Sunday, October 31, 2010

so long october

Over the past week or so, I ended up taking my camera with me on walks I'd take around Leesburg after work. The weather has been excellent so far, though it's starting to cool down and actually feel like it should feel, temperature-wise. I didn't get any good hikes in on the Appalachain Trail this Fall, like I usually do, but I did manage to do lots of walking. Kris and I even got a visit in to a local vineyard today at the gorgeous Willowcroft Vineyards. It was the best kid and costume-free Halloween I've ever had in my adult life so far thanks to the view and the wine and some quality time with Kris. I only posted one pic from that visit here, but I'm currently working on an extensive Flickr set, collecting lots of shots from all the local vineyards we've visited. Afterward we dropped by King Street Coffee for some good hot chocolate and coffee.

I always wonder how October passes on by so quickly, and how November always seems to signal a start to the cold and the holiday craziness. I'm making an effort this year to choose not to get all wrapped up in the materialistic madness that can define and frankly ruin the holiday season for me, and try harder to enjoy the simple things that life brings us every day, and hold on to my sanity. Speaking of, I would have loved to have been at the Rally to Restore Sanity in D.C. this weekend, but after a week of kids being totally amped up about Halloween, long lines and big crowds was definitely not the way to restore my own personal sanity. That said, I've always been a fan of Jon Stewart and Steve Colbert, and think they're genius. The rally looked like a blast, the signs were hilarious and I'm glad about the big turnout. Jon's speech was by far better than any I've heard from any politician too, to be honest. In the meantime, I'm ready for November. I'm ready for the cold and I look forward to visiting Pittsburgh for Thanksgiving. I hope everyone had a great October and Halloween!

Thursday, October 28, 2010


*made for the Illustration Friday topic, "racing" 8.5" x 10", mixed media in A4 watercolor Moleskine, 10/2010

Saturday, October 23, 2010

technopunk art opening at the soundry, vienna, virginia, 10/22/2010

Last night, Kris and I drove out to The Soundry art space in Vienna, VA to check out the opening reception for their TechnoPunk exhibit. The show encompassed everything from Low Brow and Street Art styles to more formalist, traditional works, and everything in between. The show's title, TechnoPunk, included works reminiscent of more dystopian Gibson-inspired industrial aesthetics, nostalgic Steam Punk styles, and day-glo techno-influenced works. I had five pieces in the show, including two paintings made this year, as well as three collages from a series I worked on nearly eight years ago.

Upon arrival we encountered a great graffiti mural in-progress, as some awesome dub music was booming nearby, providing a healthy dose of audio inspiration to the artists bombing the wall-space in front of us.

After grabbing some tea and a cupcake, we saw this eye-catching robo-beast painting. I'm not sure who the artist was, but several of his or her works looked like they were hanging up throughout the space last night. Real good stuff!

The Johnny Number Five and RoboCop pieces really appealed to my nostalgia-spot, being a big fan of these films growing up as a kid.

There's another wild and wonderful robo-beast, going wild to the left of an acrylic  painting I completed last February called "The Lure".

I was real happy to dig out a few of my robot collages I made when I first moved out to Leesburg, VA. They all have a special place in my heart, as I recall first getting back into art-making again, sitting on the floor of my tiny single-room loft apartment, cutting and gluing away. They're still like new.

The works above were pretty fabulous, reminding me of something out of Bladerunner perhaps. I can't recall if they were digital or hand-cut/glued collages.

Kris got me to buy her a CD by local trio, "The Polka Dots", who were performing live for last night's visitors at The Soundry. They did a fine job playing and singing last night and I highly recommend seeing 'em live and buying their music. On a side note, I discovered one of the members of the band took a cartooning class I taught one summer several years ago. Man, I feel old now.

Lots of Steam Punk heads were in attendance last night. It was interesting listening to a brief discussion on the meaning of Steam Punk at the opening. Lots of the Steam Punk attire consists of repurposed articles of clothing, mixing and merging both nineteenth century and futuristic styles.

The diptych of paintings above reminded me a little of something out of Neil Gaiman's "Mirrormask" film. It inspired me to want to try painting in a looser style again, which I enjoy most when painting.

The fifth and final piece I had at the show was the "Robot Symphony" one above. I'm still undecided on an official title for it. Kris really likes this one and is hoping it doesn't sell. I thought if fit well with the show's theme though, and I like the cloud wall it's hanging on in The Soundry.

This man had some very interesting Steam Punk-inspired works in the show. I loved his giant camera he used to shoot photos with throughout the evening.

There was a cool little animated robot at the show, who was part of an installation which included a graphic novel and several clay sculpture figurines. I wished I had brought a pen and paper to write some of the artists' names down.

On our way out, the graffiti artists were still working feverishly on their mural, this time to the sounds of some underground hip hop, in front of a small crowd of admirers and onlookers. It was good to visit this cool, unique space that is The Soundry once again, after a while away from the place. If you're in the area, please drop on by and check out the show for yourself. Works will be displayed through November 30, 2010.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010


So this one was a given, since the original version of this photo I took a couple years ago was called "Spooky" when I uploaded it to Flickr. I decided to play around some with it in Flickr's Picnik this evening, however, to get an even spookier, more ghostly look. The pic was originally taken at the beautiful Bluemont Vineyards, in Bluemont, Virginia, where they sold these statues of creepy-lookin' little girls. I don't know what it was about those statues, but all I could think was, who in their right mind would buy one of these, and this coming from a guy who spends lots of his free time drawing monsters. But seriously, there's nothing that creeps me out more than this type of thing. Vampires are pretty boring, giant monsters are fun and kind of goofy, zombies can be scary, depending on the type, but those creepy little ghost kids seriously freak me out, and here I am posting one on my blog for this week's Illustration Friday theme "spooky". Let's just hope she doesn't jump out from the computer screen to eat my soul. Mommy!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

a day at the 2010 richmond zine fest

Yesterday I tabled the 2010 Richmond Zine Fest along with Andrew Cohen and Matt Dembicki, who were there representing The D.C. Conspiracy. Early in the morning I drove out to the Vienna, VA Metro lot, where I met up with Matt and Andrew, who were waiting to pick me up before taking off for Richmond, Virginia.

I almost didn't make it this year, so I'm glad Matt told me about it. It was my third year tabling the fest, which took place at the Gay Community Center of Richmond. Last year we were at Gallery 5, which is a beautiful old converted fire station, now an art gallery. I completely forgot to bring my camera that day though. While I preferred the location and gallery, the GCCR had a ton of space for folks to table and browse. You couldn't miss it too, with the big painted rainbow stripe going around the building - a nice splash of color in an otherwise drab locale. I wished I could have checked out the Diversity Thrift shop, right next door, but I was mostly kind of stuck behind my table yesterday. I remember a few years ago they had some cool records and books.

Andrew, Matt and I arrived around 10:30 AM, after about an hour-and-a-half drive in Matt's car. The fest officially began at 11 AM, though folks were still slowly getting set up. There was no need to hurry though, since the first couple of hours were pretty quiet. It wasn't until about 1PM that things really picked up. There was a pretty steady stream of people from then, until about 4:30PM.

I was so fortunate to have met a bunch of great people at the fest. My neighbors tabling beside me were really cool, and the people who dropped by to talk or buy some of my stuff were truly wonderful. While I was making some decent green from my Splotch Monsters mostly, I also made some "real" green in the form of fresh produce from some way cool organic farmers who traded me some kale for some monsters! I also made several book trades with folks as well, and I look forward to featuring some of these great zines here at the blog soon.

In between selling things and talking to people, I decided to keep busy and make some Splotch Monsters as well. I managed to crank out eleven altogether yesterday, which made the time fly by pretty quickly. I figured that it would also be great to share with folks the process behind these things.

Andrew and Matt are two of the best comic book artists on the planet. They were there supporting their ever-growing empire of comic book awesomeness, including their latest collaboration "The Brewmaster's Castle", Andrew's excellent "Howz It Funnies" "Shhh! (You'll Wake the Dead)", and "Dr. W", Matt's amazing "Xoc" and "Mr. Big", "Spadefoot", Matt's son Adam's awesome "Ant Army", and the huge "Trickster Anthology". Here they are getting psyched up for the fest. I was lucky their table was right behind mine yesterday. I give 'em a ten for presentation, and that little knight statue at the bottom right was a nice touch.

I started the day off tired and cranky due to procrastination and trying to get things ready the night before (on a Friday night nonetheless) and wished I could have gotten another five hours of sleep Saturday. As the day progressed and as I met more and more great, kind individuals, I realized once again why I decided to do this again.

Here I'm talking with Eric, who with his girlfriend Sara, put out a great zine about their adventures in record collecting called "Vinyl Vagabonds". I really loved reading this book last night, and I look forward to checking out their blog of the same name.

Until next time, BIG thanks to the festival organizers and to all those who stopped by my table to talk, check out my books and art and buy some of my work! It is always much appreciated. And a REAL BIG thanks goes out to Matt, for most of the photos you see here and for the ride to the fest, and to Andrew, for the beverages. Looking forward to next year's event!

On a final note, I'd like to give away a pair of my two new art zines "Splotch! VOL 1" and "Tales From the Natural World" to the first two people who drop me a line here at this post. They both go for two bucks each and compile some of my favorite art I made from the past year or so. They're black & white, sixteen pages, signed, numbered and limited to sixty copies each. Good luck!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

sketch dump: 9/2010

Is October really almost halfway over, and I haven't even scanned and uploaded any sketches for last September's sketch dump?!
Shame on me. It's been a busy school year I guess, but as you can see, I did get some sketching done. The sketches above are all from the Poplar Spring Animal Sanctuary, which I visited last month as well. They're from some photos I took, though I'd like to get out there again and sketch directly from life. The quick, gestural style was a nice change of pace this time around, and I was somewhat influenced by a wonderful book I recently bought for a real low price called " Olly & Suzi: Arctic, Desert, Ocean, Jungle". I was surprised I never heard of this artistic duo before, and the book chronicles their journeys across the world, drawing and painting from wildlife. I highly recommend it, if you like animals and art! Below are five of my favorite Splotch Monsters from September as well. As always, I had some difficulty choosing.