Sunday, November 1, 2015

The Complete DRAWLLOWEEN 2015!

I decided to take part in Drawlloween on Instagram this year to get back into the habit of drawing and creating.  I recently cracked open a Sketch Diary my sister purchases for me a couple of years back.  Last year, I found joy in filling up a similar sketchbook but my production had been lagging the past several months.  I quickly refound my flow with this new volume to fill with random illustrations!  During October, I participated in creating a drawing from the assigned themes of Drawlloween daily along with hundreds of other artists.  Here are all my creations from the past month...

Friday, August 7, 2015

Rebel Yell: The Sound of Terrorism

Race relations in the United States have reached a fever pitch as of late.  While the melting pot simmers and the media await a boil, many of us find ourselves choosing sides as if it were 1861.  One of the issues pushing these boundaries is over the Rebel Flag, which has served as a symbol of terrorism to African Americans and minorities since before the phrase was coined.

  Webster’s defines terrorism as “the use of violent acts to frighten the people in an area as a way of trying to achieve a political goal.”  Armed with torches, the Ku Klux Klan infamously adopted the Rebel Flag as their standard in the late 1860’s following the end of the Civil War.  Their main aim was to overthrow the United States government during the Reconstruction.  Of course their methods included lynching African Americans and burning their churches to the ground- all in the name of calling for new southern revolution.  These anti-governmental plots would surely land such folks on a government watch list today where they would be labeled domestic terrorists.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Floppy Eyed Topsy Turvies

The sub-tropical Tennessee death heat has set in here in the mid-south the past couple of weeks.  This has brought about a thriving plethora of allergens which have wreaked havock on my eyes.  I have a severe dry eye condition which is aggravated by my allergies.  In extreme cases, I have to tape my left eye shut for a few days so it can heal and stop burning.  While hiding in doors and fearing the air itself like Bubble Boy, I've found myself drawing the past few days.

I attacked a black piece of chipboard with some silver sharpies late last week.  I freestyled an addition to my neverending Topsy Turvy series where the finished artworks can be hung in multiple directions on the wall.  This left me wanting more so Aurora helped me spray paint some backgrounds on wood panels and I've been going wild with those silver sharpies ever since!  All of the these were created with one eye taped shut... can't wait to see what they look like with BOTH eyes!  For now, you enjoy them for me...

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Misty Mountains and a Clear Head

For the past few days, Aurora and I have been making our way through the scenic trails of the mountains in the Great Smoky Mountain National Park here in East Tennessee.  The first time I brought my wife to Gatlinburg, we only had time to travel the route straight up to Clingman's Dome (the highest point in the mountains.)  This time, we were fortunate enough to have time for more.  After some browsing in Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg, we drove Little River Road yesterday.  This awesome road twists through the mountains along the side of a river, switching back and forth from side to side.  We also visited Cades Cove, a one way loop around some flat fields tucked away in the mountains with horses, cabins and old farmhouses along the way.  We ended the day taking some nice shots of the ranges from the Foothills Parkway running along the edge of the park.  The scenic driving and misty mountains was just what the doctor ordered for some brief R&R!

Friday, July 3, 2015

The Fury of Burgess Falls

This weekend Aurora and I are at Fairfield Glade over in East Tennessee for the Frey Family Reunion.  On the way out here, we stopped by Burgess Falls for a quick hike Thursday morning.  The Cumberland Plateau has experienced a bit of rain the past few days so we got more than we bargained for.  The parking area was streaked with mud.  The trails were crossed with streams from the watershed.  The Falls were absolutely roaring amidst the flash floods and we got some neat pics of the fury of Mother Nature!  The mist alone barreling out of the falling water was blowing the treetops like a hurricane!

It's a 50% chance of more rain our entire trip to the plateau and mountains over the next week.  The weather will keep the subtropical death heat at bay and we'll be ducking in and out with the sun!  Hopefully there are more scenic shots to come from our planned adventures.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

An Overdue Dose of Southern Pop Surrealism

This past Sunday, I got together with the Wolfman, Joey Melons and Mike McKelvey to crank out a series of paintings and soak up some perfect Tennessee weather.  The past few months have been a transitional period for me in my professional life hence my absence from and the easel and drawing table themselves.  In our long over-due painting session, we had one helluva art jam!  Here are the collaborative paintings we created...

Charles Bennett, Brandt Hardin and Joe Melanson collaboration

Friday, April 10, 2015

Random Monsters SUNDAY NIGHT!

This Sunday Night, please come out and see Random Monsters: The Artwork of Brooke E.  I met Brooke several years ago at a live painting event down in Murfreesboro.  She's an extremely talented gal and we've swapped some artwork over the years.  These treasures from my own person art collection will be on display along with many of her other works.  Her lowbrow paintings fuse a classic animation style to create her own brand of pop surrealism.  Come out and see for yourself and support her this Sunday evening from 5PM-10PM at The Darkhorse Theater in Nashville!


For the last decade, since first moving to Nashville, 33-year old artist and illustrator Brooke E. has been a part of the local Pop-Surrealist and Lowbrow scene. Since November of 2013 she has bravely been fighting Stage 4 breast cancer. Treatments were going well, until one day they weren't. That said, rather than prematurely mourn her, please join us in celebrating Brooke's Art Life with her at her first solo show. Featuring selected works spanning her career, live music, and first, second, and third prize awards for best costumes, as well as Pinatas and food, this should prove to be an amazing carnival of fun to celebrate Brooke's life and art. Lastly, her only rule is "No Tears!."

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Preview of "Into the Rabbit Hole" FRIDAY Night!

The past couple of weeks I've been working on a very complicated drawing (my fingers hurt to type) for the Into the Rabbit Hole art exhibit in East Nashville.  The show is one night only this Friday featuring live performances and art from local artists.  Everything is Alice in Wonderland themed and you can even win some cool prizes for dressing up as your favorite character from the book or cartoon!  Everything kicks off around 7PM at The East Room in Nashville.

For my artwork, I wanted to create my own homage to Lewis Carroll's famous work.  Much of the character designs I used was a fusion of the book, cartoon and my own wild imagination.  Enjoy these teases but you'll have to come to the show Friday to see the complete work!  Here are some process pictures of the entire process over the past couple of weeks from the sketch to the finished colors...

Saturday, March 7, 2015

WIN FREE ART this WEEKEND from DREGstudios!

You can win a print of my "Zombie High 5" painting this weekend on the DREGstudios! Instagram!

HOW TO WIN:  Simply share this image to your Instagram followers and mention @DREGstudios along with the hashtag #zombiehigh5.  I'll pick five winners Sunday night and mention you on Instagram so you know to email me your shipping info.  It's that easy!  

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

The Zopocalypse

Recently, I was commissioned by Revolution Zo to work up some new album art for the music he was dropping this week.  He sent me some pictures of himself and explained how he wanted to be in a sort of futuristic robo-armor-jacket with some apocalyptic end-of-the-world art.  Sounded right up my alley!  After some discussion, we decided to go with some sleek futuristic armor (nothing weaponized or too much like Iron Man or the sorts.)  I wanted to create something completely original to fit the hip-hopper's tone.  Here's a look at the finished product along with some process pictures.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

In Memoriam: Leonard Nimoy

A star shines brighter somewhere in the Universe which brought Leonard Nimoy back into its eternal grasp this week.  The actor best known for his portrayal of Spock on Star Trek became a cult icon of pop culture and will have a lasting affect on the world of science fiction.  I grew up not only on a healthy dose of Star Trek but also with Nimoy narrating In Search Of... which I found wildly entertaining when I was young.  I created a new work of art in the actor's memory this weekend... let me know what you think by leaving your thoughts on the late entertainer's legacy in the comments section below...

Friday, February 13, 2015

Happy Valentine's Weekend from DREGstudios!

Happy Friday the 13th... and Valentine's Day this weekend!  It's a couple of St. Germain cocktails and some quiet time for me with my Valentine tonight.  Saturday night is the big party though at the Valentine's Masquerade hosted by No Egrets Tattoo here in Clarksville.  The extravaganza is curated by Joe Melanson and will feature LIVE music and LIVE art from myself and Wolfman Bennett!  I'll also have a new illustration on display in the art exhibit.  Click HERE for a sneak peek!  For those who join us at the show, there will be some swank prizes for those who wear the best masks so get creative!

Thursday, February 12, 2015


A wise person should have money in their head, but not in their heart. 

Everyday is a bank account, and time is our currency. No one is rich, no one is poor, we’ve got 24 hours each. 

Money never made a man happy yet, nor will it. The more a man has, the more he wants. Instead of filling a vacuum, it makes one. 

If money is your hope for independence you will never have it. The only real security that a man will have in this world is a reserve of knowledge, experience, and ability. 

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Preview of this Saturday's Valentine's Masquerade and Art Exhibit!

My new work, "For Richer or Poorer" will be on display at No Egrets Tattoo and Art Gallery for their Valentine's Masquerade which takes place this Saturday night.  The new illustration is a very involved piece I created just for the show.  A cartoon heart and human heart are fused over a landscape which gradates from day to night and attempts to capture the duality of love.  Curated by our good friend Joe Melanson, the party will feature live music and artwork from several local artists.  Of course the killer staff of No Egrets will be on hand creating custom body art for folks!  Wear a mask because there will be door prizes for the best ones!

Here are some process pictures from the drawing process of this new work...

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Optimistic dOOdle

"An optimist sees an opportunity in every calamity; a pessimist sees a calamity in every opportunity." 

"Optimism is the madness of insisting that all is well when we are miserable."

"The basis of optimism is sheer terror."

"Optimist: Person who travels on nothing from nowhere to happiness." 

Thursday, January 22, 2015

15 Eyed Devil dOOdle

“The eye sees a thing more clearly in dreams than the imagination awake.”

“The eyes have one language everywhere”

“For I dipped into the future, far as human eye could see, Saw the vision of the world, and all the wonder that would be”

“The eyes indicate the antiquity of the soul”

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

TOP 10 MOVIE PICKS of 2014

Ever since my first visits to the movie theater with my father as a very young child, I've been a movie lover.  Some of my earliest memories are of movies like E.T. and The Neverending Story on the big screen.  Thirty years later, watching motion pictures is still one of my favorite pass times.  As an annual tradition now, I share my own Top 10 Movies from releases of the previous year.  With cinema in a new golden age, this is no short task as I find myself moving around names of at least 20-30 movies to pick my ten favorites.  This year was no exception so we need to get the general suggestions and rotten eggs out of the way before we move on to the Top 10.

Of course being the fan boy I am, I've got plenty of love for the super-hero flicks despite them not making my list.  My favorite on-screen comics this year included Guardians of the Galaxy (the sleeper hit of the year stealing the overall box-office crown) and X-Men: Days of Future Past (the ultimate fusion of the silver screen X-verse which corrected Fox's continuity with the original trilogy.)  I was left scratching my head at The Amazing Spiderman 2 which was re-cut so many times there were scenes in the trailers which didn't even make the film itself.  I saw the long-awaited Sin City: A Dame to Kill For in the theater on my birthday and it certainly didn't disappoint- if you like the first one, check out the sequel for a juicy helping of the same.  Edge of Tomorrow, adapted from the manga novel All You Need is Kill was in my mind the blockbuster of the summer despite not putting up the numbers to show it.  Overall I have to say Captain America: The Winter Soldier was the most solid of the comic world's releases this year where they did something really special by making an espionage movie which played more like a Bond flick than a comic adaptation.

The biopic is another staple genre of the movie industry.  At this point, its really hard to justify one making my own personal list since I feel this is an much overplayed go-to for Hollywood the past 10 years.  However, for some poignant acting and socially-relevant stories, I'd highly recommend Selma, Cesar Chavez, The Imitation Game, Unbroken and The Theory of Everything.  Many of these will be highlighted for their acting during the awards ceremonies.  One could also lump Darren Aronofsky's Noah into this category as well.  Stylized to the director's eye, I found it visually stunning while others called for his head.

Each year I tend to mention a takeaway or two from one of my favorite veins in the film world, Southern Gothic.  This year, an independent film called Blue Ruin garnered much critical acclaim.  This vigilante story plays like a western but is set in the southeast and features some razor-sharp acting and a great script.  Also, Joe (based on the novel by the same name) is an abrasive coming-of-age story of redemption led by a grizzled Nicolas Cage and a wonderful supporting cast of found actors.  This independent film's cast included Gary Poulter, a local vagrant who died on the streets of Austin just months after the filming.

The world of cinema lost many great actors this year.  For a dynamic last performance, check out James Gandolfini in The Drop which is a fusion of a gangster and a heist movie with Tom Hardy and Noomi Rapace.  As Philip Seymour Hoffman's last roles are played out, don't buy the hype of A Most Wanted Man or whatever computer-generated doppelganger is in store for the last Hunger Games movie.  Instead check out God's Pocket where he helps lead a great ensemble cast in a much over-looked movie.  It's a solid drama with a five star script.

Other suggestions from 2014 worth a sit-down include Filth, Enemy, Starred Up, Words and Pictures, The Rover, Fury, Autómata, The Homesman, Miss Meadows, St. Vincent, Life After Beth, Chef and Whiplash.  Never heard of them?  Just click on the name of any of the movies I've mentioned to read all about it at every cinephile's playground, IMDB.  Now on to the countdown...

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Top 10 COMMENTS of 2014

Art is capable of drawing a broad range of response from its audience.  It is the audience who truly defines art with their reaction.  Whether it be humor, adoration, inspiration or disgust, the end result of art is emotion in its purest reactionary form.  Each year I share the Top 10 Comments shared on my blog by readers and art patrons who visit.  Here are some of the words of wisdom from last year...

Friday, January 9, 2015

Zee Devil dOOdle

"Don't you know there ain't no devil? There's only God when He's drunk."

“We are each our own devil, and we make this world our hell”

“If the devil does not exist, and man has therefore created him, he has created him in his own image and likeness”

"The devil is an optimist if he thinks he can make people worse than they are."

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Je Suis Charlie

"Disarm them with Humor."
-Stephane Charbonnier, slain Cartoon Editor of Charlie Hebdo (2012)

Laughter is a powerful medicine.  Laughter is contagious.  Laughter is also a dangerous weapon in today's world where the pen is (and perhaps always has been) mightier than the sword.  Art can serve as an instrument of humor in the right hands.  French magazine Charlie Hebdo has for years utilized their staff's talent for satire through printed cartoons.  These commentaries have caused world-wide debate with brush strokes taken at the religions and politics both of Eastern and Western denomination.  

After dealing with their office being firebombed a few years back, the magazine has now suffered a much more insurmountable tragedy.  Much of their staff were murdered in a blaze of bullets this week by terrorists during an assault on their home in Paris.  In the ultimate act of censorship, zealots took the lives of artists and staffers who illustrated their takes on religious extremism through the publication.  Their deaths serve as both the ultimate irony and exemplification of the power of art.

Today I stand in solidarity with the staff of Charlie Hebdo, the people of Paris, and artists all over the world who express their view through their art and words. Je Suis Charlie.  Let your losses not be in vain but a catalyst for the change needed for a sensible and tolerable world.  My illustration in response to this tragedy depicts the Prophet Muhammad.  This in itself is frowned upon by the same doctrines which the terrorists who attacked the magazine with guns claim to defend.  However I wanted to go a step further in creating something (maybe) as offensive as today's act of terrorism.  To stretch to these lengths, I've illustrated a hand using a pen to desecrate the image of Muhammad with a childish and baseless attack.  I find it childish and baseless also to murder journalists and cartoonists in the name of your God. Guns and pens can do good or do irreparable harm in the right hands.  I don't see the hand in my illustration as my own but rather that of the invisible enemy religious extremists see in the Western world.  It all seems so silly... but nobody is laughing when lives are lost.