Saturday, July 30, 2011

PEACE Stickers!

I just got in my brand spankin' new foil stickers this week and have been distributing them accordingly.  I got plenty left and wanted to make them available here through!  The stickers are 3in  x 3in and superchromeshiny with my patented Peace Sign you see plastered all over my page.
I'm totally stoked about these bad boys- they pOp!

I'll mail you 2 PEACE STICKERS today for $3 (FREE shipping) They're yours for the taking if you want 'em!

Click on the picture to see the pocket lint!
Ain't got three bucks?  I need stickers too to fill up my trusty filing cabinet.  Email me at for my snail mail address and I'll send you a sticker when you send me one!
Room to grow and room to show... add to the collection- I love to trade!

Friday, July 29, 2011

Illustration Friday: Gag Order

"Gag Order" Inks on Paper / 2007
"Obsession" is Illustration Friday's theme today.  I've been obsessed this week with Freedom of Speech.  This month, the artistic community here in Tennessee has come under fire about our new State Law banning citizens from posting "potentially offensive" images to the internet.
I responded to this new law with a Portrait of the man who signed this law into effect, our Governor Bill Haslam.

What is more Offensive? A violation of our Civil Liberties or Art?

Saturday, July 23, 2011

POTENTIALLY OFFENSIVE: A Portrait of Governor Bill Haslam and His Wife Crissy

Passing new laws is all about control and Bill is a control F-R-E-A-K
As of July 1st, my home state has adopted Tennessee Code Title 39, Chapter 17, Part 3 which bans the transmission of “Potentially Offensive Images” via the internet.   Governor Bill Haslam signed this bill into effect last month, making us the first state in the country to put forth such a measure which CLEARLY snubs The First Amendment and Freedom of Speech.   Violators of this newly formed law are subject to misdemeanor charges and a conviction to serve up to one year in jail and pay a $2500 fine.

Before we get into the potential ramifications of this glob of snot spat on the Bill of Rights, here’s where this all got started…  The new law is actually a modification to Public Chapter 362 of Tennessee Law.  The original legislation made it a crime to email, call or otherwise communicate to an individual with the intent to cause emotional distress.  The legislation was an attempt to curb what is referred to as “cyber bullying,” a growing problem amongst youth in schools.  Cyber bullying has caused children to be humiliated, stop going to school for fear of ridicule and even driven students to suicide in extreme cases.  It’s my firm opinion that stifling such juvenile behavior falls under the jurisdiction of decent parenting.   Putting forth a law making such communication illegal is a clear-cut violation of Freedom of Speech.  Keep in mind that very tough calls have to be made by our justice system to uphold our First Amendment rights; this includes allowing groups such as The Westboro Baptist Church (the “God Hates Fags” nut jobs) and The Ku Klux Klan (famous for lynching black folks and burning crosses) to assemble publicly and inject their rhetoric into the public pool of thought.  We may not always agree with the issue at hand, however it is essential that these rulings take place in order to preserve one of the basic rights our country was founded on.

As of this month, it is now illegal to post an image to the internet in the state of Tennessee which may “frighten, intimidate or cause emotional distress.”  These terms include emailing, tweeting or posting the image in any form or fashion.  In a recent interview, Knoxville lawyer Rick Hollow was asked to clearly define the limitations of this law.  “We’re left to our own interpretations,” Rick stated.  What exactly is considered to be offensive? The attorney says, “Just about anything that the individual finds to be annoying, harassing or intimidating.”

Let’s try real quick to clarify the term, “Potentially Offensive…”

Potentially is defined as “Possibly but not yet actually.”  Soooooo according to this term, the image doesn’t even have to be outright offensive to breach the law, only have the potential to offend someone.  See the grey canyon of interpretation?

Offensive is defined as “Causing resentful displeasure, irritating, angering or annoying.”  A fun fact is the example used on is “offensive television commercial.”  Now that’s something we could make illegal and nobody would complain!  As human beings, I’m certain there’s nobody who could make it an hour of surfing the web and not find something annoying or irritating out there.  Throw a stone anyone?
Now if laying these definitions out doesn’t make the law vague enough for you, this next tidbit will really burst your freedom-fighting bubble.  The new law doesn’t require the picture in question to be of or about the person of persecution!  An individual only has to find an image someone uploads offensive to have them arrested and fined.  Furthermore, the government wouldn’t even have to prove the defendant’s intentions.  The fault lies on the person who posted the image- which applies to chain of possession.   In other words, don’t be scared to share my portrait of Governor Haslam and his wife, Crissy- only I am liable.

Thankfully we DO have freedom of speech and expression in our country and groups which help to enforce them.  In 1997, the ACLU took on Janet Reno and her Communications Decency Act, which attempted to make certain interactions and materials on the internet illegal.  All nine Justices of the Supreme Court unanimously voted to strike down certain provisions of this act as violations of The First Amendment.  Freedom of Speech in art has been upheld for over 50 years from cases such as Winters vs. New York (1948) where the content of comic books was put on trial.  Media Coalition and The ACLU of Tennessee are taking up the torch on this issue and have announced their lawsuit against the State of Tennessee for violating The First Amendment.  

“ACLU-TN, joined by the Media Coalition plans to file a lawsuit challenging the new state “offensive images” law which makes it a crime to post any image online that causes “emotional distress” to any individual. This new law, which went into effect July 1st, creates a chilling effect on expressive political, artistic, and otherwise lawful speech and also turns political activists, artists and others into criminals. Basically anyone with an online presence sharing images becomes vulnerable to prosecution.”
-Hedy Weinberg (Executive Director / ACLU of Tennessee)

My main motivation behind this work can simply be summed up with one of my favorite quotations-

"If a law is unjust, a man is not only right to disobey it, he is obligated to do so."
-Thomas Jefferson

My sketch and photo reference for the ball gag on Mrs. Governor

I really capture their passion for one another

Photo reference of the patriotic couple

Beginning of the inking process

Detail of the double-ended dildo which ended up Tennessee orange!

To voice your concern about this new provision of our state law to Governor Haslam, contact him directly at his office by calling (615) 741-2001 or contact him via email to

-Brandt Hardin (Clarksville, TENNESSEE)

Is the legislation JUST or UNJUST?

Are you OFFENDED more by the ART or the LAW? 

Leave your comments and tell me...

Friday, July 22, 2011

Illustration Friday: Eye of the Beholder

"Perennial" is the theme for this week at Illustration Friday.  I chose to share with you another piece from my Topsy-Turvy series (where all works can be hung in multiple directions.)  The featured work today is one of several square four-way drawings I completed back in 2006-07.  Many of the two-way Topsy-Turvies deal with before and after, opposites, cause and effect, etc.  These square works deal with either progression, or in this case- constancy.  This particular work was exhibited in my Topsy-Turvy II exhibition in 2010.
inks on paper / 2006

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Southern Pop Surrealism: NOLA Defender

Last week, before our show in New Orleans, Sean from NOLA Defender interviewed me about Southern Pop Surrealism.  Here a preview of what he put together about the exhibit....

Zeitgeist's 'Southern Pop Surrealism' Brings Outsider Art Movement to New Orleans

Artist Brandt Hardin and curator Myron Blaine talk to NoDef about their touring art exhibit, which showcases Southern perspectives on a burgeoning art movement that combines Pop Art and Surrealism.

In artist Brandt Hardin's illustration, "Sarah Palin Made Me Do It," the former Alaskan governor stands behind Jared Loughner, the shooter of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, placing a gun in his hand. The image suggests the former governor’s polarizing rhetoric contributed to the atmosphere of hatred that lead Loughner to go on a rampage. But. further back in the piece, the piece's polemical foreground is muddled. Juxtaposed against the portrayal of current events in the background are surrealist touches, blood-stained targets that resemble bloodshot eyes and abut against an American flag whose stripes resemble blood vessels.

During the day, Hardin supports himself with a marketing job, but, outside the office, he is a member of a subversive, burgeoning new school of art, Pop Surrealism. His depiction of the events surrounding the Giffords shooting is typical of Pop Surrealism's rebellious spirit. Sometimes called Lowbrow art, the movement is an offspring of two of the 20th century’s great art movements, Andy Warhol’s Pop Art and Salvidor Dali’s Surrealism, but its artists are more interested in pushing the envelope than simply revisiting the past.

“Instead of just taking a pop culture reference to Porky Pig and adding him to a Surrealist landscape,” Hardin said this week. “I want to pull out his entrails and make chitlins.”

Southern Pop Surrealism is on display at a month-long exhibit at Zeitgeist Multidisciplinary Arts Center...

Monday, July 18, 2011

Illustration Friday: We the People

We're doing an Illustration Monday today here at DREGstudios! since I just got back from New Orleans last night from my Southern Pop Surrealism Exhibit!  I'm getting caught up on things, so here we go...

The theme this week at IF is "Gesture."  Instantaneously, this work came to mind from my Sacred Texts series from a few years back which feature imagery drawn on pages from The Holy Bible.  (Click HERE for my artist's statement on this body of work.)
"We the People" inks on pages from The Holy Bible / 2007
The idea behind this piece originally came from a painting I did in 2006 for an exhibit I curated, called We the People at The Icehouse Cafe in Clarksville.  This group exhibit featured a slew of local artists and we held a voter registration drive at which Chris Lugo, a Green Party candidate spoke to the audience.  The painting consisted of three panels as above, but the panels themselves were also chained together.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Southern Pop Surrealism: OPENING RECEPTION

Southern Pop Surrealism: Artwork from myself, Jeff Bertrand, Charles Bennett and Dustin Dirt! will on exhibit at Zeitgeist Multi-Disciplinary Arts Center in New Orleans through August 16th.  Drop by for any number of independent films from all over the world in this gem of the city in it's 25th year.  You can have a seat seven days a week and meet the Director of Zeitgeist, Rene Broussard and his wonderful volunteers who make this exhibit possible.  Visit there website HERE for showtimes!

This first painting above was one of two live paintings we did on some scrap wood salvaged from New Orleans in the 9th Ward.  Here is what you missed at the OPENING reception this past weekend...
Part of my display of Framed Illustrations

We wouldn't have survived the weekend without these Foxy Artist's Wives.  They made a great team and helped us not only install the exhibit but volunteered all night at the reception Saturday!
More of my own work on display
My works on the long wall next to the movie screen

Framed paintings by Charles Bennett

Mixed Media works by Jeff Bertrand
New works from Dustin Dirt!
Our curator, Myron (right) got a local artist to come by and do some body painting live at the show!
He's only been in NOLA for a few months, but my buddy Nick was the best guide ever, dragging me into the seedy parts of the city I really wanted to see.

Zach before the show, during the show and the sloppy mess of himself on the ride home.

Aurora serving up a batch of Red Beans & Rice which Nick mad for the guests.
It's awful neat to see our time lapse video on a big screen!
The artists on stage addressing the audience
Jeff and Dustin working on our New Orleans-inspired Live Painting

Our exhibit runs for the next month at Zeitgeist Multi-Disciplinary Arts Center.  Check back in over the next few weeks for another video, this time of our live paintings!

Click HERE for the Southern Pop Surrealism Event Page on Facebook

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Countdown to Southern Pop Surrealism: 5 Hours and Counting

Whoooooo- just woke up to start the day down here in the Big Easy.  Nick and Myron took me down to the Marigny last night for tons of live music including Latin, Reggae, Jazz, Funk and even a little Punk Country.  I've managed to avoid the tourist crowd and my buddies have truly shown me the real New Orleans this weekend.  Down in this riverside neighborhood, you find all the street vendors and musicians that aren't allowed to set up in the touristy French Quarter.  Folks sell steaks and sausages right off grills in the street.  One young poet was sitting in a shiny new trash can with a green wig and typing out poems on the spot on her typewriter.  Myron bought me a poem- his letter to the trash in the ocean, which the gal wrote out for us freestyle.  We finished the night up with burgers at Igor's after 3AM and having a beer on the levee and getting kicked out of the riverfront park.
That's life on Decatur St- the dog even had a collection box beside him.  He scored a buck off of us.  This is a real picture Nick got from his phone (people keep asking...)

Enjoy these few sneak peeks of our installation from yesterday and drop by to see the rest tonight!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Countdown to Southern Pop Surrealism: 20 Hours and Counting

Tomorrow night at 6PM, I'll be having my first exhibit in New Orleans... this is as far south as my art has traveled.  We've installed the exhibit and given our short films the test run- Southern Pop Surrealism is upon us.  The local folks who visited Zeitgeist this evening got a special sneak preview of the entire exhibit (minus what we paint live tomorrow of course.)  The venue is open seven days a week as an independent movie theater; tonight they're having their premier of Hesher.
Rene (here with The Bertrands), the Director of Zeitgeist joined us across the street for a lunch break at The Reconcile Cafe.  The restaurant employees and trains underprivileged folks here in the city in the restaurant industry and them provides them job placement at local establishments.
Cooks come in daily and volunteer to train people.  The result is a wild menu full of award-winning recipes from all over the city.  I opted for some Shrimp Smothered Okra...
...and a grilled Portabella Po-Boy.

Gorgeous MLK mural near the gallery
After the installation of our show, we toured the Sculpture Garden at The New Orleans Museum of Art and saw works from all over the world such as Henry Moore's "Mother and Child".  We're going back in the morning to see what's inside.  The park surrounding he museum is over 20 sq miles and just breathtaking.  They have imported Spanish Moss growing on some very surreal trees with branches that swoop to the ground.
My ride's here and I gotta go find a seedy joint with plenty of saxophone and trumpet action!  Our four-man exhibit featuring myself, Charles Bennett, Jeff Bertrand and Dustin Dirt! opens tomorrow at 6PM here in New Orleans!

Click HERE for the Southern Pop Surrealism STREAM

UPDATE 04/17/2011:  Aurora got some really great shots of the New Orleans Museum of Art's Sculpture Garden on Friday evening and the slew of art inside when we went back Saturday right before our own exhibit at Zeitgeist!  Here's just some of the highlights...

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Countdown to Southern Pop Surrealism: Settling Into The Big Easy

We got to NOLA this morning about 6AM after a several coffees and lots of singing Janis Joplin to stay awake.  After just the first few moments in this colorful city you realize how richly unique this city truly is.  I'm only anxious to get back out to see more as I update you now...
I was zapped after 8 hours of work and 8 hours on the road so our buddy Nick drove us around the city to see the different parts of town and get an idea of where and what we wanted to get into the next few days.  Aurora got some nice shots from the back seat as we drove around soaking up the cool morning before we got a nap in.

Trolley on St Charles, right in front of our Hotel in the Garden District

Catfish, Eggs and Grits at Lil' Dizzy's in the Treme for Breakfast

Some of the local Street Art- we'll find plenty more of this while we're here!

I got my nap in and am checked in and ready to take in what I can with what's left of this first evening in The Big Easy.  We'll be installing our group exhibit, Southern Pop Surrealism tomorrow morning at Zeitgeist Multi-Disciplinary Arts Center!

Click HERE for the Southern Pop Surrealism STREAM

After all the artists got in, we spent the evening getting locally brewed beers all about St Charles and walked over to get a peek at Zeitgeist and the neighborhood.   Lucky's provided a swank patio we took over for a couple of hours.