A year or so ago we had the complete fun of caring for a miniature donkey for a few months. His name was Cisco but I called him Johnny and he was hilarious. When he saw me he would pump up his bellows and let out a hee-haw that would start with a blast of enthusiasm and then drag on and on and end with a sad groan. He always got a carrot for his little performance. After Johnny moved to his permanent home over the hill I could still hear him busking for a carrot.
I find a lot of artistic joy when I get the opportunity to draw a family pet. My regular drawing style gets tossed out on a pet portrait and my main goal becomes expressing that pet not in facsimile but with as much accuracy as I can muster.
I created this Monotype for one of my clients of her beloved miniature donkey, Xotie. He gets his name from Don Quixote! I was told some stories about Xotie and he sounded like a really nice guy with a hee-haw that could easilly match Johnnies.
The human Bust through art history has always been an object that I never really cared for even though all of them were rare artifacts and works of historical importance that I have viewed at a museum or in a art history class or in a book.
I think what really bothered me about the historical bust that emerged years after the reinaissance was the artist tradition of making a piece that could be viewed with a little bit of height but to do this they had to place the real art on a plinth and every artist tried their best to incorporate the plinth into the design of their bust. A plinth is an architectural element that it is used in buildings as decoration but at the same time as part of the structure. No matter how nicely designed on a bust it never seemed to relate or connect gracefully to a floating torso IMHO.
My personal work has been pushing toward more steel wire sculpture and recently I made a nice connection with Timothy Tew the owner of TEW Galleries in Atlanta. Timothy and I had some conversations about what I do and why I do it and how my work might fit with his other artists and gallery and it was refreshing and new for me to be challenged to explain my point of view with him. Some time had past and then he called to try my work out with 2 wire heads.
Over this year I have done many wire heads and my approach is to make them iconic and to build them as a simple and graphic cone of a neck with a simple and graphic male or female head attached. With Timothy’s request I used this opportunity to push the portrait to an area of sculpture that I didn’t really like but within that dislike I thought that it might also push myself to make something contemporary and interesting so I tried out the bust.
So I started to google the bust in history and I found out some very cool historical facts. We all know that sculpted heads from classical antiquity are sometimes displayed as busts. Did you know that these busts are often fragments from full-body statues? I had no idea. Many of the busts that survived from classical antiquity were originally created to be inserted into a pre-existing body. These pre-existing bodies were generic blanks and I would imagine that they were made from some natural fiber material that didn't survive time. This has to be the first use of stock art in history.
So I made these 2 pieces for Timothy. I am super happy to now be showing my work in his gallery along side his other artists and I am hopeful for my work to connect with Atlanta. Thank you Timothy and Jules!
Early this year I was invited by Barry Fitzgerald to come out to The University of Kansas and speak to the School of Architecture, Design & Planning and the following day to do an illustration workshop for the Illustration Program. Barry ensured me that the hall would be packed because the lecture series is a required course so that was a relief but he also mentioned that if there was a Jawhawks game happening that night there would be a lot of unhappy and fidgety students out in the audience.
It was a fun night as I talked about my career highs and lows as I tried to deliver a message about self determination in the arts when at times things aren’t going your way including discouragement from education, the economy and with all of that going on the ultimate need to grow as an artist.
After the lecture I talked with some interested students and had the pleasure to meet my friend Susan Younger, Creative Director of the KU Alumni Association. Susan mentioned that she was going to come and take my workshop the next day. The next day during the workshop Susan started asking me questions about specific events in my career and said that she was going to pitch an article on my work to UCDA the University & College Designers Association. After the workshop Susan and I talked about our mutual love for the animal world including growing up in families that allowed the kids to have strange pets like snakes, turtles, amphibians and farm animals.
What looked like a long shot ended up getting published in the Summer 2014 issue of Designer Magazine.
A super big thanks out to Susan Younger for her work to put the article together and get it published and to Creative Director Tadson Bussey for his design work and to Barry for the invitation to visit KU.
Here are 2 new Braided Wire Sculptures from my Couples Series. These were both created for the Elizabeth Gordon Gallery in Santa Barbara. These are so much fun to make that I am finding it hard to stop. They are also so light that they ship really easily and I build my crates/boxes out of recycled appliance boxes that I get from a Sears outlet up here. I have included some production shots of the work in progress.
The piece below, Couple #288 was inspired after Couple #276 that was selected by the Crocker Art Museum for their 2014 art auction.
This is my latest private commission called “The Shower”. It is based on a piece that a couple had found on my website that they both loved, but it was sold. The inspiration for the painting is “Woman #73”, a woman taking a shower. I told them that I could do a similar piece in the same spirit and they went for it.
I am starting to do more private commissions so I have updated my website to include information on my commission process here.
Here are a few of my recent projects that I have happening.
I am starting to do more and hopefully more private commissions for paintings which have been a lot of fun. All of these paintings have been based on paintings that have sold that a client has wanted to purchase but being unavailable I suggest doing another piece in the same spirit and show them samples of similar projects and talk with them about the process.
In these new wire pieces it is the first time that I have incorporated color into the work. Introducing color into these pieces has opened up a dialogue of why and what if's? So far I have enjoyed mixed reviews from my galleries that stem mostly from my break from traditional patina's and coloration but I am a big fan of crowd sourcing opinion and I appreciate hearing all of it so it will be interesting to see how they do in San Diego.
The “Oakland” episode of me working with Canadian Travel Television host Kevin Cullen, the Motorhead Traveler. My work was selected by the tourism boards, Visit California and Visit Oakland to work with Cullen to create his self portrait in steel wire to help promote the arts in Oakland, CA. the Transmission Gallery March 2014
“Venus” and “Mars” are 2 new sculptures that I created for a group show #ArtExpoSD taking place July 24-26 at the Wonder Bread Factory in San Diego during ComicCon. This show is curated by Mark Murphy.
I am very happy to say that my work is now represented by the Elizabeth Gordon Gallery. It is great showing with other artists that share an aesthetic similar to my own and I really like the other artists work. E.G.G. is located one block from the beach in Santa Barbara Ca. On your next visit to SB go check them out and say hi!
Elizabeth Gordon Gallery, 15 West Gutierrez, Santa Barbara, Ca 93101, 805 963 1157.
Here is the start of a new series of sculptures of "Kayakers". This first protoytpe was a blast to create as I take notes to make the next piece ever better. Although sometimes the first of a series can end up being the most interesting and charming because of the raw exploration of the original concept. This piece can be displayed by hanging flat on the wall like he is going down a waterfall or it can hang from a thin cable from the top of his head and spin or it can sit on a pedestal.
The KVIE PBS Art Auction 2012 will be televised September 28, 29 and 30, 2012. It has been 5 years since I have participated in this benefit auction and gala and I am thrilled to have my "Couple #178" selected. The last time I entered was 2007 and I was fortunate enough to be an award winner which was a huge honor and PBS did the short interview of me describing my work below. For 2012 the jury consisted of Sacramento's art royalty and the prize winning selected works will be announced next week. I've got my fingers crossed!
Here are a few newly Illustrated DVD covers for the good folks at Lynda.com. The challenge of designing business application covers becomes the lack of tangible symbolism. Without the obvious metaphors and symbols of the real world I looked closely at the interface design of the applications and built my designs in a very architectural and structural manner. This set of pieces were both a challenge and a blast to create. Thank you, Lynda.com
I was happy and honored to hear that these Sea Turtle Monotypes were juried into the Illustrators 53 Institutional Exhibit. These pieces were part of a series created through an invitation by the Sea Turtle Restoration Project to participate in a show and benefit titled, "Save Them All" to help restore habitat destroyed by the BP oil spill. Thank you, Society of Illustrators!
Here are some new DVD covers for my friends at Lynda.com. The most difficult cover to solve in this suite of Illustrations was Excel which is bundled with Microsoft Office. Not much to grab onto for graphic symbolism other than staring at the interface for inspiration, I was happy with my abstraction of the bar graphs. Art Direction, Heather Stallings