Saturday, June 25, 2011

In Memoriam: The King of Pop [Top 10 Michael Jackson Music Videos]

Inks on Bristol / 2011
On today's date two years ago, Michael Jackson moonwalked right out of the stratosphere and into the great Neverland beyond.  As duty holds, Joebot is taking care of the juicy details of MJ's rise to stardom, fall from grace and eventual demise over at Rock Star Martyr today, where my portrait will be featured.

My idea for this work was to show the transformation of the King of Pop from circa 1982 to circa 1999.  When I decided to incorporate Bubbles, his monkey- I knew he had to progress as well.  For my series of portraits for Rock Star Martyr, the element contributing to the star's death is included in each work.  Bubbles is holding a healthy dose of a variety of pharmaceuticals, which Jackson accidentally overdosed on at the age of 50.

As an added treat today, I put together a time lapse video of the coloring process of my portrait...

Friday, June 24, 2011

Illustration Friday: Campy

I believe "Midsummer Night" is my favorite theme so far which Illustration Friday has thrown at me.   I really had fun digging around looking through old work and musing summertime memories just now.  Today's featured illustration is from my Topsy Turvy series.  One of the things about summer which turns me nostalgic is campfires- I've had some of the best times of my life around them here in the south with guitars and stories and dancing (til dawn often times.)  That's where this work and theme brought me today so I'll be on my way- it's a beautiful summer day and I gotta find my next fire...
"Topsy Turvy: Campy" inks on paper / 2007
All works from this series can be hung either side up- today's for example, will look more like the sun in space than a campfire when you flip it over!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Southern Pop Surrealism PRESS RELEASE

"Monkey Worship" inks on bristol / 2011
 I whipped up our PRESS RELEASE this evening for our trip to The Big Easy next month and thought it was worth while to share what I wrote...

Southern Pop Surrealism

The Artwork of Charles Bennett, Jeff Bertrand, Dustin Dirt! and Brandt Hardin


The original Surrealism movement of the 1920’s was the most visionary and revolutionary change to ever occur in the mainstream arts world.  With the invention of the camera, art had slowly degenerated and transitioned from its need for realism over the previous thirty years.  Most Popular Art didn’t require as much technical skill, but rather an expression of movement and composition.  Surrealism required realistic imagery to be twisted and morphed into a dreamlike, hallucinogenic state… this loosening of reality inspired everything from film to animation to even written works with surrealist poetry.  A few decades further in time, Pop Art emerged in the 1960’s, using imagery in popular culture from mediums such as comics and television.  Flash forward to today, in which the fusion and evolution of popular arts has brought forth a new doctrine with Pop Surrealism.  Middle Tennessee artists Charles Bennett, Jeff Bertrand, Dustin Dirt! and Brandt Hardin prescribe to this movement and bring their twisted take on reality to the Zeitgeist Multi-Disciplinary Arts Center in July!

Saturday, July 16th from 6-9PM, the exhibiting artists will be on hand for the opening reception of Southern Pop Surrealism.  This event will be curated by Myron Warden and Rene Broussard (founder and Executive Director of Zeitgeist Multi-Disciplinary Arts Center.)  Admission to the show is $7 ($5 for members) and includes live painting, live poetry, live music and body painting along with a special screening of surrealist short films.  Create your own piece of surrealism and enter the Costume Contest to win artwork from the exhibiting artists!

Contact information, yadda yadda ya... and boom- artist samples (including mine from above!)
Dustin Dirt!
Charles Bennett

Jeff Bertrand

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Nashville Invades NOLA July 16th!

A first look at the poster I designed today!
Over the next few weeks, I'll be posting some previews of Southern Pop Surrealism, a group exhibit featuring myself, Jeff Bertrand, Charles Bennett, and Dustin Dirt!  The opening reception Saturday night, July 16th from 6-9PM will be truly surreal with live performances, live painting, body painting and short film screenings!  The architect of this event is a dear friend of mine- Mr. Myron Warden along with Rene Broussard (Executive Director of our venue, Zeitgeist Multi-Disciplinary Arts Center in it's 25th year in New Orleans,) who will be hosting a slew of our twisted works for the month!

To kick things off- here's the poster design I finished tonight for the venue, which is a movie theater featuring independent film from all over the world and spanning the history of cinema.  In addition to movies, Rene also gives audience to performance and visual arts year round and we are fortunate to fill his space with our own blend of eye candy in just a few weeks! 

Stay tuned the next few weeks for more tasty previews of Southern Pop Surrealism including a video showing the creation of the two group paintings used in the poster above!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Nashville Pride 2011

One of many great shots Aurora captured today!
Today was a free-spirited breath of fresh air for myself and my craft with The Nashville Pride Festival.  Aurora and I set up in the rain this morning not expecting a whole lot of things considering our unpredictable Tennessee weather.  Boy were we wrong- Nashville turned out in the rain and danced it right away by the afternoon!  I got to meet some colorful folk indeed who gave me great conversations about not only my art but the free will involved in making it.  You see if we don't get to act and think for ourselves and be true to what we feel, there is not room for art.  One of the things I didn't realize about Pride was the rich tradition behind this event with the local gay community.  It's truly a holiday, having heard stories from all sorts of folks about Prides past and Prides to come.

Throughout the day I had countless company with new friends, old friends, and people of every variety.  One encounter however didn't hit home until I got back to the hacienda tonight.  While talking with a gentleman from California about art and cognitive freedoms today, he introduced his lady friend, Joslyn who purchased one of my Topsy-Turvy prints.  He gave me a flier and told me to come and see her dance this evening at a local club.  One side of the postcard was for his business, The Dildo Doctor which provides "Over 150 styles of HypoAllergenic Glass Pieces."  One the other side was a promo shot for Joslyn James (the porn star who was involved with Tiger Woods.) 

Here are some great pictures, most of which Aurora took today at the festival!
(Left) I lucked out with my spot in the shade! (Right) View from just behind our booth down onto Riverfront Park and the Main Stage.  If you looked directly behind our tent, it was directly across from Titan Stadium.
The Main Stage area
With my friend Zach, who was the architect behind my Fred Phelps portrait which I displayed today!

Aurora with Su (A True Patriot and Teapot Party Office Holder!)

Kevin Roger's awesome words of wisdom...

Nashville GLBT

Nashville Pride

Friday, June 17, 2011

Illustration Friday: The Military Skeleton

The Military Skeleton / inks on paper / 2007
Earlier this year, I gave you a preview of a series of illustrations I have put on indefinite hiatus for a number of reasons- The Ballad of the Skeletons, based on the poem by Allen Ginsberg.  At some point, I'll revisit these works and illustrate all 80+ skeletons of this massive project.  Today,  I felt compelled to share another one with you which immediately came to mind for Illustration Friday.  The theme of this week's artistic escapade is "Launch."

"Said the Military Skeleton,
Buy Star Bombs."
-Allen Ginsberg, Ballad of the Skeletons

We live in a country which launches a military offensive at a bare minimum of once per Presidential administration. We always have to have an enemy- a bad guy for the public to demonize, hate and call to be hunted down like a dog to justify the majority of our military operations.  Why do we need this constant state of fear of impending attacks?  To keep us in line with the program of being proud of war.  We need it to be necessary and justified because our country profits from war.  Companies have made out like bandits since WWI from manufacturing arms, ammunition, uniforms, nonperishable foods and a whole variety of other toys, gadgets and necessities of war.  Capitalism seeks to profit from every industry, hence the term, "war profiteering."  Big Business wants us at war and needs us at war, which is why we're ALWAYS at war.   I could go on all day long on this subject but a more recent example of my grievance with our military industrial complex is thoroughly covered the documentary, Iraq for Sale, which I've posted for you here today...

"Let us call a truce to terror. Let us invoke the blessings of peace. And as we build an international capacity to keep peace, let us join in dismantling the national capacity to wage war."
- John F. Kennedy, September 25, 1961

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Rock Star Martyr: Kristen Pfaff

On today's date in 1994, Kristen Pfaff left our world at the age of 27... that magic number in the cult of the dead star.  I'll save her tragic story for Joebot to weave for you with his silver-forked tongue at Rock Star Martyr today.  It's not a paying gig here on Earth, but the material Joe gives me to draw from can't hurt in scoring a front row seat to the baddest ass supergroup show ever when I punch my own ticket.

Make sure to get over to today to check out ALL of the early departed I've illustrated for Joebot's articles.

Click HERE for more Rock Star Portraits here on my site!

Neato Facts: 

I used Seattle as the backdrop of my portrait for today's article.  Pfaff died in the city the night before she was to return to her old band in Minneapolis, Janitor Joe. 

There are 27 black and white stars in the sky in reference to The 27 Club

Sketch and Line Work

Friday, June 10, 2011

Illustration Friday: Oceanic

"Oceanic" inks on bristol / 2008
"Swept" is the theme for this week's Illustration Friday, which immediately brought an illustration to mind from 2008.  I guess it gives me the feeling of being swept away.  The water is my favorite part of this one with it's calming deco greens.  I've never displayed this gal, since the proper context to show the work in has yet to surface.  I composed a few surreal portraits that year of women with the power animals perched on their shoulders.  I did four or five and lost interest in the idea (which tends to happen to my scattered brain.)

Thursday, June 9, 2011

The Birth of Nineopus

"The Birth of Nineopus" acrylic, ink and spray paint / 2011
My most recent project involving paint is for The Skateboard Art Show at Octane Gallery inside Kustom Thrills Tattoo in East Nashville.  Drop by Sunday for the opening reception or when you're on that side of The Big Nasty this month!

I'd never painted a skateboard before this bad boy, so I was pretty stoked at the idea of the project.  I've never really hesitated to paint anything that's crossed my path.  Ironically despite playing with found wood, vinyl toys, records, tables, walls, license plates, signs and even bricks- I'd never gotten around to covering a deck.  I liked the idea of painting an old used board that had character.  Something like this should be re-purposed since it probably will get hung, not rode.  I made a call via Facebook for anyone with one they could part with and followed up to some prints for not only this deck but my next project now.. a very retro surfboard!

I honestly had no idea what I was going to paint on the deck.  I just knew that I needed to cover the hokey skull with wings which occupied it's finish before.  The surface was already beat up thoroughly enough to skip sanding her down.  I got started with some spray paint.
After musing my running base colors for a couple of days, I kept seeing tentacles so that's where Nineopus was conceived!
What came first, The Nineopus or The Egg?

Friday, June 3, 2011

Illustration Friday: A Gallery Scene (Collaboration with Miranda Herrick)

We'll round out this week with a collaboration for Illustration Friday's theme, "Shadows."  Ironically, this past Saturday, I exhibited some new collaborations with photographer Chad Spann at Flashed Photography (click here for the post.)  I found it fitting to share another collaboration with you this week, only this one is a bit older.  

"A Gallery Scene" inks on bristol / 2007 (Brandt Hardin and Miranda Herrick)
When I saw the theme this week, the drop-shadow off of the child figure in this work immediately came to mind.
Back in 2007, I collaborated with a fellow artist Miranda Herrick.  Miranda works with very intricate, visionary patterns to make some very psychedelic works!  Miranda had given me some pads of scrap paper from where she was cutting perfect squares out of bristol board for her work.  What was left were these long 14 inch strips.  All the works I did on these were multi-paneled and matted similar to what you see here.  When I began the work, I left the large frame which the child is looking at empty.  Miranda filled this with her own design.

Click HERE for a stream of my Illustration Friday entries!