New Prints by Aaron Horkey and Vanessa Foley from THE VACVVM (Onsale Info)

THE VACVVM will release new art prints by Aaron Horkey and Vanessa Foley tomorrow. The info for each is listed below. These go up tomorrow (Friday, January 19th) at 2pm Central Time. Visit

“Venin” Art Print by Aaron Horkey

9″ x 15.5″ Giclee Print with Sculpted Emboss, Edition of 200, $120:

Aaron Horkey

Aaron Horkey

“Minnesota Killing Season” Print Portfolio by Vanessa Foley

Four 8″ x 10″ Giclee Prints, Screenprinted Jacket, Edition of 50, $150:

Vanessa Foley

Vanessa Foley

Vanessa Foley

Vanessa Foley

Vanessa Foley

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T.S. Eliot on Writing: His Warm and Wry Letter of Advice to a Sixteen-Year-Old Girl Aspiring to Become a Writer

“Don’t write at first for anyone but yourself.”

T.S. Eliot on Writing: His Warm and Wry Letter of Advice to a Sixteen-Year-Old Girl Aspiring to Become a Writer

“If you write what you yourself sincerely think and feel and are interested in,” the great marine biologist and author Rachel Carson advised a blind girl aspiring to be a writer, “you will interest other people.” Six years earlier, around Valentine’s Day of 1952, a sixteen-year-old self-described “aspiring Young Writer” by the name of Alice Quinn reached out to T.S. Eliot (September 26, 1888–January 4, 1965) — by that point one of the most famous writers in the world — hoping he might answer several questions about the creative process, what it takes to be a writer, and how he himself developed his creative faculties.

T.S. Eliot

Unlike Carson and unlike Albert Einstein, who also frequently replied to fan letters, particularly those from young people, Eliot rarely did. But something about the young woman’s earnest inquiry touched him. His response — thoroughly warm and just the right amount of wry, full of simply worded wisdom — may be his most direct statement of advice on writing. It was only ever published in Hockney’s Alphabet (public library) — that wonderful, forgotten 1991 charity project raising funds for AIDS research through short essays by famous writers about the letters of the alphabet, each illustrated by artist David Hockney. Provided by his Eliot’s, Valerie, his response to Alice Quinn — the only posthumous contribution to the volume — appears under the letter Q.

“Q” by David Hockney from Hockney’s Alphabet.

Nearly four decades after he stunned the world with his masterpiece “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” and four years after he received the Nobel Prize in Literature, Eliot writes to the young aspiring writer:

Dear Miss Alice Quinn,

I do not often answer letters, because I am too busy; but I liked your letter, and I am glad that you are at a Catholic school.

I cannot tell you how to concentrate, because that is something I have been trying to learn all my life. There are spiritual exercises in concentration, but I am not the person to teach what I am trying to learn. All I know is that if you are interested enough, and care enough, then you concentrate. But nobody can tell you how to start writing. The only good reason for writing is that one has to write. You ask seven questions. No on event in one’s childhood starts one writing: no doubt a number of “events” and other causes. That remains mysterious.

In consonance with Carson, Eliot adds:

My advice to “up and coming writers” is, don’t write at first for anyone but yourself. It doesn’t matter how many or how few universities one goes to, what matters is what one learns, either at universities or by oneself. My favourite essay, I think, is my essay on Dante, not because I know much about Dante, but because I loved what I wrote about. The Waste Land is my most famous work, and therefore perhaps will prove the most important, but it is not my favourite.

Alice apparently asked Eliot about some of the criticism aimed at his poetry and his person — the perennial lazy accusation that anything sophisticated is automatically elitist — for he reflects:

I am interested to hear that Kunitz & Haycraft say that I prefer to associate with Nobility and Church Dignitaries, but I like to know every sort of person, including Nobility and Dignitaries. I also like to know Policemen, Plumbers and People.

He returns to the subject of how one grows equipped to be a writer:

One does not always need to know a subject very well in order to teach it: what one does need to know is How to Teach Anything. I went to a very good school (which no longer exists) in St. Louis, Missouri, where I was well taught in Latin, Greek, French and elementary Mathematics. Those are the chief subjects worth learning at school; and I am glad that I was well taught in these subjects, instead of having to study such subjects as T.S. Eliot. At the University I studied too many subjects, and mastered none. If you study Latin, Greek, French, Mathematics, and the essentials of the Christian Faith, that is the right beginning.

I like living in London, because it is my City, and I am happier there than anywhere else.

With best wishes,

T.S. Eliot

Complement this particular portion Hockney’s Alphabet, which is out of print but well worth the hunt, with T.S. Eliot on the nature of time, Lewis Carroll’s advice to a young woman on how to overcome creative block, and Beethoven’s touching letter of advice on being an artist, sent in reply to a fan letter from a little girl, then revisit other timeless advice on writing from Susan Sontag, Ernest Hemingway, William Faulkner, James Baldwin, Umberto Eco, Friedrich Nietzsche, and Ursula K. Le Guin.

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New Art Prints by Kilian Eng from Black Dragon Press (Onsale Info)

Black Dragon Press has two beautiful new art prints from Kilian Eng going up in their shop later this week. Both “Twin Bridges” and “The Water Garden” are 18″ x 24″ giclees, have editions of 40, and costs £60. These go up Friday, January 19th at 5PM UK time. Visit

Kilian Eng

Kilian Eng

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“Long Exhale (Cycle or Staple) Timed Edition Art Print by Sail from Out of Step Arts

Out of Step Arts has a new art print by Sail up in their shop. “Long Exhale (Cycle or Staple) is a 12″ x 12” giclee, is a timed edition, and costs $55. This will be up for pre-order until February 1st. Visit


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In Their Own Words – Michel Verdu

Michel Verdu is a freelance character designer and illustrator. His madcap characters bumble around, sing and scowl all while remaining charming and cute. His eye-catching colours help bring energy and an mystical quality to his work. Though the saturation isn’t pumped up to the max, it is pretty close. Michel Verdu shares with us the push he needed to become a freelance illustrator and the importance of humour in his work.

I was born and raised in Ecuador and still live in the capital Quito. It’s a beautiful city surrounded by mountains and has a rich heritage.

I fell in love with illustration a little late I think. From childhood I loved cartoons and comics and always tried to recreate them but I was not very good at drawing and left this habit behind in my teenage years. When I started art college I took some filmmaking courses but it was not what I really wanted to do in life. I always imagined cartoon characters, crazy situations and stories. So I decided to go for a digital animation career.

During my studies, I rediscovered how to draw and gave shape to my ideas. I knew then, what I wanted to do for the rest of my life! Animation is super cool but I was not very good at it. My true talent was to create characters, concept art, illustrations, backgrounds and other design stuff in the pre-production animation process.

After a lot of patience trying to get my degree as an animator I was ready to enter into the professional life but I didn’t have enough experience. I started working as a designer and animator for a while, but I never had the chance to make my own characters or artwork in my previous jobs. It was not until I met a veteran pinup artist called Alberto Ruiz, who was teaching a workshop and showed him some of my work, that things changed. It was not even a portfolio at that time, it was a bunch of sketches. He showed some interest in them, he said to me “why don’t you start as a freelance illustrator?” and I thought “why not?”. His words were the kickstart I needed.

I decided to start making new pieces and a strong portfolio on Behance and Artstation hoping that people around the world would be interested in my work. With tenacity, time and patience it happened! I have been working as a freelancer for the last four years. I worked for animation studios locally and around the world. I worked for some mobile game studios and children’s book editorials. I think my most notable clients were Samsung and Sesame Street Workshop but my favourite project was a card game I made for Old Chap Games (France) called Panic Island. It’s a super crazy game, lots of fun. I had the chance to make all the visual development.

In my creative process I try to give myself the time to practise a lot and always learn new things. I think the learning process never ends for artists. When I create something I put a lot of effort to make my characters life-like and make them funny and humorous. For me, humour is the essence of my work, all of this with a strong design and beautiful colours. Honestly, money is necessary but not the ultimate goal, sometimes the project experiences and challenges are more valuable to grow as an artist.

You can find more of Michel Verdu’s work on Behance, ArtStation and Tumblr.