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Tuesday, July 22, 2014

o one should be pissed while on vacay...especially not in a beautiful place like Paris BUT that is EXACTLY what happened. I am proud of how I handled the situation though. It all started at breakfast...

Eating in Paris, of course is fine dining however, things were not so fine this morning. It was really my fault. I had been spoiled really, up until now. Despite my numerous attempts, my accent gave me away and servers usually just spoke in English to me. I did try though! That counts. 

This morning at breakfast though, our server did NOT speak English and I did NOT speak enough French to even order the basic necessity of food. IT WAS SO FRUSTRATING. I totally get how someone from another country that speaks another language must feel like in America. I settled for something I did not want to eat. You know that is NOT my style but I gave up. I felt disempowered and just so unsatisfied.

As trivial as this sounds, it really disturbed my spirit. I couldn't go out like a sucka though. I just couldn't. I resolved in that moment that the next meal I ordered, I would only order in FRENCH even if the server had mercy and replied in English. While mama and my lil' sister enjoyed their French breakfast, I studied my French phrase book.

The other night we found a juice bar right around the corner from our hotel.  So after my family ate we walked over to Bob's Juice Bar.  I memorized my phrases on how to order something.  I proudly ordered my green smoothie in French.  

"Donnez moi s'il vous plait un green smoothie."

Yes!  Redemption!  Results!  The funny thing is I asked my lil' sister (who took some French in high school) how to ask about the ingredients used.  The server spoke English and may have even been American as her accent sounded a little midwestern...she answered back in English.  We all had a good laugh.  That green smoothie was so delicious.  Every sip tasted like TRIUMPH and it was delicious.

It's okay to get pissed every once in a while.  You do however remain in a powerless place when you let this emotion take completely over and ruin your whole day or trip.  

So, take a deep breath, find your peace and completely conquer your circumstance.  

Have you ever been frustrated in another country due to a language barrier?  Leave a comment and tell me all about it.    

Monday, July 21, 2014

light 31AT31, now boarding for Paris, France.  That's right!  It is time to take 31AT31 on another blog tour.  Last time, it was the Southern Hospitality Tour in various cities in South Carolina and Georgia.  Now we shall explore THE ART OF ALL THINGS FRENCH from the food, museums, galleries, monuments, the people, music and the fashion.  Now, of course this is all pending an adequate internet connection.  I am told the hotel has wifi in both the room and the lobby.  So let's keep our fingers crossed.  

The list of all the places I would like to visit on this second time to Paris is super long and has a serious arts focus.  My first time in Paris, I was only concerned about receiving my first passport stamp and having one (albeit very limited) conversation with a native French speaker.  It was with the cab driver and I asked him how much? as that was the phrase I had spent the most time practicing in between studying for law school finals.  The only problem was, I didn't study possible responses so I just stared at him with a goofy smile on my face when he told me the price back in French.  It is a memory, my aunt still cracks up about. Ha!  

He spoke English, of course.  I only say of course because one of our tour guides spoke 5 different languages because there were 5 different language speakers on the tour.  I am pretty sure had there been one more language added to the mix, he would have spoken that language too.  

This time to Paris will be different.  I didn't have time to practice any phrases so I will be that annoying American flipping through my phrase book.  Oh well!  I get an A for effort.  

A good artist friend of mine, encouraged me to make little art pieces to leave behind wherever I go.  I totally dig that idea so I will do just that if time permits.  I am a last minute packer but in my defense, I travel so much, I can pack my stuff in 2.3 seconds.

What to expect from the BONJOUR BLOG TOUR

 You can expect to live vicariously through me with pictures and perhaps even some video!  I don't even know what to expect so expect adventure and surprises along the way.  I am hoping to discover several things starting with THE ART OF ALL THINGS FRENCH...

Any art related sights you recommend?  I have a long list but would love to hear your suggestions.  Share your suggestions in the comments.  If you have a friend who would like to virtually explore Paris with me, share this post with them.  Bonjour!

Friday, July 18, 2014

African fabric is my kryptonite and a natural girl's best friend. I simply cannot get enough of it. It was featured in our island wedding in Jamaica, it is a fashion staple in my wardrobe, often wraps up my long flowing locs in love, and now it is featured in my art. The traditional textiles take me back to a time that only my ancestral D.N.A. knows the truth about.

Now, I am a proud honorary member of the "Cotton Club."  You know, those of us who frequently wrap our hair up in bright, vibrant pieces of fabric, (bamboo least two pair, haha) and run amok all over town.  Man, when I know I did a good wrap and hair combo where some of my hair is styled to compliment the wrap...YOU.  CAN'T.  TELL.  ME.  NATHAN. (Yes, I said Nathan.)  Rocking African fabrics just brings out my swag and yes I be feelin' myself to death, hunty.  When I see other members of the Cotton Club or anyone from Team Natural, there is always a nod of respect and sly smile exchanged as if to say, "I see you.  I mean, really see you and you're beautiful."

Stamp Making Kit and African Fabric for African American Greeting Cards

It was a few weeks ago when I started playing with the idea of turning African fabrics into natural hairstyles.  It started with two mixed media collage pieces I call Afro Jazz.  Then I started using that phrase as an actual verb: Afro Jazzing.  This is what I call my art that incorporates African fabrics into natural hairstyles from afros to fro hawks.  

When I look at the curves, patterns and designs on the fabric, they resemble natural hairstyles to me.  I can usually just cut around the shapes on the fabric to make into a hairstyle.  When the patterns are more geometric and box-like, I simply cut circles or angular shapes.  To give the appearance of texture, I make sure my cuts overlap more than one pattern.  Circular shapes represent afros and afro puffs while, thin strips are made to resemble flat twists.  Here are 4 brand new handmade greetings cards I will start producing that feature the Afro Jazz technique:

African American Greeting Cards Featuring African Fabrics from Nigeria
Afro Jazz Handmade Greeting Cards (5x7 and blank inside for your personal message) with envelops come in a 4 pack for $13 (plus tax +shipping).  Order yours today!

The process involves a lot of patience, can be quite messy and requires some good music playing in the background.  For these greetings cards, I even made the stamp of the side profile woman figure with a Speedball Speedy Carve Stamp Making Kit.  Even the side profile is representative of a natural hairstyle.  Here, I wanted the face to have a design that resembled cornrows.

I actually love making stamps now!  I plan to make a few more designer stamps with the Speedy-Carve Carving Block.  It sort of looks like a giant flat pink eraser and is sturdy and easy to work with. 

Have you tried working with anything new this week?  Would you like more information on how to join the Cotton Club?  Just playing BUT there are secret meetings taking place at all times of the day, all over the world and rumor has will be coming to a corporate boardroom near you.    

Tuesday, July 15, 2014


I had just returned home from a long day of caring for a friend and purchasing art supplies for the African Diaspora Art and Fashion Show, when I stopped to open my email in a moment of exhale.  All I saw were the words, "DEAR JOLYN, CONGRATULATIONS!"

The rest was a blur for the first few minutes.  After coming to, I realized that the email was sent in congratulations for my appointment to the ArtsWA Board of Commissioners.

I met Karen Haran, the Executive Director for the ArtsWA,  at the Cultural Congress, a regional arts conference while I was presenting on The Art of Critical Thinking.  We spoke afterwards and then had a follow up virtual coffee date to discuss my personal mission, what ArtsWA does and how I could be a part of their work.

Anyway, the rest is history.  I just need a moment to reflect.  After setting out to blog about the art in my day for 31 days back in 2012, entering my first art exhibition that same year, declaring an international art mission and teaching art in Ghana last year, speaking at my first arts conference, and producing a Social Justice Art Camp for teens next month, it has all come to this...I am so humbled.  
"Tek Mi Picha," Acrylic, 16x20, by Jolyn Gardner Campbell 2014

It has definitely been a journey.  Blogging about THE ART OF GREATNESS, THE ART OF PERMISSION, THE ART OF CLARITY, THE ART OF THE LEAP, THE ART OF PRESENTING A FULL SELF, and even various insights on THE ART OF THE LAUNCH when it comes to new ventures, has allowed me to see me clearly.  Thank you to those who have come along with me on this journey.  I don't even think we've reached the halfway mark yet...  

I start my official duties next month at my orientation in Eastern Washington.  I am so honored and excited to advocate for the arts in Washington!  It's a three year term and I plan to give it my all!

Commissioner, Gardner Campbell...signing off...LOL!

What would role would you like to see the government play in the arts , whether local, state or federal?  Tell me in the comments.  Let's take art to the next level together!

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Moving Past Your Blogging Hesitation, To Creating Your Online Money-Making Destination: An In Depth Case Study Discussion Discovering the Hidden Revenue in Your Blog.

T hat title is a mouthful, right?!  Perhaps, BUT it is right on point and on time.  If the "blog struggle" is real, this upcoming podcast is for you.  By "real" I mean, you either have a blog that you've neglected OR you have a blog idea that you are simply mentally stalking and building up fantasies about OR you are thinking about starting a new blog relationship OR you are already in a new relationship with your blog and things are going just "ok."  

Why not take things to the next level?  Put some cha-ching on it.  Poorly phrased Beyonce references aside, the thought that of having a seriously fruitful, money-making blog sounds like an area worth exploring.  Wouldn't you agree?  

You all know I have this blog-on again, blog-off again relationship.  31at31 and I are working on it and getting back to what we enjoyed in the early days.  Now that my bloggy boo has a new title (AKA a new domain name) , we get to act all BRAND NEW and stuff.  

Truth be told, creating new art has really prompted me to blog more.  I realize now, what made things so juicy in the beginning like the long walks on the beach (no for real, I went to Alki or one of my hidden beaches to reflect on the art of my day) and the emails (again, I am serious...I would send emails to myself about blog topics).  Creating the art and writing about the art that I create feels complete.    

The ultimate "duh" moment: when you have an art blog, it usually helps if you are creating art to blog about.  This applies in a general sense as well.  When you have a (fill in the blank here) blog, it helps if you are living, being, and/or doing, the very thing you blog about.  Duh!

For whatever excuses reasons, we allow the much less sexy parts of life take over and kill our blog buzz.  Why do we do that?!  I swear, people and blogs love falling off.  Fortunately, we can always get right back on and start anew, recharge, revamp, REMOVE the blogging blockages to let our creativity flow.

Moving Past Your Blogging Hesitation, To Creating Your Online Money-Making Destination: An In Depth Case Study Discussion Discovering the Hidden Revenue in Your Blog

Just when I start thinking about how to monetize and generate income with my blog, the Universe starts acting on my behalf and connects flights and airport pickups.  What am I talking about?  

Well wouldn't you know, my friend, Sonya "Mogul" Thomas and online marketing expert, is in town from beautiful Hawaii. A mutual client and friend, Jacqueline Nash, Blogger and Chief Visionary Officer of has agreed to be the subject of a case study and allow me to sit in on their business meeting.  
        Sonya "Mogul" Thomas

      Jacqueline Nash

I get to eavesdrop on the discussion and consultation about Jacqueline's real blog and the real questions she has about how to take things to the next level with monetization.  She said she has questions in the these four areas:
  • Branding 
  • Engaging Your Target Market
  • Traffic Generation
  • Monetizing Beyond Just Ads
PLUS, Sonya has agreed to answer some of YOUR questions too!  You like the idea of being a fly on the wall and listening in on a real blogger and hearing their questions?  I am allowed to invite 5 bloggers or aspiring bloggers to listen in with me on this business call!  Get your blogging questions answered for a fraction of the price it would cost to hire an expert yourself.  Would you like to join me?  Want more details? Don't hesitate...!  Join now.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

My art blog is so vain.  It probably thinks this post is about it.  Well, it is.  After spending 80 jillion hours transferring DNS mumbo jumbo and discombobulating the thingamajig into a whatchamacallit and watching two YouTube videos, I finally followed the tutorial correctly on changing my blog's domain.  This really does deserve two pats on the back because I did it all while half sleep, hungry, and with a painfully THROBBING hangnail.  

So...there's good news AND bad news.  The good news is that now you can find my art blog at its very own name:!  The bad news is that all of your lovely comments from Google+ have all disappeared.  

I know.  It sucks.  But 'tis a small price to pay for a little blog vanity.  It's a new day and 31at31 is moving in a whole new direction.  31at31 is not just my cute lil' art blog.  It will also be a virtual art gallery for emerging artists.  So, there's that.  Look for more details in a subsequent blog post.

Oh and the really good news is that I have a surprise!  All will be revealed in due time and in due blog posts.  I am pretty sure you will love it though and/or "like like" it.  I am too tired to even think of any clever hints to give.  You'll just have to take my word AND my art for it...

Wait.  I can't leave you hanging like that even if my eyeballs are raging against my laptop screen in the form of bloodshot and watery.  The image below has a hint.  I will neither confirm nor deny any guesses until a certain time in July...that's all for now...muhahahahahhahahaha.  But, if you pay close attention it is sooo obvious.  Really, I made it too easy.  Good luck! 

Can you guess what the surprise is from the above picture?  Tell me in the comments.  Who knows?  I may even mail something special to the winner...

Thursday, July 3, 2014


Are you are a Netflix binge watcher like me?! Netflix has a hit series called Orange is the New Black.  It's riddled with issues of social justice to the point where, if you are an artist, in order to process the complexities using art, abstract painting and/or mixed media is a good way to start.  

This series is well written, addictive, thought provoking, and DEPRESSING.  I'm not talking clinical depression (which is very serious).  I'm referring to what I am calling artistic depression.  It is when an artist finds herself inspired by a particular subject, is compelled to create but still feels like it is not enough.  
What kind of justice is afforded
our youth?

Race and equity in the prison system can be so black and white with areas as gray as the cold concrete cell walls that painting in full color seems like an appropriate approach to raising awareness.

PLEASE NOTE: Another kind of depression sets in when you realize you should have paced yourself through a series that comes out all at once and causes a year long thumb twiddle session...


As tranquil as I find twirling my thumbs as fast as possible without touching, I decided to paint instead.  Say hello, to one of my latest justice focused mixed media abstract paintings called, When Black Turns Orange.
When Black Turns Orange, 2014, Mixed Media, 18x36, by Jolyn Gardner Campbell.

Race and equity in the prison system can be so black and white with areas as gray as the cold concrete cell walls.  Painting in full color seems like an appropriate approach to raising awareness.  This is the story or process of how black boys go from student to respondent to a juvenile donning an orange prison jumpsuit.  This is real life folks.  

Black boys are disproportionately disciplined more often and more harshly for similar offences than their white counterparts.  Discipline in the form of suspensions and expulsions cause so much academic fall behind or push out that often times, that student becomes a court involved youth AKA respondent.

 I saw this happen repeatedly while I worked as a prosecutor in the juvenile justice system.  Talk about a daily broken heart.  You can't help but feel some type of way when these children are from the very neighborhoods where you grew up.  It could have been me.  That's a scary thought.  Orange is the New Black Season 2 may be out, but there's hardly anything new about black becoming orange.  THAT'S A PROBLEM.  

The question is, what can we do to restore justice to our black and brown youth falling down the pipes and into prison?  

Are you involved with any social justice work with a youth focus?  Share your thoughts and experiences in the comments. 

I created a summer camp for teens called TEENERGY (teen + energy) because teens need a space where their voice is intentionally amplified and most importantly, heard.  It is still not enough however.  

A valid point was raised a few weeks ago at luncheon addressing these issues.  The speaker asked, "If the old adage is true that it takes a village to raise a child, then it must follow that it takes a village to fail a child."  I thought that was powerful.  C'mon village.  We've got work to do! 


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