have been a little bit away from doing any personal artwork lately – having mostly been concentrating on various graphic design deadlines, and i’ve certainly been away from this space! life has been moving at a quick pace lately – so much to do! wrapping up projects, looking forward to new ones – and some travel this month (chicago & los angeles)!

anyway, here’s a small 4-inch by 4-inch piece i completed this week on flat canvas – the background is a mixture of collage, acrylic, washi tape & ink, and the illustration was drawn on semi-transparent paper, then affixed over the collage.


i am having fun trying to do some work on canvas rather than bits of reclaimed paperboard (though i still love that too) – just something a bit different. i have a few more small canvases that i’ve started in addition to the finished piece above (the top left being the original background before adding the illustration).

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life seems to be grounded in a similar palette lately – i dyed my hair blue & teal about six weeks ago because i so desperately needed a change (my hair is always first to fall victim to these flights of fancy). i’m still interested in playing with my own image as part of healing & growth (and an exploration of gender). still planning to do a bit with instant film photography, but haven’t had the funds to acquire a camera and film as of yet (but soon, i hope – maybe after all this travel)! i am finding myself wanting to do something different with this space too – a new name, perhaps, as ‘dear detective’ starts to feel less and less like something i connect to despite years of creating work associated with that title. hm.


additionally, an announcement – i launched a new etsy shop today – SWAMP THISTLE – a mixture of original artwork & vintage finds. if you’d like to purchase the piece highlighted above, it is available for sale here! i am also accepting commissions for custom work & graphic design projects. if you have a project idea or would like to discuss something, please contact me – ohdeardetective [at] gmail [dot] com.

hope you are well, neglected friends & readers – what is new with you?


2015 WRAP-UP

hard to believe i haven’t posted here since october until today… i think i’ve mentioned this, but it’s been increasingly hard for me to write here. it’s something i’d like to get back into in the new year – i really enjoy writing & sharing in this space, but the further i got from regular posting… the harder it felt to come back & really cover everything that was going on here. unfortunately, my need for completeness sometimes means it’s difficult to recap current things when other big stuff hasn’t been touched on yet, and then this little log languishes. my personal instagram has become a little more of a diary again, but i’ve spent a lot of time lining this little nest too – i don’t want to ignore it.


my life & circumstances changed more in 2015 – my 30th orbit around the sun – than perhaps any other year. some of the changes were large & external – the end of a long relationship, leaving north carolina & moving back to minnesota, living with my dad for the first time in many years, saying ‘goodbye for now’ to some wonderful people in the southeast, reconnecting with loved ones here in the twin cities & forging new connections, exploring my hometown again. others were purely emotional/mental & very personal, having made peace with a lot of old ghosts and feeling comfortable in my own skin for the first time in my life (amongst other things).


i started taking a lot of self-portraits in the latter half of 2015. they aren’t about vanity – (now not-so-) secretly, this remains my concern – that they seem vapid, self-obsessed.


in the last few years, i started to feel like an empty vessel, like some kind of robot.
‘you think i’m a replicant, don’t you?’


even more than my other visual endeavors, experimenting with my self-presentation & playing with the augmentation/distortion of these little images has become a tool of discovery.


and even with that creeping fear of seeming tedious, vain or insipid, i don’t feel the need to justify the images, either. funny how that works. even in the images where i am alone, it’s such a different emotional landscape.

thank you for being a part of this difficult, wonderful year. i am so thankful for the many incredible people in my life who shape & enrich my everyday.

i have a lot about 2015 that i would like to revisit in the future, but for now, i’ll end on this note – went for an overdue visit to my postbox, where i was surprised to find many wonderful pieces of mail, including a mysterious package from a very dear longtime friend & his partner, with whom i’d reconnected with this year. (honestly, this was so significant, and one of the many wonderful moments of 2015!)


inside was my favourite EP by cocteau twins, ‘love’s easy tears’, which he knew i didn’t yet have on vinyl – as well as how important it was to me. (by the way, we met on a message board devoted to the band years & years ago – it’s one of the many things we share a deep mutual affection for, but foremostly, what brought us together in the first place!) i was so overwhelmed upon opening it – it was so unexpected, and so deeply significant!

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you can’t make this stuff up, friends – on the way to the post office, i was thinking about what would be important to listen to on the last day of a year that was filled with pretty intense & dramatic change. this EP, especially ‘those eyes, that mouth’, was the only thing that really came to mind – forever a transitional / transformative group of songs for me, but in a different way than any other piece of cocteau twins’ back catalogue (which is really saying something). apparently this had been waiting for me at the post office for a little while, but of course i’d discover it today. sometimes your loved ones know just what you need, and not in the sense of possessions or a physical object, but something to deepen your connection (and it was just what i needed to hear today). what a gift, to be able to listen to this and feel so presently connected to a dear friend who lives far away. such a lovely way to close out this year… my heart is overflowing!


i’ve still been on a bit of hiatus from the mailart world, but here are a couple of postcards i sent out in november to a local friend. the first was photographed in relatively low light – my apologies for that – but is a quick ink doodle on reused paper bag over paper collage. the streaking on the leftmost piece of collaged material was achieved by using an eraser on the printed image (torn from a book). those mineral heritage stamps remain my favourite united states stamp issue ever!


this one uses my common jewel-toned palette – spilled ink over paper collage on recycled cardboard with an illustration on grey strathmore paper that wraps over onto the back of the card. i’m still learning the preferences of the postal employees around here… these went through the mail fine, but i’ve had other (much less complex) pieces returned to me for being ‘non-machinable’!





recently had the pleasure of designing a poster for DJ SLT’s ninth annual david bowie birthday bash on KFAI, a local community/volunteer-run radio station. the show airs live on january 8th, 2016 from 12am to 6am and will be FREE to stream and download after the original broadcast – don’t miss it! thanks to the stream, you do not have to be local to minneapolis/saint paul to tune in – so do check it out!

designing something for someone so recognizable as david bowie proves an interesting challenge – so much has been done with certain aspects of his look and career, it can almost be difficult to break away and do something new! with the excitement surrounding bowie’s forthcoming album ‘blackstar’, i looked to the recently released music video/short film for the titular track. the images in the video are hypnotic – dripping with symbolism, it’s a pretty incredible watch. i drew from ‘blackstar’ in terms of palette & tone, but let the digital collage grow from there… really a fun piece to do.