March 29, 2012

The Sage Rider

I visited Japan again last November. Its a fantastic place to be. The thing I enjoy most about being there is the visual experience. The city streets are clean. The vegetation is different. The architecture is interesting. In short, its a great place to relax your mind and get inspired.

I think it worked for me. I returned home and started pushing out good ideas from the first day back. Some pieces have been multimedia, which is not generally 'my bag'. The majority have been simple acrylic on wood, which is my bag, so to speak. A case in point is today's submission. I have been referring to this as 'The Sage Rider'.

The original idea was concocted while brainstorming the CD art for 'Chasing Norman'. You will notice the drum on the back of the old man who has a head which bears a striking resemblance to an old-timey microphone. Needless to say, the idea never went anywhere with Chasing Norman. A little to WTF probably. But, no matter. I took it from thumbnail to full blown painting with great success.

The style is sumie-esque, although no actual sumi was used. Its plain old acrylic on a piece of pine (@ 14" x 30") that I think I got from my mother. It is not apparent whether or not the old fellow and his trusty platypus are in danger of being dashed against the rocks. The sea shows some tumult, but no big Kanagawa waves this time. As for the time of day, I felt that this is in the morning, before the marine layer has burned off. I guess that would put him somewhere around Sunset Cliffs.

(As always, click the images for embigenness)
The pattern around the outside is a Japanese motif. While generally considered to be stylized waves, I always think of them as clouds.

Have a great weekend.

March 26, 2012

Pop Culture Riffing

Happy Monday, my loyal Nonphilterians. Who is ready to get the work week started, eh? Anyone? You...? Well, let me put the vim back in your vinegar. ...or is that vinegar back into your piss? I don't know. This isn't an English lesson. Its a blog, ferchristsake.

I hope, for your keyboard and monitor's sake, that you do not have a mouthful of food or drink. What I have for you today could easily cause you to suffer an ASNR (pronounced AZZ-ner). That is short for 'Acute Spontaneous Nasal Re-flux', the medical term for 'shooting food and/or drink out one's nose. Such an event can be relatively harmless. Water, for example, may have no lasting effect on the victim and their surroundings. Mr Pibb and Poprocks, on the other hand, can cause 4th degree nasal charring and destroy all pets and computer equipment in the vicinity. Consider this our Public Service Announcement for 2012. Nonphilter is people helping people.

Okay. Now that we have that out of the way, its time to guffaw. Do you know that feeling you get when you have this great idea for a (painting, sculpture, whatever) then realize, after spending time and effort into creating it, that it was a darn foolish notion? The three pieces I have for you today NEVER ONCE failed to deliver on the original inklings of greatness I felt during their conception. Time will go on, years will pass, yet I will never grow bored with these gems. Enjoy, but do so with an empty mouth.

March 24, 2012

Visual Art Supply's 2nd Annual Sticker Swap

I was never invited to be part of a 'sticker swap' before. At least, not that I can remember. And, I probably would have remembered, due to my lifelong appreciation for the adhesive arts. My entry into the world of sticker appreciation started at age 6, when a summer in Honolulu was spent collecting all manner of colorful, puffy stickers. As incredibly gay as that sounds, I was secure in my masculinity at age 6. 

My skateboarding years were also marked by excessive sticker hoarding. With purveyors the likes of Powell Peralta, Zorlac, Alva, etc., it was a golden age for collecting stickers. While the vast majority of my collection are but a memory, I still have a 1986 Tony Hawk decal that awaits the perfect home on the back window of a yet-to-be-acquired vehicle.

In about an hour from now, Visual Art Supply will be hosting the 2nd Annual Sticker Swap. My understanding of the event is that anyone can bring stickers of their own making and, you guessed it, swap them with other attendees. There are a few 'well-known' sticker artists around town, and I am definitely not one of them. Still, I could not pass up the chance to scratch my sticker-collecting itch. As a result, I made some stickers!

I did not have much money to put into the stickers themselves. So, to make up for the poor, poor quality, I came up with the 'Value Pack' idea shown above. If all goes well, I will be forgiven for the shoddy stickers, and appreciated for the effort and designs. I do not know what brought on the attack against social media. It is never clear what makes me cling to this idea or that. The only certainty is the uncertainty itself. I find it best not to think about it.

My lovely wife also pitched in. Each sticker pack includes a few home-maders written in Japanese. If you were lucky enough to receive a pack, you can find the translations below. (click to embiggen the list)

Look at the time. Well, I am going to be late. Don't act so surprised

March 23, 2012

Chasing Norman: Update

If you recall, my motley crew of loyal followers *snarf* I have been asked to create the art for an upcoming release by the band Chasing Norman. They provided me with a sketch of what they wanted and I produced a digital translation, submitting it to them sometime last week. Here is that first proof, just to refresh your memory:

Well, I am pleased to announce that the first round of edits came a few days ago. I have made the changes and resubmitted the art for round #2. I am anxious to hear back from them, as this project is a LOT of fun. The new art is below. Note that the changes from the band did not include adding the name, or even working on a design for the name. That is just me fooling around, though I can't say I dislike it. Anyways, enjoy, and could the last one here get the lights on their way out?


A glimpse into mankind's future

Today I am proud to share with you a look forward in time. Nothing, of course, is set in stone. So, it should be understood that what I am about to share with you is a view of one possible future. Depending upon the decisions that we humans make, and the actions we take, the actual future may be quite different. Still, it is wise to be vigilant. To become complacent is to welcome the following scenario. I am calling it 'Option #001'...

There is this spot I know about that often yields interesting 'canvases'. It is a sort of 'King Solomon's Mine' in my world; a magical land with a portal to a dimension of creativity. Well, its really just a dumpster behind a restoration company, but its so fun to poke my head in there on occasion and discover what has been deemed trash that day.

The unearthed treasure in this case, of course, is the window which had seemingly reached the end of it's life. I imagine it had accepted its own fate. Perhaps it had even been heading steadily into the warm, welcoming light when I jerked it back from the brink. Not so fast, flaky. It isn't your time yet. You have been given a reprieve.

Later, when it came down to deciding how to use the window, I really did not have to think too long. Almost immediately the chicken popped into my head. Somehow it felt obvious. It must be an association between the peeling paint and an image of old farmhouses.

The flames were next to come to mind. You will notice they are rendered to look fake when compared to the chicken itself. It is as if they are cut from wood and stuck to the chicken's body. I have seen the use of 'fake on realistic' in the past and always like the effect. I guess I saw the chance and went for it.

As for the UFOs and the uniformed worshipers, what can I say? The giant, flaming chicken was so absurd, I felt compelled to balance it with something more realistic... more commonplace.

Now you understand.

March 16, 2012

Ammonia Lisa

Leonardo Da Vinci would approve. I am sure he and his crew of interior decorators wore respirators whenever they filmed a new episode of 'Flip This Cathedral'.

I painted this when I first got hired on over at the film studio/ Military–industrial complex. Having wormed my way into the job with no portfolio and a skillfully written introductory email, I figured it was just a matter of time before it dawned on anyone to question my qualifications. Nothing says 'talent' like a poorly conceived knock-off of a well-known masterpiece, befouled by a hackneyed gag. Am I right?

The one 'clever' twist, if any, is that the mask was actually painted on a seperate piece of wood. It does a fair job of resembling the brand provided to the prop artists in the mold shop.

I had considered painting the straps, but the image worked as is. The folks above me got a chuckle and, just like that, I was considered worthy of the position.  I stayed at the job until it became clear that they had no intention of providing the workers with A.) a decent wage, and B.) healthcare. Heck, I can be uninsured working for myself. What did I need them for?

March 13, 2012

Chasing Norman

I have a son. He is 15 for at least a few more months. He is a great guy. He keeps better grades than I did, which is wonderful. He also spends a great deal of time focused on music. In fact, he is in a kickass band called Chasing Norman.

He and his bandmates all attend the School of Rock in North County and there is little question that they are dedicated. Most bands can not keep it going due to simple personality conflicts. At fifteen years old (average age of members), there is a symbiosis between them that is often not seen with much older musicians. It is just plain difficult to get 4 people together for a common goal, without egos and personalities mucking up the works. I am proud of all of them for making it work.

In any case, the band has been working on an album to be released sometime this year... soon, I believe. They have honored me by asking that I produce the cover art. The design is based off of a sketch by one of the guitarists.

All I had to do from there was translate it in my own way. That meant tracking down clipart and manipulating it in Photoshop and Illustrator. The result is below.

I should note, the request of the band is that the final art be painted/ drawn. I don't have to tell you how much work that would require. Its safe to say more than one day. I look forward to getting the go ahead so I can dive into the project. Its going to be fun.

Finally, you didn't think I would let you get out of here without a taste of Chasing Norman, right?
Rock and Roll!!!

March 11, 2012

Artist Showcase: Phil Gullett

A decade ago or so I received a videotape from a friend of a friend, who himself had a friend, Phil Gullett, who was working as an animator in Chicago. This period was a somber one for American animation companies because their demise was emanate; The writing was on the wall, and it was written in Korean.

Mr. Gullett, if my memory can be trusted, was primarily a background artist. Working at StarToons (1995-2001, Chicago, Ill.) he had a hand in many projects, including various episodes of such high-profile projects as 'The Animaniacs' and 'Histeria'. But the crowning glory of his career may have been revealed to me that fateful day when I first viewed the videotape.

Co-created with co-worker Dave Pryor, the single pilot episode was titled 'Rye Noon' and starred a character named Tuna Sammich. The story I got was it had been shopped around to various networks, but none could find a place in their line-up for a talking sandwich. Stingy bastards.

For almost a decade afterwards, I lamented the fact that this brilliant cartoon would never get the credit it deserved from cartoon-watchers worldwide.

Finally, with the birth of YouTube , I would regularly search for the upload of Rye Noon, but always came up empty. Frustrated, I decided to seek out the creators and ask them why on earth would they allow Tuna Sammich to go unseen and unappreciated. In time, I made contact with Dave Pryor. He told me that the cartoon was the property of Jon McClenahan, the owner of StarToons. It seemed unlikely that the sammich would ever see the light of day.
....until January 26th of this year, that is!! I found it last week. I don't know who posted it. I don't care. Before I send you off to see the wonder that is Tuna Sammich, I want to promote the current blogs of Dave Pryor ( ) and Phil Gullett ( ). I am a semi-regular respondant on Phil's blog, which is often hilarious and published every weekday.

And now, Tuna Sammich in 'Rye Noon' ....

I believe Phil was the voice behind the sammich, and that he was in the band, blueWank, that plays during the closing credits. Just to be clear, I am about 90% sure of the facts as I presented them. But were I to be 100% incorrect, it would not change the fact that Tuna Sammich is available for all to see. THAT is a fact.

Upon further inspection, another animation creation from Phil Gullett has been unearthed! It must be your lucky day!...

March 3, 2012

Oh Lawdy, pikuhbayluhkotten

Last month was Black History Month. Appropriately, I painted the likeness of one of the music world's finest African-American contributors: Leadbelly.

Of his legacy, Wikipedia says, in part, the following:
Lead Belly has been covered by Delaney Davidson, Tom Russell, Lonnie Donegan, The Beach Boys, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Abba, Pete Seeger, Harry Belafonte, Ram Jam, Johnny Cash, Tom Petty, Dr John, Ry Cooder, Grateful Dead, Gene Autry, Odetta, Billy Childish (who named his son Huddie), Mungo Jerry, Paul King, Led Zeppelin, Van Morrison, Michelle Shocked, Tom Waits, Scott H. Biram, Ron Sexsmith, British Sea Power, Rod Stewart, Ernest Tubb, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, The White Stripes, The Fall, The Doors, Smog, Old Crow Medicine Show, Spiderbait, Meat Loaf, Yirmyah Fox, Ministry, Raffi, Rasputina, Rory Gallagher, the Sensational Alex Harvey Band, Deer Tick, Hugh Laurie, X, jazz guitarist Bill Frisell, Koerner, Ray & Glover, Nirvana, Mark Lanegan, WZRD, and Tyvek Velvette, among many others.

Impressive. And then, of course, there are the countless artists who have painted pictures of Mr. Belly over the years. Well, forget all of them. What is important is who has painted him most recently. I believe that would be me.

Acrylic on wood. Approx 15" x 30".