Saturday, April 28, 2012

The Three Stooges Gorging Themselves on The Zombie Walk of Fame!

Moe, Larry and Curly are the newest subjects from my upcoming Zombie Walk of Fame series, which I'm previewing for you today.  I can say I thoroughly enjoy drawing most of the time but something like this was pins and needles slapstick absurdity firing off in my brain the entire time I was working. Of course, these guys are based off the originals who indeed have their star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, not the new knock-off movie which has come out recently.  The team of actors who made this act a franchise earned their keep in the trenches and beat the living hell out of each other for the sake of entertainment.  We laugh and laugh but ironically the English language doesn't place a specific term to represent the "feeling of joy at someone else's expense."  The German's aren't afraid to admit they like so see someone take a tumble, for them it's "schadenfreude."  I wonder if a sense of joy at seeing brains eaten would fall under this?  Here's The Three Stooges Zombies!

Three Stooges Zombies / inks on bristol / 2012 for The Zombie Walk of Fame


...and because I also get a feeling of joy by spoiling you, here's some process pictures to see how they were drawn!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Living the Stereotype and Seeing Red in Tennessee

inks on bristol / 2010
These past few weeks are making me loathe living in Tennessee any longer as a person confined to frontal lobe thought.  This year's session of our state legislature is a three-ring circus already being circled by ACLU with Gay and Civil Rights Groups getting their blood pressure up along with me.  Lawmakers have run rampant creating new laws as elected Republicans push their agendas past an unassuming and naive public who turn a blind eye, leaving the important issues to the invested interests of the few who are charged with representing them.

Our state has a long and drawn out history of absurd laws.  I remember in 1999 when I was fresh out of high school, Tennessee passed the Roadkill Bill making it perfectly legal to take home and consume wildlife struck by a vehicle.  Fender-licking good recipes and other commentaries on the possibilities brought about from this law quickly took the internet and media by storm.  Of course, other classic gems of legislation still exist here as well.  The punishment for stealing a horse is still listed as a swift execution by hanging.  Also, ladies don't forget more than eight women living together in one dwelling is illegal as it constitutes a brothel.

Lawmakers have gone much further this year in deciding what is best for women.  House Bill 3517 applies murder and assault laws to harm being placed upon a child during pregnancy, no matter how soon after fertilization.  Many argue the loose language of this bill (a TN staple) could be interpreted to bring about charges against women for abortion and even miscarriages.  I have a feeling this law will play out on the courtroom floor in the near future and almost certainly put a spotlight on abortion once again.  Republicans have already shown how underhanded and sneaky their language can be as shown earlier this month with the new Monkey Law, which sneaks creationism back into the classroom by allowing open debate of evolution.

A flood of insanity has ensued these pass few weeks in the 107th General Assembly as even more laws have been passed without approval from the general public.  Such new statutes include the "Don't Say Gay" bill banning talk of homosexuality from Tennessee classrooms.  Ironically, state lawmakers feel sexuality is a discussion best suited for home and not school, although they've decided that the subject of evolution should be questioned in the classroom and NOT at home.  Another law makes it illegal for students to sag their pants at school, targeting minorities.  As if this wasn't an obvious enough racial profile, the state also decided to opening place restrictions on the number of immigrant employees who worked at the coveted state charter schools.  Our Governor Bill Haslam recently proclaimed himself the leader in education reform for states who recently failed No Child Left Behind after Tennessee was caught cooking the books by shamelessly lowering standards on state-wide student testing in order to raise the scores.  So far, all of his ideas center around policing classrooms rather than raising the bar on the level of education the students receive.

(Click HERE for my portrait of the good Governor and his wife in response to last year's Internet Decency Law.)

After shoving their hands in the mother's womb and the teacher's desk, our Congressmen have also put their sticky fingers to work on their favorite subject- taxes!  Patting themselves on the back for their ingenuity, our representatives have declared they are repealing the Estate Tax on the richest Tennesseans.  Estates valued at over $1 Million have always been taxed in our state, generating $18.2 Billion in revenue over the past 10 years.  By doing away with these taxes, Republicans are touting their theory on drawing more rich business owners to Tennessee who will create jobs.  By their estimation, repealing these laws would have grown the state economy by $7 Billion over the past 10 years!  Wait, that's $11.2 Billion less than what was collected by the Estate Tax but Republican math doesn't always make sense, right?  Remember, these are the good guys you voted into office to protect your- er... special rich kinda interests.

So where does the state expect to get this tax money back from since the rich folks will get to keep all that money?  By taxing online companies such as Amazon!  Tennessee has also decided to start collecting sales tax from online transactions, which comes out of YOUR pocket! Amazon is required to being collecting these taxes by 2014 but in the interim, Tennesseans are required to pay their own taxes from online purchases themselves to the state as a "usage fee."  This week, Amazon has announced it will begin notifying Tennessee customers of what they owe the state in taxes by email.  Of course, this will generate over $22 Million a year and $220 Million over the next ten years but still doesn't even begin to close the gap left by repealing the estate tax on uber-rich millionaire families such as Governor Haslam's, heirs to the Pilot convenience store chain.  With all of the spin put on this issue over the past several months, am I the only one who can do simple math?  Am I the only one who is seeing this as another broadening of the gap between the rich and the rest of us?

Capitalism got into bed with Democracy and kicked her out the door after a good tussle decades ago.  The vast majority of residents of any American state, when given the facts would oppose most of these laws.  When will our overpaid, bribed and bought representatives stop making laws which determine what goes on in our lives and classrooms without our consent?  Where do we draw the line?  We are no longer given a voice by officials who have our best interests in mind.  What can we do to regain our own voice as a people?  Don't be blinded by the red enveloping glow.  Don't be afraid to speak up.  Democracy starts with a raised voice against your back yard being used as a testing ground for the most extreme Right Wing agendas in our Country.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

STAR TREK Zombies from the Zombie Walk of Fame!

inks on bristol / 2010-2012
I'm still stumbling along here on the Zombie Walk of Fame trying to finish up what is now a process spanning over 18 months.  You're officially 70% of the way from seeing the full series of 101 celebrity zombifications of stars from the Hollywood Walk of Fame!  I brought you here today to give you a sneak peek at two subjects of my recent artistic butchery with the two most famous Captains in the United Federation of Planets!  I was delighted to find in my research for this project both William Shatner and Patrick Stewart had earned the honor of their spot on Hollywood Blvd and would be included.  I finally got around to coloring them so here's some process pictures for your fresh eyes of my Star Trek Zombies...

Monday, April 16, 2012

Our First Yart Sale (with Bar-B-Que, Banjos and Bulldogs)

Hogan proves that Dogs also love Art!
Yesterday was our first go at a Yart Sale here in Clarksville, which turned out to be successful in many facets.  Chad Spann hosted this unique event where artists were free to set up tables, sell art and paint live on the lawn.  Despite a hilarious start to the day with a wind-crippled tent, purchase inquires on anything from Chad's grill to my camera, and some overcast skies, the day turned out to be a success in several facets.  I made some great contacts with local folks interested in everything from family portraits to murals and even found a home for a few original works of art and several prints.

Keep an eye out because we'll probably have a repeat performance at another location sometime soon!  If you didn't make it by Sunday, here are some pictures from throughout the day...

Friday, April 13, 2012

YART SALE THIS SUNDAY!

We're trying something a bit different this weekend and having our first ever Yart Sale at Chad Spann's house all day Sunday!  We'll have some original art and prints priced to move featuring work by myself, Chad, Charles "Wolfman" Bennett and Cameron McKnight.  Drop by for some lemonade, peruse the artwork, and check out what we create as we'll be painting LIVE in the beautiful Tennessee weather.



Tuesday, April 10, 2012

The Pulpit in the Classroom: A Biblical Agenda in Tennessee


"Forty Six and 2 " / inks on bristol / Brandt Hardin
My home state of Tennessee is at it again, creating yet another law pushing obtuse agendas biased toward Conservative Christian Ideology.   Very few national newspapers broke the story a few weeks back of what is already being donned as the “Monkey Law” by bloggers and reporters alike.  Brought to fruition by the State Senate, this new bill opens a door for creationism to be discussed in schools here in the Mid-South.   Senate Bill 893 and House Bill 368 allow teachers who do not believe in Evolution (or Climate Change for that matter) to provide a forum in the classroom to debate such established scientific theories.  What many critics view as step backward for progressive thought is being presented as a means for allowing students to debate these measures for themselves, albeit under the direction of teachers who dispute scientific theory assumingly based on religious beliefs.  Today, it was announced the law was indeed passed and would go into affect, opening the door once again for the classroom to turn to pulpit here in south.

"The idea behind this bill is that students should be encouraged to challenge current scientific thought and theory,"
-Bo Watson, TN Republican and Author of The Monkey Law

Rep. Watson is saying lawmakers and teachers SHOULD encourage students to consider alternative theories about man’s origin aside from The Theory of Evolution.  The idea man evolved by a gradual method of natural selection can be traced back to Ancient Greek, Roman, and Chinese scientific studies.  Most famously, a well-rounded theory of this concept was produced by Charles Darwin in 1859 when he published On the Origin of Species.  The true underlying danger in encouraging debate against Darwinian ideas is alternative theories to Evolution are exclusively found in religious doctrine.  The Scientific community has almost unanimously adopted Evolution as fact over the past 150 years.  Short of making time travel a reality, this theory will perhaps be man’s best and only scholarly rationalization of the ultimate question, “Where did we come from?”

The “Monkey Law” which ensures protection of teachers who wish to challenge Evolution in the classroom is also digging up Tennessee’s long historic battle against science in the classroom which roots back to the infamous Scopes Monkey Trial.   Tennessee was the first state to ever ban the teaching of Evolution and only one of three states to develop laws against the theory.  In 1925, Dayton, TN drew the attention of the entire nation as High School teacher John Thomas Scopes was put on trial for teaching Evolution which at the time was illegal per the Butler Act.  Scopes’ charges were eventually dismissed on a technicality and the law was upheld.  Over 40 years after initially being challenged, the ban on teaching of Evolution in Tennessee was finally repealed in 1967.  Another teacher, Gary L. Scott lost his teaching position after facing a similar legal battle stemming from bringing evolutionary discussion to his students.  When he filed a class action lawsuit against the State of Tennessee, The Butler Act was overturned. 

With The Butler Act finally laid to rest, Tennessee moved on six years later to create new legislation affecting the teaching of evolution.  The Christian Conservatives weren’t going to give up without a fight.  In 1973, Tennessee became the first state to pass a law requiring that public schools give equal emphasis to "the Genesis account in the Bible" along with Evolution.  Furthermore, Evolution was to be presented as a “theory” and not “fact.”  A short two years later, this new legislation was declared unconstitutional by a federal appeals court.  Similar statutes were struck down in Louisiana and Arkansas in the 1980’s allowing for the presentation of evolutionary theories as science WITHOUT giving recognition to religious theory which has NO place in the classroom.

Flash-forward ANOTHER 40 years with today’s SB0893, the Republican authored law which now opens the door back up for Creationism to be presented as a challenge to Evolution in academic settings.  Religious zealots who hold office in our home state are again pushing to attack scientific theory with religious doctrine. 

"Concepts like evolution and climate change should not be misrepresented as controversial or needing of special evaluation. Instead, they should be presented as scientific explanations for events and processes that are supported by experimentation, logical analysis, and evidence-based revision based on detectable and measurable data,"  
-The National Association of Biology Teachers

Despite the political rhetoric surrounding this new law, its intentions are clear to me as they are to any person who isn’t blinded by their Holy Ghost glasses.  We must uphold a separation of Church and State by not allowing Christian ideals to interfere with teachings based on science and over 150 years of research.  Knowledge is the next step in evolution of the spirit, body and the mind.  Ignorance of this only backpedals the human race and at best, has us running in place with no explanation to further our human quest other than passively leaving our lives to “God’s Will.”  Religion holds its rightful place in the personal lives and homes of adult citizens as laid out in our Constitutional Rights.  In a classroom setting, Christian theories are not an academic stance and cannot be given any more significance than the belief the world is flat.

"I've been wallowing in my own insecure delusions...

I wanna feel the change consume me,
Feel the outside turning in.
I wanna feel the metamorphosis and
Cleansing I've endured within…
Forty-six and Two are just ahead of me."

-TOOL “Forty Six & 2”

Evolution is a theory based on scientific fact and human knowledge of biology and life, which can neither be proved nor disproved.

Creationism is a theory based on religious texts written by men who claim to have spoken with an invisible man in the sky, which can neither be proved nor disproved.

I ask you- which is closer to reality?

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Oschter Haws: An Easter Tale of Calamity and Woe

by Michael Chambers

He’s hippity.  He’s hoppity.  He’s bip-bap-boppity.  As Winter’s harsh breath fades to little more than a drab memory and the posies and honeysuckle bloom once more, he bounds across the land with a basket full of sunshine.  Children laugh and tumble and sing in his wake as he heralds the welcoming embrace of Spring with tasty sweets and frivolity.  He is the Easter Bunny, and his time is once again nigh.

This iconic creature has been the subject of wonderment and lore worldwide.  We’ve seen him in parades, cartoons, books, and movies.  He has brightened the childhoods of millions, ascending the ranks alongside other such cherished figures as The Tooth Fairy, Optimus Prime, Super Mario and many more.  But what do we really know about this innocuous little beast?  Is he hiding something behind that bushy tail and those beady, calculating little eyes?

The Easter Bunny has its roots in pre-Christian fertility rituals centered around the goddess Eastre, whose earthly symbol was the rabbit.  It wasn’t until the 1500’s that the rabbit was firmly associated with Easter in Germanic writings, and this legend persisted and traversed the globe to the new world with the arrival of German settlers in the Pennsylvania Dutch colonies in the 1700’s.  A visit from Oschter Haws, as they called it, was second only to the arrival of Christ-Kindel on Christmas Eve, thus affirming the first cultural association between the mythical Easter Bunny and our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ in what would become the United States.

Things escalated quickly.  Fast forward until shortly after the civil war, and the ascension of the Easter Bunny as an idol was complete.  Since then, children across the country have awoken on Easter Sunday to open baskets full of gifts and treats.  They gleefully rush from their homes to search for the precious hidden eggs this mythical creature leaves scattered about during his yearly trespass.  They revel in the pagan abundance of it all, gorging themselves on chocolate until their little tummies churn and bubble and froth with sickness, never once given the chance to understand that the true tradition behind this day has been hijacked by a floppy little monster with an agenda.

Friends, neighbors, fellow Americans, it is truly a sad moment in the history of this glorious nation when we allow our children to abandon the sacrifice and resurrection of Jesus Christ in favor of the trappings of gluttony, materialistic excess and unbridled idol worship.  It is a disgrace and a shame that we should allow the physical manifestation of a false pagan goddess to defecate upon our hallowed religious principles and guide our children into the gaping maw of Satan himself.  Something must be done, and it must be done now.

The Easter Bunny must die.

Inks on Bristol / 2012 / Brandt Hardin

Deuteronomy 7:5-6 

But thus you shall deal with them: you shall destroy their altars, and break down their sacred pillars, and cut down their wooden images,and burn their carved images with fire. Nor shall you bring an abomination into your house, lest you be doomed to destruction like it. You shall utterly detest it and utterly abhor it, for it an accursed thing.

Through the power of His Holy Word, God has already given us a vision of what this day is meant to become and called upon us to act without hesitation or mercy.  We must cast aside the wicker baskets and colored eggs and ribbons and banners and grind them into the dust.  We must gather unto us the chocolate bunnies and toys, graven images of this worldly aberration, and set them ablaze upon an altar of glory for others to see.  All across this great nation we must bring destruction upon the material accoutrements of the vile Oschter Haws until the smoke and flames rise to the heavens and render a sweet fragrance to God. 

And what of its followers, the men and women who adorn the likeness of Oschter Haws and dance to its malevolent tune?  We must pluck them from the shopping malls and parades and, praise God, even the churches of this land and cast them out with a righteous fury.  We must surround them and spit upon them and cast our stones at them until they repent of their wickedness and embrace the love of the One True God.  As they lie there in the dirt, choking and broken, we must join our voices and raise a cry of victory over the forces of evil. 

We must purge the children, who have feasted upon spoiled fruit and grown bloated with the sin of Socialist liberal doctrine, wicked carnal knowledge and blasphemous idolatry.  As they rise from their beds on Easter morning and scurry to the door, we must snatch them up by the nape of the neck and bring them into obedience to a loving God.  Bind them to the floor.  Lock them up.  Cleanse them with a righteous cane until the depravity and barbarity of their misguided upbringing flows like water from their frail little bodies. 

Only then may we be absolved of this heinous affront to God.  Only then may we send our collective plea to Him and pray for a final solution.  But what is the answer?  And who will deliver it to us? 

Your god.  Our God.  My GOD.  These are the Three Gods of the New Era.  Your god is a myth, a false legend, a wily trickster birthed of ignorance and sin and set loose upon the earth to lead the weary astray.  Our God is impalpable, murky, a nebulous bundle of loose ideals and collective philosophy propagated through the ages by metaphorical circumstance and allegory.  Our God is a construct of the masses.  Our God is simply my God obscured by the slimy film of worldly compromise and dim understanding. 

My God is absolute.  My God is the bread of life.  My God is whatever I want Him to be, because I am His creation and my every thought was ordained by Him before I came to know this life.

My God can shoot lasers from His eyes.  My God can have bionic limbs and a titanium exoskeleton capable of deflecting small arms fire and rocket-propelled grenades.  My God can have three heads, each mouth opening wide to spew forth acid and flames upon the tragic damned.  He can be taller than a skyscraper.  He can be more vengeful than the most dangerous and rabid of beasts.  He can snatch you up out of your skin as if you are nothing at all to Him because, verily, you are not.

As the children are fettered and weeping, as the flames consume the cursed makings of a liar king, as the followers of Oschter Haws squirm and die in the muck, my God will descend from a burning sky on a chariot of souls and the stage will be set.  He will face the wicked Oschter Haws on the field of battle, and many shall perish in the wake of their struggle.  Cities will fall.  The cries of the accursed will fill the boiling air as they are ripped and torn asunder.  Rivers will flow with blood and chocolate which shall spill forth into our streets and devour the elderly and the weak. 

As the empire of the dreaded Oschter Haws crumbles, my God will rise and smite it with a blow from His mighty hammer and the devilish beast shall fall.  Before the light fades from its predatory gaze, we shall consume its innards and set fire to its evil heart.  We will drag its ragged corpse through the streets and hang it from a tall post.  It will fester and rot in the sun, and the maggots will dig into its eyes, and false prophets will look upon this monument of flesh and bone and shy away from this land forevermore.

His righteous thirst for blood temporarily sated, my God will ascend to Heaven in a glorious inferno.  As His eternal eye settles upon us from the stars once more, we shall bury our honored dead and give praise to Him who leads us from bondage with mercy and deadly grace.

He is the Lamb.  He is the bearer of eternal life.  Only through His loving wrath may we truly seek redemption.  May we bless His fury and keep His jealous rage in our hearts forever and ever.

Amen.


From the Artist:

Author Mike Chambers is a good friend of mine- as to say we've on more than one occasion been inebriated to the point of poetic slander and mutual cynicism of the discontents of both society and system.  At our friend Nathan's birthday party last weekend, we decided to collaborate on this Easter project having The Lord Jesus Christ reclaim his holiday from the devilish little incarnation known as The Easter Bunny.  I quickly drew a drunken thumbnail out on a paper towel in ball-point pen depicting Jesus smashing the Hoppity One's brains out with the Hammer of God.  This was simply to save a memento of the idea just in case the moment of brilliance slipped my mind.  Good thing, because the author didn't remember a damn thing after a dozen or so Black Tooth Grins and ended up covered head to toe in all-purpose self-rising flour... don't ask.  Anyhow- a Biblical seven days later, you have this visionary magical treat!  In Vino Veritas

Oschter Haws: An Easter Tale of Calamity and Woe is purely a brainchild of satire.  Please don't harm, heckle, haze or otherwise create prejudice against your local community Easter Bunnies due to the above-mentioned content.  No real animals or eggs were harmed in the making of this commentary. 

Click HERE for more Incarnations of Jesus from last Easter!

Friday, April 6, 2012

Good Friday

According to Chapter 19 from the Book of John in The Holy Bible, Christ was crucified at Calvary on a Friday.  As with Christian tradition, today is Good Friday (and quite possibly the last one in human history if you prescribe to Mayan lore as well) where the church begins its celebration of the death of their martyr culminating on Easter Sunday. After three days, Jesus rose from the grave in some zealot zombie state to bring Christianity and all that goes with it to a world eager for answers of their origin and purpose.  

Inks on Bristol / 2012
Today I wanted to share with you a very unique commission I had the honor of drawing a few months back.   A young lady recently contacted me about my Sacred Texts series with a very open mind and a love for religious art.  She had initially inquired about my illustration, "After the Crucifixion"- a work which had already found a home with my Grandmother, a devout Christian.  We decided instead to include Amy herself in a Pieta scene as is traditionally depicted with Mary holding the body of Christ, having been brought down off the cross.  This depiction was first brought to reality and the world of art by Michelangelo in statue form over 600 years ago.  My illustration of The Pieta uses Daniele Crespi's Pieta painting from the 17th Century as a reference.

Detail from Initial Sketch
To see more of my commissioned works, check out my PORTRAIT PAGE!


Lucy, Pulled Pork and Chad Spann ALL Melt in Your Mouth

Aurora and I skedaddled downtown tonight for Clarksville's First Thursday Art Crawl.  I dropped by the APSU Downtown Gallery for the US Bank Open Exhibition to start the night in Strawberry Alley.  No, I didn't place yet again but there was some really cool artwork from a wide variety of amateur and professional artists.  Taking home an award in this local exhibit has eluded me and can't seem to win the elite judges over year after year.  Discussing this with other patrons of the show, we concluded that the judges simply assume I would spend the award money on weed and don't see the point acknowledging my work.  Until next year, here's "Lucy in the Sky," a collaborative illustration I did a few years ago with Miranda Herrick.  She lined and colored the kaleidoscope eyes and I did the rest.  Lucy was just too good not to enter this year since she had yet to be exhibited in a gallery setting.  I got a premium spot right in the middle of the room and some wonderful reactions from viewers!

 "Lucy in the Sky" inks on paper / 2007 with Miranda Herrick
So WHO did take home the coveted Best in Show?  My main man and puppeteer-extraordinaire Paul Fly.  Paul has a dream job in Nashville making electronic puppets and entered a wicked mixed media piece...

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

APRIL FOOLS (Six Feet of Live Acrylic Debauchery with Spit by Case Arnold)

Fools Gold (detail)
Sunday, I scorched the hangover off after my buddy Nathan's birthday party by painting under the Southern Sun with the Wolfman over at his hacienda.  It was April 1st and usually I'd be balls deep in shenanigans scaring the wits out of someone dear to me.  Instead of making fools out of my friends and co-workers, we decided to make fools out of thin air (well some paint and a six foot long panel was required) to celebrate April Fools Day!

Check out the time lapse video of the entire painting process from Sunday afternoon featuring a track by Clarksville's own Case Arnold!  The kid has some serious skills he's showing off on the road and I promised him I'd borrow a track for a video when I got turned onto his flow several weeks back.