Contributing Toads {4:2}

Carrie Chappell

Carrie Chappell is originally from Birmingham, Alabama. Currently, she lives in New Orleans. Some of Carrie's work has appeared in Bateau Press, The Offending Adam, Thrush Poetry Journal, Juked and THE VOLTA. In New Orleans, she serves an instructor of English Composition at Delgado Community College and a Writer-in-Residence with Big Class. "Lately, I've been finding art in the every day choice of acting resourcefully. In an effort to be less wasteful, I've been rinsing out and keeping all of my grocery containers.This practice I believe should be more normal, more quotidian for us as a people. I find a simple feeling, a general assurance. This extends beyond just the food world, though. Yesterday, I put with other pieces the wrappings from a Chinese soap I bought in a box dedicated to housing scrap papers, excellent I find for making birthday cards, etc. This sort of every day preparation for artistic moments is what I like and is still fresh for me if not even humorous. In the morning, I drink iced coffee from what was once a pickled okra jar. I take my salad to work in the leftover plastic vessel that was once my great luxury, a bucket of Blue Bunny Peanut Butter Panic ice cream. Now it carries precious health food cargo. A week ago, I sent my mother a birthday card partially formed by the remains of an unfinished project with my elementary students. This reformation is perhaps simply won but fascinating to me. I find an art in letting go of ways of seeing, of what an object originally was to find something new in it."

Megan Collins

In 2008, Megan Collins graduated with an MFA in Creative Writing from Boston University, where she was a teaching fellow. She currently teaches creative writing at the CREC Arts Academy in Hartford, Connecticut, as well as literature at Central Connecticut State University. Her work has appeared in Rattle, Linebreak, Connecticut Muse, and is forthcoming in Blast Furnace, Tinderbox Poetry Journal, and Hartskill Review. "Teaching at an arts academy allows me to see art--in all its abundant forms--everywhere I look. It's in the way a writer holds her pen as she stares at the blank page in front of her, or how a dancer takes a breath before his first move. It's in the uncertainty of a first-time performer and the appreciation in the ensuing applause. I feel fortunate to work in a place where people not only create art every single day, but also struggle in their process--the struggle being its own kind of art form, with as much power to inform and to heal as any finished product."

Ira Joel Haber

Ira Joel Haber was born and lives in Brooklyn. He is a sculptor, painter, book dealer, photographer and teacher. His work has been seen in numerous group shows both in USA and Europe and he has had 9 one man shows including several retrospectives of his sculpture. His work is in the collections of The Whitney Museum Of American Art, New York University, The Guggenheim Museum, The Hirshhorn Museum & The Albright-Knox Art Gallery. Since 2007 His paintings, drawings, photographs and collages have been published in over 160 on line and print magazines. He has received three National Endowment for the Arts Fellowships, two Pollock-Krasner grants, the Adolph Gottlieb Foundation grant and, in 2010, he received a grant from Artists' Fellowship Inc. He currently teaches art to retired public school teachers at The United Federation of Teachers program in Brooklyn. "Every day I make art is a good day. Every day I make art is what I consider art."

Nermine Hammam

Nermine Hammam is a Cairo-based visual artist making densely composed figurative prints existing between painting and photography. Born in Cairo (1967), Nermine obtained her BFA in filmmaking from New York University’s Tisch School of Arts, going on to work with Simon & Goodman and renowned film director Youssef Chahine. She also served as production assistant in the movie Malcolm X. Hammam’s work has been widely exhibited, and is included in public and private collections around the world. With human gesture as a central subject, it seeks out individuals in states of abandonment or altered consciousness, whether through transcendental spiritual ceremonies in different parts of the Middle East or a visit to the beach near Alexandria. She is known for the distinct technique with which she reworks photography, addressing the influence of mass media and market stylization. The founder and creative director of Equinox Graphics, Hammam is also known for introducing art into the public space through innovative design and branding. She is behind some of Egypt’s most familiar brands, including Cilantro Café, Diwan Bookstores and the Deyafa group of restaurants and bars.

Kyle Hemmings

Kyle Hemmings lives and works in New Jersey. He has been published in Elimae, Smokelong Quarterly, This Zine Will Change Your Life, Blaze Vox, Matchbook, and elsewhere. He loves 50s Sci-Fi movies, manga comics, and pre-punk garage bands of the 60s. He blogs at http://upatberggasse19.blogspot.com/. "What I find in everyday happenings that I consider art is conversation fragments overheard. When I go home I try pasting the bits of what I heard and make longer fragments. I also like spaghetti westerns from the the late 60s."

John Oliver Hodges

John Oliver Hodges lives in Brooklyn. His stories, poems, photographs, and essays have appeared in over a hundred journals. He has lived the life of an oil painter, as well as a musician, and views art as that which deviates from established definitions of art; so-called "personal visions" are more often than not manifestations of a particular artist's desire to be loved. His books of fiction are entitled The Love Box and War of the Crazies. His work in photography has been recently featured in Juxtapoz Magazine and his photography books and zines are available from Hamburger Eyes.

Jenny MacBain-Stephens

Jennifer MacBain-Stephens graduated from New York University, currently lives in the Midwest, but is moving to the Washington DC area. She is the author of the chapbook “EveryHerDies,” (ELJ Publications, forthcoming 2014.) She has written four YA non-fiction books (Rosen Publishing) and has many poems published online and in print. Jennifer recently placed in the Midwest Writing Center’s twenty-four hour writing extravaganza: The Iron Pen Contest. Recent work can be seen/ is forthcoming at The Blue Hour, Red Hill Paint Quarterly, NonBinary Review, Vector Press, Split Rock Review, and The Golden Walkman. For a complete list of publications visit: http://jennifermacbainstephens.wordpress.com/. "One aspect of everyday life that is art to me are my clothes. I like to wear things that don't seem like they match but upon closer inspection, they totally work together- or you might just be blinded by the assault of patterns like a deer in headlights."

Ana Prundaru

Ana Prundaru is a consultant at Papaya Rain, where she provides services for charities and small businesses. A former third culture kid, she loves to awaken her inner explorer by traveling, painting and writing. Furthermore, she is an active human rights and animal welfare advocate, with a passion for improving communities. Currently she is working on a children's book about animal protection. Her website can be found at : www.a-prundaru.wix.com/portfolio. "I encounter art in everyday life through glancing at pretty flowers on the side of the road, listening to street performers and looking at posters on the subway. These expressions of art not only fuel my imagination and give me something to think about but they also connect people across cultural, religious or sociological barriers."

Karen Skolfield

Karen Skolfield’s book Frost in the Low Areas (2013) won the 2014 PEN New England Award in poetry and the First Book Award from Zone 3 Press. She teaches writing to engineers at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. "I can elevate a good nap to an art form, and sleep enters my writing often enough. If only I could write while I slept: that would be sweet." http://www.karenskolfield.blogspot.com

Brian Taylor

Brian Taylor was born in Tucson, Arizona. He received his B.A. Degree in Visual Arts from the University of California at San Diego, an M.A. from Stanford University, and his M.F.A. from the University of New Mexico. Brian is known for his innovative explorations of alternative photographic processes including historic 19th Century printing techniques, mixed media, and hand made books. He has been a recipient of grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Polaroid Corporation. His work has been exhibited nationally and abroad in numerous solo and group shows and is included in the permanent collections of the Bibliotheque Nationale, Paris; the Victoria and Albert Museum, London; the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; the Los Angeles County Museum of Art; and the International Museum of Photography at the George Eastman House, Rochester, NY. His work has been published in American Photographer, Photo Asia, Exploring Color Photography, Artworks, and Photographic Possibilities. Brian has taught photography workshops for institutions including the Friends of Photography, the University of California at Santa Cruz and Berkeley, Stanford University, Photo Alliance, and the Oklahoma Arts Institute. Brian is currently a Professor of Art and Art History in the photography program at San Jose State University where he has taught for over 30 years. To view Brian’s artwork, visit: briantaylorphotography.com "My imagery is inspired by the poetic moments of living in our fast-paced, modern world. I’m amazed by how daily life in the 21st Century presents us with surreal experiences in such regularity that we no longer differentiate between what is natural and what is colored with implausibility, humor, and irony."

Brandi Wells

Brandi Wells is the author of Please Don’t Be upset (Tiny Hardcore Press) and the forthcoming This Boring Apocalypse (Civil Coping Mechanisms). "There is art in the way a cat is tiny and how sharp its fangs are. There is art in fast food french fries and television marathons. Art in a well swept floor and a smooth counter top. A toaster without crumbs. A microwave without splatters or stains."

July Westhale

July Westhale is a Pushcart-nominated poet and journalist. She has been awarded residencies from the Lambda Literary Foundation, Sewanee, Napa Valley, Tin House and Bread Loaf. Her poetry has most recently been published in Adrienne, burntdistrict, Eleven Eleven, WordRiot, 580 Split, Quarterly West, and PRISM International. She is the Tomales Bay Poetry Fellow for 2014, under the mentorship of Kwame Dawes. www.julywesthale.com "One aspect of everyday life that I consider art is the light at 5:45 in the fall, when everything gets hazy & liquidy."