Halloween Folk-Art Avatars

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Halloween has always had a special place in my heart: from the “Peter Pan” costume my Mom made for me, to sneaking out to go trick-or-treating on “Beggar’s Night” with my best friend, Janie; to meeting the man who I eventually married at a party given by a bunch of art school students who came into the drug store I worked at and on the spur of the moment, invited me (a total stranger); to making all kinds of fun costumes for our son when he was little. In our previous home, we used to get a hundred or more kids coming to the door. The 4-to-10 year old kids were always the most fun as they were just so enthusiastic. The last ten years we’ve lived on a street where only one family has school-aged children and there are no street lamps, so no one comes around. Costume parties with adults can be okay but it’s just not the same or as much fun as dressing up and dishing out goodies to a new generation of little ghosts, superheros, princesses and the like.

For your own Trick-or-Treat pleasure, I’ve created a new batch of spooky, fun avatars inspired by the folk-art styling popular in Mexico for their “Day of the Dead” celebrations, Kachina Dolls that are an important part of the Zuni and Hopi tribes; and West African tatoos. I arrived on these subjects in a very round-about way that is an interesting story in itself and what I learned was really fascinating and in many ways, quite unexpected. I’m not up to going into it now but promise to follow-up and share some of the highlights with you in a day or two. In the meantime, Enjoy!

Free Clip-Art / Icons of the Day

The following image is a reduced size preview of the nine (9) separate 512 X 512px images in .png format included in the linked-to zipped file. To download the set, simply right-click (or control-click) on the preview to save the image(s) of your choice to your desktop. As always, usage of any of the images offered in the “Free Clip-Art / Icons of the Day” section are free for your personal use, subject to the limitations of my Creative Commons Non-Commercial – Attribution – No Derivatives – Share Alike- 3.0 license. (See sidebar for Terms of Use) For commercial or any other use, please contact me for directly.

If I Were A Zuni (preview of zipped file)
If I Were A Zuni (preview of .zip file)

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Who’s yer Avatar see in the mirror?

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When you go to an online forum, chatroom, or read comments on blogs, you’ve probably noticed that some people use what appears to be their real name or perhaps the nickname they’re called by friends and family while many more use a screen name they reserve just for use online. Screen Names allow a person to have some level of anonymity which can offer a sense of emotional security, if not real security, and it’s that subtle sense of separateness from one’s “real world” self that often allows people to explore new sides of their personality, to speak their minds, to share their emotions without fear of retaliation, rejection, being laughed at, or ignored. The ways in which people go about selecting a screen name I’m sure varies a great deal and I’ve often found myself wondering where some of the names come from and why they were selected – did the user simply just like the sound of the syllables? Had they selected the name of a favorite character from a book, movie, or game? Were they trying to project a specific image of themselves that they believe will be attractive to certain people they’d like more attention from? Does the name reflect how they think of themselves – or how they’d like to think of themselves? Certainly, some people just randomly select a screen name because they are required to but I have a hunch that most people actually put some thought into it.

If I were a sociologist, I think it’d make a very interesting study, the choice of screen names, and of course along with that would be the Avatar that people select for themselves, as well. And does it say anything about the person who doesn’t have a personalized avatar? Does it mean they’re just not technically savvy enough to know how to go about it (whether in creating their own or finding one they like online and either registering it to a website like Gravatar so it gets automatically associated with their name when responding to blog posts or uploading it to their account at a specific forum) – or does it mean they’re anti-social or snobs – or just have no personality to begin with? Could be any or all of those reasons or some other reason entirely. Maybe I’m just nosy or have too much time on my hands, but I’m curious and think about things like this. It kinda goes along with my idea about creating as a new scientific field, forensic desktop reading. 😉

If you’d like to have your own custom avatar but just haven’t found one you like yet, perhaps one of these will tickle your fancy.

Free Clip-Art / Icons of the Day

The following images are either full or reduced size previews. Simply right-click (or control-click) on the preview to save the image(s) of your choice to your desktop. (Unless otherwise noted, downloads are 512px X 512px in .png format). As always, usage of any of the images offered in the “Free Clip-Art / Icons of the Day” section are free for your personal use, subject to the limitations of my Creative Commons Non-Commercial – Attribution – No Derivatives – Share Alike- 3.0 license. (See sidebar for Terms of Use) For commercial or any other use, please contact me for directly.

Assistant 7….Ms. Assistant

Josephine

Donnell….Julioa

Sparky Picasso

pix….Sky Pilot

Face-in-Hand

Bouncer….Dudley

Lydia

The Constraints of WordPress.Com

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Well, my original mission has been scuttled to some extent due to my failure to discern the difference between WordPress.Com and WordPress.Org before getting started. To be honest, I hadn’t even realized that these were two separate entities! Silly me. But being a good little geek, once I start working on a project I’m not one to quit just because there will be a few more challenges than I expected. For those who aren’t aware, the primary difference between these two services that most concerns the interface designer is that a blog on WordPress.Com can only be customized with CSS (cascading style sheets), selecting from a limited number of widgets, and the text or images you add as content. You can’t add or modify using javascript, ajax, python, php or other languages nor can you modify the .html. While my first reaction upon realizing these constraints was to utter numerous expletives (newly invented just for this occasion) I decided to stick with this and explore just how far one can go with CSS. I suppose that’s one of the trademarks of being a card-carrying geekster in that I am stubborn as coffee stain on a favorite pair of white jeans when it comes to figuring things out just to be able to proudly say, “I done it from scratch”. Of course, no one (but a geek) really cares about such trifles as long as the content of the blog is interesting and the visuals aren’t annoying. Hard to explain why I get off on trying to reinvent the wheel but take my word for it, it’s the second most thrilling and satisfying thing I can think of.

Free Clip-Art / Icons of the Day

The following images are either full or reduced size previews. Simply right-click (or control-click) on the preview to save the image(s) of your choice to your desktop. (Unless otherwise noted, downloads are 512px X 512px in .png format). As always, usage of any of the images offered in the “Free Clip-Art / Icons of the Day” section are free for your personal use, subject to the limitations of my Creative Commons Non-Commercial – Attribution – No Derivatives – Share Alike- 3.0 license. (See sidebar for Terms of Use) For commercial or any other use, please contact me for directly.

Catty-3Cat-man1

Catman-Dew

CatmanDewFRED-2