Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Running Up That Hill

I have a ridiculous attraction to depressing music, both in lyrics and music, and one very dynamic artist is Kate Bush who mostly worked in the 80's. She did a great job of getting across this completely juxtaposing energy and emotion in her songs....anyway, she made a song called "Running up that Hill" that may be way too 80s for most people, but really has great lyrics....HOWEVER, while I can't say for sure if this cover is better, it's much darker, completely different and really powerful. It's by the band Placebo and is actually featured on the new "gettysburg" commercials on History channel (which looks awesome). It's definitely my "sad/mellow" song of choice for today. Check it out and check out Kate Bush as well.

The Soft Windows

This recent piece, which for some reason took about 10 tries and some photoshop to get a good image of, is called "The Soft Windows" and I suppose its a reference to "dreaming"...whether that's an actual dream, a daydream, a hope or just a reflection on something, it's meant to look unsure, un distinct, and basically uninterpretable. There are a lot of times you feel something for reasons unknown, have an emotion that you can't quite pin down, or a general longing for something you can't quite grasp...I guess that's me a lot and this melancholy abstraction is a depiction of that...

The Brights (continued)

The next four in the "Bright Lights" series. I might be falling into one of those random "losing my mind" segments of my life which bodes well for the mural this weekend...not for hanging out alone after work though.

Those Poor, Famous, Full-Ride Athletes..

There are as many "solutions" to the NCAA athlete violations as there are people getting in trouble and most of them have something to do with paying the athletes. I mean through TV, sponsorship, ticket sales and winning, these kids are making millions for these huge schools and are forced to be...well a normal college student without much spending money. Shouldn't they get a piece of the pie they are building up?
Well I for one don't agree that they should be paid for various reasons, but that discussion can go on forever and we'll never make everyone happy. SO instead of arguing my point about that, I'm gonna skip that and simply point out why paying student athletes would never work.

First of all, there is this thing called tuition that most students have to pay. And while we all want to believe it's just "The Man" taking money from us, it's actually because colleges take a bitch-load of cash to actually operate. Think of all the teachers, janitors, professors, IT people, repairs, bills, etc. that you see everyday walking through a campus. All of those things/people need money thrown at them and that comes from the college. Many of the high-level athletes get scholarships which, while getting the school a hopefully winning athlete, ends up losing the school up to 200K over their four years, depending on scholarship amount and tuition totals...That's a lot of money if you spread the scholarships over an entire team or multiple sports even if they aren't full-rides.

Secondly, How much would you give them? many people say "just a couple hundred" would be fine for extra cash. Alright, well think about this; you'd have to give everyone the same amount, at least as far as men and women go...and probably across all sports too. The Argument many people make is that the student athlete does everything a normal student does, but instead of a job, they do a sport...the money would make up for the lack of time for a job. Alright, that makes sense, but then you'd have to give all student athletes the same amount. The rowing team practices as much as the football team, despite drawing a crowd of 10 to a meet, while football brings 60,000. They don't have time for a job either, so in that regard they are equal to the big football stars. Even if you only gave 200 a month to the athletes... thats 200$ per kid, there's 50 or so guys on a football team and that's already $10,000 per month...just for the football team. take into account the rowing team, CC, track, soccer, baseball, softball, volleyball, field hockey, ice hockey, basketball, curling, and any other sport (and there are many more) plus the women's sides of each of those and that is more money than maybe even the huge schools could afford.

Thirdly, it's not like they get to school, get the full-ride and then the school drops them on the curb and says, "Hope you got some cash to pay your bills and eat. See ya at practice." The kids on the scholarships already get compensation for a lot of things. Food-plans, living help, even clothes from the team sponsors. Even the guy that just ratted out Ohio State said he could have applied to get 500$ per month for housing but he would have had to "save the receipts"...instead he sold his big-10 ring since proving your paying that money for rent is too hard.

Lastly, most of the kids getting caught aren't exactly stealing change to do laundry. They are selling thousand dollar championship rings, hundreds of dollars in game-play uniforms, and getting ridiculous deals on $50K cars. If the problem was enough money to live like a college kid, I'd get it...but when they are breaking the rules so they can get tattoos, jewelry, cars and other luxury items, I'm not sure that the simple "200$ for living expenses" is really gonna make the grade for most of the violators.

It's easy to say "pay them" if you are thinking about the big sports, but people forget that the little sports take just as much effort, have less support, and most likely don't give as good of scholarships to the athletes. The schools simply can't afford to pay the athletes equally. Most of the students going to college come out with anywhere from 5-100K in debt when they are done, let alone having "extra spending money" every month. These athletes that are "so unfairly treated" are getting a free education that any other kid would gladly accept, with or without the chance to play a sport and be famous.

The Jee-Bees part 2

AAAAAAND the rest of the bees...

And just so everyone knows,  I threw a round over the weekend and they fly absolutely fine...almost got an ace with the hotdog at East in good ol' Rochester MN.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Asteroids Galaxy Tour.

That new-ish Heineken commercial has a really catchy song and every once in a while, a commercial can actually lead to a new good band. This seems like one of those times.

The commercial, if you don't know what I'm talking about, has a guy enter a room and basically he shows everyone how awesome he is by "battling" people at various party-trick type things. The commercial itself isn't all that amazing, but the song in  the background is kind of a funk-alternative-pop-techno song and it is super catchy, not to mention the singer is quickly developing into my new celebrity crush...anyway, the band is call The Asteroid Galaxy Tour and I've basically been listening to their record "Fruit" for the last day and a half straight. Here is the song from the commercial and you should definitely check them out...

As A side note, "Push the Envelope" is an awesome song off the same album so check that out too.

Scott Walker

Doing a Caricature of Scott Walker for the cover this week .

THE POSITIVE- Get to spend all day drawing cartoons

THE NEGATIVE- Have to spend all day staring at a picture Scott Walker

You can't get your cake and eat it too...unless that cake is a poo-cake then you can eat all you want.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

The Brights!

And to further confuse myself I have started a 3rd...4th? I don't know...project number 3, 4, or 5 at the moment. It's going to be works in ink and pastel on very bright paper. Extra bold, Extra simple, Extra free..
Cold Shoulder

Yellow Lab

Morning Tide

The Jee-Bees

I have become a bigger and bigger disc golf fan basically every year since i started college (maybe I'm getting ready to be old and fairly immobile) and am really hoping the weather starts getting less windy and rainy so I can actually play instead of just bombing drives down an open football field. Until then however, I have a new project. I have no aspirations to really compete for anything in disc golf and am not good enough that my discs have to be pristine, so I decided to separate my discs from the pack a bit.

Throughout the next few days or weeks I am going  to paint my discs and put some fun drawings and designs on them. I'm always a big fan of custom ultimate discs and haven't really seen a ton of carry-over to the disc-golf realm, so I thought i'd give it a goofy little jumpstart. Anyways, here are the first three that I did with many more to come. They have an acrylic paint back with oil pastel drawings and a clear coat of spray paint for more durability.

And a side note to anyone interested in getting started playing disc, we have two great courses just outside the city and Art Smart's Dart Mart has about a million discs for sale...GO TEAM

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Fever Ray

For no real reason at all other than boredom at work, I made a poster for "Fever Ray", the side project of The Knife's Karin Dreijer Andersson. 

Here is the poster

Listen Here:

Analyze That

Who can analyze dreams here? Well I cannot and if anyone can analyze this guy, please let me know. It was dreamt the other night while waking up about ever hour, so the flow of it is a little out of sorts, but these are the scenes as I remember them...good luck

To set the scene...the whole thing takes place in a swampy farm land, surrounded by trees with no road...only boats to go up and down the narrow rivers among the reeds...and with that, here are the different events...

picking carrots when indians attack the farm
hiding in the barn while the indians mysteriously are replaced by zombies
apparently there's internet out here as we are looking up "zombie defense" on google
Aaron Rodgers is there
we fight off zombies and are running through the woods when we are confronted by a bear. 
the bear doesn't attack but is standing on hind legs, describing what he would do if he did decide to attack
we all play dead as the bear continues to talk
there is no more aaron rodgers
we all stand up and start poking the bear which dives into the shallow river. He does not return
the barn is on fire and all the carrots have been eaten by the zombies, who now resemble zombie carrots
The zombie carrots plant themselves as we climb into the boats to leave. 
speeding down the rivers, the boats are exploding for no apparent reason, but we are all weaving as if being chased and shot at.
we get held up on fences in the river and are confronted by gun-powder harvesting mexicans who don't like us and trap us in a shed. 

It gets a little hazy after that as I think I was slowly waking up but it didn't begin to make any more sense than it already didn't....what the hell brain?

Pope Statue.

A new statue of the late Pope was put up at a major train depot in Rome and apparently no one likes it. It's totally understandable. It's not elegant, it's not awe-inspiring. It doesn't depict the pope as the loving pope they had all grown to love, and frankly, it's a rather un-aesthetically appealing piece of art. When you think of Rome Statuary, you think of traditional renaissance style pieces, Mythic figures with a hand outstretched, beautiful carved marble images of saints bringing the good news; basically celebrations of mortal beings in an immortal medium.

This statue, however, seems to distance itself from glory. The face is forlorn, looking down at a gaping opening in the chest (if you can call it that). None of the symbols of the pope seem to adorn him. No holy cross or towering papal crown...It's not surprising people aren't happy with it...it's doesn't glorify the man they all loved.

I like it as a piece of art. Very monolithic, very stern. Very serious in a world in which religion is losing its grasp as a driving force in people's lives. But, I don't think it is a good tribute (if that's what it was supposed to be) to a man that loved people, and was loved greatly in return. It doesn't symbolize the Pope John Paul II that was the man we all knew. It doesn't remind me of him, it doesn't symbolize him, it doesn't put for the ideas that he stood for. As a social statement, I love it...as a tribute to PJPII, I believe it misses the mark. It all depends what was commissioned, and what the artist intended that proves this as a success or failure.


Beyonce performed at the Billboard awards and got pretty good reviews for her unique mix of digital art and choreography...except it wasn't unique. In fact it's pretty much stolen from an italian artist's performance from just a year ago. Both performances contain many of the same imagery and concepts throughout and at many times appear fairly identical. Much of it actually even happens in the same order with only slight details being changed. The developer of Beyonce's graphics said that the italian performace was "part of the influence" but says "there are a lot of different inspirations for where our piece came from."

I suppose it's true. They are not identical and do contain many different details, but the overall fact is that it largely copies the setup, concept, and specific aspects of Lorella (the italian performer) and then adds details that differentiate it. There's a strange line between copying and taking inspiration and I think this is a little to close to copying for my liking...it's like how Vanilla Ice said he didn't copy Queen's "Under Pressure" Guitar riff. It's "virtually" the same riff...but it is one or two notes different....

Anyways, I think she at least owed Lorella and the developers of the original show some credit or mention during her award speech...and maybe a knock for being unoriginal. I mean this is the girl who is telling women to stand up for themselves, be independent, powerful, strong and confident...basically redoing someone else's video while splashing some color in there does not say any of those to me.

Not identical but there are some times that are eerily similar in both concept and timing...check the comparison out below

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

The Cold Shoulder

So I got all this AWESOME paper (thanks Maxx) and it's gonna make for some DAMN FINE and vibrant ink works. the ink just pops like it's no one's business. The quality of paper is a little low but when have I ever cared about quality....anyways, it was free, so much of it will be free to you (milwaukee) also. Get ready to get assaulted by art.
The Cold Shoulder

The Step Pyramid

At least I think that's what I called it on facebook. It's actually a painting of a mountain (specific name soon to be revealed) in the red morning light. The reference to the pyramid is meant to convey a sense of connection between humans and the object...maybe even suggesting that man has had something to do with the creation of the mountain, at least in a mythical/ spiritual sense. There is this grand mystique and with enough detail (far more to be done) I hope that this piece can get that personal connection across. We may not have built the mountains, but we have made them more powerful and meaningful than the rocks that comprise it could ever be.

Brand Old vs. Brand New

Brand New has been one of my favorite bands since maybe 8th grade and was the first album I ever ordered over the internet...ever. So in short, I've listened to them for a while and I have to say, they are one of the most transitory bands I've ever heard. Even bands that have existed for decades don't seem to change their sound as much on each album as these guys do. They started as a pretty normal pop-punk band with not too much difference between them and anyone else, but now they teeter on the edge of punk-metal almost, doing away with the playful guitar riffs and choruses and moving for the dark, dreary and well...pissed off and depressed. And I LOVE every minute of it. It's not for everyone and I even have some friends who stopped listening after the second album, but the transition between the powerchord, pre-pubescent whining to the internal spiritual debate has really been an interesting one...Check out a song, in order of release, from each of the four albums and listen for yourself.

My Actual Job

Surprise surprise, I don't talk about it much but I do have an actual design job that doesn't only consist of drawing stupid cartoons and one of my tasks each week is to come up with concepts for the cover...

Sadly, most of the designs I think are cool don't get picked (the editor is uber conservative and kinda boring when it comes to the cover. [actually really boring if you ask me]) But no one is asking me so i get to put my covers on Behance...and so on the off-chance that anyone wants to look at some past and present cover ideas that were thrown in the heap check out the examples and the link below.

*And please don't get me wrong here...I'm not saying that all our covers are bad or that these are the best designs on the planet, they are far from it...but I do think its always interesting to see what doesn't get produced along the way


Free Fun Frisbee

There's been this frisbee sitting in our shrubbery basically since we moved into our house a year ago and finally I decided to do something with it. No, not add it to my ever-growing frisbee collection, but share the joy of throwin the froz with someone else. SO later today I will be giving it a fond farewell and launch it off a big hill to a park belo, and hopefully into the arms of some grateful newcomer to the wonderful world of frisbee. 

It's like the last shuttle flight but free and completely unscientific!


My beloved traffic cone got a boyfriend and moved out. We will miss you traffic cone.

The Rapture Fallout

Harold Camping is now claiming that he interpreted the bible wrong and instead of the world ending last weekend, it will actually end in October. Last weekend, apparently, was a "spiritual judging" where apparently it was decided who would go to heaven, and they will have to wait till October to find out who was chosen. Right. Ok, I'm not going to fault anyone for believing anything, especially when it comes to religion, but there is a line that should be drawn when it adversely affects a persons life. Many people who followed Camping had donated money, given away possessions, spent money to advertise, and dug into retirements, all to get ready for the Rapture...now they are left missing their hard earned stuff with no where to turn to.

Some people blame them for their stupidity, which may be valid...but I do realize the power religion holds over some people. I much more blame the preacher, Camping, for guaranteeing the end. There is prediction and the display of your prediction, and then there is convincing people to the point that they are giving away their retirement money. He can sidestep till the day he finally gets taken up and apparently, won't feel any remorse for how many lives were ruined. And while he continues to make predictions and guarantee the end, these people are forced to start over.

The world is not going to end in October (most likely) but Camping will continue to deny his incorrectness till he dies...its just too bad that people can take religion, something so dear to billions, and use it in a way that can completely change a person's life for the worse without any consequences...he really should be ashamed.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Hangover 2 having a tattoo hangover.

So apparently the artist who penned (inked?) the famous face tattoo of Mike Tyson is suing Warner Bros for their use of the tattoo on main character Ed Helms in the anticipated sequel to "The Hangover." Now I'm all for copyrighting artwork and artists not getting screwed but there are a few problems with this suit.

1. He didn't (or doesn't) complain about any public appearance Tyson makes...If he really wanted the recognition and money for the tattoo, wouldn't he have wanted to benefit from all the events Tyson does?

2. Is it even the artists property? Can you own something that is part of another human? Does Walt disney own every tiny ankle tattoo of Minnie mouse on the billion sorority girls walking around Madison?

3. Given the facts above, I doubt he will win the case or that his lawyer believes he will win the case...that said, is the entire point to get a settlement which would keep the film's release from being delayed? A delay would cost Warner Bros. TONS of money...do they think they can just get a few million so it's cheaper and less annoying to Warner Bros? LAME

4. If he does win, couldn't every college sue every person that has ever gotten their alma mater mascot, name or slogan tattooed on them? More so, couldn't they sue the tattoo businesses that gave them? those are the guys making money off the use of a copyrighted image....

and 5. He never made a peep during the first movie. Sure it was his work on the actual guy he gave it too, but it was onscreen for quite a while...inconsistent much?

Anyway, this whole thing is dumb...don't try to get rich qquick by screwing people over....you'll just look like an idiot for the most part.

Thomas Benton and Actually making a difference.

A lot of artists are "for the cause" of whatever they claim their art symbolizes and while promoting advocacy of issues is definitely helping, I've always seen it as a bit of a cop out. I mean what's easier, spending time out in the community helping the homeless or piling up thrown out food in the center of a gallery? Whether or not you believe in the cause, making art, for the most part, does not directly help said cause. In fact, a lot of art considered "activism" or containing social statements not only doesn't directly help in and of itself, the entire concept is usually unknown to the many viewer who the artist is supposedly informing.

With that said, there are many people who actually do their part in actually supporting the cause so don't get me wrong there, just pointing out that making a painting about the homeless doesn't mean you are helping the homeless.

Anyways, what brought about this is the attached article which talks about Thomas Hart Benton, who happened to teach a young Jackson Pollock,  and his "flood" piece which sold for 1.9M this last weekend. That's not the awesome part though. The painting  is based off a huge flood in 1953 and Benton actually used the piece to raise awareness of the devastation, inform lawmakers and perhaps even influenced the President to sign the flood relief bill. Not everything he did worked, but the fact that he went past the painting and really lobbied to get help for the people shows how much he was affected by the disaster. Read the article below and next time you make a piece meant to display support of a cause, maybe take that extra step and truly make a difference.


Little Guy

Found this little guy perched on an overhang of concrete in the stairway (it's actually been there a week) and while the possibilities are endless, I hope it's someone trying to spread a little off-kilter joy. Just the complete lack of purpose is pretty funny and that little square in the upper right is definitely something that would get the conceptual scene pulling their hair out...

I think it symbolizes man's search for happiness in a world which constantly provides hurdles which slow, challenge and downright derail our best and most sincere efforts.

No...that's not true at all, made it up on the spot. To tell the truth...it's cute (in a bland, quirky, and "me" kind of way) and made me laugh, and that's pretty cool. Good job mystery sculptor...maybe we can get together for a conceptual game of jenga sometime.

The Reality of Myth

I have always been a believer that, whether in art, religion, myth or modern culture, even the most abstract and otherworldly ideas stem from reality in some distant way. One being that has survived the centuries through myth and famous stories like "The Odyssey" is the Cyclops. I didn't want to portray the thing as the crazy beast it it often described as, but much more humanistically...The 3/4 portrait, I think, brings the creature to a much more human level, while the expressive and childlike marks keep its "primal" qualities  alive, but subdued.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Being an Ass (figuratively not literally)

Just a FYI to everyone out there...Saying "I'm giving you a heads up that I may be giving out a bunch of attitude Monday, bare with me." Does not, in my mind, excuse you from being a decent person. I realize that the end of the day may be stressful and that knowing you have  alot of work to do after the weekend is annoying, but settle down, take a deep breath, and suck it up. You don't have that hard of a job (believe me, I did your job for the two weeks you were just gone) and everyone has set backs or annoying times...but deal with it like an adult and don't feel like "warning people" of your coming asshole-y-ness excuses it. Your still being an asshole whether you acknowledge it to me or not and either way, it's going to affect me. Just settle down, you're going to be fine...and at the very least don't ruin my day because it's easier for you to complain than be understanding.

This Guy (or girl)

So I apologize that I cannot tell you who made these paintings, but I really did try to find someone in the restaurant that knew who it was. They were not signed and no one had a clue so I can only give you the pics.

That said, I really do think they are great. They have a Matisse-like quality to them with very broad area of fairly flat color, mostly representational but a little bit abstracted from reality. Not quite to a deibencorn extent, but they lack a deep space while still creating a very interesting and interactive composition. The Abstract piece has a very Jean Debuffet aesthetic with the interlocking, very busy composition. . I love the dark background that peaks through the tiny openings between the pieces and provides a stage or plane for the pieces to sit. Without that, I think the piece would seem frantic and a bit unnerving. The violin player piece is interesting. It has a brevity to the stroke and a lackadaisical approach, somewhat extending the "practice" idea from the subject itself.  Anyways, this is super brief, but the world is ending tomorrow and work is almost over, just really wanted to throw these pieces up cuz I was really struck by them...

It's the End of the World...And I Feel AWESOME

So if I wake up to the few holy people are floating from their beds and into the sky, I've got a plan. Im gonna walk down to the beach with a case of beer and two inner tubes tied together. The one will hold the beer, the other me, and together, we will sail off into the lake michigan sunrise to watch the destruction.

If I'm gonna die Saturday, it's going to be riding a tsunami wave into Milwaukee on an inner tube, drinking beer...and it will be a great ending.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Area 51: Roswell Revealed!

FINALLY after fifty some odd years, we have an answer to the Roswell incident....well not really. But there is a book coming out that has some pretty interesting and creepy claims. Apparently it wasn't a spacecraft at all! In fact, according to one author, the Soviets were behind the craft and the "aliens" found were little mutant comrades developed by the world's favorite medicine man, Dr. Josef Mengele. The ship was some kind of experimental spy plane, remotely flown from the motherland, with our deformed little vodka drinkers just waiting to spring out and frighten the capitalists. She goes on to claim that Stalin got the idea from Orson Welles' War of the Worlds, in which many US citizens thought a radio broadcast of the story was a real alien invasion...needless to say it did not cause mass panic and ultimately failed, if that was the intent.

There is really no evidence of anything anymore as all the documents have been blocked out and we've been left with one photo of the crash materials (which the eyes witnesses claim is fake), so I suppose we may never know the truth...but I'm not sure what's scarier...that aliens were coming to the Arizona desert or that Stalin was manufacturing deformed mini soviet fighter pilots.

story below:

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

This is News?

So there was an article on jsonline that  is about a dad refusing to let police into his house despite calls that there was underage drinking going on. and that's pretty much the whole story.

First of all...this is news? Like you actually dedicate webspace to this story? Secondly, there is nothing illegal about refusing police entry as long as they don't have a warrant. To anyone ever holding a party, you DO NOT have to let the cops in. In fact, you probably shouldn't even answer the door. I've been to a few parties where they simply left after knocking for a good 20 min...and lastly, I actually applaud the father.

This isn't going to be a rant about how kids should be allowed to drink...there are positives and negatives to that thinking and basically, it's a matter of opinion. However, I do applaud the father. Not for the fact that he is allowing kids to drink but for the fact that he realizes there is no reason to involve the cops in the matter. While it's illegal to drink underage, the consequences in some instances are pretty drastic if you involve authorities. I may be alone here, but I dont think suspending a kid from sports or school, expulsion, a huge fine, or a trip to the police station is really necessary. Nothing says "stay in school and be healthy" like keeping a kid from doing either. If anything, I'd make my kid join a team and make sure he is in school as much as possible working on schoolwork. I got a drinking ticket once and the only thing it made me do was be more clever in not getting caught.

Im not going to defend kid's drinking underage, but you have to realize that most kids will try it at some point. Denying that fact will not stop it from happening, will not help the situation, and will not keep your kids safe. Turning them over to the cops will not make them see your authority, it will not help them trust you, and it will not make them respect you. Its not the end of the world and slapping on a huge punishment will probably make them resent you even more than their little teenage hormoney brains already do. Do what you want parents, but don't expect that a visit from the cops will turn your kids into obedient A+ students, it will probably just piss them off.

story below:

The Plains and the Pyramids

These two new pieces are a kind of story painting...not that everything in them means something or symbolizes something else, but more that they are extremely detailed and meant to be kind of "read" by the viewer. Much like "the Garden of Earthly Delights",

it is an overview of a place full of people following a common theme. While not completely done, you are supposed to feel the monotony of everyday life. The constant and unending work to produce...to get a sense of culture as a whole instead of using one person or image to symbolize a specific emotion.

They are not meant as icons, messages or commentaries on the subject, but rather snapshots. Just placing the setting before you and allowing the viewer to walk through themselves. They are landscape paintings, but instead of the beauty of mother nature, you see the tedious repetition of human life.
Plains and The Pyramids: part 1

Plains and The Pyramids: part 2

Motherfool's and the art of dominating walls

Soooo after a little bit of effort but a ton of excitement, I get to paint the big wall on the side of Motherfool's cafe in Madison on willy st. the first weekend of June. I'm planning on getting it done in one day and am hoping to have some type of photo documentation of the whole process so that we can put together a video that shows the mural take shape throughout the day.

Also I'd love to have people down there hanging out. While art is a very personal endeavor, there's a certain energy that gets transferred when you're walking around, talking, having fun and "performing" for other people. The pressure gets turned up and, at least in prior experiences, the inspiration comes in massive, exciting waves, exploding onto the canvas in short bursts of total concentration. It's not any type of huge show or event, but if you're interested in seeing a large painting being created from start to finish, I promise it would be a good time. Plus I'm not a total douche if that sways you either way.

So anyways, I'm really excited about the whole thing and am sure the painting will be a success, it's up to you if you want to be a part of it.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Love Tips

So I've been getting these love tips from some site that somehow got my phone number and can't get them to go away and while some of them are just stupid and/or funny, the one I got today was just....weird.

"Flirting is like acting, it's ok to play someone different."

OK...so i think i get it if they mean "act confident if your shy" or something like that...but if they literally mean "play a different character," I wouldn't be surprised and Im not sure but I may have a problem with that. I mean, unless your entire point for flirting is for a one night stand, you never intend to see them again, and have absolutely no dignity, wouldn't you want them to enjoy your company for who you actually are? I mean, imagine the next time you see them and you're no longer the western financial wiz out of college but are now the charming, dashing, millionaire stock broker who's in on business from NY... how would you figure that one out?

Are they really saying that you should act like a totally different person? Pull the wool over their eyes and hope they never run into you when you aren't in character? Even if it is for a one night stand, does that give you any self-confidence? "If I act like myself a girl won't even talk to me, but man if I pretend to be David Beckham I'm set." Pretty cool dude, I really wish I were you (or I guess David Beckham would be more accurate).

I dont know, I guess I understand the fun that it could bring, a new twist to the night, but I guess Im just not the type of person who feels better about myself if I pretend to be someone else. Think about what you'd boast...

"Oh man, hooked up with this hot girl."
"O ya? how'd it go."
"well she thinks i own a condo and a yacht and am british. I have a six pack and own 1,000 acres of vermont countryside and get personal concerts from BONO and THE EDGE weekly while I lounge in my golden hot tub."
"Man your totally in!"

How awesome is the bar dating scene!

This is a real job?

So apparently designing romance novel covers is a real job and, at least for the next few days...it's mine. And lucky me, I get to skip the Fabio look-alikes and concentrate on the women! And even more luckily, this is girl I get to look at aaaaaaaaallllllll day while im drawing....

All I can say about that is... it's going to be a very unproductive week

Mike Fredrickson and a Weird Milwaukee

I've never been a fan of photorealism. I love photography and painting, but the two melded together have never....attracted me. I always felt that photorealist pieces tend to get jam packed with as much texture, surface, and objects as possible; an extension of those ridiculous school-project still-lifes containing 87 glass jars, a variety of vases and bowls and usually something odd like an antler or a mannequin head. They just look set-up...fake. And while I respect the work for the time and talent required to create such a wide variety of surface textures, they have always come across as rather normal scenes without great composition, color scheme or focus...kind of like a below average photograph. Now there are definite exceptions (The MAM has some very interesting photorealist work), but as a whole I usually feel like I am just looking at photographs without a great sense of compositional relationship...they are kind of just...blah.

However there are some people that, while maybe not true photorealists, create some very realistic pieces with a much more interesting surreal or psychological skew. Mike Fredrickson, A local artist that has been a constant part of the art and music scene for a long time, has managed to creep into that realm subtly but effectively. He catches the subject in times that have no need for a translation into fine art but, because of that, the pieces peer into a much more personal side of life. The subjects are comfortable and feel real, but almost seem like we are peering into a scene from afar. Some subjects seem like they've been stopped on the street and had a the photo snapped, throwing forth their best funny face or pose, or just sitting normally in the same way they would as if having a conversation.

The portraits are nonchalant and informal. The artists doesn't seem to be poking them and setting their arms in specific poses. He isn't directing their attitude or the amount they smile. They are like a photo taken at the most random of times, nothing important, nothing meaningful, and with that I think that you get a real sense of the subject. The difference I find between Mike's work and many other photo-realists is the personality. Other people seem to have the surfaces as the subject. The plastic, the gravel...the entire point of the piece is to imitate the material. With Mike's work the subject is getting to the person themselves. Getting under the material. This is where you get more than objects on a table or perfectly modeled skin over a skeleton, you get personality with all its quirks, bumps, laughter, and intimacy. That is what I connect to in art, and that is what separates Mark's work from other photorealists.

More paintings below:

Monday, May 16, 2011

Oscar's Pub: Who says nice guys finish last?

Well a TON of people do but I disagree.. Here's an example of a nice guy making it work.

I take photos for our dining section and usually have to deal with stressed out managers that don't have the time to dilly dally, mingle or put a personable stamp on their restaurant. I walk in, shake hands, take photos, and walk out, almost like I'm dealing with the business itself and not a person. And while the food is usually good, it leaves a rather "Wal-mart-ish" taste in my mouth...no personality. Well here's two points for being awesome and having great food...

Oscar's Pub down on 17th and Pierce has some of the best burgers I've ever eaten and three of the nicest bartenders/owners I have ever met. He was more excited than a frog at a fly convention when I walked in the door and immediately gave me a beer, walked me through the place and talked to me for about 10 minutes before I even had enough time to take the camera out of the bag. Don't get me wrong, it's not some spectacular castle with the coolest decoration,  but it's a nice pub with lots of light and a rather relaxed  "dive-bar" feel without the worry that I might get mugged on the way to my car. And surprisingly, it was kinda busy for 11am on Friday.

Anyways, I ended up being there for about and hour and a half, talking with the owner, bartender and server and taking pictures of everyone and needless to say, it was the friendliest place I had been yet. Then the burgers came out. You can say what you want about the tradition of Sobleman's and the weirdness of some of AJ Bombers burgers, but Oscars gives them a run for their money and definitely is worth taking a trip to. This was, no doubt, the best burger I have ever had and never make decisions that quickly. So anyways, check them out if youre looking for a good burger place with some great people and support a new (7 weeks old) local business ....plus they have a ping-pong table. Thumbs WAY up for Oscars, they deserve it.

This guy's oscar 

Realm of the Unknown

I've been watching too many ancient aliens episodes and while i have no belief in what they are talking about, the entire idea has always been interesting. Their conclusions jump quite a distance from the evidence in my opinion. For example, the fact that you can see certain designs from the air does NOT mean that that is how they were intended to be viewed, or even more, that they were meant for aliens to find as "markers" for where to land. I believe that primitive man was just as creative and intelligent as we are today, they just weren't as advanced in an industrial sense. Think about it, even up to 1900s, electricity was something for the rich, cars didn't really exist, and cocaine and heroin were prescribed for anything from a simple cold to cancer. The fact that we have become as advanced technologically  as we are today in such a small amount of time tells me that we, as a species, have always had this ingenuity, it simply took the discovery of steel, oil and electricity to jump start where we are today. With that in mind, I believe it is completely possible that primitive man found ways to complete the gigantic structures we find throughout the world, they just used creativity and engineering to use what they had around them. The fact that we don't know how they did it does not at all mean that they couldn't.

My most recent painting "Battle of Fathers Over The Black Mountain (The Turquoise Ships)" is taken from the proposed idea that battles between aliens took place over the Earth in the distant past, but even more, that there was something that struck ancient man enough that they turned it into myth and passed it through the centuries. The painting can read like a sci-fi story,  a myth,  a morality tale, a natural phenomenon,  or a message from gods. It's interpretation is what gives it meaning and I suppose that's how I want it. Much like a cave painting, it's the story that you make it

Friday, May 13, 2011

Best 14 seconds of your life

No im not talking about your longest sexual experience i'm talking about this!!!! and laughing my ass off in the office...fridays.

there's a link if the video isnt working.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Come on son, fly your peabodied ship.

I'm a fan of how this turned out. It actually have a weird little story brewing in my head and this is the type of illustration I'm thinking of going for. It's about a kid who goes out on a melancholy search through the universe for a friend...kind of a "little prince" type of idea, meeting all these interesting characters, each having something important to pass on, but not quite the person he's looking for...

So anyways, if I ever find the motivation to complete it, I'll let everyone know. Until then check out these other short stories from the past few years, some written by me, some written by others and illustrated by me...It's a group called Carrion that I started and while it's in a lull right now, the idea was if someone wrote something, I would illustrate it and post it here so that they could get there writing at least up somewhere and not just on a notebook page...Check it out below. "Summer in the City" is my favorite of the ones I wrote if you want a quick one.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

One Strong Donkey and a Fire Happy Elephant

Sooooooo my most recent odd request was for an elephant shooting guns (in light of the recent republican backed conceal and carry bill) and a buff donkey looking serious...and NOTHING gets you in the mood to draw something goofy better than listening to just about any STYX song....and so the styx marathon begins with Dennis Deyoung caressing my ears....not sure how I feel about that last statement.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Stick it to the MAN, MAN!

So I just got this email from the 3rd ward assc. talking about graffiti showing up and as a notice and a bit of a warning to whoever is doing it, I'm gonna make my one comment about graffiti and "street art." First of all, if it is actually clever, aesthetically pleasing and artistic, I'm usually not to salty about this whole thing (that cloud one is pretty good). But when its just a big scribble or something that was done just to do it and to get your name on buildings around the city, I see no point other than us youngins bein rebellious and disrespectful. So all that name stuff and thoughtless scribbles have to stop. It doesn't look good, no one cares who you are, and it gives a bad name to the actual street artists.

As for the street artists, I'm a bit torn. I love seeing very creative, funny, and beautiful street art...it's very refreshing and great to see people moving art out of the stuffy galleries and schools. However, IT'S A SERIOUS CRIME. Not in the sense that people are hurt and you are a terrible person...in the sense that YOU WILL GET F*CKED if they find out who you are either money-wise or jail-time wise. I know the odds of getting caught are low (if you're careful), but the more you do it around the 3rd ward, the easier it will be to catch you and 3rd ward people are not the most forgiving to the unwashed masses. Plus, I understand the "F*ck the establishment" mentality, the "sticking it to the rich man" idea behind it, but it's really just a cover. You're graffiti may piss off a building owner and cost him money, but you are really screwing over the janitors and street cleaners who already have shitty jobs and have other things to do...Think about how much will it cost the landowner compared to how much of the day will it take for the workers to clean it? Add how long it takes to clean to the list of other things they need to get done that day and then see who it's really affecting. I know its appealing and everything, but really you're not sticking it to anyone but the worker.

I guess what I'm saying is you should probably just stop and use your creative energy to do something more artistically productive, less illegal, and less annoying to the people that have to fix the wall. If you decide to continue, do so for the right reasons. Know that your aren't leading any revolution and that the millionaire building owner you feel like you are teaching a lesson to probably knows nothing about it. If it's about art...then go for it, it's your call. If it's to rebel, fend off boredom, or your attempt at getting your name known, stop...it's screwing up someone's day and no one cares who you are.

"But we just wanna play football... (and get a pay raise)"

As any football fan knows the lockout is in a stay...barring players and teams from contact and keeping paychecks from the players. But don't look know, the upstanding and youthful players are showing those greedy old owners who's boss by holding their own workouts.....or are they.

This could be the dumbest thing I've seen in a while from the players. While players like Wes Welker are tweeting how "nice" it is to have time-off and how they are actually enjoying life without football for the first time since they first strapped on cleets, Brees and many other guys are displaying how this lockout for them is "just about playing football and not about money."

PUH-LEEEZ...first of all, OTA's, the part of football they are missing at the moment because of said lockout, are one of the things players are trying to get removed in the new CBA. That's right, the very thing they are pretending to enjoy for the "sake of the game", they are trying to eliminate at the same time. Also, Brees, who has been showing off his player organized practice, is the very type of veteran that usually skips OTA's in the first place. In reality, almost no veterans attend OTAs, it's basically a rookie camp for most teams. In fact, most veterans find any and all ways to skip as many training camps as possible...remember Brett Favre and his special deal. If it was about playing and not money, why is there so much time being spent talking about how to spilt up these 9billion$? If it's not about money then the player's shouldn't really care.

Some players like GB's AJ Hawk even called out the camps today saying he's "not impressed" and "not worried"about his own team. He even said other players have called the practices "disasters" with bad high school fields and bad equipment. He made it seem like they were more a way for players to converse in the offseason rather than working out.

Bottom line is this, we all know that this IS about the money for both sides. Theses are millionaire players that think they deserve more money and all these practices are for is to put on the "we just wanna play football" face on for the media. If you just wanted to play football, make the deal. If it's about money, stop acting like you are the poor little underpaid athletes that are in it for the love of the game...believe me, no one thinks you less as players, we just see you as less honest.

Gate 1

Most recent tosser...see if you can find it Milwaukee

It's called "Gate "1 and it is the largest piece since "Universal Elegance", which was put out about a month ago. While this piece isn't on my list of favorites, it was a success in that it's the first "footprint-free" tosser. The wood was found laying by the side of the road and being on my normal "drive-to-work" I am sure no one cared about it. It was dirtying up the curb for a good two months before I finally decided to grab it. I suppose that while the piece itself is nothing to write home about, It remains the first piece that really embodied the whole goal of this ongoing project...get art in the public, don't destroy anything, and make people's day's brighter without ruining anyone elses'.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Haile Selassie

Pilgrim upon the mountain 
Bare foot and still climbing 
Filling the book of hours 
Day after day in the filth and squalor 
We are the chosen people 
Safe from the next evil 
One Love! Magnetic memory 
Reel after reel, spinning within me 
I had the wildest dream last night
I was swimming with you in that Cenote the Heavens made with black fire
Just woke up too soon - Haile Selassie, Bright Eyes

Wow, so this is one of my favorite songs on the new album and I never had any Idea what the title was referring to...and now that song actually makes sense. Haile Salassie was the emperor of ethiopia 1930-1974 and was actually a messianic figure for hundreds of thousands of people. In case that word means nothing to you, it means that hundreds of thousands of people followed him as the messiah (kinda like that jesus guy) for many years. He never declared his own religion it seems but preached peace, spoke against nuclear weapons, and was slowed the modernization of ethipoia. He was Man of the Year for time magazine and promoted the idea of countries working together toward a common goal....something we still (try to) do today...

All in all, no matter if you believe religion helps or harms, this man was a bridge between religion and politics and is seen as somewhat of a revolutionary, never seeming to seek what was best for himself personally, but what was best for the human race. He never confirmed his divinity and it has been said he actually denied it, but it is clear he was a prophet of peace in a time of great world-wide turmoil.

I have never been an opponent of really any religion...I truly think it's the ideas about how to live life, deal with others, and improve the world you were brought into that are most important, not particularly who you pray to. No matter if he was a "messiah" in terms of divinity, he was an emperor who really felt that the best was needed for everyone and that all the people in the world had a stake in it. To me that is really what a messiah, a leader should be trying to do...unite people and better the world.

Anyways, very interesting people like this can be lost to history and not talked about. Even more interesting is the path it took for me to find out about this revolutionary figure.

Read much more below because this guy seems like he should be more well-known to people today.

Maria Taylor

COMPLETELY forgot about this lady. She's got a very laid back and soft voice while still being able to keep a lot of emotion in there. I haven't heard of her very much recently but apparently is still making music...wasn't too big a fan of the one song I heard, which is too bad, but you can't judge off the one listen. But both "Lynn Teeter Flower" and "11:11" are both very good albums. At one point she was signed with same record label as "Bright eyes", Saddlecreek and you can really see why. Very good lyricist, Very interesting voice, somewhat similar sounding to lisa germano without that really depressing, crying-in-the rain edge to her...

Has a great love song in "clean getaway" and an upbeat kinda downhome piece in "ballad of sean foley"

Check her out cuz if your reading this now, you are not that busy
pretty cute too, no wonder oberst was dating her

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

'We don’t trot this stuff out as trophies'

So this is gonna be short cuz I'm pretty sure most people are steadfast in their opinion on whether or not we should have been celebrating as we did when we heard of Bin Laden's death. I was opposed, but understanding. It was a big relief for a lot of people and a symbolic "end" to a  long battle. In reality, it was only a symbol and we have a lot of work to do. My basic take on the whole thing was summed up in something said when the white house decided not to release the death photos.

'We don’t trot this stuff out as trophies,' 

said Obama...and that is exactly how I feel. We haven't won, we don't take anything like this lightly, and we should act accordingly to that. Fact is, many more people are going to die whether or not he survived, and many people believe retaliation over this will raise that number. I don;t think it deserved a wild celebration, but an internal boost. Kind of a "moral victory" feel, not outstanding domination.

We have done a lot to get to this point, but to declare "mission accomplished" far before the finish line (didn't we do that already once?) takes away from sincerity of the entire thing. Our goal isn't to kill one person, it's to save thousands in the future. In that fight we still have a long way to go and I don't till we really cross the finish line...

The moment when everything goes away and your left with your thoughts

Somehow I manage to switch between something like the bee picture and this almost completely flawlessly. It's like looking at one switches gears. With the bees I was relaxed and kind of trying to make a cute illustration. With this I was pouring, dragging, splashing and mixing various medium at different consistencies in a much more intense way. The bees sat on my lap as I drew and colored them, this piece lie on the ground while I walked around and around it countless times, trying to decide if the composition was working. With how wet the paper got from the ink and washes of color, I had to force myself not to touch it too much. The inks bleed, the colors run and eventually you get a piece that looks like a blue raspberry puke and while some artists make thousands doing that, for me it's just puke on my living room floor and that's not very productive. So while this piece isn't quite done, I am happy with the mood and the care that emanates (at least to me) from the figure. The title is "Uptown Lovers' Brawl (towel dry)" and it conveys a personal moment of a womans reflection (alone) on an earlier argument or fight between her and her lover...a still moment to reflect on questions involving worth, love, sadness and despair.


I made this little guy last night while listening to the nationals' song "Bloodbuzz Ohio." It definitely fits in with the slant I am taking with "abstract representation" though bees kind of look exactly like this from far away. It's playful, fun, and completely harmless, much my mood of last night while watching some stupid TV. Definitely a desire for summer weather happening here...
Funny thing, I found a dead bee outside my door right after I finished this. CONSPIRACY!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Ai WeiWei

A somewhat melancholy a update on the detention and mystery of the whereabouts of Chinese artist Ai WeiWei.

After being held with no updates for a month or so, we are still waiting to hear the fate of the artist. However, according to some articles found (they are from a month ago and I can't find any articles updating the info since) a Chinese official has stated that "he will pay for his dissent."

Apparently his family and friends are trying to stay hopeful while people around the world have held rallies, staged protests, and organized large artistic demonstrations, though nothing further has been said. Multiple countries have contacted the Chinese asking for his release...but nothing has come from it.

Whether you know about him as an artist or not at all, everyone should join in praying (to whomever you believe in) or hoping (if you don't pray to anyone) for his safe return. He was a peaceful artist who chose to speak against an oppressive government and is paying what they see as a just price...let's all hope we find him unharmed in the coming months. Good Luck and Best wishes to him and his family.