Monday, May 23, 2016

happy world turtle day!

Happy World Turtle Day! Yes, it seems as though there's a day for everything anymore, but turtles have a very special place in my heart. Something for everything I guess. The image above is a drawing I first worked on and thought I completed in 2010. I later went on to do some more work on it a few years later, eventually giving it away as a little gift to someone. It's an image of an eastern box turtle I called Rocky, because I found him at the edge of the W&OD Trail with a bloodied eye. He seemed to have arrived from an area that was experiencing some heavy construction in his natural habitat, which is all too common anymore in the Northern Virginia region. Long story short, Rocky was taken to the local animal hospital where they performed surgery on his right eye, eventually having to remove it. I took care of him a bit, before releasing him back into the wild, in a much more wooded area near his natural habitat. Sadly, the chances of Rocky making it out there in the wild were most likely slim, but I believe he had a fighting chance. Besides, he had the Eye of the Turtle. 

All jokes aside, while box turtles like Rocky aren't yet listed as "endangered", they do fall under the "special concern" category, as their habitats are increasingly becoming more and more fragmented and destroyed, are collected for the pet trade, and are victims of road mortality. If you ever see one who seems to need help crossing a road, make sure to place them in the direction they are headed to. Also, when driving, try to slow down. Their life (and yours) depends on it. In the meantime, turtle on!

Sunday, May 22, 2016

new kurdles t-shirt!

Loving my brand new Kurdles t-shirt, just in time for summer. Based on characters from Robert Goodin's book The Kurdles, you can find more at the website HERE.

#TheKurdles #kurdles #comics #Fantagraphics #fantagraphicsbooks #RobertGoodin #books #graphicnovel #tshirt

Sunday, May 15, 2016

martin graff's the face zone, live at automatic, 2016

Last night I had the pleasure of witnessing a live performance of Martin Graff's very own The Face Zone project at Artomatic, Frederick. I blogged about it HERE at Comics DC, so check it out!

Sunday, May 8, 2016

endangered kingdom series, 1: emperor tamarin

After working on the Thirty-six Trees series, I was reminded of how much I miss a style of art-making that I began over a half decade ago, involving the use of watercolors and watered-down acrylics to create a base, and black Sakura Pigma Micron pens to draw imagery on top of the painted base. I also enjoyed working on a unified series of pieces, as it posed a real creative challenge for me and kept me on track as an artist, working on something consistently. I also love the combination of looser, abstract visual elements with tighter, representational imagery. That's how I like a lot of the music I listen to as well - that successful merging of two very opposite elements to create something unified and complete. 

As an artist, I feel as if I'm just getting started, although I've been drawing almost all of my life, with some long lulls here and there and in-between the years. I try to be as honest as possible with myself when choosing subject matter to work with, regardless of artistic trends, etc. When drawing something in particular, I find myself wanting to get to know that subject matter better - to understand it, and to empathize with it perhaps. Such is the case with the tree series, the local landscapes I painted last summer, and now this new series I call "Endangered Kingdom". How much do I really know or understand about the other inhabitants of this world I live in - this very special, unique planet we humans call Earth, and the many wonderful creatures we attempt to share it with, especially those whose lives and entire existence are on the brink of vanishing forever? I feel as both an artist and as a human being, this was something I had to ask myself - something I could not ignore. How exactly would I portray these animals? What would I choose? Who would I leave out? 

My initial approach was to simply portray the animal in a portrait-style drawing. Yet, that didn't seem like enough. Then, after a long time spent wracking my brain for something different, the idea of adding crowns to the animals' heads struck me as fun - an element of humor to balance a somewhat heavy topic, perhaps. These animals are important, special, amazing, intelligent, interesting, dynamic, survivors, fighters and kings and queens. When struggling to decide what kind of crowns to add, I decided to design my own customized crown for each animal. The crown would reflect something about the animal, of course. As for choosing images to work with, I made sure not to work from one photographic source, for many practical reasons, but from multiple sources. Much of the time, I'd look at many photographs, then after some studying of the imagery before me, I start drawing from memory, looking up occasionally, but much of the time, adding my own thing, once I got the gist of what the animal looks like. 

The Emperor Tamarin is the first, in what will be a weekly series, lasting for a year. My original intent was to draw one per day, but I soon realized how absolutely bonkers insane that would have been. A week is good - it allows wiggle room and time for things to develop organically. It allows for flexibility as well. It also can allow room for extreme procrastination - something I can be very prone to experiencing. With summer break fast approaching, I'm looking forward to exploring this, among several other artistic endeavors in the works. Stay tuned for more to come. In the meantime, HERE is the Splotch Monster Island version, featuring Emperor Tamarin!

Saturday, May 7, 2016

alchemical vessels 2016 closing reception

I'm glad folks were willing to brave the damp and rainy weather last night to drop by the Joan Hisaoka Healing Arts Gallery one last time for the 2016 Alchemical Vessels closing reception. The show was a huge success, and is a testament to art's positive effect on the world, however big or small. Thanks to Spencer Dormitzer, Emily Fussner, the Smith Center crew, as well as to all the curators, artists and supporters! 

Friday, May 6, 2016

seneca valley hs alumni art exhibit

Had a wonderful time visiting my former high school, now Seneca Valley Intermediate, while celebrating their 50th anniversary. SV art teacher Jason Woolslare did an excellent job setting up the SV alumni art exhibit, with over 50 people who submitted work. It was great getting to hang out with one of my personal heroes and former high school art teacher Jim Rettinger (top left-hand corner pic) as well as see my series of five Vinyl Monkeys (top row, middle pic) on display at the show, along with Jason’s (middle row, far left), Jim’s (top row, far right) and my other hero and former high school art teacher, the late Dean Marshall’s work (middle row, far right). A big thanks goes out to SV alumni and artist Jeffery Paul Herrity for tipping me off to this very special occasion!

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

new weekly series

Just started prepping paper to begin work on a new weekly series that I plan on continuing through with for a year. Stay tuned for more!