Consider yourself privileged to be granted into the multi-dimensional realm of our multi-talented Toil Girl of the month, Mimi. For some time now I've been a fan of her graphic design skills, not to mention being a kind and caring contact of mine, so the pleasure was all mine when I was called upon to create her portrait.
As I mentioned, Mimi is a gifted designer that can take a basic and dry idea and turn it into an awe-inspiring, opulent and shimmering work of wonder, so you can imagine how clear and developed her portrait concept was when she approached me. For anyone remotely familiar with my gallery, you know there's nothing I enjoy better than an aesthetic collaboration, and with our pretty-in-pink artisan, I got just that.
Since Mimi is just as eloquent with her words as she is with an art program, I'll let her be the narrator from this point forward.
First, a little about me. I'm known as Mimi...well, online anyway. My real name is Quinie, but I didn't want to use that on my portrait because I had visions of people viewing it sitting with their noses squished against their monitors yelling to the other person in the room "C'mere a second...how the heck do you pronounce this? Kwiy-nee? What's that? Yiddish??"
I live in central Wisconsin with the love of my life and soul mate, Wil, our four children and our four furry children (cats). I'm currently a stay-at-home mom and spend most of my free time obsessively making signature tags in Paint Shop Pro. I also love singing, reading, cooking, horror movies, and anything and everything relating to paranormal topics.
My journey to becoming a Toil Girl began right around Valentines Day in 2008. Wil had known I was an extreme fan and long time admirer of the enormously talented artist Les Toil, and that I had been dreaming of becoming a Toil Girl for years. He also knew that dream was well out of my reach since finances just wouldn't allow for such a fanciful expenditure any time in the foreseeable future. However, unbeknownst to me he had been squirreling away a few dollars every night from the tips he'd been receiving at work for months on end, saving them up until he had enough to surprise me with the amount I needed to commission Les for a portrait. That came as the greatest, sweetest, most loving Valentines Day gift in my life (and quite possibly in Toil Girl history). I don't think I stopped crying for three hours. Once I finally did, however, I emailed Mr. Toil and began the quest to make my dream of becoming a Toil Girl a reality.
Les was so incredibly gracious and sweet from the very moment he replied to my initial correspondence. I was so nervous and shy, but he put me at ease immediately and made my adventure of becoming a Toil Girl a fun and exhilarating experience I will never forget. The first time I got a peek at my final art I was not able to speak or breathe. I couldn't believe not only how perfectly he actually captured me, but how absolutely beautiful he had made me. ME! I was a stunning piece of art! I knew he was an insanely gifted artist, but even so I was not prepared for the masterpiece he presented to me that day. For the second time on my journey to becoming a Toil Girl, I cried like a baby. And it felt good. Wonderful, in fact.
As for the concept of my portrait, there was no hesitation on my part. I wanted something that was going to portray me, the REAL me, that I've finally grown to become over the years. I knew from a very young age that I had a 'deviant' side that most people didn't, and because I was different I thought I was bad in some way and spent my whole life going out of my way trying to hide it. I constantly over-compensated for it by being as goody-two-shoes and squeaky clean as possible while growing up. In my mid-twenties I found a huge (and I mean GARGANTUAN) online community of people who were just like me, if not even slightly more twisted than I am. They helped me to see that this other side of my personality was not that unusual after all, and was CERTAINLY nothing to be embarrassed about. I also realized it could be wickedly fun when shared with the right company. Bit by bit they helped me leave my shell and come to terms with who I really was inside and out. I came to not only accept my deviant side, but love it and take a little personal pride in it. I even began to feel sorry for those who lacked an alter-ego of their own to turn to when they wanted something to spice things up a bit. Am I ready to attend my next Christmas party sporting a leather corset, thigh high boots and a feather boa? Well...perhaps not quite yet. But I could at least let the world take a peek into my naughty little closet.
On a side note, the above-mentioned "online community" is also where I met Wil for the first time. I'll never be able to fully express my gratitude for all the happiness they've brought to my life in so many ways. It's amazing how much one simple Internet search can change your life. After all, that's how I found Les Toil, too. :-)
Wow! They say every picture tells a story! That has to be one of the most memorable origins of a Toil portrait this gallery has ever been host to!
I can't help but to think quite a few people will be living vicariously through your portrait, Mimi. Having read your words, the image above seems to reflect empowerment as well as liberation. It also represents the admiration that brought Mimi and Wil together, as well as the love that Wil expressed by saving his hard-earned tip money for this commission.
Hugs and thanks to Mimi for the kindly praises about my work and our fun and fruitful art collaboration. High-fives to Wil for making it all happen. :-)