Monday, October 5, 2009

More sketchbook stuff

No particular themes. It's just me hanging onto the marker and letting it go where it wants to go.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Bernie Fuchs passes away

Just this previous weekend on September 19th, one of my illustration idols in Bernie Fuchs passed away at the age of 76. He was always required reading and viewing when I was in school. The more I read about him, his impact upon American culture- I understood how important this man was to the field. Not only was he an amazing craftsman and artist, but he actually worked in the Detroit hey day of studio art. He drew cars, made them art, and then transcended this market when other art directors took notice. From there he went on to do work for some of the most visible clients in advertising including Sports Illustrated, Coca Cola, TV Guide, and others.

His book shown here, "Ragtime Tumpie" I use in my class today to show my students how gorgeously this man worked. I hope to pass on some of Bernie Fuchs' scope & vision onto the next group of young illustrators. He truly was an innovator, an amazing artist, and someone I admired from afar.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Summer sketchbook

More images from another two day sketchbook.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Art Spiegelman at the MOCAD

I just had the distinct honor of seeing acclaimed cartoonist/ story teller/ graphic artist Art Spiegelman lecture at the MOCAD. He talked about the history and future of comics as well as showing off some of his impressive works. One very poignant part that stuck with me was how influential MAD magazine was to him. It's a sad reminder to think of where print publications have come (MAD is now produced quarterly as opposed to its high of nine issues a year), but then knowing that a book like Maus can still be groundbreaking and award winning gives us hope that print is not about to fade away just yet. I was lucky enough to get a signed and sketched copy of it for my library and will treasure it and its author's genius.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Majestic Cafe renderings

It's not exactly every day I get a call to do an interior design project, but just recently I was asked to be a part of the re-design of Detroit's historic Majestic Cafe. It had been a long long time since I've done anything so architectural and so accurate, but it was fun envisioning the space, the new furniture, fixtures and trappings.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

HIBM Awareness

A few months ago I was asked to stand up in some very close friends' upcoming wedding. One of them has HIBM (Hereditary Inclusion Body Myopathy), which is a progressive muscular disease which can lead to total disability within 10-15 years. They, along with many others have worked non-stop to raise awareness through their HIBM website. They're hoping to raise some money to cure this dreaded disease. Please take a few moments of your day, look at their website and even in this tight economy, go to their link and pledge a dollar to help meet their $1 million dollar goal.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Thursday, June 18, 2009

The Lost Tiki Palaces of Detroit reading

Friend and fellow tiki enthusiast, Michael Zadoorian had a reading from his new book, The Lost Tiki Palaces of Detroit at the Book Beat earlier. Along with Michael was Glenn Barr who was the cover artist for this new collection of Detroit based stories. A good time was had by all as they were both signing copies of the book, regaling us with their stories and reliving wonderful stories of their upbringing in the Detroit area.

CCS Student Exhibition 2009

'Twas a very long year at school but at the end of every year is the annual Student Exhibition. Here are some random shots of the walls, displays and art.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Medicine Hat pennants- no more?

Back in October 2008, I posted about 14 of the felt & silk pennants from my hometown of Medicine Hat. I've got well over 30+ of these things and decided to show off a few of the select gems. I'll find them in garage sales, estate sales, flea markets, eBay and just about anywhere I can score one. A few years back upon a trip back to Alberta, I managed to obtain one from an antique shop directly across the street from where my dad's restaurant was.

Here are a few more from the collection but for whatever reason I haven't been able to find any more of these pennants. I've searched high & low with no such luck. Could it be I've snagged them all or are they just so obscure an obtuse that people just pitch them after they get dingy? If anyone comes across a Medicine Hat pennant, feel free to drop me a line. Who knows? I might not have it in my collection.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Draper Hill (1935 -2009)

Upon entering college I had visions of becoming an editorial cartoonist much like Draper Hill of The Detroit News. I had always enjoyed the editorial & journalistic bent of cartooning. When I was in middle school I wrote a term on paper editorial cartooning where I detailed such people like Thomas Nast, Bill Maudlin, Jeff MacNelly, Mike Peters, etc.. I knew that a simple image could change how people perceived things. I always read the comics in the newspaper but was always fascinated with the spontaneity and timely nature of editorial cartoons; they weren't cartoons done weeks or months in advance- they were often done the evening after a major event. The people who came up with these little artistic gems had to have a quick decisive style, wit and were technically sound.

Last week, one of my inspirations, Draper Hill passed away at the young age of 73. I never met him, wrote to him in admiration or had any contact with him other than enjoying his art on a daily basis. I'd study his approach to caricature (as he was wickedly accurate in depicting then mayor, Coleman Young), his brush work, his lettering, his tone and just about anything I could do to emulate that style. From what I've read about Draper Hill, he truly was a gentleman and a huge repository of knowledge & historical data on cartooning. To me, he will always be one of my earliest influences and inspirations to becoming an artist. He will be missed.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Art Battle 2009

Another year. Another Art Battle at the Russell Industrial Center. On April 17th, I drew nearly non-stop for three hours on a huge 30" x 40" canvas. I didn't win, place or show but did have a handful of offers for the piece I did.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Starving artists myth

Here's an illustration I've done for friend and CCS Admissions counselor, Lori Watson. She needed a piece of art for an upcoming seminar to parents of prospective artists.

I've personally have always hated that term of "starving artist". As a working artist and a person that teaches the senior level course in Portfolio Presentation, I have to convince my soon-to-be graduates that there is hope for them. I will often question WHY they chose to be an artist- and often have to remind them of the passion that they started when they went into this field. It should be nearly a religious calling that we choose to be artists; it's about our drive, determination and wanting to be happy in creating art.

While the economic times might be tight at the moment, there are still many opportunities for a creative person to ply their craft. Creativity doesn't just happen at the end of a brush, marker or pencil. One has to be able to re-invent themselves and find those markets. If anything, there are probably more diverse fields now for a creative person to step into now than ever before.

I hope Lori does well with her seminar and convinces those hesitant parents into letting their kids go into a field which I call my hobby, my job, my career and most importantly- my passion.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Ann Delisi's Essential Music

Being a huge fan of eclectic music and the dee jays that play that sort of music, it's welcomed relief to have Ann Delisi back on the airwaves at WDET 101.9 FM every Saturday & Sunday from noon until 4:00.

What she does so uniquely on the Detroit radio airwaves (and for those not in the listening area, online) is that she researches her music and then seamlessly blends all genres of music on the air to make an intelligent show. It's not the pre-packaged playlists that you hear on every other station. Just this previous weekend she played varied musicians such as UB40, Joan Osbourne, Ray Charles, Bell X1, India Arie, all the way to Detroit's very own Jamie McCarthy and Jill Jack (playing local music is also another goal of the show). While I don't adore everything that Ann plays, her selections have also exposed me to other genres of music that I would've never heard on any commercial airwaves. It's literally an education in music.

The show definitely harkens back to a much more intelligent time in radio when the audience relied on the voices heard on the air as authorities in music and news.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Modernist tiki sculptures

Three tiki sculptures I just recently picked up. They are all exquisitely carved, assembled and painted. I have yet to find out much about the manufacturer or any details about them other than their construction was mentioned in a 1961 Popular Mechanics magazine. The tags that are around two of the darker ones read: "Polynesian tiki handcrafted by R.E. Evans- San Diego, CA". They're barely a foot tall and about two inches across at their widest point. They're not my usual ceramic fare but I think they still have a unique cool modern feature to them.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Another sketchbook done

Although this particular sketchbook took me more than my self imposed two day schedule, I finally finished it. If it wasn't for a rush job that came across my desk for a steady client, I probably would've pounded this book down in that prescribed time frame. Now it's time to recover for a day or two and start up another book soon.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Sketchbook latest

Day two of sketching. Just for kicks.

George Kell passes away

I don't think there's a Detroit kid my generation that played any form of sandlot baseball/ softball that didn't do a George Kell impersonation of some kind. Many of us knew him only as a Tigers' television broadcaster but prior to that, he was one of the most potent third basemen in all of Major League Baseball. His records were many and his acceptance in the Hall of Fame only reinforces those accomplishments. He passed away in his hometown of Swifton, Arkansas at the age of 86 and yet I can still his voice ring out with some wonderful anecdote about the game that he played and was passionate about.

Terry Brown visits CCS

Terry Brown, the director emeritus of the New York Society of Illustrators was kind enough to join some of our students in a lively discussion on many things Illustration. He talked about the history of American Illustration (he taught one of the premier History of Illustration courses), its evolution, its future, copyrights, the influence of technology, market shifts, and hopefully inspired some of our troops to be the next wave of impactful artists.

Terry also gave our students a personal guided tour of the current Norman Rockwell exhibition at the Detroit Institute of Arts as well as personally regaling us in some outrageous stories about the Society the night before.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Just for kicks

Every now & then and a lot of times for friends I'll poke fun of them for some obscure little thing or foible in their lives. And from time to time I come up with some things that even surprise me or make me chuckle. Granted years from now I'll look back and have lost all context as to why it was funny, but for the mean time- this was one of those goofy ten minute drawings that just keeps staring back at me and makes me chuckle.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Happy Saint Patrick's Day

If only friend Jay Shuster would've kept his beard for just a bit longer (and if he was about two feet shorter), he would've been the ideal leprechaun for this holiday.

Another look at the Chin Tiki

Yeah, I know I posted a longer winded Chin Tiki article about the fall of the place below but also wanted to preserve the Google Map street level image of the place that was taken several years back. How simply spartan and idyllic it looked in the Detroit sun.

Also mad thanks to John Monaghan of the Detroit Free Press too. Great article on the place being demolished and sending over 3000+ hits to the merry blog here.

Sketchbook happy

My very first all digital sketch.
Not a single tree was sacrificed in its creation.

The usual sketchy madness.

For the last few month or so, I've been going gonzo in my sketchbooks. I can nearly finish a 128 page sketchbook in less than a week. Granted some of them are clunkers and then some of them are little gems for me to explore a little bit more. Even with my work and teaching schedule I've always managed a few precious hours to myself to add something to these little sketchbooks. I'm not sure where they're gonna go just yet but it's been very liberating.