Friday, August 31, 2012


The "Dumbing Down of America" is never more prevalent than in the arena of Politics in the United States.  Sponsored mouthpieces stump for candidates with no platform, no plan and no passion for actually helping the American people.  There was a time (perhaps in my lifetime or yours) were partisanship existed in our three branches of Government.  Today, a savage and hateful battle ensues in the streets of Washington and Main Street USA with mud-slinging, attack ads, conspiracy theories, terrorizing rhetoric and distractions from any valid issue which could actually make a politician take a firm position representative of his constituents.  The two major political parties of our country are live entertainment 24-7 on the air through dozens of media outlets- dumbed-down to reality TV standards.  These grunting, monotoned shells of elected officials work to polarize issues and scare votes to one side or another of the great isle of Congress.  Nothing more than zombies, they stagger forward to their next meal steamed with hate, seared with fear and devoid of brains.  The choices are clear...

Illustration and Digital Mixed Media / 2012
"Democracy doesn't have to be a blood sport."  -President Bill Clinton

Saturday, August 25, 2012

EXQUISITE CORPSES on St George Island (Part Deux)

A week on the island here lying just off of the Forgotten Coast of Florida seems like a day, a moment, a breath, a flash in the pan anywhere else in real time.  Tomorrow morning we head back home to Tennessee all too soon but with new memories, experiences and about 700 pictures which Aurora and I took throughout our 7 days in paradise.  Here are some more collaborative drawings I worked on this week with Joe and Aimee Davidson here at Aargh House along with The Wolfman.

Click HERE for the first group of "exquisite corpses" I posted earlier in the week.  

Here's some more pics from the week along with the drawings...

Friday, August 24, 2012

The Creative Playground at Under the Oaks Park

Aurora on The Creative Playground
Of course I couldn't resist sharing an experience involving "creative" in the name, right?  Aurora and I were headed to Panama City Beach to meet up with some fellow vacationers from Tennessee this week when we ran across Under the Oaks Park just off the coast of Florida.  What drew us off the highway onto a detour was initially the massive amount of Spanish Moss dangling from the trees filling this waterfront park.  To our surprise, we also found The Creative Playground to run around and get some wonderful pictures!

In 1993, P.C. Juniors coordinated the construction of a 10,000 square foot “Creative Playground” at Under the Oaks Park on Tyndall Parkway in Callaway. It took more than three years to raise the $70,000 needed to construct the project.  The five-day barn-raising-style project resulted in a multi-level wooden structure of interconnecting tunnels, ramps, bridges, ladders and overhead rings. The designer, New York architects Robert Leathers and Associates, used suggestions of more than 1,800 Bay County elementary school children to shape the playground. As a result, it includes a pencil tower, pirate ship, and covered picnic area. In addition to the unusual elements included in the playground, it has two swing sets, four types of slides, a big sandbox and balance beams... Click HERE to read MORE at the Panama City Juniors' Website who organized this project!

It was a thrill to run around like kids in this maze-like structure with slides, shoots and room for your imagination to run wild.  I found it especially touching that the local community here came together to build such a joy which is free and open to the public. Here are several more pictures from the Park...

Tuesday, August 21, 2012


My wife Aurora and I are on St George Island in Florida this week for our vacation with the Bennett and Davidson clans.  With free time on our hands and a house full of creative people, we're creating some art while we're here dodging in and out of the rain.  Only two days in, we're getting the relaxation the doctor ordered.  We created some "exquisite corpse" drawings the other night, rotating three illustrations between myself, The Wolfman and Aimee Davidson.  Here are the drawings along with some cloud and beach porn...

Monday, August 20, 2012

SPACE and EQUALITY (Passing Through Alabama)

Sunday, my wife Aurora and I ventured through the entire state of Alabama in route to our ultimate destination and much needed vacation at St. George Island in Florida.  We stopped to take a gander at the work of some of my personal heroes at NASA as we crossed the state line from Tennessee.  We got  a few pictures of the Saturn IB rocket at the NASA Informational Center.  This rocket was an early model of what eventually landed American astronauts on the Moon nearly half a century ago.  Space exploration is one of man's greatest achievements and our friends have gone much further this past year by putting the Mars Rover into action!

We wanted to take our time on vacation this year and stopped for the night half-way to the beach house in Montgomery Saturday night.  The town is a very historic being the crossroads for the African American Civil Rights struggle.  We jumped at the chance to take in some of the more important spots before leaving town Sunday morning.  

Keep scrolling for some great pictures Aurora took of the Rosa Parks Musuem and Monument, The Civil Rights Memorial and The Minister's House...

Saturday, August 11, 2012

10 Glimpses of Guernica for REMASTERS of the UNIVERSE

Detail from my ReMaster of Picasso's "Guernica"
ReMASTERS of the UNIVERSE is the brainchild of Nashville artists Jeff Bertrand and Brooke E as the duo have unleashed an army of a couple dozen regional artists to re-imagine classic paintings.  Along with the show's host, Blackbird Tattoo and Gallery, the curators have an unforgettably surreal evening of live entertainment planned for the opening reception TONIGHT- August 11th!  Just for starters, $10 at the door gets you in for ALL the artwork plus Music City Burlesque, who will be modeling for a LIVE painting session with the artists.  Musical entertainment will be provided by DJ’s Dorian and Jix, Spoken Nerd, The Greater Good, Last of the Horsemen, Erin Rae and Fuckshow while you dig on appetizers provided by 80 Days Catering.  The show starts late at 9PM for all you Tomato Art Festers so make this your late-night entertainment!  (Click HERE for a preview of my new works for Tomato Art Fest which is also today!)

I'll have two new illustrations on display in ReMASTERS of the UNIVERSE!  First, I've recreated a painting which changed my entire outlook on art with Salvador Dali's "Soft Construction with Boiled Beans (Premonition of Civil War.)"  My third eye was sprung wide when I was turned onto this particular dose of surrealism as a teenager.  My second cover which you're getting a sneak peek of right here is Pablo Picasso's "Guernica."  I translated this 25 foot long masterpiece into about 18 inches!  Here are 10 process pictures of my ReMastered illustration...

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

New Illustrations for Tomato Art Fest!

"Attack of the Zombie Tomato" inks on bristol / 2012
This Saturday, East Nashville hosts its annual Tomato Art Fest!  The all-day event brings local vendors, artists and musicians to the Five Points area in a massive and cultural celebration of the Tomato!  Meg at Art & Invention Gallery also holds an exhibit of artwork every year inspired by tomatoes in which I've partook the past few years.

Here's some process pictures of the two new works I created for this year's art exhibit, my "Organic Buddha" and "Attack of the Zombie Tomato!"  Drop by Art & Invention Gallery Saturday to see these and dozens of other works from local artists!

Sunday, August 5, 2012


I got in a nice backyard session of Southern Pop Surrealism today painting with my usual cohort in art crimes, Charles "Wolfman" Bennett and a special guest as The American Printmaker himself, Jesse Shaw joined us.  Our friends Brad and Heather also dropped by to keep us company with good conversation.  Ominous storm clouds crept past and lingered all day but didn't keep the painting at bay.  Thunder rolls as I write and set up this post for you tonight.  After Spray painting a background, we dove into group painting mode and pulled out a pretty cool seen..  Here are some process pictures from this afternoon as Charles painted a Zombie Alien with a decapitated farmer's head.  Meanwhile Jesse painted the distressed cock gazing up at the flying vaHina launching from my alien craft...

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Holy Rollin' Poultry on a Cross (Chick-fil-A as the Modern Martyr)

Inks on Bristol / 2012
The Christian and LGBT communities have polarized our country with their first amendment fueled war as of late.  In our current political landscape where corporations have gained legal person-hood, a company's public opinion comes into debate as people vote with their dollars.  In recent years, companies like The Home Depot and Starbucks have ruffled the Christ-like feathers of legions of Conservatives by supporting organizations which seek equal rights for the gay community.  Recently, the hue of grass on the other side of the fence has come into question.  Chick-fil-A (an American fast-food chain) has publicly acknowledged monetarily defending the traditional definition of marriage though donations to various religious organizations. 

As gay rights groups stage protests of Chick-fil-A all over the country, Christian groups are raising the masses to defend the restaurant's right to Hate.  Of course, let us not forget that no press is bad press.  The fast food titan has reported record profits amidst the debacle.  At the end of the day, capitalism shines, profit reigns supreme and Big Business laughs all the way to the bank.  Millions of people have engaged in political, social and religious debate with the Holy Chicken as the new Martyr.  Poultry blood runs down the spear and stains the ground from which dollars sprout root.  It's a textbook campaign for the New Rules of Marketing and PR as the cows and chickens play their roles in leading the sheep to the drive-thru. 

12/20/2013 UPDATE:  The Ducks have come to roost (and hate...)

Wednesday, August 1, 2012


Irrefutable evidence and statistics suggest we as Americans do in fact live in a modern Police State being run for massive profits split between Private Companies and the Government.  Tomorrow we may just wake to to a very real American nightmare while today we sleep at the wheel allowing civil liberties to be limited one piece of legislation at a time and often literally at the expense of citizens one dollar at a time. 

"Fuck Tha Police" inks on bristol / 2012

The term, "Police State" was coined in mid-19th century Austria. While degrees of government suppression vary from country to country throughout the world, each year which passes brings the United States closer and closer to each and every definition of the term.  Many of the key aspects which mold this seemingly foreign circumstance can be easily identified by the current level of police control in our country.

Inhabitants of a Police State find themselves subject to restrictions in mobility, freedom to express political views and subject to police monitoring and enforcement (often by a secret police force executing social control by executive order.)  

Restricted mobility?  In a post-9/11 world, citizens find it difficult to travel with intimate body scanning techniques and security screenings being used inside every airport terminal in the nation.  Laws differ from state to state as officers are given leeway for racial profiling.  In Arizona, state laws attempt to supersede federal authority as Police screen Hispanics daily for immigration papers.  In New York City, officers last year reported the number of stops and searches of black youths exceeded the number of them living in the city under their "Stop and Frisk" law.  Here in Middle Tennessee, out-of-state vehicles are profiled and stopped without probably cause, leading to forced searches and seizures.  Drivers found with cash money are required to go to court and prove their ownership of the money and its purpose.  Often this money is kept by police as suspected drug trafficking capital.

 Limited Freedom to Express Political Views?  Just ask Occupy Wall Street protesters.  Over 7,000 arrests have been made of people protesting Wall Street corruption over the past year.  Rounded up by the busload, people of all ages and backgrounds were pepper-sprayed, beaten and their personal property destroyed by police from Oakland to New York City.  Local law enforcement agencies along with Homeland Security and the FBI infiltrated protest groups undercover and quickly came down with physical force to let the public know that dissidence would not be tolerated.  Numerous lawsuits still stand denouncing these tactics as excessive use of force.  A recent independent law panel in NYC requested oversight to reprimand the NYPD for what they found to be gross violations of Civil Rights. 

Subject to Police Monitoring?  Police entities in our country are requesting Facebook and Twitter history from Social Networking Companies at an alarming rate.  Anonymous, Wikileaks and Occupy Wall Street Activists find their Twitter accounts being shut down as their messages are being used against them in open court.  The FBI has applauded social networking as the greatest modern investigation tool, replacing many monitoring tactics.  As far as our verbal communication, software screens cellular phone calls for buzz words leading to terrorism investigations of people based on computer recognition.  RFID chips are being implemented in passports and photo identification across the nation, which can be used as scanning and tracking devices. 

Secret Police Force?  There are three in the United States which operate on a National Level: The CIA, The FBI and Homeland Security (not to mention localized Bureaus of Investigation operating largely in secret on the State Level across the Nation.)

Excessive Police Enforcement?  America has 5% of the world's population and 20% of its prisoners.  The Corporate Media and Government routinely place labels like "authoritarian" and "police state" on countries like China, which has 4x the population of the U.S. and 1/2 the prisoners.  On average, America has 6x the prisoners of every country in the world.  Of course it wasn't always like this.  From 1925-1975, the percentage of citizens imprisoned in the States lined up with the rest of the world.  In the mid-70's, the prison boom launched with the War on Drugs.  By 1980, 40,000 Americans were imprisoned for narcotics.  The 1990's brought the implementation mandatory minimum sentences and three strikes laws.  By 2008, the number of citizens incarcerated for drugs reached over a HALF MILLION people.

Social Control by Executive Order?  Mayors and Governors give State Police marching orders (often under the advisement of those "secret police" mentioned above.)  By Executive Order, the President of the United States has the power to pull the plug on the internet for public use.  With the passing of the NDAA this past year, whoever holds the Presidential office also holds the power to detain citizens of the United States (as well as people here illegally) indefinitely and without trial.

 So WHY all the Orwellian Oversight?  Policing is BIG BUSINESS in a the country which revolutionized Capitalism.  

The early 1980's ushered in an era of deregulation for American Business, leading to the privatization of public services such as the prison system.  The CCA (Corrections Corporation of America) was born in 1983, purchasing prisons from state governments and promising to keep them at 90% capacity by contract.  The gradual privatization of U.S. prisons for profit has grown to this very day as a $250 million campaign is being waged in 48 states to lobby for more and more prisons to be turned into money-making machines this year.  

It's not always been a smooth progression of profit for these facilities.  In the 1990's, many public service groups enacted drug treatment programs to help prisoners with early releases from their sentence.  With general populations dropping, companies like CCA found themselves saddled with debt.  Just when America was beginning to rethink profiting from incarcerating citizens, the events of 9/11 changed the world (and the public perception of certain minorities.)  The U.S. now had an enemy to round up besides your every-day drug user/peddler.  Prisons lobbied heavily for bills such as Arizona's SB1070 (the immigration profiling law which has been similarly adopted in states like Georgia and Alabama.)  10 years later after the detainment of thousands of immigrants, the top two prison companies, CEO and CCA posted a combined profit of $3 Billion in 2010.

Once inmates are locked up and pulling the dollars from old Uncle Sam, Fortune 500 companies put them to work for a variety of services  All these guys have is time being under the lock and key of a private company; so why not make the most of it?  Prisoners can earn anywhere from 93 cents to $4.73 for a DAY's work.  Of course, when such wages are reported in other countries, it's referred to in more derogatory terms such as "sweat shops" and "slave labor."  What do you call it when the largest prison population in the world is put to work at a wage far below the poverty line?  Free Market Capitalism. 

You don't have to be behind bars for Wall Street's finest to bust your wallet.  General policing brings in the BIG bucks as well.  Companies have infiltrated the traffic ticketing game by raising high-tech cameras at busy intersections all over the country.  Americans pay approx $6 Billion in speeding citations each year with a chunk of that going to companies with an invested interest in what's NOT in your best interest (or safety.)  For example, camera companies are allowed to impose restrictions on the length of yellow lights.  700 communities employing these camera-enforced traffic laws are netting $1.5 Million a year which gets split 60/40 with the company.  Some states such as Florida have up to 40 lobbyists working alone on skimming money off everyday traffic.  Big cities can draw big numbers such as Chicago in 2010 by giving their residents a lashing for a whopping $69 Million.

With all those cameras doing the busy-work, Police are out protecting their communities through services such as Saturation Patrols and good old fashioned Road Blocks!  In 2009, California shined in protecting their state though such programs which bankrolled $40 Million back to the State.   In most cases, less than 10% of the fines levied involved alcohol but rather unlicensed motorists and other citations.  Today, it costs a few grand to handle a DUI charge and being prosecuted of ANY felony leads to expensive probation charges and fines.  Of course, cops are out catching the REAL bad guys too- all those drug users, drug dealers, drug traffickers and peoples of terrorist descent.  Round 'em up... Ship 'em off to earn an honest day's wage building office furniture, making clothing, taking hotel reservations and even butchering meat to earn less in a day than the Federal Minimum Wage for one hour's work.

 If Policing is for Profit, FUCK tha POLICE.