Monday, July 26, 2010

The Silent Ballet

(please click for larger view)

this was a pretty big deal for me.
For years now, The Silent Ballet has been devoted to writing, reviewing, exposing, and celebrating the best in instrumental music in all its many splendored variations (classical, ambient, post rock, experimental, electronic, etc). part of this includes curating some of the best, often underrated or unsigned, instrumental artists to be a part of their free downloadable compilation series

well, i was contacted by them to submit a song, a very humbling and left field honor, to which my response was "could i also please do the artwork?!" Jordan was gracious enough to encourage me to stitch together an exclusive mix of 3 songs (since they are short, as i like to improvise "ambient soundtracks for short attention spans), as well as let me create the original art around my feelings towards ambient and drone (the loose theme of this 16th volume in the series):

if percussion and punctuation is a dot, then at first i wanted to explore the resonance and space between the points, to "represent the others implied" (hence, the ambassador etc. moniker). later i wanted to extend that dot to create a line, blurring points of origin or reference. now i wonder if it is possible to make points radiate outward, like a dandelion made of layers and walls, waiting to be wished upon and blown, and lost to the dense fog of 'gorgeous noise'. i am very proud of the final result, a comment you will almost never hear me say, perhaps because my motto of letting the 'Idea Dictate the Medium' pulled me in such a strange direction

you can download the record for free HERE.

you can read more about ambassador etc. HERE, or listen to a few more tracks HERE

special thanks to one of my greatest and oldest friends Jiri Seger, who encouraged me and bettered my sensibilities with "If you're going to do it, do it all the way." you can see more of his incredible design, and get to know him, at

thank you for looking and listening!

Friday, July 23, 2010

The Destiny Gauntlets!

(click for a larger view)

the amazing (and patient) indie publisher Tiki Machine, LLC had gotten in touch with me (courtesy of one ambitious and generous Joseph Game) to see if i would be interested in doing a logo for his epic fantasy comic book series "The Destiny Gauntlets". At the time i was finishing up a logo for an electronic dance group and a boutique that makes hair accessories for little girls, and this was just too wild to pass up. i mean, a trio of simultaneous logos don't get more different than that (i just had to be careful not to confuse these worlds by giving a butterfly a battle-ax or a viking a keyboard).

Mike gave me some special sneak previews of art, story, and characters, and we went back and forth looking at countless typefaces, book covers, comics, and logos to come up with just the right look for the book and exactly what he wanted. below are some roughs to see if shape was worth exploring, followed by some rough, classic-but-modern, illustrative letters

we knew we wanted "destiny" to look magical, and "gauntlets" to be battle damaged, and soon we were getting closer. i actually kind of like the smashed "gauntlets" on the top version (below). below that you can see one of many attempts incorporating pictorial elements in the logo, and though it bums me out when i can't succeed in the challenge of making something work, i'm still glad we tried it.
and below is the final sketch! i'm fond of this one; it was a real joy for me to draw letter forms so thoroughly. you can't imagine how much penciling, erasing (SO much erasing), measuring, flipping, following through, and exploring that goes into this, and thank heavens i am all too excited to go on that journey.

(feel free to click on for larger view)
and a spruced up black, white, & gray version. i always go out of my way to ensure that all logos have shapes and forms that would work as solid black on white, even though we knew that by the end, Mike's logo would have plenty of eye catching effects and renderings (see final up top).

Mike has been generous enough to give me a nice credit on the inside cover of every issue (i feel like Kevin Nowlan on Hellboy!) and there's even a chance at a pinup in the book itself! rest assured i'll let everyone know how to get copies when it's published

thanks for reading!

Monday, July 19, 2010


it is with great excitement working with SONY Music Japan and some of the amazing artists on their roster! They are hard at work bringing some of their talent to the states for the first time, and spreading the word on those who have already seen our shores. Here's hoping for more fun work like this in the future!

the first was one of several t-shirt designs for pop-star and super nice rock-n-roller BECCA!

and the following was a postcard design to be given out on tours, at festivals, and for promotion of these amazing musicians

it was a blast stretching my design muscles and being given such freedom to create and help SONY and their artists
thank you!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Coatesville PA: terrible things

for a year, Coatesville PA was terrorized by a string of arsons, culminating in the arrest of 6 people, some of them firefighters, responsible for $3 million in damage, scores of homeless people, and the murder of an elderly woman.

you can read some basics HERE, but i also found it fascinating searching for psychology profiles on arsonists, including the taboo subject of how many are firefighters (though to be fair, there aren't exactly studies of how many arsonists are plumbers, etc), but worst of all, how some theorize the economically depressed Coatesville was victim of a type of gentrification through terrorism

Tuesday, July 6, 2010


"In July 2010, in America's birthplace of Philadelphia, 30 emerging young artist of diverse skill sets have enlisted their services in riding the waves of discovery in effort to provide new additions of pictures to provide visual dialogs of mankind's fascination with the sea."
--Matt Cavanaugh

Opening reception
Friday July 9th 2010 7:00 PM - 10:PM
Chapterhouse Cafe and Art Gallery
620 South 9th Street (between south and Bainbridge)
Phialdelphia, PA
Anthony Pedro of The Autumn Society of Philadelphia was kind enough to ask if i would be a part of the nautical themed show he was curating. Being quite a huge fan of Anthony's paintings, as well as my own affinity of the sea with its rich history and inspiring mystery, this has thusly been one of the most exciting group shows i have had the honor of being a part of. if you can sail on by the show this friday July 9th, or to Chapterhouse anytime at all this month, i can assure you a fantastic time marveling at the walls with these other talented individuals.
i was really trying to blog once a day for as long as i could, but our wonderful 4th of July celebration put a pause in my posts. i certainly have had enough work to keep it up for a while. however in celebration of the group show and in honor of Anthony's hard work, i'm going to make this it for the week. i thought i would also bore everyone to tears with some slight process description, as well as some trademark self deprecation throughout

when i heard "Nautical Theme", i just about lit up. i could do a nautical themed painting a day. i just about already have. a prized possession is a giant gorgeous oil painting of a massive old ship in pursuit that was given to my parents as a wedding gift. it hangs and encompasses the wall of the living room as a centerpiece. but what was i going to do here?

since i was a child i have always had a love and fascination for all mythology and folk lore, but as a young lad no book checked out from the library enthralled me like the big book of Greek Mythology. suddenly i knew i had to pay tribute to the mighty Poseidon, earthshaking lord of the sea and storms. Alexander the Great once sent 4 horse drawn chariots into the sea as tribute to Neptune and payment for safe passage of his armies across the sea. i would honor him by painting his terrifying visage with....watercolor

i tell lots of folks, especially anytime someone humbles me, or a finished painting, with a compliment, that "you should've seen the hundred awful drawings preceding that." you can take this as literal word when it comes to portraits or likenesses. below is some proof.

i wasn't sure how i wanted to portray the mighty god of old. mine is a love for the sea, but the old stories are full of horrors, sacrifice, and curious atrocities more in the name of explaining phenomenons, aiding anomalies, or encouraging forced piety, more than say, an Aesop's fable teaches a moral of some sort. for starters, i wanted to avoid common trappings that would visually precede me but pay some small nods as well (tritons, etc). so the start would be elder, powerful, and underwater. some awful fast explorations below:

i liked the idea of the tentacles enveloping and enwrapping him through the Grecian underwater beard (perhaps mimicking tentacles as well, though the hair would become more underwater flowing trident). more than anything, this would prove a fun visual challenge for me to intertwine elements. i mean, honestly, not to play it safe or phone anything in, but tentacles? check. beard and hair? check. old scarred face? check. pencils and watercolor? check. this was going to be right up my alley

so all i had to decide was 2 compositions i saw in my head. also, i wanted to challenge myself with some typography. Greek lettering is as bold as the columns of the Parthenon, and at the risk of no one knowing what the heck it said, i decided to attempt including it

i liked the symmetry for some reason, although it loses it's "massive" quality, but i felt i could make the tentacles a little more interesting and frankly intentional, instead of a mass of slithering tangles. the impossible symmetry there implied the kind of control over the sea and its inhabitants only the mighty Poseidon could possess

working it all out is always a blast for me; i can truly get lost in an exploratory daze. i also like to joke that i think i somehow manage to erase far more than i draw

on to the lettering. i loved the old Greek letterforms, but i began wondering about the secondary challenge of both spellings. like everything else in life, when ever i am face with a choice, i simply ask myself, "can i do it all?"

answer: kind of

finally, the finished pencil drawing! i have to tell you, this is the part of the process i am most proud of. if you have made it this far, and i thank you, if i could make one more request, it's that you feel free to click on the image below for a larger view. after this you can feel free to surf on elsewhere

(please click for larger view!)

i wasn't 100% sure where i wanted to take the painting itself. i suppose you can call this the laziest color study for a nautical piece ever:

i wish i took more scans of the painting in progress. i can tell you that over the course of days, tiny increments at a time, i softly rendered hair, coil, tentacle, wrinkle, scale, shadow and light, over and over again

then i slathered it in pigment, each time hoping to further Submerge it all below the watery medum
honestly, i just wasn't happy at all with it. i was no longer sure what i wanted, only that i didn't like it. i decided i wanted to add even more submerged depth to it all, and frankly, we all get that the water is blue or green, but could i give the tentacles more meaning? could i reference the sacrifice he demands? so i flipped the panting upside down and let the kraken bleed its ink upwards to the surface
of course i lost days of detail but at least i felt a bit more fearless. still, after framing, packing, and shipping the piece to Anthony for the hanging, i wanted to see if there wasn't something more i could do in the computer:
apparently, not a whole lot.

i priced the final painting at $56.27, a price no doubt i'll catch some flack for, because Poseidon fathered, on record at least, 56 children with 27 women, some of whom were not happy about that, though some of legend's greatest heroes and heroines were a result.

thanks for bearing with any or all of this; it's greatly appreciated. i hope you'll try to see the show if you can, or at least click on some of the above links, to see the incredible work 30 other artists created for this show

fair winds and a following sea,

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Martian Chronicles

The Mars Society is an international space advocacy non-profit organization dedicated dedicated to encouraging human missions to Mars and the exploration of the Red planet.

The Autumn Society is a collective of artists [and friends] that started in Philadelphia and is now branching out worldwide.

together we made a coloring book to get kids excited about exploring Mars!

here's my little page, flashing me back to the years when i was doing just this almost exclusively (and where i met Autumn Society founder and current Cartoon Network employee Joseph "Chogrin" Game!)

feel free to click on it and print it out for your young ones. i'll be sure to let you know how you can get your hands on the whole book, with richer and more exciting illustrations by a slew of other earth shattering artists

off to watch both versions of Solaris now!
wishing everyone a safe and happy holiday weekend

Friday, July 2, 2010

Horror Film - character studies

coming soon to a theatre near you...

(click to enlarge if you dare!)

...from the awesome minds of Kphat Productions!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

"Call no man happy till he is dead" -Aeschylus

KPhat Productions contacted me to do some illustrations for their independent comedy, Living Will, to be used in their marketing. The film stars MTV & CKY's Ryan Dunn, and the trailer for this film, along with my art, can be found at !