The New Yorker, January 31, 2011

“Mental Landscape” by Frank Viva (The New Yorker, January 31, 2011)

My roommate and I have been subscribing to The New Yorker for about a year now. At first I was reading them every week. Then I was only reading the film and theater reviews. Then the unread copies began accumulating on our little “bar” counter in the kitchen and simultaneously decorating our apartment and making us look good when we had visitors. Yeah, I read every issue. Wait. No. No I don’t. (kicks rock)

It’s become routine to find The New Yorker in the mailbox and just leave it on the counter, but not this week. I was totally taken aback by the cover. Most of the covers are beautiful, but this week’s cover was exceptionally striking. Amazing typework – just an amazing work of art really. Also, the color scheme is perfect. La-la-love it.


I remember having a heated conversation one time (or one too many times) with an anti-currency, anti-government… sort of anti-order in general, friend of mine. (I’m getting a migraine just thinking about our conversations). Anyway, our little chat was centered around the concept of currency. I argued that even if the U.S. dollar was diminished, citizens would quickly establish a new form of currency in order to exchange goods and services. He disagreed and claimed that currency was entirely unnecessary – that civilization could function without any sort of exchange. I don’t know about that. I think those living in his Utopian “civilization” would have to be very open and trusting, maybe like Burning Man-goers. But I don’t think that way of living could last very long. People would start coming down from their happy drugs and bogarting the town’s supply of chicken nuggets and NOT sharing. I know I would.

That being said, I don’t think a civilization could run smoothly solely on a bartering system, but I DO think that a mixture of the two can work. So, we come back to reality. In the world of Etsy, bartering is very much a possibility AND totally awesome.

Pascalle Ballard (aka fabricalchemist) contacted me on Etsy and wanted to exchange something from her shop for a pair of custom red slippers (seen above). I didn’t see anything in her shop that went with the decor in my room, so I asked her if I could possibly request a custom illustration… and she said yes!

The Wasp Duchess, by Pascalle Ballard (5.5″ x 8″)

And OH MY GOD it came out amazing. I can’t wait to frame it. I asked her to draw something Gothic Lolita inspired, using yellow and a dash of lace and what she created was even cooler than I had imagined. The result is this amazing piece. What a wonderful way to collect art! Be sure to check out her shop for her many unique and beautiful pieces.