August 17, 2011

Are you a 'sell-out'? I am.

I am one of the rare artists who has sold every piece ever displayed in a gallery. When I am part of a show, 100% of my art gets sold. Every time, without fail. I should add that I have only shown my art once, and it was just 2 pieces. NEVERTHELESS, I am battin' a thou'.

 The event was held at Visual Art Supply (3524 Adams Avenue, San Diego, CA 92116). While it was the most recent show, it is but one in a long list of such events sponsored by VAS. I am thankful that Jason Gould, owner of Visual Art Supply, was so patient, slightly extending the entry deadline for me due to my numerous 'fails'.

Take the geta/Converse for example. My first idea had the topside gold and the bottom red. I had taped off the first color so I could get a hard line between it and the second. Unfortunately, upon removal of the tape, I learned that the tape had formed a loving bond with the paint and I was soon mired in round #2. 
My second effort was meant to result in a look much like you see here. For some reason I made a stencil for the Converse logo and went with white primer in a spray can to color it. I then sprayed a couple coats of Valspar over the whole thing and left it for a about an hour, drying in the sun.

Well, when I came back to it, I touched the surface and found it dry-to-the-touch. As I flipped the shoes this way and that, I noticed some white paint on my hands. It was then I realized the Valspar had merely 'skinned over', preserving a gooey, primer center. Gah! It is a good thing the Universe has deemed third-times to be charms. I would not have had time for a fourth. I ended up hand-brushing the logo, which I should have done from the start.

The other piece is titled 'Inside the Box Outside'. It is an homage to the weirdos in my neighborhood who toss shoes over powerlines.

 What you can not see is my .mp3 player, which was stashed on the side. It played a collection of 'urban sounds' out of small speakers I had hidden in the shoes. Go ahead and click on the video for the virtual experience.

Thanks Robert Provins of  Rubbertoe Productions for contributing to the sound collection. I also used sounds from the library of the Free Sound Project .

I was excited to be involved with the event. It gave me the chance to meet other local artists who gave me sound advice for future efforts. It would have been a success had I sold nothing. But, as you know, I sold all of it! Every last piece I entered was sold. All two of them. ...Ok, I'll give it a rest.

August 14, 2011

Necessity is a Mother

My wife brought sumi-e brushes back with her from Japan, including some that her father had gotten from China. I was honored. I had never owned brushes that I did not feel could be easily and inexpensively replaced. These were indeed special and demanded appropriate care.

Taking advantage of the opportunity to buy more books (a trait which defines me, for better or worse), I began to read-up on sumi-e history and techniques. While the lessons taught in each book were similar, the practice of hanging the brushes to facilitate proper drying was strongly encouraged universally. So, before I could truly enjoy the new tools before me, I had to make a brush hanger.

I work with wood almost daily. It is woodworking that pays most of my bills. As a result, I am never without a large collection of wood scraps from which to draw when the need arises. the brush hanger I made was crafted from various trim moldings- T-moldings, base shoe, wallbase, etc.

It was after I had finished the brush hanger that I realized all my brushes were deserving of such consideration. Even my cheapest brushes, previously considered 'disposable', would have a better chance at survival if I gave them the royal treatment that I was giving to the sumi-e brushes. So, when a new brush enters the fold, I drill a small hole in its handle, thread a piece of string through and tie it off. After I use it  and clean it, I hang it on an open brad nail alongside its brethren. Finally, when it has given all it can give and it begins to shed its hair or lose its shape, I lift it from its hook and wing it at the wall above the trashcan.

August 11, 2011

Advermusement Day: Exciting Ant Farm

This advertisement breaks many cardinal rules of good design. For one, it is all over the place with font selection. It also attempts to contain the collective works of Tolstoy within its text. But it does what it is intended to do, rules be damned: it captures the attention of its intended audience. I recall these ads from my youth. Though atrociously verbose, I guarantee you I read every word. The ant farm was exactly the kind of amusement my daydreaming mind could get lost with.

When I look at the illustration I am curious about the thoughts of the children depicted. Little Johnny seems to stare through the glass at some point beyond. Perhaps he sees his future plans of world domination coming to fruition. Suzy is attentive. She has been hypnotized by her insect leaders and is listening to her orders before setting off to do their bidding.

A question to my readers: Do you recall the Exciting Ant Farm ad? Were you as fascinated by it as Suzy and I? or, were you, like Johnny, more concerned with crushing the ants beneath your heel?

August 10, 2011

Corporate Merger Baffles Wallstreet

I hit upon an idea after work today. Initially, I thought it was brilliant. Finally, it dimmed greatly.

My idea was to choose 2-3 well-known company logos and merge them, forming an altogether new company logo. My choices, I decided,  would come from the establishments I passed on my 5-mile drive home. At the 4.5 mile mark I had nothing. Then, in rapid succession: Carl's Jr., Shell, McDonalds. Hah! This blog practically writes itself.

After dinner I set about downloading the best representations I could find. Then I brought each into Adobe Illustrator and redrew them. I wanted to have all the pieces seperate. After all, Frankenstein didn't mash whole bodies together when he made his monster. Neither would I. Afetr tracing and coloring I had these:

Now, I am no racist, but I had no intention of working with 3 different reds, 3 different yellows and black. I ditched the black from McDonald's. Sizing up the others, I decided I liked how 'dirty' the colors are on the Carl's Jr. star, so I grabbed my trusty eyedropper and soon my graphic utopia was shaping up:

I honestly had no idea what I was going to do next, but I knew it was going to get messy. I brought each logo into a single file window and took them apart, scattering the pieces. The scene before me was ugly. It was as if someone had swerved off the highway and taken out several signs in a stripmall. Oh, the humanity! Nevertheless, I carried on.

It was a tense 20 minutes. I scaled, rotated and duplicated the carnage. When sweat would form beads on my brow, my nurse was there to pat it away. Several times I had to shush the students in the gallery above. Their snoring was breaking my concentration. My nerves, once steel, betrayed me. They became weak and spongy.

As night turned into later-night, I began to question my own abilities. Then a sudden calm came over me. In that darkest half-hour, when all seemed lost, the hand of God touched me. It was as if to say, "Dumbass. Wake up. This isn't a real job, you putz. You don't even have followers, so nobody is going to see your blog, let alone your circus sideshow logo creation."

Who can argue with that logic? I slapped the pieces together where they fit, wrapped the whole thing liberally with duct tape and called it done:

August 9, 2011

Charlie Loves Rock & Roll

Charlie is my neighbor. I would have to guess that he is about 45 years old. Anyways, he loves heavy metal music. He often sits in a chair in his front yard, air-drumming and waving to passerby, while his stereo is cranked up to 11. I do not mind his choice of music, which is 70s and 80s  heavy metal. I think he ought to turn it down a notch, but I am ok with metal.

His character is childish. He hangs tour shirts on his walls along with posters pulled from the center of Hit Parader. He has his hair grown down past his shoulders (except the top, which is bald). And, I suppose, I envy him. He may be a poor m.f., but he seems happy everyday. That is because he has his tour shirts, his posters, his music, and, perhaps, because I made this picture for him.

I used Photoshop and Illustrator. Not any of this new-fangled  "CS" you kids all use. I use the old stuff, like PS 5.5 and Illustrator 9. I have an urge to say 'Dagnabit' and shake a stick at youth.
See if you can name the bands whose names I stole from to make this for Charlie.