It's been a long while since I posted here, but that's mainly because I've been extremely busy channeling my artistic energies on other non-Splotch Monster-related projects. That said, I've always intended to get back at it again, with the Splotch Monster-making, and I had a nice taste of that over the weekend, while working on a little something for northern Virginia's third consecutive Monster Drawing Rally, to raise some money for the Greater Reston Arts Center. This is my third year in a row participating, and this time it was a little different, since the location had been moved from the GRACE gallery space, to a few blocks down at the Signature apartments location. It was an excellent location, and I love how the apartment lobbies and public spaces are brimming with some spectacular original art. They even have a fantastic gallery space. As with previous years, the rally had been broken up into three artist categories based on region - DC, MD, and VA. I was with the Virginia artist set, who came on last. Thankfully my wife, Kris was able to make this one, this being her first MDR event attended, and she was able to get a few photos while I was busy drawing a Splotch Monster party. It's always amazing just how fast that hour-long time-slot whizzes on by, and it's always a bit of a rush trying to work ten times faster than you normally do and still produce something substantial. Local DJ Honest Lee was there spinning a fun variety of tunes, from funk to dub, metal to electronica, it was a great mix. Hearing Aphex Twin's "Flim" and a track by Aleutian Arc, whose CD I did the cover art for, was a bonus. I was so glad to be asked back to the event for a third year in a row, and as long as they keep doing this, I'll keep showing up. It was good to get splotching again and I look forward to getting back to it more in the new year!
Sunday, December 8, 2019
Tuesday, June 25, 2019
My good friend Eric Scott invited me to speak a little bit about art and creativity with him on his excellent Artistic Accomplices podcast. Check it out HERE!
Saturday, June 8, 2019
Happy World Oceans Day from Splotch Monster Island! While the health of the Earth’s oceans is vital to sustaining life on our planet, the animals and creatures that live in the sea also are a huge form of inspiration to much of the art you see on Splotch Monster Island. Here’s just a handful from over the years.
Saturday, May 11, 2019
Here’s a commissioned piece made for a fan’s wedding anniversary. Last year she purchased an embellished Splotch Monster vs Ultraman giclee print, and as a fan of all things Kaiju, she asked for a Power Rangers-themed piece, requesting specific characters in very specific outfits. This was a good challenge since I know virtually nothing about Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. I learned a lot while working on this though, and discovered how brilliant the deceptively simple costume design was, and how the monsters rivaled that of those featured in the old school Kaiju series, such as Ultraman and Spectreman, with regards to weirdness/coolness. Seriously good fun!
Saturday, April 20, 2019
A great little boutique shop in Round Hill, Virginia called Etc. Creative Goods has been selling some of my Splotch Monster book marks for several months now, and they were kind enough to see if I wanted to sell some smaller original works in their shop. So today I chose about five to take over to the store tomorrow. It's always interesting to look at work you've done in the past, and realize they need some more work, even if it's just some subtle touch-ups. That's exactly what I did with all of these today, and they look so much better because of the little bit of extra time and effort put into them. Looking forward to dropping these off to the shop tomorrow!
Wednesday, April 10, 2019
It's hard to believe that the opening night for the Not So Scary Monsters exhibit has come and gone. Since last weekend I've had very little time to process my thoughts on it all until now, as the work week was in full swing the minute my alarm clock went off at six-o-clock, Monday morning.
I decided to do a somewhat more thoughtful and comprehensive post about the show, as well as show some of the few photos I took, and post them in chronological order. It was late last summer that Judith Olivia HeartSong had contacted me about hosting a Splotch Monster art exhibit at Artists & Makers Studios, Parklawn location, after seeing me post some photos of my work online. Surprisingly enough, most of my exhibits have happened this way, and it's testimony to the positive side of using social media. Even still, I'm always surprised when a curator asks if I'd like a show, considering the wealth of talent in the DMV.
However grateful I was to Judith and however joyful I was about getting this solo exhibit, I wouldn't be able to think about it for long, as I never was able to fully recover from a work-filled summer with little room for any break or a recharging of the batteries, since I had also been called to host two educational workshops for two sets of faculty, at the beginning of the new school year, with only about two weeks (my only two weeks off from work) to prepare. It had definitely taken its toll on my physical and mental health, and as any professional teacher can tell you, time away from work (and kids, or at least large numbers of kids) is absolutely essential to retaining one's own sanity. Still, I'm not much for complaining or dumping my issues on other people, so I decided to bite the bullet and move forward.
Perhaps the part I loathe and complain about the most is the framing. It can be expensive, and when doing it yourself, time consuming, painful even (that part I just won't go into). I guess that's the downside to exhibiting works on paper, and it's been nice working on a recent series of acrylic abstracts on canvas (completely not related to Splotch Monster Island), knowing that when I do eventually exhibit them, there will be no need for any type of framing whatsoever.
Luckily I had plenty of time in-between work to prepare, as busy as the school year has been for me, and before long, it was time to select from a body of recent work that had been created and accumulated over the past couple of years. I enjoyed the challenge of working within a relatively small yet adequate gallery space, as it forced me to comb through and evaluate what I feel was my better work. I was also forced to group my art into the series I had explored, including originals shown for the first time from the year-long, weekly Endangered Kingdom Meets Splotch Monster Island series, the daily black and white Inktober series from every day of October, 2018, the daily, year-long and newly resurrected A Splotch Monster a Day series, and the Asian dragon-inspired Four Seasons series, made specifically for this particular exhibit. I probably could have filled every wall of Artists & Makers with quality work, but again, I liked the challenge of whittling it all down to the essentials, even though I still ended up using forty-one pieces in the exhibit.
There is also the anticipation of a solo show, both gleefully exciting and at times, painfully nerve-wracking. As exciting as it may be, will it all be worth it in the end? Should an exhibit's worth be based on sales, attendance, or is it more about the process leading up to an exhibit? I guess it depends on the type of exhibit you're doing, and I personally feel that it's a little bit of all of those things. It's good to see your long hours of artistic practice on display in a way that speaks to you in a positive light, but it's also good that it speaks to others as well, in some way at least. As with getting a show, it still surprises me, after doing this kind of thing for several years now, when folks show up, and even more when they pay money for my art. As it happens more over the years, I've gotten a lot better at accepting such acceptance regarding my work, thankfully. Last Friday night was no exception, and you never forget the people who walked through that door and gave their time to you. I was talking with a few people last weekend who were complimenting me on my sales, telling them that I make the art I make because I love to make it, and making some money from it is always a nice bonus. Somebody told me to consider it an even exchange of positive energies, which I thought was kind of profound, and despite the wet and rainy weather, and feeling like a bundle of nerves last Friday for the opening, it was definitely an all-around positive experience.
Of course there is that one person who has, excuse the tired cliche, been my rock, and that has been my wife Kris. In fact, she's been more like my shining, radiant diamond emitting infinite rays of light. It's those behind-the-scenes things most people will never know or see, that makes the good stuff happen, and while Kris wasn't able to attend the opening, she was there to help hang (most of) my work. I know how hard it is for her to do the superb job she does of managing an art gallery in Leesburg, VA (again, the behind the scenes that most people will never know or be able to comprehend), so I never drag her along for the ride unless she chooses to come along. I know for fact the last thing she wants to spend her weekend doing is hanging more art work. Yet she insisted on coming along and, much like Eno was to U2, or Martin Hannett was to Joy Division, she was the secret ingredient that made the magic happen. If that's not love, then I don't know what it is.
I'm so grateful to Judith at Artists & Makers for giving me this wonderful opportunity, to both new friends and old friends who came out to the show, and to those who couldn't but wished me well -words can't accurately express my gratitude.
Sunday, April 7, 2019
Had a fantastic time hanging out with Kris at Artists & Makers Studios for their open studios event. We met so many wonderful artists and people who came through the gallery, both young and old, including Nevanka and her adorable daughter and Splotch Monster art admirer. Today is the final day of the studio tour at A&MS, so please don’t hesitate to stop by! In the meantime, the Not So Scary Monsters exhibit will be on display at A&MS 1 (Parklawn location) through Thursday, April 25 when it all comes down.
Saturday, April 6, 2019
Opening night at Artists & Makers Studios was a success! Met lots of super kind people and sold lots of art. A big thanks goes out to friends who came out from near and far, and braved the rain, and to Judith Olivia HeartSong for having me aboard! If you missed the opening last night, today and tomorrow Artists & Makers Studios will be hosting their open studios from noon until 5pm. I’ll be there at the Parklawn location with Kris today from 12-3. Hope you can make it out!
Tuesday, April 2, 2019
Just finished installing the “Not So Scary Monsters” exhibit today, with the invaluable help of the always amazing Kris Loya. The opening reception will take place at Artists & Makers Studios (Parklawn location), on Friday, April 5 from 6-9pm, in conjunction with their First Friday festivities. Come see all forty-one works in person, as well as so much more excellent art at this fine establishment. Hope to see you there!
(click above image for a larger view!)
Saturday, March 16, 2019
Here's the official flyer, designed by the amazing and lovely Kris Loya for my upcoming solo art exhibit at Artists & Makers Studios! The exhibit, called "Not So Scary Monsters" will take place from April 5th, through April 24th, with the opening reception happening on Friday night, April 5th, from 6-9 PM. There are two Artists & Makers Studios locations, both in Rockville, MD, pithing about a mile away from each other. Not So Scary Monsters will be on display at the Parklawn location (aka Artists & Makers Studios 1), however I highly recommend stopping by both locations if you decide to come to the show. There will also be an open studio event happening at both locations on Saturday, April 6th, and Sunday, April 7th. I'll be there again on Saturday the 6th, if you can't make it out on Friday night. Either way, it's going to be a fantastic show featuring lots of new Splotch Monster work, at a fantastic place, so hope you can join us!
Thursday, March 14, 2019
We had such a fun time tonight making Splotch Monsters at Harmony Middle School, as part of their family arts night. A big thanks goes out to the truly amazing art educators who organized this event, and to everyone who participated. It was such a positive experience. Thanks for having me back again!
Sunday, February 24, 2019
Spent last evening sorting through hundreds of post-card-size Splotch Monster works, finally whittling it down to only a couple dozen. Finally got them all framed and ready for a show in April. Now it’s on to the bigger pieces. Stay tuned for more details and progress updates!