Sunday, November 29, 2009

"a splotch monster compendium volume one" is available now

I always wanted to publish a little book of some sort and during the last few arts and crafts fairs I've been to, people were saying how cool my Splotch Monsters would look in a book. So, I ended up going through a little self-publishing group of sorts called Blurb, and had one made specifically dedicated to the two-hundred plus Splotch Monsters I've painted/drawn so far. Now, the book is available through Blurb and ready for purchase in three different formats. I've got to say, I'm pretty excited about this and actually ordered a few for myself today as soon as they went up for sale. You can get a small sneak peek of the book at the Blurb site (or simply click on the link on the right hand side of my blog). I will say, there are definitely more surprises inside that you won't see at the site. I also decided to make these books all available on the highest quality premium paper, which raised the prices a bit, but I also decided to keep the prices where they are by not going with the option of making a profit from the book. What I like about Blurb is that you can find some very well made books featuring some remarkable photographers, artists and writers, and you can't find these books in any book stores anywhere. More than anything, since a good deal of my Splotch Monsters have been sold or traded in both postcard and ATC form, I did this book for myself. However, I thought it would be fun to make the book available to the public. When the books arrive I'll do a follow up post about them here at my blog. Can't wait!

Saturday, November 28, 2009


I recently completed this drawing in an A4 sketchbook Moleskine as part of Big A's sketchbook exchange (round 2). It also works pretty well for the current Illustration Friday topic "entangled".


Wednesday, November 25, 2009

so far ...

I've been working on a little compilation picture book through Blurb, after so many folks suggested I should do one featuring my Splotch Monsters. So far so good. It looks like it'll be a 7" x 7", fifty-page, hard (and soft) bound publication. Hopefully it will be completed and ready for purchase by the end of the year! Above is a sneak peak - almost finished.


Sunday, November 22, 2009

night music

This was created for the Illustration Friday topic "music".

*mixed media on watercolor paper, digitally altered in Picnik, 11/2009

Friday, November 20, 2009

artist spotlight : aijung kim

Recently, at the third annual Richmond Zine Fest I had the opportunity to see the work from, and meet many amazing, inspiring artists and creative individuals, including Richmond, Virginia resident Aijung Kim, whose 'zines, and work in general simply blew me away. When she agreed to do an interview here at Go Flying Turtle!, I couldn't have been happier. I hope you enjoy this fine but brief sample of Aijung's work, and after the interview, be sure to drop on by her website, where you'll find a whole lot more visual goodness.

1. Q: How did you decide you wanted to do art for a living?

A: I’ve wanted to be an artist since I was a child. Looking at art and creating things has always come naturally, and makes me feel most like myself. When I make art, I feel I’m doing something important – finding the truth in things and communicating it visually.

Among various other endeavors, I want to illustrate children’s books. I remember being very influenced by what I saw and felt as a child. Everything is new, and the world is magical and frightening. Words and images have a certain power that some adults dismiss when they get older. That’s why I think it’s important to make beautiful books for children that teach truths that some adults have forgotten.

2. Q: A good deal of your work looks to be influenced by the natural world, yet it seems to have somewhat of a soft, dreamlike quality to it. How did you develop your current style?

A: I never consciously developed a style. I suppose my own nature is rather soft and dream-like, so it comes through no matter what I do. Much of my work is about the interconnectedness of all things – plants, animals, humans, and the energy that runs through life. I want to convey what is inside of things, so that contributes to the dream-like quality.

3. Q: In addition to nature, are there any artists, alive or dead who have inspired you a lot lately?

A: I’ve been looking at a lot of children’s books and trying to be more conscious of what makes an illustration “good.” I adore Edward Gorey – his drawing style and droll humor. Arnold Lobel (best known for the “Frog and Toad” series) has been one of my favorites since I was a child. His drawings make me feel peaceful and comforted. I’ve been into fables lately, so I checked out a book called “The Woman in the Moon,” illustrated in intricate black and white line drawings by Angela Barrett. “The Arrival,” by Shaun Tan is also beautifully illustrated. It’s a wordless book drawn in pencil in a series of sequential panels, almost like a comic book.

4. Q: Recently I heard someone call Richmond the Austin (Texas) of Virginia. How's your experience going so far, living in Richmond? Any places or happenings we should know about?

A: I just moved here about 6 months ago, but I’ve been surprised at how many art opportunities I have found already. There are a lot of art students who go to VCU, so it’s nice to have that arty vibe. The Visual Arts Center of Richmond ( offers art workshops and classes and has great facilities. There is the Bizarre Market, a craft show that takes place at various venues and times of the year, which I’ll be participating in again at Chop Suey Books. And lots of great galleries, including Gallery 5 ( which just hosted the Richmond Zine Fest. Every First Friday of the month, there is a huge turn-out of people to attend the art openings. There is also a program I’d like to be involved in the future, called Art 180 ( that organizes artists to teach classes to at-risk youth in Richmond. I’m sure there’s more but I have yet to explore it!

5. Q: You are very prolific and yet your style is very consistent. What medium have you been enjoying working with most these days?

A: There are a few mediums that I’m really enjoying now. Pen and ink is a staple, and I love using Rapidograph technical pens. I’ve also been making gel transfers, where I use gel medium and photocopies of my drawings to make transparent “skins,” which I then hand-paint with acrylics and mount to wood panels. I like that I’m able to make multiples of the same drawing, but each varies slightly because I hand-paint them. And it’s interesting to take a previously black and white image and color it in. I also started making linocuts again (I was a Printmaking major at college.) I love the way it’s like a drawing, but sculptural since you have to carve the lines. I paint the linoleum with black ink and then scrape away with my tools, so it is very satisfying to see the light lines emerging from the black. Lots of exciting techniques!

6. Q: Your 'zines are extraordinary - there's obviously a lot of care put into those tiny books of yours. What got you involved in the 'zine scene?

A: Thank you! I love comic books, and I started a Comix Club when I was living at home in Rochester, New York a couple years ago. Our members met every week, and passed around comic books and made drawings. We did a few art challenges, and I started making zines of illustrated poetry. Since then, I’ve made more poetry zines and other books with drawings and observations about my life, nature, and little things. When I lived in Portland, Oregon, there was a big comic/zine/self-publishing scene that I was exposed to as well. I love zinesters’ openness, experimentation, and generosity. I also think of zines as good practice for making larger books, which I’d like to tackle soon.

7. Q: What do love most about creating art?

A: Creating art makes me feel alive and connected to the wider universe. I actually sleep better when I work on art during the day, I think because it satisfies a deeper part of me. I love creating fantastical worlds and creatures, and using art to observe the world around me. Art is so important because it reminds people of their dreams and makes them remember that there are many ways of seeing the world.

8. Q: What would you consider the most difficult part about being an artist?

A: Making a living from art is hard. Many artists are not particularly business-minded and don’t know how to channel their creativity into a successful career. I’ve felt lost about it for a long time, but I think everyone has to figure out their own path and meander along the way. For the first time in my life I’m trying to sell art as my sole income (and getting a lot of help from others as I attempt this), but it was always hard for me to work on art when I had another job. Day jobs are draining, and require a different sort of energy. I didn’t always feel like doing more work in my spare time. Art is a labor of love, but it IS work. I would constantly think about making art, but constantly avoided it. It was very hard to be disciplined because I was so out of practice.

9. Q: Are there any upcoming shows or art-related events you would like to share with us?

A: This is the busiest year for me as an artist, ever! All of the following events are in Richmond, Virginia:

Ongoing through the end of November, I have drawings, paintings, and prints on the walls of Harrison Street Coffee Shop (, my favorite place to eat in town. Starting in the last week of November and through December, I’ll be displaying art and crafts for sale at Ecologic ( and Chop Suey Books ( Both of these locations will be selling a variety of artists’ goods, so they will be great for holiday shopping. Opening on December 4th, I have a solo exhibition called “Root” at Gallowlily’s in Gallery 5 (, where I will be unveiling my new linocut prints, as well as paintings and crafts. On December 11th and 12th, I will be a vendor at Richmond Handmade Holiday (, which is taking place at the Visual Arts Center of Richmond ( And as always, you can find zines, art, and crafts at my online shop, I will be listing the new gel transfer paintings and linocut prints in my shop at the very end of November, so keep an eye out!

10. Q: From your experience, what's the best advice, if any, you could give to anyone, young or old, who might consider selling and exhibiting their work?

A: It’s a tough life. There is a lot I could say, but here’s the main one: if you are serious about selling and exhibiting your art, be persistent. You will try and fail hundreds of times. You will want to give up constantly. And once you do reach a certain level of “success” (whatever your definition of success may be), you will strive for more and probably fail at first. Some people get lucky, but I think the mistakes teach you the most, because they force you to solve a problem creatively when your expectations are not fulfilled. Also, don’t become too complacent with success. Always strive to create and explore, not just settle for what you know other people will like. Be true to yourself, be humble, and just keep working.

I’ve been reading a book called “The War of Art” by Steven Pressfield, and he writes about how artists experience resistance in many forms, all self-created. I’d recommend it to all of those who want to make art but are afraid to.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

"portratit of an unbalanced psyche"

This drawing was made for both the Illustration Friday topic "unbalanced", as well as for Big A's Moleskine exchange (in Anders' book).

*mixed media in A4 sketchbook Moleskine, 11/2009

Saturday, November 14, 2009

deastro live at dc9, 11/12/2009

Last Thursday night I made it out to DC to see Deastro perform live at DC9. It was cold, damp and rainy out and normally I would have been tempted to rest my burning feet and dying voice in the cozy comfort of home, but this was Deastro for crying out loud! Real name Randolph Chabot, Deastro, hailing from Detroit, MI, has been on tour, opening for Max Tundra, the latter of whom I unfortunately had to miss or I'd have missed the Metro ride home.

I first "discovered" the amazing music of Deastro earlier in the year while sorting through the bins of my favorite local cd shop. The cover art immediately jumped out at me, with its wild, cosmic collage landscape. Of course the title of his latest (and second) album, "Moondagger" drew me in as well, and the fact that it was on the highly respected American electronic music label, Ghostly International. What started out as a near overlooked curiosity turned out to be one of my all-time favorite albums. Unfortunately, Chabot wasn't able to perform much of the material from Moondagger - a dense, epic long-player recorded with a full band, who happened to bail on him three weeks ago due to lack of funds. However, despite the stripped down live set, which included a friend of Chabot's on bass and keys, Deastro soldiered on and delivered an energized, spirited performance, showcasing earlier tracks from his first album, "Keepers", as well as a sampling of some truly stellar new songs. Occasionally, in between songs, Chabot would tell bad jokes or make small talk with the audience, to everyone's bemused enjoyment.

I got a chance to talk briefly with Chabot after his set, and learned that there will already be another new album out soon in the new year, and he already has a new band lined up. This is exciting news indeed and it looks as if this young musical genius is on a roll with no end in site. Be sure to catch Deastro in a city near you as he tours the US on through the new year, and be sure to shake the young man's hand as well. In the meantime, I'll be reviewing his album Moondagger later this year as part of my top ten favorite music releases from 2009.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

back from the 'zine fest

I just returned from the Third Annual Richmond Zine Fest, held this year at Gallery 5. There was so much fantastic art this year from participants, it was almost overwhelming at times. There was also a lot of great energy throughout the place - I got a chance to talk with lots of kind, interesting and inspirational individuals and sold a good deal of art as well, so I'm very thankful for that! I'm also very glad to have shared a table with Matt Dembicki and Andrew Cohen once again at the fest. Hopefully Gallery 5 will be a permanent home to this event and hopefully it'll bring in lots of awesome people next year as well. I wish I brought my camera along but I don't think I'd have had enough time to take any pics. In the meantime, I thought I'd post up some photos from earlier in the week, taken in both Hillsboro and Leesburg, Virginia.

Friday, November 6, 2009


*Splotch Monster 44 transformed in Picnik for the Illustration friday topic "blur"

Sunday, November 1, 2009

sketch dump: 10/2009

The top five drawings are for five more book covers for my special edition Sketch Dump 'zines, which will be on sale next week at the Richmond Zine Fest. I used lots of reference photos and liquid watercolors to make them, and it was a joy getting back into drawing animals over ultravivid psychedelic backdrops once again. The bottom five drawings are from a couple of sketchbook exchanges, the first four in my wife's sketchbook for a DC exchange I started recently. The very bottom image is a collaboration with Ellen, who is part of round two of the sketchbook exchange started by Andrea Martinez. Elen draw a light pencil sketch of three cartoon jack-o-lanterns, while I added color, grass and ghosts. Normally I loathe doing holiday-related art, but this one was definitely lots of fun to work on.