Archive for November, 2009

J. Rothman Designs Store.

Friday, November 27th, 2009

I finally took the plunge and went live. I got a store out there with things for to buy and whatnot! Now all of the things I’ve been talking about for eons and eons are available. Go. Go now. Oh, and tell all your friends! I work in advertising and word-of-mouth is the way to go. Make me your Facebook status, people!

And if there’s something you’d like to see me create, you let me know. My friend B. asked me for an lunar moth, and working on that project I learned what kind of brown pens I enjoy using. Always discovering new things. So anyway, email me if there’s something you be wantin’.

jessica at design-newyork dot com

You’re the bestest blog readers I ever had. Sniff. I don’t deserve you.

The balance of life.

Monday, November 23rd, 2009

This weekend was full of ups and downs. An up was that I organized my studio (which was in dire need of it, it looked like a hobo had taken up residence there), and I started setting up for Thanksgiving. Want proof? You got it:


A semi-downer was going to the annual cat show at the Westchester County Center. I was kind of meh. I didn’t really get to interact with many kittehs, and no owners were particularly odd or outrageous. Another semi-downer was working on my pigeon/rat holiday ornament. First of all (and I blame my Jewish heritage for this), I made the ornament really big. If one tries to put it on one of those little half-size holiday trees, it’s going to look mighty silly.  I would love to take a picture of it on a Christmas tree, but I don’t know where there’s one that already set up. So I just took pictures of it around my apartment. And for scale, I tried to take a picture of my hand holding it, which involved me setting up my camera with the timer, sprinting over to the other side of the bed, and waiting for the shot to be taken. There were many failures.

fail1 fail2 fail3

Finally, I got a decent shot.


See? A lovely, happy homage to the netherworld characters of my beloved city.

P.S. I also took a picture of the ornament on my doorknob to show how it can be displayed during the rest of the year.


An observance.

Thursday, November 19th, 2009

As we all know, the home arts are back in a big way (knitting, anyone?), and that means people are exploring all kinds of previously undiscovered terrain. People often associate crocheting and knitting with blankets and scarves, and cross-stitch with cute little samplers, but I’ve noticed a great many people going beyond that. Here are a few examples I’ve seen lately that I think are beautiful handiwork, or cool concepts, or both.

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The holidays approacheth, and so I present to you… Pigeon and Rat.

Wednesday, November 18th, 2009

I love, NAY, I adore pigeons. My mom always tells people that when I was a child, she would take me to beautiful European cities, like Amsterdam and Rome and London and Brussels, and all I would care about is the pigeons. I realize they have icky bad things that live on them, but I love them nonetheless. Same goes for rats. Every time I’m in a subway, I stare into the tracks hoping to see a wee furry plump rodent. If I do, it officially becomes a good day for me. So, in honor of this affection for my fellow city-dwellers, I am making a tree ornament with a pigeon and rat.

pigeon rat

And the back side of each character has a lovely design that I created incorporating the silhouettes of both the pigeon and rat.


If you are one of those people who likes alternative ornaments on your tree (yes, you, the one with the hand-blown glass pickle), then this might be right up your alley. And since it is not branded Christmas, this ornament looks just as good hanging on the wall, or off a doorknob year ’round. Now, you’re probably saying, “Where can I purchase this delightful trinket that will surely bring joy to my family for years to come and will most likely become a family heirloom, cherished by my grandchilden long after I have shuffled off this mortal coil?” Well, that’s my next surprise. And on Black Friday, all shall be revealed! (It would be really great if you would visual me swirling a cape dramatically around my head while you read that last line. Thanks so much.)

Remember, nothing says Happy Holidays like vermin!

An artist you should know: Tom Gauld.

Wednesday, November 11th, 2009

I was very sad when Edward Gorey passed away; There was a hole that needed to be filled. He created droll, macabre, witty, dark pen-and-ink drawings and I didn’t know about anyone who did anything similar. Now, I’ve recently discovered Tom Gauld. He’s a illustrator who lives in London and makes weekly drawings for The Guardian. They are droll and macabre and witty and dark pen-and-ink drawings. Don’t get me wrong, the drawings are very different from Gorey’s, but they are alike in all the good ways. Gauld also makes a great many references to literature (Gorey made references to ballet, film, and opera), which makes me happy. Hooray for smart people, and the smart cartoons they read! Here’s a selection of some of my favorite Gauld pieces.

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Tom Gauld has stuff for sale, so you can own an original Gauld! Check out his website:


Monday, November 9th, 2009

Bad, bad wedding choices. Just really bad. And wrong. Did I mention bad? Although, I must say, I kind of want someone to make me a balloon dress:


More horrendous tattoo choices. Wow.

The healthful benefits of fried food.

Monday, November 9th, 2009

As I have mentioned before, I work in Koreatown, which is a wonderful area if you like spicy food with lots of vegetables and rice (which I do). I pass tons of restaurants which show pictures of their food with a lot of comments like this: “Tofu cooked in mineral water to aid digestion” or “Our kimchi has healthful elements to prevent disease”, all of which is fine. Snorth, the other day, told me about this amazing Korean fried chicken place called Bon Chon. So I went to their website.

Okay, fine, you make life-alteringly delicious fried chicken. Why must you repeat that it is healthy and low-calorie? It’s FRIED CHICKEN. Do you remember when KFC had that horrendously written commercial campaign? It was the one where they said, “You know, if you strip the skin and breading off of our fried chicken, it’s really quite healthy,” and America, as a group, was like OH FOR REAL COME ON do not compare your processed fried chicken to a big bowl of dark green arugula and kale PLEASE KTHX. I’m having flashbacks of that with Bon Chon. Also, for engrish, it’s pretty stellar. Here are some quotes about the signature Bon Chon taste secret:

We use only vegetable oils to fry our chicken. Along with our special sauce, this process eliminates oil and water from the chicken so that it can create lean and crispy tastes. (OH FOR REAL COME ON, etc.)
The initial flavor of the fried chicken decelerates as the temperature cools down.
You hand remains almost free form our ingredient sauce.
Your fingers and hands should remain free from its sauce because the sauce and ingredients remain intact with the chicken.

Halloween Part II.

Monday, November 2nd, 2009

Went to NYC for Halloween this year to see my friend Jon Riedel’s annual dance performance. You know how a lot of ballet companies do The Nutcracker? Jon does a choreographed interpretation of several of Edward Gorey’s short stories. He does The Evil Garden, The Doubtful Guest and The Gashleycrumb Tinies, as well as others. If you’re around next Halloween, I highly recommend seeing them. Here’s a link to his site:

The Riedel Dance Theater was in Soho, so I got to see quite a few terrific costumes. There’s a problem with Manhattan and Halloween, which is that the normally weird and slightly “off” people you know to avoid just blend in, and you can’t tell the people dressed up as freaky people from the truly freaky people. Like this woman I saw at the train station. I took a picture surreptitiously from behind a sign, so it’s not so great, but I’ll walk you though it.


Okay, so she’s got the big sparkly red hat with the feathers, fine. But on her body she has a tuxedo jacket and a black boa over something that resembles a fat suit for her knees, or a flesh-colored mushroom. She gave me the impression that today was just another day to her (“Ho hum, it’s Monday, time to put on the Vegas headdress and the goiter pants”). Had this not been Halloween, I would have had the crazy radar go off BEEP BEEP BEEP and I would have known to stay away. Such a confusing day.

I saw two costumes that were terrific. One was a poke at my heartstrings, because it was one of my favorite Muppets: Beaker.


The mouth flapped and everything! You can see his eyeholes right under his collar. The second costume, well, that was just special. And if you’re of a delicate nature, maybe you should stop reading right now. At Jon’s party, someone was dressed as a full moon. Here was the front of his costume:


Aaaaaand here was the back.



Halloween. And the fishtank. Mainly the fishtank.

Sunday, November 1st, 2009

It’s Halloween again, as it seems to be every year, and this year due to a truly psychotic work week (I enjoy working 36 hours in three days, no, really, I do) I did not have an opportunity to make or even care about a costume. So I did not. I did, however, get a great idea for next year’s costume (the tooth fairy, but not how you’re thinking, a more creepy-like tooth fairy). But back to the story: my friend Neenernator had her annual Halloween party a week early this year because she wasn’t going to be around this weekend, so Cricket and I went. And it was lovely. Out of the many vaguely steampunk slash gothic sluts at the party, Neenernator was by far the best one.


She actually took some time to decorate her house for Halloween, which really doesn’t take a ton of effort for her because Neenernator’s house is already pretty macabre to begin with. There’s deep maroon and mustard-colored walls, and that slate wall with the antique wood stove you see there in the picture (also the red velvet curtains, please notice those as well) and Bob the Real Human Skull sitting on the mantle keeping company with the small shark in formaldehyde, and the light that resembles an alien brain, all that stuff is permanent house fixtures all year round. So for Halloween she could pretty much hang that creepy bat thing from the chandelier and call it a day. But no, she really made it unpleasant (she had a gross fake decomposing severed head as a knife block and red Jell-o with eyeballs in the blender) and I spent a lot of time not in the kitchen with those things. Honestly, I spent very little time socializing and most of my time with the fishtank. I have an unhealthy obsession with Neenernator’s fishtank. I’ve mentioned it before. Sadly, one member of her giant blue fish couple died, so now only one is left. But she got new different fish, so I ended staring at them for three hours. I also learned an important life lesson, which is that it is incredibly difficult to take pictures of fish in a fishtank. The tank blasts the flash right back at you, and the fish are constantly moving around, and the camera doesn’t know what to focus on, it’s an opportunity rife with failure. Here are my best attempts.

First, the gigantor tank.


Shy iridescent gray fish.


Albino pleco (suckerfish).


One of them cool new fishies. It’s a golden striped iridescent something-or-other, with catfish whiskers. I heart them big time.


And here are two pictures Neenernator during the daytime that are far better. You can see the lonely blue fella. You see the vertical version? You see those diamond-shaped ones with the stripes and the little orange ones underneath them? I bought her those. I’m very attached to those ones.

aqaurium1 aquarium2