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Vendor Tips

Vendor and Pop Market Tips!

So you have a small business or product that you want to share with the world!? Now what?  

This year I spent time vending and selling art full time.  I am so proud of myself for stepping out of my comfort zone.  We had a really good year, and met a lot of cool people.  But, I am going to be terribly honest, there were some days and there were some interactions that were disappointing.  And there were other days where I felt on top of my world. I have been selling my art for years, but this year I really leaned into advocating for myself and creating art that inspires others.  I had a lot of people and future artists ask me what it is like selling art full time, so I decided to make a blog post. If you are someone who is looking to coordinate a market, you should definitely check out my previous blog post “Market Tips.” You should also check it out if you are a vendor wondering what types of markets fit your needs because the questionnaire provides great look fors.. 

There are so many places to begin, from launching a website shop, selling on social media or making money creating content.  This blog is for anyone who wants to participate in a pop up market.  The best piece of advice I have is to start small.  Start with a small event so that you can learn and make mistakes without a huge investment.  You will learn over time what types of pop up markets or art shows are best for you.  

Here are some tips for those of you just starting out and ready to buy a tent for a pop up market.

1. Weights, weights, weights.  

This should be listed a million times.  I have only had one negative experience with not having enough weights on my tent, and let me tell you, my tent went flying.  Luckily, it was before anyone else ever showed up because it was my first mainstream market, and I got there early.  I thought that the little circle weights would be enough.  It was definitely not.  Luckily, a veteran vendor came to the rescue, and I learned that lesson early.  Time and time again I see vendors take a huge risk for themselves and others by not having enough weight on their tents, and I have also seen people not care about not having weight even when someone kindly suggests it. Water weights and dumb bells may work for fair weather days, but please invest time into weights.  We made our own weights using PVC and cement, and we bungee them to the center.  There are many DIY solutions and plans online, so I won’t go into that here.  We have also invested in stay-bars for more stability from a company called Flourish, so even when others are holding their tents down on windy days, our legs don’t budge because our legs stay anchored and level.  We also keep our backup sandbags in the Jeep just in case.  The bottom line is that each leg needs at least 40 lbs.  Ok, I digress.  I have seen and heard some horror stories.  SO please. Weights, weights, weights.

2. Research the Market you are vending at.

If you haven’t read my market tips, and you are a vendor, there are some gems for you too.  There are some questions that you will want answered before investing money into a market.  Most markets charge $50-$100 to set up.  Some days, no effort for promotion is done on the behalf of the vendors and this can lead to a disappointing day.  Some days, unloading and set up is stressful because set up procedures are not in place.  Some days….some days.  Some days, you meet a market coordinator who goes above and beyond to mark spots, provide water and even a clean bathroom. It is always a good idea to visit the market you are interested in or scour the event pages and google for previous turn out.  Even then, you cannot predict a market turn out because so many factors play into this, but at least working with quality market coordinators gives peace of mind that efforts are made. Do not be afraid to ask questions or give feedback.  Advocate for yourself because quality vendors are worth it, especially when vendors invest over $50.

3. Be Flexible

Do not be afraid to experiment with your displays.  We have tried so many iterations of our setup and even now still try to make optimal displays.  You may see our Flourish mesh walls, but we used to use lattice and chains. Before that, easels and baskets on tables.  And there was no way to get those paintings to stay straight on that lattice. Some people also use grid walls, which you can find on store supply online and they come in half sizes, which makes it a little lighter. Before that we only did indoor events with wire locker grids. Those are fun to assemble.😀  We used to practice setups in our living room and have drawn out the maps.  Even then, we always end up making changes based on placement or weather.  When considering table displays factor in things like wind, the crowd, and even small things such as displaying signage and your pricing.  Have a family member shop your table setup and give you feedback.  Join a facebook group for vendor displays and get ideas using the search bar or ask for advice.  There are lots of resources.  Also, if you can, walk the show and be observant after setup so that you can get ideas.  Most vendors are friendly and share tips with fellow vendors.  When all else fails, keep it simple and trust that your display is good enough for now.  Don’t let not having the right display stop you.

4. Price Ranges

The economy and season can have an effect on how many shoppers actually shop.  I had one show last year where I sold 0 paintings. Not one.  Yet, I made $800 that weekend off of my $5-$20 price points.  Some days those $5 items can turn into $100, ya know.  Or some days, selling one big painting for $400 can really make your day, even if you sell nothing else.  So, try to have a low and midpoint in your products.  And always, bring a showstopper.  Be careful with providing too many choices for shoppers. Some people can get overwhelmed and I often have to remind myself to hold back. If you put everything out, people will not always want to look, and some people don’t want to touch things or go through baskets/bins. It just depends. Three price points displayed in a way that is easy to see, visually, works well.

5. Meet yourself where you are.

I did not start art full time.  I sold art for several years while working full time, and even still do things to supplement my income.  Full time is not for everyone.  I worked full time this year and did shows almost every weekend for market season.  Next year I am planning on cutting back based on my wants and needs.  I like doing markets for fun.  There is a different type of anxiety that comes with sales providing for groceries.  And that’s just the honest truth for the capitalistic society we live in now.  And that’s ok.  Remember your why.  Remember the joy that you are filled with when you bring excitement to others with your creativity.  You are amazing!  Be kind and patient with yourself.   It took me years to decide on the packaging and branding I use.  But that is a whole ‘nother Blog. Just know, that everyone starts somewhere, and your good enough is good enough now. Don’t feel like you need a huge inventory or everything figured out before you share your gift. Just be yourself. Your people, your clients, your customers, your weirdos will find you. 🙂 Trust me.

If you made it to the end, thank you!  I hope these tips help.  Just remember, start small (and sturdy weights), meet yourself where you are, and give yourself room to grow.  Let me know what you want to read about next!  Branding, more about tent set up, etc.? Best wishes, and reach out if you have a question.

Inspire the character within!

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Market Tips

Market Tips

Coordinating a market sounds like a great idea, but the amount of work that goes into preparing a venue, a market and a community of customers is challenging.  Are you a market manager or coordinator looking for quality relationships and vendors?  Building relationships with vendors and venues can be a multi-layered job.  There are so many factors to consider.  One way to be a successful market coordinator is to create procedures and systems that not only make it easier for vendors, but also make it easier for you–the coordinator! 

I have been vending for over six years, and I have done some markets that I love with coordinators and curators who have become like family.  I appreciate the literal leg work that goes with making a venue vendor ready.  I have also participated in markets that left something to be desired, mostly in means of communication.  Vendors know that it is challenging to create a flow of crowds at events, but a plan and communication can go a very long way.  Creating partnerships in the community is vital for so many reasons.  One thing to remember is that when vendors do well, the market does well and flourishes.  And once these systems are in place, things can run smoothly.  

Smooth markets with curated vendors, free parking, and solid advertising take time and work to establish. Some of the most successful events I have participated in have some common factors.  No matter what my profit was at the end of the day, a smooth set up process, good communication and a little hospitality (like free water) can turn a hot, sweaty, slow day into an enjoyable day of networking.  No one wants a slow market day, especially not market coordinators, but we know that they happen for so many reasons, whether it be the season, weather, economy, etc.  Building community has to be a part of the plan so that when the challenges come, as we know they will, systems are in place to create levels of support for us all.  A community of vendors and market coordinators can work together and create an environment where our businesses flourish.

I have compiled a list of questions that most vendors want answers to before signing up for an event.  I hope this list reaches market coordinators who want vendors to get the most out of their market or are in the beginning stages of building a market. Having a clear answer to these questions, and a vendor packet that communicates this, will set up your market, and help you retain quality vendors.  I encourage you to answer these questions for yourself and reflect on areas that you can grow in.  Markets and the community change, ebb and flow, but we can grow together and create the community where we all thrive!  

Some of these questions can be answered easily for you and vendors by creating a Fayven account and setting up a market profile.  Market coordinators and vendors have a direct link to communicate needs, goals and create community.  Fayven was created by April Caldwell, who saw a need to create resources for vendors and market coordinators. Fayven curates pop-up shopping, dining, and entertainment events for mobile vendors and artisans at local venues. Visit and check out all of the FREE Resources provided! P.S. This is not a paid partnership or sponsorship! I just love to share resources and have worked with Fayven since 2021, and integrity goes a long way for me.

Market Questionnaire

General Questions 

  • What is the vendor fee? What does this fee cover? (venue, volunteers, marketing)
  • How many vendors are expected to participate?
  • Do you provide a map and instructions prior to the event?
  • Do you ensure a restroom and free parking is available for vendors?
  • Do you offer discounts for demos or activities/freebies for children?
  • What support is available at arrival or during the event? Who is the point of contact?
  • What does loading/unloading look like?
  • What is your rainy day policy?
  • How do you ensure vendors have the proper weights installed on their structures?

Marketing Questions

Transparency is key for market events that have a higher premium ($50+)

  • What is your marketing plan? 
  • Do you individually highlight or  showcase your vendors on social media? 
  • How long before an event do you begin promotion and where do you promote your event?
  • How many people do you expect to attend so far?

Additional Information to Build Relationships/Reflect:

(You do not need to answer all of these questions, but sharing a part of yourself is rewarding and helps vendors understand your story and your goals.)

  • Tell me a little about yourself. Why did you decide to be a market manager? 
  • How many events have you organized?
  • Describe your most successful event. What made it successful and what did you do to achieve success?
  • Describe your least successful or most challenging event. What did you learn?  (Mistakes are growth!)
  • Do you do anything extra to advocate and take care of your artisans? (Brag a little.)
  • Do you work with the community or charities and organizations for causes?

Some other ideas to consider:

  • Create a call for sponsors who can host a table at events, but also provide snacks, water or coupons for vendors.  
  • Create a call for volunteers.  High schoolers need volunteer hours, and can be helpful with booth sitting or unloading.
  • Create a system for feedback. Vendors see all of the nooks and crannies of markets, and often have good suggestions. Think about how to create a partnership with vendors.

About the Blogger: 

My name is Christine Samad, and I am the Creator of The Pigcowtopus Project where I share whimsical art and poetry to inspire the character within us all.  I use pop up markets as a way to exhibit my artwork.  I have been participating in outdoor markets since 2018.  I love to share my whimsical artwork and poetry with communities.   My success is driven by the systems in my business I have created that make vending easy!  My years as an elementary educator have taught me that once an organizational system is set up, the system can run itself with very little maintenance.  My years as an artist have given me the opportunity  to use my voice to advocate for creatives.

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Grow a Forest Over Self Doubt

Every artist or creator deals with some form of imposter syndrome or self doubt because most artists and creators open a part of themselves that is vulnerable. How quickly the self doubt ebbs and flows may also depend on the experiences and environment we are in. For me, self doubt is a battle, but I know I am good at what I do, and in most cases, an act of rebellion against my self doubt normally fixes that. I am a Capricorn, afterall.

One of the fears I had in the very beginning of my journey was my lack of belief in my ability to do something twice, as in, I made this beautiful sketch, and I don’t think I could draw it better, so I don’t, and I just stick with it until I am happy. In the end I lean in on my belief in my ability to fix any mistake I could make and persist with that piece as is. And that is a fine philosophy, but lately, I have taken to destroying full pieces. Completely painting over them at times, and only keeping a glimmer of the past. I transform and make it more. I did that with a few pieces in February. I added speech bubbles, changed colors, added patterns and texture, and black light. The rush I felt when I realized I could do it better and then even better changed something inside of me….

Upon looking through my inventory, I discovered that a piece I made in October 2021 did not have hanging wire, which meant I never took it anywhere, which was confusing because I was happy with what I did. But to be perfectly honest, there was a part of me that wanted more from that piece. So this week I started covering the parts I could do better. It started with the top of the water, then the rocks, then the hills, then the face. I poured every intention into it and created, well, this.

How it started in Oct 2021….
And then……
An Original Poem and Painting in April 2023
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Bursting into Tears

The first time someone came into our booth, read a poem and burst into tears, I instantly felt so guilty and surprised because I felt like I caused someone pain. It was most likely the poem called, Release, because it is a powerful poem on so many levels. I immediately started apologizing profusely. However, this was not the first or the last time. So, if you have done this, please know that you are not alone, and I never judge. I open my arms with compassion for you. I have also since stopped apologizing because we all need a good cry sometimes, and my heart feels so touched when people connect with my poetry, art and stories, and it reaffirms my path. I tend not to reread my poems too often with everything going on, and when I do, I have never cried like this, until this new book. Book 5 is here. Growing, floating and blooming. 

Growing up I was called sensitive, and a goody two shoes, and a cry baby. So, I automatically apologize when someone is crying, especially if I am the one crying. But crying is so healthy. And crying can be for so many reasons. I have learned to embrace my tears, but not live where they live. Emotions are like the ebbs and flows of waves or weather, and I have been working on riding those waves and transforming them when they break, like the perfect wave. I am not always successful, but progress, not perfection. Anyhow, back to what I was writing.

That’s right, I have written and self published five poetry and art books. The teenager that carried her three notebooks of poetry around like a gremlin never imagined….the young woman who created the first Blossoming book never dreamed. The little girl that colored on the ironing board never believed. But here we are. I cannot wait for you to read it. You can find them on Amazon or in person at our next event. This one made me cry such happy tears. Like sobs. For minutes. LOL

I wanted to share the poem that made me burst into tears. It is actually a happy poem, and they were tears of gratitude as the words rang true. And then I read the next and the next, and I cried and cried, knowing, feeling affirmed that Walking Away from Something I loved and using the decay as growth was the best thing I ever did for myself.

BUT. I guess before you read the poem that actually made me cry, you have to read the poem I wrote two years ago. The Art of Christine Samad: A Journey of Healing was the most vulnerable I have ever been about my healing journey. I used art and poetry as a way to process my emotions and the trauma from childhood and therapy. Then I decided to share it all in one collection because I know I am not alone as an adoptee, and as a human. It is kind of lengthy, but definitely worth it. I never thought that I would stop ruminating about everything. I thought I would carry the heaviness of grief and trauma forever.

Talk therapy and exploring plant medicine has helped with rumination and reliving the experiences I went through. Sharing my art and poetry has been healing as well because I have taken the space I needed to be vulnerable, and you all have made me feel seen. Heard. Understood. Encouraged.

Ok, finally, here is A Breath of Fresh Air from my newest book, The Art of Christine Samad: Growing, Floating and Blooming. The moment I started crying, I cried for the rest of the book. I really hope that my art and poetry is a light to all of you on your journey.

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Revisiting Paintings

What is time but a social construct?

We assign values and labor to time but we cannot measure the time it takes to truly experience growth.

Last year if you asked me how long a painting takes me I would have said four hours with pride

of my efficiency and passersby

would assign a value to those hours, monetary minutes and seconds.

But time isn’t real. And creativity is timeless and endless.

I can pick up paint and prove that there is never quite a finished product,

but a moment in the elapse of the journey where I rest until I pick up paint again

because I am growing and revisiting old wounds, old ideas and allowing them to grow with no time frame.

See, I probably never really paid attention to the clicking clocks until I got praise for getting things done quickly.

The little one inside of me yearned to explore, but society demands time.

I disconnect from the construct and the sun still rises. The rain still falls. Time is still measured

but I value my time differently, and I do not create with a need to make the world make sense to me

anymore because societal norms have been constructed and given a value based on time which has also been implemented as a way to assign values and a way to control the chaos.

There is chaos in creation and beauty in that chaos.

Only now am I taking the time to embrace the explosions that happen in my brain

that for the world may last an hour or four or more.

I am taking the time to bask in creation and nature.

An old wise man once asked me what would happen if you took your time?

Imagine how good you would be if you took your time and my youth smiled,

but the ancient being inside of me held onto that treasure.

Discover what happens when you TAKE your time.

Take it back and I don’t mean rewind,

but stop assigning it to things that don’t serve you and giving it to people who do not understand the value of each stroke of your creation.

I always wonder how space travelers will be able to come to a consensus about time and journeys across galaxies.

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The Pigcowtopus Project Presents #HeadSpace

My thoughts behind the series…

As many of you know from my story, mental health matters and is very important and personal to me and my story. I find healing in exploring the matters of the mind and the heart. I wanted to explore different emotions because emotions are flowy creatures. They ebb and flow. People who experience anxiety and depression often speak of a fogginess that comes with manic episodes and break throughs. I myself have experienced them. I used this time to explore my triggers and the things that bring me peace.

There is a lot to be said about each painting in this series. I painted Emergence: My Bedroom is my Hair one week when I experienced a depressive episode and I painted my way out of it. Once done I realized that the painting depicted what it feels like to emerge out of a depressive state and how altered perception can be. Over the next few months, I sketched and painted a still growing series based on different t emotions, mood shifts and dispositions. I started thinking about my own emotions and what type of emotions I want to experience and how to get there. During this time I experimented with mixed media and chalk and a new series was born, but one of the most direct and important because I care so much about mental health awareness. I experimented with Mount Vision Pastels that a friend let me try. I used water and acrylic paint, made a mess, and then made a masterpiece. I started imagining dark states that accumulate or bright ideas that can break through and illuminate the mind. I started research into natural and plant-based medicine and explored what it means to float. I imagined the pressure that we place in our minds and how that effects the state of our inner skies.

I open my heart and mind to the world and am very transparent about anxiety, cptsd and OCD. I honor my biological family and their mental health struggles. I can hold them accountable as adults, and also honor them with compassion. And I wish I knew more. I wish there were doctors and counseling available to communities. All I can do is share my experience, begin a conversation and build my community.
In life we all can experience so much that effects our mental and emotional states. Growth comes from conversation about these topics. I think about how people speak about certain taboo mental health disorders, and I wish for more compassion in the world

Float into Softness by Christine Samad

My word for this year is going to be soft.

There is a sweetness inside that is me,

but I am like cotton candy

And melt when bitten, quite literally.

Some people can simply be mean.

And it’s like whenever I want to be without my guard I can’t be

Because people are not looking to my best interest.

I often feel alone in preserving my… softness.

Soft and sensitive get negative connotations, like “oh, he’s so soft, I was just playing.”

Or, “Ooooh girl you are too sensitive– don’t take it personal.”

Jokes are permission for critical quips, don’t you know.

And everything we are is personal, especially for those walking in truth,

and those dropping the masks

So they can enjoy the sweetness of the sun and the calm of the night.

I just want to be soft.

I want to rediscover the sweet, kind woman goddess of creation I am before the storm came.

I have found moments throughout my life when someone was critical of me being supported or served.

Catered to.

Or should I say considered, because cater is a tricky word too.

What is catering but considering options amiable to those parties involved?

Something that requires thinking of others that are not you and your own.

But what is it about my independence strength and tenacity that makes me not yours, not protected, not allowed to be soft?

The melanin in my skin yearns to be soft in the grassy field engulfed by the sunshine.

I’m imperfect this is true. I learn, think and then do.

I am big and soft like the giving tree.

I try to protect and nourish others.

But don’t we all deserve acts of kindness? Is it me?

Do I not do the same? I feel like my brain

is not of this world and I slip between my mind and this world and all of the words,

the words flying in out and around.

If I could fly on the wings of nature as wisps of wind,

I would revel in its wonder.

I imagine cool grass tickling the perimeter of my skin.

Can you treat me delicately, at least for a time?

Mental break downs can be recovered from if I honor myself

And allow myself to feel the warmth of cozy clouds and comfort so that it reaches my soul. 

I need moments when I don’t have to look in my periphery, but enjoy the whole

Of what’s in front of me, in safe company.

Let me just be.

Harsh reality crashes and shuts me down.

I open the windows so I don’t drown.

Count to ten, squeeze tight and embrace my crown.

If I don’t speak up if I don’t make a sound

I will be turning my back on myself and I won’t do that. Not while I’m around. 

Sink into your own warmth
And weave threads of silk around
Allow yourself to lift off the ground
And enjoy the moments…

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#Fishiesin Space

The Pigcowtopus Project Presents #Fishies in Space

My thoughts behind the series…

Ever since I saw a Jellyfish in Space on T.V., I have often contemplated the knowledge that we truly have of space, especially in comparison with the knowledge that we have of the ocean. There is still so much to learn about our own earth, never mind the universe. While mysteries still abound, I wanted to give sea life a new perspective in space, and it started off as just a silly, fun idea on a round canvas. The first fish was good old Bubble Eyes. Imagine if fish really could live in a tank, in a suit, and communicate with humanoids….what would they have to say? As I began to paint different fish, I researched interesting facts about them. For example, did you know that the archer fish shoots water out of its mouth so that it can hit and consume insects? Trigger clown fish also interestingly have dorsal fins that help it wedge itself in small openings when it evades predators. I tried to find fish that I enjoyed learning about.

The ocean is a calm, noisy, happy place, and I love when we vacation by the beach. I fall asleep listening to the ways and practice being present. Being present is not always easy to do in a world of distraction and classic misdirection. Imagine our mind could be contained in a bubble. I have learned that with the beauty of the ocean, also comes its peculiar creatures, and we will never truly be able to account for all of the life and ecosystems in the deepest parts of the ocean. I like to research creatures and paint them in my silly way. Bold colors, bold lines and silly faces. Growing up, I loved coloring books and looked forward to the newspaper comics every weekend. I love when I can showcase humor with a hint of realism and a dash of imagination. I painted the fish using posca paint markers, and used acrylic paint on the water to create a bubble effect. The black star lined edges, really make the bubbles pop!

When painting this series, tea pots and tea cups positioned themselves on the clouds, so I started thinking about what message these painting have for me. My husband, Russ, loves trying different kinds of tea and coffee. I am recently exploring tea. My favorite tea has chamomile, butterfly pea flowers, lemon grass and lemon balm. I also love a good tried and true peppermint or rose tea. What is fascinating about tea culture, is the ceremony and ritual that can exist. My husband told me about how some people use a tea ceremony to reflect and stay grounded. They steep the tea in a particular sequence so that they savor the flavor of the tea and can pay attention to how the flavor changes. It is a beautiful thing. While I do not hold tea ceremonies for myself, I have started learning to brew my own teas, and finding peace in the moments of each step of creation. With this series, I cannot help but think of the lines from a poem that I wrote last year: “Think on the present. The sea foam will dissipate, Bubble your dreams up to space…” I imagine these silly fish bubbling up into space to explore. I imagine the tea pots are the pressure that I sometimes feel when I become frustrated or have emotions that overwhelm me. And yet, there is something still about pouring into your own cup. Most of the cups are tipped and overflowing. The silly fish float on.

Learning to Meditate with by writing a Tanka An Excerpt from The Nature of Healing, Evolving and Transforming by Christine Samad

White noise surrounds me.

Relaxing gets easier.

Embrace the pressure.

Fill your head with honeybees,

And usher the hive outward.

Close your wearied eyes.

Just ride the waves to the coast.

Think of nothingness.

Something pushes you forward.

Roll along the moving sea.

Imagine the waves.

Fall into the ebb and flow.

Connect with nature,

The force of the sun and moon.

Become one with the cycle.

The water crashes

Like cymbals against your past.

Think on the present.

The sea foam will dissipate,

Bubble your dreams up to space.

Envision the black,

Let it envelop your soul.

Think of twinkling stars

And of the moon beaming down.

Their light will guide your vision.

Prepare for the dawn

With stillness in your hearts mind,

And breathe in slowly.

Fill your lungs with the sweet air.

Breathe in as deep as you can.

Finally breathe out.

Exhale the pain and worry.

Take fresh breath anew.

Let the sharpness in your lungs

Remind you that you’re alive.

When, pitter patter,

The raindrops begin to fall,

Let them engulf you.

Become one with the monsoon.

Let it clear what’s in its path.

Stretch your arms upward.

Receive what nature bestowed.

Believe your power.

The wind rustles up the veil,

Revealing the wells within.

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The Pigcowtopus Project Presents #BrokenHeartsClub

My thoughts behind the series…

To say that the greatest blessing in my life has been the love of my husband and our furry family. They have supported me through very difficult times and as I heal and grow, I wanted to start taking more control of the narrative and message behind my artwork. 

My grandmother was a renowned artist. She created whimsical scenes with symbols and simplistic yet impactful images. Her name was Carol Jablonsky. She passed away when I was too young to have many memories. I remember her long gray hair and warmth. My sister, who is a few years older told me a few of her memories about her creating art when we visited and how loving our grandmother was. I have always felt she checks on us now and again. 

 Growing up I was told she was an artist, but I never knew what she painted. It had been my life dream to find out. A few years ago I did my own research into my own records as well as hers. My search and a small clue found along the way led me to Pinterest of all places where I found her work and the profile of my aunt. Because of this I was able to reach out to her and connect she shares stories and photos and it has been amazing. My husband bought me her artwork and my aunt sent me a handwritten card that my grandmother had made for one of her patrons. The paper she used was so soft and I reveled in the fact that she had an affinity for mythology, legends and stories. My favorite pieces of hers is called, “Quintas,” which depicts the minotaur holding a string connected to a floating bird. After all of this I thought, how can I tell my own story with my own symbols?

When I picked up painting and writing as a hobby in 2018, my husband and I bought a circular piece of wood that we brought home. I painted a sketch of him and I as the sun and moon. I wanted to explore their love, and I love that I am bringing back the symbolism and imagery. I have a whole new set of sketches waiting to be painted so I can tell their story, but that will take some time. 

In the meantime, I created six hearts. Inky, Grumpy and Monster are the cutest because even the grumpiest of hearts needs love. Hopefully, this will be a annual recurring series because they were so fun to create.

For the Love of the Sun and the Moon

By Christine Samad

For the love of the sun and the moon, the stars shine.

Say you will be mine until the end of time

Because I am already yours,

And I will meet you as you are.

Reflect my warmth and find solace in the darkness

Because light is drawing near, though it may seem far.

As time disappears

Cherish my love and hold me dear

For the love of the sun and the moon erases my fears,

For the constants of the universe

And the contents of the universe are ever changing, but it is clear,


Never are they destroyed,

For what is the love of the sun and the moon if not pain and love and joy?

Of moments missed and moments made sweet with the warmth adorned by a kiss.

 Moments that run deep and tall and too short moments of bliss?

The love of the sun and the moon exists

In these moments between.

Seen by all but by all unseen.

Their love is but a dream between a dream,

But it is their dream,

And it fuels and it beams

For the love of the sun and the moon. 

If a star twinkles in a galaxy far, far away… does is shine?

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The Pigcowtopus Project Presents


My thoughts behind the series…

Generally, the thought and belief in aliens gives a vast array of reactions, from hope and discovery to pure terror, but I think as humans we are fascinated with the idea of other beings, as if the existence of other beings in the universe will determine our worth or take pressure off of our responsibilities. 

This may seem silly, but when I was younger, I never knew what happened with my parents, and the stories I was told were just plain terrible.  Being a kid living with a toxic foster family was hard.  My imagination saved my life.  One of the things I imagined while sitting alone with my early thoughts, was that I am an alien.  I knew it wasn’t true.  But one night, it really helped me have hope when I could not make sense of my surroundings. I made up a very loose alien story and dreamed of a better day.

I don’t want to be around to meet the aliens anymore because I watch a lot of terrible things that happen in space.  Star Trek is my comfort show, The Next Generation is (obviously) my go to, but there is something to be said for each phase of the journey through the Universe. There are a million of ways to die in space, and any time I watch a space movie, I will always assign a moment of disaster a number.  For example, reason number 527 not to go to space, is that the heel of your foot can just break off in space, so.  There is that.  Thanks, Away (Netflix Series). 

Still, I imagine that the aliens that I draw have only ever viewed human media, and have a lot of preconceived notions about what brings humans joy.  They try on human clothes and relish in human experiences, just to catch a glimmer of the eternal hope and beauty of being human. 

I also began to explore the extension of Artificial Intelligence (AI), and what it would like in my art, as seen in “Flying Saucers.”  I even queued up a few movies while painting.  One of the things I notice about AI is that technology and algorithms are only as smart and as compassionate as the people who program them.  That being said, Algorithms can learn and change, but we are just at the beginning of that technology.  I think. 

Oh, the musings of a space explorer who will never leave earth!  I suppose we may never know the truth of what is out there, but I suppose, it is fascinating to imagine the possibilities.

“Enter the Simulation”

A poem by Christine Samad, The Creator of the Pigcowtopus Project

I entered the simulation,

I came to peace with death. 

Death was the thing that the ones I feared, feared the most,

So, when met

With the challenge of living,

I stopped.

Living is what I was taught leads to death…

Show it fear, fear means respect,

But what is living but numbers, conversations,

Equations, calculations

and energy

Given and returned?

And when I realized how ends lead to new beginnings

The nature of change and the sequence of chaos, I became more sure.

I could breathe a little bit easier and release the pressure and failure in perfection.

I am not looking forward to dying, but I understand that things come to an end, and in reflection,

 I can honor my life, and honor my death with choices and connections,

Illuminating the darkness with compassion.

Simulation Ended.