Monday, October 24, 2011

Noamward Bound

In many ways, Noam Chomsky is a standing hero of mine. He represents some of the best thinking dished up by humanity, has a monkey named after him, and was the impetus for one of the best experiences of my adult life.

A funny thing about this portrait: I initially set out to draw Martin Scorcese, and by the time I finished the left eyeball (I generally begin with the eyebrows and move southward), I realized I was working instead on a Chomsky.

Next time, Martin.

Prints: $20
Original: $80

See some other portraits.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Her life was saved by rock and roll (Lou Reed)

When you're a freelance artist, you'll be asked to provide art on the drop of a hat sometimes. That leads to Gamble Art, or Art That You'd Probably Do Differently A Second Time. That's the story here, in a way. See, there was this Zombie Prom (I know, I know), and I was asked to make some pieces to sell. Since I'm moving next month (stay tuned for future interior design entries, boys and girls), it was really hard to find time to attend to this opportunity. In the end, I scrapped out four portraits of musicians. I'm not done with this project. I'd like to revisit some of these faces and work on the patina a bit.

But the Zombie Prom is calling. It always is, guys.

Some Kinds of Love Are Mistaken For Vision
(or, Lou Reed)
[ cardboard, pen, paint ]

Out for love, and they will lean that way forever
(or, Leonard Cohen)
[cardboard, pen]

Ses pensees sur la femme es ses vues sur l'amour*
(or, Edith Piaf with a lace collar)
[cardboard, pen, paint]

"his thoughts of the woman, and her views on love

She said she couldn't do the cha cha cha
(or, Sam Cooke)
[ cardboard, pen ]

Monday, October 10, 2011

Too many things are occurring for even a big heart to hold. (Yeats)

"Always do projects outside your area of expertise."- Top scientists.

Once upon a time, two of my best friends (Heather and Greg) got hitched. Obviously, I took this as a challenge. I asked my friend and brewmeister, Benny, to join me in my goal of providing homemade booze for their wedding reception. Benny makes excellent beer, and one day you will drink a stein of it with me in his brewery. So save up, because craft beer is expensive.

I will always prefer giving gifts I've made, and I'm grateful to have friends who will likewise find meaning in that exchange. Of course, I can only pretend to have been part of making anything potable (Guys. I'm really busy), but I DID take on the task of making the labels for (what ended up being) Pale Ale and Hard Cider. For the project, I used very low quality photos because I believe in the power of Picasa. I took the shot of Greg on my Soviet-era flip phone while he was busking outside the Broad Street Market during the first week he lived in Harrisburg, and I lifted the shot of Heather right off the internet. Because I am creepy.

Once I doctored up the photos, decided on a punny name for each, and printed them on the thinnest computer paper money can buy, I then panicked because I realized I don't actually know how to make paper into labels. THANKS, KINKOS. You're a peach. Know why? It's not that you charged me a loooottt of money to make my paper into labels, which you did, it's that after I had already paid you to do that, one of your employees told me that YOU CAN USE MILK TO STICK LABELS ONTO BEER. YOU CAN. I tried it, and it is one of the most interesting party tricks I know now (besides this).

All that to say, congratulations to the most attractive people I know for a happy first year of marriage.

The old men and the sea-themed fire hydrant.

Remember THIS project? Just around the corner from Little Amps, on Third and Delaware Streets in Harrisburg, I painted a fire hydrant in hopes to win a contest/ a bunch of dollars/ the hearts of those around me. Don't worry! I came in, like, 83rd place or something, so my sense of humility is in great shape. But actually, I loved this project. I made friends with one thousand old men, thanks to my position outside ofThird Street Used Furniture store (which I recommend the next time you're acquiring ottomans for your living room.)

Do you see that splash of blue paint in the righthand photo? There is a funny/unsurprising story that goes along with that. Imagine a reality in which I was painting this fire hydrant on a rainy day, and that I am predisposed to not prepare for disaster. This combination of factors meant that a moment of frantic stretching of plastic over top of the fire hydrant resulted in the can of blue paint being toppled over via my foot. Whelp. Now it's a nearly-thematic square of sidewalk.

I have measured out my life with coffee spoons. (T.S. Eliot)

The last two months have been hectic. I am not the sort of person who is charming when things are hectic, so this blog post will have to serve as a general apology to everyone I know. I love you all, despite my furrowed brow. Fortunately for my situation, there is coffee all around me. And some lovely projects have come from that delicious reality:

1. Little Amps coffee shop opened, and I painted the exterior sign for the shop.
The developers, WCI, decided to use old floor boards as the base structure for the design, and that gave the overall aesthetic a rustic feel. I was really excited about this project, because having this be such a public piece forced me to be more focused that I... tend to be. Also, I have a big ole crush on the family who runs Little Amps, and I was glad they'd decided on a handmade, charminglysmudged aesthetic for the face of their shop.

2. ALSO I was commissioned to make some coasters for them. I make a LOT of coasters, and I usually err on the side of Just Strange Enough To Stare At. But for a setting that would be catering to People Who Are Not Necessarily As Weird As Me, I wanted to be as classically ambiguous in my design as possible while still making something that looked like I made it. For constructing the coasters, I used tiles that had been wrenched off the floor of my friend's basement, and, paper I'd bought for a Euro in Florence. Half of that sentence makes me feel super fancy. So, make sure to stick your pinky out before you return your cup to one of these babies.