Winner of Adobe's 36 Days of Type Contest

Remember that project where I made one letter of the alphabet, and then all of the numerals, every day for 36 consecutive days? Turns out my project was one of six winners for Adobe’s 36 Days of Type contest! Thousands of incredibly talented designers, artists, and illustrators participated in this year’s competition, and I was totally surprised and delighted to hear that I was one of six winners. Read my interview and check out the other winners over at Adobe’s blog post.

Fight AIDS, Win Art: Zai's AIDS/LifeCycle Fundraiser

This June, I'll be participating in AIDS/LifeCycle, which is a seven-day, 545-mile bike ride from SF to LA. It's a massive fundraiser that supports the San Francisco AIDS Foundation and the Los Angeles LGBT Center, two organizations that are doing crucial, life-saving work to curb the AIDS epidemic in California. Over the next month, I'm planning to raise $3,000 for the San Francisco AIDS Foundation. To make this fun for everyone, I'm hosting an art raffle: I'll be giving away six unique, handcrafted prizes! Three of them were made by yours truly, and the other three were made -- and generously donated! -- by my insanely talented friends Nicole Sweeney, Jasmin Pamukcu, and Jeff Goodwin from Krakatoa Design


For every $20 that you donate toward my fundraising, you'll earn one ticket in the raffle. I'm going to divide up the drawing into six individual rounds. After I sell 25 tickets, I'll randomly draw a winner and raffle off the first prize. Once I sell the the next 25 tickets, I'll raffle off the second prize. I'll keep going like this until I've sold a total of 150 tickets and raffled off all six prizes. Take a peek at my scoreboard spreadsheet if you're having a hard time visualizing the structure of this contest.  

The fun part: All tickets will stay in the pool for subsequent rounds! So if you buy a few tickets in the first round, they'll stay in the pool for Rounds 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6! (Winning tickets, however, will be removed from the pool for subsequent rounds.) If you want to maximize your odds of winning a prize, make sure to donate sooner rather than later!

How to Enter:

Donate online with a credit card here. I'd recommend donating in increments of $20, as $20 equals one raffle ticket. So for example, if you donate $200, you'll earn 10 tickets in the raffle.

You can check the scoreboard at any time to see where we are in the raffle, and who's won so far!


Prize #1: Tall Prism Stand by Elektra Steel

This is a teeny little stand that I designed and welded from blackened steel bar and stainless sheet steel. At only 7" high, it's perfect for displaying your tiniest treasures: air plants, jewelry, or maybe a votive candle. It normally retails for $60.

Prize #2: Amaterasu Omikami by Jasmin Pamukcu

My best friend Jasmin Pamukcu generously contributed this beautiful, framed ink drawing of Amaterasu Omikami, the Shinto goddess of the sun. Earlier this spring, she raised money for a service trip to Cambodia by creating a coloring book featuring powerful goddesses from around the world. Enter the contest to win this original drawing of Amaterasu Omikami, which is worth $150. And if you want to learn more about her Global Goddesses Coloring Book project, you can read about it here!

Prize #3: Black & Tan Triangle by Nicole Sweeney

Remember those nesting triangular tables I made with my kickass woodworker friend a few months ago? Well, that kickass woodworker was Nicole Sweeney, and I was over the moon when she told me that she'd contribute one of her bold triangular wall hangings for my raffle! This striking piece is 24" wide, and she'd normally sell it for $150. If you don't end up winning this piece in the raffle, you can always head over to her online shop and see what's for sale! 

Prize #4: San Francisco City Map by Krakatoa Design

My very good friend Jeff Goodwin (the mastermind behind Krakatoa Design) makes all kinds of things out of both wood and metal -- benches, display cases, crazy wood-and-leather bags, cutting boards, spoons, you name it! This particular piece has become one of his signature items in the last few years. Part bulletin board, part cartographic wall art, these cork maps offer a new way to show off your 'hood. Mark out your favorite haunts, or plot all the places you've been meaning to check out. This map of San Francisco has been laser etched into a thick cork sheet, and is suspended between solid walnut hanging bars. The map is 24"x24" (slightly larger with the frame), and it normally sells for $160. Enter the raffle to win this beauty! And if you can't wait until the drawing, check out Krakatoa Design's online store!

Prize #5: Marble Prism Stand by Elektra Steel

This elegant tabletop stand features a slab of reclaimed marble with raw edges. The asymmetrical steel base was welded together, blackened with a dark patina, and then sealed with a deep blue metal oil to protect the finish. The Marble Prism Stand can serve as a standalone art object, or it can be used to showcase small treasures on one's vanity, kitchen counter, or desk. It's roughly 13" long x 8" wide x 5" high, and normally sells for $250.

Prize #6: Steel Diamond by Elektra Steel

This bold wall hanging was made from a mix of bright stainless steel and blackened mild steel. The parts were lasercut and carefully finished, sanded, and sealed by hand, and then mounted to a wood backing. A welded steel flatbar frame gives it a solid heft. This piece is 1'x1', and it includes a z-clip for mounting. This piece retails for $250. 

The Backstory

I participate in AIDS/LifeCycle every year for a number of reasons. I first got involved because the focus of my master's thesis research was HIV/AIDS, STIs, and sexual and reproductive health, and I wanted to find ways to support the cause outside of academia. I fell in love with AIDS/LifeCycle, and I kept coming back for more. This will be my fifth year in a row participating in AIDS/LifeCycle.

I ride because I have friends who have have been touched by HIV or AIDS, and I see that the fight isn't over. I ride because the federal government still refuses to fund effective harm-reduction programs like clean needle exchanges -- which means that we rely on private donations to keep these services afloat. I ride because I love the AIDS/LifeCycle community -- including everyone who has ever donated! -- and what we can accomplish together.

Flash Giveaway!

UPDATE 2/18: Contest is now closed! The winner of this little welded sculpture is Instagram user @transitgal -- congratulations! (If you're curious about the drawing methodology, I recorded a screen-capture video of me using a random number generator to select the winner.) I will definitely be doing more giveaways in the future, so make sure to follow @elektrasteel on Instagram!

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FLASH GIVEAWAY!! Head over to Instagram to enter to win this little welded sculpture! Contest closes tomorrow, February 18th, at 12pm PST. See Instagram post for details and rules!