Friday, September 30, 2011

Illustration Friday: Bear Mantra

"Hibernation" is the theme for this week brought to you by the good folks at IF, who host and farm a slew of links for creators and patrons alike to enjoy based on their given weekly prompt.  The leaves are turning here in Tennessee and the smell of Fall is blowing around the edges of the woods bringing forth bursts of color before winter takes over.  Soon the bears will be laying down for their long winter nap.  This work is kind of a random piece and I'm not sure where the motivation came from for it- as is the case sometimes but alas, I have a forum to share it with you today!  I was feeling bears and bees... and a giant flying surreal and soluble fish.  Let me know what you think of this one by dropping a comment...
"Bear Mantra" Inks on Bristol / 2010

Friday, September 23, 2011

Illustration Friday: Mangy Mickey

Inks on Bristol / 2010
IF's theme of FEROCIOUS immediately made me think of my rabies-ridden mess of a Mickey Mouse I did for Jeff Bertrand and Studio 83's 5 Themes 15 Artists exhibit last year. One of the themes for all participating creators was to take a Disney Character and turn them into a Garbage Pail Kid.  All five themes were challenging and fun but I believe that many of the artists found a special place in their hearts to go with this one.

Here's my Mangy Mickey for Illustration Friday this week!  He's actually only part of my holy trinity of Garbage Pail Disney abominations which also includes Musty Minnie and Parvo Pluto.  Where are they?  Hanging out over at my article about the exhibit from last year in which you can see ALL of my entries and some pics from the opening reception by CLICKING HERE!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

The Inception of Monster Johnson at Backyard Painting

Today was full of neon psychedelia stroking our third eye into a new week and round of work for upcoming exhibits.  I spent the afternoon at Charles Bennett's house painting with Jeff Bertrand and this week, Nathan Parker.  With our combined knowledge of drugs, Disneyland, biology, bug species and 80's movies made the day flew by with constant ideas and inspiration.  What you'll see with these pics from the afternoon are previews of three new exhibits... Nathan Parker's upcoming War of the Worlds Exhibit at The Roxy here in Clarksville (to coincide with their production of this classic,) Our four-man collaboration for Untitled Nashville's GLOW Show (blacklight and self-lit works,) and some new paintings by yours truly for my upcoming exhibit with Charles at Clarksville's Downtown Artists' Co-Op.  We're filling in and filling up the space just a couple of weeks from now to help out with a last minute vacancy- it's what we're now calling BUY the NUMBERS.
I got started quick today busting out an elephant and octopus on some of our recycled metal numbers for BUY the NUMBERS next month here in town.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Purple Haze: Jimi Hendrix

On tomorrow's date, September 18th of 1970 Jimi Hendrix was found dead at the age of 27.  His iconic sound seared in the footsteps of a soul burning his light far too bright for this plane of existence.  We owe a whole lot of what we know about hard music to Jimi twisting and tuning his instrument to his possessed ear and entrancing his generation as well as those echoing past.  Just as the artist broke from realism and gopped paint onto a canvas and morphed his muse to a surreal ballet of movement and distortion, Jimi turned guitar rock into an interstellar experience.  Drop by Rock Star Martyr on the anniversary of his death tomorrow for a new article citing fact and legend, myth and corroboration and a story that will cut both ways from Joebot's silver forked tongue.  Here's the artwork which will accompany his words as our project continues and we commemorate the passing of the legends of music on the anniversary of their deaths.
"Purple Haze" inks on bristol / 2011

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

In Memoriam: Tupac Shakur

2pac will be focus today at Rock Star Martyr, where Joebot has cooked up a west coast saga for you indulgence.  Shakur died on today's date 15 years ago, succumbing to gunshot wounds he suffered a week prior and series of surgeries in attempt to save his life.  I'll leave the take of his rise to riches and death by a hail of bullets for Joe to spit back at you today.  You can see all the articles behind my Rock Star Martyr portraits by clicking HERE!
Inks on Bristol / 2011

The Rose that Grey From Concrete 
by Tupac Shakur

Did you hear about the rose that grew from a crack in the concrete?
Proving nature's law is wrong it learned to walk with out having feet.
Funny it seems, but by keeping it's dreams, it learned to breathe fresh air.
Long live the rose that grew from concrete when no one else ever cared.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Living in a Society of Fear: Ten Years after 9/11

Terror ALERT (inks on bristol / 2011)
“Oceania had always been at war with Eastasia.” -  George Orwell, 1984

Will we always be at war with ourselves?

War is as old as man and as old as written and oral history.  War predates language and is in human nature to protect one’s own territory, land, family and as it is increasingly the case- assets and wealth.  9/11 evoked within America this territorial instinct to come together and protect their own.  Weeks after the tragedy, New York City and America displayed the single most touching show of unity and humanitarian compassion since much different generations of past World Wars.  However fleeting, something beautiful came from an atrocity.  There are powers which took advantage of this wave of emotion.  They channeled it into several forms of control over our own Civil Liberties and used it as a pretense for nearly a decade of a seemingly never-ending war.

On the morning after my 21st birthday at 8:46AM, the world changed forever.  When I awoke around 10AM, both towers of the World Trade Center had fallen and the college campus I was visiting was on lockdown and in hysterics.  Typical of the stages of grief and loss, anger swept our country when Al-Qaeda was immediately blamed for this National tragedy.  Paranoia struck, alerts were issued, people began being suspicious of things as harmless as their own mail.  Even worse, Muslim-American culture was impacted by mass suspicion and new-found racism.  Neighbors reported on neighbors and anyone suspicious.  Under the pretense of this mass hysteria, our Congress and President passed The Patriot Act a mere six weeks later (without the consent or vote of the American people.)

Recently, New York Magazine published an article about the Patriot Act’s usage to date.  Only 15 charges of terrorism were cited, as opposed to 122 counts of fraud and 1,618 drug charges.  Ironically, the 2nd result on my Google search for “Patriot Act” is from The United States Treasury’s website, which states “The purpose of the USA PATRIOT Act is to deter and punish terrorist acts in the United States and around the world, to enhance law enforcement investigatory tools, and other purposes.”  One certainty about business is that numbers don’t lie (and our country IS a business since Capitalism kicked Democracy out of bed in our lifetimes.) The Patriot Act was NEVER about terrorism.  Less than two months after the attacks of 9/11, the clamps were tightening on our changed country and our personal freedoms were already slipping away. This legislation eliminated check and balance from our law enforcement agencies and their capacity to monitor their own citizens creating an Orwellian police state.

The ACLU’s website states, “The Patriot Act vastly — and unconstitutionally — expanded the government’s authority to pry into people’s private lives with little or no evidence of wrongdoing. Years after its implementation, there is little evidence to demonstrate that the Patriot Act has made America more secure from terrorists. But there are many unfortunate examples that the government abused these authorities in ways that both violated the rights of innocent people and squandered precious security resources.”

Despite only being accountable for 1.5 terrorist charges per year since its initiation, on May 26th of this year, Congress passed four-year extensions on expiring provisions of The Patriot Act.  In July of this year, my own home state of Tennessee made it a Felony charge to post offensive images to the internet along with making even something as trivial as an offensive bumper sticker a fineable offense.   (Click HERE to see my artist’s response to this new legislation and my portrait of our Governor Bill Haslam, who signed the bill into law.) Our civil liberties and freedom of speech and expression are being squandered on FEAR.  Two-thirds of Americans say it's fitting to sacrifice some privacy and freedoms in the fight against terrorism, according to a poll by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research.  The numbers just don’t add up:  over 200 million people are willing to sacrifice their Constitutional Rights to capture less than two terrorists a year?

“He loved Big Brother.” –George Orwell, 1984

FEAR (Report any Suspicious Activity) inks on bristol / 2011
If the plug was pulled on wireless communications and internet tomorrow, we’d realize within minutes just how isolated we’ve become in our Brave New World.  We’re jacked in through television and phones and computers constantly.  While societies such as Egypt very recently have risen up and organized against their governments through the help of avenues such as Twitter, our own government has adopted a kill switch for the internet.  Our President has nearly unchecked authority to pull the plug on most of public access to the World Wide Web.  In a country founded on Freedom of Speech and Assembly, legislation such as this is a very dangerous solution to hindering any sort of mass uprising against the powers that be.  This was the full intention of the Patriot Act- to enact a stranglehold on domestic affairs while wars are waged without the general public’s approval on the other side of the globe…

A year and a half after 9/11, the Bush Administration convinced Congress and leaders of a handful of other countries to invade Iraq on March 19, 2003.  In the past seven years, this pre-emptive occupation of The Middle East has led to hostile actions against nearly every country in the region and setting up permanent military operations.  9/11 wasn’t used as a catalyst of war, but of INVASION.  Death tolls for combined losses of Middle Eastern and American civilians and soldiers are estimated at well over 900,000.  Both leaders accused of crimes against their own people and our country- Osama Bin Laden and Sadam Hussein have both been executed, yet there is no end in sight.  Our Government and the Powers that Be have no intention of leaving the Middle East, having set up their pawns around most of the richest oil reserves in the world in anticipation of a Third World War over this finite resource which yields the power of transportation, mass production and all that goes with greasing the wheels of a doomed system of Capitalism.  All the while, the rich and powerful gain more riches and power by taxing themselves less due to Bush-era legislation.  These tax cuts and corporate tax cuts since 9/11 have eroded out economy to the brink of collapse.

You see the men in power ceased the greatest marketing scheme of all time by using our own fear against us after the most significant domestic attack in American history.   They sold our public representatives the pretense for foreign Invasions without the approval of the United Nations- wars which under the influence of capitalism grossly exploit War Profiteering by every aspect of its definition.   They use your fear against you to the point which you’re willing to let them spy on you while you hide in your home and censor yourself as to not be suspected of terrorist intentions yourself.  You live in a society of fear but you are not alone today and you won’t be tomorrow…

There IS a better way and with your voice and vote; you hold your public representatives accountable for their actions and decisions.  Speak out against spending your tax dollars on a hopeless occupation to control an out-dated energy source.  Insist your monetary contribution to the government but used to find alternative energy to get us past reliance on foreign oil and pork-barrel wars. More importantly, raise your voice against legislation which hinders our ability to communicate with absolute Freedom of Speech which outlined in the founding documents of our Country. Your VOICE is your RIGHT.  We are supposed to spread this message across the Globe but we must first reinforce our own ideals at home and TAKE BACK what was once guaranteed by our Constitution.

Find and Contact your State Representative HERE

Click HERE to read 1984 and the Complete Works of George Orwell in his online archive.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Illustration Friday: Get In The Ring

Illustration Friday wants art today under the theme of "Boundaries."  Here is my entry for this week as my IF 2011 marathon continues.  If you're just now tuning in, I've responded to the site's weekly theme with my artwork since the New Year began.

This guy is from a 2008 series of pen and ink drawings I did on a stack of these found index card dividers.  Several are being mounted on wood for my upcoming exhibit next month, The I Don't Know Show (Keeping It Clean in the Dirty South) with Charles V. Bennett.

Riverfest 2011- LIVE Painting with TACO

Hey cats and kittens, if you're local TONIGHT (Friday September 9, 2011) drop by Clarksville's Annual Riverfest.  At The Coup's Side Stage at 5PM, TACO will be throwing down his ninjatic DJ skills with a buncha dancing AND painting since Jeff Bertrand and I will be throwing it down LIVE to the music!

Every year as part of Riverfest, The Tour D'Art Juried Exhibit is held at The Smith-Trahern Mansion just off Riverside in Clarksville.  The exhibit is FREE and open to the public.  You can drop by Friday anywhere from 10AM - 5PM or Saturday from 10AM-5PM.  This year, I entered my Cyborg Steve Jobs vs. Cyborg Bill Gates and a piece from my Sacred Texts Series entitled We the People.  I've not exhibited either of these locally and they're two of my crowd pleasers so wish me luck.   The Smith-Trahern Mansion is located at 101 McClure St.  The Awards are usually around 7PM so I'll be hustling to get up there Friday night after painting!

Taco (photo by Chad Spann)
Click below to Read the UPDATE with process pics of the live painting and awards ceremony at Tour D'Art

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Painting with The Wolfman

Today I hung out at Charlie's house where we're getting ready for a show that got thrown in our laps by The Downtown Artist's Co-Op.  We got one month to fill the DAC and are off to the races, opting to paint all new material because we looooooooooove to punish and push ourselves.  We're calling the upcoming exhibit The I Don't Know Show which will consist of all mixed media paintings, much of which will be on recycled materials.  The byline for the show is "Keeping it Clean in the Dirty South," since we have to watch our subject matter for the venue.  Personally, I think someone spiked the punch down there for us to get the show in the first place.

Let's take a look at what we cranked out today!  I'll get you started with my best effort to do a Fantastic 4 on the fly.  I picked the 4 out of the heap of numbers Charles found and that's where I got started.  We'll end up doing a couple dozen of these rusty metal number signs...
Acrylics on Found Metal / 2011

Click below for the rest of what we worked on this afternoon for the upcoming show!

Friday, September 2, 2011

Illustration Friday: The Night Moves

"Mysterious" is what we have to go on for this week's Illustration Friday entries.  Based on their chosen theme, each week I peruse through my own illustrations to find something fitting to share.  My featured artwork today is a piece from 2008 I call "The Night Moves."  It was displayed in Hopkinsville, KY in 2009 at my exhibit, "Felt & Found" at the L&N Depot Gallery at the Historic Train Station run by the Pennyroyal Arts Council.

What do you think makes this figure so mysterious?
Inks on Bristol / 2008