Last July, while out running errands on my motorcycle, I pulled over to take a break. I stopped near a venue with a lot of cement, and spray painted surfaces. Of course being just off a main highway, and with a couple of fast food establishments near by there were the ubiquitous paper cups about. The day was beautifully warm with a modest amount of humidity. The light was strong, but the shadows were not black. The grass in the field near by had burnt off to it's summer gold from the green of spring. I know that garbage as a subject is not new, but hell this cup looked good. No, it was not my cup, I took my trash with me.
Recently I was considered for a boxing assignment. It was after Smokin' Joe Frazier passed away. The possible assignment had me looking through my files. On a secondary note; over my lifetime it's been a common thing to see my last name misspelt as Frazier. It's a backhanded compliment. Boxing, it's one of the sports subjects that I've dealt with quite a few times. Some of my illustrations I've punched out honouring the Pugilist.
In 2007, I was approached by Ogilvy & Mather Chicago to work on the illustrations for the World Boxing Championships. Interesting assignment, and the design & creative team were great to work with. The assignment included vector art for ceratin applications, and traditional oil painted work. A 3D piece was developed from my sketches. Tickets, programs, posters, bus, busstop, and venue applications were employed.
Roughly quarter page art for editorials in the front of the magazine. Art Director; Mike Royer at Motor Trend.
Well I have my first full show at the Winchester Gallery here on the west coast. A few singular pieces have been sold through the gallery, but this is my first show of a group of my paintings. The title of my show is After Print. It was exciting, and very rewarding. Also interesting to hear the reactions from the people who dropped by. My subject matter and influences are eclectic, and I wanted to enjoy the process of making the paintings. There were a number of pieces in the show I've posted here before in my Gallery Work category, and some new pieces. The show is up Oct. 1st - 22nd.
Winchester Gallery's site; http://www.winchestergalleriesltd.com
Straight to Paint
The last while I would develop a digital rough when developing a painting. I've skipped that stage in my recent oil paintings. Working pencil sketches up to an acceptable stage, I moved on to prepping my surface & paint. Using my own life, and surroundings as subject it's been a very satisfying mode of working. The computer is a powerful tool, and I still use it, but wanted to do my adjusting within the stages of painting. The computer ironically really has had an effect on how I view my painting.
Lordy! it's Stanley
Well it's that time of the year when the north half of North America(Canada, and some parts of "the States") gets a little crazy. Or at least in those areas that are still in the hunt for Lord Stanley's trophy. Yes, It's The Stanley Cup Playoffs! The pucks been dropped, and the battles are underway. I'm climbing on the Vancouver Canucks band wagon after kicking around the west coast of Canada for over a decade. In the Canucks - Black Hawks(Chicago) series, Vancouver leads three games to zero. All up & down the west coast of British Columbia, and even into the surrounding areas, more, and more are daring to believe. The Stanley Cup playoffs are a gruelling, punishing, trial for any of the NHL teams. Cold beer & chips, gimme the remote, oh god it can be painful to believe.
This month's April cover is about the struggles of unionized workers. It's interesting that at the beginning of the twenty-first century, it feels like the nineteenth. The very upper levels of American society seem set on draining every last drop out of the country. It's the teachers, firefighters, police, and other unionized labor that are the bones of a civil society which are now again under attack. As their voices are stripped away, tax breaks for the upper incomes over $200,000, are renewed. The common good of a community seems too much of an expanse for the wealthy to contribute to on a proportional basis. It's playing out in the state capitals across the USA. The cover story is about the events in Wisconsin.
I've worked with Nick Jehlen at the The Progressive a number of times over the years. Quite often regarding the subject of workers, and the struggles of laborers.
Less Than Half
Spots, icons, ding bats, secondaries, less than half a page or smaller, while working on smaller assignments I've heard them called many things. The do present their own set of unique demands, and are usually swimming in type. Here's some of my recent efforts. The illustrations below printed less than half a page;
Above - Icons for article about jobs with a future in Germany. For the magazine; Wirtschafts Woche, art director; Holger Windfuhr. Vector - artwork
A subject I dealt with before leaving for a winter break from work, was somewhat timely. The subject of violence in the workplace. The art director for the assignment was the every open, and insightful, Roy Comiskey. The signs for possible violent events seem to be there, yet can happen without warning. I can say that the subject was interesting, and as someone who works alone, it's a curiousity. An employer it would seem has to maintain a vigilence. I wanted a darker tone, offset by a more banal setting. The cubicles I've seen in office spaces always leave me with an odd feeling. I enjoyed the subject manner as it delves into the struggles of contemporary life & work. Working with Roy is a pleasure. My winter break is over, and it's back to it in a none violent manner.
An Anchor Point
As an illustrator, I've worked for a while now with digital software. The adobe illustrator software has been my favourite. The clean lines I was striving for in some of my painting is more readily accessed through the vector based algorithms of the digital software. Many see it as cold, or not expressive enough. This relates back to the now old complaint about the artistic "truthiness" of the brush mark. Something the great American pop artist Roy Lichtenstein had fun skewering in his work. I've found in personal work the satisfaction of realizing an image in oils, or as a digital print. With painting I've found that the process of pencil drawing base, with layers of oils built-up results in it's own "skin". The physical painting itself becomes an object in the singular. Alternately, when I worked through a piece with software, and then producing a print of the file on quality paper, there is a great sense of satisfaction as well. My process for either is quite different, but working with both media, informs my overall thoughts concerning process, and objective. The process of interpreting, and editing in an observational manner takes me out of the conceptualizing approach of an editorial illustrator. The subject is there, shutdown your mental conversations, and look. Park your ego, and open your eyes. For me there is a two dimensional elegance that vector software can achieve. I know there are many other artists that work, and feel the same. A digital piece, even vector has it's own flavour. It's that flavour that has me going back to it.