Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Art Tuesday

So I sent out samples of my work to a local coffee shop that my friends frequent. They gave me a heads up on an art request flyer & an e-mail address. I sent them 7 samples & an e-mail. To my surprise I got one back saying they liked my stuff & wanted me for October.


Really? Holy crap. For real?

Now the fun begins. Framing & getting everything show ready. It might help if I actually went to the coffee shop & got an idea of how much space I have to cover. Lol.

I haven't EVER had my own show. I've shared a show, but never ever my very own.

The not having a reliable car thing really makes this difficult. Getting to the coffee shop, I mean. That's what friends are for, right? Right guys? Hello?

I also have a new set goal. I have to get some new work out. I have a deadline. Deadlines make me work.


If you live in OKC (Oklahoma City) or any of the surrounding areas, go check these guys out: Coffee Slingers

This just proves one thing. The only thing stopping any of us is ourselves.

Thanks Chris & Cindy.

Movie Review Monday

I didn't watch movies or TV all weekend, so again I am without a movie review.

So instead, I'll talk about getting rid of stuff & my car. For over 30 years I've been a Star Wars collector. I have spent thousands & thousands of dollars on Star Wars collectibles. My car, however, is going on 22 years. It has been put to pasture once, rescued by my brother, repaired & now needs a new radiator, hoses, rear shocks, and a transmission check that will include getting a fluid flush, new seal, filter, & possibly a new pan. Hopefully that fixes the weirdness with the transmission & it doesn't need to have a whole new transmission. I love my car. It's a '89 Buick LeSabre. I paid right around 8 grand for it back in 1995. It was a one owner with less that 45,000 miles on it. It has been all the way across the country, from Ohio to the Texas coast. It has only broken down twice, both times due to the main computer board going out. It wouldn't have gone out the second time if the dealer had diagnosed the computer as the problem rather than the battery & alternator the first time around. I had to argue with them the second time & insist that they put in the new computer & not charge me the full price because I paid for a battery & alternator I didn't need replaced. After that I learned to replace most things myself. I've put in a water-pump, a harmonic balancer, two alternators, a coil pack, plug & wires, serpentine belt, fly wheel, fuel pump, reservoir tank, front & back brakes, tie-rods, headlight bulbs, window switches & working on replacing the head liner. Wow. That seems like a bunch. I'm sure there's more. I know I've had at least 3 to 4 sets of tires put on her. I've had at least 3 flats & 1 blow-out. She's been rear-ended sitting at the train tracks waiting for the gates to lift & I slightly tapped someone in front of me when I slide into them when they braked suddenly. No damage. Not to the car anyway. The woman that rear-ended me messed my neck up pretty much for life.

Anyway, I digress. My point is, I don't have a reliable vehicle. I have tons of Star Wars crap, but it sits there, staring back at me blankly. I can't use it to travel. I can't use it to get me from point A to point B. It takes up space in the attic, the shed & the house. I need a new or slightly used car. Since I purchased my Buick, car prices have risen incredibly. I want a new Buick. I love Buick. Unfortunately the cheapest Buick's are around $27,000. Holy crap. Even slightly used ones are out of my price range. How on earth do people afford cars nowadays? I mean $27,000 is over a quarter of what my house cost. That seems insane to me. Not to mention the cost to tag it, the taxes & the title cost. Good grief.

So I'm stuck. I have a nice little Honda Rebel I purchased when the Buick went to pasture that gets me to work & back, and sometimes a little farther, but I want to see the world. At least the United States. I work full time, plus I make a little on the side from time to time with my art & photography, but not nearly enough to pay for a new or slightly used reliable form of transportation for long distance travel. The mortgage takes over half of my monthly pay. The insurance, taxes, & upkeep even more. How on earth do people do it? I have quit buying Star Wars collectibles for over three years now. Most of the stuff I get now is donated by friends & gifts from family. I think it's time to purge. If only there was a way to trade most of it for a new or slightly used car. I'd do it. Right now. Oh sure, I'd keep some of it, but only a little. The stuff that has a place. The tubs in the attic & in the shed would go. I need to see this great country. I want to see Mt. Rushmore, the Statue of Liberty, Yellowstone, Yosemite, and most of New England. I'm tired of only knowing Oklahoma. I want to KNOW the USA.

Action Figure Friday feat. Star Wars Book Ends

Now available from Gentle Giant, Return of the Jedi Jabba's Palace book ends!

You can pre-order them from Gentle Giant for $249.99 or head on over to Entertainment Earth & pre-order them there for the same price. There is a variant version that differs with the addition of a Jawa & an interchangeable Leia head with her mask off (only available to Premier Guild Members).

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Music Thursday


Looking for music to make art by? How about meditate? Relax? This music is great for that.

Go check it out. DJUNYA

Website Wednesday

Massive Black Are you an artist in search of inspiration or how to videos? Do you want to know insider secrets or learn the tricks to creating fabulous illustrations? Massive Black is a site you need to go check out. Here is their description of themselves & what they do from their "About Us" page: "MassiveDVD is a collaboration between the uber-talented folks at Massive Black Inc. and the world famous Conceptart.org community. Our goal is to serve you guys, the soon-to-be even more badass artists, by providing the best training videos possible from some of the greatest working artists today."

They really do have some cool videos. Pay & preview. These are from people working IN the industry. If you are like me, you've taken classes from people who have never been IN the industry only to find that they really had no idea what they were talking about. Technology & guidelines change so quickly now that this is a great way to stay on top of things.

Go check out some of the previews for their tutorials & lessons here: DVD Previews

Also check out some of their stuff on Youtube.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

More Art Tuesday

Art Tuesday Ribbon for Support

I made a ribbon to support the troops. ALL of the troops.

Movie Review Monday feat. Defendor

This is probably one of the best superhero movies I have ever seen. I was expecting a comedy, but this was not that. Sure, it was funny in parts, but wow...I mean...wow. The writing was excellent, the directing just as good, and the acting by everyone was spot on. This just might be the best movie I have seen all year. It's really a deep, sensitive, beautiful story about a guy that wants to be a superhero. I like how finally, someone wrote a script that doesn't glamorize the bad guys. The bad guys look like real bad guys. Greasy low-life fat greedy drug using unclean lazy bad guys. Not millionaires, not playboys, not guys in cool suits with cool technology, but gritty realistic jerks who prey on the weak. You really have to see this film. I don't want to say anything else about it, because I don't want to give away anything.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

The Intergalactic Trading Company

Have you been looking for obscure collectibles from Doctor Who or the original Battlestar Galactica? How about the 80's Buck Rogers action figures? The Intergalactic Trading Company has some of the most obscure hard to find items anywhere. Back in the early 90's I ordered all of my "Beauty & the Beast" TV Series stuff from them. They are a great company. Go on over & check out their site. Intergalactic Trading Company


According to Mattel, this 2010, Toys R Us will have the exclusive rights to the Wrestlemania 26 figures listed below:

Basics: Chris Jericho, Kane, Shelton Benjamin, Matt Hardy, Christian, and Drew McIntyre
Two-Packs: John Cena / Batista, R-Truth / John Morrison, and Big Show / The Miz
Elites: Undertaker, Triple H, Jack Swagger, and Rey Mysterio

That means these particular figures will only be available at Toys r Us. If you are a wrestling fan keep your eyes open for them.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

It's an extremely sad day for Metal Heads...

I came into to work today, turned on the computer, loaded up my usual set of social networks, went downstairs, got my coffee, came back up stairs, signed in and was greeted with terrible news. Peter Steele of Type O Negative passed away. My first reaction was anger. Anger that he let the drugs & depression take him. Anger that T would never get to experience them live. I was lucky enough to catch them with Ozzy in the late 90's. It was a concert experience I will never forget. I researched the band & tried to keep up with Peter & his fight against deep depression & addiction after that show. I was jazzed when he did a duet with the Goddess of Metal, Doro Pesch, even if it didn't quite work. It seemed like he was headed in a good direction. I've read he was. No one knows yet whether he OD'd or if the years of Cocaine & alcohol just finally caught up with him. Cocaine is extremely damaging to the heart & never repairs itself. It could be that it finally just gave out. Still, 48 is way too young to go.

Celebrity deaths or any death, usually makes me sad simply because someone didn't make it. Someone's demons won. I hate it when the demons win. I hate it because I too have demons. We all do to some extent. This is why we have to live for the moment. This is why we need to see ours dreams through today, not tomorrow or next week or next year, but NOW.

I never met Peter, but I've never heard a bad word about the guy. Most people described him as extremely sensitive, big-hearted, & a genuinely good guy. He was quite sarcastic in his musical lyrics & I LOVED that. Type O made me laugh, rock, and feel deeply, but there was a deeper haunting feeling there as well. It's almost like Peter was able to transfer his deep sadness through the music sometimes.

I hope Peter is in a better place. I hope his family & friends are able to get through this & move on. This one hit me hard. Maybe because it was a misunderstood, creative, sensitive artist that seemed to be a really good guy that we just lost. I don't know. All I know is I'm glad he had enough courage to get his art out there. I'm glad I got to know Peter Steele's work. I couldn't have created some of my works without his playing in the background.

R.I.P. Peter.

Oh, but that's not all. Right after I see that Peter Steele has passed I find out that Pretty Boy Floyd's bassist, Vinnie Chas, has also passed. I just had their cassette playing in my stereo yesterday. Yes, I said cassette. I was super excited about Pretty Boy Floyd coming to the Zoo Amp in OKC & had pulled it out to play for T. Now, I'm almost 100% certain he wasn't going to be on the tour (I think they have another bassist), but I've always been a pretty big fan. Two bassists I admire in one day. I'm telling ya, I'm feeling pretty low.

R.I.P. Vinnie

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Music Thursday

Wax Tailor feat. Charlie Winston " I Own You" from SoLab on Vimeo.

This is a nice little commentary about how your stuff owns you. The music has a great sound & the video is really cool. Go check it out.

Website/blog Wednesday feat. Jen Elsner

I know a woman who does some cool art & she sells prints & originals as well as does commission work. She has a B.A. in Anthropology & History & is working on a Master's in Professional Writing. She also has an Associate's in Graphic Design. Pretty impressive. Her influences in her studies really shine through in her artwork. Go check out her stuff over at her site: Jen Elsner

She's great at portraits & loves requests, so if you have a piece that you've always wanted someone to paint, give her a try. Be warned though, she is a professional. If you don't have money to pay her, & I'm not talking $20.00 money, I'm talking hiring a professional artist money, don't bother her. That being said, her prints are really reasonable.

Go on over! What are you waiting for? Jen Elsner

Art Tuesday

I ran across some videos on Youtube of several Mega churches preaching about the EVIL of Pokemon. How Pokemon were actually called Pocket Monsters which led the preacher to the conclusion that monsters = demons. That the main goal was to capture all the "demons" and make them do your bidding. If you get really good at making the "demons" do your bidding, you get to be a Master. Master = Witch or Warlock, which = SATAN. Man, where do these people come up with this garbage. It's obvious this guy has never seen any Japanese Anime or Manga. It's also obvious he knows nothing outside of his own tiny little world & religion. I started thinking about DEMONIC Pokemon & I wondered...what would a Satanic Pokemon look like? So I drew one. His name is Beelzebub. Enjoy!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Neil Gaiman & Jim Henson

I loved Jim Henson. He was the most magic person on earth to me. Everything he did was magic. Everything he did made me feel something...something good. He was like that warming ray of sunshine after a long winter. My dream was to work for Jim Henson. To be part of that amazing positivity & creativity. I didn't care how hard I had to work or how long the hours would be or even if I had to spend 5 years being some Muppets right arm (which I heard rumor was what you had to do to finally make it in & get your own Muppet). He died a couple of years before I made it to college. I cried. I cried like someone in my family died. I cried because I felt like somehow someone had pulled a shade over the window & I could no longer feel the sunshine. My heart was broken.

For a long time now, I've felt like all of that magic might be lost. I asked myself & T, "Where is that magic man or woman? Where is that creative genius that makes you feel things so strongly?" I think I found him. I think I found him several years ago & didn't even know it.

Neil Gaiman.

Just today, I realized that this man is magic. He makes me feel the same ways that Jim Henson did. The possibilities, the positivity, the dreams, and the magic. Sure, I know, he's just a guy who happens to be a writer, but I know secretly he's something else. He's a magic man. A Shaman. A storyteller.

It was just today, all of the sudden, I realized they still exist. Thanks to this little 4 minute video my friend Scott found & posted to THAT big social networking site. I'm going to post it here and maybe you too, will feel & see the same thing I did.

Thanks Neil. We need you. Keep writing & dreaming & sharing.


Okay...I think I need to be a little more bold. I had a wonderful time this weekend swapping stories my friends & I had written, critiquing them & getting down to the things that keep us stuck & how to change that. I feel bold when it comes to writing, but still seem like the shy kid in the back of the room when it comes to my art. I don't know why exactly. I mean sure, it's just me baring my soul, but is it really? Paintings really have a way of not being about the artist as much as they are about the viewer. People are going to see what they want to see & interpret things based on where they are & how they feel at the time. So what is it that makes me keep stacking them up in piles or lugging them into the attic to get covered with dust? I'm not sure. So I'm going to stop. I'm going to put them up & put price tags on them. If someone wants it, well who am I to stop them? I'm going to start sketching more. I want to post these musings as well. The pre-idea. The beginnings. The scribbles. I've always loved the art that comes before THE ART. It so much more free. So look out world. Here I come.

Movie Review Monday

So over the weekend I had the privilege to watch "Men Who Stare at Goats". I LOVED it. If you are a Star Wars fan you should see it. If you aren't, you should see it anyway. You don't have to be a Star Wars nerd to get it. It's about a military group during the Reagan years. It's also about a man trying to find his own truth in life.

The acting was wonderful. I loved the journey. It ended on a slight downer message but they tried to fix it with a visual upper. Still, I wouldn't have changed a thing. If you enjoy the Coen Brothers, Guy Ritchie, or Tarantino, I would strongly suggest you go rent this.

It stars Ewan McGregor, George Clooney, Jeff Bridges, Kevin Spacey & also includes one of my favorite supporting actors Robert Patrick (T2, Alien Trespass). It was directed by Grant Heslov from the screenplay by Peter Straughan which was adapted from the book by Jon Ronson.

It's fun. Go rent it!

Action Figure Friday

If you love the shows Lost or Dexter, or the movies the Big Lebowski or Flash Gordon, then you really need to stop over at BifBangPow's blog & have a scroll through. These guys are awesome & make some really high quality sculpts. They are a very small company, but you wouldn't know it from their output & dedication to toy & action figure making.

They have by far the best Twilight Zone figures ever. They also have the absolute best Flash Gordon (1981 movie) figures ever. Being a huge Flash fan myself, these figures are spot on. If you are a Flash Gordon fan & you don't own these figures....well, I might have to question whether or not you REALLY ARE a Flash Gordon fan.

One of their newest figures comes from a music genre close to my heart. Metal. Scott Ian sculpted in plastic & ready to take his place on your mantle. He's 8-inches of rawness. Head on over to here: Entertainment Earth to pre-order. He's $18.99 but he won't be released until August, so you have plenty of time to scrap up some change.

Help keep this awesome company going & pick something up. Remember, they aren't Hasbro or Mattel, so if there is something you've always yearned to see in plastic, these guys are way more likely to make your dreams come true. That's why we need to support the little guys. Seriously, go check them out. Bif Bang Pow!

Thursday, April 08, 2010

New Music Thursday

New music it is, too. Brand new. Recorded just days ago. Plus, it's free if you want it for free. If you want to donate/contribute/pay for it, you can do that as well. Your choice. If you follow Amanda Palmer then you probably have heard the wonderful news that yet another artist has been set free & the chains of music industry slavery been released from around her creative, impulsive spirit. In celebration she released her song: DO YOU SWEAR TO TELL THE TRUTH THE WHOLE TRUTH
(apologies/mad props to Niggaz With Attitude)"

It is fun & crazy & everything Amanda embodies. Oh, & did I mention...it's free? Of course if you do pay for it, guess where the money goes? To the artist, Amanda F'n Palmer. All of it. So whiz on over to her site: Amanda Palmer

To go directly to the song, go here: Free Awesome Music that the Artist actually gets paid for

Congrats, Miss Palmer, on your newly acquired freedom!

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Website/blog Wednesday

I found a great art, comic, pop culture website that I want to share with you. It's called Sidebar. They have great insights, video goodness, upcoming things to get excited about & just lots of cool info on the site. They also have a link to the Visual Artist Podcast Network. Go check it out. Maybe you'll learn something. Maybe you'll have fun. Maybe...gasp...both.

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Art Tuesday

I've been researching Illustrators. Part of me wants to do this. Another part of me wants to make movies. Concept art. Bring things from the written word to life on the page. I found a great blog with some awesome illustration work. Go check it out: http://jesperejsing.blogspot.com/

This guy is really great. He explains his process. I realized I have the sketching & thumbnail thing down, but I need to learn to do painting thumbnails. I just try to jump from pencil to paint without any color testing or idea of exactly what color is going to go where. Color composition is just as important as overall composition.

I really don't want to use a computer for illustrations, but I am slowly realizing it must be done at certain steps. Publishers use this. Dimensions & industry standards & such. Looks like I'll be saving up & maybe even taking some classes to figure out how to do this.

Here's a few more illustrators to check out if you are interested in Illustration work:

Jesper Ejsing

Mo Willems

Brett Helquist

Movie Review Monday

Clash of the Titans came out last weekend. I had planned to go see it, but the reviews from my trusted friends were less than inspiring. The reviews online were just as bad. Even some of the nerdiest sites that I usually agree with completely dogged the film. I was quite disappointed. I was really excited about this film. Sure it was a re-make of a sub-par film, but I thought it would be fun. I was hoping they would fix the mythology they messed up in the original. I'm a huge Harryhausen fan, but was looking forward to seeing what they would do with the monsters. Instead(WARNING:spoilers from this point on), I read & hear that they completely ran from the original mythology as well as the 1981 screenplay. There seemed to be no motivation for Perseus, Pegasus got 10 to 15 minutes on screen, there was no relationship between Andromeda & Perseus, no special helmet or shield, no Bubo (the owl), the CGI monsters were lame, & most people thought the characters lacked depth & any sort of spirit. Wow. I just can't understand how someone can take an ancient story that has stood the test of time & completely ruin it. Why do these Hollywood types never adapt what is already there? Why is it, that not one single movie ever made has successfully captured the awesomeness of Greek storytelling? Not one. Isn't that crazy? These stories are some of the greatest ever, yet every time some moron thinks he can make them more relevant or make them better & ends up losing the soul of the tale. Look at Troy (which I sort of liked), Alexander, & now Clash of the Titans. Ugh. Now, to be fair, I haven't seen Clash of the Titans. I steered clear & saved my money. Unfortunately, I haven't heard one single good thing I can pass on to you guys. Go see that cute CGI Dragon movie. "How to Train Your Dragon", I believe it's called. I've heard wonderful things about it. People LOVE it. I might just find myself going into the Film & Video studies program just to make a Greek masterpiece come to life. Somebody sure needs to. Someone who gets it.

Friday, April 02, 2010

What?! What happened?

So somehow I let two whole weeks get by me. No blog posts for two whole weeks. For shame. However, I did managed to write another Children's Story which I plan on illustrating this weekend while T grinds away at her school work. My friend Amy updated her status on one of those social network sites by putting, "...is a Stubborn Tomato", and all of the sudden, like a bolt of lightning, I had a story in mind. I went home, sat down & had it all written out by the time T got home around 9pm. I like it. I like it just as much as my "Chicken" story. I can't wait to illustrate it.

This leads me to a question. Why do I keep fighting this Children's author thing? I mean, at this point I am up to five different books, with one completely written and illustrated. So what's the deal? I'm not sure. I think I'm a little afraid that I won't make an acceptable children's author. Of course, that's a silly thing to worry about before you even try. I mean really, what do I have to lose? I am also a little frightened about not knowing what I'm doing if it comes to getting an agent or signing contracts. Again, I'm not even close to that yet. My friends Chris & Cindy had wonderful advice for figuring out things you don't know. Write to people who do. Write to a whole mess of them. Your sure to get at least one response, and really, that's all you need.

I think I'm going to do this. I looked up the address for the fellow who wrote and illustrated "Don't let the Pigeon Drive the Bus", one of my personal favorite picture books. He used to work as a writer on Sesame Street. How cool is that? He's been influencing me for years and I didn't even know it.

So here it goes. Illustrate and complete the Tomato story this weekend and time permitting, finish illustrating "What Happened to Snaily" and "Tiger and Monkey" as well. Write some letters, mail them off, look up submission guidelines and before you know it, you'll be purchasing my book for your kiddos.

Wish me luck.