so, if you have not perused unsuitable for romantics yet, now is always a good time. i guess i can also say another comic is in the works. was trying to get it done by fat tuesday (there's a clue), but it'll be a little while longer yet.
been listening to the fall a lot the last several days, following the recent death of principal player mark e smith. his passing is notable for several reasons, but i specifically wanted to acknowledge it was he, after all, who invented the line "unsuitable for romantics", which i've borrowed for my collection of autobiographical comics. it barely registers in the world of searchable everything, just a line of graffiti he scrawled for a 1982 advertisement promoting the album hex education hour......but, twas enough to resonate with me when i saw it years ago.
breaking with tradition a little bit here......
with the notable exception of NO contribution whatsoever for 2016, in the past i've listed my take on the best albums of the year. i do prefer that format so perhaps i'm afforded the time for its return next december. still, in the mish-mash of the daily grind i found a lot of good songs the past 12 months and dumped them all into a 2017 spotify playlist.
157 songs in some semblance of order from meh to best. sure, i probably missed a couple....that happens every year, but even my past lists get additions throughout the year. so check them all out. i'm here. however, if you just want the red meat, the top 25 reads like so:
............................and behold i find myself wandering back to black. here's a fresh batch from the lid pile.
the first of some one panel comics.....and of course they'll all be unsuitable for romantics.....
as i approach 500 overtime hours of production art this year (holy shit, it is only august?), i am still looking toward that someday when the dust settles, metaphorically and literally...i am often coated in dust by somebody grinding on fiberglass or cutting steel within a visceral moan of where i am trying to paint. working for the likes of disney, universal and sony sounds cool but can grind one down as well. as mentioned last post, as these deadlines are met i still try to crank out a deli lid or two for my sanity's sake....i'll put them all here eventually. or the best ones, anyway.
with regards to other branches of my own work, still progressing on comics and illustrations on the side, which i will share soon. i was also recently contacted by an art consultant who is interested in using select images of paintings (or, in some cases, the paintings themselves). in the past i have avoided some of these inquiries because it wasn't a good fit, but i like most of the this particular group's projects. that dialogue has just begun.
last, SOS ART for a better world is exhibiting its 2015 book illustrations later this month at xavier university. i'd have to look back to see who all is included in that, but i am particularly excited to be showing with brian level, a fellow cincinnatian and comic book artist who is the best there is at what he does, and what he does isn't very nice (that's a comic book joke). below is the postcard, where you get a good look at his poignant take on the charlie hebdo attack (L), and mine (BR), regarding disadvantaged children in our society.
as previously mentioned, i spend a grueling amount of time working as a production artist, which really only means i'm a hired gun putting a nice finish on other people's "art" (see: amusement and sometimes educational objects).
the primary downside is such a schedule inhibits me from making my own work with the zeal and energy usually needed.
however, it has been rewarding in some unexpected ways too.....i'm constantly challenged and further developing my skills through materials and subject matter i would not probably seek on my own. it's just a different beast than my own art. so as i try to square these 2 art worlds of which i orbit, i find myself putting a spin on some of the everyday tools of the trade. me and my crew go through lots of paint, containers, brushes and the like.....i often use deli cup lids as palettes and soon had a pile, that, when viewed from the opposite side are quite pleasingly sealed under plastic. put a little marker on top of that and you get a clean, finished looking piece of trash!
why are concert shirts so hard to throw out?
there is a new one-pager up that is unsuitable for romantics, called god save the tees. if you're a fan of live shows or just pimping your favorite bands, you just might relate. like many of you, my fixation has been with "alternative/modern rock" thanks in large part to cincinnati's own 97X (the best station that ever was)... and i've had some of these shirts for 30 years!
anyway, there are a few visual jokes for those in the know.....
look for more comics ahead, several in the works of various lengths and commitment!
ALSO, in january i did a small interview with felan, a poetry and visual arts zine with the theme of AMUSEMENT.
featured pieces include SAVIOR, and the illustration of comrade trump you see below in the previous post.
you can read the interview here, in which i discuss all sorts of things from scary watercolors and why roadkill isn't funny, to michael graves' funeral. oh, and buy it here!
see ya next time.
just finished an illustration for what i understand to be the best of for a better world, the annual publication of cincinnati poets and artists on peace and justice. amazingly, it is in its 13th year. i am no stranger to this book, having done it 5 other times, including a cover in 2005 in its infancy (see below). as it goes, a visual artist is paired with a poet who has provided either one or a few poems. often, said poems address war, poverty, homelessness, human rights and the like, and by now there's a pretty impressive database of cincinnati artists. i'm hoping this archive can soon be cross-referenced by individual names...mostly because i want to navigate them easier and be blown away by the list of talent.
traditionally, the book has been in black and white, however "the best of" is in color so i took the opportunity to punch it up (bottom right). really, each year gets better. the examples below, and the poets they are collaborating with, can also be found on the illustration page of this site. sorry, earlier photos aren't the greatest.
my illustration this time combines 2 poems by jeffrey hillard, pertaining to the war in iraq and the notion of a soldier being saved by a book in his breast pocket. i became transfixed with that that idea on top of all of the gear most soldiers are outfitted with.
so, with that in mind.....
the state of affairs, the direction of the world....urgh....i have mostly stayed out of the fray regarding our recent....election. partially because i am completely unamused with reality tv and partly because there is no shortage of opinion regarding the matter. STILL......i may or may not have a small contribution somewhere in early 2017. let's just leave it at that until the stench blows over. see ya next time!
sayonara 2016, you horrible beast.
been a couple of months since anything has happened in the old NEWS section, so i suppose there's a reason for that. it's called my day job. i've been working an ungodly amount most of this year.
in the summer of 2015 i left the gallery scene (for now) and jumped back into production art. i had done it several years back and it mostly includes murals, finishing, or facade painting in any variety of spraying and brushwork.
the company i currently work for, LF creative, does, among other things, large scale sculpture and licensed characters for museums, amusement parks, special exhibitions, etc. you kind of have to see it to know what i'm talking about- the catch is much of what we are currently working on can't be shared until their respective deadlines pass. so, what i can show is from months ago.....but, day in and day out, there is always something weird in the shop. if you follow me on twitter, well, you'll get a lot of absurdity, but an occasional work related post (also most likely tied into some absurdity) relating to certain projects and the freaks who make them.
besides that, other things are starting or continuing to take shape.....commissions, illustrations, personal projects being revisited......still getting a handle on scheduling it all and will share some of those next time. for now, a sampling of the production art spectrum.....
as i continue to get organized and up and running again, making art in a new studio, i suppose i can take the time to reiterate some of the things that were still in the works before "the big shut down" occurred (long story). as a now former westwoodian and (still) car enthusiast, doing some promotional ideas with westwood works for the first annual community car show was very enjoyable and locally rewarding. here are the 2 designs submitted for this august's coming event. i personally favored the one that wasn't chosen (the 3 cars), but am pleased to contribute in any way. here's hoping for a successful initial show for an area that has been growing, building on the energy of young leadership, and a beautiful neighborhood i've called home for 17 years. stay cool westwood
on a totally different note, several of my pieces from the 1990's (personally, an era of colorful hedonism) are being featured in an upcoming up the staircase quarterly 90s issue. curious to see what else might turn up there....probably fairly heavy on the pop culture references, but no doubt examining the grunge aesthetic as well, which i suppose was one ingredient in how i made art back then......so until next time....i'm gonna break, i'm gonna break my, i'm gonna break my rusty cage....and run.
tighter, tourniquet, tighter, oil on canvas, 30" x 22", 1993
well, spring has had its share of surprises, costing me some valuable time planning and creating new things...but i hope to be up and running again soon in a new studio that promises to be....well, very small in the spacial sense, but big in the inspirational. here's to new beginnings.
in the meantime, storm cellar 5.1 is a literary journal from milwaukee, with outposts in chicago and minneapolis, and they have decided to use my piece, pickpocket, as a pretty cool wrap-around cover for the latest volume. i think the nature of the image lends itself quite nicely to such a format, so kudos to their art director for recognizing that.
i have only seen it in PDF format so far but anticipate reading a printed copy soon, which i believe you can currently find in a couple of places, including on etsy.
opening APRIL 29, in just over a week, is the bowie in the basement tribute show at thunder-sky, inc. in northside, cincinnati. based on what little i saw, i think the variety will be pretty cool. pictured (lower) left are mine (again, detail), marie gardeski's gentle portrait of 14 yr old bowie, and a terrific painting called glampire, by old friend jonathan queen. and that's just a sampling! to top the night off, word is bowie karoake will be in full effect as well. should be a really fun night.
AND i also recently found out that mine will be included in a bowie tribute zine called the opening door, via CSArt main. that should be in a couple of months still.
march 4, 2016 at manifest gallery opens the ohio regional showcase, of which i will have a large car piece in. glad to finally make it into a show at manifest- i was contractually unable to do for the last several years. here also is just a glimpse at some poster work i am designing for a local car show later this year.....somewhat atypically graphic for me but fitting for the event. more about that when the time comes.
finally, a bowie tribute show is taking place in april at thunder-sky, inc., which you should read about. a great idea in a gallery dedicated to a fascinating guy, raymond thunder-sky. i'm having to recreate my drawing below, which was half digital, to be cleaned up and hangable. WIP at right. all in all, art i enjoy making for people and places i like as well, as it should be.
one of the pillars of rock & roll has fallen and picasso has died twice in david bowie. what i mean by that is there are performers and there are artists; those who embody a higher calling and live their art. as far as i can tell, bowie was never just a performer. much has been written about him following his passing, and much has been written about how much has been written.....so i won't belabor the point, but now giving it some thought and sorting through why it seems like his death creates a huge cultural hole, it's because it absolutely does. like picasso, or any number of history changing creators before him, bowie represents an artist in the classic sense, a master spanning decades, bodies of work, each more compelling than the last, and all of it culminates to be nothing short of mythology. the anti-hero with a thousand faces. i can think of few people with the range to sing with bing crosby and trent reznor both while launching so many musicians down their paths. not surprisingly, he was also a champion of the visual artists too. the most obvious being tony oursler. oursler was probably bound for success anyway, but catching bowie's eye and support certainly didn't hurt.
like so many others, i was compelled this week to do a couple pieces regarding bowie. the first (right) was just pushing paint.....a small study depicting him on stage in the 70's. the second (above) more graphic and based on his final album and videos (which are amazingly poetic in confronting his own impending death), occurred some days later when i realized i wasn't quite done thinking about him. still not, really.....i like that, like him, these two pieces are quite different in tone. occasionally an artist will "reinvent" themselves, and that sounds cool and all, but bowie actually did that time and time again, all the while staying true to his art and arc. oh, and what a seemingly great guy........perhaps a little less self-serving than picasso in that respect.
this is usually the only non-art related thing i post here, but i've been keeping track for the last several years and log a lot of listening time in while working, so what the hell. i also usually find a glaring omission or two about 3 months later...that's just the nature of the beast.
i also also keep running playlists of favorite songs on spotify. some of those lists are organized by year and tend get additions after the fact. of course by now most people have their musical sourcing routines set, however, if you're so inclined to follow up, you can find them here.
there is a new addition over in the comics section.
savior is just a little one-pager to knock the rust off. these are all true stories....or as true as a pickled memory will allow. not sure if the friends i keep depicting have unfriended me or not yet.
for some reason, image quality on the comics page isn't as crisp as the sample here....weebly wasn't much help.
the strange parallels continue......in the sense that another literary journal has picked up another one of my rust belt series paintings. pickpocket will be featured early next year and i will be sure to share it when it happens....but in the meantime...in the strange saga of kid rock's bassist, aaron julison, he has taken the stage wearing a shirt with one my ancient drawings on it. to read the full story, see two entries below. but for now, here is the backstage pic. i think it's safe to say it was more about honoring my friend's late father than whatever crazy stuff i was drawing in high school.....but i'd be lying if i said i didn't enjoy such weird twists and turns in life.
seems like this is the time of year when a lot of things roll out....
to that end, i found out this week that thief in the throng will be featured in the upcoming fall publication of the sheepshead review, a journal of art and literature out of green bay. a perfect fireside read!
a couple weeks ago something remarkable happened. i posted on twitter (yeah, i'm on there) a throwback thursday sort of thing, a pic of a t-shirt design i made in 1988 for an underground zine in lexington called VOID!. i think maybe 2o of these shirts were printed, the illustration was a funny one, desmond tutu holding the wizard of oz dog, toto, standing next to fantasy island's tattoo and the band U2. toto and tutu with tattoo and U2.
right? anyway, after that tweet went out a guy in denver contacted me asking if there were any of those shirts left because he had had one. um, no, surely you are mistaken. you never had one. well, after talking a bit, he DID have one! as the story goes, he was at a party in louisville in the late 80's (i already believe it) and a drunk girl puked on him. her boyfriend was trying to do damage control and replaced the guy's soiled shirt with one from out of her car, which happened to be said shirt. how she got it, i do not know, but the pukee then had that shirt stolen from him about a year later! ahhhh. circle of life. to my knowledge, i was the only one who EVER had this shirt! i figured the guy who printed them didn't even succeed in actually selling any!
here's the kicker: the pukee said he always wanted that shirt back and has plugged the phrase "toto and tutu with tattoo and U2" every now and then into google for 16 YEARS. ha! my tweet was the first and only time he got a result. so....i hope to print another run and send him one. he deserves it.
then, about 3 days after that whole exchange, an old high school pal named mike emailed me. he asked if it was ok if he could send a (different) shirt that he'd printed up with another one of my old drawings on it to a friend who was currently in a band. apparently, i had done a drawing for mike's high school garage band (around 1986- i had done a shit ton of drawings back then and don't remember most of them) and his present musician friend wanted to wear something on stage to honor mike's dad, who had recently passed away. i said sure, go for it..... and then found out the musician being discussed is the current bass player for.....kid rock. so when that picture emerges i'll be sure to share....even though the drawing kind of sucks, it's a nice gesture for that guy to wear it. what a strange week that was....here is the shirt from the first story......
yeah...pretty thrilled to have a 2 page spread in the upcoming nix comics quarterly #8 (NCQ8). for this issue i have completed 12 absurd stories that were either too foolish, raunchy, or disturbing to make the cut! nix comics is the baby of ken eppstein, a music geek/ record pusher out of columbus who is more likely to have his books in record stores than comic stores. fine with me. you can check out his website here and his FB page here. NCQ8 is to be released this october, and based on what i've heard about it, it'll be a real humdinger.
i will be a participating artist in this eclectic car themed show coming saturday, september 12. also looking forward to an accompanying car show/cruise-in on the gallery's grounds. i would have driven my '61 lancer to the occasion, but it wouldn't have been too happy going all that way.....
i think this will be more of a non-update, i guess....but still felt the need to touch base, because that's what you do when you have a "news" section. you call stuff news. ok.......so it's been awhile.....not that everything came to a grinding halt, but there have definitely been some frustrating misfires in the past several months and about a half a dozen things on hold for one reason or another.
HOWEVER, there a few things cooking now that, while i don't want to spoil/curse/or otherwise jump the gun on, i can....vaguely allude to? HA! this is really running in circles now innit? suffice it to say that the car paintings are slated to make an appearance in the form of an exhibit and a book (separately, i might add), and then there's this business with some comic book work in the mix right now that is so ridiculo that those freaks pictured above are just the tip of the iceberg. oh, you'll see them again.
"what in the hell just happened?" you are asking yourself. "how am i supposed to remember any of this non-information?". don't you worry, i'll remind you when these things exist in the world. "huh. thanks." you say...with a slight hint of sarcasm....and hot cabbage on your breath.
as previously mentioned here, for a better world is kind of a companion book to the perennial SOS art exhibit (which also has its own book); both are centered around themes of peace and social justice and are orchestrated by artist saad ghosn. each in there 12th year (that's 24 books if you're counting), the books are a limited run that highlight some of this areas most notable artists and poets.
here is a look at my 2015 inclusion, illustrating for terri folz' poem, falling. it's about disadvantaged children in our society.
i think this is my 4th go at for a better world, including a cover a few years back. i am especially excited to share the pages this time with a few of my favorite regional artists and friends, including, matt reed, david birkey, brian level, and my former professor at the art academy, gary gaffney.
i think for a better world comes out in may.
there is a group show hanging at miller gallery right now that i recently completed this painting for. it's a continuation of the rust belt series (which i thought i was done with, but apparently not). the show opened wednesday (feb 25) and runs a couple of weeks. also being shown are some really cool pieces by ryan flanagan, david michael beck, bruce riley and a slew of other regional artists, all to welcome new ownership of the gallery.
also, i'd be remiss if i didn't mention the passing of leonard nimoy, which many were saddened to hear about recently. what a great man, character actor, and influence on science and the arts in general, and movie and comic book culture specifically. a character so realized only comes to us once in a great while and helps shape our american mythology (of course spock wasn't american or even from earth, but his creator was). LLAP.
artist, former woxy loyalist.