Saturday, December 31, 2011

2011: The Year in Review at DREGstudios!

Your Host
When January rolled around 12 months ago, I hadn't thought much about what I wanted to do with my artwork this year.  I had been blogging seriously for just a few months and had fallen in love with the open forum which it provided me to fuse both my voice and my art.  The past few years I had focused on exhibiting  anywhere and everywhere in the world I was accepted, placing my art in over 100 shows across the country and world.  For 2011, I wanted to focus on building an audience here in the digital world.  At the turn of the year, I made the decision to dump my static website which housed galleries for my art and focus solely on turning my blog INTO my site.  I found quickly that it was a learning process and looking back I can see the wonderful evolution of the DREGstudios! site over the past 12 months, which has grown from several hundred viewers a month to 15-20K viewers per month since June!  Falling in love with blogging was the best creative decision I've ever made.

2011 was the most inspiring year of my life so far for my work and passion.  I'm still on the upswing and haven't managed to find a way to make a living doing what I love quite yet but you can go back through my archive of blog posts and see the fruits of my labor.  Here's a look back at just a few of the major highlights of this incredible year...

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Top 10 Comments of 2011 on!

Inks and Typewriter on Paper / 2006
One of the main motivations for turning my entire website over to my blog this past January was the idea of an open forum where my viewing (and reading) audience could give me feedback and comment on my work.  I opted to allow Anonymous commenting whereas many sites do not.  The only comments I remove are those that are blatantly spam and off-topic.  Other than that, this site is free of censorship for my viewers just as I do not expect any entity of government or person to censor me.  If you’ve seen my political art, you understand that the First Amendment is sacred to me as a creator. 

Today we honor ten of those people who proactively voiced themselves here on in 2011.  I painstakingly relived each and every low blow and gob of spit in the face which was thrown my way this year as well as those words which made me laugh and inspired me!  From the hundreds of comments posted, I narrowed down for you my Top 10 Comments of 2011…

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

All in the Family: A Portrait of My Father and Aunts

Every year for Christmas, I create a new work of art for my Grandmother as she says there is no better gift which I can give.  In 2009, I showed you the portrait of my Grandfather Tom which she received (Click HERE if you didn't get the chance) and last year I illustrated her parents, Paul and Clemmie Frye (Click HERE for my special Christmas Post from 2010!)  For her gift this year, I decided to make something even closer to my own heart with drawing of her three children, which I had framed together.  Here are my Aunt Naomi, my Father (Joe Hardin) and my Aunt Liz...
(3) 5in x 7in panels / inks on bristol / 2011
Here's a process picture of my finished line work for the three drawings.

 Merry Christmas Grandma!  

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Playing the Awards Season Game (More TOP Movie Picks from 2010)

Making your pick is tough (AND TIMELY) work sometimes!
I've developed a deep love for cinema since my childhood. I have a vivid imagination and found early on that movies gave my mind room to travel and showed me corners of the creative realm which I wouldn't have journeyed to without their stories and visions. Last December, I gave you my Top 10 Movie Picks of 2010. Click HERE to see the List and the brief reviews of each of my recommendations.

Being a movie buff, I annually look forward to the Awards Season at the end of the year where some studios make a timely release of a movie they've sat on for 13 months while others scramble to make the deadline to enter their new flick into the awards pool. The inherent flaw in this marketing escapade around the holidays is most of the general public loses out on seeing these films before the Golden Globes and Academy Awards actually take place.  For the most part, the winner of Best Picture is released in the last quarter of each year.  One of the few recent exceptions which comes to mind is Crash from 2006.  As an avid follower of the awards, I remembered thinking it was a shame the film got a Summer release because I felt it was a strong contender to take home an Oscar.  To my surprise, it shocked many people that year taking home the award over films like Brokeback Mountain and Good Night Good Luck.  Crash deserved the honor by far with its modern commentary on human compassion in the midst of racism but lacked the hype surrounding the other movies with their timely release.  A star-studded cast made the studio seek a more "blockbuster" release date with a summer weekend when in reality they had the sleeper hit of the year with the votes of the critics backing them in the end.  Alas, I'll never have my own say or control of movie studio politics but I will remain an avid viewer of cinema.

Last year, there were several movies I didn't get a chance to see before making my Top 10 Movie Picks of 2010.  I cited several of these following up with you, constant viewer on that post.  While movies like The Fighter garnered praise though awards hype (I found Christian Bale's supporting role the only solid part of the film,) others went straight to video without a cinematic chance in American Mainstream Hell.  Here are three which would have bumped somebody off the Top 10 of 2010 in a perfect world where I had the Golden Ticket access indulged by the Hollywood Critic.

13 (Directed by Gela Babluani)

Babluani's English-language debut is one of mastery and has an independent tone with a style which plays like a Christopher Nolan movie.  We'll have to look forward to more films from this director in the coming years and you'll have to find this gem on video since it barely made an indie circuit run here in the U.S.  Garnering talent for this film with the likes of two of my favorite actors, Mickey Rourke and Ray Winstone, was a big draw for me to lend my eyes and ears to the story.  By fate- Vince, the main character, delves into the underground world of a very dangerous game of chance as he assumes the identity of a dead man in the hopes of following a trail of fortune.  Aspirations of wealth lead him to the most desperate and dangerous game one could imagine- Russian roulette for profit.  As it goes with sports, the main motivation behind this society of promoters and quietly macabre gladiators is the vast amount of money at stake literally placed on the participants' heads.  An ensemble cast really delivers and drives this unique script into a delightfully depraved place where valor and circumstance reign supreme in the ultimate wager.

True Grit (Directed by The Coen Brothers)

Even with a range of direction in their movies, these guys have just never let me down.  While I don't consider Joel and Ethan Coen the very best Directors of our time, they are indeed the most consistent.  I for one was thrilled to regress with them back to the tone of their debut film, Blood Simple with two more recent adaptations of novels in No Country for Old Men as well as last year's gem, True Grit.  There is a common misconception that this film is a remake; nothing is further from the truth.  Adapting from the original book by Charles Portis, the audience takes a surreal journey with Rooster Cogburn through the American West.  Jeff Bridges will be the first to tell you he wasn't playing John Wayne, he was embodying the character directly from the source material of the author.  What seemed a strange creative choice for the film-making duo turned out to be a perfect fit with the original book's material providing the character-driven action which they thrive upon.  Again, the cast makes this film and even the smallest role leaves lasting memories as it goes with many of The Coen Brothers' creations.  The final scene of Cogburn taking up Mattie into his arms and running her to shelter like a warrior beyond exhaustion and running on pure instinct I feel is iconic and fully embodied the definition of True Grit.

Winter's Bone (Directed by Debra Granik)

My explanation above for spotlighting these movies really roots from me finally getting to watch Winter's Bone over the summer, a few month AFTER the Academy Awards.  I was absolutely floored by both the script and the acting.  Debra Granik's masterpiece WOULD have been my #1 Pick of 2010 having been given the chance to be part of an audience for what was a limited-release movie in US theaters.  With all the glitz, glamor and CG of movie-making today, there is so much to be said about a film like this.  Winter's Bone has a razor edge to it and left me speechless, especially in the final scenes of the movie where we finally find Ree's father and she horrifically does what she must in order to use his fate to her advantage in saving her family's home.

Make certain to drop back by in a couple of weeks for my Top 10 Movie Picks of 2011 (so far... LOL!)

How many times have you had to change your mind about the Best Movie of the Year?

Thursday, December 15, 2011

It's a Zombie Christmas with Clark Griswold and DREGstudios!

First and foremost, I hope you- Yes YOU Constant Viewer have a Wonderful Holiday which blesses your family and brings them together.  Keeping with tradition, I'm out to be a jolly bastard and with the gift of art get out a slew of limited edition postcards out to you again this year!  Every year now I'll be sending out a new postcard designed by yours truly to everyone who's helped support me here in my one man factory in my head I call DREGstudios!  The first few hundred will be in the hands of the good folks at the USPS this morning!
This year's DREGstudios! Christmas Card featuring Zombie Chevy Chase from the Zombie Walk of Fame Series!

When working on my Zombie Walk of Fame series last year, I embodied Chevy Chase as Clark Griswold.   The depiction was a rare move in the series as I had not drawn many other actors from the series in specific roles, but rather simply zombified their portrait.  I knew right away he'd be on my Christmas cards this year!

Friday, December 9, 2011

Illustration Friday - Octopus's Garden

In 1970, the foundation of the Entertainment Industry shook and the world gasped as Paul McCartney announced the break up of the most successful band in the brief history of popular music, The Beatles.  There are numerous issues cited for the formal demise of the band.  In fact, all four members had been working on solo projects for a while before the announcement, which Paul made in anticipation of his first solo album over forty years ago.  Today's theme for Illustration Friday is "Separation," which prompted me to share my Beatles portrait, Octopus's Garden in response to the theme and one of the most infamous "separations" of the century.
Inks on Bristol / 2009
Octopus's Garden is a part of my Topsy-Turvy series where all works can be hung in multiple directions.  The final framing on this piece is wired to hang all four directions.  I usually present it the direction you see here since John is my favorite!  Which is your favorite Beatle?

Today's feature illustration was exhibited at my Cult of Personality Exhibit in 2009.  Click HERE for more about the exhibit!

Click HERE for my Memorial Portrait of John Lennon posted just yesterday on the 31st Anniversary of his passing.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Dimebag Darrell Tribute Video

Inks on Bristol / 2011
On today's date 7 years ago, Dimebag Darrell, guitarist for Pantera was shockingly murdered on stage in Columbus, OH while playing with one of his side projects, Damageplan.  The shooter, Nathan Gale killed three others and injured seven in his rampage.  Gale was shot dead by a shotgun blast to the face from a police officer in the ensuing mayhem.  I created a tribute portrait of Dimebag this week for Rock Star Martyr who will be covering the guitarist today on the anniversary of his passing.

Dimebag was recently voted one of the Top 100 Guitarists of All Time by Rolling Stone but by many accounts should have been closer to the top of the list.  He helped define a unique Southern Heavy Metal sound which drew Pantera legions of devoted fans and a posthumous cult following since his abrupt death.

Here's the time lapse video I created of the coloring process for my portrait! If it gets a little foggy on the footage when I'm coloring the sweet leaf, don't adjust your screens, it's all natural and part of my tribute, in memoriam for Dimebag...

Originally I had a Pantera track set to the time lapse video but low and behold, the record company doesn't allow it to be used (some do and some don't I'm finding.) Anyhow, I found a new band and their thrashing track to use!  This cover of "Cowboys from Hell" is by a group of students of Aaron O'keefe in Ohio!

John Lennon: Just Imagine

Thirty-one years ago today John Lennon was tragically murdered in New York City after recently returning from a nearly four-year hiatus from music.  I just finished up my portrait of the musician inspired my his music, his politics, his poetry and passion.  The portrait will be featured today at Rock Star Martyr, where there will be an article about Lennon by Joebot as our collaborative series continues today memorializing the dearly departed legends of popular music.  The year is almost over and our series brought to a close so I'll be looking for a gallery setting to display these works next year as we polish things up and prepare to format the entire series into a book format!  
inks on bristol / 2011
Can you tell what imagery is influenced by which songs and facets of John's life?

 Here are some process pictures from my initial sketch and a few of my favorite tracks which have touched me from the man himself...

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Notes on Patriotism (NEW LIVE PAINTING)

When the Third Eye opens and funnels the Universal Artistic Spirit into swirling images in your mind, you have to take charge and act as translator.  As it works with visionary energies, you don't get to choose oftentimes when this rush occurs.  Yesterday I had a vision at work inspired by a song which serves as the soundtrack for the video I made when I left the office.  I got to let out some political aggression which has been building within me lately.  I was blessed with a beautiful day of Tennessee weather to work in and the results are what you see here...

God Bless America and A Special Thanks to my fellow artist and amateur super-villain Charles Bennett for letting me do this in his back yard so I wouldn't get arrested in the parking lot of my apartment building for such anarchy! 

Friday, December 2, 2011

Illustration Friday: The Tough on Crime Skeleton

"Said the Tough on Crime Skeleton - Tear Gas the Mob"
"Brigade" is an unusually macabre theme coming from Illustration Friday this week.  Coincidentally, these past few weeks have seen brigades of armed Police in riot gear swooping down the streets of our nation in response to the first ever GLOBAL Protest in the Occupy Movement.

These largely peaceful protests are scaring the Upper Class and Big Business's hand in our Government because they are reaching beyond the control of the main stream voice in Big Brother.  Despite little press coverage or acknowledgement in its first month, the movement became a world-wide phenomenon with Occupy groups springing up in over 80 countries across the planet.  Of course, the spin doctors are at work and justifying the unconstitutional removal of these protesters across the country the past few weeks as our Government shows its strong arm by beating, tear gassing, pepper spraying and arresting over 1,000 citizens here in the US, Canada, Australia and Europe. Occupy is exposing the corruption of our Government by Wall Street.  Occupy is exposing the Police State you really live in.  Occupy is here to stay and keep pulling back the curtain and lifting the veil and nudging open your third eye.

My featured illustration this week is from my Ballad of the Skeletons series inspired by Allen Ginsberg's poem of the same name.  I have shared a few of these works through Illustration Friday and you can Click HERE to see a stream of ALL of my entries from this year!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Postcards From the Edge: Geisha For a Cure

"Geish" inks on bristol / 2011
"Geisha" is my donation to this year's 14th Annual Postcards From the Edge Exhibit for Visual AIDS, which opens on January 7th at Cheim & Read in NYC.  This illustration will be my 2nd year exhibiting an original postcard-sized work of art with the organization.  I feel it's one of the worthiest causes I can support with my vision and hope to continue to contribute to their cause.  You can click HERE for Visual AIDS web site to find out more about their organization!

Visual AIDS utilizes art to fight AIDS by provoking dialogue, supporting HIV+ artists, and preserving the legacy -- because AIDS IS NOT OVER!

There are always challenged when creating very small works of art and submissions for this annual show are only allowed to be 4in x 6in.  I took a couple of detail shots with a coin for reference so you can see just how small I had to get!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

BAH-HUMBUG! A Christmas Carol at The Roxy Regional Theatre

Scrooge (inks on bristol / 2011)
I got roped in to do what is now an annual duty I suppose of creating some artwork to go along with one of the productions at The Roxy Regional Theater here in Clarksville.  I've done Frank Sinatra, Julius Caesar, Dracula and this year- A Christmas Carol!  Today I got my work framed by Wolfie and during Thursday Night's Downtown Art Walk, my visions of the characters from this classic tale will be unveiled along with my frequent collaborator and council, Mr. Charles Bennett.  

With my representations of the characters from Charles Dickens' classic story, I wanted to make my pieces in my own pop surrealist style but also hold true to the original imagery used my the author himself in the novella, A Christmas Carol

Here are some Process Pictures and previews of my original illustrations which will open THIS Thursday, December 1st at The Roxy...

Friday, November 25, 2011

Illustration Friday: Sun Mantra

Round is the theme for this week from Illustration Friday. The illustration I chose to share today incorporates a few unique concepts and is called "Sun Mantra." This triptych is from 2008 though I've not displayed or framed it as of yet.
Sun Mantra / inks on bristol / 2008
The tiny peace sign in the middle of the sun you may recognize as my branded symbol made out of bones which you see all over my site. The element found its way into a couple of other works the past couple of years and I drew the peace sign again by itself late last year to begin using as sort of a signature for many of my designs and promotional materials. The strongest element of this composition though is the gradation of the eyes around the inside of the sun. These eyes cycle through a spectrum of grey tones and give much life, movement and visual context to the work.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Killer Queen: A Portrait of Freddie Mercury

Queen was a band which found segways into my life at an early age through both main stream means and later self-discovery. I've seemed to find a deeper appreciation for their music and Freddie Mercury's arrangements and lyrics over the years.  What was a handful of fun songs as a teenager has turned into a journey and wide range of songs with each holding special memories for me.... some with friends, some with school and more recently- some with my wife. Here's a brand new portrait I just finished up this evening of Freddie with imagery from several of the group's songs...
Freddie Mercury / inks on bristol / 2011

I like something a bit different... actually, a like EVERYthing a bit different.... this goes in all walks of life including art, film, literature and especially music.  Freddie was one of a kind and I drew up a unique portrait of him for Rock Star Martyr this week.  I summoned the most flamboyant edges of the Universal Creative Spirit for this one!

Monday, November 21, 2011

In Memoriam: Cujo

I ended up with a very unique commission last week from a co-worker at my day job. Tim called me up from our service department about his German Shepherd, Cujo a couple of weeks back.  Through some unfortunate and cruel actions on the part of a couple of young local soldiers (I live next to Ft. Campbell, KY,) Tim's dog was poisoned here in town.  The guilty parties are being held accountable financially though the military but the loss of Cujo left a large empty space in Tim's life so he explained to me his idea for a memorial to remember the big guy by.  He delivered to me a 200 lb concrete statue of a German Shepherd and asked me to paint it to look like his dog which I was happy to do being a dog lover and understanding what it meant to him.

Here's a picture of Tim with his Cujo memorial as well as some process pictures from where I painted him.  The statue was too big to carry up the stairs at my apartment building so I stayed after work at the office and painted him there.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Propaganda for the Occupy Movement

The greatest of faults is to be conscious of none.

I've joked these past few weeks about being an Occuposer since I work constantly and only voice my approval and admiration of The Occupy Movement though I'm not out in the streets protesting.  This evening I drew up a Guy Fawkes mask in my own surreal style with a bangin' third eye to make a few propaganda pieces and lend my skills!  Feel free to share these around, post them on social networks and even email me if you want a print-sized version to get them made in real life and take it to the streets!  I'm not Jay-Z and I'm not here to make a dime off them, just drop a line to  What you get here are 11in x 17in web quality so let me know if you 'd like a print file you can blow any of them up as large as your imagination and wallet will take you with the help of your local printer.

I am more fortunate than some... not as fortunate as others.  I join the rest of the 99% grinding through my Six Day work weeks managing a marketing department to come home to a wonderful and loving wife who shares me with my art, which Occupies much of my time aside from sleep and being punched in on someone else's clock.  Like most Americans, despite full-time work- I have no health insurance, I can't afford a house, I owe money with exorbitant interests rates, I've had my wages garnished for student loan debts and I get a fraction of the time off that workers in Communist and Socialist countries get.

Before we can change the way Capitalism has distorted our lives, we have to admit there is a problem.  We have to stop being get-along / go-along.  We have to raise our voice.  The Occupy movement is the most important event in modern history for two reasons: 1) People are bringing attention to the fact that there's not just a problem, there are many; and 2) The past two months of our lives have marked a first in human history- a GLOBAL Protest!  Through the power of the internet, word-of-mouth and despite media blackouts the first few weeks of the sit-ins, the message of the 99% has spread across the entire world with major demonstrations in over 80 countries.

"Every generation needs a new Revolution."  -Thomas Jefferson 

If you didn't realize the scale of these events over the past 9 weeks, its because our Government and Big Business don't want you to know.  They want you to think that there are unemployed drug addicts gathering in parks.  They don't want you to know about the hundreds and thousands of Union Workers, Teachers, Retired Police, Veterans, Unemployed College Graduates, Medical Professionals, Musicians, Actors, Artists and Brilliant Peaceful Folk who are standing up and saying YES- there is a problem.   Research for yourself and read read read.  Power is knowledge and if you spend 15 minutes a day reading about the things you WANT to change, then you can help facilitate that very CHANGE.  15 minutes a day 6 days a week equal 25 books worth of knowledge in a single year.  Just 35 books of knowledge equals an $80,000 MBA education.

"The man who thinks becomes a light and a power!"  -Henry George

Hundreds of people have been arrested over the past two months in cities from Nashville to Denver to Los Angeles to Portland and everywhere in between here in our country.  The same is happening across Canada, much of Europe and Australia on the same large scale.  Over the past week, every Constitutional right of American Citizens has been compromised by the corruption of our Government from the Arms of Big Business and their seemingly infinite reach.  Press members have been arrested, quarantined outside of raids as to not be able to report them- even news helicopters were grounded in New York City.  Pregnant women, elderly women and college students have been gassed, pepper sprayed and beaten in the streets.  Is this the United States we were taught to love by our system?  It is today and we can't be too careful about letting our rights slip further out of our grasp.

"Man's greatest fear is that he can do anything."  -Nelson Mandella

I stand with the 99% and am grateful for each and every person who Occupies the streets of the United States and all over the world.  They are fighting for you and I.  They are standing up for our civil liberties.  They are raising their voices to call for change.  They want you to have health insurance.  They want your children to have affordable education.  They want you to be able to keep your house and know what retirement is.  They want to live in a better and fairer world and not just for one out of every hundred of us.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Gettin' Raw with Ol' Dirty Bastard

The ODB (inks on bristol / 2011)
"I see things from a one-eye perspective and the four-eye perspective. The one-eye perspective is being able to see everything, as clear as my eye can see it."  -ODB

Tomorrow is the anniversary of the death of Wu-Tang Clan founder Russell Tyrone Jones aka Ol' Dirty Bastard.  In tune with Rock Star Martyr, Joebot will be posting a new article over on his website describing the rise, fall, and all that running from the law which made the Dirty one a household name and earned him Platinum status.  Here's the portrait for Rock Star Martyr which I finished up this evening to get your juices flowing for the profound obscenity with is THE ODB.

To give a glimpse of how it's all done, here's a few process pics of my illustration...

Friday, November 11, 2011

Happy Birthday Mr. Vonnegut!

"Sweet Dreams Mr. Vonnegut" inks on paper / 2007
One of the most influential authors of the 20th century was Kurt Vonnegut, who was born on today's date in 1922 in Indianapolis and passed away just four short years ago.  Before becoming a world-famous author, Vonnegut like so many Americans, was called to duty to defend The United States in World War II.  He became a prisoner of war when he was captured by German forces in The Battle of the Bulge on December 19, 1944.  Imprisoned in Dresden, Vonnegut saw the city decimated in a firestorm of attack the following year.  The young soldier along with other prisoners sought refuge from bombings in an underground slaughterhouse meat locker dubbed Schlachthof Fünf (Slaughterhouse Five), which became the inspiration and title of one of his most celebrated novels exposing the absurdity and atrocity of war with his flamboyant and unique commentary. Vonnegut was eventually liberated from capture by Soviet forces and returned to the U.S.

I was first introduced to Slaughterhouse Five through my Senior English teacher Mrs. Greenfield in High School.  Taking an interest (as opposed to the disdain of others) in my radical and warped nature, she turned me on to many great authors including Huxley, Camus, Burgess and others.  I found this first novel from the author to be my gateway into his world and to other great works including my favorite, Cat's Cradle.  Upon hearing of Kurt's passing in 2007, I was compelled to illustrate his image which I've shared with you today on what would have been his 89th birthday.  After finishing the portrait, I was compelled to pull out an old typewriter and add to the work, "Sweet Dreams Mr. Vonnegut."

"Someday, someday, this crazy world will have to end,
And our God will take things back that He to us did lend.
And if, on that sad day, you want to scold our God,
Why go right ahead and scold Him.  He'll just smile and nod."

-Cat's Cradle

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Cycloctopus (LIVE Painting Installation!)

Live Painting 11/03/2011
Joe Melanson has curated a couple of fantastic exhibits this year at No Egrets Tattoo Studio here in Clarksville.  The venue is great because it's an open warehouse adjacent to the shop and we pretty much have free reign to do whatever with the walls constructed inside.  Joe really put us to work this past week with his new project, The Installation Show.  Upping the ante with local artists, Joe asked us all to paint and decorate a portion of the walls to hang our work on.  This ONE-NIGHT Only Exhibit was held  Saturday, November 5th and featured several local talents!

Last Thursday morning, I got some devastating news about my dear friend Ryan passing away.  Ryan was one of my best friends and it shook me up as to call out of my day job with my boss, who was understanding.  After many phone calls and online communications with friends about what had happened, I realized I was also scheduled to paint my installation at No Egrets that evening.  I channeled my energy and went through with my plans to freestyle a gigantic octopus, who would hold up the panels I had recently mounted with watercolors and illustrations for the show.  It was the right decision seeing as what turned out was off the chain! Check it all out in this brand-spanking new time lapse video!  The installation took about 3 hours but you can ride along here in just 3 minutes...

Here's a slew of pictures of the process AND the ONE-NIGHT EXHIBIT!

Friday, November 4, 2011

Illustration Friday: Flies

"Stripes" is the theme for Illustration Friday today as I continue in my endeavor to submit to their site EVERY Friday of 2011!  So far, so good and today I've got an illustration from my Scraps & Motives (S&M) Exhibit at Cafe Coco in Nashville back in the summer of 2008.  This drawing is actually a very small work (about 5 inches tall) and is a crowd favorite.  The look on his face was my own response and outlet for being overrun with house flies at the time I drew the piece.  I hate flies, they make me crazy and I'm sure it's a sight to see a grown man jumping up and down in victory every time one feels the wrath of my swatter. I'm not sure why, but folks seem to like my characters the more they look like they should be wearing a helmet.  Why do you think my viewers are drawn to the deranged?

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Day of the Dead Coffin

Gangster de Muerto mixed media / 2011
Dia de los Muertos (The Day of the Dead) is a National Holiday in Mexico and celebrated in different forms around the world.  The day of prayer and dedication to the dearly departed is November 1-2 coinciding with All Saints' Day and All Souls' Day, Catholic holidays.  

Every year about this time, a slew of art shows pop up across the country with themes based around The Day of the Dead.  One in particular stood out to me last year at Young Blood Gallery in Atlanta with their unique concept for an annual group event.  The gallery actually constructs a limited number of wooden coffins to distribute to artists who paint, forge, illustrate, sculpt and otherwise construct their deadicated art.  Painlessly enough, through an inquiry with the gallery, they were all too happy to ship a coffin to me gaining me entry into this intriguing exhibit.  On Halloween Monday, my coffin for this year's exhibit arrived safe and sound in ATL and will be on display starting this Saturday, November 5th for their annual Day of the Dead exhibit.  I'll be rubbing my gorilla glued paws together in anticipation for next year's show and a third coffin but in the mean time, check out these process pictures and what I did this year...

Monday, October 31, 2011

-00- COUNTDOWN to HALLOWEEN: Divas of the Zombie Walk of Fame


Constant Viewer, I hope you had a freaked out ghoulishly good time this Halloween weekend and I see we kept you entertained enough with the holiday countdown to bring you back for dessert.  Here's your last stops on the Zombie Walk of Fame with a few of the Divas of my zombifications...

Zombie Meryl Streep (inks on bristol / 2010-11)
Meryl Streep has more Academy Award and Golden Globe nominations than any other actor in history.  As a matter of fact, this Hollywood starlet has been nominated for about every award under the sun including Cannes, Emmy, SAGA, BAFTA, Screen Actors Guild, New York Critics... you name them- they all eat Meryl right up.

My personal favorite role of hers however is in Death Becomes Her, where she plays- well, a zombie.  Enjoy this creepy clip from the film along with some process photos I took of my work this week...

Sunday, October 30, 2011

-01- COUNTDOWN to HALLOWEEN: Samuel L Jackson on the Zombie Walk of Fame

Zombie Samuel L Jackson (inks on bristol / 2010-11)
Ohhhhh it's Devil's Night baby!  What a strange and fantastic Sunday!  I'll be removing my exhibit, BUY the NUMBERS with Charles Bennett from The DAC this evening and then getting my Walking Dead and Boardwalk Empire on with the Wolfman later.  Aurora is making pumpkin fudge and we're only one day away from Halloween.  If the Mayans are correct, it's our last one so enjoy the horror and goulishness of it all!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

-02- COUNTDOWN to HALLOWEEN: Chris Farley on the Zombie Walk of Fame

Farley Zombie (inks on bristol / 2010-11)
I'll have what he's having...

Farley Zombie is one of the high points of this series as far as the expressions on my subjects' faces.  Every time I looked at the linework for this while it sat idle for the past year, I got tickled and giggled like a little girl.  Farley man, a true gem of my generation.  I remember classmates imitating line after line of the big guy's SNL acts and later, some of his movies.  He's lumbering along and getting gourged tonight on The Zombie Walk of Fame!

Friday, October 28, 2011

-03- COUNTDOWN to HALLOWEEN: Charlton Heston on the Zombie Walk of Fame

Charlton Heston Zombie (inks on bristol / 2010-11)
If Zombie Apocalypse truly does befall our nation, we'll be happy we had today's star on our side.  Charlton Heston, one of the original mega-stars of Hollywood, was an avid gun nut and defended the 2nd Amendment vehemently through his life.  He even served as the President of the National Rifle Association for five years.  This courageous actor parted the sea, raced chariots, fought armies of humanoid apes and uncovered the national plot to feed people their own dead in a nightmarish vision of our cannibalistic futures.  When he turns though, he'll be just another piece of zombie scum with nothing but the double tap treatment to look forward to.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

-04- COUNTDOWN to HALLOWEEN: Jay Leno on the Zombie Walk of Fame

Jay Leno Zombie (2010-11)
We keep a-countin' down to Halloween here at DREGstudios! with The Zombie Walk of Fame.  Last year, I sketched out 101 celebrities with stars off The Hollywood Walk of Fame and gored them up; this year I've revisited them to start the coloring process.  Today's star is Mr. Jay Leno.  Leno has helmed The Tonight Show chin-first for nearly 20 years now.  I skinned him and ripped him up pretty good for you guys... enjoy!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

-05- COUNTDOWN to HALLOWEEN: Dr Seuss on the Zombie Walk of Fame

Green Eggs and Brains (inks on bristol / 2010-11)
Dr. Seuss was one of my absolute favorite zombifications going through my Zombie Walk of Fame series and I took a joyous delight in coloring him this evening with rhyming verse flying through my head about Green Eggs and Brains.  I also shared the sketch and linework process of this illustration with my Countdown to Halloween last year.  You can CLICK HERE to see the preliminary work and also check out the much more thorough write-up I gave Mr. Theordor Geisel and his wild creations of verse and cartoon.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

-06- COUNTDOWN to HALLOWEEN: Billy Bob Thornton on the Zombie Walk of Fame

Biscuits, Brains and Mustard (inks on bristol / 2010-11
When I saw Sling Blade in the theater as a teenager, I was terrified by the opening sequence with the interview of Karl Childers played by Billy Bob Thorton.  The feature film originated as a short two year the prior (Some Folks Call It a Sling Blade) which was composed of Karl's monologue, only he was being interviewed by Molly Ringwald who didn't make a return in the full length film.  There was an underlying horror to the psyche of Thornton's character, which came out in a primal way through his logic and action.  This touching story of a simple man, who's character was woven with infinite layers of creation by the actor, was one of the best independent films of the 90's and one of my favorites of all time.

Monday, October 24, 2011

-07- COUNTDOWN to HALLOWEEN: Donald Trump on the Zombie Walk of Fame

"Double Tap Donald Trump" inks on bristol (2010-11)
I really can't stand Donald Trump.  The selection process for the Zombie Walk of Fame series was stiff competition considering the 2,500 stars available to choose from on the Hollywood Walk of Fame spanning film, television, broadcasting and music.  In picking the vast majority of my 101 selections, I stuck with actors and television personalities (partly to contrast my Rock Star Martyr series, where I'm already tackling many of the famous musicians I've wanted to illustrate.) Only a couple of television personalities made the cut and that brings us to Donnie Boy here.  I'll be the first to admit that the real fun in these portraits is seeing how much I can gore up the subject but still have the star identifiable to my everyday audience.  So why include Trump when you despise every last word that come from his mouth? Easy, I wanted to see the look on his face at the receiving end of a cranial gunshot blast.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

-08- COUNTDOWN to HALLOWEEN: Pee-wee Herman on the Zombie Walk of Fame

Pee-wee Zombie (inks on bristol / 2010-11)
Paul Reubens' comic creation of Pee-wee Herman has one of the strangest rises and descents from fame of any act to claim a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.  HBO first picked up his act as a comedy special in 1981, which was much more adult themed than the marketed and manufactured children's show which the character of Pee-wee morphed in to.  Despite 22 Emmy Awards, Pee-wee's Playhouse was canceled in 1991 when to the horror of parents across the country, Reubens was arrested in Sarasota, FL after being caught masturbating in South Trail Cinema, an Adult Theater.  Figures such as Bill Cosby and Zsa Zsa Gabor publicly defended the actor but with little effect on the media kicking the dead horse of his career's teeth out.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

-09- COUNTDOWN to HALLOWEEN: Charlie Sheen Winning on the Zombie Walk of Fame

Zombie Charlie Sheen Winning (inks on bristol / 2010-11)
Last year, when I sketched out the Almighty Sheen for my Zombie Walk of Fame series, he hadn't lost his mind.  He had a sitcom, stayed on par with his own dope habits and was assuming some semblance of a normal life.  I've seen drugs break people, but not in such a permanent and perfect way.  I think everyone wants to let go and lose their own mind a little, which is why the Sheenmeister is here to stay, more popular than ever and a force to be reckoned with.  Charlie's now the incarnation of how the over 5,000,000 people who follow him on Twitter want to get hysterical. I branded the Twitter logo on his forehead this evening spontaneously and unplanned, just how he'd like it... along with the tiger gashes and a huge rock equipped with utensils.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Illustration Friday: Elephant Oil

"Elephant Oil" Acrylic and Spray Paint on Found Sign
"FUEL" is the theme for today at Illustration Friday.  I've got a brand new painting for you to preview as my entry this week.  "Elephant Oil" is a painting on a repurposed metal sign.  These pricing numbers for old gas stations were salvaged as scrap and I painted a slew of them with Charles Bennett for our show, BUY the NUMBERS which is currently on display at The DAC in Clarksville, TN through the end of next week.  Drop in and check them out live if you're in Clarksville!  The gallery is housing over 60 new works from the two of us!

-10- COUNTDOWN to HALLOWEEN: Shirley Temple on the Zombie Walk of Fame

Zombie Shirley Temple (inks on bristol / 2010-11)
What do you do when you sketch and outline 100 zombies over the course of sixty or so days?  You throw them in a box in the corner of the closet for a year to get musty!  Last year, we counted down to Halloween with some creeeeepy process pictures of my zombifications of some of the 100 stars I picked from the Hollywood Walk of Fame for my new series, Zombie Walk of Fame.  I had sketched up all 100 and was posting the progress of outlining them all to build up to our favorite Holiday of Gorey and Gruesome Goodness.  We ended with a bang on October 31st of last year with my zombie portrait the original Hollywood Child Starlet, Miss Shirley Temple.  I felt it would be fitting to pick up where we left off, so she was the first of the series I colored today to start our new Countdown to Halloween 2011!  I'll post new zombies daily for you to dine your eyes upon as I start the process of coloring over 100 zombies for this upcoming series I'll be shopping around for a venue and publication next year!