Saturday, December 31, 2011

2011: The Year in Review at DREGstudios!

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When January rolled around 12 months ago, I hadn't thought much about what I wanted to do with my artwork this year.  I had been blogging seriously for just a few months and had fallen in love with the open forum which it provided me to fuse both my voice and my art.  The past few years I had focused on exhibiting  anywhere and everywhere in the world I was accepted, placing my art in over 100 shows across the country and world.  For 2011, I wanted to focus on building an audience here in the digital world.  At the turn of the year, I made the decision to dump my static website which housed galleries for my art and focus solely on turning my blog INTO my site.  I found quickly that it was a learning process and looking back I can see the wonderful evolution of the DREGstudios! site over the past 12 months, which has grown from several hundred viewers a month to 15-20K viewers per month since June!  Falling in love with blogging was the best creative decision I've ever made.

2011 was the most inspiring year of my life so far for my work and passion.  I'm still on the upswing and haven't managed to find a way to make a living doing what I love quite yet but you can go back through my archive of blog posts and see the fruits of my labor.  Here's a look back at just a few of the major highlights of this incredible year...

The year started with a major milestone for my career with my solo exhibit, Sacred Texts at The Tennessee Art League in Nashville.  Housed smack-dab on Broadway downtown, the first floor Premier Gallery was the home for two series of illustrations I had spent the better part of 2006 and 2007 drawing on pages from The Holy Bible and The Declaration of Independence.  All the exhibits I had taken part in the four years prior led up to this show which I had sought a space for through a couple of years of submissions.  I was selected for the solo position in 2009 and finally the opening came just one week into the New Year. The exhibit ran for three months and was given audience by thousands of people, largely from three Nashville Art Crawls over the first quarter of the year.
Sacred Text Invitation

January also brought about the fusion of my art with the mind of Joebot, who I had me at a few art exhibits in Nashville the previous year.  Joe is an author and had this idea for a series of articles on the lives of all the famous musicians who had left this Earth too young.  His idea intrigued me and he asked that I come along for the ride and illustrate these dearly departed Gods of Rock for what he had donned Rock Star Martyr.  The site was launched in January and the plan was to publish each article on the anniversary of the musician's death starting with Hank Williams on New Year's day.  I got to explore the lives and legends of everyone from John Lennon to 2Pac, Jim Morrison to Eazy E, and Jimi Hendrix to Kurt Cobain just to name a few on the long list of stars who were covered.  In 2012, we'll be painstakingly polishing things up with the articles to create a book of the body of work and start pitching an exhibit of the ENTIRE Rock Star Martyr series to Galleries across the globe to find a suitable exhibition space.  

In March, I had the special duty of curating an exhibit at Miranda Herrick's MIR Gallery at The Arcade in Nashville.  I had curated art shows at a local venue, The Icehouse Cafe from 2006-2008 but had taken a few years hiatus from organizing any exhibits personally.  I had this idea bouncing around in my head for a while to create a theme around the idea of an artist choosing two forces, beings, ideas, people, cartoons, fighters or whatever and making a work of art pitting them against one another.  Over twenty fantastically artistic individuals converged with their work for this exhibit which was tons of fun and very well received by the city!  

It was an honor for me be the featured artist from a local poster contest for the award-winning Rivers & Spires Festival here in Clarksville this past April.  It feels good to see your artwork on posters and fliers in local businesses and even on billboards scattered about town!  It's the only time I'm ever asked for an autograph is for these posters! My artwork was chosen as the winning design in BOTH 2010 and 2011.  For 2012, the festival board will be turning over the poster design job to the Austin Peay State University Art Department who will choose student artists to work with the Parks & Rec service to come up with an annual design.  This program gives students the opportunity to experience dealing with a client and formulating a design to be used in multiple print campaigns.

T-shirts from Rivers & Spires using some of my art!

In July, I traveled as deep south as you can get to New Orleans for my first visit to the city as Nashville invaded NOLA with a four-man group exhibit featuring myself, Charles Bennett, Jeff Bertrand and Dustin Dirt!  My friends Myron and Nick helped coordinate things over long distance with Rene, owner and operator of Zeitgeist Multi-Disciplinary Arts Center, which hosted our event.  The opening reception included live nude body painting, live art by the exhibiting artists, live surreal poetry readings and the screening of some surrealist films from early 20th century including Un Chien Andalou created my the Godfather of Surrealism, Salvador Dali!

"Zombie High Five"
The Downtown Artists' Co-Op here in Clarksville contacted me and Charles Bennett about filling in for their solo spot in the month of October.  A local artist and member of the group was forced to cancel her own exhibit due to unfortunate health reasons and we became the go-to guys.  We were initially asked to stand in under the assumption that we had enough work to accommodate the space with only five weeks to go before the opening when the cancellation occurred.  While we very well could have shown the dozens of framed illustrations and paintings we both have on tap, Charles and I decided to up the ante for ourselves by creating an entirely NEW body of work over the course a month.  Just weeks prior, the Wolfman had picked up a large stack of salvaged metal number signs used by a local service station back in the day which he'd started painting on.  The title of the show was born and we used these rusted-up signs, finding they were tons of fun and the canvas made it's own gravy when you painted on it!  We took nothing seriously and created a wonderfully fulfilling body of work which received a very mixed reaction from a crowd used to very high-brow art being displayed.  It was a shocker!
(Charles and I right after hanging the exhibit)

Perhaps one of the most wonderful things about this year was several opportunities I had to do LIVE Paintings sessions.  I'm so deep into so many illustration projects that I never get to paint at home.  Here's some sessions I was involved in over the course of the year...

Click HERE for more about this live painting session with Cameron McKnight, Jeff Bertrand, Aaron Kraten and Charles Bennett!

Click HERE for my more pics and the post about this live painting with Jeff Bertrand at Riverfest!

Click HERE for more on the Cycloctopus Installation!

Thank you Constant Viewer for following along this year as I follow my compulsion to create!  So much happened in these 12 short months of which I could go on forever so I just stuck to the major happenings to recap what was a very inspirational and productive year.  Again, you can check out the Blog Archive on the bottom of the right-hand menu of my site her to browse through the year and the 150 posts I've made about my artistic endeavors over the course of 2011!  I'll be right here flying by the seat of my pants as always in 2012 with more projects and mayhem for your viewing pleasure.  Keep your third eye peeled for it all!

Happy New Years!  -B

1 comment:

  1. Great site; artwork and insight.

    Thanks for the comment at

    And link to

    You have a very strong medium to wit, you can influence people. Do not be taken by the political left or the right (two party Oligarchy). They are both sides of the same playing cards. And, they own the deck.

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    Oh I like your work in the previous post. It reminded me of a King Crimson album cover:

    keep up the great work! Now back to the party.


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