Here's an oldie but goodie from 2007. These are Splotch Monsters before I even started calling them Splotch Monsters, back in 2009. I was basically playing around with cheap watercolors on cheap paper, seeing what I can draw over the paint splotches. Though they have evolved quite a bit, I like the simplicity of these as well. Who knew I'd still be making these things ten years later?
Sunday, June 25, 2017
Monday, June 19, 2017
See the Endangered Kingdom version HERE.
Thursday, June 15, 2017
With school finally out, I was able to carve out some time to finish off some long overdue projects, including this one for a friend and former artist collaborator. He told me what kind of animals his son likes, and I also included some others that either live on, or have appeared on his family's farm. I also included some symbols that have a little personal, as well as pop-cultural significance. What a blast it was making this, and I feel like I learn something new everytime I incorporate other animals into the composition.
Wednesday, June 14, 2017
Splotch Monsters finally have an official website, that can be found HERE! After messing around with a very non-user-friendly set-up for months, Kris and I finally scrapped it and found My Site, which was as simple as can be. So far it’s pretty basic and minimal, but it works nicely.
Tuesday, June 13, 2017
Of course we'll come in peace. Join me and the Splotch Monsters at the Columbia Pike Blues Fest this coming Saturday, in Arlington, Virginia from 1-8pm, as part of their Art Island segment. My wife Kris and her Kris Loya Art will be there as well. More details can be found HERE!
Monday, June 12, 2017
It's been a little while since I made a Splotch Monster name illustration. Here's one for a friend's baby boy who just turned one. I threw in some subtle elements reflecting Logan's parents' favorite sports teams.
Friday, June 9, 2017
At this time last week, my wife Kris and I were just about finished with setting up our room at the Round Hill Arts Center, in preparation for the 2017 Western Loudoun Artists Studio Tour. I remember just how very basic (and boring) my table set-up was the first time I did the tour, in 2015. With Kris being on board for her first time on the tour, basic just wasn't gonna cut it, and rightly so. We transformed the "craft room" where I normally teach Saturday morning art classes, into an inviting and colorful little art oasis - a tiny getaway from the everyday humdrum, and hustle and bustle. With Kris being from the island country of Trinidad, and with my brand of art known as Splotch Monster Island, it only made sense to play some Steel Pan music, courtesy of our friend Kim Johnson, whose documentary on the history of the instrument and the music is phenomenal.
It's interesting to note how different and yet incredibly similar our artwork is, and many people who stopped by our room, noticed that as well. In the end, it was a very successful weekend, with lots of visitors and sales for both of us. I feel like the studio tour, and a couple recent previous events, and some events soon to follow, really gave us the incentive to take our work, and the selling and marketing of it more seriously. Our investment in an expensive yet superb giclee printer paid off, since we decided to slowly phase out basic cardstock prints, for slightly more expensive, higher quality product. As our art evolves and improves, so must our product. We found more people than we could ever have imagined were quite willing to pay $20 for an 8" x 10" giclee, as opposed to the former $12 for a basic print on 9" x 11" cardstock paper. Folks also had no problem buying larger 11" x 14" prints for $30. The first volume of my mini-books sold out, at only ten bucks a pop, and there aren't many left of the second volume. The great thing about having your own printer, along with a good surplus of ink, paper and packing supplies is that you can make more on demand to fulfill a need from the general public. For example, a print of a pineapple done in watercolor, was a surprise hit for Kris, selling out quickly on day one of the tour. As a result, we printed out and packaged more for Sunday, again, selling them out by the day's end. In the near future we will expand our product lines to incorporate a wider variety of choices, though it's important to never overwhelm potential customers with too many choices, keeping things simple yet varied.
It was good to have some time here and there to work on art that was related to what we were selling, as well. We both brought some larger-scale sketchbooks to paint and draw in, but it can be a tricky balance, trying to work on art, sell your product and interact with visitors and customers, all at the same time. Us artists are used to working in silence and solitude, so being out of one's element is particularly challenging, yet it can also help to generate sells, as folks get a glimpse into your process and gain a slightly better understanding of what you do. It's all about balance - not ever ignoring visitors, always greeting them and engaging them without overdoing it, or scaring them off. That too can be tough, if a person visiting your table or studio dominates a conversation or takes up too much of your time. You can only hope most people are cognizant of this kind of thing, but that's not always the case, and for the most part, those folks mean well. That said, we had some wonderful conversations with some truly fascinating individuals, and that in itself is one of the most rewarding things about selling your work in public!
It's hard to believe the studio tour is over, and I'm so very grateful to all the folks who did their part to make it a success, from the organizers to the artists, and from friends to visitors and customers, and especially to my wife, who wouldn't settle for any form of mediocrity. In a little over a week, we'll be selling our art at the Columbia Pike Blues Festival, and later in July, at the first ever Leesburg Arts in the Alley event. In the meantime, I'm enjoying a little bit of rest and downtime, as the last day of my sixteenth year teaching elementary art in the public schools ended today. Until next time!
Thursday, June 1, 2017
Tuesday, May 30, 2017
Monday, May 29, 2017
Currently, at my home in Sterling, Virginia, there is a recent (unexpected) emergence of what my wife Kris calls "overachiever cicadas". From what I gathered, only one percent of the upcoming seventeen-year cicada brood has emerged early, filling the air with it's glorious collective drone, and keeping the birds and squirrels quite fat and happy. I can only imagine what it'll be like when the full brood emerges a few years from now, and try to recall when they last came by, while I was living in Winchester, VA over a decade ago. Some people love 'em, others seem to hate them, and they're relatively harmless, and kind of aimless. In fact, these cicadas are even a little clueless, except when it comes to breeding, which is their main purpose, before they fill the ground surface with their lifeless exoskeleton carcasses, after a very short time spent above the surface of the earth.
I recall how excited I was the last time they came by, since I've always been somewhat of a bug nerd since my uncle taught me how to skillfully catch grasshoppers as a young boy, and I thought it might be a fun challenge to create a little Splotch Monster ode to these cool little , red-eyed flying freaksazoids. The Splotch Monsters in this image, like the humans, are experiencing a variety of emotions, regarding these very temporary space invaders, from delighted to simply annoyed, you can see the expressions on their faces.
I'm happy to be debuting this piece as a high-quality giclee print at the Round Hill Arts Center, as part of the upcoming 2017 Western Loudoun Artists Studio Tour. You'll find this piece, and many many more on the tour this coming Saturday and Sunday, June 3rd and 4th, each day, from 10am -5pm. Hope to see you there!
Sunday, May 28, 2017
Lately I've been spending a lot of time at the Round Hill Arts Center, in Round Hill, Virginia, where I just wrapped up teaching a Saturday morning art club, as well as a Splotch Monster-making family night last Friday evening (below pic). I've met some wonderful people during this time, and I'm looking forward to meeting many more this coming Saturday and Sunday, June 3rd and 4th, when I'll be selling my Splotch Monster art work at the RHAC, along with my wife Kris, who will be selling her beautiful work, in the same space with me!
I'll have new original works, as well as a variety of art prints and books, including the brand new Endangered Kingdom meets Splotch Monster Island volume 2 mini-book, which will only be available in a very limited quantity, signed and numbered in an edition of twenty. Like the first volume, I'm absolutely thrilled with how they turned out!
Hopefully folks will take advantage of this extraordinary opportunity to explore Western Loudoun County, in all of its beauty, and visit the wide variety of artists and artist studios throughout the area. The 2017 Western Loudoun Artists Studio Tour, now in its twelfth year, is definitely not one to be missed!
Sunday, May 21, 2017
Had a great time at Heroic Aleworks, in Woodbridge, VA yesterday! Thanks to the good people who run HAW for having us, and to Matt Dembicki for organizing the event. Last but not least, thanks to folks for supporting Splotch Monster Island, at this wonderful place!
Above are a few examples of detail shots from my newly-made giclee prints. These prints debuted at Heroic Aleworks yesterday, and will also be available for sale in a couple of weeks at the Round Hill Arts Center, as part of the upcoming Western Loudoun Artists Studio Tour. Hope you can make it out to this fantastic event!