Sunday, September 14, 2014

return of the splotch monster, opening reception at off-rhode studio, 9/13/2014

Yesterday was the opening reception for Return of the Splotch Monster at the Off-Rhode Studio gallery portion of Art Enables, in Washington, D.C.. It was a long time coming for this show, and after a year of knowing about it, it's hard to believe opening day has come and gone. So much work and love went into the show, my first "real" solo art show at a gallery. If you've been following this blog, you might remember the wonderful collaborative exhibit between myself and JJ Cromer here, back in February of 2013.  Since then, I've shown work here at a few more exhibits and fundraisers, but having a solo show can be a little more nerve-wracking, yet immensely rewarding. Thankfully my work was in very good hands and I tip my cap to Beth Baldwin who did a splendid job with hanging my art (and there was a lot of it!). I am also so grateful beyond words for all the good friends and folks who made it a point to stop by and take a look and also purchase my art yesterday. It is always such a pleasant surprise to get such a positive response from folks. Also, big big thanks to Mary Liniger for giving me this show, and to all the fantastic people who volunteer and work at Art Enables! Mostly, I'm especially grateful to my wonderful wife Kris, who put up with some general crabbiness, especially in the couple of weeks leading up to the show. In the meantime, I managed to grab some shots before the opening had officially begun. (see below)

It was great to see and hear the reactions of visitors to the gallery yesterday. I met a lot of nice folks who always have something interesting to share. Many of the people I talked to were artists, crafters and musicians themselves, and quite a few were simply fans and supporters of the arts. (see below)

Some of my larger works at the show sold on opening day, and I was more than delighted to learn that my piece Nemesis (directly below) sold to the always awesome Eric and Sara Gordon, who somehow managed to catch the tail end of the reception just as myself, Kris and some friends of ours were about to leave to grab a much-needed bite to eat. To know this piece will hang in Eric and Sara's home makes me so happy, and I'm glad I got to see them for at least a few minutes before leaving the gallery. Do check out their excellent blogs Vinyl Vagabonds and DC Creepers in the meantime!

The one and only Mr. Grey Carter and his wife Linda stopped by to have a look around and a chat as well yesterday! Grey and Linda are some of the kindest folks I've had the pleasure of meeting, and his knowledge of art, especially from his experience with dealing and collecting folk, outsider, self-taught and visionary art for nearly fifty years, is extraordinary. I strongly advise anyone to contact Grey for a visit and a tour of his home-based gallery Grey Carter Objects of Art. It is absolutely amazing. 

My friend David Modler (bottom pic, far right) made the drive all the way over from Shepherdstown, WV to see the show as well. Dave is an amazing artist himself who teaches at Shepherd University, and he's currently got a piece on exhibit at their faculty group show.  It was so good to hang out with Dave again, and such a nice surprise to see him show up!

What makes me most happy is that my work can be enjoyed by folks both young and old, and it always makes me smile to get a new fan! (below pic)

I have to admit, it's pretty cool to see a poster hanging up announcing I have a solo Splotch Monster show. This is something I've always dreamed of and as of not too long ago, never pictured ever happening in my life. I'm so grateful for the folks who helped me along the way, the good books and speakers and mentors, teachers and friends who gave me the confidence, the skills and the courage to make and exhibit art again. I'm also grateful to Arts Cow for doing such a nice job with my custom-made Splotch Monster shirt (see below), created specifically for the opening reception! Eventually I'd like to get some of this work on some shirts for sale.

After the reception, Kris, her friend Jess, her two little ones, Dave and I went out for a bite and a drink at a way cool place called Franklin's Brewery, just a couple miles down the street in Hyattsville, Maryland. We were thoroughly impressed with their food and I highly recommend their Twisted Turtle Pale Ale! I love the fact that this place also exhibits local art, changing it up every two months. While waiting for our food, we had some fun throwing down in their coloring books, as Dave collaborates with Leo (below).

I seemed to have had some influence on Leo's older sis Gwyneth, who made some mean monsters of her own, including this friendly banana monster! (below)

The exhibit will run through Saturday, October 4th, and as with any art show, is well worth seeing in person, as the photos don't quite do the work justice. On Saturday, October 11th, I'll be returning to Art Enables to do a Splotch Monster-making workshop, so hope to see folks there!

Thursday, September 11, 2014

chris guillebeau at one more page books in arlington, va 9/10/2014

Last night I was fortunate enough to see the always inspiring Chris Guillebeau speak at One More Page Books in Arlington, VA, to promote his new (third) book called The Happiness of Pursuit. It was almost exactly four years ago that Kris and I first heard of him and saw him speak at Barnes and Nobles in Washington, D.C., after getting a copy of his hugely influential book The Art of Non-Conformity. At the time I was just starting to get the ball rolling as an artist, and especially one who got their work out there in the world, as I was having a small art exhibit with about ten pieces on display at a little coffee house in Leesburg, VA. At the time, that was a huge deal to me. Four years later, I'm about to have my first real solo show at the Off-Rhode Studio in DC, with almost seventy works on display. It was good sharing this with Chris last night, as I thanked him for putting himself "out there" as well (never a simple task for us introverted types), and helping those of us who could use some getting fired up from time to time. Can't wait to start diving into the new book tonight!

Sunday, August 24, 2014

new splotch monster work scanned

I finally got some larger, 22" x 30" pieces scanned professionally at Alpha Graphics in Leesburg, VA. Their rates were the most reasonable and they came out fantastic, allowing me to eventually make prints, as well as simply have accurate visual documentation of my work. With less than three weeks until the show and only two weeks to deliver my work, I need to wrap up the rest of my big pieces and get those scanned as well, before they're framed and off to Off-Rhode Studio in DC. Posted here are just some low-res screen shots taken from the scans, since the photos I've been taking didn't really give an accurate example of the work. 

Thursday, August 14, 2014

portrait by eric gordon

It's always so good to get nice things in the mail, rather than bills and solicitations, especially when they're a surprise. Today was a prime example, as my friend Eric Gordon, who runs the Vinyl Vagabonds and DC Creepers blogs and zine publications, sent me a portrait he made of me, along with other various goodies. The portrait was made late last year, when a bunch of cartoon and comic artists got together in Silver Spring, MD to participate in the first Cartoonists Draw Blood event, organized by Carolyn Belefski.  What I love about Eric's portraits is that they aren't just your run-of-the-mill type visual interpretations. They're alive and electric and they capture the essence and character of an individual. I was in awe at just how many he successfully cranked out that day during the Cartoonists Draw Blood event, while having full-on conversations with those folks who sat for him! I feel very fortunate to have met him and his wife Sara at the Richmond Zinefest several years ago, as he came by to talk and introduce himself. Make sure to visit and follow his Vinyl Vagabonds and DC Creepers blogs, and buy their excellent zines, some of which I look forward to digging into tonight!

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

splotch/asterisk art to be featured on the new the funk ark album cover!

Nearly two years ago I began participating in a mail art collaboration with my favorite living artist and all around cool guy, JJ Cromer. It was a dream come true, and we eventually had an excellent exhibit in February of 2013 at the Off-Rhode Gallery/ Art Enables in DC, called Splotch/Asterisk. Recently, a member from the DC band The Funk Ark picked up a copy of Magic Bullet - Washington, D.C.'s Comics Newspaper, issue #8, which featured my monster-themed art on the front cover. Long story short, this led the band to some of the collaborative works I did with JJ, which I posted online. Now, after talking on the phone with the band's manager, Nick Velleman, as well as with JJ to get his good graces, one of those pieces will adorn the front cover of their new album, titled Man is a Monster. To say I'm psyched about this is an understatement! Above is a teaser vid posted by the band for the new album. These guys are on fire, and if you watch until the very end, you get a peek at the cover art, with some nice close-ups. Below will be the featured album art, before the text gets added, formatted to square. I'll be posting more about this soon. Enjoy!

Saturday, July 26, 2014

summer sightings

Sometimes, or more often than not, I tend to take the good for granted and forget how sweet life can be. I complain about the heat and the sun and the bugs more often than I should in the summer. Taking pictures reminds me of all the good in the summer. The five pics above are from a visit to 868 Estate Vineyards, near Purcellville, Virginia. The five below are from the grounds at the Dodona Manor in Leesburg, Virginia, where I've been taking my drawing students all last week. Enjoy.