Saturday, September 20, 2014

well read monsters

Here's a new illustration I made for some very good people who are starting a new business in Brooklyn, New York. I had such a good time making this one - it's been a while since I've worked with Splotch Monster text. It also made me so glad to see how happy these folks were when they finally got the file of the completed illo (and they were so very patient). I even took some detail shots. Enjoy!

Sunday, September 14, 2014

return of the splotch monster, opening reception at off-rhode studio, 9/13/2014

Yesterday was the opening reception for Return of the Splotch Monster at the Off-Rhode Studio gallery portion of Art Enables, in Washington, D.C.. It was a long time coming for this show, and after a year of knowing about it, it's hard to believe opening day has come and gone. So much work and love went into the show, my first "real" solo art show at a gallery. If you've been following this blog, you might remember the wonderful collaborative exhibit between myself and JJ Cromer here, back in February of 2013.  Since then, I've shown work here at a few more exhibits and fundraisers, but having a solo show can be a little more nerve-wracking, yet immensely rewarding. Thankfully my work was in very good hands and I tip my cap to Beth Baldwin who did a splendid job with hanging my art (and there was a lot of it!). I am also so grateful beyond words for all the good friends and folks who made it a point to stop by and take a look and also purchase my art yesterday. It is always such a pleasant surprise to get such a positive response from folks. Also, big big thanks to Mary Liniger for giving me this show, and to all the fantastic people who volunteer and work at Art Enables! Mostly, I'm especially grateful to my wonderful wife Kris, who put up with some general crabbiness, especially in the couple of weeks leading up to the show. In the meantime, I managed to grab some shots before the opening had officially begun. (see below)

It was great to see and hear the reactions of visitors to the gallery yesterday. I met a lot of nice folks who always have something interesting to share. Many of the people I talked to were artists, crafters and musicians themselves, and quite a few were simply fans and supporters of the arts. (see below)

Some of my larger works at the show sold on opening day, and I was more than delighted to learn that my piece Nemesis (directly below) sold to the always awesome Eric and Sara Gordon, who somehow managed to catch the tail end of the reception just as myself, Kris and some friends of ours were about to leave to grab a much-needed bite to eat. To know this piece will hang in Eric and Sara's home makes me so happy, and I'm glad I got to see them for at least a few minutes before leaving the gallery. Do check out their excellent blogs Vinyl Vagabonds and DC Creepers in the meantime!

The one and only Mr. Grey Carter and his wife Linda stopped by to have a look around and a chat as well yesterday! Grey and Linda are some of the kindest folks I've had the pleasure of meeting, and his knowledge of art, especially from his experience with dealing and collecting folk, outsider, self-taught and visionary art for nearly fifty years, is extraordinary. I strongly advise anyone to contact Grey for a visit and a tour of his home-based gallery Grey Carter Objects of Art. It is absolutely amazing. 

My friend David Modler (bottom pic, far right) made the drive all the way over from Shepherdstown, WV to see the show as well. Dave is an amazing artist himself who teaches at Shepherd University, and he's currently got a piece on exhibit at their faculty group show.  It was so good to hang out with Dave again, and such a nice surprise to see him show up!

What makes me most happy is that my work can be enjoyed by folks both young and old, and it always makes me smile to get a new fan! (below pic)

I have to admit, it's pretty cool to see a poster hanging up announcing I have a solo Splotch Monster show. This is something I've always dreamed of and as of not too long ago, never pictured ever happening in my life. I'm so grateful for the folks who helped me along the way, the good books and speakers and mentors, teachers and friends who gave me the confidence, the skills and the courage to make and exhibit art again. I'm also grateful to Arts Cow for doing such a nice job with my custom-made Splotch Monster shirt (see below), created specifically for the opening reception! Eventually I'd like to get some of this work on some shirts for sale.

After the reception, Kris, her friend Jess, her two little ones, Dave and I went out for a bite and a drink at a way cool place called Franklin's Brewery, just a couple miles down the street in Hyattsville, Maryland. We were thoroughly impressed with their food and I highly recommend their Twisted Turtle Pale Ale! I love the fact that this place also exhibits local art, changing it up every two months. While waiting for our food, we had some fun throwing down in their coloring books, as Dave collaborates with Leo (below).

I seemed to have had some influence on Leo's older sis Gwyneth, who made some mean monsters of her own, including this friendly banana monster! (below)

The exhibit will run through Saturday, October 4th, and as with any art show, is well worth seeing in person, as the photos don't quite do the work justice. On Saturday, October 11th, I'll be returning to Art Enables to do a Splotch Monster-making workshop, so hope to see folks there!

Monday, September 8, 2014

bird watchers

I'm a bird watcher. I'm a bird watcher. Watching birds go by. My my my! I'm a bird watcher. I'm a bird watcher. Here comes one now! 

22" x 30", watercolor and mixed-media on wc paper, 2014

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

conquering mt. splotchmore (in the name of love), full view and details

This one was so much fun to make while also presenting some challenges - another 22" x 30" piece for the upcoming show at Off-Rhode Studio starting September 13th. When I first laid down the paint last June, while at MECA in Maine, I definitely had a mountain in mind, as well as some type of portrait head. What the heck I was going to do with it, or how I was going to make it look like a face, or head was still a mystery to me. So, I let it sit for a couple of months, and honestly, I almost shelved the thing for good. Still, I had a little running script in my mind that refused to go away - something involving a climber, or many climbers, climbing for a reason, for something important. What that reason was, I wasn't sure yet, so I just began drawing. Right away I saw three eyes instead of two, in the three purple splotches towards the uppermost portion of the mountain/head. Without thinking, I just started to add them in, first with black, then adding white for the pupils. So far so good. The next part was the mouth. How or where would I add it? Two places stuck out most for me, one of which was the one I chose, which was a prominent line where an orange (bottom) and green (top) splotch met. The other could have been more in the form of a dopey smile, tracing along the bottom of the purple splotch (under the orange that I had decided to go with instead). Whatever the case, the mountain head, affectionately now called Mt. Splotchmore (I was going to call it Splotch Monster Mountain instead, glad I didn't), is a pretty dopey entity no matter how you look at it, and that's kind of what I was hoping for - this giant, colossal monolith of a dufus, ready to devour any climber who dare trespass, but not too sure why, only reacting because, well, that's what he's supposed to do, well beyond reason. I wanted to emphasize the mountain aspect a bit more so I went with a few trees as well. I almost used black for the trees but was glad to find some archival gel pens that had colors also used on the mountain cliffs. Finally, I went with just one lone climber, a victorious explorer and a peaceful warrior, waving the flag of love atop of the treacherous and dangerously stupid Mt. Splotchmore.  I instantly liked it, but had my doubts as to what others might think - it's decidedly "low-brow" and illustrative, but with a definite narrative still open enough for the viewer to interject their own story into the work.

Monday, September 1, 2014

neurotic symbiotic (full view and details)

Another new one for the upcoming show, measuring at 30" x 22" on watercolor paper. Unfortunately, the place I normally get larger pieces scanned is in the process of moving, and the alternative business is far too pricey. So, this is my only visual record, however, if it doesn't sell, then I can make a good scan. In the meantime, I enjoyed the interplay between the two in this one - how there is no real front or back side to either. I made something similar, though much smaller and more light-hearted a few years back. This one can have multiple meanings, symbolizing countries, personal relationships, work relationships, etc. Or, as with all the pieces, it could just be an exercise in creative play. It's all up to the viewer.