Friday, November 20

Crazy 4 Cult 9 - Gallery 1988

This year's Crazy 4 Cult show is called "Let's Go Out to the Movies".  It's the 9th C4C show in the Gallery 1988 collection - and if you love pop culture, you are sure to enjoy the eclectic offerings that this show presents.

7308 Melrose Ave. Los Angeles CA 90046
Opening Reception Friday November 20, 7-10pm
Show runs through December 5th, 2015

My work this year is inspired by (as one might expect since I love it so much) "The Wizard of Oz". In this piece, a bright "alternate reality" vision for Emerald City being constructed as the Wizard looks on from above - a cheery view of his rulership, which ironically is simply rulership by fear and trickery. Gotta give The Wizard credit for seizing an opportunity!

"Building a Better Tomorrow Today!"
digital limited edition of 10

Saturday, October 17

Art Post Catchup

It's been a while since updating the ol' blog here - lets see... hmmm... what to say...

How bout just a smattering of stuff that I have been too lazy to place here until now? Cool?

"Choobakka Wants All Da Medalz"

"Gertrude's Secret" 
Inspired by "Rudy" from Funhouse Pinball
"Gorgar Speaks"
Inspired by Gorgar talking Pinball

"The Last Joust"

"Hellboy with Kittens"

"Holding Her is Dangerous"

"100% Mutagen Ooze"

Sunday, May 31

Tom Hanks Tribute - No Sad Stuff - Gallery 1988 West

The next show I'll be participating in is called "No Sad Stuff" - with all artwork inspired by Tom Hanks films ranging from 1984-1994.

Gallery 1988 West
7308 Melrose Ave. Los Angeles CA 90046
Opening Reception Saturday June 13th, 7-10pm
Show runs through June 20, 2015

I chose "Big" mainly because, well, Tom Hanks is just a giant kid in this movie. I myself feel like I never grew up - so there is really no better match. I painted this piece inspired by when Tom's character, Josh Baskin, first steps foot on the giant piano in the toy store. Overtaken by childlike curiosity, all Josh can do is  proclaim "Neat!"

I chose to make this one a little wobbly/shaky - stuffed into a tall canvas - capturing the awkwardness of a man in a kid's body.  Zoltar - the "Godlike" figure in this scenario - observes stone faced in the background as good 'ol Tom parades a carefree smirk.

Acrylic on Canvas

Monday, February 16

Is This Thing On? #4 - Gallery 1988 West

"Is this Thing On?" is back for their fourth show at Gallery 1988 West in LA, celebrating our favorite comedians once again! 

My choice for this one was to capture SNL superstar Kenan Thompson as DeAndre Cole - the overzealous musical host of "What's Up With That?"  So happy to see him reprise his role on the SNL 40th anniversary special - just wish there was more! Maybe next time Lindsey!

"What's Up With That?"
Acrylic on Canvas

Gallery 1988 West
7308 Melrose Ave. Los Angeles CA 90046
Opening Reception Friday February 20
Show runs through March 14, 2015

Studio shot with some awesome inspiration/reference - we're all pretty excited!

Friday, December 12

Gallery 1988 - Crazy 4 Cult 8

Crazy 4 Cult is back on at Gallery 1988 West in LA. My new piece for the show is inspired by "The Dark Crystal" - with the Skeksis and the Mystics hugging out their differences. The movie was one of my favorites as a kid - I always lamented that they didn't have any toys of these characters when the movie came out. I had to make my own out of cardboard!

The show starts TODAY! December 12th, and will be going until December 28. Be sure to check out the awesome work by all the artists on their site!

"Let Bygones Be Bygones"
10"x10" Acrylic on Birch Board

Some WIP on the painting - my reference next to the board itself.

...and the final painting compared to the original concept sketch. These basic colors really changed once I started mixing the palette. Warmer purples won out - and the background swirls became a red/gold tone as I wanted them to be reflective, but not demand too much attention. 

Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, December 5

Gallery 1988 - Thirty Three and a Third Art Show

Tonight is the BIG OPENING of Gallery 1988's Thirty Three and a Third Art Show, which features "covers" of album cover art!

I was honored to be asked by Dana Lechtenburg to work up a piece for the show. Timing is everything - so I was currently deep into Vampire Weekend music and chose to be inspired by them.

"Modern Vampires of the City"

So the story here is intentionally vague. Perhaps this is a couple parting; or a couple embracing after being apart - the lives of your modern day vampires are complex. This is what I was thinking when working up this image, loosely based on the misty photography from their album cover of the same name.

If you are in LA this December, be sure to check out Gallery 1988's exhibition which features 100 artists. Or check their online Gallery and pick up a few of your favorite pieces! A blurb on the event in the Huffington Post.

Saturday, November 8

Pop 2 Action - Hero Complex Gallery

“Pop 2 Action” opens this weekend only at Hero Complex Gallery in LA. This is a charity art event put on by the Gratitude Collaborative, where 50 artists present something from pop culture we’re grateful for. 

"Masters of Childhood Battle"
digital - 18"x20"

Masters of the Universe was always HUGE for me. My toys were worn down to the bare naked plastic with play; arms were ripped off; rubber leg attachments snapped; and weapons were lost in couch cushions. Thank you God for blessing me to grow up in the 80’s!

Here is a bit of process to share for fun

He Man in the background for reference

A rough color study on the iPad

Concept Sketch

Monday, November 3

Popzilla - Tim Burton Tribute Show

Popzilla's Tim Burton Tribute Show is now in full swing and will be ongoing every weekend in November. Be sure to check it out live, or visit the online gallery. Special thanks to Sam Carter and the entire Popzilla crew for getting this whole thing set up!

Rothick Art Haus
170 South Harbour blvd
Anaheim CA

This was a hard show to select subject matter for because Tim's catalogue is so rich with imagery. I chose Batman characters in the end because these films were the ones that most influenced me in film school.

Each one of these is based off of film dialogue - although Batman exclaiming "Let's Get Nuts" was actually said by Bruce Wayne outside of the cowl - still my favorite Batman film line.

"Busting Batman makes me feel all...dirty"
10"x10" acrylic on canvas

"Let's get nuts!"
10"x10" acrylic on canvas

"Naked sexual charisma"
10"x10" acrylic on canvas

Here is a snapshot of some of my development. Below you can see the thumbnails worked up before painting started (all printed out for reference); sketched on the iPad with rough color and composition. I started with The Penguin, thinking that if I only had time for one of these, he'd be the one I'd want to see completed in all his grotesque glory. As I went on, I felt too compelled to complete them as a set, so I pushed forward with the three. I did have a Joker in there too - but as much as I love him, I felt the least compelled to include him. Three just seemed better than four at the time, so I pressed for the with this trio as the set.

Here's my pencil line on the canvas for Batman prior to painting

...and a bit of mid-development painting on the Catwoman

All three were drying together on the easel - awaiting their frames.

Well, there ya go Burton/Batman fans - a little homage to these characters after having them reside in my brain for roughly 25 years! 

Monday, September 1

Popeye 85th Anniversary Art Show - Hero Complex Gallery

"Stong to the Finich! - the official Popeye Tribute Art Show"
Celebrating 85 Years of Popeye  
Friday, September 5, 2014

My piece, "Burgers, Bruisers, and Brawn" will be part of the show, along with a very limited print run of this illustration. This was originally conceived from the topic "Deformed Popeye" from a daily drawing blog. I didn't sway too much; I just pushed the huge arms a bit further, having such respect for the old black and white Popeyes that I'd love to watch late at night. Here in Chicago, one Popeye cartoon short would help fill the half our gap along with a 20 minute 3 Stooges short. What a great pairing of physical violence!

"Burgers, Bruisers, and Brawn"
8"x10" Giclee print

As an extra bonus, here is my original sketch of the work - kept this idea pretty close as I went into Flash for cleanup of the linework.

There should be some great artworks as part of this show - be sure to check it out if you live in the LA area.

In addition to the show, here is my "bonus" tribute illustration - amongst the Goons from Goonland, Popeye is truly one in a Millionsk! Let's all eat a can of spinach in his honor!

Sunday, August 10

8 Bit and Beyond 2

I have new work now appearing at Bottleneck Gallery in a show dedicated to video games!

8 Bit and Beyond
Bottleneck Gallery
60 Broadway, Brooklyn, NY 11249

This new piece is an 80's mashup of Ed-209 from RoboCop and the Gottlieb video game Q*Bert. Ed-209 (the fan favorite empty-hearted robot of the movie) had an issue walking down stairs, so I thought what could be a better place to test his abilities traversing an environment? Q*Bert's pyramid of cubes. Ed-209 has no problems eliminating his enemies, but jumping and changing the colors of cubes is a little trickier.

"Test Chamber Q"
Acrylic on birch board

I continue down the path of working on wood board. I find the grain and rigidity very pleasing, and it provides a nice contrast for the otherwise cold/sterile worlds of these characters.

I contemplated doing a "bloodier" version of this piece - something that RoboCop director Paul Verhoeven would be proud of. I played around with this concept in my thumbnails, but as I painted the piece, I liked the simplicity of the cube colors, and I thought that the lack of gore made the murder more subtle. Maybe you don't even notice Q*Bert and his cronies deceased at the bottom of he image. I have thoughts of going back to it and doing a digital print variant with the gore added, then there could be a choice for the true Verhoeven fans. 

Anyway, if you are lucky enough to live in New York, check out the original artwork which is now on display amongst over 70 other great works!

Thursday, July 31

San Diego Comic Con 2014

Hi Everyone! Thanks for a great time again in San Diego - Comic Con 2014 is officially over and it's again time for a BIG THANKS! So grateful to all the fans and visitors; wonderful to meet with newcomers, and I had a blast talking to return fans who I'm so honored by year after year.

I've had the same booth now with Bob Rissetto for 7 years in a row - we run it like clockwork now. Comic Con has become a home away from home. Got to meet with some inspiring artists and spend time with friends. Always so much more I wish I did and saw - but that's what next year is for - right?

One big surprise was this visit from Sergio Aragones. He came by to watch my "Alien for Christmas" film and was graciously complementary. He was very interested in the Flash animation process, and asked detailed questions about how I worked. Hey, maybe this is a hint at animated things to come from Sergio in the future? Could be!

Here a photo tribute to a bunch of art fans who made my trip to SDCC 2014 awesome! As always, send me pictures of wherever this artwork ends up - I love seeing it framed on your walls, stapled over your bed, or folded up as a paper hat! Check out and like my Facebook Art Page for a steady stream of new artwork offerings sent directly to your delicious newsfeed. See ya next year!

Tuesday, July 15

Under the Rainbow

I'm very stoked to announce that within a week, I'll be presenting the second in our WMS series of gallery exhibitions. This new show is a tribute to "The Wizard of Oz"; one of our many licenses at WMS, and this private gallery showcases just a bit of the passion behind our love of the 1939 classic film.

In this show, artists (and anyone who simply loves the story) were welcome to create artwork for our "Artists Among Us" gallery. Supported by Warner Bros. themselves, this is expected be a great event and a real showcase of our company's broad ranges of style and talent.

One of the pieces I'm putting into the show is called "Under the Rainbow". It presents a vision of Dorothy Gale who has full control over the power of the Ruby Slippers. She can now transport herself from Kansas to Oz at will.

"Under the Rainbow"

Below is the original sketch. I had this vision of Dorothy while I was on a plane ride overseas in December. At this time, I was just racking my brain for ideas to create for this show, and this was one of 3 that I immediately took to. The idea of showing Dorothy in control and carefree was very alluring to me. Seeing her in the eye of the storm and not a fear in the world would show a side of confidence that Dorothy only adapts towards the end of the film - so wouldn't it be cool to see her go beyond that? 

I decided to approach this in gray scale - which isn't the norm for me. Seemed like a nice way to try something new (I usually have my thoughts on color immediately and commonly jump straight to it). Given that this would be mainly a sepia toned piece, this seemed like a natural opportunity for mostly value exploration. 

You can see how squat and ball-like Toto was at this early phase - I just wasn't thinking too much about him here. In the end I would have liked something a little more dynamic for him pose-wise.

Things begin to take shape as I reference farmland images and cloud formations. In my early thoughts on Dorothy, I had her mouth drawn as just a very wide line, which I liked as it promoted a solemn confidence. In the end, I went with a wide smile to make her seem generally happier. Sometimes these decisions just come down to how I feel at the time. I pictured this portrayal of Dorothy almost in an Anime style, so I resisted some temptations to push her closer to her actual Judy Garland likeness, even though I had the reference for her right next to the illustration. 

There was originally a path with a ground plane visible, but that later got covered by dust and debris of a more turbulent storm. All the ground details were the last elements I put in. 

I played around a lot with the intensity of the rainbow. At first I thought it should be bright an vivid, drowning Dorothy in saturated color - but it just felt too forced and unbalanced to me, and I ended up going with a more subtle approach.

Thanks for reading and I hope you've enjoyed my development story. 

Friday, July 4

Summertime Bears

For the EAG summer members show, I wanted to do a piece that fit in with my current birch board experimentation. I had an idea of a picnic ground that had been visited by a bunch of curious and playful bears. Minimal design and colors - something graphic and fun.
"Summertime Bears"
4 - 8x8" - acrylic on birch wood boards

I originally thought of this as a large piece with a bunch of mini scenes - but in the end I decided to keep the idea small and approach multiple bear themes on smaller boards.

After roughly comping out the scenes on the iPad, I printed out the scenes at scale and began painting up the background trees with a thin acrylic layer. I used a stencil to maintain a consistency between 2 tree sizes and shapes.

I always like to keep my environment flexible and fun. Here you can see as I watch "The Simpsons" while I'm working. I'm using this butcher board rolling table as a movable workstation so I can position it wherever I want to be, or for various lighting conditions.

After the initial layers of paint, I added a bark detail and then a very thin wash over the whole thing to soak the paint deeper into the grain and bring it out a little. 

Next step was trying out this boarder idea before I committed to it. I just painted it on paper and laid it over to see how I liked it.

Next step was cutting out the characters from the previously printed thumbnails. I printed these at size so that I could easily position the characters over the final boards and not have to go through the step of re-drawing carefully. I cut out just enough to get what I needed. You can see I cut just a tiny sliver to identify where the top of the trashcan is. 

Here I have laid the templates over the boards. From here I'll paint in enough to get the characters in the right spots. I kept labels on the sides to identify the order of the boards. This order just seemed right at the time - but really they can go in any order.

Now I'm mostly through the painting - things are starting to come together.

I've painted the boarders and details here. I opted to paint the sides of the boards in an orange wash to complement the bears. Here I'm painting at the work desk which has fluorescent lighting and a fan for drying faster. I like to look closer in this lighting and pain in minor bits that I didn't see before. Different lighting sometimes reveals stuff I didn't see before.

Here the artwork sits, waiting for it's placement in the show coming up this weekend!

If you are in the Chicago land area, come on by the Elmhurst Art Museum to see this piece on display. The reception is on June 11th at 7pm!