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.
january saw the closing of the cincinnati portfolio show at carnegie arts center (see a few entries down), and an opening at the greenwich tavern, just northeast of downtown cincinnati. the latter is a group of illustrations for a local publication that i have had the honor of being in a few times now. exhibited are pieces from the 2011 book, but i believe i will be jumping in again in the 2015 edition. here is a good summary from the greenwich facebook page:
University of Cincinnati professor Saad Ghosn is editor and creator of the acclaimed publication, "For a Better World 2011," a unique compilation of poems and drawings. The book features work from over 100 Greater Cincinnati artists--in the fields of both literary and visual arts--who collaborated on the common theme of peace and justice. Each poet's work is accompanied with strong visual imagery that evokes both the mind and spirit. Original drawings and poems from this publication will be featured in a group showing of sociopolitical expression at The Greenwich on Friday, January 23rd. Readings of poetry are scheduled for 8 PM. The visual art exhibit runs through March 15th
yeah, i'm one of those jerks who makes lists....at least with music. it started at the WOXY forums several years back and carried over with less fanfare to another website, but now i can just post it here. here are my favorite from 2014.
garagepunk hideout vol 10- countdown to a breakdown,
adhering to whatever "rules" we used to observe, compilations didn't count but of course it gets a nod!
have you read CBGB maybe yet? well now it is has been "enhanced" at the request of legions of fans (ok, 2 and they weren't fans), but mostly i did it because i have been putting it off, really.
as you may have noticed, i use color sparingly. not sure why.....it taps into some type of indecision....color=mood and really the infinite combination of colors can change the mood of a scene even by degrees.
are you ready for another horrifying tale UNSUITABLE FOR ROMANTICS?
i think you are, my friend. please enjoy birthday present.
countdown to a breakdown is the 10th compilation in the series from the garagepunk hideout (GRGPNK records out of st. louis), which i recently did the cover art for. turns out, drawing a pantsless, pill-popping, suicidal basket case requires your full attention; a little peak into the sausage making- i erroneously gave him a green mohawk at the outset. duh! pretty obvious after it was pointed out to me...not that kind of late 70's punk. i mean, this is the GARAGE punk hideout. at that point i opted for more of a pompadour, which seemed still relevant and the least intrusive fix. what can i say... sometimes you jump into a project and forget to look back. and here i thought the crying jesus was going to be the controversial element!
with songs like 666ick of it, frankencop, and where is the werewolf?, there is plenty of volume on this volume. there are 33 songs on this one alone, and at the 10th in the series, that's a lot of crackin' tracks.
artistically speaking, i'm in good company too. obviously this music has a time honored visual language to it and all these artists have it in spades. here's a sample of other volumes (below, clockwise) as done by idon mine, shawn dickinson, stephen blickenstaff, and darren merinuk.
"la llorona" will be 1 of 40 prints exhibited at the carnegie gallery, and possibly one of the DAAP galleries this fall. this piece was also featured in the book there was a woman (2008).
NOVEMBER 21, 2014 – FEBRUARY 7, 2015 Opening Reception: Friday, November 21, 2014 | 6-9pm
Clay Street Press: Cincinnati Portfolio I-IV
In 1983, Mark Patsfall/Clay Street Press invited ten artists living and working in the Cincinnati area to participate in a portfolio with the loose theme of “Cincinnati”. Some of the artists were printmakers, most were not. The result was an interesting mix of styles and techniques. The shop has produced a new portfolio of ten artists every ten years. This is the first exhibition to bring together all forty works from the first four portfolios and serves as a survey of some of the most interesting artists working in the region over the past 30 years.
This exhibition runs concurrently with a survey of 33 years of prints and editions produced by Clay Street Press at the University of Cincinnati’s DAAP Galleries.
Portfolio I artists: Kevin Booher, Stephanie Cooper, Stuart Fink, April Foster, Jan Harrison, Diana Duncan Holmes, Jack Meanwell, Brent Riley, Sandy Rosen, Jim Williams
Portfolio II artists: Jay Bolotin, Kim Burliegh, Stuart Goldman, Peter Huttinger, Vicki Mansoor, Stephen McCarthy, Kelly McKaig, Joel Otterson, Bruce Riley, TODT
Portfolio III artists: Farron Allen, Andrew Au, Holland Davidson, Heidi Endres, Mark Fox, Rob Jefferson, Andrea Knarr, Ellen Price, Michelle Red Elk, Thom Shaw
Portfolio IV artists: Noel Anderson, Terence Hammonds, Tony Luensman, Tim McMichael, Kate Kern, Yvonne Van Eiden, Casey Millard, Joe Winterhalter, Katie Parker/Guy Michael Davis, Jennifer Purdum
well, probably a little longer than that, but as i continue to screw around with putting digital icing on the traditional cake, it is interesting to see how it affects a piece. take this michonne (from the walking dead) for example....this is clearly a comic book version, but as someone who is used to more traditional materials, i'm not sure it's enough. this process of implementing photoshop is intriguing, but unless i tap into some more satisfying techniques i cannot say with certainty that it is how i will proceed in the future. sure, there is a polished decisiveness about it, but is it unique? my inclination is to next time further explore step 3 first......because i see more and more artists relying on digital wizardry (to varying degrees of success), but really, a good foundation can take you far in whatever medium.
originally posted 7/7/14- ahhh. a bit of a break.
a few things in the works that would be premature to discuss, so let's go with what i know is happening.... like taking the opportunity to illustrate a kate bush song. to be honest, it has been on my mind for years.
i like to think that, while i certainly don't know ALL varieties of music, i am pretty thorough about what i do enjoy; mining those veins of alternative/modern rock/post-punk/lo-fi/shoe gaze/whatever you want to call it, that i grew up on. and when someone asks me what my favorite album of all time is. it is a photo finish....but it is not pixies, or the cramps, or thee oh sees, or wolf parade, it is kate bush hounds of love/the ninth wave. it's true!
odd thing is i am not even that huge of a kate bush fan, but some songs, and that whole album especially, really hit the mark. and maybe, too, it was about where i was in my life when i heard it. that goes for everybody, right?
hounds of love/ninth wave can be a little 80's pop at times, but it is so much more. it is romantic but brooding, hopeful at times...but undeniably poetic in its totality. it balances buoyancy and menace in a way i find fascinating. her voice is undeniable, but it's the collage of sound she experiments with on some songs that makes it important. and it is a story. a story bloated with imagery. she herself has discussed translating it into another art form before as well, but i take the initiative here.
here is page one of hello earth. the rest to be posted upon completion.
originally posted 4/21/14- happy to report that adventure at the highland house is included in andromeda quarterly #7. it's a pittsburgh-based anthology of art and comics from little tired press that packs a punch and is put together by cool, talented people. can't go wrong there.
originally posted 3/11/14- aside from doing a bunch of weird drawings lately, here is a sneak preview of a painting in progress. it's for a figurative show at miller gallery in may. perhaps it's that plume of smoke that resembles the bride of frankenstein's hair, but there's certainly a touch of horror, a dash of sci-fi, a little nod to the ziegfeld girls of alfred cheney johnston. oil on canvas, 36" x 24"
originally posted 4/4/14- just submitted this piece for a pixies lithograph contest over at creative allies. this contest is in conjunction with the release of their 6th studio album (and first since 1991), INDIE CINDY. there are some good designs over there so regardless of how it all pans out, it's been fun. i've been a fan too long to resist a chance to do anything for the pixies. this piece also marks the first full marriage for me of traditional hand-drawn work with digital treatment. it was pretty satisfying and i see a lot of potential in this approach.
originally posted 12/15/13- the waiting room is a syndicated new music radio show based out of cardiff, england. you might occasionally hear a larger act (larger is a relative term) on their airwaves, but hosts drunk country and the woman of the house specialize in mining for rare musical gems by bands looking to get a foot in the door. i've listened to this show since it was picked up a few years ago by ohio's own (late, great 97X) woxy.com and jumped at the chance to illustrate something for them. here's the original and the ad with text for their show #169...go listen!
originally posted 9/1/13- here's another ancient discovery: a photo(s) of frank miller and bill sienkiewicz at the mid-ohio con in 1986. these guys are living masters in the comic world and were really hitting their stride at the time with their collaboration on elektra assassin. equally impressive is, for all their later royalty, they were basically holding court in a corn field, where the con was held then in mansfield. mansfield isn't near anything. kind of like seeing nirvana at a hole in the wall with 15 people.
anyway, both are major influences on my artistic development, so to meet them at the age of 16 (along with john byrne, who was also there that year), was huge. I have since read that sienkiewicz would attend cons from this era with his shirt unbuttoned to the navel. clearly not the case here, but i admit that kind of swagger is almost picasso-esque.....and justifiable if you ask me! that guy turned comic book art upside down.
artist, former woxy loyalist.