Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Munny For AB 83 (Lost in the Ozone)

Mixed Media on 7" kidrobot Munny

This was probably the coolest hing I got to do at work so far.  My boss gave me the task of designing a Munny for our new sale coming up in September.   The "Artrageous Sale" is deeply rooted in graffiti and urban style art.  All of our signs and window clings are graffiti and we now sell Montana Gold spray paint and several of these sculptures.  There are several designs but all are soft vinyl toys made by kidrobot that artists can paint, draw, do whatever to.  It's a design-it-yourself art project.  You can check out more Munnys.. Munnies here and also here.  

I started this project with Sharpies markers, drawing what cities lack the most.. trees.  The trees, without leaves, eventually turned into vines and roots which represented growing up.  Although it looked cool, this black and white version was not what I wanted.  I guess I was on autopilot and ended up wasting a couple hours because I painted over most of it the next night.  I wanted something that embodied the urban life I remember seeing back east.  It needed brick walls and graffiti...  An old feel reminiscent of NYC in the 80's where graffiti began.    


To get into the feel of urban art and graffiti, I decided to watch Paid in Full.  Its a movie depicted in the 1980's about a few drug dealing friends that grew up in the rough area of Harlem and deal with the problems and casualties of living such a lifestyle. The movie gave me some inspiration to start painting..  RED!!  The acrylics I used are not artist quality but this worked to my advantage.  A single coat of this cheap paint acted like a transparency and allowed the marker detail to shine through.  They are not as opaque as the heavy body Liquitex which I normal use.  This allowed me to keep the roots on his right leg which is the only portion of the original design that I liked.

That movie reminded me of the only time I was in Harlem walking around and it was pretty scary.  Granted I was there to see a Jousha Johnston painting in a YMCA during the middle of the day, with two super awesome white lesbian women in their 40's.  It sounds like a dream but I swear it's true.  I was taking an African Art History class at Kean University at the time and the trip was required.  I remember coming out of the subway with my classmate Maria and her girlfriend and being instantly overwhelmed.  We asked the first person we saw for directions to the YMCA and the Harlem Museum.  Although I didn't trust the person we asked, he was right on the money which made me feel terrible.  Sorry guy with one tooth more than a baby.

After the gun busts and ganstas in the movie, I drew the target on his back and painted The United States on his head to represent other countries' love for us.  I also got the idea to cut the handle off Munny's ray gun, one of the four mystery accessories he came with (still intact in the single photo above), to create a Montana Gold spray can.  It was then that I noticed the rest of the ray gun looked like a spaceship.  I was browsing Netflix and put on a History Channel program about our galaxy.  This gave me the galaxy idea for the top of his head.  America--> first people on the moon--> Golden!  I used a transparent iridescent medium by Liquitex to add a pearlescent shimmer to the stars within the galaxy.  Below this is a silhouetted figure that I transformed into buildings spray painting the atmosphere; a play on aerosols and hinting at our carbon footprint deteriorating the ozone.  I also added the tagger hoodie that zips over your face so witnesses or police cannot identify you destroying property.  I also included a tiny heavily painted easel and tiny canvas with graffiti tags that represent the store and the reason I got to do this project to begin with.  There is so much to say about this little guy but I don't want to go overboard like I usually do.. like I already have.  I'll let the pictures say the rest.  Check out the fancy boarders!  I also removed the paper lines in Photoshop (visible in the black and white photos above) to make the pictures look official. 


This next digital piece was just something cool that came from collaging all the pictures below it.  Each photo detailed the 'graffiti' on my Munny so I thought I'd group them together like the pictures above.  While putting the forth collage together, I realized that some of the photos looked really cool next to each other.  I removed the white background near the Munny's ear and my buddy Jesse stopped by.  He cheered me on to make the rocket ship look three-dimensional and literally watched me mold these images together for an hour.  (That must have been so boring.  Sorry dude)  I did not plan on spending so much time on this..  I think I blacked out zoning.
As the time flew by, Jesse had left,  I got hungry, and my butt hurt from sitting on a wooden-makeshift computer chair.  I looked up, saw this, and left to get nasty on some fast food like these guys.  Sauce!

I expected this digital piece to have a transparent background and I did not know that JPEG files automatically insert a white background when saving.  I had to go back in the cheap way and magic wand everything that reappeared. It looks pretty terrible compared to the original Photoshop image that I saved because the areas that were transparent are now opaque.. (obviously) Oh well.  I wasn't going to waste anymore time on this.  If I only saved it as a PNG file instead of a JPEG, I would have been able to keep the transparent background..   Who knew?


Fun facts:  The term "zoned" or "zoned out" derived from a 1970's phrase "Lost in the Ozone" which I found to be quite appropriate for this blog posting.  There is my title.. Boo-ya!

*FYI The Aaron Brothers in Midway, CA is having five world renown writers tag their windows live on August 13th from 1PM-5PM.  This promotional event is free and will benefit the Boys and Girls Clubs.  CLICK HERE for more info. Do it, Do it, do it..

One Lace, One Love



This is an old post that was lost.. not in translation.. but in relaxation.  This image is also referred to in the post prior to this one (Natalie Meets Tom).  I couldn't post this at the time of completion because it was before Father's Day and I didn't want to ruin the surprise.  This is why I forgot about these last two posts.

This commissioned project was for my friend's wife.  She wanted a Father's Day gift that meant something special for my old friend Hanks.  She told me how she felt about him in a short paragraph and I took it from there.  Being sneakerheads, I figured nothing could be better than sealing their love in a drawing of some kicks.  I knew that they both loved Jordans so I found out which ones exactly and took it from there.  At this point, I made each person represented by a sneaker.  I made a few minor tweaks to the design.  I changed the hologram from a circle to a heart on the red/whites, and wrote "Love" instead of "Jordan" near the toe of the grey/blues.  The one lace travels around each sneaker and weaves into and out of each to represent two people and two minds into one life and one idea...  This metaphorically speaking represents their life together and how things truly change when you are in love and start a family together; two people joined as one.

Jamie, Hank's girl and the commissioner for this piece, wanted her words to be written in the background of the drawing.  Without disrupting the composition, I was able to incorporate her beautiful words into the laces that join the two sneakers together.  I really like the way this came out.  My favorite part being the open white spaces, on each shoe, that seamlessly blend into the background.  My one quarrel with it is the toe portion on the grey/blues.  I didn't think about it I guess, and I drew each sneaker from one picture.  The sneaker design is actually different between colors and the red/whites have that triangle shape of the toe while the grey /blues do not.  Oh well.  What's perfect?  I hope you like it Hanks!!

Natalie Meets Tom (Donated to The Need)





This drawing is in lou of another drawing that I can't disclose of at the moment. All I can say is that it's a sneaker which got me thinking. Feeling frisky, I decided to design an image to paint.. Well paint on.

A couple months ago, I applied for a job painting sneakers for Tom's. Art degree and all but still couldn't generate a response. Sucks for them right?  I have never owned a pair, but I love the simplicity and the relaxed faux hippie, classic slip-on style. I'm fitting puzzle pieces back together as we speak.. Maybe it's because I went to one of their sneaker painting events my second day in California with my buddies Yon and Joe.  My friend was in cahoots with a company called eVocal, which basically was a team of local artists in Costa Mesa that had a facility to silkscreen and sell their work. It was pretty sweet.  They got the opportunity to create sneakers for local Newport Beach customers right in front of the store.

We hung out for a couple hours and I watched the artist receive requests and I got the opportunity to watch them flush out their ideas on customer's sneakers. I remember one of the artists maintaining but his talent and skill was that of a high school student who just liked to draw.  To my surprise, his customers seemed please.  I remember having the urge to paint a pair just to see what would have happened..

Anyway, this is the design I came up with.  I am currently transferring this idea to the actual sneaker.  I'm almost done so I'll post those pictures soon.

An American Influenced by an American Influenced by Japan


Color Stix and Markers on a 5" x 7" Red Suede Mat Board

This drawing was started by random lines from a brush pen made by Faber Castell.  In the beginning, it looked like a face placed vertically throughout the center of the drawing.  Coloring the face= zero fun.  I became super bored and did not have my heart in it.  I decided to create another beach style drawing after looking at the work of surf artist Jay Alders.  My friend had commented on his painting entitled Shifting Perception on Facebook, which he awesomely donated it's profits to help Japan.  This inspired me to create this and savage a suede mat board.  

Although the whole drawing changed, you can still see pieces of a mans face when the drawing is sideways.  The chin of this gentleman, who always seems to look like my buddy Keith, can be seen near the small wave in the back.  His eyes are the two white splashes that are lined together on the right.  His hair was obviously the right wave and his nose is still visible in the rounded line that flows into the rocks near the center.  The dark lines are the brush pens.  These pens/ brushes are pretty cool writing implements that don't smell like other markers I like to use.  There are very many techniques you can create with them and I have used them many times in past projects although I have never blogged about them.  If you want more information on PITT pens watch this artist on Youtube sell the s*#t out of them.  

This is an old post that I had stored as a draft and forgot about.  It seems that I have been doing that a lot lately which I guess is a good thing.  I have created so many pieces the last few months that I am totally forgetting about them.  Way to go Dan!


Friday, August 5, 2011

1000 Times


Mixed Meida on 5" x 7" Green Textured Mat Board

Relapse..  Thats all there is to say right guy?  "Nah, you can also say quiting is easy.  I've done it one-thousand times." -Skull

Dripping Wet


Colored Pencils on 5" x 7" Red Suede Mat Board

Okay.  So, the portrait I did of Natalie was fresh in my mind.  I tried drawing her again from memory with a crazy twist.  Natalie has a crazy fear of liquids..  Not really liquids per say but one in particular.. spit!!  I don't think anyone is really a fan, but Natalie has a profound disgust regarding spit and freaks whenever she hears a lugey hacked or sees one on the ground.  I actually researched this and a lot of people have this phobia that doesn't even have a title.  Someone on yahoo said it could be "sialophobia" since sialo is the proper name for saliva, but who knows.  Either way, I drew Natalie's portrait entirely of different colored liquids to honor her hatred for spit.  (Gross)

These facts are gross.  Did you know that there are over 700 species of bacteria that thrive in the average human mouth.  On the other hand, did you know that saliva balances out the acid capabilities of the mouth.  If it wasn't there, besides providing the ability to swallow things easier, ours mouths would be so acidic that it would eat through out teeth. Even better.. apparently when you urinate, a small amount of the urine enters your mouth through the saliva glands. The website I saw that one on also said and I quote, "But that’s okay because fresh urine is cleaner than saliva."  I have joined the club Nat.. ..I HATE SPIT!!!  
Thursday, August 4, 2011

Bonsai 4 Yo Eye..(s)

Hey blog and the people who read you. It's been a while.  I have slacked and I'm tired of it.  I'm such a passive-aggressive blogger.  Some days I can't get away, and others fly by into weeks without a look your way.  I'm sorry for that.  I'm sure you don't mind but for those of you who have been checking in here and there, thanks for that and sorry for the wait. The first thing I want to post is the newest series I have created over the last few days.  I have many other words for you to eat and many other images that out date these for you to host, but these are fresh.  And fresh is a good start.

*Actually, I forgot that I had this draft saved and I posted two other entries prior to this one even though the words above tell a different story.  Oh well.  Enjoy it anyway.. if you can read.   


This was a fun little bonsai project that was inspired by my "playercard" on COD Black Ops. Your playercard is a small picture that you can create from other preset emblems, symbols, and pictures to make your card unique from everyone else's. Most people's cards are for mature audiences only. Most seem to think its funny to objectify women and animals in a pornographic way but there are some that have a 'nerdy class' and tend to build Superheros or Nintendo characters like this Youtube video illustating a playercard design. I, like this guy.. maybe girl.. keep it clean. Too clean actually.

 Although this game is very graphic and emerses the user into violence and war, my playercard was quite the opposite. It was and still is a serene beach scene with a cliff and and some palm trees in siloutte with a sunset sky and large sun (will add a picture at some point). This leads me back to the point of all this..

For some reason my COD sunset made me think of Japan. I know this is very sterotypical and I do not mean to offend anyone, but my thought process is as follows. Red Sun-> Japan-> Martial Arts-> Bonsai Treeeeess.. My bad.

All four are made with colored pencils/stix on various colored, 5" x 7" suede mat boards.  Thanks for reading.


Portrait: Natalie Farrell's Make Up


Colored Pencils on 5" x 7" Red Suede Mat Board

Natalie and I went out to a club downtown for our friend Jesse's birthday where a photographer snapped a great picture of us together.  Adri, another one of our friends, is going to cosmotology school and was nice enough to doll Natalie up in all sorts of powders, shadows, foundations.. girl stuff.. before we went out that night.  I for one am a man who likes natural beauty.  Although Natalie doesn't need to wear make up,  Adri did a great job making Natalie even more beautiful.  I decided to draw the photo Natalie stole off the club's website emitting myself from the composition.  I made her face and skin almost transparent as if to capture only the make up that Adri applied to which the suede mat provided a good base to create such an effect.  I enlarged her earrings to make the piece more fun. I also rolled back in time to my old caricature signature to represent a place and period when we first met, when I drew her all the time.  <3        

Portrait: Jacob Hemphill (SOJA)


Colored Pencils on 5" x 7" Slate Suede Mat Board 
I plan to triple mat this piece Rasta style with this quote written on the top mat. 

"It's a war in the middle I am,
So judge me now with your pad and pen.
Cause I'm too busy to judge another man,
I'm trying to write the blueprint for all the world to understand.."

Soilders of Jah Army (SOJA) is one of my favorite bands at the moment.  They are an extremely talented reggae band out of Virginia.  They came together to form SOJA in 2000, and dropped their first album entitled Peace in a Time of War in 2002.  Their songs are about social, political, and environmental change.  Their lyrics are empowering and Jacob's thought provoking ideals provide a clear message for their goal of equality and world peace in the near future.

“People think we write music about the earth for the earth’s sake, but its not really like that.  If we harm the earth, it will reject us.  For all we know, its happened one hundred times before. This place gets too hot, that’s it.  Reset button. That’s why I sing what I sing - to pull us all in the same direction, the same future. Without that, we're finished.  -Jacob Hemphill

P.S. If you were interested in listening to one of their songs and if you are too lazy to google, play their song above in the playlist.  You won't be disappointed.  
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