Sunday, November 25, 2012

LONELY TEARDROPS (Getting the Boot)

Detail of our Collaborative Painting Today

As we were finishing up a collaborative painting session this evening, Jesse Shaw and I were joking with The Wolfman about calling what we do for backgrounds by itself art and giving them pretentious names such as borrowing the titles of classical music compositions.  We'll have to be a bit high brow and borrow "Lonely Teardrops" from Jackie Wilson today since we took turns with the tune stuck in our heads.  Jesse cut some teardrop stencils and the theme was born onto panels. Life inspires art and he also cut some crows out of doilies to have circling the painting as some huge buzzards were circling us overhead while we painted.  Here's some process pics and the final paintings from this afternoon...


A few short days ago, I posted my visual response to Black Friday encroaching upon Thanksgiving this year with mega retailers holding unprecedented Thursday evening sales. (Click HERE if you missed The War on Thanksgiving: One Turkey's Revenge on Christmas.)  Today I've decided to do a bit of encroaching myself by starting the DREGstudios! Cyber Monday Sale just a tad early- RIGHT NOW on the Sabbath!

No kicking, screaming, pushing and stampeding is involved.  All you have to do is visit my ONLINE STORE TODAY or Monday and pick out one of my already-crazylow-priced $10 PRINTS (w/ FREE Shipping!)

Your art will ship within 5 days and I'll throw in a MYSTERY PRINT of my own choosing in addition to your purchase.  Of course if you know me, I'm liable to also drop you some DREGstudios! sWaG as well including bookmarks, stickers, buttons, etc!  THIS PRINT SALE EXTRAVAGANZA ENDS CYBER MONDAY AT MIDNIGHT!!!

"Surely there is very real and very convincing data that the planet cannot survive the excesses of the human race: proliferation of atomic devices, uncontrolled breeding habits, the rape of the environment, the pollution of land, sea, and air. In this context, isn't it obvious that "Chicken Little" represents the sane vision and that Homo Sapiens' motto, "Let's go shopping!" is the cry of the true lunatic?"  

-from 12 Monkeys (Dr. Peter played by David Morse)

Thursday, November 22, 2012

The WAR on Thanksgiving: One Turkey's Revenge on Christmas

The first shots of the War on Thanksgiving have been fired.  This civil encroachment of the holidays comes from the aggressor and architect of this manic season of spending- Big Business.  Companies have moved the opening bells of Black Friday to Thursday evening... ON Thanksgiving this year.  Someone has to stand up and defend the last morsel of what is our National Day of Thanks.

Inks on Bristol / 2012 / Brandt Hardin
In the United States, mass consumerism has become both sport and religion.  Bloated companies and retailers demand larger profits year after year.  The climate is such that holding steady profit is poor performance and any loss of financial ground is utter failure.  Men and women in suits find themselves in jobs more stressful than the most labor-intensive work one could ever find.

As with tradition, production and retail workers are under the gun this year with companies vying for record number, bigger sales, and higher turnouts.   Even as an initial concept, a "shopping holiday" held immediately after our day to "give thanks" is woven from pure greed marketing a literal frenzy to the public under the banner of Black Friday.  This annual mania leads to physical assaults and shopper on shopper violence. In several instances, people have been trampled to death (which usually only happens when a crowd is dispersing FROM a building in emergency situations.)  It is a truly odd enigma too see human beings lose their lives in the ultimate quest for... low low prices.

A crusade has begun here in the United States to take back the holidays.  Earlier this year, I brought you the epic tale of Christ reclaiming his day of triumph from the Easter Bunny.  (Click HERE if you missed out!)  The storm is coming as unions and droves of retail workers across the country are threatening to strike and stage walkouts from their stores.  Many of these workers are paid substandard wages with little or no benefits.  Wal-Mart alone has a large percentage of their workforce who collect food stamps... this is called the "working poor."  At the same time, the company's CEO makes in one day what an average worker at one of his stores makes in an entire year.  While retail sales set records, so does the money being funneled to the top 1% as the income inequality in our country is also at an ALL-TIME HIGH.  Workers aren't the only combatants in this- the most dangerous game.  YOU play a role as well by choosing whether or not to buy into the hysteria.  Imagine if every American stayed home Thursday night with their families and the workers left the stores to join their own loved ones.  Visualize a country willing to really stop for one day and give thanks for what they already have.  There was a time this happened once a week... now once a year... but tomorrow will it be never?  How far do we let our own consumerism go when businesses dips their fingers into your Thanksgiving?

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

TOP 10 ALBUMS of the 90's

I was born in 1980 so the 90's were literally my entire teenage experience. I often look back and realize I was fortunate to have grown up amidst a melting-pot of musical genres.  Today, SO much of what is produced is overly-commercialized and branded when just a generation ago, musicians fought AGAINST being sold out.  The 1960's proved the social power of song and the effect it can have on entire classes of people.  The same held true in my high school as music affected fashion, politics, humor and defeat at the loss of Gods such as Cobain.  I specifically remember teachers scolding grunge kids for wearing black ribbons on the anniversary of his death.  Musicians define entire generations now by identifying with youth, lifting them up and opening their third eyes.
Color Pencils on Bristol / 2003 / Brandt Hardin
(Some decade-old nostalgic art to go with our nostalgic themed list!)
Click HERE for MORE about the THIRD EYE

The task of compiling a Top 10 list for albums released in the 1990's was practically impossible.  Honorable mentions could go on forever including Pink Floyd's return (minus Roger Waters) with The Division Bell, blockbuster gangter rap discs like Doggystyle and The Chronic, Sublime, any Nirvana album, any Morphine album, any Tori Amos, Seattle supergroups like Temple of the Dog and Mad Season, The Crow and Spawn soundtracks, Metallica's Black Album... I could go on and on and on.  If I missed one you smoked your tape deck with, drop by the comments section below and share!  HERE are my TOP 10 ALBUMS of the 90's...

Monday, November 19, 2012

Fear and Loathing on HIGHWAY 13

Sunday morning, Chad Spann and I set out to begin a collaborative journey which will be entitled HIGHWAY 13.  I have a long and sordid history with a patch of this highway running through my old stomping grounds.  There's been an idea for a visual project utilizing the length of this Tennessee trail in my head for a while now.  Chad lent his photography skills to capture our journey which stretched from the Kentucky border here in Clarksville to the Alabama state line.  The day turned macabre and surreal by the moment as the story for our project shaped while shooting the backgrounds I'll be working with.  Chad's photographs will be used to create a graphic novel by drawing a yet-unnamed character into the visual trek we've documented.  In essence, it will become the character's own strange trip mirroring our own.  Ten hours of driving turned into more than we could bargain for with a deerpocalypse, a wild boar carcass, burning fields, burnt houses, decapitated barns, shotgun shells, exploded trailers, farm equipment and other surreal oddities we found along our jaunt through the breathtaking Tennessee scenery.  Of course, this is the first baby step in the project but here are a few take-aways of the day from the eye of Chad Spann...

Sunday, November 18, 2012


"Sunday Trucker" Red Felt Pen Doodle on Chipboard

"Sometimes the light's all shinin' on me;
 Other times I can barely see.
 Lately it occurs to me 
 What a long, strange trip it's been."

 -Grateful Dead, Truckin'

On Sundays I get religious... about art.  Most of my time lapse videos you see here on the interwebs are filmed on Sundays.  Making purpose of the Sabbath, I often commune with other artists to see what tune we can evoke together channeled to the creative spirit.

Today, I'm on the road with Chad Spann- professional photographer, amateur unrinator and vigilante artist out of a beer can.  I've had a certain project rattling around the nebulas storming my third eye since I was a teenager.  I've always wanted to travel the length of Highway 13 here in Tennessee from the Kentucky to Alabama state lines and document the journey.  Chad and I have decided to elevate this idea as he will be shooting our trip today to create the backdrop for a story I'll be illustrating over the photographs!  I have a sordid history with Highway 13- an almost entirely rural road running from the north to south borders of the state.  I've been left dead drunk in a ditch, set off fireworks and guns out of moving vehicles, experimented heavily with any number of substances and made sweet love along this staple stretch of my youth.  However, I've never experienced a run of the entire highway as we're in route for at this very moment.  Safe travels to you and yours on your Sunday...

Thursday, November 15, 2012


I received my sketchbook this week to participate in Art House Co-Op's 2013 edition of The Sketchbook Project.  Next year will be the fourth time I've filled a collection of pages for this very unique event.  Artists from all over the world are send Sketchbooks to complete and send back for a traveling library which calls the Brooklyn Art Library it's home!  I have until mid-January to fill this bad boy up and no real starting point. Maybe I'll tell a story.  Maybe I'll make chaos.  The beauty of the blank page...
The possibilities are endless!

Here's a VIDEO of my ENTIRE Sketchbook for the 2012 WORLD TOUR, where I was assigned the theme of "Heroes and Villains..."

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Rock Star Martyr ENCORE

Sketch of Mamma Cass
In six short weeks, it will be two years since Joebot and I started our downward spiral into the abyss of dark lore which is Rock Star Martyr.  As struggling creatives working to pay our way through the worlds of literature and visual arts, we've fully understood the path of martyrdom and sacrifice to the creative Gods.  Next year, we'll be unleashing this ENTIRE series of articles and art based on the lives of the dearly departed icons of all that is ROCK in book form!  I've recently been laying out the sketches for the last round of illustrations to complete our series.  Here's a few more sneak peeks of what's to come...

Patsy Cline and Curtis Mayfield

Notorious BIG  and Johnny Thunder

Wednesday, November 7, 2012


The Wolfman and I got together this past Sunday with The American Printmaker Jesse Shaw for another live painting session, the results of which were nothing short of epic.  Conjured for the scene were amputee chickens, a very macabre catfish vomit, a blues angel and the devil himself!  We recorded the entire experience which I've edited for you dear viewer in time lapse fashion!  Chad Spann was even on hand to get some great pics of us throwing down all afternoon.

The video begins with a blooper reel of sorts as Charles and I attempt to make children's art for our local library.  This panel was abandoned a few months back and used in this diptych painted with Jesse.  Click HERE to see the actual art we ended up making for the kiddies and the Montgomery County Library's Children's Gallery.  NOW, here's four hours of painting in four minutes...

Here's more great pictures of the painting session...