Aurora Lady is a portrait artist and girl power soldier living in LA. When we first met, we immediately bonded over our unabashed love for Drew Barrymore and Mariah Carey. Her new collection, Cathedral of Rebellion, celebrates the bad girls we all adore and in this interview with the lady herself, we get to learn about all the things she loves! We are also giving away some goodies from the new collection so make sure you read about how to do that at the end of the post!
What inspires your art?
I go through very obsessive, neurotic phases, and I these phases totally inform my content. Right now, I’m getting Spring-y: loads of pastel colors I find in the Pasadena Rose bushes, stray cats that have different colored David Bowie eyes, Scorpios, blended peach margaritas at this bar called Amigos, podcasts about politics and sex, talking with a friend so intimately that you start crying, and women who rock muumuus and caftans (Mrs. Roper and Stevie Nicks). My favorite, though, is talking to other women who have cultivated their style, and then finding out about their influences. It’s the best way to dig deep and look for inspiration.
If you could describe your style as the love child of any two people/things, who or what would they be?
My style would be a cross between Steve Martin circa 1979 with the white suit and bunny ears, and Drew Barrymore circa 1993, when she was a bad girl who took everything off, except her dark red lipstick. And even though I’ve been consistently in love with both of these people and their respective styles for decades now, it’s really their attitudes that just sent me over the moon. I like people who know exactly who they are, but aren’t held back by that self awareness.
Who are some females, artists and otherwise, that you admire?
My latest collection, “Cathedral of Rebellion”, is a love letter to seven women who have made their mark on me, in one way or another. They are all completely different and I completely love them. There’s Marie Antoinette, Lydia Deetz, Marilyn Monroe, Lindsay Lohan, Lolita, Courtney Love, Mary-Kate Olsen: they’ve all had a hand in my consideration of the type of woman I am. They’ve each had their highest of highs and lowest of lows, and that’s what’s kept me attracted to them. I adore people in pop culture who know their own humanity, who aren’t solely pursuing a perceived perfection. My biggest girlcrush right now is this woman in Canada named Jessica Luxury (also a Scorpio!), and I’m pretty sure she’s gonna rule the world. She’s a sex positive body activist and is so smart and clever on every level. She’s like my power animal– even reading her Facebook updates make me wanna work harder, be more present, and love with every bit of my humor and strength. Jessica and her partner host their own sex show called “Heavy Petting”. AMAZE! When I moved from Fresno to Los Angeles, I made an effort to make friends with women who were focused on their careers and living their dreams. Now, my girlfriends are the people I look up to and admire, because they’re constantly making killer projects, creating lifestyles that empower them and other folks. They are complete badasses and keep me moving forward. I could sing their praises til the end of time—instead, I make sure I talk ‘em up on my blog and hope that their love is embraced by my readers.
Is there a particular decade in history you feel a connection with?
It’s more like certain elements and ideas from certain decades are what I connect with, and it’s mostly through memory. I’m old enough know that I have really beautiful, romantic ideas about the pop culture I grew up with in the 90’s. And I feel really appreciative of the 40’s and 50’s because that’s when my grandmother came of age, and I was close to her. My mother was definitely a product of the 60’s and I saw that in the things she gravitated to, and now I am drawn to as well—it’s so strong that when I am watching older Angelica Houston movies, sometimes I pretend that her and my mother were friends, or were connected on some cosmic level. I do my make up like my mother did hers, not because she taught me, but because it links me to her on a daily basis, and she learned how to do hers at a certain time. I think people might automatically view it as an homage to a certain era, but most of the time, it’s just a singular way to share something with someone I love.
What music are you currently listening to?
I’m really into the new Exit Music. I can’t wait to get that album! I also really love Fun.’s “Some Nights”—I’ve always adored Queen and I think Fun. is a fantastic progression in that style. My husband and I are really into record hunting; last year we got set up with a record player and now vinyl is pretty much all we listen to. We’re sticking to a lot of the classics right now: Matthew Sweet’s “Girlfriend” and Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers “Damn the Torpedos” are pretty much always on rotation. And, of course, “Rumours” from Fleetwood Mac. That album has officially seeped into my bloodstream and is now a huge part of me. Now I’m starting to collect the vinyl versions of the CDs I loved as a teenager: “Last Splash” from the Breeders and “Exile in Guyville” from Liz Phair. I still can’t get through a listen of “Exile” without wanting to write a letter to some dude. Only now, it’s different dudes for different things. That would be a pretty fun ‘zine to make, “Letters to Dudes in the Key of Exile.”
What are your wardrobe staples?
I adore vintage clothing! I know that’s vague, but it also gives you the idea that I just like things that have a history to them. My staple would probably be this fake black leather biker jacket that I found at Goodwill on La Brea. I wish I had about 8 of them, so I could decorate them different ways! I also love dresses—lightweight, puffy a-lines, and long polyester maxi’s from the late 60’s are totally my jam. I love my little black vintage ankle boots. And I would consider make up a wardrobe staple: I love a strong penciled in brow paired with whatever Lime Crime lipstick I happen to have in my purse.
Is there anything you collect?
How about hearts?! I’m actually very against “collections”, personally. I constantly take stuff to the Goodwill and it freaks me out to know that I’ll be saddled with certain possessions for the rest of my life. Collections generally make me very depressed. It’s part of why I like the internet—I enjoy cataloging and organizing in an intangible manner. It’s the only way to keep collections truly tidy.
Your five current obsessions:
The color of Lime Crime’s Airborne Unicorn lipstick (I want this pink/purple hybrid to be my hair color!), iced chai tea soy lattes from Lovebirds Café in Pasadena, starting or not starting another zine focused on feminist discourse, DIY sewing projects that utilize crafts made by people I don’t know (like quilts or crochet or embroidered towels refashioned into skirts or black metal drum kit cases.)
Do you have any advice for aspiring lady artists?
Eliminate the static! Find a job that allows you to showcase and use your talents, and if you don’t have that job yet, create it. Don’t waste time on people who are dream killers—seriously, break off all ties from them and get the hell out. Be ruthless and use every moment to work on your art—even if you are working a desk job, have notepads next to you so you can write down every idea, and listen to podcasts that inspire you while you are pushing papers. Wake up an hour early to draw before your commute. Use your sketchbook at lunch and take notes on everything. Talk to EVERYONE about what you are passionate about, and don’t limit your social circle to other artists! Your vision is needed and there is room for every sort of perspective. Look for opportunities to help others—ask what their passions are and connect people. Most of all, just keep going and don’t get discouraged. I mean that. It’s really, really easy to say I’m never going to get anywhere with this, and stop. That’s a sad way to live. If I had given up, I’d still be living in a podunk town, wishing I had had the guts to go balls to the wall and make money off my art.
What’s next in the world of Aurora Lady?
I just did a collaboration with my favorite makeup company ever, Lime Crime, and I have some more partnerships coming up. This is so exciting for me and has been a huge goal of mine; it’s terrifically nausea-inducing to know it’s finally happening! I’ve got more portrait projects on deck, and I’m working on a show in downtown L.A. I’m also doing a St. Antoinette sticker campaign—look out for her face on the streets! She’s going to be everywhere!
AND NOW FOR THE GIVEAWAY! One lucky reader will win a set of all Cathedral of Rebellion buttons, plus a signed Cathedral of Rebellion print of their choice! Just leave a comment below! Comments will be closed on Thursday at midnight and I will choose a winner randomly on Friday! Good luck! MORE GOOD NEWS!: Aurora is offering 20% off to AL readers with the coupon code: secretagentlover
EDIT: The winner has been chosen! #22 Kitty! Please email me at marie[at]agentlover.com to claim your prize!!!
May 21, 2012 23 Comments
HERE COMES THE FOREST NYMPH!!!!!!!!
I MISS YOU BIG SUR!!!!!!!!!
My period is here so I’ve been crying and eating to this the past couple of days:
May 18, 2012 2 Comments
You’ve probably seen their kneepad stockings if you don’t have them in your tights drawer already (you do have a tights drawer, don’t you?) But if for some reason you haven’t heard about Hansel From Basel, don’t fret, because today we are Mad Crushin’ On Hannah Byun, the lovely lady holding the reins at this Los Angeles-based hosiery company that got its start in 2007. Hannah, who studied art history and studio art at UCLA, is both Hansel From Basel’s founder as well as the talent behind their whimsical designs. Not only will we get to learn about her inspirations and obsessions, but we are also giving away one of Hansel From Basel’s adorable accessories! Make sure you read about that at the end of the post!
What inspired you to start Hansel From Basel?
I always wanted to design, and knew how to make socks because I came from a family of sock makers and was the most immediate thing I could create and design. I came up with the name Hansel from Basel as a nickname for myself, kind of like my alter ego. It was Hansel, and I was obsessed with all things Swiss when I was little and Basel, being in Switzerland, was a perfect fit.
What other artists, clothing designers or otherwise, do you admire?
Artists: Cy Twombly, Egon Schiele, Carravaggio.
Clothing designers: Miuccia Prada, Dries van Noten, Rachel Comey.
If you could describe your personal style as the love child of two people, who would they be?
If Annie Hall was a man and married Jane Birkin, that’s the love child of personal style I would be.
What are your wardrobe staples for the summer?
Rachel Comey dresses. I just got their lovely carrot pants that are perfect for the summer! And my linen overalls.
If you could jump into a time-traveling DeLorean a la Back to the Future, what era would you go back to and why?
I would go back to 1920′s in Paris! A super inspiring and timeless city. I think one of the most artistic periods of the 20th century.
What are some of your favorite movies?
I always loved Amélie, Orlando, L’Avventura.
Have any of them inspired the Hansel From Basel aesthetic?
All the movies are so tasteful and we try to make the line just as tasteful and artistically a bit odd to standout.
Can you give us your five current obsessions?
The smell of geraniums, my Saveur bread magazine that I read very slowly, home decor, Penny (the HFB office dog), Klaus (friend’s red lion-haired bunny.)
Do you collect anything?
When I can find them, Danish wooden shoe polishers (not an easy random find) and lipstick. Shu Uemura is my favorite.
What’s next for Hansel From Basel?
We are launching our first kids line! Hansel From Basel Kids. We are so excited! There will be cute little socks and tights for the little ones and it’s coming out for Fall/Winter 2012!
And now for the giveaway! One lucky PAL OF AL will win this cute polka dot envelope clutch!
Just leave a comment and if you’d like, mention your favorite Hansel From Basel item! Comments will be closed on Thursday at midnight and I will choose a winner randomly on Friday! Good luck!
EDIT: THE WINNER HAS BEEN CHOSEN! LUCKY NUMBA SEVEN: CRISSY!!! Congratulations on your Hansel From Basel polkadot clutch! Email me at marie [at] agentlover.com!
May 14, 2012 18 Comments
WEYL HALLOW. I just got back from an extremely relaxing vacation in beautiful Big Sur. It was RULL NICE to be far, far away from traffic, my inbox, and the doldrums and demands of everyday life. I recommend you do this sort of vacation too. ‘Twas a nice reboot. Anyway, in between all the cooking, eating, drinking of wine (almost 20 bottles), hiking, and moonbathing I was able to squeeze in a couple of quick photo sessions in the woods. As we all know I loves to dress in theme, so I figured Loulou’s daisy crown and this vintage sundress I got from Shabon would be perfect for my ethereal earth princess look. Please listen to Kate Bush while you look at these pics…
May 11, 2012 9 Comments
Hello Dreamlovers. Let me introduce you to my new favorite outfit. I feel like a waitress from Earth Girls Are Easy! The dress is Betsey Johnson, and I have to say, ever since I heard about her company’s bankruptcy last week, when I type out her name I get an ache in my guts. She’s always been my #1 favorite designer and such an inspiring woman in general so I can’t help but feel sad! I will admit, when Steve Madden bought her out a couple of years ago, I was scared it was a foreshadowing of things to come. It’s unfortunate that most of her stores are closing because I loved visiting them in whatever city I was in and meeting her employees, many of whom shared that same sassy energy Betsey gives out to the world. I even have a great memory of randomly having drinks with one of the New York stores’ managers after bonding over a pair of Pollys I was wearing. Betsey is such a badass woman, I don’t think this is the end all be all of her brand. I’m very excited about the reality show she’s doing with her daughter!
I have been lurking and loving this gold seashell purse forever so I almost fainted when my boo Samantha gave it to me. And then I fainted again and floated out of my body when I found out it was a Zandra Rhodes design! I also think I have found the perfect shade of red nail polish. OF COURSE IT WOULD BE KARDASHIAN KOLORS….
I found this vintage wire name brooch on eBay a while ago and thought it would look PERF on this dress.
May 1, 2012 8 Comments
If you have the Monday blues, c’mon ova here because I have something that will cheer you up….a Cutie Dynamite giveaway! I have been a big fan of the Cutie Dynamite jewelry and accessory line forever so it was only natural to pair up with Andrea to give my lovely LOVELIES (you guys) a chance to win this Double Ruffled Heart Hair Clip!
All you have to do is leave a comment below! You can mention what outfit you would wear with the hair clip or let me know what other Cutie Dynamite accessories you love! Deadline is Thursday at midnight and the winner will be chosen (via random.org) on Friday! Don’t forget to like Cutie Dynamite on Facebook to stay up to date with all of their fabulous accessories!
EDIT: THE WINNER HAS BEEN CHOSEN! # 19 Stephanie Leibowitz YOU ARE THEE ONE! ~woo hoo~ POP CHAMPAGNE~~~~~ Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with your addy to get your Cutie Dynamite hair clip!
April 30, 2012 36 Comments
When I saw that Loulou was making daisy crowns I HAD to get one! She also made me a cute collar as a belated birthday present. MY BOO SHE SO SCHWEET. It says LIBRA on it. (!!!!!) Obviously I wanted to wear everything all at once so I put together this outfit during some recent girl-time with Emi and Sam. The skirt is from I Heart Ronson and it’s one of those that tricks me. It looks OK at first…then a couple jaunts down the street and my cheeks are hanging out. The skirt can’t help it. I have a badunk that makes everything I wear business in the front, bomba party in the back. I ended up having to change into a vintage dress I bought at Shabon in order to survive the rest of the day.
I love this purse. It belonged to my grandmother, Marie Sr. With all due respect to my gramz, this bag is actually kinda shitty! It’s poorly made, but I love it so much! So if I have to keep getting it fixed at the cobbler I WILL!
Here I am trying on Sam’s Miu Miu’s! I LOVE the glitter but I wish they also came in a HUGE cat eye! I also got some acorn earrings from Pygmy Hippo. I am basically wearing all of my friends’ everythangs in this picture. kisses~~~
April 27, 2012 6 Comments
ALRIGHT. Watch yourself. I don’t want anyone to fart from the excitement that I am FINALLY offering my magical commentary and thoughtful analysis on one of the best movies from my youth…Don’t Tell Mom The Babysitter’s Dead starring Kelly Bundy aka the Christina Applegate of our eye!!!
We first meet Sue Ellen and her familia. Yes, “Sue Ellen” is a very Little House On The Prairie-sounding name but she is a COOL TEEN who likes to hang out with her friends, go shopping and dabble in a bit of the ol’ fashion design.
Ok, why didn’t any of my friends have convertibles when I was in high school? They’ve always looked so glamorous and fun, and so ~California~. I always seem to get cars with sunroofs. Perhaps that was my subconscious giving me a low-budget alternative. I’m sure the reality of a convertible probably isn’t as exciting. Bugs in your teeth, hair forever tangled, jacked up sunburns. Sigh.
Sue Ell’s mom is going to Australia for two months, leaving her five children behind. Excuse me, but WHAT? Do people do this IRL? I obviously ain’t nobody’s momma yet, but I am still about to call child protection services on dis B! She leavin’ her kids for that long so she can what, get some Cockadong Dundee in the wetlands of Australia??? What’s going on here. Okay, let me calm down. Back to the story at hand. So, mom hires a STRANGER to watch her house and chillunz while she is away. This old lady:
Sorry, but if I saw this chupacabra at my door, I would jump right into my velcro Pro-wings and RUN LIKE HELL. Haven’t you seen Poltergeist?
GET THAT CADAVER OUTTA MY FACE!!!!!!!
As we all expected, the babysitter turns out to be a demon woman! Then she dies….(from a heart attack, nobody killed her FYI)
After covering her with my old raver pants, aka a California Raisins bedsheet, the kids take the cryptkeeper’s body to the morgue. Problem? These muthas forgot to check the old hag for the CASH MONEYS their mom had left for them before (anonymously) dropping off the body..
WHAT ARE WE GON’ DO?!?!?!?
Sidenote: my #1 favorite character in the film is their pet corgi, Elvis. In this scene he says “huh?” in dog talk. I rewinded it three times.
They were watching the vintage version of Draw Something. I know you are all wondering if a girl like me has ever engaged in some Draw Something and I did, for two whole days. For me, that was impressive. Of course not as impressive as the unnamed friend of mine whose highest amount of active games was with 42 people.
I also love Keith Coogan as the metalhead-turned-gourmet chef brother.
Meanwhile..Sue Ellen has to make some cash to put food on the table! So after a failed stint at a chili dog joint (where she meets a HUNKY HUNK) she focuses her efforts on something of more interest to her personally…..FASHION.
I had to screencap the résumé Sue Ellen cooked up. Fake it ’til ya make it, girl!
She isn’t greeted very warmly by the Devil Wears Prada-esque receptionist.
Especially since Sue Ellen gets the job as Executive Assistant! I love her boss…I’m right on top of that, Rose!
OOH SHE A WORKIN’ GIRL NOW!
I still have major bang pangs for Agent Mulder. He plays a chismoso here.
Eventually the world’s greatest fashion show happened:
And NOW let us discuss how stylish Sue Ellen is throughout the film. Look at them silver stax!
I am really into this red floral jumpsuit (?) and green Docs situation. A couple years after this movie came out I really wanted a pair of Docs but my shoes were always ‘Payless special.’ How stoked was I to find imitation maroon docs at Kmart!? (I also got imitation Birkenstocks that I wore with socks FYI.) In high school I finally got legit Doc Martens. But fuck they made my feet look huge. I swear they look ok on everyone else but they look like dude Lugz on my feet. WHY? Is it ME? Is it my EYES? Anyway.
Man, I still have to finish watching Friday Night Lights! Someday I’ll come back to it. Also, Jules datchu?
Why am I really obsessed with this GIANT WITCH’S SHOE BELT BUCKLE? I think it would have went great with my Flygirl/Selenas costume, don’t you?
I pretty much want to screencap all of her brother’s bedroom.
You are correct. This shot of her Docs and a Mama Celeste pizza is the most inspiring photo of my 2012 so far.
April 26, 2012 22 Comments
A couple of weeks ago I asked the boo boos on Twitter if I should dress up as an In Living Color Fly Girl or one of our beloved Spice Girls for my friends’ 90′s-themed party. The vote was UNANIMOUS…just about EVERYONE in the world wanted to see me parade around in some booty shorts and a Cross Colours crop top rather than squeeze into a pair of J-Camps Hollywood Blvd stripper shoe knockoffs. As much as I wanted to wear Union Jack pasties under a Union Jack Bra with a Union Jack skirt, how could I fight it? After all, ’twas a Young Rie’s dream to be a Fly Girl….
I KNOW Selenas popped into your head right now. I mean it could really go either way, but I studied the above video and some other In Living Color footage to get the exact copy of one of their many diverse looks down pat. I think it was pretty good for pulling it all together on the same day. Queen of themes, datchu?
Luckily I had most of these items already. The bra is from pre-Forever 21 ban and I got some of these SHAWTS from Target. I was bummed because I couldn’t find any decent knee pads anywhere. I wish I still had the ones that I actually had used for my own Fly Girl- esque dance performance over a decade ago. I think we danced for some Mya soundtrack song. Either Bulworth or Rugrats. WHO KNOWS. The final touch was obviously this hat.
Are you guys excited about the new In Living Color reboot? You know I hate remakes but I am curious. Howevz, THIS video of the Fly Girl auditions gets me rullllll pumped!
April 23, 2012 28 Comments
A few months ago, I got a sweet email from a gal named Irene, asking if I’d like a set of Russian nesting dolls made in my likeness. SAY WHAAAAT!? I lurked her blog immediately and freaked out over these matryoshkas of Bjork, Santa Sangre, Small Wonder, The Addams Family and even Ab Fab! Bo Bo Babushka is the brainchild of Irene, an incredibly talented artist living in Australia. She makes these wooden nesting dolls in every theme/movie/TV show you can imagine so make sure you spend some time lurking it all too. She can do custom ones as well so if you want dolls of you, your family or even one of…Full House! OMG STAYMOIST HAVE MERRRRCY!!!!! Shoot Irene a note!
NOW…Let’s take a closer look at the dolls she made of ME!!!!
This was my Halloween costume from last year when I went as PIZZA! I love how she made PIZZA the main doll and included every detail, from my mini Totino’s necklace to the little DiGiorno clutch purse I carried around.
This doll was based on one of my favorite ~casual outfits~: Emi’s childhood NKOTB concert tee that she handed down to me, my trusty Levi’s jacket and this miniskirt from Target I likes to throw on. I’m telling you, Irene’s attention to detail is so MUTHA FUCKIN’ SLICK. She even painted the Wu-Tang badge I wear on my jacket, along with the Kate Bush-themed tote from Fieldguided that my friend Melissa got for me.
I wore this outfit to see John Waters do his standup for his amazing book Role Models last year. You might remember Emi made this hat for me a couple of Christmases ago. I can’t believe how great of a job Irene did replicating it as a miniature version!
I love how she had the dolls mimicking some of my facial expressions like this picture! This was the outfit I wore when I went to the American Horror Story house for the first time (I’ve been twice since..)
Had to do one of my classics- a red and blue schoolgirl look with a thrifted dress, Rococo Nouveau collarette and a Cutie Dynamite hair clip!
This outfit is OLD SCHOOL. I still love that vintage dress but those Rodarte for Target tights are all busted by now! Ha!
Irene saved the best for last. DAS RIGHT IT’S CORN!!!!!!!! When I opened the last doll and saw CORN looking at me I couldn’t stop giggling. Love you Irene! Thank you SO MUCH!
April 20, 2012 26 Comments