can’t seem to stay focused. i couldn’t form an opinion on your house, so i decided to start a one-page comic as an interlude while i find a voice. here are two color options for the first panel:
nest, preview/draft, ink, digital
if nothing else, this will serve as a nice complement to your house— or rather, demonstrate my inability (or refusal?) to… decide? stop? start? ignore? see, i’m not even sure on what i’m talking about anymore.
firstly, let me apologize for not posting any new work for nearly a month. i really do have a thumbnail, stretched paper, a reference folder, and a pencil sketch drawn for the next piece, but i’ve just been such…a mess. there will be something new soon. scout’s honor.
what i really wanted to note, though, is how saloon has found several new homes on adult blogs. no joke. now i’m of the tech era, but i’m new to tumblr— thus, i am also new to sharing and reblogging material…so it came as a surprise when people started reblogging saloon, and even more of a surprise to see it make appearances on unsavory sites. my knee-jerk reaction was, “HEY, THEY’RE STEALING MY SHIT!” (this was the old-school, i’m-not-used-to-content-sharing possessive artist in me panicking). Then came the, “ok guys, this is kind of hilarious” reaction. someone even inadvertently renamed it “house of pleasure.” (COME ON! if you’re going to rename my work, concoct something more interesting…or kinky…or less of a cliche.) still, it’s funny how content-sharing works. my final ruling in the postmortem? unintentional erotica = success.
thanks for the extra exposure (i can hear dutton cheering me on for that one).
i can’t seem to make up my mind as to which old sketch i’d rather take to a finish… first up to bat is saloon.
saloon, draft, ink, digital
you might remember this piece from WAY back in Dec 22nd of 2009. put this on the back burner for several reasons: one of which was my inability to decide weather i wanted to approach this as an acrylic painting or a line-based digital drawing. obviously, i’m going graphic with it. hooray! (can you spot where i freaked out and nearly spilled an entire bottle of ink on this drawing? I BET YOU CAN’T)
second piece i’m considering is this:
untitled, draft, pencil, digital.
clearly struggling with the palette for this. after unicorn bait, though, i wanted to keep this relatively simple…or at least under control. i think i’m most attracted to the first two keys. forgive the random streaks of color, needed to throw those in there for context.
i guess this piece is much more personal than saloon (which is just an exercise in style) and —get this— actually based in endearment (rather than soaked in the woes of a self-loathing artist’s tragically melting soul, yawn).
SHOCKING, i know.
what i’m trying to say is, it feels great to have everything in place again. i know my family and friends— my patient, darling loved ones— appreciate it too :) the state of things, they’re so good.
haven’t had time to breathe (i feel like i say that a lot…). in any case, it’s the truth. started this last weekend and finally found a bit of time to turn it into a sketch. thumbnail and concept sketch:
i love how my thumbnails are so hopelessly indecipherable.
i’m not sure why, but i find this really funny. there’s a running joke with my coworkers about how much i love drawing unicorns..but i realized that i hadn’t actually drawn one for over 15 years. well, here you go.
(btw: anyone who’s anyone knows that unicorns are attracted to virgins, according to legend…or the encyclopedia of facts)
happy labor day everyone! found a bit of time to finish this off over the long weekend. the color dragged for a while until i stumbled upon the work of Lindsey Kustusch at a local gallery. her color sensibility is divine and EXACTLY what i needed to get back in the swing of this.
Glass Partition, digital
have to say that i still feel like i know nothing about color— and now that i look at this, i can tell that i’ll find the palette extremely boring in the next 48 hours. the problem is that i have a specific palette in mind when i start a piece and after i finish (assuming i accomplished what i intended), the whole idea will seem trite. and predictable. and tired.
oh well. i do have to say that there are colors in this that are not in my typical vocabulary. they’re sparse. don’t bother looking for them haha.
i also have a hard time remembering everything that i learned about color after i finish a piece. maybe i’ll retain something this time? (unlikely.)
for those who care, the molecular structures scrawled at the bottom of the composition are resveratol (found in red wine), dopamine, serotonin, and acetylcholine. i work with a bunch of geeks, what do you want from me?
in terms of influence, i’d like to think that this falls somewhere in between klimt’s the kiss and magritte’s le amants.
there’s something that i can’t come to terms with in glass partition. it was supposed to seem like something else, so i had a problem with the implications. but after a few exchanged words, it feels properly in place. i know i’ll want to change the gesture later. maybe i’m saying that it fits now b/c i simply couldn’t draw my original idea.
no, this is giving off the wrong tone. settled. it’s just a pretty picture :P basically, i wish it had more magritte and 75% less klimt….and 10,000% more david bowie (i was kidding about that last one, though bowie’s the man. bowies in space.).
am i specifically vague enough? I SUBMIT THAT I AM NOT!
another hour into this. turning into a color key for an illustration rather than a sketch. fixed the gesture and added basic light. i can’t figure out which display i’m using is most correct— the cintiq or the monitor. i have the urge to use pastel for this…i also have the urge to herbal.
my sense of color makes me feel like a hack. i need to use reference more often.
there are hardly enough hours in the day to do much of my own self-serving pieces. fire drills in the office keep me on my toes, but i’m sure i love it anyway. everyone should keep an eye out for a nifty doodle though….hint.
in other obscure news, i hear that i’m wrong— but i feel it just the same.
i’m back from maui and really fucking stressed out. (was that a cry for help?)
tried several avenues to abate my nervous energy today:
1. went grocery shopping 2. cooked cellophane noodles 3. cooked nian gao (didn’t win any beauty contests, but it was freaking delicious) 4. attempted to draw
i ended up eating dinner at 4:30 pm (b/c i had nothing better do to) and consumed 1/3 cup of dark brown sugar and 200 ml of sticky rice flour (nian gao) over the next three hours. BAD IDEA. i now have the j-j-jitters from sugar withdrawal.
anyway, i really did attempt to draw something of relative substance to drag myself through a long day, but i just couldn’t do it. i’ve been playing with a new concept for a painting but i froze. a brief phone conversation blocked everything i had planned. couldn’t draw. couldn’t focus. had to keep myself busy somehow so i decided (or maybe it was the sugar) to actively disregard my own nagging standards of “taste” and just draw something completely masturbatory for the sake of drawing. (fell back on a few old themes/design choices so i didn’t have to think too much. god, i miss my sewing machine.)
ended up looking like an asian audrey hepburn + beheading piece, but i initially had Sargent’s “Madam X” in mind (or i really just want a black dress with a plunging neckline). the blue variation is the original, the second is an adjusted version.
i also normally don’t do personal work on the computer. that’s my day job. at home, i try to maintain my grips on real media. today was an exception.
post four emergency doses of red bean candy and a second cellular installation, the jitters are gone…but i’m left with an insatiable need for salt. i’m recognizing my lack of savory snacks, staring at a packet of soy sauce, and wondering how one defines a “good idea.”
so this was a major time-suck (fig-1), but it was really fun to get out of 2D land for once :) this is part of a larger effort for my team (i obviously had the “e”). tomorrow is the final installation for all the letters so i’ll have photos of the full piece in the next few days. anyway, here’s the second half of the process:
DAYS 6/7: sanded and painted the figure and sewed the basic structure of her dress
DAYS 8/9ish: found that an old bottle of painkillers (left over from my date with the DR) was the PERFECT height for her seat. (see walgreens tag peeping through) penciled in the pixels for the “e” and began to sew the pieces. NOTE: sewing 1” x 1” squares of fabric with a standard size iron is decidedly unwise…though i only burned myself once (SKILL).
DAY 10/11ish: painted the shadow box to fit the palette of the fabric. something unfortunate that i learned when working with textiles is that YOU ARE AT THE MERCY OF THE TEXTILE DESIGNER. you can’t change their palette, so you have to just suck it up and alter your plans…or layer sheer and opaque fabrics.
DAY 12/who-knows-what-anymore: final composition thoroughly secured with the help of mr. elmers, a handful of pennies, and Susie’s trusty glue gun! i sewed the girl onto her seat and replaced the drugs with pennies (yea, i know, significantly less fun :P) so she wasn’t top-heavy.
so there you have it! it was an awful lot of fun to work on, though my volcano-ash-and-sawdust-filled lungs may disagree. i have to say to my credit, though, i DID actually buy a dust mask…and i did use it— only i didn’t open any windows. apparently tiny, lung-slaying particles tend to linger in the air, so when i took my mask off, i gained a respiratory system full of foreign bodies. cheers to a shorter life span!
i also never addressed the subject matter of this piece. the restrictions of the project were only this: make an “e.” well, ok. that’s significantly less specific than my other assignments. considering the tumultuous nature of recent events, i decided to fall back on an old favorite subject: the seamstress. and only b/c this is the only subject i’ve consistently revisited, i feel like indulging myself and taking a walk through a bit of ego-centric history:
it started in the winter of 2008 (january 3rd or 4th if i remember correctly). i took a textiles class called “pojagi and beyond.” in this sweat-shop-like environment, i stitched away for at least 300 solid hours….in about 6 weeks. ended up with several obscenely self-serving pieces. the three below are “armor,” “swell,” a 15 foot installation, and “the kiss,” based on Klimt’s palette (his painting of the same title). i found the act of sweat-shopping strangely comforting. it was agonizingly repetitive, vaguely empty of thought, and extremely meditative.
it was a mindless means to an end— but mostly a means to a means.
it was a long winter:
running into the spring of the same year, i did a retrospectively weak digital painting called “seamstress” (yawn). unlike the previous series, this piece detailed my resolve:
in 2009 i was surprised to find myself in need of my dear, old friend. this time it was not so much the physical act of binding pieces together, rather, depicting it. these are two of an eight-part series that explores the button as a vehicle for attachment. it also put to good use my childhood obsession with collecting buttons off the floors of department stores (more specifically, Syms). “red blood” and “white blood” appear at the end of the series:
this brings me to the shadow box. unlike my previous works, the purposes behind this piece not only changed nearly every other day, but were in direct conflict with each other. the circumstances surrounding its creation kind of fucked up my reasons for using the subject matter in the first place. typically, i had a singular voice in anything i created with this theme. i had one thing to say to my motivator. after this particular project, though, i don’t know what to say to my motivator anymore.
i’ve already said everything, and now i’m passionately neutral.
i’m not sure where this experience leaves my relationship with the ‘seamstress.’ this might just be the death of that theme since i’m finding myself scrambling for new symbols. regardless of whether or not i could ever find comfort in this subject again, the process of this piece served its purpose (see fig-1).
whoa, so it turned out that when my team asked me if i could actually fabricate that sketch into a sculpture and i said, “yea, sure,” i wasn’t bluffing. what a relief. honestly, i haven’t sculpted for four years so i just assumed that i’d be able to deal haha.
received some valuable advice from the lovely sarah greenfield on how to work with paper clay— so big thanks to her :)
I still have a bit of sanding and painting to do, but for the most part, i’m finished with the basic structure. here’s the process thus far.
DAY 1: additional sketches for turning reference and a wire/foil skeleton for gesture and stability.
DAY 2: loose first coating of glue and paper clay. this stage reminded me of plaster casts from Pompeii (was that insensitive?)
DAY 3: started digging into her right hand, back, and legs
DAY 4: completed her left arm and chipped away at the feet (i’d accidentally made the wire/foil skeleton too large)
DAY 5: was only going to work on the feet and legs, but decided to start on the face as well. i actually had to use a size 00 brush and sewing needle to work on her lips. it was a late night…
DAY 6: finished off the face by filling out the cheeks a bit (it didn’t turn well from the previous night) and added hair…exactly how i’m going to paint between her hair and face is a mystery to me…
phew! she stands about 11 inches tall and sits around… hell i don’t know. the point is she’s rather tiny considering she’s going to sit in a 16”x16” shadow box. hopefully i’ll be able to sand/paint her this weekend and start sewing her clothes/everything else/paint the actual shadow box before the due date.
one minor lesson learned from this project: breathing paper clay dust gives you volcano lungs. unfortunately, i was too lazy to buy a dust mask…though i had six days to do so. perhaps that means i haven’t learned a lesson, rather, made an observation.
Hell yes! I have completed a new painting (IN MY FREE TIME!) It’s called “teeth,” and you can track the process on my joint blog: Father Son Whaling Trip.
Teeth, gouache on paper, 28”x14”
In other news, i’ve finished a couple of watercolor sketches recently— her are two of them:
and for those who attended I/O this year, you might recognize this illustration…working on it made me giggle:
something less interesting to everyone but myself: i finally, FINALLY painted on site. my coworker, mike dutton, convinced me to journey out for a quick landscape painting session recently. i quickly found out that i am a total hack. needless to say, i’m not going to post the unfortunate smattering of watercolor, but hopefully i will show future paintings (assuming i get better with practice…)
I forgot to mention this a couple of months ago, but I found it really funny how I knew exactly when Jon Foster gave out the “Wolverine Netsuke” assignment for this year’s Cover to Cover class…b/c I saw a lot of hits on my blog via Google search query “Wolverine Netsuke…” all of which came from RISD campus hahaha.
Anyway, hits for this old blog post cropped up again (linked from another blog) and I was wondering how often pple were finding this painting….naturally, I Googled it— and this is what I found: