Wednesday, August 29, 2012

splotch monsters invade eye collector

Today I got my Splotch Monster art featured at the very excellent online art publication called Eye Collector Magazine. You might remember they did a feature on some of my more realism-based work a couple of years back, and it was nice of Austin, who runs the site, to ask me back again. You can see the feature HERE, however take some time to check out all of the recent posts at the site when you can! In the meantime, Austin informed me that Eye Collector has some big plans to get an actual physical magazine published and distributed all over the place soon, as well as some gallery shows, so keep your eyes peeled!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

district comics signing at one more page books, arlington, va

Earlier today I drove out to Arlington, Virginia to participate in the "District Comics, An Unconventional History of Washington, DC" book signing at One More Page Books.  Living about an hour away in Leesburg, I decided to get off to an early start, since we lost the GPS and I'm good at getting lost. Needless to say, the shop was very easy to find, located right on the edge of Falls Church, just down the road from the State Theater.

It was a rainy, somewhat dreary but peaceful afternoon and thankfully not very hot, like most of the summer was. I was glad to get to this wonderful little shop early, and was able to browse around some and talk with the employees who were kind as ever.  Soon after, Matt Dembicki and his wife Carol arrived at the shop.  It wouldn't be long until the place was jam-packed with not only about twenty of the book's authors and illustrators, but folks who bought copies of the book. Matt also had his marvelous new Xoc book for sale there, who he worked on with local artist Evan Keeling who did an amazing job adding color to Matt's already fabulous drawings and story. I made sure to pick up a copy, along with a couple of copies of District Comics, signed by everyone there today. 

The physical copy is alive and well in Arlington, Virginia, as One More Page Books is a beautiful little shop with something for everyone (above).

I managed to get a head start today, signing copies for the shop's awesome employees and owner (above). This was only just the beginning and I think my hand needs a day or two to recover now!

 Matt D. and Rand Arrington get off to an early start as well (above).

Most of the book's authors and illustrators have finally arrived (above)!

The place packed it in pretty early, and by around 4PM it was hard to even move around (above). This was a good thing though.

In addition to some cool goodies and prizes given away today, Matt, along with employee Terry Nebeker raffled off some of his great Xoc-inspired drawings and art (above)!

Say cheese! Author and Illustrator group shot (above)!

Thanks to Matt Dembicki, who conceived of the book's idea and got the ball rolling, ultimately editing and contributing to a couple of stories in District Comics. Also, a big thanks to the wonderful folks at One More Page Books, the awesome people who bought a copy or two and came by for a signing and chat, and to the amazing people who made District Comics happen - the authors and the illustrators. 

Monday, August 13, 2012

art trade with jj cromer/ likeness, interpretations of portraiture

To celebrate my next-to-last-day of summer off, and some good things happening my wife's way, Kris and I hit some beautiful vineyards to sip some wine and take in the gorgeous weather we've had today. After an afternoon well spent relaxing and reflecting outdoors in the shade, I thought the day couldn't get any better, until I checked our mailbox and found a nice surprise waiting for me to open. It was a small package from artist and fellow Virginian, JJ Cromer, whose work I first noticed in an article of Raw Vision magazine a couple of years back, and have been a huge, huge fan of ever since.  If somebody would have told me I'd be trading artwork with the man two years later, I would have never have believed them, but enter 2012, and that's exactly what happened this past week.

I recently featured his work at my Go Flying Turtle blog as part of my weekly artist spotlight series, and posted about some local shows JJ's art was featured in during the past few months. I began following his blog, and he started following mine, and after I dropped him a kind word at his Old Old Old Virginia blog, he did the same at my Splotch Monster blog and offered to do a small art trade by mail, if I was interested.  Since the offer, I've been eagerly checking the mail box daily, and the short wait was certainly well worth it. I posted some photos above, showing JJ's gift, including a wonderful pack of postcard prints, an original collage postcard piece (with a condor, yes!), and an amazing, original drawn piece featuring his signature asterisk characters. It's this later style that caught my eye a couple of years ago, reminding me of the late Hundertwasser channeling the tree spirits from the world of Princess Mononoke.  Below are some photos I took from a newly opened show in historic Old Towne Alexandria, Virginia, at a wonderful old structure known as the Athenaeum, called "Likeness/Interpretations of Portraiture", featuring a new piece by JJ called "Father Figure (with Pipe) Before and After the Setback". I found out about the show at his blog, and it was well worth the short trip to see his, as well as the other works in the exhibit in person.

The good news is Mr. Cromer really liked my Splotch Monster work, after receiving some pieces in the mail, and offered to work with me on a collaborative series involving them. So, we've set the details in motion and I've just started getting to work! It's going to be a lot of fun and a good challenge for me, as all artistic collaborations can be. If you want to see more in-depth footage of the Athenaeum show, check out the short video from Twig Murray below. Also, follow JJ at his brand spanking new Facebook artist page when you get a chance as well!

Sunday, August 12, 2012

district comics signing at one more page books

Just a heads up for anyone interested. The beautiful new graphic novel compilation, "District Comics, an Unconventional History of Washington, DC" (Fulcrum) is available for order at now, and will be at a store near you soon! Authors and illustrators, including myself, will be present at One More Page Books in Arlington, Virginia next Sunday, August 19th, starting at 3PM, to sign available copies (and there will be a lot of us there that day!).  Below is a sneak peek at a spread I worked on, wonderfully edited by local comic star Matt Dembicki.  I just finished reading it and it's a truly fantastic collection of fascinating and quirky historical tales from the DC area. A lot more fun than your typical history book, I highly recommend this to both comic art and history fans alike. Hope to see a big turnout and a lot of books sold Sunday!

Saturday, August 11, 2012

11th annual "something hot" exhibit, 2012, artsquare, leesburg, va

Yesterday evening we attended the eleventh annual "Something Hot" regional juried art exhibit at ArtSquare in Leesburg, Virginia.  Artists submitted their work last Saturday and the work was juried and hung later that afternoon, followed by the juror's critique, which was open to the public.  Our juror this year was Baltimore artist Stewart Watson, who said this about what she was looking for from participants: "An unseasonably warm summer gets me to thinking of the things that keep it bearable - a bike ride down a long hill, a knee-high creek in a copse of trees, the hum and drip of the window AC unit, thunderstorms and fireworks, and a drop of sweat running down one's back. I think what I am looking for is evidence of the cause, effect and individual solutions to the summer heat culminating in a dynamic multi-media exhibition."

I was happy to have Stewart as a juror for this year's show, as her more nontraditional, conceptual and installation-based sculpture work was a welcome contrast to the more representational, traditional, realistic landscape and still life work the Leesburg, Virginia region is generally known for. This was a bold move for ArtSquare, finding Stewart, and what resulted was a dynamic exhibit covering many styles and approaches to the theme. I went to her well-attended critique last Saturday night and enjoyed what could be described as a somewhat informal discussion on the work selected, and she had very kind yet critically helpful words for both the works selected and not selected. She also had a genuine knowledge and respect for both traditional and contemporary art styles and trends. Stewart half-jokingly expressed some dismay at the lack of (or complete absence of) any three-dimensional/sculpture-based entries, and her best word of advice for everyone present was to not be afraid to push yourself, get work out there in the public eye, and experiment and accept mistakes as part of the process, or else work will become stagnant and as an artist, there will be no personal growth.

I saw some familiar faces at the show as well as last week's critique, including artist and fellow art teacher colleague Barbara Drumheller, who took a Graduate-level painting class with me last Fall, and whose work I've become an instant fan of. Her tiny piece titled "Chocked" (above) was one of my favorites from the show, with it's vivid contrasting colors, square format and cropped, geometric composition.

Stewart worked hard to place pieces in groups or clusters where the work feeds off of and informs each other, which makes sense with her installation art background. My piece, titled "Taste of Tobago" was one of the few photographic entries in the show, and though this is my second time in a "Something Hot" exhibit, it was my first photo exhibited publicly as a work of art. You can find it in the group of works in the photo above, as well as a closer view of it right below.  It was taken at a small outdoor cafe on the island of Tobago late last summer, where I drank a glass of fresh guava juice. The afternoon heat quickly melted the ice in my glass and caused condensation droplets to form on the outside, making for what I thought would be a great macro image, before guzzling the rest of my once cold, delicious beverage. 

In addition to the "Something Hot" show, visitors had the opportunity to check out the resident artist studios and see some amazing work at ArtSquare.  Many of the resident artists were present as well, there to take questions and demonstrate their process. I managed to get just a few shots (next three below) of their spaces last night, and it was very inspiring to walk through their work studios.

"Something Hot" at ArtSquare runs up until August 27th, 2012. If you are in or around the Leesburg, Virginia area, please go and see it in person. Gallery and studio hours run from 10 am - 5pm, Monday through Saturday, and from 1-5 pm on Sundays.