Sunday, April 6, 2014

ArtBar Aurora: My Bijou

Hiya, Howlers! Well, my second "ArtBar" excursion (at Two Brothers Roundhouse on Friday, April 4th) is in the books and this month's topic was just as fun and inspired: posters.

When it came time to consider what I would render for this show, Tracy gave me some very valuable input inspired by her morning ritual prior to going to work. The premise: "What if someone was doing her best to put together her exterior in the midst of experiencing an emotional low?" Heavy, right? But it's a good point. Basically, the young woman (my Tracy served as my photo reference, exaggerated of course) depicted is spinning her wheels in applying her mascara while fighting her emotions off.

Thus the quote at the top of the piece (apologies if the French isn't quite accurate or if I've misspelled something) translates to "Defeating the purpose, emotions prevail." And because this was originally bandied as having to do with applying mascara - and coming off somewhat as a fictional cosmetics company - I used a photo of Tracy's style of wand for a reference and we thought the brand-name "Bijou" would be perfect (incidentally, Queen's "Bijou" is a song that has a lot of personal meaning for us as a couple. I know; it's mushy but I don't give a damn), hand-rendered in an art deco-style font.

With that, as a stylish-yet-faux company goes, having artsy-fartsy locations near the bottom of the poster seemed like the thing to do and three cities we love were the choices I went with.

As far as media, this was done primarily in watercolor paint, Copic markers and a speck of Prismacolor watercolor pencil and acrylic paint on 11" X 17" Bristol Board. 

Next month at "ArtBar": "geek"! Oh, the things one can do with that topic!

Saturday, March 8, 2014

ArtBar: All Work and no Play Makes Jack a Dull Toy...

Recently, I got the go-ahead and privilege to join the local art community in my hometown, Aurora, Illinois in its monthly "ArtBar" events at the Two Brother's Roundhouse. Staged on the first Friday of every month, "ArtBar" highlights local artists who feature (and can sell on the spot) works of almost all medias imaginable. The depth of talent is immeasurable and the art/craft beer/pub food community who attends is abundant and enthusiastic.

So, when my girlfriend, Tracy surprised me with a date night to my first "ArtBar" last month, I was excited. Then I got hooked. This was a gang in which I wanted to be a member. When director Javi Terrazas gave me the "thumbs up," I was amped!

The neat thing with "ArtBar" is theme. Every month, participants create pieces inspired on a specific theme. Last month, the theme was "pin-up." This month, the theme was "toys."

With that, I give you my piece, "All Work and no Play Makes Jack a Dull Toy..." (acrylic, watercolor and Copic art marker on Bristol Board, 11" X 14" image matted to a 15 3/4" X 19 3/4" custom-stained frame). Basically, I took an old jack-in-the-box toy and based the garish clown inside (one most of us were afraid of. Admit it; those things are scary as hell to a kid) on Jack Nicholson's character from horror classic"The Shining," Jack Torrance. So, you have three elements of "Jack" going on here. I'm not saying it's the cleverest thing in the world; it pretty much wrote itself!

(Look, it's a unhinged clown...and he's standing next to his painting.)

And just so you know, if you're into horror/toy-based whimsy and this sucker doesn't creep you out, it's up for grabs for only $150 (check, money order or PayPal only please. Shipping included but only if you're here in the continental United States!). If interested, don't hesitate to email me at And if you have your own ideas for something you'd like, whether it's for you or to give as a gift, I'd love to do a commission for you.

Next month at "ArtBar": posters! I'm already fired up, Howlers...

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Monday, February 24, 2014

The Shield's Roman Reigns as Superman!

As a reborn pro wrestling fan, it's been a lot of fun to get pulled back into the weekly WWE programs and experience the relatively new personalities performing today. Amid the cool-ass characters of Daniel Bryan, Cesaro, the Usos and the Wyatt Family prowls a six-man unit (really a three-man team but competition has always been referred to as a "six-man") called The Shield. The Shield, comprised of the unpredictable and wild current WWE United States champion Dean Ambrose and former WWE tag team champions Seth Rollins (the "architect" of the team) and Roman Reigns (the "powerhouse"), have become breakout stars and consider themselves a group which serves to eliminate "injustice" in the squared circle.

Furthermore, Reigns, has become somewhat a curious anomaly himself, garnering a serious following, even being bandied as a future world champion (rumors of The Shield eventually dissolving definitely help the fun in imagining the cool storylines involving the respective futures of each member of the team). What has made Roman Reigns my favorite WWE superstar are his air of intimidation, an "I'm cool and I know it" antihero attitude and one of his signature moves (the other being a leaping shoulder spear), the "Superman Punch."

Thus, the piece featured here, a comic-style sketch of Reigns in a Superman get-up, inspired by Kal-El's "The New 52" suit but with his "classic S" insignia (also considered a "shield" itself! Hey, that worked pretty well; didn't it?).

(Oh, lest I forget, the piece was done in Micron pen, Sharpie and Prismacolor watercolor pencil on sketch paper.)

And what timing! Today (one day after the "Elimination Chamber 2014" pay-per-view, in which the Wyatt Family emerged victorious over the "Hounds of Justice"), the WWE Network in is full effect. And you can count on seeing much more of Reigns, Rollins and Ambrose on the network for years to come.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Daryl Dixon ("The Walking Dead") vs. Boba Fett (the "Star Wars" saga)!

On the last episode of "Daryl Dixon vs. Boba Fett," we saw the penciled and inked versions of this piece, originally created to kick off a monthly series of "mini" sketch giveaways ( As you can see, here we have the finished piece, shrouded in darkness and under a harvest moon.

At first, I planned on throwing down the color in acrylic paints but since my insanely gorgeous girlfriend, Tracy gave me a set of Copic art markers for Christmas, I figured I'd give them a shot as well as using some of my Prismacolor markers as support. Some of the white accents were done with a Bic correction fluid pen. Now all that's left is to shoot this off to the Howler who offered up the most guesses, Mike Downie.

And now, it's time to fire up something new! Any suggestions - and commissions - are welcome! ;)