Friday, April 18, 2014

"amazing marvels" ends soon at off-rhode studio

Yesterday I was finally able to catch the Amazing Marvels circus and sideshow-themed art exhibit at Off-Rhode Studio/Art Enables in Washington, D.C. I was there both to see the show as well as drop off some art for the next exhibit there, which I'll blog about very soon here at Go Flying Turtle. In the meantime, I was so glad to catch this truly amazing show in person, before it ends this coming Saturday, April 19th. As usual, the folks at Art Enables have done a fantastic job putting this show together and getting the word out, as more and more people in the D.C. region and beyond learn about this fine arts establishment and what they do.  Also, this show could not have happened without all the artists who exhibited their wonderful works, ranging from sculpture to photography, and paintings to prints, this show had it all, and you can see more HERE at my Flickr stream. On a side note, I was so happy to have learned that my two submissions (bottom two pics) that were accepted into the show both sold within an hour of the exhibit's opening day. I hate to seem like a braggart, but man, if that's not something to be happy about and remind myself of, each time I have my doubts about being an artist. Not to say you have to sell your work to justify yourself as an artist, but it can't hurt. If you make /sell your work, then you know exactly what I'm talking about. Anyhow, if you're in the area, please catch this show before it ends this Saturday, Saturday, Saturdaaaay!

Thursday, April 17, 2014

"your story" splotch monster now lives on somebody's arm, in brooklyn

That somebody would be Mr. Jared Roberts of Brooklyn, NY. Jared posted this photo of the Splotch Monster tattooed on his arm, on my Facebook wall yesterday, and I was in complete awe, first off, because someone actually found my work worthy enough to get drawn on a part of their body, forever, and second of all, because of the incredible job the tattoo artist did with it. I mean, seriously, no Splotch Monster could be easy to duplicate! Anyhow, this was a total and very welcome surprise and it basically made my year. In Jared's words: "Hey man, I'm a huge fan of your work as you can tell. I got this a little while ago and wanted to send you a pic because this little dude makes me happy on a daily basis. Thanks for the work you do, it's literally something that will stay with me forever.

What is interesting is that Jared's fiancĂ© actually commissioned me a few years back to make her a print of this guy, so she could hang it in her shop. This was way before I was even making or selling prints yet.  I decided to send them some goodies to thank them for their support. Jared says he lives right down the street from where they're holding the Brooklyn Zine Fest in a little over a week, so hopefully he'll get out there to grab a copy of the Robocop 1987 zine, curated and compiled by Eric Gordon, of Vinyl Vagabonds fame. Inside is a page I did featuring Robocop battling (or possibly industrial dancing) with "the Toxic Splotch", a Splotch Monster of a much more foul and virulent nature. I'll make sure to post more about that in the near future, when I receive some copies of my own.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

an accidental collaborative effort

Here's a new one, after months of Splotch Monster dormancy. My wife Kris likes to paint and experiment with new materials, in this case inks. For a little while she had this piece of paper covered in random pink and black marks, sitting around collecting dust. She suggested I turn it into a Splotch Monster, and that I did! I have to say, it's both great fun and more of a challenge when you have to complete a piece of art that you didn't begin in the first place, which is why I've always been such a stickler for creative collaborations. For a while, I've had an idea brewing in my head pertaining to this very idea of creative collaboration and Splotch Monsters, and this summer will finally be the time to get that ball a rollin'.

In the meantime, thanks to Allen and Nancy for having me by again at their store Books and Other Found Things last Friday evening, as part of the monthly First Friday art night in Leesburg, Virginia. I call these events "workshops", but in all honesty, it's a lot more casual than that, and though I've said it before, I am always thoroughly astounded at what folks make when they come in, sit down and start to create their own Splotch Monsters. This time I brought my set of paints (for the first time actually) and that was a lot of fun. I look forward to visiting again in May. Hopefully next time the weather will be warm enough to host a "workshop" outside!

Sunday, March 30, 2014

first splotch monsters

Recently, while looking through some older work of mine, I found what is most likely my first Splotch Monsters, made in 2007, a couple of years before I even had a name for them and started doing them consistently.  While I've tossed out lots of stuff I've drawn over the past decade or so, I'm so glad I kept these. Not only are they still somewhat bearable to look at, but they serve as a document to something I love to make and do. 

Below are some examples of Splotch Monsters by some kindergarten students, probably somewhere between the ages of five and six. My friend David Modler, who is not only a spectacular artist, also teaches college students how to become professional art teachers. The beautiful works below are some of the results of his students' students' art, based on a lesson built around some of my own examples. It is both flattering and truly heartwarming to see this, and despite teaching for seventeen years now, I will never tire of seeing what young people create. I'm absolutely amazed by the results of the work below, because of the age-level. It is actually very difficult to teach very young kids how to make Splotch Monsters, and I usually reserve it for slightly older kids. Still, it is quite possible, and when successfully taught, the results can be stunning.  

There is something both primal and innocent and very honest and raw about these works, even humorous and a little scary. I love the colors surrounding the Splotch Monsters as well, adding another layer of interest. Before I begin to overanalyze these lovely drawings/paintings, I should just say they're charming in the best sense of the word. To think that these were made by kindergartners, while my first Splotch Monsters were made when I was in my early thirties! Let's hope these children continue to find joy in creating, and value mark-making with paper, paints and ink when they get older, never to forget those precious moments during the art classes of their youth.

Speaking of, I'm pleased to say, I will be teaching some Splotch Monster-making workshops of my own soon at the Artisphere in Arlington, Virginia again! On Sunday, May 4th, from 12-4pm, Artisphere will be hosting Spring Family Day.  It's going to be a lot of fun and it's FREE to the public! In addition to Artisphere, I'll be at Books and Other Found Things in Leesburg on Friday, April 4th from 6-9pm, which is always a good time. On Tuesday, July 1st at 11am I'll be visiting Camp Dogwood in Wolftown, VA to do a Splotch Monster workshop. Finally, in late July/early August, I'll be teaching a variety of youth art classes at the new Art Square in Leesburg, VA, one of which will include a Splotch Monster-making activity. In the meantime, I'm going to get started on new works for my solo show and workshop at Off-Rhode Studio in DC this coming September and October. While the subject matter will indeed be Splotch Monsters, the new stuff will be a far cry from my very first doodlings from 2007, though I plan on showing that particular piece in the show, with a little blurb/explanation. This summer I'll be working on them full steam ahead at an artist fellowship I'm attending in Portland, ME in late June. Writing all of this seems a bit overwhelming, but when taken day by day, things all fall into place as they should, and there is yet more to come with these Splotch Monsters in the near future, which I will continue to post about here at the blog.

Before I forget, since we're on the topic of Monsters and teaching, my longtime blogger buddy from England, John Norman (aka Johnny Norms), recently made a wonderful little drawing (above) he titled "Looking For Mr. Loya".  John shows his extraordinary drawings and doodles at his Elbowroom blog, and it's important to note he just became a daddy. Big Congrats Johnny!

Sunday, March 23, 2014

panels in frames exhibit at 505 north, frederick, maryland

Last Friday I attended the opening reception for the "Panels in Frames" exhibit at the 505 North gallery in Frederick, Maryland. It was a well attended exhibit, showcasing a variety of approaches to cartoon and comic book art and illustration.

The gallery, run by artist Kelly Phebus, was cozy yet modern, intimate yet open, serving as an art boutique, gallery and workshop space all at once. Some of Kelly's own beautiful, classically-influenced drawings and sculptures were on display at the space as well.

Thanks to Rafer Roberts, maker of Plastic Farm comics, for getting the word out to folks and hauling people's work (including mine) to the gallery for display. Also, thanks to Martin Graff, creator of The Face Zone series (see below pic) , for helping to organize this show, and to Kelly Phebus for making it all happen. It was a real pleasure meeting some of the artists (all listed on the flyer at the very bottom of the post), as well as visiting guests on opening night. The amount of talent and creativity and skill coming out of the DC/NOVA/MD area is impressive and I was glad to be a part of this show.

Panels in Frames will be on display through April 11, 2014 at 505 North Artiques Gallery and Studio. I highly recommend dropping by, having a look around and supporting some extraordinary local art!

Sunday, March 16, 2014

panels in frames art show invades 505 north, march 21 - april 11/2014!

That's right, this coming Friday is the opening reception for the "Panels in Frames" comics art and illustrations exhibit, featuring eleven of the NOVA/MD/DC region's finest cartoon and comics artists at 505 North in Frederick, Maryland. I'll have five pieces in the show as well, including the original cover art for Magic Bullet #8, which hasn't been formally shown publicly yet, as well as some Splotch Monster works. The reception begins at 6pm and ends at 9pm, and there will be refreshments and drinks. Thanks so much to Kelly Phebus who has graciously organized the show, and to Rafer Roberts, who helped get the word out and kindly was willing to take my pieces to the gallery for hanging! If you're in the area, please mark your calendars and plan to attend!

Sunday, March 9, 2014

smudge! expo was awesome!

Yes, the first annual SMUDGE! Comic Arts Expo held at Artisphere in Arlington, Virginia was awesome, for lack of a better word. Organized by Matt Dembicki and Tina Henry, from noon - 6PM the Artisphere building had a nice, steady stream of kids and adults pass through for this all-ages event. I met so many cool people yesterday and sold a ton of art prints and books, I feel it was well worth participating in. Thankfully my wife was present to help me with things, including taking some great photos, including the one above, where Matt Dembicki is chatting with me briefly before the doors were about to open, and below, where I'm sitting at my table, in a really nice location. I was fortunate enough to be stuck between some of the best table neighbors one could possible hope for, including Carolyn Belefski (Curls Studio), Santi Casares and Melissa Grance (Chili's World), and Michael Auger (Arty Forever). Thankfully the weather was ideal as well Saturday - a perfect day to be out and about.

I was glad Tina and Matt granted me the opportunity to hold a Splotch Monster-making workshop from 1-1:50PM (pictured above, photo courtesy Tina Henry). I'm so used to smaller groups coming to these things, that I was pleasantly surprised and slightly overwhelmed when the room was filled with fifty or so people. That said, I had a blast, and the kids and adults as well were so kind and cool.

Below are just a few examples of Splotch Monsters made by participants at the SMUDGE! Expo. It made my day to see folks come out to the event, buy my work and attend the workshop. The artist vendors at the show were amazing as well, and while I was able to do a brief tour and purchase some of what was offered at the expo, I wish I had some more time to get away from my table, but that's OK, 'cause I certainly was able to make some good use of my Square and Square app all day, which was definitely a good thing. 

I look forward to doing SMUDGE! once again next year as well. In the meantime, I wasn't able to attend the opening for the Amazing Marvels show at Art Enables/Off-Rhode Studio in DC. I saw some previews and heard how good it was yesterday from some folks, and I even got the good news that my two paintings in the exhibit sold within the opening's first hour! It's been somewhat a stressful week, so it was so good to learn of this, on top of attending SMUDGE yesterday. Here's more on the Amazing Marvels exhibit, which I definitely plan on checking out and blogging about soon!

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

artist interview with mike rhode for the washington city paper!

Recently I was interviewed by Mr. Mike Rhode for the Washington City Paper for his "Meet a Local Cartoonist" column. Mike asks some great questions and it's an honor to have been chosen for an interview, considering past features. You can read the full interview HERE, and check out the excellent  blog he runs, COMICS DC along with Matt Dembicki. I'm looking forward to tabling and doing a workshop at the upcoming SMUDGE comic arts expo, organized by Matt and Mrs. Tina Henry. Below are some brand new,  super thick, super high quality Splotch Monster books I got made for the expo. Hope to see folks there!