Monday, December 31, 2012

Framework. Cut-Away.

Two new pieces for the Parsifal show from this weekend.



Both pastel, pencil, and coffee on wood panel.

Top 20 Strangest Stories from 2012.

And the last list I'll post here...the top 20 strangest stories from a strange year...

Everyone's Most Important New Year's Resolution...

Everyone should definitely try to be better people throughout the coming year...but everyone's first new year's resolution should be...


(or any other night for that matter)
Have a good and safe new years!


I worked on two larger pieces for the Parsifal show this weekend, both on stained wood ground for a slightly different effect from the rest of the work so far. The two go together, and a photo of the second will follow later today, but here is the first of the pair, Framework. a piece of acrylic, pastel, coffee and pencil on various wood ground for a total size of 24x58"

Based on the following image of the inner workings of the 300SL...

The Year's Top Archeological Discoveries

Sometimes the best things from the new year come from the past. Take a look at 2012's top archeological discoveries....

Friday, December 28, 2012

Archeologists Discover 900 Seat Art Center

Under one of the city's busiest roundabouts, archeologists claim to have made a 'most important' excavation; an art's center from ancient Rome that could have seated around 900 people. Take a look.

The Parsifal Show. 6 Pieces in...

With the opening at Parsifal fast approaching, I've "stepped on the gas" to get these paintings rolling and the I'm liking the results, so far. (I had to get at least one pun in here...I apologize.)

The first was the above image, giving a good introduction to the work. The car and logo are recognizable and I get a great sense of energy and movement...somewhat of a suspenseful image as we await the roar of the engine and the rush of the following wind...

The next two are images of the engine from two angles. The first piece is actually the smaller piece below and looks at a upper-side view of the engine with the second piece above, a top view. I think they are both interesting images with different effects. The image below has a much more odd and surreal quality to the components are all pulsing and bulging parts of a living being instead of a we are looking at the complex heart of a giant creature instead of the mechanical interactions of metal, gears and gas...

The above image has a bit stronger of a drafting quality to it and has a much more mysterious air about it. It stands square to the canvas, almost taking on a monolithic presence with it's complexity of wires and gadgets hanging like the remnants decaying castle. Where the below image welcomes us into the undulations of the living machine, the above stops us and demands our attention as if we've happened upon an ancient statue

For a better image of the following piece, click to enlarge as the dimensions prohibit to large of a preview...

This image takes a look at the undercarriage...the axle area of the car.

This piece is a very different extremely wide 8x48" which really expresses the spread and width of the image. I think this piece lies somewhere between the two engine images, somewhat welcoming while also a bit mysterious and intriguing...You're not quite sure what you are seeing...but there's an obvious 'living' quality to it that really brings you into the investigation...
The final two images are smaller details that will dot the show. They are 12x12 inch square and deal with some of the more specific and iconic details of the 300SL. The first depicts the famous logo and the second shows the vent located just behind the front wheels...

More to come, so keep checking in!

The Details...

And a few smaller pieces will be accompanying the larger ones...these a few examples of some of the details on the car...

The Axle.

 And another piece from last night...this one focused on the axle tat 8x48"

For a closer look click on the above photo to enlarge or take a look at the vertical version below...

The Engine.

The largest piece of the bunch so far...a 30x40" image of the engine in the 300SL

Praying Hitler Statue in Old Warsaw Ghetto Sparks Controversy.

As if anyone is surprised, the placement of italian artist Maurizio Cattelan's "praying hitler" (not the actual title) statue in the location of what once was a warsaw ghetto has sparked outrage and controversy, some saying it is a "senseless provocation which insults the memory of Nazi victims."
Take a look...,7340,L-4325570,00.html
(sorry for the strange setup of the's the only site i could find pictures of the statue quickly.)

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Art 2012 in Review

Another review of the this year's biggest art shows...

Why Is This Museum Shaped Like a Tub?

Check out this interesting article on the new Stedelijk Museum addition, one in a long line of excessively strangely designed museums going for architectural awe to draw in crowds...

I think this is an interesting article for us here in Milwaukee too. We have our own fairly excessive  museum addition that is far more focused on the architecture than the art it houses and, I suppose, I've always been torn. I think  unique buildings are interesting...for a while, at least until overly unique buildings became, well, not all that unique or rare. It seems every new museum now has some quirky new design that doesn't really serve any function other than to grab attention and it always bugged me that many museums seemed to go for the $100million POW! for attention rather than the slow burn of quality, while that may be less immediately impactful.

It's not that I don't like or appreciate the Quadracci Pavilion, some of Frank Gehry's work (though not 800 of the same concept), or any of the other high-profile additions that scream for attention, but I wonder what we, or any other cash-strapped community, could have done with the money a more financially practical building could have saved...maybe the Quadracci and similar buildings will end up paying for themselves in tourism, leading to more opportunity to grow collections, but I suppose we will wait and see...what do you think?

East German Art Finds Home Online...Amid Controversy of Course.

Artwork made is East Germany has long been reserved to the trash-bins of art history under the assumption that a more controlling state stifles true artistic creation. Even now, some  artists rail against the notion of treating East German Art as true art at all...but a new online gallery seeks to change that...or at least let people make their own decision. More than 20,000 seldom seen images are being put online in an attempt to legitimize East German art and its artists.

Many take offense to the attacks from West German artists, such as Georg Baselitz who famously stated that there were no artists in East Germany, saying they have ulterior motives and calling their attacks "sheer nonsense."

What do you think? Do government restrictions make true art impossible or does denouncing an entire population of work because of their oppressive government seem somewhat ironic and oppressive in itself?
Web salvation for workers’ art

Germany Slow to Embrace Its Eastern Artists

To Wander...SOLD!

And one more piece is out the door...this one on it's way to the walls of my parents...

To Wander.
Ink and Pastel on Clayboard.

The Frigid Window. SOLD!

Another piece has a new home this Holiday season...The Frigid Window, a 12x12" pastel piece on paper with integrated matte and frame.

Ancient Temple Found Outside Jerusalem

Archeologists have uncovered a nearly 3,000 year old temple with artifacts just outside of Jerusalem that they believed was used alongside the legendary Temple of Soloman

The Year's Top Ten Science Stories.

Take a look at this year's top ten science stories...ranging from new discoveries calling into question our understanding of existence to a daredevil falling from the edge of space...

Crisis of Faith. SOLD!

Christmas finally came for this older favorite from the first days of my pastel use. I think it's one of the first pieces I investigated the bare canvas, along with darkening the ground with has to be one of the first in a long time to deal with the human form as, for a long period of time there, I avoided the subject altogether.

I enjoy the playfulness of the image...the distortion of symbolism....the confusion of connecting the two.......Is the piece about someone who is facing a real life-changing crisis, or are there delusions of grandeur, just hoping for something big to change?

Monday, December 24, 2012

Car Parts...Part 2

So I'm only a couple pieces in with all of the large scale pieces yet to be started, but the two medium size pieces so far have worked out well...

The first piece is a fun look at the iconic front of the energetic drawing that  evokes the suspense and power of the car as it sits idling, waiting eagerly for the starting gun...

The second is a view of the engine, with  each component beginning to be called out in a different color. It might not be a photo-realistic view of the motor, but it gets the complexity and the beauty across pretty well...

Two down...10 or so to go...but a good start none-the-less...

Friday, December 21, 2012

Would "Smart Guns" Fix The Problem?

After the recent Sandy Hook tragedy, increased calls for gun regulation have been blowing up news sites across the country...but will gun control stop the violence or do we already have a technology that could help curb the problem?

Here's an interesting article about "smart guns" a technology that links the gun to the owner and locks the trigger when the owner isn't present...

Milwaukee Home and Daniel Fleming

My first try at the t-shirt...not finished, approved or through the final editing process but take a look at the initial design!

Best Brews of 2012

Take a look at this list of the Best Brews of 2012 from 77 square...a year they say was the one of the best ever for new brews...

Car Parts...Part 1

I got my first piece for the Parsifal show started and I think it turned out nice...

It's not quite as "schematic" as the main piece should be, but I think it's a nice offset from the more sterile and illustrative look that the other pieces will have.

Ink and Pastel on Canvas

Deformed Skulls Found in Mexico, Farther North Than Previously Known.

The tradition of deforming the body has been around pretty much since humans have existed and even our current culture embraces some of the routines, such as tattoos and ear-piercing. But while our conservative society draws the line somewhere around lip-piercing, others went farther, totally changing the shape of some body parts, including the head. New excavations in Mexico have revealed further examples of the practice of skull deformation, now farther north than ever before found...take a look...

When The World DOES End...

Fortunately (or unfortunately if you hate the Earth) the world doesn't seem to be ending. The roads are still there...I didn't see any columns of fire raining down from the heavens on the way to work...and as long as the afterlife isn't a direct replica of my real life, I'm calling the apocalypse prophecies debunked...good thing History Channel devoted all those specials to it.

Anyways, though it doesn't seem to be happening now, the world will end sometime, and that's a scientifitc fact...see how the real "end of times" should fall upon us...

Thursday, December 20, 2012

The New Studio...and Other Things...

There are a lot of changes and events coming in the next few months...I am starting a project with Parsifal, with a few car-themed pieces going on show in the Parisfal showroom in the third ward for next gallery night, January 18th...I have a show in the works for Next Act Theater coming up, I have a number of new works in various stages of completion....and I am doing a project with Milwaukee Home, culminating in the release of two limited edition t-shirts...Info on alllll that will coming as soon as I put some posts together...but there's one other HUGE piece of news that's still being figured out....

NEW STUDIO! Right now, i am working out of the back room of the Art Milwaukee HQ in the basement of the Grand Avenue Mall. I'll be looking to really personalize that space up a bit, but I'll also be on the lookout for great spaces around the city as well. As I posted yesterday ( The Fix: What To Do About The Art Scene of Milwaukee. ), there are some great changes each of us, as individuals, can achieve, and the first step for me is establishing a good space for working and showing. For the time being I am going to be working out of the Art Milwaukee space, but keep an eye out for news about all the coming shows and events, and make sure to get down to the temporary space to see all the great new work for the coming year.

Fake Arrested Developement Movies Added to Netflix

Apparently the people at Netflix like Arrested Development as much as I do...

Best Astronomy Images of 2012

I simply don't see how people see art and science so separately...especially with images like this...

China Airs 'V for Vendetta', Stuns Viewers

Viewers of China's Central TV station were a little stunned to see the anti-government movie 'V for Vendetta' playing across the nation, a sign some say points to eventual reform and relaxing censorship. Take a look...

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Tunguska. 1908

A new piece inspired by the Tunguska event of 1908...take a look.

The Fix: What To Do About The Art Scene of Milwaukee.

The Milwaukee art scene is an interesting one. On one hand you have great new groups like Art Milwaukee, Newaukee and the like putting on greatly attended art-related parties and events...on the other, you've got the Milwaukee Art Museum and some high profile galleries displaying world-class collections...and in the middle you've got thousands upon thousands of young artists working hard to sell their how do we improve such a diverse, though rather unconnected, art community and really establish something young artists can look to with excitement, optimism and pride?

Here are a few really simple changes you can try to enact throughout the coming months...I know I will be.

#1 The Shows:
If you own a gallery, a studio, a space...anything...and put on shows, put some time and effort into them. I can't tell you how much more interesting a show of unknown work is if there is SOME kind of concept or connecting theme to latch onto. Seeing work in general is great, but giving the viewer some kind of storyline helps to generate interest, both leading up to the event and while they are viewing it.
Hanging all of your recent work can be great, to a point, but it makes it harder to figure out the draw dissect a purpose...

Get together with other artists...create work together...discuss current events...infuse your work with purpose and the purpose will reveal itself to the viewer.

You shouldn't make something up just for the sake of it, but it's far more comfortable and thought-provoking, as a viewer, to walk into a room having some title, concept or idea rolling around your head than just thinking "" and hoping some piece connects.

#2 The Media:
We constantly hear how the art community in Milwaukee isn't the greatest. There isn't a crazy amount of collectors rushing to see the newest local artwork...there aren't that many high-profile artists that prop up the newcomers...there simply aren't that many great venues for young artists to get a large amount of foot traffic...and I think one thing that could really help is a local-focused media member.

It's not any one person's fault, but we really don't have a local critic that makes it their goal to reveal the newest and most exciting artists working in the community. We have some great critics and writers for great reviews of the established galleries...great coverage of the art museum, and even editorial of creative-related historical stories... but none of those directly lead to the emerging art community. There isn't anyone searching for that new artist, that new piece, that "diamond-in-the-rough" show that everyone needs to see. I definitely think part of it has to do with the shows being put on, as noted in #1 (and I'm involved in that criticism with many ideas hopefully coming to fruition this year) but I also think there is simply a severe lack of writing about unknown and local artists, their work, and where you can see it...

Perhaps it's because it's not can't wikipedia a name of an unknown to see if your theory is correct...but it also is a great opportunity for any motivated writer to become entrenched in a deep local community and help establish a new avenue into work of some great young artists.

#3 The Viewer:
One of the main problems within our art community is the education of art interested people....and that's not a knock on the artistic intelligence of Milwaukee. If we are trying to build a community of buyers, we need to educate them as to how to read paintings, how to trust their judgement, and how inform themselves about what they are viewing. You can put up a statement or explain it to them when possible, but you'd never summarize a book and expect someone to really know it or love it...they need that personal experience to really know the book and I think the same can be said for most artwork...a more personal reaction will happen when a more personal understanding can be reached.

We need to push the individual effort of the viewer to really delve into the work and not just expect an immediate statement. We need to infuse confidence in the viewer to know what they like, trust what they think, and act on those feelings. The art viewer in our community is already interested in art, but they aren't confident in themselves. We need viewers to trust their thoughts and judgement and its up to the artists to get them started...which leads us to the biggest and most fundamental problem...

#4 The Artist:
Whenever someone tells me we don't have any good artists in the city, I usually stare in disbelief...but at the same time, the sentiment needs to be treated as a real issue. If people that like art think the artists in the city suck, then we have a fundamental problem. Sure, good art will help, but I think it's even more basic than's the artists' attitudes...

As artists, we need to stop acting like we deserve praise. Creating, in some of its forms, has been done since the dawn of man, and the fact that you have the ability to make something creative doesn't inherently make you better than anyone else. We need to stop putting art and artists onto a pedestal and welcome the general public into the discussion. We need to stop looking at viewers as the possible money they will directly hand us, and realize that a strong  art community starts with those that don't have the money to buy your next biggest piece. We need to stop thinking of the art community as a path to fame, and think of it in terms of community; creating relationships, educating those around us, and working together to create a lasting foundation to begin art careers.

Artists need to realize that they, the art community, and the general community are intertwined, and until artists come back and accept themselves as part of the general public as well as artists, the public will treat us and art in general as an outlier and we will never realize the inclusive community we imagine.

The Summary:
This isn't so much a list of "how to succeed as an artist" or "things Milwaukee needs to do" it's just a few things that i think individual artists, gallerists, writers, and art-interested people should start thinking about. If you think there's something wrong with the art community, don't write a letter to the editor or make a facebook post (as I post this on facebook), go out and see what you can physically do...Enact change, however small it may be.

There's not really an easy fix...and much of what I think will help requires a lot of individual effort with little-to-no immediate reward...but I suppose if ease, brevity and immediate return is what I wanted, I wouldn't have become an artist...

The Future:
So what will happen? We could petition the government for a new community center, expand the arts by the lakeside, build a high-speed train to Chicago, get millions in donations, build a big-ass sculpture...but none of that ensures a strong art community.

The biggest thing I'd say to those looking to improve the community is to stop asking the question as if you're just too small to do anything. Stop posing it to the museums, high-end galleries, and people already in places of power as if the only way to move forward it to get a decree from g-d as we wallow in worry. If the big-names are the ones that change things, why haven't they?

Figure out what you can do yourself, not what someone above you can do for you. Stop looking to those around you, waiting for some rich person to grace you with their donation and just do something different...make someone notice...The community will only be as strong as its artists, its shows, and its viewers and that starts at the ground level, with us.

The Blog:
I have some big plans for the blog this year including opening up a studio/gallery space as well as producing a few shows of my own. I hope to feature an art critic, music writer and other creative-related writing on the blog and I also hope to feature more artists from the local scene. Keep checking in for opportunities, calls for artists, and other possibilities opening up with the new year.

Gun Control Task Force Created

After the recent tragedy in Newtown, the discussion about gun control reignited. Wednesday, just days after the event, the President announced the formation of a new gun control task force, headed by vice president Joe Biden, with a goal of "concrete proposals" by January. Is this the response you were hoping for and what, if anything, do you think they can do to stop something like Sandy Hook from happening again?

Obama Says Fiscal Deal "Pretty Close"

Obama announced today that he and speaker John Boehner are "pretty close" to a deal that would avoid the fiscal cliff, though talks in recent days had seemed to stall. Take a look...

The Year in Art from Holland Carter

With dull and obvious shows from the big players in the art world (according to this writer), the gems were at the secondary levels, with more obscure galleries and small museums offering great new shows. Where the big names gave us information we already knew, smaller spaces filled in the gap, giving us some great new thoughts to chew on.

Best Christmas Song Ever? The History of The Pogues' Classic

I'm not a fan of Christmas music...I just don't like it. It's too jolly and similar and the fact they start playing it earlier and earlier every year hasn't helped.

But there is one christmas song that makes it onto my holiday playlist and, actually, gets played year round....take a listen to The Pogues "Fairytale of New York" and read the history behind the 25 year old classic of a less-than-perfect holiday.

Possible Habitable Planet Found

The search for another Earth may have just ended, and in the grand scheme of things, it's virtually next door. Preliminary data suggests the discovery of a habitable planet just 12 light years away orbiting a star similar to our own sun...take a look.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Dead Sea Scrolls Online

Google, in a partnership with Israel, has posted the controversial Dead Sea Scrolls online in an effort to make them more widely available to the public and scholars. Take a look...


The Scrolls:


The long overdue process of inventorying my work was begun last night...and I guess I've never stepped back and realized how much work I produce...

Since this may, just six months ago, I've posted over 170 pieces with around 200 total being created during that time. That includes sketches, drawings, paintings, sculptures, murals, commissions and anything in between....

Here's an idea of just how many pieces that is...and remember, most of these are at least 24" in one direction and go up to 72" in certain examples.

Dates above images are the month posted, not month created, though that would be accurate for many of the pictured examples.
Check out the images closer up below.

People Are Wolves, Or Worse, Depending On The People.

This is one of my more in-your-face/obvious titles with more of a cryptic image...but I think that helps to express the reality.

The piece, if you couldn't guess, is about bad people that do bad things. Spurred by some current events, political atmosphere, and personal experience, it's meant to point out the idea of a wolf among us, hidden behind the ever-present daily disagreements and negativity...

Acrylic, Pastel, Coffee and Collage on Canvas
It's not  a call to say "be better people" yourself, but more of a simple statement, announcing the presence of such a person. It's all our own duty to do well to others and do well for ourselves, but we also need to accept that, with freedom to do well comes the freedom to destroy.

We need to do everything we can to do well throughout our lives...but also realize that this presence is always there and can never completely be forgotten or ignored. People Are Wolves, Or Worse, Depending On The People. and, unfortunately, that means we, the good people, need to find a way to live to our best ability despite the constant possibility that evil may spill into our lives...

The wolf, red with rage, eyes dark, obscured by the hectic world around them

The profile of a human face...enveloping the "wolf"

The Green King. SOLD!

While setting up the ROAST show last night, one of the workers inquired about "The Green King and after a little negotiatiing, came to a great agreement, sending the piece to a fantastic new home in Milwaukee.

It's an exciting piece to sell as it's been a favorite since it's completion and has been the direct inspiration to the new "series" of "primitive schematics"  I've been doing. It  sent me on a path more closely connected to the aesthetics of ancient man and I think it can be seen as the catalyst for a recent revival in my excitement to work!

Take a look and keep an eye out in a home near you!

Hot On the Trail of the Great Red Fox.

The fox has a variety of symbolic meaning from across human culture. It's signaled coming death, knowledge, cunning and deceit...and so, no matter my intention, the imagery of the fox or the fox hunt will carry a collection of possible interpretations and meaning, outside of my personal feeling.

What does "Hot On the Trail of the Great Red Fox." mean to you  and what do you think the piece is saying about those hunters, perched so precariously on the rear of the wild and thrashing creature?

Happy Birthday Paul Klee!

It's Paul Klee's Birthday and what better day to honor a great artist...take some time out of your day to check out some of his fantastic work, read about his theories and concepts, and get informed on one of the greatest artists of the 20th century!




Daniel Fleming at Roast!

Get on down to Roast Coffee Company on Locust and see new work from Daniel Fleming, specially priced for the holiday season!

We'll be having an opening party at some point in the near future and I'll keep you informed as we figure that out, but feel free to drop in anytime during business hours, get a coffee and check out the work!

Instagram Claims Rights to Sell Your Photos.

In a huge policy shift, the facebook-aquired Instagram has announced that they reserve the right to sell your photos with no payment or notification to the photo taker, causing quite the uproar.

My advice, delete your account immediately and see how long they stick with the new rule.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Will Gun Control Stop Gun Violence?

After the recent tragic shooting, it's impossible to get away from the gun control debate. Should we push harsher restrictions to stop this happening again or are we politicizing a tragedy for our own means, not realizing that we are addressing the wrong problem?

Take a look at this trip down memory lane...following a tragic school shooting in 1996 the UK banned many guns, including handguns, in hopes of stopping it from happening again. No school shootings have happened, but the gun crime rate actually rose by staggering numbers within the next four years...

(yes the article is dated...meant to show the immediate effect of the law. Currently looking for more updated numbers)

I'm not saying our culture doesn't have a gun problem or that everyone having guns all the time is a good idea...I don't have a gun, never hunted, and don't particularly like them myself...but I don't think banning them will stop bad/confused people from doing bad things. There's far more to the problem than having guns and failing to address those things results in simply pushing a political agenda that benefits your own POV for your own reasons.

If you want to ban guns because you don't like them and simply don't want them around...OK, I can accept that. But if you want to ban guns so that bad things don't happen with them, I think we need to make sure that that is the best solution, and in my opinion, there's far more research and discussion to be done before any huge decisions are made.

New Miyazaki Film Set for Next Year.

For the first time in five years, Hayao Miyazaki, the mind behind such great animated films as "My Neighbor Totoro" and "Spirited Away" is set to have a new release. Take a look.

People are Wolves, or Worse, Depending on the People.

Two Brothers...

Never a dull moment when the Fleming brothers find themselves getting Christmas photos taken at the studio.

And those are the ones that turned out....