Saturday, February 25, 2012

Shelbi in Burlesque and Her Lion (with a Third Eye)

Earlier this week I finished up another very unique commission for a guy by the name of Jon who really likes the Third Eye concept in my illustration and wanted a drawing of his wife Shelbi done after picking up one of my books.  Shelbi's a creative-type herself and does really neat retro design work she does with some 8-bit graphics and a Day of the Dead Super Mario and Link which I truly love.  Check her out at Shelbi says hi!  Here's my portrait John and her received this weekend down in Texas...

Inks on Bristol / 9in x 12in / 2012
Here are some process pictures of the portrait's creation...

Friday, February 17, 2012

Clarksville Trash: What is Art?

We as visionary thinkers have fully swung in to an interesting time for the World of Art and what qualifies as higher forms of human expression.  Every single day, the boundaries of what we call art are pushed even further by a self-glorifying society and new platforms of discovery such as social networking.  Art is about the artist and what he or she is trying to accomplish.  If an artist splatters paint on a panel, is the random output art?  If a DJ samples the skilled work of several musicians and mixes them together into his own brew of sound, is it art?  Local artist Miguel Moon has an interesting theory on his new-found plane of creation through the use of his own keystrokes (what some would refer to as trolling) as art.

With the invention of the photographic image in 1826 and the wide-spread use of cameras by the turn of the 20th century, the art world got turned ass over tit and onto its ear.  No longer were artists constrained to the rigid school of instruction and years of training to reach a masterful level of realism with their mediums.  With this disintegration of the visual arts, creative types began experimenting with visual styles broken down from realistic representations by using methods such as Cubism, Impressionism and Futurism.  In the 1920's a group of artists donning themselves Surrealists including Max Ernst and Salvador Dali took this depreciation of skill in a different direction by painting realistically in an unrealistic method weaving worlds of fantasy onto canvass.  This newer, higher-art mode of painting was soon brushed aside for a further deterioration of skill bringing about Abstract, Minimalist and finally Pop Art (using a sense of design but not much skill or craft.)  The dumbing-down of Art had finally made it more accessible to audiences requiring less mental interpretation.  With less work involved for its audience in understanding what was in front of them, Art was more popular than ever.  It is so much easier to understand a solid red canvass than to decipher the story and metaphorical imagery involved with a classic renaissance painting which took 7 years for the artist to create.

People want to be easily amused which brings us to much of today's media consumption.

Today in our brave new technological world, the boundaries of art have practically disappeared creating a plethora of daily, disposable and viral creation.  Is a meme (taking a picture and adding your own caption) art?  Is graffiti a fine art?  Is crafting jewelry out of manufactured materials you put together art?  Is a cook an artist?  The definition of art is hazier than ever with more people having access to creative careers than any other time in history.

Miguel Moon, a local Clarksville artist has been creating his own new style of Art through social networking, mainly Facebook.  His theory is that the social network is his canvass and his keystrokes are digital graffiti.  Miguel's new opus of commentary and creation is Clarksville Trash, a Facebook page exposing the underbelly of our local community.  As the viewer peruses his curated wall of whistle-blowing, he or she may take part in the artistic process but just watch out- Mr. Moon will make art out of you as well.  So is trolling art?  I've always held firm that many things CAN be art but I have my own qualifications for "successful" art.   Successful art causes a reaction and rise of emotion or thought within the audience.  By that definition, Miguel's work is solid, managing to piss of countless Facebook users and being forced to create new profiles time and time again after being banned from the site.

So what's my take?  Good cannot exist without Evil.  Night cannot exist without Day.  Nothing can be All or Nothing.  You get no Yin without the Yang.  If Everything is Art, then Art does not exist, only our futile attempts at self-expression through infinite modes of creation, NONE of which are permanent or eternal.  All I know is that if it feels right, do it and I'm glad Miguel and the everyday artist find a sense of accomplishment from their compulsion to create.  An artist can only set his or her own standards and abide... The art IS the artist but to WHAT end... and WHO cares or is even listening?


Being a native Michigander, I was delighted for my art to be accepted into the annual Ball of Perversion in Detroit called Dirty Show, curated by Mr. Jerry Vile.  As with tradition, the world-wide art exhibit and performances were hosted in Bert's Warehouse Theater during the week of Valentine's Day.  All the decadent debauchery includes Live Performances, Dirty Art, Music, Dancing and More!  One of these years, I'll actually make the exhibit in the flesh- this was my third year being accepted into the art exhibition and I plan on continuing my participation since my own dirty creations have been so well received.

You can still purchase tickets online for this weekend's show times on Friday and Saturday as well for NEXT Saturday night, February 25th (being held over for one extra night due to the success this year!) Just log on to the Official Dirty Show site to get the details or call 1-800-838-3006 to order by phone as they DO have SOLD OUT nights at the Event!

So what in the World did I put in this year's exhibit?  You don't necessarily have to make the trip to D-Town to find out- just check my Tumblr by CLICKING HERE!  HINT: It involves facial hair AND vagina of all color and creed.  

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Erasing Erasing Erasing Erasing

Every artist has a process and mine includes some elbow grease before I get to have fun and begin slinging colors all over the bristol board for my illustrations.  For the record, I loathe erasing- you think this would be a very simple and trivial step in the creative process but it depends on the scale.  For my Zombie Walk of Fame series in progress, I've sketched and outlined 101 celebrity zombie portraits. Can you really make a blog post about erasing?  You can if you do it for 2 1/2 hours, which is what happened late last night when I decided to go ahead and erase the 90 or so portraits I had left to clean up so I can go wild with coloring them!

Here are some previews of Zombie Walk of Fame and the mess I made...

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Art of Hearts

Happy Valentine's Day!  Here's some of the work I've done over the years with hearts in various mediums which I dug up to share with you today!  Drop by the DREGstudios! Art and Design page on Facebook when you're finished looking to enter the KISSING CONTEST and a chance to WIN some FREE ART from yours truly!  All you have to do is upload a Picture OR Video to the the wall of my Facebook Page (click HERE) of you kissing to win!  Kissing WHAT you ask?  Only you and your lips can decide!

"Hanging Heart" (inks on bristol / 2008) Click HERE for PRINTS of this Illustration!

"4 of Hearts" (inks on moleskine book for The Sketchbook Project / 2008)

A Little Psychedelic Love (Acrylic and Glow-in-the-Dark Paints on Canvas / 2004)

(Ink on Paper / 2009)

"Topsy-Turvy: King and Queen of Hearts" (inks on bristol / 2009) Click HERE for PRINTS of this Illustration!

"Kissy Kissy" (acrylic on wood panel / 2007)

For "Letters to the Post Office" (inks on bristol / 2008)

"Wounded Heart" (inks on bristol / 2009) Click HERE for Prints of this Illustration!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Nooga Love

Since Valentine's Day is this week, Aurora and I decided to take an impromptu overnight trip across-state to beautiful Chattanooga to celebrate ours while we could both get the time together over the weekend.  It was the first chance either of us got to spend any time in the city, having only driven through in the past.  We were pleasantly surprised at all the art and cultural activities available.  I see a few return visits in the future having not even scratched everything from our beginner's to-do list and we know so many other folks in love with this scenic place which is so close to home.

I took a vacation day from work Saturday and we drove to the mountains in the morning to get the day started by just frolicking and walking around to see both sides of the river.  The wind burned but the snow flurries were a romantic touch to our site-seeing.

Here's some pictures from our getaway weekend...

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

HULK SMASH Music Video

Transformation of the Hulk / Acrylic on Canvas / 2012
If you missed My Hero | My Villain a couple of weeks ago, I presented four new Pop Surrealist paintings of Superheroes Spiderman, Iron Man, Batman and The Incredible Hulk.  Each painting had a special theme music track composed by Dustin TEADS Wright on display and loaded to headphones for the audience to listen to!  I spent the past few days meticulously splicing together a video for the Hulk collaboration so you can experience the mindbending multimedia for yourself with process pictures of my painting as well as a few shots from the show....

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Superhero Theme Music from My Hero / My Villain

Earlier in the week, I posted some awesome pics my wife Aurora took from My Hero / My Villain which was a one-night only art event at No Egrets Tattoo hosted by Joe Melanson this past weekend.  For the show, I created four original superhero paintings, for which my buddy Dustin TEADS Wright composed some superhero-themed music tracks. This collaboration  created an interactive experience for the audience Saturday night.  Each painting was equipped with a set of headphones with the track loaded on them for the viewers to listen to while they looked at my artwork!  (Click HERE for a closer look at my custom headphones used in the display!)
Artists Mark Griffin and Charles Bennett trying out the headphones during our show setup

Click the links below for each of the songs which went with their respective paintings!  We're also working on some superhero music videos of sorts which will be coming soon for those of you who missed out on the LIVE interactive experience!  Keep an ear out for TEADS' new band, Climbing Giants, who are working on material for their new concept album and show!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Red Dots and Heart-Bending Art!

with Richard at his opening in The Downtown Artists' Co-Op
Tonight was the First Thursday Art Crawl here in town and I dipped down for the last hour or so tonight to see Richard's Hogan's "LOTS OF RED DOTS" and also check out the Roxy Regional Theatre's Valentine's Art Exhibit which I had a collaborative work with curator Miranda Herrick showing.

Richard has been a source of encouragement for me and other local low brow artists.  He has a taste for the imaginative and we've collected one another's work over the past several years.  He's even been nice enough to rope me into local events and warn everyone else about me and my art beforehand!

The paintings Richard exhibited tonight in LOTS OF RED DOTS took tradition from the china his mother painted with a technique where she used one small dot of red paint to draw the viewer in with the most active of all colors.  Richard used this technique over the years and you could walk through his installation and experience the ruddy magnetism of each to your eye.  At times they are subtle and in other paintings, they appeared more like a laser sight on a gun, for which I accused Richard of having a more macabre intention with the work!

Here are some great pictures my wife Aurora got this evening...