts

I'm starting a new blog series called "These Three Things". Here I will share, three things I think, you might find helpful and interesting. Oh, and of course some of this stuff is just for fun :) Enjoy!

I listen to a lot of podcasts, especially when I'm in the studio. From marketing, pop culture, social media, photography, and personal stories, podcasts are like curating my own personal NPR. Kicking off this series, I'm going to share three of my favorite podcasts that I'm listening to right now.

Rosh Sillars
If your all about being a creative mogul like me, then Rosh Sillars needs to be in heavy rotation on your podcast list. What I like about Rosh is that he is honest, why he is educating us on social media tools for digital marketing and business strategies, he's applying the same tools to his own business and sharing the results. Its a wild ride this art life and Rosh is sitting right next to you.

Half Size Me
I know its all about setting priorities when it comes to physical fitness, but real talk it can be tough sometimes finding the time for quality exercise. I've read it all, about baby steps, making small goals, and losing the all or nothing attitude, which I'm guilty of. However, there is something about the Half Size Me podcast that is so perfect for me, because you actually hear from real people whom have achieved their weight loss and fitness goals, despite having crazy schedules, demanding jobs, lack of support, so on and so on. Heather, the founder of Half Size Me has lost 170 lbs herself! These people made it happen, and its so inspiring and motivating. If you get inspired by people that believe in discipline and consistency I think you will like Half Size Me.

Bad At Sports:
Shout out to Duncan and Richard of the Bad at Sports podcast for being my go-to resource for all things contemporary art. Seriously, they are the foundation of reigniting my desire for being involved in the art world.  I randomly discovered this podcast through my twitter feed, and I check it out faithfully each week. Its fun, entertaining, often times vulgar but most importantly it involves me in the dialogue and discourse of the art world. I dig it alot!

Oh and this is off the subject but have you seen the video "Pranking My African Dad" my friend showed it to me the other day, and I had tears in my eyes. It was just soo silly, I love a good prank, and thankfully his dad had good sense of humor at the end. So you have to watch and let me know what you think, its so funny

After your done laughing (or not laughing, I realize I have a different sense of humor), I want to know what podcasts your listening to. Anymore you think I should add to my list? Please share in the comments .

Thanks for reading :)

Night of 100 Canvases!

I donated a piece of art to the Silver Rooms "We The People:100 Canvases" Exhibition and Fundraiser. The Silver Room has hosted an annual block party in the Wicker Park neighborhood, this will be their 12th year hosting the "Sound System Block Party". This was my first year participating and it was alot of fun.

The piece I donated was from a series I call "Waiting". The work was originally commissioned by Globetrotter Magazine. My bestie Logan was the model for the series, so between Globetrotter Mag (a friend of the Silver Room) Logan and myself all being friends and supporters of whatever The Silver Room does, this image was perfect.

"Waiting #1" printed, framed and bagged ready to for exhibition

New Work Thanks to the HPAC

Happy Summer!! I’m really hoping that today being the Summer Solstice the weather really shows up and shows out! The weather has been sort of crummy here in Chicago, we’ve had some beautiful days but more crummy days. Its okay, because I know that the buck stops here and it will be a fantastic summer!!! I’ mean yesterday it was 60 degrees no bueno!!! Anyway its been pretty busy over here at the Steph Graham empire,I’ve been hanging out at the Hyde Park Art Center (HPAC) participating in their Bridge Program. The experience with was a fantastic one, and its sort of hard to explain The Bridge Program because for the most part it felt like I was just hanging out, but it was more than that as we shared ideas, critiqued artworks , worked our artist statements and discussed just how we are navigating the art world in Chicago. For the past three months this group of artists along with facilitator Annie Morse and Jen Tremblay has become my little family, and now that the program has concluded and my Tuesday nights are free… well I dont know what to do with myself I’m sort of starting to cry now… hold on let me just send a little hello text to my buddy Michelle, she was one of the artists i the program..hmm maybe I’m just being a little dramatic.
So I walked out of Bridge with some new friends, a reworked artist statement and a new project! SAY WHAT!!!

I started Bridge with the intention on making more guy portraits. However the violence in Chicago has been off the charts with all the shootings here and its been really getting me down and I’ve started to take it personally. The death of Endia Martin over a Facebook fight.. I took to my sick bed on her death and I really got to thinking, what my role as an artist was to help bring awareness and finding actionable solutions to curb the violence. So I created a video piece of found audio and video that I call Salvation Street . 

Tax Day!

"The hardest thing in the world to understand is the income tax" -Albert Einstein.

TODAY IS TAX DAY!!! DEADLINE IS HERE!!! UH OH!! Man, let me tell you I do not look forward to this time of year, and Mister Einstein said it right!! Taxes are soo overwhelming and intimidating, I don't care how organized I am when it comes to tax season, I never look forward to it. I sit on the edge of my seat as I turn all my paperwork into my accountant wondering if I'm going to have a refund or am I going to owe. I just cant take it!!

I submitted my taxes the other night but with today being the deadline, and some of yall filing extensions I thought I would share some resources that I found helpful so when next year comes around you and I are on top of our game.

Tax season is the only thing that keeps me on my game when it comes to collecting receipts and such, even if I dont use them for filing its always interesting to see how much I've spent on a single project. I'm still in a trial and error mode searching for a tracking system that is easy for me. Right now I have a simple excel spreadsheet that I'm checking into constantly and recording expenses. Its month 3 though, so Im praying that this is something I will keep consistent with, but so far so good. Let me tell you I will abandon a system in a second if its not working for me. Systems for record keeping really should be as easy as possible because otherwise you simply will not do it Its also smart to know how much money you are spending and what your spending it on. Personal Finance 101 right?!

So keeping along with this whole taxes thing, I simply wanted to share 2 podcasts about taxes I recently listened to. These podcasts are my one of my favorite podcasts on personal finance from Money Girl.

Hopefully you find these helpful, and cheers to a new year of consistent proper recordkeeping

If you have any tax tips or resources  I would love to hear about them in the comments

Welcome to the "Year of Greater"

"Cousin Nick playing dominoes" Summer, 2013
I spent my New Year's holiday praising the Lord at New Life Covenant Church. Going to church each new year has become somewhat of a tradition for me. It just makes me feel good and, you don't have to worry about overpriced events. I hit up a few house parties after and its a great low cost, spiritually fed beginning to the new year :). The service was awesome, there were tons of people there, the energy was anointed and super gospel singer Fred Hammond even performed. Everyone was excited to thank 2013 for all its blessings welcome 2014.  The night was truly special!!

I was inspired, blessed and encouraged when Pastor Hannah declared 2014 to be THE YEAR OF GREATER!  Awesome! I'm ready for it, my goals are set, I've got my mind right and I'm so excited to make 2014 exactly the way I want it to be.

I hope your as ready for 2014 as I am!!
Cheers to having a Year of Greater!

Stephanie Graham, Studio Blog. All rights reserved. © Maira Gall.